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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 10
David Dorey
November 7, 2005
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Byron Leftwich 228 2
Donovan McNabb 304 1
Kurt Warner 334 1
Running Backs Yards TD
LaDainian Tomlinson 153 4
Shaun Alexander 173 2
Larry Johnson 155 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Dennis Northcutt 111 1
Steve Smith 106 1
Reggie Brown 94 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jeremy Shockey 77 1
Erron Kinney 74 1
Antonio Gates 132 0
Placekickers XP FG
Neil Rackers 1 4
John Kasay 4 2
Sebastian Janikowski 0 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Carolina 1 5 4
Pittsburgh 1 1 3
Seattle 0 4 4

Week 9 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Fred Taylor (JAX) - Sprained ankle
Kevin Jones (DET) - Sprained shoulder
Anthony Wright (BAL) - Sprained ankle
Mewelde Moore (MIN) - Sprained wrist
Chris Baker (NYJ) - Undisclosed injury
Wayne Chrebet (NYJ) - Possible concussion
T.J. Houshmandzadeh (CIN) - Leg injury
Vinny Testaverde (NYJ) - Reaggravated calf injury
Thomas Jones (CHI) - Reaggravated rib injury
Willie Parker (PIT) - Sprained ankle
L.J. Smith (PHI) - Concussion

RIP - Quarterbacks

In what has to be one of the worst fantasy weekends ever for quarterbacks, there were only two 300+ yard performance which came from Kurt Warner and Donovan McNabb in losing efforts and both only managed one touchdown. No quarterbacks had three or more touchdowns and only four of 26 teams managed to throw for two scores. Just as a sign that rushing the ball is all the rage now, we come off a weekend with a season high three rushing scores by quarterbacks.

RIP - Wide Receivers

The very best yardage performance of the weekend came from the incomparable Scott Vines with a mere 109 yards. Only three wideouts topped the century mark in receiving yards and not one wideout managed to catch more than one touchdown.

Sure, you expect this sort of thing in January when there are snow storms in every city, but in early November? The closest thing to bad weather was breezy conditions in Cleveland. Consider too that the top ten wideouts for the week included Dennis Northcutt, Reggie Brown, Brian Finneran, Ernest Wilford, Corey Bradford, Bryant Johnson and Scott Vines. Oh yeah - 'wink' - draft those wideouts early next year. Where is TO when you need him? Better yet - why isn't he doing a Fathead commercial?

But all is hardly lost... at least for a few fantasy teams per league...

Now that the midpoint of the NFL season has gone past, lets take a look at some of the league leaders and extrapolate out their season if they managed to sustain their incredible pace so far:

 
 
 
Current Season
Full Season Projected
Pos
Name
GP
Rush
Yards
Pass/Rcv
Yards
Total
Yards
Total
TDs
Rush
Yards
Pass/Rcv
Yards
Total
Yards
Total
TDs
QB
Donovan McNabb
8
 
2338
 
16
 
4676
 
32
QB
Carson Palmer
9
 
2285
 
19
 
4062
 
34
RB
LaDainian Tomlinson
9
835
264
1099
15
1484
469
1953
30
RB
Shaun Alexander
8
949
32
981
14
1898
64
1962
28
WR
Steve Smith
8
 
903
 
9
 
1806
 
18
TE
Antonio Gates
8
 
707
 
6
 
1325
 
12
PK
Neil Rackers
8
26 FG
8 XP
86 pts
 
52 FG
16 XP
172 pts
 

Currently Steve Smith is on a pace to end up second only to Jerry Rice (1848 yards) for an NFL yardage record and his pace of 18 scores would end up tied for second with Mark Clayton and Sterling Sharpe, trailing only, of course, Jerry Rice (22).

Neil Rackers already has 26 field goals in only 8 games. The NFL record is 39 in one season (Olindo Mare and Jeff Wilkins), a level well short of his pace. If he continued and ended up with 172 points, he would be second only to Paul Hornung (176) for most points in a season.

The scary part - a fantasy team could have easily ended up with Palmer/McNabb, Tomlinson/Alexander, Steve Smith, Antonio Gates and Rackers if they drafted - of course - in the first two draft positions.

