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Wide Receiver Watch - Week 4
Todd Gray
September 27, 2005

Top Ten Fantasy WR’s to own


1 PHI Terrell Owens Owens posted nine catches for 80 yards and a TD against the Raiders, and better yet he showed no signs of the abdominal injury that slowed him in practice last week. Week 4 opponent Kansas City should prove to be a relative pushover for the Eagles’ offense.
2 OAK Randy Moss Moss has five catches in each of his first three games as the Raiders have stumbled to a 0-3 start thanks in part to a brutal schedule. Things should ease up in Week 4 against Dallas – the Cowboys have allowed an individual receiver to post 120+ yards and two TDs in each of their first three games.
3 CIN Chad Johnson Johnson limped off the field with leg cramps for the second time in three weeks, but returned and finished with three catches, 77 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears. Week 4 opponent Houston is primed for a rout, which bodes well for Johnson owners unless the Bengals have the game in hand too early.
4 STL Torry Holt Holt rounds out the elite four, but the way he’s producing he could arguably be No. 1. The Rams’ Week 4 opponent, the Giants, have surrendered five passing TDs in three games and 285.7 passing yards per game.
5 CAR Steve Smith Smith had a field day against the Dolphins, catching 11 of QB Jake Delhomme’s 12 completions to wideouts and turning them into 170 yards and three TDs. The Panthers now host the reeling Packers in Week 4.
6 IND Marvin Harrison Six-catch-, 53-yard-type production doesn’t look so bad against Baltimore and Jacksonville, but against the Browns it’s reason for concern. It’s hard to imagine that QB Peyton Manning, Harrison and company won’t get on track during an upcoming run of opponents that includes Tennessee, San Francisco, St. Louis and Houston in consecutive weeks.
7 SEA Darrell Jackson Jackson accumulated eight catches and 125 yards in the Seahawks’ 37-12 defeat of Arizona on Sunday and remains one of the most consistent wideouts in the NFL after three games. His value may peak here if RB Shaun Alexander keeps hogging all the TDs, and furthermore by a tough Washington defense in Week 4.
8 BAL Derrick Mason Mason comes off a Week 3 bye, yet he remains in the top 15 in the NFL with 16 catches. The Ravens have scored two TDs total in their first two games and QB Anthony Wright will continue to spell Kyle Boller for at least a couple more weeks, so Mason’s Achilles’ heel may be infrequent trips to the end zone.
9 PIT Hines Ward Ignore his two-catch, 25-yard performance in Week 1 this year, and Ward has averaged 6.3 catches, 102 yards and 1.5 TDs in his past four outings, including two playoff games. That means little this Sunday, though, as the Steelers have a Week 4 bye.
10 NO Joe Horn Horn’s one catch for 11 yards was his worst single-game output since Week 3 of the 2003 season. As long as QB Aaron Brooks continues to struggle, Horn could see a few down weeks. The Saints have a “home” game in Week 4 in the Alamodome in San Antonio against a Buffalo squad that’s allowing a league-best 106.3 passing yards per game. Despite all of these bad omens, Horn has been too good and too consistent over the past few years to knock him out of the top 10 just yet.

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

Climbing The Ladder

Terry Glenn (DAL) – Glenn’s combined 11 catches, 294 yards and a touchdown in Weeks 2 and 3 may be just another hot streak for the oft-injured wideout who’s provided plenty of two-game teases during his 10-year career. Or, it could be a return to Glenn’s “glory days” with the Patriots when he had his three finest seasons as a pro with QB Drew Bledsoe at the helm (1996, 1999, 2000). Glenn is an injury risk, but he did play in 37 of 38 games between 2002 and 2004 before a foot injury shut him down six games into the 2004 season. Dallas faces the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday in a game that could very well become a pass-heavy affair.

Travis Taylor/Marcus Robinson/Troy Williamson (MIN) – The Vikings snapped out of their offensive funk in a big way against the Saints, and Taylor, Robinson and Williamson all posted solid numbers in the process. QB Daunte Culpepper is on target again, WR Nate Burleson is gone for at least one more week and the Vikings have found their running game, so the table is set for a repeat performance. That may not happen against Atlanta in Week 4, but you can bet that Taylor and to a lesser extent Robinson and Williamson will all shine at various times throughout the season as long as this offense doesn’t implode.

Kevin Curtis (STL) – When fellow wideout Isaac Bruce hurt his toe in the first half of the Rams 31-27 win over Tennessee, Curtis wasted little time validating all of that preseason sleeper talk by catching a 10-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter and finishing the game with five catches and 56 yards. Bruce may miss a game or more, and if he does, Curtis could make it hard for coach Mike Martz to take him off the field once Bruce returns.

Sliding Back

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – Leading up to Week 3 Sunday, it appeared that the 2005 Cardinals were fast becoming one Kurt Warner injury away from being the Cardinals of old. Now Warner has an injured groin and that nightmare has become a reality. Arizona has a poor OL, a poor running game and now a backup QB in Josh McCown who has 16 career TD passes against 19 interceptions, including a 10-for-23, 97-yard, one INT performance in relief of Warner on Sunday. To make matters worse, Warner’s groin injury was deemed “pretty serious” by coach Dennis Green, so don’t expect to see him back anytime soon. It appeared that Fitzgerald was ready for a breakout year after his Week 1 performance, but now it looks like another year consisting of a few big games sprinkled into otherwise disappointing performances for both Fitzgerald and fellow wideout Anquan Boldin.

Laveranues Coles (NYJ) – Things got bad and then worse in a hurry for the Jets on Sunday when QBs Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler both injured their shoulders in a loss to the Jaguars. Pennington (torn rotator cuff) is done for the season and Fiedler may be, too, pending the results of his MRI on Monday. Coles opened the season with two weeks of respectable production before he grabbed four passes for only 17 yards on Sunday. Third-string QB Brooks Bollinger – he of nine career passing attempts – now takes over in what is fast becoming a lost season. Coles is no longer a safe play except for in the most favorable of matchups – something that the next three Jets games definitely are not (at BAL, vs. TAM, at BUF).

Brandon Stokley (IND) – The Colts will come out of their offensive funk soon, especially with upcoming games against the likes of Tennessee, San Francisco, St. Louis and Houston. Regardless, it’s clear that they will not score points at as prodigious a rate as they did in 2004. This doesn’t bode well for Stokley owners, who have been given 10 catches, 116 yards and zero TDs in three games to date. Stokley is sure to have a couple of big games, but it appears that the consistent production that he provided a year ago is a longshot, at best.