It's no wonder so many of our neighbors south of the border resent us. We finally consent to playing a real professional football game in Mexico, and we send the Cardinals and the 49ers? Don't be surprised if the American ambassador is expelled by week's end.
I suppose it could have been worse. You could be an NFL fan in San Antonio who waited decades to see a game played in the Alamodome, only to suffer through the Saints' 19-7 win over a JV squad from upstate New York.
Thankfully, we did see some positive developments in Fantasyland.
It seems the Colts haven't forgotten how to play offense after all. You knew Peyton Manning would break out of his passing slumber eventually, and you'd regret it if you traded him. You didn't trade him, did you?
You also may have noticed that the National Sports Writers Association has declared that media types must always follow a comment about one Manning brother with a reference to the other. This is unfortunate, since I'd like to overlook last week's recommendation to let someone else acquire Eli Manning in free agency. Now that only Donovan McNabb has more passing TDs than Eli's nine, and the Giants are the highest-scoring team in the league, it's safe to say I blew that one.
On the other hand, no one should be shocked to see Michael Vick go down with a sprained knee. Though the injury doesn't appear serious, this is your wake-up call if you don't have a solid backup plan in place. And that plan should involve looking outside Atlanta, as Matt Schaub is nowhere near ready.
There's a glimmer of hope if you're banking on Jamal Lewis, after he finally crossed the goal line against the Jets. But it's officially time to worry if you spent your first- or second-round draft pick on Kevin Jones. In case you missed it, he was actually benched in the second half of the Lions' loss to the Bucs. He wasn't injured, and Detroit was still in the game, but he just wasn't getting the job done. On a team that refuses to bench Joey Harrington, you know that can't be a positive sign.
Finally, remember how I told you not to give up on Peyton? The same goes for Tony Gonzalez. While I can't explain why he has only 16 receptions for 129 yards in four games, I can state without reservation that he'll catch fire sooner or later. And you don't want him sitting on your bench when he lights it up for 100-plus yards and two TDs. Even the great ones go through rough stretches. For them, patience pays.
FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS
To win a fantasy championship, you need to start with a good draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is equally important. Here's a look at a few players worth grabbing, and others who would look better in someone else's line-up.
Catch 'em while you can
Josh McCown, QB, Cardinals: He may have had a career game with a 385-yard, two-TD performance against the 49ers, but it's not the first time he's flashed his fantasy cred. McCown has posted several excellent outings, including five of six games against division rivals in 2004. If he can keep Kurt Warner on the sidelines, he'll have plenty of chances to shine this season playing catch with his splendid receiving corps.
Michael Pittman, RB, Buccaneers: We learned two things on Sunday: The Bucs' offense is for real, and it's not just because of prized rookie Cadillac Williams. Pittman has gained more than 1,100 total yards every season since 2000, so he's no slouch. If Cadillac's Hemi, I mean hammy, keeps him idle, Pittman will be an able fantasy replacement.
Greg Lewis, WR, Eagles: With just one touchdown and 203 yards receiving, Lewis hasn't done anything spectacular thus far. But watching the Eagles, you get the impression that it's only a matter of time before he starts sharing in Philly's fantasy bounty.
Sebastian Janikowski, K, Raiders: Did someone in your league give up on the cannon-legged Janikowski a week too soon? After his four-for-four performance against the Cowboys, it's safe to say he's broken out of his slump and will again flourish in the Raiders' high-flying offense.
Don't be fooled
Dwayne Carswell, TE, Broncos: You may find him listed as a TE after he snared two TD passes against the Jags, but Carswell is really a back-up offensive lineman. Put another way, Carswell is to tight end as Peerless Price is to fantasy star.
Shaun McDonald, WR, Rams: No, you didn't make a mistake if you picked up Kevin Curtis last week instead of his teammate. When your QB tosses 62 passes, everyone prospers — even McDonald and Dane Looker. Curtis is still your best bet while Isaac Bruce is sidelined.
Laveranues Coles, WR, Jets: The Jets weren't very good with Chad Pennington. Without him, they may be the worst offense in the league. With games against the Bucs, Bills and Falcons up next, followed by a bye, it's time to deal Coles while he has any value remaining.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times