NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 11/6/06

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

October 28, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Stopgap Seven: Week 8


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->The rough-and-tumble NFL can take a toll on your fantasy team's depth, so if you're looking particularly thin at a position, consider the following players who are a little more under-the-radar as starters. (I'll list my Stopgap Seven each Friday all season.)
Cedric Benson, RB, Bears (SF): He's once again being hyped, and is expected to get more work in the offense this week. This could be one of those games in which the team gets 40 total carries, which would be plenty for Benson to rack up sneaky numbers.
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets (@CLE): He has been up-and-down all season, but is still an integral part of New York's underrated pass attack. Laveranues Coles' calf could limit him this week, in which case Cotchery should capitalize with extra throws sent his way.
Charlie Frye, QB, Browns (NYJ): The Jets' defense, at least statistically, appears softer against the run, but with Chad Pennington capable of racking up points for New York, Frye's going to need to throw often to keep pace. He shouldn't have many problems.
Bryant Johnson, WR, Cardinals (@GB): Since Matt Leinart took over as Arizona's quarterback, Johnson has 11 receptions for 186 yards and a score. He's getting plenty of work with Larry Fitzgerald out, and now he battles the Packers' bottom-ranked secondary.
Wali Lundy, RB, Texans (@TEN): The starting job in Houston is once again all his, and facing the Titans' bottom-ranked rush defense, he has to realize this is his chance to excel and lock down the role permanently. Expect him to be more than up to the task.
Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Bears (SF): He hasn't been nearly as accomplished a fantasy factor since his career year in Carolina in 2004, but he's still capable of offering useful numbers facing weaker defenses. It's a fine matchup for him to nab several catches.
Saints defense (BAL): The Saints don't strike many as a reliable defense, but this is a fine matchup. New Orleans ranks eighth in the league in points per game allowed at home (16.0), while Baltimore's offense is 20th in points per game scored on the road (15.0). <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
Among the players I'm avoiding in Week 8 ? Byron Leftwich, QB, Jaguars (@PHI): His ankle is limiting him and there's a good chance we'll actually see some of David Garrard this week. Leftwich is a less-than-100 percent quarterback facing the league's leading defense in sacks (25), which means nothing but bad news. ? Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (IND): If the Colts mount an early lead and Plummer can't keep up, Jay Cutler could actually see some time in this game. Indianapolis' defense ranks No. 3 against the pass. ? LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders (PIT): His cranky back is destined to bother him whether he plays or not, and there's no way you should be using a nicked-up back against the Steelers' ninth-ranked rush defense. ? Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks (@KC): The matchup looks fine on paper, but with the untested Seneca Wallace starting at quarterback, things could be awfully shaky for the entire Seattle offense in a road game at Kansas City. ? Antonio Bryant, WR, 49ers (@CHI): It's not so much his potential or his matchup specifically that makes him unappealing. What does is the fact that the Chicago defense should put QB Alex Smith under constant pressure, making it awfully tough for him to locate Bryant often enough to make a big impact. ? Falcons defense (@CIN): The Falcons usually do a good job putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but if Week 7 was any indication, the team's not in peak form right now. The Steelers tore up this defense through the air, whether it was Ben Roethlisberger or Charlie Batch, and this Bengals offense is a bit deeper than Pittsburgh's.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
18-for-30 passing, 232 yards, 4 TDs, 2 interceptions

Could there be a more frustrating fantasy option than Vick? He's so terribly inconsistent as a passer, with his Week 7 performance representing a career high in passing touchdowns (4), but in the three games before that, he averaged 148.0 passing yards and failed to complete a TD pass. Last week, no one seemed to believe in Vick as a fantasy option against the Steelers, and he excelled. This week, fantasy owners could be back on the bandwagon, but will he reward their faith or continue to confound those who still believe in him as a potential top-10 quarterback? A matchup at Cincinnati, against the 13th-ranked Bengals pass defense, one that has more interceptions (9) than touchdowns allowed (7), might seem a bit threatening on paper, but I'd argue Vick's worth the gamble for this one. Cincinnati's defense is a bit banged up, and it's not particularly good at reining in tight ends, ranking second-worst in the league in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. (In total, the Bengals have surrendered 31 receptions for 272 yards and four touchdowns to tight ends in six games.) Vick shouldn't have any problem locating Alge Crumpler once again, and when that connection is going well, he's a good play in fantasy.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

October 28, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Stopgap Seven: Week 8


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->The rough-and-tumble NFL can take a toll on your fantasy team's depth, so if you're looking particularly thin at a position, consider the following players who are a little more under-the-radar as starters. (I'll list my Stopgap Seven each Friday all season.)
Cedric Benson, RB, Bears (SF): He's once again being hyped, and is expected to get more work in the offense this week. This could be one of those games in which the team gets 40 total carries, which would be plenty for Benson to rack up sneaky numbers.
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets (@CLE): He has been up-and-down all season, but is still an integral part of New York's underrated pass attack. Laveranues Coles' calf could limit him this week, in which case Cotchery should capitalize with extra throws sent his way.
Charlie Frye, QB, Browns (NYJ): The Jets' defense, at least statistically, appears softer against the run, but with Chad Pennington capable of racking up points for New York, Frye's going to need to throw often to keep pace. He shouldn't have many problems.
Bryant Johnson, WR, Cardinals (@GB): Since Matt Leinart took over as Arizona's quarterback, Johnson has 11 receptions for 186 yards and a score. He's getting plenty of work with Larry Fitzgerald out, and now he battles the Packers' bottom-ranked secondary.
Wali Lundy, RB, Texans (@TEN): The starting job in Houston is once again all his, and facing the Titans' bottom-ranked rush defense, he has to realize this is his chance to excel and lock down the role permanently. Expect him to be more than up to the task.
Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Bears (SF): He hasn't been nearly as accomplished a fantasy factor since his career year in Carolina in 2004, but he's still capable of offering useful numbers facing weaker defenses. It's a fine matchup for him to nab several catches.
Saints defense (BAL): The Saints don't strike many as a reliable defense, but this is a fine matchup. New Orleans ranks eighth in the league in points per game allowed at home (16.0), while Baltimore's offense is 20th in points per game scored on the road (15.0). <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
Among the players I'm avoiding in Week 8 ? Byron Leftwich, QB, Jaguars (@PHI): His ankle is limiting him and there's a good chance we'll actually see some of David Garrard this week. Leftwich is a less-than-100 percent quarterback facing the league's leading defense in sacks (25), which means nothing but bad news. ? Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (IND): If the Colts mount an early lead and Plummer can't keep up, Jay Cutler could actually see some time in this game. Indianapolis' defense ranks No. 3 against the pass. ? LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders (PIT): His cranky back is destined to bother him whether he plays or not, and there's no way you should be using a nicked-up back against the Steelers' ninth-ranked rush defense. ? Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks (@KC): The matchup looks fine on paper, but with the untested Seneca Wallace starting at quarterback, things could be awfully shaky for the entire Seattle offense in a road game at Kansas City. ? Antonio Bryant, WR, 49ers (@CHI): It's not so much his potential or his matchup specifically that makes him unappealing. What does is the fact that the Chicago defense should put QB Alex Smith under constant pressure, making it awfully tough for him to locate Bryant often enough to make a big impact. ? Falcons defense (@CIN): The Falcons usually do a good job putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but if Week 7 was any indication, the team's not in peak form right now. The Steelers tore up this defense through the air, whether it was Ben Roethlisberger or Charlie Batch, and this Bengals offense is a bit deeper than Pittsburgh's.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
18-for-30 passing, 232 yards, 4 TDs, 2 interceptions

Could there be a more frustrating fantasy option than Vick? He's so terribly inconsistent as a passer, with his Week 7 performance representing a career high in passing touchdowns (4), but in the three games before that, he averaged 148.0 passing yards and failed to complete a TD pass. Last week, no one seemed to believe in Vick as a fantasy option against the Steelers, and he excelled. This week, fantasy owners could be back on the bandwagon, but will he reward their faith or continue to confound those who still believe in him as a potential top-10 quarterback? A matchup at Cincinnati, against the 13th-ranked Bengals pass defense, one that has more interceptions (9) than touchdowns allowed (7), might seem a bit threatening on paper, but I'd argue Vick's worth the gamble for this one. Cincinnati's defense is a bit banged up, and it's not particularly good at reining in tight ends, ranking second-worst in the league in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. (In total, the Bengals have surrendered 31 receptions for 272 yards and four touchdowns to tight ends in six games.) Vick shouldn't have any problem locating Alge Crumpler once again, and when that connection is going well, he's a good play in fantasy.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 4:01 PM
Week 8: 10 things to watch


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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Each week, I provide my list of 10 things I'm watching on game day, so you'll be prepared for some of the week's biggest developments in advance of them happening.
The Bears coming out of hibernation. For those of you who watched Chicago's Week 6 Monday Night game, you saw a team that for 43 minutes couldn't get anything done on either side of the ball, then for the final 17 minutes dominated only on defense. Say whatever you will about the defense's performance, but the offense, for 60 minutes, was miserable. Quarterback Rex Grossman completed only 14 of 37 passes (37.8 percent) for 148 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions, running back Thomas Jones ran 11 times for 39 yards (3.5 average) and the offense recorded only three points. Both Grossman and Jones are better than that, and with the bye week to think about it, they should be better facing another extremely favorable matchup against the 49ers, the league's bottom-ranked defense in points allowed (32.3 per game). Still, while it's easy to say that on paper, this is a no-brainer of a matchup, players like Grossman and Jones have to perform, not make the kinds of mistakes or bring the type of sloppy play they did in Week 6. I'd go ahead and activate them, as well as guys like Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhammad and Desmond Clark, figuring the Bears are destined to rebound, but if they don't, it's going to raise a huge number of questions about the team's offensive cogs looking forward.
Tony Romo's first career NFL start. Is it really fair to criticize Cowboys coach Bill Parcells for giving quarterback Drew Bledsoe a quick hook in Week 7? It was a division game in which Bledsoe looked awful -- as he has for much of the season -- and the Cowboys are starting to approach their make-or-break point. As a result, Romo gets the start this week in Carolina, a decision obviously designed to breathe new life into the team. Fantasy owners should steer far clear of Romo in his first couple of games under center, but how he performs is absolutely important to track. If you watched the Monday Night game, you saw how Romo can get his talented receivers the ball, even if he does look inexperienced and therefore mistake prone. He needs to keep doing that -- the getting his receivers the ball part -- but then again, I'd also say a guy like Terrell Owens needs to do a better job avoiding drops to ensure the offense continues to go smoothly. Watch that Dallas-Carolina game, because it'll reveal an awful lot about the future of the Cowboys' offense.
Ben Roethlisberger's health. It's a real shame that Roethlisberger suffered another concussion in the Week 7 game, because at the time, he was in the midst of an impressive hot streak, with five touchdowns compared to no interceptions in his past two games. It sounds like he could be able to play on Sunday in Oakland, and while everyone points to the Raiders' No. 1 ranking against the pass as well as Roethlisberger's questionable health as a reason to avoid him, I think this is a bit of an intriguing matchup if he gets the start. Whether you plan to use him or not, and I wouldn't be afraid to if I lacked a top-notch quarterback, keep an eye on how he bounces back from this latest setback. Remember, a lot of athletes have a much tougher time rebounding from second concussions than you think; it's awfully risky for teams to keep trotting these types out there to take the big hits.
The great Jay Cutler debate. Bledsoe lost his starting job in Week 7, and I'd say if there's a long-time starter who could get the hook in Week 8, the Broncos' Jake Plummer is as good a bet as any. When you think about it, the only reason he's still starting is that the team is winning, but if the Denver offense gets exposed at any point as not potent enough to keep pace with the better teams in the league, you know he's going to be the scapegoat. Indianapolis is an offense that could be the one that exposes Plummer as inadequate to lead these Broncos to postseason glory; after all, the Colts are going to be one of the Broncos' biggest contenders for the AFC championship come January. And for that reason, if there's any week I'd say the calls for Cutler could become a serious threat, this is the one.
Seattle's second-team offense. The Seahawks haven't been particularly lucky in the injury department this season, losing running back and defending MVP Shaun Alexander to a broken foot in Week 3 and now quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to a sprained knee in Week 7. You know how everyone points out how those Super Bowl runner-up teams seem to always miss the playoffs the following season? Well, one of the primary reasons for that trend is that a lot of those teams seem to battle comparable health issues, and when you lose two key players like this, it's tough, even for a team as deep as Seattle, to stay competitive. Seneca Wallace gets the start in Week 8, though he looked shaky in relief of Hasselbeck last Sunday, and whether he can keep getting the ball to Darrell Jackson and Deion Branch will ultimately determine whether the Seahawks provide much of anything to a fantasy owner until Alexander returns to 100 percent health. I'd keep every Seattle player not named Darrell Jackson reserved in Week 8 if possible, then keep tabs on how the team's second-string offense (it effectively is that now) performs against the Chiefs.
Power outage in San Diego? The Chargers are another team suffering through player absences, though in San Diego's case, they're not all health-related. LB Shawne Merriman is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's steroids policy, though he'll get to play the next two weeks while he appeals the ruling, while LB Shaun Phillips is out for at least the next two weeks with a calf injury. Fortunately for San Diego, it seems the two will at least get to scatter their absences, Phillips the next two weeks and Merriman the four games after that, but make no mistake, these are the kinds of things that could have quite an adverse effect on the team's performance. Kansas City racked up 134 yards and two scores on the ground in Week 7, though San Diego won't face a player of Larry Johnson's caliber every week. In Week 8, it's St. Louis and Steven Jackson battling the banged-up Chargers, which really isn't all that much better a matchup. Don't look at San Diego's defense as a must-play right now, and while it's still talented enough to consider if you lack a quality alternative, this is a real show-me game for the team.
Lord Byron's balky ankle. Those of you who caught Byron Leftwich's Week 7 performance against the Texans are well aware how shaky and erratic he looked as a passer, and it's hard to imagine he was actually playing the game at full health. Even coach Jack Del Rio admits to that now, and on Wednesday, Leftwich and backup David Garrard split reps in practice, a real worry for Leftwich owners because Garrard's the kind of player with the potential to overtake a less-than-healthy player and lock down the starting job for himself. Whoever starts isn't going to warrant fantasy consideration in Week 8 at Philadelphia, but it's a good game to get a read on whichever quarterback plays. Once Matt Jones returns to health, things should get a lot better for the Jacksonville passing game.
(Friday Note: David Garrard has been named the Jaguars' starter for Sunday, giving him his first chance to show what he can do at the helm of the team's passing game. He's every bit as worthwhile to watch as Leftwich might have been, but steer clear of your members of the Jaguars passing game facing the shaky matchup.)
Time for takeoff. The Jets' Leon Washington has looked like the team's most effective runner in his limited action this season, with two 100-yard rushing efforts in his past three games, and two scores in Week 7 alone. Even though Kevan Barlow is still lurking to steal the goal-line carries, Washington is a player getting enough touches to be a useful matchups type, and there aren't many better than a Week 8 game against the Browns. This is a perfect chance for Washington to keep up the hot streak, making him a useful No. 2 RB option, and I'd pay special attention to how he's used in the red zone. If he can sneak in another score in such a situation, it might cement his status as the go-to guy all the time.
Losing his Edge? It's doubtful that Edgerrin James had any idea that life in Arizona would be anywhere near as difficult as this, but coming off a Week 6 performance in which he set an NFL record for most carries for a player who averaged under two yards per carry, and a Week 7 effort in which he managed a season-low 14 touches, his status as a useful fantasy option each week is really reaching its breaking point. A matchup at Green Bay, against the league's bottom-ranked defense, could cure what ails him, but it's still not going to change the fact that his porous offensive line creates few running lanes for him. Fortunately, Arizona's coaching staff knows it has to get James, such a key to the offense, the ball more than 14 times a week, especially with Dennis Green's job potentially on the line on Sunday. James will be the focus in this one, so this game should tell us a lot. Michael Vick at his peak. Surprisingly, Vick is coming off a career high in passing touchdowns (4) in Week 7 ... Come to think of it, that's really not all that surprising since he has been so much more effective as a runner in recent memory. Now the question is, was Vick's performance against the Steelers a sign of growth, or was it merely an aberration? I'd lean more towards the latter, but with Vick, it's really anyone's guess. He's so terribly inconsistent, which is why a game like his Week 8 assignment at Cincinnati is so important to track. Will he go right back to being a non-factor as a passer? Or will be repeat his solid effort and establish himself as a much more trustworthy weekly play? We shall see...
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 4:01 PM
Week 8: 10 things to watch


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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Each week, I provide my list of 10 things I'm watching on game day, so you'll be prepared for some of the week's biggest developments in advance of them happening.
The Bears coming out of hibernation. For those of you who watched Chicago's Week 6 Monday Night game, you saw a team that for 43 minutes couldn't get anything done on either side of the ball, then for the final 17 minutes dominated only on defense. Say whatever you will about the defense's performance, but the offense, for 60 minutes, was miserable. Quarterback Rex Grossman completed only 14 of 37 passes (37.8 percent) for 148 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions, running back Thomas Jones ran 11 times for 39 yards (3.5 average) and the offense recorded only three points. Both Grossman and Jones are better than that, and with the bye week to think about it, they should be better facing another extremely favorable matchup against the 49ers, the league's bottom-ranked defense in points allowed (32.3 per game). Still, while it's easy to say that on paper, this is a no-brainer of a matchup, players like Grossman and Jones have to perform, not make the kinds of mistakes or bring the type of sloppy play they did in Week 6. I'd go ahead and activate them, as well as guys like Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhammad and Desmond Clark, figuring the Bears are destined to rebound, but if they don't, it's going to raise a huge number of questions about the team's offensive cogs looking forward.
Tony Romo's first career NFL start. Is it really fair to criticize Cowboys coach Bill Parcells for giving quarterback Drew Bledsoe a quick hook in Week 7? It was a division game in which Bledsoe looked awful -- as he has for much of the season -- and the Cowboys are starting to approach their make-or-break point. As a result, Romo gets the start this week in Carolina, a decision obviously designed to breathe new life into the team. Fantasy owners should steer far clear of Romo in his first couple of games under center, but how he performs is absolutely important to track. If you watched the Monday Night game, you saw how Romo can get his talented receivers the ball, even if he does look inexperienced and therefore mistake prone. He needs to keep doing that -- the getting his receivers the ball part -- but then again, I'd also say a guy like Terrell Owens needs to do a better job avoiding drops to ensure the offense continues to go smoothly. Watch that Dallas-Carolina game, because it'll reveal an awful lot about the future of the Cowboys' offense.
Ben Roethlisberger's health. It's a real shame that Roethlisberger suffered another concussion in the Week 7 game, because at the time, he was in the midst of an impressive hot streak, with five touchdowns compared to no interceptions in his past two games. It sounds like he could be able to play on Sunday in Oakland, and while everyone points to the Raiders' No. 1 ranking against the pass as well as Roethlisberger's questionable health as a reason to avoid him, I think this is a bit of an intriguing matchup if he gets the start. Whether you plan to use him or not, and I wouldn't be afraid to if I lacked a top-notch quarterback, keep an eye on how he bounces back from this latest setback. Remember, a lot of athletes have a much tougher time rebounding from second concussions than you think; it's awfully risky for teams to keep trotting these types out there to take the big hits.
The great Jay Cutler debate. Bledsoe lost his starting job in Week 7, and I'd say if there's a long-time starter who could get the hook in Week 8, the Broncos' Jake Plummer is as good a bet as any. When you think about it, the only reason he's still starting is that the team is winning, but if the Denver offense gets exposed at any point as not potent enough to keep pace with the better teams in the league, you know he's going to be the scapegoat. Indianapolis is an offense that could be the one that exposes Plummer as inadequate to lead these Broncos to postseason glory; after all, the Colts are going to be one of the Broncos' biggest contenders for the AFC championship come January. And for that reason, if there's any week I'd say the calls for Cutler could become a serious threat, this is the one.
Seattle's second-team offense. The Seahawks haven't been particularly lucky in the injury department this season, losing running back and defending MVP Shaun Alexander to a broken foot in Week 3 and now quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to a sprained knee in Week 7. You know how everyone points out how those Super Bowl runner-up teams seem to always miss the playoffs the following season? Well, one of the primary reasons for that trend is that a lot of those teams seem to battle comparable health issues, and when you lose two key players like this, it's tough, even for a team as deep as Seattle, to stay competitive. Seneca Wallace gets the start in Week 8, though he looked shaky in relief of Hasselbeck last Sunday, and whether he can keep getting the ball to Darrell Jackson and Deion Branch will ultimately determine whether the Seahawks provide much of anything to a fantasy owner until Alexander returns to 100 percent health. I'd keep every Seattle player not named Darrell Jackson reserved in Week 8 if possible, then keep tabs on how the team's second-string offense (it effectively is that now) performs against the Chiefs.
Power outage in San Diego? The Chargers are another team suffering through player absences, though in San Diego's case, they're not all health-related. LB Shawne Merriman is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's steroids policy, though he'll get to play the next two weeks while he appeals the ruling, while LB Shaun Phillips is out for at least the next two weeks with a calf injury. Fortunately for San Diego, it seems the two will at least get to scatter their absences, Phillips the next two weeks and Merriman the four games after that, but make no mistake, these are the kinds of things that could have quite an adverse effect on the team's performance. Kansas City racked up 134 yards and two scores on the ground in Week 7, though San Diego won't face a player of Larry Johnson's caliber every week. In Week 8, it's St. Louis and Steven Jackson battling the banged-up Chargers, which really isn't all that much better a matchup. Don't look at San Diego's defense as a must-play right now, and while it's still talented enough to consider if you lack a quality alternative, this is a real show-me game for the team.
Lord Byron's balky ankle. Those of you who caught Byron Leftwich's Week 7 performance against the Texans are well aware how shaky and erratic he looked as a passer, and it's hard to imagine he was actually playing the game at full health. Even coach Jack Del Rio admits to that now, and on Wednesday, Leftwich and backup David Garrard split reps in practice, a real worry for Leftwich owners because Garrard's the kind of player with the potential to overtake a less-than-healthy player and lock down the starting job for himself. Whoever starts isn't going to warrant fantasy consideration in Week 8 at Philadelphia, but it's a good game to get a read on whichever quarterback plays. Once Matt Jones returns to health, things should get a lot better for the Jacksonville passing game.
(Friday Note: David Garrard has been named the Jaguars' starter for Sunday, giving him his first chance to show what he can do at the helm of the team's passing game. He's every bit as worthwhile to watch as Leftwich might have been, but steer clear of your members of the Jaguars passing game facing the shaky matchup.)
Time for takeoff. The Jets' Leon Washington has looked like the team's most effective runner in his limited action this season, with two 100-yard rushing efforts in his past three games, and two scores in Week 7 alone. Even though Kevan Barlow is still lurking to steal the goal-line carries, Washington is a player getting enough touches to be a useful matchups type, and there aren't many better than a Week 8 game against the Browns. This is a perfect chance for Washington to keep up the hot streak, making him a useful No. 2 RB option, and I'd pay special attention to how he's used in the red zone. If he can sneak in another score in such a situation, it might cement his status as the go-to guy all the time.
Losing his Edge? It's doubtful that Edgerrin James had any idea that life in Arizona would be anywhere near as difficult as this, but coming off a Week 6 performance in which he set an NFL record for most carries for a player who averaged under two yards per carry, and a Week 7 effort in which he managed a season-low 14 touches, his status as a useful fantasy option each week is really reaching its breaking point. A matchup at Green Bay, against the league's bottom-ranked defense, could cure what ails him, but it's still not going to change the fact that his porous offensive line creates few running lanes for him. Fortunately, Arizona's coaching staff knows it has to get James, such a key to the offense, the ball more than 14 times a week, especially with Dennis Green's job potentially on the line on Sunday. James will be the focus in this one, so this game should tell us a lot. Michael Vick at his peak. Surprisingly, Vick is coming off a career high in passing touchdowns (4) in Week 7 ... Come to think of it, that's really not all that surprising since he has been so much more effective as a runner in recent memory. Now the question is, was Vick's performance against the Steelers a sign of growth, or was it merely an aberration? I'd lean more towards the latter, but with Vick, it's really anyone's guess. He's so terribly inconsistent, which is why a game like his Week 8 assignment at Cincinnati is so important to track. Will he go right back to being a non-factor as a passer? Or will be repeat his solid effort and establish himself as a much more trustworthy weekly play? We shall see...
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 9:10 AM
Cockcroft: Week 8 Statbook


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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Each week, the FFL Statbook provides you with hot and cold players, historical statistics and trends to exploit and weather reports as you consider your weekly player matchups.

Bye weeks: Bills, Dolphins, Lions, Redskins.
<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">RIDE THE HOT STREAK</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">The players listed below -- three each at QB, RB and WR and one TE -- are performing well enough of late to be must-starts regardless of the match-ups.</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Tiki Barber, RB, Giants (TB): He has topped 100 yards rushing in three straight games, totaling 76 carries for 422 yards (5.6 per carry, 140.7 ypg) in those contests. And while he has yet to score a TD this season, he has averaged 144.8 scrimmage ypg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Broncos defense (IND): The Broncos have won 13 consecutive regular-season home games, averaging 11.0 points allowed in those contests. They also lead the NFL in fewest points allowed (7.3) and rank 4th in total defense (272.0 ypg). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Reggie Brown, WR, Eagles (JAC): He has a receiving TD in each of his past three games, totaling 14 receptions for 277 yards (19.8 per catch, 92.3 ypg) in those contests. He also has a TD catch in five of the seven games this season, averaging 69.9 receiving ypg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Travis Henry, RB, Titans (HOU): He has 51 carries for 301 yards (5.9 per carry, 150.5 ypg) and one TD in his last two games, both of which were 100-yard rushing efforts. He has 72 carries for 361 yards (5.0 per carry. 120.3 ypg) in his three starts this season. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Darrell Jackson, WR, Seahawks (@KC): He has five TDs in his past five games, totaling 28 receptions for 476 yards (17.0 per catch, 95.2 ypg) in those contests. He also has 3+ catches in each of his past 17 G (playoffs incl.), and 5+ receptions in 15 of those games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Andre Johnson, WR, Texans (@TEN): He has 8+ receptions in each of his past 4 games, totaling 37 receptions for 434 yards and two TDs in those contests. He also has eight 100-yard efforts in his past 12 games, averaging 6.8 catches and 85.0 yards during that span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles (JAC): He has 2+ passing TDs in each of his seven games this season, averaging 307.3 passing yards with 16 TDs and five interceptions for the season. He also has 12 carries for 124 yards (10.3 average) and three TDs in his past four games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (STL): He has two passing TDs in each of his past three games, totaling 842 yards, six TDs and two interceptions in those contests. Rivers also has a passing TD in each of his six games this season, and he's eighth in the league in passer rating (96.3). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers (@OAK): He has 2+ passing TDs in each of his past two games, completing a total of 32 of 41 pass attempts (78.0 percent) for 476 yards, five TDs and zero interceptions in those contests. He has 200+ passing yards in four straight games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Leon Washington, RB, Jets (@CLE): He has 100-yard rushing efforts in two of his past three games, totaling 54 carries for 288 yards (5.3 per carry, 96.0 ypg) and two TDs in those contests. He has also averaged 4.9 yards per carry in his last five games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: I have a feeling Barber, having announced his intentions to retire at season's end, is going to offer maximum effort each week for the remainder of the season. (I know, I know, who are we to think any player offers "less than maximum" effort in any game, but anyone who has ever played a sport has to know how it's possible for a player to step things up from peak level when he really wants.) In a game like the "Barber Bowl," Tiki should be particularly motivated for a great performance. ... An interesting note regarding the Colts-Broncos game: There are only three stadiums in which Colts QB Peyton Manning has played and not thrown a TD pass, and Denver's Invesco Field is one of them. In his two career starts there -- one was the Week 17 game in 2004 in which he barely played -- he has passed for 235 yards, no scores and one interception. It's something to keep in mind if that Colts offense is scaring you from using the Broncos' defense this week. ... This is a fine matchup for Henry, but I'd think about selling high on him afterward (if possible and if the offer's right). He'll get the Jaguars, Ravens and Eagles the three games after this one. ... Seahawks QB Seneca Wallace makes all of his team's receivers riskier fantasy plays, but he did target Jackson eight times after coming on in relief of the injured Matt Hasselbeck. That's encouraging enough to keep Jackson active in all formats. ... Roethlisberger's health -- he's recovering from a concussion -- should be closely monitored in advance of Sunday's game. It's a decent matchup for him, and with him finally seeming to get things straightened out, he'd be a useful option if cleared to play. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">AVOID THE COLD SPELL</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">The players listed below -- three each at QB, RB and WR and one TE -- have struggled enough recently that they should be avoided whenever possible.</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Reuben Droughns, RB, Browns (NYJ): He has 80 carries for 257 yards (3.2 per carry, 51.4 ypg) and one TD on the season. He also has 197 carries for 621 yards (3.2 per carry, 56.5 ypg) and one TD in his past 11 games, only once topping 100 rushing yards. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Bubba Franks, TE, Packers (ARI): He has only 12 receptions for 123 yards and zero TDs in six games this season, being targeted only 26 times in those contests. Also, in his past 11 games dating back to last season, he has 20 receptions for 188 yards and zero TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals (@GB): He has failed to average 4.0 yards per carry in any of his seven games this season, averaging 2.7 yards per carry and 61.7 ypg for the season. He also has 49 carries for only 89 yards (1.8 average) in his past two games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Brad Johnson, QB, Vikings (NE): He has averaged 216.5 passing yards with four TDs and four interceptions in six games this season, never topping 12 fantasy points in a single game so far. He also has three interceptions and three fumbles in his past three games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Keenan McCardell, WR, Chargers (STL): Though he's getting more throws sent his way of late, he still has failed to catch a TD pass in his past eight games. During that span, he has only 32 receptions for 338 yards (10.6 per catch, 42.3 ypg) and zero TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Steve McNair, QB, Ravens (@NO): He has averaged 109.0 passing yards with two TDs and six interceptions in his past three games, totaling 10 fantasy points in those contests. He has also averaged 168.7 passing yards with seven TDs and nine interceptions in his past 10 games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks (@KC): In his three games since taking over the starting job from Shaun Alexander, he has 51 carries for 158 yards (3.1 per carry, 52.7 ypg) and zero TDs. He has also averaged 3.0 yards per carry in his past 11 regular-season games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (IND): He has averaged 139.0 passing yards with two TDs, three interceptions and a fumble in his past three games. He has also averaged 195.4 passing yards with 12 TDs and 14 interceptions in his past 16 games (playoffs incl.). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Dominic Rhodes, RB, Colts (@DEN): Though he has three TDs in six games this season, he has only 92 carries for 299 yards (3.2 per carry, 49.8 ypg) in those contests. He has also averaged only 3.1 yards per carry and 30.4 scrimmage yards in his past 20 games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Troy Williamson, WR, Vikings (MIN): He has only nine receptions for 95 yards and zero TDs in his past four games, despite being targeted 24 times in those contests. He's also mired in a 16 game TD drought, during which time he has 34 receptions for 480 yards. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: Both Droughns and James have favorable matchups this week, but their cold spells are disconcerting enough that neither should be considered more than a No. 2 option for Week 8. James should receive a heftier workload than his 13 carries from Week 7, but don't forget he has yet to manage a 100-yard game all season. ... Coming off a concussion, McNair is too risky to be considered in most fantasy leagues facing a tougher matchup than you'd expect in New Orleans. The Saints are a perfect 3-0 at the Superdome, have outscored their opponents, 74-48, there, and have held teams to only 185.7 passing ypg there. ... Plummer could easily be the next quarterback to get an early hook from his game, assuming the inconsistent Indianapolis defense frustrates him as much as most every other team has done to this point. Until he turns his season around, he should assume a cozy seat on your bench for the foreseeable future. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">HISTORY LESSON</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">The following players have tremendous recent track records against their scheduled opponents, making them more appealing fantasy options for this week.</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Drew Bennett, WR, Titans (HOU): He has 5+ receptions in four of his past five games vs. the Texans, totaling 22 receptions for 311 yards and three TDs in those contests. He also has 18 receptions for 209 yards (11.6 per catch, 69.7 ypg) and two TDs in his last three home games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Marc Bulger, QB, Rams (@SD): He set career highs in both passing yards (453) and passing TDs (4) in his only career game vs. the Chargers (11/10/02). He has also averaged 271.0 passing yards with 23 TDs and 13 interceptions in 13 career games vs. AFC foes. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Jake Delhomme, QB, Panthers (DAL): He has averaged 246.5 passing yards with six TDs and three interceptions in four career games vs. the Cowboys (playoffs incl.). He has also averaged 217.4 passing yards with 27 TDs and 16 interceptions in his past 19 home games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Ahman Green, RB, Packers (ARI): He has 238 scrimmage yards and one TD in his past two games vs. the Cardinals. He has also notched each of his last four 100-yard efforts in home games, averaging 108.4 scrimmage yards and 4.8 rushing yards per carry in those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Rex Grossman, QB, Bears (SF): He's a perfect 3-0 in home games this season, completing 52 of 85 passes (61.2 percent) for 703 yards, eight TDs and zero interceptions in those contests. He has also topped a 100.0 passer rating in each of those games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Steven Jackson, RB, Rams (@SD): He has 100+ rushing yards in each of his past three games vs. AFC foes, totaling 72 carries for 410 yards (5.7 per carry, 136.7 ypg) and one TD in those contests. He also has five total TDs in his past nine road games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Bears (SF): He has two career three-TD games, and both came vs. the 49ers (12/18/99 and 11/14/04). He also has four 100-yard receiving efforts in 11 career games vs. the 49ers, totaling 65 receptions for 837 yards and nine TDs in those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys (@CAR): He has nine TDs in 12 career games vs. the Panthers, totaling 58 receptions for 928 yards (16.0 per catch, 77.3 ypg) in those contests. In his past five games vs. the Panthers, he has 30 catches for 533 yards and four TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals (ATL): He has averaged 243.4 passing yards with 17 TDs and six interceptions in eight career games vs. NFC foes, with a 7-1 record in those contests. He also has 2+ passing TDs in five of his past six games against NFC teams. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars (@PHI): He has 120+ rushing yards in four of his past five games on the road vs. NFC foes, and has 100+ yards in seven of his past 13 games vs. NFC. In those 13 games, he has averaged 110.1 rushing yards and 127.7 scrimmage yards with four TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: Leave their Week 7 performance aside, because the Texans' defense was facing a Jaguars QB, Byron Leftwich, who was hardly himself last week. The bottom line is that the Texans' secondary can make any team's passing game look good, which is why Bennett, and perhaps even Titans QB Vince Young, might be in line for solid efforts. ... This is an important game for the Bears' offense, coming off a shaky performance in Arizona the week before their bye. Grossman is a talented enough quarterback to capitalize on a favorable matchup, so go ahead and get all your Chicago players back into your active lineup. ... Bulger's and Jackson's numbers should help reinforce their status as must-starts even against the San Diego defense. Remember, the Chargers did struggle against the Chiefs in Week 7, perhaps a result of all their off-the-field distractions on the defensive side of the ball. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">WEATHER REPORT</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">Up-to-the-minute conditions can be found on The Weather Channel's website.</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Rain in the forecast (40-percent chance or worse): Jaguars at Eagles (60 percent), Buccaneers at Giants (60) and Jets at Browns (40). Each game could see mild wind. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Cold temperatures (40 degrees or lower): Cardinals at Packers could be in the mid-to-upper 30s; 49ers at Bears could be in the low 40s. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Hot temperatures (80 degrees or higher): None. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Weatherproof games (safest playing conditions): Ravens at Saints (Superdome), Patriots at Vikings (Metrodome). </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">KICKERS IN DOMES</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">As kickers are as a whole fairly unpredictable, weather can play a big part in determining which ones to use each week. Those who kick indoors are safest from the elements and therefore least likely to hurt you, making the names below more attractive plays. Statistics listed are career numbers indoors, unless otherwise noted (G: games, FGpct: field-goal percentage; XPTpct: extra-point percentage; ppg: points per game).</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>John Carney, Saints (BAL): 61 G, 86.4 FGpct, 99.2 XPTpct, 8.07 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (@MIN): 1st career G indoors. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Ryan Longwell, Vikings (NE): 27 G, 86.7 FGpct, 98.4 XPTpct, 8.11 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Matt Stover, Ravens (@NO): 14 G, 75.0 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 4.71 ppg.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 9:10 AM
Cockcroft: Week 8 Statbook


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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Each week, the FFL Statbook provides you with hot and cold players, historical statistics and trends to exploit and weather reports as you consider your weekly player matchups.

