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The Skinny: Manning, Goings and more

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POSITION HOT SEAT
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (QB) RED HOT
1st Chair: Patrick Ramsey
2nd Chair: Mark Brunell
Skinny: Washington still hasn't scored 20 points in a game this season. Ramsey got his shot at the controls Sunday and was efficient though certainly not spectacular. His lone interception was thrown with less than two minutes left and the game well out of reach. Brunell insists he isn't done, but Ramsey did little to give coach Joe Gibbs reason to make another change.
ARIZONA CARDINALS (QB) RED HOT
1st Chair: Shaun King
2nd Chair: Josh McCown
Skinny: Coach Dennis Green was defiant with reporters after Sunday's loss, refusing to explain why he made the move from first-year starter Josh McCown. On paper the move backfired, but the Arizona Republic reported Monday that Green would stick with King. To his credit, King shook off the rust and completed 18 of 31 passes for 231 yards in the second half. He directed a total of 34 passes at Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, so at least we know those players won't go away under a new signal caller.
DALLAS COWBOYS (QB) RED HOT
1st Chair: Vinny Testaverde
2nd Chair: Drew Henson
Skinny: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones couldn't hide his excitement of seeing Henson play Sunday, even as the Cowboys dropped their third straight game. Henson fumbled on his first career play but rebounded to complete all six of his passes, one for a touchdown. Testaverde was horrible in the loss and has a short week to recover from a shoulder injury. Henson will see action even if Testaverde can go.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (QB) RED HOT
1st Chair: A.J. Feeley
2nd Chair: Jay Fiedler
Skinny: Feeley played hurt Sunday and nearly led an inspired Miami team to an upset win at Seattle. He did throw his third touchdown pass, but his day was punctuated by an interception returned for a Seattle touchdown. It was the fourth time this year that a Feeley miscue has been returned for six points. Interim coach Jim Bates has yet to name a starter for the remainder of the season, but it looks like the organization wants to stick with A.J.
DALLAS COWBOYS (RB) RED HOT
1st Chair: Julius Jones
2nd Chair: Eddie George
Skinny: Jones started Sunday and carried the ball 30 times for 81 yards against a brutally tough Baltimore defense. George barely played in the loss, but he should see more action in Week 12 as Dallas must face Chicago on three days rest.
NEW YORK GIANTS (QB) HOT
1st Chair: Eli Manning
2nd Chair: Kurt Warner
Skinny: There were plenty of boos from the New York fans during Manning's first career start Sunday, but most were directed at Giants receivers, who dropped six passes in the first half. Fantasy owners should view the next six weeks as 2005 draft research and nothing else. Warner won't take another snap as long as Manning is healthy.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (RB) HOT
1st Chair: Sammy Morris
2nd Chair: Travis Minor
Skinny: Morris started Sunday, but Minor carried the ball 10 times in the second half while Morris watched. Neither was particularly effective, but Minor had a key 17-yard run that helped set up Miami's second touchdown. Whoever starts here is irrelevant. The two will continue to split carries in the first half and Miami will let the game dictate who carries the load late. It's difficult to start either with confidence in fantasy leagues right now.
The NFL set an unofficial record Sunday for most touchdowns that had no impact whatsoever on fantasy leagues. Nick Goings got it started with three touchdowns before intermission of the morning games. It took Buffalo's Mark Campbell slightly longer to register his third score, much to the delight of his 11 fantasy owners. Entire games came and went without making a blip in Yahoo! leagues. Anyone start Darnell Dinkins, Chester Taylor, Kevin Johnson or Jeff Robinson Sunday? Those were your touchdown scorers in the Dallas/Baltimore game. Joe Jurevicius? Jerry Rice? It's a shock Trent Dilfer and Shaun King didn't combine for 10 TD's. Some of Sunday's action did matter, of course, and The Skinny took it all in as usual.

WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days

  • Eli Manning's offensive line stepped up Sunday. We'll have to wait at least a week to see how well the rookie plays if his receivers do the same. First the good news: Manning was sacked just once. Atlanta entered the game ranked second in the league in sacks and Kurt Warner had been dropped 24 times in his last four starts. The bad news: Manning didn't look nervous at all, but his receivers were shaky at best. Jeremy Shockey and Amani Toomer combined to drop a half-dozen passes before halftime. Manning went to the locker room having completed only five of 14 passes for 46 yards.

On New York's first possession of the second half Manning engineered a 16-play scoring drive, completing five of nine passes for 47 yards and a score on the way. His favorite target all day was Shockey, who was targeted 11 times as New York favored quick passes off a four-step drop. Shockey quietly has touchdowns in three straight games. Manning's fantasy value remains limited. It's been four weeks since New York has topped 200 passing yards (they are still waiting for a two touchdown game) and it's not likely to happen in the next four weeks. Manning deserves attention in only the deepest of fantasy leagues.

  • There were several more quarterback developments Sunday. Shaun King was a surprise starter for Arizona as coach Dennis Green apparently thinks this team is capable of more than flirting with .500. King threw for 343 yards Sunday, but his numbers were inflated by his own ineptitude. He threw two first-half interceptions and fumbled four times, allowing Carolina to build a huge lead by intermission. He would attempt 31 passes in the second half. We've been waiting on Josh McCown for a breakthrough and it's not unrealistic to expect the same from King. Arizona is loaded at wideout and Emmitt Smith is enjoying a rebirth in the desert. The only thing missing has been production at quarterback.

King's best season came in 2000 when he threw for 18 touchdowns and ran for five more in leading Tampa Bay to a 10-6 record. The Bucs would bring in Brad Johnson the next year and King hasn't played in more than three games in a season since. The Arizona Republic reported Monday that Green would stay with King in Week 12 despite Sunday's troubles. Arizona faces San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis in the stretch run and each team has been vulnerable against the pass. King targeted Anquan Bolden 19 times Sunday and he responded with his best game of the year, albeit during garbage time. Keep an eye on this situation.

  • Sticking at quarterback, Drew Henson played just well enough in his NFL debut that he'll probably see action Thursday, even if Testaverde is ready to go. After losing a fumble on his first play from scrimmage, Henson completed his next six passes and kept a drive alive with a key third-down scramble in leading Dallas to their only touchdown of the day. Jerry Jones is clearly more excited about the prospects of Henson starting than his coach, but Bill Parcells acknowledged after the game that Testaverde may not be able to go against Chicago. Don't spoil your holiday by starting him.

The Skinny came away from Sunday's action impressed by the play of Patrick Ramsey. He was sacked only once and didn't turn the ball over until the final minutes of a tough road test at Philadelphia. Missing was the big play. Washington wouldn't complete a pass longer than 15 yards as Joe Gibbs and his staff stuck to a conservative game plan. Look for more of the same next week at Pittsburgh but Ramsey could make an impact in fantasy leagues by season's end when Washington faces San Francisco and Minnesota.

BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues

  • Indianapolis Colts Defense
    Fantasy owners love to capitalize on favorable matchups at the team defense position. Those who gambled on a much-maligned Indy defense the past two weeks have been rewarded. After leading all fantasy defenses in scoring in Week 10, the Colts recorded two interceptions and four sacks Sunday against Chicago. Next week they get a Detroit team that is in disarray and the Lions have a short week to prepare. Tennessee, Houston and Baltimore follow on a schedule light on potent offenses down the stretch.
  • Nick Goings, RB, CAR
    Goings and Dallas rookie Julius Jones had very different days at the office Sunday. Goings scored three touchdowns and topped 100 yards against an Arizona defense that allows nearly five yards per carry. Jones was given the ball 30 times, earning the right to get manhandled all afternoon by linebackers Ray Lewis and Edgerton Hartwell. So, which emerging starter is the better value? Jones is your guy in a keeper league but Goings will finish stronger in '05. Carolina is headed in the right direction. It has three favorable rushing matchups down the stretch and Goings is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. The Cowboys can't run against anyone. They prefers to throw to Richie Anderson on third down and they'll probably be breaking in a rookie QB by season's end.
  • Ronald Curry, WR, OAK
    We've been through this expectations thing already with Jerry Porter, Kerry Collins and even Curry, but there's reason for hope for all three. Curry caught a touchdown pass Sunday and is averaging four catches and 60 yards in Oakland's last two games. Potential shootout games with Denver and Kansas City loom on the horizon.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Kyle Boller, QB, BAL – Upside: Two touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and no interceptions since Week 8. Downside: Does anyone want to deal with Brian Billick's ego if this guy works out?
Julius Jones, RB, DAL – Started Sunday and carried the ball 30 times in his first game since Week 2. Can he do it again on three days rest?
Travis Taylor, WR, BAL – Averaging just short of six receptions in Baltimore's last four games. Sunday's touchdown was his first of the season.
Mark Campbell, TE, BUF – Now has as many touchdowns as Daniel Graham and is owned in roughly 80 percent fewer leagues. Scored three TD's Sunday and how has five scores in Buffalo's last seven games.
Maurice Hicks, RB, SF – Hicks led the Niners with 73 total yards while Kevan Barlow averaged fewer than 2.5 yards per carry for the second straight week.
Jermaine Wiggins, TE, MIN – Culpepper's favorite target Sunday (thrown to 12 times) has 19 receptions for 208 yards and two scores in Minnesota's last three games.
Kevin Jones, RB, DET – Only four carries for five yards in the second half, but it was enough for his first-career 100-yard game.
Antowain Smith, RB, TEN – Jacksonville hadn't allowed 100 rushing yards or a touchdown on the ground in four games leading up to Week 11. Smith did both Sunday in relief of Chris Brown.
Cincinnati Defense – Ben Roethlisberger had been sacked 11 times this season before the Bengals tracked him down seven times Sunday. In their past four games, Cincinnati has 15 sacks and seven interceptions.

Onterrio Smith and Michael Bennett, RB, MIN – Moe Williams scored for the second consecutive week while the duo of Smith and Bennett couldn't dent a mediocre Detroit run defense.
Roy Williams, WR, DET – It's too early to write off the rest of the season, but Joey Harrington suddenly looks like a rookie again and Williams' numbers (7 receptions, 0 TD last 3 games) have suffered in turn.
Eddie George, RB, DAL – Got a season-low three carries Sunday as rookie Julius Jones shouldered the load. Should see more action Thursday, but is virtually unplayable at this time.
Tim Rattay, QB, SF – Once a guy to lean on for garbage-time points, Rattay now looks like a fantasy liability down the stretch. Miami visits next week with the NFL's top pass defense and Washington and Buffalo wait in the playoff weeks.
Aaron Brooks, WR, NO – Better served letting Baron Davis handle the no-look passes in New Orleans. Seems like Brooks (3 INT's Sunday) is on the wrong side of a circus play every week.
Cleveland Running Backs – What looked like a potent 1-2 punch through Week 6 is now just another frustrating platoon situation for fantasy owners. It's been four weeks since either William Green or Lee Suggs topped 65 yards or scored a touchdown.
Santana Moss, WR, NYJ – The Week 9 tease was just that. Moss was thrown to only six times Sunday, finishing with two catches for 25 yards.
Plaxico Burress, WR, PIT – No word yet on the severity of his hamstring injury, but the hammy hasn't been kind to fantasy owners so far in 2004.
Joey Harrington, QB, DET – Mike McMahon saw more reps in practice last week, a trend that may spill over to Sundays if Harrington continues to struggle.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Eyebrow-raising numbers
1 Number of touchdown receptions by New York Giants wide receivers this season. New York wideouts haven't seen the end zone at all since Tim Carter scored in Week 2. The trend is not likely to change, as Eli Manning directed 22 of his 37 passes at tight ends or running backs.

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