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Saturday, November 07, 2009

What’s wrong with the Giants

What’s wrong with the Giants?

By Dr. Bill Chachkes-Managing Partner/Executive Editor-Football Reporters Online.
Photo Credits: NY Giants Helmet from Wikimedia Commons
Kevin Boss vs. Tampa By Tomasso DeRosa

Because there is something wrong at the Timex performance center, but It’s not something that people should be surprised about. The Giants have some key Injuries most notably on the defense, that are keeping them form gaining the upper hand and beating the teams they play.

Why, you ask? They should be 8-0 or 7-1? I think some people have really missed the boat here. I had said over the summer that the Giants were poised to make another strong run this year. Then I saw three of the 4 pre-season games, and the way they played in the first two regular season games, even though they were wins. There are just too many key injuries on defense, especially in the secondary with the extended absences of Kenny Phillips and Aaron Ross. In the linebacking corps, Aaron Pierce is playing hurt and Michael Boley is out as well as defensive tackle Chris Canty who has a calf injury.

Not that the offense is without It’s share of the injury bug. First, rookie first round draft choice Hakeem Nicks sprains an ankle, then left tackle Kareem MacKenzie gets injured, plus running back Ahmad Bradshaw has developed a “nagging” ankle injury, and now Mario Manningham, the second year receiver who was finally “breaking out” is injured as well (shoulder). Plus Sinorice Moss has a foot injury and Dominik Hixon has a hip pointer. So you see where I’m going with this right?

More importantly, this week against the Eagles was the first time there were real breakdowns in all 3 phases of the game. Eli Manning contributed two picks, which led directly to Eagles TD’s, The defense tackled like a bunch of 4th graders, and the special teams has their first bad game of the season as well. Big Blue has been a big bust so far. Last year they gave up the ball a total of 13 times with just three fumbles. This year it’s already up to 15 turnovers with 9 fumbles already.

The Giants receivers are down to Hakeem Nicks, Derek Hagan, Steve Smith, Hixon if his hip pointer is better by the end of the week, and Ramses Barden who has yet to be given a chance to play except for two games where he was active and played special teams. Not to mention that the players on both lines are getting banged up with each game. Nicks had his first career start as a Giant, and caught 4 passes for 53 yards, including the Giants best effort of the game, a 35 yard catch.

It doesn’t matter how good a coaching staff you have, or how much talent your team has, when the Injury bug bites (like the flu), all you can do is take your medication and wait for it to heal. The big question now is do the Giants have to time to wait for every player who is hurt to get healthy again? I doubt it and you shouldn’t count on it either.

The Giants won their first five games on the backs of weaker opponents. Now that their own weaknesses due to injuries have been exposed, first by New Orleans, then Arizona, and now the Eagles who aren’t really that good, The Giants are living proof that It doesn’t matter how good you are in the NFL, It matters how healthy you are over the course of a sixteen game seventeen week season.

The players are still quite confidant in themselves and their coaches, which is a good thing, but that doesn’t matter all that much in the total picture.

What matters now is weather or not the Giants, just two years removed from an incredible post season run to a super bowl XLII win, can even make the post season, much less win the NFC Eastern Division again.

Earners and Bums (Studs & Duds) For week 8

Earners and Bums From week 8

(Studs & Duds) By David Ortega for Football Reporters Online

Once again “The Collector” is back this week to let all of you fantasy owners know about those not-so-highly known fantasy gems that continue to score big points. While these diamonds in the rough make noise, we also have some of your weekly Studs that looking more like Duds.

When you need a big week, sometimes you can count on your regular sources of scratch to pay-off, “The Collector” will tell you who is dropping the most coin and who you should maybe just drop.

Here were the Studs (Earners) and Duds (bums) for Week 8;

The Earners (Studs)
(Min 15 fantasy points)

Another week of what could have been and maybe what should be (for next week). Here are this past weekend’s top fantasy point getters and those players that maybe need another bye week or just a good-bye.

