Monday, December 05, 2005




Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: "Cincy' (and Pittsburgh), like the Colts and the Pats, have "history." However, just as the Colts did a couple games ago... look for the Bengs' to shake that 600 pound Gorilla loose. The Steeler Secondary HAS been victimized, and I look for Palmer to target young Steeler CB Ike Taylor. ... you can bet this week’s paycheck that a D-backfield that was dismantled by Colt QB Peyton Manning last Monday Night will receive similar treatment from Palmer and pals. ... Pittsburgh will be tough Sunday, especially coming off of a painful loss in front of a national Monday Night audience. However, Edge’ reeled off 110+ in that game and with Carson’s cast of pass catching characters playing lights-out Football… the Steelers will have to allot their defensive resources VERY carefully. "Hairy-Human-Heat-Seeking-Missile" Troy Polamalu is an excellent IDP... but Housh', Henry, Johnson and RB Rudi Johnson will out-point a sluggish Steel City O. Should be a fun game. Look for Housh' and Henry to benefit from all the attention Chad Johnson will garner."

The Sunday morning chat room is a wonderful place to solicit "start and sit" suggestions, ask questions, and make Waiver Wire inquiries. The chat attracts an increasingly large community of knowledgeable Football fan-atics... and in general, is an excellent resource. This past Sunday, the Cincinnatti / Pittsburgh game came up for debate. I felt that the much like the Colts recently did with the Patriots, the Bengals were going to beat the Steelers and in the process... they would "put Pitt' out of their heads." The Colts shook the 600 pound Pat' Gorilla offa' their backs, and the Bengs' did precisely the same thing Sunday in beating the Steelers by the score of 38-31. The franchise formerly known as "the bungles," a group of athletes that couldn't get out of their own was as recently as 3 seasons ago, rose to the top of the AFC North Sunday by beating the nemesis Steelers. With this win and a mere 4 games left in the regular season, Cin' City grabbed a 2 game lead on the AFC North. As for their rival Steelers... with their 3rd straight loss Pittsburgh is in real danger of not making the playoffs, and unbelievably enough for a team that went 15-1 last year... Pitts' best hope is to make the post-C' as a Wild-Card! Quite frankly... while the Bengs' won the game by a scant 7, the game was not quite that close! Coach Cowher received gritty play from a nicked-up (possible thumb fracture on his throwing hand) Ben Roethlisberger (386/3/3), but the vaunted Steeler run game vanished (95 net rushing yards), and the team was stung by costly by penalties (7/70) and plagued by sloppy play (3 INTs, 4 fumbles only 1 lost though). Further, Roethlisberger was forced to drop back 40+ times... and that's just not his, or the Steelers' game. To his "bum-thumbed" credit, Roethlisberger hit a whopping 9 different receivers, including top target Hines Ward (9/135/2) for a pair of TDs. But alas, while Big Ben hung some fancy yards on the Cin-Secondary the Bengs' were able to force turnovers at critical junctures and matched the Steelers score for score. Cincy' was firing on ALL cylinders. The Beng'D mauled Steel City; they limited "Fast" Willie Parker (15/71) and forced Pittsburgh to throw, while the Beng'O gouged the Steelers and it all started with c'Arson Palmer (227, 3 TDs 0 INTs), who was again a house a'fire. With Chad Johnson (5/54) drawing so much of the Secondary's attention, as predicted T.J Houshmandzadeh (5/88/2) went relatively unmolested and enjoyed his 2nd straight great game. As good as the Steelers are defensively, their Secondary HAS proven vulnerable in recent games and young CB Ike Taylor (2 tackles, 2 PD) WAS targeted. But if it "all started" with QB Carson Palmer, who WILL be a top 4 fantasy Signal Caller next season, it "all ended" with physical RB Rudi Johnson (21/98/2). Faced with schemes designed to slow Palmer's passing circus down... Johnson ran over, through, and around the Steeler defenders. In the end, while Pittsburgh may have posted more passing (157 more) and total yards (150 more), the ball-hawkin' Beng' D, coupled with a flawless offensive performance, carried the day in Cincy's way!
