While Tom Brady entered the Sunday night game with Buffalo as the undisputed king of the quarterbacks for the season, and left it the same way, his pal Moss got temporarily passed by Owens. Of course, this didn't last long, as Moss picked up four touchdowns in the first half of the Sunday night demolition to break the tie Owens created with his four-score game earlier in the day. The thing is, while these guys continue to put on a show for fantasy wide receiver supremacy, you've been talking about Moss all season, marveling at one of the finest comeback seasons in history. Have you noticed what Owens is up to?
Owens had a career game against the Redskins in what has been a fine career, hauling in four Tony Romo passes for touchdowns and adding 173 yards. OK, so maybe Owens isn't quite as dominant as Moss, but he's close, clearly next best, and it's taken people awhile to notice. Never before has Owens been at 17 yards per catch for a season, as he's at that mark now. He's caught 12 touchdowns before, but never topped 16. In a few days on Thanksgiving, he'll get closer to his career mark, if not set it. He's making it look easy, and has totally justified his second-round draft status. No, he hasn't had the same draft value as Moss, who went much later, nor does Owens have exactly the same stats, but man, in an ordinary season, what he's doing would be tremendous!
While Brady and Moss are making history, Romo and Owens are merely having one of the most overlooked duo campaigns ever, with each guy a safe No. 2 in fantasy at their position. Are they No. 1? No. Will they get there? Maybe not, especially when the Patriots continue to score at will, and will probably be doing so in Weeks 16 and 17 as well. In this case, however, being second-best is hardly a bad thing. The NFC is regarded as second-best,
even though it currently features the Nos. 2 and 3 teams in terms of record. The Patriots are that special. But the Cowboys are pretty good, too.
OK, let's break down a full Sunday in fantasy, with 10 early games, four in the late afternoon, and another blowout Pats win at night. Only one left is Monday, which I will cover the next day. Look for my normal Friday start/sit/flex on Wednesday this week.
Patriots 56, Bills 10
The winners: Normally the Sunday night game appears in my Tuesday blog, but it's a short week, lots to preview for Week 12, and really, what else can we say about New England? Brady and Moss are unreal. Let's focus on the one guy who hadn't scored this season, Laurence Maroney. Early on he did score, but by the time the game was out of hand, which was early, Maroney was done, with 19 rushing yards. How much could Maroney have done this season if his team's games were close and competitive? We'll never know, but fantasy owners aren't exactly welcoming Maroney back with open arms.
The losers: Look, the Bills had no chance. They couldn't stop Brady/Moss. They weren't going to run the ball without Marshawn Lynch. J.P. Losman was under constant pressure. At least they scored. What poor team do the Patriots get to embarrass next? Ugh, it's the Eagles.
Cowboys 28, Redskins 23
The winners: Like the Pats, I'll keep the Dallas part of this short, but I think it's clear Romo and Owens can move the ball on any team. Romo is already at 27 touchdown passes, with two more rushing, and that would be a tremendous season for just about anyone. Consider this is what Peyton Manning normally does in a full season. Romo still has six games left, and he might get to 40 touchdowns. I once felt Marion Barber III was a weekly play, but he's scored only twice since Week 3, and he's not getting the yards. The Dallas run game has been better than New England's, but fantasy owners aren't feeling the love for Barber and Julius Jones.
The losers: Did Jason Campbell turn the corner? Well, a lot of people felt he did earlier this season against Detroit, and in Week 10 against the Eagles. I'm not sold yet. Campbell threw 54 times on Sunday, so we shouldn't be surprised at the career high in yards, but show us consistency. Do it against Tampa Bay. Campbell's close, but he's not a top 10 fantasy quarterback yet. It was nice to see Santana Moss have a big game, his first of the season, and seeing as how he looks healthy, it would be time to trust him.
Cardinals 35, Bengals 27
The winners: Kurt Warner owners would have thought there was no in between for their quarterback, but that's what we got Sunday. His team scores 35 points, but Warner didn't have to do too much. He threw two touchdown passes, and somehow managed to avoid injury and turnovers, and the Cards are now 5-5. In fact, I'd argue the starting quarterbacks in this affair switched jerseys! Warner is the one who's supposed to throw four picks and have two of them brought back for scores, not Carson Palmer! Anyway, Warner has five touchdowns and only one interception the last two weeks, and the Cardinals have scored 66 points, and the schedule doesn't get any tougher. No, I'm still not truly recommending him because he's just as likely to leave the next game after three plays as he is to throw three touchdowns, but this was a start.
