Unless you already have Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or Philip Rivers in the fold, you must start Redskins QB Donovan McNabb in his ballyhooed homecoming to Philadelphia (er, Vickadelphia) on Sunday. Even if you're genuinely worried about Washington's lack of a second wideout, or Clinton Portis' weary legs, or believe the Eagles will blitz 11 men on every play -- with the intent of knocking McNabb (833 passing yards, 2 TDs) into next week -- you must roll the dice, throw caution to the wind and start McNabb in the game he's had circled on his mental calendar since mid-April.
Or, you can look at it this way: The guilt of not starting McNabb against Philly would be far greater than the guilt associated with him tallying a pedestrian 200 yards passing and one TD. In other words,it's a moral imperative.
I will unveil this plan next Wednesday, but I am going to make a big push to acquire DeAngelo Williams, Shonn Greene, Jonathan Stewart or Felix Jones in the coming days. I had all four rushers in my preseason top 18 (standard-scoring leagues) and simply refuse to believe they'll be duds for much longer -- even if they're stuck in ugly, non-productive handcuffs or hindered by poor quarterback play.
Truth be told, I have DeAngelo as a "lock" for 120 total yards and/or two TDs against the Saints in Week 4; but from a selfish standpoint, it might behoove my trade prospects, if he and J-Stew laid another fantasy egg on Sunday.
This group of fantasy stars will bounce back in Week 4: 1. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars 2. RB Arian Foster, Texans 3. QB Donovan McNabb, Redskins 4. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts 5. RB DeAngelo Williams, Panthers 6. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals 7. WR Andre Johnson, Texans 8. RB Justin Forsett, Seahawks 9. QB Matt Schaub, Texans 10. WR Greg Jennings, Packers
I never thought I'd say this about the post-Rich Gannon Raiders, but the club has five worthy fantasy starters in 14-team leagues: RB Darren McFadden (three straight games of 100 total yards or more), WRs Darrius Heyward-Bey (24 targets in Weeks 2-3) and Louis Murphy, TE Zach Miller and QB Bruce "Don't Call Me Frank" Gradkowski.
As noted by a handful of readers, I mistakenly referred to Gradkowski as "Frank" in Wednesday's Clicks, which, I suppose, was a subconscious homage to Frank Gladowski, one of Grosse Ile (Mich.) High School's greatest perimeter shooters and a basketball hero of my youth. To complicate things, he also married a classmate of mine, which explains why he's still on the brain 20 years later.
But now that I've admitted the "Frank" mistake, I sincerely doubt it'll happen again, and if it does, I'll donate $100 to the favorite charity of the lucky reader to point out the faux pas.
1. Peyton Manning @ Jacksonville 2. Drew Brees vs. Carolina 3. Aaron Rodgers vs. Detroit 4. Eli Manning vs. Chicago 5. Philip Rivers vs. Arizona 6. Tom Brady @ Miami 7. Chad Henne vs. New England
Peyton Manning's past five games at Jacksonville bring an interesting pattern to light: Manning is averaging 313 passing yards, 1.4 TDs and 0.6 interceptions since 2005, with Indy routinely racking up 28 road points per game against the Jags. The verdict: Perhaps I should be worried about rubber-stamping Peyton onto the above list.
This weekend's Sunday Revelations will be authored by Will Carroll, aka Mr. @Injuryexpert, while I try to escape the NFL universe for one day and celebrate my one-year wedding anniversary (I'm going to see a musical ... and I'll leave it at that).
1. Reggie Wayne @ Jacksonville (while Austin Collie gets the attention)2. Brandon Marshall vs. New England 3. Steve Smith vs. Chicago 4. Marques Colston vs. Carolina 5. Larry Fitzgerald @ San Diego 6. DeSean Jackson vs. Washington7. Louis Murphy vs. Houston (new addition to the list)8. Roddy White vs. San Francisco
The humble geniuses at Accuscore have already done the math in figuring out the receptions leaders among wideouts from this point forward. Consider these projections to be the equivalent of fantasy gold in PPR leagues: 1. Wes Welker, Patriots -- 91.8 catches 2. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins -- 86.7 catches 3. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 85.9 4. Roddy White, Falcons -- 75.8 5. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 75.2 6. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 75.0 7. Donald Driver, Packers -- 72.3 8. Steve Smith, Giants -- 71.2 9. Hines Ward, Steelers -- 68.0 10. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 66.3 11. Anquan Boldin, Ravens -- 65.0 12. Calvin Johnson, Lions -- 63.5 13. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 62.8 14. Santana Moss, Redskins -- 60.2 15. Randy Moss, Patriots -- 60.0
This isn't a referendum on Jay Cutler and Matt Forte's fantasy prospects, but I have a feeling the 3-0 Bears will be the victims of a karmic smackdown against the Giants. Frankly, Chicago is far luckier than Kansas City to be perfect at this point -- Calvin Johnson's four feet and a knee non-catch comes to mind -- because the club has yet to put together a full 60 minutes of admirable execution in three games, and yet stands as the NFC's lone unbeaten.
But all good things must come to an end. That's why the Giants will find a way to put their dysfunctional differences aside and bounce the Bears at home, and why Ahmad Bradshaw serves as a late addition to the following list.
