|Elite Free Agents
||These players will provide immediate production
and have excellent long-term potential.
|Upside Free Agents
||Could emerge as every-week contributors in 1-2
|Long-Shot Free Agents
||Could emerge as every-week contributors in 3-4
|Wait-and-See Free Agents
||They have the potential to repeat their breakout
performance, but hold off on acquiring them for now.
|One Week Wonders
||Others may be singing their praise, but don’t
buy into the hype.
Elite Free Agents
Marcel Shipp, RB, Cardinals
Upcoming Opponents: BAL, BYE, SF
Shipp was drafted in nearly every 12- and 14-team league,
but might be on the waiver wire if you play in an eight-
or 10-team format. If he’s available, put him on
the top of your priority list this week. Starter Emmitt
Smith suffered a broken left shoulder Sunday against
the Cowboys and is out indefinitely. As a result, Shipp
becomes the starter and will get most of the carries.
Last year, Shipp finished the season with more than 1,200
all-purpose yards. He’s in excellent receiver out
of the backfield and merits serious consideration as
a fantasy starter.
Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles
Upcoming Opponents: @DAL, @NYG, NYJ
An Elite recommendation from last week, Westbrook struggled
for much of Sunday’s game against the Redskins.
But head coach Andy Reid remained committed to the running
game and Westbrook eventually broke a couple decent runs,
including a 19-yard touchdown scamper. At the end of
the day, he finished the game with a respectable 64 yards
and a touchdown. While I wouldn’t want to rely
on Westbrook as an every week starter, we are in the
middle a difficult stretch of bye weeks. He is an excellent
Mike Cloud, RB, Patriots
Upcoming Opponents: NYG, @MIA, CLE
What? You mean you didn’t pick up Mike Cloud even
though he was recommended here each of the last two weeks?
True to prediction, Cloud came off a four-game suspension
and provided a spark to New England’s struggling
offense. The former Kansas City Chiefs tailback carried
the ball just seven times but racked up 73 yards and
two touchdowns. Exactly how Cloud fits into the Patriots
offense remains to be seen; however, he has clearly earned
playing time in the coming weeks. It’s also promising
that Cloud was used in the redzone and goal line sets.
Acquire him this week and put him in your lineup if needed.
Terry Glenn, WR, Cowboys
Upcoming Opponents: PHI, @DET, @TAM
Peter Warrick, WR, Bengals
Upcoming Opponents: BYE, BAL, SEA
Glenn and Warrick have made me a believer. I listed both
players as Wait and See Free Agents earlier in the year
and they have proven that they can provide fantasy owners
with decent production most weeks. In fact, The Huddle’s
trusty new Game Scan indicates that Warrick has been
involved in 50 Bengals plays so far this season – one
more than receiving counterpart Chad Johnson. He’s
also scored seven or more fantasy points (Huddle scoring)
in three of his last four starts. That’s solid
for production, especially if your league uses a third
wide receiver or a flex position. Meanwhile, Terry Glenn
already has two 100-yard games this season and is quickly
becoming a favorite target of Quincy Carter. It’s
time for Glenn and Warrick to start getting some respect … and
Jerry Porter, WR, Raiders
Upcoming Schedule: @CLE, KC, BYE
Porter should return from hernia surgery this week or
the following week and boy do the Raiders need him. The
team is coming off an embarrassing Week 5 loss to the
Bears and the Raiders are struggling to stretch defenses
without Porter. Look for Porter to return to his dominant
form in short order.
Keenan McCardell, WR, Buccaneers
Upcoming Opponents: @WAS, @SF, DAL
McCardell starred in what will likely go down as one
of the greatest games in the history of Monday Night
Football. He caught two touchdown passes and returned
a fumble for another. His 106 receiving yards led the
team. The folks who take care of John Madden’s
horse trailer must’ve had McCardell’s mug
shot all polished up and ready to be pasted to the side.
But it wasn’t meant to be for the Bucs. Even so,
McCardell is one of this week’s must-have receivers
if he’s still available in your league. Keyshawn
Johnson suffered a bruised knee during the game, and,
with Joe Jurevicius still missing time with his own knee
injury, McCardell quickly becomes the best receiver on
a Tampa offense that isn’t afraid to pass.
