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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 15
David Dorey
December 11, 2006
Sunday Salutes
Writer # of Tunnel Visions
David Dorey 150
Everyone else in the world 0
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Drew Brees 384 5
Vince Young 86R 218 P 1
Matt Hasselbeck 32 R 243 P 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Artose Pinner 140 3
Maurice Jones-Drew 181 3
LaDainian Tomlinson 112 3
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Donald Driver 154 1
Drew Carter 144 1
T.J. Houshmandzadeh 118 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Antonio Gates 104 2
Tony Scheffler 66 2
Vernon Davis 74 1
Placekickers XP FG
Josh Scobee 5 3
Shaun Suisham 1 4
Dave Rayner 3 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Buffalo 1 4 3
Minnesota 0 3 6
Philadelphia 1 2 2

Week 14 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Not bad unless you were banking on the Atlanta ground game.

Kevin Jones (DET) - Foot injury
Mark Campbell (NO) - Leg injury
Warrick Dunn (ATL) - Calf injury
Jerious Norwood (ATL) - Knee sprain
Brandon Stokley (IND) - Knee injury

When history is a good thing

We've all witnessed various events in our lifetimes that would go down in history but rarely were they of a positive or joyous nature. Not so on Sunday when LaDainian Tomlinson scored three times against the Broncos to break the all-time touchdown record set just last year by Shaun Alexander. Tomlinson has notched 29 touchdowns in only 13 games this year and still has three more to go - two of them are at home no less.

We cannot even count the two touchdown passes that Tomlinson has thrown this year.

When Tomlinson scores again, and he will, he will officially pass Paul Hornug's single-season scoring record of 176 points that has stood for the last 46 years. Tomlinson has scored 26 times in just the last nine games. In his first four games of the year, Tomlinson had only scored three times.

We are witnessing history and it's not only a thing of beauty, it is happening because of one player that is, as HC Mary Schottenheimer pointed out after the game, a better person than he is a runner. And there is no better runner - ever.

In a sport rife with criminal records and loud-mouthed egotists, what did Tomlinson say in the huddle before scoring the record shattering touchdown?

"I want all of you guys to join me in the end zone when I get it. "

As all but one team in your fantasy league will attest, there just aren't enough Tomlinsons in the world.

So does anyone really want a championship?

Eight divisions in the NFL and the seven division leaders that played on Sunday saw four of them beaten. The Patriots were shut out by a 5-7 Dolphin team in Miami. The Colts lost their best record in the NFL to a 7-5 Jaguars team in Jacksonville. The Seahawks lost to the 3-9 Cardinals in Arizona. And the Cowboys? It was a game against a fellow division leader but it came in Dallas against a team that was without Joe Horn or realistically a healthy Marques Colston as well.

Both the Jets and Chiefs were 7-5 and needed a win and while the Chiefs lost to a better Ravens team, it came in Arrowhead where visitors are not supposed to win in December. And this should be the final stretch with the good teams playing harder and the bad teams no longer fighting the futility. Maybe in the end it will all come down to the same formula in your league - who owns Tomlinson?

When history is a side note

On Sunday, Marvin Harrison became only the fourth player in NFL history with 1000 receptions in his career, joining Jerry Rice (1549), Cris Carter (1101) and TIm Brown (1094). And Harrison did it in 16 fewer games than any other player ever - including Jerry RIce. Then again, who feels like celebrating when the last two weeks have send the Colts from all alone at the top of the NFL to now being the #2 seed in the AFC.

Huddle Player of the Week

Maurice Jones-Drew - Evidently each first round running back is allotted one monster game per year to qualify as Player of the Week and this week was Maurice's turn. The 5'7" rookie tailback is not a starter but he still ended up with 166 yards on just 15 carries with two rushing touchdowns against the Colts. He also had 15 yards on one catch and returned the opening kick in the second half 93 yards for a third touchdown. He could have done much more but he needed an IV to replace fluids after running so much and Alvin Pearman finished the game with 71 yards that could have been Jones-Drew's. Oh yes, after he scored one touchdown he attempted a "Lambeau Leap" but at 5'7", he could not scale the wall. The way he looked on Sunday, fans should start bringing ladders from him to use.

