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Tag:Fantasy Football
Posted on: September 22, 2011 8:23 am
 

Week 3 Fantasy Fooball Sleepers

If one of your normal starters is injured or facing a tough match up, here are some players you might consider starting in their place. While these players may not be every week starters, they are good bets to perform well this week.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots in week three. Fitzpatrick has gotten off to a red hot start to the season, throwing for seven touchdowns and only one interception through the first two games. The Bills have shown confidence in Fitzpatrick, allowing him to use Steve Johnson, David Nelson, and Scott Chandler to get off to a great start to the season. The Bills threw the ball 46 times in week two against the Raiders, and may need to air the ball out again this week to keep up against a seemingly unstoppable New England Patriots offense. As good as the Patriots have looked on offense, their defense (in particular their secondary) has struggled through the first two games of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to exploit the Patriots secondary if the Bills have any hope of winning a shootout against New England. Fantasy owners should insert Ryan Fitzpatrick into their lineups and can expect 225 passing yards and a couple touchdowns from the Bills starting quarterback.

QB Kevin Kolb, ARI

Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in week three. Kolb has gotten off to an excellent start to the season, throwing for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns in each of the Cardinals' first two games. Kolb should continue his hot start this week against the Seahawks. Another encouraging sign for Kolb and his fantasy owners is that the chemistry between him and Larry Fitzgerald seems to be improving with Fitzgerald catching seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in week two. Kolb will continue to put up good fantasy number as long as he relies on Fitzgerald throughout games. Fantasy owners can start Kevin Kolb this week and can expect at least 200 yards and one touchdown from the Cardinals starting quarterback.

RB Dexter McCluster, KC

Dexter McCluster and the Kansas City Chiefs travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers in week three. McCluster was expected to be a niche player for the Chiefs this season, but he will be thrust into an important role in the Chiefs offense following the season ending injury to Jamaal Charles. While McCluster will not be asked to be the only replacement for Charles, he is much more exciting and unpredictable compared to Thomas Jones. Jones will probably handle most of the inside running, while McCluster will run outside and catch the ball out of the backfield. McCluster has a better chance of having a big game this week as the Chiefs will likely be trailing early against the Chargers. The Chiefs will have to pass the ball extensively to keep the game close in San Diego, and since the passing game better suits McCluster, he will probably play a bigger role in the game than Thomas Jones. Fantasy owners can claim McCluster off their waiver wire and can expect 75 total yards and a touchdown from the exciting second year player.

RB Willis McGahee, DEN

Willis McGahee and the Denver Broncos travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans in week three. McGahee is coming off an impressive game against the Cincinnati Bengals in which he ran for 101 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries. While his yards per carry average was not great, he was able to help the Broncos control the time of possession, and eventually led the Broncos to a victory. McGahee will likely have another opportunity to prove his worth to the Broncos this week, with Knowshon Moreno unlikely to play for the second straight week. Even if Moreno does return, he will likely not be at full strength as he is attempting to return from a hamstring injury. Fantasy owners can start Willis McGahee as a flex play this week and can expect 75 total yards and one touchdown from the Broncos running back.

RB Daniel Thomas, MIA

Daniel Thomas and the Miami Dolphins travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns in week three. Thomas had an impressive NFL debut in week two, rushing for 107 yards on 18 carries, while adding one reception for ten yards after returning from a preseason hamstring injury. Thomas played more snaps, and touched the ball more than Reggie Bush, giving fantasy owners of Thomas hope that he will continue to be the head of the running back committee in Miami. Reggie Bush will still be heavily involved in the Miami offense, but mostly as a receiving option out of the backfield. Thomas should be the Dolphins' early down back, giving him an edge over Bush going forward. Fantasy owners can start Daniel Thomas and can expect 70 yards and a touchdown from the rookie running back in week three.

WR Robert Meachem, NO

Robert Meachem and the New Orleans Saints face the Houston Texans at home in week three. Meachem got off to a good start to the season by catching five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown in week one, but followed that up by catching four passes for only ten yards, and one touchdown against the Bears in week two. The good news for Meachem owners is that he is being targeted as much as any other Saints wide receiver, and this will continue as long as Marques Colston and Lance Moore remain out. The Saints and Texans both have high powered offenses and this game should be high scoring, making almost all skill position players in this game good fantasy options. Fantasy owners can expect a game similar to Meachem's week one numbers, with five receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown.

