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 1 New Article Added 11/2/06)

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

Nov. 3, 2006, 3:48 PM
Carroll: Culpepper, Leftwich and Green


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By Will Carroll
ESPN.com

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Want a fantasy advantage? Here's a quick, one-word lesson for you -- context. Everything in football has context, but it's not always apparent. The loss of a lineman can mean nothing in the case of Kevin Jones or quite a bit in the case of the Seahawks. A defense like the Raiders can look like the best passing defense in the league, but looked at in context, they're only top third, according to the geniuses at Pro Football Prospectus. You want to avoid a receiver matched up with Champ Bailey, but the No. 2 WR can run wild, especially if he's someone like Reggie Wayne. Here's a quick test for you -- your running back gets the ball and runs for 9 yards. Was it a good or bad play? The correct answer is that we don't know from just that information. On first-and-10, a 9-yard run is gold. The offense can do anything on the next play. If the 9-yard dash came on third-and-15, the punter's coming. Winning fantasy teams look beyond the ink-stained stats of yesterday, past the lists of probable and questionable, and dig into the meaty context that feeds a championship run.
Let's get to the injuries:
It's stunning that it's come to this. Several published reports indicate that the Dolphins are considering placing Daunte Culpepper on the IR. Culpepper's rehab has slowed due to inflammation in the knee, mostly centered on his patellar tendon. Some have wildly speculated that Culpepper's problems are indication that ACL returns are being rushed, though Carson Palmer, Deuce McAllister, and others are showing no similar problems (and winning.) Nick Saban is publicly saying that the injured reserve option is going to be considered at some point, but it's something that's already being discussed among in the Dolphins front office, according to league sources. Culpepper showed no real signs during his weeks of play that the knee was troubling him, nor is the patellar tendon problem that's being described a normal complication of a ligament repair. While this drama plays out, fantasy owners need to cut bait on Culpepper if they haven't already. For me, the lesson of Culpepper is not to be distracted by a rehab if the play of the player prior to the injury doesn't deserve consideration.
Chris Mortenson is reporting that David Garrard will start for the Jags this week as Byron Leftwich gets another week off to try and heal up his ankle. According to sources, his ankle is still quite painful and may be affecting him mentally as much as physically. An immobile QB like Leftwich shouldn't see as much effect of this type of injury, but pain can have both conscious and unconscious effects. The normal physical effects are easy to deal with but things like being hesitant to take a hit or not being able to plant solidly are things that can affect a player even after his injury has healed. That's one big reason why injuries often have broad ranges. For a QB with Leftwich's long, pitcher-style throwing motion, the plant and land is going to be a big factor, but the longer he's out, the more that Garrard's play will be a factor in the decision on when and if to bring him back. With his good matchups down the stretch, if Leftwich is able to play, he'll be a solid fantasy option, because Garrard didn't prove himself to fantasy players last week.
Did you draft Shaun Alexander with the first pick? Judging from my e-mails, we should get some sort of support group together for those that did. You seem depressed and despondent, so I don't mean to make it worse when I tell you that Alexander isn't a sure thing for next week. I don't mean this Monday, the one where he's definitely out, but next Sunday, the one that we thought would be Alexander's comeback after Monday's bone scan. That scan, I'm told, showed that the bone is still healing. Yes, still healing, which means that Alexander does not yet possess a fully fused fourth metatarsal. His slow progress is worrisome; there's no way to know all the factors in play here, from treatment efficacy to medication to genetics. All fantasy players know is that Alexander is fast turning into a player that has killed their season and is losing even that return upside we expected from him. The Seahawks are also treading water across the offense. Matt Hasselbeck is still weeks away, Bobby Engram is closer to a comeback from a thyroid condition but is more likely to be back next week, and Darrell Jackson is banged up. Unless you really believe in Seneca Wallace, the Seahawks offense is a fantasy wasteland.
Seven-on-seven football is a great Texas tradition and if you ever get the chance to go under the dimmer Friday night lights of a small Texas town, do it. It's almost as good as a Permian or Plano game. I mention this because seven-on-seven is a big indicator of just how close Trent Green is to returning. He ran the offense during this week's practices in KC and could be cleared to play as early as next week. Make no mistake -- once Herm Edwards gets the all-clear, Green will be back despite the solid play of Damon Huard. Green's had all the time he and his doctors feel necessary to return from that devastating concussion. He's passed every test and if he's available in your league, now's the time to snap him up if you need a QB. If you have Huard, trading him high before the St. Louis shootout is a good plan.
It seems like any team that faces the Pats this year will spend the week prior to the game diddling with their injury report. The Colts have been filling up the report all season, so this week's really no different. Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai will both play this week without any real limitations, though any problem Rhodes has will amplify the slow change to Addai in the feature back role. I spoke with some Colts players and they told me that the one deficiency in Addai's game is blocking. That keeps Rhodes in the game to help protect Peyton Manning. Manning uses play action to protect himself, meaning Rhodes will get carries when the team needs to establish the run. It's a tough fantasy situation to read, though the Pats complex defenses may shift the balance either way.
While the media focuses on Mark Brunell's tenuous hold on the QB job, the injury concerns for Clinton Portis and Santana Moss are vexing fantasy players. Portis has spent the year in this column, banged up in one way or the other since the preseason. Injuries tend to cascade in this way as well, so it's tough to expect Portis to suddenly get healthy and productive again. That makes Ladell Betts a better fantasy option, especially at the goal line. For Moss, his positive MRI last week hasn't translated into practice reps and he'll be a game-time decision. The injuries and uncertainty make me hesitant to count too much on any Redskin offensive player this week.
Tatum Bell has not one, but two bad feet. His turf toe was so bad last week that he reportedly asked out of the game after halftime, and when coach Mike Shanahan called on him late in the game, he buckled from the pain. Another week of treatment has improved the situation, but not so much that I think he's a solid fantasy option. Mike Bell is going to split carries with him according to the gameplan, but much like last week, Mike Bell is more likely to get the bulk of carries. This isn't the typical Shanahan-anigans with running backs. It's a reaction to an injury and one that will only limit Tatum Bell as long as the injury limits him. Tatum is the Bell you want long term; he's the No. 1 when healthy. (For more on turf toe, head over to ESPN360 and check out my video explaining the problem as well as more from The Fantasy Show.) Bumps and Bruises: Reggie Bush is going to play this week and even with the sprained ankle, he's a threat to break a big play on the Tampa D. ... Joe Horn is dealing with a mild groin strain. I don't expect a big fantasy impact. ... He's on bye, but Larry Fitzgerald is running and ready to go once the Cards get back on the field. The hamstring strain looks to be a bad memory. ... Look for David Givens to be back on the roster for this week's Titans game. The thumb is healing, but not back to full-go. ... My friends at Kerlan-Jobe concur with Curtis Martin. His aborted comeback didn't have medical science on his side and he'd have likely needed more than a week between starts to heal up. Think of him as the worst case scenario for Brian Westbrook. ... If My Chemical Romance's new "The Black Parade" isn't the best album of the year, then "The Crane Wife" by The Decemberists has to be. ... Give Greg Jennings one more week before he's back. The ankle is going to severely limit him, despite the Packers saying he's a game-time decision. ... Wanna talk some fantasy football? I love doing radio and spent this morning talking with my buddies Gresh and Zo in Providence and John DiTulio in Rochester between calls to my sources. My e-mail address is below if you want me on your radio show.
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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 11/2/06)

