For those of you still trying to figure out who goes where for next week, I’m giving you five players in each of four categories—Good Investment, Overachieving, Underachieving, and Waiver Wire.
Remember, just because a player is overachieving doesn’t mean that he'll be bad...it only means he won’t be as good as his current stat line.
This list includes games through Sunday but not Monday (you’ll get that later). On with the show!
His stat line from Sunday was reminiscent of 2005, when he amassed 70 receptions and 11 total TDs. Granted, the TDs probably won't be so common this season (think six to eight), but if he can keep his receptions up, you’ll never notice the difference. Jordan is THE guy in Oakland, and without any pressure at his position, it looks to stay that way. A slight injury risk, but still a solid choice—if he’s available on your waiver wire (or owned by a moron), you might want to make your move sooner than later.
He really shouldn’t be on here, but it’s worth mentioning. Tony Ugoh blew almost every play (watch Manning’s left side on any replay), and Manning still got the job done. Maybe not a huge year this year—but if you were worried that Ugoh’s presence would lead to some serious pressure on Manning, you were right...and he came through with ease.
I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong. Moss looked like a man among men on Sunday, running crisp routes and catching presents from Santa—er, Brady. I wouldn't be surprised if he put up a touchdown every game this year. That's a serious endorsement.
San Diego Defense
Most people would tell you the Bears have a bad offense, but the entire SD defense functioned effectively—not just Merriman. With an ex-Bears coach at the helm, it could have been a matter of preparation; most likely, it’s that San Diego is finally ready to keep the score down (and not just sack the QB relentlessly).
He showed flashes of what everyone expected him to be in 2006, and that means lots of catches over the middle. He’s probably not going to be a serious red-zone option (maybe four touchdowns on the year), but he'll get receptions and yards. If you can make a move for him, now'ss the time.
I love Romo, don’t get me wrong—but five TDs isn’t going to be a common occurrence. As bad as the Giants’ secondary is, Romo still put up a great showing...mostly through the help of his receivers. Romo’s stats dropped off last year after an insanely good start, so think closer to two TDs and one INT for the rest of the way, plus the occasional rushing touchdown. If you own Romo, don’t be afraid to part with him in a lopsided deal.
He’s a great receiver, but he’s no Randy Moss or Chad Johnson. With Manning hurting right now, Burress may not get nearly as many looks from the ineffective Jared Lorenzen. Not only that, but Burress was involved in a shootout instead of a blowout—the Cowboys D isn’t all that impressive. Expect six receptions, 80 yards, and a few touchdown-less weeks to come.
Do you really think that Jacksonville is a passing team? Expect Garrard to drop into a Vick-like role...well, sans the cannon arm and suspension. Look for 150 yards and one touchdown from here on out, with the occasional rushing outburst. He’s good for a bye-week plug-in, but not much else. Try to deal him soon.
The Lions have way too many passing options for this guy to be emerging as a consistent threat. Between Williams, Furrey, and Johnson (not to mention Bell and, soon, Kevin Jones), McDonald is the odd man out. In a Mike Martz offense, where passing is key, he’ll get looks like Ricky Proehl did on the Rams 2002 team—but don’t waste a waiver move on him until Roy Williams gets hurt later on in the season.
Not worth your time. The only reason they even rank is because the opposition is usually playing from behind (which means lots of passing). When the person passing is an extremely rusty Drew Brees (with an essentially neutralized running game), the dynamics change a bit. See what happens when the Colts play a tolerable defense, then make your decision.
The #2 pick in many leagues was a colossal mess on Sunday—58 yards and two lost fumbles. Thankfully, there’s a reason that Jackson was drafted so early, and that’s his role as a pass-catching back. With Orlando Pace out with an injury, look for Jackson to see the ball in the flats for some quick yardage. Find someone who wants to sell.
Not his fault, really. The Jaguars just didn’t run this week. Hopefully, someone sees only the yards (and not the attempts) and decides to cut his losses early. Capitalize on this, as MJD will be working full-time soon (i.e. when Fragile Fred Taylor takes his yearly nosedive).
Along with the rest of KC’s offense, LJ looked reluctant to be on the field. This won't last, but odds are everyone in your league already knows it. If you’re an LJ owner, reject all trades this week, then be sure to point out what happens against the Ravens. I say LJ puts up 90 and a touchdown against a vaunted defense.
Donovan McNabb/Reggie Brown
McNabb killed Brown’s game, but Brown’s route-running didn’t do him any favors. The two of them will need to step it up in the coming weeks—McNabb looked genuinely awful. This one has some serious boom-or-bust potential, as A.J. Feeley is not Fantasy material.
Not a single reception—and the entire passing attack seemed lost without Darrell Jackson. Branch was only good in the past because he had a better receiver next to him (Jackson), or Tom Brady throwing it. Without either of these, I’m quite convinced that he's due for a miserable year. Deal him if you have him, and don’t bite when someone else tries it.
Not only does he look like the sick love child of Mo Vaughn and Condoleezza Rice, but the guy just isn’t good. A lack of experience (sliding before the first down marker) and some poor passing make me say that Lorenzen isn’t worth your time. What's more, Manning will be back...and playing with something to prove this year. Leave Jared on the waiver wire.
An absolutely pathetic showing on Sunday night. I don’t care if Strahan clones himself to play cornerback—they’re just plain abysmal. If you drafted them for the sacks, you might want to reconsider.
Anyone who picked him up to back up the injured Brandon Jacobs will be sorely disappointed. Droughns is playing fullback now, or at best, splitting carries. Kiss those 2005 Browns memories goodbye while he opens holes for the more capable Derrick Ward.
What a joke. He plays the Falcons (a team that’s completely in shambles), gets 160 yards with a TD and an INT (not even a good game!)...and suddenly people think he can be a Fantasy quarterback. I hope the Raiders’ secondary puts him in his place—on the waiver wire.
Had every chance to make a good impression with Greg Jennings out on Sunday...and did very little to convince me that he can run a route and catch a ball. Favre was forced to target Driver, double-covered or not. Leave James on the waiver wire until another injury occurs.
Keep an eye on: Jason Avant, Roddy White, Braylon Edwards, Chris Chambers, Jerry Porter, Kevin Curtis, and Donté Stallworth
Coming Wednesday: Analysis of the players in the Thursday and Monday games.