Week 12 Fantasy Football Matchups

To prepare you as best we can for your week of Fantasy Football, we've devised this series of previews for each NFL game. We'll give you a taste of what to expect, then rank each significant Fantasy contributor on a scale from 0-5 logos (with five logos suggesting can't-miss; a player or unit without any logos suggests you probably shouldn't start him under any circumstances). The rankings take the matchup into account, but injuries and other significant factors also contribute.

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Thursday, 12:30 pm, Ford Field
Let's see ... if Brady Quinn and the Browns can find a way to put up over 300 passing yards and four touchdowns on the Lions, then Aaron Rodgers shouldn't have a problem. Rodgers won't deal with much pressure from the Detroit front, nor should Ryan Grant from the Lions' run defense, so expect all Packers to have a shot at really nice stats. The Lions might move cornerback Anthony Henry to safety, and that's a dream matchup for tight end Jermichael Finley . Additionally, Donald Driver has put up some nice stats on the Lions in his recent past and should combine with Greg Jennings for a solid afternoon. Rodgers might be the best Fantasy quarterback in Week 12. Meanwhile, all the momentum the Lions had coming off their heart-stopping win last week is shot as Matthew Stafford isn't expected to play and Calvin Johnson won't be at full strength if he even gets on the field. With those weapons gone, Daunte Culpepper will command an offense void of defense stretchers. The Packers defense lost key starting cornerback Al Harris and outside linebacker Aaron Kampman to season-ending injuries last week but won't miss them much here, especially if Johnson sits. Kevin Smith might make more of a dent as a receiver than a rusher -- Culpepper has had a tendency of flipping passes to him in the flat. But unless Culpepper tries to make use of Brandon Pettigrew , who has a favorable matchup against safety Atari Bigby , the Lions' efforts to put points up will be futile.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Aaron Rodgers QB Daunte Culpepper
Ryan Grant RB Kevin Smith
Brandon Jackson RB Aaron Brown
Donald Driver WR Calvin Johnson
Greg Jennings WR Dennis Northcutt
Jermichael Finley TE Brandon Pettigrew
Mason Crosby K Jason Hanson
Packers DST Lions
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
Thursday, 4:15 pm, Cowboys Stadium
The Cowboys have seen lambs come to their stadium for slaughter over the last three years on Thanksgiving and this year is no different as the Raiders walk in. Dallas' defense has been amazing of late, allowing one rushing touchdown and four passing touchdowns in their last four games. The Raiders won't be able to run the ball effectively here and you already know what to expect from their passing attack. Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski won't have a target with a good matchup to throw to and the pass rush will be too much for the Raiders' O-line to handle. If they went to short screens and draw runs they might have some success but they're headed for a long day. Typically we've seen Tony Romo play great ball on Thanksgiving -- he has two 300-yard games, 10 career touchdowns and two picks over three Turkey Days -- but his back got banged up last week. Because of that, there's a chance the Cowboys take the ball out of his hands a little bit and run at the Raiders' 30th-ranked run defense. Marion Barber should have a field day and Felix Jones and Tashard Choice might get into the act a little bit if the game gets one-sided. This does suggest that the Cowboys won't throw a lot, but they have pretty much put the ball up in the air close to 30 times at a minimum per game, so they won't completely abandon the pass in this one. We might see a lot of the run game to get the Cowboys into the red zone, then the pass would be used to score. For this reason, Romo remains a fairly appealing Fantasy quarterback though his receivers aren't as great.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Bruce Gradkowski QB Tony Romo
Justin Fargas RB Marion Barber
Darren McFadden RB Felix Jones
Chaz Schilens WR Miles Austin
Louis Murphy   WR Roy Williams
Zach Miller TE Martellus Bennett
Sebastian Janikowski K Nick Folk
Raiders   DST Cowboys
N.Y. Giants at Denver Broncos
Thursday, 8:20 pm, Invesco Field at Mile High
