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26 Oct 2005

Scramble for the Ball: Being Joe Gibbs

by Al Bogdan and Vivek Ramgopal

The 49ers were starting a rookie quarterback who had a Ryan Leaf-esque pro debut.

The 49ers were riding a four game losing streak.

The 49ers were 3-18 since the start of 2004.

The rest of the world was giving the edge to the Redskins, but good ol' Joe Gibbs got a bit fired up during a press conference last week and blasted the media for declaring his team the favorite. And you know the Joe Gibbs fired up voice – the one where his voice keeps getting higher and higher until he stops himself from cursing.

Well coach, your “the sky is falling� approach made some good sports talk fodder, but it definitely served its purpose this week.

A few weeks ago, we said that if they intended to make a serious playoff push:

Clinton Portis needed to get into the end zone. Check.
Play Lavar Arrington. Check.
Force turnovers. Check.

And somewhere in between points two and three was score a lot of points. Double Check.

Going back to Lavar, this was the first week that he received playing time outside of special teams. The crowd reaction was more than enough to spook Alex Smith and the 49ers offense, but Arrington showed that his presence was more than just a gimmick. The Redskins shifted to a 3-4 defense at times, letting Arrington chase the quarterback or hunt down the running back when San Francisco opted to hand the ball off.

I still, however, think that we will hear some sort of conspiracy theory against Lavar before the year is done.

Al: If Arrington is healthy, there's no reason to leave him sitting on the sidelines. I understand that he might not be a good fit in the defense Gregg Williams wants to run. But if you can't figure out a way to use someone of Arrington's talent, you're not doing your job as an NFL coordinator.

That Gibbs tirade made no sense to me. Why wouldn't his team be the favorite? They were tied for first place in their division, playing the worst team in the NFC. I just don't get that saying you shouldn't be the favorite is a very good motivational technique in that spot. What are you telling your players? That the 49ers should be expected to beat your team at home? That a rookie quarterback, who had a quarterback rating of 8.5 in his only previous NFL start, should be able to lead his team downfield effectively against your top-five defense? That the highest rated quarterback in the conference shouldn't be able to throw the ball against a defense allowing over 400 yards per game? Maybe that's why I'm not an NFL coach.

What's Gibbs going to yell about this week, that his team deserves to be a larger underdog on the road against the Giants than they already are?

Vivek: The game might not be as explosive as their 1966 matchup, but both offenses are firing on all cylinders. A lot has been noted about the Redskins defense, but New York's stand in the fourth quarter, especially on Denver's last possession, showed me that they can step up to the task. The defense made some needed adjustments after halftime, the most significant one being the secondary's playing a strict man-to-man defense. This prevented the big plays, like the three 26+ yard receptions for the Broncos in the first half. Now let's see if the injury-plagued secondary will keep the speedy Santana Moss in check.

It does seem weird for these teams to be playing for the division lead, doesn't it?

Al: I never would have guessed just two months ago that the Giants and Redskins would be playing in the Meadowlands in Week 8 for first place in the NFC East. Thankfully, the Giants pulled out a near miracle win last week so this game could have such importance.

Who woke up Amani Toomer? He was incredible on the final drive, catching everything Eli threw to him. That's exactly what the New York offense needs to be more consistent, a possession wide receiver that Manning can count on when he just needs to throw it to someone for a few yards. He's tried making Shockey or Plaxico that player, but when Manning has forced the ball to them, he's been way off. On that final drive, Manning just kept throwing the ball to Amani who kept catching it.

That game winning drive was a thing of beauty. I'm thoroughly enjoying the Eli Manning era. With two time outs and 3:26 on the clock, Eli had plenty of time to move the ball 80+ yards and he knew it. He wasn't afraid to throw it in the middle of the field to get six or seven yards and help move the chains. I was also impressed that the Giants weren't afraid to hand the ball to Tiki twice to get first downs.

