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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 14
David Dorey
December 5, 2005
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Ben Roethlisberger 386 3
J.P. Losman 224 3
Carson Palmer 227 3
Running Backs Yards TD
De'shaun Foster 180 2
Larry Johnson 149 2
Clinton Portis 137 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Chris Chambers 238 1
Lee Evans 117 3
Hines Ward 135 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Chris Cooley 58 1
Tony Gonzalez 25 1
Bryan Fletcher 22 1
Placekickers XP FG
Kris Brown 0 5
Robbie Gould 1 4
Jason Elam 1 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Giants 1 4 4
Chicago 1 2 4
Ravens 1 5 2

Week 13 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Braylon Edwards (CLE) - Knee injury
Bubba Franks (GB) - Arm stinger
Gus Frerotte (MIA) - Concussion
Mewelde Moore (MIN) - Sprained ankle
LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) - Rib injury
Erron Kinney (TEN) - Knee sprain
Roydell Williams (TEN) - Wrist sprain

So has anyone seen Parity lately? Anyone?

Tis the season for domination, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
and for utter humiliation, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

In a league that has used the salary cap to produce "parity" we now have six teams that have won at least their last five games - Indianapolis (12), Jacksonville (5), Chicago (8), Minnesota (5) and Seattle (7).

That whole parity thing was also supposed to boost up the bottom rung teams but now we have both Houston and San Francisco on five game losing streaks and six teams with three or less wins on the season.

And how old were you?

Reuben Droughns ran 30 times yesterday for only 88 yards, but that gives him 1029 yards on the season - the first 1000 yard rusher for the Cleveland Browns since 1985 when both Ernest Byner (1002) and Kevin Mack (1104) topped the mark. That's 20 years and 257 other NFL running backs that have gained that much in a season since the last time a Browns rusher needed four digits. And the coach of that 1985 team? A first-year Marty Schottenheimer.

Hey - how about we dump our TD-only league for a Yardage-only league?

Kurt Warner has thrown for only 10 touchdowns in his eight full games played this season. That's basically Orton-esque in nature. That's less than David Carr or Trent Dilfer. That's not very good in fantasy terms. However, Warner is also somehow averaging 320 passing yards per game and has been over the 300 yard mark in five of his eight full games played. Warner is the reason why Neil Rackers had been given a historically high number of opportunities for field goals and even his replacement Nick Novak had three field goals this week. It's like all the yardage of the old Rams with the scores of all the previous Cardinal teams.

Note to Denny - Don't fear the redzone.

Huddle Player of the Week

Chris Chambers (MIA) - By the end of the third quarter, Chambers only had five catches for 67 yards and no touchdown. In little more than one quarter, he had ten more catches for 171 yards and the game winning score to end with an incredible 15 catches for 238 yards and one touchdown. The season best for a wideout had been 204 yards by Plaxico Burress and the most catches in a game was 14 by Steve Smith. And they neither waited until the fourth quarter before starting.

If you want to define heavy use, consider that Chambers had a total of 15 catches AND there were 12 incompletions throw to him. That's 27 passes to one receiver in a game. Wonder if that would satisfy Owens?

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB J.P. Losman 224 3 QB Eli Manning 152 0
RB Michael Bennett 89 2 RB Curtis Martin 55 0
RB Artose Pinner 103 1 RB Chris Brown 38 0
WR Koren Robinson 148 1 WR Isaac Bruce 33 0
WR Braylon Edwards 86 2 WR Derrick Mason 32 0
WR Quincy Morgan 25 1 WR Joe Horn 40 0
PK Kris Brown 5 FG PK Jeff Wilkins 1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 125

