Must Start: The Top 15
1. Randy Moss v. DAL –
Remember that whole “Randy Ratio” business? The only
thing wrong with it was the actual ratio, not the underlying concept.
Case in point: last weekend’s game at Philly. Moss received
a mere seven looks while Jerry Porter received twelve, Lamont
Jordan ten, and Courtney Anderson nine. Perhaps Norval should
give Coach Tice a jingle? Hey, desperate times call for desperate
2. Chad Johnson v. HOU –
You can add “Lord of the Dance” to his ever-expanding
list of aliases after a spot-on Michael Flatley impersonation
in the Chicago end zone last week. Nobody but nobody does TD celebrations
like 7-11…though I hafta admit that creepy Burger King guy
gives him a run for his money. He says we should expect even more
extravagant presentations in the near future. How’s this
Sunday work for you, Chad?
3. Terrell Owens @ KC –
Diva #3 has been toiling in relative anonymity these first few
weeks but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, for him or
us. Provided he keeps putting up huge numbers (80 yards and a
touch last Sunday) and doesn’t rock the boat, it won’t
really matter whether he’s happy or not. At least, it won’t
matter to us.
4. Steve Smith v. GB –
You probably thought I was cuckoo for suggesting he may end up
the league’s leading receiver by year’s end (see Week
2’s Report) but, lo and behold, he’s well on his way.
His three-TD outburst in South Florida was a thing of beauty and
there’s no reason to think the porous Packers secondary
will fare any better against him this Monday. Let’s make
it a Carolina two-fer on the Shot Caller guarantee this week.
Double or nothing.
5. Torry Holt @ NYG –
With Ike Bruce ailing, Holt’s value to the Rams passing
attack increases immensely. Not that he wasn’t already proving
to be immensely valuable. He’s currently leading the league
at 119.3 yards/game and has also managed to haul in a couple scoring
strikes. He should have a field day against New York’s third-worst
passing defense this Sunday.
6. Plaxico Burress v. STL –
In fact, the game at the Meadowlands is shaping up to be a real
barnburner. The addition of Plaxico gives the G-men three very
dangerous weapons in the passing game (Shockey and Tiki are the
others). If Eli keeps improving, you could be looking at a top
5 passing attack by the end of the season. Whether that propels
New York into the playoffs or not will depend a lot on that suspect
7. Marvin Harrison @ TEN –
You just know Peyton and the boys are gonna bust out in a big
way one of these weeks. I’d hate for them to do it the week
I pull them collectively from the rankings. OK, I’m only
bluffing. I wouldn’t really do that. Let’s give Starvin’
Marvin another shot this weekend against the Titans, a team he’s
flummoxed on more than one occasion in the past.
8. Terry Glenn @ OAK –
Did you notice he’s averaging over 100 yards/game to this
point? Apparently, he likes playing for the guy who once famously
called him a her. He isn’t Bledsoe’s favorite red
zone target (that would be Meshawn or Jason Witten) but he’s
sure as shootin’ the ‘Boys’ #1 home run hitter.
Expect him to hit one out this Sunday at the Black Hole against
a hapless Oakland defense.
9. Brandon Lloyd v. ARI –
Speaking of hitting one out, Lloyd turned the trick on Glenn’s
Cowboys last week, going way back to the tune of 89 yards and
a touch. He added another one later in the game (from 13 yards
out), fueling speculation that the Niners may indeed have an honest-to-God
pulse on offense this season. It’s early yet, but he seems
to have the tools to be a sleeper stud the rest of the way. Keep
your eye on him.
10. Joe Horn v. BUF –
How on earth does Aaron Brooks complete ONE pass to his best receiver
just six days after hooking up with him nine times for well over
100 yards? Don’t tell me it was the competition, either.
If you’re wondering why I’m so hard on Mr. Brooks,
now you know. Expect Horn to bounce back this Sunday, though not
quite to the level he attained on Hurricane Relief Weekend (aka,
11. Rod Smith @ JAX –
Smith has been remarkably consistent this season, notching between
80 and 90 yards every week thus far. He even managed to find the
end zone last Monday night, giving his owners an added bonus.
He probably came cheap on draft day but I doubt the same could
be said now. Hope you were smart enough to snag him.
12. Jimmy Smith v. DEN –
It took him sixty minutes and then some to make his mark last
Sunday at the Meadowlands. Lucky for Jacksonville, he made it
when he did, hauling in the game-winning 36-yard scoring strike
in overtime and salvaging what was otherwise a fairly lackluster
performance by the Jags. This week, he draws a Denver defense
that could be without its top playmaker, Champ Bailey.
