Wednesday - Jan 16, 2019

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Antonio Gooding Jr.

Imagine you’ve just made the fantasy playoffs. I give you the option of Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson or Antonio Bryant as your lead WR for the next three weeks. Who do you pick? If you chose anybody but Bryant, you are a sane person that knows a thing or two about fantasy football. You also would have been dead wrong in 2008. Antonio Bryant put up 435 yards and four TDs between Weeks 14 and 16 last year. To put that in perspective, Andre, the top performer of the other three WRs during that same three-week span, put up 281 yards and two TDs. Those are very respectable numbers from a WR, but pale in comparison to Bryant’s numbers.

 

It also should be noted that Bryant put up these numbers against

Carolina,

Atlanta and

San Diego. All of these teams played their starters down to the wire. He didn’t put up inflated numbers against second-string defenses. He put them up against teams that were fighting to make the playoffs. Does anyone really think that Michael Bush will replicate his Week 17 performance of 177 yards and two touchdowns this year? Of course not. He was playing in a meaningless game. Also with a healthy Darren McFadden, and incumbent Justin Fargas, I’d be surprised if Bush matched those totals over the first half of the season. Bryant, on the other hand, had strong performances against playoff-bound teams when it counted most. So what got into Bryant in December?

 

Do you remember the scene from

Jerry McGuire when Cuba Gooding Jr. goes over the middle for a catch and gets knocked unconscious? Do you remember how happy he was once he woke up, and realized that he’d just earned himself a fat new contract? Now realize that Bryant was Gooding Jr. last year. Seriously the guy was making a meager $600K a year. That’s hardly enough for him to buy an Escalade and fill his fridge up with Cristal. During the offseason, thanks to his late-season heroics, Bryant got P-P-P-PAID! In fact, he got the franchise tag and received a nice one-year, $10 million salary for his efforts. That’s enough money for Bryant to have Gooding Jr. come over and serve him Cristal on the weekends. Then again, I’m guessing I could afford to do the same on my salary. Seriously, what ever happened to

Cuba? He is an Oscar award winning actor that now does underwear commercials with Michael Jordan. I digress.

 

So, am I suggesting that you should draft Bryant ahead of guys like Randy Moss and Reggie Wayne? Absolutely not. I would honestly be shocked if Bryant ended up as a Top 10 WR this year. What I am saying is that money motivates like no other, and when it’s late December and Bryant realizes that his contract with Gooding Jr. is about to expire, he will put on his A game. Bryant is definitely a guy that you should target as you make your playoff run. As a sweetener Bryant has the Jets, Seahawks and Saints in Weeks 14-16 this year who ranked 29th, 32nd and 23rd , respectively, against the pass last year. Make sure you keep these things in mind when targeting your WR2.

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