9/13/09: Dear Diary,

Sorry it's been so long since I wrote. I started playing the Ben Roethlisberger pump-fake drinking game on Thursday, and the next thing I knew it was Saturday afternoon.

Until next time, diary...

* * *

9/14/09: Dear Diary,

Thanks to Leodis McKelvin's brilliant decision and subsequent fumble, he gave New England's defense just enough points for me to lose in one league. He also set up Tom Brady for his second TD which cost me a win in another league. Thanks for being a good listener as usual, diary. Here are my starts for the week.

Trent Edwards -- I can't believe I'm recommending this, diary. What next? Joining a WNBA fantasy league? Drinking non-alcoholic beer? While some of his effectiveness was aided by a worse than expected Patriots' defense, Edwards looked surprisingly competent. The one thing he didn't do was stretch the field, but the Tampa Bay secondary was a hot mess against Dallas. Look for Edwards to take a few shots this week.

Joe Flacco -- Sure, part of Flacco's Week One outburst was aided by the abysmal Chiefs defense, but it shouldn't detract from his continued development. After the Raiders ran roughshod over the San Diego defense Monday night, they are sure to dedicate extra defenders to slow down Baltimore's rushing attack. That will open things up for Flacco to have another solid game and prove he's no fluke.

Ahmad Bradshaw -- The Giants' offensive line was one of the most effective units in Week One as they largely controlled Albert Haynesworth. Diary, do you think he could end up being a worse investment than that leopard-print Snuggie I bought? With Danny Ware out, Bradshaw displayed a nice combination of power and speed in relief of Brandon Jacobs. He faces a Cowboys team that was gashed on the ground by Tampa Bay, making him a solid flex option.

Fred Jackson -- Jackson was one of the most impressive players I saw in Week One with 140 total yards, including five receptions. Trent Edwards looked to him often, and the Bills showed a nice screen game versus the Pats. Jackson's time as the starter may be limited with Marshawn Lynch due back in Week Four, but Jackson is a Top 12 running back this week.

Jonathan Stewart -- In addition to learning that Jake Delhomme is completely incompetent, we also learned that Stewart's Achilles is just fine. He received 11 carries compared to 14 for DeAngelo Williams, including three shots from the goal line. If the Panthers want to avoid a 0-2 start, they'll need to limit how much Delhomme touches the ball, which means more rushing attempts for their two-headed backfield monster.

Leon Washington -- Rookie Shonn Greene wasn't even active for the Jets on Sunday, and Washington continued his effective play with 60 yards on 15 carries. He also hauled in four receptions to maintain his status as a solid flex option in PPR leagues. After watching Fred Jackson torment the Pats on Monday, I can see the Jets using Washington in a similar role.

Justin Gage -- With Nate Washington slowed by a hamstring injury, Gage stepped up against a stingy Pittsburgh defense with seven grabs, 78 yards and a score. Kerry Collins looked his way early and often, and this week Gage draws Houston CB Dunta Robinson who was apparently too busy writing on his shoes last week to cover anyone.

Santana Moss -- It's easy to give up on Moss after getting shut down against the Giants. If we learned anything in Week One though, it's that the Rams secondary cures all ills, so look for a bounce back from Moss this week.

Laurent Robinson -- Robinson has always showed speed and talent but has typically been unable to stay healthy. He made it through camp this season and is now pushing Donnie Avery to be St. Louis' top receiver. Robinson compares nicely to Mario Manningham, who was able to break a few nice plays against the Washington secondary last week.

Steve Smith -- The Giants may not have officially named their No. 1 receiver, but actions speak louder than words. Eli Manning clearly looked Smith's way with regularity, and the Cowboys secondary showed some vulnerability last week. Did you see Michael Clayton's numbers, diary? Enough said.

Todd Heap -- The Ravens' acquisition of L.J. Smith seemed to hurt Heap's fantasy value, but in a not-so-shocking development, Smith is injured. That opened the door for Heap to put up solid numbers in Week One. The Chargers were the worst team defending the tight end last year, and Zach Miller showed they have not improved on Monday.

