October 19, 2008
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Week 7 Revelations
Adrian Peterson: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Chicago 48, Minnesota 41
  • Talk about a dream ... two NFL teams (Chicago & Minnesota) combining for 89 points, with one superstar (Adrian Peterson) re-affirming my belief that some running backs are simply untradeable in today's fickle fantasy market. AP or AD (as in All Day), depending on your preference, broke out of his scoring slump by racking up 130 yards (121 rushing) and two TDs in the Vikings' thrill-a-minute loss at space-age Soldier Field. But don't let the high score fool you -- Peterson seldom had wide or deep running lanes against the Bears' opportunistic defense ... making his stellar performance seem even more impressive. AP's running mate, Chester Taylor (82 total yards, 1 TD), also had a solid day -- which should give all Peterson/Taylor owners a little more secure, as they wait for Peterson's inevitable injury sometime before Week 17.

    On the flip side, if you had the foresight to correctly identify Marty Booker as Kyle Orton's favorite WR target -- and not Devin Hester (even though he's played well of late) -- you should have been ecstatic about Booker's 79-yard, 1-TD performance (and it should have been two TDs, since Booker dropped the easiest scoring catch he'll ever see). The Bears, in a nutshell, were lights-out against the Vikings; but the team amassed its near-half-hundred with a balanced attack (the Chicago defense/special teams produced three TDs) ... which had to be a little frustrating for owners of Matt Forte (73 total yards, 1 TD). In the big picture, though, it's high-time to green-light Orton (283 yards, 2 TDs), Forte, Booker and Greg Olsen (74 yards, 1 TD) as must-haves on all fantasy rosters.

  • Green Bay 34, Indianapolis 14
  • I'm proud to say I never bought into the Ryan Grant as a "one-hit wonder" over the summer -- even during his lengthy (and pointless) holdout or the lingering hamstring problems from Weeks 1 through 4. And Grant rewarded my patience by tallying 117 yards (105 rushing) and one touchdown against the Colts' suspect run defense. Now, in all fairness, it took a ton of carries (31) for Grant to break the century mark -- the second consecutive week he carried the rock 30-plus times. So, while there is a trace of Shaun Alexander, circa 2006 in Grant's current game ... I will ignore that comparison and focus on the 278 rushing yards in his last three games.

    As for the Colts ... I will applaud Dominic Rhodes for his 114 yards and two TDs, while serving as Joseph Addai's injury replacement; and Dallas Clark had a decent game (8 catches, 81 yards) -- although everyone will surely remember his bungled TD-try in the fourth quarter. But where was the rest of the famed production? No NFL team alive should ever hold Peyton Manning to zero TD passes; Reggie Wayne did his best T.O. impression (2 catches, 24 yards) ... and Marvin Harrison (2 catches, 11 yards) demonstrated how he really cannot score touchdowns anymore without the help of blown pass coverage (ahem, the Ravens defense). On the surface, the Colts' sad-sack day seems like an aberration; but may I remind fantasy owners that Indy plays the Titans next week (yikes!).

  • Buffalo 23, San Diego 14
  • In fantasyland, you could certainly do worse than the Bills' three-headed monster of QB Trent Edwards, RB Marshawn Lynch and WR Lee Evans. The trio may not be as prolific as Peyton-Wayne-Addai or Brees-Bush-Colston ... but week after week, they consistently post solid numbers, while giving fantasy owners peace of mind when setting their lineups. Against the Chargers, Edwards (261 yards, 1 TD) and Evans (8 catches, 89 yards, 1 TD) connected on one of the most beautiful scoring catches you'll ever see -- with Evans pinning the ball against his helmet, David Tyree-style, with one hand while somehow getting both feet inbounds. It was easily my favorite catch of the young season. And even in a secondary role, Lynch (92 total yards, 1 TD) kept the Chargers linebackers and safeties at bay with a series of punishing runs. One last thing about Edwards: For owners of Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Kyle Orton ... Edwards would be an excellent bye-week replacement in Week 8 (against Miami).

  • Regarding the Chargers, easily the NFL's best 3-4 team in recent years, it's good to know that Philip Rivers is still good for two TD passes even during so-so yardage days (208); and it's great to see that Vincent Jackson (42 yards, 1 TD) can produce in successive weeks. But let's get to the real crux of the matter, as in LaDainian Tomlinson's pedestrian 67 yards. If you are stubbornly sticking with the consensus preseason No. 1 draftee, even though he's (admirably) battling a turf-toe injury ... then I hope you're leading your league during this mini-crisis; otherwise, you're missing a golden chance to get two healthy studs in LT's stead, via trade.

