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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 7
David Dorey
October 15 , 2007
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Tom Brady 388 5
Cleo Lemon 265 4
Brian Griese 381 3
Running Backs Yards TD
LaDainian Tomlinson 214 4
Adrian Peterson 233 3
Maurice Jones-Drew 184 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Wes Welker 124 2
T.J. Houshmandzadeh 145 2
Braylon Edwards 67 3
Tight Ends Yards TD
Tony Gonzalez 102 2
Chris Cooley 105 1
David Martin 19 2
Placekickers XP FG
Matt Stover 1 5
John Kasay 1 4
Stephen Gostkowski 6 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Ravens 0 4 6
Green Bay 1 3 3
San Diego 0 6 3

Week 6 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

All things considered, this was delightfully light compared to previous weeks. Maybe everyone is already hurt?

Vince Young (TEN) - Quadriceps injury
Alex Smith (TB) - Leg/Ankle injury
Bubba Franks (GB) - Sprained knee
Ben Watson (NE) - Ankle injury
Sammy Morris (NE) - Chest injury
Kurt Warner (ARI) - Elbow injury
Alex Smith (TB) - Leg injury

And then there were four

The Patriots thorough ravaging of the Dallas secondary means that now there are only two undefeated teams. The Colts have been resting on their bye and have to play in Jacksonville and in Carolina before reaching week nine when the Patriots come to town. All New England has to do is to win in Miami (0-6) this week and then again at home against the Redskins before making it to the most hyped game of the year.

And perfection remains in place for both the St. Louis Rams (0-6) and Miami Dolphins (0-6) but the two never meet this year so we may never know which one is truly the worst. My vote goes to the Rams though...

Touchdown Tony

I remember maybe ten or so years ago attending a CAL football game with my father-in-law who has killer season tickets. I recall leaning over to him and commenting "that guy is going to get drafted early and be a great player in the NFL". That guy was Tony Gonzalez who caught two touchdowns on Sunday in the win over the Bengals and with that broke the record of 62 touchdowns scored by Shannon Sharpe. No NFL tight end has ever caught more touchdowns than Tony Gonzalez. None. And he is not done yet.

Yeah, I saw that one coming. Never mind how I told him Sean Dawkins would be a good NFL wideout too...

Tom Terrific

After doing so much with so little for so long, it ends up that giving Tom Brady a real trio of wide receivers actually does make a difference. Brady has thrown for 21 touchdowns over the first six weeks which is not all that shabby since only eight quarterbacks last year had that many FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. Brady is on a pace to throw for 56 touchdowns this year. He is averaging 295 yards per game. He only has two interceptions so far. Peyton Manning set the single season passing touchdown record with 49 in 2004 and Brady could reach that and still take off the last two games of the year (which he may end up doing anyway). Manning was the best last year with 31 scores and Brady could possibly reach that around mid-season at this rate. This rate which is only increasing....

He is also the only reason why the top three fantasy quarterbacks for the week were not Cleo Lemon, Derek Anderson and Brian Griese who did not even start the season for their respective teams and likely never had their name called out in August at your draft.

I'm going to get a beer, I'll be back before they reach the goal line...

No problem with touchdown hawks in the Vikings-Bears game on Sunday. Sure, these two defensive stalwarts make busting in from the one-yard line a challenge, but both teams figured out a way around that. They'll just score from a way far off. Like every time. The eight touchdowns that were scored in this game came from 89, 60, 39, 67, 73, 35, 33 and 81 yards. It was like watching a tennis match that served beer and brats.

Huddle Player of the Week

Adrian Peterson (MIN) - While Tomlinson had a monster game today, that is hardly his first one and really was more along the lines of expectations than his five previous games were. But like Tomlinson, Peterson almost single handedly defeated the Bears in Chicago on Sunday by rushing for 224 yards on just 20 carries and scoring three touchdowns. He also had one catch for nine yards. The true oddity in this is that he is not even the starting tailback for the Vikings and Chester Taylor was given more carries in the game - 22 for 83 yards. Peterson is the complete package of speed, moves and power and will likely be popping eyes and dropping jaws for many years to come. And it came IN CHICAGO as the "support" running back.

Salute!