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Chris Simms 259 1 QB Brett Favre 214 0
RB Jonathan Wells 100 1 RB Jamal Lewis 49 0
RB Michael Bennett 111 1 RB Thomas Jones 34 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 111 1 WR Randy Moss 7 1
WR Brian Finneran 92 1 WR Joe Horn 27 0
WR Ernest Wilford 89 1 WR Hines Ward 12 0
PK Neil Rackers 4 FG 1 XP PK Shayne Graham 2 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 104

Huddle Fantasy Points = 26

Sunday's Couch Commentary

ATL 17, MIA 10

Ricky Williams scored his first touchdown since 2003 and gained 52 yards on 10 carries just to tick off all the Ronnie Brown owners who only got 78 total yards and no score. The Fins had some success running but none passing since Frerotte only had 103 yards and one interception. Michael Vick completed an astounding 22 of 31 passes for a giddy 228 yards and one touchdown and immediately has told his many detractors that it was proof that he can actually stand still in the pocket and throw accurate passes including a touchdown. Quote - "From here on out, I don't want to hear that question -- if I can throw from the pocket." Okay, Mike. I am sure it had nothing to do with the Dolphins having game planned for the exact opposite of what happened or that the Falcon defense stuffed the Fins and they had planned to stop the run. But sure, winning by the one touchdown pass certainly merits his other quote: "I want people to praise me," Vick said. "If I'm winning games, don't criticize me. That's all I'm saying." Hey Mike, you might want to have more than one average passing game before expecting anyone to join the First Church of Ron Mexico - and that's all I'm saying.

HOU 14, JAX 21 Shades of 2004. The Houston Texans actually led this game at half time and Andre Johnson had nine catches for 91 yards while everyone frantically searched their roster to see if Johnson is still there. Apparently all the Texans needed was to lose Domanick Davis for the week and make David Carr actually stand (and throw) on his own. The Jaguars mounted a 14 point fourth quarter to secure the win and lost Fred Taylor during the game. The only notable aspects in this game was that Andre Johnson lives and Ernest Wilford got to say "what do you think I have been trying to tell you all this time?" Oh yes, and the Jaguars are varying between being the best and worst team in the league with few hints which one they will be in any given week - that's all I'm saying.
TEN 14, CLE 20

Trent Dilfer likely saved his job for a week anyway by throwing for 272 yards and one score and steering the Browns to a win while Reuben Droughns rambled for 116 yards on 20 carries despite suffering from leg cramps. Jason Wright filled in for him and scored once, giving us all a new free agent to grab and never use. In this passing poor week, Dennis Northcutt became the best fantasy wideout and he only had three catches for 80 yards and one score and added 31 yards on one run. Chris Brown turned in 95 yards and one score while McNair continued to use Erron Kinney as a primary receiver and finally threw a touchdown to him for the first time this season. Both these squads are the sort that can only win home games - that's all I'm saying.

CIN 21, BAL 9

The Ravens had Anthony Wright injured at the end of the game and Kordell Stewart came in and ran three times for 30 yards and tried to pass twice that ended with one incompletion and one sack. Ah - some things never change. Jamal "contract first" Lewis only ran for 49 yards on 15 carries while Rudi Johnson gained 97 yards and scored once. The only difference in this game is that the Bengals had three scoring drives and ended with touchdowns. The Ravens had three scoring drives and ended with field goals. Todd Heap became the most prolific receiver ever for the Ravens with 205 career receptions and considering that he is an often injured tight end, this is not a glowing accolade about the history of the Raven's passing game - that's all I'm saying.

