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Tunnel Vision - Final
David Dorey
January 4, 2010
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Brett Favre 316 4
Jay Cutler 276 4
Ben Roethlisberger 237 3
Kyle Orton 431 1
Jason Campbell 281 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Jamaal Charles 262 2
Willis McGahee 167 3
Fred Jackson 237 1
Chris Johnson 154 2
Arian Foster 145 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Jabar Gaffney 213 0
Sidney Rice 112 2
Devon Aromashodu 46 2
Patrick Crayton 99 1
Calvin Johnson 86 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Zach Miller 69 2
Vishante Shiancoe 94 1
Vernon Davis 89 1
Greg Olsen 94 1
Joel Dressen 81 1
Placekickers XP FG
Ryan Longwell 5 3
Ryan Succop 5 3
Robbie Gould 4 3
Jeff Reed 3 3
Rian Lindell 3 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Chiefs 2 2 3
49ers 0 8 0
Texans 1 2 2
Packers 1 0 3
Steelers 0 3 3

The huddle awards 2009


Most Valuable - Aaron Rodgers (GB) - He came cheaply all things considered and almost never had a bad game. Even Drew Brees could not say that much.

Most Surprising - Brett Favre (MIN) - The old man hung around for 33 touchdowns and threw only seven interceptions.

Biggest Bust - Carson Palmer (CIN) - There really were no QB busts this year. The top ten or so all delivered more or less near where they were drafted.

Running Backs

Most Valuable - Chris Johnson (TEN) - Usually drafted mid-first round, the newest 2000 yard rusher is still on an 11 game 100+ yard streak.

Most Surprising - Ray Rice (BAL) - Catching 78 passes helped and WIllis McGahee is a worry but Rice became a stud this year.
Honorable Mention: Jamal Charles (KC)

Biggest Bust - Michael Turner (ATL) - He was mediocre then was good and then has been worthless or absent since week ten.
Honorable Mention: LaDainian Tomlinson (SD)

Wide Receivers

Most Valuable - Andre Johnson (HOU) - Razor thin margin here but gaining over 1500 yards again trumps the rest.
Honorable Mention: Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall, Miles Austin - yes - all six.

Most Surprising - Miles Austin (DAL) - This one was easy. He did almost nothing in the first four games and then has been as good as any.
Honorable Mention: DeSean Jackson, Steve Smith (NYG), Robert Meachem (NO)

Biggest Bust - Calvin Johnson (DET) - Megatron suffered when the Lions eroded around him and he ended up as the only weapon defenses cared about stopping.
Honorable Mention: Greg Jennings

Tight Ends

Most Valuable - Dallas Clark (IND) - Peyton's BFF just got 100 catches and 10 touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: Antonio Gates (SD)

Most Surprising - Vernon Davis (SF) - He may end up as the #1 next season after he shed three years of wearing the Bust tag.
Honorable Mention: Brent Celek PHI), Jermichael Finley (GB)

Biggest Bust - Jason Witten (DAL) - This is a little unfair since he has come on well late season but was a dud for most weeks.
Honorable Mention: Jeremy Shockey (NO)

BEST VALUE DRAFT PICKS (assuming average 12 team league)

Quarterback - Matt Schaub (HOU)
Running Back - Ray Rice (BAL) and RIcky Williams (MIA)
Wide Receiver - Miles Austin (DAL) and Sidney Rice (MIN)
Tight Ends - Vernon Davis (SF) and Brent Celek (PHI)

BEST FREE AGENT VALUES (assuming average 12 team league)

Quarterback - Matt Sanchez (NYJ) and Alex Smith (SF)
Running Back - Jason Snelling (ATL) and Leonard Weaver (PHI)
Wide Receiver - Pierre Garcon (IND) and Mike Wallace (PIT)
Tight Ends - Fred Davis (WAS)

IT's deja-vu all over again.

In what has to be a historic situation, three of the games in the first round of the playoffs are just repeats from week 17.

Saturday - 4:30 PM NY Jets at Cincinnati; 8 PM Philadelphia at Dallas

Sunday - 1 PM Baltimore at New England; 4:40 PM Green Bay at Arizona

On bye: New Orleans, Minnesota, Indianapolis and San Diego

Only the Ravens and Patriots are not just a repeat of a week 17 game.

