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Wide Receiver Report - Week 10
Todd Gray
November 7, 2006
Top Ten Fantasy WR’s to own Comment
1 HOU Andre Johnson Johnson’s streak of catching eight or more passes each week reached six games following his nine-catch, 83-yard performance in the Texans’ 14-10 loss to the Giants on Sunday.  He’s now on pace for a ridiculous 130 catches along with 1,504 yards and eight touchdowns.  Houston’s Week 10 road game against Jacksonville looks like an unfavorable matchup on the surface, but Johnson has averaged eight catches, 105 yards and .7 TDs in his past three games against the Jaguars.  Garbage time or no, the points all count the same.
2 STL Torry Holt Kansas City did everything it could to keep the ball out of Holt’s hands on Sunday, and it worked.  As a result, Holt owners have cashed in on only eight catches, 98 yards and zero touchdowns the past two weeks following his three-catch, 50-yard performance against the Chiefs.  Fantasy owners across the land are kicking themselves for not accepting some of the deals they were offered when Holt was in a league of his own during the season’s first six weeks, but the end of his mini-drought is surely near.  He’s had three consecutive field days against Week 10 opponent Seattle, amassing 20 catches, 325 yards and five touchdowns in those three games.
3 CAR Steve Smith Smith, who was on a Week 9 bye, has been a top-3 fantasy wideout since he returned to action six weeks ago.  He’s logged three consecutive 100-yard games against Week 10 opponent Tampa Bay, and the once-again-slumping Bucs have allowed seven passing TDs over the past three weeks.
4 IND Marvin Harrison Harrison’s eight catches, 145 yards and two touchdowns against New England made his fantasy owners happier than they’d been all season.  His weekly lines may be a bit inconsistent thanks in large part to teammate Reggie Wayne’s presence, but no one can complain about the sum of Harrison’s weekly efforts.  Colts QB Peyton Manning is a safe bet to ring up 300 yards and a pair of TD passes against Week 10 opponent Buffalo, and the smart money is on Harrison getting his, as well.
5 DET Roy Williams Williams has been on fire since Week 3 when the Lions’ offense got the hang of offensive coordinator Mike Martz’ new system, and he posted 130+ yards receiving for the fourth time in six games in the Lions’ 30-14 upset of Atlanta on Sunday.  Week 10 opponent San Francisco may have held Minnesota to only 103 net passing yards on Sunday, but that doesn’t disguise the fact that the 49ers have allowed 15 passing TDs and 226.8 passing yards per game through nine weeks.
6 IND Reggie Wayne Wayne continued his consistent fantasy production with six catches and 90 yards in the Colts’ 27-20 win over New England.  He’s now on pace for 88 catches, 1,464 yards and 10 TDs – very tolerable receiving stats for an NFL team’s second receiving option.  Like Harrison, Wayne fits the bill as a steady No. 1 wideout when the Colts host the Bills on Sunday.
7 DAL Terrell Owens Owens had his fourth big week in a row with seven catches, 76 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys’ gut-wrenching 22-19 loss to Washington.  He also dropped what would have been a long TD pass, and his pretend nap in the end zone was just another reminder that conditions in Dallas could deteriorate at the drop of a hat.  For now, everything is okay, and Owens should be good for 80-100 yards and another touchdown when the Cowboys play at Arizona on Sunday.
8 SEA Darrell Jackson Jackson’s five catches for 36 yards against the Raiders on Monday night snapped his three-game touchdown streak and represented his lowest fantasy output of the season.  His fantasy owners long for the return of QB Matt Hasselbeck, which is still a couple of weeks away, but a home game against St. Louis on Sunday is a pretty good plan B. The Rams have allowed seven touchdown passes in the past three games, including one to Jackson in Week 6.
9 ARI Anquan Boldin Boldin’s fantasy owners have suffered through three straight weeks of little or no production from Boldin, but things may return to normal following the Cardinals’ Week 9 bye.  The schedule now gets a bit easier, and WR Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) is might return on Sunday when the Cardinals host Dallas.
10 NO Marques Colston The great New Orleans surprise continued his stellar production with 11 catches, 123 yards and yet another touchdown in the Saints defeat of Tampa Bay on Sunday.  Colston’s current pace of 88 catches, 1,400 yards and 14 TDs, if achieved, would surpass even the Boldin’s rookie production in 2003 (101 catches, 1,377 yards, eight TDs).  Who would’ve figured two months ago that the rookie seventh-round draft pick from Hofstra would be recommended as a No. 2 fantasy wide receiver in Week 10 when the Saints play at Pittsburgh?

