Must Start: The Top 15
1. Steve Smith v. CLE—Don’t
look now but Smith is starting to catch up to the pack despite
missing two games to start the season (17 catches for 199 yards).
And you doubted he’d be able to shake that bum hammy? The
guy can play hurt and probably has, though you wouldn’t
know it by looking at his numbers. Start him against a Cleveland
secondary that is severely hampered itself right now.
2. Torry Holt @ GB—His
reliability is uncanny in this, his eighth season, and now that
the Rams have some semblance of balance on offense, he’s
probably even more dangerous. Holt is coming off two consecutive
100-yard outings and has scored once in each of his last three.
Expect both of those streaks to continue in Green Bay this weekend.
3. Marvin Harrison v. TEN—He
and Reggie Wayne are still, amazingly, oh-for-2006 in the touchdown
department. Is there any chance they get shut out again this week?
Not on your life. This is the strongest I’ve ever felt about
a Shot Caller guarantee: he scores TWICE this Sunday.
4. Reggie Wayne v. TEN—That’s
actually a two-part guarantee, for the record: Wayne scores, as
well. He’s tallied no fewer than 67 yards in four games
this year and every one of his 14 grabs has moved the chains.
Pretty impressive stuff, especially when you consider he’s
not even the Colts’ best option.
5. Terry Glenn @ PHI—I
called him the Cowboys’ best and most productive option
but not because I like saying shocking things. I like saying true
things. Even with TO back in the fold last week, Bledsoe went
looking for Glenn in the red zone, hooking up with the former
Buckeye for two big scores in the rout at Adelphia. Expect a similar
performance at the Linc this weekend as the Eagles throw their
heart and soul into shutting down Owens.
6. Santana Moss @ NYG—The
other Moss made up for three games worth of frustration in one
fell swoop last weekend, racking up 138 yards and three scores
in the ‘Skins’ scintillating OT victory over Jacksonville.
He only caught one other pass but who needs volume when you’re
taking 75% of your touches to the house? Give him the start against
New York’s atrocious secondary at the Meadowlands.
7. Terrell Owens v. PHI—Hey,
didja hear? Terrell Owens is playing the Eagles this weekend.
That’s the team he used to play for. They didn’t part
on very good terms. Word is the Philly fans might get on his case
8. Anquan Boldin v. KC—I
might hafta stop calling them the Chefs if they keep shutting
down opposing passing games (123 yards per and no scores) but
something tells me KC isn’t gonna be able to keep that up
against Arizona’s ultra-talented offense in the desert this
weekend. Now that the lead-footed Warner is outta the picture,
you might even see WHY I call them “ultra-talented.”
Heard it here first: Leinart succeeds in his first official start
and the Cards make it interesting.
9. Larry Fitzgerald v. KC—Even
if they don’t, I like their chances of scoring more than
14 points, something they haven’t been able to do since
Week 1. Fitzgerald certainly hasn’t been the problem but
it’s hard to produce when your QB is laying on his back…or
throwing a stupid pick…or fumbling the snap…or….
You get the picture. Don’t let the rookie triggerman scare
you away. After all…
10. Marques Colston v. TB—…rookies
are people too. Big people. With hands. And wheels. How many of
the 31 other NFL squads do you suppose feel stupid for passing
on this gem? Just goes to show that combine numbers don’t
equate to game numbers. Get him in your lineup and keep him there.
11. Greg Jennings v. STL—So
does he. Word on the street is that Don Driver is pretty banged
up, meaning the Western Michigan product becomes #4’s favorite
target this Sunday. There are a LOT worse things to be than #4’s
favorite target. Just ask Sterling Sharpe, Robert Brooks, Antonio
12. Javon Walker v. BAL—…this
guy. Though I’m sure the feeling isn’t mutual, there’s
no way Favruh doesn’t miss the field-stretching athleticism
of Mr. Walker. Who wouldn’t? He finally showed what he’s
capable of back in the Week 3 win at New England and is looking
to build on that performance against Baltimore this weekend. Not
a great matchup, for sure, but he’s liable to score on anyone,
anywhere, at any time. That includes the Ravens.
13. Braylon Edwards @ CAR—Edwards
might be a younger version of Walker, right down to their matching
knee scars. Though he hasn’t yet had that breakout season
(a la Walker’s 2004 campaign) he’s still got time
to make THIS season the one. He’s now gone over 75 yards
in each of his last three outings and seems to be the favored
target of young signal-caller, Charlie Frye (much to the chagrin
of Kellen Winslow, I suppose). Keep starting him, even against
the resurgent Panthers.
