Fantasy Football Today

[an error occurred while processing this directive]







Staff Writer
Email Tony

Tony's Articles

IDP Notes
Week 9
11/3/04

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)
  • Week Nine Bye: ATL, GB, JAX, TEN
  • CAR LB Dan Morgan injured…again
  • CHI LB Urlacher: report of demise exaggerated
  • NYJ DE John Abraham en fuego
  • PIT LB Joey Porter sighting!
  • WAS FS Sean Taylor arrested, inactive Sunday
  • NE CB Ty Law injured, possibly serious
  • DEN FS John Lynch out 2-4 weeks
  • WAS LB mess: Arrington regresses, Barrow still out
  • DET DE Robert Porcher retires
  • TEN DLine improving after changes
  • CAR DLine continues to struggle, can't get to QB
  • NYJ continue to shuffle safeties
Week 9 Injury Report (available Wednesday PM)

Arizona

After upsetting Seattle a week before, the Cardinals forgot to bring their momentum with them to a wet and windy Buffalo against a struggling Bills team. Posting no sacks and forcing no turnovers, the defense couldn't come up with a big play, including allowing 4 TD in 5 red zone trips by the Bills.

LB James Darling led the team with 13 tackles (11 solo). SS Adrian Wilson had 10 (8 solo) and leads the team on the season. Wilson appeared to have tweaked his knee during the game.

CB Renaldo Hill left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return.

Atlanta

A week after being dismantled by the Chiefs running game, the Falcons defense stepped up and looked more like the number one rushing defense they were before Kansas City ran wild on them. They brought breakout RB of the year Reuben Droughns back to earth, limiting him to 49 yards on 15 carries and holding the Broncos to a season-low 68 total yards rushing. Despite allowing almost 500 through the air (499, the most in the league this season), they had 3 interceptions to complete the derailment of the Broncos offense. LB Keith Brooking had 7 tackles (5 solo) and an INT. DE Patrick Kerney did not have a sack for the fourth straight game, after having 7 in three games, but he had 3 tackles (2 solo) and an INT. Kevin Mathis had the other INT, returned 66 yards for a TD, his second INT for a TD of the year. Mathis produced well despite being limited to nickel and dime packages. In addition to the pick, Mathis had 4 solo tackles and 2 other passes defensed. Mathis was bumped for 1st round pick DeAngelo Hall, who started his first game in his only his second back from injury. Hall had won the starting job in preseason before a hip fracture had him miss the first 6 games. Hall finished with 4 solo tackles.

SS Bryan Scott led the team with 7 solo tackles. Chris Draft returned to MLB after missing 2 games and had 5 tackles (3 solo).

FS Cory Hall was out again with a back injury and Kevin McCadam continues to start in his place. McCadam had 3 solo tackles. Reserve CB Aaron Beasley was also inactive, thinning out the secondary depth and giving return specialist Allen Rossum more work as a DB. Rossum had 4 solo tackles.

DT Rod Coleman also missed his third game, still recovering from knee and shoulder injuries from a car accident. Coleman is expected to miss at least this week's game, as well.

Baltimore

For all the help on the field Deion Sanders has brought the Raven, I think he's made Ray Lewis soft. Whereas his pregame dancing and such previously seemed to come from a more angry, more primal place, it seems like just histrionics these days. He lacks the barbaric attitude that perhaps is eased by too much time around new best friend Sanders talking, and thinking, about business and religion. A few years ago, would a just out-of-jail and beat-a-murder-rap Ray Lewis let Terrell Owens mock his pregame ritual? More importantly for fantasy, it shows statistically. Halfway through the season, he is on track for lower than expected tackle numbers and has turned in only one big play, a sack. Lewis led the team Sunday with a ho-hum 9 tackles (6 solo) and a pass defended.

DE Anthony Weaver had a sack for the second straight game, his third of the season. SS Ed Reed had a sack, as well. Speaking of sacks, LB Peter Boulware will not go on the IR and is expected to return to full practice this week with no limitations. If he is active Sunday, he'll likely be eased in and limited to passing packages. However, if sacks score big and you're desperate at LB, now might be the time to pick him up and stash him on your bench.

Buffalo

In his second game of the season, SS Lawyer Milloy had 10 tackles (3 solo) and broke up 2 passes. MLB London Fletcher led the team with a game-high 14 tackles (6 solo). He is second in the NFL with 76 on the season.

CB Nate Clements had 9 tackles (7 solo) and a sack. He also returned 5 punts for 82 yards, including a 40-yard return with 15 more tacked on for a face mask that took the Bills to the Arizona 11 yard-line and set up a TD. Terrence McGee continues to start at CB with Troy Vincent still inactive after minor knee surgery. McGee only had 2 assists on defense, but returned a kick 87 yards for a TD.

