| Top Ten Fantasy WR’s to own
||Holt owners finally suffered a bit when the top wideout in fantasy play posted only five catches and 48 yards against the Chargers while failing to score a touchdown for the first time in six games. Expect for Holt to resume his pace on Sunday when the Rams host Kansas City. The Chiefs defense has allowed all 10 of its passing TDs this season over the past four weeks, including six total against San Diego and Seattle in Weeks 7 and 8, respectively.
||Smith caught “only” six passes for 55 yards in the Panthers’ 35-14 loss to Dallas, but his 24-yard touchdown run saved the day for fantasy owners. He also dropped a pair of passes – a not-so-uncommon feat of late. Smith owners now get to re-experience what it was like not having him in their lineups earlier this season: Carolina is on a Week 9 bye.
||Johnson’s nine catches, 78 yards and one touchdown in the Texans’ 28-22 loss to the Titans gives him five straight games with eight or more catches, and a touchdown catch in four of his past six games. Week 9 opponent the New York Giants have allowed 10 passing touchdowns this season, but only two in the past four games. Regardless, Johnson gets the green light in any fantasy setting.
||While teammate Reggie Wayne was having a career day against the Broncos on Sunday, Harrison caught five balls for 38 yards to make it four straight weeks with 79 or fewer yards receiving. Now the Colts travel to New England to face a Patriots squad that has allowed only four passing touchdowns in seven games, tied for the best mark in the NFL.
||Jackson accompanied his three catches and 64 yards with his sixth touchdown in as many games in the Seahawks’ 35-28 loss to Kansas City on Sunday. Seattle hosts the resurgent Raiders in Week 9 in what now appears to be an unfavorable matchup. The resurgent Raiders have been strong against the pass all season and have surrendered nine passing touchdowns and a league-low 159.1 passing yards per game through eight weeks.
||Boldin missed part of practice on Friday with a sore lower back, but the Cardinals’ offensive line absorbs much of the blame for his crummy stat line against the Packers (four catches, 47 yards). Once again, rookie QB Matt Leinart had little time to operate, the running game went nowhere, and Boldin was blanketed all day by Packers defenders. Arizona is on a Week 9 bye before hosting Dallas in Week 10.
||Owens wasted little time becoming new No. 1 QB Tony Romo’s best friend as he produced a season-high 107 yards on nine catches in the Cowboys’ 35-14 defeat of the Panthers on Sunday. He’s now posted 20 catches, 250 yards and four TDs over the past three weeks to re-establish himself as an elite fantasy wideout following weeks of early-season disappointments. The Cowboys’ schedule is set up for a decent stretch run starting with road games against reeling Washington and all-but-done Arizona in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively.
||Maybe all of the preseason prognosticators who called for Wayne to supplant Harrison as the Colts’ No. 1 receiver in fantasy play were on target after all. Wayne is now a top-5 fantasy wideout in most formats following his 10-catch, 138-yard, three-TD performance against the Broncos on Sunday. He’s scored in three straight weeks while averaging nearly 100 yards per game in that span. Week 9 opponent New England has not allowed a passing TD since Week 3 – a span of four games – but after what the Colts did to the Broncos on Sunday, any defense must be considered average at best against the most well-armed passing unit in the league.
||Williams is seventh in the NFL in receiving yards (581) and tied for eighth in catches (38) despite a Week 8 bye. He said last week that he believes the 1-6 Lions can finish the season with nine straight wins, and by golly even if that’s pure lunacy, it’s easy to envision a string of big performances on offense. The Lions’ slate of upcoming opponents includes consecutive games against Atlanta in (Week 9, home) followed by San Francisco (home), Arizona (away) and Miami (home).
||Colston continues to play at the level of a No. 1 fantasy wideout following his six-catch, 163-yard, two-TD performance against a tough Ravens defense on Sunday. The two TDs came in garbage time, but nonetheless the rookie seventh-round draft pick from Hofstra has now totaled six receiving TDs in seven games, a number either matched or bettered by only the Rams’ Holt and the Seahawks’ Jackson among NFL receivers. The upcoming schedule is a bit daunting starting with road games against Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively, but at this juncture Colston has provided no reason to believe that he can’t maintain a healthy fantasy pace down the stretch.
