Houston @ Atlanta
Houston is one of the best up and coming defenses in the league, with playmakers at every level. This week vs. Atlanta they should have a monster day vs. the very weak Atlanta offense. Expect the Texans secondary play to be a factor in this game as well. CC Brown is not a household name, but certainly worthy of being owned in most IDP leagues.
Atlanta doesn’t have much of a pass rush, and they gave up 175 yards rushing a week ago. Houston isn’t a pound it down your throat team, but they will attempt to run it a little more this week than usual. After an impressive preseason DE Jammal Anderson has been non-existent thus far in 3 weeks. He is currently not startable, but DE John Abraham should have his best game of the young season.
NY Jets @ Buffalo
The Jets secondary was exposed for over 300 passing yards a week ago, making their secondary players the top plays for this defense in week 3. This week should be no different with WR Lee Evans looking to finally get things on track for Buffalo. The Jets should be able to get to the Bills rookie QB a few times, and may cause a few turnovers in the process.
Buffalo loses starting middle linebacker Paul Posluszny for the season with a broken arm, which opens up a starting spot for LB John DiGiorgio. Last week DiGiorgio led the Bills with 8 solo tackles, and 4 assists. DiGiorgio is one of the most coveted LB’s on the waiver wire this week. S Donte Whitner is also a strong start this week.
Baltimore @ Cleveland
Baltimore surprisingly is looking very soft on defense in the 4th quarter. A week ago, QB Kurt Warner came off the bench and lit up the Ravens secondary for 17 pts in the 4th quarter. Cleveland isn’t the greatest offense on the planet, but they are able to throw it around a bit. The Ravens secondary should be a strong play this week.
Since trading its starting QB to begin the season, the Browns offense has been very impressive, which has helped their defense stay off the field more than in week 1. The Browns defense is going to see a heavy dose of the Ravens rushing attack. LB Andra Davis should be on the field almost every defensive snap this week. Start your Browns linebackers and safeties.
St. Louis @ Dallas
The Rams head into Dallas without all-pro RB Steven Jackson, and QB Marc Bulger has 2 broken ribs, yet Wr Issac Bruce is guaranteeing a victory. Bruce is trying to light a spark under his team, but Dallas doesn’t look to be the best place to get your first win of the season. The Dallas pass rush should be productive, as well as the cowboys secondary. CB Anthony Henry has had two consecutive two-interception games.
Dallas is the highest scoring offense in the league, and this doesn’t look to change this week. The Rams LB play has been extremely weak to date. The best scoring LB thus far has been Brandon Chillar. Right now there isn’t a solid IDP player on the Rams that is a must start. Start Witherspoon and Little if you don’t have other options.
Chicago @ Detroit
Chicago could be playing without LB Lance Briggs, and DB Charles Tillman and DT Tommie Harris will not play. Chicago is already missing S Mike Brown. Expect Detroit to take advantage of these woes, and knock the Bears to 1-3 on the season. LB Brian Urlacher is a must start, and DB Adam Archuleta looks to be solid as well.
Detroit will be the first test for Brian Griese at QB this season. That being said, Detroit hasn’t played particularly well on defense to date, but it probably doesn’t have to be very good to shut down the Bears. Lions DB Gerald Alexander is getting more and more playing time every week. LB Ernie Sims is a strong play this week vs. the Bears.
Oakland @ Miami
Miami showed signs of life on offense a week ago, and the Oakland D may get a bigger test than one thought going into last week. LB Thomas Howard has joined Kirk Morrison as one of the elite LB’s in the league. This combo is putting up remarkable numbers and it looks to be just the beginning. S Michael Huff is also getting more acclimated to NFL play, and its starting to show up in the box score.
Oakland won its first game of the year last week, and looks to keep that momentum going. RB Lamont Jordan has been impressive running the ball, and Miami looks to be without starting MLB Zach Thomas again this week. Channing Crowder played well in his place in week 3, and should continue to put up solid numbers while subbing for Thomas.
Green Bay @ Minnesota
Minnesota has found its tailback of the future. Adrian Peterson should be called the real deal, the way he has played to date. He will pose a serious problem for the Green Bay defense. Though Green Bay was able to shut down the league MVP, a week ago. Green Bay S Atari Bigby had his biggest game of his young career, and looks to be legit.
Green Bay is a surprising 3-0, and could make short work of Minnesota on the road, to improve to 4-0 this week. The Minnesota QB situation is in disarray at the moment, and this could be the week DL Aaron Kampman has his first monster game of the season. DB Cedric Griffin is starting to make a name for himself, with his strong play.
