Must Start: The Top 15
1. Torry Holt @ SF - It only
happens once a year but with Randy watching from his couch this
week, we need a new go-to guy. Who better than Mr. Holt, the favorite
target in the most fantasy-friendly offense? His 22 receptions
are bested only by teammate Ike Bruce's 25 and he's also scored
a touch the past two weeks. This Sunday, he draws a Niners defense
that has no earthly chance of slowing down the Greatest Show.
2. Terrell Owens @ CHI - Though
you wouldn't know it by the amount of pub he's getting, his reception
and yardage totals don't project out to a career year. Then again,
at the rate he's scoring touchdowns, he could obliterate Jerry
Rice's record for a single season (22). The football gods couldn't
be that cruel, could they?
3. Joe Horn @ ARI - He's totaled
better than 90 yards in three straight contests to begin the season.
He's also scored touchdowns in the last two. In fact, if he switched
jerseys with Torry Holt or Ike Bruce at this point, you probably
wouldn't know the difference, especially from a fantasy perspective.
Continue using him as your #1 or #2 receiver, depending on how
loaded you are at the position.
4. Reggie Wayne @ JAX - It seems
crazy to put the #2 guy in front of the #1 guy but all the attention
being paid to the #1 guy has made life for the #2 guy pretty sweet.
Clear as mud? Translation: teams are rolling coverage Marvin's
way and attempting to handle Wayne man-to-man. Really bad idea.
Until somebody devises a better way to defend this powder keg
of an offense, stick with Reggie.
5. Marvin Harrison @ JAX - Of
course, all that double coverage hasn't dampened his production
a whole lot. He's still on pace for over 115 receptions and 1100
yards. Provided he keeps scoring a touchdown a week, there's no
reason to move him down the list much.
6. Derrick Mason @ SD - Like
any wideout, he'll go only as far as his QB takes him. McNair
is struggling out of the gate and Mason's numbers have been hurt
because of it. Regardless, he faces a Chargers secondary this
week that is even more generous than Houston's (73.3% completion
rate). There's giving up the underneath stuff and then there's
giving up EVERYTHING. Stick with him at least for this week.
7. Hines Ward vs. CIN - How
anyone could catch a pass in that Miami mess is beyond me, but
he actually caught NINE of them (for 96 yards). He is simply the
most reliable wide receiver in the NFL. Though I don't like the
fact he's got a rook throwing him the ball, I do like his particular
rook. Don't alter your expectations too much.
8. Santana Moss @ MIA - Like
Mason, he's off to a bit of a slow start. That's partially because
the Jets have a lot of weapons and partially because Pennington
is a smart QB (read: he checks down to his backs a lot). I don't
see Moss flying under the radar much longer. He's simply too talented
and too valuable a weapon for his young signal-caller to ignore.
9. Chad Johnson @ PIT - If there
were a stat for "prettiest catches nobody sees," he'd
lead the league
by far. He makes routine out patterns look
positively Swann-esque. Of course, none of that matters when your
team goes eight consecutive quarters without a touchdown. There
are no patsies on the Bengals' schedule this year so monitor his
10. Isaac Bruce @ SF - He's
option 1B for the high-flying Rams and option 1B for the Rams
is like 1A for most other teams. A league-leading 348 receiving
yards through three weeks has him on pace for over 1800 on the
season. That would be a career high for a guy who's had a pretty
darn good career.
11. Andre Johnson vs. OAK -
His 21.8 yards per catch leads the AFC and affirms what we've
known all along: he's a deep threat extraordinaire. Another big
hook-up this week could mean a trip to the barbershop for his
quarterback. I can hear my wife now: "Go Raiders!"
12. Donte' Stallworth @ ARI
- He's on his way to (finally) duplicating his rookie numbers,
numbers which endeared him to fantasy owners in the first place.
Not surprisingly, the injury to Deuce McAllister seems to have
been the catalyst. He gets a Cardinals team this week that is
playing hard for Dennis Green but is still alarmingly untalented.
13. Jimmy Smith vs. IND - When
your team has only scored 35 points in three games, you likely
aren't having a banner year...yet. Smith needs some help to start
posting his typical numbers and he just may get it this week against
an unsightly Colts D (335.3 passing yards/game). Give him another
14. Amani Toomer @ GB - Like
Smith, he hasn't found the end zone yet this season. Like Smith,
he's also due. If you watched ANY of the Pack-Colts game, you
know Green Bay is looking pretty iffy in the secondary. Expect
Warner and Toomer to take advantage for a score, especially if
the Pack continues to blitz on almost every play.
15. Jerry Porter @ HOU - His
skills were never really complementary to the arm of Rich Gannon
so the switch to Kerry Collins has to have him (not to mention
most Raiders fans) excited. If he doesn't become a major weapon
with Collins at the helm, it isn't going to happen. I'm betting
it will indeed happen and we'll get a sneak preview against an
extremely questionable Texans secondary this week.
Grab A Helmet:
Javon Walker vs. NYG - He was
so wide open at times last week that it almost appeared the Colts
were letting him score so they could get their offense back on
the field. Only joking of course but whatever the case, Walker
had a huge day (198 yards and three scores), marred only by a
game-clinching cough-up late in the fourth quarter. He won't duplicate
those numbers against New York but he's a decent start as your
Rod Smith @ TB - He's been remarkably
consistent through three games, averaging six catches and 78 yards
a game. He added a touchdown last week and still appears to have
a lot left after nine seasons. For the record, I was probably
a little premature with the obituary for his running mate, Ash
Lelie, too. Either one is a decent start on a weekly basis
Brandon Stokley @ JAX - Hell,
why not recommend every single Colts skill player this week? He's
officially the #3 wideout which, on most teams, would mean very
little to you. Indy isn't most teams. He's ranked #11 in fantasy
points at the receiver position and that makes him a solid #2
guy or, in larger leagues, a decent #1.
Rod Gardner @ CLE - I've never
been a big fan of his (inconsistency and lousy quarterback play
are the primary reasons) but he showed us what he's capable of
on Monday night against a tough Dallas squad. He's big, fast,
and has pretty good hands. He won't give you huge numbers every
week but he's worth a play against the league's lightweights.
Grab Some Wood:
Any Ravens receiver vs. KC -
Baltimore's leading receiver is a guy named Randy Hymes
if anybody had the foresight (?) to draft him before the season
began, I need to hear from you. This group is responsible for
exactly ONE touchdown through three games and is now missing its
most talented player, tight end Todd Heap.
Any Cardinals receiver vs. NO
- At least Baltimore's wideouts have scored at least one touchdown.
Arizona's receivers have accounted for none. That includes tight
ends. You shouldn't be staking your hopes on unproven players,
even when they're as talented as Larry Fitzgerald. Wait 'til Anquan
Eric Moulds vs. NE - Don't get
me wrong. He's as talented as they come. Unfortunately, his quarterback
spends more time on his back than he does heaving rockets in Moulds'
direction. He'll probably get you some points every once in a
while but his days as a top five wideout are long gone.
David Terrell vs. PHI - His
Week 1 explosion is starting to look like an anomaly. Since then,
he's caught only TWO passes for a measly 25 yards. Now he'll be
relying on Jonathan Quinn to get him the ball. So much for him
finally fulfilling his potential, eh?
Best of luck, folks!