Ben Roethlisberger's ability to perform under a heavy pass rush remains critical to Pittsburgh's offensive success.
13 Oct 2010
by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz
Tom: So, in our backyard, relatively speaking, the NFL owners had a meeting. One of the fruits of that meeting was that the competition committee would look at the going-to-the-ground rule. As lawyers and NFL fans, one of the things we talk about a lot, though not necessarily in Scramble, is the NFL's rules. Contrary to some people's complaints, what the rule on a Calvin Johnson-type play should be isn't clear to me. The refs did get the call right, interpreting the rule as it exists right now, but maybe the rule should be different.
Tom: So, Mike, what do you think? Should that rule be different?
Mike: On the other hand, the rule was put in place for a reason.
Tom: Troy Polamalu's "interception" against the Colts in the playoffs?
Mike: Without going to the ground, the ball is received when the player gains control over the ball in bounds.
Tom: "Gains control" is such a wonderful phrase.
Mike: There are a few other things at play, such as the definition of control, but the absence of the rule would mean a great many incompletions would turn into receptions.
Tom: How large would the practical effect really be, though? My casual impression is that most "going to the ground" cases come when the receiver has been touched on his way to the ground.
Mike: Well, it only applies when he is hit. So you are right there, it doesn't loom quite as large as many believe. You'd just see a whole lot more completions because control would be established and the ball being jarred out would almost certainly involve a shoulder or elbow hitting the ground.
Tom: Which would just go in with the general tone of where the NFL has been trending since the 1978 passing rules liberalization.
Mike: True. But on the other hand, you would make it much harder to defend routes over the middle where there is generally a hard-hitting linebacker in coverage or maintaining the zone. That's where you see a lot of awkward hits and balls popping out on the ground.
Tom: I'm just not sure, as an empirical matter, that it's really that frequent an occurrence.
Mike: No, it's not a huge deal in the end.
Tom: You just happen to end up with some high profile catches where the precise contours of the rule do matter.
Mike: Sure. Of course, I think the rule should be gone anyway
Tom: Gone how?
Mike: Gone in that the rules for possession would be greatly simplified. Instead of treating the rules like individual case studies, how the NFL has been, treating them more like the principles guiding a sport.
Tom: Did you watch the World Cup? Soccer has 17 laws, and some incomprehensible hooey as to how those laws are interpreted.
Mike: Yes, as opposed to football, which has Rule 3 Section 2 Article 4 Ruling 3.1, which explains that if the defensive player grabs the ball away from the offensive ball carrier, it is a fumble.
Tom: So long as the offensive ball carrier is not already down, you mean.
Mike: If he is down the play is dead. Sorry, the ball is dead, and nobody can grab it from anyone. There's also a ridiculous amount of redundancy.
Tom: I'm not sure it's really redundancy so much as overlap caused by fixing errors or perceived undesired imbalances.
Mike: For instance, 3-2-4 A.R. 3.2 is "While running A1 is in possession, defensive player B1 kicks the ball away from him" and the ruling is "A foul during a fumble. Kicking a ball in player possession is a foul." All that says is "kicking the ball is a foul, and losing the ball after possession is a fumble," both of which are other rules and easily applied without any need for clarification.
Tom: See, that just strikes me as bad and/or imprecise drafting.
Mike: But the rule book is full of little corrections to fix errors and perceived imbalances.
Tom: And it just came up in some weird way such that a poor official got confused.
Mike: Well, the point they're getting across is that the penalty that caused the fumble is assessed during the fumble. It's about resulting possession, but it's completely unnecessary. And the more of these little things you have, the more you risk unintended consequences, ones that can directly affect the outcome of a game.
Tom: It also bothers me that the NFL, college football, and high school football have different rules.
Mike: Well, there are differences that make sense. A lot of the differences between NFHS and NFL rules are safety related to provide extra protection for children. Some of them are also there for competition. NCAA and federation rules only require one foot in bounds for a completion. That wouldn't work in the NFL, where you have a much higher class of athlete. Giving the receiver an extra foot or so of real estate in the hardest area to defend against passes would be a disaster.
Tom: See, that's a competitive-balance reason, not anything inherent to any of the real distinction issues between NFL and the lower levels. It's just like moving kickoff distance.
Mike: I don't see any problem with that.
Tom: It's not that it's a problem per se. I'm just not sure how much it's truly necessary. Would scoring and passing efficiency really be increased that much in the NFL by a "one foot only" rule? And would college and high school football be harmed that much by the reverse?