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

Nov. 3, 2006, 4:05 PM
Week 9: Fantasy Matchups


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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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.
Atlanta at Detroit: If the Lions come out looking to contain Michael Vick as a passer, the Falcons will counter by running Warrick Dunn very successfully. A good ground game will allow Vick to use play-action fakes well and he should throw more than one TD pass even if the Falcons run often. Expect Alge Crumpler to find the end zone again. Kevin Jones will be a busy running back as the Lions try to control time of possession, but Jon Kitna will also take some successful shots downfield, and will connect with Roy Williams for at least one score. This could turn out to be a very high-scoring affair.
Start and Smile: Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn, Alge Crumpler, Jon Kitna, Kevin Jones, Roy Williams
Watch and Worry: Even in an improved Atlanta passing game, Roddy White hasn't been much of a factor.
Cincinnati at Baltimore: Some Bengals players are calling for Rudi Johnson to get the ball more, but even if he does get more carries this week, his yardage numbers could be limited. Johnson should still score, however, so he won't be a terrible starting option. Carson Palmer could have some trouble finding open receivers consistently, and Chad Johnson might not find the end zone. Jamal Lewis has been getting more work with Brian Billick calling the plays, and could have one of his best games of the season. Steve McNair should have some time to throw and could deliver more than one TD pass, but you can't rely on Derrick Mason to be on the receiving end of any of his TD passes.
Start and Smile: Jamal Lewis
Watch and Worry: Carson Palmer, Chris Henry, Derrick Mason
Cleveland at San Diego: The Chargers will concentrate on stopping Reuben Droughns early, and should succeed. Lack of a quality running game will force Charlie Frye to throw often, and that should mean more than one turnover for the Cleveland QB. If Frye has to play catch-up, though, he could help Braylon Edwards pad his totals later in the game. LaDainian Tomlinson has made it clear he has a point to prove against the Browns, who bypassed him the year he was drafted. Expect a terrific outing from Tomlinson, but Philip Rivers should also fare well, and one of his TD tosses should go to Antonio Gates.
Start and Smile: Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates
Watch and Worry: Charlie Frye, Reuben Droughns
Dallas at Washington: Cowboys QB Tony Romo should attack the Washington secondary with a controlled passing game, and expect him to make several short and underneath throws to Terrell Owens and Jason Witten. The Cowboys don't want to overwork Romo yet, so expect Julius Jones and Marion Barber III to get a lot of work, with the latter finding the end zone again. With Santana Moss dealing with a hamstring problem, the Redskins will use Clinton Portis a lot to take pressure off Mark Brunell. When the Redskins do go to the air, Brandon Lloyd could be more of a factor than usual.
Start and Smile: Marion Barber, Terrell Owens, Jason Witten
Watch and Worry: the status of Santana Moss.
Denver at Pittsburgh: With turf toe problems on both feet, Tatum Bell won't be much of a factor, but Mike Bell will draw a lot of defensive attention up front, and could post disappointing numbers. The Steelers will try to get Jake Plummer to throw more than usual, and while that should mean good production for Javon Walker, Plummer could make more than one turnover. The Steelers will depend on Willie Parker to ease the offensive load on Ben Roethlisberger, and the Pittsburgh RB should find the end zone. Roethlisberger might be conservative and careful when he does go to the air, but he will still lean heavily on Hines Ward, who should post decent numbers against CB Champ Bailey.
Start and Smile: Javon Walker, Willie Parker
Watch and Worry: Jake Plummer, Mike Bell
Green Bay at Buffalo: The Packers will hammer away at the Buffalo front seven with Ahman Green, and even if he gets limited yardage early, he should find the end zone by the second half. The Packers will run the ball enough to set up Brett Favre for a few big plays, and with Greg Jennings' ankle still an issue, Favre will throw often to Donald Driver. The Bills will counter with a lot of carries from Willis McGahee, who should break off more than one long run and should get into the end zone. J.P. Losman could have difficulty locating open receivers, as CB Al Harris contains Lee Evans for much of the day, and Losman's other targets won't challenge the usually vulnerable Green Bay secondary on a regular basis. Don't bank on a good passing day for the Bills just because of the matchup. Peerless Price, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish aren't going to do much against physical coverages. Evans could get loose for a good gain or two, but his production might only be adequate.
Start and Smile: Brett Favre, Ahman Green, Donald Driver, Willis McGahee
Watch and Worry: J.P. Losman
Houston at N.Y. Giants: This one could quickly become a one-sided affair. The Giants will stuff Wali Lundy early and often, and he'll become a non-factor by the second half. David Carr will face a lot of challenging situations on second and third downs, and he'll be sacked often. Still, Andre Johnson could build some good numbers during garbage time. Eli Manning should have a big day after throwing only one TD pass last week. Expect him to throw more than two TD passes and quickly put the game out of reach. Plaxico Burress should catch at least one scoring pass, and Jeremy Shockey will be a red zone target as well. Amani Toomer should also be good for some downfield completions.
Start and Smile: Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Jeremy Shockey
Watch and Worry: David Carr, Wali Lundy
Indianapolis at New England: Bill Belichick has been able to confound Peyton Manning with some unique looks in the past, but by this point, Manning has seen it all, and he'll get his numbers even if the Colts don't win the game. Manning will have to carry the offense, because Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes won't do much. Expect Manning to throw more than two TD passes, but he could also be intercepted more than once. Overall, he should throw enough to have a very good day overall in terms of fantasy numbers. The Patriots will try to control the clock with the running game, with Corey Dillon scoring at least once. Laurence Maroney could also score, but could be limited in terms of yardage. Tom Brady will continue to operate a controlled passing game with much efficiency, and should throw more than one TD pass.
Start and Smile: Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Tom Brady, Corey Dillon
Watch and Worry: Joseph Addai, Dominic Rhodes
Kansas City at St. Louis: The Chiefs will depend heavily on Larry Johnson to help them control time of possession, but should also be successful when throwing the ball. Damon Huard will connect with Tony Gonzalez regularly over the middle, and Eddie Kennison should burn his old team with a few sizable gains. The Rams will also run the ball well, as Steven Jackson bowls through the Kansas City front seven often and scores at least once. Marc Bulger will have much time to throw, and will look mostly to Torry Holt, who should win a lot of battles with CB Ty Law. Isaac Bruce might get shut down by the Kansas City secondary, but Kevin Curtis will be a factor on a few passing downs.
Start and Smile: Damon Huard, Tony Gonzalez, Eddie Kennison, Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson, Torry Holt
Watch and Worry: Isaac Bruce
Miami at Chicago: This one seems pretty predictable. The Bears will shut down Ronnie Brown quickly, forcing Joey Harrington to look like Joey Harrington, which is never a good thing. He'll throw at least two interceptions, but he should be able to connect with TE Randy McMichael on many of his completions over the middle. The Bears will likely come out throwing, and Bernard Berrian will be good for a minimum of one long score. Muhsin Muhammad will post decent numbers as a mid-range target, and TE Desmond Clark should catch a scoring pass. The Bears will pound away with the ground game in the second half, and Thomas Jones should finish with good totals.
Start and Smile: Rex Grossman, Thomas Jones, Bernard Berrian, Desmond Clark
Watch and Worry: Ronnie Brown, Chris Chambers
Minnesota at San Francisco: The Vikings should rebound from their Monday night letdown against New England, and Chester Taylor should roll to the 100-yard mark and find the end zone. Brad Johnson will be conservative, though, so don't expect big numbers. The Vikings' defense will be a big factor as Frank Gore isn't a major force, and Alex Smith will struggle to find open receivers as Antonio Bryant is shut down. It might not take a whole lot of points for the Vikings to take this one, but they'll hold the Niners off the scoreboard enough to make this a comfortable victory.
Start and Smile: Chester Taylor
Watch and Worry: Alex Smith, Antonio Bryant
New Orleans at Tampa Bay: With Reggie Bush and Joe Horn dealing with injuries, the Saints' offense won't be great in this one. Deuce McAllister will have to battle hard for yardage, even if he scores. Most defenses have not been able to fully contain Marques Colston yet, though, and he should still get his numbers. Drew Brees, however, will have to focus more on being efficient, and he won't stack up impressive totals. Bruce Gradkowski has struggled recently, but he should be able to rediscover Joey Galloway this week. Gradkowski should be comfortable back at home, and should perform well enough that some running lanes open up for Carnell Williams, who should post respectable fantasy numbers even if he doesn't score.
Start and Smile: Marques Colston, Joey Galloway
Watch and Worry: Reggie Bush, Joe Horn
Tennessee at Jacksonville: Both teams will focus on the running game in this one, and the passing totals could be limited. Travis Henry will look to rebound from a poor performance, and should finish with adequate yardage numbers even if he has to carry often. Don't expect more than one TD from Vince Young, who should be contained as a runner. David Garrard isn't an ideal fantasy option, as the Jaguars just expect him to manage the game and not to air it out too often. Fred Taylor might finish with good yardage totals, but Maurice Jones-Drew will be the true standout for the Jaguars, as he rips off a few long runs and scores at least once.
Start and Smile: Maurice Jones-Drew
Watch and Worry: Vince Young, David Garrard, Reggie Williams Oakland at Seattle: The Seahawks will concentrate on stopping Justin Fargas and LaMont Jordan, and should do so successfully, even if Fargas breaks off a long run or two. Andrew Walter will have to carry the offense, for the most part, and he'll have some trouble against an opportunistic Seattle secondary. Still, Randy Moss should beat CB Marcus Trufant for a score. The Seahawks can't expect Maurice Morris to do much against any opponent, so Seneca Wallace will throw often, with mixed results. Deion Branch and TE Jerramy Stevens will be key targets for Wallace, who is likely looking at two TDs and two interceptions.
Start and Smile: Randy Moss, Deion Branch, Jerramy Stevens
Watch and Worry: LaMont Jordan, Maurice Morris
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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 11/2/06)

