Sun Sep 14 11:23pm EDT
There are, of course, many story lines we could revisit as a way to wrap things up today.
Larry Johnson is upset (as are his fantasy owners), Justin Fargas is injured, Brandon Marshall had 18 receptions in his return, and the Lions have now allowed 921 yards and 82 points in just two weeks.
But the situation we'll be following closely all week involves LaDainian Tomlinson's injured toe. LT declared himself ready for the Broncos, yet he couldn't handle a full workload today. He finished with 10 carries for 26 yards and two catches for 14.
In Tomlinson's absence, Darren Sproles was outstanding. He returned a kickoff 103 yards in the first half, carried seven times for 53 yards, and he turned a short pass from Philip Rivers into a 66-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Highlights here.
Sproles actually led all running backs in fantasy scoring today. He's a 5-6 live wire, and he's capable of scoring whenever he touches the ball. Sproles is also only 25 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues. Apparently, 75 percent of Tomlinson owners either don't believe in handcuffing, or they didn't think LT was human and thus susceptible to injury.
Well...it seems he is. If Tomlinson owners climb back on the ledge tonight, we'll understand.
Enter the waiver claim on Sproles, then please return to review the notes from Sunday's games...
• Matt Cassel's first start since high school went reasonably well, but it wasn't at all useful for fantasy purposes (16-for-23, 165 yards, 0 TDs). He badly underthrew Randy Moss on what should have been a long second-half touchdown. Laurence Maroney was sidelined with a shoulder injury for much of the game, but he returned late.
• Earnest Graham salvaged a decent fantasy day with a 68-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
• Do not look directly at Matt Ryan's line. Use some sort of pinhole device.
• The only component of the Seattle passing game you should think about starting right now is tight end John Carlson. That receiving corps has been destroyed. Matt Hasselbeck is like a surgeon working with sporks and Q-tips.
• Mike Shanahan was the beneficiary of some extraordinary calls today, to say the least. Maybe he sensed that this was his day, because he went for a game-winning two-point conversion with 0:24 seconds on the clock. Eddie Royal caught the final touchdown, as well as the two-pointer. He was blanketed on the conversion, too.
Brandon Marshall was totally uncoverable: 18 receptions, 166 yards, one TD.
(Posted at 7:45 ET)
• Perhaps the Broncos have not fully transitioned from the Brandon Marshall era to the Eddie Royal era just yet.
• Here's Randy Moss' line at half: one catch, eight yards.
Matt Cassel doesn't look bad, exactly (9-for-13, 96 yards), but we're not seeing a very good impression of the '07 Patriots just yet. And the second half began with a two-sack series. And Laurence Maroney is out with a shoulder injury.
• Clearly the most dangerous job in America is being a Seahawks wide receiver. You already know about Deion Branch, Bobby Engram and Nate Burleson. Seneca Wallace injured a calf during warm-ups today, and Logan Payne has injured his left knee.
If I'm Brian Blades, I don't go outside and I do not answer the phone.
• With 10:43 left in the third quarter, Matt Ryan was 3-for-17 for 36 yards, and he'd thrown two INTs. He's wondering where the Detroit secondary went.
• Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin are playing catch in Arizona, while a few guys in Dolphin helmets stand and watch.
(Posted at 6:20 ET)
• With Justin Fargas out, it was all Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. The Raiders went exclusively to the ground game on their second drive of the third quarter, and McFadden delivered 89 yards on five carries. It began with a 21-yard gain, and ended with a 19-yard TD.
Some of you might recall that we declared McFadden a buy-low candidate late in the liveblog on Monday night. So if you stuck around 'til the end of a mostly atrocious game, at least something worthwhile was eventually said.
Highlights of today's McFadden performance here.
• Jonathan Stewart broke many tackles on a 24-yard third quarter run. Alex Brown, Kevin Payne and Mike Brown were among those humbled. On the next play, Muhsin Muhammad should have had a long touchdown reception, but the score was negated when rookie Jeff Otah held (badly and obviously).
• Devin Hester exited in the third quarter with either a rib or abdominal injury, and the Bears quickly announced that he wasn't returning.
• Torry Holt's touchdown reception was obscene. And probably legit. The pass was tipped in the end zone by Kenny Phillips, and Holt caught it while flat on his back. Phillips seemed to share possession, briefly. That was one of the Rams' few highlights, but it was a good one.
