Wednesday, September 28, 2005

NFL WEEK 3 WRAP-UP!

Week 3 is a done deal and already... several teams are out of contention. Although the Jets just inked grey-beard QB Vinny Testaverde... how much does THAT guy really have left in the tank? A Jet season that was so promising not even a month ago... is over before the month of September. Who'd a thunk it?


Atlanta at Buffalo: "With Atlanta's answer to Michael Jordan hobbled with a hammy pull, the team would be foolish to start him and risk losing him for an extended period of time... Bill back Willis McGahee has been unable to get himself untracked, and the coaching staff has challenged him to stop dancing and run right at the opposition. If J.P Losman can connect on a few... Willis should have some space to negotiate. While Falc' "Thunder" back T.J Duckett is a fringe "Flex" start due to the strength of the Bill run defense..."
It would seem as if Atlanta either pulled a little injury reporting "sleight-of-hand" ... or Vick's Hammy' wasn't so much pulled as "tugged." Either way, it was a "total package" performance from the Falc' Quarterback. He ran a little... he passed a little... and hhe exhausted the Bills alot. The Atlanta running game ammased over 200 yards in an impressive display against a tough Buffalo unit. Coach Mora kept the Bills off balance by mixing the run and pass with great effectiveness. While Warrick Dunn danced, darted, and eluded defenders for almost 100 yards on 15 carries, bullish T.J Duckett hurled himself against those same defenders, rolling up 75 yards and a score on 12 totes. Vick's accuracy is still suspect, but he IS learning to spread the ball around; 6 receivers caught at least 1 pass. Of note, 2nd year receiver Michael Jenkins and Vick are developing the kind of rapport that the departed Peerless Price could only dream of. Jenkins hauled in 4 for 48 and a TD. Atlanta knocks heads with the Minnesota Vikings next week. The Falcs' and the Vikes have a rivalry that dates back to the '99 playoff game, wherein the Falcs' mopped the turf with Minnesota. Look for Duckett and Dunn to post good numbers against a poor Viking run defense. Likewise, against an injury depleted Minny' Secondary, a mobile Vick and TE Alge Crumpler could make some beautiful music together. Famous last words: "if only." If only Woody had gone straight to the police... this never would have happened." or "If only I hadn't been so drunk, I NEVER would have hooked up with her/him." or "If only J.P Losman could provide the Bills with a passing game." Losman was simply horrid, connecting on a mere 10 of 23 attempts. The Bills' excellent duo of Wide Receivers are wasting away in this run heavy, pass-poor O. The sole bright note for the Bills was Willis McGahee's 2nd 110+ rushing yard performance. Opposing defenders know he's coming... but like the Flu, he can't be stopped. Buffalo faces The Saints' patty-cake D next week, perhaps Losman can get his groove on. McGahee will be a solid play against a unit that surrendered 100+ yards to Viking back, Mewelde Moore yesterday.

