September 13, 2009
For a normal human, if a day includes profuse bleeding and intravenous fluids, then it's not a good day. But Adrian Peterson isn't like the rest of us.
In Minnesota's 34-20 victory over Cleveland on Sunday, Peterson rushed for 180 yards (for the fourth time in his career) and three touchdowns (third time) despite encountering a few obstacles:
Peterson was held to just 25 yards in the first half, when he needed treatment for a badly cut left arm. He felt light headed and received intravenous fluids at halftime.
"I gagged myself a couple times trying to get everything in my stomach out," he said. "Normally it makes me feel better and it did. I came in and got an IV and felt recharged and rejuvenated and was ready to go to work."
His 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter emptied a few stomachs in Cleveland. Peterson burst through a massive hole on the left side, juked Brodney Pool(notes) to the ground, stepped away from a diving Brandon McDonald(notes), threw Eric Wright(notes) to the sideline, then stiff-armed the stubborn McDonald and outraced Abram Elam(notes) and Kamerion Wimbley(notes) to the end zone. Video here.
It's tempting to call that one of the all-time TD runs, but Peterson will do something equally ridiculous soon enough -- probably in Week 2 at Detroit.
His schedule through Week 5 looks incredibly user-friendly (CLE, DET, SF, GB, STL), so don't be surprised if you're reading 2,105-yard speculation in October.
• Seattle tight end John Carlson(notes) had a huge day in that 28-0 mauling of the Rams, catching two touchdown passes and finishing with 95 receiving yards. His 22 fantasy points led all TEs in Week 1 public league fantasy scoring, yet he's still available in a handful of leagues (15 percent). Julius Jones(notes) had the big day that many expected (117 yards, TD), which means it's time to shop him. Laurent Robinson(notes) delivered the closest thing to a useful fantasy line that was offered by any of the Rams skill position players (5 REC, 87 yards). Rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis(notes) had 14 tackles and a fumble recovery in his debut.
• Tim Hightower(notes) continued the Centers impression (see below) in the second half against San Francisco, ultimately finishing with 12 catches for 121 yards. Beanie Wells(notes) finally made an appearance in a supporting role (he was even given a red zone carry), delivering 29 yards on seven carries. Hightower did nothin' on the ground (8 for 15).
• Carolina coach John Fox is reportedly sticking with Jake Delhomme as his quarterback, despite a five-turnover opener against Philadelphia. And despite the six-turnover playoff disaster. Three more INTs and the Testaverde hotline has to look tempting.
• Hakeem Nicks(notes) suffered an ugly left foot/ankle injury while being tackled by London Fletcher(notes) in the Giants' 23-17 win. (Everyone was tackled by Fletcher on Sunday: 11 solo, 7 assists). Nicks went for X-rays and reappeared in a boot. That didn't seem like a short-term issue.
• Greg Camarillo(notes) caught a pass with his legs against Atlanta, which earns degree-of-difficulty points. But Davone Bess(notes) had the biggest day in the Miami receiving corps, finishing with seven receptions for 57 yards.
• Shaun Hill(notes) and Isaac Bruce(notes) rekindled the old Martz-ish magic, connecting four times for 74 yards. Hill threw for 209 yards in San Francisco's 20-16 win over the defending NFC champs, and he led the Niners on a seven-minute, go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Hill and Bruce get the Seahawks next week. Seattle allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last year, and the most points to receivers.
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We don't have specifics yet on Anthony Gonzalez's(notes) right knee injury, but NFL Network has called it a ligament strain. No one's saying which ligament. Their report says that Gonzalez is expected to miss two to six weeks, which is obviously a huge range. But again, the Colts aren't trying to help you, fantasy owner.
Austin Collie(notes) and Pierre Garcon(notes) should be in line for more targets while Gonzalez is out, but they're still fighting for whatever scraps Reggie Wayne(notes) and Dallas Clark(notes) leave behind. Collie and Garcon combined for five catches and 39 yards in Week 1 against Jacksonville.
Asked if it was safe to say that McNabb was out for next week, Reid said, "No, that's not safe to say."
• Washington punter Hunter Smith(notes) ran for an 8-yard score on a perfectly executed fake field goal late in the second quarter against the Giants. Eli Manning(notes) connected with Mario Manningham(notes) for a 30-yard score on a play where the receiver handled most of the heavy lifting. Troy Aikman immediately declared that Manningham is New York's No. 1 receiver, clearly. No question. Manningham finished the half with three catches for 58 yards. Steve Smith has four for 44 and his usual zero touchdowns.