Mike: I believe it absolutely would. Just look at the physical ability required for some of these sideline catches where you see a second-foot drag. No high school player and nearly no college player could manage that. And, in the NFL they're relatively common: You'll see one or two pretty much every game with a decent passing offense because, like I said, that's the hardest bit to defend.
Tom: Fine, so we're rewarding the teams at the top end of the passing and physical skill problem. I'm not so sure that's a big problem.
Mike: Well, like I said, nobody in high school can do it, so you're really just slashing part of the offense out in the name of some ephemeral desire to have uniform rules in non-competing leagues.
Tom: Non-competing leagues all ostensibly playing the same sport and at progressively higher levels. It's like baseball having different rules in the minor and major leagues. I know the NHL does use different rules for the AHL, but that's because those are rules they're attempting to experiment with.
Mike: No, it's like baseball having different rules in MLB, NCAA and, federation. Which they do. Differences that actually have an impact on the game far more than football's. E.g., metal bats.
Tom: OK, fair enough, that's a serious competitive balance issue. I get graduated kickoff distance, since that makes intuitive sense. The foot thing just doesn't make sense to me.
Mike: It's true that it's much less immediately apparent, but it's a huge effect.
Tom: I'm well aware that "what makes intuitive sense to somebody" is how you get a lot of complaints about reasonably well judged and well written NFL rules.
Mike: Going back to my earlier point, the NFL rulebook is more than 100 pages long, and vast swathes of it are rulings or hyper-specific rules.
Tom: I could condense that down to fewer than 100 pages, probably under 50, if I got to use the right font and type.
Mike: You could probably cut it down to something like 30 if you actually evaluated how rules are applied and how much you actually need.
Tom: But what you're really saying is that 80 percent of the rulebook only matters when it comes to a relatively specific instance. The rulebook is only selectively complicated, then. Most rules are either easy to officiate (most of them) or inherently hard (holding, pass interference), and then you have lots of specific cases where the Competition Committee has tried to make an ad hoc balance.
Mike: Yes, which is really the opposite of what you want when managing a sporting event. It's pretty clear where it's coming from, however. There is an extremely loud echo chamber of fans and writers (including this site) constantly harping on what is always called "consistency." Ah, but that's the problem. The more you try to tinker around the edges of a difficult rule, you're not addressing what is really going on. You're just telling officials that if that specific thing happens, they have to do X. There are a million specific things that can happen whenever a rule is applied. You are never going to get all of them, even if you made the rule book a thousand pages. Now, there are some clarifications that are necessary, like the two-foot rule. That is a legitimate consistency issue. But by trying to anticipate future situations, you run into big problems, like Megatron's catch.
Tom: Thus we have arrived at your Scramble writers' real NFL ambition: To be the lawyers on the Competition Committee who get to re-write the NFL Rulebook.
Mike: In all likelihood, on that play, you had (I'm speculating here) an official who honestly believed he had possession, a world that largely believed he had possession, and a rule which thwarted both of those conclusions, and then the league itself taking that situation and talking about changing the rule. The problem isn't that the rule doesn't have enough caveats; it's that the rule is too inflexible.
Tom: If the rules always produced the obvious result, do you really need rules in the first place?
Mike: Well, yes. Otherwise kicking the ball would be legal.
Tom: We're stuck in the old rules-standards argument we both (I assume) re-hashed a thousand times in law school.
Mike: My point is that the football-consuming audience has become so obsessed with the idea of consistency, and the league so defensive about it, that they're shooting themselves in the foot in an attempt to turn officials into robots. But you're never going to have the kind of consistency the complainers want, for the same reason you'll never have holding called according to the rule.
Tom: So, the complainers are the problem. The officials are agents of the NFL, and the NFL is sensitive, maybe overly so, to people who complain. Agents not in the legal sense, but in the public view they serve as instrumentalities enforcing the rulebook to the NFL's liking.
Mike: Well, no. People complain about the strike zone all the time, pretty much every game, but MLB doesn't break out the lasers to make sure every umpire is calling the same zone. They have the guts to say "Yes, it's a judgment call by the umpire, and he'll treat everyone in this game the same way, so it will be fair."
Tom: See, I'd argue the MLB strike zone is actually more inherently subjective at the margins like holding, but that's a critique of the MLB rules.
Mike: The NFL, in contrast, is running scared and trying to set up a complex system whereby every single play would be called the same way in every single situation by every single official. My point is that subjectivity isn't bad. The comparison is not in calls between crews and between games. It's between calls within each individual game. So long as that is consistent, both in the sense that similar actions are penalized similarly -- within context, and context is all-important -- the game is fair. And there is room for subjectivity under that theory.
