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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Atypical Points
Joe Levit
October 3, 2007

Fantasy football owners are always hunting for the big scorers. Typically owners stick with known commodities, looking for prize players to carry their fantasy teams. That’s why so many owners try to draft and trade for stud running backs and receivers. The problem this year is that so many players have been ineffective (Lee Evans, Cedric Benson), injured (Carnell Williams, Andre Johnson) or simply un-studly (LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson).

It may be time to go hunting with an alternate method in mind. Trophy deer hunters are also always on the lookout for the big score – the burly buck with an enormous set of antlers. A ten-pointer with straight tines off the main beam is beautiful every time, but something less conventional can get the job done. Deer without a typical rack can still score high. Atypical bucks are those deer whose antlers are asymmetrical. The points off the main beam can grow in any direction and may be uneven in number from one beam to the other. Deer hunters know it’s possible to rack up Boone & Crockett fantasy points in an unconventional way. Fantasy owners would be wise this year to learn from deer hunters’ adaptability, if not their choice of sport.

Points in fantasy football are coming in an atypical way this year. Lots of stars are failing to punch the ball into the end zone. Below are some surprising comparisons, which may help you think outside the hash marks to succeed this season. 

Dwayne Bowe (3 TDs) instead of Larry Johnson (0 scores)
A degraded offensive line hasn’t helped Larry Johnson push any piles this season. Somehow though, Dwayne Bowe keeps getting open downfield and doing a lot with passes once he catches them. Bowe performing well is not totally unexpected. When the Chiefs drafted this year I thought, “It’s about time the Chiefs actually invested in the wide receiver position.” What was unexpected was the disparity between these two scorers.

Sammy Morris (3 TDs) instead of Laurence Maroney (0 scores)
Lots of owners drafted Laurence Maroney with a high pick this year. Big mistake. The guy has never proven he can carry the load alone. His style is too finesse to headline your fantasy squad. Morris has been a bigger part of the offense each week. 

Reggie Williams (2 TDs) instead of Maurice Jones-Drew (0 scores)
Williams was overlooked by nearly everyone, but he has started out the year well before. The running game has gone nowhere for Jacksonville this year. Did Center Brad Meester mean that much?

Chris Baker (2 TDs) instead of Thomas Jones (0 scores)
I personally believed Jones would do wonders for the Jets. I’m as shocked as anyone that he has been so tame for fantasy teams this year. Chris Baker has been a nice fill-in player for owners who were counting on guys like Vernon Davis.

Michael Jenkins (2 TDs) instead of Jerious Norwood (0 scores)
Joey Harrington somehow has the Falcons playing with some passion. Jenkins scored twice last week and could become a favored target. Neither Warrick Dunn nor Norwood has accomplished much this season. Norwood was considered a value pick by a lot of people going into drafts in summer.

Marshawn Lynch (3 TDs) instead of Lee Evans (0 scores)
That Lynch is excelling isn’t staggering. He was a highly touted rookie and a lot of owners expected him to serve as a second fantasy back, which has been the case. The poor play of Lee Evans is cause for concern. Many tagged him as their top fantasy wide receiver. Unfortunately even teammate Roscoe Parrish has 40 more yards this season. 

Justin Peelle (2 TDs) instead of Chris Chambers (0 scores)
Chambers has a lot of yards so far and Peelle was perhaps in the right place at the right time recently, but the fact remains that the Dolphins have scored twice with the unknown tight end and not once with Chambers.

Kevin Curtis (3 TDs) instead of Reggie Brown (0 scores)
Wasn’t Reggie Brown supposed to be Donovan McNabb’s go-to guy? Apparently not. Keep in mind that all three of Curtis’ scores came in one half of one game against the Detroit Lions, but also bear in mind that wideout Jason Avant has more yards and touchdowns than Brown too.

Shaun McDonald (3 TDs) instead of Mike Furrey (0 scores)
Everyone knew Mike Furrey would see a decline in statistics with the addition of Calvin Johnson this year. Nobody could have predicted the poor stat line would be because of import Shaun McDonald, however. McDonald has been fantasy gold to owners who grabbed him off the waiver wire.

Bobby Engram (2 TDs) or Nate Burleson (2 TDs) instead of D.J. Hackett (0 scores)
Wasn’t D.J. Hackett a favorite sleeper this off-season? I guess he decided to take a nap while two receivers not named Deion Branch score touchdowns. Nate Burleson has gotten back in the game.

Dallas Clark (4 TDs) instead of Marvin Harrison (1 TD)
Clark continues the hot streak he started during the playoffs last year. Marvin Harrison has been an afterthought in the offense so far. Maybe his time to begin fading as younger stars excel has simply come along. We all know he’ll score some more, but how much?

Patrick Crayton (2 TDs) instead of Julius Jones (1 TD)
Guess the new coaching regime didn’t matter. Julius Jones is still an average pro back. Patrick Crayton took advantage of the presence of Terrell Owens last week, and could be a larger part of the picture now that Dallas officials see he can help them win games.

Braylon Edwards (4 TDs) or Joe Jurevicius (3 TDs) instead of Kellen Winslow (1 TD)
The roll into the end zone by Edwards was one of the most funny and cool scores of the season so far. Derek Anderson is playing out of his mind, and doing a great job of getting the ball into the hands of receivers down the field. There is no reason this can’t continue, even if it’s not at this torrid pace.

Other Surprises
Earnest Graham has the same number of touchdowns (3) as Carnell Williams, who blew out a tire last weekend and is done for the season. Bubba Franks (yeah, the same guy with one trip to the end zone in the last two years) has as many scores as Donald Driver for the pass-happy Packers. Tight end Matt Spaeth of Pittsburgh has one more touchdown than Heath Miller. Finally, Jerry Porter has three touchdowns in four games this year, after having all of one catch for 19 yards in 2006.

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Game Predictions
Projected Player Stats
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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