© St. Petersburg Times, published September 11, 2002
The sky fell Sunday.
With every yard gained by an Eddie Kennison, a Travis Taylor was cut. With every touchdown by a Quincy Morgan, a Jacquez Green was dismissed. And for every Shane Matthews pass, a Washington Redskin was snatched up.
It was full panic mode for some teams (like those in my leagues, where Morgan was picked up before the Browns game had even ended), and why not -- we've all seen how one player not on a roster at the beginning of a season can save a bad draft (see Priest Holmes and Shaun Alexander, 2001).
I missed out on Morgan, the pickup du jour Sunday. So what if he didn't have any 100-yard games last year, and just one game with more than 50 yards; he did have 151 yards and two scores Sunday.
I'm not proud of it, but I picked up Kansas City receiver Kennison for the 27th time the past three years.
Kennison (four catches, 120 yards) is a far riskier venture. He has been a fantasy football train wreck for years, always enticing a few to take a flier on him. Last year, he didn't score the last 12 weeks and between Weeks 7 and 13 had two catches for 16 yards.
What sold me was this: In the last four games last season, he averaged four catches and 75 yards. And there is no way Trent Green is as horrible this season as he was last.
I also added Miami tight end Randy McMichael, Chicago quarterback Jim Miller, Washington receiver Derrius Thompson and yes, even Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler.
Miller had 297 yards passing, which was 45 more than in any game last year, but his receivers -- Marcus Robinson, Marty Booker, David Terrell and Dez White -- intrigued me.
I'm so tired of waiting on Freddie Jones I dumped him for McMichael, who was only picked in one of my leagues. But he got rave reviews during camp, and showed Sunday he could be a breakout player at a position shallow in talent.
Fiedler threw three TDs, and I saw enough good passing performances by so-so quarterbacks against the teams remaining on Miami's schedule (i.e. K.C., Minnesota, Green Bay, Baltimore) to take a chance.
So, who was the offensive genius again? Jon Gruden or Steve Spurrier?
The guy who gets 327 yards passing and three TDs from Matthews is my pick. That is why I grabbed receiver Derrius Thompson off the wires (even if I had never heard of him before Sunday).
Thompson was far and away the most added player at espn.com from Friday to Sunday; Morgan is sure to supplant him this week.
STATS: Buffalo's Henry had three TDs after scoring four times last season. ... Trade Cincinnati's Corey Dillon if you can -- he had 10 yards rushing Sunday and in nine of his past 10 games hasn't passed the 100-yard mark. Not good for someone who went no worse than the second round in most drafts this year. ... Chicago's Anthony Thomas had 45 yards rushing. For those expecting big things, keep in mind more than half his yardage last year came in games against Cinncy (188), Tampa Bay (173) and Jacksonville (160). He has flop written all over him. ... Holmes had four touchdowns; he had eight last season. If he's going to match that total, that means four in the next 15 games. Could be great trade bait. ... The overlooked Charlie Garner had 127 yards rushing and 64 receiving, and he scored twice.
FANTASY THOUGHTS: Jacksonville's Fred Taylor did not get hurt in Week 1! The consummate team-wrecker is still a high draft pick and played like it Sunday (though I'd keep Stacey Mack's phone number on speed dial). ... I have officially given up on Ron Dayne. ... Cleveland WR Kevin Johnson threw more TDs (one) than St. Louis QB Kurt Warner. ... Speaking of Warner, how do you throw for 315 yards and no TDs? ... Derrick Mason averaged 102 yards receiving the last nine games last year with seven scores; he had 109 yards Sunday. ... I don't want any Bucs on my fantasy team and you shouldn't either. ... The Denver RB situation should provide a few ulcers this year for owners of Olandis Gary (11 carries, 37 yards), Clinton Portis (5-34) and Mike Anderson (7-17), at least until Mike Shanahan picks a primary back. ... I think Qadry Ismail will have a big year. Grab him. ... Owners of Alexander and Marshall Faulk need not worry.
THE FINAL WORD: Every Sunday there comes a time when you watch the highlights and think: Oh God, I hope that guy isn't on the team I'm playing this week. Last week, that player was Holmes (and yes, he was on the team I was playing). This week, if you're playing against a team with Alexander, Rod Smith or Derrick Mason, be afraid.
Be very afraid.