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Free Agent Forecast - Week 14
By Paul Sandy
December 2, 2003
 

Value Scale

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 weeks.
Long-Shot Free Agents Could emerge as every-week contributors in 3-4 weeks.
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

Marcus Robinson, WR, Ravens
Upcoming Opponents: CIN, @OAK, @CLE
An Elite recommendation last week, Robinson backed up last week’s breakout game with another strong performance in Week 13. If you passed on him before, take a second look.

Boo Williams, TE, Saints
Upcoming Opponents: TAM, NYG, @JAC
Williams was another Elite recommendation from Week 13. He posted a touchdown and 43 yards receiving Sunday and is worth starting in leagues that require a tight end.

Anthony Wright, QB, Ravens
Upcoming Opponents: CIN, @OAK, @CLE
Brian Billick might be experiencing a bit of déjà vu. In 1998, he was the mastermind behind the Minnesota Vikings team that scored the most points in NFL history. Now with the Ravens, Billick has guided his team to consecutive 44-point performances. In the midst of all the scoring, Anthony Wright has emerged as a solid fantasy starter. While he only passed for 177 yards Sunday, Wright also tossed two touchdowns. Look for another decent showing this week against a Bengals defense that allowed 300+ yards passing to the Steelers.

Javon Walker, WR, Packers
Upcoming Opponents: CHI, @SD, @OAK
Walker has been Green Bay’s leading receiver for the past two weeks and has scored touchdowns in consecutive games. Since Donald Driver is failing to re-establish himself as Brett Favre’s go-to guy, Walker has a fair chance to close out the season with more solid games. Green Bay’s schedule in the next few weeks is as soft as any team in the league. Acquire Walker this week if he’s available and begin starting him immediately if you need a productive wideout.

Brian Finneran, WR, Falcons
Alge Crumpler, TE, Falcons
Upcoming Opponents: CAR, @IND, @TAM
With Michael Vick back in the saddle, it’s time to upgrade all of Atlanta’s pass catchers. Finneran and Crumpler may be lurking in your free agent pool. Neither player has been consistent due to poor quarterback play. However, Vick showed glimpses of his former self last week, so look for an immediate increase in production.

Marty Booker, WR, Bears
Upcoming Opponents: @GB, MIN, WAS
Booker has been one of the bigger busts in 2003. He hasn’t posted a 100-yard game all year and he’s only gone over 60 yards once. For those reasons, he may have been dumped in your league. If so, acquire him this week. Booker appears to finally be healthy after battling an ankle injury earlier in the season. Last week, he hooked up with Kordell Stewart for a touchdown and added 44 yards receiving. Don’t be afraid to use Booker this week. He’s had some solid games against Green Bay, including a 12-catch, 141-yard, 1-touchdown game last season.

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
Upcoming Opponents: @PHI, @WAS, NYG
Over the past two weeks, rookie tight end Jason Witten has 14 receptions. Quincy Carter threw to him 11 times during Thursday’s game against the Dolphins. That’s a lot for any receiver, let alone a tight end. If you need a capable tight end for the stretch run, Witten should be a solid choice.

Az-zahir Hakim, WR, Lions
Upcoming Opponents: SD, @KC, @CAR
Lions starting receiver Charles Rodgers was put on IR this week, officially ending his 2003 season. That means Detroit will play out the year with Az-zahir Hakim as their top receiving threat. After doing nothing for most of the first half of the season, Hakim has generated solid stats for three straight weeks, including 60+ yards each week and two touchdowns. In Week 14, he faces a San Diego defense that his given up more points than any other team in the NFL. Acquire Hakim and start him this week if needed.

Upside Free Agents

Curtis Conway, WR, Jets
Upcoming Opponents: @BUF, PIT, NE
The forgotten man for most of the year, Conway finally put together a solid fantasy game Monday night against the Titans. The former San Diego and Chicago receiver led all Jets wideouts with 78 yards receiving and added nice touchdown reception. Conway is a risky start until he proves he can post decent numbers every week. However, I like his upcoming matchups against the Bills and Steelers. Don’t be surprised if Conway’s name continues to be prominently displayed in future boxscores.

Richie Anderson, RB, Cowboys
Upcoming Opponents: @PHI, @WAS, NYG
Anderson was recommended by the Forecast several weeks ago as a Long-Shot Free Agent. If you invested a roster spot in the Dallas back, it is starting to pay off. Anderson scored two touchdowns Thanksgiving Day against the Dolphins. Meanwhile, Troy Hambrick had just three carries for two yards. Anderson still isn’t getting enough touches to be an every week fantasy contributor, but given another week, he could become decent fantasy player.

Justin Gage, WR, Bears
Upcoming Opponents: @GB, MIN, WAS
Chicago’s fifth-round pick in the 2003 draft, Gage has shown explosiveness since Week 7. He had his best game of the season Sunday against the Cardinals, compiling four receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he was shut out the previous two weeks and lacks the consistency to occupy a starting spot at this point. Acquire him this week and see what he does against the Packers. If he catches four or more passes again, he’s probably worth a start in Week 15 against the soft Vikings defense.

Long-Shot Free Agents

None

Wait-and-See Free Agents

Brock Forsey, RB, Bears
Upcoming Opponents: @GB, MIN, WAS
Like Justin Gage, Forsey is a rookie. Like Justin Gage, Forsey had a huge game Sunday (127 yards and a touchdown). Unlike Justin Gage, Forsey isn’t a good bet to have a repeat performance before the season is over. Starter Anthony Thomas was scratched from last week’s game with pneumonia, but is expected to return in Week 14. Monitor the news early in the week. If it doesn’t look like Thomas will be ready to go, Forsey is worth a start against Green Bay. Otherwise, look elsewhere for running back talent.

Jay Fiedler, QB, Dolphins
Upcoming Opponents: @NE, PHI, @BUF
After a five-week stint on the bench, Fiedler reclaimed his starting job in Week 13. He did not disappoint Miami fans, leading the Dolphins to a Thanksgiving Day romp over the Cowboys. Fiedler connected with Chris Chambers on three touchdown passes and scored one on the ground. In recent years, Fiedler has been a decent spot starter for fantasy owners. He may continue to thrive in that role. Unfortunately, the Dolphins face some tough, tough defenses in the coming weeks. Wait and see if he can repeat his performance this week against the Patriots.

One Week Wonders

Mike Cloud, RB, Patriots
Upcoming Opponents: MIA, JAC, @NYJ
The Forecast was high on Cloud earlier this season, but he never emerged as New England’s starting running back. However, he was activated this week because head coach Bill Belichick wanted to utilize his speed on the turf in Indianapolis. Cloud wasn’t able to gain much yardage, but he did score two goal line touchdowns. Unfortunately, Cloud will probably be replaced this week by Antowain Smith when the Patriots return home.

Terry Jones, TE, Ravens
Upcoming Opponents: CIN, @OAK, @CLE
Who knew the Ravens had a tight end other than Todd Heap? Jones caught two passes for 12 yards and a touchdown Sunday, but isn’t worth a roster spot.

Kyle Brady, TE, Jaguars
Upcoming Opponents: HOU, @NE, NO
Brady is another tight end who caught a touchdown Sunday, and he’s another tight end who isn’t consistent enough to merit a roster spot.