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Week 9 -
Over Half Way There - I C Playoffs!!
David Bachman Fantasy Football Editor
Lets Get At It
Quote of the Week : Mike Martz talking
with Seattle area Journalists before the upcoming NFC
West showdown this Sunday. Q: Have you
felt any heat for not running the ball a lot? Martz:
“I don’t mean to be crass, but I’ve
got to tell you that I really don’t care. I could
really care less what anybody thinks. Somebody is really
Trends continue to develop from the
beginning of the season that owners should factor into
their weekly decision making process. The one things that
sticks out in my mind is:
You start your studs regardless of
matchups, but the past has taught us to temper expectations
for players facing Baltimore and Tampa Bay. There are
two others to consider this season as games against the
Pats, Steelers, and Bears have proven to be tough for
our usual fantasy studs.
The Steelers have not allowed a team
to pass for 250 yards since the opener and held the Eagles’
Donovan McNabb to 109 yards, sacked him four times and
intercepted him once in Week Nine. In other words, keep
Browns QB Jeff Garcia on the bench this week. That probably
goes for his receivers, André Davis, Antonio Bryant
and Dennis Northcutt, too.
The Jets’ passing game has been grounded for much
of 2004. Chad Pennington hasn’t thrown for more
than 190 yards since Week Six and has thrown more than
one TD pass only once since Week Two. He’ll be unavailable
this week because of a sore throwing shoulder, so it may
not be the best idea to start WRs Santana Moss or Justin
McCareins against the Ravens’ seventh-ranked pass
defense and standout S Ed Reed.
Giants WR Amani Toomer has put up a measly 115 yards
in the last three games. Think about giving him some rest
against a Cardinals defense that has surrendered only
132 yards a game through the air the last three weeks.
The window of opportunity has opened for RB Willis McGahee,
whose confidence has visibly returned in Buffalo. He has
started three of the last four games, rushing for 111,
102 and 132 yards and reaching the endzone three times
in his three starts. The Patriots have given up more yards
than normal against the run, so don’t shy away from
McGahee at this point.
The Jaguars have given up 273, 359 and 276 passing yards,
respectively, in their last three games. Lions WRs Az-Zahir
Hakim (210 yards the last two games) and Roy Williams
(five TDs as a rookie) and maybe even QB Joey Harrington
all could be in for a decent day.
Make sure you don’t bench David Carr when he faces
a porous Colts pass defense that is ranked last in the
league. With 85-, 88- and 86-yard outings, Texans WR Jabar
Gaffney has outgained his more celebrated teammate, Andre
Johnson, in each of the last three games, by a total of
91 yards. Good thing to get both those guys on the field
this week vs. an injury-depleted Colts secondary.
The Cowboys aren't the only NFC East
team stirring up quarterback controversy. Giants' coach
Tom Coughlin admitted to thinking about inserting Eli
Manning during last week's game, and the loss of Michael
Strahan could accelerate the losing process and eventual
switch. Then there is the Redskins' quarterback situation,
which my physician instructed me not to talk about lest
I do harm to myself or others around me.
Continuing on the topic of young quarterbacks, Browns'
fans will have the honor of watching Ben Roethlisberger
in person this Sunday. Many Ohioans saw Big Ben perform
at Findlay high school at Miami of Ohio, and it will undoubtedly
be aggravating to watch the native son playing on a rival
AFC North squad for the next decade. How's that Kellen
Winslow pick working out by the way? Why does Butch Davis
still have a job, Mr. Lerner? In a similar situation,
if Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson had let LeBron
James fall to the Pistons in the 2003 draft, how quickly
would owner Gordon Gund have fired Paxson?
I've listed Jake Plummer as my sell-high candidate before,
but I really can't state it enough times. At home, Plummer
averages 297 yards, owns 14 touchdowns, and has completed
61.8 of his passes over five games. On the road, Jake
averages 200 yards, owns five touchdowns, and has completed
53.8 of his passes over four games. Pretty disparate split,
right? After a bye this Sunday, the Broncos play four
of their next six games away from home.
It's never fun to play without a stud running back, but
Chargers' running back LaDainian Tomlinson badly needed
this bye week. Thanks to a sore groin, the stud has averaged
less than three yards-per-carry in four of the last five
games. I'm hoping for a more explosive L.T. over the final
seven contests, and meetings with the Raiders, Chiefs
(twice), and Colts should generate huge numbers.
