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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 4
David Dorey
September 26, 2005
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Drew Bledsoe 363 2
Daunte Culpepper 300 3
Tim Rattay 269 3
Running Backs Yards TD
LaDainian Tomlinson 220 4
Shaun Alexander 140 4
Brian Westbrook 208 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Steve Smith 170 3
Brandon Lloyd 142 2
Hines Ward 110 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jason Witten 85 1
Ernie Conwell 65 1
Courtney Anderson 100 0
Placekickers XP FG
Paul Edinger 3 4
Josh Brown 4 3
Neil Rackers 0 4
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Tennessee 1 4 4
St. Louis 1 2 2
NY Jets 1 2 3

Week 3 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

David Akers (PHI) - Reaggravated hamstring strain
Isaac Bruce (STL) - Turf Toe injury
Jay Fiedler (NYJ) - Shoulder sprain
Rodney Harrison (NE) - Leg Injury
Steven Jackson (STL) - Rib injury
Brandon Manumaleuna (STL) - Knee sprain
Chad Pennington (NYJ) - Strained shoulder
Kurt Warner (ARZ) - Groin injury

Let's see... Maserati? No. Ferrari? Nah. Lambourghini?

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams probably needs a new nickname. While perhaps he does offer some luxury to the Buccaneers offense, on Sunday he rushed for 158 yards which gave him a total of 434 yards in only his first three games. That's 24 yards better than Alan Ameche had for the Colts and the previous record had stood for a mere 50 years until yesterday.

He may not keep up this pace though. So far he has carried the ball for a total of 88 rushes (37 just yesterday). That sets a pace that would end in 467 carries for a season. And you wondered if he was durable...

Youth be serving

Cadillac Williams is no longer the only rookie to make a splash this season. After struggling for two weeks, Ronnie Brown rushed for 132 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown against the Panthers. Troy Williamson had 83 yards on three catches that included a 51 yard touchdown reception. Chris Henry had a score with 51 receiving yards from the slot in Cincinnati and Brandon Jones of the TItans had a score as well now that he has worked himself into the #2 role in Tennessee. Last week saw Braylon Edwards turn a short slant into a long touchdown as well.

About the only early drafted rookies not lighting a fire so far are J.J. Arrington and Cedric Benson, further proof that if you want to be successful at your job you should never call in sick or show up late to work.

And then grab that early defense for a key advantage...

While most defenses are selected near the end of fantasy drafts, there are always a handful of ones that are taken early with the confidence that they will provide a difference maker at the position. Sometimes - they are even taken in advance of other starting positions. So how have those most desired defenses done so far according to the Average Draft Position from all drafts conducted at MyFantasyLeague.com? Defensive scoring varies greatly from league to league, but just considering sacks, turnovers and touchdowns:

Drafted on
Average
Current
Rank
Current
Ranking
1
Baltimore
31
 
1
Tennessee
2
New England
20
 
2
Chicago
3
Buffalo
18
 
3
NY Giants
4
Pittsburgh
6
 
4
Cincinnati
5
Philadelphia
17
 
5
San Francisco
6
Carolina
22
 
6
Pittsburgh
7
Atlanta
16
 
7
St. Louis
8
Tampa Bay
8
 
8
Tampa Bay
9
NY Jets
14
 
9
Indianapolis
10
Washington
29
 
10
Minnesota

Maybe next summer, in the seventh round, can I interest you in a nice back-up running back or maybe something in a quarterback?

Loving those upward trends

Fantasy games are usually won by having players who turn in big games for the week. The more of those you have, the better your chance is of scoring above average for the week and therefore beating your opponent. While the season started sort of slow, the trend is rising in several categories even though week three had four less teams in it. Consider:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3  
QBs with 3 or more TD's
2
4
5
 
QBs with 300+ yards passing
2
6
7
 
RBs with 2 or more TDs
3
3
5
 
RBs with 100+ yards rushing
7
5
8
 
WRs with 2 or more TDs
3
4
7
 
 
 
Total TE touchdowns
13
7
6
 

The scoring numbers are all going up and that is considering too that the Monday Night game has yet to play, so week three has six less teams than the first two weeks. Shaun Alexander ran for four touchdowns this week and Steve Smith had three touchdown catches. Like a great big old cherry on a wonderful Sunday, LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns, had six catches for 28 yards and threw a 26 yard touchdown pass. Whew... these days don't come often enough.