WR David Nelson, BUF

David Nelson and the high flying Buffalo Bills offense will take on the New England Patriots in week three. Nelson is coming off a career best game in which he caught ten passes for 83 yards and one touchdown in a shoot-out win over the Oakland Raiders. The Bills will likely be involved in another high scoring game this week against a Patriots offense that looks unstoppable so far this season. The Bills are going to have to throw the ball to keep up with the Patriots, making Nelson a good candidate for another breakout game. The Patriots have looked shaky in the secondary the first two weeks, allowing big games to both Chad Henne and Phillip Rivers. Fantasy owners who are looking for a good spot start at the wide receiver position this week can pick up David Nelson off their waiver wire and can expect five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown from the Bills slot receiver.

 

Posted on: August 26, 2010 2:32 pm
 

Winning Your Fantasy Football League

I don't proclaim to be a fantasy football expert, but I have a system that works. I'm only in two paid leagues, and I won both leagues last year. The previous year, I took 2nd place in one league and 1st in the other. Fantasy football has become a nice way to generate some extra revenue for The Daniel.

Lots of people think they know how to win at fantasy football, but most of them are full of malarkey. They draft their teams based of off the previous season and whatever nonsense they read in a magazine, or on a blog. I've come up with a system that puts your fantasy  team in a really good position to win it all. It's all about data.

Forget projections and overall position lists! All you need to focus on is the draft averages. If you do enough mock drafts, and study the draft average sheets from CBS and ESPN, you will be fine! Most people don't take the time to study the draft averages, so what happens is they draft players out of position. That messes up their team, because they miss out on other valuable players.

You should know where to grab each one of your position players, based on the data you collect. In a 17 round draft, you should know which players you can get in each of the 17 rounds. Make a list of a few RBs, WRs, QBs, and TEs that you can get, and what their draft average is. This will be your draft guide. When it's your turn, look at the players you have selected for each round and draft according to your teams needs.

Having a draft grid based on average draft position will also show you when valuable players slip into the later rounds. Further, it will prevent you from drafting a guy too early.

The numbers don't lie. If a guy is being drafted 87th overall, there is a reason for it. Don't be that guy to reach for him in the 4th round, when you could have taken him in the 7th or 8th.

You might think that this system is moronic, but it has worked for me the last 2 years. Before that, I was drafting like everyone else and I didn't prepare very much. I thought I knew a lot about football, and drafted players based on the top 200 list and my gut feelings. Using a draft average grid will put your team into the championship game...or pretty close to it.

Aside from that, make sure you load up on RBs and WRs in the middle round...no surprise there. I don't carry a backup DEF or TE. Also, this may be obvious, but take the kicker in the last round!

I hope this helps with your upcoming drafts!

Posted on: November 10, 2009 7:32 pm
 

FFB week 9 review

I know that it's Tuesday and everyone is thinking about their lineup for week 10, but history is a great way to predict the future. The following is a reflection upon a fantasy week past. You will find some advice, but mostly the facts as they took place.

Falcons 31 - Redskins 17


Matt Ryan wasn’t at his sharpest, but he didn’t need to be with Michael Turner running the way he did. Turner racked up 166 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns. After a slow start, Turner now has 8 TDs over his last five games. Ryan struggled again (135 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and has thrown nine INTs over his last five games. At this point, Ryan is a risky fantasy QB. Tony Gonzalez found the end zone for the eightieth time in his career and finished with 41 receiving yards. Roddy White didn’t get many looks as the Falcons ran the ball most of the second half. He finished with three catches for 27 yards.

One day the Redskins will score more than 17 points in a game, but that day did not come Sunday. Clinton Portis left the game with a concussion after gaining just four yards. I think bets will be out this week, as most teams will sit a player for a week after suffering a concussion. His backup, Ladell Betts, performed nicely with 93 total yards and a score. However, the Redskins face the #3 rushing defense next week, so even if Portis sits out, Betts still isn’t more than a RB3. Santana Moss led the receivers with 56 receiving yards. Jason Campbell left the game with a chest injury but later returned; he threw for 196 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. He also rushed for 40 yards and, if you’re desperate for a QB, you could do a lot worse than Campbell.

Cardinals 41 – Bears 21

What a difference a week makes! One week after throwing five INTs, Kurt Warner threw 5 TDs against the Bears. Larry Fitzgerald was the main recipient with 9 grabs for 123 yards and two scores. With Anquan Boldin out with an ankle injury, Steven Breaston started and had 66 receiving yards and a touchdown. Against the once-ferocious Chicago defense, the Cardinals ran for 182 yards: 77 by Tim Hightower and 72 by Beanie Wells. Because of Hightower’s versatility in the passing game (on pace for 80 receptions), he is a better fantasy play than Wells.

