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Article 18

by Steve Stegeman (November 16, 2001)
Guest Writer,

This article is also up at FF Today.  Click here to go there and view it.


     If you are in a keeper league and particularly if you are toward the back of the pack and your roster size is big enough, there is no good reason not to take a flyer on the following players who are most likely slipping through the cracks in your league. Prepare yourself for an "ungeneric" perspective without all the same ole', hackneyed, unimaginative yadda-yadda. As for the order of the list, the players are simply in the order that they came to my mind:


QB Matt Lytle, Panthers - Physically, this guy is a prototypical NFL quarterback. He is 6'4", 224 lbs. and he is only 26 years old, three years younger than rookie QB Chris Weinke, actually. He has been through the Panthers organization twice, indicating that they to some degree like what he brings to the table. He completed 60% of his passes last week and threw a TD. Not too shabby actually, considering he was a third-stringer just a couple weeks ago and spent the majority of last season on Seattle's practice squad. If you are at all skeptical of Weinke, Lytle should be on your radar. When reading the usual, something along the lines of "If Weinke plays, he could be an okay start. The same cannot be said of Matt Lytle.", chalk it up to lack of vision and creativity.


RB Kevin McDougal, Colts - Edgerrin James is likely out for the season. It is foreseeable that Dominic Rhodes, who, by the way, has really shown nothing heretofore and has admitted to a history of shoulder problems, will not hold up for the rest of the season. If such happens, in steps 24-year-old, prototypically built Kevin McDougal, who is 5'11", 204 lbs. Despite being oft-injured, McDougal had a brilliant college career, during which he showed a proclivity for the big play. Remember McDougal is on this list because he is a “total flyer, a guy who could end up stocking shelves this time next year like some guy named Warner; a guy not even registering on most fantasy footballers radar screens and, in accordance, almost definitely not on anyone’s roster in your league. Rhodes, on the other hand, at this point, is an “identifiable sleeper, who should already have been picked up in your league, not a flyer in my terms. Try to see through the semantics here, folks.


RB Amos Zereoue, Steelers - If, and this is a big if, Jerome Bettis were to go down with an injury, Zereoue would step in and be a big-time, big-play stud like he was in college. He is on the short side, 5'8", but he carries some weight, 202 lbs. worth to be exact. He is not a 180 lb. Warrick Dunn. Zereoue's yards-per-rush is through the roof this year. He would capitalize if the opportunity presents itself, catching the eye of not just the Steelers, but the rest of the league. As good as Chris Fuamatu-ma'afala looked last year in relief duty, Zereoue leap-frogged over Fu during training camp and became Bettis's understudy before the season even began.


QB Mike McMahon, Lions - This 6'2", 206 lb. rookie quarterback looks like he is going to, at least, be given the opportunity to be the Lions quarteberback of the future. If you can't read the writing on the wall for Charlie Batch, you are either standing too far away or need glasses. He is not the guy they want at the helm of their West Coast Offense. McMahon's brazen nature, a'la his "surnamesake" Jim McMahon, is what Millen and, moreover, Mornhinweg, who, whether ill-advised or not, brazenly got on his Harley and blazed a trail out of a summer training camp practice session, want leading their huddle. Not to mention, McMahon was handpicked by this regime; Batch is a leftover/leftovers.


WR Sylvester Morris, Chiefs - With the way the Chiefs receiving corps has played this season, particularly the gimpy Derrick Alexander, next year the 6'3", 205 lb. Sylvester Morris will be given every opportunity to become the Torry Holt of Kansas City's version of the St. Louis offense. Last season before hitting the proverbial rookie wall, Morris exhibited all the tools of a great NFL-caliber receiver. Morris arguably has the best all-around skills of any of the young, up-and-coming wide receivers. Pencil him in for at least a solid campaign next year, providing he stays healthy.


WR Jerry Porter, Raiders - Porter may be two years away from his breakout season, but make no mistakes about it, this is the Jerry the Raiders expect to step up and be the future of this team. This guy is a 6'2", 220 lb. stallion. His youth has held him back. Nothing new there! Since being drafted by the Raiders as one of the most coveted wideouts available in the 2000 Draft, he has shown glimpses of his ability, particularly that of the big-play kind. Also, it is no small fact that there is another Jerry in Oakland, who may not be the Raider's future, but serves as a mentor to Porter, no better of which can be found. Between the influences of both Rice and Tim Brown, another role model to which few can be compared, Porter will at least be well-versed in the ways of success. Porter is in an ideal situation with two fantastic mentors, who are both within 2 or so years of retirement, and given the way Rice has performed this year, Porter probably has a decent chance of becoming a starter next year.


RB Ki-jana Carter, Redskins - Well, this probably appears to most to be a bit of a reach, but the fact is Carter just turned 28 in September and he has looked pretty sharp in relief duty. In Week 8, he had 10 carries for 57 yards. Forget Donnell Bennett, if Stephen Davis, who has a penchant for that late-season nagging injury, goes down, it is Carter who will step in as the starter. Granted it is on limited carries, but the guy is carrying the ball at a gaudy 7.1 yards-a-clip. In this day and age of running backs, big-time running backs, going down like flies, don't think that Carter has not caught the eye of a few GM's around the league.


     Again, these are flyers, not bona fide sleepers as I kind of described above. These are guys who could just, perhaps, based on circumstances, break out out of nowhere like many studs do. Taking a flyer on these types of guys, rather than holding on to yet another hum-drum, fringe-quality receiver like Joe Jurevicius or James McKnight, is how you get that fantasy monster when, perhaps, you cannot afford one by more conventional means.



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