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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 8
David Dorey
October 20, 2008
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Gus Frerotte 298 2
Kyle Orton 283 2
Matt Schaub 267 2
Chad Pennington 295 1
Jeff Garcia 310 1
Running Backs Yards TD
Steven Jackson 176 3
Mewelde Moore 134 3
LenDale White 114 3
Dominic Rhodes 114 2
Adrian Peterson 130 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Calvin Johnson 154 1
Steve Smith 122 1
Antonio Bryant 115 1
Lee Evans 89 1
Derrick Mason 87 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Owen Daniels 66 2
Greg Olsen 74 1
Vishante Shiancoe 68 1
Martellus Bennett 67 1
Tony Gonzalez 97 0
Placekickers XP FG
John Kasay 3 3
Robbie Gould 6 2
Rian Longwell 5 2
Sebastian Janikowski 1 3
Mason Crosby 4 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Chicago 2 2 5
NY Giants 0 6 3
Pittsburgh 0 7 1
Green Bay 2 0 2
St. Louis 0 3 4

Week 7 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Reggie Bush - Knee injury
Steven Jackson - Quad injury
Brodie Croyle - Knee injury - out for season
Devin Hester - Quad injury
Ike Hilliard - Concussion
Jeremy Shockey - Reinjured groin

And back to drafting RB-RB-RB

Week seven may go down as one of the worst passing weeks in decades. Jeff Garcia was the only quarterback with a 300 yard game. The only one. Last year in week seven there were three which is usual. But no quarterback passed for more than two scores on Sunday. Not one. There were five of them last year at this time.

The wide receivers fared no better since not one of them had more than one touchdown. Last year there were three with multiple scores. There were a couple last week, There were never less than two in 2007 and four was the average. There were only four wideouts with over 100 yards this week and Calvin Johnson had to catch a 96-yard touchdown at the end of the game to get his. The passing numbers were just really, really low.

At least seven running backs had multiple touchdowns and ten of them had over 100 rushing yards.

Dividing Divisions

If the Broncos beat the Patriots on Monday night, then not only will Buffalo (5-1), Pittsburgh (5-1), Tennessee (6-0) and Denver (would be 5-2) lead in their divisions, they would be the ONLY AFC teams that had a winning record. Conversely, there are nine teams with winning records in the NFC. And yet none that look as strong as they did a few weeks ago.

10 Random Thoughts

Weeks like this give me a headache. At least until I see that I won almost all my games.

1. I remember a thing called a stud quarterback. I do not remember it all that well really but there used to be such a creature. The best bets at quarterback this week were Gus Frerotte, Kyle Orton, Matt Schaub, Chad Pennington, Dan Orlovsky, Jeff Garcia and J. T. O'Sullivan. In that order. Most of those guys were never drafted last summer. Wonder what it is going to be like when the weather is cold and rainy? Pssst... brother... can you spare a running back?

2. I sometimes wonder if we are going to hear one day that Clinton Portis has broken every rushing record in the NFL and no one noticed until weeks after it happened. Portis is just Portis, the guy you begrudgingly take in the latter half of the first round in your fantasy draft because you refuse to not take a RB and the good ones are gone. But Portis has been very good every year and he hasn't really had a bad year. He ran for 175 yards and a score this week and leads the NFL with 818 rushing yards. Adrian Peterson is second with only 684 yards. Who ever giggled "I got PORTIS!" at a draft? I mean before the second pitcher of beer.

3. I am proud to say that I was dead on correct about Rashard Mendenhall about everything except for his name which ends up to be Mewelde Moore.

4. I seem to be cursed by Matt Forte. Granted, I was not that high on the rookie who was heading to a team with questionable blocking and Cedric Benson still with the team. I am in eight head-to-head leagues this year and it seems I end up playing against him at least once every week. He's killing me. He never runs well anymore and only averages 3.5 yards per carry. Over the last five games, he has only averaged 60 yards on 20 carries per week for a paltry 3.0 yard average. I laugh at the person who still starts him against me right up until he scores another freaking touchdown. Every week. Yeah, he tosses in receiving yards too but it just bugs me that every week he is a substandard rusher who then scores one touchdown against me. Did no one show him game film of Benson?

5. The Titans are the surprise team of the year to be sure, but are they peaking too early? You would not know that looking at how they went nuts against the Chiefs and rushed for 332 yards to set both a franchise record for the Titans and one for the Chiefs since no one else had done that before. As a Chris Johnson owner in six of my eight leagues, I would also like to register a formal complaint about why LenDale White has to get so many touchdowns. He already has eight on the year while Johnson lags with only four. And they make Johnson run so much farther to get his touchdowns too. LenDale White is tied with Reggie Bush for the NFL lead with eight touchdowns and now Reggie will be missing some time so White will continue his pace for 18 rushing scores this year. Before you dismiss that as impossible, take a look at the Titans schedule.

