Ten weeks are in the books, and while the bye weeks are over, the injuries and game time decisions continue to play a major role in which fantasy teams end up winners and which end up losers. Once again the last minute list of inactives continues to force fantasy owners to be vigilant on Sunday morning monitoring their players. Call me old fashioned, but I liked fantasy football in the day where you were able to submit your lineup on Friday without having to worry about stuff like this. My wife liked those days, too.
A little more fantasy scoring this week than last, though much of it came from unexpected places. How about this list of running backs that did well this week: Samkon Gado, Greg Jones, Adrian Peterson, Jonathon Wells, Heath Evans, Obafemi Ayanbeadejo. Oy! As always, hopefully you have more players than your opponent mentioned in this week’s story. Let’s get into the games.
at Jacksonville 30, Baltimore 3
Kyle Boller returned to the lineup for the Ravens, but with too many other starters still missing, they catch a beating at the hands of Jacksonville. The Jags D (163 yards allowed, 3 turnovers, return TD) held the Ravens offense in check, while Matt Jones (117 yards, TD) and Greg Jones (106 yards, TD) did the offensive damage in the easy win.
at Detroit 29, Arizona 21
The Lions ran out to a 16-0 lead in this game, then held off a late Arizona rally to take home the win. Joey Harrington (231 yards, 3 TD) played well for Detroit, perhaps getting thru an entire game for the first time this season without hearing any boos from the crowd. Helping him out was Roy Williams (117 yards, 3 TD), who had a tremendous day on offense. On the other side, Kurt Warner (259 yards, TD) had a very good day, as did Larry Fitzgerald (141 yards, TD) but it was not enough to bring home a victory.
at Tampa Bay 36, Washington 35
Sometimes high scoring games come out of matchups that you wouldn’t think would be producing 70+ points. This game, featuring two of the top defenses in the game, was one of them. The scoring came in bunches early in the game, Tampa taking a 21-13 lead at the half thanks to two short TD runs from Mike Alstott and the efforts of Joey Galloway (131 yards, TD). Washington rallied in the second half, Mark Brunell (226 yards, 2 TD, 2 int) tossing two TD passes early in the third quarter to put the Skins on top. Chris Simms (279 yards, TD) would lead the home team to an answer and the teams were tied heading into the final frame. Washington would make their move, Clinton Portis (144 yards, TD) scoring an 8 yard run. Time was running out, and with under a minute to play, Edell Shepard made a tremendous TD catch from 30 yards out. Then things got tricky, Washington blocked the extra point, but they were offside on the play. With the ball now on the one yard line, Jon Gruden decided to send his offense onto the field for the win. With everyone knowing they’d give the ball to Alstott, it didn’t matter, he barely crossed the plane (confirmed by replay) and the Bucs win the game.
at Chicago 17, San Francisco 9
Statistically speaking, Chicago is on average the second windiest city in the US. However, on this day, the Windy City lived up to its name as gusts of 40+ mph were reported during the game, wreaking havoc with not only the kickers, but long snappers as well. Play of the week occurred just before the half, 49ers up by three. They were attempting to add to their lead with a 52 yard FG attempt with only seconds remaining. With Nathan Vasher standing under the goal post, Joe Nedney’s attempt fell short, and into his arms 8 yards deep in the end zone. After nearly touching down a knee, he began a runback that would not end until he crossed the goal line 108 yards later, an NFL record. As for the second half, filling in for the injured Cedric Benson, Adrian Peterson (120 yards, TD) extended the Bears lead that on this day would be insurmountable to the Niners offense.
Minnesota 24, at New York Giants 21
Before you get excited that the Vikings scored 24 points in this game, I have to start this off by saying it was inept all game, generating only 137 yards in total offense. The Vikings “D” (3 return TDs, 5 turnovers) was the story in this game, returning an interception, a kickoff, and a punt for a touchdown. Despite a strong game from Tiki Barber (206 total yards, TD), the Giants offense bogged down when it mattered most, near the goal line. Despite the struggles, New York tied the game late, Barber scoring from 3 yards out, then he punched in the two point conversion to tie the score. But they left too much time on the clock, and for once the Vikings offense was able to move the ball, Paul Edinger connecting from 48 yards out to give the Vikings the win. During the game, as if Minnesota didn’t have enough player injury problems, coach Mike Tice hurt his knee in this game, getting slammed into on a return.
