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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 2
Todd Gray
September 14, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy WR ’s To Own Comment

1

MIN

Randy Moss

Two TD grabs for Moss and QB Daunte Culpepper looks better than ever. The yards (only 27 against Dallas) are right around the corner.

2

IND

Marvin Harrison

A disappointment fantasy-wise in week one, but 44 yards and a TD at New England doesn’t exactly diminish one’s value.

3

PHI

Terrell Owens

An upgrade seems prudent following Sunday’s performance. Looks like Owens and McNabb will have a special relationship. No coincidence it was one of McNabb’s biggest days as a pro.

4

STL

Torry Holt

Recent bouts with back spasms couldn’t keep Holt from grabbing seven balls for 96 yards, but considering his recent history against the Cardinals ( 141, 133 and 145 receiving yards the last three games), something may have been nagging at him.

5

CIN

Chad Johnson

Makes it clear early – and with a new QB – that he won’t miss a beat this year.

6

PIT

Hines Ward

Typical Ward – seven catches, 99 yards. Expect more of the same, week in and week out.

7

TEN

Derrick Mason

The bad news? Three catches, 51 yards, zero TDs. The good news? Those 51 yards were good for almost 70 percent of the Titans’ receiving total. Drops a notch due to the Titans’ renewed commitment to rush teams to death whenever possible.

8

NO

Joe Horn

An encouraging start (6 catches, 110) despite not finding the end zone.

9

NYJ

Santana Moss

Lots of grabs (8), a handful of yards (55), zero TDs. Big game likely at San Diego on Sunday.

10

STL

Isaac Bruce

On a lesser offense, this is a stretch. But this is St. Louis, and go-to guy Torry Holt may not be 100 percent.

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

Climbing The Ladder

Deion Branch (NE) – Branch followed a strong preseason with a solid opener (7 catches, 86 yards, 1 TD) in which he was QB Tom Brady’s favorite target. Brady does seem to favor the WR-by-committee approach, but Branch is the front-runner to emerge from the pack as his QB’s go-to guy. He’ll get his chances, for sure, and he appears to be the type of player who’ll capitalize on those opportunities.

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – It’s now evident that Fitzgerald will play a substantial role in the Cardinals’ offense this season, even more so given that last year’s NFC Rookie of the year, Anquan Boldin, remains out for a long spell. Fitzgerald’s four catches for 70 yards against St. Louis wasn’t exactly fantasy gold, but no fewer than three of those four grabs were highlight material and he’s already established himself as a mature presence on and off the field. Though Fitzgerald may not have a rookie year of Boldinesque proportions, he’s certain to make some fantasy noise.

David Terrell (CHI) – Terrell was both fantastic and frustrating against the Lions. The good: five catches and a career-high 126 yards. The bad: two stupid penalties that cost the Bears big. Still, he was one of few offensive players for Chicago who looked like a consistent threat, and it’s clear that he’s the Bears’ No. 1 WR, hands-down. Keep in mind that Terrell always felt stifled in Chicago’s old offense, and that he has looked great – preseason included – since the arrival of head coach Lovie Smith and the departure of Marty Booker (trade).

Viking WRs other than Moss (MIN) – Daunte Culpepper will throw for a ton of yards and TDs this season, and there should be plenty of both left over after Randy Moss gets his share. Moss appears to have his best supporting cast in some time in the persons of Marcus Robinson, Kelly Campbell and Nate Burleson, all of whom should have multiple big games throughout the season. The challenge is to win this shell game on a weekly basis.

Sliding Back

Jerry Rice (OAK) – Maybe the time has finally arrived. Rice started against the Steelers, but he spent much of the second half of the Raiders’ loss on the sidelines and finished the game with a paltry two catches and 22 yards. Meanwhile, youngster Doug Gabriel came up big and QB Rich Gannon shared the ball with 11 different receivers. Of note: Gabriel may be on the fringe of being a bona fide fantasy sleeper.

Plaxico Burress (PIT) – Maybe there was a lot of foretelling in last season’s drastic decline in production. Granted, one week does not a year make (1 catch, 13 yards), but such feeble stats at home against Oakland? Burress did little, if anything, to distinguish himself from his WR teammates (minus Hines Ward). It definitely looks like there is only one receiver with true fantasy value on this squad.

Joey Galloway (TB) – The tear in Galloway’s left groin will keep him out for 4-to-6 weeks. Rookie Michael Clayton will likely start opposite Tim Brown in Galloway’s absence, but neither will produce much from a fantasy perspective or otherwise.

Charles Rogers (DET) – Rogers is officially out for the season after breaking his right clavicle for the second time in less than a year. WR Roy Williams’ value gets a boost, but it’s unlikely that any other Lions wideout (Tai Streets, Az-Zahir Hakim, etc.) will make much noise.