Bye Weeks: Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota,
Last Week's Projections
(10-4) Straight Up - 71.4%
(10-4) Against The Spread - 71.4%
For The Season
(30-16) Straight Up - 65.2%
(26-20) Against The Spread - 56.0%
Cincinnati (+4) at Pittsburgh,
I have a hard time believing that Carson Palmer is the quarterback
of the future in Cincinnati after watching his dismal performance
Sunday against Baltimore. Sure, the Ravens have a great secondary,
and yes, Palmer is young. But is it also possible that Palmer is
colorblind? He forced two passes downfield that were both picked
like apples by Ravens safety Ed Reed. It's not like Reed is invisible
- the guy's a Pro Bowler and forgetting about him is tantamount
to forgetting which team you are on.
The Bengals face a similar challenge this week - although Pittsburgh's
defense is not quite Baltimore's unit. I wouldn't start Palmer until
he stops throwing interceptions and faces a weak secondary where
he can rack up yardage. Rudi Johnson is a good #2 back, simply because
the Bengals offensive line is better than Pittsburgh's front seven.
Chad Johnson should probably be an every week play at this point,
but when you're at church on Sunday mornings before the games, you
might want to light a candle and say a prayer for him. On defense,
there's always lineman Justin Smith, linebackers Kevin Hardy and
The Steelers won the Hurricane Bowl last week but really showed
nothing special except a penchant to rely on prolific receiver Hines
Ward, who put up good fantasy numbers despite the deluge. Go with
Ward, Burress and Staley but stay away from neophyte QB Ben Roethlisberger.
LB Clark Haggans looks like the man on D, but Joey Porter and Kendrell
Bell could get a sack or two. Remember, the Steelers always play
tough getting a few points, even when they are overmatched.
Final Score: Bengals 16, Steelers
New England (-5.5) at
Buffalo, 1:00 pm
Since New England lost their 2003 opener 31-0 the Bills, much
has happened. The Bills have since fired Gregg Williams and hired
Mike Mularkey while the Patriots have canonized Bill Belichick
and won another Super Bowl. Drew Bledsoe may have looked good
about 13 months ago, but so did Bennifer.
The Patriots come off a bye looking a a little better than when
they went in, if that's possible. First, let me say that Tom Brady
should always start. WR Deion Branch will be on the injury report,
so monitor his status up until Sunday, since he's got several
other com-Patriots at the position who can also rack up fantasy
points. WRs David Givens and David Patten have picked up the slack,
and are both good plays. Stay away from Troy Brown until he proves
to be part of this offense. Corey Dillon faces a tough Buffalo
run defense, but I would start him - he's the starting tailback
on arguably the best team in the NFL. I picked up Daniel Graham
as my only tight end in the second-to-last round of my fantasy
draft because the word of the day was Christian Fauria. No way,
Jose. Dan's the man and will continue to be the featured goal
line option in 2004. On defense, it's safe to start just about
any linebacker for New England, and of course, my boy Rodney Harrison.
Safety Eugene Wilson is another great option that has emerged
in IDP leagues.
The Bills have their hands full. Bledsoe is a big fat no, but
Henry might manage to close in on the 100 yard mark against a
bend but not break Patriots defense that allows moderate running
yardage but prevents the big play. The Pats D tries to go for
the big hit, interception or whatever to shift the momentum, and
it seems to work. While Moulds should get some catches, I wouldn't
look for a huge day from any Bills receiver. That means a no Evans,
Reed and backup RB Willie McCheeselegs. On D, start London Fletcher
and Takeo Spikes.
Final Score: Patriots 23, Bills
Oakland (-2) at Houston,
First I would like to say Cliff "The Show" Bazhaw was an
amazing 11-3 against the spread on all games last week. Starting
with the Raiders. The Raiders looked great behind Kerry Collins
last week. Putting a monster beating on Jon Gruden and the struggling
Bucs. As predicted, the defense dominated this game and really
the Bucs were much more out of it than the 30-20 score would imply.
