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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 6
David Dorey
October 8 , 2007
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Gus Frerotte 262 3
Philip Rivers 270 3
Tom Brady 265 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Kenton Keith 158 2
Ronnie Brown 153 1
Najeh Davenport 96 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Larry Fitzgerald 136 1
Plaxico Burress 124 1
Torry Holt 89 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Ben Watson 107 2
Antonio Gates 113 1
Tony Gonzalez 100 0
Placekickers XP FG
Kris Brown 1 5
Jay Feely 1 4
Nate Kaeding 5 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Redskins 1 5 2
Chargers 1 1 3
Jets 2 0 2

Week 5 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

By now the biggest question is who will be left by week 17?

Trent Green (KC) - Concussion
David Carr (CAR) - Back injury
Antwaan Randle El (WAS) - Hamstring injury
Santonio Holmes (PIT) - Hamstring strain
Jamal Lewis (CLE) - Foot injury
Deion Branch (SEA) - Sprained foot
Matt Leinart (ARZ) - Broken collarbone
Damon Huard (KC) - Shoulder injury
Michael Pittman (TB) - Ankle injury
Joey Harrington (ATL) - Nasty splinter from the bench
Bernard Berrian (CHI) - Toe injury

It was bound to happen

After 62 games in the first four weeks and 13 more on Sunday, the NFL finally logged the first shutout of the year when the Steelers shut down the visiting Seahawks yesterday. Scoring is generally up this year despite the revolving door for injured players and over half the teams topped 20 points or more this week. With six teams on bye next week, we may all be short bye week replacement players and there's yet more injured guys to compensate for, but at least the scoring in week six should remain good - if you get the right players.

Hey, I have a crazy idea that just might work!

The struggling Chargers went to Denver this week to face the league's best passing defense on their home turf and by half-time, the Chargers surprisingly had racked up a 20-3 lead. They did that using only Ladainian Tomlinson running (14-59), a carry by Michael Turner for 49 yards and then only Gates and Tomlinson had any catches when halftime came. Imagine - focusing on the best running back and best tight end in the league and not using other players. You cannot put one past offensive mastermind Norv Turner, boy. At least not for more than a month.

On the plus side, my stock in Ace Bandage Inc. has been going up...

In this ridiculously injury-marred season, let's take a quick body count. Of starting quarterbacks from week one, 14 have missed at least one game if not more. Of starting running backs, 14 have also missed time if not been lost for the season. For starting wideouts (split and and flankers) from week one, there have been 12 that have already lost time. That makes almost half the starting quarterbacks and running backs that have missed time and roughly one in five wideouts. And that doesn't even count those that are playing injured like Plaxico Burress or the second stringers that have started getting hurt because they are getting playing time now.

They always say it is the healthy teams that reach the playoffs... what if we do not end up with any?

Stud Running Back Theory for sale. Get your Stud Running Back Theory here... cheap!

It's more than a little noticeable when the top running backs for the week included Kenton Keith, Najeh Davenport, Mike Sellers, Michael Turner, Brian Leonard, Vernand Morency, DeShawn Wynn and Jason Wright. The only notable names mixed into that bunch were Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush, Willis McGahee, Maurice Jones-Drew (finally) and LaDainian Tomlinson (in 10th place). Oh yes, and those five "name" backs scored only two touchdowns while the eight guys that may have never been drafted in your league accounted for eight scores.

Must ... resist... the urge .... to call for Team Running Backs in the league rules.

And then there were three

With the loss by the Packers to the Bears on Sunday night, there are only three remaining teams that are undefeated - New England, Indianapolis and Dallas (assuming a win on Monday night). The Pats play in Dallas on Sunday and the Colts are on bye so there will only be two this time next week. The Cowboys/Patriots Tilt will be the weekly over-hyped game but if the Pats can just continue to win roughly 35-14 as they have in every single game this year, that makes week nine potentially the game-o-the-year when the Patriots play in Indianapolis.

Unfortunately the Fins (0-5) and the Rams (0-5) never play each other this season so we could have two un-undefeated teams since the 0-4 Saints will play the Rams once this year in week 10.

Huddle Player of the Week

Kenton Keith (IND) - There were no truly monster games turned in by fantasy players this week but nothing to be ashamed of for the replacement back for Joseph Addai. Going against the tough Buccaneers defense in a game without Harrison or Addai, Keith ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries and added 37 yards on five catches for an NFL best 168 total yards. He may be nothing more than a placeholder, but for one shining week - Keith was better than everyone else.

