In Week 3, the Seahawks gained less than 300 yards, but hung 27 points on the Chargers for the win. On the other hand, the Broncos amassed over 500 yards but could only muster 13 points in a loss to the Colts.
Yet the 'Hawks won on two return TDs from Leon Washington, while Kyle Orton's team faltered. Next you'll tell me the Chiefs are undefeated.
Hold on, Dave, I call timeout here to freeze you so you don't succeed in outwitting me on the last play of the column.
Who said Roy Williams was done? Williams became the Roy Hobbs of football and laced the Houston secondary for 117 yards and two scores.
Are you ignoring me? I called timeout!
The Niners are 0-3. I imagine a Mike Singletary pep talk now involves chalk outlines, like the one created around QB Alex Smith, sacked five times by the Chiefs.
Don't these timeout things work anymore?
They certainly didn't in New Orleans, Jon. While Sean Payton blamed his kicker for an easy miss, let he who is without sin ...
Ah, you weren't ignoring me. You were making a point that for all the times "freezing" timeouts work, they backfire just as much.
No, I was ignoring you.
Topic No. 1: Alex Smith and Mark Sanchez are going in different directions. Is either roster-worthy?
Block: Watching Smith is hard, not only because his facial hair makes him look 40, but because all that untapped talent can't get a break. Nearly all five of his INTs have either been receiver-tipped or defense-deflected. In the Niners' two blowout losses, Smith was sacked seven times and under constant pressure. But in the Saints game, he was kept upright and played like a pro. He's worth a roster spot as your QB2, and could have a solid start against weaker defensive fronts.
On the other hand, after a terrible Week 1 performance, the clean-shaven Sanchez dismantled two key division rivals (6 TDs/0 INTs) and has kept his job as the Jets' savior. The Jets boast a solid front five, a steady pass-catching TE in Dustin Keller, a solid running game, and a soon-to-be Santonio Holmes-upgraded receiving corps. Smith can makes solid starts against teams with weaker defensive fronts, and Sanchez is a better option because he follows the scientific theory of facial hair cleanliness.
Counter-block: Jon, you elitist West Coast types are always espousing your follicle-based conspiracy theories at the drop of a Brandon Jacobs helmet. Smith watches one too many Old Spice commercials and he's less of a QB than the baby-smooth Sanchez? True, Smith can't sport a full Merlin Olsen, but he's also no longer an NFL youngster. In 46 games he's yet to prove he's a winner rather than a non-loser. Outside of that, if you're looking for a youngster to take a Hail Mary on, think Arizona's Max Hall, who should be behind center in a couple of weeks. And while Sanchez has the same tool set as Smith (plus a razor), he has a higher ceiling based on the talent around him. Just beware that Sanchez started last year 3-0, but then regressed to 4-4 at midseason.
Piling on: Smith is a risk to start right now, even with a good matchup. However, you could do worse for a backup QB. While Sanchez may see ups and downs, he is developing, and we see his talented O-Line, WRs, TE and RBs and say he'll make a solid fantasy starter going forward.
Topic No. 2: Should I go out and get Roy Williams on the heels of what looks like a career-invigorating performance?
Block: Williams likely scored all those points in Week 3 on most leagues' waiver wires. Just last week we said the Cowboys pass too much, and now we're saying they don't pass enough. Even though the offensive plays were more balanced against the Texans (who played offensively), that's because the Cowboys weren't challenged. But make no mistake, when their backs are against the wall this team will pass, pass, pass. With Miles Austin, rookie Dez Bryant, and TE Jason Witten, QB Tony Romo has many weapons, but he's not picky when it comes to scoring (fill in easy Jessica Simpson joke here). Williams is only 28, in the middle of a $54 million contract, and rarely fumbles. I'd go with the still-speedy veteran over the rookie Bryant. Williams makes a great WR2/3 most weeks with the potential to overachieve.
Counter-block: Roy Williams makes the best roast beef money can buy. Sorry, that's Roy Rogers, but I'm sure Roy Williams eats the best roast beef money can buy, and that's about all you can say for him. Sure, Williams was an elite talent with the Lions, and maybe with Romo finally on the same page (or at least the same book), Williams will have some value. However, Williams has only once played 16 games in a season. This offense also features Austin, new non-pad-carrying wunderkind Bryant, as well as pass-catching TEs Witten and Martellus Bennett. They're becoming New Orleans-lite in many ways. Austin will still see the majority of looks, while Williams is a fallback option. If you want to grab anyone, it's Bryant, who is the object in the rearview mirror that is closer than it appears (see next topic).
Piling on: If Williams is sitting pretty on your waiver wire, get him. Conversely, this could be a good time to sell high on someone who is at best a WR2 for your team.
Topic No. 3: Do you ever give a roster spot to special teams studs like Leon Washington, Dexter McCluster or Dez Bryant?
Block: Picture yourself having high tea with the Queen of England, Prince Philip, her husband, and Arthur Valerian Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. You know the Queen, you might recognize her husband, and the Duke, well, you only know Wellington is a beef dish. The same goes for the coaches knowing their special teams' players when it comes to offense. The most TDs scored by special teams players in a year for either punt returns or kickoff returns are four. Devin Hester owns a record six special teams TDs in a season (in both 2006 and '07) while adding over 1,500 total yards. That's about 174 fantasy points in a year, the same as an elite TE. Washington has 11 touches for 29 yards and no targets. McCluster has four rushes for two yards, and 10 targets for 73 yards and a TD, 69 of which he got this past Sunday. Bryant garnered another six targets this year and 50 yards giving him 20 total, with 14 receptions and 158 yards. Sing it with me: "One of these things is not like the other; one of these things just doesn't belong ..."
Counter-block: First Katy Perry, now Jon Phillips: banned from Sesame Street (guess which one showed too much cleavage). While it's impossible to predict when a return man will score, the same is true for receivers and backs. I know. I owned Randy Moss and Laurence Maroney last year. But every now and then a Desmond Howard or a Devin Hester arrives with the moves and speed to score at any time. The records for return TDs likely won't change. But there's something about speedy, successful returners that makes the offensive coordinator say, "Hey, we could use a guy like Dante Hall in our Chiefs receiving corps. Great googlie mooglie!" (Anyone notice the proliferation of the initials "DH" in this conversation? Howard, Hester, Hall. Perhaps the "X-Factor" is really an "X-File.") If you get points for return yards and scores and are in a deeper league, these guys can be worth a spot, as they may eventually sneak into the regular offense like Bryant and McCluster. You could do worse on a bye week gamble.
Piling on: You might draft a Defense/ST unit as a whole if your league gives you points for both, which make the Chiefs a good unit to acquire. But the only special teamers we'd recommend right now is Bryant, a player who garners targets with regularity.
Before we go, we acknowledge the passing of NFL great George Blanda. We always thought he was too tough to die. Rest in peace.
Jon Phillips is the 2008 Champion of the Columbus Dispatch National Fantasy Football Contest "Rate the Experts" and has written for Talented Mr. Roto, Rotoexperts.com and SI.com. He also hosted Rotoexperts flagship radio show "Xperts Edge" as well as "The Think Tank" with Scott Engel. Dave Young has written weekly fantasy sports columns for Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Talented Mr. Roto, and other sites he can't remember. Called the "Laverne and Shirley of Fantasy Football," catch them both on "Just A Bit Outside" on Blogtalkradio.com, Sundays, noon Eastern (9 a.m. PST), and read their column, "Line of Scrimmage" weekly on SI.com. E-mail Jon at email@example.com or Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org for subjects you'd like to see debated on "Line of Scrimmage."