Salute!

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Chris Weinke 439 1 QB Tom Brady 78 0
RB Artose Pinner 140 3 RB Joseph Addai 36 0
RB Mike Karney 53 3 RB Marion Barber (-1) 0
WR Drew Carter 144 1 WR Anquan Boldin 47 0
WR Tony Scheffler 66 2 WR Santana Moss 34 0
WR D.J. Hackett 104 1 WR Chris Chambers 11 0
PK Shaun Suisham 4 FG 1 XP PK David Akers 3 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 150

Huddle Fantasy Points = 17

Sunday's Couch Commentary

CLE 7, PIT 27 Okay, so the game wasn't really close. The Browns had a total of 16 rushing yards and Droughns covered six yards on five carries. Derek Anderson threw for 276 yards and a very late, skunk-denying touchdown which was impressive considering his first start was on the road in Pittsburgh. Joe Jurevicius had 111 yards and Braylon Edwards caught four passes for 86 yards and the one touchdown. The Steelers got a decent enough game from WIllie Parker who turned 32 carries into 223 yards and one score for an all-time Steelers rushing record in a game. He could have done much more since even Najeh Davenport carried 14 times for 62 yards and the Steelers ended with 301 rushing yards from their running backs. Santonio Holmes continues to get better and led the team with 81 yards on four carries while Nate Washington did his best Hines Ward impression when he had 67 yards on only two catches and scored on a 49-yard reception. The win boosts the Steelers up to 6-7 on the season with a shot at the much treasured .500 season. They play in Carolina next while the Browns head to Baltimore for more fun and frivolity.
MIN 30, DET 20 The biggest surprise here was not that the Vikings won on the road, it was that they used Artose Pinner - the ex-Lion - to do the damage. With Chester Taylor sidelined, everything pointed to Ciatrick Fason as the starter (including a few comments to the media by MIN staff). Fason only gained 28 yards on six carries while Artose Pinner had a career day with 29 runs for 125 yards and three touchdowns. There's just something motivating about playing against an ex-employer. Brad Johnson managed to make it through the entire game without being benched but while he only had 159 passing yards, he did find time to throw one interception that was returned for a touchdown by the Lions. Kitna threw for 294 yards - almost entirely in the second half as usual - but had three interceptions against just one score to Kevin Jones who ended with six catches for 67 yards but only a net three yard loss on nine rushing attempts before injuring his ankle. Before the game Roy Williams assured a camera that he would turn in 100 yards on the game but he ended with 73 yards on six catches while Mike Furrey had nine catches for 84 yards. Evidently living life without Kevin Jones is just not worth living for the Lions who now head to Green Bay this week while the Vikings return home to host the Jets.
OAK 10, CIN 27 A predictable game in the way that both teams played the way they normally do. The Raiders only had 37 rushing yards from Justin Fargas on 13 carries and Aaron Brooks ended with 199 yards and one score against one interception. Ronald Curry led all Raiders with eight catches for 99 yards and the lone touchdown while Randy Moss only came up with two catches for 28 yards. Carson Palmer threw for 297 yards and two scores but had three interceptions. The Raiders defense was highly ranked against the pass because no one bothered much to do more than run to a win. The Bengals showed the rankings were a bit inflated since T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught eight passes for 1118 yards and a score while Chad Jackson collected five receptions for 101 yards. And all of that was unnecessary since Rudi Johnson ran for 117 yards on 30 carries and scored two touchdowns. It was a classic beat down and now the Bengals head to Indianapolis where the Colts are suddenly mortal and the Raiders return home to host the Rams.