Salute!

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Gus Frerotte 262 3 QB Jon Kitna 106 0
RB Kenton Keith 158 2 RB Larry Johnson 15 0
RB Najeh Davenport 96 2 RB Shaun Alexander 32 0
WR Brad Smith 44 1 WR Roy Williams 36 0
WR Tim Carter 50 1 WR Chris Chambers 19 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 73 1 WR Randy Moss 46 0
PK Kris Brown 1 XP 5 FG PK Josh Brown nope

Huddle Fantasy Points = 126

Huddle Fantasy Points = 16

(This is one of the most ridiculous Comedy/Tragedy Lineups I can remember)

Sunday's Couch Commentary

DET 3, WAS 34
What a disappointment (at least for non-Redskins fans). The vaunted Lion passing game flopped thanks to an inability to keep the rush away from Jon Kitna who ended with only 106 yards and two interceptions. Kevin Jones ran reasonably well with 48 yards on 11 carries and Tatum Bell was reduced to just four runs. But the wideouts never had any impact despite the return of Calvin Johnson who only had one catch for three yards. Roy Williams led all receivers with only three catches for 36 yards but whenever the Lions got the ball - which was not all that common - they could not sustain drives or complete passes. It was like the Lions had traveled back to 2006... maybe 2005. Or 2004. Anyway, the Skins did not have Santana Moss who really had poor timing missing this week and Antwaan Randle El racked up seven catches for 100 yards by halftime before leaving the game injured and really no other Redskins player had any significant impact other than the mightily Mike Sellers who scored one rushing and one receiving touchdown with only eight touches in the game. Clinton Portis gained 72 yards on 18 carries and Betts chipped in 22 yards on eight runs but this was one of those total beat down games where no one player had to do that well - everyone had some good to contribute. The now more humbled Lions fall to 3-2 and go to their bye week while the Skins travel to Green Bay this week. This was one of the "what the hell?" games of the weekend.
MIA 19, HOU 22
Tight game between two teams hard to get a handle on this year other than the Fins usually find a way to lose. Unfortunately this week that meant getting Trent Green badly concussed again and if that doesn't end his career, then it'll be hard to feel sorry about the next one. Ronnie Brown continues to richly reward fantasy owners despite always losing the game when he ran for 114 yards and one score and added five catches for 39 yards. Chris Chambers hot start to the season has cooled to the point of frostbite with only two catches for 19 yards this week. It has to be assumed that Cleo Lemon is the new starter for the rest of the year and that's not the direction the Fins wanted to take and yet Green's concussion was what most of us assumed was only a matter of time. The Texans were without both starting wideouts again and yet Matt Schaub still threw for 294 yards using Owen Daniels (6-96), Andre Davis (4-79) and Kevin Walter (5-67). No way you cut it, Matt Schaub continues to be impressive and this offense could be formidable once Jacoby Jones and Andre Johnson return. The team was also without Ahman Green and yet still won. The player of the game - and for more than a few fantasy teams - was Kris Brown who not only kicked five field goals successfully, he never missed a kick and three came from 50+ yards. Now the 0-5 Fins next travel to Cleveland where they will look competitive, get really close and then lose the game. The Texans are 3-2 on the season and head to Jacksonville this Sunday.
SEA 0, PIT 21
Overall, this could have gone better for the Seahawks. This ended up to be a standard "Steelers at home" defensive ass-kicking where Matt Hasselbeck only had 116 yards and one interception and the best receiver for the team was the rookie Ben Obomanu who had two catches for 38 yards because twice he accidentally stood on the wrong side of the sidelines and Hasselbeck thought he was open. Shaun Alexander only gained 25 yards on 11 carries. It was that sort of Steel City Thumping handed down. And it was done without Hines Ward who was inactive and Santonio Holmes who was active but for no reason since he pulled a hamstring in pregame warm ups and never played. This allowed Cedrick Wilson (5-69) to play like they thought he would when he was acquired a few years ago. Willie Parker ran for 102 yards on 28 carries but wasn't all that sharp or even productive early in the game. Instead Najeh Davenport only had seven carries for 58 yards and two scores including one that went for 45 yards. This was a little disappointing to all Parker owners. Actually a lot. Now the 3-2 Seahawks get to remain with a winning record by hosting the Saints this week while the 4-1 Steelers head to their bye week.
NYJ 24, NYG 35