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

Friday, November 3, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Stopgap Seven: Week 9


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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.)
David Garrard, QB, Jaguars (TEN): The starting job is all his, and despite his averaging 181.5 passing yards with four TDs and one interception in his past six starts, Garrard is still talented enough to rack up nice numbers against the Titans' woeful defense.
Damon Huard, QB, Chiefs (@STL): It's surprising to hear he'll lose his job once Trent Green heals considering how well he has played. He has averaged 240.4 passing yards with seven TDs in his past five games, and now he faces the Rams' shaky secondary.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants (HOU): Opposing teams have been able to move the ball with ease against the Texans all season, and the Giants should be no different. They should generate several red-zone chances, and Jacobs is their man in those instances.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars (TEN): Normally I'd say only count on starting RBs, but in games that should shake out as lopsided efforts in favor of the home team, guys like Jones-Drew are useful flex plays. He could easily get 15 touches and gaudy numbers.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys (@WAS): He'll make his share of mistakes as he continues to gain experience, but you can't ask for many better receivers to throw to. Romo battles the Redskins' 30th-ranked pass defense, one which allows two TDs a game.
Amani Toomer, WR, Giants (HOU): Don't look at the Jaguars' or Titans' numbers against Houston and worry about this matchup. The Giants' pass offense is too deep for Houston to contain, and there should be enough throws for even Toomer to succeed.
Jermaine Wiggins, TE, Vikings (@SF): With Marcus Robinson limited by a back injury, Wiggins should see a few more passes thrown his way this week. Keep in mind the 49ers' defense has allowed 27 receptions for 374 yards and six TDs to tight ends this season. <STYLE> .headshot { visibility: visible; padding: 0px 5px 4px 0px; float: left;} .bottom { font: 10px verdana, san-serif; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; background: #006633; padding: 5px; } </STYLE>BETWEEN THE LINES
Among the players I'm avoiding in Week 9 ... David Carr, QB, Texans (@NYG): He's coming off a terrible game facing a favorable matchup at Tennessee, and this week's matchup is far, far more challenging for him. We could see Sage Rosenfels once again in this one. ... Jake Plummer, QB, Broncos (@PIT): He has done nothing to warrant a spot in fantasy lineups all season, averaging 165.4 passing yards with five TDs and seven interceptions. Plus, Pittsburgh should be pretty motivated in such an important home game. ... Tatum Bell, RB, Broncos (@PIT): Unless we receive glowing reports on his turf toe injury before Sunday's kickoff, I wouldn't take the chance on Bell against a defense like that of Pittsburgh, not even as a flex option. ... Travis Henry, RB, Titans (@JAC): If he couldn't manage better than 29 rushing yards against a defense like Houston's, how can he be expected to succeed in a road game against the Jaguars' stingy defense? ... Drew Bennett, WR, Titans (@JAC): He hasn't been nearly as productive a receiver since Vince Young took over at quarterback, and there's no reason to believe he'll bounce back against Jacksonville. ... Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns (@SD): Kellen Winslow Jr. continues to get the bulk of the throws sent his way, and against the Chargers' sixth-ranked pass defense, that's probably not going to change. ... Rod Smith, WR, Broncos (@PIT): He's suffering not only as a result of Plummer's troubles at the helm of the offense, but also the addition of a talented No. 1 receiver in Javon Walker.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Carnell Williams, RB, Buccaneers
8 carries, 20 rushing yards, 0 TDs