Is it really that much of a surprise to everyone to see the 40-year old kid still playing at the highest level. The Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was one of week eight’s biggest “earners” torching the Packer’s secondary on Sunday for the second time in the past five weeks. Favre completed 17 of 28 passes for 244 yards and threw four touchdowns on the afternoon. (33 fantasy points)

When one player is dropping all of the loot, sometimes you have to make a change which is what the Texans did on Sunday. With running back Steve Slaton (7 fumbles in 2009) fumbling away the game, the Texans turned to running back Ryan Moats. The backup runner was brilliant cashing in big with 126 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. (32 fantasy points)

The Jet’s rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez did his best impression of a green scoring machine on Sunday. Sanchez completed 20 of 35 passes for 265 yards passing and three touchdowns (including one rushing). (28 fantasy points)

If Tony Romo isn’t your weekly starting quarterback you could missing out on some serious coin. The Cowboys quarterback knows green, especially the kind you find in the end-zone. Romo passed his way to 256 yards on Sunday and threw three touchdowns. (27 fantasy points)

The Saints have their own two-headed monster in the backfield that they can now boast and on Monday night, one of them got loose. Running back Pierre Thomas was cash money rushing for 91 yards and scoring twice; one rushing and one receiving. (21 fantasy points)

The Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck did his best on Sunday to earn his keep for every fantasy lineup he was Sunday. Hasselbeck completed 22 of 39 passes for 249 yards and threw two touchdowns. (21 fantasy points)

The Panthers used their two headed rushing attack out of the backfield to ground the Cardinals. Running back number two, Jonathan Stewart was a Sunday cash cow hitting paydirt twice and rambling his way to 87 yards on 17 carries. (20 fantasy points)

The Eagles rookie running back LeSean McCoy made the most of his opportunity with a rare start. The rookie feasted on the spotlight gaining 82 yards on the ground including a dynamite 66-yard scamper to pay-dirt. (15 fantasy points)

Players not quite earning their way to this honor roll, but drawing some attention include;

TE-Spencer Havner……….(21-yards, 2-touchdowns)
WR-Percy Harvin………….(86-yards, 1-touchdown)
RB-Justin Fargas…………..(79-yards, 1-touchdown)
TE-Dustin Keller……………(76-yards, 1-touchdown)
FB-Leonard Weaver……….(75-yards, 1-touchdown)
WR-Braylon Edwards…….(74-yards, 1-touchdown)
TE-Kevin Boss……………….(70-yards, 1-touchdown)

The Bums (Duds)
(Less than 5 fantasy points)

And of course where you find the “haves” you will find the “have-nots.” Here are your week 8 fantasy studs that left their “A” game for another day and brought their “D” for “Dud” game instead.

There is word that Trent Edwards could return to the lineup; after Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 117 yard passing day with two interceptions and no touchdowns, the sooner the better. (zero fantasy points).

After scoring in three straight games, the Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown only totaled 29 yards on Sunday. That won’t pay the rent. (two fantasy points)

The Jet’s rookie running back Shonn Greene goes from the penthouse one week, to the outhouse the next. Greene rushed for only 18 yards on eight carries with a fumble. (minus one fantasy point)

The Jaguar’s top receiver Mike Sims-Walker scored twice in their first meeting, but on Sunday he was a huge disappointment against the Titans. Sims-Walker finished with just nine receiving yards. (zero fantasy points)

There was no bigger disappointment on Sunday than the one for all of the Steve Slaton fantasy owners. Slaton was expected to be a player this season, but on Sunday he hardly played after a costly fumble (his seventh this season). Slaton finished the day with 11 total yards. (minus one fantasy point)

Fantasy owners that are waiting on wide receiver Eddie Royal to get going in 2009 are only becoming more frustrated. The Broncos speedy wideout finished Sunday with just 10 receiving yards. (one fantasy point)