CAR 34, TB 14 The Panthers punked the Bucs and the one 50-yard TD catch by Galloway is about the only Tampa Bay highlight from the game. Stephen Davis was placed beside the goal line twice, resulting in two touchdowns and he even gained 48 yards on 12 carries for an unusually high four yards per carry average. Steve Smith continues to defy the notion that anyone can stop him and ended with 106 yards and one touchdown. Cadillac Williams (11-29) continues to drive on the sidewalk and the Bucs have now lost three of their last four games. Evidently Brian Griese was secretly the most important person in the entire organization because without him even the defense cannot stop anyone. The Panthers have won their last four games and are tied for first place in the NFC South. According to HC John Fox, "it means we can still go 6-10". Hey Vick - how about signing up for a class at the University of John Fox School of Perspective - that's all I'm saying.
SD 31, NYJ 26 Vinny hurt his calf again and Brooks Bollinger came in and actually looked good, throwing for 106 yards and two scores with no turnovers in a failed bid to catch-up. The difference in this game was that Curtis Martin (72 yards, 1 TD) and Laveranues Coles (64 yards, 1 TD) were good. But LaDainian Tomlinson (153 yards, 4 TDs) and Antonio Gates (132 yards) are redefining greatness in their respective positions. Sure - the Chargers are entirely two dimensional by using only LT and Gates but no one can stop both if even either so it doesn't really matter - that's all I'm saying.
DET 14, MIN 27 The battle of the back-up quarterbacks was won by Brad Johnson but mainly because he had not played horribly for the last year and had not picked up bad habits like Harrington brought to the game. The Lions lost Kevin Jones to a shoulder sprain to start the second quarter while the Vikings also lost Mewelde Moore to a sprained wrist. Ends up that Michael Bennett (111 yards, 1 TD) is better than Artose Pinner (11 yards, 1 TD) and that's not even considering that even Fason scored once. The Vikings ran for 165 yards and two scores so Johnson never needed to throw much. He ended with 136 yards and two short TDs to Bennett and Burleson. The Lions are relying on Scott Vines now and while he had 109 yards, that was twice what any runner or receiver totaled for the Lions. Pending info on Moore's wrist, the Vikings may have gone from Culpepper and Moore to now using Johnson and Bennett - and winning. Mariucci is almost painful to watch in post game interviews like he was trying to explain why a family member just went nuts and blew up a post office. This is one messed up division outside of Chicago, that's all I am saying.
NYG 24, SF 6 The 49ers "run it some more, what the heck" mentality led to only 17 carries for 37 yards between Frank Gore and Kevan Barlow though Barlow's 41 yards receiving dwarfed all other receivers since Cody Pickett only had 102 passing yards. Manning had 251 yards and one score on a 32-yard pass to Jeremy Shockey on a gutsy fourth and one call (then again - how gutsy was it really? I mean what's the worst that could happen against the 49ers? They get three more runs and punt?). Brandon Lloyd had the most beautiful catch you will never see on a play called back because of a holding penalty. The important thing here is that I predicted the exact game score and therefore I don't want anyone to ever question anything I predict anymore - that's all I am saying.
SEA 33, ARZ 19 Shaun Alexander has now earned an "I LOVE ARZ" bumper sticker after running for 173 yards and two scores on Sunday. Combined with his week three totals, he has ran for 313 yards and six touchdowns against the Cardinals this year and should be required to purchase a hunting license before playing them. Hasselbeck returned to play and had two scores though he never needed to throw. Kurt Warner threw for a league-high 334 yards and one score but he added three interceptions. Two of them came on ssshhhh passes to Larry Fitzgerald. Who was to know? Bryant Johnson had the lone passing score and Fitzgerald had 102 yards receiving. And of course the lead rusher for the Cardinals was J.J. Arrington (5-40) and he had 22 yards on four catches as well only because I finally just dropped him from the only roster that I had him on - that's all I'm saying.
CHI 20, NO 17 This game had production that both teams mirrored. The quarterbacks both had about 150 yards and one score against two interceptions and both teams ran well. Antowain Smith had 110 yards on 17 carries and the Bears were forced to resort to a trio of runners. Thomas Jones only had 40 yards on 11 carries before hurting his ribs again and the duties were then split between Adrian Peterson (6-58, 1 TD) and Cedric Benson (14-79). The Bears rise to 5-3 which now seems insurmountable in the NFC North. Yes, I realize that all the Thomas Jones owners are gloomy, but they've already gotten about six highly productive weeks more than was commonly expected out of their fourth round draft pick, that's all I'm saying.
PIT 20, GB 10 Okay, let me read up a bit more before I try this.... Okay... uh-huh... all right. Brett Favre comes off his worst game of the year with only 214 yards and one interception but he was better than.. Charlie Batch? Yeah - Charlie Batch who did not replicate the losing ways of Tommy Maddox because he did to not complete any passes to anyone, let alone to cornerbacks. He only had nine completions for 65 yards on 16 passes and no receiver had more than 13 yards for the Steelers with includes Hines "DOH" Ward (1-12). Dan Kreider (2-13) was actually the Steeler receiver to get in this match-up. Willie Parker was injured and replaced capably by... really?... Duce Staley (76 yards, 1 TD) which was slightly better than the opposing runner of Sam... wow... Sam Gado who had 26 runs for only 62 yards and one touchdown. Basically this game was about field goals, a returned Favre fumble for a Steeler score and a dash of Gado. The box score reads like it was an XFL game, that's all I'm saying.
PHI 10, WAS 17 Life without Terrell still ended with McNabb throwing for 304 yards and one score to rookie Reggie Brown (5-94). As of press time, there is no confirmation that Brown is now expecting a major upgrade to his contract. The Eagles still cannot run at all but McNabb was able to spread the ball around to four receivers that all went over 50 yards in the game. The Skins had Portis score once on his 21 carries for 67 yards while FB Mike Sellers rushed in the other score. Santana Moss (7-79) was still effective though not game changing and Chris Cooley (7-85) proved to be the primary outlet for Brunell. The division is clearly the toughest in the NFL. The NFC East will likely end up as a four way tie and should be decided by a week 17 cage match between head coaches, that's all I'm saying.

Game-O-The-Week

This was a week with almost no upsets and only one game was decided by a field goal or less. No overtimes, hardly any nail biters really. This was a nice "week off" from the cardiac finishes of the last few weeks and eight of the 13 games were won by the road team - unusually high. Particularly considering that "three point" advantage of home field didn't seem to work for anyone. much less the Saints who were the only team to lose by a field goal.

