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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 8
David Dorey
October 29, 2007
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Tom Brady 354 6
Sage Rosenfels 290 4
Ben Roethlisberger 290 4
Running Backs Yards TD
Kenny Watson 157 3
Larry Johnson 133 1
Earnest Graham 191 0
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Wes Welker 138 2
Laveranues Coles 133 2
Randy Moss 122 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Heath Miller 50 2
Will Heller 18 2
Tony Scheffler 50 1
Placekickers XP FG
Rob Bironas 2 8
Josh Brown 3 4
Rian Lindell 1 4
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Seattle 1 7 5
NY Giants 1 6 4
Denver 1 4 3

Week 7 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

This was really light unless you were a Ronnie Brown owner and even then you got good production before he left.

Matt Schaub (HOU) - Hip injury
Frank Gore (SF) - Ankle sprain
Ronnie Brown (MIA) - Knee injury
Byron Leftwich (ATL) - Ankle sprain

Pats win the Superbowl! Pats win the Superbowl!

Of course that is premature. There are plenty of games left to play. But nothing short of an injury to Tom Brady will stem the tide that has become a tidal wave in New England. I have written about the NFL for the last 12 years. I have played fantasy football for 17 years. I have followed the NFL since the 1970's and I simply cannot remember any team that appeared as dominant as the Patriots. None. Not the Steelers, Cowboys, 49ers, Packers, no one. The Patriots have already scored 279 points this year - the most in the league. That's almost 40 points per game. They have allowed only 120 points. That means their average game has been won around 39 to 17.

This team has never scored less than 34 points in a game this year. They have never won a game by less than 17 points. Every team has a trash game each season where they try to mail in a game and lose. It always happens. But when is it going to happen here? There are only two remaining games of apparent challenge - week 9 at Indianapolis and then week 14 when they host the Steelers. Put me down for the perfect season right now. I have never seen a team like this. As long as Brady remains under center, this could be a historic season for sure.

Speaking of TomBrady

After writing about TomBrady in my blog last week, I am reticent to write anything about him but it is sort of hard to ignore that Brady is setting a record pace that will end somewhere that every team in your fantasy league will not like (except the one that is smiling so much). Brady has now thrown for 27 touchdowns in seven games. No one has ever done that. When Peyton Manning was on his record-setting year of 49 passing touchdowns he only had 21 scores after seven games. For a bit of perspective, Brady has 27 touchdowns and last year there were only three teams with more than that in the full 16 games. The Colts and Eagles as teams tied with the most - 31 passing touchdowns. If Brady can throw for four scores this week against the Skins, he will have scored as much as any other NFL team last year and did it in exactly half of a season. He is on a pace to throw for 61 touchdowns this year. That won't happen (I think) but then again, he is only getting stronger as the season progresses and he gets more comfortable with his new receivers.

At current rate, he would have the new NFL record for passing touchdowns in the regular season even if he did not play in the final four games. Brady is the 2007 version of Tomlinson. He is such a benefit to own that it starts to imbalance leagues. And he is only getting better.

What? You want a Big Mac Meal Deal? What?

The Bears took over with 52 seconds to play at their own 3-yard line and down 16-12 to the Eagles. The only problem aside from the 97 yards they needed to cover in under a minute was that Brian "Not Grossman" Griese's helmet radio cut out and he had to run the entire drive by calling his own plays. He drove the field and capped it with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad for the comeback win in Philadelphia. Griese took over the offense, called his own plays and won the game. Now you'll understand the next time that Griese points to his helmet and shakes his head towards his coaches.

And maybe even if that old radio is still working fine.

Huddle Player of the Week

Rob Bironas (TEN) - This is the first kicker that has ever made it to the player of the week but this is also the only kicker in the history of the NFL to kick eight field goals in a single game. They came from 52, 25, 21, 30... deep breath... 28, 43, 29 and 39 yards. That was eight attempts and eight successful field goals. He added two extra points for a total of 26 points scored in a game that the Titans won 38-36. Sure Brady is on a streak that keeps getting bigger but props to a kicker who made a difference not just at the end of a game, but eight times - EIGHT TIMES - without a miss.

Salute!

