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CHAIN REACTION

Oct. 31, 2011
Oct. 31, 2011

Table of Contents
Oct. 31, 2011

LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
WORLD SERIES
PRO FOOTBALL
  • Each year San Diego has the look of a Super Bowl contender, only to face an East Coast team and get whacked. Until the Bolts prove it on the field, they'll fight their rep as talented but too soft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
SOCCER
  • In the fifth and final year of his MLS contract, he's back at the top of his game at last. Now, as the 2011 playoffs begin, he and the Galaxy look to stamp his American experiment a success by winning a championship

JAMARCUS RUSSELL
  • The No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft should be out on the field commanding an NFL team this Sunday. JaMarcus Russell, though, is home in Mobile, absorbing shots to his character and resting on what's left of his $39 million. The most maligned figure in football tells his side

Departments

CHAIN REACTION

No man is an island—sorry, cornerbacks—and this week's suggested pickups show how one guy's play can affect the prospects of another

DeMarco Murray, RB,Cowboys

This is an article from the Oct. 31, 2011 issue

Entering last week Dallas was 27th in rushing and seeking a replacement for the injured Felix Jones. Search over. Murray, a rookie from Oklahoma, set a franchise record by running for 253 yards, joining Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith as the only Boys to eclipse the 200-yard mark. Granted, the Rams stink, allowing a league worst 183.8 rushing yards per game, but Murray showed speed and strength that will serve him well this week against Philly, which also stinks (23rd) against the run.

Christian Ponder, QB,Vikings

To all those Minnesota fans who spent the first six weeks saying, "Ponder couldn't be any worse," well, you were right. The 12th pick out of Florida State threw for 219 yards, two touchdowns and two picks in his first start. Don't rush to grab him yet, but check out his receivers: Visanthe Shiancoe, Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu. A rising tide lifts all ships.

Marion Barber, RB,Bears

While Matt Forte has become a yards-from-scrimmage stud, the burly Barber has carved out a niche as Chicago's goal line specialist. Despite playing only four games and carrying the rock just 23 times, he has scored three touchdowns. The Bears have a bye this week, but they return to face the porous Eagles. Look for Barber to score again in Week 9.

Jake Ballard, TE,Giants

If you're looking for an under-the-radar type to replace a passcatching TE on a bye, go with someone who has already done it. Ballard has stepped in for Kevin Boss and become a threat in his own right, scoring double-digit PPR-league points in his last three games, while averaging 62 yards. For the year, he's corralled 15 of the 17 balls thrown his way.

PHOTOPAUL CHILDS/ACTION IMAGES/ZUMAPRESS.COM (BARBER)BEAR ESSENTIALS Barber, a former Cowboy, has found a home as a short-yardage specialist in Chicago, where he's tied for 11th in touchdowns on just 23 carries.