What looked like an impossible matchup for the Giants four weeks ago has considerably changed. Expect Big Blue to follow the pattern of Denver's last four opponents and run the ball right at the Broncos' front seven. That won't mean they'll keep the ball out of Eli Manning hands, especially if safety Brian Dawkins isn't playing or is limited. Dawkins actually has lots of familiarity with the Giants offense, and between his knowledge and the Broncos' secondary's skills, this might be only a decent outing for Manning. The one to watch is Brandon Jacobs , who should see close to 20 touches, along with D.J. Ware getting some work on third downs and in other spots since Ahmad Bradshaw is out with two bad ankles and a broken bone in his foot. The Broncos' offense might be in for a long week -- they don't have the powerful inside runner to match up with the Giants' defensive front and don't have a reliable passing attack that can withstand both the Giants' pass rush and the Giants' talented secondary. Kyle Orton proved to be ineffective last week playing on a badly sprained ankle and Chris Simms got pulled after a weak showing. The Broncos will have to reel in their passing game and that's not good for Brandon Marshall , who should see plenty of rolled coverage to his side. The Broncos might have a real hard time scoring here, just as they struggled to score last week against an aggressive Chargers defense.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Eli Manning QB Kyle Orton
Brandon Jacobs RB Knowshon Moreno
D.J. Ware RB Correll Buckhalter
Steve Smith WR Brandon Marshall
Mario Manningham WR Eddie Royal
Hakeem Nicks WR Jabar Gaffney
Kevin Boss TE Tony Scheffler
Lawrence Tynes K Matt Prater
Giants DST Broncos
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Lincoln Financial Field
Down to their third-string running back in Rock Cartwright and against an opponent they've had a hard time with, now's not the time to expect a turnaround from the Redskins. Even with their defense keeping them in games, Jason Campbell has proven to be ineffective under center and his receivers, in spite of their talents, cannot make up for it. Santana Moss has never done well against the Eagles as a Redskin and essentially the entire passing offense is shipwrecked anyway. The only spot where Campbell might have some success is by going back to tight end Fred Davis , though the Eagles have come around against defending top-tier tight ends, limiting their yardage and touchdowns but not their receptions. The Eagles have had problems in the past against the Redskins, Donovan McNabb especially, and if not for DeSean Jackson speed in their first meeting the Redskins might have won. Expect the Eagles to lean on their speedy receivers again, using not just Jackson but Jeremy Maclin , too. The Redskins have been exposed as giving up big plays to fast receivers, so both of these guys have a chance to do something. It will take protecting Donovan McNabb in the pocket for this to work, and that will be a tough task for the Philadelphia offensive line since the Redskins pass rush has been good. Now, if speed is what will beat Washington, then Philadelphia will also use LeSean McCoy both running the ball and as a receiver out of the backfield. He should do better than the 67 total yards he gained against them in Week 7.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Jason Campbell QB Donovan McNabb
Rock Cartwright RB LeSean McCoy
Mike Sellers RB Leonard Weaver
Santana Moss   WR DeSean Jackson
Devin Thomas   WR Jeremy Maclin
Antwaan Randle El   WR Jason Avant
Fred Davis TE Brent Celek
Shaun Suisham   K David Akers
Redskins DST Eagles
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Paul Brown Stadium
The Browns have a much tougher matchup this week than last week, so don't expect any repeat performances from Brady Quinn or Mohamed Massaquoi . The Bengals match up extremely well with the Browns offense and should be able to stifle them. Massaquoi broke out for a big game in their first meeting this season, but he snuck up on the Bengals -- that shouldn't happen here. Quinn also won't have as much time to make plays as he did last week, a key factor in why his stats were what they were. As for the Bengals, the expectation here is that they continue to lean on their running game, even without Cedric Benson . Bernard Scott was more than effective last week and should provide the primary burst for Cincinnati, though Larry Johnson will reportedly begin taking a little more work away from him. The Bengals have a good matchup here through the air, too, but they're not throwing nearly as much as you might think. Part of the reason might be because Chad Johnson is seeing lots of double teams and the rest of the receiving corps isn't that good. Palmer threw for 230 yards and two scores against the Browns earlier this season but it was on a season-high 44 attempts. He's probably not going to be needed to throw and might only be good for pedestrian totals. He'll be okay but not great, but the Bengals should come away with a solid win. Their DST is a must-start, but that goes without saying.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Brady Quinn   QB Carson Palmer
