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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 6
David M. Dorey
October 11, 2004
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Daunte Culpepper 422 5
Marc Bulger 334 4
David Carr 393 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Reuben Droughns 211 1
Tiki Barber 198 1
Edgerrin James 155 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Andre Johnson 170 2
Marcus Robinson 150 2
Randy Moss 90 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Eric Johnson 162 1
Antonio Gates 93 2
Ken Dilger 60 1
Placekickers XP FG
Steve Christie 2 4
Phil Dawson 2 3
Doug Brien 1 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Baltimore 2 3 2
Indianapolis 1 4 3
Detroit 0 6 4

Week 5 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Tim Carter (NYG) - Hip injury
Jay Fiedler (MIA) - Concussion
De'shaun Foster (CAR) - Broken collarbone
Olindo Mare (MIA) - Calf strain
Chris Simms (TB) - Shoulder injury
Roy Williams (DET) - Ankle injury
Antonio Bryant (DAL) - Leg injury
Corey Schlessinger (DET) - Hamstring injury

And cue the "Hallelujah Chorus"

After a brutally low scoring and almost boring week 4, the NFL made up for it in a big way this week with three overtime games and six teams that scored over 30 points. There was a 400 yard passer and a five touchdown quarterback. Reuben Droughns suddenly looks all-world and young gun Andre Johnson turned in incredible scoring catches. There was even a 162 yard receiver that was actually a tight end who was questionable to play this week.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Separate but Equal

In case your league still doesn't use tight ends as a separate starting position, you might want to reconsider that next year. This week saw tight ends continuing to make a bigger mark in offensive gameplans. Last year in week 5, there were only six touchdowns scored by the position. This year? Sunday saw 14 different tight ends catch touchdowns and Eric Johnson's 162 receiving yards was the second best of any player regardless of his position. There were only 22 wideouts with scores yesterday.

There were six different teams this weekend that had passing touchdowns that only went to tight ends. It's not about making your rosters bigger, it's about getting your fantasy team to score more.

Reserve the local sports bar seat now

We've seen two fantasy quarterbacks absolutely on fire so far this season. Peyton Manning has thrown 14 touchdowns already this season which is roughly on a pace for 45 scores this year. The record is 48 by Dan Marino. He's averaging about 280 passing yards per game. And Manning has to keep throwing those yards and scores too since the Colts defense has allowed over 20 points a game on average in 2004.

Then there's Daunte Culpepper who has also thrown for 14 touchdowns this year and has ran in two others himself. He's averaging about 335 passing yards a game. And he has to keep doing that since his defense is allowing about 28 points per game.

In one of those "wouldn't it be cool" moments, take a look at week nine this season. Yep - Culpepper packs his toothbrush and jersey and heads to Indianapolis for a game that could have an over/under in excess of the average IQ at MIT. Is this a great country or what? Oh, and in case you have plans that Sunday - it's the Monday night game.

Bring a calculator.

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB David Carr 393 2 QB Michael Vick 225 0
RB Reuben Droughns 193 1 RB Marshall Faulk 55 0
RB Mewelde Moore 182 0 RB Travis Henry 33 0
WR Marcus Robinson 150 2 WR Hines Ward 61 0
WR Derick Armstrong 101 1 WR Torry Holt 53 0
WR Shaun McDonald 76 1 WR Marvin Harrison 44 0
PK Steve Christie 4 FG 2 XP PK Sebastian Janikowski

2 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 144

Huddle Fantasy Points = 36

Sunday's Couch Commentary

NYG 26, DAL 10 At some point the NFL might have to take the 4-1 Giants serious this season. The Cowboys fall at home by finding a rushing game while losing their ability to pass. This proved non-optimal once they fell behind. Tiki Barber continues his ridiculous pace while HC Bill Parcells summed up the effort succinctly - "We're just stupid."
CAR 17, DEN 20 Reuben Droughns is the starting Denver back now (version 3.8) and becomes the free agent darling of the week. The Panthers discover that no Davis and no Foster means "no way" as they come up short with no fault to Julius Peppers who returned a fumble for 101 huffing-puffing yards until he was tackled on the one-yard line. For the record, Peppers ran for 38 more yards than all Carolina running backs combined.
OAK 14, IND 35

