October 19, 2008
Entering Week 7, the Kansas City Chiefs were allowing a league-worst 182.2 rushing yards per game. Exiting Week 7, the number is an astonishing 207.2.
LenDale White and Chris Johnson combined for 317 rushing yards and four touchdowns today, and neither of them even had 20 carries. Those two averaged 9.1 yards per rush. If a quarterback were to average 9.1 yards per pass attempt, he'd lead the NFL.
"The backs got a lot of extra yards on their own after contact," said Jeff Fisher. His running backs also picked up plenty of yards before contact. And during contact.
Simply put, the Chiefs run defense is very bad -- perhaps historically bad. But at least they're giving max effort, as you can plainly see in the image above.
When a defense is that user-friendly, we need to look ahead. You'll find Kansas City's full season schedule here. They're on the road in Week 8 facing the Jets and Thomas Jones. Then it's Tampa in Week 9, so Warrick Dunn and Earnest Graham are in play. In Week 10, LaDainian Tomlinson turns his season around against Kansas City. He'll get the Chiefs again in the fantasy playoffs, too.
You get the idea: abuse the Chiefs when you can, with any running back fortunate enough to face them.
• Welcome to the 2008 fantasy season, Ryan Grant. And welcome to the end zone. With 2:49 remaining in the first half, Grant went untouched for an 11-yard score. That run gave him 70 yards on 18 attempts. Grant finished with 31 carries for 105.
• Possibly the day's greatest image: 330-pound Ryan Pickett attempting to leap in the air to chest-bump a teammate. Gravity is a tyrant.
• Wade Phillips, postgame: "I'm angry, I'm disappointed, and I'm embarrassed."
You'd love to say something to perk him up, but, in fact, he should be angry, disappointed, and embarrassed. And possibly not the Cowboys head coach in '09.
If we're even discussing whether his job is in danger, then it's clearly in danger.
• Nick Collins made a sweet cut to reach the end zone on his 62-yard interception return, just when it seemed he was going to go out of bounds. Reggie Wayne really should have had that pass, but instead it became one of two Peyton Manning picks that were returned for TDs.
Marvin Harrison came back to earth with a quiet crash (two receptions, 11 yards), and neither he nor Wayne could separate easily from Green Bay's coverage.
• With 6:14 remaining in the third quarter at Washington, Derek Anderson was 4-for-17 passing for 21 yards. Donte Stallworth led Cleveland in receiving with one catch for six yards. History probably won't recognize the Browns-'Skins tilt as the game of the day in Week 7, 2008.
Clinton Portis hogged the yards again, finishing with 27 carries for 175 and (barely) a touchdown, but his late fumble gave the Browns hope. Santana Moss caught four passes for 75 yards and a score. On the TD, Moss made an evil spin to avoid a tackler and cross the goal line.
The Bengals quarterback, wearing a brace on his right arm, initially told reporters that he had nothing new to report regarding the elbow.
He was then asked if Dr. David Altchek, who examined the elbow on Monday in New York, reiterated what other doctors told Palmer.
“No,” Palmer said. “I found out some information that I wasn’t expecting. I’m just trying to get as many opinions as I can.”
If you're still invested in Bengals receivers, don't expect things to get any better.
• Tom Cable became the latest NFL head coach to try the ice-the-kicker thing, only to have the tactic fail spectacularly. A few minutes later, Michael Huff dropped a potentially game-changing pick in overtime.
Despite their repeated attempts to lose, however, the Raiders managed to beat the Jets late in OT on a 57-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal that had plenty of distance. The distribution of the Raiders' rushing workload was surprising: 28 carries for Justin Fargas, eight for Darren McFadden. The rookie actually finished with more total yards, thanks to his three receptions for 50.
• As expected (see way below), several Texans proved useful today. Matt Schaub finished 26-for-31 with 267 yards and two TDs, both caught by tight end Owen Daniels; Andre Johnson had 11 catches for 141 yards; Steve Slaton and Ahman Green each had one-yard TDs in the first half. Kevin Walter (three catches, 27 yards) was really the only disappointment.
Kevin Smith (10 carries, 61 yards, one TD) and Calvin Johnson (two receptions, 154 yards, one TD) were the bright spots for Detroit, fantasy-wise. No obvious bright spots, reality-wise. If you're looking for a third WR in a very deep league, take note of the fact that Mike Furrey finished with six receptions for 89 yards.
• According to NFL.com, Steven Jackson "sustained a thigh injury and is scheduled to have an MRI exam on Monday morning." But Jackson himself called it "just a little bruise" and "just a little tight," so you should be just a little worried. We'll update Jackson's situation throughout the week.
• One more injury from the early games that we really should have mentioned below: Devin Hester was sidelined by a left quadriceps injury early in the Bears' 48-41 win.
You'd have never guessed that Chicago could possibly put up 48 without Hester reaching double-digit fantasy points.