Many owners have been worried about Cadillac's rushing workload from Week 8, in that windy game at the Meadowlands. Even the Buccaneers' coaching staff had its concerns, admitting after the game that the strategy to test the Giants' secondary didn't pan out as expected, and that Williams would be more involved in the offense this Sunday. It's a worry, indeed, that Cadillac is coming off his worst game of the season, but don't overlook that in the three weeks before that, he combined for 62 carries for 287 yards (4.6 average), which isn't bad by any means. Also, he managed a career-high 111 rushing yards in Week 5 at the Saints, and who's his opponent in Week 9? That's right, it's the Saints, in a home game. In three career games against New Orleans, in fact, Williams has topped 81 yards each time, and averaged 96.0 yards. I'd expect he'll get a good 20 touches once again, and that's plenty for him to capitalize on what's shaping up as a favorable matchup.
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<TABLE class=tablehead cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3><TBODY><TR><TD class=stathead align=middle bgColor=#555555 colSpan=6>Week 8</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Brett Favre, QB, Packers: Hasn't been picked in three straight games and is on pace for 23 TDs, 12 INTs</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>180</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>-5</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</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>Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: He has a TD or 100-plus rushing yards in each of his past four home games</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>18</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>84</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>55</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>19</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>Plaxico Burress, WR, Giants: Has a TD in each of his three home games; faces Texans' 25th-ranked pass D</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>7</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>86</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>11</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>1</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>14</NOBR></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=5 height=3></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff>
</TD><TD colSpan=5>Tony Gonzalez, TE, Chiefs: Finally getting more involved in the offense; has back-to-back 100-yard games</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>116</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>6</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>0</NOBR></TD><TD><NOBR>13</NOBR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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


Trainer's Room
? Ravens TE Todd Heap (thigh) missed Thursday's practice and was added to the injury report as questionable for Week 9 against the Bengals. That he suffered a setback so late in the week is a concern, but keep in mind Heap has been limited for much of the season but hasn't missed a game. Check back on him, but he should be fine to use.
? Seahawks WR Darrell Jackson (foot) missed Thursday's practice and remains probable for Week 9 against the Raiders. He's expected to start, and with an extra day to heal up in time for the Monday Night contest, he should be fine, but keep an eye on him over the weekend. He's a must-start so long as he doesn't suffer a setback.
? Packers WR Greg Jennings (ankle) returned to practice on Thursday and is likely to play in Week 9 at the Bills. He faces a favorable matchup, so as long as he practices without any issues on Friday, he should be a solid No. 3 fantasy option.
? Patriots RB Laurence Maroney (thigh) was added to the injury report as questionable for Week 9 against the Colts on Thursday. It's unclear how serious his thigh issue is, but his being limited makes him less attractive as a flex option despite the extremely favorable matchup. He'd need to be fully cleared before Sunday to be safe to use. ? 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 11/3/06

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 11/3/06

Monday, November 6, 2006
<SCRIPT language=javascript src="http://ai059.insightexpressai.com/adServer/adServer.aspx?bannerID=7560"></SCRIPT> Patriot Shames


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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 trends certainly seem to be changing in these Colts-Patriots games at New England, with Indianapolis winning a second straight game there on Sunday night. Hey, at least they're fun to watch! Let's take a look at some of Sunday night's big fantasy stories:
A letdown for Tom Brady: How often do you see this, an every-week fantasy QB completes four touchdown passes to lead his position in fantasy points one week, then follows it up with a four-interception disaster that earns him only one point, ranking him second-worst at the position? Normally that'd be the definition of a streaky, inconsistent player, but I'd call it more of a fluke performance than anything. Brady's not as productive a fantasy passer as the statistical fiend of Week 8, but he's also not the mistake-prone thrower we saw in Week 9, either. Over the years, people seem to have taken this assumption that the Patriots don't make mistakes, run only good plays and always succeed at home, but isn't every team (and player) entitled to the occasional bad week? New England's game plan simply didn't seem right, rarely attacking Indianapolis' weak points, but one thing's for sure, when a Bill Belichick team slips up one week, you can count on it putting in the effort to fix the glitches the next. Brady has exceptional matchups the next two weeks (and three out of four), so I'd expect there's a high probability he's a 200-yard, two-TD guy in Week 10.
Indianapolis goes for the perfect season: The Colts are now 8-0 with two of their toughest games all season now behind them, and with five home games out of their last eight and a three-game lead in the division, it's looking like another early clinching season for the team. Every week gets us closer to a possible Jim Sorgi sighting, though the good news is that with the running back situation still working itself out, I think we'd still see a fair share of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes even after the clincher, if only to try to settle the best game plan for either in the postseason. Which brings us to...
Addai's performance: The numbers weren't exceptional (18 carries, 43 yards, 1 TD, 10 fantasy points), but for a guy battling a wrist problem and facing a stingy New England defense, that's a nice effort, and a continued example of how Addai's continuing to capture the bulk of the rushing workload in Indianapolis. It's the second consecutive week in which he has earned more carries than Rhodes -- he has 35 to Rhodes' seven during that span -- and with Peyton Manning performing at his peak, there should be many leads in the future in which Addai will look to run out the clock. Don't look at his 3.9 yards-per-carry average the past two weeks as a knock on his talent; he's going to have much better numbers, probably even as a No. 2 RB, when facing weaker defenses in the upcoming weeks. <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
Before you race to get Jaguars QB David Garrard, who completed three touchdown passes in Week 9, consider that he's not even guaranteed another start should Byron Leftwich's ankle heal in time for Week 10. Garrard has been just fine the past two weeks, winning both games, but don't overlook that he averaged only 180.9 passing yards with seven TDs in his past seven starts, which are hardly extraordinary numbers. As a Leftwich owner in a two-QB league, I picked up and started Garrard based on the matchup this week, and if he's given another start in Week 10 against the Texans, sure, I'd think about him there, too, but I'm not counting on much from him in the long haul. Garrard's role, Week 9 aside, has seemed more the guy there to hand off, not take chances and avoid costly mistakes over the past calendar year, and I see no reason that'll change much now. ... I would, however, think about adding Saints WR Devery Henderson. Granted, his value is almost entirely tied to WR Joe Horn's health, so keep an eye on that, but with New Orleans really opening up the offense of late, there should be plenty of throws for whoever plays across from Marques Colston in the coming weeks. ... I'd be less worried about Bears QB Rex Grossman's Week 9 letdown than Falcons QB Michael Vick's. Sure, it's the second time in the past month that Grossman has endured a terrible week, and again, this was one in which all seemed in line for him to shine, but the fact remains that he's not the kind of guy with the name value on which you could sell high. Vick, meanwhile, has historically been inconsistent and is much more name value than actual value. He continues to rank high on my list of sell-high candidates.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Carnell Williams, RB, Buccaneers
12 carries, 39 rushing yards, 0 TDs

