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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Quarterback Watch - Week 2
Scott Boyter
September 14, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy QB’s To Own Comment
1 MIN Daunte Culpepper Five TDs against a supposedly quality defense – but gets a real test this week in Philly. Watch the weather closely.
2 PHI Donovan McNabb If Testaverde could light up MIN for 355 yards, imagine what McNabb will do – unless Hurricane Ivan remnants determine otherwise.
3 IND Peyton Manning QBs making the equivalent of Belize’s gross national product don’t get sacked at critical times. Averaged only 200 yards and had one TD against TENN in 2003.
4 NE Tom Brady Time to show Brady some love, as this is the season Brady becomes a fantasy stud. He should absolutely light up Arizona.
5 NYJ Chad Pennington Looked to be headed for a huge day but still put up solid numbers. Should have that huge day against SD.
6 GB Brett Favre Primed for a good day in home opener vs. Bears.
7 SEA Matt Hasselbeck Steady as she goes. He’ll put up solid numbers all season and mix in some spectacular ones.
8 TEN Steve McNair Don’t let Miami numbers scare you. He’ll shred the pathetic Colt pass defense.
9 KC Trent Green Difficult game against Carolina looms, but it’s the home opener for Chiefs. Now, if only Priest wouldn’t keep stealing all those TDs…
10 ATL Michael Vick Had a serviceable game against SF, but St. Louis matchup promises to be a track meet.

(Note – this listing considers the rankings of QB’s if a draft was held today)

Climbing Up The Ladder

Rich Gannon (OAK) – Talk about extremes. Gannon put up outstanding numbers against the Steelers, throwing for 305 yards and two touchdowns, but he also lost a fumble and threw two picks. But look at the total package and Gannon’s numbers would have helped a lot of fantasy teams win.

Gannon is not only healthy, he’s also shed the yoke of having Bill Callahan as his head coach. Gannon, along with the rest of the team, hated Callahan and will be a much better team without him. The 39-year-old was an afterthought for most fantasy players and should be available on a lot of free agency lists. Everybody has some dead weight on their team – shed yours and pick this guy up.

Drew Brees (SD) – Another QB laughed at by everyone on fantasy draft day, Brees shut up a whole lot of naysayers in Week 1 against Houston. Now no one is confusing the Texans D with the ’85 Bears, but Brees did more than hold his own in the Chargers’ 27-24 win, throwing for 209 yards and two TDs. Like Gannon, Brees is languishing on untold numbers of free agent lists and is definitely worth a look.

Jeff Garcia (CLE) – Garcia didn’t set the world on fire against Baltimore, but he did put up a double-digit point total in most fantasy leagues. He seems to have to valid pass catching targets in Quincy Morgan and Kellen Winslow, and can still do some damage with his legs as well. Again, he’s a guy who’s probably available in leagues with from eight to 10 teams, and tucked way down the bench in larger leagues. After what the Cowboy and Giant defenses threw out there in Week 1, Garcia could be worth some serious points in his next two games.

Sliding Back

Joey Harrington (DET) – The loss of Charles Rogers puts Harrington right back in the same place he was last season – having one possible go-to guy as a receiver (When has Az-Zahir Hakim ever been The Man?). And that guy, Roy Williams, is a rookie. Other than a stretch from Weeks 11-15 ( Minnesota, Indianapolis, Arizona, Minnesota – excluding Green Bay) where he’ll face subpar pass defenses, Harrington’s schedule is too tough. Either unload him on a sucker or ditch him outright.

Aaron Brooks (NO) – Brooks will regain top 10 status fairly soon, but he missed too much time in the preseason to not be at least a little out of sync. His performance against Seattle was merely pedestrian (207/1 TD/1 INT), and that was against a pass defense that ranked No. 27 in 2003. And it was in the Saints’ home opener. He gets a test against the 49ers next week. Consider shelving Brooks until Week 3, when his timing should be sharp and the competition begins to look relatively weak (he faces St. Louis, Arizona, Minnesota, San Diego and Kansas City in upcoming weeks).

Kurt Warner (NYG) – Unless he gets fitted with a bionic right thumb, it’s time to officially term Warner’s career done. He can’t survive behind the porous Giant line, and his hand isn’t healthy enough for him to perform at full strength. His has become a sad story in shockingly quick fashion.

Byron Leftwich (JAX) – Give him credit for the late game drive and the last second pass that won the game against Buffalo. But he had to rely on a miraculous Jimmy Smith 45-yard reception on fourth-and-14 to get to that point. Leftwich has all of a sudden gone from being sleeper to being a liability on fantasy teams. The guy didn’t lead his team to a touchdown in four preseason games, and stunk up Ralph Wilson Stadium for 55 minutes last Sunday. There are a lot of whispers in Jacksonville that David Garrard is better than Leftwich. A couple of more games like last Sunday from Leftwich and we’ll all get to find out pretty quickly.