Must Start: The Top 15
1. Randy Moss vs. GB - Thanks
to a tender hammy, Moss has only caught 42 balls this season.
That would make him a candidate for biggest fantasy bust of '04
if not for the fact he's also caught 11 TD passes. That would
be a TD every FOUR times he catches the rock. Expect an even better
ratio this Sunday against Green Bay's painfully overmatched corners.
2. Drew Bennett vs. DEN - Moss
has caught 42 balls all season. Bennett has caught 25 balls the
last TWO WEEKS! We're not talking whimpy underneath stuff, either.
He's averaging a robust 15.4 yards/catch and has also tallied
ten TD receptions on the year, eight in the last three games.
All of which makes him the next-best fantasy starter at wideout.
3. Muhsin Muhammad @ TB - If
you thought he'd be a top 3 start by year's end, you're either
a BIG Muhsin Muhammad fan or the second coming of Kreskin. Either
way, you're laughing all the way to the bank. Continue starting
him until somebody (anybody) can figure out a way to slow him
4. Reggie Wayne vs. SD - You
never know who Peyton will favor most but more often than not,
Wayne seems to be the guy. He caught eight balls for 88 yards
last week and should have no trouble matching those numbers against
an average San Diego secondary this Sunday.
5. Javon Walker @ MIN - The
battle for NFC North supremacy should be a high-scoring one and
if the Ol' Gunslinger has any hope of keeping up with the Vikes,
he'll need to find Walker early and often. He did both last week,
hooking up with the former Seminole 11 times for 152 yards. Expect
more of the same and maybe even a touch or two in the Twin Cities
6. Jerry Porter @ KC - He's
had two huge games this year
and several average to below-average
ones. Though that makes him a risky play, you should consider
that both of those games occurred in the past month. Bear in mind
he's also facing the horrendous Chefs. Receiver on a roll + good
matchup = great playoff start.
7. Joe Horn vs. ATL - He finally
got some help last week and just in the nick of time for the Saints'
flagging playoff hopes. Though the emergence of Donte Stallworth
may hurt his numbers a bit, he should still be good for 75-100
yards and a score against the Falcons. Mark it down, folks.
8. Marvin Harrison vs. SD -
He's on pace for his lowest output in six years (about 1,100 yards).
Then again, he's also on pace to break his own personal best for
TD receptions in a season (15). Yardage. Touchdowns. They all
spell fantasy points to us. Keep riding him.
9. Chad Johnson vs. NYG - I
thought the switch to Jon Kitna would be a non-event for the ever-dangerous
Oracle. I was wrong, as his two-catch, ten-yard performance clearly
demonstrates. There's no way he doesn't improve on those anemic
digits this week but how much he improves depends almost entirely
on how much Mr. Kitna improves. Roll the dice if you've made it
10. Torry Holt vs. PHI - Surprisingly,
the absence of Marc Bulger has been a boon for Holt, as he's posted
his two best games of the season since his QB went down. Now that
Bulger is back (reportedly), it's hard to tell what will happen.
My guess? He'll continue his strong play with 75 yards and a score
against the Eagles on Monday night.
11. Jimmy Smith vs. HOU - The
Jags managed only 121 yards through the air last week but Smith,
not surprisingly, accounted for almost all of them (87 yards and
two scores). If it weren't for guys like Drew Bennett and Muhsin
Muhammad, he'd be my choice for most surprising stud of the year,
especially when you consider he gets NO help from his running
12. Lee Evans @ SF - Speaking
of running mates, they don't get much hotter than Mr. Evans of
late. After some early-season growing pains, the former Badger
has exploded on the scene to the tune of 314 yards and five touchdowns
in his last four games. Throw in a couple long reverses and it's
obvious the Bills have figured out how best to maximize his main
asset, blazing speed. Start him.
13. Eddie Kennison vs. OAK -
He's averaging over 100 yards and almost two touchdowns per game
in his last three contests, enough for me to overlook his chronic
inconsistency. He may never be 100% trustworthy but, come to think
of it, what receiver is? Get him in there if you're still on the
fence. He could destroy Oakland's patchwork secondary this Saturday.
14. Antonio Gates @ IND - The
conditions weren't conducive for a big day from Gates but he only
needed one touch to make something happen, grabbing an out pattern
at midfield and tip-toeing down the sidelines for a 72-yard score.
He should find the footing much more agreeable this weekend at
the RCA Dome. Accordingly, he should also be good for 75-100 yards
and another touch or two.
15. Derrick Mason vs. DEN -
He's become almost an afterthought since the emergence of Drew
Bennett but even afterthoughts put up big numbers in Tennessee's
new air raid offense. He managed nine catches for 121 yards and
a score last week and if he plays this week (he's listed as questionable),
could post similar numbers against Denver.
Grab A Helmet:
Rod Smith @ TEN - I gave you
the go-ahead to start The Snake so it wouldn't be right to forget
about his go-to guy. If you think I'm nuts for recommending the
former, disregard the latter. Keep in mind, however, that he's
still averaging almost 80 yards per contest and did manage to
score last week, despite Plummer's struggles.
Isaac Bruce vs. PHI - Unlike
his running mate, Mr. Holt, the injury to Marc Bulger has had
a negative impact on Bruce's numbers. Very negative. In fact,
he's managed only nine catches for a measly 82 yards since Bulger
went down. Now that he's back, we can only hope the Reverend will
start producing again. I say "we" like I own him. I
don't, for the record.
Michael Clayton vs. CAR - He
doesn't score enough to merit top 15 consideration but his 75
yards per game looks awfully nice at your #2 or #3 wideout position.
He may not score against the Panthers this week, either, but he's
probably good for 75-100 yards, especially when you consider he
accounted for over half Tampa's passing yardage last week.
Nate Burleson vs. GB - The last
time he faced the ol' Green and Gold, he lit them up for 141 yards
a touch. This time, the Pack will be forced to contend with a
more serious threat, Mr. Moss. All that attention on one side
should lead to single-coverage for Burleson on the other. He's
good enough to expose Green Bay's rookie corners (Ahmad Carroll
and Joey Thomas) in single coverage. Give him a look.
Roy Williams vs. CHI - Wiliams
is good enough to expose ANYone in single coverage, something
he should see very little of until next year, when Charles Rogers
(IF Charles Rogers) returns. The extra attention may hurt his
bottom line some but you can count on him finding a few holes
in Chicago's iffy secondary this week. Mark him down for 75 yards
and a touch.
Grab Some Wood:
Any Baltimore receiver @ PIT -
I recommended a Ravens receiver last week and I absolutely, positively,
cross-my-heart, hope-to-die won't let it happen again. I'm sorry.
Any Chicago receiver @ DET -
Gotta love cut and paste.
Any Cleveland receiver @ MIA -
Unless Kelly Holcomb gets the nod, in which case Antonio Bryant
deserves a look.
Any NY Giants receiver @ CIN -
Eli's breakout game should have meant decent production from the
Giants' receiving corps. EHHHHH! Next contestant.
Best of luck, folks!