He was listed right here on Friday, and he's listed right here today, too, following a second consecutive poor performance in which he barely even got a chance to run the football. With 12 carries, Cadillac topped last week's eight, but it's tough for a running back to show his stuff when his defense allows 14 unanswered points within the first 10 minutes of the game, and 17 through the first 16. Of course, that's not to say Williams should get a free pass because his defense performed so poorly; with nine carries for 16 yards and two dropped passes by halftime, he was a primary reason why the Bucs went scoreless in their first six possessions. Each of those was a three-and-out in which Tampa Bay didn't even cross midfield, and after Joey Galloway caught a 44-yard touchdown to put the team on the scoreboard late in the second quarter, Cadillac barely touched the ball. Clearly, he's a more talented back than this, but Williams faces a multitude of problems limiting his fantasy upside the remainder of the season: One, the Tampa Bay defense hasn't been nearly as good as advertised, frequently putting the team behind early. Two, quarterback Bruce Gradkowski hasn't done poorly as a starter, but he's nonetheless inconsistent and not particularly threatening to opposing defenses, leading to teams stacking the box. Three, Tampa Bay continues to endure one of the toughest schedules in football, with five more road games in their final eight, three of those at Carolina, Pittsburgh and Chicago, awful matchups for Caddy. Take all those into account and it's a smart move to shop him now if you can, and if you can't for decent value, don't count on better than No. 2 RB numbers.
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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 11/3/06

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 11/3/06

Summing up Sunday afternoon


posted: Monday, November 6, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL


Not a real good Sunday for the potential NFC playoff teams, except for the Giants and Saints. And really, the way the Giants played, you think they're happy today? The Bears suffered their first loss, the Falcons had momentum stunted in Detroit, of all places and the Packers, Rams, Cowboys and Vikings all had winnable games, but lost.

