Week 5 Upgrades/Downgradesby David Dodds and Clayton Gray, Exclusive to
He absolutely shredded the Patriots defense in New England. We would be more excited if LaDainian Tomlinson wasnít a TD hog, but with Antonio Gates on board this team is rolling.
We were scratching our head when the move to Brunell was made, but it looks like Joe Gibbs might know something about coaching. Brunell has looked at least like an acceptable fantasy backup. Thatís valuable in almost any league.
The Rams are back to their old habits of throwing every down (62 passes against 15 rushes in week four). Of course Bulger's arm may be spaghetti in January, but he'll put up gaudy yardage totals and the TDs should come as well.
Itís hard to get an upgrade while injured, but thatís how bad Joey Harrington is playing. Harrington is simply not moving the Detroit offense with any efficiency.
Cadillac Williams went down, and Griese (even with a slight concussion) picked up the slack and turned in some good numbers. He throws too many INTs, but the good Buccaneer defense gives him a lot of opportunities to succeed. If Michael Clayton can get going again, Griese could be an excellent fantasy option.
Holcomb did not look all that great in relief, and J.P. Losman is still the teamís starting QB. That said, how long will it take until the Bills have seen enough 75-yard passing displays from their young QB?
The younger Manning is absolutely on fire right now with nine passing TDs this season. Even better is the low number of INTs (two on the season).
No, he's not moving up to #0, but we feel better about him being in the top spot after his four-TD effort against the Titans. The best part is the upcoming schedule: He gets San Francisco, St. Louis, and Houston next.
McCown has two great WRs in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Even better is that (after one game) he moved the team better than Kurt Warner and got the teamís first win of the season. Denny Green wants to win, so it wouldnít be surprising to see a winning McCown continue as the teamís starter.
The team throws to set up the pass (and yesÖthatís what we meant to say). If he can last the whole year, it looks like McNabb will end up as the #1 fantasy QB.
Heís not going to move Michael Vick to the sidelines, but any fantasy roster with Vick should probably also have Schaub.
It looks like he will be starting in a few weeks as the 49ers pile up the losses.
Thanks for playing Mr. Bollinger, but the Jets will get Testaverde behind center as quickly as possible.
You already know he's good, but St. Louis, Houston, and Dallas are on tap. Alexander the Great indeed.
This is still RBBC, but Anderson is the guy come crunch time. He had a great game against one of the better run defenses in the league this week. If he can just stay healthy, he'll be a great fantasy option.
In the past, when the passing game was floundering, Barber produced in spite of being the focus of every opposing defense. Now with Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey making plays, Barber has more freedom to produce and will once again put up tons of yardage (and at least a handful of TDs).
A nicked up Vick means more goalline running for T.J. Duckett, and he continues to find the endzone.
The Falcons run the ball so well that Dunn is always a threat to find a crease and score. We would like for him to catch more balls, but we are perfectly content with the top RB on one of the best running teams in the league.
With Michael Bennett out of the picture, Moore is easily the teamís primary ball-carrier and has also asserted himself as a receiver. If the Vikings offense could score some points, Moore would be an excellent option.
He has vaulted to the guy behind Fred Taylor, and you always need to know who that guy is.
Heís not going to push his way into the starting lineup, but Pittman is very much a valuable fantasy back. The Buccaneers overworked Cadillac Williams to start the season, and the rookie suffered several slight injuries. Pittman has proven to be a capable replacement and will be called upon if Williams can not go.
J.J. Arrington looks lost at this point. The Cardinals are mostly a passing team, but Shipp's receiving skills will help him against soft defenses (like he faced this past week).
The Cardinals offense showed signs of coming around against the 49ers (OK...it was the 49ers, but still). The key for Boldin is that Arizona has almost zero ground game right now. If they are going to succeed, it will be through the air.
It is an understatement to say Burress is clicking with Eli Manning in New York. He seems to improve each week. His ten catches for 204 yards and a pair of TDs against the Rams is the type of outing that wins fantasy matchups.
