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Fantasy Game Recaps: Week 9

Rookie Quarterbacks ruled the roost with Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan playing like seasoned veterans. Fill-in running backs returned to the pine and the stud running backs like Steven Jackson and Joseph Addai returned from injuries only to burn the owners who woke up happy to see them in their line-ups again. But emerging from the ashes like the Phoenix (yes this analogy was intended), is Arizona’s rookie running back Tim Hightower, who has displaced the likes of Emmitt Smith and Edgerrin James. Hightower appears to have secured his place in Arizona Cardinal lore as its once and future king of the ground game. Move over Bubba Smith. There is a new and non-fictional Hightower in town.

Cardinals 34 - Rams 13

Fantasy Superman: Kurt Warner, Tim Hightower, Anquan Boldin
Fantasy Performers: Larry Fitzgerald, Torry Holt, Marc Bulger
Fantasy Hens: Edgerrin James, Steve Breaston, Steven Jackson, Donnie Avery

On Sunday the Cardinals released that Tim Hightower would get the start in place of Edgerrin James, but little did many expect that the Edge would get no carries on the day. Ken Wisenhunt’s decision paid off big dividends for everyone except fantasy owners who were counting on James this season, and especially this week. Tim Hightower made a case for his being the Cardinal running back of the future, as well as the present, averaging five yards a carry on 22 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. The passing game was business as usual with Kurt Warner throwing for 342 yards and two touchdowns, one to Anquan Boldin, along with his 85 yards. The other went to Jerheme Urban for a 56-yard touchdown. Larry Fitzgerald reeled in six for 81 yards and Steve Breaston finally felt the pinch of the numerous go-to guys, catching only two for 39 yards.

Steven Jackson would have done fantasy owners well, if he did not issue his proclamation that he would be back this week, as he carried the ball only seven times for 17 yards and did not return in the second half. Antonio Pittman failed to pick up the slack, rushing for only 12 yards on 10 carries. Marc Bulger’s numbers (186 yards, two touchdowns and three turnovers) were slightly inflated by an 80-yard touchdown to that standout form the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Derek Stanley, whose career stats in six games over two years is one rush for five yards. Sadly, Torry Holt came only 18 yards shy of matching his season high stats, with six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Donnie Avery finally let down with only three catches for 26 yards.

Titans 19 - Packers 16

Fantasy Superman: Chris Johnson, Donald Driver
Fantasy Performers: LenDale White, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, Greg Jennings
Fantasy Hens: None

The rookie touched the ball 30 times and when the dust settled Chris Johnson had 89 yards on the ground, 72 yards in the air and a touchdown to show for it all. But for a 54-yard run, LenDale White was relatively kept in check with a total of 77 yards on 8 carries. The passing game was error free and helped the Titans pull down their eighth win of the season, but Kerry Collins 180 yards was unaccompanied by any scores and his leading wide receiver was Justin McCareins who went three for 42 yards.

The Packers’ offensive numbers dominated the Titans, but the score at the end of the game did not reflect as such. Aaron Rodgers threw for 314 yards, but he turned over the ball twice, one by fumble and by interception. His two leading receivers were Donald Driver who caught seven balls for 136 yards and a touchdown. Greg Jennings only caught three balls, but gained 79 yards off those limited receptions. Ryan Grant had his fourth consecutive week of 80-plus yards, with 20 carries for 86 yards, but that was it.

Vikings 28 - Texans 21

Fantasy Superman: Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Owen Daniels
Fantasy Performers: Gus Frerotte, Visanthe Shiancoe, Steve Slaton, Andre Johnson
Fantasy Hens: Matt Schaub, Kevin Walter

The Viking stars shone Sunday. Adrian Peterson ran for 139 yards and a touchdown. Bernard Berrian caught only two passes, but eclipsed the century mark with a 55-yard catch and a 49-yard touchdown catch. Gus Frerotte had a nice 182-yard game with three touchdown throws to his one interception. Visanthe Shiancoe and Sidney Rice each had only one catch, but they put it in the end zone, Shiancoe on a 25-yard toss and Rice on an eight-yard catch.

