The AFC North is characterized by its two top defenses. Defensive
backs Ed Reed of the Ravens and Deshea Townsend of the Steelers
led their defenses to victories, each converting a turnover into
a touchdown. When the dust settled on Sunday, it was the Steelers
and the Ravens defenses that won their respective games. Come Monday,
many fantasy games will have been decided by these defensive performances
as well, as each defense outperformed nearly every offensive weapon
on the field (sorry Brian Westbrook, but you got the love last week
- no repeat photographs are permitted).
Steelers 20 - Cowboys 13
Fantasy Superman: Steeler Defense, Tashard Choice
Fantasy Performers: Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller, Ben Roethlisberger,
Terrell Owens, Jason Witten
Fantasy Hens: Hines Ward, Willie Parker, Tony Romo
Itís difficult to discuss the Steelers top performer without
discussing the Cowboys worst performer, as they go hand-in-hand.
The Steelers defense capitalized on five Cowboy turnovers, four
of which came from Tony Romo. In addition to the five turnovers,
the Steelers D held the Cowboys to only one touchdown and two
field goals, sacked Romo three times and scored the winning touchdown.
Apparently the Steelers best offense is their defense. A tough
defense was necessary to salvage this game as the Cowboys stifled
the Steelers running game, limiting Willie Parker and Mewelde
Moore to a combined 47 yards on 17 carries, Parker getting 25
yards on 12 carries and Moore gaining 22 yards on just five carries.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 204 yards and a touchdown, but lost
a fumble. Santonio Holmes led the Steelers in yardage, catching
three passes for 82 yards. Nate Washington and Mewelde Moore led
in receptions with four each, Washington for 58 yards and Moore
for 36 yards. Hines Ward had only a two-yard catch. Heath Miller
scored the Steelers only offensive touchdown and had three catches
for 20 yards.
Romoís four turnovers negated virtually any value to be
derived from his 210 passing yards and one touchdown. Although
Terrell Owens only reeled in three catches for 32 yards, one was
for a 12-yard touchdown. Jason Witten clutched six catches for
62 yards. The surprise of the day came from the Cowboysí
third string running back Tashard Choice, who stood little chance
against the Steelersí number one run defense. Choice averaged
nearly four yards a carry, rushing for 88 yards and caught five
passes for another 78 yards.
Ravens 24 - Redskins 10
Fantasy Superman: Ravensí Defense
Fantasy Performers: LeíRon
Fantasy Hens: Mark
The Ravens offense did not require as much support from their
defense as did the Steelers. Nonetheless, the Ravens defense put
up relatively identical numbers. Instead of giving up 13 points,
the Ravens gave up ten. Ed Reed forced up three turnovers with
two interceptions and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Ravens
defense also tallied up two sacks. LeíRon McClain once again
led the Ravens three headed running back committee, with 61 yards
and a touchdown. Willis McGahee eked out one more ground yard
than Ray Rice with 32 yards to Riceís 31 yards, but McGahee
coughed up the ball once and caught one pass for negative yards.
Derrick Mason continues to look solid down the backstretch with
three receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown. Mark Clayton failed
to repeat last weekís performance, going just two for 19
yards. Todd Heap went 54 yards on two catches. Joe Flacco threw
for only 134 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
Expectations were low for Clinton Portis and he did not disappoint.
Portis rushed for only 32 yards, caught three passes for 14 yards
and fumbled once. Ladell
Betts had a better day with 57 reception yards. In fact, Betts
led all receiving. Santana Moss caught four passes for only 48
yards. Antwaan Randle El had one more catch than Moss, one less
yard and one more touchdown. Jason
Campbell threw for 218 yards, a touchdown and two picks.