What's up with the cheesy way folks are breaking records and hitting
milestones today? With basketball players grabbing rebounds from
the wrong goal for a triple double to Tim Brown basically forgotten
must of the game until it was time to get him his 100 TD in the
4th quarter. That drive he had 4 catches for 41 yards. Guess how
many for the game? Same amount. I like Timmy, he is from Big D,
but where were you the other 3 ˝ quarters? Anyway, we were speaking
about the Raiders and the fact Collins is the best QB for this
team and I see them going nowhere but up. We also had a Wheatley
sighting this week. Grab him if you can. With mobile Collins out
there he should see much bigger holes than lead footed Gannon.
The Texans took advantage of some stupid mistakes by the Chiefs
to defeat them. 102 yard Int return from some dude named Marcus
Coleman rose the Texans from the dead. They went on to pound a
horrendous Chiefs D and win the game by 3. Davis went down with
an injury and did not return. However he wasn't doing that well
to begin with. Going 10 carriers for 12 yards. Watch to see how
he is progressing this week. If not look for Wells to make the
start. I still think Carr stinks and makes a lot of mental errors.
The Raiders won't be in the giving mood on Sunday. Start Davis,
maybe Andre Johnson.
Final Score: Raiders 20, Texans
Washington at Cleveland
(+3), 1:00 pm
Cleveland was on a bye and I know quite frankly is not that good.
However, Suggs is returning and I have a feeling they will be
rested and rejuvenated with his return. He is clearly a better
back than Green and I think the offense will move much better
with him in it. They are playing at home and had great success
there against a good Ravens team in week 1. Jeff Garcia should
find some holes in that secondary. I don't know what to call this
one. Man's intuition?? I just see this game as a stumbling block
for the Redskins who keep finding ways to lose.
The Skins had nothing to do this week but complain about "bad
calls" they received against Dallas last week. Granted the stripped
jersey of Rod Gardner should have been a penalty however a few
plays earlier Portis should have down by contact, which would
have been a fourth down instead eventually resulting in a TD.
Gibbs should be beyond that kind of whining and take more blame
for the 2 timeouts he called in 4 plays. That would have been
sort of helpful when Gardner caught the ball with 7 seconds on
the clock. I just think this team has a curse and will continue
to play Brunell which I will keep saying each week is a mistake.
As my father once told me "He who hesitates…..masturbates."
Final Score: Browns 21, Skins
Indianapolis (-4) at
Jacksonville, 1:00 pm
Now this will be a true test of the Jacksonville defense that
many football pundits are claiming is one of the league's best.
The Jags have beaten Buffalo, Denver and Tennessee, but have yet
to face anything close to the Indianapolis juggernaut that facilitated
one of the most outrageous first half offensive displays in recent
memory. I mean, Green Bay defensive backs were wandering around
aimlessly like my grandfather navigating the hallway at 3:00 a.m.
- armed only with an overactive bladder and a serious case of
dementia - while Peyton Manning ripped open the field for 30 minutes
with five touchdown passes.
The Colts won't have the easiest time penetrating what has proved
to be a formidable Jacksonville secondary, but they will manage.
Manning is a must-play, as is Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison.
I wouldn't expect the same kind of performances from WRs Brandon
Stokely and Reggie Wayne, but you should all know that without
me saying it. Look to Clark this week before Pollard, who has
been noticeably absent from many offensive sets. On D, I like
safety Idrees Bashir and LB David Thornton.
The Jaguars should move the ball more effectively against this
defense, which might not be great, but is usually pretty lucky.
Expect a pick or two from Leftwich to balance out with 2 or even
3 touchdown passes. Jimmy Smith was still hibernating as of Week
3 but should produce, and Fred Taylor should catch some more passes
and involve himself in all aspects of the offense. Expect big
days from both, and play Mike Peterson, Donovan Darius and Akin
Ayodele on defense.
Final Score: Colts 30, Jags
N.Y. Giants ( +7) at
Green Bay, 1:00 pm
You know what, I'm not even going to talk about Giants head coach
You Know Who, because all this banter has somehow resurrected
the Giants veterans and convinced opposing teams not to even show
up for the games.
The Packers have a quarterback, however, that shows up for all
of them. Start Favre with confidence, and if you happen to have
RB Ahman Green, look forward to a big day from a defensive units
with about as much big game experience as Pop Warner cheerleaders.
As my fellow writers at FFToday pointed out, that Javon Walker
performance was quite unexpected. While it's not going to happen
again this week, the young, hungry Walker should put up serviceable
numbers against New York. Driver's another possible start, although
he's probably a #3 WR at best. TE Bubba Franks should get back
into the action against the Giants, and on defense, start Nick
Barnett and Darren Sharper.