The Colts don't even look like they are trying hard. Peyton Manning only threw for 198 yards because he already had three touchdowns. The only unhappy Colt was Harrison with only 44 yards on the day but since Indianapolis won by three touchdowns, it's okay. Newsflash - Amos Zereoue really is just Amos Zereoue. He not only couldn't gain yardage, the Raiders allowed Justin Fargas to come in and score the touchdown on his only carry in the game.

MIA 10, NE 24 Now that they have the record 19th consecutive win, the Patriots can rest up on their bye week and start focusing on just winning all of them for forever. Brock Forsey, yet another Dolphin runner to waste your free agent bucks on gained 44 yards which is like 175 on a real offense. Miami had Fiedler go out with bruised ribs and two plays later Feeley joined him on the sideline with a concussion. Mare manages to hurt his calf right before the game which leads to one obvious question - how do they still get health insurance on their players? Salute the Patriots and grab the shovels for the Fins.
TB 20, NO 17 The Saints got McAllister back but even his 102 yards wasn't enough to stem the defeat to an 0-4 team. His fumble that was returned for a touchdown was enough to lose. Yes, the Saints were at home. Yes, the Bucs even lost their starting quarterback. But a win here would have allowed the Saints to rise above .500 and that just doesn't make sense for an "on again, off again" style of play. This now makes the second consecutive winless team that has beaten the Saints. Tampa Bay will determine next week's starting quarterback via a Yahtzee tournament that will be closed to the public.
CLE 23 , PIT 34 The Steelers rise to 4-1 on the season and this Roethlisberger kid is making everyone forget about Johnny... Bobby... Ronnie.. that old guy that came over from the XFL. You know. That guy. While every Suggs owner was left wondering "I waited all this time for that?", the Burress owners can safely start him now. Hope you did on Sunday. Less so for those Ward owners that were used to hogging everything. In other news, Andre Davis was actually sighted on Sunday wearing a uniform while holding a football in the endzone.
DET 17, ATL 10 Here was one of those "don't get too comfortable quite yet" games. The Falcons looked great on the road throttling the Panthers last week and this week allow the Lions to win on the road for the second straight time. Without Kevin Jones and eventually without Roy Williams. The only reason the Falcons had any touchdowns was because of a fake punt that worked. Warrick Dunn only gained 44 yards on 18 carries (2.4 YPC). T.J. Duckett was asked for his impression of the game but only replied "mmmphh" because he was inexplicably bound and gagged in the locker room the entire game. If this is some form of veteran hazing, it just doesn't make much sense. Then again, relying on Vick anymore doesn't either.
JAX 21, SD 34 "Don't get too comfortable yet - Part 2". The Chargers showed up with big offense against what had been the stingiest defense in the league. This is now all about LT and the TE Gates since they basically had all the scoring until LT re-aggravated his groin and let Jesse Chatman also score on the Jaguars. The once soft SD rush defense held Taylor to 64 yards mainly because the Jags fell behind 21 points in just over the first quarter. The Chargers are only one game out of first place in the AFC West and have scored more points this season than every team except for Indianapolis. You can tell if any of your co-workers read this since they, too, will have spit coffee out on their shirt.
BUF 14, NYJ 16 Very close game for teams that are 4-0 and 0-5. Tough Bills defense finally managed to hold Curtis Martin for "only" 77 yards and made Pennington actually throw the ball to win the game. He still only scored once with Chris Baker but at least the wideouts actually had catches this week. Lee Evans is specializing in catching only one pass per game but still making highlight films. Chin up, Bills fans - the Dolphins are coming to town this week!
BAL 17, WAS 10 In a wonderful replay of 2003, the Ravens win the game with a big rushing effort and two defensive touchdowns while Boller had 81 yards passing and three interceptions. Whatever compromising picture Boller must have of HC Billick has to be getting yellow and brittle by now. The Skins fall to 1-4 by failing to produce any offensive play over 14 yards. Bet that fantasy league trade for Gardner looks less appealing now. Portis is inching closer to the sub-2.0 YPC while Jamal Lewis is just like, you know, taking a personal vacation for the next three weeks. Let's hope he doesn't bump into Ricky Williams.

