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 5 New Articles Added 10/9/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/9/06)

Oct. 10, 2006, 4:04 PM
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Week 6: Waiver Wire Work


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Each week, we help you 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
Damon Huard, QB, Chiefs (owned in 6.2 percent of ESPN.com leagues): What will it take for some fantasy owners to be convinced he should be added at least as a backup? He has scored 33 points in ESPN leagues in the past two weeks and has thrown two TD passes in each of the past two games, and he has not been intercepted yet. There is still no definitive timetable for the return of Trent Green, and Huard is getting good pass protection while making the right decisions and managing games well. He certainly is no fantasy superstar, but Huard's experience has been a plus since he took over as a starter. With many teams looking shaky at QB (Dallas, Miami, Detroit, etc.), Huard can at least give you respectable numbers. And the Chiefs are in no apparent rush to push Green back into action with Huard playing adequately.
Travis Henry, RB, Titans (30.9 percent owned): He left Buffalo when it became apparent that Willis McGahee was ready to take over as the primary runner, and in his second season with the Titans, the move finally appears to be paying off for Henry. At least temporarily, he has supplanted Chris Brown as the starter, after Brown expressed unhappiness with the organization in the preseason, and then posted disappointing numbers to begin the season. Henry was a major part of a near-upset at Indianapolis last week, as he rushed for 123 yards. Henry injured his ankle, but it's not serious, and he is not expected to miss any playing time. Henry is a good short-term add, but rookie LenDale White (59.8 percent owned) should eventually become the starter, and he's the necessary handcuff to acquire if you are able to add Henry as a starter.
Noah Herron, RB, Packers (0.2 percent owned): Mike McCarthy has maintained that Ahman Green remains his starting running back, and the Packers are hopeful he will be able to return after the bye this upcoming week. While McCarthy and offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski praised Herron for rushing for 106 yards against the Rams, they ideally wanted to have Green on the field to run through more of the open holes that were paved by the offensive line against St. Louis. Herron had only two runs of only 10 yards or more, and it's clear the coaching staff doesn't view Herron as their ideal starter. "Some of those 12-yard runs could be 40-yard runs," Jagodzinski told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "We left some yards out there." Herron could share some carries with Green if and when he returns, but for now, even though they wish Herron could be more explosive, he's their safest choice. Vernand Morency, the first choice to replace Green, was benched because of fumbling issues, and Green continues to be an injury risk. Herron is certainly worth adding, because he should continue to get work in Green Bay out of sheer necessity.
Bryant Johnson, WR, Cardinals (4.1 percent owned): He seems like the obvious add now that Larry Fitzgerald is going to miss two to five weeks because of a hamstring injury. But that doesn't make him an instant fantasy starter. But Dennis Green has yet to fully confirm Johnson will start, and he still might be considering Troy Walters (0.2 percent owned). Johnson dropped a pass in the end zone in Sunday's loss to Kansas City, and hasn't done much when he has been needed to start in the past. He was mostly ineffective when replacing an injured Anquan Boldin at times over the past two seasons. "That's something we'll look at over the next couple of days," Green told the Arizona Republic about how he will replace Fitzgerald. You should add Johnson, but only for reserve depth. Even if he does start this upcoming week, you wouldn't want to use him against Chicago.
Wes Welker, WR, Dolphins (6.0 percent owned): He doesn't start for the Dolphins, but it doesn't matter. He has quickly become much more than just a special teams standout. Welker is emerging as the Dolphins' most dependable receiver. Chris Chambers isn't getting open often enough, Marty Booker isn't reliable, and tight end Randy McMichael has been inconsistent. Welker hasn't scored yet, but it seems to be just a matter of time before he finds the end zone. His nine catches against the Patriots were a definite sign that he will be a featured part of the Miami passing game, especially with Joey Harrington now starting. Harrington is healthier than Daunte Culpepper, and that means more completions, especially to Welker, who seems to shake off man coverages and find open holes in zones. Welker makes tough catches and has breakaway quickness. Grab him now, before his fantasy production rises.
PRIME CUTS
Jon Kitna, QB, Lions (65.5 percent owned): He's not going to hold onto his job for much longer, and even if he does, the results will continue to be sporadic. Kitna threw three interceptions against the Vikings on Sunday, and lost a fumble. Yes, Kitna did have a pair of two-TD games prior to the disaster against the Vikings. And he does have two rushing scores. But the Lions are 0-5 and Kitna always seems to make mistakes that costs his team chances to win. Trade him if you can get anything for him, if not, just get rid of him. There's been no official announcement, but I know we'll see Josh McCown warming up soon.
Brad Johnson, QB, Vikings (49.5 percent owned): When you can add more dependable and less-heralded guys like Huard, why keep Johnson, who can continue to help the Vikings win, but won't post quality fantasy numbers in the process? The Vikings are a run-oriented team with a shaky wide receiver corps, and Johnson's job is to simply manage the game well and protect the ball and move the offense, which he does adequately. But being dependable for the Vikings doesn't mean Johnson helps fantasy teams much. Johnson has only three TD passes this season, and he has been outscored by Charlie Frye and J.P. Losman in ESPN leagues.
Chris Brown, RB, Titans (69.6 owned): He has rushed for barely 100 yards so far this season, and it's already been announced that Brown will be inactive for a second consecutive game at Washington. Brown was thought to be in line to eventually be overtaken by LenDale White, and his injury history also made him a risk. But now it's poor play that has quickly dropped him out of the starting spot in Tennessee. Brown had an average draft position of 79.2 in ESPN leagues, so it's not like you'll be tossing out a prime draft pick when you cut him. Besides, draft position doesn't mean much anymore by this point of the season.
Joe Horn, WR, Saints (91.7 percent owned): We've come to a point in the season where production means a lot more than reputation. Recently, I recommended benching Horn. Now, you simply have to give up on him when you need to get other important free agents on your roster, especially in leagues of 12 teams or less. Horn hasn't reached the 90-yard mark yet and hasn't scored. You're not going to start him any time soon, so swallow hard, drag down to the "drop" option, and hit submit. Troy Williamson, WR, Vikings (30.6 percent owned): Some of you have already cut him loose, but for those who are still hanging on, you can't wait around anymore for him to produce. You have to win now, and it's clear Williamson isn't capable of helping you do that. He hasn't caught a TD pass yet, and while he continues to get a few deep tosses per game, Brad Johnson hasn't connected with him nearly often enough. Williamson is improving, but it's a slow process that isn't showing up in the box scores. Williamson has only 77 receiving yards in his past three games and should be only on keeper league rosters.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/9/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/9/06)

Oct. 10, 2006, 4:04 PM
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Week 6: Waiver Wire Work


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

By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Each week, we help you 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
Damon Huard, QB, Chiefs (owned in 6.2 percent of ESPN.com leagues): What will it take for some fantasy owners to be convinced he should be added at least as a backup? He has scored 33 points in ESPN leagues in the past two weeks and has thrown two TD passes in each of the past two games, and he has not been intercepted yet. There is still no definitive timetable for the return of Trent Green, and Huard is getting good pass protection while making the right decisions and managing games well. He certainly is no fantasy superstar, but Huard's experience has been a plus since he took over as a starter. With many teams looking shaky at QB (Dallas, Miami, Detroit, etc.), Huard can at least give you respectable numbers. And the Chiefs are in no apparent rush to push Green back into action with Huard playing adequately.
Travis Henry, RB, Titans (30.9 percent owned): He left Buffalo when it became apparent that Willis McGahee was ready to take over as the primary runner, and in his second season with the Titans, the move finally appears to be paying off for Henry. At least temporarily, he has supplanted Chris Brown as the starter, after Brown expressed unhappiness with the organization in the preseason, and then posted disappointing numbers to begin the season. Henry was a major part of a near-upset at Indianapolis last week, as he rushed for 123 yards. Henry injured his ankle, but it's not serious, and he is not expected to miss any playing time. Henry is a good short-term add, but rookie LenDale White (59.8 percent owned) should eventually become the starter, and he's the necessary handcuff to acquire if you are able to add Henry as a starter.
Noah Herron, RB, Packers (0.2 percent owned): Mike McCarthy has maintained that Ahman Green remains his starting running back, and the Packers are hopeful he will be able to return after the bye this upcoming week. While McCarthy and offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski praised Herron for rushing for 106 yards against the Rams, they ideally wanted to have Green on the field to run through more of the open holes that were paved by the offensive line against St. Louis. Herron had only two runs of only 10 yards or more, and it's clear the coaching staff doesn't view Herron as their ideal starter. "Some of those 12-yard runs could be 40-yard runs," Jagodzinski told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "We left some yards out there." Herron could share some carries with Green if and when he returns, but for now, even though they wish Herron could be more explosive, he's their safest choice. Vernand Morency, the first choice to replace Green, was benched because of fumbling issues, and Green continues to be an injury risk. Herron is certainly worth adding, because he should continue to get work in Green Bay out of sheer necessity.
Bryant Johnson, WR, Cardinals (4.1 percent owned): He seems like the obvious add now that Larry Fitzgerald is going to miss two to five weeks because of a hamstring injury. But that doesn't make him an instant fantasy starter. But Dennis Green has yet to fully confirm Johnson will start, and he still might be considering Troy Walters (0.2 percent owned). Johnson dropped a pass in the end zone in Sunday's loss to Kansas City, and hasn't done much when he has been needed to start in the past. He was mostly ineffective when replacing an injured Anquan Boldin at times over the past two seasons. "That's something we'll look at over the next couple of days," Green told the Arizona Republic about how he will replace Fitzgerald. You should add Johnson, but only for reserve depth. Even if he does start this upcoming week, you wouldn't want to use him against Chicago.
Wes Welker, WR, Dolphins (6.0 percent owned): He doesn't start for the Dolphins, but it doesn't matter. He has quickly become much more than just a special teams standout. Welker is emerging as the Dolphins' most dependable receiver. Chris Chambers isn't getting open often enough, Marty Booker isn't reliable, and tight end Randy McMichael has been inconsistent. Welker hasn't scored yet, but it seems to be just a matter of time before he finds the end zone. His nine catches against the Patriots were a definite sign that he will be a featured part of the Miami passing game, especially with Joey Harrington now starting. Harrington is healthier than Daunte Culpepper, and that means more completions, especially to Welker, who seems to shake off man coverages and find open holes in zones. Welker makes tough catches and has breakaway quickness. Grab him now, before his fantasy production rises.
PRIME CUTS
Jon Kitna, QB, Lions (65.5 percent owned): He's not going to hold onto his job for much longer, and even if he does, the results will continue to be sporadic. Kitna threw three interceptions against the Vikings on Sunday, and lost a fumble. Yes, Kitna did have a pair of two-TD games prior to the disaster against the Vikings. And he does have two rushing scores. But the Lions are 0-5 and Kitna always seems to make mistakes that costs his team chances to win. Trade him if you can get anything for him, if not, just get rid of him. There's been no official announcement, but I know we'll see Josh McCown warming up soon.
Brad Johnson, QB, Vikings (49.5 percent owned): When you can add more dependable and less-heralded guys like Huard, why keep Johnson, who can continue to help the Vikings win, but won't post quality fantasy numbers in the process? The Vikings are a run-oriented team with a shaky wide receiver corps, and Johnson's job is to simply manage the game well and protect the ball and move the offense, which he does adequately. But being dependable for the Vikings doesn't mean Johnson helps fantasy teams much. Johnson has only three TD passes this season, and he has been outscored by Charlie Frye and J.P. Losman in ESPN leagues.
Chris Brown, RB, Titans (69.6 owned): He has rushed for barely 100 yards so far this season, and it's already been announced that Brown will be inactive for a second consecutive game at Washington. Brown was thought to be in line to eventually be overtaken by LenDale White, and his injury history also made him a risk. But now it's poor play that has quickly dropped him out of the starting spot in Tennessee. Brown had an average draft position of 79.2 in ESPN leagues, so it's not like you'll be tossing out a prime draft pick when you cut him. Besides, draft position doesn't mean much anymore by this point of the season.
Joe Horn, WR, Saints (91.7 percent owned): We've come to a point in the season where production means a lot more than reputation. Recently, I recommended benching Horn. Now, you simply have to give up on him when you need to get other important free agents on your roster, especially in leagues of 12 teams or less. Horn hasn't reached the 90-yard mark yet and hasn't scored. You're not going to start him any time soon, so swallow hard, drag down to the "drop" option, and hit submit. Troy Williamson, WR, Vikings (30.6 percent owned): Some of you have already cut him loose, but for those who are still hanging on, you can't wait around anymore for him to produce. You have to win now, and it's clear Williamson isn't capable of helping you do that. He hasn't caught a TD pass yet, and while he continues to get a few deep tosses per game, Brad Johnson hasn't connected with him nearly often enough. Williamson is improving, but it's a slow process that isn't showing up in the box scores. Williamson has only 77 receiving yards in his past three games and should be only on keeper league rosters.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/9/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/9/06)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Behind the Numbers


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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 -->None of Denver's top players finished with outstanding totals on Monday night. In fact, the offense struggled for much of the evening. But that was no major surprise against the best defense in the AFC. Yet if we look at more than just the final statistics, there are many reasons to come away impressed with how the Broncos performed against Baltimore.
If you're a fantasy owner of Jake Plummer, Tatum Bell, Javon Walker or Rod Smith, you have to like what you saw Monday night and have high hopes for the rest of the season. Outside of facing the Bears, there could be no tougher test for the Denver offense this season. And they not only passed the test but also served notice that you can confidently start Denver's top skill positions players in many matchups the rest of the way. Plummer threw for just 126 yards and was intercepted once. But he coolly put together the clinching drive, finding Rod Smith for a decisive 4-yard scoring pass.
Plummer had struggled much of the night during a cold rain, wearing a glove for better grip on the ball. But he came through when it mattered most, and talk of him losing his job to Jay Cutler should disappear for now. If he can lead a winning drive against the best defense he'll face this season, Plummer's confidence should rise, as should his totals in the weeks ahead. Smith had been invisible most of the year until Monday night. He caught only four passes for 30 yards, but he showed he is still a key part of the Denver offense, so it's still not quite time to write off the seemingly ageless wide receiver.
Javon Walker caught five passes for just 63 yards, but he played respectably against a tough opponent. Walker clearly has rebounded from his lost 2005 season. Tatum Bell lost an early fumble and did not score but finished with 92 yards. Bell, who had long been unable to nail down the starting job because he wasn't a successful inside runner, didn't finish with awful numbers. And his 12-yard run on the winning drive, during which he carried Ray Lewis on his back, was another clear sign that he has finally arrived as a top NFL runner. Any player who can carry Lewis on his back deserves to be an every-week fantasy starter.
Yes, Plummer looked bad in the first half. The wide receivers posted only adequate numbers, as did Bell. But the Broncos' best offensive players stared into the face of the toughest opponent they will face in 2006 and knocked them down at the most important time of the game. From this point on, things should be looking up for the Denver offense. If it can overcome the elements and the Ravens when it counts, you can expect better offensive production against lesser defenses, especially when the weather isn't an issue. And when the weather is an issue, it's obvious now that the Broncos can still deliver at least respectable final totals on offense. <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
Because the Baltimore offense lines up against its own defense every week in practice, you'd think that no other defensive unit could intimidate or confuse it. Yet it was the Ravens who fared much worse than expected on Monday night. QB Steve McNair had his worst game as a Raven, throwing no touchdowns with three interceptions. You can cite the elements to a degree, but you have to lay a lot of the blame on McNair himself. He made questionable reads and off-target throws in key situations. McNair is not a terrible fantasy QB by any means, and he could rebound from this forgettable performance quickly. But he isn't getting much help from his wide receivers or running game so far, and McNair hasn't been anything better than a fantasy reserve so far. Derrick Mason hasn't been a regular presence in the passing game, and Mark Clayton hasn't improved as hoped. Jamal Lewis has been a mediocre runner early this season. Todd Heap has battled through injuries, so you can't really criticize him much. McNair, though, seems to be carrying a lot of the offense on his shoulders, and he needs his playmakers to step up and perform better in key situations. The Ravens have a great defense, but their offense simply hasn't been much better this year for fantasy purposes. The only apparent difference is that their QB is worth at least a reserve spot in most leagues, while Baltimore QBs usually sat on the free-agent list in the past.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
23 carries, 98 yards, 0 TD

While many Tiki Barber owners are frustrated by his inability to find the end zone, his lack of scoring should seem much less surprising in comparison to Jackson, who has found the end zone just once in the first five weeks. Jackson has posted quality rushing totals, with less than 80 yards in only one game. But he looked like an unstoppable red-zone force in 2005 and was expected to be a scoring machine with more regular carries this season. Jackson, however, has been stopped short of the goal line on a few occasions this year, and he hasn't been able to break off any long runs that could lead to scores. Jackson hasn't played terribly, but he doesn't get around the corners with enough quickness, and he is being met by extra defenders on many inside rushing attempts. Opposing defenses are now very wary of Jackson as a regular rushing force and seem determined not to let him gain momentum and get through the front wall. Once Jackson breaks into the secondary, he can be unstoppable, but he hasn't been getting those opportunities. Defenses aren't letting him gain forward momentum and have made him run laterally, where he is less effective, and have been keying on him near the goal line. The Rams will have to make some adjustments in their schemes to open up more running room for Jackson.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 5</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Alex Smith, QB, 49ers: Facing Raiders inflated his numbers, but he's a good fantasy backup</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>passYDS</TD><TD>passTD</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>rushTD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>165</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>10</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>17</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles: Not his best output, and a risky start every week</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>11</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>33</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>53</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>12</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>Wes Welker, WR, Dolphins: Seems to be the only reliable pass-catcher on the team right now</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>77</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>12</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>7</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Alex Smith, TE, Buccaneers: Could continue to be a factor in suddenly rejuvenated passing game</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>5</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>16</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>7</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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


Names Makin' News
? Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald will miss two to five weeks because of an injury to his right hamstring. Bryant Johnson is expected to start in Fitzgerald's place. Johnson is certainly a downgrade in talent from Fitzgerald, so it will be a challenge for rookie Matt Leinart to continue to play well without one of his star receivers.
? Chiefs coach Herman Edwards said Larry Johnson's neck injury wasn't major and there are no indications he will miss any playing time. Johnson is going to be fine, Edwards said, despite some soreness.
? Rod Marinelli told the Detroit Free Press that WR Roy Williams is not seriously injured. He is considered day-to-day with a stinger and pull in his upper back.
? Packers coach Mike McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Ahman Green remains his starting running back. Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said Noah Herron ran hard, but "we left some yards out there." The coaching staff indicated that a healthy Green could have certainly outperformed Herron, who broke off only two runs of more than 10 yards.
? Torry Holt suffered a mild sprain of his right ankle in Sunday's game at Green Bay, but he is expected to play against the Seahawks.
? The Nashville Tennessean reports Chris Brown will be deactivated again this upcoming week. Travis Henry will remain the starter for now, with LenDale White also getting some work. ? 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 5 New Articles Added 10/9/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/9/06)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Behind the Numbers


<!-- begin bylinebox -->


By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

<!-- begin presby2 -->
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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->None of Denver's top players finished with outstanding totals on Monday night. In fact, the offense struggled for much of the evening. But that was no major surprise against the best defense in the AFC. Yet if we look at more than just the final statistics, there are many reasons to come away impressed with how the Broncos performed against Baltimore.
If you're a fantasy owner of Jake Plummer, Tatum Bell, Javon Walker or Rod Smith, you have to like what you saw Monday night and have high hopes for the rest of the season. Outside of facing the Bears, there could be no tougher test for the Denver offense this season. And they not only passed the test but also served notice that you can confidently start Denver's top skill positions players in many matchups the rest of the way. Plummer threw for just 126 yards and was intercepted once. But he coolly put together the clinching drive, finding Rod Smith for a decisive 4-yard scoring pass.
Plummer had struggled much of the night during a cold rain, wearing a glove for better grip on the ball. But he came through when it mattered most, and talk of him losing his job to Jay Cutler should disappear for now. If he can lead a winning drive against the best defense he'll face this season, Plummer's confidence should rise, as should his totals in the weeks ahead. Smith had been invisible most of the year until Monday night. He caught only four passes for 30 yards, but he showed he is still a key part of the Denver offense, so it's still not quite time to write off the seemingly ageless wide receiver.
Javon Walker caught five passes for just 63 yards, but he played respectably against a tough opponent. Walker clearly has rebounded from his lost 2005 season. Tatum Bell lost an early fumble and did not score but finished with 92 yards. Bell, who had long been unable to nail down the starting job because he wasn't a successful inside runner, didn't finish with awful numbers. And his 12-yard run on the winning drive, during which he carried Ray Lewis on his back, was another clear sign that he has finally arrived as a top NFL runner. Any player who can carry Lewis on his back deserves to be an every-week fantasy starter.
Yes, Plummer looked bad in the first half. The wide receivers posted only adequate numbers, as did Bell. But the Broncos' best offensive players stared into the face of the toughest opponent they will face in 2006 and knocked them down at the most important time of the game. From this point on, things should be looking up for the Denver offense. If it can overcome the elements and the Ravens when it counts, you can expect better offensive production against lesser defenses, especially when the weather isn't an issue. And when the weather is an issue, it's obvious now that the Broncos can still deliver at least respectable final totals on offense. <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
Because the Baltimore offense lines up against its own defense every week in practice, you'd think that no other defensive unit could intimidate or confuse it. Yet it was the Ravens who fared much worse than expected on Monday night. QB Steve McNair had his worst game as a Raven, throwing no touchdowns with three interceptions. You can cite the elements to a degree, but you have to lay a lot of the blame on McNair himself. He made questionable reads and off-target throws in key situations. McNair is not a terrible fantasy QB by any means, and he could rebound from this forgettable performance quickly. But he isn't getting much help from his wide receivers or running game so far, and McNair hasn't been anything better than a fantasy reserve so far. Derrick Mason hasn't been a regular presence in the passing game, and Mark Clayton hasn't improved as hoped. Jamal Lewis has been a mediocre runner early this season. Todd Heap has battled through injuries, so you can't really criticize him much. McNair, though, seems to be carrying a lot of the offense on his shoulders, and he needs his playmakers to step up and perform better in key situations. The Ravens have a great defense, but their offense simply hasn't been much better this year for fantasy purposes. The only apparent difference is that their QB is worth at least a reserve spot in most leagues, while Baltimore QBs usually sat on the free-agent list in the past.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
23 carries, 98 yards, 0 TD

While many Tiki Barber owners are frustrated by his inability to find the end zone, his lack of scoring should seem much less surprising in comparison to Jackson, who has found the end zone just once in the first five weeks. Jackson has posted quality rushing totals, with less than 80 yards in only one game. But he looked like an unstoppable red-zone force in 2005 and was expected to be a scoring machine with more regular carries this season. Jackson, however, has been stopped short of the goal line on a few occasions this year, and he hasn't been able to break off any long runs that could lead to scores. Jackson hasn't played terribly, but he doesn't get around the corners with enough quickness, and he is being met by extra defenders on many inside rushing attempts. Opposing defenses are now very wary of Jackson as a regular rushing force and seem determined not to let him gain momentum and get through the front wall. Once Jackson breaks into the secondary, he can be unstoppable, but he hasn't been getting those opportunities. Defenses aren't letting him gain forward momentum and have made him run laterally, where he is less effective, and have been keying on him near the goal line. The Rams will have to make some adjustments in their schemes to open up more running room for Jackson.
<!--end leftcol --></TD><TD width=15><SPACER height="1" type="block" width="15"></TD><TD class=rightcell vAlign=top width=195><!-- begin rightcol --><!-- begin also see -->TOP LINES
<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 5</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Alex Smith, QB, 49ers: Facing Raiders inflated his numbers, but he's a good fantasy backup</TD></TR><!-- inline box score --><TR class=colhead><TD>passYDS</TD><TD>passTD</TD><TD>rushYDS</TD><TD>rushTD</TD><TD>FPTS</TD></TR><TR class=evenrow vAlign=top><TD><NOBR>165</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>10</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>17</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles: Not his best output, and a risky start every week</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>11</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>33</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>53</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>12</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>Wes Welker, WR, Dolphins: Seems to be the only reliable pass-catcher on the team right now</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>77</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>12</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>7</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Alex Smith, TE, Buccaneers: Could continue to be a factor in suddenly rejuvenated passing game</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>5</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>16</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>7</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<!-- end also see -->

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


Names Makin' News
? Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald will miss two to five weeks because of an injury to his right hamstring. Bryant Johnson is expected to start in Fitzgerald's place. Johnson is certainly a downgrade in talent from Fitzgerald, so it will be a challenge for rookie Matt Leinart to continue to play well without one of his star receivers.
? Chiefs coach Herman Edwards said Larry Johnson's neck injury wasn't major and there are no indications he will miss any playing time. Johnson is going to be fine, Edwards said, despite some soreness.
? Rod Marinelli told the Detroit Free Press that WR Roy Williams is not seriously injured. He is considered day-to-day with a stinger and pull in his upper back.
? Packers coach Mike McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Ahman Green remains his starting running back. Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said Noah Herron ran hard, but "we left some yards out there." The coaching staff indicated that a healthy Green could have certainly outperformed Herron, who broke off only two runs of more than 10 yards.
? Torry Holt suffered a mild sprain of his right ankle in Sunday's game at Green Bay, but he is expected to play against the Seahawks.
? The Nashville Tennessean reports Chris Brown will be deactivated again this upcoming week. Travis Henry will remain the starter for now, with LenDale White also getting some work. ? 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 10/10/06)

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

Oct. 11, 2006, 11:46 AM
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT>


FFL: Week 6 Lineup Rankings


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

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

By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

<!-- 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 at NO
2. Eli Manning at ATL
3. Rex Grossman at ARI
<!--##FRONTSTOP##-->4. Carson Palmer at TB
5. Matt Hasselbeck at STL
6. Marc Bulger vs. SEA
7. Drew Bledsoe vs. HOU
8. Jake Plummer vs. OAK
9. Chad Pennington vs. MIA
10. Drew Brees vs. PHI
<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. Mark Brunell vs. TEN
12. Philip Rivers at SF
13. David Carr at DAL
14. Michael Vick vs. NYG
15. Damon Huard at PIT
16. Steve McNair vs. CAR
17. Jake Delhomme at BAL
18. Jon Kitna vs. BUF
19. J.P. Losman at DET
20. Alex Smith vs. SD
21. Bruce Gradkowski vs. CIN
22. Joey Harrington at NYJ
23. Ben Roethlisberger vs. KC
24. Matt Leinart vs. CHI
25. Vince Young at WAS
26. Andrew Walter at DEN

Running Backs
1. LaDainian Tomlinson at SF
2. Larry Johnson at PIT
3. Clinton Portis vs. TEN
4. Tatum Bell vs. OAK
5. Rudi Johnson at TB
6. Willie Parker vs. KC
7. Tiki Barber at ATL
8. Julius Jones vs. HOU
9. Brian Westbrook at NO
10. Steven Jackson vs. SEA
11. Thomas Jones at ARI
12. Ronnie Brown at NYJ
13. Willis McGahee at DET
14. Carnell Williams vs. CIN
15. Frank Gore vs. SD
16. Deuce McAllister vs. PHI
17. Edgerrin James vs. CHI
18. Kevin Jones vs. BUF
19. Warrick Dunn vs. NYG
20. Travis Henry at WAS
21. LaMont Jordan at DEN
22. Maurice Morris at STL
23. Reggie Bush vs. PHI
24. Jamal Lewis vs. CAR
25. DeShaun Foster at BAL
26. Leon Washington vs. MIA
27. Cedric Benson at ARI
28. Marion Barber III vs. HOU
29. Ron Dayne at DAL
30. Jerious Norwood vs. NYG
31. Kevan Barlow vs. MIA
32. LenDale White at WAS
33. Michael Turner at SF
34. Najeh Davenport vs. KC
35. Mike Alstott vs. CIN
36. Ladell Betts vs. TEN
37. Brandon Jacobs at ATL
38. Michael Robinson vs. SD
39. Musa Smith vs. CAR
40. Tyson Thompson vs. HOU

Wide Receivers
1. Bernard Berrian at ARI
2. Torry Holt vs. SEA
3. Steve Smith at BAL
4. Joey Galloway vs. CIN
5. Chad Johnson at TB
6. Terry Glenn vs. HOU
7. Santana Moss vs. TEN
8. Terrell Owens vs. HOU
9. Javon Walker vs. OAK
10. Andre Johnson at DAL
11. Roy Williams vs. BUF
12. <A href="javascript:newWin('http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/players/fantasy?statsId=5652')">T.J. Houshmanzadeh</A. at TB
13.
Plaxico Burress at ATL
14. Lee Evans at DET
15. Darrell Jackson at STL
16. Anquan Boldin vs. CHI
17. Rod Smith vs. OAK
18. Reggie Brown at NO
19. Laveranues Coles vs. MIA
20. Amani Toomer at ATL
21. Randy Moss at DEN
22. Chris Chambers at NYJ
23. Muhsin Muhammad at ARI
24. Isaac Bruce vs. SEA
25. Marques Colston vs. PHI
26. Hines Ward vs. KC
27. Jerricho Cotchery vs. MIA
28. Antonio Bryant vs. SD
29. Eddie Kennison at PIT
30. Wes Welker at NYJ
31. Derrick Mason vs. CAR
32. Keyshawn Johnson at BAL
33. Deion Branch at STL
34. Drew Bennett at WAS
35. Joe Horn vs. PHI
36. Eric Moulds at DAL
37. Mike Furrey vs. BUF
38. Rashied Davis at ARI
39. Keenan McCardell at SF
40. Hank Baskett at NO
41. Antwaan Randle El vs. TEN
42. Josh Reed at DET
43. Ashley Lelie vs. NYG
44. Kelley Washington at TB
45. Brandon Lloyd vs. TEN
46. Bobby Wade at WAS
47. Eric Parker at SF
48. Mark Clayton vs. CAR
49. Samie Parker at PIT
50. Kevin Curtis vs. SEA
51. Peerless Price at DET
52. Nate Burleson at STL
53. Malcolm Floyd at SF
54. Arnaz Battle vs. SD
55. Ronald Curry at DEN
56. Bryant Johnson vs. CHI
57. Nate Washington vs. KC
58. Derek Hagan at NYJ
59. Michael Clayton vs. CIN
60. Michael Jenkins vs. NYG

Tight Ends
1. Antonio Gates at SF
2. L.J. Smith at NO
3. Todd Heap vs. CAR
4. Jason Witten vs. HOU
5. Chris Cooley vs. TEN
6. Tony Gonzalez at PIT
7. Desmond Clark at ARI
8. Jeremy Shockey at ATL
9. Alge Crumpler vs. NYG
10. Randy McMichael at NYJ
11. Heath Miller vs. KC
12. Alex Smith vs. CIN
13. Eric Johnson vs. SD
14. Jerramy Stevens at STL
15. Chris Baker vs. MIA
16. Joe Klopfenstein vs. SEA
17. Ben Troupe at WAS
18. Bo Scaife at WAS
19. Stephen Alexander vs. OAK
20. Daniel Wilcox vs. CAR
21. Ernie Conwell vs. PHI
22. Owen Daniels at DAL
23. Dan Campbell vs. BUF
24. Courtney Anderson st DEN
25. Will Heller at STL

Defense/Special Teams
1. Chicago at ARI
2. Baltimore vs. CAR
3. San Diego at SF
4. Pittsburgh vs. KC
5. Denver vs. OAK
6. Cincinnati at TB
7. Buffalo at DET
8. Carolina at BAL
9. Philadelphia at NO
10. Washington vs. TEN
11. N.Y. Giants at ATL
12. Atlanta vs. NYG
13. Seattle at STL
14. Dallas vs. HOU
15. Kansas City at PIT
16. New Orleans vs. PHI
17. N.Y. Jets vs. MIA
18. Tampa Bay vs. CIN
19. Detroit vs. BUF
20. Tennessee at WAS
21. Miami at NYJ
22. St. Louis vs. SEA
23. Houston at DAL
24. San Francisco vs. SD
25. Oakland at DEN
26. Arizona vs. CHI
</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 10/10/06)

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

Oct. 11, 2006, 11:46 AM
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT>


FFL: Week 6 Lineup Rankings


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

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

By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

<!-- 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 at NO
2. Eli Manning at ATL
3. Rex Grossman at ARI
<!--##FRONTSTOP##-->4. Carson Palmer at TB
5. Matt Hasselbeck at STL
6. Marc Bulger vs. SEA
7. Drew Bledsoe vs. HOU
8. Jake Plummer vs. OAK
9. Chad Pennington vs. MIA
10. Drew Brees vs. PHI
<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. Mark Brunell vs. TEN
12. Philip Rivers at SF
13. David Carr at DAL
14. Michael Vick vs. NYG
15. Damon Huard at PIT
16. Steve McNair vs. CAR
17. Jake Delhomme at BAL
18. Jon Kitna vs. BUF
19. J.P. Losman at DET
20. Alex Smith vs. SD
21. Bruce Gradkowski vs. CIN
22. Joey Harrington at NYJ
23. Ben Roethlisberger vs. KC
24. Matt Leinart vs. CHI
25. Vince Young at WAS
26. Andrew Walter at DEN

Running Backs
1. LaDainian Tomlinson at SF
2. Larry Johnson at PIT
3. Clinton Portis vs. TEN
4. Tatum Bell vs. OAK
5. Rudi Johnson at TB
6. Willie Parker vs. KC
7. Tiki Barber at ATL
8. Julius Jones vs. HOU
9. Brian Westbrook at NO
10. Steven Jackson vs. SEA
11. Thomas Jones at ARI
12. Ronnie Brown at NYJ
13. Willis McGahee at DET
14. Carnell Williams vs. CIN
15. Frank Gore vs. SD
16. Deuce McAllister vs. PHI
17. Edgerrin James vs. CHI
18. Kevin Jones vs. BUF
19. Warrick Dunn vs. NYG
20. Travis Henry at WAS
21. LaMont Jordan at DEN
22. Maurice Morris at STL
23. Reggie Bush vs. PHI
24. Jamal Lewis vs. CAR
25. DeShaun Foster at BAL
26. Leon Washington vs. MIA
27. Cedric Benson at ARI
28. Marion Barber III vs. HOU
29. Ron Dayne at DAL
30. Jerious Norwood vs. NYG
31. Kevan Barlow vs. MIA
32. LenDale White at WAS
33. Michael Turner at SF
34. Najeh Davenport vs. KC
35. Mike Alstott vs. CIN
36. Ladell Betts vs. TEN
37. Brandon Jacobs at ATL
38. Michael Robinson vs. SD
39. Musa Smith vs. CAR
40. Tyson Thompson vs. HOU

Wide Receivers
1. Bernard Berrian at ARI
2. Torry Holt vs. SEA
3. Steve Smith at BAL
4. Joey Galloway vs. CIN
5. Chad Johnson at TB
6. Terry Glenn vs. HOU
7. Santana Moss vs. TEN
8. Terrell Owens vs. HOU
9. Javon Walker vs. OAK
10. Andre Johnson at DAL
11. Roy Williams vs. BUF
12. <A href="javascript:newWin('http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/players/fantasy?statsId=5652')">T.J. Houshmanzadeh</A. at TB
13.
Plaxico Burress at ATL
14. Lee Evans at DET
15. Darrell Jackson at STL
16. Anquan Boldin vs. CHI
17. Rod Smith vs. OAK
18. Reggie Brown at NO
19. Laveranues Coles vs. MIA
20. Amani Toomer at ATL
21. Randy Moss at DEN
22. Chris Chambers at NYJ
23. Muhsin Muhammad at ARI
24. Isaac Bruce vs. SEA
25. Marques Colston vs. PHI
26. Hines Ward vs. KC
27. Jerricho Cotchery vs. MIA
28. Antonio Bryant vs. SD
29. Eddie Kennison at PIT
30. Wes Welker at NYJ
31. Derrick Mason vs. CAR
32. Keyshawn Johnson at BAL
33. Deion Branch at STL
34. Drew Bennett at WAS
35. Joe Horn vs. PHI
36. Eric Moulds at DAL
37. Mike Furrey vs. BUF
38. Rashied Davis at ARI
39. Keenan McCardell at SF
40. Hank Baskett at NO
41. Antwaan Randle El vs. TEN
42. Josh Reed at DET
43. Ashley Lelie vs. NYG
44. Kelley Washington at TB
45. Brandon Lloyd vs. TEN
46. Bobby Wade at WAS
47. Eric Parker at SF
48. Mark Clayton vs. CAR
49. Samie Parker at PIT
50. Kevin Curtis vs. SEA
51. Peerless Price at DET
52. Nate Burleson at STL
53. Malcolm Floyd at SF
54. Arnaz Battle vs. SD
55. Ronald Curry at DEN
56. Bryant Johnson vs. CHI
57. Nate Washington vs. KC
58. Derek Hagan at NYJ
59. Michael Clayton vs. CIN
60. Michael Jenkins vs. NYG

Tight Ends
1. Antonio Gates at SF
2. L.J. Smith at NO
3. Todd Heap vs. CAR
4. Jason Witten vs. HOU
5. Chris Cooley vs. TEN
6. Tony Gonzalez at PIT
7. Desmond Clark at ARI
8. Jeremy Shockey at ATL
9. Alge Crumpler vs. NYG
10. Randy McMichael at NYJ
11. Heath Miller vs. KC
12. Alex Smith vs. CIN
13. Eric Johnson vs. SD
14. Jerramy Stevens at STL
15. Chris Baker vs. MIA
16. Joe Klopfenstein vs. SEA
17. Ben Troupe at WAS
18. Bo Scaife at WAS
19. Stephen Alexander vs. OAK
20. Daniel Wilcox vs. CAR
21. Ernie Conwell vs. PHI
22. Owen Daniels at DAL
23. Dan Campbell vs. BUF
24. Courtney Anderson st DEN
25. Will Heller at STL

Defense/Special Teams
1. Chicago at ARI
2. Baltimore vs. CAR
3. San Diego at SF
4. Pittsburgh vs. KC
5. Denver vs. OAK
6. Cincinnati at TB
7. Buffalo at DET
8. Carolina at BAL
9. Philadelphia at NO
10. Washington vs. TEN
11. N.Y. Giants at ATL
12. Atlanta vs. NYG
13. Seattle at STL
14. Dallas vs. HOU
15. Kansas City at PIT
16. New Orleans vs. PHI
17. N.Y. Jets vs. MIA
18. Tampa Bay vs. CIN
19. Detroit vs. BUF
20. Tennessee at WAS
21. Miami at NYJ
22. St. Louis vs. SEA
23. Houston at DAL
24. San Francisco vs. SD
25. Oakland at DEN
26. Arizona vs. CHI
</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 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Is Berrian for real?


posted: Thursday, October 12, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


OK, it's been five weeks now, and I think we've learned a lot about fantasy football and a certain Bears QB. By now, since the e-mails about me once ripping him are down to nothing, you've figured out I'm on the Rex Grossman bandwagon. Funny thing is, I still feel like I'm alone on that!

