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Tunnel Vision - Week 5
David Dorey
October 5 , 2009
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
David Garrard 361


Eli Manning 292 3
Peyton Manning 353 2
Kerry Collins 294 2
Ben Roethlisberger 333 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Rashard Mendenhall 191 2
Ronnie Brown 115 2
Steve Slaton 89 2
Matt Forte 140 1
Pierre Thomas 152 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Steve Smith (NYG) 134 2
Mike Sims-Walker 91 2
Brandon Marshall 91 1
Derrick Mason 88 1
Mohammed Massaquoi 148 0
Tight Ends Yards TD
Antonio Gates 124 2
Heath Miller 70 2
Marcedes Lewis 76 1
Chris Cooley 65 1
Sean Ryan 58 1
Placekickers XP FG
Josh Scobee 4 3
Robbie Gould 6 2
Adam Vinatieri 4 2
Kris Brown 3 2
Stephen Gostkowski 3 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
49ers 3 5 3
Saints 2 4 4
Dolphins 1 6 3
Bears 1 5 2
Texas 1 2 4

Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs

This is delightfully light and none seem serious

Eli Manning (NYG) - Bruised heel
Zach Miller (OAK) - Concussion
Matt Stafford (DET) - Knee injury
Devin Hester (CHI) - Shoulder sprain
Roy Williams (DAL) - Bruised abdomen

Welcome Back

Owners of Matt Forte and Steve Slaton can readily tell you what a long season it already seems to be but finally this week they had a reason to smile. Forte ripped off 121 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries and added two receptions for 19 yards. Sure, the Bear had three rushing scores in total and Wolfe was given five carries in the blowout but at least Forte got his big numbers in his brief playing time. Forte goes on his bye this week but returns to a kinder schedule.

Slaton only gained 65 yards on 21 carries and had only two catches for 24 yards but he scored two touchdowns. While Slaton has not started well, he had three home games in the first four weeks and now will have four road games over the next five weeks. Could be time to float Slaton out in your league to see if anyone wants to overpay for him.

Brandon Marshall had 91 yards and a score but 51 yards and the touchdown came on one play. We're slowly getting everyone involved not named Terrell.

Are You the Good One or the Bad One? Uh...

I have referred to Steve Smith of the Giants as "Steve Smith the Lesser" in homage to the feisty one over in Carolina. You know, the guy with a Napoleonic complex and flypaper hands who has 15 catches for 190 yards and almost a touchdown this season.

His namesake over in New York has only caught 23 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns. No, I forgot to add in the numbers from Sunday which pumps his stats to just 34 catches for 411 and four touchdowns.

Perhaps we should go with "Steve Smith the old stud" versus "Steve Smith the guy who is helping me win my league and not you losers who did not draft him". Maybe just "New Steve Smith" would suffice.

Doc, I was feeling really, really great . Then just great. Now kinda crappy for TWO weeks...

All you crafty drafters who snapped up Drew Brees in the first round of your drafts were certainly far too smug when he opened the year with 358 yards and six touchdowns. The next week in Philly he gave you 311 yards and three scores and you felt cheated even though you couldn't tell anyone since they all had "non-Breesian" quarterbacks and would not understand.

Only gosh, these last two weeks have seen Brees throw for 172 yards and no scores in Buffalo and now 190 yards and no touchdowns against the Jets. This week is his bye week followed by playing the Giants defense.

Yeah, welcome back to the real world. Who knew the Saints developing a defense would kill their own offense?

10 Random Thoughts

1. I will fall on my own sword and admit that my expectations of the Oakland rushing attack were far too high this week. Actually having any expectations proved to be misguided. No matter that the Houston Texans had literally allowed every opposing primary runner to gain at least 107 rushing yards and at least two touchdowns, the Raiders are not a real NFL team so it does not apply to them. The Texans were giving up 170 rushing yards, 2.3 rushing touchdowns, six receptions and 49 receiving yards to running backs per team they had faced. The Raiders running backs rushed for a total of 31 yards on 17 carries with no scores. It would seem you would almost have to intentionally try to be that bad. If this is what happens in their best matchup of the year, are we to expect just negative yardage from here on out?

