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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 3
David Dorey
September 18, 2006
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Peyton Manning 400 3
Eli Manning 371 3
Rex Grossman 289 4
Running Backs Yards TD
Rudi Johnson 148 2
LaDainian Tomlinson 122 2
Frank Gore 137 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Amani Toomer 137 2
Antonio Bryant 131 1
Darrell Jackson 137 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Desmond Clark 85 1
John Gilmore 8 2
L.J. Smith 111 0
Placekickers XP FG
Nate Kaeding 4 4
Matt Stover 2 4
Adam Vinatieri 4 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Baltimore 0 6 6
Chicago 0 6 3
Philadelphia 0 8 1

Week 2 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

So far the injuries haven't started mounting but the season is young..

Adam Vinatieri (IND) - Groin strain
Brandon Stokley (IND) - Re-aggravated ankle injury
Terrell Owens (DAL) - Broken finger
Roddy White (ATL) - Rib injury
Rod Smith (DEN) - Concussion
Itula Mili (SEA) - Knee injury

Third time's a charm, right?

The Raiders and Buccaneers share an ignominious commonality so far. Heading into week three, both teams have been shutout once and still continue to wait for their first actual touchdown in 2006. The Raiders are on heading into a merciful bye week so that little trademark will carry at least into week four when they host the Cleveland Browns.

The Buccaneers have a chance to rectify their apparent allergy to the endzone next week when they host the Carolina Panthers. The team that has scored only one touchdown this season. Throw in the Lions and you have the four teams that are averaging less than ten points per game so far this year.

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about

Week one was an odd start to the season with shutouts and visitors winning all over the league. There were only three quarterbacks that had 300 yard games and the best was 319 yards. On Sunday, we were treated to eight efforts over the 300 yard mark and five of those were at least 350 yards. That's a lot of fantasy love to spread around. 14 receivers had over 100 yards - almost twice that of week one. But running backs only went from six to seven players topping the 100 yard mark, leaving something to improve upon next week. Um... except four teams are on bye.

Just to prepare for the water cooler today

The natural question at work today will eventually be asked - which team is worse? The Tennessee Titans or the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately these teams do not face each other this year. That would be worth watching with the same morbid curiosity as if you placed two mental patients who believe they are each Jesus into a locked room just to see what would happen.

"I'm an NFL team"

"No, I am an NFL team"

"Well, look - there's no chance we both are so which one of us is actually an NFL team?"

Oakland vs. Tennessee - Cumulative after two games  
Gained
OAK
TEN
Allowed
OAK
TEN
 
Rushing Yards
126
141
Rushing Yards
328
352
 
Passing Yards
258
413
Passing Yards
251
554
 
Touchdowns
0
1
Touchdowns
5
7
 
Fumbles lost
4
0
Fumbles recovered
0
2
 
Interceptions
3
5
Interceptions
1
0
 
Sacked by
0
2
Sacks
15
2
 
Total Points
6
23
Total Points
55
63
 

There is no argument now that the Raiders clearly have the worst offense in the NFL and while the Titans have allowed more yardage and points, the reality is that the Titans were in the game, sort of, in week one. The tip of the hat has to go to Oakland so far but it is a battle that will likely continue all season and on until that fateful day next April when they announce "With the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft..."

Huddle Player of the Week

Amani Toomer - During the first season for Eli Manning, Toomer only had 747 yards and never scored for the first time since his rookie season in 1996. Last year he had seven scores but only turned in 60 catches for 684 yards as a little used third outlet for Manning. He only had five catches for 41 yards last week in what has become a standard game. But against the Eagles on Sunday, Toomer turned in bigger fantasy numbers than any other NFL player (most scoring systems anyway). Toomer had 12 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns - the only player with two receiving scores this week. He may go back to 41 yards next week, but for all that started him on Sunday, he's the hero of the week.

Salute!

