Hoping for the best but expecting the worst
Are you going to drop the bomb or not?
Lyrics to "Forever Young" by Alphaville
Am I crazy, or could those words have applied to Travis Henry owners for the last couple of months? Hoping Henry would somehow manage to stave off an NFL suspension, yet preparing for life without a Denver running back in the fantasy playoffs, and wondering exactly when the bomb (the suspension) would drop.
Let us die young or let us live forever
I think this should be "let us have Young" or let Henry play the season out.
Praising our leaders we're getting in tune
Praise Mike Shanahan?
The music's played by the mad men
Ah, that makes more sense.
OK, that's enough obscure 80s song references for me.
Meanwhile, while everyone was waiting for news on Henry's suspension, many overlooked the simple fact that Henry hasn't been healthy since the Rockies were sweeping the Phillies. In the last couple of weeks, a number of people have asked me some variation of this question: "Now that it looks like Henry won't be suspended until at least December, should I trade/drop Selvin Young?"
Um ... hello?!!
Henry hasn't tallied more than 65 rushing yards in a game since Week 4, and is gaining 3.5 yards per carry in that span. Granted, he's played in only three games since Week 4, but that's sort of the point.
After rushing for 109 yards and his first career touchdown on 20 carries on Sunday, Young is now gaining 5.3 yards per rush this season. Given Henry's lingering knee problem, his recent ineffectiveness and the continued specter of a suspension, isn't it possible the Broncos simply turn the page and ride Young the rest of the season? Or at least go to a time share?
Whatever the case, it's clear that Young should be owned in far more than the 55 percent of ESPN.com leagues. He was started by only 22 percent of those who owned him this week, a clear indication that fantasy owners need to check out our free Sunday inactives report (same link every week) or watch Fantasy Football NOW (Live Sundays at noon on ESPN.com!).
It's so hard to get old without a cause
I don't want to perish like a fading horse
Youth is like diamonds in the sun
And diamonds are forever
Come on, Mike Shanahan. Can't you see it? Henry is the fading Bronco, and Young is the diamond forever ... or at least for the rest of this season.
Peterson injures knee
Peterson injures knee
A week after setting the NFL record with 296 rushing yards, Adrian Peterson went down with a right knee injury. He was able to jog on the sidelines after leaving the game, leading to optimism that the injury might be nothing more than a strain. No such luck. An MRI revealed a torn ligament and Peterson has been ruled out for what should have been a moist-and-delicious Week 11 matchup against the Oakland Raiders. No team in the NFL gives up more points to fantasy running backs than the men in Silver and Black do. Put in a claim on Chester Taylor, who is available in more than 37 percent of ESPN.com leagues. He'll likely be a top-10 back on Sunday.
Since I have nothing else to add, how funny is it that Oklahoma fans are all riled up about people calling Peterson "AP" instead of "AD" (All Day, as he was known in high school and college)? Sorry kids, you don't get to choose your own nickname. If you could, I'm pretty sure the world would never have known Bimbo Coles. If people keep calling him AP, there's nothing you can do to stop it.
Not the same old Priest
Not the same old Priest
To say the least, it was not the vintage Priest Holmes who took the field on Sunday against the Broncos. Against one of the very worst run defenses in football, Holmes gained only 65 yards on 20 carries. That's 3.3 yards per carry for a guy whose career average is 4.6 YPC. The good news is that Kolby Smith didn't cut into his workload; Smith carried only twice for two yards. However, nothing from this game would inspire a fantasy owner to start Holmes with confidence against the Colts in Indianapolis for Week 11 if Larry Johnson misses another game (which seems to be getting more and more likely). The best we can hope for is that Holmes shakes off the rust for a prime matchup at home against the Raiders in Week 12.
Jesse Chatman, RB, Dolphins: This one should be obvious, but Chatman is owned in only 62.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Expect that number to go up after his 27-carry, 124-yard performance on Sunday.
Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: A second-straight 300-yard game and a favorable upcoming schedule should get him closer to must-start status.
Brody Croyle, QB, Chiefs: He should take over as the starter this week. Whether you'd ever want to actually play him, now that's another matter.
LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders: Remember when Jordan looked like the comeback fantasy player of the year? That was just a couple of months ago, but Jordan is now an afterthought on his own team. Despite being active on Sunday, Jordan didn't even get on the field, let alone touch the ball.
Studs and Duds
Stud: Ben Roethlisberger (278 yards, 2 TDs, 49 rushing yards, 1 TD)
Honorable Mention: Donovan McNabb (251 yards, 4 TDs)
Dud: Steve McNair (128 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT)
Dishonorable Mention: J.P. Losman (157 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT)
Stud: Brian Westbrook (183 total yards, 3 TDs)
Honorable mention: Warrick Dunn (140 total yards, 1 TD)
Dud: LenDale White (17 total yards)
Dishonorable mention: Marion Barber (33 total yards)
Stud: Terrell Owens (6 catches, 125 yards, 2 TDs)
Honorable mention: Larry Fitzgerald (8 catches, 74 yards, 2 TDs)
Dud: Plaxico Burress (4 catches, 24 yards)
Dishonorable mention: Anquan Boldin (3 catches, 25 yards)
Stud: Jeremy Shockey (12 catches, 129 yards, 1 TD)
Dud: Antonio Gates (3 catches, 26 yards)
Stud: Shayne Graham (7 FGs)
Dud: Adam Vinatieri (1 PAT, 2 missed field goals)
Team Defenses/Special Teams
Stud: San Diego Chargers (2 sacks, 6 INTs, 2 return TDs)
Dud: Pittsburgh Steelers (1 takeaway, 0 sacks, 28 points allowed)
Quick thoughts on injuries not covered elsewhere. For detailed injury analysis, check out Stephania Bell's injury blog.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Donovan McNabb injured his right shoulder late in the second quarter, but McNabb was able to play through the problem.