The Texans scored three times, but had no stellar fantasy performances from its starts. Matt Schaub was sent hobbling out of the game near the end of the half with only 139 yards and two turnovers. His replacement, Sage Rosenfels was undoubtedly not started in any fantasy line-ups, but he performed well enough to be picked up off waivers if Schaub’s knee injury lingers. Rosenfels threw for 224 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. Andre Johnson nabbed one of the scores on a late fourth quarter 14-yard pass and ended the day with only four catches for 62 yards. Steve Slaton also had decent numbers, but nothing special, rushing for 62 yards and catching eight for 56 yards, but he failed to score. Owen Daniels had a big day with 11 catches for 133 yards. After his two touchdown performance against the Bengals last week, Kevin Walters cracked fantasy line-ups to catch four balls for only 47 yards.

Buccaneers 30 - Chiefs 27

Fantasy Superman: Antonio Bryant
Fantasy Performers: Jeff Garcia, Jamaal Charles, Kolby Smith, Tony Gonzalez, Dwayne Bowe
Fantasy Hens: Joey Galloway, Earnest Graham

Antonio Bryant rebounded from his down week against his former team and ate up the Chiefs’ secondary for eight receptions, 115 yards and a touchdown. Jeff Garcia threw the ball often and connected on 31 passes for 339 yards, but only netted one touchdown to one interception. Earnest Graham’s 91 total yards were negated in many leagues by his two fumbles. The rest of the receiving corps was mediocre, with three players getting between four to six catches - Michael Clayton (four for 57 yards); Ike Hilliard (six for 55 yards); and John Gilmore (four for 40 yards). The rest of the Buccaneers offense was

Kolby Smith was having a good game, gaining 46 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. However, Smith went down and out for the season and Jamaal Charles replaced him with 106 yards on 18 carries. Have we seen the end of Larry Johnson in K.C.? Tony Gonzalez caught seven for 62 yards, but failed to score. Meanwhile, Dwayne Bowe book ended the receivers with an early first quarter touchdown of seven yards and a fourth quarter catch of 22 yards, but nothing else the rest of the day. Mark Bradley probably put up the best stats for the Chiefs with four catches of 65 yards and a touchdown pass to Tyler Thigpen of 37 yards. Oh wait, I forgot about Tyler Thigpen, whose 37 yard touchdown reception was supported by 22 yards on the ground , 164 yards and a touchdown in the air.

Ravens 37 - Browns 27

Fantasy Superman: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Derrick Mason
Fantasy Performers: Mark Clayton, Le’Ron McClain, Braylon Edwards, Derek Anderson, Kellen Winslow
Fantasy Hens: Jamal Lewis

The Ravens put up a fantasy smorgasbord. Starting off with Joe Flacco, who had for the third consecutive week did not turn over the ball. Instead, he threw for 248 yards and a touchdown. The absence of Willis McGahee was unfelt as Ray Rice gained 176 combined yards and Le’Ron McClain gained 34 yards and a touchdown. Derrick Mason caught nine balls for 136 yards and a touchdown. In the absence of Demetrius Williams, Mark Clayton put up quite respectable numbers with four catches for 87 yards and a score.

The Browns’ passing game performed well, with Derek Anderson throwing for 219 yards, two touchdowns and only one interception. Braylon Edwards caught four for 86 yards and a touchdown and Kellen Winslow caught five for 64 yards. A down day should have been expected for Jamal Lewis against the stout Raven run defense and he performed as expected with only 49 yards rushing and 13 yards receiving, all-in-all not horrible numbers against the Ravens.

Bengals 21 - Jaguars 19

Fantasy Superman: Cedric Benson, Chad Johnson
Fantasy Performers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Jones
Fantasy Hens: Fred Taylor, Reggie Williams

Congratulations to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who won’t have to put on his walking shoes and tread the San Diego Freeway to walk to work, after the Bengals came through on his promise and won a game. Chad Johnson may not have torched the field with one of his big yardage performances, but his two touchdowns were good enough to mask a meager five for 37-yard performance. Housh was still the go-to target with seven catches for 65 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s feet make him a decent fill-in at quarterback. Fitzpatrick ran for 52 yards, and passed for 162 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Just when you thought it was safe to throw Cedric Benson back into the water, he comes up with 104 yards and a touchdown.

The Jaguars are not wowing fantasy managers. Maurice Jones-Drew’s inconsistency resulted in a quite mediocre performance of just 33 yards on the ground, 29 yards receiving and one touchdown. But for a week three performance, Fred Taylor has downright proven to be a wholly unreliable fantasy player with just 12 yards on the day. The Bengals defense kept the passing game in check with David Garrard throwing for 229 yards and one pick. Matt Jones continues to be the top Jaguar receiver with a seven catch, 69 yard performance. Jerry Porter, Reggie Williams and Marcedes Lewis could not even muster up 40 yards on the day.