The Giants have Kurt Warner, who might be a decent play against
a Packers secondary (whose performance last week was described
appropriately in the Indy-Jax preview above). They also have Tiki
Barber, who is a must-play every week until further notice. Amani
Toomer might be a mediocre #2 or decent # 3 receiver this week,
and I would probably stay away from Tim Carter until he starts
producing a bit more. On defense, we should stick with Shaun Williams
and Michael Strahan, who gets sacks versus Favre in almost every
meeting - including one time when Favre literally laid down so
the gap-toothed defensive lineman could break the single season
Final Score: Packers 24 Giants
Philadelphia (-9) at
Chicago, 1:00 pm
Is this a tailor-made beating waiting to happen or what?? The
Philly defense is looking mighty strong. Crushing the Lions last
week. Owens is a jerk but damn can he catch the ball. Another
crazy game for him 107 and 1 TD. McNabb is proving everyone right
that all he needed was a go-to guy to be great. Running game sucks
right now but who the hell needs it when you have McNabb throwing
laser beams out there. I didn't catch any of this game but I was
in Atlantic City and the Philly fans were in full force. They
are certainly talking SuperBowl. Always being the one to stir
up trouble I had to mention this has been said the last three
years. Being serious though. Their schedule is pretty weak and
they will easily make the playoffs but it still remains to be
seen if McNabb can get his hands off his throat and if Owens can
win without Jerry Rice in the playoffs. Start McNabb, Owens, Westbrook,
Eagles D…pretty much the whole freaking team.
Jonathon Quinn huh? Jesus, I would rather watch Hofstra play than
going to the Bears game on Sunday. Jesus did this team take a
beating not only by the Vikings but by losing Grossman as well.
The Bears got absolutely torched by Culpepper and Moss for 360
yards of passing with a leaky secondary. Fault Lovie Smith for
not preparing for the potential loss of Grossman and get a veteran
in there. Quinn is a vet of the clipboard and that wraps it up.
He will end up coaching his nephew's soccer game but not leading
this team to any wins. Thomas Jones is the only bright spot other
wise. He is leading the league in several categories and had 181
yards of total offense and 1 TD last week. There is nothing to
like about this team other than Jones. Avoid any other player
or watching this game.
This is as much as lock as I have seen all year.
Final Score: Eagles 35, Bears
New Orleans (-4) at Arizona,
So far, I've really hated every game Arizona has played in this
year. They always lose, but manage to keep their opposing quarterbacks
fantasy numbers to a minimum. While I don't really care if that
trend continues this week against New Orleans, I'm kind of anxious
to see it dissipate before it becomes a widely-recognizable fantasy
The Saints have a good fantasy QB in Aaron Brooks have a capable
backup RB in Aaron Stecker. I told everybody to play Stecker last
week and I hope those folks that were lucky enough to pick him
up from the waiver wire listened. Looks to be another good day
for Brooks and Stecker, with a big green light for WR Joe Horn
and Donté Stallworth as well. TE Boo Williams should perform again
this week, and although I don't usually bother with kicker comments,
it's another good week to have John Carney.
The Cardinals have had some problems - as I predicted - with QB
Josh McCown, and might bench him in favor of veteran Shaun King.
Somebody please remind me again how Shaun King went from starting
quarterback in the NFC championship game to pine-ride with no
chance of a future in the NFL? If I was Dennis Green, I'd give
King all the reps and have McCown grab an Ashton Kutcher-styled
trucker/baseball cap. While the numbers say to start Emmitt Smith
against a poor run defense, this Cowboy fan is hard-pressed to
see anything left in the old man's legs. Sure he had some yardage
in Week One, but that was adrenaline more than preparation. Look
elsewhere is you can. At WR, I like Larry Fitzgerald having a
decent game, although I wouldn't buy too much into the rest of
the Cardinals receivers just yet. Defensively, DB Adrian Wilson
looks to be the best option, along with LB James Darling.
Final Score: Saints 27, Cardinals
N.Y. Jets (-5 1/2) at
Miami, 4:15 pm
The Jets were on a by last week but they didn't really need it.