I've been debating with others on TV and radio this week about this subject and now, oddly enough, I'm the one defending the guy? Whatever. He's a good play this week against the Cardinals. Most people are good plays against that defense.
Football's top team has been thoroughly analyzed by everyone, and in fantasy we've been over the Grossman angle plenty. You can set your weekly watch by it. So now do you believe in him? Yes, I did last week, I still do. We've also discussed the underrated Thomas Jones. The Bears' defense is scary, so much so that nobody wants to use Matt Leinart this Monday night against it, and Edgerrin James owners should think about benching him, too.
What about Bernard Berrian? I hate to point out the obvious, but this is fantasy's No. 1 wide receiver through five weeks. Is that significant? Some in the fantasy world will view his accomplishments as a fluke and continue to rank 20 other wide receivers ahead of them. Maybe they're right. Me? Let's see.
Here are the current top fantasy wide receivers. Note that Berrian leads the way with 66 points, which ranks tied for 16th overall. Ahead of Berrian are two kickers, two defenses (the Bears have a representative in each), seven quarterbacks (Brett Favre is tied with Berrian) and four running backs (a staggeringly low amount, but a blog for another day).
1. Berrian, Bears, 66 points
2. Torry Holt, Rams, 61
3. Santana Moss, Redskins, 58
4. Greg Jennings, Packers, 56
5. Marques Colston, Saints, 54
6. Keyshawn Johnson, Panthers, 53
7. Andre Johnson, Texans, 52
T8. Reggie Williams, Jaguars, 51
T8. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets, 51
10. Terry Glenn, Cowboys, 50

OK, we've got a few names who we expected to be among the best (Holt, S.Moss, A.Johnson, Glenn), a veteran replacing his teammate who was No. 1 last season (Keyshawn), Berrian and ... rookies. Lots of rookies. Now, we worry about rookies in fantasy sports, that they might wear down, get hurt, whatever. What about wide receivers?
Through five weeks last season, here were the top 10 wide receivers, for comparison's sake. Was last year's crew so surprising? Not at all! It reads as a who's who of the big names at the position.
1. Steve Smith, 83 points
2. Terrell Owens, 83
3. Holt, 79
T4. Larry Fitzgerald, 69
T4. Glenn, 69
T4. Chad Johnson, 69
7. Anquan Boldin, 63
8. Plaxico Burress, 62
T9. Jimmy Smith, 61
T9. Randy Moss, 61

Interesting in that everyone on the 2005 list through five games was a veteran receiver, no real surprises. And most of these guys finished strong, too. Last year's No. 10 receivers, the retired Smith and Moss (only one of them has officially retired, of course) had 61 points, and this year's No. 2 has that same number. Is offense down that much? Well, it's not down, really. But the statistical production of big wide receivers is.
OK, so what should a fantasy football owner do?
Ride out the inexperienced: I'm buying on Berrian, to a degree. No receiver (or running back, for that matter), has more than four touchdowns. But what concerns me about Berrian is his stats are so reliant on the big play, and the big play won't always be there. The Bears schedule is ridiculous, but at some point Berrian won't haul in a 40-yard score. I think Berrian can remain productive, and same with Jennings and Colston. They're legit.
Buy low on the studs: Holt is going to finish the season No. 1, in my opinion. Santana Moss might score every fourth game, but when he scores, oh how he scores. Get Boldin, and Plaxico, and T.O. All will be heard from. If you can steal a top but underperforming receiver from another owner, do it. The Colts' tandem will get there. Steve Smith will do well. History is only a guide for success, but do you really think Chad Johnson will be average much longer?
Don't overthink it: Stop worrying about who is a rookie or who is dealing with a new QB (Joey Galloway) or who was your 13th round pick. Play the best guys, that's the success for winning more often than not. I have Berrian in one league and won't sit him, and I don't care if my leaguemates think it's crazy, or Berrian might not perform in December. Win now.
***
Nice, friendly feedback (and I mean that, this time!) from the Power Rankings, so here are some of the interesting e-mails.
Will: "Hey Eric, Why does it seem like a sin to say LaDainian Tomlinson isn't a top 10 player right now? Michael Turner has destroyed his all important garbage time stats. The RBs should be LJ, Portis, Gore, Jackson, Parker, McGahee, etc. Until LT is productive again I can't see ranking him so high."
Eric: I think we have enough of a track record on LT to know that one game with 36 yards is not going to be a trend. In Tomlinson's other three games, he scored three times and averaged 100 rushing yards. I do like Turner as an occasional flex option, but I don't use him to downgrade LT.
Eric, Brooklyn: "Hey Eric, just thought I'd drop you a line about the power rankings. I think it is a good idea and an interesting feature, but it seems that it is not really that relevant to running a fantasy team, at least as long as you are only ranking the top 12 players. Pretty much all of those guys are going to be in anyone's lineup. The real questions that face owners during the fantasy season is how to rank the lesser known players. When you are dealing with injuries, bye weeks, underperforming players, etc, it would be more helpful to have updated rankings for the lower tiered players. Keep up the good work."
Eric: Thanks for the comment, Eric. Are the rankings relevant? I don't think everything we do needs to be regarded as giving lineup help, some things are for entertainment and to provoke discussion. The general feedback has been so positive -- and I'm not saying you're being negative -- because everyone loves a list, so they can debate who's on it. I don't mind debating its worth, too. Check out Scott Engel's lineup rankings every Wednesday for all the players, even the lower tiered ones, and anyone who feels we're lacking in a certain area of fantasy football recapping or projecting, by all means let us know. Thanks.
AJ Jackson, Los Angeles: "How can you leave Robbie Gould out of your rankings! The guy is single handedly winning me a league. He puts up at least 10 points a week! He is outscoring all wide receivers. Yet, you put the same tired people in each week. LJ, LT, blah, blah, blah."
Eric: The same tired people are the ones who will actually win you the fantasy leagues. While I don't doubt how valuable Gould has been to your team, and all teams that have enjoyed his top 10 stats, it's hard to expect this consistent performance all season. Maybe he does pull a Mark Moseley and score 150 points, who knows. But running backs, and this year the passers, are the lifeblood of fantasy scoring.
Ross, Minneapolis: "I really don't see how Holt can't make the top 12. I know that the power rankings don't take into account past seasons, but has Holt given any reason to doubt that he will achieve the same success he has in the past three years? Is there any safer start at the WR position in the entire league? But my main beef is with LT in the No. 2 spot. I'm an LT owner and I love having him, but giving up carries to Turner is not encouraging. Some LT owners are happy that he is being kept "fresh" for the end of the season, but only 13 carries is going too far. He's still top 5, but No. 2 is a bit high."
Eric: We've been over the LT thing, and yes, I see your point, but I don't know who I would rank higher than him, other than possibly Larry Johnson. But that could change next week. As for Holt, I agree with you that he's fantasy's top receiver, and he's probably No. 13 right now. But remember, I didn't rank any wide receivers in my top 12 prior to the season either. Holt still isn't currently ranked in the top 12 for fantasy scoring.
Jake T: "Maybe you're right on the Portis rating, I'm starting to think you might have been right last week putting him so high. But seriously, Chester Taylor? He put up three points on the Bills and there's apparently not a consistent plan to run him 20+ times a game. Even with the reception yards from the slowly failing Brad Johnson, he still doesn't have a nose for the end zone and is not in my personal top 12."
Eric: Fair points, but I disagree that the Vikings don't have a consistent plan to basically overwork the guy. They do. Taylor could certainly score once or twice this week, but you know the carries are coming.
Barry, New York: He may not warrant official inclusion yet, but Tatum Bell should be on the list. Would you trade Tatum for Chester Taylor? Not if you're smart. Would you trade Chester for Tatum? You would if you traded Marshall Faulk a few years back in a deal for a rookie named Portis and won the league because of it. When Denver has one back getting the carries, that guy deserves consideration for the top 12. Period."
Eric: I was very impressed with the way Tatum Bell ran on Monday night against the Ravens, and with his schedule very intriguing over the next few weeks, I'm guessing Bell is likely to be in the top 12 as soon as next week. He is a terrific buy low choice. OK, tomorrow, it's the Friday game by game preview.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Is Berrian for real?


posted: Thursday, October 12, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


OK, it's been five weeks now, and I think we've learned a lot about fantasy football and a certain Bears QB. By now, since the e-mails about me once ripping him are down to nothing, you've figured out I'm on the Rex Grossman bandwagon. Funny thing is, I still feel like I'm alone on that!

I've been debating with others on TV and radio this week about this subject and now, oddly enough, I'm the one defending the guy? Whatever. He's a good play this week against the Cardinals. Most people are good plays against that defense.
Football's top team has been thoroughly analyzed by everyone, and in fantasy we've been over the Grossman angle plenty. You can set your weekly watch by it. So now do you believe in him? Yes, I did last week, I still do. We've also discussed the underrated Thomas Jones. The Bears' defense is scary, so much so that nobody wants to use Matt Leinart this Monday night against it, and Edgerrin James owners should think about benching him, too.
What about Bernard Berrian? I hate to point out the obvious, but this is fantasy's No. 1 wide receiver through five weeks. Is that significant? Some in the fantasy world will view his accomplishments as a fluke and continue to rank 20 other wide receivers ahead of them. Maybe they're right. Me? Let's see.
Here are the current top fantasy wide receivers. Note that Berrian leads the way with 66 points, which ranks tied for 16th overall. Ahead of Berrian are two kickers, two defenses (the Bears have a representative in each), seven quarterbacks (Brett Favre is tied with Berrian) and four running backs (a staggeringly low amount, but a blog for another day).
1. Berrian, Bears, 66 points
2. Torry Holt, Rams, 61
3. Santana Moss, Redskins, 58
4. Greg Jennings, Packers, 56
5. Marques Colston, Saints, 54
6. Keyshawn Johnson, Panthers, 53
7. Andre Johnson, Texans, 52
T8. Reggie Williams, Jaguars, 51
T8. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets, 51
10. Terry Glenn, Cowboys, 50

OK, we've got a few names who we expected to be among the best (Holt, S.Moss, A.Johnson, Glenn), a veteran replacing his teammate who was No. 1 last season (Keyshawn), Berrian and ... rookies. Lots of rookies. Now, we worry about rookies in fantasy sports, that they might wear down, get hurt, whatever. What about wide receivers?
Through five weeks last season, here were the top 10 wide receivers, for comparison's sake. Was last year's crew so surprising? Not at all! It reads as a who's who of the big names at the position.
1. Steve Smith, 83 points
2. Terrell Owens, 83
3. Holt, 79
T4. Larry Fitzgerald, 69
T4. Glenn, 69
T4. Chad Johnson, 69
7. Anquan Boldin, 63
8. Plaxico Burress, 62
T9. Jimmy Smith, 61
T9. Randy Moss, 61

Interesting in that everyone on the 2005 list through five games was a veteran receiver, no real surprises. And most of these guys finished strong, too. Last year's No. 10 receivers, the retired Smith and Moss (only one of them has officially retired, of course) had 61 points, and this year's No. 2 has that same number. Is offense down that much? Well, it's not down, really. But the statistical production of big wide receivers is.
OK, so what should a fantasy football owner do?
Ride out the inexperienced: I'm buying on Berrian, to a degree. No receiver (or running back, for that matter), has more than four touchdowns. But what concerns me about Berrian is his stats are so reliant on the big play, and the big play won't always be there. The Bears schedule is ridiculous, but at some point Berrian won't haul in a 40-yard score. I think Berrian can remain productive, and same with Jennings and Colston. They're legit.
Buy low on the studs: Holt is going to finish the season No. 1, in my opinion. Santana Moss might score every fourth game, but when he scores, oh how he scores. Get Boldin, and Plaxico, and T.O. All will be heard from. If you can steal a top but underperforming receiver from another owner, do it. The Colts' tandem will get there. Steve Smith will do well. History is only a guide for success, but do you really think Chad Johnson will be average much longer?
Don't overthink it: Stop worrying about who is a rookie or who is dealing with a new QB (Joey Galloway) or who was your 13th round pick. Play the best guys, that's the success for winning more often than not. I have Berrian in one league and won't sit him, and I don't care if my leaguemates think it's crazy, or Berrian might not perform in December. Win now.
***
Nice, friendly feedback (and I mean that, this time!) from the Power Rankings, so here are some of the interesting e-mails.
Will: "Hey Eric, Why does it seem like a sin to say LaDainian Tomlinson isn't a top 10 player right now? Michael Turner has destroyed his all important garbage time stats. The RBs should be LJ, Portis, Gore, Jackson, Parker, McGahee, etc. Until LT is productive again I can't see ranking him so high."
Eric: I think we have enough of a track record on LT to know that one game with 36 yards is not going to be a trend. In Tomlinson's other three games, he scored three times and averaged 100 rushing yards. I do like Turner as an occasional flex option, but I don't use him to downgrade LT.
Eric, Brooklyn: "Hey Eric, just thought I'd drop you a line about the power rankings. I think it is a good idea and an interesting feature, but it seems that it is not really that relevant to running a fantasy team, at least as long as you are only ranking the top 12 players. Pretty much all of those guys are going to be in anyone's lineup. The real questions that face owners during the fantasy season is how to rank the lesser known players. When you are dealing with injuries, bye weeks, underperforming players, etc, it would be more helpful to have updated rankings for the lower tiered players. Keep up the good work."
Eric: Thanks for the comment, Eric. Are the rankings relevant? I don't think everything we do needs to be regarded as giving lineup help, some things are for entertainment and to provoke discussion. The general feedback has been so positive -- and I'm not saying you're being negative -- because everyone loves a list, so they can debate who's on it. I don't mind debating its worth, too. Check out Scott Engel's lineup rankings every Wednesday for all the players, even the lower tiered ones, and anyone who feels we're lacking in a certain area of fantasy football recapping or projecting, by all means let us know. Thanks.
AJ Jackson, Los Angeles: "How can you leave Robbie Gould out of your rankings! The guy is single handedly winning me a league. He puts up at least 10 points a week! He is outscoring all wide receivers. Yet, you put the same tired people in each week. LJ, LT, blah, blah, blah."
Eric: The same tired people are the ones who will actually win you the fantasy leagues. While I don't doubt how valuable Gould has been to your team, and all teams that have enjoyed his top 10 stats, it's hard to expect this consistent performance all season. Maybe he does pull a Mark Moseley and score 150 points, who knows. But running backs, and this year the passers, are the lifeblood of fantasy scoring.
Ross, Minneapolis: "I really don't see how Holt can't make the top 12. I know that the power rankings don't take into account past seasons, but has Holt given any reason to doubt that he will achieve the same success he has in the past three years? Is there any safer start at the WR position in the entire league? But my main beef is with LT in the No. 2 spot. I'm an LT owner and I love having him, but giving up carries to Turner is not encouraging. Some LT owners are happy that he is being kept "fresh" for the end of the season, but only 13 carries is going too far. He's still top 5, but No. 2 is a bit high."
Eric: We've been over the LT thing, and yes, I see your point, but I don't know who I would rank higher than him, other than possibly Larry Johnson. But that could change next week. As for Holt, I agree with you that he's fantasy's top receiver, and he's probably No. 13 right now. But remember, I didn't rank any wide receivers in my top 12 prior to the season either. Holt still isn't currently ranked in the top 12 for fantasy scoring.
Jake T: "Maybe you're right on the Portis rating, I'm starting to think you might have been right last week putting him so high. But seriously, Chester Taylor? He put up three points on the Bills and there's apparently not a consistent plan to run him 20+ times a game. Even with the reception yards from the slowly failing Brad Johnson, he still doesn't have a nose for the end zone and is not in my personal top 12."
Eric: Fair points, but I disagree that the Vikings don't have a consistent plan to basically overwork the guy. They do. Taylor could certainly score once or twice this week, but you know the carries are coming.
Barry, New York: He may not warrant official inclusion yet, but Tatum Bell should be on the list. Would you trade Tatum for Chester Taylor? Not if you're smart. Would you trade Chester for Tatum? You would if you traded Marshall Faulk a few years back in a deal for a rookie named Portis and won the league because of it. When Denver has one back getting the carries, that guy deserves consideration for the top 12. Period."
Eric: I was very impressed with the way Tatum Bell ran on Monday night against the Ravens, and with his schedule very intriguing over the next few weeks, I'm guessing Bell is likely to be in the top 12 as soon as next week. He is a terrific buy low choice. OK, tomorrow, it's the Friday game by game preview.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Oct. 12, 2006, 4:48 PM
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Week 6: 10 things to watch


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN Fantasy Games

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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.
Remember this Titan? Travis Henry was one of fantasy football's best running backs in the 2002-03 seasons in Buffalo, but the next two years, he was nothing but disappointing, averaging 3.6 yards per carry and never once reaching the end zone. This season, however, he seems rejuvenated, perhaps a result of such little usage from 2004-05, with a two-TD game in Week 1 and a 123-yard rushing day in Week 5. That's not enough to call him a "safe" fantasy play, but it's enough to earn him another start at Washington, important in that he really could use a strong performance headed into the bye week. I'd call Henry a useful flex option for Week 6, but watch him play, because he's going to need to perform to hold off a challenge from rookie LenDale White, a sleeper down the road.
Joey Harrington's baaaaaaaack. Scary thought, isn't it? I remember all the Harrington backers from his days in Detroit, but, Harrington fans, in his days with the Lions from 2002-05, he had more interceptions (62) than TDs (60) and only 17 multi-TD efforts in 55 starts. And while some might say he was more effective than Daunte Culpepper in Week 5 at New England, he still threw two picks and didn't throw a TD pass. Culpepper's stock has slipped so far that he's a non-factor in fantasy and a backup in the NFL. The Dolphins will give Harrington until the Week 8 bye to lead the offense, and Ronnie Brown, Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael owners have to be worried. Hey, at least Harrington made better use of McMichael and Wes Welker against the Patriots than Culpepper did, but he needs to keep that up or this quickly will be a lost season, not only for the Dolphins, but for important fantasy guys like the aforementioned three.
The Michael Turner factor. LaDainian Tomlinson owners can't be happy to see Turner so involved in the San Diego offense. LT, a consensus top-three pick in the preseason, has averaged only 14.8 fantasy points per game so far, not a bad number but noticeably short of the 18.8 he managed in 2005. Through four games, he's averaging 84.0 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry, both his worst rates since his rookie year of 2001. Turner, meanwhile, has averaged 69.3 yards per game, 6.8 yards per carry and 10.3 carries per game, serving as a perfect change-of-pace to Tomlinson. It's a great setup for the Chargers, a run-based offense, but it's not ideal for Tomlinson's owners. The Week 6 game at San Francisco, a great matchup for San Diego RBs, should serve as a perfect example of how these two will be used looking forward. If Turner cracks 10 carries again, it's a sure sign Tomlinson's not going to get the chances to challenge for top-RB fantasy status.
The Bell tolls for thee, Tatum. I included Tatum Bell in last week's "10 Things," and he makes the cut again this time, for an important reason. Bottom line: Week 6 will be the definitive game in Tatum's season, a soft matchup against the Raiders, in a game where he can lock in his starting fantasy status for countless teams. In other words, if you want to "buy low" on him, or buy him at all for that matter, today's the day to get him. Monday -- if Tatum steps up as I expect he will -- is a day too late.
The rise of Leon Washington. Kevan Barlow had been looking like a respectable enough runner and a reliable goal-line option for the Jets of late, but a miserable four-carry, minus-1-yard performance in Week 5 has put his role with the team in question, especially taking into account Washington's breakout 23-carry, 101-yard effort in relief against the Jaguars. New York still isn't sold on Barlow, or Cedric Houston, or Derrick Blaylock, as its starter, and with Washington performing so well of late, he has a golden opportunity to step up and claim the spot this week against the Dolphins. I think he can do it, so pick him up, but he really needs a standout game here.
Arizona's offense without Larry Fitzgerald. Rookie QB Matt Leinart impressed in his first career start, passing for 253 yards and two TDs against a pretty solid Kansas City pass defense in Week 5 and making good use of receivers Anquan Boldin and Fitzgerald, who each caught a TD pass, and Bryant Johnson, who had six receptions out of nine targets. But with Fitzgerald now likely out for Week 6 against the Bears defense -- the NFL's equivalent of a brick wall -- and perhaps longer, Leinart's ability will be put to the true test. Arizona's an offense to avoid this week, but Monday night's game is still one to watch tracking Leinart's continued development. There are good matchups in his future in Weeks 6-7, after all, with games at Oakland and Green Bay, so it'd help with making those matchups more appealing if he can at least move the ball respectably on Monday.
Hail to the new Chief QB. Who would've guessed that by Week 6, Damon Huard, not Trent Green, would be the Chiefs' quarterback, and not only that, that Huard would be a fantasy option worth talking about? I'm not proclaiming him a top starter this week at Pittsburgh, but with 496 passing yards, four TDs and no interceptions in his last two games, he's at least getting the job done, which helps the whole Kansas City offense. What I wonder now is whether Green's going to be able to reclaim his starting job at all once healthy, especially considering his is an injury that's not the easiest from which to rebound. Another solid game from Huard would only make it tougher, though for fantasy, the other thing to monitor is how little the guy is throwing to Tony Gonzalez (one reception and only two targets in Week 5). Gonzalez owners can't be rooting for Huard!
The return of Jerramy Stevens. So many people ask me about Stevens' fantasy value now that he's scheduled to return to action on Sunday, and while I'd call him a tad overrated due to his five TDs in his last six games (postseason included), he's still well worth our consideration taking into account the dearth of quality tight ends. Stevens should step in as a solid, though not extraordinary, option with a week or two of reps to get back to full speed, but his return is actually more important from a fantasy angle in how it could affect the rest of the Seattle passing game. The Seahawks, who had been using a fair share of four-receiver sets, seem much less likely to do so with Stevens back in action, and that'll only hurt the numbers of guys like Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and Bobby Engram. I'd think the latter two will suffer the most in value, but we'll see if that holds true this week.
Exploring that Philly receiver depth. Donte' Stallworth's continued hamstring problems have created opportunities for several promising young receivers, most notably Hank Baskett, who had three receptions for 112 yards and a score in Week 5, and Greg Lewis, who had two TDs of his own in Week 4. Sure, Donovan McNabb's going to keep spreading the ball around, but remember, Lewis was once considered an up-and-comer, while Baskett had earned spots on many sleeper lists in the preseason before the Stallworth acquisition bumped him to backup status. In deeper leagues, you have to think about using lesser-known receivers, and if Stallworth's out again in Week 6, which seems likely, it'll be interesting to see whether either receiver steps up with another strong effort.
Bruce Gradkowski. One game is simply not enough for us to get a read on him, though his 225-yard, 2-TD passing effort at New Orleans in Week 5 was an awfully encouraging sign, especially since he led two drives down 10 points in the second half to give the Buccaneers a temporary three-point lead. (It's not his fault Reggie Bush broke off that long punt return!) Now Gradkowski gets the Bengals, a tougher pass defense, and while I'm not looking at him necessarily as a fantasy option in his own right down the road, his performance still has so much of a bearing on the numbers of guys like Carnell Williams, Joey Galloway and Alex Smith. It's a great matchup for Cadillac, though Gradkowski needs to keep Cincinnati's defense honest to open up running lanes, and don't overlook that Gradkowski targeted Galloway eight times and Smith six last Sunday. He needs to keep up that kind of performance to keep this offense rolling. Got a question or comment? Send them right here, and I'll address them in my column every week. Note: Please be sure to include your full name, city and state with your submission to be considered.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Oct. 12, 2006, 4:48 PM
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Week 6: 10 things to watch


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN Fantasy Games

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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.
Remember this Titan? Travis Henry was one of fantasy football's best running backs in the 2002-03 seasons in Buffalo, but the next two years, he was nothing but disappointing, averaging 3.6 yards per carry and never once reaching the end zone. This season, however, he seems rejuvenated, perhaps a result of such little usage from 2004-05, with a two-TD game in Week 1 and a 123-yard rushing day in Week 5. That's not enough to call him a "safe" fantasy play, but it's enough to earn him another start at Washington, important in that he really could use a strong performance headed into the bye week. I'd call Henry a useful flex option for Week 6, but watch him play, because he's going to need to perform to hold off a challenge from rookie LenDale White, a sleeper down the road.
Joey Harrington's baaaaaaaack. Scary thought, isn't it? I remember all the Harrington backers from his days in Detroit, but, Harrington fans, in his days with the Lions from 2002-05, he had more interceptions (62) than TDs (60) and only 17 multi-TD efforts in 55 starts. And while some might say he was more effective than Daunte Culpepper in Week 5 at New England, he still threw two picks and didn't throw a TD pass. Culpepper's stock has slipped so far that he's a non-factor in fantasy and a backup in the NFL. The Dolphins will give Harrington until the Week 8 bye to lead the offense, and Ronnie Brown, Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael owners have to be worried. Hey, at least Harrington made better use of McMichael and Wes Welker against the Patriots than Culpepper did, but he needs to keep that up or this quickly will be a lost season, not only for the Dolphins, but for important fantasy guys like the aforementioned three.
The Michael Turner factor. LaDainian Tomlinson owners can't be happy to see Turner so involved in the San Diego offense. LT, a consensus top-three pick in the preseason, has averaged only 14.8 fantasy points per game so far, not a bad number but noticeably short of the 18.8 he managed in 2005. Through four games, he's averaging 84.0 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry, both his worst rates since his rookie year of 2001. Turner, meanwhile, has averaged 69.3 yards per game, 6.8 yards per carry and 10.3 carries per game, serving as a perfect change-of-pace to Tomlinson. It's a great setup for the Chargers, a run-based offense, but it's not ideal for Tomlinson's owners. The Week 6 game at San Francisco, a great matchup for San Diego RBs, should serve as a perfect example of how these two will be used looking forward. If Turner cracks 10 carries again, it's a sure sign Tomlinson's not going to get the chances to challenge for top-RB fantasy status.
The Bell tolls for thee, Tatum. I included Tatum Bell in last week's "10 Things," and he makes the cut again this time, for an important reason. Bottom line: Week 6 will be the definitive game in Tatum's season, a soft matchup against the Raiders, in a game where he can lock in his starting fantasy status for countless teams. In other words, if you want to "buy low" on him, or buy him at all for that matter, today's the day to get him. Monday -- if Tatum steps up as I expect he will -- is a day too late.
The rise of Leon Washington. Kevan Barlow had been looking like a respectable enough runner and a reliable goal-line option for the Jets of late, but a miserable four-carry, minus-1-yard performance in Week 5 has put his role with the team in question, especially taking into account Washington's breakout 23-carry, 101-yard effort in relief against the Jaguars. New York still isn't sold on Barlow, or Cedric Houston, or Derrick Blaylock, as its starter, and with Washington performing so well of late, he has a golden opportunity to step up and claim the spot this week against the Dolphins. I think he can do it, so pick him up, but he really needs a standout game here.
Arizona's offense without Larry Fitzgerald. Rookie QB Matt Leinart impressed in his first career start, passing for 253 yards and two TDs against a pretty solid Kansas City pass defense in Week 5 and making good use of receivers Anquan Boldin and Fitzgerald, who each caught a TD pass, and Bryant Johnson, who had six receptions out of nine targets. But with Fitzgerald now likely out for Week 6 against the Bears defense -- the NFL's equivalent of a brick wall -- and perhaps longer, Leinart's ability will be put to the true test. Arizona's an offense to avoid this week, but Monday night's game is still one to watch tracking Leinart's continued development. There are good matchups in his future in Weeks 6-7, after all, with games at Oakland and Green Bay, so it'd help with making those matchups more appealing if he can at least move the ball respectably on Monday.
Hail to the new Chief QB. Who would've guessed that by Week 6, Damon Huard, not Trent Green, would be the Chiefs' quarterback, and not only that, that Huard would be a fantasy option worth talking about? I'm not proclaiming him a top starter this week at Pittsburgh, but with 496 passing yards, four TDs and no interceptions in his last two games, he's at least getting the job done, which helps the whole Kansas City offense. What I wonder now is whether Green's going to be able to reclaim his starting job at all once healthy, especially considering his is an injury that's not the easiest from which to rebound. Another solid game from Huard would only make it tougher, though for fantasy, the other thing to monitor is how little the guy is throwing to Tony Gonzalez (one reception and only two targets in Week 5). Gonzalez owners can't be rooting for Huard!
The return of Jerramy Stevens. So many people ask me about Stevens' fantasy value now that he's scheduled to return to action on Sunday, and while I'd call him a tad overrated due to his five TDs in his last six games (postseason included), he's still well worth our consideration taking into account the dearth of quality tight ends. Stevens should step in as a solid, though not extraordinary, option with a week or two of reps to get back to full speed, but his return is actually more important from a fantasy angle in how it could affect the rest of the Seattle passing game. The Seahawks, who had been using a fair share of four-receiver sets, seem much less likely to do so with Stevens back in action, and that'll only hurt the numbers of guys like Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and Bobby Engram. I'd think the latter two will suffer the most in value, but we'll see if that holds true this week.
Exploring that Philly receiver depth. Donte' Stallworth's continued hamstring problems have created opportunities for several promising young receivers, most notably Hank Baskett, who had three receptions for 112 yards and a score in Week 5, and Greg Lewis, who had two TDs of his own in Week 4. Sure, Donovan McNabb's going to keep spreading the ball around, but remember, Lewis was once considered an up-and-comer, while Baskett had earned spots on many sleeper lists in the preseason before the Stallworth acquisition bumped him to backup status. In deeper leagues, you have to think about using lesser-known receivers, and if Stallworth's out again in Week 6, which seems likely, it'll be interesting to see whether either receiver steps up with another strong effort.
Bruce Gradkowski. One game is simply not enough for us to get a read on him, though his 225-yard, 2-TD passing effort at New Orleans in Week 5 was an awfully encouraging sign, especially since he led two drives down 10 points in the second half to give the Buccaneers a temporary three-point lead. (It's not his fault Reggie Bush broke off that long punt return!) Now Gradkowski gets the Bengals, a tougher pass defense, and while I'm not looking at him necessarily as a fantasy option in his own right down the road, his performance still has so much of a bearing on the numbers of guys like Carnell Williams, Joey Galloway and Alex Smith. It's a great matchup for Cadillac, though Gradkowski needs to keep Cincinnati's defense honest to open up running lanes, and don't overlook that Gradkowski targeted Galloway eight times and Smith six last Sunday. He needs to keep up that kind of performance to keep this offense rolling. Got a question or comment? Send them right here, and I'll address them in my column every week. Note: Please be sure to include your full name, city and state with your submission to be considered.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Oct. 12, 2006, 10:18 AM
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Cockcroft: Week 6 Statbook


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN Fantasy Games

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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: Browns, Colts, Jaguars, Packers, Patriots, Vikings.
<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>Bernard Berrian, WR, Bears (@ARI): He has scored a TD in 4 of his 5 G this season, and has topped 89 yards receiving 3 times so far. He leads the NFL with 5 receptions of 40+ yards, and is the leading WR in fantasy points (66). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Broncos defense (OAK): The Broncos have allowed only 1 TD all season, fewest in the league, and their 8.5 points allowed per G rank them 2nd. Plus, they've won 6 of their last 7 G at home (postseason incl.), allowing only 69 points combined. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Marc Bulger, QB, Rams (SEA): He has the longest active streak for consecutive pass attempts without an interception (214), and has averaged 285.7 passing yards with 6 TDs in his last 3 G. He has 9 TDs in his last 6 G during the error-free streak. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Joey Galloway, WR, Buccaneers (CIN): He has 2 100-yard receiving G and 2 TDs in his last 3 G, with 14 receptions for 279 yards and 2 TDs in those contests. He also has 6 100-yard receiving G and 12 TDs in his last 18 regular-season G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Terry Glenn, WR, Cowboys (HOU): He has 16 receptions for 209 yards and 3 TDs in his last 3 G, and 37 receptions for 622 yards and 6 TDs in his last 9 G. He also has 4+ receptions in 12 of his last 19 G, and 60+ receiving yards in 11 of his last 19 G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Todd Heap, TE, Ravens (CAR): He has 6 TDs in his last 8 G, and 4+ receptions in 7 of his last 9 G. Also, in his last 11 regular-season G, he has 51 receptions for 545 yards (10.7 average) and 8 TDs, catching at least 2 passes in each of those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Steven Jackson, RB, Rams (SEA): He's the NFL leader in scrimmage yards (649) and is tied for the lead in rushing yards (465). He also has 3 100-yard rushing G, 776 rushing yards, 1,001 scrimmage yards and 3 TDs in his last 10 G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles (@NO): He has passed for 288+ yards and 2+ TDs in each of his 5 G this year, and has averaged 320.4 passing yards with 11 TDs and 1 interception in those contests. He also leads all players in fantasy points (133). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Willie Parker, RB, Steelers (KC): He has 4 100-yard rushing G in his last 6 G, and in those contests, he has 128 carries for 590 yards (4.6 average) and 4 TDs. He has also rushed for 190 yards and 3 TDs in his last 2 G, scoring at least once in each. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Ravens defense (CAR): The Ravens have yet to allow more than 14 points in a G this season, and rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense (219.6 yards per G). They're also tied for 1st in interceptions (9), and rank 2nd in total turnovers (14). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: QB Rex Grossman has quickly become a reliable fantasy option, but it's as much due to his own success as it is his rapport with Berrian. For so long as these two continue to perform as top-10 players at their respective positions, they're must-starts regardless of the matchup. ... Defense is winning more fantasy teams than normal this season, and if there's going to be a shutout this week, the Raiders-Broncos game at Denver is as good a bet as any. The Broncos aren't earning many fantasy points on turnovers, but they won't hurt you in the points allowed category. ... With most defenses focusing their attention on WR Terrell Owens, Glenn has been left open much more often than expected this season. He's one of the most underappreciated fantasy WRs so far, and should explode against the terrible Houston secondary. </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>Mark Clayton, WR, Ravens (CAR): He has been held without a TD reception in his last 6 G, and he has only 20 receptions for 186 yards and no scores in 5 G this season. Fortunately, though, he has been targeted 32 times during that span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Alge Crumpler, TE, Falcons (NYG): He has been held without a TD in each of his last 3 G, and has only 1 TD in his last 9 G, during which time he has 26 receptions for 372 yards. He has been targeted 18 times in his last 2 G, however. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Joe Horn, WR, Saints (PHI): He has yet to catch a TD pass this season, and has averaged 3.8 receptions and 54.2 receiving yards in 5 G. He actually hasn't caught a single TD pass in his last 15 G, with only 53 catches for 705 yards during that span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders (@DEN): He has only 1 TD in 4 G this season, and has been held to 71 yards or fewer rushing in 6 of his last 9 G. During that span, he has 165 carries for 639 yards (3.9 per carry, 71.0 per G) and 3 TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Jamal Lewis, RB, Ravens (CAR): He has 30 carries for 77 yards (2.6 average) in his last 2 G, and has been held without a TD in his last 4 G. He has been held to fewer than 90 rushing yards in 14 of his last 16 G, averaging 61.5 yards per G in those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Keenan McCardell, WR, Chargers (@SF): He has yet to catch a TD pass in 4 G this season, and has failed to score in his last 6 G overall. He has only 10 receptions for 113 yards in his 4 G, and he has been targeted only 13 times during that span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Steve McNair, QB, Ravens (CAR): He has passed for 323 yards, 2 TDs and 5 interceptions in his last 2 G, and he has 6 interceptions compared to 4 TDs in his last 4 G. He has averaged 187.0 passing yards with 7 TDs and 8 interceptions in his last 9 G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers (KC): He has 2+ interceptions in his last 3 G, and has averaged 189.7 passing yards with 0 TDs and 7 interceptions in those contests. He also has 12 interceptions in his last 8 G, dating back to Week 17 of 2005. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Seahawks defense (@STL): The Seahawks have allowed 67 points and 699 net yards in their last 2 G, and they failed to record a turnover in Week 4 against the Bears. They currently rank 21st among defenses in fantasy points (24) this season. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Hines Ward, WR, Steelers (KC): In 3 G since Roethlisberger's return to the lineup, Ward has 8 receptions for 95 yards and 0 TDs. Fortunately, however, he has been targeted 25 times during that span. He also has only 2 TDs in his last 7 regular-season G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: Three Ravens make the cold list, and I expect them to stay there this week against an underappreciated Panthers defense. Granted, Baltimore's poor recent numbers have been fueled partially by a tough schedule, but they could also be attributed to McNair's problems heading up the offense of late. ... WR Marques Colston has been QB Drew Brees' preferred target this season, and with Horn's slump dating back to the middle of last season, he's at best a matchups option now. This isn't a good one for him, either. ... Jordan could quickly become a non-factor on Sunday if the Broncos mount an early lead. At least he's catching enough passes to be a useful No. 2 or flex option most weeks, and most of his owners have to use him, but I wouldn't expect big things. ... Roethlisberger doesn't belong near a fantasy lineup until he has a standout game. (And by standout, I'd be talking multiple TD passes and 200-plus yards.) </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>Laveranues Coles, WR, Jets (MIA): He has a TD catch in 3 consecutive G vs. the Dolphins, with 13 catches for 183 yards and 3 TDs in those contests. He also has 32 receptions for 451 yards and 7 TDs in 8 career G vs. the Dolphins. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Warrick Dunn, RB, Falcons (NYG): He has 37 carries for 247 yards (6.7 average) and a TD in his last 2 G vs. the Giants. He has also averaged 93.0 rushing yards, 109.7 scrimmage yards and has 2 total TDs in his last 10 home G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Darrell Jackson, WR, Seahawks (@STL): He has 34 receptions for 514 yards and 6 TDs in 8 career G vs. the Rams (postseason incl.). He also had 12 receptions for 128 yards and a TD in his last G vs. the Rams, in the 2005 postseason (1/8/05). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Randy Moss, WR, Raiders (@DEN): He has 21 receptions for 310 yards and 1 TD in his last 3 G vs. the Broncos. He also has 4+ receptions in each of his last 4 G vs. AFC West foes, with 22 receptions for 280 yards and 1 TD in those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys (HOU): He has 8 100-yard receiving efforts, 118 receptions and 13 TDs, and has averaged 102.1 receiving yards per G in 17 career G vs. AFC foes. He has scored a TD in 5 of his last 6 contests against AFC foes. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals (@TB): He has is a perfect 6-0 in 6 career GS vs. NFC foes, and has passed for 3 TDs in each of his last 4 G against them. In those contests, he averaged 254.3 passing yards with 12 TDs and 4 interceptions. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Chad Pennington, QB, Jets (MIA): He's 30-for-49 passing (61.2 percent) for 190 yards, 5 TDs and 0 interceptions in his last 2 G vs. the Dolphins. He has also averaged 216.2 passing yards with 17 TDs and 8 interceptions in his last 11 home G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (OAK): He has averaged 201.7 passing yards with 8 TDs and 4 interceptions, while rushing for 112 yards and 2 TDs, in 6 G vs. the Raiders as a member of the Broncos (2003-06). He has also averaged 236.4 passing yards with 36 TDs and 16 interceptions in 24 home G during that same span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins (TEN): In his last 6 G vs. AFC foes, he has averaged 92.8 rushing yards and 126.3 scrimmage yards with 3 TDs. He has also averaged 94.3 rushing yards with 11 TDs in 17 home G as a member of the Redskins (2004-06). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Rod Smith, WR, Broncos (OAK): He has 10 TD in his career vs. the Raiders, his most against any opponent. He also has 12 receptions for 240 yards and 2 TDs in his last 3 G vs. them, including 7 catches for 190 yards and 1 TD in 2 home G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: Even with the Seahawks using a fair share of four-receiver threats, it's clear Jackson is still QB Matt Hasselbeck's preferred target. Seattle-St. Louis should be a shoot-out, meaning this should be one of Jackson's better games of the year. ... If anything can cure Owens' funk, it's a matchup against the Texans. Houston's secondary lacks the speed to keep up with receivers of his talent. ... The next couple of days are a fine time to buy low on Palmer, who has gotten off to a sluggish start this season, at least fantasy-wise. He's still a top-five QB at worst, though, and should begin the slow road back to that status with this week's game. ... I'd actually argue that Portis' matchup against the Titans vaults him to the top of the RB rankings for Week 6. It's that favorable. </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): No games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Cold temperatures (40 degrees or lower): Bills at Lions could be in the low 40s. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Hot temperatures (80 degrees or higher): Bengals at Buccaneers and Bears at Cardinals could be in the low 80s. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Weatherproof games (safest playing conditions): Bills at Lions (Ford Field), Giants at Falcons (Georgia Dome), Eagles at Saints (Superdome), Seahawks at Rams (Edward Jones Dome) and Bears at Cardinals (Cardinals Stadium). </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>David Akers, Eagles (@NO): 8 G, 64.3 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 5.50 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Morten Andersen, Falcons (NYG): 91 G, 81.1 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 7.15 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Josh Brown, Seahawks (@STL): 7 G, 73.7 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 7.86 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>John Carney, Saints (PHI): 60 G, 86.2 FGpct, 99.2 XPTpct, 8.05 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Jay Feely, Giants (@ATL): 41 G, 76.7 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 7.00 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Robbie Gould, Bears (@ARI): 3 G, 100.0 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 8.00 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Jason Hanson, Lions (BUF): 121 G, 84.0 FGpct, 99.2 XPTpct, 6.80 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Rian Lindell, Bills (@DET): 4 G, 66.7 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 5.25 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Neil Rackers, Cardinals (CHI): 15 G, 91.3 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 6.07 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Jeff Wilkins, Rams (SEA): 95 G, 83.4 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 7.66 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 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Oct. 12, 2006, 10:18 AM
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Cockcroft: Week 6 Statbook


