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Steelers

Jackson's return finally pays off

| Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010

Fantasy owners have been more patient with Vincent Jackson than he was in waiting for a new contract.

Now, they must hope that Norv Turner and Philip Rivers have the same virtue.

The wide receiver is expected to return to the San Diego lineup in Week 12 at Indianapolis after holding out for half the season and not getting the big-time contract he desired. As a pending free agent who hasn't made millions in straight cash — unlike, say, Randy Moss — there is plenty of motivation for Jackson the rest of the season.

The bigger questions will be how often Turner calls Jackson's number and how many times Rivers throws his way.

Mostly, Jackson's fantasy value will be tied directly to two factors. First, the Chargers are in the middle of a playoff race, so they won't be as eager to "teach Jackson a lesson" by not using him. Despite that, the emergence of Malcom Floyd as a deep threat will cut into Jackson's yardage, preventing him from averaging the 18 yards per catch he has over two seasons.

More importantly, the Chargers' remaining schedule has been deceptively decent against fantasy wide receivers.

Jackson will face the Colts (ninth-fewest fantasy points allowed to wide receivers), Raiders (No. 4), Chiefs (No. 6), 49ers (No. 20), Bengals (No. 16) and Broncos (No. 7). Some of those teams have had soft schedules thus far, but each has managed to shut down at least one high-powered passing game.

If you own Jackson and can get a player with a more favorable schedule down the stretch, it might be time to trade high. And if you're desperate for a top wide receiver and are finding the market tough, Jackson is worth a chance — but be careful not to give up too much for a player who might not start for your fantasy playoffs.

DON'T FORGET ABOUT

Donovan McNabb is no longer old reliable.

Only once in the past nine years has McNabb thrown more than one interception for every two touchdowns (his injury-plagued 2005 season). After was pulled in the fourth quarter Sunday, McNabb has seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The only saving grace is that he faces weak secondaries in Tampa Bay, Dallas and Jacksonville in Weeks 14-16. If he keeps his job.

• Guard Logan Mankins reported to the Patriots this week, a move that will bolster their offense and benefit both Tom Brady and especially BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Patriots are allowing a half-sack per game more this season than last, which means an additional 2-5 hurries per game.

Without Randy Moss to bail you out throwing the ball deep, that matters.

Green-Ellis, meanwhile, has been solid since taking over for injured Fred Taylor as the starting running back. Don't be surprised if "Law Firm" keeps his job when Taylor returns.

MOPEY MOSS A FANTASY NIGHTMARE

It didn't matter that Randy Moss ended up with the Titans after he was unceremoniously dumped by the desperate Vikings.

You can't trust him anymore, and you can't get rid of him.

Usually, it's not a good idea to hold onto a player because of the fear of what he might produce later this season. But few players have the potential -- both positive and negative, at this point -- of Moss.

This is a guy who is known as a deep threat but has topped 60 yards in a game only once this season. He still scores touchdowns, but so does Marcedes Lewis.

It's not time to give up on Moss completely, but it is time to get him out of the lineup.

HOT PICKUPS

Steve Breaston , Ari WR

Steve Johnson , Buf WR

Jacob Tamme , Ind TE

FREEZING COLD

Jonathan Stewart ,Car RB

Knowshon Moreno , Den RB

C.J. Spiller, Buf RB

WIDEOUTS TO WATCH

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay — Cowboys got torched by Jags' suspect passing game for four TDs last week.

Patrick Crayton, San Diego — Seventeen catches past three weeks and faces Texans, who have allowed 10 TDs to WRs.

INJURY REPORT

Kyle Orton, QB, Denver — Big hit has his shoulder hurting. Likely to play, but watch productivity.

Andre Johnson, WR, Houston — Ankle still sore. Get used to him playing at 90 percent.

Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota — Vikings say he could practice. Still, give him 2-3 weeks.

Zach Miller, TE, Oakland — Crutches are a bad sign, no matter what Raiders say.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia — Cleared to practice. Adjust your feelings about Jeremy Maclin accordingly.

RUNNING LOW

Here are some primary RBs whose suspect success rate — according to FootballOutsiders — makes them vulnerable to losing carries in the second half of the season:

Brandon Jackson, GB : 95 carries, 418 yards, 4.4 average, 40% success rate

Knowshon Moreno, Den : 76 carries, 252 yards, 3.3 average, 38% success rate

Matt Forte, Chi : 90 carries, 352 yards, 3.9 average, 36% success rate

Carnell Williams, TB : 84 carries, 212 yards, 2.5 average, 32% success rate

*-Average success rate is 47 percent this season among runners with 8 carries/game

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