This was a definite contender for Game of the Week. This game was stuffed full of really great and bad things that all led to a 59 total point. The game started with the Jets returning a fumble for a score and later Leon Washington had a 98-yard kickoff return for another score. The Jets only had one offensive touchdown which came on a pass to Brad Smith who no one in the world had started on their fantasy team. Thomas Jones was only given 13 carries which gained 36 yards and Leon Washington turned in nine carries for 13 yards since he belongs to the passing formations. Laveranues Coles had a decent game with 89 yards on eight catches but Jerricho Cotchery only managed 31 yards on four catches. Not much offense for 24 points. The Giants had Eli Manning not throwing that well despite ending with 186 yards and two scores which were greatly aided by Plaxico Burress' 53-yard touchdown catch and run. Burress may not practice but if he can produce 124 yards and a score every week, he shouldn't be required to even stay in the country during the week - just show up on Sunday. The return of Brandon Jacobs produced 100 rushing yards on 20 carries with one score while Derrick Ward still played and had 13 runs for 56 yards and a touchdown himself. Solid defense won this game and only the Jets special teams and a fumble return made it look like a game. Now the 1-4 Jets return home to host the Eagles and the 3-2 Giants head to Atlanta.

CAR 16, NO 13
A coin flip game between two teams struggling mightily appropriately came down to the final play and since the Saints used up even ounce of good karma last year, it meant that they lost in dramatic fashion. Late in the fourth quarter the Saints were driving and Brees threw an inception with 3 minutes left. But then two plays later, Carr threw an interception as well. So with a perfect chance to untie the 16-16 game, Olindo Mare opts to badly miss his 54-yard field goal attempt with just two minutes left to play. John Kasay was not so kind when he nailed his 52-yard kick down the middle as time expired to win the game. David Carr was hardly effective with only 119 passing yards and a score against one interception but he got it done at the end using Steve Smith (4-47) for the tying score. DeShaun Foster only gained 59 yards on 19 carries and DeAngelo Williams turned in just 23 yards on seven runs. This was no offensive masterpiece by either side. Brees threw for 252 yards and two scores which were called back and two interceptions that did count. Reggie Bush gave the first glimpse of what life after McAllister was like by gaining only 67 yards on 21 carries but he did add nine catches for 52 yards. Of course Devery Henderson led all receivers with four catches for 101 yards because you gave up on him last week and released him. Marques Colston was held to just 31 yards on four catches as "the guy to cover". Now the 3-2 Panthers feel a little better about themselves and head to Arizona this week while the 0-4 Saints hit the road to Seattle while someone searches for whatever "Plan B, Part 4" might be.
ATL 13, TEN 20
This turned into a much tougher game than anticipated when the Falcons kept taking the lead and the Titans would then tie until finally an interception return for a score by the Titans gave them the final lead. This game ended with the Falcons on the Titans one-yard line with two minutes left to play and they still could not get a touchdown with five attempts thanks to a defensive penalty. Vince Young struggled in this match-up with only 157 passing yards and three interceptions. No Titan runner had more than 32 rushing yards and the lone rushing score came from Chris Brown. It was a lackluster showing by the Titans' offense who may have thought they did not need to prepare as much for the visiting Falcons. Joey Harrington took all the good mojo he had created lately and after going 16 of 31 for 87 yards and one interception was benched so that Byron Leftwich could show why the Jags dumped him by completing only 2 of 8 for 28 yards and one interception - including that nifty five play flop near the Titans goal line at the end of the game. The Falcons had no rushing other than the one 49 yard run by Artose Pinner because neither team was aware he played for the Falcons now. Just a messy, defensive game that the Titans got away with thanks to the late interception return for a score. Chris Brown had the only offensive touchdown in the game. Now the 3-1 Titans head to Tampa Bay this week while the 1-4 Falcons return to Atlanta to host the Giants.
JAC 17, KC 7
Here is a wonderfully weird game between two teams that have no idea how bad or good they really are this year. The Jaguars won thanks to a 52-yard touchdown run by Maurice "WHERE HAS THAT BEEN?" Jones-Drew and a late TD pass to Dennis Northcutt who finally showed up this year with 73 yards on four catches while no other wideout had more than 20 yards. Taylor only gained 51 yards on 16 carries. But the Jags held the Chiefs at bay, limiting Larry "back to nothingness" Johnson to just 12 yards on nine carries and knocking Damon Huard from the game with a shoulder injury. Tony Gonzalez turned in eight catches for 100 yards and Dwayne Bowe ended with four receptions for 70 yards as the only Chiefs players with any fantasy value. Surprisingly, Brodie Croyle had 83 yards and one score on the final play of the game to avoid the shutout. The Jaguars offense may be sputtering, but the defense is keeping it in every game so far. Now the 3-1 Jags return home to host the Texans while the 2-3 Chiefs host the Bengals next week.
CLE 17, NE 34