Pennington is turning out to be the QB everyone knew he could
be and Curtis Martin looks like he turned back the clock 5 years.
Averaging an incredible 5.7 yards per carry. Miami's D is solid
and won't allow that kind of running in their house. The Jets
need to keep winning to stay with the Patriots who quite honestly
don't really have a game on their schedule they can't win. Of
course they will but it won't be many. Moss looks good in this
game, with Pennington, Martin, and maybe the Jets D.
Miami announced this week they were going back to Jay Fielder
for the 152nd time in his career after a hard to watch performance
by Feeley last week (137 yards and 2 picks). The Dolphins can
blame Ricky but they can't blame anyone but themselves for wasting
a second rounder on a third string QB who caught lightning in
a bottle for a couple of games with the Eagles. Anyway, the Dolphins
stink and will take a beating this week from the Jets. If you
are looking for someone to cover a bye week pick up that Henry
kid, as he should get 50 or so yards. Fielder will do his usual.
Nothing exciting. The only player I would use is McMichael and
the Dolphins D. By the way if they keep Dave past this year then
they should sell this franchise to NFL Europe.
Final Score: Jets 20, Fins
Atlanta (+3.5) at Carolina,
I'm a little concerned with the Falcons scoring 6 points versus
Arizona, because this game could turn into the same type of diabetic-coma
inducing defensive maelstrom, putting a lockdown on fantasy numbers.
With Carolina coming off a bye, there's a chance RB Stephen Davis
could play in this contest, a surprising development considering
his knee got scoped a couple weeks ago.
The Falcons will be anxious to let Michael Vick run loose against
Carolina. His most recent performance against the Panthers was
pretty wild. Last season - in his first start of the year - Vick
rushed for 141 yards, leading the Falcons past Carolina 20-14
on Sunday Night Football, with Joe Theismann, Paul MaGuire and
Mike Patrick gushing about his otherworldly, almost preternatural
presence on the field. Vick was great, but the Falcons barely
won the game. Vick's rushing total was the third-highest in NFL
history by a quarterback, something he will hard-pressed to replicate
against an improved defensive unit. Older and wiser, the Panthers
will limit Vick to under 50 yards rushing and keep him from going
crazy. In other words, he's a risky play, as are many of the Falcons
other offensive starters. On defense, I would stick with Keith
Brooking and Patrick Kerney, who had three sacks last week.
The Panthers QB Jake Delhomme should get lots of passing yards
against an old, weak and slow Atlanta secondary that played above
their heads last week. Rookie WR Keary Colbert is a strong play
this week, as are WR Muhsin Muhammed and TE Kris Mangum. The running
back situation is complicated, but play Foster unless there's
a lock on Davis suiting up for Sunday's game. DeShaun is to good
not to use while Davis is still dinged up, and there's no point
rushing Davis back if he's not 100 percent, considering Foster's
week two performance. On defense, stick with LB Dan Morgan, DL
Mike Rucker and DB Mike Minter.
Final Score: Panthers 20, Falcons
at Tampa Bay (+3), 4:15 pmp
I know you see a theme. Going against the chalks this week. Tampa
Bay showed next to nothing against Oakland last week and you say,
"What makes this week an different?" I say that Michael Pittman
is returning. He knows his shots are limited and that he needs
to make some major impressions to get a good contract next season.
The door swung way open when Garner was carted off on a stretcher
and will be out the remainder of the year. It looks like Johnson
has developed something with Schroeder as I haven't heard from
him since Favre was throwing him passes. Another guy who cashed
in on one-year mirage. He might be a decent pick-up. Looks like
Keenan will be headed to K.C. to bring in Larry Johnson but I
think they want to see how Pittman looks this Sunday first. I
think Gruden will find a way to win as Denver's D is not that
You know Clinton Portis has got to be laughing a little to himself.
Has anyone ever thought that Denver may have just gotten lucky
and found "good" backs and it may not be just the system? I think
folks are starting to figure out Griffin's number as he only posted
12 carries for 7 yards against the Chargers. With 66 yards the
week before the little short kid is starting to get picked on.
Plummer keeps looking better with 294 yards passing and 2 TDs.
But without a good running game they won't get passed the Bucs.
Another tidbit of info Lelie and Watts are both better than Smith.
