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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision - Week 10
David Dorey
November 8 , 2009
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Kurt Warner 261 5
Jay Cutler 369 3
Aaron Rodgers 266 3
Josh Freeman 205 3
Philip Rivers 209 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Michael Turner 180 2
DeAngelo Williams 161 2
Chris Johnson 160 2
Joseph Addai 112 2
Frank Gore 158 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Larry Fitzgerald 123 2
Randy Moss 147 1
Mike Sims-Walker 147 1
Chris Chambers 70 2
Vincent Jackson 58 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Greg Olsen 71 3
Brandon Pettigrew 70 1
Dallas Clark 119 0
Kellen Winslow 57 1
Vernon Davis 102 0
Placekickers XP FG
Olindo Mare 2 4
Stephen Gostowski 1 4
John Carney 3 3
Neil Rackers 5 2
Rob Bironas 4 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Tampa Bay 2 6 3
Tennessee 1 4 4
Seattle 1 2 5
Atlanta 1 5 1
New Orleans 1 2 3

Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs

Clinton Portis (WAS) - Concussion
Garret Wolfe (CHI) - Back injury
Chris Henry (CIN) - Broken arm
Glen Coffee (SF) - Concussion

Well... he is salaried. And we do not pay overtime.

Cedric Benson has been the surprise workhorse that he was drafted to be - maybe not the drafting team anymore but this is why he was taken as a first round pick. Currently Benson has gained 838 yards and is on a pace for 1676 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. But he has also had 198 rushing attempts and is on track to end with 396 carries. The next closest is Stephen Jackson with 165 carries with a pace to end with 330.

Can Benson hold up? Sure. Michael Turner (394) and Adrian Peterson (383) both topped the supposed limit of 370 carries in 2008 and yet Peterson remains a stud back and Turner has been getting better as the season progresses and his schedule lightens. Halfway through the season Benson has 198 carries with a personal record of only 240 rushes in a season so far. It's going to be a long season in more than one way for Benson.

So no banners or anything, huh?

Torry Holt has become the 10th player in NFL history to record 900 catches in a career. He turned in four receptions for 37 yards and while he is a lock for eventual enshrinement, there's no question everyone was just watching Mike Sims-Walker roll up 147 yards on six catches with one score. Great achievement Torry.

But what have you done for me lately?

And then there were none

All it took was just a returned blocked punt for a touchdown. And an interception return for a touchdown. Plus intercepting a pass that was returned to the Green Bay 8-yard line. Losing the #1 wide receiver as a game time scratch. And starting a rookie quarterback. But even the Buccaneers can win a game. Now there are no teams without a win.

Just a bunch of bad teams with a 1-7 or 2-6 record.

10 Random Thoughts

1. We can probably pick it apart and make it seem less impressive but when a rookie quarterback for the worst team in the league that is 0-7 plays in his first game and does not even have the #1 wide receiver (Antonio Bryant) and yet wins that game - that is impressive. When he throws for 205 yards and three touchdowns against just one interception - that is phenomenal. Josh Freeman went against the visiting Packers with almost everything against him and prospered. Granted, two touchdowns were special teams or defense and he only completed... Nah. Give him his due - the kid had one heck of a first NFL game and even recorded the first Buccaneers win of the year. Now everyone will be all over him in waiver wire transactions and he does lose next in Miami, but Tampa Bay has something to feel good about. And man - they needed that one.

2. . The deeper into the season you go, the more likely the top wide receivers in a week are the known studs. There are just less and less instances of anyone new popping up or even lesser talents having one good week. But that leads me to recognize the new junior studs that have already made their mark this year - far surpassing expectations and come late year games you should expect them to step up even more - not fade away. Mike Sims-Walker is a huge benefit for the Jaguars and though all he has is David Garrard, the third year player has posted 80+ yards in five of the last six games. He's been injury prone in the past but now that he is healthy he's been nearly unstoppable. Miles Austin is another rising stud that has scored in each of the last four games and showing up in Philly was more impressive than any of the home games against soft teams. Sidney Rice is another nice surprise thanks at least in part to Brett Favre and playing at home in December means he's going to remain an option in all but maybe week 16 when he plays in Chicago. Keep your eye on the three receivers because they are all young and all challenging to be stud for years to come.

3. Okay, sure, thanks Chris Chambers. Wait until everyone including the Chargers give up on you. Get cut at midseason which is reserved for the worst of the expensive mistakes. Get picked up by a Chiefs team that is 1-7 and we are still marveling how their win happened. Somehow Chambers needed no knowledge of the playbook or practice time to trot out in his new uniform and catch three passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. He'd only had one touchdown over the last 20 games. On the plus side, maybe some owners had not gotten around to dumping him yet. Of course that will happen after said owner actually tries to rely on Chambers in the future.