1. Rashard Mendenhall vs. Baltimore 2. Frank Gore @ Atlanta 3. Chris Johnson vs. Denver 4. Cedric Benson @ Cleveland 5. Peyton Hillis vs. Cincinnati 6. DeAngelo Williams @ New Orleans 7. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Indianapolis 8. Arian Foster @ Oakland 9. LeSean McCoy vs. Washington 10. Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Chicago
A quality pass-catcher is only as good as his quarterback and the number of times he's thrown to (known as Targets). Here are the target leaders amongst running backs after three weeks:
1. Frank Gore, 49ers -- 29 targets 2. Jahvid Best, Lions -- 24 targets 3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- 18 4. Pierre Thomas, Saints -- 17 5. Mike Goodson, Panthers -- 16 6. Peyton Hillis, Browns -- 16 7. Darren McFadden, Raiders -- 16 8. Matt Forte, Bears -- 15 9. Steven Jackson, Rams -- 15 10. Ray Rice, Ravens -- 15 11. LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets -- 15 12. Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers -- 14 13. Joseph Addai, Colts -- 13 14. LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- 13 15. C.J. Spiller, Bills -- 13
Since we already have the Accuscore Predictionator 5000 cranking, here are the projected Week 4 leaders in rushing yards: 1. Chris Johnson, Titans -- 132 rushing yards 2. Arian Foster, Texans -- 97 rushing yards 3. Michael Turner, Falcons -- 96 4. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- 94 5. Peyton Hillis, Browns -- 90 6. Cedric Benson -- Bengals -- 86 7. Steven Jackson, Rams -- 85 8. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants -- 81 9. LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets -- 71 10. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers -- 70 11. LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- 67 12. Pierre Thomas, Saints -- 66 13. Darren McFadden, Raiders -- 65
On Thursday morning, we launched the fourth of 15 weekly chats on Facebook, taking lineup questions from the fantasy masses. Here are some of the highlights from Chat No. 4, which comes with a reminder for next Thursday's open forum (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST):
@ Jose Nieves -- I have been offered Maurice Jones-Drew for Nate Washington/Jamaal Charles. What do you think?
Answer: I may be the No. 1 Charles fan on the planet, but I still would prefer a healthy MJD on my fantasy team (standard or PPR). And Washington is basically a throw-in, aka the kind of talent you'll never start. So, unless Owner B steps it up a bit, I'd pass.
@ Chris Boyer -- What do you think of this trade: Frank Gore/Mike Wallace for Ahmad Bradshaw/Ronnie Brown/Knowshon Moreno? I already have Arian Foster, Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles, so i can afford to deal some depth.
Answer: As much as I love Gore, and as optimistic as I am about Wallace once Ben Roethlisberger returns, I would easily prefer three great backs like Moreno, Bradshaw and Ronnie Brown. As I always say, you can NEVER have enough quality running backs. That aside, I can't tell you which team "wins" the deal, due to the many factors that go into a trade. Blockbusters are usually personal trades between owners, and they have their reasons for pulling the trigger.
@ Mike Rubi --DeAngelo Williams is my RB2. Someone is offering Antonio Gates, straight up. I am playing waiver-wire roulette at tight end right now. Other rbs are Jonathan Stewart, Michael Turner, Peyton HIllis, Reggie Bush nd Fred Taylor. Thoughts?
Answer: Are you saying Owner B's 1-for-1 offer is DeAngelo for Gates? Personally, I would always keep a great running back over a supreme tight end. But you already seem committed to the idea of garnering Gates for TE peace of mind the rest of the way. If that's the case, do the deed! Your reasoning is sound.
@ Chris Winterhack -- I've been offered Ahmad Bradshaw/Ryan Mathews for Marques Colston/Dez Bryant. What do you think about the trade?
Answer: So, you'd be getting Mathews and Bradshaw for Colston and Bryant? If that's the case, without knowing any other factors involving your league and its scoring rules, I would do that blockbuster in a heartbeat! Two great running backs for receivers whose production can be replicated by the likes of Austin Collie and Brandon Lloyd? Where do I sign?
@ Patrick White: Is Calvin Johnson ever going to break out? How can Shaun Hill throw for more than 300 yards in a game and CJ not break 100?
Answer: What do you mean, is Calvin (14 catches, 151 yards, 1 TD to date) ever going to break out? He should have two touchdowns to his credit. It's not his fault the NFL deems "four feet and a knee" as a non-catch! Look, if you don't like Calvin on your team, I would suggest trading him to an owner who would appreciate the decent numbers from Weeks 1-3 without a healthy Matthew Stafford, or a healthy second receiver, or a healthy Jahvid Best for roughly 55 percent of the total snaps. Not that I'm bitter, of course.
1. Washington @ Philadelphia 2. Chicago @ N.Y. Giants 3. New England @ Miami 4. Detroit @ Green Bay 5. Indianapolis @ Jacksonville
If Packers RB Brandon Jackson does not proffer a respectable fantasy day against the Lions -- something in the neighborhood of 85 total yards/1 TD -- it may be time for fantasy owners to give him the heave-ho. In turn, it might motivate Green Bay GM Ted Thompson to place a long-distance call to Buffalo, in hopes of landing disgruntled RB Marshawn Lynch (156 rushing yards to date).
As I've said before, the Packers are genetically predisposed to reach the Super Bowl this season, but it won't happen with a middling duo of Jackson and John Kuhn handling all the backfield touches. In other words, the Detroit game might be a good acid test for both backs -- especially Jackson.