Just call me Tony Romo.
With my colleague and SportsStream partner-in-crime Brandon Funston reveling in the excesses of Las Vegas alongside fellow fantasy aficionados Christopher Harris and Matt Buser, yours truly has been called upon to spark the Skinny. The widowed-peaked one, probably poorer and practically liverless, will return next week after he recovers from the indulgent vices of Sin City. Don't chase the river, Funston.
Here are the news and notes that did an end-zone jig in Week 9:
Week 9 Update: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Toot, Toot! All aboard the A-Train. At 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, A-Train is a strong straight-line runner that plows forward to gain extra yardage. Buffalo head coach Dick Jauron knows Thomas' strengths well from his prolific days as a Chicago Bear and will tailor a game plan to get the most out of his vet. With McGahee's status very questionable for next week's contest at Indy, Thomas will be waiver wire gold in Week 10. The Colts have allowed a mind-blowing 167.6 rushing yards-per-game and eight total ground scores over their last five. Available in 99 percent of Yahoo! leagues, anticipate a borderline No. 2 effort if he gets the start.
In Jacksonville, the stout-legged Garrard completed 12 passes on 22 attempts for 177 yards and three touchdowns against the "tank-it" Titans. Jags head coach Jack Del Rio called his effort "very efficient" and named him the starter versus Houston in Week 10, despite Byron Leftwich's claims that he is fully healed from an ankle injury. Garrard's fleet feet and multi-dimensional attributes fit perfectly into Del Rio's pound-it-out style. Going back to last year, Garrard has sported a phenomenal 7:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his past seven starts. Expect him to remain the starter as long as he produces the almighty W. Anticipate borderline top-20 numbers this week against an improved Houston Texans secondary that has limited QBs to just 133 passing yards-per-game since Week 7.
Meanwhile, in the Gateway City, the hot hand of Damon Huard continued to scorch. Huard was a very efficient 10-of-15 for 148 yards and three touchdowns. In seven starts, the former Washington Husky is 5-2, averaging a serviceable 202 yards-per-game, compiling an insane 11:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and, most importantly, gaining a great deal of notoriety from his teammates. Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards indicated on Monday that Huard would start at Miami this week, but left the door open for a possible Trent Green return in Week 11. If the KC backup again performs admirably, it could be Kurt Warner-like dj vu for Green. For now, expect Huard to tally numbers around 200 yards and a TD against a Dolphins pass D that has given up seven touchdowns in their past four.
- Injury News and Notes
- Chicago Bears speed-demon Bernard Berrian will miss the next 2-4 weeks with a rib injury. Berrian added, "It was one of those freak kind of accidents. I didn't get hit, I just kind of fell on it weird on the first play. It's hard to breathe, and it's kind of hard to talk right now." Third-year receiver Justin Gage will fill the void in his absence … Ageless wonder Rod Smith separated his shoulder in the Broncos 31-20 win at Pittsburgh. Denver head coach Mike Shanahan was tight lipped on how long his All-Pro receiver would be out, if at all. If Smith is sidelined in Week 10, look for David Kircus to slide into the No. 2 spot opposite Javon Walker … St. Louis white blur Kevin Curtis was taken to a local St. Louis hospital for observation after a meaningless late-game hit by Kansas City's Sammy Knight. Curtis noted, "It wasn't my head at all. He just got me pretty good in the ribs. The biggest thing was I just couldn't catch my breath for a good little while." Diagnosed as bruised ribs, Curtis is not likely to miss any action … New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan sprained the Lis Franc ligament in his right foot versus Houston and will be out for the next 2-4 weeks. Strahan has 33 tackles and three sacks on the season … Chicago Bears behemoth Brian Urlacher suffered a sprained big toe on his left foot versus Miami. Bears head coach Lovie Smith said, "He feels better today and hopefully he'll be able to feel better and be able to go this week. We'll see how it goes with him." He will most certainly be labeled "questionable" for the Bears pivotal NFC tilt versus the G-Men on Sunday night.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues
QB – Joey Harrington, Mia
The original "King O' Stink" smells better than anyone expected. With a staunch Bears defense staring him in the face, Harrington led the Dolphins to an unfathomable 31-13 victory. Totaling 137 yards, three touchdowns and two picks, the once beleaguered Lion has averaged a healthy 262.3 yards-per-game and totaled six touchdowns in his past four contests. Don't expect a let down anytime soon. Miami head coach Nick Saban has called over 44 pass attempts in the Fins last four tilts and will continue to air it out as the Dolphins likely will continue to play from behind. With soft secondaries in Kansas City, Minnesota and Detroit on the docket in the Fins next three, Harrington will be a very productive top-20 quarterback. Available in 99 percent of Yahoo! leagues, it might be time for me to crown someone else (i.e. Brad Johnson) as the new King O' Stink.
RB – DeAngelo Williams, Car
The future bling in my fantasy necklace, the Carolina "Napoleon" could see an expanded role in the next few weeks. Out since Week 5 with a high ankle sprain, the rookie fully participated in practices late last week and was rewarded with an extra four days of rest as the Panthers enjoyed their bye week. With Deshaun Foster averaging a paltry 3.8 yards-per-carry in D-Will's absence, look for John Fox to give the rookie a minimum of 10-12 touches-per-game in the next few games to jumpstart a fledgling ground attack. Available in 78 percent of Yahoo! leagues, he will be a nice flex play in Week 10 matched against a Tampa Bay rush D that has given up 133.9 rushing yards-per-game this year.
WR – Santonio Holmes, Pit
Troubled by off-the-field issues to begin the season, Holmes has matured mentally and physically. The Steelers first round pick in last April's draft has built a nice rapport with Ben Roethlisberger. Since Week 7, the rookie has averaged a respectable 5.6 targets, 4.3 receptions and 64 yards-per-game. Bill Cowher has played to the youngster's strengths by having him run short hook and wheel routes. This strategy gives Holmes the best chance to break a big play, while building confidence. Equipped with hawk vision, explosive jets and glue hands, he is a star on the rise. Still out there in 94 percent of Yahoo! leagues, expect steady improvement as the season wears on, making him a must add in keeper and points-per-reception leagues.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
- Damon Huard