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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 6
Paul Sandy
October 9, 2007

QUARTERBACKS

1. Kurt Warner, Cardinals
Matt Leinart suffered a fractured collarbone on Sunday and will be out for the foreseeable future. And so ends the QBBC approach in Arizona. Kurt Warner will now take all the snaps. If your regular QB has been a bust so far or if you have a bye week issue coming up, make Warner a top priority this week. He has quietly put up a 102.3 QB rating this season in limited duty — with four touchdowns and one interception. The return of Anquan Boldin, which should happen as soon as this week, will only help boost Warner’s stock. He has the potential to be a top 10 fantasy QB for the remainder of the season.

Availability: Owned in ~17% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Warner is a low-end starting QB or an excellent backup and should be owned in all leagues.

2. Brian Griese, Bears
Griese’s name graced these pages a couple weeks ago and he’s turning out to be a serviceable fantasy QB, as predicted. The journeyman QB posted two touchdowns and 214 yards against the Packers. That’s two games in a row with multiple TD passes. If your regular QB has a bye this week, consider giving Griese the start. He’ll face off against a Vikings defense that is one of the best at stopping the run and one of the worst at stopping the pass. Look for Griese to attempt 40+ passes, which should put him in the neighborhood of 250 yards and two scores.

Availability: Owned in ~47% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Griese is a solid backup QB with a favorable matchup this week.

RUNNING BACKS

1. DeShawn Wynn, Packers
Wynn was a hot free agent pickup a few weeks ago but didn’t produce immediately and was dumped by many owners. After an impressive showing on Sunday night against the Bears, Wynn should be back on your radar. The bottom line is that he is the 24th-highest scoring back in fantasy football this season (at least in traditional performance scoring leagues). Head coach Mike McCarthy has stated on several occasions that he’d use a committee backfield until one player emerged as a true workhorse. Wynn might be that guy. Going forward, look for him to get around 15 carries per week as the primary back while giving up third-down touches to Vernand Morency.

Availability: Owned in ~23% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Wynn should be owned in all leagues and could turn out to be a decent RB2.

2. Jason Wright, Browns
Jamal Lewis left Sunday’s game against the Patriots with a sprained foot and didn’t return. Backup Jason Wright stepped in and was up to the task. Wright posted 102 all-purpose yards and 19 touches. With the Browns on bye in Week 8, it’s possible that Lewis will sit out Weeks 6 and 7 to extend his recovery period. If that’s the case, Wright is an excellent pickup. He should fare well against the Dolphins this week and the Bills the following week. Both teams rank near the bottom of the NFL versus the run.

Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Wright is a good stopgap this week if you need help at the RB position.

3. Kenton Keith, Colts
I covered Keith last week and, with Indianapolis on bye, I won’t go into much detail. It’s clear the Colts offense is a juggernaut and whoever is starting in the backfield will have value. As of Monday afternoon, Keith was the leading point scorer in most fantasy leagues this week with over 150 yards and two touchdowns. Joseph Addai will likely return to action in Week 7, but even if he does, Keith is worth a roster spot in all leagues. One other thought: Keep in mind that, the Colts might be resting some of their starters during the fantasy playoffs. Consider Keith to be a sneaky pickup if you think the playoffs are in your future.

Availability: Owned in ~53% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Keith proved he belongs in the NFL and on fantasy rosters in leagues of all sizes.

4. Najeh Davenport, Steelers
If your RB depth is lacking, Davenport makes for a pretty attractive pickup. He continues to get a fair amount of touches as the Steelers do their best to keep Willie Parker healthy. Davenport had his best game of the season on Sunday, posting 96 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. While it’d be foolhardy to expect that kind of production on a weekly basis, it’s good to know Davenport has that kind of potential. And when your team is shorthanded because of a bye week or an injury, you can’t ask for much more than potential (particularly at the RB position). Davenport is on bye this week, but gets Denver and Cincinnati when he returns. That makes him a good option for owners of guys like LaDainian Tomlinson, Willis McGahee, Edgerrin James, Marion Barber, Larry Johnson and Shaun Alexander — who have byes coming up.

Availability: Owned in ~28% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Davenport provides good roster depth in leagues of all sizes and scoring systems.

5. Mewelde Moore, Vikings
The Bucs inquired about trading for Moore last week. A deal never materialized because Tampa felt the asking price was too high. A week later, they’ve lost another RB. Michael Pittman is expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks. With the NFC South still wide open, look for Tampa to try to swing a trade this week. Moore may not end up being the guy they go after, but if you’re in a deep league and can afford to stash him on your roster, it might pay off.

Availability: Owned in ~32% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Moore could be tradebait for the Vikings and would have value if he landed in the right situation.

