By Michael Salfino
RotoWire Staff Writer
Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles: I can't upgrade him any more. He's the best player in fantasy football, and it's not even close. Note that the eagles are at 14.6 per completion. No one bothers looking at this stat, but that's two yards better than the next best team (Chicago). It's not Greg Cook (17.5 in 1969) or Joe Namath (17.4 in 1972 on significantly more completions). But it's damn explosive for this dink-and-dunk modern era. Extra credit to the first regular reader who can tell me who Cook's offensive coordinator was in his historic year.
Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons: The Falcons are tied for the most red-zone possessions per game (with the Chargers), but average less than three points on these possessions. Warrick Dunn is ineffective as the field gets shorter, and Atlanta thinks Norwood can run between the tackles in addition to being the fastest back in the NFL.
Kellen Winslow, TE, Browns: He's caught 30 of the 35 passes thrown his way. The Browns must know this, so expect more opportunities and production.
Bryant Johnson, WR, Cardinals: Expect Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) to be out closer to five weeks than to two. Edgerrin James wants enough carries to get him to 100 yards finally (about 50 should do it). But that's not realistic.
Lee Evans, WR, Bills: He's a legitimate No. 1 receiver even though his production has lagged. We knew he could be a home-run hitter, but his possession skills were questionable. No questions about that now, but some bombs would be nice.
Robbie Gould, K, Bears: He gets Neil Rackers' commercial next year, and he'll be the guy everyone will draft expecting a repeat of last year's performance only to be disappointed. The guy who grabs the first kicker is the sucker in the fantasy draft room. Don't let it be you.
Thomas Jones, RB, Bears: Benson scored twice only because it was garbage time. Jones looks great. He might lose a series or two, and if the Bears score on that series and Benson gets the TD, suck it up. Jones is a top-10 RB right now (not saying a heck of a lot, I know).
Amani Toomer, WR, Giants: The loss to Shockey owners is a gain for those invested in Toomer. Fantasy football, like life, is a zero sum game. Shockey is hated by the coaching staff and always hurt (see below).
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: The fantasy numbers haven't been there, but the foundation is in place. Marc Bulger is playing great. He'll keep the chains moving. The teams should be competitive in a bad division. Plus, Jackson is running well. The TDs will come.
Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers: He's had six passes per game thrown to him versus 10 last year as Martyball has returned to San Diego with a vengeance.
Joey Galloway, WR, Bucs: The good game on Sunday is illusory, as rookie QBs tend to perform worse as opponents compile film on their tendencies. Galloway has caught just 42 percent of his targets (top receivers are generally around 60 percent).
Greg Jennings, WR, Packers: The big plays are masking one key stat: the rookie Jennings has caught just 49 percent of passes thrown his way.
Noah Herron, RB, Packers: Got his chance because of Vernand Morency's fumbling, but Mike McCarthy said that Ahman Green would have gotten more yards. Nice. Has McCarthy noticed that no one is fumbling more on a per-carry basis that Butterfingers Green?
Frank Gore, RB, Niners: Speaking of fumbling, four already. None last week, but if any more come quickly he'll likely lose more than goal-line carries. Last year's RB leader Reuben Droughns only had six (fumbles, not lost fumbles). Am I the only one who knows that the Bears Bobby Wade fumbled 10 times last year? He's on Tennessee now, so Chicago knew it at least. If coaches hate fumbling so much, they should insist return men call more fair catches.
Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins: I haven't formally announced this yet, but my strong lean right now is that he stinks. Sorry to those who I advised to burn the fourth pick on him. But no one else from the first round is looking good right now, either.
Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants: Jeremy Shockey is a drama queen with his constant injuries. I guess he figures that if you limp around enough an eight-yard hitch becomes an act of heroism. I'm not buying it.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: He said last week that he's not able to process information on the field the same way as before the motorcycle accident scrambled his helmet-less head. He should know.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: Michael Turner (6.8 yards per carry) closed out the Chargers win Sunday night, not Tomlinson. Given his incredible workload the past five years, Tomlinson's best days may well be behind him.
Troy Williamson, WR, Vikings: This can go for Brad Johnson, Chester Taylor and the entire Vikings offense, which has looked pitiful the last two weeks. But there's no excuses at home versus the Lions. Taylor got yards, but Johnson can't move the chains so the TDs will be scarce.
Chris Chambers, WR, Dolphins: He's fourth in targets, but has caught a pitiful 44 percent of them. The pass protection problems and loss of Culpepper make explosive passing plays less likely.
Article first appeared 10/10/06