(Note – this listing considers the rankings of WR’s if a draft was held today)
Climbing The Ladder
Joe Horn (NO) – Horn’s early season stats weren’t altogether bad, but they were skimpy enough that he had become spot-start material in most fantasy leagues that start three wide receivers. However, in the past two weeks Horn has produced 11 catches, 236 yards and three touchdowns to remind everyone of just how dominant he was as recently as 2004. A return to his heyday isn’t going to happen, especially with a hot hand like rookie WR Marques Colston in the mix, but Horn is becoming more involved in a passing game that is exceeding expectations across the board. Week 9 matchup Tampa Bay will be no cakewalk, but six catches, 80 yards and one touchdown for Horn against the Buccaneers is well within reach.
Eddie Kennison (KC) – Kennison’s reputation for years has been that of a slow starter who comes on as the season progresses, and 2006 may be no exception. He logged his first 100-yard game of the campaign against Seattle on Sunday (six catches, 132 yards) and he’s averaged 4.2 catches and 71 yards over the past five games while scoring in two of those five contests. The Chiefs travel to St. Louis on Sunday to face a struggling Rams defense that has allowed seven passing TDs total in the past four games.
Chris Henry (CIN) – Henry posted five catches, 88 yards and one touchdown in his return from a one-week benching and a two-week suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies. He’s averaged five catches, 88 yards and one touchdown in the past three games in which he’s played, and he should have every opportunity to be productive in a Bengals receiving corps with questionable depth and in an offense trying to establish its identity – if he can stay out of trouble. Henry offers dubious potential this weekend when the Bengals play at Baltimore, but he should be considered as a quality No. 3 WR in mid-sized leagues when the matchup is right.
Laveranues Coles (NYJ) – Coles produced like a No. 1 fantasy wide receiver through the first four weeks of the season. Since that time, he’s produced one lovely stat line and three others that his fantasy owners would just as soon forget about. His injured calf caused him to miss part of the Jets’ practice for three straight days last week and had him listed as questionable heading into Week 8 play. He’ll have an extra week to fully recover thanks to the Jets’ Week 9 bye, but then along come games against New England (away) and Chicago (home) in Weeks 10 and 11, respectively. It wouldn't be surprising to see Coles total fewer than eight catches and 120 yards in those two contests.
Terry Glenn (DAL) – WR Terrell Owens may have become the Cowboys’ No. 1 receiver once he set foot in Dallas, but nonetheless Glenn was the favorite target of deposed No. 1 QB Drew Bledsoe. Glenn’s stats began sagging four weeks ago with Bledsoe at QB, but since QB Tony Romo took over a game-and-a-half ago his numbers have really tumbled (eight catches, 93 yards and zero touchdowns the past two weeks). Fantasy owners should consider Glenn as no better than an average play as a No. 3 WR when the Cowboys play at Washington on Sunday.
Eric Moulds (HOU) – Moulds didn’t make much noise early this season, but he earned consideration as a spot-start No. 3 WR in many leagues with averages of 4.5 catches and 57.5 yards along with one touchdown in the Texans’ first four games. However, his averages have dipped over the past three weeks to 3.3 catches and 32 yards, with nary a TD to save the day. Rookie TE Owen Daniels has established himself as one of the Texans’ top red zone targets with five touchdowns in the past five games on looks that may otherwise have gone to Moulds. The Texans now face a brutal stretch of four road games in five weeks that includes not one weak defense in the bunch (at New York Giants, at Jacksonville, vs. Buffalo, at New York Jets, at Oakland).