New England 23, at Miami 16
With divisional supremacy on the line, the Dolphins came out looking for the upset and a share of the division lead. Corey Dillon started this one, but left early in favor of Heath Evans, who ended up with some ok numbers. Both teams had trouble scoring points, and it looked like the game might end 7-6 until the offenses turned up the heat in the last 15 minutes. New England’s Ben Watson scored on the last play of the third quarter, giving the Patriots a 12-7 lead (two point conversion no good). Three plays later, the defense intercepted Gus Frerotte (360 yards, 2 TD, 1 int), but they could only muster a short FG as a result. Miami’s offense then went to work, getting into range for a short FG of their own to once again close to within 5 points. This time it was the Miami D that would respond, intercepting a Tom Brady (275 yards, 2 TD, 2 int) offering. Frerotte quickly got the Dolphins to the Patriot 15, when some trickery intervened (or some good luck). Facing third and three, the shotgun snap went off Frerotte’s leg to the ground, where he quickly scooped it up and threw to an open Chris Chambers (69 yards, 2 TD) for his second score of the game. The two point conversion was no good, so the Dolphin lead was one point. On the very next play, Tom Brady went deep to Tim Dwight, who fought off a Dolphin defender for the ball, came down with it and 59 yards later New Engand was in business. Not wasting any time, Watson scored on the next play from 17 yards out, a nice catch where he barely got his feet inbounds. This time, the two pointer was good, but with over two minutes to play, this game was far from over. Miami would quickly move to the Patriot 5 yard line, where they’d have first and goal, plenty of time to spare. Twice they tried the left side of the endzone, but the Pats D and the sun factored into the incompletions. Ronnie Brown was stuffed for a five yard loss on a third down swing pass, and Frerrotte’s fourth down attempt at finding Chambers fell short, New England escapes with the win and Miami loses for the second week in a row having a chance to tie the score late.
at Buffalo 14, Kansas City 3
The Bills found enough in their bye week to solve the high flying Kansas City offense, holding them in check the entire game. JP Loseman came off the bench for the injured Kelly Holcomb, and he did very well, leading Buffalo so scores on his first two drives, both ending with Lee Evans (66 yards, 2 TD) scoring. That was enough for Buffalo to win, as only Larry Johnson (178 total yards) did well in a losing effort.
at Indianapolis 31, Houston 17
It’s been a while since we’ve had the trilogy all mentioned at the same time, this week they help the Colts stay undefeated in an easy win. Edgerrin James (122 yards, TD), Peyton Manning (297 yards, 3 TD), and Marvin Harrison (108 yards, TD) all get a mention for the winners while there’s nothing to see here from Houston.
at Carolina 30, New York Jets 3
The Panthers scored early and often in this game that turned into a rout. The Panthers D (6 turnovers, return TD) the only fantasy entity to get a mention here, let’s just move on.
Denver 31, at Oakland 17
The Broncos kept the Oakland offense off the board for three quarters, running up 23 points of their own to a lead the Raiders could not overcome. Despite the 31 total points in the game, no single Bronco did well enough to get a mention in this week’s story. On the other side, Kerry Collins (310 yards, 2 TD, 3 int) and Randy Moss (87 yards, TD) tried to rally the home team in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late.
at Seattle 31, St.Louis 16
What else can be said about this game except Player of the Week Shaun Alexander (165 yards, 3 TD). Another monster performance from the fantasy stud helps Seattle complete the season sweep of the Rams. Marc Bulger (304 yards, TD, int) gets a mention here in a losing effort.
Green Bay 33, at Atlanta 25
Count me among the many glad to have not long picked up “Smokin” Samkon Gado (103 yards, 3 TD), but started him this week. Gado got the Pack rolling early, scoring twice in the first quarter. The Falcons would storm back in the second as both Warrick Dunn (128 total yards, TD) and Michael Vick (206 yards, 2 TD, rushing TD) ran for scores. Ryan Longwell (4 FG, 3 PAT) gave Green Bay the slim half time lead, connecting on the first of his many kicks on this day. Longwell would continue his big day, booting 18 and 48 yarders in the third quarter, setting up an exciting final fifteen minutes. The teams would exchange FGs, Longwell connecting from 46 yards out with four minutes to play answering Todd Peterson’s 32 yard boot. The Atlanta offense would once again turn the ball over, Nick Barnett picking up a fumble and racing down to the two yard line. Gado essentially closed out the game by punching in his third score of the day and the Packers had the upset win. Donald Driver (114 yards) also did well for the winners.
at Pittsburgh 34, Cleveland 21
The Browns were looking for the upset, as Reuben Droughns (123 total yards, TD) provided the only scoring for either team in the first quarter. But the slow and steady Pittsburgh offense would prove to be too much on this day, getting it going in the second quarter. Jerome Bettis was good from a yard out, Jeff Reed booted a 42 yard field goal, then finishing a drive with a broken hand, Charlie Batch scored from a yard out to give the Steelers a lead they would not relinquish. Tommy Maddox took over in the second half and kept the Browns offense on the field by directing long time consuming drives. Antwaan Randle El threw a 51 scoring pass to Hines Ward (124 yards, TD) on a reverse in the third and the Browns thoughts of upset were gone. No Brown to report here.