Sunday Scene: Rookie Romp

Sunday Scene: Rookie Romp
By Andy Behrens
September 9, 2007

Andy Behrens
Yahoo Sports

So much for this piece of fantasy dogma: "Don't rely on rookies."

Marshawn Lynch had 90 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 1.

Calvin Johnson had four receptions for 70 yards and a TD.

Adrian Peterson carried 19 times for 103 yards against Atlanta, and he turned a short pass into a 60-yard touchdown. Peterson's average draft position in Yahoo! leagues is 76.9. It's going to be a long time before you're able to take him outside the first round again.

The other member of what was alleged to be a running back committee in Minnesota, Chester Taylor, left with a hip injury in the first half. It's way too early to declare Taylor useless for fantasy purposes, but he's been dropped in over 13,000 Yahoo! leagues on Sunday.

Brad Childress called Taylor's injury a "hip contusion" in his post-game press conference. He also said that he had envisioned using Peterson and Taylor equally, which, in hindsight, seems insane.

• Most of the scoring in the Minnesota-Atlanta game actually didn't involve the Vikings offense. Instead, it came as a result of Joey Harrington's incredible generosity. The Vikings returned two interceptions for touchdowns. The second wasn't really Harrington's fault, but the first pick – which gave Minnesota a 7-0 lead – was handed to Kevin Williams on a plush pillow. With a fruity rum drink and a room key. The lighting was soft. "When Somebody Loves You Back" was playing. (Harrington uses Teddy Pendergrass to great effect). Hard to believe the Falcons really have no interest in Byron Leftwich.


Moss

Randy Moss smoked three Jets for a 51-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, giving Tom Brady his third touchdown pass of the game. Moss out-leapt and out-ran coverage all day, finishing with nine receptions for 183 yards. Then, just to prove he was truly back, he made an incredibly odd statement to an NBC reporter about how people on "the talk shows and the game shows" were going to spin his stellar Week 1 effort.

Gene Rayburn practically ran the guy out of Oakland, so you can't blame Moss for being bitter.

• This was the Eagles opening drive on Sunday: Donovan McNabb throws incomplete to an open L.J. Smith on first down. A flea-flicker fails spectacularly on second down, resulting in an intentional grounding call. McNabb completes a short pass to Brian Westbrook on third down. Westbrook makes a sequence of nifty moves, none of which faze his eventual tackler, A.J. Hawk.

Philadelphia was mostly a wreck. McNabb finished with one TD and one interception. Westbrook had a nice enough day, finishing with 131 total yards. Jason Avant was their leading receiver. He caught three passes for 54 yards. In all likelihood, if you relied on Eagles this week, things aren't going well.

• I had the TE yips this week in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League, dropping Greg Olsen for Owen Daniels, then Daniels for Zach Miller, then Miller for David Martin. After considering Trent Green's and Cam Cameron's history with tight ends, that seemed like a reasonable play. It turned out to be the right team, but the wrong guy. Justin Peelle had the touchdown for Miami. Martin finished with seven yards, Peelle with 12. Neither player is likely to find their way into the Week 2 TE rankings.

Vincent Jackson let a sure touchdown ricochet off his shoulder pads in the third quarter of San Diego's win over the Bears. He finished with a disappointing three catches for 28 yards. Of all the sleeper wide receivers – Jackson, James Jones, Kevin Curtis, Jacoby Jones, et cetera – Denver's Brandon Marshall had the most useful day, with five receptions for 52 yards and a TD.


Holmes

• Rick Schwartz called Santonio Holmes a "sneaky-good play" during Fantasy Football Live on Sunday morning. Not a bad piece of forecasting right there. Holmes hauled in a 40-yard touchdown from Ben Roethlisberger, who had the terrific fantasy day we'd all expected against the user-friendly Browns. The Steelers' first-half schedule looks excellent: Buffalo, San Francisco, Arizona, Seattle, Denver, and Cincinnati. They get a bunch of tougher defenses in the second half – Baltimore, New England, Jacksonville – so consider selling high on Roethlisberger in Week 6 or 7.

• The Packers' Mason Crosby kicked a 53-yard first quarter field goal that would have been good from maybe 73 yards. Or 83. He's like a kicking mule, Crosby. A very interesting kicker in leagues that award additional points for long field goals.