Jamal Lewis RB Bernard Scott
Chris Jennings   RB Larry Johnson
Mohamed Massaquoi WR Chad Johnson
Josh Cribbs   WR Andre Caldwell
Phil Dawson K Shayne Graham
Browns   DST Bengals
Carolina Panthers at N.Y. Jets
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Giants Stadium
Expect a game with plenty of rushing. It's only natural for Carolina to see how poorly the Jets have done against the run over their last couple of games and immediately plan to lean on their strong rushing attack. DeAngelo Williams has been consistent while Jonathan Stewart has had plenty of time to rest his sore Achilles after underwhelming against the Dolphins. Both should be candidates to score on the Jets. Furthermore, the Panthers really have no choice but to run as Steve Smith will get the Darrelle Revis treatment from the Jets, which might further limit his receptions and overall totals. The Jets will also give Thomas Jones a heavy workload against a Panthers run defense that was slammed by Ricky Williams last week and has allowed a rushing touchdown in every single game this season! The Jets, like the Panthers, won't like their matchup through the air, but at the very least Mark Sanchez will continue to lean on Jerricho Cotchery , and he might do just enough to give the Jets offense some flexibility. One thing's for sure: The Panthers would like to force Mark Sanchez into throwing the ball, and the Jets probably want to get away from that as much as they can.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Jake Delhomme QB Mark Sanchez
DeAngelo Williams RB Thomas Jones
Jonathan Stewart RB Shonn Greene
Steve Smith WR Jerricho Cotchery
Muhsin Muhammad   WR Braylon Edwards
Dante Rosario   TE Dustin Keller
John Kasay K Jay Feely
Panthers DST Jets
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Reliant Stadium
These teams just met in Week 9, so there's going to be a lot of familiarity. Houston opted to cover Dallas Clark with linebacker Brian Cushing for much of their first meeting and Clark had 14 catches. They'll likely change that here so that Clark doesn't routinely bash them. But otherwise, the Texans don't have the secondary to keep up with Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon . The Texans struggled with Chris Johnson last week, allowing 151 yards, but they're really done a good job vs. the run of late. Addai is such a touchdown maven that you can't really sit him, but his modest yardage output will probably continue. Manning should continue to be the star of the Indy offense. The Texans really need this game but they're going to face an improving Indy defense. Not only have the Colts seen solid play out of their (previously) inexperienced cornerbacks but their run defense is moving in the right direction. Aside from the hiccup against the Patriots, the Colts haven't allowed more than 17 points in a game since Week 2. The Texans will have to wind up throwing in this one, leaning on Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson . Their running game is a mess and Steve Slaton has a shoulder injury to boot. Schaub's stats really haven't dipped much since losing Owen Daniels , but to win this game he'll have to do more of what he did last week -- take what the defense gives him and learn to lean on Kevin Walter , James Casey and Jacoby Jones if he plays. That will result in solid yardage but his touchdowns might be hard to come by. I don't know if this game will be as close as their meeting from four weeks ago.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Peyton Manning QB Matt Schaub
Joseph Addai RB Steve Slaton
Donald Brown RB Chris Brown
Reggie Wayne WR Andre Johnson
Pierre Garcon WR Kevin Walter
Austin Collie WR David Anderson
Dallas Clark TE James Casey
Matt Stover K Kris Brown
Colts DST Texans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Georgia Dome
Josh Freeman had a pretty bad game against the Saints, and the Falcons won't treat him much better. The Buccaneers will see what the Giants did last week against Atlanta and try to copy it with their receivers and tight ends. It could be successful as the Giants will have their hands full with Kellen Winslow , and Antonio Bryant showed some signs of life last week. Cadillac Williams also has a chance to put up some numbers, and watch out for Earnest Graham to overtake Derrick Ward as the No. 2 back in Tampa Bay; Ward's been banged up and ineffective while Graham is relatively fresh and runs with lots of physicality -- kind of like Brandon Jacobs , who scored on the Falcons last week. The Falcons will do their fair share of running and should be very successful with Jason Snelling working behind a solid offensive line. Snelling scored twice last week and could be good for two more this week, especially if he's not splitting reps with anyone. Matt Ryan also showed signs of life last week against the Giants and is continuing to learn to take what the defense gives him. That's good, and it's important to note that the Bucs defense is expected to revert back to a Cover 2 scheme, which might mean an absolute field day for Tony Gonzalez hitting mid-range gains up the seams. Additionally, Gonzalez's best games have come against 4-3 schemes and he's scored in every home game this season. He's a lock to do well.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Josh Freeman   QB Matt Ryan
