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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 9
David Dorey
November 2 , 2009
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Brett Favre 244 4
Aaron Rodgers 339 3
Mark Sanchez 265 3
Tony Romo 256 3
Donovan McNabb 254 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Chris Johnson 237 2
Ryan Moats 151 3
Maurice Jones-Drew 173 2
Matt Forte 121 2
Steven Jackson 166 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Reggie Wayne 147 1
Vincent Jackson 103 1
Greg Jennings 88 1
Percy Harvin 84 1
DeSean Jackson 78 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Spencer Havner 21 2
Dustin Keller 76 1
Kevin Boss 70 1
Brent Celek 61 1
Dallas Clark 99 0
Placekickers XP FG
Rob Bironas 3 3
Matt Stover 0 4
Robbie Gould 3 3
Steven Hauschka 3 3
Kris Brown 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Dolphins 3 2 1
Panthers 1 2 6
Bears 1 1 5
Cowboys 1 3 2
Jets 0 6 1

Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs

Owen Daniels (HOU) - Knee injury
Kevin Smith (DET) - Shoulder sprain
Randy McMichael (STL) - Bruised ribs
Danny Amendola (STL) - Concussion
Anquan Boldin (ARI) - Ankle Sprain
Jake Delhomme (CAR) - Chest injury

What a Pain in the Neck

Had the opportunity to be at the Cowboys-Seahawks game today and it was my first time in the mothership new stadium. I was happy to discover that $1.2 billion actually does buy an awe-inspiring place. The roof was not retracted though oddly a breeze came wafting through on occasion. I am not exaggerating when I say that it contains the world's biggest everything. The much celebrated screen suspended over the field was about 60 yards long and I found myself watching it instead of the actual field despite sitting on the 35-yard just 19 rows up from the field. And as it ends up, I got a crick in my neck from constantly looking up. I cannot imagine playing video games on that screen.

You have to check that stadium out if you have a chance on game day. It is one of the seven wonders of the NFL.

The Unkindest Cut of All

Steve Slaton has been a fumbler and lost three so far this season. So when he had his third touch of the game in Buffalo and lost the ball, HC Gary Kubiak opted to bench him and go with journeyman Ryan Moats whose previous claim to fame was being the guy that a rogue cop detained when he was on his way to see his dying mother-in-law. Now he is just the guy that had 151 rushing yards and three touchdowns in Buffalo.

Moats not only had a career day by a big margin, he did that while every Slaton owner embraced their "insult to injury". No on out there started Moats yesterday. Even Moats would not have started Moats. One team per league was starting Slaton.

And then there were two

The Broncos finally gave in to the natural order of the world and lost badly to the hosting Ravens. That means only the Colts (7-0) and the Saints (6-0) remain unbeaten with Monday night pitting the Falcons in New Orleans. The Colts did their best in almost losing to the 49ers after giving up a 64-yard rushing touchdown to Frank Gore and having to rely on four Matt Stover field goals and a trick play pass from Joseph Addai for all the scoring. The Colts next games are HOU, NE, @BAL and @HOU so more chances to stumble are immediately on tap.

The Titans and Rams both managed to win their first games of the year and that leaves the Buccaneers as the sole remaining team without a win. There is still five teams that only have one win, but at least they are not still redefining futility.

10 Random Thoughts

1. It is only mid-season, but have to think that Peyton Manning is heading towards his next league MVP award. He just threw for 347 yards against the 49ers and that makes his sixth game over 300 passing yards. And that ties his personal best only this time he has another eight games left to play. He's on a pace to throw for 5090 yards. Oh yeah, and the Colts are 7-0. The only small consolation the non-Manning owners may get is watching him yanked early from the game during fantasy championships because the Colts will be comfortably ahead of the rest of the AFC South.

2. What if all of a sudden the 49ers saw Alex Smith become a good quarterback? They already have Frank Gore. They signed Michael "uncle!" Crabtree who immediately is looking like the real deal. And Vernon Davis is everything we always hoped he would be only that we totally gave up on long before his recent stretch as the best tight end in the league. It would be like the 49ers had a whole offense again which hasn't happened since Eddie DeBartolo was stockpiling so much superstar depth that they made up a salary cap purely as an anti-Eddie measure.

