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  Rushing Matchups  

Week 6 Passing Matchups

[ATL] [BAL] [BUF] [CAR] [CHI] [CIN] [CLE] [DAL] [DEN] [DET] [HOU] [IND] [JAX] [KC] [MIA] [MIN] [NE] [NO] [NYG] [NYJ] [OAK] [PIT] [SD] [SEA] [STL] [TB] [TEN] [WAS]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Peyton Manning is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense vs New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Drew Bledsoe looks fantastic at QB this year - guess he's pretty good when you can pass block decently, huh? He's the 3rd best fantasy QB in the USA heading into the meat of the schedule, with 98/159 for 1351 yards, 10 TDs and 3 interceptions; Terry Glenn is a surprise top-ten fantasy WR (8th this week, with 23/518/3) and Keyshawn Johnson is 29th with 19/228/3. Jason Witten is the 12th best TE with 23/261/1 - the Cowboys are fielding one of the best passing attacks around the league to date.

The Giants are weak in this phase of the game, allowing an average of 322 passing yards per game (7 scores given away to date). They went into their bye off a victory, but were slammed for 40/62 for 442 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions by Marc Bulger - you could say their secondary is porous. They are tied for 22nd with 8 sacks so far this year - not much pressure is being brought to bear on opposing signal callers (Bulger was sacked once during his 62 pass attempts).

Bledsoe is streaking, the Giants' secondary is leaky - advantage, Dallas.

Weather: Dallas expects a high of 85F and a low of 65F with a 10% chance for precipitation on Sunday. It should be a great day to play some football.

DAL Injuries: RB Julius Jones (Questionable)
NYG Injuries: LB Carlos Emmons (Questionable), DB Gibril Wilson (Probable), DB William Peterson (Out)


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Manning and company are making fantasy owners crazy this year. We all know that they could dominate almost any D that lines up across from Indianapolis, but the Colts have instead won through hard-nosed defense and a ball-control rushing attack. Edgerrin James is 4th among fantasy RBs in points per game, while Peyton Manning is 19th at his position (behind Josh McCown, for example). Enough said. Marvin Harrison is 21st among fantasy WRs - Reggie Wayne is 40th entering week 6.

The Colts have a very favorable matchup against the 28th ranked Rams' secondary (who are allowing an average of 263.8 passing yards per game), and currently tied for 3rd most passing TDs allowed with 10 surrendered over 5 games. Matt Hasselbeck and company stuffed 27/38 for 316 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions down the Rams' throats last week - this pass D is stone cold coming into this divisional grudge match.

Indy posesses a ton of talent between Manning and his receiving corps, but coach Dungy has hit the brakes this season when it comes to the passing game - the Rams are very weak in this phase of the game, though. As far as matchups go, it doesn't get much better than this.

Weather: The Monday Night Football game will go down in the air-conditioned RCA Dome - weather won't be an issue.

IND Injuries: RB James Mungro (Questionable), TE Ben Utecht (Questionable)
STL Injuries: DL Leonard Little (Probable), DB Dejuan Groce (Questionable)


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Matt Schaub certainly utilized his top threats last week, tossing 5/103/0 to Brian Finneran and 6/99/1 to Alge Crumpler en route to 18/34 for 298 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions. The guy can throw the ball very well.

New Orleans - well, polite adjectives fail to describe how badly they were beaten last week by Brett Favre and company (19/27 for 215 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions was Favre's stat line - he dominated the Saints beyond what the raw statistics indicate, though). While ranking 8th in the NFL in terms of passing yards allowed per game (186 on average), they have coughed up 8 TDs during 5 games to opposing QBs. With 11 sacks to their credit, the Saints tie for 12th in the NFL (Atlanta has surrendered 11 sacks to date, tied for 10th in the league) - the New Orleans' pass rush hasn't been overwhelming and the Falcons aren't particularly vulnerable to pressure.

Whether Schaub or Vick starts, this looks like a good matchup for the Falcons' signal caller.

Weather: This game will be played in the Alamodome - weather won't be an issue.

ATL Injuries: QB Michael Vick (Questionable)
NO Injuries: DL Darren Howard (Questionable), LB James Allen (Questionable), LB Terrence Melton (Questionable), LB T.J. Slaughter (Questionable), DB Fakhir Brown (Questionable), DB Mel Mitchell (Questionable)


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Anthony Wright is very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get player - he's a less than mediocre QB playing on a less than mediocre passing offense. Currently, he ranks 28th in the NFL in fantasy points per game, and his best receivers, Derrick Mason (25th in the NFL with 27/278/1 to date) and Todd Heap (13th at his position with 15/187/1 receiving) are nothing to write home about.

