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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 7
David Dorey
October 25, 2010
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Ryan Fitzpatrick 394 4
Carson Palmer 412 3
Matt Ryan 304 3
Drew Brees 356 2
Kerry Collins 276 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Darren McFadden 196 4
Michael Turner 144 2
Adrian Peterson 172 1
Knowshon Moreno 90 2
Thomas Jones 125 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Kenny Britt 225 3
Roddy White 201 2
Lee Evans 105 3
David Gettis 125 2
Steve Johnson 158 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Todd Heap 59 2
Vernon Davis 74 1
Zach Miller 65 1
Antonio Gates 50 1
Dave Thomas 33 1
Placekickers XP FG
Dan Carpenter 1 5
Olindo Mare 0 5
Billy Cundiff 4 3
Rob Bironas 4 3
David Akers 1 4
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Washington 1 4 6
Cleveland 2 3 4
Oakland 1 4 3
Chicago 1 2 3
Tennessee 1 1 4

Bumps, bruises and bow outs

Max Hall (ARI) - Concussion
Alex Smith (SF) - Shoulder separation
Steve Smith (CAR) - Ankle injury
Brett Favre (MIN) - Aggravated ankle

and then there was one

The Bills are the lone remaining team without a win despite scoring 34 points in Baltimore today. In the NFC, there is no team with only one loss so the conference is going to be wide open as are most divisions still. The Panthers finally got their win today to join the other three single win teams in the NFC (DAL, DET and SF).

The AFC has three teams that are still 5-1 (NYJ, NE, PIT) and adding in the Titans (5-2) and Colts (4-2), this conference looks like a lock to win in the Super Bowl at this early date.

Hold on... they may call... maybe not...

Ben Roethlisberger lunged in from the 2-yard line at the end of the PIT-MIA game and it was initially called as a touchdown. But Miami wisely challenged the ruling which clearly showed that Big Ben had fumbled the ball before he crossed the goal line. The TD call was reversed but according to the referee, there are two rules of replay. First is to determine if there was a fumble (check). Second was to determine which defender recovered the ball. Despite the fact that LB Ikaika Alama-Francis left the pile with the ball, that wasn't good enough. On any other play, it would have been. Had the play been called as a fumble into the endzone instead of a TD, the Fins would have been running out the clock from the 20-yard line.

But the stated rules of replay are such that they must be able to clearly see who recovered the ball and if they cannot, it reverts back to the offense at the point of the fumble. So possession may be 9/10ths of the law, here we apparently have the remaining 1/10th. Had they called me for a ruling (I still hold out hope it will happen if only in an "inception" sort of way) I could have told them the ball belonged to the guy holding it since that is the rule on every other play. Why the difference? It actually did decide the game and it's not going to help shut up the people who like the name "Pittsburgh Stealers".

ten random observations

1. A painful day for quarterbacks on Sunday. Not since seven years ago had there been nine passes intercepted and returned for touchdowns in one week. That's one more score than all the tight ends combined and they spend their entire game running towards their endzone. What better way to reach that feat than to have the final one thrown by Brett Favre? In week six there were no touchdowns via fumble or interception and just two return scores. There were a total of ten defensive and special teams scores on Sunday.

2. DeAngelo Hall tied an NFL record by intercepting Jay Cutler four times including returning one 92 yards for what would become the winning score. His mother, aunt and two cousins were in attendance and each were given an intercepted ball. One more family member and he could have had the NFL record all by himself. Jay Cutler was asked about him after the game and he said, "I've played against him before. There's no reason to shy away from him. I mean that's hard for me to say throwing four picks to the guy, but I still think if we had to play him tomorrow, I'd go after him every time." Ummm.. how many interceptions does it take to shy away from a defensive back? A new NFL record? Really? Seems excessive to me.

3. Let's say you went to work one day and you single-handedly lost your companies biggest account. Your wife calls to say that the IRS is auditing your last seven years and that your mother-in-law is going to be staying with you permanently. After leaving work where you expect to be fired, your car breaks down and a pack of thugs strip your car and proceed to work you over with baseball bats. Beaten and bruised, you drag yourself home where you find your dog run over in the street, your daughter eloping with a tattoo artist named "Booger" and a family of skunks have taken up residence under your porch. There. Now you will look like Brett Favre did in his post game press conference. And that was before he was thrown under the bus by HC Brad Childress who said he almost benched the $20 million star they dragged out of retirement. Favre looks done. He looks past done. He looks like an NFL equivalent of Muhammad Ali had he dared to enter the ring one more time. The painful part is that he has nine more games to play. With physical, emotional and maybe even financial problems and pressures, Favre looks like he suddenly realizes he is in prison and doesn't belong to any gang.

