Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
Tampa is coming off an emotional high, winning a game they shouldn’t have won vs. Washington a week ago. Numerous replays show the ball did not break the plane of the goal line on the 2 pt conversion. Atlanta was trashed at home last week by the 1-7 Packers. Atlanta could not stop the run, and that is proving to be the formula to beat this team. Get on them early, so they have to pass, and run it down their throat late, where they have had trouble stopping the opposing rushers.
Tampa QB Chris Simms is still a turnover machine, even though he was impressive last week bringing the Buc’s back. Atlanta has to run the ball to be successful and will have tough sledding vs. a stingy Tampa Bay defense. Buc’s DB Ronde Barber had a very successful day last week, but he won't score nearly as much with the run oriented Falcons next up on the schedule. But on the other hand DB Jermaine Phillips could continue to excel sliding in the box to help in run support.
Best Bets – Tampa Bay - LB Derrick Brooks - Atlanta – LB Demorrio Williams
Solid plays – Tampa Bay - DB Jermaine Phillips - Atlanta – LB Keith Brooking
Others to Consider – Tampa Bay - LB Shelton Quarles - Atlanta – DB DeAngelo Hall
Carolina @ Chicago
Some experts claim Carolina is the best team in the NFC, and they did look impressive thrashing the Jets 30-3 last week, but when you look at the Jets offense, it really wasn’t that great an achievement. Brooks Bollinger was 3 rd on the depth chart at the beginning of the season, and was replaced by unemployed Vinny Testaverde before he went down to injury as well. Chicago continues to rack up wins, and comfortably leads the NFC North at the moment, but that could change after this week. Kyle Orton throwing for only 67 yards, albeit in a windstorm, will not get it done vs. Carolina.
Carolina LB Dan Morgan is still gimpy, but was very active with 6 tackles and a forced fumble a week ago. Chicago DL Alex Brown is showing signs of turning things around with 6 solo tackles, but keep an eye on Bears LB Hunter Hillenmeyer who is the unknown Bears LB. For a strong side LB, he is averaging 5.5 tackles a week, which is nice production as a #4 LB for depth in small leagues, or even a # 3 in larger ones.
Best Bets - Carolina – LB Dan Morgan- Chicago – LB Brian Urlacher
Solid plays – Carolina – LB Will Witherspoon- Chicago – LB Lance Briggs
Others to Consider – Carolina - DB Marlon McCree- Chicago – DB Mike Brown
Miami @ Cleveland
Miami led New England at halftime and then again with just over 2 minutes to go, but they left too much time on the clock for the Pats and lost the game as a result. Dolphins LB Zach Thomas is a weekly stud, and he is tutoring rookie Channing Crowder to be just as active as he is. Cleveland was impressive running the ball early vs. Pittsburgh last week, but they were unable to sustain that success, and lost as a result. Browns LB Andra Davis was a big disappointment last week, considering the number of times Pittsburgh ran the ball, and he was only in on 2 solo tackles. Watching the game, he hit the wrong hole often, and was blown up by the fullback on several other occasions.
Miami should be able to run the ball at win on Cleveland and LB Andra Davis should get things back on track this week. And luckily for owners of Thomas and Crowder, Miami will not be able to put the game out of reach early enough for Cleveland to stop running the ball. Browns LB Ben Taylor was huge last week with 5 solo tackles, 7 assists and a few pass deflections. He doesn’t figure to repeat those stats, but 2/3 rd of that production would be a solid day.
Best Bets – Miami – LB Zach Thomas - Cleveland – LB Andra Davis
Solid plays – Miami – LB Channing Crowder - Cleveland – LB Ben Taylor
Others to Consider – Miami – DL Jason Taylor - Cleveland – DB Chris Crocker
Detroit @ Dallas
Detroit quarterback Joey Harrington was impressive last week finding a wide open Roy Williams on several occasions. The two hooked up for 3 TD's, but that was against the Arizona Cardinals secondary. Detroit SS Kennoy Kennedy led the way on defense with 7 solo tackles and 2 assists. Dallas got out of Philly as fast as they could after stealing a game they had no business winning. Dallas SS Roy Williams interception for a TD was poetic justice for the long TD reception he was partially responsible for giving up in week vs. Washington, which cost the Boys the win.
