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Week 2 Upgrades/Downgrades


Upgrades

QB Drew Bledsoe - DAL

Bledsoe is still a statue in the pocket, but he can deliver the ball effectively when given the time. Against the Chargers, he spread the ball around to several receivers (four players had either five or six targets) and found the end zone three times.

QB Mark Brunell - WAS

Brunell is here because he has been named the team's starting QB for week two. We aren't excited about his prospects, but if you are desperate he'll likely be available. Of course if you're that desperate, you might want to consider another hobby.

QB Kerry Collins - OAK

Collins struggled at times, but we can discount that as he was facing a very good Patriots defense. The great news is that he tossed three TDs against a very good Patriots defense. Moss was targeted often, but there are enough good players elsewhere to make Collins an every-week fantasy starter. The fact that the Raider's defense is horrible should create a situation where Collins is forced to throw a lot every game.

QB Trent Dilfer - CLE

The fact that he amassed these stats with Frisman Jackson playing a large role says a lot. We expect Braylon Edwards to be a bigger factor as the season progresses. Aaron Shea should also be healthy soon giving Dilfer a lot more options.

QB Gus Frerotte - MIA

There was talk in the preseason that Frerotte and A.J. Feeley would share time at the QB spot. With Sunday's performance, Frerotte definitely killed that bad idea. He turned in a quality outing and has three good receivers in Randy McMichael, Chris Chambers, and Marty Booker. Frerotte should be a good fantasy reserve QB this season.

QB Brian Griese - TB

Brien Griese is not that special of a quarterback, but he plays well within the Tampa Bay offense. We liked that the offensive line played better than expected (especially pass blocking) and that should mean bigger things for Griese and the receivers.

QB J.P. Losman - BUF

Losman didn't do anything special on Sunday, but he had a solid outing and won. That should elevate his confidence and make him a solid backup by the end of the season.

QB Carson Palmer - CIN

Carson Palmer struggled this preseason, but looked extremely sharp against a soft pass defense. He ended the year as hot as any QB and with the weapons he has at the skill positions could be heading for his best year yet.

QB Tim Rattay - SF

After an early fumble, Rattay played efficient, error-free football. That will keep him on the field.

QB Ben Roethlisberger - PIT

Roethlisberger looked terrible in the preseason, but he definitely picked things up on Sunday. While attempting only 11 passes, he threw for over 200 yards and a pair of scores.

QB Anthony Wright - BAL

Wright relieved Kyle Boller after the Ravens starter went down with an injury. Wright looked a bit sharper than Boller (which isn't saying much) but definitely did not set the field ablaze with his play. Still, Wright will start for a while and could excel in the short term.

RB Stephen Davis - CAR

All offseason it appeared that Stephen Davis had been given up for dead, but the old man showed on Sunday he still has a little life in him. Even more important, the Panthers showed that a healthy Davis would get the lion's share of carries (even over a healthy DeShaun Foster). Further, it was Davis that got the call in short-yardage situations (which included a 1-yard TD). Davis will not be a 25-carry per game back, but he is certainly a serviceable fantasy RB.

RB Frank Gore - SF

Gore only saw four carries and two passes, but he get the upgrade because Kevan Barlow looked absolutely terrible.

RB Brandon Jacobs - NYG

After hearing the same thing in prior offseasons, we were not sold on the idea that anyone would take carries from Tiki Barber. This Jacobs kid looks legit. He only had six carries, but Jacobs appears to be the goalline back for the Giants (he scored from the five-yard line).

RB Larry Johnson - KC

Just like the Chiefs said in the preseason, Johnson will get some looks even with a healthy Holmes around. While he was only given ten carries, Johnson gained an amazing 110 yards on the ground against the Jets.

RB Lamont Jordan - OAK

While he didn't see the end zone, Jordan turned in a very good effort that is even more impressive considering the caliber of the opposing defense. More good news for Jordan was the five catches (on seven targets).

RB Willie Parker - PIT

Fast Willie Parker looked like a blur against the Titans as he accumulated 209 total yards. Head coach Bill Cowher has already announced that Parker will start in week two.

RB Cadillac Williams - TB

The worry with Williams was that he would share some time with fellow RB Michael Pittman. After watching Pittman drop his only target of the game and take zero rushes, it is painfully obvious that Williams is the man in the Buccaneers backfield. He finished his rookie debut with 148 yards and a game-sealing 71-yard TD. His zero pass targets could be a concern in PPR leagues, but Cadillac Williams is this team's ground game.

WR Arnaz Battle - SF

Battle was all over the field on Sunday. He had two passes (both complete), one rush (albeit for negative yards), and five catches (one for a score. It's hard to get excited about the #2 WR in San Francisco, but we just might be.

