I THINK . . . ByPeter King
. . . You shouldbuy stock in Wes Welker and buy it now.
He is neither animposing nor a sexy early-season pickup. But you can get the new Patriots WR,and you should be able to do so without weakening your team. Here's the reason:Welker has two touchdowns in 50 career games. So you begin your tradeconversation with Owner X by saying, "Hey, Maroney and Moss are going toscore all the touchdowns in New England. I'll give you Bernard Berrian or DeionBranch. You ought to take that and laugh all the way to the bank." Why am Iso fantasy-high on Welker? Because this is not Miami. Tom Brady is not JoeyHarrington. And receivers would trade two years off the end of their careers tobe in Welker's cleats. It's not just that he's on pace for a 107-catch year.(He's, realistically, more likely to be an 85- or 90-catch guy.) It's also thatwith Randy Moss stretching the field and the offensive line blocking so welland giving Brady time to pick and choose his targets, Welker will be the onechosen more often than anyone else. He has a Stokley-like knack for gettingopen, and Brady always finds the open man. Welker's durable, he'll finish witheight or 10¬†touchdowns, and he'll roll up 1,200 yards. What more do youwant out of a No.¬†2 receiver?
EPSTEIN'S THEORYON Time of Possession
SPEED KILLS infootball, but slow drives kill in fantasy football. Nothing shuts down yourhalfback like an opponent's offense creeping down the field, as the Texans' didin Week¬†1 against the Chiefs, when Larry Johnson carried just 10 times. Inthe first two weeks combined, teams ran only 35 times against Houston, whichwas fourth in the league in time of possession during that period. Notcoincidentally, four of the top¬†five possession teams--the Steelers,Patriots, Texans and Titans--were also in the top¬†five in limiting rushingattempts. That can be partly attributed to teams getting ahead and milking theclock. But the Titans, committed to the run with Vince Young, Chris Brown andLenDale White (left), rushed 34 times in a loss to the Colts, who ran just 22times (almost five below their average) for 81 yards. Consider sitting even atop rusher against a ball-hog team, especially if his replacement is facing theDolphins, Browns or Broncos, against whom foes rush more than 35 times pergame.--David Epstein
Eagles WR By latein the second quarter against Detroit he had 205 yards and had already movedinto second place on Philly's alltime single-game receiving list. Next up forCurtis: the woeful Giants secondary.
Chiefs WR Tired ofwaiting for LJ to shift into gear, K.C. has turned to this rookie, who has bothof the team's TD grabs this season.
Jets QB He lookshealthy now and faces a soft slate--Bills (twice), Giants, Eagles andBengals--over the next five weeks.
Buccaneers RBCadillac Williams's owners should grab Graham (eight rushes, 75 yards, two TDslast week) as insurance.
Vikings RB Evenwhen his injured hip heals, don't expect Taylor to get his starting job backfrom Adrian Peterson, the leading Rookie of the Year candidate. That means atrip to the waiver wire for Taylor in most leagues.
Lions WR Lastyear's force has fallen to fourth in fantasy value among Detroit wideouts(pending Calvin Johnson's injury status).
Cardinals QBGetting pulled against Baltimore for an effective Kurt Warner makes it hard togive Leinart a starting nod.
Falcons QB WithByron Leftwich in town, Harrington is poised to lose his third starting jobwith as many teams in as many years.
DAVID BERGMAN (CURTIS)
Curtis emerged as McNabb's top target against Detroit.
JOHN BIEVER (WHITE)