Obvious Acquisitions: Drew Bledsoe
1. David Garrard, Jaguars
Garrard has posted some decent fantasy stats while filling in for the injured Byron Leftwich. In Week 14, he amassed 250 passing yards and a touchdown against a tough Colts defense. A rushing score was a ladle of gravy on top of his fine afternoon. Teams that snuck into the playoffs despite average rosters should flag Garrard as a great acquisition this week. He’ll face a San Francisco 49ers defense this week that is worst in the NFL. They’re coming off a game in which they ceded four passing touchdowns to Matt Hasselbeck. Garrard has the potential to ignite your fantasy squad to a playoff win. Next opponent: vs. San Francisco.
One Week Wonders: Kyle Boller
Obvious Acquisitions: Michael Bennett and Jerome Bettis
1. Ryan Moats, Eagles
Moats got the starting nod for Sunday’s game against the Giants after Brian Westbrook was diagnosed with a foot injury midway through the week. The rookie opened more than a few eyes, posting 114 yards rushing and two touchdowns. This against a Giants defense that’s ranked in the top 10 against the run. And this despite playing on an offense that had previously geared toward the passing game. With upcoming tilts against the Rams and Cardinals, Moats should be considered priority #1 for owners who are in the playoff mix. Next opponent: vs. St. Louis. Next opponent: @ St. Louis.
2. Cedric Houston, Jets
Houston was identified as a strong “buy-and-hold” type acquisition in the Forecast’s Keeper/Dynasty Edition a few weeks ago. The clock is ticking on Curtis Martin’s career. The 12-year veteran missed his first start in 119 games and his lengthy stint in New York could be coming to an end. He will miss the remainder of the 2005 season. On Sunday, Houston stepped into the spot Martin has anchored for so long and didn’t disappoint. He had 74 yards and a touchdown. While the performance didn’t make Jets fans forget that Reggie Bush will be entering the NCAA draft next spring, Houston is a good free agent pickup for teams entering the playoffs or competing in consolation (i.e. “toilet) bowls. Next opponent: @ Miami.
3. Nick Goings, Panthers
It seems like every year around this time the Carolina Panthers are dealing with injuries in their backfield. Neither Stephen Davis nor DeShaun Foster are 100% healthy heading into Week 15. That would seem to bode well for third-stringer Nick Goings, who posted four straight games with 100+ yards in 2004. Goings, a fifth-year running back may not be flashy but he can be effective. If he starts this week, he should fare quite well versus a New Orleans Saints defense that’s ranked 29th in the NFL against the run. Next opponent: @ New Orleans.
One Week Wonders: None
Obvious Acquisitions: Terry Glenn, Lee Evans, and Koren Robinson
1. Mark Clayton, Ravens
Clayton is among the crop of rookie wide receivers that fell short of expectations in 2005. He has 34 receptions this season for just 334 yards. On a positive note, he’s heated up in recent weeks, catching 14 passes and a touchdown over past two weeks. It appears he’s building a rapport with QB Kyle Boller. Baltimore has no hope of making the playoffs this season, and a key objective is to evaluate Boller to see if he has a future with the team. As a result, he’ll likely be given ample opportunity to put the ball in the air. Expect continued looks for Clayton in 2005. Next opponent: versus Green Bay.
2. Sammie Parker, Chiefs
Parker has been recommended here three times before. Like Clayton, he’s another rookie who hasn’t provided fantasy owners with the level of consistency to be a reliable receiver. Parker has 372 yards in 2005, but he’s getting more attention lately. In fact, Parker has had three solid performances in the last four weeks—games with 70+ yards receiving or a touchdown. While Parker isn’t likely to be the catalyst for a championship for your team, he has become one of Kansas City’s key offensive weapons. Don’t be surprised if he posts an average of 60-70 yards per game for the remainder of the season. Next opponent: @ New York Giants.
One Week Wonders: Josh Reed
Obvious Acquisitions: None
1. David Martin, Packers
With all the injuries the Packers have suffered, it’s been difficult to keep tabs on who’s the top tight end for Green Bay. Bubba Franks, Donald Lee, and David Martin have all had strong performances. Unfortunately, it’s been a hit or miss proposition trying to figure out who to start on any given week. But with Franks’ recent injury troubles, Martin has secured the role of top tight end for the Packers. He hauled in five passes on Sunday night. As long as Martin remains the #1 TE, he can be relied upon as a fantasy starter. QB Brett Favre has been leaning on his tight ends ever since Javon Walker tore his ACL. On the year, Green Bay tight ends have caught 67 passes. Next opponent: @ Baltimore.
One Week Wonder: Steve Heiden
Obvious Acquisitions: Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals
1. Cleveland Browns
Last week, the Raiders decided to start Marques Tuiasosopo in hopes that he’d pump new life in the offense. That plan failed as Oakland was upset by the listless Jets. Tuiasosopo threw two interceptions and was sacked six times. All told, the Silver and Black had four turnovers. This is looking like a team that is on the brink of self destruction. More sloppy play is on the way, and that’s a good sign for the Cleveland Browns defense, which will line up opposite Tuiasosopo this week. The Browns held Carson Palmer to just 93 yards passing in Week 14, so they do have some talent. Acquire and start them this week if you’re desperate for help. Next opponent: versus Oakland.
One Week Wonders: None