4. Okay, so Dwayne Bowe had 81 yards and two scores on three catches against the Jaguars. He had 108 yards and two scores on six catches last week in Houston. Sell high, baby, sell high. Bowe just faced the #31 and #32 defenses against wide receivers over the last two weeks. It gets no better than that. Next up are BUF (#18), @OAK (12) and @DEN (21). Nnamdi Asomugha and Champ Bailey already are getting ready.

5. If you play fantasy football long enough (or maybe just at all) then you know about the pain of points on your bench. That happened all over on Sunday with McFadden, Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Jackson and Kenny Britt sitting there in many leagues. But explain to me how the Ravens can be #1 against quarterbacks and #4 against wide receivers and play AT HOME against the Bills and Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 374 yards and four scores? The best fantasy quarterback of the day? And Lee Evans (6-105, 3 TD) and Steve Johnson 8-158, TD) are both top 5 wideouts on the week? Wow. And yes, I am still looking at Lee Evans and his 34.5 points on my bench.

6. LeGarrette Blount was given 11 carries by the Buccaneers and he gained 72 yards though he had no catches. He should see more activity now that he has turned in a good game but before you go overboard on what Blount might do, realize that the Bucs are using Williams for all the passes (he had 8 for 34 yards and the winning score this week) and he'll still have some presence in the rushing game. The best you can hope for would be a Benson-ish presence from Blount at this point. But to find any running back who may have new fantasy value this late in the year is always a good thing.

7. Here's what I think. The departure of Randy Moss is going to prove to be a very bad thing for the Pats by the time the season is over. Wes Welker's stats were bad enough and in the two non-Moss weeks he only had 7-53 and 4-25. The rookie Aaron Hernandez is becoming the primary receiver and each week the passing seems to get shorter. For a team that went undefeated once it had invested in star players, this return to a team concept (AKA no big contracts besides Brady) is going to need opponents to have bad mojo like the Chargers every week.

8. I cannot imagine what the top ten running backs are going to look like next summer before we draft. Right now, top scoring backs include Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte (receptions), Jahvid Best, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren McFadden and Peyton Hillis. The running backs are just not holding their own like years past and the reality is that there is not that much difference between the top runners and the guys ranked around 10th or more. At this rate, we will see even more running backs giving way to wide receivers in the first round.

9. Kenny Britt had a monster game when he turned in 225 yards on seven catches and three TDs against the visiting Eagles but that also makes five straight games with a touchdown. And they have been coming with either Kerry Collins or Vince Young under center. But he never had much yardage with only 204 yards over his first six games. He's the wide receiver version of Peyton Hillis. You cannot ever sit him because he always gives you a TD. The yardage is not always that much, but the score makes him worthwhile. And that makes the Titans one to expect to be there in the playoffs because they are finally getting scores from more than Chris Johnson.

10. Next year I must remember my new vow. I will never again draft a running back who does not catch the ball with some regularity. Not only will that exclude Cedric Benson, Beanie Wells, Rashard Mendenhall and Michael Turner but I am okay with that. No receptions - no consistency.

Huddle Player of the Week

Darren McFadden - Ouch. 75% of all the McFadden owners over at MyFantasyLeague.com had McFadden benched since he had been out for the last couple of games and was limited in practice last week. He was listed as questionable to play on the injury report. Even he said that he was about 70% healthy. Plus he would have to share with Michael Bush. And McFadden healthy only had 74 rush yards in Denver last year. So of course he merely rolled up 165 yards on 16 carries and had two receptions for 31 yards along with a total of four touchdowns. While it no doubt hurt for fantasy owners to see that happen on their bench, imagine what the Broncos felt like seeing it happen on their home field.

Salute!

Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Line-up Yards TDs Tragedy Line-up Yards TDs
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 394 4 QB Tom Brady 159 1
RB Knowshon Moreno 90 2 RB Rashard Mendenhall 43 0
RB Marcel Reese 58 1 RB Ryan Mathews 18 0
WR David Gettis 125 2 WR Wes Welker 25 0
WR Jordan Shipley 131 1 WR Larry Fitzgerald 30 0
WR Riley Cooper 51 1 WR Donald Driver 0 0
PK Dan Carpenter 1 XP 5 FG PK Matt Prater 2 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 141