Cadillac Williams RB Jason Snelling
Derrick Ward RB Aaron Stecker
Antonio Bryant WR Roddy White
Michael Clayton   WR Michael Jenkins
Kellen Winslow TE Tony Gonzalez
Connor Barth   K Jason Elam
Buccaneers   DST Falcons
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Ralph Wilson Stadium
The Dolphins have proven to be a one-trick pony on offense, but they'll ride that pony as much as possible against the Bills. I'm talking about Ricky Williams , who will work against a Bills defense ranked 31st against the run. The Bills might try to sell out to stop Williams, but with safety Bryan Scott playing linebacker and the rest of the front seven a mess it's going to be real tough for them. Chad Henne's been working well with Davone Bess and his meandering tight ends, and that will cause some problems for the Bills but expect the Dolphins to run with Williams plenty. As for the Bills, they've solved some problems in their passing game but are even worse up front than they were at the beginning of the season. This should be an excellent game for Jason Taylor and Joey Porter , both of whom will pin their ears back and come after Ryan Fitzpatrick early and often. With the Buffalo line a huge mess, it's hard to expect anyone from the Bills to have a good game. The O-line won't be able to give the run game any sort of push at all. And yes, this also means that Fantasy owners who benched Terrell Owens last week (we said the Bills receivers would have a chance in Week 11) will not see similar production from him this week since Fitzpatrick will face a very heavy blitz. And yes, the Dolphins start two rookies at cornerback, but they've been improving and aren't pushovers. The Bills will take their lumps.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Chad Henne QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ricky Williams RB Fred Jackson
Lex Hilliard RB Corey McIntyre
Davone Bess WR Terrell Owens
Greg Camarillo   WR Lee Evans
Joey Haynos TE Shawn Nelson
Dan Carpenter K Rian Lindell
Dolphins DST Bills
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Edward Jones Dome
Sure, you see the Seahawks playing against the Rams and think it'll be a slam-dunk week for Matt Hasselbeck &Co., but the offense has really struggled in four of its last five games. In theory they should bowl over St. Louis with a solid dose of the run game and some downfield passing, but they've been so inconsistent that it's hard to really trust Seattle. Additionally, Julius Jones will return and probably wind up sharing reps with Justin Forsett . Both should do well as the Rams have been burned badly by the run all season, though neither have the pedigree to consider as any better than No. 3 Fantasy rushers. That will set up Hasselbeck to throw short to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and long to Nate Burleson . The Rams haven't given up long receiving touchdowns in a while, so that might favor Housh. Everyone in the dome will know that Steven Jackson will get the bulk of the work for the Rams, which might mean a lot of nine-in-the-box for Seattle. The Seahawks are beatable through the air, though, especially down a safety (Deon Grant isn't expected to play). Kyle Boller will start for the Rams and he's shown a liking to his short-area targets, including his tight ends, in the past. That might not bode well for Seattle. Brandon Gibson dropped his fair share of passes but will remain in the lineup because no one else is there to unseat him, while Danny Amendola has been fairly reliable and Donnie Avery brings deep speed. The Rams might hang in there and give the Seahawks a run for their money here.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matt Hasselbeck QB Kyle Boller
Julius Jones RB Steven Jackson
Justin Forsett RB Ken Darby
T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR Brandon Gibson
Nate Burleson WR Donnie Avery
John Carlson TE Randy McMichael
Olindo Mare K Josh Brown
Seahawks DST Rams
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
Sunday, 4:05 pm, Qualcomm Stadium