Bye weeks: Bills, Dolphins, Lions, Redskins.
<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">RIDE THE HOT STREAK</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">The players listed below -- three each at QB, RB and WR and one TE -- are performing well enough of late to be must-starts regardless of the match-ups.</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Tiki Barber, RB, Giants (TB): He has topped 100 yards rushing in three straight games, totaling 76 carries for 422 yards (5.6 per carry, 140.7 ypg) in those contests. And while he has yet to score a TD this season, he has averaged 144.8 scrimmage ypg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Broncos defense (IND): The Broncos have won 13 consecutive regular-season home games, averaging 11.0 points allowed in those contests. They also lead the NFL in fewest points allowed (7.3) and rank 4th in total defense (272.0 ypg). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Reggie Brown, WR, Eagles (JAC): He has a receiving TD in each of his past three games, totaling 14 receptions for 277 yards (19.8 per catch, 92.3 ypg) in those contests. He also has a TD catch in five of the seven games this season, averaging 69.9 receiving ypg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Travis Henry, RB, Titans (HOU): He has 51 carries for 301 yards (5.9 per carry, 150.5 ypg) and one TD in his last two games, both of which were 100-yard rushing efforts. He has 72 carries for 361 yards (5.0 per carry. 120.3 ypg) in his three starts this season. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Darrell Jackson, WR, Seahawks (@KC): He has five TDs in his past five games, totaling 28 receptions for 476 yards (17.0 per catch, 95.2 ypg) in those contests. He also has 3+ catches in each of his past 17 G (playoffs incl.), and 5+ receptions in 15 of those games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Andre Johnson, WR, Texans (@TEN): He has 8+ receptions in each of his past 4 games, totaling 37 receptions for 434 yards and two TDs in those contests. He also has eight 100-yard efforts in his past 12 games, averaging 6.8 catches and 85.0 yards during that span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles (JAC): He has 2+ passing TDs in each of his seven games this season, averaging 307.3 passing yards with 16 TDs and five interceptions for the season. He also has 12 carries for 124 yards (10.3 average) and three TDs in his past four games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (STL): He has two passing TDs in each of his past three games, totaling 842 yards, six TDs and two interceptions in those contests. Rivers also has a passing TD in each of his six games this season, and he's eighth in the league in passer rating (96.3). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers (@OAK): He has 2+ passing TDs in each of his past two games, completing a total of 32 of 41 pass attempts (78.0 percent) for 476 yards, five TDs and zero interceptions in those contests. He has 200+ passing yards in four straight games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Leon Washington, RB, Jets (@CLE): He has 100-yard rushing efforts in two of his past three games, totaling 54 carries for 288 yards (5.3 per carry, 96.0 ypg) and two TDs in those contests. He has also averaged 4.9 yards per carry in his last five games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: I have a feeling Barber, having announced his intentions to retire at season's end, is going to offer maximum effort each week for the remainder of the season. (I know, I know, who are we to think any player offers "less than maximum" effort in any game, but anyone who has ever played a sport has to know how it's possible for a player to step things up from peak level when he really wants.) In a game like the "Barber Bowl," Tiki should be particularly motivated for a great performance. ... An interesting note regarding the Colts-Broncos game: There are only three stadiums in which Colts QB Peyton Manning has played and not thrown a TD pass, and Denver's Invesco Field is one of them. In his two career starts there -- one was the Week 17 game in 2004 in which he barely played -- he has passed for 235 yards, no scores and one interception. It's something to keep in mind if that Colts offense is scaring you from using the Broncos' defense this week. ... This is a fine matchup for Henry, but I'd think about selling high on him afterward (if possible and if the offer's right). He'll get the Jaguars, Ravens and Eagles the three games after this one. ... Seahawks QB Seneca Wallace makes all of his team's receivers riskier fantasy plays, but he did target Jackson eight times after coming on in relief of the injured Matt Hasselbeck. That's encouraging enough to keep Jackson active in all formats. ... Roethlisberger's health -- he's recovering from a concussion -- should be closely monitored in advance of Sunday's game. It's a decent matchup for him, and with him finally seeming to get things straightened out, he'd be a useful option if cleared to play. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">AVOID THE COLD SPELL</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">The players listed below -- three each at QB, RB and WR and one TE -- have struggled enough recently that they should be avoided whenever possible.</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Reuben Droughns, RB, Browns (NYJ): He has 80 carries for 257 yards (3.2 per carry, 51.4 ypg) and one TD on the season. He also has 197 carries for 621 yards (3.2 per carry, 56.5 ypg) and one TD in his past 11 games, only once topping 100 rushing yards. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Bubba Franks, TE, Packers (ARI): He has only 12 receptions for 123 yards and zero TDs in six games this season, being targeted only 26 times in those contests. Also, in his past 11 games dating back to last season, he has 20 receptions for 188 yards and zero TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals (@GB): He has failed to average 4.0 yards per carry in any of his seven games this season, averaging 2.7 yards per carry and 61.7 ypg for the season. He also has 49 carries for only 89 yards (1.8 average) in his past two games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Brad Johnson, QB, Vikings (NE): He has averaged 216.5 passing yards with four TDs and four interceptions in six games this season, never topping 12 fantasy points in a single game so far. He also has three interceptions and three fumbles in his past three games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Keenan McCardell, WR, Chargers (STL): Though he's getting more throws sent his way of late, he still has failed to catch a TD pass in his past eight games. During that span, he has only 32 receptions for 338 yards (10.6 per catch, 42.3 ypg) and zero TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Steve McNair, QB, Ravens (@NO): He has averaged 109.0 passing yards with two TDs and six interceptions in his past three games, totaling 10 fantasy points in those contests. He has also averaged 168.7 passing yards with seven TDs and nine interceptions in his past 10 games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks (@KC): In his three games since taking over the starting job from Shaun Alexander, he has 51 carries for 158 yards (3.1 per carry, 52.7 ypg) and zero TDs. He has also averaged 3.0 yards per carry in his past 11 regular-season games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (IND): He has averaged 139.0 passing yards with two TDs, three interceptions and a fumble in his past three games. He has also averaged 195.4 passing yards with 12 TDs and 14 interceptions in his past 16 games (playoffs incl.). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Dominic Rhodes, RB, Colts (@DEN): Though he has three TDs in six games this season, he has only 92 carries for 299 yards (3.2 per carry, 49.8 ypg) in those contests. He has also averaged only 3.1 yards per carry and 30.4 scrimmage yards in his past 20 games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Troy Williamson, WR, Vikings (MIN): He has only nine receptions for 95 yards and zero TDs in his past four games, despite being targeted 24 times in those contests. He's also mired in a 16 game TD drought, during which time he has 34 receptions for 480 yards. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: Both Droughns and James have favorable matchups this week, but their cold spells are disconcerting enough that neither should be considered more than a No. 2 option for Week 8. James should receive a heftier workload than his 13 carries from Week 7, but don't forget he has yet to manage a 100-yard game all season. ... Coming off a concussion, McNair is too risky to be considered in most fantasy leagues facing a tougher matchup than you'd expect in New Orleans. The Saints are a perfect 3-0 at the Superdome, have outscored their opponents, 74-48, there, and have held teams to only 185.7 passing ypg there. ... Plummer could easily be the next quarterback to get an early hook from his game, assuming the inconsistent Indianapolis defense frustrates him as much as most every other team has done to this point. Until he turns his season around, he should assume a cozy seat on your bench for the foreseeable future. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">HISTORY LESSON</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">The following players have tremendous recent track records against their scheduled opponents, making them more appealing fantasy options for this week.</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Drew Bennett, WR, Titans (HOU): He has 5+ receptions in four of his past five games vs. the Texans, totaling 22 receptions for 311 yards and three TDs in those contests. He also has 18 receptions for 209 yards (11.6 per catch, 69.7 ypg) and two TDs in his last three home games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Marc Bulger, QB, Rams (@SD): He set career highs in both passing yards (453) and passing TDs (4) in his only career game vs. the Chargers (11/10/02). He has also averaged 271.0 passing yards with 23 TDs and 13 interceptions in 13 career games vs. AFC foes. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Jake Delhomme, QB, Panthers (DAL): He has averaged 246.5 passing yards with six TDs and three interceptions in four career games vs. the Cowboys (playoffs incl.). He has also averaged 217.4 passing yards with 27 TDs and 16 interceptions in his past 19 home games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Ahman Green, RB, Packers (ARI): He has 238 scrimmage yards and one TD in his past two games vs. the Cardinals. He has also notched each of his last four 100-yard efforts in home games, averaging 108.4 scrimmage yards and 4.8 rushing yards per carry in those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Rex Grossman, QB, Bears (SF): He's a perfect 3-0 in home games this season, completing 52 of 85 passes (61.2 percent) for 703 yards, eight TDs and zero interceptions in those contests. He has also topped a 100.0 passer rating in each of those games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Steven Jackson, RB, Rams (@SD): He has 100+ rushing yards in each of his past three games vs. AFC foes, totaling 72 carries for 410 yards (5.7 per carry, 136.7 ypg) and one TD in those contests. He also has five total TDs in his past nine road games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Bears (SF): He has two career three-TD games, and both came vs. the 49ers (12/18/99 and 11/14/04). He also has four 100-yard receiving efforts in 11 career games vs. the 49ers, totaling 65 receptions for 837 yards and nine TDs in those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys (@CAR): He has nine TDs in 12 career games vs. the Panthers, totaling 58 receptions for 928 yards (16.0 per catch, 77.3 ypg) in those contests. In his past five games vs. the Panthers, he has 30 catches for 533 yards and four TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals (ATL): He has averaged 243.4 passing yards with 17 TDs and six interceptions in eight career games vs. NFC foes, with a 7-1 record in those contests. He also has 2+ passing TDs in five of his past six games against NFC teams. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars (@PHI): He has 120+ rushing yards in four of his past five games on the road vs. NFC foes, and has 100+ yards in seven of his past 13 games vs. NFC. In those 13 games, he has averaged 110.1 rushing yards and 127.7 scrimmage yards with four TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: Leave their Week 7 performance aside, because the Texans' defense was facing a Jaguars QB, Byron Leftwich, who was hardly himself last week. The bottom line is that the Texans' secondary can make any team's passing game look good, which is why Bennett, and perhaps even Titans QB Vince Young, might be in line for solid efforts. ... This is an important game for the Bears' offense, coming off a shaky performance in Arizona the week before their bye. Grossman is a talented enough quarterback to capitalize on a favorable matchup, so go ahead and get all your Chicago players back into your active lineup. ... Bulger's and Jackson's numbers should help reinforce their status as must-starts even against the San Diego defense. Remember, the Chargers did struggle against the Chiefs in Week 7, perhaps a result of all their off-the-field distractions on the defensive side of the ball. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">WEATHER REPORT</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">Up-to-the-minute conditions can be found on The Weather Channel's website.</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Rain in the forecast (40-percent chance or worse): Jaguars at Eagles (60 percent), Buccaneers at Giants (60) and Jets at Browns (40). Each game could see mild wind. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Cold temperatures (40 degrees or lower): Cardinals at Packers could be in the mid-to-upper 30s; 49ers at Bears could be in the low 40s. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Hot temperatures (80 degrees or higher): None. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Weatherproof games (safest playing conditions): Ravens at Saints (Superdome), Patriots at Vikings (Metrodome). </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #c9c9c9" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%"><TBODY><TR style="COLOR: white; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #2969ad"><TD width="100%">KICKERS IN DOMES</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #acacac"><TD width="100%">As kickers are as a whole fairly unpredictable, weather can play a big part in determining which ones to use each week. Those who kick indoors are safest from the elements and therefore least likely to hurt you, making the names below more attractive plays. Statistics listed are career numbers indoors, unless otherwise noted (G: games, FGpct: field-goal percentage; XPTpct: extra-point percentage; ppg: points per game).</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>John Carney, Saints (BAL): 61 G, 86.4 FGpct, 99.2 XPTpct, 8.07 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (@MIN): 1st career G indoors. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Ryan Longwell, Vikings (NE): 27 G, 86.7 FGpct, 98.4 XPTpct, 8.11 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Matt Stover, Ravens (@NO): 14 G, 75.0 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 4.71 ppg.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 6:06 PM
Week 8: Fantasy Matchups


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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Every week, we preview all the upcoming games from a fantasy perspective. To help you with lineup decisions, we give you matchups to exploit, some key starting choices and advice on whom to leave on your bench.
Arizona at Green Bay: The Cardinals will bring out some new looks on offense and might try to firmly establish what has been a disappointing running game so far. Edgerrin James should get a lot of touches and will get some shots at scoring, and he should finish with decent fantasy totals. Matt Leinart should be efficient, but don't expect great numbers as the Packers double up on Anquan Boldin and push Bryant Johnson around with physical coverages. Johnson still might score, but he could see a limited number of catches. With Greg Jennings hurting, Green Bay should rely on its running game, and Ahman Green should score at least once as he gets a heavy workload. Brett Favre will be a risk to throw more than one interception as he tries force the ball to Donald Driver, who still will have a productive day even as he gets targeted often.
Start and Smile: Ahman Green, Donald Driver
Watch and Worry: Greg Jennings (ankle) could be limited even if he plays.
Atlanta at Cincinnati: A banged-up Cincinnati offensive line could get a reprieve here against an Atlanta defensive line that is dealing with its own injury problems and will be without DE John Abraham again. Carson Palmer should have time to throw in this one, and he will look to T.J. Houshmandzadeh often. CB DeAngelo Hall will battle often with Chad Johnson, and Houshmandzadeh could benefit from Johnson facing Atlanta's top cover man. Rudi Johnson should find the end zone as the Bengals move the ball well. Cincinnati's front seven will give up much yardage to Warrick Dunn, who should easily roll past the 100-yard mark. Michael Vick should buy much time to throw, and although TE Alge Crumpler should score, don't expect another huge outing as the Bengals pay extra attention to him and try to make the other receivers beat them.
Start and Smile: Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Warrick Dunn
Watch and Worry: Michael Jenkins and Ashley Lelie won't produce much even if Crumpler gets the most attention from the Cincinnati pass defense.
Baltimore at New Orleans: The Ravens will try to establish Jamal Lewis early in an effort to control time of possession and take some pressure off Steve McNair. The Ravens could exhibit a conservative approach in the passing game, and that means limited production for WRs Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. McNair should still look to TE Todd Heap on important passing downs. Deuce McAllister will have to fight hard for yardage against a physical defense but should still find the end zone. Reggie Bush will be corralled often as a receiver and won't do much after the catch. Drew Brees should take what the defense gives him, and he'll throw underneath often. Joe Horn won't get loose for any big plays, but Marques Colston should be busy as a possession target.
Start and Smile: Todd Heap, Marques Colston
Watch and Worry: Steve McNair, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Reggie Bush, Joe Horn
Dallas at Carolina: The Cowboys might come out looking to take the focus off Tony Romo, and that could mean an early dependence on the running game. Julius Jones, however, could struggle to produce good results. Romo might face some adverse passing situations, which could produce more than one TD pass but also is likely to lead to more than one interception. Terrell Owens will be targeted often by Romo and should score at least once. Former Cowboy Keyshawn Johnson should be primed to face his old team, and could catch a lot of passes, but don't expect a score. Jake Delhomme still will be targeting Steve Smith for the scores, and the pair could hook up more than once for TDs. DeShaun Foster could produce limited yardage but will get some chances to score in the red zone.
Start and Smile: Terrell Owens, Jake Delhomme
Watch and Worry: Julius Jones
Houston at Tennessee: Both teams should be able to run the ball effectively here, but it's Travis Henry who will shine the most. Even against the Texans, the Titans will ride with the rejuvenated Henry while maintaining a conservative approach with rookie QB Vince Young. Don't expect big numbers from Young, and Drew Bennett will post only adequate fantasy numbers. The Texans will run the ball well enough with Wali Lundy after opening up the passing game early. David Carr should come out throwing, and Andre Johnson should have one of his best days of the season. Eric Moulds also should be targeted by Carr in the red zone.
Start and Smile: David Carr, Andre Johnson, Travis Henry
Watch and Worry: Vince Young, Drew Bennett
Indianapolis at Denver: A great passing game meets a tough defense in this one, and Peyton Manning will be busy without much run support. Dominic Rhodes will be stuffed early and often, and Joseph Addai won't find much open running room. Manning should throw at least two TD passes as he simply will have no choice other than to air it out. The Broncos will continue to look conservative offensively, and Tatum Bell could have a big day as Denver uses him to control time of possession as much as possible. When Jake Plummer does go to the air, he should find Javon Walker for what now seems to be a rare passing TD.
Start and Smile: Tatum Bell, Javon Walker
Watch and Worry: Dominic Rhodes, Joseph Addai
Jacksonville at Philadelphia: With DT Marcus Stroud (ankle) not expected to play, the Jaguars are more vulnerable as they won't get much pressure on Donovan McNabb, who often seems unstoppable no matter what defense he faces. It will be another disappointing week for the Jacksonville defense as McNabb hooks up often with Reggie Brown and Brian Westbrook rolls up more big yardage numbers. The Jaguars will lean on the running game as David Garrard simply tries to manage the game well, and you should see Maurice Jones-Drew score at least once, possibly on a reception he breaks for a big gain.
Start and Smile: Reggie Brown, Maurice Jones-Drew
Watch and Worry: Garrard won't open up the passing game very much, and it's best to see how Donte' Stallworth plays in his first game back before activating him. Play it safe and sit Stallworth this week.
N.Y. Jets at Cleveland: Look for Chad Pennington to attack the Cleveland secondary early, and the New York QB should be good for more than one TD pass, as he spreads the ball around among different receivers. A good passing game should open up some wide running room for RB Leon Washington, and he should score at least once. The Browns will counter with a pretty good running game, and Reuben Droughns should accumulate some respectable fantasy numbers with a lot of carries. Charlie Frye will be good for more than one TD pass, and while Braylon Edwards is the one who will stack up good yardage numbers, Joe Jurevicius is the one who will get the red zone looks.
Start and Smile: Chad Pennington, Leon Washington, Kellen Winslow
Watch and Worry: Even in this seemingly friendly matchup, Kevan Barlow isn't a reliable option, especially with the emergence of Washington.
Pittsburgh at Oakland: Expect a big day from Willie Parker as he rips off large chunks of yardage early in the game and gets a lot of work as he and Najeh Davenport protect the lead and work the clock in the second half. The Oakland secondary might limit the production of Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes, but no defense will have it easy with Hines Ward now that he is apparently healthy again. The Raiders will have to shelve the running game early, and Andrew Walter will make more than one turnover even if he can find Randy Moss for a score.
Start and Smile: Willie Parker, Hines Ward
Watch and Worry: LaMont Jordan, Justin Fargas, Nate Washington, Santonio Holmes
St. Louis at San Diego: Steven Jackson will have to work very hard for his yardage in this one even if he does manage to find the end zone. The Rams will lean on their crisp passing game, and you'll see Marc Bulger hooking up with Torry Holt often. LaDainian Tomlinson will continue to roll, and a fine running game will allow Philip Rivers time to throw and he should use play-action fakes effectively. Look for the San Diego QB to throw more than one TD pass, and if you're desperate for receiving help this week, consider Keenan McCardell, who could catch one of Rivers' scoring tosses.
Start and Smile: Marc Bulger, Isaac Bruce, Philip Rivers
Watch and Worry: The San Diego defense could surrender a lot of points and passing yardage.
San Francisco at Chicago: Bears QB Rex Grossman will come out fired-up and ready to put a bad performance against Arizona further behind him, and if he doesn't get rattled by the blitz, Grossman should hook up with Bernard Berrian often, and for at least one score. Cedric Benson could see an increased workload and might score on a late TD run, but Thomas Jones will still be the No. 1 RB and could roll up some quality yardage totals. The Bears will look to take Frank Gore out of the game early, and Alex Smith will wilt under heavy pressure on a regular basis.
Start and Smile: Rex Grossman, Thomas Jones
Watch and Worry: Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Antonio Bryant
Seattle at Kansas City: With the QB situation uncertain, the Chiefs will rely heavily on Larry Johnson, who eventually should wear down the Seattle defense on his way to a 100-yard rushing day and at least one score. CB Marcus Trufant will lock up Eddie Kennison in what could be a relatively low-scoring affair. The Seahawks won't be able to establish much of a running game with Maurice Morris, and Seneca Wallace will be forced into many adverse passing situations and could make more than one turnover. But he also will lean heavily on Darrell Jackson, who should finish with good numbers while the production of Deion Branch suffers for a week as he adjusts to yet another new QB.
Start and Smile: Darrell Jackson
Watch and Worry: Eddie Kennison, Maurice Morris, Deion Branch
Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants: New York CB Sam Madison (hamstring) is hurting, so Bruce Gradkowski might take short drops to avoid pressure and throw often to Joey Galloway, who can take a short pass at any time and turn it into a long gainer against the Giants' secondary. Gradkowski, though, still could be in for a long day as the Giants contain Carnell Williams and force the Tampa Bay QB to throw too often. Eli Manning should strike early for more than one score, and Tiki Barber will pad his usually outstanding yardage numbers as the Giants work the clock for much of the second half. New York will move the ball well, and Brandon Jacobs should score on a short TD run.
Start and Smile: Joey Galloway, Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress
Watch and Worry: Bruce Gradkowski, Carnell Williams New England at Minnesota: The Patriots will find their two-pronged running attack neutralized by a strong Minnesota defensive line. Corey Dillon won't get opportunities to score near the goal line, and Laurence Maroney will disappoint in his return to the site of his college glory days. Tom Brady will have to spread the ball around to keep the Patriots' offense moving, and he'll operate an efficient short passing game. Benjamin Watson could finally deliver a truly impressive performance. Chester Taylor will be brought down to earth after a big week, and the Patriots will force Brad Johnson to throw, meaning he could struggle to move the offense with an injury-depleted receiving crew.
Start and Smile: Ben Watson
Watch and Worry: Corey Dillon, Laurence Maroney
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 6:06 PM
Week 8: Fantasy Matchups


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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Every week, we preview all the upcoming games from a fantasy perspective. To help you with lineup decisions, we give you matchups to exploit, some key starting choices and advice on whom to leave on your bench.
Arizona at Green Bay: The Cardinals will bring out some new looks on offense and might try to firmly establish what has been a disappointing running game so far. Edgerrin James should get a lot of touches and will get some shots at scoring, and he should finish with decent fantasy totals. Matt Leinart should be efficient, but don't expect great numbers as the Packers double up on Anquan Boldin and push Bryant Johnson around with physical coverages. Johnson still might score, but he could see a limited number of catches. With Greg Jennings hurting, Green Bay should rely on its running game, and Ahman Green should score at least once as he gets a heavy workload. Brett Favre will be a risk to throw more than one interception as he tries force the ball to Donald Driver, who still will have a productive day even as he gets targeted often.
Start and Smile: Ahman Green, Donald Driver
Watch and Worry: Greg Jennings (ankle) could be limited even if he plays.
Atlanta at Cincinnati: A banged-up Cincinnati offensive line could get a reprieve here against an Atlanta defensive line that is dealing with its own injury problems and will be without DE John Abraham again. Carson Palmer should have time to throw in this one, and he will look to T.J. Houshmandzadeh often. CB DeAngelo Hall will battle often with Chad Johnson, and Houshmandzadeh could benefit from Johnson facing Atlanta's top cover man. Rudi Johnson should find the end zone as the Bengals move the ball well. Cincinnati's front seven will give up much yardage to Warrick Dunn, who should easily roll past the 100-yard mark. Michael Vick should buy much time to throw, and although TE Alge Crumpler should score, don't expect another huge outing as the Bengals pay extra attention to him and try to make the other receivers beat them.
Start and Smile: Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Warrick Dunn
Watch and Worry: Michael Jenkins and Ashley Lelie won't produce much even if Crumpler gets the most attention from the Cincinnati pass defense.
Baltimore at New Orleans: The Ravens will try to establish Jamal Lewis early in an effort to control time of possession and take some pressure off Steve McNair. The Ravens could exhibit a conservative approach in the passing game, and that means limited production for WRs Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. McNair should still look to TE Todd Heap on important passing downs. Deuce McAllister will have to fight hard for yardage against a physical defense but should still find the end zone. Reggie Bush will be corralled often as a receiver and won't do much after the catch. Drew Brees should take what the defense gives him, and he'll throw underneath often. Joe Horn won't get loose for any big plays, but Marques Colston should be busy as a possession target.
Start and Smile: Todd Heap, Marques Colston
Watch and Worry: Steve McNair, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Reggie Bush, Joe Horn
Dallas at Carolina: The Cowboys might come out looking to take the focus off Tony Romo, and that could mean an early dependence on the running game. Julius Jones, however, could struggle to produce good results. Romo might face some adverse passing situations, which could produce more than one TD pass but also is likely to lead to more than one interception. Terrell Owens will be targeted often by Romo and should score at least once. Former Cowboy Keyshawn Johnson should be primed to face his old team, and could catch a lot of passes, but don't expect a score. Jake Delhomme still will be targeting Steve Smith for the scores, and the pair could hook up more than once for TDs. DeShaun Foster could produce limited yardage but will get some chances to score in the red zone.
Start and Smile: Terrell Owens, Jake Delhomme
Watch and Worry: Julius Jones
Houston at Tennessee: Both teams should be able to run the ball effectively here, but it's Travis Henry who will shine the most. Even against the Texans, the Titans will ride with the rejuvenated Henry while maintaining a conservative approach with rookie QB Vince Young. Don't expect big numbers from Young, and Drew Bennett will post only adequate fantasy numbers. The Texans will run the ball well enough with Wali Lundy after opening up the passing game early. David Carr should come out throwing, and Andre Johnson should have one of his best days of the season. Eric Moulds also should be targeted by Carr in the red zone.
Start and Smile: David Carr, Andre Johnson, Travis Henry
Watch and Worry: Vince Young, Drew Bennett
Indianapolis at Denver: A great passing game meets a tough defense in this one, and Peyton Manning will be busy without much run support. Dominic Rhodes will be stuffed early and often, and Joseph Addai won't find much open running room. Manning should throw at least two TD passes as he simply will have no choice other than to air it out. The Broncos will continue to look conservative offensively, and Tatum Bell could have a big day as Denver uses him to control time of possession as much as possible. When Jake Plummer does go to the air, he should find Javon Walker for what now seems to be a rare passing TD.
Start and Smile: Tatum Bell, Javon Walker
Watch and Worry: Dominic Rhodes, Joseph Addai
Jacksonville at Philadelphia: With DT Marcus Stroud (ankle) not expected to play, the Jaguars are more vulnerable as they won't get much pressure on Donovan McNabb, who often seems unstoppable no matter what defense he faces. It will be another disappointing week for the Jacksonville defense as McNabb hooks up often with Reggie Brown and Brian Westbrook rolls up more big yardage numbers. The Jaguars will lean on the running game as David Garrard simply tries to manage the game well, and you should see Maurice Jones-Drew score at least once, possibly on a reception he breaks for a big gain.
Start and Smile: Reggie Brown, Maurice Jones-Drew
Watch and Worry: Garrard won't open up the passing game very much, and it's best to see how Donte' Stallworth plays in his first game back before activating him. Play it safe and sit Stallworth this week.
N.Y. Jets at Cleveland: Look for Chad Pennington to attack the Cleveland secondary early, and the New York QB should be good for more than one TD pass, as he spreads the ball around among different receivers. A good passing game should open up some wide running room for RB Leon Washington, and he should score at least once. The Browns will counter with a pretty good running game, and Reuben Droughns should accumulate some respectable fantasy numbers with a lot of carries. Charlie Frye will be good for more than one TD pass, and while Braylon Edwards is the one who will stack up good yardage numbers, Joe Jurevicius is the one who will get the red zone looks.
Start and Smile: Chad Pennington, Leon Washington, Kellen Winslow
Watch and Worry: Even in this seemingly friendly matchup, Kevan Barlow isn't a reliable option, especially with the emergence of Washington.
Pittsburgh at Oakland: Expect a big day from Willie Parker as he rips off large chunks of yardage early in the game and gets a lot of work as he and Najeh Davenport protect the lead and work the clock in the second half. The Oakland secondary might limit the production of Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes, but no defense will have it easy with Hines Ward now that he is apparently healthy again. The Raiders will have to shelve the running game early, and Andrew Walter will make more than one turnover even if he can find Randy Moss for a score.
Start and Smile: Willie Parker, Hines Ward
Watch and Worry: LaMont Jordan, Justin Fargas, Nate Washington, Santonio Holmes
St. Louis at San Diego: Steven Jackson will have to work very hard for his yardage in this one even if he does manage to find the end zone. The Rams will lean on their crisp passing game, and you'll see Marc Bulger hooking up with Torry Holt often. LaDainian Tomlinson will continue to roll, and a fine running game will allow Philip Rivers time to throw and he should use play-action fakes effectively. Look for the San Diego QB to throw more than one TD pass, and if you're desperate for receiving help this week, consider Keenan McCardell, who could catch one of Rivers' scoring tosses.
Start and Smile: Marc Bulger, Isaac Bruce, Philip Rivers
Watch and Worry: The San Diego defense could surrender a lot of points and passing yardage.
San Francisco at Chicago: Bears QB Rex Grossman will come out fired-up and ready to put a bad performance against Arizona further behind him, and if he doesn't get rattled by the blitz, Grossman should hook up with Bernard Berrian often, and for at least one score. Cedric Benson could see an increased workload and might score on a late TD run, but Thomas Jones will still be the No. 1 RB and could roll up some quality yardage totals. The Bears will look to take Frank Gore out of the game early, and Alex Smith will wilt under heavy pressure on a regular basis.
Start and Smile: Rex Grossman, Thomas Jones
Watch and Worry: Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Antonio Bryant
Seattle at Kansas City: With the QB situation uncertain, the Chiefs will rely heavily on Larry Johnson, who eventually should wear down the Seattle defense on his way to a 100-yard rushing day and at least one score. CB Marcus Trufant will lock up Eddie Kennison in what could be a relatively low-scoring affair. The Seahawks won't be able to establish much of a running game with Maurice Morris, and Seneca Wallace will be forced into many adverse passing situations and could make more than one turnover. But he also will lean heavily on Darrell Jackson, who should finish with good numbers while the production of Deion Branch suffers for a week as he adjusts to yet another new QB.
Start and Smile: Darrell Jackson
Watch and Worry: Eddie Kennison, Maurice Morris, Deion Branch
Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants: New York CB Sam Madison (hamstring) is hurting, so Bruce Gradkowski might take short drops to avoid pressure and throw often to Joey Galloway, who can take a short pass at any time and turn it into a long gainer against the Giants' secondary. Gradkowski, though, still could be in for a long day as the Giants contain Carnell Williams and force the Tampa Bay QB to throw too often. Eli Manning should strike early for more than one score, and Tiki Barber will pad his usually outstanding yardage numbers as the Giants work the clock for much of the second half. New York will move the ball well, and Brandon Jacobs should score on a short TD run.
Start and Smile: Joey Galloway, Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress
Watch and Worry: Bruce Gradkowski, Carnell Williams New England at Minnesota: The Patriots will find their two-pronged running attack neutralized by a strong Minnesota defensive line. Corey Dillon won't get opportunities to score near the goal line, and Laurence Maroney will disappoint in his return to the site of his college glory days. Tom Brady will have to spread the ball around to keep the Patriots' offense moving, and he'll operate an efficient short passing game. Benjamin Watson could finally deliver a truly impressive performance. Chester Taylor will be brought down to earth after a big week, and the Patriots will force Brad Johnson to throw, meaning he could struggle to move the offense with an injury-depleted receiving crew.
Start and Smile: Ben Watson
Watch and Worry: Corey Dillon, Laurence Maroney
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 9:11 AM
FFL: Week 8 Lineup Rankings


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Quarterbacks
1. Donovan McNabb vs. JAC
2. Eli Manning vs. TB
3. Peyton Manning at DEN
<!--##FRONTSTOP##-->4. Marc Bulger at SD
5. Brett Favre vs. ARI
6. Rex Grossman vs. SF
7. Philip Rivers vs. STL
8. Chad Pennington at CLE
9. Jake Delhomme vs. DAL
10. Carson Palmer vs. ATL
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER type="block" height="1" width="8"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]We rate players based on possible fantasy production each week, taking into account past production as well as matchups. These are not overall player rankings, but rather a list of who you should start for the upcoming week. Top superstars will rarely get moved out of the prime spots, as they should not be benched unless injured. Most players with an unclear injury or starting status for the upcoming week will not be included. All four major offensive positions and defense/special teams units are ranked. [/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>11. Drew Brees vs. BAL
12. Michael Vick at CIN
13. Tom Brady at MIN
14. Charlie Batch at OAK
15. David Carr at TEN
16. Matt Leinart at GB
17. Damon Huard vs. SEA
18. Byron Leftwich at PHI
19. Charlie Frye vs. NYJ
20. Jake Plummer vs. IND
21. Steve McNair at NO
22. Bruce Gradkowski at NYG
23. Brad Johnson vs. NE
24. Vince Young vs. HOU
25. Alex Smith at CHI
26. Seneca Wallace at KC
27. Tony Romo at CAR
28. Andrew Walter vs. PIT

Running Backs
1. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. STL
2. Larry Johnson vs. SEA
3. Brian Westbrook vs. JAC
4. Willie Parker at OAK
5. Tatum Bell vs. IND
6. Tiki Barber vs. TB
7. Warrick Dunn at CIN
8. Travis Henry vs. HOU
9. Steven Jackson vs. SD
10. Rudi Johnson vs. ATL
11. Ahman Green vs. ARI
12. Thomas Jones vs. SF
13. DeShaun Foster vs. DAL
14. Chester Taylor vs. NE
15. Carnell Williams vs. NYG
16. Deuce McAllister vs. BAL
17. Edgerrin James vs. GB
18. Frank Gore at CHI
19. Leon Washington at CLE
20. Corey Dillon at MIN
21. Julius Jones at CAR
22. Wali Lundy at TEN
23. Maurice Jones-Drew at PHI
24. Reuben Droughns vs. NYJ
25. Laurence Maroney at MIN
26. Reggie Bush vs. BAL
27. Fred Taylor at PHI
28. Jamal Lewis at NO
29. Maurice Morris at KC
30. Dominic Rhodes at DEN
31. LaMont Jordan vs. PIT
32. Joseph Addai at DEN
33. Brandon Jacobs at TB
34. Cedric Benson vs. SF
35. Marion Barber III at CAR
36. Justin Fargas vs. PIT
37. Jerious Norwood at CIN
38. Nick Goings vs. DAL
39. Najeh Davenport at OAK
40. Samkon Gado at TEN

Wide Receivers
1. Steve Smith vs. DAL
2. Torry Holt at SD
3. Bernard Berrian vs. SF
4. Anquan Boldin at GB
5. Andre Johnson at TEN
6. Donald Driver vs. ARI
7. Hines Ward at OAK
8. Reggie Brown vs. JAC
9. T.J. Houshmandzadeh vs. ATL
10. Marvin Harrison at DEN
11. Laveranues Coles at CLE
12. Plaxico Burress vs. TB
13. Chad Johnson vs. ATL
14. Reggie Wayne at DEN
15. Terrell Owens at CAR
16. Darrell Jackson at KC
17. Marques Colston vs. BAL
18. Randy Moss vs. PIT
19. Javon Walker vs. IND
20. Deion Branch at KC
21. Joey Galloway at NYG
22. Amani Toomer vs. TB
23. Joe Horn vs. BAL
24. Bryant Johnson at GB
25. Keyshawn Johnson vs. DAL
26. Braylon Edwards vs. NYJ
27. Eric Parker vs. STL
28. Donte' Stallworth vs. JAC
29. Terry Glenn at CAR
30. Reggie Williams at PHI
31. Muhsin Muhammad vs. SF
32. Drew Bennett vs. HOU
33. Doug Gabriel at MIN
34. Nate Washington at OAK
35. Isaac Bruce at SD
36. Eddie Kennison vs. SEA
37. Derrick Mason at NO
38. Mark Clayton at NO
39. Antonio Bryant at CHI
40. Jerricho Cotchery at CLE
41. Joe Jurevicius vs. NYJ
42. Santonio Holmes at OAK
43. Rod Smith vs. IND
44. Keenan McCardell vs. STL
45. Michael Jenkins at CIN
46. Rashied Davis vs. SF
47. Chad Jackson at MIN
48. Michael Clayton at NYG
49. Hank Baskett vs. JAC
50. Eric Moulds at TEN
51. Troy Williamson vs. NE
52. Bobby Wade vs. HOU
53. Samie Parker vs. SEA
54. Marcus Robinson vs. NE
55. Ashley Lelie at CIN
56. Ruvell Martin vs. ARI
57. Malcolm Floyd vs. STL
58. Travis Taylor vs. NE
59. Ernest Wilford at PHI
60. Ronald Curry vs. PIT

Tight Ends
1. Antonio Gates vs. STL
2. Jeremy Shockey vs. TB
3. Todd Heap at NO
4. Tony Gonzalez vs. SEA
5. Alge Crumpler at CIN
6. Kellen Winslow vs. NYJ
7. Heath Miller at OAK
8. Desmond Clark vs. SF
9. L.J. Smith vs. JAC
10. Jason Witten at CAR
11. Benjamin Watson at MIN
12. Dallas Clark at DEN
13. Owen Daniels at TEN
14. Bo Scaife vs. HOU
15. Ben Troupe vs. HOU
16. Alex Smith at NYG
17. Jermaine Wiggins vs. NE
18. Jerramy Stevens at KC
19. Chris Baker at CLE
20. Courtney Anderson vs. PIT
21. Joe Klopfenstein at SD
22. Bubba Franks vs. ARI
23. Eric Johnson at CHI
24. Reggie Kelly vs. ATL
25. Ernie Conwell vs. BAL

Defense/Special Teams
1. Chicago vs. SF
2. Pittsburgh at OAK
3. Baltimore at NO
4. New Orleans vs. BAL
5. N.Y. Giants vs. TB
6. Indianapolis at DEN
7. Philadelphia vs. JAC
8. Cincinnati vs. ATL
9. San Diego vs. STL
10. Minnesota vs. NE
11. New England vs. MIN
12. Jacksonville at PHI
13. Denver vs. IND
14. Carolina vs. DAL
15. Atlanta at CIN
16. Tampa Bay at NYG
17. Kansas City vs. SEA
18. Seattle at KC
19. N.Y. Jets at CLE
20. Green Bay vs. ARI
21. Dallas at CAR
22. Houston at TEN
23. Arizona vs. GB
24. Tennessee vs. HOU
25. Cleveland vs. NYJ
26. St. Louis at SD
27. San Francisco vs. CHI
28. Oakland vs. PIT
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 9:11 AM
FFL: Week 8 Lineup Rankings


<!-- end pagetitle --><!-- begin bylinebox -->

<!-- firstName = Scott --><!-- lastName = Engel -->

By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

<!-- begin presby2 -->
<!-- end presby2 -->
<!-- end bylinebox -->
<!-- begin text11 div -->
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Quarterbacks
1. Donovan McNabb vs. JAC
2. Eli Manning vs. TB
3. Peyton Manning at DEN
<!--##FRONTSTOP##-->4. Marc Bulger at SD
5. Brett Favre vs. ARI
6. Rex Grossman vs. SF
7. Philip Rivers vs. STL
8. Chad Pennington at CLE
9. Jake Delhomme vs. DAL
10. Carson Palmer vs. ATL
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER type="block" height="1" width="8"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]We rate players based on possible fantasy production each week, taking into account past production as well as matchups. These are not overall player rankings, but rather a list of who you should start for the upcoming week. Top superstars will rarely get moved out of the prime spots, as they should not be benched unless injured. Most players with an unclear injury or starting status for the upcoming week will not be included. All four major offensive positions and defense/special teams units are ranked. [/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>11. Drew Brees vs. BAL
12. Michael Vick at CIN
13. Tom Brady at MIN
14. Charlie Batch at OAK
15. David Carr at TEN
16. Matt Leinart at GB
17. Damon Huard vs. SEA
18. Byron Leftwich at PHI
19. Charlie Frye vs. NYJ
20. Jake Plummer vs. IND
21. Steve McNair at NO
22. Bruce Gradkowski at NYG
23. Brad Johnson vs. NE
24. Vince Young vs. HOU
25. Alex Smith at CHI
26. Seneca Wallace at KC
27. Tony Romo at CAR
28. Andrew Walter vs. PIT

Running Backs
1. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. STL
2. Larry Johnson vs. SEA
3. Brian Westbrook vs. JAC
4. Willie Parker at OAK
5. Tatum Bell vs. IND
6. Tiki Barber vs. TB
7. Warrick Dunn at CIN
8. Travis Henry vs. HOU
9. Steven Jackson vs. SD
10. Rudi Johnson vs. ATL
11. Ahman Green vs. ARI
12. Thomas Jones vs. SF
13. DeShaun Foster vs. DAL
14. Chester Taylor vs. NE
15. Carnell Williams vs. NYG
16. Deuce McAllister vs. BAL
17. Edgerrin James vs. GB
18. Frank Gore at CHI
19. Leon Washington at CLE
20. Corey Dillon at MIN
21. Julius Jones at CAR
22. Wali Lundy at TEN
23. Maurice Jones-Drew at PHI
24. Reuben Droughns vs. NYJ
25. Laurence Maroney at MIN
26. Reggie Bush vs. BAL
27. Fred Taylor at PHI
28. Jamal Lewis at NO
29. Maurice Morris at KC
30. Dominic Rhodes at DEN
31. LaMont Jordan vs. PIT
32. Joseph Addai at DEN
33. Brandon Jacobs at TB
34. Cedric Benson vs. SF
35. Marion Barber III at CAR
36. Justin Fargas vs. PIT
37. Jerious Norwood at CIN
38. Nick Goings vs. DAL
39. Najeh Davenport at OAK
40. Samkon Gado at TEN

Wide Receivers
1. Steve Smith vs. DAL
2. Torry Holt at SD
3. Bernard Berrian vs. SF
4. Anquan Boldin at GB
5. Andre Johnson at TEN
6. Donald Driver vs. ARI
7. Hines Ward at OAK
8. Reggie Brown vs. JAC
9. T.J. Houshmandzadeh vs. ATL
10. Marvin Harrison at DEN
11. Laveranues Coles at CLE
12. Plaxico Burress vs. TB
13. Chad Johnson vs. ATL
14. Reggie Wayne at DEN
15. Terrell Owens at CAR
16. Darrell Jackson at KC
17. Marques Colston vs. BAL
18. Randy Moss vs. PIT
19. Javon Walker vs. IND
20. Deion Branch at KC
21. Joey Galloway at NYG
22. Amani Toomer vs. TB
23. Joe Horn vs. BAL
24. Bryant Johnson at GB
25. Keyshawn Johnson vs. DAL
26. Braylon Edwards vs. NYJ
27. Eric Parker vs. STL
28. Donte' Stallworth vs. JAC
29. Terry Glenn at CAR
30. Reggie Williams at PHI
31. Muhsin Muhammad vs. SF
32. Drew Bennett vs. HOU
33. Doug Gabriel at MIN
34. Nate Washington at OAK
35. Isaac Bruce at SD
36. Eddie Kennison vs. SEA
37. Derrick Mason at NO
38. Mark Clayton at NO
39. Antonio Bryant at CHI
40. Jerricho Cotchery at CLE
41. Joe Jurevicius vs. NYJ
42. Santonio Holmes at OAK
43. Rod Smith vs. IND
44. Keenan McCardell vs. STL
45. Michael Jenkins at CIN
46. Rashied Davis vs. SF
47. Chad Jackson at MIN
48. Michael Clayton at NYG
49. Hank Baskett vs. JAC
50. Eric Moulds at TEN
51. Troy Williamson vs. NE
52. Bobby Wade vs. HOU
53. Samie Parker vs. SEA
54. Marcus Robinson vs. NE
55. Ashley Lelie at CIN
56. Ruvell Martin vs. ARI
57. Malcolm Floyd vs. STL
58. Travis Taylor vs. NE
59. Ernest Wilford at PHI
60. Ronald Curry vs. PIT

Tight Ends
1. Antonio Gates vs. STL
2. Jeremy Shockey vs. TB
3. Todd Heap at NO
4. Tony Gonzalez vs. SEA
5. Alge Crumpler at CIN
6. Kellen Winslow vs. NYJ
7. Heath Miller at OAK
8. Desmond Clark vs. SF
9. L.J. Smith vs. JAC
10. Jason Witten at CAR
11. Benjamin Watson at MIN
12. Dallas Clark at DEN
13. Owen Daniels at TEN
14. Bo Scaife vs. HOU
15. Ben Troupe vs. HOU
16. Alex Smith at NYG
17. Jermaine Wiggins vs. NE
18. Jerramy Stevens at KC
19. Chris Baker at CLE
20. Courtney Anderson vs. PIT
21. Joe Klopfenstein at SD
22. Bubba Franks vs. ARI
23. Eric Johnson at CHI
24. Reggie Kelly vs. ATL
25. Ernie Conwell vs. BAL

Defense/Special Teams
1. Chicago vs. SF
2. Pittsburgh at OAK
3. Baltimore at NO
4. New Orleans vs. BAL
5. N.Y. Giants vs. TB
6. Indianapolis at DEN
7. Philadelphia vs. JAC
8. Cincinnati vs. ATL
9. San Diego vs. STL
10. Minnesota vs. NE
11. New England vs. MIN
12. Jacksonville at PHI
13. Denver vs. IND
14. Carolina vs. DAL
15. Atlanta at CIN
16. Tampa Bay at NYG
17. Kansas City vs. SEA
18. Seattle at KC
19. N.Y. Jets at CLE
20. Green Bay vs. ARI
21. Dallas at CAR
22. Houston at TEN
23. Arizona vs. GB
24. Tennessee vs. HOU
25. Cleveland vs. NYJ
26. St. Louis at SD
27. San Francisco vs. CHI
28. Oakland vs. PIT
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 9:11 AM
Week 8: Waiver Wire Work