What a great win in a game that by all rights New York should have lost. I completely expected the Giants to lose that game going into it. With pretty much every linebacker this side of Antonio Pierce listed as questionable, I was very worried about the ability of Denver to run the Giants off the field. The Broncos averaged nearly six yards a carry, which is actually a bit less than I expected. Even when the linebackers did get one of the Denver backs in their grasp, they couldn't bring anyone down. There was one play around the end of the third/beginning of the fourth where Mike Anderson just kept walking for a good four yards with Nick Griesen wrapped around him.

Scramble for the Ball Mailbag

Ryan from NY:

I need a defense while the Indy Colts, whose defense I absolutely stole in the draft, are on a bye. Who should I pick up? Denver (v. Philly), Minnesota (@Carolina), Kansas City (@San Diego), Washington (@New York) and Oakland (@Tennessee) are my choices (I counted out the 49ers and Texans, sorry).

Al: None of those matchups jump out as great choices. The Eagles have been the best fantasy defense of the teams you list this year, so I'd go with them. Carolina and Tennessee have been turnover-prone offenses this year, but there's no way you can start either Minnesota or Oakland as your defense, especially if you start to lose points in your fantasy world the more points the defense gives up in the real world.

Reader Machoman asks us:

1)Which two RB's do I start out of these? K.Jones, T.Henry, C.Brown, T.Fisher.

2)Which TE do I start ? M.Pollard or Ben Troupe.

3)Which two WR's do I start? A.Chatman, C. Chambers, and R.Smith.

4) I have to drop J.Brown this week so whom do I pick up? R.Lindell, L.Tynes,T.Peterson,or S.Janikowski. And do I stick wih that kicker or try to go back to J.Brown in Week 9?

5) As for defense, do I hold on to Cleveland or pick up San Diego, Carolina, Miami, Houston,or Arizona?

Vivek: 1) I don't envy your situation this week. Cincinnati cannot stop the run, as evidenced by last week. I could have been in the Pittsburgh backfield and had a big game against the Bengals, so I'll take a chance with Fisher. I'd sit Jones against Chicago this week (last week was against a poor Cleveland run defense) in favor of Chris Brown against the Raiders. Travis Henry will need some time to get back into game shape, so I don't expect more than a handful of carries for him this week.

2) I'm not big on either right now, but Troupe would be the better play against Oakland.

3) Chambers and Smith. Chatman isn't anywhere near reliable.

4) On a week to week basis, kickers are a dime a dozen. Any kicker can score big or go scoreless each week. During the course of the season, the top kicker may average only a point or two more than the 10th best. That being said, I'd go with Tynes because of his ability to hit the long field goals.

5) Save a waiver claim (if that's how your league operates) and keep Cleveland. They will get you some points via the sacks.

Al: 1) Neither Brown nor Henry is a good start, even with a nice matchup against Oakland. Brown's banged up with a shoulder injury and Henry hasn't played in a month. I'd stay away and start Jones and Fisher. Everyone has been putting up great rushing numbers against Cincinnati; Fisher should be no different. The Bears are a tough rushing matchup, but playing Jones is better than trying to figure out which, if any, of the Tennessee running backs will be productive.

Nolan writes in:

Okay, typical "who should I start" question. I've got a bit of a mess at RB. I need to select two: LaMont Jordan, Kevin Jones, Mike Anderson, Chris Perry, and Tony Fisher. Jordan's a no-brainer. Jones showed signs of life last week, but he's facing a good Bears defense this week, so I don't imagine him doing much. I could roll the Bell-Anderson dice, or hope that Tony Fisher knows how to run the ball now that he's the starter in GB. Advice?

Al: I'd be tempted to go with Fisher because of the great matchup against Cincinnati. However, I'd probably end up playing Anderson. He seems to have established himself as more of the workhorse back in Denver. Bell will get around 10 carries or so, but Anderson is going to be the primary ball carrier. That doesn't mean he'll necessarily put up more fantasy points than Bell, but he's the better bet to do so.

Vivek: I'm going to have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you there. I believe in Mike Anderson or any Denver running back about as much as I believe that my fiancé will let me register for that 42-inch plasma. (Side note: Seriously, who needs a bundt pan?) Anderson got 24 carries last week, but only 15 and 11 the weeks before. It is a hit or miss situation. Even if Anderson gets the carries, there is the risk that Bell will get the touchdowns. Take a chance on Fisher.

