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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 8
David Dorey
October 31, 2011
 
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Michael Vick 329 2
Matthew Stafford 288 3
Cam Newton 343 3
Eli Manning 349 2
Ben Roethlisberger 365 2
Running Backs Yards TD
LeSean McCoy 200 2
Steven Jackson 191 2
Adrian Peterson 161 2
Ray Rice 99 3
Fred Jackson 194 0
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Calvin Johnson 125 1
Steve Smith 100 1
Laurent Robinson 103 1
Victor Cruz 99 1
Nate Washington 40 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Brent Celek 94 1
Scott Chandler 35 2
Greg Olsen 73 1
Fred Davis 94 0
Rob Gronkowski 94 0
Placekickers XPT FG
Rian Lindell 2 3
Billy Cundiff 3 3
Rob Bironas 3 2
Jason Hanson 6 1
Shaun Suisham 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Lions 2 7 2
Bengals 2 4 2
Bills 0 9 2
Titans 1 2 2
Rams 1 6 2

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Last week everyone was injured. This week barely had any. Go figure.

Hakeem Nicks - Hamstring injury
Blair White - Leg injury
Montario Hardesty - Strained calf

Ten random observations

1. I must finish my rant that started on our radio show ( XM 87 Sirius 210 THU 10PM to 12 PM CST) about the Player Formerly Known as Chris Johnson (now just SloJo). The Titans faced the Colts who were ranked #32 against running backs and allowed 150 rushing yards per game. This week the Titans said that SloJo would receive a full complement of carries at home against the worst defense. You could not set up a more perfect place for SloJo to shake off the apparent rust and turn in a game that looked anything like the version we knew and loved in years past.

He then rushed for 34 yards on 14 carries against THE WORST RUSH DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE. It is not enough that he is a flop, a bust, an overpaid anchor. But Javon Ringer was given 14 carries in the game as well and he gained 60 yards. Maybe Johnson has a hurt ankle from using a platinum and diamond skate board. Maybe he's slightly blinded from taking portraits of himself for the mantle in his mansion. No matter - hack-hack-ptew! CJ2K is dead to me now. SloJo lives and he is stinking up a roster in every league.

2. DeMarco Murray only rushed for 74 yards but that came on eight carries for an average of 9.1 yards. The Cowboys had their "bad funk" game this week and Murray did not get nearly enough carries to matter but he still has the look of a guy who just made Felix Jones a footnote.

3. If the Skins were losing 23-0 and Ryan Torain had only gained 14 yards on eight carries, why did Roy Helu get no carries? Not one. He had three catches for 20 yards as the third down back but why no carries? Maybe Shanahan will switch to Helu this week.... ah.... like we can bank on that happening. But I am holding him in reserve just in case because Torain is bound to be injured soon enough.

4. One of the players that I hold on several teams is Michael Crabtree though I can just barely buy into him being a decent receiver with his history of being everything but. And yet he comes off his first touchdown of the year on his 5-54 in the Browns game. And he turned in 9-77 and 5-68 over the last three weeks. Hard to latch onto as anything but a bye week filler but Crabtree may actually be getting better and starting to meet some of those expectations spawned when he was a first round pick.

5. The Dolphins (0-7) and Colts (0-8) are the last teams without a win and it's hard to decide which one is actually worse. Have to think that the Fins eventually get a lead and then hold on to it though. The Colts do not even get that far. For my money, seems like the Colts are the worst because all teams actually prepare to play against them because of the players on the team. And the fact that the Colts beat a lot of other teams in recent years. Eventually someone will mail it in against the Fins and get caught. Mark my words.

6. My favorite second year wide receiver is Antonio Brown who I started in many leagues this week thanks to playing the Patriots. And he rewarded with his first NFL touchdown along with a career high nine catches for 67 yards. He turned in 102 yards on seven catches just last week against the Cardinals. It is all good and contributes to the Steelers but what I want to see is 2012 when Brown is in his third year and should spend the entire season as the #2 wideout. Next year with Brown and Wallace? I may even like Big Ben.

7. I love it. Because I hate it and avoid it at all costs, I love it. The Patriots backfield has been the guessing game with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen (who ever that is). And now we welcome back none other than 35-year old Kevin Faulk who ran for 32 yards on six carries this week while Green-Ellis only managed nine yards on five runs. For a team that has long been known to get rid of older players, Kevin Faulk must have spectacular hidden photos of Belichick. Faulk the leading runner this week - thanks for the reality check about relying on Patriots.

