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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 11
David Dorey
November 10 , 2008
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Jay Cutler 476 1
Drew Brees 432 3
Tyler Thigpen 292 2
Kerry Collins 289 2
David Garrard 248 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Thomas Jones 149 3
Adrian Peterson 225 1
Maurice Jones-Drew 70 3
Mewelde Moore 95 2
DeAngelo Williams 143 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Eddie Royal 164 1
Kevin Walter 85 1
Brandon Marshall 89 1
DeSean Jackson 85 1
Reggie Wayne 114 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Tony Gonzalez 113 2
Kellen Winslow 111 2
Dustin Keller 107 1
Bo Scaife 78 1
Antonio Gates 66 1
Placekickers XP FG
Jay Feely 5 4
Phil Dawson 3 3
Mason Crosby 3 2
Jason Elam 4 2
Matt Prater 4 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Packers 2 2 3
NY Jets 1 2 5
Carolina 0 5 3
Jacksonville 0 7 1
Atlanta 1 1 3

Week 10 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Ryan Torain - ACL injury
Derrick Mason - Separated shoulder
Andrew Walter - Sprained ankle
Mike McKenzie (NO CB) - fractured kneecap
Leonard Weaver - Bruised ribs
Seneca Wallace - Groin strain
Matt Jones - Bruised thigh

For some reason it doesn't feel any better

The Dallas Cowboys now have the distinction of having a winning record after week ten and yet they are in the cellar of their division along with the Eagles. That has not happened since 1935 for a winning record team to be at the bottom of their own division and that same record would be tied for first in the AFC West and NFC North.

Defense wins championships apparently

In the NFC South the team with the most points scored (Saints) are only 4-5 and at the bottom of the division. The Panthers have the lowest points scored in the division and yet at 7-2 have the second best record in the NFC. This is precisely why fantasy football is so important for the NFL.

10 Random Thoughts

1. Drew Brees has passed for 2985 yards in nine games and is on pace to have 5300 passing yards. If he can average around 300 yards per game he can beat Marino's single season record of 5084 yards and I would not bet against him. He's done this largely without Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey who were supposed to be the two best weapons. He needs to average around 300 yards per game and so far has topped the mark in seven of nine games.

2. It'll have to wait for an offseason analysis, but this seems like the year of the inconsistent running back. Who is reliable every week? Peterson maybe? It seems certain that this year we have many hot and cold running games made even worse by committee backfields and even then some teams play around with who does what each week. If you own two reliable running backs on your team you either got lucky or you made an early trade.

3. I have to wonder out loud - is Willie Parker really still going to be a Steeler next year? He cannot stay healthy this year or last and even Mewelde Moore runs just as effectively when given the chance. Moore is turning into the Ladell Betts for the year, the guy that just produces eye-popping numbers for a supposed back-up player. Parker could not score in 2007 and this year opened with three touchdowns against the Texans. Had a good game in Cleveland. Even had a score in week nine during his brief playing time. But does Parker really fit this offense let alone be able to remain healthy. I wouldn't want to touch him next year no matter where he ends up (or not).

4. The weather hasn't even turned cold yet and already the receivers are taking a downward turn. This weekend there were no wide receivers with more than one score and only five that had over 100 yards. Two of those players only managed their big day thanks to one long touchdown (Eddie Royal - 93 yards and Reggie Wayne 65 yards). And the numbers really tail off quickly. The year has already been a significant downturn in passing numbers from 2007 and it's doubtful it will improve from here on out.

5. Just to make it even weirder, there was only one wideout with ten catches this week - Wes Welker. But there were three tight ends that not only had ten catches but also scored at least once. Tony Gonzalez (10-113, 2 TD), Kellen Winslow (10-111, 2 TD) and Bo Scaife (10-78, 1 TD) all led their team. Man... that just never happens anymore.... until now anyway.

6. How bad does it hurt to be a Chiefs' fan? For the want of an extra point miss, the team opted for a two point conversion at the end end which failed and lost the game. That makes three winnable games in a row all losses. Lost in San Diego by one point. Lost by a field goal to the Buccaneers last week. Lost by four points in New York to the Jets. When your team is 1-7, those losses are immense and yet the Chiefs keep coming back and are not afraid to suspend their own players.