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By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN Fantasy Games

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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: Browns, Colts, Jaguars, Packers, Patriots, Vikings.
<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>Bernard Berrian, WR, Bears (@ARI): He has scored a TD in 4 of his 5 G this season, and has topped 89 yards receiving 3 times so far. He leads the NFL with 5 receptions of 40+ yards, and is the leading WR in fantasy points (66). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Broncos defense (OAK): The Broncos have allowed only 1 TD all season, fewest in the league, and their 8.5 points allowed per G rank them 2nd. Plus, they've won 6 of their last 7 G at home (postseason incl.), allowing only 69 points combined. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Marc Bulger, QB, Rams (SEA): He has the longest active streak for consecutive pass attempts without an interception (214), and has averaged 285.7 passing yards with 6 TDs in his last 3 G. He has 9 TDs in his last 6 G during the error-free streak. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Joey Galloway, WR, Buccaneers (CIN): He has 2 100-yard receiving G and 2 TDs in his last 3 G, with 14 receptions for 279 yards and 2 TDs in those contests. He also has 6 100-yard receiving G and 12 TDs in his last 18 regular-season G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Terry Glenn, WR, Cowboys (HOU): He has 16 receptions for 209 yards and 3 TDs in his last 3 G, and 37 receptions for 622 yards and 6 TDs in his last 9 G. He also has 4+ receptions in 12 of his last 19 G, and 60+ receiving yards in 11 of his last 19 G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Todd Heap, TE, Ravens (CAR): He has 6 TDs in his last 8 G, and 4+ receptions in 7 of his last 9 G. Also, in his last 11 regular-season G, he has 51 receptions for 545 yards (10.7 average) and 8 TDs, catching at least 2 passes in each of those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Steven Jackson, RB, Rams (SEA): He's the NFL leader in scrimmage yards (649) and is tied for the lead in rushing yards (465). He also has 3 100-yard rushing G, 776 rushing yards, 1,001 scrimmage yards and 3 TDs in his last 10 G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles (@NO): He has passed for 288+ yards and 2+ TDs in each of his 5 G this year, and has averaged 320.4 passing yards with 11 TDs and 1 interception in those contests. He also leads all players in fantasy points (133). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Willie Parker, RB, Steelers (KC): He has 4 100-yard rushing G in his last 6 G, and in those contests, he has 128 carries for 590 yards (4.6 average) and 4 TDs. He has also rushed for 190 yards and 3 TDs in his last 2 G, scoring at least once in each. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Ravens defense (CAR): The Ravens have yet to allow more than 14 points in a G this season, and rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense (219.6 yards per G). They're also tied for 1st in interceptions (9), and rank 2nd in total turnovers (14). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: QB Rex Grossman has quickly become a reliable fantasy option, but it's as much due to his own success as it is his rapport with Berrian. For so long as these two continue to perform as top-10 players at their respective positions, they're must-starts regardless of the matchup. ... Defense is winning more fantasy teams than normal this season, and if there's going to be a shutout this week, the Raiders-Broncos game at Denver is as good a bet as any. The Broncos aren't earning many fantasy points on turnovers, but they won't hurt you in the points allowed category. ... With most defenses focusing their attention on WR Terrell Owens, Glenn has been left open much more often than expected this season. He's one of the most underappreciated fantasy WRs so far, and should explode against the terrible Houston secondary. </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>Mark Clayton, WR, Ravens (CAR): He has been held without a TD reception in his last 6 G, and he has only 20 receptions for 186 yards and no scores in 5 G this season. Fortunately, though, he has been targeted 32 times during that span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Alge Crumpler, TE, Falcons (NYG): He has been held without a TD in each of his last 3 G, and has only 1 TD in his last 9 G, during which time he has 26 receptions for 372 yards. He has been targeted 18 times in his last 2 G, however. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Joe Horn, WR, Saints (PHI): He has yet to catch a TD pass this season, and has averaged 3.8 receptions and 54.2 receiving yards in 5 G. He actually hasn't caught a single TD pass in his last 15 G, with only 53 catches for 705 yards during that span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders (@DEN): He has only 1 TD in 4 G this season, and has been held to 71 yards or fewer rushing in 6 of his last 9 G. During that span, he has 165 carries for 639 yards (3.9 per carry, 71.0 per G) and 3 TDs. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Jamal Lewis, RB, Ravens (CAR): He has 30 carries for 77 yards (2.6 average) in his last 2 G, and has been held without a TD in his last 4 G. He has been held to fewer than 90 rushing yards in 14 of his last 16 G, averaging 61.5 yards per G in those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Keenan McCardell, WR, Chargers (@SF): He has yet to catch a TD pass in 4 G this season, and has failed to score in his last 6 G overall. He has only 10 receptions for 113 yards in his 4 G, and he has been targeted only 13 times during that span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Steve McNair, QB, Ravens (CAR): He has passed for 323 yards, 2 TDs and 5 interceptions in his last 2 G, and he has 6 interceptions compared to 4 TDs in his last 4 G. He has averaged 187.0 passing yards with 7 TDs and 8 interceptions in his last 9 G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers (KC): He has 2+ interceptions in his last 3 G, and has averaged 189.7 passing yards with 0 TDs and 7 interceptions in those contests. He also has 12 interceptions in his last 8 G, dating back to Week 17 of 2005. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Seahawks defense (@STL): The Seahawks have allowed 67 points and 699 net yards in their last 2 G, and they failed to record a turnover in Week 4 against the Bears. They currently rank 21st among defenses in fantasy points (24) this season. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Hines Ward, WR, Steelers (KC): In 3 G since Roethlisberger's return to the lineup, Ward has 8 receptions for 95 yards and 0 TDs. Fortunately, however, he has been targeted 25 times during that span. He also has only 2 TDs in his last 7 regular-season G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: Three Ravens make the cold list, and I expect them to stay there this week against an underappreciated Panthers defense. Granted, Baltimore's poor recent numbers have been fueled partially by a tough schedule, but they could also be attributed to McNair's problems heading up the offense of late. ... WR Marques Colston has been QB Drew Brees' preferred target this season, and with Horn's slump dating back to the middle of last season, he's at best a matchups option now. This isn't a good one for him, either. ... Jordan could quickly become a non-factor on Sunday if the Broncos mount an early lead. At least he's catching enough passes to be a useful No. 2 or flex option most weeks, and most of his owners have to use him, but I wouldn't expect big things. ... Roethlisberger doesn't belong near a fantasy lineup until he has a standout game. (And by standout, I'd be talking multiple TD passes and 200-plus yards.) </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>Laveranues Coles, WR, Jets (MIA): He has a TD catch in 3 consecutive G vs. the Dolphins, with 13 catches for 183 yards and 3 TDs in those contests. He also has 32 receptions for 451 yards and 7 TDs in 8 career G vs. the Dolphins. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Warrick Dunn, RB, Falcons (NYG): He has 37 carries for 247 yards (6.7 average) and a TD in his last 2 G vs. the Giants. He has also averaged 93.0 rushing yards, 109.7 scrimmage yards and has 2 total TDs in his last 10 home G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Darrell Jackson, WR, Seahawks (@STL): He has 34 receptions for 514 yards and 6 TDs in 8 career G vs. the Rams (postseason incl.). He also had 12 receptions for 128 yards and a TD in his last G vs. the Rams, in the 2005 postseason (1/8/05). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Randy Moss, WR, Raiders (@DEN): He has 21 receptions for 310 yards and 1 TD in his last 3 G vs. the Broncos. He also has 4+ receptions in each of his last 4 G vs. AFC West foes, with 22 receptions for 280 yards and 1 TD in those contests. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys (HOU): He has 8 100-yard receiving efforts, 118 receptions and 13 TDs, and has averaged 102.1 receiving yards per G in 17 career G vs. AFC foes. He has scored a TD in 5 of his last 6 contests against AFC foes. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals (@TB): He has is a perfect 6-0 in 6 career GS vs. NFC foes, and has passed for 3 TDs in each of his last 4 G against them. In those contests, he averaged 254.3 passing yards with 12 TDs and 4 interceptions. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Chad Pennington, QB, Jets (MIA): He's 30-for-49 passing (61.2 percent) for 190 yards, 5 TDs and 0 interceptions in his last 2 G vs. the Dolphins. He has also averaged 216.2 passing yards with 17 TDs and 8 interceptions in his last 11 home G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (OAK): He has averaged 201.7 passing yards with 8 TDs and 4 interceptions, while rushing for 112 yards and 2 TDs, in 6 G vs. the Raiders as a member of the Broncos (2003-06). He has also averaged 236.4 passing yards with 36 TDs and 16 interceptions in 24 home G during that same span. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins (TEN): In his last 6 G vs. AFC foes, he has averaged 92.8 rushing yards and 126.3 scrimmage yards with 3 TDs. He has also averaged 94.3 rushing yards with 11 TDs in 17 home G as a member of the Redskins (2004-06). </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Rod Smith, WR, Broncos (OAK): He has 10 TD in his career vs. the Raiders, his most against any opponent. He also has 12 receptions for 240 yards and 2 TDs in his last 3 G vs. them, including 7 catches for 190 yards and 1 TD in 2 home G. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>TRISTAN'S TAKE: Even with the Seahawks using a fair share of four-receiver threats, it's clear Jackson is still QB Matt Hasselbeck's preferred target. Seattle-St. Louis should be a shoot-out, meaning this should be one of Jackson's better games of the year. ... If anything can cure Owens' funk, it's a matchup against the Texans. Houston's secondary lacks the speed to keep up with receivers of his talent. ... The next couple of days are a fine time to buy low on Palmer, who has gotten off to a sluggish start this season, at least fantasy-wise. He's still a top-five QB at worst, though, and should begin the slow road back to that status with this week's game. ... I'd actually argue that Portis' matchup against the Titans vaults him to the top of the RB rankings for Week 6. It's that favorable. </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): No games. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Cold temperatures (40 degrees or lower): Bills at Lions could be in the low 40s. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Hot temperatures (80 degrees or higher): Bengals at Buccaneers and Bears at Cardinals could be in the low 80s. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Weatherproof games (safest playing conditions): Bills at Lions (Ford Field), Giants at Falcons (Georgia Dome), Eagles at Saints (Superdome), Seahawks at Rams (Edward Jones Dome) and Bears at Cardinals (Cardinals Stadium). </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>David Akers, Eagles (@NO): 8 G, 64.3 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 5.50 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Morten Andersen, Falcons (NYG): 91 G, 81.1 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 7.15 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Josh Brown, Seahawks (@STL): 7 G, 73.7 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 7.86 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>John Carney, Saints (PHI): 60 G, 86.2 FGpct, 99.2 XPTpct, 8.05 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Jay Feely, Giants (@ATL): 41 G, 76.7 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 7.00 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Robbie Gould, Bears (@ARI): 3 G, 100.0 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 8.00 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Jason Hanson, Lions (BUF): 121 G, 84.0 FGpct, 99.2 XPTpct, 6.80 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Rian Lindell, Bills (@DET): 4 G, 66.7 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 5.25 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Neil Rackers, Cardinals (CHI): 15 G, 91.3 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 6.07 ppg. </TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #dedede"><TD>Jeff Wilkins, Rams (SEA): 95 G, 83.4 FGpct, 100.0 XPTpct, 7.66 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 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Oct. 12, 2006, 4:15 PM
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Week 6: Engel's Mailbag


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Kevin, Boston: On my team I have Ronnie Brown, LaMont Jordan, Randy Moss, and Chris Cooley. Even with Jordan and Moss playing on the Raiders, I have stuck with all four players due to their enormous potential. Is it time to start finding ways to trade them or should I hold onto them and prey for a quick turn around?
Engel: Name value, past production, and potential to rebound at this time of year are not major factors anymore after five weeks. We know who is likely to produce and who is unlikely to rebound, as in Oakland's players. You can't depend on Jordan and Moss. Cooley is clearly a disappointment. Only Brown, who can post decent yardage numbers and score a respectable amount of TDs, can remain in your starting lineup. You're not going to get much for the other three on the trade market. And there's not much hope any of them will turn things around any time soon. What you need to do is package Jordan and Moss with other players in separate deals that can bring you new starters. You need to overhaul your roster if you want to entertain any real thoughts of a turnaround. No one is going to take Moss alone and give you much, but if you can offer another top player with him, maybe you can work a two-for-two deal that brings you a better WR. Or, you can target underperforming players who have a better chance of rebounding. Now is the time to buy low on Chad Johnson and Shaun Alexander if possible. Offering Jordan and a WR better than Moss if you have it could bring you a Johnson type in return, along with another RB who might get fewer touches than Jordan, but could have more upside. Of course, you'll have to find a team in your league with clear RB needs who has the depth to move a WR better than Moss.
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER height="1" width="8" type="block"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]The FFL Mailbag has the answers you need! Click here to send FFL questions and comments on players and trends and Scott may answer it in his next mailbag. [/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Greg, Seattle: We have been working on a blockbuster trade in an eight-team league. More than the trade itself, and the players involved, I was hoping for your take on veto etiquette. Both parties accepted the trade, and other teams quickly vetoed. It was my impression that vetoes were to be reserved for grossly unfair trades, and were not to be used in order to block teams from improving themselves. Personally, I think if it is a willing buyer/willing seller, it should go through, barring a huge imbalance. This trade in particular, I have Steven Jackson, Laveranues Coles and Muhsin Muhammad going for Shaun Alexander and Terrell Owens.
Engel: I think the trade was vetoed because the perceived value of Owens and Alexander is still very high, while Jackson has only scored once, Coles is hurting, and Muhammad hasn't been dependable. But Alexander is injured and Owens hasn't performed up to expectations, so I don't personally think the deal is veto worthy. I don't think there is any conspiracy here to prevent either team from improving. But I think the teams that vetoed the deal believe you need to give up more for two guys who still have superstar reputations. Including a WR better than Coles, if you have him, could push the deal through. My views on veto etiquette are that trades should only be vetoed when they are clearly unfair. Where a team is in the standings or what needs either team has doesn't play into whether a trade is fair or not. In your example, I think some minor tinkering to upgrade at WR on your side or a downgrade at WR on the other side could make the deal happen.
Robert, Gainesville, Fla.: I have Rudi Johnson and Clinton Portis at RB. Then I have Ahman Green. Who is a better No. 4 RB going forward: Noah Herron, Ron Dayne, or Cedric Benson? Also, is Jamal Lewis for Antonio Bryant a fair trade?
Engel: Green's health continues to be an issue, so you might be looking at Herron as the obvious replacement and clear No. 3 RB. If Green stays healthy enough to play, Herron won't get enough carries to be a major factor. Dayne is the starter for Houston now, but he's mediocre and could eventually be surpassed by Samkon Gado on the depth chart. Benson will at least get some part-time carries and occasional goal-line chances. He's your best No. 4 option and can outplay Dayne statistically, even with less carries. Herron will be your clear No. 3 RB, or mostly a non-factor. As for the trade, Lewis is mediocre and Bryant is inconsistent. Neither player is dependable for above-average fantasy production. Lewis is ho-hum every week, and Bryant is boom-or-bust. It's fair, but neither team will be getting much of an upgrade, and will just be filling needs with less than-ideal options, it seems.
Kevin, Weymouth, Mass.: I drafted risky this year and it caught up to me fast. Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss, Ronnie Brown, LaMont Jordan, Chris Cooley, and Roy Williams were all in the starting lineup. I also had the good fortune to draft Jake Delhomme as a backup and Chester Taylor. How can I save my season?
Engel: Delhomme and Taylor are going to be respectable starters for you the rest of the way, so you need to surround them with more solid options. You can start by cutting Culpepper and picking up the best available QB on free agency, even if it's just Bruce Gradkowski. Brown and Taylor actually give you a quality backfield duo. It's not a pair of superstars, but you can win with them. Williams should continue to play well if he stays healthy. The key is to get a better No. 2 WR and TE. You can try getting rid of Jordan for a WR, sending one Raider to a team that has clear RB needs. Then you can dump Moss for a decent TE. With a lineup of Delhomme, Brown, Taylor, Williams and a new WR and TE, you should contend for a playoff berth. You might get rid of Jordan or Moss for less than their perceived initial value, but if you fill your two most glaring needs, you'll do just fine. Use the RB to get the WR who is more dependable than Moss, who can bring you at least a decent TE in return.
Chad, Reno, Nev.: When is it a good idea to just accept a loss? For example, in Week 6, I have seven players on a bye, and if Shaun Alexander doesn't come back, then I will have only one available RB in a league that starts two and a flex. Should I just take a loss, try to make a trade, or pick up fill-ins on the wire? My team is fairly solid right now, and I am afraid that by trading or dropping players my long-term success may suffer.
Engel: Such a scenario also applies to many fantasy teams in the sixth week. But you can't worry about the longer term when you need to win now. One certain loss could mean missing the playoffs, by a win or points tiebreaker, and then there will be no future to ultimately plan for. Your opponents could be dealing with the same issues, so you must outwork them on the free agent list. Cut backup kickers or defenses to make extra room on your roster if you have to. Or, you can swing some minor deals. Last week, I picked up Travis Taylor, he scored, and now he's back on free agency. I made a minor deal for Leon Washington that paid off. Don't sacrifice any major players. But make some moves to give yourself the best possible chance to win. Study the matchups and trends, and strengthen your team for one week with nifty pickups and lower-level trades.
Robert, Knoxville, Tenn.: I play in a league that starts three wide receivers. I have Andre Johnson, Muhsin Muhammad, Reggie Brown and Keyshawn Johnson. Which one would you bench this week? I also picked up Reggie Williams. Would he be a must start after his bye over any of these guys? Engel: Andre Johnson is clearly your best starter, and I would never bench him. Brown has been dependable for the most part and will remain Donovan McNabb's No. 1 WR with Donte' Stallworth out, further increasing his value. This week, you have to like Muhammad against Arizona, over Keyshawn, who faces the Ravens. Williams has clearly arrived as a dependable starter, and you can rotate him and Keyhawn each week next to Brown and Andre Johnson. Muhammad shouldn't be used unless he has a good matchup and is needed to fill in for a bye or injury, as is the case this week. If Muhammad has a good outing, you can consider dealing him with Keyshawn to fill another need, or package Brown and Keyshawn to upgrade even more at receiver. If you can find a team with a top WR who need better depth at the No. 2 and 3 spots, you could make a trade to have another outstanding receiver next to Andre Johnson, while making Williams a solid No. 3 WR.
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Oct. 12, 2006, 4:15 PM
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Week 6: Engel's Mailbag


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Kevin, Boston: On my team I have Ronnie Brown, LaMont Jordan, Randy Moss, and Chris Cooley. Even with Jordan and Moss playing on the Raiders, I have stuck with all four players due to their enormous potential. Is it time to start finding ways to trade them or should I hold onto them and prey for a quick turn around?
Engel: Name value, past production, and potential to rebound at this time of year are not major factors anymore after five weeks. We know who is likely to produce and who is unlikely to rebound, as in Oakland's players. You can't depend on Jordan and Moss. Cooley is clearly a disappointment. Only Brown, who can post decent yardage numbers and score a respectable amount of TDs, can remain in your starting lineup. You're not going to get much for the other three on the trade market. And there's not much hope any of them will turn things around any time soon. What you need to do is package Jordan and Moss with other players in separate deals that can bring you new starters. You need to overhaul your roster if you want to entertain any real thoughts of a turnaround. No one is going to take Moss alone and give you much, but if you can offer another top player with him, maybe you can work a two-for-two deal that brings you a better WR. Or, you can target underperforming players who have a better chance of rebounding. Now is the time to buy low on Chad Johnson and Shaun Alexander if possible. Offering Jordan and a WR better than Moss if you have it could bring you a Johnson type in return, along with another RB who might get fewer touches than Jordan, but could have more upside. Of course, you'll have to find a team in your league with clear RB needs who has the depth to move a WR better than Moss.
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER height="1" width="8" type="block"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]The FFL Mailbag has the answers you need! Click here to send FFL questions and comments on players and trends and Scott may answer it in his next mailbag. [/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Greg, Seattle: We have been working on a blockbuster trade in an eight-team league. More than the trade itself, and the players involved, I was hoping for your take on veto etiquette. Both parties accepted the trade, and other teams quickly vetoed. It was my impression that vetoes were to be reserved for grossly unfair trades, and were not to be used in order to block teams from improving themselves. Personally, I think if it is a willing buyer/willing seller, it should go through, barring a huge imbalance. This trade in particular, I have Steven Jackson, Laveranues Coles and Muhsin Muhammad going for Shaun Alexander and Terrell Owens.
Engel: I think the trade was vetoed because the perceived value of Owens and Alexander is still very high, while Jackson has only scored once, Coles is hurting, and Muhammad hasn't been dependable. But Alexander is injured and Owens hasn't performed up to expectations, so I don't personally think the deal is veto worthy. I don't think there is any conspiracy here to prevent either team from improving. But I think the teams that vetoed the deal believe you need to give up more for two guys who still have superstar reputations. Including a WR better than Coles, if you have him, could push the deal through. My views on veto etiquette are that trades should only be vetoed when they are clearly unfair. Where a team is in the standings or what needs either team has doesn't play into whether a trade is fair or not. In your example, I think some minor tinkering to upgrade at WR on your side or a downgrade at WR on the other side could make the deal happen.
Robert, Gainesville, Fla.: I have Rudi Johnson and Clinton Portis at RB. Then I have Ahman Green. Who is a better No. 4 RB going forward: Noah Herron, Ron Dayne, or Cedric Benson? Also, is Jamal Lewis for Antonio Bryant a fair trade?
Engel: Green's health continues to be an issue, so you might be looking at Herron as the obvious replacement and clear No. 3 RB. If Green stays healthy enough to play, Herron won't get enough carries to be a major factor. Dayne is the starter for Houston now, but he's mediocre and could eventually be surpassed by Samkon Gado on the depth chart. Benson will at least get some part-time carries and occasional goal-line chances. He's your best No. 4 option and can outplay Dayne statistically, even with less carries. Herron will be your clear No. 3 RB, or mostly a non-factor. As for the trade, Lewis is mediocre and Bryant is inconsistent. Neither player is dependable for above-average fantasy production. Lewis is ho-hum every week, and Bryant is boom-or-bust. It's fair, but neither team will be getting much of an upgrade, and will just be filling needs with less than-ideal options, it seems.
Kevin, Weymouth, Mass.: I drafted risky this year and it caught up to me fast. Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss, Ronnie Brown, LaMont Jordan, Chris Cooley, and Roy Williams were all in the starting lineup. I also had the good fortune to draft Jake Delhomme as a backup and Chester Taylor. How can I save my season?
Engel: Delhomme and Taylor are going to be respectable starters for you the rest of the way, so you need to surround them with more solid options. You can start by cutting Culpepper and picking up the best available QB on free agency, even if it's just Bruce Gradkowski. Brown and Taylor actually give you a quality backfield duo. It's not a pair of superstars, but you can win with them. Williams should continue to play well if he stays healthy. The key is to get a better No. 2 WR and TE. You can try getting rid of Jordan for a WR, sending one Raider to a team that has clear RB needs. Then you can dump Moss for a decent TE. With a lineup of Delhomme, Brown, Taylor, Williams and a new WR and TE, you should contend for a playoff berth. You might get rid of Jordan or Moss for less than their perceived initial value, but if you fill your two most glaring needs, you'll do just fine. Use the RB to get the WR who is more dependable than Moss, who can bring you at least a decent TE in return.
Chad, Reno, Nev.: When is it a good idea to just accept a loss? For example, in Week 6, I have seven players on a bye, and if Shaun Alexander doesn't come back, then I will have only one available RB in a league that starts two and a flex. Should I just take a loss, try to make a trade, or pick up fill-ins on the wire? My team is fairly solid right now, and I am afraid that by trading or dropping players my long-term success may suffer.
Engel: Such a scenario also applies to many fantasy teams in the sixth week. But you can't worry about the longer term when you need to win now. One certain loss could mean missing the playoffs, by a win or points tiebreaker, and then there will be no future to ultimately plan for. Your opponents could be dealing with the same issues, so you must outwork them on the free agent list. Cut backup kickers or defenses to make extra room on your roster if you have to. Or, you can swing some minor deals. Last week, I picked up Travis Taylor, he scored, and now he's back on free agency. I made a minor deal for Leon Washington that paid off. Don't sacrifice any major players. But make some moves to give yourself the best possible chance to win. Study the matchups and trends, and strengthen your team for one week with nifty pickups and lower-level trades.
Robert, Knoxville, Tenn.: I play in a league that starts three wide receivers. I have Andre Johnson, Muhsin Muhammad, Reggie Brown and Keyshawn Johnson. Which one would you bench this week? I also picked up Reggie Williams. Would he be a must start after his bye over any of these guys? Engel: Andre Johnson is clearly your best starter, and I would never bench him. Brown has been dependable for the most part and will remain Donovan McNabb's No. 1 WR with Donte' Stallworth out, further increasing his value. This week, you have to like Muhammad against Arizona, over Keyshawn, who faces the Ravens. Williams has clearly arrived as a dependable starter, and you can rotate him and Keyhawn each week next to Brown and Andre Johnson. Muhammad shouldn't be used unless he has a good matchup and is needed to fill in for a bye or injury, as is the case this week. If Muhammad has a good outing, you can consider dealing him with Keyshawn to fill another need, or package Brown and Keyshawn to upgrade even more at receiver. If you can find a team with a top WR who need better depth at the No. 2 and 3 spots, you could make a trade to have another outstanding receiver next to Andre Johnson, while making Williams a solid No. 3 WR.
</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 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Thursday, October 12, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Fix Your Flex


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

<!-- begin presby2 -->
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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->It often becomes a difficult decision to pick who to start between two players of similar value at the same position. In many leagues, it's even more challenging to decide who to start between players at two different positions. The "flex" position offers fantasy players more options than at another position, but also raises more questions when setting lineups on a regular basis.
In most leagues that feature the flex, the final decision of who to start usually comes down to a running back or wide receiver. When the two players have different values, the decision isn't so difficult. But when they are seemingly close in value, how to choose who to start? Should you use Wes Welker, who can make a lot of catches, especially with Marty Booker out, or Kevin Jones, who is coming off a disappointing performance?
In all cases involving the running back and wide receiver, it comes down to a simple case of who gets more touches. And in the majority of running back versus wide receiver decisions, the running back usually wins. Simply put, running backs are often guaranteed more touches, while wide receivers aren't. Every time a running back takes a handoff, he can produce positive statistics. Wide receivers like Welker might be targeted often, but fantasy players don't get points for targets. If a starting running back only gets 10 carries, that likely means a disappointing day. Ten catches for any receiver is a very productive outing. RBs are guaranteed more touches if they are featured backs, and they will usually get many more chances to gain yardage and score than the average WR involved in a flex decision, who usually isn't a top-15 or even top-20 player at his position.
Any running back who starts for his NFL team and gets regular carries should usually be used over a wide receiver who isn't a top pass catcher for his NFL team. Jones isn't an elite fantasy RB, but he should always get the call over a guy like Welker, who likely won't get anywhere near the amount of touches Jones will in most weeks. Of course, nothing in fantasy football is absolute, and there will be exceptions. It's hard not to start Terry Glenn (vs. Houston) over DeShaun Foster (vs. Baltimore). There are indeed instances where an outstanding matchup for a wide receiver is worth the gamble because of the huge potential for production, when it appears the RB faces a very tough defense and is due for a tough statistical outing.
Another example of when a receiver should be used over the running back is when the RB isn't a regular ball carrier for his team. Players like Jerious Norwood and Marion Barber III are just as risky plays as any wide receiver, because they aren't guaranteed a quality amount of carries. A solid starting wide receiver for an NFL team, such as Javon Walker or Isaac Bruce, should usually be activated over a part-time NFL RB. When making your final flex decision, it always comes down to who will get the most chances to touch the ball and/or score. Starting NFL RBs usually wins out when it comes time to make the final call, but every situation is unique and can be dictated by matchups or where a player appears on his team's depth chart. A starting NFL receiver might not get the call over a starting RB, but he will often get the call over the No. 2 RB on an NFL team. <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
Making the flex decision becomes even more difficult in a week where there are six NFL teams on a bye. It doesn't seem like anyone is going to have an ideal lineup this week, so you simply want to maximize the amount of possible touches and production at every position. In such a week, part-time and backup running backs step to the forefront, and become necessary plays because you know they will at last get a respectable amount of field time. Players like Cedric Benson and LenDale White begrudgingly become starters in a week like this one, because there is a good chance they will get 8-10 touches, and in the case of Benson, they might even score. Using a RB who gets a limited amount of action is a better option than some of the desperation-type WRs you might see on your free agent list. It might seem like a good idea to use Peerless Price or Josh Reed because they face the Lions. But players like Price and Reed waste away on the free-agent list for good reasons. They are a highly risky play against any opponent, and you can bet J.P. Losman will be looking for Lee Evans when it counts most. When you are looking for the desperation flex option this week, the part-time RB should get the call over the wide receiver who has done mostly nothing all year, or will be stepping into a primary role for the first time this season. This is no time to take a chance on Bryant Johnson, especially against Chicago.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Hank Baskett, WR, Eagles
Three receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD

Baskett was one of the big surprises of the preseason, as he went from undrafted free agent, to unwanted in Minnesota, to a possible starter for the Eagles, who acquired him in a trade with the Vikings during the spring. Baskett looked very good in training camp and exhibition play and seemed poised to assume a prime role in a depleted receiving corps. But when the Eagles acquired Donte' Stallworth, Baskett's chance to have the sequel to "Invincible" based on him faded away, as did his playing time. But with Stallworth now battling a hamstring problem, Baskett finally re-emerged to catch an 87-yard TD pass in the emotional win over the Cowboys last week. Baskett's a good free-agent addition as wide receiver insurance in case Stallworth misses more playing time. But he won't be a dependable starter, because Donovan McNabb will continue to spread the ball around a lot. McNabb could easily look for Greg Lewis over Baskett at any time. Baskett makes for a nice story, but that doesn't mean he should be in your lineup after just one outstanding regular-season performance. Lewis caught a pair of TD passes in Week 4, and then disappeared again. The same vanishing numerical act could be pulled by Baskett at any time.
<!--end leftcol --></TD><TD width=15><SPACER height="1" width="15" type="block"></TD><TD class=rightcell vAlign=top width=195><!-- begin rightcol --><!-- begin also see -->TOP LINES
<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 5</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: Has yet to throw an interception, but opportunistic Seattle secondary awaits.</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>220</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>10</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>17</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Travis Henry, RB, Titans: Still has determination, quickness and inside running strength.</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>19</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>123</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>10</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>13</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>Arnaz Battle, WR, 49ers: Good outing was illusion created by bad Oakland defense.</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>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>37</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>15</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Benjamin Watson, TE, Patriots: Hasn't scored yet or met expecations.</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>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>33</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>7</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<!-- end also see -->

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


Training Room
? Chiefs RB Larry Johnson (neck) missed practice on Wednesday, but he is listed as probable, and is expected to work out on Thursday.
? Titans WR Drew Bennett missed practice on Wednesday because of an ankle injury. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Dallas.
? Falcons RB Jerious Norwood (shoulder) is listed as questionable, but he was able to practice on Wednesday, a good indicator that he should be able to play against the Giants.
? Ravens TE Todd Heap (ankle/leg) is listed as questionable, but has been able to play through his injury issues so far this season and has not missed a game yet.
? Lions WR Roy Williams (neck stinger) is now listed as probable for Sunday's game against Buffalo. He was initially considered doubtful. ? Wed Box | Tue Box | Mon 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 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 1 New Article Added 10/11/06)

Thursday, October 12, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Fix Your Flex


<!-- begin bylinebox -->


By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

<!-- begin presby2 -->
<!-- end presby2 -->
<!-- end bylinebox -->
<!-- begin text11 div -->
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=762 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=552><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->It often becomes a difficult decision to pick who to start between two players of similar value at the same position. In many leagues, it's even more challenging to decide who to start between players at two different positions. The "flex" position offers fantasy players more options than at another position, but also raises more questions when setting lineups on a regular basis.
In most leagues that feature the flex, the final decision of who to start usually comes down to a running back or wide receiver. When the two players have different values, the decision isn't so difficult. But when they are seemingly close in value, how to choose who to start? Should you use Wes Welker, who can make a lot of catches, especially with Marty Booker out, or Kevin Jones, who is coming off a disappointing performance?
In all cases involving the running back and wide receiver, it comes down to a simple case of who gets more touches. And in the majority of running back versus wide receiver decisions, the running back usually wins. Simply put, running backs are often guaranteed more touches, while wide receivers aren't. Every time a running back takes a handoff, he can produce positive statistics. Wide receivers like Welker might be targeted often, but fantasy players don't get points for targets. If a starting running back only gets 10 carries, that likely means a disappointing day. Ten catches for any receiver is a very productive outing. RBs are guaranteed more touches if they are featured backs, and they will usually get many more chances to gain yardage and score than the average WR involved in a flex decision, who usually isn't a top-15 or even top-20 player at his position.
Any running back who starts for his NFL team and gets regular carries should usually be used over a wide receiver who isn't a top pass catcher for his NFL team. Jones isn't an elite fantasy RB, but he should always get the call over a guy like Welker, who likely won't get anywhere near the amount of touches Jones will in most weeks. Of course, nothing in fantasy football is absolute, and there will be exceptions. It's hard not to start Terry Glenn (vs. Houston) over DeShaun Foster (vs. Baltimore). There are indeed instances where an outstanding matchup for a wide receiver is worth the gamble because of the huge potential for production, when it appears the RB faces a very tough defense and is due for a tough statistical outing.
Another example of when a receiver should be used over the running back is when the RB isn't a regular ball carrier for his team. Players like Jerious Norwood and Marion Barber III are just as risky plays as any wide receiver, because they aren't guaranteed a quality amount of carries. A solid starting wide receiver for an NFL team, such as Javon Walker or Isaac Bruce, should usually be activated over a part-time NFL RB. When making your final flex decision, it always comes down to who will get the most chances to touch the ball and/or score. Starting NFL RBs usually wins out when it comes time to make the final call, but every situation is unique and can be dictated by matchups or where a player appears on his team's depth chart. A starting NFL receiver might not get the call over a starting RB, but he will often get the call over the No. 2 RB on an NFL team. <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
Making the flex decision becomes even more difficult in a week where there are six NFL teams on a bye. It doesn't seem like anyone is going to have an ideal lineup this week, so you simply want to maximize the amount of possible touches and production at every position. In such a week, part-time and backup running backs step to the forefront, and become necessary plays because you know they will at last get a respectable amount of field time. Players like Cedric Benson and LenDale White begrudgingly become starters in a week like this one, because there is a good chance they will get 8-10 touches, and in the case of Benson, they might even score. Using a RB who gets a limited amount of action is a better option than some of the desperation-type WRs you might see on your free agent list. It might seem like a good idea to use Peerless Price or Josh Reed because they face the Lions. But players like Price and Reed waste away on the free-agent list for good reasons. They are a highly risky play against any opponent, and you can bet J.P. Losman will be looking for Lee Evans when it counts most. When you are looking for the desperation flex option this week, the part-time RB should get the call over the wide receiver who has done mostly nothing all year, or will be stepping into a primary role for the first time this season. This is no time to take a chance on Bryant Johnson, especially against Chicago.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Hank Baskett, WR, Eagles
Three receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD

Baskett was one of the big surprises of the preseason, as he went from undrafted free agent, to unwanted in Minnesota, to a possible starter for the Eagles, who acquired him in a trade with the Vikings during the spring. Baskett looked very good in training camp and exhibition play and seemed poised to assume a prime role in a depleted receiving corps. But when the Eagles acquired Donte' Stallworth, Baskett's chance to have the sequel to "Invincible" based on him faded away, as did his playing time. But with Stallworth now battling a hamstring problem, Baskett finally re-emerged to catch an 87-yard TD pass in the emotional win over the Cowboys last week. Baskett's a good free-agent addition as wide receiver insurance in case Stallworth misses more playing time. But he won't be a dependable starter, because Donovan McNabb will continue to spread the ball around a lot. McNabb could easily look for Greg Lewis over Baskett at any time. Baskett makes for a nice story, but that doesn't mean he should be in your lineup after just one outstanding regular-season performance. Lewis caught a pair of TD passes in Week 4, and then disappeared again. The same vanishing numerical act could be pulled by Baskett at any time.
<!--end leftcol --></TD><TD width=15><SPACER height="1" width="15" type="block"></TD><TD class=rightcell vAlign=top width=195><!-- begin rightcol --><!-- begin also see -->TOP LINES
<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 5</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: Has yet to throw an interception, but opportunistic Seattle secondary awaits.</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>220</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>10</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>17</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Travis Henry, RB, Titans: Still has determination, quickness and inside running strength.</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>19</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>123</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>10</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>13</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>Arnaz Battle, WR, 49ers: Good outing was illusion created by bad Oakland defense.</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>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>37</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>15</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Benjamin Watson, TE, Patriots: Hasn't scored yet or met expecations.</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>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>33</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>7</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<!-- end also see -->

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


Training Room
? Chiefs RB Larry Johnson (neck) missed practice on Wednesday, but he is listed as probable, and is expected to work out on Thursday.
? Titans WR Drew Bennett missed practice on Wednesday because of an ankle injury. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Dallas.
? Falcons RB Jerious Norwood (shoulder) is listed as questionable, but he was able to practice on Wednesday, a good indicator that he should be able to play against the Giants.
? Ravens TE Todd Heap (ankle/leg) is listed as questionable, but has been able to play through his injury issues so far this season and has not missed a game yet.
? Lions WR Roy Williams (neck stinger) is now listed as probable for Sunday's game against Buffalo. He was initially considered doubtful. ? Wed Box | Tue Box | Mon Box | Karabell's Blog





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<!-- begin MarketingLogo --><!-- end MarketingLogo --><!-- begin multimedia --><!-- end multimedia -->
<!-- start font tool --><!-- end font tool--><!-- end rightcol --></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Friday game by game


posted: Friday, October 13, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


I've seen too many e-mails this week from fantasy football owners panicking about the fact there are six teams on bye this week. While I won't go so far as to say when you draft your team back in August you should make key decisions based on bye weeks, you should at least consider them to some degree, but never use them as a crutch.

