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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 4
David M. Dorey
September 27, 2004
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Peyton Manning 393 5
Daunte Culpepper 373 3
Brett Favre 358 4
Running Backs Yards TD
Jamal Lewis 232 1
Shaun Alexander 74 3
Thomas Jones 181 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Javon Walker 198 3
Roy Williams 135 2
Reggie Wayne 184 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Tony Gonzalez 108 1
George Wrighster 30 1
Mike Bartrum 18 1
Placekickers XP FG
John Carney 1 5
David Akers 3 3
Sebastian Janikowski 3 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Atlanta 0 6 4
Arizona 0 5 4
Baltimore 0 4 4

Week 3 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Brett Favre (GB) - Hamstring "twinge"
Rich Gannon (OAK) - Neck and back
Charlie Garner (TB) - Torn patella tendon
Lamar Gordon (MIA) - Left shoulder sprain
Rex Grossman (CHI) - Right knee sprain
Kevin Jones (DET) - Knee injury
Erron Kinney (TEN) - Left calf strain
Steve McNair (TEN) - Bruised sternum, hospitalized
Jon Ritchie (PHI) - Left leg injury
L.J. Smith (PHI) - Shoulder injury
Peter Warrick (CIN) - Shin injury
Domanick Davis (HOU) - Sprained ankle
Marcus Robinson (MIN) - Hamstring
Talman Gardner (NO) - High ankle sprain
Ricky Dudley (TB) - Broken finger

Dearly Beloved

We assemble today not to mourn the passing of the west coast offense in San Francisco, but to celebrate it's long life. Always scoring at least something since 1977, for 412 games this offense was never shut out and always... 'sniff'... oh forget it. Not like the end hasn't been in sight for years now. Anyone up for Starbucks?

Moving to the other hand now

Terrell Owens has already made his acquisition seem a genius idea since he already has five touchdowns on the season. In other terms, in only three games he has caught as many touchdowns as all Eagle wideouts did in 2003. We now have 13 more weeks to be afraid, very afraid. Maybe make that 17 more weeks...

I suppose gravity is the next one to go

In a world of few absolutes, the one thing we could always rely on was that both the Chiefs and the Chargers would stick cardboard cutouts of superheroes in the ground in lieu of an actual defense and hope that opposing offenses would just run out of bounds (note - they never did). The Chiefs at home went against Domanick Davis who already had gained 157 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers this year. The Chargers already went against Quentin Griffin who had gained 157 yards and three touchdowns against the Chiefs this year (Six of one, half a dozen of the other. See how this is supposed to work?).

Instead, Griffin rumbled, bumbled and then fumbled for only 30 total yards. Davis rumbled, bumbled - but did not fumble finally - for only 27 yards. Has anyone see these two guys in the same room at the same time?

Remember the Titans

The season began with high hopes once Chris Brown had gained 100 yards by halftime against the Dolphins defense and the Titans took their first win on the road in an always (or so it seemed) tough venue in Miami. After two home games, the Titans are now 1-2 with two consecutive home losses. They only had one loss in Nashville during all of last season. Steve McNair has a bruised sternum as he did in 2000 when he missed a game and played in pain for several weeks which will affect the NFL's leading rushing QB over the past few years.

The Titans now have only one passing touchdown over their firs three games with an injured McNair and Calico still out. At this time last year, McNair already had five touchdowns and was preparing to throw three more in week four. Now they're looking up at the Jaguars who have a two game lead. Where's Coach Herman Boone when you need him?

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Rex Grossman 268 1 QB Steve McNair 143 0
RB Mike Cloud 12 1 RB Domanick Davis 27 0
RB Aaron Stecker 126 1 RB Quentin Griffin 30 0
WR Brandon Stokley 110 2 WR Derrick Mason 43 0
WR Randy Hymes 61 1 WR Jimmy Smith 58 0
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh 116 0 WR Larry Fitzgerald 37 0
PK John Carney 5 FG, 1 XP PK Jeff Wilkins

