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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

IDP Report - Week 3
Brent Clement
September 22, 2005

Atlanta @ Buffalo

Atlanta fresh off its opening night win over Philadelphia was sky high with confidence, and figured to easily dismantle Seattle. But that is why you play the game, as Seattle took a big lead into the fourth quarter, then QB Michael Vick left the game with a hamstring injury. The Atlanta backup QB led a valiant comeback, but came up short as Seattle held on in the closing seconds to secure the victory. The Atlanta Defense which held McNabb and Owens in check all night had no answers for Seattle RB Shaun Alexander and the slew of WR’s that were open for most of the afternoon. Buffalo was also coming off an opening day victory, but its defense couldn’t stop Carnell Williams and the TB rushing attack, and had to settle for a 1-1 start to its season.

Atlanta QB Michael Vick plans on playing even if he doesn’t practice this week, and most certainly will be limited with the pulled hamstring. Coach Mora will be cautious with his franchise player vs. the Bills this Sunday. Expect a conservative game as both teams will look for their rushing attack to leads its team to victory. Whichever team runs the ball and stops the run the best is going to win its 2nd game of the season. Expect both teams LB’s to score plenty even though this is expected to be a speedy game with few clock stoppages because of each teams gameplan is to run, run, and then run some more.

Best Bets – Atlanta – LB Keith Brooking - Buffalo – LB Takeo Spikes

Solid plays – Atlanta – DL Patrick Kerney - Buffalo - LB London Fletcher

Others to Consider – Atlanta – LB Demorrio Williams - Buffalo – DB Terrance McGee

Carolina @ Miami

Carolina showed its true colors last Sunday with a victory over the defending Super Bowl Champs, the New England Patriots. Carolina without standout DL Kris Jenkins, still held Pats RB Cory Dillon to 36 yards on 14 carries, and forced QB Tom Brady to beat them. He couldn’t and the Panthers picked up their first win of the season. Miami coming off a shocking opening day win over the Denver Broncos, came crashing back to earth vs. the NY Jets in Week 2. Dolphins LB Junior Seau had an impressive game with 10 solo tackles, 2 assists and a sack, but it wasn’t enough to keep Pennington and his troops out of the end zone not once but twice.

Carolina may find it hard to move the ball on the stingy Dolphins defense early on, but the Miami offense will force its defense to play extended minutes due to their ineffectiveness. Carolina LB Dan Morgan was not listed this week after 2 poor performances in a row, and must prove the fat contract he signed in the off season hasn’t taken his hunger to swap paint with opposing offense‘s.

Best Bets – Carolina – LB Will Witherspoon - Miami – LB Zach Thomas

Solid plays – Carolina – DL Julius Peppers - Miami – DL Jason Taylor

Others to Consider – Carolina – DL Mike Rucker - Miami – DB Lance Schulters

Cincinnati @ Chicago

Impressive is the best way to describe both Cincinnati and Chicago in week 2. Both teams defense shut down high powered offenses, the Vikings and Lions respectfully. Cincinnati forced Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper into 5 interceptions and RB Michael Bennett into two lost fumbles in their 37-8 route. Chicago scored on special teams and DB Mike Brown returned an interception for a TD in the Bears improbable 38-6 victory.

One of these two teams will prove to be a pretender, and that will be the Chicago Bears. As good as Chicago is playing on defense, its offense will have its hands full with the Bengal’s defensive front 7. Expect this game to be decided before the 4th quarter and the Bears LBs to mop up tackles vs. Rudi Johnson as the Bengal’s salt the clock down the stretch.

Best Bets – Cincinnati – LB Odell Thurman - Chicago – LB Brian Urlacher

Solid plays – Cincinnati – DL Justin Smith - Chicago – DB Mike Brown

Others to Consider – Cincinnati –LB Brian Simmons - Chicago - LB Lance Briggs

Cleveland @ Indianapolis

The Cleveland Browns are another prime example of last weeks crazy weekend. The Browns gave coach Romeo Crennel his NFL first victory as a head coach by waltzing into Lambeau Field and taking it to the punchless Green Bay Packers. Favre had a nice day from a fantasy perspective, but threw 2 costly interceptions and the Browns held on for the 26-24 victory. Indianapolis has done the unthinkable, won with defense while its offense sputtered all after noon against the fierce Jacksonville defense. Manning was held without a TD pass, and the unlikely hero of the game was 3rd string RB Ran Carthon, who scored the only TD of the day, in the Colts 10-3 win.