The now frenzied Steelers will host the defensively dominant Chicago Bears. Cub QB Kyle Orton has minimized his mistakes, and allowed both RB Thomas Jones and the grizzled Bear D to do the scoring. It's that brutal, 7th ranked run D that worries me. With the league's 2nd ranked Secondary (ceding fewer than 170 YPG) and scary-good pass rush making life hell for Big Ben, RB Willie Parker will probably go nowhere against a Chi-Town unit that allows 93 or so YPG. Frankly, aside from possibly WR Hines Ward (he seems to produce no matter what) and a sneaky-start in TE Heath Miller ("Big Money" will probably serve as Ben's emergency valve receiver), NO Steeler skill po' player rates a start. RB Jerome Bettis will see a few token totes, and if your in a TD league... if ANYONE'S gonna' score, it'll probably be "The Bus." My oh my, Carson Palmer and Rudi Johnson owners take heart! This week, your top position players will face a wussy-tuff' Cleveland Brown team. Palmer... against the 17th ranked Brown Secondary? I pity your opponent, and Rudi Johnson? Against a Cleveland ground D that allows almost a buck-20 per? Gentleman, start your fantasy playoff engines! Even #3 WR Chris Henry is a worthy start Sunday!

Denver at Kansas City: "It'll be up to QB Jake Plummer to win this one as the Chief backer corps is rock-solid against the run. In turn, however, the Broncs' field what is quite arguable the leagues' best backer corps... and RB Larry Johnson projects to have his toughest outing of the season. ... Denver fields a top 5 run D… and a bottom 3 passing D. Predicated upon the strength of his inspiring play… and make no mistake, Larry Johnson HAS grasped the feature back reins and… umm, ran with ‘em, he demands to be started each and every week. ... On "T-Day," greybeard (Cowboy) Drew Bledsoe tossed a pair of scores and notched 232 yards. Look for an aging… but still dangerous Trent Green to do a similar number on KC’s struggling defensive backfield. **NOTE: Bledsoe hooked up with TE Jason Witten with ease on Thanksgiving as the Broncs’ had no answer for the big and physical TE. Tony Gonzalez and Green were probably munching on drumsticks, making note of the same thing. Ergo Gonzo’s a great start Sunday. In a squeaker... and I'm not sure I feel good about this one, the Broncs' win. If Jake and the passing game pull this one out... I will be mighty impressed. The Thanksgiving Day game underscored a very serious offensive flaw; after venerable Rod Smith... who else is there? RB Tatum Bell is healthy, and the Bronc' run game becomes a 3-headed hydra from hell. Anderson, Bell and Dayne form one helluva' RB troika..."

Indeed the game was a quite a "squeaker"... and indeed, my uncertainty in picking Denver to win was well-founded. After a close-fought battle Sunday, when the final gun sounded... Kansas City walked of the field with a crucial notch in the "Win" column. At this time of year... almost every W is crucial. However, 9-3 Denver had reeled off 4 in a row prior to this tilt, and had the Broncs' won this contest, an 8-4 Chief squad would've been left with a virtually insurmountable Divvy' deficit. Ironically, a critical call-reversal locked the game up in Chief favor. With 2:01 left in the game and the score 31-27 KC, the Broncos were driving downfield. On Fourth-and-1 from the Denver 47, RB Mike Anderson (37/1, 1 rec., 66 yards, 1 TD) slammed himself into the right side of the Chief line and the on-field officials awarded him the "First." The Chiefs went ... well, on the warpath, certain that they'd stopped Anderson cold. Minutes later, the play was reversed. The Bronco threat was extinguished, and the Offense could only stand by and watch as the Chiefs bled the game-clock dry. Although both teams field rock-solid run Ds... this contest was far from a "defensive struggle." It was, actually, the Chief unit that enjoyed the better run-stuffing day. KC RB Larry Johnson must not have read my projection about "tempering one's expectations" due to Denver's quick and sure-tackling 'backer corps. Johnson continued his fantasy onslaught, rushing for 140 yards and 2 more scores, and in so doing... tied Priest Holmes' record (set in '02) with a fifth consecutive 100 yard rushing effort. Without doubt, LJ dictated the tempo of the game. Johnson's effective running afforded QB Trent Green a fraction of a second more time to throw... and Green took full advantage, going 253/2/2. Also as projected, TE Tony Gonzalez played a key role in the Chief victory... but not as big a role as his owners had hoped. While Gonzo DID find the End-Zone, it was on a single TD reception of 25 yards. Other than that 1 grab... Gonzo was unheard from. Both WRs Eddie Kennison (4/108) and Dante Hall (2/55/1) continue to elude defenders, and are reliable targets for Green. Dante "The X-Factor" Hall is, however, a little guy, and should he take a chop-pop... his 100+ return yards per game (on average) will be wasted if he's relegated to the Trainer's Table. The problem? The Chief pass-catching contingent is as thin as Mary-Kate Olson... or is it Ashley Olson? I get 'em confused, but one of 'em needs to eat a Cheerio... or 3. Anyway, trying to track down diminutive Dante Hall in the open field is like trying to catch a specific snowflake. But, until the Chiefs secure a legit' pass catcher or 2, they will be unable to limit Hall to return duties (Hall had 153 total return yards on 8 touches yesterday). The Chiefs have an abysmal record when it comes to drafting Wideouts, and they might be better served pursuing a big name in free agency. As projected the Chiefs, who excel at stopping the run, shackled the buckin' Bronc' run game. While Anderson DID find the 'Zone, he was held to 2.8 YPC; a full yard and a half off of his average. The Broncos simply did NOT receive the production from Marine Mike that they both needed and expected, and were, therefore, forced to place the game in QB Jake Plummer's hands. Plummer has been widely lauded for his "improved" play this season, but check out his diggies'. Jake "The Snake" has slithered by with merely average production. His string of 200+ (or whatever it was) passes without a pick was snapped last week, and with the string broken... Plummer wasn't nearly as pass-conscious. With the outcome of the game riding on Jakey' boys arm, Denver was in trouble. To be perfectly fair, I felt that Plummer might be able to capitalize upon a Chief Secondary that had been picked on by some lesser passing lights earlier in the season. Uh-uh. Although Plummer threw for 276 yards on 18 completions, he also tossed a pair of picks to his single score. Much like their KC counterparts, the Broncos lack talent at the Wideout position. As mentioned before, the Broncos can no longer rely upon "rocking-chair ready Rod (Smith), and Ashley Lelie (2/63) will post some of the gaudiest numbers you'll ever see, but even with a YPC average of 18, the guy is waaaay too inconsistent.
Looking towards this coming week, the Chiefs have a duel with a desperate Dallas team. Dallas dropped an all-important Divvy' game to the G-Men Sunday; a loss due to a lack of offensive production. The 'Pokes struggle to contain the run, surprisingly, and RB Larry Johnson will break Priest Holmes' rushing record by crashing through the century mark for a 6th consecutive game. QB Trent Green's on a roll, and if you lack a better start... you could do worse. Keep in mind, though, the Cowboy Secondary is ball-hawkin' group. If the 'Boys had trouble keeping Giant TE Jeremy Shockey out of the End-Zone Sunday... All-World Chief TE Tony Gonzalez should be able to find his way there as well. However, Gonzo's been a terrible disappointment this season; a somewhat suspect Chief O-Line has required that he stay home to block on multiple occassions, and KC's "Alley-Hoopster" may well have lost a step. Still, TG remains a top op' at the position and only San Diego's Antonio Gates is demonstrably better. As for Denver... Denver faces the paper-tiger Ravens. The Ravens very nearly suffered the indignity of awarding the Houston Texans their 2nd W of the season Sunday, and they should, therefore, be fired-up to play physical ball. Still, Balty' allowed RB Domanick Davis to run all over 'em, and I wouldn't hesitate to start RB Mike Anderson. While Anderson stands to post a solid fantasy day, I would think twice about starting QB Jake Plummer. The Ravens will bring pressure on Jakey' boy from every which way, and try to force him into foolish mistakes.


Dallas at N.Y. Giants: "This is a tight one, and will, likely, be decided by a Field Goal. Given 'Poke Gun Slinger Drew Bledsoe's struggles of late, coupled with the Cowboy's run game issues, look for Tiki to run all over the 'Boys.... I do not, though, like either Signal Caller as a fantasy start ...The ‘Pokes and Big Blue last clashed during Week 6; a contest that saw Manning post his 3rd worst Passer Rating of the season (70.3). And, not surprisingly, it was one of his worst outings (14 of 29, for 215/1/1) in general. The Dallas Cowboy Secondary has been a team strength; S Roy Williams has cleaned more clocks than Timex this year, and CB Terence Newman is playing the best Football of his career. At best, look for a very middling effort from the younger Mann’ Sunday. ... QB Drew Bledsoe has seen his numbers fall considerably. Taking Thanksgiving’s 2 TD, 2 INT game out of the equation for a minute, the old ‘Boy recorded 4 TDs and 4 INTs in 5 weeks (dating back to Week 6), and threw for over 200 yards only once. In those 5 games, Bledsoe floundered against teams such as Detroit, Arizona, and Philly. While New York’s Secondary has proven itself vulnerable, as he was last week (I recommended benching both Plummer AND Bledsoe for Thursday’s game) Bledsoe is a risky start."