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Andre Davis, Texans
Davis proved he wasn’t just a one-week wonder. He followed up a 117-yard, one-TD effort two weeks ago with a nice 79-yard performance against the Rams. Andre Johnson is probably another week away from returning, so Davis looks like a decent play again this week. He’ll face off against the Jaguars. While it’s not a great matchup, QB Matt Schaub has been effective regardless of the opponent so far this year. Play Davis with confidence. Also consider adding Kevin Walter, who was targeted 10 times last week and recorded 67 yards receiving.   

Availability: Owned in ~58 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Davis looks like he’ll be a decent WR3 or flex player until Andre Johnson returns from injury.

2. James Jones, Packers
Surprisingly still available in 56% of fantasy leagues, Jones has been a consistent fantasy player all season. He’s posted a minimum of 60 yards or a touchdown in four straight games. There’s no reason why he should still be on the waiver wire in your league. If he is, don’t hesitate to make your claim. Although he fumbled the ball twice, don’t expect the Packers to lose faith in their rookie WR. Give extra credence to Jones in keeper and dynasty leagues.  

Availability: Owned in ~44% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Jones is worth a roster spot in all fantasy leagues.

3. Nate Burleson, Seahawks
Deion Branch was walking with a protective boot on his foot after the game. He will reportedly miss at least two games. With D.J. Hackett already shelved, Bobby Engram, Nate Burleson and Ben Obomanu will have to step up. I’ve already sung the praises of Engram enough and he’s not available in most leagues. If Burleson is still lingering on your wire, he’s a decent WR3 against the Saints this week. Obomanu is more of a reach, but could be an acceptable play in leagues with 14 or more teams.

Availability: Owned in ~36% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: If Branch misses time, Burleson could be an adequate third receiver this week.

4. Lance Moore, Saints
Devery Henderson was the Saints WR who surpassed 100 yards receiving, so why am I on the Lance Moore bandwagon? What you won’t find in the boxscore is that Henderson dropped a couple more passes on Sunday. One of them could’ve been the difference in the game. It’s been a problem all year. In his post game press conference, Sean Payton indicated that the team needs to “to find a way to get Lance Moore more touches.” I wouldn’t fault you for picking up Henderson this week and chasing his 100-yard effort. But my money is on Moore to be the better player.

Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Moore is worth a flier and could become the Saints #2 wideout during the second half of the season.

5. Anthony Gonzalez, Colts
It remains unclear exactly how long Marvin Harrison’s knee injury will keep him out of the lineup. The Colts are on bye, so in total he will have had a few weeks of rest before he would need to suit up again. However, knee sprains can linger. Just ask Andre Johnson. If Harrison is a scratch again in Week 7, Gonzalez would likely get the start. He caught seven passes for 71 yards against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Availability: Owned in ~33% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Gonzalez is a smart insurance pickup for the Marvin Harrison owner.

6. Ike Hilliard, Buccaneers
I suppose I can’t overlook Hilliard any longer. He currently leads all Tampa wideouts with 23 receptions. Over the past two games, Hilliard has been targeted 16 times and caught 15 passes. That’s Mike Furrey-like production. If you play in a league that awards points per reception (PPR), Hilliard is definitely worth a look. Don’t dismiss him just because he’s a little gray in the tooth. Head coach Jon Gruden has had a knack for turning older receivers into fantasy playmakers. Before you start him this week, check the injury report. Hilliard has been bothered by an ankle injury, though he played through the pain just fine in Week 5.

 Availability: Owned in ~3 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Give the old man a look in PPR leagues.

TIGHT ENDS

1. Greg Olsen, Bears
Last week the Forecast recommended Desmond Clark as a bye week replacement. He delivered with 63 yards and a touchdown. But the bigger news was the emergence of rookie TE Greg Olsen. Olsen was targeted seven times and hauled in four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. The Bears have high hopes for Olsen, who was their top draft pick this year. Consider using Olsen or Clark this week against a Vikings defense that is the 24th worst in the league at stopping TEs.  

Availability: Owned in ~32% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Olsen and Clark are decent plays this week against the Vikes.

PLACE KICKER

1. Kris Brown, Texans
I’ve been touting Brown in my Friday Weekly Six-Pack column all year. After a mind-blowing afternoon in which he booted five field goals (including three over 50 yards), it’s safe to say that Brown has officially arrived. The Houston offense is moving the ball and scoring points, so Brown is a guy who you can pickup and stick with for the remainder of the year.

Availability: Owned in ~33% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Brown is turning out to be an elite fantasy kicker and should be owned in all leagues.

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Arizona Cardinals
I picked the Cardinals as my bye week replacement defense last week, and I’m sticking with them. Why not? The Panthers are coming to town. With David Carr at the helm, the Cards should be able to accumulate some decent stats, particularly from sacks and interceptions. The Panthers have also failed to score more than 16 points in both of the games they’ve played with Carr as the starter.

Availability: Owned in ~28% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: The Cardinals should follow up their good performance in Week 5 with another strong outing against the Panthers.

Other Features

Fantasy Statistics
Training Room
Priority News
NFL Team Reports
Commentary From the Edge
Tunnel Vision
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