Carolina

You knew it was too good to last all season. The words Dan Morgan owners have been dreading to hear during his breakout season: he is injured again. Morgan sustained a head injury in Sunday's loss at Seattle. He posted just 4 tackles (3 solo), but it was enough to move him into the NFC lead with Derrick Brooks on a bye. Vinny Ciurciu replaced him in the middle and finished with 11 tackles (8 solo). HC John Fox said Morgan is still going through tests and it hasn't been determined if he suffered a concussion yet, but they expect to have the full results in the next few days and will update his condition on Wednesday.

DT Brentson Buckner had the only sack of the game, giving him a team-high 2.5 on the season. DE Julius Peppers had 3 solo tackles, and is on pace for a career year in that department, but his inability to get to the QB is a problem. He has only 2 sacks on the season, and registered both in Week 2. More disappointing is DE Mike Rucker. After having getting a full-time job in 2001, he was consistently one of the better pass rushing ends in the league, posting 9, 10, and 12 sacks the last three seasons. Halfway through this year, he has just a half-sack. Carolina is last in the league with only 9 sacks on the season.

Problems in the front four continued as DT Kindal Moorehead, starting in place of Kris Jenkins who is on the IR, had to leave with a bruised shoulder, but is expected to be OK. Shaun Alexander was able to breeze through the depleted and struggling Panther front seven, resulting in CB Chris Gamble leading the team with 11 solo tackles.

With Travares Tillman inactive, Colin Branch at least temporarily regains his starting job at FS, playing through a broken thumb. Depth is a problem in the secondary after reserve S and special team ace Jarrod Cooper was released last week after a warrant for his arrest was brought to the attention of the Panthers. Cooper carried some baggage from previous legal problems and this was apparently strike three with the team.

Chicago

MLB Brian Urlacher was much-maligned despite big tackle numbers and another Pro Bowl appearance last year, for failing to turn in enough big plays. Urlacher had a career-low 2.5 sacks and failed to force or recover a turnover in 2003. Then there is concern his hamstring is still bothering him this year, but he didn't play like it was Sunday night. He was all over the field, finishing with 6 tackles (5 solo), 2 sacks, and breaking up a pass that he nearly intercepted with an athletic play. For the season, despite missing 2 games with injury, he leads the team with 4 sacks and has 2 forced fumbles. There appear to be rumors and innuendo, propagated by Fox's Jay Glazer on Saturday, which said Urlacher's other hamstring is now a problem and he could be headed to the IR if it doesn't improve. Strong empirical evidence (e.g. his play in Sunday night's game) suggests the previously injured right hammy does not appear to be regressing and there is no obvious new problem with the left hammy. HC Lovie Smith commented on this in the Chicago media this week. He more or less confirmed Urlacher's left hamstring is indeed sore, due to compensating for his injured right, but they monitored it all week and as Sunday was the "best game he had", it clearly was not a major concern. Urlacher had no comment, as a gag order has been placed on the team regarding discussing injuries in the media as Smith apparently hopes to achieve Belichickian levels of secrecy regarding injury news.

CB Jerry Azumah has shown no ill effects of career-threatening neck injury earlier this year. Azumah displayed his Pro Bowl return form taking 4 kicks 159 yards, including a 73 yard return in the second quarter after San Fran had taken a 13-10 lead. The return set up a FG that tied the game going into halftime. Azumah also had 5 solo tackles and a forced fumble that SS Mike Green recovered, his second in as many games. HC Lovie Smith loves rookie nickel corner Nathan Vasher's ball hawk skills despite his less than ideal size and poor tackling ability. Vasher flashed his ability with a 71-yard INT for a TD that sealed the victory late in the 4th quarter with the 49ers threatening. It was the first TD of his career and Vasher is tied for the team lead with Mike Green.

LB Lance Briggs led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and leads the team on the season, as well.

DE Adewale Ogunleye remains inactive with a mystery leg injury. Ogunleye has called it a ligament tear, while HC Lovie Smith calls it a muscle strain. The conflicting reports indicate Smith prefers to hide the nature to keep opponents concerned about his possible return, or publicly calling out Ogunleye for his slow recovery.

Cincinnati

The Bengals D failed to carry the momentum with them to Nashville that they built in an improbable victory over Denver the prior week.

SS Rogers Beckett dressed, back from concussion problems, but Kevin Kaesviharn remained the starter, finishing with 9 tackles (8 solo). Rookie Madieu Williams was staging an early Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign, but has been lost in the mix the last few weeks as veterans in the secondary have gotten healthy. Back in a reserve role, he only had 1 solo tackle, but also returned an INT 51-yards for a TD early in the second half.