10 Random Thoughts

1. I detest the Wildcat formation. There - I said it. As far as I am concerned is that it only serves to make player projections all the more difficult. What to do with Brad Smith or Josh Cribbs or Tashard Choice? They rarely have appreciable stats in their position but drain away a little from the other starters and on occasion have a long run or a touchdown which skews the old "who did what". I hope they forget about it in 2010. Look at the stats that Michael Vick generated with it - almost nothing and he should have been the consummate wildcat guy. Every time I see it, I always think "here goes something you really cannot predict".

2. How badly does it hurt to own Ray Rice who has been golden this year and then watch Willis McGahee score three times and gain 167 yards on 16 carries while Rice only had 70 yards on 14 carries? The committee approach really sucks the fun out of owning running backs this year and even top runners like Rice are not above getting hawked out of a big game. I'll be doing my big annual review on committee backfields and I am scared what the results are going to be from this year.

3. Arian Foster again had a big showing with 119 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns against the Patriots and he added three receptions for 26 yards as well. He had 97 yards and a score in Miami last week. It just serves to make week 15 against the Rams a bit more painful to reminisce since he was benched for the game when he lost a fumble. Now what will the Texans do with him when Steve Slaton returns in 2010? I smell yet another committee. Sigh...

4. Jerome Harrison rushed fro 127 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries against the Jaguars today and that makes three straight games of being one of the top scoring fantasy backs in the league. Hard to buy into him being a top back after four years of mediocre play. Even harder to imagine him being in anything but some frustrating committee in Cleveland next season.

5. Was the Colts-Bills game a thing of beauty? Driving snow with a field that was almost entirely obscured by white other than the groomed sideline and goal line markings. It's something primal about playing football in the elements. No other team sport holds games in those conditions and few even play outside other than baseball. And they cannot even play in the rain.

6.This had to be the worst week 17 that I can ever remember. Leagues that still were playing had to be bitch-slapped by so many teams resting players and/or giving a flat effort. I realize it does put in an element of strategic planning but in the end, it serves to make the championship less about intelligent team management and more about getting lucky in week 17 when you face a team that is stripped of the players that got him that far. To each their own I guess but in my 20 years in the hobby, I have never played in a week 17 championship league. Never would.

7. Final reason why to draft wideouts next August - the top ten drafted wideouts last summer in average draft order were Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Greg Jennings, Roddy White, Anquan Boldin, Marques Colston and Wes Welker. Of that group, Jennings was a big disappointment and Calvin Johnson could have done a bit more but overall, they pretty much delivered for where they were drafted. Arguably 80% of them anyway. But for the running backs, the average draft saw Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Forte, Michael Turner, LaDainian Tomlinson, DeAngelo Williams, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson, Frank Gore and Brian Westbrook taken. Of that group there were four that delivered? Considering too that most all of these came before most all of the wide outs in many leagues, the writing is on the wall. But can we resist the patterns of RB-RB with the first two picks? I know I will. I hope no one else does.

8. It is bad enough that we have two different Steve Smiths but this week the rookie Zach Miller of the Jaguars had an NFL best for tight ends this week when he caught eight passes for 69 yards and scored twice. The other Zach Miller in Oakland only had seven catches for 38 yards and one touchdown against the Ravens. At least Alex Smith the tight end has disappeared so he doesn't get mixed up with Alex Smith the quarterback who is back.

9. When the NFL combine and later NFL draft roll around, make sure you drop by since we are increasing our coverage and content for both events in our never ending quest to stay busy every day of the year. We had some great material last year and are looking to reach for the next level for 2010. If nothing else, drop by in April and take a look.

10. We will be having our Smackbowl XIII contest again this year where you can build a team and compete against everyone else on the message board. It's free of charge and there are prizes like an authentic NFL helmet, free memberships and even the highly coveted tube socks for third place. Check out the message board for more information on how to get a team. It is open to all Huddle members.

Huddle Player of the Week

Jamaal Charles (KC) - What would have happened if the Chiefs started the year with Charles as the primary back? Charles rushed 25 times for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the upset win in Denver. Charles has topped 100 rushing yards i each of the last four games and scored in seven of the last eight games. He's carried several teams to their league championships as a waiver wire player in some leagues. Squint your eyes and it's like Priest Holmes or Larry Johnson (the good one) all over again.


Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry (considering top draft picks only)

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Daunte Culpepper 262 2 QB Drew Brees 0 0
RB Arian Foster 145 2 RB De Angelo Williams 0 0
RB Lynelle Hamilton 86 1 RB Michael Turner 0 0
WR Malcolm Floyd 140 0 WR Reggie Wayne 21 0
WR Devin Aromashodu 46 2 WR Marques Colston 3 0
WR Dwayne Jarrett 68 1 WR Wes Welker 12  
PK Ryan Succop 5 XP 3 FG PK David Akers nope

Huddle Fantasy Points = 113

Huddle Fantasy Points = 3

Sunday's Couch Commentary

ATL 20, TB 10 Matt Ryan and Jason Snelling were too much for the Bucs to handle. Falcons end with a winning record while Buccaneers still have no idea what to do at RB next year,
SF 28, STL 6 The amazing thing is that this was 3-0 in favor of STL until the third quarter. Gore, Davis and Crabtree all end on a high note while Rams fans are still thumbing through the game program to figure out who their players were this week. Rams have over three months to decide what to do with that #1 draft pick.
NYG 7, MIN 44 The Giants once again had their standard great early season and then horrible slide. The Vikings looked great at home. They always do. It's all about when they leave that the problems start. The important thing is that Favre could keep throwing touchdowns even when they led 34-0.
PIT 30, MIA 24 Steelers fight for the win and become yet another Super Bowl winner that failed to reach the playoffs after winning the championship. Last time that happened was just 2006 when... oh... the Steelers did it that time too.
NE 27, HOU 34 Losing the game was no big deal but losing Wes Welker could be catastrophic, along with the disclosure that Brady has a cracked rib and broken finger mean next week could be really interesting.
CHI 37, DET 23 Matt Forte had a 53 yard run which probably surprised himself as well but the Bears got to end their nightmare season on a high note with Cutler throwing four touchdowns. When the Bears-Lions game has one of the highest total scores in the league, you know week 17 is very different than the rest of the season.
JAC 17, CLE 23 Mojo only managed 82 yards on 16 carries. Chances he takes the full load next year instead of being in part of a refreshing committee? Probably zero. Jones-Drew started well but has really faded.
NO 10, CAR 23 Saints opted to end the year with three ugly losses while Panthers happily took the easy win even without Williams or Smith in the game. Bad week to want to use your Saints.
IND 7, BUF 30 Colts tanked last week so they tanked this week. Great snow game though and Manning only played long enough to get both Clark and Wayne to 100 receptions for the season. In a sign of the change, Fred Jackson rushed 33 times for 212 yards while Marshawn Lynch had one carry for no gain.
TEN 17, SEA 13 Johnson gained the 2000 yard mark but it took 36 carries for 134 yards. He needed almost another 100 to get the all-time record from Eric Dickerson. Jones and Forsett still just split carries down the middle.
WAS 20, SD 23 Chargers are so hot right now that they won using Billy Volek, Michael Bennett and Malcolm Floyd. Thanks for the memories, Zorn.
BAL 21, OAK 13 Ravens clinch their date with the injury-ravaged Pats by letting Willis McGahee run wild. Raiders end their season no better than when they started.
KC 44, DEN 24 Yeah, I know. Wow. Kind of makes you want to go read the Denver Post to see how you can spin this one. Apparently without Brandon Marshall, Orton still throws for lots of yardage but the TDs are turned into interceptions instead. This just in, Jamaal Charles was worth waiting for.
GB 33, ARI 7 Yeah, Cards didn't care and Packers want to make it look good. The replay this Sunday probably not so one-sided. At least not on that side anyway.
PHI 0, DAL 24 Cowboys swept the Eagles but the hat trick is always much harder. Gotta admit, Eagles had no reason to tank but it still looked like they did. Jerry's head nearly exploded he was so happy. Replay on Saturday.
CIN 0, NYJ 37 Third one in a row. Replay comes this weekend when Jets visit Cincy who was resting a few players. But the Jets really looked like they had their number.


Here we are at the end of the 2009 NFL regular season. Sorry but there was no really great game this weekend since most were lopsided affairs between teams with wildly differing agendas. But I thought it would be appropriate for me to cull back through the 256 games this season and see what the top five games were. This is wildly subjective of course.

#5 Saints 46, Dolphins 34 (week 7)

The Dolphins pulled ahead 24-3 in the second quarter and we figured this game was all over and the Saints unbeaten streak was dead. But Drew Brees and company got into gear and outscored the Dolphins 36 to 10 in the second half and that included a last minute return of an interception for a touchdown to make the score look like the Saints had an easy time. Brees threw for only one touchdown and had three interceptions but rushed in two scores. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown combined for 128 yards and four touchdowns in this game.

