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Fantasy Fix: Opportunity Knox

By Dan O'Shea

Believe it or not, Johnny "Opportunity" Knox (Okay, its obvious and a mouthful. Any better ideas?) is not the most surpising performer at wide receiver so far this season.

The Bears' latest Abilene Christian find has scored three touchdowns, one of them on a kick return, in the first four weeks of the season. But you can make a pretty good case for Houston second-year man Jacoby Jones as being the most surprising performer at the WR position. A non-draftee in most fantasy leagues, he's also come up with three TDs, one via KR, and is currently second to the formidable Cleveland KR specialist Joshua Cribbs in total return yards among wide receivers.

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  • We love KR yards as nice additional points when they make sense - there are some KR men who just don't otherwise get enough catches or touches for it to make sense to pick them up.

    Another one of our KR favorites is San Diego RB Darren Sproles, second to Cribbs among all position players in total return yards (Jones is third). Sproles arguably didn't see enough touches last year until the Chargers discovered their bounty late in the season, and this year, he has been getting more chances with LaDainian Tomlinson out.

    In any case, Jones, Knox, Cribbs and also Minnesota rookie Percy Harvin have been among the top 10 WRs this year in fantasy points, with KR points as a big contributor in all cases.

    Meanwhile, some other big WR names like Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings and the Carolina version of Steve Smith all have been slow starters this year.

    Our Fantasy Fix Action Ratings this week size up notable WRs:

    Player: Johnny Knox
    FFAR: HOLD
    Comment: Almost 70%-owned in Yahoo! leagues, and his KR TD in Week 4 will only drive that up. However, he still needs to be a bit more involved on offense to get full payoff, and also needs a lighter touch catching the ball.

    *

    Player: Jacoby Jones
    FFAR: PICK UP
    Comment: The secret should be out, but apparently isn't yet, because he is only 16%-owned in Yahoo! leagues. Houston's high-powered passing game should get him more chances as the year goes on.

    *

    Player: Joshua Cribbs
    FFAR: TRADE
    Comment: Cleveland has switched QBs, and while Cribbs was a KR monster in Week 4, new QB Derek Anderson seemed less fond of throwing to Cribbs than his predecessor Brady Quinn was. Just a hunch here, but that might be a bad sign.

    *

    Player: Percy Harvin
    FFAR: HOLD
    Comment: The rookie has made a strong connection with his elderly QB Brett Favre. Minnesota is running less and throwing more, and Harvin may see more action every week.

    *

    Player: Larry Fitzgerald
    FFAR: TRADE
    Comment: Arizona's offense has stumbled and defenses have been hounding him, which makes Arizona WR mate Anquan Boldin a better option. You can probably find an eager buyer and still get a lot for him if you act soon.

    *

    Player: Greg Jennings
    FFAR: HOLD
    Comment: Green Bay had a huge pre-season, and there was every reason to believe the Aaron Rodgers-Jennings connection would be one of this year's best QB-WR tandems. Hasn't happened. The Packers instead have disappointed, but look for Rodgers and Jennings to get on the same page soon.

    *

    Player: Randy Moss
    FFAR: HOLD
    Comment: Same situation as with Fitzgerald, as New England's offense is not what it used to be, but Tom Brady and company have picked up the pace and Moss should start getting more scores.

    Expert Wire
    * Yahoo! Pick-Ups of the Week lists Denver QB Kyle Orton as a "strong buy." Orton has been interesting, not doing anything flashy, which is about what you would expect, but not making mistakes either, and getting just enough luck to help get Denver to 4-0.

    * The Faster Times has Jacksonville QB David Garrard as a hot waiver wire pick-up. He had a massive Week 4, with 323 passing yards and 3 TDs, and in past years has been capable of flashes of brilliance, but I'd call him a secondary choice at best. RB Maurice Jones-Drew really runs the Jaguar offense, and I'll be Week 4 turns out to be Garrard's best or second-best week of this season.

    * Rotoworld notes that Detroit QB Matthew Stafford, who has played well but experienced a nasty kneecap dislocation against the Bears last week, is listed as "day-to-day." That will surprise anyone who saw it happen. I'll bet - and I'm not the only one - that QB Daunte Culpepper gets his first start of the year for the Lions. Could be an interesting pick-up if Stafford was your second QB, though the Lions go up against the tough Pittsburgh D this week.

    * Finally, Yahoo! Roto Arcade celebrates the breakout performance of Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall, who ran for 165 yards and 2 TDs in Week 4. Who called Mendenhall a possible breakout player before the season started? The same guy who told you to keep an eye on Johnny Knox.

    Fantasy Basketball
    The fantasy baseball season is over, and it's time for some hoops. Here's my potential first round picks, and we'll start the deeper discussion next week.

    1. LeBron James: Contract year, need I say more?

    2. Chris Paul: The point that does everything. He's only No. 2 because King James will be so good.

    3. Dwyane Wade: Re-discovered his ability to take charge last year.

    4. Kevin Durant: Bit of a risk this early, but he could seriously average 30 points per game.

    5. Danny Granger: Nice mix of high scoring, shot-blocking and steals.

    6. Amare Stoudemire: He'll get more game action this year with Shaq leaving town.

    7. Kobe Bryant: A steep decline, but he's a little older and surrounded with more talent than the first six.

    8. Dirk Nowitzki: The scoring machine is aging fairly gracefully.

    9. Chris Bosh: Great scoring from the big man, and his contract year finally should bring him to his potential.

    10. Brandon Roy: Another risk, but great field goal percentage and should be among scoring leaders.

    Fantasy Hockey
    I don't actually know enough about hockey to tell you what I think about fantasy hockey, but I just joined my first fantasy hockey league, so let me know if you have any tips. I did get the first pick of the draft and went with Alexander Ovechkin, who I understand was a consensus No. 1. The guys in my league did not think it was that funny when I asked if Stan Mikita was still available.

    -

    Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. Tips, comments, and suggestions are welcome. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like It's about.

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