LB Kevin Hardy led the team with 10 tackles (6 solo) and a sack. Landon Johnson and Caleb Miller continue to share the job at MLB, with Johnson getting the start Sunday, but only posting 2 tackles (1 solo) to Miller's 7 (5 solo). Johnson was also dinged in the game, so it looks like Miller gets the start this week.

With DT Tony Williams done for the season, Langston Moore got his first career start and finished with 3 solo tackles, but also was responsible for 3 offsides penalties.

Cleveland

Earl Little is not taking his demotion quietly during the bye week. He tossed some criticism on teammate Chris Crocker's coverage skills to the media, noting a play against Philadelphia Crocker was beat on. He was also defensive about the perception that he lost job, inferring rather Crocker was given it because he was a third round pick in 2003, and Little was upset Crocker said he brought more athleticism than Little to the starting job. Crocker replaced Little as the starting FS in Week 7 and had 1 solo tackle, while Little had 3 as a reserve.

After 10 picks his rookie year in 2001, CB Anthony Henry had only 3 his last two seasons. This year, he has returned to being a ball hawk and leads the team with 3 halfway through the season. However, playing the ball more has also resulted in giving up the big play more, he has been beaten for four long TD passes this season. Overall, the team has given up 13 passes of 30 yards or more, one of the reasons Little was replaced at FS.

Dallas

Desperately thin at CB already, Tyrone Williams left the game with a hamstring injury on the first drive of the game and did not return. Rookie Nathan Jones, a 7th round draft pick, replaced him and finished with 5 solo tackles and a sack. Undrafted FA rookie Lance Frazier, added off the Ravens' practice squad a few weeks ago due to the mounting injuries in the defensive backfield, saw time due to the injury and had an INT in his first NFL game. It was the only turnover for the day forced by Dallas and came with less than 2 minutes left, sealing the victory. It was the first INT in five games for the 'Boys. Frazier also returned a punt 55 yards.

FS Roy Williams led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and players knocked into next week (1 - Tai Streets).

Denver

While Denver's OLine is noted for their mobility, that facet of their DLine was exposed by Michael Vick, who ran for 115 yards and handed Denver their second straight loss. SS Kennoy Kennedy and MLB Al Wilson led the team with 8 tackles. Wilson also forced a fumble on T.J. Duckett that DE Reggie Hayward recovered for the Broncos only turnover. They also failed to get much pressure on the elusive Vick when he stayed home to throw, totaling only 1 sack for the second straight game.

FS John Lynch left the game in the first half after being laid out by WR Brian Finneran. A week after the team faced criticism for a cut block by OT George Foster that ended Cincinnati DT Tony Williams's season, the players were complaining to the refs and media that Finneran's block was illegal. Lynch suffered a broken tailbone on the brutal hit and will miss 2-4 weeks. Nick Ferguson replaced him Sunday and will remain the starter while Lynch is out. CB Lenny Walls was back in his nickel corner role after missing last week with his second dislocated shoulder of the season.

DE Trevor Pryce had originally set Sunday as his potential return after surgery for a herniated disc on 9/22/04. Now it looks like he will not return until after the team's 11/14/04 bye, at the earliest.

Detroit

Pro Bowl CB Dre' Bly finally returned to being a playmaker, but it wasn't enough as the secondary gave up 3 TDs in the loss. Bly picked two, returning one 55 yards for a TD, the third of his career. CB Chris Cash started again in place of Fernando Bryant, who missed his second straight game with an ankle sprain. Cash turned in the big play the previous week, but gave it up on Sunday. After a huge INT by FS Brock Marion deep in Lions territory to end the first half tied 14-14, the Cowboys regained the momentum the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Badly fooled on a flea-flicker, Cash ran into Keyshawn Johnson for pass interference, putting the ball at the three yard-line. Testeverde ran it in the next play, giving Dallas their first lead, one they never relinquished.

A defensive front four that has been a key to the Lions success on defense took the day off Sunday, not getting a sack on the DL for only the second game this season and allowing a Eddie George to run for 99 yards, allowing Dallas to control the clock. It was a season-high for a struggling George and the most they've allowed an individual to rush for against them this year. Rookie LB Alex Lewis, who has been impressive as a back-up, had the only sack of the game and 3 other solo tackles.

After meeting with HC Steve Mariucci and understanding he'd have a reduced role, Robert Porcher agreed to restructure his contract in the off-season. However, being inactive for every game this season was not what the Lions all-time sack leader envisioned as his "reduced role", especially after Mariucci told the media before the season Porcher was "still a part of the rotation". On Monday, a tearful Porcher announced he was retiring. Mariucci doesn't come out looking too forthright on this one, and it could impact the team down the road when other veterans are asked to restructure.