The Game-of-The-Week was truly a great one though and it was the only game that came with a score on the last play of the game.

Oakland 23, Kansas City 27

This game already started with an unusual set of circumstances. Priest Holmes was inactive and Larry Johnson was the starter - he had killed the Raiders in 2004 in both games. The Chiefs had already beat the Raiders in week two 23-17 when both Holmes and Johnson had critical touchdowns. The Raiders came to Kansas City with their offense intact though Randy Moss continues to be hampered by groin rib injuries. It looked like it should reasonably be a Chiefs win by an even bigger margin than back in week two in Oakland.

The Raiders scored first, recovering a Trent Green fumble on the KC-18 yard line that led to a field goal. The Chiefs were sputtering on offense and at the start of the second quarter, the Raiders tacked on another field goal after an 84-yard, 14 play drive to take the lead 6-0.

The Chiefs finally got on the board when a long drive ended with a first and ten at the OAK 11-yard line that went nowhere and prompted a field goal by Lawrence Tynes. The game was 6-3 and in no way was considered a treat to watch by connoisseurs of great offensive play. With only 34 seconds left in the first half, the Chiefs got another field goal to tie the game but the Raiders returned the kickoff to the KC 33-yard line and ended up with a 48 yard field goal for a 9-6 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, both teams had two failed drives before the Chiefs finally had Green throw a 6-yard touchdown to Tony Richardson with only 1:38 left to play. With only one quarter left in the game, the Chiefs had a tenuous (and boring) 13-9 lead.

On the next series, Kerry Collins tried to get Randy Moss his first catch in the game but was intercepted. Starting at the OAK 33-yard line, it only took one pass to Kennison and three runs by Johnson before the Chiefs took a 20-9 lead. The Raiders were down by 11 points with only 12:50 left to play and had not scored a touchdown yet nor completed a pass to Randy Moss. Collins used Gabriel, Anderson and Porter to move from his own 29-yard line and in only eight plays he connected with Jerry Porter for a 4-yard touchdown. This was right after the 4-yard incompletion to Moss. With a failed two point conversion, the Raiders trailed 20-15.

The Chiefs went three and out and the Raiders took over with 8:07 left to play from their own 16-yard line. Collins once again mixed Gabriel and Porter passes with several nice runs by Lamont Jordan to reach the KC 14-yard line at the two minute warning. On first down, Jordan ran for seven yards and was pushed out of bounds, stopping the clock. On second down, Collins threw an incompletion to Jerry Porter. On third and three with only 1:50 left to play, Collins had his first, last and only completion to Randy Moss who was streaking through the middle of the endzone and caught the touchdown. The Raiders opted for a two point conversion to force the Chiefs to kick a field goal to tie and Jordan bulled in for the 23-20 lead.

The Chiefs took over with 1:38 left to play on their own 28-yard line. After an incompletion and a false start on Gonzalez, second and 15 had Horn catch a 12 yard pass. On third down, Johnson gained five yards for the first down with only 53 seconds left to play and the ball on the KC 40-yard line. Just needed to get into field goal range. Green hit Johnson with a seven yard pass and then he was sacked for a seven yard loss but the Raiders were guilty of tripping and with 27 seconds left at mid-field, Green hit Kennison with a 13 yard completion. With only 19 seconds left to play from the OAK 37-yard line, the Chiefs were looking at a 54 yard field goal to tie so Green tried one more pass and hit Larry Johnson who swerved and darted through the heart of the defense down to the one-yard line with only five seconds left to play. He almost scored. He was so close. There were only five seconds left in the game, time to tie it and go into overtime.

But that didn't happen. As was described by a weepy Dick Vermeil after the game, he called an "all or nothing" run by Larry Johnson with no chance for a second play. No matter that the Chiefs were at home and rushing well. No matter than the Chiefs were having success passing. It all came down to one play at the one-yard line with only five seconds to play that screamed for a field goal to tie. But Vermeil waved them to stay on the field and called a rushing play - BOOM - Johnson knifes over, twisting his way into the endzone for the winning play.

After the game, Vermeil had one of the best quotes of the week when he explained his play calling by saying "I'm too old to wait."

It was a great way to end the game and one that brought tears to Vermeil who could barely explain why he went for it. How he gave the game ball to the Trent Green who had lost his father nine days previous to the game. I mean he freaking went for it, 'sniff', just like that, 'sniff'; like all the chips on the table for just one hand...'sniff'... gave the game ball to Trent...

'HOONK'...'sniff'... must be the autumn allergy season.

That's all I'm saying.

Now get back to work...