Join SI.com's James Quintong in a discussion of some of the latest news in football, baseball and other sports and how it relates to fantasy teams and leagues.
11/16/2006 05:18:00 PM
Thursday fantasy notes
Correll Buckhalter now has a 55-yard TD catch on his record after a late scoring change by the NFL.
If you're looking for another edition of "great moments in fantasy football history," the NFL changed the scoring on the Correll Buckhalter TD play against the Redskins. Originally, the play was a called a reception to Reggie Brown, who fumbled right into the hands of Buckhalter, who took it the rest of the way for a score. Now, Buckhalter is credited with a 55-yard TD reception, with Donovan McNabb getting another TD pass in the process, as the league ruled Brown never had control of the ball.
A few more injury and lineup issues to consider while making your lineup decisions for this week:
-- Shaun Alexander looks like he's in good shape to play this week, but Matt Hasselbeck isn't looking as sharp. The decisions should come down by Friday, and both would be decent starts against the 49ers.
-- On the other hand, the Raiders quarterback situation will be a game-time decision between the struggling Andrew Walter (who publicly complained about the offense earlier this week) and veteran Aaron Brooks (who hasn't played since the opener with a pectoral injury). Brooks' return may help Randy Moss, but if you're relying on either quarterback this week, you must be in major trouble.
-- Ronnie Brown is still missing practice as he battles with a groin injury, but head coach Nick Saban did say he was trying to manage things earlier in the week. He seems like he will play this week, although facing the Vikings' No. 1 ranked run defense doesn't help things this week. Sammy Morris and Travis Minor would get carries in Brown's place if you had to pick either of them up.
-- T.J. Houshmandzadeh is still dinged up after the big hit from Marlon McCree last Sunday but it still appears as if he will play against the Saints in what looks to be a shootout.
Finally your question of the day goes back to Gene Menez's piece on the All-Maddening team on inconsistent but still productive stars. What other players deserve a place on the team? Similar to my bad benching question yesterday, which players can you never pick right to start or sit each week?
Clinton Portis finishes the season with 523 rushing yards and seven TDs plus 17 catches for 170 more yards.
A handful of burning questions for this week have already been answered even before the official injury reports have come out, although there are a few more lingering lineup issues still out there.
Clinton Portis is now officially done for the season after the Redskins placed him on injured reserve, so forget about him the rest of the way. Ladell Betts is the starter and he'll be needed to carry more of the load with Jason Campbell now in at quarterback. Meanwhile, don't forget about T.J. Duckett, who may actually now get to play after being acquired from the Falcons in a three-team trade earlier this summer. It's unsure what Duckett's role will be, but keep an eye on how he's used against the Bucs.
Trent Green indeed will start for the Chiefs this weekend against the Raiders. Damon Huard's so-so game in the loss to the Dolphins pretty much cleared the way for Green to return. However, Oakland's pass defense is a bit better than you think. Plus, Green won't have Tony Gonzalez this week, so there goes one huge option. Expect Kansas City to use Larry Johnson a lot this week.
On the other side of the ball, there's a decent chance Aaron Brooks will start for the Raiders against the Chiefs in place of Andrew Walter. While Brooks was downright miserable against the Chargers to open the season, he may be a better choice to work with Oakland's wideouts, especially Randy Moss, who says he needs to be "in the mood" to produce.
Some bad news if you're still having to use Reuben Droughns -- the Browns running back is dealing with an sprained foot and may not play this week. If he can't go, Jerome Harrison and Jason Wright would get the carries, although neither are a great bet against the Steelers.
Also, Ronnie Brown missed practice on Wednesday with a groin injury that has bothered him since last Sunday. He expects to play, but the Vikings do have the league's best run defense.
We're still waiting word as to the status of Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander for this week. If both are good to go, they should have a nice matchup with the 49ers, although San Francisco has bottled up Minnesota and Detroit the past two weeks. But don't go cutting Seneca Wallace or Maurice Morris just yet.