Green Bay

With FS Darren Sharper inactive with a torn PCL, Bhawoh Jue made his first start since 2001. Assisted by LB Na'il Diggs pressuring QB Mark Brunell and hitting his arm while passing, Jue grabbed his first INT since 2001. Jue also had 6 solo tackles and another INT, on a nice over-the-shoulder grab in the end zone, taken away on a holding call. Diggs led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo).

However, the defensive backfield was sporadic, with mistakes Washington often capitalized on, keeping the game close and allowing a struggling Brunell one of his better days this season. Jue had a face mask that helped Washington on their last desperation drive, but they came up empty. Rookie CB Ahmad Carroll, in just his second start, had 3 solo tackles and a sack, but also had the holding penalty nullifying an INT. CB Al Harris, playing with a torn MCL, had a momentum-shifting INT in the 3rd quarter after the Redskins closed the lead to 20-14 and then had intercepted Favre on the next drive. However, Harris was beaten by Gardner on 2 TDs. Reserve DB Curtis Fuller, added last week due to injuries, was forced to hold Clinton Portis to prevent a TD after being fooled in the Packers' red zone. SS Mark Roman had only 1 solo tackle.

The run defense was solid with, assisted by a season-low 17 carries for Clinton Portis. Cullen Jenkins, who moved back to a reserve role when Grady Jackson returned last week, got the start this week at DE over KGB. He responded with a sack in his second straight game. Aaron Kampman and KGB also had a sack each.

Houston

Despite lingering knee problems, Eric Brown returned to his starting SS role, with rookie Glenn Earl (hip) and Jason Simmons (concussion) inactive. The injuries a S meant a larger role for nickel CB Demarcus Faggins, who posted a season-high 7 solo tackles and prevented another 4th quarter comeback for Jags QB Byron Leftwich when he picked him and returned his second career interception 43 yards for a TD.

LB Jamie Sharper led the team with a game-high 13 tackles (9 solo) and a forced fumble.

Indianapolis

SS Mike Doss had a big game in what was primarily an offensive display. He had a game-high 10 tackles (9 solo), including one on special teams, a sack, and 2 forced fumbles. He did most of his damage in the second half, before leaving with a groin injury. He forced the fumbles on the Chiefs first two drives, but the Colts failed to recover either one. With injury-prone Joseph Jefferson was inactive again and Donald Strickland on the IR, rookie Bob Sanders saw his first significant action when Doss went down, after being out until last week with his own injury problems. Sanders had 9 tackles (8 solo) and recovered a fumble on a mishandled FG attempt. Doss is expected to miss this week, so Sanders would get his first career start. With Jefferson out, rookie Jason David remained the starter at CB opposite Nick Harper. David had 5 solo tackles, but failed to grab an INT in his third straight game. The combination of youth and injuries in the secondary will be one reason, despite their offense, the Colts won't be playing in the Super Bowl.

After 2 sacks last week, Dwight Freeney returned to ineffectiveness in rushing the passer against a strong Chief OLine. He had 3 solo tackles on the day.

Jacksonville

DE Brandon Green was placed on the IR last week, joining ends Paul Spicer and Lionel Barnes. The deluge of injuries to their edge linemen forced the conversion of LB Greg Favors to DE and the addition of FA Jason Gildon, who played this week with his hand down, as well. However, Favors only had 3 assists Sunday, failing to tally a sack in his third straight game since moving to end. Gildon had 3 solo tackles. The whole team failed to apply much pressure, finishing with no sacks or interceptions on the day.

DTs John Henderson and Marcus Stroud are the strength of this defense, but both made costly mistakes in a close game. After Houston missed a 53 yard FG before the half, Stroud was flagged for trying to climb the pile and the Texans converted from closer range given a second chance. Then in the 4th quarter, holder Chad Stanley converted a first down on a fake FG in the 4th quarter and the Texans got some more yards tacked on when John Henderson drew a personal foul for knocking Stanley down after the play was over. Houston converted a FG a few plays later. Henderson finished with 6 tackles (5 solo) and Stroud had 3 (1 solo).

SS Donovin Darius recovered a fumble for the second straight game and had 10 tackles (8 solo). MLB Mike Peterson led the team with 12 tackles (8 solo).

Kansas City

As expected in a meeting of two top offensives, defense was on the back burner, as the Chiefs and Colts combined for over 1,000 yards of offense. However, it was SS Greg Wesley's interception of Peyton Manning, who had already thrown 5 TDs, in the Chief's end zone that sealed the win. Wesley also had 6 solo tackles. CB Eric Warfield, is tied for the NFL lead with 4 picks, didn't have one Sunday, but broke up 2 passes, led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and forced a fumble.

With MLB Monty Beisel inactive with a calf injury, Kawika Mitchell started in the middle and posted 6 solo tackles.

