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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 5
Paul Sandy
October 5, 2004

QUARTERBACKS

1. Tim Rattay, 49ers

Last Week’s Stats

31 comp.

47 att.

299 yds.

2 TDs

 

Breakout Performer

Rattay certainly isn’t the sexiest fantasy QB in the league, but he’s looking like a more than capable backup. He’s started two games so far this season and logged two touchdown passes in each. In Sunday’s game against the Rams, Rattay attempted 47 passes. The 49ers have an injury-ravaged defense and will be playing from behind all season, so expect more 40-attempt games. That should lead to plenty of 225+ yard games. If you need a bye week filler for Donovan McNabb or Trent Green, Rattay is a solid choice.

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

@NYJ

BYE

@CHI

SEA


2. Josh McCown, Cardinals

Last Week’s Stats

12 comp.

18 att.

157 yds

0 TDs

1 rush yd.

Breakout Performer

 

I’m fully aware that McCown has one less TD pass than running back Emmitt Smith. But I like his chances of finally breaking out this weekend against the 49ers. San Francisco was thoroughly whipped by St. Louis Sunday night. Although they held Marc Bulger under 200 passing yards, it could’ve been much, much worse. They also lost starting right cornerback Mike Rumph with a broken arm. Look for McCown to exploit the weakened secondary and toss one or two TDs with good yardage to boot.

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

@SF

BYE

SEA

@BUF

@MIA

One Week Wonders: None

RUNNING BACKS

1. Moe Williams, Vikings

Last Week’s Stats

BYE

 

 

 

 

Breakout Performer

After a lot of preseason hype, Williams has become a forgotten man in Minnesota. But with Onterrio Smith’s pending suspension and Michael Bennett suffering a setback, Williams re-enters the limelight. He is the projected starter for the next 2-3 weeks in what is shaping up to be one of the NFL’s highest-powered offenses. If he was dropped in your league earlier this year, pick him up. Williams has been battling a calf injury and hasn’t played lately. Monitor his status this week, but don’t hesitate to get him in your lineup if he gets the green light to play, as is expected. Favorable match-ups in the next few weeks make the versatile back an even more attractive acquisition.

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

@NO

TEN

NYG

IND


2. Amos Zereoue, Raiders

Last Week’s Stats

14 car.

117 yds.

2 rec.

17 yds.

2 TDs

Breakout Performer

Zereoue promises to be the hot free agent acquisition in most leagues this week. He exploded Sunday for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While it was an eye-opening performance, fantasy owners have been down this path with Zereoue before. He has four career 100-yard games, but has never provided the consistency to be a reliable fantasy player. Acquire him this week in case the former Steelers RB reinvents himself in Oakland. It’s worth noting that head coach Norv Turner has indicated Zereoue and Justin Fargas will share the load if Tyrone Wheatley (shoulder) misses time. Zereoue is a decent starter this week against Indy, but beyond that, don’t expect much.

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

DEN

NO

@SD

@CAR


3. Mewelde Moore, Vikings

Last Week’s Stats

BYE

 

 

 

 

Breakout Performer

 

If Moe Williams can’t go this week, Mewelde Moore likely becomes the starter. He’s a cat-quick running back who is built in the same mold as Amos Zereoue, the RB who torched the team Moore will play on Sunday. As a rookie, Moore is an unknown entity, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him succeed in Minnesota’s offense. Acquire him this week and expect him to get in on the action over the course of the next few weeks. He’ll be gold if Moe Williams can’t play.

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

@NO

TEN

NYG

IND


4. Shawn Bryson, Lions

Last Week’s Stats

BYE

 

 

 

 

Breakout Performer

 

The Lions were on a bye last week, which may have caused some owners to forget Detroit has some injury issues at running back. Starter Kevin Jones is expected to miss at least this week’s game with a sprained ankle. It’s unclear whether Bryson or Artose Pinner will get the start. However, Bryson is the more experienced player and should be considered the favorite at this point.

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

 

@ATL

GB

@NYG

@DAL

WAS


5. Chester Taylor, Ravens

Last Week’s Stats

1 car.

4 yds.

2 rec.

9 yds.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, Jamal Lewis has reached a plea agreement in his federal drug trafficking case. Pending approval by the judge, Lewis will serve a short jail sentence in the offseason. The bigger news here is that the NFL may come down with a swift punishment for Lewis. It’s not known whether he’ll get a slap on the wrist in the form of a fine or a more significant penalty that includes a suspension. If you’re a Lewis owner, Chester Taylor should be on your roster. He’ll fill the starting role if Lewis misses time.

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

BYE

BUF

@PHI

CLE


6. Jonathan Wells, Texans

Last Week’s Stats

26 car.

105 yds.

1 rec.

28 yds.

1 TD

Breakout Performer

Texans starting running back Dominick Davis missed last week’s game with a sprained ankle. It’s unclear if he will be able to suit up for this week’s game against Minnesota. If Davis sits out, Wells could have another big day. The Vikings can be run on and they’ve given up four rushing touchdowns in three games this season. Acquire Wells this week and consider using him as a starter.

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

MIN

@TEN

BYE

JAC

@DEN


7. Anthony Thomas, Bears

Last Week’s Stats

0 car.

0 yds

0 rec.

0 yds.

0 TDs

Breakout Performer

 

With Thomas Jones exceeding all expectations, the Bears might be inclined to deal Anthony Thomas. In fact, Thomas has stated publicly that he thinks he’ll be traded. The A-Train is in a contract year and likely won’t be back with the Bears in 2005. The team apparently has several suitors, including Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Dallas and Miami. If you’re in a bigger league and can spare a roster spot, acquire Thomas this week and hold him. The Bears are on bye and may spend their time off looking for an opportunity to trade their former starter.

