Welcome to the inaugural edition of FOXNews.com’s “Wide Write,” in which we’ll review the most recent fantasy football weekend and take a look at what’s ahead. Before we start, a few guidelines:
We’ll cover three fantasy football positions: Quarterback, running back, and a wide receiver/tight end combo. There aren’t enough good tight ends for them to warrant their own section.
- In the Good Guy/Bad Guy picks, we’ll mainly spotlight players who have either disappointed or overachieved. If we wrote, “The quarterback of the week is Peyton Manning!” eight straight weeks, you’d stop reading. So would we!
- The same idea goes for “This Week’s Play.” We all know you’re going to play LaDanian Tomlinson every week. These selections will focus on players you might otherwise leave on the bench. ·
- Choices will be somewhat subjective. If Chicago’s Cedric Benson runs for 157 yards and no touchdowns, and Thomas Jones of the Jets runs for 86 yards and two TDs, I might pick Benson, even though some leagues would consider Jones the better option.
Enough with the pleasantries. Let’s review Week 3, and look ahead to Week 4:
GOOD GUY: Jon Kitna, Detroit
In my morning blog over at FOXSports.com, we predicted Kitna would lead the NFL in passing yards this season. In a 56-21 loss to the Eagles on Sunday, he made us look like geniuses by throwing for 446 yards and two touchdowns. Thanks! A perfect fantasy storm is forming around Kitna this season. First, he’s not bad – Carson Palmer would throw for 9,000 yards in this offense, but Kitna will be fine. Second, he has two stud receivers in Roy Williams and rookie Calvin Johnson. Third, Detroit pretty much has no running game. Since Lions’ offensive coordinator Mike Martz is a smart guy, he understands this and will let Kitna throw until his arm falls off. Plus, the Lions are just bad enough to fall behind in a lot of games, meaning Kitna will spend many second halves trying to throw until the arm actually does fall off. We’d suggest trading for him, but his current owners will probably laugh too hard at any offer.
Honorable mention: Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia (381 yards, 4 TD); Brett Favre, Green Bay (369 yards, 3 TD); Joey Harrington, Atlanta (361 yards, 2 TD)
BAD GUY: Marc Bulger, St. Louis
Bulger was the fifth or sixth quarterback drafted in most FOXSports.com leagues. If you picked him, you probably didn’t expect that he’d go to Tampa in September and muster a pathetic 116 yards passing with three interceptions and a fumble. We don’t mean to alarm, but the Rams are 0-3 with 32 points in three games. They recently lost left tackle Orlando Pace for the season, and RB Stephen Jackson will miss at least this week’s game with a groin injury. Not so good.
THIS WEEK’S PLAY: Trent Green , Miami
The Raiders are giving up tons of yards, and at 0-3 the Dolphins have to win sometime. Green has 824 yards and four TDs in his first three games, and he’d be a perfectly acceptable bye week start to replace Drew Brees or Vince Young.
GOOD GUY: DeShaun Foster, Carolina
You thought I was going with Brian Westbrook or Ronnie Brown, right? Too boring – they were drafted much higher than Foster. In Week 1, Foster had a solid 17 carries for 94 yards against the Rams, but last week he was a bust in the Panthers’ home opener versus the Texans with nine carries for just 22 yards. This is the kind of inconsistency that keeps fantasy owners awake on Saturday nights. Good DeShaun showed up Sunday in Atlanta, rushing 20 times for 122 yards and a touchdown, adding a 13-yard receiving TD. Foster is still too inconsistent to trust as more than a flex player right now, but this week he probably helped you win. You did have him in the lineup, didn’t you?
Honorable Mention: Brian Westbrook , Philadelphia (110 yards rushing, 111 yards receiving, 3 TD); Ronnie Brown, Miami (112 yards rushing, 99 yards receiving, 3 TD), LaMont Jordan, Oakland (121 yards rushing, 32 yards receiving, 1 TD)
BAD GUY: Larry Johnson, Kansas City
We own three fantasy teams this season. We had the third pick overall in one draft, and the fourth in another. In both cases we passed on Johnson – and couldn’t be happier. Johnson rushed 24 times for an awful 42 yards on Sunday, and he’s averaging 2.8 yards on 50 carries so far. He was worked extremely hard in 2006, carrying the ball a ridiculous 416 times. He was due for a letdown, and he’s having one. He won’t stay this bad, but if you were counting on 1,789 yards and 17 touchdowns again, let’s hope you got some good picks in the later rounds.
THIS WEEK’S PLAY: Reuben Droughns , New York Giants
Droughns had three carries for three yards in the Giants’ 24-17 win over the Redskins. Two of those carries were one-yard touchdown runs, indicating he’s clearly the goal-line back with Brandon Jacobs injured. If Jacobs doesn’t return this week, and you have a thin bench with one of your starters on a bye week, Droughns could get some points for you. He could also get completely shut out, but life is about taking chances, isn’t it?
GOOD GUY: Kevin Curtis, Philadelphia
Curtis was on our fantasy bench when he put up his 221-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Lions. We can’t even play the “if only I had started him” card, because there was no way we could have seen that coming. After six catches for 81 yards in the first two games, he was planted firmly behind three other receivers on the roster. Now? He’s probably a flex player or a No. 3 receiver – we want to see another good game before we make a serious commitment. The Eagles play the Giants and their terrible secondary Sunday night, so our shotgun wedding may come as soon as next week.
Honorable Mention: Roy Williams, Detroit (204 yards, 1 TD); Anquan Boldin, Arizona (181 yards, 2 TD); Brandon Marshall, Denver (133 yards)
BAD GUY: Steve Smith, Carolina
After catching 15 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games, Smith tossed in a clunker against Atlanta with just one catch for 10 yards. He did goad Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall into an on-field freakout, so that counts for something. No fantasy points, though.
THIS WEEK’S PLAY: Lee Evans , Buffalo
OK, you’re out of patience with Evans – just bear with us. The logic here is “he has to catch a deep pass sometime, doesn’t he?” Last year, the Bills chucked it deep to Evans on a regular basis, and he racked up 1,292 yards and eight touchdowns. This year? Five catches for 29 yards in three games – ugh. But the Bills are still trying to get Evans the ball, as he’s been targeted deep six times so far, with each one falling incomplete. This week’s opponent – the New York Jets – are in the bottom quarter of the league in passing yards against, and have allowed opposing quarterbacks a 109.0 passer rating. If Evans is going to come out of his slump at all, it’s probably going to be this week.
John Halpin covers fantasy sports for FOXSports.com, writing a morning football blog Sundays through Thursdays and baseball columns once or twice each week, depending on the season. His “Wide Write” will appear every Tuesday during the NFL season on FOXNews.com. Send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.