The story of the week has got to be heat Tom Brady and the Patriots brought down on the frozen tundra of Gillette Stadium, and the cold performance of the Tennessee Titans as a whole. We all knew that Tom Brady would break out with a big game eventually, though I still maintain, he's really just an average QB if you take away his astounding 2007 season. If you'd have said he'd throw a four TD game against the woeful Titans, I'd have bought that, but six touchdowns? A 59-0 blow-out? Brady threw five TDs in the second quarter alone, and hit 19 of his first 20 pass attempts. And he did all that in the midst of a Nor'easter which had aid in disrupting the Titans players. Did I mention Brady left the game after an early TD pass to Randy Moss early in the 3rd quarter? What might he have done had he played the full game? I think Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher sent Patriots' coach Bill Bellichick a case of scotch to thank him for his mercy. I will say this now, if you own Brady of Randy Moss, sell them now. Their value will never be higher this season. If you can find some desperate chump to bite on Laurence Maroney's big game, lose him like a coed loses her close at a frat party.
The flipside of that monster blowout was the incredible meltdown in almost every facet of the Titans game. Kerry Collins was 2 for 12 in passing with an interception and minus seven yards. That's right, negative yardage. Vince Young stepped in and threw two incompletes in two attempts. Well, that's not entirely true, one of the balls was caught, but unfortunately for the Titans it was caught by a Patriot defender. That said, expect coach Fisher to be forced into giving Young more playing time. Their season is lost at this point. The team added another 5 turnovers to the 13 they already had on the season. One bright spot for the team and fantasy owners Sunday was RB Chris Johnson's 128 yards rushing. Two other RBs, the Pats Sammy Morris and the Titans Lendale White both left the game with injuries.
Here's a look back at last week's ranks and predictions. I went 8-6 last week, in a lot of close games. The Eagles loss was the biggest surprise, the others could have gone either way, so I won't beat myself up to bad. On the season I'm at 63 - 29, just over 68%.
--Week 6 Soundbites--
That loud pop you may have heard last Sunday was me pulling my size 11 shoe out of my big mouth after suggesting that perhaps Ray Rice was not a great play against the league's (formerly) number one rush defense, the Minnesota Vikings. I thought I was looking at a church wedding watching that game; Rice was flying everywhere. Ray Rice tallied 194 total yards, 2 TDs and 10 receptions. Oh there was some Rice flying for the Vikes as well. WR Sidney Rice led the team with 176 receiving yards.
That sonic boom you heard was the world ending in Philadelphia after the Eagles lost to the Oakland Raiders. Say what? That game killed 80% of those still active in their Survivor Pools, mine included. Uh maybe it's time to bring Kevin Kolb back. Aren't your ribs still sore Donny?
On the defensive side of the ball, Seattle lost the game and LB Lofa Tatupa for the season, the Bills Donte Whitner is hurt again and the Browns lost stud LB D'Qwell Jackson for the season as well. Oh and the Bengals lost their sack leader, Antwan Odom for the year. Not a good day for IDP owners. Meanwhile, rookie Texans' LB Brain Cushing is looking like the team's new defensive face.
Finally, in the You Got Screwed department, owners of Eddie Royal and Darren Sproles have got to be bleeding from their eyes today (and not just from those 60s era throwback uniforms). Royal returned a kick and a punt for touchdowns in the Monday night game, while Sproles returned a punt of his own for a TD. And guess what? Unless your league counts returned yardage, YOU Just Got Screwed! *All league scoring systems are different. In non-return yardage leagues you may get no credit for the TDs because they were on special teams or you may get credit for the TDs only.
–Team Defense Start and Sit – Week 7–
Plug and Play
|Solid defensive option||If they are on your bench, leave 'em there||Reasonable risk/reward option|
|Indianapolis Colts vs. St. Louis Rams
The 5-0 Colts face the 0-6 Rams. Can this be anything other than a case of the cattle being led to slaughter? Barring a freak breakdown on the part of the Colts of a bolt of Vegas size luck for the Rams, I don't see any way the Rams will keep from their 17 straight loss. Indy is +2 in turnovers while the Rams are -5. St.Louis' team is just all kinds of beat up right now. The lone offensive bright spot is RB Steven Jackson, and he can't save them this week.
|New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
The Patriots get to face another weak defensive team for the second week in a row. He could hammer the Bucs as badly as the Titans. Though this a home game for Tampa Bay, home this week is Wembley Stadium in London. No much of a home field advantage given that the weather there is more consistent with New England than Florida. Will RB Sammy Morris play, or will it be Laurence Maroney again? Only Bill Bellichick knows, and we all know he hates fantasy football the way he hides every scrap of player injury info. All we know is Morris will play again this season, if you believe Bellichick. My guess is he won't suit up or even fly to London with the team this week.
|Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns|
It's been 4 years since these teams have met. Trent Dilfer was still the Browns QB and a guy named Favre something or other used to play for the Pack. This time it will be Aaron Rodgers, who has to be like a kid in the proverbial candy store after watching Ben Roethlisberger drop over 400 passing yards on the Browns last week. The Packers like to take advantage of turnovers making their defense a nice play vs. Derek Anderson. or as we like to call him, Sloppy Seconds. The Packers have 10 interceptions so far, and are +8 on turnovers, the Browns have given up 10 interceptions and are -5. As long as the Packers avoid another 13 penalties like they had last week, Cleveland should be in for another miserable day.
|Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers|
This has the makings of the most intriguing game of the week. The Vikings are 6-0 and going into Heinz Field to face the SuperBowl champs who don't often lose at home. The Steelers season began poorly with the first three games decided by a field goal, and they came out on the losing end of two of them. They have won their last three in a row by no less than 8 points a game. An optimist will tell you this change has to do with the new found running game of Rashard Mendenhall. The pessimist will remind you they beat the Lions, Browns, and a struggling Chargers team that nearly stormed back to beat them. The last time these two teams faced each other was a season before Steeler's head coach Mike Tomlin started his defensive coordinator gig for the Vikings. Who will win this battle? The master or the grasshopper?
