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Tunnel Vision - Week 5
David M. Dorey
October 4, 2004
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Billy Volek 295 2
Tom Brady 300 2
Tim Rattay 299 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Tiki Barber 196 1
Amos Zereoue 134 2
LaDainian Tomlinson 160 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Reche Caldwell 130 1
Eric Moulds 126 1
Andre Johnson 115 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jeremy Shockey 74 1
Antonio Gates 57 1
Eric Johnson 113 0
Placekickers XP FG
David Akers 1 4
Kris Brown 3 3
Jason Elam 1 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Jets 1 4 4
Patriots 1 7 2
Texans 1 1 5

Week 4 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

After last week, this is delightfully short.

Brett Favre (GB) - Concussion
Bethel Johnson (NE) - Unspecified injury
Tyrone Wheatley (OAK) - Shoulder injury
Warrick Dunn (ATL) - Hamstring
Drew Brees (SD) - Shoulder injury
Tyrone Calico (TEN) - Knee sprain

Where, oh where, has my endzone gone?

Scores are still down which should lead most leagues to adopting reception points just as a way to get some good league games each week. There were only five quarterbacks able to score a measly two touchdowns or more yesterday - Manning and Brady are no surprises but Volek, Rattay and Brees? Last year there were 13 quarterbacks in week four with the double up. Ouch.

It gets worse.

In 2003 - week 4, there were three receivers with more than one score - Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss and Chad Johnson. How hard is that to forecast?

In 2004 - week 4, there were no receivers with more than one score.

In fact, there were only 13 receivers that had one touchdown and that included the less-known (if never started) wideouts of Reche Caldwell, Michael Clayton, Rashaun Woods and Shaun McDonald. In 2004, there were 23 wideouts with at least one touchdown. In fact, overall for week four, 2003 had 24 rushing touchdowns and 41 passing scores. In 2004, we're down to only 21 rushing scores and 25 passing scores - almost 20 touchdowns in one week. What happened? Well, one difference was that there were 21 lost fumbles yesterday compared to only 14 last year.

Take heart - cream rises to the top and the best players will again be the highest scorers. It just takes longer when free agency keeps stirring the pot.

The game scores will return as well since yesterday only had four teams capable of scoring more than 30 points - Arizona, San Diego, Houston and New England. When the highest scorers for the week include the Cardinals, Chargers and Texans, you just know that whole apocalypse thing must be brewing. What's next? A volcano going off in the... never mind. Packing as we speak.

I've been pacing myself

After 10 seasons and at the age of 32, Isaac Bruce has now set an NFL record by starting the season with four consecutive 100+ yard games. Not bad considering he only had two last season. He only had two in 2002 as well. Evidently Bruce has no place on the AARP mailing list.

Yeah baby! Lambeau! I'm the... We're the man!

The New York Giants beat Green Bay 14-7, but at least one player is likely less to be whooping in joy and instead is just smiling and giving a thumbs up. Steve Christie made both his extra points but missed all three field goal attempts from 30, 33 and 49 yards out. But we won guys! Huh! Right?

It's not so hard really, it's all the other ones that'll get you

The Patriots have won a record tying 18 games in a row and on Sunday host the Dolphins to net the 19th (which is pretty ironic since they actually hold the record). Who was it that last beat the mighty Patriots? Steve Spurrier's Redskins of course, using the two headed rushing attack of Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright to take the 20-17 win while Brady self-destructed for three interceptions that day. The Redskins only managed to win two more of their remaining 12 games in 2003. Not a lot of hooks on that wall, but week five was the one to hang their hat on.

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Billy Volek 295 2 QB Chad Pennington 143 0
RB Amos Zereoue 134 2 RB Chris Brown 70 0
RB Jonathan Wells 133 1 RB Thomas Jones 72 0
WR Reche Caldwell 130 1 WR Chad Johnson 54 0
WR David Patten 113 1 WR Joe Horn 47 0
WR Michael Clayton 91 1 WR Santana Moss 17 0
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 4 XP PK Ryan Longwell

1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 130

Huddle Fantasy Points = 32

Well, heck - that's a lot easier. Why didn't I think of this before?

After playing in 215 games and scoring 158 rushing touchdowns and 11 receiving touchdowns, Emmitt Smith finally stopped on a sweep against the Saints and threw his first ever NFL touchdown pass to noted wideout Obafemi Ayanbadejo for a 21-yard score against the Saints. He was congratulated by the entire Cardinals squad after the feat except for QB Josh McCown since he, you know, like hasn't thrown one yet this year.