Chargers 34 - Raiders 7
Fantasy Superman: Vincent Jackson, Philip Rivers, Darren Sproles
Fantasy Performers: LaDainian
Fantasy Hens: Chris
For many play-off teams, the decision to play certain players
is based on performances over the past few weeks, or prior performances
against the same team. Vincent Jackson is a perfect example. Could
you stick Jackson in your starting play-off line-up when he had
four receptions for 82 yards and one touchdown over the last three
weeks? Could you play him after zero catch performance last week?
Could you start him after going three for 52 yards earlier this
season against the Raiders? Well, if you did not, you sat five
receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown. The same could be said
for Philip Rivers, who threw for 601 yards, two touchdowns and
two interceptions over the last three weeks; 180 yards, a touchdown
and two interceptions against the Raiders; and 149 yards last
week, without a score. However, on Thursday night, Rivers tossed
three touchdowns on 214 yards of passing. LaDanian Tomlinson rushed
for 91 yards and a touchdown. Even Darren Sproles got into the
action with two receiving touchdowns and 64 total yards. On the
dark side, neither Chris Chambers nor Antonio Gates pulled down
a single catch.
The only Raider who has proven to be remotely reliable this season
is tight end Zach Miller, who caught eight balls for 64 yards,
half of the total passing production of the Raider offense. Darren
McFadden only touched the ball three times and never crossed the
ten yard plane. Before leaving the game with a leg injury, Jamarcus
Russell turned the ball over three times to his 68 yards passing.
Justin Fargas rushed for 50 yards.
Titans 28 - Browns 9
Fantasy Superman: Chris
Fantasy Performers: LenDale White, Justin Gage
Fantasy Hens: Jamal Lewis, Braylon Edwards
The rookie wall is not slowing down Chris Johnson, who busted
threw it on Sunday with 136 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving
and a touchdown. LenDale White was not far behind his rookie running
partner, rushing for 99 yards and a touchdown, but he also fumbled.
Justin Gage mustered very little productivity, but his two catches
for 18 yards were enough to get him across the goal line once.
If forced to rely on Kerry Collins, his 155 yards resulted in
two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Hopefully, your play-off chances did not hinge upon the performance
of Jamal Lewis, who rushed seven times for seven yards. Braylon
Edwards was only slightly better with three catches for 38 yards.
Ken Dorsey threw the ball 43 times, completing 22 for only 150
yards and one interception.
Eagles 20 - Giants 14
Fantasy Superman: Brian Westbrook
Fantasy Performers: L.J. Smith, Donovan McNabb
Fantasy Hens: Kevin
One player in this game basically hogged all of the fantasy points,
equaling the entire output of the opposing team. If you slept
through Sunday, that player was Brian Westbrook, who rushed for
131 yards, caught six passes for 72 yards and scored a 30-yard
rushing touchdown and a 40-yard receiving touchdown. Donovan McNabb
did not repeat his performance of Thanksgiving Day, but he did
not repeat the prior weekís poor performance either. McNabb
threw for 191 yards, one touchdown and rushed for another 20 yards.
Other than L.J. Smithís six catches for 44 yards, the Eaglesí
five wide receivers caught a total of six passes, with Kevin Curtisí
two catches for 42 yards being the greatest.
The Giants offense looked like it shot itself in the leg and
Burress fiasco may have been a bigger distraction then anticipated.
The Giants offense put up just above 200 yards on the day, with
Brandon Jacobs rushing for 52 yards and Derrick Ward rushing for
39 yards. Ward was not a factor in the passing game. Nor was anyone
Smith led the pass offense with four catches for 47 yards.
Domenik Hixon followed with only 30 yards, Amani Toomer with 25
yards and Kevin Boss with just one catch for five yards. Eli Manning
passed for only 123 yards and a touchdown.
