Two Minute Warning: AP, Wildcat, and Such
Here’s to the Winners
As we reach the midway point of the season, it’s time to dish out a few mid-season awards.
The Beatty/Hoffman Ishtar Award (awarded to the best combo providing the least impact): Tony Romo and Terrell Owens – Even before Romo’s pinkie injury, Owens was not having a typical T.O. season. He doesn’t have a 100-yard receiving day to his credit so far and owns just 25 catches through seven games. Averaging three catches per game is not what Owens had in mind this year. Romo tried to get the ball to him but in most cases, Owens is facing double and triple coverage. The combo is not on the same page and with Romo still ailing, it will be difficult for Owens to post numbers similar to his first two seasons with the Dallas.
The Spencer Pratt Award (goes to the most disgruntled player with the best performance): Anquan Boldin – During the preseason, we heard about how angry Boldin was and how he wanted to be traded. He carried that rage with him onto the field at season’s start. Prior to the fractured sinus injury in the Jets game, Boldin was one of fantasy football’s most productive receivers to date. Despite missing two games, he still has more catches and the same amount of touchdowns as the great Owens.
The Audrina Partridge Award (goes to best player saddled with a tremendously lame significant other): Adrian Peterson – Somehow it doesn’t seem fair that Peterson is taking handoffs from Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte. He just needs someone competent behind centre. The lack of a solid quarterback has prevented him from blasting off in ’08. Nonetheless, he is second in the league in rushing with 684 yards, trailing only Clinton Portis.
The Howard Beale Award (given to the defensive coordinator who refused to let his team get whipped by the Wildcat formation): Rex Ryan – Last Sunday, the Ravens defensive mastermind came up with a game plan that shutdown Miami’s wildcat formation, which is rapidly spreading throughout football. Ryan’s scheme allowed the linebackers and safeties to penetrate gaps quickly and effectively. The Raven defense limited the formation to four yards on five carries.
The Crockett and Tubbs Award (awarded to the best one-two punch at running back): Chris Johnson and LenDale White – The duo bludgeoned the Chiefs in Arrowhead last weekend, and they have shown all season long that they are a dynamic force. White leads the league in rushing touchdowns with eight. Meanwhile, the electrifying Johnson averages 5.3 yards per carry.
Daytona Spyder Memorial Award (given to the player who blew up fantasy seasons across the country): Bernard Pollard – Bernard Karmell Pollard sent shockwaves through the NFL when he crashed into Tom Brady’s left knee, tearing the Super Bowl XXXVI and XXXVIII MVP’s ACL and MCL in the process. Pollard’s accidental hit forced many fantasy owners to ask “so, when do I trade Randy Moss?” The hit affected the value of Brady, Moss and Wes Welker, who will not approach the career highs of last season. While he might be public enemy number one with Patriots fans, sadly, Pollard is adored amongst the Buffalo Bills community.
The Kyra Sedgwick Award (goes to the best closer in fantasy football): Drew Brees – Despite Peterson topping the charts in this week’s power poll (see below), Brees’ impact this season has been sweeping. Even without top receiver Marques Colston, he was on pace to top Dan Marino’s NFL record 5,084 passing yards in a single season prior to Sunday’s loss at Carolina.
Ten Things We Learned in Week Seven
1. Brett Favre as a Jet is bad for fantasy football: Often in football, statistics lie. For example, Favre completes 68 per cent of his passes. Unfortunately, they haven’t counted for much. He averages just 6.8 yards per attempt, which ranks 21st in the league, just a hair in front of guys like Joe Flacco, JaMarcus Russell and Matt Cassel. That’s not going to lead you to fantasy glory come playoff time.
2. The Chicago Bears lead the league in scoring: On the strength of Kyle Orton’s play at quarterback and their ability to feast bad special teams, the Bears have scored a league high 196 points. Only the Cardinals and Giants average more points per game than the Bears.
3. If your players are headed to Carolina, be afraid…very afraid: Not only is Carolina beating teams at home, the opponent gets blown out. After four home games, the Panthers have outscored the opposition 108-33. Road teams have mustered just two offensive touchdowns versus the Panthers. The Cardinals will try to break this trend on Sunday in Charlotte.
