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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 10
Paul Sandy
November 6, 2007

QUARTERBACKS

1. J.P. Losman, Bills
Losman was tapped by the Forecast as an excellent bye week replacement last Tuesday. He came through, leading the Bills to a win over the Bengals and putting up 295 yards and a touchdown. Losman finished the 2006 season with nine touchdowns in his last five games and could be poised for another strong finish. With another decent matchup next week (vs. Miami), Losman is an attractive waiver wire pickup for owners who will try to get by without Tom Brady next week. The Dolphins have given up 15 passing TDs, tied for third most in the NFL. Losman threw four TDs in two games last season against Miami.

Availability: Owned in ~27% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Losman is a suitable bench player and spot starter.

2. Steve McNair, Ravens
McNair draws the Bengals this week, which makes him a smart pickup for Tom Brady owners. Cincinnati ranks 28th in the NFL versus the pass. More important, they have given up some big fantasy stats to QBs like Losman, Pennington and Huard over the last four weeks. He’s not going to get you a four-TD stat line like Brady, but McNair could post 200+ yards and a couple scores. If Kyle Boller gets the start, he’s also worth a look.

Availability: Owned in ~32% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: With the Bengals up next, McNair is a servicable one-week option.

RUNNING BACKS

1. Ron Dayne, Texans
The Forecast predicted last week that Houston’s running backs would have a big game against the Raiders. Unfortunately, I recommended the wrong guy. It was Ron Dayne who stepped in and stepped up against a poor Oakland run defense. On the day, he had 21 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. Houston has been desperate to establish a running game all season. Ahman Green has been a huge disappointment, so don’t be surprised if they ride the Dayne train for awhile. The Texans have a bye this week, so Dayne won’t get you immediate help. However, he could be a great player to have down the stretch. Remember, last season Dayne finished the year with five touchdowns in his last three games. He will face the Broncos soft run defense in a Week 15 game, making him an attractive pickup for playoff contenders.

Availability: Owned in ~27% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Dayne could be the starter in Houston for the remainder of 2007 and should be owned in all leagues.

2. Justin Fargas, Raiders
Fargas was recommended here on a couple occasions and continues to impress when given a chance. With LaMont Jordan not running well, it looks like Fargas will be getting more opportunities. Head coach Lane Kiffin indicated that Fargas would be the starter until further notice. If you could use a little depth at the running back position (and who couldn’t?), Fargas is a good pickup. His upcoming schedule isn’t great or he’d rate higher on this list.

Availability: Owned in ~42% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Fargas is a good spot starter and should be owned in all leagues.

3. Priest Holmes and Kolby Smith, Chiefs
Larry Johnson left Sunday’s game against the Packers with an ankle injury. The severity of the injury isn’t yet known, but it’s safe to assume LJ will miss next week’s game against Denver. The Broncos have the worst rush defense in the NFL, which makes the player who replaces Johnson quite valuable. Priest Holmes figures to get the start while Johnson is sidelined. Also consider picking up Kolby Smith. At 34 years of age and coming off a career-threatening injury, Holmes might not be suited to carry a full load. Look for the players to split carries.

Availability: Owned in ~21% and 1% of leagues respectively.
Forecast guidance: Holmes should be owned in all leagues and Smith in larger leagues.  

4. Michael Robinson and Maurice Hicks, 49ers
Frank Gore (ankle) missed Sunday’s game against the Falcons. His injury probably isn’t significant enough to keep him out for a substantial amount of time. However, if he does miss another game, both Michael Robinson and Maurice Hicks are okay options if you’re desperate for RB help. Robinson and Hicks split time on Sunday and they each posted decent stats. With a game coming up against Seattle, they could be used in a pinch. 

Availability: Owned in ~9% and 13% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Robinson or Hicks are savvy pickups for the Frank Gore owner.

5. Maurice Morris, Seahawks
Morris spelled an injured Shaun Alexander throughout Sunday’s game against the Browns. It was clear that Morris was the healthier and better RB. He carried the ball nine times for 55 yards and added 43 receiving yards. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Seahawks shut down Alexander for a game or two. It’s more likely though that Morris continues to share carries in an attempt to protect Alexander and spark the offense. I can see him getting 10-12 carries per game, which would be enough to make him a worthy acquisition in deeper leagues.

Availability: Owned in ~16% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Robinson or Hicks are savvy pickups for the Frank Gore owner.

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. David Patten, Saints
Guess who’s back. Drew Brees. Guess who is his #2 wideout. Veteran David Patten. He has 81 or more yards receiving in three of the last four games and he scored a touchdown in Week 9. Up to this point, not many fantasy owners have shown interest in Patten. He’s still available in over 70% of leagues. Based on his consistency, that should all change this week. If he’s available in your league and you need a wideout, Patten should be your top choice. Patten has games coming up against the Rams and Texans.

Availability: Owned in ~28 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Give patten a look as a low-end WR3.

2. D.J. Hackett, Seahawks
Hackett was a favorite preseason sleeper for many fantasy enthusiasts. However an early-season high-ankle sprain de-railed his 2007 campaign for awhile. Now Hackett is back and with the Seattle running game stalled, he could start living up to the expectations. He posted 58 yards and a touchdown against the Browns on Sunday. The Seahawks have a reasonably favorable schedule coming up with games against the 49ers, Rams and Cardinals among others. If Hackett is lurking on your waiver wire, snatch him up and use him as a third receiver or flex option.

Availability: Owned in ~33 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Hackett has the potential to be a top 20 WR for the rest of the season and should be owned in most leagues.

3. Reggie Williams, Jaguars
Ever since Jimmy Smith retired Jaguars wideouts have been a bit of an enigma. Every once in awhile one of them will have a big game. You’ll pick him up thinking he’s finally arrived. The next week, he’ll catch one pass for 15 yards. Reggie Williams is the most recent Jacksonville wideout to tease fantasy owners. He posted 128 yards in Week 9. Although I wouldn’t trust him in my starting lineup, Williams looks like the team’s top receiving threat and thus deserves consideration. He was targeted eight times on Sunday.

Availability: Owned in ~12% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Stash Williams on your bench in case he gets on a roll..

TIGHT ENDS

1. L.J. Smith, Eagles
Smith is no stranger to fantasy success. He’s been a top 10 fantasy tight end for the past couple seasons. However, a sports hernia injury during the preseason made him a nonfactor for the first half of the year. He’s back now and is slowly working himself back into the offense. On Sunday, he caught two passes for 34 yards. Smith isn’t a guy who you’d want to pickup and start immediately. However, if you have an extra roster spot and you view the TE position as a weakness, Smith could be a guy who helps you out over the final weeks of the season.

Availability: Owned in ~25% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Stick Smith on your bench and hope he emerges during the second half of the season.

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Detroit Lions
It’s time to forget every prejudice you have toward the Detroit defense. The Lions currently lead the entire NFL in takeaways. That’s reason enough to grab them off the waiver wire and make them an every-week starter. They’ve also scored five defensive touchdowns, also among the league’s best. With the Arizona Cardinals on the schedule next week, the Lions are a team that can give you an immediate boost at the defense position.  

Availability: Owned in ~41% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Detroit’s ball-hawking defense is shaping up to be a quality starting squad for fantasy purposes.

Other Features

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