By Michael Salfino
RotoWire Staff Writer
After Week 2, you can officially begin to panic. Yes, LaMont Jordan owners, I'm talking to you. Of course, selling low is never wise. But you have to upgrade by first trying to work the waiver wire and then by dealing surplus elsewhere while you hope your disappointments find their stride on your bench. Remember, some of the Upgrades imply a Downgrade and vice versa because fantasy football, like life, is a zero sum game.
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: He's still going to be splitting carries. But I'm more confident than ever that Dominic Rhodes will be phased out almost completely in October.
Michael Turner, RB, Chargers: The latest RB to audition in "Searching for L.J.," which is playing nationwide in the dreams and ruminations of every fantasy owner in deep leagues. Averaging over 10 yards on 13 pops is pretty sweet. Sure, a lot of it came on one 70-something-yard pop. But he'll be an animal if Tomlinson ever goes down. Right now, play defense and do not, under any circumstances, let the Tomlinson owner stash Turner on his roster.
Antonio Bryant, WR, Niners: I can't upgrade him every week, people. If you don't have him now, you're out of luck. But this upgrade should make those who've listened to me feel good. (Let's forget the Mike Bell virus that infected me in August, okay?)
Rex Grossman, QB, Bears: Maybe he's pretty good after all. He's never proven that he wasn't. The Lions did a good job containing the Seahawks (who remain in a funk), so I'm not going to blame the defense and will credit the Bears and Grossman instead.
Desmond Clark, TE, Bears: Flies under the radar all the time but was generally startable even with the dreck the Bears have been throwing out there at QB the past couple of years. Now he might be in a real offense.
Bernard Berrian, WR, Bears: Nice alliteration there. Bernard. Berrian. Bears. Also, "bombs," which he's in the habit of hauling in. This concludes the Chicago Bears portion of the program.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers: DeShaun Foster has too many zero or minus plays to be a starting tailback on a team that still has Super Bowl visions. Again, I'm ahead of the curve here. Williams is in a timeshare. But it won't last long. And I think Williams will get all the goal-line carries while it does.
Chad Jackson, WR, Patriots: I hate rookie receivers. But he did enough to impress, not just the TD but hauling in a deep sideline pass where he wrestled the ball away from the DB. There's a huge void at WR in NE. Jackson won't fill it, but he'll come closest.
Owen Daniels, TE, Texans: A sleeper pick. This fourth-round rookie is viewed as a weapon by the Texans staff. Make of that what you will, but that's what they said, I swear. They will have to throw a lot, obviously. I like converted QBs at the tight end position. They're crafty.
Michael Vick, RB, Falcons: That's not a typo. Yeah, he throws some, too. But not much and not well. These aren't scrambles, people. These are running plays. Here's how it works: Texas/Vince Young shotgun. Eye the defensive end. If he stays wide as you're handing off, you follow through and watch Warrick Dunn scoot. If he crashes down to stop Dunn, you fake it and race around the open end. It's going to be fun to watch while it lasts, but it won't, which brings us to...
Matt Schaub, QB, Falcons: The collective intelligence of the NFL will soon figure out that they way you stop that play is to kill the QB whether he hands it off or not. (He's pretending to still have the ball after he hands off, which makes him fair game, no? Either way, it pays to find out.) When Vick goes out on a cart and Schaub, a real QB, comes in, he'll do well.
Warrick Dunn, RB, Falcons: Watching the Falcons is like watching the old Nebraska teams. They make running look easy. It's criminal how wide open the holes are for Dunn.
Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons: If Dunn gets hurt and if Vick doesn't, look out. We're talking lots of long TD runs because Norwood has that rare extra gear that Dunn (though still really quick) has lost. Norwood is faster than Reggie Bush and might be the fastest player in the NFL.
