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Week 6
10/14/04

Week 6
Sunday - 1:00 PM EST Sunday, 4:00 PM EST
CAR at PHI - CB DEN at OAK - AD
CIN at CLE - CB PIT at DAL - CB
GB at DET - CB  
HOU at TEN - CB  
KC at JAX - CB  
MIA at BUF - AD Sunday - 8:30 PM EST
AD at ATL - AD MIN at NO - AD
SEA at NE - AD Monday - 9:00 PM EST
SF at NYJ - AD TB at STL - CB
WAS at CHI - AD  

Bye Weeks: Arizona, Baltimore, Indianapolis, N.Y. Giants

Last Week's Projections
(8-6) Straight Up - 57.1%
(7-7) Against The Spread - 50.0%

For The Season
(45-29) Straight Up - 60.8%
(41-32-1) Against The Spread - 55.4%

Carolina at Philadelphia (- 8 ), 1:00 pm
All I have to say is this. 193 yards to a guy named Droughns?? The Carolina defense looked like a shell of its former self Sunday when it got chewed up by the Denver ground game. Forced a couple of turnovers but allowing that many yards to the fourth string RB is inexcusable. They are one and three and looking like a team without an identity. To add insult to injury Deshaun Foster is out for an unknown amount of time. Insert Stephen Davis. It just looks as though the Panthers might need to look to next year and get healthy. This week will be an impossible match-up against the red-hot Eagles. I don't think I would start anyone from this team this week unless I had to.

I know that the Eagles will lose eventually. Every team has to. Just won't be this week. They are superior to the Panthers in just about every phase of the game right now. McNabb is on torrid pace and will give Culpepper a run for his money for MVP. His passer rating is 3rd only to Culpepper and Manning with 110.5. He has 11 TDS against one pick. The most improved is his completion %, which is a robust 68.1%. Terrell Owens is again playing like a Top 3 WR. He is happy to have the Chunky Soup man throwing him the rock as he has accumulated 6 TDS this year. If he keeps scoring like that it will take him 10 minutes to do all the pushups in the end zone by year-end. You have to take into account the revenge factor in this one. Philly will be looking to avenge last year's home beating in the NFC Championship game. Nothing will ever take away that hurt but it will ease it a little. Play the usual McNabb, Owens, Westbrook, Akers, Philly D.

Final Score: Philly 28, Panthers 14

Cincinnati (+3) at Cleveland, 1:00 pm
Cleveland is on a serious downward spiral as they got mauled by Pittsburgh 34-23. Garcia was horrible fumbling and completing less than 50% of his passes. Lee Suggs managed a big-time 2.7 yards a carry. What a back this guy is. Andre Davis had a nice game with 5 catches 101 yards and a TD. You won't see much more of those from him. I read where Lerner is getting tired of Davis's act and maybe be looking to show him the door. Duh! This guy has done absolutely nothing since he got there and has zero judged of talent by his horrendous drafts. Anyway, if I was a Browns fan I would not be worried about playoff tickets anytime soon. They will lose this game.

Cincy was on a bye last week. They are 1-3 and have lost two in a row. Unlike Davis I do have much confidence in Marvin Lewis. This guy will get the most out of this team. But I do have some concerns. This team is less than stellar on D giving up 344 yards a game. Where they get absolutely slaughtered is by the running game. They are giving up a ridiculous 165 yards per game good for the bottom of the league. That is 5.2 yards per carry for every back that has faced them. That is not Marvin Lewis football. Pass defense is much better as they are 7th in the league. Palmer is having difficulties finding his groove as his passer rating (58.8) is down there with the likes of Boller and Feeley. He has 3 TDS versus 7 picks. Not good even in Canada. His poor play has affected the stat lines of Rudi and Chad Johnson. In any event, I think they will pull this one out as they have had a bye week to sort things out. Cleveland is having too much turmoil and will not have their minds in this one.

Final Score: Bungals 28, Browns 24

Green Bay at Detroit (-2), 1:00 pm
Detroit surprised me with terrific defense on the road last week. They really dominated the line of scrimmage and bottled up Vick for the entire game. No TDS for Vick running or throwing as he only had 29 yards rushing. They forced an interception and three fumbles. He who wins the turnover battle usually wins the game. 6 sacks as well. They are going to need good D because this offense has been hurting with the losses of Rogers and Williams for this week. Az Hakim stepped up his play for a change and grabbed 64 yards and a TD. I hear Williams has got one of those high ankle sprains. Those don't heal in a week. I would say that he would not play this week. Rumors are that Mooch is considering bringing in Jerry Rice via a trade but we will see. They could certainly use the help. Pinner got the start over an injured Kevin Jones and played ok with 68 yards and one TD. I would play Hakim or Williams is he shows up and Pinner as well. The Packers defense is one of the worst I have seen in a long time. So they should have good numbers.

