FOR ALL those
fantasy owners eyeing the Raiders' Randy Moss as a potential No. 1 wide
receiver, here's some advice: Stay away. As things stand, there's no way Moss
deserves to be taken high in anybody's draft. It's not that he's lost any of
his freakish ability; it's because he's mired in an offense that doesn't take
full advantage of his abilities.
Moss produced the
second-worst season of his career (60 receptions, 1,005 yards, eight
touchdowns) in 2005, primarily because the Raiders didn't make much of an
effort to get him the ball. In fact, an AFC scout told me that the Chiefs
covered Moss with then 32-year-old journeyman cornerback Dewayne Washington in
a game last season, and Washington only gave up one reception. If you think new
coach Art Shell will find better ways to use Moss, think again: Shell wants to
implement a power-running offense.
hurt Moss: The Raiders are relying on erratic quarterback Aaron Brooks as their
starter, and their offensive coordinator, Tom Walsh, has been out of football
for more than a decade. All of this points to a ton of headaches for fantasy
owners who think Moss will be the solution to their passing games. Right now
he's merely a solid second receiver--at best.
I THINK ...
... you should be wary of receivers with hamstring injuries
Early in training
camp I visited the Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C., and sat down with wideout
Steve Smith. He'd just suffered what I'd read was a "tweaked"
hamstring, and the Panthers were listing him as day-to-day. My antennae sprung
hear that a player 'tweaked a hamstring,'" I said to Smith, "it always
ends up being more like three weeks than three days."
"This," he said, "is no three days."
injuries never are. And Smith (right), as of late last week, still wasn't
practicing. Which is why you should bump him down to near No. 10 in your
receiver rankings. I'd bump Terrell Owens down into the teens. I'd bump Hines
Ward (left) to the same area, the teens. And I might not take David Givens at
all. They're all draftable players, certainly, most very high. All
hammy-plagued. And this is what I've noticed about hamstring injuries over the
years: If you get one in camp and you try to come back too soon, your entire
season will suffer.
"I had one
last year," Joe Horn told me in Saints camp, "and I was never right the
whole year. That's why my production was down. I could never run the way I