Just as they did two weeks ago against Cincinnati, the Bears fell behind early and abandoned their running game. Matt Forte had only six rushing attempts but still finished with 107 total yards (74 receiving). Greg Olsen matched the number of touchdowns he had through the first eight weeks in this single game (3). Devin Hester and Earl Bennett had 94 yards and 93 yards respectively. Jay Cutler threw for 369 yards and 3 TDs, both highs for him as a Chicago Bear.

Bengals 17 – Ravens 7

Carson Palmer was solid again, throwing for 224 yards and one touchdown. After throwing seven INTs in his first six games, Palmer has not turned the ball over in the last two games. Cedric Benson proved his 100-yard game versus the Ravens earlier this year was no fluke by rushing for 117 yards and one touchdown. Chad Ochocinco had 66 receiving yards but lost a fumble, just as he did in the first game against Baltimore. After catching one pass for 20 yards, Chris Henry broke his forearm and the remainder of his season is in doubt. His loss is Andre Caldwell’s (15 yards, 1 TD) gain, as he no longer has to split reps with Henry as the team’s #3 receiver.

For the second time this year, the Bengals held Joe Flacco to under 200 yards passing; they also picked him off twice. This is the last time these two teams will meet this year, so Flacco remains a QB1. Ray Rice was again the focal point of the offensive gameplan as he led the Ravens in rushing (48 yards), receiving (87 yards), and touchdowns (1). Derrick Mason was targeted 13 times but only came down with three receptions for 31 yards.

Colts 20 – Texans 17

Another Colts win. Another 300-yard game for Peyton Manning...it's what he does. Manning also threw a TD as the Colts won their seventeenth consecutive regular season game. Joseph Addai scored 2 TDs rushing and had 112 all-purpose yards. Dallas Clark continues his assault on tight end single-season records; he had 14 receptions for 119 yards. Reggie Wayne had a rare poor game with only 64 receiving yards. He also threw an interception in what was likely the first and last pass attempt of his career.

This was the first time both Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson were on the field together versus Indianapolis. They both came up big, but it wasn’t enough. Schaub threw for 311 yards and one touchdown but also threw two picks. Johnson had 10 receptions for 103 yards but failed to get into the end zone. A big question heading into this game was the number of touches Steve Slaton and Ryan Moats would receive. Well, Moats owners have to be rejoicing as he had 19 touches for 53 yards and 1 TD. Slaton had 9 touches for 29 yards and 1 TD. However, Moats did lose a fumble, which was the reason that Slaton was benched last week.

Patriots 27 – Dolphins 17

For the third game in a row, Tom Brady (332 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) threw for at least 300 yards as the Patriots held on for the win. It looks like heeees baaaack. Randy Moss had 147 yards and 1 TD and is undoubtedly a WR1 despite his inconsistency this season. Wes Welker had nine catches for 84 yards and is a WR2 in regular formats--but a WR1 in PPR leagues. Laurence Maroney remains the feature back in New England with Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor still out. Maroney had 82 rushing yards and 1 TD. He remains a RB2 until one of the other running backs returns.

Over the past three games, Chad Henne has thrown only one touchdown. That should tell you all you need to know about his fantasy value. Ronnie Brown threw the lone passing TD in this game, along with rushing for 48 yards. Ricky Williams had 33 rushing yards and scored a TD on the ground. No Dolphins receiver/tight end is worth starting on your fantasy team, but Davone Bess was targeted 14 times. He only managed to catch six of those passes and finished with 56 yards.

Jaguars 24 – Chiefs 21

With Mike Sims-Walker’s 147 receiving yards and one touchdown, the Jaguars are now 4-1 when Sims-Walker has at least 80 yards receiving. Maurice Jones-Drew had 134 total yards and one touchdown and, along with Steven Jackson, MJD is the closest thing to an every-down back. David Garrard (264 passing yards, 29 rushing yards) threw his first touchdown pass in five weeks but, because of his running ability, he is a sleeper as a QB1.

Matt Cassel was on pace to be a bust before throwing two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Along with those two scores, Cassel threw for 262 yards and did not turn the ball over. Newly signed Chris Chambers caught both touchdown passes and had 70 yards. Chambers struggled mightily in San Diego this season but seems to have caught on quickly with Kansas City. He won’t be the fantasy stud he was a couple of years ago, but he still has plenty of talent; enough to warrant a WR3 role. Dwayne Bowe led the team with 74 receiving yards and Jamaal Charles, starting in place of Larry Johnson, had 55 total yards. I started Jamaal Charles, because I expected him to do well, but he proved me to be foolish.