Game-O-The-Week

It was an incredible weekend for the NFL, starting out with the most terrifying of all events. The power to my house went out 45 minutes before the first kick-off and did not come back on until an hour after the games began. It was the longest two hours of my life. It was worth the wait.

There were three overtime games yesterday - three of them! And not one of those 10-10 "wake up it's never ending" games, but two were knotted at 28-28 and one was 27-27. That's three games that combined for 164 points during regulation play. I am very happy to report that this week is the first ever with not one, not two, but three Game-of-the-weeks. All special in their own way (which principally was scoring like nuts).

Arizona 28, San Francisco 31
Coming out of halftime, the Cardinals had a 14-6 lead and Eric Johnson only had 46 yards on four catches. Josh McCown already had his first touchdown pass to Freddie Jones. After trading series, the Cardinals punted to the 49er 29-yard line where Arnaz Battle proceeded to return said punt 71 yards for a touchdown. The two point conversion failed because they almost always do and the score was 14-12.

The game continued unabated by actual scoring until three minutes into the fourth quarter when Emmitt Smith ran for 10 yards and scored. The Cards went up 21-12. All was lost. The 49ers could do nothing with the ball and punted and the Cardinals used Emmitt Smith and Troy Hambrick to reach the 49er 24-yard line. Then Larry Fitzgerald - the guy that had everyone salivating in the draft but has never done anything - actually did something. He caught a 24-yard touchdown that pushed to score up to an impossible 28-12 margin over the 49ers. All was really lost.

With eight minutes left to play, Tim Rattay used a 15 play drive with 14 passes to reach the Cards 6-yard line where he hit Eric Johnson for a score. They try for the mythical two point conversion and Rattay runs it in! 28-20 and with 4:30 left to play, maybe something was happening here.

The Cardinals, knowing that they had to chew up the clock, run Hambrick once and then throw an incomplete and one toss to Hambrick that falls short of a first down. They punt.

With only 2:48 left to play, Rattay takes over on his 28-yard line and uses secret weapon Eric Johnson to help reach the Cards 23-yard line with 1:07 left to play. Then he pulls out his truly secret weapon - Brandon Lloyd - and hits him for a touchdown! Going for the two point conversion was mandatory and, now that Brandon Lloyd was alive again, he caught that too for a 28-28 tie!

After burning out the regulation clock, overtime began in a near poetic manner. You see, the 49ers best defensive player is Julian Peterson and he had already torn his Achilles tendon. Likely out for the year. But he limps out to midfield for the coin toss. In pain, nothing to gain at a time most players would be cussing and calling their agent to check their contract, he limped out and helped win the coin toss. There wasn't a dry eye in the stadium (well, at least not in this room anyway).

Nine plays later, the 49ers kick a 32-yard field goal for the 31-28 win. Thumbs up for the 49ers and particularly Mr. Peterson. Plus they might not win another, so it carried even more meaning.

Minnesota 34, Houston 28
How could you not love a game that produced four of the top six receivers in week five?

Entering the fourth quarter, the Vikings led comfortably at 21-7 and had led 21-0 at one point. Randy Moss, Nate Burleson and Marcus Robinson had already scored touchdowns. Andre Johnson had already snagged a beautiful score in the third quarter to make the game look respectable.

When the fourth quarter opened, the Texans were on their own 42-yard line thanks mostly to a tripping call on the Vikings during the punt. Then David Carr only needed six passes to reach the MIN 4-yard line where Domanick Davis had two runs before scoring, finally, and producing some fantasy value. At 21-14, it looked like a game again.

