October 24, 2010
The fan pictured above is probably upset about her Broncos, who were demolished by the Raiders on Sunday afternoon, 59-14. That's definitely a hide-face-in-shame event. But if you told me she was actually a fantasy manager who was devastated by the performance of her bench vs. her starting roster in Week 7, I'd buy it.
These were Sunday's scoring leaders, heading into the late game at Lambeau…
1. RB Darren McFadden(notes), OAK, 43.60 fantasy points
2. WR Kenny Britt(notes), TEN, 40.50 points
3. WR Roddy White(notes), ATL, 32.10 points
4. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes), 30.96 points
5. WR Lee Evans(notes), BUF, 28.50 points
6. QB Carson Palmer(notes), CIN, 28.48 points
7. RB Michael Turner(notes), ATL, 26.40 points
8. Washington Redskins defense, 26.00 points
The only players on that list who were active in a majority of Yahoo! leagues are the two Falcons, White and Turner. McFadden was only started by 25 percent of the fantasy community. Britt was 28 percent started, Fitzpatrick four, Evans seven, Palmer 35, and Washington 18. This week, the top scorer at every standard roster spot was either un-owned or benched in most leagues. We even sat Olindo Mare(notes), the week's No. 1 kicker.
So fantasy experts are not exactly covered in glory today. Of course there were solid reasons to bench most of the names listed above. As recently as Friday, McFadden declared himself "70/30 to play" in Week 7. Britt was actually benched by his real-life coach in the first quarter against Philly for disciplinary reasons. Fitzpatrick and Evans were … well, they were Bills. Still are. There's an anti-Buffalo bias that we all need to overcome.
• Oakland can run the ball, period. Entering Sunday, the Raiders were averaging 130.2 rushing yards per game. McFadden is a different back this season, a confident runner, a guy who initiates contact and reacts to tacklers before they enter the frame.
• Britt clearly has top-tier potential. We knew this already, but he's been mistake prone, on-field and off. When he's right, he requires attention from a defense's best corner. The Hobbs-on-Britt experiment was a disaster.
• With Fitzpatrick at the controls, Buffalo's offense is suddenly useful for fantasy purposes. He's thrown 11 touchdown passes in four weeks, with at least two scores in every game. Fitzpatrick wore out the Ravens on Sunday (374 yards), and he delivered multiple TDs against the Pats and Jets, too. You can't say he's simply feasting on soft opponents.
• There's just no reasonable excuse for benching a defense that gets to face Jay Cutler(notes) these days — even Washington, a team that ranked 31st in passing yards allowed. Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall(notes) had more return yardage on his four INTs (92) on Sunday than any Bears receiver gained through traditional means.
If you were savvy enough to start any of this week's top scorers, you've earned the right to gloat on the fifth page of comments on a fantasy blog. Have at it, gamers. The rest of us will cover our faces in shame.
• For the second straight week, Seattle's Mike Williams reached double-digit receptions (11 for 87 yards). He's still just 30 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues, but there's little doubt about his place in the Seahawks' receiving hierarchy (and he's gaining ground in the Mike Williams hierarchy).
• McFadden was obviously the headliner in the Raiders' unimaginably big win at Denver, but take note of the line delivered by Knowshon Moreno(notes): 17 touches, 90 total yards, two TDs. He gained a bit of fantasy cred in defeat. He also celebrated waaaay too much, with his team down 30-plus.
• Another fantasy line worth noting: Beanie Wells(notes) carried 14 times for 54 yards and a score in Arizona's loss at Seattle. That's simply a heroic effort, given the current state of the Cardinals' offense. Max Hall(notes) and Derek Anderson(notes) combined to complete just 36 percent of their passes on Sunday; that quarterback situation is as hopeless as any in the NFL.
"I'm still hurt; my ankle still bothers me," Thomas said. "I'm taking it day by day."
There has been no indication Payton or the organization is dissatisfied with his effort.
"I don't even know what to say about that," Thomas said. "I haven't felt … nothing. Everything seems cool around here."
Presumably, things were a little less cool following the loss to Cleveland. We would have never guessed it back in Week 3 when Thomas was originally injured, but Reggie Bush(notes) (broken leg) might actually return to the field ahead of Pierre.