I do pay attention to bye weeks when I draft, and maybe it breaks a tie between two players I look at for round eight, but the point is, this isn't the week to complain, as if there is a good time. Are both your starting RBs off this week, say Chester Taylor and Corey Dillon? Did you have a backup QB for when Peyton Manning had to sit? Really, I've heard so many complaints about this week, but who is really off that is killing your fantasy team? Only a pair of top 10 quarterbacks from draft day, a few timeshares at running back, you couldn't prepare for this? Week 3 was worse with two of fantasy's top three picks!
Next week is the only other time six teams will be on bye, and it's another week that shouldn't kill fantasy teams too much. Oh sure, you'll miss the top two defenses, and Robbie Gould owners will need to replace their kicker, but there's no QB you can't live without. The top two running backs for yards (Steven Jackson, Frank Gore) won't play, but you'll live.
The point is, bye weeks are hardly an excuse for losing a fantasy football matchup. It's lame. Sure, I've had to pick up a free agent or two for this week, but losing Reuben Droughns and Donald Driver is no big deal. Take a look now at future bye weeks and make sure your bench is stocked for the occasion. Why is Dom Davis still owned in so many leagues?
So, only 13 games to break down this week. Let's go.
Rams 23, Seahawks 20: I know what you're thinking, that the Seahawks are the defending NFC champs, they're coming off a bye and they swept the Rams last season. So what? It's a different team now, and the offensive line isn't the same. The running back isn't the same (this week, anyway). And assuming that a team coming off a bye plays better is wrong. All evidence proves there's no difference.
The Rams, meanwhile, are underrated. Records after five weeks can be misleading, and while the Rams are 4-1 but could easily be 2-3, this is an improved team. Marc Bulger is a fantasy start every week now, so are Steven Jackson and Torry Holt.
Who's a must play on Seattle? I'd expect two touchdowns from Matt Hasselbeck, maybe one to each of the starting wide receivers. Yep, I'd use Deion Branch, even though the Rams have played well defensively (except the Lions game). Maurice Morris should get 15 carries, but he's still not recommended.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, S.Jackson, all four starting WRs
You can do better: Morris
Giants 24, Falcons 16: First of all, Eli Manning is good for a touchdown or more every week. His streak stands at eight straight games, which doesn't seem like much, but it is. Second, there's got to be some urgency with this team. Unlike Seattle, they've been embarrassed this season. They're in a tougher division. They hate their coach. I can see the Giants coming out strong. Tough schedule or not, this is a quality team.
Michael Vick is a top five fantasy quarterback so far, and as long as he keeps on running, he'll stay that way. No, his passing stats aren't special, but he gets the total yards. You just have to change the way you look at him. If you own him, he's worth playing. Quarterbacks move the ball on the Giants. Just avoid the Atlanta wide receivers. Some of you are waiting for Ashley Lelie to break out. I don't see it coming anytime soon, not in this offense.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, starting RBs, Plaxico Burress
You can do better: Atlanta WRs, Jerious Norwood
Cowboys 38, Texans 24: Do you really think Drew Bledsoe is a bad quarterback? I don't. He has a few games like the Philly one every season, the problem is he's already got two games with three interceptions and the bye outta the way, so his totals aren't good at all. But he's not the 27th best QB in the league, no matter what his rating is. If you own Bledsoe and think you need to sign a Bruce Gradkowski or Jon Kitna for this week, I don't agree. Bledsoe has a big game, one of the biggest for quarterbacks this week, and so does Terrell Owens. How many teams have more to prove than Dallas?
How is David Carr the best quarterback in the NFL for passer rating? It doesn't hurt when you get to play while trailing. Carr did play well in these games, including the win over the Dolphins, and he's a worthy foe for a Dallas defense that got lit up by big plays last week. I'd play Carr and Andre Johnson, arguably one of the top three QB-WR combos in the game this season.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, Julius Jones, Terry Glenn, Owens, A.Johnson
You can do better: Houston RBs
Bills 31, Lions 10: I'd like to give the Lions a win at some point, but I can't do it this week. I've been paying close attention to Buffalo for awhile, because I keep waiting for J.P. Losman to have his decent play show up in the stats. This is the week. Detroit is so easy to pass on, watch Losman top 200 yards and get two scores. And Willis McGahee, to me, is a weekly play. He is third in the NFL in rushing yards. Touchdowns drive the bus in fantasy, and McGahee will get his, maybe seven or eight this season, maybe two in this game.
This could be it for Jon Kitna, who would take the fall for the team's winless start. In reality, Kitna is second in the NFL in passing yards. That's not bad? He's also second in sacks, and the No. 1 guy has already been benched (Daunte Culpepper). Don't run out and sign backup Josh McCown. He'll have the same problems.
Worthy plays: Losman, McGahee, Lee Evans, Roy Williams (if he plays)
You can do better: Kitna, Kevin Jones (he might not play as well)
Eagles 34, Saints 30: We know the Eagles are going to score. They're scoring on everyone. Are the 4-1 Saints legit? I think they are, with enough offensive weapons to make big plays and keep the team in games. Drew Brees has played well, Deuce McAllister has run well and Marques Colston has caught well.
As for Reggie Bush, my stance hasn't changed. He was a good play the first month as well as last week. It took the punt return touchdown to show fantasy owners that he can break a big play at any time. Why can't he do something like this again this week, but on a screen pass? He can. To me, you don't choose who to play in fantasy based on stats alone. You also look at their potential to make a little play into a big one. Bush can do that. Assume the rushing yards won't be there, but five or six receptions at a minimum, and maybe he breaks one.
Ultimately, it's tough to pick against Philly the way it moves the ball. Just be careful about their wide receivers. Donovan McNabb is just as likely to pick one you don't have active. Is Hank Baskett going to catch an 87-yarder again? I guess he could, but I doubt it.
Worthy plays: McNabb, Brian Westbrook (he'll play), Reggie Brown, Brees, both Saints RBs, Colston
You can do better: Other Philly WRs, Joe Horn
Bengals 27, Buccaneers 17: Like the Cincy-Cleveland game from earlier this season, you've got the powerful Bengals offense ready to explode, and the other team led by the young quarterback trying to stay in the game. Give Bruce Gradkowski credit for a fine Week 5 game, and he could do it again. In fact, the Bucs should move the ball. Carnell Williams should get decent yardage, but the Bucs seem to make silly mistakes. The Bucs are a team that constantly produces fantasy questions. The answers are, play Cadillac and Joey Galloway always, and consider Gradkowski an occasional play.
Worried about Carson Palmer and pals on the road? Not a bit. And don't take Chad Johnson out of the lineup. Yes, he's not doing much. No, we won't be having this one-sided conversation next week.
Worthy plays: All Bengals, Cadillac, Galloway
You can do better: Gradkowski
Redskins 27, Titans 3: I know the Redskins got walloped last week, and the Titans are showing signs of progress. But I can see Mark Brunell really enjoying this one, like he did against the Texans a few weeks back. Do the Titans play decent defense? It seems like it, but those who watched Peyton Manning struggle against them say a lot of it was Peyton's fault. I'll go with that.
Vince Young and Travis Henry are not to be relied on in fantasy this week. The Colts can't stop the run. The Redskins can. I've seen in a number of leagues already how Henry has been passed up for other running back backups, like Michael Turner and Correll Buckhalter. Honestly, Ladell Betts might be a better play for when the Redskins are up big and go to their backup.
Worthy plays: Brunell, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss
You can do better: Titans, Betts
Panthers 16, Ravens 9: I don't see why this game will be much different than the Monday night game in Denver. The Ravens don't move the ball enough. If Tatum Bell doesn't fumble that ball early on, would Baltimore have scored? Carolina has played better of late, they have more weapons. Sit your Ravens again.
But play your Panthers in the right spots, even though I don't expect a big game for Jake Delhomme or many points. You never sit Steve Smith. He's had big games before against top defenses. He only needs one big play to make it worth your while. I'd play DeShaun Foster, too. He's going to get all the carries with DeAngelo Williams out.
Worthy plays: Foster, S.Smith
You can do better: Delhomme, all Ravens, except Matt Stover!
Dolphins 27, Jets 20: Joey Harrington should get noticed after this one, though it might be a bit misleading. Even with one good game, and I think he will be good, he's going to remain largely inconsistent this season. Ronnie Brown and his owners should enjoy themselves, and I'd even go with underachieving Chris Chambers.
The Leon Washington pickup you made this week might work out, but then again, the Jets do intend to give Kevan Barlow the start and the majority of the carries. Why? Did you think Leon was the next Larry Johnson? I wouldn't play either Jets RB this week, but do expect Chad Pennington and his receivers to be pretty good. Last week's Jets game, just write it off.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, R.Brown, Chambers, Wes Welker, Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery
You can do better: Jets RBs
Steelers 23, Chiefs 17: I think it's too bad football fans are giving up on Ben Roethlisberger. Sure, he hasn't looked good, and he has reasons to look that way, but I just think he needs more time and the opportunity to face a lesser defense. This is the week. He's not an obvious play, but not the worst one. He's going to throw a touchdown pass.
Heard some rumors this week about Trent Green, both positive and negative, some that he'd be back any week now, others that his season was over. I don't know what to believe, but I do know that Damon Huard has played very well, leading the team to a few wins and throwing nary an interception. Impressive, eh? Even against the Steelers Huard can have success. Philip Rivers did.
Will Larry Johnson play? I guess this will be a popular topic Sunday morning, but I think he will.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, starting RBs, Hines Ward, Eddie Kennison
You can do better: Nobody really. How about Tony Gonzalez?
Chargers 35, 49ers 17: Time to grab Michael Turner. LaDainian Tomlinson owners think they have a right to complain about their top pick, but it could be far worse. Try owning Shaun Alexander! What's he going to deliver this week? LT is not going to be overused, especially when few backs with six years experience have this much mileage on the tires. The Chargers are thriving and Turner is an asset. Marty Schottenheimer doesn't care about your fantasy team, he likes splitting the carries. Regardless, LT remains a solid play every week, but Turner's not a bad option at all for the 49ers.
Frank Gore is tied for the league lead in rushing yards, and while there's still some concern about who will get the goal line carries for this team, Gore could certainly look a lot like Tiki Barber and get to double digit touchdowns even if he doesn't get the one-yard plunges. Alex Smith has been a consistent fantasy performer except for one nasty game, getting 15, 15, 16 and 17 points. I'd use him here but, ultimately, expect the Chargers to run with ease and make Smith play while trailing.
Worthy plays: Philip Rivers, both SD RBs, A.Smith, Gore
You can do better: All WRs
Broncos 28, Raiders 10: Looks like the prime time games this weekend might not be the most compelling. The Raiders are arguably the worst team in football, and Denver doesn't allow points. Now how are the Raiders going to win? I'm not sure I'd even play the top Raiders, so to speak, in LaMont Jordan and Randy Moss. Not a good week ahead.
Tatum Bell is going to run wild. Really wild. And the schedule is kind for the next few weeks after as well.
Worthy plays: T.Bell, Jake Plummer, Javon Walker, Rod Smith
You can do better: M.Bell, all Raiders
Bears 30, Cardinals 13: I think Matt Leinart is a worthy fantasy addition, but I wouldn't play him this week. What more do we need to see about teams playing the Bears? The QBs run for their lives. Running games are stuffed. Wide receivers do not make big plays. Points do not get scored. Sit your Cardinals, including the guy tied for the No. 10 spot among running backs this season, Edgerrin James. Yeah, you thought he was much worse than that, didn't you? Well, this is not that bad. But he's not likely to still be in the top 10 next week.
Rex Grossman should be good for two more scores, probably one to the No. 1 receiver in fantasy, Bernard Berrian. In one of my leagues, which is played off-line, most owners assumed Berrian had already been signed. He hadn't. Got picked up yesterday. Thomas Jones is a good bet to top 100 yards and while I understand why some owners would flat out dump Cedric Benson, this isn't the week to do it. Watch him score again and then you could try to deal him. This is going to be Jones' job all year, but Benson has a Michael Turner type matchup and could get 10 fourth-quarter carries alone.
Worthy plays: Bears
You can do better: Cardinals other than Anquan Boldin, a play every week. OK, everyone have a nice weekend and we'll be back blogging on Sunday morning with the latest news from the fantasy football world. Remember we do the Fantasy Focus on ESPN Radio every Sunday morning live from 7-9 a.m. ET, and you can ask questions there. Plus, Scott Engel holds a chat session from 11-12 ET, and there's the Will Carroll ESPN Motion segments filmed on Sunday mornings as well. See you then.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Friday game by game


posted: Friday, October 13, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


I've seen too many e-mails this week from fantasy football owners panicking about the fact there are six teams on bye this week. While I won't go so far as to say when you draft your team back in August you should make key decisions based on bye weeks, you should at least consider them to some degree, but never use them as a crutch.

I do pay attention to bye weeks when I draft, and maybe it breaks a tie between two players I look at for round eight, but the point is, this isn't the week to complain, as if there is a good time. Are both your starting RBs off this week, say Chester Taylor and Corey Dillon? Did you have a backup QB for when Peyton Manning had to sit? Really, I've heard so many complaints about this week, but who is really off that is killing your fantasy team? Only a pair of top 10 quarterbacks from draft day, a few timeshares at running back, you couldn't prepare for this? Week 3 was worse with two of fantasy's top three picks!
Next week is the only other time six teams will be on bye, and it's another week that shouldn't kill fantasy teams too much. Oh sure, you'll miss the top two defenses, and Robbie Gould owners will need to replace their kicker, but there's no QB you can't live without. The top two running backs for yards (Steven Jackson, Frank Gore) won't play, but you'll live.
The point is, bye weeks are hardly an excuse for losing a fantasy football matchup. It's lame. Sure, I've had to pick up a free agent or two for this week, but losing Reuben Droughns and Donald Driver is no big deal. Take a look now at future bye weeks and make sure your bench is stocked for the occasion. Why is Dom Davis still owned in so many leagues?
So, only 13 games to break down this week. Let's go.
Rams 23, Seahawks 20: I know what you're thinking, that the Seahawks are the defending NFC champs, they're coming off a bye and they swept the Rams last season. So what? It's a different team now, and the offensive line isn't the same. The running back isn't the same (this week, anyway). And assuming that a team coming off a bye plays better is wrong. All evidence proves there's no difference.
The Rams, meanwhile, are underrated. Records after five weeks can be misleading, and while the Rams are 4-1 but could easily be 2-3, this is an improved team. Marc Bulger is a fantasy start every week now, so are Steven Jackson and Torry Holt.
Who's a must play on Seattle? I'd expect two touchdowns from Matt Hasselbeck, maybe one to each of the starting wide receivers. Yep, I'd use Deion Branch, even though the Rams have played well defensively (except the Lions game). Maurice Morris should get 15 carries, but he's still not recommended.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, S.Jackson, all four starting WRs
You can do better: Morris
Giants 24, Falcons 16: First of all, Eli Manning is good for a touchdown or more every week. His streak stands at eight straight games, which doesn't seem like much, but it is. Second, there's got to be some urgency with this team. Unlike Seattle, they've been embarrassed this season. They're in a tougher division. They hate their coach. I can see the Giants coming out strong. Tough schedule or not, this is a quality team.
Michael Vick is a top five fantasy quarterback so far, and as long as he keeps on running, he'll stay that way. No, his passing stats aren't special, but he gets the total yards. You just have to change the way you look at him. If you own him, he's worth playing. Quarterbacks move the ball on the Giants. Just avoid the Atlanta wide receivers. Some of you are waiting for Ashley Lelie to break out. I don't see it coming anytime soon, not in this offense.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, starting RBs, Plaxico Burress
You can do better: Atlanta WRs, Jerious Norwood
Cowboys 38, Texans 24: Do you really think Drew Bledsoe is a bad quarterback? I don't. He has a few games like the Philly one every season, the problem is he's already got two games with three interceptions and the bye outta the way, so his totals aren't good at all. But he's not the 27th best QB in the league, no matter what his rating is. If you own Bledsoe and think you need to sign a Bruce Gradkowski or Jon Kitna for this week, I don't agree. Bledsoe has a big game, one of the biggest for quarterbacks this week, and so does Terrell Owens. How many teams have more to prove than Dallas?
How is David Carr the best quarterback in the NFL for passer rating? It doesn't hurt when you get to play while trailing. Carr did play well in these games, including the win over the Dolphins, and he's a worthy foe for a Dallas defense that got lit up by big plays last week. I'd play Carr and Andre Johnson, arguably one of the top three QB-WR combos in the game this season.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, Julius Jones, Terry Glenn, Owens, A.Johnson
You can do better: Houston RBs
Bills 31, Lions 10: I'd like to give the Lions a win at some point, but I can't do it this week. I've been paying close attention to Buffalo for awhile, because I keep waiting for J.P. Losman to have his decent play show up in the stats. This is the week. Detroit is so easy to pass on, watch Losman top 200 yards and get two scores. And Willis McGahee, to me, is a weekly play. He is third in the NFL in rushing yards. Touchdowns drive the bus in fantasy, and McGahee will get his, maybe seven or eight this season, maybe two in this game.
This could be it for Jon Kitna, who would take the fall for the team's winless start. In reality, Kitna is second in the NFL in passing yards. That's not bad? He's also second in sacks, and the No. 1 guy has already been benched (Daunte Culpepper). Don't run out and sign backup Josh McCown. He'll have the same problems.
Worthy plays: Losman, McGahee, Lee Evans, Roy Williams (if he plays)
You can do better: Kitna, Kevin Jones (he might not play as well)
Eagles 34, Saints 30: We know the Eagles are going to score. They're scoring on everyone. Are the 4-1 Saints legit? I think they are, with enough offensive weapons to make big plays and keep the team in games. Drew Brees has played well, Deuce McAllister has run well and Marques Colston has caught well.
As for Reggie Bush, my stance hasn't changed. He was a good play the first month as well as last week. It took the punt return touchdown to show fantasy owners that he can break a big play at any time. Why can't he do something like this again this week, but on a screen pass? He can. To me, you don't choose who to play in fantasy based on stats alone. You also look at their potential to make a little play into a big one. Bush can do that. Assume the rushing yards won't be there, but five or six receptions at a minimum, and maybe he breaks one.
Ultimately, it's tough to pick against Philly the way it moves the ball. Just be careful about their wide receivers. Donovan McNabb is just as likely to pick one you don't have active. Is Hank Baskett going to catch an 87-yarder again? I guess he could, but I doubt it.
Worthy plays: McNabb, Brian Westbrook (he'll play), Reggie Brown, Brees, both Saints RBs, Colston
You can do better: Other Philly WRs, Joe Horn
Bengals 27, Buccaneers 17: Like the Cincy-Cleveland game from earlier this season, you've got the powerful Bengals offense ready to explode, and the other team led by the young quarterback trying to stay in the game. Give Bruce Gradkowski credit for a fine Week 5 game, and he could do it again. In fact, the Bucs should move the ball. Carnell Williams should get decent yardage, but the Bucs seem to make silly mistakes. The Bucs are a team that constantly produces fantasy questions. The answers are, play Cadillac and Joey Galloway always, and consider Gradkowski an occasional play.
Worried about Carson Palmer and pals on the road? Not a bit. And don't take Chad Johnson out of the lineup. Yes, he's not doing much. No, we won't be having this one-sided conversation next week.
Worthy plays: All Bengals, Cadillac, Galloway
You can do better: Gradkowski
Redskins 27, Titans 3: I know the Redskins got walloped last week, and the Titans are showing signs of progress. But I can see Mark Brunell really enjoying this one, like he did against the Texans a few weeks back. Do the Titans play decent defense? It seems like it, but those who watched Peyton Manning struggle against them say a lot of it was Peyton's fault. I'll go with that.
Vince Young and Travis Henry are not to be relied on in fantasy this week. The Colts can't stop the run. The Redskins can. I've seen in a number of leagues already how Henry has been passed up for other running back backups, like Michael Turner and Correll Buckhalter. Honestly, Ladell Betts might be a better play for when the Redskins are up big and go to their backup.
Worthy plays: Brunell, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss
You can do better: Titans, Betts
Panthers 16, Ravens 9: I don't see why this game will be much different than the Monday night game in Denver. The Ravens don't move the ball enough. If Tatum Bell doesn't fumble that ball early on, would Baltimore have scored? Carolina has played better of late, they have more weapons. Sit your Ravens again.
But play your Panthers in the right spots, even though I don't expect a big game for Jake Delhomme or many points. You never sit Steve Smith. He's had big games before against top defenses. He only needs one big play to make it worth your while. I'd play DeShaun Foster, too. He's going to get all the carries with DeAngelo Williams out.
Worthy plays: Foster, S.Smith
You can do better: Delhomme, all Ravens, except Matt Stover!
Dolphins 27, Jets 20: Joey Harrington should get noticed after this one, though it might be a bit misleading. Even with one good game, and I think he will be good, he's going to remain largely inconsistent this season. Ronnie Brown and his owners should enjoy themselves, and I'd even go with underachieving Chris Chambers.
The Leon Washington pickup you made this week might work out, but then again, the Jets do intend to give Kevan Barlow the start and the majority of the carries. Why? Did you think Leon was the next Larry Johnson? I wouldn't play either Jets RB this week, but do expect Chad Pennington and his receivers to be pretty good. Last week's Jets game, just write it off.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, R.Brown, Chambers, Wes Welker, Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery
You can do better: Jets RBs
Steelers 23, Chiefs 17: I think it's too bad football fans are giving up on Ben Roethlisberger. Sure, he hasn't looked good, and he has reasons to look that way, but I just think he needs more time and the opportunity to face a lesser defense. This is the week. He's not an obvious play, but not the worst one. He's going to throw a touchdown pass.
Heard some rumors this week about Trent Green, both positive and negative, some that he'd be back any week now, others that his season was over. I don't know what to believe, but I do know that Damon Huard has played very well, leading the team to a few wins and throwing nary an interception. Impressive, eh? Even against the Steelers Huard can have success. Philip Rivers did.
Will Larry Johnson play? I guess this will be a popular topic Sunday morning, but I think he will.
Worthy plays: Both QBs, starting RBs, Hines Ward, Eddie Kennison
You can do better: Nobody really. How about Tony Gonzalez?
Chargers 35, 49ers 17: Time to grab Michael Turner. LaDainian Tomlinson owners think they have a right to complain about their top pick, but it could be far worse. Try owning Shaun Alexander! What's he going to deliver this week? LT is not going to be overused, especially when few backs with six years experience have this much mileage on the tires. The Chargers are thriving and Turner is an asset. Marty Schottenheimer doesn't care about your fantasy team, he likes splitting the carries. Regardless, LT remains a solid play every week, but Turner's not a bad option at all for the 49ers.
Frank Gore is tied for the league lead in rushing yards, and while there's still some concern about who will get the goal line carries for this team, Gore could certainly look a lot like Tiki Barber and get to double digit touchdowns even if he doesn't get the one-yard plunges. Alex Smith has been a consistent fantasy performer except for one nasty game, getting 15, 15, 16 and 17 points. I'd use him here but, ultimately, expect the Chargers to run with ease and make Smith play while trailing.
Worthy plays: Philip Rivers, both SD RBs, A.Smith, Gore
You can do better: All WRs
Broncos 28, Raiders 10: Looks like the prime time games this weekend might not be the most compelling. The Raiders are arguably the worst team in football, and Denver doesn't allow points. Now how are the Raiders going to win? I'm not sure I'd even play the top Raiders, so to speak, in LaMont Jordan and Randy Moss. Not a good week ahead.
Tatum Bell is going to run wild. Really wild. And the schedule is kind for the next few weeks after as well.
Worthy plays: T.Bell, Jake Plummer, Javon Walker, Rod Smith
You can do better: M.Bell, all Raiders
Bears 30, Cardinals 13: I think Matt Leinart is a worthy fantasy addition, but I wouldn't play him this week. What more do we need to see about teams playing the Bears? The QBs run for their lives. Running games are stuffed. Wide receivers do not make big plays. Points do not get scored. Sit your Cardinals, including the guy tied for the No. 10 spot among running backs this season, Edgerrin James. Yeah, you thought he was much worse than that, didn't you? Well, this is not that bad. But he's not likely to still be in the top 10 next week.
Rex Grossman should be good for two more scores, probably one to the No. 1 receiver in fantasy, Bernard Berrian. In one of my leagues, which is played off-line, most owners assumed Berrian had already been signed. He hadn't. Got picked up yesterday. Thomas Jones is a good bet to top 100 yards and while I understand why some owners would flat out dump Cedric Benson, this isn't the week to do it. Watch him score again and then you could try to deal him. This is going to be Jones' job all year, but Benson has a Michael Turner type matchup and could get 10 fourth-quarter carries alone.
Worthy plays: Bears
You can do better: Cardinals other than Anquan Boldin, a play every week. OK, everyone have a nice weekend and we'll be back blogging on Sunday morning with the latest news from the fantasy football world. Remember we do the Fantasy Focus on ESPN Radio every Sunday morning live from 7-9 a.m. ET, and you can ask questions there. Plus, Scott Engel holds a chat session from 11-12 ET, and there's the Will Carroll ESPN Motion segments filmed on Sunday mornings as well. See you then.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Friday, October 13, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Stopgap Seven: Week 6


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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.)
Broncos defense (OAK): Though the Broncos haven't been earning their fantasy teams bonus points for turnovers much this season, they did manage three interceptions in Week 5. Denver dominates at home, so this could be an ugly effort from Oakland.
Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks (@STL): Though Morris was a must-avoid in Week 4 against the Bears, he should be in for a much better game against the Rams. Expect somewhere in the ballpark of 15-17 carries, perhaps 80-plus yards and a score.
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (@SF): Though I'm not the biggest believer in Rivers, since San Diego averages only 26.8 pass attempts a game (third fewest in the NFL), this is a fantastic matchup for him. San Francisco's defense puts little pressure on opposing QBs.
Alex Smith, TE, Buccaneers (CIN): Bruce Gradkowski did throw effectively enough to his deep threats in Week 5, but it's clear he's going to target Smith pretty often. The Bengals, incidentally, have allowed 24 catches and 2 TDs to tight ends in four games.
Michael Turner, RB, Chargers (@SF): The Chargers shouldn't have much trouble racking up points at San Francisco, so there's no need for them to push LaDainian Tomlinson too hard. Turner should get double-digit carries facing this favorable matchup.
Leon Washington, RB, Jets (MIA): He's coming off a 23-carry, 101-yard rushing effort in Week 5, and could soon lay claim to the starting RB role. Washington might be the best fit on the roster, and I'd play him expecting he'll be inspired for a breakout game.
Wes Welker, WR, Dolphins (@NYJ): Though he was once more appealing for his special-teams play, Welker is finally getting in quality work in the passing game, as new QB Joey Harrington targeted him 12 times in Week 5. He's well worth No. 3/4 consideration. <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 6: Steer clear of both of the quarterbacks in the Panthers-Ravens affair in Baltimore, as those are two quality defenses, the Ravens' Steve McNair has looked awfully shaky of late, and the Panthers' Jake Delhomme generally struggles to move the ball effectively in road contests against stiff defenses. ... I'd also avoid almost anyone on the Oakland roster, as it could be quite an ugly game at Denver this week. Most notably, RB LaMont Jordan, while too good for most owners to sit, should be in for another disappointment. Keep in mind that in his last nine road games, he has 160 carries for 511 yards (3.2 per carry, 56.8 per game) and no scores. ... Cardinals RB Edgerrin James goes up against the Bears' defense, the league's No. 3 defense overall (234.6 yards per game allowed) and No. 1 in terms of points per game allowed (7.2). With his shaky offensive line and a rookie QB in Matt Leinart still adjusting to life in the NFL, James should be in for a quiet Monday Night performance. ... Steelers WR Hines Ward has seen his numbers suffer terribly as a result of QB Ben Roethlisberger's poor performance of late. He has gone three straight games without a touchdown, and seems likely to extend that streak against an underrated Kansas City secondary. ... It's a wise move to pick up Cardinals WR Bryant Johnson in the hopes he can step up with better numbers in Weeks 7-8, but for Week 6, steer clear of him against the Bears. (Think of this as a similar strategy to picking up RB Maurice Morris before the week he faced Chicago.)


THE BOTTOM LINE
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-->Mike Bell, RB, Broncos
Cedric Benson, RB, Bears
Daunte Culpepper, QB, Dolphins
It's time to give up on these guys!

There comes a point to the fantasy football season, usually right around now, five or six weeks into the year, when it comes time to let go of those prime preseason picks. Sure, players like Bell, Benson and Culpepper are tough to cut since they were likely fifth-to-seventh round picks for your team, but after the quarter point to the season, draft status is irrelevant. What is relevant with these three is that their stock has slipped to the point where it's one battle for them to return to starting status in the NFL, and entirely another for them to become useful fantasy commodities again. Bell, who unfortunately lost his chance to start due to a finger injury early in the season, is now buried deep enough on the depth chart that he has only fringe value as a handcuff to Tatum Bell. Benson, who entered the preseason the Bears' starting running back, is only getting garbage-time carries, and not enough of them at that. Culpepper, whom many believed was due for a bounce-back year, has performed so poorly that Joey Harrington has overtaken him for his starting job. Don't hold out hope that any of these three have fantasy potential for the season's second half, because they'd either need an injury to a starter or a surprise turnaround for that to happen. We're deep enough in the season where it's better to use their roster spots on a useful pickup than hang onto them hoping for more impressive numbers down the road.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 5</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Rex Grossman, QB, Bears: He has passed for 232+ yards and/or 2+ TDs in each of his 5 G this season</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>182</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>15</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints: Has 61 carries for 334 yds and 1 TD, and 7 catches for 37 yds, in last 3 home 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>15</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>123</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>8</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>18</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>Hank Baskett, WR, Eagles: He'll be an interesting No. 3/4 if Donte' Stallworth (hamstring) sits again as expected</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>112</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>19</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Ernie Conwell, TE, Saints: Decent game, but has only 11 catches for 80 yards and 1 TD in his last 10 G</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>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>14</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>7</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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


Trainer's Room
? Titans WR Drew Bennett (ankle) missed a portion of Thursday's practice and is questionable for Week 6. Considering he has only two receptions for 10 yards in his last two games, Bennett is someone to avoid this week anyway.
? Jets WR Laveranues Coles (calf) was limited in practice on Thursday and is questionable for Week 6 against the Dolphins. He might hang around the injury report the next several weeks, but so long as he's cleared to play before Sunday, keep him active.
? Seahawks WR Bobby Engram (flu) missed Thursday's practice and is questionable for Week 6. If he's forced to sit out, it'd clear up a bit of Seattle receiving logjam, since TE Jerramy Stevens is due back this week, but WR Nate Burleson would presumably be the one who steps up as the No. 3 man.
? Ravens TE Todd Heap (ankle) was limited in practice on Thursday and is questionable for Week 6 against the Panthers. He has been on the injury report before this season and has yet to miss a game, so while he bears watching, he should be fine for this week. In fact, he might be the best fantasy option on Baltimore's roster.
? Lions WR Roy Williams (neck) missed a second consecutive day of practice on Thursday, though both times, he has been absent for personal reasons, not the injury. He hasn't been downgraded for Week 6 at Buffalo, however, and is expected to practice Friday and play on Sunday, in which case he'd be a must-start. ? Thu Box | Wed 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 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Friday, October 13, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Stopgap Seven: Week 6


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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.)
Broncos defense (OAK): Though the Broncos haven't been earning their fantasy teams bonus points for turnovers much this season, they did manage three interceptions in Week 5. Denver dominates at home, so this could be an ugly effort from Oakland.
Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks (@STL): Though Morris was a must-avoid in Week 4 against the Bears, he should be in for a much better game against the Rams. Expect somewhere in the ballpark of 15-17 carries, perhaps 80-plus yards and a score.
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (@SF): Though I'm not the biggest believer in Rivers, since San Diego averages only 26.8 pass attempts a game (third fewest in the NFL), this is a fantastic matchup for him. San Francisco's defense puts little pressure on opposing QBs.
Alex Smith, TE, Buccaneers (CIN): Bruce Gradkowski did throw effectively enough to his deep threats in Week 5, but it's clear he's going to target Smith pretty often. The Bengals, incidentally, have allowed 24 catches and 2 TDs to tight ends in four games.
Michael Turner, RB, Chargers (@SF): The Chargers shouldn't have much trouble racking up points at San Francisco, so there's no need for them to push LaDainian Tomlinson too hard. Turner should get double-digit carries facing this favorable matchup.
Leon Washington, RB, Jets (MIA): He's coming off a 23-carry, 101-yard rushing effort in Week 5, and could soon lay claim to the starting RB role. Washington might be the best fit on the roster, and I'd play him expecting he'll be inspired for a breakout game.
Wes Welker, WR, Dolphins (@NYJ): Though he was once more appealing for his special-teams play, Welker is finally getting in quality work in the passing game, as new QB Joey Harrington targeted him 12 times in Week 5. He's well worth No. 3/4 consideration. <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 6: Steer clear of both of the quarterbacks in the Panthers-Ravens affair in Baltimore, as those are two quality defenses, the Ravens' Steve McNair has looked awfully shaky of late, and the Panthers' Jake Delhomme generally struggles to move the ball effectively in road contests against stiff defenses. ... I'd also avoid almost anyone on the Oakland roster, as it could be quite an ugly game at Denver this week. Most notably, RB LaMont Jordan, while too good for most owners to sit, should be in for another disappointment. Keep in mind that in his last nine road games, he has 160 carries for 511 yards (3.2 per carry, 56.8 per game) and no scores. ... Cardinals RB Edgerrin James goes up against the Bears' defense, the league's No. 3 defense overall (234.6 yards per game allowed) and No. 1 in terms of points per game allowed (7.2). With his shaky offensive line and a rookie QB in Matt Leinart still adjusting to life in the NFL, James should be in for a quiet Monday Night performance. ... Steelers WR Hines Ward has seen his numbers suffer terribly as a result of QB Ben Roethlisberger's poor performance of late. He has gone three straight games without a touchdown, and seems likely to extend that streak against an underrated Kansas City secondary. ... It's a wise move to pick up Cardinals WR Bryant Johnson in the hopes he can step up with better numbers in Weeks 7-8, but for Week 6, steer clear of him against the Bears. (Think of this as a similar strategy to picking up RB Maurice Morris before the week he faced Chicago.)


THE BOTTOM LINE
<!--

-->Mike Bell, RB, Broncos
Cedric Benson, RB, Bears
Daunte Culpepper, QB, Dolphins
It's time to give up on these guys!

