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25 Oct 2006

Scramble for the Ball: Bizarro World

by Bill Barnwell & Ian Dembsky

Bill: Let's start it off with a rule question. Brian Westbrook is alone on the Buccaneers 2-yard line with about 30 seconds to go, and no Tampa player, from replay, appears to be within ten yards of him. Furthermore, he has a colleague hanging out with him. The score he would create when the ball crossed the plane would give the Eagles a likely insurmountable lead (ignore Matt Bryant for now). So here's my question. Why did he go into the end zone?

Couldn't he have just stood around on the one foot line and waited for someone to try and tackle him? Shouldn't his teammate have blocked to keep tacklers who'd likely given up already -- and, judging from the Buccaneers defense's tackling on that play, had given up before Westbrook had even gotten the ball -- away from him while Westbrook killed time? Can the referee blow the whistle if all the ballcarrier is doing is standing still? If so, couldn't he have just run in place around the one-yard line? How much time could he have run off the clock? Five seconds? More? Would that have won them the game? Westbrook even slowed down as he got to the two, as if he was thinking about stopping, and then creaked across the goal line. Of course, he left just enough time for Matt Bryant, who busted out the ROBO-KICKER Halloween costume about a week and a half too early.

Ian: Brian Westbrook absolutely could have done that. Despite many instances of this situation arising in NFL games past, however, I've never seen it actually done. Heck, after breaking five tackles en route to one of the most amazing touchdown runs I've ever seen, who could blame him for not thinking about it? Laying blame on him for not stopping at the one and waiting is ridiculous after what he'd just accomplished. If Donovan McNabb hadn't gift-wrapped two touchdowns to Ronde Barber, the loss wouldn't be Westbrook's fault.

If you think about it, that game was almost the Arizona-Chicago game in reverse. Tampa could get nothing going offensively, but scored early on defensive touchdowns. The Eagles offense came alive in the second half, scoring just enough to take the lead. But instead of missing the game-winner, Matt Bryant hit a ridiculous 62-yarder.

Bill: It was really Halloween week all across the NFL. Joey Harrington threw 62 passes, which seems like some misguided attempt to try and get someone's attention on either his or Nick Saban's part. Maybe Saban was trying to get Brady Quinn's attention. At this point, Miami is seriously in the Quinn sweepstakes: they're 1-6 and have Chicago, Kansas City, Minnesota, Detroit, Jacksonville, and New England after the bye. How many of those games can they seriously be expected to win at this point? Furthermore, can they really give up on Daunte Culpepper and Joey Harrington and draft Quinn?

Ian: If Miami does continue their awful play and finish in a position to take Brady Quinn, I don't see them doing it. They just have too many needs all over the field, too much money tied to Culpepper, and Harrington has been serviceable as a quarterback. They really need to look into upgrading their offensive line so they can revolve the offense around Ronnie Brown, with a little play-action mixed in.

Seriously though, does anyone know what's going to happen from one week to the next at this point? Kansas City continued their run as the league's schizophrenics, beating the San Diego Chargers one week after being demolished by the Steelers, one week after annihilating the 49ers. Oakland beat up on a Cardinals team that almost shocked the Bears one week prior. Atlanta and Pittsburgh, two teams that like to run the ball as much as anyone else, had an aerial shootout. And finally, the Houston Texans manhandled the Jaguars in one of the most surprising final outcomes so far this season. Just goes to show you -- any given Sunday.

Jacksonville is certainly a confusing team. Their defense looks dominant at times, and horrible at others. I also get tired of people commenting on Byron Leftwich's windmill-like throwing motion -- it's the way he throws; deal with it. Funny how people only bring it up after poor performances.

Speaking of poor performances, I don't understand why there's even a debate about benching Drew Bledsoe. Tony Romo should be the starter for now and for the future. Romo looked excellent in relief of Bledsoe. The only problem with his performance was the three interceptions. I chalk those up to the crazy pressure under which he was put in his first NFL snaps. Monday Night Football against the Giants, when your team has been struggling and is currently behind? It's no wonder his picks came in an attempt to force the ball. The most important things he did were using his legs to buy time in the pocket, and looking to get the ball to Terrell Owens often. If he can practice all week knowing he's the starter, I anticipate he won't be as careless with the football in the future, and he'll keep both T.O. and the Dallas faithful happy.

Hey, Terrell Owens: Unless you're going to catch wide-open passes on fourth down, quit being a prima donna and shut up. Had to be said.

If you're smart enough to be making money off of my Worst Bets, you knew that the Colts were going to blow out the Redskins at home after I picked the 'Skins to keep things close. Fantasy owners of Peyton Manning rejoice! Not only did he get the ball to his wideouts all game, he even looked for them over and over at the one-yard line. The true test of whether this is a trend or an aberration will come next week, when the Colts head to Denver for a fascinating match-up of an offensive touchdown machine against a defense that almost never allows any. If Denver wants to believe they can advance in the AFC playoffs, they'll need to make a statement this Sunday at home against Indy.

Check out the Football Outsiders comics archive and Jason's wacky Gil Thorp blog.

Loser Leaguers of the Week

Bill: You may have read in Audibles this week that I was slightly inebriated (from Saturday's merriment, even) whilst watching the 1 PM games last Sunday. I bring this up to explain what was, probably, the highlight of the day before Vince Wilfork was straining to pick his nose on live television. CBS cut away and showed a highlight of the Chiefs' third touchdown, a short Larry Johnson run. Nothing new. As the highlight faded, though, James Brown informed the world that Lawrence Tynes had, in fact, missed the PAT. My reaction to this was not to chuckle, or smile, or even to guffaw. Instead, I screamed "YES!" loudly enough that I was immediately ashamed of myself. Keep in mind that I don't have Lawrence Tynes on my Loser League team, and even if I did, and I ended up winning Loser League, all I would win was a copy of the book I help write. With all that being said, this missed extra point was still so glorious. I love the Loser League with all my heart.

QB: Not a bad week for quarterbacks in Week 6, especially compared to Rex Grossman's going-back-in party the week before. Bruce Gradkowski remains a tantalizing option for second half Loser League teams, but no one has him now, making his 6 sadly useless. Instead, low score for quarterbacks is Byron Leftwich, who recorded a 6 while throwing like Peter Gabriel. Charlie Frye had a fourth-quarter touchdown push him to a 9, which earns him the second sad sack. Actually, if we could hand out trinkets for appearing in this part of the column the same way international soccer players received caps in the earlier part of the century (with the name sticking around to this day), I'd like to think that we could ship Charlie Frye some silica gel with a frown on it.

