Commentary

Instant Replay: Ohio's Best

Updated: October 16, 2007, 2:14 PM ET
By Nate Ravitz | ESPN.com

Actual question from my chat this past Tuesday:

Marco (Boston): Nate, dumb question, but who do I start this weekend: Carson Palmer or Derek Anderson?

Not so dumb after all, I suppose. With three touchdowns through the air and another on the ground, Anderson racked up 28 points in ESPN standard scoring, or twice Palmer's Sunday total. Anderson has now thrown at least two touchdown passes in three consecutive starts and has 13 touchdown passes and two touchdown runs in five starts this season. For the season, Anderson has more touchdown passes than Donovan McNabb and Philip Rivers combined, and just as many as the Jay Cutler/Jeff Garcia/Jason Campbell buffet. The Browns have a bye in Week 7 followed by two eminently winnable games, one at St. Louis and the other at home against the Seahawks. Brady Quinn will eventually get a shot, but it might not come until after the Browns travel to Pittsburgh and Baltimore for back-to-back games in November, if even then. Romeo Crennel is coaching for his job, so he may be hesitant to make a change at quarterback if Anderson is keeping the team competitive.

Headlines

  • Rookie Peterson has record day

    Remember when most people thought Marshawn Lynch would have the best fantasy numbers among rookie running backs? Adrian Peterson continues to shatter that notion, with the latest exhibit being his 20-carry, 224-yard, 3-touchdown explosion against the Artists Formerly Known as the Chicago Bears. Peterson now leads the NFL in rushing yardage (607) and trails only Ronnie Brown in total yardage (782) and his 6.3 yards-per-carry average is more than a full yard better than the next guy (Brown) among running backs with at least 75 carries. Peterson had fewer carries than Chester Taylor, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. With all of that said, there will never be a better time to dangle Peterson in trade talks. The Vikings' next four opponents (Dallas, Philadelphia, San Diego and Green Bay) rank seventh, ninth, eighth and 12th, respectively, in run defense. That doesn't mean you necessarily should trade Peterson, but with everyone from Scouts Inc's Matt Williamson to our own Eric Karabell comparing Peterson to LaDainian Tomlinson, why not test the waters? Maybe a frustrated owner will give you a seemingly-slumping Marion Barber III and Torry Holt for him.

  • When life gives you a Lemon...

    I'll spare you the rest of the bad pun, but Cleo Lemon dropped two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns on the Browns on Sunday, and if you listened to either Matthew Berry or myself, you would have seriously considered starting him this week. That said, you shouldn't necessarily race to the waiver wire to pick him up. The next three weeks for the Dolphins include a matchup with the Patriots and a bye, and the post-bye schedule isn't pretty. You also have to believe the Dolphins will want to take a look at rookie John Beck at some point.

  • Down goes Warner

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    Some guys just have bad luck. Kurt Warner makes his first start of the season on the same day that Julius Peppers emerges from his coma ... what are the odds? Warner apparently tore ligaments in his left (nonthrowing) shoulder when Peppers fell on him and will be re-evaluated today. The biggest surprise of the whole incident? Somehow, Warner's thumb wasn't fractured. The oddsmakers took a beating on that on. Meanwhile, Tim Rattay -- signed off the scrap heap earlier in the week -- replaced Warner and completed just 12-of-24 passes for 159 yards and three interceptions. He's not worthy of fantasy attention. Whither John Navarre?

    Player Tracker

    Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns: Are there 10 wide receivers you'd definitely rather own than Edwards? I counted only nine.

    David Martin, TE, Dolphins: He caught two touchdown passes from Cleo Lemon on Sunday, one fewer than he ever caught in any of six seasons with Brett Favre. If you're desperate for a tight end, you could do worse.

    Kyle Boller, QB, Ravens: Hard to believe that Boller is now better than a former co-MVP, but that's how far Steve McNair has fallen.

    Marques Hagans, WR, Rams: The second-year receiver caught five passes for 74 yards on Sunday, stepping into a prominent role after Drew Bennett left the game with a hamstring injury. With Bennett and Isaac Bruce question marks for Week 7 and beyond, Hagans could have some value in deep leagues.

    Reggie Brown, WR, Eagles: This isn't to say that his six-catch, 89-yard performance against the Jets means he's relevant again, but at least we know he has a pulse.

    Shaun Alexander, RB, Seahawks: He's averaging just 3.7 yards per carry this season and hasn't scored in the past four games, the longest scoreless streak since his rookie season in 2000. Although his upcoming schedule looks appetizing -- the Rams twice plus the Browns and 49ers in the next six weeks -- I'm no longer confident in Alexander's ability to take advantage of a bad defense.