Seattle @ San Francisco
Frank Gore was held to 38 rushing yards a week ago at Pittsburgh, but that is unlikely to happen vs. Seattle. San Francisco is going to run its young stallion early and often as he has had much success against Seattle. All 3 Seattle LB could be double-digit scorers this week, as well as S Deon Grant and DL Patrick Kerney.
Seattle RB Shaun Alexander is playing with a cast on his hand this week, which will limit his, already few reception chances. But Alexander should be solid running the ball against the 49ers front 7. San Francisco lost starting OLB Manny Lawson for the season, which puts more pressure on the 49ers to create some sort of pass rush.
Tampa Bay @ Carolina
Carolina looks to be without QB Jake Delhomme this week, which puts the sack happy David Carr under center for Carolina. Tampa Bay LB Barrett Ruud is the top scoring LB in standard IDP scoring format. LB Derrick Brooks is currently the #8 LB. Both of these are strong plays vs. Carolina. Rookie DB Tanard Jackson is a sleeper to keep an eye on.
Tampa Bay is winning with smoke and mirrors. The running game is average, as is Jeff Garcia and the passing game. Other than the two stand out LB’s and CB Ronde Barber, this team has very little that scares teams, yet they are getting it done. Tampa will continue to rush 30 + times a game, which keeps LB Dan Morgan productive. S Chris Harris has a forced fumble in each of his teams 3 games thus far.
Pittsburgh @ Arizona
Pittsburgh has looked outright dominant thus far. They are known for smash mouth football, but QB Big Ben is coming into his own this year and the coaches are letting him do more with the football. Arizona will have to be stellar on D to slow down the Steelers offense, and for that to happen S Adrian Wilson and the LB play will have to be superb. DT Darnell Dockett is looking like a younger Warren Sapp thus far this season.
Arizona benched starting QB Matt Leinart in favor of Kurt Warner and Warner gave the offense a spark. Leinart is still the starter, but he is clearly on shaky ground if he starts slow again this week. Edge James will be the focal point of the Cardinals offense, which is exactly what owners of LB’s James Harrison and James Farrior want to hear.
Kansas City @ San Diego
San Diego has as many loses in 3 weeks, as they had all of last year. LT and Co are off to a slow start, but the KC defense is exactly what the Chargers need to get on track. KC welcomed back DE Jared Allen back after serving a 2 game suspension and he rewarded owners with a huge game right out of the gate. Expect DE Tamba Hali to also get going with the solid play of Allen opposite him.
Kansas City isn’t able to run the ball, which puts their D back out on the field, without the rest they need. This adds up to huge chunks of yards given up late in the game. San Diego hasn’t looked the same on defense this year, but this Oline should be a sight for sore eyes. Expect a monster game from LB Shawne Merriman.
Denver @ Indianapolis
Indianapolis is a ho hum 3-0 again this year. Their offense is once again dominant, but with a stronger running game than in years past. This will keep the Denver D off balance for most of the afternoon. Expect Nick Ferguson and Champ Bailey to be productive in this game, and it’s always wise to start LB DJ Williams.
Denver has shown they can put up big yards, but are not finishing off drives with touchdowns, which will be the difference in this game. Indianapolis is playing great defense, and their secondary has been a huge surprise. First, Bob Sanders is still healthy going into week 4, and CB’s Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden are two of the top scoring DBs in the league.
Philadelphia @ NY Giants
The Giants have had little problems moving the ball this year, but they have not been able to stop anyone on defense. Philly will have its hands full on defense with Plaxico Burress, but expect the Eagles to contain the Giants offense, like they did the Lions in the 2nd half of last week’s game. Philly DE Trent Cole is a beast. His 3 sacks last week give him 5 thus far on the season.
Philly finally got its offense on track, thanks to Brian Westbrook, and the unexpected Kevin Curtis. Curtis will give the Giants match up problems all night, and Westbrook should carve this defense to pieces. The Giants top scoring IDP players are all that should be considered this week. And that list is 2, LB Antonio Pierce and S Gibril Wilson.
New England @ Cincinnati
New England brings the most efficient offense in the league to Cincinnati this Monday night. Some think this will be a shoot out. Others think both teams will try and run the ball, to keep the other teams offense off the field. Cincinnati is without starting MLB Ahmad Brooks again, which means S Madieu Williams will be huge again this week.
Cincinnati has the top WR tandem in the league and the Patriots secondary is the biggest weakness of their team. Expect QB Carson Palmer to take shots deep, early and often, and for the screen pass to be an important factor in this game, to keep the Patriots pass rush in check. LB Adalius Thomas is about the only Patriot worth considering this week.
Bye – Tennessee, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Washington