Carolina at Miami: "This game is contingent upon 1 factor; which Miami team takes the field. Will it be the impressive Week 1 version... or the "not so much" team that took the field last week?... This game could be a squeaker."
This game was indeed, a squeaker. After Miami built a lead, the Panthers came roaring back. QB Jake Delhomme was forced into 35 passing attempts; he connected on 19, notched 285 yards, 3 scores and 1 pick. His favorite target, to no great surprise, was "Comeback Player of the Year" candidate Steve Smith.Smith recorded a fantastic 11 grab, 170 yard, 3 touchdown day. No other Carolina cat had more than 3 receptions. Backup runner DeShaun Foster has been woven into the game plan... as a receiver. Foster went bananas! Or... is that Bananas Foster? Anyway, 48 yards on 3 catches is pretty productive. As for the team's #1 back, Stephen Davis, his was not a game to remember. The Panther feature back followed up last week's 3 score breakout performance with 36 yards on 16 carries and a fumble, to boot. Carolina should have a MUCH easier time of it next week, when they face Green Bay. The Pack' are headed nowhere fast, and with a defense that has more "gaps" than the Tri-State area... look for Delhomme, Steve Smith AND Stephen Davis to post some gaudy diggies'. Miami is much harder to figure. The D came up huge, producing a game deciding interception with 2 minutes left in the 4th... allowing 'Phin K Olindo Mare to put the deciding 3 through the uprights. Gotta say, QB Gus Frerotte has been efficient if unspectacular. To his credit, he's forged a nice chemistry with the gifted Chris Chambers. Chambers, now that he's got a Signal Caller who can hit him in stride, is quietly putting together a very nice season... perhaps, a career season? 6 catches, 93 yards and a score for "Double-C."With yesterday's 171 yard, 2 TD game... Gus's hung a combined 6 TDs to 3 INTs. The real story of yesterday's tilt, aside from the kick-ass game Panther receiver Steve Smith had, was the breakout performance of Miami rookie RB Ronnie Brown. Up until this point, Brown seemed adrift in Miami's offensive system. Sunday.. Sunday was a whole other story. While former Auburn teammate Carnell Williams was tearing it up for Tampa Bay, Brown gouged the Panthers for 132 yards and a touch' on 23 carries. Brown also exploded for a long of 58 yards.