Bears 27 - Lions 23

Fantasy Superman: Calvin Johnson
Fantasy Performers: Kyle Orton, Matt Forte, Rashied Davis, Dan Orlovsky, Kevin Smith, Shaun McDonald
Fantasy Hens: Rudi Johnson, Devin Hester

“Oh my God, the quarterback is toast.” Just when Kyle Orton was becoming a household name and he was on slate to have a big game against the league’s 31st best pass defense, Orton leaves the game with only 108 yards. But for a five yard touchdown run, Orton’s day would have been a waste. Matt Forte put up the big numbers expected with 126 yards rushing, but failed to score. Devin Hester did not have the big day expected of him, running for 11 yards and hauling in four receptions for 42 yards. Rashied Davis put up the best numbers with five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Dan Orlovsky was not intimidated by the Bear defense, throwing the ball 47 times for 28 connections, 292 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite targets were Calvin Johnson and Shaun McDonald, Johnson catching eight for 94 yards and a touchdown and McDonald going 6 for 65 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Michael Gaines hauled in six catches for 64 yards. Rookie running back only had 53 combined yards, but he scored on a short punch in.

Jets 26 - Bills 17

Fantasy Superman: Thomas Jones
Fantasy Performers: Trent Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery
Fantasy Hens: Brett Favre, Laveranues Coles, Marshawn Lynch, Lee Evans

This did not turn out to be a big fantasy game by any stretch of the imagination. Brett Favre broke 200 by one yard and threw one pick. None of the receivers hit pay dirt with only Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles gaining any yards by a wide out, Cotchery with six for 62 and Coles 3 for 40. The running backs performed well. Thomas Jones had 107 combined yards and a touchdown and Leon Washington had 55 combined yards.

Marshawn Lynch left the game with “flu-like” symptoms, but came back later and ended the day with a paltry 16 rushing yards and 52 receiving yards. Lee Evans came back down to earth with only four grabs for 41 yards. The tight ends were the Bills fantasy leaders with Derek Fine’s four receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown and Robert Royal’s five catches for 70 yards. Trent Edwards’ 289 yards and touchdown pass were marred by his three turnovers.

Dolphins 26 - Broncos 17

Fantasy Superman: Greg Camarillo
Fantasy Performers: Ronnie Brown, Eddie Royal, Peyton Hillis, Jay Cutler
Fantasy Hens: Ted Ginn, Jr., Anthony Fasano, Brandon Marshall, Michael Pittman and the Broncos’ run game

Greg Camarillo had another promising week with ones across the board, going 11 for 111 yards. Ronnie Brown ha a nice day, but not what could have been expected against a weak Bronco run defense. Brown scored once, rushed for 59 yards and had three receptions for 30 yards. Ted Ginn, Jr. returned to being a non-factor with only three catches for 38 yards. Ricky Williams was not much better with his 39 combined yards.

It wasn’t long ago that Mike Shanahan was the guru of turning no names into household names in the run game. Michael Pittman’s four yards was the only non-prime number in the rushing game, which combined for 14 yards between Jay Cutler and three running backs (Pittman was nominally heard from in the passing game with 21 yards). Where fantasy does not meet reality, Cutler had a decent fantasy day with 307 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The only running back with any numbers was an unknown fullback Peyton Hillis who had seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Eddie Royal went seven for 69 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Marshall came blazing out of suspension with a touchdown a week, but has not been heard from since September when he scored his last touchdown. Sunday, Marshall had his second twenty something game of the month with two catches for 27 yards.

Giants 35 - Cowboys 14

Fantasy Superman: Brandon Jacobs
Fantasy Performers: Eli Manning, Derrick Ward, Amani Toomer, Kevin Boss, Steve Smith, Terrell Owens
Fantasy Hens: Plaxico Burress, Marion Barber, Brad Johnson

The running game looked unstoppable with Brandon Jacobs leading the way with 117 yards and one touchdown on just 17 carries. Derrick Ward followed closely with a combined 89 yards and a touchdown. Eli Manning met with little resistance in the passing game, throwing for three touchdowns and only one interception. However, he only threw for 147 yards. Manning distributed the wealth evenly, hooking up with five different players for anywhere from 26 to 34 yards and while Steve Smith, Kevin Boss and Amani Toomer enjoyed the forbidden fruit of the goal line, Plaxico Burress was not so fortunate and garnered only 34 yards on three catches.

