Most people reading this column right now are anticipating a marathon of Halloween parties tonight, wondering just how many couples will show up as Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, and repeating to themselves -- over and over -- "No matter how drunk I might get, it's still corny to be dressed as Amy Winehouse for Halloween, and I will not make out with any girl wearing that costume."
For those of you who opt to be traditional about this lovely holiday and celebrate Wednesday, however, this weekend could serve as a horror-movie marathon of sorts, as you nurse your hangover all day Saturday with a slew of old favorites on DVD. I know for a fact I'm doing it, and I'm appropriately capping it off that evening by grabbing drinks at a bar in the Bronx, Howl at the Moon; ostensibly, because it's got great Halloween decorations and a scary name. Realistically, because it's full of hot Fordham girls ...
Regardless of my plans, though, you have holes in your fantasy lineup, and Hail Mary is here to help. So, this week, we have the deep sleepers who fit snugly into horror movie categories but just might be able to help teams decimated by injuries and byes. Rear back, eye your receivers in the end zone and launch a bomb downfield to...
At first glance, it might not seem like a horror movie/fantasy contributor, but a closer glance reveals it to be wholly appropriate ... and a young Jennifer Connolly.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars
The name to remember here is Dirk Koetter. The offensive coordinator is the former head coach of Arizona State, and his offense there tended to employ passes to the tight end more than the average bear's. With David Garrard on the shelf for a few weeks, Koetter's offense gets a new set of legs and eyes, meaning those patterns designed to utilize Lewis just might end up bearing fruit for his owners. Quinn Gray is a more mobile quarterback than Garrard, and mobile QBs tend to find their tight ends more often than immobile QBs, regardless of being in an offense that likes to use them. Michael Vick had Alge Crumpler; Donovan McNabb had L.J. Smith; could Gray have Lewis? If you are searching the wire for a replacement tight end, I'd gamble on that answer being "yes."
Quinn Gray, QB, Jaguars
Speaking of Quinn Gray ...
What do we know about the young quarterback?
Well, for one, he's not young. He graduated from Florida A&M in 2002 and is 28 years old. He also led the Frankfurt Galaxy (of the now-defunct NFL Europe/NFL Europa/NFLE/WLAF) to the World Bowl XI title. So he has had his share of success. Don't get too hung up on his line against Indianapolis on Monday (9-of-24 for 56 yards; two interceptions; one fumble). Quinn now has had a week to prepare himself for the game against Tampa Bay, and he had a stellar preseason (20-of-27 for 216 yards; 121.8 rating). He's a big 6-3, 254-pound guy who can run, plus, he led his team in Europe to a title, so don't unfairly group him into a category with Trent Dilfer, Sage Rosenfels and Cleo Lemon. Gray is a beast and could grab hold of the Jacksonville offense by putting up big numbers in Week 8.
"HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II"
Terrifying the first go-round. We thought we were done with them, and they came back with a vengeance. Still, we do get to flash back to the origins, when there was hope and some good. Also, a blood-soaked and incredibly sexy Ashley Laurence.
Ashley Lelie, WR, 49ers
Speaking of Ashleys ...
Lelie was everyone's sleeper in Denver when he broke into the league as a first-round draft pick in 2002. What followed were five seasons of being labeled an unmitigated bust, even though he did manage one 1,000-yard season (2004), just to placate the surly owner who insisted, "This is going to be Lelie's breakout year!" at every draft. For those playing along at home, 2007 has not yet revealed the breakout performance we all were hoping for:
On the season.
And that's to go with one failed "Hail Mary" mention just three weeks ago. So why the repeat? Because:
1. Lelie got all of those 52 yards last week.
2. Darrell Jackson might be hurt, which would give Lelie a starting nod.
3. Trent Dilfer seems to have taken a liking to him.
4. His coach, the suit-wearing Mike Nolan, said Lelie is going to be seeing a lot more playing time in the near future.
Will he go off for a 140-yard, two-touchdown game this week? Doubtful. But will he perform well enough to be owned by more than 2 percent of ESPN teams? Most likely. In fact, let's do this, since it's so easy to just write down names and have no consequences: If Lelie doesn't put up at least 35 yards receiving this week, I will pick, at random, a reader who comments at the bottom of this column and send him or her a new copy of "Hellraiser II" on DVD.
Keary Colbert, WR, Panthers
Colbert's fantasy point total so far this season resembles a strange numeric cipher more than a series of performances that would lead us to run out and pick him up: 0-2-5-1-7-2. What are you trying to tell us, Keary? Is the end near? Is the mothership coming? Kerry Collins is holding you hostage?
As far as receivers owned by 0.5 percent of all ESPN fantasy players go, Colbert is the most enigmatic. He has a 52-yard receiving week sandwiched between one of 25 and on of 16. And after that 16? He caught four passes for 74 yards ... only to get 29 yards in Week 6. Is he messing with us? Is he trying to tell us something? Whatever the case, if we want to look at his numbers from the most basic point of view -- which might be our best plan until his true nature is revealed -- the pattern has been "bad-bad-good-bad-good-bad ... ." It seems only natural to say "good' there, doesn't it? And for that reason alone, Colbert gets the Hail Mary nod.
It keeps you guessing until the very end.
Also, a really hot Rose McGowan.
Patrick Cobbs, RB, Dolphins
All the talk this week has been of Jesse Chatman taking over for Ronnie Brown and the ensuing scramble to get him. But how solid is that estimation? There are a few things to consider here:
1. In the preaseason, Cam Cameron was ridiculously secretive about whom he planned to start, even hinting that we might see a running-back-by-committee approach
2. Chatman lost the job to Brown, then saw limited duty the rest of the season, leading us here at Hail Mary to think Cameron doesn't really like Chatman that much.
3. This game is being played in England, which makes everything a little weirder.
I'm still mystified as to why only 50 percent of teams own Chatman, so this trepidation on the part of the general ESPN population means they have no faith in him, either, or a bunch of 2-5, 1-6, 0-7 squads already have given up. Either way, if your league is bereft of running backs, at least consider picking up Cobbs, who -- even if he doesn't split time or become a touchdown vulture -- now is an important handcuff in Miami.
Also, a severely underrated cast of hot women that includes Lexa Doig and Melody Johnson.
Koren Robinson, WR, Packers
Robinson, finishing his suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, practiced with the first team this week. That can only mean good things, no matter how coy Mike McCarthy wants to be. With the failure of any Packers receiver to pick up the No. 1 role and run with it lately (even the normally solid Donald Driver is coming off weeks of 58, 51 and 38 yards), Robinson has as good a chance as anyone in the Green Bay receiving corps at breaking out and solidifying his role both with the Packers and in the fantasy world. There's no guarantee he will do anything more than return kicks and maybe catch one pass for 9 yards, but this is Hail Mary, after all, and if your team has some empty spots, there always is the possibility he'll go for 48 yards and a touchdown.
FUN KICKER FACT OF THE WEEK
Jay Feely, bringing his kicking skills to London this week with the Dolphins, appeared alongside his wife on "A Baby Story" on TLC in 2006.