So, in trying to continue my “7 Questions” series with the NFC West, I came across this very intriguing fact: the division literally has no interesting fantasy predicaments. You know what you’re doing about Marshawn Lynch and Steven Jackson and being the 137th person to remind you that San Francisco signed Brandon Jacobs and drafted LaMichael James (so stay away from Frank Gore) would probably just annoy you.
That being said, with two hall of fame wide receivers who took last season off randomly joining the worst division in the NFL, one very important question did arise:
1. Will Randy Moss or Terrell Owens be a viable fantasy option?
It’s possible they both will be this year, and I’ll tell you why: they both have something to play for. With these two uber-divas, it’s all about giving them something to reach for or a goal to accomplish in order to get them to shut up and just be the freak athletes they were meant to be.
Randy Moss is still chasing his elusive super bowl ring and he’s on a real contender in San Francisco. The 49ers defense is arguably the best in the league, but they need their offense to put enough points on the board to keep up with the gunslingers atop the NFC (ex. Saints, Packers, Giants). They were unable to do that last year as they finished with the 29th ranked passing attack. Moss has the chance to come in and singlehandedly turn that offense around, and I think it’s very likely he knows it.
Moss still has the ability to be a difference, but the big question mark is his quarterback. It may have taken six years, but Alex Smith looks like he’s finally becoming a not-entirely-awful NFL signal caller. He enjoyed his most efficient season in 2011, playing all 16 games for only the second time in his career and finishing with career highs in pass attempts, yards, quarterback rating, and completion percentage. Smith has the capability to get Moss the ball at a good clip, but I am worried about where on the field he’s going to get it to him. Smith isn’t known for his arm and we all know Moss’ bread and butter is going downfield. We’ll have to see how this marriage works.
Terrell Owens’ end goal is a little greener and a lot less sturdy than Moss’ ring. This is a nice way of saying T.O. needs cold hard cash. The Seattle Seahawks gave him some (1 year, $1 million) after an impressive workout in which he ran a 4.45 40-yard dash. The 40 time alone shows me his surgically repaired knee is, for all intents and purposes, ok, crossing one con off the list.
With his awful reality show and even more awful dismissal from an indoor football league team, Owens has become a pariah. This, however, makes us forget the player he was before he got injured. With the Bengals in 2010, T.O. finished with 983 yards and nine touchdowns. Those numbers would’ve made him the 13th best wide receiver in fantasy last year, ahead of guys like Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, and Greg Jennings. T.O. doesn’t want to play for a measly $1 million a year (#NFLplayersproblems). This is his last chance to show he deserves one more big pay-day.
From a strictly fantasy perspective, I believe Owens landed in a better situation than Moss. Sidney Rice can’t stay healthy and Braylon Edwards hasn’t been a good football player since 2007. The jury is still out on Matt Flynn, but he has definitely shown the potential to be a better quarterback than Smith. In San Fran, Moss has Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Mario Manningham and Frank Gore stealing targets away from him.
However, based on ability and a higher goal to keep his focus and spirits up, I have Moss ranked above Owens. I don’t think either guy is worth a pick before the double-digit rounds, but I can easily find myself falling in love with them once my first three receivers are set.
All I have to say is get your popcorn rea…
You didn’t really think I’d make that joke, did you?