  • Houston 28, Detroit 21
    Since only 3 percent of the FOX viewing audience witnessed Lions-Texans on Sunday, you'll just have to take my word on the following: The much-ballyhooed Calvin Johnson vs. Andre Johnson battle lived up to all the hype -- and then some. The two physical wunderkinds combined for 13 catches, 295 yards and 1 TD -- the kind of numbers that tempt overexuberant fantasy owners, like me, to offer three strong starters and one super-sub for AJ, as part of some landmark 4-for-1 deal. But this entertaining game had other intriguing contributions: Steve Slaton (89 total yards), Kevin Smith (68 total yards), Owen Daniels (6 catches, 66 yards) and even Ahman Green (65 total yards) -- yes, Ahman Green! -- all registered touchdowns; Daniels, in fact, racked up a pair of scores, the direct result of AJ getting double-teams in the red zone. But hey, does it really matter how Daniels gets his TDs, now that he's officially a top-7 tight end in fantasyland? I think not.

    Revelations, Book II
    Steven Jackson/AP
    St. Louis 34, Dallas 14
  • What to make of America's Mess, aka America's Team, aka the Dallas Cowboys? Oh sure, their fantasy train was on the brink of derailment long before Sunday's debacle ... but c'mon, how can anyone glean any good from what's going on right now? Brad Johnson played horribly in relief of the injured Tony Romo (as predicted in Friday's Clicks), throwing for 234 yards and one TD (in garbage time); Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton posted pedestrian numbers; Roy Williams laid a goose egg in limited action and Terrell Owens hauled in only two catches for 31 yards. Absolutely pathetic. But enough about the Cowboys ... is there anything left to say about Steven Jackson's 176-yard, 3-TD day, where he singlehandedly vaulted the Rams to victory? Ooh, here's something: It's probably too late to move heaven and earth to acquire S-Jax, via trade; but you might want to explore that pipe dream come Tuesday.

  • N.Y. Giants 29, San Francisco 17
  • Don't let the 46 total points lead you astray: This was easily the most sleep-inducing early game on Sunday. Luckily, Brandon Jacobs and Plaxico Burress were their usual stellar selves in the red zone, totaling three TDs. Which brings me to this: I think Burress is this year's mortal lock for red-zone TDs -- at least for wide receivers. The enigmatic baller may live in his own world, but there's just no stopping him when it matters. As for the 49ers, hat's off to Josh Morgan for finally living up to the gratuitous hype generated (by yours truly) after a remarkable preseason. The rookie receiver caught five balls for 86 yards and one touchdown -- highlighting an otherwise-forgettable day in the Meadowlands for J.T. O'Sullivan (256 yards, 1 TD), Frank Gore (61 total yards) and -- surprise! -- Vernon Davis (1 catch, 5 yards). If you are truly, truly desperate for receiving help, I would recommend taking a flyer on Morgan (dubbed "The Next T.O." back in August).

  • Carolina 30, New Orleans 7
  • For those who were knee-deep in the Rays' Game 7 win over the Red Sox, Reggie Bush injured his knee against the Panthers and has already been ruled out of the Saints' Week 8 clash with the Chargers in London (baby!). But here's the good news, in two parts: Saints staffers are optimistic Reggie's injury will only cost him two games (plus the Week 9 bye) ... AND I doubt Bush (or LaDainian Tomlinson, for that matter) would have produced much on the always-soggy Wembley Stadium field (or "pitch," to borrow a lame soccer term). In essence, Reggie has done you a Week 8 favor, eliminating himself from starter's consideration and saving you the agony of "Bush or Thomas Jones as RB2?" Speaking of Week 8 ... you know who's going to rock & roll next Sunday? I predict Steve Smith will have a monster game against the Cardinals' depleted secondary, building off a sterling 6-catch, 122-yard, 1-TD effort against the Saints. One last thing: I should've mentioned this last week ... but I have a hard-and-fast policy against playing receivers with really big bandages, or casts, on their hands -- like the one Marques Colston donned on Sunday ... which also explains his goose-egg of an afternoon. I'm not kidding here: Be on the lookout for The Big Bandage again (protecting his injured thumb) next week!

  • Baltimore 27, Miami 13
  • Think of the following rant as a Public Service Announcement for owners of the Willis McGahee/Le'Ron McClain handcuff. If you still believe McClain (27 total yards vs. the Fins) is the stronger fantasy option on a weekly basis ... can I assume you also thought Cannonball Run II was better than the original Cannonball Run or that Tab cola is better than Coke? Sure, McClain had a few great weeks in McGahee's stead, but Willis is finally healthy, happy and ready to shine in Ravens coordinator Cam Cameron's tailback-focused offense. To wit, he tallied 152 yards (105 rushing) and one touchdown against the Dolphins, putting him back on the "Fantasy Stud" radar. But get this: Since there is a fantasy sucker born every minute, McGahee can still be acquired, via trade, at a reasonable rate.