• At the 11:21 mark in the second quarter of the Jets-Patriots game, Laurence Maroney had six carries and Sammy Morris had five. Maroney finished with 20 attempts for 72 yards and Morris had 11 for 54. If you invested a first- or second-round pick in Maroney, you basically have to get Morris, too.

• With David Carr as his quarterback, Andre Johnson had 1,147 yards receiving in 2006. With Matt Schaub as his quarterback, Johnson had 12.4 percent of that total on Sunday. Schaub overcame the challenges posed by a porous offensive line, throwing for 225 yards and a touchdown.

Mario Williams gained as many yards following his third quarter fumble recovery (38) as Reggie Bush gained on 12 carries Thursday night. Williams really had a spectacular game in IDP leagues: two tackles, one assist, two sacks, one fumble recovery, and a TD.

Bubba Franks looked at the passes intended for him with contempt. One of them was intercepted. Franks should not be owned, not in a 20-team league, not in a Bubbas-only league.

• We had our first quarterback change in the first half of the Pittsburgh-Cleveland game, when Derek Anderson relieved Charlie Frye. Calling Anderson and Frye "ineffective" would be an insult to quarterbacks who were merely ineffective in Week 1, like David Garrard and Jason Campbell. Anderson and Frye were miserable.

It's only a matter of when with Brady Quinn. And when I say "when," that refers to either Week 2 or Week 3. None of the Cleveland QBs are must-own players, but Quinn is … um … the least unownable. Asked why Quinn never entered the game against the Steelers, Romeo Crennel said it was out of reach. "What am I going to do, put him in there and throw him to the dogs?"


Betts

Ladell Betts bounced off teammate Chris Samuels on a tough run in overtime, prompting Dan Dierdorf to say, "That might be the hardest hit Samuels has taken all day." Except it was Dierdorf, so it sounded like "the hardeth hit Tham-wooth'th taken." The point is, Miami's defense wasn't all that impressive, despite the low score. That was a terrible game. Dropped passes, botched turnovers, odd coaching.

• Speaking of Betts, he wasn't quite as good as Clinton Portis. Here's a look at how all the confirmed and suspected RBBCs worked out …

Washington: Clinton Portis, 17 carries for 98 yards and a TD; Betts, 17 for 59.
Carolina: DeShaun Foster, 17 for 94 yards; DeAngelo Williams, 15 for 62. Both fumbled.
Miami: Ronnie Brown, 11 for 32; Jesse Chatman, seven for 15. Both had six receptions.
Tennessee: LenDale White, 18 for 66; Chris Brown, 19 for 175.
Jacksonville: Maurice Jones-Drew, 7 for 32; Fred Taylor, 7 for 16.
Houston: Ahman Green, 16 for 73; Ron Dayne, 13 for 33.
Detroit: Tatum Bell, 15 for 87 and a TD; T.J. Duckett, 3 for 4.

Of all the guys above, Chris Brown is the one you probably can and should add. Remember when he was drafted early last season, then almost immediately dropped? This year it's the opposite. He entered the week only 2.5 percent owned, but he's been added in over 110,000 Yahoo! leagues Sunday.

Lamont Jordan entered the week 41.2 percent owned, but he was an excellent play Sunday. Jordan rushed – actually, "plowed" seems like the right word here – for 70 yards on 15 carries and caught nine passes for 89 yards. That didn't even lead Raiders receivers. Ronald Curry had 10 catches for 133 yards and a TD.

• We're short on specifics here, but Brandon Jacobs just sprained his right knee and isn't expected to return. If Brad Evans is right and Jacobs is, indeed, the Football Frankenstein, created from reanimated pieces of old running backs, then it's going to take more than a tweaked knee to keep him from plodding on. But to be safe, you still might want to add Derrick Ward.

• It's a cliche to say that a team was devastated by injuries, but that's the only way to describe the Bills on Sunday. Safety Ko Simpson broke his ankle, cornerback Jason Webster broke an arm, and linebacker Coy Wire sprained his knee. Keep a good thought for Buffalo tight end Kevin Everett, who's undergoing surgery for a spine injury.

Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Updated on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 10:53 pm, EDT

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