A healing Titans group that got pounded by the Chargers the week before embarrassed the Packers. That was one of the worst tackling and defensive efforts I have ever witnessed. Chris Brown seemed to score anytime he wanted to. Receivers were open all over the place. And Lambeau field is no longer a place that opponents fear. I guess the Red Sox will win the world series now. They gave up over 200 yards of rushing with three rushing TDS. Three passing TDS. The big problem was the turnovers as Favre was his usually I don't care self with three picks. The fumbling has to be a concern as Green coughed it up again along with Driver. Is it time to write off Green as not a stud this year? Maybe I am being a little harsh but he was chosen #2 in my league. That means his expectations were high. He currently ranks 11th in rushing with 2 TDS. Just a thought. Favre has to make better decisions but it won't be this week. The Lions will force him to do some stupid stuff and put pressure on him. I see Green being shut down as well. Defense will give us some easy ones. This might be a lock pick.

Final Score: Lions 28, Packers 20

Houston (+6 ) at Tennessee, 1:00 pm
Seems like a weird point total as the Texans came back last week and almost beat the Vikings. I hear what you are saying almost only works for the President. But they showed heart coming back against a premiere team and Carr has been playing great. That Andre Johnson is an animal. Gosh is he something or what?? Going psycho with 12 catches, 170 yards and 2 TDS to boot. I think he will be a force for years to come. Davis seems to be slowing down. He has an injury he is dealing with and teams are forcing the Texans to pass by shutting down the run. I think the have a chance in this game. I will go with the Titans straight but the Texans will cover the 6 . Play Carr, Davis, and Johnson.

Tennessee put on a display Monday night. Making Favre and the Packers look like one of those scrub team on Friday Night Lights. Pure domination and taking advantage of turnovers that was the story on Monday. The Titans had been dormant for a while and finally a McNair sighting as he showed signs of like. The Packer defense can do that for you. I think Houston's defense is better but no much better. They will allow some scoring and yards but I think they match-up pretty well to the Titans. Start McNair, Brown, and Mason.

Final Score: Titans 30, Texans 26

Kansas City (- 1 ) at Jacksonville, 1:00 pm
The Chiefs won the must-have game before their bye week last week against the Ravens. They showed that they could hang with the big boys and still have the talent to make a run at the playoffs. Quite frankly any team that possesses Holmes will be in the hunt. Holmes has 6 TDS and is 7th in the NFL in rushing yards and tied for 1st in TDS with 6. The other parts of the offense are the problem. Trent Green has not been his normal self with a 78.5 passer rating. Good for 24th in the league. They need much more out of him to get to the playoffs. It has much to do with no receivers the fact he has only 4TDS against 3 picks. The defense is another sore spot ranking middle of the pack in total at 13th. Passing defense is not pad. The rushing is where they have to improve. The rank 26th in the league. Keeping the offense off the field as opponents chew up the clock.

The Jags keep tumbling as the red-hot Chargers manhandled them. They were down 21-0 before you could blink. They allowed Tomlinson and Chatman to rush for 160 yards and 2 TDS. Brees is again pulling his best Jon Montana impersonation with 211 yards and 2 TDS. The Jags once touted defense is beginning to show some cracks. I like Leftwich as he threw for 357 yards and a TD. He was forced to toss the rock as they were behind so early. He seems to make a lot of mistakes though. Forcing passes into coverage with his two picks in this game. Taylor performed ok considering he was out of the offense in the 2nd half. Jimmy Smith was the lone bright spot with 113 yards. I think this week they will take another beating.

Final Score: Chiefs 28, Jags 14

Miami (+6.5) at Buffalo, 1:00 pm
Something's gotta give, considering both teams are without a win and destined to miss out on the playoffs once again. This could also be the most useless game of the season for fantasy numbers, unless you consider the overwhelming opportunity for defensive backs to blow up IDP stat lines here. I've long been an advocate of starting safeties in IDP leagues. Our league's scoring system used to require five defensive players at any position, and invariably there were scads of middle linebackers drafted by pussyfooting conservatives. Safety in numbers through tackles, they said. Well I'm here to tell you that today in the NFL, there's a lot of passing going on, which means a lot of action for safeties, many of whom play up against the run and make lots of tackles there as well. This game will be a battle of secondaries, with the possibility of coverage sacks coming often.