What did I say, what's my name? Last week, did I NOT pick Denver to win while calling for Plummer's INT-Free streak to end? Did I NOT nail both Seattle's curly-hair close victory over the G-Men AND Philly's sqeaky-tight win over G-Bay? And what about this week... did I NOT project a Miami win by the breadth of a Field Goal or less? Didn't I tell ya' Cincy' would shake that 800 pound Gorilla loose and walk offa' Heinz Field a winner? Why the lack of faith peeps? Okay, I'm joking... kinda' sorta. I'm not the type to toot my own horn, ceptin' when I'm right. Joking... joking! Seriously, though, all over Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey, and the Tri-State area, Water-Coolers are positively abuzz' with talk of the defensively resurgent Big Blue (along with Herm's Gang-Greenous) and their post-season potential. I'll go this far, coach Coughlin's crew is making a statement. There are problems and serious flaws that riddle the Giants, however. And, instead of harping upon the obvious good such as DEs Osi Umenyiora (3 tackles and a Sack, Osi's an IDP stud) and Mike Strahan (5 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 1 PD), LB Antonio Pierce (5 Tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PD, 1 defensive TD) the suddenly improved Secondary , and of course... the fact that aging RB Tiki Barber (30/115) has apparently found the "Fountain of Youth" in his Bergen County backyard, let's talk about that which lies just beneath the surface. Big Blue built a 17-0 lead... and staved off a late Cowboy rally, holding onto the victory by a 7 point margin. But it's been the Giants who've had to rally in order to secure wins in no less than 4 tilts this season. To the casual fan, QB Eli Manning's come from behind potential might seem a strength. After all, wasn't Bronco legend John Elway known as "Captain Comeback? Manning has been known to throw an ugly, wobbly, "just-shot-duck" kind of pass. If Manning IS to succeed in the Meadowlands, replete with unpredictable, swirling winds, than Eli's balls will have to... umm, tighten up. It takes a tight spiral to pierce stiff winds, and with the G-Men playing outside for much of their schedule... Eli's mechanics must improve. For now, however, in the past 6 games, the young Mann' has a TD to INT ratio of 8:8, and that includes his 3 TD Week 11 performance against the Eags'. TE Jeremy Shockey has really stepped-up his game, and he generally catches most of the passes thrown his way. However, even though he's going to set career marks in virtually every category, WR Plaxico Burress (4/47) doesn't always play full-throttle Football. More alarmingly, K Jay Feeley seems to be developing a mental Field Goal block. Feeley's been a deadly-accurate weapon all season, but after a 3 miss game against the Seahawks last week, any one of which would have pushed the G-Men ahead for the V., Feeley promised his teammates that he'd make each and every attempt against the Cowboys. That, my fantasy friends, was a promise Feeley could not keep. With the score 17-10 in the 4th, and with 5 minutes and change left in the game, Feeley bonked a 33-yarder off the right upright. While the 3 points would have given Coughlin's gang some breathing room... the miss puts another chink in Feeley's fragile armor. With the playoffs just around the corner... the Giants will need every component of the O clicking like a Swiss Watch. Of note, Coughlin threw leviathan rook' runner Brandon Jacobs into the fray again. After being stood-up at the stripe on 3 straight attempts against the Eagles a couple of weeks ago, Jacobs spent some quality time on the pine. But, as mentioned last week, Big Blue will need to keep Tiki as fresh as possible for the inevitable post-season run. And, limiting the hits Tiki absorbs will go a long way towards that end. Enter Brahma Bull Jacobs. "B-Jake" rumbled into the 'Zone on a 2 yard carry and most importantly... he made sure to run with his head and pads low. If Jacobs can make himself a smaller target, then coupled with Barber... the run game, already a force to be reckoned with, could become a top 3 unit.
