October 12, 2008
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Week 6 Revelations
Matt Schaub: Allen Kee/Getty Images
Houston 29, Miami 28
  • There's Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne ... or Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. But for my money, there is no more consistently lethal QB-WR handcuff duo in fantasy football than Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. (Note: I fully expect Tom Brady and Randy Moss to compete for -- and probably win -- this title next season.) On Sunday, the Texans' twosome played major roles in the team's last-second, come-from-behind victory. On the game-winning drive, Johnson (10 catches, 178 yards, 1 TD) somehow swiped a jump-ball-like pass from two Dolphins defenders -- on 4th and long. A few plays later (also 4th down), with seconds to spare ... and Johnson (34 Schaub targets prior to Sunday) seeing double- and triple-team coverage, Schaub saw that Miami's linebackers were playing the pass; so he dropped back three paces, faked a quick pass and then zig-zagged through the middle for the winning touchdown -- his first rushing score of the season. On day, Schaub accounted for 394 total yards (379 passing) and two scores -- justifying his standing as Houston's No. 1 quarterback ... and as a leading man in fantasyland, as well. Schaub's great day also had a trickle-down effect for wide receiver Kevin Walter (98 yards) and tight end Owen Daniels (70 yards); while Steve Slaton (another solid passing option) learned that he is the undisputed primary back -- even with a healthy Ahman Green (41 rushing yards) in the picture.

    On the flip side, if you had the incredible foresight to have third-string Dolphins RB Patrick Cobbs on your roster -- let alone starting in Week 6 -- congratulations on Cobbs' 3-catch, 138-yard, 2-TD day! (In a totally unrelated matter, would you mind purchasing a few lottery tickets for me this week?) Cobbs' stellar outing aside, Ronnie Brown (50 yards, 1 TD), Chad Pennington (245 yards, 2 TDs) and even Ricky Williams (46 yards, 1 TD) posted solid fantasy numbers, a comforting thought to owners who were convinced Brown could only score in the "Wildcat" formation (aka, Single Wing-T).

  • Arizona 30, Dallas 24 (OT)
  • Who's to say Anquan Boldin was home recuperating from facial-bone surgery on Sunday -- and not running pass patterns opposite Larry Fitzgerald against the Cowboys? His understudy, Steve Breaston, pulled off a Boldin-like coup against Dallas, catching eight balls for 102 yards and one touchdown, while freeing up Fitzgerald for 79 receiving yards (with 1 TD) ... and the all-too-rare pass attempt. Breaston has been great in the last three games (306 yards, 1 TD), but the fun may be ending for the ex-Michigan star, now that Boldin is slated to return in Week 8, after the Cards' bye. It goes without saying: You might want to "sell high" on Breaston -- even though he certainly has one or two more 100-yard games in his '08 future.

    I could go in a thousand different directions, per usual, on the Cowboys -- like Patrick Crayton's 84-yard, 1-TD day (to which I predicted) or Felix Jones (22 total yards) and Terrell Owens (36 yards) again playing pedestrian roles -- but instead I'll focus on the incomparble Tony Romo (321 yards, 3 TDs) and Marion Barber (11 catches, 173 total yards, 1 TD). How consisent has Romo been this season? Through six games, he has thrown for 300 yards and 3 TDs four times -- a stat that subtly reminds one of Tom Brady in 2007. And with Barber (674 total yards, 6 TDs) ... is there any doubt he's the best running back in standard-scoring leagues today? (BTW, Reggie Bush rules the PPRs!)

  • Philadelphia 40, San Francisco 26
  • You could make the argument that Correll Buckhalter, as an Eagles starter, has similar fantasy value to Steven Jackson, Joseph Addai, Adrian Peterson or even -- dare I say it -- LaDainian Tomlinson. Buckhalter, whose body type is eerily similar to that of Brian Westbrook, played a Westbrook-like role against the 49ers, rushing for 93 yards and one touchdown and then hauling in seven catches for 85 yards. As a byproduct of C-Buck's fantasy goodness, Donovan McNabb had ample time to dissect the San Francisco D -- to the tune of 278 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, Philly has a bye in Week 7, prompting Westbrook's likely return in Week 8 and forcing Buckhalter's back-slide to the bench area. But how can you not like Buckhalter as a top-15 pick in next year's fantasy drafts -- assuming he's playing with another team?

  • Regarding the Niners ... in accordance with the fantasyland constitutional bylaw prohibiting any and all Vernon Davis discussions -- whether in good times or bad -- I'm not allowed to publish an opinion on his six-catch, 75-yard day (a club-high) against the Eagles. However, I'm free and clear to wonder how Arnaz Battle (three catches, 39 yards) Isaac Bruce (2 catches, 28 yards), as a tandem, couldn't match Davis' output? Thank heaven for Frank Gore (117 total yards, 1 TD) ... otherwise San Francisco's playmakers would have been consigned to "fantasy roadkill" territory (like another NFC West team -- scroll down).