Buccaneers 38 – Packers 28

After not winning a game since last November, the Bucs finally got one in rookie QB Josh Freeman’s first NFL start. Freeman threw for 205 yards and 3 TDs, one each to Derrick Ward, Kellen Winslow, and Sammie Stroughter. Cadillac Williams only had 16 touches on the day and finished with just 56 yards. Maurice Stovall was targeted seven times but that was likely due to Antonio Bryant being out with an injury. Freeman has a lot of upside but is not likely to put up numbers as good as these for the rest of the season. He is a QB2 and should remain the Bucs starter unless he is injured.

Just imagine what the Packers could do on offense if they had decent blocking. Aaron Rodgers, while being sacked six times and throwing 3 INTs, threw for 266 yards and 2 TDs. He also rushed for 26 yards and 1 TD. James Jones is making the most out of Jordy Nelson’s injury as he had 103 receiving yards and 1 TD. Donald Driver also found the end zone en route to 71 receiving yards. Greg Jennings was again the victim of Rodgers not having a lot of time, as he only had 61 yards. Ryan Grant had a nice game running the ball, with 96 yards and a score, and remains a RB2.

Seahawks 32 – Lions 20

This may have been the game where the Seahawks officially went from a running team to a passing team. Matt Hasselbeck threw the ball 51 times for 329 yards and 1 TD. Julius Jones still got enough touches to score a touchdown and gain 114 total yards (78 receiving). Nate Burleson led the team with seven receptions and had 75 receiving yards. T.J. Houshmandzadeh won’t wow you with his yardage (34), but he is still a nice play in PPR formats. He had six receptions, one of which went for a touchdown. Someone to watch for in future games is Justin Forsett. He is Jones’ primary backup now with the release of Edgerrin James and is a rushing/receiving threat. He had 59 yards from scrimmage along with 5 receptions and is worth a roster spot in deeper, PPR leagues.

This was a game that Matt Stafford would like to forget…quickly. Stafford threw 5 INTs as he often tried to force the ball. Calvin Johnson returned but had only two receptions for 27 yards, and he did not look 100% healthy. Kevin Smith averaged 5.2 yards per carry but had only 13 rushing attempts. He finished with 67 rushing yards and failed to get into the endzone for the fourth game in a row. The offensive star for Detroit was rookie TE Brandon Pettigrew, who had 70 yards and a score. He also caught seven passes on only eight targets, a stat that will no doubt endear him to Matt Stafford. However, he is still a TE2 at this point.

Saints 30 – Panthers 20

Unable to get their run game going, the Saints relied on the arm of Drew Brees as they came from behind to remain undefeated. Brees had 330 passing yards as well as 1 TD and 1 INT. Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell, and Reggie Bush combined for just 83 rushing yards, though Thomas did get into the end zone. Devery Henderson had 93 receiving yards but is a very inconsistent play. Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey had quiet games as they combined for only 4 catches for 71 yards. With Lance Moore out, Robert Meachem stepped in and led the team with 98 yards and 1 TD. He will likely return to the bench once Moore is healthy enough to play. For the time being, any Saints receiver not named Colston is a WR3.

Once again, turnovers were the main reason the Panthers lost a game; however this time it was due to fumbles, not interceptions. Jake Delhomme, DeAngelo Williams, and Jonathan Stewart all lost fumbles. Delhomme threw for 201 yards but no scores, and Steve Smith had 64 receiving yards. Williams did his part on the ground with 149 rushing yards and 2 TDs. His partner-in-crime, Jonathan Stewart, had 13 carries but only converted them into 24 yards.

Chargers 21 – Giants 20

Eli Manning may have outperformed Philip Rivers, but Rivers’ team got the win. Rivers threw for 209 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs as the Chargers had to rely entirely on his arm to move the ball. LT had only 22 rushing yards on 12 carries and chipped in only eight receiving yards. Vincent Jackson further cemented his status as one of the top-5 fantasy WRs with 58 receiving yards and 2 TDs, including the game winner. Antonio Gates had 67 receiving yards and Malcolm Floyd had 29 yards. Floyd is now a starter with the release of Chris Chambers.

