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Fantasy Game Recaps: Week 1

(“PHE”): Performed Higher than or up to Expectations

(“PLE”): Performed Lower than Expectations


PHE: Ben Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Justin Gage

PLE: Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, LenDale White

The most productive running back for Pittsburgh was not on most fantasy teams. Willie Parker could not even muster 1.5 ypc and ended up with 19 yards rushing and five receiving. The heir apparent, Rashard Mendenhall, erred apparently, carrying the ball only four times for six yards. Mewelde Moore was more effective in the passing game, with four catches for 28 yards. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger silenced a lot of fantasy critics, with 363 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Santonio Holmes caught nine passes for 131 yards and one touchdown. PPR bandits Hines Ward and Heath Miller each reeled in eight catches, Ward for 103 yards and Miller for 64 yards.

Justin Gage continued from his hot summer with seven catches for 78 yards and one touchdown. Kenny Britt has earned his way onto the waiver wire with a team leading 85 yards on only four catches. Bo Scaife turned in a decent PPR performance with 5 catches for 48 yards, but fumbled once. Not surprisingly, the running backs had a tough day, with Chris Johnson gaining 57 yards on the ground and 11 through the air, while LenDale White only managed 28 yards rushing and 5 receiving. Kerry Collins threw for 244 yards, one touchdown and one interception.


PHE: Tony Romo, Patrick Crayton, Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Cadillac Williams, Michael Clayton

PLE: Felix Jones, Antonio Bryant

After a shaky first half the Cowboys got things rolling when Tony Romo hooked up with Miles Austin on a 42-yard touchdown, Austin’s only catch of the game, Romo continued to build on his stats and ended the day with 353 yards and three touchdowns. Oddly, most came on the long ball, as Romo only hooked up with his receiving corps on sixteen passes. Accordingly, no one was effective in PPR formats, however, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton each had big games. Crayton caught four passes for 135 yards, most of which came on an 80-yard touchdown. Williams only made three catches of 86 yards, 66 of which came on one play. Jason Witten was the largest recipient of passes with five catches for 71 yards. Marion Barber put in a steady performance with 79 yards and a touchdown. Felix Jones only touched the ball six times for 22 yards.

The Caddy is running on all pistons. Carnell Williams broke out for 97 yards and a touchdown, while Derrick Ward was close behind with 62 yards rushing, 21 yards receiving and a touchdown. Kellen Winslow caught five passes for 30 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Michael Clayton caught five balls for 93 yards. Antonio Bryant was barely heard from with only two catches of 29 yards. Byron Leftwich threw often (41 attempts) and connected for 276 yards and one touchdown.


PHE: Drew Brees, Devery Henderson, Jeremy Shockey, Mike Bell, Kevin Smith

PLE: Reggie Bush, Marques Colston, Matthew Stafford

Drew Brees started off the season on fire. Six touchdowns and one interception making his 358 yards only an afterthought. Brees spread the wealth evenly, divvying up 26 passes between eight players, no one getting more than five catches. Jeremy Shockey led the way with four catches for only 31 yards, but he had two touchdowns. Following closely behind him was Devery Henderson with five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Getting into the scoring action with limited catches were Robert Meachem (51 yards), Heath Evans (35 yards) and Marques Colston (30 yards). Mike Bell ran for 143 yards, but fumbled once, with no touchdowns. Reggie Bush caught five passes for 55 yards, but lost one of two fumbles and only rushed for 14 yards.

Matthew Stafford did not make the fantasy debut his fellow rookie Mark Sanchez made. Stafford threw for 205 yards and three picks and could not even complete 40% of his passes. Calvin Johnson caught three passes for 90 yards. Stafford’s number one target was Kevin Smith who caught seven passes for 52 yards and ran for 20 and a touchdown.


PHE: Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, Maurice Jones-Drew

PLE: Peyton Manning, Anthony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, David Garrard, Torry Holt, Troy Williamson

It was the Reggie Wayne show. Wayne caught 10 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. Peyton Manning threw for 301 yards, but hooked up only on the Wayne touchdown and was intercepted once. Anyone who started Anthony Gonzalez felt the sting when crumpled with a knee injury and left after the first play. The only other effective player in the Colts offense was Joseph Addai, who caught five for 35, ran for 42 and scored a touchdown. Dallas Clark caught four passes for 39 yards.

Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 97 yards, caught five passes for 26 yards and scored a touchdown. Other than that, the Jaguars barely took the field. David Garrard only threw for 122 yards (yikes!); Torry Holt caught five passes for 47 yards and Troy Williamson caught only one for 10 yards.


PHE: Mark Sanchez, Thomas Jones, Dustin Keller, Chansi Stuckey

PLE: Leon Washington, Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Steve Slaton

Mark Sanchez began his NFL career with a yeoman performance, throwing for 272 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Leon Washington is not about to be the next Brian Westbrook with Thomas Jones running for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Washington did rack up 60 yards on the ground and 24 in the air. Only four players caught the ball Washington (4-24), Dustin Keller (4-94), Jerricho Cotchery (6-90), and Chansi Stuckey (4-64, 1 TD). The Jets defense pitched a shutout against the Houston offense.

Matt Schaub was not the answer this week, throwing for only 166 yards and an interception. The top receiver was Owen Daniels with four catches for 44 yards. Andre Johnson tripped out of the gate with four catches for only 35 yards. Steve Slaton had 35 yards receiving, but only 17 yards rushing. No one was fantasy relevant in the Texans offense.


PHE: Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Robert Royal

PLE: Brett Favre, Visanthe Shiancoe, Bernard Berrian, Braylon Edwards, Brady Quinn

Only one person mattered in this game. That was All-Day Adrian Peterson who rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Peterson also caught one of Brett Favre’s 14 completions for 12 yards. Favre threw for 110 yards and a touchdown. Percy Harvin was the most effective receiver with three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 22 yards. No other receiver eclipsed 30 yards.

All the James Davis hype still had Jamal Lewis toting the rock 11 times for 57 yards and catching three for 47 yards. Davis was on the field but only touched the ball seven times and did not reach 10 yards total. The only receiver of note was tight end Robert Royal who caught four for 60 yards and a touchdown. Again, no wide receiver eclipsed 30 yards including Braylon Edwards who managed only one catch for 12 yards. Brady Quinn threw for 205 yards, one touchdown and turned the ball over twice.


PHE: Brandon Stokley, Cedric Benson

PLE: Eddie Royal, Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter, Carson Palmer

One freak play can change fantasy and real world fortunes. Brandon Stokley was unheard from until late in the fourth quarter when a ball intended for Brandon Marshall was tipped by the Bengals into Stokley’s arms for an 87-yard touchdown. That was Stokley’s only catch, but it was enough for the win and enough for anyone having the guts to start him. That catch took Kyle Orton from 156 yards to 243 yards and a touchdown. Correll Buckhalter was far more effective than Knowshon Moreno. Each carried the ball eight times, Buckhalter for 46 yards (and 11 receiving yards) and Moreno for 19 yards. Brandon Marshall who sat out most of the summer, was still the greatest recipient of passes with four catches for 27 yards. Eddie Royal only had two catches for 18 yards and Tony Scheffler caught one for 29 yards.

Despite only one offensive score, Cedric Benson rushed for 76 yards, caught four for 32 more and scored a touchdown. Even Chad Ochocinco had an okay day with five catches for 89 yards. Carson Palmer threw for 247 yards, but failed to toss a score and threw two picks. Chris Henry and Laveranues Coles each had only one catch for less than 20 yards. Meanwhile, as noted in my last installment of Training Camp Hype, Andre Caldwell was a primary target with six catches for 54 yards.


PHE: Eagles D/Sp.Team, Donovan McNabb, Brent Celek

PLE: Jake Delhomme, Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith, Muhsin Muhammad

One would think with 38 points scored, there would be a lot of fantasy points to spread around. While Donovan McNabb threw for two touchdowns and ran for one, he also tossed an interception and passed for only 79 yards before being knocked out (probably for next week too) with a rib injury. Brian Westbrook had only 64 yards on the ground and less than 10 yards receiving, but scored on a short pass. Brent Celek was the only player who exceeded expectations with six catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles special teams and defense were all over the place, with a DeSean Jackson 85-yard punt return for a touchdown, seven turnovers and five sacks.

