And then on Sunday, the Tennessee Titans set a franchise record by rushing for 332 yards in a 34-10 win over the Chiefs. LenDale White and Chris Johnson did most of the damage, combining for 317 of those yards -- 149 for White, 168 for Johnson. For fantasy purposes, they combined for 54 points, as each registered his best day of the season. White scored on a pair of short runs by halftime, then buoyed his total with an 80-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter. The rookie Johnson broke a 66-yarder for a score in the fourth quarter to solidify his day. Overall, they ended up two of the top six running backs on a Sunday in which that position dominated the high scorers. You won't find a quarterback on the leaderboard until No. 15 overall, and it's Kyle Orton and Dan Orlovsky! A big day for running backs, indeed!
Fantasy owners were high on Johnson for this week, as he did well in our ESPN projections, placing third at running back with 18 points, and he was active in more than 81 percent of leagues. Johnson topped that projection by four. While this is a time-share or platoon, whatever you call it, this was one matchup where both running backs looked good. For White to do what he did is more of a surprise, since he had rushed for 165 yards all season. He was active in only 50.6 percent of ESPN leagues. His top fantasy day of the season had netted him 16 fantasy points before he doubled it against the Chiefs. A shoulder injury had limited him in Week 5, and despite scoring five touchdowns the first four games, there was a feeling in Tennessee that Johnson was getting closer to stealing the job. Forget it. Like the 2007 Jaguars, this is one of those running back time-shares that really seems to work.
And next up for the Titans are the Indianapolis Colts, who allowed Jacksonville to produce a pair of 100-yard rushers in Week 3. Don't bet against the Titans pulling off the twin 100-yard rushers in consecutive weeks, even though the Tennessee franchise hadn't done this since 1977 (Rob Carpenter, Ronnie Coleman). Not all time-shares in fantasy are bad news.
Back to the Chiefs: Did we mention they're bad? The offense is its own problem, as not one, not two but three quarterbacks struggled, the third-string quarterback led the team in rushing and now the team's best fantasy option, Larry Johnson, could be facing a league suspension. Defensively, fantasy owners have to look ahead to when their running backs -- or players they can acquire -- are lined up to face Herm Edwards' awful unit. For the record, the runners licking their chops over the next few weeks are the Jets' Thomas Jones, the Tampa Bay duo of Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn, and the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson. In December, the Broncos, Chargers, Dolphins and Bengals should run for hearty totals. The Chiefs might be a joke, but this angle isn't. Take advantage of this in fantasy.
While the Cowboys stunk, credit the Rams for beating another one of those so-called vaunted NFC East teams, as new coach Jim Haslett is 2-0. Steven Jackson had the best fantasy day of anyone Sunday, pilfering the Dallas defense for 160 rushing yards and three scores. No other Rams had great days, however, so be careful about jumping on board; quarterback Marc Bulger totaled 10 points and Torry Holt half that, but let this be more proof Jackson is looking like the force he was in 2006.
So much for defense in the Bears-Vikings clash, as 89 points were scored and 10 different players scored touchdowns. Kyle Orton was impressive again, throwing for 283 yards and two touchdowns -- a third touchdown pass was fumbled at the goal line -- and Adrian Peterson rambled for 121 yards and two scores. While it was no secret coming in that Orton would be able to throw against the Vikings, many fantasy owners in the Sunday morning chat wanted to know if Peterson was a play against the tough Bears. People, Peterson and Steven Jackson and Marion Barber, these top running backs should never sit. Sure, once in a while you'll get a Frank Gore dud, with 11 rushes for 11 yards, but those are rare. Fantasy owners shouldn't be scared to use players against the Bears or Vikings, or any defense really.
|This Week In Fantasy Football History|
By Neil Tardy
1995: Distance-scoring leagues haven't been the same since the brief prime of Jeff Blake. The Cincinnati signal-caller aired it out as usual this week, throwing TD passes of 47, 41 and 12 yards in an 18-of-22 performance. For the season, Blake amassed 3,822 yards and 28 scores while being as consistent as he was prolific. He had nine multi-TD games, and at least one scoring pass in 15 of 16 starts. That steady production made Blake's No. 1 target, Carl Pickens, practically a sure thing in fantasy. En route to a league-leading 17 receiving scores, Pickens found the end zone in 13 games and topped 75 receiving yards 11 times. Only once did he fail to do either.
Dan Orlovsky, QB, Lions
Despite the type of matchup most quarterbacks would exploit in Houston, fantasy owners were cool on using Orlovsky this week. The Texans built a 21-0 lead, then Orlovsky made the final score interesting. Calling Orlovsky a must-add is premature, but we do feel compelled to report that no quarterback had more fantasy points Sunday. Sometimes the unknown option isn't a poor one.