Cincinnati at Chicago: Chi-Town just might field the best defensive unit in the league this season. However, QB Kyle Orton and the boys will NOT be able to out-point a Cincy' O that fields a trio of Pro Bowler caliber athletes. QB Carson Palmer is lookin' a helluva' lot like the 1st overall pick he was, while WR Chad Johnson is having a season on par with TO's and Randy Moss's... Bear back Thomas Jones is an excellent fantasy start this week, against a Bengal run D that has yet to impress. ... Rudi will have trouble against a very good Chicago run D."
Cincinnati “O’verwhelmed” a very good Chicago defense. The Bear D just can’t be expected to bail out an almost punchless offense. Cub QB Kyle Orton was remarkably generous this weekend, he handed out picks like candy on Halloween. Orton had played with an impressive measure of control and cool since being thrown to the wolves of the NFL… but Sunday- Orton was completely flustered, frustrated, and he finished the game with 149 passing yards and a quintet of INTs. RB Thomas Jones provided the Bear offense with its only bite… well compensated rookie runner Cedric Benson didn’t receive so much as a sniff of a touch. Jones, a big and physical athlete, has been a human wrecking ball; he’s run with a certain ferociousness and anger that makes him scary to tackle. The Bear back added another 106 rushing yards and a TD to an already impressive season. Those owners who gambled upon the veteran hit the jackpot! Thomas Jones has recorded 276 rushing yards and 4 TDs, and Benson doesn’t project to be a factor this year… unless, of course, Jones suffers an injury. On the other side of the field, Bengal Field General Carson Palmer looks every inch the franchise. Although he notched a modest 169 passing yards, Palmer’s play was remarkably efficient; he hit his receivers on 16 of 23 attempts and added another 3 TDs to a rapidly growing resume’. Having connected on over 71 % of his passes, and with nearly 800 yards and 8 TDs already in the bank, Cincy’s Signal Caller has a passer rating of 114.0. Palmer’s a fantasy team dream, with multiple scores in every game. And, given the weapons at his disposal, it’d be almost impossible for the young QB NOT to succeed. WR Chad Johnson is already being spoken of as “the next great pass catcher.” He’s certainly on par with Ram receiver Torry Holt, and is approaching “T.O status.” Johnson may run his mouth… but he also runs opposing D-backs ragged. Sunday, coming off of his 139 yard explosion against Minnesota, Johnson racked up 77 yards and 2 TDs on 3 receptions. That’s 25+ YPC. Interestingly enough, a receiver who I mentioned last week helped Chad beat Bear coverage; rookie Chris Henry. Henry is the Bengs’ 3rd option at the position… but if he maintains this level of effectiveness, T.J Houshman-hate-to-spell-his-name will be bumped to the 3 spot. Henry hauled in 4 passes for 51 yards and a score. Against the Bears, just like the Vikings, RB Rudi Johnson was kept out of the end-zone. But again… as with the Vikes’, the Bengals’ precision passing attack rendered the run game ornamental. However, with the Bengals hosting the defensively challenged Texans this week, look for Rudi to get his groove on. The boys from Houston have allowed opposing backs to rack up over 140 yards per game… peeps’, that’s stupid yardage! In fact, with Houston allowing foes to score over 24 points per game… all of the Bengals are great fantasy plays. Look for Carson Palmer to disembowel the Texans as Rudi guts ‘em on the ground. Here’s my bold prediction and lock pick for the week. Ready? Chicago will NOT lose Sunday. They, umm, have a Bye week. Daring, huh?
Cleveland at Indianapolis: "Look for Peyton to take out his frustrations upon an innocent Brown Secondary. What frustrations? Peyton's passer rating is in the mid-70's! ...the Browns are struggling to get the run game in order..."
Short and sweet; the Indy’ D has risen to the occasion, allowing the offense to be efficient but not gaudy. DE Dwight Freeney was a 1 man gang Sunday, Sacking Cleveland’s Trent Dilfer 3 times. Last year’s po-tent Colt passing attack has given way to a power run game. Stud Colt Edgerrin James is at the top of his game. After Indianapolis snubbed him by refusing to give him a long-term contract… essentially rewarding him for his role as one of the heralded triplets…. AND setting the team’s running back table for seasons to come, James is on a mission. The Colts will, most likely, be unable to afford James after this season. Enjoy it while it lasts folks, as Edge’ll be hopping into another teams’ Uni’ next season. As for record holding QB Peyton Manning, he was held out of the end-zone for the second straight game, thoroughly disenchanting those owners who selected him first overall in their fantasy drafts. The Browns, it seems, have settled upon Reuben Droughns as their main back option. Droughns rushed for 76 yards on 22 tries. The Brown passing game can’t seem to settle upon a #1 receiving option, though. Week 1, the “often imitated but never duplicated” efforts of the incomparable Frisman Jackson made the front pages of every paper in the land. Week 2, rookie Braylon Edwards was super-human and TE Steve Heiden became a household playa’. Week 3… step right up Mr. Antonio Bryant, your Limo is waiting. Look, Browny’ QB Trent Dilfer has played exceedingly well, and probably over his head. Although the team has a Bye… we’ll see if Dilfer’s the real deal or not in the coming weeks. Don’t forget, Trent escorted the Ravens to a SuperBowl in ’00. Indianapolis will play the pesky Titans this week. At some point… Peyton’s gonna’ go *BOOM* His brother Eli has far more attractive fantasy numbers. There’s something no one would have anticpated. Manning and Edge’ are excellent fantasy plays, as they are every week. Edge’ could have a sick day against a Tenne’D that surrendered 50+ yards to Ram Marshall Faulk on 8 carries. Check the injury status of WR Marvelous Marvin. The boy’s nicked up. Reggie Wayne, in Marvin’s stead, has elevated his game.

Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets: "Another near "pick-em." Jet QB Chad Pennington was much better last week, but RB Curtis Martin's nicked up."
This game turned the Jets’ season upside down. A virtual Soap Opera with both QBs nursing sore arms turned into Tragi-comedy when it was revealed late last night that Pennington has a torn rotator cuff and is done for the year. Fiedler suffered a disloated shoulder… he’s shelved for several games, and this leaves Gang Green with the immortal Brooks Bollinger at the helm of a team that, at one point, held SuperBowl aspirations. As we speak, Herm and his minions are scouring other rosters… and retirement homes, searching for anyone capable of stewarding a team whose season has essentially ended before September did! Who’d a thunk it? The sole bright note for the Green and White was the play of LB/DE John Abraham. Abraham is making plays all over the field, working his butt of for a lotto-contract. As for the Jaguars… they received excellent play from RB Fred Taylor… and Big Byron Leftwich connected to ol’ faithful, WR Jimmy Smith, on a 36 yard scoring strike to end a game that went to OT. Next week, the Jags have a tougher task on their docket for they draw a Denver team that thoroughly stymied a powerful Kansas City team on Monday Night. Taylor could be a solid “Flex” play… though the Broncs’ did an admirable job containing both Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. In fact, the only time the Chiefs found the end-zone was on a garbage time 4th Q’ drive. Check the injury report, Bronc’ cover corner Champ Bailey pulled a Hammy AND further aggravated a bum shoulder. If Champ’s down and out, QB Byron Leftwich is a MUCH more attractive play, as is WR Jimmy Smith. #3 corner Lenny Walls is simply awful and has the tacking skills of a toddler. As for the Jets? Wouldn’t be a surprise if they do one of 2 things; pull the trigger on a deal for Bolt’ backup Philip Rivers… because at this stage…after suffering yet another season ending injury, Pennington’s proven himself fragile and the team MUST start thinking about a real, true, franchise caliber QB. Against an irate Baltimore team this week… no one aside from Abraham and Jonathan Vilma are good fantasy starts. I wouldn’t wanna face a ticked off and winless Baltimore team.

New Orleans at Minnesota: "Here's a game that could be ugly. After a grueling few weeks and a laughable "home" game at Giant stadium Monday night, the Saints are physically and mentally wiped. ...C-pepp has yet to toss a TD, though he has been generous with the INTs having dispensed 8 already. As for "feature back" Michael Bennett? According to reports, the team contacted the back-strapped Arizona Cardinals and offered Bennett up for almost nothing. Bennett's former coach, Denny Green, gently demurred. That speaks volumes right there. Moe Williams or Mewelde Moore... or both will see action."
Well… it DID get ugly, that’s for sure. And, the Saints were indeed a shell of a team. Mentally and physically drained after a tough Monday Night “Home” game IN the Meadowlands… the crew spray painted the field gold n’ black… and that’s all Home Field advantage really amounts to, right? Yeah, right, it has nothing to do with 50,000 screaming Giant fans. The game could have been played somewhere down south, where it might’ve had a more “Home” game feel, but it wouldn’t have mattered a lick. The team simply had nothing left in the tank. Viking QB Daunte’ Culpepper, however, was firing on all cylinders and he finally got his game into synch. Off-season addition WR Travis Taylor finally proved his worth and demonstrated his red-zone effectiveness; he snared a pair, while rookie receiver Troy Williamson flashed the speed and home run ability the Vikes new he possessed. The rook’ was on the receiving end of C-Pepp’s 3rd scoring strike; a 53 yarder. And as for the running game? Mewelde Moore cemented the feature back job with a 102 yard performance. Mike managed to pull his head off of the chopping block with this W. The Viking D… they are anything but stout, and they still have trouble containing the run. Next week, against an Atlanta team that boasts one of the best run games in the league…and against the most mobile QB ever to strap ‘em on, the Vikes are going to have to re-configure the D. Culpepper should be a solid start, as Atlanta has had some trouble against the pass. While the Falcs’ shut down Bill QB J.P Losman, that doesn’t count! Mewelde Moore should be a rock solid start as well. The Falcons knew that McGahee was comin’… but they couldn’t stop him. The Saints cross swords with Buffalo… in San Antonio, of all places. How can you not start RB Deuce McAllister? Even against a tough run D, McAllister is a “must start.” I’d start another Signal Caller and mothball Brooks for a week, and check on WR Joe Horns’ health before inserting him into your lineup.

