Welcome to another season of the “Week in Review” and thanks for reading. Just a quick disclaimer, way back in the beginning of my first fantasy league (over a decade ago, whoa!), I would put together a weekly writeup that the other owners seemed to enjoy. It was a “preview” story that I put together on Thursday that would include some funny items about the two fantasy teams to be playing each other, and it included some of the names of the players that did well the week before in helping that team win or lose. If nothing else, it created some excitement and humor, especially late in the season for those games that didn’t have much meaning in the standings.
Only the best performers of the week (based strictly on our fantasy points scoring system) made the weekly “story”, and to make it a little tougher, a player had to be in that team’s starting lineup to be recognized (kinda like how the “All Madden” team members had to be seen by John Madden during the season to make his team at the end of the season). To spice things up, I would make up some funny nicknames for the player. This was way before PrimeTime and before the Berman name thing was popular.
In any case, I’ll once again be doing this on Monday mornings this season, offering a bit of a recap based on each NFL game that has already been played. With very few exception, only those individual fantasy players that perform well on the field will get a mention in this space. Hopefully this is something you will enjoy, if not, well, I tried. If you have some feedback (good, bad, ugly, suggestions, whatever), drop me a line. Thanks for reading, ENJOY!
at Washington 16, New York Jets 13 (Thursday game)
Even in its second year, I still have trouble getting fired up for a Thursday opening night of the NFL season. It just throws everything out of wack as far as fantasy goes (yes, selfish, I know). Not to mention the late start and extremely late finish makes for a Friday that drags. As for the game itself, a pretty typical game taking place during the first week with the added twist of so many former Jets playing for the Skins. In the end, it was former Jet kicker John Hall booting the game winning field goal with five seconds to go that sent the home crowd home with a smile. As for individual fantasy performances, unfortunately, none to speak of from either side.
at Buffalo 31, New England nil
In another matchup of teams with plenty of former players playing against each other, this one was over early. In fact, it can be argued that this one was over on Monday when the Pats released their defensive captain Lawyer Milloy and a few days later he signed with the Bills. Normally I give Pats coach Belichick credit for the moves he makes, but I think in this instance he grossly underestimated Milloy’s absence. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Milloy’s two best friends on the team, Tom Brady and Ty Law had horrible games. Then again, the Bills took the opening kickoff and drove the field like the Pats defense was hot butter on a breakfast toast, stuffed the Pats offense on three plays, then once again drove for another score. By this point, the game was already into the second quarter, and when 250+ pound defensive lineman Sam Adams took a Tom Brady gift and crossed the goal line 37 yards later with the Bills’ third touchdown, the rout was on. Travis “Oh!” Henry (125 total yards, 2 TD) and the Buffalo D (4 int, TD return) did well in the victory. No Patriots answered the call in week one.
at Carolina 24, Jacksonville 23
Hopefully you didn’t blink, because if you did, then you might have missed the 2003 Rodney Peete Era. Jake Delhomme started the second half and led the Panthers back from a 17 point deficit for the one point win. Delhomme found Ricky Proehl in the end zone on fourth down with less than a minute to go in the game to cap off the comeback. Despite the loss, Mark Brunell (272 pass yards, 2 TD, 0 int) and Fred Taylor (122 total yards) performed admirably, but it wasn’t enough as the Panthers blocked Jacksonville’s 55 yard field goal attempt as time expired – sending the home crowd into complete and utter ecstasy.
Indianapolis 9, at Cleveland 6
If you think it was tough to watch this game, try having to write about it after the fact! Nothing much to say except that the Colts won the kicking battle and no individual fantasy player gets a mention in this week’s story. Let’s just move on…
Denver 30, at Cincinnati 10
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Cincinnati was hoping that some new threads in their home opener would be inspiring, but more often than not, when the Bengals play, the Bengals lose. This game was no different. Clinton Portis (120 rush yards, 2 TD) ran well enough to overcome a shaky performance from Jake Plummer and the Broncos win was never really in doubt. Denver D (2 int, 2 fum, TD return) and Jason Elam (3 FG, 3 PAT) also get a mention here. For the losers, only “Hanging” Chad Johnson (6 catches for 95 yards, TD) did well enough to get his name in print. One can only wonder how long it will be before the Carson Palmer era begins….
at Detroit 42, Arizona 24
Sometimes winning the opening game of the season can get the team on a roll, and perhaps this could be the case for the Lions and new coach Steve Mariucci. The Lions kept this one close, then pulled away in the second half to post a very nice win. Joey Harrington (17 of 30 for 195 yards, 4 TD, 0 int), Detroit D (2 sacks, 1 int, 2 fum, TD return) and rookie Charles Rogers (2 TD) all chipped in for a winning effort. On the other side of the ball, what can be said about unknown and now Player of the Week Anquan Boldin (10 catches for 217 yards, 2 TD)? Just an incredible debut and I’m guessing that he’ll be the top free agent picked up in most leagues this week. Jeff “Frosted” Blake (363 pass yards, 3 TD, 1 int) did pretty well in his Cardinal debut as well, but it wasn’t enough.