Sunday's Couch Commentary

PHI 19, CHI 9 The Eagles rise up to 4-0 on the season with a fairly easy win over the bumbling bears. At this rate there will be a cut away to commercial and when it returns to the game, Terrell Owens will still be doing stomach crunches since he's doing one for every touchdown this season when he scores. We've been wondering what the Bears would be like without an effective Thomas Jones and now we know - it does not include the endzone. Akers kicked four field goals all from between 40 and 52 yards. That'll help win a fantasy game.
WAS 13, CLE 17

The Gibbs-a-rama is starting to look suspiciously like the old Spurrier model only with less scoring and yardage. While he was successful in NASCAR and started this year with buying a top of the line speedster in Portis, maybe it is easier with car racing when there's no one in the way and you only have to turn left. The Browns are now 2-2 which is not a losing record. After spending the last couple of weeks playing the guessing game, Lee Suggs finally did play in a game and rushed 22 times for 82 yards and a touchdown. Cleveland won the game. The Brown's staff would like to personally thank William Green for his involvement this season and wish him the best of luck with whatever it is he will do with his time now.

NYG 14, GB 7

The Giants are 3-1 and that makes them the fourth best record in the NFC behind only Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle. And there are no other 3-1 teams. Tiki Barber rushed for 182 yards while Ahman Green could only eke out 58 yards on 15 carries. The Packers lost Favre later in the game due to a concussion and the lone touchdown came when Favre ran back onto the field on fourth down and found Javon Walker for a 28-yard score while still concussed. That's one very good autopilot he has. Unfortunately, the rest of the team doesn't have one and have dropped their last three games including two at Lambeau field. That scorching of Carolina seems long ago now.

OAK 17, HOU 30 The Texans have their first two consecutive wins in franchise history, deciding to let the easy games against the Chargers and Lions go past and instead take down the Chiefs and Raiders. Now Carr can get his hair cut and Domanick Davis can wonder why Jonathan Wells looked do good replacing him for a week. The Raiders discovered that Kerry Collins is really good at losing the ball (five times) and that Amos Zereoue has a whole other gear than Wheatley does. Question is if he gets to reach the necessary open field to shift up again.
IND 24, JAX 17 Okay, so when the highest-scoring offense meets the stingiest defense, we now know it means Peyton Manning can still complete 69% of his passes for two scores and Edgerrin James can still gain four yards per carry and score once. Of course that terrible Colts defense gave up over 400 yards of offense to JAX, but hey - consider Peyton as good at tit-for-tat with Manning always getting that final "tat". Note to league - Stokley is not your run of the mill #3 receiver.
CIN 17, PIT 28 While Palmer is the starter, several team mates can't help but notice that Jon Kitna is rotting away after a great 2003 season. Palmer now has three touchdowns against seven interceptions and that's one score against six picks in the last three games. Chad Johnson is on a pace for four touchdowns this year and the Bengals either get better or decide what to do with that top 10 draft pick yet again this year. The Steelers Roethlisberger didn't do great things, but he did nothing bad and against the Palmer-led Bengals, that's enough these days.
NO 10, ARZ 34 When Emmitt Smith runs for more yardage (127) than any other game in the last three years, you have to know the Saints defense is not getting the job done. The trap in the desert has once again been sprung and Brook's fumble at the one-yard line on the very first series was only a precursor of what to expect. Now at 1-3, the Cardinals finally get a breath of fresh air since they finally climb out of the cellar of the NFC West. Evidently that whole "Stecker - McAllister, same same" notion was very wrong.
ATL 27, CAR 10 The NFC champs from last year are now 1-2 and left scratching their heads how they managed to lose both their home games with road trips to Denver and Philadelphia up next. The Panthers have a great front line unless they are actually at home where they could not stop Ahman Green or Warrick Dunn. When Dunn went out, they couldn't even stop T.J. Duckett. Atlanta now faces opponents of Detroit, San Diego and Kansas City and this undefeated stuff is not likely over quite yet.
DEN 16, TB 13 On the plus side, at least Miami has scored less points than the Buccaneers. This concludes our good news about Tampa Bay. Denver takes the boring win while Shanahan plays the RB cup game. What's under here? Is it Griff - nope! It Droughns! One more time, is it Bel.. nope! It's Griffin. Hey, where you going?
TEN 17, SD 38 Only now can we safely say that McNair is not going to play, the Chargers new found rush defense sucks for fantasy purposes and Tomlinson is not only enough to win some games, but when Brees throws three scores there's just no beating the Chargers. Tennessee falls to 1-3 and joins Carolina in reminiscing about the good old days of 2003.
STL 24, SF 14 The Rams were up 24-0 at the half and the 49ers had only 95 yards of offense and no points. More stuff happened evidently, but no one was watching it anymore. Rattay threw for 230 yards and two scores while everyone was watching other channels and if there's one thing that fantasy football has done, it's make trash time relevant and interesting. Faulk and Jackson combined for 194 yards and one score and they'll likely wish they saved some of that for this Sunday against the Seahawks.
NYJ 17, MIA 9

