Must Start: The Top 15
1. Terrell Owens @ PIT - Since
when does clean living earn you the right to slander others? Mom
always told me to hold my tongue if I didn't have something nice
to say. See, Mom? I WAS listening.
2. Torry Holt vs. NE - I don't
know the guy personally but I'm betting he spent the extra time
off thinking of ways to atone for a one-catch, four-yard performance
in South Florida two weeks ago. Lucky for him, the Pats come to
town light their two starting corners. Hey, that's a pretty good
way, isn't it? You betcha.
3. Reggie Wayne vs. MIN - I
could never prove this but isn't it just a little suspicious that
he and Marvin put up identical numbers (119 yards and two scores)
last week? It's almost as if Peyton were telling us he doesn't
play favorites, sideline shouting matches to the contrary. Whatever
the case, you definitely want Reggie in your lineup this week
as the balls will be flying in Indy Monday night.
4. Marvin Harrison vs. MIN -
Balls a' flyin' means plenty of catching and nobody does it better
(still) than Marvin. He may not be Manning's only target anymore
but that doesn't mean he's not the favorite, even if the numbers
tell us otherwise. I don't see how the Vikes could possibly slow
this juggernaut down. Do you?
5. Andre Johnson @ DEN - He
hasn't scored in three weeks, which only means that he's due this
Sunday. He'll likely be matched up against Champ Bailey but don't
let that scare you away. He's athletic enough and big enough to
score on anybody, including the NFL's best cover corner.
6. Isaac Bruce vs. NE - I did
mention the Pats will be missing BOTH their starting corners,
right? Bruce will probably draw converted safety Eugene Wilson
much of the time. Though I like Wilson, he's still a safety. Safeties
don't cover guys like Ike Bruce very often and I think you'll
find out why this Sunday.
7. Plaxico Burress vs. PHI -
I told you to sit him down last week but I couldn't have predicted
the Pats would lose Ty Law early in the game. Suffice it to say
that without him, New England stood no chance of shutting down
the 6'5" Burress. Philly's young corners will be similarly
hard-pressed this weekend as neither of them stands even 6'. Give
me size over speed and ability any day of the week.
8. Joe Horn @ SD - We haven't
heard from him in two weeks but last we did, he was torching the
Raiders for nine grabs and 123 yards. He might be asked to put
up similar numbers if the Saints are unable to mount a running
attack against San Diego's stingy front. He will, whether they
do or not.
9. Darrell Jackson @ SF - Aside
from the lack of touchdowns, Seattle's ineffective passing game
hasn't cut into Jackson's numbers too much. That's probably because
he's the only guy DOING anything in the passing game. Expect more
of the same at the 'Stick this Sunday, even if Jerry Rice celebrates
his San Fran homecoming with a vintage Jerry Rice performance
(always a possibility).
10. Chad Johnson vs. DAL - Like
Randy, T.O., Plaxico, and Andre Johnson, he epitomizes the new
brand of NFL deep threat: big, tall, and fast. I'm no personnel
director but if it were MY job to comb the college ranks for talent,
I'd be looking for bigger, taller, faster corners. Until supply
meets demand, guys like "7-11" are a great start against
the league's smallish corners (i.e., Terence Newman).
11. Hines Ward vs. PHI - He's
been eclipsed by his more volatile and explosive teammate since
the insertion of Big Ben into the lineup. Never a true big-play
threat, anyway, you'll probably hafta be content with the 6-10
catches and 80-100 yards he tallies every week. In case you hadn't
noticed, those are far better numbers than most receivers put
up on a regular basis.
12. Keyshawn Johnson @ CIN -
He's not particularly fast but he probably started the trend toward
bigger, more physical receivers when he entered the league nine
years ago. It's a good thing he IS big and physical, too, or might
have ended up on the business end of a spanking by now. Sorry,
folks. Couldn't pass THAT one up!
