ADAM DUERSONMATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Redskins ownerDaniel Snyder had games like this in mind when he signed this hard-hittingex-Ram to the richest contract ever for a safety (six years, $30 million). WillArchuleta silence the motormouthed tight end?
Shockey's act iswearing thin. He has just 11 catches in three games and griped that the Giantswere outcoached in a Week 3 loss to the Seahawks. Bad timing, considering thatreserve wideouts Tim Carter and David Tyree are already becoming more frequentpassing targets. In two games against Washington last year, Shockey caught fiveballs and had one touchdown.
Last seasonagainst the Giants, while doing the brunt of the work in the Rams' paper-thinsecondary, Archuleta was burned by Shockey and wideout Plaxico Burress for longTDs. But since moving to Washington (where he's not asked to blitz as much asin St. Louis), he's been solid: Opposing tight ends have averaged 57.5 yardsper game.
THE VERDICTArchuleta was a man on an island in St. Louis; now he has Shawn Springs andSean Taylor to pick up the slack in the secondary. Shockey won't have a lot ofballs thrown his way, and with a torpedoing safety like Archuleta in pursuit,it'll be a quiet day for the tight end, in all respects.
JEFFRI CHADIHATHE INSIDE MAN
The Vikings aresticking with Chester Taylor as their go-to guy, and you should do the same
IT'S BEEN afrustrating year for the fantasy owners of many top running backs. If you'renot dealing with an injured or underachieving workhorse (Shaun Alexander,Clinton Portis, Cadillac Williams), then you're likely wrestling with thedreaded two-headed monster (Colts, Panthers, Patriots). Those headaches make aplayer like the Vikings' Chester Taylor that much more desirable.
Minnesota'soffense isn't explosive, but it still runs through Taylor, and that's a fantasyowner's dream. He ranks among the NFL leaders in combined touches (86 carries,12 receptions), and he's only going to get more chances as the season goes on.The Vikings see the 5'11" 213-pounder as a poor man's Priest Holmes intheir version of the West Coast offense, and they love his toughness. "Heisn't looking to run out-of-bounds or avoid contact," says Minnesota centerMatt Birk. "He's going to run hard whenever he's in there."
So even if you'redown on Taylor's touchdown total (one through four games), his subpar 10-carry,23-yard effort against the Bills in Week 4 or his costly fumble in the previousweek's loss to the Bears, don't worry. The Vikings still have plenty of reasonsto believe in him.
FEARSOME FOURSOMEThe Seahawks' Darrell Jackson had fantasy owners encouraged about his potentialonce he overcame a knee injury that sidelined him for most of the preseason.The problem is that he's now one of four capable targets in his team's offense.True, that attack will be more pass-heavy because Pro Bowl running back ShaunAlexander is sidelined with a broken left foot. But Seattle will rotateJackson, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch and Bobby Engram to give each receiveropportunities to make plays. That's great for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, butif you own Jackson, don't expect him to be a big-time contributor eachweek.
NO MORE ROARThere was a time when Lions running back Kevin Jones looked like he hadfabulous fantasy potential. But he hasn't been consistent since gaining 1,133yards as a rookie, and he has yet to break the 100-yard mark this season.Through Detroit's first four games Jones was averaging a mere 63.2 yards (withthree TDs) and offensive coordinator Mike Martz had called running plays only31.4% of the time.
PACK MAN Look forrookie wide receiver Greg Jennings to become a bigger part of the Green Bayoffense. He exploded in Week 3 against the Lions (101 receiving yards) in largepart because Detroit shadowed Donald Driver, the Packers' best wideout, withcornerback Dre' Bly and a safety. Since Driver likely will see more doublecoverage in the coming weeks, Green Bay needs Jennings to keep makingplays.
HE WALKS THE LINEDolphins tight end Randy McMichael is being hurt by a porous offensive line.Miami is asking McMichael to help block more often because that line hasalready allowed 20 sacks. Through four games last season McMichael had 16catches; at the same point this year he has 10. If this keeps up much longer,owners of McMichael should start looking for another option at tight end.