For all the money the team paid to wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, they are just not seeing any returns this season; 24 receiving yards on Sunday. (two fantasy points)

The Bronco’s wide receiver Brandon Marshall may be saying all the right things now off the field, but he’s still yet to do all the big things he did a season ago; 24 receiving yards on Sunday. (two fantasy points)

The Rams second year receiver Donnie Avery is just not having that breakout season some fantasy owners had hoped he would have; 15 receiving yards on Sunday. (one fantasy points)

Injuries played a huge part in putting these two duds on our list this week; Anquan Boldin caught just three passes for 23 yards and Owen Daniels had just one catch for 22 yards.


WEEK 9 FANTASY SLEEPER-By William Queen for Football Reporters Online
A diamond in the rough; Seattle Seahawks receiver Nate Burleson serves as this week’s fantasy sleeper.
Nate Burleson is an experienced 7-year receiver out of Nevada-Reno College that is often overlooked when teams study the Seahawks. He never makes the headlines and he never makes the highlight film, but he always makes sure-handed plays.
Burleson has put up above average numbers, racking up 38 receptions for 487 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. But two things that stick out to me are that 24 of his 38 receptions come at home, as they are playing at home this Sunday, and that they are playing a bad defense in the Detroit Lions.
The Lions have allowed the second most points per game on defense and have given the opposing quarterback the highest average passer rating in the NFL at 108.97. This showing me that Burleson shouldn’t have any trouble getting the ball this Sunday.
Coming into this game, Burleson has an average of 8.4 fantasy points per game, including a 21-point performance on the Jaguars. So there’s no question that he can rack up the points, it’s just a matter of if he can take advantage a gaping opportunity in the Lions defense.

Seven & Out – Week #8

Seven & Out – Week #8
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Associate Editor/Director of Scouting-Football Reporters Online/Black Athlete.com contributing Writer