Huddle Fantasy Points = 23

Sunday Snippet

ARI 10, SEA 22 It's just a sign of the times. Last year Larry Fitzgerald had 13 receptions for 100 yards and a score in Seattle. This time, he settled for only three catches for 30 yards. There was nothing happening for the Cardinals outside of one score by Beanie Wells (14-54). Mike WIlliams is apparently intent on being the man now that Deion Branch is gone because once again he had a very nice game - 11 receptions for 87 yards and the only Seattle touchdown in the game. Marshawn Lynch is reinvigorating his career in Seattle with 24 carries for 89 yards though he had no catches. Mostly this was 5 field goals versus just one. The win gives the 4-2 Seahawks a one game lead over the Cardinals for the lead in the NFC West.
BUF 34, BAL 37
OT
This would be the Game-o-the-Week but with the Ravens winning, it holds less WOW than my other choice below. The Bills gave the Ravens all they could handle and more. When the Bills took a 17-3 lead, we knew it was a trap game but after the Ravens battled back to take the lead, the Bills scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to send it to overtime. The Bills lost a fumble (thanks to Ray Lewis stripping the ball during a slow whistle pass play) on their own 29-yard line in OT that let the Ravens kick that winning field goal. The Ravens at home allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for 374 yards and four touchdowns and he's getting pretty hard to explain away every single week. Steve "automatic" Johnson caught 8 passes for 158 yards and a score and Lee Evans turned in six receptions for 105 yards and three touchdowns.On the road. In Baltimore. Joe Flacco kept pace with 250 yards and three touchdowns but the Ravens have gone to splitting the backfield again and Ray Rice (16-72) wasn't as good a play as Willis McGahee (11-64, TD). Anquan Boldin (6-92, TD) did his share while Todd Heap (3-59) had the ultra-rare two touchdown game. This was an outstanding game where we had no idea one would happen. It was like when you were a kid and your Mom made you do the laundry and you found a $20 bill in your brother's pocket. Excellent! Now the 5-2 Ravens are still a half game behind the Steelers and the Bills somehow are still looking for their first win
CIN 32, ATL 39 Once again, you think this will be just a "B side" game that does nothing more than help advertise the nascent TV careers of Ochocinco and Terrell Owens but it ends up with 71 points. Owens became just the 5th player ever to score 150 career touchdowns. Carson Palmer passed for 412 yards and three touchdowns that sprayed out to Jordan Shipley (6-131, TD), Terrell Owens (9-88, TD) and Ochocinco (10-108, TD). Matt Ryan passed for 299 yards and three scores which almost entirely went to Roddy White (11-201, 2 TD). Michael Turner had his standard home game with 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The loss drops the Bengals to 2-4 which probably spells certain death to playoff aspirations already while the 5-2 Falcons remain one game in the lead for the NFC South.
CLE 30, NO 17

What? WHAT?!? This would be the GOTW but the Saints barely showed up. The game wasn't nearly this close. The Browns only passed for 87 yards and rushed for 125 yards (68 on one play). They only had one offensive touchdown but ILB David Bowens intercepted two passes and returned both for a score which actually gave him the same number of touchdowns as Drew Brees who passed for 356 yards and four interceptions. The only Saints player with any notable stats was Marques Colston (10-112, TD). A trap game? Sure, they happen even at home. But the Saints could just never get it going and both of their touchdowns came in the fourth quarter. They say that repeating as Super Bowl champs is difficult. The first addendum to that is you have to be able to beat the visiting Browns. It all proved to be the Big Easy for Cleveland who is now 2-5 and respectable for a week. The Saints fall to 4-3 and trail the Falcons and Tampa Bay in the NFC South.