Next week, the G-Men dance with a Philly' team they trounced by 10 points 2 weeks ago. RB Tiki Barber rolled up 130+ combined yards in that tilt, Eli tossed a TD troika and 218 yards, Plax' hauled in almost a buck-20 receiving yards, and both TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Amani Toomer each secured 6's. Given the downward spiral the Eagles are trapped in (Take this past Monday Night'er as evidence!), and with the understanding that the secondary is more of a ..."tertiary" due to various injuries, ALL the Big Blue pass catchers are solid fantasy starts. Barber is a no-brainer... and Jacobs could see some G-Line action again as well. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if Brahma Bull Jacobs finds the 'Zone. As for the Cowboys? Without meaning to be politically incorrect," the Cowboys and the Chiefs look to do battle this coming week. The KC Secondary has been rock-solid in recent games, while their run D, bolstered by "Defensive Rookie of the Year" candidate Derrick Johnson, has been Beef-Jerky Tuff'. Given the struggles RB Julius Jones (23/74 rushing, 9/88 receiving Sunday) has experienced, "JJ" is a poor start. Drew Bledsoe, as predicted, was a terrible fantasy start against the fast-improving Giant Secondary Sunday. Bledsoe's arm is running out of bullets; throwing for a measely 146 yards with 2 INTs and 1 TD, Bledsoe's an awful start against Kansas City this coming Sunday. WR Terry Glenn (3/37/1) scored the sole 'Boy TD this past Sunday... but of the 'Poke pass catchers, TE Jason Witten has the most value. The Chiefs have had troubles putting the "kybosh" on big, pass catching TEs, and few TEs have Wittens size, strength, and hands.

Washington at St. Louis: "Clinton Portis' rushing style just doesn't mesh with the team's blocking style. HOWEVER, given the Rams' well documented defensive struggles, Portis will run well today, thus aiding Bru' and the passing game. The veteran Field General has seen better days and, much like old 'Poke Drew Bledsoe, has struggled mightily of late. Today, though, I like Brunell as a fantasy fill-in. He should be able to sip the ball up and down the field, and my "Fantasy Magic 8-Ball" say's WR Santana Moss finds the zone again. As he has been, H-Back Chris Cooley continues to be a solid YARDAGE league start. The tall Cool' one hasn't stepped over the stripe since like... Week 4 or so, and has a grand total of 2 TDs all season."

Although the game rates mention, there's just not a whole lot to say here. St. Louis's QBs have been dropping like flies, and reduced to 3rd string Harvard man Ryan Fitzpatrick... there wasn't a lot of reason for optimism. Some fantasy buffs and owners were pushing Fitzpatrick like Twinkies on a fat-man, and for the life o' me... I just didn't understand why. To be fair, Fitz' chucked the clipboard to Martin last Sunday when the 2nd stringer suffered a concussion... and Fitz' acquitted himself remarkably well....for a heretofore unheard of, anyway. The staff wanted Martin to return to the game, but when asked how many fingers the coach was holding up... Martin responded "ahhh, blue?!?" Ergo, in went the 7th round rookie. Fitz' stunned the Houston Texans with a 300+/3 TD explosion, and in the process... led his Rams back from the brink of an ignominious defeat. However, the kid's still a raw, wet behind the ears, Ivy-League QB. The Texans were both unprepared for him and they're well... the Texans. Still, a St. Loo' Superman Ryan Fitzpatrick ain't. Against the defensively superior Redskins Sunday, the unlikely hero completed 21 of 36 attempts for 163 yards, tossed no TDs, threw a single pick, and scrambled for a score. That was, however, the Rams' sole offensive highlight. How very pathetic, given the stable of world-class pass-catching talent and the top tier runner. With an iffy, vastly inexperienced Signal Caller at the helm of Mike Martz's Calculus-tough offensive system, RB Steven Jackson was expected to be the offensive linch-pin Sunday. Let me be the first to tell you (2nd, if you own Jackson), S-Jax' was a brutal disappointment this past week, rushing for a meager 24 yards on 11 totes and adding 18 receiving yards on 4 grabs. Washington absolutely manhandled their opponents; they dominated St. Louis in EVERY phase of the game. Net yards rushing? Redskins 257, Rams 49. Passing yards? Redskins 150, Rams 142 (Ok, that one was close). Total yards? Redskins 407, Rams 191. Folks, this one was Rat-butt-ugly. And as bad as the Rams were is as good as the 'Skins were! Washington's skill po' playaz' were outstanding! QB Marc Brunell was quietly efficient, throwing for 156 yards and a touch' on 14 completions, and refusing to turn the ball over. RB Clinton Portis was CASH-MONEY, taking 27 totes 136 yards, and ringing up 2 TDs, and H-Back Chris Cooley was everything I pimped him to be. "The Tall Cool' One" posted a line of 5/58/1, and the versatile Redskin H-back numbers amongst the very best fantasy TEs.