Sounds like a fantasy league, doesn't it? A caller mentioned on Sunday morning's Fantasy Focus on ESPN Radio that he was deciding which quarterback to play between Rex Grossman and Michael Vick, but it didn't really matter, his opponent was only playing Jake Plummer and was 1-7. Couldn't lose, right?
I do wonder how badly he lost, though.
Let's skip the pleasantries, and talk about Sunday's games leading up to Colts-Patriots. That'll be in a separate blog.
Dolphins 31, Bears 13: This is why they play the games, eh? I can't say I saw this coming, not at all. But now that Rex Grossman has had two bad games on the season, do you trust him anymore? You know, the defenses Rex got turnover crazy against weren't exactly Bears-like. The Cardinals were 1-4, with four straight defeats, when Grossman stunk up Monday night. And the 1-6 Dolphins, um, sorry, 2-6 now, entered the game a minus-five in turnover margin. They aren't anymore!
MVP: The top scorer in the game was not Joey Harrington, or anyone on the Miami offense, but the Dolphins defense, which surprisingly registered 20 fantasy points. But who would have played it? Ronnie Brown gets the nod for his 157 yards rushing, which, I admit, was tough to see coming. Brown now has three games this season with 18 fantasy points, all on the road. Hmmm.
LVP: I'm not totally giving up on Rex, but this goes to show you, there are no locks. Thomas Jones was pretty disappointing as well, with only 69 yards rushing. And what happened to the other part of the trifecta, Bernard Berrian? Well, he left early with injury, but still, hurt or not, he's not a top 10 WR anymore. Basically, the Bears laid another egg against a bad team, but this time the turnovers killed them, and their defense couldn't bail 'em out. I can hear Nick Saban yelling in his Denny Green voice now: "We knew what they were going to do!" Um, nope, nobody saw this coming.
Interesting: Harrington still isn't a great fantasy option, despite tossing three touchdown passes at the league's top defense. He also threw for 20 fewer yards than Brown rushed for. If there are two players we reassess from this game, they are Grossman and Brown. Not Harrington.
Bills 24, Packers 10: If you had told me Brett Favre would throw for 287 yards and J.P. Losman only 102, while Ahman Green would ramble for 122 yards and Willis McGahee only 15, well, I would have told you the Packers would have won like 38-3. Before you start complaining, I am aware McGahee left the field on a cart with the rib injury. I'm just amazed that the Bills won another game in which they got outgained so badly yardage wise (427 to 184). Earlier this season in Miami, Losman passed for a whopping 83 yards, the Dolphins easily trumped Buffalo for total yards, and the Bills won 16-6.
MVP: While we hope McGahee will sufficiently recover to get back on the field, fantasy's top waiver wire pick this week might just be former Bears/Cowboys/Saints reject Anthony Thomas, who was last relevant in 2003. Well, he might be real relevant now after gaining 95 yards on 20 carries.
LVP: It's got to be Losman, yet again. Apparently he's safe as the starter, despite another terrible game. Really, I know it's for the future and this season is kinda lost, but wouldn't Kelly Holcomb be better? Losman has pretty much locked up bottom three status among fantasy starting QBs for awhile. Also, while Favre did have 287 yards and a touchdown, he threw two picks and fumbled.
Interesting: This is pretty under the radar, but are you aware Ahman Green has topped 100 yards rushing in three straight weeks, and now has more 100-yard games than not?
Lions 30, Falcons 13: I'm not happy that Michael Vick played poorly, with only 163 yards. But I am pleased to be right about saying Vick would revert back to the runner he's been for years. What Vick showed us in throwing seven touchdowns against the Bengals and Steelers was that he's capable of doing that. What this brutal loss to Detroit showed is that Vick's still got plenty to prove when it comes to consistency.
MVP: Detroit's big three all came up with big games, which was expected. I had each of Jon Kitna, Kevin Jones and Roy Williams active in a league or two. While we did expect Vick to continue playing well, there was no reason to think the Falcons' defense would play a great game with these three Lions having good seasons, each top 10 at their respective positions. Call this award a tie. Jones is a top five running back who had two touchdowns by halftime and ended up with 110 yards rushing.
LVP: It's Vick. Can't say I was depending on him, since the only league I own him in I keep playing Tom Brady. This is what Vick does to fantasy owners, again and again and again.
Interesting: This Kitna-Williams connection keeps working. This is the fourth time this season Williams has reached 138 yards receiving, and he's scored in three straight games. With this guy's mouth, he's looking like a young T.O.
Chiefs 31, Rams 17: Goodbye, Damon Huard, thanks for the fine fantasy play. It's possible Huard will be holding the clipboard next week so Trent Green can get his job back, but man, Huard, now 33 and with 10 years experience, proved himself with 11 touchdowns and only one interception (I'm torn, because I like Green as well, but whoever quarterbacks should be pretty good). This game went as expected, with fantasy stars everywhere, and, at least to me, the Chiefs winning.
MVP: Hard to believe Larry Johnson can rush for 172 yards and a score and be overshadowed by his opposing running back, but did you see what Steven Jackson did? Not only did he rush for 86 yards and a score, but he caught 13 passes for 133 yards. Where was Torry Holt? Covered, apparently. Weird game for the home team, the Rams. Marc Bulger throws for 354 yards and no picks, Jackson was terrific, but three fumbles and shoddy defense adds up to a big loss. Look for Jackson, who I had ranked No. 5 in the Power Rankings anyway, to at worst stay there, and possibly pass the idle Donovan McNabb.
LVP: Fantasy's top wide receiver, Holt, has only 98 yards in the past two games, and no scores. That might sound pretty fair to many wideouts, but Holt averaged 16 fantasy points per game the first six games, and 4.5 points since.
Interesting: I never like to predict a tight end will see his fantasy impact go up or down from a quarterback change. When Green got hurt, many figured Tony Gonzalez would be initially helped because Huard would look for him. Then it was clear that wasn't true, that Huard didn't need to do that, and Gonzalez could block more. Enough. Gonzalez was not affected by who threw him the ball. His two touchdowns Sunday were his first since Week 1, but he also caught 254 yards worth of passes in Weeks 7-8. Having Green back doesn't matter to Gonzo, who's on a 1,000-yard pace.
Giants 14, Texans 10: Certainly not the most exciting game of the day, but I admit I'm tiring a bit of Eli Manning after seeing this one. He had open receivers, even with Plaxico Burress inactive. He had a defense to exploit. He just didn't make the plays. He made enough to win the game against a bad team that couldn't move the ball, but honestly, Manning didn't look any better than David Carr did. Time for me to not completely jump off the Eli bandwagon, but certainly reassess if he's a top five fantasy quarterback. For now, he's clearly behind his brother, McNabb, Brady, Bulger, Drew Brees and the case can be made he's no better than Vick, Kitna, Philip Rivers or Carson Palmer.
MVP: I was happy Tiki Barber scored a touchdown. Nobody having that good a season should have to endure hearing from the fans about his lack of scoring. He was leading the league in rushing. He's doing what is asked of him. Really, he could have handled more than 17 carries, but you won't hear him complain. He got the win.
LVP: Eli didn't exactly light things up. Call it a tie with him and poor Amani Toomer, who fantasy owners bought into after that crazy, misleading 12-catch, 2-touchdown game in Philly. Toomer caught 13 passes in the six games since. Still, once Plaxico was deemed inactive, I guarantee Toomer became the hot fantasy play. The result: two catches, 16 yards. Nice.
Interesting: You know, Jeremy Shockey could be an Antonio Gates type if the Giants used him that way. They just don't. Well, other than Sunday when he caught eight passes and his fifth touchdown of the season.
Saints 31, Buccaneers 14: Is Marques Colston the next Randy Moss? Think about it, when has a rookie wide receiver been this good? Colston was far from a first round pick, but here he is, the top wide receiver in fantasy through nine weeks, pending the Darrell Jackson Monday game. No Joe Horn, no problem. Colston goes off again, and Devery Henderson nabs touchdowns of 52 and 45 yards.
MVP: Still, I have to go with Drew Brees because it's pretty clear his success in San Diego was not due to the coach, or LaDainian or Gates. The guy can play. Kudos to the fantasy owners who have him and keep enjoying top five performances, like this one with 314 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers.
LVP: How about a few repeat nominees in this category? Why would anyone have picked Carnell Williams to have a big game? You haven't seen enough? And when it comes to Reggie Bush, who would have to go all Larry Johnson the final two months to catch Colston for top rookie honors on his own team, you might never see a line score like this again: 11 carries, minus five yards.