Zach Miller -- The Raiders were better than advertised in Week One, but they are extremely thin at wide receiver, leaving Miller as their top receiving option. Kansas City gave up big numbers to the aforementioned Heap last week, and Miller is virtually a must-start at this point.

We'll talk again tomorrow, diary...

9/15/09: Dear Diary,

Did you know Jay Leno is back on NBC? I hope the show is as funny as his awkward interview with Bob Costas at halftime of the Sunday night game. Any chance that wasn't supposed to be funny? Oh well, here are the guys I'm avoiding this week.

Jay Cutler -- Just when Bears' fans thought they could never miss Kyle Orton, Cutler turned into Jake Delhomme. That made them also long for the days of Cade McNown. Or Moses Moreno. Or Craig Krenzel. Anyway, Cutler faces Pittsburgh this week as he attempts to regain his dignity. The Bears don't have a choice but to start him. Luckily, you do.

David Garrard -- Can somebody get this guy a receiver? He has shown the ability to be a serviceable NFL quarterback, but the fact that Troy Williamson starts is an indictment of their depth. Diary, I stopped pretending my dad is Chef Boyardee, so they should stop pretending he's a legitimate receiver.

Joseph Addai -- Sure, he found the end zone and had more carries than rookie Donald Brown, but Addai was generally ineffective last week. After fumbling and dropping a screen pass, he was relegated to the bench much of the second half. This week he draws a Miami defense that held the far more talented Michael Turner in check last week.

Tim Hightower -- His dozen Week One receptions were his sole source of fantasy value, and I have a better chance of bringing back Mr. Belvedere than he does of repeating that feat. Ken Whisenhunt also hinted at getting Beanie Wells more work, and the Jags' secondary was atrocious against the Colts.

Larry Johnson -- Yes diary, I know he was listed here last week, and it may be tempting to start him based on a matchup with the Raiders on Sunday. Don't do it. The Raiders D-Line did a terrific job of keeping LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles in check on the ground. LJ also comes off the field on passing downs, so I'm looking elsewhere.

Julius Jones -- Jones had two good things happen in Week One. First, Edgerrin James looked awful, and second, he faced the Rams. While James won't get better, the competition will. The 49ers looked terrific defensively against an explosive Arizona squad, and with concerns on the Seattle O-Line, Jones should be held in check.

Nate Burleson -- I liked Burleson as a bounceback candidate before the season, and after a strong showing in Week One, I still do. However, I look for the 49ers to take a similar approach to last week against Arizona by forcing Matt Hasselbeck to throw underneath routes. That's good news for T.J. Houshmandzadeh but not Burleson.

Braylon Edwards -- Perhaps Eric Mangini should be less concerned with keeping secrets and more concerned with coaching. Diary, you haven't told anyone that I like to relax with a Zima, some Neil Diamond and a bubble bath, but that doesn't make you qualified to coach football. Anyway, Edwards was held to one catch in the opener, and this week he draws Champ Bailey. The Broncos will put a lot of heat on Brady Quinn, which should lead to plenty short throws and dump-offs.

Devery Henderson -- Let's look back at the last few times Henderson has had a 100-yard game and see how he followed them up. In 2007, he posted 101 yards in Week Five and then failed to break 45 yards the rest of the season. Last year, he posted 104 yards in Week Five. He never registered more than three receptions after that and was held to fewer than 35 yards seven times in their last 11 games. Excuse me if I don't hop on the bandwagon.

Torry Holt -- Holt has had a terrific career, but he's not the answer in Jacksonville and is no longer a No. 1 receiver. In two games versus Arizona last year, Holt totaled 119 yards in a more pass-oriented offensive system.

Robert Royal -- The fantasy football landscape is littered with tight ends who had solid games in Week One and subsequently embarrassed themselves (and fantasy owners) the rest of the season. Need a list? How about Chris Baker (2005), Alex Smith (2005), and Dante Rosario (2008).

Ben Watson -- His two late touchdowns may send owners rushing to the waiver wire, but don't be fooled. He's been wildly inconsistent in his career and has posted over 50 yards just twice in the past two seasons.

Until next week, diary ...

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