For the Chiefs to have a chance, they'll have to sew up the play clock, create some turnovers and run the ball especially well. Good luck with that -- the Chargers' run defense has been getting better (no 100-yard rush games since their Week 5 bye), they've come up with four takeaways in their last two games, ruled the time of possession last week and haven't lost since Week 6. The Chiefs offense did get creative last week and it helped them beat the Steelers. They'll need to do it again here, and it sure seems like Chris Chambers and Jamaal Charles efforts are helping coach Todd Haley open up the playbook. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Chiefs go after Chargers strong safety Kevin Ellison and cornerback Antonio Cromartie , or if he's out because of off-field trouble, Antoine Cason . Because of Haley's bag of tricks, along with some nice play out of Charles, Chambers and even Matt Cassel , it's not wrong to think Kansas City has a chance to put up some points. But putting up points is the Chargers' specialty, and they've done a very good job balancing the run and the pass and keeping defenses unbalanced. They'll even get a boost with the expected return of center Nick Hardwick , and there's talk that veteran right tackle Jon Runyan will join the team. Both will immensely help an offense that has great skill position players but needs a bit more consistency along the O-line for the playoff push. As for this game, everyone with a bolt on his helmet should be expected to be good for Fantasy, especially Vincent Jackson as the Chiefs' cornerbacks can't keep up with him.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matt Cassel QB Philip Rivers
Jamaal Charles RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Kolby Smith   RB Darren Sproles
Chris Chambers WR Vincent Jackson
Lance Long   WR Malcom Floyd
Leonard Pope   TE Antonio Gates
Ryan Succop K Nate Kaeding
Chiefs   DST Chargers
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, 4:05 pm, Candlestick Park
Not the worst road matchup in the world for David Garrard as the 49ers have allowed three 300-yard rushers in their last four games. That said, the Niners match up fairly well with the Jaguars and should be able to sink their claws into Mike Sims-Walker . He might score for the third straight week, but it's tough to expect him to have several long catches if the 49ers apply double coverage to him. Making it easier for Garrard is a 49ers pass rush that hasn't been nearly as effective as the team had hoped. If Garrard has another threatening receiver to go with Sims-Walker, he'd be a candidate for 300 yards, but with Torry Holt slowing down over the last month and no one else really stepping up, it's unlikely Garrard has a bang-up day. Naturally, Maurice Jones-Drew will be a big part of the Jacksonville offense and he'll be motivated to play well near his hometown (he's originally from Oakland). The Niners have given up over 100 total yards to running backs in their last three games, so it should be a solid game for Jones-Drew. While Garrard might have a hard time passing, Alex Smith is primed for a huge game. The Jacksonville secondary is atrocious -- how else can you explain a 98-yard touchdown to Terrell Owens -- and won't be able to match up with Vernon Davis at all. Michael Crabtree also has a real nice shot to score and deliver some decent yardage. Those are the only two San Francisco receivers playing regularly and seeing passes from Smith, so look for them to have a good week. Frank Gore didn't get much work last week but should rebound here to see at least 15 carries. Jacksonville's run defense has been good -- only Chris Johnson had more than 100 yards on the ground against them this season. Gore should total close to 100 yards but the Jags will make it hard for him to create long touchdown runs. All the better for Smith to throw -- we might see the best game of his career.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
David Garrard QB Alex Smith
Maurice Jones-Drew RB Frank Gore
Rashad Jennings   RB Glen Coffee
Mike Sims-Walker WR Michael Crabtree
Torry Holt   WR Josh Morgan
Marcedes Lewis   TE Vernon Davis
Josh Scobee K Joe Nedney
Jaguars DST 49ers
Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, 4:15 pm, LP Field