Saints 29 - Falcons 25
Fantasy Superman: Pierre Thomas, Roddy White
Fantasy Performers: Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Devery Henderson,
Jeremy Shockey, Michael Turner, Matt Ryan, Michael Jenkins
Fantasy Hens: Lance Moore, Marques Colston
The running tandem of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas looked like
the Titans this weekend, with Thomas rushing for 102 yards and
a touchdown, while also catching one pass for seven yards and
a touchdown. Bush nearly duplicated Thomasís numbers with
80 on the ground and 26 in the air and one touchdown. Drew Brees
did not have his best day at home, but he was nevertheless flawless,
passing for 230 yards and two touchdowns. His number one target
was Jeremy Shockey who hauled in five catches for 64 yards. Devery
Henderson caught three balls, but went for 72 yards. Lance Moore
and Marques Colston were complete busts this week, each catching
three passes, Moore for 35 yards and Colston for 26 yards.
Roddy White may not have scored a touchdown, but he had a monster
day nevertheless, with 10 catches for 164 yards. Michael Turner
rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown and Michael Jenkins caught
five for 69 yards. Matt Ryan threw for 315 yards, 14 more than
his best performance as a pro. Ryan tossed one touchdown and one
pick. He also rushed for 13 yards and a touchdown.
Colts 35 - Bengals 3
Fantasy Superman: Peyton Manning
Fantasy Performers: Dominic Rhodes, Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark,
Anthony Gonzalez, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Fantasy Hens: Reggie
Peyton Manning had a very nice comeback from last week. Manning
threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns. The old Manning-Marvin
Harrison connection returned, with the pair hooking up three times
for 78 yards and a touchdown. Unknown tight end Gijon Robinson
seemed to be Manningís favorite target with six catches
and 69 yards, but running out Dallas Clark still paid dividends
on four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Gonzalez
was also limited to three catches for 27 yards, but he paid off
with a touchdown as well. Reggie Wayne and Joseph Addai were huge
busts once again. Wayne could only muster up 48 yards on five
catches while Addai totaled 40 yards running and receiving. In
exceptionally deep leagues, Dominic Rhodesí 31 yards and
a touchdown could help get teams over the hump.
The Bengalsí woeful season is almost over. The wide receiving
pair of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson finally had a decent
day, even though neither scored a touchdown. Johnson caught five
for 79 yards and Housh caught eight for 75 yards. However, that
was about it for the day. Ryan Fitzpatrick could only connect
for a total of 170 yards and threw two interceptions and fumbled
the ball away once. Cedric Benson rushed for only 57 yards.
Texans 24 - Packers 21
Fantasy Superman: Matt Schaub, Andrew Walter, Steve Slaton
Fantasy Performers: Andre Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant,
Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Donald Lee
Fantasy Hens: Owen Daniels, Brandon Jackson
The Texans had three big performers on Sunday, but none bigger
than Kevin Walter, who caught six passes for 164 yards and a 58-yard
touchdown. Steve Slaton rushed for 120 yards and caught three
for 40 yards, but fumbled the ball away once. Matt Schaub threw
for 414 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Andre Johnson
may not have had a huge day by his standards, but he did catch
four passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Owen Daniels caught
six for 65 yards, but a fumble marred his point production.
Ryan Grant bounced back from a terrible week with a 104-yard,
one touchdown performance. Aaron Rodgers turned over the ball
as many times as he threw for a touchdown (twice), but he threw
for 295 yards. Donald Driver and Greg Jennings had few receptions,
but Driverís 75 yards on three catches beat Jennings two
catches by a single yard. Donald Lee and Jordy Nelson each had
three catches and a touchdown. Lee had 48 yards. After last weekís
eleven carries for 80 yards, Brandon Jackson did not run the ball
even once and caught two balls for less than 10 yards.
Vikings 20 - Lions 16
Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Adrian
Fantasy Hens: Bernard Berrian, Gus Frerotte
If this was the first week of your fantasy play-offs and you
were hoping for a huge performance from Adrian Peterson, you were
probably disappointed. The Lions are a great team for fantasy
running backs to get fat on. Yet, Peterson rushed for only 102
yards and had one catch for 15 yards. Given his failure to rush
for a touchdown, Petersonís breaking 100 yards was at best, like
kissing your half-sister. Chester Taylorís 53 combined yards and
a touchdown equaled Petersonís production in many fantasy formats.
