The basic idea of Wide Write is to shine the spotlight on overachievers when possible, since you're playing all your star players to begin with, and expect them to do well. But, sometimes superstars have games that make them too difficult to overlook, and that leads to some very tough decisions.
We've decided that a line has to be drawn somewhere, so Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (31-39, 373 yards, 5 TD) and wide receiver Randy Moss (10 receptions, 128 yards, 4 TD) are hereby banned from this column for the rest of the season. We could ban other players as well, but Brady and Moss are the only ones who seem to put up Pop Warner numbers every week. So, when Brady throws for 479 yards and seven TDs against the Eagles, don't come looking for him here. If you're a Brady owner, you see enough of him already.
Quarterbacks (non-Brady division)
GOOD: Jason Campbell, Washington
Two weeks ago, we listed Campbell as the "Bad" quarterback after a blah performance against the Jets. Last week, we read that the Redskins' coaching staff wanted to open up the offense, but with the team's wide receivers dropping like flies due to injuries, we didn't see how that was possible.
Well, Joe Gibbs & Co. weren't lying. Campbell completed 33 of 54 passes for 348 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a loss to the Cowboys. We know what you're thinking: Is Campbell the guy who stunk up the first half of the fantasy season, or the one who looked like Dan Fouts over the weekend in Dallas? We're going to vote for a reasonable facsimile of the latter, since the 'Skins really have nothing to lose by letting Campbell air it out over the final six games. If you have a low-end No. 1 QB, Campbell could be worth a play when his matchup is favorable.
Honorable mention: Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle (30-44, 337 yards, 2 TD); Vince Young, Tennessee (26-41, 305 yards, 1 TD; 11 carries, 74 yards, 1 TD)
BAD: Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia
McNabb left Sunday's game against the Dolphins in the second quarter with a sprained ankle. Before he left, he completed just three of 11 passes for 34 yards. As a starter for one of our fantasy teams, McNabb racked up the monstrous total of 0.2 points, and that's on the heels of throwing four TDs last week while sitting on our bench. Suffice it to say that we're a little angry with him right now.
Eagles coach Andy Reid says that if McNabb is healthy, he's the Eagles' starter. In his first nine starts, McNabb threw 13 touchdowns, but eight of them were packed into two great games. McNabb has been just inconsistent enough to make us queasy about starting him every week. He's exactly the type of guy you'd replace with Jason Campbell depending on the matchup.
THIS WEEK'S PLAY: Matt Schaub, Houston
Schaub is owned in 40.6 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, but that's about to change after a 21-for-33, 293-yard, two-touchdown outing against the Saints. The ex-Falcon is healthy again after missing some time due to some injuries, and it's easy to see him returning to the form he displayed in his first six starts, when he averaged 260 yards per outing.
Schaub got another weapon Sunday when his top receiving threat, Andre Johnson, returned from a seven-game absence with 120 yards and a TD. If you're looking for a free-agent quarterback, Schaub can definitely help your team down the stretch.
GOOD: Chester Taylor, Minnesota
To quote the great philosopher Hannibal Smith, "I love it when a plan comes together." Taylor reclaimed his starting job for Week 11 when rookie phenom Adrian Peterson got injured. In last week's column, we recommended picking up Taylor if available, and starting him if you owned him. He responded to our high praise with a monstrous outing, carrying 22 times for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
The Vikings are targeting December 2 as Peterson's return date. That means Taylor has at least one more game all to himself, and there's no reason he can't have another strong day against the Giants this week.
Honorable mention: Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay (17 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD)
BAD: Frank Gore, San Francisco
In two different fantasy drafts this year, Team Wide Write passed on Colts RB Joseph Addai in favor of Gore early in the first round. Gore has been a complete bust, averaging a shade below 60 yards per game and scoring just three times so far. We'd write more, but we don't want to talk about him anymore.
THIS WEEK'S PLAY: Reuben Droughns, New York Giants
Starter Brandon Jacobs and backup Derrick Ward are very unlikely to play. That leaves Droughns, who has been the Giants' goal-line back for much of the season. Big Blue likes to run the ball, and Droughns appears to be their only option in that area this week. Don't expect an explosion, but if Droughns carries the ball 20 times, he could get some decent yardage and a TD.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (non-Moss division)
GOOD: Terrell Owens, Dallas
I thought about making this a T.O.-free zone, but his performance against the Redskins just had to be included. Owens had eight receptions for 173 yards and four scores, and in three November games he's amassed an incredible 24 catches for 472 yards and seven TDs. If it wasn't for those two guys who aren't allowed in this column anymore, T.O. might be an MVP candidate.
Honorable mention: D.J. Hackett, Seattle (9 receptions, 136 yards, 1 TD); Drew Carter, Carolina (5 receptions, 132 yards, 1 TD)
BAD: Jerricho Cotchery, New York Jets
Cotchery entered Week 11 ranked in the top 20 among NFL receivers in both receptions (51) and yards (682). He was easily on pace for career highs in both categories, and still is.
But in the Jets' huge upset win over the Steelers, Cotchery posted a near-goose egg, catching just one pass for five yards. Rookie QB Kellen Clemens targeted Cotchery seven times, so you can't blame him for trying. You can blame him for not being able to hit the side of a barn, since he completed a putrid 14 of 31 passes, but you definitely can't blame him for trying.
THIS WEEK'S PLAY: D.J. Hackett, Seattle
Two weeks ago, we told you that the Seahawks were going to throw, and throw, and throw some more for the rest of the season. Things are working out just that way, and QB Matt Hasselbeck seems to have developed a bit of a man-crush on Hackett, who's averaging nearly eight receptions, 100 yards and a touchdown per game since returning from a sprained ankle three weeks ago.
Word hasn't gotten all the way out, since Hackett started the week owned in just 41.8 percent of FOXSports.com leagues. A lot of people had Hackett tabbed as a sleeper before the season started, and it appears that those people knew what they were talking about. The Rams are ranked in the middle of the league in pass defense, but with Hasselbeck chucking it more than 40 times a game, it's not too much to expect at least a handful of those to go to his new best friend.
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.
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