At least the Patriots are kind enough to be extremely consistent every week no matter where and no matter who the opponent is. Tom Brady threw his standard three touchdowns and 265 yards though finally it was not Randy Moss (3-46) who did the damage. Ben Watson led all receivers with six catches for 107 yards and two scores while Donte Stallworth had 65 yards and the other touchdown. Laurence Maroney was again inactive this week and again Sammy Morris was a decent fantasy play with 102 rushing yards and a couple of catches for nine yards. Sort of like the Patriots were not really trying and just using some "B" class guys to do the damage. The Browns had Derek Anderson throwing for 287 yards and two scores but he had three interceptions. Braylon Edwards (6-110) had a big game but Kellen Winslow was held to just 49 yards though he scored once as did Tim Carter. The Browns lost Jamal Lewis to a foot injury and Jason Wright ran reasonably well gaining 59 yards on 15 carries. If Lewis is out any amount of time, Wright is the guy next in line. Now the 2-3 Browns who cannot win road games return home to face the Dolphins this week while the 5-0 Patriots head on to what promises to be the game of the week in Dallas.
TB 14, IND 33
With Joseph Addai and Marvin Harrison out this week, some expected a game to break out when the Bucs came to Indy but no such luck. Peyton Manning had 253 passing yards and two scores anyway and Kenton Keith subbed for Addai and became the highest scoring fantasy back for the week with 158 total yards and two touchdowns. Dallas Clark caught yet another score during his seven receptions for 49 yards and was leveled on one catch. He left the game for a bit but returned later. Anthony Gonzalez pretended to be Harrison and led the team with seven catches for 71 yards while Reggie Wayne posted seven catches for 62 yards and one score. As long as Manning is the quarterback, it still looked like Harrison and Addai were there. The Bucs got 143 passing yards from Jeff Garcia who did throw two scores to Alex Smith on his only catches in the game. Michael Pittman had his ankle crushed when a defender rolled up on it and left the game which left Earnest Graham as the last man standing but he only gained 11 yards on six carries and nine came on one play. This was a "just as we expected" game even without the two fantasy studs for Indy absent. The 5-0 Colts now take their bye week while the 3-2 Bucs return home to face the Titans this Sunday.
BAL 9, SF 7
"No mom, please don't make me watch it again. I'll do all my homework!" What a yawner. Trent Dilfer ended up with 126 passing yards which was up sharply from the eight passing yards he had by halftime. He even threw a touchdown to Arnaz Battle (3-36) while Darrell Jackson only turned two catches into six yards. Frank Gore ran for 52 yards on 16 carries but added 23 more on three receptions but otherwise - nothing happened here on the offense for the 49ers and almost all of what did occurred late in the game when the Ravens realized that "nine points could win this sucker." Steve McNair completed 29 of 43 for only 214 yards and missed his Tight end Todd Heap. Derrick Mason came to even greater use with 11 receptions for 85 yards but the only other offensive player of any note was Willis McGahee who gained 88 rushing yards and added 48 more on seven receptions. The Ravens never scored an actual touchdown and won thanks to getting close enough for Matt Stover. Now the 3-2 Ravens return home to host the Rams which should bring glee and happiness to all those in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The 2-3 49ers take their bye this week to wonder what ever happened to that 2-0 start they had on this season.
SD 41, DEN 3
Talk about a cathartic way to get back on track. The Chargers now upgrade from "bad" to "inconsistent" with their major beating of a dead horse. Philip Rivers threw for 270 yards and two scores like last week never happened and LaDainian Tomlinson gained 67 rushing yards and 73 more on three catches before being pulled from the blowout. That left Michael Turner to gain a mere 147 yards on 10 carries and score one touchdown on the downhill track that has become Invesco Field at Mile High. Rivers only completed 13 passes that went to just three receivers - Tomlinson (3-72), Vincent Jackson (3-84, 1 TD) and of course Antonio Gates (7-113, 1 TD). Denver was without Javon Walker this week and Jay Cutler relied on Brandon Marshall (7-72) and Glenn Martinez (6-70) but could never produce a touchdown or sustain a drive. Travis Henry took time off from writing child support checks and chatting with attorneys to gain 65 yards on 16 carries but the Denver offense just freezes up any time it starts to get much past mid-field. The loss was the worst in Denver since the AFL merged with the NFL in 1970 so that is pretty much the definition of "getting your ass handed to you". At home no less. Now the 2-3 Broncos take their three game losing streak to their bye week where they will ponder on what a rush defense actually looks like. Getting Dre Bly to match with Champ Bailey meant no one would pass against them. They sort of forgot if opponents can run with relative ease it doesn't matter. The 2-3 Chargers return home to face the Raiders this week where they hope they can string together two good games.
CHI 27, GB 20
In the end, it was all about Brett Favre and records since he now is tied with George Blanda for the most interceptions thrown in the history of the NFL. Favre was flawless to start the game but then started to struggle more against the resurgent Bears. Favre threw for 322 yards and a score in the game and Greg Jennings caught it along with three other passes for a team high 83 yards. James Jones had a respectable five catches for 61 yards unless you count the two fumbles he lost that killed scoring drives and kept the Bears in the game. The Packers actually produced a rushing game using DeShawn Wynn (13-78, 1 TD) and Vernand Morency (9-43) and Morency also added seven catches for 48 yards. Brian Griese started slowly but ended with 214 yards and two scores that went to Desmond Clark (3-62) and Greg Olsen (4-57) but no Chicago wideout had more than one catch or 17 yards. Just tight ends and RB Adrian Peterson. Cedric Benson had a season high 27 carries but only turned them into 64 yards and one score. On the plus side, he has several "get to know you" meetings with Packers defensive linemen in the Chicago backfield when he was carrying the ball. The Packers undefeated ride ended thanks mostly to being the team with the most turnovers and Griese realizing that he can hit a tight end with a pass. Now the4-1 Packers host the Redskins this week while the Bears return home to host the Vikings..