The Browns rank 24th in the NFL vs. the pass, giving away an average of 231.5 net passing yards per game (with 6 scores allowed to date). They are tied for 25th in the NFL with 7 sacks to date - Cleveland doesn't put fear into the hearts of opposing passers this year.

We have a difficult time getting excited about the Ravens passing offense, but this looks like a game where Baltimore will have a better than normal shot.

Weather: Early in the week, it looks like M & T Bank Stadium might be soggy on Sunday - if it rains a lot around game time, ball handling and footing could be issues for both teams. Expect 75F for a high with 53F for a low with a 30% chance for precipitation.

BAL Injuries: QB Kyle Boller (Out), RB Chester Taylor (Probable), RB Alan Ricard (Questionable), TE Todd Heap (Probable)
CLE Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Carson Palmer hit a bump in the road last week, losing for the first time this year. However, he tossed a very respectable 22/33 for 239 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions in the course of the loss. Cincy is tied for second in the NFL with 11 thrown TDs to date - Palmer is a scoring machine. While T.J. Houshmandzadeh was sidelined due to a hand injury, Chris Henry snagged 3/85/1 to lead the Bengals.

Tennessee's secondary is sub-par, allowing the second-most TDs over the first 1/4 of the season (11) while ranking 15th in yards given up per game (201 per contest). Last week, woeful David Carr managed 18/27 for 131 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception against this squad. One thing the Titans do well is bring pressure to bear on the opposing QB - Tennessee is 3rd in the NFL with 17 sacks to date. However, Cincinnati is tied for 4th-least QB sacks allowed this year, with 7 - they aren't a pushover along the line of scrimmage when it comes to pass blocking.

An elite attack (with or without T. J. Houshmandzadeh) meets a below-average pass D in this matchup. Advantage, Cincinnati.

Weather: The Coliseum expects a high of 75F and a low of 52F, with a 10% chance of rain - that sounds like perfect weather for a football game to us.

CIN Injuries: RB Rudi Johnson (Probable), WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Questionable), TE Matt Schobel (Probable), TE Tony Stewart (Questionable)
TEN Injuries: LB Peter Sirmon (Questionable), DB Vincent Fuller (Out)


Denver Broncos Passing Offense vs New England Patriots Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jake Plummer was off-pace last week during the rain-soaked contest vs. Washington. With so few receptions going on, 10/26 for 92 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions nobody on the team hauled in more than 2 passes (Lelie caught the only score, 1/5/1).

New England barely survived Matt Schaub and the Falcons last week, allowing 18/34 for 298 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions to Atlanta. Their secondary is battered and bruised - Randall Gay, Tyrone Poole and Chad Scott all sat out last week, and Rodney Harrison is gone for the season. DB is not a strength of this team. They allow an average of 222.8 passing yards per game (22nd in the NFL) and have coughed up 10 thrown TDs so far (3rd most in the NFL).

Plummer should return to more production vs. the limping Patriots.

Weather: Mile High Stadium expects a high of 59F and a low of 39F on Sunday, with a 20% chance of rain. If the forecast holds up, the venue should have great football weather on Sunday afternoon.

DEN Injuries: RB Tatum Bell (Probable)
NE Injuries: DL Jarvis Green (Probable), DL Marquise Hill (Probable), DL Richard Seymour (Probable), LB Tully Banta-Cain (Probable), LB Matt Chatham (Probable), LB Larry Izzo (Probable), LB Willie McGinest (Probable), DB Randall Gay (Probable), DB Tyrone Poole (Probable), DB Duane Starks (Probable), DB James Sanders (Probable), DB Chad Scott (Out)


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

We've been underwhelmed by Harrington and company lately, and last week almost the entire receiving corps was injured in one way or another. There isn't much going right for Harrington right now (10/23 for 97 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions last week was a very forgettable outing). Keep an eye on how the WR stable heals up during the week - after the game last week, coach Mariucci said "We're going to have to pack these guys on ice for a couple of days and see where they end up on Wednesday. I think the guy who is most confident(that he can return) is Mike Williams. We're probably going to have to add a practice-squad receiver for the sake of practice and then see who will get healthy for the next game." With Charles Rogers on an unpaid vacation, the cupboard is pretty bare in Detroit right now.

Carolina gives up an average of 259.2 passing yards per game and has allowed 9 passing scores to date - they field a bottom-tier pass D (27th in the NFL currently). 29/46 for 394 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions were Josh McCown's numbers last week - the Panthers don't scare opposing passers.