  • Quick-Hitting Revelations
    LenDale White: Paul Spinelli/Getty Images
  • Tennessee 34, Kansas City 10: There are no words to describe the crazy numbers posted by LenDale White and Chris Johnson on Sunday. When I saw White's final tally of 149 rushing yads and three TDs (on just 17 carries!!!) ... my jaw literally hit my desk at the SI.com office in Atlanta. As for Johnson's 172-yard, 1-TD day ... I'd like to say I'm surprised, but you're also reading the works of someone who recently turned down a lucrative deal -- surrendering CJ and getting Willis McGahee and DeSean Jackson in return. Yes, in the land of amazing rookie backs, Chris Johnson stands alone as my redoubtable No. 1 stud (sorry, Matt Forte).

  • Tampa Bay 20, Seattle 10: Oh sure, I may talk a good game here in Clicks; but make no mistake, I can be a Grade-A moron at times. For example, upon hearing the news of Larry Johnson's suspension last Wednesday, I immediately dropped Bucs WR Antonio Bryant in my favorite PPR league for Chiefs rookie back Jamaal Charles. So, how did the landmark transaction work out for me? Bryant caught six balls for 115 yards and one touchdown against the sad-sack Seahawks ... while Charles totaled 43 yards in platoon-duty with Kolby Smith at tailback. In the immortal words of Phil Mickelson (who did a great job as "Phil the Golfer" on Entourage last week): "Man ... I am such an idiot!"

  • Washington 14, Cleveland 11: Congratulations are in order for: Clinton Portis, for rushing for 175 yards and 1 TD on the Browns, despite missing practice all week; and Santana Moss, for breaking out of his mini-slump with 75 yards and 1 TD. I should also give some major kudos to those presicent fantasy owners who benched Kellen Winslow (17 yards receiving) against the 'Skins -- knowing full well that hospitalized players at midweek seldom exhibit fantasy goodness on Sundays.

  • Oakland 16, N.Y. Jets 13 (OT): How good was Thomas Jones (159 rushing yards) on Sunday? He made me forget that Brett Favre and Peyton Manning both finished their respective games with zero TD passes. He made me forget how ordinary Darren McFadden (39 rushing yards on Sunday) has become of late (yes, I'm aware he also had 50 receiving yards). He made me forget how consistently fantasy-friendly Javon Walker used to be? But ... I had no problem remembering how I correctly tabbed Jets backup Leon Washington for one touchdown!

  • Pittsburgh 38, Cincinnati 10 : We interrupt Fantasy Clicks to bring you this special Stock Market report: If you currently own Steelers RB Mewelde Moore, who registered 134 total yards and 3 TDs against the hapless Bengals ... it's time to Sell, Sell, Sell on a guy who may not sniff the end zone three more times this year -- let alone thrice in one game again. Hmmm ... that's an interesting stock tip for fantasyland owners. Here's one more: It's probably time to "Sell, Sell, Sell" on Cincy receiver Chad Johnson -- after his 8-catch, 52-yard, 1-TD day -- who may have reached his peak in the Ryan Fitzpatrick administration ... as sad as that sounds.
  • How'd We Do?

    The other day, I offered specific predictions for Week 7 -- some pure gold and others that flopped worse than Men Behaving Badly, the short-lived NBC sitcom from 1996-97 that starred Rob Schneider, Ron Eldard and Justine Bateman, aka "Mallory Keaton" of Family Ties fame. (To be fair, this show "killed," to use a comedy term, in its first year -- but sagged big-time in Year 2 after Eldard and Bateman begged their way off the show.) Here's a rundown of things so far:

    RB Locks For 120 Yards and/or 2 TDs
    1. Matt Forte (73 total yards, 1 TD -- wrong)
    2. Ryan Grant (117 yards, 1 TD -- close enough ... correct!)
    3. Adrian Peterson (130 yards, 2 TDs -- correct!)
    4. Frank Gore (61 total yards, 0 TDs -- wrong)
    5. Marshawn Lynch (92 total yards, 1 TD -- wrong ... but you still won by starting him)
    6. Clinton Portis (183 total yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
    7. Marion Barber (113 total yards, 1 TD -- wrong ... but you're so smart for starting him)
    8. Brandon Jacobs (75 total yards, 2 TDs -- correct!)

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