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Tim Rattay 269 3 QB Peyton Manning 228 0
RB Ronnie Brown 147 1 RB Willie Parker 49 0
RB Marshall Faulk 81 1 RB Stephen Jackson 54 0
WR Travis Taylor 40 2 WR Marvin Harrison 53 0
WR Troy Williamson 83 1 WR Laveranues Coles 17 0
WR Chris Henry 51 1 WR Joe Horn 11 0
PK Paul Edinger 4 FG 3 XP PK Jose Cortez 2 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 108

Huddle Fantasy Points = 26

Sunday's Couch Commentary

CAR 24, MIA 27

Ooohh, so you mean THAT Ronnie Brown. The one that just gained 132 yards and one score against the normally stout Panther defense. Delhomme finally shook his passing funk and had 285 yards and three scores all to Steve Smith and yet the Panthers lost the game. It was like last year all over again except for the part where the Dolphins had a great rushing game. Steve Smith tied all-time Panther records for receiving touchdowns (3) and receptions (11) in a single game. Surprisingly, the game winning play was when Lance Shulters intercepted a ball that was meant for (ssshhhh - Keary Colbert ) and set-up the game winning field goal. Fins take a week off now with a 2-0 home record AND a running game. Panthers fall to 1-2 because they never reached the one-yard line for Davis to use his two yard ability and score.

CLE 6, IND 13 The Browns had no touchdowns and Reuben Droughns gained only 76 yards on 22 carries. We recognize that team. But the team wearing a horseshoe on their helmets are evidently a new franchise in the NFL bringing their low scoring, ball control offense to the table and relying on a great defense to win the game. OH MY GOD THAT'S THE COLTS! This is like meeting up with the biggest partier you knew in college only to discover that he is now a priest. Peyton "Oh, to be Eli at least" Manning now has only two touchdowns on the season and none in the last two games. After the first three games of 2004, Manning had nine touchdowns. The only Colt player that has fantasy relevance so far is Edgerrin James who had 108 yards and one score on Sunday. He has averaged 108 yards in every game so far and this has to be thanks to some jerk who wished too hard that Edgerrin James would be a great player this season. It has come at the expense of fantasy football as we know it so BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR OUT THERE.
TB 17, GB 16 The game ended with a Packers loss but was far closer than expected which probably only makes it hurt that much more for an 0-3 team about to hit the road to Carolina. The Buccaneers take the win with a big-time rushing game and by allowing Brett Favre to throw interceptions (3). The Buccaneers had lost their last 13 games at Lambeau but this is a whole new era for both teams. While Robert Ferguson (4-68, 1 TD) is making his new fantasy owners happy, he's not making anyone forget about Javon Walker any time soon. The Packers never led in this game but were never more than a touchdown behind. Sort of like a dog chasing a car - make that a Cadillac actually. Ryan Longwell missed an extra point here for the first time in the last 157 tries. The Packers lost by one.
CIN 24, CHI 7 Here is the Chicago game plan each week. Have Orton throw for 150 yards, let Jones gain about 100 or so yards and then someone scores a touchdown. That is not hardly enough when hosting the Bengals with Carson Palmer tossing three touchdowns - two for Chad Johnson. Rudi Johnson (25-84) found the Bears predictably tough to run against but the Cincinnati secondary found the game well worthwhile five interceptions later. Note to Benson owners - he had no carries this week but was seen helping Jones pick dirt out of his cleats, so he was "close to the action". If you thought Palmer has been hot so far, consider that he has to return home now and face the Texans next week where passing touchdowns are only slightly harder to distribute than free $100 bills in front of Walmart.
ATL 24, BUF 16 Evidently the Bills are mainly just going to kick field goals while at home, the only question is if the opponent can score touchdowns. In the case of the Falcons, why yes they can. Willis McGahee had 140 rushing yards and the one score but once again the inability of the Bills to produce a passing game is their downfall. This despite the fact that due to injuries, the Falcons are down to using broomsticks and balloons in lieu of actual cornerbacks. Losman ended with only 10 of 23 for 75 yards and one interception, thereby making Michael Vick (167, 2 TD) look like Peyton Manning Carson Palmer.
OAK 20, PHI 23 The Raiders are easily the best 0-3 team in the NFL which is sort of like being the most attractive ugly person. "Ummm..... but you're still ugly." Kerry Collins (345, 2 TD) is enjoying the Moss Effect which means there is no secondary where he is not. Lamont Jordan had the power rushing role and with 16 carries for 19 yards, most of that power must have been in the torque. Randy Moss (5-86) had a decent game by himself but lost the matchup to Terrell Owens (80, 1 TD). As of last week, Lamont Jordan had more receptions than any other running back. This must have inspired Westbrook who had six catches for 140 yards and one score. Then again, Jordan did have receptions for 53 yards and a score himself. The game was far closer than seemed likely, but the end result met expectations.
JAX 26, NYJ 20 OT The Jets put up a good fight using the injured Curtis Martin (18-67) and in a show of solidarity, Pennington and Fiedler were injured as well. Fred Taylor fell two yards short of 100 even though he had 37 rushes in the game but he scored the ever so rare touchdown to make the difference. The Jaguars are now 2-1 and showing that they have a balanced team that can make some waves this season. The Jets are 1-2 and have to wait to hear from the trainers to see if they still have a team next week when they have to travel to the Ravens who were on bye.
NO 16, MIN 33

