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Inside Week 7

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RUNNING BACK RADAR
Minnesota Vikings
Incumbent: Mewelde Moore
Challenger: Moe Williams, Michael Bennett
Outlook: Bennett saw a handful of plays, carrying the ball once for no gain. He'll be worked into the mix, but don't forget that Onterrio Smith is close to returning from suspension. Williams got his first vulture TD of the season in spelling Moore. Moore will keep the top spot, but Mike Tice will likely keep working in all of his other toys.
Miami Dolphins
Incumbent: Sammy Morris
Incumbent: Travis Minor
Outlook: Minor was anointed the starter after Ricky Williams' bizarre departure, but fell victim to injury almost immediately. Sammy Morris has run well since returning from his own injury and is likely to hold onto the top spot. But make no mistake about it, if Morris struggles at all, Dave Wannstedt will not hesitate to call Minor's number.
Denver Broncos
Incumbent: Reuben Droughns
Challenger: Tatum Bell
Outlook: Quentin Griffin lost his job, and now may have lost his season with a possible ACL. Bell slides up the depth chart, followed by Garrison Hearst. Droughns is in no danger of losing his job after posting a third-straight 100-yard game against Cincinnati.
Cleveland Browns
Incumbent: William Green and Lee Suggs
Challenger: Fumbles
Outlook: It's hard to argue with the success of Butch Davis's two-headed starting monster. They split carries down the middle again and both scored against the Eagles. For now, they're both worthy of No. 2 running back fantasy starts.
Detroit Lions
Incumbent: Kevin Jones
Challenger: Artose Pinner
Outlook: Jones gutted out a 65-yard, one touchdown performance in leading the Lions to a victory over the Giants. He missed some plays due to cramps, but reported no issues with his ankle. Pinner will still see some carries, but this team is clearly Jones'.
Baltimore Ravens
Incumbent: Chester Taylor
Challenger: Musa Smith
Outlook: Taylor established himself as a solid back in his own right with an 89-yard performance against Buffalo. However, the Ravens will be without Jonathan Ogden this week against Philadelphia so yards will be a little tougher. Smith will play the short yardage man in this scenario.
Buffalo Bills
Incumbent: Travis Henry
Challenger: Willis McGahee
Outlook: I don't know why I'm leaving this on here, but I guess any starting position is worth a mention. The Bills have yet to record a rushing touchdown this season, so unless you're in a yardage-heavy league, it really doesn't matter whose running. With that said, McGahee will continue to see the bulk of carries as this season spirals out of control.

The Bengals defense finally showed up in prime time, holding the Broncos to 10 points and allowing Chad Johnson to keep talking after defeating Champ Bailey head-to-head. Granted, Bailey did fall down on that 50-yard TD pass to get the ball rolling.

Jerry Rice and Quincy Morgan failed to spark their squads to victory, but they were certainly more involved in the offensive game plans of their new teams. Rice had a season-high seven looks this week, even though he caught only one pass from Matt Hasselbeck. Keenan McCardell stepped right in after a ten-month layoff to catch five balls in San Diego's win on Sunday.

The 56-point Kansas City outburst against the Falcons was positively frightening. Looking deeper into the box score, they had 36 first downs and 540 yards of offense. That's a scary stat sheet.

LaDainian Tomlinson was replaced by Jesse Chatman for the bulk of the fourth quarter, as he was bothered by the same groin injury that has plagued him all season. If you haven't yet handcuffed Chatman to your possession of Tomlinson, do so now. Here's a Tomlinson stat for thought. Though he has only three games with over 80 yards rushing (two 100-yard games), Tomlinson has scored in six of San Diego's seven games.

Hail to the kickers! Showing the fickle nature of the kicker position, Josh Scobee and Neil Rackers posted huge numbers this week, as did Sebastian Janikowski. Only Janikowski was a staple in fantasy drafts.

Despite a one-TD performance in Sunday's win over Tennessee, Daunte Culpepper maintains a two passing touchdown advantage in the race against Peyton Manning for the league lead. However, this performance dented his hopes of obliterating Dan Marino's single-season record of 48 (current pace of 3.17 TDs per game would yield 50). He'll look to get back on track against the Giants, who looked vulnerable against Detroit.