|San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans|
These guys have only met one time in 2005. The Texans and QB Matt Schaub are coming off a strong win against the Bengals, while the 49ers are coming off a bad loss and their bye week. Rookie WR, Michael Crabtree will play this Sunday, and RB Frank Gore should be back for San Francisco. The Texans seem to lose every other game, which means the 49ers have a chance to beat Schaub's rocket arm to victory. Neither team turns the ball over much, and both are on the plus side of the turnover battle. The 49ers, were a surprise top performing defense under new coach Mike Singletary, before their week 5 meltdown against the Falcons. Look for them to be focused this week.
|San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs|
This is a game the Chargers need, and the Chiefs have the confidence to steal. The Chargers blew an opportunity this week to send the Broncos into the bye week with their first loss, and they let it slip away. Kansas City is coming off three strong performances which culminated in their first win last week against the Redskins. That said, the Chargers seem to start slow each year and then explode. That would mean the Chiefs are about to get scalped. Look for Antonio Gates to put up points this week against a team he historically owns.
|Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers|
This game has all the makings of the snoozer of the week. Interestingly the Bills have 10 interceptions on the season, though 5 of those came last week against the Jets, but the Panthers have given up a league worst 11 INTs. Of course 5 of those came in week one. Still Carolina is dead last at -10 in turnover ratio. Surprisingly both teams are ranked one and two in not giving up points to wide receivers. Each have only given up a single TD. On the flipside, both teams are terrible against the run. The Panthers have given up 7 TDs and 700 yards to RBs. The reason I think the Panthers will win the game though is the Bills have surrendered 9 TDs and 1,234 yards to RBs.
|New York Jets at Oakland Raiders|
This game is hard to predict. The Raiders always have an advantage at home, but the Jets have a lethal RB tandem in Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. Oakland's rush defense is ranked 28th. Look for Jets coach Rex Ryan to take some of the weight off his young QB's shoulders and let his running backs march them down the field to a win. Two players to keep an eye on though for the Raiders; TE Zach Miller, and what should be the return of JaMarcus Russell's favorite receiver, Chaz Schilens. Both teams are susceptible to turnovers, and a bad one could change the game for either team. I have both teams thumbs up on defense because fantasy points are in the turnovers.
|Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys|
This game may be a shoot-out, but my guess is it will be grind it out type of game. Cowboy's QB, Tony Romo likes to pass the ball, and it will be interesting to see how he does with new starting WR, Miles Austin, the likely return of Roy Williams, against a Falcons defense that has only given up 1 TD to opposing receivers. If the game comes down to the running game, the edge goes to the three-headed Dallas monster. Atlanta's stud, Michael Turner has been mostly under-performing this season, and his back-up, Jerious Norwood is out this week. This is one of those something's got to give games, and I think the Falcons will break a wing.
|New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins
The Saint's RB tandem of Bell, Thomas and Bush are top 5 so far this season. The Dolphins rush defense is top 5 too. The Saints are 5-0, and QB Drew Brees leads the leagues with 13 passing touchdowns. But don't be so quick to count Miami out. They almost managed an upset over Peyton Manning and the Colts, and if they continue to make good use of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to control the clock, they could surprise the Saints. Remember, the Bills and the Jets both managed to keep Brees from any passing touchdowns. Miami is a better team than both of them. To New Orleans benefit they lead the league in turnover ratio at +9, while the Dolphins are -3. Oh, the Saints are the third best at stopping the rush, so Brown and Williams may find it harder than planned to gain ground.
|Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals|
After a quiet 6 weeks from the ever outspoken Chad Ochocinco, he was up to his old tricks again waging a war of words with this weeks opponents via Twitter. Can Da Bears close 85's mouth come game time? The Bengals will have to shut down the Bears passing game without their sack leader, Antwan Odom who is lost for the season. Both teams have been middle of the road against the pass and the rush, The benefit for the Bengals is their running back has been getting the job done, Chicago's Matt Forte is mired in a wicked sophomore slump. How long until Garrett Wolfe starts getting more touches? This is a very evenly matched game, so I will give the edge to the Cardiac Cats at home.
|Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants|
The Giant's defense have to be mighty pissed off after last week's beat down. Now this week another pass happy offense comes to town. The Saints torched NY safety C.C. Brown all day. The team is really missing Kenny Phillips right now. If Brown has another poor showing this week, I know three receivers capable of making it two beat downs in a row. The Giant's running game is going up against the league's 4th best at limiting RBs so far. Fortunately for Eli Manning, the Cards pass defense is as bad as their rush defense is good. Can Hakeem Nicks lead the team with another TD and 100+ yards?
|Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins|
On paper this looks like an easy win for the Eagles, but that's what we thought last week against the Raiders. This is the first week the Redskins have not faced a winless team. It remains to be seen how last week's benching will impact QB Jason Campbell's play this week, especially with Sherm Lewis now calling the plays rather than coach Jim Zorn. The Eagles are +7 in turnover ratio and the Redskins are -4. Philly has been third best at limiting WR production, so Clinton Portis needs to have a big day. On the reverse, The Redskins rush defense has been solid, allowing only two TDs to RBs so far. Donovan McNabb needs to connect with his receivers and rookie TE often this week.
Week 7 - RB Start Sit
Week 7 - WR Start Sit
Week 7 - TE Start Sit
Week 6 - Fantasy Wrap Up
Weekly Start Sit Advice Column
What I was listening to while writing this week's article, Krypteria;