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The UFO Report
David M. Dorey
October 8, 2004

Following up on last week's start, the Unidentified Fantasy Opportunities (UFO) Report is to help identify players that are not yet on the radar of fellow fantasy team owners because they have not just come off a big game or suddenly are the replacement player for an injured starter. These are the sleepers in the truest sense since their value is likely only to be found down the road. These are more the "keep your eye on" guys that merit some attention in your long range plans.

If you are in anything less than a 12 team league with deep rosters, there's no reason yet to grab these players but you should still pay attention for the future. If you are in a dynasty league or have some stash room on your roster, this could mean more. At worst, consider these guys worth your future attention.

Running Back

Finding a UFO running back is almost impossible.

Chris Perry (CIN) - By now, everyone has pretty much forgotten the second running back taken in the 2004 NFL draft with the 1.26 pick by the Bengals. This 6'-0", 224 pound product out of Michigan was the Doak Walker Award winner last year for the best NCAA running back in the country. He's a power runner that could fit well into scheme of the Bengals since he also can catch the ball (he had 44 catches as a Senior). The Bengals only signed Rudi Johnson to a one-year contract and burned their first pick in the draft in order to get Perry on the roster in spite of some glaring defensive needs.

Perry signed almost two weeks after training camp opened for Cincinnati and has battled a hamstring injury which is fairly common for rookies. He finally had some playing time last week against the Steelers when he had two catches for 24 yards. Rudi Johnson likely keeps the Bengals from trying out the rookie since Johnson had 123 yards on 24 carries against the Steelers. He needed that performance since in his three previous games he always had at least 22 carries and had only scored once with no 100 yard rushing games. He's looked better against the Ravens and most recently the Steelers, so don't expect to see much from Perry soon.

But the Bengals have a decision to make before the season ends about whether to give Johnson a new big contract or to cut ties and use Perry. Or keep them both and start sharing carries. It's still early to say what will happen and Perry has not had the playing time to provide any real tangible results so far. The second running back taken in the draft is always interesting, more so when he has not had the playing time to evaluate his potential.

Mewelde Moore (MIN) - Moore gets some play this week but regardless of what he does, he'll still stay as the #4 running back once everyone is healthy and not on suspension again (if that ever actually happens). Moore was drafted in the 4th round by the Vikings out of Tulane and looked reasonably impressive this summer in training camp. He has future value since his drafting was primarily as a future replacement for Moe Williams who turned 30 years old this last summer.

Moore played in every preseason game, rushing 13 times for 102 yards and one touchdown with nine receptions for 84 yards. He scored on one 39-yard touchdown run. He'll do nothing this season and maybe not even next unless there is movement that clears out the RB logjam in Minnesota, but this week you'll get a look at a possible future for the Vikings. His catching ability makes him a very nice "Moe Williams" heir. He's about an inch shorter than the 6'1" Williams but weighs about the same 209 pounds.