#4 Cowboys 24, Saints 17 (week 15)

This was a huge surprise since the Cowboys were in the middle of their annual December collapse and the Saints were thought to be above the reach of any mortal (or at least any NFC team). This sent the Saints on their three game losing streak and the Cowboys are suddenly hosting a round one game. This game was notable since the only Saints to score were Mike Bell and Lance Moore. In week 15 when we all needed our Saints to explode during fantasy playoffs, they all turned into flops and killed many fantasy teams. I know this really, really intimately.

#3 Vikings 30, Bears 36 (week 16)

Vikings had already lost in Carolina so losing to the Bears was unthinkable. But it was not undoable. The Bears had played a heroic game that saw Brett Favre tie the game 30-30 with a touchdown to Sidney Rice with 22 seconds left to play. In overtime, the Bears missed a 45-yard field goal so it looked like a standard loss for the Bears but Adrian Peterson fumbled and the Bears recovered on the MIN 39-yard line. On the first play, Jay Cutler threw his fourth touchdown in the game when he hit Devin Aromashodu for the game winner.

#2 Patriots 34, Colts 35 (week 10)

I suppose most would consider this to be the Game of the Year - as much was said when it happened. And it was an incredible game since most people living outside the Greater Boston area like to see the Patriots lose. The Pats led 24-14 into the fourth quarter with Tom Terrific connecting with Randy Moss and Wes Welker with ease. At the start of the fourth quarter, Brady found Moss for his second touchdown and a 31-14 lead with 14 minutes left to play. But then Manning to Garcon for 29-yards and 31-21. Pats kicked a field goal to lead 34-21 with 4:17 left to play. Manning leads a drive and Joseph Addai scores with 2:27 left to make it 28-34. Pats then get ball and go for it on their own 28-yard line on fourth-and-two when Kevin Faulk bobbles the ball and gains only one yard when he actually controls it. Four plays later, Manning hits Wayne for a 1-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left to play. Outstanding game in every sense. Makes me want to see it again.

#1 Browns 36, Lions 37 (week 11)

Come on - how can anyone not love this game? Seriously. I know most would pick the Pats-Colts tilt as the #1 and it absolutely was a candidate and a suitable #1. But The Browns and Lions exist solely for rounding out the NFL schedule and making fantasy football so much fun. When teams like this meet it often ends up 10-7. But not this time. The score at halftime was 27-24 in favor of the Browns who led 24-3 in the first quarter. The Lions led 31-27 in the third quarter but then gave up a safety. The Browns scored a touchdown with a two point conversion with 5:51 left to play to take the lead 37-31. Stafford drove to the CLE 44-yard line but threw an interception with 3:49 left to play. The Browns had to punt with 1:46 left to play and the Lions took over on their own 12-yard line. The rookie Matt Stafford led the team down the field. Stafford had eight seconds left and was on the CLE 32-yard line when he threw for Calvin Johnson in the endzone. But it was intercepted and Stafford was crushed when he threw the ball and suffered a separated shoulder. But Hank Poteat had pushed Johnson and was called for pass interference giving the Lions the ball on the one-yard line for one untimed play. Daunte Culpepper went in while they drug Stafford's crumpled carcass from the field. But the Browns called a time out. Stafford went running back in thanks to that time out and sent Culpepper back to the sidelines. On one play that may define his career, Stafford hit Brandon Pettigrew for the game winning touchdown before again wincing in pain so bad he could barely walk. A great moment for the rookie, a great game to watch and the way we wished the world could always be.

The 2009 season is over and it was a wild and wonderful year. We saw records set, veterans fail and youngsters step up to claim their own spot among the stars. Chris Johnson topped 2000 rushing yards and set the all-time record for combined yardage. We enter the playoff season now and suddenly the Colts, Vikings and Saints do not look like the powerhouses they once did.

Hope you enjoyed the Tunnel Vision during it's 13th season and hope 2010 finds you and yours happier and more prosperous than ever before. If times are still tough - hang in there. If you've weathered the storm well - help a brother out. More than anything, go spend some time with that family before it is too late. Hopefully we'll see you around for the NFL draft if not at least for the preseason.

Happy New Year!

Now get back to work...

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