I'd tell you to dump your Raiders, all of them, but I would not want to pollute your waiver wire with them.

2. If I had to guess, using the first four weeks as the key it would be hard to argue against an NFC Championship game between the Giants and Saints and the AFC Championship probably goes between the Colts and, well, the AFC is going to be a battle all season between the Colts, Patriots, Ravens and Jets. Right now, the Giants and Saints seem a level above the Vikings and 49ers who are a level above everyone else.

3. Well, it cannot be Albert Haynesworth. The Titans are now 0-4 and have allowed three passers to top 320 yards in the four games played so far. These Titans are horrible against the pass. David Garrard threw for 323 yards and three scores which is the equivalent of taking your date to Disneyland and having Mickey Mouse beat you up for stepping on his giant shoe. Last year when the Titans showed up, Garrard passed for only 135 yards and no touchdowns. The Redskins acquired Haynesworth in the spring and they only have two paper thin wins over the visiting Rams and Buccaneers to save them from being win-less. Next up? Peyton Manning visits and throws for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns.

4. All it took was the Saints defense to make a rookie out of Mark Sanchez. He passed for only 138 yards and three interceptions. The Jets actually played the Saints even all except for the two defensive scores in the second quarter. But the amazing thing here is that the Saints defense is for real. Go grab it if you can. In four games played, they have only allowed two passing scores and both were to the Eagles in Philly in a game they won handily. There were only two games in all of last season where the opposing quarterback did not score and JaMarcus Russell should not count anyway. In these last two weeks without a passing score by the Saints, they have four rushing touchdowns. That's just not right.

5. Mike Walker-Sims has three straight good games so far. He had 106 yards and a score against the Cardinals and 81 yards in Houston. This week he had his best fantasy game ever when he caught seven passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Instant stud? Sure, if you listen to the guy who grabbed him off the waiver wire last week. Just so you know, he was drafted in the third round in 2007 and was injured as a rookie. He never played a down that year and in 2008, he had 107 yards against the Steelers before he injured himself again and his sprained MCL kept him out for a month and a half. He was no factor in the final three games last year. This summer he missed most of training camp with a high ankle sprain. Sometime in the off-season he picked up the "Sims" since he was just Mike Walker last year.

He has games of @SEA and STL up next which should be profitable if he remains healthy which he has never done. Maybe a mid-season sell high? He's never been healthy this long before.

6. I drafted Joseph Addai on several of my teams because in the sixth round or so since it just seemed wrong to let him go past. And for all the Donald Brown lovers out there, a valuable lesson is being learned. It sucks waiting for a change in the depth chart. Addai has actually become a starter for most owners and he's scored in three of four games already. Thing is that the Colts like using two backs and Addai gets the receiver role. That was worth seven catches for 50 yards this week. Brown scored a touchdown but not much else. In years past, you can believe I was the Donald Brown owner but opted this year in most leagues to just take the older vet and see what happens. So far, pretty happy with the results. Chris Wells? Yeah - nothing so far. Shonn Greene? Actually had a carry this week. Maybe I'm just losing my optimism about what rookies are going to do but its easy to get caught up in the hype. Imagine what Willie Parker would have done last night against the Chargers. Think about this next summer. Slow starts suck. Sitting there at your draft in August you think, by mid-season I'll have another starting running back. Maybe you should think "by mid-season I want to still have a chance to make the playoffs".

7. Figure on Mohamed Massaquoi probably being the first guy taken off the waiver wire this week. He had eight catches for 148 yards against the Bengals but he only had two catches for 31 yards over the first three games. On the plus side is that Derek Anderson constantly targeted Massaquoi. On the downside, the Browns embark on road games to Buffalo and then Pittsburgh and Anderson may or may not remain the quarterback. And of course, being the Browns means maybe nothing matters anyway. But it was nice to see the rookie step up in only his fourth game of the year.

