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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 2
Paul Sandy
September 14, 2004

Free Agent Forecast is back for another season. This year, an enhanced format provides a quick reference to the top potential waiver wire acquisitions in fantasy football. Whether your league is an 8-team redraft league or a 16-team keeper league, the Forecast aims to help you uncover fantasy talent, often weeks in advance of a player’s breakout performance.

QUARTERBACKS

1. Carson Palmer, Bengals

Last Week’s Stats

18 comp.

27 att.

248 yds.

2 TDs

10 rush yds.

Breakout Performer

Carson Palmer was one of my preseason sleepers and he continues to impress. The second-year QB accumulated nearly 250 passing yards Sunday and had a long completion to Chad Johnson called back because of a penalty. Many owners will be leery of starting such a young quarterback week in and week out, but Palmer has given every indication that he is capable of producing similar numbers to those of Jon Kitna in 2003. Expect the former Heisman Trophy winner to consistently exceed 200+ yards and rack-up a fair amount of multiple-TD games.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

 

MIA

BAL

@PIT

BYE

@CLE


2. Jake Plummer, Broncos

Last Week’s Stats

18 comp.

29 att.

230 yds.

2 TDs

33 rush yds.

Breakout Performer

Jake “the Snake” had a miserable preseason and was bypassed in many fantasy drafts in favor of upside quarterbacks like David Carr and Joey Harrington. Plummer has been notoriously inconsistent throughout his career and needs to show he can post good stats week in and week out before he should be trusted as a weekly starter. However, if you’re looking for a backup QB who has the potential to emerge as an every-week contributor, you’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Plummer.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

 

@JAX

SD

@TAM

CAR

@OAK


3. Vinny Testaverde, Cowboys

Last Week’s Stats

29 comp.

50 att.

355 yds.

1 TD

0 rush yds.

Breakout Performer

Testaverde probably won’t attempt 50 passes in a single game again this season. Nonetheless, all signs are pointing to him being a decent fantasy football quarterback in 2004. He threw some beautiful passes Sunday against the Vikings, including a spectacular 35-yard touchdown to Terry Glenn as time expired in the first half. Snatch him up this week if he’s available. He faces some favorable passing match-ups during the stretch of bye weeks, including the Giants, Steelers, Packers, Lions and Packers. He figures to be an excellent spot starter when your top QB is one bye or faces a tough opponent.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

 

CLE

@WAS

BYE

NYG

PIT

One Week Wonders: Drew Brees

RUNNING BACKS

1. Lamar Gordon, Dolphins

Last Week’s Stats

12 car.

32 yds.

5 rec.

30 yds.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

Gordon was acquired by the Dolphins in a trade with St. Louis last week. He wasn’t expected to see much action in Week 1, but he ended up getting a fair amount of work in Saturday’s loss to the Titans. Look for Gordon to become Miami’s primary ball carrier this week and to average 20+ touches per game for the rest of the season. If your league doesn’t allow adds/drops until after Week 1, he’s very likely available. Make acquiring him a priority; he should be a quality #3 RB who can be trusted for the occasional start, including next week against the Bengals.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

@CIN

PIT

NYJ

@NE

@BUF


2. Onterrio Smith, Vikings

Last Week’s Stats

15 car.

76 yds.

1 rec.

63 yds.

1 TD

Breakout Performer

Smith went undrafted in many smaller leagues because he was supposed to be suspended for the first four games. His appeal has been delayed, giving him the opportunity to play for the near future while Michael Bennett nurses a knee sprain. Smith took advantage of the opportunity in a big way Sunday, gaining 139 all-purpose yards. Look for another quality performance next Monday night when the Vikings face the Eagles.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

 

Keeper League Prospect

Available In Small Leagues Only

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

 

@PHI

CHI

BYE

@HOU

@NO


3. Maurice Morris, Seahawks

Last Week’s Stats

4 car.

10 yds.

0 rec.

0 yds.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

Shaun Alexander owners were feeling high and mighty Sunday until their workhorse collapsed on the turf grasping his knee. Early reports have Alexander missing at most two games with what is being termed a bruised knee. Look for him to be listed as questionable this week and likely be a game-time decision. If Morris went undrafted in your league, he will likely be a hot commodity on the waiver wire. As a potential fill-in on one of the most potent offenses in the league, Morris certainly deserves starting consideration, especially against a Buccaneers defense that appears to be a shadow of its former self.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

@TAM

SF

BYE

STL

@NE


4. Antowain Smith, Titans

Last Week’s Stats

11 car.

40 yds.

1 rec.

1 yd.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

Chris Brown turned his ankle after busting a 52-yard run against the Dolphins last week. Reports suggest Brown is feeling better, but if own him, you better play it safe and grab Antowain Smith this week. Smith looked decent in the second half Saturday, although he did cough up the ball two times. If he starts, look for at least 60-70 all-purpose yards and a possible score against the Colts.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

 

IND

JAX

@SD

@GB

HOU

One Week Wonders: None

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. David Terrell, Bears

Last Week’s Stats

5 rec.