This is a tough spot for the Cardinals, who clearly are in control of their division and are probably starting to think about their playoff seed. With the likelihood that they won't get a bye week judging by how the Saints and Vikings are playing, the intensity might be down a little bit for this matchup (remember last year when they played at New England and got buried?). Moreover, the Titans defense is playing with all sorts of enthusiasm and actually match up well with the Cardinals offense. It's going to be a tough week for Kurt Warner because of the quality Titans secondary. They're coming off a game where Andre Johnson was targeted 11 times and caught just four passes. Furthermore, no wide receiver has gone for over 100 yards against Tennessee since its secondary got healthy (really since Week 4). Warner has a shot at 300 yards but he'll have to mix up his targets and involve everyone, something that should bode well for Tim Hightower . As for Beanie Wells , he's played great in the Cardinals' blowouts, not so much in close games. Again, this is going to be a big challenge for the Cardinals, so Wells isn't a lock for a monster. Now, the Titans will obviously continue to lean on Chris Johnson , and while the Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 against the run, they've allowed back-to-back 100-yard efforts to Justin Forsett and Steven Jackson . Johnson should be fine, and Vince Young has continued to do an excellent job managing the offense. He's been throwing a little more week after week and really has done well. He's not a stat machine -- yet -- but he's got all sorts of potential. He's fun to watch and the Cardinals will have problems containing him. They've also had trouble holding quarterbacks' yardage down, so it's possible that Young gets to 200 yards (that's like 300 for him). The Titans receivers are all iffy for Fantasy but Kenny Britt has stepped up a little bit with Justin Gage out. Young and Britt connected on a score last week and have combined for 97 yards on six connections over two weeks. He's a sleeper worth a look off waivers. Tennessee will have a shot to win here and go into Week 13 with a chance to run off six straight wins after six straight losses. No one in the AFC is hotter (well, besides Indy, who they'll play).
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Kurt Warner QB Vince Young
Tim Hightower RB Chris Johnson
Beanie Wells RB LenDale White
Larry Fitzgerald WR Nate Washington
Anquan Boldin WR Kenny Britt
Steve Breaston WR Lavelle Hawkins
Stephen Spach   TE Bo Scaife
Neil Rackers K Rob Bironas
Cardinals DST Titans
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, 4:15 pm, Mall of America Field
This is a ridiculously tough matchup for the Bears offense. They limp into the game lacking confidence, lacking a run game and lacking an opponent with a weakness. The Bears have to know by now that they need to freshen the offense up, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them vary their offense; to win this game will mean winning the time of possession battle. Matt Forte's been good against Minnesota in two career games (TD, 70-plus yards in each) but he's been struggling and the Bears will likely give Kahlil Bell a little more work. They'll also have to come up with creative ways to get Devin Hester , Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett the ball as defenses have taken out Greg Olsen of late and Cutler's been stymied because of it. Will their plans work? Will they even do it? the Bears offense has been so vanilla for much of the year that you can't expect them to suddenly get clever. Thus, don't trust any Bears this week so long as you can help it because the Vikings match up well with them and will probably get them one-sided offensively pretty early. Cutler will then be under a lot of pressure and make some mistakes. All that said, Lovie Smith has used a game plan to attack Brett Favre in the past and it's worked wonders: From 2005 to 2007, Favre had two touchdowns and 13 interceptions against Chicago. Granted, Favre is with a whole new team now, but it's the same offense and the same defensive coordinator coming after him. One guy the Bears haven't figured out is Adrian Peterson , who has completely owned the Bears over his career. In four games Peterson has 554 rushing yards and eight touchdowns -- jaw dropping totals! He's had at least 120 yards rushing in three of four meetings and at least one score in all four games. The Vikings will give him the ball and let him steamroll Chicago's defense. And even with Smith's grip on Favre, you have to expect the vet to play moderately well as he leans on the likes of Sidney Rice and Visanthe Shiancoe , both of whom have good matchups in this contest.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Jay Cutler QB Brett Favre
Matt Forte RB Adrian Peterson
Kahlil Bell   RB Chester Taylor
Devin Hester WR Sidney Rice
Earl Bennett WR Percy Harvin
Greg Olsen TE Visanthe Shiancoe
Robbie Gould K Ryan Longwell
Bears DST Vikings
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 8:20 pm, M&T Bank Stadium