And closing up this week is Tommy.

I just traded Todd Heap for J.Bettis. So with that said, kindly rank the following players in my flex league: C.Brown, T.Henry, K.Barlow, C.Chambers, M.Moore and now of course, J.Bettis. Thanks so much, T.

Vivek: Chambers is the most dependable. Then Moore, Bettis, Brown/Henry (time will tell if one becomes a feature back) and Barlow.

Al: I'd put Moore before Chambers. Mewelde has actually been a decent fantasy back recently, gaining 100+ combined yards in his last three games. Gus Frerotte's coming back to earth, so Chambers' numbers should also be expected to fall. After that, throw everyone in a hat and see what comes out. You're talking about four players guaranteed to get drafted in our weekly loser league no later than the second round.

Lessons Learned from Week 1

Lesson 1 -- The NFC North Winner Will Have a Sub-.500 Record

Al: I'm sticking with the Bears. If Jeff Garcia had looked better on Sunday I could have been convinced to switch my pick to Detroit. But with Garcia looking just as bad as he did with Cleveland last season, I see no reason to move away from the Bears. They have the easiest road to 7-9 in the division, and they already have two division wins. If they beat Detroit this week, the division is Chicago's to lose.

Vivek: The Vikings will still win the NFC North. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Alright, this might not be some monumental accomplishment, but I see the team rallying to bury the on- and off-the-field embarrassment from earlier this year. Pat Williams almost single-handedly stopped the run on Sunday, and is proving to be the best of the offseason defensive pickups. Daunte Culpepper, while not playing to his 2004 form, will not be anywhere near as bad as he was early on. Out of everyone in that mediocre division, only the Packers are out of contention, which segues nicely to...

Lesson 2 – It is Officially The End of an Era in Green Bay

Vivek: This portion of the season merely confirmed our suspicions about the 2005 Green Bay Packers. The free agent departures of Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera have hit the team harder than anyone could have possibly expected. Then the injuries began. First Javon Walker goes down with a season ending injury, then Najeh Davenport and now Ahman Green. It is almost sacrilegious to eliminate a Brett Favre team, but the team cannot score or defend. Here's hoping that Favre doesn't go out like this.

Lesson 3 – Teams Need to Teach Timeout 101

Vivek: In two instances this weekend, teams were burned by not having a timeout as time wound down in the first half. The Eagles could not get the called play and personnel in on time, and Donovan McNabb was forced into calling three timeouts on the same drive. The Eagles came up with nothing as the first half expired, stranding the offense at the Chargers four-yard line.

Because of one challenge and two timeouts that were used early on, the Lions were empty with about six minutes left in the first half. The Lions still came out on top, but were left hanging in Browns territory.

Al: Let's not forget about the Saints, who couldn't challenge a bogus interception call at the end of their game against St. Louis that put the game away for the Rams. Ernie Conwell was clearly down before he was stripped of the football by Mike Furrey, who ran 67 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

Keep Choppin' Wood Award

Vivek: Not to add injury to insult, but rather insult to injury, but my pick this week is Vinny Testaverde. Guard-turned-center Pete Kendall shouldered some of the blame for Testaverde's three fumbles in the first 18 minutes, but Testaverde didn't help his cause by adding an interception. The 17-0 lead was insurmountable, but the game was within reach because of Michael Vick's ineptitude.

Honorable Mention: Jose Cortez, former kicker for the Dallas Cowboys, for missing a 29-yard field goal in the beginning of the fourth quarter in Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Seahawks. Of course that would not have been meaningful had Drew Bledsoe not thrown an interception with ten seconds left on the clock, which set up Josh Brown's game winning field goal as time expired. There are even grumblings that Bill Parcells cut Cortez in the locker room after the game. (Side note: The Eagles just picked up Cortez for a week or two until David Akers returns.)

