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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 15
Todd Gray
December 14, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy WR ’s To Own Comment
1 PHI Terrell Owens Stymied against Washington once again (6 catches, 46 yards, 0 TDs), but that is the last Owens will see of the Redskins this year. Meanwhile, Owens owners should prepare for what may be his last full-time duty of the regular season in Week 15 against Dallas. A win at home versus the Cowboys locks home field throughout the playoffs for the Eagles.
2 IND Marvin Harrison Harrison was held below 50 yards receiving for the sixth time in 13 games (who would’ve thunk?), but he did snag his 13 th touchdown and is on pace to clip his career-high of 15 TDs established in 2001.
3 NO Joe Horn Once again, a handful of catches, good yardage and a TD. Horn has been arguably the most consistent wideout in the NFL this year, if not the most dominant, and he has amassed five scores the past five weeks with at least 80 yards receiving in each game during that span. The Bucs’ should provide a stiff test in Tampa Bay in Week 15, but Horn did post a TD on them the first time around.
4 CAR Muhsin Muhammad How many guys have their career years in their ninth season? Muhammad isn’t even making it close. The odds are with him to have another productive performance in the Panthers’ make-or-break tilt at Atlanta against the Falcons’ vulnerable pass defense in Week 15.
5 STL Torry Holt Two weeks in a row with at least 150 yards and a score, even with the St. Louis offense being in something of a state of disarray. It looks like QB Marc Bulger (shoulder) will miss his third straight game this weekend against Arizona, and one would think his absence would catch up with Holt owners sooner or later.
6 IND Reggie Wayne Wayne was the beneficiary of one of Peyton Manning’s “meager” total of two TD passes in Week 15. That makes eight TDs in seven weeks and keeps him in contention to finish the season as the No. 1 fantasy wideout in the Colts’ high-powered offense.
7 MIN Randy Moss It’s growing increasingly likely that Moss (hamstring) won’t return to his usual dominant self in 2004, but his 104-yard, 1-TD performance against Seattle generated a collective sigh of relief from fantasy owners who had been yearning for him to have his first big game since Week 6.
8 CIN Chad Johnson Johnson continued his torrid pace with 80 yards and a score against the Patriots. His totals of 30 catches, 438 yards and five TDs over the past four games are even more impressive when considering that three of those games were against Pittsburgh, Baltimore and New England. Another tough game looms in Week 15 against Buffalo, but the quality of the competition of late hasn’t seemed to matter much to Johnson.
9 GB Javon Walker Walker hasn’t even been the best fantasy wideout on his team the past four weeks with 21 catches, 201 yards and two TDs. Not bad, but a far cry from what Walker owners had grown accustomed to throughout the first half of the season. Jacksonville visits Green Bay this weekend, which makes it difficult to envision Walker having a really big game.
10 GB Donald Driver Driver has been the primary Green Bay receiver of note the past month with totals of 23 catches, 353 yards and three TDs. This could be Drew Bennett’s slot, but Driver’s consistency gives him the edge for now.

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

Climbing The Ladder

David Patten (NE) – Most of the buzz this season regarding New England receivers has involved David Givens’ (leg) hot-then-not performance and the Deion Branch injury saga that played out for half the season. Meanwhile, Patten has quietly not only stayed in the picture, but has been the best week-in, week-out fantasy option on the team, largely due to his seven TD catches. Oddly enough, he’s probably the most available among the three in fantasy free agent pools, as well. It’s unclear whether or not Givens will be back to full-time duty, if any at all, in Week 15. If he’s not, Patten becomes a decent option for owners looking for a serviceable No. 3 WR.

Joey Galloway (TB) – You never know what you’re going to get with Galloway. Actually, until two weeks ago you could count on getting nothing from him. Then in Weeks 13 & 14 he totaled nine catches, 141 yards and three TDs, figures that squash his output in the five other games in which he’d played this season combined (10 catches, 111 yards, 0 TDs). Despite leaving Sunday’s game at San Diego for good in the fourth quarter with cramps, Galloway should be ready to go this weekend against a New Orleans’ pass defense that has few peers when it comes to allowing big games to wide receivers. While by no means a lock, he should be one of a handful of wideouts to consider if you need help and you’re a touch desperate.

Darrell Jackson (SEA) – Jackson lit it up the past two weeks with totals of 19 catches, 248 yards and a pair of TDs. Then, that was against Dallas and Minnesota, and this week the Seahawks’ travel to New York to face the Jets. The good news is that Seattle’s offense – with a resurgent Matt Hasselbeck – seems to have finally found some continuity once again and the Seahawks, despite owning a one-game lead in the NFC West, are fighting for their playoff lives. While certainly not a No. 1 fantasy option in Week 15 due to the tough matchup, Jackson owners who start two WRs would have to have a pretty strong alternative to leave him on the bench.

Sliding Back

Deion Branch (NE) – Branch was a fashionable free agent pickup a few weeks ago when he returned from a seven-week layoff to post 100-plus yards and a score. Since that big game, he has totaled eight catches, 108 yards and zero TDs in three contests. There’s little doubt he could break out with another big game on any given week, but when considering the shell game that is trying to determine who will the biggest benefactor of Tom Brady’s passes on any given Sunday, Branch should be considered as no better than a No. 3 WR option by most of his owners.

Keenan McCardell (SD) – McCardell was a godsend for the Chargers after signing with the team and taking the field in Week 7. After tantalizing fantasy owners with an intriguing first game back and then a TD in Week 8, McCardell has produced next to nothing in terms of fantasy output since then. Week 14 was no exception as he had to leave the game in the second quarter (hamstring) after making three catches for 30 yards. Nice fantasy potential certainly exists for the Chargers passing game in the season’s final three weeks with games against Cleveland, Indianapolis and Kansas City, but assuming McCardell returns to the field in Week 15 he should be started with only guarded optimism.