PHILADELPHIA (FRO/BASN) Eight is never enough when it comes to the National Football League. It’s time once again to peruse the scandal sheets of statistics and present our take on the week’s activities.
Alright, new shooter comin’ out…
·    Miami’s TED GINN had kick-return touchdowns of 101 and 100 yards in the third quarter of the Dolphins’ 30-25 win over the New York Jets.  Ginn is the first player in NFL history with two touchdowns of 100 yards in the same game and is the eighth player in NFL history with two kick-return touchdowns in a game.  Ginn also became the first player to record two KR-TDs in the same quarter since Green Bay’s TRAVIS WILLIAMS in 1967.
(Anytime you can get Travis “Roadrunner” Williams, in the mix, I can’t argue with that. Rex Ryan needs to shut the fuck up and remember that offense, defense and special teams get the job done; especially after you got house-called twice for triple-digit yard scores!  Let’s also give Ginn credit for not sulking after losing his starting spot at wide receiver; a great example of a player knowing he has to “ante up” and come through for his teammates…)
·     In Tennessee’s 30-13 win over Jacksonville, Titans running back CHRIS JOHNSON rushed for touchdowns of 52 and 89 yards (228 rushing yards total) and Jaguars running back MAURICE JONES-DREW rushed for touchdowns of 80 and 79 yards (177 rushing yards total).  The game was the first in NFL history with four rushing touchdowns of at least 50 yards.
(While I am happy for Johnson & Jones-Drew, the league wasn’t going to go out of its way to showcase a duel between two Black QBs – unless it would be to point out their flaws. Vince Young is now 19-11 as a starter, but the mainstream media and the muthafuckin’ Mouse wants to pretend he never won a fucking game. If somehow Young goes say, 7-2 the rest of the way as a starter, what does that say to Titans’ fans and season ticket holders? It says, “you wuz robbed!”)  
·     Indianapolis quarterback PEYTON MANNING completed 31 of 48 passes for 347 yards in the Colts’ 18-14 win over San Francisco.  Manning, who now has 4,026 completions in his career, reached the 4,000-completion mark in his 183rd career game, the fastest in NFL history.  Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback DAN MARINO reached 4,000 completions in 193 games.  Manning is one of only four players in NFL history to record 4,000 completions, joining current Vikings quarterback BRETT FAVRE (5,894) and Hall of Famers Marino (4,967) and JOHN ELWAY (4,123). 
(Of all the reasons to like Peyton Manning, the one I appreciate most is that he is a throwback to the way the position was meant to be played. Manning is the best in the game today because he doesn’t play for fantasy geeks, and he doesn’t “manage” a game. You would think in an era where successful trends are supposedly copied, teams would want to emulate Manning’s approach and endeavor to have their QBs push to be students of the game, instead of button-pushing fantasy farts…)
·     Philadelphia wide receiver DE SEAN JACKSON had a 54-yard touchdown reception in the Eagles’ 40-17 win over the New York Giants.  Jackson became just the second player in NFL history with six touchdowns (four receiving, one rushing, one punt return) of at least 50 yards in his team’s first seven games of a season. 
(Well, we had this talk last week! The kid can ball…)
Jackson joins Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver ELROY (CRAZYLEGS) HIRSCH, who had six touchdowns of at least 50 yards in 1951 with the Los Angeles Rams, as the only players to accomplish the feat.
(Actually, Mr. Jackson reminds me of another former Philadelphia Eagle receiver, Harold Jackson {who you could make a valid Hall of Fame argument for} good hands, better technique – and great speed.)
·     San Diego running back LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON rushed for 56 yards in the Chargers’ 24-16 win against Oakland.  Tomlinson, who now has 12,027 rushing yards in his career, reached the 12,000-yard mark in his 132nd game, the fourth-fastest in NFL history behind Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM BROWN (115 games), ERIC DICKERSON (118) and BARRY SANDERS (125).  The NFL’s all-time leading rusher, EMMITT SMITH, accomplished the feat in 133 games and Hall of Famer WALTER PAYTON reached 12,000 yards in his 134th game.
(When you think of how much bullshit and disrespect Tomlinson has endured by A.J. Smith and the Chargers’ hierarchy, you have to wonder why he re-signed with them. The fourth fastest ever to 12,000 yards – and his punk-ass GM has the nerve to imply he’s soft.)  
·     Minnesota quarterback BRETT FAVRE passed for four touchdown passes in the Vikings’ 38-26 win over Green Bay.  Favre threw at least four touchdown passes in a game for the 21st time in his career and tied Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO for the most such games in NFL history.
(As in the last Minny/GB matchup, Favre had a clean jersey, and it was target practice all day against the Packers’ secondary…)   
Favre returned to Lambeau Field for the first time as a visiting player.  During his 16-year career in Green Bay, Favre won 89 games at Lambeau.  Favre is the first player since 1970 to win 90 games at a stadium as both a home and visiting player.  Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback JOHN ELWAY won 95 games at Mile High Stadium – all as a Bronco – and is the only other quarterback since 1970 to win at least 90 games at one NFL venue.
(All that’s well and good – it’s that neutral site game in Florida that better be won if they wish to further embellish on the Legend of Favre...)
·     Indianapolis rookie head coach JIM CALDWELL improved to 7-0 with an 18-14 win over San Francisco.  Caldwell joined POTSY CLARK of the 1931 Portsmouth Spartans (8-0) as the only rookie head coaches in the past 80 years to start the season 7-0.
(Well, talk about happy days, why don’t you? Sounds like Caldwell knows the dice are coming his way! Obviously, the mainstream muckrakers won’t speak well of Caldwell until Indianapolis is the last team standing {undefeated, that is} or Ralph Mouth, Richie Cunningham and the Fonz become beat writers for the Colts!)
As always, gang – once the point is established, if you throw a seven – you crap out!