14. Laveranues Coles @ JAX—He
obviously belongs higher but there are lingering concerns about
his injured calf. That, coupled with a matchup against the seething
Jaguars in Jacksonville, means he loses a little value this week.
Go ahead and start him but don’t expect sensational numbers.
Good ones, yes.
15. Muhsin Muhammad v. BUF—I
never thought he’d recapture the magic of 2004 (especially
in Chicago) but he’s certainly a whole lot better than chopped
liver, even if he never does. Through four games, he’s averaging
81 yards a game and even snared a touchdown pass last Sunday night
in the impressive blowout win over Seattle. Keep riding him and
hope Rex Grossman doesn’t pull a…well, a Rex Grossman.
Grab a Helmet
Roy Williams @ MIN—Guess
I should probably lay off for a spell, huh? Listen. I never said
Williams isn’t talented. Quite to the contrary, actually
(look it up). I just never saw him living up to that immense potential
on a week in/week out basis. Two weeks of 130+ yard production
is definitely a start but I’ll need to see more to consider
him a truly reliable fantasy superstar. Ball’s in your court,
Reggie Williams v. NYJ—If
you third-year receiver proponents were looking for more ammunition,
here’s your man. The other Williams spent the better part
of his first two seasons acting invisible down in Florida but
has now turned into a force to be reckoned with, seemingly overnight.
Though he’s still capable of disappearing (see Week 3),
he’s also proven to be the go-to guy in the Jags offense,
especially now that Matt Jones is officially on the shelf for
Week 5. Get him in there.
Isaac Bruce @ GB—Be honest
with yourself: did you really think this guy would be putting
up the kind of numbers he’s posted thus far (80 yards/game
and one score) at this advanced age? I sure didn’t. I mean,
his numbers are almost identical to Larry Fitzgerald’s thus
far, a guy I routinely put in the top 10. Don’t expect a
correction yet, especially with the Rams facing a years-away Packers
squad this Sunday in Green Bay.
Plaxico Burress v. WAS—I
don’t really have a good explanation for putting him down
here other than to say I forgot about him ‘til now and don’t
wanna go back and readjust the rankings. How’s that for
honesty? Actually, he’s coming off a 23-yard effort in Seattle
so it’s not totally inconceivable that he bombs this weekend.
Feel free to start him but don’t be shocked if he doesn’t
Chris Chambers @ NE—Chambers
has been a pretty large disappointment thus far, having tallied
no more than 60 yards in any of his first four games. Nevertheless,
he has scored twice and has also scored five career TDs against
the Pats. Just a hunch but I think he manages to hook up with
Daunte this weekend.
Reggie Brown v. DAL—Donte
Stallworth looks to be out this weekend and if Brian Westbrook
doesn’t play either, the Eagles will be dangerously short
of playmakers. I said short, not devoid of. Brown can play and
has proven as much with two solid outings in the last two Eagles
victories (84.5 yards/per). Give him a look if you’re struggling
to fill that #3 receiver spot.
Grab Some Wood
Derrick Mason @ DEN—Guys
like him don’t belong in the “Grab Some Wood”
section but I’m just not crazy about Baltimore’s passing
game right now. McNair looks old, the line looks iffy, and the
running game doesn’t strike fear into opponents anymore.
He has one huge game to his credit this season (136 yards in Week
3) but, otherwise, he’s been pretty pedestrian. Plus, he
hasn’t scored yet. See if you can’t find someone else.
Drew Bennett @ IND—The
switch to Vince Young might eventually do wonders for Tennessee’s
offense but it instantly ruins Bennett’s value, what little
of it there was. The former Bruin caught just two passes in the
Week 4 debacle v. Dallas and is likely headed for an up-and-down
(mostly down) rest of the season. Hope you got some value for
him after a quick start.
Joey Galloway @ NO—Talk
about up and down! Galloway was shut out in Week 1, exploded for
161 yards in Week 2, and then almost got shut out again in Week
3 (one catch for eight yards). I told you to worry about him and
I’m not taking it back. He’s trouble, especially with
Bruce Gradkowski under center.
Hines Ward @ SD—Sacrilege?
Yes. The right thing to do? For now, yes. Until Roethlisberger
figures out what the hell made him so good the past two seasons,
you’re best staying away from the Pittsburgh passing game.
I know he’ll make me look foolish (who hasn’t?) but
I’m sticking to my guns on this one. Sit Hines Ward. I’m
hoping I never write that sentence again, for the record.
Randy Moss @ SFO—What
a colossal waste of time. Those who thought Randy and the Raiders
were a match made in heaven? You were right. Only it wasn’t
heaven. It was hell. Welcome to it, Raider fans. We’ve been
waiting for you.