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NFL Barometer: 2006 NFL Barometer-Week 6

Michael Salfino

Michael Salfino

Michael Salfino writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

The Barometer

By Michael Salfino
RotoWire Staff Writer


Finally, some real games to discuss. But let's not get too high or too low on anyone after one week. This is no time for self-congratulation or flagellation, as badly as I want to stick out my tongue to those who dared mock me for suggesting that Warner was a better value than Carson Palmer given where they were typically being drafted. Yes, I sort of just did it anyway.


UPGRADE

Frank Gore, RB, Niners: All the guys who took Reuben Droughns are kicking themselves. Gore ran with decisiveness and power. Alex Smith looks passable at QB. But you're going to need to keep getting lots of receiving production because carries will be lacking given the lackluster Niner D.

Antonio Bryant, WR, Niners: Imagine what would have been with the 52-yard TD bomb that got called back on a ticky-tac hold. That would have been 166 yards in the second half alone (we'll forget the first-half goose egg).

Chad Pennington, QB, Jets: What's his upside? Well, in 2002, he was the best QB in football, if not in fantasy. What's changed? Arm strength? 6-for-8 on passes 11-to-20 yards, 1-for-1 on 20-to-30 yards, and 2-for-2 on 31-to-40-yard attempts. Of course, the real test is this week (New England).

Laveranues Coles, WR, Jets: The obvious beneficiary should Pennington return to form.

Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets: Hey, we're loading up on Jets, I know. And I know it was the pathetic Titans defense, too. But these guys are available. Cotchery wasn't drafted anywhere and is the perfect complement to Coles.

Kevan Barlow, RB, Jets: Start all the Jets every week! Seriously, these are all bench guys on good teams at the moment, but interesting ones. Barlow scored, unfortunately, but people may view this as a time share where I think Barlow will be the workhorse come October.

LenDale White, RB, Titans: The Titans are so bad that next year will start about Week 4. Chris Brown isn't the answer. Travis Henry doesn't do anything that White can't do better. Get him now for a song and you might have a serviceable starter come the stretch run.

Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Bears: I think my target stats are screwy. But I have Muhammad at six catches on six passes thrown his way. Either way, Rex Grossman looked very good against a Packers secondary that many believed was going to be a real strength (especially at corner).

Ahman Green, RB, Packers: Samkon Gado is no threat. Green will be a true workhorse as long as he stays healthy, and that's saying something this year.

Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons: The poor man's Reggie Bush. The Falcons are going to run the ball about 550 times. That leaves 150 or so for Norwood if Dunn stays healthy. At the 5.5 per carry that Norwood will average, that's 825 rushing yards. He's a good receiver, too. Plus, Dunn won't stay healthy if the Falcons keep giving him 25-plus carries a game.

Kellen Winslow, Jr., TE, Browns: Is he back? He's had a lot of time to recover from his knee injuries. He looked healthy last week and should be considered an every-week play at TE even in shallow leagues.


NO CHANGE

Willie Parker, RB, Steelers: Okay we're going to do this rapid fire. Najeh Davenport is going to get the goal-line carries now. Guys who've never had big workloads before and who are finesse runners like Parker are not good bets to withstand 25-plus-carries-per-game workloads.

Warrick Dunn, RB, Falcons: I know you're really happy now, Dunn owners. But you'll be sorry later, just like Cadillac Williams owners were last year.

Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings: Taylor will break down half-way on the way to 480 carries.


DOWNGRADE

Nate Burelson, WR, Seahawks: Seattle just gave him that money because they were pissed about losing Hutchinson. It was tit for tat. A way to spite Minnesota, never an indication of how they felt about the player. Deion Branch moves him to No. 3 receiver.

Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos: The one-night stand now in Denver. Jay Cutler is the man the city and the coach are committing to long-term. Will Plummer raise his game in anger or begin to doubt himself? Early results suggest the latter. His job isn't in jeopardy though. Yet.

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: Four completions to receivers. No perimeter weapons of note. Chad Jackson? A rookie who missed all of camp? Not buying it for '06. The Patriots have a great running game now. I expect the defense to be good again. Is this the profile of a great fantasy QB?

Drew Bledsoe, QB, Cowboys: Paging Tony Romo. It's in the air now. Not fairly, in my opinion. But that doesn't matter. Bledsoe must play well against a good Redskins defense this week or his season is in jeopardy.

Tiki Barber, RB, Giants: Brandon Jacobs is going to be used all over the field now. Barber is still a great runner, I concede that. But he will not get any goal-line carries this year, and he's not going to get 2,000 total yards with Jacobs getting 30 percent of the carries, either. And the Giants are better off with Jacobs getting those carries (and so is Barber, in real life).

Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: Don't do anything rash. But expect to take your lumps as long as Damon Huard is at QB. How Herm Edwards could have gone into a season with Huard as a backup given his recent experience at QB is mystifying. Edwards should have made an upgrade at backup QB a condition in his contract.

Reuben Droughns, RB, Browns: Right. This is why we didn't want to draft him. He's not getting anywhere near those receiving yards this year because he's lost third-down action and will be asked to block on other passing plays because the tight end, Winslow, is always going to be in the pattern.

Article first appeared 9/12/06