Manning should be able to score at will on the Browns defense this week and this could turn into a laugher by halftime. Look for Cleveland LB Andra Davis to have another stellar game, and for the Colts to sit their starters midway through the 4th quarter of this contest.

Best Bets – Cleveland – LB Andra Davis - Indianapolis – DL Dwight Freeney

Solid plays – Cleveland – LB Kenard Lang - Indianapolis – LB Gary Brackett, LB Cato June

Others to Consider – Cleveland – DB Chris Crocker - Indianapolis – DB Bob Sanders

Jacksonville @ NY Jets

Jacksonville has 2 key ingredients to succeed, a stout defense and a fearless QB. QB Byron Leftwich was sandwiched near his own goal line in a scary looking tackle, that he fumbled and one of his OL later recovered. Leftwich amazingly stayed in the game, and led his offense all the way down to the Colts 22 yard line before the clock expired on him and the Jags. NY looked to rebound from the fumble fest of week 1, and did so by defeating the Miami Dolphins. Pennington still can’t seem to handle the center to QB exchange with regularity, but was able to muster up 2 TD scoring drives to even the Jets record at 1-1.

In what should be a defensive battle, the Jets may be without hobbled RB Curtis Martin, though he is likely to suit up and at least start the game. Jags QB Byron Leftwich certainly isn’t 100% after last weeks game, but also should play. Both defenses will have to be on top of their game to give their team a chance to win. Expect both teams MLB to be active all after noon, and both DL should have their fair share of tackles and sack opportunities.

Best Bets – Jacksonville – LB Mike Peterson - NY Jets – LB Jonathon Vilma

Solid plays – Jacksonville – DL John Henderson - NY Jets – LB Eric Barton

Others to Consider – Jacksonville – DL Marcus Stroud - NY Jets – DL John Abraham

New Orleans @ Minnesota

In what Saints coach Jim Haslett is calling a joke of a home field advantage in Giants Stadium last, his team did however turn the ball over 6 times in defeat. The Saints in week 1, played off emotion of the recent events in their home town. In week 2, they couldn’t get out of their own way long enough to be productive. Those in Minnesota who said the Vikings would be better because of addition by subtraction of Randy Moss, couldn’t be more wrong. Ask Daunte Culpepper if he minds all the forced throws he sent Moss’s way now, when he has less talented WR’s attempting to make a play on a contested pass.

The Vikings are not this bad, and the Saints will have trouble keeping its focus in the noisy Metrodome. The Vikings look to be without #1 WR Nate Burleson, but speedy rookie Troy Williamson is likely to step into the starting lineup to give Culpepper a vertical threat the team has lacked since Moss’s departure. Look for the both teams secondary to be tested, and a bulk of fantasy points should come from each teams defensive backfields.

Best Bets – New Orleans –DL Charles Grant, - Minnesota – LB EJ. Henderson

Solid plays – New Orleans – LB Courtney Watson, DL Will Smith - Minnesota- DB Cory Chavous

Others to Consider – New Orleans – DB Jay Bellamy - Minnesota – DB Antoine Winfield

Oakland @ Philadelphia

Oakland is coming off a narrow defeat to the KC Chiefs, but did get some things accomplished in week 2 on defense. First off they found their stud LB of the future Kirk Morrison, and second they were able to hold the chiefs incredible rushing attack to 125 yards on 36 carries, while holding Trent Green and his WR’s out of the end zone. Philadelphia dismantled the 49ers 42-3, and its defense wasn’t on the field often enough to rack up many statistics.

This has the makings of a shoot-out if the Raiders do not shoot themselves in the foot with penalties on offense. Moss, Porter and Jordan could have huge games if Collins is able to expose the Eagles defense when they come on the blitz. Philadelphia should have no problems scoring points on the Raiders defense. Neither team figures to run the ball anymore than 25% of the time, so this could also be a long game, with many clock stoppages on pass incompletions.