Interesting: Bruce Gradkowski certainly seems a bit overmatched, kind of like Kyle Orton was last season, though without the top-notch defense to save him. Gradkowski did do something nice for fantasy owners, though, finding Joey Galloway for a pair of touchdowns to make the game interesting at the half. Galloway has been way too up and down this season. He hadn't scored since Week 5, and has still only topped four receptions in two contests.
Redskins 22, Cowboys 19: Terrific ending, and one I couldn't believe while seeing it. And yes, before you ask, I did blurt out how a seemingly in-the-tank team like the Redskins could block a 35-yard field goal in the final seconds (35 yards! Are you kidding me?), but the Eagles can allow a 62-yarder to a guy who hadn't hit one from more than 28 yards all season. I'll get over it. Anyway, Nick Novak is probably no better than Matt Bryant, and certainly nobody to watch in fantasy, but he did cost Tony Romo owners the chance at overtime heroics.
MVP: Romo looked composed, mobile and if Terrell Owens doesn't drop a sure thing bomb (and a few other catches as well), he would have had well over 300 yards and three scores, a win, and more fantasy attention. Hey, I'm buying now. It's premature to put Romo on the level of Eli Manning, especially in only a few games, and of course if I was drafting today I'd take Eli, but are you sure Romo isn't just as good? Should be a great NFC East race in December.
LVP: No obvious choices, really, though Julius Jones had his second-worst fantasy day of the season, and popular pickup Ladell Betts did nothing. Why was Betts popular? Clinton Portis was banged up and not a great play, but he ended up with a very nice 84 yards and a touchdown.
Interesting: I know a few people who figured Terry Glenn was no longer worth playing, and they sat him. Honestly, I think fantasy owners make too much of quarterbacks playing favorites with wide receivers, and end up making wrong choices. Glenn only caught three passes, and certainly Owens is much more the center of attention, but he did score for the first time in five games.
Jaguars 37, Titans 7: It's not that I thought David Garrard didn't have it in him to throw touchdown passes, I just figured the Jaguars would prefer to run, run, run. Garrard ended up tossing three touchdowns and doubling last week's passing yardage. Will Byron Leftwich get the job back? Probably, but if I was the coach, well, you know.
MVP: It's clearly Garrard, who entered the game with eight touchdown passes in 315 attempts. Add three more scores, and 22 pass attempts.
LVP: Now who would have played Vince Young? C'mon. But I'm thinking most owners had Fred Taylor active, and while it might seem unfair to attack someone who averaged 6.1 yards per carry, hey, it's only seven fantasy points. Travis Henry got you six.
Interesting: Name the top two Jacksonville wide receivers and most of you would pick Matt Jones and Reggie Williams. Well, after hauling in three passes Jones now has 18 receptions all season (though he has been hobbled with the groin injury), and no touchdowns. Williams, a fantasy darling after scoring twice in that wild Redskins loss and another time in the 41-0 rout over the Jets, has managed two receptions in the three games since. Ernest Wilford will be a bit too popular on waivers this week after scoring twice. Don't buy in.
Ravens 26, Bengals 20: Do I buy into the Ravens offense and this rejuvenated Steve McNair now? Well, not really, though I'd call the quarterback a matchup play. I pegged Jamal Lewis as a decent play, and he came through. The real question, when dealing with Carson Palmer is, does it get better than this?
MVP: Baltimore only scored one offensive touchdown, so again we have to praise a defense. It wasn't the best game by the defense, despite the touchdown, but it's the seventh time in eight games fantasy owners have received nine or more points from it. Even the mighty Bears can't say that.
LVP: If you drafted the Palmer-Chad Johnson connection, you're probably wondering when this underachieving is going to end. Well, there's no telling if it will. Palmer's seven points was the third time he's failed to reach double digits, a feat that didn't happen all last season. And Johnson entered the day tied for 27th among fantasy wide receivers, and won't move up. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and possibly even Chris Henry, have greater value.
Interesting: Jamal Lewis and Rudi Johnson had similar stats, with 70-something yards and a touchdown, but isn't it odd fantasy owners will view the Lewis game positively, while the Johnson game will elicit a ho-hum response. Let's give Johnson some credit for scoring in back-to-back games. Might be a decent buy-low option.
49ers 9, Vikings 3: There were no touchdowns scored in this one, which frankly, doesn't surprise me much. I actually picked the 49ers to win, but more because it's tough to have confidence in Brad Johnson. Does that mean Brooks Bollinger should start warming up, and fantasy owners need to learn his name? Um, no.
MVP: Congrats if you had lefty Joe Nedney (11 points) in the lineup or the 49ers defense (16), because nobody else on the winning team got close to double digit points. Chester Taylor did just fine with more total yards than the entire San Francisco team. Can't complain about him.
LVP: The quarterbacks combined for 241 yards. Not that I expected a ton from either Brad Johnson or Alex Smith, but man, you would have thought this game was played in a driving hailstorm in minus 40 degree weather in the middle of the night.
Interesting: Honestly, there's very little interesting here. Chester Taylor is going to lead the team in not only rushing, but receptions. Maybe they should've reacquired Randy M...oh, I won't say it.
Broncos 31, Steelers 20: Two of the lowest rated passers in the league combine for four touchdowns and 660 yards passing. Of course. Not like these teams can play defense or anything. I actually played Ben Roethlisberger in a league, thinking he'd have a big day. Didn't think it would be quite like this, with a career high and staggering 54 pass attempts and 433 yards passing, though. I picked the Steelers to win. Now, they're pretty much toast.
MVP: Color me surprised that Jake Plummer was able to enter the game with five touchdowns in seven games and then add three more scores. Does that buy him a few more weeks as the starter? C'mon, this is just a bit different than Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo, don't you think? The Broncos are winning. Plummer's kind of wasted a solid Javon Walker much of the season; just imagine what numbers Walker would have if Plummer was having a better season? Walker was open all game, hauling in a pair of touchdowns and turning what should have been a minor run into a 72-yard touchdown. Walker had the best performance of the day, and unlike Plummer, you should have been playing him. Don't sit top receivers against anyone.
LVP: Mike Bell did get the start, but you knew he wasn't going to have a great game. And if you didn't know, you weren't paying attention. I know this Bell had 136 yards rushing in the second half a week earlier, but the Steelers were able to prepare for him. Tatum Bell wasn't even active. Plummer was going to have to win this one and, incredibly, he did.
Interesting: How do we view Roethlisberger now? Fantasy owners really shouldn't treat him week to week, but view the whole process. He did throw some bad interceptions in this game, but look at the yards? And, he should have had at least one more touchdown pass. Hines Ward fumbled while flying over the goal line late. The Steelers aren't officially eliminated, and I expect Roethlisberger to keep putting up significant stats.
Chargers 32, Browns 25: Anyone have Phil Dawson active? Probably not too many people, since he was only owned in 3.9 percent of leagues. Dawson had kicked eight field goals all season. Why is this important? Well, the Browns had more first downs than the Chargers. They had more passing yards, more time of possession and it wasn't turnovers that killed Cleveland. If only the Browns had used Dawson less and converted touchdowns, maybe we would have had an interesting upset. Maybe this is what the Merriman-less Chargers will be like the next few weeks?
MVP: C'mon, it's LaDainian Tomlinson just about every week. He might be fantasy's MVP, too. I mean, he only averaged 9.6 yards per carry. That's all?
LVP: Two receptions for Antonio Gates? Now I'm being serious when I say, that's all? Maybe you're disappointed by Reuben Droughns only getting 36 yards rushing, but I had 50 as the over/under.
Interesting: Time to give more credit to the most valuable Brown, Kellen Winslow. Think about it: Nobody wants to use Charlie Frye, no other wide receivers are worth it, and Droughns has been disappointing. In reception leagues, Winslow just added another 11 catches. You know, he now has 51 receptions in eight games. Double that and we've got a 100-catch season! Wow! OK, enjoy the Colts and Pats, and the first prime time affair for Seneca Wallace. Should be Peyton-like, don't you think?
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 11/3/06