Typically the Steelers struggle with the Ravens defense -- they don't have a good history of running the ball on Ray Lewis &Co. and Ben Roethlisberger has only had one monster game of late against them. This week, the Steelers will need Roethlisberger to throw to take advantage of the Ravens' depleted secondary, but he's a little risky since he's coming off a concussion and played poorly the last time he came back a week after getting his bell rung. Baltimore will come hard after him, which is something they've done before -- but playing without Terrell Suggs doesn't help their cause. Then again, Roethlisberger will be without guard Chris Kemoeatu , so it might be advantage Ravens after all. When Roethlisberger does pass, the one player he has a great shot to connect with is -- you ready for this? -- Santonio Holmes . Holmes has scored in five straight games against the Ravens (including playoffs) with at least 60 receiving yards in five of his last six games. Granted, Holmes has been the speed receiver for the Steelers and Mike Wallace has cut into that role some, but Wallace has been slowing down over the last couple of weeks. Holmes has a lot going for him, and if Roethlisberger's head is on straight and he can avoid the Ravens' pass rush, watch out. The Ravens essentially have no choice but to battle back with a big dose of Ray Rice . Rice should have a shot to accumulate yardage on the ground and especially through the air; he led the Ravens in receiving yards in their playoff loss to Pittsburgh last year (43 yards on three catches). He's still a useful option. Joe Flacco been ice cold of late and against the Steelers (one TD, five interceptions in three 2008 games) but he'll get some good protection from his offensive line. Troy Polamalu out, the Ravens might be able to generate some offense out of Todd Heap in seam routes, Derrick Mason running crisp routes and Rice making plays out of the backfield. It also wouldn't be a shock to see Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron try a trick play against the Steelers, which might especially benefit Mark Clayton since he's a speedy and unassuming receiver for Baltimore. Knowing what we know about Roethlisberger's condition, a surprise home win for the Ravens wouldn't be a big shock.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Ben Roethlisberger QB Joe Flacco
Rashard Mendenhall RB Ray Rice
Mewelde Moore RB Willis McGahee
Santonio Holmes WR Derrick Mason
Hines Ward WR Mark Clayton
Mike Wallace WR Kelley Washington
Heath Miller TE Todd Heap
Jeff Reed K Billy Cundiff
Steelers DST Ravens
New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints
Monday, 8:30 pm, Superdome
Even with the Saints boasting a strong defense, this matchup favors the Patriots. Not only should New England pick on cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Malcolm Jenkins along with strong safety Roman Harper , but they have been lights out against 4-3 defensive schemes this season. Tom Brady and Ben Watson have especially been drastically better in matchups against 4-3 teams than 3-4 teams -- Brady completes 10 percent more of his passes against them and has 15 touchdowns vs. the 4-3 (five vs. the 3-4 in as many games, five each). Watson is averaging more yards per catch and has three scores against the 4-3, only one TD vs. the 3-4. We're highlighting Watson because he'll draw Harper on coverage a lot of the time with free safety Darren Sharper playing center field against the Patriots' passing attack. Look for New England to be successful throwing the ball, though they'll run it to for the same reasons why anyone runs against the Saints: To keep Drew Brees off the field. The Saints will also run it (to keep Brady from torching their defense) but they might have to keep pace with the Patriots by throwing it. That's their strong suit, and it wouldn't be shocking to see Brees launch several deep passes. One thing in New Orleans' favor is that New England's pass rush isn't a huge threat here. That's going to give Brees time to see his receivers get open and hit them deep. Robert Meachem should continue his productive play and Devery Henderson might even get some looks deep. Jeremy Shockey won't be a good option because the Patriots cover tight ends well, and Marques Colston will also be a guy the Saints will keep tabs on. Where the Patriots will almost definitely struggle is in containing Reggie Bush -- assuming he plays, Bush will be an interesting challenge for Bill Belichick. Based on how Bush has played of late, he has to be considered for Fantasy use as a No. 3 or flex option. We'll all enjoy this game come Monday.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Tom Brady QB Drew Brees
Laurence Maroney RB Pierre Thomas
Kevin Faulk RB Mike Bell
Randy Moss WR Marques Colston
Wes Welker WR Robert Meachem
Sam Aiken   WR Devery Henderson
Benjamin Watson TE Jeremy Shockey
Stephen Gostkowski K John Carney
Patriots DST Saints
Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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