Oakland at Philadelphia: "Here's a matchup that pits the 2 best Receivers in the game against one another. Oakland QB Kerry Collins will connect with All-World receiver Randy Moss on a jump ball or two... but look for Philly's Phinest, QB Donovan McNabb, and HIS All-World pass catcher, Terrell Owens, to put on yet another passing clinic this weekend... Due to his incredible versatility, Eag' Scatback Brian Westbrook should have the defensively iffy Raiduhs' chasing each other! "
This game was far closer than many anticipated. The Eags’ started slowly, allowing the Raiders to develop both a lead and some confidence. It was Oakland’s D, though, that did ‘em in… again. The Silver and Black are really black and blue. RB Brian Westbrook’s breathtaking versatility took the Raiders by surprise, and Westy’ put on quite a show. The lethal Eagle ran for 68 yards and a score, and caught 6 passes for a downright ill 140 yards… and sure, another TD. QB Donovan McNabb might not have put on a clinic in the truest sense of the word, but he certainly taught Oakland’s Secondary a lesson they’ll not soon forget by ringing up 365 yards and 2 TDs. T.O caught 6 for 80 and was on the receiving end of one of McNabb’s TD passes. TE L.J Smith is fast becoming an integral cog in the Eag’ O. The big tight end hauled in 5 passes for 50 yards. But, as good as McNabb and his receivers were… Raider QB Kerry Collins and HIS pass catching contingent matched them almost yard for yard. Collins ran the Philly Secondary silly, throwing for 345 yards and a pair of scores. For all his bluster, all-world receiver Randy Moss caught a fistful of passes en route to a very human 86 yards. Much to his dismay and unlike his Eagle counterpart, “The Freak” didn’t hang a 6 spot. Of note, the role of Raider TEs in the passing game continues. The team exiled former top-dog Doug Jolley to the Jets (who, after surrendering a 1st round draft pick, aren’t even using him!) in favor of young, unproven Courtney Anderson. That decision now seems a stroke of genius. Anderson continues the prolific Raider TE tradition. On Sunday, Anderson hung a receiving C-note on the Eagles. As good as Oakland’s passing game was, however, the run game was utterly impotent. While LaMont Jordan had almost as many carries as he did yards, his receiving skills proved far more valuable as he notched 53 yards and a touch’ on 5 grabs. This coming week, Philadelphia visits Kansas City. The Chiefs were on the warpath, but the Broncos kicked ‘em in the nasty bits on Monday Night. It’ll be interesting to see how the Chiefs respond to such a humiliating loss. I’d check the injury list VERY carefully, as McNabb is collecting nicks and knocks like others collect Baseball cards. A pulled groin is his latest ailment. Scatback Brian Westbrook, so long as his touches are limited, will be an excellent play against a Chief D that struggled to contain both “Marine Mike” and Tatum “Come Ring My” Bell. Likewise, look for Owens to go vertical on a Secondary that allowed Ashley Lelie to get behind it on several occasions. Meanwhile Oakland hosts a Cowboy team that is coming off of an emotional and exhausting come from behind victory. Although ‘Poke DBs Terence Newman and Anthony Henry are solid, Niner’ receiver Brandon Lloyd had a career day Sunday. Moss and Porter could hang some nice diggies. Look for LaMont to pound himself against the ‘Boy D.