RB: Willie Parker may have been out back counting stars with Ben Roethlisberger in the second half of the Falcons game. He followed Big Ben's injury by suffering a ten-yard loss and fumbling on the next play, which seems like some misguided attempt to break the DVOA spreadsheet and/or an equally-misguided homage to Edgerrin James' performance last week. After that, he carried the ball five times for nine yards. His 2 for the week was tied with Dominic Rhodes for the low score in the AFC. On the NFC tip, meanwhile, it was the same sad story. When I announced my Loser League team this year, I noted that I'd picked Edgerrin James because one of the first comments in the Loser League thread was daring people to do so, as if it would be a dangerous move. Once rosters get reset, it's going to be hard to find a team that doesn't select James. 13 carries, 34 yards, one catch, four yards, 3 points. On the bright side, at least the Cardinals offensive coordinator can apparently be Matt Leinart's wingman, or they can play Sega together or something. I'm not sure what Denny Green's justification really was yet. Mike Alstott gets the Honorary Mention; he had no rushes, but caught two balls for zero yards.

WR: Braylon Edwards ran into the Denver #1 WR-killing machine this week -- two catches and six yards receiving get you a 0, young man. Eric Moulds, part of the most productive WR tandem in football, only scored 1 point. (Meanwhile, his partner Andre Johnson, while scoring his touchdown, had to suffer what would be considered sexual harassment in most workplaces.) Amani Toomer has all but returned back to the form that made him a cornerstone of my Loser League selections, earning a 2. What's the equivalent of a contract year in Loser League? Finally, Roddy White spent another week not being Atlanta's top receiver, earning a sole point by a single yard.

K: Sure, Lawrence Tynes may have hit (two) game-winning kicks against the Chargers this week. He can't hide in the Loser League. Despite hitting the aforementioned game-winning field goal and three extra points, Tynes' misses earned low score of the week with a -1. Don't miss extra points, kids. Phil Dawson and Josh Scobee also made cameos by hitting a lone extra point each.

Scramble for the Mailbag

Ryan: I wrote in the preseason asking for advice for drafting a dynasty league. Well now that league is in full swing, and I feel I've got a solid team, I need some wide receiver help, for now or for the future. Basically, I'm not sure how a first-round pick in next year's draft should be valued, and if I can exploit this to either get a player for one of my draft picks, or stock up on draft picks. We have a 25-player roster, so pretty much anyone is on a team (10 teams). At the end of the season we'll drop five players and have a five-round draft of league free agents and rookies. Basically my question is: how big of an impact do you think a pick around 5-7 would have in such a draft? And what should I expect to get if I traded my first rounder?

Ian: Wow, that's a deep league. 250 players are on rosters, and 200 will be kept going into the next season. As a point of reference, I looked at the top 200-rated fantasy players in my league, and around 200 come such standout players as Josh Reed, Daniel Graham, Hank Baskett and Bobby Engram. Safe to say, you won't be spending your first-round pick on anyone who was in the league last season.

What you will be going for, however, is rookies. Every season there will be a number of impact rookies, at least ten of which are usually worth drafting for keeper league fantasy rosters. A pick in the 5-7 range should get you a nice shot at a rookie with upside. So the question becomes: What are you giving up to get that pick? If the answer is a Greg Jennings, or a Marques Colston, I'm not sure you're not better off just hanging onto those guys. To give up a proven commodity for a chance on the fifth rookie selection at best just doesn't seem worth it. If you can deal away your first-rounder to get a player of such caliber, I'd recommend doing it in a league where so many players are kept season-to-season.

Keep Choppin' Wood Award

Ian: This week's Keep Choppin' Wood Award goes to Brian Westbrook, for not stopping at the one-yard line and waiting for the clock to run out. When your team just takes a lead, and there's less than a minute ... no, no, we're kidding. Let's pick someone who actually deserves the award.

Candidates that fell short include Jake Delhomme and Drew Bledsoe, for terrible goal-line turnovers. Edgerrin James' run of misery merited some consideration (he's certainly in the running for the season-long award). Even Donovan McNabb was in the picture this week thanks to digging his team a huge hole with two pick-sixes.

Bill: They were all deserving, but this week's Keep Choppin' Wood Award goes to the assorted members of the San Diego secondary who, for the second time this season, have shown comically bad tackling near the goal line. In their loss to Baltimore, Todd Heap caught a ball several yards short of the goal line and, despite being around several Chargers players, bounced into the end zone while avoiding what appeared to be several Chargers attempting to give him dead arms and Indian burns. Meanwhile, in their game against the Chiefs this week, Larry Johnson's first touchdown had all the imagery of an American Gladiator (pick your favorite -- Nitro, maybe) running through so many contestants with ease. It isn't two-hand touch, gentlemen.

Best Bets

Bill: (1-2 last week, 12-8-1 overall)

My first losing week of the season. Not only that, I let Catholic Match Girl down. I am ashamed. And you don't want to see Catholic Match Girl's disapproval eyes. That is, assuming those aren't her disapproval eyes. On the bright side, I did get the Giants game right, even down to Tony Romo coming in during the third quarter. And, on the even brighter side, LB #55 tore his ACL! Maybe he can read the playbook if he gets bored not rehabbing.

Baltimore (+2.5) over NEW ORLEANS

Oh, how the tables have turned! Welcome to the light side, Baltimore. I don't know if Steve McNair is playing in this game and, realistically, I hope he's not -- I think the Ravens really have a better shot with Kyle Boller. Well, for the first three quarters at least. Maybe they could employ McNair as football's first closer. Brian Billick's a quarterback guru; I'm sure he could ... oh, that ship's already sailed, hasn't it? Oh well. I know that I'm probably setting myself up for failure betting against the Saints at home, but I think the Ravens grind out a win here.

CLEVELAND (-1.5) over New York Jets

Sometimes, I think Vegas just has a read on something and I decide to trust the line. There's no reason, at first, to think the 1-5 Browns are going to beat the 4-3 Jets. And then, you look at the Team Efficiency chart and see that the Jets are 25th, according to DAVE, and the Browns are 24th. After that, you realize that Leigh Bodden may very well be back to cover Laveranues Coles, and that the Jets have been the beneficiaries of a little bit of luck (and some tenderness) and a lot of stinky teams showing up in New Jersey this season. Browns take this, and Reuben Droughns has his first big day of the season. For those of you who have Sunday Ticket, try and watch the first half of this game. I understand that may be a struggle, but you have to see how bad the Jets run defense is to believe it. You could put me and the FOX Blog commentator of your choice (since they've all played the game before) behind five Rob Pettiti's and I could run for 100 yards. Easy.

Indianapolis (+3) over DENVER

Clearly Vegas did not read the Football Outsiders Commenter RPS Corollary. Colts win in the Catholic Match Girl Staredown Lock of the Week. Colts fans, I may have just cursed your team.

Worst Bets

Ian: (0-2-1 last week, 6-12-3 overall)

Another successful week for the Worst Bets, as the Colts and Texans proved me wrong. Only a push in Cincinnati prevented me from the 0-3 record I so desired.