8. Tim Tebow is a fascinating player. He is starting each game throwing like he's missing most fingers and then later ends up with some apparent decent stats. He ran for 63 yards on ten scampers against the Lions. Have to admit is is quite a different sort of player and those rushing yards are very meaningful in fantasy football. He now has people "Tebowing" which is kneeling down in a praying pose. I think that should spread to other players. Maybe everyone could have a signature pose. Like Chris Johnson holding onto his wallet while looking at his watch. Mike Shanahan playing the "which cup?" game. Bound to be others.

9. The big slowing down continues. This week only four players passed for over 300 yards and two of those had no touchdowns. Running backs remain healthy enough with four scoring two times this week and six gaining over 100 rushing yards. Wide receivers are down to only six 100 yard gainers and four of those just barely clipped the mark Three did not score. And both Calvin Johnson and Laurent Robinson topped 100 yards thanks to a 50+ yard completion. Those higher scoring initial weeks are a reminder to follow the Dorey Rule and draft like only the first six weeks of the season matter. Nice to get a jump in wins and points. Hard to make it up when scoring goes down later in the season.

10. Jake Ballard is the tight end you never knew but suddenly realize he should be on your roster. Ballard gained 55 yards on four catches this week against the Fins which is mildly good for a tight end but he also 81 yards the previous week and scored twice in the two games prior. The Giants are using the tight end position for a receiver again and Ballard is only getting better. He's in his second season but never played as a rookie.

To the waiver wire!

Here are some players sure to be coveted on the waiver wire - right or wrong:

Brent Celek - Turned in 4-42 and a score in week six but that was a freak high. And just had 7-94 and another touchdown in the Cowboys game. Maybe he will return to one catch games again but he needs to be on someone's roster to see what happens.

Scott Chandler - He's back! Chandler scored four times in the first three weeks and then had three games with never more than eight yards and no scores. By now, many leagues have seen him discarded back on to the waiver wire. And on Sunday, he scored twice on his only two catches in the game. I won't touch him because he's worthless without a touchdown and even when he scores, he has no yardage to go along with it. Leave him alone.

Titus Young - Another guy on and off the waiver wire just had a score on his four catches for 66 yards. His main value is caching on a dynasty team in case he gets consistency in his second season. For now - don't go chasing waterfalls.

Javon Ringer - Probably gone in all but the smaller leagues but come one. How long will the Titans rely on SloJo when all Ringer does is produce twice as much? He needs to be owned. Something has to happen in Tennessee and more than just putting SloJo's paychecks on the other end of the field so you can see him run.

Sunday Snippets

ARI 27, BAL 30 Contender for GOTW. This was one of many games where the dud team was inspired and the stud team wanted to mail it in. In this case, even leading 24-3 the Cardinals could not hang on but at least they made the Ravens work for the win. Beanie Wells scored once and gained 83 yards on 22 runs and Larry Fitzgerald turned three catches into 98 yards thanks to a 66 yard reception. But Ray Rice combined for 99 yards and three touchdowns and Anquan Boldin got back at his old team with seven catches for 145 yards. The Cards are only 1-6 now and the Ravens are kinda lucky to be 5-2. On the plus side, it was the biggest comeback in Ravens history.
MIN 24, CAR 21

Big win for the Vikings and a missed 31-yard field goal from being an overtime game. Christian Ponder (236, TD) has his first NFL win thanks in no small part to Adrian Peterson who combined for 161 total yards and two scores as the leading rusher and receiver for the Vikings. Cam Newton (290, 3 TD, 53 rush) did not disappoint his fantasy owners. But Jonathan Stewart (13-49) and DeAngelo Williams (7-26) were ineffective. Steve Smith (7-100) and Greg Olsen (4-73, TD) were the only receivers of note. This was a nice win for the 2-6 Vikings while the 2-6 Panthers are perfecting close but not close enough.

JAC 14, HOU 24 Just a standard win with no fanfare. Aaron Foster gained 112 yards and a TD on 33 carries to become the franchise leader in 100 yard rushing games (12). Matt Schaub only passed for 225 yards and one score while Blaine Gabbert only managed 97 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. As always, the only Jaguar of any note was Maurice Jones-Drew (18-63, TD). Pretty boring game with no fireworks and few point until the fourth quarter. The win gives the Texans a 5-3 record on top of the division while the Jags fall to 2-6.
MIA 17, NYG 20

Yet another game of a mail-in that still worked in the end though the Dolphins started out with a 14-3 lead before finally submitting to the inevitable and hiking up their skirt. Daniel Thomas was a scratch but Reggie Bush (15-103, 4-17) had one of his best games since his rookie season. Eli Manning (349, 2 TD) mounted a comeback that everyone knew would work but the scores surprisingly ended up with Victor Cruz (7-99) and Mario Manningham (6-63). The visiting Fins should have meant big rushing but there were only 17 runs for 60 yards by the Giants. The 5-2 Giants are two games in the lead of the NFC East while the 0-7 Dolphins get to wonder when the new coach shows up.

