Halfway Home

Presenting the heroes and zeros of the 2006 season so far--and five of the major issues facing fantasy owners the rest of the way
October 22, 2006

ALL-FIRST-HALFTEAM

QB DONOVANMCNABB, Eagles
The first-half MVP has thrown for 1,849 yards and 13 touchdowns.

RB LARRY JOHNSON,Chiefs
He has rushed for 357 yards and caught 23 passes for 274 more.

RB LADAINIANTOMLINSON, Chargers
This dual threat has 407 yards rushing (with seven touchdowns) and 26receptions for 174.

WR ANDRE JOHNSON,Texans
He's averaging almost eight catches and 100 yards per game, with two TDs.

WR TORRY HOLT,Rams
He has scored in five straight games, including three times against Seattle inWeek 6.

TE ANTONIO GATES,Chargers
As Philip Rivers has improved, so have Gates's numbers (255 yards, threeTDs).

K ROBBIE GOULD,Bears
A point machine, Gould outscored Clinton Portis through the first sixweeks.

DEFENSEBears
These sacking, intercepting Monsters of the Midway earned the edge over therevived Ravens.

ALL-SLEEPERTEAM

QB REX GROSSMAN,Bears
The surprise of the first half is putting up numbers at a Peyton Manning--likeclip.

RB DEUCEMCALLISTER, Saints
He has outperformed all but a few backs, including ballyhooed teammate ReggieBush.

RB FRED TAYLOR,Jaguars
He's healthy and productive (367 yards) even with the emergence of MauriceJones-Drew.

WR BERNARDBERRIAN, Bears
The deep threat is among the league leaders in touchdown catches.

WR MARQUESCOLSTON, Saints
The seventh-round pick from I-AA Hofstra leads New Orleans in receiving (27catches, 414 yards, four TDs).

TE KELLENWINSLOW, Browns
Despite battling a sore right knee, he's first in receptions (30) and second inyards (283) among tight ends.

K JEFF WILKINS,Rams
With 18 field goals, he joins Gould as the season's most pleasant kickingsurprises.

DEFENSERavens
Linebacker Bart Scott has led a unit that has one touchdown and twosafeties.

ALL-BUST TEAM

QB DAUNTECULPEPPER, Dolphins
Injured, immobile and ineffective, he lost his job to Joey Harrington.

RB CADILLACWILLIAMS, Buccaneers
He has scored just one TD with an average of 62.4 yards per game.

RB LAMONT JORDAN,Raiders
The Steelers, Seahawks, Broncos, Chiefs and Chargers are salivating at theprospect of facing Jordan and his woeful O-line.

WR CHAD JOHNSON,Bengals
Facing constant double coverage, he has one touchdown and one reception formore than 18 yards.

WR RANDY MOSS,Raiders
Poor quarterback play and an apparent lack of effort have limited the mercurialone to 17 catches, 222 yards and two TDs.

TE JASON WITTEN,Cowboys
After catching six TD passes last year, he has none this season.

K NEIL RACKERS,Cardinals
The No. 1 kicker in many drafts isn't getting enough chances to exercise hisleg for offensively-challenged Arizona.

DEFENSEBuccaneers
After multiple beatings this consensus top 10 defense now ranks with those ofthe lowly Texans, Packers and Titans.

5 KEY QUESTIONSFOR THE SECOND HALF

1 >>Canthe Bears keep shouldering the load? Rex Grossman, Bernard Berrian, DesmondClark and Robbie Gould have carried some fantasy teams. The rest of Chicago'sschedule is manageable, so for this quartet the biggest obstacle to fantasysuccess will be the wind off Lake Michigan.

2>>Whither Shaun Alexander? One of the Big Three entering the year,Alexander averaged 62.3 yards and had two TDs before fracturing his foot. Whenhe returns, in Week 9 at the earliest, there's no guarantee that he'll be thetouchdown maker that he was in '05.

3 >>Howwill the rookie passers fare? The question here isn't so much about the numbersof first-year quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski (left), Matt Leinart or Vince Youngbut rather how their play will affect the players around them--Joey Galloway,Anquan Boldin, Ben Troupe, et al.

4 >>Whichrunning back time shares will run out of time? The Colts, Patriots and Saintsare three of at least 10 teams that are playing two running backsregularly--and frustrating fantasy owners. Having the correct back when one manfinally prevails can make your season.

5 >>WillBrian Westbrook hold up? His name appears on the injury report every week, andhe's denying rumors that he'll need knee surgery, possibly even during theseason. When he plays, he produces, but having him on a fantasy roster is toobig a roll of the dice. ±

PLAYER RANKINGS

Get the latest NFL news, plus ratings for all fantasyfootball positions and daily injury updates at SI.com/fantasy.

PHOTOHUNTER MARTIN/WIREIMAGE.COM (MCNABB) PHOTODAVID DUROCHIK/SPORTPICS (GOULD) PHOTOKEVIN C. COX/WIREIMAGE.COM (MCALLISTER) PHOTOANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES (JOHNSON) PHOTODAVID BERGMAN (GRADKOWSKI)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)