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Monday, September 12, 2005

Week 1 wonders

Here is a look at some of the guys who may have snuck through your draft but will be hot prospects on the waiver wire this week in no particular order.

Robert Ferguson, wide receiver, Green Bay. Ferguson and fellow receiver Donald Driver should benefit from the loss of star receiver Javon Walker for the season, with Ferguson's status making the biggest jump. Driver was likely a mid-round pick in most drafts, while those who grabbed Ferguson - if they did at all - got him very late. Driver will easily top 1,000 yards this season, while Ferguson will make a serious run at that total.

Willie Parker, running back, Pittsburgh. Willie Parker has what one scout described to me as, "Oh $#%@ speed!". But Parker also had some nice power runs against the Titans Sunday, gaining over 200 total yards on just 23 touches - 22 carries, one reception. And to think, he only played through the first series of the third quarter. Bill Cowher has named him the starter again this week at Houston. Another solid performance could make this a long-term thing.

Gus Frerotte, quarterback, Miami. There is no doubt any longer who the quarterback is in Miami. Frerotte picked apart Denver's defense Sunday, completing 24-of-36 passes for 2755 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Is he an every week fantasy starter? Nope. But with the receivers the Dolphins have, Frerotte showed he can put up good numbers against a defense that was supposed to be solid. He's certainly better to have on your bench than, say, Eli Manning.

Chris Baker, tight end, New York Jets. Laveraneus Coles, Wayne Chrbet and Justin McCareins are all bigger names, but Baker was the big receiver for the Jets Sunday catching seven passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Baker's touchdown pass, however, came from Jay Fielder after Chad Pennington had been pulled and the game was out of reach. I'm not sold on Baker being a big performer full-time.

Bobby Engram, wide receiver, Seattle. It only seems like Engram has been playing forever. With Koren Robinson gone, Engram quietly moved into the starting lineup this season. Sunday, the wily veteran caught eight passes for 79 yards. He's not going to beat anybody deep, but he'll get his share of catches working the short routes. And he likely went undrafted in many leagues.

Arnaz Battle, wide receiver, San Francisco. Battle did a little bit of everything for the 49ers Sunday against St. Louis, catching five passes for 59 yards and a score, completing 2-of-2 passes for 27 yards, and rushing the ball once for a loss of three yards. If the 49ers are going to continue to use Battle as a wildcard kond of player, he could have decent fantasy value from week-to-week.

Frisman Jackson, wide receiver, Cleveland. Frisman? Frisman? The only reason I had ever heard of Frisman Jackson was because I have to cover two Cleveland games per season when they play the Steelers. But Jackson, who had 13 catches for 168 yards last season (honest), had eight catches for 128 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. While Jackson may have a couple of more decent games under his belt this season - the Browns are going to be behind a lot - don't expect big performances every week.

Patrick Crayton, wide receiver, Dallas. This guy is why they had no problem cutting Quincy Morgan. Peerless Price was inactive for the game and Crayton solidifyed himself as the No. 3 receiver with a six-catch, 89-yard effort with a touchdown. Given Terry Glenn's injury history and Keyshawn Johnson's advanced age, Crayton may not be a bad guy to stash on your bench.

Ernie Conwell, tight end, New Orleans. Conwell is one of those guys you always forget about of draft night and then you look up and he’s doing good things. He had six catches for 71 yards against Carolina and is a nice second tight end option.

Stephen Davis, running back, Carolina. Regular visitors of this site knew weeks ago that Davis was going to be the man in Carolina. He proved it Sunday, rushing for 81 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown. He's back.

Brandon Jacobs, running back, New York Giants. It's hard to overlook a guy who's 6-3, 250-pounds, but Jacobs likely went undrafted in many leagues. Heck, in my league, a guy drafted Mike Cloud late and then looked at me like I was on drugs when I took Jacobs in the next round. Tom Coughlin likes to use goal-line backs and Jacobs is a better option at that than Tiki Barber. Plus, he had 39 yards and a touchdown on just six carries. Big fella can run.

J.P. Losman, quarterback, Buffalo. OK, Losman's 17-for-28 day for 170 yards and a touchdown weren't great. But he had a better day than counterpart David Carr of Houston, who was likely in more than a few starting lineups. Losman isn't going to put up big numbers, but he's a scrambler who also had 31 yards rushing Sunday. He'll struggle in some games this seaosn, but he's not a horrible backup with the talent that surrounds him.