8. I'm starting to wonder what I could get for Chris Johnson if I dangled him out there for trade bait? He had the one monster game that everyone should remember. But he has to play the Colts and then Patriots before his week eight bye and that may not be pretty considering the Titans are already in the toilet. Probably not enough. I used to love his fantasy playoff weeks of three straight home games against STL, MIA and SD. Now I have to accept that CJ is not going to be the reason that I reach the playoffs. Yeah, did not see the slow start hitting Chris Johnson quite so badly.

9. Speaking of bye weeks, be aware that we are heading into week five of the NFL season. And the next two weeks there are four teams that will be off but in weeks seven and eight, SIX teams are off. That's going to be a lot of teams searching for kickers, tight ends and defenses to cover one week plus whatever needs are created by two weeks worth of injuries between now and then. Take a look at your rosters and make sure you are not scrambling to replace a bye week guy when half your league has the same problem.

10. What I find odd about this season so far is the lack of dominant players. Every week there are a handful of players with significantly better production than the rest of players in his position. Had several monster games. But every week it is different guys at top. And those huge games - Brees six scores in week one, Maurice Jones-Drew's three scores in Houston in week three and so that give one fantasy team a huge win that week. But it changes every week. After four games, not really anyone that has been a monster more than once. Consistency will start to be established as the season progresses but off the top of your head, who is the best running back, wideout and quarterback so far? Brees is still living off his six scores to start the year but has done nothing the last two games. Could this be the year where there is no guy or two common to all championship teams?

Huddle Player of the Week

49ers Defense - This is a first ever but it really was no contest this week. David Garrard (351, 3 TDs) was in the running as was Eli Manning (292, 1) as was Rashard Mendenhall (191, 2 TDs) but hey - we all have to start a defense and they can be stocked full of playmakers and still only get you squat. But on Sunday with the Rams visiting... magic. The 49ers opened the scoring with a fumble recover in the end zone. After a Vernon Davis touchdown (to make it even more surreal), the 49ers returned an interception for a second touchdown. After a Josh Morgan score, the defense returned a second fumble for a touchdown. They had five sacks and, oh yes, a shut out. Josh Brown missed his 51-yard field goal attempt.


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

Comedy Free Agents Yards TDs Tragedy Drafts Yards TDs
QB Derek Anderson 271 2 QB Drew Brees 190 0
RB Jerome Harrison 152 0 RB LaDainian Tomlinson 14 0
RB Garrett Wolfe 35 1 RB Julius Jones 35 0
WR Mohammed Massaquoi 148 0 WR Braylon Edwards 0 0
WR Austin Collie 65 1 WR Marques Colston 33 0
WR Hakeem Nicks 54 1 WR Dwayne Bowe 11 0
PK Josh Scobee 4 XP 3 FG PK Josh Brown nada

Huddle Fantasy Points = 96

Huddle Fantasy Points = 15

Sunday's Couch Commentary

If there is one thing marking this season, it is the emergence of some spectacularly bad teams. The Browns, Raiders, Buccaneers, Rams, Redskins, Chiefs, Lions and Bills make up a quarter of the league but have a commanding share of "we suck" this year. That's so many bad teams that it skews the standings in favor of teams that face them.

And thank goodness for those teams so that we can have some big scores and ergo nice fantasy games. The way the schedule shook out this week, there were only road winners (NYG at KC and CIN at CLE). Not much for upsets this week though the Broncos did themselves proud taking down the Cowboys and rising to 4-0 on the season.

There were several close games this week but most of them were low scoring and involved at least one if not two of the Awful Octet of teams. We have to love what happened in the final game of the day that offered up 66 total points between the Chargers and Steelers. It brought back Tomlinson and saw Rashard Mendenhall have his breakout game.

But this is fantasy football. Think about it. Were it not for us, who would have watched?

Detroit 24, Chicago 48

The 72 total points means you should have bet "the over". What a great game. The game started out with Kevin Smith being active even though he never had a full day of practice and was questionable on the injury report.

First play was Matt Stafford hitting Calvin Johnson for a 45 yard game that fizzled out at the CHI 22-yard line and the 40-yard field goal was good but the Bears were offsides. The Lions got a first down and four plays later Kevin Smith rushed in a one-yard touchdown for the lead. How cute. The Lions had a lead on the road. Calvin Johnson had a catch so he would not get blanked.