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Rex Grossman 289 4 QB Jake Delhomme 181 0
RB DeAngelo Williams 98 1 RB DeShaun Foster 46 0
RB Michael Turner 155 0 RB Jamal Lewis 70 0
WR Kelley Washington 77 1 WR Terrell Owens 19 0
WR Greg Jennings 67 1 WR Lee Evans 19 0
WR Devery Henderson 51 1 WR Randy Moss 32 0
PK Nate Kaeding 4 FG 4 XP PK Josh brown 3 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 128

Huddle Fantasy Points = 28

Sunday's Couch Commentary

HOU 24, IND 43 There is just little as rewarding for a quarterback than hosting the Texans for an afternoon and Peyton Manning threw for an even 400 yards and three scores before joining a sideline backgammon game for the rest of the day. Joseph Addai ran 16 times for 82 yards and scored on a 21 yard pass play. Wayne (135 yards) and Harrison (127 yards) seemed to enjoy themselves as well. David Carr (219 yards, 3 TDs) had a great effort as a testament to the joys of trashtime production and yet didn't focus much on any particular player. Now the waiver wire can be buzzing with Samkon Gado (3-36) and Ron Dayne (11-37). Or you can be smart and just wash your hands of the entire mess because it is the same maddening situation as in Denver only without the actual yardage or scores. The Texans just lost their starting left tackle to a fractured leg, so lower those low expectations a bit more. No... a little lower.... uh....okay.
NO 34, GB 27 Evidently the signs that read "no running in the halls" at Lambeau Field was taken to heart when no player topped 47 rushing yards in this game including Reggie "6 for 5 yards" Bush who did add eight catches for 68 yards and evidently should just be moved to the slot. Drew Brees threw for 353 yards and two scores and Brett Favre redeemed himself from last week by turning in 340 yards and three scores with only one interception, the bulk of which ended up with Donald Driver (8-153 yards). This was a great game in the sense that there were 61 points scored and there was plenty of passing but only Driver had a big game as a receiver. After two losses at home, now the Packers get to go to Detroit this week. The Saints are going to return home to New Orleans finally and will be sporting a 2-0 record when they host Atlanta.
CLE 17, CIN 34 Now all those Carson Palmer owners can quit freaking out and be happy with his 352 yard, two touchdown effort against the Browns. While Chad Johnson had a decent game (6-78, 1 TD), Chris Henry reeled in five catches for 113 yards. Actually the Bengals really did not need much more than Rudi Johnson who rang up 145 yards on 26 carries and scored twice. Somehow Rueben Droughns managed to score once on his 14 carries for 32 yards and once again Charlie Frye just ran it in for a score himself. Braylon Edwards (4-110) was supposed to start the season slowly while he got up to speed from his knee injury last year but if this is Edwards at less than 100%, the Browns will be picking up speed as the season progresses. Edward's 75-yard touchdown came late in the game though. So far we have only seen T.J. Houshgetonthefieldalreadydeh during commercial breaks this season.
OAK 6, BAL 28 Well it just doesn't get any better. The Raiders are apparently set on turning in historically low numbers across the board this year (other than points allowed) and the picture is not getting any better. Aaron Brooks was injured to start the game. Actually he was just trying to scratch his back on the sideline when a trainer asked if his shoulder was okay and Brooks replied "..why no... my shoulder... hurts... yeah, real bad... ouch! ouch!". Andrew Walter went in for the weekly Raider QB beating though the line has improved enough to only allow six sacks instead of the nine from last week. When the Raiders finish their game, they should all just smoke a cigarette and ask the nearest opponent "was it good for you?". Lamont Jordan, AKA 2005 best pass catching RB, still has no catches this year though he had one pass thrown to him this week. He ended with 35 yards on 19 carries. Steve McNair only had 143 yards and one score because the Raider defense is actually far outplaying their own offense and Jamal Lewis only managed 70 yards on 19 carries with Mike Anderson taking the touchdown. The Ravens offense has yet to really be used this year because the defense and quality of opening opponents have been more than enough to ensure a win. In Cleveland this week, may not change even still. The Raiders are planning on using their bye this week to tour area high schools to get tips on how to run an offense.
