As difficult as it can be to explain what happens in our own world, it can be even harder to explain the world of sports for that matter.
I know that I referenced the Pittsburgh’s Steelers last week (Ben Roethlisberger returning after a four-game, five-week layoff), but I feel this more than applies.
Luckily enough, former nine-time Pro-Bowler in Steelers’ linebacker Jack Lambert put this whole issue of the NFL involving themselves into the (un)necessary acts of hard-hitting a long, long time ago.
“I believe the game is designed to reward the ones who hit the hardest. If you can’t take it, you shouldn’t play.”
Now fast forward 35 years to Pittsburgh’s James Harrison — the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year and one of the more intimidating enforcers at the linebacker position. Harrison considered retiring yesterday at the drop of a hat due to the NFL cracking down on harder-than-expected hits — mainly helmet-to-helmet contact.
So should the NFL step in? Personalities on multiple sports’ networks have invariably argued this point for years now, but more in depth recently because of the onslaught of Week 6 hits.
My argument sides with the Lambert’s, the one that says “there’s a reason why players wear helmets.” Former 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback, Steve Young referred to football now as ‘rugby with helmets.’
I think Lambert would have to agree as well.
Without the bone-chilling hits and the continuous “Oh’s!” you hear at home from the crowd through your TV’s from replays, and football is about as much fun to watch as a root canal.
I still can’t get over the fact that players used to wear leather helmets. Leather! Without facemasks too! Could you even IMAGINE the life expectancy of current players if those regulations still stood?
I bet Lambert wouldn’t have cared.
Start’em in Week 7
Benjamin Watson (@ New Orleans)
Four straight games with 5+ catches, as well as leading the team in targets (44) and catches (29), Watson has become an early season surprise as a tight end. With the Saints as a 14-point favorite, the expected big win should have Cleveland passing early and often.
Larry Fitzgerald (@ Seattle)
These are the combined totals for Fitzgerald against the Seahawks (six games): 49 catches, 670 yards, 5 TD. Not bad; and even though he’s playing with a rookie quarterback who’s making just his second-ever career start, and Seattle being THE TOUGHEST PLACE TO PLAY FOR ROAD TEAMS, I expect the Seahawks to have a very substantial win – meaning the fastest way for the Cardinals to play catch-up would be to…pass.
Patrick Crayton (vs. New England)
After a six-catch, 117-yard performance with Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd going down early against St. Louis last week, Crayton is in line to be the team’s No. 1 WR – at least for this week. Quarterback Phillip Rivers headlines the most potent offense in the NFL and IF Gates and (a very-probable and expected) Floyd can’t go this week, Crayton will get plenty of targets and catches.
Matt Cassel (vs. Jacksonville)
Cassel has six touchdowns and one interception in the past three games and, being at home against the NFL’s 28th ranked pass defense makes for a solid day.
Jamaal Charles/Thomas Jones (vs. Jacksonville)
Jones has averaged over 70 rushing yards per game in the past three weeks and has two scores to go along with. Charles – the starter – has averaged over 90 yards per game in the past three weeks, and with the Jaguars struggling against the run, as well as the pass, (19th in the NFL), both are reliable starts for Sunday.
Danny Woodhead (@ San Diego)
Woodhead got the majority of the carries last week against Baltimore (11 carries, 60 yards; 5 catches, 52 yards) and has impressed the New England coaching staff in recent weeks. BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be the team’s starting RB, but Woodhead’s dual-threat game makes him a solid flex start this week despite the Chargers being No. 1 against the pass and No. 6 against the run. His numbers won’t be great, but I can foresee a cheap touchdown.
Deion Branch (@ San Diego)
I know I just said that the Chargers’ pass defense is tops in the NFL, but with Branch picking up right where he left off three years ago, if you had to pick a WR this week for a deeper league, why not pick the one that Tom Brady has the most chemistry with?
Peyton Hillis (@ New Orleans)
Surprising enough, the Saints have given up a combined 308 rushing yards in their past two games at home and with Hillis having an impressive year, accompanied with the fact that the Browns have no other means of offensive production, he is in line for a good day.
Sam Bradford (@ Tampa Bay)
The Rams are a throwing team again! Don’t believe me? Would if I told you that Bradford has more passing attempts than Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers and Tony Romo? He’s third in the NFL in pass attempts and in the top half of the league in yards. I like Sammy against the Bucs’ 16th ranked pass defense.
Knowshon Moreno (vs. Oakland)
Moreno had solid yards-per-rush numbers last week in his first return game in three weeks. He will no doubt get the opportunity to improve upon those 12 rushes for 43 yards against the Raiders’ 30th run defense who have given up an average of 113 yards to starting running backs in the past three weeks.
Willis McGahee (vs. Buffalo)
Look at what the Jets’ split backfield did to the Bills two weeks ago. Both LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene registered double-digit fantasy-point performances.
Kellen Winslow (vs. St. Louis)
Winslow’s last two weeks have produced the most catches of the early season (six and seven catches, respectively). He’s an integral part of Tampa Bay’s offense and is a great redzone target.
Seattle D/ST (vs. Arizona)
The Seahawks have played five games this year (two at home and three on the road). On the road, they have registered 16 fantasy points on defense/special teams. At home, in two games? 34. Now a struggling Arizona Cardinals’ offense and a rookie quarterback making his second career start.
Sit’em in Week 7
LeSean McCoy (@Tennessee)
McCoy can’t run between the tackles and the Titans’ rush defense is the strongest between them. Why else would they be 8th against the run?
Brent Celek (@ Tennessee)
When you look at starting a TE, the first thing to scout are the opponent’s second-line of defense; the linebackers. Tennessee’s no-name defense will have skeptics putting pens to paper after shutting down the Jaguars in every aspect of the game this past Monday night.
Brandon Lloyd (vs. Oakland)
Look back at what I said about team’s with shutdown corners. If possible, start your team’s second or sometimes even third WR. This is also the case when Lloyd looks across the line of scrimmage this week and sees Nnamdi Asomugha. Watch as Jabar Gaffney has more targets, catches, and yards than Lloyd.
C.J. Spiller (@ Baltimore)
I have three simple rules. 1) Always use your apostrophe’s right. 2) No swimming less than 30 minutes after eating and 3) never start a rookie running back on the road against the Ravens.
Joe Flacco (vs. Buffalo)
The Bills pass defense is better than most people think and with the Ravens being a run-first team, I’d stick to that strategy this week.
Anquan Boldin (vs. Buffalo)
See Flacco, Joe
Brandon Marshall (vs. Pittsburgh)
‘Forgetting Brandon Marshall.’ That’d be a good fantasy team name for this week. While I somewhat like Chad Henne this week against the 24th ranked Pittsburgh pass defense, what I do not like are No.1 receivers against the Steelers. I actually like Davone Bess more than I like Marshall. It’s the same concept with the Jets, Ravens and any other NFL team with a solid No. 1 CB. The No. 1 WR will get lost in the shuffle with double teams and outstanding downfield coverage, while the team’s No. 2 and 3 WR’s will get more looks.
Brandon Jackson (vs. Minnesota)
You don’t run the ball against the Vikings, especially this week where the Vikings’ season can take a tremendous turn. Whether it’s for the good or worse, we’ll have to see on Sunday night.
Beanie Wells (@ Seattle)
Did you see what the Seahawks did to the NFC North’s second-leading rusher in Matt Forte? That was rhetorical because I’m going to tell you anyway: 8 carries, 11 yards.
About the Author
Written by Al Buzzelli