7. Speaking of bad - how can the Chargers barely beat the Chiefs in San Diego? Oh - I remember now. They have the player formerly known as LaDainian Tomlinson but who now just goes by the symbol " ". I'll say it. He's done. Yeah, I know he has a bad toe of some measure. He will get over it at some point which will probably be next year when he turns 30 years of age. He's not done in the sense he has no fantasy value. He done in the sense of being the uber-stud and maybe even being considered that much above average. Only two games with touchdowns this year. Never more than 106 rushing yards and over 100 only twice. He's definitely worth owning. He's just definitely never going to be the first overall pick again. Maybe not even first round.

8. I spoke of Titans mojo last week. It appears that it is so strong that the Titans do not even need to run the ball to win. The NFL's best rushing attack only racked up 29 carries for 20 yards and one touchdown in Chicago who was clearly (and successfully) dedicating themselves to stopping the run. They did. Ends up Kerry Collins still knows how to throw and had 289 yards and two scores. I'm thinking that this week in Jacksonville will be the first loss. And week 17 in Pittsburgh will be the only other because they won't care by then. Gotta save some mojo for January.

9. Guess what is actually possible. The Patriots could get a first round bye again this year. They are tied for the second best record in the AFC with three other 6-3 teams currently and their remaining schedule is NYJ, @MIA, PIT, @SEA, @OAK, ARI and @BUF. That would just be so wrong for so many reasons that it terrifies me as being likely.

10. What head coach is going to inherit the Raiders next year? I realize the pay is good and it does come with some ego-serving credentials since you would be an NFL head coach but why would someone want to go to the Raiders who are not only in rebuilding mode every year, they actually start the tearing down process during mid-season. The franchise seems like it is in a perpetual state of shambles. Are the injured players really injured or are they trying to extend their career for when they get out of Oakland? And the detestable thing is that nobody prepares to face them so that they still win but turn in all sorts of weird stats like the Panthers did this week with Delhomme throwing four interceptions and Steve Smith being held to one catch. But they still beat the Raiders.

Early Bird Free Agents

Tyler Thigpen - If he was still on your waiver wire before Sunday, he won't be at the end of this week. But it is more than just one good game for Thigpen - it is three decent starts in all in a row with a score in each and two important qualities. The Chiefs have a very nice passing schedule and if you liked that Thigpen passed for 266 yards and three scores, realize that he plays the same Chargers in week 16 in Kansas City during your fantasy playoffs. He also is spreading the ball around to not only include Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe but also Mark Bradley. What if the Chiefs answer at quarterback was on the roster for the last two years?

Mark Bradley - He's not yet to the point of warranting a fantasy start beyond a desperation WR3 but he has been productive for a couple of weeks as the new starting flanker and he gets to be the guy that isn't Bowe or Gonzalez. That helps and in a dynasty league what if Gonzo leaves next year?

Drew Stanton - He threw a score early in the game and came back in during the 4th quarter but at least we finally saw the Lions quarterback-in-waiting. He ended throwing 6 of 8 for 94 yards and the one score and he was sacked five times but had no turnovers. In a dynasty league, now would be the time to grab him and stash him for next year in the event anything happens.

Huddle Player of the Week

Thomas Jones - After starting the season out like his best days were far behind him, Jones has come to life over the last five games and scored four times in the four previous weeks. He outdid himself and the rest of the league when he ran for 149 yards on 26 carries against the Rams and scored three touchdowns. For those team owners who suffered the first month of the season, better days are definitely here now.

Salute!

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Tyler Thigpen 292 3 QB Aaron Rodgers 142 0
RB Michael Bush 73 0 RB Chris Johnson 23 0
RB Ryan Torain 68 1 RB Marshawn Lynch 46 0
WR Mark Bradley 81 1 WR Steve Smith 9 0
WR Malcolm Floyd 76 1 WR Laveranues Coles 14 0
WR Kevin Walter 85 1 WR Bernard Berrian 0 0
PK Phil Dawson 3 XP 3 FG PK Rob Bironas 3 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 101

Huddle Fantasy Points = 15

Sidenote - Ryan Torain may be the first person who actually belonged in both the Comedy and Tragedy lineups.

