Good lord, can anyone comprehend this ridiculous Wes Welker slump? The guy finished with a paltry 21 yards in Sunday's victory at San Diego, and he was bagels across the board in Week 9. Yeah, bye week, whatever. Don't make excuses for your precious little player.
Recency bias is a beautiful little thing. And on my clipboard, I'd say it's time to go get Welker.
Fantasy owners can't help it at times. Think back to opening night, when Eric Decker dropped some passes in front of a National audience and finished with a disappointing 2-32 line (uninvited to the Peyton Manning seven-touchdown party). It's not easy to play down that sort of thing. Anyone who bought Decker at even a mild discount was quickly rewarded; his game log has been rock-solid since.
We've seen misguided panic over Welker before, too. Think back to last year's opener, when Welker had 14 yards and limited snaps. Queue the silly Internet freakout. Welker's next five games: 5-95, 8-142, 9-129, 13-104-1, 10-138-1. So much for that narrative.
I love buying a proven player after a public mess. Dez Bryant fits the profile - the Cowboys were a joke Sunday night at New Orleans, Bryant had just one grab, and Dallas doesn't play in Week 11. I can't imagine a better time to make a trade inquiry. I'd look into a Tony Romo swap, too.
Variance affects every fantasy football player, especially the receivers. And there's an extra-heavy variance with respect to touchdowns. Look at Andre Johnson's last two weeks (against his first two months), or consider Demaryius Thomas's 2013 flow. Identify players you trust on offenses you trust, and have faith that outliers will smooth themselves out.
Some other receivers I'd be tempted to go get: Antonio Brown, Pierre Garcon, Kendall Wright, Victor Cruz (maybe the best buy-low right now), Cecil Shorts. All of these guys are in a safe spot with opportunity, but they've been a little unlucky with touchdowns. See if you can time the market correctly.
• One touchdown-light player I will not be targeting is Hakeem Nicks. He looks slow to me, someone who can't set up defenders or run past them anymore. If I had to line up with a second NYG receiver, Rueben Randle is my clear preference. Randle isn't getting targets forced his way, but he's still managed five touchdowns and 16.3 YPC on his 48 opportunities. I love him in any keeper or dynasty format, too, no matter the issues with Eli Manning.
• You can keep making excuses for Trent Richardson, if you like. I don't see anything special. He was a 3.6 YPC back last year, he stumbled to 3.4 for the Browns in two games, he's at 2.8 over his seven-game Indianapolis run. His longest run of the year is 16 yards. He's spotty in pass protection. And it's not like the Colts are married to the idea of forcing the ball to Richardson - he's collected a mere 13 carries the last two weeks. Game flow explains some of that, but certainly not all of that.
If I'm missing something juicy here, let me know.
• Alfred Morris is a back I'd try to acquire right now, paying full sticker or (if you're lucky) a little below market. Obviously he brings nothing to the receiving game and there's the matter of Washington's goal-line lottery, but let's not miss how brilliant Morris has been on the ground. Consider his weekly YPC, starting in Week 2: 8.2, 4.9, 4.4, 5.1, 5.0, 5.5, 4.8, 5.3. This man simply does not have bad games.
Volume isn't really a problem, even without the catches - Morris averages just under 18 totes per game, and it's trending upward (18, 17, 25 and 26 the last four weeks). It's not like he's allergic to the end zone, with three spikes in five games. And the yardage baseline makes Morris particularly valuable during this season of running back train wrecks.
• As poorly as Matt Ryan has played, let's keep in mind what he's working with. The Julio Jones loss is enormous and Roddy White has added nothing all year. Tony Gonzalez isn't healthy now. How many quarterbacks can do something positive with the leftovers? I suspect Ryan will be someone I'm targeting in the middle rounds next year, at a discount.
I'm also going to hold off on any definitive Colin Kaepernick statements until we see him get legitimate tools to work with. No Michael Crabtree all year, that's a major hit, and the worst of Sunday's game came after Vernon Davis left the field. These quarterbacks can't do it entirely on their own. Remember how lousy Steve Young was on the Buccaneers?
Speed Round: It might sound a little funny, but the Bears can't feel that bad about the job they did against Calvin Johnson. Megatron needed 17 targets to collect his 83 yards and two scores, and he averaged less than five yards per pass attempt. Most teams would love to limit Johnson to that level of efficiency . . . I was definitely wrong on the Cardinals, who have shown to be a junkyard dog team in spite of their spotty quarterback and Ellington-burying head coach. Arizona might have the most underrated defense in the league, and its only bad loss comes with a partial excuse (a lot of teams get trounced in New Orleans). I love the Cardinals defense at Jacksonville in Week 11, and I expect Arizona to compete with Indianapolis in Week 12 . . . The Jets game was a little fluky, but otherwise Giovani Bernard has this snappy clip of touches working: 22, 13, 12, 21, 15, 16, 14. You can work with that. You can be an upside RB2 with that, especially when you run like Bernard does. The Browns won't hand away anything easy in Week 11, but I'm playing the rook anywhere I can, regardless of opponent . . . It's encouraging to see Shady McCoy's monster game at Green Bay (25-155 rushing), with Nick Foles at the helm of course. McCoy's ground game would probably be best served with Michael Vick starting - mobile QB, wider defense, easier running lanes - but there's no reason McCoy can't be a Top 5 back in the Foles offense. And I remain a staunch Foles apologist, for what it's worth - his one poor game came with a likely concussion. Otherwise, he's been brilliant.