The Dolphins are much better off with Jay Fielder at the helm, but since he hurt his ribs and might be out this weekend, there's no reason to play him. A.J. Feeley is probably out, too, and Sage Rosenfels is the #3 guy. Don't, under any circumstances, play any of these clowns. RB Brock Forsey? I don't mean to be coy, but playing any of these running backs amounts to acts of desperation that appear very unflattering to the fantasy gods. Play WR Chris Chambers and TE Randy McMichael, but stay away from Marty Booker until he repeats last week's performance. On defense, LBs Zach Thomas, Junior Seau and Sammy Knight are the best week in and week out, although Jason Taylor might get a sack or two this week.

The Bills have their best chance at a win this week against a team in football limbo. QB Drew Bledsoe is a horrible fantasy option considering even Tom Brady could complete only seven passes against the Dolphins. RBs Travis Henry and Willis McGahee have split some carries and aren't great options, either. WRs Eric Moulds and Lee Evans probably won't do anything spectacular, but Moulds is always a decent option. IDP standouts should include DL Aaron Schobel, LB London Fletcher and LB Takeo Spikes.

Final Score: Bills 17, Dolphins 13

San Diego (+4.5) at Atlanta, 1:00 pm
If the Falcons allowed Artose Pinner and Detroit to beat them, won't they have similar problems with LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers? The Chargers sat even Tomlinson last week in the second half and ran Jessie Chatman for about 100 yards once they had the lead. Looks like the Falcons are coming back to reality.

The Chargers QB Drew Brees will face a great defensive line pass rush and might be forced into a few mistakes. I wouldn't recommend playing him but Tomlinson is a definite start, for obvious reasons of studliness. WR Reche Caldwell is the go-to-guy now and is the 12th-ranked fantasy receiver in the game based on typical scoring systems. Continue playing him with confidence and give a thumbs up to TE Antonio Gates as well, who is blowing up this year. IDP guys are Donnie Edwards (who makes loads of tackles and key plays) and LB Steve Foley, who's come up big several times this year. DB Jerry Wilson has 37 tackles season as well as an INT and a forced fumble.

The Falcons are not quite as wonderful as many thought, and Mike Vick is obviously in the wrong offense. Until something drastic changes with the way the Falcons execute the West Coast plays, Vick is relegated to mediocre backup status. It's unfortunate that this guy doesn't have a decent offensive line, because we might see him flourish, even in that kind of system. But with Vick's arm strength and ability to throw on the run, this is not his Xanadu. Warrick Dunn is a solid back and should produce big this week, but put RB T.J. Duckett on your bench and leave him there. The West Coast isn't for him, either. Play DL Patrick Kerney, and Brady Smith along with LB Keith Brooking and DB Bryan Scott.

Final Score: Chargers 20 Falcons 17

Seattle (+4.5) at New England, 1:00 pm
I hit the Patriots-Dolphins game on the NOSE last week, predicting a 24-10 victory. I didn't think the Dolphins would be as successful as they were in holding Brady to just seven completions, but I didn't expect the Patriots to have just two healthy receivers, either. I've also been forced to abandon the Deion Branch approach since week 2 - and that upsets me.

The Seahawks defense didn't look so hot getting torn apart by Marc Bulger last Sunday in the fourth quarter, and don't think these guys will give up quite as easily against the Super Bowl champs. I expect Matt Hasselbeck to have a below-average game, but if you have no better options, he's still a safe play. Shaun Alexander will do something, if not a lot, against the Pats, but I think if you have to pick between Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson, Robinson is the better play. Jackson might have trouble finding the end zone. Don't bother with TEs Jerramy Stevens or Itula Mili if you can help it. IDP standouts should include LB Anthony Simmons, DB Ken Hamlin and DB Ken Lucas.

The Pats are bound to throw the ball against the Seahawks, who are prone to the pass. Start Tom Brady because he should regain his normal form, and RB Corey Dillon, WR David Givens and TE Daniel Graham remain good options. WR David Patten might also be a good start this week, but watch the questionable availability of Branch, who might be healthy soon. On defense, the best plays this year seem to be DL Richard Seymour and rookie lineman Vince Wilfork, LB Tedy Bruschi and DBs Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson.