<!-- end pagetitle --><!-- begin bylinebox -->

<!-- firstName = Scott --><!-- lastName = Engel -->

By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

<!-- begin presby2 -->
<!-- end presby2 -->
<!-- end bylinebox -->
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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->
Each week, we help improve your fantasy outlook by recommending the best players to add and drop. Here are some players you should consider who are probably available on your league's free-agent list, and others you should cut loose if you need to make extra room on your roster.
TOP ADDS
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys (Owned in 1.5 percent of ESPN leagues): While there has been nothing official announced about a QB change in Dallas, there are already reports that Romo is expected to be installed as the Cowboys' new starting quarterback. It makes a lot of sense for Dallas to make the change, so don't be surprised if and when it happens. Romo is more mobile and can operate more efficiently behind a questionable offensive line, and poor decisions by Drew Bledsoe might have earned him his seat on the bench. Even if Bledsoe somehow keeps the job, he'll be on a short leash. Romo could eventually be a quality fantasy starter once he starts to get more work with the first-team offense.
Seneca Wallace, QB, Seahawks (0.1 percent owned): He didn't look good overall in relief of Matt Hasselbeck Sunday, and Wallace is small and can get passes batted down or tipped at the line of scrimmage. But he is very athletic, and has looked good in the preseason before, and now will have time to get comfortable as a starter. Wallace throws well on the run and has the potential to throw accurate deep balls. He does have a high-quality receiving crew as well. Wallace won't post outstanding numbers, but he is a good add if you are hurting for help at QB or have to start two players at the position.
Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders (1.5 percent owned): When LaMont Jordan's back tightened up on him before Sunday's game against Arizona, Fargas was suddenly pushed into a prime role. Fargas wasn't anything better than mediocre and had no scores. But he could continue to get a lot of work if Jordan has trouble staying healthy, and Fargas was already in line to get more touches, as Art Shell seemed to be impressed with his potential. He could be just a change-of-pace RB when Jordan is available, but he'll continue to get more work if needed. Fargas isn't a strong runner and Zack Crockett could be used more in short-yardage situations when Jordan is out, but Fargas does have the speed to break a long run at any time, and you simply can't leave a possible starting RB on the free agent list when he is available.
Chad Jackson, WR, Patriots (5.6 percent owned): He has seemingly put some early-season injury issues behind him, and now is becoming a more integral part of the New England passing game. The Patriots have intended to make Jackson become more involved in the offense recently, and he served notice that he could become one of Tom Brady's favored targets with a 35-yard TD reception against the Bills Sunday. Jackson is a great combination of size and speed, and he plays with a QB that can get him the ball often even while he learns on the job. Jackson may lack experience, but Brady will get him the ball whenever he gets open. Brady makes good use of any receiver who has some talent, and Jackson will catch his eye and get the ball whenever he can create some space for himself.
Santonio Holmes, WR, Steelers (7.0 percent owned): He makes rookie mistakes, runs sloppy routes, and has been slow to get used to the pro game. But the Steelers won't wait for him to mature more, and want to get him involved in the offense now. They are designing plays to get Holmes the ball, and they will continue to throw to him, especially when he can get deep. Holmes isn't going to catch every ball thrown his way, and he'll likely continue to struggle on shorter routes. But he can certainly get deep, and he's going to get the ball every time he beats a defensive back by a few steps. Pittsburgh isn't going to ignore him as he learns, and he'll be targeted often, with some quality results every so often.
PRIME CUTS
Drew Bledsoe, QB, Cowboys (94.9 percent owned): It's just a matter of time before he officially is pinned to the bench. It might only be days before that happens. Even if he starts again at some point this season, you can't depend on him for consistent production, even with his good-looking receiving crew.
Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (79.2 percent owned): The Broncos are winning games, so a switch to rookie QB Jay Cutler might not happen in the near future. But the Broncos have been conservative on offense, and Plummer simply isn't getting the job done statistically. Plummer has thrown only four TD passes this year, and none in three games.
Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons (30.8 percent owned): For those of you still holding onto him in yearly leagues, let go. While Norwood can occasionally break loose for the big run, he's not getting enough touches to be a consistent fantasy contributor, even as a flex option.
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, N.Y. Jets (67.5 percent owned): He looked like a big sleeper early on, but now opponents respect him and give him more defensive attention. Cotchery hasn't been able to break loose for any big plays recently, and his numbers will continue to be mediocre as he operates as a strict possession receiver. Cotchery has not scored in the past three games and he has only one 100-yard game this year. Keenan McCardell, WR, Chargers (66.4 percent owned): He is no longer a major part of the offense. McCardell has no TD catches yet, and he has failed to total 70 receiving yards in a game. Stop waiting for him to come around.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 10/26/06)

Oct. 28, 2006, 9:11 AM
Week 8: Waiver Wire Work


<!-- end pagetitle --><!-- begin bylinebox -->

<!-- firstName = Scott --><!-- lastName = Engel -->

By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

<!-- begin presby2 -->
<!-- end presby2 -->
<!-- end bylinebox -->
<!-- begin text11 div -->
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->
Each week, we help improve your fantasy outlook by recommending the best players to add and drop. Here are some players you should consider who are probably available on your league's free-agent list, and others you should cut loose if you need to make extra room on your roster.
TOP ADDS
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys (Owned in 1.5 percent of ESPN leagues): While there has been nothing official announced about a QB change in Dallas, there are already reports that Romo is expected to be installed as the Cowboys' new starting quarterback. It makes a lot of sense for Dallas to make the change, so don't be surprised if and when it happens. Romo is more mobile and can operate more efficiently behind a questionable offensive line, and poor decisions by Drew Bledsoe might have earned him his seat on the bench. Even if Bledsoe somehow keeps the job, he'll be on a short leash. Romo could eventually be a quality fantasy starter once he starts to get more work with the first-team offense.
Seneca Wallace, QB, Seahawks (0.1 percent owned): He didn't look good overall in relief of Matt Hasselbeck Sunday, and Wallace is small and can get passes batted down or tipped at the line of scrimmage. But he is very athletic, and has looked good in the preseason before, and now will have time to get comfortable as a starter. Wallace throws well on the run and has the potential to throw accurate deep balls. He does have a high-quality receiving crew as well. Wallace won't post outstanding numbers, but he is a good add if you are hurting for help at QB or have to start two players at the position.
Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders (1.5 percent owned): When LaMont Jordan's back tightened up on him before Sunday's game against Arizona, Fargas was suddenly pushed into a prime role. Fargas wasn't anything better than mediocre and had no scores. But he could continue to get a lot of work if Jordan has trouble staying healthy, and Fargas was already in line to get more touches, as Art Shell seemed to be impressed with his potential. He could be just a change-of-pace RB when Jordan is available, but he'll continue to get more work if needed. Fargas isn't a strong runner and Zack Crockett could be used more in short-yardage situations when Jordan is out, but Fargas does have the speed to break a long run at any time, and you simply can't leave a possible starting RB on the free agent list when he is available.
Chad Jackson, WR, Patriots (5.6 percent owned): He has seemingly put some early-season injury issues behind him, and now is becoming a more integral part of the New England passing game. The Patriots have intended to make Jackson become more involved in the offense recently, and he served notice that he could become one of Tom Brady's favored targets with a 35-yard TD reception against the Bills Sunday. Jackson is a great combination of size and speed, and he plays with a QB that can get him the ball often even while he learns on the job. Jackson may lack experience, but Brady will get him the ball whenever he gets open. Brady makes good use of any receiver who has some talent, and Jackson will catch his eye and get the ball whenever he can create some space for himself.
Santonio Holmes, WR, Steelers (7.0 percent owned): He makes rookie mistakes, runs sloppy routes, and has been slow to get used to the pro game. But the Steelers won't wait for him to mature more, and want to get him involved in the offense now. They are designing plays to get Holmes the ball, and they will continue to throw to him, especially when he can get deep. Holmes isn't going to catch every ball thrown his way, and he'll likely continue to struggle on shorter routes. But he can certainly get deep, and he's going to get the ball every time he beats a defensive back by a few steps. Pittsburgh isn't going to ignore him as he learns, and he'll be targeted often, with some quality results every so often.
PRIME CUTS
Drew Bledsoe, QB, Cowboys (94.9 percent owned): It's just a matter of time before he officially is pinned to the bench. It might only be days before that happens. Even if he starts again at some point this season, you can't depend on him for consistent production, even with his good-looking receiving crew.
Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (79.2 percent owned): The Broncos are winning games, so a switch to rookie QB Jay Cutler might not happen in the near future. But the Broncos have been conservative on offense, and Plummer simply isn't getting the job done statistically. Plummer has thrown only four TD passes this year, and none in three games.
Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons (30.8 percent owned): For those of you still holding onto him in yearly leagues, let go. While Norwood can occasionally break loose for the big run, he's not getting enough touches to be a consistent fantasy contributor, even as a flex option.
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, N.Y. Jets (67.5 percent owned): He looked like a big sleeper early on, but now opponents respect him and give him more defensive attention. Cotchery hasn't been able to break loose for any big plays recently, and his numbers will continue to be mediocre as he operates as a strict possession receiver. Cotchery has not scored in the past three games and he has only one 100-yard game this year. Keenan McCardell, WR, Chargers (66.4 percent owned): He is no longer a major part of the offense. McCardell has no TD catches yet, and he has failed to total 70 receiving yards in a game. Stop waiting for him to come around.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Oct. 30, 2006
Engel: Week 8 wrapup


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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Here's a quick-hitting recap of key performances and news from the eighth week of the NFL season, complete with in-depth fantasy analysis.
Michael Vick, fantasy star? After his amazing performance against the Steelers, Vick served notice that it was no fluke, and he might have finally shed the stigma of being a statistical underachiever. Vick looked terrific again against Cincinnati, throwing for 291 yards and three TDs. Vick got great pass protection and spread the ball around well, as he did throw one TD pass to favorite target Alge Crumpler, but also tossed scoring passes to Michael Jenkins and FB Justin Griffith. Many opponents have come into games recently not expecting Vick to beat them by throwing downfield with so much success, and have been focused on containing the Atlanta running game while trying to prevent Vick from throwing on the move. Now that Vick is showing he demands more respect as a pure passer, defenses will have to try to stop him with different methods. Right now, however, there seems to be no sure way of stopping Vick, so keep him in your lineup while he stays hot.
Seneca steps in: Seneca Wallace became the latest backup quarterback to prove that passers who come off the bench shouldn't be immediately judged as inferior. After a full week of practice with the Seahawks' first-team offense, Wallace played well overall, despite throwing two interceptions. Wallace did throw for 198 yards and three TDs, and proved he can certainly be a quality fantasy starter if needed. Wallace is small, but he has a very strong arm, is very comfortable in the Seattle offense, and isn't intimidated easily. He came into a hostile environment at Arrowhead Stadium, stood firm in the pocket when he had to, and also threw well on the move. The production of his wide receivers did suffer, though, as he spread the ball around, and Darrell Jackson's 49-yard TD catch came when CB Ty Law fell down. Still, Wallace certainly wasn't a flop, and he is a decent stopgap starter if you need one. He also helped the Seahawks rediscover Jerramy Stevens, who made a key third-down reception and hauled in his first TD pass of the year.
Against the wind: As feared, heavy wind gusts hurt the passing games of the Giants and Buccaneers at the Meadowlands. It was more of a fantasy factor from New York's perspective, as most owners likely chose to sit Bruce Gradkowski on the road against a tough, physical front seven, regardless of the conditions. Gradkowski was ineffective as expected, throwing for just 139 yards and no TDs. But the performance of Eli Manning was certainly disappointing, as he threw for 154 yards and just one TD on a seven-yard pass that became a work of art by Plaxico Burress. Many of Manning's deeper throws were incompletions, as he overthrew his intended targets when they got open downfield. Credit Burress for helping out with great catches on the TD and in a few other instances, as he made fine adjustments all day to wind-blown balls. He finished with seven receptions for 86 yards. Manning threw underneath often and while the elements clearly hurt his numbers, expect him to post much better totals against Houston next week if the weather doesn't affect him in a similar manner.
Jamal Lewis shows up: Before Brian Billick took over the playcalling, Lewis was complaining he wasn't getting enough work. With Billick calling the shots in an impressive win over the Saints, Lewis looked like a reliable workhorse again. He carried 31 times for 109 yards, becoming a major focal point of an efficient Baltimore offense. Is this the real Lewis, and can we expect him to be dependable for the rest of the year now? Well, it will take much more than just one good outing for Lewis to fully regain the confidence of most fantasy owners. But it was an encouraging performance, as Lewis clearly benefited from the opportunity to work himself into a positive rhythm by carrying often. Billick still has a lot of confidence in Lewis, which is great for Lewis' fantasy owners. Lewis faces the usually vulnerable Cincinnati run defense next week, so he could deliver another solid outing,
Matt Leinart continues to sputter: You can't simply just look at a matchup and assume that a given player will have an outstanding game. Sure, we all know the Packers have a shaky pass defense, but that doesn't mean it will always be exploited. Leinart has struggled on the road, and delivered another disappointing performance away from home when many of us thought he could perform better against the Packers. The rookie has thrown only one TD pass in the past two games, both on the road, and he has been intercepted three times. Leinart hasn't done well against man-to-man coverages and his play isn't being helped by the absence of Larry Fitzgerald. Bryant Johnson and Troy Walters have been unsuitable replacements and Anquan Boldin has been the clear focus of opposing defenses in the passing game. Hopefully, a bye week and the return of Fitzgerald in Week 10 at home against Dallas can help Leinart's outlook, but he should be headed back to your bench for the next two weeks because of the bye and the need to prove himself again. Recently, Leinart has lost his luster and doesn't look like a quality starter against any opponent.
The Chicago RB picture: We kept hearing all week how Cedric Benson was going to get more work, and wondered if that would lower the appeal of Thomas Jones. Yet Jones proved he is still definitely the Bears' No. 1 RB, as he carried 23 times for 111 yards and scored on a picturesque seven-yard run in which he reversed his field and then found the end zone. Benson carried only eight times for 26 times, but scored on a one-yard run and gave the signal he will continue to be a factor in many of Chicago's short-yardage situations. Ultimately, the Bears had hoped the two RBs would complement one another well, and that seems to be the case now. Look for them to continue to co-exist well, with Jones being the better play for more touches and still some chances to score, while Benson should steal some, but not all of the goal-line carries.
Philly fizzles: The Eagles' top-ranked offense was somewhat shockingly shut down by a Jacksonville team that had trouble containing the Texans the week before. The Jaguars, missing top players like LB Mike Peterson and DT Marcus Stroud, still came in determined to erase the specter of their loss to Houston while meeting the challenge of facing the Philadelphia offense head-on. The secondary contained the usually prolific Eagles wide receivers and the Jaguars refused to let up any big plays, as Donovan McNabb often couldn't find any open targets downfield on several important occasions. When he did get a chance to hit Brown deep at one point, McNabb overthrew him. A bye week should give the Eagles another week to regroup and allow more rest for top stars like Brian Westbrook and Donte' Stallworth, who have battled injuries. McNabb threw for only 168 yards and no scores, and while the wind was a factor, it wasn't close to the conditions in New Jersey. Expect the Eagles' offense to bounce back quickly after the bye week.
What happened to Travis Henry? It seemed like a matchup made for easy fantasy success. The rejuvenated Henry against the seemingly defenseless Texans. But the results weren't anywhere near what most of us expected, as Henry was held to 29 rushing yards on 15 carries. Houston came in focused to stop the Tennessee running game, and got the job done. While they didn't win the game, the Texans showed us that the Titans need to develop more offensive balance before we can trust Henry on a regular basis. Vince Young threw a TD pass and ran for another, but better opponents will continue to key on Henry often and put games in the hands of Young, who won't always perform well when Henry is contained and he has to throw often. Henry has suddenly gone from reborn RB to shaky fantasy option again. LenDale White rushed for 35 yards on seven carries and could soon seriously threaten Henry's playing time.
Jets fly low: For much of the season, the Jets' offense has been efficient, and looked good entering a matchup with the Browns. But rookie Leon Washington, who had been a hot option for this week, posted disappointing numbers. He was held to 51 rushing yards and lost a fumble. Washington was held down by a physical Cleveland front seven. Meanwhile, Chad Pennington threw for 108 yards with no TDs and was intercepted twice. On many of his timing passes, his touch was often inaccurate, and he also faced frequent pass pressure. A finely-tuned New York offense was thrown of its rhythm and pacing. The Jets have a bye in Week 9, but things won't get any easier when they face the Patriots on the road in Week 10. Ben looks bad again: It's becoming very apparent that unless Ben Roethlisberger is fully healthy, we can't count on him to deliver decent fantasy numbers. Coming off a concussion, Roethlisberger's decision-making and timing looked almost as questionable as it did when he first stepped on the field for the first time during the regular season. Roethlisberger threw only one TD pass and was intercepted four times by Oakland's unheralded pass defense. Roethlisberger was looking better before he suffered the concussion last week, but now it looks like fantasy players should bench him until he proves himself all over again.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Oct. 30, 2006
Engel: Week 8 wrapup


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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Here's a quick-hitting recap of key performances and news from the eighth week of the NFL season, complete with in-depth fantasy analysis.
Michael Vick, fantasy star? After his amazing performance against the Steelers, Vick served notice that it was no fluke, and he might have finally shed the stigma of being a statistical underachiever. Vick looked terrific again against Cincinnati, throwing for 291 yards and three TDs. Vick got great pass protection and spread the ball around well, as he did throw one TD pass to favorite target Alge Crumpler, but also tossed scoring passes to Michael Jenkins and FB Justin Griffith. Many opponents have come into games recently not expecting Vick to beat them by throwing downfield with so much success, and have been focused on containing the Atlanta running game while trying to prevent Vick from throwing on the move. Now that Vick is showing he demands more respect as a pure passer, defenses will have to try to stop him with different methods. Right now, however, there seems to be no sure way of stopping Vick, so keep him in your lineup while he stays hot.
Seneca steps in: Seneca Wallace became the latest backup quarterback to prove that passers who come off the bench shouldn't be immediately judged as inferior. After a full week of practice with the Seahawks' first-team offense, Wallace played well overall, despite throwing two interceptions. Wallace did throw for 198 yards and three TDs, and proved he can certainly be a quality fantasy starter if needed. Wallace is small, but he has a very strong arm, is very comfortable in the Seattle offense, and isn't intimidated easily. He came into a hostile environment at Arrowhead Stadium, stood firm in the pocket when he had to, and also threw well on the move. The production of his wide receivers did suffer, though, as he spread the ball around, and Darrell Jackson's 49-yard TD catch came when CB Ty Law fell down. Still, Wallace certainly wasn't a flop, and he is a decent stopgap starter if you need one. He also helped the Seahawks rediscover Jerramy Stevens, who made a key third-down reception and hauled in his first TD pass of the year.
Against the wind: As feared, heavy wind gusts hurt the passing games of the Giants and Buccaneers at the Meadowlands. It was more of a fantasy factor from New York's perspective, as most owners likely chose to sit Bruce Gradkowski on the road against a tough, physical front seven, regardless of the conditions. Gradkowski was ineffective as expected, throwing for just 139 yards and no TDs. But the performance of Eli Manning was certainly disappointing, as he threw for 154 yards and just one TD on a seven-yard pass that became a work of art by Plaxico Burress. Many of Manning's deeper throws were incompletions, as he overthrew his intended targets when they got open downfield. Credit Burress for helping out with great catches on the TD and in a few other instances, as he made fine adjustments all day to wind-blown balls. He finished with seven receptions for 86 yards. Manning threw underneath often and while the elements clearly hurt his numbers, expect him to post much better totals against Houston next week if the weather doesn't affect him in a similar manner.
Jamal Lewis shows up: Before Brian Billick took over the playcalling, Lewis was complaining he wasn't getting enough work. With Billick calling the shots in an impressive win over the Saints, Lewis looked like a reliable workhorse again. He carried 31 times for 109 yards, becoming a major focal point of an efficient Baltimore offense. Is this the real Lewis, and can we expect him to be dependable for the rest of the year now? Well, it will take much more than just one good outing for Lewis to fully regain the confidence of most fantasy owners. But it was an encouraging performance, as Lewis clearly benefited from the opportunity to work himself into a positive rhythm by carrying often. Billick still has a lot of confidence in Lewis, which is great for Lewis' fantasy owners. Lewis faces the usually vulnerable Cincinnati run defense next week, so he could deliver another solid outing,
Matt Leinart continues to sputter: You can't simply just look at a matchup and assume that a given player will have an outstanding game. Sure, we all know the Packers have a shaky pass defense, but that doesn't mean it will always be exploited. Leinart has struggled on the road, and delivered another disappointing performance away from home when many of us thought he could perform better against the Packers. The rookie has thrown only one TD pass in the past two games, both on the road, and he has been intercepted three times. Leinart hasn't done well against man-to-man coverages and his play isn't being helped by the absence of Larry Fitzgerald. Bryant Johnson and Troy Walters have been unsuitable replacements and Anquan Boldin has been the clear focus of opposing defenses in the passing game. Hopefully, a bye week and the return of Fitzgerald in Week 10 at home against Dallas can help Leinart's outlook, but he should be headed back to your bench for the next two weeks because of the bye and the need to prove himself again. Recently, Leinart has lost his luster and doesn't look like a quality starter against any opponent.
The Chicago RB picture: We kept hearing all week how Cedric Benson was going to get more work, and wondered if that would lower the appeal of Thomas Jones. Yet Jones proved he is still definitely the Bears' No. 1 RB, as he carried 23 times for 111 yards and scored on a picturesque seven-yard run in which he reversed his field and then found the end zone. Benson carried only eight times for 26 times, but scored on a one-yard run and gave the signal he will continue to be a factor in many of Chicago's short-yardage situations. Ultimately, the Bears had hoped the two RBs would complement one another well, and that seems to be the case now. Look for them to continue to co-exist well, with Jones being the better play for more touches and still some chances to score, while Benson should steal some, but not all of the goal-line carries.
Philly fizzles: The Eagles' top-ranked offense was somewhat shockingly shut down by a Jacksonville team that had trouble containing the Texans the week before. The Jaguars, missing top players like LB Mike Peterson and DT Marcus Stroud, still came in determined to erase the specter of their loss to Houston while meeting the challenge of facing the Philadelphia offense head-on. The secondary contained the usually prolific Eagles wide receivers and the Jaguars refused to let up any big plays, as Donovan McNabb often couldn't find any open targets downfield on several important occasions. When he did get a chance to hit Brown deep at one point, McNabb overthrew him. A bye week should give the Eagles another week to regroup and allow more rest for top stars like Brian Westbrook and Donte' Stallworth, who have battled injuries. McNabb threw for only 168 yards and no scores, and while the wind was a factor, it wasn't close to the conditions in New Jersey. Expect the Eagles' offense to bounce back quickly after the bye week.
What happened to Travis Henry? It seemed like a matchup made for easy fantasy success. The rejuvenated Henry against the seemingly defenseless Texans. But the results weren't anywhere near what most of us expected, as Henry was held to 29 rushing yards on 15 carries. Houston came in focused to stop the Tennessee running game, and got the job done. While they didn't win the game, the Texans showed us that the Titans need to develop more offensive balance before we can trust Henry on a regular basis. Vince Young threw a TD pass and ran for another, but better opponents will continue to key on Henry often and put games in the hands of Young, who won't always perform well when Henry is contained and he has to throw often. Henry has suddenly gone from reborn RB to shaky fantasy option again. LenDale White rushed for 35 yards on seven carries and could soon seriously threaten Henry's playing time.
Jets fly low: For much of the season, the Jets' offense has been efficient, and looked good entering a matchup with the Browns. But rookie Leon Washington, who had been a hot option for this week, posted disappointing numbers. He was held to 51 rushing yards and lost a fumble. Washington was held down by a physical Cleveland front seven. Meanwhile, Chad Pennington threw for 108 yards with no TDs and was intercepted twice. On many of his timing passes, his touch was often inaccurate, and he also faced frequent pass pressure. A finely-tuned New York offense was thrown of its rhythm and pacing. The Jets have a bye in Week 9, but things won't get any easier when they face the Patriots on the road in Week 10. Ben looks bad again: It's becoming very apparent that unless Ben Roethlisberger is fully healthy, we can't count on him to deliver decent fantasy numbers. Coming off a concussion, Roethlisberger's decision-making and timing looked almost as questionable as it did when he first stepped on the field for the first time during the regular season. Roethlisberger threw only one TD pass and was intercepted four times by Oakland's unheralded pass defense. Roethlisberger was looking better before he suffered the concussion last week, but now it looks like fantasy players should bench him until he proves himself all over again.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Monday, October 30, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Tony's Crew


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Drew Bledsoe, better make sure that seat of yours on the bench is comfortable. On Sunday night, Tony Romo, the unknown, undrafted, untested quarterback making his first career NFL start, made Cowboys coach Bill Parcells look good for his decision to make a switch at the position midway through the Week 7 contest. Now it's Romo's job to lose, and judging from Sunday's performance, he's nowhere near ready to hand it over.
Sure, for fantasy, the numbers weren't that extraordinary. Romo completed 24 of 36 passes for 270 yards, one touchdown and one interception, good for 15 fantasy points. Still, 15 isn't a bad number for a bye-week or injury sub, and it did rank him 11th among quarterbacks, tied with the Giants' Eli Manning and ahead of the Chargers' Philip Rivers (14) and Jets' Chad Pennington (11), guys you'd never have sat this week.
But what's important to gather from Romo's performance was his poise facing a challenging assignment at Carolina. While he did make that one costly interception, one which resulted in a Panthers touchdown on the very next play to put Carolina up 14-0, Romo didn't crack under the pressure of playing from behind, rallying his team to 35 unanswered points in the final three quarters. He also completed passes to six different receivers, helping Terrell Owens notch his first 100-yard receiving game of the season and tight end Jason Witten nab his first touchdown and a season-high six receptions.
By no means does this mark Romo as a safe, reliable fantasy pick. At best, he's worth a pickup to stash on reserve for depth, perhaps slotting in based on the matchup in a desperate circumstance. He has a strong arm, but while gaining experience is bound to make the occasional mistake, and don't forget, he has some tough defenses ahead to face.
What it does do is keep the value of guys like Owens, Terry Glenn and Witten stable, and it ensures that there should be enough running lanes open most weeks for Julius Jones and Marion Barber III to succeed. Glenn's value as the No. 2 receiver seems likely to be a little less in the Romo era, though, while Witten's gets a noticeable boost, as demonstrated on Sunday. Don't fret about your Dallas offensive players, because it seems Romo should be at least as effective at the helm as Bledsoe was to begin the season. <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
Maybe it's a little early to be thinking about the fantasy postseason, but with most leagues' trade deadlines rapidly approaching -- in ESPN leagues, it's Nov. 22 -- I think it's time to start thinking about the teams that might go into "shut-down mode" with their starters after clinching early playoff spots. With the Bears' and Colts' victories in Week 8, both teams are now 7-0 and potentially on their way to three-game leads in their divisions pending Monday Night's outcome, and each team has a two-game lead on any other team in its conference. It's something to think about if you're mulling trades for Chicago or Indianapolis players, because there's a greater chance their studs might miss a little time in Weeks 16-17 than the typical team. It shouldn't be a deal-breaker, but keep it in mind. ... Like Tatum Bell's performance in Week 3, Colts RB Joseph Addai's 17-carry, 93-yard performance in Week 8 should cement his status as the starter and go-to guy for the rest of the season. He has averaged 5.3 yards per carry in four games in October and remains on pace for only 199 carries for the season, meaning his legs should still be pretty fresh. I don't see Addai in the long term -- I'm talking seasons, not weeks -- ever being a contender for No. 1 overall RB contender, but I also see sleeper potential as a top-10 player at his position from Week 9 forward. ... When considering your weekly matchups, don't forget to take into account where the game is being played. A home game is often a noticeable advantage to certain teams, yet a lot of people seem to overlook it. Case in point: The Giants have now surrendered six points and 338 yards combined in their past two home contests. Their next two games, incidentally, are at home, against the Texans and Bears. Boy, how that Week 10 game against Chicago could be an interesting one.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Tatum Bell, RB, Broncos
13 carries, 27 rushing yards, 0 TDs

Just when it seemed clear which Bell in Denver was going to be the most reliable fantasy option the remainder of the season, and perhaps a top-10 player overall with some luck, Tatum Bell went ahead and offered up a stinker like this. In four previous games as the go-to guy, he totaled 93 carries for 413 yards (4.4 per carry, 103.3 per game) and two scores, each time topping 83 yards on the ground. Two of the games (Week 3 at the Patriots, Week 5 against the Ravens) even came against top-10 rush defenses, and considering Tatum entered Week 8 averaging 5.1 yards per carry for his NFL career, it's no wonder everyone was suddenly on his bandwagon. But despite going up against an Indianapolis rush defense ranked 31st, he managed the worst yards-per-carry average (2.1) of his NFL career (in games where he had any touches, of course), and afterward, it was revealed that much of the reason Mike Bell was in there running wild for 131 yards and two scores on 13 carries after halftime is because Tatum admitted his turf toe injury was limiting him. So on came Mike, in a breakout performance for him, and now the battle of the Bells is on once again in Denver. Turf toe injuries do have a tendency to linger, meaning Tatum's status as the elite fantasy back is indeed in jeopardy, and if you're one of the dozens who cut Mike thinking his time was done, it's time to snatch him back up. He's clearly capable of excelling behind that vaunted Denver offensive line for as long as he's needed to spell Tatum.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 8</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Michael Vick, QB, Falcons: Has 523 passing yards, 7 TDs in his past two G; now he faces the Lions' poor pass D</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>passYDS</TD><TD>passTD</TD><TD>INT</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>291</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>55</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>28</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: It's his 1st career 4-TD G; he has 658 scrimmage yards, 10 TDs in his past five G</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>ATT</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>39</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>155</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>26</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>41</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><!-- <tr><td align=center bgcolor="#555555" COLSPAN=6 class="stathead" colspan="6"> </td></tr> --><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts: He has scored in three straight G and now has back-to-back 100-yard efforts</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>REC</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TARGET</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>10</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>138</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>11</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>33</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Desmond Clark, TE, Bears: On pace for 59 catches, 894 yards and seven TDs, all of which would set career highs</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>REC</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TARGET</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>86</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>8</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>20</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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<!-- begin also see2 -->Surfin' the Scoreboard


Lineup Shuffling
? Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after the Week 8 game at the Titans that QB David Carr would remain his starter, despite his three turnovers that led to QB Sage Rosenfels coming on in relief. Carr would be facing a poor matchup at the Giants in Week 9, however, and shouldn't be trusted in fantasy leagues the way he has been playing.

Trainer's Room
? Saints RB Reggie Bush left the Week 8 game against the Ravens in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, though X-rays taken afterward were negative. He was limping on the sidelines after leaving the game, and should be able to play in Week 9 at the Buccaneers, though with his so-so performance so far, it might be best to reserve him. Any missed time by Bush would help boost RB Deuce McAllister's fantasy stock.
? Chiefs coach Herm Edwards confirmed after the Week 8 game against the Seahawks that QB Trent Green (concussion) would reclaim his starting job once healthy. Green appears on track to return either in Week 10 or 11, so if you're a QB Damon Huard owner, be prepared to see him return to his old backup role soon.
? Packers RB Vernand Morency left the Week 8 game against the Cardinals in the fourth quarter with a lower back injury. His status for Week 9 at the Bulls is unknown, but if he's sidelined, it'll help make RB Ahman Green a stronger weekly consideration. RB Noah Herron would presumably step up as the No. 2 option if Morency misses time. ? Friday Box | Thursday Box | Karabell's Blog





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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Monday, October 30, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Tony's Crew


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Drew Bledsoe, better make sure that seat of yours on the bench is comfortable. On Sunday night, Tony Romo, the unknown, undrafted, untested quarterback making his first career NFL start, made Cowboys coach Bill Parcells look good for his decision to make a switch at the position midway through the Week 7 contest. Now it's Romo's job to lose, and judging from Sunday's performance, he's nowhere near ready to hand it over.
Sure, for fantasy, the numbers weren't that extraordinary. Romo completed 24 of 36 passes for 270 yards, one touchdown and one interception, good for 15 fantasy points. Still, 15 isn't a bad number for a bye-week or injury sub, and it did rank him 11th among quarterbacks, tied with the Giants' Eli Manning and ahead of the Chargers' Philip Rivers (14) and Jets' Chad Pennington (11), guys you'd never have sat this week.
But what's important to gather from Romo's performance was his poise facing a challenging assignment at Carolina. While he did make that one costly interception, one which resulted in a Panthers touchdown on the very next play to put Carolina up 14-0, Romo didn't crack under the pressure of playing from behind, rallying his team to 35 unanswered points in the final three quarters. He also completed passes to six different receivers, helping Terrell Owens notch his first 100-yard receiving game of the season and tight end Jason Witten nab his first touchdown and a season-high six receptions.
By no means does this mark Romo as a safe, reliable fantasy pick. At best, he's worth a pickup to stash on reserve for depth, perhaps slotting in based on the matchup in a desperate circumstance. He has a strong arm, but while gaining experience is bound to make the occasional mistake, and don't forget, he has some tough defenses ahead to face.
What it does do is keep the value of guys like Owens, Terry Glenn and Witten stable, and it ensures that there should be enough running lanes open most weeks for Julius Jones and Marion Barber III to succeed. Glenn's value as the No. 2 receiver seems likely to be a little less in the Romo era, though, while Witten's gets a noticeable boost, as demonstrated on Sunday. Don't fret about your Dallas offensive players, because it seems Romo should be at least as effective at the helm as Bledsoe was to begin the season. <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
Maybe it's a little early to be thinking about the fantasy postseason, but with most leagues' trade deadlines rapidly approaching -- in ESPN leagues, it's Nov. 22 -- I think it's time to start thinking about the teams that might go into "shut-down mode" with their starters after clinching early playoff spots. With the Bears' and Colts' victories in Week 8, both teams are now 7-0 and potentially on their way to three-game leads in their divisions pending Monday Night's outcome, and each team has a two-game lead on any other team in its conference. It's something to think about if you're mulling trades for Chicago or Indianapolis players, because there's a greater chance their studs might miss a little time in Weeks 16-17 than the typical team. It shouldn't be a deal-breaker, but keep it in mind. ... Like Tatum Bell's performance in Week 3, Colts RB Joseph Addai's 17-carry, 93-yard performance in Week 8 should cement his status as the starter and go-to guy for the rest of the season. He has averaged 5.3 yards per carry in four games in October and remains on pace for only 199 carries for the season, meaning his legs should still be pretty fresh. I don't see Addai in the long term -- I'm talking seasons, not weeks -- ever being a contender for No. 1 overall RB contender, but I also see sleeper potential as a top-10 player at his position from Week 9 forward. ... When considering your weekly matchups, don't forget to take into account where the game is being played. A home game is often a noticeable advantage to certain teams, yet a lot of people seem to overlook it. Case in point: The Giants have now surrendered six points and 338 yards combined in their past two home contests. Their next two games, incidentally, are at home, against the Texans and Bears. Boy, how that Week 10 game against Chicago could be an interesting one.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Tatum Bell, RB, Broncos
13 carries, 27 rushing yards, 0 TDs

Just when it seemed clear which Bell in Denver was going to be the most reliable fantasy option the remainder of the season, and perhaps a top-10 player overall with some luck, Tatum Bell went ahead and offered up a stinker like this. In four previous games as the go-to guy, he totaled 93 carries for 413 yards (4.4 per carry, 103.3 per game) and two scores, each time topping 83 yards on the ground. Two of the games (Week 3 at the Patriots, Week 5 against the Ravens) even came against top-10 rush defenses, and considering Tatum entered Week 8 averaging 5.1 yards per carry for his NFL career, it's no wonder everyone was suddenly on his bandwagon. But despite going up against an Indianapolis rush defense ranked 31st, he managed the worst yards-per-carry average (2.1) of his NFL career (in games where he had any touches, of course), and afterward, it was revealed that much of the reason Mike Bell was in there running wild for 131 yards and two scores on 13 carries after halftime is because Tatum admitted his turf toe injury was limiting him. So on came Mike, in a breakout performance for him, and now the battle of the Bells is on once again in Denver. Turf toe injuries do have a tendency to linger, meaning Tatum's status as the elite fantasy back is indeed in jeopardy, and if you're one of the dozens who cut Mike thinking his time was done, it's time to snatch him back up. He's clearly capable of excelling behind that vaunted Denver offensive line for as long as he's needed to spell Tatum.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 8</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Michael Vick, QB, Falcons: Has 523 passing yards, 7 TDs in his past two G; now he faces the Lions' poor pass D</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>passYDS</TD><TD>passTD</TD><TD>INT</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>291</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>55</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>28</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: It's his 1st career 4-TD G; he has 658 scrimmage yards, 10 TDs in his past five G</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>ATT</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>39</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>155</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>26</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>41</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><!-- <tr><td align=center bgcolor="#555555" COLSPAN=6 class="stathead" colspan="6"> </td></tr> --><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts: He has scored in three straight G and now has back-to-back 100-yard efforts</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>REC</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TARGET</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>10</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>138</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>11</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>33</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Desmond Clark, TE, Bears: On pace for 59 catches, 894 yards and seven TDs, all of which would set career highs</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>REC</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TARGET</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>86</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>8</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>20</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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<!-- begin also see2 -->Surfin' the Scoreboard


Lineup Shuffling
? Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after the Week 8 game at the Titans that QB David Carr would remain his starter, despite his three turnovers that led to QB Sage Rosenfels coming on in relief. Carr would be facing a poor matchup at the Giants in Week 9, however, and shouldn't be trusted in fantasy leagues the way he has been playing.

Trainer's Room
? Saints RB Reggie Bush left the Week 8 game against the Ravens in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, though X-rays taken afterward were negative. He was limping on the sidelines after leaving the game, and should be able to play in Week 9 at the Buccaneers, though with his so-so performance so far, it might be best to reserve him. Any missed time by Bush would help boost RB Deuce McAllister's fantasy stock.
? Chiefs coach Herm Edwards confirmed after the Week 8 game against the Seahawks that QB Trent Green (concussion) would reclaim his starting job once healthy. Green appears on track to return either in Week 10 or 11, so if you're a QB Damon Huard owner, be prepared to see him return to his old backup role soon.
? Packers RB Vernand Morency left the Week 8 game against the Cardinals in the fourth quarter with a lower back injury. His status for Week 9 at the Bulls is unknown, but if he's sidelined, it'll help make RB Ahman Green a stronger weekly consideration. RB Noah Herron would presumably step up as the No. 2 option if Morency misses time. ? Friday Box | Thursday Box | Karabell's Blog





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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Stars come out in Week 8


posted: Monday, October 30, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


Sometimes it's not about the little people, your third wide receiver or which kicker you choose. Those are the questions we get the most in the fantasy department. Eric, I really need to win this week, because I'm playing my brother's girlfriend's plumber. So, Reggie Bush or Jerious Norwood?