6. In my video last week, I talked about kickers and how you should always pick a kicker based on who you think is going to win the game. Considering all kicking performances from 2007, it ends up that if you have a kicker in a winning game versus a losing game, you get an extra field goal on average. Like 9.6 points versus 6.5 points. I checked it this week and seven of the top eight kickers were all on winning teams and the only one that lost their game was Ryan Longwell whose team scored 41 points that bested everyone in the league except for the one team they were playing (don't we know that pain). Remember - get a winning kicker, get three free points. When you win your championship by 2 points, you can thank me.

7. One more attempt at gaining a "attaboy, Dave". Go look at your league's top performers in defense and kickers currently. Now go look at where they were drafted. Now remember next summer to NOT TAKE AN EARLY KICKER OR DEFENSE.

8. The Lions are 0-6 and the Bengals are 0-7. I honestly think it would be possible for both to end up 0-16 but you know that somehow, sometime, someone will actually lose a game to them. I still have to think that the Bengals win first. The Lions look so lost right now that it just boggles the mind to figure where they could win a game.

9. Not sure how the Brett Favre fan club is going to explain how he passed for 197 yards and two interceptions in Oakland in a losing effort. Or how he was actually outdone by JaMarcus Russell (203, 1 TD). And yes, Jerricho Cotchery did play only not very well like the rest of the Jets other than Thomas Jones who ran for 159 yards on 24 carries. I imagine Thomas was the only player in the locker room trying to hide his happiness from the game.

10. I never had any draft pick this year earlier than 5th so I never had a chance at getting LaDainian Tomlinson but I guess I am okay with that now. He has four scores on the season but they came in just two games. He has only one game over 100 rushing yards and he's been nothing special as a receiver though he is getting more passes lately. That has to hurt and I feel sorry for fantasy owners until I remember they also had the #23 and #24 picks and ended up with a stud wideout and a decent RB2. Tomlinson has rushed for 446 yards so far with a 3.6 yard rushing average. That's good enough to rank 14th in yardage. And he turns 30 years old next year too...

Early Bird Free Agents

Damon Huard - No real treat here but looks like Brodie Croyle is out for the rest of the year so Herman Edwards will no longer have his add fascination with letting Croyle lose games. Huard's a decent enough back-up quarterback and the Chiefs do not have any option now. This actually helps Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe.

Patrick Cobb - His week six scores were more fluke but he was back this week with five catches for 64 yards. That's almost worthy as a bye week filler if you get reception points. It appears that opponents are now catching up to Miami's offense so Cobb may continue this role but they could end up using Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams more as a receiver.

Javon Walker - What to think? I know I dropped from one of my teams last week and of course he then has 75 yards on five receptions with one touchdown. That was against the visiting Jets though and next week is in Baltimore. One good week does not reverse a bad season. Only grab if you have roster spots for deadwood.

Mike Furrey - Shaun McDonald played more often in Roy Williams' old spot but Mike Furrey was the one getting all the action yesterday. Furrey caught six passes for 89 yards in Houston while McDonald was credited with no receptions for a seven yard loss. He was in the string of laterals at the end of the game and lost seven yards before pitching it. At least you know Detroit always needs to throw.

Josh Morgan - Yeah, we all though the was a rookie sleeper and they he never woke up but now he is likely to take over Bryant Johnson's role sooner than later. Morgan caught five passes for 86 yards in New York this week with his first NFL touchdown. He's been better in practice than in games but the coaches like him and he's finally showing up in box scores. The Rams Lions 49ers are going to throw this year and Morgan is moving up.

Huddle Player of the Week

Steven Jackson - Have to love Jackson entering a game where the Rams at home were seven point underdogs to the Cowboys. According to the announcers, Steven Jackson was ready for a good game because the Cowboys had slighted him when they passed him by and later took Julius "Not Jackson after all" Jones. If that was the case, he's been holding it in for five years now. The Rams have played the Cowboys three times since 2004 when he was drafted but Jackson was always injured in those other games. He made up for it in a big way with a monster game of 176 yards and three touchdowns. Cathartic? Sure. Sweet. Oh yeah.

Salute!