The best day was turned in by Visanthe Shiancoe, who reeled in
five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Calvin Johnson continues to be the bright shining star in a dismal
Lionís universe. Johnson had three catches for 84 yards
and a touchdown. The ups and downs of the week with the potential
suspension of Minnesotaís Williamses, ended up having no
adverse effect on Kevin Smith, who ran for 63 yards and caught
two passes for 27 yards. Daunte Culpepper threw for 220 yards
and a touchdown, without a single turnover.
Bears 23 - Jaguars 10
Fantasy Superman: Maurice Jones-Drew
Fantasy Performers: Matt
Fantasy Hens: Matt Jones, Fred Taylor
The Bears offense was not highly productive. Matt Forte put up
decent, but not spectacular numbers, with 69 yards rushing and
five catches for 37 yards. However, he failed to score. Devin
Hester caught five passes for 80 yards. However, he failed to
score. The only touchdowns were distributed between the Bearsí
two tight ends. Greg Olsen caught one on three receptions for
52 yards. Desmond
Clark caught the other, a two-yard pass, for a total of two
catches for eight yards. Kyle Orton connected on 20 of 34 passes
for 219 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Few Jaguars are worthy of fantasy reporting lately. Maurice Jones-Drew
is quietly having a good second half of the season. On Sunday,
Jones-Drew rushed for only 55 yards, but he also had seven catches
for 47 yards and a touchdown. Fred Taylor was limited to 53 yards
rushing. Matt Jones had only 34 yards on three receptions.
Patriots 24 - Seahawks 21
Fantasy Superman: Wes Welker, Seneca Wallace, Deion Branch
Fantasy Performers: Matt Cassel, Sammy Morris, John Carlson
Fantasy Hens: Randy Moss, Kevin Faulk, Maurice Morris
Steel headed Wes Welker came back from a punishing hit last week
and hauled in a cool dozen catches for 134 yards, exactly one
half of Matt Casselís 268 yards and one catch shy of half
of Casselís 26 completions. Cassel also threw a two yard
touchdown to Benjamin Watson, his only catch. Randy Moss only
had three catches on the day for a total of 56 yards. Sammy Morris
rushed for 36 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Faulk only rushed for
16 yards and caught five passes for 22 yards.
The Seahawks were a shining example of where fantasy does not
mirror reality. The Seahawks may have lost the game, but they
turned out several stellar fantasy performances. Deion Branch
scored twice on four receptions for 88 yards. John Carlson had
eight catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. Seneca Wallace arrived
on the scene with a huge outing. He passed for 212 yards and three
touchdowns. He also rushed for 47 yards, eight more yards than
starting running back Maurice Morris, 15 more yards than Leonard
Weaver and 31 yards more than T.J. Duckett.
49ers 24 - Jets 14
Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Frank
Fantasy Hens: The Jetsí Passing Game
Frank Gore was on his way to a very good day, rushing for 52
yards and catching three balls out of the backfield for 13 yards
and a touchdown. But, Gore left the game with an injury and DeShaun
Foster took over, not too effectively with 16 rushes for 35 yards.
Bryant Johnson caught six passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.
Isaac Bruce has to be happy that he is no longer in the Rams offense,
after another strong day with six catches for 70 yards. Shaun
Hill completed nearly seventy percent of his 39 passes for 296
yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Brett Favre connected on 20 of 31 passes. Not too shabby! Actually,
it was quite shabby. Favre threw for only 137 yards and no touchdowns.