(Posted at 8:30 ET)
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Just when you think you know the league...
1) The Rams destroy the Cowboys, and Steven Jackson emphatically returns to the first tier of fantasy running backs (25 carries, 160 yards, 3 TDs);
2) Chad Johnson catches a touchdown pass;
3) The Chicago Bears score 48 points;
4) LenDale White has the day that Chris Johnson is supposed to have, including the 80-yard run;
5) An NFL team gives Cedric Benson 14 carries;
6) Drew Brees is limited to 231 passing yards and zero scores.
Very odd. Honestly, none of these things seemed possible. There are no NFL experts, folks, only informed guessers.
Let's get to the other notes from the early games...
• At the conclusion of the Vikings' opening drive, Corey Graham and Mike Brown appeared to have Adrian Peterson wrapped up for no gain at the goal line on fourth down...until they didn't. Peterson shrugged them off, kept driving, and gave the Vikes an early 7-0 lead.
And it took Kyle Orton only two minutes and 35 seconds to answer. His 18-yard bullet to Greg Olsen tied the game. Orton went 4-for-4 for 48 yards on the Bears' first drive, and he felt no pressure whatsoever from the Minnesota pass rush.
M. Barber rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
M. Barber rushed to the left for 2 yard gain
M. Barber rushed up the middle for 1 yard touchdown. N. Folk made PAT
• Marty Booker dropped a beautifully thrown ball that should have been a touchdown on the Bears' first play of the second quarter. He was alone, too. The drive ended in a field goal. Later, with 3:57 left in the half, Booker dropped his second sure-TD. Again, Kyle Orton's throw was perfect. That drive ended in a blocked field goal (and some angry IMs from Brad Evans that cannot be quoted).
• It was the Brandon Jacobs show in the first half in New York. The Niners did little to impede him on that 26-yard first quarter TD.
• At the 13:18 mark in the second quarter, Brad Johnson's quarterback rating was 9.7. Nine...point...seven. That's really not good. Those things go up to 153.8. The Cowboys trailed the Rams 21-7, and you really had to wonder whether four-fifths of Tony Romo's hand was better than Brad Johnson's hand at full strength.
Johnson ultimately finished with 234 passing yards, one late TD, and three interceptions. He completed only 50 percent of his passes.
• The Kansas City Star reports that Brodie Croyle's knee injury will end his season. Presumably, Damon Huard is the add (if you're adding Chiefs), but Tyler Thigpen had some garbage time numbers today. He rushed for the Chiefs' only TD.
• Even though Kyle Orton scored reasonably well, his fantasy owners still had to feel like they couldn't catch a break. Orton hit Desmond Clark for a 35-yard gain that should have ended in a TD, but Clark fumbled inside the one yard-line. Rashied Davis picked up the ball and rolled into the end zone. That should have been Orton's fourth touchdown pass (see the Booker bullet above). Bears tight ends just smoked Vikings linebackers all afternoon. Clark and Olsen combined for 133 receiving yards.
• Adrian Peterson gave Mike Brown the full Adam Archuleta treatment on that 54-yard third quarter TD run. Brown was the last line of defense, after various Bears had been dismissed and/or taken poor angles. A slight head fake from Peterson was followed by a sharp cut, and Brown was sent spinning.
• Reggie Bush exited early with a knee injury. Here's the scoop from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
More bad news for the Saints: Reggie Bush injured his left knee on the final play of the first half, a punt return, and is out for the game. Bush had 55 rushing yards in the first half.
Deuce McAllister clearly benefits the most if Bush misses time.
• Remember how we mentioned that LenDale White had the day that Chris Johnson was supposed to have? Well, Johnson actually had the day we'd all forecasted, too. The rookie finished with 18 carries for 168 yards and a long TD.
The Titans finished with 332 net rushing yards, which is absurd.
• Two significant performances from running backs you might have benched: Willis McGahee had 152 total yards and one TD, and Pittsburgh's Mewelde Moore reached the end zone three times against the Bengals.
• Marques Colston had two drops and no receptions in his return from the thumb injury. Buy at a discount if you can. The Saints face the Lions in Week 16.
(Posted at 4:36 ET)
The introductory message today is simple: start your Texans. They're at home against Detroit, and the Lions have the NFL's most generous defense (421.6 YPG allowed).
We've ranked Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and Kris Brown in the top five at their positions. Steve Slaton is No. 7 among the running backs, and Kevin Walter is ranked No. 18 at receiver. The Houston defense even gets a rare top-15 rank today. So if you have a Texan, start him.
As per our usual, Scott and I will be chatting over at Fantasy Football Live, beginning at noon ET. Feel free to drop by.
One administrative note: We'll have two Sunday Scene updates today, not four. Unless an injury and/or Brady Quinn sighting requires your immediate attention.
Photos via Getty Images (White, Texans fans) and AP (Grant, Jackson, Peterson)