Even though he had his best game in four weeks, Eli Manning’s arm wasn’t enough to keep the Giants from stopping their skid. Manning threw for 215 yards and 2 TDs without turning the ball over. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw had solid games as they respectively had 68 total yards and 66 total yards. Neither got into the end zone, however. Steve Smith broke out of his four-game scoreless streak and finished with 57 yards. Mario Manningham came back after missing one week to catch six passes for 52 yards.

Titans 34 – 49ers 27

Another Vince Young start. Another win. The guy is a plain old winner. Another great Chris Johnson performance. That pretty much sums it up as Young threw for 172 yards, ran for 14 yards, and scored a rushing touchdown. With 135 rushing yards and two scores, Johnson continues to make LenDale White irrelevant. For the second week in a row, Justin Gage was the top receiver (97 yards). Young clearly has a rapport with Gage that he lacks with Nate Washington and Kenny Britt, as neither of those two was even on the team when Young was the starter in 2007. The Titans won’t light anyone up thru the air but Gage is worth consideration in deeper leagues.

Another Alex Smith start. Another loss. Another great Frank Gore performance. With three INTs and lost fumble, Alex Smith did not have the same amount of success as Vince Young. But he did throw for 286 yards and two TDs. The recipient of both TD passes was Jason Hill, who finished with four catches for 50 yards. These were his first receptions of the year, so we have to wait to see if this increase in playing time is permanent or simply an experiment. Michael Crabtree had only 30 yards on three receptions but another former first rounder, Vernon Davis, had 10 grabs for 102 yards. However, the star for San Fran was Frank Gore who had 83 rushing yards, 75 receiving yards, and a rushing touchdown. In his five full games this season, Gore is averaging over 125 total yards and he has scored six touchdowns.

Cowboys 20 – Eagles 16

Even though Tony Romo’s (307 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) three-game streak without an interception ended, he did find Miles Austin for the deciding score in the fourth quarter. Despite Tashard Choice scoring a rushing TD out of the Wildcat, only Marion Barber could really get anything going on the ground. Barber had 50 rushing yards while Choice and Felix Jones combined for only 23 rushing yards. After complaining about not getting “good passes” thrown his way, Romo seemed to appease Roy Williams by throwing his way often. Williams finished with 5 catches for 75 yards. Jason Witten had his most receptions since Week 2 as he caught 7 balls for 43 yards, but he failed to get into the endzone for the sixth game in a row. Austin caught only one pass--but it went for 49 yards and the game-winning touchdown...I'm still mad at Sheldon Brown for getting beat with a pump fake.

LeSean McCoy is turning into “Brian Westbrook-lite” as he had 54 yards rushing and 61 yards receiving in the Eagles’ Sunday night loss. Brent Celek caught a TD pass and, if it weren’t for the great years that Dallas Clark and Vernon Davis are having, more people would be talking about Celek as the premier fantasy tight end. Donovan McNabb struggled with accuracy throughout the night and finished with 227 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. Explosive playmakers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were relatively quiet as they had 29 receiving yards and 44 receiving yards, respectively. Jackson is the more consistent of the two, so he is a WR2 while Maclin is a WR3.

Posted on: November 3, 2009 1:53 pm
 

Fantasy Football: DC's weekly review

This is my first blog posting on CBS, because I just earned AS status. The following is a fantasy football review for week 8.

Texans 31 – Bills 10
After fumbling for the seventh time this season, Steve Slaton was finally benched in favor of Ryan Moats. Moats definitely made the most of his opportunity by gaining 151 total yards along with 3 TDs. Slaton, who only had one rushing yard on the day, won’t be completely removed from the offensive game plan, though his playing time will be significantly reduced in the coming weeks. Moats becomes the hottest waiver wire pick-up of the week and will be a flex option, at worst, over the coming weeks. Matt Schaub didn’t have his best day of the year: 0 TDs and 2 INTs. But he did throw for 268 yards even though his top receiving option, Andre Johnson (6 rec., 63 yards), was playing with a lung contusion and Owen Daniels (1 rec., 22 yards) left with a knee injury in the first quarter. Early reports suggest that Daniels tore a ligament, which would prematurely end his season. Wait for the MRI results before cutting Daniels loose; however, you should definitely start looking for another option at tight end.

Despite T.O. rushing for a touchdown for the first time in seven years, the Bills could not muster any other trips to the end zone as they fell to the Texans. Owens had 68 total yards (29 rushing, 39 receiving), but it was a quiet day for Buffalo’s other offensive stars. Marshawn Lynch had only 43 rushing yards, and Lee Evans only had 29 receiving yards. This was likely Ryan Fitzpatrick’s (117 yards, 2 INTs) last start, as Trent Edwards is expected back after next week’s bye. The fantasy value of Owens, Evans, and Lynch will go up slightly when Edwards returns, but Lynch should be the only Bill you even think about starting until Buffalo can manage to score more than two offensive touchdowns in a game (something they have failed to do in 2009).

