Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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DeSean the Decoy

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

After every game, the Eagles seem to have excuses for why DeSean Jackson was held in check. More of than not, it comes back to: The (insert team name here) had their safeties back 30 yards so we couldn’t get anything deep the DeSean.

Oh, so teams don’t play off Mike Wallace? They don’t give Steve Smith or Greg Jennings or Calvin Johnson tons of room? The problem with Jackson isn’t the defense. It’s that, unlike the previously listed elite wideouts, D-Jax is a one-trick pony. Jackson doesn’t like to go over the middle, sporting alligator arms as we saw Monday night. He goes down easily upon contact. He has questionable hands. And when the Eagles need a critical play, they smartly go to Jeremy Maclin or Jason Avant.

So on most days, Jackson is just a decoy. He’s a guy that runs really fast and straight. Perhaps that’s why the Eagles have not given him the contract extension he so desires. And it’s why he has these numbers over his last 16 games (including playoffs): 52 catches, 1,102 yards, four touchdowns. That’s an average of 3.2 catches for 68.8 yards and 0.25 touchdowns per game.

With a sample size this large, it’s unrealistic to expect a change. The one or two big games per year don’t outweigh the airballs Jackson throws up for owners.

Big-time return to action for Earl Bennett. He steps right in as Jay Cutler’s favorite target. But before we run to the wire, remember Bennett had just 561 receiving yards all of last season. He’s nothing special. … Devin Hester sustained an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and did not return. … Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy were as advertised. They never get tackled by the first guy. … Michael Vick appears hesitant to run for some strange reason. The Eagles have to change that. … Brent Celek tied for the team-lead in targets with nine and caught seven more balls. He’s being used as a pass-catcher now that the Birds’ offensive line is performing. … Marion Barber remains the Bears’ preferred option at the goal-line and in short-yardage.

Editor’s Note: For early rankings, projections, the Running Back report, the top-200 going forward list and much more, check out the Season Pass!

The first bad sign came when Jahvid Best (concussion) revealed he had not been medically cleared as of Saturday. The next bad sign was when the Lions brought back old friend Kevin Smith. And the nail in the coffin was when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Best is not expected to play against the Bears Sunday.

It’s hard to shake the feeling that Best is considering shutting it down for the season. He’ll visit with more doctors this week, but it’s been a three-plus weeks since his concussion. Most players are back by then. But most players don’t have the concussion history like Best has.

So look for Maurice Morris to remain the feature back going forward, with Keiland Williams as the power back and Smith as mere insurance. Remember, Smith had been on the street all summer without a sniff of interest around the league. His knee and shoulder injuries turned him into a shell of himself. All Best owners can do is stash and wait for definitive word.

Does Miles Austin stretch? He’s sidelined by a hamstring strain once again, this time on his right side. He’ll miss 2-4 weeks.

The upshot here is a big chance for Laurent Robinson, who has shown impressive chemistry with Tony Romo in limited time as a Cowboy. Over the last six games, Robinson has averaged 4.0 catches for 61.3 yards with two touchdowns. Now he gets a snap and target boost. Add him.

The Raiders say that they didn’t bench Darrius Heyward-Bey in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. The tape says otherwise. As Oakland came out of their bye, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore were their starting wideouts. Chaz Schilens and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were next up off the bench. DHB played 12 snaps. It’s a strange move as Heyward-Bey was playing the best ball of his career, but it’s probably the right move. Ford and Moore are explosive weapons and worth adds in fantasy.

Darren McFadden (foot) appears unlikely to make his return against the Chargers Thursday…. Malcom Floyd (hip) did not return to practice Monday, while Ryan Mathews (groin) did. Adjust accordingly. … Rian Lindell (shoulder) is out 4-6 weeks. … Jared Cook (knee) and Nate Washington (hip) are expected to be fine for Week 10. … Andre Johnson (hamstring) is likely to sit out through the Week 11 bye. … Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller had concussion scares, but have been cleared. … Kevin Kolb (toe, foot) is in serious doubt once again. … Greg Salas (leg) is done for the season. … Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is tentatively expected back soon. … Frank Gore’s ankle sprain is not a major concern. … Both Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and Montario Hardesty (calf) have been ruled out for Week 10. … Dallas Clark (leg) may be done for the year.

Coach Jason Garrett reiterated that he sees a timeshare when Felix Jones (ankle) returns. It’s unclear when that will be. … Kevin Boss played behind Brandon Myers in Week 9. … Leonard Hankerson will continue to start and play almost every down. … The Cardinals have no intention of resting Beanie Wells despite knee woes. … Greg Little had two drops and ran the wrong route on a key play in Week 9. He’s struggling. … Danny Woodhead led the Patriots backfield in snaps Sunday with 42. … With Donald Jones healthy, C.J. Spiller’s time at wideout is over. … Curtis Painter and John Beck will keep their starting jobs in Week 10.

Editor’s Note: Sick of your team yet? Get a new one and win real cash with SnapDraft!

Adding a different defense/special teams each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Here are units that might be on waivers to consider this week for streaming purposes:

1. DOLPHINS vs. Redskins - Yeah, Miami is 1-7. But they are have also given up an average of just 13.6 points over the last three weeks. Washington has scored a total of 11 points in their last two games as they’ve lost both Santana Moss (hand) and Tim Hightower (knee).

2. EAGLES vs. Cardinals - Philadelphia’s defense has been far less than advertised, but gets a great spot here. Arizona is off an emotional overtime win and now has to come across the country to face a secondary that will have no problem shutting down this passing game. And with Beanie Wells as less than 100 percent, points for Arizona will be hard to come by.

3. CHIEFS vs. Broncos - As good as Tim Tebow looked in Week 9, he’s still a good bet for a turnover or two per game. Kansas City will be hungry and focused after getting embarrassed by Miami last week.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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