Huddle Fantasy Points = 25

Sunday's Couch Commentary

TEN 3. IND 35 By this point you have to figure that the biggest challenge facing the Colts is a lack of challenge. Manning threw for only 187 yards but three touchdowns and only four incompletions in the game. James ran for 107 yards and a touchdown (part XII). Harrison and Wayne caught scores along with Manning's new buddy TE Bryan Fletcher. The Titans were there on the field and all but they mostly just made the Colts' scores happen slightly slower. Indy goes to Jacksonville for the next step toward immortality and they no longer have Leftwich. The Titans now lay claim to the only offense that is based upon throwing to two tight ends with everything else second.
MIN 21, DET 16 For the second time this season, Mewelde Moore gets a nick and sits while Michael Bennett shines (89 yards, 2 TD). Of course Bennett flopped the next week. Chances are that last summer people knew this game would be won by Brad Johnson (256 yds, 2 TD) and Koren Robinson (148 yds, 1 TD). The Mariucci-less Lions look a lot like same team they have been all season since once again Kevin Jones got a paper cut while reading his playbook and was made inactive. Garcia showed remarkable consistency in neither rushing or passing well and the closest player to a star for Detroit was Artose Pinner (103 yards, 1 TD). The Vikings host the Rams this week so the whole winning thing may not be over yet.
GB 7, CHI 19 The Packers were horrible. They only managed 68 passing yards with no scores and two turnovers and the offense was unable to score a touchdo... no wait... those were the winning Bears. Seems having the best defense in the NFL actually counts as both your offense and defense and basically had all the points scored directly or indirectly. Favre threw for 277 yards and one score (CHI interception return actually) along with four turnovers. For some reason, Samkon Gado can only run when no one thinks he will succeed and scored a touchdown on 20 carries for 75 yards against the Bears in Chicago. Go figure. Must have surprised the defense more than anyone. The Favre magic show in Chicago is now closed. Probably forever.
ATL 6, CAR The Michael Vick we all know and love once again showed up (well, everyone but Vick owners anyway). Vick only ran three times but attempted 35 passes with just 17 completions for 171 yards and two interceptions.Dunn was held to just 80 yards on 16 carries while DeShaun Foster rambled for 131 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards with two touchdowns scored. Stephen Davis provided what is known as "contrast" by gaining 8 yards on five carries. Steve Smith only had 65 yards but scored once and if this game holds true, then just remember that the Panthers offense is nothing more than Steve Smith and DeShaun Foster, up from "just Smith" until now. Carolina now takes a two game lead over the Falcons and remain one game up on the Bucs. The Vick magic over the Panthers is now over, that's all I'm saying.
JAC 20, CLE 14 The Browns gave Jacksonville a scare with a 14-3 lead at the half but David Garrard rallied the team and threw two touchdowns while Greg Jones ran for 103 yards. Apparently, HD Jack Del Rio ripped the team "a new one" during the half and he was not using his "inside voice". Charlie Frye and Braylon Edwards gave fans a taste of the future when they hooked up for two touchdowns while Reuben Droughns (30-88) reminded everyone of the present. Frye was generally impressive completing 13 of 20 for 226 yards, the two scores and no turnovers. With Leftwich, the Jaguars were all about their new, young receivers. With Garrard, what little passing there is strongly favors Jimmy Smith. Looks like Edwards hurt his knee pretty bad too - he heard the fateful "pop".
HOU 15, BAL 16 The saddest thing here was that the Texans were up 15-13 with only 1:08 left to play and the Ravens on their own 13-yard line and yet still everyone knew the Texans would lose. Domanick Davis ran for 155 yards on 29 carries while David Carr could only manage 165 yards and one interception. Kris Brown made all five field goals because the Texans kept having every drive stall out around the 20-yard line. That whole "Lewis is back" thing last week was perhaps wishful thinking since he only gained 17 yards on eight carries and from henceforth any slow-motion replay is going to be called "Jamal-o-vision". Outside of Davis, no player was of any great consequence in this game other than Kris Brown. 'Yawn'... oh yeah, the Texans are going to hang on to win...'yawn'... yeah, buddy...
DAL 10, NYG 17 The Giants dominated the first half and led 17-0 in the third quarter thanks to a fumble return touchdown but had to hang on for the 17-10 win when the Cowboys mounted a comeback when Bledsoe threw his second interception on the final drive. Barber always - write this down now - runs very well at home and he - are you writing this? - does not run well on the road. Barber had 115 rushing yards and Brandon "go there, fall forward" Jacobs scored the short touchdown. Eli Manning only threw for 152 yards and two interceptions so the win was mostly thanks to Barber and the defense. The win gives the Giants a one-game lead in the NFC East over the Cowboys with road games against PHI and WAS left to secure the title. Julius Jones was the biggest surprise in the game since he had 88 yards on nine receptions as the lead receiver for the Cowboys - that was over half of all Dallas passing yards.
