Originally created 12/30/04

As stars sit out, owners suffer



It was a sickening display of apathy. One that Falcons and Eagles fans hated.

These two teams laid down this past weekend. And with them laying down, presumably in cruise mode until the playoffs, they also waylaid many a fantasy owner's playoff hopes.

I, of course, speak of playoff teams resting their stars.

Atlanta's Michael Vick, nursing a shoulder injury, didn't play at all. Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb played just one series, but at least he threw a touchdown pass.

If your fantasy season ends this week, beware once again.

Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlis­berger likely won't play because of a rib injury.

Indianapolis has clinched its playoff position, so don't be surprised if Peyton Manning and his band of playmakers make an early exit against Denver.

And don't look for much from McNabb again this week.

Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr. said this week that he will start Vick. That remains to be seen.

So in honor of honorable football, I give you the top fantasy football performances of the year, in no particular order.

- Peyton Manning, Indiana­polis, Weeks 3, 7-12: Manning had his first five-touchdown game in Week 3 against Green Bay. He then scorched opposing defenses for 27 touchdowns against only four interceptions during that six-game stretch.

- Daunte Culpepper, Minne­sota, Weeks 1, 5, 6 and 10: Started the year with a bang with five touchdowns against Dallas. Matched it in consecutive weeks and put up four more against Green Bay in Week 10.

- Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh, Week 1: Yeah, I know what you're thinking: Five carries for 1 yard does not make a fantasy star. But when he scores on three of those carries it sent him on his way to a 13-touchdown season.

- Shaun Alexander, Seattle, Week 16: Three scores and more than 150 yards with the playoffs on the line for his team was great, but it was even better for any of his fantasy owners still alive in the playoffs.

- Drew Bennett, Tennessee, Week 14: With 233 yards and three scores, Bennett proved he has the tools to become a quality fantasy starter.

- Billy Volek, Tennessee, Weeks 14-15: With Steve McNair out for the year, Volek came up with consecutive 400-plus-yard games and threw eight touchdowns.

- Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock, Kansas City, Week 7: Both Holmes and Blaylock each ran for four scores against Atlanta.

- Willis McGahee, Buffalo, Week 12: His four-touchdown performance cemented his status as the Bills' starter and a late-season fantasy star.

- Javon Walker, Green Bay, Week 3: In a shootout with Indianapolis, Walker proved his worth with a three-score, 200-yard day.

- Terrell Owens, Philadelphia, Week 1 and 10: He put up two three-touchdown games against NFC East rivals (Giants, Cowboys).

- Eddie Drummond, Detroit, Week 10: When you return two punts in a game, you deserve a mention. He also ran back two kickoffs before getting hurt.

Now, these were just a few of the many highlights of the NFL fantasy football season.

There's still a week left, so anything can happen. Just don't expect too much from those players on teams with playoff tickets already punched.

Reach Raymond Beasock at (706) 823-3221 or raymond.beasock@augustachronicle.com.