Al: This may be the record for the most weeks into a season without giving the award to Drew Bledsoe. Thankfully, Bledsoe threw an awful interception to hand the game to Seattle to finally return to his regular place in our column. After Seattle tied the game, Dallas started its drive with 33 seconds on the clock on its own 41 yard line. If the aforementioned Cortez were my field goal kicker, I would have just kneeled on the ball and played for overtime instead of trying to drive the ball 50 yards in under 30 seconds to get the ball into realistic field goal range. Instead, Dallas decided to try and move the ball downfield to put the game away, a la New England in Super Bowl XXXVI. Luckily for New England that year, Bledsoe was on the sidelines and not trying to march the team downfield. Unfortunately for Dallas, Bledsoe was the quarterback who was trying to gain those needed yards on Sunday. After Drew floated one into the hands of Jordan Babineaux, Josh Brown was able to put the ball through the uprights as time expired.

Best Bets

Vivek: (1-2 last week, 9-15 overall)

You know, 1-for-3 in baseball every game would get me a $10 million contract….

CINCINNATI -7.5 over Green Bay

See Lesson 2. Tony Fisher might have a good game until Brett Favre needs to play catch-up, but it will not be enough.

HOUSTON PK over Cleveland

The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers can rest easy as their record for futility will stand.

PITTSBURGH -8 over Baltimore

Paging Chester Taylor.

Al: (2-1 last week, 16-7 overall)

I don't like any of the lines this week. I'm just sticking with favorites that I'm fairly confident will win and hope that they win by enough.

Tampa Bay -11 over SAN FRANCISCO

Either Alex Smith or Ken Dorsey will be trying to put points on the board against the rejuvenated Tampa defense. Chris Simms couldn't have a better matchup in his first start of the season.

CAROLINA -7 over Minnesota

I hope the Vikings savored their home victory over the Packers, because it will be their last victory for a while. The Panthers will keep things simple and give Stephen Davis ample opportunities to pound the ball against the Vikings. Daunte Culpepper, meet Julius Peppers.

N.Y. GIANTS -3 over Washington

Complete homer pick here. I don't like any of the other lines that much, so I might as well go with my team in a big division matchup at home.

Loser League Update

Al:Better late than never, here's your Week 7 All-Loser Team:

QB: Trent Dilfer, CLE - -2 points (19 passes, 73 yards; 1 rush, 12 yards; 3 INT)
RB: Chris Brown, TEN - 1 point (10 carries, 37 yards; 1 fumble)
RB: LaDainian Tomlinson, SD - 2 points (15 carries, 7 yards; 2 catches, 26 yards)
WR: Bernard Berrian, CHI - 1 point (2 catches, 15 yards)
WR: Johnnie Morton, SF - 1 point (2 catches, 19 yards)
K: Kris Brown, HOU - 2 points (2/2 XP)

With only two weeks to go in the first half contest, a real battle is shaping up for the top spot. The Polish Wonders have seen their lead decline from 22 points two weeks ago to a mere seven points after Week 7. Hot on his trail are the Christ Punchers, Ice Cold Bruschi and the Lakeland Lowlifes, all within 20 points of first place. It's anyone's ball game at this point. (Sorry about the technical problems with the Loser League related to the re-code, we're working on them...)

Posted by: scramble on 26 Oct 2005

35 comments, Last at 10 Sep 2010, 2:58am by uggs outlet


by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 4:37pm

Vivek: psst - it's still Cincinnati, not Cincinatti.

Bengals don't totally suck this year, so you really need to learn its spelling. :)

by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 5:23pm

The rant was standard-issue Gibbs. He thinks it helps his team stay focused during the week, even though every former player interviewed said they tuned it out.