Finally, a question to ponder: What is the worst benching you've made this year? I'm reminded of this question as my colleague Greg Kellogg mentions possibly benching LaDainian Tomlinson this week against the Broncos (he said the same about Peyton Manning in a similar situation a few weeks back and then he ripped up the Broncos). Plus, there was the NFL fantasy football TV ad that aired over the weekend where the guy benches Julius Jones then sees him go off for a record day.
I'll nominate my own benching of Hines Ward in a couple of leagues the week he returned to Atlanta and scored three touchdowns. But I'm sure there are just as bad situations out there.
Even an illness couldn't stop Steve Smith from burning the Bucs again.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
If you needed a big night from Steve Smith or Jake Delhomme to win your game, you got it as both took off in the second half of the Panthers' win over the Buccaneers. Smith even dealt with illness for much of the game but still finished with eight catches for 149 yards and a long TD -- his fourth straight 100-yard game against Tampa Bay. Keyshawn Johnson also got into the mix with a TD of his own.
Otherwise, there wasn't much else to talk about on offense, other than Joey Galloway's 87 yards receiving (one of his up weeks). Bruce Gradkowski committed three turnovers, Cadillac Williams is still stuck in neutral (44 yards) and DeShaun Foster wasn't much better (48). DeAngelo Williams did return to the Panthers, but struggled with just 19 yards rushing and a catch for 11 more.
Additional Monday evening news: -- Both Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck have both been cleared to practice for the Seahawks this week and could start in a favorable matchup against the 49ers. Just what you need heading into the fantasy playoff push.
-- 49ers rookie tight end Vernon Davis could return this week from a broken leg, although there was a chance that could've happened last week, so be wary.
-- Joe Horn could be back in the lineup this week for the Saints after sitting out the past two with a groin injury and seeing Devery Henderson and Terrance Copper get big catches in his place. If Horn can play, he could be in for great numbers with Drew Brees on fire and taking on a Bengals defense that was burned by Philip Rivers last week.
Clinton Portis missed time early in the season with a shoulder injury and now he'll be out a couple of weeks with a broken hand.
It was a bad Week 10 in terms of injuries, not just for the skill position players, but also the supporting personnel that could also affect how others on the team will produce.
Here's a list of the top players who went down this week and their status for Week 11.
-- Clinton Portis: He broke his hand early against the Eagles and now looks like he'll miss 2-3 weeks - just as he was running well. Ladell Betts did play well in his place and will start against the Bucs on Sunday. He's a solid person to have to replace Portis.
-- Mark Brunell: Unlike Portis, he's not injured, but like Portis he won't play on Sunday as he was benched for the rest of the season in favor of Jason Campbell. With the Redskins 3-6 and looking like they're out of the playoff picture, they're going for youth. Be wary, as the Washington passing game has been a mess recently.
-- Tony Gonzalez: The Chiefs not only lost the game to the Dolphins but possibly their star tight end as he sprained his left shoulder and might miss a couple of weeks. Jason Dunn would get the start for Kansas City, but it would be a good time to shop for another tight end on the waiver wire.
-- Frank Gore: A second-half concussion was the only thing stopping Gore from piling up even more yards against the Lions. Gore was a bit woozy on the sidelines, and while it appears the injury isn't serious, his condition is worth watching.
-- Tiki Barber: He ran well against the Bears despite injuring his finger early on. While he was in pain throughout the game, Barber appears like he will go on Monday night against the Jaguars.
-- T.J. Houshmandzadeh: He was knocked out briefly after a hard hit from Marlon McCree in the fourth quarter and didn't return. However, he appears like he'll be ready to go on Sunday against the Saints.
-- Larry Fitzgerald: He aggravated the hamstring injury that kept him out a few weeks in the loss to the Cowboys but he still finished with 80 yards in his return. He'll be a bit gimpy but it appears he'll play against the Lions, which is a great matchup.