• Tim Hightower is having a Larry Centers sort of day, with seven receptions for 67 yards at half in Arizona. Hightower has rushed six times for just 17 yards, yet Beanie Wells is barely a rumor (one carry, no yards).
• Kurt Warner(notes) ended the first half with either pain or numbness in his throwing hand. He shook the hand, squeezed it, stared at it, but couldn't make it better. Trainers examined Warner on the sideline; let's hope he's OK for the third quarter. He threw one pass (incomplete to Larry Fitzgerald(notes)) after getting dinged.
• Can't stress this enough: The Jets defense was awfully impressive in Week 1. New York faced an exceptional Texans offense on the road, and they completely shut 'em down. Matt Schaub(notes) was limited to 166 passing yards, Steve Slaton(notes) ran for only 17, and Andre Johnson(notes) caught four passes for just 35 yards. New York's D gets better next week when Shaun Ellis(notes) returns, but they'll also get the Patriots. (Brutal early schedule for the Jets: Houston, New England, Tennessee, New Orleans, Miami).
• Nate Burleson(notes) is off to a fantastic start against St. Louis, with six catches for 68 yards and a TD in the first half. Funston begged you to add him, too. Matt Hasselbeck(notes) isn't quite putting on a clinic (two INTs), but seven different Seahawks have already caught passes.
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Things were going so well, McNabb owners.
Donovan threw a pair of first half touchdown passes, then he scrambled for a 3-yard score at the 6:59 mark in the third quarter, giving the Eagles a 38-10 lead.
And then he started grimacing.
And then there were trainers.
McNabb left for the locker room, leaving the garbage time to Kevin Kolb. He was able to depart the field under his own power. McNabb at first appeared to have a lower-back issue, but initial reports are calling it a rib injury. This is a strong candidate for fantasy storyline of the week. Stay tuned for additional details.
• Trailing by a single point inside the final minute in Cincinnati (in a mostly awful game), Kyle Orton(notes) found himself at his own 13-yard line. He fired a pass toward the sideline intended for Brandon Marshall(notes), but it was batted up into the air by Leon Hall(notes)...and, miraculously, Denver receiver Brandon Stokley(notes) caught the ball.
Stokley then outraced all Bengals to the end zone, though he didn't cross the plane immediately. The 33-year-old vet smartly ran along the goal line, allowing the clock to tick until a Cincinnati defender entered the frame. When Stokley finally stepped over the line, there were just 11 seconds remaining and the Bengals were toast. (My survivor pool, also toast). Cedric Benson(notes) scored Cincinnati's only touchdown. See below for instructions on handling him.
• Not that you ever expect anything less from Adrian Peterson, but he was sensational against Cleveland. If it weren't for the ridiculous Stokley play, then Peterson's brilliant 64-yard touchdown run would've been the highlight of the day. When you check the video, note the violent dismissal of Eric Wright. The consensus No. 1 fantasy pick carried 25 times for 180 yards and three TDs, and he added one reception for 18 yards.
• If you thought that Brodie Croyle(notes) and Joe Flacco(notes) would combine for five touchdown passes, then we salute you. Nice call. Hope you found a way to wager on that. Flacco was particularly effective (307 yards, 3 TDs). He's going to make his way onto a few more fantasy rosters before long. All three Ravens backs proved useful in Week 1, as Ray Rice(notes) ran for 108 yards, Willis McGahee(notes) found the end zone twice, and Le'Ron McClain(notes) took a 1-yard plunge. Rice missed a long touchdown by inches. Be careful not to oversimplify the red zone situation for Baltimore; Rice had a pair of carries inside the 10 yard line on the Ravens' second series, gaining six yards. McGahee then poached a short score on third down.
• Tony Romo(notes) had the excellent day that most anticipated (353 yards, 3 TDs), and you can't really be stunned by Roy Williams' 86-yard, one-score performance. The more actionable fantasy news is that Patrick Crayton(notes) (44 percent owned) had 135 yards on four receptions and an 80-yard score in the fourth quarter.
• Carnell Williams(notes) had a big day in defeat, at least by committee standards, and he looked lively (except at the end of his 35-yard run, when he looked near death). Cadillac finished with 13 carried for 97 yards and one TD. Derrick Ward(notes) nearly matched him with 12 carries for 62 and a score.