• In case you hadn't noticed, the 2010 Colts are cursed. This goes well beyond the old Super Bowl-loser thing. Indianapolis skill players are probably uninsurable right now. (Not sure. Have to ask my agent). Anthony Gonzalez(notes) reportedly tweaked his high ankle sprain recently, so we'll likely get another does of Blair White(notes) in Week 8. You'll recall that Austin Collie(notes) just underwent surgery, and Dallas Clark(notes) has been placed on IR. (11:30 pm ET)
Early waiver plays for Week 8…
QB Matthew Stafford(notes) vs. WAS, 30 percent owned
QB Josh Freeman(notes) at ARI, 27 percent
QB Matt Cassel(notes) vs. BUF, 40 percent
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick at KC, 9 percent
QB Matt Moore(notes) at STL, 5 percent
RB LeGarrette Blount(notes) at ARI, 3 percent
RB Donald Brown(notes) vs. HOU, 25 percent
RB Mike Hart(notes) vs. HOU, 6 percent
WR Jordan Shipley(notes) vs. MIA, 4 percent
WR Steve Johnson(notes) at KC, 34 percent
WR David Gettis(notes) at STL, 0 percent
WR Blair White vs. HOU, 2 percent
• Darren McFadden was considered a game-time decision entering Week 7, and it appears Oakland made the right call. McFadden needed just two quarters to gain 102 scrimmage yards and break the plane three times. Here's a clip of what may have been his most impressive score. That's Renaldo Hill(notes) who gets trucked near the goal line.
Denver appears to be stunned, fumbly, and ill-prepared. Knowshon Moreno looks spry enough, but he's really the only bright spot thus far. It's a laugher in Denver.
• Derek Anderson has replaced Max Hall at quarterback for Arizona, which is kind of like switching from Diet Rite to Tab. Hall went 4-for-16 with just 36 passing yards and one INT before exiting. Mike Williams has a 2-yard TD reception for Seattle, which is kind of a big deal for those of us who used a two-Williams formation on Sunday.
• With Malcom Floyd(notes) out and Antonio Gates(notes) damaged, there's a disturbing lack of playmakers available for San Diego. At the start of the third quarter, Buster Davis led the Chargers in receiving yards with 53, and Ryan Mathews(notes) led the team in rushing yards with just 15 (on eight carries). No one has been particularly impressive for the Patriots, either. Philip Rivers(notes) and Tom Brady(notes) are doing all they can with what little they have.
• Before breaking for dinner, we'll restore your faith in the NFL's talent level by linking to two plays from the Pittsburgh-Miami game: Davone Bess'(notes) 26-yard score, and the 21-yard TD by Hines Ward(notes). If you enjoy broken tackles, those clips are necessary viewing. The Steelers pulled out a sketchy one-point win in Miami, thanks to a generous replay ruling by the officials. Or maybe it was a non-ruling. Oddly enough, I think it may have been the right ruling, because possession couldn't be determined. Apparently Ben Roethlisberger(notes) and Ikaika Alama-Fancis had joint custody of a football. It was a play that only a Jeff Reed(notes) owner could truly love.
• San Francisco QB Alex Smith injured his left shoulder in the loss at Carolina, and he was replaced by David Carr(notes). It sounds like a separated shoulder, but we don't have any official word just yet. In relief, Carr was just short of ordinary: 5-for-13, 67 yards, one INT. If he's going to quarterback the Niners going forward, a messy situation just got quite a bit messier. (6:50 pm ET)
• If you weren't emotionally invested in the Bears-'Skins game, that thing was an absolute delight. Neither team deserved to win.
In fact, it can be reasonably argued that those franchises should be merged, in the hopes of forming a single competent team. Let's hope you weren't playing a drinking game that involved turnovers, because if you did that, then … well, then you're probably dead.
Ryan Torain(notes) couldn't hold onto the football, Donovan McNabb(notes) threw two picks, Matt Forte(notes) lost a fumble, and Jay Cutler was basically a civic embarrassment. DeAngelo Hall picked off Cutler four times in the second half, and he appeared to be the intended receiver on each INT. Hall returned one of the interceptions for a 92-yard score. The game featured as many defensive touchdowns as offensive TDs. And somehow both teams have 4-3 records, which seems like an indictment of the NFL.