3. Seems like the Giants are having their late season slide a little early this year. After zooming to the top of the NFC East with a 5-0 record, now they have lost their last three games and are a half game behind the Cowboys and Eagles. Through week five, Eli Manning threw for multiple touchdowns each week while making Mario Manningham, Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks look like studs in alternating weeks. Now he has only thrown for one score in each of the last three games and on Sunday his best receiver was Kevin Boss. The rushing game has been less effective almost all season. This usually doesn't happen for at least two or three more weeks each season.

4. There's just nothing like spending hours researching two teams to see what everything suggests will happen and then witnessing that it all goes "Twilight Zone". The Cardinals beat the Panthers 33-13 in Carolina during the playoffs last year. This time around the Panthers were only 2-4 and struggling so naturally they dominated the Cards and led 28-7 at halftime. They intercepted Kurt Warner five times. DeAngelo Williams ran for 158 yards and Jonathon Stewart scored twice. Even Steve Smith had his first touchdown on the season. And yet Delhomme only passed for 90 yards and the one score (which was 50 yards by itself). Then there was the Jets hosting the Dolphins who only had 52 rushing yards and 112 passing yards and yet won 30-25 thanks to Ted Ginn Jr. setting an NFL record with two 100+ yard kickoff touchdowns in the same game and a fumble return touchdown also piled on the points. Sometimes you just have to say "go figure" and get ready for next week.

5. The Jaguars-Titans game featured an NFL record with four rushing touchdowns from 50+ yard in the same game. Maurice Jones Drew ran for 80 yards and score in the second quarter. He then had a 79 yarder to start the second half but Chris Johnson rushed for 52 yards on his first score and then later had an 89-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter. Somehow David Garrard faced the worst secondary in the league and walked away with only 139 yards and two interceptions which made Vince Young's standard 125 yard effort look good in comparison. Alex Smith, Vernon Davis, Vince Young - when is it safe to give up on players?

6. There were nine games yesterday that had one of the teams scoring 30+ points. That's very unusually high to see that many games - all but three - with a team scoring so much. And yet there was only one 300 yard game and Peyton Manning (347) had no touchdowns. There were only two wide receivers who had 100+ receiving yards which is very low. There were six runners who had huge games. Could it be we are moving into late season production levels only it's not that cold out yet. Bet fantasy scores were down this week in your league.

7. So what does it take for you to get fired or demoted at work? I ask this not related to JaMarcus Russell because I have given up wondering what keeps him under center. But Derek Anderson has been the starter in Cleveland for four weeks and over that time he has five interceptions against one touchdown, and an average of 80 passing yards per game. He is making Russell look good. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year but what exactly are they building?

8. Of course Ryan Moats will be the free agent of the week - and available in every league no doubt - but Leonard Weaver reprised the true west coast fullback role when he had eight runs for 75 yards and one touchdown against the Giants. With Westbrook out, the Eagles still used LeSean McCoy (11-82, 1 TD) but also relied on their fullback. That's a return to yesteryear and one that could work. Just ask Tom Rathman.

9. Next week is bound to return to higher scoring since the bye week quarterbacks missing on Sunday were Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady - all top six in most league scoring. Next week missed Brett Favre and pretty much no one else - Ryan Fitzpatrick, Derek Anderson, Mark Sanchez, Marc Bulger and JaMarcus Russell.

10. I have a suggestion for you and I am 100% serious. Get off your butt and go see a real NFL game if you have a chance. Bring your kid, bring your dad or just an old friend but go. I just had a great time with my father today. I've seen other games with my son and friends. I have a strong suspicion that when I die, the picture that will be on top of my coffin will be one of me and my son smiling in the stands the moment after Emmitt Smith broke the all-time rushing record. This is not to say that there are not a hundred other great ways to interact with those around you and you should do whatever make sense. But kids grow up fast and parents age even faster. We too are riding the same train and don't know which stop is ours . Make sure you mark your miles or you'll just live in the blur.

Huddle Player of the Week

Chris Johnson - The TItans tailback already had a three touchdown game with 197 rushing yards and 87 receiving yards back in week two. Now six weeks later, Johnson was back at it against the visiting Jaguars when he ran 24 times for 228 yards and scored on runs of 89 and 52 yards. He added 11 yards on two receptions as well. The 228 rushing yards was a team record. What Johnson lacks in every week consistency he is making up as a total points stud..

