Don't have time for the usual pleasantries this week, folks, so
we'll jump right into our Week 5 recommendations. As always, you're
welcome to e-mail me with questions, comments, concerns, whatever.
Here we go…
Must Start: The Top 10
1. Peyton Manning vs. OAK -
He's put up some gaudy numbers in his career but nothing close
to what he's capable of posting this season
and that's scary.
He dissected the vaunted Jags defense last week and now gets an
Oakland secondary yielding 8.42 yards per attempt, most in the
league. Nobody attacks an opposing team's weakness like Peyton.
2. Daunte Culpepper @ HOU -
Of course, if you like gaudy numbers, you couldn't do much better
than Culpepper. He's completed 73% of his passes for eight touchdowns
and, more importantly, only one pick. That equates to an otherworldly
124.8 rating through three games. Minus his top two backs in Houston
this week, he'll need to continue the hot start (and will).
3. Matt Hasselbeck vs. STL -
You could outfit an entire division with Favre's protégés
and Hasselbeck is clearly the best of the bunch. His numbers don't
jump off the page at you but he's gritty, has a strong arm, and
has finally succumbed to the Holmgren way. That's great news for
his owners and bad news for Hawks opponents. Expect him to get
things really cooking in Seattle this Sunday.
4. Chad Pennington vs. BUF -
I underestimated the Miami defense and it doesn't get much easier
this week against Buffalo. That said, there aren't too many quarterbacks
sporting a spotless record (five, to be exact). He's an up-and-comer
who knows how to win and all things being equal, you want winners.
Keep him in there.
5. Tom Brady vs. MIA - His record
is so spotless, I can't even remember the last time he lost. The
best part? His fantasy numbers have finally caught up to his sterling
record (284 yards and two-plus TDs per game). He draws the stingy
Dolphins bunch this week but betting against him is a losing proposition
most of the time. Make that all of the time.
6. Michael Vick vs. DET - It's
the age-old fantasy conundrum: do you risk sitting an underachieving
superstar at the risk of missing out on an explosive performance?
Some say 'yes.' I say 'no.' Call me stubborn. The Falcons are
doing it with a conservative offense and a tough defense but eventually,
they're gonna need him to do what he does best (namely, wreak
7. David Carr vs. MIN - The
monkey (not to mention the mane) is off his back so it's time
to move on to bigger and better things. His chief target, Andre
Johnson, is both bigger AND better than the Vikings' average corners
and that should mean another deep hookup at Reliant this Sunday.
The Texans will give up a lot of points in this one so it's not
inconceivable Carr will hafta throw 40 passes.
8. Marc Bulger @ SEA - Another
week, another touchdown. At this rate, he'll throw for 4400 yards
just 16 TDs. To be fair, the Rams didn't need him against a woeful
Niners squad last week. They will this week, though, if they have
any hope of keeping up with Seattle. Stick with him for now.
9. Steve McNair or Billy Volek @ GB
- The Pack can't stop the run, can't get to the passer, and can't
cover anyone in the secondary. Oh, and they just traded away their
best cover corner. The point? Whoever starts this game is gonna
have a field day
unless a healthy dose of Chris Brown is
all that's needed (a definite possibility). Expect good numbers
and a high-scoring affair at Lambeau on Monday night.
10. Kurt Warner @ DAL - He threw
a ghastly interception in the red zone last Sunday and almost
pussy-footed away another score but when all was said and done,
he emerged victorious. He did so by handing off to Tiki Barber
(a lot) and exploiting mismatches in the secondary. He gets another
mismatch this week as the 'Boys are forced to start Jacques Reeves
at right cornerback. If you don't know who that is, rest assured
Grab A Helmet:
Vinny Testaverde vs. NYG - For
the first time in a long time, this looks like a potential shootout
in Big D. Dallas doesn't even have a semblance of a running game
and the Tuna knows you can't make tuna salad out of tuna you-know-what.
He'll ride the right arm of his middle-aged field general and
hope it doesn't fall off (38+ passes per game so far).
Kerry Collins @ IND - And you
thought Green Bay's secondary was struggling. The Colts are giving
up an ungodly 331 yards per game through the air. Though part
of that is attributable to opponents trying to keep up with Peyton
and company, most of it is due to sheer incompetence. Collins
should throw for a billion yards and a couple scores, albeit in
a losing effort.
Byron Leftwich @ SD - As predicted,
Leftwich had his way with the aforementioned Colts bunch. Not
surprisingly, the group in San Diego isn't a whole lot better.
Since the Chargers are actually pretty solid against the run,
it's likely he'll be asked to shoulder much of the load again
this week. Coincidentally, he's completed 70% of his passes the
last two weeks, the same percentage San Diego is giving up on
Joey Harrington @ ATL - Artose
Pinner and Shawn Bryson vs. the revamped Atlanta run defense isn't
a good matchup. That leaves Joey and Roy Williams to move the
ball against the Falcons' dubious secondary. God, I sound like
Al Michaels. Get him back in your lineup.
Brett Favre vs. TEN - If you
ever wondered what the Pack would look like with someone else
under center, wonder no longer. Luckily, Favre appears healthy
enough to continue his Ripken-esque streak Monday night. Though
I expect (implore!) Coach Sherman to ride Ahman Green, the Ol'
Gunslinger should be able to do some damage against a Titans squad
giving up far too many completions, not to mention touchdowns.
Grab A Clipboard:
Kyle Boller @ WAS - Next to
penciling in Randy Moss as the #1 wideout, he's the easiest call
I make every week. Yes, he completed a touchdown pass on Monday
night (thanks to a little chicanery) but the final numbers left
us underwhelmed, as usual: 10 of 17 for 154 yards. No, no, and
for the last time, no.
Jay Fiedler @ NE - Did I say
A.J. Feeley was a turnover machine? I meant Fiedler. How bad is
it in South Florida? He turned it over four times last week (two
picks and two fumbles) and kept his job. Quite frankly, it doesn't
matter who lines up under center for the Fish because this team
is going nowhere, even if Ricky Williams IS allowed to return.
Mark Brunell vs. BAL - He showed
glimpses in the Monday night loss to Dallas two weeks ago but
there's no getting around this telling statistic: he's completing
just 55.6% of his passes. That number might have sufficed 20 years
ago (when Joe Gibbs was actually relevant) but it won't cut it
in today's NFL. He draws a seething Ravens bunch this Sunday night
that will be itching to make up for a dud against the Chiefs.
Aaron Brooks vs. TB - Don't
say you weren't warned. It seemed to be the perfect matchup in
Arizona but Brooks and the Saints did what Brooks and the Saints
do best: lose a game they shouldn't have lost. He faces a Tampa
D in Week 5 that's allowing opposing QBs to complete only 50%
of their passes. Though he'll put up decent numbers, he'll also
turn it over a few times. Steer clear if you can afford to.
Jeff Garcia @ PIT - The Browns
are losing because of him and winning in spite of him. He has
yet to throw for even 200 yards and, worse yet, isn't the threat
he used to be on the run. With Lee Suggs back in the fold, you
can expect Butch Davis to rely on ball control and defense. It's
a recipe that will likely yield a .500 record
and worse for
fantasy owners who employ him.