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Sleepers & Snoozers - Week 2
Bob Cunningham
September 15, 2004

I hope you enjoy the following weekly feature. Now exclusive to, I've been syndicating this mini-progno of players for the last four years.

Here's how it works: Each week, I will release seven sleepers and seven snoozers. A sleeper is defined as a second-tier player (or lower) who I expect to enjoy an above-average performance. A snoozer, on the other hand, is a first-tier/superstar type who I suspect will endure what is for him a subpar effort. The idea is to assist you with potential lineup decisions, and maybe render a second-opinion that you didn't actually request.

One thing I want to point out... my sleepers are not intended to supplant superstar players, and my snoozers should not necessarily equate to benching recommendations. That ultimately depends on your specific roster. If, for example, your team sports Peyton Manning and Mark Brunell as QBs, and I write that Mark Brunell is a sleeper pick, it doesn't mean that I'm suggesting you bench Manning for Brunell. My belief has always been that you stick with your studs regardless of matchups.

However, if your roster has Brunell and, say, Byron Leftwich... then I'm essentially recommending you play Brunell.

Each week, I'll include an assessment of my picks from the previous week (just for the heck of it, because that practice has proven popular).

The following are my Sleepers & Snoozers for Week 2:


Drew Brees, QB, San Diego - He looked sharp against Houston, and he's poised to keep his job. The Jets have a decent defense but Cincinnati's Carson Palmer had some success throwing against them last week, and the Jets will be all keyed up trying to contain LaDainian Tomlinson.

Kevin Jones, RB, Detroit - The rookie struggled for much of the game against Chicago last week, but the home opener against the Texans figures to be more to his liking.

Lamar Gordon, RB, Miami - Did you see how the Jets ran all over Cincy's defense last week? Plus, the Dolphins have a new starting QB in A.J. Feeley. Gordon was obtained to be the man, and the holes will be there.

Rod Gardner, WR, Washington - Gardner was the featured receiver in Week 1, and the Giants can obviously be exploited in the secondary based on what happened against Philadelphia last week.

Dante Hall, WR, Kansas City - The Chiefs want to go for big plays in their home opener, and Hall is the best-equipped to provide it in the passing game.

Erron Kinney, TE, Tennessee - The Titans will be facing an Indy secondary that is decidedly more vulnerable in the middle than Miami's appeared to be in Week 1.

Oakland defense/special teams - The Raiders were respectable slowing the Pittsburgh attack last week and Buffalo's offense obviously has yet to hit its stride.


Daunte Culpepper, QB, Minnesota - Hey, he was nothing shy of awesome in the opener against Dallas. But he has to prove to me he can do the same things on the road against a quality defense like Philadelphia's. Still a fantasy starter, but his numbers won't come close to last week's.

Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle - His health is a concern, but even if he's 100 percent the Bucs are still decent against the run. Take out the game-opening 64-yard TD dash, and Washington's Clinton Portis averaged only three yards per carry on 27 other tries against Tampa Bay last week.

Duce Staley, RB, Pittsburgh - Baltimore's defense is likely to be a tad annoyed after a 20-3 opening loss at Cleveland. It'd be a surprise if Staley had much of a day.

Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis - Not sure how smart a pick this is, because Harrison seems to do his best work against the top secondaries, but few wideouts have any real success against Tennessee on the Titans' home turf.

Eric Moulds, WR, Buffalo - See the Raiders defense/special teams under Sleepers above.

Freddie Jones, TE, Arizona - Not a very good matchup, against New England and its premium pass defense.

Carolina defense/special teams - The Panthers are talented and balanced, but few teams slow the KC offense at Arrowhead Stadium these days, and Carolina had no answer for Green Bay Monday night.

A Look Back at Week 1

Sleepers: Tommy Maddox, QB, Pittsburgh; Quentin Griffin, RB, Denver; Domanick Davis, RB, Houston; Todd Pinkston, WR, Philadelphia; Donte' Stallworth, WR, New Orleans; Jason Witten, TE, Dallas; St. Louis Rams teams.

Comment - There was good and bad here. The good was that both my sleeper RBs came up big. The bad was that Maddox did nada and none of the receivers scored (only Pinkston had even close to decent yardage). The Rams defense didn't force turnovers as I predicted, but they did hold Arizona to just 10 points. GRADE: C-

Snoozers: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis; Clinton Portis, RB, Washington; Travis Henry, RB, Buffalo; Derrick Mason, WR, Tennessee; Chad Johnson, WR, Cincinnati; Randy McMichael, TE, Miami.

Comment - Fairly accurate, except for Johnson (who broke loose for a 53-yard TD late) and Portis (64-yard TD run on his first touch as a Redskins - oops). GRADE: C+