Two struggling units lock horns in this one - assuming Harrington gets a few receivers back in the lineup, this looks like a pretty good chance for him. We can't see starting Harrington in any but the very deepest of leagues, but this is the 27th ranked pass defense and that's worth something.

Weather: This game will be played indoors at Ford Field. Weather won't be an issue.

DET Injuries: QB Jeff Garcia (Out), RB Cory Schlesinger (Questionable), WR Eddie Drummond (Questionable), WR Roy Williams (Questionable)
CAR Injuries: LB Vinny Ciurciu (Questionable), DB Chris Gamble (Questionable)


New England Patriots Passing Offense at Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Brady pulled out a tough one against the Falcons last week, with 22/27 for 350 yards 3 TDs and 1 interception to rank 1st in the league in fantasy points last week. Bethel Johnson was the most explosive Patriot receiver last week with 1/55/1, while Daniel Graham 5/119/1 and Deion Branch 8/107/0 handled the most passes. Brady has been solid as the Patriots' centerpiece this year.

Denver's pass D is 25th in the NFL allowing an average of 234.2 passing yards per game (with 7 scores surrendered so far). They have been doing without star CB Champ Bailey over the past weeks, though - which has hampered the units' effectiveness. Mark Brunell torched them for 30/53 for 322 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions last week - the Broncos are going in the wrong direction in this phase of the game.

Brady is hot, the Broncos are not - advantage, New England.

Weather: Mile High Stadium expects a high of 59F and a low of 39F on Sunday, with a 20% chance of rain. If the forecast holds up, the venue should have great football weather on Sunday afternoon.

NE Injuries: QB Tom Brady (Probable), RB Corey Dillon (Probable), RB Kevin Faulk (Out), WR Troy Brown (Probable)
DEN Injuries: LB Louis Green (Questionable), DB Nick Ferguson (Probable), DB Roc Alexander (Questionable), DB Champ Bailey (Questionable)


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense vs San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

To date, Kerry Collins has been the 9th best fantasy QB in the land, with 76/140 for 1091 passing yards, 6 TDs and only 1 interception. Those are very solid numbers, folks. Randy Moss is 19th in the league right now (in fantasy points per game) with 4/123/0 during his most recent outing (its been 3 weeks since Moss scored a TD) - he's not completely comfortable in the Raiders' game plan just yet.

Ben Roethlisberger connected for 17/26 for 225 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. San Diego last week. The Chargers field the 26th ranked pass defense in the league (averaging 240.2 passing yards allowed per game) and they've coughed up 9 passing scores so far. This unit is not among the feared secondaries in the NFL.

Moss and Collins should enjoy a strong outing against the weak Charger pass D. Advantage, Oakland.

Weather: McAfee Coliseum expects a high of 71F and a low of 50F with a 20% chance for rain - if the forecast holds up it should be perfect weather for football and tailgating.

OAK Injuries: WR Ronald Curry (Out), TE John Paul Foschi (Questionable)
SD Injuries: DL Jacques Cesaire (Questionable), LB Stephen Cooper (Questionable), LB Steve Foley (Questionable), LB Randall Godfrey (Questionable), DB Drayton Florence (Questionable), DB Bhawoh Jue (Questionable)


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense at Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

20/35 for 219 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception were Drew Brees' totals last week vs. the Pittsburgh secondary. He hit Eric Parker (5/72/0) and Antonio Gates (5/61/1) regularly (Tomlinson had 7/68/0 as well). Brees isn't Donovan McNabb, but he isn't Ryan Leaf, either.

11/26 for 212 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception was Drew Bledsoe's stat line vs. Oakland two weeks ago - they rank in the bottom tier of the NFL this season allowing an average of 271.8 passing yards per game (29th in the NFL). Around the goal-line they stiffen, though - the Raiders have only allowed 5 passing scores to date. However, they don't rush the passer very well, notching a mere 6 sacks so far (tied for 28th in the NFL) - overall, this is a weak pass defense.

Brees has a lot of fine weapons to throw at within the Chargers' staff, while the Raiders are lack-luster among their secondary. Advantage, San Diego.

Weather: McAfee Coliseum expects a high of 71F and a low of 50F with a 20% chance for rain - if the forecast holds up it should be perfect weather for football and tailgating.

