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Fantasy Football: The Update (9/30)

Reuben Droughns is still questionable, but he practiced fully on Friday and should have plenty of room to run against a poor Oakland rush defense…Todd Heap returned to practice on Friday and has been upgraded to probable. Heap is a must-start when he plays…Houston HC Gary Kubiak intends to split the carries between Samkon Gado and Ron Dayne. Hopefully for fantasy owners, one of these guys will separate himself from the other and earn the bulk of the work. If that doesn’t happen, expect this RBBC to continue throughout the season…Donte Stallworth returned to practice Friday and should play against the Packers on Monday night. An MRI revealed a slight strain in his hamstring. Stallworth has had hamstring problems his entire pro career, so this is an injury to watch. Stallworth has a great matchup this week against the Packers…After a strange week, Terrell Owens is officially a game-time decision for Sunday. The Dallas Morning News speculates that he’ll play, but he will be limited…Brian Westbrook returned to practice on Saturday and, barring a setback, looks good to go Monday night. Westbrook owners should have Correll Buckhalter on their roster for the rest of the season as Westbrook insurance…Desmond Clark will be a game-time decision Sunday night…Matt Jones practiced all week and should see his workload increase from last week, when he barely played at all…Kellen Winslow didn’t practice fully all week. He’s listed as questionable and it’s not clear whether or not he’s going to play. There is speculation that the Browns are holding him out to rest his knee…Steve Smith practiced fully all week. This is good news for Smith owners who were worrying about how that hammy would react after Sunday’s game…Frank Gore practiced all week and was upgraded to probable. He needs to hold onto the ball in short yardage to avoid losing those duties to Michael RobinsonReggie Wayne will play against the Jets in Week 4 after dealing with his brother’s death this week…Corey Dillon is not listed on the injury report and is expected to start against the Bengals…The injury to the knee of Jevon Kearse is not nearly as bad as initially reported. The surgery revealed only torn meniscus and a fractured tibia. Kearse could have returned this season if he hadn’t already been placed on injured reserve.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Couch Potato Alert (9/29)

There are a couple of Top 25 matchups on Saturday, the highlight being the OSU/Iowa tilt, which is the BE College Football Game of the Week. On Sunday, CBS has the better lineup than Fox, with the Patriots/Bengals and the Chargers/Ravens, the latter being the BE NFL Game of the Week.

(All times ET.)

College Football
Fri, 8 PM: (23) Rutgers @ South Florida – ESPN
Sat, 2:30 PM: Purdue @ (12) Notre Dame – NBC
Sat, 3:30 PM: (24) Georgia Tech @ (11) Virginia Tech – ABC
Sat, 8 PM: (1) Ohio St @ (13) Iowa – ESPN

NFL
Sun, 1 PM: San Diego @ Baltimore – CBS
Sun, 4:15 PM: New England @ Cincinnati – CBS
Sun, 8:15 PM: Seattle @ Chicago – NBC
Mon, 8:30 PM: Green Bay @ Philadelphia – ESPN

MLB
Fri, 7:09 PM: Philadelphia @ Florida – ESPN
Sat, 1:20 PM: Milwaukee @ St. Louis – FOX
Sat, 1:20 PM: Philadelphia @ Florida – FOX
Sat, 4:15 PM: LA Dodgers @ San Francisco – FOX
Sat, 4:15 PM: San Diego @ Arizona – FOX

NFL Game Preview: Seattle (3-0) at Chicago (3-0)

Date: Oct. 1
Time: 8:15pm NBC

Why to tune in:
This is the only other contest on the NFL schedule besides San Diego-Baltimore that features two undefeated teams. Seattle is coming off of a waxing of the Giants at home last week while the Bears squeaked by a tough Vikings team. Last season, both of these squads were ranked 1-2 in the playoffs and if Chicago hadn’t lost to Carolina in the Divisional Round – this would have been the NFC title match. Both teams are averaging 24-plus points a game, but defensively they are equally as strong. The wildcard in this contest is that Seattle will be without reigning MVP Shaun Alexander in its backfield against an already stingy Bears run defense.

When the Seahawks have the ball:
There were rumors earlier in the week that Alexander was going to be healthy enough to play, but head coach Mike Holmgren squashed those thoughts immediately. Seattle is good, but not good enough to risk losing Alexander for an extended period of time – especially with a bye week coming up. Maurice Morris will lineup in the backfield and butt heads with the number four run defense in the league. The Bears are only giving up an average of 82 yards a game on the ground and DT Tommie Harris has been a big part of their success. Harris is disrupting opponents by having a successful running game by breaking through the interior of their line and forcing backs to try and run outside. The Seahawks offensive line is going to have its hand full with defensive ends Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye in pass protection. If Morris can’t get going, QB Matt Hasselback (who is throwing the ball extremely well this season) is going to have to rely on one of his many weapons in the passing game. Darrell Jackson is fighting through injuries and is having a nice season while newly acquired Deion Branch is still trying to fit into Holmgren’s system. Branch should eventually be very productive, but if he’s slow to develop, Hasselback still has receivers Bobby Engram and Nate Burleson. The key on defense for the Bears is going to be the secondary staying disciplined. The front seven is certainly good enough to keep Morris in check, so it’s going to be up to the defensive backs to take away Hasselback’s targets.

