Thursday, October 18, 2007
Joyner: Top Week 7 receiver matchups
By KC Joyner Special to ESPN.com
The most enjoyable part of any football season for me has to be the second half of the fantasy season. I say this because injuries and tape analysis start to greatly clarify who should be targeted for No. 3 wide receiver starts/sits. If that is the case this season, it should only help improve the 17-10 overall mark I have over the past four weeks and my 13-2 sit mark over the past five weeks (using an eight-point and/or top-30 finish as a win and five or fewer points as a loss).
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets One of the best barometers I use to determine whether to start a receiver (other than the lineup matchup, of course) is how often he is thrown the ball. Chad Pennington has thrown 17 passes to Cotchery the past two weeks. That equates to a throw-per-season rate of 136, or one that would rank near the top of the league in that category. Given the coverage weakness that Deltha O'Neal has shown this season, the Jets are quite likely to throw the ball a lot to Cotchery once again. That makes him a good start candidate in any league and a very good one in point-per-reception leagues.
Joey Galloway, WR, Buccaneers Galloway is coming off of a 15-point week, but he totaled only nine points in the previous three weeks. So which Galloway will show up against the Lions? The percentages say the former. Galloway is due to face Stanley Wilson, who is graded a C-minus, but his grade has been dropping over the course of the entire season and possibly should be even lower. Galloway's fantasy performance is usually predicated on his ability to hit one big play per game, and Wilson provides just the type of matchup that should lead to that.
Roddy White, WR, Buccaneers White has varied between five and six points the past three weeks, so he is a big question mark for most fantasy owners. Jason David is White's lineup matchup, and David has been playing quite poorly. Add David's recent injury woes to the mix, and it equals a lot of potential upside for White.
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans Walter posted a 12-catch, 160-yard performance last week and has 18 fantasy points in the past two weeks. As impressive as those showings are, Walter is facing Nick Harper and a much-improved Tennessee secondary in Week 7. Harper may be the most underrated cornerback in the NFL and is more than capable of holding Walter under five points.
Amani Toomer, WR, Giants Toomer is coming off a 14-point week against the Falcons but he tends to only put up those performances against weak secondaries. The 49ers do have some personnel weaknesses in their defensive backfield, but Nate Clements, Toomer's lineup matchup, is obviously not one of those. Find a place for Toomer on your bench.
Mike Furrey, WR, Lions The three Buccaneers cornerbacks have been playing quite well for most of the season. None of them will present a particularly
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appealing target for Mike Martz to go after. History says that when there isn't a single defender worth targeting, Martz typically tends to go to his most-talented players. As good as Furrey can be, he is not in the Roy Williams/Calvin Johnson league physically. Expect Williams and Johnson to see the bulk of the throws, something that makes Furrey a low-percentage play.
Brad Smith, WR, Jets The Bengals are in bad shape in their secondary due both to poor play and to injury. Smith is slated to face off against either Johnathan Joseph or Blue Adams. Joseph has been hampered by injury and playing quite poorly, and Adams is a mediocre backup. Smith has long-shot upside potential because of this.
Keenan McCardell, WR, Redskins McCardell is due to face off against Antrel Rolle. Rolle was demoted to nickelback earlier this season, and he has not been playing any better in his new role than he did in his old one. McCardell may not have a lot of high-level upside, but he should be worth seven to eight points this week.