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Dan Orlovsky 265 1 QB Peyton Manning 229 0
RB Leon Washington 40 1 RB Ronnie Brown 27 0
RB Mewelde Moore 134 3 RB Reggie Bush 60 0
WR Javon Walker 75 1 WR Marques Colston (not yet eh?) 0 0
WR Marty Booker 79 1 WR Roy Williams 0 0
WR Josh Morgan 86 1 WR Terrell Owens 31 0
PK John Kasay 3 XP 3 FG PK Taylor Mehlhaff 1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 112

Huddle Fantasy Points = 21

Sunday's Couch Commentary

This was a really odd week since the passing numbers were down, the running backs were turning in big games all over the league and while seven teams had over 30 points scored, almost no players had a really big day. The only truly close game was in Oakland with the Jets and Raiders going into overtime but the score was only 16-13 anyway. No, we get a game that no one guess would score 89 points. The over/under was just 38 points. They ended up with over twice as many points as was expected.

Minnesota 41, Chicago 48

Okay, so here are two big defenses in the NFC North that are noted for low scoring games and their ability to at least slow down their opponent. But Sunday turned in a delightful track meet with plenty of fun for all involved.

On the first series, the Vikings march 67 yards and Adrian Peterson scores a one-yard touchdown on a fourth down try. The Bears respond by driving the field and then throwing an 18-yard touchdown to Greg Olsen. The Vikings could go nowhere on their next series and the punt is blocked and recovered by Garrett Wolfe who ran 17 yards for a touchdown. The Vikings respond by driving 70 yards and hitting Vishante Shiancoe with a 24-yard touchdown. And in case you are wondering, there are still two minutes left IN THE FIRST QUARTER. Yeah, great defenses.

The Bears enter the second quarter with a drive that ends at the MIN 8-yard line and they settle for a field goal and a 17-14 lead. Except the Vikings go down and kick their own field goal for a 17-17 tie. The Bears have the ball next and finally stall and try to punt. Finally, it is not blocked and there is a successful punt. Only the Vikings muff the punt and it is recovered by the Bears for a touchdown. Then Frerotte threw an interception on the next play so the Bears take over at the MIN 26-yard line where they settle for a field goal that IS BLOCKED - GOOD LORD, DOES ANYONE PRACTICE SPECIAL TEAMS ANYMORE?

So the Vikings end up with the ball on their own 32-yard line and mount a drive that concludes with Chester Taylor scoring a one yard touchdown run. With only 22 seconds left in the half, the Bears drive 28 yards in 17 seconds and kick a field goal for a 27-24 lead at halftime. Seriously - it never stopped with scoring or turnovers.

The second half has the Bears driving 80 yards and scoring when a 35 yards pass to Desmond Clark is fumbled into the endzone where Rashied Davis falls on it. Hester is hurt on the play but the Bears pull out to a ten point lead, 34-24.

Which lasted about two minutes until Adrian Peterson ran 54 yards for a touchdown. 31-34.

In a freakish turn of events, the Bears had an unsuccessful series and then punted without any blocks, muffs or touchdowns associated with it. Three plays later, Gus Frerotte throws an interception. It then takes the Bears only three plays for Orton is sacked and loses a fumble to the Vikings. Seriously. The Vikings then reach the CHI 36-yard line with a fourth and one where an incompletion turns the ball over to the Bears. Five plays later and Marty Booker, who we never even knew could run, catches a 51-yard touchdown pass for a 41-31 Chicago lead. Oh yeah - still the third quarter. The Vikings only need three plays for Frerotte to throw another interception and the quarter ends right before Matt Forte gets his obligatory touchdown for the game. That makes it 48-31.

Amazingly, the fourth quarter was the only quarter that was normal. The Vikings drive 68 yards and kick a field goal with a six minute, 12-play drive. Chicago punts and the Vikings drive 75 yards on 14-play drive that ends with a Berrian touchdown catch. By then, there is only three minutes left and the Bears burn off two minutes before giving it back to the Vikes so that Frerotte can throw his fourth interception in the game.

So all the fireworks were in the first three quarters but man - a game with 89 total points? Seven players scored a touchdown and there were special teams scores, a recovered fumble, plenty of turnover and almost no punting. It was never supposed to be a game but it out did all others on Sunday. We're at the midway point in most leagues and I bet few have any dominant teams so far. Reggie Bush will miss some time and Tony Romo is already out. There will be more dropping from the game active lists each week so now is when it gets interesting. Work your waiver wire because there are a lot of top players in their positions each week that were never tabbed in a fantasy draft this year. We're back to a running back heavy NFL!

Or was that just this week?

Now get back to work...

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