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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 10
Todd Gray
November 9, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy WR ’s To Own Comment
1 PHI Terrell Owens The longest unofficial active streak of quality fantasy performances for a WR comes to an end, although seven catches and 53 yards isn’t exactly a disaster. Up next for the Eagles is a month of division rivals: at Dallas, home Washington, at New York.
2 GB Javon Walker Walker owners must be licking their chops: Sunday’s anticipated shootout with Minnesota at Lambeau Field precedes matchups against a string of dubious pass defenses. He still leads the league with 783 yards receiving despite a Week 9 bye.
3 MIN Randy Moss Maybe Moss (hamstring) shouldn’t have waited 19 days for that MRI. But you have to give him credit: his refusal to believe that mere human limitations apply to him is the same quality that makes him a TD machine. His availability against Green Bay on Sunday is in serious doubt.
4 IND Marvin Harrison The WR fantasy potential that was Indianapolis versus Minnesota never materialized. Harrison did reach 800 career catches in a record 131 games – faster than any player in history and 23games fewer than it took for the previous record-holder, Randy Moss, to achieve the feat. The Colts’ schedule isn’t too intimidating in the near future, starting with Week 10’s home date against Houston.
5 HOU Andre Johnson Johnson has been relatively quiet the past couple of weeks, but Houston’s schedule seems to take a favorable turn, to say the least, beginning with tilts at Indianapolis (Week 10) and home against Green Bay (11).
6 STL Torry Holt Holt rebounded nicely with six catches, 111 yards and a TD in what has been described as the worst performance of the season for the Rams’ OL. St. Louis hosts division leader Seattle and the Seahawks’ average pass D in Week 10.
7 NO Joe Horn Horn’s two-catch, 21-yard sputter against the Chargers was his first fantasy letdown since Oct. 3 and easily his least productive game of the year. Help is on the way: K.C. visits this Sunday.
8 PIT Hines Ward Ward rose to the occasion against the Eagles with two first-quarter TDs (one on a reverse) – his first scores since September. He was also held to two catches for 32 yards in the winning cause, both season lows, but overall he left no doubt regarding the identity of the No. 1 playmaker on this squad.
9 SEA Darrell Jackson His first two-touchdown game of the season makes it four TDs in five weeks. However, many reasonably attentive Jackson owners probably held him out due to his uncertain playing status until right before game time. He’s still not 100 percent, but based on his Week 9 results things could be worse.
10 DEN Ashley Lelie In half a season, Lelie has progressed from “loads of potential” to “a smart play” to “entering the ranks of WR elite.” He could stay for awhile, too, due in part to the list of cream puff pass defenses that the Broncos will face throughout much of the season’s second half (see “Rod Smith” below).

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

Climbing The Ladder

Rod Smith (DEN) – What Smith has lost in speed and quickness over the years he more than makes up for in experience and guile. Sure, his 208 yards receiving in Week 8 bloated his totals, but he’d be among the 10 most productive receivers in your league even if that number were cut in half. And the best may be yet to come: following the Broncos’ Week 10 bye, the schedule offers a who’s who of porous pass defenses with games against New Orleans, Oakland, San Diego, Tennessee, Kansas City and Indianapolis. Now, does it get any better than that? A mid-November tilt against Miami is the only rough spot during that stretch.

Az-Zahir Hakim (DET) – The proof is in the pudding: Hakim’s seven-catch, 120-yard outing against the Redskins was the fourth straight game in which he’s tallied either 90 yards receiving or a TD. Though the results aren’t jarring, they’re a lot better than the proverbial kick in the teeth if you’ve been getting little or nothing at your No. 3 spot. Hakim may stand to benefit the most from the Lions’ precarious situation on offense – in short, injuries and a nearly non-existent running game. This weekend’s game at Jacksonville could be brutal, but Weeks 11 and 12 provide Minnesota (away) and Indianapolis (home), which means that Hakim’s streak of Steady Eddie performances should continue.

David Givens (NE) – Determining who will be QB Tom Brady’s No. 1 option will no longer be quite the weekly shell game. Givens has established himself as the most reliable receiver on this unit, and his five-catch, 100-yard effort against St. Louis – his third straight such performance – emphasized that fact. Remarkably, Givens has not caught a pass that failed to go for a first down or a touchdown – further proof that Tom Brady knows which side of his bread is buttered. A pair of favorable weeks loom with the Pats hosting Buffalo this week before traveling to Kansas City for a potential shootout against the Chiefs.

Sliding Back

Roy Williams (DET) – Williams’ ankle should be fully healed or close to it for the Lions’ Week 10 game in Jacksonville – a contest almost certain to reward fantasy leaguers with meager results. Williams has made fantasy noise in one game since Sept. 26, largely due to his ankle but also because teams are doing more to take him out of the game. No doubt he will provide more highlight-film grabs before the season is out, but six short weeks ago he was providing top 10 production. Now, he makes a risky play as your No. 2 WR.

Andre Davis (CLE) – Davis was hot for a couple of weeks, largely due to one good game and, in another game, one great catch (a 99-yard TD). Then he hurt his toe and the Browns simultaneously began to regress, and today any offensive stability it appeared Cleveland had gained has all been lost. Take away that 99-yard TD and Davis has 15 catches, 317 yards and one touchdown on the season – production that probably resembles that of 10-15 guys currently available in your league’s free agent pool. Needless to say, Davis and the Browns probably won’t be righting the ship this Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Jimmy Smith (JAC) – Smith’s Pro Bowl-type season has taken at least a temporary downturn following QB Byron Leftwich’s knee injury in Week 8. It’s not as if Smith was fantasy gold throughout the first half of the season, but he was the go-to guy week-in and week-out for the blossoming Leftwich and among one of the league’s more consistent fantasy performers (albeit light on TDs). With QB David Garrard starting for the next couple of weeks, expect to see even more Fred Taylor and, if you’re a Smith owner, hopefully something that at least resembles what you got with Leftwich throwing the ball.