Okay, no offense to anybody, but Seattle Seahawks quarterback Warren Moon is old. Yup, I said old. Moon will turn 41 on Nov. 18, and in the NFL, that is old. This might explain why Moon, who began the season as insurance for John Friesz (who?), might be the fantasy football story of the year.
There have been some intriguing developments this season _ Emmitt Smith's lack of productivity, Napoleon Kaufman's emergence as one of the league's best, the failures of Carl Pickens. But Moon tops them all.
Last season with the Minnesota Vikings, Moon saw the shine rapidly come off his career. He often was injured and at times was ineffective. As a result, he was benched for Brad Johnson, who now is the starter.
At the end of the season, Moon's NFL future was in question, particularly because he looked smooth in front of the camera as a part-time television analyst. On the verge of retirement, Moon was called by the Seahawks and offered the job of veteran backup.
Don't feel guilty if you passed on Moon in the draft. Not only was he 40, he was on the bench behind a quarterback for whom the Seahawks traded. And even after Friesz broke a thumb in the first game of the year, who in their right mind would have thought Moon (eight TDs in 1996) would be a threat?
Even after he became Seattle's primary passer, Moon was nothing more than a bye-week call-up for fantasy players.
Sunday evening, against one of the league's worst pass defenses, Moon rose.
His 409 yards and five touchdowns will earn the veteran a start on anyone's team. He deserves it. Moon was spectacular. Of course, Moon's play against the Oakland Raiders not only made a fantasy impact on Sunday but could do the same this Sunday. Likely, guys such as Joey Galloway, Brian Blades and James McKnight should be activated, and so should kicker Todd Peterson.
KORDELL WHO?: Tennessee Oilers quarterback Steve McNair justified the points potential many saw in him with a superb effort against Arizona. Evoking comparisons with Pittsburgh quarterback Kordell Stewart (who loves to run), McNair had one of his best days as a pro. He ran for two touchdowns and passed for two.
JETTING AWAY: This is going to be hard to believe. But guess who's leading the NFL in touchdown receptions. Herman Moore? No. Cris Carter? Close. Tim Brown? Not quite. Jerry Rice? Okay, I'll stop. It's James Jett. After catching two touchdown passes Sunday, Jett has eight TDs. Carter is second with seven, and Terrell Owens and Derrick Alexander each has six. Galloway, Andre Rison, Rickey Dudley, Wesley Walls and Antonio Freeman have five apiece.
JUST FOR KICKS: At least once a season, kickers prove their worth in standard fantasy scoring. Going by the traditional scoring methods of three points for a field goal and one for an extra point, here's a look at some of the outstanding kicking efforts last weekend.
Peterson had four FGs, 1 PAT (14 points); Greg Davis kicked five FGs and two PATs (17 pts); Richie Cunningham had four FGs (12 pts); and Jason Elam and Gary Anderson each had three FGs and two PATs.
DUDES OF THE WEEK: In addition to those previously mentioned, Denver's Terrell Davis leads an impressive cast of sensations. Davis had 207 yards on 42 carries and 1 TD. Bam Morris had 176 yards and 1 TD, and Gary Brown 169 yards and 1 TD. Other point makers included Galloway (117 yards, 3 TDs) and Yancey Thigpen (196 yards).
DUDS OF THE WEEK: Marshall Faulk (8 carries, 11 yards); Warrick Dunn (10 carries, 39 yards); John Elway (133 yards, 0 TDs).
MISSING IN ACTION: The Giants and Saints both get byes, but other than those who picked up QBs Danny Kanell or Danny Wuerffel out of sentiment, few fantasy players will be affected. Troy Aikman, who sustained a mild concussion against Philadelphia, says he will play Sunday, but expect him to have a diminished role. Jacksonville's Mark Brunell dislocated a knuckle on his throwing hand, and his status is unknown.