Detroit is an underdog, but Dallas is on an emotional high right now after the stunning victory in Philly. Coming off a short week, and the potential loss of CB Anthony Henry for a 2 nd week does not bode well for the Cowboys secondary. Then you factor in the size of the Lions WR‘s, and that could be the mismatch of the game that leads to a Lions victory. Cowboys LB Bradie James had his coming out party last week with 12 solo tackles, a sack, and road grader for DB Roy Williams on the INT return for a TD at the end of the game.
Best Bets – Detroit – LB Wali Rainer - Dallas – DB Roy Williams
Solid plays – Detroit – DB Kennoy Kennedy - Dallas – LB Bradie James
Others to Consider – Detroit – LB Boss Bailey - Dallas – LB Dat Nguyen
Jacksonville @ Tennessee
Jacksonville finally put a team away that they were supposed to beat. The Jags are known as a team that plays to the level of their competition, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them post such a decisive victory. Tennessee was on bye in week 10, but plans to get injured WR Drew Bennett back this week.
Jacksonville is probably going to be without RB Fred Taylor again this week, with Greg Jones likely to get the lion's share of carries. This benefit’s the Tennessee LB's as Jones runs more between the tackles than Fred. Tennessee will test the Jags secondary, and LB's Peterson and DL John Henderson should each get to McNair at least once. Each of the strong plays below should have nice outings on the afternoon.
Best Bets – Jacksonville – LB Mike Peterson - Tennessee – LB Keith Bullock
Solid plays – Jacksonville – DL John Henderson - Tennessee – LB Brad Kassell
Others to Consider – Jacksonville – LB Daryl Smith - Tennessee – DL Kyle Vanden Bosch
Arizona @ St Louis
Arizona threw for 359 passing yards on the Detroit defense and got their first rushing TD of the season in week 10, and still couldn’t pull out a victory. Arizona SS Adrian Wilson is having a career season with 68 tackles through 9 games, when a yr ago he had 102 in 16 weeks. Last week was no exception for Wilson who posted 10 solo tackles and 4 assists. St. Louis went from a team that couldn’t lose to Seattle, to a team that now can’t beat the Hawks. In 2 games this yr Alexander has almost 300 yards and 5 rushing TD’s vs. the Rams defense.
Arizona doesn’t pose a rushing threat like the Seahawks, instead they will test the St. Louis secondary. Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is averaging almost 300 yards a game in his complete game starts. The Rams will pound Steven Jackson, but will not abandon the passing game. Start your studs in this game, as it figures to be a shoot-out.
Best Bets – Arizona – DB Adrian Wilson - St. Louis – DB Adam Archuletta
Solid plays – Arizona – DL Chike Okeafor - St. Louis – LB Pisa Tinoisamoa
Others to Consider – Arizona – LB Karlos Dansby - St. Louis – DB Mike Furry
New Orleans @ New England
New Orleans was on bye in week 10, which was good news as they did not lose. New England bounced back from the defeat to Indy at home in week 9. The Pats went back and forth with the Dolphins, and as it turned out the team that scored last, won. New England is a shell of its former self on defense, but was able to hold off the Saints from inside their 10 yard line on 4 straight downs to preserve the victory.
New Orleans signed running back Anthony Thomas who was previously cut by the Dallas Cowboys. Thomas figures to get some carries, but back up new starter Antowain Smith. The Saints have a very nice passing attack and will expose the Patriots secondary, but the Saints defense is worse than New England’s and they will probably lose a closely contest game in the final quarter. Pats CB Asante Samuel has been their most productive CB the last 4 starts and will be tested early and often by the strong Saints WR corp.
Best Bets – New Orleans - DB Josh Bullocks - New England - LB Tedy Bruschi
Solid plays – New Orleans - DL Will Smith - New England - LB Mike Vrabel
Others to Consider – New Orleans - DL Charles Grant - New England - DB Asante Samuel
Philadelphia @ NY Giants
Philly is looking to bounce back from an upsetting defeat they let get away from them in the final minutes on Monday night. Dallas was lackluster on offense for most of 3.5 quarters, but was able to score again with 3 minutes to go. Then on the 2nd play from scrimmage Eagles QB Donovan McNabb threw an ill-advise pass in the flat, that Dallas DB Roy Williams intercepted and returned for what turned out to be the winning score of the game. NY is coming off a loss they figured to have won easily at home vs. the Vikings. The Giants D was solid, but its special teams and offense gave Minnesota 3 TD’s and they couldn’t overcome Eli Manning’s 4 INTs.