4. Kris Brown probably made a bee line for the team plane so he could get that coveted final row seat and not have to walk past every team mate again. The Texans were ahead 17-13 in the fourth quarter when Joseph Addai scored and made in 20-17. Matt Schaub led a five minute drive that ended with an interception around the two minute warning. But the defense held the Colts to three and out and with 1:46, Schaub led them on a drive from their own 15-yard line to the IND 24-yard line but it stalled so on third and two they took the obligatory tying field goal to send it into overtime. Only Brown bent it left. 42-yard field goal - not a gimmee but one that must be made. Hard to say who was most deflated - Brown, the Texans fans or the fantasy owners of every Colt and Texan player thinking of those fifth quarter bonus points. And the Colts go marching on...

5. Have to be impressed with those Bengals who just swept the Ravens and Cedric Benson gained 117 rushing yards. What is hardest to grasp though is that the Bengals have an actual defense and even losing a couple of very good players still has not been enough to diminish the level of play. We knew they had a tough slate of games this year but no one guessed they would be a part of other teams having a hard schedule. What to do when we lose our icon of futility? Oh yeah - still got the Raiders. Whew...

6. In the AFC, the current division leaders are New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Denver. Only the Colts actually went to the playoffs last year. In the NFC, there are Dallas, Minnesota, New Orleans and Arizona with the Vikings and Cardinals having played last January. That means of the eight division leading teams, only three of them actually went to the playoffs last year. Yeah, things change.

7. Recall yesteryear when the Cardinals were never that good but they were always tough in the desert. They would upset at least a couple of visitors who underestimated what they could at home. But on the road they were always weaker. Except for this year since they are 4-0 on the road and yet just 1-3 at home. They just got past their toughest road game so apparently they are good to go for the rest of the year. The Cardinals upcoming schedule is SEA, @STL. @TEN, MIN, @SF, @DET and STL through week 16. Hard to believe that SEA, MIN and STL are all going to win in Phoenix though. Going to be some fantasy gold in those weeks.

8. I am scared that the Titans are going to be good again. Maybe it is a nice story for Vince Young to return and start winning all his games. But come on - the way that defense was doling out fantasy points each week it would be a crime to see it end. Alex Smith just had 286 yards and two scores against the Titans but 67 yards and one touchdown came in the final drive that did not matter. Last week David Garrard only passed for 139 yards and no score in Tennessee. We cannot have enough secondaries willing to allow 300+ yards and three scores. On the plus side - Alex Smith threw for 286 yards and two scores. He's only passed for more yardage twice in his career and even then neither went for 300 yards. Maybe we are still okay.

9. The NFC East is either really good or really bad and it is hard to tell which. The Giants were 5-0 and seemed like the main challenger to the Saints but a four-game losing streak later and they are even worse than we thought they would be after losing all their veteran receivers. Eli Manning is flopping like it is December already. The Eagles looked like they were the toast of the division but just lost to the Cowboys - the visiting Cowboys. The ones that lost at home to the Giants. Now the Cowboys are one game in the lead for the division but have won their last four and this division does not like streaks. Except for the Redskins and it is a different kind of streak for them.

10. Okay. Now listen closely. I hate to sully the sanctity of the Tunnel Vision with this but I want to help you and in doing so help myself. Today is November 9th. That means there are only about six weeks until the holiday season and given that about 90+% of you are male, this means we think we have about 40 or so days left to worry about it. Thanksgiving is coming soon and before you know it you are in your league playoffs and you have nothing to give your significant other. So - think about it this week and shop online now when there is plenty of time to have whatever sent to you. I'll give you one gift that worked out pretty well in the Dorey household. I went to an online place called Chocosphere and bought some assorted Amedei's chocolate because they had won some world's best awards for their chocolates. So I gave the Mrs. a collection of the best chocolate in the world and it really did not cost that much and she and every other person missing the Y-chromosome loves chocolate. Go online and search on "best chocolate" and then buy her some award winning stuff and you cannot go wrong. Look - maybe you cannot afford to give her the world's best car or diamond ring or mansion. But you can probably afford a couple of chocolate bars. The World's Best Chocolate Bars, my dear. She may say you are trying to make her fat but that just removes the guilt for eating the chocolate. Whatever you do - start it now or you will end up shopping for her on December 24th in Target and fighting over the last neon green turtleneck sweater. And I am not going to let you take it from me this time.

