QB Start—Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman was unable to fully exploit a vulnerable Falcons secondary last week, completing only 11 passes, albeit two for scores. He broke a string of three interception-less games with two picks, and four 200-plus yard weeks with 189 passing yards. As usual he delivered some freakishly sick pinpoint passes, but looked rattled at times.
With the division lead on the line, the pressure may have gotten to him. His attempts were limited for the second consecutive week, but look for the air show to resume versus Carolina.
Somehow, the Panthers are third in the NFL in net passing yards allowed in what is likely to be a short-lived standing. Their season is in the dumpster, and their head coach is a lame duck.
The deep ball is a major facet of the Bucs burgeoning passing attack, and they will seek to re-establish confidence in their QB this week. Against Carolina's inept offense, team's can afford to take offensive risks themselves without fear of being punished for it.
Freeman threw two touchdowns at Carolina in Week 2.
QB Sit—Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings
If fantasy owners choose to "buy" on Favre after his 446-yard outburst last week, good luck to them. Just remember, Arizona's 27th-rated pass defense has made many an average quarterback look like Johnny Unitas.
A high-powered offense would have laid a 50-spot on the Cardinals, but the Vikings were stuck on 10 points midway through the fourth quarter. Why? Stalled drives and turnovers, which have become the norm in Minnesota.
Favre has thrown six interceptions against three touchdowns over the last three weeks, and sports a 13:9 ratio on the season.
The Vikings are still short on pass-game weapons. Bernard Berrian's performance was more a fluke than revitalization, and if even Sidney Rice returns he won't be close to game shape.
The Bears pass defense ranks 18th in the league, but they've allowed only five passing scores (11 INT). Julius Peppers hasn't recorded a sack since Week 4, and it's about time he woke up to haunt Old Man River.
RB Start—Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
The Bills were unable to establish any semblance of a ground game last week as Jackson rushed for 16 yards on eight carries with a four-yard touchdown run.
In the prior three weeks following the Marshawn Lynch trade he had resumed primary ball carrying duties, averaging 18 attempts for 70 yards. Despite his relative inefficiency, the Bills prefer to use the reliable Jackson rather than sending C.J. Spiller in to face the blazing fire behind a shaky line. Spiller hasn't received more than seven carries all season.
The Lions defense laid it all out last week holding the Jets potent rushing attack in relative check (110 yards). Avoiding a letdown effort will be a tough task for Detroit and their 25th-ranked run defense. They've allowed 130 yards per game, 4.7 per carry and nine touchdowns.
The Bills are actually favored in this contest and will be desperate to nab a W. They've been scoring points with the pass, but they need to win with the run.
RB Sit—Ryan Torain, Washington Redskins