SD Injuries: QB Drew Brees (Questionable), RB Darren Sproles (Questionable), TE Ryan Krause (Out)
OAK Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Seattle pulled out a huge win vs. divisional rival St Louis last week, when Joe Jurevicius proved his veteran worth with 9/137/1 while Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram were sidelined due to injuries. Jurevicius figures to be in the lineup for a while as Jackson is probably out for 4-6 weeks due to his damaged meniscus cartilage and Engram has cracked ribs. Hasselbeck is ranked 10th among fantasy QBs this season with 114/175 for 1327 yards, 7 TDs and 3 interceptions over 5 games - solid numbers.

McNair threw for 22/31 for 220 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. Houston last week - the Texans are 23rd in the NFL allowing an average of 227.5 passing yards per game to date (with 6 scores surrendered to date). Houston is tied for last in the NFL with only 4 QB sacks this year - no one is afraid of the Texans' pass D.

Houston is not strong in this phase of the game, while Hasselbeck just keeps chugging along despite serious personnel problems - advantage, Seattle.

Weather: Qwest Field expects a high of 60F and a low of 46F with only a 20% chance of precipitation. If the forecast holds up, the field might be firm and dry on Sunday.

SEA Injuries: WR Bobby Engram (Out), WR Darrell Jackson (Out)
HOU Injuries: DL Jerry DeLoach (Probable), DL Junior Ioane (Probable), DL Robaire Smith (Probable), DL Gary Walker (Out), LB Jason Babin (Out)


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Mark Brunell has undergone a renaissance this year, playing very solid football on his way to # 6 among all fantasy QBs during the past 3 weeks (50/89 for 548 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interception in 2 games). Santana Moss has 14/203/0 during the same span to lead the Redskin's WR corps.

The Chiefs secondary went into their bye week on a sour note, allowing 33/48 for 369 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception to Donovan McNabb and company (most of it during a furious second-half comeback) en route to a loss. They are 30th in the NFL right now, surrendering an average of 273.3 passing yards per game, with 6 TDs given up to date. They rank 25th in the NFL with only 7 sacks to their credit (Indy leads the league with 20) - neither the big guys up front or the secondary are doing their job vs. opposing passers right now.

Brunell is gaining momentum as the season goes along, while the Chiefs are back-pedalling - advantage, Washington.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 67F with a low of 56F and a 10% chance for rain. Cool, crisp autumnal conditions - perfect for a game of football (and tailgating).

WAS Injuries: RB Clinton Portis (Probable), RB Ladell Betts (Questionable)
KC Injuries: DL Gary Stills (Questionable), DL Ryan Sims (Out)


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jake Delhomme (16th among fantasy signal callers so far, with 84/145 for 1100 yards, 8 TDs and 5 interceptions) and Steve Smith (the #1 fantasy WR in the land, with 33/473/6 to date) just keep slapping down big numbers - last week Smith snagged all the passing scores with 8/119/2 while Delhomme tossed 18/29 for 243 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception. Delhomme to Smith is the most prolific connection in the NFL right now - start Smith if you have him on your roster. Detroit was fairly giving to the Ravens last week, allowing 20/37 for 230 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions to Anthony Wright during the game. They are currently 17th in the league giving up an average of 207.8 passing yards per game, with 7 TDs allowed so far. Detroit is tied for 15th in the NFL with 10 sacks to their credit - getting the picture? The Lions are an average but not great pass defense.

Carolina should find some room to manuever against the very average Lions.

Weather: This game will be played indoors at Ford Field. Weather won't be an issue.

CAR Injuries: RB Stephen Davis (Questionable), RB DeShaun Foster (Questionable), RB Brad Hoover (Questionable), RB Rod Smart (Doubtful)
DET Injuries: LB Alex Lewis (Doubtful), DB Vernon Fox (Questionable), DB Andre' Goodman (Doubtful)


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Kyle Orton: well, at least he isn't throwing interceptions every other attempt. That's the best we can say about Orton 5 games into the 2005 season (he's the 34th ranked fantasy QB with 62/114 for 557 yards, 2TDs and 6 interceptions ). Muhsin Muhammad is 39th among WRs with 22/250/1 so far. Nobody is excited by this attack heading into the middle of the season.

Minnesota is right in the middle of the NFL pack when it comes to defending the pass: they rank 14th allowing an average of 200.3 yards per game (with 7 scores surrendered in this phase). They gave up a mere 11/22 for 88 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to the run-oriented Falcons two weeks ago - but Atlanta didn't need to pass much considering the Vikes allowed 41/285/2 on the ground.

Orton is a rookie struggling to learn how to be a pro - Minnesota sports an experienced-but-underperforming secondary. We see this as a neutral matchup for the Bears.

Weather: The forecast for Soldier Field calls for a high of 63F with a low of 52F and a 10% chance for rain. You can't ask for better weather than that in the Windy City during October.