CHICAGO (-16.5) over San Francisco

Seriously, how often do you get to lay over 16 points? After last week's horrible showing by the Bears offense, the perfect tackling dummy comes to town -- the San Francisco 49ers. I like the direction the Niners are headed lately, but this game is certain to set them back. The Bears don't like to sit on leads at home -- they like to pound you into submission. No problems here.

Dallas (+5.5) over CAROLINA

As I said before, I expect Tony Romo to start (Parcells can't be stupid enough to let Bledsoe drop back against Julius Peppers and the Carolina pass rush), and I expect Romo to perform well. This feels like a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair, so I'm taking the Cowboys and the points.

New England (-2.5) over MINNESOTA

Bill Belichick is smart. He knows that the Minnesota offense needs its running game to be working if the Vikings are to move the ball. So he will do what it takes to stop the running game. Easier said than done, I know, but he will do whatever it takes to make Brad Johnson beat them through the air. Meanwhile, don't think that Laurence Maroney isn't fired up to be playing back in Minnesota. Expect a big game from him.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell and Ian Dembsky on 25 Oct 2006

107 comments, Last at 04 Nov 2006, 9:17am by Remembering


by andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 4:45pm

Re - Westbrook. I do that ALL the time in Madden. I hate playing defense in Madden, and kill time on every long TD run or pass before scoring.

However, the flip side... I remember a game... preseason, mind you, but still... in which Chris Dishman, playing for the Oilers, did that in a game. His motives were probably more taunting than running clock, as he held out the ball at the distant pursuers. Dishman did not see a receiver who ran into the end zone on the other side of the field, circled behind him and levelled him in the other direction, however. He then fumbled, the other team (Minnesota) recovered, and ended up winning the game by one point.

by sam_acw (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 4:46pm

Ooh ooh ohh I'm first!!

by sam_acw (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 4:46pm

damn, seconds too slow;-(

by Larry (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 4:52pm


Do I start Gore against Chicago or a committee guy, I have Benson, Barlow and Gado on my roster or could pick up LenDale White or Norwood as an option?

by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 4:53pm

I may not be going anywhere in the overall standings, but I can at least say that I won week 6 of Loser League. For one brief, shining moment, my team was worse than anybody else's. Huzzah!

by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 4:54pm

#1 - yeah, that's a classic Madden move.

Here's a dilemma - how strictly should we use the FO defense "vs. WR" stats when setting fantasy lineups. For instance, this week I have Wayne (vs. Denver, -45.2% vs. #2), Colston and Horn (vs. Balt., 20.9% vs. #1 and -63.4% vs. #2), and Jennings (vs. Ariz., -22.0% vs. #2...or is he their #1 now?)

So that leaves me with Horn and Jennings, which doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. I'll also probably use Colston anyway, since Witten's given me nothing all year. Thoughts?

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:01pm

Killing time before scoring or going down instead of scoring (as, say, Shaun Alexander could have done in their '04 game against the Cowboys, which would have allowed Seattle to end the game kneeling instead of giving up that ridiculous comeback) seems like one of those things awaiting a pioneer. It's good and well to say that you can hardly fault him, and of course you can't, BUT --

All it takes is for a coach to ingrain the idea of a "do not score" (or "score slow") scenario and remind his team of such. "If you happen to break free and nobody's around you, maybe think about standing still at the 1 and trying to run a few seconds off the clock, potentially becoming a nationwide laughingstock if you've failed to account for one of the other 21 players on the field who sneaks up and wallops you and then we fail to get the go-ahead score after all" -- that might be a bridge too far, sure.

But, "if you get past the 30, just get on the ground and we're outta here" isn't too hard. And overall, attuning players to think in terms of number of plays enabled or prevented, apart from its affront to the game's machismo, doesn't seem all that hard. Basketball players go 2-for-1 possessions at the end of quarters and things like that routinely.

Once someone does it, they should get the Belichik genius treatment in the next Peter King column, right? And then others'll start to do it.

Here's a related one: 1st and 10 in a clock situation, sometimes, you'd rather have your guy stopped for 8 or 9 than pick up the first. Then you can expect to gain the first down on the next 1-2 plays, and you're looking at 4-5 expected additional snaps to eat up time as opposed to only 3. This situation was a factor in Seattle's other epic choke from '04, the 27-10 lead blown against the Rams.

by Bill Barnwell :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:18pm

The thing is, it's one thing to be in the middle of the field. Westbrook was in the corner of it, and could see the entire field from the edge of the goal line. He also had a convoy - granted, a one man convoy, but at least he had a buddy.

As for #7, one of the things I always mean to take a look at but never have the time to do is how teams perform from 1st and goal on the 10 as opposed to 1st and 10 from the 11 or 12. Part of me wonders if they score more when their first down is from the 11 or 12 yard line.

by Marko (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:20pm

Another risk in trying to take off more time before scoring is that someone on your team will commit a dumb penalty behind the play, perhaps some type of illegal block. Or, maybe some of your teammates on the sidelines, not realizing that you haven't yet scored, will come on the field, thus committing a penalty for too many men on the field. Perhaps they would do so in celebration, or perhaps they would be members of the PAT team coming on the field.

Something similar happened last year, not in a "taking time off the clock" ploy, but on a punt return for a touchdown by Darrent Williams of Denver against San Diego. Some of his teammates came on the field after he was long gone, but before he scored, and Denver was penalized. Can you imagine the outcry if that happened while someone was wasting time on the 1 yard line? And then after the penalty, his team couldn't score the touchdown?

Imagine the post-game press conference if the coach of the losing team were Dennis Green or Bill Parcells. An epic post-loss meltdown? Brilliant!

by Marc Nelson Jr. (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:24pm

It works even better on Tecmo Super Bowl.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:27pm

re: 4
I'm benching Gore (I don't think he'll be rushing for much, maybe a little recieving though) and am opting for Norwood vs. the Bengals. A run-crazy team like the Falcons should be able to take advantage of the Bengal's pitifully soft run-D, and Dunn can't do all the work.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:35pm

In some small high school conferences, there is a rule that if a team is up by X amount, the game is declared over. I heard of a coach who told his players that when up X - 5, they should run out of bounds when they have breakaway runs. The team would then kneel down four times to keep the game going. I don't think this is apocryphal, I really think some team did this in northern MN.

by Ian Dembsky (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:38pm

I'm benching Gore for Wali Lundy this week. I can't see him having a good game in Chicago. That being said, it's hard to bench a clear-cut #1 guy for someone who's in a committee and may not even touch the ball. I might start Benson over Gore, but it's a 50/50 proposition as far as I'm concerned.

