Chargers’ Rivers Doubles Up

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Fantasy News Flash: Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry is in a legal battle with the NFL over an alleged positive drug test.

Henry is second with the NFL with 498 rushing yards. If you drafted him, you were very happy until a couple of weeks ago, when it was reported that he was going to get suspended for a positive marijuana test. The news came out just a few days before Henry’s two-year probation for a previous positive test was about to expire without incident. Henry and his legal team claim that the NFL violated its own testing policy by not allowing Henry’s “experts” to be present at the test. I could go on all day with more legal mumbo-jumbo, but suffice it to say that if you own Henry, the fate of your fantasy season is likely to be decided by a bunch of highly-paid lawyers.

On a related note, in August it was reported that Henry has fathered nine children by nine different women. We should get cameras to follow this guy around for a few months and make a documentary. What, you’d rather watch "An Inconvenient Truth?"

Here’s our look at last week’s standouts and this week’s recommendations.


GOOD: Philip Rivers, San Diego

The underachieving Chargers took out their frustrations on the Broncos with a 41-3 demolition in Denver. Rivers completed 13 of 18 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for a two-yard score. Rivers threw for 22 touchdowns and almost 3,400 yards in 2006, and he seems to be turning things around after getting intercepted six times in his first four games.

Honorable mention: Jason Campbell, Washington (23-29, 248 yards, 2 TD)

BAD: Jon Kitna, Detroit

Air Kitna, where are you? My pick to lead the NFL in passing yards dropped to a lowly fourth after a 34-3 shellacking at the hands of the Redskins. Kitna was atrocious, going 16-for-29 for just 106 yards, plus two interceptions and three fumbles. He also got sacked five times. I own Kitna in one league, and he recorded negative points. Maybe this week’s bye will help Kitna find his fantasy mojo.

THIS WEEK’S PLAY: Philip Rivers, San Diego

Congratulations to Rivers for being Wide Write’s first two-time award winner! We’re not exactly sure what he’ll win, but a prize is a prize, right?

Normally, a player won’t be named twice in the same column here. However, the Chargers appear upset about their bumpy start, and the Raiders are in the lower half of the league in passing yards allowed per game. Look for another strong outing from Rivers.

Running Backs

GOOD: Kenton Keith, Indianapolis

Fantasy rule No. 431: If he’s a Colt, draft him. If you took running back Joseph Addai in your draft, the smart move was to “handcuff” him with Keith in case of injury, and last week that strategy paid off. Keith carried 28 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers, and also caught five passes for 37 yards. A backup running back with 255 yards in five games is pretty nice to have.

Honorable mention: Michael Turner, San Diego (10 carries, 147 yards, 1 TD)

BAD: Larry Johnson, Kansas City

L.J. is the early leader in the race for 2007’s biggest fantasy bust. After being overworked with 9,000 carries last season – OK, it was really only a league-leading 416 – Johnson has just 275 yards rushing and zero touchdowns in the season’s first five weeks. Against the Jaguars, he carried nine times for 12 yards, and had five receptions for three yards. 49 players had more yards rushing than Johnson in Week 5, and he ranks 22nd in the NFL for the season. Ugh.

THIS WEEK’S PLAY: Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants

Jacobs returned from a three-week injury layoff to post 100 yards rushing and a touchdown in a win over the Jets. Jacobs appears to be in a time share with Derrick Ward, who had 56 yards and a score of his own. But Jacobs is too good to give away too many carries, and he’s too big (264 pounds) to be passed over for goal-line chances. He should have a good outing against the Falcons, who are 21st in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. If you haven’t seen Jacobs run the ball, imagine a rhinoceros barreling down a crowded city street, sending people and cars flying everywhere. He’s HUGE.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

GOOD: Ben Watson, New England

The Patriots’ talented tight end scored twice against the Browns and had 107 yards receiving, which is 20 more yards than he had in the first four games combined. With wide receivers Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker terrorizing opposing secondaries, Watson won’t rack up a lot of yardage. But he’s become a Tom Brady red-zone favorite, with four of his career-high five touchdowns coming from inside 10 yards. Because of that, Watson is a must-start in fantasy leagues.

Honorable mention: Jason Witten, Dallas (9 receptions, 103 yards, 1 TD)

BAD: Terrell Owens, Dallas

T.O. had just two catches for 25 yards in Monday’s win over the Bills. He had a chance to make an impact after the Cowboys scored late in the game to pull within two points, but was out-fought on a high jump ball that he probably should have caught for a two-point conversion. Though Owens only has 58 yards receiving in the last two weeks, he’s still on pace for more than 1,200 yards and nine TDs.

THIS WEEK’S PLAY: Vincent Jackson, San Diego

Did I mention that I think the Chargers are going to pummel the Raiders on Sunday? If I’m wrong, it means that either A) I’m not such a good prognosticator, or B) Chargers’ head coach Norv Turner is awful, which is what everyone already thinks, anyway. V-Jack, who is the only Chargers wide receiver that Philip Rivers even looks at, had three receptions for 84 yards and a score against the Broncos. There’s more coming this week.

John Halpin covers fantasy sports for, 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 Send him an e-mail at