Brian Hartline isn’t a guy you can count on week after week. He has good games here and there but doesn’t produce well on a consistent basis and rarely erupts for a big line. The key with someone like him is waiting for the right moment, the right game. Every now and then the starts align for certain players and when they do, you want those guys in your lineup. I would say that the stars are as aligned as they’ll ever be for Hartline this week.
38 receptions, 477 yards and two touchdowns don’t exactly amount to a stellar season. It’s not that Hartline lacks talent, he just isn’t oozing with it and he’s playing with a young quarterback who’s still trying to figure things out. He’s on track for respectable final numbers but certainly nothing spectacular. Still, he’s due for that big game and I have a strong feeling it’s going to come this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs have been abysmal under controversial head coach Greg Schiano this year, currently still sitting in the winless column. For our purposes, though, all we really care about is the fact that they plan on making some changes to their defense. Schiano recently acknowledged that he and the rest of the coaching staff have made a big mistake by using Darrelle Revis in zone-coverage for most of this season, when what he should really be doing is shadowing opposing offenses’ best wideouts. Revis is one of the most talented man-to-man defenders in the league and it seems Schiano has finally realized that he should be used as such. Why do we care? We care because that means Revis is likely to spend most of Monday night’s game glued to Mike Wallace.
Wallace has had to face one of the best shut-down corners in the league only one other time this season — the Miami Dolphins‘ Week 1 match against the Cleveland Browns. Wallace was shadowed by Joe Haden in that game and the result was one catch for 15 yards. Hartline’s numbers in that game? Nine catches on 14 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown, the only game this season where he eclipsed the century mark. He’s been incredibly quiet for the last few weeks and he hasn’t scored since Week 3, but with Revis stuck on Wallace in this game don’t be surprised if Hartline winds up with a similar line to the one he had against the Browns.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better sleeper option than Hartline this week. He’s due for a great game and it’s going to happen on Monday night.