It pains me to write that Houston Texans receiver Jacoby Jones is a viable reach play in Week 14 against the host Cincinnati Bengals with Andre Johnson (hamstring) already ruled out and Kevin Walter (illness) a game-time decision.
Every time we think Jones has a good matchup or opportunity to be a sneaky play, he lets us down. And when we are least expecting it, he comes through.
If you are absolutely dying at receiver or a flex spot, Jones could be good for a long ball or a red-zone TD with his 6-2 frame. He has just 22 catches for 387 yards and two receiving TDs this season, but his 17.6 yards per catch is ninth in the league for those receivers with at least 20 catches. Jones also adds the potential for a special teams TD in leagues that allow return yardage and scores.
Yes, Jones has rookie QB T.J. Yates under center, but Yates is currently a 50-percent passer (20-of-40) and he averaged 7.5 yards per attempt against Atlanta last week with 15 of his 25 attempts going to receivers.
The Bengals have allowed at least one touchdown to a receiver in every game since Week 9 and nine total over the five-game span. Also during that time, they have allowed 55 catches on 95 targets for 785 yards and are fifth-worst against fantasy receivers since Week 9.
Cincinnati is the fourth-worst red-zone team, giving up touchdowns 65.91 percent of the time this season — which actually jumps to 66.67 at home.
A stat we never thought we would see this season is Houston being the second-worst team in regards to points from its fantasy receivers this season. But no Andre Johnson, the inconsistencies of the other receivers, Jones included, and the success RB Arian Foster has had on the ground and through the air has the Texans as a ground-attack team.
And don’t count on the tight ends for Houston. While the Texans have been the third-best team this season in production from fantasy tight ends, the Bengals are fourth-best against tight ends this season and that jumps to third-best over the last three weeks and five weeks of the season.
Outside of Jones’s lack of production this season despite Johnson being out for the majority of it, the running game could also scare you away from using him in Week 14.
The Bengals are 15th-best against fantasy backs overall this season, but that drops to 20th over he last five weeks and 21st over the last three weeks.
But at 17.6 per catch, going against a receiver-friendly defense, if you are in dire straits regarding a flex play, you could do a lot worse than Jones.
By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter