Must Start: The Top 15
1. Chad Johnson v. NE—When
you’re done perusing the WR rankings this week, you may
as well turn them upside down and start from the bottom. That’s
how accurate the ol’ Shot Caller’s been with respect
to the wideouts this year. What can I say? They’re a tough
bunch to forecast. The only sure thing is that this guy will rattle
somebody’s cage prior to game time. Week 4’s victim?
Bill Belichick. If you can rattle Coach Grumpy’s cage, you’re
a world-class cage rattler. As if we needed to be reminded of
2. Steve Smith v. NO—For
a guy with a bum hamstring, he sure didn’t look any worse
for the wear, did he? Smith saw his first action of the season
last weekend, hauling in seven balls for 112 yards as the Panthers
notched their first W of the season. Seriously, does any guy mean
more to his team’s success than this guy? I’m still
3. Marvin Harrison @ NYJ—He
and Reggie Wayne, astonishingly enough, have not produced a single
touchdown between them this season. That changes in Week 4. Always
hard to determine which of the two will find paydirt but if I
had to guess, I’d go with Marvin. That seems to be what
I’m doing a lot of, anyway…guessing. Why break precedent?
4. Anquan Boldin @ ATL—I
was half snoozing, half watching the Cards game v. the Rams last
weekend when Boldin caught one of his ten balls and lumbered upfield.
I say “lumbered” because (no joke) the thought actually
crossed my mind that Arizona had re-signed David Boston and that
it had somehow escaped my attention. He’s absolutely enormous!
Oh, and enormously talented. Start him no matter what.
5. Torry Holt v. DET—Torry
was off to a semi-slow start in ’06 but exploded last week
in the desert, racking up eight catches for 120 yards and a touch
in the Rams’ strange win over the Cards. This week, he draws
a Detroit secondary that was torched by Favre and the Pack in
Week 4. You know how much I like those guys but I’m not
stupid. He’s better. Lots better.
6. Donald Driver @ PHI—Not
that Don Driver can’t hold his own against the league’s
elite wideouts. He’s fast, can jump out of the stadium,
and is the preferred destination for most of #4’s bullets.
Though he occasionally drops easy passes, he usually snares the
ones that count. He scored again last week and could do so again
on Monday night, though it won’t be nearly enough to get
the Pack to .500.
7. Donte Stallworth v. GB—Even
before Donte came around, the Eagles owned Green Bay. They’ve
won four straight against the Pack of late and haven’t lost
a home game to them since the Shot Caller’s MOM was in high
school (1962…and Mom urges you not to do the math). Hard
to fathom the Green and Gold’s 31st-ranked pass defense
will be able to slow down Donte and Philly’s #1 passing
8. Larry Fitzgerald @ ATL—Arizona’s
other top-notch pass shagger caught his first six-pointer of the
year last week. Coupled with the 65 receiving yards, it made for
a pretty nice day, all told. Well, except for the end result.
Maybe this franchise just doesn’t have it in ‘em,
huh? I mean, not every team can be the Patriots or the Steelers,
9. Reggie Wayne @ NYJ—Marvin’s
sidekick had a pretty rough week, losing his older brother to
an automobile accident. Gotta say…I don’t know how
these guys shrug off that kind of tragedy to get up for an NFL
football game, something that presumably exacts a huge toll as
it is, both physically and mentally. Kudos to Mr. Wayne for fighting
10. Laveranues Coles v. IND—One
week or even two weeks of top-notch production? A fluke. Three
weeks? Not so much. Coles didn’t score last weekend but
did catch ten balls for 78 yards in the Jets’ big win. Guess
it’s time to admit I was wrong about the guy. I still can’t
help but think how much more valuable he’d be in a better
11. Antonio Bryant @ KC—Last
week’s shootout with Philly seemed like the ideal type of
game for the explosive Bryant to go off in. Alas, he didn’t
(four catches for 36 yards). Eventually, teams get wise to home-run
hitters such as him, especially when there’s nobody on the
other side of the field worth accounting for. Go ahead and start
him but be prepared to lower those expectations if the Niners
don’t develop some other options.