• Mike Bell(notes) dominated the backfield workload for the Saints (28 carries, 143 yards), though he didn't cross the goal line. Bell's third quarter fumble led directly to a TD for the Detroit defense, too. This was, of course, Drew Brees'(notes) day. The Saints' QB passed for 358 yards and SIX touchdowns. And it could have easily been 400 and seven.
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Drew Brees, to no one's surprise, has picked up right where he left off in 2008, when he was the top-scorer in nearly all fantasy formats. Also picking up right where it left off: Detroit's defense.
Brees' stat line after the Saints' first possession looked like this: 3-for-3, 49 yards, TD.
And here was his line after their second possession: 5-for-5, 95 yards, 2 TDs.
The first two touchdowns went to Marques Colston(notes) and Robert Meachem(notes), preseason legend. Brees added a pair of TD passes to Jeremy Shockey(notes) -- the second of which had a high degree of difficulty -- and finished the first half with an utterly ridiculous 210 passing yards and four TDs.
Reggie Bush(notes) whiffed on a punt with 0:39 remaining in the first half, and it should have set up a Lions score. Instead, it set up a Matthew Stafford(notes) pick and long return. The Saints lead 28-10.
• The season's first ruinous injury may belong to Indianapolis receiver Anthony Gonzalez. He went down without contact in the first quarter against the Jaguars -- just took a single step, then hit the turf. Gonzalez couldn't put any weight on his right leg. The Colts are calling him questionable to return; we're calling him wildly unlikely. That team doesn't reveal any more injury information than the league requires, so don't expect a detailed update here.
• You probably won't get to see the highlight because it didn't end in points, but Darius Reynaud(notes) had an outstanding 36-yard punt return to setup the Vikings' first touchdown. He's no easy tackle, and he threw in a stiff-arm at the conclusion.
• The highlight you will definitely see is DeSean Jackson's(notes) 85-yard punt return TD. That guy is crazy quick. It's possible that we underrated the Eagles in the Juggernaut Index. They lead the Panthers 31-10, and Carolina has been a failure in all phases. Jake Delhomme(notes) has three first half turnovers. Donovan McNabb has two easy touchdown passes and it's business as usual for Brian Westbrook(notes) (52 combined yards, TD).
• Browns defenders were looking to strip Adrian Peterson in the first half, following the nine-fumble campaign in '08. All Day held on tight, however, and he's having the big day we all expected.
• If you're wondering how the Kansas City offense looked in the first half against the Ravens, just check the top performer section in the Yahoo! box score (pictured).
• Credit Donald Strickland(notes) for putting his helmet directly on the football at the end of a 18-yard gain on a reception by Steve Slaton. The Jets' defense is pitching a shutout in Houston, getting it done without the suspended Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace(notes).
• Donald Brown's(notes) first regular season touch for the Colts resulted in a nifty first down. The rookie caught a short pass out of the backfield, then vaulted between two Jacksonville defenders, crossing the imaginary yellow line. Joseph Addai(notes) has a nearly 3-to-1 advantage in carries though, and No. 29 broke the plane late in the second quarter.
• Charles Robinson gave you Chansi Stuckey(notes) as a sneaky TD play, and sure enough the Jets wide receiver caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez(notes). Stuckey was curiously ignored by the Houston defense.
• If NFL RedZone doesn't win eight Emmys, it's a tragic injustice.
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The position ranks are up, a triple-serving of podcast is available for your listening pleasure, and Fantasy Football Live will kick off at noon ET. Funston, Evans and Liss provide the entertainment; Pianowski and Behrens provide the credibility.
Welcome to Week 1, gamers.
Sunday Scene will be updated throughout the day (unless something goes horribly wrong), so please check in periodically. Now go add Mike Bell (vs. DET, 36 percent owned), Shaun Hill (at ARI, 24 percent), Laurent Robinson (at SEA, 10 percent) or the Saints defense (vs. DET, 32 percent), depending on your needs.
And just for the record: If Cedric Benson (vs. DEN) and Julius Jones (vs. STL) are ever going to be productive, it's this week. Hope for nice lines, then update the trade block. Don't get too attached.
Photos via Getty Images (Colts fan), US Presswire (Brees) and AP Images (McNabb, Gonzalez, Peterson). McRib reference via Pianowski. Masterful.