Tony Kornheiser made the observation recently that Joe Gibbs is slowly turning into Lou Holtz.

by Yuri (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 5:42pm

What is the line in TB-SF?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 5:50pm

Pat: No he doesn't, I lived in Ohio for way too long and never did!

by Jere (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 6:23pm

Uhm... last I checked, the Central divisions were disbanded. Were you guys rushed this week?

by thad (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 8:08pm

there has already been talk of a "Lavar" conspiracy. Some people think that due to his contract issues with the Redskins that Snyder told the coaches to sit him. To be fair, most people are not buying into that. A few weeks ago there was a big article about it in the Washington Post. It basically said that Lavar was a freelancer who made some great plays but was often out of position. It quoted a player or two without using names who said the same things. They also quoted former skins defensive coordinator and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis as saying that Arrington was the most undisiplined player he had coached in the NFL. It would appear that Greg Williams and the other coaches feel they are doing just fine with Arrington on the sidelines, well last year he was injured.
in 2003 the skins were 28th in dvoa 11.0
in 2004 the skins were 3rd in dvoa (-16.0)
in 2005 the skins are 12th in dvoa (-7.9)
so it would appear they are doing better without him by this metric.
The other thing that people have been talking about here in DC is the lack of turnovers, and most people assume that Arrington would help in that regard

by Theo (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 8:57pm

In Haiku:
NFC Central
Exists no more. It should be:
The South and The North.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 11:50pm

I think that is a really good point. People talk about big playmaking ability all the time, but they often ignore the 80% of plays where the defensive player is simply doing what the system tells him to do and makes the stop. So when a player decides he doesn't like the play, say, 50% of the time, that's 40% of the time when a play should be automatic that suddenly turns into a huge problem (yay made-up numbers!). I don't know much about Arrington besides shiny highlight stuff, so I don't know how accurate the "freelancer" tag is, but if he's half of what they're making him out to be, Gibbs is perfectly justified in sitting him, because despite the loss in big plays, he's still going to be a liability.

by Al Bogdan :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 12:01am

D'oh! Getting too excited about the Red Wings/Predators race for the top of the NHL's Central division I guess. It's been fixed.

There should also be a short loser league update added to the column in the near future as well.

by Dan (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 12:32am

Bledose, Rothlissburger or Simms this week as a fantasy QB?

25 yards / 1 point
1 touchdown / 6 points
INT / -2 points
fumble lost / -2 points

I'm leaning towards Rothliss.

by Terry (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 1:06am

I want to pick up Tony Fisher.

Should I drop:

Jerry Porter
Chris Henry
Chester Taylor
Derrick Mason
Marion Barber
Antonio Bryant

I've got Barber because Jones is down... I'm really not sure to drop. Bryant hasn't done too much, Mason less, Porter even less. Taylor probably won't get what he should because of Billick's stubborness. Chris Henry's looked good, but Palmer's started throwing it to Perry instead, and Housh is getting healthier by the second.

by Toolwood (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 1:21am

Who do you like in eliminator leagues this week? Steelers and Pats are obvious but I'd like to save them for later weeks, so am debating between Panthers, Bucs and Cowboys. ???

by jimmo (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 1:52am

re:Dan #10, I'd rank Ben third on that list, with Bledsoe as your starter at home vs. Arizona w/o Jones. Even Simms is a better start I think.
re:Terry #11 drop Henry. Easy choice really. A rookie receiver, at best the third (or possibly fourth, as you say with Perry) option, with a pretty tough schedule ahead, let him go.

by jimmo (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 2:05am

oh, and for the first mailbag question above, Philly isn't an option; its DEN vs. Philly he's looking at. of the teams listed, I'd probably play Denver, but don't discount Houston just yet. At home vs. Cleveland could be worth a couple of turnovers and a low score. With said turnovers come TD chances. Arizona isn't a bad one-week D play either; aggressive, athletic vs. Bledsoe w/o Adams and Jones. They rank 13th in D points scored in one of my leagues and Dallas gives up about six D-points a game, slightly above the league avg. of 5.2 or so. (1 pt. per sack, F, I, no penalty for giving up a bunch of points).

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 2:13am

#12: Go with the Bucs. Taking the better team of the two that play San Francisco and Houston is always a safe bet.

by MCS (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 8:22am

Why do we keep learning lessons from Week 1?

by Jeff J. (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 11:14am

Gibbs = certifiable genius for hyping up a easily winnable game, seeing Brunell's potential despite his injury last season, and not bowing to public opinion on the Coles/Moss trade. Even if we don't go to the playoffs this year, mea culpas are due his way from a whole lot of people.