Tom: We already see this in the NFL, as some crews call more or fewer of different types of penalties. And NFL teams supposedly adjust their game plan (at the margins) accordingly.
Mike: Right. So that's a roundabout way of saying that the complainers are the NFL's fault for trying to create an unrealistic system. And when they invariably fail, are criticized for it.
Tom: In that case, I'm back at being cranky at the complainers. There will always be more of them, because they expect the NFL to be able to do something that simply isn't possible. We'll probably have to agree to disagree on that one.
Mike: The take-home point is that the NFL should just admit that the majority of calls and non-calls are up to the officials' judgment and stop trying to hide from that fact.
Tom: And they're never going to stop trying to hide from that fact, because they're the ones taking the blame and they don't want to alienate the customer. And we could go back and forth all night, so I'll just leave you the last word with that.
Mike: The league and fans in general would be much better served if they actually learned to embrace a little legislative vagueness.
Tom: It was another mediocre week for The Fantasy Team I Kind of Care About, and it cost me. I lost 94-81. My opponent only had two double-digit scorers to my four, but he got 27 from Malcom Floyd and 20 for Jets DST. Meanwhile my top scorer was Steve Smith with only 14. And, once again, I ended up with my fantasy defense giving up more than 30 points. Yes, playing the Dolphins last week was a mistake. But the Chargers? Against the Raiders? The Chargers had nine sacks the week before.
Mike: With the Raiders missing their top running back and eventually their quarterback.
Tom: I had a chance until the fourth quarter of Vikings-Jets. Then Brett Favre threw that pick-6, and I was pretty much sunk. The good news is, I get Ben Roethlisberger back this week and my waiver wire quarterback saga will hopefully be at an end.
Mike: Amusingly, Favre's pick-6 sunk me, too. My game was tied up going into Minnesota's last drive. In our league, teams lose points when they give up 21-plus points, so had Minnesota scored, I would have won, barring heroics by Santonio Holmes.
Tom: That seems like a low threshold for points allowed.
Mike: Well, you start out with 15 points, then gain points for fumbles forced, interceptions, sacks, and scores. You lose a few points after you lose the shutout, then 15, then 21, then 30. Anyway, the problem could have been averted had I not been a moron and not started Kyle Orton.
Tom: Well, we still think Baltimore has a decent pass defense. Who'd you start instead?
Mike: Matt Ryan, but I should have believed in Orton. I feel I have failed the neck beard.
Tom: Well, now you know. He may have just been another Chicago Bears Quarterback (TM), but now he's a Real NFL Quarterback.
Mike: Yeah. Ryan and David Garrard had decent weeks, so the time has come to try to ship them off and get some help with my WRs. My RBs are pretty set, with Matt Forte, Rashard Mendenhall, Darren McFadden, Ryan Torain and Shonn Greene.
Tom: Hey, Garrard is on pace to set a record for most touchdown passes ever by a Jaguars quarterback. Who wouldn't want him in their starting lineup?
Tom: As for Torain, I started him in my flex position instead of Santana Moss this week to poor effect. Granted, it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game.
Mike: I suppose the flipside of it is that I had BAL DST, so that factored into my decision. But yeah, dumb.
Tom: Starting Orton would've hedged that!
Mike: I didn't want to start my QB against my DST. That's just a recipe for mediocrity.
Tom: Speaking of mediocrity, did you know that in Staff League you can't do Sunday add/drops?
Mike: You were warned.
Tom: What do you expect me to do, read the rules?
Mike: If you want to be a staff attorney for the competition committee, you'd better!
Tom: Any fantasy league where you can't do the Sunday morning add/drop and at least look like you're caring must be wrong, and that's all I have to say about that.
Remain in Matt Light (Barnwell, 3-2) 131 def. Team CBORG (Jemaine, 1-4) 90
CBORG put up its best game of the season, with 12 points from Percy Harvin and 16 from Vernon Davis, but it wasn't even close to Barnwell's total, the league leader for Week 5. Malcom Floyd's 27 points will do that, especially paired with 19 from Eli Manning, 17 from LeSean McCoy and 18 from Josh Scobee. Your Scramble writer would write more, but CatholicMatch girl is freaking him out and he needs to switch pages, like, now.
