Daunte Culpepper, QB (OAK): Daunte Culpepper subbed in for the turnover machine, Josh McCown in the Oakland Raiders' win over the Cleveland Browns Sunday and should be taking over the starting role shortly -- possibly as early as this week. McCown has McFumbled seven times (one lost) and thrown five interceptions in two-and-a-half games. He's dealing with injuries on his foot and throwing hand. Culpepper finished 8-of-14 for 118 yards Sunday and led the Raiders on their game-winning drive. The Raiders' offense is much better than it was a season ago, and with two capable receivers and a decent running game, Culpepper might have some value.
Brian Leonard, RB (STL): From the quick fix category, take a look at Brian Leonard -- otherwise known as Steven Jackson's backup -- for the short term. The St. Louis Rams prepped the second-round pick heavily in the preseason -- he had 39 carries and 10 receptions -- with the intention of using him as a change-of-pace to Jackson in the regular season. But now that Jackson has a slight tear in his groin and is out for Week 4, Leonard all of the sudden hops into the limelight. The Rams' offense is still trying to get into a rhythm but Leonard becomes a very valuable player if they do start to hit their stride.
LenDale White, RB (TEN): After dealing with Kirstie Alley-type weight problems in his rookie season, LenDale White has looked fit in his sophomore season. White may be sharing time with Chris Brown in Tennessee's backfield, but he's not sharing the rock near the end zone. His eight touches inside the 5-yard line lead the NFL. White has touchdowns in each of his last two contests and figures to be a scoring threat all season long.
Roddy White, WR (ATL): I know what you're thinking: first I'm suggesting Atlanta wideouts, next I'm suggesting Jacksonville Jaguars receivers. Yes, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
It may have taken a while, and maybe Michael Vick should take some of the blame, but it appears that Roddy White is finally maturing. The former first-round pick is Joey Harrington's favorite target and has 208 receiving yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks. He is a big-play threat and his four receptions of 20 yards or more is tied for third-most in the NFC. The Falcons will be playing from behind all season, which translates into ample opportunities for White to pile up yardage in catch-up time.
Reggie Williams, WR (JAC): Tread with extreme caution here, but Reggie Williams has seemingly developed a good rapport with Jags quarterback David Garrard. Williams -- on talent alone -- is the best weapon in the Jags' offense, but he rarely plays like it. The good news is that with Garrard's scrambling style, Williams has developed a knack for breaking off his route and finding a soft spot to catch a pass. His numbers are not great to date (four receptions, 52 yards, two touchdowns) but he is the Jags' best red zone receiving option, as evidenced by his two touchdowns. Keep a close eye on the situation.
Jeff King, TE (CAR): Tenth in yardage and tied for 8th in receptions among tight ends is the relatively unknown, Jeff King. Who? Exactly. He has caught no less than four passes in each of the first three weeks and is quietly emerging as that elusive second option to Steve Smith in the Carolina Panthers' offense. He has been targeted six times per week and is available in virtually every type of league. The Panthers and offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson have been talking about emphasizing their tight ends a lot more for the better part of the offseason, and King is the result of that push. In his second NFL season, he might only be getting better.
Houston Defense/Special Teams: Maybe drafting Mario Williams ahead of Reggie Bush wasn't such a bad idea after all. In his second season, Williams is proving to be more of the impact player on a defense that is averaging 2.3 sacks and one interception per week. In leagues where special teams and defense are lumped together, the Texans have been stellar, scoring a touchdown in each of their first three games.
- Oakland Raiders
- Carolina Panthers
- Los Angeles Rams
- Josh McCown
- Daunte Culpepper
- National Football Conference
- Atlanta Falcons
- Cleveland Browns
- Houston Texans
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Reggie Williams
- Steven Jackson
- Roddy White
- Brian Leonard
- Mario Williams
- Jeff King
- Steve Smith (wide receiver, born 1985)
- Michael Vick
- Reggie Bush