Go Skins.

by Tyler (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 11:26am

I don't even know for this week. I'm in a start 2qb league, and most of the 10 teams carry the 2 required and a backup. Sadly, my backup is Josh McCown (vs Dal). Even more sadly, with Hasselbeck on a bye this week, I have to start my backup. The only qbs available to me are Simms vs SF, Garcia vs Chi, and Carr vs Cle. Should I drop McCown and pick up one of the available qb's or just pray that my other players pick up the slack for McCown?

by Scott C (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 1:31pm

What's wrong with McCown? I just traded him away this morning, but with some regret. AZ has no running game and as long as your league doesn't penalize for INTs, McCown can put up great numbers. I started him twice and both times he beat out Trent Green, who was warming my bench. I have Brunell now, but McCown was decent.

by Ferg (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 2:13pm

Re 6: Cherrypicking! Go back one more year. In 2002 -- arguably Lavar's best season -- Washington's defense was 7th in DVOA at -6.2%.

I strongly suspect that the ups and downs of their defense have more to do with the coordinators than any single player.

Of course, it's worth noting that Marvin Lewis and Gregg Williams stress highly disciplined schemes, whereas the coordinator in 2003 (I want to say George Edwards? but I'm not sure) had a reputation for letting the LBs do their own thing. Hmm ..

by Ray (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 3:23pm

Need some quick advice for QB start:

Bledsoe vs. Arizona
Favre at Cincinnati

I'm leaning towards Bledsoe because I feel like Arizona is a weaker matchup than Cinci (Arizona's Pass Def. DVOA is 16th, while Cinci's is 5th). But I see people who are shying away from Bledsoe because of his OLine troubles. Does anyone really think Favre is the better play here?

by Ray (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 3:29pm

Okay, one more quick question, this time on RBs.

Lewis vs Pitsburgh
Fisher vs Cincinnati

I've all but given up on Jamal Lewis, and I hate to play him this week against the Pittsburgh defence. Do you think Fisher would really be an improvment? Cinci's run defence is quite weak, but Fisher is relatively unproven and is banged up, and on top of that GBs OLine is nothing to write home about.

What do you think?

by Tyler (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 4:11pm

RE: 19
That's the problem. TD's are 6, but INT's are -3. Also, fumbles lost are -3. And, that wasn't even the biggest of my concerns. I saw what Hasselbeck did for me against that same Dallas defense last week, hence why I'm leery of starting McCown against them too.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 5:23pm

Re #18: I'd go with Simms, it's San Fran for crying out loud. And I actually did that in a similar situation.

This isn't really a question, but I feel like mentioning how bad my lineup is in my other league this week, since I piled up all my byes (Alexander, Martin, and Harrison - & Hasselbeck, but I have Brooks for that) and Drew Bennett's hurt. My RB/WR: Stephen Davis, Frank Gore, Plaxico Burress, Eric Moulds, and Braylon Edwards (the rest of my bench is Shawn Bryson, Michael Bennett and Arnaz Battle). At least I'm 5-2, soon to be 5-3.

by B (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 5:56pm

#21) I'd start Favre. Cincinatti doesn't have much of a pass rush, so he should have time to throw, and he'll be playing from behind all game, so he will be throwing all game. As long as you don't get punished too badly for intercptions, he should be worth a lot of points.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 9:13pm

B: Cincinnati, not Cincinatti. Stop letting Vivek get in your head!

by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2005 - 11:16pm

Which two players do I start at RB: Ronnie Brown @NO->Baton Rouge, Stephen Davis vs. Minnesota, or Brian Westbrook @Denver?

Before anyone makes the point; as far as Denvers's run defense stopping Westbrook on the ground, they needn't try. For the season, 256 yds 1 TD rushing, 367 yds 3 TDs recieving.

Right now I'm leaning towards Westbrook and Brown, as Davis' fantasy value being made up mostly of touchdowns (7 so far this season, with only 6 games played) is simultaneously enticing and frightening.

