Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 2 Column: Another week, another fantasy superstar

For the second consecutive weekend, one player dominated the competition like no other. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t blessed with the first pick in our fantasy draft, it was someone other than Adrian Peterson.

Sunday, Chris Johnson put on a show of epic proportions, rushing for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns, while adding nine receptions for another 87 yards and a third score.

On any other day, Frank Gore’s scoring runs of 79 and 80 yards would have made him the toast of Fantasyland. But Johnson’s three trips to the end zone – covering 57, 69 and 91 yards respectively – made even Peterson’s owners envious.

Sunday also brought comfort to stakeholders in the Texans’ passing game, as Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson got off the schneid in style. And apparently Kurt Warner isn’t quite ready to limp off into the sunset.

These are just the latest examples of how quickly fortunes can change in this game that variously torments and delights us.

There’s even hope on the horizon for the legions of frustrated owners of Matt Forte, Steve Slaton and Willie Parker. Though each player has struggled out of the gates against a pair of formidable opponents, the schedule gets markedly softer for all three in the weeks ahead.

Indeed, you could be the one frolicking in a downpour of fantasy points courtesy of the superstar running back of Week 3.


To win a fantasy championship, you need to start with a good draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here’s a look at a few players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else’s line-up.

Catch ‘em while you can

Kevin Kolb, QB, Eagles. Eyeing an early bye (Week 4), head coach Andy Reid has declared Kolb the starter against the Chiefs next weekend, thereby allowing Donovan McNabb extra time to mend his broken rib. Though he threw three interceptions, Kolb’s 391 passing yards and two TDs against the Saints suggest he would be a decent one-week filler for those teams struggling without McNabb.

Tashard Choice, RB, Cowboys. If Marion Barber misses time with his pulled quad, Choice will immediately step back into a significant role in the Cowboys’ offense. Felix Jones would be the biggest beneficiary, but Choice would be used frequently as a change-of-pace weapon. He proved late last season that he can excel when given the opportunity.

Mario Manningham, WR, Giants. Last week, I wasn’t buying it. But now that Domenick Hixon (sprained knee) has joined Hakeem Nicks on the sidelines, I’m a believer. Not only is Manningham’s path to a starting job smoother, but he has demonstrated both big-play and possession-receiving capabilities. He and Steve Smith both belong on fantasy rosters.

Devery Henderson, WR, Saints. Much like Lucy snatching up the football as Charlie Brown revs up to kick it, Henderson inevitably disappears every time I recommend him. With that caveat out of the way, Lance Moore’s hamstring injury and Henderson’s performance over the first two games have me taking another swing. After all, how can Brees’ No. 2 wideout not be a fantasy star?

Don’t be fooled

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots. Except for his jersey number, you could be forgiven for mistaking Edelman for the injured Wes Welker in Sunday’s game. Targeted a whopping 16 times by Tom Brady, the rookie was the team’s leading receiver and would have added a touchdown had Brady not overthrown him on one drive. Feel free to dump Joey Galloway in his favor, but don’t expect similar stats from Edelman once Welker returns to the lineup.

Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos. He’s been the team’s most productive receiver in each of the first two games, though it took a miracle tip for Stokley to register his only reception (an 87-yard score) in the team’s opener. But unless he supplants Brandon Marshall or Eddie Royal in the starting lineup, Kyle Orton’s third option is not worth a roster spot.

Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars. You might not recognize the name (he added the Sims this offseason), but you may recall him as the promising, but oft-injured, speedster who has been touted as the Jags’ best hope at receiver since he was drafted in 2007. Though he has re-claimed a starting job over preseason sensation Troy Williamson, the team’s run-oriented offense and his durability issues should cause you to steer clear.

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