4. The Saints are snake bitten: First it was Marques Colston, then Jeremy Shockey, and now Reggie Bush. Injuries have run rampant through the Saints skill position guys and it affected them against Carolina last Sunday. Shockey is already past his prime and Colston failed to make a catch in his return. With Bush out two-to-four weeks with a knee injury, Colston must deliver. Meanwhile, temper your expectations with Shockey. Throughout his career, he’s either been hurt, unhappy or unproductive. Simply put, he’s not a winning football player.
5. You can’t count on LaDainian Tomlinson: LT is slowing down, folks. He has just one 100-yard rushing performance and is averaging a paltry 3.6 yards per carry. His last touchdown? Week Four against Oakland.
6. Steven Jackson is ready for liftoff: Perhaps the best part about Scott Linehan being fired is a return to order in St. Louis. The Ram defense is getting off the field and giving the offense chances to produce and Jackson is the point man on offense. While his yards per carry is not great at 4.2, he has rushed for at least 100 yards in two of his last three games. Linehan’s departure in St. Louis rejuvenated the Rams and Jackson is likely to benefit from this renaissance.
7. The shine is off the Denver offense: After scoring at least 30 points in the first three games, the Broncos posted 19, 16, 17 and seven in their last four. The inconsistency at running back and turnovers have taken the explosiveness away from the Bronco offense.
8. Derek Anderson is not a ready for prime time player: His time as a starter should come to an end. He faltered down the stretch last season and followed up a big win against the Giants with a 14-of-37 clunker for 136 yards and a touchdown. Paging Brady Quinn…
9. Larry Johnson is not a Mensa member: Chiefs’ head coach Herm Edwards deactivated Johnson last week for “violating team rules.” As it turns out, not only is LJ going to sit out another week potentially, he apparently feels the need to miss team meetings, refuse to come out of games and allegedly spit on a woman. What a team player.
10. The Kansas City Chiefs run defense is bad…historically bad: After allowing 332 yards rushing to the Titans, the 2008 Chiefs have now allowed two of the top five team ground performances on the road in the last 20 years. Oakland tallied 300 yards back in a Week Two visit.
Fantasy Power Poll
Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Adrian Peterson (4) – AP is alive and kicking after running for 121 yards and two scores versus Chicago on Sunday.
2. Drew Brees (1) – Carolina’s defense kept him out of the endzone, but Brees takes the New Orleans air attack to London to take on a mediocre Charger secondary.
3. Clinton Portis (2) – If Portis continues on his current pace, he’ll reach the dreaded number of 370 carries, which typically spells doom for the following season.
4. Frank Gore (3) – Mike Martz needs to get the ball into Gore’s hands. He had just 14 touches (11 rushes) against the Giants.
5. Michael Turner (5) – He’ll head back on the road on Sunday, where he has struggled thus far.
6. Kurt Warner (6) – Anquan Boldin returns to the fold for the Cardinal offense at a good time, facing one of the league’s stingiest defenses.
7. Reggie Bush (7) – Ironically, in a game where flashes ability to run the ball, he suffers a knee injury that will keep him out two-to-four weeks. Luckily for him, Kim Kardashian will help heal his wounds. Mmmm….Kim Kardashian. Bootylicious.
8. Steven Jackson (NR) – He’s scored four times in the past three games. Finally, Jackson is living up to his draft day value.
9. Peyton Manning (7) – As evidenced by Sunday’s output in Green Bay, the one-dimensional Colts are not as potent without a running game.
10. Marion Barber (NR) – With Romo out, all of the pressure falls on Barber’s shoulders to produce.
Link of the Week
Yet again, I can’t deprive the public by providing just one link. I’ve been in television heaven over the past week. With the Phillies participating in the World Series for the first time in 15 years and the best episode ever of How I Met Your Mother, it’s been a hit parade.
However, last week’s Saturday Night Live produced true gems. Amy Poehler performed a rap song while Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin sat nearby for the musical ditty. The best component of the skit is how Poehler maneuvers while being pregnant. This is one of the performances of the year. She’s a lead candidate for TV MVP thus far.
An honorable mention goes to the MacGruber bits, which take a MacGyver-like character and gives him severe economic problems, which eventually lead him to shooting heroin. Thus, all of his gadgets make him susceptible to a lack of cash flow. In my opinion, it’s one of the funniest skits on SNL in years.
Next week, get ready for a Two Minute Warning first. It’s the first ever TMW diary, as I endure a day of NFL games at a place called the Bob Seger Castle (seriously) followed by Game 4 of the World Series. I’ll be putting the “Night Moves” on there, for sure!