This past week marked the second annual game played in Wembley Stadium in London, England. Last year, the Giants played the Dolphins in a rather boring mudfest. Both the NFL and the fine folks overseas learned from this lesson. The groundskeepers let the grass grow out longer and took special measures to prepare the field. The NFL, in turn, sent two great offensive teams over the Atlantic. The Chargers and the Saints did not disappoint, as a great example of explosive American football was on display for all of England to see (the game was aired on BBC!).
The Saints ended up winning the game, but the big winner was the NFL, as it continues to expand its product into new markets. I would be surprised if there ever comes a year when a regular season game is not played overseas. Just another reason why NFL is king.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints – He continues to put up huge numbers. He threw for 339 yards and three touchdown, with no picks.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers – Rivers joined Brees in entertaining the London crowd with 300+ yards passing and three touchdowns of his own.
Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles – He came back strong from his broken ribs, putting up over 200 total yards with two scores to earn top player of the week honours.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers – LT is rounding into form as he accumulated 170 yards and a touchdown.
Santana Moss, WR, Washington Redskins – After a few mediocre weeks, Moss broke out big against the Lions.
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan to White could be a deadly combo for years to come. White added two touchdowns to his season total.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers – Big Ben has been getting hit hard all year. He threw four picks on Sunday, which is reason to be concerned about his decision making.
J.T. O’Sullivan, QB, San Francisco 49ers – This season long dud may finally be buried on the bench, being replaced by Shaun Hill.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – MJD is the ultimate feast or famine running back. You went hungry if you started him this past week.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams – I am sure there were a few disappointed owners as Jackson sat out when it was thought that he would likely give it a go. If you set your lineup early, that could have hurt you.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts – Where has the Peyton Manning-to-Wayne connection gone?
Plaxico Burress, WR, New York Giants – The G-Men managed to win despite only 15 yards receiving from their well-behaved wide out.
Call of the Week
My call of the week at QB is to start Kyle Orton at home this week against the Lions. QBs have made a living off the Lions this year, so Orton should be good for 280+ yards passing and two scores. Lock it up.
My call of the week at RB is to sit Steve Slaton against the Vikings in Minnesota. If you have been starting Slaton and getting decent results, please do not start him this week. He will be shut down by the Vikings’ strong run defense.
My call of the week at WR is to sit Dwayne Bowe at home against the strong Tampa Bay defense. Also, Tyler Thigpen is starting at QB for the Chiefs, so that slightly downgrades Bowe. Thigpen will have difficulty reading the tough Buccaneer secondary and most likely will not move the ball well.
Sleeper of the Week
My SOW is WR Donnie Avery of the St. Louis Rams who are at home against ‘Zona. I am sure you have seen Mr. Avery make some plays over the past few weeks, I know I have. The Rams will get into a shootout with the Cardinals this week which will force Marc Bulger to throw the ball a lot. Avery has shown himself to be a reliable receiver so he should get his fair share of balls thrown his way.
Have a great Week Nine.