126 yards

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

Terrell had been written off as a bust by fantasy owners, but a coaching change in Chicago has given him new life. The fourth-year WR led all NFL wideouts in Week 1 with 126 yards receiving. He added 20 yards rushing. With Marty Booker now out of the picture, Terrell is Chicago’s number one receiving threat. Look for him to become QB Rex Grossman’s go-to guy this season. He should have 8-10 passes thrown in his direction on most weeks. Make him your top WR free agent this week based on sheer potential.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

Spot Starter

 

Keeper League Prospect

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

@GB

@MIN

PHI

BYE

WAS


2. Eddie Kennison, Chiefs

Last Week’s Stats

6 rec.

101 yards

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez was shut down when Denver unconventionally assigned the task of covering Gonzalez to their best cover corner, Champ Bailey. If defensive coordinators successfully take a page from Denver’s book, it could negatively impact Tony Gonzalez’s numbers and boost Kennison’s. Kennison is the type of player who may even be available in 12-team leagues because most owners assume he’s reached his peak and can’t be a 1,000 yard WR. That may prove to be true, but his 101-yard performance earns him a roster spot this week.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

CAR

HOU

@BAL

BYE

@JAX


3. Michael Clayton, Buccaneers

Last Week’s Stats

7 rec.

53 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

Joey Galloway aggravated a groin injury that had been bothering him during the preseason and he will miss 4-6 weeks. The Buccaneers were already missing Keenan McCardell (holdout), Joe Jurevicius (back) and Charles Lee (leg). That knocking sound you hear out of south Florida is opportunity rapping on rookie Michael Clayton’s door. Pick him up this week and don’t be afraid to plug him into your lineup over the next few weeks. As he becomes more familiar with Brad Johnson and the offense, Clayton could make a run for rookie of the year honors.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

SEA

@OAK

DEN

@NO

@STL


4. David Patten, Patriots

Last Week’s Stats

4 rec.

86 yds.

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

This preseason Deion Branch was a popular sleeper pick. David Givens also drew some attention. Keeper league owners had their eye on Bethel Johnson. Troy Brown is a reliable veteran. The guy who was most often overlooked is David Patten. But after a four catch, 84-yard performance in primetime on Thursday, Patten is starting to turn some heads. The Patriots began the season with an extended drive that didn’t include a single rushing play. This is a team that trusts its quarterback. Brady will put the ball in the air. With so many options, Patten might not be the most consistent WR, but he could be that explosive guy you need when one of your other WRs is on bye.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

@ARZ

BYE

@BUF

MIA

SEA


5. Cedrick Wilson, 49ers

Last Week’s Stats

7 rec.

94 yds.

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

If a San Francisco receiver was picked in your draft, chances are his name was Brandon Lloyd. While Lloyd posted just 29 yards on four receptions, Cedrick Wilson played a more prominent role, grabbing seven receptions for 94 yards and a TD. If Wilson’s success is to continue, it will be without starting QB Tim Rattay. Rattay separated his shoulder and is expected to miss at least this week’s game.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

@NO

@SEA

STL

ARZ

@NYJ


6. Az-Zahir Hakim, Lions

Last Week’s Stats

3 rec.

29 yds

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

Poor Charles Rogers sustained another broken collarbone and will miss the entire 2004 season. Rogers’ misfortune opens up an opportunity for Az-Zahir Hakim, who is as healthy as he’s been in quite some time. Hakim caught three passes for 29 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s victory over the rival Bears. While he doesn’t have the upside of some of the other recommended receivers, Hakim is certainly capable of contributing to fantasy teams in larger leagues.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

 

Spot Starter

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

HOU

PHI

BYE

@ATL

GB

One Week Wonders: Doug Gabriel and Brandon Stokley

TIGHT ENDS

1. Antonio Gates, Chargers

Last Week’s Stats

8 rec.

123 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

Gates opened up the season with a huge game against the Texans Sunday, catching eight passes for 123 yards. If you waited in your draft to select a tight end and your pick didn’t pan out in Week 1, acquiring Gates should be a priority. He’s a TE built in the Shannon Sharpe mold – a guy who will be used almost exclusively as a receiver, not a blocker. An unstable QB situation could cause him some problems down the line, but for now Gates appears to be a decent TE.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

Spot Starter

 

Keeper League Prospect

Available In Small Leagues Only

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

 

NYJ

@DEN

TEN

JAX

@ATL


2. Erron Kinney

Last Week’s Stats

1 rec.

1 yd.

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

 

For years, Frank Wycheck was a fixture in the Tennessee Titans offense. With Wycheck’s retirement, Erron Kinney is now Tennessee’s top tight end. Kinney only had one reception last week for one yard, but it was a touchdown. While many owners will scoff at his minimal opportunities, Forecast readers should realize the Titans only threw 14 passes in the entire game. That number promises to escalate this week when Tennessee faces the Colts, a team that surrendered nine receptions and a touchdown to tight ends last week against the Patriots.

Short-Term Injury Replacement

 

Long-Term Injury Replacement

 

Depth Chart Climber

 

Weekly Starter

Spot Starter

 

Keeper League Prospect

 

Available In Small Leagues Only

 

Upcoming Opponents

Favorable Match-Up Next Week

IND

JAX

@SD

@GB

HOU

One Week Wonders: None