12. Muhsin Muhammad v. SEA—That
Bears running attack may be struggling but Rex and his trusty
#1 connection have been pretty solid thus far. Though he hasn’t
scored yet, Muhammad is averaging a robust 93 yards/game and appears
to have recaptured some of that ’04 magic. If they’re
forced to keep it close through the air (a possibility), he could
be in for another strong outing.
13. Marques Colston @ CAR—This
year’s crop of rookie wideouts could hardly be considered
“bumper” but this guy’s proof it wasn’t
completely bereft of promise. If you watched the game on Monday
night (who didn’t?), you know he’s not gonna disappear
anytime soon, either. He’s big, relatively fast, and very
self-assured, traits you don’t often find in 7th round draft
picks. Oh, and he also happens to be Drew Brees’ favorite
target. Start him.
14. Braylon Edwards @ OAK—I
told you I was pretty jacked about his potential back in Week
1. Though he didn’t produce then, he hasn’t stopped
producing since, racking up two straight 100-yard games in Weeks
2 and 3. The Browns will eventually turn things around (maybe
even this week) and when they do, he’ll be one of the primary
reasons why. Get him in there against the atrocious Raiders this
15. Terry Glenn @ TEN—He’s
the Cowboys’ life line right now and perfectly capable of
keeping the ship afloat until the T.O. mess is straightened out.
He’s averaging 87.5 yards per game and should have a field
day against Tennessee’s dubious D this weekend. Of course,
nobody will be talking about him because…
Grab a Helmet
Terrell Owens @ TEN—…the
only guy worth talking about in Big D is him. Shall we? Here’s
my take: either Owens’ latest “incident” was
a desperate plea for help or it was the most shameless publicity
stunt in the history of shameless publicity stunts. Whichever
way you wanna look at it (I’m undecided, for the record),
the guy needs help. “Accidental overdose?” Who “accidentally”
deposits 30-some-odd painkillers down their throat? It doesn’t
take a psychiatrist to know that Terrell Owens is deeply disturbed.
The only way he’s gonna get better is if he a) stops playing
football, b) stops living his life through the media, c) stops
listening to Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin (great support network,
T.O.!) and d) starts admitting he has a problem…a serious
problem. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt if he 86’d that
publicist of his. Come to think of it, is there anyone who needs
a publicist less than T.O.? OK, enough about him. Actually, one
more thing: if he DOES play this weekend, you should probably
start him. Deranged or not, he’s a supremely talented receiver.
Andre Johnson v. MIA—So’s
he. I lit into him earlier in the season but he’s certainly
produced a pretty good body of work thus far, averaging over 100
yards a game through three weeks. If the Texans keep falling desperately
behind and David Carr keeps throwing the ball all over the place,
Johnson has a chance to be a top 10 guy by season’s end.
I’m not saying he’ll do it. I’m just saying
he’s capable. That’s more than I was willing to admit
a few weeks back.
Darrell Jackson @ CHI—The
addition of Deion Branch has DJax owners worried but they probably
shouldn’t be. He’s still Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite
target and should still receive plenty of attention, especially
now that the meal ticket is out for an indefinite period of time.
He’s scored three times in the last two weeks and he could
add another TD this Sunday at Soldier Field.
Greg Jennings @ PHI—Jennings
recorded his first professional touchdown last weekend, grabbing
a simple hitch pattern from Favruh and taking it 75 yards to the
house. That’s 13.5 points in most leagues, a fine day’s
work even if he sat on the bench the rest of the game. He didn’t,
of course, and even went on to catch two more balls for another
26 yards. You want a piece of this Green Bay passing attack, folks.
If you can’t get Driver, go get this guy.
Grab Some Wood
Everyone I’ve put down here has made me look like a buffoon
thus far, so I’m not even going to give them the satisfaction
this week. Besides, I already used up my allotted 150,000 words
talking about Mr. Owens. Time for some sleep. Incidentally, I
will NOT be able to answer e-mail inquiries this weekend as I’ll
be out of town. Good luck and we’ll chat again next week.