Jared Allen, an undrafted FA who leads the team with 4 sacks, got his first career start. He managed only 1 solo tackle. The moved pushed Vonnie Holliday to the bench, where he joined DT Ryan Sims as a reserve.

Miami

A defense that did not allow a 100-yard rusher in 2003 reached a new low Monday night. After allowing four through seven games, including one already to Curtis Martin, they allowed two Jets (Martin and Lamont Jordan) to rush for 100 yards on them Monday night. One reason has been the absence of space-eating DT Time Bowens most of the season. After failed comeback attempts from a herniated disc in his back, Bowens was placed on the IR last week, with fear the injury is career-threatening. Bryan Robinson has replaced him in the starting lineup.

All this running has been a boon to the fantasy production of MLB Zach Thomas. He again led the team with 12 tackles (7 solo) and is the NFL leader for the season. SS Sammy Knight had his second consecutive decent fantasy game, posting 9 tackles (6 solo). FS Antuan Edwards returned to the starting lineup after missing last week. LB Junior Seau started after suffering a groin injury the previous week, posting 4 tackles (3 solo). However, he was unable to finish the game when a chest and shoulder injury left him with no feeling in his right arm. If Seau can't go, Eddie Moore would likely get the start.

Minnesota

The last two games the Vikings broke out of their interception slump and were finally creating turnovers. Sunday their early season struggles returned, as they failed to take the ball away.
The front four sacked Kurt Warner 5 times, helping limit the pass game, but were exposed in the run game, surrendering 168 yards and 4 TDs on the ground. Pass rush specialist Lance Johnstone led the way with 2 sacks, as well as a forced fumble, to go with 5 tackles (4 solo). Starting DEs Kenny Mixon and rookie Kenechi Udeze each had a sack. Mixon had his best fantasy game since returning from a two-game suspension to start the season. In addition to the sack, he had 6 tackles (4 solo). DT Kevin Williams had 5 solo tackles and a sack. Williams and Johnstone are tied for the team lead on the season with 5 sacks. Tice's 2004 whipping boy, DT Chris Hovan, was the only one left out of the sack party up front. No doubt he'll shoulder a good amount of blame for the Giants success running, as well.

MLB E.J. Henderson had a game-high 11 tackles (8 solo) and a pass defended. Chris Claiborne missed another game and Raonall Smith again started on the weakside. Claiborne is expected to miss this week, as well. Smith suffered his second concussion of the year and will undergo tests this week. Rookie LB Dontarrious Thomas continues to be bounced around, literally and figuratively. After losing his starting weakside job, he had a tremendous performance against Chicago when injuries necessitated his return. Then he performed well in the middle while Henderson was out. When Henderson returned, HC Mike Tice said Thomas would still see work in the middle in passing packages, but this seems to be more Tice misinformation, as Thomas was primarily limited to work on special teams Sunday. The coaches seem to be happy with Keith Newman on the strongside, so the continuing injury problems on the weakside appear to be his only shot of seeing significant work in the short-term. If Claiborne and Smith cannot go this week, he'd be the logical starter. Regardless, he remains a risky start week-to-week as Tice continues to flip-flop on utilizing him, and to what extent.

New England

The last time the Patriots didn't force a turnover, was the last time they lost. After 21 straight wins since 9/28/03 (a game in which they also recorded a takeaway, so the turnover streak was actually 22 games), they failed to force a turnover at Pittsburgh Sunday, and lost. However, the bigger problem was injuries. On the offense, the top RB and WR were missing and their LT was lost during the game. On defense, starting CB Tyrone Poole was inactive, but the loss of their other starter, Pro Bowl CB Ty Law, turned the game. He checked Hines Ward off the line on a play late in the first quarter, then appeared to injure his left leg turning into his zone for coverage after the bumping Ward. He immediately limped off the field after the play. Undrafted rookie FA Randall Gay replaced him, and the Steelers immediately went to work on him, with Plaxico Burress beating him for a 47-yard TD two plays later. It swung the momentum and gave the Steelers their first lead, one they never relinquished. Gay also dinged his foot at one point in the second half, forcing FS Eugene Wilson to move to CB, but Gay later returned. Asante Samuel started in place Poole again, who missed his second consecutive game, and three of the last four, with a knee injury.

Law's foot injury appears to be serious. He was walking on crutches with a cast on his lower left foot and ankle after the game. The Patriots are notoriously ambiguous regarding injuries, so not much is known at this time, but when asked if Law would play again this month, HC Bill Belichick reportedly said he did not know. Unsubstantiated reports say it is a broken bone in the ankle and he will miss 4-6 weeks. With Poole injured, the loss of Law could force Eugene Wilson to play corner and possibly enlist WR Troy Brown for depth at CB. Brown got some exposure to the position in the preseason. Regardless, they will likely be looking to add depth in the secondary of the practice squad or via free agents this week.