Jake Delhomme had a day to forget. In a horrific opening game, he mimicked the Panthers play-ouster with only 73 yards, four interceptions and a fumble. Only DeAngelo Williams did anything for fantasy owners, rushing for 37 yards and leading the passing game with four catches for 42 yards and scoring once. Jonathan Stewart could not get moving on the ground with eleven carries for 35 yards. Steve Smith did not perform like a #1 receiver with only three catches for 21 yards.


PHE: Joe Flacco, Willis McGahee, Mark Clayton, Todd Heap, Ray Rice, Brodie Croyle

PLE: Derrick Mason, Larry Johnson

The Ravens mixed the running and passing game nicely, throwing as often as they ran and splitting carries between their three running backs. Everyone had a good fantasy day - Joe Flacco threw for 307 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Willis McGahee was the touchdown machine, rushing for 44 yards, catching four passes for 31 yards and scoring twice. Ray Rice eclipsed 100 yards on 19 carries and also caught two passes for 12 yards. Even Le’Ron Mclain got points with a touchdown, three catches for 23 yards and 19 yards rushing. Both Mark Clayton and Todd Heap caught five passes for over 70 yards and a touchdown. Derrick Mason was the only fantasy starter who did not flourish, with four catches for 47 yards.

Brodie Croyle filled in nicely for the scratched Matt Cassel, passing for only 177 yards, but scoring twice. The Ravens run defense lived up to expectation, stalling Larry Johnson to only 20 yards. Dwayne Bowe caught four passes for 40 yards and scored a touchdown. Mark Bradley roped in four for 73 yards.


PHE: Tony Gonzalez, Matt Ryan, Ricky Williams

PLE: Michael Turner, Roddy White, Ronnie Brown, Chad Pennington, Ted Ginn, Jr.

Tony Gonzalez debut as a Falcon went well. Five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown is to be expected. Matt Ryan threw effectively, going for 229 yards and two touchdowns, but other than Gonzalez, no receiver was highly targeted. Jerrous Norwood, Roddy White and Michael Jenkins all caught between four to five catches for 40+ yards.

Chad Pennington threw for only 176 yards and turned over twice on a fumble and an interception. Only Davone Bess had any fortune with seven catches for 57 yards otherwise, no receiver caught more than two balls for 26 yards (Ginn, Jr.). Ricky Williams had some success, rushing seven times for 39 yards and two catches for 19 yards and a score. Ronnie Brown only rushed for 43 yards and caught two passes for 10 yards.


PHE: John Carlson, Julius Jones, Nate Burleson

PLE: Steven Jackson, Marc Bulger, Donnie Avery

Matt Hasselbeck started off horridly with two interceptions, but turned his game around and threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Julius Jones made the Jones’ family happy with a second big game of the day, running for 117 yards (62 of which came on a touchdown run), along with 19 yards on two catches. John Carlson was a beast with six catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Nate Burleson has returned from his injury year with seven catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught six for 48 yards.

So you thought grabbing Steven Jackson in a PPR league was a good idea? Not one catch for Jackson, who rushed for only 67 yards, half of which came on a garbage drive in the last five minutes of the game. Marc Bulger threw for 191 yards with no scores and no turnovers. Donnie Avery caught six passes for 46 yards. Laurent Robinson had a decent game with five catches for 87 yards.


PHE: Mario Manningham, Steve Smith, Chris Cooley, Antwaan Randle El

PLE: Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Malcolm Kelly

Eli Manning managed Mario Manningham to a 30-yard touchdown scamper while passing for 258 total yards. His one touchdown was countered by two turnovers. Steve Smith was the steady target, catching six for 80 yards. Manningam had a total of 58 yards and Kevin Boss took in three for 62 yards. The fearsome ground attack was limited: Brandon Jacobs rushed for 46 yards and caught two more for 17 yards; Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 60 yards and caught three passes for 11 yards.

The Redskins starting three skill-position players were silent as Clinton Portis ran for 62 yards and Santana Moss and Malcolm Kelly combined for 3 catches and 12 yards. Jason Campbell threw one touchdown and one interception on 211 yards of passing. Chris Cooley led the charge with seven catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Antwaan Randle El caught seven passes for 98 yards.