If you're streaming defenses that get to face Chicago (smart move), here's the upcoming slate: bye, at BUF, MIN, at MIA, PHI, at DET, NE, at MIN, NYJ, at GB.
• Kenny Britt was simply un-coverable on Sunday. Poor Ellis Hobbs(notes) is still looking for him. Hobbs couldn't locate him here, or here, or here. Britt leads all fantasy scorers following a 225-yard, 3-touchdown effort against Philly. He didn't actually enter the game until mid-way through the second quarter (punishment for suspected brawling), but he was dominant as soon as he stepped on the field. Britt's NFL career has basically been a two-steps-forward/one-step-back experience, but he made a massive leap in Week 7. We'll no doubt have more on Britt later tonight in quarter No. 4.
• Even before he threw a game-ending pick six to Cortland Finnegan(notes), Kevin Kolb(notes) did more than enough on Sunday to guarantee that Michael Vick(notes) would eventually start for Philadelphia again. Kolb finished with three turnovers and one TD pass while gaining just 4.8 yards per attempt. The Eagles are off in Week 8, and then Vick figures to return.
• Carnell Williams(notes) caught a game-winning TD pass at home in the final seconds, but LeGarrette Blount was the fantasy headliner for Tampa. The rookie carried 11 times for 72 yards, dominating the rushing workload for the Bucs. Blount is a clear add, considering the state of the Tampa Bay backfield (many injured, others injury prone).
• The Todd Bouman(notes)-led Jaguars were surprisingly competitive for three quarters, and Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) managed to total 121 yards from scrimmage. But the game turned on this Derrick Johnson pick six, and the Chiefs added a pair of fourth quarter TDs, beating Jacksonville by 22. Dwayne Bowe(notes) and Matt Cassel connected on a pair of TDs for the second straight week. As we discussed last week, Kansas City has a phenomenal stretch of games ahead. Invest where you can.
• Rookie David Gettis had an outstanding day for Carolina in the win over the Niners, catching eight passes for 125 yards and two scores (and he dropped another TD). Both he and Brandon Lafell(notes) (6-91), another first-year wideout, delivered excellent numbers for the Panthers. Matt Moore passed for 308 yards in his return to the starting role.
• The Saints ruined thousands of confidence pools on Sunday, losing to the Browns at home, 30-17. Drew Brees(notes) saved his fantasy day with a pile of garbage time stats — including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston(notes) — but he threw four picks against Cleveland. The Browns offense only gained 210 net yards, but they made some brilliant risk/reward calls on special teams (see below) and 12-year vet David Bowens(notes) returned two interceptions for scores. (Seriously. Video here).
• If ever a game was worthy of Gus Johnson, it was Sunday's shootout between the Bengals and Falcons. The Birds eventually won it, 39-32, as the unstoppable Roddy White finished with 11 receptions and 201 yards. (Matt Ryan(notes) completed 24 passes for 299 yards; Roddy hogged all the stats). Cincinnati trailed 24-3 at half, but Carson Palmer came out chucking the ball in the third quarter. He attempted 50 throws on the afternoon, connecting with Jordan Shipley, Chad Ochocinco(notes) and Terrell Owens(notes) for scores. The Shipley and TO touchdown receptions were yards-after-catch events; Owens delivered a wicked stiff-arm on his 19-yard TD.
• You know, it really wasn't so long ago that Baltimore had the NFL's top-ranked pass defense. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick absolutely torched that unit on Sunday, passing for 374 yards and four TDs. Lee Evans and Steve Johnson both eclipsed 100 yards; Evans caught three of the scores. Fitzpatrick was fearless against the Ravens' secondary, despite the presence of Ed Reed(notes) (who had two INTs in his return). Buffalo gets KC, Chicago and Detroit in the weeks ahead.
Bonus update: Antonio Gates will indeed play in the home match-up against New England, tweets Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Use Gates as needed. "Looks better than he has other times he's toughed it out to play," reports Acee. Elsewhere, Darren McFadden will be active for the Raiders, though he's no guarantee to start ahead of Michael Bush(notes). (3:05 pm ET)
• Roddy White is giving us yet another clinic, beating any coverage the Bengals throw his way. On this 43-yard score, White roasted both Adam Jones(notes) and Leon Hall(notes). Roddy has six catches for 157 yards at the break. If we were to re-draft a 2010 fantasy league today, he'd be at the top of my cheat sheet at receiver. White entered the day first in the NFL in targets, and he's extending his lead.