When the Bears have the ball:
QB Rex Grossman is continuing to show the Chicago coaching staff that he was the right choice over Brian Griese in the preseason. Grossman is displaying great touch in the deep game and is getting all of his targets involved throughout the game. Muhsin Muhammad is proving to be Grossman’s go to guy, but Benard Berrian is explosive down the field and is excelling at creating separating at the line of scrimmage. Although the Bears have been balanced on offense, they still aren’t running the ball with a great deal of success. That plays into the hands of the Seahawks, because much like Chicago, Seattle’s front seven is good enough to take away the Bears run game without any needed help from the safeties. Without having to worry at all about helping defense the run game, free safety Ken Hamlin is rebounding nicely from a fractured skull he suffered in a bar fight last season and contributed with two interceptions against New York last week. Watch for the Seahawks to make Chicago one-dimensional and get Grossman to force passes into double coverage, which will lead to a possible key turnover for Seattle. A big weapon for Chicago might be tight end Desmond Clark, who up until this year hasn’t been much of a factor. Clark is starting to build a nice relationship with Grossman and that might be key in a match up with SS Michael Boulware, who isn’t overly impressive in pass coverage.

Prediction:
Something just doesn’t sit right with me as I watched Seattle relax on defense and allow the Giants to get back into the game last weekend. The Seahawks knew the Giants had to get back into the game through the air and still couldn’t stop New York. I think these teams match up real well against each other, but not having Alexander in the run game is going to make the Seahawks too one-dimensional in my opinion. Chicago plays extremely well at home and I’m still not sold that Seattle can beat a tough opponent on the road. If this game was in Seattle and Alexander was going to be running the ball for the Seahawks, I would probably predict a different outcome.

Chicago’s defensive backs aren’t going to wilt the way the Giants secondary did last week: Bears 23, Seahawks 17.

Fantasy Football: The Pregame, Week 4

Every week in the Pregame, I’ll provide a few players to start and a few to bench. These recommendations are based on that player’s strength of schedule (SOS) for that particular week or that player’s specific situation.

I’m a strong advocate of always starting your studs, so I won’t be telling you about LaDainian Tomlinson’s tough matchup or how Peyton Manning and company will light it up against a bad defense. Anyone can make those calls. I’ll be discussing marginal fantasy starters – guys that can start for you, but only under certain circumstances.

START

A number of fringe starting QBs have good matchups this week. BRETT FAVRE faces an Eagles defense that has yielded 253 yards and 1.7 TD per game…DREW BLEDSOE faces a porous Titans secondary and should have Terrell Owens back in the lineup…DAUNTE CULPEPPER has a nice matchup against the Texans, though it’s tough to excited about a QB that could only put up 13 points on Tennessee…WARRICK DUNN didn’t have a very good game last week, but he’s a must-start against the Cardinals, who have allowed an average of 105 rushing yards and 1.3 rush TD per game…JOSEPH ADDAI also has a nice matchup against the Jets, who can’t seem to stop the run (134 rush yards and 1.7 rush TD per game)…CHRIS CHAMBERS deserves another shot, especially with his juicy matchup with the Texans…REGGIE BROWN also looks like a nice start against a Packers secondary that has yielded 301 yards and 1.7 TD per game through the air.

BENCH

KURT WARNER doesn’t have a good matchup against the Falcons who have allowed just 214 yards per game through the air and have yet to allow a passing touchdown…You should only bench MATT HASSELBECK if you have a good alternative, but his matchup with the Bears looks like a tough one. With Shaun Alexander out, the Seahawks could become one dimensional…JAMAL LEWIS faces a very tough San Diego defense that has had two weeks to prepare for Sunday’s game. The Chargers have allowed just 71 yards per game on the ground and have yet to yield a rushing TD…It’s no secret that THOMAS JONES has been struggling, and I doubt he’s going to find his groove this week against the Seahawks, who are second in the league in rushing yards allowed (59 per game) and haven’t allowed a rushing TD…TROY WILLIAMSON will probably find the going tough against a stingy Bills secondary that has allowed just 169 yards through the air…MARQUES COLSTON and JOE HORN should have problems getting open against the Panthers, who have yielded just 168 passing yards per game this season.

If you have roster questions, be sure to post them on the Fantasy Q & A. We’re happy to give you a second opinion.

Good news folks – Bill Romanowski can remain coaching flag football

When coach Bill Romanowski saw an opponent in a recent Piedmont-Lafayette flag football game trip one of his son’s teammates, he scolded the seventh grader for what he felt was dirty play.

Apparently Lafayette coaches weren’t pleased with what Romanowski had done.

Lafayette officials complained, saying Romanowski wouldn’t be allowed to return to Lafayette to coach when the two teams meet for a rematch next month. But Piedmont Recreation Department director Mark Delventhal met with Romanowski on Wednesday and said he trusts the coach not to engage in out-of-bounds behavior.

“At this point, I have utmost confidence that Mr. Romanowski will continue to conduct himself in a manner that’s appropriate,” Delventhal told The Associated Press. “I think our players are very fortunate to have Mr. Romanowski as a coach.”

What?

First off all, what in God’s name is Romanowski’s son doing in flag football? Isn’t that like having Barry Bonds’ son enrolled in softball or something?

And Romanowski was upset over one of the kids tripping another player? Isn’t this man who punched one of his teammates in practice and broke his eye socket? A man who spit in the face of an opponent and was regarded as one of the cheapest players in the NFL when he played?

I can hear the conversation between Romanowski and the seventh grader now:

Romanowski: “Listen son, you can’t be out here tripping other players, okay? That’s not right and if you do it again I’ll break your friggen face, kid.”

Seventh grade player: “Okay, Mr. Romanowski, I’m sorry. But I was up late last night watching old film of you when you played with the Raiders, so I got carried away.”

Yikes, well at least he can coach again – I would hate to have a man of his moral cloth not have an influence in these young men’s lives.

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