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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Sunday Game Recaps - Week 9
John Tuvey
November 3, 2008
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Jets 26, Bills 17

The Jets relied on defensive stops—at one point Gang Green’s D was on the field for more than 15 consecutive minutes of game time, yet despite allowing 114 net yards of offense outscored the Bills 7-0—and a late surge by the ground game to overcome Brett Favre’s 300th career interception. It was Thomas Jones who handled the ball on three of the four plays during the drive for the Jets’ only offensive touchdown, and it was Jones picking up 39 yards on the drive resulting in a field goal that put the visitors up nine. Jones produced 107 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 12 carries and six receptions, easily the team’s offensive highlight. Favre failed to throw a touchdown pass—to a member of his own team, at least, as he joked after the game—and barely cracked the 200-yard mark as Jerricho Cotchery (6-62) and Laveranues Coles (3-40) were largely ineffective.

Buffalo’s failure to run the ball (17 carries for 30 yards) against the Jets’ dramatically improved run defense forced them into a one-dimensional game that exposed Trent Edwards to pressure (five sacks) and produced turnovers (two picks and a fumble). Jabari Greer answered the Jets’ pick six with a defensive TD of his own, but after an Edwards to Derrick Fine touchdown pass on their opening drive the Bills offense was able to muster just three more points. Marshawn Lynch picked up 42 of his 68 yards from scrimmage on one catch early in the game, but he missed most of the second quarter with nausea possibly caused by nearly chasing down Abram Elam on his 92-yard interception return; with Lynch unavailable, it was Fred Jackson stopped on a fourth-and-one inside the Jets 10 that prevented Buffalo from potentially tying the game. Edwards finished with 289 yards and the one touchdown, leaning heavily on tight ends Fine and Robert Royal, who accounted for nine catches and 113 yards. Lee Evans (4-41) was barely involved until Buffalo’s final drive, which ended when rookie James Hardy failed to come up with a jump ball in the end zone.

Fantasy Impact: Favre giveth, and Favre taketh away. This week he gaveth to the Bills and not to Cotchery or Coles, and his 28 passing attempts tooketh away from Jones on a day he was averaging nearly six yards per carry. While Lynch owners shouldn’t worry about Jackson having just two fewer touches—five of his seven carries and one of his three catches came while Lynch was unavailable due to his flue-like symptoms in the second quarter—they should worry that he continues to fail to live up to preseason expectations of a back capable of 100 yards from scrimmage on a regular basis.

Bears 27, Lions 23

The Bears lost Kyle Orton to an ankle injury late in the first half, but they still had enough to hold off the winless Lions. Orton was efficient early, and though he didn’t throw a touchdown pass he helped fantasy owners with a rushing touchdown. Rex Grossman came on in relief and added a rushing touchdown of his own as well as a touchdown toss—and, in true Grossman form, an interception. His best move, however, was turning and handing the ball to Matt Forte; the rookie received 15 of his 22 carries after Orton exited and produced 126 rushing yards. However, after taking the ball to the one-yard line Forte was denied a touchdown when Grossman called his own number. Careful, Rexy; karma can be a real bee-yatch.

Dan Orlovsky knows Daunte Culpepper is knocking at the door, and aside from a couple interceptions Orlovsky made a strong bid to keep his job with 292 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In fact, if not for a botched extra point Orlovsky would have been driving the Lions for a tying field goal instead of throwing a Hail Mary at the end of the game. Once again (and as it should be) Orlovsky focused heavily on Calvin Johnson, throwing his way 17 times and completing eight for 94 yards and a touchdown. Shaun McDonald received a little spillover, with six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown, and tight end Michael Gaines was an unexpected contributor with six grabs for 64 yards; hey, somebody else has to catch the ball when you throw 47 passes.

Fantasy Impact: If Orton’s injury sidelines him for any length of time—being carted off is never a good sign, and early indications are Orton will miss a month —you have to think the Bears’ game plan will be for a heavier dose of Forte. While Grossman can put up big numbers, he’s also prone to mistakes—which is why Orton was the starter. Speaking of rookie running backs, Kevin Smith out-touched Rudi Johnson 16-10, outgained him 53-32, and outscored him one touchdown to none. It’s still too much Rudi for a team that needs to find out what it has in Smith… or maybe the Lions are just saving him for next year?