Brian Griese was replaced by Rex Grossman at quarterback for the Bears after having his left shoulder driven into the ground. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner told the Chicago Tribune that Griese had said the shoulder "wasn't too bad."
LenDale White left with a knee injury, but head coach Jeff Fisher said his running back could have returned if needed.
How bitter are you if you started Antwaan Randle El on Sunday? Jason Campbell finally threw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver; three of them, actually. The only problem was that Thrash and Keenan McCardell -- the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of wide receivers -- did the damage.
With the exception of Thrash's game, not a single performance on Sunday surprised me more than Ryan Grant's 25-carry, 119-yard, one-touchdown performance against the vaunted Minnesota run defense. Grant even chipped in five catches for 20 yards. I'll concede that he's a bit better than I thought, and there's no reason to think he'll lose his job to Brandon Jackson, Vernand Morency or Edgar Bennett anytime soon.
Tough day for Reggie Bush, who had a knee injury coming into the game and was shaken up long enough to lose a touchdown to Aaron Stecker. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Bush may have sustained a concussion. Still, Bush also scored, giving him four touchdowns in the last four games.
Chris Henry caught four passes for 99 yards in his 2007 debut, and I think he's playable in 12-team leagues that start three receivers. He's also going to make Carson Palmer better, even though you didn't see that on Sunday. By the way, how crazy is it that we have two relevant Chris Henrys in fantasy football, and we can't even separate them as the "good" and "bad" Chris Henry.
Even without the touchdown pass, that was a very nice game for Steven Jackson, coming off the back spasms in his original return in Week 8. Jackson rushed for only 76 yards on 22 carries, but that was against a New Orleans defense that had been very, very tough against the run, especially in recent weeks.
I started Shayne Graham in the GMC Professional Grade League, and I was more than happy to accept his seven field goals as the margin of victory in my triumph over Stephania Bell. And if you thought I was too proud to brag about a kicker, you really haven't been paying attention.
"Worst running back in the NFL" Cedric Benson somehow managed to have fantasy value in Week 10. He was able to find the end zone against the Raiders ... who came into Sunday giving up more fantasy points per game to running backs than any team in the league. Of course, it took "worst running back in the NFL" Benson a ridiculous 29 carries to tally 76 rushing yards. For the season, his yards per carry is down to 3.0. In the interest of the mental and emotional well being of Chicago, I hereby propose the following: Cedric Benson, RHP, Chicago Cubs ... Mark Prior, RB, Chicago Bears. Couldn't hurt, right?
As fantasy editor Keith Lipscomb said Monday morning, it's about time to start referring to Steve McNair as the "Cedric Benson of quarterbacks." McNair is completing 64.9 percent of his passes this season; The only problem is, he's gaining a ghastly 5.4 yards per pass attempt, which is typically the figure of a player completing half of his passes. McNair is no more an NFL quarterback than he is a third baseman for the Orioles. He makes Chad Pennington look like John Elway.
I was remiss last week in leaving Willie Parker off the list of players with fewer touchdown passes than Chargers defensive back Antonio Cromartie. It's not Parker's fault -- if that dastardly Ben Roethlisberger would stop throwing touchdown passes he'd be fine -- but anyone who drafted Parker in the top five is not amused.
That's six straight games without a touchdown for Donald Driver, who also hasn't hit the 100-yard mark in that span.
If I'd told you coming into Week 10 that one matchup would see two quarterbacks combine for seven touchdown passes and no interceptions, you'd have needed at least six guesses before you got to Jason Campbell and Donovan McNabb. I'm selling McNabb, who still has just two multi-touchdown games all season.
Negative-18 yards for the Lions against the Cardinals? Can you imagine if "worst running back in the NFL" Cedric Benson had been toting the rock in Glendale?
Five early trends for Week 11
Lee Evans has never scored a touchdown against the Patriots and is gaining just 35 yards per game in seven career meetings. In the last three matchups he has a total of just four catches for 42 yards.
Braylon Edwards has scored in three straight games against the Ravens, including in his 3-catch, 97-yard effort in Week 4.
Warrick Dunn, who has scored in back-to-back games, has never scored a touchdown against his old team, the Buccaneers, in eight career meetings.
Marc Bulger has thrown only one touchdown pass in each of his last three games against the 49ers.
Jason Witten has never had more than 50 yards in a game against the Redskins.
Nate Ravitz is an editor and analyst for ESPN.com Fantasy.