-- David Carr: A bruised shoulder knocked him out in the fourth quarter against the Ravens, with Sage Rosenfels relieving him. Carr seems to think he could be ready to go this week against the Bills, but the Texans are probably confident enough in Rosenfels not to rush Carr if they don't need to.
-- Eric Parker: One reason for Malcolm Floyd's emergence on Sunday was Parker's neck injury that knocked him out in the second quarter. Floyd may have played himself into more time if Parker can't go.
-- David Givens: Just a couple of weeks back from an injured thumb, the Titans receiver injured his knee late against the Ravens. He has been
-- Musa Smith: Baltimore's backup running back was taken off on a cart against the Titans after suffering a neck injury, but reports now have him possibly playing next week if you're desperate to use him on your team.
-- Orlando Pace: The Rams' All-Pro tackle tore a triceps muscle against the Seahawks, ending his season. Could that cut into Marc Bulger's or Steven Jackson's fantasy stats?
-- Luke Petitgout: One reason for Eli Manning's struggles on Sunday was losing his left tackle to a broken leg, which may finish his season. That didn't hurt Barber's game that much, but Manning would need some protection to get his game back in order.
-- Patrick Kerney: He injured a pectoral muscle against the Browns and will miss at least a couple of weeks, further depleting a banged-up Falcons defensive line.
-- Troy Polamalu: The Steelers' top safety suffered a concussion early in the Saints shootout and is a question mark for this week.
Gary Sheffield will get to play for the team that eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs.
While we're in the heart of the fantasy football season, I can't help but get into all the hot stove baseball talk as I try to get that head start on next spring's fantasy drafts.
With the free-agency signing period now open, it's time to start looking at some of the notable deals that have already gone down and how they'll affect your fantasy plans in 2007. I've already gone over the Josh Barfield deal, and now the Yankees have made a couple of trades -- although neither have huge impact in terms of crossing over from the AL to the NL.
First off, the Yankees indeed did part with Gary Sheffield, sending him to the Tigers for three pitching prospects. Sheffield missed much of the season with a wrist injury then tried first base after Bobby Abreu took over his right field job. Sheffield's big bat will be used as a DH in Detroit in the middle of an emerging lineup with guys like Magglio Ordonez, Craig Monroe and Ivan Rodriguez. That means he'll still get his RBI chances as well as his home runs and solid average.
Then the Yankees shipped Jaret Wright to the Orioles for reliever Chris Britton. Wright had been rather disappointing in his two seasons in pinstripes. Now, Wright will be reunited with Leo Mazzone, his pitching coach with the Braves, when he had that revival in 2004. That could help Wright's value, although just be wary of him as usual. Britton had a save and a 3.35 ERA for the Orioles in middle relief last year, and while he could help shore up the Yankees' bullpen, doesn't have much fantasy value.
A couple of notable free agents are already off the market, but they aren't going anywhere as the Cubs signed Aramis Ramirez to a $73 million deal and Kerry Wood to a one-year contract. Ramirez opted out of his original deal and earned a bit of a raise but still stayed in Chicago, where he's built up a reputation as one of the top third basemen in the NL.
Wood is a more intriguing signing as the Cubs, who bought out his original contract, are now looking at the oft-injured starter as a reliever -- possibly a setup man or even a closer should Ryan Dempster falter. You know how good his stuff is, but health is always a question. Like the Cubs, don't pay for Wood as a top-line starter, but he could be worth a value bid to see what he can do out of the bullpen.
Willie Parker ran for 213 yards and two touchdowns to rally the Steelers past the Saints.
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
So in both the early games and the late games, there was one ridiculous shootout that probably provided the bulk of the fantasy points for many teams. Chargers-Bengals early on, and Saints-Steelers in the late game.
