1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
Tunnel Vision - Week 4
By David M. Dorey
September 22, 2003

Week Three Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs

The names are getting bigger and the injuries are getting worse

Daunte Culpepper (MIN) - Bruised lower back
Corey Dillon (CIN) - Groin injury
Travis Henry (BUF) - Rib injury
Marshall Faulk (STL) - Fractured left hand
David Patten (NE) - Unspecified leg injury
Matt Schobel (CIN) - Hamstring injury
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Patrick Ramsey 367 2
Kerry Collins 273 3
Jeff Blake 280 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Jamal Lewis 139 1
LaDainian Tomlinson 156 1
Priest Holmes 156 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Reggie Wayne 141 2
Drew Bennett 105 1
Andre Johnson 102 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jeremy Shockey 92 0
Todd Heap 50 1
Shad Meier 53 0
Placekickers XP FG
Owen Pochman 0 4
Mike Vanderjagt 2 3
Adam Vinatieri 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Kansas City 2 1 4
Tampa Bay 0 2 5
Seattle 1 0 3

Okay, so maybe "punter points" wins the vote next year

This season has so far defeated the trends of the NFL. Each season normally trades off between rushing and passing being the way to big fantasy scores and coming off a big rushing season, the fantasy drafts naturally went heavily towards the runners in the first few rounds. The other trend is that the NFL has been incrementally increasing the offensive scoring to make all us fans and fantasy players happier and remind us that the NFL is not the MBL or NHL and especially not soccer.


The season has not been big on scoring yet. Week three of 2002 produced 576 points through the first 13 games. Week three of 2003 only had 482 points, a difference of 37 points per game versus 44 points last year. The main culprit? Touchdowns. Or rather the lack of them.

In 2002, week three produced 19 rushing and six receiving touchdowns by running backs. This week? There were only twelve rushing touchdowns and two passing scores by those running backs. Only Michael Pittman and James Hodgins scored through the air. Twenty five scores down to only fourteen? Wide receivers declined 30 to 24 in week three from last year to this year.

And you wondered why touchdown-only leagues were on the decline...

Heaven cannot wait

Shaun Alexander struck a note of fear into the fantasy world when he was conspicuously absent to start the Seattle-St. Louis game. Instead of being yet another Holmgren motivational ploy, Shaun was allowed to swing by the hospital before the game to witness the birth of his first child, Heaven Alexander.

Alexander was then given a police escort to the stadium where he did a quick stretch out on the sideline and then entered the game at the start of the second quarter, thereby quieting many fantasy owners who were using both Heaven and its competitors name liberally until he showed up.

Alexander ended up with 66 yards on the day, Seattle won 24-23 and the Seahawks bye week will give us some time away from using Mike Holmgren's name in vain.


After Anquan Boldin and Eric Parker, this week's offering is Andre' Davis who scored two touchdowns on his five catches for 43 yards and even threw in a run for three yards. What am I bid for this 6'1", 195 lb. specimen from the Cleveland "Turn it around" Browns? Second year player - do I hear twenty?

You go first

The NFL has always presented a challenge to the fantasy world. Bad enough players often do not meet expectations, but the worst reality is that they get injured. This season has already jumped out as one of the biggest minefields in recent memory, with each week hitting someone and you just hope it is not you. Let's compare last year to this year for notable injuries to QB, RB and WR through week three of the seasons.

2002 Preseason 2003 Preseason
Correll Buckhalter(PHI) - knee injury (but before drafts)
DeShaun Foster (CAR) - knee injury
Michael Vick (ATL) - broken leg
Chad Pennington (NYJ) - broken wrist
Eric Johnson (SF) - broken collarbone
Kevin Dyson (CAR) - out for season

Week One - 2002
James Stewart (DET) - Tweaked knee
Zack Crockett (OAK) - Neck injury