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Cleo Lemon 265 4 QB Brett Favre 188 0
RB Jason Wright 98 1 RB Rudi Johnson 8 0
RB Kenny Watson 82 0 RB Ahman Green 48 0
WR Kevin Walter 160 0 WR Laveranues Coles 27 0
WR Devin Hester 81 2 WR Santana Moss 0 0
WR David Martin 18 2 WR Torry Holt 33 0
PK Matt Stover 5 FG 1 XP PK Nate Kaeding 4 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 108

Huddle Fantasy Points = 27

Sunday's Couch Commentary

STL 3, BAL 22
Predictable ending to a fairly boring game. Gus Frerotte doomed the Rams' chances by throwing four interceptions and no scores while Brian Leonard ran for 18 yards on 18 carries. Just a bad beat down overall on the Rams offense that had Torry Holt only catch four passes for 33 yards. The Ravens were not that much better since Steve McNair was out and Kyle Boller only had 184 passing yards and one interception. Willis McGahee seems to have missed out on a great opportunity to rack up some yards when he turned 25 carries into only 61 yards though he did score once. Just a boring game that had five field goals by Matt Stover to make the score look better. Now the 0-6 Rams get to travel to Seattle this week while the 4-2 Ravens head to Buffalo this week. This game was every bit as boring as feared. Should have come on Halloween.
MIA 31, CLE 41
This was a heavy contender for Game of The Week and we should all send Christmas cards to the Browns for having a good offense and terrible defense. Cleo Lemon became a starter this week with Trent Green still admiring the spinning constellation over his head and had 256 passing yards and scores and added two rushing touchdowns to richly reward those teams that were scraping the bottom of the barrel for a starting QB this week. Ronnie Brown had yet another great yardage game with 101 rushing and 69 receiving yards on nine receptions but Lemon stole his touchdowns. Chambers turned in 73 yards on six catches for a decent game while David Martin caught both touchdowns. That's a bit interesting since the only two scores thrown by Lemon last year went to his tight end McMichael. Derrick Anderson threw for 245 yards and three scores and even rushed in another for a great showing. All the people who scooped up Jason Wright to use this week got back 98 total yards and a score. Kellen Winslow (5-90) had a great game but Braylon Edwards left with five catches for 67 yards and all three passing touchdowns. Great game that was never that close but produced 72 total points - how great is that? Now the 0-6 Dolphins get to host the Patriots this week while the 3-3 Browns go into their bye week.
WAS 14, GB 17
Tough, close game that was decided by a fumble return by the Packers for a score. Jason Campbell had his average game of one score and 217 yards regardless who he plays and had one interception. Chris Cooley was the star for the Skins with nine catches for 105 yards and one score since other Redskins player had more than 30 receiving yards including Antwaan Randle El (2-30) and even Santana Moss who was held to no catches though he did have one run for no gain and lost the fumble that was returned for a score. Clinton Portis found the running tough with only 64 yards on 20 carries and overall the Packers' defense did a great job here. And so did the Redskins defense that help Brett Favre to only 188 yards and two interceptions and DeShawn Wynn to 37 yards on 13 carries though he had one rushing score. Other than Donald Lee's 75 yards (of which 60 came on one play), no Packers receiver did more than Donald Drivers 38 yards. This was a tough defense game and appropriately was settled because of a defensive touchdown. Not many points and hardly any fantasy value anywhere in this game. Now the 3-2 Redskins host the Cardinals this week while the 5-1 Packers take a bye week to giggle about their season so far.
HOU 17, JAX 37
This game was a little closer than the score suggests but a 21 point fourth quarter by the Jags blew it open. Matt Schaub still threw for 259 yards using Owen Daniels (5-79) and Kevin Walker (12-160). Once he has a healthy Jacoby Jones and Andre Johnson, this passing attack will be scary good. Ahman Green is back but only gained 44 yards on 16 carries. Schaub sat down for the final drive and allowed Sage Rosenfels to drive 90 yards and a score to FB Vonta Leach. The Jaguars showed rare offensive ability finally with David Garrard turning in 221 yards and two scores and he still has yet to throw an interception this year. Maurice Jones-Drew is running hard again and gained 125 yards on just 12 carries and scored twice like it was last year all over. One score covered 57 yards and he also was the leading receiver for the Jags with four catches for 59 yards. Reggie Williams is back to doing almost nothing but showing up for one touchdown catch and TE George Wrighster had the other score to show just how impossible it would be to predict what Jags receiver will score. Fred Taylor was hampered by a sore leg but took off for a 76 yard run to open the game but only had 14 yards on his next five runs. This win puts the 4-1 Jags in good shape since they finally had some offense scoring and the running game is re-emerging. They host the Colts this week while the 3-3 Texans will host the Titans this week.