Triple Asian Flu (Doug, 4-1) 106 def. Scramble Forever (Ian & Al, 3-2) 72
It looks like the wheels may be starting to come off Scramble Forever, with heavy reliance on Houston's offense letting our boys down. Arian Foster (2 points) and Andre Johnson (9) came crashing down to Fantasy Earth this week, and an eyebrow-raising 16 points from Terrell Owens couldn't make up for it. Of course, injuries to Jermichael Finley and Aaron Rodgers certainly did not help. Of course, it would have taken a lot to overcome Doug's duo of Ray Rice (27 points) and Hakeem Nicks (25), who spearheaded an all-around quality performance and dethroned our antiheroes. This, of course, means that Doug is now this section's prime target. Enjoy your prize!
Wagstaff's Ringers (Tom, 1-4) 57 def. Team Verhei (Vince, 3-2) 53
This game was a mess because it appears both players forgot that the league's rules simply do not allow last-minute additions to the roster on Sundays, due to the bid-waiver system Barnwell implemented to make things more complicated and probably cheat. As such, both teams had miserable weeks with two players missing, who couldn't be replaced in a timely fashion. Tom lucked out because he was just missing Miami DST and Heath Miller; Vince lost out of Rashard Mendenhall and Ricky Williams, and production in their slots. (Yes, Vince has bench running backs. None of them were active).
Better Call Saul (Rob, 4-1) 114 def. Phanatic CodeBreakers (Tanier, 1-4) 50
Look who else didn't start Kyle Orton! Not that it would have made much of a difference, as two of Rob's players (Chris Johnson and Brandon Lloyd) combined to nearly equal Tanier's entire squad. Wait, Brandon Lloyd? What? Stop doubting the neck beard, people. It has some serious juju.
Consensus Picks (Elias, 3-2) 60 def. That's Great Hustle! (Sean, 3-2) 54
Pretty sure Sean thought he would get more than five points out of Peyton Manning. I imagine that's a common sentiment on this rare week where Peyton Manning wasn't just the best play, but was one of the worst. Elias was nudged to victory by a surprisingly healthy 11 points from Shonn Greene, who is out of the spotlight but not entirely forgotten in New York. Of course, he'll probably have one or two points next week, but he and Elias will always have Week 5.
Equipo del Jefe (Aaron, 3-2) 99 def. Malice Aforethought (Will, 1-4) 58
This blowout was brought to you by the letters M and F, and the number 22. Matt Forte manhandled Carolina on Sunday before sacrificing runs to Chester Taylor/running into a 10-man front, and his owners were well rewarded. Aaron in particular gained more than half as many points from Forte (30) than were earned by Will's entire team. It's a good thing, too, since usually reliable quarterback Matt Schaub put up a pathetic one point. On the other hand, nobody on Will's roster gained more than 11 points, so Forte's absurd number was largely overkill.
The staff league is developing a clear division between the haves and the have-nots, with Aaron, Barnwell, Ian & Al, and Doug slugging it out. Most of the action is in the Scramble Alumni division, which pleases your Scramble writer greatly.
Tom: There are so many things wrong with this commercial. First, if you want us to like your commercial, don't make half of it annoying screaming.
Mike: Well, the other thing is why GEICO needs four different marketing campaigns. When a man named Carol is criticizing your public relations, you're in trouble.
Tom: Are they really up to four?
Mike: The cavemen, the gecko, the googly eyes, and the weird fake Rod Serling guy.
Tom: Ah, yes, that is four. That's at least two too many.
Mike: Yeah. They could just go with one or two and then keep using the cheap carpet-bomb approach.
Mike: And they would have much stronger brand awareness.
Tom: More importantly, they're not tying them in a strong way. We've ripped on E*Trade before, but at least they stick with the same slogan in their different ads.
Mike: Yeah. On one hand, they've obviously done a decent job, they even got a bad sitcom based on their original campaign.
Tom: Which just goes to show that, as my aspiring screenwriter college roommate says, Hollywood is Officially Out of Ideas.
Mike: But we were oversaturated by cavemen and everyone was sick of them so maybe this is a reaction.
Tom: It was a fine ad gimmick. There just wasn't any there there.
Mike: Hollywood has plenty of ideas.
Tom: Fine, they just don't fund any of them.
Mike: It's just that 90 percent of anything on any medium is crap and there are fewer extremely marketed films.
Tom: Yes, I'm familiar with the existence of Sturgeon's Law.
Mike: So there is an illusion that film is somehow a less quality medium, but I digress.
Tom: Yes, let's talk about this annoying little piggy. And his pinwheels.