Get those all the time. But sometimes, you just need your main guys to do something special, give you a chance to win. And when they don't play well, well, you're in trouble.
Oh sure, Thomas Jones, Fred Taylor and Ahman Green got it done, but they aren't every week stars. Drew Brees and his receivers rocked. A pair of under the radar tight ends scored twice in the early games.
But this week it was about the big names. Larry Johnson and LaDainian Tomlinson went off. Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook did not. Michael Vick stepped up again. Carnell Williams did not, again. You own those Eagles, it would have been tough to win. You needed something from them. You played Eli Manning and Tiki Barber, you needed more. It's tough to tell week to week, but fantasy owners can definitely be held hostage by their stars. If they don't perform, good luck.
I debated the quarterback situation for one of my teams up until the deadline, finally sticking with Eli in what I knew was not going to be a great game, not with the wind blowing the way it was at Giants Stadium. Eli finds Plaxico Burress early and ... well, that was it! But it didn't matter what Eli did, because the running backs on that team were Deuce McAllister and Warrick Dunn. They tried, of course. But that team, it's done. Or Dunn.
Philadelphia entered Week 8 leading the NFL in yards per game, and just a shade away from the most points per game. McNabb led fantasy in points, and it wasn't real close. Westbrook was tied for being the top running back. Separating my personal anger of the Eagles failing to score a touchdown at home against a reeling opponent that was 0-3 on the road, think about the fantasy implications. McNabb delivered single digit fantasy points, about half the points Houston backup Sage Rosenfels managed. Seneca Wallace had three more touchdowns than McNabb. Brandon Jacobs not only outscored Westbrook, but he outrushed him! So did two Jaguars, two Giants and two Packers. OK, does that give you context how disappointing the Eagles were?
Jaguars 13, Eagles 6: Give credit to the Jaguars. They benched their quarterback, whether it was due to injury or poor play, we might never know. Byron Leftwich watched as David Garrard played a perfect game. Why throw when the defense lets you run for more than 200 yards. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew looked terrific. Garrard threw for 87 yards, but the game was never in doubt. My question is, does Leftwich play next week? Should he?
MVP: Taylor topped 100 yards rushing for the second time in three games, and might have had a Larry Johnson type game had a second quarter 54-yard touchdown run not been called back. Taylor has a favorable schedule the next few weeks against the Titans and Texans. And please, stop worrying about the carries Drew gets; if it keeps Taylor fresh, so be it.
LVP: It's a tie between Philly's two stars. McNabb's previous worst fantasy game was 17 points, and he had reached 24 or more points five times. Guess fantasy owners got greedy. Westbrook had a seven-point game in Week 6, so this was a bit better.
Interesting: Donte' Stallworth returned for the first time since Week 4, and caught 56 yards worth of passes, but to no avail. McNabb barely looked at his wide receivers, bringing back the days prior to Terrell Owens. Running backs and tight ends caught 13 of the 18 completions. What does this mean for fantasy? Reggie Brown can't be a No. 1 fantasy receiver, regardless of Stallworth's status, not if McNabb can have games like this.
Bears 41, 49ers 10: Easiest game on the schedule to predict, as Chicago acted like an angry team, even though it was still unbeaten. But that Monday night game against Arizona, in which the defense had to save the day, the Bears talked about it like it was a loss. So they took care of poor San Fran early with three first-quarter touchdowns. Alex Smith never had a chance. The Bears scored 41 points before the half.
MVP: Welcome back, Rex Grossman. My only concern entering the game was whether it would be such a blowout and so easy to run the ball that Grossman would throw 20 times and Brian Griese would do the handing off in the fourth quarter. Instead, Grossman delivered three touchdowns, though none to Bernard Berrian. If you had tight end Desmond Clark active, good for you. I was fortunate to sign him off free agency in a pair of leagues on Sunday morning. Sometimes you need a little luck, too.
LVP: Berrian certainly didn't deliver, but Smith wasn't real good. Hey, if you couldn't see that one coming...
Interesting: Frank Gore is why stats are misleading. Until he broke off the 53-yarder, he was en route to an average day. Instead, his 12 carries net him 111 yards, the same total as Thomas Jones. Hey, it counts the same, but we know how they got there. At least Gore didn't fumble.
Falcons 29, Bengals 27: Alright, I'm buying on Michael Vick now. I know it's only two weeks, but it's against two good teams, the Bengals and Steelers, and it's seven touchdown passes. He passed for 291 yards, on the road, outdoors, and even ran enough to be relevant there with 55 yards. What a weapon, and certainly worthy of fantasy attention as he appears headed for top five QB status this season.
MVP: It's Vick again, clearly, but let's give some props to the other quarterback, last year's No. 1, as Carson Palmer threw a pair of touchdowns and got all three big receivers to 70 yards or more. Chris Henry certainly helps this offense, and Chad Johnson scored for the first time since Week 2.
LVP: Is it not interesting that Vick's top two passing games, dominant passing games, coincide with a second straight poor rushing game from Warrick Dunn? Hey, if you own Vick and Dunn on the same team, you didn't think they were going to each rush for 100 yards every week, did you? Now neither of them are getting close, but the team is winning.
Interesting: Guess it's time to stop expecting Chris Perry to play a major role, though it could still happen. But Perry cannot be blamed for the continuing struggles of Rudi Johnson. Sure, he scored, salvaging your fantasy game, but 46 yards isn't special. In his past five games he's topped 65 yards rushing one time.
Packers 31, Cardinals 14: Another predictable one, as I had the Packers scoring 27. The Cardinals again looked terrible, allowing not only one, but two Packers running backs to top 100 yards. Last time that happened? Brett Favre was in high school that week.
MVP: Ahman Green scored two touchdowns, which he hadn't done in nearly two seasons. Green entered this game with one rushing score. But I predicted Green would have a big day (load up when playing Arizona, people). Vernand Morency? Arizona clearly has more problems than Edgerrin James, who by the way had his best fantasy day of the season. Maybe there's some value there yet.
LVP: Matt Leinart threw two first-quarter touchdowns in that Bears game, but since then he's looked every bit like a raw, erratic rookie. He didn't get picked in this game until late, but four sacks and 61 yards passing in the first half, that's terrible. More importantly, since Leinart wasn't regarded as a great play this week, it's two straight weeks of nothing by Anquan Boldin.
Interesting: Favre threw 29 interceptions last season, making his other contributions for fantasy owners meaningless (20 TDs, nearly 4,000 yards). Now Favre is making smarter reads, and in the Packers' three wins, he's got six touchdowns, no interceptions. He only has five interceptions in seven games overall, putting him on pace for his cleanest season in a decade. And you think he's retiring after this 6-10 season? C'mon!
Titans 28, Texans 22: Fifty points were scored, and starting quarterbacks David Carr and Vince Young combined for 200 yards passing. So, you figure, Travis Henry and Wali Lundy must have gone nuts. Well, not really. Sage Rosenfels and Owen Daniels? Weird fantasy game.
MVP: Well, I doubt anyone had Rosenfels in the lineup (if you did, e-mail me with a link, but really, c'mon), so how about Daniels, the tight end who entered the week fairly relevant, ranked tied for 13th at the position, but owned in a mere 11.5 percent of leagues. True story, I actually signed him on one team Sunday 10 minutes before game time. Next week I might stick with Daniels over Chris Cooley.
LVP: Just when we thought we could trust Travis Henry, he averages 1.9 yards per carry. LenDale White got some early yards, but Henry had his chances. You want weird? Texans had 427 total yards, Titans 197. And two quarterbacks who threw for only 87 yards passing won Sunday.
Interesting: Some Texans fans had been complaining that I wasn't giving Carr enough credit. One astute reader pointed out that much of his fancy passer rating was fashioned in the first quarter. Well, that makes sense. In this game Carr did complete 15 of 21 passes, but turned the ball over three times, a truly Bledsoian performance. Guess that makes Rosenfels into Tony Romo, though Carr will continue to start. This is why some fantasy leagues use team quarterbacks, as overall, Houston delivered 299 passing yards and three scores.
Chiefs 35, Seahawks 28: Definitely a winnable game for the battered, road Seahawks, who continue to struggle running the ball, and stopping the run. Larry Johnson didn't break off a 95-yarder, but he did score four touchdowns. Seneca Wallace made mistakes, but how many QBs can win when the defense permits 499 total yards?
MVP: Well, Michael Bennett did run for 38 yards. Of course, the guy ahead of him on the depth chart had 181 total yards and scored four touchdowns. LJ is back.
LVP: Why do people keep assuming Maurice Morris will "figure things out" and become a good play? And why do these same people assume Shaun Alexander will be fine?
Interesting: There were a number of fantasy heroes in this game, with Damon Huard topping 300 yards when there was a serious Brodie Croyle threat, Tony Gonzalez topping 100 yards and Darrell Jackson scoring. But Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens caught a touchdown pass and looks like a nice second-half play. He's available in more than half of ESPN's leagues.
Ravens 35, Saints 22: I took a chance in predicting Baltimore in this one over America's team, and feel pretty good about the result, with the Ravens winning on the road and Jamal Lewis bouncing back from a tough schedule with a big game. Of course, Drew Brees made things far more interesting with a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns. Who does he think he is, Donovan?
MVP: Brees threw for 383 yards and three scores (with three picks as well), but wide receivers Marques Colston and Joe Horn were also very productive, getting 289 yards and all the scores. I figured Colston would be worth playing, but Horn looks reborn the past few weeks. Guess that's how things go when there's no running game.
LVP: Hate to keep highlighting the team that lost, but 27 yards rushing from Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush is barely more than Steve McNair ran for. Bush, we expect this from, since he hasn't rushed well all season, but McAllister was averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Bush? Four receptions for five yards, 16 yards rushing and a costly interception. Not pretty. Stick with Deuce in future weeks.
Interesting: McNair isn't held in high regard in fantasy, but this three-touchdown game might change that 57 percent ownership. McNair only threw six incomplete passes and even rushed for a touchdown. He ran for a touchdown only once in 2004 and 2005. What's interesting about Brees is that the Saints have only two losses, and he's passed for 383 and 349 yards in those games. If you think the Saints might lose the next two weeks at Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, don't sit the New Orleans QB!
Giants 17, Buccaneers 3: Workmanlike win for the Giants, who flexed defensive muscle again. This is not the same team that made the playoffs last season with Eli putting up late-game heroics. The Giants have won four straight games due to that pass rush and defense, holding the Bucs and Redskins to a field goal each and forcing the Cowboys to give up on their QB.
MVP: Not much here in a game where neither team moved the ball well, but Plaxico Burress delivered another double digit game with 86 yards and a score. Tiki Barber and Eli Manning were disappointing, but Plaxico now has five touchdowns in seven games. He might end up in double digits. Meanwhile, Eli continues his TD game streak, but can we get more than one?
LVP: At least Tiki got 88 total yards. On a day with the wind blowing, Carnell Williams stalled after some bounceback games, getting a mere 20 yards rushing, 16 on one play. In the end he had 54 total yards, so he's not much different than Tiki.
Interesting: Honestly, I don't have too many doubts that Brandon Jacobs could handle 20 carries per game, and score double digit touchdowns per season. He's averaging more than five yards per rush, and has scored three straight games. And this isn't a guy getting five yards per game. He's averaging 45 yards the past three weeks.
Chargers 38, Rams 24: Lots of numbers to enjoy here, with Marc Bulger putting up big stats again and Steven Jackson scoring, but still the Chargers won by two scores. This line was deceiving, with the Chargers favored by 10. Most of you figured it would be close and the Rams could cover. Well, it was relatively close, but the Rams didn't cover. Two touchdowns doesn't seem like much, does it?
MVP: Two of the scores came early, and you could tell Tomlinson was on his way to a monster game after not topping 100 yards rushing since Week 1. Still think this guy is a fantasy disappointment?
LVP: No obvious choices here. Philip Rivers would have done more had there been a need to throw more, but you'll take 206 yards and a score. This was the worst game of the season for Torry Holt, who had scored in five consecutive games.
Interesting: Even Michael Turner got into the act Sunday, or it would have been another four-score game for LT. Turner appeared to be in the dog house the past few weeks, falling out of favor as a fantasy flex play after the breaking off a 73-yarder and running for 138 yards in Week 2. Turner still hasn't caught a pass since that week, and even with his five touches Sunday, it's a bit odd a guy averaging seven yards per touch has only 10 of them the past three weeks.
Browns 20, Jets 13: Nah, I can't figure out Chad Pennington either. I thought he was a relatively safe play in this one, but instead he barely tops 100 yards. How can that be? How can Leon Washington do nothing and Pennington be that bad? How can Reuben Droughns carry 33 times for 125 yards, when he has only one game all season with more than 18 carries and 65 yards? The Jets are a .500 team, that's how.
MVP: I can't say Droughns is a weekly play. Normally we tell fantasy owners to rely on any running back who carries that many times, but can we expect this many touches normally?
LVP: Pennington's past two road games have been losses in Cleveland and Jacksonville, with no touchdowns, five picks and 179 yards, total. That's bad. But he's been so bad, maybe we need to reconsider using Laveranues Coles weekly. Only 40 yards, but at least that's more than Braylon Edwards (21 yards).
Interesting: New York's lone official touchdown came when Justin Miller brought a kickoff back 99 yards. Do you care in fantasy? Well, the otherwise below average Jets defense gets those points, and that's three touchdown returns for Miller in his past nine games.
Raiders 20, Steelers 13: Well, I can say I'm glad I didn't play Ben Roethlisberger, though my concern was that the concussion would hold him back. I don't think that was it. He was just erratic, after two solid games. Are we going to see inconsistency all season? I won't rip the Raiders defense, for it has actually played well much of the season. It's been the offense. It was bad against Pittsburgh as well, but Big Ben threw a pair of picks that got returned for scores. Reminds me of the Bucs-Eagles game last week, in which Tampa Bay couldn't score a touchdown, but won anyway. Ah, such fond memories. I don't know about Ben, though I don't want to waffle on his value. If I knew he would have played this game, I would have used him, absolutely. Nobody would have said otherwise. Big Ben did top 300 yards, but 197 of them came after it was 20-6.
MVP: Not much to choose from here, unless you played the Raiders defense, which I doubt. Willie Parker has been mainly all or nothing this season, but this was in between, with 83 yards and a receiving touchdown. Amazingly, he nearly matched Oakland's total yards.
LVP: Pick a Raider. You never would have used Andrew Walter, but five completions, 51 yards? Randy Moss had a nice streak going and it ended with a thud, with 20 yards on two receptions. LaMont Jordan played, but it sure looks like Justin Fargas has passed him on the depth chart, though Jordan has had back problems. How did Pittsburgh not win this one?
Interesting: Hey, there was a Jerry Porter sighting! The unhappy receiver did catch one-fifth of Walter's completions, but alas, that means he caught one pass. Porter should be owned in fantasy, but, and I can't believe I'm writing this, you might need to wait for Aaron Brooks to return for Porter to have value.
Colts 34, Broncos 31: Best game of the day, and further proof that you never, ever, ever sit Peyton Manning, even if the opponent doesn't allow touchdowns. Manning had no trouble moving the ball after the half, finding Reggie Wayne for three touchdowns, and a two-point conversion. Why play favorites? Marvin Harrison owners aren't pleased!
MVP: The wrong Bell takes the cake here. I can't say it strongly enough, but Tatum Bell was in my Power Rankings, he was getting 80 yards per game, he was finally trusted by fantasy owners. He was. And now, we have the same ugly timeshare thing from the preseason. What did Tatum do wrong? He stunk Sunday. That's it. One game might erase a month of fine games. A Bell did run wild against the weak Colts run D, but it wasn't Tatum, it was Mike, who had become a forgotten player in fantasy. Admit it, you owned him, and when he rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries since Week 1, you gave up. I gave up. And then I watch as Mike Bell runs for 136 yards and two scores (all but one yard in the second half). Mike Shanahan is the devil, again.
LVP: It took awhile, but it might be time to stick a fork in Dominic Rhodes. Joseph Addai carried 17 times for 93 yards, a solid effort all around including five receptions, but Rhodes ran three times for zero yards. Looks like the rookie finally won the job. Of course, the Broncos were allowing nothing and you probably were wise enough to sit Mr. Rhodes down. I'll bet three out of every four Tatum Bell owners had him active. That's 27 yards on 13 carries, or 109 fewer yards than Mike Bell, who had only two more rushes. Nice.
Interesting: You don't need to be told how good Peyton Manning is, but to go 32-of-39 and get 345 yards, score at will in the second half against that defense on the road, it's quite an accomplishment. Manning owns the Broncos. And for those who were tired of playing Reggie Wayne, it was a mistake to sit him. I didn't think he'd do this, but that's 260 yards and four scores in two weeks. OK, phew, that's Sunday's action heading into the big Tony Romo game. We'll sum up his performance and Tom Brady and his pals in Tuesday's blog.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Stars come out in Week 8


posted: Monday, October 30, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


Sometimes it's not about the little people, your third wide receiver or which kicker you choose. Those are the questions we get the most in the fantasy department. Eric, I really need to win this week, because I'm playing my brother's girlfriend's plumber. So, Reggie Bush or Jerious Norwood?

Get those all the time. But sometimes, you just need your main guys to do something special, give you a chance to win. And when they don't play well, well, you're in trouble.
Oh sure, Thomas Jones, Fred Taylor and Ahman Green got it done, but they aren't every week stars. Drew Brees and his receivers rocked. A pair of under the radar tight ends scored twice in the early games.
But this week it was about the big names. Larry Johnson and LaDainian Tomlinson went off. Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook did not. Michael Vick stepped up again. Carnell Williams did not, again. You own those Eagles, it would have been tough to win. You needed something from them. You played Eli Manning and Tiki Barber, you needed more. It's tough to tell week to week, but fantasy owners can definitely be held hostage by their stars. If they don't perform, good luck.
I debated the quarterback situation for one of my teams up until the deadline, finally sticking with Eli in what I knew was not going to be a great game, not with the wind blowing the way it was at Giants Stadium. Eli finds Plaxico Burress early and ... well, that was it! But it didn't matter what Eli did, because the running backs on that team were Deuce McAllister and Warrick Dunn. They tried, of course. But that team, it's done. Or Dunn.
Philadelphia entered Week 8 leading the NFL in yards per game, and just a shade away from the most points per game. McNabb led fantasy in points, and it wasn't real close. Westbrook was tied for being the top running back. Separating my personal anger of the Eagles failing to score a touchdown at home against a reeling opponent that was 0-3 on the road, think about the fantasy implications. McNabb delivered single digit fantasy points, about half the points Houston backup Sage Rosenfels managed. Seneca Wallace had three more touchdowns than McNabb. Brandon Jacobs not only outscored Westbrook, but he outrushed him! So did two Jaguars, two Giants and two Packers. OK, does that give you context how disappointing the Eagles were?
Jaguars 13, Eagles 6: Give credit to the Jaguars. They benched their quarterback, whether it was due to injury or poor play, we might never know. Byron Leftwich watched as David Garrard played a perfect game. Why throw when the defense lets you run for more than 200 yards. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew looked terrific. Garrard threw for 87 yards, but the game was never in doubt. My question is, does Leftwich play next week? Should he?
MVP: Taylor topped 100 yards rushing for the second time in three games, and might have had a Larry Johnson type game had a second quarter 54-yard touchdown run not been called back. Taylor has a favorable schedule the next few weeks against the Titans and Texans. And please, stop worrying about the carries Drew gets; if it keeps Taylor fresh, so be it.
LVP: It's a tie between Philly's two stars. McNabb's previous worst fantasy game was 17 points, and he had reached 24 or more points five times. Guess fantasy owners got greedy. Westbrook had a seven-point game in Week 6, so this was a bit better.
Interesting: Donte' Stallworth returned for the first time since Week 4, and caught 56 yards worth of passes, but to no avail. McNabb barely looked at his wide receivers, bringing back the days prior to Terrell Owens. Running backs and tight ends caught 13 of the 18 completions. What does this mean for fantasy? Reggie Brown can't be a No. 1 fantasy receiver, regardless of Stallworth's status, not if McNabb can have games like this.
Bears 41, 49ers 10: Easiest game on the schedule to predict, as Chicago acted like an angry team, even though it was still unbeaten. But that Monday night game against Arizona, in which the defense had to save the day, the Bears talked about it like it was a loss. So they took care of poor San Fran early with three first-quarter touchdowns. Alex Smith never had a chance. The Bears scored 41 points before the half.
MVP: Welcome back, Rex Grossman. My only concern entering the game was whether it would be such a blowout and so easy to run the ball that Grossman would throw 20 times and Brian Griese would do the handing off in the fourth quarter. Instead, Grossman delivered three touchdowns, though none to Bernard Berrian. If you had tight end Desmond Clark active, good for you. I was fortunate to sign him off free agency in a pair of leagues on Sunday morning. Sometimes you need a little luck, too.
LVP: Berrian certainly didn't deliver, but Smith wasn't real good. Hey, if you couldn't see that one coming...
Interesting: Frank Gore is why stats are misleading. Until he broke off the 53-yarder, he was en route to an average day. Instead, his 12 carries net him 111 yards, the same total as Thomas Jones. Hey, it counts the same, but we know how they got there. At least Gore didn't fumble.
Falcons 29, Bengals 27: Alright, I'm buying on Michael Vick now. I know it's only two weeks, but it's against two good teams, the Bengals and Steelers, and it's seven touchdown passes. He passed for 291 yards, on the road, outdoors, and even ran enough to be relevant there with 55 yards. What a weapon, and certainly worthy of fantasy attention as he appears headed for top five QB status this season.
MVP: It's Vick again, clearly, but let's give some props to the other quarterback, last year's No. 1, as Carson Palmer threw a pair of touchdowns and got all three big receivers to 70 yards or more. Chris Henry certainly helps this offense, and Chad Johnson scored for the first time since Week 2.
LVP: Is it not interesting that Vick's top two passing games, dominant passing games, coincide with a second straight poor rushing game from Warrick Dunn? Hey, if you own Vick and Dunn on the same team, you didn't think they were going to each rush for 100 yards every week, did you? Now neither of them are getting close, but the team is winning.
Interesting: Guess it's time to stop expecting Chris Perry to play a major role, though it could still happen. But Perry cannot be blamed for the continuing struggles of Rudi Johnson. Sure, he scored, salvaging your fantasy game, but 46 yards isn't special. In his past five games he's topped 65 yards rushing one time.
Packers 31, Cardinals 14: Another predictable one, as I had the Packers scoring 27. The Cardinals again looked terrible, allowing not only one, but two Packers running backs to top 100 yards. Last time that happened? Brett Favre was in high school that week.
MVP: Ahman Green scored two touchdowns, which he hadn't done in nearly two seasons. Green entered this game with one rushing score. But I predicted Green would have a big day (load up when playing Arizona, people). Vernand Morency? Arizona clearly has more problems than Edgerrin James, who by the way had his best fantasy day of the season. Maybe there's some value there yet.
LVP: Matt Leinart threw two first-quarter touchdowns in that Bears game, but since then he's looked every bit like a raw, erratic rookie. He didn't get picked in this game until late, but four sacks and 61 yards passing in the first half, that's terrible. More importantly, since Leinart wasn't regarded as a great play this week, it's two straight weeks of nothing by Anquan Boldin.
Interesting: Favre threw 29 interceptions last season, making his other contributions for fantasy owners meaningless (20 TDs, nearly 4,000 yards). Now Favre is making smarter reads, and in the Packers' three wins, he's got six touchdowns, no interceptions. He only has five interceptions in seven games overall, putting him on pace for his cleanest season in a decade. And you think he's retiring after this 6-10 season? C'mon!
Titans 28, Texans 22: Fifty points were scored, and starting quarterbacks David Carr and Vince Young combined for 200 yards passing. So, you figure, Travis Henry and Wali Lundy must have gone nuts. Well, not really. Sage Rosenfels and Owen Daniels? Weird fantasy game.
MVP: Well, I doubt anyone had Rosenfels in the lineup (if you did, e-mail me with a link, but really, c'mon), so how about Daniels, the tight end who entered the week fairly relevant, ranked tied for 13th at the position, but owned in a mere 11.5 percent of leagues. True story, I actually signed him on one team Sunday 10 minutes before game time. Next week I might stick with Daniels over Chris Cooley.
LVP: Just when we thought we could trust Travis Henry, he averages 1.9 yards per carry. LenDale White got some early yards, but Henry had his chances. You want weird? Texans had 427 total yards, Titans 197. And two quarterbacks who threw for only 87 yards passing won Sunday.
Interesting: Some Texans fans had been complaining that I wasn't giving Carr enough credit. One astute reader pointed out that much of his fancy passer rating was fashioned in the first quarter. Well, that makes sense. In this game Carr did complete 15 of 21 passes, but turned the ball over three times, a truly Bledsoian performance. Guess that makes Rosenfels into Tony Romo, though Carr will continue to start. This is why some fantasy leagues use team quarterbacks, as overall, Houston delivered 299 passing yards and three scores.
Chiefs 35, Seahawks 28: Definitely a winnable game for the battered, road Seahawks, who continue to struggle running the ball, and stopping the run. Larry Johnson didn't break off a 95-yarder, but he did score four touchdowns. Seneca Wallace made mistakes, but how many QBs can win when the defense permits 499 total yards?
MVP: Well, Michael Bennett did run for 38 yards. Of course, the guy ahead of him on the depth chart had 181 total yards and scored four touchdowns. LJ is back.
LVP: Why do people keep assuming Maurice Morris will "figure things out" and become a good play? And why do these same people assume Shaun Alexander will be fine?
Interesting: There were a number of fantasy heroes in this game, with Damon Huard topping 300 yards when there was a serious Brodie Croyle threat, Tony Gonzalez topping 100 yards and Darrell Jackson scoring. But Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens caught a touchdown pass and looks like a nice second-half play. He's available in more than half of ESPN's leagues.
Ravens 35, Saints 22: I took a chance in predicting Baltimore in this one over America's team, and feel pretty good about the result, with the Ravens winning on the road and Jamal Lewis bouncing back from a tough schedule with a big game. Of course, Drew Brees made things far more interesting with a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns. Who does he think he is, Donovan?
MVP: Brees threw for 383 yards and three scores (with three picks as well), but wide receivers Marques Colston and Joe Horn were also very productive, getting 289 yards and all the scores. I figured Colston would be worth playing, but Horn looks reborn the past few weeks. Guess that's how things go when there's no running game.
LVP: Hate to keep highlighting the team that lost, but 27 yards rushing from Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush is barely more than Steve McNair ran for. Bush, we expect this from, since he hasn't rushed well all season, but McAllister was averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Bush? Four receptions for five yards, 16 yards rushing and a costly interception. Not pretty. Stick with Deuce in future weeks.
Interesting: McNair isn't held in high regard in fantasy, but this three-touchdown game might change that 57 percent ownership. McNair only threw six incomplete passes and even rushed for a touchdown. He ran for a touchdown only once in 2004 and 2005. What's interesting about Brees is that the Saints have only two losses, and he's passed for 383 and 349 yards in those games. If you think the Saints might lose the next two weeks at Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, don't sit the New Orleans QB!
Giants 17, Buccaneers 3: Workmanlike win for the Giants, who flexed defensive muscle again. This is not the same team that made the playoffs last season with Eli putting up late-game heroics. The Giants have won four straight games due to that pass rush and defense, holding the Bucs and Redskins to a field goal each and forcing the Cowboys to give up on their QB.
MVP: Not much here in a game where neither team moved the ball well, but Plaxico Burress delivered another double digit game with 86 yards and a score. Tiki Barber and Eli Manning were disappointing, but Plaxico now has five touchdowns in seven games. He might end up in double digits. Meanwhile, Eli continues his TD game streak, but can we get more than one?
LVP: At least Tiki got 88 total yards. On a day with the wind blowing, Carnell Williams stalled after some bounceback games, getting a mere 20 yards rushing, 16 on one play. In the end he had 54 total yards, so he's not much different than Tiki.
Interesting: Honestly, I don't have too many doubts that Brandon Jacobs could handle 20 carries per game, and score double digit touchdowns per season. He's averaging more than five yards per rush, and has scored three straight games. And this isn't a guy getting five yards per game. He's averaging 45 yards the past three weeks.
Chargers 38, Rams 24: Lots of numbers to enjoy here, with Marc Bulger putting up big stats again and Steven Jackson scoring, but still the Chargers won by two scores. This line was deceiving, with the Chargers favored by 10. Most of you figured it would be close and the Rams could cover. Well, it was relatively close, but the Rams didn't cover. Two touchdowns doesn't seem like much, does it?
MVP: Two of the scores came early, and you could tell Tomlinson was on his way to a monster game after not topping 100 yards rushing since Week 1. Still think this guy is a fantasy disappointment?
LVP: No obvious choices here. Philip Rivers would have done more had there been a need to throw more, but you'll take 206 yards and a score. This was the worst game of the season for Torry Holt, who had scored in five consecutive games.
Interesting: Even Michael Turner got into the act Sunday, or it would have been another four-score game for LT. Turner appeared to be in the dog house the past few weeks, falling out of favor as a fantasy flex play after the breaking off a 73-yarder and running for 138 yards in Week 2. Turner still hasn't caught a pass since that week, and even with his five touches Sunday, it's a bit odd a guy averaging seven yards per touch has only 10 of them the past three weeks.
Browns 20, Jets 13: Nah, I can't figure out Chad Pennington either. I thought he was a relatively safe play in this one, but instead he barely tops 100 yards. How can that be? How can Leon Washington do nothing and Pennington be that bad? How can Reuben Droughns carry 33 times for 125 yards, when he has only one game all season with more than 18 carries and 65 yards? The Jets are a .500 team, that's how.
MVP: I can't say Droughns is a weekly play. Normally we tell fantasy owners to rely on any running back who carries that many times, but can we expect this many touches normally?
LVP: Pennington's past two road games have been losses in Cleveland and Jacksonville, with no touchdowns, five picks and 179 yards, total. That's bad. But he's been so bad, maybe we need to reconsider using Laveranues Coles weekly. Only 40 yards, but at least that's more than Braylon Edwards (21 yards).
Interesting: New York's lone official touchdown came when Justin Miller brought a kickoff back 99 yards. Do you care in fantasy? Well, the otherwise below average Jets defense gets those points, and that's three touchdown returns for Miller in his past nine games.
Raiders 20, Steelers 13: Well, I can say I'm glad I didn't play Ben Roethlisberger, though my concern was that the concussion would hold him back. I don't think that was it. He was just erratic, after two solid games. Are we going to see inconsistency all season? I won't rip the Raiders defense, for it has actually played well much of the season. It's been the offense. It was bad against Pittsburgh as well, but Big Ben threw a pair of picks that got returned for scores. Reminds me of the Bucs-Eagles game last week, in which Tampa Bay couldn't score a touchdown, but won anyway. Ah, such fond memories. I don't know about Ben, though I don't want to waffle on his value. If I knew he would have played this game, I would have used him, absolutely. Nobody would have said otherwise. Big Ben did top 300 yards, but 197 of them came after it was 20-6.
MVP: Not much to choose from here, unless you played the Raiders defense, which I doubt. Willie Parker has been mainly all or nothing this season, but this was in between, with 83 yards and a receiving touchdown. Amazingly, he nearly matched Oakland's total yards.
LVP: Pick a Raider. You never would have used Andrew Walter, but five completions, 51 yards? Randy Moss had a nice streak going and it ended with a thud, with 20 yards on two receptions. LaMont Jordan played, but it sure looks like Justin Fargas has passed him on the depth chart, though Jordan has had back problems. How did Pittsburgh not win this one?
Interesting: Hey, there was a Jerry Porter sighting! The unhappy receiver did catch one-fifth of Walter's completions, but alas, that means he caught one pass. Porter should be owned in fantasy, but, and I can't believe I'm writing this, you might need to wait for Aaron Brooks to return for Porter to have value.
Colts 34, Broncos 31: Best game of the day, and further proof that you never, ever, ever sit Peyton Manning, even if the opponent doesn't allow touchdowns. Manning had no trouble moving the ball after the half, finding Reggie Wayne for three touchdowns, and a two-point conversion. Why play favorites? Marvin Harrison owners aren't pleased!
MVP: The wrong Bell takes the cake here. I can't say it strongly enough, but Tatum Bell was in my Power Rankings, he was getting 80 yards per game, he was finally trusted by fantasy owners. He was. And now, we have the same ugly timeshare thing from the preseason. What did Tatum do wrong? He stunk Sunday. That's it. One game might erase a month of fine games. A Bell did run wild against the weak Colts run D, but it wasn't Tatum, it was Mike, who had become a forgotten player in fantasy. Admit it, you owned him, and when he rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries since Week 1, you gave up. I gave up. And then I watch as Mike Bell runs for 136 yards and two scores (all but one yard in the second half). Mike Shanahan is the devil, again.
LVP: It took awhile, but it might be time to stick a fork in Dominic Rhodes. Joseph Addai carried 17 times for 93 yards, a solid effort all around including five receptions, but Rhodes ran three times for zero yards. Looks like the rookie finally won the job. Of course, the Broncos were allowing nothing and you probably were wise enough to sit Mr. Rhodes down. I'll bet three out of every four Tatum Bell owners had him active. That's 27 yards on 13 carries, or 109 fewer yards than Mike Bell, who had only two more rushes. Nice.
Interesting: You don't need to be told how good Peyton Manning is, but to go 32-of-39 and get 345 yards, score at will in the second half against that defense on the road, it's quite an accomplishment. Manning owns the Broncos. And for those who were tired of playing Reggie Wayne, it was a mistake to sit him. I didn't think he'd do this, but that's 260 yards and four scores in two weeks. OK, phew, that's Sunday's action heading into the big Tony Romo game. We'll sum up his performance and Tom Brady and his pals in Tuesday's blog.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Oct. 30, 2006, 4:53 PM
Week 8: Rookie Report


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER height="1" type="block" width="8"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]Ratings Key
5. A certain regular fantasy starter in yearly leagues already, and a top keeper player.
4. Adequate fantasy starter with outstanding keeper promise.
3. Occasional yearly starter who should become a very good keeper league player.
2. Showing signs of promise, but not a recommended starter yet despite much keeper appeal.
1. Should not be used in yearly leagues. A keeper player only.
[/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Here's an updated, fantasy-style look at the impact rookies of 2006, with rankings for both yearly and keeper formats at the three major fantasy positions. Only rookies who have logged considerable playing time so far or could see more action in the near future are listed.
Quarterbacks Matt Leinart (3): He started well but has struggled recently. Must show he can play better on the road and when facing man coverages. Could rebound when an injured Larry Fitzgerald returns and gives him another quality option besides Anquan Boldin.
Vince Young (3): He plays in a conservative offense and doesn't have outstanding receivers. But Young has started to deliver respectable numbers, and can be a good bye week replacement or injury substitution. He's making good decisions and has already become a dangerous TD threat when he runs.
Bruce Gradkowski (3): When the matchup is right, Gradkowski can give you decent fantasy numbers. He takes quick drops, sets himself quickly, and is very poised for a young passer. Not an outstanding fantasy player by any means, but he's been much more reliable at times than expected. Gradkowski has earned a "3" rating so far, but must work to keep it. I'm not sold on him despite some pretty good early performances.
Jay Cutler (1): His rating could rise if he replaces Jake Plummer at some point, but that might not be soon. He had a good preseason, but the Broncos are continuing to win with Plummer and won't make a switch when they are playing well overall. Cutler would breathe some life into the passing game, but Mike Shanahan isn't about to mess with a winning formula to play a rookie. The conservative approach on offense is working for Shanahan, even if fantasy players don't like it.
Running Backs
Maurice Jones-Drew (4): He has become a very pleasant surprise. Jones-Drew might only be listed at 5-7, but he's one of the strongest smaller backs you'll ever see, and his powerful lower body has been the main reason he has become such an effective short-yardage and goal-line runner. Jones-Drew can also catch passes and break loose for big plays any time he touches the ball. The Jaguars have been careful not to overwork him, and as a result, Jones-Drew has been a threat to deliver a big play or score whenever he gets a carry or catches a pass.
Leon Washington (4): He has at least temporarily earned a "4" rating, but he needs to keep playing well to remain a regular fantasy starter. Washington has been another of the "smaller back" surprises, as he has run very well inside while threatening to break loose for a long run at any time. Washington does share some carries with Kevan Barlow, but he has clearly become the Jets' No. 1 RB. He needs to sustain his momentum, though, and has to keep scoring to remain a dependable fantasy starter.
Joseph Addai (3): He is starting to get more reps recently, but Addai has been brought along slowly in his first pro season. Addai should continue to improve from a statistical perspective as the year goes on, and he should be a more integral part of the Indianapolis offense soon, even if he's not a focal point like Edgerrin James was. Some occasional TDs will soon start to accompany quality weekly yardage totals.
Wali Lundy (3): He was hot preseason sleeper, then lost his job, and now has regained it and has been making the most of his second chance so far. Lundy is running well again, but still must prove he can perform well over an extended period without wearing down. He's a shaky "3" who still has some questions surrounding him a long-term option, and his keeper status is still unclear. Can he be anything more than an occasionally productive RB? We'll have to wait and see.
Laurence Maroney (3): At times, he has flashed some major promise, and has briefly looked like the most exciting runner in the rookie class. But Maroney hasn't been able to maintain any consistency, and after looking like an improved inside runner earlier this year, he hasn't been able to get through the front seven very often recently. When he's on his game, Maroney is an amazing blend of speed and power. But he hasn't been able to bust loose for many good runs recently, and should be benched until he starts to run more successfully inside and breaks tackles with more regularity again.
Reggie Bush (3): His rating could drop soon, because he hasn't been much of a factor as a runner, and he isn't breaking loose when he catches passes. Now Bush has an ankle injury as well. He is simply drawing too much defensive attention every time he gets the ball. Until the Saints start to devise more ways of getting him the ball in open space, he's going to be nothing more than mediocre for statistical purposes.
LenDale White (2): When he has gotten a chance to play, White has shown the ability to quickly gain momentum, break tackles and get to the second level of defenders. But he has been overshadowed by the recent resurgence of Travis Henry, even after passing Chris Brown on the depth chart. It seems to be just a matter of time before he passes Henry on the depth chart, though, and White has great keeper league potential. He could have a few good games at the end of the 2006 season.
Mike Bell (2): He earned the starting job in the preseason, then lost it to a determined Tatum Bell. Now that Tatum Bell has a nagging turf toe problem, Mike Bell has temporarily re-emerged as a viable fantasy option. But a healthy Tatum Bell will be highly motivated to regain his full workload, and Mike Bell can't be relied on for regular success. Mike Bell could make the most of extended playing time if he is needed, but he could be pushed back to the bench at any time. Mike Bell has a lot of potential in yearly leagues when he plays, but his keeper value is unclear, as he could ultimately remain behind Tatum Bell on the depth chart for some time. In the near future, though, he could split some time with Tatum Bell again, making Mike Bell at least worth consideration as a short-term flex option.
Jerious Norwood (2): He's going to be explosive and exciting very soon, but Warrick Dunn remains Atlanta's No. 1 RB for now, and the Falcons are starting to throw more successfully, leaving very few touches for Norwood. He could start on quite a few other NFL teams, but for now, he is not getting enough touches to be useful in most yearly fantasy leagues.
DeAngelo Williams (2): Early in the year, it looked like he had a real chance of threatening DeShaun Foster's playing time. But improved play from Foster, plus an ankle injury, have dimmed Williams' outlook for this season. When he returns to action, it will likely be as a change-of-pace RB. Still, he has a lot of promise from the keeper perspective and could start to make a serious move for more playing time in 2007.
Michael Robinson (1): There was some talk of him becoming a featured goal-line runner a few weeks ago. But Frank Gore has re-established himself as a solid starter, and Robinson's keeper appeal is shaky as well. He's not even a solid "1" as far as the ratings go.
Wide Receivers
Marques Colston (5): He has easily been the biggest surprise sleeper of 2006. Colston was not considered fast or quick enough to be an NFL wide receiver, yet he had such a good camp, he made Donte' Stallworth expendable. Colston is catching nearly everything thrown to him, even after defenses have adjusted to give him more attention. He is a regular TD threat and has earned must-start status is yearly fantasy leagues. Reggie Bush draws more defensive attention, but Colston makes many of the important plays for New Orleans.
Greg Jennings (5): If he was healthy, I might rank him ahead of Colston. Jennings has become an instant fantasy standout as a perfect target for Brett Favre. He's quick, runs good routes for a first-year player, catches the ball well in stride, and can bust loose often for additional yards after the catch. Jennings fits into the classic Green Bay receiver mold of the Favre era, and conjures up memories of Robert Brooks in his prime. He also is willing to make tough catches over the middle, and he'll be a good safety valve and dependable wideout for Aaron Rodgers or whoever else takes over after Favre retires.
Chad Jackson (2): Injuries stunted his progress early. But he's the best pure combination of size, speed and natural ability on the New England roster, and the Patriots have vowed to get him more involved in the passing game recently. Jackson caught a TD pass last week and has the privilege of playing with Tom Brady, so he has a lot to offer for the rest of the season and in the future. If he doesn't blossom in 2006, he could become a quality fantasy starter by next year.
Santonio Holmes (2): He's made some rookie mistakes so far and was slow to pick up the playbook and the finer nuances of the pro game. But the Steelers continue to push him to become an integral part of the passing game, and while he is still learning, Holmes has had several plays designed for him, and he has become a frequent deep target. By next season, he could become a regular big-play threat for Ben Roethlisberger. He's not anywhere near reliable yet, though.
Derek Hagan (1): When injuries forced him to play more regularly for a short time, he showed off some good possession skills and a lot of potential as a smooth route runner. But he likely won't be useful this year, and he probably won't amount to anything more than a No. 3 receiver at best for the Dolphins.
Maurice Stovall (1): He hasn't been a factor this year except for a few occasional red zone chances to score. Eventually, though, he could become a very important receiver for the Buccaneers, especially as a TD target.
Sinorice Moss (1): A quadriceps injury has rendered him useless. We'll have to wait until 2007 to see him possibly become another favorite deep target for Eli Manning, and with all the missed time this year, he might not be useful in fantasy leagues until at least 2008.
Hank Baskett (1): He was one of the surprises of the preseason. And he could still eventually become a quality deep target for the Eagles. He's worth holding onto in keeper leagues.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 9 New Articles Added 10/28/06)

Oct. 30, 2006, 4:53 PM
Week 8: Rookie Report


<!-- end pagetitle --><!-- begin bylinebox -->

<!-- firstName = Scott --><!-- lastName = Engel -->

By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

<!-- begin presby2 -->
<!-- end presby2 -->
<!-- end bylinebox -->
<!-- begin text11 div -->
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER height="1" type="block" width="8"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]Ratings Key
5. A certain regular fantasy starter in yearly leagues already, and a top keeper player.
4. Adequate fantasy starter with outstanding keeper promise.
3. Occasional yearly starter who should become a very good keeper league player.
2. Showing signs of promise, but not a recommended starter yet despite much keeper appeal.
1. Should not be used in yearly leagues. A keeper player only.
[/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Here's an updated, fantasy-style look at the impact rookies of 2006, with rankings for both yearly and keeper formats at the three major fantasy positions. Only rookies who have logged considerable playing time so far or could see more action in the near future are listed.
Quarterbacks Matt Leinart (3): He started well but has struggled recently. Must show he can play better on the road and when facing man coverages. Could rebound when an injured Larry Fitzgerald returns and gives him another quality option besides Anquan Boldin.
Vince Young (3): He plays in a conservative offense and doesn't have outstanding receivers. But Young has started to deliver respectable numbers, and can be a good bye week replacement or injury substitution. He's making good decisions and has already become a dangerous TD threat when he runs.
Bruce Gradkowski (3): When the matchup is right, Gradkowski can give you decent fantasy numbers. He takes quick drops, sets himself quickly, and is very poised for a young passer. Not an outstanding fantasy player by any means, but he's been much more reliable at times than expected. Gradkowski has earned a "3" rating so far, but must work to keep it. I'm not sold on him despite some pretty good early performances.
Jay Cutler (1): His rating could rise if he replaces Jake Plummer at some point, but that might not be soon. He had a good preseason, but the Broncos are continuing to win with Plummer and won't make a switch when they are playing well overall. Cutler would breathe some life into the passing game, but Mike Shanahan isn't about to mess with a winning formula to play a rookie. The conservative approach on offense is working for Shanahan, even if fantasy players don't like it.
Running Backs
Maurice Jones-Drew (4): He has become a very pleasant surprise. Jones-Drew might only be listed at 5-7, but he's one of the strongest smaller backs you'll ever see, and his powerful lower body has been the main reason he has become such an effective short-yardage and goal-line runner. Jones-Drew can also catch passes and break loose for big plays any time he touches the ball. The Jaguars have been careful not to overwork him, and as a result, Jones-Drew has been a threat to deliver a big play or score whenever he gets a carry or catches a pass.
Leon Washington (4): He has at least temporarily earned a "4" rating, but he needs to keep playing well to remain a regular fantasy starter. Washington has been another of the "smaller back" surprises, as he has run very well inside while threatening to break loose for a long run at any time. Washington does share some carries with Kevan Barlow, but he has clearly become the Jets' No. 1 RB. He needs to sustain his momentum, though, and has to keep scoring to remain a dependable fantasy starter.
Joseph Addai (3): He is starting to get more reps recently, but Addai has been brought along slowly in his first pro season. Addai should continue to improve from a statistical perspective as the year goes on, and he should be a more integral part of the Indianapolis offense soon, even if he's not a focal point like Edgerrin James was. Some occasional TDs will soon start to accompany quality weekly yardage totals.
Wali Lundy (3): He was hot preseason sleeper, then lost his job, and now has regained it and has been making the most of his second chance so far. Lundy is running well again, but still must prove he can perform well over an extended period without wearing down. He's a shaky "3" who still has some questions surrounding him a long-term option, and his keeper status is still unclear. Can he be anything more than an occasionally productive RB? We'll have to wait and see.
Laurence Maroney (3): At times, he has flashed some major promise, and has briefly looked like the most exciting runner in the rookie class. But Maroney hasn't been able to maintain any consistency, and after looking like an improved inside runner earlier this year, he hasn't been able to get through the front seven very often recently. When he's on his game, Maroney is an amazing blend of speed and power. But he hasn't been able to bust loose for many good runs recently, and should be benched until he starts to run more successfully inside and breaks tackles with more regularity again.
Reggie Bush (3): His rating could drop soon, because he hasn't been much of a factor as a runner, and he isn't breaking loose when he catches passes. Now Bush has an ankle injury as well. He is simply drawing too much defensive attention every time he gets the ball. Until the Saints start to devise more ways of getting him the ball in open space, he's going to be nothing more than mediocre for statistical purposes.
LenDale White (2): When he has gotten a chance to play, White has shown the ability to quickly gain momentum, break tackles and get to the second level of defenders. But he has been overshadowed by the recent resurgence of Travis Henry, even after passing Chris Brown on the depth chart. It seems to be just a matter of time before he passes Henry on the depth chart, though, and White has great keeper league potential. He could have a few good games at the end of the 2006 season.
Mike Bell (2): He earned the starting job in the preseason, then lost it to a determined Tatum Bell. Now that Tatum Bell has a nagging turf toe problem, Mike Bell has temporarily re-emerged as a viable fantasy option. But a healthy Tatum Bell will be highly motivated to regain his full workload, and Mike Bell can't be relied on for regular success. Mike Bell could make the most of extended playing time if he is needed, but he could be pushed back to the bench at any time. Mike Bell has a lot of potential in yearly leagues when he plays, but his keeper value is unclear, as he could ultimately remain behind Tatum Bell on the depth chart for some time. In the near future, though, he could split some time with Tatum Bell again, making Mike Bell at least worth consideration as a short-term flex option.
Jerious Norwood (2): He's going to be explosive and exciting very soon, but Warrick Dunn remains Atlanta's No. 1 RB for now, and the Falcons are starting to throw more successfully, leaving very few touches for Norwood. He could start on quite a few other NFL teams, but for now, he is not getting enough touches to be useful in most yearly fantasy leagues.
DeAngelo Williams (2): Early in the year, it looked like he had a real chance of threatening DeShaun Foster's playing time. But improved play from Foster, plus an ankle injury, have dimmed Williams' outlook for this season. When he returns to action, it will likely be as a change-of-pace RB. Still, he has a lot of promise from the keeper perspective and could start to make a serious move for more playing time in 2007.
Michael Robinson (1): There was some talk of him becoming a featured goal-line runner a few weeks ago. But Frank Gore has re-established himself as a solid starter, and Robinson's keeper appeal is shaky as well. He's not even a solid "1" as far as the ratings go.
Wide Receivers
Marques Colston (5): He has easily been the biggest surprise sleeper of 2006. Colston was not considered fast or quick enough to be an NFL wide receiver, yet he had such a good camp, he made Donte' Stallworth expendable. Colston is catching nearly everything thrown to him, even after defenses have adjusted to give him more attention. He is a regular TD threat and has earned must-start status is yearly fantasy leagues. Reggie Bush draws more defensive attention, but Colston makes many of the important plays for New Orleans.
Greg Jennings (5): If he was healthy, I might rank him ahead of Colston. Jennings has become an instant fantasy standout as a perfect target for Brett Favre. He's quick, runs good routes for a first-year player, catches the ball well in stride, and can bust loose often for additional yards after the catch. Jennings fits into the classic Green Bay receiver mold of the Favre era, and conjures up memories of Robert Brooks in his prime. He also is willing to make tough catches over the middle, and he'll be a good safety valve and dependable wideout for Aaron Rodgers or whoever else takes over after Favre retires.
Chad Jackson (2): Injuries stunted his progress early. But he's the best pure combination of size, speed and natural ability on the New England roster, and the Patriots have vowed to get him more involved in the passing game recently. Jackson caught a TD pass last week and has the privilege of playing with Tom Brady, so he has a lot to offer for the rest of the season and in the future. If he doesn't blossom in 2006, he could become a quality fantasy starter by next year.
Santonio Holmes (2): He's made some rookie mistakes so far and was slow to pick up the playbook and the finer nuances of the pro game. But the Steelers continue to push him to become an integral part of the passing game, and while he is still learning, Holmes has had several plays designed for him, and he has become a frequent deep target. By next season, he could become a regular big-play threat for Ben Roethlisberger. He's not anywhere near reliable yet, though.
Derek Hagan (1): When injuries forced him to play more regularly for a short time, he showed off some good possession skills and a lot of potential as a smooth route runner. But he likely won't be useful this year, and he probably won't amount to anything more than a No. 3 receiver at best for the Dolphins.
Maurice Stovall (1): He hasn't been a factor this year except for a few occasional red zone chances to score. Eventually, though, he could become a very important receiver for the Buccaneers, especially as a TD target.
Sinorice Moss (1): A quadriceps injury has rendered him useless. We'll have to wait until 2007 to see him possibly become another favorite deep target for Eli Manning, and with all the missed time this year, he might not be useful in fantasy leagues until at least 2008.
Hank Baskett (1): He was one of the surprises of the preseason. And he could still eventually become a quality deep target for the Eagles. He's worth holding onto in keeper leagues.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Oct. 31, 2006, 2:53 PM
Carroll: Alexander, Bush and T.Bell