PHI 16, NJY 9
The Eagles took this win but it was hardly a game that said "we figured out our problems during the bye week". Sure, Brian Westbrook remains the engine here with 120 yards on 20 carries and 36 more on six receptions. Donovan McNabb had 278 passing yards and one score but much of that came on the first series when Kevin Curtis (5-121) caught a shorter pass and ran 75 yards for the score. Another shock in the game was that Reggie Brown (6-89) actually does play for the Eagles and may show up later in the year when you have given up on him again. The Jets could have been won this game had Chad Pennington managed more than 128 passing yards and one interception. If Kellen Clemens doesn't see the field soon, it's because of some compromising photographs that Pennington has of Eric Mangini. Thomas Jones finally enjoyed a big game with 130 yards on 24 carries but the anemic passing numbers only left Jerricho Cotchery with five catches for 71 yards and Laveranues Coles with just one catch for 27 yards. Pretty low scoring game for as much yardage as the Eagles had but that's what happens when McNabb cannot get the TD and Akers cannot kick the field goals. Now the 2-3 Eagles host the Bears this week while the 1-5 Jets head to Cincinnati where Clemens could have a very nice time... if only...
TEN 10, TB 13
Another one of the boring, point-starved match-ups that did not improve when Vince Young left injured with a quadriceps injury. Lendale White scored once but only had 64 yards on 25 carries and Justin Gage showed up in the box score since he had 82 yards on four catches while replacing Brandon Jones. There just wasn't much happening here on offense even before Young left the game and no other receiver had more than 49 yards for the Titans. The Buccaneers were not that much better with 274 yards and one score by Jeff Garcia that went to Joey Galloway (4-97). Earnest Graham only gained 29 yards on 13 carries and is making Carnell Williams look like a big loss to the offense. This was just a horrifically slow game with minimal scoring. Now the 3-2 Titans head to Houston this week hoping that Vince Young can play while the 4-2 Buccaneers head to Detroit.
CIN 20, KC 27
True to form, the Bengals utter lack of any defense led to their downfall and Damon Huard threw for 264 yards and two scores while Larry Johnson gained 119 yards because he had 31 carries in the game. Johnson rushed in a touchdown for the first time this year. Tony Gonzalez was the key here with nine catches for 102 yards and two scores. The win raised the Chiefs to 3-3 on the year and if every week could be hosting the Bengals, then the playoffs would be assured. The Bengals have lost their last four games and will now have to battle both their weekly opponents and the demons of mediocrity that will undoubtedly cause frustration and a potential team-wide implosion. Carson Palmer had 320 passing yards and two scores but gained most of that later in the game and had two interceptions. T.J. Houshmandzadeh had another great game not being Chad Johnson by catching eight passes for 145 yards and two scores while Johnson took his eight catches and only managed to gain 83 yards and no scores. Rudi Johnson did play but only was given four carries that gained eight yards. Kenny Watson ran 13 times for 68 yards and just was not given enough carries to exploit the Chiefs defense. Now the 1-4 and reeling Bengals return home to host the Jets and a chance that they may actually be able to win a game. The 3-3 Chiefs head to Oakland this week.
CAR 25, ARI 10
It all unraveled pretty quickly when Kurt Warner became the second Cardinals quarterback to get knocked out of a game this year. That left Tim Rattay as the starter and that let the game slip away with only 159 passing yards and three interceptions. Edgerrin James ran 22 times for 80 yards and scored once and Larry Fitzgerald made up for the absence of Anquan Boldin by catching six passes for 97 yards but the offense took a sudden and perhaps unavoidable downward spiral without Warner. The Panthers too were without their first two quarterbacks and Vinny Testaverde helped make this surreal by winning the game with 206 yards and one score with no turnovers. The Panthers vs. the Cardinals turns into Testaverde vs. Rattay? What better sign of the rampant injuries this year? Both are new to their teams and are really third string quarterbacks. Steve Smith was money again with Vinny throwing and turned in 10 catches for 136 yards and one score. The story of the game was not DeShaun Foster (17-43) but instead DeAngelo Williams who ran for 121 yards on ten carries thanks to a 75 yard run and scored once. Hard to believe that Testaverde will be the savior for the Panthers should Carr miss more time but he was good enough on Sunday and the 4-2 Panthers head into their bye week looking to get healthy. The 3-3 Cardinals stumble up to Washington D.C. to play the Redskins who have an even better secondary than the Panthers do.