Brett Favre, Jets
Meanwhile, Favre had what appeared a positive matchup in Oakland, and finished with the worst day of any starting quarterback not named Brodie or Seneca. Favre threw two interceptions for the third time in four games. In the past two weeks against the Bengals and Raiders he has eight fantasy points total. He was active in 81.8 percent of leagues this week.
Mewelde Moore, RB, Steelers: He torched the Bengals for 134 total yards and three scores, and even when Fast Willie Parker comes back, expect Moore to remain interesting. Plus, why do we assume Parker is back for Week 8?
Ryan Grant, RB, Packers: One can view his 105 yards rushing and 17 fantasy points as a positive step and harbinger of what's to come, or remain skeptical since he averaged 3.3 yards per carry. The fact he can handle 64 rushes in two weeks is good, though.
Josh Morgan, WR, 49ers: With six catches the first six weeks, it's about time Morgan showed something, which he did with his 86 yards and a touchdown against the Giants. Isaac Bruce isn't young, Bryant Johnson isn't healthy, so there is opportunity.
Javon Walker, WR, Raiders: He entered Sunday with four fantasy points all season, so it was nice to see him productive. Don't expect a Pro Bowl campaign, but he should be the top receiver for JaMarcus Russell, and likely will be a popular add this week.
Mike Furrey, WR, Lions: It was he, and not Shaun McDonald, who replaced Roy E. Williams as the possession receiver, which isn't surprising since Furrey does have a 98-reception season in 2006 on his résumé. In point-per-reception formats, Furrey just became interesting.
Derek Anderson, QB, Browns: It's unexplainable how well he played against the Giants on Monday night. The Redskins shut him down; at one point he was 5-for-20 passing. The schedule remains tough, and Week 6 appears the outlier. You shouldn't have bought low.
Peyton Manning, QB, Colts: Hey, his Week 6 against Baltimore appears his outlier as well. With his knee supposedly healthy, Manning had his worst game of the season with five points. Maybe he wasn't such a great buy-low in the first place. Ditto for his ol' pal Marvin Harrison.
Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders: He was the workhorse against the Jets with 28 carries, but 2.6 yards per carry later, one has to wonder how long it will be before rookie Darren McFadden usurps his starting role. McFadden had 89 total yards on 11 touches.
Chris Perry, RB, Bengals: Things weren't looking good for him to start with since Cedric Benson was getting the start, but Perry didn't even touch the ball. That's an even worse sign, since he's owned in 59 percent of leagues. That's probably not necessary.
Roy E. Williams, WR, Cowboys: Even going to a better offense than Detroit, I figured his value would go down with all the Dallas weapons. Still, to catch zero passes is a bit surprising. Don't expect many big games, even when Tony Romo returns to the lineup. And in IDP leagues, you can cut the unrelated Cowboys defensive back with the same name. His broken arm ends his season.
The big running back injury was Reggie Bush tearing the meniscus in his left knee. He's scheduled for arthroscopic surgery and should miss at least two weeks. The Saints, including Drew Brees, played poorly against the Panthers. Marques Colston did not catch a pass, and Jeremy Shockey says he might not make the trip to London for Week 8. The Bush injury might hurt the team the most. Deuce McAllister stands to gain carries, and due to his durability, Pierre Thomas is worth owning again.
Devin Hester left the scoring bonanza in Chicago early with a pulled quad muscle. No word on the severity of the injury. Orton is so good now, he'll find someone to throw to. Joey Galloway and Deion Branch were both inactive for the Sunday night tilt, and remain week to week.
The Chargers and Saints have some traveling to do, as they will meet Sunday in London. I wouldn't automatically downgrade players due to the long flight, but don't expect each team to score 30 points, either. Watch for injured folks who potentially don't make the trip, like Jeremy Shockey.
First-place Buffalo heads to Miami, site of last season's 13-10 snorefest in Week 10. However, Marshawn Lynch did rush for 61 yards and a score in that game, and the Dolphins' Jesse Chatman totaled 149 yards. Chatman is gone, but Ronnie Brown has faced the Bills three times, and averaged 63 yards per contest.
Frank Gore faces a familiar foe in the Seahawks, a team he totaled 99 yards and a touchdown against in Week 2. Gore has enjoyed a few of his meetings with Seattle, namely the 2006 games when he ran for 212 yards in Week 11, and 144 in Week 15. Incidentally, the Seahawks' Julius Jones ran for 127 yards and a score on San Francisco in Week 2.
Peyton Manning has had success against the Titans, but this is not the same Manning as normal, nor has the Titans' defense been this good in a while. Manning does have 18 touchdown passes in his past seven Monday night games. Be cautious with Joseph Addai if he plays; in four games against the Titans, his high game is 81 yards, and he has one touchdown.