TB 3, ATL 14 Well it just doesn't get any better (Part 2). The Bucs came off their thrashing by the Ravens and this time was spanked by the Falcons who may use a bird as their mascot but there is nothing else related to the air in their offense. Warrick Dunn (21-134) and Michael Vick (14-127) ran with abandon on Sunday and made Norwood's 45 yards on nine carries look rather pedestrian, Carnell "Volkswagen Beetle" Williams only managed to gain 37 yards on 15 carries in his quest to redefine the possible depth of a sophomore slump but Chris Simms turned in 313 passing yards that included nine completions to Joey Galloway for 161 yards and amazingly no touchdowns. Simms' three interceptions were a killer and the NFC South champs are not only 0-2 on the year, they are averaging 1.5 points per game. While the Raiders resemble a moped with a flat tire, the Bucs are still in the automotive class with the mechanics completely stumped why the motor won't start. The Falcons punter/kicker Michael Koenen missed four field goals from within the 40 yard line so maybe the whole bright idea thing is going to be ending on the dual job description. Tampa Bay returns to host the Panthers this week in a game that almost anything can happen... make that anything bad...
CAR 13, MIN 16 OT An overtime game is always a candidate for Game of The Week and this does have a playoff team from 2005 in it. But the Panthers without Steve Smith (if that is the problem) are bumbling on offense and DeAngelo Williams now has the lone team touchdown for this year. DeShaun Foster only gained 26 yards on 13 carries but the rookie Williams ran for 74 yards on 13 carries as well and Williams added five catches for 24 yards as well. The sharing between Foster and Williams is bound to increase though every Williams owner will readily tell you he is ready for the full load. KeyShawn Johnson had five catches for 106 yards but nothing else was working for the Panthers on Sunday. The Vikes got a nice game from Chester Taylor who ran for 113 yards on 24 carries and Troy Williamson (6-102) is starting to catch more of those passes thrown to him. This was an entertaining game that was sent into overtime when the Vikes were training 13-6 and on 4th and five they lined up for a field goal from the 16-yard line but Longwell actually threw a touchdown to the rookie tight end Owens to tie the game. That ties him for the passing TD lead with Brad Johnson for the Vikes and actually puts him ahead of Jake Delhomme for the year. The Vikes host the Bears for the NFC North lead this week while the Panthers visit the Bucs this week where both teams will strive to not be 0-3 and to prove that they really don't suck as much this year as they seem. One team still will by Sunday night.
BUF 16, MIA 6 Following the lead of Carolina, the team expected by many to reach the playoffs is now 0-2 and was just beaten by the visiting Bills who only had 188 total yards of offense and one touchdown. But they did not have any mistakes either unlike Culpepper (250 yards, 1 TD, 1 interceptions and 2 fumbles). So far, the Fins have bought the 2005 version of Culpepper and not the previous models. Ronnie Brown had 70 yards on 15 carries which is similar to last year other than Ricky Williams not being there to throw in 90 yards himself. So far Chambers continues to turn in around 60 yards a week though he had a score on Sunday. Since Brown added 52 yards on six catches, the Dolphins are becoming rather one-dimensional - a fact not lost on defenses. Miami get to host the Titans this week so get out your dolphin hat and jersey and plan the post-game party favors. The Bills return home to face the Jets, so 2-1 is not out of the question.
STL 13, SF 20 Oh for the good old days when these two teams would meet and both throw for 400 yards without a hint of defense to get in the way. Alex Smith (233, 1 TD) actually outgunned Marc Bulger (185, 1 TD) and neither had the decency to throw an interception. Torry Holt had the lone score but his 30 yards on five catches is hardly what we've come to expect against the 49ers. Steven Jackson ran well with 103 yards on 22 carries but was upstaged by the still surprising Frank Gore who ended with 127 yards on 29 carries with one score. Antonio Bryant even caught a 72-yard score in the game. Alex Smith is good, Bulger is barely average and neither team throws all that much. Yep, there is a big learning curve to 2006. Sigh...
ARI 10, SEA 21 Away from Phoenix (and the visiting 49ers), Kurt Warner only managed 231 yards and one touchdown against the Seahawks on Sunday. That turned both Boldin (6-62) and Fitzgerald (4-52) back into pumpkins and Fitzgerald ended his six game streak of 100 yards. Edgerrin James only managed to have 64 yards on 18 carries though he added seven catches for 33 yards. The rushing game so far is just as limited by poor blocking as was feared. The Seahawks got a big game from Darrell Jackson (5-127, 1 TD) but that was about all from the team. Even Shaun Alexander only gained 89 yards on 26 carries with one score. If the Madden curse is a myth, Alexander is not doing too much to dispel it. This should have been a game with some decent fireworks and at least some trash time production, but not much happened after the Seahawks went up 14-0 in the first quarter.