PETER KING ITHINK ...
...it's a longseason, so you shouldn't get too high or too down on your team
Last week I waswith Tom Brady at an SI-sponsored event in Boston, and he had every reason tobe a little discouraged. The Patriots had been obliterated by the Broncos a fewdays before, and the New England fans were beginning to get a morose feelingthat the football autumn might be a lot like the baseball summer. But Bradysaid something that would be wise for Patriots fans and fantasy players toremember: "Look at us every year. We're always different in Week 10 than wewere in Week 2 or 3."
Bill Parcellsonce said, "In this league, on Mondays, it's always euphoria ordisaster." Meaning that people get too high after a big win and too lowafter a crushing loss. With that in mind, keep these five tips in mind as youtend to your fantasy team.
1) Unless you'vehad a run of injuries, never make a panic trade on Sunday night after you'vegotten trounced.
2) Don't tradeplayers with short-term injuries unless you get at least 90% value in return.Take Shaun Alexander. Last week you might have felt tempted to dangle him onthe market, considering that he's hurt and averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Goahead, dangle. But unless you get in return, say, Rudi Johnson and MauriceJones-Drew (two players who could help you win every week), don't consider adeal.
3) Never bench aslumping great player unless he's banged up. Brady played more like KerryCollins early, but just because you've got a hot Chad Pennington backing him updoesn't mean you bench one of the NFL's two best quarterbacks.
4) Understandcoaches. You think Parcells or Bill Belichick or Mike Holmgren is going tochange his philosophy much if he loses two or three in a row? Coaches can'tstand up in front of their team all spring and summer and preach something,then tear it up in Week 5. They don't often panic, so you shouldn't either.
5) Trade everyRaider you have.
DAVID SABINOMARKET WATCH
Bo Scaife TETITANS Caught three passes from fellow Longhorn Vince Young, giving him 10 forthe year.
Doug Gabriel WRPATRIOTS No Deion Branch, but he had four receptions for 57 yards and a TD inrout of Bengals.
Reggie WilliamsWR JAGUARS Was drafted to be a No. 1 receiver; now he's playing like one.
Marcus RobinsonWR VIKINGS Caught a 29-yard touchdown pass after missing two games with apulled hamstring.
Morten Andersen KFALCONS Forty-six-year-old (he broke into the NFL in '82, when Steve Bartkowskiwas Atlanta's QB) scored 17 points to help bury Cards.
Reggie Bush RBSAINTS Still waiting for his first big game carrying the ball; 11 rushes foronly 22 yards against Panthers.
T.J. Duckett RBREDSKINS Not worth a roster spot--unless special-teams coverage counts.
Dennis NorthcuttWR BROWNS The return of Joe Jurevicius will cut down on the number of passesthrown his way.
Wali Lundy RBTEXANS Inactive against the Dolphins, signaling the end of his honeymoon withfantasy owners.
Kurt Warner QBCARDINALS The Matt Leinart era officially begins this week.
Read Peter King's 10 Fantasy Things I Think I Thinkand analysis from David Sabino at SI.com/fantasy.
JEFF FISHBEIN/WIREIMAGE.COM (TAYLOR)
ONE-MAN SHOW Taylor has just one TD but has accounted for 82% of the Vikings' rushing attempts.
GREG TROTT/WIREIMAGE.COM (SHOCKEY); MITCHELL LAYTON/GETTY IMAGES (ARCHULETA);HOWARD SCHATZ (CHADIHA)
ROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROME (JENNINGS)
CATCHING ON With Driver blanketed, big-play rookie Jennings is getting more balls thrown his way.
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (PARCELLS)
PETER READ MILLER (ALEXANDER)
JULIE SCHEIDEGGER/WIREIMAGE.COM (SCAIFE); SANDRA TENUTO/WIREIMAGE.COM (WARNER)