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Wide Receiver Watch - Week 17
Todd Gray
December 28, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy WR ’s To Own Comment
1 IND Marvin Harrison As a rule, 34 Indy points virtually guarantees a Harrison touchdown…but not last Sunday (6 catches, 111 yards, 0 TDs). This week’s matchup against the pass-tough, playoff-hungry Broncos in Denver comes with no guarantees.
2 CAR Muhsin Muhammad Muhammad picked up right where he left off in Weeks 15, 14, 13, 12…you get the point. He makes quite possibly the best play of the week on Sunday when the resurgent Panthers host the Saints in a game with heavy playoff implications.
3 NO Joe Horn Horn’s five-catch, 76-yard, zero-TD performance against Atlanta was the first time he’d been stymied in awhile. This week’s matchup against the Panthers in Carolina is tough, but Horn has consistently produced against teams good and bad throughout the season. Of note, however: Carolina has allowed fewer TD passes (14) than any team this side of Baltimore.
4 PHI Terrell Owens No good news here unless you know that Owens is on your roster in 2005. Given that he and/or the Eagles don’t play in the Super Bowl this season, he should be ready to go at 100 percent in 2005.
5 CIN Chad Johnson Johnson hobbled off the field in the second quarter against the Giants, but returned to finish the game with eight catches, 46 yards and two TDs. The Bengals once-brutal Week 17 tilt against Philadelphia has become less daunting now that the Eagles have secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
6 MIN Randy Moss Is Moss’ season set to end with a whimper? The Vikings visit Washington in Week 17 to face one of the league’s top pass defenses – this on the heels of Moss’ 2-catch, 30-yard, 1-TD showing against the Packers.
7 GB Javon Walker Walker continued his resurgence with five catches, 90 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. He makes a solid-if-not-spectacular play against the Bears in Chicago in Week 17, though the Packers’ predetermined playoff destiny could cut into his playing time.
8 IND Reggie Wayne Wayne went without a TD for the second week in a row (3 catches, 61 yards) in the Colts’ 34-31 win over San Diego. This week’s matchup against the Broncos in Denver offers moderate potential, at best.
9 STL Torry Holt The Rams finally put some points on the board, but Holt didn’t get any of them. He does make a nice play in Week 17 when the Rams host the Jets in a game with playoff implications on both sides of the ball.
10 TEN Drew Bennett It was nice while it lasted, but fantasy owners who counted on Bennett to continue his hot streak had to settle for two catches and 26 yards against a Denver squad with its back against a wall. Bennett does make a decent play as a No. 2 or 3 fantasy wideout when the Titans host the Lions in Week 17.

(Note – this listing considers the rankings of WR ’s if a draft was held today)

Climbing The Ladder

Lee Evans (BUF) – The rookie has outproduced most NFL wideouts over the past month with seven TD catches in his past five games and a couple of 100-yard games in that span, as well. The Bills have something to fight for in Week 17 and play a Pittsburgh squad that has locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Evans makes a strong start to finish the season.

Todd Pinkston/Freddie Mitchell (PHI) – Yes, the Eagles just threw for 74 net yards against one of the league’s worst defenses, and they will field an offense loaded with backups against Cincinnati in Week 17. Truth is, those owners looking for an emergency pickup for the final game probably won’t find much better in the free agent pool, and nonetheless, envisioning QB Jeff Blake slinging a few deep balls to Pinkston and Mitchell isn’t such a crazy notion.

Sliding Back

Eric Moulds (BUF) – In the Bills’ current six-game winning streak, Moulds has scored one touchdown and has crested 70 yards receiving twice. He did post eight catches and 81 yards in Week 16 against the hapless 49ers, but a laid-back Pittsburgh squad in Week 17 should provide a stiffer challenge nonetheless. He should be considered a solid No. 3 option at best and possible benching material for owners with good depth at WR.

Heinz Ward (PIT) – Ward busted out with a big game in Week 15 before reverting to his 3-or-4-catch, 30-to-40-yards routine in Week 16. The return to mediocrity can be attributed partly to the return of Plaxico Burress from a hamstring injury, but the lack of fantasy production goes deeper than that. The Steelers have wrapped up home field advantage throughout the playoffs and travel to Buffalo to host a menacing Bills’ squad hungry for a playoff berth of its own. Tommy Maddox should get the start at QB for the Steelers, which provides a trace silver lining for Ward owners yearning for a return to the days of productivity for their former No. 1 WR.