Bears 30 – Browns 6
Two things I know about the Bears: they play well at home (3-0), and their stud QB throws a lot of INTs (1 today, 11 on the season). Jay Cutler (225 yards, 0 TDs) handed this game over to the rushing attack as the Bears ran over the Browns for 170 yards. Matt Forte had 90 yards on the ground, 31 through the air, and scored two touchdowns. Devin Hester led the receivers with 81 yards on seven receptions. Second-leading receiver Earl Bennett only had 29 receiving yards and has yet to score a TD this season. At best, he’s a WR4, and that’s only in PPR leagues.

Another game, another dreadful offensive performance for the Browns. There are only three Cleveland players you should even think about having on your fantasy team, and none of them had a particularly good game. Jamal Lewis rushed for 69 yards but hasn’t found the end zone in 360 days…seriously. Mohamed Massaquoi had 2 catches for 28 yards but also lost a fumble. Perhaps the most versatile player in the league, Josh Cribbs, had 51 yards from scrimmage along with 137 return yards.

Cowboys 38 – Seahawks 17
The Cowboys offense appears to be firing on all cylinders, as they have scored 10 TDs over the last three games. For the first time in his career, Tony Romo (256 yards, 3 TDs) has gone interception-free for three games in a row. Miles Austin was their top receiver again, with 61 yards and a score. Not only is he now the #1 receiver in Big D, he is also a fantasy WR1. Roy Williams also caught a TD pass but dropped a couple of easy catches, which drew boos from the Dallas fans. He’s too inconsistent to be a reliable starter at this point. Jason Witten only had 36 receiving yards and failed to get into the endzone for the sixth time in seven games. It’s hard to explain his disappearance in the red zone, but I’m sure one of these weeks he and Romo will hook up for a couple of scores in a game. Witten remains a must-start. Marion Barber had 53 rushing yards and a score, and Felix Jones had 69 yards from scrimmage.

Matt Hasselbeck looked sharp while passing for 2 TDs and 249 yards, but it simply wasn’t enough to keep up with the Cowboys. Nate Burleson had 89 receiving yards and T.J. Houshmandzadeh had 24 yards. But it was the #3 receiver, Deion Branch, who found the end zone for his first score of the season. Injuries have made Branch a shell of his former self and he should not be in your lineup unless you’re desperate. Julius Jones struggled running the ball but still finished with 88 yards from scrimmage; however, he has not scored a rushing touchdown since Week 1.

Rams 17 – Lions 10
Even though this win was over the lowly Lions, St. Louis will gladly take it and avoid going winless as Detroit did last year. Steven Jackson was a beast again with 149 rushing yards and a score. Imagine what he could do with some talent around him. Donnie Avery only had a single reception for 15 yards as Marc Bulger managed to struggle against the worst pass defense in the league. Bulger completed less than 50% of his passes, threw an INT, and did not throw a TD. He is not fantasy material.

Matt Stafford returned from injury with less than glamorous results (168 yards, 1 INT) as he struggled even more than Bulger. However, Stafford has two excuses: one, he’s a rookie; two, he was playing without his favorite receiver, Calvin Johnson (knee). Stafford did score a rushing TD, which salvaged some of his fantasy value. Kevin Smith contributed 94 total yards but had ankle issues throughout the game. He may be limited in practice during the week but should be a go next Sunday.

Ravens 30 – Broncos 7
This was the kind of performance Baltimore needed in order to reassert its claim as a physical team. Ray Rice is becoming the next Maurice Jones-Drew, as he racked up 108 total yards and a score. He’s gone from a flex play at the start of the season, to a RB1 in a few short weeks. Joe Flacco (175 yards, 1 TD) took a back seat to Rice in this game, but he did find Derrick Mason up the seam for a TD. Mason finished with 40 yards on four receptions. Willis McGahee, who exceeded expectations with 7 TDs through the first four games, now has only 8 total yards from scrimmage over the last three games. Not only he is no longer a reliable source of TDs, he is not even a reliable source of yardage. He should be benched until he consistently regains his early-season form.