Saints-Steelers: Reggie Bush finally scored his first TD from scrimmage, but it was Willie Parker's day, as he became the second running back or wide receiver to break the 200-yard barrier (after Chad Johnson) on Sunday. He is the first player to have two 70-plus yard runs in one game since Barry Sanders in 1997. Oddly enough, neither of the long runs was for a score, although both set up his later TD runs. … Terrance Copper was the Saints receiver to step up in Joe Horn's place, catching six passes for 92 yards and a score but his fumble ended a potential game-tying drive in the final minute. … Marques Colston continued his huge year, catching 10 passes for 169 yards. … Deuce McAllister scored two more touchdowns, including one on a weird rolling snap. … Ben Roethlisberger didn't need to throw for 300 yards this time, instead he had three TDs but no interceptions. … Bush ran much better this week compared to recent weeks but he had a big fumble that set up a Steelers' score.
Cowboys-Cardinals: Tony Romo's yards have increased in each game he's played, and this time he broke 300 for the first time in his career, and once again he connected with Terrell Owens on a TD. … However, Patrick Crayton (5-104-1) had the biggest game as he picked up the slack for the injured Terry Glenn. … Julius Jones only had 15 carries for 45 yards while Marion Barber had 14 carries for 65 yards and a score. Barber seems to be the back you want in Dallas these days. … Matt Leinart threw two more picks but did score his first rushing TD, not long after Reggie Bush did the same. … Larry Fitzgerald returned to the lineup and had six catches for 80 yards, so he's back to normal. … Edgerrin James had one of his best yards-per-carry games in Arizona, rushing for 68 yards on 15 rushes but also had a lost fumble.
Rams-Seahawks: It was déjà vu all over again as Josh Brown sank the Rams again with a late field goal, while Marc Bulger was picked off for just the second time this year -- both times by the Seahawks. … Stephen Jackson continues his quietly big fantasy season with 133 total yards and a TD that gave the Rams a late lead. … Seneca Wallace threw two TD passes, but also lost two fumbles, including one returned for a Rams score. … Maurice Morris put up his second straight 100-yard game but got hurt late. It might be good timing should Shaun Alexander be ready to go next week.
Broncos-Raiders: Mike Bell was inactive, but Tatum Bell only ran for 37 yards, while new backup Damien Nash only had four carries for 14 yards. That Denver running game just gets more and more confusing. … Meanwhile, Jake Plummer did throw two TD passes (including another to Javon Walker), but also had three picks but survived to win because he was playing the punchless Raiders. … Andrew Walter passed for 214 yards and found Roland Williams five times for 61 yards, but Oakland only ran for 46 total yards -- 40 of them from Zack Crockett. … LaMont Jordan did score but only ran for 12 yards total, and Randy Moss had just one catch for eight yards.
Bears-Giants: Thomas Jones' big third-down run at the end of the first half got Chicago's offense back in gear, and Jones finished with 110 yards and a TD. ... Rex Grossman also recovered after a bad start, passing for 246 yards and three TDs, including one to Mark Bradley, who went for 79 yards and a score in place of the injured Bernard Berrian. Muhsin Muhammad also shined with 123 yards and a TD. ... The Bears are still struggling to stop the run, with Tiki Barber going for 141 yards, the third time in a row that a running back has gone for 100 yards against Chicago. However, Brandon Jacobs scored both TDs for the Giants in his only two carries of the night. ... Eli Manning really struggled, passing for 121 yards with three turnovers. He couldn't find much of a rhythm, especially with Amani Toomer out. Most surprising is that Jeremy Shockey only had one catch for 15 yards.