NE 48, DAL 27
Well we finally know what happens when the Patriots fall behind in a game. Evidently it really pisses them off and they rack up 27 points to only three for the Cowboys in the final 20 minutes of the game. Tom Brady's ridiculously productive season just increased by 388 yards and five more touchdown passes. Since Randy Moss was so heavily covered, he only had 59 yards and one score and his other two touchdowns were called back. That left Donte Stallworth to squeak past with only 136 yards on seven catches with one score and Wes Welker only managed 11 receptions for 124 yards and two scores. What didn't work was the rushing game here with Sammy Morris gaining only 14 yards on 10 carries and then leaving the game with a chest injury when his own lineman crushed him on the ground. Kevin Faulk filled in well enough against a tiring Dallas defense but now the Morris owners get the same joy as the Maroney owners wondering if their player will have a huge game or just be wearing civvies on the sideline. The Cowboys hung tough for the first 40 minutes of the game though and even scored once on a Brady fumble. Tony Romo only had 199 yards and two scores because the Cowboys tried to run the ball and then could never get it back. Both Julius Jones (6-51) and Marion Barber (8-47) were effective if not under-used. Owens vs. Moss was won by TO when he had six catches for 66 yards and one score as well though that sort of ignores what the rest of their respective teams did. Now the 5-1 Cowboys know for sure that they are playing on a higher level and yet it is not the highest level. The Boys host Minnesota this week while the 6-0 Patriots head to Miami where they were upset big-time last year.
OAK 14, SD 28
Not only was this Ladainian Tomlinson vs. the Oakland Raiders, he completely kicked their ass. Philip Rivers only had 156 passing yards and one interception (returned for a TD) and Gates only needed to catch three passes for 58 yards because Tomlinson went nuts again. He rushed for 198 yards and scored four touchdowns. There were only six NFL teams on Sunday that scored as much as Tomlinson did. It was everything that Tomlinson owners were hoping for this year and what every opposing fantasy team was fearing. After his five touchdown game in Miami last week, Daunte Culpepper had a much less prolific showing this week with 230 yards and one score with two interceptions. That mostly favored Ronald Curry (6-73) though Zach Miller had the lone Raiders offensive score. Lamont Jordan was able to play but only gained 42 yards on 18 carries and added six receptions for 46 yards. Dominic Rhodes did dress but was never used. Now the 2-3 Raiders return home to host the Chiefs while the 3-3 Chargers take their bye week to give the other fantasy teams a break since Tomlinson won't play next week.
NO 28, SEA 17
Now this was a great game to end the day. The 0-5 Saints went to Seattle where the Seahawks always win and the Saints had already proven at home against the Panthers that their offense was just never going to kick start this year. Oh yes, but this is the NFL where nothing remains the same and you can just never get all that comfortable. The Saints started out with a fumble return for a 7-0 lead and it was cute. Then Drew Brees threw an actual TD pass to Eric Johnson to take a 14-0 lead and you had to figure that Seattle was a little embarrassed since now they would have to come from behind to win. And then Lance Moore ran in a score to make it 21-0 and you knew that this "was one of those games". And evidently so did the under prepared, under motivated and/or suddenly untalented Seahawks. By the time this was done, Drew Brees threw for 246 yards and two scores against what had been one of the better secondaries in the league. Reggie Bush never had more than 20 yards on a run? He did that three times and ended with 97 rushing yards and 44 receiving yards on six receptions. David Patten led the team with eight catches for 113 yards while Marques Colston only had one catch or two yards but it was GASP a touchdown. Meanwhile, Shaun Alexander never got out of second gear and could only gain 35 yards on 14 carries against what had been one of the softest rush defenses in the league. Bobby Engram had 120 yards on nine catches while Ben Obonamu finally gives enough reason to grab him from the waiver wire with 72 yards and a score. Hasselbeck did throw for 362 yards and two scores but it wasn't nearly enough. What a great game to end the day and a losing streak for the Saints who now bring their 1-4 record back home to face the Falcons while the 3-3 Seahawks stay home to face the Rams.