CHI Injuries: QB Rex Grossman (Out), RB Thomas Jones (Questionable)
MIN Injuries: DL Lance Johnstone (Probable), DL Spencer Johnson (Doubtful), LB E.J. Henderson (Probable), DB Darren Sharper (Probable), DB Brian Williams (Out)


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Saints are 19th in the NFL in terms of yards passing per game (209.4), but they are tied for last in passing scores with 2 TDs during the first 5 games. Aaron Brooks is not getting the job done while Joe Horn is absent. Brooks is the 26th ranked passer in the NFL over the past 3 weeks, averaging 13.77 fantasy points per outing.

Atlanta ranks 20th in the NFL allowing an average of 218.2 passing yards per game, with 7 scores surrendered to date. Last week, they coughed up 22/27 for 350 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception to Tom Brady and company - not too good. They are 2nd in the NFL with 18 sacks to date, though, so expect the Falcons to make life miserable for Brooks (the Saints have surrendered 13 sacks so far, among the top-ten most sacks allowed this season). The Falcons don't field a feared secondary, but they do pressure the opposing passer more often than not.

The Saints are limited in this department, while the Falcons are mediocre - in the Saint's new house, that sounds like an even matchup to us.

Weather: This game will be played in the Alamodome - weather won't be an issue.

NO Injuries: RB Aaron Stecker (Questionable), RB Deuce McAllister (Out), WR Joe Horn (Questionable), TE Ernie Conwell (Questionable), TE Shad Meier (Questionable)
ATL Injuries: DL Patrick Kerney (Questionable)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Brian Griese was off-pace last week, tossing 27/42 for 226 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception vs. the Jets. Joey Galloway has been meteoric for his lucky owners this year, ranking 14th in the league with 22/403/3 under his belt to date. With support like that, expect Griese to climb into the top ten.

Kelly Holcomb tossed 20/26 for 169 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. Miami last week en route to a 20-14 victory. The Dolphins rank 15th in the NFL with 10 sacks to their credit this season, and allow an average of 197.5 passing yards per game (13th in the NFL) with 7 passing scores given away to date. They are playing mediocre pass defense in South Florida this year.

Griese comes into this game cold, while the Dolphins are just so-so at pass defense. Sounds even to us.

Weather: Raymond James Stadium expects a high of 85F and a low of 69F with a 10% chance of rain. That's great weather for a football game in our book.

TB Injuries: RB Cadillac Williams (Questionable)
MIA Injuries: LB Junior Seau (Questionable), DB Eddie Jackson (Questionable)


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kelly Holcomb protected the ball and did enough to pull out a "W" for long-suffering Bills' fans (20/26 for 169 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions), but he was not a fantasy star. However, Eric Moulds (7/59/1) and Lee Evans (3/65/0) look a lot more promising as fantasy players with Holcomb under center - we'll see if Holcomb can build on last week's decent game. The Bills have refused to name a starter for this week, but we fully expect Holcomb to get the nod.

Tampa's Brian Griese had a hard time vs. the Jets last week, pitching 27/42 for 226 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception in the losing effort. The Jets are 5th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (174.8) and tied for 2nd with only 3 scores surrendered - these guys are pretty darn good, actually. The Jets are behind the curve when it comes to sacks, though, with only 8 so far (22nd in the NFL) - they aren't playing an "attacking" style of pass defense.

Holcomb is getting comfortable as the Bill's starter (for now, anyway) while the Jets aim to disrupt his progress. This one looks like a tough matchup for Holcomb.

Weather: Ralph Wilson Stadium may be damp this week - there is a 40% chance for rain on Sunday, with a high forecast to be 62F and a low of 48F. If the rain falls heavily around game time, footing and ball handling could become issues for both teams.

BUF Injuries: WR Roscoe Parrish (Questionable), TE Tim Euhus (Probable)
NYJ Injuries: DL Dewayne Robertson (Probable), LB Eric Barton (Questionable)


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Trent Dilfer has been passing the ball very well in recent weeks - Cleveland ranks 9th in the NFL averaging 251 passing yards per game (6 scores to date). Antonio Bryant had a breakout game last week (Braylon Edwards was sidelined with elbow problems), posting 6/83/2 against the Bears. Dilfer is the 12th ranked fantasy QB so far this year (with 92/138 for 1040 yards, 6 TDs and 4 interceptions to his credit), but there aren't a lot of quality targets left for him to throw to.