Minnesota 30, at Green Bay 25
A tough division battle where the Vikings got up early and held on for the win. A strange end to this one as the Packers pretty much ran out of receivers as Donald Driver, Robert Ferguson and even Wesley Walls were injured in the game. For the winners, Randy Moss (9 catches for 150 yards, TD) and Daunte Culpepper “Steak” (195 pass yards, 3 TD, 0 int, 50 rush yards) led the way. On the other sideline, only Ahman Green (115 total yards, 2 TD) gets a mention in the story for his fantasy efforts.
at Kansas City 27, San Diego 14
I think we can safely put any injury trepidations about Priest Holmes (183 total yards, 2 TD) to rest. Holmes was a major factor in this one from the start and the Chargers never really were able to stop him. Trent Green (282 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 int) didn’t have a spectacular game, but it was enough to lead his team into the win column (and into this column as well). The Chargers never really got it going on offense, and no single member deserves a mention here.
Houston 21, at Miami 20
This is a result that is sure to ruin many ‘survival’ contests. Houston kept this one close throughout, and in the end, Kris Brown (5 FG) booted the game winning field goal with 25 seconds left to stun the home team. The Dolphins should have looked only to last year’s opener, when the Texans stunned the Cowboys on opening day, for their motivation. Despite the loss, Chris Chambers (7 catches for 118 yards, 2 TD), Ricky Williams (129 total yards, TD) and Jay Fiedler (227 pass yards, 3 TD, 2 int) scored well on the fantasy front. Chambers had what might end up being the catch of the season, a fantastic one handed grab in the back of the end zone where he tapped both toes down just in bounds, but that is of little solace to Miami fans right now.
at New York Giants 23, St.Louis 13
Many watched this one to see if the Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” was going to be back, instead they saw a stifling defense on the part of the New York Football Giants (6 sacks, 1 int, 3 fum, TD return). While the defense was battering the Ram offense (including causing Kurt Warner to fumble six times), Tiki Barber (146 rush yards) and Matt Bryant (3 FG, 2 PAT) took care of things on the offensive side of the ball. For the losers, Warner (34 of 54 for 342 pass yards), Torry Holt (7 catches for 111 yards, TD) and Isaac Bruce (8 catches for 120 yards) get a mention here, but it wasn’t enough for the win. After the game, Warner was diagnosed with a concussion, though it wasn’t clear which of the hits that he took during the game caused it and he was never removed from the game. Let the quarterback controversy begin!
at Pittsburgh 34, Baltimore 15
The Steelers scored early and often in this one, coasting to what amounted to an easy opening victory. Hines Ward (9 catches for 91 yards, 2 TD) and Tommy Maddox (260 pass yards, 3 TD, 0 int) led the way while their defense made rookie Raven quarterback Kyle Boller look like, well, a rookie. The Ravens couldn’t get much going on either side of the ball, and as a result, will get no one mentioned here for their fantasy performance – or lack of.
Atlanta 27, at Dallas 13
No Vick? No problem. The Vick-less Falcons got their offense going in the second half, pulling away from the Cowboys to spoil Bill Parcell’s Dallas debut. Just too many mistakes and too little production out of the Cowboys contributed to the loss as only Joey “Gallopin” Galloway (7 catches for 139 yards, TD) makes this week’s story. Doug Johnson (228 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 int, rush TD) and Algae Crumpler (5 catches for 94 yards, TD) played well in victory.
at San Francisco 49, Chicago 7
Simply put, blowout city. The Erickson Era starts of well in San Francisco, while the Kordell Stewart one in Chicago doesn’t. The 49ers went wild in the first half, running up a 26 point lead and coasted from there. The San Fran D (127 yards allowed, 5 sacks, TD), Jeff “Cherry” Garcia (229 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 int, 1 rush TD) and Garrison Hearst (97 total yards, 2 TD) scored well for the victors. As you can imagine, seven points scored in the real usually translates to no fantasy production from that team, and that is the case for ‘da Bears.
at Seattle 27, New Orleans 10
A good week one matchup here that goes the way of the home team Seahawks. Seattle put up 21 points in the second period, which was enough for the win. Shaun Alexander (108 rush yards, 2 TD) is the only player to get a mention here, but it was a balanced and solid attack from the offense that made for the win. On the losing side, Duece McAllister (134 total yards), Joe Horn (7 catches for 83 yards, TD) and Aaron Brooks (274 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 int) did well, but not well enough.
at Tennessee 25, Oakland 20
A rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game, the Raiders were hoping to put their Super Bowl hangover behind them, but it was the Titans that kept them tasting bitter beer defeat. Derrick Mason (10 catches for 99 yards, TD) and Steve McNair (269 pass yards, 2 TD, 1 int) get a mention here, but it was punter Craig Hentrich that was the difference in this one. Regular kicker Joe Nedney, after missing an extra point (bad snap) early on, was injured and Hentrich stepped in to boot field goals of 49, 34, then 33 with less than a minute to go as insurance. Hopefully your fantasy team didn’t have Nedney and lose their week one matchup by four points this week like mine (we penalize kickers negative three points for missing the xp, one point for making it, grr!). Charlie Garner (8 catches for 112 yards, TD) and Rich Gannon (264 pass yards, 2 TD, 0 int) get into this week’s write up, but it wasn’t enough to get the Raiders into the win column.