Last week was my second-best week this year. I hope to build off that with some helpful picks this week.
Teams on byes this week include: Ravens, Lions, Broncos, Jaguars, Seahawks, and Titans.
A lot of starting RBs are sitting out this week, so buckle your chinstrap and hit the waiver wires for some weekly starts. With three of the bottom five passing defenses sitting out this bye week, some less obvious matchups are primed for this weekend.
Week One: 11-5 (68.75 percent); Week Two: 15-8 (65.2 percent); Week Three: 12-9 (57.1 percent); Week Four: 11-6 (64.7 percent); Week Five: 16-10 (61.5 percent); Week Six: 13-6 (68.4 percent).
Joseph Addai and Donald Brown @ St Louis Rams
The Rams are giving up 132 yards per game as well as nine TDs in the first six games. Team interested in screening passing to RBs could have had success against this defense before the Will Witherspoon trade, but even more so now.
Witherspoon was one of the smartest (granted also oldest) players on the Rams' defense and a lot of pressure will now be placed on a bad defense to handle an amazing offense. This game is going to be a blowout with many fantasy points being handed out to every Colts player.
Jonathan Stewart vs. Buffalo Bills
The Bills are currently the worst-ranked rushing defense. The Panthers may attempt to force feed the ball to Steve Smith this weekend, but expect them to try that through the play action fakes.
The Panthers should dominate this game from start to finish and should need some fresh legs from both Williams and Stewart to handle the full load.
Leon Washington @ Oakland Raiders
The Raiders hold the 28th-worst rushing defense, allowing seven rushing TDs this season.
Look for the Jets to get the ball out of Mark Sanchez’s hands more than ever to try and slow the game once again for the rookie.
Both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are must-starts, but especially Washington, who often is a flex or bye week player.
Brandon Jacobs & Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Arizona Cardinals
Bradshaw has been a very attractive spot start in recent weeks. But even in this harsh RB bye week, neither NYG RB is a good start against a surprisingly good rushing defense in Arizona.
Reggie Bush & Mike Bell @ Miami Dolphins
I was tempted to place Pierre Thomas in this list, but I feel strongly that he’ll get a few red zone TDs within that potent Saints offense. The Miami Dolphins are an excellent rushing defense and neither Bush or Bell will get enough carries to get into a rhythm in Miami.
Glen Coffee @ Houston Texans
Even though this will be Frank Gore’s first week back from injury, don’t expect much from the young backup RB.
For starters, I feel the 49ers will attempt to use Michael Crabtree in the short screen passing game while providing Gore a healthy does of inside running. Those holding on to Coffee should retain him, but don’t fall into the trap of starting him.
Rashard Mendenhall vs. Minnesota Vikings
He’s been in your lineup for the last two weeks. Get him out. Get him out now. In all seriousness, though, if you can afford to make a sharp deal including Mendenhall, do so now before his poor performance this weekend.
Eli Manning vs. Arizona Cardinals
As good as the Cardinals are against the run, they are just as bad against the pass. Look for Eli Manning and Steve Smith to have good games this weekend in the primetime Sunday night matchup.
Jay Cutler @ Cincinnati Bengals
I’m not sure if there is anyone out there starting Cutler on a weekly basis, but this is a good week to start the strong-armed QB. The Bengals are one of the better matchups this weekend and should allow some explosive plays from the shifty Bears WRs.
Matt Cassel vs. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are a middle of the pack passing defense and that's because it has been very easy to run on them.
I’m not sure that LJ or any other Chiefs RB will be productive this weekend, which should provide Cassel plenty of chances to show how weak the San Diego passing defense really is.
Getting pressure on Cassel is the way to ruin his day…the Chargers have struggled with that. One of the two will win out this weekend.
Shaun Hill vs. Houston Texans
Another middle of the road passing defense against a sub-par QB. This one is a better matchup in my mind than the one mentioned previously.
The Texans provide significant pass rush, but that could be countered by a strong day from a fresh Frank Gore. I expect Michael Crabtree to provide some efficient underneath support for Hill as well. The weapons are falling in place around him and it's time for him to shine.
Brett Favre @ Pittsburgh Steelers
I know it's almost counter-intuitive to start Favre against the Ravens and then flip on the Steelers. But I think something the Ravens couldn’t do is both contain the run and pressure the QB.
The Steelers, however, should prove to be just the defense to do both. I expect a moderately good game from Adrian Peterson, but expect a turnover-heavy performance from the age old wonder.
Kurt Warner @ New York Giants
I really, really, really debated how to rank Warner. In the end, I’m taking an upset and embarrassed New York defense to play a little above their talent level. Yes, I did just say that.
I don’t feel great about the Giants' defense (which is why I considered Warner as a start), but for this week, I expect a dominant performance.
Donovan McNabb @ Washington Redskins
All three of my sit QBs are playing on the road. McNabb has always struck me as a super talented, big play QB.
I have seen him put up huge games solely on the big play, but this Sunday won’t be that.
I know the Eagles will be looking to avenge their lose to the Raiders (and I think they should), but I expect more of a rushing attack this week.
The Eagles' O-line is not what it used to be and the Washington Redskins could use that to their advantage if the Eagles attempt to pass too much.
Steve Smith vs. Arizona Cardinals
(Same as above) As good as the Cardinals are against the run, they are just as bad against the pass. Look for Eli Manning and Steve Smith to have good games this weekend in the primetime Sunday night matchup.
Mike Wallace vs. Minnesota Vikings
I just don’t see how the Vikings are going to cover all the Steelers' WRs. The only way to stop them will be to get pressure. I expect to see Heath Miller in providing extra blocking this week so look for the rookie to pick up some extra receptions and yards.
Antonio Bryant vs. New England Patriots
The Patriots have been the source of some average WR games, but unless Bryant beats the Patriots deep (across the pond), he has the potential to be held catchless.
The New England defense has been described lately as old fashioned, but I’ll tell you this, Josh Johnson will see things on Sunday that he has never seen. And that could lead to him seeing a lot of time running for his life.
Santana Moss vs. Philadelphia Eagles
I am not confident that the Eagles' defense can play consistently, but I expect them to have their way with the lowly, pathetic, confused, desperate, young, troubled, pathetic…wait, that was a repeat. I expect them to dominate the Redskins. This one will get ugly.
Jeremy Shockey @ Miami Dolphins
The wild one did not provide as many fireworks as I thought he would last week. However, the 3-4 defense in Miami should struggle to stop the run, prevent Colston and Lance Moore from beating them deep, and cover the middle against the TE. I look for Shockey to put up one TD with around 70 yards.
Heath Miller vs Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings need to bring the pressure all day against the Steelers. Jared Allen is the best DE in the NFL and Miller will be called on the help provide some support against the Mullet Magic. Miller has been a huge producer in the red zone but should see very, very little yardage and receptions.