Must Start: The Top 15
1. Torry Holt v. SEA—There
are some household names at the top of the wideout heap and some
not-so-household names. You already know which camp Holt is in.
Outside of Marvin Harrison, he’s probably the most consistent
target in the league and has proven as much to start this season
(a score in each of his last four). Give him the start against
a Seahawks secondary that couldn’t slow down the Bears’
unsung crew in Week 4.
2. Chad Johnson @ TB—A
loyal reader accused me of having a gigantic man crush on the
former Beaver this past week, playfully wondering why I didn’t
put him at #1 even though he was on a bye. Man, is it THAT obvious?
I’ll tell you what, though. He’d better start picking
up the pace (no 100-yard outings and only one score) or I’m
gonna go looking for love elsewhere.
3. Steve Smith @ BAL—The
best receiver in the game (see?...I can be objective!) didn’t
look the part last weekend, dropping not one but two TD passes
in the victory over the Browns. It didn’t hurt the Panthers
but it almost hurt me…and probably DID hurt some of you.
Here’s hoping he makes amends in the Charm City this Sunday
against a tough-as-nails Ravens D.
4. Anquan Boldin v. CHI—As
you can probably tell, there aren’t a lot of great receiver
matchups this weekend. Thanks to Larry Fitzgerald’s injury,
Boldin becomes the indisputable main man in the desert, just in
time for their first primetime appearance since (seemingly) the
Bush administration…the OTHER Bush administration. Too bad
the opponent is Chicago, huh? Don’t expect an explosion
but 80-100 yards and a score sounds possible.
5. Bernard Berrian @ ARZ—This
guy’s been exploding all over the place of late, failing
to score in only one of his five starts thus far. And to think
he was probably a waiver wire pickup in most leagues. Keep starting
him until teams figure out how to contain him, an unlikely scenario
considering he possesses good size and stellar top-end speed.
6. Reggie Brown @ NO—Brown
isn’t a prototypical home-run hitter like Berrian but you
wouldn’t know it by checking his totals through five weeks.
He’s averaging almost 20 yards per snare and has already
scored three times. With Donte Stallworth still sidelined, he’s
likely to remain the primary focus of Philly’s multi-faceted
passing attack. Start him against New Orleans’ banged-up
secondary this Sunday.
7. Marques Colston v. PHI—See
what I mean about those not-so-household names? Despite a so-so
performance in Week 5, Colston is still near the top in all of
the major receiving categories and still appears to be Drew Brees’
favorite target when the Saints need a chain-moving snag. I’m
expecting a shootout at the Superdome so you’ll wanna put
last week behind you and keep the kid in your lineup.
8. Terry Glenn v. HOU—Glenn
wasn’t spectacular in the showdown at Philly last Sunday
but he did manage to tally a respectable 61 yards and, more importantly,
a critical pass interference call on the Cowboys’ final
drive. Alas, Bledsoe turned that into a game-sealing pick-six
in the final minute. He can’t throw ‘em AND catch
‘em, folks. Keep starting him and hope Drew gets back on
track against Houston’s league-worst pass defense.
9. Laveranues Coles v. MIA—Coles
was a tad peeved about his limited participation last weekend
in Jacksonville but, ever the good soldier, stopped short of questioning
the coaching staff. That’s more than we can say about…
10. Terrell Owens v. HOU—…you-know-who.
“Why am I here?” I can give you 25 million reasons
why, T.O. Now shut up and play some ball.
11. Santana Moss v. TEN—If
anyone has a right to be whining about underutilization, it’s
this guy. He’s averaging only four catches per contest to
date and that’s just not good enough for a wideout who possesses
his kind of ability. It’s not like the ‘Skins have
a ton of other options in the passing game, either. If I’m
Mark Brunell, I’m looking for the explosive Moss every chance
I get. You listening, old man?
12. Andre Johnson @ DAL—Houston
has even fewer weapons and no running attack to speak of but they’re
still managing to involve Andre Johnson…a lot. That hasn’t
changed their fortunes much but it’s probably changing the
fortunes of fantasy GMs who drafted him in the third or fourth
round. Keep starting him and hope the Texans play from behind
all afternoon (very likely).
13. Plaxico Burress @ ATL—Plaxico
rebounded from his only dud performance of the year to post solid
numbers against Washington last Sunday (seven grabs, 69 yards,
and a touch). This week, he draws an Atlanta team that has yet
to allow an opposing receiver to reach the end zone. Mark my words:
he changes that in Week 6.