WR Deion Branch - NE

There were murmurs all preseason regarding Branch's lack of preseason playing time. The Patriots claimed they were holding him out to keep him fresh for the regular season, but many thought he could be injured. After opening the regular season with seven catches (on 12 targets) for 99 yards and a score, it is apparent that Branch is indeed just fine.

WR Antonio Chatman - GB

With Javon Walker out for the season, Chatman will be counted on to at least be the team's third WR.

WR Patrick Crayton - DAL

There is a chance that week one was one-time showing for Crayton, but he certainly looked like a good WR against the Chargers. He caught all six balls that were thrown his way (one for a TD). If Crayton and the Cowboys keep it up, he will be one of this season's surprise WRs.

WR Kevin Curtis - STL

Curtis was much more involved in the Rams offense than Isaac Bruce. He had 14 targets on Sunday and hauled in seven catches for 63 yards. He did not get into the end zone, but he was targetted there three times.

WR Donald Driver - GB

Driver had an average day against Detroit, but he receives the upgrade due to the loss of teammate Javon Walker. With Walker gone for the season with an ACL tear, Driver becomes the team's primary WR.

WR Bobby Engram - SEA

Engram was given a team-high tying (with Darrell Jackson) ten targets as he caught eight balls for 79 yards. If your league give a point per reception, Engram looks like a viable option.

WR Robert Ferguson - GB

As with Donald Driver, Ferguson benefits from the loss of Javon Walker. Ferguson should move into the starting lineup, but he'll have to perform to keep Antonio Chatman from stealing time and targets. That said, we expect Ferguson to now be a quality fantasy option this season.

WR Larry Fitzgerald - ARI

Larry Fitzgerald looks very polished for a person playing only his second season in the league. If this week is any indication, it looks like he will draw single coverage on most plays as teams key more on Anquan Boldin. And against single coverage, Fitgerald will always be open.

WR Keyshawn Johnson - DAL

Johnson looked terrific on Sunday while hauling in five catches and a pair of TDs. He seems to be meshing very well with new QB Drew Bledsoe.

WR Matt Jones - JAX

Jones is still a work in progress, but the Jagaurs appear committed to him being on the field - he had one pass, two rushes, and two catches.

WR Keenan McCardell - SD

McCardell was everywhere against the Cowboys and was targetted a team-high 14 times. He had nine catches for 123 yards and a pair of TDs. Of course McCardell benefitted somewhat from the absence of TE Antonio Gates, but it is still obvious that McCardell is the team's primary WR.

WR Randy Moss - OAK

Moss had only five catches, but one of them was a huge 73-yard TD. The amazing stat for Moss is that he was targetted 17 times. Oakland is definitely going to use him.

WR Jimmy Smith - JAX

Smith showed on Sunday that he isn't quite ready to be put out to pasture. He was targetted 13 times and caught seven balls for 130 yards and two scores.

WR Steve Smith - CAR

Smith showed two things on Sunday: 1) He is over his 2004 injury, and 2) He is still the man in Carolina. Smith was targetted an amazing 16 times which allowed him to haul in eight catches for 138 yards and a TD (another TD was nullified by a penalty).

TE Courtney Anderson - OAK

Anderson only had three catches, but two of them were for scores. If he continues to be such an excellent red zone target, he could be the surprise fantasy TE of the year.

TE Ernie Conwell - NO

Conwell was targetted a surpringly high eight times on Sunday (tied for the team high with WR Joe Horn), and also had a team high six catches as well. Injuries are still a concern with Conwell as he suffered what was termed a "displace jaw" that knocked him out of the game. He is currently listed as "day-to-day".

TE Bubba Franks - GB

Franks is not an exciting receiver, but he seems to have the eye of Brett Favre. Franks was targetted seven times against the Lions, and he caught four balls for 27 yards. He gets a slight upgrade due to the loss of WR Javon Walker. Without the team's star WR in the line-up, there will be a few more catches available for Franks.

TE Alex Smith - TB

Smith was only targetted four times (he caught all four passes), but he deserves a big upgrade because he looks like a huge red zone receiver for the Buccaneers. It is obvious that Smith rather than Anthony Becht has Brian Griese's eye.

TE Ben Troupe - TEN

The concern all preseason was that Troupe might not even be healthy until October. He put those concerns to rest on Sunday with four catches and a TD. Troupe is ready to go.

TD Buffalo Bills - BUF

The Texans offense isn't exactly stellar, but the Bills defense absolutely engulfed them at times. Buffalo allowed only 120 net yards and forced five turnovers to go with five sacks.