With Arizona next on Washington's slate... and the 3rd place 'Skins playoff-desperate, 'Zona coach Denny Green is as nervous as Michael Jackson at a "Chuck E. Cheese!" The Cards' are ghastly-bad V. the run, allowing almost 115 rushing yards per, therefore Clinton Portis is a must start back. Likewise, the point-generous (ranked 28th league-wide) Cardinals hemorhage passing yards (almost 210 PYG)... and QB Mark Brunell, WR Santana Moss, and particularly the aforementioned TE Chris Cooley are all rock-solid fantasy starts. During the coming draft and off-season, the 'Skins MUST secure a receiver to complement the "smurf-esque" Moss. Cooley's a nice weapon... but he's not a Wideout. Quick, can you name the Redskin's second most productive Wideout? Right... David Patten, with 22 grabs for 217 yards and ZERO TDs. As for the Rams and their puny "D-uney'," they butt heads with an equally soft Eagle D this coming week. The Eags', like the Rams, have been forced to go to the Q'Bullpen. Former Lion Mike McMahon is leading the Eagle offensive aerie. Still, with LB Jeremiah Trotter manning the middle... RB Steven Davis and the predictable Ram O will struggle. The Ram receivers, naturally, suffered with Fitzpatrick steering the ship. The most productive of the group, WR Torry Holt, is a marginal "WR 3/Flex" start because of Fitz'. Naturally, if backup slinger Jamie Martin is back over Center... everything goes out the window and the O is immediately more dangerous. Check the IR. If the QB is Fitz', Holt's the only worthwhile fantasy start. If Martin is back at the helm... ALL the Ram receivers are solid... but not excellent, starts.

Buffalo at Miami: "Ricky Williams is sharing tokes with... there I go again! I MEAN, "totes," with rook' runner Ronnie Brown. Both backs have enjoyed success, both backs have run hard, and both backs benefit from each other's presence. Dude! The Bill run D is B-A-D bad, ceding almost a “buck fitty’ plus” (150+) per contest! ... Williams has recorded 165 yards over his past 2, and averaged 5 ½ yards per carry (1 TD) over that span. Making the most of his touches, Williams has ripped off long runs of 34 and 23 yards in recent weeks, indicative that his speed is back. Always tough to bring down, Williams and his beard are both great “Flex” starts against a ghastly-bad Bill run D this week. QB Gus Frerotte is a hit or miss kinda' QB, but he can throw it downfield... and WR Chris Chambers can run under it. Miami should win this game NOT because they're so good, but rather... Miami should win this game because Buff's so BAD.
(Meanwhile) The Bill O-line is make-shift at best, and worse still... they may be without blocking TE Mark Campbell and dancing bear, G Mike Williams. Miami DE Jason Taylor teed-OFF on Oakland QB Kerry Collins last week, piling up 3 Sacks, a forced fumble, a Safety... and oh yes, 6 solo stops. Given the state of the Bill line... I almost pity young J.P Losman. And, with RB Willis McGahee struggling... Losman's troubles are compounded. ... “What’choo Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis” has seen his production fall of a cliff. McG’ hasn’t eclipsed the century mark since Week 8, and has accomplished the feat only 4 times all season. Worse still, Willis hasn’t found the ‘6 Point Promised Land” in 5 weeks.While I would have a hard time sliding Willis over to “Reserve,” if you’ve got a better option… use him. I don't see the 'Phins running away with this one... nevertheless, I can't see a bad Bill team winning either. Look for Miami to slip past Buff' by an Olindo Mare Field Goal."

