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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 11
Todd Gray
November 16, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy WR ’s To Own Comment
1 PHI Terrell Owens Ten, eleven, twelve…Owens has now more than doubled the TD total of all Eagle wideouts last season. The McNabb-Owens connection faces a stiffer test at home this weekend against Washington, but nothing that should stop him from 100 yards and a score.
2 GB Javon Walker Walker’s outstanding 50-yard catch-and-run against the Vikings gave him four grabs of 50 or more yards this season and marked his third straight game with a score. Now Green Bay gets recently shredded Houston in the Texans’ den.
3 MIN Randy Moss Despite essentially missing four of nine games to date, Moss most likely still ranks among the top 10 WRs in your league. It goes to show how much distance exists between he and everyone not named Owens or Walker. Assuming that Moss finishes the season on a healthy note beginning with his anticipated return on Week 12, it’s easy to see him finishing as high as No. 3 in WR fantasy points by season’s end.
4 IND Marvin Harrison Manning throws for 320 yards and five TDs and Harrison finishes with a measly two-and-22? This is more than a bad sign, but things could be a heck of a lot worse. The Colts will be in Chicago this weekend to see how the ever-toughening Bears’ defense fares sans Brian Urlacher.
5 NO Joe Horn Horn rebounds from his worst outing to post his best numbers of the season with five catches, 167 yards and a touchdown. That included three catches 40 yards or more, while the TD made it five scores on the season. Things get trickier in Week 11 against the Broncos in Denver.
6 STL Torry Holt That Holt was joking and laughing with teammates a minute or so after he was drilled in the head by a Ram defender may or may not have been a good sign. Either way, he’s a gamer. Further tests will determine whether or not Holt can play Week 11 at Buffalo, but all signs currently point to yes.
7 IND Reggie Wayne Wayne has four touchdowns in three games despite gaining poor yardage totals in two of those contests. Perhaps more impressively, he’s scored in six of nine games this season and has outgained Marvin Harrison by 48 yards (636-588) while grabbing the same number of TDs (seven).
8 HOU Andre Johnson What appeared to be a favorable matchup against the Colts became a disaster for the Texans. Johnson easily outdistanced his WR cohorts with six catches and 59 yards, but he didn’t score and it was back on Oct. 10 when he last did that. Up-and-down Houston returns home this weekend for an appetizing fantasy matchup against the Packers.
9 DEN Ashley Lelie Fantasy owners hope that Lelie and the rest of the Bronco offense picks up where it left off before the team’s Week 10 bye. The table is set for that to happen given upcoming games against a host of generous pass defenses, starting with the Saints in New Orleans this Sunday.
10 SEA Darrell Jackson Jackson followed up his outstanding Week 10 performance with real stinker that included three catches and two drops against the Rams, including a would-be TD. Dropped passes are a problem for which the Seahawks are well known, but Jackson had steered clear of the dropsies until Sunday. Three straight home games are up next starting with a Week 11 tilt against Miami.

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

Climbing The Ladder

Muhsin Muhammad (CAR) – Owners who traded for Muhammad a month or so ago or who picked him up for nothing have been rewarded with the most productive WR in football over that stretch of time (22 catches, 323 yards, five TDs). It’s worth noting that Muhammad’s 123-yard, three TD performance on Sunday came at the expense of an injury-depleted 49ers secondary, but equally notable is his recent history of strong finishes. The schedule appears favorable for the time-being starting with home games against Arizona and Tampa Bay.

Nate Burleson (MIN) – Eat your heart out Randy Moss and Marcus Robinson owners. Burleson has scored in three straight games and has grabbed a TD or eclipsed 100 yards receiving in five of six weeks. No one else on the Vikings can even come close to claiming such impressive stats. It won’t last forever, but Burleson could hang around as the No. 2 guy in Minnesota following Moss’ expected return in Week 12. He was clearly Daunte Culpepper’s favorite target down the stretch on Sunday.

Michael Clayton (TB) – Clayton had been remarkably consistent even before the emergence of QB Brian Griese – a change of events that has further boosted his fantasy value. The rookie WR is currently enjoying a six-game stretch in which he’s scored on three occasions, posted 90 yards or better four times and accomplished both feats twice. This makes him a great No. 3 option on most weeks, including Weeks 11 (home against San Francisco) and 12 (at Carolina).

Sliding Back

Hines Ward (PIT) – Gone are the days when Ward racked up 120 yards and a score or two like it was nobody’s business. Right now 70 yards and a TD would bring a sign of relief from fantasy owners counting on his services. That’ll be tough to do as long as the Steelers continue to run the ball anywhere near their current pace of nearly 60 percent of their plays – most in the NFL. On Sunday, Pittsburgh ran 47 times while passing only 18 times in a winning effort. Meanwhile, Ward caught three of those passes for 42 yards. The Steelers next head to Cincinnati to face the resurgent Bengals before butting heads with Washington and Jacksonville in weeks 12 and 13, respectively.

Marcus Robinson (MIN) – The last time Robinson appeared here he exploded for five touchdowns over a three-week stretch. Still, there’s simply no overlooking the fact that the Moss-less Vikings are somehow better off with Nate Burleson being the go-to receiver. Robinson’s sore foot is partly responsible for his decline, no doubt: he’s caught four, three and two balls in successive weeks despite matchups that looked great on paper. Robinson’s career has been marked with occasional bursts of brilliance amidst a landscape of rather average results. Minus that three-game stretch in October, those results look very plain this season, as well. Minnesota gets Detroit at home Week 11 before hosting Jacksonville in Week 12.

Keary Colbert (CAR) – Just about the time Colbert looked like the No. 1 fantasy wideout on the Panthers’ offense (which wasn’t saying much at the time), the wily veteran Muhammad steps forward to claim the role that should have been his all along. Colbert hasn’t scored since Oct. 10 and he’s lost a fumble in that time, to boot. Barring one or two more favorable matchups down the stretch, relying on Colbert will most likely provide little in the way of fantasy rewards.