Falcons receiver White is a declining option

| Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011

It was difficult to see coming — he was underrated in his 2007-09 peak seasons — but many analysts missed it: Roddy White is in decline.

The Falcons wideout is the No. 19 fantasy receiver this season in standard scoring leagues. Some of the names ahead of him include Jordy Nelson, Eric Decker, Victor Cruz and Pierre Garcon. That alone says plenty.

More condemning are White's efficiency numbers. He is on pace for 86 receptions, directly in line with his numbers from 2007-09, but his average yards per catch is down to 11.7. In fact, his average has trended down since 2006, and his yards per target are down to a career-low 6.3.

The Falcons have played a competent but underwhelming defensive schedule, so that's not the cause. He is on pace for 158 targets, ranking third in the league, so it's not about opportunity.

What defines White in 2011 starts with his age (he turned 30 last week) and his teammates (namely, Julio Jones). In Jones, White has a complementary deep threat who was supposed to draw attention. The result is White running downfield less often and making fewer big plays when he has.

Even worse: Among the Falcons eight remaining games, only one — Week 12 vs. Minnesota — is against a team that ranks in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers.

For White to have value matching his high draft position, the Falcons need to find ways to use White downfield, and he'll have to do it better against tougher secondaries. Hardly the recipe for a strong improvement.

DON'T FORGET ABOUT ...

Houston running back Ben Tate is this season's version of Mike Tolbert -- an injury replacement who eventually gets enough playing time to keep his fantasy starter value even the starter returns. If he is available in your league, snap him up. ... Jimmy Graham's past two games were eerily like his first two games of the season: He followed those with four consecutive 100-yard games. ... Yes, pick up Roy Helu. Yes, be ready to cut him in a week or two -- or have him turn into a star.

Expect Raiders to continue offensive struggles

Some Oakland introduction for Carson Palmer — a short week of practice before his first game, a full week of practice before his first start, then a short week before a Thursday night game.

Not a good sign for fantasy owners who have Raiders or Chargers on their team.

With Darren McFadden banged up and Palmer having a playbook in hand for only two weeks, it is tough to envision a scenario in which the Raiders score easily. With no byes this week, few fantasy owners should be desperate enough to start Palmer or a Raiders receiver this week, anyway.

But the short week and having the Raiders as an opponent could hurt owners of Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson or Antonio Gates, in particular.

Thursday night games have yielded 8 percent fewer points than games on Saturday, Sunday or Monday the past two seasons. And then consider that quarterbacks typically need more study than defensive players to be at their best.

With Rivers' turnover problems (seven interceptions, three fumbles in three consecutive losses) and the likelihood that the Raiders will have difficulty moving the football, there is little incentive for the Chargers to throw early and often as they have this season. Instead, expect San Diego to try to build some offensive momentum and cautiously move a half-game ahead in the AFC West.

Top 10 QB rankings for Week 10

1. Aaron Rodgers, GB

2. Michael Vick, PHI

3. Cam Newton, CAR

4. Drew Brees, NO

5. Matt Schaub, HOU

6. Joe Flacco, BAL

7. Tony Romo, DAL

8. Philip Rivers, SD

9. Matt Hasselbeck, TEN

10. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

HOT PICKUPS

Player, Team, Pos.

Roy Helu, WAS, RB

Chris Ivory, NO, RB

Carson Palmer, OAK QB

FREEZING COLD

Player, Team, Pos.

Blaine Gabbert ,JAC, QB

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF, QB

Joseph Addai, IND, RB

WIDEOUTS TO WATCH

DEION BRANCH — PATRIOTS

We know what Jets CB Darrelle Revis does to top receivers, so expect Tom Brady to look for WR2 Branch often.

ANTONIO BROWN — STEELERS

Might not be as successful as last week, but Brown is a viable flex play in most leagues.

INJURY REPORT

KEVIN KOLB — QB, CARDINALS

Not looking good to play vs. former team. Downgrade receiver Larry Fitzgerald appropriately.

BEANIE WELLS — RB, CARDINALS

He played, but not well, with a bad knee last week. Eagles run defense is softer.

PEYTON HILLIS — RB, BROWNS

Still out, as is Montario Hardesty. That leaves Chris Ogbonnaya by default, but he is not fantasy startable.

FELIX JONES — RB, COWBOYS

Reportedly did not practice Wednesday. DeMarco Murray still a safe bet.

MILES AUSTIN — WR, COWBOYS

Probably won't see him back until the fantasy playoffs.

JAHVID BEST — RB, LIONS

Sit him again.

ANDRE JOHNSON — WR, TEXANS

A toss-up to play but a possibly tough matchup. Wait and see.

AHMAD BRADSHAW — RB, GIANTS

Still not practicing. Giants won't say it, but he probably is a longshot to play this week.

DARREN McFADDEN — RB, RAIDERS

Not officially ruled out but unlikely to play.

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