Game-O-The-Week

We lost another undefeated team and gained our first shut-out of the season. Scoring was generally good even if it hardly happened to anyone you took in your first two rounds last summer. The Game of the Week goes to a high scoring affair that just reeks of the wackiness of this year.

Arizona 34, St. Louis 31

There is no doubt that the Rams are bad this year. They have lost so many offensive linemen that now their replacements are getting injured. Steven Jackson hasn't played since week three. Marc Bulger is so battered that HC SCott Linehan benched him out of pity this week. Isaac Bruce missed the game as well.

On the Cardinals side, there was Matt Leinart who has struggled almost inexplicably in the new offense while the aging Kurt Warner almost inexplicably seems to love the new scheme and thrives in it. Anquan Boldin was been a star this year but hurt his hip and missed this game. By the end, Leinart had broken his collar bone and joined him on the sideline.

But the game still produced 65 total points -the most of any game on Sunday. After Leinart hung around long enough to throw for 100 yards and one interception, he got hurt and Warner stepped in to throw for 190 yards and a game winning touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald who had been quiet this year but turned in nine catches for 136 yards. Even Bryant Johnson had six catches for 80 yards. Edgerrin James ran for 88 yards which was great but Kurt Warner - that's 36-year old Kurt Warner - ran in the only rushing score.

With Bulger mercy-benched, Gus Frerotte took his turn in the killing field which is the Ram's drop-back zone and produced 262 yards and three scores. Torry Holt scored late in the game and ended with five catches for 89 yards while Randy McMichael was rumored to be disciplined before the game and yet still had a season high 45 yards and one score. Drew Bennett finally scored a touchdown. Even Brian Leonard ran for 102 yards on 18 carries and added 33 yards on five catches like he was Steven Jackson - last year not this year. We had touchdown hawking quarterbacks, replacement players going off, the remaining studs playing well and an offensive guard falling on Edgerrin James fumble in the endzone for a touchdown. James gave up two scores to Warner and an offensive guard. Frerotte threw an interception which was returned for 68 yard touchdown. McMichael scored his touchdown from 29 yards out with only 20 seconds left to play - did they not think the Rams would throw towards the endzone?

It was a crazy week for fantasy players and one that sadly saw Trent Green leave the field on yet another stretcher. His loss will leave the Dolphins with only Ronnie Brown who no one can stop this year other than his own head coach for the first two weeks. Every weekend there are more big scores and more injuries and more upheavals on the rosters in every fantasy league. If week five is any indication - your league standings may end up reversed by playoff time,

Get thee to the waiver wire. And think about who will need replacing next week.

Now get back to work...

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