Also, does anyone have any idea on WRs that could be sleeper pickups for the second-half of the season? My situation at WR is really bad. (Greg lewis, David Gabriel, Az-Zahir Hakim, Brandon Stokely, and Joe Horn (Gabriel and Zahir were FA pickups))

by Justin (not verified) :: Fri, 10/28/2005 - 1:05am

I have a tricky situation I'm trying to figure out. Someone in my league offered me Rudi Johnson & Chris Perry for Ronnie Brown & Ricky Williams. The issues, as I seem them, are:

(1) Ronnie is averaging slightly more PPG than Rudi thus far this year. They're averaging the same number of total yards per week - Ronnie has just scored once more (a trend that I don't necessarily expect to continue)
(2) Miami faces the easiest schedule for RBs in the NFL over the rest of the season according to DVOA. Cincinnati's is significantly tougher.
(3) Rudi has yet to have his bye.
(4) Rudi is dealing with a nagging knee injury.
(5) Ronnie is more likely to "improve" as the season goes on
(6) While Rudi has been losing a few touches to Perry, Saban has not yet shown that he's willing to give Ronnie 75% of the carries.

So basically I sometimes look at Ronnie & see a lesser Bell/Anderson situation, and sometimes I see another Edge/J. Jones/K. Jones big second half for a rookie RB in the making. So what do you all think? If it makes any difference, I can only start 3 RBs, and already have D. Davis, S. Jackson, & K. Jones (another super-easy schedule the rest of the way).

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/28/2005 - 3:36am

Al, not sure I like your picks that much. The Giants (-3) game is a tossup, and I wouldn't be so sure about Tampa Bay and Carolina covering.
I kind of like Houston to win this week. A lot of tough games otherwise. I expect Dallas to cover against Arizona.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 10/29/2005 - 4:05pm

27: I'd bench Davis, and in terms of sleepers, I like Brandon Jones and Jabar Gaffney.

28: Ricky's a nonfactor this season, and you'd never start Perry unless it's a massive bye. I'd want Brown if only b/c of the bye situation, and drop Ricky for . . . anything.

My Question: would anyone bench Chris Brown v OAK for MBarber v ARI?

by Justin (not verified) :: Sun, 10/30/2005 - 12:16am

Thanks for the opinion, Adam. To answer your question, I'd probably take Barber (assuming that he's supposed to start - I haven't checked). Oakland's run defense is actually not too bad (14th in DVOA; Arizona is 22nd).

by Al Bogdan (not verified) :: Sun, 10/30/2005 - 12:29am

10: Real tough not to play Bledsoe against the Cardinals. That one could get ugly quick.

11: Drop Henry.

12: I'd go Carolina, but any of those three should be fine

14: Yeah, I screwed that up. Rough week.

16: D'oh.

18: I'd go with Simms over McCown.

19: You have to go with Brunell over McCown. The Giant secondary has not been strong.

21: Bledsoe

22: Fisher. Taylor will get the important carries this week for BAL

27: Davis and Brown. I'm not a believer in the Viking run D. The Bronco LB should reasonably contain Westbrook.

28: Make the trade.

29: El Sid - I don't like my picks this week either. I didn't like any of the lines. I'm just waiting for THE SYSTEM~! to kick in.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Sun, 10/30/2005 - 1:14am

Another variation of a fantasy question that's kinda/sorta already been asked and answered in the comments above:

With Shaun Alexander off this week, I'm in the unenviable position of having to start two of the following:

Mike Anderson vs. Philadelphia
Willie Parker vs. Baltimore
Ronnie Brown vs. New Orleans
Stephen Davis vs. Minnesota
Marion Barber vs. Arizona
Antowain Smith vs. Miami
Tony Fisher vs. Cincinnati

Your thoughts.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 10/30/2005 - 1:37pm

That's not bad at all.

I'd go with any of them except Antowain Smith.
Fisher should do well, assuming he gets the bulk of the carries.
Barber will do well.
Parker will probably do well.
Stephen Davis will likely do well.
I'd probably avoid Mike Anderson this week, although he's another possible play.

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