Baltimore made things tough for Joey Harrington last week, limiting him to 10 completions for 97 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions, but their rash of penalties cost them dearly in the end (35-17 loss to Detroit). So far this year the Ravens are 4th in the NFL vs. the pass (allowing an average of 167 net passing yards per game), but teams have managed to score a few times (4 passing scores allowed). This is a tough unit that borders on elite status.

Dilfer has been playing well but he faces a tough divisional test this week.

Weather: Early in the week, it looks like M & T Bank Stadium might be soggy on Sunday - if it rains a lot around game time, ball handling and footing could be issues for both teams. Expect 75F for a high with 53F for a low with a 30% chance for precipitation.

CLE Injuries: RB Lee Suggs (Out), WR Braylon Edwards (Out)
BAL Injuries: DL Terrell Suggs (Probable), DL Anthony Weaver (Out), DB Samari Rolle (Probable)


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Here's the key statistic to consider: the Texans have allowed David Carr to be sacked 27 times this season. They gave up 7 sacks to the Titans last week. Carr is looking rattled and indecisive in the pocket, and who can blame him? He's been sacked about a billion times since he joined the team and has taken twice that many hits - unless and until the Texans can pass block for this guy, he'll be a fantasy nobody. Count on it. Ditto for his receivers.

Seattle is ranked 19th in the NFL with an average of 204.9 passing yards allowed per game (7 scores given up so far). More importantly, in this case, the Seahawks rank 5th in the NFL with a total of 15 sacks so far during 2005 - remember, the Texans give up sacks like St. Nicholas gives away presents. Last week Marc Bulger managed 26/40 336 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception, but he was sacked 4 times during the game.

An obvious weakness of the Texans (pass blocking) will be exploited by Seattle on Sunday.

The most vulnerable offensive line in the NFL will clash with one of the most sack-happy defensive squads this week - advantage Seattle.

Weather: Qwest Field expects a high of 60F and a low of 46F with only a 20% chance of precipitation. If the forecast holds up, the field might be firm and dry on Sunday.

HOU Injuries: RB Jonathan Wells (Probable), WR Andre Johnson (Questionable), WR Jerome Mathis (Questionable)
SEA Injuries: DB Andre Dyson (Doubtful)


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Byron Leftwich didn't connect with his receivers much, but made his few completions count with 10/24 for 161 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions. It wasn't the prettiest performance by a QB last week, but it was far from the ugliest. In fantasy terms, Leftwich has not been overly impressive over the last 3 weeks, ranking 21st in the league with 46/81 for 578 yards, 5 TDs and 3 interceptions during that span. Ernest Wilford (1/11/1) and George Wrighster (2/40/1) snagged the TDs last week.

The Steelers rank 21st in the NFL allowing an average of 218.3 passing yards per game, but are 2nd in the NFL with only 3 passing scores given up to date. Drew Brees managed 20/35 for 219 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception vs. this D last week. Pittsburgh is tied for 5th in the NFL with 15 sacks to date - they put the heat on opposing passers fairly regularly. Jacksonville has allowed 13 sacks so far this year - they are vulnerable to a determined pass rush.

Pittsburgh brings a strong pass rush to the table, and they have home field advantage. We think this will be a tough game for the visiting Jags.

Weather: Heinz Field expects a high of 70F with a low of 49F and a 40% chance for rain. If the sky opens up around game time, footing and ball handling could become issues for both teams.

JAX Injuries: RB Fred Taylor (Probable), WR Jimmy Smith (Probable)
PIT Injuries: LB Clint Kriewaldt (Probable), LB James Harrison (Questionable), LB Clark Haggans (Out), DB Ricardo Colclough (Out)


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Trent Green and Tony Gonzalez have been disappointments so far during 2005. Green is 26th among all fantasy QBs in points per game (with 75/128 for 879 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions) while Gonzalez is the 29th fantasy TE with a mere 16/129/0 over 4 games. There just isn't much fantasy scoring to be had among the K.C. receivers/quarterback this year.

Washington played a great game vs. Denver, allowing a mere 10/26 for 92 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to Jake Plummer last week (field conditions were horrible with a driving rain making everything slick). Washington is currently 6th in the NFL allowing an average of 178.3 passing yards per game, with only 3 scores given away to date (tied for 2nd least in the NFL). However, they are dead last in the league with only 4 sacks to date - this team needs to generate more pressure on opposing passers.

Green and Gonzalez are lagging, while the Redskins are very tough in this phase of the game - advantage, Washington.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 67F with a low of 56F and a 10% chance for rain. Cool, crisp autumnal conditions - perfect for a game of football (and tailgating).