Best Bets – Oakland – LB Danny Clark - Philadelphia – LB Jeremiah Trotter

Solid plays – Oakland – LB Kirk Morrison - Philadelphia – DB Brian Dawkins

Others to Consider – Oakland – DB Derrick Gibson - Philadelphia – DB Michael Lewis

Tampa Bay @ Green Bay

What a start for Tampa Bay and RB Carnell Williams thus far this season. Williams put up 100 yards and a TD vs. the Vikings on opening weekend, then a more impressive 128 yards and a touchdown on what some consider is the best defense in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills… Green Bay on the other hand has been pitiful in its first 2 games. Their last, a 26-24 loss to Cleveland at home has to be an embarrassment to QB Brett Favre who came back another year hoping to get back to the Super Bowl.

Tampa should continue their winning streak and Williams should have his 3rd 100 yard game and a touchdown in as many games. Green Bay is awful on defense and the Bucs will force Brett Favre into mistakes. DB Ronde Barber may just turn one of those mistakes into a defensive touchdown for the Bucs.

Best Bets – Tampa Bay – LB Derrick Thomas - Green Bay – LB Nick Barnett

Solid plays – Tampa Bay – DB Ronde Barber - Green Bay – DB Mark Roman

Others to Consider – Tampa Bay –LB Shelton Quarels - Green Bay DL K. Gbaja-Biamila

Tennessee @ St Louis

Someone forgot to tell Tennessee that Baltimore was supposed to be a playoff team, and Raven RB Jamal Lewis was suppose to have a huge game vs. the Titans defense. Tennessee looked like the team of 5 years ago, stopping the run, and forcing backup QB Anthony Wright to beat them, which he wasn’t able to do. St Louis flirted with disaster for a second week in a row, and almost let another inferior team beat them.

Tennessee has a great pair of LBs in all-pro Keith Bullock and Brad Kassell. Both expect to see a lot of action this week vs. RB Steven Jackson and the Rams rushing attack. St Louis is looking for an identity on defense after losing their best cornerback to IR before the season began. DL Leonard Little is carrying the defense thus far and the Rams will need someone else to step up if they are to improve their record to 2-1.

Best Bets – Tennessee –LB Keith Bullock - St Louis – DL Leonard Little

Solid plays – Tennessee – LB Brad Kassell - St Louis – DB Adam Archuletta

Others to Consider – Tennessee – DL Kyle Vanden Bosch - St Louis – LB Pisa Tinoisamoa

Arizona @ Seattle

In a strange chain of events that saw Arizona QB Kurt Warner elect to not spike the ball deep in Rams territory as the clock was running out in their game vs. his former team. He instead tried to run a play with 7 seconds left. One of his OL jumped the snap and that penalty in the last 2 minutes of a game, is 5 yards and a 10 second run off of the clock. Considering there were only 7 seconds left, the game was over as a result of the penalty. Seattle on the other hand was impressive in their win over Atlanta and evened their record at 1-1.

Seattle is looking to string two victories in a row and give themselves a lead in the division, while the Cardinals are looking for their first win of the season. Look for both offense’s to be clicking and both teams defense to give up huge chunks of yards and points all afternoon. Start your DB’s in this contest.

Best Bets – Arizona – DB Adrian Wilson - Seattle – DB Michael Bouleware

Solid plays – Arizona – LB Karlos Dansby - Seattle – LB Jamie Sharper

Others to Consider – Arizona – DL Bert Berry - Seattle – LB Lofa Tatupu

Dallas @ San Francisco

Dallas is coming off its first loss in 10 years to the Redskins at home, and its coach Bill Parcells first loss in 77 games while leading after 3 quarters by 13 pts or more. San Francisco was embarrassed a week ago at Philly, and their LB Julian Peterson has already guaranteed a victory vs. the Cowboys this Sunday.