I've heard and read a lot of Matt Hasselbeck bashing
both in my office and on other fantasy web sites in recent
weeks. As a loyal defender of the Seahawk passer, I feel
the need to point out his 285-yard, three-touchdown effort
last Sunday. I'll also remind people that the Seahawks
play five of their final eight games at home, and two
of their road contests (St. Louis and Minnesota) are in
domes against poor pass defenses. And, finally, I'll recap
the numbers Hasselbeck put up over the final eight games
of 2002 (2,502 yards, 13 touchdowns) and 2003 (2,067 yards,
14 touchdowns). Even without Koren Robinson, Hasselbeck
is going to be a top-five fantasy quarterback over the
rest of the season and don't come crying to me if you're
one of the people that gave up on him early.
||The weekly bonehead
fantasy team decision on my part was to bench Darrel
Jackson, and to sit Hasselbeck on one team over McNabb,
Jackson was injured and I didn't get word quick enough
that he was suiting up. Luckily for me also I have
Gates on that team, and I have found that he is as
good as even Priest for racking up fantasy points.
Quick Hit - My Dream Team for
David Carr should have little trouble
against the league's bottom-ranked pass defense. I feel
good about Donovan McNabb's chances of lighting up the
slumping Dallas defense. I would have paid almost any
amount to get Priest Holmes on my team as he faces the
NFL's worst defense. Minnesota and Green Bay always score
points, so I'll take Onterrio Smith's big stats this week
thankyou. Tampa Bay is a good defense, but they've slumped
to the bottom third against the run, so I'll take Warrick
Dunn. Torry Holt's big play ability makes him an ideal
fantasy player, and Like the Vikings, the Texans have
a track record of allowing touchdowns to second receivers,
so I'll take Reggie Wayne. I don't believe Randy Moss
will be healthy enough to make a meaningful contribution
in this game, so I'm taking Marcus Robinson. In the event
that Holmes misses any of the Chiefs' scores, I'll get
them from Tony Gonzalez. I needed a cheap kicker from
a competent offense, and Gary Anderson fits the bill.
Steve Christie is among the league's highest-scoring kickers
this year. The Redskins make plenty of mistakes, so I'll
try the Cincinnati Bengals surprisingly good fantasy defense.
Players I think you should grab
or Trade For
Michael Pittman, RB, TB – Pittman
has become the focus of the Tampa offense. Garner and
Alstott are hurt. Brian Griese has taken the reins at
QB. Joey Galloway hasn’t returned yet. Only due
to the emergence of Michael Clayton do the Bucs have any
other threats. Pittman is thriving on the attention. Expect
the Bucs to make a push for a playoff berth with Pittman
leading the way. The defense isn’t nearly as good
as they were a few years ago so the offense needs to be
more aggressive. That’s a recipe for success –
suspect defense, not many other options on offense. Pittman
will be a big scorer down the stretch.
Dallas Clark, TE, IND – The Colts
are another team that needs to keep scoring to make up
for an inadequate defense. Teams are trying to take away
Manning’s outside threats daring him to use the
short passes. Clark is healthy and spent a lot of time
on the field the past few games. On Monday him and Pollard
combined for 3 TDs. Marvin Harrison is complaining that
he’s not getting the ball enough but the real loser
in this equation is Stokely. He’s not part on the
normal offensive formation any longer.
Hines Ward, WR, PIT – Ward has
become the second option in the red zone for the Steelers.
Big Ben prefers Plaxico. However, Ward still catches a
bunch of passes a game and is huge in leagues that award
a point per reception. Expect teams to pay closer attention
to Burress in the endzone. Ward got 1 TD catch this week
and I expect him to grab a few more in the coming weeks.
One thing I’m sure of; he won’t whine about
getting the ball. That’s not his style.
Onterrio Smith, RB, MIN – The
Vikings offense is a little sluggish lately. The reason
for that is pretty obvious. Once Randy Moss returns things
will get back to normal. When that happens, Smith will
become an excellent play in all leagues. He is the best
RB on the Viking roster. Moore will be a 3rd down back
when he returns. I expect Bennett to be traded this off
season. Smith will be a stud next year if he stays out
Jake Plummer, QB, DEN– Jake will
be the starter for the Broncs for the rest of this year
and word has it that Denver will pick up his option for
next year. He isn’t a fantastic NFL QB but he’s
an excellent fantasy QB. He just scores a lot of points..
