Detroit @ Green Bay - The Lions offense is surprisingly ranked in the top ten in both rushing and passing, the fact that a lot of those yards have been piled up in meaningless fourth quarters doesn't matter to fantasy owners. What does matter this week is the questionable injury status of both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Stafford isn't worth the risk of a starting spot, but keep a close eye on Johnson's status right up until game-time as he lit up the Packer's defense in both games last season. If he plays, no matter how banged up, he is a must start this week. Kevin Smith is a coin toss start this week. Both he and the Green Bay run defense have been up and down all year. While the Packers did a nice job containing Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson, they also gave up big games to Cedric Benson and Steven Jackson.
During the Packers bye week they attempted to fill their most glaring need by bringing back OT Mark Tauscher. If Tauscher can be any help in giving Aaron Rodgers more time it will be great news for owners of both Rodgers and Greg Jennings, who hasn't had much time to get deep so far this year. Ryan Grant is a good start this week at home against the 22nd ranked, and badly beat-up, Detroit rush defense.
Stafford/Culpepper - 250 passing yards 2 TD 2 INT
Kevin Smith - 80 total yards
Calvin Johnson - 5 receptions 120 yards 1 TD
Bryant Johnson - 5 receptions 80 yards
Brandon Pettigrew - 4 receptions 40 yards 1 TD
Aaron Rodgers- 250 passing yards 2 TDs
Ryan Grant - 120 total yards 1 TD
Greg Jennings - 4 receptions 70 yards
Donald Driver - 6 receptions 100 yards 1 TD
Jermichael Finley - 3 receptions 30 yards 1 TD
Final Score - Green Bay 24, Detroit 20
Baltimore @ Minnesota - This looks to be the Vikings first real test of the season. Baltimore gave up their first 100-yard rushing game to Cedric Benson last week, and Adrian Peterson will be trying to make it two in a row after a couple of lackluster yardage performances. Look for Brett Favre to throw some deep balls this week and Baltimore has been vulnerable downfield this season. The only problem is, with Favre, you never know which receiver will be the recipient. Bernard Berrian and Favre have been making some progress getting on the same page, but Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin are tied for the team lead with 233 yards each.
Clearly the Ravens will have to get Joe Flacco going early to create some space against that imposing Minnesota run defense. Flacco has responded well when asked to carry the team this year, but this will be the best defense the young QB has ever faced. Left Tackle Jared Gaither still isn't 100% which is bad news, with Jared Allen on the other side Flacco will need all the protection he can get. The best bet on the Ravens offense is probably Todd Heap. Minnesota has surrendered more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any team in the league this year.
Joe Flacco- 275 passing yards 2 TDs 1 INT
Ray Rice - 80 total yards
Willis McGahee - 50 total yards
Derrick Mason - 5 receptions 90 yards
Kelley Washington - 3 receptions 50 yards 1 TD
Todd Heap - 7 receptions 80 yards 1 TD
Brett Favre- 250 passing yards 2 TDs
Adrian Peterson - 90 total yards
Sidney Rice - 4 receptions 80 yards 1 TD
Berrian/Harvin - 4 receptions 60 yards (each)
Visanthe Shiancoe - 5 receptions 60 yards 1 TD
Final Score - Baltimore 23, Minnesota 20
NY Giants @ New Orleans - The Giants' receiver have answered all of the questions coming into the season. Steve Smith and Mario Manningham have emerged as solid fantasy starters and rookie Hakeem Nicks has come up with big plays in the last two games. A balanced receiving corps is what Eli Manning needed to finally become a fantasy stud. Ahmad Bradshaw's play has made a difficult situation for owners of him and Brandon Jacobs. From week to week either guy could carry the load, but I would still count on Jacobs to find he end zone more often.
The Saints are coming off a big win, a bye week , and playing at home against the one NFC team many pundits rank ahead of them. Injuries should finally catch up with the Giants defense this week against by far the best offense they've faced. Drew Brees has been disappointing to fantasy owners in his last two games, but New Orleans will have to throw to win this one. The Saints will have a full stable of healthy backs for the first time this year with Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell coming out of the bye week 100%. I wouldn't buy too much into the Mike Bell hype however, Thomas has proved over the past two weeks that he is the best running back on the team and Bell will be regulated to a reserve role.
Eli Manning- 280 passing yards 3 TDs
Brandon Jacobs - 80 total yards
Ahmad Bradshaw - 80 total yards
Steve Smith - 7 receptions 100 yards 1 TD
Mario Manningham- 5 receptions 80 yards 2 TDs
Drew Brees- 300 passing yards 2 TDs 1 INT
Pierre Thomas- 120 total yards 2 TDs
Marques Colston - 5 receptions 100 yards 1 TD
Devery Henderson - 3 receptions 75 yards 1 TD
Jeremy Shockey - 4 receptions 50 yards
Final Score - New Orleans 34, NY Giants 27
Carolina @ Tampa Bay - After a bad start for the Panthers, things aren't looking quite so bleak anymore. An 0-3 start looked like the end, but they got their first win last week and with Tampa Bay and Buffalo on the schedule Carolina has a good chance to even their record up at 3-3. The Buccaneers defense should be just the medicine Jake Delhomme and the ailing Panther offense needs to get on track. If Delhomme can just get through one game without an interception it should do wonders for his confidence and the Panthers can get back to their smash-mouth style rather than playing catch-up for 3 quarters.