Without Tony Romo, the Cowboys passing game is dying a slow and painful death. Brad Johnson was relieved after a 72-yard, two interception performance. Brooks Bollinger came in to throw for less, but one of his passes did connect with Terrell Owens for an eight yard touchdown. Owens closed out Sunday with his fourth consecutive 30-yard day with five catches for 36 yards. Marion Barber ran for 54 yards and lost 12 yards in the passing game.

Eagles 26 - Seahawks 7

Fantasy Superman: Donovan McNabb
Fantasy Performers: Brian Westbrook, Brent Celek, Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown
Fantasy Hens: DeSean Jackson, Maurice Morris, Julius Jones

Philadelphia fans had a good week. They endured the rain soaked World Series for their first championship in over two decades and then their football team traveled west for the mainland’s rainiest city. L.J. Smith’s concussion turned out to be quite a boon for second year tight end Brent Celek, who hauled in almost as many receptions, six, as he has had in his entire career. Celek ended the day with 131 yards. Donovan McNabb hooked up with two other players for six catches each, Kevin Curtis for 83 yards and Brian Westbrook for 35 yards, to go with his 61 rushing yards and no scores. Reggie Brown took his sole reception for 22 yards and a touchdown, while rookie DeSean Jackson only went 20 yards on two catches. McNabb ended the day with 349 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Fantasy teams forced to run out Seahawks may be wishing that the team join its basketball team and move out of town. Other than a Seneca Wallace to Koren Robinson hook-up for a 90-yard touchdown, the top fantasy scorers on the team were Maurice Morris and Julius Jones, each of whom barely rushed for over 40 yards. Robinson ended up with a second catch and had 105 yards and Wallace had 12 more completions for a total of 169 yards (which includes the 90-yard touchdown).

Falcons 24 - Raiders 0

Fantasy Superman: Michael Turner, Michael Jenkins
Fantasy Performers: Jerious Norwood, Matt Ryan
Fantasy Hens: Roddy White, Justin Fargas, JaMarcus Russell, Michael Bush

Michael Turner feasts on the bottom teams and then may be a good thing over the next two weeks with the Saints and the Broncos on the calendar. Turner’s 139 yards was only darkened by his lack of touchdowns. As goes Turner, so goes Jerious Norwood who ran for 63 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving and one touchdown. Matt Ryan threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns and fumbled once. Michael Jenkins maximized his productivity scoring on both his catches, totaling 64 yards. Roddy White went five for 54 yards, but did not score.

The Raiders offensive output was laughable. Any fantasy team relying on a Raider for fantasy points was sorely disappointed. The top performer was Justin Fargas with just 23 yards on the ground. Jamarcus Russell ran for 43 yards, but he threw for less with just 31 yards and two turnovers.

Colts 18 - Patriots 15

Fantasy Superman: Peyton Manning, Anthony Gonzalez
Fantasy Performers: Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison, Kevin Faulk, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Fantasy Hens: Joseph Addai, Dominic Rhodes, Wes Welker (except in ppr) Randy Moss

Peyton Manning connected on 21 of 29 for 254 yards and two touchdowns, without turning the ball over. Each of the receivers managed to put up decent numbers, but only one scored and that was Anthony Gonzalez, not once, but twice on four catches for 55 yards. Reggie Wayne dispelled concerns over his knee with five catches for 65 yards and a two-point conversion. Dallas Clark and Marvin Harrison also had four catches each, Clark for 63 yards and Harrison for 50 yards. Like managers with Steven Jackson on their team, managers with Joseph Addai probably wished he did not come back this week. Addai ran for less than two yards per carry on 17 for 32 yards and caught two passes for just 10 yards. Those managers who were riding the success of Dominic Rhodes over the last couple of weeks just hit rock bottom with Rhodes going back just five touches for a total of 22 yards, 15 on the ground and seven in the air.

Poor Randy Moss. Six for 65 yards is not bad for many receivers, but when coupled with a garbage fumble on the last desperation play of the game, Moss had a weak day (except in points per reception leagues). So did Wes Welker, who caught his average of seven passes, but could only muster 37 yards on all of those receptions. The running game fared well with Kevin Faulk gaining a combined 98 yards and BenJarvus Green-Ellis a combined 65 yards and a touchdown. Matt Cassell threw for 204 yards and one interception.