Bengals 21, Jaguars 19

Cincy set the tempo early, bursting from the gate with back-to-back drives of 10 and 14 plays to take a 14-0 lead. That may have reminded Bengal fans of the old high-powered Cincy offense, but they couldn’t have expected the home team to rush for more than twice as many yards as the Jaguars or hold the ball longer than their opponents. As if that weren’t crazy enough, the Bengals accomplished the deed with Cedric Benson (24 for 104 and a touch) handling the rock and Ryan Fitzpatrick, not Carson Palmer, directing the offense. Fitz continued to rely on his dynamic duo of T.J. Houshmandzadeh (seven for 65) and Chad Johnson (five for 37 and two touchdowns), with his other completions being spread more to tight ends and running backs (six grabs) than other wideouts (three).

At some point—maybe when yet another starting offensive lineman went down with a season-ending injury—Jacksonville lost their identity. The Jaguars we used to know and love wouldn’t throw 38 times and run the ball 21—a total that includes the six scrambles by David Garrard. The Jags expected to contend for the AFC crown wouldn’t need to throw the ball on the game-deciding two-point conversion—and Garrard wouldn’t throw it into double coverage, and he most certainly wouldn’t be throwing it to Jerry Freaking Porter of all possible targets. No, Matt Jones wasn’t suspended just before game time; he was around for seven catches and 69 yards. The throw to Porter actually seemed by design. Then again, if Maurice Jones-Drew wouldn’t have been held to 33 yards on 10 carries by a defense that let everyone else run all over them, it may not have come to that.

Fantasy Impact: It’s been a nice run for Fred Taylor, who is going out not on the bang of last season’s strong finish but with barely a whimper. In a game where he should have been useable in many fantasy leagues—bad run defense, still sharing carries—he rewarded anyone who trusted him with 12 yards on five carries. Housh has yet to score with Fitzpatrick at the helm, while all four of Ocho Cinco’s touchdowns have been courtesy of the Harvard grad.

Ravens 37, Browns 27

By all accounts, Willis McGahee was active and expected to start. But while rookie Ray Rice rolled up 154 yards on 21 carries (and another 22 on two catches), McGahee was nowhere to be seen. Only after the game did Ravens coach John Harbaugh suggest that the team didn’t want to use McGahee this week and the plan all along was to keep him in “emergency mode.” Thanks, John. The good news for Baltimore’s ground game was that the version of Shaun Rogers who stuffed the middle of Cleveland’s defense last week also opted to take the week off. Even heretofore forgotten fullback Le’Ron McClain got in on the fun, stealing a touchdown from Rice as part of a 14-carry, 34-yard afternoon. The Ravens started quickly, scoring on a 47-yard Joe Flacco to Mark Clayton completion, then got back to basics by running the ball 41 times against 29 passes. Derrick Mason continued to be Flacco’s target of choice, accounting for nine of the rookie’s 17 completions and 136 of his 248 passing yards; he also scored following a nice spin move to help Baltimore mount a comeback with 24 unanswered points.

There was little the Browns offered Sunday that came as a surprise. Jamal Lewis hammered away for 49 tough yards against his former team, while Derek Anderson focused primarily on his main targets of Kellen Winslow (five catches, 64 yards) and Braylon Edwards (four for 86 and a touchdown). Edwards also demonstrated what we’ve come to expect, both the good—wrestling a touchdown away from Frank Walker—and the bad—a flat-out drop of a long pass that may have gone for a touchdown but at minimum would have given the Browns a key first down late in the game. Forced to make up for Edwards’ mistake, Anderson made one of his own—expecting Jason Wright to turn around and catch a screen pass. Wright didn’t, and Terrell Suggs was more than happy to pilfer the pass and bring it back for the clinching score.

Fantasy Impact: Baltimore’s current brain trust inherited McGahee, and it won’t take much for them to make the move to Rice at least somewhat permanently. That move, however, wasn’t expected today after McGahee was announced as active and expected to start; fantasy owners of both backs were caught off guard and likely left ruing either decision. Harbaugh’s sneaky ploy also moves him up towards the Belichick/Shanahan tier of coaches fantasy owners can’t trust. Edwards has to be the most infuriating player in fantasy football this season; had he just dropped another touchdown, his frequently-burned owners could simply kick him to the curb. Instead, he teases us just enough with the catch and then burns us yet again.