After trading punts, the Vikings were on mid-field with seven minutes left to play when Culpepper noticed Randy Moss running in front of two defenders and threw him the ball for a 50-yard touchdown. Back to 28-14, the game looked out of reach again. Back to some Mewelde Moore runs to kill the clock.

But the Texans got a great return on the kickoff and from their own 42-yard line, took the clock down to 3:15 and fourth down and goal to go on the 11-yard line when Carr threads the needle over the middle to Derick Armstrong. It was 28-21 and mainly it was nice to see a game offer fantasy values all over the place.

But all those Moore runs were not enough since he only gained six yards over three plays and the punt was returned to the MIN 42-yard line with 2:21 left to play. After two passes to Armstrong reached the MIN 22-yard line, Carr once again found Andre Johnson for his second touchdown with two minutes left to play. 28-28! Tie game!

After regulation expired and the Vikings had one fruitless drive in overtime, the Texans were unable to move the ball and punted to the Vikings 19-yard line. Culpepper ran it, then threw a pass to Robinson and then to Moore. At midfield, he threw to Robinson on a post pattern and Robinson dropped the certain winning score. On second down, Culpepper was sacked and on third down, the Texans had forgotten all about that Robinson post pattern because from midfield, on the exact same route, Robinson caught the ball in stride and scored.

34-28 and the fantasy world stood to applaud.

St. Louis 33, Seattle 27
As if those two games were not great enough, the Seahawks led the Rams 24-7 at halftime and that game looked over. Time to feed Alexander, stick a stamp on the envelope and get this game over. The Rams only pulled to within 24-10 by the fourth quarter. Remember too, these Seahawks never lost at home last year. These Rams win all too rarely on the road. Done deal it appeared.

On their first drive, the Seahawks managed to "yawn" go down and kick a field goal just in case things got interesting (as if). Down 27-10 with only eight minutes left to play, the Rams needed to pretty much double their output from the previous three quarters but only had one quarter in which to use.

A nice drive from their 34-yard line down to the SEA 8-yard line took only seven plays thanks to two long completions to Bruce and McDonald. On second and eight, Bulger hit Brandon Manumaleuna over the middle in the endzone surrounded by three defenders who were all just a tad shorter than Brandon. 27- 17 was a much more respectable score but it did not end there.

The Seahawks ran Alexander three times for nine yards and punted to that pesky Shaun McDonald who returned it 39 yards to the SEA 30-yard line with 3:51 left to play. On the next play, Bulger finds a streaking Kevin Curtis for the touchdown and at 24-27, this was definitely a game that had the attention of the Seahawks suddenly.

After four plays, the Seahawks punted to the Rams 36-yard line with only 1:14 left to play. Then Bulger finds Isaac Bruce for 27 yards. He spikes the ball. Then Bulger runs to the Seattle 34-yard line and then with only 18 seconds left to play, Bulger throws to Dane Looker at the Seattle 18-yard line where Wilkins ties the game 27-27 with only 13 seconds left to play.

This was truly an exciting, improbable development for a team that led 27-10 seemingly only minutes before. The Rams won the coin toss and starting on their own 29-yard line, Bulger finally found Tory Holt for a 13 yard gain for a fresh set of downs on the STL 46-yard line. Faulk only gained five yards and then Jackson lost three yards. On third and eight, Bulger finds that PESKY SHAUN MCDONALD on a very nicely thrown deep slant and McDonald covers 52 yards for the score and wild ending. Too bad it wasn't at home.

Three big point overtime games. Two were won by the road teams and two were the underdogs in the game. It was a great weekend and if it makes the difference, I'll cut the power out to my home for an hour next week again. We saw some great comebacks and every team scored at least one touchdown. The Patriots keep winning and the Lions did too. Even the 49ers did. The Ravens need no offense to win and will find out how true that is with Lewis gone.

The season is starting to turn now and we still have three undefeated teams. There's a lot of football left to play and nothing is in concrete yet. Except for two things - throw to your tight end and above all else, win the overtime coin toss.

Now get back to work...