Salute!

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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Alex Smith 208 1 QB Jay Cutler 257 0
RB Ryan Moats 151 3 RB Ronnie Brown 29 0
RB Leonard Weaver 75 1 RB Steve Slaton 11 0
WR Sam Hurd 36 1 WR Anquan Boldin 23 0
WR Dieon Branch 36 1 WR Brandon Marshall 24 0
WR Michael Crabtree 81 0 WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh 24 0
PK Rob Bironas 3 XP 3 FG PK Jason Hanson nada

Huddle Fantasy Points = 94

Huddle Fantasy Points = 19

Sunday's Couch Commentary

Sunday was about rushing yards and scores, the hype about Favre back in Green Bay and still lots of games where the winner scored over 30 points. This is a little past mid-season for most fantasy leagues and a tough time since so many big players were on bye this week and what scoring there was did not always involve anyone you started. The Game-O-The-Week was like a blues song for the Jets fans and knee slapper for Fins fans.

Dolphins 30, Jets 25

The Dolphins had already beaten the Jets in Miami when they apparently confused Rex Ryan and company with the wildcat formation that ran wild over the visiting divisional rivals. This time the Fins were coming to New York where the Jets would be more prepared. After all, the Dolphins had not swept the Jets in over five years.

The first quarter ended without a score but the Jets got a field just three minutes into the second quarter and later the Dolphins too had a field goal. By halftime, it is still just 3-3. That's all. The Jets are handling everything the Dolphins offense tried to do. The Jets first series of the second half ended with a 55-yard field goal by Jay Feely. The game is close but the Jets are getting a bit more done on offense.

But the kickoff ended as a 100 yard touchdown return by Ted Ginn. The Dolphins take a 10-6 lead for the first time in the game. On the next series, the Jets crossed midfield when Shonn Greene fumbles the ball and Jason Taylor runs 48 yards with it for a touchdown. Suddenly the Fins are leading 17-6.

The Jets turn serious and Mark Sanchez leads the team down the field and ends up scoring on a one yard run when the entire defense bit on Thomas Jones as the runner and Sanchez could have skipped his way to a touchdown. 17-13 and the Jets are a score away from taking the lead for good.

But the ensuing kickoff is returned 101 yards by Ginn for his second score. The Fins lead 24-13. Two 100 yard kickoffs in the same game. Not a good day for the special teams.

But Sanchez immediately hits Jericho Cotchery for a 53 yard gain and two plays later finds Braylon Edwards for a 19-yard score. The two point attempt fails and the Jets still trail 24-19 entering the fourth quarter.

Right when the Jets needed to hold the Dolphins offense, the wildcat formation works and ten plays later Chad Henne hits Joey Haynos for a touchdown with a failed two point conversion. 30-19 and only 8:41 left to play.

But Sanchez brings them 81 yards in just six plays and finds Dustin Keller for a 16-yard touchdown. Two point conversion fails and the Jets trail 25-30. The Dolphins go three-and-out and put with four minutes left to play.

This time Sanchez drives the field including a 16 yard gain thrown to Keller on fourth and 10. First down on the Dolphins ten yard line had Jones rush for three yards, then Sanchez scrambled for one more. On third down with a minute left, Sanchez was sacked for a seven yard loss and on four down from the MIA 15-yard line, he misses Keller in the back of the endzone and the Dolphins have their sweep.

The Dolphins won but only rushed for 62 yards on 23 carries versus the Jets who ran 35 times for 120 yards.

The Dolphins passed for 112 yards and one touchdown while the Jets passed for 265 yards and two scores, with a third touchdown rushed in by Sanchez. That's 174 yards and one touchdown by the Fins offense versus 392 yards and three touchdowns by the Jets offense. And yet - Jets lose. All those points matter and the Fins scored three on defense or special teams. That's a frustrating way to lose for the Jets but that it goes in the NFL. Doesn't matter how you get the points, just get the points.

It was a high scoring NFL week and a low scoring fantasy football week. Slaton got benched, Favre got to stick it to the fans that idolized him and Denver dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten. But mostly, it was just the week I got to go to the game with my Dad.

Now get back to work...

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