Philly will be without QB Donovan McNabb in week 11, and backup Mike McMahon will get the start. McMahon hopes to have better luck with his WR’s catching balls that hit them in the hands. NY has to be salivating having the wounded Eagles coming into town with the chance to put yet another nail in their playoff coffin. As impressive as Eli has shown he can be, the Eagles will put pressure on him and force him to make quick decisions. Expect Eagles FS Brian Dawkins to have a big impact in the final outcome of this game.
Best Bets – Philadelphia – LB Jeremiah Trotter - NY Giants – LB Antonio Pierce
Solid plays – Philadelphia – DB Michael Lewis - NY Giants – DB Gibril Wilson
Others to Consider – Philadelphia – DB Brian Dawkins - NY Giants – DLMichael Strahan, DL Osi Umenyiora
Oakland @ Washington
Oakland was beaten once again by Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos last week. The Raiders couldn’t stop the run or pass and Denver put up 24 points worth of offense and another 7 with an INT returned for a TD. Washington lost on a controversial 2 pt conversion in the final seconds of the game. Redskins LB Marcus Washington led all defensive players with 6 solo tackles. While LB Kirk Morrison had 11 solo and 1 assist for the Raiders.
Washington is going to pound RB Clinton Portis at Oakland and try and shorten the game, to keep Randy Moss and Co. off the field. Oakland may counter with RB Lamont Jordan who is not putting up huge yards, but is very effective in the passing game as well. This figures to benefit Redskins LB Lavar Arrington. The Redskins game plan will create huge opportunities for Raiders LB's Morrison and Danny Clark.
Best Bets – Oakland - LB Kirk Morrison - Washington – LB Lemar Marshall
Solid plays – Oakland - LB Danny Clark - Washington – DB Ryan Clark
Others to Consider – Oakland - DB Stuart Schweigert - Washington – LB LaVar Arrington
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore
Pittsburgh figures to go one more week without Big Ben as their starting quarterback. Tommy Maddox will get the start because 2 nd string QB Charlie Batch broke a bone in his throwing hand in last weeks contest. Baltimore was able to keep the game close the first time in Pittsburgh with Ben in at QB. This time they get the undermanned Steelers at their place, but it's not likely to make a difference.
Pittsburgh will run as many healthy RB's as they have to get yards and points on the wounded Ravens defense. Ray Lewis is expected to miss yet another start, though FS Ed Reed is expected to play this week. Steelers LB James Farrior is currently questionable again this week after sitting out week 10.
Best Bets – Pittsburgh – LB Larry Foote -Baltimore – DB Will Demps
Solid plays – Pittsburgh – DB Troy Polamalu - Baltimore– LB Tommy Polley
Others to Consider – Pittsburgh – DB Chris Hope - Baltimore – DB Ed Reed
Seattle @ San Francisco
Seattle is in the same conversation as the Panthers as the elite team of the NFC. RB Shaun Alexander is scoring touchdowns at will on the ground, but the Hawks have been vulnerable to the pass on defense. San Francisco is not the worst team record wise, but it would be hard pressed to think they would be favored vs. the Texans at this point in the season. Cody Picket their QB last week threw for a whopping 28 yards, and SF could only manage 3 Joe Nedney FG’s on offense.
Another mismatch that may allow Seattle to rest Alexander in the 4 th quarter and allow the Hawks to have 2 - 100 yard rushers on the day. San Francisco lost SS Tony Parrish to a broken fibula last week, and he was placed on IR this week. In his absence Keith Lewis finished the game with 3 tackles and an assist. Beware of Seattle LB's as the 49ers probably won't have the ball enough snaps for them to have productive days.
Best Bets – Seattle – DB Kelly Herndon - San Francisco – LB Derek Smith
Solid plays – Seattle – DB Marquand Manuel - San Francisco – DB Mike Adams
Others to Consider – Seattle – LB Lofa Tatupa - San Francisco – LB Julian Peterson
Indianapolis @ Cincinnati
Indianapolis is still undefeated at 9-0, and some expect the streak to end this week at Cincinnati. The Colts went through the Texans D like a hot knife through butter, and Edge took every handoff at tailback last week to get the Colts ready for this match up in week 11. Cincinnati was on bye in week 10, and have been preparing for the Colts now for two weeks.
This game figures to be the 2 nd big test for the Colts after getting by the Patriots in Foxboro 2 weeks back. The Colts looked vulnerable on defense last week, allowing the Texans to stick around for 3 and a half quarters and allowing 17 points. SS Bob Sanders is currently questionable with a sore knee, and LB’s Cato June and Gary Brackett are not 100% at the moment either. Cincinnati ROY candidate Odell Thurman figures to have a huge day trying to slow down Edge. Get him in your lineup this week.