  • New Orleans 34, Oakland 3
  • My man-crush for Drew Brees knows no bounds -- especially after his 320-yard, 3-TD day against the Raiders (so much for DeAngelo Hall bolstering that pass defense). But I have a bad feeling the Saints are going to struggle in weeks 7 (at Carolina) and 8 (vs. San Diego in London -- where a rainy, soggy field is inevitable). And yes, I'm blissfully aware Marques Colston returns to the lineup next week. On the flip side, what can you say about QB JaMarcus Russell (159 yards, 0 TDs) and the Raiders' anemic, almost lifeless offense? Not one playmaker, Russell aside, produced more than 46 total yards (tight end Zach Miller had the best day) ... which begs the following question: How many high school or college teams experienced similar ineptitude this weekend? If I had to guess, maybe 1-2 percent. I guess Lane Kiffin wasn't the problem after all, right Al (Davis)?

  • Revelations, Book II
    Thomas Jones: Al Bello/Getty Images
    N.Y. Jets 26, Cincinnati 14
  • It seems trivial now, but I actually deliberated for 45 minutes Sunday morning over whom to start in one of my eight fantasy leagues -- Thomas Jones against the Bengals or Darren McFadden against the Saints. Luckily for me, I stuck to my creed of "When in doubt, always go with the guy playing at home" ... because Jones produced three touchdowns in just 20 touches and 78 total yards and, in the process, made me feel like a short-lived genius. So, what's the difference between DeAngelo Williams' three-touchdown day last week and Jones' thrice-as-nice outing in Week 6? Well, unlike DeAngelo, Jones has no primary-back competition -- which means you shouldn't even think of trading him away for anything less than No. 1 receiver (be greedy!). And as long as Ryan Fitzpatrick is helming the Bengals offense (which could be a looooong while), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (7 catches, 49 yards on Sunday) does not really qualify as a WR1.

  • Indianapolis 31, Baltimore 3
  • Throughout the week, I was shocked to see and hear the Baltimore pass defense getting so much respect, as if opposing teams just couldn't throw on a secondary starring all-world safety Ed Reed ... and three random guys you've likely never heard of. Well, it took Peyton Manning all of 17 minutes to carve up the Ravens for three scores (two to Reggie Wayne, one to Marvin Harrison) and debunk another myth about the Colts being stuck in neutral. On the day, Harrison totaled 83 yards and two TDs (he's only a flex starter, folks), Wayne pulled down eight catches for 118 yards and 1 TD (he's always a must-start) and Manning threw for 271 yards and 3 TDs -- while making every fantasy owner who sat him for Kyle Orton feel foolish.

  • San Diego 30, New England 10
  • A cautionary note to fantasy owners everywhere: With each passing day, it'll get harder and harder to trade LaDainian Tomlinson for top-of-the-line value (Joseph Addai or Plaxico Burress?) ... so make it your Monday mission to have a deal in place by Tuesday, when the new fantasy week begins. Otherwise, you'll be relegated to watching games (like Sunday night), where LT looks good on the surface (118 total yards, 0 TDs) ... but doesn't possess that second gear or cutting prowess to truly regain his dominant form. And, amidst this wheeling-and-dealing, should you land Vincent Jackson (5 catches, 134 yards, 1 TD), Philip Rivers (306 yards, 3 TDs) or even Randy Moss (only 26 yards vs. the Bolts -- but was overthrown on two sure-fire TDs) as part of a 3-for-2 or 4-for-3 package ... then that'd be great (or utterly brilliant) on your part.

  • Atlanta 22, Chicago 20
  • Mark it down: On Oct. 13, just six games into his NFL career, Matt Ryan has officially become a fantasy-friendly QB ... joining the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and even Charlie Conerly as first-year fantasy cornerstones. Against the Bears, Ryan threw for 301 yards and 1 TD -- while leading the Falcons to one of the greatest comeback victories in franchise history. Speaking of viability, I don't see Bears RB Matt Forte (110 total yards, 1 TD on Sunday) as a candidate for hitting the proverbial "rookie wall" around Week 11. The Tulane product runs with a purpose and has Marshall Faulk-like versatility, which helps explain why Kyle Orton and Devin Hester (6 catches, 87 yards) have looked so great lately. One last thing: I should punch myself in the gut for believing all the fear-mongering regarding Roddy White's pregame dizzy spells, leading up to Sunday. He was his typical self against Chicago, pulling down nine catches for 112 yards and one touchdown. In the immortal words of Phil Mickelson (who did a nice job playing "Phil the Golfer" on Entourage Sunday night) ... "Man, I'm such an idiot!"