KC Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: DL Cornelius Griffin (Probable), DL Joe Salave'a (Probable), DL Renaldo Wynn (Probable), DB Carlos Rogers (Probable), DB Shawn Springs (Questionable)


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Culpepper is the 14th best fantasy QB this year, with 87/133 for 1019 yards, 4 TDs and 10 interceptions to date. Yes, TEN interceptions vs. 4 TDS. Travis Taylor, at #28 among fantasy WRs is the best Viking pass-catcher, with 18/215/2 over 4 games. The Vikings are sad in this phase of the game, folks.

Divisional rival Chicago allowed 23/34 for 218 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions to Trent Dilfer last week - much more than the Bears' 7th ranked secondary normally gives up (181.8 passing yards allowed per game this year, with 6 thrown scores surrendered so far). Look for the intensity to be at a fever pitch against their rivals in the NFC North.

Culpepper hasn't been able to overcome the loss of Moss so far - meanwhile, the Bear's pass D is among the top 10 in the NFL. This game will be very tough for the Vikings at Soldier Field.

Weather: The forecast for Soldier Field calls for a high of 63F with a low of 52F and a 10% chance for rain. You can't ask for better weather than that in the Windy City during October.

MIN Injuries: RB Moe Williams (Questionable), WR Nate Burleson (Out)
CHI Injuries: DL Adewale Ogunleye (Probable)


New York Giants Passing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Eli Manning went into the bye week on fire, with 19/35 for 296 yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. St. Louis. Plaxico Burress is his favorite target, with 49 targets for 25/396/4 so far during 2005. Jeremy Shockey has commanded 27 throws for 17/251/2 - if you are considering starting Giants' receivers, Burress and Shockey are the guys to field.

The Cowboys run in the middle of the NFL pack when it comes to pass defense, ranking 16th in the NFL allowing an average of 202 yards per game with 7 scores given up to date. They did a great job against the formerly-streaking Donovan McNabb and company last week, holding the Eagles to 16/30 for 145 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions (T.O. was held to 5/50/0 receiving - no dancing on the star last week).

The Cowboys are getting stronger just in time for their divisional rivalries, and this game will go down in Texas Stadium - advantage, Dallas.

Weather: Dallas expects a high of 85F and a low of 65F with a 10% chance for precipitation on Sunday. It should be a great day to play some football.

NYG Injuries: RB Derrick Ward (Probable)
DAL Injuries: LB Dat Nguyen (Questionable)


New York Jets Passing Offense at Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Vinny Testaverde wasn't a world-beater in his return to the NFL - 13/19 for 163 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception - but he was good enough to pull out a W for the Jets vs. Tampa. Laveranues Coles (6/89/0) and Doug Jolley (3/46/0) snapped out of their doldrums with Testaverde under center. It was a nice way for Testaverde's comeback to begin.

The Bills don't give up much in this phase of the game, allowing an average of 139 passing yards per game (1st in the NFL) and only 4 passing scores so far. Gus Frerotte racked up 226 yards against them last week, but his 2 TDs were balanced by 3 interceptions (Troy Vincent, Nate Clements and Terrence McGee each picked him off). With only 9 sacks to their credit, the Bills are behind the pack, though, ranking 20th in the NFL. You can't have everything.

Testaverde is still getting acclimated to his role in the Jets' offense, and the Bills' secondary will capitalize on any errors he makes - advantage, Buffalo.

Weather: Ralph Wilson Stadium may be damp this week - there is a 40% chance for rain on Sunday, with a high forecast to be 62F and a low of 48F. If the rain falls heavily around game time, footing and ball handling could become issues for both teams.

NYJ Injuries: QB Jay Fiedler (Out), QB Chad Pennington (Out), RB Curtis Martin (Probable), RB B.J. Askew (Questionable), RB Derrick Blaylock (Out)
BUF Injuries: DL Ron Edwards (Out), DB Coy Wire (Probable)


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Roethlisberger tossed 17/26 for 225 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions last week, staying right on his pace for the year (Pittsburgh averages 217 passing yards per game, with 7 thrown scores so far during 2005). However, it looks like his knee injury will keep him sidelined this week - Charlie Batch will likely be the starter this week although Tommy Maddox might be ready. Hines Ward is the 6th best fantasy receiver in points per game during the last 3 weeks, with 10/193/2 over 2 games - Randle-El is 47th during that span with 5/106/0 to his credit. Pittsburgh enjoys good results when they elect to throw the ball - but with a backup QB under center expect the team to emphasize the running game this week. Batch didn't throw the ball at all last week in relief of Roethlisberger.

