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Week 5

Week 5
Sunday - 1:00 PM EST Sunday, 4:00 PM EST
NYG at DAL - CB ARI at SF - AD
TB at NO - CB BUF at NYJ - CB
CLE at PIT - AD JAX at SD - CB
MIA at NE - AD Sunday - 8:30 PM EST
  Monday - 9:00 PM EST
  TEN at GB - AD

Bye Weeks: Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Philadelphia

Last Week's Projections
(7-7) Straight Up - 50.0%
(8-5-1) Against The Spread - 61.5%

For The Season
(37-23) Straight Up - 61.6%
(34-25-1) Against The Spread - 57.6%

N.Y. Giants at Dallas (-3 ˝), 1:00 pm
The Giants showed something last week as they knocked off the Pack. They were a 7-point underdog and those of you who didn't get in on that should be shot. The G-Men have been playing very well of late and the Pack defense has weakened. They have not been the same since that beating they gave Carolina in Week 1. Tiki Barber laid the smack down on the Pack with a 182-yard effort on the ground. Warner didn't look all too impressive with a TD and a pick. But the Giants defense was surprisingly effective with only allowing 1 TD to a pretty good Pack offense. I think the offense will have a tough time against this D. However Barber and Shockey should be good starts. I think they will lose pretty soundly though.

The Cowboys coming off a bye week should be refreshed and ready to go. It really seems as though the Tuna has decided to go with more passing this year as Vinny is having 300 yards games with regularity. I suppose he still has a little left in the tank. Make no mind that he uses a cane to walk and Viagra to do other things. Who would have thought this old bastard would be this good? Amazing. A collection of oldies but goodies but they are doing the job. Vinny, Key, Glenn, and the Cowboys D all good starts this week. Read an article about Key in ESPN the Magazine. He is a jerk but I think Gruden is a bigger jerk. Gruden probably wished he had that to do over again.

Final Score: Cowboys 20, Giants 14

Oakland (+ 9)at Indianapolis, 1:00 pm
Oakland huh? What an egg they laid last week in Houston. Pathetic. Just when you think this team is ready to turn the corner they turn into the old Raiders. Mistakes and plenty of them. Two picks and two fumbles for Collins. That is not going to get it done. How can you let Jonathon Wells light you up for 100? Isn't he a fullback? Hey I am the first to say the Texans are improved but gosh they could have put on a better show than that. Zereoue was pulled off the scrap heap and inserted in with a good result. 117 he burned the Texans for and a couple of scores. They need to find more offense and stop getting gashed on defense. I think the Colts have way too much firepower. Start Collins or Zereoue if you have to. Wheatley probably just lost his starting spot.

The Colts pulled off another big time win on the road in Jacksonville last week. So much for the highly touted Jaguars defense. They were burned early and never really got back on track. However they kept James and Harrison under 100 and Manning to "only" two TDS. The Colts have to be concerned with their pass defense though. They are the worst in the league giving up whopping 313 yards per game. They are second in the league with TD passes against with 8. Not good numbers at all. It could be a result of how quickly the offense scores but I don't think so. They just have a horrible secondary and they don't put a lot of pressure on the QB with only 7 sacks. In any event, I think they will overcome those obstacles and beat the Raiders just not by 9.

Final Score: Colts 28, Raiders 24

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-3), 1:00 pm
Tampa let me down last week with another weak performance by Brad Johnson. He only had 162 yards and managed a TD. Is completion % is ok but his TD to INT ratio is 1/1. That is not good I this offense which you have to avoid the mistake. They do not have the game breakers that can get you out of a jam when you get behind. This team was built to keep and close and let the defense do the job. The defense did a good job against the Broncos but they need more scoring. Hence Tampa's decision to go with Simms this week. I think Simms has the bigger upside but will struggle in the beginning. He is not Mr. Pressure and his first start will have plenty of it. Look for the offense to struggle again and lost this game. Start Pittman, as he seems to want to play for a contract. I love those kind of guys.

The Saints are the "Sible" of football. I have never seen a team that hates prosperity more than the guys from New Orleans. After the embarrassing loss to a hapless Cardinals team QB Brooks said that "major" changes needed to be made for the Saints to reach the next level. One of those may be him as he has never been a big game QB and probably never will. Great talent but a consistent under-achiever. How does a team allow a man that has gray hair for gosh sakes to rush for 127 yards?? They gave up over 200 yards to Smith and the castoff Hambrick. That has got to change if this team wants to make the playoffs. Getting smoked by 24 points when you are a four point fav ain't going to get it done. However, I think that the Saints will be motivated and certainly have more offensive talent than the Bucs. They should end up winning this game by 5. Brooks, Horn, Stecker (if need be) should be good starts.

Final Score: Saints 21, Bucs 16

Cleveland (+6) at Pittsburgh, 1:00 pm
These teams are a combined 5-3 and have done it mostly with smoke and mirrors. I think there's some fantasy points to be had, but I wouldn't expect studly numbers from anybody except IDP in this one.

The Browns finally got to show off their prospective back of the future in Lee Suggs, who turned in a solid performance last week. My brother Dan took Suggs halfway through our draft and isn't necessarily singing his praises just yet. But I think Suggs will have serviceable numbers against the Steelers who are not as strong against the run as they once were. Look for close to 100 and a score, just don't count on anything too ridiculous. Garcia's probably a good guy to stay away from this week if you have options in the 200 yard, 2 TD range. As far as receivers, I really can't handle the inconsistency of any of these guys, and the best piece of advice I can give you is not to draft any of them with high expectations. DB Robert Griffith is the best IDP option and will continue to be as long as the front seven struggle. Without DL Courtney Brown, there's nothing to slow these guys up for linebackers Andra Davis and Kevin Bentley, the best other options. Former Dallas bust Ebenezer Ekuban might be finding his groove, with a couple sacks and decent tackle totals for a defensive end. I think Kenard Lang will struggle to post more multi-sack games, the only situations which give him lots of fantasy value, but this is another opportunity since Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked four times in two games and will probably go down at at least twice on Sunday.

The Steelers are a confusing bunch, and even Jerome Bettis is emerging as a great #3 running back despite limited use. Duce Staley owners must be at the end of their ropes, watching him come off the field near the goal line. Some unlucky owners may even be having Stacey Mack flashbacks from a few years ago. Roethlisberger is too much of a risk because of his inexperience, but I would continue to play Hines Ward all the time and the sometimes great Plaxico Burress in certain situations - just not Sunday. I hate to say it, but Ward and kicker Jeff Reed are the most consistent fantasy options on this team. Even the defense has been inconsistent, with Joey Porter having just one decent IDP game. Safety Troy Polamalu, a 2003 1st round pick has 30 tackles and two INTs in four games, while 2002 4th round pick Larry Foote has 28 tackles and a sack at linebacker in place of the oft-injured Kendrell Bell. LB James Farrior, DB Deshea Townsend and DL Aaron Smith represent the best other fantasy options (which are a lot different than just a few years ago).

Final Score: Browns 16 Steelers 13

Detroit (+7) at Atlanta, 1:00 pm
Atlanta spent the first three weeks beating three teams from the NFC West (but not Seattle) and just last week polished off the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers with more sterling defensive play. Peter King, who looks an awful lot like George Wendt ("Norm" from Cheers) stated the obvious in his column this week by saying Atlanta is doing it with their front seven, especially their lineman - Patrick Kerney, Brady Smith and Rod Coleman. These guys should wreak havoc on Detroit QB Joey Harrington, who has been known to throw a few picks when he's not taking 10-yard sacks.

Which reminds me that I haven't written a limerick in a while. This should be posted on the Atlanta bulletin board.

Have you heard from that Harrington kid? The Atlanta front four split his lid He got hit by Pat Kerney, ended up on a gurney - while the Detroit offensive line hid.

The Falcons should get good games here from Mike Vick and Peerless Price, who is definitely due. Saying Price has been relatively quiet this year would be an understatement, and I think it's about time he had some catches and a score. The guy just hasn't been the same since he blew up in 2002 for Buffalo (94-1,252/9TDs). If Warrick Dunn's hamstring is healthy come game time, he should be played, and I actually like T.J. Duckett this week if Dunn can't go. Alge Crumpler is always a must-play. As far as IDP goes, there's the incomparable Kerney, safety Bryan Scott, and LB Keith Brooking. Don't expect CB Kevin Mathis to keep up his current pace with tackles - and remember that the INT for TD return skews his IDP numbers. And Chris Draft will never be a consistent IDP option because of his asthma.

The Lions, given the situation with the stalwart Atlanta defense, have two decent offensive fantasy options - rookie WR Roy Williams and kicker Jason Hanson. On defense, this is a good week to go with LB Earl Holmes and safety Brock Marion. Stay away from everybody else, because Vick might take matters into his on hands and run wild this week, rendering the defensive line and outside linebackers useless.

Final Score: Falcons 30, Lions 13

Miami (+13.5) at New England, 1:00 pm
The New England Patriots are trying to break the NFL record for consecutive wins, co-owned by the Miami Dolphins. Regardless of the situation with the Artist Formerly Known As Dreadlocks, the Miami organization has a lot of pride. I think the Fins defense will show up to play, but unfortunately, they have no help on the other side of the football. The Pats are too good and the Miami offense won't get 200 yards of total offense. The Dolphins will struggle to put points up and can't cover the spread.

The Patriots have the best pressure quarterback in football in Tom Brady, who continues to fart on blitzes with his presence, great reads and pinpoint accuracy. Play Brady, Corey Dillon (the Pats should grab an early lead) and any Pats receiver you feel like playing. I picked up David Patten and played him when it was determined Branch was still hurt, and all he did was grab 5 for 113 and a score. Not too shabby. If Branch is back, he'll limit Patten's numbers, but it seems that Brady distributes the football like a pimply bus boy dishes out crab legs at a buffet - everybody gets some. I'm also reminded of that scene in Full Metal Jacket, when Matt Modine is sitting with the guy in the copter, who's mowing down Viet Cong indiscriminately with a machine gun. "Get some!" Get some!" Very scary. But so is Tom Brady. I'll say it again - I drafted Daniel Graham with my SECOND-TO-LAST pick in the draft, and he's got four touchdowns in three games. Are you people in my league listening, or just making yearly contributions to the Antonio D'Arcangelis weekend binge drinking fund? I sometimes wonder. On defense, there's not a lot of rhyme or reason from game to game. Belichick's defense is so solid it could be anybody that stands out in IDP on any given Sunday. Last week was a good game to play Richard Seymour, and he had a great game. Take another shot at Seymour, and stick with safety Rodney Harrison, LB Mike Vrabel, LB Tedy Bruschi and S Eugene Wilson, who shows no signs of slowing down. LBs Rosy Colvin, Willie McGinest and Roman Phifer are pretty good too, but you can't start the entire Patriots defense, can you? Now that I think about it, the Patriots have the best names for defensive players of any team in the history of football.

The Dolphins should pray. Start TE Randy McMichael and no one else on offense. For IDP purposes, it's safe to play Zach Thomas, Junior Seau and Sammy Knight, but I would stay away from Jason Taylor this week since Brady can't be sacked.

Final Score: Patriots 24, Dolphins 10

Minnesota (-4.5) at Houston, 1:00 pm
This is not a very difficult game to analyze, as most Vikings games have been easy to predict this year from a fantasy production perspective. Now that I say that, this game will most certainly be peculiar.

The Vikings aren't going to find it easy to run the ball, since Michael Bennett is still hurt, Onterrio Smith is serving his four-game suspension, and Moe Williams is still dinged up. That leaves Mewelde Moore, who might get the start. I'd stay away from the entire running back corps with all that confusion, because Minnesota will undoubtedly stick to the passing game. Culpepper will be a marked man, and should field lots of blitzes. But he's a stud, and along with Moss is a must-start every week. If you're hurting at WR, Nate Burleson is a decent option with the Vikes going heavy on the passing this week. IDP options include DB Antoine Winfield, LB Dontarrius Thomas and DB Corey Chavous. The Vikings have yet to pick off a pass this year and they are due.

The Texans are now playing pretty good football and have the luxury this week of concentrating on defending the pass. The only problem is that even with an elevated Randy Ratio, it's still tough to top, especially with Culpepper's ability to shed would-be tacklers and run for 50+ and multiple TDs by himself. If they can get to Culpepper and create some turnovers, Houston has a chance. QB David Carr is due to throw a few picks, and with uncertainty in the backfield, I'd stay away from the Texans RBs this week unless you KNOW who's going to get the carries on Sunday. Wells is playing well and would be my best bet. Play Andre Johnson this week - since he's due for another score - and think carefully about Corey Bradford, who missed the last game with a shoulder injury. I have LB Jamie Sharper and it was nice to see him finally show up with that HUGE play against Oakland. I called up Dan, who is a die-hard Raiders fan, after it happened and he started babbling about the tuck rule, as Raiders fans often do. Sharper's bound to get a sack this week and register his fair share of tackles, although LBs Jay Foreman and Kailee Wong have been good as well. DBs Marcus Coleman and Aaron Glenn should also get some tackles this week as the secondary will see lots of action and might get an INT or two.

Final Score: Vikings 30, Texans 24

Arizona (+1) at San Francisco, 4:15 pm
Emmitt Smith truly reminds me of Bernie Williams, but unlike Bernie - who ought to be euthanized - Emmitt can still perform and has silenced critics once again by turning back the clock and kicking out a 100-yard game. He even threw a touchdown pass, for God's sake, and has a perfect passer rating - 158.3 - for his career. Emmitt has three touchdowns in four games, and he should get another against San Francisco.

The Cardinals are a pesky bunch and have had some good fantasy performers this year, but I've seen nothing to change my original take on QB Josh McCown. A lot of sites will tell you to start McCown this week because of the San Fran matchup, but you won't find a recommendation like that from me. If anything, Denny Green will get frustrated by early turnovers from McCown and pull him in favor of Shaun King. A big yes to WR Larry Fitzgerald and TE Freddie Jones, but sit everybody else. The best IDPs are D-backs - CB David Macklin and stud safety Adrian Wilson. CB Duane Starks is out with a shoulder injury.

The Niners have an opportunity to get a win here and should take it seriously, running Kevan Barlow a lot and distributing the ball wisely to WR Cedrick Wilson and TE Eric Johnson. WR Curtis Conway looks good to some, but I think he'll get shut down by the capable Cards D-backs, who will have a tougher time keeping up with the younger, fresher Wilson, who is now healthy. If you don't have a better option than QB Tim Rattay, I feel bad for you. IDP options include safety Tony Parrish and LB Julian Peterson. LB Derek Smith is doubtful (ankle injury) and has anybody seen Jamie Winborn making tackles this year? He's only got 10 in four games, but that should change with Smith most likely down for this week.

Final Score: Niners 23, Cards 17

Carolina (+5.5) at Denver, 4:15 pm
Denver's getting it done while Carolina is not, although it's tough to say why. In this week's version of "The Two Jakes," we'll see Plummer and Delhomme instead of Jack Nicholson running around with Harvey Keitel trying to follow up on the masterful "Chinatown."

The Panthers are most definitely missing Steve Smith, who was both a great possession receiver and big play threat, so that's one reason. DeShaun Foster has been a more than capable handcuff for Stephen Davis, and I would keep playing him unless you have better options, since Davis is still questionable. Jake Delhomme hasn't been bad, he's just got limited options in WR Muhsin Muhammed, TE Kris Mangum and rookie Keary Colbert. Muhammed has done some stuff but will be shut down by Champ Bailey this week. Stay away from Delhomme and all the receivers. LB Dan Morgan, safety Mike Minter and DL Julius Peppers have been the best so far in IDP, so stick with them. Mike Rucker's probably good for a sack.

The Broncos have running back issues and will most likely try to pass. But I think that spells some turnovers from both sides and an otherwise broken fantasy game. QB Jake Plummer has been good, but the Carolina pass rush might spell disaster with sacks and INTs. Quentin Griffin has done next to nothing since his otherworldly Week 1 performance and is nursing a sore ankle and bruised ego. With Garrison Hearst's ankle also dinged, it might be the week to take a chance and break out Tatum Bell, although that maneuver is not for the faint of heart since Griffin will most likely play and the Broncos have been running Reuben Droughns. looks like more of the same this year from "Head Crotch" Mike Shanahan, too, who muddles his messages and seems hell-bent on annoying fantasy owners. IDP options include DBs Kenoy Kennedy and John Lynch and LBs Al Wilson, D.J. Williams and Donnie Spragan, in that order. DT Monsanto Pope has 13 solo tackles a sack in four games, but Marco Coleman is still the better option on the Denver D-line.

Final Score: Broncos 17 Panthers 13

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets (+6 ˝), 4:05 pm
Buffalo held their own against the Pats last week. Eric Moulds decided he was going to play this week and caught 126 yards worth of balls. That offensive line is terrible. Allowing an unbelievable 7 sacks on the lead-footed Bledsoe. What a waste of air this guy is. As his former pupil Brady was throwing 40 yard bombs over his head and Brady never hit the turf. Zero sacks for the Bills defense. Bledsoe had to be jealous. Interceptions and fumbles for TDS. That will kill a team. Henry had close to 100 and played really well against a good (but not really good) run defense. The Bills looked lost and couldn't stop anyone as their defense got gashed as much as some vixen on the old 80's horror films. Train Pennington and Martin is coming through this week.

The Jets have suddenly turned into a running team with C-Mart turning in another beauty performance with a 110 yard effort against a good Miami D. Pennington was not all that hot with only 143 yards and no TDS. I think Miami might be the worse team in the league and has a real shot at not winning a game this year. I would love to see it. The Jets D caused 4 Dolphins turnovers and pretty much took over the game. Not much of a test for the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets. This week will be tougher but Martin will roll. Might be time to bench Santana Moss with one catch against the Dolphins he hasn't smelled the 100 yard mark all year. No touchdowns yet. Really disappointing.

Final Score: Jets 27, Bills 13

Jacksonville at San Diego (+3), 4:05 pm
Sometimes my reasoning has no logic. Just gut feeling. Jacksonville although they did not play bad against Manning and the Colts they did not define themselves. Something about this team tells me they are due for a letdown. Leftwich had a good game with over 300 yards passing and Taylor had an ok game with 69 yards. Put something is missing. I don't know maybe no real playmakers on offense. It just seems they don't have the big play ability. Maybe I am reaching but I watch that entire Colts game and I kept wondering how this team was 3-0. To make a long story short I think they will lose.

I am going out on a limp for the Chargers at home. They looked awesome last week as their defense is really coming alive. Trouncing the Titans by 21 points. Nobody runs on this team as they have stopped Chris Brown and Quentin Griffin in consecutive weeks. Forced Volek to thrown the ball 58 freaking times. Brees was back to his old efficient self with a 206 and 3 TD effort. Tomlinson had a big-time 147-yard game with a tremendous 8.5 yard per carry average. This team keeps getting better each week. Look to start Tomlinson, Gates, and Caldwell.

Final Score: Chargers 20, Jags 13

St. Louis at Seattle (-6 ˝), 4:15 pm
Ok. St. Louis beat the crap out of a bad Niners team last week. Big deal. They were celebrating in St. Lunatic land as though they had won the Super Bowl. The problem with this team is identity. Martz seems to love to play with the media. Every time the media give him a hard time about running the ball he seems to make it a point to run Faulk more. He denies that is why he did it but we know the truth. If he would follow that script every week they would not be 2-2. It looks as though Isaac Bruce is the man in charge this year with Torry Holt taking a back seat. They will not have the same success against Seattle as they have the best D in the land right now. No way they protect Bulger, as he will get his head rattled more than once. I would be wary of Rams players this week but it is hard to sit Faulk, Bulger, Bruce or Holt right now.

Seattle is coming off a bye week and is looking to get back at the Rams for years of beatings they have put on them recently. This Seattle team has now got a great D to go with the great O as Rhodes has done a beautiful job with this team. Taylor was a great addition. They will hold the Rams offense down and put loads of pressure on Bulger forcing at least two turnovers. It is a division game they must have to put some space between them and the Rams. If Ratay had a 300-yard game against this wax paper secondary then Hasslebeck should pass for 500. Do not hesitate to start Hasslebeck, Alexander, Jackson, Robinson, Largent….sorry he is retired. You get the picture.

Final Score: Seahawks 30, Rams 17

Baltimore (pick) at Washington, 8:30 pm
Did I call the Ravens/Chiefs game or what? I just had that feeling. Lewis complained all night about double teams but he was single blocked all night. The Chiefs just have a damned good O-Line. They got punished by Team Priest as he went off for 125 yards and 2 scores. If it wasn't for the punt return for the TD this wouldn't have been that close. One sack and no turnovers?? Doesn't sound like a Raven night to me. Jamal Lewis had a weak night with only 73 yards. But it wasn't the offense's fault the Chiefs had the ball for 3 quarters. When the offense did get in they were pretty effective. This Hymes kid looks good. Big kid with skills. They just have to get him the ball more. Look for the Ravens to bounce back this week.

The Redskins looked bad against Cleveland. Another game I called. Portis seems to be slowing down a little since his breakout game in Week 1. Three straight weeks without a 100-yard game. Look to see what you can get for him in a trade. Might as well see what is out there. Coles looked good with 100-yard game. Brunell back to completing fewer than 50% of his passes. He is stoned-footed as well. They just look like a team that is destined to lose close games. Gibbs will make it respectable this year but he will not be competitive until next year. Defense is shaky. This week they will be lucky to score against a pissed-off Ravens defense and they should find some room to run. This game will not be filled with highlights.

Final Score: Ravens 14, Skins 10

Tennessee (+3) at Green Bay, 9:00 pm
Disappointing 1-3 starts for both teams have been amplified by injuries to both Brett Favre (P/concussion) and Steve McNair (Q/sternum), neither of whom are strangers to the NFL injury report. This week is crucial for both the Packers and the Titans and I don't want to miss the drama on Monday Night Football. You just know these guys are going to play and leave it all on the field.

The Titans should get at least a serviceable game from McNair, who has been relatively useless this year, against a decimated Packers defense that has shown a limited pass rush and poor coverage. Go ahead and start RB Chris Brown, who should be good for 100 and a score. I love WR Derrick Mason, and he should continue to post good numbers. Games like this are usually his best. WR Drew Bennett might be another decent option with Tyrone Calico out once again. The Titans have a great every-week fantasy LB in Keith Bulluck and a good IDP option against Green Bay with safety Tank Williams. CB Andre Woolfolk is worth a look this week, as Favre has been known to toss a few in the air for grabs.

The Packers are down, but not out. This team is too good and has way too much leadership to fold their way into a 6-10 season. I think this is a good game for Favre and RB Ahman Green to get their confidence back, and they remain good fantasy options when they cut down on turnovers. Play them this week with your fingers crossed. Definitely play WR Javon Walker and Bubba Franks. Donald Driver deserves a look against a Titans defense that also has some injuries. IDP options include LBs Nick Barnett, Na'il Diggs and safety Mark Roman, who has 21 tackles and 2 sacks this year. CB Michael Hawthorne has also been seeing lots of action, and since he gets burnt a lot, they'll continue to throw his way. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila has two sacks but has been relatively quiet - this might be a big week for KGB.

Final Score: Titans 24 Packers 21