Players That Are Cooling Off A Bit
Jets’ WRs – The Jets’ top two
receivers this year are Sowell and Martin, two RBs. Jet
fans can’t complain because the Jets are 6-1. But
fantasy owners of Moss and McCareins have been pulling
their hair out all season. However, Chad Pennington is
out for a few games. Everybody expects the Jets to just
hand the ball off to Curtis Martin. The opposing defenses
have to be thinking that too. So expect eight man fronts
to stop the rush and dare Quincy Carter to beat them.
Watch Moss and McCareins to have better games. They are
good starts the next few weeks.
Giants’ WRs – Kurt Warner
is having problems. The same things that hindered him
the past few years are back: fumbles, floating passes
that are picked off, etc. The offensive line has been
terrible. Again, the same problems that were a fixture
last year for the Giants’ line are back. Warner
hasn’t had any time to throw. Because he is used
to getting pressure he is looking to either run or throw
the ball quickly. Balls have been going to RBs out of
the backfield and to TE Jeremy Shockey. Toomer and Hillard
are becoming useless for their fantasy owners. A change
to Eli Manning won’t help the Giant WRs.
Redskin WRs – Why is Mark Brunell
still the Redskin QB? Two more WRs that have had fantasy
success have been utterly useless the past few weeks.
Clinton Portis threw the only TD pass this week. Unlike
The Giants, I think a change at QB could provide a boost
to the Redskin WRs. Joe Gibbs actually threw the ball
all over the place with Mark Rypien years ago so I don’t
think he’s adverse to opening up the offense. Obviously,
Portis is the main man in DC, but a decent QB could make
defenses pay for guarding against the run. Play action
passes should be successful. Let’s see what Patrick
Ramsey can do. Last year he had Candidate and Betts behind
him. Give him a chance with a legitimate RB.
Aaron Brooks, QB, NO – Brooks
gets put on the list for one play that occurred on Sunday.
It may be only one play but it shows why Brooks is such
an enigma for usfantasy guys. He could look great one
week and then terrible the next. Anyway, if you didn’t
see the play in question. He fired a bullet pass backward
towards his own goal line to his offensive tackle. It
you haven’t seen it yet, go find the replay.
Donovan McNabb, QB, PHI – I’m
going to chalk Sunday’s performance up to the whole
Philly offense having a bad game. I’m not going
to panic with either McNabb or Owens. The Steelers are
playing well. Westbrook is just getting back to full strength.
The Eagles will be back. Might be a good time to try to
pry McNabb or Owens away from their owners. Always have
to take advantage of the less patient guys in your league.
Drew Brees, QB, SD – The Chargers
are 5-3 and are in contention for at least a wildcard
berth. There no longer is any danger of rookie Philip
Rivers getting significant playing time. Expect a few
more high scoring games out west as the race goes down
to the wire. Brees will be a nice start if the matchup
is good and won’t be a terrible start even when
facing a good defense. If you are disappointed with your
QB and are in a redraft league, try to acquire Brees.
He’s probably a #2 QB on his present team so he
should be available. Owners in a dynasty league shouldn’t
give up too much because Brees could be in the same situation
next year as Jon Kitna was this year.
Peyton Manning, QB, Indy – If
you are a Colt fan you are cursing the Colt defense. If
you are a Manning fantasy owner you are thrilled that
the Indy defense is terrible. They are forcing Peyton
to throw the ball all game. This coming week the Vikings
are on the schedule so the TD passes should keep coming.
The Manning owner won’t be moving him. Just hope
that you aren’t matched up against him in the playoffs.
Plaxico Burress, WR, Pitt – Big
Ben and Plaxico have clicked since Maddux went down. Burress
has become the guy that gets the looks on 3rd down and
in the redzone. He’s a definite candidate for acquisition
at the trade deadline. Sometimes a QB and WR just get
on the same page and when that happens the WR’s
value gets a big boost. Look at Chad Johnson. He had a
breakout year with Kitna and is struggling with Palmer.
