Must Start: The Top 15
1. Steve Smith @ CIN—The
folks at ESPN asked LT who he’d select if he could have
one fantasy player other than himself. His answer? This guy. Who
are we to argue with the top point-scorer in the league?
2. Anquan Boldin @ OAK—Though
it wasn’t enough, let’s not take anything away from
Boldin’s masterful performance against the Bears on Monday
night. Despite blanket coverage, he hauled in twelve balls for
136 yards and clearly was the favorite target of young signal-caller,
Matt Leinart. Smart kid, that Leinart. Start the former Seminole
against the Raiders this weekend and expect similar numbers.
3. Terrell Owens v. NYG—Owens
capped off a brilliant three-TD effort against the Texans last
weekend by (what else?) complaining that he wasn’t involved
in the offense SOON enough. Just when you think you’ve heard
4. Chad Johnson v. CAR—85
took a page out of TO’s book earlier this week, telling
anyone who would listen that the Bengals need to be more aggressive
on offense. By “aggressive,” we can only presume he
meant “throw the ball to me.” Not a bad idea, frankly,
considering the Bengals have scored only 26 points in their last
two games combined. Expect 75 yards and a score as Cincy attempts
to right the ship on Sunday.
5. Marvin Harrison v. WAS—I
promised three scores from him and Reggie Wayne two weeks ago
and they gave us two. Not too shabby for a fairly bold prediction,
eh? Of course, they only tallied 53 yards between them in the
nail-biter W over the Titans. Expect significantly more this weekend
as the Colts attempt to put the Redskins out of their misery.
6. Reggie Brown @ TB—Raise
your hand if you knew he’s a top five scorer at the receiver
position through six weeks. That makes two of us. I mean, I knew
he was filling in admirably for the injured Donte Stallworth but
I didn’t know it was THAT admirably. Give him the start
against Tampa this weekend and hope the good times (and good numbers)
7. Laveranues Coles v. DET—He’s
listed as questionable for the Week 7 contest but didn’t
miss any time against Miami and certainly didn’t look like
a guy battling nagging injuries (106 yards and two scores). Besides,
the Lions currently rank 30th against the pass and have given
up a league-worst thirteen passing TDs to this point. It’d
take a pack of wild dogs to keep him off the field this Sunday.
8. Roy Williams @ NYJ—Oops.
My “sources” failed me in Week 6, indicating at press
time that Williams might not play against the Bills. Not only
did he play, of course. He set career highs in both receptions
and yards (10 for 161) and also scored once as the Lions left
Oakland as the lone winless team. Give him a go against the work-in-progress
Jets and hope he sustains that excellence for at least another
9. T.J. Houshmandzadeh v. CAR—He’s
about two weeks away from overtaking long-time bud and current
running mate, the aforementioned Mr. Johnson, in the rankings.
Though there’s no question his numbers result in part from
all the attention paid to CJ, that really doesn’t concern
us. We want results and we don’t care why or how you get
them. Hard to argue with his so far: 97 yards and a TD per game.
Start him against the Panthers.
10. Reggie Wayne v. WAS—As
predicted, Wayne scored his first touchdown of the season in the
Week 5 win over Tennessee. Unfortunately (as previously mentioned),
he did precious little else. Call it an aberration and get him
back in there against Washington. I have a feeling the Colts are
gonna waylay the ‘Skins to remain undefeated.
11. Greg Jennings @ MIA—Marques
Colston has been the most impressive rookie wideout thus far but
Jennings, the Western Michigan product, isn’t too far behind.
He’s averaging over 70 yards per contest and seems to have
big-play ability, even if he doesn’t have big-play measureables.
Plus, the Pack is down to two healthy receivers following the
suspension of Koren Robinson. That means he gets a lot of attention
at Miami this weekend.
12. Javon Walker @ CLE—The
erstwhile Packer seems to be getting all the attention from Plummer
these days, much to the dismay of those (like myself) who thought
Rod Smith still had plenty left in the tank. Then again, to hear
Walker tell it, he’s still not involved enough: “give
me the ball…I want the ball.” Not this again.
13. Plaxico Burress @ DAL—I
mean, is there ANY receiver out there who thinks they get the
ball enough? Wait, wrong guy.
14. Andre Johnson v. JAX—Here’s
someone who never seems to complain about being ignored…unless
you consider playing for the Texans a more general version of
being ignored. He’s likely to toil in anonymity for several
more years unless Houston can figure out how to get that franchise
up and running. Five years deep and still not a lot to show for
it. I’ll wonder again: would Reggie Bush have helped put
them on the map?
15. Darrell Jackson v. MIN—Jackson
took a back seat to newcomer Deion Branch in the Week 6 win over
St. Louis but still managed to crank out 94 yards and a score
on four catches. They’ll likely compete for top honors on
a weekly basis, so it’s probably best to just…
Grab a Helmet
Deion Branch v. MIN—…start
them both. After all, there are plenty of teams out there with
two viable, start-worthy receivers. Add Seattle to that mix, especially
in the short-term while Shaun Alexander recuperates.
Chris Chambers v. GB—Chambers
is just the type of receiver the Pack’s aggressive, but
occasionally foolish, corners seem to have trouble with. He hasn’t
done a whole lot this season (at least, not as much as we thought
he’d do) but this could be a breakout game for him. Not
sure about the yardage but I think he scores this weekend. Mark
Joey Galloway v. PHI—Steady
as she goes for the Bucs’ main target. Michael Clayton made
an appearance last Sunday, scoring the winning touch after closer
inspection, but Galloway was the main man most of the day, hauling
in seven balls for 67 yards. The Philly corners are good but that
shouldn’t prevent him from matching those totals and maybe
even surpassing them this weekend in Tampa.
Reggie Williams @ HOU—The
former Dawg is coming into his own in this, his pivotal third
season, and seems to have emerged as the favored target of Byron
Leftwich. That isn’t likely to change even when (if?) Matt
Jones returns so get Williams in your lineup. The matchup is stellar
and the Jags are fresh. Start him.
Bryant Johnson @ OAK—Johnson
waited until his fourth year to make a push and his timing couldn’t
have been better, what with Larry Fitzgerald on the shelf and
all. He scored last Monday night against Chicago and could do
so again if the Raiders pay too much attention to Anquan Boldin…which
they should (if they know what’s good for them). Give him
a look at your #3 slot.
Hines Ward @ ATL—They
polished off Big Ben-to-Ward last Sunday at Heinz Field and owners
of both players no doubt breathed a sigh of relief. I’m
not sure they’re outta the woods yet but this weekend’s
game should give us a good indication of how the rest of the season
is going to go. My guess? Well. Get him back in there.
Lee Evans v. NE—Several
of you took me to task for not mentioning Mr. Evans last week.
Thought I’d rectify that by giving him some pub this week.
We good? Good. I don’t really like talking about him.
Grab Some Wood
Any Atlanta receiver v. PIT—It’s
not that I don’t like talking about these guys. It’s
just that there’s nothing to talk about. Moving on…
Antwaan Randle El @ IND—Anyone
else get the feeling his talents were best suited to the jack-of-all-trades
role he filled in Pittsburg?. Just goes to show that money (especially
Daniel Snyder’s money) can’t buy production. It can,
however, make one a very well compensated #3 receiver.