LB Ted Johnson had his second straight double-digit tackle game. So did Rodney Harrison, who had a career-high 21 tackles (13 solo), including 3 on special teams.

New Orleans

No definitive word on what prompted HC Jim Haslett to demote rookie LB Courtney Watson. After a hot start, Watson missed Week 5 with an injury, then returned to the starting lineup Week 6. Sometime between that game and Sunday morning of Week 7, Haslett has apparently soured on his play. Orlando Ruff started and led the team with a game-high 10 tackles, while Watson contributed on 1 solo as a reserve. In his comments during the bye this week, Haslett discussed the LB corps and did not mention Watson. He said Ruff has played well in the last two games he's started. The inference seems to be Ruff remains the starter. Speculation is Haslett feels Ruff provides better run support and Watson's flexibility is better suited for a reserve role at this point.

Along with Ruff, CB Fakhir Brown impressed in Ashley Amborse's absence due to injury. Brown has passed Fred Thomas and could remain the starter opposite Mike McKenzie when Ambrose returns.

DE Darren Howard had minor knee surgery prior to the bye in hopes he'd be ready for Week 9, but he didn't practice Tuesday and is questionable.

New York Giants

After their 10/24 home loss to the Lions, Michael Strahan called himself "overrated" and "horrible". The all-time sack leader (since they've been tracking the stat) may have been a little harsh on himself, but his three games without a sack was his longest streak since 2002. He added a fourth game without a sack Sunday, as no Giant got to Culpepper, but the road win probably had him feeling a little better about himself and his team. It was the second time the team was held without a sack, and they've won both games (the other at Green Bay). Strahan posted 4 tackles (3 solo).

The Gibril Wilson for Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign likely gained votes in Minnesota, as he led the team in tackles (tied) with 6 (5 solo) and grabbed his third INT of the season. His interception and 39 yard return set up a TD that increased the Giants lead to 17-0. He leads the team in tackles and interceptions, despite not starting the first few games.

MLB Kevin Lewis had his first big statistical day the prior week, but on Sunday, a fumble recovery was his only appearance in the box score. However, the lack of fantasy production doesn't appear to hurt his job security, as lone stat was a big one, drawing praise from his teammates and the coaching staff. On the Vikings first drive of the game, a pass through Mewelde Moore's hands was incomplete, but as it was behind the line, so it was a lateral and live ball. While players on both teams assumed the play was over, Lewis picked up the ball and rumbled 16 yards deeper in Minnesota territory. It was challenged, but upheld, and later converted to a Giant FG, the first score of the game. Lewis spoke of the team being made aware of the bubble screen, and he drew compliments for not only sniffing it out, but turning in a big play.

LB Barrett Green returned from exile to his starting weakside spot, however sprained his knee and ankle on the first drive, and after returning briefly, sat out the rest of the game. Nick Greisen replaced him and finished with 5 solo tackles. Greisen was already slated to work more there Sunday in the nickel, and could be on his way to taking over the job.

New York Jets

While the offense ran wild, the defense was in QB Jay Fielder's face all day, totaling four sacks. DT Jason Ferguson led the way with a solo sack in the first half and one shared with MLB Jonathan Vilma in the second. Vilma also led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo). DE John Abraham had one, to give him the NFL lead with 8.5. He had another sack taken away due to an offsides penalty. Abraham also had 3 solo tackles and a forced fumble. He has had at least half a sack in every game he's played this year, including five straight. DT Dewayne Robertson shared a sack with LB Eric Barton. The Jets are tied for third in the NFL with 20 sacks.

LB Sam Cowart was still inactive, but could return next week. In what role remains a question.

With the coaching staff concerned with deficiencies in all three of their top safeties, particularly in giving up the big play, they plan to continue rotating them. Giving up a big play wasn't a problem against a struggling Miami O, and all three had a good game. Reggie Tongue started at SS and posted 3 tackles (2 solo), as well as breaking up a pass and forcing, then recovering, a fumble. Rookie Erik Coleman started at FS, finishing with 5 tackles (4 solo), including 2 on special teams, and defended 3 passes. Jon McGraw came off the bench, but may have had the best day. He had 11 tackles (10 solo), including 3 on special teams, picked off one pass and broke up another.

Oakland

CB Charles Woodson started after being questionable due to a hip pointer and posted 6 tackles (4 solo) and a forced fumble in the first half. He aggravated the injury in the second quarter and sat out the second half. Nnamdi Asomugha took over for him and finished with 7 tackles (6 solo). SS Marques Anderson continues to be one of the fantasy bright spots. He led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo) and recovered the fumble Woodson forced, the only turnover of the game.