Best Bets – Indianapolis– LB Gary Brackett - Cincinnati – LB Odell Thurman
Solid plays – Indianapolis– LB Cato June - Cincinnati – DB Kevin Kaesviharn
Others to Consider – Indianapolis– DB Bob Sanders - Cincinnati – DL Justin Smith
NY Jets @ Denver
The only QB situation in worse shape than NY is probably in San Francisco. The Jets lack of vertical attack which has kept RB Curtis Martin in check and made LB Jonathon Vilma a superstar in just his second season. Denver is coming off a huge win vs. rival Oakland and is clicking on all cylinders at the moment on both offense and defense. Oakland was held scoreless until the 4 th quarter when Denver went to the prevent defense.
On paper this is a mismatch, and it's likely going to be worse than that on the field. Denver will wear out the Jets front seven and gain chunks of yards on the ground in the 4 th quarter. Expect another huge day out of LB Jonathon Vilma, while Denver LB's could be in for a light day of work. Which is not what any fantasy owner wants to hear
Best Bets – NY Jets – LB Jonathon Vilma- Denver – LB Al Wilson
Solid plays – NY Jets – DL John Abraham - Denver – DB Darrent Williams
Others to Consider – NY Jets – DL Shaun Ellis - Denver – LB Ian Gold
Buffalo @ San Diego
Buffalo’s bend but don’t break defense did a nice job of holding the high powered Chiefs out of the end zone, even though they gave up 132 rushing yards to Larry Johnson. San Diego is coming off Bye week.
With 2 weeks to prepare and Buffalo having to travel to the west coast, this could be a huge day for LT on the ground. Bills LB London Fletcher had a huge day a week ago, with 13 tackles, 7 assists, a forced fumble and a sack. I wouldn’t expect a repeat of those numbers, but 10 total tackles certainly is feasible. San Diego rookie LB Shawne Merriman has had 3 solid games in a row after a rough start early on. Terrance Kiel missed week 9, and is currently questionable for week 11.
Best Bets – Buffalo - LBLondon Fletcher - San Diego –LB Donnie Edwards
Solid plays – Buffalo - LB Angelo Crowell - San Diego –LB Shawne Merriman
Others to Consider – Buffalo - DB Terrance McGee - San Diego – DB Terrance Kiel
Kansas City @ Houston
Kansas City was stunned a week ago by Buffalo. Most thought that RB Larry Johnson was going to run all over the Bills and score multiple times, but Buffalo was having none of it. Kansas City was forced to throw and QB Trent Green was picked off 3 times and also lost a fumble in the game. Houston was no match for Indianapolis last week, but was able to rally to keep the score close enough for the Colts starters to play the full game.
Kansas City is looking for revenge this week, and Larry Johnson could provide the spark they need to light up the Texans. Texans LB Morlon Greenwood had an off week vs. the Colts, but that could be contributed to the Indy stretch play where Edge is given the ball wide and he generally runs outside from there. That would also explain the big game from OLB Dashon Polk.
Best Bets – Kansas City – LB Derrick Johnson - Houston – LB Morlon Greenwood
Solid plays – Kansas City – DB Greg Wesley - Houston – DB CC Brown
Others to Consider – Kansas City – LB Kawika Mitchell - Houston – DB Dunta Robinson, LB DaShon Polk
Minnesota @ Green Bay
Minnesota’s defense and special teams led to the way for the Vikings to upset the heavily favored Giants. Minnesota is the first team in NFL history to run a punt, kick off and interception back for a touchdown in the same game. Green Bay was very impressive a week ago, beating up on the Falcons in their building. The Packers defense held the 200+ yards a game rushing attack of Atlanta to 133 yards and forced Michael Vick to use his arm to beat them, which he wasn’t able to do.
Green Bay continues to get stellar play from LB Nick Barnett and this could be the week he puts up numbers unparallel to any LB in the league. Packers DL Aaron Kampman just continues to get to the QB, and is quietly having a solid season. Vikings DB Darren Sharper intercepted Eli Manning 3 times a week ago, and since 2000 he has the most interceptions of any player in the league.
Best Bets – Minnesota - DB Antoine Winfield - Green Bay – LB Nick Barnett
Solid plays – Minnesota - LB Keith Newman - Green Bay – DB Mark Roman
Others to Consider – Minnesota - DB Darren Sharper - Green Bay - DL Aaron Kampman