Hot dang it, football season finally showed up! I thought for sure my dog was going to leave me for the animal control officer, as much attention as I gave the mutt. I guess a bowl of Guinness every night just isn’t enough.
I’ve drafted eight teams (it felt like twice that) and like maybe two of the drafts. Although still early, this first week provided a lot of surprises and a few answers to questions we’ve all posed over the last few months.
Will it be Henry or McGahee in Buffalo? Will Marshall Faulk’s knee hold up? Was Carolina a one-year wonder? Can the Patriots repeat?
Quentin Griffin showed that he could carry the rock against an easy Chiefs D. Clinton Portis showed he can get the tough yards againts a good defense. Vinny Testaverde was slingin’ the ball all over the field, and Curtis Martin looked like he’d regained his 2001 form while romping for 196 yards against a soft Cincinnati defense.
In the Fantasy Sports Academy Xperts league I benched Travis Henry in favor of Curtis “My Favorite” Martin. When I posed the question to the tank it was split, with a slight majority in favor of Henry. The cardinal rule “Start Your Studs” was mentioned on a few occasions. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure at the time, but I am now. Curtis Martin is stud material again this year.
So what happens when your studs turn into duds? Pain, and lots of it if it happens to several of them in the same week. I mean, whoulda thunk it, that Cleveland would solve Jamal Lewis? All Jamal did last year is run over the Cleveland D for 500 yards and four touchdowns.
I have visions of Butch Davis threatening to feed the D to the Dog Pound if Lewis gained 100 yards. Now that’s a tough crew, and ugly too!
So here for your jeering and cheering pleasure, is the first IceBox “Studs and Duds”
Daunte Culpepper – No matter how hard I tried, I could never get this guy with my second pick. Hindsight being what it is I wish I had taken him with my first pick. Yeah, I know, that’s sacriligious, but who cares. Let’s face it, in fantasy football it’s all about the W’s…and Daunte can carry a mediocre week. Five TD passes…wow!
Tom Brady – This guy continues to show what a clutch player he is in a big game. He shredded the Colts D for 335 yards and 3 TD’s, completing 68% of his passes.
Donovan McNabb – Ok, ok, it was against the Giants, but the long awaited hook-up with Terrell Owens certainly started out in grand fashion, as McNabb tossed three of his four TD’s to TO. We’ll have to wait for the season to progress before we say their names in the same breath as Culpepper and Moss, much less Montana and Rice. That is unless you are a Philly fan, in which case you’ve already christened them as this years Big Hope for the Big Game.
Mike Vick – Maybe it’s a bit early, but neither the Falcons nor Vick were particularly impressive against a 49’er team many see as a doormat in the NFC West this year. Vick looked uncomfortable hanging back as a pocket passer and the Falcons were lucky to escape with a narrow victory.
Steve McNair – 79 yards passing. Barf
Mark Brunell– Jacksonville owner Wayne Weaver looks like a genius for shedding Brunell. He looked bad and his 125 passing yards and no TD’s had to make Jacksonville fans happy to see him plying his trade elsewhere.
Curtis Martin – Martin continues to amaze me. Nine years in the NFL, nine years rushing for 1,000 yards or more. 196 yards in his first game and he looked good! With a fast, aggressive D and a healthy Chad Pennington, Curtis smells a ring and he’s got a good start.
Quentin Griffin – Who says 5’7″ and 195 pounds is too small in the NFL? Not Q! Griffin shredded a lackluster Chiefs defense for 156 yards and 3 TD’s as he kept pace with the next guy on the list.
Priest Holmes – He looks like the same guy who ran for 27 TD’s last year, breaking Emmitt Smith’s record for most touchdowns in a season. Holmes was sharp against Denver, getting 3 more to start the year off right, along with 151 yards rushing.
Shaun Alexander – SA put a scare into Seahawks fans and fantasy owners alike when his knee seemingly gave in on him. Team officials insist he’s fine, although they admit he may need a week or two to be back at 100%.. Sucks for you if you took him, at least for the next week or two. Don’t expect him to play next week against the rugged Buc’s D.
Honorable Mentions – A guy who slipped way down on most draft boards and was riding the pine for a lot of teams, Tiki Barber showed he is still a force to reckon with. He produced 200 total yards, including 9 rushes for an amazing 125 yards. The spectre of Ron Dayne still haunts Barber owners, but he certainly made a statement to coach Tom Coughlin. Jerome Bettis – 1 yard, 3 TD’s. How the heck did he do that?
Jamal Lewis – No one was a bigger disappointment.. Returning to the scene of the crime where he romped on the Browns for 500 yards and 4 TD’s, Lewis was busted by those drug-sniffing mutts in the Dog Pound as the Browns told the world they wouldn’t be walked (or ran) all over.
Kevan Barlow – Many thought Barlow would steal the show in San Fran, but he under-whelmed the crowd with a poor showing, generating a paltry 91 yards of total offense against a new-look Atlanta Falcons defense that couldn’t stop a watch last year but seemed to have Barlow’s number all day long.
Travis Henry – He brought his lunch pail but 75 yards isn’t what we’ve come to expect from this guy, who was a highly sought after player on most teams. McGahee didn’t look like anything special either, so barring injury, it looks like Henry owners will get a shot at redemption this week.
Most of us count our studs in the QB and RB categories, and, with the exception of the top 6 or 7 WR’s, just hope to have double digits at those spots. So I’ll spare you the litany in this category, but there were some performances worthy of review. Terrell Owens, while only getting 68 yards, caught 3 TD’s from McNabb. Randy Moss was held to 27 yards, but he snagged 2 TD’s and completed a 37 yard duck of a reverse pass to Marcus Robinson that had the home crowd on their feet. Keyshawn Johnson held on to the ball, as did his counterpart Antonio “Crying Towel” Bryant as they got 111 and 112 yards respectively in a losing effort. Antonio Gates, the TE for San Diego, lived up to his billing with 8 grabs for 123 yards while David Terrell (126 yards) Isaac Bruce (112 yds, 1 TD), Joe Horn and Eddie Kennison all passed the century mark in aerial accumulation.
Well, I’m fresh out of Heineken, so I guess it’s time to post this puppy and hit the sack.