As far as Horn vs Jennings, Horn is a real iffy play against a very good Baltimore defense; he hasn't been that good this season anyways. If Jennings is healthy (Note: "IF" - pay attention as the week goes on), I'd go Jennings. I'd probably stick with Colston though; Witten is least valuable when he's blocking instead of running routes, and he will probably be asked to help out with the Panthers pass rush.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:54pm

Re 12

Why in the hell would someone do that? If scoring wins the game, do it. Intentionally stringing out a massacre when you could easily end it seems like rubbing it in. It also seems stupid, on the 1 in a million chance that the other team comes back.

In a video game, sure. It's fun to slaughter the other team. In real life, that sounds like you're inviting trouble and/or criticism.

by Ninjalectual (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:55pm

Is there a way to check loser league rosters? My team (Pete Coors DUI Team) was doing fairly well last I checked, but I can't recall who is on it!

by JJcruiser (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:57pm

Your Westbrook comment only makes sense if Westbrook had an inkling that the Philly defense would give up 30 yards in under a minute to a rookie QB and an anemic offense, and then a terrible kicker that had been missing all season would hit a 62 yarder to win. No way. Just get in the endzone and let your defense do its job.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:57pm

OK, which one of these would you go with as your flex back this week:

Reggie Bush (vs. Balt.)
Joseph Addai (at Denver)
Maurice Jones-Drew (at Philly)
Travis Henry (vs. Houston)

Am I nuts for thinking Henry's the best choice, given the matchups?

by Bill Barnwell :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 5:57pm

#15 - You can hit the Loser League button that appears on the left side of every Scramble column, or go to http://www.footballoutsiders.com/loser/results.php .

by Bill Barnwell :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:11pm

JJ, no, but he could fathom that the team might allow a kickoff return.

by NoJo (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:15pm

Re: 4

I'm planning on sitting Gore and starting Henry. You should consider starting Benson. Against AZ, the Bears didn't rush at all, but the week before, they were clearly trying to start getting him some touches, especially around the goal line. No guarantee that'll continue, but it may.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:26pm

anyone think Droughns is a good play this week? Against NYJ?

by jebmak (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:26pm

Ian, my concern with betting on your "worst bets" is that you may be enjoying the idea of worst bets too much. Are you now trying to make worse bets? If you are, then you will win more, thereby screwing up your record by making it better.

by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:30pm

I see Ian likes Droughns, but what about Droughns vs. Leon Washington? Who should have the better game? (can you tell I'm at the bottom of my league?)

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:30pm

Here's a better question

Wali Lundi vs Ten
Leon Washington Vs Cle
Droughns vs NYJ
Ahman Green vs Ari

by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:30pm

Sorry, Bill not Ian.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:31pm

JonL, I'm at the bottom too, but I have Gore, Rudi Johnson, Mgahee, and C. Taylor...

the problem is. Mgahee has a bye, Taylor is vs NE, and Gore is vs Chicago.

by DavidK44 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:34pm

Some heads up player will eventually do that, stop at the 1 to kill time. You can't blame players for not doing so because you've been trained to run hard, and keep running hard, and score touchdowns to avoid any sort of Leon Lett, and just get into the endzone...of course, those that do stop short/slown down are doing it to taunt the other team, but maybe one of these days someone will realize that the 5 seconds of taunting he did also won the game...

It will happen, just not sure when, and it will take some heads up player.

#7 - I completely agree on the killing out the clock. I've done it in Madden too - guy gets through the line and has at least 8 yards, I let him get the first down and then tackle him. 2nd and 2 is pretty easy to pick up, plus because you've got to play so tight on 2nd and 2 where a couple of first downs wins it, the play action pass becomes that much more deadly. Sometimes I'll even rush to call my next play, and purposefully go off-sides to reset it to 1st and 10, then call timeout, and try to stop them again.

But again, you can't ask a player to be heads up enough to know that where he's standing is actually 2 yards before the first down marker, and should let the runner cross the line, and conversely, to ask a RB to stop 2 yards short of the first down on purpose...they're trained to get as many yards as possible and taught that way...

Finally, the one thing you CAN teach is simple - up by 1, if one first down/turnover wins the game, you can tell your players once you get the first down (or interception), DO NOT SCORE. That's much easier than asking a guy to stop before the TD on the 1 yard line to kill 10 seconds before scoring, or to stop after 9 yards as opposed to 10.

by BB (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:47pm

*imagine this with a Chicago accent*

Yeah, uh, I have Hasselbeck as my QB and he's hurt, so who do I start this week, gotta start one: McNair, Walter, or Neil Lomax?

by Staubach12 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:50pm

I agree with you that Romo is clearly better than Bledsoe, but I'm wondering what your stats say about the two. What were their DPAR numbers for Monday night.

by Larry (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:55pm

I have Vick as one of my QBs (2 QB league), so I'm a little wary of using Norwood, who also has had games where he was unused. Cincy's porous run D is a good call though.

I'd think that you could coach players to fall down to win the game after getting the first down. Of course, the Eagles can't teach their QB to throw into the endzone with 9 seconds left and no timeouts, so perhaps it is too complicated. Running time off the clock standing on the goal line seems to me to be too risky, tough. You need the score, risking not getting it sounds like a bad idea.

by RobinFiveWords (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:56pm

Superior video-game tactics may elude players because (a) their coach/teammates/fans would burn them in effigy if they screwed something up; or (b) in the heat of the moment, they can't think objectively about the situation and just do what comes naturally. It certainly isn't because they don't play video games. But to refute (b), if Chad Johnson already has his end zone celebration in mind when he's only at the 20-yard-line, why can't any player have it in mind to run down the clock once he beats the last defender? Westbrook's play may be an exception because when they broke the huddle he had no idea he was going to score. But on a drive like that, shouldn't every player be consciously thinking, "We want to score...and, if possible, to leave as little time on the clock as we can?"

by Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 6:56pm

#8: Bill, I know alot less about football than quite a few people, but I've always been convinced that was true and both cheered my teams when they happen into those situations, and intentionally grabbed them in video games if I knew I would be caught in the last 10 yards.

Pretty sure it's a charm, it sure seems that way.

I actually would guess that the 13 or so is optimal for that sort of thing - when you're 3-5 yards out, teams don't stack the LOS the same way they do on 1-2 left because of the pass threat, and while they may stop you from getting a 5 yard pickup, they almost concede that firstdown in the process of preventing the score.

by Cristian (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 7:08pm

Ok I'm debating a deal here....I'd be giving up Addai and C.Cooley and recieving McGahee and A.Gates.

Here's the peramiters: PPR league, need to start at least one RB, one WR, and one TE, with two RB/WR flex spots. I've already got Westbrook and T.Bell, and W.Lundy. Addai is currently my third rated RB, but he has shown alot of potential, but there has been no indication that he will stop splitting carries with Rhodes. We get to keep two players for next year, but as of right now, Westbrook and Bell look better than Addai, but that could change.