Darrell Jackson, WR, Seahawks: He's been kicked around all summer in most places, but I've always liked him. His knee is okay. He caught about 70 percent of his targets last year. Branch will help him because Jackson's not good enough to beat double coverage.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints: The Saints defense might stink. They've played two bad offensive teams. I don't think the running game will be consistent. That leaves lots of passing in come-from-behind situations.
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: The Browns are a well-coached defense with supposedly upgraded talent, and the Bengals ripped them to shreds. Palmer had a big hand in it and has lots of receivers. In retrospect, the willingness to win ugly last week as expressed by Marvin Lewis seems like mere talk to take the most he could out of a rather ugly Week 1 win.
Vince Young, QB, Titans: If you don't have a interception tax, and if you can stomach a lot of ugliness, there will be some nice stats for Young this year. The defense is awful, which means lots of garbage time. Loose coverages will let him pile up some rushing numbers. Figure that he'll start the last eight games or so. Of course, the Titans might stubbornly refuse to start him all year, but that just seems too silly to take seriously under these circumstances.
Chad Pennington, QB, Jets: Was not consistent enough and had two spectacular runs after catches for his TD passes. We saw enough vs. New England to not rule out the possibility that he's all the way back. But he hasn't proven that yet.
Joe Horn, WR, Saints: Sort of forgotten. Hasn't scored a TD. But was involved this week after being taken to the woodshed by Sean Payton last week. I still think he's clearly the Saints' No. 1 receiver by default.
Lee Evans, WR, Bills: We all loved him. But before you jump off the bridge, note that he had a sure 50-yard-TD taken away when under-thrown pass allowed the DB catch up and interfere near the goal line.
Amani Toomer, WR, Giants: You can occasionally play him as your third WR in deep leagues, but don't go chasing last week because you'll be disappointed. He's the fourth option in the passing game. Sinorice Moss will take away more chances. What helped him last week was that Shockey was hurt (but he's always hurt, I know).
LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders: See the intro. The Raiders are a disaster offensively. How many points are they going to score this year? Where is Jordan's upside? There is none. Maybe the Jets will take him back.
Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals: I was disappointed. Is he going to be a garbage-time QB against good teams and solid against bad teams or something more? The Cardinals defense looks improved, so there might not be as much garbage time as last year. Warner is going to have to make plays when it matters, and he really didn't come close in Seattle.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: Teams are going to blitz Brady like crazy and force the receivers to decisively win one-on-one matchups. I don't think any of them can, as long as you put a good cover safety on Ben Watson. The Patriots are a run first, ball-control, pass-second team until further notice.
Wali Lundy, RB, Texans: This breaks my heart. The fumble hurt. The injuries on the offensive line hurt more. The committee is entrenched. Samkon Gado is a guy they actually like, for reasons unclear to me.
Reggie Brown, WR, Eagles: You have some cover with the two TDs, use it and upgrade if Brown is a starter for you. He's not targeted enough and is the fourth option in the Eagles passing game.
Daunte Culpepper, QB, Dolphins: It's just ugly in Miami. Culpepper is fumbling and playing like he's blindfolded at times. He throws picks that leave you scratching your head. Picks that make you wonder if he's in on a fix.
Drew Bledsoe, QB, Cowboys: No Terrell Owens now for 2-to-4 weeks. Maybe Owens will be back after this week's bye, but you can't count on it. Without Owens, Bledsoe is backup fantasy QB at best.
Reuben Droughns, RB, Browns: The TD masks another bad day. Try to trade him for Addai, if not now then the next time their weekly fortunes momentarily reverse.
Chris Brown, RB, Titans: LenDale White is going to start for the Titans. Not that Brown is too old, it's just that they know what he'll be, an injury-prone mediocrity. If White is going to be something more they're going to have to find out before next April, when they'll be sitting with the first or second pick.
Javon Walker, WR, Broncos: The Denver passing game is a disaster. The wind was whipping in Denver on Sunday, so we'll cut Plummber a little slack. But Walker is a No. 2/No. 3 WR now, not a No. 1/No. 2, where he was being drafted.
Article first appeared 9/19/06