Buccaneers 30, Chiefs 27

When Earnest Graham fumbled on the Bucs’ first play from scrimmage you knew this wasn’t going to be easy. In fact, it took a mad finish in the final 2:13 of the first half—a 97-yard kickoff return and a field goal as time expired—just to rally Tampa Bay back from a 24-3 deficit. Graham didn’t have the success on the ground most expected, finishing with 62 yards on 19 carries and no gain longer than seven yards; worse, he bookened that opening fumble with another inside the Chiefs’ five-yard line late in the fourth quarter. However he did throw a touchdown to Alex Smith earlier in the fourth quarter after the teams traded fumbles inside the Kansas City 10. Smith was also on the business end of the tying two-point conversion, though it was Antonio Bryant (8-115-1) who was Jeff Garcia’s primary target on the day. Not that others didn’t contribute; Michael Clayton (4-57), Ike Hilliard (6-55), and John Gilmore (4-40) all chipped in to help Garcia throw for 339 yards on the day.

Tyler Thigpen sparked the Chiefs to touchdowns on their first three drives. First, he threw to Dwayne Bowe (2-29-1) for a score; then, he handed to Kolby Smith (10-46-1 before leaving with what Herm Edwards said after the game is a season-ending knee injury); finally, he caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from receiver Mark Bradley on a reverse pass. However, despite 106 rushing yards from Jamaal Charles in relief of Smith the Chiefs could manage just a pair of field goals (along with five punts and a fumble) the rest of the way. Even 62 yards on seven catches from Tony Gonzalez wasn't enough to make the Chiefs a winner in Week 9.

Fantasy Impact: With Smith out of the mix and Larry Johnson already suspended for next week, Charles suddenly becomes a fantasy factor. Doesn’t hurt his resume that he was the first back to rush for 100 yards against the Bucs this season. Even with Joey Galloway back in the mix Bryant was the alpha male in Tampa Bay’s receiving corps. And if Garcia will be throwing for 300 yards on a frequent basis—that’s twice in three weeks now—he won’t be a bad guy to plug into your fantasy lineup, either.

Vikings 28, Texans 21

Maybe you’ve seen this before: defense stacks line against Adrian Peterson; Gus Frerotte makes defense pay with deep balls to Bernard Berrian. It worked again this week, as Berrian caught just two balls—but one, on the Vikings’ first play from scrimmage, went for 49 yards and the other was a 55-yard TD catch-and-run. Between the safeties pulling back ever so slightly and the Texans’ front seven wearing down Peterson finished with 139 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown two plays after Berrian’s first bomb. Frerotte threw just 18 passes, but three went for touchdowns (Sidney Rice and Visanthe Shiancoe caught the other two). Between Berrian’s big plays, Peterson’s big day, and the four turnovers and five sacks Minnesota’s defense generated the Vikings climbed to .500.

Between the 20s the Texans were solid Sunday no matter who was at quarterback. Matt Schaub moved the team early with 139 first-half yards, but he was pounded frequently by the Vikings pass rush and a poor throw off his back leg—he seemed unable or unwilling to put any weight on his left knee—resulted in a red zone pick just before halftime. Enter Sage Rosenfels, who found Andre Johnson more frequently—though only four times for 62 yards and a late touchdown on the day, ending Andre’s magical run of triple-digit yardage and double-digit catches—and finished with 224 yards and a couple scores. Owen Daniels capitalized on all the attention devoted to Johnson with 11 catches for 133 yards, and Steve Slaton’s 118 yards from scrimmage were a pleasant surprise.

Fantasy Impact: Curious to see where the Texans go at quarterback. Schaub was on the sidelines in uniform for the second half, though he was clearly hobbled and giving Rosenfels a shot seemed the smarter move. If Schaub says he’s ready to go next week, however, do you go back to him or stick with the clearly capable Rosenfels? The return of Rice to the Vikings receiving corps is bound to take a touchdown or two off the plate of both Berrian and Shaincoe, as Rice is a reliable and athletic red-zone target. He only had the one catch Sunday; then again, with Frerotte 11-for-18 there were only so many opportunities.

