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FantasyFootball - NFL Sportsbooks
FantasyFootball - NFL Wager - Sportsbook Review - NFL Sportsbooks - Waiver Wire

Tuesday September 14, 2004 Page updated at 5:40pm

FantasyFootball Grab Bag For Week 2
By: David Bachman
Fantasy Football Editor For

Week 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10 . 11 . 12 . 13 . 14  .15 . 16 . 17

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Anyone can see the value in drafting Priest Holmes, but it takes a discerning eye to distinguish the unheralded or unused players primed for breakout seasons. On the eve of the 2004 Season here are some lesser known names that we think you'll want stashed on your bench. Keep an eye on these guys. They turn fantasy teams into fantasy champions. Thanks Paul Tagliabue, for starting week one on a Thursday in Foxboro with the Indy triplets in town. Thanks Marshall Faulk, for playing the Cardinals on the opening Sunday. Thanks for the Cowboys D vs. Daunte Culpepper. Football’s back. Exhale. Let’s quit with the foreplay.

This is our waiver wire pick-ups column. The staff will scour the free agent pools in fantasy land for the best available talent every week. Availability, of course, depends on the league. We’re using 12 team, 15 roster spot leagues as the median, but we’ll look for roster candidates for leagues of all shapes and sizes.

Steve Smith is out indefinitely

Watching Brett Favre introduce a Beastie Boys video/highlights package should have been the most painful image of week one’s Monday Night Football broadcast.

Then Steve Smith broke his leg.

Smith’s injury was gruesome and decisive; reminding us of Ed McCaffrey’s broken leg during the 2001 Monday night opener. The effect of Smith’s broken fibula could be equally painful for fantasy teams across the country.

Smith’s owners will now desperately search the waiver wire or trade market for help. Owners of Joey Galloway and Travis Taylor should also be looking, although they had wide receiver issues to begin with. In truth, every owner should be looking to upgrade talent every week.

We just ask everyone to exercise patience. If Drew Bennett was a solid grab last week, don’t drop him after one poor outing. One boffo David Terrell performance doesn’t erase the last three years. Two might.

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Top Pickups – Wide Receiver

Tampa’s replacement for Joey Galloway at wide receiver will be rookie Michael Clayton. The LSU product has played older than his age since the day Tampa drafted him. He doesn’t possess great speed, but is sure-handed and is tougher than 90% of the older receivers in the league. Tim Brown will also have a bigger role in the offense and is worth a look for fantasy teams in need.

Teams will continue to blitz the Bucs all day until Tampa proves they can handle it. That should mean short passes and plenty of receptions for Clayton. He totaled seven on opening day for 53 yards and looked like the best offensive player on the field for Tampa. That’s not saying much, considering the offense didn’t reach the red zone during 60 minutes of action. We expect the high reception totals to continue for Clayton, if not big yardage. That makes Clayton roster-worthy in points-per-reception leagues.

David Terrell stepped up with a huge week one performance, gaining 126 yards despite a sluggish Bears offense. We’re skeptical he can keep it going, but he’s worth a roster spot to find out in deeper leagues. He probably has the highest upside of the waiver wire pickups around.

Tyrone Calico may be floating on the waiver wires in many leagues after starting the season out with a knee injury. He’s begun light workouts and it sounds like he could be ready for week three. Grab him and stash away now before the rest of the owners in your league notice.

The Panthers strongly hinted Tuesday that USC rookie Keary Colbert will take over for Steve Smith in the starting lineup. We love this kid. All he did at USC was produce tough catches and huge production in big spots, even as a No. 2 receiver to Mike Williams. He was excellent throughout the preseason and appears to have the smarts necessary to succeed as a rook. We'd grab him in virtually all leagues if you need WR help.David Givens isn’t starting yet, but it’s only a matter of time. If he can gain 80 yards as the Pats third receiver, it doesn’t really matter. He should have a roster spot in all 12-team leagues and may be worth playing versus the Cardinals this week.

Kansas City should own the best offense in the AFC again. That makes Eddie Kennison, their steadiest wideout, worth owning. He gained 101 yards in week one.