Tampa Bay at Green Bay: "Hop on the Cadillac and enjoy the ride folks, 'cause Green Bay ain't gonna stop him. The Pack' is a meandering, lost franchise. They lack offensive continuity because the run game is as stale as a week old Bagel, and the O-line offers QB Brett Favre minimal protection. ...Even with Green Bay's staggering 10-0 home record against the Buccs... all good things must come to an end."
Man… Cadillac is speeding along the “Rookie of the Year” highway. With his 3rd consecutive 100+ yard rushing day, Carnell and his 158 yards broke the rookie rushing record, previously been held by legendary Colt runner Al Ameche. Tampa Bay QB Brian Griese continues to shepherd the offense in his own accurate and efficient way. Griese has developed a nice rapport with WR Joey Galloway, and the two hooked up for a pair of scores Sunday. WR Michael Clayton, coming off of his 1200 yard, 7 TD rookie campaign, has been mute…a fantasy non-factor. Speaking of mute… or maybe “moot,” the Packers’ season is rapidly becoming moot. It’s gotta’ be hard to be a Packer backer this year. But as difficult as it is to root for the Pack? I assure you, it’s far harder to be their Canton-bound QB, Brett Favre. It’s not even ¼ of the way into the season and already, the beleagured Signal Caller has lost 2 top offensive linemen and his top receiving threat. With Ahman Green and the “run game” such in name only, it falls to Favre to create something from nothing. The guy’s not an all-powerful deity, however, nor is he the Favre of old. Brett just can’t conjure plays from thin air… he lacks his former mobility, he lacks his former cannon arm strength (although his arm is still plenty powerful), and he lacks credible line play. Will Favre hang ‘em up after this season? That depends, but it could very well happen. The legendary gunslinger is NOT interested in being the poster boy of a Green Bay rebuilding project, nor is he interested in potentially becoming “crippletized” as a patchwork offensive line constantly leaves him open to “home run” hits. I’d say the chances of Favre retiring after this season are better than 50/50. While no competitor of Favre’s ilk wishes to leave the game on such a sad note (the Pack look to finish no better than 6-10… maybe 7-9), what has he left to prove? This team isn’t even close to competing. Further, this coming week things get no better for Favre and friends. Green Bay has the ignominious honor of locking horns with a ticked-off Carolina Panther team. Still, Favre (the guy has GOT to cut down on the picks!) could put up nice passing numbers for us fantasy freaks, and WRs Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson should give the ‘Lina Secondary a tough time. Miami’s #1 receiver, Chris Chambers, scored once and nearly hit a 100 on an above average Carolina Secondary this past week. Also, against a unit that allowed rookie Ronnie Brown 130+ rushing yards, RB Ahman Green has a chance, albeit a slim one, to get G-Bay’s run game into high gear. If Green cannot get on his game, it wouldn’t be a stunner if hulking Najeh Davenport sees his workload increase two-fold. Davenport might even be a solid ‘Wire pickup. Tampa Bay faces a soft, by comparison anyway, Detroit D. Look for Cadillac to, appropriately enough, motor through Mo-town’s run defense. Griese’s a good start too, against an opportunistic… but over-rated Lion D.

Tennessee at St. Louis: "Ram RB Steven Jackson should be granted his fondest wish this week; a far heavier work load. Jackson has yet to eclipse 20 carries in a game! Bulger and the boys should have a nice day at the office as well. The Tennessee D looked good last week only because the Raven offense is so damn stagnant."
This game was a see-saw affair, and far more entertaining than most anticipated. Sunday, we had a Marshall Faulk sighting! When Steven Jackson took a vicious shot to the ribs, the Rams marshaled their resources and trotted out Faulk. Notably, it was Faulk’s idea to give the starting job to the younger… and at this point more explosive, Jackson. The former feature acquitted himself remarkably well, however, rollin’ up 50 yards on 8 totes. Faulk also secured a TD on 31 receiving yards. It was the passing games’ day Sunday, with QB Marc Bulger and WR Torry Holt essentially out playing catch. Holt collected 9 passes for 163 yards and 3 scores. Of note, #2 receiver Isaac Bruce was felled by a toe injury. This is no nickel and dime injury… and the “Reverend Bruce” is no wuss’. The injury’s a painful one and it could have the productive pass catcher on the sidelines for some length of time. With Bruce’s injury comes the elevation of WR Kevin Curtis to #2 status. If the 5-11, 185 Lb pass catching dynamo’s still on your league’s ‘Wire… I’d be surprised, but I’d also snap him up. Dude’s fast, he can catch, and he can make things happen after the reception. The Titans are forced to confront the loss of a starter as well; RB Travis Henry. Henry, a beast of a back and a real warrior, was suspended by the league for violating the Subby’ Abuse policy. Henry had just secured the staff’s confidence and blessing as top back. Now, the somewhat less than durable Chris Brown… a guy who is much better suited to be a change o’ pacer, is thrust back into the starter’s role. Look for Brown to stub a toe.. or stub his body, in relatively short order. The guy’s a china doll. With another solid outing; a 96 yard day, WR Drew Bennett has stepped up and shaken off the 1 year wonder label. I would not, however, be inclined to play ANY of the Titans as they are forced to dance with the Colts and their shutdown defensive unit this coming weekend. St. Louis, on the other hand, draws a more favorable matchup against a Giant team that was embarrassed on Sunday night by the Chargers. Look for Bulger to again have a banner day, Holt as well. Kevin Curtis could even sneak in a score, as the Giants’ Secondary will have its hands full trying to keep track of Holt. Check on Steven Jackson’s status… he could be a fantastic play, after the G-Men gave LaDainian Tomlinson the keys to the kingdom… and refused to tackle him. If Jackson is not playing… and even if he is, Marshall Faulk should be a productive play.