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By Will Carroll
ESPN.com

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There's nothing scarier than the injury report. A team often thinks it can do nothing about it, that they're falling victim to bad luck, curses, karma, or worse. In the salary-cap era, there's little more important than making sure that the limited money that can be spent ends up on the field rather than on the IR. In baseball, we've got years of data. Football doesn't have the same data base, but it's easier to deal in weeks and base salaries than in baseball system of days and dollars. There and likely in football, the decision to reduce injuries is a simple one of commitment and resources. No team wants more injuries, but too few are actually doing something about it.
Let's get to the injuries:
Monday always was going to be the big test for Shaun Alexander. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, next Monday's going to be big as well. Alexander had more scans and images done on his broken foot and the healing wasn't complete, forcing him to miss one more week. The good news is that his running didn't exacerbate the problem or slow the healing, meaning that "one more week" is a solid timetable. With that said, Alexander still hasn't made cuts or taken contact, so there's plenty of room for a setback. The Seahawks tend to be conservative, so don't read too much into this, but Matt Hasselbeck is now on target to miss four games rather than two, delaying his return from a moderate MCL sprain. Mike Holmgren says that he's targeting Hasselbeck to return for the Nov. 19 game in Week 11, a far cry from the three weeks forecast after the injury. There doesn't appear to be any change and there hasn't been time for a setback, so it appears that it's simply a function of the organization's longstanding conservative approach to rehab. Keep an eye on this one so you're not surprised if the QB comes back more quickly than expected.
My pal Aaron Schatz had a great line about Ben Roethlisberger, comparing him to an old TV set. "You smack him on the side once and the picture clears up. Everything's good. You smack him again and everything goes back to being fuzzy. Roethlisberger looked really fuzzy against the Raiders, making one inexplicable throw after another." Aaron's dead on. While we have no way of knowing what's inside Roethlisberger's head -- and frankly, I don't want to -- the results were apparent. The cause, however, was not. I can't say whether it was Ben's post-concussion fuzziness, the effects of the motorcycle crash, a flawed gameplan, or a solid defense. In a small sample size like one game, there's no certainty to be found in the stat line. Instead, we have to take every possible variable into account and the most simple, most apparent one is that Roethlisberger wasn't ready, despite passing the mental and physical tests presented to him by the medical and coaching staffs. We'll see where the ongoing saga goes this week and how that affects the fantasy numbers of the Steelers offense.
As Roethlisberger tries to play through multiple concussions, Trent Green is still trying to come back from one big one. Green still isn't cleared for contact at deadline, but sources in Kansas City tell me that the next step will be a full practice. Yes, he practiced last week and looked good enough to have some team members questioning whether he would be active for their game, but he didn't take contact. This is a bit of a misnomer; QBs don't take contact in practice. You've seen the red jerseys they wear. So how does a "contact practice" work for a QB? "It doesn't," one NFL executive told me. "The QB might get bumped or accidentally knocked down, but no one's going to take a shot at him." That leaves practice as a poor indicator for how Green will do once people hit him with bad intentions. Simply put, I have no idea how Green will play, but neither does anyone else, including the Chiefs.
The Saints are too much of a feel-good story to get bogged down in injuries. There's some intrigue surrounding the mild sprain of Reggie Bush's ankle, with some thinking that the Ravens targeted the rookie and others thinking that Bush used the injury as a way to get off the field. Bush did dodge tackles, lying down a couple times rather than getting blown up, but this has always seemed the smarter strategy to me. X-rays were negative and Bush says he should be ready for next week, but as we know, players are often the worst judges of their health. I talked to Dr. Philip Kwong of Kerlan-Jobe, one of the top foot and ankle guys in the world. He told me that a mild (Grade 1) sprain takes 1-to-3 weeks to recover fully from, but football players don't wait for full recovery. Expect Bush back on the field for the next game with only slight limitations. His fantasy effect is more apparent in the numbers for Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister anyway, so a small injury shouldn't change anyone's opinion on Bush's output potential. Reports on ESPN.com, quoting the Newark Star-Ledger, have Curtis Martin calling it a season due to chronic knee problems. If you've been reading my columns here or even last season, you won't be surprised by this outcome. Martin was on the PUP list with a bone-on-bone condition much like those that ended the career of Terrell Davis and rendered Stephen Davis into an injury-prone fantasy question mark instead of a feature back. Both players and officials in the report thought that Martin would retire and given the injury, there's little chance that Martin could make any mark on the field. There's no way to regenerate the cartilage short of experimental techniques, at least until cartilage regrowth techniques are legally protected and more viable options become available.


I not only told you that Tatum Bell was a risky play last week, I ate my own dog food, picking up Mike Bell. Mike Bell didn't disappoint, putting up 25 fantasy points after Tatum Bell asked out at halftime. Tatum Bell admitted that the turf toe was more significant than he let on prior to the game. Still, his usage pattern in the second half indicates that Mike Shanahan didn't understand the significance either. With Mike Bell sucking down oxygen on the sideline, Tatum Bell was asked to take carries late in the game and twice, the toe caused problems. On the first carry, the toe didn't allow Tatum to get his foot solidly planted and he slipped. On the second carry, he got a good push off a cut and the pain buckled his knee and he went to the ground. Without a good third back -- Cedric Cobbs was unavailable with an ankle injury -- the Broncos were at the mercy of a bad toe. Tatum remains a risky play, both due to the toe and Shanahan's tendencies to play the hot hand, or, with running backs, is that the hot foot?
The Redskins spent much of their bye week just trying to get healthy. Three of their key offensive contributors were in the training room over their break, hoping to be ready for the next game. Things look good for Santana Moss. There's been no setback with his mildly strained hamstring and if he can make it through Sunday without a problem, we can move on from worrying about his leg. Clinton Portis is a tougher one. We'll need to see him on the practice field and out of the walking boot he had on before we'll know what to expect from him this week. At the very least, Portis owners need to know that Ladell Betts pairs well with Portis. (Reader Paul Swydan doesn't like the term "handcuff" and neither do I, so I'm appropriating the Starbucks phrase here.)
I'm also watching Mark Brunell. Aside from concerns that Joe Gibbs might push the vet aside for Jason Campbell in hopes that the younger, more mobile guy might pull a Tony Romo for the Redskins, Brunell also is dealing with a strained intercostal muscle, which is being called a rib injury and some other bangs and bruises. It's interesting to note that Brunell has lost his biggest skill, his mobility. Few players at any position can lose a primary skill and make the adjustments necessary to remain effective. In fact, I can't think of a good example at the QB position. I think that makes the transition to Campbell inevitable, making him a good bench pickup if you need some depth and have the roster room.
Greg Jennings sat out Sunday's game, as expected. The sprained ankle won't keep him out for next week, assuming no setbacks, and he should go right back to the No. 2 slot in Green Bay. His absence opened things up for David Martin, a TE who was one of few healthy targets for Brett Favre. Wait to see if Martin's jaw is broken before adding him. He had a breakout game in the absence of other options in Green Bay, but the injury and the return of Jennings would reduce his fantasy value for all but the really desperate.
LaMont Jordan continues to be limited by a mid-back injury, rendering him a fantasy trap. The consensus first-round pick has been a sound disappointment all season long, being dragged down by the wretched play of the Raiders, though the team appears to be turning around slightly. Jordan's injury negates any team-level gain and until cleared up, puts him not only on the fantasy bench, but might push him off some rosters altogether. At the midpoint of the season, each fantasy owner should know where their team is and adjust accordingly. Jordan's risk negates his possible second-half resurgence for all but the dominant and the desperate. Those mid-pack teams that are facing five weeks of must-win to make the playoffs can't afford an anchor like Jordan. Back injuries, whether structural or muscular, linger and affect play. The location of this injury seriously affects Jordan's ability to catch passes, a big part of his pre-season value. Bumps and Bruises: Both Chester Taylor and Mewelde Moore left Monday's game with stingers. Neither should be serious, nor is there any pattern to this other than mere coincidence. ? Kick returner Tyson Thompson of the Cowboys is done for the season. He'll need surgery to fixate his broken ankle. The injury was suffered on a hit out of bounds. ? The Chargers know that they have to keep LaDainian Tomlinson fresh and healthy. This week's game shows that they understand that Michael Turner is the key to that plan. ? Montae Reagor won't be back in uniform this week as he recovers from a fractured orbital bone suffered in a game day car crash. ?Since I had so many e-mails about this, let me address the concept of risk. Risk doesn't necessarily mean "don't play this guy." It means that there's a reduced likelihood of a positive result or, conversely, an increased likelihood of a negative result. You can't base decisions just off risk, otherwise no one would go to Vegas or buy a lottery ticket. Risk is just one part of the information you need to make an informed decision about your roster. Damon Huard? Well, if you took his risk and his matchup into consideration, you probably missed out on his big day, but you might not have made the wrong decision. Yes, it's possible to be right and wrong all at once, one of the beauties of fantasy football.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Oct. 31, 2006, 2:53 PM
Carroll: Alexander, Bush and T.Bell


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By Will Carroll
ESPN.com

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There's nothing scarier than the injury report. A team often thinks it can do nothing about it, that they're falling victim to bad luck, curses, karma, or worse. In the salary-cap era, there's little more important than making sure that the limited money that can be spent ends up on the field rather than on the IR. In baseball, we've got years of data. Football doesn't have the same data base, but it's easier to deal in weeks and base salaries than in baseball system of days and dollars. There and likely in football, the decision to reduce injuries is a simple one of commitment and resources. No team wants more injuries, but too few are actually doing something about it.
Let's get to the injuries:
Monday always was going to be the big test for Shaun Alexander. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, next Monday's going to be big as well. Alexander had more scans and images done on his broken foot and the healing wasn't complete, forcing him to miss one more week. The good news is that his running didn't exacerbate the problem or slow the healing, meaning that "one more week" is a solid timetable. With that said, Alexander still hasn't made cuts or taken contact, so there's plenty of room for a setback. The Seahawks tend to be conservative, so don't read too much into this, but Matt Hasselbeck is now on target to miss four games rather than two, delaying his return from a moderate MCL sprain. Mike Holmgren says that he's targeting Hasselbeck to return for the Nov. 19 game in Week 11, a far cry from the three weeks forecast after the injury. There doesn't appear to be any change and there hasn't been time for a setback, so it appears that it's simply a function of the organization's longstanding conservative approach to rehab. Keep an eye on this one so you're not surprised if the QB comes back more quickly than expected.
My pal Aaron Schatz had a great line about Ben Roethlisberger, comparing him to an old TV set. "You smack him on the side once and the picture clears up. Everything's good. You smack him again and everything goes back to being fuzzy. Roethlisberger looked really fuzzy against the Raiders, making one inexplicable throw after another." Aaron's dead on. While we have no way of knowing what's inside Roethlisberger's head -- and frankly, I don't want to -- the results were apparent. The cause, however, was not. I can't say whether it was Ben's post-concussion fuzziness, the effects of the motorcycle crash, a flawed gameplan, or a solid defense. In a small sample size like one game, there's no certainty to be found in the stat line. Instead, we have to take every possible variable into account and the most simple, most apparent one is that Roethlisberger wasn't ready, despite passing the mental and physical tests presented to him by the medical and coaching staffs. We'll see where the ongoing saga goes this week and how that affects the fantasy numbers of the Steelers offense.
As Roethlisberger tries to play through multiple concussions, Trent Green is still trying to come back from one big one. Green still isn't cleared for contact at deadline, but sources in Kansas City tell me that the next step will be a full practice. Yes, he practiced last week and looked good enough to have some team members questioning whether he would be active for their game, but he didn't take contact. This is a bit of a misnomer; QBs don't take contact in practice. You've seen the red jerseys they wear. So how does a "contact practice" work for a QB? "It doesn't," one NFL executive told me. "The QB might get bumped or accidentally knocked down, but no one's going to take a shot at him." That leaves practice as a poor indicator for how Green will do once people hit him with bad intentions. Simply put, I have no idea how Green will play, but neither does anyone else, including the Chiefs.
The Saints are too much of a feel-good story to get bogged down in injuries. There's some intrigue surrounding the mild sprain of Reggie Bush's ankle, with some thinking that the Ravens targeted the rookie and others thinking that Bush used the injury as a way to get off the field. Bush did dodge tackles, lying down a couple times rather than getting blown up, but this has always seemed the smarter strategy to me. X-rays were negative and Bush says he should be ready for next week, but as we know, players are often the worst judges of their health. I talked to Dr. Philip Kwong of Kerlan-Jobe, one of the top foot and ankle guys in the world. He told me that a mild (Grade 1) sprain takes 1-to-3 weeks to recover fully from, but football players don't wait for full recovery. Expect Bush back on the field for the next game with only slight limitations. His fantasy effect is more apparent in the numbers for Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister anyway, so a small injury shouldn't change anyone's opinion on Bush's output potential. Reports on ESPN.com, quoting the Newark Star-Ledger, have Curtis Martin calling it a season due to chronic knee problems. If you've been reading my columns here or even last season, you won't be surprised by this outcome. Martin was on the PUP list with a bone-on-bone condition much like those that ended the career of Terrell Davis and rendered Stephen Davis into an injury-prone fantasy question mark instead of a feature back. Both players and officials in the report thought that Martin would retire and given the injury, there's little chance that Martin could make any mark on the field. There's no way to regenerate the cartilage short of experimental techniques, at least until cartilage regrowth techniques are legally protected and more viable options become available.


I not only told you that Tatum Bell was a risky play last week, I ate my own dog food, picking up Mike Bell. Mike Bell didn't disappoint, putting up 25 fantasy points after Tatum Bell asked out at halftime. Tatum Bell admitted that the turf toe was more significant than he let on prior to the game. Still, his usage pattern in the second half indicates that Mike Shanahan didn't understand the significance either. With Mike Bell sucking down oxygen on the sideline, Tatum Bell was asked to take carries late in the game and twice, the toe caused problems. On the first carry, the toe didn't allow Tatum to get his foot solidly planted and he slipped. On the second carry, he got a good push off a cut and the pain buckled his knee and he went to the ground. Without a good third back -- Cedric Cobbs was unavailable with an ankle injury -- the Broncos were at the mercy of a bad toe. Tatum remains a risky play, both due to the toe and Shanahan's tendencies to play the hot hand, or, with running backs, is that the hot foot?
The Redskins spent much of their bye week just trying to get healthy. Three of their key offensive contributors were in the training room over their break, hoping to be ready for the next game. Things look good for Santana Moss. There's been no setback with his mildly strained hamstring and if he can make it through Sunday without a problem, we can move on from worrying about his leg. Clinton Portis is a tougher one. We'll need to see him on the practice field and out of the walking boot he had on before we'll know what to expect from him this week. At the very least, Portis owners need to know that Ladell Betts pairs well with Portis. (Reader Paul Swydan doesn't like the term "handcuff" and neither do I, so I'm appropriating the Starbucks phrase here.)
I'm also watching Mark Brunell. Aside from concerns that Joe Gibbs might push the vet aside for Jason Campbell in hopes that the younger, more mobile guy might pull a Tony Romo for the Redskins, Brunell also is dealing with a strained intercostal muscle, which is being called a rib injury and some other bangs and bruises. It's interesting to note that Brunell has lost his biggest skill, his mobility. Few players at any position can lose a primary skill and make the adjustments necessary to remain effective. In fact, I can't think of a good example at the QB position. I think that makes the transition to Campbell inevitable, making him a good bench pickup if you need some depth and have the roster room.
Greg Jennings sat out Sunday's game, as expected. The sprained ankle won't keep him out for next week, assuming no setbacks, and he should go right back to the No. 2 slot in Green Bay. His absence opened things up for David Martin, a TE who was one of few healthy targets for Brett Favre. Wait to see if Martin's jaw is broken before adding him. He had a breakout game in the absence of other options in Green Bay, but the injury and the return of Jennings would reduce his fantasy value for all but the really desperate.
LaMont Jordan continues to be limited by a mid-back injury, rendering him a fantasy trap. The consensus first-round pick has been a sound disappointment all season long, being dragged down by the wretched play of the Raiders, though the team appears to be turning around slightly. Jordan's injury negates any team-level gain and until cleared up, puts him not only on the fantasy bench, but might push him off some rosters altogether. At the midpoint of the season, each fantasy owner should know where their team is and adjust accordingly. Jordan's risk negates his possible second-half resurgence for all but the dominant and the desperate. Those mid-pack teams that are facing five weeks of must-win to make the playoffs can't afford an anchor like Jordan. Back injuries, whether structural or muscular, linger and affect play. The location of this injury seriously affects Jordan's ability to catch passes, a big part of his pre-season value. Bumps and Bruises: Both Chester Taylor and Mewelde Moore left Monday's game with stingers. Neither should be serious, nor is there any pattern to this other than mere coincidence. ? Kick returner Tyson Thompson of the Cowboys is done for the season. He'll need surgery to fixate his broken ankle. The injury was suffered on a hit out of bounds. ? The Chargers know that they have to keep LaDainian Tomlinson fresh and healthy. This week's game shows that they understand that Michael Turner is the key to that plan. ? Montae Reagor won't be back in uniform this week as he recovers from a fractured orbital bone suffered in a game day car crash. ?Since I had so many e-mails about this, let me address the concept of risk. Risk doesn't necessarily mean "don't play this guy." It means that there's a reduced likelihood of a positive result or, conversely, an increased likelihood of a negative result. You can't base decisions just off risk, otherwise no one would go to Vegas or buy a lottery ticket. Risk is just one part of the information you need to make an informed decision about your roster. Damon Huard? Well, if you took his risk and his matchup into consideration, you probably missed out on his big day, but you might not have made the wrong decision. Yes, it's possible to be right and wrong all at once, one of the beauties of fantasy football.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Oct. 31, 2006, 12:59 PM
Week 8: Biggest Disappointments


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By Jason Langendorf
ESPN.com

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With most NFL teams having tucked eight games under their belts by the end of Monday, we've essentially reached the midpoint of the 2006 season. Anyone else want a do-over?
I'm getting the business from all angles for a couple of my teams that might as well be used as case studies in how not to draft a fantasy football team. In my buddies league, I get an annual cheap thrill from keelhauling some guys I grew up with who turned into doctors and lawyers. Only now my team stinks and I'm dealing with the predictable fallout. In one pseudo-celebrity/experts league, Benjamin Watson's Monday heroics were just enough to make me think I might avoid falling to 2-6 before having my heart torn out yet again. My executioner this week? Ickey Woods. Shoot me now. Please.
Anyway, all that angst got me thinking: Who were fantasy's most heinous first-half disappointments -- and did any of them have a legitimate chance to salvage something for their owners down the stretch? What follows are the 10 biggest busts through Week 8:
10. Jamal Lewis, Ravens
Lewis is a different runner than the guy who ran for 2,000 yards three years ago. Yes, Baltimore's line is falling apart, but Lewis has been tentative and too easily brought down. For a runner with his combination of power and speed in an offense that now has some semblance of a passing threat, his numbers have been unacceptable.
Second-half prognosis: Grim. Coordinator Jim Fassel's ouster isn't likely to help Lewis, and the presence of Mike Anderson and Musa Smith give the Ravens alternatives to consider. Anderson still runs hard and has quality goal-line power, but Smith is the better all-around back and long-term prospect. Consider stashing him in deeper leagues.
9. Rudi Johnson, Bengals
Johnson has Round 1 ability, but something is missing. Receptions, for one -- but that should come as no surprise. The more serious problem has been Cincinnati's poor overall blocking up front. Not only have the absences of linemen Rich Braham and Levi Jones bruised the run game, but Carson Palmer's weakened protection has led to more reserved game plans and more frequent eight-man fronts from opponents.
Second-half prognosis: OK. Johnson could produce at least as well as he has to this point, especially with Palmer and the passing game starting to click. But he's facing a rough stretch, including two games against Baltimore and a Week 16 matchup at Denver. With Braham and Jones likely out for at least another few weeks, don't expect a big turnaround.
8. Randy Moss, Raiders
Terrell Owens and Chris Chambers deserve some consideration here, but both have been almost palatable -- and offer hope for the future. Not so for Moss. He's going through the motions, and even then only about half the time. Andrew Walter might make a nice NFL quarterback someday, but he looks like a slower, more easily rattled Drew Bledsoe right now -- and that's saying something. He isn't getting the time to throw deep, and Moss is an indifferent (and soft) short and intermediate route runner.
Second-half prognosis: Stick a fork in him. Oakland's O-line won't get good enough before season's end to help Moss, and the possible healthy return of Aaron Brooks in the coming weeks isn't exactly the cavalry riding into town.
7. Reggie Bush, Saints
Consider this: Seattle's Maurice Morris, who had all of seven carries in the first two weeks and currently is nursing a 2.9 rushing average, has outrun Bush. To be fair, the rookie has stayed busy and flashed some big-play pop as a receiver and return man, but even tepid experts expected more from Bush than what he's shown so far. The scary thing is, coach Sean Payton has been brilliant in deploying Bush and maximizing his touches in an offense that also includes Deuce McAllister. Is this as good as it gets?
Second-half prognosis: I'm cautiously optimistic. A sprained ankle might keep Bush out in Week 9, but probably not longer (if at all). New Orleans has at least a handful of matchups that favor the run game, and it's hard to imagine a ball carrier with Bush's dazzling athleticism being held without a TD from scrimmage for another eight games.
6. Chad Johnson, Bengals
Rudi isn't Cincinnati's only Johnson who has suffered. Chad -- or Ocho Cinco, if you please -- has his owners pleading no mas. Week 8 was a start (78 yards and a TD), but the Bengals' inability to get Johnson freed up downfield for big plays and scoring chances has frazzled those who saw him as a safe second-round pick.
Second-half prognosis: Promising. Carson Palmer seems to be getting his groove back, and through it all he never has stopped looking Johnson's way. Even if the line doesn't firm up (and it already looks better than it had in the season's first month or so), CJ could take off down the stretch while facing a bevy of leaky secondaries and man-to-man defenses.
5. Drew Bledsoe, Cowboys
Kurt Warner and Bledsoe should start a support group, even if membership will be thin. I mean, exactly how many cement-footed NFL passers with feeble protection and a moody superstar teammate undermining their efforts are out there?
Second-half prognosis: We've lost the patient, doctor. Tony Romo would have to make Dallas long for the days of Ryan Leaf before coach Bill Parcells would consider re-inserting Bledsoe into the lineup. The offensive line just isn't nimble enough to give him time, and the move would practically be an open invitation for Terrell Owens to poison team chemistry. Silver lining: Romo looked competent enough in his first two games of significant regular-season action to merit a look from recovering Bledsoe owners.
4. Carnell Williams, Buccaneers
Williams has bypassed the honeymoon period he graced his owners with as a rookie and dived directly into the chronically banged-up and torpedoed-by-my-offensive line mode. Few runners are as tough as Cadillac, especially when you consider his size. But not only has he been held back by a blocking crew plagued by youth, injuries and mediocrity -- Williams isn't getting the ball near the goal line or in the passing game.
Second-half prognosis: This situation stinks. The Bucs have one of the worst second-half schedules a running back could face, and the defense's stumbles no longer keep the run game viable for four quarters. Even if Williams gets well, owners can't be as optimistic about his surroundings.
3. Edgerrin James, Cardinals
James still has rare power and vision, and he has greater, steadier value because of his versatility as a receiver. But there's a reason people go to Arizona to retire -- and it ain't just the sun and golf. The Cardinals, quite simply, can't block. And James no longer has the explosiveness to make his own fortune in the open field or after the catch. It can be argued that the Matt Leinart-for-Warner swap has created slightly improved opportunities for James, but the results say otherwise.
Second-half prognosis: Edge is cooked. He'll have a better second half than first, if only thanks to Leinart. But the schedule won't offer any noticeable relief, and it's doubtful Arizona's O-line will get appreciably better. James still will put up no better than fourth- or fifth-round fantasy back numbers.
2. LaMont Jordan, Raiders
Never, ever forget the impact of the offensive line and the passing game on a back's value. And good health. Oh, and an honest effort. Seriously, Jordan has taken a bad situation and turned it into something apocalyptic. He doesn't seem to be running as hard this year, and though injuries have been a factor, his half-hearted wave at a lateral that San Francisco parlayed into a TD in Week 5 typifies his season. Oakland's offensive line actually showed a little spunk against Pittsburgh, but Jordan (back) essentially was MIA for the second week in a row.
Second-half prognosis: Yuck. Oakland rarely visits scoring territory, and Jordan's receptions have all but disappeared in a scheme almost devoid of check-downs. Think about picking up Justin Fargas, a powerful, explosive slasher whose ability has been obscured by injuries to this point. The Raiders could start evaluating the young guys soon.
1. Shaun Alexander, Seahawks
Backs who are punished like Alexander was worked the last few years tend to go bust. But in retrospect, how could any sane owner let a healthy, in-his-20s runner coming off a 27-TD season slide past the first three picks? Workhorses LaDainian Tomlinson and Tiki Barber were no less likely to sputter, yet everything that could have gone wrong for Alexander has. The offensive line desperately misses guard Steve Hutchinson (and has been further compromised by injuries and suspensions), the passing game got off to a slow start, and a foot injury sidelined Alexander just when things started getting good.
Second-half prognosis: There's hope. Even with Matt Hasselbeck hobbled and the O-line in poor shape, Alexander could deliver the sort of production we had come to take for granted from him. He's expected to miss another week, but in Week 10 he could kick off a cakewalk of weak run defenses in St. Louis, San Francisco (twice), Green Bay and Arizona. If you've hung in this long, don't quit on him now.
Some Week 8 O-line and defense observations:
Dallas' offensive line isn't blocking any better for Tony Romo than it was for Drew Bledsoe, so what gives? Right tackle Marc Colombo had an excellent game against Carolina's Julius Peppers on Sunday, but the fact is Romo is getting the ball away quicker and buying himself time in and outside the pocket. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's worth a roster spot in standard leagues just yet, but I do like how the change has helped Jason Witten. The Cowboys' tight end hasn't been asked to block as often since Bledsoe was replaced, and he could be Romo's new best friend. Young quarterbacks can thrive with a big, sure-handed, over-the-middle target as a security blanket. ... I've been saying all season that the Raiders have a solid defense. And Chris Carr, who housed an interception working as a dime back late against the Steelers, gives them good potential in the return game. If Aaron Brooks returns to, uh, stabilize the offense, the Raiders' D/ST could have some legs in the second half.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Oct. 31, 2006, 12:59 PM
Week 8: Biggest Disappointments


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By Jason Langendorf
ESPN.com

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With most NFL teams having tucked eight games under their belts by the end of Monday, we've essentially reached the midpoint of the 2006 season. Anyone else want a do-over?
I'm getting the business from all angles for a couple of my teams that might as well be used as case studies in how not to draft a fantasy football team. In my buddies league, I get an annual cheap thrill from keelhauling some guys I grew up with who turned into doctors and lawyers. Only now my team stinks and I'm dealing with the predictable fallout. In one pseudo-celebrity/experts league, Benjamin Watson's Monday heroics were just enough to make me think I might avoid falling to 2-6 before having my heart torn out yet again. My executioner this week? Ickey Woods. Shoot me now. Please.
Anyway, all that angst got me thinking: Who were fantasy's most heinous first-half disappointments -- and did any of them have a legitimate chance to salvage something for their owners down the stretch? What follows are the 10 biggest busts through Week 8:
10. Jamal Lewis, Ravens
Lewis is a different runner than the guy who ran for 2,000 yards three years ago. Yes, Baltimore's line is falling apart, but Lewis has been tentative and too easily brought down. For a runner with his combination of power and speed in an offense that now has some semblance of a passing threat, his numbers have been unacceptable.
Second-half prognosis: Grim. Coordinator Jim Fassel's ouster isn't likely to help Lewis, and the presence of Mike Anderson and Musa Smith give the Ravens alternatives to consider. Anderson still runs hard and has quality goal-line power, but Smith is the better all-around back and long-term prospect. Consider stashing him in deeper leagues.
9. Rudi Johnson, Bengals
Johnson has Round 1 ability, but something is missing. Receptions, for one -- but that should come as no surprise. The more serious problem has been Cincinnati's poor overall blocking up front. Not only have the absences of linemen Rich Braham and Levi Jones bruised the run game, but Carson Palmer's weakened protection has led to more reserved game plans and more frequent eight-man fronts from opponents.
Second-half prognosis: OK. Johnson could produce at least as well as he has to this point, especially with Palmer and the passing game starting to click. But he's facing a rough stretch, including two games against Baltimore and a Week 16 matchup at Denver. With Braham and Jones likely out for at least another few weeks, don't expect a big turnaround.
8. Randy Moss, Raiders
Terrell Owens and Chris Chambers deserve some consideration here, but both have been almost palatable -- and offer hope for the future. Not so for Moss. He's going through the motions, and even then only about half the time. Andrew Walter might make a nice NFL quarterback someday, but he looks like a slower, more easily rattled Drew Bledsoe right now -- and that's saying something. He isn't getting the time to throw deep, and Moss is an indifferent (and soft) short and intermediate route runner.
Second-half prognosis: Stick a fork in him. Oakland's O-line won't get good enough before season's end to help Moss, and the possible healthy return of Aaron Brooks in the coming weeks isn't exactly the cavalry riding into town.
7. Reggie Bush, Saints
Consider this: Seattle's Maurice Morris, who had all of seven carries in the first two weeks and currently is nursing a 2.9 rushing average, has outrun Bush. To be fair, the rookie has stayed busy and flashed some big-play pop as a receiver and return man, but even tepid experts expected more from Bush than what he's shown so far. The scary thing is, coach Sean Payton has been brilliant in deploying Bush and maximizing his touches in an offense that also includes Deuce McAllister. Is this as good as it gets?
Second-half prognosis: I'm cautiously optimistic. A sprained ankle might keep Bush out in Week 9, but probably not longer (if at all). New Orleans has at least a handful of matchups that favor the run game, and it's hard to imagine a ball carrier with Bush's dazzling athleticism being held without a TD from scrimmage for another eight games.
6. Chad Johnson, Bengals
Rudi isn't Cincinnati's only Johnson who has suffered. Chad -- or Ocho Cinco, if you please -- has his owners pleading no mas. Week 8 was a start (78 yards and a TD), but the Bengals' inability to get Johnson freed up downfield for big plays and scoring chances has frazzled those who saw him as a safe second-round pick.
Second-half prognosis: Promising. Carson Palmer seems to be getting his groove back, and through it all he never has stopped looking Johnson's way. Even if the line doesn't firm up (and it already looks better than it had in the season's first month or so), CJ could take off down the stretch while facing a bevy of leaky secondaries and man-to-man defenses.
5. Drew Bledsoe, Cowboys
Kurt Warner and Bledsoe should start a support group, even if membership will be thin. I mean, exactly how many cement-footed NFL passers with feeble protection and a moody superstar teammate undermining their efforts are out there?
Second-half prognosis: We've lost the patient, doctor. Tony Romo would have to make Dallas long for the days of Ryan Leaf before coach Bill Parcells would consider re-inserting Bledsoe into the lineup. The offensive line just isn't nimble enough to give him time, and the move would practically be an open invitation for Terrell Owens to poison team chemistry. Silver lining: Romo looked competent enough in his first two games of significant regular-season action to merit a look from recovering Bledsoe owners.
4. Carnell Williams, Buccaneers
Williams has bypassed the honeymoon period he graced his owners with as a rookie and dived directly into the chronically banged-up and torpedoed-by-my-offensive line mode. Few runners are as tough as Cadillac, especially when you consider his size. But not only has he been held back by a blocking crew plagued by youth, injuries and mediocrity -- Williams isn't getting the ball near the goal line or in the passing game.
Second-half prognosis: This situation stinks. The Bucs have one of the worst second-half schedules a running back could face, and the defense's stumbles no longer keep the run game viable for four quarters. Even if Williams gets well, owners can't be as optimistic about his surroundings.
3. Edgerrin James, Cardinals
James still has rare power and vision, and he has greater, steadier value because of his versatility as a receiver. But there's a reason people go to Arizona to retire -- and it ain't just the sun and golf. The Cardinals, quite simply, can't block. And James no longer has the explosiveness to make his own fortune in the open field or after the catch. It can be argued that the Matt Leinart-for-Warner swap has created slightly improved opportunities for James, but the results say otherwise.
Second-half prognosis: Edge is cooked. He'll have a better second half than first, if only thanks to Leinart. But the schedule won't offer any noticeable relief, and it's doubtful Arizona's O-line will get appreciably better. James still will put up no better than fourth- or fifth-round fantasy back numbers.
2. LaMont Jordan, Raiders
Never, ever forget the impact of the offensive line and the passing game on a back's value. And good health. Oh, and an honest effort. Seriously, Jordan has taken a bad situation and turned it into something apocalyptic. He doesn't seem to be running as hard this year, and though injuries have been a factor, his half-hearted wave at a lateral that San Francisco parlayed into a TD in Week 5 typifies his season. Oakland's offensive line actually showed a little spunk against Pittsburgh, but Jordan (back) essentially was MIA for the second week in a row.
Second-half prognosis: Yuck. Oakland rarely visits scoring territory, and Jordan's receptions have all but disappeared in a scheme almost devoid of check-downs. Think about picking up Justin Fargas, a powerful, explosive slasher whose ability has been obscured by injuries to this point. The Raiders could start evaluating the young guys soon.
1. Shaun Alexander, Seahawks
Backs who are punished like Alexander was worked the last few years tend to go bust. But in retrospect, how could any sane owner let a healthy, in-his-20s runner coming off a 27-TD season slide past the first three picks? Workhorses LaDainian Tomlinson and Tiki Barber were no less likely to sputter, yet everything that could have gone wrong for Alexander has. The offensive line desperately misses guard Steve Hutchinson (and has been further compromised by injuries and suspensions), the passing game got off to a slow start, and a foot injury sidelined Alexander just when things started getting good.
Second-half prognosis: There's hope. Even with Matt Hasselbeck hobbled and the O-line in poor shape, Alexander could deliver the sort of production we had come to take for granted from him. He's expected to miss another week, but in Week 10 he could kick off a cakewalk of weak run defenses in St. Louis, San Francisco (twice), Green Bay and Arizona. If you've hung in this long, don't quit on him now.
Some Week 8 O-line and defense observations:
Dallas' offensive line isn't blocking any better for Tony Romo than it was for Drew Bledsoe, so what gives? Right tackle Marc Colombo had an excellent game against Carolina's Julius Peppers on Sunday, but the fact is Romo is getting the ball away quicker and buying himself time in and outside the pocket. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's worth a roster spot in standard leagues just yet, but I do like how the change has helped Jason Witten. The Cowboys' tight end hasn't been asked to block as often since Bledsoe was replaced, and he could be Romo's new best friend. Young quarterbacks can thrive with a big, sure-handed, over-the-middle target as a security blanket. ... I've been saying all season that the Raiders have a solid defense. And Chris Carr, who housed an interception working as a dime back late against the Steelers, gives them good potential in the return game. If Aaron Brooks returns to, uh, stabilize the offense, the Raiders' D/ST could have some legs in the second half.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Brilliant Brady


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Entering Monday night's game, it seemed like Tom Brady had been reduced to just a good, but not outstanding, fantasy quarterback. That was understandable, because he had been working with a depleted receiving crew all year long. His best and most accomplished pass-catcher, Deion Branch, is now a Seahawk, and frequent big-play target David Givens has been a nonfactor with Tennessee.
Considering those losses, especially Branch, it might have actually seemed impressive that Brady was able to deliver four consecutive double-digit point outings in ESPN leagues. But on Monday night, facing what many NFL experts deemed a sturdy defense, Brady proved that no matter who his receivers are, he can still carry the offense and deliver terrific fantasy numbers at any time.
Some quarterbacks need quality receivers to help them post fine totals. Then there are the rare passers who are so efficient, they make their receivers look better, and it's the privilege of the pass-catchers to work with them. Brady is certainly the latter. No matter who his receivers are, he's going to get the job done. He'll get the ball there when it has to be, and it's just the job of any New England receiver to catch it. Brady's accuracy and timing go unrivaled by most NFL quarterbacks.
Using 10 different receivers, Brady turned in the best performance of his 2006 season, throwing for 372 yards and four TDs, with just one interception. He tied for the lead among QBs in ESPN leagues this week with 28 points (with Michael Vick), spurring many fantasy teams to come-from-behind victories on Monday night. Owners who started Brady and thought they had long odds of winning their games on Monday night are no doubt rejoicing this morning. Instead of challenging the tough Minnesota run defense, the Patriots came out intending to throw the ball, and couldn't be stopped. Brady got terrific protection and was clearly in tune with his revamped receiving crew, which has come together as a unit.
So where does Brady go from here? Can he keep this up? Is he a must-start player again? While another four-TD performance might not be in the cards for Brady again this season, last night's outing was a clear signal that Brady is capable of the big game at any time. More importantly, he has made the full adjustment to his new receivers by now. So if you don't get amazing performances from Brady every week, you can still look for more than one TD pass in many games. Brady won't always be statistically explosive, but he will at least be dependable. And a QB who is always reliable and sometimes great is one who should always be in your starting lineup. <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
We've established that Brady has reasserted himself as one of the better QBs in fantasy football, but that doesn't mean any of his wide receivers will suddenly become regular fantasy starters. As most experienced fantasy players know, Brady spreads the ball among a few or several targets when he is on top of his game. It's quite amazing that New England didn't have a 100-yard receiver on Monday night. But while none of the Patriots' wide receivers had a great individual performance, tight end Benjamin Watson finally had the promising performance many of us had been waiting for. Watson led the Pats in receiving yards and caught a 9-yard TD pass. Many tight ends are statistically erratic, so even if Watson doesn't perform well every week, it's becoming apparent that he is becoming a more integral part of the passing game and should be a regular starter in most leagues. Reche Caldwell caught seven passes for 84 yards and a TD, and he should at least be added as a free agent in larger leagues. Doug Gabriel finished with 83 receiving yards and is a good No. 3 receiver in many leagues, while Chad Jackson scored for the second consecutive game; even though he has caught just one pass in each of the last two games, both have been TD receptions. He's a great add for depth. The Patriots don't have any outstanding wide receivers, but a few of them are definitely useful.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings
10 carries, 22 yards, 0 TDs