11. Thursday game this week - heads up.

Huddle Player of the Week

Kurt Warner - The old man is aging like Kobe beef. He passed for 261 yards and five touchdowns on the road in Chicago and that includes taking the bench after four scores, watching the Bears start to catch up while Matt Leinart could do nothing and then Warner stepping back in to post a fifth score to keep it safe. He's got a great schedule ahead, he was the top scorer today and ends up he was dissed by way too many people in drafts last summer. He even just set an NFL record for the most time between games with five passing touchdowns - ten years. 1999.

Salute!

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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Josh Freeman 225 3 QB Matt Ryan 135 1
RB LaDell Betts 93 1 RB Clinton Portis 4 0
RB Rashad Jennings 35 1 RB LaDainian Tomlinson 30 0
WR Jason HIll 50 2 WR Calvin Johnson 27 0
WR James Jones 103 1 WR Roddy White 27 0
WR Robert Meachem 98 1 WR Marques Colston 45 0
PK Olindo Mare 2 XP 4 FG PK Nate Kaeding 3 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 113

Huddle Fantasy Points = 25

Game-O-The-Week

This was an odd week since the early games had only one road team winning - the Cardinals upset the Bears in a game that was not even close. In the later games, the Titans, Chargers and Cowboys all pulled off upsets as visitors. There were no big blowouts this week since opponents were usually closer in ability to each other. The Cowboys winning in Philly is a candidate but it was only 20-16 with the winning score by Miles Austin - where's the drama in that? The Titans won in San Francisco and almost qualifies but I always like representative sort of games and this one is all about where we are at right now.

Chargers 21, Giants 20

The Giants were favored in this game by four points and were on a three game losing streak that needed to be broken. They had opened 5-0 by beating WAS, DAL, TB, KC and OAK. You know, other than the close win in Dallas maybe that was not such a big deal. Then they lost to NO, ARI and PHI and sorely needed a win before going to their bye week. The Chargers had recently beaten OAK and KC but lost to DEN and PIT before that.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Chargers opened the second quarter by hitting Vincent Jackson for a 10-yard touchdown. But Eli Manning matched it with a six-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith. The score was tied 7-7 at halftime.

Although neither team could afford a loss this week, neither team could score. Finally with just four minutes left in the third quarter, Rivers hit Kris Wilson for a touchdown and the 14-7 lead. Once again, that lit a fire under the Giants who took their next drive down to the SD 19-yard line where Lawrence Tynes kicked a 38-yard field goal.

After the Chargers went three-and-out, their punt only went to midfield and the return by Domenik Hixon went to the Chargers 39-yard line with twelve minutes left to play. Three minutes later, Manning hit Kevin Boss for an 8-yard touchdown and a 17-14 lead.

Both teams had unsuccessful series and when the Chargers took over on their own 21-yard line with 3:30 left to play, Philip RIvers threw an interception that was was returned to the SD 4-yard line. But offensive holding made in the 14-yard line and running Jacobs only reached the SD 4-yard line but chewed up the clock. With 2:11 left to play, Tynes kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 20-14 lead.

A touchback left the Chargers with 80 yards to drive and only 2:05 to get there. Rivers reached the Giants 39-yard line with 50 seconds left to play by hitting short passes to Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd. RIvers then hit Darren Sproles for a 21 yard gain to the 18-yard line with only 29 seconds left on the clock. On the next play, Rivers hit Jackson for his second touchdown and the 21-20 lead with only 15 seconds left to play.

The Giants flopped with two incompletions and a sack on the final play.

The Giants are a good example of a team that was riding high at 5-0 and now are 5-4 and wondering what they have to do to get just win. Eli Manning has apparently started his late season slide extra early this year. The young group of receivers that were so hot to start this year have now cooled significantly and yet offer much more value than the rushing game which had been among the best in the NFL every year until now. The Chargers win a huge road game but how big was it really? The Giants had already lost three in a row.

The Giants represent all too well that the NFL season happens in quarters of four games each. They were dominating in the first quarter and then dominated in the second. We're turning the corner into the second half of the season and there's still plenty of football left play. Each quarter can be very different like the Giants so amply have proven. No matter if you have been winning or losing in your league - that doesn't affect the next four games. No time to rest on your laurels and certainly not the time to give up.

The team byes are ending now and everyone is at full strength each week. Now is the time you earn the playoffs. You don't want to miss the playoffs. And you don't want to prepare for your destined league championship game while holiday shopping for the missus by sorting through the left over dregs with me at Target. Think ahead to stay ahead.

Now get back to work...

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