Another example was Pennington to Coles. Coles hasn’t
put up near the numbers since he left New York and until
Monday night Chad hardly ever threw the ball to Justin
What We're Hearing
Randy Moss - WR Minnesota Vikings 11/10/04
Moss has officially been ruled out for the game
this weekend against the Packers. While there is a chance
he could return in week 11 against the Lions, a more likely
return will be the following week against the Jaguars.
The Vikings will require that Moss has another MRI prior
to clearing him to play again.
Joey Galloway - WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11/10/04
Galloway aggravated his groin injury and will be questionable
to play against the Falcons this week.
Marty Booker - WR Miami Dolphins 11/10/04
Booker has a high ankle sprain and may not be available
when the Dolphins return from their bye this week. Derrius
Thompson will replace Booker if needed.
Tim Rattay - QB San Francisco 49ers 11/10/04
Rattay canceled a scheduled medical exam that was to have
revealed whether he needs surgery on his injured right
forearm. Speculation is that Rattay would have been advised
by a physician to have surgery, which would have required
two weeks of recovery time. Rattay has already missed
three games because of the injury and has opted to continue
playing... for now.
Jamal Lewis - RB Baltimore Ravens 11/10/04
Lewis carried the ball 22 times in his first game back
from a two-game suspension, but that doesn't seem to be
enough. "Any time he doesn't have the ball 25 times,
that's something we've got to go back and check,"
Head Coach Brian Billick said. "He needs to carry
the ball more." No doubt Lewis owners nationwide
Courtney Anderson - TE Oakland Raiders 11/10/04
The Raiders have reported that Anderson suffered a significant
knee injury in Sunday's game and is expected to miss four
to six weeks.
Anderson had been sharing time with starter Doug Jolley
but that will no longer be the case. Look for more opportunities
Brett Favre - QB Green Bay Packers 11/10/04
Favre spent his weekend off back home in Mississippi taking
it easy. He returned from his time off with his hand and
thumb in much better shape. Said Mike Sherman following
some workouts Monday, "His thumb appears to be healed
up and fine."
Thomas Jones - RB Chicago Bears 11/10/04
After skipping last week's game Jones is expected back
in practice this week and when he's fully recovered from
the toe injury he will move back into his feature back
role. "Thomas Jones is still our starting tailback,"
Lovie Smith said when asked about his status Monday.
Chris Barnes, Seattle WA, Good Morning
Dave, I have Culpepper, Hasselbeck and Brees, who should
I be starting this next week? I have been sticking with
Culpepper but have been getting killed.
DB - Brees is on bye. Culpepper remains
your guy. Not every game is going to be a 5-TD affair
for him. This week Daunte gets to throw on Green Bay.
I know you expected more than 1 touchdown against the
soft Indy defense, but I think this shows that Randy Moss
is not easily replaceable. Hasselbeck plays St.Louis,
not a bad opponent for a QB, but he ain't no Culpepp.
David Jones, Toronto ON Canada.: What's
up with the running back by committee happening in Minnesota?
DB - Ontarrio Smith is expected to start
this week, Smith is the best back on the roster and should
re-emerge as the team's featured back. Bennett and Williams
are getting touches in this offense but don't expect much
more of that. Owners who have retained him over the past
four weeks will be rewarded for their patience.
Richard Whithead, Atlanta, GA - Dave,
who is the best quarterback in Fantasy Football; Peyton
Manning, Daunte Culpepper, or Drew Brees?
DB - Peyton Manning has by far been
the most consistent and productive reality signal caller
in the last decade. I know, Manning hasn’t played
for 10 seasons but that’s my point. If you look
at Manning numbers over his six year career and take just
those statistics and spread them over a 10-year period
they are better than most quarterbacks that have actually
played for a decade or more.
Both Manning and Culpepper are proven Fantasy commodities
and have incredible numbers over the past two seasons.
You have to show me that Vick has matured into a player
who makes good decisions, both reading defenses and knowing
when and how to avoid direct hits from opposing defensive
players. The talent and ability are obvious with Vick,
but many players with talent and ability have failed to
nurture or harness those assets into successful NFL careers.
Have a Great Week. Try out our NFL Sportsbooks in the
Review, and good luck in week 10 everyone. Dave B.