Coming off the best game of his career, Taylor had his worst game of the season. Like Brady, Brad Johnson tried to come out throwing, but he had much less success. When Taylor did get chances to carry, he was often met by several defenders, and when the Vikings quickly fell behind, they had to mostly abandon the running game. Taylor did catch three passes for 27 yards, but it certainly was a disappointing performance after fantasy leaguers thought Taylor had delivered his breakthrough game at Seattle the week before. Expect Taylor to bounce back quickly, as the Vikings go back to depending on the running game to help them win games. The Vikes tried to surprise New England with their passing game and it didn't work, and in the process, they got away from what they do best offensively. Look for Taylor to put Monday night behind him quickly next Sunday at San Francisco. Taylor is a determined runner with great instincts who battles well for extra yardage, and his great work ethic and often unstoppable motor will pay off again next week. If you don't own Taylor, now is a good time to buy low on him.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 8</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Rex Grossman, QB, Bears: Quickly came off the bye and put a forgettable Monday night outing behind him</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>passYDS</TD><TD>passTD</TD><TD>INT</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>252</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>22</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals: Totaled 27 touches overall and should continue to shoulder a heavy workload</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>ATT</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>24</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>84</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>25</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>16</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><!-- <tr><td align=center bgcolor="#555555" COLSPAN=6 class="stathead" colspan="6"> </td></tr> --><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Darrell Jackson, WR, Seahawks: He has scored in three straight games and remains a must-start despite the QB change</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>REC</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TARGET</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>64</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>11</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>14</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Owen Daniels, TE, Texans: Has been a regular red-zone target and should continue to be a quality starter</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>REC</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TARGET</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>9</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>99</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>13</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>21</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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<!-- begin also see2 -->Surfin' the Scoreboard


Trainer's Room
? Shaun Alexander (foot) has been ruled out for the "Monday Night Football" game against Oakland (doctors have yet to clear him to play). He has been running but has not started to make cuts. Maurice Morris will start again, and he has been mediocre in Alexander's place.
? Raiders QB Aaron Brooks (pectoral muscle) has been cleared to practice, but Andrew Walter will remain Oakland's starting QB, at least for the game against Seattle. No matter who starts for Oakland, neither QB is worth using in most fantasy leagues. Brooks should get a chance to start again soon, though.
? Reggie Bush (ankle) said his injury was an aggravation of a sprain from the season opener, but he expects to play against Tampa Bay. Bush added that the sprain has continued to linger since the first week. Some owners might think the injury has contributed to Bush's disappointing outings, but a lot of defensive attention has been a primary reason for his lack of overall success. ? Monday Box | Friday Box | Karabell's Blog





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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Brilliant Brady


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Entering Monday night's game, it seemed like Tom Brady had been reduced to just a good, but not outstanding, fantasy quarterback. That was understandable, because he had been working with a depleted receiving crew all year long. His best and most accomplished pass-catcher, Deion Branch, is now a Seahawk, and frequent big-play target David Givens has been a nonfactor with Tennessee.
Considering those losses, especially Branch, it might have actually seemed impressive that Brady was able to deliver four consecutive double-digit point outings in ESPN leagues. But on Monday night, facing what many NFL experts deemed a sturdy defense, Brady proved that no matter who his receivers are, he can still carry the offense and deliver terrific fantasy numbers at any time.
Some quarterbacks need quality receivers to help them post fine totals. Then there are the rare passers who are so efficient, they make their receivers look better, and it's the privilege of the pass-catchers to work with them. Brady is certainly the latter. No matter who his receivers are, he's going to get the job done. He'll get the ball there when it has to be, and it's just the job of any New England receiver to catch it. Brady's accuracy and timing go unrivaled by most NFL quarterbacks.
Using 10 different receivers, Brady turned in the best performance of his 2006 season, throwing for 372 yards and four TDs, with just one interception. He tied for the lead among QBs in ESPN leagues this week with 28 points (with Michael Vick), spurring many fantasy teams to come-from-behind victories on Monday night. Owners who started Brady and thought they had long odds of winning their games on Monday night are no doubt rejoicing this morning. Instead of challenging the tough Minnesota run defense, the Patriots came out intending to throw the ball, and couldn't be stopped. Brady got terrific protection and was clearly in tune with his revamped receiving crew, which has come together as a unit.
So where does Brady go from here? Can he keep this up? Is he a must-start player again? While another four-TD performance might not be in the cards for Brady again this season, last night's outing was a clear signal that Brady is capable of the big game at any time. More importantly, he has made the full adjustment to his new receivers by now. So if you don't get amazing performances from Brady every week, you can still look for more than one TD pass in many games. Brady won't always be statistically explosive, but he will at least be dependable. And a QB who is always reliable and sometimes great is one who should always be in your starting lineup. <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
We've established that Brady has reasserted himself as one of the better QBs in fantasy football, but that doesn't mean any of his wide receivers will suddenly become regular fantasy starters. As most experienced fantasy players know, Brady spreads the ball among a few or several targets when he is on top of his game. It's quite amazing that New England didn't have a 100-yard receiver on Monday night. But while none of the Patriots' wide receivers had a great individual performance, tight end Benjamin Watson finally had the promising performance many of us had been waiting for. Watson led the Pats in receiving yards and caught a 9-yard TD pass. Many tight ends are statistically erratic, so even if Watson doesn't perform well every week, it's becoming apparent that he is becoming a more integral part of the passing game and should be a regular starter in most leagues. Reche Caldwell caught seven passes for 84 yards and a TD, and he should at least be added as a free agent in larger leagues. Doug Gabriel finished with 83 receiving yards and is a good No. 3 receiver in many leagues, while Chad Jackson scored for the second consecutive game; even though he has caught just one pass in each of the last two games, both have been TD receptions. He's a great add for depth. The Patriots don't have any outstanding wide receivers, but a few of them are definitely useful.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings
10 carries, 22 yards, 0 TDs

Coming off the best game of his career, Taylor had his worst game of the season. Like Brady, Brad Johnson tried to come out throwing, but he had much less success. When Taylor did get chances to carry, he was often met by several defenders, and when the Vikings quickly fell behind, they had to mostly abandon the running game. Taylor did catch three passes for 27 yards, but it certainly was a disappointing performance after fantasy leaguers thought Taylor had delivered his breakthrough game at Seattle the week before. Expect Taylor to bounce back quickly, as the Vikings go back to depending on the running game to help them win games. The Vikes tried to surprise New England with their passing game and it didn't work, and in the process, they got away from what they do best offensively. Look for Taylor to put Monday night behind him quickly next Sunday at San Francisco. Taylor is a determined runner with great instincts who battles well for extra yardage, and his great work ethic and often unstoppable motor will pay off again next week. If you don't own Taylor, now is a good time to buy low on him.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 8</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Rex Grossman, QB, Bears: Quickly came off the bye and put a forgettable Monday night outing behind him</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>passYDS</TD><TD>passTD</TD><TD>INT</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>252</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>22</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals: Totaled 27 touches overall and should continue to shoulder a heavy workload</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>ATT</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>24</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>84</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>25</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>16</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><!-- <tr><td align=center bgcolor="#555555" COLSPAN=6 class="stathead" colspan="6"> </td></tr> --><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Darrell Jackson, WR, Seahawks: He has scored in three straight games and remains a must-start despite the QB change</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>REC</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TARGET</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>64</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>11</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>14</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Owen Daniels, TE, Texans: Has been a regular red-zone target and should continue to be a quality starter</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>REC</TD><TD>recYDS</TD><TD>TARGET</TD><TD>TD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>9</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>99</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>13</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>21</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<!-- end also see -->

<!-- begin also see2 -->Surfin' the Scoreboard


Trainer's Room
? Shaun Alexander (foot) has been ruled out for the "Monday Night Football" game against Oakland (doctors have yet to clear him to play). He has been running but has not started to make cuts. Maurice Morris will start again, and he has been mediocre in Alexander's place.
? Raiders QB Aaron Brooks (pectoral muscle) has been cleared to practice, but Andrew Walter will remain Oakland's starting QB, at least for the game against Seattle. No matter who starts for Oakland, neither QB is worth using in most fantasy leagues. Brooks should get a chance to start again soon, though.
? Reggie Bush (ankle) said his injury was an aggravation of a sprain from the season opener, but he expects to play against Tampa Bay. Bush added that the sprain has continued to linger since the first week. Some owners might think the injury has contributed to Bush's disappointing outings, but a lot of defensive attention has been a primary reason for his lack of overall success. ? Monday Box | Friday Box | Karabell's Blog





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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Still plenty of time in fantasy


posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


On Monday, Dec. 5, 2005, the day after the Steelers lost 38-31 to Cincinnati, the general media proclaimed the team done. And why not -- with the unbeaten Colts and Denver and New England playoff-bound, why expect anything from this 7-5 bunch?

A month ago, on Sept. 27, the day after baseball's Cardinals lost their seventh straight game, this time to the Padres, everyone was sticking a fork in them. And why not -- with the dominant Mets approaching 100 wins, why expect anything from an 80-76 team, even if the Cards did make the postseason?
Today, I get an e-mail from someone named Tony, whose team entered last night's fantasy football game with a 25-point lead, and Corey Dillon still left to go, while all his opponent had left was Tom Brady. Yeah, "that's all."
Well, you know how that worked out. Brady goes off, and poor Tony lost by one stinkin' point. And now Tony's Yellow Orangutans (hey, I don't come up with these) are 4-4. Tony thinks he's done. You probably agree.
Tony, meet Ben Roethlisberger, circa 2005. And Jeff Weaver a month ago. The Steelers didn't lose again. They finished 11-5, slipped in as a wild-card entry, and slipped out as Super Bowl champs. The Cardinals? Complain about Detroit's fielding all you want, but the 83-78 Cardinals, with a worse record than five teams that missed the playoffs entirely, got hot at the right time and won the World Series.
So, is Tony done at 4-4?
Well, the fantasy regular season in most leagues has five more weeks left. Why can't Tony win all those games? Unlike real life, where Tony LaRussa and Bill Cowher surely motivated their players to play better, we can't do that in fantasy. No matter how many darts you throw at your Edgerrin James poster, it won't make him play better. He might play better, but I'm certain you're not the reason.
The point is, you put your best players out there and hope for the best. Make a trade, sign a Tony Romo, hope your players all of a sudden get hot, whatever it is, real teams make playoff runs, and so do fantasy teams. Most of us have a story about how we just all of a sudden ran off key wins and qualified for the playoffs. And once you're in, anything can happen. I've had 7-6 teams that were scoring 50 points per game make the playoffs, then get hot and not lose again, and I'll never forget having Warren Moon in back-to-back seasons, going unbeaten in the regular season, but falling in the playoffs. Works both ways.
Regardless, don't give up on your .500 fantasy teams, or on some of the interesting real .500 (or so) teams. Carolina and Philly aren't done. Baltimore and Atlanta, for example, aren't safe. Your 7-1 fantasy team should be playoff-bound, but prepare for the playoffs, they won't necessarily be a cakewalk. And Tony, 4-4 isn't the end.
But you might want to upgrade Corey Dillon anyway, though.
***
Patriots 31, Vikings 7: Did I expect Bill Belichick was going to try to run the ball on a defense that stifles the run? Nope, but did I expect Dillon to get only three carries for 5 yards? Uh, c'mon! Tom Brady had a plan and executed it early and often for his best day of the season, by far. Interesting stat: Each team ran the ball 15 times.
MVP: Clearly it's Brady, who ends up actually topping the Week 8 performance of Peyton Manning, barely. Brady had thrown two touchdowns in four other games, but with low yardage totals, fantasy owners were complaining. Can't complain now! Brady vaults up to the No. 10 spot for the season. Sit him? Not now. Can't wait for this Sunday night's game vs. Peyton.
LVP: You wouldn't have played Brad Johnson anyway; I mean, the guy is barely owned in fantasy. But Chester Taylor sure is, and coming off his monster game in Seattle, in which he broke off a 95-yarder, this one hurts. Taylor actually gained more yards receiving than rushing. Was it a one-game blip, or a sign of things to come? I think Belichick is smart enough to realize the Vikings can't pass the ball a lick. Be worried if other teams figure it out.
Interesting: If there's one New England wide receiver in fantasy lineups, chances are good it is Doug Gabriel. He played well, catching 83 yards worth of passes, but three other receivers (and a tight end) caught touchdown passes. Don't worry, Gabriel clearly remains a top option. Troy Brown and Reche Caldwell aren't major threats to him. Gabriel and Benjamin Watson can coexist. What about the hotshot rookie Chad Jackson? Well, he makes things happen, and his rate of receptions to touchdowns (6-to-3) is unheard of. But he doesn't get thrown at enough to be a safe fantasy starter, or to worry Gabriel owners.
Cowboys 35, Panthers 14: As I wrote on Sunday morning in the blog, I bought into this Tony Romo craze and not only added him in multiple leagues before his first start, but had to play him in one league. I ultimately lost that matchup anyway, but Romo blew away my other options. It was only 15 fantasy points, so let's not call him the next Vick yet, but this week he's in Washington, and there are other nice matchups to come. Oh, and he's got Terrell Owens. Just in case you weren't aware.
MVP: Unlike the situation with the Giants, with Tiki Barber getting all the yards but Brandon Jacobs scoring the touchdowns, a pair of Cowboys running backs are doing touchdown dances. Marion Barber, now popular as a flex option, has scored six times in the last six games, quite an impressive feat considering he's got 52 carries all season. Julius Jones is very underrated, averaging nearly 90 yards rushing per game, and with this touchdown, he's scored three times. No, he doesn't catch the ball (only three receptions all season), but so what! This running-back tandem works.
LVP: Can't blame DeShaun Foster, since he found the end zone. Can't blame Steve Smith, though he did very little receiving, because he ran in for a score. What happened to Jake Delhomme? He had thrown seven touchdowns in his previous four games, and fantasy owners were clearly trusting him. Now? He and another trusted QB, Donovan McNabb, are on their bye. And it's a good time for one.
Interesting: With Drew Bledsoe at the helm, Jason Witten was spending his time blocking. In five games, he caught 16 passes, and in no game did he top 51 yards. Now with Romo? That's 152 yards in two weeks, and his first touchdown. You don't think that's significant in a season with the highest-scoring fantasy tight end averaging nine points? OK, coming Wednesday, it's the Power Rankings. There's going to be a change at the top, I can assure that. No Eagles bias here.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/30/06)

Still plenty of time in fantasy


posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


On Monday, Dec. 5, 2005, the day after the Steelers lost 38-31 to Cincinnati, the general media proclaimed the team done. And why not -- with the unbeaten Colts and Denver and New England playoff-bound, why expect anything from this 7-5 bunch?

A month ago, on Sept. 27, the day after baseball's Cardinals lost their seventh straight game, this time to the Padres, everyone was sticking a fork in them. And why not -- with the dominant Mets approaching 100 wins, why expect anything from an 80-76 team, even if the Cards did make the postseason?
Today, I get an e-mail from someone named Tony, whose team entered last night's fantasy football game with a 25-point lead, and Corey Dillon still left to go, while all his opponent had left was Tom Brady. Yeah, "that's all."
Well, you know how that worked out. Brady goes off, and poor Tony lost by one stinkin' point. And now Tony's Yellow Orangutans (hey, I don't come up with these) are 4-4. Tony thinks he's done. You probably agree.
Tony, meet Ben Roethlisberger, circa 2005. And Jeff Weaver a month ago. The Steelers didn't lose again. They finished 11-5, slipped in as a wild-card entry, and slipped out as Super Bowl champs. The Cardinals? Complain about Detroit's fielding all you want, but the 83-78 Cardinals, with a worse record than five teams that missed the playoffs entirely, got hot at the right time and won the World Series.
So, is Tony done at 4-4?
Well, the fantasy regular season in most leagues has five more weeks left. Why can't Tony win all those games? Unlike real life, where Tony LaRussa and Bill Cowher surely motivated their players to play better, we can't do that in fantasy. No matter how many darts you throw at your Edgerrin James poster, it won't make him play better. He might play better, but I'm certain you're not the reason.
The point is, you put your best players out there and hope for the best. Make a trade, sign a Tony Romo, hope your players all of a sudden get hot, whatever it is, real teams make playoff runs, and so do fantasy teams. Most of us have a story about how we just all of a sudden ran off key wins and qualified for the playoffs. And once you're in, anything can happen. I've had 7-6 teams that were scoring 50 points per game make the playoffs, then get hot and not lose again, and I'll never forget having Warren Moon in back-to-back seasons, going unbeaten in the regular season, but falling in the playoffs. Works both ways.
Regardless, don't give up on your .500 fantasy teams, or on some of the interesting real .500 (or so) teams. Carolina and Philly aren't done. Baltimore and Atlanta, for example, aren't safe. Your 7-1 fantasy team should be playoff-bound, but prepare for the playoffs, they won't necessarily be a cakewalk. And Tony, 4-4 isn't the end.
But you might want to upgrade Corey Dillon anyway, though.
***
Patriots 31, Vikings 7: Did I expect Bill Belichick was going to try to run the ball on a defense that stifles the run? Nope, but did I expect Dillon to get only three carries for 5 yards? Uh, c'mon! Tom Brady had a plan and executed it early and often for his best day of the season, by far. Interesting stat: Each team ran the ball 15 times.
MVP: Clearly it's Brady, who ends up actually topping the Week 8 performance of Peyton Manning, barely. Brady had thrown two touchdowns in four other games, but with low yardage totals, fantasy owners were complaining. Can't complain now! Brady vaults up to the No. 10 spot for the season. Sit him? Not now. Can't wait for this Sunday night's game vs. Peyton.
LVP: You wouldn't have played Brad Johnson anyway; I mean, the guy is barely owned in fantasy. But Chester Taylor sure is, and coming off his monster game in Seattle, in which he broke off a 95-yarder, this one hurts. Taylor actually gained more yards receiving than rushing. Was it a one-game blip, or a sign of things to come? I think Belichick is smart enough to realize the Vikings can't pass the ball a lick. Be worried if other teams figure it out.
Interesting: If there's one New England wide receiver in fantasy lineups, chances are good it is Doug Gabriel. He played well, catching 83 yards worth of passes, but three other receivers (and a tight end) caught touchdown passes. Don't worry, Gabriel clearly remains a top option. Troy Brown and Reche Caldwell aren't major threats to him. Gabriel and Benjamin Watson can coexist. What about the hotshot rookie Chad Jackson? Well, he makes things happen, and his rate of receptions to touchdowns (6-to-3) is unheard of. But he doesn't get thrown at enough to be a safe fantasy starter, or to worry Gabriel owners.
Cowboys 35, Panthers 14: As I wrote on Sunday morning in the blog, I bought into this Tony Romo craze and not only added him in multiple leagues before his first start, but had to play him in one league. I ultimately lost that matchup anyway, but Romo blew away my other options. It was only 15 fantasy points, so let's not call him the next Vick yet, but this week he's in Washington, and there are other nice matchups to come. Oh, and he's got Terrell Owens. Just in case you weren't aware.
MVP: Unlike the situation with the Giants, with Tiki Barber getting all the yards but Brandon Jacobs scoring the touchdowns, a pair of Cowboys running backs are doing touchdown dances. Marion Barber, now popular as a flex option, has scored six times in the last six games, quite an impressive feat considering he's got 52 carries all season. Julius Jones is very underrated, averaging nearly 90 yards rushing per game, and with this touchdown, he's scored three times. No, he doesn't catch the ball (only three receptions all season), but so what! This running-back tandem works.
LVP: Can't blame DeShaun Foster, since he found the end zone. Can't blame Steve Smith, though he did very little receiving, because he ran in for a score. What happened to Jake Delhomme? He had thrown seven touchdowns in his previous four games, and fantasy owners were clearly trusting him. Now? He and another trusted QB, Donovan McNabb, are on their bye. And it's a good time for one.
Interesting: With Drew Bledsoe at the helm, Jason Witten was spending his time blocking. In five games, he caught 16 passes, and in no game did he top 51 yards. Now with Romo? That's 152 yards in two weeks, and his first touchdown. You don't think that's significant in a season with the highest-scoring fantasy tight end averaging nine points? OK, coming Wednesday, it's the Power Rankings. There's going to be a change at the top, I can assure that. No Eagles bias here.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Week 9 Power Rankings


posted: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


Stop beating yourself up, there was no way to see that nasty Donovan McNabb game coming. How could you have known? McNabb was averaging 24 fantasy points per game, and then, in a home game against a reeling team that was winless on the road, and without key defensive players and the starting quarterback, Philly doesn't even score a touchdown. Didn't get all that close, either.<!--##FRONTSTOP##-->

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER type="block" width="8" height="1"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]Welcome to November! Here are the last few blogs of October.
--A Happy Halloween for Brady; a .500 record doesn't make it too late
--Week 8 wrapup: Stars come out
[/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>So McNabb's stock drops quite a bit, eh? But should it? This isn't college football, where it's far better to have that bad game early on, rather than near Thanksgiving, when it can kill your ranking. McNabb is having a monster season, the best in fantasy football. He had a bad week. He just had it this past week, so it's fresh on your mind.
Other players have had bad weeks, you know. Let's take a look at the current top 10 for season points, and their best and worst weeks:
1. McNabb, 186 points: Best (35, Week 4); Worst (9, Week 8)
2. LaDainian Tomlinson, 158 points: Best (41, Week 8); Worst (6, Week 5)
3. Peyton Manning, 147 points: Best (31, Week 7); Worst (12, Week 5)
4. Larry Johnson, 147 points: Best (41, Week 8); Worst (8, Week 6)
5. Michael Vick, 131 points: Best (28, Week 8); Worst (10, Week 3)
6. Brian Westbrook, 126 points: Best (35, Week 3); Worst (7, Week 6)
7. Marc Bulger, 122 points: Best (27, Week 4); Worst (8, Week 1)
8. Drew Brees, 106 points: Best (23, Week 8); Worst (7, Week 3)
9. Bears D, 106 points: Best (22, Week 1); Worst (6, Week 3)
10. Tom Brady, 105 points: Best (28, Week 8); Worst (8, Week 2)

OK, so that's the season top 10. What does all that mean in relation to McNabb? My point is, take a look at the best weeks for this group of 10. While you're not pleased with what the pair of Eagles did in Week 8, I'd point out that they have no chance when compared to the others.
Week 8, as noted in the Sunday night/Monday morning blog, really was a time for the stars to come out. Half of this top 10 had their best week of the season in Week 8! Manning is on fire, the Bears' D hasn't dropped off at all and Bulger keeps playing well. So basically, every member of the this top 10 is playing well, except for the two Eagles!
And that, my friends, is no reason to panic when it comes to analyzing McNabb or Westbrook, or to overrate the good of the other players. I still think Vick, despite seven touchdown passes in two weeks, is a sell-high option. Do you think he'll keep throwing three or four touchdowns per week, and the Falcons will ignore the run? That's not exactly a prescription for playoff success, is it? I'm not being negative on Vick, I also view McNabb, Westbrook, Brees and Brady as sell-high guys. Also, a defense has never finished in the top 10 in fantasy points; I doubt it occurs this season.
Fantasy football owners are very reactive, as opposed to what we see in other fantasy sports. There's only one game per week, so when you see Brady throw four touchdown passes, you might be tempted to trade the farm to go get him. That's not wise. And while I would try to see what someone might offer for McNabb, don't take less than value. He remains the top player in fantasy football, with only one bad game for the season.
It just happens to have occurred a few days ago.
***
Quick story, then the Power Rankings. A trade went down in one of my leagues last night, and as the commish, I was the first to see it. There is no veto process in this league, nor should there be. Personally, I don't prefer to be in leagues where trades can be overturned. Everyone has an agenda or bias, and ultimately it causes needless argument. Then again, when a lopsided trade occurs, it might not please you, but we're all adults, we should all be responsible for our teams, good or bad.
What really rankles us when we see a bad trade is this: Why couldn't we have robbed the other team?
I know you're thinking this, so admit it. In this league of mine, Steven Jackson essentially got dealt for Tony Romo. That's it. One guy needed a quarterback, badly, and he dumped off his first-rounder for a quarterback with one career start. I see the e-mail and of course, I'm not pleased. But am I angry at the fellow who stole the Rams' running back? Not at all. Congrats to him, I suppose he'll be passing me in the standings real soon. Instead, I'm wondering how I couldn't have been informed Jackson was available for a song!
Might this trade end up working out for both teams? It might not seem possible, but I suppose it is. I've been all over Romo's bandwagon, I even played him in a few leagues in Week 8. I do think he'll be good. But his value isn't on par with the top passers yet. Had Jackson been dealt for Tom Brady I would have winced, and Brady is ranked 10th overall! Jackson isn't!
I know it sounds odd to discuss relative value that way, but Jackson remains worth a lot. And it's not like he just had his McNabb week; Jackson, the No. 14 player in ESPN fantasy leagues, just had his second-best week of the season, with 84 yards rushing and a score, for 19 fantasy points. He's playing well, having scored in three of four games. Really, this trade could have been worse, I suppose. No matter who Jackson was dealt for, sensible or not, it's natural for other owners to wish they were the team getting him. You, the readers, might say this is exactly why there needs to be trade review, but you can never turn it on in Week 9 of a season. Rules are rules.
So what made the Jackson owner, who does have running back depth, move him for a quarterback who still has a lot to prove when he could have received more elsewhere?
It doesn't really matter, does it? All that matters is, I didn't get to do it. And I've gotta keep playing Cadillac. Oh well.
***
McNabb needs to leave the top spot in the Power Rankings, but I'm hardly giving up on him. He ends up behind Peyton Manning because, if I were drafting today, I would select the Colts' quarterback over the Eagles' one. I imagine you would, too. The season leaders are a nice guide, and they can help you in trade talks and evaluating talent, but ultimately it comes down to who is going to score fantasy points moving forward, and even before Week 8, I wrote more than once I didn't expect McNabb to finish the season No. 1 in fantasy. I didn't think Manning would catch him so soon; it's not likely to happen this week, but it should happen in time. Manning trails McNabb by 39 points, and with McNabb on a bye, figure the lead is down to 10 or so points by this time next week. So it's not really out of the ordinary to rank Manning as the top QB.
Of course, he's not No. 1 overall, though.
1. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers (2)
2. Larry Johnson, Chiefs (3)
3. Peyton Manning, Colts (5)
4. Donovan McNabb, Eagles (1)
5. Steven Jackson, Rams (6)
6. Tiki Barber, Giants (9)
7. Brian Westbrook, Eagles (4)
8. Torry Holt, Rams (7)
9. Marc Bulger, Rams (out)
10. Steve Smith, Panthers (10)
11. Michael Vick, Falcons (out)
12. Kevin Jones, Lions (out)

Just missed: Clinton Portis, Redskins (was 8); Rudi Johnson, Bengals; Frank Gore, 49ers; Chester Taylor, Vikings (was 12); Bears D
Dropped out: Tatum Bell, Broncos (was 11); Warrick Dunn, Falcons
Why: I think we're going to see the LT-LJ connection at the top much of the season, which, in retrospect, should never have been doubted. Why Tomlinson over Johnson? No reason. They're close in value, both should be terrific, and worth just about whatever you have to pay (within reason). Then come the top two quarterbacks, and despite the negatives, with Peyton likely to have some trouble this week in a house of horrors (New England) and likely to be holding a clipboard in Week 17, and McNabb having to endure a tougher second-half schedule, I'll rank them ahead of any other running backs.
I still think Barber will find the end zone at some point, and by attrition he moves up a bit. Look, he's healthy, Westbrook is not. Entering the dirty dozen is a Lion, which I know sounds odd, but Jones is ranked fifth among running backs, has had his bye week, catches enough passes to be able to overcome bad days and has been consistent. Vick enters the top 12 as well; I appreciate how well he's been playing.
Portis and Taylor leave the list, though I expect Taylor to find his way back in at some point. Just a tough Monday night against a team intent on stopping him. Of course, if other teams figure out Brad Johnson can't beat 'em, maybe Taylor will have a tough second half. Portis comes off his bye week, but it's likely his stats will suffer some from the quarterback situation in Washington.
Denver's Tatum Bell also leaves the top 12, and the just-missed list, because this turf toe injury is going to cost him playing time. He was terrific heading into Week 8, and now, with Mike Bell taking advantage of the injury, you just know this is again, unfortunately, a time-share. Atlanta's Dunn is done as long as Vick keeps throwing the ball like this. OK, those are your Power Rankings through eight weeks. Let's hear what you think!
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Week 9 Power Rankings


posted: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


Stop beating yourself up, there was no way to see that nasty Donovan McNabb game coming. How could you have known? McNabb was averaging 24 fantasy points per game, and then, in a home game against a reeling team that was winless on the road, and without key defensive players and the starting quarterback, Philly doesn't even score a touchdown. Didn't get all that close, either.<!--##FRONTSTOP##-->

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER type="block" width="8" height="1"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]Welcome to November! Here are the last few blogs of October.
--A Happy Halloween for Brady; a .500 record doesn't make it too late
--Week 8 wrapup: Stars come out
[/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>So McNabb's stock drops quite a bit, eh? But should it? This isn't college football, where it's far better to have that bad game early on, rather than near Thanksgiving, when it can kill your ranking. McNabb is having a monster season, the best in fantasy football. He had a bad week. He just had it this past week, so it's fresh on your mind.
Other players have had bad weeks, you know. Let's take a look at the current top 10 for season points, and their best and worst weeks:
1. McNabb, 186 points: Best (35, Week 4); Worst (9, Week 8)
2. LaDainian Tomlinson, 158 points: Best (41, Week 8); Worst (6, Week 5)
3. Peyton Manning, 147 points: Best (31, Week 7); Worst (12, Week 5)
4. Larry Johnson, 147 points: Best (41, Week 8); Worst (8, Week 6)
5. Michael Vick, 131 points: Best (28, Week 8); Worst (10, Week 3)
6. Brian Westbrook, 126 points: Best (35, Week 3); Worst (7, Week 6)
7. Marc Bulger, 122 points: Best (27, Week 4); Worst (8, Week 1)
8. Drew Brees, 106 points: Best (23, Week 8); Worst (7, Week 3)
9. Bears D, 106 points: Best (22, Week 1); Worst (6, Week 3)
10. Tom Brady, 105 points: Best (28, Week 8); Worst (8, Week 2)

OK, so that's the season top 10. What does all that mean in relation to McNabb? My point is, take a look at the best weeks for this group of 10. While you're not pleased with what the pair of Eagles did in Week 8, I'd point out that they have no chance when compared to the others.
Week 8, as noted in the Sunday night/Monday morning blog, really was a time for the stars to come out. Half of this top 10 had their best week of the season in Week 8! Manning is on fire, the Bears' D hasn't dropped off at all and Bulger keeps playing well. So basically, every member of the this top 10 is playing well, except for the two Eagles!
And that, my friends, is no reason to panic when it comes to analyzing McNabb or Westbrook, or to overrate the good of the other players. I still think Vick, despite seven touchdown passes in two weeks, is a sell-high option. Do you think he'll keep throwing three or four touchdowns per week, and the Falcons will ignore the run? That's not exactly a prescription for playoff success, is it? I'm not being negative on Vick, I also view McNabb, Westbrook, Brees and Brady as sell-high guys. Also, a defense has never finished in the top 10 in fantasy points; I doubt it occurs this season.
Fantasy football owners are very reactive, as opposed to what we see in other fantasy sports. There's only one game per week, so when you see Brady throw four touchdown passes, you might be tempted to trade the farm to go get him. That's not wise. And while I would try to see what someone might offer for McNabb, don't take less than value. He remains the top player in fantasy football, with only one bad game for the season.
It just happens to have occurred a few days ago.
***
Quick story, then the Power Rankings. A trade went down in one of my leagues last night, and as the commish, I was the first to see it. There is no veto process in this league, nor should there be. Personally, I don't prefer to be in leagues where trades can be overturned. Everyone has an agenda or bias, and ultimately it causes needless argument. Then again, when a lopsided trade occurs, it might not please you, but we're all adults, we should all be responsible for our teams, good or bad.
What really rankles us when we see a bad trade is this: Why couldn't we have robbed the other team?
I know you're thinking this, so admit it. In this league of mine, Steven Jackson essentially got dealt for Tony Romo. That's it. One guy needed a quarterback, badly, and he dumped off his first-rounder for a quarterback with one career start. I see the e-mail and of course, I'm not pleased. But am I angry at the fellow who stole the Rams' running back? Not at all. Congrats to him, I suppose he'll be passing me in the standings real soon. Instead, I'm wondering how I couldn't have been informed Jackson was available for a song!
Might this trade end up working out for both teams? It might not seem possible, but I suppose it is. I've been all over Romo's bandwagon, I even played him in a few leagues in Week 8. I do think he'll be good. But his value isn't on par with the top passers yet. Had Jackson been dealt for Tom Brady I would have winced, and Brady is ranked 10th overall! Jackson isn't!
I know it sounds odd to discuss relative value that way, but Jackson remains worth a lot. And it's not like he just had his McNabb week; Jackson, the No. 14 player in ESPN fantasy leagues, just had his second-best week of the season, with 84 yards rushing and a score, for 19 fantasy points. He's playing well, having scored in three of four games. Really, this trade could have been worse, I suppose. No matter who Jackson was dealt for, sensible or not, it's natural for other owners to wish they were the team getting him. You, the readers, might say this is exactly why there needs to be trade review, but you can never turn it on in Week 9 of a season. Rules are rules.
So what made the Jackson owner, who does have running back depth, move him for a quarterback who still has a lot to prove when he could have received more elsewhere?
It doesn't really matter, does it? All that matters is, I didn't get to do it. And I've gotta keep playing Cadillac. Oh well.
***
McNabb needs to leave the top spot in the Power Rankings, but I'm hardly giving up on him. He ends up behind Peyton Manning because, if I were drafting today, I would select the Colts' quarterback over the Eagles' one. I imagine you would, too. The season leaders are a nice guide, and they can help you in trade talks and evaluating talent, but ultimately it comes down to who is going to score fantasy points moving forward, and even before Week 8, I wrote more than once I didn't expect McNabb to finish the season No. 1 in fantasy. I didn't think Manning would catch him so soon; it's not likely to happen this week, but it should happen in time. Manning trails McNabb by 39 points, and with McNabb on a bye, figure the lead is down to 10 or so points by this time next week. So it's not really out of the ordinary to rank Manning as the top QB.
Of course, he's not No. 1 overall, though.
1. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers (2)
2. Larry Johnson, Chiefs (3)
3. Peyton Manning, Colts (5)
4. Donovan McNabb, Eagles (1)
5. Steven Jackson, Rams (6)
6. Tiki Barber, Giants (9)
7. Brian Westbrook, Eagles (4)
8. Torry Holt, Rams (7)
9. Marc Bulger, Rams (out)
10. Steve Smith, Panthers (10)
11. Michael Vick, Falcons (out)
12. Kevin Jones, Lions (out)

Just missed: Clinton Portis, Redskins (was 8); Rudi Johnson, Bengals; Frank Gore, 49ers; Chester Taylor, Vikings (was 12); Bears D
Dropped out: Tatum Bell, Broncos (was 11); Warrick Dunn, Falcons
Why: I think we're going to see the LT-LJ connection at the top much of the season, which, in retrospect, should never have been doubted. Why Tomlinson over Johnson? No reason. They're close in value, both should be terrific, and worth just about whatever you have to pay (within reason). Then come the top two quarterbacks, and despite the negatives, with Peyton likely to have some trouble this week in a house of horrors (New England) and likely to be holding a clipboard in Week 17, and McNabb having to endure a tougher second-half schedule, I'll rank them ahead of any other running backs.
I still think Barber will find the end zone at some point, and by attrition he moves up a bit. Look, he's healthy, Westbrook is not. Entering the dirty dozen is a Lion, which I know sounds odd, but Jones is ranked fifth among running backs, has had his bye week, catches enough passes to be able to overcome bad days and has been consistent. Vick enters the top 12 as well; I appreciate how well he's been playing.
Portis and Taylor leave the list, though I expect Taylor to find his way back in at some point. Just a tough Monday night against a team intent on stopping him. Of course, if other teams figure out Brad Johnson can't beat 'em, maybe Taylor will have a tough second half. Portis comes off his bye week, but it's likely his stats will suffer some from the quarterback situation in Washington.
Denver's Tatum Bell also leaves the top 12, and the just-missed list, because this turf toe injury is going to cost him playing time. He was terrific heading into Week 8, and now, with Mike Bell taking advantage of the injury, you just know this is again, unfortunately, a time-share. Atlanta's Dunn is done as long as Vick keeps throwing the ball like this. OK, those are your Power Rankings through eight weeks. Let's hear what you think!
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Nov. 1, 2006, 12:30 PM
FFL: Week 9 Lineup Rankings


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Quarterbacks
1. Eli Manning vs. HOU
2. Peyton Manning at NE
3. Rex Grossman vs. MIA
<!--##FRONTSTOP##-->4. Michael Vick at DET
5. Marc Bulger vs. KC
6. Tom Brady vs. IND
7. Philip Rivers vs. CLE
8. Brett Favre at BUF
9. Drew Brees at TB
10. Carson Palmer at BAL
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER type="block" width="8" height="1"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]We rate players based on possible fantasy production each week, taking into account past production as well as matchups. These are not overall player rankings, but rather a list of who you should start for the upcoming week. Top superstars will rarely get moved out of the prime spots, as they should not be benched unless injured. Most players with an unclear injury or starting status for the upcoming week will not be included. All four major offensive positions and defense/special teams units are ranked. [/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>11. Jon Kitna vs. ATL
12. Damon Huard at STL
13. Tony Romo at WAS
14. Steve McNair vs. CIN
15. J.P. Losman vs. GB
16. David Garrard vs. TEN
17. Seneca Wallace vs. OAK
18. Bruce Gradkowski vs. NO
19. Alex Smith vs. MIN
20. Brad Johnson at SF
21. Mark Brunell vs. DAL
22. Charlie Frye at SD
23. David Carr at NYG
24. Vince Young at JAC
25. Ben Roethlisberger vs. DEN
26. Jake Plummer at PIT
27. Andrew Walter at SEA
28. Joey Harrington at CHI

Running Backs
1. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. CLE
2. Larry Johnson at STL
3. Tiki Barber vs. HOU
4. Steven Jackson vs. KC
5. Clinton Portis vs. DAL
6. Warrick Dunn at DET
7. Ahman Green at BUF
8. Willie Parker vs. DEN
9. Kevin Jones vs. ATL
10. Thomas Jones vs. MIA
11. Willis McGahee vs. GB
12. Rudi Johnson at BAL
13. Jamal Lewis vs. CIN
14. Frank Gore vs. MIN
15. Chester Taylor at SF
16. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. TEN
17. Deuce McAllister at TB
18. Julius Jones at WAS
19. Corey Dillon vs. IND
20. Fred Taylor vs. TEN
21. Ronnie Brown at CHI
22. Carnell Williams vs. NO
23. Mike Bell at PIT
24. Travis Henry at JAC
25. Wali Lundy at NYG
26. Brandon Jacobs vs. HOU
27. LaMont Jordan at SEA
28. Joseph Addai at NE
29. Reuben Droughns at SD
30. Tatum Bell at PIT
31. Cedric Benson vs. MIA
32. Marion Barber III at WAS
33. Maurice Morris vs. OAK
34. Laurence Maroney vs. IND
35. Reggie Bush at TB
36. Dominic Rhodes at NE
37. Chris Perry at BAL
38. Jerious Norwood at DET
39. LenDale White at JAC
40. Mewelde Moore at SF

Wide Receivers
1. Torry Holt vs. KC
2. Roy Williams vs. ATL
3. Bernard Berrian vs. MIA
4. Terrell Owens at WAS
5. Marques Colston at TB
6. Andre Johnson at NYG
7. Plaxico Burress vs. HOU
8. Reggie Wayne at NE
9. Hines Ward vs. DEN
10. T.J. Houshmandzadeh at BAL
11. Chad Johnson at BAL
12. Marvin Harrison at NE
13. Darrell Jackson vs. OAK
14. Lee Evans vs. GB
15. Santana Moss vs. DAL
16. Donald Driver at BUF
17. Randy Moss at SEA
18. Joey Galloway vs. NO
19. Joe Horn at TB
20. Eddie Kennison at STL
21. Isaac Bruce vs. KC
22. Deion Branch vs. OAK
23. Javon Walker at PIT
24. Michael Jenkins at DET
25. Doug Gabriel vs. IND
26. Amani Toomer vs. HOU
27. Greg Jennings at BUF
28. Chris Chambers at CHI
29. Muhsin Muhammad vs. MIA
30. Chris Henry at BAL
31. Terry Glenn at WAS
32. Eric Parker vs. CLE
33. Reggie Williams vs. TEN
34. Derrick Mason vs. CIN
35. Antonio Bryant vs. MIN
36. Braylon Edwards at SD
37. Mark Clayton vs. CIN
38. Mike Furrey vs. ATL
39. Reche Caldwell vs. IND
40. Chad Jackson vs. IND
41. Troy Williamson at SF
42. Keenan McCardell vs. CLE
43. Ashley Lelie at DET
44. Michael Clayton vs. NO
45. Travis Taylor at SF
46. Matt Jones vs. TEN
47. Troy Brown vs. IND
48. Drew Bennett at JAC
49. Rod Smith at PIT
50. Nate Washington vs. DEN
51. Joe Jurevicius at SD
52. Brandon Lloyd vs. DAL
53. Kevin Curtis vs. KC
54. Samie Parker at STL
55. Eric Moulds at NYG
56. Santonio Holmes vs. DEN
57. Antwaan Randle El vs. DAL
58. Roscoe Parrish vs. GB
59. Marty Booker at CHI
60. Bobby Wade at JAC

Tight Ends
1. Alge Crumpler at DET
2. Jeremy Shockey vs. HOU
3. Antonio Gates vs. CLE
4. Todd Heap vs. CIN
5. Tony Gonzalez at STL
6. Desmond Clark vs. MIA
7. Kellen Winslow at SD
8. Benjamin Watson vs. IND
9. Chris Cooley vs. DAL
10. Jason Witten at WAS
11. Randy McMichael at CHI
12. Owen Daniels at NYG
13. Dallas Clark at NE
14. Jerramy Stevens vs. OAK
15. Heath Miller vs. DEN
16. Alex Smith vs. NO
17. Courtney Anderson at SEA
18. Eric Johnson vs. MIN
19. Jermaine Wiggins at SF
20. George Wrighster vs. TEN
21. Bo Scaife at JAC
22. Joe Klopfenstein vs. KC
23. Ben Troupe at JAC
24. Tony Scheffler at PIT
25. Bryan Fletcher at NE