1 FG, 2 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 106

Huddle Fantasy Points = 28

Sunday's Couch Commentary

CHI 22, MIN 27 The Bears fall to 1-2 in the same way they have played all three games this season. Lot's of Thomas Jones, some decent defense overall and no real passing game. The Vikes go to 2-1 in their standard way. Lot's of Culpepper and Moss and some RB sprinkled in to keep them guessing. It either works or it doesn't. In MIN against the Bears, it works well enough. Thomas Jones is making one heck of a nice draft pick for a lot of people.
HOU 24, KC 21 If the Chiefs were a pick-up truck and you were riding in back, you could expect every so often feeling a bump and then seeing a wheel go careening off behind you. After three weeks, they're down to only one wheel left and they get to bring the worst defense in the NFL to meet Jamal Lewis in Baltimore. In week five they will be on bye after being towed on a flatbed truck back to KC. Domanick Davis found the best way not to fumble by watching Jonathan Wells do the running against the "bad mojo" Chiefs. David Carr and company was enough when it counted the most.
PHI 30, DET 13

The Lions finally lose a game and the bad news is that their entire offense revolves around the astounding ability of Roy Williams to make catches and touchdowns in traffic. The good news is that's one more great player than they had last year. Philly continues to make it look too easy while Owens took just a little extra pleasure in his 107 yards and a touchdown coming against his ex-coach Mariucci. The Lions may have lost and are going on their bye week but you can be pretty sure around headquarters there will still be plenty of "2-1, baby!" going around.

BAL 23, CIN 9 It was, finally, 2003 again with Jamal Lewis turning in 232 total yards and one touchdown as the Ravens throttled the Bengals. Carson Palmer had three interceptions and one lost fumble. He had almost three times the passing of Kyle Boller but not quite the running back or defense to do much on the scoreboard. No Heap, no Taylor, no problem. For as long as the Bengals wallowed in futility, they now seem to want to spend an equal number of years "about to turn the corner".
ARZ 3, ATL 6 Seven fumbles, one interception and 11 sacks total in the game. No offensive touchdowns. If Vick didn't finally have a 58 yard run, there would be no highlights from this game. The Cardinals still lose games, but they are not nearly as much fun to play against this season. This isn't even a good baseball score. Let's hope it does not infect the rest of the league.
JAX 15, TEN 12 They should have waited to play this game on Halloween since the results are terrifying to anyone who plays fantasy football. The Jaguars are now 3-0 and have never scored more than 15 points in any game this year. Only the Cardinals (0-3) and Dolphins (0-3) have also played three games and yet have less points scored than Jacksonville. Before you think there was a defensive bonanza here, realize that the Jaguars only forced one turnover and two sacks in the game. If JAX does this one more week (vs. IND), we'll have to stop inventing weekly excuses why they win. They'll need all the extra excuses over in TEN anyway.
NO 28, STL 25 OT Game-o-the-week Honorable Mention - Though they had not played in a few years, the Saints continue to have some wonderful matchup magic over the Rams. For once all those waiver wire hounds were still smiling on Sunday night if they grabbed Aaron Stecker and played him. The Rams are basically the same as they ever were except for that whole "endzone" thing. They are now the lite version of the Rams. All the same yardage but only half the scoring and none of the defense.
CLE 10, NYG 27 Warner looked good and the Giants committed no turnovers as they allowed the Browns to self-destruct. After the game, Jeff Garcia said " We had too many mistakes and penalties that erased positive plays. We had turnovers in bad situations. We never seemed to get anything headed in the right direction until much too late." That could be used to describe every game played by the Browns and likely their entire 2004 season. One of those all-purpose statements. It will likely appear on T-shirts by mid-season.
SD 13, DEN 23 When your quarterback has more receiving yards (38) than passing yards (19) during halftime, chances your team is not doing well (exception Baltimore). The Chargers sucked all the fun out of this game by somehow producing an actual rush defense and Quentin Griffin has now reintroduced the "I miss Clinton" contingent with his third consecutive game with a fumble. He had to hurry to lose the ball since he only had 12 carries. Tatum Bell was on the sideline in street clothes due to a rib bruise and kept applauding out of synch with the Denver fans whenever the Broncos had a running play. Hmm...
SF 0, SEA 34 Shaun Alexander, AKA "Mr. Goal Line", had another three scores and the Seahawks head into their bye week 3-0. Ken Dorsey lost two fumbles and two interceptions while Kevan Barlow only managed 22 yards on ten carries. The first shutout of the season but not necessarily the last one for the 49ers this year. If it's any consolation to the 49er fans, Todd Peterson attempted one field goal that actually hit the goal post and bounced back. Probably not much consolation though.
TB 20, OAK 30 The Bucs lost the game, lost Charlie Garner and lost the misconception that they are actually in games until down by 30-6. Literally all the yardage and scores came during trash time. Tyrone Wheatley managed to scare off every single fantasy owner after two weeks of nothingness and once it was determined that no one was relying on him, he turned in 105 yards and one touchdown. Thanks there, Ty.
PIT 13, MIA 3

The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution reads "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Once this game was delayed until 8:30 PM EST, it meant that everyone with NFL Sunday Ticket had the ability to watch it and thereby receive "cruel and unusual punishment" since the Miami offense did "excessively bail" on the game. In other news, this should be the last time the Dolphins are scheduled for prime time for a good while.