    Studs and Duds

    Quarterbacks

    Stud: Tom Brady (388 yards, 5 TDs,)

    Honorable Mention: Derek Anderson (245 yards, 3 TDs, 1 rushing TD)

    Dud: Brett Favre (188 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs)

    Dishonorable Mention: Vince Young (120 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT)

    Running backs

    Stud: LaDainian Tomlinson (198 rushing yards, 4 TDs)

    Honorable mention: Adrian Peterson (224 rushing yards, 3 TDs)

    Dud: Shaun Alexander (35 rushing yards)

    Dishonorable mention: Brian Leonard (41 total yards)

    Wide receivers

    Stud: T.J. Houshmandzadeh (8 catches, 145 yards, 2 TDs)

    Honorable mention: Wes Welker (11 catches, 124 yards, 2 TDs)

    Dud: Santana Moss (0 catches, 1 lost fumble)

    Dishonorable mention: Laveranues Coles (1 catch, 27 yards)

    Tight ends

    Stud: Tony Gonzalez (9 catches, 102 yards, 2 TDs)

    Dud: Ben Watson (1 catch, 28 yards)

    Kickers

    Stud: Matt Stover (5 FGs, 1 PAT)

    Dud: Nate Kaeding (4 PATs, 1 missed field goal)

    Team Defenses/Special Teams

    Stud: Baltimore Ravens (5 INTs, 4 sacks, 3 points allowed)

    Dud: Chicago Bears (0 takeaways, 1 sack, 34 points allowed)

    Training Room

    Quick thoughts on injuries not covered elsewhere. For detailed injury analysis, check out Stephania Bell's injury blog.

    Rudi Johnson "returned" from his hamstring injury but carried only four times for eight yards while Kenny Watson carried the load. "I didn't feel like myself, so we did the smart thing (sticking with Watson)," Johnson told the Bengals' Web site. The good news is that Johnson should be full strength for a juicy matchup against the Jets next Sunday.

    Vince Young strained a quadriceps. Actual conversation between myself and Stephania Bell Monday morning:

    Nate: "Hey Stephania. Is Vince Young's injury serious enough to be a headline? Or should I just mention it in the section where I pimp your blog?

    Stephania (whose business sense is underrated): "Just put it in the blog-pimp section."

    Sammy Morris left with what was called a chest injury, although with the Patriots, you never can tell. Kevin Faulk and Heath Evans would probably split carries next week if Morris and Laurence Maroney were both unavailable.

    Quick observations

    I may have written off Donte' Stallworth a tad too quickly, but I'll stick by my prediction that Welker finishes the year with better fantasy numbers.

    By the way, Welker's two touchdowns on Sunday matched his career total coming into the game.

    Even before his monster game on Sunday, Tony Gonzalez was on his way to a big season. He's now on pace for 101 catches and 1,173 yards. Some have been willing to drop him out of the top five among tight ends in favor of guys like Chris Cooley, Dallas Clark and Benjamin Watson. Two words: No thanks.

    After posting eight catches, 145 yards and two touchdowns on the Chiefs, T.J. Houshmandzadeh is now on pace for 150 catches, 1,616 yards and 22 touchdowns. I can't believe some idiot had him as the No. 1 receiver in the Week 6 Rankings.

    David Garrard has posted a quarterback rating better than 100 in four consecutive starts, and his season figure stands at 104.7.

    Byron Leftwich is struggling to even get on the practice field for the Falcons.

    Remember when keeping Garrard over Leftwich was a controversial decision?

    Negative Nate

    Sorry, but I'm not that excited about Thomas Jones' 24-carry, 130-yard performance. Not when he's gone six games this year and eight dating back to last year without a touchdown.

    Few teammate trios killed fantasy teams more than Brett Favre, Greg Jennings and James Jones on Sunday. Favre and Jones had a touchdown called back by a penalty. Nice job, guys.

    Five early trends for Week 7

    1. Reggie Bush averaged only 58.5 total yards per game in two matchups against the Falcons last season.

    2. Ronnie Brown has never rushed for more than 64 yards in three career meetings with the Patriots.

    3. Larry Johnson had 289 rushing yards and three touchdowns in two games against the Raiders in 2006.

    4. Ronald Curry caught 16 passes for 191 yards in two games against the Chiefs in 2006.

    5. Maurice Jones-Drew had 316 total yards and three touchdowns against the Colts in two games in 2006.

    Nate Ravitz is an editor and analyst for ESPN.com Fantasy

    Nate Ravitz is the deputy editor for ESPN.com Fantasy and co-hosts -- along with Matthew Berry -- the Fantasy Focus baseball and football podcasts.