When you dig deep and sort through all the numbers and figures, stats can sometimes be downright surprising. Fantasy football is all about points and numbers. And this year, there are some big surprises. Remember, fantasy football and regular football are two totally different things. Fantasy football does not take the intangibles into account. And it's not like picking who you would want as a teammate. It is simply picking those who perform the best from a statistics standpoint, period! Some of the names at the top of the 2008 scoring sheet are expected. Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, is fourth in fantasy points so far this season, according to data on ESPN's site. Behind him are Denver quarterback Jay Cutler, a rising star in the NFL, and Marion Barber, the running back in Dallas' offensive machine. These guys have all done well before and produced solid numbers last year. To see them up there is not a shock. The top three are surprising to me, but they are names we've all heard before, and we can understand why they are up there. Philip Rivers, San Diego's quarterback, is third; Clinton Portis, Washington Redskin running back, is second. Tops on the list is the man who replaced Brett Favre in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers. However, to me, the biggest surprise is who is not at the top at this point in the season. Chicago running back Matt Forte and quarterback Kyle Orton are numbers 10 and 13, respectively. They are both ahead of Eli Manning and Peyton Manning, who has been struggling this year, as well as Favre, now with the Jets. It's also weird not to see Tom Brady's name up there, but understandable because his 2008 season ended almost as soon as it began due to an injury.
Another shocker is Kurt Warner. We all knew the guy could throw the ball, but entering training camp not many people expected him to be the starter. The job was Matt Leinart's to lose, and that looks like what happened. Since then, Warner, a two-time league MVP, has led the Cardinals to first place in their division with a 4-2 record, two wins better than their nearest opponent. It's all about the numbers. When looking at the market today, numbers are important as well. Recession fears are prevailing. After losing significant ground yesterday, the market is tanking to the tune of 300-plus points today as well, and it's still midday. Despite all the negativity, I am buying. I am adding to a position I mentioned in my column a month ago. McDonald's ( MCD) reported earnings that were strong on both the top and bottom lines in the third quarter. Shares were up ever so slightly just before noon. The company said it earned $1.19 billion, or $1.05 a share, in the third quarter. That's up from $1.07 billion, or 89 cents a share in the year-ago period. Analysts had been calling for 98 cents a share, so the reported numbers were a pleasant surprise for investors on a day when the market was hurting. Revenue also came in ahead of expectations. McDonald's said revenue grew by 6% to $6.27 billion in the period, up from $5.9 billion during the same quarter last year. Analysts had been expecting $6.18 billion in revenue. This is a good company and a place I feel good about putting my money right now. Last month when I said I was buying this stock, it was trading near $63. Today, after one brutal month, it is trading near $55.20. To me, that means I can grab more shares at a bargain price. The earnings were strong, and the company's stat sheet looks solid as well. I noted them last time so I won't rehash them all here again. However, this company should help you chew up some serious yardage. Keep moving the chains!