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Sage Rosenfels 290 4 QB Jon Kitna 147 0
RB Kenny Watson 157 3 RB Laurence Maroney 31 0
RB Chris Henry 67 1 RB Shaun Alexander 67 0
WR Arnaz Battle 57 1 WR Santana Moss 28 0
WR Will Heller 18 2 WR Roy Williams 23 0
WR Roydell Williams 124 0 WR Plaxico Burress 43 0
PK Rob Bironas 8 FG 2 XP PK Neil Rackers 1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 132

Huddle Fantasy Points = 23

Sunday's Couch Commentary

BAL 14, BUF 19
This wasn't what J.P. Losman was hoping would happen. With Trent Edwards named the starter this week, the rookie threw for 153 yards against the Ravens and was on the field during a win. In case you think 159 yards doesn't sound like much, realize that it is more than Losman had in any of his three starts this year. Marshawn Lynch ran 27 times for 84 yards and the lone offensive touchdown by the Bills and even though no other Bills receiver had more than 25 yards, no one would have started them for their fantasy team anyway. Lee Evans just plays better with Edwards and had five receptions for 98 yards. Four field goals made the difference in this game for the Bills. Boller threw for 191 yards and one score to Derrick Mason who had a team leading seven catches for 78 yards. WIllis McGahee started slowly but mixed in a 46-yard touchdown run to end with 114 yards on 19 carries. This was a day with many exciting wins and big points scored in the NFL. This game was neither. Now the 4-3 Ravens head into their bye week a bit less happy and the 2-4 Bills head to New York to play the Jets.
ATL 16, NO 22
This was a very competitive game considering the Falcons made the decision to bench Harrington and start Leftwich that only resulted in Leftwich turning his ankle badly and leaving on a cart. Combined they produced 273 passing yards and one score with no turnovers. Yet again the amazing feature of the Falcons offense is that they stick with Warrick Dunn (13-28) even though Jerious Norwood (6-38) always better. This week he was only about three times better than Dunn. Roddy White had a great game with eight catches for 110 yards and one score while even Michael Jenkins grabbed six passes for 69 yards. But the Saints were good enough even if they were not great this week with Drew Brees throwing for 219 yards and two scores and Reggie Bush rushing 17 times for 54 yards and adding five catches for 19 yards and one score. No Saints receiver had more than 54 yards (Eric Johnson) though nine different players had catches. Devery Henderson scored on his only catch in the game. What was disappointing about this game was that it showed that the Falcons are not really as bad as it seems and that the Saints turnaround last week really wasn't as significant as was hoped. Now the 1-6 Falcons head into their bye week where hopefully someone will watch some game film and notice how much better Norwood runs than Dunn. The 2-4 Saints head to San Francisco where finally they can find an offense that doesn't make their defense look bad.
ARI 19, WAS 22
Another close game that ended as a surprise nail-biter when Kurt Warner threw for two scores... oh yeah, that Kurt Warner. He did play bad elbow and all and not that badly either other than those two interceptions. Edgerrin James gained 83 yards but it required 27 carries while Larry Fitzgerald turned in 97 yards on six catches. Anquan Boldin has become the short yardage specialist with eight catches for only 29 yards but two touchdowns. For reasons unknown, the Cards trotted out Tim Rattay for one play at the goal line and he connected with Leonard Pope for the score. The Skins didn't do much offensively other than Clinton Portis scoring twice while gaining only 43 yards on 18 carries. Jason Campbell only had 95 passing yards and one interception. The Skins had London Fletcher return an interception for a score which made up the difference and they entered the fourth quarter ahead 21-7 before the Cards mounted their comeback bid. Good game that made the Cards look good even in a loss. Now the 3-4 Cards enter their bye week while the 4-2 Skins head into... wait for it... think Halloween... <insert shriek> ... they are going into New England ... da-da-da-dummmm. Playing the Patriots this year is the equivalent of going for your prostrate check. Nothing good can come from it and you are bound to feel violated when it is done.
SF 15, NYG 33
The score and even the stats from this game do not do justice to how dominated the 49ers were. Trent Dilfer threw for 209 yards and two scores but had two interceptions. He was sacked six times and lost one fumble that resulted in a 75 yard touchdown for Osi Umenyiora. If you are not aware of who he is, just ask any quarterback who has faced him. Arnaz Battle actually had a touchdown catch here and 57 yards on six catches while Darrell Jackson also scored while only gained six yards on two catches. The big scare here was Frank Gore leaving the game with a sprained ankle but he returned in the second half and wound up with 88 yards on 14 carries which was outstanding compared to the new Gore Standard. Brandon Jacobs managed to play for the entire game and gained 107 yards on 18 carries and scored once. The Giants are using a committee scheme here so that Derrick Ward (7-27) and Reuben Droughns (5-7) will make the fans happy to see Jacobs run onto the field. For the first time this season, Plaxico Burress failed to score a touchdown and only posted 43 yards on five catches. Both Jeremy Shockey and Amani Toomer scored. Now the 2-4 49ers return home to host the Saints while the 5-2 Giants head into Miami.