I said ... hello.... Daunte... well, hello, Daunte
It's so nice to have you back where you belong (come on - everyone!)
You're looking swell, Daunte.... I can tell, Daunte
You're still throwing... we're all crowing.... you're still goin' long

'Hey! - 'hic' -Let's do that rockettes kick thing!"

Culpepper has finally reappeared this season and threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Travis Taylor had two scores, Williamson had a 53 yard touchdown. Mewelde Moore ran for 101 yards. The Saints struggled yet again but the Vikings... hold on... I love this song..

I sat on the roof and kicked off the Moss
So a few of the last weeks have left me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you who want Daunte to throw long

sniff... I love you guys...

ARI 12, SEA 37 These two teams played to nearly a draw other than the 140 yards and four touchdowns by Shaun Alexander. Warner was hurt but it was sort of hard to notice any real change. J.J. Arrington racked up a cool nine yards on five carries and almost doubled his yardage with his one catch for four yards. Arrington continues to prove the proud tradition of the Cardinals that says no running back will excel in the desert unless he is a back-up runner that can then be throw back on the depth chart to start the next year. Darrell Jackson had 125 yards but never scored since Holmgren's memo about letting Alexander have all the scores after that whole NFL rushing lead thing last year.
TEN 27, STL 31 This season there have been many disappointments from teams failing to show offensive sparks and even worse, some much improved defenses in the league providing a firehose to put out any good fantasy fireworks from happening. Thankfully, neither of these teams opted for the defense showing this week. The Rams won but made sure the trip was worthwhile to the Titans by throwing an interception returned for a touchdown and losing three fumbles. Bulger still ended with 292 yards and three scores and Torry Holt had nine catches for 163 yards and one touchdown. Ike Bruce left the game injured but that only meant Kevin Curtis stepped up and had a touchdown since no one thought to start him this week. Chris Brown rushed for 83 yards on 20 carries while Travis Henry will have to wait until Halloween before he can put on a Titan uniform again thanks to that nasty old NFL substance abuse policy. We need more high scoring offenses without the defenses getting in the way. This was almost game of the week.
NE 23, PIT 20 This is an obvious contender for the game of the week but if you take out a couple of scores by Dillon and Ward, it was just a field goal war. Brady had 372 passing yards and most of those at the end of the game when it counted most. Roethlisberger only had 216 yards and most of those came at the first of the game when they did not matter that much. Willie Parker is once again mortal after gaining only 55 yards on 17 carries and nobody is willing to publicly say that Dillon is fading fast (22 carries for 61 yards) because he's scoring twice in games and the Patriots are winning them. This was a hard fought game that really twists the old knife into the Steelers who wanted to believe this would be different than last January. It was - both teams just scored less and the Patriots still won.
NYG 23, SD 45 Well, the good news for Giants fans is that they have the most productive Manning on the planet - go figure. Eli threw for 352 yards and two scores in the loss and gave Jeremy Shockey the very rare 100 yard game. But this game was pure, unadulterated and invincibly about Tomlinson. LaDainian ran for 192 yards on only 21 carries, ripping off a 61 yard gain before he got the early hook. He scored three touchdowns rushing and had six catches for 28 yards using a talent that had been forgotten this season until Sunday. As if that was not enough, he also threw a very nice touchdown pass to Keenan McCardell. Yet again, almost the game of the week and a nearly breathtaking way to end the day for anyone with Tomlinson on their fantasy team.

Game-O-The-Week

This was one of the greatest weekends for fantasy football games in recent memory complete with some monster games and huge game scores. There were multiple touchdowns all over and the games just kept getting better and better. We had our first overtime game of the season. Culpepper is back. I was tempted to make the GOTW be a six-way tie between CAR-MIA, JAC-NYJ, TEN-STL, NE-PIT, NYG-SD and DAL-SF. I became dizzy at the prospect so I am selecting just one game as a representative GOTW that is really for the entire weekend that was thrilling. Huddle Salute to every team this week (offer excludes Puerto Rico, Canada and the state of Indiana).

Dallas 34, San Francisco 31

Heading into this game the Cowboys were expected to be 2-0 but thanks to a late game collapse of the passing defense, the Redskins pulled off a major coup last week. The 49ers also entered this matchup with a 1-1 record which was surprising only since they were not 0-2. But coming off a spanking of near-Biblical proportion in Philadelphia last week, the assumption was that the Cowboys would be highly motivated after "giving" away a game to the Redskins while the 49er players were still checking their vital signs to ensure they were not actually killed in Philly.