As with Anquan Boldin, the lack of a viable rushing attack makes Fitzgerald even more appealing. He should get plenty of targets the rest of the season.
At the moment, Galloway is easily the top WR in Tampa Bay. With the young Michael Clayton around, thatís a big statement.
With all of the injuries, this defense is getting worse each week. That of course means more passing to stay in games. Givens probably wonít be a consistent producer, but he will get more looks as the season wears on.
Harrison showed up well in week four, and it is very hard to not get really excited with San Francisco, St. Louis, and Houston up next.
As the #3 WR in Cincinnati, Henry is getting more and more playing time. If youíre in a bye-week crunch, he could be a viable option as a fill in.
Bruce's injury means Holt will get a ton of targets each and every week. The Seattle game this week should have a lot of passing yards for the Rams.
With the Rams, Texans, and Cowboys coming up next, Jackson should continue to roll. The three games after the bye look tasty as well.
He has surpassed Tyrone Calico as the teamís #2 WR. He had a tough matchup against the Colts, but Jones should be some very good games as the season continues.
These days, with Tony Gonzalez staying in to block, Kennison seems to be the only receiver getting open in Kansas City. If he stays healthy, he should have no trouble finishing as a Top 25 WR.
Owens is a man among boys. He looks impossible to cover at times.
Smith is who Leftwich looks to every time the team needs a big play, and Smith rarely disappoints.
With Joe Horn on the sidelines, Stallworth put on a show with eight catches for 129 yards against the Bills. With the Packers and Rams on tap over the next three weeks, Stallworth should be able to build upon that outing.
We would feel better about Williams if he would have made that last minute TD catch, but he is now officially the #2 WR in Detroit since Charles Rogers has been suspended by the NFL for four weeks for violating the leagueís substance abuse policy.
Another game is in the books and we see Williamson getting just a little more involved in the Minnesota offense.
His week two and week four performances (two catches for 32 yards) showed that he will lack consistency, but Anderson is fully capable of 80+ yards and a score against any opponent. There are not many TEs that can make that claim.
He's already our Top TE, but we're moving him even higher on the overall list. He looks unstoppable right now.
Kinney keeps getting overlooked, but he is simply very involved in the Titans offense and catches a lot of balls.
He and Eli Manning are on the same page. Plaxico Burressí emergence practically guarantees single coverage for Shockey which is a matchup he will exploit.
He is very active in the passing game (and there is a ton of passing game available in Philadelphia). Brian Westbrook and Terrell Owens ensure single coverage (or even blown coverage) for Smith each week.
Feely is a top five kicker right now. Ride him while he and the Giants are hot.
The France experience started horribly against Kansas City (a blocked FG and a botched hold on a PAT). However, things settled down, and France just kept scoring. Heíll do that for a few more weeks while David Akers is out.
Of course the week after we downgrade him, he bounced back and finally made all of his attempts.
Rackers has made all 16 of his FG attempts (including an eye popping six in week four). To emphasize how many six is, consider that only ten other kickers have more than six makes for the entire season.
The Broncos defense did not start the season well, but they have turned in a pair of very good efforts this season (week two and week four). It is likely that they are in your FA pool.
The season is four weeks old, and the only great game Culpepper has played was against a weary Saints team that was at the end of a three-game road swing. The Vikings are very much struggling on offense, and while they have a week five bye where they can figure things out, we arenít sold on Mike Tice being up to the task.
Things simply are going wrong for Harrington and the Lions. He seriously needs to improve (and win) before Jeff Garcia gets healthy.
This was supposed to be a breakout year for Leftwich, but the young WRs have not come around as the team hoped. Don't expect Leftwich to average much more than 230 yards and a single TD going forward.
As we stated last week, Losman is playing like the worst QB in the league right now. If your league penalizes for INTs, youíd almost be better off starting someone on their bye.
It's not all his fault, but we see Alex Smith starting very soon. Thereís no reason to keep losing with Rattay when losing with Smith gives the rookie experience for the future.