IND 10, TEN 27 The Suck for Luck race is down to two contestants now and the Colts remain a very strong candidate for the #1 overall pick. The only thing good about the Colts is that Dallas Clark (6-77), Pierre Garcon (7-66) and Reggie Wayne (5-61) at least had some marginal fantasy value. The Titans starting running back Javon Ringer gained 60 yards on 14 carries and is in jeopardy of losing carries to the practice squad Johnson guy who was just called up. Nate Washington was a great play this week since he not only scored once on his four catches but also ran in a touchdown as well since there is no one in Tennessee that can run in touchdowns. The win gives the 4-3 Titans a one game difference to make up on the Texans while the Colts sink to an improbable 0-8.
WAS 0, BUF 23

The Mike Shanahan machine has finally turned in a goose egg and the switch to John Beck (208, 2 int. ) is not working. Ryan Torain only managed 14 yards on eight carries though oddly Roy Helu never had any rushes. Fred Davis (8-94) is about the only fantasy relevant Redskin. The Bills had a solid game though no one had big numbers outside of Fred Jackson (26-120, 3-74). The loss drops the Skins to only 3-4 and the player losses to injury have really hurt the team. The Bills rise to 5-2 to tie now with the Patriots in the AFC East.

DET 45, DEN 10 The Tebow Machine took a lot of knees this week with seven sacks given up and while he ended with 172 yards and one score, it most all came late in the game when it was all over. Knowshon Moreno (14-69) was decent enough and Eric Decker caught a score on his six catches for 72 yards. But Matt Stafford (267, 3 TD) has a great game that naturally benefited Calvin Johnson 6-125, TD). The Lions were on a two game losing streak and needed to beat up on someone. The Broncos fall to 2-5 while the Lions are 6-2.
NE 17, PIT 25

The Steelers played, for once, like we thought they would all year and notch their fourth straight win with Ben Roethlisberger (365, 2 TD) outplaying Tom Brady (198, 2 TD). Somehow Mike Wallace (7-70) did not score but Antonio Brown (9-67) grabbed one score as did Mewelde Moore. Rashard Mendenhall even came up with 102 total yards in the game. But the Pats were thumped. Outside of Rob Gronkowski (7-94) no one had more than 39 yards in the game and that was Wes Welker (6-39). The running game was a complete non-factor and the Pats just played a bit flat ... or did the Steelers really play inspired.... I hate this time of year.

CLE 10, SF 20 Not as big of a win as most though but the 49ers just let Frank Gore (31-134, TD) take over the game and even Michael Crabtree (5-54, TD) showed up as the best receiver. Colt McCoy spread the ball around well but with nothing but sub-standard receivers he could not move the ball consistently. Montario Hardesty replaced the injured Peyton Hillis until he too was injured and left Chris Ogbonnaya (11-37) to take over the running game. The loss drops the Browns to 3-4 while the 49ers rise to 6-1 and make end up as the #1 seed in the NFL - wrap your head around that one.
CIN 34, SEA 12

The Bengals won this by Andy Dalton's passing (168, 2 TD) and by defense that ended the game with two quick touchdowns. A.J. Green (4-63, TD) remains the best rookie wideout in the league and Jerome Simpson (1-14, TD) also scored. Bernard Scott finally got his start without Benson and only ran for 76 yards on 22 carries. The Seahawks were always playing from behind and used both Jackson and Whitehurst to combine for 375 passing yards and yet to touchdowns. Ben Obamanu (4-107) and Sidney Rice (7-102) had big games but only Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown. The Bengals rise to 5-2 while the Seahawks fall to 2-5.

DAL 7, PHI 34 The Eagles had a romp over the Cowboys and at least Romo did nothing late to lose the game. Of course he did nothing all game much with only 203 yards and one score passing. Demarco Murray is still running well but only got eight runs to gain 74 yards in the spanking. Other than Laurent Robinson (5-103, TD) no DAL receiver gained more than 28 yards. The Eagles saw Michael Vick pass for 279 yards and two touchdowns that surprisingly most favored Brent Celek (7-94, 1 TD) but the entire game revolved around the Cowboys #1 rushing defense somehow letting LeSean McCoy shred them for 185 yards and two scores. Now the Cowboys and Eagles are both 3-4 and two games behind the Giants.