The 49ers drew first blood on a scoring pass to Arnaz Battle in the first quarter but Dallas had Bledsoe rush in a matching score in the second quarter to even up the scoreboard except that Jose Cortez misses the extra point. Then, just when we were ready to watch Dallas rush their way to a win while the 49ers vainly tried to pass, Rattay hits Brandon Lloyd on a deep slant that ends 80 yards later with a touchdown. Evidently the Cowboys secondary problems were not completely resolved. In the next series, Bledsoe throws a 34 yard interception that Tony Parrish returns for a touchdown, thereby proving that the 49ers had worked on their own secondary problems.

Eventually the Cowboys remember that Jason Witten was pretty good last year and start using him, throwing him a touchdown pass with 3:38 left to play. That means the score at half would be 21-12 because of course they went for the 2 point play and failed because only 1 in 3 work and they are not yet to "3". That theory goes by the wayside when Rattay calmly attacks the Dallas secondary for the final three minutes and draws to the Dallas 1-yard line before three plays only loses two yards. They kick the field goal for a 24-12 lead at halftime. For two teams with a history of contentious games, it was the 49ers way of saying "we still think you suck".

In the second half, the 49ers go three and out because everyone in Northern California knew they were going to throw, including the Cowboys (at least this time anyway). Dallas marched down from their own 45-yard line using almost entirely Julius Jones runs until he scores a touchdown. Since no one can remember if they are on "3" yet, they just take the extra point instead of going for two points. Dallas still trails 24-19.

After trading ineffective series, the 49ers intercept the Cowboys on the Dallas 34-yard line because Bledsoe forgot to hand the ball off and threw it instead. By sheer volume of passes alone, the 49ers are able to score with the second touchdown to Brandon Lloyd who is slowly evolving from doing a pose when he scores. Nothing much yet really, but you can tell that he is scoring just enough that he is giving a little more thought to his presentation. This is not appreciated by the Dallas secondary because, in effect, it says "you still suck" which ironically is what HC Bill Parcells says to the defense when they get to the sidelines. The score is 31-19 and that plane ride home is not looking like a treat.

Suddenly it happens. Starting on their own 29-yard line with the fourth quarter just about to begin, Bledsoe hits Terry Glenn for 58 yards and then Keyshawn Johnson takes a pass 13 more yards to the one-yard line. Next play, Julius Jones scores his second touchdown. Cortez hits the extra point, thankfully, and the Cowboys draw to 26-31.

When the 49ers take over, they run Barlow once and then throw a rare incompletion. Then Rattay finds Brandon Lloyd for 28 yards to the Dallas 34-yard line. By this time, the defensive coordinator has taken notice of Lloyd and points to him. The next play was a pass to Lloyd of course which is intercepted to stop the scoring drive. Dallas goes three plays and punts which starts three series of going nowhere but eating up the clock for both teams. With 6:05 left to play, Dallas takes over on their own 24-yard line.

After running Jones for only two yards, Bledsoe starts peppering the secondary with five yard passes and then hits Glenn for a 44 yard gain to the 49er 14 yard line with only 2:02 left to play. He throws an incompletion to Witten. Then he hits Keyshawn Johnson on an out pattern that he just managed to turn up and reach the right endzone flag for the touchdown. Since someone notices that this would be their third try for two points, the Cowboys again go to Keyshawn who scores the two point conversion for the 34-31 first ever lead in the game. While kicker Jose Cortez was not used, he gave a big thumbs up on the attempt.

With 1:48 left to play and knowing the history of last week, HC Bill Parcells gives his defense their game plan for the final series - "you better not still suck when you get back here".

With a minute left to play, the Cowboys get a tip on the pass that is intercepted by LB Dat Nguyen. He runs for about two yards before the signal from his brain reaches his legs and he falls to the turf cradling the ball and likely his career had he lost a fumble. The Cowboys run out the final 54 seconds and take home a win that could best be described as "sheepish" but there is truly no bad terms to describe a win.

It was a great fantasy game with a total of 65 points and a conclusion that was in doubt until the final interception. This was a great weekend and one that had huge performances from several players. Your league scores should be interesting indeed. There were seven games determined by less than a touchdown and five of them were lost for the want of just one field goal. All the weeks cannot be this good so when it happens you have to appreciate the sheer beauty of close games with big scoring. The country has weathered two hurricanes now and the rebuilding and recovery is underway. What a great way to say "it may take some time, but we're going to be fine".

Now get back to work...