Is the improvement at TE and stability out of McGahee (who has a favorable schedule after the bye) worth giving up on the potential for Addai?

by Leo Wang (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 7:17pm


You are insane if you don't take this deal. You are getting a better RB and TE in this deal. Your long-term concerns are overblown IMO. Westbrook is an easy keeper (barring continued injury concerns) and McGahee and/or Bell could easily be as good a keeper as Addai. If I was in your league I would probably protest this trade because it looks so skewed in your favor.

by Xian (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 7:28pm

Trade thoughts?

I have Hasselbeck, Vick, and Rivers. Hasselbeck is out for a while, but I’m comfortable with Rivers.

My RBs are Ronnie Brown, Droughns, and Norwood. Could definitely do with an upgrade there.

I’m shopping Vick around, pretty much just looking for a straight-up trade for an RB. Should I accept a trade for Dunn (paired with Norwood, could be good), or a trade for Leon Washington (who has a high DPAR, but made over half of his points in my leage last week)?

by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 7:40pm

Neil Lomax sighting! LOL

by Spoilt Victorian Child (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 7:43pm

Having not worn a football helmet since I was eight...do you really know when you're all alone like Westbrook was? It seems like, at the least, you'd need to turn around to find out -- and just doing that might screw you. Maybe they should be trained to do it only when they can see the ten yards behind them on the Jumbotron.

by johnt (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 8:02pm

I can't believe people are seriously saying Westbrook should have stopped before he hit the end zone. Talk about unrealistic expectations.

Players are coached to ALWAYS do certain things, and that provides an advantage because they don't have to think about it. When you hear a whistle - stop. When you see a fumble - fall on it. When you break away a 50 yard td run .. GO INTO THE END ZONE.

Another reason it's a dumb idea is because he would have had to burn 10 seconds off the clock to prevent Bryant's FG attempt. Count to ten slowly while standing still and see if NFL players can't catch up with you (hint: NFL players = 40 yard dash times

by johnt (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 8:03pm

It ate my comment: hint: NFL players = 40 yard dash times

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 8:09pm

Ian, I was saying the exact same thing watching, for godsakes stop running Westbrook!

This is of course coming from someone who called a 60sec timeout with 55 secs left in a running time hockey game where we had been up 6 after the second but had let up and it was 7-6 at the end of the third.

by David S (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 8:11pm

Wow, for the past two weeks the Loser League QB of the Week has been my regular fantasy starter. :( At least this week I was beat so soundly that no combination of players on my roster would've helped me win.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 8:13pm

I've loved thinking about these situations all my life. I think the players should be aware enough to stop on the 1 yard line and run time. I think they should be aware enough not to score when downing themselves ends the game but scoring does not. I think there's more expected points with 1st and 10 from the 11-14 than from the 8-10, but I don't think it's a big enough deal to make it worth thinking about downing yourself early.

I think teams should let the other team score sometimes rather than let them run it to :02 for a chip shot GW FG, and especially so when up by 2, meaning they'll only need 1 TD with a 2 pt conversion for the tie. I think teams should go for 2 after scoring a TD that brings them within 8, any time in the second half (I'm disappointed that I never figured this one out myself).

I think teams should surprise onside kick more often, and keep doing it until coverage teams respect it at least 50% of the time. I think when the opponent is punting from outside their 45, teams should just play straight D with a returner to FC if needed sometimes and 10 man punt block the rest of the time... setting up for a return is pointless.

That's all I got for now.... oh yeah, there need to be more efforts made at Sumo wrestler goalies in hockey.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 8:14pm

err the bit about especially when up by 2 makes no sense at all, scratch that.

by Kal (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 8:43pm

Droughns over Gore is a reasonable choice, isn't it? At least this week?

What about starting Glenn this week? Or starting Wayne?

by Jeremiah (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 9:21pm

What exactly is the "Football Outsiders Commenter RPS Corollary"?

Forgive me if I've missed the obvious.

by Jeremiah (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 9:22pm

Oh, I get it. Rock-Paper-Scissors (New England-Denver-Indy)

by mattman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 9:24pm

This Westbrook idea needs to be put to bed (I say that because while it's a new idea here, it's been all over Eagles message boards all week.) I watched the highlight package of the Eagles/Bucs game last night specifically to see if Westbrook could have actually drained time by standing at the one. As it happens, you can clearly see that as he crosses the goal line, a Buc defender (I think it was Juran Bolden) is running straight towards him only about six yards away. Now Reggie Brown is standing there and could throw a block, but even so is it really worth the risk of something going wrong in that situation? Westbrook didn't think so. As he's slowing down towards the goal line, you can see Westbrook actually glance back to check. I think stopping at the one was his intention, but he saw Bolden coming and rightly thought better of the idea. Nor can Westbrook afford to step out of bounds at the 1 when his team is still behind and has no timeouts and 30 seconds on the clock. In both cases, the chance of something going wrong is probably significantly greater than the chance of Matt freaking Bryant kicking the second-longest freaking field goal in the freaking history of the freaking league.

Sorry about that. Still coping.

by Vince (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 9:39pm

Westbrook absolutely should have stopped... but I've seen one replay from the end zone that shows one or more Buccaneers about 10 yards away. At most, Westbrook would have killed five seconds, about one play. TB's last play before the kick was an incomplete pass (not a spike to stop the clock), so even if Westbrook had done this TB would still be kicking a 62-yard FG at the end of the game.

by Mannie Fresh (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 10:03pm


I'm from chi-town and i've been hearing a lot bout Benson gettin a bunch of carries this Sunday. Play him. Perfect time to pad his numbers and experience...against S.F.

by mattman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 10:17pm

#48 - Do you really think it takes five seconds to run ten yards? Defensive tackles can run 40 yards in that time. Ten yards away, you're talking about a guy closing in one second, maybe two. And it's not like you can afford to play games and dodge him - you would have to jump in the endzone before he came in reach. Stopping at the one to run down the clock is a fun idea, but it wouldn't have worked.

by Matt (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 10:29pm

So, this week, should I start a shaky and potentially injured Roethlisberger against Oaktown, or Bulger against San Diego. Is the diffference in defenses enough to make up for everything else?

by Cristian (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 10:38pm

The Westbrook should have stopped thing is a joke right? You got me,,,ha ha ha..yeah good joke.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 10:40pm

Westbrook should not have stopped, and NO player would ever do anything like that in an NFL game. Period. Not to insult anyone here, but if you've stepped on the field, the last thing that you think about is stopping before scoring to run the clock. Your coach would kill you, for starters.