Of the 137 yards and 20 completions, nine completions went to
two running backs for 43 yards, meaning that the receiving corps
could not even muster up 100 yards between Chansi Stuckey, Laveranues
Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, Chris Baker and Brad
Smith. Stuckey put up the most respectable numbers with four catches
for 43 yards. Meanwhile, Cotchery and Coles had only one catch
each, Cotchery for 10 yards and Coles for five yards. Thomas Jones
had a combined 68 yards and a touchdown. Leon Washington caught
six passes for 39 yards. But for Favreís first rushing touchdown
on the year, Favre had a completely miserable performance in San
Broncos 24 - Chiefs 17
Fantasy Superman: Brandon Marshall, Tony Gonzalez
Fantasy Performers: Jay
Fantasy Hens: Larry Johnson
Brandon Marshall has scored only one touchdown since September.
On Sunday, Marshall made up for that drought with a two touchdown,
eleven catch, 91-yard performance. Jay Cutler enjoyed an eighty
percent passing ration, connecting on 32 of 40 passes, for 286
yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Cutlerís 16
rushing yards gave him over 300 total yards on the day. Peyton
Hillis was off to a good start, rushing for 58 yards and a touchdown
on just eight carries, but he left the game with an injury, leaving
the ball in the hands of Tatum Bell. Bell performed better than
DeShaun Foster in the back-up role, running 11 times for52 yards
and hauling in two catches for 16 yards. In PPR leagues, Tony
Scheffler and Eddie Royal had decent days, with Scheffler gaining
61 yards on five catches and Royal gaining 42 yards on six catches.
The ageless wonder padded his stats against all tight ends, when
Tony Gonzalez had five receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Dwayne Bowe almost hit the 100-yard mark, with seven catches for
96 yards. The 169 passing yards between these two made up all
of Tyler Thigpenís passing except for 18 yards, however, Thigpen
also ran for 34 yards, just two yards shy of Larry Johnsonís weak
Dolphins 16 - Bills 3
Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Davone
Fantasy Hens: Ted
Ginn, Jr., Ricky
You never can tell with the Dolphins young wide receivers, who
will be the flavor of the week. For the second consecutive week,
Ted Ginn, Jr. fell off of Chad Penningtonís Christmas wish
list and Devone Bess rose to the top. Bess brought down nine passes
for 74 yards, Ginn, Jr., only one for 18 yards. Anthony Fasanoís
20-yard touchdown grab led the offense and Fasano ended the day
with three catches for 36 yards. Ronnie Brown rushed for 70 yards
and hauled in two catches for 18 yards. Ricky Williams rushed
for 40 yards. Pennington threw for only 181 yards, but had a touchdown
and no turnovers.
The Bills offense barely eked out 200 yards, 53 of which came
off the fleet footed J.P. Losman. Unfortunately, Losman could
only throw for 123 yards and tried to turn the ball over four
times - he was only successful in his turnover attempts twice.
Losman nearly lapped Marshawn Lynch, who rushed for 31 yards.
The Billsí other big weapon, Lee Evans, was limited to three catches
of only 23 yards. Josh Reed caught five passes for 58 yards.
Cardinals 34 - Rams 10
Fantasy Superman: Cardinalís Defense
Fantasy Performers: Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston,
Tim Hightower, Anquan Boldin, Steven Jackson, Torry Holt
Fantasy Hens: None
I was surprised to read the box score on this game after hearing
the score on the news. I obviously figured three touchdowns would
have come from the passing game. That was not the case. Kurt Warner
only targeted one touchdown and threw for 279 yards and an interception
as well. His number one target was Steve Breaston who just may
be the receiver to focus on for next year since Anquan Boldin
should not be returning to Arizona. Breaston caught seven passes
for 90 yards. Right behind him was Larry Fitzgerald with six catches
for 73 yards and a touchdown. Of course, not far behind was Boldin
with five catches for 62 yards. Tin Hightower could have reinvented
himself against a pour Rams run defense. Instead, he scored a
touchdown on 12 carries for only 32 yards.
Steven Jackson rushed for 62 yards and caught four passes for
only three yards. Jackson scored a touchdown, but that was virtually
negated by two fumbles. Torry Holt had five catches for 61 yards.