When Daunte Culpepper threw his third interception Sunday, fantasy football players who made the Minnesota Vikings quarterback their top pick must have been groaning. The same goes for owners who selected Houston Texans running back Domanick Davis (48 yards, 14 carries, no touchdowns) or St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (60 yards, 19 carries, no touchdowns).
One colleague mentioned not entirely in jest that he was considering trade offers for Peyton Manning, whose two touchdowns and 254 yards against the Baltimore Ravens were pedestrian statistics compared to some of his monster games last season.
Anxiety after the first game is customary for any owner who may be suffering drafter's remorse. Make it a point not to be among them. Don't panic, and please do not trade or bench your stars. It's simply not sensible strategy after Week 1, if at all.
For owners sweating Culpepper's poor opening performance (22 for 33, 233 yards, 0 TDs), rest assured he remains among the top three fantasy quarterbacks even without Randy Moss. Last season in Weeks 9-11 with Moss out because of injury, Culpepper threw for a total of 765 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception. His quarterback rating in that time was 145.2.
As for Davis and Jackson, it's foolish to assess their fantasy value based on Week 1, considering each player's team was behind by double digits at halftime and running the ball became less of a priority. Davis should be good for at least 1,200 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns and perhaps another 500 yards receiving and a couple scores.
Expect similar numbers from Jackson in the Rams' pass-oriented offense. As Marshall Faulk's backup, Jackson ran for 673 yards and four touchdowns with a five-yard average per carry. The Rams' 56 passes last week were an aberration, even for Coach Mike Martz. Last season, St. Louis averaged 36 per game.
Around the League
Donovan McNabb said he will play against the 49ers, but Eagles Coach Andy Reid said the team won't take chances with the quarterback's health. Reid declined to say whether Koy Detmer or Mike McMahon, the former part-time starter in Detroit who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, would start if McNabb is unable to play. . . .
Steelers tailback Duce Staley, working his way back from knee surgery, could be available for Sunday's game at Houston. Jerome Bettis probably will be sidelined another week by his calf injury. . . .
Green Bay is moving Robert Ferguson into its starting lineup at the wide receiver spot opposite Donald Driver to replace the injured Javon Walker, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Packers' opening loss to Detroit.
Staff writer Mark Maske contributed to this report.