Wide receivers to think about

Cedrick Wilson had his strongest game as a pro in opening week, always a dangerous thing. He makes tough catches in traffic and could emerge as San Francisco’s most consistent pass-catcher. We wouldn’t bet on many days like Sunday, though.

Don't bump up Muhsin Muhammad’s value too much after Smith’s injury. He’s not a receiver who can shoulder the load by himself and may actually be hurt by Smith’s absence. Carolina looked like they were going to open up their playbook a bit this season, but now we doubt it. Expect heavier doses than ever of Stephen Davis and Deshaun Foster.

Antonio Bryant is an interesting player because he’s in his magical third-season and he’s obviously talented. But the Cowboys won’t sling the ball every weekend and we wonder how consistent any third receiver on the Cowboys could be. With two tight ends and two running backs often in the game, Bryant will watch from the sideline too much for our liking.

If anyone if your league drops one of the three Green Bay receivers, we’d pick them right up. Same goes with Marty Booker, who will get accustomed to Miami in time.

Eric Parker didn't pile up production in week one, but the Chargers looked for him on a few deep routes. He’s likely to be the top Chargers wideout this season, for what it’s worth.

Johnnie Morton looked healthy in week one and could be worth stashing away in deep leagues. He’s not flashy, but could prove to be a competent injury fill-in.

Wide receivers to drop

No need to hold on Joey Galloway in virtually any league. He was a questionable fantasy grab to begin with… The same goes with Baltimore’s Travis Taylor if his groin injury lingers into this week. Taylor’s injury, meanwhile, could really hurt the Ravens passing game and consequently Jamal Lewis. Taylor is no All-Pro, but the downgrade to Randy Hymes as a starter is significant.

Jerry Rice is a consideration to drop after barely playing in the second half of the Raiders game. Oakland wants receivers who can finish their long pass routes and Rice may lack the necessary speed. We don’t want to be hasty, but if Rice is a part-timer again this weekend, his upside isn’t worth holding on to.

Fantasy owners holding out hope for Atlanta rookie Michael Jenkins can forget about him in re-draft leagues. He hasn’t passed Dez White on the depth chart and didn’t make a catch in his first NFL game.

Wide receivers to be patient with

Don't go dropping Steve Smith just yet. Wait until the Panthers give an official prognosis for the injury.

Drew Bennett had a quiet week one, along with the entire Tennessee passing game. Still, they looked to him twice in the red zone, which is a great sign. Steve McNair will throw more than two second-half passes this week… Also be patient with the Green Bay receivers, who were all quiet in week one… San Francisco receiver Brandon Lloyd only had four catches, but the 49ers tried to get him the ball all day.

Top Pickups - Quarterbacks

Like the rest of the Oakland offense, Rich Gannon looked harried and out of synch for most of the first half versus Pittsburgh on Sunday. But Gannon led an inspiring comeback by hanging tough in the pocket and hitting looong pass plays. Coach Norv Turner went for it on fourth-and-five with less than five minutes remaining, resulting in a 38-yard TD to Alvis Whitted. Gannon completed passes to eleven different receivers on Sunday, showing how deep the Oakland talent pool is. The deep strike attack will help Gannon’s yardage totals and make him worth a fantasy backup position. As long as he keeps his job.

Carson Palmer is still available in some re-draft leagues, but he could be a better yardage option than Drew Bledsoe, Mark Brunell, Brad Johnson, and Byron Leftwich right now. The Bengals won’t be shy to air the ball out and may have to if their defense doesn’t improve. For a first game, Palmer looked very composed.

The Cowboys won’t throw fifty passes very often, but Vinny Testaverde still looks like a decent backup QB for fantasy teams that ignored the position on draft day. Off the top of our head, we like him better than the QBs of at least eight teams: BAL, MIA, CHI, BUF, NYG, SF, WAS, and SD.

Drew Brees, yes we’re serious, has an impressive air about him this season and two great weapons in Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson. He made smart decisions all preseason and followed that up with a perfect QB rating in week one. The play we remember most about Brees on Sunday was a run. Brees tucked the ball away on a QB option, smashed into mountainous Texans nose tackle Robaire Smith right in front of the goal-line. Brees didn’t score, but his toughess wasn’t lost on his fired-up teammates and coaching staff.