The losers: The yards and scores were there, but the interceptions are a drag for Palmer, who continues to disappoint. Sure, the optimist says he's been in double digits six straight weeks and nine of 10 overall, but he's topped 16 points only once all season! That's not the Palmer we hoped for. I'd keep playing him, of course, and hope the turnovers stop, but would you have predicted 20 interceptions on the season? It's gonna happen. The good thing here is the nice symmetry from the wide receivers. Worried the inclusion of Chris Henry will hurt Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh? These guys play nice. All three of them caught precisely eight passes and had between 81 and 87 yards, and two of them scored. What a dangerous trio, much more so than the running game, which continues to sputter. Really, I'm surprised Kenny Watson doesn't get more run than Rudi Johnson at this point.
Buccaneers 31, Falcons 7
The winners: Joey Galloway is 35 years old, and the guy slingin' the passes to him is even older, but still this is an underrated combination. Jeff Garcia found Galloway for a 44-yard score, the fifth time they've hooked up for a play that long. C'mon, that's impressive. Think about how you didn't want either of these "old" guys on draft day. Earnest Graham also did his job, topping 100 yards for the second straight game. Michael Bennett, incidentally, was not active for the game. Think about how everyone overreacted when that trade from K.C. went down.
The losers: Yeah, I did think the Falcons would keep this competitive, since much of the season has been. Atlanta had won two straight, and kept things interesting. Byron Leftwich got the start and was not effective, as the fans in the dome noticed as they booed the guy mercifully, then Joey Harrington came in and actually did well, tossing only four incomplete passes. Does it really matter in fantasy? Not really. What does matter is the solid two-game stretch for Warrick Dunn ended, right when Jerious Norwood was active. Must be a mental thing.
Texans 23, Saints 10
The winners: Now you know why the Texans wanted to make sure Andre Johnson was 100 percent healthy before getting him back in the lineup. A game ago, it was Sage Rosenfels and Kevin Walter in a win over Oakland. In Week 11, Matt Schaub returned to the field and found Johnson early on for a 73-yard touchdown. The Saints would take the lead back, but then Houston did all the scoring. Schaub finished with his best fantasy day of the season, and Johnson has arguably the best point-per-game totals I can find. He's played three games this season, and scored 18, 24 and 18 points. That's nice! Finally, I don't expect Ahman Green back anytime soon, and I enjoyed an active Ron Dayne in a few leagues. I'll stop short of calling him safe, though, and be careful of the schedule after this week's Cleveland game.
The losers: What a disappointment this Saints team is, as it tries for its third four-game streak of some sort. Lose four, win four, and now lose two very winnable games as Drew Brees continues to make mistakes and the run game goes nowhere. Reggie Bush did catch 12 passes, so it's tough to complain, but this team is desperate for a running back that can control the clock. No point in me getting into the "who should've been picked No. 1 in real life" debate, though Mario Williams won this one. Bush did not have a strong game. I can't make a strong case for ever sitting him, however.
Browns 33, Ravens 30 (OT)
The winners: I thought the Phil Dawson kick was good as soon as it hit the goal post in that strange way, didn't you? Once the officials got it right, and it's a good thing they did, didn't you know two things were about to happen: One, Brian Billick was about to lose his mind. Two, the Browns were going to win this game in overtime. Derek Anderson just passed his two toughest, and final tests, of the season. No, Anderson was not stellar against the Steelers and Ravens these last two games, but he did get four touchdowns in two weeks, including a rushing score Sunday. Now Anderson and friends get six games against defenses that didn't get embarrassed on Sunday (like the Cardinals, Jets, 49ers, etc.) but shouldn't shut him down either. Anderson is going to finish with more fantasy points than Peyton Manning.
The losers: At least Kyle Boller got the ball downfield, right? Boller threw for 279 yards, and led a huge fourth quarter to give his team the lead, and I can see a scenario in which Boller would make my top half of starting quarterbacks. Baltimore's top receiver was not Derrick Mason or Mark Clayton, and Todd Heap didn't dress, but Devard Darling, a third-round pick in 2004 entered the game with two catches, and left with six. Should you go out and get him? Not the next few weeks, no. Good game for both running backs, as ex-Raven Jamal Lewis had the same game Willis McGahee did.
Jaguars 24, Chargers 17
The winners: It was another nice game for Fred Taylor, who goes under the radar in real life and in fantasy, but 85 yards are legit, even though Maurice Jones-Drew took the touchdown. Taylor is now the all-time franchise leader in yards from scrimmage, passing Jimmy Smith. What do I remember about Smith, among other things? Drafting him two seasons back in the ESPN The Magazine fantasy draft, which was a few weeks before the league's rookie draft. A few days later, Smith retired. Anyway, Taylor did his thing, Jones-Drew scored, and David Garrard still hasn't been picked off in seven games this season.