N.Y. Giants at San Diego: "Facing a must-win game, look for the Chargers to pull this one out. Antonio Gates and LaDaniain Tomlinson are a formidable 1-2 offensive punch, and after so much criticism was levied at the coaching staff... I'd expect LT to start catching some passes out of the backfield."
G-Man fans had to wonder just how ugly the game was going to get. Charger franchise back LaDainian Tomlison ran for a ridiculous 192 yards, caught 6 passes for 28 yards, and scored seemingly at will. The Giant D was, apparently, afraid to hurt the Bolts’ feelings by tackling them. To be fair, this was a tough game for the Giants and their young gun QB. The young man-ning was forced to face the fans he spurned on draft day, and the boos rained down upon him like hail. When the Chargers mounted an early lead, Manning kinda-sorta silenced the crowd as he, impressively, led the Giants on 3 late 2nd quarter scoring drives. But when Tomlinson took a 3rd Q pitch… and THREW a TD PASS to vet’ receiver Keenan McCardell… the barn door blew open and all hell broke loose. Tomlinson was the epitome of rushing magnificence, averaging over 9 YPC, and Schottenheimer finally took off the pass catching shackles. Tomlinson has the hands of a wide receiver… yet up until this week, had no receptions to his credit. LT and QB Drew Brees form a dynamic 1-2 punch, and when force of nature TE Antonio Gates in the mix… the Bolts’ are truly a team to be reckoned with. Brees’s cool play and admirable leadership has kept backup QB and former 1st round pick Philip Rivers on the bench. And really, how can the team legitimize the backward step starting an unproven Signal Caller would be? Answer… they can’t. Brees will receive the franchise QB contract he so richly deserves, and Rivers will have to be swapped for picks, players, or both. The team team can ill-afford to pay 2 QBs starting money.