NE 49, MIA 28
Breaking down a Patriots game is like walking into a massacre and collecting evidence. We could be here a while and really - what's the point? Everyone is dead. TomBrady comes off his best game of the year, which says a lot, when he threw for 354 yards and six touchdowns that were dealt out like freaking Halloween candy to Wes Welker (2), Randy Moss (2), Donte Stallworth (1) and Kyle Brady (1). Welker gained 138 yards because he was facing his old team and wanted to say thank you for letting me go. Laurence Maroney finally showed up in a uniform and everyone that giggled and started him was rewarded with 31 yards on six carries - gotcha again! The only surprise here was that the Fins scored any points, let alone 298 of them but then again, the Pats led 42-7 at halftime and had already packed up and had the buses idling before the third quarter started. What was not commonly known was that the real Patriot players left at halftime for some time at the beach and were replaced by various stadium employees wearing their uniforms for the second half. Ronnie Brown gained 76 yards on 17 carries and had 33 yards on five receptions before leaving with a sprained knee in the third quarter when he tried to make a tackle on an interception (pssst, Ron, let him go...). The new replacement for Chris Chambers led the team in receiving but that only meant that Derek Hagan caught four passes for 56 yards. Jesse Chatman, Cleo Lemon and Patrick Cobbs all scored short touchdowns but this was such a ass-whooping that everything good for the Fins happened in the second half when the Pats no longer cared (except for that Brown injury). Now the 16-0, I mean the 7-0 Patriots return home to face the Redskins while the 0-7 Dolphins host the Giants this week.
TB 16, DET 23
The Lions won this but the Bucs made them work for it. Jeff Garcia had his season best game with 316 yards and two scores while Earnest Graham rain for 92 yards and led all receivers with 13 receptions for 99 yards. Ike Hilliard scored once on nine catches for 92 yards but Joey Galloway only came up with five catches for 46 yards. Even Maurice Stovall had a touchdown on his only catch in the game. The Lions enjoyed strong rushing by Kevin Jones who gained 76 yards on 17 carries and scored once and also added six receptions for 34 yards. What was odd about this game was that Jon Kitna only threw for 147 yards and only had 20 pass attempts. That left Calvin Johnson as the most productive wideout with only two catches for 37 yards and Roy Williams netted a mere 23 yards on three receptions. The Lions won and they did not throw much. In fact, they ran 24 times and only threw 20... where's the fun in that, Mr. Martz? Fortunately we will only have to wait a little while before Jones is injured again and Kitna starts throwing on every play again. The 4-2 Lions now head to Chicago while the 4-3 Buccaneers return home to host the Jaguars.
KC 12, OAK 10
This game was every bit as exciting as the score suggests. Larry Johnson did run for 112 yards on 24 carries and scored once while Dwayne Bowe (3-84) and Tony Gonzalez (4-66) made the most of the few passes they were thrown. And yes, Priest Holmes did play in the game! He ripped through the Raiders defense for nine yards on four carries and then added a catch for a six yard loss. Good thing you grabbed him off waivers this last week... ahem... the Raiders could get almost nothing going in this game. Lamont Jordan turned 11 carries into only 29 yards and Dominic Rhodes no longer has to whine about not being used since he had nine carries that covered 21 yards so yes, he is as good as Jordan but that still ain' t that good. Jerry Porter led all Raider receivers because he caught one pass for 59 yards while Ronald Curry (4-45) had the only Oakland touchdown in the game. What a boring game. And not like it was between two powerhouse defenses either. The 4-3 Chiefs head into their bye week while the 2-4 Raiders head to Tennessee this week.
NYJ 31, CIN 38
This could have been the game of the week because it pitted two terrible defenses that gave up 69 combined points. Chad Pennington is trying to save his job and he did have 272 passing yards and three scores but what coaches will remember last is that comeback drive late in the fourth when Pennington threw an interception that was returned for a rather important touchdown. Laveranues Coles had eight catches for 133 yards and two scores for a great game and Jerricho Cotchery turned in 60 yards and a score while no other receivers mattered (or ever matter, for that matter). Thomas Jones felt he was not given enough carries in week six so after turning 19 rushes into a mere 67 yards, he can pretty much shut up for a while. 67 yards against the Bengals? Oh yeah, can it Tommy-boy. Carson Palmer only had 226 passing yards and one score to (of course) Houshmandzadeh who otherwise only had four catches for 43 yards. Chad Johnson turned three catches into 102 yards thanks to a 56 yard gain but the player of the game was Kenny Watson who rushed for 130 yards on 31 carries and scored three touchdowns. Nice fantasy points for almost all the usual suspects and now the 2-4 Bengals host the Steelers this week and the 1-6 Jets host the Bills after they spend the week getting reamed by Mangini.