Kellen Winslow is the lone bright spot on this Buccaneers team that hasn't done much on offense this year. Josh Johnson provides some excitement with his legs but Byron Leftwich is clearly the superior QB. This is a lost season for the Bucs though, so don't be surprised if we see Josh Freeman in the imminent future.
Jake Delhomme - 200 passing yards
DeAngelo Williams - 100 total yards 1 TD
Jonathan Stewart - 100 total yards 1 TD
Steve Smith - 5 receptions 100 yards
Josh Johnson- 200 passing yards 50 rushing yards 1 TD 2 INTs
Cadillac Williams - 75 total yards
Derrick Ward - 70 total yards
Kellen Winslow - 6 receptions 80 yards 1 TD
Final Score - Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 10
Kansas City @ Washington - Matt Cassel finally looked like he deserved to be the starting QB last week, but without a defense or a running game the Chiefs will have a hard time winning games all year. Cassel has a decent matchup against the reeling Redskins, but if you don't have better options at QB all I can say is I'm sorry. Dwayne Bowe remains the only solid starting options for KC.
Why doesn't Dan Snyder just fire Jim Zorn already? Everyone, including the Redskin players, knows its a foregone conclusion. I am predicting for the third week in a row that this will be Zorn's last game. No Redskins are solid fantasy plays because of the unpredictability and general ineptitude of Zorn's offense.
Matt Cassel- 260 passing yards 30 rushing yards 2 TDs
Johnson/Charles - 50 total yards (each)
Dwayne Bowe - 6 receptions 100 yards 2 TD
Jason Campbell- 250 passing yards 1 TD 2 INTs
Clinton Portis - 100 total yards
Santana Moss - 4 receptions 80 yards
Chris Cooley - 7 receptions 70 yards
Final Score - Kansas City 17, Washington 7
Arizona @ Seattle - This should be a good divisional matchup between two pretty similar teams. Both have veteran QBs that can light-up the scoreboard, but both have also had some trouble running the ball. Nate Burleson seems to be the receiver benefiting most from Matt Hasselbeck's return from injury, although the entire Seattle offense gets a huge upgrade with him back under center. Julius Jones hasn't been very good, but he has managed to find the end zone three times which gives him some value.
Of course we all expect big numbers from Kurt Warner and the entire Cardinal passing attack, but sooner or later Beanie Wells is going to burst onto the scene. He may be on the waiver wire in your league, and if he is clear some space and stash him on your bench because if he does get it going this year his fantasy potential is too high for him to be a free agent.
Kurt Warner- 300 passing yards 3 TDs 1 INT
Tim Hightower - 80 total yards
Beanie Wells - 60 totals yards
Larry Fitzgerald - 6 receptions 110 yards 1 TD
Anquan Boldin- 8 receptions 90 yards 2 TDs
Steve Breaston - 4 receptions 80 yards
Matt Hasselbeck- 280 passing yards 2 TDs
Julius Jones - 60 total yards 1 TD
Nate Burleson - 6 receptions 80 yards 1 TD
TJ Houshmandzedah - 8 receptions 80 yards
John Carlson - 4 receptions 40 yards 1 TD
Final Score - Seattle 31, Arizona 30
- Touchdown Turner could have some trouble this week
Chicago @ Atlanta - The Bears, especially Jay Cutler, have rebounded very nicely since that week one loss in Green Bay. They are hoping that Matt Forte will start carrying more of the load again after a nice game before the bye week. Both Forte and Cutler could be in for good games against an Atlanta defense still trying to find itself. Johnny Knox and Devin Hester add the downfield element Chicago fans have been craving for years, but the inconsistent nature of the deep ball makes them good starts only in deeper leagues.
Michael Turner, much like he did last season, scored his points in bulk last week. After lighting up a good 49er defense last week you would expect similar success at home against the Bears, but Turner has rarely produced consecutive big games. Clearly he is a must-start each week, but the Bears held him to just 54 yards on 22 carries last season. Roddy White also had a huge game in San Fran, making up for his slow start with 220 yards and 2 TDs. He seems more likely to repeat a big game this week.
Jay Cutler- 275 passing yards 3 TDs 1 INT
Matt Forte - 130 total yards 1 TD
Earl Bennett - 7 receptions 80 yards 1 TD
Hester/Knox - 3 receptions 75 yards (each) 1 TD
Greg Olsen - 3 receptions 30 yards 1 TD
Matt Ryan- 300 passing yards 2 TDs
Michael Turner- 90 total yards 2 TDs
Roddy White - 6 receptions 100 yards 1 TD
Tony Gonzalez - 4 receptions 60 yards 1 TD
Final Score - Atlanta 37, Chicago 35