What to make of Week 8-Fantasy Football Talk

What to make of Week 8
Fantasy Talk- By David Ortega for Football Reporters Online

Chambers out, but not closed….
The Chargers released the veteran receiver, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Though Chambers is a talented receiver in his own right, Rivers likes to go vertical and loves to throw to his bigger receivers. With Chambers standing at all but 5’11” he was dwarfed by his receiving corps teammates. Buried on the depth-chart behind a pair of 6’5” wideouts, his release may have come at a good time. Just barely out on the open market Chambers has already been grabbed and could looking to reignite his fantasy value in a Chiefs uniform. Stay tuned for this one.

Rice is the man in Baltimore…
There is no longer any debate, discussion over. While many teams in the NFL embrace the running back by committee formula, the Ravens no longer appear to be a believer in that theory. Over the past several weeks there were tell-tale signs indicating that second year back Ray Rice was the featured ball carrier, but his 28 touches on Sunday against the Broncos proved his case without a shadow of a doubt. In his two previous starts Rice had his number called 21 and 22 times, but on Sunday he finished with 28 touches (23 carries, 5 receptions). As far as fantasy goes, his 874 total yards and five touchdowns also put him in rare company this season.

Miles Austin has arrived….
In case you haven’t been noticing the playmaking receiver in Dallas these days is not Roy E. Williams, not Terrell Owens, and not even tight end Jason Witten. From out of nowhere 4th year receiver Miles Austin has arrived under the big top in Big-D to lead the Cowboys aerial attack. Austin has caught 21 balls for 482 yards and five touchdowns in his last three games. Now implanted as one of the starting wideouts in Dallas fantasy owners can make ready for a big second half from a receiver who had only caught 18 passes in 37 career games prior to the start of the 2009 season.

Looking under the microscope

While there was so much debate in the offseason surrounding the Cutler trade to Chicago, the biggest question had to be who would Jay throw to. After looking over the past eight weeks of football it becomes clear; it’s not a former teammate, a surprise rookie, or a projected all-pro potential tight end. Over the past three weeks wide receiver Devin Hester appears to be blossoming into the role quite comfortably. Both he and his quarterback seem to be developing a very good chemistry with Cutler looking his way 27 times over the past three weeks. In the same span Hester has caught 21 of those balls for 265 yards and one touchdown. The 4th year receiver from the University of Miami still has some work to do with his route running, but there now seems to be little doubt about who Cutler will be throwing to these days.

More fantasy Notes

One of the biggest notes from this past weekend had to be the emergence of running back Ryan Moats in Houston. With starting running back Steve Slaton handing the ball away like a concert flyer (has fumbled seven times this season), the door has been swung wide open for Moats. On Sunday he seized the day rushing for 126 yards and scoring three times. His performance was so strong the question is raised “should Moats start?”

While some fantasy owners may have run out of patience, those that stayed the course with Bears running back Matt Forte reaped big rewards on Sunday. In Forte’s two previous starts he had totaled just 109 yards with zero scores. Sunday was a different story for the Bear’s back as he carried the ball 26 times, caught a couple of balls, totaled 121 yards and scored two touchdowns. Welcome back Matt Forte!

With his fumbling woes in 2009, the Texan’s running back Steve Slaton pulled the biggest disappearing act on Sunday finishing the day with just three touches for 11 total yards and one turnover.

FRO's 2009 Drew Brees Watch

Brees-ing Past Marino's Mark?

FRO's 2009 Drew Brees Watch-By Jon Wagner for Football Reporters Online

One year after passing for the second most yards (5,069) in an NFL season, only 15 yards behind Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards in 1984, New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees is again poised to take aim at Marino's record. FRO follows Brees' prusuit of Marino each week, throughout the season:

