Must Start: The Top 15
1. Terrell Owens @ WAS - After
another explosive performance (eight catches, 161 yards, and a
touch), we're now officially one TD snag away from Andy Reid in
tights. If you needed another reason to hate on T.O., there it
is. Go 'Skins!
2. Javon Walker vs. DET - Thanks
to some garbage-time yards and a score, he managed to salvage
a decent day from what would otherwise have been a COMPLETE disaster
for Packer fans (and Walker owners). This week, he draws a Detroit
team fighting desperately to stay in the playoff race. They won't,
thanks in large part to a large day from Javon.
3. Reggie Wayne/Marvin Harrison/Brandon
Stokley @ HOU - Call me lazy but I'm done trying to figure
out which of these guys will post the best numbers on any given
Sunday. Suffice it to say they're all good for about 75 yards
and a touch, at the bare minimum. If you own any of them (or all
of them), you start them. No exceptions.
4. Muhsin Muhammad vs. STL -
T.O. and the Indy trio aside, is there any hotter receiver over
the past month and a half than this guy? Since Week 7, Muhammad
has averaged 112 yards and over a touchdown per contest (six games).
The hits should keep on coming this Sunday as he squares off against
a Rams team having a hard time stopping anybody not named San
Francisco or Seattle.
5. Chad Johnson @ NE - Speaking
of hot, 7-11's been turning up the heat of late, to the tune of
358 yards and four scores in his last three tilts. This week,
he draws a New England secondary that has been decimated by injuries.
Though the short staff has performed admirably, they haven't faced
too many receivers who possess Johnson's rare combination of size
and speed. Look for him to hook up with Mr. Palmer for another
touch, if not two.
6. Joe Horn @ DAL - Speaking
of hot, Part Deux. His teammates may be laying down but Horn has
been posting huge numbers, regardless, and is now on pace for
over 1400 yards and 11 scores. Believe it or not, those would
both be career highs. If anyone deserves a get-out-of-'Nawlins
free card, it's him. Call when you find work, brother
the cell, of course.
7. Randy Moss vs. SEA - I'm
no doctor but I'm not blind, either. Something doesn't look right
with Randy. He's not exploding out of his cuts and doesn't appear
to have much in mind when he does catch the ball. If he's 100%
healthy, he's a top 1 start. If not, you could be looking at a
third straight disappointing day since his return from injury.
8. Torry Holt @ CAR - He's been
Mr. Inconsistency this year which, in and of itself, makes him
a risky play in the postseason. Nevertheless, he has the kind
of talent that can win you a ballgame
or two. Though you'd
be wise to supplement him with some more reliable wideouts, he
could be peaking at just the right time for his owners. Keep those
9. Andre Johnson vs. IND - Though
he didn't score last week, he did manage to haul in seven balls
for 125 yards. That's 12 fantasy points in most leagues and more
than enough production from your #2 slot. He should see plenty
more balls thrown his way this week as the Texans tangle with
Indy's top-fuel dragster of an offense at Reliant. Start him.
10. Antonio Gates vs. TB - Finally!
SOMEbody managed to corral San Diego's big horse. Tampa probably
stands a decent chance of doing the same this weekend but I'm
going on the record as saying last week's three-catch, 31-yard
performance was probably an anomaly. Expect 75 yards and a touch
or two at Qualcomm this weekend.
11. Derrick Mason vs. KC - He
caught six balls for 79 yards last week but ceded scoring duties
to his running mate, the long overdue Drew Bennett. Now that the
Chefs must contend with both of them, I'm guessing Mason will
reemerge as the main threat this week. Not that the Chefs bring
much to the table in terms of contending. He's a great start.
12. Darrell Jackson @ MIN -
Despite the loss, the 'Hawks could at least take heart in the
fact their main weapon at wideout, Jackson, seemed to be back
in fine form (113 yards and a TD). They're gonna need him down
the stretch as they match up with three playoff-bound teams (Minny?,
NY Jets, and Atlanta). If he cures the drop problem, he could
slide back into the top 10 by year's end.