There comes a point to the fantasy football season, usually right around now, five or six weeks into the year, when it comes time to let go of those prime preseason picks. Sure, players like Bell, Benson and Culpepper are tough to cut since they were likely fifth-to-seventh round picks for your team, but after the quarter point to the season, draft status is irrelevant. What is relevant with these three is that their stock has slipped to the point where it's one battle for them to return to starting status in the NFL, and entirely another for them to become useful fantasy commodities again. Bell, who unfortunately lost his chance to start due to a finger injury early in the season, is now buried deep enough on the depth chart that he has only fringe value as a handcuff to Tatum Bell. Benson, who entered the preseason the Bears' starting running back, is only getting garbage-time carries, and not enough of them at that. Culpepper, whom many believed was due for a bounce-back year, has performed so poorly that Joey Harrington has overtaken him for his starting job. Don't hold out hope that any of these three have fantasy potential for the season's second half, because they'd either need an injury to a starter or a surprise turnaround for that to happen. We're deep enough in the season where it's better to use their roster spots on a useful pickup than hang onto them hoping for more impressive numbers down the road.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 5</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Rex Grossman, QB, Bears: He has passed for 232+ yards and/or 2+ TDs in each of his 5 G this season</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>182</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>15</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints: Has 61 carries for 334 yds and 1 TD, and 7 catches for 37 yds, in last 3 home 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>15</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>123</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>8</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>18</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>Hank Baskett, WR, Eagles: He'll be an interesting No. 3/4 if Donte' Stallworth (hamstring) sits again as expected</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>112</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>19</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Ernie Conwell, TE, Saints: Decent game, but has only 11 catches for 80 yards and 1 TD in his last 10 G</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>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>14</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>7</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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


Trainer's Room
? Titans WR Drew Bennett (ankle) missed a portion of Thursday's practice and is questionable for Week 6. Considering he has only two receptions for 10 yards in his last two games, Bennett is someone to avoid this week anyway.
? Jets WR Laveranues Coles (calf) was limited in practice on Thursday and is questionable for Week 6 against the Dolphins. He might hang around the injury report the next several weeks, but so long as he's cleared to play before Sunday, keep him active.
? Seahawks WR Bobby Engram (flu) missed Thursday's practice and is questionable for Week 6. If he's forced to sit out, it'd clear up a bit of Seattle receiving logjam, since TE Jerramy Stevens is due back this week, but WR Nate Burleson would presumably be the one who steps up as the No. 3 man.
? Ravens TE Todd Heap (ankle) was limited in practice on Thursday and is questionable for Week 6 against the Panthers. He has been on the injury report before this season and has yet to miss a game, so while he bears watching, he should be fine for this week. In fact, he might be the best fantasy option on Baltimore's roster.
? Lions WR Roy Williams (neck) missed a second consecutive day of practice on Thursday, though both times, he has been absent for personal reasons, not the injury. He hasn't been downgraded for Week 6 at Buffalo, however, and is expected to practice Friday and play on Sunday, in which case he'd be a must-start. ? Thu Box | Wed 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 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Oct. 13, 2006, 5:13 PM
Week 6: Fantasy Matchups


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Every week, we preview all of 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.
Buffalo at Detroit: It will be difficult for the Lions to control the ball with the running game, as RG Damien Woody (foot) is out, and<!--##FRONTSTOP##--> LG Ross Verba (hamstring) and RT Rex Tucker (knee) are listed as questionable. Kevin Jones will have to fight hard for yardage, and Jon Kitna could be forced into several adverse passing situations that result in big hits, sacks and turnovers. Willis McGahee also could have trouble finding many openings against a stiff Detroit run defense early, but he'll eventually start to see some running room later in the game and should score. An efficient passing game should take some of the focus off McGahee. J.P. Losman will connect with Lee Evans often, and veteran Peerless Price will get some important looks against a very vulnerable Lions secondary.
Start and Smile: Lee Evans
Watch and Worry: Jon Kitna
Carolina at Baltimore: It will be a major struggle for the Panthers to get their running game established, which means Jake Delhomme could face heavy pass pressure, especially on third downs. No defense can contain Steve Smith, but don't expect great production from him, and receiving partner Keyshawn Johnson won't get open often. The Panthers are without injured MLB Dan Morgan again, so Steve McNair will try to exploit the middle with a healthy amount of tosses to TE Todd Heap and WR Derrick Mason, who isn't afraid of making the tough catch. This won't be a high-scoring affair, as Ravens RB Jamal Lewis really doesn't have the explosion to challenge the Panthers' front seven. McNair won't throw more than two TD passes, but he's a good bye week filler and should outperform Delhomme.
Start and Smile: Todd Heap
Watch and Worry: Jake Delhomme, DeShaun Foster, Keyshawn Johnson
Cincinnati at Tampa Bay: Carnell Williams should be a major factor here, as he is looking healthy again, and the Buccaneers will want to control the ball and take pressure off rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski, who will play conservatively against an opportunistic Cincinnati secondary. Williams should roll up some good yardage numbers against a suspect Bengals' run defense, and while Gradkowski should locate Joey Galloway on key downs, the young passer will only deliver limited statistics. DE Simeon Rice is battling a shoulder injury, and is listed as questionable. That can only weaken a Tampa Bay pass rush that won't be too effective against a solid offensive line, and Carson Palmer will have much time to throw and locate Chad Johnson. Kelley Washington is a good emergency start as he steps in for the suspended Chris Henry as a third receiver. Rudi Johnson should bang his way to good numbers in the second half as the Bengals protect a sizable lead.
Start and Smile: Carnell Williams, Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson
Watch and Worry: Gradkowski
Houston at Dallas: This one seems simple enough from the Dallas perspective. The Texans won't offer enough of a pass rush, so Drew Bledsoe will have time to throw, and should locate Terry Glenn often. The Texans might be too concerned with Terrell Owens, which leave Glenn and TE Jason Witten as Bledsoe's preferred targets. Julius Jones will see a lot of open running room, especially in the second half, and Marion Barber III will score at least once from short range. The Texans will have to throw often to keep pace, and David Carr will throw more than one TD pass, but also will be intercepted more than once. Andre Johnson should get loose for more than one big play, but RB Ron Dayne will be a non-factor again as the Texans abandon the run while trying to stay with the Cowboys on the scoreboard.
Start and Smile: Drew Bledsoe, Julius Jones, Terry Glenn, Jason Witten, Andre Johnson
Watch and Worry: Ron Dayne
Kansas City at Pittsburgh: The Chiefs will be careful not to overwork Larry Johnson after he suffered a neck injury last week, and Damon Huard likely will exhibit a controlled passing game that features more of TE Tony Gonzalez, but Kansas City will sputter often on offense. The Steelers will continue to struggle with the passing game, as CB Ty Law locks up Hines Ward, who will have another disappointing outing. Ben Roethlisberger will continue to have trouble locating open receivers. Willie Parker, however, will challenge the Kansas City LBs with his speed on the edges, and should be good for at least one TD run.
Start and Smile: Tony Gonzalez, Willie Parker
Watch and Worry: Damon Huard, Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward
Miami at N.Y. Jets: The Dolphins don't want to put too much on the shoulders of Joey Harrington, so expect Ronnie Brown to carry often and get in the end zone at least once. When Harrington does go to the air, he tendss to telegraph his reads at times, so some passes intended for Wes Welker will be possible turnovers, but Welker should still finish with solid numbers. Jets RB Leon Washington could have some trouble finding open running room against the physical Miami front seven, but you can still look for him to break a big play or two on screen or flat passes. Chad Pennington will take quick drops and attack the Miami secondary with an efficient short passing game. Laveranues Coles is banged up, so expect Jerricho Cotchery to be Pennington's best pass-catcher.
Start and Smile: Ronnie Brown, Jerricho Cotchery
Watch and Worry: Joey Harrington
N.Y. Giants at Atlanta: Giants WR Plaxico Burress could be limited in yardage against CB DeAngelo Hall, but he could still use his height to catch a short TD pass. With Hall able to cover Burress effectively one-on-one, Amani Toomer could face some extra defensive attention. Eli Manning might be limited to more underneath throws and could look for Tiki Barber often on flat and swing passes. Manning should throw more than one TD pass, but his yardage numbers won't be outstanding. The Giants will be primed to contain the Atlanta running game, and Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood could have much trouble finding open running room. Michael Vick could break off a few good gains, but he doesn't have the receiving weapons to challenge the New York secondary.
Start and Smile: Tiki Barber
Watch and Worry: Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood
Oakland at Denver The Broncos should have an easy day running the ball, and Tatum Bell should rip off more than one long run and score at least once. Jake Plummer won't have to be overworked, but he will be effective, and look for him to throw more than one TD pass, one to veteran Rod Smith. The Raiders will have to abandon the running game early as they fall far behind. Andrew Walter will throw more than one interception, and CB Champ Bailey will keep Randy Moss in check. When Walter isn't on his back, his best receiving option should be WR Ronald Curry.
Start and Smile: Jake Plummer, Tatum Bell, Javon Walker, Rod Smith
Watch and Worry: LaMont Jordan, Randy Moss
Philadelphia at New Orleans: Even though the Eagles will be without Donte' Stallworth again, Philly will rely heavily on their passing game against a vulnerable New Orleans secondary. Donovan McNabb will throw at least two TD passes, one to TE L.J. Smith. As for the wide receivers, only Reggie Brown is dependable. The Saints will respond with heavy doses of Deuce McAllister, who should help the Saints control time of possession and stay in the game. Reggie Bush will continue to draw a crowd any time he touches the ball, and Joe Horn won't be much a factor now that issues are less of an issue in the Philadelphia secondary.
Start and Smile: Reggie Brown, L.J. Smith, Deuce McAllister
Watch and Worry: You never know which Philly WR other than Brown will play well when Stallworth is out, so don't depend on Hank Baskett or Greg Lewis.
San Diego at San Francisco: There is a buzz among some of the San Diego players that they would like to see Philip Rivers throw the ball more, and you could see him open things up more this week. That means Antonio Gates will get a lot of looks, and Keenan McCardell will come back to life statistically. Malcolm Floyd has also become a preferred red zone target for Rivers. The Chargers could shut down Frank Gore early, and Alex Smith will come down from his good outing last week against the Raiders. Smith will turn the ball over more than once, and Antonio Bryant will produce limited numbers, while Arnaz Battle disappears.
Start and Smile: Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates
Watch and Worry: Alex Smith, Antonio Bryant, Arnaz Battle.
Seattle at St. Louis: Rams CB Fakhir Brown (ankle) is questionable, giving the Seahawks even more reason to attack the St. Louis secondary. Matt Hasselbeck will take quick drops and hit Darrell Jackson and Deion Branch often. Maurice Morris won't post great yardage numbers, but a fine passing game will give him a chance to score in the red zone. The Rams will respond with Steven Jackson, who has given the speedy, but not always physical, Seattle front seven some problems in the past. Jackson should sail past the 100-yard mark and score at least once. Marc Bulger hasn't thrown an interception yet this season, but an opportunistic Seattle secondary should pick him off more than once, while limiting WR Isaac Bruce to only underneath catches.
Start and Smile: Matt Hasselbeck, Darrell Jackson, Deion Branch, Steven Jackson
Watch and Worry: Isaac Bruce
Tennessee at Washington: The Titans are dealing with several key injuries on offense, but expect Travis Henry to continue to run well as he tries to carry a sorry team on his back. The Titans are without an injured David Givens, and Drew Bennett is hurting, so Vince Young will have to scramble often and won't do much statistically. The Titans will try to shut down Clinton Portis early, but he'll bust loose for some longer runs in the second half. Mark Brunell will have success throwing both underneath and over the top, and he should connect with Santana Moss for more than one TD pass. Even against the Titans, though, no other Washington receiver is dependable.
Start and Smile: Travis Henry, Mark Brunell, Santana Moss
Watch and Worry: Vince Young Chicago at Arizona: You can see how this one will go. Rex Grossman will attack the Arizona secondary with deep shots to Bernard Berrian, and at least one mid-range TD to Mushin Muhammad. Thomas Jones will be fired up to face his former team and should score at least once, and Cedric Benson will run it in once during garbage time. The Bears will make Edgerrin James a non-factor early, and rookie QB Matt Leinart will be in for a long night with minimal run support and no Larry Fitzgerald. Anquan Boldin, however, should pad his stats well in garbage time.
Start and Smile: Rex Grossman, Thomas Jones, Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhammad
Watch and Worry: Matt Leinart, Edgerrin James
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Oct. 13, 2006, 5:13 PM
Week 6: Fantasy Matchups


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

By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Every week, we preview all of 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.
Buffalo at Detroit: It will be difficult for the Lions to control the ball with the running game, as RG Damien Woody (foot) is out, and<!--##FRONTSTOP##--> LG Ross Verba (hamstring) and RT Rex Tucker (knee) are listed as questionable. Kevin Jones will have to fight hard for yardage, and Jon Kitna could be forced into several adverse passing situations that result in big hits, sacks and turnovers. Willis McGahee also could have trouble finding many openings against a stiff Detroit run defense early, but he'll eventually start to see some running room later in the game and should score. An efficient passing game should take some of the focus off McGahee. J.P. Losman will connect with Lee Evans often, and veteran Peerless Price will get some important looks against a very vulnerable Lions secondary.
Start and Smile: Lee Evans
Watch and Worry: Jon Kitna
Carolina at Baltimore: It will be a major struggle for the Panthers to get their running game established, which means Jake Delhomme could face heavy pass pressure, especially on third downs. No defense can contain Steve Smith, but don't expect great production from him, and receiving partner Keyshawn Johnson won't get open often. The Panthers are without injured MLB Dan Morgan again, so Steve McNair will try to exploit the middle with a healthy amount of tosses to TE Todd Heap and WR Derrick Mason, who isn't afraid of making the tough catch. This won't be a high-scoring affair, as Ravens RB Jamal Lewis really doesn't have the explosion to challenge the Panthers' front seven. McNair won't throw more than two TD passes, but he's a good bye week filler and should outperform Delhomme.
Start and Smile: Todd Heap
Watch and Worry: Jake Delhomme, DeShaun Foster, Keyshawn Johnson
Cincinnati at Tampa Bay: Carnell Williams should be a major factor here, as he is looking healthy again, and the Buccaneers will want to control the ball and take pressure off rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski, who will play conservatively against an opportunistic Cincinnati secondary. Williams should roll up some good yardage numbers against a suspect Bengals' run defense, and while Gradkowski should locate Joey Galloway on key downs, the young passer will only deliver limited statistics. DE Simeon Rice is battling a shoulder injury, and is listed as questionable. That can only weaken a Tampa Bay pass rush that won't be too effective against a solid offensive line, and Carson Palmer will have much time to throw and locate Chad Johnson. Kelley Washington is a good emergency start as he steps in for the suspended Chris Henry as a third receiver. Rudi Johnson should bang his way to good numbers in the second half as the Bengals protect a sizable lead.
Start and Smile: Carnell Williams, Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson
Watch and Worry: Gradkowski
Houston at Dallas: This one seems simple enough from the Dallas perspective. The Texans won't offer enough of a pass rush, so Drew Bledsoe will have time to throw, and should locate Terry Glenn often. The Texans might be too concerned with Terrell Owens, which leave Glenn and TE Jason Witten as Bledsoe's preferred targets. Julius Jones will see a lot of open running room, especially in the second half, and Marion Barber III will score at least once from short range. The Texans will have to throw often to keep pace, and David Carr will throw more than one TD pass, but also will be intercepted more than once. Andre Johnson should get loose for more than one big play, but RB Ron Dayne will be a non-factor again as the Texans abandon the run while trying to stay with the Cowboys on the scoreboard.
Start and Smile: Drew Bledsoe, Julius Jones, Terry Glenn, Jason Witten, Andre Johnson
Watch and Worry: Ron Dayne
Kansas City at Pittsburgh: The Chiefs will be careful not to overwork Larry Johnson after he suffered a neck injury last week, and Damon Huard likely will exhibit a controlled passing game that features more of TE Tony Gonzalez, but Kansas City will sputter often on offense. The Steelers will continue to struggle with the passing game, as CB Ty Law locks up Hines Ward, who will have another disappointing outing. Ben Roethlisberger will continue to have trouble locating open receivers. Willie Parker, however, will challenge the Kansas City LBs with his speed on the edges, and should be good for at least one TD run.
Start and Smile: Tony Gonzalez, Willie Parker
Watch and Worry: Damon Huard, Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward
Miami at N.Y. Jets: The Dolphins don't want to put too much on the shoulders of Joey Harrington, so expect Ronnie Brown to carry often and get in the end zone at least once. When Harrington does go to the air, he tendss to telegraph his reads at times, so some passes intended for Wes Welker will be possible turnovers, but Welker should still finish with solid numbers. Jets RB Leon Washington could have some trouble finding open running room against the physical Miami front seven, but you can still look for him to break a big play or two on screen or flat passes. Chad Pennington will take quick drops and attack the Miami secondary with an efficient short passing game. Laveranues Coles is banged up, so expect Jerricho Cotchery to be Pennington's best pass-catcher.
Start and Smile: Ronnie Brown, Jerricho Cotchery
Watch and Worry: Joey Harrington
N.Y. Giants at Atlanta: Giants WR Plaxico Burress could be limited in yardage against CB DeAngelo Hall, but he could still use his height to catch a short TD pass. With Hall able to cover Burress effectively one-on-one, Amani Toomer could face some extra defensive attention. Eli Manning might be limited to more underneath throws and could look for Tiki Barber often on flat and swing passes. Manning should throw more than one TD pass, but his yardage numbers won't be outstanding. The Giants will be primed to contain the Atlanta running game, and Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood could have much trouble finding open running room. Michael Vick could break off a few good gains, but he doesn't have the receiving weapons to challenge the New York secondary.
Start and Smile: Tiki Barber
Watch and Worry: Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood
Oakland at Denver The Broncos should have an easy day running the ball, and Tatum Bell should rip off more than one long run and score at least once. Jake Plummer won't have to be overworked, but he will be effective, and look for him to throw more than one TD pass, one to veteran Rod Smith. The Raiders will have to abandon the running game early as they fall far behind. Andrew Walter will throw more than one interception, and CB Champ Bailey will keep Randy Moss in check. When Walter isn't on his back, his best receiving option should be WR Ronald Curry.
Start and Smile: Jake Plummer, Tatum Bell, Javon Walker, Rod Smith
Watch and Worry: LaMont Jordan, Randy Moss
Philadelphia at New Orleans: Even though the Eagles will be without Donte' Stallworth again, Philly will rely heavily on their passing game against a vulnerable New Orleans secondary. Donovan McNabb will throw at least two TD passes, one to TE L.J. Smith. As for the wide receivers, only Reggie Brown is dependable. The Saints will respond with heavy doses of Deuce McAllister, who should help the Saints control time of possession and stay in the game. Reggie Bush will continue to draw a crowd any time he touches the ball, and Joe Horn won't be much a factor now that issues are less of an issue in the Philadelphia secondary.
Start and Smile: Reggie Brown, L.J. Smith, Deuce McAllister
Watch and Worry: You never know which Philly WR other than Brown will play well when Stallworth is out, so don't depend on Hank Baskett or Greg Lewis.
San Diego at San Francisco: There is a buzz among some of the San Diego players that they would like to see Philip Rivers throw the ball more, and you could see him open things up more this week. That means Antonio Gates will get a lot of looks, and Keenan McCardell will come back to life statistically. Malcolm Floyd has also become a preferred red zone target for Rivers. The Chargers could shut down Frank Gore early, and Alex Smith will come down from his good outing last week against the Raiders. Smith will turn the ball over more than once, and Antonio Bryant will produce limited numbers, while Arnaz Battle disappears.
Start and Smile: Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates
Watch and Worry: Alex Smith, Antonio Bryant, Arnaz Battle.
Seattle at St. Louis: Rams CB Fakhir Brown (ankle) is questionable, giving the Seahawks even more reason to attack the St. Louis secondary. Matt Hasselbeck will take quick drops and hit Darrell Jackson and Deion Branch often. Maurice Morris won't post great yardage numbers, but a fine passing game will give him a chance to score in the red zone. The Rams will respond with Steven Jackson, who has given the speedy, but not always physical, Seattle front seven some problems in the past. Jackson should sail past the 100-yard mark and score at least once. Marc Bulger hasn't thrown an interception yet this season, but an opportunistic Seattle secondary should pick him off more than once, while limiting WR Isaac Bruce to only underneath catches.
Start and Smile: Matt Hasselbeck, Darrell Jackson, Deion Branch, Steven Jackson
Watch and Worry: Isaac Bruce
Tennessee at Washington: The Titans are dealing with several key injuries on offense, but expect Travis Henry to continue to run well as he tries to carry a sorry team on his back. The Titans are without an injured David Givens, and Drew Bennett is hurting, so Vince Young will have to scramble often and won't do much statistically. The Titans will try to shut down Clinton Portis early, but he'll bust loose for some longer runs in the second half. Mark Brunell will have success throwing both underneath and over the top, and he should connect with Santana Moss for more than one TD pass. Even against the Titans, though, no other Washington receiver is dependable.
Start and Smile: Travis Henry, Mark Brunell, Santana Moss
Watch and Worry: Vince Young Chicago at Arizona: You can see how this one will go. Rex Grossman will attack the Arizona secondary with deep shots to Bernard Berrian, and at least one mid-range TD to Mushin Muhammad. Thomas Jones will be fired up to face his former team and should score at least once, and Cedric Benson will run it in once during garbage time. The Bears will make Edgerrin James a non-factor early, and rookie QB Matt Leinart will be in for a long night with minimal run support and no Larry Fitzgerald. Anquan Boldin, however, should pad his stats well in garbage time.
Start and Smile: Rex Grossman, Thomas Jones, Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhammad
Watch and Worry: Matt Leinart, Edgerrin James
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Oct. 13, 2006, 5:30 PM
Carroll: Fitzgerald, Culpepper, Shockey


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By Will Carroll
ESPN Fantasy Games

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I want to introduce a new term today. Sure, you've already had to figure out terms like "cascade," "medhead," and "hyperdorsiflexion" so far this season, but this one's going to be useful. We all know that fantasy football is different from real football. "On a fantasy basis" is going to be my new term for dealing with the differing effect of injuries for real and for fantasy. Let's say that you have Shaun Alexander as your running back and that, as your top pick, you're eager to get him back. He's scheduled to play in Week 7, but we're still a bit unsure how that foot will hold up. He's likely to be a bit slower, split the carries to even the load, and to carry a higher risk of setback. So while he's playing, you're going to hear me say that on a fantasy basis, he won't be back until Week 8. (By the way, Alexander is definitely out for this week, despite all of the prayers his fantasy owners sent to Seattle.) Think of the difference as fantasy production, which is sometimes difficult to judge. Todd Heap has played a couple weeks where he was definitely limited, but his size makes him a good red zone target and in a year of terrible TE production, getting that TD from him can be make or break for fantasy teams. Knowing the difference could be the difference for your team. <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER height="1" width="8" type="block"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]Will chatted on Friday afternoon. Check out his answers to your questions!
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Let's look at the latest injury news:
After watching The Fantasy Show last night, you know more about Larry Fitzgerald's hamstring injury and about my arts-and-crafts skills. Fitzgerald was reported to have significant swelling and a palpable tear, classic signs of a Grade II tear, one that I felt would keep him out for four weeks on a fantasy basis. Team sources tell me that Fitzgerald is on a 24/7 rehab plan that is very aggressive. Remember, Fitzgerald has never had a significant injury before, so we don't know if he'll grade out as a quick healer. In combination with the Cards medical staff, this looks to be shortening up the cycle. I still think this is one of those injuries that will linger a bit, affecting him even when he comes back, much along the lines of Steve Smith. Let's hope he doesn't taunt us for a couple weeks with a "will he or won't he?" At least this is some positive news, though negative if you dropped Fitzgerald or picked up Troy Walters.
I like bringing the good news; I so seldom get to do it. You'll remember me saying that the Eagles medical staff was going to have to somehow get ahead of the pain and swelling that was showing up in Brian Westbrook's knee each week. When they didn't get him back for Week 4, it looked bad, but that missed week appears to have allowed the staff to get the knee back under their control. Not only did Westbrook play and play well, his knee came out so well that he's been able to practice this week. All this sunshine doesn't mean the clouds can't come back. Westbrook is still a risky player and one you have to at least consider selling high, though. For me, in a world where Tomlinson, Johnson, and Alexander aren't automatics, it's tough to make a deal with a guy who can put up the big points for a solid team.
The Dolphins are now listing Daunte Culpepper as doubtful with a knee injury. Yes, this is the same knee that he had surgically repaired and that was miraculously ready for Week 1. Culpepper and the Dolphins insisted throughout the preseason that there was no problem, and that he was moving well and had no setbacks. Now that he's the backup to Joey Harrington, Culpepper's reconsidering his earlier comments. There's no way to tell how much is revisionist history and how much is the normal cover-ups we see each week in the NFL. Culpepper was the polar opposite of Carson Palmer in the preseason, confident and ready where Palmer seemed full of self-doubt and concern. Now, they've swapped places somehow. There's nothing I can see from week to week that's changed with the knee. Sure, Culpepper has been banged up, taking a lot of hits in the pocket, but I don't see that being a problem of mobility as much as indecision. Ron Jaworski broke this down on the Show a couple weeks ago, so I'll stick with the master's assessment. (Is Ron Jaworski the Martin Scorsese of game film?) If you're a Culpepper owner, it's time to dump him.
The Giants had Jeremy Shockey checked this week to see if his screw was loose. That's fact, not pejorative. Shockey had a screw inserted in his foot a couple years back and doctors were worried it was loose or worse, had broken. Images showed that there's no problem with the screw and no break apparent in the foot. Most reports had the pain high in the foot, nearer the ankle, and that's much worse than the metatarsal area we've learned about through Shaun Alexander. Shockey is likely to be limited this week and could even be called a game-time decision. Don't expect much production, even if the fiery TE is able to play.
Donte' Stallworth is making progress. That's good, that's good, but is that enough to get him back on the field this week? That remains to be seen. The motivation to play against his former team doesn't appear to be strong enough to get past the lingering hamstring problems. Stallworth was running on the side at Thursday's practice, but Andy Reid is well known for wanting to see his players take contact and failing surety, he'd rather play with the backup. Hank Baskett is the likely beneficiary if Stallworth is out and he's certainly opened eyes with his play. It's more likely that we'll see Stallworth back next week after a full week of work, but this is a chronic problem for Stallworth.
If there's one diagnosis to dread in fantasy, it's "high ankle sprain." That's the report on DeAngelo Williams. A lot of people figured that between Williams' breakaway speed and DeShaun Foster's usual health problems, that Williams would be the feature back by midseason. Now, Williams just hopes to be back on the field by midseason. High ankle sprains can linger and take between two and four weeks to come back from. For speed players, the return to level is longer, so this is one that could linger. It is a chance to buy low on Williams if you have the roster spot to burn for a couple weeks now that the heavy bye weeks are almost over.
The Chiefs and Larry Johnson come into Pittsburgh this week. That doesn't look like a good matchup, but with Joey Porter out, it becomes a lot better. Porter's injury reduces the pursuit that's such a big part of the Steelers D and while the team is expected to adjust by putting Troy Polamalu up into the box, the long-haired hitter hasn't been the holy terror he was last season while recovering from a series of injuries. Even with Kyle Turley out again this week, the Chiefs' line up the middle is still very solid. I'm more worried about Dante Hall. The speedy Aggie is still sore with a vague hip injury -- sources conflict -- but his game is all speed. That downgrades the Chiefs D/ST a bit, but shouldn't affect the offense much.
I've received a lot of questions regarding Troy Vincent this week. The Bills DB was placed on IR earlier this season, but progressed enough from a severely strained hamstring that the Bills released him. The Injured Reserve list has some very specific conditions under which it can be used and one of the lesser known provisions is that if a player is placed on the list and can then pass a physical during the year, he must be released. It's not clear if Vincent actually took a physical or whether the Bills simply acceded to Vincent's wishes and released him. There are several teams interested in Vincent's services, but before they sign him, they'll definitely have him take that physical. The popular Vincent is free to sign with any team other than the Bills, by rule. Bumps and Bruises: Curtis Martin? He's eligible to come off the PUP list after Week 6 and could try practicing with the team. Sources tell me that Martin will get every chance to play from the coaching staff, but that they're not optimistic. ... LenDale White has found a new way to keep himself out of the lineup. He's got flu-like symptoms and could be inactive on Sunday, pushing Chris Brown into the backup role. ... Evidently this virus is going around. Bobby Engram is also questionable this weekend after having been sick all week. ... Have you noticed that Roy Williams missed practice this week? If so, you need a hobby. He's out for personal reasons, not an injury. He's scheduled back on Friday and should play on Sunday. ... Jerramy Stevens isn't listed on injury reports this week, an interesting little fantasy nugget, as he comes back from knee surgery. He could help Matt Hasselbeck and fantasy owners looking for something, anything from the TE position. ... Reports indicate that Shawn Springs is likely to miss another week of football while he recovers from abdominal surgery and a couple setbacks. ... If Albert Pujols was a football player, what position would he play?
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Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 10/12/06)

Oct. 13, 2006, 5:30 PM
Carroll: Fitzgerald, Culpepper, Shockey


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By Will Carroll
ESPN Fantasy Games

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I want to introduce a new term today. Sure, you've already had to figure out terms like "cascade," "medhead," and "hyperdorsiflexion" so far this season, but this one's going to be useful. We all know that fantasy football is different from real football. "On a fantasy basis" is going to be my new term for dealing with the differing effect of injuries for real and for fantasy. Let's say that you have Shaun Alexander as your running back and that, as your top pick, you're eager to get him back. He's scheduled to play in Week 7, but we're still a bit unsure how that foot will hold up. He's likely to be a bit slower, split the carries to even the load, and to carry a higher risk of setback. So while he's playing, you're going to hear me say that on a fantasy basis, he won't be back until Week 8. (By the way, Alexander is definitely out for this week, despite all of the prayers his fantasy owners sent to Seattle.) Think of the difference as fantasy production, which is sometimes difficult to judge. Todd Heap has played a couple weeks where he was definitely limited, but his size makes him a good red zone target and in a year of terrible TE production, getting that TD from him can be make or break for fantasy teams. Knowing the difference could be the difference for your team. <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=200 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER height="1" width="8" type="block"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>[FONT=Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif]Will chatted on Friday afternoon. Check out his answers to your questions!
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Let's look at the latest injury news:
After watching The Fantasy Show last night, you know more about Larry Fitzgerald's hamstring injury and about my arts-and-crafts skills. Fitzgerald was reported to have significant swelling and a palpable tear, classic signs of a Grade II tear, one that I felt would keep him out for four weeks on a fantasy basis. Team sources tell me that Fitzgerald is on a 24/7 rehab plan that is very aggressive. Remember, Fitzgerald has never had a significant injury before, so we don't know if he'll grade out as a quick healer. In combination with the Cards medical staff, this looks to be shortening up the cycle. I still think this is one of those injuries that will linger a bit, affecting him even when he comes back, much along the lines of Steve Smith. Let's hope he doesn't taunt us for a couple weeks with a "will he or won't he?" At least this is some positive news, though negative if you dropped Fitzgerald or picked up Troy Walters.
I like bringing the good news; I so seldom get to do it. You'll remember me saying that the Eagles medical staff was going to have to somehow get ahead of the pain and swelling that was showing up in Brian Westbrook's knee each week. When they didn't get him back for Week 4, it looked bad, but that missed week appears to have allowed the staff to get the knee back under their control. Not only did Westbrook play and play well, his knee came out so well that he's been able to practice this week. All this sunshine doesn't mean the clouds can't come back. Westbrook is still a risky player and one you have to at least consider selling high, though. For me, in a world where Tomlinson, Johnson, and Alexander aren't automatics, it's tough to make a deal with a guy who can put up the big points for a solid team.
The Dolphins are now listing Daunte Culpepper as doubtful with a knee injury. Yes, this is the same knee that he had surgically repaired and that was miraculously ready for Week 1. Culpepper and the Dolphins insisted throughout the preseason that there was no problem, and that he was moving well and had no setbacks. Now that he's the backup to Joey Harrington, Culpepper's reconsidering his earlier comments. There's no way to tell how much is revisionist history and how much is the normal cover-ups we see each week in the NFL. Culpepper was the polar opposite of Carson Palmer in the preseason, confident and ready where Palmer seemed full of self-doubt and concern. Now, they've swapped places somehow. There's nothing I can see from week to week that's changed with the knee. Sure, Culpepper has been banged up, taking a lot of hits in the pocket, but I don't see that being a problem of mobility as much as indecision. Ron Jaworski broke this down on the Show a couple weeks ago, so I'll stick with the master's assessment. (Is Ron Jaworski the Martin Scorsese of game film?) If you're a Culpepper owner, it's time to dump him.
The Giants had Jeremy Shockey checked this week to see if his screw was loose. That's fact, not pejorative. Shockey had a screw inserted in his foot a couple years back and doctors were worried it was loose or worse, had broken. Images showed that there's no problem with the screw and no break apparent in the foot. Most reports had the pain high in the foot, nearer the ankle, and that's much worse than the metatarsal area we've learned about through Shaun Alexander. Shockey is likely to be limited this week and could even be called a game-time decision. Don't expect much production, even if the fiery TE is able to play.
Donte' Stallworth is making progress. That's good, that's good, but is that enough to get him back on the field this week? That remains to be seen. The motivation to play against his former team doesn't appear to be strong enough to get past the lingering hamstring problems. Stallworth was running on the side at Thursday's practice, but Andy Reid is well known for wanting to see his players take contact and failing surety, he'd rather play with the backup. Hank Baskett is the likely beneficiary if Stallworth is out and he's certainly opened eyes with his play. It's more likely that we'll see Stallworth back next week after a full week of work, but this is a chronic problem for Stallworth.
If there's one diagnosis to dread in fantasy, it's "high ankle sprain." That's the report on DeAngelo Williams. A lot of people figured that between Williams' breakaway speed and DeShaun Foster's usual health problems, that Williams would be the feature back by midseason. Now, Williams just hopes to be back on the field by midseason. High ankle sprains can linger and take between two and four weeks to come back from. For speed players, the return to level is longer, so this is one that could linger. It is a chance to buy low on Williams if you have the roster spot to burn for a couple weeks now that the heavy bye weeks are almost over.
The Chiefs and Larry Johnson come into Pittsburgh this week. That doesn't look like a good matchup, but with Joey Porter out, it becomes a lot better. Porter's injury reduces the pursuit that's such a big part of the Steelers D and while the team is expected to adjust by putting Troy Polamalu up into the box, the long-haired hitter hasn't been the holy terror he was last season while recovering from a series of injuries. Even with Kyle Turley out again this week, the Chiefs' line up the middle is still very solid. I'm more worried about Dante Hall. The speedy Aggie is still sore with a vague hip injury -- sources conflict -- but his game is all speed. That downgrades the Chiefs D/ST a bit, but shouldn't affect the offense much.
I've received a lot of questions regarding Troy Vincent this week. The Bills DB was placed on IR earlier this season, but progressed enough from a severely strained hamstring that the Bills released him. The Injured Reserve list has some very specific conditions under which it can be used and one of the lesser known provisions is that if a player is placed on the list and can then pass a physical during the year, he must be released. It's not clear if Vincent actually took a physical or whether the Bills simply acceded to Vincent's wishes and released him. There are several teams interested in Vincent's services, but before they sign him, they'll definitely have him take that physical. The popular Vincent is free to sign with any team other than the Bills, by rule. Bumps and Bruises: Curtis Martin? He's eligible to come off the PUP list after Week 6 and could try practicing with the team. Sources tell me that Martin will get every chance to play from the coaching staff, but that they're not optimistic. ... LenDale White has found a new way to keep himself out of the lineup. He's got flu-like symptoms and could be inactive on Sunday, pushing Chris Brown into the backup role. ... Evidently this virus is going around. Bobby Engram is also questionable this weekend after having been sick all week. ... Have you noticed that Roy Williams missed practice this week? If so, you need a hobby. He's out for personal reasons, not an injury. He's scheduled back on Friday and should play on Sunday. ... Jerramy Stevens isn't listed on injury reports this week, an interesting little fantasy nugget, as he comes back from knee surgery. He could help Matt Hasselbeck and fantasy owners looking for something, anything from the TE position. ... Reports indicate that Shawn Springs is likely to miss another week of football while he recovers from abdominal surgery and a couple setbacks. ... If Albert Pujols was a football player, what position would he play?
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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 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Wide receivers on parade


posted: Monday, October 16, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


That's what we've been waiting for, Torry, Roy and Horn. You too, Mr. Smith, and T.O. as well. Wide receivers had put up such miserable stats overall through the first five weeks, especially among the big names, that people were starting to think that kickers and defenses were actually worth more, and that Bernard Berrian might finish the season as fantasy's top wide receiver.

One wide receiver began the week ranked in the top 28 among all players. One.
Wide receivers got their revenge in Sunday's early games alone. Boy, did they.
The Week 6 leaderboard is littered with huge numbers, with quite a few quarterbacks throwing three touchdown passes. But that's not as noteworthy as the fellows they threw them to.
Consider the short list of wide receivers who had topped 21 ESPN fantasy performance points in the first five weeks of the season (only four players), compared to this week, and as you can see, this was some kind of week.
Donte' Stallworth, Week 1: 6-141, TD, 22 points
Amani Toomer, Week 2: 12-137, 2 TD, 25 points
Javon Walker, Week 3: 3-130, 2 TD, 27 points
Santana Moss, Week 4: 4-138, 3 TD, 35 points

That's it, four names in five weeks, and even these players hadn't been so reliable. Stallworth has barely played since. Toomer and Moss have had only one game of note.
OK, what happened this Sunday? Here's the list of wide receivers who topped 21 ESPN fantasy performance points in just the early games alone. It topped the entire season list!
Torry Holt, 8-154, 3 TD, 35 points
Reggie Brown, 6-121, TD rec/rush, 27 points
Steve Smith, 8-189, TD, 26 points
Joe Horn, 6-110, 2 TD, 25 points
Mark Clayton, 5-101, 2 TD, 24 points
Terrell Owens, 5-45, 3 TD, 22 points
Roy Williams, 10-161, 2 TD, 22 points