Brees’ 2009 Avg. Yards Per Game: 286.57
Avg. Yards Needed To Pass Marino: 342.11

1 Sun 9/13 vs DET W, 45-27 26-34 76.5 6-1 358 4,727
2 Sun 9/20 at PHI W, 48-22 25-34 73.5 3-1 311 4,416
3 Sun 9/27 at BUF W, 27-7 16-29 55.2 0-0 172 4,244
4 Sun 10/4 vs NYJ W, 24-10 20-32 62.5 0-0 190 4,054
5 Bye
6 Sun 10/18 vs NYG W, 48-27 23-30 76.7 4-0 369 3,685
7 Sun 10/25 at MIA W, 46-34 22-38 57.9 1-3 298 3,387
8 Mon 11/2 vs ATL W, 35-27 25-33 75.8 2-1 308 3,079
9 Sun 11/8 vs CAR
10 Sun 11/15 at STL
11 Sun 11/22 at TB
12 Mon 11/30 vs NE
13 Sun 12/6 at WAS
14 Sun 12/13 at ATL
15 Sat 12/19 vs DAL
16 Sun 12/27 vs TB
17 Sun 1/3 at CAR

TOTALS; 273-154 157-230 68.3 16-6 2,006

FRO's FAVORITE FIVE Top Five NFL Moments - Week 8

Top Five NFL Moments - Week 8
by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online


After winning three straight, then losing three in a row, the Baltimore Ravens needed a good win and a solid all-round game to get back on track, particularly from a usually good defense which had often underperformed this season. The Ravens got both. The good victory was a 30-7 rout of previously unbeaten Denver. The solid performance was in allowing just 200 yards of total offense, stopping the Broncos running game (held to just 66 yards) and passing attack (just 134 yards) very well. Offensively, Joe Flacco only threw for 175 yards, but he was a very accurate 20-25 including a fourth quarter touchdown pass which put the game out of reach at 23-7, as the Ravens scored 24 points in the second half to pull away after leading by a slim 6-0 margin at halftime.


The Giants, for the third straight week, played careless, unfocused football, and Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb made them pay before the Giants could even blink. After the Eagles were already up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game, McNabb needed just two passes after a Giants’ turnover to throw a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 13-0 Philadelphia lead just 3:45 into the game. After New York made it a game at 16-7, with under two minutes left in the half, McNabb again struck like lightning with two touchdown passes in the final 98 seconds of the half to break the game open, 30-7, by halftime. Starting at the Eagles’ 54-yard line after a good kickoff return, McNabb needed just one play, a 54-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, for a 23-7 Eagles lead with 1:38 left in the half. After another Giants’ turnover, McNabb needed only two plays –- a 20-yard completion followed by a 23-yard touchdown pass –- to give the Eagles that 30-7 lead, 46 seconds before halftime.


He already had beaten his former team once this season, with 3 touchdown passes, and returning home to Lambeau Field for the first time as a visiting player, Brett Favre helped his Minnesota Vikings complete the sweep of the Green Bay Packers. Favre was a rather pedestrian 17 of 28 for 244 yards, but he didn’t throw an interception, and he tossed four touchdown passes –- three in the second half, two in the fourth quarter –- to help the Vikings take a 24-3 lead and then hold off the Packers and Favre’s Green Bay successor, Aaron Rodgers (who had three touchdown passes of his own, all in the second half), 38-26, to help the Vikings take a commanding lead in the NFC North.


Houston statistically dominated its game in Buffalo. The Texans had nearly twice the time of possession (39:08–20:52),
almost three times as many first downs (24-9), and more than double the yardage (439-204) as the Bills. Yet, for the second week in a row, the Bills were poised to win even after being outplayed. That is, until RB Ryan Moats took over in the fourth quarter, with three touchdowns to help Houston turn a 10-9 deficit into a 31-10 win with a 22-0 fourth quarter. Moats finished the game with 23 rushes on 126 yards and the 3 TD’s… special note on this game: rookie safety Jarius Byrd’s two interceptions made him the first player since San Francisco’s Dave Baker in 1960 to have two or more interceptions in three straight games.