Faced with an assortment of blitzes, Kyle Orton never hit the groove that he’s found in the first six games of the season. He threw for only 152 yards with no touchdowns. Brandon Marshall only had 24 receiving yards, but he remains a must-start at WR. Someone who is not a must-start is Eddie Royal, who had 10 yards on two receptions. If you take away the New England game, Royal has only 10 receptions for 68 yards on the season. That lack of production should land him deep on your bench. Knowshon Moreno scored the lone TD for Denver but he also lost a fumble. Correll Buckhalter chipped in with 48 total yards but it’s clear he is the #2 back in Denver, though he does have flex potential in PPR leagues.

Colts 18 - 49ers 14
This was one of those tough, gritty games that great teams manage to win, and that’s exactly what the Colts did on Sunday. Reggie Wayne scored Indy’s lone TD, as he shook off last week’s injury to catch 12 passes for 147 yards. The TD was thrown by former high school QB Joseph Addai, who also rushed for 62 yards. Peyton Manning did not throw a TD for the first time since November of last year, but he did throw for 347 yards. Dallas Clark had 99 receiving yards and remains the best fantasy option at tight end this season.

Though Alex Smith lost both games he’s played in this year, he has been an upgrade over Shaun Hill. Smith, who had 198 passing yards and 1 TD, looked often to fellow lineup newcomer Michael Crabtree. Crabtree caught 6 passes for 81 yards but also lost a fumble. Vernon Davis caught another TD pass to give him a league-leading seven on the year. That’s right: Vernon Davis is leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns. Frank Gore proved he’s back to form by rushing for a 64 yard TD. He finished the day with 134 yards from scrimmage.

Dolphins 30 – Jets 25
Though the Dolphins scored 30 points, only one touchdown came by way of the offense. In fact, the offense was pretty much shut down as Miami only gained 52 yards rushing and 52 yards passing. Ronnie Brown had only 27 rushing yards and Ricky Williams had 68 total yards. Joey Haynos scored the lone offensive TD on a pass from Chad Henne (112 yards, 1 TD).

Even with Thomas Jones cracking 100 rushing yards (102) for the third game in a row, and Mark Sanchez throwing for 265 yards and 2 TDs, the Jets could not overcome Miami’s three kick-return TDs (two by Ted Ginn, Jr.). Dustin Keller (8 for 76) and Braylon Edwards (4 for 74) each had a TD grab, and Jerricho Cotchery returned from injury with 70 yards. Shonn Greene, who is now the #2 back with Leon Washington done for the season, disappointed his owners with only 18 rushing yards. He also lost a fumble and did not contribute in the passing game. Greene is not the dual threat that Washington was, but he should be able to provide production through the ground game later this season. If he’s still available in your league, you should pick him up and stash him on your bench.

Eagles 40 – Giants 17
The Raiders loss seems to have re-invigorated the Eagles, as they dominated the Giants in all facets of the game. Donovan McNabb had a stellar game with 240 passing yards and 3 TDs--one each to his top three receivers: DeSean Jackson (3 for 78), Brent Celek (4 for 61), and Jeremy Maclin (4 for 47). With Brian Westbrook out, LeSean McCoy and fullback Leonard Weaver picked up the slack. They each scored a rushing touchdown and McCoy led the way with 82 rushing yards. Weaver had 75 rushing yards on eight carries, but don’t expect this to be a regular occurrence, even if Westbrook misses another game. Weaver had only four rushing attempts coming into this game and is primarily a blocker, with occasional short-yardage opportunities.

The Giants, formerly known as the “Road Warriors”, have now lost their last two games away from Giants Stadium. Eli Manning struggled throughout the game and threw two picks, compared to just one touchdown. You have to wonder if he’s fully healthy from that heel injury he suffered against Kansas City. Manning has thrown 6 INTs over his last three games and if you have another option next week, it may be wise to sit Eli. The Giants will take on the Chargers in Week 9, and San Diego has allowed fewer than 360 passing yards TOTAL over the last three games. They have also picked off four passes and sacked the QB 10 times during that span. Steve Smith had 8 receptions but they only went for 68 yards. Kevin Boss led the way with 70 yards, along with New York’s lone receiving TD. Brandon Jacobs had 107 total yards on the day, and Ahmad Bradshaw, battling a foot injury, had 21 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Titans 30 - Jaguars 10
Even though Vince Young’s numbers won’t wow anyone (125 yards passing, 1 TD, 30 yard rushing), his mere presence seemed to inspire the Titans to get their first win of the season. Oh, and Chris Johnson had a pretty good day. Johnson had 228 rushing yards and 2 scores. It was Johnson’s career-high in rushing and his second game this year with over 200 yards from scrimmage. Nate Washington caught Tennessee’s lone passing TD and finished with 22 receiving yards.

