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Sleepers & Snoozers - Week 3
Bob Cunningham
September 22, 2004

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 3:


A.J. Feeley, QB, Miami - The scouting reports continually refer to Pittsburgh's porous pass defense. If there's ever a week you should consider playing Feeley, it's this week.

Domanick Rhodes, RB, Indianapolis - Be careful with this guy, because reports from Indy are that James is working out and may play Sunday at home against Green Bay. But if he doesn't - and you can confirm that info before kickoff or your league's lineup deadline - Rhodes is a pretty doggone talented back in his own right.

Charlie Garner, RB, Tampa Bay - Garner is likely to be eager to show his former team and the Oakland fans that he remains a quality back. Had 19 touches for 100 yards last week vs. Seattle.

Jerry Rice, WR, Oakland - After not getting the ball to him even once last week, breaking his record 274-game streak with at least one reception, I figure a few passes will come the old man's direction this week.

David Terrell, WR, Chicago - No one respect the Bears passing attack, but the Vikings defense is even less revered.

L.J. Smith, TE, Philadelphia - Not much of a sleeper anymore because he's emerged as a go-to guy for QB Donovan McNabb. Look for that to continue this week.

Kansas City defense/special teams - Visiting Houston may be just the elixir to fix the Chiefs' woes.


Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay - The Colts defense is playing better, and Favre doesn't usually fare particularly well in domes, for whatever reason.

Kevan Barlow, RB, San Francisco - Seattle's defense has been rock-solid through the first two weeks.

Chris Brown, RB, Tennessee - Jacksonville's defense is playing too well to expect the rook to do anything huge. He'll get his carries, but I'm guessing under four yards a pop and a max of one short TD.

Chad Johnson, WR, Cincinnati - His QB is a rookie, and the Bengals are facing Baltimore's secondary.

Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh - His QB is a rookie, and the Steelers are facing Miami's secondary.

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego - Trouble for the Chargers offense in the Mile High City.

New England defense/special teams - I'm betting the house they will accomplish nothing this week (I need this pick to eliminate the chance of complete failure, such as with last week's Sleepers).

A Look Back at Week 2

Sleepers: Drew Brees, QB, San Diego; Kevin Jones, RB, Detroit; Lamar Gordon, RB, Miami; Rod Gardner, WR, Washington; Dante Hall, WR, Kansas City; Erron Kinney, TE, Tennessee; Oakland defense/special teams.

Comment - Not only was Brees mostly awful, but he got hurt. Jones had 70 total yards and no scores (but Cory Schlesinger had a 1-yard TD reception!). Gordon had a whopping 22 yards on 19 carries and finished with about 60 yards and no scores. Gardner managed three catches for 66 yards. Yawn. Kinney had six catches, but for only 45 yards and no scores. But hey... got one right. The Raiders defense played well. GRADE: F

Snoozers: Daunte Culpepper, QB, Minnesota; Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle; Duce Staley, RB, Pittsburgh; Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis; Eric Moulds, WR, Buffalo; Freddie Jones, TE, Arizona; Carolina defense/special teams.

Comment - Culpepper had only one short TD pass, but he piled up 384 total yards. Alexander was dinged and was a non-factor. Staley had 66 yards and no scores at Baltimore. Harrison was held out of the end zone, but did amass almost 100 yards on 10 catches. Moulds had only two catches, but one was for a short TD. Jones had 43 receiving yards and no scores. The Panthers held KC to 10 offensive points. GRADE: C