Wednesday, September 21, 2005


New England at Carolina: “Corey Dillon's physical style should put the Panthers back on their paws... softening them up for Tom Terrific and his travelling passing attack. Against a Pat D that had some difficulties containing the Raider run game, RB Stephen Davis is a "Must Start." Given the loss of both their offensive and defensive coordinators coupled with the absence of both stout ‘Backers Tim Johnson and Tedy Bruschi, it’s a testament to New England’s integrity and willingness to bleed for one another that they’ve played as well as they have. In a nutshell, Pat’ back Corey Dillon was unable to get going, running for a scant 36 yards on 13 carries, and ‘Lina’s defense is S-T-O-U-T stout. Their CBs, Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble (on return duty, Gamble returned a punt 76 yards), are both capable covermen and don’t shirk run support duty; Lucas enjoyed a 10 Tackle day. The Panther LBs are cat-quick, and are able to drop back into coverage… as Will Witherspoon’s Interception and pair of Passes Defended attests. MLB Dan Morgan is a fine IDP’er, he’s just gotta’ stay healthy… and that’s no small challenge for him. Speaking of injury, the Panther line WILL miss DT Kris Jenkins whose out for the season with a torn ACL. The team does, however, boast possibly the best DE in the business; Julius Peppers. And, fellow DE Mike Rucker is no slouch either. Rucker racked a Sack, forced a fumble, and notched a trio of solo tackles Sunday. As for the Carolina O, QB Jake Delhomme had an off-day, throwing for 154/1/1. Hopefully, you heeded my recommendation to start recovered RB Stephen Davis, as he tore the Pat’ D to shreds with a 3 score assault. As for the Patriots’ offense…QB Tom Brady was nothing special, tossing a pick and a score on 270 yards.
Looking towards Week 3, Carolina faces Miami. The ‘Phins played solid Football week 1… and terrible ball this past week. Despite the losses, Miami still fields a strong defensive unit. The run games of both the Broncos and the Jets were restrained in consecutive weeks…. However, the pass defense misses the dearly departed, CB Patrick Surtain and SS Sammy Knight (both bolster the KC D). Look for Stephen Davis to enjoy modest success… if Jake Delhomme can get the ball to his receivers. Aside from Davis, this game is a poor matchup for ‘Lina’s skill position players. As tough as Carolina has it, though, New England’s week may be far uglier! This week, the Pats get to knock heads with Big Ben’s Steelers. With a run defense that held RBs Chris Brown and Domanick Davis to a little more than a combined 120 yards.. Corey Dillon will have to earn every foot against a tough Pitt’ unit. Look, Dillon is still a top tier running back- he’s still a weekly start. But… BUT, the Steeler D is as tough as beef jerky. If you have another back with a more favorable match up… go with him. Likewise, QB Tom Brady rarely hangs gaudy numbers. This week, against the Steeler Secondary, Brady’s numbers promise to be… let’s go with the word “efficient.”

Pittsburgh at Houston: “Big Ben and "Fast Willie Parker" are a heckuva 1-2 act. Hines Ward should see a lot more action this week. I do NOT like Domanick "Double D" Davis against this agressive, swift, sure-tackling D. S Troy Polomalu is a playmaker and can clean clocks like a swiss watch-maker; a solid IDP play. The Steelers are tweaking their CBs. If anything, the Pitt' Secondary will be even more stout….. If the Texans do NOT do a better job protecting franchise QB David Carr... the team will be looking for a new franchise QB in very short order.”
This is one of those few contests I nailed dead-on… though you need not be “Karnak the Magnificent” to have predicted that the Steelers would give Houston all they could handle. Going in to this contest, there were concerns surrounding the knee of Big Ben. Such concerns proved groundless, and Roethlisberger… whose name ranks just behind T.J Houshmandzadeh on the “names that suck to type list,” was good for 250+ yards and a pair of TDs. RB Willie Parker was also “good as Steeler gold,” he ran over, through and around the bumblin’ fumblin’ and stumblin’ Texan D, for 111 yards (that’s 333 feet my friends) and notched another score. This game served notice; Willie Parker IS the Steeler feature back, irregardless of Duce or Bus. Look for Bus to spell Parker upon his return from a calf injury… he could also pinch some Goalline touches. WR Hines Ward more than made up for a near non-existent Week 1 performance. Hines was cash-MONEY, ringing up 2 TDs and 84 receiving yards on 6 grabs. Completing my fantasy troika; S Troy Polamalu. Polamalu was all over the field, makin’ plays from coast to coast. Want hard numbers? The big, hard-hitting 2nd year Safety recorded 6 Tackles, 1 pass defended … and oh yeah, 3 Sacks! What’d I say about David Carr? People… Carr’s crashin’, he was Sacked a ridiculous 8 times Sunday! That makes 13 on the season… a still fledgling season. David Carr is “The Alamo” embodied, constantly under siege and a threat to be brought down at any moment. Again, Domanick “Double D” Davis (59 ground yards) was less than breathtaking, though he DID notch a score on one of his 4 receptions.
As for the Steelers? They’re facing a challenge; the New England Patriots who are coming off of a loss.. I wouldn’t be opposed to starting Ben against a Pat’ Secondary that allowed Raider QB Kerry Collins to record 3 TDs over Week1. RB Willie Parker is a sure-start against a Patriot run defense that certainly has its share of problems… please re-review Carolina RB Stephen Davis’s banner Sunday. WR Hines Ward, coming off of his productive game, should be able to snare a few… he’s savvy enough to poke holes in the NE Secondary. Also, Pittsburgh’s rookie TE, Heath Miller, might be a sneaky-good start.