Mike: Seriously, who thought screeching for 20 seconds was a good idea? Also, WHY does he have pinwheels? Is this some sort of obscure Animal Farm/30 Rock joke?
Tom: Did you know pinwheels are banned from NBA stadiums? I learned that from the great Japanese gameshow Sekai Fushigi Hakken.
Mike: Good ole Japan. ... Wait, why are pinwheels banned?
Tom: Because they can distract players who are shooting free throws, or at least that was the explanation given as I understood it.
Mike: And the weird foam wiggly things don't? I thought that was the entire point.
Tom: It's easier for parts of a pinwheel to come off, which makes the stadium harder to clean.
Mike: I suppose that is true.
Tom: How long, I wonder, have piggies had opposable thumbs?
Mike: I'm still waiting for "Could you really save 15 percent on your car insurance by switching to GEICO? Is the Space Pope reptilian?" Actually, my main question is whether this is a normal thing. You would think that the other parents would cease giving the pig rides after being exposed to his screaming the first time.
Tom: No kidding. Maybe it's just a one-time thing.
Mike: Or at least that the kids wouldn't offer. The pig's classmate seemed pretty freaked out.
Tom: Maybe the other little piggies just go to the market. Really, Driver's Son looks absolutely miserable. This is probably some stupid mom thing. Where Piggy's Mom did a favor to Driver Mom, and Driver Mom repays the favor by driving Piggy home. And Driver's Son tries to warn Driver Mom this is a terrible idea, but Driver Mom does it anyway. The Suburban Mom Mafia is a fearful thing, if you've never been exposed to it.
Mike: I'm generally contemptuous of the suburbs, so it falls under that general feeling.
Tom: Though the suburbs have no charms to soothe the restless dreams of youth, I'm a cheerful suburbanite. As with every other place, though, there are tradeoffs and better and worse aspects. Anyway, back to the commercial. You notice Driver's Son has this big backpack with him. Piggy has no such thing for some weird reason.
Mike: He's a happy, fun-loving dude. He has no use for homework!
Tom: I'll save my homework-related rant for my sixth or eighth book and simply note that homework seems to be omnipresent even in elementary schools. From his seeming lack of backpack and homework, I assume that Piggy's (adopted?) parents have used his lack of opposable thumbs to have him classified as learning disabled.
Mike: I'm not sure this is where we want to go.
Tom: Maybe not. Does GEICO realize what kind of weird things they do to people with a commercial like that?
Mike: That's probably part of the plan.
Tom: I suppose our commenters will probably say this is, like Ray Lewis flying through space without oxygen, a dream sequence.
Mike: Wait, Ray Lewis flying through space was a dream sequence?
Tom: I didn't think so.
Mike: I thought that was an approved use of Old Spice Body Wash.
Tom: I mean, it was clearly meant to be not realistic. But I'd say the second half of Laura was much more clearly a dream sequence. I'm not at all convinced it was, though I do need to see it again.
Mike: Now THAT is obscure.
Tom: It's one of the classics of Film Noir!
Mike: True, but Noir itself is pretty obscure nowadays. Of course, in the age of screaming middle school pigs, I'm not sure things have become any less weird. Tangentially, I need a new headset.
KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: Most teams in clock-killing mode are extraordinarily run heavy, especially when the opposing team is out of timeouts. The Jets had an enviable opportunity to salt the game away against the Vikings. With the opportunity to snap the ball at 2:03, they could call any play in the playbook, and Brian Schottenheimer and Rex Ryan opted to call a pass. Just one problem: Quarterback Mark Sanchez snapped the ball too early and threw too quickly, incomplete, forcing the Jets to run another play before the two-minute warning and giving the Vikings 40 extra seconds they sorely needed.
MARTZ AWARD: Holding on to a 17-10 lead, the Eagles faced a fourth-and-2 at the San Francisco 35-yard line as the fourth quarter started of Sunday Night Football. Andy Reid had, in the third quarter, opted to punt on fourth-and-9 from the 33 and gone for it on fourth-and-1 from the 30. The 49ers had moved the ball past midfield after the punt, and the fourth-down try had fallen incomplete, so Andy Reid apparently decided that Candlestick Park's frequently swirling winds meant kicker David Akers should try the 53-yard field goal, even though Akers hadn't made one from that distance in three years. Akers unsurprisingly missed, and the 49ers had excellent field position.