The losers: Well, if I was coaching this team, I'd make sure LaDainian Tomlinson touched the ball even more than this. Sixteen carries, five receptions, it's just not enough. Fantasy owners might end up being the No. 1 running back for the season when all is said and done, but he's not there yet. The rookie Peterson remains ahead of him. The Chargers picked up nearly 400 total yards, but fell to 5-5 as Philip Rivers continued to hold the team back. Sure, he topped 300 yards, but watch him and it's tough to get excited. This was a close game, so why is Rivers throwing 40 times? He should be more like Garrard.
Eagles 17, Dolphins 7
The winners: You know Donovan McNabb has been erratic this season when he leaves with an ankle injury, gets replaced by A.J. Feeley, and the fans aren't worried. I wasn't worried. Not that anyone would ever root for injury, but the Eagles played better after McNabb left, though it's hard to tell because the Dolphins are really bad. Brian Westbrook ran better, the team moved the ball, and the defense shut down a rookie quarterback, as it's supposed to. A good win? Not at all. It counts, and I expect McNabb to be back this week at New England, though it's not going to go well for McNabb's team. The Eagles should've scored about three more touchdowns on the Dolphins. Someone needs to give Westbrook, coming off a career rushing game and now fantasy's top running back, more help.
The losers: John Beck should be a good quarterback, in time. For now he's hampered by a lack of experience, and I can think of better games to start him than at the two Pennsylvania teams to begin a career. Anyway, Beck didn't have much of a chance, and fantasy owners should stay away from any rookie quarterback. Meanwhile, Jesse Chatman sure got a reality check this week with the Ricky Williams reinstatement, and he ran reasonably well again. In fact, Chatman has done nothing wrong to deserve a benching or timeshare. Note that the final line says 22 carries for 72 yards, but he also lost 14 yards on the last play. I still think the Dolphins will win one. If Kellen Clemens can upend the Steelers, John Beck can beat some poor team the final six weeks.
Vikings 29, Raiders 22
The winners: I don't have hard evidence to make this statement, but I wrote it in Tuesday's blog and I'll reiterate it now: I don't expect to see Adrian Peterson again this season. The Vikings aren't playoff-bound, and Chester Taylor is plenty capable of picking up the slack. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if the Vikings offensive line is so good, even Cedric Benson could wander for 150 yards behind it. My favorite e-mail of the day: When wide receiver Sidney Rice took an end-around and found tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for a 79-yard pass, one fantasy owner requested info on the new Vikings quarterback. I wrote back that Rice might end the day with more passing yards than Tarvaris Jackson. He didn't, as Jackson actually was very accurate. The point was made, though. Do what you can to get Taylor. I bet he remains the starter the rest of the season.
The losers: Well, Daunte Culpepper didn't score five touchdowns, not like he did in his first revenge game against a former team, but he did throw for 344 yards in his old dome. Enjoy the next game, Daunte, because JaMarcus Russell is just about to get his chance. No other surprises here. Sebastian Janikowski continued his all-or-nothing season, as his field goals were a season-best and third time he's been at 14 or more fantasy points. He's also been at four or fewer points five times. Justin Fargas didn't run well, but that was expected against the Vikings. Might want to sell high on him with a tough schedule the rest of the way, if you still can.
Giants 16, Lions 10
The winners: Just when you expect a shootout, you get a pitcher's duel. That's fantasy. Eli Manning did his part, throwing for 283 yards and avoiding turnovers, but he should've played well against this defense. The Giants would have scored more, I think, had Brandon Jacobs not left early with a pulled hamstring. As of now, we don't know how serious the injury is, but normally Reuben Droughns will relieve him better. Anyone else notice this is four straight games without a score for Plaxico Burress? The Vikings are up next, but if Burress can't score on the 49ers, Dolphins and Lions, does it matter?
The losers: This is the Jon Kitna we remember, with lots of yards in a losing effort, thanks to the turnovers. Kitna has thrown 88 times the last two weeks, both of them losses, and turned the ball over five times. We can't have that in fantasy. I think the lack of a running game is the problem. Kevin Jones managed to finish with positive yards, but it wasn't a good game. Will he even be ready to play again on Thursday? Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson scored for the first time through the air since Week 2, but he's still not getting enough looks. This is not an easy Lions schedule the rest of the way.
Packers 31, Panthers 17
The winners: Can't stop the Brett Favre party, as he throws three more touchdowns and doesn't get picked off, and the ride just continues on. Underrated tight end Donald Lee scored twice, matching his season total, and his five catchers were a season best, while Greg Jennings continues to score touchdowns, while Donald Driver doesn't. Don't expect this team to be stopped by the Lions this week, and look forward to the Week 13 game at Dallas. That should be fun.
