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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 5
Paul Sandy
October 4, 2005

QUARTERBACKS

Obvious Acquisitions: Eli Manning

1. Mark Brunell, Redskins

Brunell has delivered two solid games in a row, averaging 285.5 yards and two touchdowns per outing. In doing so, he’s re-established himself as a viable fantasy quarterback. I cannot recommend starting him this week on the road against a Denver Broncos defense that has given up just two passing touchdowns in the last three games. However, he does merit a roster spot, especially if your starting QB will be on bye in the next couple weeks—when the Redskins face the Chiefs and 49ers. Next opponent: @ Broncos.

2. David Carr, Texans

There are lots of starting fantasy quarterbacks on bye this week. If you’re desperate for help, consider David Carr as a potential replacement. That’s right, David Carr. While Carr’s performance has been anything but fantasy worthy so far, there’s reason to believe things will get better. For starters, consider the teams the Texans have played so far. I’ve placed their corresponding defensive rankings in parentheses: Buffalo (13), Pittsburgh (5), and Cincinnati (2). This week, Carr and the Texans will face a Titans defense that ranks 27th in the NFL. Plus, they’ve given up 10 passing touchdowns, second-worst in the league. Finally, Carr averaged 200+ yards and 1.5 touchdowns in two meetings with Tennessee last year. He’s a decent stopgap if you need it. Next opponent: vs. Titans.

One Week Wonders: Josh McCown

RUNNING BACKS

Obvious Acquisitions: Mewelde Moore

1. Michael Pittman, Buccaneers

Pittman was recommended by the Forecast two weeks ago . While consistency has been an issue, he re-emerged in Week 4 when rookie sensation Cadillac Williams suffered hamstring and foot injuries. Pittman racked up 126 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. According to ESPN reports, Williams is “iffy” for next week. The uncertainty makes Pittman a great pickup. If he’s available in your league and running back depth is a concern for your squad, he should be your primary target. Next opponent: @ NY Jets.

2. Patrick Pass, Patriots

Last week, I recommended Kevin Faulk. A day later it came to light that Faulk would miss 6-8 weeks with a leg injury. His replacement, Patrick Pass took on the third-down role that Faulk has excelled at for several seasons. He finished Sunday’s game with 61 yards on nine touches. Expect similar stat lines for Pass because the Patriots currently rank last in the NFL in rushing. They will continue to throw the ball to running backs to supplement the stagnant ground attack. The Pats opponent this week is Atlanta, a team that ceded 94 yards receiving to Minnesota’s running backs on Sunday. Like Faulk before him, Pass is a decent bye-week replacement if you can live with 50-70 yards. Next opponent: @ Falcons.

3. Alvin Pearman, Jaguars

If you’re a Fred Taylor owner, you need to know that rookie Alvin Pearman is the Jaguars backup. If you’re not a Taylor owner, you need to know that Taylor is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. While most owners figured going into the season that Taylor would eventually be sidelined with an injury, in reality he may be sidelined because he’s washed up. Grab Pearman as a player with upside. If the Jaguars continue to slip, changes in the offense could be imminent. Next opponent: vs. Bengals

4. Jarrett Payton, Titans

Payton, the son of the late Walter Payton, was brought up from the practice squad last week when Travis Henry was suspended for four games. He looked good, carrying four times for 37 yards against a solid Colts defense. His performance likely earned him some more carries alongside the oft-injured Chris Brown. Payton earned a roster spot by performing exceptionally well in NFL Europe—where he led the league with seven touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. He deserves a look in deeper leagues or if you are desperate for a running back with upside. Next opponent: @ Texans.

One Week Wonders: None

WIDE RECEIVERS

Obvious Acquisitions: Joey Galloway and Brandon Lloyd

 1. Joe Jurevicius, Seahawks

Bobby Engram suffered two cracked ribs early in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Redskins. He played long enough to rack up 100+ yards, but took himself out of the game late in the third quarter because the pain became too great. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, his status for this week and beyond is uncertain at this point. His backup, Joe Jurevicius, figures to be Engram’s replacement. With an upcoming game against a Rams defense that was worked over by Eli Manning and the Giants, Jurevicius is a strong acquisition this week. He could be primed for a big game if Engram is unable to go. Next opponent: @ Rams.

 2. Shaun McDonald, Rams

Last week, I recommended Kevin Curtis as a quality acquisition with Isaac Bruce reeling due to a turf toe injury. Curtis had a decent game (6 rec., 78 yards), but the receiver who emerged as a favorite target of QB Marc Bulger was Shaun McDonald. McDonald finished with a team high nine receptions and 121 yards. With a game against the division rival Seahawks up next, McDonald and Curtis are both appropriate plays. In three games last season versus Seattle, the Rams averaged 300 yards passing. Next opponent: versus Seahawks.

One Week Wonders: Tim Dwight and Dante Hall

TIGHT ENDS

Obvious Acquisitions: none

1. Erron Kinney, Titans

It may surprise you that the Titans Erron Kinney currently ranks second in the NFL in receptions among tight ends with 21. For that reason alone, Kinney deserves a roster spot in your league if starting TEs is mandatory. But if you need more reason, consider that in his last meeting against this week’s opponent, the Texans, Kinney hooked up with QB Steve McNair on six receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Houston is below average against the pass, so Tennessee and Kinney should once again have success against them. Next opponent: versus Texans.

One Week Wonders: David Martin and Dwayne Carswell (not a TE)

TEAM DEFENSE

Obvious Acquisitions: None

1. Miami Dolphins

I like the Miami Dolphins defense this week for a few reasons. First, they are coming off a bye week. An extra week of preparation will work in their favor as they lineup against the Bills. Second, Buffalo’s offense has been sickly through the first few games. They haven’t scored more than 16 points in a game since Week 1. But the biggest reason that I like the Dolphins is that Buffalo has a young, inexperienced quarterback who will be hearing plenty of boos in his home stadium on Sunday. J.P. Losman has a 55.9 QB rating and has been sacked 10 times this season. Look for Miami to limit the Bills to fewer than 13 points and add some gravy production via sacks and a turnover or two. Next opponent: @ Bills.

One Week Wonders: San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints