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Tunnel Vision - Week 3
David Dorey
September 15 , 2008
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Jay Cutler 356 4
Philip Rivers 377 3
Kurt Warner 361 3
Aaron Rodgers 328 3
Eli Manning 260 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Darren McFadden 173 1
Clinton Portis 99 2
Julius Jones 141 1
Jonathan Stewart 77 2
Adrian Peterson 180 0
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Anquan Boldin 140 3
Calvin Johnson 129 2
Santana Moss 164 1
Brandon Marshall 166 1
Chris Chambers 83 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Tony Scheffler 64 2
John Gilmore 41 1
Tony Gonzalez 39 1
John Carlson 78 0
Chris Cooley 72 0
Placekickers XP FG
Ryan Longwell 0 5
Joe Nedney 3 4
Olindo Mare 3 3
Sebastian Janikowski 2 3
Jason Hanson 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Packers 2 5 3
GIants 1 6 1
Raiders 0 5 2
Buccaneers 0 4 2
49ers 1 1 3

Week 2 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Brady last week and Tomlinson this week. That's some big guns leaving a hole on one team in your league.

LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) - Aggravated toe injury
Devin Hester (CHI) - Rib bruise
Laurence Maroney (NE) - Shoulder injury
Logan Payne (SEA) - Undisclosed injury
Damon Huard (KC) - Mild concussion
Maurice Jones-Drew - Leg injury
Justin Fargas (OAK) - Groin strain
Ben Utecht (CIN) - Chest injury
Sidney Rice (MIN) - Knee injury
Joey Galloway (TB) - Sprained ankle

And that's why we went PPR

Brandon Marshall was suspended for one game so he showed up for the game against the visiting Chargers well behind the surprising rookie Eddie Royal for the team's receiving lead. All Marshall did in his first game back was to catch 18 passes for 166 yards and a score. That fell only two receptions short of the NFL record held by Terrell Owens (20).

With 14 games left to play, there is still plenty of time.

Yeah, the name's Leinart... Look - I work here!

While the Cardinals tried to let Matt Leinart win the quarterback job this summer, the coaching staff decided they wanted to win games and reverted back to Kurt Warner. All he did on Sunday was to pass for 361 yards and three touchdowns. While teams like the Buccaneers and Bears want game managers that make few mistakes and fewer fantasy points, the Cardinals just had Warner turn in a perfect 158.3 passer rating for the third time in his career, tying with Peyton Manning for the all-time lead.

See - you really can be productive AND efficient. Of course it may always need to involve the Miami Dolphins...

Felt better when I drafted him

Last week, the top five tight ends were almost entirely unknown players turning in uncharacteristically good games. This week another oddity - only three tight ends had a touchdown. Tony Scheffler (with two), Tony Gonzalez and of course John Gilmore were the only tight ends that had a score. As a point of comparison, last year had week two with 12 different tight ends scoring a touchdown. Last year this week had 11 tight ends with more than 40 yards but this season only had six - though Jason Witten and L.J. Smith remain to play. It's like they are turning back into tight ends again.


There was a definite run on wide receivers in drafts this summer because of the pass-happy stats from last year. How well have those early wideout picks gone? Let's use the average draft position:

Randy Moss 8 catches for 138 yards and one score. But only 2-22 this week. Not a good sign. Is a bad sign.
Terrell Owens 5 catches for 87 yards and one score and plays tonight. So far, so good.
Reggie Wayne 15 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns. So far, should have been drafted #1
Braylon Edwards 5 catches for 46 yards. The Dawg Pound is mostly baying at the moon these days.
Larry Fitzgerald 9 catches for 184 yards and one score. Hope you got him when people were still thinking Leinart.
Andre Johnson 10 catches for 112 yards and the ultra-rare week two bye. Been great weather willing.
Marques Colston 3 catches for 26 yards and out for maybe a month. Ouch.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh 6 catches for 70 yards. Not that different than 2007 except without a score every week.
Steve Smith Two week time out seems much, much longer now than it did back in August.
Chad Ocho Cinco 5 catches for 59 yards. Should have changed name to "Muchas Nada"

Pretty spotty returns on the top ten receivers taken and passing numbers are typically higher early in the year and in particular in the first two weeks. Steve Smith owners are hoping that he was watching Brandon Marshall and taking notes.

Early Bird Free Agents

A few of the players likely to be waiver wire darlings if they are still there for the taking:

QB J. T. O'Sullivan - was not that impressive against the Cardinals in week one but comes off the first 300 yard game for the 49ers since 2004 (also known as pre-Alex-Smith). He threw for 321 yards and a score and the 49ers will need to pass every week. May want to hurry though since Martz quarterbacks usually get pulverized by the end of the season.

QB Trent Edwards -Only had 239 yards and one score but it came against the Jaguars and and he completed 20 of 25 passes. He'll never be a top ten scorer this year but if you need a back-up/bye week sort of player, Edwards is looking better.

RB Darren Sproles - In case the Tomlinson owner was hanging onto Mike Tolbert from last week, the Chargers went with Sproles once Tomlinson pulled himself from the game and he ran fro 53 yards on seven carries and had a 66-yard touchdown reception. He's a shifty one and the guy the Chargers had success with once LT was out.

WR James Hardy - The Bills rookie only had two catches for 12 yards but scored once against the Jags after having no catches in week one. The Bills are looking better and getting in on the ground floor of Hardy could pay later dividends if you have the roster room. All that work that went to the tight ends in week one could shift to Hardy eventually.

WR James Jones - Just went back to work for the Packers and had four catches for 29 yards and a score against the Lions. Sure, so does everyone else but Jones merits more attention since so far Aaron Rodgers looks sharp and the passing game is holding up in Green Bay.

TEN receivers - Like Justin Gage, Bo Scaife and even Justin McCareins or Brandon JOnes now have Kerry Collins as the starter - which will last from between two weeks to January depending on Vince Young. The passing game wasn't that great on Sunday with only 128 yards and one score, they were playing in winds that varied from 30 MPH all the way up to gusts of 60 mph. The same problem plagued Carson Palmer but everyone overspent on the Bengals passing anyway and they are not ready to dump them yet.

Huddle Player of the Week

Anquan Boldin - the player that is disgruntled since the Cardinals have not honored their pledge to rework his contract (at least to hear him tell it) has agreed to play anyway. After not catching a pass in the first half of week one's game against the 49ers, Boldin turned in eight catches for 82 yards. His follow up to that was huge. Boldin turned six receptions against the Dolphins into 140 yards and three touchdowns. He shouldn't worry too much about the Cards paying him because there'll be plenty of other teams willing to open their wallets.


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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB J. T. O'Sullivan 364 1 QB Carson Palmer 134 0
RB Darren Sproles 125 2 RB Ryan Grant 20 0
RB Fred Jackson 100 0 RB Larry Johnson 22 0
WR Chansi Stuckey 43 1 WR Marvin Harrison 16 0
WR Jordy Nelson 29 1 WR Braylon Edwards 32 0
WR James Hardy 12 1 WR Randy Moss 22 0
PK Ryan Longwell 5 FG PK Shane Graham 1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 96

Huddle Fantasy Points = 16

Sunday's Couch Commentary

10 random thoughts from Sunday's games:

1. We already saw Matt Forte and Chris Johnson with big games in week one, but now Jonathan Stewart has showed up with 77 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns almost entirely in the second half. DeAngelo Williams only had 31 yards on 11 carries and are you going to dare start him again? Stewart not only looked incredible breaking tackles, he did it against the Bears who stuffed Williams in the first half and Joseph Addai the previous week. The Panthers play in Minnesota next week which will be tough and then the schedule gets much lighter. Maybe offer a trade for Stewart after next week if the Vikes can hold him down.

2. Wow, the Bengals are bad. Granted the weather was far too windy to be passing well but rusty Kerry Collins using Justin Gage and Brandon Jones was much better than Carson Palmer with Chad Johncinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Those three players have killed their owners so far and next week is in New York against the Giants followed by home against the Browns and then in Dallas. Not looking up for the striped helmets.

3. It is wildly inaccurate to make assumptions following a game against the Lions but after being subject to the media onslaught in Green Bay when Brett Favre left, the comparisons the announcers are no longer making are Aaron Rodgers - 506 yards and four touchdowns, 0 interceptions vs Brett Favre - 375 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions. Oh yeah, Favre is 1-1 and Rodgers is 2-0. No doubt the offensive line is a strength and the receivers are good, but Rodgers has so far given hope to every clip board holder in the league.

4. The Bills are for real with a very good defense, solid rushing and evidently decent passing with a developing Trent Edwards. Still too early to consider them leaders for the division but it's the first time in many years we cannot know for sure that they are not. The Jaguars offensive line problems are a great example of how critical blocking is to the entire team effort. You can return all the same productive players but lose several linemen and the entire thing falls apart.

5. Jonathan Stewart may have had a break out of sorts, but Darren McFadden's 164 rushing yards and one score in Kansas City happened on many fantasy benches after last week's shoulder stinger. As good as McFadden looked, the only thing we know for sure is that the Chiefs have raised the bar on being bad. Not having a quarterback doesn't help but they should have known that months ago. You could have told them that. Me too. When your only weapon is Larry Johnson who gains 22 yards on 12 carries in a home game against the Raiders, you have problems that are deep enough that the coaching staff won't even list the Chiefs as a previous employer when they are job searching next year.

6. It is undeniable that the NFL is changing. The AFC will no longer belong to the Patriots, Chargers and Colts. The NFC will not give the Seahawks an automatic bye into the playoffs. The rejuvenated teams look like the Broncos, Steelers, Panthers, Titans, Bills and Cardinals. This could be a very interesting January. It is only two weeks into the season, but there are some definite power shifts at play.

7. The Patriots without Brady are back to winning by defense and keeping the scores low. That is not what fantasy football owners want to see. Randy Moss in particular is going to have a problem with it eventually. Yeah, go run and get Lamont Jordan. I dare you to start him.

8. Searching my week three lineups for anyone facing the Browns, Dolphins, Bengals, Chiefs and Rams. Why is it that the AFC has almost all the horrible teams so far? This year seems like a lock for more than one coach to not make it to week 17. Maybe not even mid-season. Check your bye weeks because some coaches may not return.

9. Other than Adrian Peterson, can anyone say they are really happy with the way their first round running back has performed? Get this, the current rushing yard leaders in the NFL are Adrian Peterson (263), Michael Turner (262),Willie Parker (243), Matt Forte (215), Darren McFadden (210), Brandon Jacobs (209), Earnest Graham (207) and Chris Johnson (202) all are averaging over 100 rushing yards per game. That is three rookies, LT's old backup, Jacobs, Parker and Graham who went in the 3rd round or so and Peterson. Then again, you could have spend your first pick on Tom Brady.

10. Isaac Bruce had no catches last week - he never even had ONE pass thrown anywhere near him. Zero. Safe to bench right? Oh yeah, has four catches for 153 yards in Seattle. That is his best game since 2004. And it happened on the bench in nearly every league.

This was a nice week for fantasy football even if by half-time in the early games it looked like it was going to be one of the worst. We ended up with nine of 14 games going to the road team. We had four games over 30 points scored and two topped 40 points. The Titans, Broncos, Steelers, Packers, Panthers and Cardinals are all 2-0 and already all alone atop of their division. This is shaping up to be yet another year of changing of the guard and a shift in the league between the best and worst teams. Sadly many of the worst teams appear to be super-glued to the bottom, but the top teams are definitely in transition.

The best game this had a bit of everything in it and is a good example of the sort of season we can expect in 2008.


Last year the Broncos were doormats for the Chargers who scored 64 points against them over two meetings while allowing only one field goal in each. The Broncos entered this week without having scored a touchdown against the Chargers since 2006. But the Chargers were coming off a home loss to the Panthers literally in the last second of the game and the prospect of them opening the season 0-2 - hard to imagine.


San Diego 38, Denver 39

These teams went into halftime with the Broncos leading 31-17. The return of Brandon Marshall had already resulted in ten catches for 117 yards and a score. Tony Scheffler had already caught two touchdowns while the uber-rookie Eddie Royal had taken a backseat with Marshall around and only had three catches for 20 yards.