Kansas City at Denver: “This is a must-win for Denver... and KC has yet to truly gel as a team. Those are reasons for the Bronc's to emerge with a W…. TE Gonzo, who has yet to really get warmed up…Denver has yet to really establish a feature back”
And indeed, Denver emerged victorious. In fact, they positively routed a previously unbeaten Kansas City team. While Denver’s hard-charging Mike Anderson beat up the curiously vacant KC D (and in so doing, locked up the feature back job), QB Jake Plummer and the passing game kept the newly bolstered Chief Secondary back on their heels, refusing to allow them to creep up in run support duty. Here’s a question… what IS it with Plummer and that cheesy, circa 70’s mustache? All he’s missing is a white leisure suit, replete with a wide-collared pseudo-silk shirt and a hub-cap size gold medallion. Perhaps, that mustache is an alien life-form? Perhaps I’m much too intrigued BY the mustache? Either way, the ‘Stache and Plummer are playing better, smarter Football. Plummer connected on 13 of his 18 passing attempts, and was good for 152 yards and 2 TDs (one rushing). Ageless wonder WR Rod Smith set an NFL record, albeit a fairly obscure one; Smith became the 1st undrafted player to reach 10,000 yards receiving. Incidentally, Smith ALSO set a record at his weekly BINGO game! Smith’s the 1st person to EVER hit 3 consecutive “black-out” (all BINGO squares called and covered) cards! That’s some week for Smith, huh? Anyway, the veteran pass catcher recorded his 3rd game with 7 or more receptions and 80 or more yards. From a fantasy angle… especially for those in yardage leagues, Smith’s been “consistently consistent.” If there is a criticism of Plummer and last night’s passing game… than it’s that no other receiver could boast as many as 3 grabs. “The Snake” was locked onto “The Geriatric One.” Those of you who still have RB Tatum Bell on your rosters are aware that he’s been effective when called upon. Last night, Tatum had 47 yards on a scant 5 totes. Should Anderson fall to injury, Bell will be a good fantasy fill-in. His durability is a question mark, though. The Chief’s 2-headed run game isn’t lacking in durability. Priest Holmes is an amazing asset, and Larry Johnson is a backup with starter value. Holmes, who had a hard time eluding Denver’s “crap-through-a-goose” quick Linebackers, concluded his night with 61 yards (14 carries) rushing and 32 yards (3 grabs) receiving. In a game that was a foregone conclusion by the end of the 1st quarter, Larry Johnson had a surprisingly light workload. Might it not have been more advantageous to give the backup more carries… as opposed to risking the franchise back? Well, I’m not paid to question Dick Vermeil’s judgment... and actually, I’m not paid to question ANYBODY’S judgment. KC has another tough tilt coming up, as they’re slated to knock heads with the Eagles. You’ve gotta’ like QB Trent Green and the passing game against an Eagle Secondary that hemorrhaged yards Sunday. But the Eag’ run D? Well, they absolutely closed the lights on LaMont Jordan. Still, are you really prepared to sit Priest Holmes? Larry Johnson… that’s another story. Given that Johnson receives approximately ½ of Holmes’s touches, he might be a good “sit” candidate as Philly’ LB Jeremiah Trotter makes a world of run stuffing difference. As for the Bronc’s, they don’t have a patty-cake game either, as they’re visiting a tough Jaguar team. Check the injury report… but Mike Anderson always runs hard, and Jet RB Curtis Martin had a marginally productive game against a tough-as-nails Jag’ line. Plummer, though, could be a sneaky-good start. I like Jacksonville CB Rashean Mathis (currently banged up) and S Donovin Darius (also banged up), but #2 corner Kenny Wright is about as impressive as a pasta shell necklace. Likewise, WR Ashley Lelie is overdue for his breakout game… especially if the Jag’ Secondary is missing several starters.

Arizona at Seattle: "Zona's desperate for a run game... could be that Denny Green missed the mark by a wide margin on dimunitive rookie J.J Arrington. Veteran Marcel Shipp will get the bulk of the carries... ...C-Hawk Signal Caller Matt Hasselbeck finally looked the part of a top NFL passer last week, as did the team's feature back Shaun Alexander.... Look for the Seattle super-back to post another week of solid fantasy numbers."

Dallas at San Francisco: "I'm going on sheer gut instinct here. Look for San Francisco to receive a steady diet of RB Julius Jones. Frisco's run game has been such in name only, as top back Kevan Barlow has been a thorough zero since signing his mega-bux contract. How long until the Niners give rookie Frank Gore more than 5-6 token totes? ...which Tim Rattay's gonna take the field this week? Poke' Safety Roy Williams and LB Dat Nguyen are both strong IDP starts... Julian Peterson guaranteed a Niner' win. We'll see."

New England at Pittsburgh: "NE's just not the NE of old. The run D sorely misses departed LBs Ted Johnson and Tedy Bruschi, the D misses former Coordinator Charlie Weiss, and RB Corey Dillon isn't running with his usual success. ...QB Ben Roethlisberger has been as sharp as a tack, showing no signs of sophomore slumpage..."

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