Defense/Special Teams
1. Chicago vs. MIA
2. N.Y. Giants vs. HOU
3. Baltimore vs. CIN
4. Jacksonville vs. TEN
5. San Diego vs. CLE
6. Minnesota at SF
7. Pittsburgh vs. DEN
8. Denver at PIT
9. Atlanta at DET
10. Cincinnati at BAL
11. New Orleans at TB
12. Dallas at WAS
13. Indianapolis at NE
14. Buffalo vs. GB
15. Washington vs. DAL
16. New England vs. IND
17. Seattle vs. OAK
18. Tampa Bay vs. NO
19. Detroit vs. ATL
20. Green Bay at BUF
21. Oakland at SEA
22. Tennessee at JAC
23. San Francisco vs. MIN
24. Kansas City at STL
25. Cleveland at SD
26. St. Louis vs. KC
27. Miami at CHI
28. Houston at NYG
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Nov. 1, 2006, 12:30 PM
FFL: Week 9 Lineup Rankings


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

<!-- begin presby2 -->
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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Quarterbacks
1. Eli Manning vs. HOU
2. Peyton Manning at NE
3. Rex Grossman vs. MIA
<!--##FRONTSTOP##-->4. Michael Vick at DET
5. Marc Bulger vs. KC
6. Tom Brady vs. IND
7. Philip Rivers vs. CLE
8. Brett Favre at BUF
9. Drew Brees at TB
10. Carson Palmer at BAL
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER type="block" width="8" height="1"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]We rate players based on possible fantasy production each week, taking into account past production as well as matchups. These are not overall player rankings, but rather a list of who you should start for the upcoming week. Top superstars will rarely get moved out of the prime spots, as they should not be benched unless injured. Most players with an unclear injury or starting status for the upcoming week will not be included. All four major offensive positions and defense/special teams units are ranked. [/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>11. Jon Kitna vs. ATL
12. Damon Huard at STL
13. Tony Romo at WAS
14. Steve McNair vs. CIN
15. J.P. Losman vs. GB
16. David Garrard vs. TEN
17. Seneca Wallace vs. OAK
18. Bruce Gradkowski vs. NO
19. Alex Smith vs. MIN
20. Brad Johnson at SF
21. Mark Brunell vs. DAL
22. Charlie Frye at SD
23. David Carr at NYG
24. Vince Young at JAC
25. Ben Roethlisberger vs. DEN
26. Jake Plummer at PIT
27. Andrew Walter at SEA
28. Joey Harrington at CHI

Running Backs
1. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. CLE
2. Larry Johnson at STL
3. Tiki Barber vs. HOU
4. Steven Jackson vs. KC
5. Clinton Portis vs. DAL
6. Warrick Dunn at DET
7. Ahman Green at BUF
8. Willie Parker vs. DEN
9. Kevin Jones vs. ATL
10. Thomas Jones vs. MIA
11. Willis McGahee vs. GB
12. Rudi Johnson at BAL
13. Jamal Lewis vs. CIN
14. Frank Gore vs. MIN
15. Chester Taylor at SF
16. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. TEN
17. Deuce McAllister at TB
18. Julius Jones at WAS
19. Corey Dillon vs. IND
20. Fred Taylor vs. TEN
21. Ronnie Brown at CHI
22. Carnell Williams vs. NO
23. Mike Bell at PIT
24. Travis Henry at JAC
25. Wali Lundy at NYG
26. Brandon Jacobs vs. HOU
27. LaMont Jordan at SEA
28. Joseph Addai at NE
29. Reuben Droughns at SD
30. Tatum Bell at PIT
31. Cedric Benson vs. MIA
32. Marion Barber III at WAS
33. Maurice Morris vs. OAK
34. Laurence Maroney vs. IND
35. Reggie Bush at TB
36. Dominic Rhodes at NE
37. Chris Perry at BAL
38. Jerious Norwood at DET
39. LenDale White at JAC
40. Mewelde Moore at SF

Wide Receivers
1. Torry Holt vs. KC
2. Roy Williams vs. ATL
3. Bernard Berrian vs. MIA
4. Terrell Owens at WAS
5. Marques Colston at TB
6. Andre Johnson at NYG
7. Plaxico Burress vs. HOU
8. Reggie Wayne at NE
9. Hines Ward vs. DEN
10. T.J. Houshmandzadeh at BAL
11. Chad Johnson at BAL
12. Marvin Harrison at NE
13. Darrell Jackson vs. OAK
14. Lee Evans vs. GB
15. Santana Moss vs. DAL
16. Donald Driver at BUF
17. Randy Moss at SEA
18. Joey Galloway vs. NO
19. Joe Horn at TB
20. Eddie Kennison at STL
21. Isaac Bruce vs. KC
22. Deion Branch vs. OAK
23. Javon Walker at PIT
24. Michael Jenkins at DET
25. Doug Gabriel vs. IND
26. Amani Toomer vs. HOU
27. Greg Jennings at BUF
28. Chris Chambers at CHI
29. Muhsin Muhammad vs. MIA
30. Chris Henry at BAL
31. Terry Glenn at WAS
32. Eric Parker vs. CLE
33. Reggie Williams vs. TEN
34. Derrick Mason vs. CIN
35. Antonio Bryant vs. MIN
36. Braylon Edwards at SD
37. Mark Clayton vs. CIN
38. Mike Furrey vs. ATL
39. Reche Caldwell vs. IND
40. Chad Jackson vs. IND
41. Troy Williamson at SF
42. Keenan McCardell vs. CLE
43. Ashley Lelie at DET
44. Michael Clayton vs. NO
45. Travis Taylor at SF
46. Matt Jones vs. TEN
47. Troy Brown vs. IND
48. Drew Bennett at JAC
49. Rod Smith at PIT
50. Nate Washington vs. DEN
51. Joe Jurevicius at SD
52. Brandon Lloyd vs. DAL
53. Kevin Curtis vs. KC
54. Samie Parker at STL
55. Eric Moulds at NYG
56. Santonio Holmes vs. DEN
57. Antwaan Randle El vs. DAL
58. Roscoe Parrish vs. GB
59. Marty Booker at CHI
60. Bobby Wade at JAC

Tight Ends
1. Alge Crumpler at DET
2. Jeremy Shockey vs. HOU
3. Antonio Gates vs. CLE
4. Todd Heap vs. CIN
5. Tony Gonzalez at STL
6. Desmond Clark vs. MIA
7. Kellen Winslow at SD
8. Benjamin Watson vs. IND
9. Chris Cooley vs. DAL
10. Jason Witten at WAS
11. Randy McMichael at CHI
12. Owen Daniels at NYG
13. Dallas Clark at NE
14. Jerramy Stevens vs. OAK
15. Heath Miller vs. DEN
16. Alex Smith vs. NO
17. Courtney Anderson at SEA
18. Eric Johnson vs. MIN
19. Jermaine Wiggins at SF
20. George Wrighster vs. TEN
21. Bo Scaife at JAC
22. Joe Klopfenstein vs. KC
23. Ben Troupe at JAC
24. Tony Scheffler at PIT
25. Bryan Fletcher at NE

Defense/Special Teams
1. Chicago vs. MIA
2. N.Y. Giants vs. HOU
3. Baltimore vs. CIN
4. Jacksonville vs. TEN
5. San Diego vs. CLE
6. Minnesota at SF
7. Pittsburgh vs. DEN
8. Denver at PIT
9. Atlanta at DET
10. Cincinnati at BAL
11. New Orleans at TB
12. Dallas at WAS
13. Indianapolis at NE
14. Buffalo vs. GB
15. Washington vs. DAL
16. New England vs. IND
17. Seattle vs. OAK
18. Tampa Bay vs. NO
19. Detroit vs. ATL
20. Green Bay at BUF
21. Oakland at SEA
22. Tennessee at JAC
23. San Francisco vs. MIN
24. Kansas City at STL
25. Cleveland at SD
26. St. Louis vs. KC
27. Miami at CHI
28. Houston at NYG
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Buy-Low Candidates


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Trading is all about getting the best value for your players, and among the better trading strategies is to target players whose perceived value is low due to recent poor play. Such players are often called "buy-low" candidates, and here are four I'd go get right now:
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: That coach Tony Dungy says he plans to keep splitting the rushing workload between Addai and Dominic Rhodes should only serve to keep down Addai's trade value, but don't buy the talk. Addai continues to see his role in the offense increase, while Rhodes' performance only worsens each week. Maybe Rhodes' eventual role is goal-line back, but I still see Addai getting enough carries to have No. 2 RB upside.
Chris Chambers, WR, Dolphins: Maybe he hasn't done anything to warrant the top-10 receiver status he achieved on draft day, and maybe he lacks the top-notch quarterback throwing him the ball. But hasn't that been the case his entire career? What's important is that Chambers is a phenomenal second-half player. In 2005, he had all three of his 100-yard efforts and eight of his 11 TDs from Week 10 on, and in 2004, he had all four of his 100-yard efforts and five of his seven TDs in his final 10 games. Chambers regularly heats up as the weather cools in November and December (OK, only slightly in South Florida), and while Joey Harrington might be erratic, he's capable of getting Chambers the ball.
Jake Delhomme, QB, Panthers: Coming off a disappointing Week 8 performance and headed into the bye week with his team only at .500, Delhomme might not have the trust of many of his fantasy owners right now. He's hardly an elite quarterback even at his best, but he's also one of the more reliable ones. With a week off, a lot of people might forget that he averaged 235.5 passing yards and had seven TD passes from Weeks 4-7.
Willis McGahee, RB, Bills: He's sixth in the league in carries per game (21.4) despite Buffalo being outscored by 53 points on the season, which speaks volumes about his importance to the offense. McGahee's numbers might be disappointing, but he's also faced a somewhat tough schedule so far, one that only gets better the rest of the season. He faces four bottom-10 rush defenses in the next seven weeks, including the Colts (Week 10), Texans (Week 11), Jets (Week 14) and Titans (Week 16). <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
He's not starting, not yet, but Raiders WR Jerry Porter is well worth a pickup this week. Coach Art Shell seems to be slowly warming to him, and with none of the Oakland receivers not named Randy Moss doing that well, Porter could quickly emerge once again as the team's No. 2 man, and perhaps a matchups play in fantasy leagues. Don't forget, he averaged 70 receptions for 970 yards and seven scores the past two seasons. ... I'd also make sure to get Titans RB LenDale White, if he's available in your league. Travis Henry once again showed us in Week 8 why he's not an every-week kind of back, failing to capitalize on a favorable matchup against the Texans, while White is considered the future of the franchise at the position. It might take until the latter third of the season before White is ready to take over as a 15-20-carry back, but I think he'll get there before season's end. ... WR Larry Fitzgerald's projected return in Week 10 should do wonders for the development of rookie QB Matt Leinart. Sure, Leinart has looked shaky of late, but that's to be expected of a quarterback in his situation. Remember, even the Mannings and Donovan McNabb weren't all that reliable in their first seasons. I'm not saying Leinart will be a weekly start by any means, not this season, but there are some useful matchups for him down the stretch, including Week 11 against the Lions, Week 13 at the Rams and Week 16 at the 49ers. If Fitzgerald's return after the bye helps him out, I'd think about him as a second-half sleeper.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
25-for-37 passing for 301 yards, 1 TD, 4 interceptions

Concussions are not an easy thing for a player to recover from, and in Roethlisberger's case, boy has he had to deal with his fair share of them this season. It was one thing for him to recover from the one as a result of his accident this summer, but this second one, it sure seemed to limit him in Week 8 at Oakland. He didn't perform quite as poorly as he did in his first two games of the season -- he combined for 349 yards, no TDs and five interceptions in those -- but he made four mistakes, two of them rather costly as they were returned for Oakland touchdowns. In fact, Roethlisberger passes directly resulted in all three TDs in the game, two by Oakland, one to Willie Parker. Roethlisberger shouldn't be in any jeopardy of losing his starting job, at least not so long as he's healthy enough to play, but each time he suffers a setback, it seems to push him right back to where he was when he was first rejoined the lineup in Week 2. And with concussions one of the riskiest injuries to recur, there's no guarantee Roethlisberger will ever get right this season. He has better games ahead, so long as he can avoid more nasty hits, but this is a high-risk, high-reward player for the remainder of the season. His true big breakout might not come until 2007.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/31/06)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Buy-Low Candidates


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Trading is all about getting the best value for your players, and among the better trading strategies is to target players whose perceived value is low due to recent poor play. Such players are often called "buy-low" candidates, and here are four I'd go get right now:
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: That coach Tony Dungy says he plans to keep splitting the rushing workload between Addai and Dominic Rhodes should only serve to keep down Addai's trade value, but don't buy the talk. Addai continues to see his role in the offense increase, while Rhodes' performance only worsens each week. Maybe Rhodes' eventual role is goal-line back, but I still see Addai getting enough carries to have No. 2 RB upside.
Chris Chambers, WR, Dolphins: Maybe he hasn't done anything to warrant the top-10 receiver status he achieved on draft day, and maybe he lacks the top-notch quarterback throwing him the ball. But hasn't that been the case his entire career? What's important is that Chambers is a phenomenal second-half player. In 2005, he had all three of his 100-yard efforts and eight of his 11 TDs from Week 10 on, and in 2004, he had all four of his 100-yard efforts and five of his seven TDs in his final 10 games. Chambers regularly heats up as the weather cools in November and December (OK, only slightly in South Florida), and while Joey Harrington might be erratic, he's capable of getting Chambers the ball.
Jake Delhomme, QB, Panthers: Coming off a disappointing Week 8 performance and headed into the bye week with his team only at .500, Delhomme might not have the trust of many of his fantasy owners right now. He's hardly an elite quarterback even at his best, but he's also one of the more reliable ones. With a week off, a lot of people might forget that he averaged 235.5 passing yards and had seven TD passes from Weeks 4-7.
Willis McGahee, RB, Bills: He's sixth in the league in carries per game (21.4) despite Buffalo being outscored by 53 points on the season, which speaks volumes about his importance to the offense. McGahee's numbers might be disappointing, but he's also faced a somewhat tough schedule so far, one that only gets better the rest of the season. He faces four bottom-10 rush defenses in the next seven weeks, including the Colts (Week 10), Texans (Week 11), Jets (Week 14) and Titans (Week 16). <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
He's not starting, not yet, but Raiders WR Jerry Porter is well worth a pickup this week. Coach Art Shell seems to be slowly warming to him, and with none of the Oakland receivers not named Randy Moss doing that well, Porter could quickly emerge once again as the team's No. 2 man, and perhaps a matchups play in fantasy leagues. Don't forget, he averaged 70 receptions for 970 yards and seven scores the past two seasons. ... I'd also make sure to get Titans RB LenDale White, if he's available in your league. Travis Henry once again showed us in Week 8 why he's not an every-week kind of back, failing to capitalize on a favorable matchup against the Texans, while White is considered the future of the franchise at the position. It might take until the latter third of the season before White is ready to take over as a 15-20-carry back, but I think he'll get there before season's end. ... WR Larry Fitzgerald's projected return in Week 10 should do wonders for the development of rookie QB Matt Leinart. Sure, Leinart has looked shaky of late, but that's to be expected of a quarterback in his situation. Remember, even the Mannings and Donovan McNabb weren't all that reliable in their first seasons. I'm not saying Leinart will be a weekly start by any means, not this season, but there are some useful matchups for him down the stretch, including Week 11 against the Lions, Week 13 at the Rams and Week 16 at the 49ers. If Fitzgerald's return after the bye helps him out, I'd think about him as a second-half sleeper.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
25-for-37 passing for 301 yards, 1 TD, 4 interceptions

Concussions are not an easy thing for a player to recover from, and in Roethlisberger's case, boy has he had to deal with his fair share of them this season. It was one thing for him to recover from the one as a result of his accident this summer, but this second one, it sure seemed to limit him in Week 8 at Oakland. He didn't perform quite as poorly as he did in his first two games of the season -- he combined for 349 yards, no TDs and five interceptions in those -- but he made four mistakes, two of them rather costly as they were returned for Oakland touchdowns. In fact, Roethlisberger passes directly resulted in all three TDs in the game, two by Oakland, one to Willie Parker. Roethlisberger shouldn't be in any jeopardy of losing his starting job, at least not so long as he's healthy enough to play, but each time he suffers a setback, it seems to push him right back to where he was when he was first rejoined the lineup in Week 2. And with concussions one of the riskiest injuries to recur, there's no guarantee Roethlisberger will ever get right this season. He has better games ahead, so long as he can avoid more nasty hits, but this is a high-risk, high-reward player for the remainder of the season. His true big breakout might not come until 2007.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 11/1/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 11/1/06)

Thursday, November 2, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Another Fall in Foxborough?


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Most of us are well aware of the historical struggles of Peyton Manning when he goes to Tom Brady's house. Over the course of his storied career, Manning has viewed Foxborough as a nightmarish location.
Manning is only 2-7 against the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era, and has thrown 14 interceptions in those games. He has a 3-10 record all-time vs. New England, and at Foxborough, he has thrown 11 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions in six career games. Yet, despite all the negative history on the road against the Patriots, Manning finally slayed the demons that seemed to surround him there last season. He threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception at New England last November. If you add in two postseason defeats, it was Manning's first win at Foxborough in eight attempts.
For the second consecutive season, Manning is leading an undefeated Colts team into New England. But which Manning will we see? The one who has played well below expectations in many games against New England, or the guy who threw for 345 yards and three TDs on the road against a usually stingy Denver defense last week? Some of you might actually be thinking of benching Manning if your other option is a passer like Rex Grossman or Marc Bulger. Those guys have been putting up good numbers regularly and have much friendlier matchups.
But no matter who he faces, you simply can't bench Manning, even after the Patriots looked so good on defense last week against Minnesota. Manning is no Brad Johnson, and you can't sit your best players when you are making an important push for a fantasy playoff berth. Manning is a fantasy superstar. And fantasy superstars deliver the good numbers against all types of opponents. The Colts might not win the game. But Manning is not intimidated by Brady and his denizens anymore. Past history doesn't matter, and every game in the NFL is unique. This isn't baseball or NASCAR, where we can lean heavily on past results to help us predict outcomes.
Manning carries the Indianapolis offense, and don't expect his team to lay down and not offer a major challenge to the Patriots. While Belichick is a masterful game planner, and he will likely use the running game to control the clock, how can he possibly disguise his coverages well enough at this point of Manning's career to the point where it will overly confuse the Colts QB? He can't fool Manning or throw him off anymore. Manning is simply too experienced for that, and his performance last season against the Pats proved you're going to have to stop him, not confuse him, to beat him. Ultimately, the Patriots could still make the clutch defensive plays to beat Indianapolis. But along the way, Manning will get his numbers, and you can expect at least two TD passes as he slugs it out with Brady on the scoreboard. Keep Manning active, or you will miss another inspired performance that will lead to fine fantasy totals. <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
While Peyton Manning should deliver his second consecutive quality performance, there might be only one better starting option this week, and that is his younger brother. After he threw only one TD pass against Tampa Bay last week, some of Eli Manning's fantasy owners might be a little skeptical about starting him if they have another top-level option, again, like a Grossman or Bulger. But Sunday's forecast for the home game against Houston calls for winds of 11 mph, according to the Weather Channel's website, and there is only a 10 percent chance of precipitation. So there might only be one better fantasy option at QB than Peyton Manning this week. That should be Eli Manning. Most owners don't have both, but the Peyton rule should apply to Eli this week. Don't bench him. You shouldn't consider benching your top players during these crucial weeks of the season. Don't outthink yourself. There doesn't seem to be a better matchup than Eli against the Texans. Houston has allowed 224.1 passing yards per game, worst in the AFC. Forget last week, which was a windblown aberration. I'd start Eli Manning over any other QB in fantasy football this week. The Texans have no hope of getting a pass rush, and this one could get ugly quickly, as Eli throws at least three TD passes en route to building a early and large lead.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Bernard Berrian, WR, Bears
Five receptions, 41 yards, 0 TD

All of a sudden, one of fantasy football's biggest early-season surprises has cooled off. Berrian has scored only seven fantasy points in his past two games, and has not scored since Week 5 at Buffalo. Rex Grossman is still throwing the ball very effectively, but he is spreading it around more. With opposing defenses now respecting Berrian more and trying to take away the deep ball from him, Grossman is finding other open receivers. But against the Dolphins this week, Berrian should get back on track against a shaky secondary. Those who have watched Berrian closely this season know he isn't just a speed receiver anymore. He does make the tough possession grabs as well, and will fight for extra yards after the catch. There's a good chance Berrian will get open for a deep ball or two when the Miami secondary breaks down or suffers a miscommunication. And even if Berrian can't break loose for the big gainers, he'll be ready to haul in a scoring pass in the red zone. Most wide receivers go through a spell where they don't perform up to expectations for a game or two. Now is a great time to buy low on Berrian before he re-emerges with another good game this week.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 11/1/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 3 New Articles Added 11/1/06)

Thursday, November 2, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Another Fall in Foxborough?


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Most of us are well aware of the historical struggles of Peyton Manning when he goes to Tom Brady's house. Over the course of his storied career, Manning has viewed Foxborough as a nightmarish location.
Manning is only 2-7 against the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era, and has thrown 14 interceptions in those games. He has a 3-10 record all-time vs. New England, and at Foxborough, he has thrown 11 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions in six career games. Yet, despite all the negative history on the road against the Patriots, Manning finally slayed the demons that seemed to surround him there last season. He threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception at New England last November. If you add in two postseason defeats, it was Manning's first win at Foxborough in eight attempts.
For the second consecutive season, Manning is leading an undefeated Colts team into New England. But which Manning will we see? The one who has played well below expectations in many games against New England, or the guy who threw for 345 yards and three TDs on the road against a usually stingy Denver defense last week? Some of you might actually be thinking of benching Manning if your other option is a passer like Rex Grossman or Marc Bulger. Those guys have been putting up good numbers regularly and have much friendlier matchups.
But no matter who he faces, you simply can't bench Manning, even after the Patriots looked so good on defense last week against Minnesota. Manning is no Brad Johnson, and you can't sit your best players when you are making an important push for a fantasy playoff berth. Manning is a fantasy superstar. And fantasy superstars deliver the good numbers against all types of opponents. The Colts might not win the game. But Manning is not intimidated by Brady and his denizens anymore. Past history doesn't matter, and every game in the NFL is unique. This isn't baseball or NASCAR, where we can lean heavily on past results to help us predict outcomes.
Manning carries the Indianapolis offense, and don't expect his team to lay down and not offer a major challenge to the Patriots. While Belichick is a masterful game planner, and he will likely use the running game to control the clock, how can he possibly disguise his coverages well enough at this point of Manning's career to the point where it will overly confuse the Colts QB? He can't fool Manning or throw him off anymore. Manning is simply too experienced for that, and his performance last season against the Pats proved you're going to have to stop him, not confuse him, to beat him. Ultimately, the Patriots could still make the clutch defensive plays to beat Indianapolis. But along the way, Manning will get his numbers, and you can expect at least two TD passes as he slugs it out with Brady on the scoreboard. Keep Manning active, or you will miss another inspired performance that will lead to fine fantasy totals. <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
While Peyton Manning should deliver his second consecutive quality performance, there might be only one better starting option this week, and that is his younger brother. After he threw only one TD pass against Tampa Bay last week, some of Eli Manning's fantasy owners might be a little skeptical about starting him if they have another top-level option, again, like a Grossman or Bulger. But Sunday's forecast for the home game against Houston calls for winds of 11 mph, according to the Weather Channel's website, and there is only a 10 percent chance of precipitation. So there might only be one better fantasy option at QB than Peyton Manning this week. That should be Eli Manning. Most owners don't have both, but the Peyton rule should apply to Eli this week. Don't bench him. You shouldn't consider benching your top players during these crucial weeks of the season. Don't outthink yourself. There doesn't seem to be a better matchup than Eli against the Texans. Houston has allowed 224.1 passing yards per game, worst in the AFC. Forget last week, which was a windblown aberration. I'd start Eli Manning over any other QB in fantasy football this week. The Texans have no hope of getting a pass rush, and this one could get ugly quickly, as Eli throws at least three TD passes en route to building a early and large lead.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Bernard Berrian, WR, Bears
Five receptions, 41 yards, 0 TD

All of a sudden, one of fantasy football's biggest early-season surprises has cooled off. Berrian has scored only seven fantasy points in his past two games, and has not scored since Week 5 at Buffalo. Rex Grossman is still throwing the ball very effectively, but he is spreading it around more. With opposing defenses now respecting Berrian more and trying to take away the deep ball from him, Grossman is finding other open receivers. But against the Dolphins this week, Berrian should get back on track against a shaky secondary. Those who have watched Berrian closely this season know he isn't just a speed receiver anymore. He does make the tough possession grabs as well, and will fight for extra yards after the catch. There's a good chance Berrian will get open for a deep ball or two when the Miami secondary breaks down or suffers a miscommunication. And even if Berrian can't break loose for the big gainers, he'll be ready to haul in a scoring pass in the red zone. Most wide receivers go through a spell where they don't perform up to expectations for a game or two. Now is a great time to buy low on Berrian before he re-emerges with another good game this week.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

All the games previewed


posted: Friday, November 3, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


As a football fan, this should be a terrific weekend for a few reasons. One, it doesn't get too much better than Colts-Patriots, one of those regular season games that can define a season (if there is such a thing) and bring you back to why you love the sport. Two, this is November, it's cold, football weather, and hopefully somewhere it will snow (c'mon, Buffalo, where's the precipitation?) And three, the Eagles are on a bye. As an Eagles fan, this is good news. No last-minute losses this week. No Brian Westbrook limping. No on-the-field vomiting. Phew.

I've heard everyone compare Peyton Manning and Tom Brady all week, analyze which one they'd rather have in real life and why, and it generally comes down to the stats vs. rings argument. In fantasy there's really no argument, because, well, it's stats vs. rings. Peyton consistently gets the stats, and fantasy football is a game based on stats, not Brady winning Super Bowls or Ben Roethlisberger going 13-0 as a rookie. Oh, I know Brady actually had more fantasy points than Peyton in Week 8, but that's one week. Just one.
I maintain that all the fantasy owner can really do is go with his best options, which we aim to help you with, and we all hope for the best. If you happen to make a bold guess this week, like sitting Manning for Bruce Gradkowski, and the Tampa Bay quarterback just happens to toss four touchdown passes while Peyton pulls an Andrew Walter, then good for you. Of course this happens occasionally. The stars don't always come out. That's why we play the game; if we knew what precisely would happen each Sunday, now how much of a game would it be?
Play the percentages, go with your top players, check out matchups (but don't overrate them), and always look to improve your team. And you pray. In the end, someone with Billy Volek might knock you out of the playoffs anyway (nah, I'm not still bitter about that at all) and your season ends without a title. Or you could slip into the playoffs at 7-6 and run the table. Happens in one of my leagues every season.
I get a lot of mail, and among the buzz topics this week:
--I'm crazy for recommending Michael Vick as sell high. (Of course, if he plays poorly this week, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for putting (insert name here, but generally Tiki Barber or Rudi Johnson) in the Power Rankings. (Of course, if Tiki scores this week, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for hating on Donovan McNabb and must be biased. Do I not remind you every week which team I root for? (Of course, when McNabb does fail to finish the season No. 1 overall, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for saying a .500 team can still win a fantasy league. (Trust me, it happens all the time. Last season nearly half of the No. 1 seeds in fantasy didn't make it out of the first round. Someone has to be beating them, and it's generally the hot team. Of course when your .500 team doesn't lose again, you won't remember that.)
--I'm just crazy. (Of course, you may be right, I may be crazy. Apologies to Billy Joel for stealing his line.)
On to the crazy games:
Falcons 24, Lions 20: I'd look silly if I wrote Vick would have a bad game. I think he'll be good again, especially against a team that just doesn't stop the pass well. This game is perfectly suited for Vick and Alge Crumpler. Two weeks still isn't much of a sample size (wow, seven touchdown passes!), no matter how decent the defenses he's faced, but it's clear this is a different Vick, motivated to do this.
For Atlanta: I'll predict two touchdown passes for Vick, and 70 yards rushing. Detroit is just not a very good defense. Be careful about Warrick Dunn, though. He hasn't done much these past two weeks, really, has been average in four of five weeks. Only once has he reached 70 yards rushing. I don't expect a ton of yards here. And Crumpler is it for Atlanta receivers. Now, I don't use Michael Jenkins.
For Detroit: The Lions big three should be able to move the ball. They've done it all season. Jon Kitna is a top 10 fantasy quarterback, Kevin Jones is fifth among running backs, and our strange pals Hector & Victor rank Roy Williams as the top wide receiver this week. Now who would call them crazy? Expect Jones to have a good day, even if half the value is catching the ball. Kitna gets two scores.
Ravens 23, Bengals 21: Going with the home team in this one, because it plays better defense and the road team is in some disarray. Cincy allows points, and the last time the Bengals hit the road, they lost to Tampa Bay. I don't think the Ravens' offense is really any better now that Jim Fassel is gone, but sometimes change just works.
For Baltimore: Steve McNair is going to be a popular play this week, coming off three scores, but I don't expect more than one touchdown. Jamal Lewis should come close to 100 yards against this defense. And, as always, the only Ravens receiver of note is the tight end. Stop wasting your time on Derrick Mason.
For Cincy: The problem with this team's receiver corps is that all three are legit plays, but you don't know which one will do something. I have a league in which I will play Chris Henry, and another I'll leave T.J. Houshmandzadeh in there. Chad Johnson is talented, of course, but could he be the team's third-most talented receiver? If you have any of these guys, don't be afraid to play them because of the potential timeshare, or the opponent. Any of them could be fantasy worthy. I'll go with Henry. He makes the big plays. Rudi Johnson can be productive, leave him in and expect 75 yards, possibly a score. Chris Perry isn't taking his touches away yet. Oh, and play Carson Palmer, but he might get only one touchdown.
Cowboys 31, Redskins 10: Blowout game, with the more talented team romping and continuing to flex its newly found muscles. Is it possible Mark Brunell plays well and keeps his job? I suppose, but it seems like even the team knows this is coming. And don't overrate the team coming off a bye week; the Redskins are still battered.
For Dallas: Play everyone! Tony Romo should get two touchdowns, both his receivers will be involved (yes, even Terry Glenn) and both running backs are legit. Julius Jones gets the yards and possibly a score, and Marion Barber has scored six touchdowns the past six games. Not a fluke.
For Washington: Clinton Portis should be in the lineup for real, so you should play him, but what are the chances he has a big game, especially being banged up? Sit everyone else, including Santana Moss.
Packers 24, Bills 10: I haven't seen this discussed much, and maybe it's a stretch, but when Brett Favre wins this game he'll have a .500 team. And in a messy conference with other wild card teams only a game ahead of that, the Packers could be playoff bound! So what if they're 2-4 in the conference, and haven't beaten a good team, is Buffalo any good?
For Green Bay: Favre has three straight double digit fantasy games, this should be his fourth. He hasn't topped 220 yards since Week 3, but to end up between 180 and 220 yards each week, at least that's something. Look for the Packers to establish the run again, with Ahman Green a worthy play for 75 yards, maybe a score. I'd stick with Donald Driver as a good play, but not Greg Jennings, even though the rookie is likely to be in uniform.
For Buffalo: I'm tired of this team, aren't you? Never play J.P. Losman, use Lee Evans only because if there ever is a touchdown, he should be involved, and as for Willis McGahee, he has averaged eight fantasy points the past three games. I can't predict a good game for him until we see something. Give him 60 yards, that's it.
Giants 24, Texans 6: Another blowout game, with the Giants' defense taking care of matters against an offense that needed Sage Rosenfels to revive it last week.
For New York: I'm going to keep predicting Tiki Barber will score a touchdown until he does. This is the week! Eli Manning hasn't reached 200 yards in any of the past three weeks, and won't in this one either, because the Giants will run, run, run. Eli gets one score, 180 yards. Brandon Jacobs is a decent flex play for his 40 yards and a touchdown. He's done this three straight games.
For Houston: Sorry, don't like anyone. Wali Lundy has become the main running back, but the Giants are shutting offenses down. David Carr? No way. Play Andre Johnson on the theory that if Houston does score, and Carr does get to 200 yards, Johnson plays a big role. And when Carr is bad again, will we see Sage make things interesting? Nope. Do that two weeks in a row and you've got a QB controversy, and there shouldn't be one here.
Chiefs 31, Rams 27: Upset special, with lame-duck QB Damon Huard running out of time to prove that he should remain the starter. You know what? It doesn't matter what he does, Trent Green will get to start based on loyalty. Kansas City has looked a lot better since that Pittsburgh blowout, beating the Chargers and Seahawks. Here comes an unlikely road win.
For Kansas City: Huard hit 300 yards last week, and he might do it again, unless it becomes clear Larry Johnson can do it all himself. Figure Huard gets two touchdowns and Johnson two more, and Eddie Kennison scores in a place he used to play.
For St. Louis: They'll move the ball as well, and there's never a reason to sit Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson or Torry Holt. Each should thrive in this game, with Bulger reaching 300 yards, and the other two threatening to reach 100 yards.
Bears 35, Dolphins 10: Our third blowout, and real predictable. The way Chicago is playing, how can Joey Harrington compete? The only difference from last week, when the Bears put up 41 in the first half vs. San Francisco is, this one's in Florida. So they only get 21 by the half.
For Chicago: Rex Grossman is a solid play with two touchdown passes, Bernard Berrian gets back into the scoring column and both Bears running backs register touchdowns. Thomas Jones, as always, is the smarter play, but Cedric Benson could be a flex contender.
For Miami: Sit 'em all. Even Ronnie Brown, who has topped 70 yards rushing only twice all season, isn't a good play.
Saints 20, Buccaneers 10: I just don't think the Bucs have much to offer, even in a winnable game like this. And I do think the Saints are beatable. Drew Brees gets his numbers each week, but he's lost two of his biggest statistical efforts. It comes down to Bruce Gradkowski, who played well initially, but hasn't the past few weeks.
For New Orleans: Gotta stick with what works, so expect Brees to reach 250 yards and score twice, Deuce McAllister to get 75 yards, and Marques Colston to have a big day. Joe Horn has had two straight big games, but I won't bet on a third. Sit Reggie Bush. If this injury doesn't convince you he's average statistically (so far), what will?
For Tampa Bay: I have Carnell Williams on multiple teams, and I just can't stomach it anymore. He sits, even for the likes of Brandon Jacobs and flex wide receivers like Chris Henry. I mean, his best game is 12 fantasy points. Enough already. BUST! And sit the other Bucs as well. Joey Galloway is no less maddening. Nice work outta Philly losing to this bunch.
Jaguars 14, Titans 7: I'm not buying that Jacksonville is "back" after winning in Philly last week. Jacksonville ran the ball all day against a team that looked beaten and unmotivated early. Tennessee is hardly a great team, but it has won two straight, can potentially control the clock and is decent defensively. This seems like a lively upset possibility, even though the last time the Jags were home, they beat the Jets 41-0. I'll stop short of the upset, but it should be interesting.
For Tennessee: Sometimes you've got to zig when everyone else zags. Travis Henry comes off a brutal game. The game before he ran wild. I see him as a surprise play who gets near 100 yards, maybe he gets the team's score. Hey, we didn't expect it against the Redskins, either. I wouldn't play any other Titans, including Vince Young.
For Jacksonville: I'm not a Byron Leftwich fantasy fan anymore, and I didn't think he should get the start. But really, while David Garrard wins games and will start, his arm isn't a threat. Shut down Fred Taylor and you can beat this team. Give Taylor OK numbers, like 70 yards and a score. Don't use any Jags receivers. The QB doesn't matter, it's a trick.
49ers 16, Vikings 13: Upset special, because Minnesota is just not that good of an offensive team. Chester Taylor will bounce back, assuming the Vikings don't trail again early. Nobody expects the 49ers to win this game. Everyone assumes the Vikings bounce back on short rest and having to travel? Well, I think they're not quite as good as people think.
For San Francisco: Alex Smith has looked dreadful his past two games, but has anyone pointed out those were against the Chargers and Bears? Would I go out of my way to play Smith in fantasy? Probably not, but he should get a touchdown or two. Frank Gore has to meet a tough run defense that New England essentially avoided, but don't assume he ends up with only three rushes, like Corey Dillon. Gore ran well against the Bears, topping 100 yards. I'll give him 75 yards.
For Minnesota: The only Viking I would play, and this has been the theme for a month, is Taylor. He should have a good day, but that doesn't always equal a victory. I would not use Brad Johnson just because of the matchup.
Chargers 34, Browns 9: Yep, there's no Shawne Merriman this week. Doesn't matter. LT is in the house.
For San Diego: Never, ever, ever sit LaDainian Tomlinson. Another big game is coming. Michael Turner I'd sit, but I can see him getting double digit carries. Might be a flex option. Philip Rivers will pile up the yards and get two touchdowns. Win-win for the Chargers. Merriman who?
For Cleveland: Sit 'em all. Reuben Droughns went from 12 carries to 33 last week, which certainly contributed to his best game of the season. But the Chargers should grab an early lead and Charlie Frye will be throwing a lot. And he'll be throwing to the other team.
Steelers 24, Broncos 21: The proud Cowhers still have something left of their season, and while it's unlikely Ben Roethlisberger can lead them back to the playoffs, I think people have been too reactive with him, like a yo-yo after good and bad games. Ben played very well in Weeks 6 and 7. Then he played poorly at Oakland, a team that, surprisingly has played fine defense much of the season. Was it Roethlisberger's concussion that made him throw four picks? Or was it a bad game against an underrated defense? Whatever the case, he gets the win. I can't see Pittsburgh falling to 2-6.
For Pittsburgh: Roethlisberger does enough to win, which means 230 yards and two scores. He's not going to be a popular fantasy play, nor should he be, but he's a better option than his QB opponent, that's for sure. Willie Parker needs to get the tough yards, and I could see 60 yards and a score. Hines Ward is worth playing.
For Denver: Can't choose between the Bells? Sit 'em both. Tatum Bell is battling turf toe, and not a good option. Might he play well? It's possible, but consider that the Steelers have a ton to play for, I doubt it. And Mike Bell has been inconsistent. Sure, that was a huge second half against Indy. Teams run on Indy all the time. Meanwhile, teams try to pass on Pittsburgh (see Vick) and I can't see Jake Plummer doing that. Denver's favored, I think the home team wins.
Patriots 28, Colts 24: Nothing against Peyton Manning, I just trust Bill Belichick more, especially in a home game. He's got a healthy defense, and a fine, young running back ready to explode. This is the week. Manning and Brady make the pregame news, and Laurence Maroney gets Monday's headlines.
For New England: I think both Maroney and Corey Dillon are solid plays, with both a touchdown possibility. The past few weeks Brady has thrown the ball. This week he goes back to 180 yards and a score, and hands off a lot. If Mike Bell can do that in one half of play, then Belichick is going to run the ball, a lot. Don't expect any of Brady's wide receivers to be great plays. If you have to choose one, I still stick with Doug Gabriel.
For Indy: Of course you play Peyton Manning, and he'll accumulate decent enough stats to be worth it in fantasy. So will his receivers. I do think Joseph Addai is a better play than Dominic Rhodes, and Addai worthy of a fantasy start. What a game this should be.
Seahawks 24, Raiders 17: Seneca Wallace vs. Andrew Walter. Just what the TV execs had planned! Wallace isn't a bad quarterback, and the Oakland defense is better than people think. I'll still take the home team, in a messy affair, but don't look for many fantasy options here.
For Seattle: Darrell Jackson has reached every week status, no matter who the QB is. Deion Branch isn't there yet, I wouldn't expect big stats in this one. Wallace could get 200 yards and a score, but he's likely to turn the ball over at least once. As for Maurice Morris, really, haven't you seen enough?
For Oakland: Randy Moss is about the only Raider I'd play. Don't waste your loyalty on LaMont Jordan. In January we'll look at his numbers and collectively say they're brutal, but really, nobody saw it coming. It's Week 9. We see it coming now. OK, have a great weekend and we'll see ya Sunday morning.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

All the games previewed


posted: Friday, November 3, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


As a football fan, this should be a terrific weekend for a few reasons. One, it doesn't get too much better than Colts-Patriots, one of those regular season games that can define a season (if there is such a thing) and bring you back to why you love the sport. Two, this is November, it's cold, football weather, and hopefully somewhere it will snow (c'mon, Buffalo, where's the precipitation?) And three, the Eagles are on a bye. As an Eagles fan, this is good news. No last-minute losses this week. No Brian Westbrook limping. No on-the-field vomiting. Phew.