The Chargers only had 13 yards on six carries for Tomlinson who was clearly hampered by his toe. Philip Rivers had completed 9 of 12 for 133 yards and one score but still trailed by two touchdowns going into halftime. Times were changing and the Chargers were merely in the way of it. But the Chargers were hardly going to quit.

The second half opened with the Chargers getting the ball but Tomlinson did not take to the field. Much the bitter dismay of everyone who had the first pick in their respective drafts, Tomlinson would only have four more meaningless carries in the game and one catch for a two yard loss. The first series though featured Darren Sproles who ran the ball while Rivers hit Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers until he found Chambers in the endzone for a 15-yard score and at 24-31, the game was suddenly no longer a certain Denver win. The Chambers score was all the sweeter considering that the Chargers first offensive series had a pass to Chambers ruled incorrectly as an interception but it could not be replayed because the replay booth was said to be inoperable at that time. That incorrect call led to a Michael Pittman touchdown four plays later. Despite that officiating problem, the Chargers battled back and were only down by one touchdown.

After Denver went three and out, Rivers found Mike Tolbert for a 67-yard completion to the DEN 5-yard line and four plays later took the field goal for a 27-31 deficit. After Denver had yet another four and out, the Chargers were at the Denver 24-yard line as the fourth quarter started and eventually stalled at the DEN 10-yard line where Nate Kaeding kicking another field goal to make the game 30-31. One point away.

The Denver offense finally came to life and Cutler led the team from his own 20-yard line down to the SD 4-yard line where he threw a strike to the rookie Eddie Royal. It was intercepted. WIth 5:29 left to play, the Chargers had the ball on their own 9-yard line and just one point to make up. It didn't take long since a pass to Jackson went for 21-yards, then Sproles rushed for four yards and on second down from the SD 34-yard line, he caught a pass that sent him running downfield 66 yards for a score. A two point conversion to Naanee made it 38-31. That was the critical play. A simple extra point would have allowed Denver to score a touchdown and retake the lead with their own extra point. The Chargers had trailed 21-3 but retaken the lead with only 4:22 left to play.

On what would become the final drive, Cutler would rely on a couple Michael Pittman runs and four more passes to Brandon Marshall along with a few other strikes to Royal and Stokley to reach the SD 13-yard line at the two minute warning. He then hit Brandon Marshall with his 18th catch in the game to reach the SD 2-yard line. Pittman could not score but reached the one-yard line on the next play. On second down, in a play that will be front page stuff in San Diego but barely mentioned in Denver, Cutler was attempting a pass to Michael Pittman but as he changed hands with the ball, he lost control of it. That much was clear and supported by the video. Cutler lost the ball and the Chargers had what would be the game winning fumble recovery. But the audio had Head Referee Ed Hochuli blowing the whistle when he apparently believed it was an incomplete pass. That meant that the play was dead. That the ball was considered dead with the whistle. And that the Broncos had a gift.

Two plays later with 29 second left to play, Cutler finally did find the rookie Royal for the touchdown and in a quick attempt to pull the hometown advantage into play and capitalize on the confusion and frustration from the blown call, Mike Shanahan called for an immediate two point play which was almost the exact same play as the score since once again, Eddie Royal ended up with the ball under the goal posts.

The Chargers had 20 seconds with the ball from their own 18-yard line but ran out of time. Game over. The big comeback bid made largely without Tomlinson and after a heroic effort by the Chargers defense for all but one final drive by the Broncos were all for naught on the heels of a blown call by perhaps the most esteemed referee in the NFL. Granted, the Broncos still had to score from the 4-yard line in the final minute of the game with only two attempts, but that's hardly any consolation to the Charger fans who are now saddled with an 0-2 record.

The changing of the guard and it will happen in all kinds of ways. The team that could never score more than three points against the Chargers had 39. The best running back in the NFL for the last three years spent most of the game on the bench. And in the end, sometimes it all comes down to a blown call by the very best of officials.

Hold on to your hat.. the ride has only begun to get bumpy.

Now get back to work...

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