Drawing line through A.J. Feeley. Drawing line through Jay Fielder. Okay, who else ya got? Leonard Henry brought the stands to their feet with his 53 yard run and then made their butts hurt while they sat there the rest of the game and watched him gain 32 yards on 17 other carries. Fiedler lost two fumbles and two interceptions which on the season now gives him zero touchdowns and seven turnovers. Miami has only scored two touchdowns in four games this season and head off to New England. This is like asking an alcoholic to talk about his problems over a few beers. Memo to Curtis Martin - thanks for all the points but stop killing the passing game.


This was a down week in the NFL with 17 teams failing to score even 20 points and five games pitting two opponents against each other and neither scoring 20 points. Bring back the old Rams! Bring back the 49ers of the 90's! Defense may win championships but does it have to win all the games up until that point? There were only three teams favored at home on Sunday - the Packers, Steelers and Panthers. Only the Steelers won. If the early games weren't surprising enough, the afternoon not only had Arizona and San Diego win, but they did it easily against quality opponents.

There were no overtime games this week - amazing considering no one is scoring much - and there were no last second wins. No big comebacks. No amazing performances from players, at least not ones you likely started for the week.The game of the week is appropriate because it mirrored the play yesterday. It looked like a game, it sounded like a game. There were even points just like a game but in the end, it wasn't really a game.

New England 31, Buffalo 17

The last time the Patriots played in Buffalo was week one last year when they were decimated 31-0. They only lost one other game all year. By halftime this Sunday, the teams were tied 17-17 and the score held through an unproductive third quarter as well. Could this be the big battle for the week? The Super Bowl champs on the road getting challenged by the winless Bills? It almost made sense and it almost made for great drama. Almost.

When the third quarter ended, the Patriots were on the move and had reached the Bills 33-yard line when they changed ends of the field. After one run by Dillon and two rushes by Patrick Pass, the Patriots settled for the field goal at the BUF 13-yard line after an incompletion forced fourth down. Adam Vinatieri hit the 31 yarder but the Bills were offsides - first down! The Cardinal rule is never take points off the scoreboard but in this stalemate the worst New England would get is wear some time off the clock and rekick a shorter field goal. The best they could get was the touchdown pass to Daniel Graham two plays later to take the lead 24-17.

After both teams had three downs and punted, the Bills took over on their own 19-yard line with an ample 7:57 left to play. Bledsoe started moving the team. The tying score was in sight. They mixed in Henry runs with passes to Eric Moulds to reach the Patriots 16-yard line with three minutes left to play. On third and two, Henry lost a yard. On fourth down and behind by seven points, the Bills decided to go for it instead of taking the field goal (had the Pats kicked a field goal before on their last scoring drive, the Bills would have tied the game here. See how important offsides can really be?).

On fourth and three, Bledsoe dropped back and discovered two Patriot defenders dropping back with him. He was hit - he fumbled! And Richard Seymour scooped up the ball and rumbled for 68 yards to put the game, and our hopes of a close matchup, woefully out of reach with the Patriots lead increased to 31-17.

The Bills were unable to score again in the final two minutes, ending on a pass incompletion on fourth down at the Patriot 27-yard line.

It was that sort of week. There were some upsets but by teams you might have never guessed. Multiple scores were almost non-existent and defense ruled the day. Emmitt threw his first NFL touchdown, the Pats tied the record for consecutive wins and Isaac Bruce continues to delight one team owner in every league.

Take heart if your fantasy team lost though. The Vikings and Seahawks return this week and face Houston and St. Louis respectively. Kansas City, Cincinnati and Chicago get a merciful bye week and about all we'll really miss is Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb. Almost no players were hurt this week and the season is only a quarter done. Plenty left to play and plenty left to win.

Just make sure you're not offsides.

Now get back to work...