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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 3
Paul Sandy
September 20, 2005

QUARTERBACKS

Obvious Acquisitions: Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Bledsoe

1. Trent Dilfer, Browns

Dilfer didn’t receive much attention during the preseason from fantasy owners, but his performance Sunday against the Packers certainly deserves a look. He completed 21 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns. While he likely won’t provide enough consistency be a #1 fantasy quarterback for your team, he could prove to be a capable backup if you just need an occasional start or insurance for a QB who is underperforming (Culpepper or Green). Next opponent: @ Indianapolis.

One Week Wonders: Kyle Orton

RUNNING BACKS

Obvious Acquisitions: Brandon Jacobs and Mewelde Moore

1. Derrick Blaylock, Jets

Curtis Martin played the full game on Sunday against the Dolphins. However, he underwent an MRI yesterday because he had what is being termed a strained knee. Results are pending, but head coach Herman Edwards indicated in his press conference that he’s worried about Martin. Don’t be surprised if he sits out next week’s game against the Jaguars or at the very least splits carries. His backup, Derrick Blaylock is a solid acquisition whether or not you’re a Martin owner. Next opponent: versus Jacksonville.

2. Ron Dayne, Broncos

Dayne was listed here last week after Mike Anderson got nicked up and Tatum Bell coughed up two fumbles. As predicted, he got his first action of the season on Sunday in the fourth quarter against the Chargers when Anderson finally succumbed to the pain of injured ribs. Dayne looked swift, carrying the ball for eight times for 44 yards, including an important 10-yard run on 4th-and-1 to set up the game-winning field goal. Anderson hasn’t exactly wowed as the starter, and if he falters, Dayne will get a shot to be the primary ball carrier. Get him now if he’s still available. Next opponent: versus Kansas City.

3. Frank Gore, 49ers

San Francisco starting running back Kevan Barlow is averaging just 2.3 yards per carry. He’s always been known as a malcontent and likely won’t make it more than three or four more games as the starter unless he can improve his performance. The 49ers drafted rookie Frank Gore this year to provide backfield depth. While Gore has a long history of injuries, he has looked good so far this season, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. If you can clear a roster spot for Gore now, you will likely begin reaping the rewards of the acquisition before the middle of the season. Next opponent: versus Dallas.

4. Michael Pittman

If you’re looking for a one week replacement for Jamal Lewis, Kevin Jones, Domanick Davis, or Clinton Portis, consider adding Michael Pittman to your squad. While rookie Cadillac Williams is getting most of the carries, Pittman is a versatile running back who catches a lot of passes. Last week, he carried the ball seven times for 47 yards and added 20 yards through the air. If Pittman is went undrafted or dumped in your league, and he may have been considering he didn’t have a single touch in Week 1, he’ll likely put up some decent stats this week against a soft Packers defense. Green Bay gave up 43 yards receiving to Cleveland running backs on Sunday. Next opponent: @ Green Bay.

One Week Wonders: Ran Carthon

WIDE RECEIVERS

Obvious Acquisitions: Donte Stallworth, Terry Glenn, Travis Taylor, Robert Ferguson, and Bobby Engram

1. Terry Glenn, Cowboys

On each of the sites that host my fantasy teams, Glenn is on a roster in less than 50% of all leagues. I suspect many owners dropped him in favor of Patrick Crayton, who had a big game in Week 1. Glenn caught a bomb from Drew Bledsoe on a flea flicker Monday night. He finished with six receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown. Glenn has a history with Bledsoe and there’s some built-in chemistry between the two. Plus, the Cowboys have shown they won’t hesitate to put the ball in the air. Acquire Glenn this week if he’s available and don’t hesitate to use him if he has a favorable match-up. Next opponent: @ San Francisco.

2. Braylon Edwards, Browns

In his first two games, Cleveland QB Trent Dilfer has spread around the ball around well. In Week 1, Frisman Jackson had a big game. In Week 2, it was rookie Braylon Edwards who impressed. Of the two, it’s Edwards who deserves a roster spot. The Browns top selection in this year’s draft, Edwards has a rare combination of size and speed. He out-ran and out-muscled the Packers secondary on an 80-yard touchdown reception. In the last two seasons, we’ve seen several rookie wideouts post outstanding stats. Edwards could have a Michael Clayton-type season. Don’t be afraid to use him when he has a favorable match-up. Next opponent: @ Indianapolis.

3. Koren Robinson, Vikings

With the overrated Nate Burleson ailing, I’d be very surprised if Koren Robinson doesn’t suit up for Minnesota’s game this week versus the Saints. Robinson has always had the talent to be an elite wide receiver, but his attitude and penchant for booze has put his career in jeopardy. The Vikings have decided to give Robinson a second chance. Who knows? He may end up being the salve that heals Minnesota’s wounded passing game. If you have space to hang onto him as a #5 WR, he may surface this week. Next opponent: versus New Orleans.

4. Sammie Parker, Chiefs

The Kansas City passing game has gotten off to a slow start in 2005. QB Trent Green has yet to throw a touchdown pass. However, it’s only a matter of time before things pick up for the Chiefs. Eddie Kennison and Tony Gonzalez are the top targets, but don’t overlook second-year wideout Sammie Parker, who caught three passes for 86 yards on Sunday. Parker is a small receiver, built from the same mold as guys like Deion Branch and Santana Moss. He adds an element of explosiveness and is the deep threat that the Chiefs have been lacking in recent years. Next opponent: @ Denver.

One Week Wonders: Brian Finneran

TIGHT ENDS

Obvious Acquisitions: None

1. Steve Heiden, Browns

When Kellen Winslow Jr. tore up his knee in a motorcycle accident this offseason, everyone figured the Cleveland tight end position wouldn’t have any value. But Steve Heiden has emerged as a reliable target for Trent Dilfer. On Sunday, Heiden posted six receptions for 109 yards and two scores. Dilfer has had a lot of success throwing to tight ends in the past, including Shannon Sharpe and Itula Mili. I wouldn’t start Heiden immediately, but if you need to replace your backup tight end because of performance issues, he could be a nice pickup. Next opponent: @ Indianapolis.

One Week Wonders: None

TEAM DEFENSE

Obvious Acquisition: Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1. New Orleans Saints

We’re only two weeks into the season, but Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper already has 10 turnovers. He looks rattled, doesn’t trust his offensive line, and is making poor decisions. Now his top wideout (Nate Burleson) is expected to miss this week’s game, and it certainly won’t help Culpepper regain confidence. I expect at least a couple more turnovers from Culpepper this week. That makes the Saints defense a strong acquisition, especially if you need a replacement for Baltimore or Washington. Next opponent: @ Minnesota.

One Week Wonders: Cincinnati Bengals