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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Wide Receiver Watch - Week 10
Todd Gray
November 8, 2005

Top Ten Fantasy WR’s to own

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1 CAR Steve Smith Smith toasted the Buccaneers’ No. 1-ranked pass defense for five catches, 106 yards and a touchdown, proving once and for all that he should be started anytime, anywhere. It was his fourth straight game with at least 100 yards and one TD, a trend that will be tested at home against the Jets on Sunday.
2 CIN Chad Johnson Johnson’s five catches and 91 yards against the Ravens represented his best fantasy performance in almost a month. Since Week 6, he has no more than five catches in any game and zero TDs. Not to worry, he’s still Chad Johnson, but that won’t mean much in Week 10 when the Bengals get a bye.
3 IND Marvin Harrison Harrison is catching passes in bunches once again and he’s scored in three straight games. All signs point to a fourth consecutive game with a score when the Colts host Houston in Week 10.
4 WAS Santana Moss Moss has managed only 11 catches and 113 yards total the past two games following his near-otherworldly tear during the Redskins’ first six games. It may be another week of famine for Moss owners in Week 10 when the ‘Skins face the Buccaneers’ No. 1-ranked pass defense in Tampa Bay.
5 NYG Plaxico Burress Burress is another elite fantasy wideout whose production has flagged over the past few weeks. He’s managed no more than 84 yards receiving and one TD total in four games played since Week 4. The Giants’ Week 10 home game against Minnesota should be the cure for what ails his sagging production, as the Vikings have surrendered 15 TD passes in eight games.
6 TB Joey Galloway Galloway is arguably the hottest wideout in the game next to Smith and continues to produce despite the Bucs’ overall fortunes. His five catches, 83 yards and one touchdown against the Panthers gave him a TD in three straight games. Week 10 presents a tough matchup at home against a stout Washington pass defense.
7 STL Torry Holt Holt owners have only so much room to complain – their star wideout remains a top-10 receiver statistically-speaking despite not playing since Week 6. His knee should be healed sufficiently following St. Louis’ Week 9 bye to have him back in the lineup when the Rams visit Seattle in Week 10.
8 ARI Larry Fitzgerald Fitzgerald posted eight catches and 102 yards in a losing effort against the Seahawks. This season, he’s totaled four 100-yard games and TDs in four games, as well. It’s a safe bet that he does one or the other when Arizona visits Detroit on Sunday.
9 OAK Randy Moss Moss saw significant action on Sunday for the first time since Oct. 2, but the eight looks he received from Kerry Collins translated into only one catch – that being a seven-yard TD grab. Better than a kick in the teeth, as they say. If you’ve rode with him this long, you’ve got to keep him in your starting lineup when the Raiders host Denver on Sunday. The Broncos biggest weakness may be their ability to defend against the pass.
10 GB Donald Driver Nothing against Driver – he does occupy a spot in the top-10, after all – but his presence here is a reflection of the overall disaster that is the state of the NFL’s collective receiving corps. To his credit, Driver is a top-15 wideout in catches (41) and yards (596) and he has three TD receptions, to boot. He makes a solid start as a mid- to low-tier No. 2 wideout when the Packers play at Atlanta on Sunday.

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

Climbing The Ladder

Reggie Brown/Greg Lewis (PHI) – If there’s any good news to come out of the Terrell Owens saga, it’s that his loss to the fantasy world may result in the addition of two viable fantasy receivers to the mix. That isn’t to say that either Brown or Lewis will fill Owens’ shoes – perhaps even the sum of them won’t equal one Owens – but Owens’ production also isn’t just going to up and disappear (although a small percentage of it will indeed). Philadelphia hasn’t run the ball well – a task that won’t get any easier without having Owens’ presence on the field – and a pass-heavy approach should continue to be the norm. Between the two wideouts, perhaps the most intriguing option is the rookie Brown, who tallied five catches, 94 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Redskins in his first game as a starter.

Andre Johnson (HOU) – Remember this guy? Drafted No. 3 overall in 2003…nice rookie season…promising start to his sophomore campaign…falls of the face of the earth. Johnson’s nice first game back from a nagging calf injury (9 catches, 91 yards) gives new hope to fantasy owners who’ve held onto him for the past month despite his challenges and those of the Texans’ offense, in general. It also represents his greatest fantasy output since Dec. 5, 2005 – a span of 12 games. Don’t look now, but the Texans head to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Sunday. However, things should lighten up a bit in Weeks 11 and 12 when Houston hosts Kansas City and St. Louis, respectively.

Scotty Vines (DET) – Three of the Lions’ top four wideouts entering the season have been non-existent over the past four games thanks to injuries (Roy Williams, Kevin Johnson) and a suspension (Charles Rogers). The fourth, rookie Mike Williams, is now dealing with an ankle injury to go along with a knee injury that he was nursing prior to Week 9. That makes Vines the hands-down No. 1 option in the time being for whoever is throwing the ball in Detroit. While that may not be saying much, it could mean something to fantasy owners in deeper leagues who are in a pinch for a No. 3 wideout in Week 10. Vines has recorded at least five catches in each of the Lions’ past three games culminating in a nine-catch, 109-yard performance against the Vikings on Sunday. There are no promising matchups for the Lions, per se, but the team’s Week 10 home game against Arizona may be about as good it gets the rest of the way.

Sliding Back

Terrell Owens (PHI) – You’ve heard the news, right? Or do you live beneath the sea? In short, Owens is done with the Eagles barring a minor miracle. Fantasy owners tempted to hold onto to him until he hits the field with a new team may not want to hold their breath – he’ll probably suit up for no other NFL squad this season. It may seem like a gutsy move, but if you own Owens and you crave an open roster spot, you may want to look in Owens’ direction first.

Jimmy Smith (JAC) – Smith’s 2005 campaign has been the tale of two seasons: 17 catches, 329 yards and four TDs in his first four games; 12 catches, 154 yards and zero TDs in his next four games. The Jags’ offense isn’t receiver-friendly in the first place, but now that QB Byron Leftwich is doing a better job of spreading the ball around, it’s an even worse situation in which to seek a quality wideout. Smith has made a career of proving people wrong, and he may do it again, but right now the Jags’ Week 10 home game against Baltimore has the makings of another low-output performance for the venerable wideout.

Michael Clayton (TB) – Owners who’ve been holding onto Clayton may need to come to terms with a simple reality: nine weeks is long enough. He’s been hurt, he’s been ineffective, and he’s on a struggling team with serious QB issues. In other words, drop him and scour the wire for a wideout who will give you more than Clayton – no doubt there are a few of them out there.