The top spot on this week’s list really ought to go to the New York Jets’ defense for allowing just 52 yards rushing and 52 yards passing. So, how DO you lose a game at home in which you score 25 points and hold your opposition to just 104 total yards on the day? Well, when you don’t cover kickoffs well, it can happen. Miami’s Ted Ginn not only blew by the Jets’ kickoff team the entire length of the field once, but he did it twice –- in the same quarter, just 6:44 apart! After the Jets’ Jay Feely kicked a 55-yard field goal to give New York a 6-3 lead, Ted Ginn returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown with 10:10 left in the third quarter. Later in the quarter, after the Jets scored a touchdown to cut the Dolphins’ lead to 17-13, Ginn struck again, going one more yard then before, just for good measure, this time, taking it 101 yards to the house, with 3:26 left in the third quarter, for a 24-13 Dolphins’ lead that they would not relinquish. When he crossed the goal line the second time, Ginn became the first player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same quarter since Green Bay’s Travis Williams, back in 1967.

“FRO’s Favorite Five” Frankie’s Favorite Fantasy Picks Week 9

“FRO’s Favorite Five”
Frankie’s Favorite Fantasy Picks
Week 9

By Frankie Underwood, Senior Fantasy Writer at www.footballreportersonline.com Email questions and comments to Frankie@footballreportersonline.com

Matt Hasselbeck of the Seattle Seahawks gets to face the woeful Detroit Lions this weekend. The Lions just lost at home to the Rams. Now they have to travel across the country to Seattle, the furthest city from any other. Usually it’s the west coast teams that struggle traveling east, but Seattle is a tough travel for any team. Hasselbeck played well this past weekend and seems to be over the rib injury. Advice: David Gerrard and Matt Cassel both have nice match ups this weekend, against each other. One will look good and one will not, do you really want to chance it? Stay away from both.

The Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant is facing a Tampa Bay team that has forgotten how to play defense. Grant has played reasonably well this season but only has on game with over 100 rushing yards this season and no multiple TD games. Against the Buccaneers he should achieve both of these feats. Tampa has given up over 100 yard rushing performances to DeAngelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw and, are you ready, Fred Jackson. Here I go beating up on the Lions again but, Seattle RBs, Julius Jones and Justin Forsett could have nice games against them. Remember what I said about J. Jones in Seattle.

The NY Giants defensive backs have been embarrassed over the last few weeks. Now the pass happy San Diego Chargers and new starting receiver Malcom Floyd come to town. Floyd, in the past has been a red zone threat but his recent play has convinced the Chargers brass that he could handle the job and they released former starter Chris Chambers (now a KC Chief). SD QB Phillip Rivers must love Floyd’s combination of size and speed. Third receiver Naanee could also be a nice high risk play. Rookie, former holdout, Michael Crabtree could also show out against the Titans this weekend.

While NY Giants QB Eli Manning has been struggling as of late, he and TE Kevin Boss should be able to put something together this weekend. The San Diego Chargers are coming into New York this weekend and even more than the other ¾ defenses they struggle mightily attempting to cover tight ends. Although it is a late game, San Diego will also be traveling west to east which as I stated before is a challenge, but more so for early game participants. Boss got going against Philly last week, now hopefully he can continue. Kellen Winslow also has a great match up this weekend.

The Green Bay Packers travel south to Tampa Bay to face new starting rookie QB Josh Freeman. Freeman will be starting his first game after only minimal live game experience this season. The Packers are still learning their new ¾ defense but against the Buccaneers they should be able to put up some stats this weekend. The Packers all Pro defensive backs Charles Woodson and Al Harris should be able to bait Freeman all game long. The Atlanta Falcons defense really showed up this weekend against the Saints, so I’m expecting them to really tee off against the Washington Redskins.

Last Weeks Favorite Five
Matt Stafford – 168 yards, 1TD (rushing) and a 2pt conversion – Not bad.

LenDale White – 47 yards – I wanted more but as a last resort….

Devin Hester – 81 yards (plus return yardage depending on your league) wanted a TD but this will work.

