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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 14
Todd Gray
December 7, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy WR ’s To Own Comment
1 PHI Terrell Owens First in the NFL in yards (1,130) and touchdowns (14) and tied for fifth with 69 catches. But wait: Week 14 opponent Washington held Owens to two catches and 24 yards in Week 11 – both season lows and with the game in Philadelphia. This time around, the game is in Washington against the Redskins’ No. 3-ranked passing defense. Owens owners should temper their expectations.
2 IND Marvin Harrison Harrison continues his tear with his second straight 100-yard game and his fifth touchdown in three weeks. It appears that his catch and yardage totals may not quite be what they’ve been in the past, but with 12 TDs Harrison has a good shot to eclipse his career-high 15 TDs in 2001.
3 NO Joe Horn It seems the worse the Saints get, the better Horn gets. His 160 yards and two TDs on Sunday were both season highs. Horn shares the league lead in catches (76) and his 1,100 yards receiving trails only Owens. His eight TD grabs aren’t too shabby, either.
4 GB Javon Walker Walker has slipped a bit of late, with nary a 90-yard game since Oct. 24 but with five scores in six games during that stretch. Fantasy owners should be thrilled with his seven catches, 72 yards and one TD in the Packers’ miserable day against the Eagles. Week 14 offers promising results with the Lions coming to town.
5 CAR Muhsin Muhammad Six games, 40 catches, 672 yards and eight TDs. Those are Muhammad’s stats over the past month-and-a-half, making him the receiver to have on fantasy rosters over that stretch of time. He should have every chance to come up big this weekend when the Panthers host the Rams in what has become a meaningful game.
6 STL Torry Holt Holt posted season-highs in catches (10) and yards (160) against the hapless 49ers. The going should get tougher for Holt this week at Carolina with QB Marc Bulger (shoulder) likely out, but the Panthers secondary did just allow Joe Horn to have his best game of the season.
7 MIN Randy Moss Moss owners were hoping for more than this when he returned from his hamstring injury. His four-catch, 31-yard outing against the Bears isn’t even the worst news. Moss was clearly favoring his hamstring throughout the game and reportedly experienced some back pain, as well. You hate to think that these problems could nag Moss for the rest of the season, but it appears that could be the case. He’s currently listed as probable for the Vikes’ Week 14 tilt at home against Seattle.
8 IND Reggie Wayne Wayne ’s touchdown catches keep him in the top 10, and against Tennessee he tacked on his 10 th of the season to go with 96 yards. Hard to believe it was only the third time in seven games in which he’d totaled more than 37 yards receiving.
9 CIN Chad Johnson Johnson has been a force of late, as was largely evidenced by his 10 catches, 161 yards and two TDs against the surprisingly giving Ravens on Sunday. Now he finally has a respectable TD total (6) to go with already nice marks in yards (1,071) and catches (75). The Bengals will have their work cut out for them this weekend at New England, but Johnson has had some of his best games this year against some of his toughest matchups.
10 IND Brandon Stokley Over the past four weeks, Stokley has been the second--most productive WR in the most leagues with six TDs in that span. That’s with a dud game thrown in, to boot. It’s hard to believe a No. 3 WR could be a Top-10 fantasy wideout, but how many players can beat 55 catches, 882 yards and a robust nine touchdowns at this stage of the season?

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

Climbing The Ladder

Doug Gabriel (OAK) – Fantasy owners looking for a third receiver may want to give Gabriel a shot. Former No. 2 WR Ronald Curry is now out of the picture with a season-ending Achilles’ injury, and one needs only to glance at Curry’s stats the past few weeks to know that the opportunity will arise for Gabriel to make an impact. QB Kerry Collins has thrown for 909 yards and nine touchdowns the past three weeks, and the schedule appears relatively kind with three straight games against teams ranked in the bottom half of the league’s pass defense rankings (at Atlanta, versus Tennessee, at Kansas City).

Antonio Bryant (CLE) – Bryant appears to be blossoming in the absence of former No. 1 WR Andre’ Davis (toe). He notched his second straight game with two touchdowns and more than 100 yards receiving on Sunday, and by all accounts he has looked mighty impressive doing it. Cleveland’s passing offense doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of opposing defenses, but the 18 touchdowns thrown by Browns QBs are tied for ninth-best in the league. This is also a team that finds itself throwing a lot late in games. While far from a lock, Bryant is probably one of the best free agent wideouts available in many fantasy leagues right now and can probably be counted on for a couple of big games down the stretch.

Lee Evans (BUF) – Evans has flirted with fantasy respectability for much of the season, but his 110-yard, 2-TD performance against the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense ( Miami) put him on the fantasy map. Buffalo’s offensive line has been great, Drew Bledsoe looks like a kid again and the Bills embark upon a favorable schedule the next three weeks (versus Cleveland, at Cincinnati, at San Francisco), which all adds up to Evans deserving a shot at a No. 3 spot on many fantasy rosters.

Drew Bennett (TEN) – With backup QB Billy Volek throwing, Bennett has topped 100 yards receiving in three of four games and has scored four times. Volek will start in the Titans’ Week 14 home game against the porous Chiefs defense, which means that Bennett owners either have him in their lineups or have an extremely deep receiving corps.

Sliding Back

Isaac Bruce (STL) – Just when you think Bruce is ready to quiet down he busts out with another huge game. He was certainly quiet on Sunday with two catches and 28 yards on the heels of his season-best performance in Week 12. Now, Bruce may still be favoring a wrist injury he suffered in that Week 12 game against the Packers and the oldest player on the Rams’ roster (Chris Chandler) will be throwing the ball for the next couple of weeks. St. Louis also faces a tough matchup against resurgent Carolina in Week 14, although the Panthers were abused by Joe Horn in Week 13.

Ronald Curry (OAK) – Those who believe that Oakland isn’t cursed may want to reconsider. Just as Curry was becoming the best thing the Raiders have going for them on offense, he tears his Achilles’ tendon and is done for the season. Curry had piled up 309 yards and four TDs in less than three complete games before bowing out with his injury on Sunday – but not before he rewarded fantasy owners with nine catches, 141 yards and two TDs against the Chiefs.