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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 5
Todd Gray
October 5, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy WR ’s To Own Comment
1 MIN Randy Moss It’s clearly become a two-horse race at the top. Should find the pickings fairly easy this week in Houston in order to stay a notch ahead of…
2 PHI Terrell Owens Sore thumb can’t keep Owens from 8 grabs, 110 yards. He can’t help but score these days.
3 STL Torry Holt Against 49ers, had his least productive performance (3 catches, 28 yards, 0 TD) since September 23, 2001. Hardly a trend, but worth noting.
4 PIT Hines Ward A down week fantasy-wise, but Mr. Consistency should get right back at it. A home date against Cleveland on Sunday should help.
5 IND Marvin Harrison He may or may not be as good as ever, but Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. On paper, Harrison hasn’t outperformed either of them.
6 STL Isaac Bruce Four games, four 100+-yard performances. A few trips to the end zone would be nice, but who’s complaining?
7 NO Joe Horn Sore knee slows Horn in Arizona – or was it the Saints’ inept offense? Deuce needed back badly.
8 TEN Derrick Mason Twelve catches for 94 yards against the Chargers puts Mason back on the map. Waiting for the TDs…
9 GB Javon Walker His streak of 200-yard, 3-TD games ends at one, but Walker still managed a touchdown grab during the Packers’ tumultuous QB round robin on Sunday.
10 HOU Andre Johnson Six catches, 115 yards against a very good pair of Oakland CBs on Sunday. Has been producing week in, week out.

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

Climbing The Ladder

Eric Moulds (BUF) – If there’s one sure thing in Buffalo, it’s that Moulds is, has been, and will be QB Drew Bledsoe’s No. 1 option. The Bills would love to keep the ball on the ground much more than they have been, but this team will spend plenty of time playing catch-up this year, which should be a positive as it relates to Moulds’ stats. His 10 catches and 126 yards receiving against New England in Week 4 were both season highs, and more importantly Moulds made his third trip to the end zone in as many games – the only three offensive touchdowns for the Bills on the season.

David Patten/David Givens (NE) – Tom Brady loves to spread the ball around to his full complement of receivers, but the number of WRs whom he can target is getting smaller by the week.   WR Deion Branch, Brady’s favorite target at the start of the season, has been slow to recover from a knee injury he suffered in Week 2 against Arizona, and the Pats lost two more WRs – Troy Brown (arm) and Bethel Johnson (hand) – against the Bills on Sunday. It’s unclear when any of the aforementioned injured players will return to action, but suffice it to say that Brady has fewer options these days. Meanwhile, Patten has reached 80 yards receiving in two of three games while adding a pair of TDs, and Givens has amassed at least 80 yards in each of the Pats’ three contests this season despite not finding the end zone. This level of productivity should at the minimum remain constant until New England’s other receivers return to health.

Michael Clayton (TB) – Sure, he’s a rookie, but he also happens to be the Bucs’ only true receiving threat – unless you count Bill Schroeder (didn’t think so). Clayton capped a promising first month of regular season play with 91 yards and a TD on Sunday in his first career start. As an added bonus, he may field kickoffs and punts in the near future, as well.

Sliding Back

Chris Chambers (MIA) – The good news: Chambers (knee) will be back on the field in Week 5. The bad news: the Dolphins will be at New England, followed by a tilt in Buffalo in Week 6. More bad news: Chambers may not have an opportunity to make a fantasy impact this season given the sorry state of the Dolphins’ “offense.” Even when he can overcome the odds and put together a decent performance, Miami’s ‘O’ has had trouble getting anywhere near the end zone on its own merit and that probably won’t change much. So even if the yards are there – and they probably won’t be – the TDs will be few and far between.

Chad Johnson (CIN) – Where’s Jon Kitna when you need him? The Bengals’ rush to get to the future may have taken them back to the past. Teams are having little trouble keeping Cincinnati out of the end zone this season, and this includes Johnson. His stats are good – 20 catches, 297 yards and 14.9 yards per catch, albeit with only one TD grab – but a far cry from what was expected and well behind last season’s totals at this stage of the season (21, 370, 17.6, 3). No one expected Carson Palmer to lead the Bengals to the promised land this year, but it looks like last year’s fantasy success with Kitna at the helm has officially become a thing of the past.

Santana Moss (NYJ) – Among the three players on this list, Moss has the best chance to get back on track after a slow start to the season that culminated (or de-culminated) in his one-catch, 17-yard outing in Week 4. After all, the Jets are winning and Chad Pennington is throwing the ball well (though not often of late). New York is relying more on its running game this season and hasn’t had to force the ball downfield, and it’s paying big dividends at the expense of gaudy passing totals. Home dates against Buffalo and San Francisco in Weeks 5 & 6 will go a long way toward determining if Moss was a one-year fantasy wonder. If nothing else, it’s almost certain he won’t match his gaudy TD/catch ratio of a year ago, when he posted 10 scores on 74 catches.