NYG 27, CAR 13 The Panthers are no fan of the NFC East now that they have lost to all four teams there. Eli Manning threw for 172 yards and three scores with no interceptions while Tiki Barber ran for 112 yards on 20 carries. Plaxico Burress (4-77), Jeremy Shockey (6-49) and David Tyree (2-15) all caught a touchdown. It was the Giants defense, for once, that won this game since Chris Weinke had his first start in almost four years and threw for 423 yards and a score but had three interceptions. The Panthers opted to ruin a good thing by reducing DeAngelo Williams to only two carries for one yard while letting DeShaun Foster run eight times for 23 yards because he clearly has revealing photos of someone on the coaching staff. There can be no other explanation. Drew Carter was the star with eight catches for 144 yards and the lone Panthers score while Steve Smith was held to just five catches for 67 yards. The win brings the Giants up to 7-6 on the season and keeps them in the playoff race while the Panthers fall to just 6-7 and will catch no breaks with the schedule for the rest of the season. This week they will host the Steelers
PHI 21, WAS 19 The Eagles take the close win by holding off the Redskins after rolling up a 21-0 lead in the first half and then thinking that they could coast (which has been a rather poor game plan for much of the season). Jeff Garcia threw for 164 yards and two scores while Westbrook ran for 88 yards on 17 carries and had 38 yards on three catches as well. Reggie Brown led the group with 73 yards on three receptions while Donte Stallworth only managed 31 yards in the game. Jason Campbell has 182 passing yards and one score but tossed two interceptions and one was returned for a rather significant touchdown. Ladell Betts signed a contract extension and then ran 33 times for 171 yards to show he was a good investment. The lone Washington passing score went to Antwaan Randle El who came up big with six catches for 85 yards. Standard game as if McNabb was still there - run up a big lead and then see if the opponent can eliminate it in the second half. The Eagles are 7-6 and in the playoff hunt as well and head to New York to play the Giants this week while the Redskins go to New Orleans.
ATL 17, TB 6 The Falcons lost Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood in the span of just five plays and ended up relying on fullback Justin Griffith to run for 57 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown while Michael Vick opted to become a pocket passer again when he only had 155 passing yards and one interception but added only five yards on three runs. Just when you Vick owners needed him most. Bruce Gradkowski only had 121 passing yards before he was finally benched for Tim Rattay who threw for 83 yards and was generally more impressive than Gradkowski (low as that bar was). The Buccaneers held Vick to almost nothing, knocked both running backs out of the game and yet still could not manufacture more than six offensive points in a home game. Carnell Williams ran for 48 yards on 29 carries while Michael Pittman (7-73) and Joey Galloway (5-64) were the best Bucs receivers. Boring game that just cemented the notion that the Buccaneers offense is dead this year while the Falcons can be plenty good enough to beat a horrible team. The Falcons head home to host the Cowboys this week while the Buccaneers head to Chicago for their next loss. The win makes the Falcons 7-6 on the season with playoffs hopes not yet squashed.
BAL 20, KC 10 Remember all that great passing by Green last week? Forget about it for now. Green only had 178 passing yards with one score and two interceptions in a game that the Chiefs never led. Larry Johnson ran for a very respectable 120 yards on 23 carries but had little help outside of Samie Parker's 71 yards on five catches. Tony Gonzalez has held to just 31 yards on three catches. Steve McNair threw for 283 yards and one score thanks to Mark Clayton turning a catch into an 87-yard touchdown. Clayton ended with 112 yards on five catches while Derrick Mason (5-68) and Todd Heap (4-33) had just average games. Jamal Lewis ran for 81 yards on 24 carries and scored once but the Raven defense won this game by limiting the passing of the Chiefs and getting a break on the one long score by Clayton. The loss drops the Chiefs to 7-6 and coming in Arrowhead is all the deflating. Now the Chiefs have to head to San Diego for yet another must win game that they will likely lose. The Ravens rise to 10-3 and return home to face the Browns.