Cardinals 34, Rams 13

The high-powered Cards return to St. Louis to face an extremely fantasy-friendly foe… and it’s the Arizona defense that keeps them in this one early? Shortly after failing to convert four tries from the two-yard line, they found themselves in a 7-0 hole. They dug out quite nicely thanks to an Antrel Rolle pick six, followed quickly by an Adrian Wilson-forced fumble that led to a field goal… and then the rout was on. Tim Hightower started in place of Edgerrin James and after failing to punch it in from the two on three tries he righted the ship with 109 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Even J.J. Arrington as the change-of-pace back was solid, with 119 yards from scrimmage on six carries and five catches. Oh yeah, the Cards threw the ball a little as well; Kurt Warner triumphantly returned to St. Louis with 342 yards and a pair of touchdowns as his wideout tandem of Anquan Boldin (6-85-1) and Larry Fitzgerald (6-81-0) led the way. Jerheme Urban scored on a deflection, while Steve Breaston (2-39) was mostly quiet.

It all started so well. Marc Bulger went deep to Derek Stanley, who made his first career catch down the left sideline before running away from a disinterested Eric Green for an 80-yard touchdown. Bulger also threw a second touchdown in the fourth quarter, a courtesy toss to Torry Holt with the game out of reach. In between, Steven Jackson returned with seven mostly ineffective carries for 17 yards and a drop of a potential touchdown and spent most of the second half as a spectator. Donnie Avery showed up for three catches and 26 yards, but for the most part the Rams were overmatched on the afternoon.

Fantasy Impact: Holt complained about his reduced role in the offense during the week, then wasn’t even targeted during the first 30 minutes. Bulger threw at him 10 times in the second half, including the garbage-time touchdown, but it smacked of patronage. The rumored benching of James came to fruition, as Hightower was told he’d be starting just prior to game time. Obviously it wasn’t the most strenuous of matchups but the success of Hightower and Arrington, who combined to give the Cards a balanced attack of 33 runs and 34 passes, likely means we’ll see less of Edge and more of the rookie in the future.

Titans 19, Packers 16

The foot of Rob Bironas and the legs of Chris Johnson kept the Titans undefeated, though they had to work overtime to pull out the win. Johnson rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and was helped by the Smash to his Dash, LenDale White, who chipped in 77—most of them on a 54-yard rumble that set up Johnson’s score but none more important than his final seven, which converted a third down and moved the Titans into position for Bironas’ fourth field goal. Johnson also led the Titans in receiving with six catches for 72 yards, though Tennessee actually threw more than they ran—effectively, too, with Kerry Collins hitting Justin McCareins and Brandon Jones twice each for a total of 48 yards on the Titans’ final drive of regulation. That drive ended with Bironas missing narrowly to the right, but the Titans won the toss and didn’t give the ball back to the Packers.

Green Bay not only outgained the Titans 390-347 they also had them on time of possession. However, the only snap the Pack ran after the two-minute warning was a punt, and in that final seven minutes Tennessee had two shots at a game-winning field goal. Aaron Rodgers’ 314 yards look impressive, but he received plenty of YAC help from Greg Jennings (3-79, most of them on a 52-yard catch-and-run) and Donald Driver, who consistently found open space and finished with seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. Even Ryan Grant was productive, with 86 yards on 20 carries. Ultimately, however, the Packers had simply too much real estate to cover against a very good defense; on average they started at their own 26-yard line and were able to score each time they managed to put together 40 yards of offense in a single possession. Problem was, that was just four times in 11 possessions and three of those red-zone trips ended with three points instead of seven.

Fantasy Impact: Grant’s success comes on the heels of two high-carry but only mediocre-productivity outings; that bodes well for his fantasy success the rest of the way. Questions about the distribution of workload in Tennessee’s backfield should have been answered by White’s eight touches and Johnson’s 30. The Titans are finding ways to get the ball into the rookie’s hands, and he’s producing.

Dolphins 26, Broncos 17

Befitting a Bill Parcells team, the Dolphins won this game on the strength of their defense. Sure, Chad Pennington threw for 281 yards—most of them to Greg Camarillo, who torched Champ Bailey’s replacement, Karl Paymah, for 11 catches and 111 yards. But there was extremely little else generated by the Miami offense. Ronnie Brown provided the Phins’ only offensive touchdown with just over three minutes left in the game, capping a 20-carry day that saw him pick up 30 of his 59 yards on one tote. Three Jay Cutler interceptions were turned into a touchdown return and two field goals, and Miami did just enough to keep the Broncos at bay until it all came together on the clinching 15-play, eight-minute drive that covered 80 yards and put Miami up by two possessions.