But the Bears wasted no time when Matt Forte ripped off a 61 yard run to the DET 5-yard line. On first down, Forte had no gain in part because he just ran 61 yards. After an incomplete pass, Jay Cutler just rushed in the touchdown so he could do that cool helicopter thing at the corner of the endzone when he was hit while airborne.

But get this - the Lions marched down the field on their next series and had Stafford throw a touchdown to Will Heller who even the Lions offense was surprise to see in the end zone holding onto the ball. 14-7 with five minutes left in the first quarter. Seriously.

After both teams had short drives, the Lions punted it back and Devin Hester went 24 yards to reach the DET 35-yard line. It only took three passes for Jay Cutler to throw a touchdown to Kellen Davis to prove that the Bears also had a tight end that no one knew existed. That tied the score and now in the second quarter, Stafford threw an interception that went to the DET 8-yard line. The Lions held and the Bears kicked a field goal but the Lions were offsides and the next play had Cutler hitting Greg Olsen for a touchdown in this apparent scam to keep Matt Forte from scoring a touchdown. Bears started at the 9-yard line and Forte gained four yards. THen the next three plays were all passes. Thanks Matt, just block someone, okay?

After trading series, the Lions took over on their only 2-yard line and Stafford was masterful in directing the 11 play drive that ended with Kevin Smith scoring his second touchdown. See - we barely even knew Smith was going to play and now he has two touchdowns. We all knew Forte was playing but he seems banned from the endzone.

Tied 21-21 at halftime, seemed like a game was at hand where we did not believe one would exist. And it ends up we were right in the first place.

The second half opened with Johnny Knox returning the kick 102 yards for a touchdown. 28-21.

The Lions went three and out. The Bears got a big punt return and then settled for a 52-yard field goal, 31-21.

After both teams punted, Stafford fumbled and the Bears recovered at the DET 19-yard line. A pass and then three runs by Forte reached the DET 1-yard line where on third down Cutler was tackled for a three yard loss. Now Forte had gains of 5, 4 and then 3 yards on the three previous plays. Why would they not give it to him from the one-yard line? Curious. The field goal made in 34-21;

Both teams had three-and-out series and the Lions took over as the fourth quarter started. Once again, Stafford led the team all the way to the CHI 6-yard line before he was knocked out of the game. The Lions kick a field goal on 4th and 16 thanks to the loss by Stafford. 34-24.

On the next series, the Bears started out on the DET 47-yard line thanks to a decided advantage on special team when it came to returning punts and kicks. After three passes reached the DET 37-yard line, Matt Forte finally had a carry which he turned into a 37 yard touchdown thanks to pent-up rage because the Bears apparently do not trust him near the goal line. Forte had a touchdown thanks to his second long run of the game.

After Daunte Culpepper proved why Stafford was drafted, the Bears took over and with a 41-24 lead, they just ran the ball one most plays using, of course Garrett Wolfe who had the two yard touchdown plunge because apparently "they like him better". That gave the game a 48-24 final score after Culpepper proved why Stafford will get the best in care to rush him back to playing as soon as possible.

This was a slow game and the Bears only had 48 plays that did not entail a punt or field goal. But Forte only had 12 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown. He had 97 yards on two runs and 24 yards on the other ten carries. It felt good to Forte owners to get a nice game from him but it could have been much more and the way the Bears like to pass now, it may be a while before Forte pops up as a big fantasy scorer again.

So where are you at with your teams? Is anyone 4-0 in your league? No matter what, this year apparently is not going to one of those seasons where you own the magic guy and you win all your games. Still a ton of football to play and with a new monster game guy each week, it may be your turn next Sunday. Watch those upcoming bye weeks and pay attention to the schedule for your players. Starting around this week we finally have four games in the bank and have a good idea what the season will hold.

Sorry Tennessee. And Cleveland. Kansas City, Oakland, Washington, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Carolina and St. Louis. But we still need you around to let my guys score. Yours too.

Now get back to work...

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