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Don't jump to conclusions after Week One action

After more than seven months without a meaningful game being played, it's easy to overreact to all the Week One happenings.

Players like Joe Flacco, Mike Bell and Nate Burleson have gone from afterthoughts to significant fantasy contributors. Owners of Jake Delhomme, Larry Johnson and Laveranues Coles are wondering just what they were thinking on draft day.

Such conclusions are natural, though premature. Last year, for example, of the top 10 wide receivers and tight ends after Week One, just three were in the top 10 at the end of the season. So Andre Johnson owners, don't panic, some perspective is in order.

Arizona running back Tim Hightower is fifth in the NFL in receiving yardage, with 121. He's not going to finish there this season. Barring injury, Cleveland's Jamal Lewis isn't going to have more rushing yards than Chicago's Matt Forte.

Here are a few players who look like they'll be valuable fantasy contributors and some who are bound to come back down to earth.

* Bell, RB, New Orleans: Pierre Thomas who? Bell looked like an All-Pro against the Lions, which will be a familiar phrase in Detroit games this season. Bell was owned in only 12 percent of ESPN leagues at midweek, a number that's much too low. Make room on your roster by dropping teammate Reggie Bush if you must. Bush managed 14 yards on seven carries against Detroit, which makes it scary to think what he'll do against an NFL defense.

* Michael Bush, RB, Oakland: Bush combined with Darren McFadden to rush for 123 yards against a respectable San Diego defense. He should get 10-15 carries a game, including some goal-line looks, and is a solid handcuff for McFadden owners.

* Steve Smith, WR, NY Giants: Smith was the target of eight Eli Manning passes and gained 80 yards against a tough Washington defense Sunday. Someone has to emerge as Manning's No. 1 target.

* Todd Heap, TE, Baltimore: Once a top-five fantasy tight end, Heap had fallen completely off the map. His five-catch, 74-yard, touchdown performance in Week One showed he could be a nice weapon for another fantasy surprise, Flacco.

The following three players have also been popular on the waiver wire this week, but need a few more solid performances before I'm convinced.

* Antwaan Randle El, WR, Washington: His move to the slot seems like a good one, considering his seven-catch, 98-yard performance against the Giants surpassed any of his games from last season. I'm still not sold on Randle El, however, since he plays in an ultra-tough division and also has tight end Chris Cooley to share the middle of the field with.

* Robert Royal, TE, Cleveland: Not that this one needs much explanation for Bills fans, but Royal's four-catch, 60-yard, touchdown day against the Vikings is likely the exception, not the rule.

* Robert Meacham, WR, New Orleans: Anything and everything Saints is all the fantasy rage after Drew Brees put up a touchdown worth of touchdowns against the Lions, but Meacham is too far down the depth chart to expect him to be a scoring threat on a weekly basis. Brees simply has too many other weapons, especially if Jeremy Shockey stays healthy.

* Jeff Garcia, QB, Philadelphia: You're reaching horribly if you turn to Garcia, who won't start for the Eagles this week -- even if Donovan McNabb misses the game -- and could be cut once McNabb returns.

>Analyzing the Bills

If Tony Romo's performance in Week One is any indication, quarterback Trent Edwards should start Sunday. Against an aging Tampa Bay secondary, Romo shredded the Buccaneers for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Don't expect those numbers from Edwards, who's yet to have a 300-yard passing game in his career. Don't rule out 225-or-so yards and two touchdowns, though. . . . Terrell Owens struggled against the Bucs last year (five catches, 33 yards), but remains a good option in his first home game. . . . Fred Jackson gave fantasy owners no reason to sit him against the Patriots. Continue to start him while Marshawn Lynch is out. . . . Stay away from the Bills defense. Paul Posluszny's loss could be a huge one, and it's not like it was rock solid against the Patriots anyway. The Bucs also ran the ball well (174 yards) against the Cowboys in Week One.

e-mail: jskurski@buffnews.com

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