Patrick White
Risers and Fallers - Week 10

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Jordy Nelson - The leading man in the Green Bay passing attack is undoubtedly looking down the barrel of a value shot here in Week 10. With stud quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined for at least the next three weeks with a broken collarbone, it remains to be seen how Nelson will blend with backup quarterback Seneca Wallace . Going solely off of what we saw in relief last week, things aren’t looking good. With all of the playmakers on offense losing time for one reason or another (Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Randall Cobb), Philadelphia would be wise to focus almost completely on running back Eddie Lacy while also rolling double coverage toward Nelson. That would force Wallace to go through his progressions and reads behind an offensive line that couldn’t hold up to a strong gust of wind. That being said, struggling quarterbacks tend to rely heavily on their go-to man and check down to the tight end often. With Finley on that list of Packers’ players set to miss this Sunday's tilt, that could mean even more targets for Nelson. Either way, the production here will set the bar for expectations until Rodgers is able to return.

Victor Cruz - First, we should start off by saying that this isn’t Cruz’s fault. His production isn’t necessarily disappointing but it’s certainly not the kind of numbers we were expecting when we used such a high pick on him. It all comes down to Eli Manning and his continued struggles. Ever since midway through the 2012 season, Manning has lost his zip. Since that time he underthrows his receivers and has apparently taken out stock in interceptions. Be that as it may, it’s still affecting Cruz. We have yet to see one of those patented Manning-to-Cruz 70-yard strikes in 2013. Cruz has become a workhorse receiver in an attempt to mask the failure of the running game. Instead of five catches for 100 yards, Cruz is coming in with nine catches for 80 yards. Maybe Manning is still dealing with a sore throwing arm and the bye week was just what he needed. Regardless of reasoning, there is no excuse for not putting up big-time numbers against Oakland. If Terrelle Pryor can make this a competitive game, Cruz should be set to go off. Anything less than great would be a letdown, thusly forcing him down the board.

Maurice Jones-Drew - The clock is ticking away on the former fantasy stud. In fact, he’s practically flatlined at this point and is awaiting resuscitation. The time is now for Jones-Drew to show some sort of life. If not, it’ll signal the end of an era and owners will be forced to cut him loose. With Justin Blackmon now suspended for the season and the quarterback situation certainly looking to be answered via the draft, Jacksonville would be smart to give younger guys touches to see what the Jaguars have moving forward. Feeding the ball to an underwhelming, overaged running back isn’t solving anything. Jones-Drew needs to find his grove, and Tennessee is the perfect team at the perfect time. If Jones-Drew doesn’t come through here, we must face the fact that we spent a high pick on someone that should be floating around the free agent pool. It’s a tough decision but the clock has officially hit midnight on the Jacksonville rusher.

Andre Johnson - The first half in Week 9 was the best that Andre Johnson has looked in about 10 years. Johnson looked like he still belonged in the same breath as Detroit’s Calvin Johnson after snagging three touchdowns and 190 yards in the first 30 minutes of play. After that, though, the defense shut him down and he looked like a completely different person for the final half hour of play. Even still, Johnson’s numbers were still amazing and would certainly not have looked that way if Matt Schaub were still under center. Will the insertion of Case Keenum in the lineup provide a fountain of youth kind of effect on the veteran receiver? Keenum looked more than able to provide an accurate long toss, and that is exactly what Andre Johnson needs to stay productive, beating coverage deep for huge scores. Was this just a quick rewind remembrance of who Andre Johnson used to be or was this a statement of who he still is? Week 10 against elite cover man Patrick Peterson will answer that question quickly.

Pierre Thomas - As of this writing, it is unsure if Darren Sproles will be able to suit up following his early exit in Week 9 due to a concussion. If, that is in fact a big If, Sproles were unable to go, Thomas would be flirting with RB1 status. Given how much he’s factored into the passing game this season, the subtraction of Sproles would lead to more touches and thusly an expectation for his best game of the year. Fellow running back Mark Ingram is still struggling to get past the line of scrimmage, adding to the possibility of a season-high in touches and production for Thomas. The Saints face off against the Dallas Cowboys so points will likely be flowing in at a high rate for both sides. If Thomas were to touch the ball 20-plus times, there is a strong chance that he could finish the week as a top-10 fantasy running back. A letdown followed by the healthy return of Sproles would lead to reverting back to the old formula, making Thomas a shaky RB3 at best. There is a tremendous amount of value on the line for Thomas in Week 10.



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