- KC Joyner, NFL Insider
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This is a very gut-wrenching time for fantasy owners because many of their players have posted both good and bad fantasy totals during Weeks 1 and 2. They want to know if their positive performers are the real deal or if there were other reasons for their players' success. That is the case with each of the three players in the favorable starts section, and why I went through and graded their game tapes this week.
Ronald Curry, Raiders: After his one-point debacle last Sunday, a lot of fantasy owners are going to consider sitting Curry. As I pointed out last week, Curry should not have been expected to do well because he was facing Champ Bailey. This week is a much different story, as Curry is due to face Cleveland's rookie cornerback Eric Wright. Wright has played poorly in both of the Browns' games this season (I have him rated as a D in coverage), so Curry's numbers should look much more like his 19-point performance in Week 1.
Joey Galloway, Buccaneers: Galloway is the kind of home run hitter that it pays to start when his matchup is extremely favorable. Ron Bartell (C-minus rating) qualifies as such a matchup. The Rams safeties aren't very good in coverage, either, and Galloway proved last week that he still has elite deep speed and can beat bad cornerbacks deep (just ask Jason David). Expect Jeff Garcia to chuck more than a couple of bombs Galloway's way.
Marques Colston, Saints: One of the subjects in my Insider article this week was how the Saints are struggling against teams that play deep coverage shells in zone schemes. That shouldn't be a problem this week, as the Titans play a lot of man coverage. New Orleans' passing game should definitely do better in that environment. As if that wasn't enough, Colston has seen 18 passes thrown his way the first two games, so volume hasn't been a problem. Add these two factors and Colston's matchup against Reynaldo Hill (D minus rating) and it says he has a lot of upside.
Santana Moss, Redskins: There are many reasons Moss should have a strong game this week. First, he matches up well against Corey Webster (a C-plus-level cornerback in coverage). Second, the Giants' secondary has been giving up big plays this year. Third, Washington has been using Moss vertically of late. In fact, had Jason Campbell been slightly more accurate on the deep pass he overthrew to Moss on Monday night, Moss would have posted a dominant fantasy game last week. The Giants' game could be a repeat of that performance, so there is a lot of upside potential here.
Dennis Northcutt, Jaguars: The Champ Bailey parade of shutting down fantasy receivers will continue this week with Northcutt. Northcutt has been a great fantasy producer of late but this matchup is so unfavorable that Northcutt really should be avoided if at all possible.
Joe Jurevicius, Browns: Jurevicius is in a similar boat to Northcutt. Fantasy owners will want to start him after his two-touchdown showing against the Bengals, but his lineup matchup this week is Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha is not only one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL (A-minus rating), teams also tend to target Fabian Washington much more often. That also likely will be the case in this game, so expect Jurevicius to see very few passes as the Browns target the Braylon Edwards-Washington matchup.
Santonio Holmes, Steelers: Holmes is a good receiver but Walt Harris, Holmes' lineup matchup, is an elite cornerback (B-plus rating). The only way Holmes will get any fantasy production is if the Steelers can get him matched up against Shawntae Spencer or one of the 49ers' safeties. It's possible that will happen but that kind of risk is a low-percentage play.
Wes Welker, Patriots: Welker is a good play in part because the Bills have a lot of injuries in their secondary and are playing backups at the right cornerback, nickel cornerback and free safety positions. With the Buffalo defensive game plan focusing on trying to slow Randy Moss down, Welker could end up being the beneficiary of the Bills' secondary injury depletion.
Marty Booker, Dolphins: The Dolphins have been focusing their passing attack on Chris Chambers but Chambers' matchup this week is the talented rookie Darrelle Revis. Booker has the better matchup of David Barrett. Barrett is nowhere near as good as Revis (I have him rated as a C), so Booker should see a lot of passes thrown his way.
KC Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, is a regular contributor to ESPN Insider. His core passing metrics can be found in the ESPN Fantasy Football Magazine, which hits newsstands on June 19. A free sample of his latest release ("Scientific Football 2007") is available at his Web site.
14hMichael C. Wright