San Francisco at Philadelphia: “San Fran' surprised last week; Tim Rattay is more than serviceable. Still, I look for a BIG day from former Forty-Niner T.O. C'mon, on this stage? In this game? …how much longer until the Niners' see what they have in rookie runner, Frank Gore? Kevan Barlow isn't helped by poor line play... but Gore ran with greater success and determination behind that same line….I like RB Brian Westbrook as a starter in this tilt.” San’ Fran’ was as ugly as Mike Tyson in a cocktail dress. I will say no more… as it’s just a waste of typing energy. Frisco’ is vying for the 1st pick in the draft. Again. Regal Eagle Donovan McNabb was fantasy’s MVP Sunday, with 5 TDs, 342 passing yards, and a Passer Rating of 155 and change. “T-Shmo” had the kind of day I expected and his owners drool over; 5 grabs, 143 yards and a pair of scores. RB Brian Westbrook proved just how valuable he is… his versatility is tremendous. Westy’ hung 120 total yards and notched a score. Lastly, TE L.J Smith is fast-becoming a top tier fantasy TE and was instrumental Sunday, punishing the Niner’ Secondary when they doubled up on Owens. Smith’s 119 yards and 1 TD are indicative of his pass catching skills.
Week 3 sees Philly’ face the Oakland Raiders. Given the Raiders improved… yet still generous defense, McNabb and Owens should hook up at least twice. In fact, Oakland’s going to get a taste of their own bitter medicine. Much the same way Collins and Moss toast opponents, T.O and McNabb should sit down to a “Raider Seder.” RB Brian Westbrook should find himself running in space as a receiver coming out of the backfield, given the respect Owens and complementary pass catchers Greg Lewis and L.J Smith will command. As for San Francisco… man, it could be time to throw rook’ Signal Caller Alex Smith into the fray, allow him to take his lumps, and he’ll mature that much faster. Facing Dallas and their aggressive D and impressive RB Julius Jones… the sole Niner’ start is IDP play, LB Julian Peterson.

Atlanta at Seattle: “Falc' back Warrick Dunn is a much niftier runner on Astro-turf', and RB T.J Duckett should see his work load increase. Likewise, on the other side of the field, Shaun Alexander will enjoy a heavier workload.” C-Hawk Signal Caller Matt Hasselbeck had hisself’ a breakout game! At long last, Matty-boy looked like the QB of old, tossing for 281 yards and 2 TDs against a solid Atlanta Secondary. Aiding Hasselbeck was WR Darrell Jackson and his 131 receiving yards. In turn, RB Shaun Alexander had a long day at the office. After toting the mail 28 times for 140+ yards…the Seattle feature back finally found the end-zone. Of note, “behemothic” TE Jerramy Stevens not only hit the field… he scored and played an integral role in the W. With consecutive 40+ yard games, the gigantic TE finally seems to be living up to his great promise. Savvy owners will have observed that WR Joe Jurevicius notched another score. While he’s no longer a speed merchant, “Joey J.” is an ideal possession receiver. As expected, Atlanta’s “Thunder and Lightning” running back combo hit the field… but had trouble with the surface. Warrick Dunn was held to 53 yards on 16 carries, and T.J Duckett recorded a paltry 18… but DID mange to score. Duckett, much like Giant rookie Brandon Jacobs, epitomizes the “Goalline/short yardage back” role. ‘Falc’ QB Mike Vick had an awfully efficient 11/19 123 yard day, with a TD pass to WR Brian Finneran. As for this coming week, Atlanta tilts with Buffalo and Seattle dances with Arizona. Buffalo is awfully tough, especially at home. Duckett could take a Goalline tote in for 6… but I don’t like Dunn against either the D or on the surface. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck could… should, have a solid day against a ‘Zona D that didn’t look too good against young G-Man QB Eli Manning Monday night. Further, ‘Hawk back Shaun Alexander is a great start against that Cardinal D.

Check back tomorrow for "Week 3; START and SIT!"


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