Sunday's Couch Commentary

Another great weekend of football starting with the Browns giving away another win to the Broncos on Thursday and then week ten went largely according to plan. Seven close games decided by a touchdown or less but no major upsets. A split between road and home wins. Eight teams scored over 30 points and two even had over 40. The running backs had a good week while the receivers took a step down overall. The best game this week? Could have been Denver stealing it from Cleveland but that could evoke tears. Somehow the Seahawks made a game of it in Miami and yet never led and lost by two points. The Colts and Steelers certainly are in the running and the Giants and Eagles played a great game with 67 total points.

All great games with good finishes. But the game of the week speaks to the inconsistent yet happily scoring ways of the NFL.

Packers 27, Minnesota 28

You look at the score, you figure the obvious. Aaron Rodgers had a big game and Ryan Grant got stuffed by the Vikings yet again. Adrian Peterson had at least two or three touchdowns and maybe Bernard Berrian and the other. And you would be wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Now go take out the trash.

Seriously though - the score is not that surprising but it did not happen the expected way at all. Rodgers had a horrible game of only 142 yards and no scores. Ryan Grant ran for 75 yards and one touchdown which is monster big for him this year. Peterson had a great game with 192 yards on 30 carries but only scored once and that was at the end of the game for the win. And Bernard Berrian never had a catch. Let's unfold this...

The Vikings opened the scoring in the first quarter when Peterson ran from the Packers 10-yard line to the 3-yard on on first down. Then of course instead of running him again, they threw an incompletion to Sidney Rice and since that did not work, on third down they threw to Rice again for the score.

A couple of series and a Gus Frerotte interception later, Ryan Grant scored a one-yard touchdown and every fantasy league had some guy slapping himself in the forehead saying "you're going to start scoring NOW?". In the second quarter, Ryan Longwell boots a 54 yard field goal for the lead. The Packers start their next series at their 20-yard line, had offensive holding for ten yards back and then Rodgers was called for intentional grounding in the endzone. The Vikings lead 12-7.

After trading five punts, the Packers get the ball on their own 9-yard line with 52 seconds to play,. This proves plenty of time for him to be sacked in the endzone for the rare "safety safety game". The Vikings lead 14-7 and it had nothing to do with two touchdowns. The Vikes try to be neighborly by throwing an interception after the safety punt and the Packers get a 47-yard field goal to end the half 10-14.

The opening drive in the third quarter had the Vikings getting a 47-yard touchdown catch by Chester Taylor and the 21-10 lead. It is not going well at all for the Packers offense but with five minutes left in the third quarter, Frerotte throws an interception that is returned 59 yards for a touchdown and the Packers are only behind 21-17. That only lasts for two minutes because the Vikings are held to three and out and on the punt, the Packers return it for 65-yard touchdown. It is now 24-21 in favor of the Packers who have almost no offense but are willing to score on defense and special teams.

With six minutes left to play, the Packers get a field goal for a 27-21 lead. The Vikings then drive from their own 31-yard line and with second down and two at the GB-29 yard line, Peterson hits right tackle and gets tackled right as he broke the plane of the endzone and after a challenge by the Packers, it was upheld. Longwell tacks on the extra point for the 28-27 margin that holds up when Mason Crosby misses a 52 yard field goal even though he made them from 60 yards before the game and hey - they are in a dome and there is no wind beyond that generated by the chili nachos.

It ended up where it was expected - a close win by the Vikes. Plenty of points but hardly any where you would expect them. Greg Jennings only had 37 yards on three catches. Sidney Rice apparently is only used for one catch per game and it is a touchdown. Peterson had a great game but only one touchdown.

Yeah, it doesn't always happen like you want it to or even how you think it will. But it always happens some way and apparently this season it never lasts long anyway. What was good will be bad and what was bad will be good. Except in Oakland.

Now get back to work...

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