CIN 38, PIT 31 Very close to being the Game-of-the-week. In most other weeks, it would have been. The Bengals were creamed when they hosted the Steelers in Cincinnati this year but evidently forgot about that. Rudi Johnson gained 98 yards and two scores - in Pittsburgh. Carson Palmer had 227 yards and three scores - in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger hurt his thumb even more but played through the pain for a career best 386 passing yards with three touchdowns and three costly interceptions. Carson Palmer has not become merely good, he's now in the penthouse with Peyton Manning sipping champagne and asking "so is anyone else coming?" The Bungles are no more. They are tied with Denver for the other first round bye and are assured their first winning season since 1990. And they have done it with improved defense and rather predictably great offense. The Bengals are really good. And life as we knew it has changed.
TB 10, NO 3 This game was really nothing more than Galloway catching one touchdown pass and Aaron Brooks throwing four interceptions. That's all folks. Carnell Williams ended up with 96 yards on 22 carries though most of that came later in the game. Simms only threw for 123 yards and 75 of that went to Galloway. Remember when Joe Horn was really good? He was - really. Way back in the day. Back when he would actually gain more than 40 yards in a game. It happened. Or so legend has it.
DEN 27, KC 31 Everyone knows that Denver owns the Chiefs and that no one can run against the Broncos. Expect for maybe Larry Johnson who ran 30 times for 140 yards and two scores while Trent Green threw for 253 yards and two scores. This was the GOTW in almost any other week. The Chiefs took the lead with ten minutes left in the fourth quarter but two more Denver drives went nowhere. Just to tweak anyone holding a Denver back on their roster, Shanahan is now using all three running backs. Tatum Bell (5-46) ran the best and the least. Ron Dayne (8-26) had just enough playing time to water down the other two and Mike Anderson (13-37) scored on both a run and a pass. His 66 yard touchdown on a screen pass was his only decent play of the game. The loss now puts Denver only one game up on the Chargers and Chiefs and ties them with the Bengals for the first round bye.
ARZ 17, SF 10 Kurt Warner threw for 354 yards and for some reason is trying to establish an NFL record for most yards for the least scores since he only had one touchdown. Both Boldin (156 yds, 1 TD) and Fitzgerald (129 yds) went off on the 49ers for the second time this season and J.J. Arrington ran for 59 yards on 18 carries which almost makes him like an NFL running back now. Alex Smith started out well enough but ended with only 185 yards and three interceptions. The 49ers actually led 7-3 at the half, but like the Texans in Baltimore we all knew it could not last.
WAS 24, STL 9 It is now official (if it wasn't already). Mark Brunell's association with being a productive fantasy quarterback is now over after only logging 156 passing yards and one score against the corner-less Rams. Portis ran for 136 yards and two scores because evidently the Skins were scared to death of the Harvard rookie Fitzpatrick. Ends up the concern was unfounded as he only had 163 yards and one interception as he turned back into a pumpkin. The important aspects to this game were that the Redskins somehow did not lose a close one to an inferior opponent and that Santana Moss (58 yds) really is not a perpetual top five NFL wideout. Even Cooley had as much yardage as Moss and Cooley had the only passing touchdown.
NYJ 3, NE 16 The Patriots rise to 7-5 with the win over the Jets and with two more games against AFC East opponents, they likely already have the title again since Miami is second best at only 5-7. The Patriots were pleased with the win that made Adam Vinatieri the highest scoring Patriot ever but his three field goals were not needed since the Jets could only produce 176 total yards of offense. Curtis "everyone follow him" Martin only gained 29 yards on 15 rushes while Bollinger could only complete 15 of 37 for 135 yards and one interception against perhaps the worst secondary in the NFL. Corey Dillon did suit up AND actually play this time. He gained 65 yards and scored once while Brady had 271 passing yards and no scores which being four less interceptions than last week was a major advancement. While watching a game with only 19 total points is pretty painful, at least the hometown Pats could watch and pretend the Pats defense was back.
OAK 10, SD 34 Randy Moss, where fore art thou? Moss did end with 74 yards on seven catches but his style of play has become "jog and jump". Lamont Jordan owners that have feasted in his freakishly high receiving yards this season only were rewarded with two catches for ten yards on top of his 55 rushing yards for a rather disappointing game. Tomlinson ended with 110 total yards but not before getting hit and leaving the game. "Take your head out of the oven - he's back in now". The Chargers didn't have any major fantasy numbers here because they really did not need them. Gates had 51 yards and a score. The Raiders tied the score 10-10 in the second quarter before the wheels went flying off the wagon.