• Analysts often like to make the point that quarterbacks share responsibility for high sack totals. But that's not what's happening with Jay Cutler right now, not at all. He's getting hit while still dropping back. Albert Haynesworth(notes) basically threw Chris Williams into Cutler on a third-and-9 in the first quarter at Chicago, recording Washington's first takedown of the day. On that play, the Bears extended their streak of failed third-down conversions to 24, which is pretty amazing. These things happen when you can't run the ball and you're always — always — in third-and-long.
• Bizarro Chiefs right here…
• It's still early, but I'm prepared to nominate Josh Wilson's(notes) failed first quarter kick return for worst individual play of the day. Wilson back-tracked, then got steamrolled, then coughed up the football (recovered by Buffalo). The Bills obviously had a productive bye week, as they took an early 17-3 lead over the Ravens. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked terrific in the first half, connecting with Lee Evans (twice) and Steve Johnson for TDs. The first two touchdown passes were perfectly thrown, as the receivers never broke stride.
• The most entertaining and well-designed play of the day might just be this punt return by Cleveland. That's Joshua Cribbs(notes) tossing a sideline-to-sideline lateral to Eric Wright(notes), who very nearly reached the goal line. The Browns are absolutely schooling the Saints on special teams — check out the fake punt from deep in Cleveland territory. That thing picked up 68 yards, and the return man eventually had to make the tackle.
• Peyton Hillis(notes) got his touchdown out of the way early this week, going untouched on a 4-yard score in the first quarter at New Orleans. The Browns haven't kicked off yet, because Hillis is still flexing in the end zone, per his usual.
• Entering the day, Rams receiver Danny Amendola(notes) had only crossed the goal line once on 79 career receptions, but he caught a second quarter TD against the Bucs. Amendola is tied for seventh in the league in targets, though, so he's clearly a Sam Bradford(notes) favorite.
• Matt Moore has reclaimed the starting QB gig for Carolina (mostly because Jimmy Clausen(notes) gave it away), and he's working well with Baylor rookie David Gettis so far. Gettis and Moore made Nate Clements(notes) look silly on an 18-yard score late in the second quarter.
• Kenny Britt was barely a rumor in the first quarter, as he was being quasi-disciplined for his alleged involvement in a late-night/early-morning brawl. Kerry Collins(notes) connected with Britt on a 26-yard score in the second quarter, however. That's five straight games with a TD for the second-year receiver. (2:45 pm ET)
Pre-FFL update: Todd Bouman will start at quarterback for the Jaguars this week at Kansas City, and Trent Edwards is Plan B. Thus, I'm starting the Chiefs DEF wherever I can. Elsewhere, Jason Campbell(notes) is expected to start for Oakland (at DEN) and Kerry Collins will be under center for Tennessee (vs. PHI). Adam Schefter tweets that San Diego tight end Antonio Gates is "very iffy." Be prepared to take evasive action there, as needed. -11:55 am ET
"Smiles, everyone, smiles!"
(Seaplane lands. Ted Lange and Maureen McCormick disembark. Behrens in white suit, raises tropical drink).
"My dear guests, I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Sunday Scene!"
OK, it's Week 7, so you should know the drill by now. I'll be here all day taking notes on the NFL, focusing on actionable fantasy events. Sunday Scene will be updated four times (maybe five), when it's convenient for me. For the record: The goal here is not to break news, nor to report anything first, nor to repackage anyone else's report first. I'm merely offering fantasy spin while the games are live. By the end of the day we'll have a giant pile of bulleted fantasy content to sift through.
If you want Week 7 player ranks, click here. If instead you're looking for the Friday injury report, click here. And anyone looking for a million-word preview of Sunday's NFL schedule should click here. I'll be chatting over at Fantasy Football Live beginning at noon ET. Please join us for an hour of start/sit advice, if you enjoy that sort of thing.
Photos via AP Images (Cutler, White), Getty Images (McFadden) and US Presswire (Broncos fan, Williams, Chargers girl).