  • Quick-Hitting Revelations
    Maurice Jones-Drew: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
  • Jacksonville 24, Denver 17: How dominant was Maurice Jones-Drew in blustery Denver on Sunday? Throughout the second half, I never thought the Broncos had a chance of pulling out the win or even forcing overtime -- despite trailing by only seven points ... and playing in front of the home crowd. And the credit goes to MJD (148 total yards, 2 TDs) and QB David Garrard (276 yards, 1 TD) -- anchors to the scariest big-game road team in the NFL (defeated the Colts in Week 3, Broncos in Week 6). How about this: If you can acquire MJD this week via trade, perhaps giving up a low-end WR1, then I highly recommend that stealth course of action.

  • Minnesota 12, Detroit 10: If this is Adrian Peterson's idea of a "sophomore slump" (111 rushing yards on Sunday), then we can probably start sclupting his Hall of Fame bust right now. Speaking of early HOF predictions (thanks, ESPN), Lions WR Calvin Johnson looked phenomenal in his brief 4-catch, 85-yard, 1-TD day -- which included an airborne score that keeps making the highlight reels. Assuming Calvin survived that punishing hit, he would make an excellent "buy reasonably low" candidate this week.

  • Tampa Bay 27, Carolina 3: Call it a bias against older running backs, if you will, but I'm going to keep doubting Warrick Dunn's viability as a week-in, week-out fantasy starter for a while longer. Yes, I know he had 133 total yards (115 rushing) and Bucs coach Jon Gruden loves conjuring up plays for Dunn (who'll be 34 in January) ... but I just cannot shake the feeling of Bucs & Dunn (sounds like a country music group) being painfully mediocre on the road. But I should've known better with Sunday's home rout of Carolina: Conditions were absolutely ideal for more Dunn heroics.

  • St. Louis 19, Washington 17: I know Rams Fan is tickled pink to see his club's upset road win on Sunday. But did anyone happen to notice that St. Louis had just 200 yards of total offense? Think about that for a second. Has any team in modern NFL history ever won a game with fewer total yards -- when playing in ideal weather conditions? I have to think that's a very, very short list of, ahem, contenders. From a fantasy perspective, though, Steven Jackson (111 total yards) was his typical confounding self, racking up big-time yards and no touchdowns; Clinton Portis (133 total yards, 2 TDs) continues to get better with age (I'd rather have him over LT) and Rams rookie Donnie Avery (4 catches, 73 yards) is finally showing seedlings of fantasy goodness (as I had predicted, perhaps erroneously, wayyyy back in August).

  • Green Bay 27, Seattle 17: Congratulations ... to Aaron Rodgers, for producing three TDs (one rushing) despite only 208 passing yards; ... to Greg Jennings (5 catches, 84 yards, 1 TD) for dominating the NFL scene while flying completely under the radar (his red-jacket TV spot notwithstanding) ... and to the entire Seahawks offense (177 net yards) for earning the first team-oriented "fantasy roadkill" distinction of the young season.
  • How'd We Do?

    The other day, I offered specific predictions for Week 6 -- some pure gold and others that flopped worse than The Tony Danza Show, the short-lived sitcom from 1997 (and not the daytime talk show that bears the same name) that starred -- who else? -- but former Taxi star, Tony Danza. Here's a rundown of things so far:

    QB Locks For 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs
    1. Drew Brees (320 yards, 3 TDs -- correct!)
    2. Tony Romo (321 yards, 3 TDs -- correct!)
    3. Kurt Warner (236 yards, 2 TDs -- wrong)
    4. Aaron Rodgers (208 yards, 3 total TDs -- correct!)
    5. Philip Rivers (306 yards, 3 TDs -- correct!)
    6. Jay Cutler (192 yards, 2 TDs -- wrong)

    RB Locks For 120 Yards and/or 2 TDs
    1. Matt Forte (110 total yards, 1 TD -- wrong, but you still benefited from this prediction)
    2. Ronnie Brown (93 total yards, 1 TD -- wrong, but still a winning pick)
    3. Adrian Peterson (106 total yards, 0 TDs -- wrong, but I'm sensing a theme here)
    4. Reggie Bush (67 total yards, 2 TDs -- correct!)
    5. Thomas Jones (78 total yards, 3 TDs -- correct!)
    6. Clinton Portis (143 total yards, 2 TDs -- correct!)
    7. Marion Barber (173 total yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
    8. Julius Jones (44 yards, 0 TDs -- wayyyy off)
    9. Brandon Jacobs (TBD on Monday night)

    I Cannot Leave Without Saying That ...

    I have officially grown weary and disenchanted with those inane NFL TV spots -- representing the United Way Day of Action program -- trumpeting the charitable side of the league and its players. Don't get me wrong, the commercials, on the whole, convey a positive message to kids -- always a plus. But there are literally 10 spots in circulation right now ... featuring different players, different actors (portraying the kids) but essentially the same script, word-for-word, in every commercial! (deep sigh) At the risk of sounding obnoxious (too late), would it kill the NFL to brainstorm some new approaches to the timeless, selfless act of mentoring? At least Charles Barkley and Peyton Manning had fresh takes on the art of role modeling.

    Have A Link, Comment or Question For Us?

    You May Like