|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
Thomas Jones, RB, Buccaneers
Upcoming Opponents: ATL, @TEN
Jones is a three-time Forecast recommendation. If owners
in your league continue to write him off as the bust
from Arizona, don’t make the same mistake. Jones
has shown a lot of explosiveness and seems to break a
tackle every time he touches the ball. He rushed 34 times
for 134 yards and a touchdown Sunday. Acquire him and
try to make some room in your starting lineup for Jones.
This week he’ll face an Atlanta Falcons defense
that has surrendered a league-leading 20 rushing touchdowns.
Mike Anderson, RB, Broncos
Upcoming Opponents: @IND, @GB
Anderson was suspended several weeks ago for a substance
abuse violation. As a result, he was very likely released
in your league. If that’s the case, acquire him
this week. He’s back on the active roster and Denver
starter Clinton Portis suffered sprains to his ankle
and knee at the end of Sunday’s game against the
Browns. Even though it’s a must-win situation for
the Broncos, Portis seems very unlikely to play – especially
since this game will be played on the turf in the RCA
Dome, one of the hardest surfaces in the NFL. Grab Anderson
and start him this week against the Colts, a team that
gives up 118.1 yards per game on the ground.
Donald Driver, WR, Packers
Upcoming Opponents: @OAK, DEN
Driver tops my list of the biggest wide receiver busts
of 2003. However, he finally posted a good game last
week, catching eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.
Driver saw increased opportunities because Javon Walker
was limited due to a knee injury. Even if Walker doesn’t
play, I think Driver is unlikely to repeat last week’s
performance. The Raiders are worst in the league against
the run, so the Packers will likely pound Ahman Green.
Acquire Driver and start him if you can live with 60-70
Robert Ferguson, WR, Packers
Upcoming Opponents: @OAK, DEN
The Free Agent Forecast suggested readers acquire Ferguson
last week for their playoff run. The third-year receiver
delivered, catching two touchdowns and gaining 56 yards.
The Packers face an average Oakland Raiders defense next
week, so like Driver, Ferguson can again be used as a
number three or number four wideout.
Jerome Pathon, WR, Saints
Upcoming Opponents: @JAC, DAL
The word out of New Orleans is that Joe Horn might be
suspended for a game as a result of his outlandish touchdown
celebration this weekend. In the event that Horn is suspended,
Jerome Pathon would likely step in as quarterback Aaron
Brooks’ primary passing target. If you rely on
Horn, Pathon could be a solid option. He had three receptions
for 45 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Giants.
Onterrio Smith, RB, Vikings
Upcoming Opponents: KC, @ARZ
With Michael Bennett sidelined due to an ankle injury,
rookie Onterrio Smith carried the bulk of the load Sunday.
All he did was rack up 148 yards on 27 carries. This
week the Vikings face the Chiefs, a team that gives up
145.5 rushing yards per game. Monitor the updates on
Bennett this week. If he can’t play, Onterrio Smith
is certainly worth starting against Kansas City.
Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
Upcoming Opponents: @PIT, OAK
Gates has had two solid fantasy performances in his last
three games, including a five-catch 117-yard effort Sunday
against the Packers. Quarterback Drew Brees honed in
on Gates all game, throwing his way 11 times. With David
Boston feeling the effects off a shoulder injury, Gates
could once again be a key player in San Diego’s
offense this week.
One Week Wonders
Brandon Stokley, WR, Colts
Upcoming Opponents: DEN, @HOU
In a huge performance, Stokley caught seven passes for
95 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. While impressive,
there’s no way you can count on Stokley in a championship
or playoff game with so many targets in the Colts passing
Derrick Blaylock, RB, Chiefs
Upcoming Opponents: @MIN, CHI
Backup running back Derrick Blaylock racked up more than
100 yards of total offense against the Lions. He can’t
be relied on for a repeat performance this week against