Jay Cutler’s 307-yard, two-touchdown statline belies his struggles. The three picks, for example, or the fact that fullback Peyton Hillis was the only Denver pass-catcher to top 70 yards, are a bit more indicative of how the day went. Eddie Royal sparked the Broncos with a 95-yard kickoff return, then finished his own drive with a five-yard touchdown grab, but he and Hillis—with seven catches each—couldn’t fill the void left by another unfriendly fantasy game for Brandon Marshall. Of course, things might have been different had he not been flagged for a relatively innocuous pushoff on what ended up to be a 90-yard touchdown negated by the penalty. Or if the Broncos had returned to Marshall after he drew a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone to set them up first-and-goal at the one. Instead, Marshall finished with two catches for 27 yards and one fewer touchdown than Will Allen, who was responsible for blanketing him much of the day. Worse, Denver received absolutely nothing from their ground game: just 14 rushing yards, the second-fewest in franchise history. So much for the NFL debut of Ryan Torain.

Fantasy Impact: Oh joy. Now the Broncos have yet another back—Hillis, the fullback—in the mix. If it matters, Torain carried three times for a total of one yard in his NFL debut while Michael Pittman carried seven times for four yards and Andre Hall once for seven yards. And on the team’s only goal-line snap, Cutler threw to Hillis. Pennington continues to pile up yardage, taking advantage of Bailey’s replacement frequently as Camarillo piled up the stats. Though Chad included six other receivers on the day, none mustered more than three catches or 38 yards—the exact line put up by last week's favorite son (and hot waiver-wire pickup) Ted Ginn.

Giants 35, Cowboys 14

The Giants marched 75 yards on 11 plays with their opening possession, and even after an Eli Manning pick-six pulled the Cowboys to within a touchdown this one was never that close. Big Blue rushed for 200 yards, paced by Brandon Jacobs’ 17-117-1 and Derrick Ward’s 12-63-1, and Manning overcame the pick and two fumbles to throw three touchdowns. What with all the groundwork there was little yardage in the air; while Plaxico Burress led the team with 34 yards it was Kevin Boss (3-30-1), Steve Smith (5-29-1) and Amani Toomer (2-26-1) who augmented their stat line with touchdowns.

Brad Johnson stuck around long enough to throw a pair of picks, and Brooks Bollinger entered the game to throw an INT on his first pass as a Cowboy. Then it was only a matter of time until Terrell Owens scored a garbage-time touchdown to salvage an otherwise lousy (5-36-1) fantasy day. Even Marion Barber couldn’t help, limited to 54 yards on 19 carries and sabotaging even that meager stat line with one catch for negative 12 yards. The bye couldn’t come at a better time for the Cowboys, though even owner Jerry Jones acknowledged it will take more than just the return of Tony Romo to right the ship.

Fantasy Impact: You can imagine what Jacobs’ stat line would have looked like had not Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw (5-20) siphoned off half the carries—but you had to know that was part of the bit with Jacobs. He hasn’t had 20 carries since the first week of the season, and he’s doing enough damage with his 15-19 touches to help Big Blue win—and to stay fresh for what the Giants anticipate will be another lengthy postseason run. The Cowboys… well, Romo can’t return fast enough for the sanity of T.O.’s fantasy owners. Jason Witten played despite a busted rib but was an afterthought, and MB3 couldn’t do all the heavy lifting alone—certainly not against this defense.

Falcons 24, Raiders 0

When Nnamdi Asomugah is on the one side, you throw the other way. And if it’s former Falcon DeAngelo Hall over there, you throw that way a lot. Well, maybe not a lot, since the Falcons were too busy rolling up 252 rushing yards, but Michael Jenkins did catch two passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Roddy White saw more of Asomugah than he did of Hall, which is why he finished with just 54 yards on five catches. But the Raiders saw plenty of Michael Turner, who carried 31 times for 139 yards. Jerious Norwood stole a Turner touchdown as part of a 13-carry, 63-yard afternoon that also include Jason Snelling rushing eight times for 47 yards. In building a 24-0 lead at the half the Falcons outgained Oakland 309 yards to negative two.