Week One - 2003
Kurt Warner (STL) - Concussion, brought to hospital
Karsten Bailey (GB) - Pulled hamstring
Donald Driver (GB) - Severe neck strain
Robert Ferguson (GB) - Sprained ankle and knee
Brian Finneran (ATL) - Broken left hand
Larry Foster (ARZ) - Sprained ankle
Jerry Porter (OAK) - Abdominal strain
James Stewart (DET) - Blew knee
Week Two - 2002
Steve McNair (TEN) - Mild concussion
Ahman Green (GB) - Injured left knee
Kevin Dyson (TEN) - Pulled hamstring
Week Two - 2003
Jeff Blake (ARZ) - Bruised heel
Steve McNair (TEN) - Dislocated finger
Jake Plummer (DEN) - Shoulder separation
Kordell Stewart (CHI) - Strained neck
Clinton Portis (DEN) - Bruised chest
Corey Dillon (CIN) - Hyperextended knee
Reche Caldwell (SD) - Dislocated wrist - need surgery
Joe Jurevicius (TB) - Torn ligaments in knee

Week Three - 2002
James Allen (HOU) - Sprained knee
Troy Brown (NE) - Injured knee
Jeff Garcia (SF) - Stomach Virus
Olandis Gary (DEN) - Sprained ankle
William Henderson (GB) - Sprained knee
Muhsin Muhammad (CAR) - Pulled hamstring
Javon Walker (GB) - Bruised quadricep

Week Three - 2003
Daunte Culpepper (MIN) - Bruised lower back
Corey Dillon (CIN) - Groin injury
Travis Henry (BUF) - Rib injury
Marshall Faulk (STL) - Fractured left hand
David Patten (NE) - Unspecified leg injury

Final Tally through week three, 2002
QB - one mild concussion and a stomach virus
RB - Only Ahman Green and James Stewart missed notable time, the rest were backups or not very injured.
WR - No top receivers hurt, Muhammad main injury.

Final Tally through week three, 2003
QB - Lost Vick, Pennington, Warner, Culpepper, Blake, Stewart (some), Plummer.
RB - Portis, Dillon (twice), Henry, Faulk, Stewart
WR - Driver, Finneran, Boston, Caldwell, Jurevicius, Porter

So scoring is down and injuries are up. And it is only week three? 'Gulp'...

Really? He's been there the whole time? Seriously?

After the first two weeks, head coach Jeff Fisher had to keep reiterating that Drew Bennett was the starting flanker even though he had only had three passes thrown to him and failed to record a reception. Just when you think you can ignore a player - BAM! Mr. Invisible snags eight catches for 105 yards and one touchdown. New Orleans never saw him coming and paid the price. I mean you cover Mason and you take away the Titan's passing game, right?

This next week New Orleans gets a break by going to Indianapolis where only Marvin Harrison catches passes and no one else need be covered. No... wait a minute... there's that one guy. Reggie something. Hey - who was the leading receiver in the entire league yesterday? It couldn't be...

Welcome back, Forrest

Joey Porter may have been shot in the buttocks, but he returned to the playing field yesterday and recorded two tackles and one sack. No slapping the backside for that sack, please.

Excuse me while I search for Plan B

The 49ers dumped Steve Mariucci after last season because he was too conservative in his play calling, not shining a proper light on the offensive genius that is Bill Walsh in the background. After all, Mariucci kept losing in the playoffs even though he had the salary cap constraints while he was there. Last season, San Francisco only went 10-5 and won their division. They only averaged 23 points per game.

Now that Dennis Erickson is properly installed with all the authority and strings, the 49ers are off to a big 1-2 start and have a nice three week scoring progression of 49, 24 and then 12 points. If their trend holds up, they get two field goals next week, one in week five and then shutout by week six. In case you are keeping score, Owens has one touchdown and Tai Streets leads all non-QB's with two touchdowns. The rushing game that once speculated it could produce two 1000 yard rushers comes off a home effort of only 32 yards on 16 carries by the duo of Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow. This to a team that gave up 339 rushing yards last week.

They do, however, lead the league with a total of ten field goals.

"Okay - so who checked out the redzone book and did not return it?"