And then in the late games, Laveranues Coles (5-106, 2 TD, 24 points) joined them. So are five weeks of underproduction just forgotten in a bunch of Sunday early games? Well, maybe. What's interesting to me is that the above list of seven names are, mainly, names you know, and at the same time, among fantasy's bigger question marks.
In order, some thoughts:
? Holt shouldn't surprise you. He was the No. 2 fantasy WR coming in, and having a nice season. He loves playing Seattle. You should never, ever sit him. I still think he finishes the season No. 1 at the position, unless Carolina's Smith just goes off.
? Brown is Philly's top guy, whether Stallworth plays or not. He made a few big plays against the Saints, and got credit for a 15-yard touchdown run. Donovan McNabb clearly spreads the ball around, but Brown is his top choice.
? Smith can take a game over like no other wide receiver, and when he told reporters this was the first week he actually felt 100 percent since returning from his hamstring injury, that was pretty significant. But to do that on Baltimore? Wow!
? Horn had gone 16 consecutive games without a touchdown, and he hadn't reached double digits in fantasy points all season, so this was a bit surprising. Drew Brees was getting him four or five catches per game, nothing special. Marques Colston wasn't forgotten in this game, but Horn was the star.
? Clayton is the most surprising name on the list. Maybe it took Steve McNair leaving with injury to change Clayton's fortunes. He had only one game all year with more than three fantasy points, but as soon as Kyle Boller came in, Clayton mattered again. Something to watch if Boller sticks around.
? Owens was an easy one to predict. I figured Drew Bledsoe would hit him twice for scores, which he did. Then Tony Romo entered in trash time and found him again. Why was Owens playing in trash time and not Bledsoe? Who's running this team, anyway? More big games are coming, unless the Cowboys lose soon and T.O. combusts.
? Williams is clearly one of the most talented receivers in the game, and basically the only option for Jon Kitna (Mike Furrey is doing OK, but this is Williams' team). What Williams did, his line, it looked like something Carolina's Smith would do.
I don't want to give the impression it was only wide receivers doing the fantasy damage. Last week, if you scored 100 points, that was a lot. Remember, 20 points was worth the third best fantasy performance in Week 5. Only McNabb and the Jags defense topped it. This week, in the early games alone, 15 players (no defenses) reached 21 or more points, and in the late games, LaDainian Tomlinson delivered the fantasy performance of the week with 37 points and two others joined him in topping 21 points. That's more like it!
OK, on to all the exciting games:
Saints 27, Eagles 24: Painful one for Philly fans, because the Eagles fought back from a 17-3 halftime deficit and the team couldn't have known that when it punted the ball away with more than eight minutes remaining that it wouldn't get the ball back. It didn't. Credit Brees, who managed a 16-play drive to win it on the final play. He threw for 275 yards and three scores and appears to be the main difference between this team and last year's brutal one. Reggie Bush is nice, of course, and having a running game helps, but this shows just how bad Aaron Brooks was, no?
MVP: Philly's Brown and the Saints' Horn had similar days for total points, so let them share the award. Difference is that most weeks Horn will be the team's No. 2 WR to Colston, while Brown won't be. Stallworth, the former Saint, could play next week, or the Human Hamstring Pull, as our own Will Carroll calls him, could miss more time.
LVP: For the first time this season Brian Westbrook did not score in a game he played in. A sign of things to come? Proof he's too hurt to thrive? Hardly. Just one of those days. He still managed seven fantasy points, which isn't much in a monster week for scoring, but it's more than others managed.
Interesting: This is the third time I've seen basically all of Bush's carries, and I don't know what it is, but he doesn't hit the holes as well as Deuce McAllister does, and when he runs outside, he doesn't outrun people. But when he catches the ball, he makes things happen. He averaged 2.3 yards per rush, and when McAllister had to leave the game, it was Aaron Stecker getting carries. And how about McAllister catching six passes to Bush's four?
Giants 27, Falcons 14: Huge rushing day for Tiki Barber, with 185 yards, but again his owners are just going to complain because he didn't get into the end zone. Brandon Jacobs did. Solid road win for the Giants when they really needed it. As bad as the G-men have played, they trail first place Philly by only a half game.
MVP: Barber now has 300 yards rushing in his last two games, but let's give some props to tight end Jeremy Shockey. We knew he'd play, but most people figured he'd be so limited with his foot problem that he wouldn't deliver much. Eli Manning wasn't real pretty in this one, but he did continue his touchdown pass streak (now at nine games) and found Shockey on two short TD passes. Tiki owners will just say those would have been Jacobs touchdown runs anyway!
LVP: Plaxico Burress had to contend with DeAngelo Hall, so it was no big surprise he delivered only four receptions for 44 yards.
Interesting: I know Michael Vick continues to produce decent fantasy stats, but it still looks odd to see no games this season with more than 154 passing yards and a 50 percent completion rate. He now has two rushing touchdowns and more rushing yards than way too many running backs, though Warrick Dunn (146 yards, 90-yard TD) isn't one of them.
Cowboys 34, Texans 6: Predictable blowout with Drew Bledsoe finding T.O. for a pair of touchdowns, though not a lot of total yards. Look, Bledsoe's not losing the job to Tony Romo. Bill Parcells is smarter than that. And Romo's 2-for-2 effort and TD pass doesn't change that. Enough already!
MVP: Nobody entered Week 6 with more than four touchdowns rushing or receiving. Know how many touchdowns T.O. has now? Um, four (though others do have more now).
LVP: I knew Ron Dayne wouldn't do much. (He didn't.) I knew Andre Johnson would do something. (He did.) But for David Carr to throw for only 128 yards and get pulled, didn't see that coming. Still, his job is safe. Hard to believe he led the NFL in passer rating entering the week. Tells us a lot about that stat, no?
Interesting: Not that anyone's counting, but that's three straight 100-yard rushing games for Julius Jones, and the game before that he had 94 yards. Has any other top 10 runner gone so unnoticed? (Blame T.O. No, really, in this case, blame T.O.)
Lions 20, Bills 17: No team should have to be in the same sentence with the Raiders for futility, so I am pleased the Lions and Buccaneers finally got victories. I'm not too surprised at anything the Lions did, with big stat games from their big three, but with their pass defense, how could J.P. Losman not have done better? That surprised me. Yeah, he got two touchdowns, but he didn't play well.
MVP: Kevin Jones was brutal last week, rushing for eight yards, then he left with a concussion. Needless to say, his owners weren't excited about playing him Sunday. Instead, Jones got his most carries of the season and most yards. I'd use him next week at the Jets.
LVP: Willis McGahee didn't do much. In games against real good defenses, we can accept his 80 total yards. Again, it's not nothing, but it's average. When's he going to have really big games? And Losman was a disappointment, again.
Interesting: Still using Mike Furrey? He's scored in one game this season, and has averaged three receptions and 40 yards in three of the last four weeks. Don't overrate him.
Seahawks 30, Rams 28: Huge win for the Seahawks on the road, getting a 54-yard field goal by Josh Brown on the final play to win it. He's the real life MVP of the game, with two other field goals of 49 yards. But when both quarterbacks throw three touchdown passes, well, fantasy owners aren't looking at the kicker.
MVP: As a Holt owner, I figured he would do well, and mid fourth quarter he was at a solid two scores and 87 yards. Fine with me if it ended there. Holt started the game quickly, then had a quiet second half until that final 67-yard scoring play. As a result, he was fantasy's Week 6 winner for points until LT ran along.
LVP: Can't find fault with anyone, really. Maurice Morris wasn't great, but 74 yards isn't nothing. His fumble just about cost the team the game. Shaun Alexander could return next week, though I'm betting he needs more time.
Interesting: Marc Bulger is pretty underrated, wouldn't you say? Another three scores and 360 passing yards. This was his first interception of the season, but he remains a top five QB in fantasy. Matt Hasselbeck had more to prove, and got his own three scores and drove the team for the winning field goal.
Bucs 14, Bengals 13: Strange game. The Bengals looked pretty good earlier this season, but sans Chris Henry the team is 0-2 and Carson Palmer has only one touchdown pass. It's probably nothing. C'mon, New England was sputtering and trailing in that game, and the Bucs were winless. It's meaningful. Best team in the AFC? Maybe at some point, but Palmer has four of those seven touchdowns in one game.
MVP: That Bruce Gradkowski looks pretty legit, eh? He ties Carson Palmer for fantasy points but gets the victory head to head, throwing a pair of touchdown passes. Wait, was that a Michael Clayton sighting? What, both Claytons managed to score? It was a crazy week!
LVP: Palmer wasn't exactly spectacular, not in a week where so many quarterbacks did well (10 passers topped him before Sunday night), but Rudi Johnson gets the game honors for only 52 yards on 17 carries. I definitely expected more. Maybe the Bucs are back. It's not too late.
Interesting: Michael Clayton entered the game with 10 catches and no scores, then he catches six passes? Also, that other Alex Smith now has eight catches and two scores in two weeks.
Titans 25, Redskins 22: Horrible loss for the Redskins against a winless team with a rookie quarterback. Ugh. How could things get worse? I had said that the Titans weren't nearly as bad defensively as people thought in lieu of the Colts game, but with Mark Brunell getting shut down, it's hard to tell. He's not exactly on his way to 4,000 yards. Anyway, enough of Washington. They're cooked in the NFC East. How about those Titans!
MVP: Still think Travis Henry owners are to be laughed at? I don't. All Henry did was explode for 178 yards and a score, his biggest game in quite a long time. I know someone who missed out on Michael Turner and had to settle for Henry. Look up what Turner did and you'll realize how lucky that owner is. Moving forward, you've gotta buy in to Henry. Chris Brown only dressed because LenDale White didn't. Then again, do you think Henry will be the team's main ball carrier in December?
LVP: The difference between Brunell and Clinton Portis for fantasy owners? The Redskins lose a terrible, awful game and Portis at least got in the end zone twice. Brunell passed for only two more yards than Henry ran for. Ugly.
Interesting: And we haven't even mentioned Vince Young! Same line as Brunell without the interception, and he led his team on more scoring drives. Impressive, but don't get carried away in fantasy. This victory goes to the defense and Henry.
Panthers 23, Ravens 21: How do you explain this one? The Ravens can definitely defend, but Jake Delhomme goes off for 365 yards and Steve Smith still hasn't been covered. No team had scored 23 points on the Ravens this year. But what is more amazing, that the Panthers did this, or that Ravens fans want Kyle Boller to start the next game?
MVP: Can't make Boller the game MVP because nobody in fantasy had him active. I mean, we've seen enough of the guy in fantasy, I'm quite certain, and if Steve McNair is too hurt to play next week, those who sign Boller are likely to be disappointed if they activate him. We'll let Smith and Delhomme share top honors.
LVP: Nice work out of the running games. I recommended both DeShaun Foster and Jamal Lewis are clear sits anyway, and they combined for 99 yards, though, in fairness, Lewis could have used about double the carries since he averaged 4.6 yards per carry. His backups were useless, with Mike Anderson gaining seven yards on six runs. Carolina's DeAngelo Williams would have been a nice change of pace, had he dressed.
Interesting: Don't get too excited about Mark Clayton. Watch the highlight of his 62-yard touchdown and you see a crazy, tipped pass. Other than that, he had four catches for 39 yards, quite in line with the rest of his underwhelming campaign. That's why looking solely at stats isn't enough to evaluate performance.
Jets 20, Dolphins 17: The right team won, since the Dolphins are just not a very good squad right now, but Joey Harrington did make things very interesting in the fourth quarter, when he was down 20-3. A few more yards for Olindo Mare on the final kick and the game goes extra time. Harrington still isn't much of a fantasy play, but he is making the team more competitive, and his running back enjoyed his finest outing of the season.
MVP: Ronnie Brown had scored three touchdowns this season, but in those games he rushed for 30 and 39 yards. Not real impressive. In this one Brown ran for 127 yards and scored his touchdown late. I'm still not convinced Brown is going to have quite the season I expected, but as first round picks go, he's not the worst.
LVP: Those who played supposed upstart Jet Leon Washington got 58 yards, but yearn for more carries. Those who believed the Jets when they said Kevan Barlow was still the main ballcarrier got another boring 45 yards, but this time no scores. Barlow is darn consistent, if you think about it. In five of his six games he's rushed for between 31 and 45 yards. That's gotta be hard to do. You'd think at some point he'd break one. I mean, his season high for yards was this game with 45. What did Warrick Dunn do, break a 90-yarder on one play, and Barlow's season best for a game is 45?
Interesting: Has Harrington really been any better than Daunte Culpepper? Harrington has one touchdown and four picks, with an average of 249 yards in two games. Culpepper, in three of his four games, averaged 256 yards and had two touchdowns, three picks. So basically, Harrington has not been better, but because there are no expectations on him, nobody cares and he's getting celebrated. Very odd.
Steelers 45, Chiefs 7: That's pretty much what I wrote down for Ben Roethlisberger before the weekend, two touchdown passes. Granted, this is just one game, and we can't really tell if Ben is back to his normal 2005 self, but he sure looked good. Why didn't the Chiefs show up? Weird. I expected more.
MVP: As good as Ben was, Willie Parker put on the bigger fantasy show with two first half touchdowns and better than 100 yards, even leaving plenty of time for backup Najeh Davenport to break off a 48-yarder en route to 78 yards. It was so Tomlinson-Turnerian (well, until this week, I guess), both RBs doing well. Parker might go back and forth on his good and bad performances all season, but I maintain you need him active every week. Would you prefer him or Willis McGahee right now?
LVP: Sure, he did end up with a touchdown, and it was the defending champs and a solid defense, but Larry Johnson now has 62 yards rushing, in two weeks. That's not good enough no matter what the state of the offensive line is. Maybe Herm Edwards needs to call him names. Nobody on Kansas City was very good, and if you're still paying attention, that's 11 catches in the last four games for Tony Gonzalez, and no scores. Nice.
Interesting: I wrote about Tiffin product Nate Washington in the recent ESPN The Magazine as a guy owned in fewer than 1 percent of leagues to watch. Well, that was a 47-yard scoring pass play. Watching now?
Chargers 48, 49ers 19: Demolition game for poor Alex Smith, who saw his defense allow 35 first-half points. Let's not berate him, for he knows not what the other side of the ball will do from week to week.
MVP: What, you were expecting Lorenzo Neal? All LaDainian did was score four touchdowns. You gonna complain about the yards? FOUR TOUCHDOWNS! And, as we're about to see, he had no comp.
LVP: Sure, Frank Gore didn't do much, but think about the one guy for this game everyone was talking about all week. Wasn't Frank. Wasn't Philip Rivers, who looked terrific by the way. Michael Turner was a very popular flex play this week, and looking at the final score, most people who didn't watch would have expected Turner did great things. The last time the Chargers had a blowout win, back in Week 2, Turner burned for 138 yards and a 73-yarder. Even last week in the win over Pittsburgh, it was he, not LT, who had 56 yards. So what happens this week? One carry, no yards. Still no word about injury playing a role, but there has to be something here, no?
Interesting: I thought the San Diego D was a great play, too. Turns out Alex Smith got a few scores and the Chargers allowed more first half points than they had allowed in any full game all season. No matter. They got the win. OK, I'll cover the Broncos-Raiders game and Monday night in Tuesday's blog. Enjoy your Monday.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Wide receivers on parade


posted: Monday, October 16, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


That's what we've been waiting for, Torry, Roy and Horn. You too, Mr. Smith, and T.O. as well. Wide receivers had put up such miserable stats overall through the first five weeks, especially among the big names, that people were starting to think that kickers and defenses were actually worth more, and that Bernard Berrian might finish the season as fantasy's top wide receiver.

One wide receiver began the week ranked in the top 28 among all players. One.
Wide receivers got their revenge in Sunday's early games alone. Boy, did they.
The Week 6 leaderboard is littered with huge numbers, with quite a few quarterbacks throwing three touchdown passes. But that's not as noteworthy as the fellows they threw them to.
Consider the short list of wide receivers who had topped 21 ESPN fantasy performance points in the first five weeks of the season (only four players), compared to this week, and as you can see, this was some kind of week.
Donte' Stallworth, Week 1: 6-141, TD, 22 points
Amani Toomer, Week 2: 12-137, 2 TD, 25 points
Javon Walker, Week 3: 3-130, 2 TD, 27 points
Santana Moss, Week 4: 4-138, 3 TD, 35 points

That's it, four names in five weeks, and even these players hadn't been so reliable. Stallworth has barely played since. Toomer and Moss have had only one game of note.
OK, what happened this Sunday? Here's the list of wide receivers who topped 21 ESPN fantasy performance points in just the early games alone. It topped the entire season list!
Torry Holt, 8-154, 3 TD, 35 points
Reggie Brown, 6-121, TD rec/rush, 27 points
Steve Smith, 8-189, TD, 26 points
Joe Horn, 6-110, 2 TD, 25 points
Mark Clayton, 5-101, 2 TD, 24 points
Terrell Owens, 5-45, 3 TD, 22 points
Roy Williams, 10-161, 2 TD, 22 points

And then in the late games, Laveranues Coles (5-106, 2 TD, 24 points) joined them. So are five weeks of underproduction just forgotten in a bunch of Sunday early games? Well, maybe. What's interesting to me is that the above list of seven names are, mainly, names you know, and at the same time, among fantasy's bigger question marks.
In order, some thoughts:
? Holt shouldn't surprise you. He was the No. 2 fantasy WR coming in, and having a nice season. He loves playing Seattle. You should never, ever sit him. I still think he finishes the season No. 1 at the position, unless Carolina's Smith just goes off.
? Brown is Philly's top guy, whether Stallworth plays or not. He made a few big plays against the Saints, and got credit for a 15-yard touchdown run. Donovan McNabb clearly spreads the ball around, but Brown is his top choice.
? Smith can take a game over like no other wide receiver, and when he told reporters this was the first week he actually felt 100 percent since returning from his hamstring injury, that was pretty significant. But to do that on Baltimore? Wow!
? Horn had gone 16 consecutive games without a touchdown, and he hadn't reached double digits in fantasy points all season, so this was a bit surprising. Drew Brees was getting him four or five catches per game, nothing special. Marques Colston wasn't forgotten in this game, but Horn was the star.
? Clayton is the most surprising name on the list. Maybe it took Steve McNair leaving with injury to change Clayton's fortunes. He had only one game all year with more than three fantasy points, but as soon as Kyle Boller came in, Clayton mattered again. Something to watch if Boller sticks around.
? Owens was an easy one to predict. I figured Drew Bledsoe would hit him twice for scores, which he did. Then Tony Romo entered in trash time and found him again. Why was Owens playing in trash time and not Bledsoe? Who's running this team, anyway? More big games are coming, unless the Cowboys lose soon and T.O. combusts.
? Williams is clearly one of the most talented receivers in the game, and basically the only option for Jon Kitna (Mike Furrey is doing OK, but this is Williams' team). What Williams did, his line, it looked like something Carolina's Smith would do.
I don't want to give the impression it was only wide receivers doing the fantasy damage. Last week, if you scored 100 points, that was a lot. Remember, 20 points was worth the third best fantasy performance in Week 5. Only McNabb and the Jags defense topped it. This week, in the early games alone, 15 players (no defenses) reached 21 or more points, and in the late games, LaDainian Tomlinson delivered the fantasy performance of the week with 37 points and two others joined him in topping 21 points. That's more like it!
OK, on to all the exciting games:
Saints 27, Eagles 24: Painful one for Philly fans, because the Eagles fought back from a 17-3 halftime deficit and the team couldn't have known that when it punted the ball away with more than eight minutes remaining that it wouldn't get the ball back. It didn't. Credit Brees, who managed a 16-play drive to win it on the final play. He threw for 275 yards and three scores and appears to be the main difference between this team and last year's brutal one. Reggie Bush is nice, of course, and having a running game helps, but this shows just how bad Aaron Brooks was, no?
MVP: Philly's Brown and the Saints' Horn had similar days for total points, so let them share the award. Difference is that most weeks Horn will be the team's No. 2 WR to Colston, while Brown won't be. Stallworth, the former Saint, could play next week, or the Human Hamstring Pull, as our own Will Carroll calls him, could miss more time.
LVP: For the first time this season Brian Westbrook did not score in a game he played in. A sign of things to come? Proof he's too hurt to thrive? Hardly. Just one of those days. He still managed seven fantasy points, which isn't much in a monster week for scoring, but it's more than others managed.
Interesting: This is the third time I've seen basically all of Bush's carries, and I don't know what it is, but he doesn't hit the holes as well as Deuce McAllister does, and when he runs outside, he doesn't outrun people. But when he catches the ball, he makes things happen. He averaged 2.3 yards per rush, and when McAllister had to leave the game, it was Aaron Stecker getting carries. And how about McAllister catching six passes to Bush's four?
Giants 27, Falcons 14: Huge rushing day for Tiki Barber, with 185 yards, but again his owners are just going to complain because he didn't get into the end zone. Brandon Jacobs did. Solid road win for the Giants when they really needed it. As bad as the G-men have played, they trail first place Philly by only a half game.
MVP: Barber now has 300 yards rushing in his last two games, but let's give some props to tight end Jeremy Shockey. We knew he'd play, but most people figured he'd be so limited with his foot problem that he wouldn't deliver much. Eli Manning wasn't real pretty in this one, but he did continue his touchdown pass streak (now at nine games) and found Shockey on two short TD passes. Tiki owners will just say those would have been Jacobs touchdown runs anyway!
LVP: Plaxico Burress had to contend with DeAngelo Hall, so it was no big surprise he delivered only four receptions for 44 yards.
Interesting: I know Michael Vick continues to produce decent fantasy stats, but it still looks odd to see no games this season with more than 154 passing yards and a 50 percent completion rate. He now has two rushing touchdowns and more rushing yards than way too many running backs, though Warrick Dunn (146 yards, 90-yard TD) isn't one of them.
Cowboys 34, Texans 6: Predictable blowout with Drew Bledsoe finding T.O. for a pair of touchdowns, though not a lot of total yards. Look, Bledsoe's not losing the job to Tony Romo. Bill Parcells is smarter than that. And Romo's 2-for-2 effort and TD pass doesn't change that. Enough already!
MVP: Nobody entered Week 6 with more than four touchdowns rushing or receiving. Know how many touchdowns T.O. has now? Um, four (though others do have more now).
LVP: I knew Ron Dayne wouldn't do much. (He didn't.) I knew Andre Johnson would do something. (He did.) But for David Carr to throw for only 128 yards and get pulled, didn't see that coming. Still, his job is safe. Hard to believe he led the NFL in passer rating entering the week. Tells us a lot about that stat, no?
Interesting: Not that anyone's counting, but that's three straight 100-yard rushing games for Julius Jones, and the game before that he had 94 yards. Has any other top 10 runner gone so unnoticed? (Blame T.O. No, really, in this case, blame T.O.)
Lions 20, Bills 17: No team should have to be in the same sentence with the Raiders for futility, so I am pleased the Lions and Buccaneers finally got victories. I'm not too surprised at anything the Lions did, with big stat games from their big three, but with their pass defense, how could J.P. Losman not have done better? That surprised me. Yeah, he got two touchdowns, but he didn't play well.
MVP: Kevin Jones was brutal last week, rushing for eight yards, then he left with a concussion. Needless to say, his owners weren't excited about playing him Sunday. Instead, Jones got his most carries of the season and most yards. I'd use him next week at the Jets.
LVP: Willis McGahee didn't do much. In games against real good defenses, we can accept his 80 total yards. Again, it's not nothing, but it's average. When's he going to have really big games? And Losman was a disappointment, again.
Interesting: Still using Mike Furrey? He's scored in one game this season, and has averaged three receptions and 40 yards in three of the last four weeks. Don't overrate him.
Seahawks 30, Rams 28: Huge win for the Seahawks on the road, getting a 54-yard field goal by Josh Brown on the final play to win it. He's the real life MVP of the game, with two other field goals of 49 yards. But when both quarterbacks throw three touchdown passes, well, fantasy owners aren't looking at the kicker.
MVP: As a Holt owner, I figured he would do well, and mid fourth quarter he was at a solid two scores and 87 yards. Fine with me if it ended there. Holt started the game quickly, then had a quiet second half until that final 67-yard scoring play. As a result, he was fantasy's Week 6 winner for points until LT ran along.
LVP: Can't find fault with anyone, really. Maurice Morris wasn't great, but 74 yards isn't nothing. His fumble just about cost the team the game. Shaun Alexander could return next week, though I'm betting he needs more time.
Interesting: Marc Bulger is pretty underrated, wouldn't you say? Another three scores and 360 passing yards. This was his first interception of the season, but he remains a top five QB in fantasy. Matt Hasselbeck had more to prove, and got his own three scores and drove the team for the winning field goal.
Bucs 14, Bengals 13: Strange game. The Bengals looked pretty good earlier this season, but sans Chris Henry the team is 0-2 and Carson Palmer has only one touchdown pass. It's probably nothing. C'mon, New England was sputtering and trailing in that game, and the Bucs were winless. It's meaningful. Best team in the AFC? Maybe at some point, but Palmer has four of those seven touchdowns in one game.
MVP: That Bruce Gradkowski looks pretty legit, eh? He ties Carson Palmer for fantasy points but gets the victory head to head, throwing a pair of touchdown passes. Wait, was that a Michael Clayton sighting? What, both Claytons managed to score? It was a crazy week!
LVP: Palmer wasn't exactly spectacular, not in a week where so many quarterbacks did well (10 passers topped him before Sunday night), but Rudi Johnson gets the game honors for only 52 yards on 17 carries. I definitely expected more. Maybe the Bucs are back. It's not too late.
Interesting: Michael Clayton entered the game with 10 catches and no scores, then he catches six passes? Also, that other Alex Smith now has eight catches and two scores in two weeks.
Titans 25, Redskins 22: Horrible loss for the Redskins against a winless team with a rookie quarterback. Ugh. How could things get worse? I had said that the Titans weren't nearly as bad defensively as people thought in lieu of the Colts game, but with Mark Brunell getting shut down, it's hard to tell. He's not exactly on his way to 4,000 yards. Anyway, enough of Washington. They're cooked in the NFC East. How about those Titans!
MVP: Still think Travis Henry owners are to be laughed at? I don't. All Henry did was explode for 178 yards and a score, his biggest game in quite a long time. I know someone who missed out on Michael Turner and had to settle for Henry. Look up what Turner did and you'll realize how lucky that owner is. Moving forward, you've gotta buy in to Henry. Chris Brown only dressed because LenDale White didn't. Then again, do you think Henry will be the team's main ball carrier in December?
LVP: The difference between Brunell and Clinton Portis for fantasy owners? The Redskins lose a terrible, awful game and Portis at least got in the end zone twice. Brunell passed for only two more yards than Henry ran for. Ugly.
Interesting: And we haven't even mentioned Vince Young! Same line as Brunell without the interception, and he led his team on more scoring drives. Impressive, but don't get carried away in fantasy. This victory goes to the defense and Henry.
Panthers 23, Ravens 21: How do you explain this one? The Ravens can definitely defend, but Jake Delhomme goes off for 365 yards and Steve Smith still hasn't been covered. No team had scored 23 points on the Ravens this year. But what is more amazing, that the Panthers did this, or that Ravens fans want Kyle Boller to start the next game?
MVP: Can't make Boller the game MVP because nobody in fantasy had him active. I mean, we've seen enough of the guy in fantasy, I'm quite certain, and if Steve McNair is too hurt to play next week, those who sign Boller are likely to be disappointed if they activate him. We'll let Smith and Delhomme share top honors.
LVP: Nice work out of the running games. I recommended both DeShaun Foster and Jamal Lewis are clear sits anyway, and they combined for 99 yards, though, in fairness, Lewis could have used about double the carries since he averaged 4.6 yards per carry. His backups were useless, with Mike Anderson gaining seven yards on six runs. Carolina's DeAngelo Williams would have been a nice change of pace, had he dressed.
Interesting: Don't get too excited about Mark Clayton. Watch the highlight of his 62-yard touchdown and you see a crazy, tipped pass. Other than that, he had four catches for 39 yards, quite in line with the rest of his underwhelming campaign. That's why looking solely at stats isn't enough to evaluate performance.
Jets 20, Dolphins 17: The right team won, since the Dolphins are just not a very good squad right now, but Joey Harrington did make things very interesting in the fourth quarter, when he was down 20-3. A few more yards for Olindo Mare on the final kick and the game goes extra time. Harrington still isn't much of a fantasy play, but he is making the team more competitive, and his running back enjoyed his finest outing of the season.
MVP: Ronnie Brown had scored three touchdowns this season, but in those games he rushed for 30 and 39 yards. Not real impressive. In this one Brown ran for 127 yards and scored his touchdown late. I'm still not convinced Brown is going to have quite the season I expected, but as first round picks go, he's not the worst.
LVP: Those who played supposed upstart Jet Leon Washington got 58 yards, but yearn for more carries. Those who believed the Jets when they said Kevan Barlow was still the main ballcarrier got another boring 45 yards, but this time no scores. Barlow is darn consistent, if you think about it. In five of his six games he's rushed for between 31 and 45 yards. That's gotta be hard to do. You'd think at some point he'd break one. I mean, his season high for yards was this game with 45. What did Warrick Dunn do, break a 90-yarder on one play, and Barlow's season best for a game is 45?
Interesting: Has Harrington really been any better than Daunte Culpepper? Harrington has one touchdown and four picks, with an average of 249 yards in two games. Culpepper, in three of his four games, averaged 256 yards and had two touchdowns, three picks. So basically, Harrington has not been better, but because there are no expectations on him, nobody cares and he's getting celebrated. Very odd.
Steelers 45, Chiefs 7: That's pretty much what I wrote down for Ben Roethlisberger before the weekend, two touchdown passes. Granted, this is just one game, and we can't really tell if Ben is back to his normal 2005 self, but he sure looked good. Why didn't the Chiefs show up? Weird. I expected more.
MVP: As good as Ben was, Willie Parker put on the bigger fantasy show with two first half touchdowns and better than 100 yards, even leaving plenty of time for backup Najeh Davenport to break off a 48-yarder en route to 78 yards. It was so Tomlinson-Turnerian (well, until this week, I guess), both RBs doing well. Parker might go back and forth on his good and bad performances all season, but I maintain you need him active every week. Would you prefer him or Willis McGahee right now?
LVP: Sure, he did end up with a touchdown, and it was the defending champs and a solid defense, but Larry Johnson now has 62 yards rushing, in two weeks. That's not good enough no matter what the state of the offensive line is. Maybe Herm Edwards needs to call him names. Nobody on Kansas City was very good, and if you're still paying attention, that's 11 catches in the last four games for Tony Gonzalez, and no scores. Nice.
Interesting: I wrote about Tiffin product Nate Washington in the recent ESPN The Magazine as a guy owned in fewer than 1 percent of leagues to watch. Well, that was a 47-yard scoring pass play. Watching now?
Chargers 48, 49ers 19: Demolition game for poor Alex Smith, who saw his defense allow 35 first-half points. Let's not berate him, for he knows not what the other side of the ball will do from week to week.
MVP: What, you were expecting Lorenzo Neal? All LaDainian did was score four touchdowns. You gonna complain about the yards? FOUR TOUCHDOWNS! And, as we're about to see, he had no comp.
LVP: Sure, Frank Gore didn't do much, but think about the one guy for this game everyone was talking about all week. Wasn't Frank. Wasn't Philip Rivers, who looked terrific by the way. Michael Turner was a very popular flex play this week, and looking at the final score, most people who didn't watch would have expected Turner did great things. The last time the Chargers had a blowout win, back in Week 2, Turner burned for 138 yards and a 73-yarder. Even last week in the win over Pittsburgh, it was he, not LT, who had 56 yards. So what happens this week? One carry, no yards. Still no word about injury playing a role, but there has to be something here, no?
Interesting: I thought the San Diego D was a great play, too. Turns out Alex Smith got a few scores and the Chargers allowed more first half points than they had allowed in any full game all season. No matter. They got the win. OK, I'll cover the Broncos-Raiders game and Monday night in Tuesday's blog. Enjoy your Monday.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Oct. 16, 2006, 10:34 PM
Engel: Week 6 wrapup


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Here's a quick-hitting recap of key performances and news from the second week of the NFL season, complete with in-depth fantasy analysis.
T.O.'s "big" day: Usually, a three-touchdown performance is nothing to pick apart. Many fantasy leaguers expected a big day from Terrell Owens against the Texans, and got what they wanted. So why complain? Well, there's certainly no reason to be unhappy with three scores, but the quality of the opponent and Owens' other numbers indicate it could be awhile before he delivers such large fantasy totals again. Owens caught five balls for 45 yards, and his 21-yard scoring reception in the third quarter was his longest catch of the day, leaving him with only 24 receiving yards on his four other catches. Owens still is running sloppy routes, isn't getting open deep often enough, and doesn't look fully comfortable in the Dallas passing game. Now is the time to trade Owens to fantasy owners who might think this was his "breakout" game as a Cowboy. Owens still doesn't look like the major playmaker he used to be, and while we can't discredit his three scores, there are apparent signs that he will still struggle against other teams. Unload Owens this week, before the luster of his inflated statistical outing against a bad opponent wears off.
Deion Branch earns his wings: With a long holdout and missed playing time now behind him, Branch has quickly become a top target for his new team. Branch caught six passes for 76 yards and scored twice in Seattle's shootout with the Rams. He also carried the ball one time for an additional 19 yards. Unlike many other players who miss games or preseason time, Branch is showing no signs of being rusty, and has fit in quickly with his new teammates. He has clearly become a favored target for Matt Hasselbeck, as Branch is catching all types of passes to build good fantasy numbers. He makes the shorter grabs and turns them into important gains, and he also gets behind the secondary to give Hasselbeck another downfield target. Branch and Darrell Jackson are quite a pair of starting receivers for Hasselbeck, who threw three TD passes with no interceptions. Both receivers can play well and should not cut into each other's numbers in a major way, as Jackson also caught four passes for 94 yards, and hauled in a 42-yard TD reception. Hasselbeck is looking like a must-start player with a great receiving duo, and Branch makes many key catches and should be a regular scoring option in a very potent passing game. Branch has better receiving talent surrounding him than he did in New England, and he should be a lock in your lineup as a No. 2 fantasy receiver. He could post better numbers on a week-to-week basis in Seattle than he did in New England.
Joe Horn awakes: I must admit, I thought Horn was no longer a useful fantasy player. Heck, the numbers entering Sunday's game against the Saints backed me up. Horn had only 271 receiving yards in his first five games, and had no TD receptions, after scoring just once last season. But just when I had given up on him for good, Horn reappeared in a "statement" game for the Saints, in which they beat the Eagles and erased any real lingering doubts that they are a true contender in the NFC. Horn finished with 110 receiving yards on six catches, including a 48-yard scoring reception. While Horn's performance proves he isn't quite dead yet from a fantasy perspective, I'm not about to recommend plugging him into your lineup on a regular basis. Opposing defenses have started to account more for a reborn Deuce McAllister, the surprising Marques Colston, and we all know what a crowd Reggie Bush draws every time he touches the ball. After a big week, opponents might start to pay more attention to Horn again, and his production could slip again. It will take more than one good performance to convince me Horn has really bounced back to his old form.
Mark Clayton explodes: Ever since he came out of Oklahoma last season, we heard how the Baltimore Clayton (not to be confused with Tampa Bay's Michael) was very polished for a young pass-catcher, and would make his presence quickly felt at the pro level. But we had only seen flashes of promise from Clayton until Sunday, and simply not enough fantasy production. Many fantasy owners had given up on Clayton, as he was owned in only 17.9 percent of ESPN leagues entering the sixth week of play. But those who used Clayton out of desperation in a week in which six NFL teams were on a bye, were rewarded with what might be viewed as Clayton's breakout performance if he can build on it. The second-year wideout caught five passes for 101 yards and two TDs, including a 62-yarder. Clayton caught both scoring passes from Kyle Boller after an injured Steve McNair left the game vs. Carolina. Clayton had not been impressive statistically early in the season, as McNair didn't quite look comfortable with his new team, and it affected the numbers of Clayton, who had only 186 receiving yards and no TD receptions entering Sunday's game. While Clayton does have the natural ability to build on his success against the Panthers, McNair could hinder his numbers again when he returns to action, and Boller has always been frustrating as a regular starter. Because of his QB situation, Clayton won't deliver fine fantasy performances on a regular basis, and should only be added as a backup.
Don't depend on reserve RBs: The aforementioned byes caused many fantasy owners to make some desperation lineup moves, and will do so again next week. A lot of fantasy players started Ladell Betts and Michael Turner, hoping blowout wins for the Redskins and Chargers would result in good "garbage time" production for the main backups to Clinton Portis and LaDainian Tomlinson. I thought it was a good desperation strategy myself. But those of us who used Betts and Turner learned a valuable lesson. Always go with the players who start and get more guaranteed field time for their respective teams over reserves who aren't guaranteed reps. Betts only carried twice and lost two yards as the Redskins were shocked at home by Tennessee. What's worse for those who started Turner, the Chargers did indeed roll past San Francisco. But Turner carried just one time for zero yards, as Tomlinson enjoyed a four-TD day and left little doubt that he will get the majority of the important carries to the point where Turner is a major fantasy risk. Tomlinson scored his fourth TD in what was supposed to be Turner time, with San Diego clearly well ahead in the fourth quarter. When you're searching for a backup RB or flex fill-in when your starter has a bye, always go with players who will start for their teams over those who might not see the field much, and may only do so in a blowout, because No. 2 NFL RBs who don't operate in a clear time share aren't quality fantasy starting options.
The Tiki TD issues: The Giants scored 27 points on Sunday. Tiki Barber was a huge part of a winning effort at Atlanta. Yet he still didn't find the end zone. Brandon Jacobs scored on a two-yard run, only the second rushing TD for the Giants this season. Barber did appear to score once, and as fate would have it, his TD run was challenged and reversed. But how can you possibly look for negatives from a guy who rushed for 185 yards and added 42 receiving yards? Even without any TDs, Barber was still the third-highest scoring fantasy RB of the week in ESPN leagues, totaling 22 points. Barber has three 100-yard rushing outings in the Giants' first five games. In only one week has he failed to record double figure fantasy points this season. The Giants are a pass-first team. That will continue to hurt Barber's TD production. But he continues to look absolutely amazing as a runner, and a few TDs should naturally come in the weeks ahead. Barber is showing no apparent signs of age or slowing down, and you should continue to expect great yardage production while hoping for a few bonus scores in the week ahead. Barber is a threat to break off a long TD run every week.
Travis Henry, the Second Coming: In 2002-03, Henry was one of the best RBs in fantasy football. But fumbling problems and the ascension of Willis McGahee led to a silent 2004, and a move to Tennessee, where he was a non-factor last season. But Henry has magically reappeared over the past two games to revive a previously mediocre Titans running game, and was a key performer as Tennessee upset Washington to earn its first win of the season. Henry is looking like the same strong, determined and ultra-tough runner he was three years ago. He ran for 178 yards and a TD on Sunday, while playing with a rookie QB and a shaky supporting cast. Henry hasn't lost his ability to fight for every yard and often win, especially near the goal line. The Titans may be a bad team, but Henry is still a darn good No. 2 fantasy RB. Plug him into your lineup as a regular starter and don't expect him to lose a starting job he has craved to seize since he joined the Titans last season.
Cincinnati sputters: Suddenly, the Bengals aren't looking very impressive on offense. Carson Palmer can't seem to connect with Chad Johnson regularly, especially in scoring situations. Offensive line issues are bogging down the running game as well. Rudi Johnson was held to only 52 rushing yards by Tampa Bay on Sunday, and without the support of a high-quality running game, Palmer was put into adverse passing situations in which the Buccaneers took away the big play for most of the game. Palmer threw only one TD pass after throwing none in his previous outing. The Bengals also appear to be hurting without the suspended Chris Henry, who gave Palmer a terrific weapon from the No. 3 receiver spot. Chad Johnson caught six passes for 99 yards, but fantasy owners want better numbers and more TDs. With the Bengals' top starters underperforming, you probably won't get proper return for them in a trade right now. Only T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who caught 10 balls for 102 yards and a TD, seems to be playing at the accustomed high level. Palmer, Rudi Johnson and Chad Johnson aren't playing terribly. But none of them can be considered must-start fantasy options until they start to raise their levels of statistical production again.
The Pennington-Coles connection: Each of them has dealt with health issues this year, and have left fantasy players with doubts about their abilities to perform consistently. Neither Chad Pennington nor Laveranues Coles inspired much confidence after a terrible performance at Jacksonville last week. But the pair regained the confidence of fantasy players on Sunday. Pennington threw two TD passes vs. Miami, both to Coles. One was for 58 yards and the other was for 22 yards. Coles has worked through injuries recently, and is playing well. The Jets don't have a dependable running game and Coles doesn't have any complements of major note, as Jerricho Cotchery has been erratic. But Pennington already has eight TD passes and Coles, his favorite target, has three of them. You can expect the pair to hook up for quite a few more scoring connections this season when the matchup is right. The real Roethlisberger: Suddenly on Sunday, the Ben Roethlisberger we're familiar with returned. No longer did he look tentative and ineffective. The solid mechanics were back. The quick, confident setup and release was back, as was the accurate downfield throws. As he did so often last year, Roethlisberger made good use of all his best targets. He threw a TD pass to his usual favorite, Hines Ward, and he also tossed a scoring pass to Nate Washington, who has earned more reps this season. Roethlisberger also threw a 50-yard pass to rookie Santonio Holmes. While one good game isn't a reason to write Roethlisberger in as a regular fantasy starter in larger leagues yet, all signs were positive, and he should start to perform well on a more consistent basis in the near future. If he continues to play at a respectable level, Roethlisberger should soon be a viable starter again in leagues of 12 teams or more.
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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 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Oct. 16, 2006, 10:34 PM
Engel: Week 6 wrapup


