Ahhh, Dave, Week 7 saw my Steelers improve to 5-1 thanks to a tough rushing defense, a good ground game, an improving passing attack with Ben Roethlisberger back behind center ...
... and the worst interpretation of a sports rule since the men's 1972 Olympic basketball final. The Dolphins' Ikaika Alama-Francis plainly handed the ball to the ref. Saying there wasn't conclusive evidence to determine possession is like finding someone standing over a dead body clutching a bloody knife yelling, "I'm glad I killed him," and having the cops say, "Hey, let's not rush to judgment." My Dolphins got hosed, Jon.
Really? If I hand you a puck on a hockey rink are you going to assume I scored? When the whistle blew and a touchdown was called, the play was officially dead. Since the whistle was blown too soon, the refs didn't exactly do their jobs determining an outcome from the fumble. In turn, this led to the players stirring more tales about what happened than O.J. Simpson's defense team. Lastly, whether we like it or not (and I do), the rule was interpreted correctly. Even if the Steelers got away with one, the Bears got a bigger gift win against the Lions on a more flagrant rule misinterpretation. Even Tony Sparano conceded the Dolphins' first two possessions -- both inside Pittsburgh's 25-yard line -- should have yielded more than two field goals. Not to mention Roethlisberger said he had the football and then let it go on the touchdown call.
Roethlisberger? Really? Not exactly the paragon of virtue, is he?
Hmm, sounds like someone is unloading some baggage from the snow plow game against the Pats some decades ago.
A convict! They let a convict on the field to run the snow plow and ...
Let it go. Don't make me start up the "wahmbulance."
C'mon, Seahawks fans. Remember Super Bowl XL? You know what I'm talking about ...
... ought to change the name to "Stealers."
OK, Scott Engel, you get on that. Until then, let's get to our first topic.
Topic No. 1: Fantasy prognosticators have been awaiting the arrival of highly controversial RB LeGarrette Blount. Does Sunday's 11 rushes on 72 yards signal his arrival?
Block: If you don't remember Blount, he was the Oregon knucklehead who punched a Boise State player on national TV last year, making him our generation's Woody Hayes. He was suspended for the season, but reinstated after becoming a model citizen. And to be fair, the defensive player had taunted Blount, slapping him on the shoulder. OK, fast-forward to 2010 and Blount goes undrafted, signs as a free agent with the Titans ... and then punches a teammate. He makes the final cut, but is waived. The Bucs claim him off waivers, Earnest Graham pulls a hammy, Kareem Huggins tears his ACL, Cadillac Williams underwhelms, and wham-o, Blount becomes relevant. In Sunday's game he could easily have had 100-plus yards -- runs of 46 and 13 yards were called back -- and the Bucs' only knock on him (besides the tendency to lead with his fist) is his weak blitz blocking. But since his blocking is improving, he's in for more carries. Will he do something stupid again? Likely, but until then, there's a potential starting RB for a team that wants to run on your waiver wire. Get him now.
Counter-block: The NFL is cracking down on disciplinary problems, on tough hits and on behavior in general that is unbecoming of an NFL player. And here comes Blount, fists-a-blazing. The only thing this guy hasn't fired a punch at is the time clock ending his tenure as an NFL player, and that's likely to come sooner rather than later. Sure he's got size and speed, but brains also figure into him becoming viable for your team. And if he can't make the field in reality, he's not going to help you much in fantasy.
Piling on: Blount will eventually break your heart by doing something stupid (leading to either suspension or a spot on the Bengals' roster), but until then, consider his appearance on the waiver wire as a gift. Keep an eye on his production when Graham returns, but he should give you great points at the flex position. Pick him up and duck.
Topic No. 2: David Gettis has been steadily getting more targets for weeks and has finally broken out in Carolina. Does this make him a waiver wire target?
Block: It's hard to get excited about anyone in Carolina these days. Even James Taylor is thinking of re-working his classic song to "Goin' Anywhere But Carolina (to Watch Football)". The Panthers have two inexperienced QBs. They have an O-line that's missing Jeff Otah. Their vaunted running attack has disappeared, as they've been playing from behind in all but their first game of the season. And Steve Smith has all but become a fantasy afterthought because of injury. Keeping that in mind, know that Gettis has been targeted no less than five times per game since Week 2. The 6-4, 210-pound Baylor product appears to be in the mold of former Panther dud Dwayne Jarrett. Considering Sunday's appearance, you can place him safely behind Smith as Carolina's WR2, ahead of their top pick Brandon LaFell. Expect the opportunities to continue, making him a solid WR3/Flex pickup for a team needing one.
Counter-block: "Number Two Panthers Receiver" is on the same level as "Best-Made American Car," "Tastiest German Food" and "Quickest DH in Baseball." These phrases all illustrate the difference between relative and absolute worth. There's no argument that Gettis is now the second best pair of hands on the Panthers, but as a fantasy receiver, his numbers are severely limited in that offense. Going into Week 7 Carolina was dead last in passing, and while playing the 49ers was a great tonic for what ails the team them, it is still the same team. QB Matt Moore had a monster game against a team that's already making off-season travel plans. But with Williams in the backfield and a shaky Moore, the offense will stay conservative. And when it opens up, Smith is still The Man. Gettis had his career game last week, and likely returns to his under 40-yards per game results. Pass. Well, you know what I mean.
Piling on: Carolina is a tough place to mine fantasy offensive value this year. If you need a flex or bye week pickup, Gettis has value in favorable matchups. Just don't expect another 2-TD performance.
Topic No. 3: The Bills passed up and down the field on the Ravens. Is Ryan Fitzpatrick really that good or is Baltimore's D really that bad?
Block: The Bills released Stanford QB Trent Edwards and handed the reins to Harvard QB Fitzpatrick, and this time using SAT scores as a drafting metric has paid off. While the Bills are still searching for that first win, the Fitzpatrick-led Bills have been competitive in most games. Against the Pats, Jets and Jags, sure, he was throwing against bad passing defenses, but going into last Sunday's game, the Ravens were third in pass defense, and he killed them. He has a University of Phoenix arm, but his Harvard head consistently locked in on the open man and he showed decent mobility. He's likely not the long-term solution and is probably a buffet for sack-happy teams like the Chargers, Titans and Packers, but a QB on a hot streak for a team that will pass a lot because its behind makes a good fantasy QB2.
Counter-block: The season is young, my friend, and while the Bills continue to be close in games, you don't get points for close. You get points in fantasy for performance. The only defense the Bills faced that had any gumption behind it was the Jets, against which "Fitzy" completed just 44 percent of his passes. He's a career 59 percent passer, and that number has been augmented because of games against horrid pass defenses such as New England and Jacksonville. His next six games include the Top 15 pass defenses of Detroit, Cincinnati and Minnesota and Top 10 overall defenses, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Minnesota. He has to rely on disappearing receivers such as Lee Evans. Fitzy may be improving, and with him, Buffalo's offense, but he's still not a QB2 I'd rely on. As for the Ravens' defense, it's the exact opposite. Their track record always points to them as strong, though the team hasn't been as opportunistic as in the past. They are minus two in the give/take ratio.
Piling on: Fitzpatrick is bringing hope again to the City That Lost Four Super Bowls, but his skill level and mediocre team indicates this is a better "Sell High" opportunity than a "Go Get Him" one. As for the Ravens' D, don't bet against them.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Dave at email@example.com for subjects you'd like to see debated on "Line of Scrimmage."