COLBERT AWARD: Kudos to Chiefs coach Todd Haley and Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo for opening their games Sunday with onside kicks. Though both efforts failed, it truly is the effort that counts. Just don't do it too often, or it'll be unsurprising and we'll have to find a new way Colbert Award nominees can distinguish themselves.
QUARTERBACK: Hey, Jake Delhomme finished with 0 points. Who would ever have guessed he'd have the worst Loser League score one week, aside from "pretty much everybody"? Todd Collins was even worse, putting up a -7, but wasn't eligible.
RUNNING BACK: Jamaal Charles may have gotten twice as many carries as Thomas Jones this week, but Jones still got enough to avoid the inactivity penalty and earned a mere 1 point. Arian Foster put up 2 points as he was caught up in the Texans malaise on Sunday.
WIDE RECEIVER: Devin Hester, Jason Avant, Harry Douglas, Devin Thomas and Dexter McCluster were all drafted in 2006 or later, and each had 1 point this weekend. D-party!
KICKER: You know it's a boring week for kickers when the name in this space actually made his only two kicks. Yes, Ryan Longwell, your 2 points earned you low man honors this week.
drobviousso: I have Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger in a league with pretty standard scoring and one QB slot. As this may be the only week ever where Rodgers has brain damage and Ben doesn't, should I start Ben? He also gets to go up against Cleveland, but I don't know how conservative his game plan is going to be in his first game back.
Tom: Well, I already mentioned I'll be starting Ben.
Mike: Roethlisberger got a mountain of first-team reps in the preseason in an attempt to get him comfortable with the offense before his suspension, then spent the month he was suspended working every day with a mechanics coach, then had two weeks to study and prep with the first team offense. He'll be executing the full playbook, and about 70 times better than Charlie Batch did, as cool and nice a person as Batch is.
Tom: Yup, yup, yup. The big issue will be how he responds to pass pressure. The Browns are eighth in ASR, which mildly concerns me, though not enough that I won't be starting him. The early news out of Green Bay also indicates you may not have much of a choice in terms of Rodgers. And I'm nowhere near confident in Matt Flynn to say you should grab him for a spot start over Ben.
J.C. Rodriguez: Guys, as I write you, there has not been a clear message regarding Megatron [Calvin Johnson]. In the meantime, I need your opinion regarding my options to sub him if he can't go in the short term. I have Kevin Walter and Donald Driver, and I am trying to snatch Tampa Bay's Mike Williams. Standard scoring applies. Thanks for your thoughts.
Mike: Driver is normally a good option, but as we just mentioned, Green Bay is in a weird place.
Mike: As skeptical of Tampa as I am, I like Mike Williams against New Orleans.
Tom: I do like Kevin Walter, especially if Jacoby Jones does end up limited because of an injury.
Mike: I don't think the New Orleans defense is good enough and tricky enough to take advantage of Tampa Bay's youth.
Tom: Roy Williams is also a good option, I think. Driver, especially with Flynn starting, is just too unpredictable of an option
Mike: It's probably a toss-up between the two, really. I'm just leaning toward Williams, if getting him isn't too dear.
Tom: New Orleans is better than you think on pass defense, but Kansas City isn't a hugely attractive matchup either. I agree, lean Williams.
Passball: In a tough situation here because of byes. I'm in 10-team PPR league. I have Dwayne Bowe (@Texans), Donald Driver (@Dolphin), Peyton Hills (@Steelers), Thomas Jones (@Texans), and Ricky Williams (@Packers). I need to fill 1 WR slot, 1 RB slot, and a RB/WR. I am thinking of starting Driver, Bowe, and Jones. Does that sound like the best choice? I could also try to pick Roy Williams off the waiver wire and start him @Vikings.
Mike: That's a rough draw. I think Bowe and Jones are sure starts. I really don't want to say Ricky Williams, but I think I have to. There are few backs to start against the Steelers, and Hillis isn't one of them. We just went over Driver's problems. You could try Roy Williams, but that's a dicey proposition, so I'd go with Ricky.
Tom: Bowe is playing against the Texans. Start him. Agreed on Driver. I do think Roy Williams is a more attractive option than you do, especially with Minnesota's injuries in the secondary. You just saw Jones on the Loser League leaders list, but I don't think Hillis against the Steelers is a particularly good option. I'd actually lean slightly in favor of Ricky Williams over Jones, in part because I'd want to avoid Chiefs over-concentration.
Norv! That's really all that we can say. Send your questions to scramble-at-footballoutsiders.com!
59 comments, Last at 15 Oct 2010, 3:56pm by ABW