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Here's a quick-hitting recap of key performances and news from the second week of the NFL season, complete with in-depth fantasy analysis.
T.O.'s "big" day: Usually, a three-touchdown performance is nothing to pick apart. Many fantasy leaguers expected a big day from Terrell Owens against the Texans, and got what they wanted. So why complain? Well, there's certainly no reason to be unhappy with three scores, but the quality of the opponent and Owens' other numbers indicate it could be awhile before he delivers such large fantasy totals again. Owens caught five balls for 45 yards, and his 21-yard scoring reception in the third quarter was his longest catch of the day, leaving him with only 24 receiving yards on his four other catches. Owens still is running sloppy routes, isn't getting open deep often enough, and doesn't look fully comfortable in the Dallas passing game. Now is the time to trade Owens to fantasy owners who might think this was his "breakout" game as a Cowboy. Owens still doesn't look like the major playmaker he used to be, and while we can't discredit his three scores, there are apparent signs that he will still struggle against other teams. Unload Owens this week, before the luster of his inflated statistical outing against a bad opponent wears off.
Deion Branch earns his wings: With a long holdout and missed playing time now behind him, Branch has quickly become a top target for his new team. Branch caught six passes for 76 yards and scored twice in Seattle's shootout with the Rams. He also carried the ball one time for an additional 19 yards. Unlike many other players who miss games or preseason time, Branch is showing no signs of being rusty, and has fit in quickly with his new teammates. He has clearly become a favored target for Matt Hasselbeck, as Branch is catching all types of passes to build good fantasy numbers. He makes the shorter grabs and turns them into important gains, and he also gets behind the secondary to give Hasselbeck another downfield target. Branch and Darrell Jackson are quite a pair of starting receivers for Hasselbeck, who threw three TD passes with no interceptions. Both receivers can play well and should not cut into each other's numbers in a major way, as Jackson also caught four passes for 94 yards, and hauled in a 42-yard TD reception. Hasselbeck is looking like a must-start player with a great receiving duo, and Branch makes many key catches and should be a regular scoring option in a very potent passing game. Branch has better receiving talent surrounding him than he did in New England, and he should be a lock in your lineup as a No. 2 fantasy receiver. He could post better numbers on a week-to-week basis in Seattle than he did in New England.
Joe Horn awakes: I must admit, I thought Horn was no longer a useful fantasy player. Heck, the numbers entering Sunday's game against the Saints backed me up. Horn had only 271 receiving yards in his first five games, and had no TD receptions, after scoring just once last season. But just when I had given up on him for good, Horn reappeared in a "statement" game for the Saints, in which they beat the Eagles and erased any real lingering doubts that they are a true contender in the NFC. Horn finished with 110 receiving yards on six catches, including a 48-yard scoring reception. While Horn's performance proves he isn't quite dead yet from a fantasy perspective, I'm not about to recommend plugging him into your lineup on a regular basis. Opposing defenses have started to account more for a reborn Deuce McAllister, the surprising Marques Colston, and we all know what a crowd Reggie Bush draws every time he touches the ball. After a big week, opponents might start to pay more attention to Horn again, and his production could slip again. It will take more than one good performance to convince me Horn has really bounced back to his old form.
Mark Clayton explodes: Ever since he came out of Oklahoma last season, we heard how the Baltimore Clayton (not to be confused with Tampa Bay's Michael) was very polished for a young pass-catcher, and would make his presence quickly felt at the pro level. But we had only seen flashes of promise from Clayton until Sunday, and simply not enough fantasy production. Many fantasy owners had given up on Clayton, as he was owned in only 17.9 percent of ESPN leagues entering the sixth week of play. But those who used Clayton out of desperation in a week in which six NFL teams were on a bye, were rewarded with what might be viewed as Clayton's breakout performance if he can build on it. The second-year wideout caught five passes for 101 yards and two TDs, including a 62-yarder. Clayton caught both scoring passes from Kyle Boller after an injured Steve McNair left the game vs. Carolina. Clayton had not been impressive statistically early in the season, as McNair didn't quite look comfortable with his new team, and it affected the numbers of Clayton, who had only 186 receiving yards and no TD receptions entering Sunday's game. While Clayton does have the natural ability to build on his success against the Panthers, McNair could hinder his numbers again when he returns to action, and Boller has always been frustrating as a regular starter. Because of his QB situation, Clayton won't deliver fine fantasy performances on a regular basis, and should only be added as a backup.
Don't depend on reserve RBs: The aforementioned byes caused many fantasy owners to make some desperation lineup moves, and will do so again next week. A lot of fantasy players started Ladell Betts and Michael Turner, hoping blowout wins for the Redskins and Chargers would result in good "garbage time" production for the main backups to Clinton Portis and LaDainian Tomlinson. I thought it was a good desperation strategy myself. But those of us who used Betts and Turner learned a valuable lesson. Always go with the players who start and get more guaranteed field time for their respective teams over reserves who aren't guaranteed reps. Betts only carried twice and lost two yards as the Redskins were shocked at home by Tennessee. What's worse for those who started Turner, the Chargers did indeed roll past San Francisco. But Turner carried just one time for zero yards, as Tomlinson enjoyed a four-TD day and left little doubt that he will get the majority of the important carries to the point where Turner is a major fantasy risk. Tomlinson scored his fourth TD in what was supposed to be Turner time, with San Diego clearly well ahead in the fourth quarter. When you're searching for a backup RB or flex fill-in when your starter has a bye, always go with players who will start for their teams over those who might not see the field much, and may only do so in a blowout, because No. 2 NFL RBs who don't operate in a clear time share aren't quality fantasy starting options.
The Tiki TD issues: The Giants scored 27 points on Sunday. Tiki Barber was a huge part of a winning effort at Atlanta. Yet he still didn't find the end zone. Brandon Jacobs scored on a two-yard run, only the second rushing TD for the Giants this season. Barber did appear to score once, and as fate would have it, his TD run was challenged and reversed. But how can you possibly look for negatives from a guy who rushed for 185 yards and added 42 receiving yards? Even without any TDs, Barber was still the third-highest scoring fantasy RB of the week in ESPN leagues, totaling 22 points. Barber has three 100-yard rushing outings in the Giants' first five games. In only one week has he failed to record double figure fantasy points this season. The Giants are a pass-first team. That will continue to hurt Barber's TD production. But he continues to look absolutely amazing as a runner, and a few TDs should naturally come in the weeks ahead. Barber is showing no apparent signs of age or slowing down, and you should continue to expect great yardage production while hoping for a few bonus scores in the week ahead. Barber is a threat to break off a long TD run every week.
Travis Henry, the Second Coming: In 2002-03, Henry was one of the best RBs in fantasy football. But fumbling problems and the ascension of Willis McGahee led to a silent 2004, and a move to Tennessee, where he was a non-factor last season. But Henry has magically reappeared over the past two games to revive a previously mediocre Titans running game, and was a key performer as Tennessee upset Washington to earn its first win of the season. Henry is looking like the same strong, determined and ultra-tough runner he was three years ago. He ran for 178 yards and a TD on Sunday, while playing with a rookie QB and a shaky supporting cast. Henry hasn't lost his ability to fight for every yard and often win, especially near the goal line. The Titans may be a bad team, but Henry is still a darn good No. 2 fantasy RB. Plug him into your lineup as a regular starter and don't expect him to lose a starting job he has craved to seize since he joined the Titans last season.
Cincinnati sputters: Suddenly, the Bengals aren't looking very impressive on offense. Carson Palmer can't seem to connect with Chad Johnson regularly, especially in scoring situations. Offensive line issues are bogging down the running game as well. Rudi Johnson was held to only 52 rushing yards by Tampa Bay on Sunday, and without the support of a high-quality running game, Palmer was put into adverse passing situations in which the Buccaneers took away the big play for most of the game. Palmer threw only one TD pass after throwing none in his previous outing. The Bengals also appear to be hurting without the suspended Chris Henry, who gave Palmer a terrific weapon from the No. 3 receiver spot. Chad Johnson caught six passes for 99 yards, but fantasy owners want better numbers and more TDs. With the Bengals' top starters underperforming, you probably won't get proper return for them in a trade right now. Only T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who caught 10 balls for 102 yards and a TD, seems to be playing at the accustomed high level. Palmer, Rudi Johnson and Chad Johnson aren't playing terribly. But none of them can be considered must-start fantasy options until they start to raise their levels of statistical production again.
The Pennington-Coles connection: Each of them has dealt with health issues this year, and have left fantasy players with doubts about their abilities to perform consistently. Neither Chad Pennington nor Laveranues Coles inspired much confidence after a terrible performance at Jacksonville last week. But the pair regained the confidence of fantasy players on Sunday. Pennington threw two TD passes vs. Miami, both to Coles. One was for 58 yards and the other was for 22 yards. Coles has worked through injuries recently, and is playing well. The Jets don't have a dependable running game and Coles doesn't have any complements of major note, as Jerricho Cotchery has been erratic. But Pennington already has eight TD passes and Coles, his favorite target, has three of them. You can expect the pair to hook up for quite a few more scoring connections this season when the matchup is right. The real Roethlisberger: Suddenly on Sunday, the Ben Roethlisberger we're familiar with returned. No longer did he look tentative and ineffective. The solid mechanics were back. The quick, confident setup and release was back, as was the accurate downfield throws. As he did so often last year, Roethlisberger made good use of all his best targets. He threw a TD pass to his usual favorite, Hines Ward, and he also tossed a scoring pass to Nate Washington, who has earned more reps this season. Roethlisberger also threw a 50-yard pass to rookie Santonio Holmes. While one good game isn't a reason to write Roethlisberger in as a regular fantasy starter in larger leagues yet, all signs were positive, and he should start to perform well on a more consistent basis in the near future. If he continues to play at a respectable level, Roethlisberger should soon be a viable starter again in leagues of 12 teams or more.
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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 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Monday, October 16, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Denver's Colder Than it Seems


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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 outcome of Sunday night's Oakland Raiders-Denver Broncos game might not have been surprising. After all, it was a home game for the Broncos, winners of 12 consecutive regular-season games at Invesco Field at Mile High entering Week 6, and the opponent was the Raiders, 0-4 and the owners of league's weakest offense.
Predictably, Denver won a game that only seemed close on the scoreboard, though the 13-3 tally, if you think about it, does raise an important question: Is this Broncos team really as good as people think? Denver's defense does lead the league with only one touchdown allowed all season, and its 7.4 points allowed average ranks second, with a chance to squeak into first should the Chicago Bears surrender nine points or more on Monday. But while that might suggest Denver's defense is suddenly a worthy every-week start, be careful not to push it into that status. Sure, the Broncos defense dominates at home, with only a combined 12 points allowed and all seven of the team's turnovers generated in three games, but look at the team's next four home opponents: Colts (Week 8), Chargers (Week 11), Seahawks (Week 13) and Bengals (Week 16). Considering Denver didn't force a single turnover and had a combined nine fantasy points in two road games in Weeks 1 and 3, it's not like this is the most consistent defense to count on in fantasy.
Here's the other problem: While the defense ranks among the leaders, the offense ranks among the league's worst. With Sunday's game, Denver's offense has now averaged 12.4 points per game, and that ties the team for second-worst in the NFL (Buccaneers). Only the winless Raiders have had more trouble scoring than the Broncos, and that's a big change from a team that scored 20-plus points in seven of eight regular-season home games and ranked seventh in the league in points per game (24.7) in 2005.
New starting running back Tatum Bell has hardly been the problem; he managed 23 carries for 83 yards and his first touchdown of the season on Sunday. Maybe his performance in Week 6 demonstrates that he won't quite settle as a top-five fantasy RB, but he's still a potential top-10 player.
It's quarterback Jake Plummer, though, who has been woefully inconsistent. Sunday's game was the third time this season that he has failed to complete a TD pass, and while he wasn't intercepted and kept the offense moving early in the contest, one has to wonder how much longer the team's defense can keep the focus off Plummer's mediocre play. One bad game in which the Broncos actually lose could resume talk about rookie Jay Cutler taking over, so Plummer, Javon Walker and Rod Smith owners still have something to worry about. I'd look only to Bell, Walker and the defense as viable fantasy plays at this point, and if Plummer can't turn this thing around with a favorable matchup in Week 7 (at Cleveland), there could be some problems ahead for Denver. <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
Speaking of quarterback changes, a key exercise for fantasy owners when teams turn that role over, be it by injury or coach's decision, is which players get most affected by the move. Remember, there's a bit of favoritism with quarterbacks regarding preferred receivers, and sometimes, the quarterback's talent itself dictates a change in the game plan. Since Damon Huard took over as the Chiefs' starter in Week 2, for instance, Tony Gonzalez has only 11 receptions for 106 yards and no scores, stuck serving in more of a blocking role due to the team's offensive line problems. In Tampa Bay, Bruce Gradkowski has been making much more use of TE Alex Smith than Chris Simms did, and he's still throwing to Joey Galloway every bit as much as Simms did in the past. In Miami, Joey Harrington has now completed 14 passes for 156 yards to Randy McMichael in two weeks as the starter, and he's actually getting Chris Chambers the ball a lot more effectively than Daunte Culpepper ever did. McMichael, incidentally, at the rate he's being thrown to, seemingly has to break off a TD reception soon, doesn't he? And in Baltimore, Kyle Boller, with his strong (yet erratic) arm, was able to locate Mark Clayton five times for 101 yards and two scores in Week 6, yet he threw only three times to Derrick Mason and didn't complete one of those attempts.


THE BOTTOM LINE

LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders
23 carries, 60 rushing yards, 0 TDs

If you're wondering what a switch for the Broncos from Jake Plummer to Jay Cutler might mean for a player like Tatum Bell, well, Jordan's your worst-case scenario. What happens when a team is so woeful on offense that it regularly falls perilously behind on the scoreboard before halftime? The workhorse running back suffers, which is why Jordan now has four games of 81 or fewer yards from scrimmage and no scores this season, which are terrible fantasy numbers from a consensus first rounder. Now, Denver's offensive line is quite a bit better than Oakland's -- quite a bit better -- and the Broncos aren't nearly as likely to slip into the team funk that the Raiders have, but when a team hits a slump on offense, sometimes, there's no telling the limits of the impact on the individual players' numbers. In Jordan's case, it's understandable that he wouldn't find as many running lanes and would be easier for opponents to defend this year, but what's so troublesome about his season is that he has been nowhere near as capable as a pass catcher as he was in 2005. He has only seven receptions, on pace for 22, a huge drop-off from the 70 passes he caught last season. Jordan should have better weeks, like the Week 7 against the Cardinals, Week 13 against the Texans or Week 14 at Cincinnati, but that's a pretty limited schedule for fantasy success. This team's not going to get much -- if any -- better, meaning Jordan's a No. 2 RB option at best, and a mediocre one facing tough defenses.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 6</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: Snapped his no-INT streak and lost at home, but has 8 passing TD in his last 3 G</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>360</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>26</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: So much for the Michael Turner factor; Turner had 1 carry in a 29-point 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>21</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>71</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>64</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>37</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>Torry Holt, WR, Rams: Has 7 TDs, 3 100-yard G in his last 5; ties for best single-week point total by a WR</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>8</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>154</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>13</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>35</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants: His 1st career 2-TD G, but Tiki Barber owners can't like his red-zone targets</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>55</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>17</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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


Trainer's Room
? Ravens QB Steve McNair left the Week 6 game against the Panthers with a concussion and a sprained neck he suffered when he was sacked late in the first quarter. With a bye week in Week 7, McNair should be fully healthy in time for the Week 8 game at New Orleans, though with QB Kyle Boller performing so well in relief of McNair (226 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT), a quarterback controversy could be in order. When McNair's under center, TE Todd Heap seems to benefit the most, while WR Mark Clayton seems to be helped the most by Boller starting, so keep tabs on McNair the next week or so.
? Lions RB Kevin Jones suffered a hip pointer in the second quarter of the Week 6 game against the Bills, though he was able to stay in the game and top 100 yards rushing after getting a pain-killing injection. Jones was in some pain after the game, but considering he rebounded nicely this week after suffering a concussion late in Week 5, he should be fine for Week 7 at the N.Y. Jets, which is a standout matchup for him.
? Titans QB Vince Young suffered an ankle injury on one of his six runs in Week 6 at Washington, but was able to complete the game. He should be fine for Week 8 against the Texans -- Tennessee's bye is in Week 7 -- and that might actually be a time to consider him if you're desperate at the position. Of course, Week 8 only has the Bills, Dolphins, Lions and Redskins on their byes, so most fantasy teams shouldn't be in that position. ? 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 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Monday, October 16, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Denver's Colder Than it Seems


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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 outcome of Sunday night's Oakland Raiders-Denver Broncos game might not have been surprising. After all, it was a home game for the Broncos, winners of 12 consecutive regular-season games at Invesco Field at Mile High entering Week 6, and the opponent was the Raiders, 0-4 and the owners of league's weakest offense.
Predictably, Denver won a game that only seemed close on the scoreboard, though the 13-3 tally, if you think about it, does raise an important question: Is this Broncos team really as good as people think? Denver's defense does lead the league with only one touchdown allowed all season, and its 7.4 points allowed average ranks second, with a chance to squeak into first should the Chicago Bears surrender nine points or more on Monday. But while that might suggest Denver's defense is suddenly a worthy every-week start, be careful not to push it into that status. Sure, the Broncos defense dominates at home, with only a combined 12 points allowed and all seven of the team's turnovers generated in three games, but look at the team's next four home opponents: Colts (Week 8), Chargers (Week 11), Seahawks (Week 13) and Bengals (Week 16). Considering Denver didn't force a single turnover and had a combined nine fantasy points in two road games in Weeks 1 and 3, it's not like this is the most consistent defense to count on in fantasy.
Here's the other problem: While the defense ranks among the leaders, the offense ranks among the league's worst. With Sunday's game, Denver's offense has now averaged 12.4 points per game, and that ties the team for second-worst in the NFL (Buccaneers). Only the winless Raiders have had more trouble scoring than the Broncos, and that's a big change from a team that scored 20-plus points in seven of eight regular-season home games and ranked seventh in the league in points per game (24.7) in 2005.
New starting running back Tatum Bell has hardly been the problem; he managed 23 carries for 83 yards and his first touchdown of the season on Sunday. Maybe his performance in Week 6 demonstrates that he won't quite settle as a top-five fantasy RB, but he's still a potential top-10 player.
It's quarterback Jake Plummer, though, who has been woefully inconsistent. Sunday's game was the third time this season that he has failed to complete a TD pass, and while he wasn't intercepted and kept the offense moving early in the contest, one has to wonder how much longer the team's defense can keep the focus off Plummer's mediocre play. One bad game in which the Broncos actually lose could resume talk about rookie Jay Cutler taking over, so Plummer, Javon Walker and Rod Smith owners still have something to worry about. I'd look only to Bell, Walker and the defense as viable fantasy plays at this point, and if Plummer can't turn this thing around with a favorable matchup in Week 7 (at Cleveland), there could be some problems ahead for Denver. <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
Speaking of quarterback changes, a key exercise for fantasy owners when teams turn that role over, be it by injury or coach's decision, is which players get most affected by the move. Remember, there's a bit of favoritism with quarterbacks regarding preferred receivers, and sometimes, the quarterback's talent itself dictates a change in the game plan. Since Damon Huard took over as the Chiefs' starter in Week 2, for instance, Tony Gonzalez has only 11 receptions for 106 yards and no scores, stuck serving in more of a blocking role due to the team's offensive line problems. In Tampa Bay, Bruce Gradkowski has been making much more use of TE Alex Smith than Chris Simms did, and he's still throwing to Joey Galloway every bit as much as Simms did in the past. In Miami, Joey Harrington has now completed 14 passes for 156 yards to Randy McMichael in two weeks as the starter, and he's actually getting Chris Chambers the ball a lot more effectively than Daunte Culpepper ever did. McMichael, incidentally, at the rate he's being thrown to, seemingly has to break off a TD reception soon, doesn't he? And in Baltimore, Kyle Boller, with his strong (yet erratic) arm, was able to locate Mark Clayton five times for 101 yards and two scores in Week 6, yet he threw only three times to Derrick Mason and didn't complete one of those attempts.


THE BOTTOM LINE

LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders
23 carries, 60 rushing yards, 0 TDs

If you're wondering what a switch for the Broncos from Jake Plummer to Jay Cutler might mean for a player like Tatum Bell, well, Jordan's your worst-case scenario. What happens when a team is so woeful on offense that it regularly falls perilously behind on the scoreboard before halftime? The workhorse running back suffers, which is why Jordan now has four games of 81 or fewer yards from scrimmage and no scores this season, which are terrible fantasy numbers from a consensus first rounder. Now, Denver's offensive line is quite a bit better than Oakland's -- quite a bit better -- and the Broncos aren't nearly as likely to slip into the team funk that the Raiders have, but when a team hits a slump on offense, sometimes, there's no telling the limits of the impact on the individual players' numbers. In Jordan's case, it's understandable that he wouldn't find as many running lanes and would be easier for opponents to defend this year, but what's so troublesome about his season is that he has been nowhere near as capable as a pass catcher as he was in 2005. He has only seven receptions, on pace for 22, a huge drop-off from the 70 passes he caught last season. Jordan should have better weeks, like the Week 7 against the Cardinals, Week 13 against the Texans or Week 14 at Cincinnati, but that's a pretty limited schedule for fantasy success. This team's not going to get much -- if any -- better, meaning Jordan's a No. 2 RB option at best, and a mediocre one facing tough defenses.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 6</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: Snapped his no-INT streak and lost at home, but has 8 passing TD in his last 3 G</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>360</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>26</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: So much for the Michael Turner factor; Turner had 1 carry in a 29-point 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>21</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>71</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>64</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>4</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>37</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>Torry Holt, WR, Rams: Has 7 TDs, 3 100-yard G in his last 5; ties for best single-week point total by a WR</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>8</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>154</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>13</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>3</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>35</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants: His 1st career 2-TD G, but Tiki Barber owners can't like his red-zone targets</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>55</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>2</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>17</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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


Trainer's Room
? Ravens QB Steve McNair left the Week 6 game against the Panthers with a concussion and a sprained neck he suffered when he was sacked late in the first quarter. With a bye week in Week 7, McNair should be fully healthy in time for the Week 8 game at New Orleans, though with QB Kyle Boller performing so well in relief of McNair (226 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT), a quarterback controversy could be in order. When McNair's under center, TE Todd Heap seems to benefit the most, while WR Mark Clayton seems to be helped the most by Boller starting, so keep tabs on McNair the next week or so.
? Lions RB Kevin Jones suffered a hip pointer in the second quarter of the Week 6 game against the Bills, though he was able to stay in the game and top 100 yards rushing after getting a pain-killing injection. Jones was in some pain after the game, but considering he rebounded nicely this week after suffering a concussion late in Week 5, he should be fine for Week 7 at the N.Y. Jets, which is a standout matchup for him.
? Titans QB Vince Young suffered an ankle injury on one of his six runs in Week 6 at Washington, but was able to complete the game. He should be fine for Week 8 against the Texans -- Tennessee's bye is in Week 7 -- and that might actually be a time to consider him if you're desperate at the position. Of course, Week 8 only has the Bills, Dolphins, Lions and Redskins on their byes, so most fantasy teams shouldn't be in that position. ? 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 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Oct. 16, 2006, 4:44 PM
Looking ahead: Who is the real Kevin Jones?


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Each Monday afternoon, the Fantasy Scout takes an early look ahead to the coming week and beyond. We give you the early lowdown on players to watch and consider emerging trends that will affect your fantasy strategy, even before the "Monday Night Football" game!
Player Spotlight
Just call him Mr. Fantasy Frustration. We never know what to fully expect from Detroit running back Kevin Jones. First, he was billed as a fantasy superstar, and then he was a fantasy bust. Now, he's become unpredictable on a weekly basis. In the fourth week, Jones rushed for two TDs against the Rams, and many fantasy leaguers started him with confidence against Minnesota in the fifth week. Jones responded with only eight rushing yards, and was benched again this week by a lot of fantasy players. Those who benched him could only vent more frustration, as Jones, playing behind an injury-depleted offensive line, rushed for 127 yards and a TD. He also caught six passes for 36 yards. Jones is easily the most inconsistent RB in fantasy football.
So what should we expect from him the rest of the way? How about at least decent overall numbers every week, with some added receiving totals as a bonus? In most weeks, Jones will pad even mediocre rushing totals with respectable receiving stats. He has improved as a pass-catcher and in most weeks, he won't embarrass you from the No. 2 RB slot. Jones is running hard this year, but an inconsistent passing game and unreliable blocking always threaten to drag his rushing numbers down in any given week. The Lions won't move the ball consistently with Jon Kitna at quarterback, and there is always the great possibility that the Lions will play from behind and abandon the running game. So 100-yard rushing outings aren't going to be a regular occurrence from Jones. But he has improved as an all-around player, and his versatility will usually lead to at least adequate fantasy totals. Jones has already totaled 597 yards from scrimmage in six games. That's a pretty reliable fantasy RB, and you can forget his eight-yard stinker last week, when you consider he averages nearly 100 yards from scrimmage every week and has scored four times already.
Injury Fallout
The Seahawks are without Shaun Alexander for another two weeks, and it's clear Maurice Morris is no major threat to any defense. Morris doesn't break tackles often or run inside with authority, but he does have good vision and speed, which sometimes leads to decent gains. Overall, Morris isn't capable of posting anything better than mediocre fantasy numbers. Morris rushed for only 74 yards on 23 carries at St. Louis, and also lost a key fumble late in the game that nearly cost Seattle a win. Seattle faces the Vikings next Sunday, and the formidable Minnesota front wall will certainly stuff Morris often, and you shouldn't expect him to score. The Vikings are allowing only 74.4 rushing yards per game, so it isn't a great matchup for Morris, and Seattle will have to rely on its passing game again. You can look for Matt Hasselbeck to continue to throw often, especially with Deion Branch starting to fit in very well. For Alexander's owners, the news is a big disappointment after there were reports Alexander could return to action as soon as this upcoming week. You'll simply have to wait patiently for his return, and you can be more confident he will play well when he comes back. It's apparent that the Seahawks don't want to rush him back into action, and more rest and a cautious approach should mean he will be in prime playing form when he returns. Alexander's extended absence is not good news, but his return ultimately might be worth the wait.
Preparing for Changes
There have been no indications publicly, but you have to expect some changes at running back for the Texans soon. Ron Dayne rushed for only 14 yards on 10 carries in a loss to Dallas, and was stoned more than once in short-yardage situations by the Cowboys. He failed to punch the ball into the end zone from the one-yard line early in the game. It's common knowledge that the Houston offensive line isn't a quality unit, and Dayne didn't hesitate to spread some of the blame to his blockers.
"It's tough when you have to run through your guys and theirs," Dayne told the Houston Chronicle. "It's tough when there are eight or nine in the box and guys are not getting the push." Dayne did also say it was his fault as well for not converting short-yardage opportunities, and he needs to work on that in practice. "It eats at your manhood when you can't get three feet," guard Chester Pitts told the Chronicle.
Backup running back Samkon Gado said the Texans have had extra meetings and walk-throughs to improve the running game. But the next possible answer should be for Gado to get into the lineup over Dayne. He is a quicker RB who runs with more authority and can break tackles and display some necessary quickness that Dayne doesn't seem to have. The Texans didn't deal for Gado to have him sit on their bench behind the always-disappointing Dayne. Don't be surprised if you see Gado's workload increase very soon, or if he is named the new starter in the near future.
Reality Strikes
Leon Washington might be the most talented RB on the Jets roster right now, and he certainly has the most upside. He runs hard for a smaller back, can break tackles, and is a threat to break loose for a big run on any carry. But New York isn't about to hand him a full-time job. Washington led the Jets with 58 rushing yards against the Dolphins Sunday, but Kevan Barlow had the most carries, with 13. At this point, it seems that the Jets have settled on a time share between Barlow and Washington. Even though Barlow has posted mediocre and sometimes very low rushing numbers, he does have the ability to convert short-yardage opportunities, especially near the goal line. And the Jets seem reluctant to overwork Washington, who might not be able to take the pounding of being a regularly featured runner. By using Barlow, the Jets can also ensure that they keep Washington fresh to challenge defenses with his speed later in games. But with a limited workload and not many chances to score in the red zone, Washington should only be on fantasy rosters as a reserve for now.
Scout's Notebook ? Some fantasy owners seem ready to "sell high" on Reggie Brown after his outstanding performance against the Saints on Sunday. Brown caught six passes for 121 yards and a TD, and also scored on a 15-yard run. I say don't mess with success. Brown has clearly emerged as the top receiving target for the very prolific Donovan McNabb. His performance should make you keep him unless you get a chance to land another top player. Don't be quick to part with Brown. Not only does he make important possession catches, he can also beat defenders with his quickness and open-field smarts, as evidenced on his 60-yard scoring reception against New Orleans.
? Some fantasy leaguers also seem disappointed by the performance of Tatum Bell, who rushed for 83 yards and a TD against the seemingly defenseless Raiders. Most of his owners were obviously expecting better statistical production, but Bell surely will have some better outings ahead. If you find a Bell owner in your league who wants to move him because he didn't rush for at least 150 yards against the Raiders, pry him away. Now is a great time to "buy low" on Bell, who is destined for better outings even if last night's performance didn't quite meet expectations. You can bet Bell was also a bit disappointed by his outing as well, and that could spur him to improved performances in the near future.
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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 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Oct. 16, 2006, 4:44 PM
Looking ahead: Who is the real Kevin Jones?


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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Each Monday afternoon, the Fantasy Scout takes an early look ahead to the coming week and beyond. We give you the early lowdown on players to watch and consider emerging trends that will affect your fantasy strategy, even before the "Monday Night Football" game!
Player Spotlight
Just call him Mr. Fantasy Frustration. We never know what to fully expect from Detroit running back Kevin Jones. First, he was billed as a fantasy superstar, and then he was a fantasy bust. Now, he's become unpredictable on a weekly basis. In the fourth week, Jones rushed for two TDs against the Rams, and many fantasy leaguers started him with confidence against Minnesota in the fifth week. Jones responded with only eight rushing yards, and was benched again this week by a lot of fantasy players. Those who benched him could only vent more frustration, as Jones, playing behind an injury-depleted offensive line, rushed for 127 yards and a TD. He also caught six passes for 36 yards. Jones is easily the most inconsistent RB in fantasy football.
So what should we expect from him the rest of the way? How about at least decent overall numbers every week, with some added receiving totals as a bonus? In most weeks, Jones will pad even mediocre rushing totals with respectable receiving stats. He has improved as a pass-catcher and in most weeks, he won't embarrass you from the No. 2 RB slot. Jones is running hard this year, but an inconsistent passing game and unreliable blocking always threaten to drag his rushing numbers down in any given week. The Lions won't move the ball consistently with Jon Kitna at quarterback, and there is always the great possibility that the Lions will play from behind and abandon the running game. So 100-yard rushing outings aren't going to be a regular occurrence from Jones. But he has improved as an all-around player, and his versatility will usually lead to at least adequate fantasy totals. Jones has already totaled 597 yards from scrimmage in six games. That's a pretty reliable fantasy RB, and you can forget his eight-yard stinker last week, when you consider he averages nearly 100 yards from scrimmage every week and has scored four times already.
Injury Fallout
The Seahawks are without Shaun Alexander for another two weeks, and it's clear Maurice Morris is no major threat to any defense. Morris doesn't break tackles often or run inside with authority, but he does have good vision and speed, which sometimes leads to decent gains. Overall, Morris isn't capable of posting anything better than mediocre fantasy numbers. Morris rushed for only 74 yards on 23 carries at St. Louis, and also lost a key fumble late in the game that nearly cost Seattle a win. Seattle faces the Vikings next Sunday, and the formidable Minnesota front wall will certainly stuff Morris often, and you shouldn't expect him to score. The Vikings are allowing only 74.4 rushing yards per game, so it isn't a great matchup for Morris, and Seattle will have to rely on its passing game again. You can look for Matt Hasselbeck to continue to throw often, especially with Deion Branch starting to fit in very well. For Alexander's owners, the news is a big disappointment after there were reports Alexander could return to action as soon as this upcoming week. You'll simply have to wait patiently for his return, and you can be more confident he will play well when he comes back. It's apparent that the Seahawks don't want to rush him back into action, and more rest and a cautious approach should mean he will be in prime playing form when he returns. Alexander's extended absence is not good news, but his return ultimately might be worth the wait.
Preparing for Changes
There have been no indications publicly, but you have to expect some changes at running back for the Texans soon. Ron Dayne rushed for only 14 yards on 10 carries in a loss to Dallas, and was stoned more than once in short-yardage situations by the Cowboys. He failed to punch the ball into the end zone from the one-yard line early in the game. It's common knowledge that the Houston offensive line isn't a quality unit, and Dayne didn't hesitate to spread some of the blame to his blockers.
"It's tough when you have to run through your guys and theirs," Dayne told the Houston Chronicle. "It's tough when there are eight or nine in the box and guys are not getting the push." Dayne did also say it was his fault as well for not converting short-yardage opportunities, and he needs to work on that in practice. "It eats at your manhood when you can't get three feet," guard Chester Pitts told the Chronicle.
Backup running back Samkon Gado said the Texans have had extra meetings and walk-throughs to improve the running game. But the next possible answer should be for Gado to get into the lineup over Dayne. He is a quicker RB who runs with more authority and can break tackles and display some necessary quickness that Dayne doesn't seem to have. The Texans didn't deal for Gado to have him sit on their bench behind the always-disappointing Dayne. Don't be surprised if you see Gado's workload increase very soon, or if he is named the new starter in the near future.
Reality Strikes
Leon Washington might be the most talented RB on the Jets roster right now, and he certainly has the most upside. He runs hard for a smaller back, can break tackles, and is a threat to break loose for a big run on any carry. But New York isn't about to hand him a full-time job. Washington led the Jets with 58 rushing yards against the Dolphins Sunday, but Kevan Barlow had the most carries, with 13. At this point, it seems that the Jets have settled on a time share between Barlow and Washington. Even though Barlow has posted mediocre and sometimes very low rushing numbers, he does have the ability to convert short-yardage opportunities, especially near the goal line. And the Jets seem reluctant to overwork Washington, who might not be able to take the pounding of being a regularly featured runner. By using Barlow, the Jets can also ensure that they keep Washington fresh to challenge defenses with his speed later in games. But with a limited workload and not many chances to score in the red zone, Washington should only be on fantasy rosters as a reserve for now.
Scout's Notebook ? Some fantasy owners seem ready to "sell high" on Reggie Brown after his outstanding performance against the Saints on Sunday. Brown caught six passes for 121 yards and a TD, and also scored on a 15-yard run. I say don't mess with success. Brown has clearly emerged as the top receiving target for the very prolific Donovan McNabb. His performance should make you keep him unless you get a chance to land another top player. Don't be quick to part with Brown. Not only does he make important possession catches, he can also beat defenders with his quickness and open-field smarts, as evidenced on his 60-yard scoring reception against New Orleans.
? Some fantasy leaguers also seem disappointed by the performance of Tatum Bell, who rushed for 83 yards and a TD against the seemingly defenseless Raiders. Most of his owners were obviously expecting better statistical production, but Bell surely will have some better outings ahead. If you find a Bell owner in your league who wants to move him because he didn't rush for at least 150 yards against the Raiders, pry him away. Now is a great time to "buy low" on Bell, who is destined for better outings even if last night's performance didn't quite meet expectations. You can bet Bell was also a bit disappointed by his outing as well, and that could spur him to improved performances in the near future.
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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 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Oct. 16, 2006, 2:55 PM
Week 6: The Saints are for real


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By Jason Langendorf
ESPN Fantasy Games

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At what point is it OK to accept an NFL team as being "for real?" Four games? That's a quarter of the regular season, the equivalent of 41 games in baseball. Were we still dismissing the Tigers as an out-and-out fluke after 41 games last June? (And if you were, it's time to reassess.)
How about six games? That's more than a third of the season and plenty of time for every team to have faced at least one rough-and-tumble matchup that was capable of exposing it for a fraud. Chicago has walked over some patsies on its way to 5-0, but it topped a solid division rival on the road in Minnesota and destroyed Seattle, the reigning NFC champs. The undefeated Colts have had some trouble with also-rans (the Titans and Jets) but dispatched playoff-caliber opponents in the Jags and Giants. <TABLE class=text11 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=300 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER height="1" width="8" type="block"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>FIVE DEFENSES TO START IN WEEK 7 5. Raiders (vs. Cards): The matchup is one-of-a-kind favorable in a very bad week for defense/special teams.
4. Cardinals (@ Raiders): For the record, start any team above Division I-AA against Oakland QB Andrew Walter and the boys.
3. Packers (@ Dolphins): We'd like the matchup better at Lambeau, but the Dolphins are far from flawless in Miami.
2. Patriots (@ Bills): Bills QB J.P. Losman has one TD, four picks and night terrors to show for three appearances vs. Pats.
1. Broncos (@ Browns): Big plays have been disappointing, but Browns pass 'em out to opposing Ds like candy.
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I don't want to get all Sean Salisbury on you, but it's time to accept the Saints as contenders (and their fantasy players as being legit). And you want to know why? Coaching and line play. It sounds like a cheesy throwaway line, but those elements are the difference between 3-13 and 13-3 in the NFL. And New Orleans just might single-handedly prove the theory.
QB Drew Brees, RB Deuce McAllister and WR Marques Colston have been fantastic, and WR Joe Horn and RB Reggie Bush haven't exactly been slouches. Even the Saints' defense/special teams unit has been starter-quality on a few occasions this season. The team takes care of the ball, converts on third downs and wins the time-of-possession battles. And not only will it continue, it could get better. New Orleans has yet to come close to its potential in the red zone, and Bush could have a strong second half as he learns to get downhill sooner and set up defenses for big plays, rather than trying to score on every play.
Sean Payton has been magnificent in his first stint as an NFL head coach, putting a young Saints offensive line in positions to succeed. Payton uses a lot of misdirection to force hesitation on the part of the defense and create angles for blockers in the run game. The protection has been solid, in part because the Saints often keep tight ends and/or backs in to block, but also because Payton keeps Brees on the move with rollouts, bootlegs and floating pockets that keep pass rushers guessing and force them to do a lot of chasing.
On defense, the personnel and attitude have changed more dramatically than the scheme. DT Hollis Thomas has helped the run D and added much-needed depth. Rookie FS Josh Bullocks and even SS Omar Stoutmire have given the team a far sturdier last line of defense. The linebackers are a little faster and lot more reliable than in the past. Since Week 1, LB Scott Fujita has played like someone set his jock on fire. And even the incumbents appear more disciplined and technically sound. DE Charles Grant has played with more focus, giving the Saints a pair of scary bookend pass rushers (along with stud Will Smith) that have allowed journeyman DT Brian Young to produce like the second coming of DT Warren Sapp.
The schedule isn't friendly coming out of next week's bye, but Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati all have shown cracks. Bush and the Saints D/ST will be case-by-case starts, but Colston and Horn will be tough to sit in any of those matchups. The Steelers game (at Pittsburgh) could be a little ugly for Brees, but he's a go in the other matchups, including Baltimore. McAllister could be slowed by the Ravens and Steelers, but his goal-line potential and receiving ability make him worth a look nonetheless.
TWO CENTS, AND THEN SOME ...
Don't start lining up at the waiver wire to grab WR Mark Clayton and QB Kyle Boller just yet. In case you didn't see the highlights, 76 of the yards and two of the TDs the duo hooked up for against Carolina came on the flukiest of fluke plays, a pair of deflected balls that floated into Clayton's hands but that were intended for those of a teammate.
Until further notice, start any warm body that Denver rolls out onto the field at tailback. No disrespect to RB Tatum Bell, but the Broncos' offensive linemen are what make the offense go. They are extremely well-coached and combo block (scraping off a defensive lineman to pick up a linebacker) as well as any line in the league. Even against stacked alignments and huge fronts like Oakland's and New England's, the undersized Denver blockers consistently churn out yardage -- and not just the linemen, but the tight ends and receivers. Protection problems and the absence of deep threat WR Chris Henry have bottled up Cincinnati's offense. The Bengals are using more quick-hitting pass routes to cover up for problems on the offensive line, but that has been only so effective because RB Rudi Johnson hasn't been getting holes to help put QB Carson Palmer in favorable down-and-distance situations. Hard to believe C Rich Braham (knee) means that much to this offense, but his line calls, toughness and experience have been missed. He could be out for at least another week, and on Monday OT Levi Jones -- already nursing a gimpy ankle -- will have an MRI on the knee injury that knocked him out of the Tampa Bay game.
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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 10/13/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/13/06)

Oct. 16, 2006, 2:55 PM
Week 6: The Saints are for real


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By Jason Langendorf
ESPN Fantasy Games

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At what point is it OK to accept an NFL team as being "for real?" Four games? That's a quarter of the regular season, the equivalent of 41 games in baseball. Were we still dismissing the Tigers as an out-and-out fluke after 41 games last June? (And if you were, it's time to reassess.)
How about six games? That's more than a third of the season and plenty of time for every team to have faced at least one rough-and-tumble matchup that was capable of exposing it for a fraud. Chicago has walked over some patsies on its way to 5-0, but it topped a solid division rival on the road in Minnesota and destroyed Seattle, the reigning NFC champs. The undefeated Colts have had some trouble with also-rans (the Titans and Jets) but dispatched playoff-caliber opponents in the Jags and Giants. <TABLE class=text11 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=300 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=8><SPACER height="1" width="8" type="block"></TD><TD width=300 bgColor=#ecece4>FIVE DEFENSES TO START IN WEEK 7 5. Raiders (vs. Cards): The matchup is one-of-a-kind favorable in a very bad week for defense/special teams.
4. Cardinals (@ Raiders): For the record, start any team above Division I-AA against Oakland QB Andrew Walter and the boys.
3. Packers (@ Dolphins): We'd like the matchup better at Lambeau, but the Dolphins are far from flawless in Miami.
2. Patriots (@ Bills): Bills QB J.P. Losman has one TD, four picks and night terrors to show for three appearances vs. Pats.
1. Broncos (@ Browns): Big plays have been disappointing, but Browns pass 'em out to opposing Ds like candy.
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I don't want to get all Sean Salisbury on you, but it's time to accept the Saints as contenders (and their fantasy players as being legit). And you want to know why? Coaching and line play. It sounds like a cheesy throwaway line, but those elements are the difference between 3-13 and 13-3 in the NFL. And New Orleans just might single-handedly prove the theory.
QB Drew Brees, RB Deuce McAllister and WR Marques Colston have been fantastic, and WR Joe Horn and RB Reggie Bush haven't exactly been slouches. Even the Saints' defense/special teams unit has been starter-quality on a few occasions this season. The team takes care of the ball, converts on third downs and wins the time-of-possession battles. And not only will it continue, it could get better. New Orleans has yet to come close to its potential in the red zone, and Bush could have a strong second half as he learns to get downhill sooner and set up defenses for big plays, rather than trying to score on every play.
Sean Payton has been magnificent in his first stint as an NFL head coach, putting a young Saints offensive line in positions to succeed. Payton uses a lot of misdirection to force hesitation on the part of the defense and create angles for blockers in the run game. The protection has been solid, in part because the Saints often keep tight ends and/or backs in to block, but also because Payton keeps Brees on the move with rollouts, bootlegs and floating pockets that keep pass rushers guessing and force them to do a lot of chasing.
On defense, the personnel and attitude have changed more dramatically than the scheme. DT Hollis Thomas has helped the run D and added much-needed depth. Rookie FS Josh Bullocks and even SS Omar Stoutmire have given the team a far sturdier last line of defense. The linebackers are a little faster and lot more reliable than in the past. Since Week 1, LB Scott Fujita has played like someone set his jock on fire. And even the incumbents appear more disciplined and technically sound. DE Charles Grant has played with more focus, giving the Saints a pair of scary bookend pass rushers (along with stud Will Smith) that have allowed journeyman DT Brian Young to produce like the second coming of DT Warren Sapp.
The schedule isn't friendly coming out of next week's bye, but Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati all have shown cracks. Bush and the Saints D/ST will be case-by-case starts, but Colston and Horn will be tough to sit in any of those matchups. The Steelers game (at Pittsburgh) could be a little ugly for Brees, but he's a go in the other matchups, including Baltimore. McAllister could be slowed by the Ravens and Steelers, but his goal-line potential and receiving ability make him worth a look nonetheless.
TWO CENTS, AND THEN SOME ...
Don't start lining up at the waiver wire to grab WR Mark Clayton and QB Kyle Boller just yet. In case you didn't see the highlights, 76 of the yards and two of the TDs the duo hooked up for against Carolina came on the flukiest of fluke plays, a pair of deflected balls that floated into Clayton's hands but that were intended for those of a teammate.
Until further notice, start any warm body that Denver rolls out onto the field at tailback. No disrespect to RB Tatum Bell, but the Broncos' offensive linemen are what make the offense go. They are extremely well-coached and combo block (scraping off a defensive lineman to pick up a linebacker) as well as any line in the league. Even against stacked alignments and huge fronts like Oakland's and New England's, the undersized Denver blockers consistently churn out yardage -- and not just the linemen, but the tight ends and receivers. Protection problems and the absence of deep threat WR Chris Henry have bottled up Cincinnati's offense. The Bengals are using more quick-hitting pass routes to cover up for problems on the offensive line, but that has been only so effective because RB Rudi Johnson hasn't been getting holes to help put QB Carson Palmer in favorable down-and-distance situations. Hard to believe C Rich Braham (knee) means that much to this offense, but his line calls, toughness and experience have been missed. He could be out for at least another week, and on Monday OT Levi Jones -- already nursing a gimpy ankle -- will have an MRI on the knee injury that knocked him out of the Tampa Bay game.
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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 10/16/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/16/06)

Really repulsing Rex


posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


I think the problem is Monday night. Its torturing fantasy owners. Every Monday afternoon, I get e-mails, I get phone calls, I see people at the post office, and they all say something like "Yeah man, I only need three points from Edge tonight and I win," or "I've got Rex going tonight, I'm up two points, and my opponent has nothing. It's over! Victory is mine!"