13. David Givens @ STL - More
passes from Tom Brady means more opportunities for his brightest
receiver. He answered the bell last week to the tune of 101 yards
and two scores. Expect more of the same if Corey Dillon is unable
to go this week in St. Louie.
14. Keenan McCardell vs. NO
- He was everyone's favorite free agent pickup two weeks ago and
if you were lucky enough to grab him, congrats. He instantly became
Drew Brees' favorite target and that actually means something
this season. He should be good for 75-100 yards and a score this
weekend against the Saints. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and guarantee
that touch for you. You're welcome.
15. Marcus Robinson @ IND -
Yet another big, tall, fast guy who should have a field day against
an undersized secondary this week. I'm not counting on Randy this
week (in case you hadn't noticed) and Robinson is the most likely
candidate to fill the void created by his absence. Get him in
there if you're still on the fence.
Grab A Helmet:
Michael Clayton vs. KC - If
you haven't already detected the trend here (refresher: big, tall,
fast), yet another candidate for you. The LSU product has quickly
become Tampa's #1 threat and there's no reason to think he won't
continue to be even though Jurevicius and Galloway return. In
fact, I'd be surprised if he doesn't put up better numbers now
that the Bucs have more than one threat in the passing game.
Justin McCareins @ BUF - I don't
know what became of Santana Moss but suffice it to say McCareins
is the only Jets receiver I'd be starting these days. Though he
looks like a possession type, he plays like a vertical threat.
He'll only get more comfortable with the offense as time goes
by and that should translate into a return trip to the end zone
soon, maybe even this Sunday.
Keary Colbert vs. OAK - Unlike
McCareins, he actually IS a prototypical possession receiver.
He runs great routes and has sticky hands, a winning combination
if he has designs on staying in the league for an extended period
of time. This week, he draws the horrendous Raiders D, a great
matchup if you're looking for a solid #3 guy.
Anquan Boldin @ MIA - He got
his feet wet last week and the initial returns were quite promising
(four catches for 50 yards). The Cards need him to take the pressure
off star rookie, Larry Fitzgerald, and I suspect he'll start doing
that on a regular basis, beginning with a trip to Miami this Sunday.
Pick him up if he's still available and start him.
Antonio Gates vs. NO - Ironically
enough, the former college hoops star is considered short by NFL
tight end standards. I'll tell you what he's not short on: production.
His 49 catches and five scores put him on pace for a 98 and ten
season, respectively. When's the last time a tight end not named
Tony Gonzalez gave you those type of numbers? He's one of the
great finds this year.
Grab Some Wood:
Any Baltimore receiver vs. CLE
- Let's not waste precious space talking about these clowns, 'kay?
The return of Jamal makes them even less interesting than they
already were. By the way, they weren't.
Laveranues Coles @ CHI - I get
asked about him on a weekly basis so I'll tell you what I tell
others: he isn't worth playing until Washington finds a QB who
can get him the ball. His blazing speed is unutilized with Brunell
at the helm and though he can succeed underneath, it's not his
forte. Find someone else who has a chance of actually scoring
sometime this year.
Roy Williams vs. WAS - Well,
he sure looks good standing on the sidelines. Of course, he'd
look a helluva lot better standing at split end. Until he plays
a complete game again, go with someone else. You'll love him when
he's ready but he'll break your heart in the interim.
Amani Toomer vs. CHI - If you'd
have told me he'd have 29 catches and no touchdowns at this point,
I'd have told you the Giants are struggling. They aren't so I
don't really know what to tell you. Obviously, he isn't considered
vital to their success. Though that could change (and fast), I'm
not banking on it. Neither should you.
Eric Moulds vs. NYJ - I usually
get in trouble when I tell you to sit him down but the emergence
of Willis McGahee (and the incompetence of Drew Bledsoe) makes
him a pretty risky play most weeks. This week should be no different
thanks to a Jets D that is playing much better this season.
Best of luck, folks!