Game-O-The-Week

This was easily the best weekend of the season. Sure, we were forced to witness the ARZ-ATL snoozefest and the PIT-MIA game left us realizing "this is not really about the defense", but there were some great wins by the Saints, Seahawks, Vikings and Texans. One overtime game. Another won with less than ten seconds left in the game. We had nail-biters and blowouts and all the great things that we so love about the NFL. But there was only one game that left us all saying "Now THAT'S why I play fantasy football!"

Green Bay 31, Indianapolis 45

Witnessing this game was like suddenly discovering that you were skiing behind a speed boat. Whoa baby! Hang on!

The first five possessions in the game resulted in touchdown drives - all via passes of 28 to 79 yards long. The Packers and the Colts had already posted 35 total points and yet neither team had even gotten into field goal range yet. The game was only 11 minutes old. If you had stumbled on this after seeing the Arizona-Atlanta game, it was like watching Nickelodeon all afternoon and then suddenly discovering you get the Playboy Channel.

By halftime, the score was already 35-17 in favor of Indianapolis. Brett Favre had thrown for 205 yards and two scores while Peyton Manning had 320 yards and five touchdowns. In this season of running backs going nuts, there had only been a total of 56 yards rushing in the game so far and only seven yards belonged to Indy. If you had Manning, Walker, Favre, Harrison or Wayne, you were likely becoming light-headed and noticing your spouse was looking even more attractive. A little rudimentary math said 70-34 could be in the works, even if reason said it never happens that way. Then again, reason never tells us to expect 42 first half points. Forget reason, it's easy enough.

Game on, man!

The Packers took their first drive in the third quarter and marched down to a 12-yard touchdown pass to Javon Walker - his third in the game. The internet bogged down as everyone checked their leagues to see who had the winning lottery ticket this week. And then it happened. The Colts went three and out.

Then the Packers only reached the Colts 43-yard line and punted.

Then the Colts went into the fourth quarter on a drive that stalled at the Packer's 27-yard line and Vanderjagt kicked a field goal. Doh. No wait, I have Vanderjagt! Okay!

With the score 38-24. the Packers received the kickoff and Robert Ferguson returned it to the Colt's 22-yard line. This was not only favorable for the Packers, it also proved that Ferguson had made the plane trip because he had not actually caught a pass at that point. With about 13 minutes left to play, a False Start penalty pushed Green Bay back five yards so that the next play Favre could find Donald Driver for a 27-yard touchdown. The score was 38-31 and even with the slower pace, this was a treat to behold.

The n the Colts go three and out with 12 minutes left to play.

The Packers go five and out with 10:35 left to play.

The Colts go three and out with 8:29 to play.

Hmm... By this point, 69 points just wasn't enough. Who snuck defenses onto the field?

The Packers had four plays and Javon Walker gained six yards but then fumbled the ball. The Colts recovered on the Packer's 43-yard line. Come on! A little offense PLEASE!

Indy delivered, mixing the occasional pass to Reggie "I did it my" Wayne with clock chewing runs by Edgerrin James to finally score on a one yard TD plunge by James with just under two minutes left in the game. 45-31 and time enough for some Favre magic. Maybe the rare fourth score by Walker?

It was not to be. The Packers marched from their own 38-yard line to the Indianapolis 28-yard line but Brett Favre was on the sideline holding his hamstring. Doug Pedersen - who was benefiting no one except rare leagues with team quarterbacks - finally threw an interception with only 28 seconds left to play.

Game over.

Whew!

In a season with many twists and turns already, this was a game that delivered joy to the core of what fantasy football is all about - an unbridled, barely contested offensive war that generated fantasy points like a pinball machine. We've had enough of these defensive battles and sub-14 point games. This was what we all needed. A passing war, big points, multiple scores and smiles for everyone. It provided everything we need and desire in fantasy football except for one thing.

Another game just like this for every week of the season. Keep your fingers crossed and your duds on the bench.

Now get back to work...