Carson Palmer threw for 440 yards and three TDs against the second-ranked Chargers defense and still lost.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
There were a handful of just crazy stat lines from the early games -- including a handful from the Chargers-Bengals shootout. A bunch of TDs in the 60-, 70- and 80-yard range contributed to what could be a high-scoring fantasy week. It was also a week of wild upsets (Jets, Browns, Texans, 49ers) and near misses (Titans, Bills). Once again it's "Any given Sunday …"
Chargers-Bengals: Welcome to an old-school AFL shootout, as Carson Palmer passed for 440 yards and three TDs while Philip Rivers went for 337 and three scores of his own. … Chad Johnson set a Bengals team record with 260 yards receiving plus two long scores. Meanwhile, T.J. Houshmandzadeh was knocked out of the game late after getting his bell run. … Rudi Johnson overcame an early-game suspension to put a respectable 85 yards and a score. … After another slow start, LaDainian Tomlinson exploded for his second four-TD game this season and 14 in his last five games. LT also added another 158 yards from scrimmage. … A new Chargers receiving threat came through as Malcolm Floyd have five catches for 109 yards and a score. … Brandon Manumaleuna caught the other two TD passes as Antonio Gates has now gone three games without a score.
Ravens-Titans: Steve McNair put up a show with 373 yards, three TDs and two interceptions in his return to Tennessee, rallying the Ravens from a 26-7 deficit. He did have to make up for running game issues as Jamal Lewis had just 45 rushing yards. … It was a nice game for both Mark Clayton (7-125-1) and Derrick Mason (8-64-1), plus Demetrius Williams (4-75-0). … Vince Young is getting better as an NFL QB, passing for 211 yards plus running for a score. He's also clicking with Drew Bennett (6-115-0) and Bo Scaife, who had two catches for 48 yards and also ran for a score. … Travis Henry continues to confound fantasy owners as he ran for 107 yards and a score against a tough Ravens defense -- although it was missing Ray Lewis.
49ers-Lions: San Francisco's defense is looking a lot better, allowing just 16 points the last two games. It also held Kevin Jones to just 44 rushing yards (but he had nine catches for 71 yards). It also forced fumbles from Jones, Jon Kitna and Roy Williams. … Frank Gore picked up his fourth 100-yard game, going for a season-high 159 yards and the Niners' lone TD. Gore has rushed for 20 times three times this season and has gotten 100 yards in each of them. … Alex Smith's numbers were not great again (136 passing yards, 1 lost fumble), but it's enough to win two straight games.
Bills-Colts: A win is a win for Indy, even if Marvin Harrison had just two catches for 21 yards. … Dominic Rhodes actually contributed 72 rushing yards, but Joseph Addai had 78 and a TD (plus seven catches for 46 yards), and the rookie was the guy carrying the ball to run out the clock. … Ben Utecht was the leading receiver for the Colts with 66 receiving yards. … Anthony Thomas did run for 109 yards, but the overall passing offense is still horrid. J.P. Losman threw for just 83 yards, completing passes to only two receivers -- Lee Evans (5-70-0) and Peerless Price (4-13-0). … Peyton Manning's 300-yard streak is over as he went for 236 and a TD to Reggie Wayne.
Redskins-Eagles: Clinton Portis left the game early with a broken hand, which is why Ladell Betts went for 83 yards. Otherwise, the passing offense was nearly nonexistent -- Santana Moss returned but had just 17 yards. … Donovan McNabb was just 12-of-26, but he did have an 84-yard TD strike to Donte Stallworth early. … Correll Buckhalter scored a TD when he picked up a fumble after a Reggie Brown reception and ran it 38 yards to the end zone. … Brian Westbrook ran for 113 yards and added 37 more through the air.
Browns-Falcons: The good news is that Michael Vick ran for 74 yards and threw a TD pass. The bad news is that he had three more turnovers, including a fumble on a potential game-winning drive. … Reuben Droughns scored his third TD of the season -- beating last year's mark, surprisingly. … Braylon Edwards now had TDs in two straight games. … Kellen Winslow piled up 90 more receiving yards on five catches.
