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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 8
Todd Gray
October 25, 2005

Top Ten Fantasy WR’s to own

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1 PHI Terrell Owens Owens caught his 100 th career TD pass to go along with seven catches and 53 yards against San Diego on Sunday. The Eagles, who lead the league handily in both pass attempts per game (44.7) and completions (28.5), face a Denver defense on Sunday that has allowed more than 240 passing yards per game and nine passing TDs in seven games.
2 CAR Steve Smith Smith and the Panthers return from a Week 7 bye to host Minnesota in Week 8. The diminutive wideout has been a giant on the field with six TDs in has last four games. Meanwhile, the Vikings’ defense has surrendered 11 passing TDs in six games this season. In other words, all signs point to another big day for Smith.
3 CIN Chad Johnson Johnson’s four catches for 94 yards in Cincinnati’s loss to the Steelers represented arguably his worst fantasy performance of the year, which is a nice problem to have if he’s on your roster. The Bengals should rebound against Green Bay at home on Sunday, as should Johnson against a secondary that has little chance of slowing him down.
4 WAS Santana Moss Moss tallied five catches, 112 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers’ league-worst pass defense – his third straight 100-yard outing. He now leads the NFL in receiving yards with 743 – nearly 100 yards more than his nearest competitor (Chad Johnson with 655). The Redskins face another struggling pass defense on Sunday against the Giants in New York.
5 STL Torry Holt When it rains, it pours. Not only did gads of Holt owners realize too late that the star wideout would miss the Rams’ win over New Orleans, but now they know that the he’s nursing a strained posterior cruciate ligament, in addition to a bruised knee. It’s currently uncertain whether or not he’ll play in the Rams’ Week 8 home game against Jacksonville. Despite the down time, Holt remains tied for the NFL lead with 44 receptions and he’s third in the league with 638 receiving yards.
6 OAK Randy Moss Moss surprised nearly everyone by not only playing against the Bills, but by grabbing his first TD pass since Sept. 18. He’s still nursing bruised ribs, a strained groin and a bruised pelvic area, but he’s reportedly no worse for wear after playing on Sunday. At the moment, it appears that Moss owners will be able to start him with confidence when the Raiders visit Tennessee on Sunday.
7 NYG Plaxico Burress Burress overcame back spasms to post six catches, 84 yards and a touchdown against Denver. The Giants will have their work cut out for them in Week 8 against a Washington pass defense that’s allowed only 157.5 passing yards and .67 TD passes per game.
8 ARI Larry Fitzgerald Fitzgerald caught four of the six passes that Cardinals QB Josh McCown completed to his wideouts and he scored for the third straight game. Week 8 opponent Dallas will have trouble keeping Fitzgerald and WR counterpart Anquan Boldin in check. The Cowboys rank near the middle of the league in allowing 200.9 passing yards per game and by giving up nine TD passes in seven games.
9 IND Marvin Harrison Harrison scored his fourth TD in as many games and his 65 yards receiving represented his third-highest total in seven games this season. The Colts get a bye in Week 8 before facing New England in Week 9. The Patriots’ pass defense has allowed 12 passing TDs in six games.
10 ARI Anquan Boldin How Boldin went without a single catch against the Titans is anyone’s guess, but he makes a solid start against the Cowboys on Sunday nonetheless.

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

Climbing The Ladder

Kevin Curtis (STL) – Those who swiped Curtis late in their drafts landed a wideout who has thus far been a top-15 wideout in most fantasy formats. Curtis has contributed in every game since Week 2, including four catches and 90 yards in the Rams’ come-from-behind win against the Saints on Sunday. Now that No. 1 wideout Torry Holt joins No. 2 WR Isaac Bruce (turf toe) on the sideline, Curtis becomes the Rams’ go-to wideout for the time being. There’s no telling when either Holt or Bruce will return to action, but until both of them do Curtis should continue to be considered no less than a very good No. 3 fantasy wideout. St. Louis hosts the NFL’s No. 2 pass defense when the Jaguars come to town on Sunday, but Curtis remains a good bet to post respectable stats.

Mike Williams (DET) – Williams turned in his best game as a pro on Sunday with five catches for 95 yards against the Browns. The rookie wideout clearly benefited as much as anyone from coach Steve Mariucci’s switch to Jeff Garcia as the team’s starting QB (Williams did, however, lose his second fumble in as many games). But the primary reason that Williams’ stock goes up is due to his at-the-moment standing as the only draftedwideout who is currently healthy and active on the Lions’ roster following the team’s loss of Kevin Johnson (Achilles’) for the season on Sunday. In addition, No. 1 wideout Roy Williams (thigh) may miss another game and No. 2 wideout Charles Rogers (suspension) will be out of action for at least one more week. Week 8 opponent Chicago presents a tough matchup for the Lions’ perpetually struggling offense, but Williams is a solid bet to catch five passes for 50-60 yards with a 50/50 shot of adding a touchdown to the mix.

Antonio Chatman (GB) – Chatman will step into the starting lineup in the absence of wideout Robert Ferguson (lateral cruciate ligament) and he immediately becomes a decent fantasy option when the Packers play at Cincinnati on Sunday. The Packers are fast running out of options after losing not only Ferguson against the Vikings, but also RB Ahman Green. Chatman is currently tied for the Packers’ team lead with three TD catches, and he was getting his share of quality looks from Favre even as the team’s No. 3 wideout. There’s little doubt Favre will throw a lot against the Bengals in what has all the makings of 60 minutes of catch-up for the Packers. If that’s the case, Chatman could fool around and get himself 70-80 yards and a TD catch.

Sliding Back

Robert Ferguson (GB) – Ferguson is expected to miss at least a month after tearing his lateral collateral ligament in the Packers’ loss to Minnesota on Sunday. Despite not catching more than four balls in a game yet this season, Ferguson had been making a nice week-in, week-out play thanks largely to his three TDs in the four games prior to the Packers’ Week 7 loss.

Brandon Jones (TEN) – The rookie Jones had produced enough to notch his second consecutive fantasy-worthy performance when he had to leave Sunday’s game against Arizona with what was being called a sprained knee. He currently makes a questionable play in Week 8 and is slated to undergo more tests over the next couple of days to learn the extent of the damage to his knee. For now, the odds of Jones returning to action on Sunday seem to be about 50/50. It will be a shame if he can’t play as the Titans will host Oakland and the Raiders’ depleted secondary.

Travis Taylor (MIN) – Taylor had his chance to shine with No. 1 WR Nate Burleson out for three games, but in that time he caught only 10 balls for 135 yards. Now, it appears he’ll be the odd man out with Burleson back in the mix as Marcus Robinson appears to be the favorite to start in the No. 2 spot. Fantasy leaguers desperate for a No. 3 wideout may want to give Taylor a shot at Carolina on Sunday, but another 3- or 4-catch, 40-yard disappointment is a distinct possibility – if not the likely scenario.