Fantasy football: Stereotypes shattered in 2003 season

The Pigskin Pundit
Special to the Post Independent

As a general rule, stereotyping is a bad thing, but few realize how costly it can be in the world of fantasy football.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand how it can happen. As the years slide by, even the most passive of fans are able to recognize trends in the NFL. Everyone knows why the Cincinnati team is affectionately referred to as the Bungles. Similarly, the only Pro Bowlers coming out of Carolina or Tampa Bay play are on the defensive side of the ball and no one from the offense is worthy a fantasy roster spot.

Truth be known, these stereotypes are being shattered in 2003 and the wise fantasy footballer is usually one step ahead of the game.

Stephen Davis (RB-Carolina) is a legitimate superstar, but that’s not who I am referring to. Rather, the guys to watch are the lesser known, yet productive “stars on the rise.”

Some of these guys are newcomers and some are veterans that have finally found a system that works for them. Either way, they’re all players that you should pursue before the rest of the league sees them for their true value and the stereotype is broken down even further. Here are a few to consider.

Michael Pittman (RB-Tampa Bay): The six-year pro is quietly having a solid season from a yardage standpoint. He’s a pass-catching back with above average speed and durability.

Chad Johnson (WR- Cincinnati): Some guys catch TDs, some pile up the yards. Johnson does both on a remarkably consistent basis. He’s still under the radar in some leagues but that won’t last much longer as he makes his bid for a trip to Hawaii.

Steve Smith (WR-Carolina): The only knock on Smith is his size at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds. He’s on pace for 86 receptions, 1150 yards and eight TDs, provided he’s able to handle the punishment of an entire NFL season.

The Giants offense will be licking it’s chops this week in anticipation of facing a very vulnerable Falcons Defense. QB Kerry Collins continues to roll and will find his talented receiving duo of Ike Hilliard and Amani Toomer as well as his cocky TE Jeremy Shockey early and often.

The Miami-Tennessee game features a potential MVP in QB Steve McNair, but Dolphins QB Brian Griese could well steal his thunder. The Titans tough run ‘D’ will make for another long day for Ricky Williams, but the Titans defense surrenders an average of 253 passing yards per contest, second highest in the league.

Pundit: Help! Due to the bye week, I have to choose between Olandis Gary (Lions) and Arlen Harris (Rams) for my second starting running back. Who do I go with?

” Kip, Ft. Worth, Texas

Kip: Harris is headed back to the bench, and the Rams face the stout Ravens defense. Meanwhile, the Bears take their fifth-worst run defense to Detroit. It may be hard to swallow, but Gary is your guy this week.

” The Pigskin Pundit

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