After registering a sack in his first career game the previous week, undrafted FA Tommy Kelly saw more time Sunday and had his second sack.

LB Travian Smith is still inactive, battling a knee injury. LB Danny Clark had 9 tackles (7 solo) and continues to lead the team on the season. He suffered a strained knee and will have a MRI this week.

Not surprisingly, legally-troubled former Carolina Panther special team ace Jarrod Cooper found a home in Oakland, who signed him after the Panthers released him last week, despite being in the midst of more legal problems.

Philadelphia

DE Jevon Kearse had 2 sacks, forcing a fumble on one on the third play of the game. DE Jerome McDougle returned after being inactive the prior game due an irregular heartbeat. Mark Simoneau was back at MLB after missing a week with a foot sprain. He finished with 5 solo tackles. Despite a strong performance in Simoneau's place the prior week, Jeremiah Trotter was completely back to his reserve role, contributing only a tackle on special teams.

FS Brian Dawkins led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo) and had a forced fumble. SS Michael Lewis had 7 tackles (6 solo) and grabbed his first INT of the season.

Pittsburgh

While rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger got the glory, the defense did their part in taking down the Patriot Juggernaut. They had 4 sacks, forced 4 turnovers, and held the Patriots to -1 yard on 4 rushing attempts.

LB Joey Porter led the way with 8 tackles (5 solo), 2 forced fumbles, broke up a pass and had 3 sacks. It was his first multi-sack game in almost exactly a year, since Week 8 of 2003. His first sack started a domino effect that buried New England early in the game. On the Pats first play from scrimmage after Pittsburgh scored their first TD in the first quarter, Porter sacked QB Tom Brady, knocking the ball free for DT Kimo von Oehoffen to fall on at the Patriots 27 yard-line. The offense scored another TD a few plays later, and Pittsburgh was up 14-3. CB DeShea Townsend prevented the momentum from changing hands on the very next New England play from scrimmage. He intercepted Brady and returned it 39 yards for a TD and 21-3 lead. The next possession after that, Porter through the Patriots into further disarray. After a false start, he helped tackle Kevin Faulk for a loss. The next play he registered his second sack of the game, giving the Pats a 3rd-and-27 they had to punt from a play later.

DE Aaron Smith had his fifth sack of the year, leading the team for the season. Smith is quietly returning to form as one of the more valuable 3-4 fantasy DEs, after a disappointing 2003.

With the team 6-1, coming off ending the Pats historic winning streak and with an exciting rookie QB, the injury situation with LB Kendrell Bell is extremely minor to them. However, for the fantasy players for which it is not, here's the update. He was still inactive after going through a second week of practice and is probable for this week, but unlikely to start if he's active.

St. Louis

Coming of the bye, the Rams are once again tinkering with their LBs. Robert Smith returned to practice Monday after missing two games with an ankle injury to find out he had been replaced by Trev Faulk in the starting lineup. With Thomas out and rookie Brandon Chillar injured during Week 7, Faulk came off the bench and impressed coaches with 8 tackles (4 solo). The former undrafted FA is already a journeyman just three seasons into his career after being an All-American LB at LSU. Despite excellent collegiate production, questionable measurables and off-field baggage prevented him from being drafted.

DT Jimmy Kennedy is likely to make his season debut this week, after breaking his foot in the preseason.

San Diego

LB Steve Foley had his second straight poor fantasy performance, totaling only 2 solos. LB Donnie Edwards led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo) and also had a forced fumble that LB Shaun Phillips recovered.

With Drayton Florence inactive, Sammy Davis regained his starting CB role and had an excellent game. He posted 6 tackles (4 solo) and had an interception in the Chargers own end zone.

San Francisco

After a 3-and-out for the 49ers on the first drive, the defense allowed rookie QB Craig Krenzel to lead a quick TD drive in his first start. After another 3-and-out by the offense, the Bears were deep in San Fran territory again, threatening to go up by two scores, when reserve LB Brandon Moore knocked the ball out of Krenzel's hands. Reserve S Dwaine Carpenter picked it up and returned it 80-yards for a TD. The next drive, FS Ronnie Heard picked one off that set up a FG drive and the 49ers first lead. However, offensive struggles after that continually hampered the defenses' efforts.

LB Derek Smith returned from an ankle injury to his starting ILB role and had 9 solo tackles. Jeff Ulbrich moved to the weakside with Smith's return, bumping Brandon Moore to a reserve role. Jamie Winborn is a versatile player in the Julian Peterson mold, and displayed Peterson's big play ability Sunday night, posting 5 solo tackles and 2 sacks. Winborn leads the team with 4 sacks for the seaosn. Injury-prone LB Saleem Rasheed and rookie LB Richard Seigler both dressed, but did not play, due to knee injuries. Both are expected to practice this week.