The losers: When it was announced that Steve Smith would miss the game, I really felt it was a good thing. This guy is torturing fantasy owners, and while it's not really Smith's fault, at least we got clarity with the deactivation. Look elsewhere, the Panthers told you. Most times you won't be that lucky, especially with a guy you feel like you have to activate. His replacement was Drew Carter, the same guy who scored twice in Week 1 and did little since then. How many of you added this guy before Week 2? Carter hauled in a 49-yarder and a late touchdown and, depending on Smith's progress, I would add him for the next few weeks at home against the Saints and 49ers. Nice game for DeShaun Foster, as he and Ryan Grant each got 20 carries and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Watch for updates on Grant, who sprained his ankle. Ordinarily we wouldn't worry, but he has to play Thursday.
Colts 13, Chiefs 10
The winners: You can't blame this all on Marvin Harrison. You just can't. Yes, the Colts have struggled to move the ball without him, and it took a last-second field goal to win this, but his absence can't be the reason Peyton Manning is struggling. What should a fantasy owner do about Manning? Well, nothing. You can trade him for a better option, and as many as five quarterbacks could finish ahead of Manning this season, including Derek Anderson, but I think Manning will have his moments, too, like Thursday at Atlanta. He just needs a healthier offensive line. By the way, don't look for Harrison until Week 13, at the very least.
The losers: Statistically, Brodie Croyle was better than Manning, but one of those quarterbacks was the first one taken in fantasy drafts, and Croyle was the other. Who would have played him? He did fine, and got rookie Dwayne Bowe back in the touchdown column. Priest Holmes ceded some carries to Kolby Smith, which could be a harbinger. Neither ran particularly well, though. Don't look for Larry Johnson this week again.
Jets 19, Steelers 16 (OT)
The winners: How many people thought the Jets had no chance in this one, and lost because of them in an eliminator pool? Raise your hands! I thought Ben Roethlisberger and Willie Parker would tee off, too, but the Jets stepped up. The main surprise, other than the defense, was Thomas Jones rambling for 117 yards on arguably the league's top defense. Where did that come from, against a Steelers D that hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 35 games? Thomas Jones? Well, don't get too excited, because Jones still has as many touchdowns this season as Tiki Barber. Parker, by the way, was facing the league's worst run defense. Just one of those days.
The losers: The Steelers are 7-3, but how can a team be considered a threat to the Patriots when it can't beat the Jets? Roethlisberger was held to fewer than 200 passing yards, and the 14 touchdowns in his last four games seems like a memory. Hey, it's just one game. The Dolphins are up next, then Cincy. Parker should rebound as well.
Rams 13, 49ers 9
The winners: I was going up against a team in one league that had Marc Bulger, and because a few of my players did little, I couldn't afford Bulger to have a big game. He didn't at all, though when he scored on the opening drive, I wasn't optimistic. Why did Bulger struggle after the opening drive, and against a weak defense? I can't figure it out. Steven Jackson and Torry Holt looked healthy and productive, but the guy in that league of mine who owns Bulger, who thought he had a win, can't be pleased.
The losers: The 49ers might have moved the ball better than they had in weeks, but still didn't reach the end zone, and I can't recommend anyone on this offense except maybe Arnaz Battle. Frank Gore went nowhere. That's eight straight losses for the 49ers, and no real end in sight for frustrated fantasy owners of Gore. You rationalize using Trent Dilfer as your quarterback by noting he passed for 231 yards. Wonderful, he had 90 yards through three quarters.
Seahawks 30, Bears 23
The winners: See, we told you the Bears could be run and passed on, and fantasy owners should note this for future weeks, but what should we make of the key Seattle offensive performers. Matt Hasselbeck can be trusted, but what about Maurice Morris? I think he's running much better than Shaun Alexander, but you know Alexander will be back in there when he's healthy, which could be this week. At wide receiver, D.J. Hackett has had quite the three-week run, with 23 catches, three touchdowns and a whole lotta yards, but is he the guy? Deion Branch is back now, and Bobby Engram isn't going away. Be careful on which Seahawks you stick with because there's no telling who will be the productive ones.
The losers: When Cedric Benson broke the 43-yarder for a touchdown in the opening minute, I thought Seattle might have been playing with eight or nine defenders. Benson isn't that type of running back, and he showed that in the final 59 minutes of play, gaining 46 more yards. I don't get it. He's running well, supposedly, and most weeks he seems to get plenty of touches, but not this week. Rex Grossman didn't throw a touchdown pass or get picked off, and I'd call only one turnover (a fumble) a solid game. Trust him in fantasy? Not me. Nice to see a productive Bernard Berrian, though.
Keep sending those comments by clicking here, and let me know what you'd like me to write about, what you think of other blogs, mistakes I have made that I probably didn't mean to, whatever you want. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and your Monday. Remember, the trade deadline in ESPN leagues is Wednesday at noon ET.