The Need For "Tennes(s)peed"

Chris Johnson is an exciting young player, and since there are currently seven other C. Johnson's in the NFL, it seemed to make sense to give this particular C. Johnson a nickname to distinguish him from all the others. So, last week, I put Chris Johnson's new nickname to a vote.

Here are the results:

Chris Johnson Nickname Pie Graph">
The winner, getting 48% of the vote, was "Tennespeed," an invented word that linguistics would call a "blend," as it combines the word "Tennessee" with the word "speed." Huzzah! A new nickname!

But wait. Google has thrown a red flag and is requesting further review. Google is challenging the spelling of the nickname.

Google's claim: The nickname should be "Tennesspeed."
Google's explanation: While the single "s" version of the nickname gets 262 hits in its search engine, the double "s" version gets a whopping 15,900 hits.

I like the single "s" better. Initially, I had only a vague feeling that something about the double "s" boggles the mind a bit and doesn't look right visually, but then I enlisted the services of Professor Bert Vaux, an expert in linguistics, and he helped bring some intellectual rigor to my thinking. He was kind enough to respond to my email to write the following: "The fact that (as far as I know) we never write a double consonant before another consonant would carry the day." So take that, Google! That's what I call laying down the law. Vaux's Law.

I'll call Chris Johnson by the neutral nickname "Tennes(s)peed" until this situation is resolved. Here are this week's picks:


Jon Kitna - Kitna might throw to some great wide receivers, but let's face it, nobody wants to start Kitna. This is the biggest Kitna complement I can muster: he's capable of playing well for a few quarters at a time. Last week, his strong play helped the Lions take the lead in the fourth quarter against Green Bay. Then Kitna proceeded to throw interceptions on three straight possessions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He's a safe bet to throw more interceptions against San Francisco in Week 3 (he's leading the league in interceptions for the second straight season), but he should offset his interception tendencies with a handful of touchdowns. If you need another reason to start Kitna in Week 3, consider that he's on pace to be sacked 64 times this year. To put that in perspective, no quarterback was sacked more than 51 times last year, and so it is safe to assume that if Kitna keeps getting sacked at this rate, he'll get injured before he gets another favorable fantasy matchup. Or benched. Oh, and guess who was sacked an ungodly 51 times last year. Yup: Jon Kitna. To conclude, pick Kitna because he leads the league in interceptions and gets sacked at an alarming rate.

J.T. O'Sullivan - I predict that Sullivan, the former 2007 NFL Europa Offensive Co-MVP, will throw more touchdowns against his former Lion teammates (three) than he has in his entire career to date (two). For those who care, this video was taken when O'Sullivan and Kitna were both on the Lions.

Kerry Collins - There isn't a lot of data on Houston's defense because they have only played one game so far this year. There isn't a lot of data on Kerry Collins this year because he has only started one game this year. Despite this dearth of data, the data we do have shows Collins can outplay Carson Palmer in thirty mph wind
conditions. Based on this performance, I think Collins will be Big Ben lite this week: he will throw infrequently, complete a high percentage of passes, and chip in a touchdown or two. If that suits your fancy, give Collins a go.

Eli Manning - The six of you who didn't use him against St. Louis last week should use him against Cincinnati this week.

Why not Matt Hasselbeck, you ask? If you are ever going to start Elisabeth Hasselbeck's husband's older brother, this might be the week to do it, as the Seahawks play the Rams.right? I wouldn't. Six of Seattle's top wide receivers are injured, including Deion Branch, Bobby Engram, Ben Obomanu, Nate Burleson, Seneca Wallace, and Logan Payne. Absurd. Only Courtney Taylor is healthy, and he's had a measly two catches in each game. Why not wait until to use Hasselbeck when at least a few of the above-mentioned wide receivers are healthy?
Well, what about Matt Cassel, who plays Miami this week, you ask? It's hard to say yet if Cassel is capable of putting up good fantasy numbers. Why not monitor him this week and then start him against San Francisco in his next game if you like what you see?

Running Backs

Julius Jones - I can prove this to be a good pick using math: ((Jones + Maurice Morris) - Maurice Morris) + Rams = A good $100K Challenge pick. Jones proved last week he could be productive when getting more than twenty carries. If you didn't use him in Week 2, use him in Week 3 against the Rams.

Frank Gore - It can be argued that Ryan Grant's bum hamstring, and not the Detroit run defense, was the cause of Grant's measly 1.3 yards per rush last week. Through two games, Gore has averaged 78.5 yards and a touchdown, as well as 4.5 catches for almost 50 yards. He'll double those averages in his Week 3 game against Detroit.