13. Hines Ward vs. NYJ - He'll
ALWAYS be in my sentimental top 10, if for no other reason than
that he does all the little things receivers should do (run good
routes, block, catch the ball!) and does them without crowing
about it or lobbying for attention. He's the pro's pro and is
even coming off one of his best games of the year (80 yards and
a score). Sounds like a good start to me, even against the stingy
Jets and even though his running mate (Mr. Burress) is back.
14. Tony Gonzalez @ TEN - Gonzo
was the forgotten man last week (three catches, 32 yards) but
that had more to do with Oakland's inability to cover the backs
and wideouts than anything else. He's always an integral part
of Coach Vermeil's plan (THE integral part, actually) so you should
expect him to bounce back in Music City Monday night.
15. Jimmy Smith vs. CHI - Despite
a recent slump, Smith still leads the league in receptions covering
over 25 yards. That's pretty crazy when you consider he's 35,
for chrissakes! Though his recent output suggests otherwise, I'm
betting he hits a few home runs against a questionable Bears group
this Sunday. Keep him in there.
Grab A Helmet:
Isaac Bruce @ CAR - After a
huge Week 14, The Reverend was unusually quiet last week (two
catches for 18 yards, his second-lowest output of the season).
That isn't likely to be the case this Sunday in a game that promises
to be high scoring. If you've ridden him this far, keep doing
so. The switch to Chris Chandler won't make as big a difference
as you might think.
Lee Evans vs. CLE - He's been
slow to get untracked this year but for his owners, he's peaking
at just the right time (180 yards and three scores in his last
two games). This week, he faces a Cleveland D that has given up
100 points in its last two contests, the same amount the Jets
have given up in their last EIGHT games!
Eric Moulds vs. CLE - Moulds
will actually benefit from the emergence of his sidekick, Mr.
Evans. If you don't believe me, check out the numbers he put up
when Peerless Price was still roaming the sidelines at Ralph Wilson.
Oh, the good old days. Sigh. Anyway, get him back in there if
you sat him down earlier in the year.
Jerry Porter @ ATL - I grossly
underrated his teammate, Ronald Curry, but now that the former
Tarheel receiver (and QB
and point guard) is out, Porter
should become the unquestioned main man of Oakland's passing attack.
That didn't mean much earlier this season but it counts for something
now, especially since Kerry Collins seems to have figured out
Norv Turner's offense.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh @ NE - The
lesser-known half of Cincy's Oregon State connection has quietly
posted some very large numbers of late (250 yards and three scores
in his last two). He has great hands, deceptive speed, and a kick-ass
ponytail, to boot. If you don't believe the duo can be an elite
NFL tandem, find a tape of their 2001 Fiesta Bowl game vs. Notre
Dame. Nothing but deep balls, long touchdowns, and precedent-setting
end zone celebrations.
Grab Some Wood:
Any Baltimore receiver vs. NYG
- Yeah, Baltimore actually has receivers. They even catch passes
Any Chicago receiver @ JAX -
I can actually HEAR fantasy nation scrambling to reacquire David
Terrell. Don't concern yourself, people. 'Twas nothing but a flash
in the pan.
Any Atlanta receiver not named Alge
Crumpler vs. OAK - Peerless Price and Dez White should
be great #2 and #3 receivers, respectively. Alas, they aren't.
In fact, as the good folks at ESPN pointed out this week, none
of the Falcons' receivers (save for Crumpler) is on pace to catch
even 40 passes. That's bad for most NFL offenses but especially
for one which purports to be of the West Coast variety.
Any NY Giants receiver @ BAL
- Like Atlanta's forgotten bunch, the Giants wideouts (not including
Jeremy Shockey) have accounted for precisely 14 catches since
Eli Manning took over four weeks ago. I'm pretty sure Indy's receivers
accounted for that many grabs in the first HALF of last week's
win over Tennessee. Just thought you should know how the other
half is living if YOU'RE still living with one of these guys.
Best of luck, folks!