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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 4
Paul Sandy
September 28, 2004

QUARTERBACKS

1. Kerry Collins, Raiders

Last Week’s Stats

16 comp.

27 att.

227 yds

1 TD

 

Breakout Performer

 

Raiders starting QB Rich Gannon is out at least six weeks with a broken neck. If your fantasy quarterback has been miserable so far in 2004 or if you have bye week issues, this is your chance. Oakland’s running game has been non-existent for much of the season, and that has led to some pretty strong passing stats. Collins has the potential to be one of the top QBs in Weeks 4 and 5 with favorable match-ups against Houston and Indy. Longer term, he could be a Top 10 QB while he’s the starter, especially considering the inconsistency we’ve seen from the likes of Favre, Green, McNair and Hasselbeck.

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

@IND

DEN

NO

@SD


2. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Last Week’s Stats

12 comp.

22 att.

163 yds.

1 TD

2 rush yds.

Breakout Performer

 

If you can’t get your hands on Collins, but you’re facing a bye week challenge, then rookie Roethlisberger should be an adequate replacement. “Big Ben” faces a reasonably easy opponent this week when Pittsburgh welcomes the Bengals to Heinz Field. I like Roethlisberger slightly more than some of the other common free agent QBs only because he has talented pass catchers – not only Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress, but Duce Staley as well. He should be good for at least 200 yards and a touchdown 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

CIN

CLE

@DAL

BYE

NE


3. Kyle Boller, Ravens

Last Week’s Stats

11 comp.

18 att.

126 yds.

1 TDs

24 rush yds.

Breakout Performer

 

Boller had a solid game Sunday against the Bengals, throwing one touchdown and rushing for another. He’s another guy you can get away with starting in Week 4. Beyond that, you should probably stay away because he’ll rarely get you more than 150 yards through the air. Boller faces the Chiefs on Monday night. I expect Jamal Lewis to get a minimum of 35 carries, but there could be enough red zone passing opportunities to make Boller a worthwhile start.

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

KC

@WAS

BYE

BUF

@PHI

One Week Wonders: Rex Grossman (inj.)

RUNNING BACKS

1. Leonard Henry, Dolphins

Last Week’s Stats

21 car.

41 yds.

0 rec.

0 yds

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

It’s Leonard Henry’s turn to take a spin on Miami’s running back carrousel. Henry replaces the injured Lamar Gordon behind what is quickly establishing the reputation as the worst offensive line in the NFL. All signs point to Henry disappointing, but if you’re desperate, give him a shot. At this point, you won’t find many opportunities to land a starting running back.

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

@NE

@BUF

STL

@NYJ


2. Mike Alstott, Buccaneers

Last Week’s Stats

12 car.

65 yds.

4 rec.

30 yds.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

Michael Pittman was recommended here last week and should be on a roster in your league by this point. Charlie Garner’s season-ending injury makes Pittman the undisputed starter, but it also ups the value of Mike Alstott. Sunday night, Alsott looked like the same bulldozing-style ball carrier he’s always been. Count on him getting plenty of opportunities, including all the goal line and short yardage work. I expect him to average about 50-60 yards per game with the occasional touchdown. That makes him a fine number four or five RB.

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

DEN

@NO

@STL

CHI

BYE


3. Richie Anderson, Cowboys

Last Week’s Stats

4 car.

20 yds.

2 rec.

41 yds

0 TD

Breakout Performer

Anderson is a utility guy. He’s a fullback/receiver/tailback/blocker wrapped all into one. Apparently, the guy can even throw the football. He hooked up with Terry Glenn on a 26-yard touchdown Monday night. Although the Cowboys are on bye this week, you might want to consider acquiring Anderson right away. His primetime performance likely caught the eye of your league mates. He’s the most explosive player they have in the backfield, and if he continues to perform at this high of a level, Anderson could eventually take on a similar role to Bryan Westbrook in Philly.

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

 

BYE

NYG

PIT

@GB

DET


4. Shawn Bryson, Lions

Last Week’s Stats

5 car.

43 yds.

0 rec.

0 yds.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

Rookie Kevin Jones suffered a high ankle sprain that could keep him out for an extended period of time. It’s unclear at this point which player will get most of Detroit’s carries. The best bet is a running back by committee situation with Bryson and Artose Pinner splitting carries. Chances are Pinner will get the most attention this week on your waiver wire, but I’m recommending Bryson instead. He’s a good receiver (he caught 54 passes last season) and that makes him an excellent fit for Steve Mariucci’s offense. If you’re a Jamal Lewis, Edgerrin James or Tiki Barber owner, Bryson is definitely worth a look because the Lions will face Green Bay in Week 6 when those RBs are 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

 

BYE

@ATL

GB

@NYG

@DAL


5. Garrison Hearst, Broncos

Last Week’s Stats

3 car.

13 yds.

0 rec.

0 yds.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

In just three weeks, Quentin Griffin has gone from the penthouse of the fantasy football world to the outhouse. Griffin averaged less than one yard per carry last week and has fumbled in three straight games. If he hasn’t already lost the confidence of head coach Mike Shanahan, another poor performance this week could seal his fate. Tatum Bell would seem to be the top replacement, and is on a roster in most fantasy leagues. However, Bell is recovering from an injured hand and hasn’t seen much action. As a result, Hearst’s number might be called. He’s known for his ability to pass block, which could make him an attractive option for a team that has a notoriously brittle QB.