Three first downs. A total of 77 yards of offense. Oakland’s time of possessions: 14 minutes, 45 seconds. The longest play of the day was a JaMarcus Russell scramble of 24 yards—which very nearly matched his 31 passing yards on the day. You could blame the absence of Darren McFadden, but the Raiders problems go much deeper than that. They don't deserve to have anything more said about them.

Fantasy Impact: It’s tough to take anything of value from a game like this. Turner gets it done against bad defenses, but we have yet to see him do anything of note against a good run defense. Matt Ryan showed he could find a receiver other than White, while Norwood and Snelling kept Turner from putting up college-type numbers; could you imagine if he had rolled up all of Atlanta’s yardage and finished with 52 carries for 249 yards and a score? You probably can if he’s on your fantasy team.

Eagles 26, Seahawks 7

Donovan McNabb completed just three of his first 13 passes, and Philly’s first five drives resulted in four punts and an interception. It was just that kind of strange game, the kind where backup tight end Brent Celek outgains Brian Westbrook (Celek had six catches for 131 yards; Westy added 35 yards on six receptions to a 20-for-61 rushing day) and Todd Herremans scores more touchdowns than Westbrook, Kevin Curtis (6-83), and DeSean Jackson (2-20) combined. Herremans’ one-yard touchdown catch was the first by an Eagles interior offensive lineman in 74 years. Reggie Brown also scored, turning his one catch into a nice catch-and-run to get into the end zone and helping to pad McNabb’s 349-yard, two-touchdown stat line. Philly drove inside the Seattle 25 four times in the second half and came away with four David Akers field goals.

Seneca Wallace hit Koren Robinson down the left sidelines for a 90-yard touchdown on the Seahawks’ first play from scrimmage. To say it was all downhill after that would be an understatement, as Seattle punted on each of its next 11 drives and mustered an additional 143 yards of total offense the rest of the way. Aside from KoRo’s big play no receiver topped 30 yards, Wallace threw for just 79 yards after the big hook-up, and the Seattle ground game produced the other 86 yards—split fairly evenly between Maurice Morris (8-43) and Julius Jones (10-41).

Fantasy Impact: The Eagles didn’t need much from Westbrook in Week 9, though they only gave Correll Buckhalter and Lorenzo Booker six touches between them. At least Westy will be well-rested heading into the second half of the season. As for Seattle, Matt Hasselbeck says he’s not out for the year… but why come back to this?

Colts 18, Patriots 15

This one had all the feel of two past-their-prime prizefighters squaring off late in their careers—with no belt on the line, either. Peyton Manning was up to the challenge, completing 21 of 29 passes for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns. As he’s done in the past against New England, Manning found plenty of success throwing to his slot receivers; Anthony Gonzalez (4-55-2) and Dallas Clark (4-63) combined for eight catches, 118 yards, and both of Manning’s touchdown tosses. Reggie Wayne (5-65) wasn’t ignored, and his evening included the two-point conversion that gave Indy a three-point cushion in the third quarter. Marvin Harrison (4-50) even returned a punt in this game, though only for two yards. Joseph Addai returned from injury but was largely ineffective, with 32 yards on 17 carries—none longer than five yards.

The Patriots’ weapons of choice were Kevin Faulk (10 rushes for 60 yards plus five catches for 38 yards) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (15 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown). That may be all you need to know about a game that saw New England reach the red zone four times but cross the stripe just once—though one of those threes can be directly attributed to a Jabar Gaffney drop, and New England was denied a shot at a game-tying field goal late when a 15-yard late hit penalty on Dave Thomas moved them out of range. Wes Welker continued to work the underneath with seven catches for just 37 yards, but Randy Moss wasn’t even thrown to until early in the third quarter; worse, it took a 22-yard catch on the game’s final play for him to make his six-catch, 65-yard stat line palatable—and that’s being rather generous. Until that play Matt Cassel didn’t complete a pass of longer than 11 yards.

Fantasy Impact: Remember when Indy-New England games use to be… well, exciting? And maybe not even dependent on former soccer players until the very end? Cassel continues to yo-yo between promising and pedestrian, dragging the fantasy values of Moss and Welker with him. Manning is spreading the ball around quite effectively, which is bad if you’re banking on one Colts receiver to step up with a big day—but good if you’ve been sweating out Peyton’s rather ordinary season thus far.

 

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