14. Darrell Jackson @ STL—The
talk in Seattle is almost exclusively about Deion Branch but the
guy who’s been posting the numbers is still Jackson, the
guy who’s been doing it going on seven years now. He continues
to drop the ball too often (especially when it counts) but he’s
always fared well against the Rams and should again this weekend
as the ‘Hawks get back to business. Start him.
15. Javon Walker v. OAK—He’s
only squared off against the Raiduhs once but most of us Packer
backers will never forget the performance, a 124-yard, two-TD
effort on the Monday night after #4 lost his father. Walker wears
a different uniform these days but the silver and black hasn’t
changed much. That means he could be in for another phenomenal
effort this Sunday night in Denver.
Grab a Helmet
Mike Furrey v. BUF—Roy
Williams appears to be a scratch for Week 6, meaning Furrey, the
former XFL/AFL drifter takes over the top spot in Detroit’s
not-as-bad-as-you-think offense. Though he doesn’t possess
awe-inspiring ability (like his more celebrated running mate),
he knows how to get open and knows what to do with the ball once
he’s got it. Call him your sleeper candidate of the week.
Wes Welker @ NYJ—Sleeper
candidate #2 has ever so quietly emerged as the Dolphins’
#2 guy opposite the disappointing Chris Chambers in Miami’s
work-in-progress offense. He’s not especially big or athletic
but, like Furrey, can frustrate opponents working the underneath
routes. I doubt he scores a touch this season (unless he pops
a big one) but 5-7 catches and 50-70 yards is better than you’ll
get from most #3 wideouts. A great bye week fill-in if you’re
looking for one.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh @ TB—CJ’s
loss has been TJ’s gain thus far, as the other former Beav
has managed 94.5 yards per game in his two starts, good for second
in the entire league. You never know when Johnson will explode
but if he doesn’t, Houshmandzadeh probably will, especially
now that Chris Henry isn’t around to take away looks. Take
your chances and get him in there against the Bucs this weekend.
Joey Galloway v. CIN—On
the other side of the ball, Tampa will trot out the sage vet,
Galloway, who’s managed to yo-yo all over the map through
four games. He followed up a Week 1 shutout with 161 yards in
Week 2 and a Week 3 dud (eight yards) with 110 more in Week 4.
It’s anybody’s guess what he’ll do in Week 6
but Gradkowski has to throw it to someone and Galloway is about
all there is to the Buccaneers’ passing game. Start him.
Rod Smith v. OAK—We hadn’t
heard much from this old vet until late Monday night when he netted
his first touchdown grab of the season in the driving rain at
Invesco. Though he’s no doubt slowing down, he does face
his favorite opponent this Sunday night, the Raiders. All he’s
done against them in his career is catch 99 balls for 1291 yards
and ten scores. Call it a nostalgia start and get him in there.
Grab Some Wood
Bryant Johnson v. CHI—He
was the hot free agent pickup of the week after it was learned
that Larry Fitzgerald might be out for up to a month. Upon further
analysis, it appears Fitzy may only miss a game or two. He certainly
couldn’t have picked a better game to miss. Don’t
start Johnson against the Bears. In fact, don’t start anyone
not named Anquan Boldin against the Bears. You’re asking
Arnaz Battle v. SD—The
former Domer almost doubled his career TD total last week, hauling
in two scoring catches in the victory over hapless Oakland. Too
bad the Niners can’t play the Raiders every week, huh? Expect
a swift return to earth for San Fran’s #2 guy this weekend
as the Bolts visit the Bay area.
Hines Ward v. KC—I was
hoping against hope that I wouldn’t hafta put him down here
again but after watching the Chargers throw all kinds of coverage
his way, it’s become painfully obvious that the Steelers
need more weapons in the passing game…and more production
from the guy pulling the trigger. Sit him down until further notice
as there’s nothing worse than staying loyal to a guy caught
in an untenable position.
Any Atlanta receiver v. NYG—Michael
Jenkins, the most productive Falcons wideout, is averaging 35.5
yards per contest. Even the aforementioned Mr. Ward has been better
than that, albeit barely. Not on your life.
Any Tennessee receiver @ WAS—Can
you even name one? Drew Bennett doesn’t count.