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Patrick Ramsey 367 2 QB Drew Bledsoe 98 0
RB Woodrow Dantzler 6 1 RB Corey Dillon 26 0
RB Michael Pittman 164 1 RB Travis Henry 7 0
WR Kelly Campbell 85 1 WR Marvin Harrison 31 0
WR Drew Bennett 105 1 WR Eric Moulds 30 0
WR Warren Sapp 6 1 WR Joe Horn 5 0
PK Owen Pochman 4 FG PK John Carney

1 XP, 1 FG

Huddle Fantasy Points = 106

Huddle Fantasy Points = 16

Umm... give it to Ricky this time

The Dolphins defeated the Bills because their defense knocked Travis Henry from the game and allowed no other player to cross the line of scrimmage. Conversely, Rick Williams set a team record and personal best with an astounding 46 carries in the game. That gives Ricky a total of 97 carries this season in three games, a pace that would end up at 512 carries for the season. That would be a little better than Jamal Anderson's old record of only 410 carries in a year. Currently Williams has 97 carries compared to only 47 pass completions for the Dolphins this season.

After Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams and even Priest Holmes, there is evidently something about those ex-Texas running backs that just cries out for a heavy workload. Perhaps the NFL should consider feeding all the players some Austin chili?

Sunday's Couch Commentary

MIN 23, DET 13 Culpepper scores on two rushes while the Lions cry "no Moe! No Moe!" Who knew Williams had jets?
KC 42, HOU 14 Fortunately Holmes' new contract does not pay him by the hour since he never seems to play the whole sixty minutes. The amazing thing is that KC still has a dominating offense without actually using wide receivers much.
JAX 13, IND 23 Oh, so THERE is Peyton Manning. And Reggie Wayne. Now what ever happened to Harrison? Byron Leftwich is quietly amassing one of the greatest trash time QB ratings in history.
NYJ 16, NE 23 Okay, Mr. Edwards. So what is in your bag of tricks next week? Just make sure it is not a "fake-anything".
NO 12, TEN 27 Two teams meet and show that both have the consistency of gasoline prices. Except for Eddie George.
PIT 17, CIN 10 Bengals lose Dillon and yet still make a game of it. Chad Johnson responsible for 83% of all internet traffic Sunday morning as it is announced he is benched, then that he will play just without starting. Whew!
TB 31, ATL 10 When Michael Pittman has more yardage than the entire Atlanta offense, change the channel. When Warren Sapp catches a touchdown, they're just rubbing salt into the wound. Seismographs peg 3.4 in Atlanta as Sapp does his humpty-bumpty touchdown dance.
BUF 7, MIA 17 Miami pops Henry, rides Bledsoe and escorts Moulds in a game that offense forgot. Ricky Williams delighted his fans, unlike all other offensive players in the game.
NYG 24, WAS 21 Giants yell "NOT THIS *#$*@# AGAIN" but win since the other team kicked off. On the plus side, hearing a third consecutive winning press conference from Spurrier would just seem wrong.
GB 13, ARZ 20 Green Bay discovers that on any given Sunday, you can lose your receivers all over again and sometimes it really does matter. Boldin now becomes a three week wonder just prior to being tabbed a one month wonder.
BAL 24, SD 10 We all knew both backs would run wild, the variable was that Boller had two less interceptions than Brees plus a touchdown to Heap. David Boston opens up the offense by attracting all the secondary but does little good when Brees throws it to him anyway.
CLE 13, SF 12 This is why computers can never replace prognosticators and why saving your money in a sock is safer than betting according to those prognosticators. San Francisco - the Mecca for kickers?.


Winner: St. Louis 23, Seattle 24

The Giants-Redskins game was a contender as was the 49ers-Browns match, but in the end all we really ever wanted were lots of points.

Entering into the fourth quarter, the Seahawks trailed the Rams 23-10 in a game that had Shaun Alexander show up late and Koren Robinson barely show up at all. The final drive of the third quarter had Matt Hasselbeck finally starting to connect with Robinson after the Rams had just kicked their field goal. By the time the quarter ended, they were at the St. Louis 43-yard line.

Opening the fourth quarter, Hasselbeck hits Ituli Mili for a 25 yard gain to the Rams 18-yard line. After an Alexander rush and and incomplete pass, Hasselbeck hits Darrell Jackson for a 15 yard touchdown to bring the Seahawks to within six points, 23-17.

