Fantasy report

Is Titans quarterback Steve McNair one of the toughest players in the league?

Most definitely.

Do the Texans recognize that and plan to stop him?


"No matter how he's playing, he's going to go out there and lead and his team," Texans linebacker Jamie Sharper said.

According to Sharper, it's something about McNair's "pride as a player" that makes him so unique. He is a guy that will play with sore limbs, dislocated digits and bruised sternums.

And he'll play well. MVP well to be exact.

Of course, McNair hasn't been the fantasy stud in 2004 most people expected. He has missed one game because of injury (yeah, that rarely happens) and has benefited from a rejuvenated ground game with running back Chris Brown averaging more than five yards per carry.

But that doesn't make him any less dangerous.

McNair had one of his best games of 2003 last season in Nashville, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns. Last week in Green Bay he threw for just more than 200 yards and two touchdowns.

Brown rushed for 148 and a couple of scores in the game.

It's a revamped Titans offense, but it has the potential to be every bit as explosive with McNair calling the shots. By the way, he says he's as healthy as he has been since injuring his calf last season against the Atlanta Falcons.

McNair healthy? Is that possible?

Either way he'll be a challenge for the Texans linebackers and secondary. Forcing turnovers, including interceptions start up front with a pass rush.

Houston is familiar with big mobile quarterbacks after sacking Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper three times last week.

"They're both great quarterbacks," Texans linebacker Kailee Wong said. "You're talking about a co-MVP this week. He's a great quarterback. You have to stay disciplined. You have to stay in coverage and you have to do a good job in rush lanes. He's always a threat to make some kind of big play out of nothing."

FANTASY GAME BALLS:The 49ers won a game on the back of a quarterback Sunday and his name wasn't Montana or Young.

Yes, Tim Rattay has battled injuries this season, but you couldn't tell that from his performance against the Cardinals. Rattay threw for 417 yards and two touchdowns.

Chris Brown had perhaps one of the best rushing performances last weekend. He ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns (nearly 100 in the first quarter) against the Packers.

What made this special? The Packers knew about him coming in and had practiced all week to improve the run defense.

Now for the Texan Pride.

Quarterback David Carr threw for a career high 372 yards and three touchdowns Sunday in what was nearly a stunning come-from-behind upset of the Minnesota Vikings.

But he didn't do it alone.

The final game ball goes to Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson. For one, he had 170 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Two, he had some of the most amazing catches of the season.

RANT OF THE WEEK:Ok, so this should be a game ball. But how many people in the world of fantasy football have been hurt by the plethora of running backs pumping through Denver?

It could be a different guy every week.

Sunday it was Reuben Droughns (193 rushing yards and a receiving touchdown). Yes, it was a great performance. But this one is for all of you who have Tatum Bell or Quentin Griffin on your team.

Get online now before Droughns disappears off the wavier wire.

WHO TO START:It's been more than a month since the Texans defense allowed San Diego tight end Antonio Gates to haul in 123 receiving yards. Since then he has proven he is not a one hit wonder.

Gates had 93 yards and two touchdowns last week. He's facing a tough Atlanta defense this week, but that never seems to stop a player on a hot streak.

The 49ers got a win for the first time this season Sunday, but it will be tough to make it two in a row against the Jets. Chad Pennington threw for more than 300 yards last week and may do the same against a banged up San Francisco defense.

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