Were it not for an absolutely ludicrous tripping penalty, Sidney Rice(notes) would have added a touchdown to his Week 7 fantasy line. Another potential TD was lost because…well, because Troy Polamalu(notes) is a badass. Highlight here at 1:41.
Even without the scoring plays, Rice had a huge afternoon at Pittsburgh. He caught 11 passes for 136 yards, working mostly against elite corner Ike Taylor(notes). (Those are Taylor's hands entering the frame above, too low and too late). Rice led all NFL receivers in both targets and receptions in Week 7. Over his last two games, he has 17 catches for 312 yards – not quite Miles Austin(notes) numbers, but they'll work.
The 23-year-old Rice now leads his team in receptions (34) and receiving yards (545) by comfortable margins. It's well past time for him to be owned in all leagues. If we were to redraft a 2009 fantasy league right now, Rice would be among the top 15 wide receivers on my board. There's a solid argument for his inclusion in the top-10. He has size (6-4), crazy athleticism, and he's capable of making degree-of-difficulty catches.
If you're selling high, I'll buy.
Carolina's Steve Smith would be an example of a former top-tier receiver who now ranks well behind Rice. I'm not sure that a Jake Delhomme(notes) benching would fix Smith's problems, but it couldn't hurt. ... Mr. Pianowski gave you the full Fred Davis(notes) story earlier today: "He's capable of being a Top 12 tight end forward, but like most of his teammates, his blocking is a liability." I'm not willing to spend FAAB dollars or waiver priority on a tight end entering a bye week, nor am I willing to invest in many pieces of the Washington offense. Despite a cakewalk schedule, the 'Skins haven't topped 17 points this year. They still haven't reached 30 in any game under head coach Jim Zorn. ... Lee Evans(notes) gets the green light as long as Trent Edwards(notes) is sidelined. In his heart, Evans might prefer Losman, but Fitzpatrick will do. ... In many ways, Miles Austin's performance against Atlanta actually felt like an improvement over his 250-yard breakout game. He dropped three potential scores back in Week 5 against the Chiefs. It may have been the ugliest great game we'll ever see. ... And while we're on the subject of dropped TDs: Mario Manningham(notes), you, sir, are no Hakeem Nicks(notes). Manningham failed to haul in a perfectly thrown ball from Eli Manning(notes) in the fourth quarter on Sunday night. Brutal drop. Game-changer.
Anquan Boldin(notes) (ankle) seemed to be missing at least one gear and possibly two, but he still found a way to help his owners, at least modestly. But for now, Rice gets the nod over Anquan. ... Michael Crabtree(notes) was no part-timer in his NFL debut. Instead, he exceeded the forecast and was on the field for 48 of the Niners' 54 offensive plays. ... Vernon Davis(notes) leads all tight ends in per-game fantasy scoring (11.9 PPG) following his three-TD binge against the Texans. Owen Daniels(notes) is a close second (11.4), followed by Dallas Clark(notes) (11.2). The big three currently rank fourth (Gates), eighth (Gonzalez) and 18th (Witten). ... LeSean McCoy(notes) gets a tough matchup in Week 8 (vs. NYG), but if the early reports can be believed, he'll likely receive a full workload. Brian Westbrook(notes) suffered a concussion early in the Monday night win over Washington, and Eagles coach Andy Reid has already declared, "We're not going to put him out there if he's at risk."
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