No, the way to kill time is for the TEAM to move the ball downfield methodically, not for a player who has a breakaway run to QUIT.

by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 10:53pm

It would have been utterly insane for Westbrook to stop before the endzone. If the Eagles had the lead, it might have been defensible. But I saw that Eagles-49ers game where the 49ers got stuffed from inside the one on two plays before Gore fumbled and Patterson returned it 98 yards for a TD. I also saw Syracuse fail to score on seven consecutive plays from inside the 5 -- and at least three of those plays came from inside the 1 -- against Iowa. The Eagles have already pushed this city to brink of mass suicide by losing three times on the final PLAY OF THE DAMN GAME. AAAAHH. Sorry. I'm still processing. Imagine the screams of rage if they lost after Westbrook passed up the go-ahead touchdown.

by zip (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 11:03pm

I agree with most people here that stopping in front of the line for the go ahead TD is unlikely to happen. However some people seem to think the optimal strategy is "let himself get tackled on the 1." That's not what anyone is suggesting (right??). Assuming he could see behind him on the jumbotron, he should have stopped and stood on the 0.5 yard line facing away from the goal, and taken a step back into the end zone when a Buc got near him. Maximum time runoff, very low risk.

by Tyler (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 11:10pm

Since everyone seems to be misunderstanding the stopping part of it, I'd like to propose an alternative. IIRC, Westbrook was along the right sideline. In theory, he could have turned to the left, ran parallel to the goal line, running towards the left corner, assuming he makes sure the ball doesn't cross the goal line which would then stop the play. When an opposing player came near, or he reached the left corner, he could simply go into the endzone. Granted, I have no clue how much time this would have run off, but I just thought I'd throw the alternative out there. And if this was previously mentioned in a post that I missed, then just ignore me completely.

by Cristian (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 11:50pm

With all due respect Tyler, I understand how some guy sitting on a computer can argue that "in theory..." Westbrook could have stopped at the one-yard line to waste away a few seconds (lets say five seconds for sake of arguement). Ok so when Player X on TB comes running full steam and nails Westbrook for this attempt to waste time and Westbrook suffers a concussion or re-injury to his knees was it worth wasting a few seconds? And I'm sorry did TB gain those 3 points when Westbrook entered the endzone??? no. The blame lies on the Philly D, or as Ian stated McNabb's two Ints earlier in the game. This is possible the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

by queequeg (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 12:11am

Some people may not know this, but actual football does not work like madden, where you can see half the field behind you with a gameclock rammed in your face counting down each second. It's instinct to run, and any RB who's cognitively analyzing the situation during the play would fail miserably, ala Ron Dayne

by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 12:22am

I had Hasselbeck as a starter in both of my FF team. In one of them, it was a good thing and a bad thing that he got injured. Good because I probably should have been starting Philip Rivers for a while now, bad because I was trying to trade Rivers for a good flex RB. In the other I am now starting Rex Grossman, who I was planning to trade up until he absolutely sucked against the Cardinals. The alternative in both leagues is currently Jake Plummer.

As far as Travis Henry having a good fantasy game against the Texans, don't bet on it. The Titans are probably going to score some points, however it will be less than you expect, and among other possibilities, they might all come on Vince Young runs into the end-zone. Or LenDale White goal-line plunges. Or Chris Brown runs. Or chip shots by the kicker.

Does anyone think that DeAngelo Williams, when he is healthy again, will be a worthwhile flex RB?

by Matt H (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 12:44am

I don't have anything of value to add, but I just wanted to express my overwhelming joy at seeing "Lesbians for Jesus" in the top 5 of the Loser League standings.

by compucrazy (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 12:58am

Couple of quick Fantasy Football questions. Would you Start Tatum bell at Cleveland or Willie Parker at Oakland? second I have LDT and Matt Hasselbeck but Hasselbeck got injured. Would a Peyton Manning for LDT trade work in my favor?

by Doug English (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 1:12am

Hey, got a RB dilemma. Who do i start? - Droughns against the Jets, Parker against Oakland and Maroney at Minnesota. I like the match ups for all three. who should i go with? As background I've taken an executive decision to not start Frank Gore as i'm not sure you get any fantasy points for 'making it out alive'.

by Cristian (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 1:55am


Well unless Tatum Bell is friends with Dr. Emmitt Brown I don't think he'll be traveling back in time to play Cleveland again. But, I'd go with him anyways. I have a feeling that the Colts-Broncos game will be pretty high scoring, and not because of Jake the Snake. The "safer" pick will be Parker, so I put the decision back on you.

by gmc (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 3:22am

24, you have four really crappy backs who all have great matchups this week. I bet you've wished they were spread out more a few times this season (the good matchups that is).

I'd go with Green and Droughns, just because they are at least serious starters with proven skills. Washington and Lundy are no names thrust into a starting role. Also, Arizona let Oakland score two touchdowns. OAKLAND...

And the Jets' run D is the worst in the NFL.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 4:15am

Didn't read the comments, but isn't there a rule that if a player obviously ceases trying to advance the ball, the refs can whistle the ball dead at that spot? So if you actually physically STOPPED on the 1 yard line, the refs could call it dead rather than letting you kill clock.

In Madden, my favorite move was to run back and forth along the goal-line while holding the Juke Button. When no one was near and you were about to score, "Juke" turned into "High step", and then as soon as someone came near you, you'd "juke" your way into the end zone. Maximum clock burning. I'd imagine that'd be a better real-life play (zigzagging back and forth), because then the ref couldn't rule that you'd ceased trying to advance the ball.

Also, has to be mentioned, but Denver is 2-2 in their last 4 games against Indy. Hardly a rock-paper-scissors dynamic.

by Kyle W (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 7:47am

I have a running back dilemma for my fantasy team this week as I have no stud WRs I need to start 3 RBs from J. Jones (vs Car), T. Jones (vs SF), Washington (vs Cle), Morris (vs KC) or Turner (vs Stl). Right now I am leaning towards using J. Jones, Washington and one other, probably Morris since he is playing behind a back up QB, but any other suggestions will be appreciated.

Also should I have Roddy White killed, or should I just release him and try to pick up some waiver wire scrub?

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 10:11am

With respect to the NE/MIN "worst bet", be aware that the Pats' top two DLmen (Seymour and Warren) are listed as questionable, as are two OL starters and an OL backup (Neal, Kazcur, Hochstein). Having 2nd and 3rd stringers "protecting" Brady in a loud dome doesn't inspire confidence.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 10:27am

67, and the Vikings only decent WR at all, Marcus Robinson, is out. So I guess neither of us are terribly confident.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 10:41am

#59- I'm in the same boat, and I was all set to move Rivers and Leftwich (my backup in my other league) for either RB or WR help. Then Hasselbeck goes and hurts his knee.

I need some advice on receivers. I can start two of the following- Burress, Rod Smith, Michael Clayton, and Amani Toomer. I'm definitely starting Burress- who should the other one be? And should I use one of the other receivers in my flex spot over Travis Henry? Thanks.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 10:55am


Seymour and Warren have both practiced this week, so theyre probably playing.