Final Score: Pats 27, Seahawks 20

San Francisco (+10) at N.Y. Jets, 1:00 pm
This game shouldn't be very pretty, and while I'm happy for the 49ers picking up their first win of the year, this game will add another notch to their loss column.

The Niners might actually get a decent game from Tim Rattay, who was impressive last week at - okay - Arizona, and should get behind early against the Jets, forcing the Niners to pass again. But Rattay succeeded where many Arizona opponents have not in shredding the Cards secondary, the best part of that defense. Plus, I somehow see the 49ers playing the Jets tough despite massive injuries to the defense and limited offensive output. This is my Mighty Wind "Wha Happened" game of the week. Play RB Kevan Barlow despite his relative ineffectiveness and play WR Cedrick Wilson (good game against Arizona) and TE Eric Johnson, who went positively bananas last week. On defense, pay attention to the injury report to see LB Derek Smith's availability, but LB Jamie Winborn should have a big game and go with DB Tony Parrish every week.

The Jets offense faces an injury-plagued San Fran unit that was never really that good healthy. QB Chad Pennington, RB Curtis Martin, WR Santana Moss and WR Justin McCareins are all solid plays, along with TE Chris Baker, who's #12 on FFToday's statistical performance list for TEs. Defensively, I like DBs Donnie Abraham and Erik Coleman, with DL John Abraham as the best IDP starter this week. DL Shaun Ellis and LB Eric Barton are also options.

Final Score: Jets 34, Niners 27

Washington (Pick) at Chicago, 1:00 pm
Yuck. How uninteresting can you get? If there weren't a few viable fantasy options in this game, I would tune out completely.

The Redskins have had some problems getting Mark Brunell going, and it looks more and more like a bad decision to bring him in from Jacksonville. Don't play him until he proves he can produce. RB Clinton Portis is the focal point of this offense and should post good numbers against a weak Chicago defense, although LB Brian Urlacher will make lots of tackles against Portis all day. WRs Lavernues Coles and Rod Gardner are options, although Coles is the better one. On defense, IDP standout LB Antonio Pierce is the closest thing these guys have to a sure thing.

The Bears are putting up fantasy numbers with RB Thomas Jones and WR David Terrell, but don't bother starting QB Jonathan Quinn just yet. WR Justin Gage has been quiet and might have a breakout game, but he's too risky of a play given his no show so far this year. On defense, I mentioned Urlacher before and given the turnover situation in Washington, I really like his chances to blow up this week with 15 tackles, a couple sacks, an INT and a possible score. DL Adewale "Wally" Ogunleye might also have a breakout performance, and DB Mike Green has been decent thus far. DB Jerry Azumah is also back from injury.

Final Score: Bears 23, Redskins 17

Denver (-2) at Oakland, 4:15 pm
Is Denver really leading the AFC West? Did Reuben Droughns really run for almost 200 yards against the Panthers? What in the world has happened to Quentin Griffin? All that and more this week on "60 minutes of Mike Shanahan being a douche bag."

The Broncos are winning games but leaving me feeling empty inside. I hate Jake Plummer, think Rod Smith is old, can't tolerate Ashley Lelie's inconsistency and have yet to find a redeeming quality in Shanahan or the entire city of Denver, for that matter. I liked Quentin Griffin but he's hurt and now has lost his job - along with 46 other Broncos running backs over the past few years. With Plummer horrible on the road, Griffin and Droughns destined to split carries and Lelie bound for a disappointing performance (following a score in week 5), I don't really like anybody except Smith and kicker Jason Elam in what should be a good fantasy matchup. On defense, there's always LB Al Wilson, DBs Kenoy Kennedy and John Lynch and LBs D.J. Williams and Donnie Spragan.

The Raiders love affair with Kerry Collins came to an abrupt halt when he failed to perform well against a porous Indy secondary. WR Ronald Curry is - I guess - the go-to-guy, since Jerry Porter has apparently joined the Federal Protection Program and is generally useless. The question is "Who will Champ Bailey be on?" because that's who'll get shut down. I guess you have to start Amos Zereoue, but I wouldn't be happy about it as Denver has a good run defense. IDP options include LB Travian Smith and DL Warren Sapp, who's due for a sack or two with Plummer behind center.

