Here's a game-by-game outlook for another important weekend in fantasy football. Don't forget that there is one game tomorrow and two Saturday. Green Bay at Minnesota (tomorrow...
Here’s a game-by-game outlook for another important weekend in fantasy football. Don’t forget that there is one game tomorrow and two Saturday.
* Green Bay at Minnesota (tomorrow): Call yourself lucky if you have any front-line starters from either of these defensively challenged teams, who will be fighting for the NFC North title. Expect points, as neither team has scored fewer than 25 in its past three matchups.
* Oakland at Kansas City (Saturday): There’s no reason to think that Raiders QB Kerry Collins and Chiefs QB Trent Green won’t stay hot. Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper are the only two QBs we like more right now. Chiefs RB Larry Johnson (448 total yards, 6 TDs in past three games) is in for another big day.
* Denver at Tennessee (Saturday): We’re also fond of Titans QB Billy Volek, who has thrown for 1,187 yards and 11 TDs in his past three games. Avoid dealing with the Broncos’ RB situation. Reuben Droughns will start again, but Tatum Bell lurks as a carries stealer.
* Chicago at Detroit: Hold strong with Lions RB Kevin Jones, who has found the end zone in each of his past three games while averaging 163 total yards.
* San Diego at Indianapolis: If your team was lucky enough to survive Colts QB Manning‘s subpar Sunday, you better roll him out there again. At game time, both teams will still have a chance to earn a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs, so we don’t have to worry about any big-namers being rested.
* Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Chances are neither team scores in the 20s in this one. We’ll give cautious starting nods to Steelers RB Jerome Bettis and WR Hines Ward and RB Jamal Lewis and TE Todd Heap of the Ravens, but Heap is the only one that jumps out as a true must-play.
* Houston at Jacksonville: In a revenge (20-6 loss to Texans in Week 8) and must-win situation, we see a strong day from the Jaguars’ big three of QB Byron Leftwich, RB Fred Taylor and WR Jimmy Smith. Houston RB Domanick Davis (at least one TD in seven consecutive games) must start.
* Atlanta at New Orleans: Falcons QB Michael Vick‘s likely absence from this game is a major bummer for his owners, who would have expected a lot in this favorable matchup. This game has implosion written all over it for Saints QB Aaron Brooks, but that doesn’t mean WR Joe Horn should sit.
* N.Y. Giants at Cincinnati: Bengals RB Rudi Johnson (130 yards, TD on Sunday against a solid Bills run defense) gets the Giants this week, who have allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of their past three games.
* Buffalo at San Francisco: Bills RB Willis McGahee‘s questionable status with a knee injury seems to make him a perfect candidate to be a game-time decision. We expect him to play in this must-win game for Buffalo, but keep monitoring before making the final decision.
* New England at N.Y. Jets: The last game between these two produced 20 points, and we expect more of the same. RBs Curtis Martin (Jets) and Corey Dillon (Patriots) will be solid, but don’t count on them to be your team’s most productive player.
* Arizona at Seattle: There might be 70 points scored in this one. Sleeper QB pick: The Cardinals’ Josh McCown.
* Washington at Dallas: The Redskins’ defense should keep any Cowboys from having big days. Washington RB Clinton Portis is too explosive to deactivate.
* Carolina at Tampa Bay: The Bucs’ pass defense is very good, but we can’t justify sitting Panthers WR Muhsin Muhammad for any reason; I’ll be starting him in my title game, if that helps you decide. Hey, Bucs QB Brian Griese, after seeing your performance last week I now know how Denver fans felt while you were a Bronco.
* Cleveland at Miami: We can’t imagine that ESPN is expecting this matchup to attract a lot of viewers. Dolphins WR Chris Chambers and the Miami defense are the only worthy contributors.
* Philadelphia at St. Louis: Eagles QB Donovan McNabb‘s value takes a bit of hit with the loss of WR Terrell Owens for the season. We expect Philadelphia to experiment more with ways to use RBs Brian Westbrook and Dorsey Levens as the playoffs near, but Westbrook should have a productive day anyway. Rams QB Marc Bulger (shoulder) is probable, but we don’t envision him having a monster game. However, we still like WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.
Got a question about fantasy football? Send them to Jerry Faull: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jerry Faull, Seattle Times Sports, 1120 John St., Seattle, WA 98109. His look at fantasy football will appear each Thursday during the NFL season.