PHE: Frank Gore, Tim Hightower, Larry Fitzgerald

PLE: Josh Morgan, Anquan Boldin

Shaun Hill managed a football game, but it wasn’t fantasy notable. Hill threw for 209 yards and one touchdown without an interception (he did lose a fumble). Frank Gore’s 30 yards on 22 carries would generally be frightful, but one of those rushes along with one of his three catches for 18 yards culminated in a touchdown. Josh Morgan was nearly unheard from with three catches for 38 yards but the ageless Isaac Bruce caught four for 74 yards. Vernon Davis caught five for 40 yards.

Tim Hightower rushed eight times for 15 yards but nevertheless had a great game in PPR leagues as he reeled in 12 catches for 121 yards. His counterpart Chris Wells carried only seven times for 29 yards. Larry Fitzgerald had a bad game and still came away with six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Anquan Boldin just had a bad game, ending with two catches for 19 yards. Jerheme Urban filled in well for Steve Breaston, hauling in five catches for 74 yards.


PHE: Greg Jennings, Ryan Grant, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett

PLE: Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Greg Olsen

Jay Cutler passed for 277 yards with one touchdown but killed some fantasy owners with four interceptions. Oddly, like Steven Jackson, Matt Forte was unheard from in the passing game without a single reception. Forte only rushed for 55 yards. Devin Hester was the Bears’ shining star with four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Earl Bennett continues to be Cutler’s favorite, hauling in seven catches for 66 yards. Johnny Knox had a huge 68-yard non-touchdown reception, and caught a total of two for 82 yards. Greg Olsen was not the outlet he was expected to be, catching only one pass for eight yards.

Aaron Rodgers failed to impress after a flawless summer however, on a final two-minute drive, Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings for a 50-yard touchdown, giving Rodgers 184 yards and one touchdown on the night. Jennings ended with six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Grant rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown. Donald Driver hauled in 39 yards on four receptions.


PHE: Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Ben Watson, Trent Edwards, Fred Jackson

PLE: Fred Taylor, Chris Baker, Terrell Owens, Lee Evans

The Patriots fell behind early but pulled out a victory late in the fourth quarter scoring twice in the last 2:06 of the game. Tom Brady picked up where he left off in 2007 tossing two touchdowns on 378 yards passing and 53 attempts. It’s no surprise that Randy Moss and Wes Welker were the beneficiaries of Brady’s throws… each caught 12 passes but what may surprise some is the two scores for tight end Ben Watson (6 rec, 77 yards). Perhaps his demise and the #1 TE in New England has been greatly exaggerated. Chris Baker caught 1 pass for 7 yards. The Patriots only rushed the ball 19 times split between Laurence Maroney (10 – 32 yds) and Fred Taylor (9-25 yds, 1 TD).

The Bills blew the game thanks to a late turnover, but gave fantasy owners a couple smiles thanks to performances by quarterback Trent Edwards (212 yds, 2 TDs) and running back Fred Jackson (140 yds combined rushing/receiving, 1 TD). The two wideouts were fantasy busts with Owens catching 2 passes for 46 yards and Evans catching 3 for 25.


PHE: Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Darren Sproles, Zach Miller, Michael Bush

PLE: Chris Chambers

Another Monday night game that came down to the final minutes. Darren Sproles’ touchdown run with 18 seconds left gave the Chargers another victory over the Raiders… their 12th straight victory over the silver and black if you’re counting at home. Fantasy wise, the big news coming out of this game is the sprained ankle of LaDainian Tomlinson (13-55, 1 TD), which limited him throughout much of the second half. Darren Sproles chipped in with 66 combined rushing/receiving yards and 1 score. Antonio Gates (5-83) and Vincent Jackson (5-56, 1 TD) did the damage through the air. Keep your eye on wideout Legedu Naanee (5-49) who was targeted six times. Those who started Chris Chambers got a goose egg.

The Raiders used a two-pronged rushing attack comprised of Darren McFadden (17-68 rush, 2-25 rec) and Michael Bush (12-55 rush, 1 TD; 1-4 rec) and to much surprise had a couple notable fantasy receivers. Tight end Zach Miller caught 6 passes for 96 yards and it was Louis Murphy, not Darrius Heyward-Bey making the most impact as a rookie with 4 catches for 87 yards and 1 touchdown. Quarterback JaMarcus through for over 200 yards for only the 7th time in 19 starts.