A few suggestions that might save your team
If you’re a fantasy owner suffering from Daunte Culpepper’s implosion in Miami, Shaun Alexander’s subjection to the Madden Curse in Seattle, or Terrell Owens’ three-ring circus in Dallas, you’ve probably been scouring the waiver-wire for possible replacements. With free agents, however, it’s hard to separate legitimate replacements with one-week wonders. Take a look at these guys: they might not win the league for you, but they could be the missing pieces your team needs to get back into contention.
Damon Huard, Kansas City Chiefs:
Huard will start again this week in place of the injured Trent Green and should have a field day against an abysmal Arizona Cardinals defense. The Cardinals are allowing over 231 yards through the air per game and will already have their hands full trying to contain running back Larry Johnson. Huard has played well in three appearances with the Chiefs this season and had his best game of the season last week against the 49ers, throwing for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Chief’s QB is second in the NFL with a 106.9 QB rating.
Brad Johnson, Minnesota Vikings:
Johnson’s numbers so far this year haven’t been fantastic, but he’s faced four of the toughest defenses in the NFL: Washington, Carolina, Chicago, and Buffalo. This week, Johnson gets a break as he goes against a Detroit Lions unit that’s third worst in the NFL against the pass. In two games against the Lions last year, Johnson threw for 392 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Look for him to have even greater success this year. Detroit’s offense has exploded for 58 points in the last two games, so Johnson and the Vikings will need to put up points to keep the game close.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars:
The rookie from UCLA was basically invisible in the running game last week against a tough Washington defense, but still caught three passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. In week three against Indianapolis, he had 135 total yards and a touchdown. This week, the Jaguars are at home against a Jets defense that gave up 160 yards and three touchdowns on the ground last week against the Colts. Jones-Drew is still the backup to Fred Taylor, but, according to coach Jack Del Rio, he will start to be more involved in the offense. Look for Jones-Drew to have another big week against a Jets defense that has given up an average of 140 rushing yards per game.
Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts:
Though it’s hard to predict who will fare better, it’s likely that at least one of these guys is still available in your league. Last week against the Jets, Rhodes carried the ball l5 times for 75 yards and a touchdown while Addai had 20 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown. This week, Rhodes and Addai should see even more room to run against a paper-thin Tennessee Titans defense that has given up an average of 205.6 rushing yards and seven touchdowns over the last three games. The undefeated Colts should grab the lead early against the winless Titans and turn to their running backs to slug it out on the ground for the rest of the game, leaving plenty of touches for Rhodes and Addai.
Doug Gabriel, New England Patriots:
After losing receivers David Givens and Deion Branch over the off-season, Tom Brady has been looking for a pass-catcher to step up and fill the void. Gabriel has emerged as that guy, catching 10 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns over the past two games. This week, the Patriots take on a disappointing Dolphins team that has won only one game this year and allowed 269 yards passing to Kerry Collins and the hapless Titans last week. Look for Tom Brady to hook up with his new favorite target early and often on Sunday.
Mike Furrey, Detroit Lions:
It’s hard to be taken seriously in the NFL with a last name like Furrey, but the Lions’ receiver has looked impressive early this year with 22 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Furrey caught those two touchdowns last week in St. Louis in a game in which he had eight receptions for 82 yards. The Lions offense scored just 13 points in its first two games, but has awoken with 58 in the last two. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, famous for his years with Kurt Warner and the “Greatest Show on Turf” in St. Louis, loves to air the ball out, and receivers Roy Williams and Furrey should greatly benefit from this. For the record, Furrey has more yards, receptions, and touchdowns this year than stud wideouts Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, and Randy Moss.