PFW news on the Texans, Giants, Ravens and Patriots, plus the latest Fantasy Buzz.
The Way We Hear It
One position the Texans could look to bolster in the offseason, the way we hear it, is wide receiver. Starters Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter aren’t going anywhere, but the Texans may add a receiver to complement their top two wideouts. Reserve WRs David Anderson, André Davis and Jacoby Jones all bring a valuable skill to the roster, but none has made a clear case to take the job as his own in 2009. The question of whether to sign a wideout could come down to the Texans’ confidence in Jones; Jones is an emerging star punt returner, but he hasn’t made much of an impact as a receiver in two NFL seasons. Davis, who caught 33 passes for 583 yards and three touchdowns in 2007, has been slowed by a finger injury this season. Anderson has been the most productive of the trio, catching 18 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns entering Week 17.
GIANTS: The Giants signed WR Derek Hagan to take injured RB Reuben Droughns’ spot on the roster, but they also brought in Hagan because they have been slightly disappointed with Mario Manningham. The team gave Manningham a chance to step up when Plaxico Burress was deactivated for the season, but he has not answered the bell to the coaches’ liking so far.
RAVENS: One of the potential downsides to Ravens RB Ray Rice being bothered by a leg injury of late, we’re told, is that it may limit how Baltimore can use reserve QB Troy Smith, who has come off the bench several times to give defenses a different look. Smith is adept at operating out of the shotgun, but Rice, who was inactive at Dallas in Week 16, is the Ravens’ best back in those packages. Smith has completed 2-of-2 passes this season for 57 yards and a touchdown and has rushed nine times for 24 yards.
PATRIOTS: Even though the Patriots’ secondary has struggled, Brandon Meriweather has done his part in alleviating potential problems that Rodney Harrison’s season-ending torn quadriceps in Week Seven had presented. The second-year safety has been a constant in all the packages, showing off the versatility the Pats believed he had when they tabbed him in the first round of the 2007 draft. Last week, Meriweather had four tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.
The Fantasy Buzz
With everything to play for, QB Chad Pennington and the Dolphins head to New York Sunday to face the Jets. Pennington, who was cut by Gang Green prior to the season, surely will want to excel against his former team, and their porous pass defense — which is allowing 237.3 yards per game — gives him a good chance to do just that. He should have lots of success finding WRs Ted Ginn Jr. and Davone Bess and TE Anthony Fasano.
In a game that has the makings of a shootout, Seahawks QB Seneca Wallace could be a sneaky fantasy play. Wallace has performed well since being thrust back into the starting lineup, and he faces a Cardinals “D” Sunday that has surrendered a league-high 34 TD passes. Seattle will be playing hard in coach Mike Holmgren’s final game, so look for solid production from Wallace and his receivers, especially TE John Carlson.
With the Buccaneers’ season on the line, look for them to stifle the Oakland rushing attack this week. Although Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden ran well last Sunday vs. Houston, they aren’t likely to have as much success against a Tampa Bay “D” that hasn’t allowed a rushing TD at home all season. Sit your Raiders for this contest.
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