NE 0, MIA 21 The Patriots threw in a stinker this week and it was the first time that the Fins had pitched a no-hitter against the Pats since 1972. Tom Brady was sacked four times, fumbled twice and ended with only 78 passing yards before Matt Cassell came in and took over for the end of the game. Laurence Maroney has been a resident on the injury report almost every week this year but this time "questionable" actually meant that he was not playing. Corey Dillon ran for 79 yards on 16 carries but the passing game was in a shambles the entire afternoon. The Patriots either got caught in a trap game or Belichick had failed to tell them there was game because they looked unprepared and overwhelmed. Not so for the Dolphins who had Joey Harrington throw for 190 yards and one score while Sammy Morris ran for 123 yards on 25 carries and score once. Marty Booker led all receivers with 103 yards on eight catches and the one touchdown. The loss drops the Patriots to the #4 seed in the AFC and they return home to host the Texans this week. The Dolphins head to Buffalo this week.
IND 17, JAX 44 Here's one of your bigger upsets on the day. The rushing game of the Colts disappeared this week with only 33 yards on 19 carries between Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes. Peyton Manning had the yardage in the game with 313 but he had no passing scores and one interception. Manning ran in one touchdown. Both Reggie Wayne (8-110) and Marvin Harrison (6-101) had big non-scoring efforts but no other Colts player had more than 32 yards. Meanwhile, over in the Jaguars locker room they were administering IV's and oxygen (and champagne) to Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew who had finished running roughly the equivalent of a marathon. Taylor opened the game with a 74 yard run and ended with 131 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries. He pulled a hamstring and left Maurice Jones-Drew to mop up with 166 rushing yards on 15 carries and two scores with a third coming on the return of the second half opening kickoff. David Garrard only threw for 79 yards because the Jaguars rushed for 375 yards in the game. Even Alvin Pearman gained 71 yards on 13 carries. This loss is big for the Colts who now drop to 10-3 in a tie with the Ravens and one game behind the Chargers. All that talk about the championship going through Indianapolis? Looks like that was premature. Now the Colts return home to host the Bengals while the Jaguars head to Tennessee. The win places the Jags at 8-5 and in the thick of securing a wildcard.
GB 30, SF 19 Just to follow Sunday's trend of many upsets, the Packers were on a three game losing streak with Favre saying publicly that maybe he shouldn't have returned this year. So naturally he hits the road and carves up the 49ers defense for 293 yards and two scores without any interceptions. Ahman Green ran for 77 yards and a score that ranks him third in Packers franchise history for scoring touchdowns. Donald Driver - he is going to get nearly all the passes and most the scores and yet defenses have been unable to slow him down lately. Driver had 169 yards on nine catches for one score while Ruvell Martin even managed to catch a touchdown. Alex Smith faced the paper soft secondary of the Packers and yet could only come up with 201 yards and one score with two interceptions (reality check - that is a monster game for Smith). Frank "I am the offense" Gore ran for 130 yards on 19 carries and added 38 more on three receptions. Vernon Davis finally came through with three catches for 74 yards and a score but mainly because he had one 52-yard touchdown catch. Take that away and all the 49ers passing numbers were at their normal mediocre level. The 5-8 Packers now return home to face their division for the rest of the season starting with the visiting Lions. The 49ers head up to Seattle still reading the newspapers from three weeks ago that debated if the 49ers had a shot at the playoffs.
SEA 21, ARZ 27 And another upset. The Cardinals are claiming that finally, and I mean FINALLY, they have an offensive line that they like. James looked good last week and once again topped the century mark when he ran for 115 yards and scored once. Maybe this is all too late for those fantasy owners that spent a first round pick on him, but it is worth remembering for next year when his line magically returns to being a problem. Matt Leinart threw for 232 yards and two scores but unlike those Cardinals that we have known and loved for so long, the best receiver was Bryant Johnson with 81 yards and a score while right behind was Larry Fitzgerald with 79 yards and a score as well. Anquan Boldin? Just 47 yards on four catches. Shaun Alexander only gained 76 yards on 22 carries while Hasselbeck too the team on his shoulders and threw for 243 yards and three scores though it was not enough. Like the Cardinals, the best receiver was the slot guy with D.J. Hackett catching four passes for 104 yards and a score while Darrell Jackson (5-60, 1 TD) and Deion Branch (3-54) had only average games. The loss sends the Seahawks to 8-5 on the season which is still plenty good enough to win their division but now drops them behind Chicago and New Orleans for a first round bye. The Seahawks return home to face the 49ers while the Cardinals - the one with back-to-back wins - remain home to face the Broncos.
