Terrell Owens â€“ Jacksonville Jaguars
Terrell Owens outplayed most expectations of his 2010 season (admit it, yours too!). While not a career year for the boisterous WR but hauling in 72 catches for 983 yards in 13 games was pretty impressive. He was easily Carson Palmerâ€™s favorite target in Cinci right from the start of the season, leaving Chad Ochocinco as an afterthought. What may be most impressive of his 2010 season is his lack of trouble off the field. No usual media blowups, no demanding the ball, no crying to reports. He looked more like Andre Johnson in the media than Terrell Owens. Owens showed some good flashes on the field too, including a 222 yard performance vs. Cleveland, and his 9 TDs were among the league leaders at the time.
With all that said, things are certainly changing in Cincinnati. Itâ€™s now a widespread belief that those same old, fun to watch Bengals will not win a Super Bowl as is together. Palmer wants out of Cinci, Ochocinco and Marvin Lewis have had a rift since late last season and Owens may find the time is now to break away. The Jags need a boost to their offense. Mike Thomas has shown he can be a decent WR and Mike Sims-Walker, after showing flashes of brilliance in the 2009 season, regressed in 2010 and was said to not be in good standing with management. Enter Owens, though 37 years old, in great physical condition and able to keep defenses honest with his playmaking ability he still possesses. With MJD already in the fold and David Garrad, who is very effective when playing well, Owens could be a boost to help the Jags get over the hump in a division that is available after Indy has shown vulnerability as of late. The Jags were one game out of the playoffs and they played their last 2 without MJD. Owens can be a focal point of the offense (which you know heâ€™d love), understands the talent of a player like MJD and could post good numbers for the fantasy lovers out there by being a number one WR the way he was in 2010.
Matt Hasselbeck â€“ Tennessee Titans
Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle Seahawks have had a Love/Hate relationship dating back to his interception vs. Green Bay in 2004 sending Seattle home for the year. Seattle loves Matty because of his tenure with the team and his trip to the Super Bowl, as well as, his occasional big time performances under the lights. The 12th man is behind him and heâ€™s their quarterback but his play his declining and the team has gone with him. From being a perennial playoff team to now struggling to win every game (granted they won the NFC West last year, but they were 8-8), the team, fans and management can all see the light at the end of the tunnel. But above all else, Seattleites have grown worn of Mattâ€™s injuries and have nicknamed him Matt â€œHassle-Backâ€. The team traded for Charlie Whitehurst last year in hopes of finding their quarterback of the future, and with Mattâ€™s ongoing contract situation with Seattle, the team may be content to just let the aging QB go.
Hasselbeckâ€™s still got a little football left in him though and it showed most in the 2010 playoffs in his two games vs. the Bears and upsetting the heavily favored Saints. In his 2 postseason games Hasselbeck tallied 530 yards with 7 tds and 1 int. Though the yards may be nothing to write home about, there was definite proof he can still effectively manage games and be accurate with the ball. This is what the Tennessee Titans lacked last year, a player who can effectively move the ball through the air. Vince Young started the year but was inaccurate and also not good for team chemistry, while Kerry Collinsâ€™ age has finally caught up with him. The rest of the QBs the Titans played last year can go without mentioning they were so ineffective. But letâ€™s be honest, Seahawks or Titans, youâ€™re not drafting Matt Hasselbeck as your QB, and maybe not even as your backup. The real reason this move would be good for fantasy lovers is to see our beloved Chris Johnson have a chance at returning to his amazing form. With horrible quarterback play in 2010, CJ2K still managed 8 (yes 8!!!) 100-yard performances but his total of 1,364 should let you know a little something about the rest of his season. He totaled 7 games of less than 60 yards rushing, including games of 39, 34 and a whopping 5 yards against Houston. But if CJ could total 8 100-yard games and 11 TDs with every player on the opposing defense stuffing the box, imagine what he could do with a QB good enough to keep defenses honest. With Kenny Britt (barring legal troubles) anchoring the receiving core and decent TEs, Matt can have respectable numbers while helping Tennessee become a tough opponent once again.
Sidney Rice â€“ San Diego Chargers
Sidney Rice will be one year removed from a hip injury that forced him to miss the 1st 10 weeks of the 2010 season. This was a disappointment to most (especially Brett Favre) because Sidney Rice was well on his way to fantasy superstardom after his 2009 career year, 1,312 yards and 8 TDs. Rice is a big play receiver with enough speed to get space deep and at 6â€™-4â€, 200 lbs, plenty of size to go up and get any ball thrown his way. Once he returned last year, it was very obvious his nagging hip injury was still bothering him, but Vikings and Coach Brad Childress needed Rice back, ultimately in hopes of making a late playoff push and saving his job. Neither worked for Minn as they went 6-10 in a tumultuous season which included a coaching change, Favreâ€™s record ironman streak coming to an end and a brief stint with Randy Moss. Rice currently has hopes that the new collective bargaining agreement rules allow him to become a free agent and be courted this offseason by the many teams who could use his services. If he gets his wish, San Diego could be the perfect destination.