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

CAR

@OAK

@CIN

ATL


6. Larry Johnson, Chiefs

Last Week’s Stats

0 car.

0 yds

0 rec.

0 yds.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

John son is rumored to be headed to the Dolphins. A trade would seem to make sense for both parties – Miami needs a RB who can average more than 1.7 yards per carry and Kansas City needs a leader in their secondary. If you’re in a league with 12+ teams and can afford a roster spot, consider making room for Johnson. He fits the mold of the bruising running back that the Dolphins seem to favor.

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

 

@BAL

BYE

JAX

ATL

IND

One Week Wonders: Vernon Haynes

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Brandon Stokley, Colts

Last Week’s Stats

8 rec.

110 yds.

2 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

Consider for a moment that Brandon Stokley has nine touchdowns in his last nine games (including playoffs). He’s on a roll and is one of those rare number three wideouts who is actually worthy of starting spot. Based on his recent performances, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Stokley on a weekly basis in deeper leagues. In small leagues, he’ll be a nice player to have as the bye weeks roll on.

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

OAK

BYE

JAX

@KC


2. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals

Last Week’s Stats

7 rec.

116 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

Cincinnati starting receiver Peter Warrick has been battling various leg injuries dating back to late last season. His current ailment, a shin bruise made him ineffective Sunday. In his place, T.J. Houshmandzadeh had himself a career day, catching seven passes for 116 yards. If Warrick’s injuries continue to nag him, Houshmandzadeh will be a quality receiver. The Bengals face some easier passing defenses in the coming weeks, including the Steelers and Browns.

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

@PIT

BYE

@CLE

DEN

@TEN


3. Randy Hymes, Ravens

Last Week’s Stats

4 rec.

61 yds.

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

Last week, I recommended Kevin Johnson, figuring the Ravens would throw to their most experienced wideout while Travis Taylor and Todd Heap recovered from injuries. That assessment appears to be well off target. Johnson was nowhere to be found Sunday. However, third-year wideout Randy Hymes had a nice game, finishing with four receptions and a touchdown. Consider grabbing Hymes if you’re desperate for receiver help. He may be worth a spot start against weaker defenses, including Kansas City 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

KC

@WAS

BYE

BUF

@PHI


4. Bill Schroeder, Buccaneers

Last Week’s Stats

4 rec.

126 yds.

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

Since he was acquired during training camp, Bill Schroeder has steadily climbed the depth chart. His ascension culminated Sunday night with an impressive 126-yard game in which he was clearly the favorite target of Brad Johnson. While Schroeder won’t wow anyone with his talent, he does understand the offense from the time he spent in Green Bay and Detroit. If Jon Gruden can get things straightened out with this team, Schroeder could be a pleasant surprise. He has some favorable match-ups over the next few weeks.

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

DEN

@NO

@STL

CHI

BYE


4. Dennis Northcutt, Browns

Last Week’s Stats

9 rec.

50 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

 

Three weeks into the season, Browns QB Jeff Garcia hasn’t really found a favorite receiver. Judging by the state of the Cleveland offense, there’s no guarantee he ever will. However, Northcutt’s nine receptions Sunday indicate he’s definitely on Garcia’s radar. If you can afford a roster spot for Northcutt, give him a chance. Running back Lee Suggs will return to action one of these weeks. When he does, it could spark the offense and lead to improved productivity for the passing 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

WAS

@PIT

CIN

PHI

BYE

One Week Wonders: Karl Williams and Jabar Gaffney

TIGHT ENDS

1. L.J. Smith, Eagles

Last Week’s Stats

4 rec.

74 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

The Eagles have been distributing the balls pretty equally to tight ends L.J. Smith and Chad Lewis. That’s never a good thing for fantasy owners. Still, you have to like the potential of L.J. Smith. So far this season, he has 10 receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns. If he can continue that pace, he will warrant a starting spot for the remainder of the year. If he’s available in your league, acquire him this week and start him this week against a depleted Bears defense.

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

 

@CHI

BYE

CAR

@CLE

BAL


2. Jeb Putzier, Broncos

Last Week’s Stats

5 rec.

66 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

While Putzier will never be confused for Shannon Sharpe, he’s starting to get more looks in the Denver offense. He caught five passes Sunday and should continue to get opportunities as he earns the trust of Mike Shanahan and Jake Plummer. If you’re in dire need of a TE this week, Putzier is worth a flier. Dwayne Carswell also factors into Denver’s offense and that makes Putzier a bit of a risk. However, its one of the most TE-friendly offenses in the league, so he’s worth a roster spot.

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

CAR

@OAK

@CIN

ATL

One Week Wonders: George Wrighster

Defense / Special Teams

New York Jets

Last Week’s Stats

BYE

 

 

 

 

Breakout Performer

 

If you look at the fantasy rankings, the Jets are near the bottom in most categories. But the Dolphins are on the schedule this week, so I have full confidence that they will have climbed up significantly by this time next week. Miami simply cannot move the football. They can’t pass. They can’t run. If you’ve been settling for a few meager sacks out of your defense, this is your opportunity to squeeze a few extra points out of an often overlooked position. Looking ahead, the Jets face some of the league’s worst offenses in four of the next five weeks.

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

BUF

SF

@NE

MIA

One Week Wonders: Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans