Can Brady lead his bunch to victory?
The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns are two teams going in opposite directions. The Ravens have gone from a defense first, run second team, to an air assault. Sophomore QB Joe Flacco has 497 yards and 5 TDs through two games. Meanwhile, rookie QB (well he's technically not a rookie) Brady Quinn is off to a poor start after losing to the Vikes and Broncos. Unfortunately, I don't see this being the week they break out and put one in the win column. On the bright side, WR Braylon Edwards is stepping up his game, and managing to hold onto the ball. Coach Eric Mangini needs to put some fire in his running game and give rookie James Davis the pigskin. The Ravens have been solid defensively giving up very little fantasywise to RBs, WRs or TEs, but they have surrendered the 5th most points to QBs. So Sunday is Quinn's day to show something. The Browns by contrast have been defensively tight against QBs and receivers. They have been terrible at stopping the run.
Start 'em-- Ravens: Joe Flacco, Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, Team Defense -- Browns-- Braylon Edwards
Sit 'em-- Ravens: Derrick Mason -- Browns: Team Defense
Sleeper-- The Browns, Joshua Cribbs is always a candidate to break out at WR, on special teams, or as a QB in the wildcat.
Key Injuries-- None
Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions
23 - 13
So which Houston Texans team will we see in week 3? The one that got shutdown by the Jets defense or the one that air bombed the Titans defense? The Jacksonville Jaguars have been terrible against the pass through two games. Seventh worst against wide receivers. Texans WR Andre Johnson is averaging 125 yards per game at home over their last nine contests. The Texans run defense is dead last, and the Titans' Chris Johnson blew them up last week. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew has a 5.4 YPC average against the Texans for his career.
Start 'em-- Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew -- Houston Texans: Steve Slaton, Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson
Sit e'm-- Jaguars Defense
Sleeper-- Jags WR Michael Sims-Walker looked good last week.
Key Injuries-- Texans WR Kevin Walter is still questionable to play
Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams
24 - 21
There’s simply no way Brady doesn’t get on track this week, right? They’re back at home Foxboro, he’s had a week to feel his shame, and pump himself up. The Atlanta Falcons defense isn’t nearly what the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets threw at him. While I argued the other day that Brady has gone back to being an average Joe QB, he’s still a pretty crafty average Joe. He will find a way this week to clip the Falcons’ wings and put a legitimate W in the win column for the Pats. Wes Welker may not be back in action this week, as he has not participated in practice, but Jason Edelman has shown he can play the part. Brady had no problem throwing the ball last week, he just couldn’t finish. Randy Moss will score this week. Look for the Pats to establish the run game against a hurting Atlanta rush defense. I predict Falcons’ DL John Abraham and Kroy Biermann will sack Brady in this game. The Patriots have not lost a regular season game to an NFC team in their last 15 contests.
Start ‘em– Pats: Tom Brady, Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk and Randy Moss -- Falcons: Matt Ryan, and Tony Gonzalez.
Sit ‘em– Falcons: Roddy White (He’s bound to break out soon, but the Pats have been very stingy to WRs so far). <strong> </strong>
Sleeper– The Falcons have allowed 300 total yards to running backs in their first 2 games, including 11 receptions for 75 yards. Kevin Faulk could have a nice day.
Key Injuries-- WR Wes Welker may be out, LB Jerod Mayo is definitely out.
Tennessee Titans at New York Jets
20 - 16
The Buffalo Bills should be 2-0 to start this season, and their defense and back-up running back Fred Jackson are the prime reasons why they almost won against the Pats, and did beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is fantasy Fred’s last week to make his place on the field more permanent when Marshawn Lynch returns from suspension in week 4. The Bills have allowed 5 receiving TDs through two games, ironically none to wide receivers. Four have gone to TEs (two in each game), against whom the Bills are ranked dead last so far. Saints TE Jeremy Shockey and his owners have to be delirious. Saints QB Drew Brees already has 9 touchdown passes, and he has hit 10 different targets through two weeks. Buffalo hunting season opens this Sunday. The Saints are 25th against the pass, so Bills WRs Terrell Owens and Lee Evans should see more receptions this week, but I expect the Bills to try and slow New Orlean’s air assault by using RB Fred Jackson to control the clock.
Sit ‘em– No one, this should be an offensive explosion on both sides
Sleeper– WR Devery Henderson could put up another big day as he did against Detroit in week one. For the Saints, RB Pierre Thomas returns this week with something to prove, and Mike Bell likely sidelined.
Key Injuries– RB Mike Bell and WR Lance Moore have not practiced this week for the Saints.
Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers
24 - 20
The New York Giants have looked pretty powerful without their longtime star wide receiver, Plaxico Burress, and the fact that stud RB Brandon Jacobs has barely eclipsed 100 yards and has 3.3 YPC average. As loathe as I am to say it, much of the credit goes to the maturation of QB Eli Manning. The rest goes to the stout defense. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been victims of their own defense. Even coach Raheem Morris called it "a mess" after last week's loss to the Bills. On paper this looks like an easy Giants win, but here's why the Bucs can beat them: QB Byron Leftwich has actually been fairly solid. He's passed for 572 yards and 4 TDs. Derrick Ward is back to face the team that let him go, and the Giants defense keeps taking injury after injury. The latest being DE Justin Tuck, who is questionable to play. If the Bucs can limit their turnovers, they can beat the Giants.
Start 'em-- Giants: Eli Manning, Mario Manningham, Steve Smith -- Bucs: Cadillac Williams, Kellen Winslow
Sit 'em-- Giant's WR Domenik Hixon will likely play, but if he does, he's been invisible so far
Sleeper-- Bucs WR Michael Clayton
Key Injuries-- Giants: Hakeem Nicks -- Bucs: Antonio Bryant and Cadillac Williams. All three have missed practice this week. If Williams plays, I predict an upset.
Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles
17 - 7
The San Francisco 49ers are a surprising 2-0, as are the Minnesota Vikings. The difference is, it was expected of the Vikes once Brett Favre signed on. RB Adrian Peterson already has 272 rushing yards and 4 TDs. The San Francisco defense has allowed less than 100 rushing yards, and no rushing TDs. Who will blink first? In their last meeting Peterson ended with 3 yards on 14 carries. Favre has yet to show off his old gunslinger ways, and he may need to this week. 49ers RB Frank Gore has been the team's offense so far, but the Vikes rush defense looks to end that, meaning QB Shaun Hill is going to have to get something going through the air.
Start 'em-- 49ers: Frank Gore, Vernon Davis -- Vikes: Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin
Sit 'em-- Adrian Peterson (Yes, it's a gutsy call, but I think he'll have a bad day)
Sleeper-- 49ers: I think WR Josh Morgan could finally do something -- Vikes: RB Chester Taylor will succeed where A.P. fails this week
Key Injuries-- Percy Harvin's been ill but should play
Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks
34 - 10
The Pittsburgh Steelers lost last week to the Chicago Bears by a foot. Jeff Reed's to be exact. He missed two field goals, which cost them the game. The Steelers once vaunted running game has hit a wall, and QB Ben Roethlisberger must use his arm to get the team down the field. Ben find Ohio much to his liking as he's 11-0 all time against the Bengals and Browns on the road. Cincinnati Bengals QB Carson Palmer is getting his mojo back, but don't expect another 28 point drubbing like they gave the Packers. Even without Troy Polamalu, the Steel Curtain should close on the Bengals this week. The one chance the Bengals have is getting Big Ben on his back, and the way he holds onto the ball, look for sacks leader Antwan Odom to put at least one more on his stats.
Sit 'em-- The RBs: Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhal and Cedric Benson
Sleeper-- Chris Henry
Key Injuries-- None
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
17 - 12
It's a shootout in the desert. This match-up should be high scoring, and defense be damned. Of course now they'll have a field goal defensive game to defy the odds. Neither team has a great running game right now. The Arizona Cardinals have made better use of their RBs as pass receivers than runners. The Indianapolis Colts have had a bit more luck running the ball, but not by much. However, the Cards rush defense is one of the best so far, while the Colts is one of the worst. If you have Larry Fitzgerald, Dallas Clark, Anquan Boldin or Reggie Wayne, or either QB- cha ching! Cards QB Kurt Warner looked great last week against the Jags, but this week he faces the league's top-ranked pass defense. It should be an exciting Sunday night game.
Start 'em-- Everybody but the defenses
Sit 'em-- RBs Joseph Addai and Beanie Wells
Sleeper-- RB Tim Hightower
Key Injuries-- WR Anthony Gonzalez is out for several more weeks
Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys lost a tight one on a last minute field goal to the Giants in their home opener, and QB Tony Romo threw three interceptions. Carolina Panthers QB Jake Delhomme already has five interceptions. This game has all the makings of a snoozer. The Cowboys have the top ranked rushing attack, but leader Marion Barber could miss the game due to injury. The Panthers have a great dou of backs in deAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart, but they haven't been on fire like they were last season. Look for both teams to run the ball a lot. The Cowboys have a better air assault and that's what will prove to be the difference.
Start 'em-- Cowboys: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Felix Jones -- Panthers, Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams
Sit 'em-- Jake Delhomme, Mushin Mohammad
Sleeper-- RB Tashard Choice. If Barber doesn't play Choice will be the go to guy
Key Injuries-- Marion Barber