Former Saint (and Lord knows…. Ricky ain’t no Saint!) turned Dolphin Ricky Williams disappeared into a puff of smoke, leaving the Dolphins in the lurch and with few options at his position on the very eve of Training Camp last year. You see, Ricky was seeking the wisdom of the universe and wanted to shirk the mere material goods that bind us to this Earthly plane. However, once Miami sought recompense, and an arbitrator decided that the franchise could indeed pursue the several Milly’ bonus-bucks given to the talented ’99 draft pick… Ricky decided, apparently, ethereal wisdom could wait. Hey, don’t kid yourself. An 8, followed by 6 zeroes can buy wads of wisdom! With Coach Nick Saban calling the shots, Ricky has re-appeared in a blaze of glory! Sorry, I just can’t restrain myself. In terms of post-season play and standings… this game is of nominal import. But, in terms of ridiculous, “out-of-the-blue” fantasy (and real, for that matter) performances… there have been few better in the history of Roto-Football! Down 23-3 at the start of the 4th Q’, Miami mounted a ludicrous comeback. Bill Field General J.P Losman (224, 3 TDs, 1 INT) guided his team to a quick lead by tossing vertical threat WR Lee Evans (5/117/3) a trio of TD passes. Losman connected with Evans on strikes of 46, 56 and 4 yards respectively. As expected, RB Willis “Watch’oo Talkin’ ‘Bout” McGahee (99 total yards) was a near non-factor, effectively contained by the Dolphin ‘backers. Young Master Losman, however, took a step forward in his development Sunday. One issue of note was the play or “non-play” as it were, of veteran receiver Eric Moulds. As we discussed both towards the end of last season and at the start of this one, Moulds has lost a step and Evans has become the team’s go-to pass catcher. Well, for the first time in 121 games Moulds was held without a catch, and worse still… Moulds was targeted just twice. Clearly, and possibly quite legitimately angered by his diminished role, Moulds sat out the 2nd Quarter and much of the 3rd. Keep an eye on this developing Soap-Opera. Although Moulds has lost a step, the guy runs razor sharp routes and remains capable of helping a team win. After the 1st Quarter “Lee Evans Show,” Buff’ scored another 2 points on a Safety in the 3rd… and that was the extent of their O outut. The Dolphins, on the other hand, refused to quit. After floundering like a ‘Phin outta’ water, Frerotte suffered a concussion and in went the immortal Sage Rosenfels. Rosenfels provided Miami with just the tonic they needed, and directed 4th Q’ scoring drives of 70, 49, and 73 yards. The 1-2 RB punch of Williams (46/1 rushing, 6/32 receiving) and Brown (9/22 rushing, 2/30/1 receiving) was rock-solid… but Sunday… Sunday saw the talented but to this point wasted WR Chris Chambers put on a pass-catching clinic! As sports-caster George Michaels often say’s “If you started Chris Chambers… you won!” Chambers snared a simply preposterous 15 passes for… brace yourself, 238 yards and a touch’. Had Chambers not dropped a couple of easy ones, he would’ve crashed right through a triple C-Note. Unheard of figures for a pass catcher, solid figures for a Quarterback! The Dolphin backup commenced the final drive with 1:51 remaining, and moved downfield relentlessly. And, with less than 30 seconds remaining in reg’, Rosenfels found… who else? Chambers for a 4 yard scoring strike. After K Olindo Mare drilled the XP Miami was up by 1, having risen from the ashes of a near-certain loss. The Dolphin comeback was the 2nd spectacular comeback in as many weeks, rivaling St. Louis’ Week 12 waning moments win over the Houston Texans. D-flated, D-feated, and apparently D-fensless, 4-8 Buffalo clashes with their Division rival, playoff-desperate (and yet, even with their iffy record, the Pats’ head the AFC East!) Patriots. The New England backfield has been a defen-SIEVE, and after this week’s show… WR Lee Evans is a very credible, VERY sneaky “WR3/Flex” start. If the Bills can get Losman going… RB Willis McGahee might be able to find some footing against a Pat’ run D that, while improved due to the steadying presence of run-stopping LB Tedy “Wanna” Bruschi, remains vulnerable. However, NE’s run D is improving by the week… and if you have a better option at the position, I’d use him. As for meteoric Miami? (Cause’ that comeback came from like… outer space) The Dolphins stand to be jolted by the ‘bolts. The Chargers are… umm, surging, hot off a convincing thrashing of the “Joke-Land Faders.” In fact, San Diego has won 5 straight and 6 of the past 7, losing only to Philadelphia in Week 7 by a Field Goal. The fact of the matter is, 2nd place 8-4 San D’ lost their quartet of games by a combined 14 points. With a powerful run D (they just limited burly Black & Silver back LaMont Jordan to 65 total yards on 17 touches), both RBs Sticky Ricky and Ronnie the Rookie are iffy starts. The San Secondary, however, CAN be picked upon. Coming off of his record setting outing, WR Chris Chambers is a fine “Flex/WR 3” start. Just check the IR to see who'll be over Center.


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