DEN 20, SD 48 There are less and less reasons to think how the Chargers are not the team to beat in the NFL. They own the best record in the AFC. They have the #1 tight end in the NFL and the #1 running back perhaps of all time, certainly so judging by this season. Philip Rivers threw for 279 yards and two scores that both went to Antonio Gates (7-104) and that wasn't even the important part of the offense. LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 103 yards on 28 carries and scored not once. Not twice (to tie Shaun Alexander's touchdown record. But three times to own, outright, the all-time touchdown record. The Broncos temporarily made this look like a game in the third quarter when Jay Cutler connected for two scores to Tony Scheffler (thank you pinball passes in the endzone) but he ended with only 188 yards on the game. Tatum Bell gained 116 yards on 17 carries though one went for 51 yards to boost his stats nicely. Denver now falls to 7-6 with a four game losing streak and now head to Phoenix where evidently a team has suddenly risen from the ashes. The Chargers remain home to host the Chiefs but they have already locked up the AFC West and now are playing for the #1 seed - thank you Indy.
BUF 31, NYJ 13 The AFC may choke against other divisions this year but when they play between themselves... well... one of them still chokes only likely not the one you thought would. Willis McGahee came back this week to face one of the worst rush defenses in the league (which always helps the healing process) and he ripped off 125 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown. There is only one Bills receiver worth covering and since the Jets failed to do that consistently, Lee Evans gained 91 yards and scored on a 77-yard completion even though he only had two catches in the game - you just cannot rest against Evans. Losman ended with 157 yards and two scores but as always it was all about "Where's Evans?". Chad Pennington threw for 182 yards and one score but had two interceptions. Cedric Houston only gained 50 yards on 18 carries while Leon Washington ran for 55 yards on seven totes. The best Jets receiver was Laveranues Coles with 67 yards and the lone touchdown and Jerricho Cotchery only managed 37 yards on the game. Now the 6-7 Bills head home to host the Dolphins and the Jets hit the road to Minnesota. At 7-6 on the season, the Jets are in jeopardy of slipping out of wildcard contention in the more competitive AFC.
NO 42, DAL 17 This game should have qualified as a contender for Game of the Week but there was no real drama or even question as to who would win once the game got underway. Drew Brees threw for 384 yards and five touchdowns which could have been more had the Saints not proven merciful in the fourth quarter when they stopped trying. Deuce McAllister gained 111 yards on 21 carries and Reggie Bush had 125 yards on six catches. and one score. Devery Henderson gained 92 yards and one score. Jamal Jones had one catch for 27 yards and one score. (This is like reading roll call before a class). Mike Karney (the blocking fullback) had five catches for 39 yards and two scores and also added a third touchdown via a run. This is notable because Karney ended with three touchdowns in one game while he had never actually ever scored a touchdown during his three years in the NFL. The Romo hype will finally, gratefully, become quiet now that he only threw for 249 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions with most of that coming in the rather lengthy trash time that this game provided. Terry Glenn turned in 150 yards on eight catches while Owens had just 56 yards and one score thanks to an interception gone bad. Making this game all the more surreal for the Cowboys, Julius Jones ripped off a 77 yard touchdown to start the game and had 116 yards on 10 carries in the game to dwarf his previous weeks. Marion Barber went from being "the man" in the backfield to having only two carries for a one yard loss and no catches.