Quarterbacks to drop

Week one looked a lot like the 2003 season for Bills QB Drew Bledsoe. Buffalo was leading 10-6 with less than 2:30 left versus Jacksonville on the Jaguars’ 35-yard line. Travis Henry was injured, so the Bills had run Willis McGahee eight straight times with some success. But Buffalo was facing third-and-eleven and needed a first down to keep the drive alive or 5-8 yards to get in field goal range. What did they do? Run McGahee off tackle for two yards, then punt, and eventually lose the game.

With a chance to win the game, Buffalo coach Mike Mularkey was too petrified to use Bledsoe in a situation that clearly called for it. If the Bills coaching staff doesn’t have confidence in him, why should we?

Along those same lines, Detroit coach Steve Mariucci hardly gave a ringing endorsement for his quarterback Joey Harrington on Monday. When asked about Harrington’s performance, Mariucci paused for a long time, and then said, “He was just okay.” Without Charles Rogers to help him out for the season, Harrington now has less potential for big games. Harrington could be a decent backup fantasy QB, but we wouldn’t lose sleep over trying to upgrade from him.

Top pickups… running backs

Maurice Morris is the must-pickup in fantasy leagues this week. Shaun Alexander’s knee injury could keep him out of the Seattle lineup for zero, one, or two games. It doesn’t matter. Grab Morris if you need running back help or not, then trade him to Alexander’s owner. Or just start him yourself. The Seahawks believed enough in Morris’ ability to shop Alexander in trades over the offseason. A box of donuts could gain 80 yards and a score behind the left side of the Seattle offensive line.

Onterrio Smith will likely start for the Vikings through week four. He should already be owned and starting in all leagues, but we’re just making sure. With Moe Williams likely out, Mewelde Moore may be Minnesota’s third-down back over the next two weeks, but has minimal fantasy value.

Emmitt Smith looked scarily competent versus the Rams on Sunday. He’s worth a spot as a fantasy reserve over backups like Anthony Thomas and T.J. Duckett.

Antowain Smith will step in for Chris Brown if Brown’s ankle injury proves serious. That’s the only way he’ll have serious value. The Titans used Smith near the goal-line with Brown in the game, although Antowain failed to punch it in. He also lost a fumble.

He should be gone in most leagues, but Ron Dayne is sure to have a significant role in the 2004 New York Giants offense. Double-digit carries and goal-line looks make him an attractive pickup where available.

Running Backs to be patient with

We’re not fans of T.J. Duckett this season, but he’s worth holding on to in case the situation changes in Atlanta. Like when Warrick Dunn gets injured… Julius Jones was inactive for week one, but certainly don’t give up on him yet. Same thing with Chris Perry in Cincinnati for deep leagues…

Running Backs to drop

Don’t wait on Eddie George if you find an option with upside floating around… Musa Smith is questionable roster spot filler in 12-team leagues since he’s fallen behind Chester Taylor on the depth chart. Jamal Lewis owners are in a bind with that decision.

Garrison Hearst left Denver’s game with ankle injury and was replaced by Tatum Bell as Quentin Griffin’s top backup. With Q running so well, it’s hard to see Hearst providing value, injured or not.

It’s safe to drop all Miami running backs except Lamar Gordon.

Tight Ends to pickup

San Francisco’s Eric Johnson is ready to be a starter in 12-team fantasy leagues. He’ll be a focal point of the offense this season and is worth grabbing if you need help or depth at tight end.

Antonio Gates should be owned in all leagues, including eight-team affairs.

Tight Ends to drop

Unless you carry two tight ends, we wouldn’t hang to Houston’s Billy Miller any longer. He was held without a reception in week one and suffered a minor hamstring injury to boot… Minnesota’s Jim Kleinsasser hurt his knee (again) and could be out a month. It's safe to let him go.

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As always folks check back for my Fantasy Football column tomorrow, and until then good luck with your Tuesday Night waiver wire pickups.

Week 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10 . 11 . 12 . 13 . 14  .15 . 16 . 17 

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