THE EAGLES' big question coming into their season opener against the Rams was their passing game, with starting wideouts Kevin Curtis (sports hernia) and Reggie Brown (hamstring) on the sideline. Accordingly, QB Donovan McNabb spent opening week on many fantasy benches. But after throwing for 361 yards in a 38--3 win on Sunday, McNabb clearly has shown he deserves to start, and the only question that remains is, Which of his substitute receivers should you pick up? DeSean Jackson, the first rookie wideout to start an opener under Andy Reid, is worth an immediate pickup: He'll stay in the mix even when everyone's back. Hank Baskett has short-term value, especially with a potential shootout with the Cowboys coming up this Monday night. Greg Lewis, like Baskett and Jackson, also had a 100-yard day, but he's just too inconsistent to play.
This is an article from the Sept. 15, 2008 issue
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Three to Get Ready
• SETTLE DOWN, you owners of Michael Turner (right). It's fine to be giddy over his 220-yard, two-TD Falcons debut against the Lions. But now let's see how he does against Tampa Bay, which has allowed just four 100-yard rushing games at home in the last three years.
• REMEMBER THAT Tom Brady got his start replacing an injured Drew Bledsoe. Picking up Matt Cassel, who has Brady's weapons at hand, just might salvage your season.
• STOP UNDERESTIMATING his value and get Eli Manning into your lineup—especially this week, when he goes against the Rams' vulnerable secondary.
Market Watch: Who's Up, Who's Down
The fastest back ever timed electronically at the NFL combine (4.24 in the 40) had 127 yards (93 rushing, 34 receiving) and a TD against the Jaguars. Expect Tennessee to deploy Johnson and LenDale White in a classic "thunder and lightning" setup; in this run-happy offense both have the opportunity to thrive.
So much for the theory that first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall would decimate Parker's fantasy value. Fast Willie scored one more TD against the Texans (three) than he scored all of last season. He should keep it going this week against a Browns run defense that gave up 167 yards and three TDs to the Cowboys.
Despite the absence of top receiver Steve Smith, Delhomme threw for 247 yards and a last-second, game-winning touchdown pass against San Diego's stingy secondary. It was an impressive return from last year's season-ending elbow surgery, and among those who should take note: Tom Brady owners, as Delhomme is likely available.
As Bobby Engram and Deion Branch sat out with injuries, Hasselbeck played with a bulging disk in his back and had an awful day (17 for 41, 190 yards, one TD, one INT) against the Bills on Sunday. If he doesn't show any improvement against the 49ers this week, it's time to look for an alternative.
St. Louis's once mighty passing game is all but grounded thanks to a porous offensive line and a lack of alternatives to Holt, who sees double and triple coverages opposite Drew Bennett and Dane Looker. Holt won't often be held to just one catch as he was on Sunday, but he won't supply the consistent production of the past, either.
So much for all the preseason talk about how Meachem, the only 2007 first-rounder not to play a down last season, had been wowing the New Orleans coaching staff. Meachem spent the 17th consecutive regular-season week of his professional career on the inactive list, watching Devery Henderson and David Patten fly past him in value.