64. Those are backs available on the waiver wire.

I have Gore, R. Johnson, W. Mgahee, and C. Taylor, all who have awful matchups this week. Rudi is getting the start, I was looking for a #2.

by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 12:45pm

That Cleveland line is awfully sneaky looking. That said, I actually think the Jets could win big this week. Every Jets game against a bad team has gone more or less the exact same way- the Jets race out to a big lead some time during the late second/early third quarter (last week they did it in the first quarter, but that was the exception, not the rule), then sit back and watch it slowly evaporate.

The dirty little secret is that the Jets pass defense is actually worse than the run defense. It's just that the run defense is so bad that teams get out of their gameplan in their rush to beef up their ypc averages. I swear, Indy, Miami and Buffalo all seem to have gameplanned like they were in the preseason and wanted to work out some kinks in their running game. But once teams are behind and have to throw...it's not pretty. But that said, Cleveland has shown no ability to throw the ball whatsoever, which means that this is a rare instance where the opposing team might not come roaring back in the second half.

Plus, I have yet to see a team fire their offensive coordinator in the middle of the week and then come out with a stellar offensive performance on Sunday.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 1:05pm

Rich --

Go with McGahee -- he's gotten good numbers even with Losman at QB, so he has a better chance of being productive.

Two dilemmas: R. Brown against Jax or Berrian against SF?

Cadillac in Jersey or Maroney in Minnesota?

by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 1:21pm

72- I'd go with Berrian. As frightening as the Bears offense was against the Cards, I think they'll rebound this week. Rex likes to throw deep bombs to Berrian.

Also, I'd go with Maroney. He's playing for the better of the two teams, and Minnesota isn't as good as the Giants. (When I started to write that, I thought Maroney played for Minnesota, then remembered he played college ball there. I confuse easily these days.)

I'm most likely completely wrong on both counts.

by billvv (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 1:37pm

While I agree that the Jets look bad on average, they are steadily improving on all phases of their play. The Jets offense has given the defense more and more room to play their defensive scheme, no real rush and bend but don't break pass defense. They have seven picks as evidence of their success at this strategy and the wins as well. Remember the coaching staff has done this with five rookies, two on the offensive line! You'd have to expect improved play, for which statistics will always lag.

by DaveP (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 1:38pm

Couple of questions as I try to find some dim hope on my team.
Do I start Lundy or Jordan? Any guesses on Jordan playing?
T Williamson, A Bryant or R Smith?
With Hass out, my starter is now Grossman. The pickings are slim, Brunell, Huard, Plummer, Gradowski. I'm thinking with SF and the Miami on the schedule it makes sense to just stick with Grossman and cross my fingers?


by Xian (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 2:06pm

More trading thoughts.

I have Hasselbeck/Vick/Rivers, and Brown/Droughns/no one good.

Should I trade Vick & Brown for McAllister & L.Washington? Alternatively, sub one of those for Cadillac Williams, but I'm thinking NO & Jets have a better chance of actually needing to run to grind the clock than TB for most of the year.

I like Brown, but it seems like Miami just isn't going to be leading much, and Saban has been going pass-wacky a lot.

I haven't been starting Vick, so he's mostly eating up space. I could start all of McAllister/Droughns/Washington, I'm just not sure if it's an upgrade.

by Xian (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 2:08pm

#75, Grossman should be fine, at least against SF, and probably against Miami.

No idea about your RB situation, but I'd probably start Williamson at WR.

by Ted (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 2:35pm

Lots of guys slow down when they know they are in the clear, but if Westbrook stopped cold he could be hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

In a similar vein, it's not unheard of for teams to take an intentional safety when they are near their own goal line with a 6-8 point lead. But why wait until you’re backed up? If you've got a mobile QB or a Randle-El on your team, let him take a shotgun snap.* Against a team with a big d-line, this would burn a lot more time than three regular running plays.

While I’m on the subject of strategies that we probably will never see: once the Cardinals offense started sputtering against the Bears, would they have had a better chance if they went with the offense from “The Waterboy� (three kneel downs and a directional punt)?

*Send the WR on double move routes to occupy all the DBs and send a TE out to whichever side has the fastest LB. Playfake the run if you think the D is expecting one. Tell to QB look only at his protection and bail at the first sign of trouble. After initial protection breaks down, have the O-lineman drift strait back to pick off LBs and ends as the QB reverses field. The QBs ability to scramble would go way up since he doesn’t need to bother looking down field. Vick could burn 15-20 seconds having D lineman chase him in the open field. Run a standard draw on 2nd down, or a swing pass outside if they’re blitzing. Take it back to the 15 or 20 yard line before you start to move laterally on third down, run to the end zone and wait on fourth.

by NoJo (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 2:36pm

RE: 72

If you believe in DVOA, go with Cadillac over Maroney. According to DVOA, the Vikings are the #1 defense against RBs (and #3 vs. the run - I guess that means that RBs don't catch passes against them), while the Giants are #8 (against RB and vs the run). Add to that the fact that Maroney is in a RBBC situation, you're probably better off starting Cadillac.

by NoJo (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 2:49pm

Chad Johnson or Javon Walker this week? I've stuck with Johnson so far this season - he's catching the ball, just not for a lot of yards or touchdowns. I'm thinking that this is the week that I finally bench him. Will I regret it?

by billvv (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 3:18pm

With regard to stoping at the goal line, depending on the predelections of the refs, they could blow the play dead, forward progress stopped, and throw a flag for taunting too. I think you'd have to get clairification from the league before you try it.

by Xian (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 3:21pm

#80, I'd say Walker. I haven't been paying lots of attention to Denver or Cincinatti, but it seems like Johnson has been rattled since that hit, and is no longer really the #1 option there.

I don't know if you'll regret it or not, but at least this week, I think he has a better matchup.

by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 3:41pm

67 - When has a Pats injury report from BB ever been 100% accurate?

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 6:21pm


You also have to take into effect that NE is much more likely to be running the clock out than Tampa Bay is.

by Larry (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 7:27pm

Is Morris a better play than Gore this week? I just realized he was available. I figure Seattle hands the ball off a good bit this week with a new QB. I also figure they don't do very well, but at least I know he'll get 20 carries, as opposed to my other options: Barlow, Gado, Norwood, Benson, LenDale White. Gore hasn't scored a TD since week 2, and unless Grossman gifts a few again this week, it seems unlikely he'll get any on Sunday.

by the K (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 7:54pm

Hey fellas...if L.J. Smith is a no go for the Eagles, is backup Schobel worth a play? There's not much on waivers and I don't have another TE on the roster. Schobel has 7 catches for 147 yards this season so it seems he has some ability, would he start in place of Smith?

by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 10/26/2006 - 10:10pm

Need a waiver wire TE this week. Scoring is 6/TD, 1/10yds, no receptions, no bonuses. The nominees are, with their oppoenents DVOA's and ranks against TE's following in parens:

Scaife (TEN) vs. HOU (25.5%, 29th)
Troupe (TEN) vs. HOU (25.5%, 29th)
Klopfenstein (STL) @SD (-39.7%, 8th)
Wiggens (MIN) vs. NE (11.5%, 25th)
E. Johnson (SF) vs. CHI (21.8%, 27th!)
Baker (NYJ) @ CLE (-42.8%, 7th!)