TEN 7, SD 40 This game was 33-0 with only three minutes left to play, so it really wasn't as close as the score suggests. LaDainian Tomlinson had 126 total yards and two scores and has yet to actually play all 60 minutes in a football game. He's been great so far but the Chargers somehow drew the two worst teams in the universe NFL to open their season and the results have been so good and so easy that the Chargers have yet to actually be challenged on the field or make much use of Antonio Gates. The Titans ground game is non-existent with Brown only gaining nine yards on six carries while LenDale White turned in a comparatively impressive 22 yards on eight runs. Virtually all of the Titans production came late in the fourth quarter when the Charger mistakenly thought the game was over. Kerry Collins had only six completions on 19 passes for 57 yards and two interceptions but Vince Young (7-19, 106 yards and 1 TD) produced actual statistics at the end of the game. Hard to admit it but the season is already over so they might as well let Young play.
NE 24, NYJ 17 The Patriots led this game 24-0 in the third quarter before Jerricho Cotchery had a 71-yard scoring catch and Laveranues Coles added a 46-yard touchdown on the next series. Those catches propelled Pennington to a 306 yard, two touchdown game since he only had 104 yards at halftime. The Jets rushing game continues to be both lackluster and something to stay clear of this year. Barlow had 42 yards on 14 catches and Blaylock only gained seven yards on six runs. Not exactly the dreams you likely had when you drafted either. Jerricho Cotchery continues to provoke the reply "who?" when he had 121 yards and one score while Coles added 100 yards and a touchdown as well. But the Patriots thought they already had this game in the bag and allowed the Eric Mangini Jets to sneak back into the game. Dillon (20-80, 1 TD) and Maroney (16-65, 1 TD) both have fantasy value and would be studs if the other guy would just get injured. Pennington still looks pretty good so far and has a chance to make it three games without significant injury when he faces the Bills this week.
KC 6, DEN 9 OT The good news for the Chiefs is that Larry Johnson is still just as good and turned in 167 total yards against the Broncos as the leading rusher and receiver for the team. Unfortunately, Damon Huard really is a ten year journeyman quarterback better suited to working with the scout team. Huard only had 133 yards and that pick of Gonzalez last month just netted you a cool seven yards on two catches. But that is almost as good as Plummer managed when he only had 16 of 30 for 173 yards and one interception. Rod Smith got a concussion and the rushing game is the Bell show with Tatum and Mike turning in almost identical total yards and neither scoring. This was a surprisingly boring game without a single touchdown. While the Chiefs can point at Trent Green's injury for a reason why production is down, the Broncos have no such situation. The Chiefs head off for their bye week while the Broncos head to New England where they hope the Patriots will not remember the playoffs last year. In one of those rare moments in football, Huard threw a pass that was batted back to him. He caught it and ran for a couple of yards and then fumbled it away. Get well, Trent, get well...
WAS 10, DAL 27 With Portis out for yet another game and Santana Moss commanding ample coverage thanks to last year's late game heroics, the Redskins failed to score on offense and only a kick-off return for a score made this game look respectable. Bledsoe silenced his critics with 237 yards and two scores and he almost never used Terrell Owens thanks to a broken finger. Santana Moss had 69 yards on four catches but 44 yards came on the final series when the Cowboys went to a deep prevent scheme. Julius Jones ran for 94 yards on 20 carries but Barber was used near the goal line and scored once. The NFC East is shaping up to be a bloodbath this year and there's a good chance the division may not produce a wildcard team thanks to beating each other up so much during the season.
DET 7, CHI 34 The Bears defense continues their dominating ways from last year when the stomped on the vistiing Lions this week. Other than the stifling defense, the new thing here is that Rex Gross comes off a 289 yard, four touchdown game which merely matches the number of scores that he had thrown in total during his first three NFL seasons. Bernard Berrian and Desmond Clark both had a score and around 85 yards and little used tight end John Gilmore had just two catches for eight yards - both touchdowns and double what he had done in his first four NFL seasons. The oddity here is that the Chicago rushing game has been rather lackluster so far this year and only had 89 yards on 31 carries split between Jones and Benson. The new Martz-directed Lions offense has resulted in just one touchdown over the first two games and that came yesterday on a one-yard run by Jon Kitna. Kevin Jones only had 35 rushing yards in week one and improved up to 44 yards on Sunday, meaning his progression would need at least half the season to result in a 100 yard game. The Lions get to host the Packers this week and with that a chance to find themselves in the win column finally while the Bears head to Minneapolis where they can take a commanding lead in the NFC North only three games into the season.