Every week Vick has hamstring or knee or something else issues. We are not convinced he can stay healthy and finish a game. Itís impossible to count on a player like that.
For Warner, the worst thing to come out of week four was that the offense looked so much better with Josh McCown behind center. Sure, they were playing the 49ers, but Arizona punted only three times all game.
San Francisco is a bad team that looks to be playing from behind often which means fewer carries for Barlow. It could get even worse in the future if the team decides to get a long look at Frank Gore.
With Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley expected to be at full strength this week, Haynes is now the teamís #4 RB. Thatís not going to help any fantasy team.
His fumble just before the half against the Eagles proved to be very costly.
The Lions were in a close game (Jonesí TD gave them a seven-point lead in the second quarter), but Jones finished the day with only 12 carries. That makes absolutely no sense, but it definitely kills Jonesí value.
He is likely looking at eight in the box unless Vinny Testaverde can move the offense through the air.
Outside of Jimmy Smith, the other Jacksonville WRs look soft. This has left a lot of defenders able to concentrate on taking Fred Taylor out of the game.
He has been surpassed by the more explosive Alvin Pearman and is no longer the teamís primary backup RB.
He is still quite the player, but his injury woes had better serve notice to the Buccaneers that they are overworking their star rookie. Either way (through more injuries or fewer touches), Williams should see less production going forward. Weíre backing off the throttle a bit.
He should produce better numbers than his current pace, but he lacks the consistency required to finish the season as an upper tier fantasy WR.
He has lost his job to Brandon Jones.
Joey Galloway has exploded while Clayton has been stuck in neutral.
Horrible QB play limits what he is able to do. Even a switch to Kelly Holcomb would fail to inspire confidence in Evans.
We arenít souring on Horn after he missed a game, but we simply like a few other WRs better right now.
Itís hard to sit a player as talented as Johnson, but the current state of affairs in Houston dictates just that. We have zero confidence that heíll be given an opportunity to succeed.
He had one catch for 13 yards against the Jaguars. He and Jake Plummer seem to be reading from different playbooks right now.
J.P. Losman is the QB. You can see the frustration on Mouldsí face after some of the passes that are thrown near him.
Parker vanished against the Eagles.
There are not enough balls to go around between Randy Moss, LaMont Jordan, Porter and Courtney Anderson. Porter looks like he may be the odd man out some weeks. The trouble is that there is no way to tell which weeks that will be. He is simply not a safe start.
A bad QB, an emerging Mike Williams, and now a four-game suspension for violating the leagueís substance abuse policy all spell doom for Rogers heading forward.
Even with great opponents coming up, Stokley looks like the odd man out this season.
Taylor was the teamís leading WR in week four (five catches for 62 yards), but we simply can not shake the feeling that when Nate Burleson returns, it will be Burleson and Troy Williamson that are the most productive.
In the preseason, Williams looked like one of those young WRs that was capable of making a big splash. He doesn't look like one of those WRs anymore.
He stayed in to block most of the day (and whiffed on Jevon Kearse at least once). Gonzalez finished the game with two catches for five yards - simply terrible.
The Bills canít move the ball with any efficiency right now, and we arenít sure that will change all season.
They lost a big piece of their defense when Takeo Spikes went down in week three. Worse for them is that the offense is showing no signs of being able to control the ball. That puts way too much pressure on the defense to try and contain the opposing offense and keep the game manageable. They simply can not risk going for big plays because that leaves the door open to giving up a big play. Without those big plays on defense, this is not an elite fantasy unit.
Luckily for them, the Chiefs have a weak five bye to try and find out what happened to the defense that destroyed the Jets in week one.
The Patriots have simply lost too many players to continue to be counted among the elite defenses.
They gave up 456 total yards while recording 1 sack, no interceptions and no fumble recoveries. Simply horrible.
The Vikings defense was gashed for 285 rushing yards against Atlanta. Even worse for them was forcing zero turnovers and getting only a single sack.