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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 6
Todd Gray
October 11, 2005

Top Ten Fantasy WR’s to own

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1 PHI Terrell Owens Owens, along with his fantasy A-list teammates QB Donovan McNabb and RB Brian Westbrook, was subdued against the Cowboys (5 catches, 50 yards). The Eagles are on a bye in Week 6 before hosting San Diego in Week 7, and things should return to normal against the Bolts.
2 OAK Randy Moss Moss’ current totals of 19 catches, 466 yards and two TDs project to 76-1,864-8 on the season – screwy totals considering his gaudy 24.5-yard per-catch average, and also a bit of a disappointment for Moss owners who are counting on 90+ catches and 13-16 TDs. Anything short of triple-digit yardage and a TD would be a major letdown when the Raiders host the Chargers in Week 6.
3 STL Torry Holt Holt has been nothing short of awesome through five games with league-leading totals in receptions (38) and yards (568). His second-quarter TD catch against the Seahawks marked his fourth straight outing with a score. The Rams’ Week 6 showdown with the Colts in Indianapolis does not hold the promise it once did: the Colts are tied for the league lead with only two passing TDs allowed and have surrendered only 187 yards passing per game.
4 CIN Chad Johnson Johnson produced just enough to keep fantasy owners happy (5 catches, 52 yards, 1 TD) in what had all the makings of a letdown performance against a stingy Jaguars pass defense. Week 6 opponent Tennessee has surrendered 11 passing TDs through five games – the second-worst such mark in the league.
5 CAR Steve Smith Smith continued his pattern of great game, dud, great game, dud with an eight-catch, 119-yard, two-TD performance against the Cardinals. His six receiving TDs are tops in the league. Week 6 opponent Detroit hasn’t allowed a TD to a wide receiver at home, but that’s no reason to keep Smith out of your starting lineup.
6 NYG Plaxico Burress It’ll be interesting to see which version of the Cowboys’ pass defense that Burress and the Giants will face in Week 6: the one that allowed monster games to Keenan McCardell, Santana Moss and the Brandon Lloyd in Weeks 1-3, or the one that limited Randy Moss and Terrell Owens to a combined nine catches, 173 yards and zero TDs in Weeks 4-5.
7 IND Marvin Harrison Harrison’s two catches and 17 yards on Sunday represent arguably his worst single-game totals since 1998 (at least), although he’s had a couple of stinkers over the past couple of years. It’s hard to believe that he’s been fantasy-relevant in only two of five games this season, but such is the case. Week 6 opponent St. Louis has allowed 263.8 passing yards per game and 10 TDs through the air, both of which rank near the bottom of the league.
8 ARI Anquan Boldin Boldin has been on fire the past four weeks, averaging eight catches and 120 yards while scoring in two straight games. He also currently represents the best 1-2 receiver duo in the league along with fellow wideout Larry Fitzgerald, and that should continue as long as the Cardinals continue to muster only 74.4 rushing yards per game at 3.1 yards per carry, in combination with allowing an average of 26.8 points per game on defense. Arizona has a bye in Week 6, but Boldin makes a wonderful play when the Cardinals host Tennessee in Week 7.
9 ARI Larry Fitzgerald While it seems as if there should be a rule against putting two Cardinal wideouts in the top-10, it’s hard to argue with the stats. Fitzgerald is tied for third in the NFL in receptions (36), he’s fifth in yards (504), and he’s posted three TDs, as well. He was also targeted one more time than Boldin on Sunday – 17-16, to be exact – but Boldin has been a slightly better fantasy producer over the past few weeks.
10 PIT Hines Ward Ben Roethlisberger (leg) may sit and Tommy Maddox (calf) is unavailable due to injuries, and backup QB Charlie Batch will most likely start for the Steelers against Jacksonville on Sunday. Batch will have to lean heavily on Ward: the Jaguars have allowed only 155.2 passing yards per game, the second-best mark in the league.

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

Climbing The Ladder

Antonio Bryant (CLE) – Just about everything about the Browns seems to be better than expected, including their Trent Dilfer-led passing attack that’s averaging 260 yards per game – ninth-best in the NFL. Bryant’s four-game totals may seem modest at first glance, including 21 catches, 255 yards and a pair of TDs, but those stats project to more than 1,000 yards and eight scores by season’s end. It’s probably best to find an alternative for Bryant in Week 6 when the Browns face a ticked Ravens defense in Baltimore, but the pass defenses lighten progressively over the next few weeks with an away game at Houston sandwiched in-between home games against Detroit and Tennessee.

Joe Jurevicius (SEA) Injuries to top wideouts Darrell Jackson (knee) and Bobby Engram (ribs) suddenly made Jurevicius the No. 1 receiving option on one of the NFL’s top passing offenses. It showed on Sunday when Jurevicius responded with the best performance of his career with nine catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. Jackson and Engram are both likely to miss Seattle’s Week 6 home matchup against the struggling Texans (Jackson is definitely out), and Jurevicius should continue to make a wonderful play in their absence.

Eric Moulds/Lee Evans (BUF) – Neither Moulds nor Evans posted world-beating totals on Sunday: Moulds had seven catches, 59 yards and a TD, while Evans had three catches and 65 yards. What matters most for owners who’ve been stuck with either of these guys since the draft is that things seem to be headed in the right direction following Kelly Holcomb’s promotion to starting QB. Both Moulds’ and Evans’ Week 5 totals nearly match their total production through their first four games. Things won’t get any easier against the New York Jets in Week 6, but both Moulds and Evans should return to fantasy respectability in upcoming games against Oakland, Kansas City and San Diego.

Sliding Back

Darrell Jackson/Bobby Engram (SEA) – Simply put, Jackson (knee) is going under the knife and will need approximately four weeks to recover, and Engram (ribs) will most likely miss the next week or two. What matters is who will fill their shoes on what is currently one of the top passing offenses in the NFL. Joe Jurevicius (see above) is clearly the wideout to covet given his nine-catch, 137-yard, one-TD performance against the Rams on Sunday, and D.J. Hackett (5 catches, 43 yards) appears to be a solid gamble in deep leagues for owners desperate for a No. 3 wideout. Maybe not every week, but definitely in Week 6 when Seattle hosts the woeful Texans.

Brandon Lloyd (SF) – In a tragic case of up-and-coming-wideout-meets-rookie-QB, Lloyd’s once-promising fantasy status took an immediate hit in San Francisco’s thorough pasting at the hands of the Colts. It’s one thing to produce despite a rookie QB, but it’s another altogether to do it on what is arguably the worst team in the NFL. Things are certain to get better in Week 6 – after all, the 49ers are on a bye – but the following four weeks include matchups against Washington, Tampa Bay, the New York Giants and Chicago, respectively. In that group, all but the Giants rank among the top seven in the NFL in pass defense.

Roy Williams (DET) – It’s no secret that Williams’ status as blossoming fantasy stud has taken a serious hit through four games of the season. After all, he’s exceeded three catches once in four games, 54 yards only once during that period and he’s managed a lone TD catch in the process. Now he has a strained left quadriceps to deal with, and the popular sentiment in Detroit is that QB Joey Harrington is a veritable bust. More should be known soon about the extent of Williams’ injury, but at this point he seems a rather desperate play even if healthy when the Lions host Carolina in Week 6.