Game-O-The-Week

What a week! Out of 15 games, the favored teams lost 11 of them and was capped off beautifully with the Saints crushing the Cowboys who were the latest team to be considered "the best in the NFC" (as temporary as that designations has proven this year). That is unprecedented since this is the time of year that games should begin to closely follow the script of favored teams winning and when it is close, it should go to the home team (only six of 15 won this week). Tomlinson is officially the greatest fantasy draft pick you could have ever made and there are still three more games for him to play.

The Game of the Week goes to an apparent resident here.

Tennessee 26, Houston 20

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Texans led 14-13 and the Titans were on a drive that ended on their own 31-yard line when Vince Young threw an interception. The Texans held the ball for three minutes and finally settled for a 49-yard Kris Brown field goal to make the score 17-13 in favor of the Texans. That three game winning streak of the Titans now looked like it would evaporate in a road game against a team that took them very seriously and that would be ready to guard against any late game heroics like had happened in each of the last three weeks.

But the Titans took over on their own 12-yard line with 11:49 left to play and on third and two, Young ran for a first down. After a few pass completions, the Titans had reached midfield with a third and nine and Young found Brandon Jones open for a 15 yard gain and a first down. After Chris Brown (yeah, really, that Chris Brown - remember him?) ran for 21 yards to the HOU 23-yard line with 5:26 left to play in the game, it soon became third and four when Vince Young scrambled for five yards and a new set of downs. With only 3:56 left to play, Henry pushed over from the two-yard line for a touchdown which game the Titans the advantage - 20-17.

But Carr was not finished and brought his team from the HOU 29-yard line down field with a 21-yard pass to Andre Johnson and after a couple of runs and a short completion, Kris Brown hit a 46-yard field goal with 2:14 left to play to tie the game 20-20.

You knew it was coming. With two minutes left to play, Vince Young took over on his own 40-yard line thanks to a nice kick return and on first down Henry gained just one yard. On second down, Young threw an incompletion. On third and nine, he found Bobby Wade for just seven yards. What? No game winning drive? On fourth and two, the Titans punted and the Texans just downed the ball for two plays to end regulation. Overtime!

The Titans won the coin flip and once again started out on their own 43-yard line thanks to a good return. On second and nine from the 44-yard line, he threw an incompletion but there was defensive holding. On first and ten from the TEN 49-yard line, Chris Brown (yeah, again - that Chris Brown) gained 16 yards to the HOU 25-yard line. Then Brown gained nothing. Then Brown gained nothing and an offensive holding call made it first and 20 from the HOU 45 yard line. Brown ran for five yards and Young threw a one yard completion. On the HOU 39-yard line, it was third and 14. The Titans needed about ten yards for a decent shot at a field goal but never had the opportunity to bring on Rob Bironas because YOUNG RAN THE BALL! HE SCRAMBLED RIGHT AND THEN TOOK OFF DOWN THE FIELD IN THAT LOPING STRIDE THAT IS FASTER THAN IT LOOKS! HE THINKS IT IS THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AGAIN! FOR THE FOURTH FREAKING GAME IN A ROW! HE SCORES! HE SCORES! TITANS WIN!

Whew... Young is now 6-4 as a starter and a definite contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Consider that for all his wins. he is relying on a cast of receivers that is led by Drew Bennett who is #35 in the NFL in receiving yardage and tied for 39th in receptions - and that is the best he has to use.

Fantasy playoffs this week saw some teams get major perks from owning Tomlinson, Jones-Drew, Parker, Gore and Rudi Johnson. Drew Brees is a passing stud and Donald Driver just cannot be stopped. The rushing numbers are up and the receiving numbers are down - other than with the Saints.

And yes, this is the year to have owned LaDainian Tomlinson during his magic year of jaw-dropping proportions. Seems unfair to most the teams in your league that never had the chance to draft him. Maybe he went first, or second - at worst third, but all but three teams in your league never had a chance for the ride of a lifetime. Just one suggestion for you to write down for next year:

2007 - Change league draft to an auction.

Now get back to work...