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

WAS

@TAM

SF

@NYG

One Week Wonders: Troy Hambrick and Jesse Chatman

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Lee Evans, Bills

Last Week’s Stats

4 rec.

93 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

It appears rookie Lee Evans has supplanted the once promising Josh Reed as Buffalo’s number two receiver. Evans had a fine day Sunday against an above-average New England secondary. This season has seen several rookie wideouts emerge as quality fantasy starters, especially Roy Williams and Michael Clayton, so don’t write off Evans as a one-week wonder. QB Drew Bledsoe has been taking a lot of heat lately, but he’s completing 60 percent of his passes. He still can get it done when given enough time. Pick up Evans and don’t be afraid to use him if you’re facing bye week or injury issues.

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

MIA

@BAL

ARZ

NYJ


2. David Patten, Patriots

Last Week’s Stats

5 rec.

113 yds.

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

Patten has been recommended here before. He’s one of those ‘tweeners who typically move back and forth between the waiver wire and rosters. After a solid game Sunday, he’ll likely draw plenty of attention on this week’s free agent market. While it can be frustrating to own New England receivers, Patten and David Givens have become a bit more valuable and reliable of late. Troy Brown and Deion Branch are nursing injuries. As long as they’re out, Patten is a very good starter.

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

SEA

NYJ

@PIT

@STL


3. Curtis Conway, 49ers

Last Week’s Stats

6 rec.

55 yds.

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

Admittedly, I was a Conway skeptic back in Week 2 when he caught eight passes for 112 yards. I figured once Cedrick Wilson returned from injury Conway would disappear. I was somewhat right as the following week, he only caught three passes for 14 yards. But here Conway is in Week 4, making me reconsider. He hooked up with Tim Rattay on Sunday for six receptions and a touchdown. If you drafted receivers like Peerless Price and Koren Robinson who are failing to live up to expectations, then Conway could be a solid acquisition, as the 49ers will be throwing 35-40 passes on most 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

ARZ

@NYJ

BYE

@CHI

SEA


4. Randy Hymes, Ravens

Last Week’s Stats

2 rec.

68 yds.

1 TD

 

 

Breakout Performer

Hymes was recommended here last week, and if he wasn’t picked up in your league, he might be this week. He hooked up with QB Kyle Boller on a picture-perfect flea flicker Monday night. Hymes has stepped up his game while Baltimore’s leading pass catchers, Todd Heap and Travis Taylor, are missing time with injuries. At the rate Hymes is progressing, don’t expect him to give up his starting spot when they return.

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

BYE

BUF

@PHI

CLE


5. Ronald Curry, Raiders

Last Week’s Stats

5 rec.

69 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

I’m still not ready to trust Curry enough to give him a start on any of my fantasy squads, but I can’t argue with his productivity thus far. He has two touchdowns in four games and has posted 60+ yards twice – a total of what I would deem three quality starts. Raiders QB Kerry Collins will improve as the year goes on. Pay attention over the next few weeks to see who emerges as his favorite receiver. Many owners continue to hope that Jerry Porter will finally become Oakland’s next big-time wideout. Don’t hold your breath. Curry has as good of a chance as anyone.

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

DEN

NO

@SD

@CAR


6. Chris Horn, Chiefs

Last Week’s Stats

5 rec.

60 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

Chris Horn is a solid prospect in leagues with 12+ teams. Kansas City has been looking for a go-to wide receiver ever since Joe Horn left for New Orleans. Ironically, they may have found one in a guy who shares his last name. Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison have both produced some good games in their stints in KC, but they will never be reliable fantasy receivers. If you own either one of them, consider making a quick swap for Horn, who has more upside.

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

@JAC

ATL

IND

 

One Week Wonders: Shaun McDonald and Andre Davis

TIGHT ENDS

1. Freddie Jones, Cardinals

Last Week’s Stats

3 rec.

36 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

 

With Tony Gonzalez and the Eagles tight ends on bye, plenty of owners will be looking for an adequate replacement. There’s no debating that Freddie Jones has been a big disappointment in 2004. So far he hasn’t had a game with 50 yards or more. But Arizona’s offense finally woke up last week and they should have more success against the 49ers on Sunday. Jones should get you a minimum of four receptions and has a good chance to catch a TD pass. San Francisco has given up touchdowns to tight ends in two of their four games this season.

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

@SF

BYE

SEA

@BUF

@MIA


2. Ben Troupe, Titans

Last Week’s Stats

1 rec.

8 yds.

0 TDs

 

 

Breakout Performer

 

With Erron Kinney out indefinitely, Shad Meier stepped into the starting role and proceeded to catch nine passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. He would be a solid free agent acquisition with the Packers on the schedule. However, Meier will be listed as questionable this week with an ankle injury. Monitor his status, but expect rookie Ben Troupe to step into a starting role. The Titans should have little trouble moving the ball and scoring on the Packers this week. That should give Troupe an excellent chance to post strong TE stats at Lambeau.

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

HOU

@MIN

CIN

BYE

One Week Wonders: Jeremi Johnson and Aaron Shea

Defense / Special Teams

Arizona Cardinals

Last Week’s Stats

10 pts. alw.

2 FR

0 INT

1 TD

1 Sack

Breakout Performer

Looking for a bye week sub for the Eagles defense? You might find one in the most unlikely place: Arizona. The Cardinals are playing inspired football under head coach Dennis Green. They only allow an average of 14 points per game. More importantly, they’ve generated 11 turnovers, which puts them among the league’s best. A favorable match-up this week against San Francisco makes them a sneaky one-week acquisition and 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

@SF

BYE

SEA

@BUF

@MIA

One Week Wonders: None