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Week 5 Upgrades/Downgrades


Upgrades

QB Drew Brees - SD

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.

QB Mark Brunell - WAS

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.

QB Marc Bulger - STL

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.

QB Jeff Garcia - DET

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.

QB Brian Griese - TB

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.

QB Kelly Holcomb - BUF

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?

QB Eli Manning - NYG

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).

QB Peyton Manning - IND

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.

QB Josh McCown - ARI

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.

QB Donovan McNabb - PHI

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.

QB Matt Schaub - ATL

Heís not going to move Michael Vick to the sidelines, but any fantasy roster with Vick should probably also have Schaub.

QB Alex Smith - SF

It looks like he will be starting in a few weeks as the 49ers pile up the losses.

QB Vinny Testaverde - NYJ

Thanks for playing Mr. Bollinger, but the Jets will get Testaverde behind center as quickly as possible.

RB Shaun Alexander - SEA

You already know he's good, but St. Louis, Houston, and Dallas are on tap. Alexander the Great indeed.

RB Mike Anderson - DEN

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.

RB Tiki Barber - NYG

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).

RB T.J. Duckett - ATL

A nicked up Vick means more goalline running for T.J. Duckett, and he continues to find the endzone.

RB Warrick Dunn - ATL

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.

RB Mewelde Moore - MIN

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.

RB Alvin Pearman - JAX

He has vaulted to the guy behind Fred Taylor, and you always need to know who that guy is.

RB Michael Pittman - TB

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.

RB Marcel Shipp - ARI

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).

WR Anquan Boldin - ARI

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.

WR Plaxico Burress - NYG

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.

WR Larry Fitzgerald - ARI

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.

WR Joey Galloway - TB

At the moment, Galloway is easily the top WR in Tampa Bay. With the young Michael Clayton around, thatís a big statement.

WR David Givens - NE

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.

WR Marvin Harrison - IND

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.

WR Chris Henry - CIN

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.

WR Torry Holt - STL

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.

WR Darrell Jackson - SEA

With the Rams, Texans, and Cowboys coming up next, Jackson should continue to roll. The three games after the bye look tasty as well.

WR Brandon Jones - TEN

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.

WR Eddie Kennison - KC

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.

WR Terrell Owens - PHI

Owens is a man among boys. He looks impossible to cover at times.

WR Jimmy Smith - JAX

Smith is who Leftwich looks to every time the team needs a big play, and Smith rarely disappoints.

WR Donte Stallworth - NO

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.

WR Mike Williams - DET

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.

WR Troy Williamson - MIN

Another game is in the books and we see Williamson getting just a little more involved in the Minnesota offense.

TE Courtney Anderson - OAK

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.

TE Antonio Gates - SD

He's already our Top TE, but we're moving him even higher on the overall list. He looks unstoppable right now.

TE Erron Kinney - TEN

Kinney keeps getting overlooked, but he is simply very involved in the Titans offense and catches a lot of balls.

TE Jeremy Shockey - NYG

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.

TE L.J. Smith - PHI

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.

PK Jay Feely - NYG

Feely is a top five kicker right now. Ride him while he and the Giants are hot.

PK Todd France - PHI

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.

PK Sebastian Janikowski - OAK

Of course the week after we downgrade him, he bounced back and finally made all of his attempts.

PK Neil Rackers - ARI

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.

TD Denver Broncos - DEN

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.


Downgrades

QB Daunte Culpepper - MIN

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.

QB Joey Harrington - DET

Things simply are going wrong for Harrington and the Lions. He seriously needs to improve (and win) before Jeff Garcia gets healthy.

QB Byron Leftwich - JAX

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.

QB J.P. Losman - BUF

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.

QB Tim Rattay - SF

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.

QB Michael Vick - ATL

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.

QB Kurt Warner - ARI

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.

RB Kevan Barlow - SF

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.

RB Verron Haynes - PIT

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.

RB Larry Johnson - KC

His fumble just before the half against the Eagles proved to be very costly.

RB Kevin Jones - DET

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.

RB Curtis Martin - NYJ

He is likely looking at eight in the box unless Vinny Testaverde can move the offense through the air.

RB Fred Taylor - JAX

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.

RB LaBrandon Toefield - JAX

He has been surpassed by the more explosive Alvin Pearman and is no longer the teamís primary backup RB.

RB Cadillac Williams - TB

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.

WR Deion Branch - NE

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.

WR Tyrone Calico - TEN

He has lost his job to Brandon Jones.

WR Michael Clayton - TB

Joey Galloway has exploded while Clayton has been stuck in neutral.

WR Lee Evans - BUF

Horrible QB play limits what he is able to do. Even a switch to Kelly Holcomb would fail to inspire confidence in Evans.

WR Joe Horn - NO

We arenít souring on Horn after he missed a game, but we simply like a few other WRs better right now.

WR Andre Johnson - HOU

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.

WR Ashley Lelie - DEN

He had one catch for 13 yards against the Jaguars. He and Jake Plummer seem to be reading from different playbooks right now.

WR Eric Moulds - BUF

J.P. Losman is the QB. You can see the frustration on Mouldsí face after some of the passes that are thrown near him.

WR Samie Parker - KC

Parker vanished against the Eagles.

WR Jerry Porter - OAK

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.

WR Charles Rogers - DET

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.

WR Brandon Stokley - IND

Even with great opponents coming up, Stokley looks like the odd man out this season.

WR Travis Taylor - MIN

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.

WR Reggie Williams - JAX

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.

TE Tony Gonzalez - KC

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.

PK Rian Lindell - BUF

The Bills canít move the ball with any efficiency right now, and we arenít sure that will change all season.

TD Buffalo Bills - BUF

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.

TD Kansas City Chiefs - KC

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.

TD New England Patriots - NE

The Patriots have simply lost too many players to continue to be counted among the elite defenses.

TD St. Louis Rams - STL

They gave up 456 total yards while recording 1 sack, no interceptions and no fumble recoveries. Simply horrible.

TD Minnesota Vikings - MIN

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.




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