JAC 20, KC 42 How great was this? 62 total points. Todd Bouman threw for 222 yards and two scores while Maurice Jones-Drew only gained his normal 47 yards on 16 carries but added five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Mike Sims-Walker had the other score on his three catches for 38 yards. Matt Cassel faced one of the worst secondaries in the NFL and only had 193 yards and two scores but that went straight to Dwayne Bowe (3-81, 2 TD) in this mini-revival to his career lately. Thomas Jones (20-125, TD) had a 70 yard run and Jamaal Charles (15-71, TD) hawked his touchdown. For the main fantasy stars here they all had a decent to great game. Now the Jaguars fall to 3-4 at the bottom of the AFC South while the 4-2 Chiefs remain atop the AFC West that is imploding below them.
NE 23, SD 20 Close game that only proves the importance of the kicker. San Diego was without Nate Kaeding and signed Kris Brown who ended up 'doinking" a 50-yard game tying kick at the end of the game. This was just one more bad mojo game for the Bolts who saw WR Richard Goodman make a 25-yard catch and then just leave the ball on the ground thinking he had been touched (he hadn't). The Pats picked it up the free gift. The next series had Jacob Hester not realize that it was a lateral and not a pass thrown to him and when it bounced away, a Pats linebacker scooped it up and ran 63-yards with it. The Chargers outplayed the Pats but once again was beset by the mysterious curse that has ensured this will be a long season. Tom Brady only passed for 159 yards and a score versus 336 yards for Rivers with a score. Between both teams there were seven running backs who played and yet not one had more than 24 rushing yards. Once again, the Chargers killed themselves and the Pats were happy to let them do it. At 2-5 the Charger share the AFC West cellar with the Broncos while the Pats rise to 5-1 and are tied with the Jets for the AFC East.
PHI 19, TEN 37 Once again the best thing a player can do is mess up and get the punishment of not starting the game. It apparently ensures a big game and Kenny Britt's bar altercation led to a career best seven receptions for 225 yards and three touchdowns. No other TItans receiver had more than 25 yards. Chris Johnson was held to only 66 yards on 24 carries without his signature long scoring run. Kerry Collins passed for 276 yards and those three scores. The Eagles led 13-7 at the half and only a 27 point fourth quarter by the Titans made this game out of reach. Kevin Kolb passed for 231 yards and one score but had two interceptions. Jeremy Maclin only gained 42 yards on five catches as the new #1 wideout with Jackson out. This was a close game but then got out of hand late. The loss drops the Eagles to 4-3 and will see on Monday night if the Giants take a one game lead or not in the NFC East. The TItans are 5-2 alone at the top of the AFC South.
PIT 23, MIA 22 Yet another close game and one that finished with the fumble controversy that allowed the Steelers to kick the game winning field goal. Ben Roethlisberger ended with 302 yards and two scores that went to Hines Ward (7-131) and Mike Wallace (2-53). Not only did Rashard Mendenhall only gain 37 yards on 15 rushes, he only had one catch. The Dolphins only scored one touchdown but got five field goal from Dan Carpenter to keep pace. No Dolphins player had a decent fantasy game other than Davone Bess (6-66, TD). The Steelers squeaked this one out and the Fins lose a tough one. Now the Steelers are 5-1 and a half game ahead of the Ravens while the Dolphins slip to only 3-3.
SF 20, CAR 23 Here's yet another nail biter that was over when John Kasay kicked a 37-yard field goal with 43 seconds left to play to get THE FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON. Frank Gore did his part with 102 yards in 19 carries and Vernon Davis gained 74 yards on four catches with that one touchdown. But once Alex Smith was injured, David Carr was an obvious step down as he only managed to throw 5 of 13 for 67 yards and one interception. Matt Moore was given the starting job back this year and posted 308 yards and two scores that both ended up with David Gettis (8-125) and even Brandon LaFell (6-91) did better than Steve Smith (4-50). DeAngelo Williams only grinded out 44 yards on 19 carries though he added four catches for 19 yards. This was a good game for two bad squads and at least the Panthers are 1-5. The 49ers are not only 1-6 but now have to travel to England and play in London next week.
STL 17, TB 18 Great game that was a little light on points. Sam Bradford only passed for 126 yards and two scores and the only decent fantasy game for a Rams player was Steven Jackson who ran for 110 yards and had a team high 35 yards on two catches. Danario Alexander only caught one pass for six yards after having a big debut the previous Sunday. Danny Amendola and Michael Hoomanawanui caught the touchdowns but had minimal yardage. Josh Freeman posted 212 pass yards and one score that went to Carnell Williams at the end of the game for the winning TD. The notable here was that LeGarrette Blount rushed for 72 yards on 11 carries and has to be in line for more work not that the Buccaneers ever have that many rushing opportunities. Mike Williams made some great catches while leading the Bucs with 82 yards on five receptions. Tough loss for the Rams who drop to 3-4 but the Buccaneers rise to 4-2 just a half game below the Falcons.
WAS 17, CHI 14 Low scoring but a good game nonetheless that was decided eventually by the 92-yard interception return by DeAngelo Hall. Donovan McNabb only passed for 200 yards and a TD that went to Santana Moss (5-63). Ryan Torain continues to delight with 125 yards on 21 carries but no catches. Jay Cutler threw for 281 yards and just one score (for his team) and while Johnny Knox had 86 yards and that touchdown, it was the constant passing to him that resulted in the many of the interceptions. Matt Forte only gained 41 rush yards on ten carries but still had five receptions for 32 yards. This was a low scoring game that had little impact on fantasy leagues. The Skins hope to remain abreast with the Giants in the NFC East while the Bears have lost three of their last four games and yet are still tied for the NFC North lead at 4-3.
MIN 24, GB 28 The late game was a barn burner that was not decided until the very end when Brett Favre's final game in Lambeau ended with a whimper of incompletions from the GB 20-yard line. Favre passed for 212 yards and one score but had three interceptions. Adrian Peterson rushed for 131 yards and one score and even added 41 yards on two catches but otherwise not much happened for the Vikings. Percy Harvin rushed in a TD on his three carries for 41 yards and he added a team high five catches for 65 yards. Randy Moss only caught three passes for 30 yards but scored once. Aaron Rodgers threw for 295 yards and two scores and while Greg Jennings (6-74) had one of the scores, James Jones led the team with 107 yards on four receptions. Even Brandon Jackson turned in a respectable 104 total yards and a touchdown. The loss ties the Packers with the Bears for the lead in the NFC North and the loss means the 2-4 Vikings are having the wheels start to really wobble.

