Friday, November 5, 2010

Fantasy Football Week 9: Moss should be a big help to Titans down the stretch

By Micah Roberts
Las Vegas Review-Journal

It was only four weeks ago that we were breaking down the impact of the Patriots' trade of Randy Moss to the Vikings and how it would affect the teams involved. Who ever would have thought that we'd be doing it again so soon as Moss embarks on a tour with the Titans, his third NFL team in a season not even half over yet?

Playing for three teams in a 16-week NFL season is unheard of, especially for a Hall of Fame-type player who still can bring it. Should Moss score in one of the final eight Titans games, he will be the only player in NFL history to have a touchdown with three teams in a season.
This is the enigma that is Moss. Most fantasy owners had forgotten what he was capable of off the field and in locker rooms while drafting him as the second or third receiver taken. Then again, why would anyone expect Moss to resort back to his behavior from earlier years in Minnesota and Oakland? He had the full support of quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots' organization.

But his act grew tiresome in New England and then again in Minnesota, where the Vikings staff believed it had found the answer to all of its problems but soon admitted regrets in trading a third-round draft pick for Moss as he compounded their problems.

While Moss' fantasy performance this season has been disappointing, he still has five touchdowns. His stop in Tennessee could be his last if he doesn't change the attitude that has rubbed people wrong in at least two cities this season. The combination of Moss realizing the situation he's in and also having a no-nonsense coach like Jeff Fisher could make this a perfect match, much in the same way Moss was inspired by Belichick upon arrival there.

Moss wants to be a big part of the offense, and Fisher knows it. Look for him to be happy and rejuvenated with his last chance. He'll get to step in immediately and help with Titans starting receiver Kenny Britt out for up to eight weeks because of a torn hamstring.

Here's a look at how Moss' departure and arrival will affect the other Vikings and Titans players:
Percy Harvin might suffer a little with Moss being gone. Brett Favre will have to throw at someone, but it was much easier for Harvin in single coverage while Moss was double-teamed. The biggest gainer could be tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Prior to Moss' arrival, Shiancoe was Favre's go-to outlet with 10 receptions and a touchdown in Minnesota's first two games. He's caught only 10 more passes since with no touchdowns.

It's hard to believe that Titans running back Chris Johnson could be any better, but the threat of Moss -- who surely will be double-teamed most of the time -- will keep opposing secondaries honest and should open more holes for the elusive back. Wide receiver Nate Washington also should benefit from Moss being in Tennessee because he's likely to have seams open against zone coverage as opposing teams key on Moss.

Titans quarterback Vince Young also should be considered for a pickup to store on the bench to see how the troubled receiver's third marriage of the season works out.

Out of desperation from Moss and a great leader in Fisher, who will use him to win the division, Moss should put up his traditional numbers for the final eight games and validate the early draft choices on him during the stretch run and into the fantasy playoffs.

■ TOP WEEK 9 PICKUPS -- Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman could become even better with LeGarrette Blount taking care of the ground game.

Chargers running back Mike Tolbert still is getting his share of playing time and goal-line scores despite the Chargers moving more toward rookie Ryan Mathews.

Lions running back Kevin Smith is getting carries and heating up while rookie Jahvid Best has cooled off considerably from Detroit's first two games.

Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez is available in many leagues and likely will become a larger part of Indianapolis' banged-up offense.

■ BYE WEEK -- Denver, Jacksonville, St. Louis, San Francisco, Tennessee, Washington.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director who covers all sports for multiple publications. He can be reached at

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