Um, not so fast.
Dennis Green obviously put on quite an anger management show after his Cardinals somehow lost a 20-point lead on fumble recoveries, a punt return and missed field goals. Painful.
Fantasy owners aren't too pleased today either. But here's the point: Fantasy owners are seldom pleased on Tuesday morning if they had players in there Monday night with a game in doubt. We'll get into last night's shocking repercussions in a minute, but consider the first five Monday nights in fantasy.
Week 1: Two games to disappoint! Nothing stunning in Vikes-Redskins, except Clinton Portis actually played and scored, when most of us had him benched. That cost people games. Then in Chargers-Raiders, not knowing how bad Oakland would actually be, if you needed just three points from fantasy first-rounder LaMont Jordan, you got only two. Also, if you needed five from Randy Moss or Aaron Brooks, you got only four. Hey, the Raiders were only a 3 point dog. You figured their stars would do something.
Week 2: OK, another shutout? If your opponent had the Jags defense, you couldn't have been pleased to see that against the champs. But also, nine total points? Twenty yards rushing from Willie Parker? Big Ben Roethlisberger wasn't a great play, but one fantasy point? Who could you have played instead? Basically, if you had a lead in fantasy entering this game, you held it.
Week 3: Momentum is a beautiful thing, and the country was rooting for the Saints in their first true home game in a calendar year, but most Michael Vick and Warrick Dunn fantasy owners got burned here. I know a guy who had both Vick and Dunn and only needed 15 points total, but they combined for 14. Hey, everyone has a story. There was one offensive touchdown in this game, by the generally ignored Devery Henderson. No fantasy winners here either!
Week 4: The problem in this Philly-Green Bay game was the starting running backs didn't actually suit up! Brian Westbrook was the top running back in fantasy entering the game, but an hour before the game, with little weekend notice, he's in street clothes. Ahman Green sat as well. I saw hundreds of angry e-mails on Tuesday morning about this one. But then there were the owners who entered this game up a few, and their opponent only had Vernand Morency, or hastily added him minutes before the game. No problem, right? Morency rushes for 99 yards.
Week 5: Another stinker with the road team scoring just a field goal, and the home team not exactly breeding fantasy monsters. There's a guy here in the office who had the Denver defense in one league, trailing by a few points, and in another league his opponent had the Denver defense, trailing by a few points. The Broncos scored in the middle, enough for him to lose both matchups. Man, fantasy can just kick ya in the gut sometimes.
And now we get to last night, with Rex Grossman entering the game as the No. 3 player in all of fantasy, one mere point behind Peyton Manning. So how did Grossman do against a team that couldn't stop anyone? A week earlier Damon Huard had thrown for 288 yards and two scores at Arizona. Grossman, meanwhile, was on fire. Thomas Jones was running well. Bernard Berrian was the No. 1 receiver in fantasy football. All were terrific plays. I'm not going to lie to you. I thought they'd go off; I had them active, too.
? Grossman ended up with a minus seven points in ESPN performance leagues, the single worst game for a fantasy quarterback this season! So let me make the point another way: You could have entered the Monday night game leading your opponent by six points, and with Grossman still about to play, and neither fantasy team had anybody else playing. And you lost. And Grossman had averaged 18 fantasy points per week. Now, it's one thing for your quarterback to play poorly. Take David Carr this week (please). Carr was brutal. Threw for 128 yards and two interceptions. And still he ended up with two fantasy points. Not negative seven. What Grossman did to fantasy teams on Monday that entered the game with a lead and left with a loss, despite their opponent not doing anything at all, is torture.
And we should add, it's never a bad strategy to sit any players in action on the Monday night game when you have a lead. You've won the week. Only thing that can go wrong is negative points. We'll call it the Grossman rule for now. I've never seen anything like it in fantasy.
If you had played Kurt Warner over Rex Grossman last night, you would have gained seven points. If you had played Fran Tarkenton over Grossman, you would have gained seven points. I'm glad none of my matchups was decided by this. It's hard to believe.
? Jones scored four fantasy points. Four. The previous two weeks he had 33. And in Week 6 alone, three other players named Jones trumped him. You know about Kevin Jones and Julius Jones. How about Tennessee wide receiver Brandon Jones doubling Thomas Jones' meager score?
? Berrian had scored in four of the five games, and in the last four weeks his low mark for receiving yards was 70. In five weeks he had averaged 13 fantasy points. No receiver had been better. And now he was facing the Cardinals. Berrian scores three fantasy points.
? The Bears defense, as always, was a fine play and they ended up, in a roundabout way, delivering enough fantasy points to help teams.
? Matt Leinart wasn't supposed to be a good play, but obviously, if you led by 10 points heading into the game and your opponent had Leinart, you lost. We'll get into the Leinart love fest some other time, but suffice to say, the kid certainly looks legit. And again he gets two early touchdowns, and in the final minute drives his team into field goal range.
? Neil Rackers should rent in Phoenix, not buy. But fantasy owners did get double digits from him. Clearly he's not the same guy from last season. Robbie Gould is the new Rackers!
? Edgerrin James, I'm sure you know by now, had the worst rushing performance for the amount of carries he received, in NFL history. He got 36 carries, ran for 55 yards. It's remarkable. Would you have given J.J. Arrington a few more touches? Look, he would've done no better. It's the offensive line. It's offensive. In fantasy, James managed a miserable three points, but I can't say I expected much more anyway.
? Viva Anquan Boldin! He's the star of the night with 19 fantasy points. And this you can look up, I never would have sat him.
So, because we want to be consistent in our blog delivery of recapping games...
Bears 24, Cardinals 23: I still can't believe a team trailed by 20 points and without any offensive help whatsoever, made up the deficit. Despite how well the Arizona defense played (or you can choose to rip Rex for this), I'd still play most fantasy options against the Cardinals and sit most against the Bears. Next week the Cards are in Oakland. LaMont Jordan isn't a lock to do something, but he's gotta be worth using. Big letdown game for Arizona.
MVP: Boldin doesn't need Larry Fitzgerald to be a good play, he always is. But to do that against the Bears, yeah, that is surprising.
LVP: We've been over this, Grossman delivered the worst fantasy performance of the year, maybe in a decade considering where he was ranked and all the hype.
Interesting: Leinart's next two games are at Oakland and Green Bay. Still left the rest of the season are Detroit, St. Louis and at San Francisco. He should be picked up and stashed away, at worst.
Broncos 13, Raiders 3: I called Denver's 13-3 win over Baltimore a week before on Monday night boring, and got negative feedback. Sure, I like a good defensive battle. Was Broncos-Raiders a good defensive battle? No, it was not. The Raiders can't move the ball. LaMont Jordan looks frustrated, a talented player who doesn't get to catch the ball and has nowhere to run. Nobody ever talks about how the Broncos can't move the ball either, because they've allowed one touchdown the entire season. Now that's impressive. But note that in fantasy, the Broncos defense isn't dominating in fantasy like the Bears and Ravens is; Denver's D is ranked sixth, right between the Falcons and Saints.
MVP: Only one player even delivered a decent fantasy performance, but fantasy owners were disappointed that Tatum Bell didn't do more! Hey, at least he scored.
LVP: Time to cut Jake Plummer? It doesn't appear this situation is improving, buoyed by the fact the defense never gives up anything. As long as Plummer hands off properly to Bell and doesn't get picked off, Mike Shanahan doesn't care if he throws for 102 yards.
Interesting: Randy Moss caught a 51-yarder and had 86 yards overall. Consider that his longest catch previously was 22 yards, and this is improvement. I'd play Moss against the Cardinals, though, if he wants to be traded today and isn't, things could get a little more ugly, in a Jerry Porter sort of way.
***
I want to discuss the Mark Clayton situation, since so many readers have sent feedback on it. I wrote in the Sunday night/Monday blog that Clayton had become relevant, but I also wrote that his touchdown was a total fluke. Yes, I saw the highlights, and much more than that. What I should have written was "touchdowns" and not touchdown. Clayton did actually play better with Kyle Boller, but make no mistake, the results were total fluke. Both touchdowns were tipped and not even intended for him. Just want to clarify for those emailing me, I am well aware and didn't want to either mislead anyone or give the impression I hadn't seen the action. Is Mark Clayton any more valuable in fantasy today than he was a week ago? Not really. A lot of people will likely be fooled, but then again, I don't to discount that Clayton has ability and could become a fantasy option at some point.
By the way, shouldn't the question be asked: What's worse, the Raiders skipping Leinart or the Texans ignoring Reggie Bush? Tuesday has been Power Rankings day, but we'll just get to it tomorrow.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/16/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/16/06)

Really repulsing Rex


posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


I think the problem is Monday night. Its torturing fantasy owners. Every Monday afternoon, I get e-mails, I get phone calls, I see people at the post office, and they all say something like "Yeah man, I only need three points from Edge tonight and I win," or "I've got Rex going tonight, I'm up two points, and my opponent has nothing. It's over! Victory is mine!"

Um, not so fast.
Dennis Green obviously put on quite an anger management show after his Cardinals somehow lost a 20-point lead on fumble recoveries, a punt return and missed field goals. Painful.
Fantasy owners aren't too pleased today either. But here's the point: Fantasy owners are seldom pleased on Tuesday morning if they had players in there Monday night with a game in doubt. We'll get into last night's shocking repercussions in a minute, but consider the first five Monday nights in fantasy.
Week 1: Two games to disappoint! Nothing stunning in Vikes-Redskins, except Clinton Portis actually played and scored, when most of us had him benched. That cost people games. Then in Chargers-Raiders, not knowing how bad Oakland would actually be, if you needed just three points from fantasy first-rounder LaMont Jordan, you got only two. Also, if you needed five from Randy Moss or Aaron Brooks, you got only four. Hey, the Raiders were only a 3 point dog. You figured their stars would do something.
Week 2: OK, another shutout? If your opponent had the Jags defense, you couldn't have been pleased to see that against the champs. But also, nine total points? Twenty yards rushing from Willie Parker? Big Ben Roethlisberger wasn't a great play, but one fantasy point? Who could you have played instead? Basically, if you had a lead in fantasy entering this game, you held it.
Week 3: Momentum is a beautiful thing, and the country was rooting for the Saints in their first true home game in a calendar year, but most Michael Vick and Warrick Dunn fantasy owners got burned here. I know a guy who had both Vick and Dunn and only needed 15 points total, but they combined for 14. Hey, everyone has a story. There was one offensive touchdown in this game, by the generally ignored Devery Henderson. No fantasy winners here either!
Week 4: The problem in this Philly-Green Bay game was the starting running backs didn't actually suit up! Brian Westbrook was the top running back in fantasy entering the game, but an hour before the game, with little weekend notice, he's in street clothes. Ahman Green sat as well. I saw hundreds of angry e-mails on Tuesday morning about this one. But then there were the owners who entered this game up a few, and their opponent only had Vernand Morency, or hastily added him minutes before the game. No problem, right? Morency rushes for 99 yards.
Week 5: Another stinker with the road team scoring just a field goal, and the home team not exactly breeding fantasy monsters. There's a guy here in the office who had the Denver defense in one league, trailing by a few points, and in another league his opponent had the Denver defense, trailing by a few points. The Broncos scored in the middle, enough for him to lose both matchups. Man, fantasy can just kick ya in the gut sometimes.
And now we get to last night, with Rex Grossman entering the game as the No. 3 player in all of fantasy, one mere point behind Peyton Manning. So how did Grossman do against a team that couldn't stop anyone? A week earlier Damon Huard had thrown for 288 yards and two scores at Arizona. Grossman, meanwhile, was on fire. Thomas Jones was running well. Bernard Berrian was the No. 1 receiver in fantasy football. All were terrific plays. I'm not going to lie to you. I thought they'd go off; I had them active, too.
? Grossman ended up with a minus seven points in ESPN performance leagues, the single worst game for a fantasy quarterback this season! So let me make the point another way: You could have entered the Monday night game leading your opponent by six points, and with Grossman still about to play, and neither fantasy team had anybody else playing. And you lost. And Grossman had averaged 18 fantasy points per week. Now, it's one thing for your quarterback to play poorly. Take David Carr this week (please). Carr was brutal. Threw for 128 yards and two interceptions. And still he ended up with two fantasy points. Not negative seven. What Grossman did to fantasy teams on Monday that entered the game with a lead and left with a loss, despite their opponent not doing anything at all, is torture.
And we should add, it's never a bad strategy to sit any players in action on the Monday night game when you have a lead. You've won the week. Only thing that can go wrong is negative points. We'll call it the Grossman rule for now. I've never seen anything like it in fantasy.
If you had played Kurt Warner over Rex Grossman last night, you would have gained seven points. If you had played Fran Tarkenton over Grossman, you would have gained seven points. I'm glad none of my matchups was decided by this. It's hard to believe.
? Jones scored four fantasy points. Four. The previous two weeks he had 33. And in Week 6 alone, three other players named Jones trumped him. You know about Kevin Jones and Julius Jones. How about Tennessee wide receiver Brandon Jones doubling Thomas Jones' meager score?
? Berrian had scored in four of the five games, and in the last four weeks his low mark for receiving yards was 70. In five weeks he had averaged 13 fantasy points. No receiver had been better. And now he was facing the Cardinals. Berrian scores three fantasy points.
? The Bears defense, as always, was a fine play and they ended up, in a roundabout way, delivering enough fantasy points to help teams.
? Matt Leinart wasn't supposed to be a good play, but obviously, if you led by 10 points heading into the game and your opponent had Leinart, you lost. We'll get into the Leinart love fest some other time, but suffice to say, the kid certainly looks legit. And again he gets two early touchdowns, and in the final minute drives his team into field goal range.
? Neil Rackers should rent in Phoenix, not buy. But fantasy owners did get double digits from him. Clearly he's not the same guy from last season. Robbie Gould is the new Rackers!
? Edgerrin James, I'm sure you know by now, had the worst rushing performance for the amount of carries he received, in NFL history. He got 36 carries, ran for 55 yards. It's remarkable. Would you have given J.J. Arrington a few more touches? Look, he would've done no better. It's the offensive line. It's offensive. In fantasy, James managed a miserable three points, but I can't say I expected much more anyway.
? Viva Anquan Boldin! He's the star of the night with 19 fantasy points. And this you can look up, I never would have sat him.
So, because we want to be consistent in our blog delivery of recapping games...
Bears 24, Cardinals 23: I still can't believe a team trailed by 20 points and without any offensive help whatsoever, made up the deficit. Despite how well the Arizona defense played (or you can choose to rip Rex for this), I'd still play most fantasy options against the Cardinals and sit most against the Bears. Next week the Cards are in Oakland. LaMont Jordan isn't a lock to do something, but he's gotta be worth using. Big letdown game for Arizona.
MVP: Boldin doesn't need Larry Fitzgerald to be a good play, he always is. But to do that against the Bears, yeah, that is surprising.
LVP: We've been over this, Grossman delivered the worst fantasy performance of the year, maybe in a decade considering where he was ranked and all the hype.
Interesting: Leinart's next two games are at Oakland and Green Bay. Still left the rest of the season are Detroit, St. Louis and at San Francisco. He should be picked up and stashed away, at worst.
Broncos 13, Raiders 3: I called Denver's 13-3 win over Baltimore a week before on Monday night boring, and got negative feedback. Sure, I like a good defensive battle. Was Broncos-Raiders a good defensive battle? No, it was not. The Raiders can't move the ball. LaMont Jordan looks frustrated, a talented player who doesn't get to catch the ball and has nowhere to run. Nobody ever talks about how the Broncos can't move the ball either, because they've allowed one touchdown the entire season. Now that's impressive. But note that in fantasy, the Broncos defense isn't dominating in fantasy like the Bears and Ravens is; Denver's D is ranked sixth, right between the Falcons and Saints.
MVP: Only one player even delivered a decent fantasy performance, but fantasy owners were disappointed that Tatum Bell didn't do more! Hey, at least he scored.
LVP: Time to cut Jake Plummer? It doesn't appear this situation is improving, buoyed by the fact the defense never gives up anything. As long as Plummer hands off properly to Bell and doesn't get picked off, Mike Shanahan doesn't care if he throws for 102 yards.
Interesting: Randy Moss caught a 51-yarder and had 86 yards overall. Consider that his longest catch previously was 22 yards, and this is improvement. I'd play Moss against the Cardinals, though, if he wants to be traded today and isn't, things could get a little more ugly, in a Jerry Porter sort of way.
***
I want to discuss the Mark Clayton situation, since so many readers have sent feedback on it. I wrote in the Sunday night/Monday blog that Clayton had become relevant, but I also wrote that his touchdown was a total fluke. Yes, I saw the highlights, and much more than that. What I should have written was "touchdowns" and not touchdown. Clayton did actually play better with Kyle Boller, but make no mistake, the results were total fluke. Both touchdowns were tipped and not even intended for him. Just want to clarify for those emailing me, I am well aware and didn't want to either mislead anyone or give the impression I hadn't seen the action. Is Mark Clayton any more valuable in fantasy today than he was a week ago? Not really. A lot of people will likely be fooled, but then again, I don't to discount that Clayton has ability and could become a fantasy option at some point.
By the way, shouldn't the question be asked: What's worse, the Raiders skipping Leinart or the Texans ignoring Reggie Bush? Tuesday has been Power Rankings day, but we'll just get to it tomorrow.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/16/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/16/06)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Rex Is All Wrong


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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 -->While the Bears did manage a miraculous comeback on Monday night, you can't give Rex Grossman credit for it. The Bears may be reveling in victory, but some owners of Grossman are as mad as Dennis Green was in his postgame press conference on Monday night.
Green was left groping for answers after Arizona's embarrassing meltdown, and Grossman's owners are still trying to understand while the suddenly "reborn" Bears quarterback looked very Ryan Leaf-like against one of the NFL's most vulnerable defenses. Grossman finished with a seemingly unreal total of -7 points in ESPN.com leagues, as he threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles. He didn't throw a single TD pass and totaled only 148 passing yards.
Football is definitely a game of emotion, and a fired-up Arizona defense played over its heads in a rare chance to perform in front of a national audience and a big crowd. The Chicago offensive line appeared to have no answer for Arizona's tremendous pass pressure. Plus, you must also give credit to Arizona's coaching staff, at least for fine defensive game planning.
The Arizona secondary did a fine job of neutralizing the Chicago wide receivers, paying extra attention to Bernard Berrian, and hitting the Bears pass-catchers very hard many times when they did get into position to catch the ball. The Chicago receivers actually seemed knocked off their game by an unusually physical Cardinals secondary. Berrian caught only two passes for 31 yards, but Grossman missed him on more than one occasion when Berrian did get open. Ultimately, you can't blame anyone or anything for Grossman's terrible outing as much as Grossman himself. He made bad reads, overthrew receivers and refused to adjust when Arizona took away the deep ball. Grossman continued to throw downfield often instead of taking what the defense would give him underneath, and made many bad throws in the process.
Grossman certainly isn't a bad fantasy QB, and an upcoming bye week should give him some time to gather himself and return to the field with improved numbers. But last night's performance was a clear indicator that Grossman is not an elite fantasy QB. I'm not saying Grossman is terrible by any stretch. He certainly isn't as incompetent as he looked on Monday night. But let's consider that outside of his four-TD outing against Detroit in the second week, Grossman has not thrown more than two TD passes in a game, and he has one or less scoring passes in three games. He also doesn't have a 300-yard passing game this season. Grossman is a good fantasy QB, but he's not great. He'll rebound from last night's awful outing, but now fantasy players can sit back and realize he isn't a superstar. <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 Grossman didn't play a real part in Chicago's victory, Matt Leinart can't shoulder much of the blame for Arizona's devastating loss. In fact, if not for the impressive rookie QB, the Cardinals would have never mounted a lead in the first place. Against the league's most sinister defense, Leinart left little doubt that he can handle major pressure at the NFL level. He didn't try to do too much and took what the defense gave him, while remaining poised and confident in the pocket. Leinart was not flustered when he was flushed out of the pocket, and he coolly put together a possible game-winning drive. Leinart made great use of top target Anquan Boldin (12 catches, 136 yards, one TD), while spreading the ball around enough to keep the Chicago secondary off balance. Leinart finished with 232 passing yards, two TD passes and no interceptions. He did lose a critical fumble, but bounced back to put his team into position to win, only to see Neil Rackers miss a field goal and put the loss in the books. Leinart performed admirably without the support of a quality running game, playing behind a suspect offensive line. Leinart certainly has to be considered a quality fantasy starter in many leagues, especially for owners who don't have passers like Donovan McNabb or Marc Bulger. There's not too much to prove after a guy stared into the face of the league's best defense and doesn't blink. Leinart might have a few scattered down performances, but it's apparent you can count on him for at least solid fantasy numbers in most weeks.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals
36 carries, 55 yards, 0 TDs

The final statistical line leaves you shaking your head, rubbing your eyes, and second-guessing your decision to draft him. But you can't kick yourself in retrospect for drafting James, because no one expected his numbers to look as baffling as they did on Monday night. But the reality is, never in the history of the game, has a running back carried so many times while averaging under two yards per carry in a game. Overall, James doesn't have a 100-yard rushing game yet this year, and he has only scored twice. You can lay heavy blame on the Arizona offensive line, which has been dominated regularly on a weekly basis in running situations. And while the Arizona passing game continues to fare well, opposing defenses certainly are still gearing up to stop James every week, and succeeding. James may now regret his move to Arizona. Fantasy players certainly do, and can't consider him a regular starter anymore. Don't be too hopeful if you try to deal him, because you won't find many takers unless you can get rid of him in a package. Just make sure you have other options at RB right now, because you can't depend on James in any matchup.
</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 10/16/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/16/06)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Rex Is All Wrong


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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 -->While the Bears did manage a miraculous comeback on Monday night, you can't give Rex Grossman credit for it. The Bears may be reveling in victory, but some owners of Grossman are as mad as Dennis Green was in his postgame press conference on Monday night.
Green was left groping for answers after Arizona's embarrassing meltdown, and Grossman's owners are still trying to understand while the suddenly "reborn" Bears quarterback looked very Ryan Leaf-like against one of the NFL's most vulnerable defenses. Grossman finished with a seemingly unreal total of -7 points in ESPN.com leagues, as he threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles. He didn't throw a single TD pass and totaled only 148 passing yards.
Football is definitely a game of emotion, and a fired-up Arizona defense played over its heads in a rare chance to perform in front of a national audience and a big crowd. The Chicago offensive line appeared to have no answer for Arizona's tremendous pass pressure. Plus, you must also give credit to Arizona's coaching staff, at least for fine defensive game planning.
The Arizona secondary did a fine job of neutralizing the Chicago wide receivers, paying extra attention to Bernard Berrian, and hitting the Bears pass-catchers very hard many times when they did get into position to catch the ball. The Chicago receivers actually seemed knocked off their game by an unusually physical Cardinals secondary. Berrian caught only two passes for 31 yards, but Grossman missed him on more than one occasion when Berrian did get open. Ultimately, you can't blame anyone or anything for Grossman's terrible outing as much as Grossman himself. He made bad reads, overthrew receivers and refused to adjust when Arizona took away the deep ball. Grossman continued to throw downfield often instead of taking what the defense would give him underneath, and made many bad throws in the process.
Grossman certainly isn't a bad fantasy QB, and an upcoming bye week should give him some time to gather himself and return to the field with improved numbers. But last night's performance was a clear indicator that Grossman is not an elite fantasy QB. I'm not saying Grossman is terrible by any stretch. He certainly isn't as incompetent as he looked on Monday night. But let's consider that outside of his four-TD outing against Detroit in the second week, Grossman has not thrown more than two TD passes in a game, and he has one or less scoring passes in three games. He also doesn't have a 300-yard passing game this season. Grossman is a good fantasy QB, but he's not great. He'll rebound from last night's awful outing, but now fantasy players can sit back and realize he isn't a superstar. <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 Grossman didn't play a real part in Chicago's victory, Matt Leinart can't shoulder much of the blame for Arizona's devastating loss. In fact, if not for the impressive rookie QB, the Cardinals would have never mounted a lead in the first place. Against the league's most sinister defense, Leinart left little doubt that he can handle major pressure at the NFL level. He didn't try to do too much and took what the defense gave him, while remaining poised and confident in the pocket. Leinart was not flustered when he was flushed out of the pocket, and he coolly put together a possible game-winning drive. Leinart made great use of top target Anquan Boldin (12 catches, 136 yards, one TD), while spreading the ball around enough to keep the Chicago secondary off balance. Leinart finished with 232 passing yards, two TD passes and no interceptions. He did lose a critical fumble, but bounced back to put his team into position to win, only to see Neil Rackers miss a field goal and put the loss in the books. Leinart performed admirably without the support of a quality running game, playing behind a suspect offensive line. Leinart certainly has to be considered a quality fantasy starter in many leagues, especially for owners who don't have passers like Donovan McNabb or Marc Bulger. There's not too much to prove after a guy stared into the face of the league's best defense and doesn't blink. Leinart might have a few scattered down performances, but it's apparent you can count on him for at least solid fantasy numbers in most weeks.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals
36 carries, 55 yards, 0 TDs

The final statistical line leaves you shaking your head, rubbing your eyes, and second-guessing your decision to draft him. But you can't kick yourself in retrospect for drafting James, because no one expected his numbers to look as baffling as they did on Monday night. But the reality is, never in the history of the game, has a running back carried so many times while averaging under two yards per carry in a game. Overall, James doesn't have a 100-yard rushing game yet this year, and he has only scored twice. You can lay heavy blame on the Arizona offensive line, which has been dominated regularly on a weekly basis in running situations. And while the Arizona passing game continues to fare well, opposing defenses certainly are still gearing up to stop James every week, and succeeding. James may now regret his move to Arizona. Fantasy players certainly do, and can't consider him a regular starter anymore. Don't be too hopeful if you try to deal him, because you won't find many takers unless you can get rid of him in a package. Just make sure you have other options at RB right now, because you can't depend on James in any matchup.
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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 10/16/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/16/06)

Oct. 17, 2006, 4:22 PM
Week 7: Waiver Wire Work


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By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

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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
Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals (Owned in 29.8 percent of ESPN.com leagues): Only 6 percent of ESPN.com fantasy players added him last week, but after his impressive outing against Chicago, he could be the hottest free agent in fantasy football this week. Without the support of a quality running game or a sturdy offensive line, plus the absence of one of his top receivers (Larry Fitzgerald), Leinart proved he can be a solid fantasy starter. He took quick drops, made crisp throws and was not intimidated by the best defense in the NFL. Leinart's offensive line is a liability, but his fast grasp of the offense and its strengths means he knows to get rid of the ball quickly to his best targets, like Anquan Boldin. He'll also throw enough to Bryant Johnson and Troy Walters so defenses don't fully lock onto Boldin on every play. Leinart is making the best of his adverse surroundings, and he should continue to post at least adequate numbers on a regular basis. If you didn't get him before last week because of his inexperience, do it now if you can.
Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Buccaneers (5.1 percent owned): Can you believe I'm really recommending two rookie QBs as pickups? Neither can I, but Leinart and Gradkowski have both played well enough to earn spots on fantasy rosters. In fact, both of them deserve regular starting consideration if you don't have an elite or top-level fantasy passer. Obviously, Gradkowski doesn't have the upside of Leinart, but you can't ignore the fact that the Tampa Bay rookie has thrown four TD passes and only one interception in consecutive starts, Gradkowski is managing games well, taking care of the ball well, is making smart, accurate throws under pressure and is delivering quality fantasy totals. There are no indications yet that Gradkowski can't at least be a respectable starter for now.
Wali Lundy, RB, Texans (8.3 percent owned): He was a hot story during the preseason, then quickly fell out of favor when the regular season started. But Ron Dayne has been a disappointment, and that's no major surprise. The Texans seem reluctant to turn their ground game over to Samkon Gado, who is clearly the best RB on the roster, and ran well behind a shaky offensive line in Green Bay last year, and could do the same in Houston. So Lundy might get another chance to be the Texans' No. 1 RB, and that means you should at least add him as a reserve. I wouldn't expect much from him, but you have to add him in case he makes the most of an opportunity to play often again.
Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks (28.8 percent owned): Some fantasy owners passed on him, figuring Shaun Alexander would be able to return by the seventh week of the season. But with word that Alexander will miss at least two more games, Morris becomes a must-add player for sure. No one knows for certain just how much time Alexander might actually miss overall. So that means Morris will remain Seattle's regularly featured RB in the near future, especially since he doesn't have much on the depth chart behind him. You can't leave a guy who gets regular carries sitting on the free agent list. Morris is an adequate fantasy player at best, but his workload makes him a decent flex player and top bye week fill-in.
Alex Smith, TE, Buccaneers: (16.2 percent owned): Many fantasy owners don't have a trustworthy tight end, so Smith's recent string of decent fantasy production suggests he is a fine gamble. Smith has scored seven points in ESPN.com leagues in three consecutive games, and he's become a regular target for Gradkowski in the red zone. Smith's ability to get open in goal-line situations is starting to pay more dividends, and he could soon emerge as a more regular target for Gradkowski in other key passing situations, further boosting his fantasy production.
PRIME CUTS
Mark Brunell, QB, Redskins (73.4 percent owned): His recent record-breaking performance against Houston was the biggest illusion since Brian Bosworth masqueraded as an NFL linebacker. Brunell threw underneath and flat passes against a bad defense, which never really challenged him. Brunell has thrown only one TD pass in the past two games, and there has been talk his starting job could be in jeopardy. Brunell simply isn't reliable, and his receiving corps seems even less dependable than it was in 2005. Santana Moss is less consistent, Chris Cooley had produced less, and the newcomers haven't made the expected impact.
Ron Dayne, RB, Texans (53.4 percent owned): He might have blown his last opportunity to revive his disappointing NFL career, as he fizzled in a chance to seize a starting job with Houston, and now the Texans appear ready to give Lundy another chance. There have also been reports of a Dayne knee injury, and his offensive line hasn't helped him much, either, but it is once again apparent that Dayne should never be trusted as a fantasy player, and any mentions of him getting increased playing time can only lead to more disappointments.
Drew Bennett (80.8 percent owned): He's played through some injuries, but Bennett lacks quality complements, and doesn't get open often enough. Bennett has scored only once this season and it doesn't look good for him to produce much better with a rookie QB running the offense and Travis Henry now becoming the clear focal point of the mostly conservative Tennessee game plan.
Rod Smith, WR, Broncos (80.0 percent owned): I thought his TD reception against Baltimore would spur a turnaround, but I was certainly wrong. Smith's age is clearly starting to show, finally. He hasn't totaled more than 44 receiving yards in a game and has only one TD reception. Denver's offense is not explosive, and Tatum Bell and Javon Walker are the only surefire fantasy starters on the team. Derrick Mason, WR, Ravens (85.2 percent owned): This is the third name receiver you have seen me recommend in this installment of Waiver Wire Work. That's because name value and past production won't win games for you at this point. Guys like Marques Colston and Greg Jennings will really help you win. Mason has no TD receptions this season and only three in the past two years. He was shut out by Carolina and has scored more than five ESPN.com fantasy points in a game just once in 2006.
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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 10/16/06)

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 4 New Articles Added 10/16/06)

Oct. 17, 2006, 4:22 PM
Week 7: Waiver Wire Work


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

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

By Scott Engel
ESPN Fantasy Games

<!-- 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
Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals (Owned in 29.8 percent of ESPN.com leagues): Only 6 percent of ESPN.com fantasy players added him last week, but after his impressive outing against Chicago, he could be the hottest free agent in fantasy football this week. Without the support of a quality running game or a sturdy offensive line, plus the absence of one of his top receivers (Larry Fitzgerald), Leinart proved he can be a solid fantasy starter. He took quick drops, made crisp throws and was not intimidated by the best defense in the NFL. Leinart's offensive line is a liability, but his fast grasp of the offense and its strengths means he knows to get rid of the ball quickly to his best targets, like Anquan Boldin. He'll also throw enough to Bryant Johnson and Troy Walters so defenses don't fully lock onto Boldin on every play. Leinart is making the best of his adverse surroundings, and he should continue to post at least adequate numbers on a regular basis. If you didn't get him before last week because of his inexperience, do it now if you can.
Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Buccaneers (5.1 percent owned): Can you believe I'm really recommending two rookie QBs as pickups? Neither can I, but Leinart and Gradkowski have both played well enough to earn spots on fantasy rosters. In fact, both of them deserve regular starting consideration if you don't have an elite or top-level fantasy passer. Obviously, Gradkowski doesn't have the upside of Leinart, but you can't ignore the fact that the Tampa Bay rookie has thrown four TD passes and only one interception in consecutive starts, Gradkowski is managing games well, taking care of the ball well, is making smart, accurate throws under pressure and is delivering quality fantasy totals. There are no indications yet that Gradkowski can't at least be a respectable starter for now.
Wali Lundy, RB, Texans (8.3 percent owned): He was a hot story during the preseason, then quickly fell out of favor when the regular season started. But Ron Dayne has been a disappointment, and that's no major surprise. The Texans seem reluctant to turn their ground game over to Samkon Gado, who is clearly the best RB on the roster, and ran well behind a shaky offensive line in Green Bay last year, and could do the same in Houston. So Lundy might get another chance to be the Texans' No. 1 RB, and that means you should at least add him as a reserve. I wouldn't expect much from him, but you have to add him in case he makes the most of an opportunity to play often again.
Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks (28.8 percent owned): Some fantasy owners passed on him, figuring Shaun Alexander would be able to return by the seventh week of the season. But with word that Alexander will miss at least two more games, Morris becomes a must-add player for sure. No one knows for certain just how much time Alexander might actually miss overall. So that means Morris will remain Seattle's regularly featured RB in the near future, especially since he doesn't have much on the depth chart behind him. You can't leave a guy who gets regular carries sitting on the free agent list. Morris is an adequate fantasy player at best, but his workload makes him a decent flex player and top bye week fill-in.
Alex Smith, TE, Buccaneers: (16.2 percent owned): Many fantasy owners don't have a trustworthy tight end, so Smith's recent string of decent fantasy production suggests he is a fine gamble. Smith has scored seven points in ESPN.com leagues in three consecutive games, and he's become a regular target for Gradkowski in the red zone. Smith's ability to get open in goal-line situations is starting to pay more dividends, and he could soon emerge as a more regular target for Gradkowski in other key passing situations, further boosting his fantasy production.
PRIME CUTS
Mark Brunell, QB, Redskins (73.4 percent owned): His recent record-breaking performance against Houston was the biggest illusion since Brian Bosworth masqueraded as an NFL linebacker. Brunell threw underneath and flat passes against a bad defense, which never really challenged him. Brunell has thrown only one TD pass in the past two games, and there has been talk his starting job could be in jeopardy. Brunell simply isn't reliable, and his receiving corps seems even less dependable than it was in 2005. Santana Moss is less consistent, Chris Cooley had produced less, and the newcomers haven't made the expected impact.
Ron Dayne, RB, Texans (53.4 percent owned): He might have blown his last opportunity to revive his disappointing NFL career, as he fizzled in a chance to seize a starting job with Houston, and now the Texans appear ready to give Lundy another chance. There have also been reports of a Dayne knee injury, and his offensive line hasn't helped him much, either, but it is once again apparent that Dayne should never be trusted as a fantasy player, and any mentions of him getting increased playing time can only lead to more disappointments.
Drew Bennett (80.8 percent owned): He's played through some injuries, but Bennett lacks quality complements, and doesn't get open often enough. Bennett has scored only once this season and it doesn't look good for him to produce much better with a rookie QB running the offense and Travis Henry now becoming the clear focal point of the mostly conservative Tennessee game plan.
Rod Smith, WR, Broncos (80.0 percent owned): I thought his TD reception against Baltimore would spur a turnaround, but I was certainly wrong. Smith's age is clearly starting to show, finally. He hasn't totaled more than 44 receiving yards in a game and has only one TD reception. Denver's offense is not explosive, and Tatum Bell and Javon Walker are the only surefire fantasy starters on the team. Derrick Mason, WR, Ravens (85.2 percent owned): This is the third name receiver you have seen me recommend in this installment of Waiver Wire Work. That's because name value and past production won't win games for you at this point. Guys like Marques Colston and Greg Jennings will really help you win. Mason has no TD receptions this season and only three in the past two years. He was shut out by Carolina and has scored more than five ESPN.com fantasy points in a game just once in 2006.
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