This is where the Rams became a bit giving, starting out on their own 33-yard line with one incomplete and then a toss to Brandon Manumaleuna that Reggie Tongue slurps out of the air for an interception at the Seattle 36-yard line.

This is the big chance for the Seahawks. Taking the ball at their own 33-yard line with 13:49 to play, they use Alexander runs and Robinson catches to work down the field until it was first and ten from the Rams 14-yard line. Robinson and Alexander as a combo to move the ball - who knew?

First down - sacked for a ten yard loss. Second down - Robinson for seven yards. Third down - incomplete to Robinson because hey - the Rams figure things out eventually. On fourth down and 13 to go, Holmgren decides to go for the field goal and only need one more kick to tie the game. The rookie Josh Brown responds by pushing the kick wide left. Holmgren comes to the conclusion that the whole "plotting for the future" thing falls apart when you miss in the present.

The Rams take the ball and really wish that Marshall Faulk was around. Lamar Gordon gets two runs and one pass but his ten yards gained is short of a first thanks to Kyle "Wildman" Turley's false start penalty on second down. They punt and the Seahawks get the ball back on their 32-yard line with only 5:27 left to play.

After a negative two yard pass to Alexander, an incomplete to Morris and then Hasselbeck himself running for eleven yards on an impressive yet one yard short scamper, Holmgren looks fourth and one in the eye and decides to go for it on the Seattle 41-yard line. Shaun "I'm your Daddy" Alexander and OT Walter Jones are ready and the Seahawks naturally call for an incomplete pass to Jackson. Sort of one of those "in retrospect..." calls.

With only 4:12 left to bleed from the clock and already in Seattle territory, all the Rams need to do is run the ball a bit and get a field goal to ice the game. So Bulger throws to Manumaleuna for five yards. Then Gordon rushes for two yards. On third and three from the Seattle 34 yard line, Bulger throws an eight yard pass to Dane Looker who WAIT - IT'S INTERCEPTED! 3:15 left to play in the game and Bulger throws a pass well beyond the first down for an interception. The home crowd notices this and roars loud enough to rattle all 46 Starbucks within a three mile radius.

First and ten from the 26-yard line, Hasselbeck hits Robinson for 32 yards. Fast kid that Robinson.

Two incompletes later, Hasselbeck saves a third and ten by hitting Bobby Engram for 13 yards to the Rams 42-yard line. With only 2:35 left to play, he connects again with Robinson for another 14 yards to the Rams 15-yard line. Alexander takes a run for two yards followed by an incomplete to Robinson. On third and eight, he misses Darrell Jackson but wait! Defensive holding rears its ugly head. First and goal to go from the eight yard line with only 1:45 left to play. Game is on the line! No time to waste! (Pssst - throw it to Robinson). Hasselbeck hands off to Alexander for five yards and a little tactical clock chewing. (Psst - throw it to Robinson). Hasselbeck fires an incomplete to Ituli Mili. On third down and three to go (Psst - throw it to Robinson) and only 1:03 left to play, Hasselbeck's helmet radio is taken over by the cumulative psycho-kinetic affect of 23,000 Robinson owners and throws a touchdown to Robinson!

A challenge! Did he catch it? Yes he did!

Bulger gets his shot starting at his own 29-yard line with only 53 seconds left to play. First down - throws to Gordon who with a two yard gain reminds the world he is not Marshall Faulk. Then an incomplete to Furrey, another to Holt and on fourth and eight with only 34 seconds to play, Bulger mistakes Mike Martz saying "I hate this game" to mean throw an incomplete to Holt.

Game over.

Shaun Alexander started his day with Heaven and all the Seahawks ended theirs likewise. They witnessed the birth of a 3-0 Seahawks team for the first time in five years and only the second time since 1986. Seeing his baby took Shaun Alexander's breath away and for all the fantasy fans, not seeing Alexander on the field for the first quarter took ours away. In the end, mother, child and exciting games in the NFL are just fine.

Now get back to work...