I think at some point you have to get both of those guys on the
field at all times. They can take it to the house. Smith needs
to go to the house. However start Lelie and Smith in this game.
Griffin will disappoint again.
Final Score: Bucs 16, Broncos
Tennessee (-3) at San
Diego, 4:15 pm
I admit it. I was tricked. San Diego still stinks and Brees is
the captain of this ship. Poor Tomlinson, he has to deal with
this crap for another 7 years. At least he will be banking a serious
check. They won't do it this week but it is coming. The Philip
Rivers show is about to set sail. After Brees laid an egg the
size of Montana against the Broncos. I could have hit Dwight with
that pass he was so wide open. This guy has no heart, no arm,
and no time. The defense for this team is not horrible. They completely
shut down the mighty Broncos running game and the receivers looked
open most of the day. Brees hits a few wide-open receivers and
it might have turned out differently. Go with Tomlinson, and Gates
The Titans are a mediocre team going nowhere. They may survive
a scare with McNair and his beat up sternum. This guy is made
of iron for Christ sake. But he is only one man in a sea of average
bums. I like McNair but 143 yards and 1 pick doesn't do that much
for me. Chris Brown continues to look impressive with another
100-yard performance. Volek will get the nod most likely and has
performed well in the past. He might be an ok start this week.
I think Brown and Mason might be the two to go with. They might
lose this one if Rivers gets to play. But the Chargers might be
down by so much it won't matter by then.
Final Score: Titans 20, Chargers
Louis (-4.5) at San Francisco, 8:30 pm
This matchup should be good for everyone involved from a fantasy
perspective, and represents an outside chance for the 49ers to
pull of an upset at home versus a beatable division rival.
The Rams come off a tough loss to New Orleans in OT, where QB
Marc Bulger, WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk
all had good fantasy games. Faulk only had 12 carries for 44 yards,
but he picked up a score and had eight catches for 46 yards. Look
for similar performances to that throughout the entire season,
as backup Stephen Jackson will continue to get more playing time.
All the ST. Louis offensive stars should do nice things again
this week, with particular emphasis on Holt and Bulger. On defense,
play DB Adam Archuleta. It's now safe to start LB Robert Thomas,
and DL Leonard Little finally appeared in the defensive stat summary
with a sack last week.
The 49ers have to be bit depressed, but have reason to be excited
about this matchup. Coming off their first shutout in 420 games,
the franchise has never been in worse shape. Look for head coach
Dennis Erickson to turn that into a positive this week, motivating
his players by explaining that it can't get any worse. While it
could, I don't believe it will. Injured QB Tim Rattay might be
back this week and RB Kevan Barlow should be able to penetrate
the St. Louis front seven for some decent rushing yardage and
a score. WR Cedrick Wilson seems to be the go-to-guy and was back
in action last week with a decent performance in an otherwise
ghastly game. Play TE Eric Johnson and on defense, stick with
LB Julian Peterson, LB Derek Smith and DB Tony Parrish.
Final Score: Rams 31, 49ers
Kansas City (+5 ˝) at
Baltimore, 9:00 pm
My upset of the week. Never bet against a man who has nothing
to lose. The Chiefs are 0-3 and know that 0-4 may end their season.
Look for them to come out motivated and running the football.
Holmes looked hurt last week and slow rushing for 32 times for
134 yards. See the sarcasm?? Green looked great right up until
the time he wrapped a present for Coleman and he took it 102 to
the house. Gonzo decided to play this year and had 106 and 1 TD.
The Chiefs should have won this game and they know it. Look for
Crying Dick to send an emotional plea out to his players to maybe
cover and tackle someone. I think Holmes will do well as he is
a guy who loves to go against the best and make them look stupid.
Well he gets his wish this week. Hello Ray!! Start Gonzo, and
Holmes. Leave the rest on the bench.
I thought the Ravens would wake up. D is looking good. Some bum
named Hymes is catching the majority of the Kyle Boller floaters
that come his way. 126 and 1 TD is not a wet dream for fantasy
players but he might find this week's secondary a little more
to his liking. However you won't see much other than Lewis's ass
on every play as he gets about 52 carries this week. He should
have a monster game. I predict a low scoring game with the game
being decided between Holmes and Lewis. However I think the cornered
cat theory might be in order here. Don't bet against a scared
Final Score: Chiefs 17, Ravens