Let's get deeper into Week 7:

Shouldering the load: Most active RB's (carries+catches)

Week 7 Touch Leaders
RANK PLAYER TOUCHES
1 Sammy Morris, MIA 31
2 Emmitt Smith, ARI 30
3 Tiki Barber, NYG 29
4 Reuben Droughns, DEN 28
5 Deuce McAllister, NO 27
6 Brad Hoover, CAR 26
7 Fred Taylor, JAC 25
7 Priest Holmes, KC 25
7 Mewelde Moore, MIN 25
7 Michael Pittman, ARI 25
11 Edgerrin James, IND 24
11 Rudi Johnson, CIN 24

Attention getters: Top intended targets (looks)

Week 7 Look Leaders
RANK PLAYER LOOKS
1 Darrell Jackson, SEA 15
2 Joe Horn, NO 14
3 Dennis Northcutt, CLE 13
3 Jerry Porter, OAK 13
3 Bryant Johnson, ARI 13
6 Ashley Lelie, DEN 12
6 Keary Colbert, CAR 12
6 Brandon Stokley, IND 12
6 Derrick Mason, TEN 12
10 Shaun McDonald, STL 11
10 Rod Smith, DEN 11
10 Ben Troupe, TEN 11

Trainer's table: Updates on the wounded in action

  • Steve McNair re-injured his sternum in Week 7, leaving the game in the first quarter. He'll likely miss the next 2-3 weeks, meaning that Billy Volek takes the helm.
  • Tim Rattay was held out of practice Monday due to a sore forearm. The fact that he's still sore after a bye week is a bit frightening. At this rate, Ken Dorsey will battle Craig Krenzel on Sunday in a rematch of their classic 2002 National Championship game when Ohio State upended the Miami Hurricanes. Hey, someone had to make this potential disaster of a game interesting.
  • Raiders guard Frank Middleton will miss the remainder of the season with a torn quad. With Ron Stone already out, the run game gets even worse for Amos Zereoue and company.
  • John Hall remains sidelined with a groin strain, meaning that Ola Kimrin will likely be the man against the Packers.
  • Staying in Washington, LaVar Arrington slipped during practice and re-injured his surgically repaired right knee. His absence will make life better for the resurgent Packers offense.
  • J.P. Losman is back in uniform for the Bills, but has not participated in full contact drills. With Drew Bledsoe's struggles, Losman will likely see action before this season ends.
  • Not only did he lose his starting gig to Reuben Droughns, Quentin Griffin may have torn his ACL on a kick return in Monday's game. More information is forthcoming, but it's likely that he's done for the year. Tatum Bell moves up to No. 2 on the depth chart.
  • Monster tackle Jonathan Ogden is likely to miss Week 8 with a pulled hamstring. This will make Chester Taylor's life more difficult against the Philly defense trying to re-establish itself after the Cleveland debacle.
  • Chris Brown was sidelined in Monday's practice with turf toe on his left foot. His status is questionable, but it's likely he gives it a go against Cincinnati.
  • Mike Alstott is out for at least the next month with a sprained knee. Michael Pittman benefited from Alstott's bull-like rushes, but will get short yardage and goal-line chances in his absence.
  • Brett Favre now has a sprained right hand, adding to the list of injuries that have befallen the Packers' leader. He'll miss most of practice this week, but you can guarantee that he's on the field against Washington.
  • Terry Glenn will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a sprained right foot. Fellow wideout Quincy Morgan strained his hamstring and may be limited this week.
  • Brian Westbrook sustained a chest contusion on Sunday and is questionable for this week's game. Dorsey Levens and Reno Mahe would pick up the slack if he can't go.
  • As expected, DeShaun Foster will have surgery to correct his shoulder injury and miss the remainder of 2004. With Stephen Davis still slowed by injury, look for more carries by Brad Hoover (99 yards in Week 7).
  • Marvin Harrison tweaked a shoulder in the second quarter of Sunday's game, but showed no ill effects in practice on Monday. He'll be ready for Week 8.
  • Priest Holmes left Sunday's rout of the Falcons with an ankle injury, but could have returned if needed. Naturally, the single-game record was enticing, but with the Chiefs looking to rebound from a slow start, there was no point in subjecting Holmes to more hits. He'll be back in Week 8.
  • Finally, Randy Moss left Sunday's game after two snaps. Mike Tice said that Moss will be a "legitimate contributor" for Week 8 against the Giants.