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Pats' Moss could be rolling stone vs. Bills

| Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009

Bill Bixby, he is not.

But you wouldn't like Randy Moss when he's angry, either.

The stud wide receiver was called out for a lack of effort by some Carolina Panthers defensive backs last week after he caught only one pass and recorded one fumble in the Patriots' 20-10 win over the Panthers.

That performance, his lackluster total of six catches in the past three games and the Patriots' tough passing matchup against the Bills have fantasy owners questioning Moss' worth in the final three weeks of the NFL season.

Don't do it.

Proof No. 1: Patriots coach Bill Belichick's response to the Panthers' talk: "My response would be that's a lot of conversation coming from a team that lost another game." Don't forget how spiteful Belichick can be and how much he enjoys proving his own brilliance.

Proof No. 2: Moss hasn't had four straight games with fewer than five catches since he was traded to New England by the Oakland Raiders in 2007.

Proof No. 3: There have been eight games when Moss has caught only one pass and it hasn't been the final game of the season. In the eight games that followed, he averaged 4.5 catches, 70 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game.

Proof No. 4: When motivated, Moss has proven to be unstoppable. After he caught only one pass against Denver earlier this season, he bounced back with eight catches, 129 yards and three touchdowns against Tennessee. Bitter at his former team, the Raiders, Moss caught two scoring passes last season.

Moss plays for pride, if only when he wants to. Having it challenged last Sunday gives him plenty of reason to be angry and want to.

Start him

Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots vs. Bills

The Bills are truly terrible against the run, with even Kansas City's Jamaal Charles approaching 150 yards rushing against them. Belichick likes going against convention, but he will only go so far when the easy option is handed to him.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals vs. Lions

Wells has taken hold of the Cardinals' No. 1 job and will keep it as long as Tim Hightower keeps fumbling. Expect his best case toward entering next season as a high draft pick with a strong game against Detroit.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles vs. 49ers

The 49ers will commit to stopping the aerial attack at times, opening holes for a steady running game to make big gains (see Wells' 79 yards on 15 carries for Arizona on Monday).

Sit him

Roddy White, WR, Falcons vs. Jets

The Jets and the Bills are the two toughest teams to pass against, and White faces them both in the next two weeks with his team's quarterback play up in the air. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis wins this Week 15 matchup.

Steve Smith, WR, Panthers vs. Vikings

With the return of Antoine Winfield, the Vikings' pass defense is stronger than at any point this season. That's bad news for Steve Smith and new quarterback Matt Moore.

Matt Forte, RB, Bears vs. Ravens

The Ravens are still in the playoff hunt. The Bears are not, and Forte has been miserable this season. Time to swallow pride and sit your first-round pick.

Cowboys defense vs. Saints

The Cowboys get turnovers, and the Saints can occasionally give up the ball. But the bottom line is that New Orleans is undefeated because it has scored no fewer than 24 points this season. It has scored fewer than 30 only three times.

Hot pickups

Name (Pos.) Team

Quinton Ganther (RB) Was

Fred Davis (TE) Was

Devin Aromashodu (WR) Chi

Freezing cold

Name (Pos.) Team

Marion Barber (RB) Dal

Carson Palmer (QB) Cin

Tim Hightower (RB) Ari

Wideouts to watch

Antonio Bryant, Bucs — Bryant is one game removed from his two best games of the season, when he combined for 207 yards in Weeks 12-13. Last week's 22 yards against the Jets is a blip in his progression, which should continue against Seattle's forgiving secondary.

Braylon Edwards, Jets — This is a big reach, considering Edwards has yet to top five catches for the Jets. But if you're desperate, Edwards was the most-targeted wide receiver with Kellen Clemens behind center for the Jets' 26-3 win over Tampa Bay.

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