Enter the Red Zone
The Week 5 schedule poses several problems for owners as some of the highest-ranked fantasy players in the NFL hit their bye week.
With Chicago, Green Bay, New Orleans and San Diego off this weekend, four elite quarterbacks, three No. 1 wideouts and a host of talented running backs will all be sipping margaritas by the ocean, leaving a lot of us looking to our benches for help.
But the good news is that today is Friday -- time for another installment of the National Football Post’s “Enter the Red Zone.”
You may not be sipping margaritas by the ocean today, but at least you’ll know that New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper leads the league in defensive personal fouls this season, with three.
You know you love it.
Let’s enter the Red Zone…
From the 20: Can we get a stop?
It’s certainly not the most appealing game of the weekend, but when the Cleveland Browns head to Buffalo to take on the Bills this Sunday, there will definitely be something worth watching in this battle for a better draft position.
Believe it or not, both teams actually rank in the top three in the NFL in a statistical category. Done guessing? The Bills (second) and Browns (tied for second) are among the NFL leaders in five-minute drives allowed this season.
Buffalo and Cleveland each have allowed nine five-minute drives through just four games (San Diego ranks first, with 10). Give Cleveland the edge since it has allowed only two of those drives to result in touchdowns, while the Bills have allowed three.
However, when you factor in field goals, Buffalo is allowing points to be put on the board 55.6 percent of the time (five scores in nine drives), while Cleveland is allowing a score 66.7 percent of the time (six scores in nine drives).
Obscure? Yes, but at least it gives you something to watch for in an otherwise unwatchable game.
From the 19: Did you know…
That Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Barrett Ruud leads the NFL in tackles when the temperature is above 81 degrees?
Rudd has amassed 18 total tackles when the temperature climbs that high, while the Ravens’ Ray Lewis ranks 10th, with 12.
Both players rank in the top seven in total tackles through four weeks, and both are excellent IDP linebacker starts this weekend as Ruud takes on the Eagles and Lewis goes up against the Bengals.
From the 18: On legendary pace?
Through the first four weeks of the 1997 season, Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders had a total of 57 fantasy points (standard scoring). Currently, five NFL running backs have amassed a higher total through the first four weeks of the 2009 season (Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Ronnie Brown, Maurice Jones-Drew and Willis McGahee).
Does this mean these guys will have a better fantasy season in 2009 than Sanders had in 1997? Doubtful.
Sanders may have started slowly (53 total rushing yards through the first two games), but the dude went off like a nuclear bomb by ripping off 14 straight 100-plus-yard performances.
He finished the year with 2,053 rushing yards and 305 receiving yards. Think McGahee can top that?
I almost forgot. Sanders averaged 6.1 yards per carry in 1997 and had five games in which he topped 160 yards rushing.
From the 17: Take to the skies
You still think that running the football wins games in the NFL?
NFL teams are 18-7 (.720) this season when their quarterback throws for over 300 yards.
However, don’t go running your mouth about this stat to the Panthers. Carolina is 0-1 when quarterback Jake Delhomme throws for over 300 yards.
It should come as no surprise that Delhomme is currently the 28th-ranked fantasy quarterback, right above Matt Hasselbeck and right below Byron Leftwich, two guys who haven’t even played in every game this year.
From the 16: You must protect the football
The New York Giants are currently the fourth-ranked fantasy defense and have been a nightmare to face this season, which is only one of several reasons they will dominate the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The Giants are the best team in the NFL at converting turnovers into points. New York has turned eight turnovers (sixth) into 45 points (first), an average of 5.63 points per turnover.
Guess what? Oakland’s offense has turned the ball over nine times this year (five fumbles, four interceptions), good for the fourth-highest number of turnovers in the league.
From the 15: Notes from the Week 4 Target Report
How many of you drafted one of these guys in the first four rounds?
Name Team Targets Rank
Steve Smith New York Giants 44 2
Nate Burleson Seattle Seahawks 41 3
Mario Manningham New York Giants 32 18
Mike Sims-Walker Jacksonville Jaguars 31 19
Nate Washington Tennessee Titans 31 19
Side note: Manningham leads the NFL in receptions of 25-plus yards, with five.
From the 14: Pick ‘em No. 1
PITTSBURGH STEELERS -10