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 ½), 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
Cincinnati (+3) at Cleveland,
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
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
Final Score: Bungals 28, Browns
Green Bay at Detroit (-2),
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
Houston (+6 ½) at Tennessee,
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 ½. 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,
Final Score: Titans 30, Texans
Kansas City (- 1 ½) 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
Final Score: Chiefs 28, Jags
Miami (+6.5) at Buffalo,
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
San Diego (+4.5) at Atlanta,
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
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
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
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
(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
(-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
Pittsburgh (+3) at Dallas,
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
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
(-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
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,
Final Score: Rams 24, Bucs