Already minus Pro Bowl pass-catchers Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey, Drew Brees will also be without David Patten this week after he was ruled out for Monday night's game with a groin injury. Brees has shown a remarkable ability to post huge numbers regardless of who he's passing to-racking up 363 yards and three touchdowns last week-but he'll be put to the test against the Vikings.
Reggie Bush figures to get double-digit targets after having 40 passes thrown his way through four games and Billy Miller will see most of the tight end action, but the injuries to Colston and Patten suddenly leave Lance Moore as the Saints' top wideout. Moore was targeted a team-high 10 times last week, totaling 101 yards on seven catches, and is quietly emerging as a legitimate WR2 option.
Devery Henderson will also start Monday night and Robert Meachem should see the most action of his young career as the Saints' third receiver, but Moore is the best bet by far. Gregg Rosenthal's weekly Goal Line Stand rankings peg Moore as the No. 21 receiver this week and that sounds about right to me. He needs to be owned in all leagues and can be penciled in for 6-8 catches per week for now.
While Moore was the subject of approximately 1,027 of the questions submitted during my live chat Thursday afternoon, here are some other notes from around football ...
* Along with Moore, Steve Breaston is another receiver with some sneaky upside this week. It looks like Anquan Boldin will sit out Sunday's game against the Bills after last week's helmet-to-helmet knockout, leaving Breaston to start alongside Larry Fitzgerald. Kurt Warner has thrown 35 passes per game and chucked it 57 times in last week's wild loss to the Jets, so Breaston could easily get 10 targets.
He's not as much of a sure thing to produce as Moore, so don't count on him as a WR2 play, but Breaston is a solid WR3 option with plenty of short-term upside. He rarely got a chance to play offense prior to last week, but definitely looked to be a capable receiver and has always shown big-play potential as a return man. His value is tied directly to Boldin's status, but don't be afraid to give him a shot.
* LenDale White was unavailable for the second straight practice Thursday with shoulder soreness and Ravens linebacker Bart Scott added insult to injury with a great quote when asked to compare White to Chris Johnson. "Let's see, a fat guy and the fastest guy in the 40," Scott said. "Not fat, I'm sorry. Plump." My sincere hope is that we can all agree that White's nickname should now be "Plumpy."
As in Plumpy's fantasy upside is pretty limited at this point even if his shoulder is healthy enough for him to suit up Sunday. He's averaging a measly 2.7 yards on 60 carries this season and has topped a four-yard average in just four of his last 20 games. He's still a scoring threat thanks to goal-line chances, but even those are starting to go Johnson's way more often, making the rookie a must-start.
* Ahman Green returned to practice after missing two games with an ankle injury and coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday that he's "looked good," but also went out of his way to make it clear that rookie Steve Slaton remains the starter. "He's a hard guy to get off the field right now," Kubiak said. "We thought we were going to split time with him . but he won't come off the field and that's a good thing."
Explaining the planned Week 5 workload split, Kubiak added that Slaton "will do whatever he feels like he can handle and then Ahman will take the rest of it." In other words, Slaton is the clear workhorse heading into a favorable matchup with the Colts and should get his usual 15-20 touches after averaging 14 carries and five catches through three games. He's a borderline RB1 option this week.
Two-Minute Drill: Lions offensive coordinator Jim Colletto revealed Thursday that Rudi Johnson and Kevin Smith will likely split snaps equally this week, but added that the offense will be more aggressive in the passing game . Lee Evans and the Bills agreed Thursday to a $37.25 million extension that includes $18 million in guaranteed money and will keep him in Buffalo through 2012 . Chad Henne took most of the practice reps during the Dolphins' bye, but there's no indication that Chad Pennington's job is in danger . Responding to speculation that he's souring on Brian Griese, coach Jon Gruden angrily announced Thursday that the Bucs "don't have a quarterback controversy" and "Griese is the starter" . Owner Al Davis claimed earlier this week that Lane Kiffin was against Oakland drafting JaMarcus Russell, but Russell said Thursday that Kiffin was "a good guy, a good coach" . Through four weeks Ronald Curry ranks last among NFL receivers in catch percentage, hauling in just three of his 13 targets to rate just slightly ahead of Todd Heap, Ashley Lelie, Marty Booker, and Justin McCareins.
Red Zone:Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder) sat out another practice Thursday, but coach Mike Tomlin noted afterward that "he's going to be fine" for Sunday night's matchup with the Jaguars . Deion Branch and Bobby Engram are both absent from the injury report and will make their season debuts Sunday, officially closing the window on Koren Robinson's fantasy potential . Willis McGahee (ribs) was limited Thursday for a second straight practice, but coach Cam Cameron alleged afterward that "to me he looks like he's full speed and ready to play" . Jeremy Shockey (groin) ran on the side at Thursday's practice and is targeting a Week 6 return . Justin Gage returned from a groin injury to catch five balls for 92 yards last week, but has missed back-to-back practices with knee problems . Vince Young (knee) practiced fully Thursday and will probably replace Chris Simms as Kerry Collins' backup this week . Antonio Gates (hip) is a lock to play this week after returning to practice Thursday . Joey Galloway (foot) can now be ruled out for Week 5 after sitting out yet another practice Thursday . Roy Williams joined the injury report Thursday with a knee injury, which isn't a good sign after a bye.