I've heard everyone compare Peyton Manning and Tom Brady all week, analyze which one they'd rather have in real life and why, and it generally comes down to the stats vs. rings argument. In fantasy there's really no argument, because, well, it's stats vs. rings. Peyton consistently gets the stats, and fantasy football is a game based on stats, not Brady winning Super Bowls or Ben Roethlisberger going 13-0 as a rookie. Oh, I know Brady actually had more fantasy points than Peyton in Week 8, but that's one week. Just one.
I maintain that all the fantasy owner can really do is go with his best options, which we aim to help you with, and we all hope for the best. If you happen to make a bold guess this week, like sitting Manning for Bruce Gradkowski, and the Tampa Bay quarterback just happens to toss four touchdown passes while Peyton pulls an Andrew Walter, then good for you. Of course this happens occasionally. The stars don't always come out. That's why we play the game; if we knew what precisely would happen each Sunday, now how much of a game would it be?
Play the percentages, go with your top players, check out matchups (but don't overrate them), and always look to improve your team. And you pray. In the end, someone with Billy Volek might knock you out of the playoffs anyway (nah, I'm not still bitter about that at all) and your season ends without a title. Or you could slip into the playoffs at 7-6 and run the table. Happens in one of my leagues every season.
I get a lot of mail, and among the buzz topics this week:
--I'm crazy for recommending Michael Vick as sell high. (Of course, if he plays poorly this week, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for putting (insert name here, but generally Tiki Barber or Rudi Johnson) in the Power Rankings. (Of course, if Tiki scores this week, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for hating on Donovan McNabb and must be biased. Do I not remind you every week which team I root for? (Of course, when McNabb does fail to finish the season No. 1 overall, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for saying a .500 team can still win a fantasy league. (Trust me, it happens all the time. Last season nearly half of the No. 1 seeds in fantasy didn't make it out of the first round. Someone has to be beating them, and it's generally the hot team. Of course when your .500 team doesn't lose again, you won't remember that.)
--I'm just crazy. (Of course, you may be right, I may be crazy. Apologies to Billy Joel for stealing his line.)
On to the crazy games:
Falcons 24, Lions 20: I'd look silly if I wrote Vick would have a bad game. I think he'll be good again, especially against a team that just doesn't stop the pass well. This game is perfectly suited for Vick and Alge Crumpler. Two weeks still isn't much of a sample size (wow, seven touchdown passes!), no matter how decent the defenses he's faced, but it's clear this is a different Vick, motivated to do this.
For Atlanta: I'll predict two touchdown passes for Vick, and 70 yards rushing. Detroit is just not a very good defense. Be careful about Warrick Dunn, though. He hasn't done much these past two weeks, really, has been average in four of five weeks. Only once has he reached 70 yards rushing. I don't expect a ton of yards here. And Crumpler is it for Atlanta receivers. Now, I don't use Michael Jenkins.
For Detroit: The Lions big three should be able to move the ball. They've done it all season. Jon Kitna is a top 10 fantasy quarterback, Kevin Jones is fifth among running backs, and our strange pals Hector & Victor rank Roy Williams as the top wide receiver this week. Now who would call them crazy? Expect Jones to have a good day, even if half the value is catching the ball. Kitna gets two scores.
Ravens 23, Bengals 21: Going with the home team in this one, because it plays better defense and the road team is in some disarray. Cincy allows points, and the last time the Bengals hit the road, they lost to Tampa Bay. I don't think the Ravens' offense is really any better now that Jim Fassel is gone, but sometimes change just works.
For Baltimore: Steve McNair is going to be a popular play this week, coming off three scores, but I don't expect more than one touchdown. Jamal Lewis should come close to 100 yards against this defense. And, as always, the only Ravens receiver of note is the tight end. Stop wasting your time on Derrick Mason.
For Cincy: The problem with this team's receiver corps is that all three are legit plays, but you don't know which one will do something. I have a league in which I will play Chris Henry, and another I'll leave T.J. Houshmandzadeh in there. Chad Johnson is talented, of course, but could he be the team's third-most talented receiver? If you have any of these guys, don't be afraid to play them because of the potential timeshare, or the opponent. Any of them could be fantasy worthy. I'll go with Henry. He makes the big plays. Rudi Johnson can be productive, leave him in and expect 75 yards, possibly a score. Chris Perry isn't taking his touches away yet. Oh, and play Carson Palmer, but he might get only one touchdown.
Cowboys 31, Redskins 10: Blowout game, with the more talented team romping and continuing to flex its newly found muscles. Is it possible Mark Brunell plays well and keeps his job? I suppose, but it seems like even the team knows this is coming. And don't overrate the team coming off a bye week; the Redskins are still battered.
For Dallas: Play everyone! Tony Romo should get two touchdowns, both his receivers will be involved (yes, even Terry Glenn) and both running backs are legit. Julius Jones gets the yards and possibly a score, and Marion Barber has scored six touchdowns the past six games. Not a fluke.
For Washington: Clinton Portis should be in the lineup for real, so you should play him, but what are the chances he has a big game, especially being banged up? Sit everyone else, including Santana Moss.
Packers 24, Bills 10: I haven't seen this discussed much, and maybe it's a stretch, but when Brett Favre wins this game he'll have a .500 team. And in a messy conference with other wild card teams only a game ahead of that, the Packers could be playoff bound! So what if they're 2-4 in the conference, and haven't beaten a good team, is Buffalo any good?
For Green Bay: Favre has three straight double digit fantasy games, this should be his fourth. He hasn't topped 220 yards since Week 3, but to end up between 180 and 220 yards each week, at least that's something. Look for the Packers to establish the run again, with Ahman Green a worthy play for 75 yards, maybe a score. I'd stick with Donald Driver as a good play, but not Greg Jennings, even though the rookie is likely to be in uniform.
For Buffalo: I'm tired of this team, aren't you? Never play J.P. Losman, use Lee Evans only because if there ever is a touchdown, he should be involved, and as for Willis McGahee, he has averaged eight fantasy points the past three games. I can't predict a good game for him until we see something. Give him 60 yards, that's it.
Giants 24, Texans 6: Another blowout game, with the Giants' defense taking care of matters against an offense that needed Sage Rosenfels to revive it last week.
For New York: I'm going to keep predicting Tiki Barber will score a touchdown until he does. This is the week! Eli Manning hasn't reached 200 yards in any of the past three weeks, and won't in this one either, because the Giants will run, run, run. Eli gets one score, 180 yards. Brandon Jacobs is a decent flex play for his 40 yards and a touchdown. He's done this three straight games.
For Houston: Sorry, don't like anyone. Wali Lundy has become the main running back, but the Giants are shutting offenses down. David Carr? No way. Play Andre Johnson on the theory that if Houston does score, and Carr does get to 200 yards, Johnson plays a big role. And when Carr is bad again, will we see Sage make things interesting? Nope. Do that two weeks in a row and you've got a QB controversy, and there shouldn't be one here.
Chiefs 31, Rams 27: Upset special, with lame-duck QB Damon Huard running out of time to prove that he should remain the starter. You know what? It doesn't matter what he does, Trent Green will get to start based on loyalty. Kansas City has looked a lot better since that Pittsburgh blowout, beating the Chargers and Seahawks. Here comes an unlikely road win.
For Kansas City: Huard hit 300 yards last week, and he might do it again, unless it becomes clear Larry Johnson can do it all himself. Figure Huard gets two touchdowns and Johnson two more, and Eddie Kennison scores in a place he used to play.
For St. Louis: They'll move the ball as well, and there's never a reason to sit Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson or Torry Holt. Each should thrive in this game, with Bulger reaching 300 yards, and the other two threatening to reach 100 yards.
Bears 35, Dolphins 10: Our third blowout, and real predictable. The way Chicago is playing, how can Joey Harrington compete? The only difference from last week, when the Bears put up 41 in the first half vs. San Francisco is, this one's in Florida. So they only get 21 by the half.
For Chicago: Rex Grossman is a solid play with two touchdown passes, Bernard Berrian gets back into the scoring column and both Bears running backs register touchdowns. Thomas Jones, as always, is the smarter play, but Cedric Benson could be a flex contender.
For Miami: Sit 'em all. Even Ronnie Brown, who has topped 70 yards rushing only twice all season, isn't a good play.
Saints 20, Buccaneers 10: I just don't think the Bucs have much to offer, even in a winnable game like this. And I do think the Saints are beatable. Drew Brees gets his numbers each week, but he's lost two of his biggest statistical efforts. It comes down to Bruce Gradkowski, who played well initially, but hasn't the past few weeks.
For New Orleans: Gotta stick with what works, so expect Brees to reach 250 yards and score twice, Deuce McAllister to get 75 yards, and Marques Colston to have a big day. Joe Horn has had two straight big games, but I won't bet on a third. Sit Reggie Bush. If this injury doesn't convince you he's average statistically (so far), what will?
For Tampa Bay: I have Carnell Williams on multiple teams, and I just can't stomach it anymore. He sits, even for the likes of Brandon Jacobs and flex wide receivers like Chris Henry. I mean, his best game is 12 fantasy points. Enough already. BUST! And sit the other Bucs as well. Joey Galloway is no less maddening. Nice work outta Philly losing to this bunch.
Jaguars 14, Titans 7: I'm not buying that Jacksonville is "back" after winning in Philly last week. Jacksonville ran the ball all day against a team that looked beaten and unmotivated early. Tennessee is hardly a great team, but it has won two straight, can potentially control the clock and is decent defensively. This seems like a lively upset possibility, even though the last time the Jags were home, they beat the Jets 41-0. I'll stop short of the upset, but it should be interesting.
For Tennessee: Sometimes you've got to zig when everyone else zags. Travis Henry comes off a brutal game. The game before he ran wild. I see him as a surprise play who gets near 100 yards, maybe he gets the team's score. Hey, we didn't expect it against the Redskins, either. I wouldn't play any other Titans, including Vince Young.
For Jacksonville: I'm not a Byron Leftwich fantasy fan anymore, and I didn't think he should get the start. But really, while David Garrard wins games and will start, his arm isn't a threat. Shut down Fred Taylor and you can beat this team. Give Taylor OK numbers, like 70 yards and a score. Don't use any Jags receivers. The QB doesn't matter, it's a trick.
49ers 16, Vikings 13: Upset special, because Minnesota is just not that good of an offensive team. Chester Taylor will bounce back, assuming the Vikings don't trail again early. Nobody expects the 49ers to win this game. Everyone assumes the Vikings bounce back on short rest and having to travel? Well, I think they're not quite as good as people think.
For San Francisco: Alex Smith has looked dreadful his past two games, but has anyone pointed out those were against the Chargers and Bears? Would I go out of my way to play Smith in fantasy? Probably not, but he should get a touchdown or two. Frank Gore has to meet a tough run defense that New England essentially avoided, but don't assume he ends up with only three rushes, like Corey Dillon. Gore ran well against the Bears, topping 100 yards. I'll give him 75 yards.
For Minnesota: The only Viking I would play, and this has been the theme for a month, is Taylor. He should have a good day, but that doesn't always equal a victory. I would not use Brad Johnson just because of the matchup.
Chargers 34, Browns 9: Yep, there's no Shawne Merriman this week. Doesn't matter. LT is in the house.
For San Diego: Never, ever, ever sit LaDainian Tomlinson. Another big game is coming. Michael Turner I'd sit, but I can see him getting double digit carries. Might be a flex option. Philip Rivers will pile up the yards and get two touchdowns. Win-win for the Chargers. Merriman who?
For Cleveland: Sit 'em all. Reuben Droughns went from 12 carries to 33 last week, which certainly contributed to his best game of the season. But the Chargers should grab an early lead and Charlie Frye will be throwing a lot. And he'll be throwing to the other team.
Steelers 24, Broncos 21: The proud Cowhers still have something left of their season, and while it's unlikely Ben Roethlisberger can lead them back to the playoffs, I think people have been too reactive with him, like a yo-yo after good and bad games. Ben played very well in Weeks 6 and 7. Then he played poorly at Oakland, a team that, surprisingly has played fine defense much of the season. Was it Roethlisberger's concussion that made him throw four picks? Or was it a bad game against an underrated defense? Whatever the case, he gets the win. I can't see Pittsburgh falling to 2-6.
For Pittsburgh: Roethlisberger does enough to win, which means 230 yards and two scores. He's not going to be a popular fantasy play, nor should he be, but he's a better option than his QB opponent, that's for sure. Willie Parker needs to get the tough yards, and I could see 60 yards and a score. Hines Ward is worth playing.
For Denver: Can't choose between the Bells? Sit 'em both. Tatum Bell is battling turf toe, and not a good option. Might he play well? It's possible, but consider that the Steelers have a ton to play for, I doubt it. And Mike Bell has been inconsistent. Sure, that was a huge second half against Indy. Teams run on Indy all the time. Meanwhile, teams try to pass on Pittsburgh (see Vick) and I can't see Jake Plummer doing that. Denver's favored, I think the home team wins.
Patriots 28, Colts 24: Nothing against Peyton Manning, I just trust Bill Belichick more, especially in a home game. He's got a healthy defense, and a fine, young running back ready to explode. This is the week. Manning and Brady make the pregame news, and Laurence Maroney gets Monday's headlines.
For New England: I think both Maroney and Corey Dillon are solid plays, with both a touchdown possibility. The past few weeks Brady has thrown the ball. This week he goes back to 180 yards and a score, and hands off a lot. If Mike Bell can do that in one half of play, then Belichick is going to run the ball, a lot. Don't expect any of Brady's wide receivers to be great plays. If you have to choose one, I still stick with Doug Gabriel.
For Indy: Of course you play Peyton Manning, and he'll accumulate decent enough stats to be worth it in fantasy. So will his receivers. I do think Joseph Addai is a better play than Dominic Rhodes, and Addai worthy of a fantasy start. What a game this should be.
Seahawks 24, Raiders 17: Seneca Wallace vs. Andrew Walter. Just what the TV execs had planned! Wallace isn't a bad quarterback, and the Oakland defense is better than people think. I'll still take the home team, in a messy affair, but don't look for many fantasy options here.
For Seattle: Darrell Jackson has reached every week status, no matter who the QB is. Deion Branch isn't there yet, I wouldn't expect big stats in this one. Wallace could get 200 yards and a score, but he's likely to turn the ball over at least once. As for Maurice Morris, really, haven't you seen enough?
For Oakland: Randy Moss is about the only Raider I'd play. Don't waste your loyalty on LaMont Jordan. In January we'll look at his numbers and collectively say they're brutal, but really, nobody saw it coming. It's Week 9. We see it coming now. OK, have a great weekend and we'll see ya Sunday morning.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

All the games previewed


posted: Friday, November 3, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


As a football fan, this should be a terrific weekend for a few reasons. One, it doesn't get too much better than Colts-Patriots, one of those regular season games that can define a season (if there is such a thing) and bring you back to why you love the sport. Two, this is November, it's cold, football weather, and hopefully somewhere it will snow (c'mon, Buffalo, where's the precipitation?) And three, the Eagles are on a bye. As an Eagles fan, this is good news. No last-minute losses this week. No Brian Westbrook limping. No on-the-field vomiting. Phew.

I've heard everyone compare Peyton Manning and Tom Brady all week, analyze which one they'd rather have in real life and why, and it generally comes down to the stats vs. rings argument. In fantasy there's really no argument, because, well, it's stats vs. rings. Peyton consistently gets the stats, and fantasy football is a game based on stats, not Brady winning Super Bowls or Ben Roethlisberger going 13-0 as a rookie. Oh, I know Brady actually had more fantasy points than Peyton in Week 8, but that's one week. Just one.
I maintain that all the fantasy owner can really do is go with his best options, which we aim to help you with, and we all hope for the best. If you happen to make a bold guess this week, like sitting Manning for Bruce Gradkowski, and the Tampa Bay quarterback just happens to toss four touchdown passes while Peyton pulls an Andrew Walter, then good for you. Of course this happens occasionally. The stars don't always come out. That's why we play the game; if we knew what precisely would happen each Sunday, now how much of a game would it be?
Play the percentages, go with your top players, check out matchups (but don't overrate them), and always look to improve your team. And you pray. In the end, someone with Billy Volek might knock you out of the playoffs anyway (nah, I'm not still bitter about that at all) and your season ends without a title. Or you could slip into the playoffs at 7-6 and run the table. Happens in one of my leagues every season.
I get a lot of mail, and among the buzz topics this week:
--I'm crazy for recommending Michael Vick as sell high. (Of course, if he plays poorly this week, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for putting (insert name here, but generally Tiki Barber or Rudi Johnson) in the Power Rankings. (Of course, if Tiki scores this week, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for hating on Donovan McNabb and must be biased. Do I not remind you every week which team I root for? (Of course, when McNabb does fail to finish the season No. 1 overall, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for saying a .500 team can still win a fantasy league. (Trust me, it happens all the time. Last season nearly half of the No. 1 seeds in fantasy didn't make it out of the first round. Someone has to be beating them, and it's generally the hot team. Of course when your .500 team doesn't lose again, you won't remember that.)
--I'm just crazy. (Of course, you may be right, I may be crazy. Apologies to Billy Joel for stealing his line.)
On to the crazy games:
Falcons 24, Lions 20: I'd look silly if I wrote Vick would have a bad game. I think he'll be good again, especially against a team that just doesn't stop the pass well. This game is perfectly suited for Vick and Alge Crumpler. Two weeks still isn't much of a sample size (wow, seven touchdown passes!), no matter how decent the defenses he's faced, but it's clear this is a different Vick, motivated to do this.
For Atlanta: I'll predict two touchdown passes for Vick, and 70 yards rushing. Detroit is just not a very good defense. Be careful about Warrick Dunn, though. He hasn't done much these past two weeks, really, has been average in four of five weeks. Only once has he reached 70 yards rushing. I don't expect a ton of yards here. And Crumpler is it for Atlanta receivers. Now, I don't use Michael Jenkins.
For Detroit: The Lions big three should be able to move the ball. They've done it all season. Jon Kitna is a top 10 fantasy quarterback, Kevin Jones is fifth among running backs, and our strange pals Hector & Victor rank Roy Williams as the top wide receiver this week. Now who would call them crazy? Expect Jones to have a good day, even if half the value is catching the ball. Kitna gets two scores.
Ravens 23, Bengals 21: Going with the home team in this one, because it plays better defense and the road team is in some disarray. Cincy allows points, and the last time the Bengals hit the road, they lost to Tampa Bay. I don't think the Ravens' offense is really any better now that Jim Fassel is gone, but sometimes change just works.
For Baltimore: Steve McNair is going to be a popular play this week, coming off three scores, but I don't expect more than one touchdown. Jamal Lewis should come close to 100 yards against this defense. And, as always, the only Ravens receiver of note is the tight end. Stop wasting your time on Derrick Mason.
For Cincy: The problem with this team's receiver corps is that all three are legit plays, but you don't know which one will do something. I have a league in which I will play Chris Henry, and another I'll leave T.J. Houshmandzadeh in there. Chad Johnson is talented, of course, but could he be the team's third-most talented receiver? If you have any of these guys, don't be afraid to play them because of the potential timeshare, or the opponent. Any of them could be fantasy worthy. I'll go with Henry. He makes the big plays. Rudi Johnson can be productive, leave him in and expect 75 yards, possibly a score. Chris Perry isn't taking his touches away yet. Oh, and play Carson Palmer, but he might get only one touchdown.
Cowboys 31, Redskins 10: Blowout game, with the more talented team romping and continuing to flex its newly found muscles. Is it possible Mark Brunell plays well and keeps his job? I suppose, but it seems like even the team knows this is coming. And don't overrate the team coming off a bye week; the Redskins are still battered.
For Dallas: Play everyone! Tony Romo should get two touchdowns, both his receivers will be involved (yes, even Terry Glenn) and both running backs are legit. Julius Jones gets the yards and possibly a score, and Marion Barber has scored six touchdowns the past six games. Not a fluke.
For Washington: Clinton Portis should be in the lineup for real, so you should play him, but what are the chances he has a big game, especially being banged up? Sit everyone else, including Santana Moss.
Packers 24, Bills 10: I haven't seen this discussed much, and maybe it's a stretch, but when Brett Favre wins this game he'll have a .500 team. And in a messy conference with other wild card teams only a game ahead of that, the Packers could be playoff bound! So what if they're 2-4 in the conference, and haven't beaten a good team, is Buffalo any good?
For Green Bay: Favre has three straight double digit fantasy games, this should be his fourth. He hasn't topped 220 yards since Week 3, but to end up between 180 and 220 yards each week, at least that's something. Look for the Packers to establish the run again, with Ahman Green a worthy play for 75 yards, maybe a score. I'd stick with Donald Driver as a good play, but not Greg Jennings, even though the rookie is likely to be in uniform.
For Buffalo: I'm tired of this team, aren't you? Never play J.P. Losman, use Lee Evans only because if there ever is a touchdown, he should be involved, and as for Willis McGahee, he has averaged eight fantasy points the past three games. I can't predict a good game for him until we see something. Give him 60 yards, that's it.
Giants 24, Texans 6: Another blowout game, with the Giants' defense taking care of matters against an offense that needed Sage Rosenfels to revive it last week.
For New York: I'm going to keep predicting Tiki Barber will score a touchdown until he does. This is the week! Eli Manning hasn't reached 200 yards in any of the past three weeks, and won't in this one either, because the Giants will run, run, run. Eli gets one score, 180 yards. Brandon Jacobs is a decent flex play for his 40 yards and a touchdown. He's done this three straight games.
For Houston: Sorry, don't like anyone. Wali Lundy has become the main running back, but the Giants are shutting offenses down. David Carr? No way. Play Andre Johnson on the theory that if Houston does score, and Carr does get to 200 yards, Johnson plays a big role. And when Carr is bad again, will we see Sage make things interesting? Nope. Do that two weeks in a row and you've got a QB controversy, and there shouldn't be one here.
Chiefs 31, Rams 27: Upset special, with lame-duck QB Damon Huard running out of time to prove that he should remain the starter. You know what? It doesn't matter what he does, Trent Green will get to start based on loyalty. Kansas City has looked a lot better since that Pittsburgh blowout, beating the Chargers and Seahawks. Here comes an unlikely road win.
For Kansas City: Huard hit 300 yards last week, and he might do it again, unless it becomes clear Larry Johnson can do it all himself. Figure Huard gets two touchdowns and Johnson two more, and Eddie Kennison scores in a place he used to play.
For St. Louis: They'll move the ball as well, and there's never a reason to sit Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson or Torry Holt. Each should thrive in this game, with Bulger reaching 300 yards, and the other two threatening to reach 100 yards.
Bears 35, Dolphins 10: Our third blowout, and real predictable. The way Chicago is playing, how can Joey Harrington compete? The only difference from last week, when the Bears put up 41 in the first half vs. San Francisco is, this one's in Florida. So they only get 21 by the half.
For Chicago: Rex Grossman is a solid play with two touchdown passes, Bernard Berrian gets back into the scoring column and both Bears running backs register touchdowns. Thomas Jones, as always, is the smarter play, but Cedric Benson could be a flex contender.
For Miami: Sit 'em all. Even Ronnie Brown, who has topped 70 yards rushing only twice all season, isn't a good play.
Saints 20, Buccaneers 10: I just don't think the Bucs have much to offer, even in a winnable game like this. And I do think the Saints are beatable. Drew Brees gets his numbers each week, but he's lost two of his biggest statistical efforts. It comes down to Bruce Gradkowski, who played well initially, but hasn't the past few weeks.
For New Orleans: Gotta stick with what works, so expect Brees to reach 250 yards and score twice, Deuce McAllister to get 75 yards, and Marques Colston to have a big day. Joe Horn has had two straight big games, but I won't bet on a third. Sit Reggie Bush. If this injury doesn't convince you he's average statistically (so far), what will?
For Tampa Bay: I have Carnell Williams on multiple teams, and I just can't stomach it anymore. He sits, even for the likes of Brandon Jacobs and flex wide receivers like Chris Henry. I mean, his best game is 12 fantasy points. Enough already. BUST! And sit the other Bucs as well. Joey Galloway is no less maddening. Nice work outta Philly losing to this bunch.
Jaguars 14, Titans 7: I'm not buying that Jacksonville is "back" after winning in Philly last week. Jacksonville ran the ball all day against a team that looked beaten and unmotivated early. Tennessee is hardly a great team, but it has won two straight, can potentially control the clock and is decent defensively. This seems like a lively upset possibility, even though the last time the Jags were home, they beat the Jets 41-0. I'll stop short of the upset, but it should be interesting.
For Tennessee: Sometimes you've got to zig when everyone else zags. Travis Henry comes off a brutal game. The game before he ran wild. I see him as a surprise play who gets near 100 yards, maybe he gets the team's score. Hey, we didn't expect it against the Redskins, either. I wouldn't play any other Titans, including Vince Young.
For Jacksonville: I'm not a Byron Leftwich fantasy fan anymore, and I didn't think he should get the start. But really, while David Garrard wins games and will start, his arm isn't a threat. Shut down Fred Taylor and you can beat this team. Give Taylor OK numbers, like 70 yards and a score. Don't use any Jags receivers. The QB doesn't matter, it's a trick.
49ers 16, Vikings 13: Upset special, because Minnesota is just not that good of an offensive team. Chester Taylor will bounce back, assuming the Vikings don't trail again early. Nobody expects the 49ers to win this game. Everyone assumes the Vikings bounce back on short rest and having to travel? Well, I think they're not quite as good as people think.
For San Francisco: Alex Smith has looked dreadful his past two games, but has anyone pointed out those were against the Chargers and Bears? Would I go out of my way to play Smith in fantasy? Probably not, but he should get a touchdown or two. Frank Gore has to meet a tough run defense that New England essentially avoided, but don't assume he ends up with only three rushes, like Corey Dillon. Gore ran well against the Bears, topping 100 yards. I'll give him 75 yards.
For Minnesota: The only Viking I would play, and this has been the theme for a month, is Taylor. He should have a good day, but that doesn't always equal a victory. I would not use Brad Johnson just because of the matchup.
Chargers 34, Browns 9: Yep, there's no Shawne Merriman this week. Doesn't matter. LT is in the house.
For San Diego: Never, ever, ever sit LaDainian Tomlinson. Another big game is coming. Michael Turner I'd sit, but I can see him getting double digit carries. Might be a flex option. Philip Rivers will pile up the yards and get two touchdowns. Win-win for the Chargers. Merriman who?
For Cleveland: Sit 'em all. Reuben Droughns went from 12 carries to 33 last week, which certainly contributed to his best game of the season. But the Chargers should grab an early lead and Charlie Frye will be throwing a lot. And he'll be throwing to the other team.
Steelers 24, Broncos 21: The proud Cowhers still have something left of their season, and while it's unlikely Ben Roethlisberger can lead them back to the playoffs, I think people have been too reactive with him, like a yo-yo after good and bad games. Ben played very well in Weeks 6 and 7. Then he played poorly at Oakland, a team that, surprisingly has played fine defense much of the season. Was it Roethlisberger's concussion that made him throw four picks? Or was it a bad game against an underrated defense? Whatever the case, he gets the win. I can't see Pittsburgh falling to 2-6.
For Pittsburgh: Roethlisberger does enough to win, which means 230 yards and two scores. He's not going to be a popular fantasy play, nor should he be, but he's a better option than his QB opponent, that's for sure. Willie Parker needs to get the tough yards, and I could see 60 yards and a score. Hines Ward is worth playing.
For Denver: Can't choose between the Bells? Sit 'em both. Tatum Bell is battling turf toe, and not a good option. Might he play well? It's possible, but consider that the Steelers have a ton to play for, I doubt it. And Mike Bell has been inconsistent. Sure, that was a huge second half against Indy. Teams run on Indy all the time. Meanwhile, teams try to pass on Pittsburgh (see Vick) and I can't see Jake Plummer doing that. Denver's favored, I think the home team wins.
Patriots 28, Colts 24: Nothing against Peyton Manning, I just trust Bill Belichick more, especially in a home game. He's got a healthy defense, and a fine, young running back ready to explode. This is the week. Manning and Brady make the pregame news, and Laurence Maroney gets Monday's headlines.
For New England: I think both Maroney and Corey Dillon are solid plays, with both a touchdown possibility. The past few weeks Brady has thrown the ball. This week he goes back to 180 yards and a score, and hands off a lot. If Mike Bell can do that in one half of play, then Belichick is going to run the ball, a lot. Don't expect any of Brady's wide receivers to be great plays. If you have to choose one, I still stick with Doug Gabriel.
For Indy: Of course you play Peyton Manning, and he'll accumulate decent enough stats to be worth it in fantasy. So will his receivers. I do think Joseph Addai is a better play than Dominic Rhodes, and Addai worthy of a fantasy start. What a game this should be.
Seahawks 24, Raiders 17: Seneca Wallace vs. Andrew Walter. Just what the TV execs had planned! Wallace isn't a bad quarterback, and the Oakland defense is better than people think. I'll still take the home team, in a messy affair, but don't look for many fantasy options here.
For Seattle: Darrell Jackson has reached every week status, no matter who the QB is. Deion Branch isn't there yet, I wouldn't expect big stats in this one. Wallace could get 200 yards and a score, but he's likely to turn the ball over at least once. As for Maurice Morris, really, haven't you seen enough?
For Oakland: Randy Moss is about the only Raider I'd play. Don't waste your loyalty on LaMont Jordan. In January we'll look at his numbers and collectively say they're brutal, but really, nobody saw it coming. It's Week 9. We see it coming now. OK, have a great weekend and we'll see ya Sunday morning.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

All the games previewed


posted: Friday, November 3, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


As a football fan, this should be a terrific weekend for a few reasons. One, it doesn't get too much better than Colts-Patriots, one of those regular season games that can define a season (if there is such a thing) and bring you back to why you love the sport. Two, this is November, it's cold, football weather, and hopefully somewhere it will snow (c'mon, Buffalo, where's the precipitation?) And three, the Eagles are on a bye. As an Eagles fan, this is good news. No last-minute losses this week. No Brian Westbrook limping. No on-the-field vomiting. Phew.

I've heard everyone compare Peyton Manning and Tom Brady all week, analyze which one they'd rather have in real life and why, and it generally comes down to the stats vs. rings argument. In fantasy there's really no argument, because, well, it's stats vs. rings. Peyton consistently gets the stats, and fantasy football is a game based on stats, not Brady winning Super Bowls or Ben Roethlisberger going 13-0 as a rookie. Oh, I know Brady actually had more fantasy points than Peyton in Week 8, but that's one week. Just one.
I maintain that all the fantasy owner can really do is go with his best options, which we aim to help you with, and we all hope for the best. If you happen to make a bold guess this week, like sitting Manning for Bruce Gradkowski, and the Tampa Bay quarterback just happens to toss four touchdown passes while Peyton pulls an Andrew Walter, then good for you. Of course this happens occasionally. The stars don't always come out. That's why we play the game; if we knew what precisely would happen each Sunday, now how much of a game would it be?
Play the percentages, go with your top players, check out matchups (but don't overrate them), and always look to improve your team. And you pray. In the end, someone with Billy Volek might knock you out of the playoffs anyway (nah, I'm not still bitter about that at all) and your season ends without a title. Or you could slip into the playoffs at 7-6 and run the table. Happens in one of my leagues every season.
I get a lot of mail, and among the buzz topics this week:
--I'm crazy for recommending Michael Vick as sell high. (Of course, if he plays poorly this week, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for putting (insert name here, but generally Tiki Barber or Rudi Johnson) in the Power Rankings. (Of course, if Tiki scores this week, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for hating on Donovan McNabb and must be biased. Do I not remind you every week which team I root for? (Of course, when McNabb does fail to finish the season No. 1 overall, nobody will remember that.)
--I'm crazy for saying a .500 team can still win a fantasy league. (Trust me, it happens all the time. Last season nearly half of the No. 1 seeds in fantasy didn't make it out of the first round. Someone has to be beating them, and it's generally the hot team. Of course when your .500 team doesn't lose again, you won't remember that.)
--I'm just crazy. (Of course, you may be right, I may be crazy. Apologies to Billy Joel for stealing his line.)
On to the crazy games:
Falcons 24, Lions 20: I'd look silly if I wrote Vick would have a bad game. I think he'll be good again, especially against a team that just doesn't stop the pass well. This game is perfectly suited for Vick and Alge Crumpler. Two weeks still isn't much of a sample size (wow, seven touchdown passes!), no matter how decent the defenses he's faced, but it's clear this is a different Vick, motivated to do this.
For Atlanta: I'll predict two touchdown passes for Vick, and 70 yards rushing. Detroit is just not a very good defense. Be careful about Warrick Dunn, though. He hasn't done much these past two weeks, really, has been average in four of five weeks. Only once has he reached 70 yards rushing. I don't expect a ton of yards here. And Crumpler is it for Atlanta receivers. Now, I don't use Michael Jenkins.
For Detroit: The Lions big three should be able to move the ball. They've done it all season. Jon Kitna is a top 10 fantasy quarterback, Kevin Jones is fifth among running backs, and our strange pals Hector & Victor rank Roy Williams as the top wide receiver this week. Now who would call them crazy? Expect Jones to have a good day, even if half the value is catching the ball. Kitna gets two scores.
Ravens 23, Bengals 21: Going with the home team in this one, because it plays better defense and the road team is in some disarray. Cincy allows points, and the last time the Bengals hit the road, they lost to Tampa Bay. I don't think the Ravens' offense is really any better now that Jim Fassel is gone, but sometimes change just works.
For Baltimore: Steve McNair is going to be a popular play this week, coming off three scores, but I don't expect more than one touchdown. Jamal Lewis should come close to 100 yards against this defense. And, as always, the only Ravens receiver of note is the tight end. Stop wasting your time on Derrick Mason.
For Cincy: The problem with this team's receiver corps is that all three are legit plays, but you don't know which one will do something. I have a league in which I will play Chris Henry, and another I'll leave T.J. Houshmandzadeh in there. Chad Johnson is talented, of course, but could he be the team's third-most talented receiver? If you have any of these guys, don't be afraid to play them because of the potential timeshare, or the opponent. Any of them could be fantasy worthy. I'll go with Henry. He makes the big plays. Rudi Johnson can be productive, leave him in and expect 75 yards, possibly a score. Chris Perry isn't taking his touches away yet. Oh, and play Carson Palmer, but he might get only one touchdown.
Cowboys 31, Redskins 10: Blowout game, with the more talented team romping and continuing to flex its newly found muscles. Is it possible Mark Brunell plays well and keeps his job? I suppose, but it seems like even the team knows this is coming. And don't overrate the team coming off a bye week; the Redskins are still battered.
For Dallas: Play everyone! Tony Romo should get two touchdowns, both his receivers will be involved (yes, even Terry Glenn) and both running backs are legit. Julius Jones gets the yards and possibly a score, and Marion Barber has scored six touchdowns the past six games. Not a fluke.
For Washington: Clinton Portis should be in the lineup for real, so you should play him, but what are the chances he has a big game, especially being banged up? Sit everyone else, including Santana Moss.
Packers 24, Bills 10: I haven't seen this discussed much, and maybe it's a stretch, but when Brett Favre wins this game he'll have a .500 team. And in a messy conference with other wild card teams only a game ahead of that, the Packers could be playoff bound! So what if they're 2-4 in the conference, and haven't beaten a good team, is Buffalo any good?
For Green Bay: Favre has three straight double digit fantasy games, this should be his fourth. He hasn't topped 220 yards since Week 3, but to end up between 180 and 220 yards each week, at least that's something. Look for the Packers to establish the run again, with Ahman Green a worthy play for 75 yards, maybe a score. I'd stick with Donald Driver as a good play, but not Greg Jennings, even though the rookie is likely to be in uniform.
For Buffalo: I'm tired of this team, aren't you? Never play J.P. Losman, use Lee Evans only because if there ever is a touchdown, he should be involved, and as for Willis McGahee, he has averaged eight fantasy points the past three games. I can't predict a good game for him until we see something. Give him 60 yards, that's it.
Giants 24, Texans 6: Another blowout game, with the Giants' defense taking care of matters against an offense that needed Sage Rosenfels to revive it last week.
For New York: I'm going to keep predicting Tiki Barber will score a touchdown until he does. This is the week! Eli Manning hasn't reached 200 yards in any of the past three weeks, and won't in this one either, because the Giants will run, run, run. Eli gets one score, 180 yards. Brandon Jacobs is a decent flex play for his 40 yards and a touchdown. He's done this three straight games.
For Houston: Sorry, don't like anyone. Wali Lundy has become the main running back, but the Giants are shutting offenses down. David Carr? No way. Play Andre Johnson on the theory that if Houston does score, and Carr does get to 200 yards, Johnson plays a big role. And when Carr is bad again, will we see Sage make things interesting? Nope. Do that two weeks in a row and you've got a QB controversy, and there shouldn't be one here.
Chiefs 31, Rams 27: Upset special, with lame-duck QB Damon Huard running out of time to prove that he should remain the starter. You know what? It doesn't matter what he does, Trent Green will get to start based on loyalty. Kansas City has looked a lot better since that Pittsburgh blowout, beating the Chargers and Seahawks. Here comes an unlikely road win.
For Kansas City: Huard hit 300 yards last week, and he might do it again, unless it becomes clear Larry Johnson can do it all himself. Figure Huard gets two touchdowns and Johnson two more, and Eddie Kennison scores in a place he used to play.
For St. Louis: They'll move the ball as well, and there's never a reason to sit Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson or Torry Holt. Each should thrive in this game, with Bulger reaching 300 yards, and the other two threatening to reach 100 yards.
Bears 35, Dolphins 10: Our third blowout, and real predictable. The way Chicago is playing, how can Joey Harrington compete? The only difference from last week, when the Bears put up 41 in the first half vs. San Francisco is, this one's in Florida. So they only get 21 by the half.
For Chicago: Rex Grossman is a solid play with two touchdown passes, Bernard Berrian gets back into the scoring column and both Bears running backs register touchdowns. Thomas Jones, as always, is the smarter play, but Cedric Benson could be a flex contender.
For Miami: Sit 'em all. Even Ronnie Brown, who has topped 70 yards rushing only twice all season, isn't a good play.
Saints 20, Buccaneers 10: I just don't think the Bucs have much to offer, even in a winnable game like this. And I do think the Saints are beatable. Drew Brees gets his numbers each week, but he's lost two of his biggest statistical efforts. It comes down to Bruce Gradkowski, who played well initially, but hasn't the past few weeks.
For New Orleans: Gotta stick with what works, so expect Brees to reach 250 yards and score twice, Deuce McAllister to get 75 yards, and Marques Colston to have a big day. Joe Horn has had two straight big games, but I won't bet on a third. Sit Reggie Bush. If this injury doesn't convince you he's average statistically (so far), what will?
For Tampa Bay: I have Carnell Williams on multiple teams, and I just can't stomach it anymore. He sits, even for the likes of Brandon Jacobs and flex wide receivers like Chris Henry. I mean, his best game is 12 fantasy points. Enough already. BUST! And sit the other Bucs as well. Joey Galloway is no less maddening. Nice work outta Philly losing to this bunch.
Jaguars 14, Titans 7: I'm not buying that Jacksonville is "back" after winning in Philly last week. Jacksonville ran the ball all day against a team that looked beaten and unmotivated early. Tennessee is hardly a great team, but it has won two straight, can potentially control the clock and is decent defensively. This seems like a lively upset possibility, even though the last time the Jags were home, they beat the Jets 41-0. I'll stop short of the upset, but it should be interesting.
For Tennessee: Sometimes you've got to zig when everyone else zags. Travis Henry comes off a brutal game. The game before he ran wild. I see him as a surprise play who gets near 100 yards, maybe he gets the team's score. Hey, we didn't expect it against the Redskins, either. I wouldn't play any other Titans, including Vince Young.
For Jacksonville: I'm not a Byron Leftwich fantasy fan anymore, and I didn't think he should get the start. But really, while David Garrard wins games and will start, his arm isn't a threat. Shut down Fred Taylor and you can beat this team. Give Taylor OK numbers, like 70 yards and a score. Don't use any Jags receivers. The QB doesn't matter, it's a trick.
49ers 16, Vikings 13: Upset special, because Minnesota is just not that good of an offensive team. Chester Taylor will bounce back, assuming the Vikings don't trail again early. Nobody expects the 49ers to win this game. Everyone assumes the Vikings bounce back on short rest and having to travel? Well, I think they're not quite as good as people think.
For San Francisco: Alex Smith has looked dreadful his past two games, but has anyone pointed out those were against the Chargers and Bears? Would I go out of my way to play Smith in fantasy? Probably not, but he should get a touchdown or two. Frank Gore has to meet a tough run defense that New England essentially avoided, but don't assume he ends up with only three rushes, like Corey Dillon. Gore ran well against the Bears, topping 100 yards. I'll give him 75 yards.
For Minnesota: The only Viking I would play, and this has been the theme for a month, is Taylor. He should have a good day, but that doesn't always equal a victory. I would not use Brad Johnson just because of the matchup.
Chargers 34, Browns 9: Yep, there's no Shawne Merriman this week. Doesn't matter. LT is in the house.
For San Diego: Never, ever, ever sit LaDainian Tomlinson. Another big game is coming. Michael Turner I'd sit, but I can see him getting double digit carries. Might be a flex option. Philip Rivers will pile up the yards and get two touchdowns. Win-win for the Chargers. Merriman who?
For Cleveland: Sit 'em all. Reuben Droughns went from 12 carries to 33 last week, which certainly contributed to his best game of the season. But the Chargers should grab an early lead and Charlie Frye will be throwing a lot. And he'll be throwing to the other team.
Steelers 24, Broncos 21: The proud Cowhers still have something left of their season, and while it's unlikely Ben Roethlisberger can lead them back to the playoffs, I think people have been too reactive with him, like a yo-yo after good and bad games. Ben played very well in Weeks 6 and 7. Then he played poorly at Oakland, a team that, surprisingly has played fine defense much of the season. Was it Roethlisberger's concussion that made him throw four picks? Or was it a bad game against an underrated defense? Whatever the case, he gets the win. I can't see Pittsburgh falling to 2-6.
For Pittsburgh: Roethlisberger does enough to win, which means 230 yards and two scores. He's not going to be a popular fantasy play, nor should he be, but he's a better option than his QB opponent, that's for sure. Willie Parker needs to get the tough yards, and I could see 60 yards and a score. Hines Ward is worth playing.
For Denver: Can't choose between the Bells? Sit 'em both. Tatum Bell is battling turf toe, and not a good option. Might he play well? It's possible, but consider that the Steelers have a ton to play for, I doubt it. And Mike Bell has been inconsistent. Sure, that was a huge second half against Indy. Teams run on Indy all the time. Meanwhile, teams try to pass on Pittsburgh (see Vick) and I can't see Jake Plummer doing that. Denver's favored, I think the home team wins.
Patriots 28, Colts 24: Nothing against Peyton Manning, I just trust Bill Belichick more, especially in a home game. He's got a healthy defense, and a fine, young running back ready to explode. This is the week. Manning and Brady make the pregame news, and Laurence Maroney gets Monday's headlines.
For New England: I think both Maroney and Corey Dillon are solid plays, with both a touchdown possibility. The past few weeks Brady has thrown the ball. This week he goes back to 180 yards and a score, and hands off a lot. If Mike Bell can do that in one half of play, then Belichick is going to run the ball, a lot. Don't expect any of Brady's wide receivers to be great plays. If you have to choose one, I still stick with Doug Gabriel.
For Indy: Of course you play Peyton Manning, and he'll accumulate decent enough stats to be worth it in fantasy. So will his receivers. I do think Joseph Addai is a better play than Dominic Rhodes, and Addai worthy of a fantasy start. What a game this should be.
Seahawks 24, Raiders 17: Seneca Wallace vs. Andrew Walter. Just what the TV execs had planned! Wallace isn't a bad quarterback, and the Oakland defense is better than people think. I'll still take the home team, in a messy affair, but don't look for many fantasy options here.
For Seattle: Darrell Jackson has reached every week status, no matter who the QB is. Deion Branch isn't there yet, I wouldn't expect big stats in this one. Wallace could get 200 yards and a score, but he's likely to turn the ball over at least once. As for Maurice Morris, really, haven't you seen enough?
For Oakland: Randy Moss is about the only Raider I'd play. Don't waste your loyalty on LaMont Jordan. In January we'll look at his numbers and collectively say they're brutal, but really, nobody saw it coming. It's Week 9. We see it coming now. OK, have a great weekend and we'll see ya Sunday morning.
 
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