Its going to be interesting to see how the Cowboys regroup after their improbable loss in the last 3 minutes of last weeks game to the Redskins after dominating the game for the first 56 minutes. The 49ers should be up to the challenge this week to host the Cowboys, but may not have the weapons to pull out the victory. San Francisco LB Julian Peterson expects to have a nice afternoon after declaring victory on Tuesday before the game. But a player to keep an eye on is Dallas SS Roy Williams. He is taking a beating from the press in Big D after getting burned not once, but twice by Redskins WR Santana Moss last Monday night. Williams is a run stuffing SS, and not a ball hawk FS, but the Cowboys put him in that predicament not expecting the Skins to go for the bomb on 4th and 15, and then again on 1st and 10 with 2 and a half minutes remaining in the game on the 2nd TD.

Best Bets – Dallas – DB Roy Williams - San Francisco – LB Julian Peterson

Solid plays – Dallas – LB Dat Nguyen - San Francisco – LB Derek Smith

Others to Consider – Dallas – DB Anthony Henry - San Francisco – DB Ahmad Plummer

New England @ Pittsburgh

New England had an uncharacteristic afternoon in Carolina a week ago. They first allowed Panthers RB Stephen Davis to score 3 touchdowns and they also gave up huge plays on special teams that sealed their fate in their first loss of the season. Pittsburgh on the other hand is on cruise control right now. Big Ben is now 15-0 as a starter in the regular season and it doesn’t seem to matter who they hand the ball off to, their running game isn’t missing a beat without Duce Staley or Jerome Bettis.

In what is a rematch of last seasons AFC Championship game, the Steelers look to turn the tables this time around. New England on defense looks porous vs. the run, and have given up big plays or penalties when teams test them deep with the pass. Look for this trend to continue and they lose 2 straight. DB Troy Polamalu figures to have a big game blitzing Brady, stopping the run, and breaking up passes in the secondary.

Best Bets – New England – DB Rodney Harrison - Pittsburgh – LB James Farrior

Solid plays – New England – LB Monty Beisel - Pittsburgh – DB Troy Polamalu

Others to Consider – New England – DL Richard Seymour - Pittsburgh – DL Clark Haggans

NY Giants @ San Diego

The Giants are one of the surprise 2-0 teams thus far. DE Michael Strahan has lost 20 LBs and looks faster rushing the QB and running down opposing RBs. But the most impressive player on the Giants defense is MLB Antonio Pierce. Pierce is averaging 8 tackles and an assist per contest through his first 2 games. San Diego is just as surprising, 0-2, to start their season. For a team that went 12-4 a year ago, expectations were sky high. This is definitely not what the team had hoped for early on.

Look for the Chargers to get their first victory of the season and LB Donnie Edwards and Antonio Pierce to both have monster games for their teams. Both teams SS, Gibril Wilson of the Giants and Terrance Kiel of the Chargers will also both be active again this week, so start them if you have them.

Best Bets – NY Giants – LB Antonio Pierce - San Diego – LB Donnie Edwards

Solid plays – NY Giants – DL Michael Strahan, DL Osi Umenyiora - San Diego – DB Terrance Kiel

Others to Consider – NY Giants – DB Gibril Wilson - San Diego – LB Steve Foley

Kansas City @ Denver

Kansas City has proved through 2 weeks to have one of the most improved defense’s in the NFL. Rookie LB Derrick Johnson had another impressive game vs. the Raiders with 7 solo tackles, and an assist to lead his team in tackles for the 2nd week in a row. Another Chiefs LB Kawika Mitchell also had a nice game with 6 solo tackles and has secured the MLB for the near future, and possible much longer. Denver LB Al Wilson was a beast in week 2, vs. the Chargers. He finished with 10 solo tackles.

Kansas City and Denver both play solid defense, but the keys to this game figures to be can Denver make Trent Green beat them, and how good is the KC secondary. Denver has a slew of marginal RB’s to throw at KC, but WR’s Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie look to do the most damage in the passing game. This weeks contest looks to feature both teams Lbs and SS, so get them in your lineup.

Best Bets –Kansas City – LB Derrick Johnson - Denver – LB Al Wilson

Solid plays – Kansas City – LB Kawika Mitchell - Denver – LB Ian Gold

Others to Consider – Kansas City – DB Sammy Knight - Denver – DB Nick Ferguson

Open Dates – Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Washington