Re: NFL Fantasy Football News/Articles - ESPN Insider 5 New Articles Added 11/3/06

Nov. 6, 2006, 12:10 PM
Engel: Week 9 wrapup


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By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

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Here's a quick-hitting recap of key performances and news from the ninth week of the NFL season, complete with in-depth fantasy analysis.
Count on the Cowboy: Dallas lost to Washington on Sunday, but it certainly wasn't the fault of quarterback Tony Romo, who played admirably in his second start of the season. Romo is quickly proving that he can be a reliable fantasy starter. He threw for 284 yards, two touchdowns and was not intercepted. Washington often put heavy pass pressure on Romo, but he used his footwork to buy more time or escape trouble, something that previous starter Drew Bledsoe was apparently not capable of doing. Romo has quickly developed a positive on-field relationship with Terrell Owens, who caught seven passes for 76 yards and a TD. Romo could have finished with even better numbers, had Owens not dropped what appeared to be a sure deep completion that could have led to a score of more than 70 yards. Romo's become a stable fantasy starter who can be plugged in a regular basis for quality totals. The Redskins had their top cornerbacks healthy this week, applied extra pressure up front, and Romo still had a good game.
Garrard enjoys career day: While David Garrard had proved he can win as a starter in place of Byron Leftwich in the past, he had never posted great fantasy numbers while doing so. Garrard had been accurate and a threat to run, but rarely did he go to the air with a lot of statistical success. On Sunday, however, making his second consecutive start in place of the injured Leftwich, Garrard threw a career-high three TD passes. He finished with only 177 passing yards, yet carved up the Tennessee defense with surgical precision. Garrard's top receiver was Matt Jones, with 66 yards, and two of his scoring passes went to Ernest Wilford. Garrard had lots of time to throw and make very good decisions. He's a fantasy starter if you need an injury replacement or your other QB is unreliable. But Garrard, who has never thrown more than four TD passes in any of his pro seasons yet, and didn't register a TD last week against Philadelphia, will have to deliver more than one very good outing against a weak opponent before I'm convinced he is indeed on the rise to being an above-average fantasy starter.
What happened to Michael Vick?: Coming off a two-game stretch in which he threw seven TD passes, a date with the Lions seemed to be a terrific matchup in which to keep rolling. But Vick suddenly reverted back to mediocrity against the often defenseless Lions. He threw for 163 yards, two interceptions and lost a fumble. He did add 80 rushing yards, and how much of Vick's down performance should be blamed directly on him is highly questionable. Vick's receivers were also at fault, as they dropped passes and didn't get open often enough. Vick continued to display crisp mechanics and make good reads. His 19-yard TD pass came on a perfect throw between Lions defenders. And when Vick couldn't find open receivers, he took off to run with much success, as evidenced by his final totals. Yes, it was a disappointing performance against a usually vulnerable defense, but you can expect Vick to rebound quickly, as he still displayed much of the confidence and sharp mechanics that led to his success in the two games prior to this week.
What happened to Rex Grossman?: Some things seem so startling, they look like they were impossible to predict. Miami's win at Chicago was a major shock, as was another awful performance by Grossman against one of the league's worst teams. I had thought Grossman's recent meltdown against the Cardinals was just a fluke, especially after he played so well last week. But Grossman fell apart again against a weak opponent, showing us we can't depend on him to provide regularly good fantasy numbers. Grossman threw only one TD pass, was intercepted three times and lost a fumble in the startling home loss. His running game was never a factor, and when Bernard Berrian left in the first quarter with a rib injury, Grossman faced heavy pass pressure without his top receiving target. It's clear opposing defenses can make Grossman struggle with pass pressure if they can stop the ground game. Pick your spots to start Grossman carefully, as he'll have to show he can handle blitzes and adverse passing situations better on a regular basis before he can truly be considered a top fantasy starter. He'll face the often furious pass rush of the Giants next week, and that won't be easy by any means.
Green rolls on: Lost in the disappointment of a loss at Buffalo was another impressive performance by RB Ahman Green. He rushed for 122 yards on 23 carries, his third consecutive 100-yard game, and fourth of the 2006 season. Green certainly isn't as explosive as he once was, and he doesn't have the great burst through the line or breakaway speed he had just a few seasons ago. But he has managed to stay healthy and is displaying a new running style that is leading to consistently good fantasy production. Green is running inside very well, and is breaking tackles and fighting for yardage with much more determination. No longer a regularly explosive runner, he has become a workhorse who keeps his feet moving and is often difficult for opposing defenders to bring down. Using his experience, Green has become a new, hard-working runner who earns his yards instead of trying to rip off large chunks of yardage. He has been very dependable recently and should stick in your starting lineup as a regular No. 2 fantasy RB.
Jamal finds the end zone: Before Brian Billick took over the playcalling duties recently, Jamal Lewis felt that he wasn't getting the ball enough. But in the two games since Billick has taken the reins of the offense, Lewis has enjoyed a rebirth of sorts. Sure, he isn't the fantasy superstar he once was, but Billick is giving his best RB the ball often, and the results have been encouraging to the point where Lewis can be considered a quality fantasy starter again. After soaring past the 100-yard mark last week for the first time this season, Lewis scored for only the second time in 2006 on Sunday. Lewis finished with only 72 rushing yards on 24 carries, but his two-yard TD run was the first score of the game against Cincinnati and his first TD since the season opener. Lewis has the confidence of his coach, and a respectable Baltimore passing game should continue to put him into position to score fairly often the rest of the season. Lewis isn't a great fantasy player anymore, of course, but he's going to continue to get enough work to make him a decent No. 2 fantasy RB in many leagues.
Tony Gonzalez back on top: Fantasy owners are going to begin to wonder if the impending return of Trent Green will hurt the production of tight end Gonzalez, who seems to be recapturing some of his old form as Green's return approaches. Gonzalez has been enjoying a resurgence in recent weeks, and he caught two TD passes in Sunday's win at St. Louis. Gonzalez had two TD catches all of last season and had only one scoring reception so far this season. Gonzalez had come into Sunday riding a wave of two consecutive 100-yard performances, and he has caught a total of 17 passes in the past three games. Gonzalez has developed a great on-field relationship with Damon Huard, and a switch back to Green could negatively affect Gonzalez's production, especially if he is asked to stay in more and help protect Green often, which is a very good possibility. Gonzalez has been quite impressive recently, and has carried defenders on his back at times to gain extra yards. But it might be time to trade him while his value is high. If Green does come back shortly, it will be time to take a good offer for Gonzalez if you can.
Steven Jackson, all-around star: There should be no remaining doubts about Jackson after his terrific all-around performance in a loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. Jackson has been rolling up a lot of rushing yardage, and he scored for the third consecutive game on Sunday. He finished with 86 rushing yards on 19 carries. But what was most impressive about Jackson's outing Sunday was the fact that he caught a career-best 13 passes for 133 yards, and his overall yardage numbers spurred many fantasy teams to victories. Jackson has been gradually improving all season long, both as a regularly dependable runner and red zone threat. Defenses are giving him more attention than last season because he is getting more consistent touches, but he is always working to find ways to gain extra yardage. He's breaking tackles more often and has been hitting holes with more authority than he did earlier in the season. And he is getting open often as a flat pass receiver and making the most of his opportunities. It might be some time before he reaches the 100-yard mark as a receiver again, but Jackson has certainly emerged as a fine all-around offensive player. He is a top fantasy RB who runs for good yardage, adds receiving totals, and should continue to score often.
Struggling without Burress: Sunday's matchup against the Texans seemed to point to a big performance from Eli Manning and a one-sided victory for the host Giants. But the Giants actually labored to dispatch Houston, and Manning threw only one TD pass and was intercepted once. He finished with only 179 passing yards against Houston, a defense that usually gets ripped apart by quality opponents. But without injured wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who regularly presents matchup problems for opposing secondaries, and is a consistent deep threat for Manning, the New York passing game sputtered. Amani Toomer was invisible as he was pressed into the No. 1 receiver role, as he caught only two passes for 16 yards. Tim Carter, who has the speed to challenge secondaries deep as a third receiver, was useless in a starting role in place of Burress. He caught only one pass for 15 yards. Manning often had trouble finding open receivers and couldn't challenge the defense with the deep ball as much as he usually does. If Burress can return next week from a back injury, expect Manning to get back on track statistically. Yes, the Broncos can still throw the ball: In a road win over the reeling Steelers, the Broncos suddenly opened up their passing game and showed it can still be very effective when needed. Jake Plummer, who has been a fantasy non-entity for most of the season, suddenly let loose for three TD passes and was not intercepted. Two of his three scoring tosses went to Javon Walker, who finished with six catches for 134 yards. Walker also scored on a 72-yard run, and it is obvious he has re-emerged as a must-start fantasy receiver. Plummer might start to scale his passing game back as soon as next week, but it's clear Walker is his prime target and will be on the end of many of his scoring tosses, even if they are less frequent the rest of the way. Walker now has five TD receptions in 2006 and has definitely put a lost 2005 season behind him. Plummer needs more than one big game to regain the confidence of fantasy owners. Mike Bell was highly ineffective as a runner, totaling 28 yards on 17 carries. He did finish with 40 receiving yards, but this tenure as a starter could be short-lived. The Steelers were ineffective defensively again, and with the fall of their franchise, has come the fall of their defense as a fantasy unit. The unit should no longer be considered a top choice after surrendering 92 points in the past three games.
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