Hail Mary: Urban, Williams
So let's go through our recipe for marginal fantasy value:
Let it sit in the hot Arizona sun for a week. Enjoy on Sunday!
The Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) product may no longer be a total unknown, but the fact that hordes of owners suffering through bye weeks and injury haven't gone out and picked Jerheme Urban up makes him still mostly unknown.
Urban took advantage of his first active week since the middle of 2005 (ironically, against the Cardinals back when he was with Dallas) by catching 5 passes for 53 yards in Week 4. With Anquan Boldin now out of action in Arizona, there is a huge gap next to Larry Fitzgerald in the receiving corps. And if the name "Bryant Johnson" even comes close to being mentioned in any conversation you have, you should just go sit in a room by yourself for a few days. Get him out of your system. In fact, let's get this out of the way right now:
Bryant Johnson does absolutely nothing for your fantasy team when one of the two big Arizona receivers go down with an injury. Want to know how I know this? Because I fall for it every time. Every year. In fact, I even sometimes make a point to hurry to the waiver wire and sign Johnson to my team. And you know what he has rewarded me with?
December 10, 2006. 81 yards and a touchdown.
That's it. The game before that one, he had 38 yards receiving. The game after? 33. That's just a tease. A 6-3, 216 pound, first-round draft-pick tease. So I implore everyone out there to just skip Johnson and go directly to Urban. There is no indication that he will do any more with this opportunity than Johnson, but we at least know that Johnson will not do a thing, so it makes it that much more fun of a gamble.
Now just stay with me for a second. I know that Bulger was a solid top-5 quarterback coming into this year, and I realize that he has been replaced for this week (and maybe next) by Gus Frerotte, and I'm not going to over-explain things or try to figure out a hair-brained scheme for you to obtain him. But, if he is on your team, and you have no other options at quarterback, consider starting Bulger instead of nobody. Or a quarterback who isn't even going to start. And here is why:
There is nobody else on that St. Louis depth chart besides Bulger and Frerotte. If Frerotte sprains a knee, or gets knocked out, or maybe just goes 0-29 with four interceptions in the first half, St. Louis has nobody else to turn to. Bulger -- who can still, technically, play -- would be the next person the coaches turn to in a tough spot. It would be a set of severe circumstances forcing their hand, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility. So, if you are totally desperate with nary an option on the waiver wire or in a league full of non-traders, at least consider digging in your bench and playing Bulger in a move that reeks of fantasy desperation.
Williams is, undoubtedly, the most disappointing first-round draft pick ever who was born in Landstuhl, Germany. The third-year receiver, who has been a sleeper for pretty much every day of his NFL career, is at it again this season, with 52 total yards on four receptions over two games (one bye week and one inactive week were thrown in for good measure). So what is it that we like about him? Or, at least, kind of like about him?
For one, Williams has a couple touchdown receptions on the season already: a game-winner in Week 2, and a short grab in Week 3 against a tough Denver secondary. Week 5 has Jacksonville visiting Kansas City, who -- although coming off a huge win against San Diego last week -- still leaves a little to be desired in the defense department. This doesn't mean we should expect big things from Williams; he has let us down many, many times before. But he does have a tendency to score a touchdown in every game he's been active (that would be two), and in the context of the Jacksonville passing attack, 52 yards in two games can be considered a lot. Thus, by using this logic, Williams may be an admirable bye-week fill-in if you can handle the frustration of not seeing his name in the live box scores until around the third quarter, when he pops in there for having 6 yards receiving & but with a touchdown.
The New Quarterback Effect will be showcased this weekend in San Francisco, as Trent Dilfer takes over for the injured Alex Smith. Also on display will be the Taylor Jacobs Has Been Waived Corollary. These two phenomena should combine to at least produce a catch for Ashley Lelie.
Lelie has been active for all four games this season, but he stubbornly refuses to get involved in the offense. Or even catch a ball. He had fallen behind Taylor Jacobs on the depth chart, but Jacobs was cut by the Niners on Tuesday. So just to quickly review: the guy with the only TD catch on the entire season for the 49ers was released, yet the guy who doesn't have one catch -- period -- just got a bump in value. This makes sense to everyone, right?
Regardless of the logic or reasoning, Hail Mary is thinking this is the week Lelie will maybe see some points coming his way in the fantasy universe. Dilfer hasn't synced up with anyone yet, there is a gaping hole ahead of Lelie on the depth chart, and the law of averages will eventually produce a reception for our slumping wide receiver. Will he have a monster game? Probably not. But he may have some degree of value considering all the factors and circumstances, and for a team in need, he could be a serviceable replacement.
Before we get into Davis, let's just clarify that we are talking about the Chargers wide receiver, not the Lions linebacker. The league is big enough, apparently, for two Buster Davises.
Buster Davis, the receiver, is a rookie out of LSU, picked in the first round by the Chargers. There isn't a ton to go on as far as his professional career so far, other than the 54 yards on seven catches he's accrued over three games. But in college, Davis was considered to have the best hands on the team (a team that included Kansas City breakout rookie Dwayne Bowe), and this characteristic may help him move a little bit up the chart in San Diego. The Chargers need something to spark their offense -- and, at this point, their entire season -- and a few catches here and there to one of the most reliable hands on the team may be part of the solution. Vincent Jackson has struggled, Tomlinson has been a relative non-factor as far as receiving yards go, and Antonio Gates can't do everything on his own. So why not look more at Buster Davis and create a breakout receiver? It's basically what happened last year with Vincent Jackson, anyway. At the very least, look at what Bowe has done, and his relatively seamless transition to the NFL, and gamble on these LSU receivers being primed for the pros by their college system.
He's better, after all, than Bryant Johnson.
FUN KICKER FACT OF THE WEEK!
Falcons kicker Morten Andersen is 47 years old. He is older than 12 NFL head coaches.
Nando Di Fino is a fantasy analyst for TalentedMrRoto.com and ESPN.com. You can e-mail him at Nando@TalentedMrRoto.com.