Chris Johnson - Houston gave up 138 yards and three touchdowns to Fast Willie Parker in Week 1. Tennes(s)peed Johnson should have a big day.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson - Calvin did his best Moss '07 impression in his Week 2 game against Green Bay. Can he do it again in Week 3? He's got a great matchup against a weak San Francisco defense.

Roy Williams - Alternately, perhaps this is the week where the defense decides to quadruple-team Calvin and leaves Roy wide open. Roy is, apparently, "ticked" at not getting enough targets. I don't advise picking Calvin and Roy for Week 3, though. Just flip a coin and pick one. You can save the one you don't choose now for Detroit's Week 7 matchup against Houston.

Bryant Johnson - You want to start a wide receiver against Detroit, and at this point, Johnson (three catches in Week 1 and six catches in Week 2) appears to be the 49ers' most consistent pass catcher. Isaac Bruce (no catches in Week 1 and four catches in Week 2), and Arnaz Battle (one, four) are currently more inconsistent. I think Battle will ultimately prove to be best of the bunch, but he is still getting comfortable with his role in the offense after sitting out most of preseason with a hamstring injury.

Normally you'd pick a wide receiver that was playing against the Rams in this spot, but as I mentioned earlier, Seattle doesn't have a single healthy, trustworthy wide receiver worth starting. So, for your final wide receiver pick this week, you should take a mild gamble on a quasi-non-obvious wide receiver. While it usually is best to avoid making riskier picks until later in the season when you've gotten a little more data, this week might be an exception. With your last wide receiver spot, go with one of the following four players: Dwayne Bowe (who plays Atlanta), Amani Toomer (who plays Cincinnati), Roddy White (who plays Kansas City), or Wes Welker (who plays Miami). I'm picking Toomer.

Tight Ends

John Carlson - While the Rams' defense did prevent Giant tight ends from catching a single pass in Week 2, this was mostly the result of the Giants trying to prove to former Giant tight end Jeremy Shockey that a football team can win without a tight end catching a pass. Carlson leads his team with ten catches, 130 yards and a touchdown through two games, and assuming the Seattle wide receiver injury curse doesn't spread to Seattle tight ends, he seems to be a safe bet for a minimum of five more catches in his Week 3 game against the Rams.

Vernon Davis - When picking tight ends, you should avoid tight ends that are prone to no-catch games. Guess how many catches Davis had in Week 2? Zero. Still, even though his latest effort might make you grimace, his matchup against Detroit begs to be exploited. If you've already used Carlson, roll the dice and take Davis against Detroit. 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz said that Davis' catch totals would "fluctuate," and while it would have been nice if Martz had been more specific about which particular games would feature multiple Davis catches, we'll have to guess he meant against Detroit.


Seattle Seahawks - The Eagles scored 11 fantasy points against the Rams' defense in Week 1. The Giants scored 19 fantasy points against the Rams' defense in Week 2. Assuming that the fantasy points scored against the Rams' defense continues to increase by eight, the Seahawks will score 27 points against the Rams' defense in Week 3.

New England Patriots - So far this year, the Miami Dolphins' offense has managed to score just three total touchdowns against the Jets and the Cardinals. The Patriot defense is capable of holding the Dolphins to fewer than 1.5 touchdowns in Week 3.


Olindo Mare - What a cool name. Olindo. Picking John Carney, the Giants' kicker, against the Rams' defense worked out pretty well last week, as he scored 11 points. Olindo and his cool name should score at least 11 points against the Rams' defense in Week 3. Olindo.

Billy Cundiff - The Kansas City Chiefs might be the worst team in the NFL. This week, however, they are playing an Atlanta team that also might be the worst team in the NFL. If Cundiff is your uncle and will be angry if you don't use him in this game, now is your chance to use him. But if you are not related to Cundiff, why on earth would you ever use him? You only need to pick twelve kickers in the regular season of this game, and Cundiff is clearly not a top-twelve option. And plus, why not just ride the kicker-against-the-Rams wave? If you don't want to pick Olindo for some reason, go with Rob Bironas against Houston or Steven Gostkowski against Miami. But not Cundiff. Sheesh. Whatever made you think Cundiff was a good idea?

The Sunday Night Football (SNF) Bonus Player (Dallas vs. Green Bay)

Tony Romo - While Aaron Rogers is becoming a sexier pick by the minute, Romo is still sexier than Rogers. Meaning Romo will score more fantasy points.

If you've been following my picks exactly, you had a big week last week and moved into a tie for 108th place overall. If you are currently ranked lower than 108th and want to pass all the loyal readers who are tied for 108th in the standings, don't worry, because that Jon Kitna pick I just made will probably backfire. Good luck this week, and don't forget to tune in next week to see which version of Tennes(s)peed Johnson's nickname wins.

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