Game-O-The-Week

Weird week with six teams off on their byes and so many players already injured that we are using back-ups of back-ups. The Dallas-New England tilt did not disappoint (unless you were an optimistic Dallas fan) and we were treated to at least a few big game scores by Miami, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City and San Diego. This was the week where the low scoring teams did well and many higher scoring teams under performed. But no game delivered as many unforeseen points as the Game-of-the-week:

Minnesota 34, Chicago 31

You want a nice blending of the old and new, the ho-hum and the whoa!, then consider this game. It started with an 89-yard punt return for a score by Devin Hester, AKA the best return man in the history of the world. Okay, so that was dumb. But the first quarter closed out with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson who does not throw them and to Troy Williamson who does not catch them. Williamson only had 64 receiving yards over the first five weeks of the season.

In the second quarter, Bernard Berrian catches s 39-yard touchdown pass from Brian Griese who we all expected long before this but he is finally here and throwing touchdowns. Griese has thrown seven scores in three games. Grossman had one score in three games. At least Lovie Smith is making the right decisions this year, even if they come at glacial speed.

But instead of heading into halftime with a 14-7 lead (which is usually also enough to beat the Vikes), Adrian Peterson breaks off a 67-yard touchdown run to tie it all up. Just like that - no respect for the vaunted Chicago defense or their fine pizza.

Still not showing proper decorum as a guest, Adrian Peterson broke off a 73-yard touchdown run near the end of the third quarter. It was 21-14 and then 24-14 in the fourth quarter when Ryan Longwell punched in a 48-yard field goal. The Bears responded with a 32-yard Robbie Gould field goal to make it 21-17 but then that damn Peterson kid ran 35 more yards for his third touchdown. Soldier Field. The home of Brian Urlacher and ten other guys that prefer to be feared rather than ran over like three-legged cat on the highway.

But these Bears no longer have Grossman there to throw the obligatory interception or lose the obligatory fumble to end the comeback attempt. Brian Griese hit Muhsin Muhammad with a 33-yard touchdown pass with 2:45 left to play in the game to make the score 31-24 Minnesota. For one shining series, the Bears held the Vikes to three and out and got the ball back with 1:53 remaining and no time outs. Starting on his own 19-yard line, Griese threw an incompletion to Adrian Peterson because by this point - why not use Peterson? On second down, Griese finds Devin Hester down the right sideline for a 81-yard touchdown. Seriously. Less than two minutes and the Vikings let Devin "I am just plain faster than you" Hester get free down the sideline. The game is tied 31-31 in a game most expected to end 13-10.

With 1:38 left to play, all the Bears had to do was hold the Vikings and go into overtime where the homefield advantage would do wonders for a winning drive. So they kicked it to Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota Adrian Peterson. The one that already had ran for over 200 yards and scored three times. Peterson took off from the MIN 9-yard line and wasn't stopped until he reached the CHI 38-yard line. After gaining a net of one yard over three downs, time expired as Ryan Longwell nailed a 55-yard field goal to win the game.

Think about the changes that this game represented. The Bears defense that cannot stop the run at all - they surrendered 311 rushing yards at home. The Bears can no longer run the ball themselves and Cedric Benson only gained 67 yards on 18 carries. But the Bears can pass really well with 381 yards and three scores from Brian Griese. This game started with a great return by Devin Hester and ended with a great return by Adrian Peterson. And the Vikings rookie tailback has to be the lead dog in the Offensive Rookie of the Year even though his own team doesn't use him as much as Chester Taylor. Troy Williamson catching a 60-yard touchdown?

Ah yes - the beauty of fantasy football. You see, this stuff is just always changing. Just when you think you are comfortable with knowing what players and teams are truly like you can be sure it will change. Saints are horrible? Sure... until you sit Drew Brees this week and the Saints win 28-17 in Seattle. You were happy in August when you drafted Deion Branch but how could you know you should have taken Ben Obomanu? There's just enough the same to give you some control and plenty enough of changes to prevent you from ever having total control. This has been probably the most frustrating fantasy season every thanks to all the injuries mixed in with at least the standard amount of flops and surprises. Whether you are 0-6 now or 6-0, you have to know you cannot be counted out or feel comfortable as a sure thing. But through it all, good and bad there's one inescapable fact that should please everyone concerned.

It's football, baby, it's supposed to be this way.

Now get back to work...

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