Sunday's Couch Commentary

Welcome to "ANY GIVEN SUNDAY".

The Browns win in New Orleans. The Bills almost win in Baltimore. The Chargers and Vikings are still saddled with almost inexplicable propensity to hurt themselves. It was just a bizzaro weekend with huge scores, close games and tons of interceptions returned for scores. Players sitting on fantasy benches went nuts and starters flopped. It was just a whacked out weekend.

The game that best represents week seven is clearly the one that set records for the teams involved:

OAK 59, DEN 14

Now in fairness, the Broncos and Raiders have only had road wins for the last five meetings. No one thought it would happen this week but then again, we did not think the Raiders would be 2-0 coming into Denver this season. The game took a surreal tone from the very start. Darren McFadden would play though he had been limited in practice last week and was questionable to play.

The Raiders started out with a nice 80-yard drive that ended with a 43-yard scoring strike to Zach Miller for the surprise 7-0 lead.

On the Broncos first play, Kyle Orton's pass was intercepted and returned for a 30-yard touchdown.

The Broncos got the ball on the next kickoff and on their first play, Demaryius Thomas lost a fumble at the DEN 20-yard line. Three plays later Darren McFadden scored to make it 21-0 with only six minutes gone and the Broncos had only run two plays.

After the Broncos had three plays and punted, Jason Campbell ran in a score but it was called back on an illegal motion penalty so they settled for a field goal and the 24-0 lead.

The Broncos went three and out and the Raiders took over on their own 43-yard line. Seven plays later, McFadden scored again but it was nullified on account of offensive holding. Three plays later, McFadden scored again anyway on a 19 yard reception. 31-0 and the second quarter had just started.

After a few scoreless series by both teams, the Raiders recovered an Orton fumble at the DEN 14-yard line and four plays later McFadden scored yet again from the 4-yard line with 8:03 left to play in the half. 38-0

The Broncos finally got a tiny bit of redemption when Orton threw a 7-yard touchdown to Knowshon Moreno at the two minute warning. At half time the Raiders were 38-7.

The Broncos opened up the third quarter with a second scoring pass to Moreno and a marginally more respectful 38-14 deficit.

But the Raiders not only still had McFadden gaining chunks of yardage, they ended up at the DEN 1-yard line and went for it on fourth down. Of course, They made it with Marcel Reeece bulling in for a 45-14 lead. After the Broncos went three and out, the Raiders got the punt on their own 43-yard line. This allowed McFadden to tear off a 57-yard score on the first play.

At 52-14, we started checking the record book. The Giants hold the record of 72 points in one game. By now - what he hell. Why not? The Raiders got a Michael Bush score at the end of the third quarter to make it 59-14.

But even the Raiders have some sort of mercy, even if it is really nothing more than saving players and not getting them hurt.

The Raiders beat the Broncos 59-14 in Denver. Most points for the Raiders ever. Most points allowed by the Broncos ever. Darren McFadden turned "questionable" into 196 total yards and four touchdowns. It was a great capper for the weekend since no one saw it coming. Not that big, not that easy.

It was a strange week indeed with monster scores by normally bottom feeding teams. The best pass defense gives up the most scores and yards of any team. Standing there with the ball in Miami does not necessarily mean that is your ball. Just weirdness all around with so many interception touchdowns and doinks on the goal post. And a changing of the guard as across the land small boys wearing three t-shirts and their torn up jeans play sandlot football and for the first time, no one wants to be Brett Favre.

"Dibs on Fitzpatrick!"

Now get back to work...

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