Final Score: Broncos 24, Raiders 19

Pittsburgh (+3) at Dallas, 4:15 pm
Dallas made some fatal mistakes against the G-Men last week. Giving up an astonishing 198 total yards to Barber. You would have thought that since they only gained a total of 135 other yards they would have concentrated more on covering him. Well, I guess that is why I am not a coach. The obvious does not apply. Going for it on 4th down was not Bill Parcells football. He has had success in the past but my gosh on your own 40??? They sealed the game essentially. No 300-yard game for the Vin man. The Giants shut down the Dallas receiver corps and did not allow anyone over 50 yards. They were working the running game early and should have stuck with it as it was working. They face another defense is Pittsburgh that is similar and will cause problems. I expect the Cowboys to win a very close one. Start Key, and the Vin man this week.

Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger go together like Philly and cheese steak. He is a workingman's QB and Cowher's type of dude. Good-bye Maddox fans. Big Ben showed some leadership and pose with an efficient 231 and 1 TD. Staley ran wild posting 117 yards and a TD. Burress fans had to be happy with his 100-yard day. That guy has so much talent but little between the ears. I think they will try to run the Cowboys out the building as the Giants did. But one thing that I do know usually when you can run against a team one week they make some adjustments to keep that from happening again. Forcing Big Ben to make plays. This ain't Cleveland neither.

Final Score: Cowboys 27, Steelers 26

Minnesota (-3.5) at New Orleans, 8:30 pm
Grocery checkout boys in New Orleans are reporting a large resurgence of requests for paper rather than plastic. Meanwhile, Pimply Minnesota teens occupy the top ten Yahoo! Fantasy Football league teams.

The Vikings are about as good as any team has ever been in terms of fantasy output. Running backs, wide receivers and especially quarterback Daunte Culpepper have done some pretty amazing things this year. If you don't have any of these guys on your team, your at a disadvantage already. Culpepper, Moss and Mewelde Moore are locks this week against a suspect New Orleans defense. Even Marcus Robinson and Nate Burleson should get into the action. I only hit one two of three IDP options last week - DB Antoine Winfield and LB Dontarrius Thomas. DB Corey Chavous was a no-show, but should be more active against the Saints. The Vikings have still yet to pick off a pass this year and they are now extraordinarily due. You can read more about the Thomas situation in FFToday columnist Tony Nowak's IDP Notes this week.

The Saints are a not-so-depressing 2-3 but are struggling to win against decent defenses. While the Minnesota defense has surrendered 94 points in four games, that unit is due for a good game. QB Aaron Brooks, RB Deuce McAllister and WR Joe Horn are all guys that should be played unless you have obvious options that are much better. I think Boo Williams is a safe play, although #2 WR Donte Stallworth is probably not a good option. On defense, there's good lineman in Charles Grant, Darren Howard and rookie Will Smith, but Culpepper has been tough to reach with the Vikes offensive line playing so well. LB Orlando Ruff has been good and should get the start with rookie LB Courtney Watson still questionable. DBs Jay Bellamy and Fred Thomas are the best in the secondary, and should be good plays against the Vikings, who should annihilate the Saints through the air.

Final Score: Vikings 30, Saints 23

Tampa Bay at St. Louis (+6), 9:00 pm
Was that Brian Griese that showed up on my stat sheet last week? Give the guy credit, this was supposed to be the start of the Chris Simms era instead it was the re-start of the Griese era. Weird huh? 194 yards and 1 TD will deserve another start. They absolutely punked the Saints defense with a bunch of frikkin no names catching the ball. Ken Dilger catches a 45- yarder?? Shameful!! The Bucs defense was especially stout shutting down Brooks and Horn along with the Saints passing attack. Allowing a 106 to be achieved. That is 106 for Brooks. McAllister came back with a 100 yards and looked fresh. So I would start the whole gang, Brooks, Horn, and McAlister.

The Rams made a remarkable comeback scoring 17 points in 7 minutes to tie the game and force overtime against the Seahawks. I think most, including myself, were looking at this as the Seahawks coming out party for control of the NFC West. Guess Bulger had other thoughts. Bulger through a strike to McDonald for 52 yards to seal the deal and keep the pressure on Seattle. Jackson should be the starter in St. Louis. I think he is the real deal and is hitting the holes better than Faulk. It is time to move on. The Bucs defense will be harder to move the ball than the Seahawks but the Rams will get plenty of chances as the Bucs are not that efficient on offense despite last week. Start Bulger, Bruce, Faulk, Holt.

Final Score: Rams 24, Bucs 10