Tampa Bay Sports Day

What to Make of Week 8

Chambers out, but not closed….
The Chargers released the veteran receiver, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Though Chambers is a talented receiver in his own right, Rivers likes to go vertical and loves to throw to his gaint receivers. With Chambers standing at all, but 5’11” he was dwarfed by his receiving corp teammates. Buried on the depth-chart behind a pair of 6’5” wideouts, his release may have come at a good time. Just barely out on the open market Chambers has already been grabbed and could looking to reignite his fantasy value in a Chiefs uniform. Stay tuned for this one.

Rice is the man in Baltimore…

There is no longer any debate, discussion over. While many teams in the NFL embrace the running back by committee formula, the Ravens no longer appear to be a believer in that theory. Over the past several weeks there were tell-tale signs indicating that second year back Ray Rice was the featured ball carrier, but his 28 touches on Sunday against the Broncos proved his case without a shadow of a doubt. In his two previous starts Rice had his number called 21 and 22 times, but on Sunday he finished with 28 touches (23 carries, 5 receptions). As far as fantasy goes, his 874 total yards and five touchdowns also put him in rare company this season.

Miles Austin has arrived….

In case you haven’t been noticing the playmaking receiver in Dallas these days is not Roy E. Williams, not Terrell Owens, and not even tight end Jason Witten. From out of nowhere 4th year receiver Miles Austin has arrived under the big top in Big-D to lead the Cowboys aerial attack. Austin has caught 21 balls for 482 yards and five touchdowns in his last three games. Now implanted as one of the starting wideouts in Dallas fantasy owners can make ready for a big second half from a receiver who had only caught 18 passes in 37 career games prior to the start of the 2009 season.

Looking under the microscope

While there was so much debate in the offseason surrounding the Cutler trade to Chicago, the biggest question had to be who would Jay throw to. After looking over the past eight weeks of football it becomes clear; it’s not a former teammate, a surprise rookie, or a projected all-pro potential tight end. Over the past three weeks wide receiver Devin Hester appears to be blossoming into the role quite comfortably. Both he and his quarterback seem to be developing a very good chemistry with Cutler looking his way 27 times over the past three weeks. In the same span Hester has caught 21 of those balls for 265 yards and one touchdown. The 4th year receiver from the University of Miami still has some work to do with his route running, but there now seems to be little doubt about who Cutler will be throwing to these days.

More fantasy Notes

One of the biggest notes from this past weekend had to be the emergence of running back Ryan Moats in Houston. With starting running back Steve Slaton handing the ball away like a concert flyer (has fumbled seven times this season), the door has been swung wide open for Moats. On Sunday he seized the day rushing for 126 yards and scoring three times. His performance was so strong the question is raised “should Moats start?”

While some fantasy owners may have run out of patience, those that stayed the course with Bears running back Matt Forte reaped big rewards on Sunday. In Forte’s two previous starts he had totaled just 109 yards with zero scores. Sunday was a different story for the Bear’s back as he carried the ball 26 times, caught a couple of balls, totaled 121 yards and scored two touchdowns. Welcome back Matt Forte!

With his fumbling woes in 2009, the Texan’s running back Steve Slaton pulled the biggest disappearing act on Sunday finishing the day with just three touches for 11 total yards and one turnover.