TD Kansas City Chiefs - KC

The Chiefs changed their personnel this offseason, and it looks to have paid off. The Jets offense was shutout until only 29 seconds remained in the game. It has been a long time since we've been able to say that about a Chiefs opponent.

TD Indianapolis Colts - IND

The Colts defense looked nothing its former self. They forced four turnovers and three sacks while holding Baltimore scoreless until 13 seconds remained in the game. Of course, our enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that the Ravens offense is...well, the Ravens offense. Still, the Colts defense looked good Sunday night.

TD Detroit Lions - DET

The Lions defense did a very good job against what was considered to be one of the better offenses in the league. They held RB Ahman Green in check (only one rushing first down by the Packers) and harassed QB Brett Favre into three turnovers. A very good start by an improving unit.


Downgrades

QB Kyle Boller - BAL

Boller followed up his horrible preseason with a horrible opener before being injured.

QB David Carr - HOU

Carr was abused by the Buffalo defense. He completed 12 passes, but three of them were caught by Bills defenders. After subtracting the sack yardage, the Houston offense netted 25 passing yards.

QB Daunte Culpepper - MIN

The good news is there is little chance Culpepper will have another outing this bad (zero TDs and five turnovers). The bad news is that Randy Moss is still in Oakland.

QB Brett Favre - GB

Favre struggled all game against the Lions - barely crossing the 200-yard mark and failing to find the end zone. Even worse, Favre will now play the remainder of the season without his star WR Javon Walker. The Packers have quality receivers still on the roster, but they and Favre will miss one of the top players in the league.

QB Patrick Ramsey - WAS

Ramsey has been benched in favor of Mark Brunell.

RB Mike Anderson - DEN

The big worry with Anderson was concern over injury, but it was still a bit surprising that he couldn't finish his first game. His status for week two is not yet known.

RB Kevan Barlow - SF

Barlow did get a TD, but his 22 yards on 14 carries was abyssmal. He won't keep Frank Gore off the field like that.

RB Tatum Bell - DEN

With Mike Anderson knocked out of the game, Bell had the perfect opportunity to seize control of the Broncos backfield. Bell responded with 13 carries for 47 yards. That's not the kind of production that wins starting jobs. Will he even be able to keep Ron Dayne off the field?

RB Michael Bennett - MIN

Bennett finished the day with six carries for minus one yards. Nothing else needs to be said.

RB Mewelde Moore - MIN

While Bennett struggled mightily, Moore saw special teams action (where he suffered a minor leg injury). What is Mike Tice thinking?

RB Michael Pittman - TB

Pittman saw zero carries and one pass (that he dropped).

RB Duce Staley - PIT

With Willie Parker looking outstanding, Pittsburgh has no need to rush Staley back into action. Even when Staley is healthy, he might not have a job waiting on him.

WR David Boston - MIA

Marty Booker's performance against the Broncos showed that Boston will be nothing but a spot player this season.

WR Isaac Bruce - STL

Yes, Bruce did score, but the concern here is the involvement of Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald. The two young WRs were targetted 20 times while Bruce only saw six passes come his way. Bruce still has the potential to put up big numbers, but it is apparent that he will also have some games with low production.

WR Reche Caldwell - SD

After seeing only three targets (compared to ten for Eric Parker), it is apparent that Caldwell will not be moving Parker out of the starting line-up.

WR Keary Colbert - CAR

Colbert was nearly invisible against the Saints. He was targetted only four times, and he caught only two balls all day.

WR Braylon Edwards - CLE

It was a quiet debut for the rookie Edwards. He was on the field often but saw fewer targets than Antonio Bryant, Dennis Northcutt, and even Frisman Jackson.

WR Rod Gardner - CAR

Gardner was inactive on Sunday - not a great start for what was supposed to be a sleeper candidate.

WR Jerry Porter - OAK

He should be having his breakout season as he gets to go against single coverage. But Jerry is far from 100%. He looked like he was running in slow motion and unable to get any seperation against the Patriots. The fact that he rested almost the entire preseason and still has a gimpy hamstring tells us he is in for a long season.

WR Javon Walker - GB

Walker will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL against the Lions.

PK Jason Hanson - DET

Hanson is here due to a strained hamstring that he injured on the kickoff after the team's first score on Sunday. With that injury, Hanson was only able to attempt PATs and short FGs. If the injury lingers, Hanson will not be an appealing option for fantasy owners.

PK Matt Stover - BAL

One thing you know about Stover is that he's accurate. Of course that doesn't explain why he missed all three FG attempts against the Colts. You can't dismiss him so soon, but kickers can get into funks sometimes. Caution is needed with Stover.




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