Dustin Keller – 76 yards and 1 TD – How many people said to avoid him? Not me.

Detroit Lions – 1 INT – Sorry.

The Fantasy Fixx week 9


Target Practice: Week Nine in the NFL-By David Ortega for Football Reporters Online
(photo: NY Giants WR Steve Smith leads All NFL Wideouts in receptions-By Rich O'Neil

It’s always tough to find the right receivers each week for your fantasy matchup. One of the keys is not just what a player has done, but in a lot of cases you have to consider the potential of a player when you look their matchup. Another factor that needs to be included into this equation is which players are getting their number called most.

Look Who’s Hot….
If you are a fan of, and more importantly a participant in, a PPR league than you have to love what you are seeing from wide receiver Devin Hester. In the last three weeks he’s averaged nine targets per game and with so many chances he’s delivered. Hester has 21 receptions for 265 yards and is looking more and more like a go to receiver in Chicago. He can only get better and if you drafted him as your number three, you’ve got yourself what looks to be a great steal in the second half.

It’s not taking much effort, but the Eagle’s second year receiver DeSean Jackson is quickly emerging as an elite player in this league. He’s only needed ten targets in his last two games and three touches in each to find the end zone three times. With two receptions and one scintillating 67-yard end around in week seven Jackson scored twice. Last Sunday he only needed three catches to work his magic and find pay-dirt. The explosive receiver is averaging a little more than four touches per game and around 20 yards per touch. Now that’s explosive!

Who’s worried….
If you drafted Michael Crabtree back in August and have had the patience to wait all this time, relax because not only are you the most patient ever, but the pay-off could be coming soon. In his first two games as an NFL receiver Crabtree has had plenty of chances with 15 targets, but more importantly he’s already starting to produce with 11 receptions for 137 yards (projected over 16 games; 88 receptions, 1,096-yards)

For some fantasy owners, it might be time to worry when your number one receiver has only 125 yards combined in his last two games and has not scored a touchdown in his last three starts. Add to the facts that he was just injured a week ago and questionable for most of the week and it might make sense for panic to set in, but when that receiver is Andre Johnson you really haven’t much to worry about. This little dip in production is a mere bump in the road. Johnson was back on the field Sunday, he’s still one of the most targeted receivers in the game with (80) and a tremendous receiving talent.

Keep your Eye on these gems…
The Jets tight end Dustin Keller has been on a bit of a circus string with his numbers fluctuating from week to week. In the two previous weeks Keller has seen his target numbers go from 10 in week six down to just four in week seven. Week eight treated the Jet’s second year tight end much better with 13 targets and his production improved greatly with eight grabs for 76 yards and a touchdown. As the rookie Mark Sanchez continues to mature under center, we’d expect to see him lean more on his tight end going forward.

A couple of players that fantasy owners should continue to monitor are a pair of Indy receivers. With Reggie Wayne drawing a lot of attention and well deserved with 20 targets in week eight, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon continue to warrant some discussion. Over the past two weeks both receivers have seen plenty of action in the Colts passing game with 14 and 16 targets respectively. As long as number 18 is under center, these two will at least merit WR3 considerations moving ahead. Also, the real missing stat here is Manning’s 26 completions per game!

Here is the breakdown for fantasy pass catchers (targets) this season;

Through Eight weeks:

Top-10 Targeted Pass-catchers

Player Targt Recpt FPTS
Johnson, Andre WR HOU 80 44 92
Smith, Steve WR NYG 78 53 87
Wayne, Reggie WR IND 77 51 102
Fitzgerald, Larry WR ARI 73 47 78
Burleson, Nate WR SEA 66 38 59
Moss, Randy WR NE 66 43 77
White, Roddy WR ATL 66 37 88
Smith, Steve WR CAR 65 30 47
Ochocinco, Chad WR CIN 64 39 82
Welker, Wes WR NE 62 46 70

[points based on traditional scoring]

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