Jolley, TE, Raiders
Upcoming Schedule: @CLE, KC, BYE
After catching 17 passes in his last three games, Jolley
has cemented himself has one of the league’s better
tight ends. If he’s available in your league and
you need a tight end, he should be on the top of your
list. While Jolley isn’t the type of tight end
who will have a 110-yard game and score a touchdown,
he is reasonably consistent and won’t muck up your
team with a goose egg.
Upside Free Agents
Tim Couch, QB, Browns
Upcoming Schedule: OAK, SD, @NE
Brad Johnson, QB, Buccaneers
Upcoming Opponents: @WAS, @SF, DAL
These days quality fantasy quarterbacks are a dime a
dozen. Tim Couch, Byron Leftwich, Quincy Carter, Kordell
Stewart, Brad Johnson and Drew Brees all had big games
in Week 5. Take your pick of the litter, but I’m
going with Brad Johnson and Tim Couch to repeat their
performances this week. Johnson has eight passing touchdowns
on the season and has an added incentive in Week 6. He
returns to Washington to play against the owner who released
him in favor of Jeff George. Meanwhile, Couch seems intent
on doing everything in his power to keep injured starter
Kelly Holcomb on the bench. The former number one draft
pick has thrown two touchdowns in each of his last two
starts and has a favorable upcoming schedule. This week
he’ll face an Oakland defense than made Kordell
Stewart look above average. Leftwich, who I recommended
last week, is a good long-term option but faces a tough
test this week against Miami.
Josh Reed, WR, Bills
Upcoming Opponents: @NYJ, WAS, @KC
Eric Moulds had to be helped off the field with a groin
pull Sunday. While Moulds thinks he’ll be ready
to play this week, don’t be surprised if he sits
out. Similar injuries have kept plenty of other fantasy
stars on the bench. If Moulds sits, look for Josh Reed
to pick up the slack. Reed was a hot sleeper draft pick
in 2003, but has played in the shadow of free agent acquisition
Bobby Shaw for the entire season thus far.
Jabar Gaffney, WR, Texans
Upcoming Schedule: @TEN, NYJ, @IND
Gaffney is coming off a bye week and may have been overlooked
during the past couple free agency periods in your league.
If so, don’t hesitate to pick him up. The second-year
receiver was beginning to show inklings of stardom prior
to the open date. Grab him this week, but keep him on
your bench until he shows he can be a consistent threat.
Long-Shot Free Agents
Byron Chamberlain, TE, Redskins
Upcoming Opponents: TAM, @BUF, BYE
Chamberlain signed this week with the Redskins. As a
former Pro-Bowl tight end, Chamberlain deserves consideration.
As a current over-weight tight end, he only deserves
a roster spot in deeper leagues. Look for him to begin
to factor into the fantasy equation after Washington’s
Wait-and-See Free Agents
Mikhael Ricks, TE, Lions
Upcoming Opponents: BYE, DAL, @CHI
Prior to last week’s 76-yard, one-touchdown performance,
Ricks had done very little to convince fantasy owners
that he deserved a roster spot. He may eventually emerge
as a decent player, but there are likely better options
on your waiver wire at this point, especially considering
Ricks is on a bye in Week 6.
One Week Wonders
Dwayne Carswell, TE, Broncos
Upcoming Opponents: PIT, @MIN, @BAL
Carswell caught one pass for a six-yard touchdown. It
was only his third reception of the year and he should
come nowhere near your roster unless Shannon Sharpe gets
Tyrone Calico, WR, Titans
Upcoming Opponents: HOU, @CAR, @JAX
I love Calico’s long-term potential, but I’m
not ready to recommend him at this point. The rookie
caught three passes for 92 yards in Week 5, including
a 45-yard reception. On the year he has just five catches,
but two of them went for touchdowns. He’s the type
of hit-or-miss performer that is best left off your roster.
That said, if you play in a dynasty or deep keeper league,
Calico certainly has some value.
James McKnight, WR, Dolphins
Upcoming Opponents: @JAX, NE, SD
McKnight busted an end-around for a 68-yard touchdown
this week. However, his two receptions for 17 yards is
the more telling statistic.