Not even Maurice Jones-Drew’s Herculean effort could propel the Jaguars to a win. MJD had 2 rushing TDs and 177 yards on only eight carries, to finish with a staggering 22.1 yards per rush. David Garrard struggled mightily against a team that was giving up the most passing yards in the league coming into this game. Garrard threw for only 139 yards, along with 2 INTs. Mike Sims-Walker was averaging 7 receptions and almost 100 yards per game over his last four, but he only came down with two receptions for 9 yards versus Tennessee. Torry Holt didn’t fare much better as he only had 17 yards on two receptions.

Chargers 24 – Raiders 16
It was tougher than expected, but the Chargers got what they wanted: Their thirteenth straight win over Oakland. LaDainian Tomlinson also got what he (and LT owners) wanted: 2 TDs, along with 56 rushing yards. Philip Rivers threw for 249 yards and one score to his favorite target, Vincent Jackson (8 for 103, 1 TD). Antonio Gates had 49 receiving yards and Malcolm Floyd had 64 yards. Floyd started in place of Chris Chambers who has been demoted to the #3 receiver. Though now a starter, Floyd won’t get as many opportunities as you would expect from a typical starter. He is fifth in the Chargers pecking order, behind LT, Gates, Jackson, and Darren Sproles (46 total yards, 1 fumble lost).

JaMarcus Russell barely deserves mentioning, since he isn’t even fringe fantasy material. Justin Fargas scored the only Raiders TD and finished with 79 total yards. Even when Darren McFadden returns, Fargas and Michael Bush will still receive touches, which means fantasy owners will hear the most dreaded of terms: Running-back-by-committee. Zach Miller had 52 receiving yards but should be a starter only in PPR formats because of his lack of scoring opportunities (Oakland only has 6 touchdowns through 8 games).

Panthers 34 – Cardinals 21
With the Panthers rushing for 270 yards, Jake Delhomme didn’t have to do much (7/14, 90 yards, 1 TD). DeAngelo Williams picked up most of his 158 yards between the 20s and Jonathan Stewart cleaned up in the red zone (87 yards, 2 TDs). Steve Smith scored the Panther’s lone passing TD as CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie bit on a pump-fake and Smith sped past him. It was Smith’s first TD of the year and he finished with 56 yards. Despite his QB struggling this year, Smith is too explosive to keep on your bench. He should be started as a WR3 until Delhomme can find his groove, or Matt Moore takes the reins at QB.

In a reversal of last year’s NFC Divisional playoff game, Kurt Warner was the one to throw 5 INTs this time…though a couple of them weren’t his fault. Warner became the first QB to throw at least 14,000 yards for two teams, but I don’t think he will remember that milestone come Monday. None of the Cardinals fantasy receivers got into the end zone, but Larry Fitzgerald led the way in receiving with 66 yards. Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston had 23 yards and 57 yards respectively. Tim Hightower had 96 total yards and a rushing score, and Beanie Wells had 47 rushing yards.

Vikings 38 – Packers 26
“It’s just one of sixteen”…yeah right, Brett. Favre broadcast his emotions, in returning to Lambeau, into 4 TDs (his first 4-TD game as a Viking). Favre is now tied with Matt Schaub for most TD passes (16) and could become the oldest player to win the MVP award. Adrian Peterson was solid both through the air and on the ground as he had 44 receiving yards and rushed for 97 yards with a TD. Percy Harvin (5 for 84), Bernard Berrian (3 for 47), and Visanthe Shiancoe (1 for 12) all caught touchdown passes. Sidney Rice was often double-covered and finished with 40 receiving yards on four receptions.

Imagine how good the Packers could be if they only had a decent O-line. Aaron Rodgers was sacked six times (that’s 14 in two games vs. Minnesota) but still managed to throw for 287 yards and 3 TDs. He also led the team in rushing with 52 yards. Not only do the Green Bay O-linemen struggle to pass block, they struggle to run block. Ryan Grant only had 30 rushing yards and was tackled behind the LOS three times on his 10 carries. Grant has only a single 100-yard rushing game this year, with no multi-score games, but remains a RB2 due to his being one of the few workhorses left in the league. Greg Jennings caught 8 passes for 88 yards and a TD. Those were the most passes he’s caught in a game this year and it was his first touchdown since Week 1. Donald Driver had 63 receiving yards. Driver and Jennings are both must-starts next week vs. Tampa Bay, who has given up 16 receiving TDs this season.

 
 
 
 
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