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

Climbing The Ladder

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – The past month has seemed like a virtual eternity to Fitzgerald owners who’ve been waiting for his hamstring to heal, but the wait may be over come Sunday when he’s expected to start the Cardinals’ home game against the Cowboys.  Arizona has been plenty bad with Fitzgerald in the lineup, but the Cardinals managed to be a lot worse without his services – just ask fantasy owners of WR Anquan Boldin or RB Edgerrin James who thought there’d simply be more to go around.  Fitzgerald owners should continue to watch for the latest news on his condition as the week progresses, and welcome his return to their starting lineups if he’s deemed healthy enough to contribute in Week 10.

Hines Ward (PIT) – Ward owners are currently enjoying one of the hottest stretches of fantasy production in his career.  His seven-catch, 127-yard performance in the Steelers’ 31-20 loss to Denver on Sunday was his fourth big game in a row following an early season slump.  The 2-6 Steelers are now in ‘absolutely-must-win’ territory as they prepare to host New Orleans on Sunday, and Ward is as good a bet as any to bring his ‘A’ game under such circumstances.  The surprising Saints don’t allow a lot of passing yards (181.4 per game), but they’ve allowed more passing TDs (14) than all but four other NFL teams.

Javon Walker (DEN) – The Broncos’ offense finally came alive three weeks ago, and nowhere is it more telling than in Walker’s numbers.  He posted rather drab stats in four of Denver’s first five games in which the Broncos averaged only 12.4 points per game, but since that time he’s either scored or had 100+ receiving yards in three straight games as the Broncos have averaged 26.3 points in those contests.  Week 10 opponent Oakland has allowed only 159.7 passing yards per game through eight games, and only two passing touchdowns over the past four weeks, but after what Walker did to Pittsburgh on Sunday, he must be considered as a respectable No. 2 wide receiver even in tougher matchups.

Sliding Back

Bernard Berrian (CHI) – Berrian will miss up to four weeks with a rib injury he suffered on the Bears’ first play on offense in the team’s home loss to Miami on Sunday.  The third-year wideout was in the midst of a breakout season with 27 catches for 495 yards and four touchdowns through the season’s first eight games.  The Bears’ offense is in search of answers, and it’ll have to find those answers on the road during the next three weeks when the team plays at the New York Giants, at the New York Jets and at New England, in that order.  That schedule simply makes it impossible to recommend Berrian’s likely replacement, Justin Gage, as an emergency starter in Week 10 fantasy play.

Greg Jennings (GB) – Fantasy owners who drafted the rookie Jennings with a late-round pick landed a serviceable No. 2 wideout for the first quarter of the season, but Jennings has been a virtual non-factor the past few weeks thanks to a sprained ankle suffered against Miami in Week 7.  He returned on Sunday to catch five passes for 69 yards in the Packers’ loss to the Bills, but he left the game in the second quarter after aggravating his injured ankle, returned later on, then left for good with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.  Jennings’ status for the Packers’ game at Minnesota on Sunday is in question, but whether he plays or not it’s likely that he’ll be limited by his injury for weeks to come.

Plaxico Burress (NYG) – Burress (back) sat out against the Texans on Sunday after not practicing all of last week, and he’s questionable to play in the Giants’ home game against Chicago on Sunday.  He’s been a fairly consistent No. 1 fantasy wide receiver when he’s been healthy this season with TDs in five games along with four games with 80 or more yards, but his sore back coupled with a brutal matchup against the smarting Bears’ defense means that he should probably occupy a spot on the bench in fantasy play.