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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 6
Todd Gray
October 12, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy WR ’s To Own Comment
1 MIN Randy Moss Played second fiddle to Marcus Robinson on Sunday – but only in fantasy returns. No. 2 receivers had better have big games with a No. 1 WR like Moss altering defenses the way he does.
2 PHI Terrell Owens Following a week off, Owens could face a stiff test against struggling Carolina on Sunday. Still, smart money is that he will score for the fifth game in a row.
3 HOU Andre Johnson There seems to be no stopping the Johnson-David Carr connection, although the competition (Tennessee, bye, Jacksonville, Denver) does stiffen in the coming weeks.
4 GB Javon Walker Sure, many of his 159 yards on Monday came as the Packers were desperately trying to throw their way back into the game, but the fantasy points count all the same. Leads the league in receiving yardage (535) and is third in TDs (5).
5 STL Torry Holt Rams dismantled Seattle’s defense late, but things don’t get any easier the next two weeks against Tampa Bay (No. 4 passing defense) and Miami (No. 1).
6 PIT Hines Ward Has officially hit a speed bump, but not to worry. Could take a slight hit in stats with rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger at the helm, but remains one of the safest bets in fantasy play.
7 IND Marvin Harrison Seventy-plus yards receiving in only one of five games this season and the recipient of only three of 14 Peyton Manning TD passes. A bye week this week followed by a home game versus Jacksonville bode for a slow turnaround.
8 STL Isaac Bruce Three passing TDs for Bulger against the Seahawks, none to Holt or Bruce. Continues to get the most looks in the league, but projected for only three of four TDs.
9 TEN Derrick Mason Another strong, if not otherworldly, performance for Mason in the Titans’ shellacking of the Packers. Look for more good things when resurgent Tennessee hosts the Texans on Sunday.
10 NO Joe Horn Top dog in a sputtering offense. Saints should snap out of their offensive doldrums when they play the Vikings and Raiders in Weeks 6 & 7, respectively.

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

Climbing The Ladder

Darrell Jackson (SEA) – Jackson had been relatively quiet this season until he produced his first TD along with 91 yards against the Rams. That makes three of four games with more than 90 yards receiving this season, despite QB Matt Hasselbeck averaging a rather pedestrian 215.8 yards passing – a figure that’s certain to increase. Just as importantly, it appears that Jackson has overcome his Achilles’ heel of a year ago – dropped passes – and is apparently the only Seattle wideout who has done so. Barring any drastic circumstances, Jackson appears a safe bet to finish the year as a top-10 or -15 wideout.

Plaxico Burress (PIT) – A third consecutive Burress sighting and his fifth consecutive improved performance has numerous fantasy owners believing they can start the big WR again with some degree of confidence. He’s building great chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger – much more so than he did with Tommy Maddox at QB – and is the big rookie’s No. 1 target and best downfield threat when Big Ben rolls out of the pocket. Burress has a history of teasing fantasy owners by sprinkling a small handful of big games in with numerous no-shows, but all signs in Pittsburgh point to greater offensive stability in the near future.

Nate Burleson (MIN) – So Marcus Robinson is off your free agent board (and has been)? You don’t need 150 yards and a pair of TDs to make a fantasy impact. Those fortunate few fantasy owners in a pinch who enlisted Burleson for a week of action were rewarded with his first TD of the season, albeit with scant yardage (16). Considering that the Vikings have thrown for 50 or so more yards than any other team in the NFL on a weekly basis, and that Robinson produces only every third game or so, Burleson should continue to be on the radar as a fantasy consideration. For the season, he has accumulated only 30 fewer yards than Robinson (218-188) on only one fewer catch (14-13). Better yet, the Vikings get the struggling Saints’ soft pass defense this weekend.

Sliding Back

Amani Toomer (NYG) – The Giants are winning, QB Kurt Warner looks at least a bit like his old self, and RB Tiki Barber is tearing things up. Unfortunately for Toomer owners, the Giants’ fine season is not translating into fantasy success as he has played well but has only one game of more than 70 yards receiving to his credit and zero TDs. Warner has thrown for more than 232 yards only once, a pace that appears likely to continue in head coach Tom Coughlin’s offense. So, while Toomer may help the Giants win games this season with his consistent play, he is due for a dip in TD production, if not yardage totals, from 2003.

Roy Williams (DET) – Williams left Ford Field on crutches on Sunday after spraining his ankle in the third quarter of the Lions’ win over Atlanta. The good news is that X-rays revealed that the rookie receiver doesn’t have a high ankle sprain as was originally feared and is currently listed as day-to-day. The not-so-good news is that if Williams isn’t back on the practice field by Friday, he’ll probably miss the Lions’ home tilt against Green Bay and the Packers’ porous passing defense. After that, the Lions play four straight games against teams ranked in the top half of the league in passing defense (Giants, Cowboys, Redskins, Jaguars). This may be the time to unload the upstart the young WR who has become a valuable fantasy commodity in the eyes of many.

Jerry Porter (OAK) – So, when was it that Porter was supposed to make fans forget about Tim Brown and Jerry Rice? Sometime in 2002? This season’s tally: five games, zero TDs and one game with more than 45 yards receiving. The Raiders’ offense clearly has more than a little crack in it, and it seems that Kerry Collins may indeed not be a better alternative to Rich Gannon. The Raiders have a handful of young receivers, and Porter may turn out to be just another one of them.