Jets-Patriots: Reche Caldwell is turning into a solid fantasy receiver, as he caught nine passes for 90 yards and the Patriots' only score. However, the Patriots have a rare two-game losing streak. … The Patriots did run 25 times for 143 yards but no scores. Corey Dillon had 98 yards, including a 50-yard run, while Laurence Maroney was held to just 37. … Kevan Barlow got himself back in the Jets' running back mix, running for 75 yards and a score, while Leon Washington had just 35 yards. Barlow may be a better bet for some of the sloppier conditions late in the year. … Jerricho Cotchery got back in the TD column, while Laveranues Coles had five catches but for just 29 yards.
Packers-Vikings: Brad Johnson got his numbers back up thanks to facing a bad Green Bay pass defense, but it wasn't enough for a win. And he put up 257 yards without completing a pass to Troy Williamson. Instead, it was Bethel Johnson (2-75-0) and Billy McMullen (3-64-1) with the big games. McMullen also scored a TD when he recovered a Chester Taylor fumble at the goal line. … Brett Favre continues his great play against the Vikings, throwing for 347 yards and two scores, including an impressive 82-yard catch-and-run to Donald Driver, who finished with 191 yards. … Ahman Green could manage just 55 yards against the Vikings' top-ranked run defense.
Chiefs-Dolphins: Could Trent Green be back next week? It's possible after Damon Huard went just 15-of-38 for 201 yards and no scores. However, he did connect with Tony Gonzalez six times for 84 yards. … Larry Johnson did score again, but had just 89 total yards. … Ronnie Brown has either scored or gone for 100 yards for four straight weeks. He went for 89 yards and the Dolphins' only TD. … Joey Harrington also passed for 201 yards, but helped Chris Chambers have a decent game (3-66-0).
Texans-Jaguars: Byron Leftwich might get back into the starting lineup after David Garrard threw four picks as Jacksonville was swept by Houston. … A not-so-good sign for Garrard -- nine of his 15 receptions and 127 of his 214 passing yards went to running backs. Ernest Wilford had two catches of 25 yards each to be the Jags' top wideout. … Maurice Jones-Drew scored his sixth TD of the season, and Fred Taylor went for 134 combined yards (63 rushing, 71 receiving). … David Carr left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury (and wasn't all that sharp when he was in there) and replaced by Sage Rosenfels. … Wali Lundy scored a TD, but Samkon Gado led the way with 67 yards. Even Carr ran for 48 while Lundy had just 34.
-- Rudi Johnson won’t start for the Bengals after violating a team rule, although he’ll likely come in some time during the first half. He does have a tough matchup against the Chargers, even without Shawne Merriman and Luis Castillo. Chris Perry will be the starter for Cincinnati, but he hasn’t shown a lot since returning from injury.
-- Now it looks like Tatum Bell will be starting for the Broncos and that Mike Bell could be inactive in favor of Cedric Cobbs or Damien Nash. That Denver running back situation continues to be a mess for fantasy owners. Whichever Bell gets the start should have a big game against the Raiders.
-- Terry Glenn likely will miss the game against the Cardinals with a knee injury. Terrell Owens and Jason Witten were already getting more catches from Tony Romo. But Patrick Crayton could get more looks in the lineup if you need to replace Glenn.
-- Jerious Norwood is out for the Falcons, which means Warrick Dunn probably gets even more carries and could be in for a huge game against the Browns.
-- Greg Jennings will start for the Packers despite re-injuring his ankle last week. He may not last the whole game but if you need to use him, at least he’ll play.
-- Santana Moss is back in the lineup for the Redskins after sitting out last week with a hamstring injury. He’s wildly inconsistent from week to week but he’s free to use if you need him.
-- Joe Horn likely will miss another game for the Saints, which means Devery Henderson will get more looks and may match his big output from last week as the Steelers have struggled against the pass.
-- While Steve McNair will be honored in his return to Tennessee and could be in for a big game, teammate Ray Lewis is out with a back injury.
-- Vernon Davis is out once again for the 49ers, so his return from a broken leg won’t come until Week 11 at the earliest. Hopefully you weren’t relying on him this week.