San Diego has made due with a tired receiving corps for years solely based on the arm of Phillip Rivers. Rivers threw to any and everyone last year on his way to lighting up the stat sheet week after week. Everyone got in on the action. His all-pro TE Antonio Gates was one of the NFLâ€™s leading receivers through 8 weeks of football prior to getting injured, and Rivers killed opposing defenses with all of his WRs, even some weâ€™d never heard before. Malcom Floyd had a good year with 717 yards and 6 TDs in 11 games of work. Legadu Naanee started and ended the season well and â€œMr. Unpronounceableâ€ himself Seyi Ajirotutu even got into the action with his big performance in a win against Houston. Needless to say this is not the talent pool a Pro Bowl QB wants at his disposal. One glaring name missing from this list is Vincent Jackson who missed 12 games due to contract holdout and a team suspension and at this point itâ€™s unknown whether or not the team and Jackson will come together again. Jacksonâ€™s looking for the big payday but with his past suspensions and legal issues, the team and GM AJ Smith donâ€™t seem eager to pay him the kind of money Jackson wants. Enter Rice, a guy with similar skills and talent without the off field issues and Rivers could have a new toy heâ€™s looking for while softening the blow of possibly losing Jackson. If Jackson were to stay, with Gates and an improving Ryan Matthews, Rice could be just another cog in an already explosive offense.
Vincent Jackson â€“ Minnesota Vikings
Two things are for sure about Vincent Jackson; 1. He has undeniable talent and 2. He knows it! Jackson held out last year in hopes of receiving a contract similar to other big name receivers, Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. Instead what Jackson got was a nice vacation and a lot of rest as GM AJ Smith didnâ€™t budge. When Jackson returned to a struggling Chargers team though they won 3 of their last 4 games, including a 34-7 win over SF where he turned in 112 yards and 3 TDs (in most peopleâ€™s fantasy playoffs) and quickly reminded the Chargers just what they have in him. The rift between Jackson and Smith may be too great to heal. Though both have said all of the right things to the media regarding their relationship being fine and that theyâ€™re both ready to move onto the 2011 season, the holdout and lack of contract had to let Jackson know that the team doesnâ€™t exactly think heâ€™s the type of player that HE thinks he is. Sure his talent is great but his risk of missing time is greater.
The Vikings have tried for years to find that star WR to fill that position (and keep it). The drafted players like Sidney Rice (which eventually panned out) and Troy Williamson in hopes of having a solidified player at the position for years. A few years back they paid big money to Bernard Berrian in hopes of making a Super Bowl run but he did not live up to expectations coming out of Chicago. Then finally in 2009, Sidney Rice emerges as a star catching passes from Brett Favre but hurt his hip in the offseason, missed the 1st 10 games of 2010 and only produced one good game after that. Now Rice has hope of being a free agent so theyâ€™re left with questions at the position once again. Vincent Jackson would like to get paid and his skills certainly say to do so. With a new QB, Christian Ponder, surrounded by a strong veteran group poised to make a Super Bowl run with good, consistent QB play, Vincent Jacksonâ€™s speed and big frame could be the perfect bailout for any quarterback. Jackson makes big plays at big times. Heâ€™s a good red zone threat and could help Ponder, who is very accurate short but struggles with arm strength, by bailing out his deep throws with his great hands and leaping ability. Adrian Peterson will welcome Jackson as heâ€™s expected to be the focal point in 2011 and defenses certainly know that. Most importantly, Jackson could return to some of those big games heâ€™s had in his past boosting his yardage and touchdown totals by boosting his catches. I can see Jackson posting multiple 8-10 catch games throughout the season simply by being the guy the eventual Vikings QB can rely on. Lastly, if Minnesota brings in a veteran QB (i.e. Mcnabb), Jackson could have a huge year!
Randy Moss â€“ St. Louis Rams
Randy Moss didnâ€™t have the type of year most would expect from him during his glory days. After being traded from the New England Patriots, he spent a brief stint with Brett Favre and the Vikings before being released and spending his last 8 games â€˜playingâ€™ for the Tennessee Titans. 28 catches, 393 yards and 5 TDs for Randy Moss is nothing short of forgettable. But to his defense, in New England he was a part of the offense and there he produced 4 TDs before catching a memorable Favre TD in Minnesota. Another fact is he largely didnâ€™t play for Tennesse as the Titans were confident in Kenny Britt (Moss and Britt played the same position in the offense). What that says is when Moss is a part of an offense, he can certainly be productive. We all know about his baggage but a fresh start with a welcoming team could be just what would jumpstart Moss.
The Rams are a team that was a game away from a division title and trip to the playoffs. With an emerging superstar QB in Sam Bradford, the Rams showed theyâ€™re a team moving in the right direction. At the start of the season there was no WR talent to work with (Donnie Avery injury) and Bradford made due with what he had and was an effective game manager but there came a change when the Rams made a trade for Mark Clayton and gave Bradford a target he could go to. Before struggling at the end of the season Bradford had a stretch of 6 weeks with 11 TDs and 1 Int and depending on the talent he receives in the offseason, he will grow into one of the top-tier QBs in the league. Enter Randy Moss! Moss, though aging, still has the deep speed to stretch defenses and the size to be a legitimate red zone threat. Though his TD total was only 5, the fact that it came in 8 real games definitely shows signs that thereâ€™s something left. Steven Jackson might also benefit from having Moss in town as he wonâ€™t have to face stacked boxes at all times, giving him a little more running room and giving him more receiving space out of the backfield. The Rams could become a different team in the red zone with that type of talent and in the NFC West, it could translate to more wins. Moss should love this move because heâ€™ll be a number 1 WR once again and should post good numbers.