The last two matchups are funky, with CLE and CHI against TE's being way out of line with the rest of the pass D. I was leaning towards Scaife, Troupe, or Wiggens. Any thoughts are welcome.

by Tyler (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 9:04am

RE: 57
Sorry for being so late with a response, but with all due respect, do you see anywhere that I said "This is the best idea ever, he most definitely without a doubt should have done this"? I could care less about Westbrook, and the Eagles in general. I was just trying to throw any alternative way of approaching the situation out there. And, I'm glad "This is possible the dumbest thing I have ever heard." Sometimes the jokes just write themselves kids.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 10:20am

CaffeineMan (#87 )--

Given the choice of those three, I'd go with Wiggins, on the theory that picking one of two tight ends on the same team (Scaife and Troupe for Tennessee), assures you that the other gets all the catches for the week. ;)

by noah of the ark (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 12:22pm

Come on, guys You don't stop at the 1... if you do that, you're a sitting duck. No, you RUN PARALLEL TO THE GOAL LINE. No one will sneak up on you that way, and you'll kill quite a few seconds.

That being said, I think the risk of a penalty -as mentioned by #9- is too high. You score and that's it.

by dbt (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 12:29pm

#81: Possibly taunting, though if it's done to run down the clock without showboating I doubt it.

Forward progress, definitely not. Loss of forward progress must be caused by a tackler. Punt returners and quarterbacks run backwards all the time and don't get whistled down unless they're unable to progress forward because they're being tackled/pushed back.

by Chris M (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 1:43pm

QB question - I had Hasselbeck, who's now injured, and need to replace him for a few weeks. League is basically standard, except that it gives a point for completions and -1 for incompletions, and it has a bonus for 300 yard games. I have the following waiver options:

Damon Huard
Charlie Frye
Brad Johnson
Steve McNair
Joey Harrington
Bruce Gradkowski
Charlie Batch
Jake Plummer
Vince Young
Kyle Boller
Tony Romo


by Cristian (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 3:15pm

I do want to apologize if I ended up directing frustration toward you, I understand that you were just tossing out another possiblity. But it seemed like there were some serious posts, mostly led by Bill, that kept arguing the idea, not as if it was a joke.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 3:40pm

#92: I think, as scary as it sounds, Harrington or Romo are decent fantasy picks. Both are going to be playing from behind a bit, both are going to be bad normal QBs, but they should both put up good yards and a TD or two.

by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 4:29pm

So, was it a polar bear that caused Huard to pull his groin in practice and could indeed result in Croyle starting this weekend?

by Eli Sprecher (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 7:09pm

Chris Henry is a free agent in my league. should i dump him for branch? or dump branch for doug gabriel? my other receivers are larry fitzgerald, marvin harrison, and donald driver. also, since my league is really tight, kickers have become important--thoughts on whether i should dump akers for carney?

thanks for the advice

by cjfarls (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 7:40pm

DEF question: Pitt vs OAK, or Philly vs. Jacksonville?

by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 8:25pm

cjfarls (#97):

I'd lean towards PIT. JAX is a trick-or-treat offense against a good PHI defense, but OAK is a consistently bad offense against a good PIT defense.

by Don M (not verified) :: Fri, 10/27/2006 - 10:02pm

RE: Westbrook and not stopping
I really think the possibility of penalty, combined with the fact that there are 11 players on the other team who can almost certainly[1] all cross 40 yards in five seconds makes this such an unlikely scenario that I can't really imagine teams training or planning on using it often. (Although it could work)

1: I didn't see the game, I don't know what the situation was so I don't know what the package of defenders in the game was, but even in a first down set with a pair of big defensive tackles on an NFL defensive unit there are 4 players with sub 4.5 40 yard dash time, 3 more with sub 5 second time, and 2 guys with no worse than a 5 second 40 time.

by Kyle (not verified) :: Sat, 10/28/2006 - 1:10am

So my four RBs are Tiki Barber, Thomas Jones, Laurence Maroney and Cedric Benson. Reports are that the Bears plan on getting Benson serious time this week, so should I start him over Jones? Or should I start both because Maroney, despite the "homecoming" feel good story, is both a time-share back and going up against one of the best run defenses in the NFL in Minnesota?

by Jake (not verified) :: Sat, 10/28/2006 - 6:25pm

Hey FO,

I'm not sure which team is mine. I sent on email to someone named Pat, but no response.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 10/28/2006 - 9:57pm

And then, you look at the Team Efficiency chart and see that the Jets are 25th, according to DAVE, and the Browns are 24th

That's called selectively picking out things to help your argument. The Jets have been the better team, and DVOA agrees. Jets are a solid pick here.

by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 10/28/2006 - 10:22pm


That's like saying a patient is fine because, even though he's brain-dead, his heart's still beating.

If I was saying the Browns were going to win because they had great second down defense or something, THAT would be selectively picking out things to help my argument.

DVOA believes the Jets have been the better team so far this season. DAVE factors in the preseason projection as well. With that and the homefield advantage included, I like the Browns.

by bob (not verified) :: Sun, 10/29/2006 - 1:23pm

Pt per 10 yrds, 6 for TD. Pick 3. Coles, R. Moss, Wayne, Mohammed. I'm leaning towards sitting R. Moss?

by Tyler (not verified) :: Sun, 10/29/2006 - 2:47pm

Re 104:
That's the same lineup I'd go with if I was you.

In my league, we start 2 wr's, 2 rb's and a flex w/r. Normal scoring, except all touchdowns are 6, and it's a PPR league. Due to byes, my available players for this week are WR's Driver(vs Ari), Berriand (vs SF) and Chad Johnson (vs Atl). My rb's are Thomas Jones (vs SF), Rudi Johnson (vs Atl), and Travis Henry (vs Hou). Right now, I'm thinking of starting Driver, Berriand, Jones, and Henry. I'm not sure which of the Johnsons to start, due to Chad not doing much this year and him being covered by Deangelo Hall this week. However, after seeing how bad the Steelers ran the ball last week, I'm leery of playing Rudi. Any suggestions?

by Kal (not verified) :: Sun, 10/29/2006 - 6:40pm

Well, starting Carr instead of someone else on the waiver seems to have given me about -.5. Greaaaat.

by Remembering (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:17am

I have seen the "killing time" play used before many years ago on TV, but it was not in the NFL. Maybe it was in the USFL. Anyone else remember? I vaguely remember a defender making an interception in the final minutes of the game, sprinting for the TD, then zig-zagging at the one-yard line to kill time before scoring. It looked clear that he wanted to bleed time off the clock to reduce the chances the offense could make a comeback in the closing minutes.