13. Keenan McCardell @ NE –
Wasn’t the return of Antonio Gates supposed to make him
LESS valuable? Like his former running mate, Smith, the ageless
McCardell just flat-out produces and is now tied for the league
lead with four TD grabs through three games. He faces a New England
squad this Sunday holding its secondary together with used chewing
gum and some baling wire. Translation? Don’t you dare sit
14. Larry Fitzgerald v. SF –
The loss of Kurt Warner means Fitzgerald’s value (along
with Anquan Boldin’s) takes a serious hit. However, you
probably won’t notice until the two play a team with a legitimate
defensive secondary. The Niners possess anything but, having surrendered
an appalling 369 yards and three TD passes per contest so far.
Give him one more week before deciding whether or not to sit him
15. Darrell Jackson @ WAS –
As predicted, he tortured Fitzgerald’s teammates last weekend,
racking up eight catches and 125 yards in the shellacking at Qwest
Field. Unfortunately, the Redskins won’t be nearly as generous
this Sunday. He should still get a few opportunities to shine
and if he capitalizes, he’s probably ranked too low.
Grab A Helmet:
T.J. Houshmandzadeh v. HOU –
If you didn’t see the game, you probably think he was a
non-factor. In reality, he had two scoring opportunities wiped
out by penalties. The first was a pass interference call against
the Bears on a play he would have scored on. The second was a
pass interference call against 7-11 on a play he DID score on.
The numbers rarely lie but they certainly did in his case last
weekend. Stick with him.
Keyshawn Johnson @ OAK –
Terry Glenn makes the highlight plays. Meshawn makes the ones
that score points. It’s a sweet combo for the ‘Boys
right now and though you gotta wonder if these two old warriors
can sustain it over the long haul, there’s no compelling
evidence to suggest they can’t. They’re smart, they’re
savvy, and they play for the second-best coach in the game. (Sorry,
Tuna. Had to be said.)
Donald Driver @ CAR –
It’s certainly important the Packers get the younger pups
involved (Ferguson, Chatman, and Murphy), but they still need
Driver to catch more than two balls every week if they want to
be successful. He didn’t in Week 3 and they weren’t.
He’ll do better on Monday night but I’m doubtful the
result will be much different. Call me a pessimist. Wife hates
Michael Jenkins v. MIN –
I honestly didn’t think I’d be recommending a Falcons
receiver this year but the former Buckeye is starting to look
like he might be a difference-maker. He’s big and fast and
seems to have earned the trust of his notoriously wideout-leery
QB. If you saw the Bengals’ big boys torch the Vikings secondary
in Week 2, you already know he’s a matchup nightmare for
them. Take a flyer on him if you’re short-handed this week.
Michael Clayton/Joey Galloway v. DET
– Life was much simpler for Clayton’s owners when
Mr. Galloway was on the shelf. Nevertheless, his re-emergence
is probably one of the major reasons (along with the arrival of
Cadillac) for Tampa’s sudden change in fortunes. If you
don’t like playing the guessing game, stay away from them
both. If you can live with a bit of risk, start either one. You
never know who the favored target’s gonna be on any given
Deion Branch/David Givens v. SD
– That’s nothing new for the folks who own one of
these guys, of course. Nobody shares the wealth better than Tom
Brady and that can lead to some frustrating Sunday afternoons
for fantasy GMs. Then again, you’d have looked pretty good
starting either one of them as your third receiver last week,
as they accounted for over 200 yards in total offense. Like I
said, it’s all about risk tolerance.
Drew Bennett v. IND –
He’s listed as probable for the showdown with Indy and though
I’m not all that psyched about players facing Indy these
days (my, how times have changed!), I’m making an exception
in his case. Why? Because the last time he faced them, he scored
three times on three receptions. If lightning strikes twice, the
Titans will give the Colts all they can handle at Adelphia.
Grab Some Wood:
Andre Johnson @ CIN –
I know what you’re thinking. The bye week allowed the Texans
to sort some things out on offense and now Johnson is ready to
explode onto the scene, albeit a couple weeks late. Hey, if you
believe that, go for it. I, for the record, do not. David Carr
is simply a poor quarterback at this point and even if he weren’t,
his line doesn’t give him enough time to throw the football.
Something needs to change in Houston and I suspect that something
might end up being the head cheese, Coach Capers.
Any Buffalo receiver @ NO –
J.P. Losman is still the QB so there’s nothing new to report
here. Wait until he proves he can shoulder his share of the load.
Might wanna grab a Snickers or something.
Laveranues Coles @ BAL –
Two words: Brooks Bollinger. Two more: Baltimore Ravens. Can you
say “train wreck?”
Santana Moss v. SEA –
For the first time in…oh, forever…he was the most
productive Moss of the weekend, tallying 159 receiving yards and
two huge, game-sealing touchdowns in the final four minutes against
Dallas. So why am I not convinced? We’ve seen him “turn
the corner” before, folks, about two years ago in New York.
He didn’t build on his momentum then and he won’t
now, thanks mostly to the fact his QB is rotten and doesn’t
have the kind of arm that can best utilize his blazing speed.
Best of luck, folks!