STL 6, SEA 33
Wow. These Rams are bad. Like leave a jar of mayonnaise on your dashboard in July kind of bad. With the windows rolled up. Marc Bulger returned to help his fellow teammates lose and threw for 225 yards which was pretty impressive considering that by halftime he had only completed 2 of 10 for 42 yards. Somehow Torry Holt managed to catch eight passes for 82 yards but this offense has been stripped of fantasy value. Brian Leonard only gained 44 yards on 12 carries while Steven Jackson is probably just faking injury now rather than play in this mess. Amazingly, Shaun Alexander facing the Rams could only gain 47 yards on 19 carries and the Seahawks have taken to using Maurice Morris ten times as a rusher. Alexander got his money last year - you go get your own. Matt Hasselbeck was efficient in throwing for 195 yards and two scores that both went to Will Heller because realistically - who would bother covering Heller? Bobby Engram reeled in six catches for 73 yards but otherwise this was not a great offensive showing by any means. It just came against the Rams so it did not matter. Now the 0-7 Rams continue their weekly beatings by hosting the Browns while the 4-3 Seahawks head into their bye week to conduct a thorough search for the real Shaun Alexander... Here's an idea - get a time machine, set it to 2005.
CHI 19, PHI 16
The Bears are showing surprising resilience in the face of poor rushing and a weakened defense. Sure, Cedric Benson only gained 46 yards on 17 carries but we have been used to that. But Brian Griese, that guy we wanted to see LAST year, threw for 322 yards and one score to Muhammad which provided the winning margin on an impressive final drive. This would be the game of the week if there were maybe twice the points involved. Griese has recharged Muhammad who led all Chicago receivers with five catches for 79 yards while Bernard Berrian had 65 yards on four receptions and the rookie Greg Olsen continues to impress with four grabs for 48 yards. The Bears hung in and came back on the road to Philly - that has to feel good. Not so for the Eagles who only got 226 yards and one score from Donovan McNabb. Brian Westbrook ran for 79 yards on 18 carries and had 40 yards on six receptions - take him out of the offense and nothing would happen. Kevin Curtis (5-62) and Reggie Brown (3-44) had ho-hum games. Now the 3-4 Bears return home to face the Lions while the 2-4 Eagles get to travel to Minnesota where McStatue better hit Westbrook with quick passes.
MIN 14, DAL 24
The Cowboys get back on the winning track by taking down the Vikings that could not produce a passing game and therefore had no way of catching up. Pretty amazing that Kelly Holcomb can look like a real quarterback but HC Brad Childress has some fascination with a quarterback that only completes 6 of 19 for 72 yards and no scores in an entire game. Adrian Peterson's Texas homecoming was a success if only compared to what the rest of his team did. Peterson ran for 63 yards on 12 carries and scored the lone offensive touchdown. Chester Taylor had ten runs for 47 yards and agreed, I have no idea why they bother either. Imagine the Vikings starting Holcomb and Peterson instead of Jackson and Taylor. Wonder why Childress is allergic to success? The Cowboys started slowly as always but by the end, Romo had 277 yards and one score with only one lost fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Terrell Owens caught seven passes for 103 yards and one score while Jason Witten made up for screwing you over last week by catching ten passes for 86 yards. Even Marion Barber gained 96 yards on 19 carries and scored the first rushing touchdown allowed by the Vikings this year. Now the 2-4 Vikings head home to host the Eagles while the 6-1 Cowboys head into their bye week.
PIT 28, DEN 31
In most weeks this would be the game of the week. Jay Cutler had 248 passing yards and three scores but tossed two interceptions. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 290 yards and four scores with two interceptions as well and in the end, this game was decided by the margin allowed by a returned fumble for a score by the Broncos and a last minute drive to set-up a Jason Elam field goal. Denver led this game 28-14 going into the fourth quarter but the Steelers mounted two touchdown drives to tie the game with 1:10 left to play. That was just too much time to give Cutler when it counted the most. Willie Parker ran for 92 yards on 21 carries while Travis Henry could only manage 51 yards on 17 runs. Hines Ward (7-78) and Santonio Holmes (6-54, 1 TD) were big components in the passing game but Heath Miller caught two scores during his five receptions for 50 yards. The Denver wideouts had a mirror game of sorts with Brandon Marshall (6-77) and Brandon Stokley (5-70, 1 TD) having good games and the tight end on this side was Tony Scheffler with the exact same five catches for 50 yards but only one score. Now the 4-2 Steelers head to Cincinnati while the 3-3 Broncos host the Packers this week.