Game-O-The-Week

This was a week with some very big games that all delivered the goods. The Giants outlasted the Cowboys, the Chiefs took down the Broncos, the Bengals beat the Steelers and the Panthers whipped the Falcons. Each of those games reversed previous trends along with the notion that Favre owns the Bears no matter where they play. It was a day of tilling the soil on several trends that went back for many season including the Bengals who will have their first winning season in 15 years.

But the Game-of-the-Week was a golden one where no one saw it coming. The game didn't raise a single eyebrow in the country before it played and when it was over, all we could say was "whoa!"

Buffalo 23, Miami 24

If you want surreal openings, consider that the Dolphins still have one of the better secondaries in the league and yet by the time the first quarter was over, Lee Evans had scored THREE touchdowns and gained 110 yards on those three catches. Losman only threw six passes in that first quarter and the three catches and one incompletion went to Evans. The other two were another incompletion and one catch by McGahee for five yards. The Dolphins were already behind 21-0. Game over, man.

In the second quarter, the Dolphins managed one field goal to enter the halftime down 21-3. Game over, man.

With ten minutes left in the third quarter, Gus Frerotte was sacked in his own endzone for a safety. The Bills led 23-3. Oh yes, and Frerotte was knocked out of the game. Enter Sage Rosenfels and by now, the only hope was that the Fins could grab a trash time score to make it seem more like a game.

The Bills took over on the safety punt and marched from their own 38-yard line to the Miami 3-yard line with a first down. And then Losman threw an interception. Rosenfels took over on his own 12-yard line and promptly led the team down to the Bills 9-yard line when on fourth-and-nine, Miami went for the touchdown instead of the field goal. The thought was a touchdown would put them into a game they were never really competitive in anyway. Of course - Rosenfels gets rushed and throws an incompletion along with an intentional grounding call which was naturally declined. Silly Dolphins.

After the Dolphins managed to lose seven yards, they punted to the Miami 30-yard line with 13:53 left to play in the game that they already led 23-3. What's the worst that could happen really? Dolphins down by 20 and with only one field goal in over three quarters of play. Frerotte out and Rosenfels in. Let's get this over and go home.

But Rosenfels starts hitting Ricky Williams and Chris Chambers on passes. They march down to the Buffalo 5-yard line when with 11:40 left to play, Rosenfels hit Ricky Williams with a touchdown. Now the Fins trail 23-10, but at least it is more respectable.

On the next series, the Bills can only gain six yards and puts to midfield since the Buffalo punters decides to shank a 36 yarder. Starting at their own 49-yard line with only 9:53 left to play, Rosenfels does it again. He hits mostly Chambers and Ronnie Brown to reach the 23-yard line where with 7:44 left to play, he connects with Brown for a 23 yard touchdown. Suddenly the Bills insurmountable lead has gone from 23-3 to only 23-17 and there are eight minutes left to play.

Knowing that they needed to run out the clock if not score, the Bills opt to run McGahee on almost every play and reach the Bills 44-yard line before needing to punt after an incompletion to Evans (yeah, like they won't be watching him).

Time for destiny! With only 3:03 left to play, Rosenfels starts on his own 19-yard line and hits McMichael for seven yards. Then he hits Chambers for 24 yards to midfield. Then he hits - OH NO! Interception at midfield! With only 2:34 left to play, the greatly relieved Bills take over and three runs by McGahee, Losman and Shaud Williams produces a net five yard loss. Who would know that they were going to run? I mean other than the Miami defense?

The punt gives the ball to the Dolphins with 1:51 left to play on the Miami 27-yard line. Now by this time, Chris Chambers already had 169 yards on 12 receptions for a season best. After two incompletions, Rosenfels hits - yep - Chris Chambers for a 57 yard gain to the Bills 16-yard line with 1:06 left to play. Whoa.

He then hits Wes Welker for seven yards. and then with 55 seconds left to play, he connects AGAIN with Chambers for eight yards to the Bills 1-yard line. Rosenfels spikes the ball with 43 seconds left to play. Then he throws an incomplete to CHAMBERS. A penalty moves the ball back to the Bills 6-yard line where with only 29 seconds left to play, the Dolphins elect to not throw to Chambers on third down and instead run a quarterback draw that only gains two yards. Clock is ticking. Tick... tick... tick... fourth down and only seconds left to play. No time to call another play, just time for one more last ditch effort that has to go to what got them there. A quick endzone fade by Chambers to the right side is CAUGHT! HE FREAKING CAUGHT IT! He already had 14 catches for 234 yards and he was in single coverage! Dolphins win!

Amazing. The Bills started the game with 3 touchdowns in the first quarter - boom, boom, boom. The Dolphins end the game with 3 touchdowns in the final quarter - boom, boom, boom. Somewhere in the middle, a field goal beats a safety.

Doesn't matter where you start, it's all about the finish. Best of luck to those of you about to embark on your fantasy playoffs or locking up a spot next week. And when you have to make those final starting decisions, remember:

What got you there, will get you there.

Now get back to work...