The Jaguars rank 2nd in the NFL vs. the pass, allowing only 155.2 net passing yards per game (6 passing scores given up so far). They are tied in 10th place with 12 sacks this year - the big guys up front are getting to opposing passers fairly often. 22/33 for 239 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions were granted to Carson Palmer and company last week, though - the Jags are not in top form heading into this contest.

The Steelers have home field advantage at their back, which should help - but the Jags are solid in this phase of the game more often than not. It's tough to come into a game with limited reps under a player's belt - advantage, Jacksonville.

Weather: Heinz Field expects a high of 70F with a low of 49F and a 40% chance for rain. If the sky opens up around game time, footing and ball handling could become issues for both teams.

PIT Injuries: QB Tommy Maddox (Questionable), QB Ben Roethlisberger (Doubtful), WR Antwaan Randle El (Probable), WR Hines Ward (Questionable)
JAX Injuries: DL John Henderson (Probable), LB Akinola Ayodele (Probable)


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Rams/Colts: what can we tell you that you don't already know? Two of the top passing offenses in the NFL clash in this matchup. St Louis is down Isaac Bruce thanks to a turf toe injury, but they are deep at WR with Holt, Curtis and McDonald holding the fort while Bruce recuperates. Marc Bulger's fantasy stats have not suffered in Bruce's absence (over the last three weeks he is #2 among all fantasy QB's with 87/130 for 1070 yards, 7 TDs and 5 interceptions.) Torry Holt has snagged 24/373/3 during the last 3 weeks - he's the focus of this attack, as usual.

Meanwhile, the Colts have only allowed 2 passing scores during 5 games, and rank 9th in the NFL averaging 187 passing yards allowed per contest. The Colts also lead the league with 20 sacks to date (the Rams are tied for 2nd most sacks allowed with 20 given away - only Houston is worse).

At Indy's house, this is a tough matchup for St. Louis due to their pass-protection woes.

Weather: The Monday Night Football game will go down in the air-conditioned RCA Dome - weather won't be an issue.

STL Injuries: WR Torry Holt (Questionable), WR Isaac Bruce (Doubtful), TE Brandon Manumaleuna (Probable)
IND Injuries: DL Josh Thomas (Probable), DL Vincent Burns (Questionable), LB Cato June (Probable), LB David Thornton (Probable), LB Gilbert Gardner (Questionable), DB Bob Sanders (Questionable), DB Joseph Jefferson (Out)


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Steve McNair has been fairly strong this year in fantasy terms: he is the 13th best fantasy QB in the land with 111/169 for 1115 yards, 7 TDs and 4 interceptions (11/46/1 rushing). Last week he tossed 22/31 for 220 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the Texans. McNair isn't a top fantasy performer any more, but he's a very solid #2 QB this year.

The Bengals field a top-10 pass D, averaging 188.6 passing yards allowed per game (10th in the NFL) with only 4 scores surrendered in this phase so far. Last week, Byron Leftwich scraped up 10/24 for 161 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions, but it wasn't easy. Remember that Cincinnati leads the league with 12 interceptions to date, by the way.

As the game is going down in Nashville, we think a fine secondary will try to control the Titans' bevy of talented tight ends on Sunday making it tough for Tennessee.

Weather: The Coliseum expects a high of 75F and a low of 52F, with a 10% chance of rain - that sounds like perfect weather for a football game to us.

TEN Injuries: RB Troy Fleming (Questionable)
CIN Injuries: DB Kevin Kaesviharn (Probable), DB Madieu Williams (Probable)


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Gus Frerotte stumbled last week, tossing 3 interceptions against Buffalo's tough secondary (he threw for 21/33 for 226 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions all told once the game was in the books). Frerotte is the 17th ranked fantasy QB so far this season, with 79/145 for 849 yards, 7 TDs and 6 interceptions to date. TE Randy McMichael is his most consistent red-zone threat, with 16/180/4 this year - McMichael's 4 TDs are the most scores for any TE this season.

13/19 for 163 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception was Vinny Testaverde's stat line last week vs. Tampa. They field the league's 3rd ranked pass defense (allowing an average of 157 passing yards per game) and have given up a league-low of 2 passing scores to date. Tampa has a dominant defense (they have 11 sacks to date, 12th in the NFL) that doesn't have a weakness we can see.

Frerotte and company will have their work cut out for them at Raymond James Stadium.

Weather: Raymond James Stadium expects a high of 85F and a low of 69F with a 10% chance of rain. That's great weather for a football game in our book.

MIA Injuries: none
TB Injuries: DB Jermaine Phillips (Questionable)




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