Game-O-The-Week

After a very strange week one, the NFL returned to some semblance of normalcy on Sunday with six teams scoring 30 or more points and quarterbacks getting hot all over the league. We had three overtime games which would suggest that parity is alive and well but so far - not so much really. There are currently ten teams that are undefeated (PIT and JAX with only one game played) and of those ten teams, six of them went to the playoffs if not won their division and only New Orleans had a losing season in 2005. The rich are pretty much staying rich (other than Carolina and Tampa Bay) and the poor are remaining poor.

After 11 visiting teams won last week, only four managed the feat in week two and the Game of the Week goes to the one that best represented what the NFL - and fantasy football - is all about. Sticking with it, staying composed, a few big plays and bada-bing!

New York Giants 30, Philadelphia Eagles 24 OT

The game opened with the Giants driving the field and Eli Manning threw a 37-yard strike to Amani Toomer to take the lead. But the Eagles then took their opening drive and also drove the field until Brian Westbrook ran in a 12-yard touchdown. Westbrook was said to be having health problems again and while he was probable, he was a somewhat scary start for fantasy teams this week. The faithful (or those without options) were rewarded.

The first series in the second quarter produced a 20-yard touchdown pass from McNabb to Stallworth and the Eagles went up 14-7. After the Giants lost 17 yards on their next series, they punted and the Eagles drove the field but Akers 49-yard field goal attempt hit the upright. He made up for that a few series later when he hit a 37-yarder to end the half with a 17-7 Philadelphia lead. At halftime, Barber only had eight yards on six rushed and Manning only had 94 passing yards. McNabb already racked up 256 yards for the Eagles.

On the first series of the second half, the Eagles drove the field for a 23-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Brown. Leading 24-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, it looked like another home win for the Eagles. After all, they led by 17 points and the Giants were on their own 25-yard line with a third and 18 when the fourth quarter started.

But then Manning found Burress for 20 yards to the 45-yard line. Then Barber ran for five yards and Manning hit Finn for an 11 yard completions. At first and ten at the PHI 39-yard line, he found Burress for a 23 yard gain and when Burress fumbled it, Tim Carter took it in for the touchdown and a quick 24-14 game.

The Eagles went three and out and the Giants took their next possession no where, going for a fourth and one from the NYG 38-yard line and having Manning throw an interception. But the Eagles could only gain nine yards and so on fourth and one themselves on the Giants 38-yard line, they too went for it. Buckhalter was stuffed. Had he made a first down, more time would be used and at least a field goal would likely result. That was an important play in retrospect.

After trading series, the Giants took over on the PHI 32-yard line thanks to a Westbrook fumble. There was only 4:11 left to play and Manning found Toomer for an 11-yard pass and then Toomer again for a 22-yard touchdown that brought the game to 24-21. It was a game again!

After the next Philly drive brought the clock down to only 58 seconds left, the Giants started out on their own 20-yard line. Manning hit Toomer for eight yards, then Carter for 22 and then spiked the ball at the PHI 40-yard line with 16 second left to play. He then hit Shockey for 8 yards on the sideline and not only did he kill the clock, but the Eagles were called for a personal foul and that brought the ball to the PHI-17 yard line with 10 second left. Feely nailed the game-tying 35-yard field goal.

In overtime both teams traded series and the Giants started on their own 15-yard line with 9:55 remaining in overtime. Methodically using Barber runs and short passes, they drove the field until they reached the PHI-25 yard line. Then they gained six yards but lost ten on an offensive holding. Barber lost one yard and then on third down the Giants were called for a false start. At the PHI 31-yard line with 3:18 remaining on a third and 11, the Eagles blitzed and Manning lofted a pas at the goal line for Burress.

Touchdown. Game over.

The Giants were down by 17 points and did not give up. They are already saying that this was Eli Manning's breakout game because he not only threw for 371 yards and three scores, he did most of that after the Eagles had already written the Giants off. Manning showed composure and just played the game with some fortunate breaks that were not matched by the Eagles. In the end, for the first time two brothers topped the NFL for passing yardage (400 and 371).

The game is like that. Stick with it, stay composed and good things can happen. There's a whole lot of changes left in store for 2006 and a lot of football left to play. There are some surprisingly good teams and some shockingly bad ones. Whatever your fantasy teams are like this year, know that the good don't always stay that way and neither will the bad. You just gotta play the game.

And good things will happen.

Now get back to work...