Game-O-The-Week

Great games all over the league this week and maybe the only fantasy player lost to injury is Ronnie Brown (though that one hurts). Eight games ended with a touchdown or less margin of victory and the Patriots keep on rolling. But the best game this weekend was the one that you could have never seen coming last summer. Almost every single player that had big numbers - and there were many - were likely not even drafted last summer. Not a one. In fact most may still be on your waiver wire.

Titans 38, Texans 36

Sure, we were all looking for the big match-up between Kerry Collins and what soon became Sage Rosenfels. Let that sink in for a minute before realizing that this game was a Titan blowout heading into the fourth quarter with Tennessee ahead comfortably 32-7. Matt Schaub was knocked out of the game early and only had 23 passing yards before Sage "who me?" Rosenfels trotted onto the field putting on his shiny helmet. It didn't matter of course because the Titans rolled up that 32-7 lead and that one score by the Texans? Came on a fumble return for a score. The Texans offense was held scoreless through three quarters so why not pull off the tape and put on a baseball cap?

Because it ain' t over until it is over.

In all honesty, I quit tracking this game by the fourth quarter and moved on to others until only a few minutes remained and I looked up to utter "what the hell?"

Here's why they play the fourth quarter:

13:48 - Sage Rosenfels hits David Anderson for a 7-yard touchdown. Then Andre Davis catches the two point conversion and the score is 32-16.

13:43 to 12:18 - Titans go from their own 20-yard line to the HOU 49-yard line and punt

12:17 to 8:20 - Sage Rosenfels drives 90 yards and ends with a 6-yard pass to Kevin Walters for a score. Extra point is good and the score is 32-23.

8:15 to 6:52 - Titans go three and out and punt to the Texans and David Anderson muffs the catch at the TEN 21-yard line which Tennessee recovers at the HOU 33-yard line.

6:51 to 4:41 - Titans lose six yards on three plays and punt from the HOU 30-yard line rather than allow Bironas to try a 47-yard field goal even though he already had a 52-yarder to start the game. I mean they are ahead by nine points already so what's the difference?

4:30 - On the first play, Rosenfels throws an interception that is returned to the HOU 17-yard line. Oops.

4:14 to 3:49 - Titans gain six yards on three runs and Bironas kicks his seventh field goal of the game. He ties an NFL record! The score is 35-22. Whew - looked like the Texans were sneaking back in.

3:40 to 1:41 - Rosenfels drives from his own 25-yard line which includes two third down conversions and one fourth down conversion until from the TEN 7-yard line he hits Jeb Putzier for a touchdown. Extra point is good and the score is 35-29.

1:37 to 1:06 - Starting at his own 34-yard line, Rosenfels reaches the HOU 47-yard line when he hits a deep bomb to Andre Davis for a 53 yard touchdown. Extra point is good. WOW! Texans lead 36-35! What a comeback! The stands go crazy! They just witnessed Sage Rosenfels score 29 points in the fourth quarter! But... there are still 57seconds left to play.

0:57 to 0:00 - Titans take over on their own 20-yard line and Collins hits Roydell Williams for 17 yards. Two incompletions make it 39 seconds to play from the TEN 37-yard line and Collins hits Roydell Williams for a 46-yard completion to the HOU 17 yard line. One run up the middle and as the clock expires, Rob Bironas enters the record books with his eight field goal of the game.

Wow. What a great yet unsatisfying comeback bid by the Texans.

Just goes to show you that big names like Brady are giving fantasy owners huge points this year but you know, he's not the only guy. That waiver wire is your friend and the season is not hardly over. How many leagues saw Roydell Williams (5-124), Kevin Walter (6-97, 1 TD) and Andre Davis (4-88, 1 TD) drafted this summer? We had another injury hit home with Schaub but that opened the door for Sage Rosenfels. Even Kerry Collins was a decent fill-in for a fantasy team this week. It was an unlikely comeback by the Titans that just fell a little short but in the interim scored a lot of fantasy points this week and for those of you with Bironas, know that no one has ever had a kicker do more than he today. This has been a wild season with so many injuries, so many surprises and so many opportunities on the waiver wire that it boggles the mind to realize one fact.

It's only mid-season.

Now get back to work...

t

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