Huddle Player of the Week

Steven Jackson - The oft-injured and normally smothered running back for the Rams had his day when he gained 159 yards on 25 runs against the visiting Saints and added 32 yards on four receptions. He also scored two touchdowns to end up as the best fantasy player in the NFL on Sunday. For someone who has been at times the lone positive for the Rams this year, it is an honor well deserved..

Salute!

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

Comedy Free Agents Yards TDs Tragedy Drafts Yards TDs
QB Christian Ponder 236 1 QB Tony Romo 203 1
RB Javon Ringer 102 0 RB Chris Johnson 51 0
RB Maurice Morris 65 1 RB Jonathan Stewart 49 0
WR Titus Young 66 1 WR Wes Welker 39 0
WR Lance Moore 80 1 WR Marques Colston 50 0
WR Laurent Robinson 103 1 WR Hakeem Nicks 67 0
TE Scott Chandler 35 2 TE Brandon Pettigrew 8 0
PK Billy Cundiff 3 XP 3 FG PK Graham Gano zip

Huddle Fantasy Points = 106

Huddle Fantasy Points = 37

Sunday's Couch Commentary

I hate midseason. Just when you get a decent feel for what teams are good and bad (and lead all the others in our staff pick-em game), you get midseason where teams inexplicably just fall flat or play really inspired or turn into a one-week turnover machine. The Ravens should have demolished the Cards but hung on to win by three points. The Vikes upset the Panthers. The Fins somehow get nice leads and blow them every time. The Patriots offense never got out of first gear in Pittsburgh. The Cowboys laid down for the Eagles and allowed LeSean McCoy to do a riverdance on the leagues best rushing defense. We'll lose consistency for the next month or so and then things get a bit more predictable as teams either strive for the playoffs or twiddle their thumbs until the end of the season.

The Game-O-The-Week? Never any doubt. One of the biggest "you gotta be kidding me" games of the entire year..

Saints 21, Rams 31

The Saints come off a 62-7 humiliation of the Colts and face the 0-6 Rams. That hardly seems fair. The Rams did not even have their starting quarterback since Sam Bradford has been out a few games now. The Rams had never scored more than one touchdown in any game. Coming into the game, the Rams had a total of five touchdowns. The Saints just scored eight touchdowns LAST WEEK. Like facing the Colts, the only value to this game are all the fantasy points sure to be scored.

And yet.

The first quarter remained scoreless though John Kasay missed a 51-yard field goal.

The Rams took their first series in the second quarter and went 88 yards for a 38-yard field goal. It was no biggee since other teams were starting slow and mailing it in. They still won in the end. With only 1:36 left in the half, the Saints punted but it was blocked and ran out of bounds at the NO 15-yard line. Two plays later, Steven Jackson rushed for a touchdown. 10-0 in favor of the Rams and that was just a cruel joke.

When the Saints got the ball, they opted to start trying and Drew Brees threw a long pass for Devery Henderson but it was intercepted and brought back to the NO 38-yard line. Nine plays later with only 20 seconds left, A.J. Feeley threw a touchdown to Brandon Lloyd. and at the half, it was 17-0 in favor of the Rams. They had actually scored two touchdowns in the same game. It was already a victory.

But after the Saints did nothing with their first series in the third quarter, the Rams drove 73 yards so that Jackson could run in his second touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, the Rams led 24-0. The offense was scoring. The defense was actually working too.

The Saints finally got a touchdown but it was when Feeley was sacked and fumbled and it was recovered for a defensive touchdown. Entering the fourth quarter down 24-7, the Saints drove the field and had Pierre Thomas run in a touchdown for a 14-24 difference.

When there was only three minutes left to play, Drew Brees tried to connect with Jimmy Graham but ended up with an interception that was returned for a 27-yard touchdown and a 31-14 difference. Lance Moore scored on an eight -yard touchdown pass with only 20 seconds left to play.

Game over.

The Saints just experienced a swing in game score of -65 points in one week which has to be some sort of record. The NFL is inconsistent this season like never before and just this week when the Ravens came back to beat the Cardinals, it marked the fifth time a team had come back after being 20 or more points down to win their game - an NFL record and there is more than half a season left to play.

The team that just scored 62 points in a game- tying a post merger record - faces a team that could not score more than one touchdown and they win 31-21. You just cannot make this stuff up. It's going to be a wild ride the rest of the way and we are throwing consistency out the window. Play your studs is always true - there's no way of knowing who is going to show up anyway.

Now get back to work...


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