• Another disastrous fantasy day for Carson Palmer, and for Bengals everywhere. It was wind-aided, though. Chad Ocho Cinco led Cincinnati with four receptions for 37 yards. Palmer finished 16-for-27 for 134 yards, and he threw two picks. He'll need to earn his way back into your starting lineup.
• Jonathan Stewart continues to bulldoze. That's two short-yardage TDs. No one wants to step in front of that dude.
• Ahmad Bradshaw made the most of his six touches, gaining 70 yards and reaching the end zone twice.
• Calvin convincingly wins today's battle of the Johnsons. He had two TDs and 129 receiving yards. Chris Johnson finished with 109 rushing yards, and Larry Johnson was...well, he was abysmal.
LJ finishes with 12 carries for 22 yards, and we'll be discussing his effort tomorrow in our Worst Performer of the Week video segment. I was the last of the LJ believers, and he's finally lost me.
• If you had to guess Jon Kitna's starting fantasy lineup today, you'd begin with the Green Bay defense.
3rd-6 IND 24, 3:15 P. Manning passed to A. Gonzalez to the left for 58 yard gain. Lateral to R. Wayne for 17 yards.
That play set up a Joseph Addai touchdown, which saved his fantasy day.
• When coach speaks, we listen: Herm Edwards used the word "embarrass" approximately 25 times in his post-game comments; Scott Linehan makes every sentence a question by tacking on an "M'kay?" at the end.
(Posted at 5:02 ET)
• Mike Brown obliterated Jake Delhomme on a blitz on third and seven, decisively ending Carolina's opening drive. The Bears then blocked the punt, Brandon Lloyd came down with the ball, and nine yards later Chicago led 7-0.
• This was Trent Edwards' opening drive at Jacksonville: 6-for-6, 53 yards. Marshawn Lynch capped it with an 11-yard touchdown, stunning a few tacklers in the process. You're starting him every week, period.
Lynch has delivered 80 total yards in every game of his NFL career except for one...and he still had 79 yards and a touchdown that week.
• In the Fantasy Football Live league, I made a last-minute decision to
bench drop James Jones in favor of DJ Hackett. It's early, but that's looking like a spectacular failure. My affection for Jones is thoroughly documented, but I already had Greg Jennings in the lineup. It seemed like too many Packers. Alas.
• The Vikings had a 6-0 lead in the second quarter, and it was basically the Adrian Peterson show (12 carries, 111 yards). After a five-yard carry on first down, Peterson gave Minnesota a 2nd and five at the Indianapolis 40, just on the edge of field goal position. So what do you do if you're the Vikings? Apparently you call Tarvaris Jackson's number, twice. And he didn't seem to be expecting it. Two failed plays later, Minnesota punted.
• Breaking: It's still tough to run on the Vikings defense. This was Joseph Addai's line with 5:23 remaining in the second quarter: seven carries, -4 yards, -0.6 average.
• Hackett tried to get on the board for me, but a 23-yard reception was negated by an illegal formation penalty.
• Unexpectedly, Chris Perry is having a useful day against the Titans defense: 15 carries, 54 yards, one TD. He was largely ignored on the touchdown run.
Justin Fargas is down, and it appears to be a groin injury. Here's the news from the Oakland Tribune:
Fargas may be done with 43 yards on nine carries after sustaining a non-contact injury on a third-down play deep in Raiders territory. He was driven off the field on a golf cart with 3:55 left in the half.
Fargas was split right, with Russell motioning toward the running back with single coverage outside. Fargas seemed to pull up on the route -- a groin injury looked like a possibility.
(Posted at 2:44 ET)
Some of you have urgent start/sit questions, while others simply crave the company of fantasy experts. Both needs can be satisfied over at Fantasy Football Live, begining at noon ET. Also, please check in with Sunday Scene throughout the day for updates.
Enjoy the before & after picture...
I'm in a 20-team league where there are no starting QBs available in the free agent pool, and my back-ups to Matt Schaub are Sage Rosenfels (smart) and Jeff Garcia (whoops). The solution? Seneca Wallace gets the start at quarterback, even though he'll be a receiver today in real-life. So we'll just see how that goes.
(Posted at 11:54 ET)
Photo via AP (Rodgers, Cutler, Boldin, Sproles) and Getty Images (Davis, McFadden)