The injury bug plaguing the 49ers bit DE Brandon Whiting, who left the game late in the first half with a torn ACL and is done for the season. Fortunately, DE Andre Carter, who has been battling back problems, is set to return to practice this week. Old man Bryant Young flashed back to his youth, leading the team with a game-high 10 solo tackles, 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery.

CB Ahmed Plummer was inactive with a bulging disc in his neck. He's expected to miss this week and there's growing concern the injury is career-threatening. Even Plummer is concerned with his long-term prospects.

Seattle

After spraining an ankle last week, Isaiah Kacyvenski was active, but returned to a reserve role, as LB Chad Brown returned from a broken leg and had 6 tackles (3 solo). Tracy White continues to start for Anthony Simmons, who is still inactive recovering from shoulder surgery. Simmons could return this week.

CB Marcus Trufant has and interception, the only turnover of the game for Seattle, and led the team with 6 solo tackles.

After a big start last week replacing the injured Grant Wistrom, Antonio Cochran was held to 2 solo tackles and a pass defensed. The entire team was held without a sack. Wistrom is expected to miss this week, but hopes to return Week 10 to face his old team.

Tampa Bay

While the defense faces a huge challenge in the red hot KC offense, the Bucs have a few things in their favor. HC Jon Gruden is 5-1 after a bye, with his only loss being the miraculous 4th quarter comeback by the Colts on MNF last year. The defense is healthy, with no serious injuries to starters. The team has won 2 of their last 3 after a brutal start.

What does all that mean to those with IDPs? There's no interesting storylines, coming off the bye, on the Bucs defensive players to fill this space with.

Tennessee

The Titans may have finally found a combination on the front four that works. Kevin Carter remained at LDE, sliding back there from the interior last week as injuries and poor pressure necessitated the change. Carter had 3 tackles (2 solo) and a sack. With Carlos Hall out, Travis LaBoy, who successfully replaced Hall last week, got his first career start. Hall had minor arthroscopic surgery Monday after injuring the knee the previous week and the team hoped he be back Sunday, but after the bye, should be ready to return. LaBoy may prevent him from stepping right back into a starting role. He shared a sack with fellow rookie Randy Starks, who replaced Rien Long, who originally replaced Carter last week, as a starting DT. LaBoy now has 2.5 sacks in 2 career games, tied for the team lead with Carter. Starks had 2 other assisted tackles, as well. Albert Haynesworth remained the staple of the front four at DT, and had 3 solo tackles and a game-saving play. On first-and-goal at Tennessee's 9 yard-line, the Bengals were only down by 7 with less than three minutes to play. Haynesworth sacked QB Carson Palmer, forcing a fumble that reserve DE Juqua Thomas recovered, and sealing the victory.

LB Keith Bulluck had a game-high 13 tackles (7 solo) and a sack for the second straight game. Rocky Calmus returned to practice last week, but remained inactive and is not ready to play yet, so Brad Kassell continues to start at MLB.

Washington

1st round pick Sean Taylor was arrested for a DUI early Thursday morning and after skipping practice that day, was told he would not play and to not comeback to the team until Monday. Under the CBA, the Redskins can't punish Taylor for the arrest until he admits it or is found guilty, but apparently they punitive action is, at least in theory, for skipping practice. Andre Lott started in place of Taylor at FS, but left the game with a torn pec and did not return after posting just 1 solo tackle. With Lott at FS, Ryan Clark started at SS and led the team (tied) with 8 tackles (6 solo). Lott has been placed on the IR, so Clark will now have to start and depth is thin. Not surprisingly, the team has already said Taylor will be active this week. Not only are they limited in their ability to take disciplinary action against him at this time, they can't afford to if they could.

MLB Mike Barrow and LB Lavar Arrington remained inactive. There is concern Barrow may be done for the season, but no final word. Antonio Pierce continues to start for Barrow and had 8 tackles (5 solo). The hoped Arrington could be back after the bye, but he had a set back straining his injured knee in practice last week and now the team thinks he'll need another month for a bone bruise discovered on his surgically-repaired right knee to heal. There will be more tests and the lingering possibility that both he and Barrow are done. Lemar Marshall has been starting in Arrington's place. DE Phillip Daniels returned to the starting lineup after missing four weeks, posting 2 solo tackles and recovering a fumble reserve CB Walt Harris forced on Javon Walker. LB Marcus Washington, who was brought in to help a poor pash rush, finally had his first solo sack of the season. He had 4 other solo tackles and a forced fumble.

Both CBs played well, benefiting from unforced errors by Favre. Fred Smoot had an INT and Shawn Springs had two, to go with 6 tackles (3 solo). Springs now leads the team with three.



[an error occurred while processing this directive]