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Week 12 Fantasy Football Matchups

Senior Fantasy Writer
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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. You should be able to compare the ratings for the players on your team and make an educated pick on who should start -- and sit -- in your lineup .

Packers at Falcons - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
The Packers will give the Falcons secondary all they can handle, especially since the Atlanta pass rush isn't expected to move the needle for Aaron Rodgers. Hard to not like any of the Packers' big-play targets here, especially after Brandon Gibson got past Dunta Robinson last week. The Falcons play better ball at home, and a competitive game might mean more than 31 pass attempts for Rodgers, but he should help the Packers put up some points. Don't expect the Green Bay run game to aid much. With Michael Turner unlikely to post huge numbers like he wound up with last week, much of the game will fall on Matt Ryan and his receivers, though the Falcons were in an equally challenging matchup two weeks ago against the Ravens and came out with a win. Ryan's been on fire, throwing multiple touchdowns in four of his last five and is undefeated at home this season. But this could be a week where his lack of overpowering receiving threats could haunt him: Roddy White will surely see coverage tilted his way but with the Packers sending multiple blitzes while having the defensive backs to cover White and Michael Jenkins, there could be some pressure on Ryan to get rid of the ball quickly. Such a problem would suggest that Tony Gonzalez would be in for a big game, but the Pack has been stingy against tight ends for much of the year, so he could be limited. Expect White to end up being the primary catalyst for the Falcons, just like he was two weeks ago.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Aaron Rodgers QB Matt Ryan
Brandon Jackson RB Michael Turner
Dimitri Nance   RB Jason Snelling
Greg Jennings WR Roddy White
James Jones WR Michael Jenkins
Andrew Quarless   TE Tony Gonzalez
Mason Crosby K Matt Bryant
Packers DST Falcons
Jaguars at Giants - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
The Jaguars might come into this one optimistic because they've been playing better and the Giants are shorthanded on offense. Look for them to continue with the game plan they used from last week: Ball-control offense with a big dose of Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD will enter the game banged up but he should like what he sees: Over the last two weeks the Giants gave up 136 total yards to Felix Jones and 140 total to LeSean McCoy with a touchdown to each. Expect him to be up to the task here and to carry the load as the Jacksonville offense will either be without Mike Sims-Walker or have him well short of 100 percent. The Giants will likely duel with a ball-control offense of their own, though the O-line will have its hands full with a resurgent Jaguars D-line that has helped them win each of their last two. With no dangerous threat like Hakeem Nicks, expect the Giants to vary their game plan with runs and high-percentage passes before trying some first- or second-down deep balls to Mario Manningham. That might not equate to big stats for Manning, but it could be a winning game plan. Brandon Jacobs will get the start, but Jacksonville has struggled with run-focused teams, and the Giants will likely revert to that type of game plan here. Ahmad Bradshaw has a lot to prove to earn the starting role again, not to mention earn a lot of carries, but the matchup is still good enough to count on him as a low-end No. 2 running back.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
David Garrard QB Eli Manning
Maurice Jones-Drew RB Brandon Jacobs
Rashad Jennings   RB Ahmad Bradshaw
Mike Thomas WR Mario Manningham
Kassim Osgood   WR Derek Hagan
Marcedes Lewis TE Kevin Boss
Josh Scobee K Lawrence Tynes
Jaguars DST Giants
Panthers at Browns - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
Every matchup is pretty tough for the Panthers given their weaknesses at O-line and quarterback, but there's room for a little optimism here. Mike Goodson's long run in Week 11 catapulted his stat line, but it's his receiving ability paired with his home-run style that makes him relevant. The Browns' run defense has given up over 210 total yards each of the last two weeks to running backs, something the Panthers should notice and try to take advantage of. Jonathan Stewart will be back for the Panthers but it makes sense for them to ride the hot hand and give Goodson the first crack at running on the Browns. The Panthers landed a long touchdown through the air last week thanks to bad coverage by the Ravens; look for the Browns, who have made some small improvements against the pass over their last few games, to play more disciplined. Cornerback Joe Haden has been making strides and could start here. The Browns should be able to get it done with their power formations, leaning on -- who else? -- Peyton Hillis. Cleveland's passing game hasn't exactly been potent but with the Panthers pass rush not likely to crash through the Browns' O-line, there's actually a shot for Cleveland to strike downfield ... not that you'd consider any part of the Browns offense for your Fantasy team. Jake Delhomme going back under center makes the matchup more interesting since he'll know the Panthers defense fairly well and the Panthers are obviously familiar with Delhomme. Might be fun to watch. Additionally, the Browns DST is a tremendous sleeper this week.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Jimmy Clausen   QB Jake Delhomme
Mike Goodson RB Peyton Hillis
Steve Smith WR Chansi Stuckey
David Gettis   WR Mohamed Massaquoi
Jeff King   TE Benjamin Watson
John Kasay K Phil Dawson
Panthers DST Browns
Vikings at Redskins - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
When the Cowboys made their coaching change, we saw them become more disciplined and play with more intensity. We think the Vikings will do the same thing with Leslie Frazier now carrying the interim head coach tag. It's also expected that Brett Favre will have more say over the offense, but even if his desire is to pass a lot, even he can't deny the matchup for Adrian Peterson. Washington has allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of their last two games and hasn't held a team to under 4.1 yards per carry since Week 4. Peterson should crush the Redskins, and there's room here for Sidney Rice to play a bigger role as he'll see weak coverage with two of the Redskins' four defensive backs out and DeAngelo Hall assigned to Percy Harvin. The one catch to all of this is whether the Vikings' O-line can protect Favre and keep the Redskins' pass rush off of him. Like other opponents, they'll come for Favre and try to force him into mistakes, which they should succeed at. The Redskins will also come after the Vikings with the pass -- this is actually a promising matchup for Donovan McNabb. Don't count on him for Fantasy, but the Vikings' cornerbacks were abused by Aaron Rodgers last week, Chris Cook especially. Look for the Redskins to find a way to get Santana Moss on Cook (or Asher Allen) and take some shots downfield. They can set that up with some runs (futile as they might be) with Keiland Williams and some short-area hits to Chris Cooley. Hopefully Moss plays. It was just two weeks ago that the Bears punked the Vikings with their tight ends, so Cooley could be involved in the red zone. It all sets up for a decent week for McNabb.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Brett Favre QB Donovan McNabb
Adrian Peterson RB Keiland Williams
Sidney Rice WR Santana Moss
Percy Harvin WR Anthony Armstrong
Visanthe Shiancoe TE Chris Cooley
Ryan Longwell K Graham Gano
Vikings DST Redskins
Steelers at Bills - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
It seems obvious that the Steelers will do whatever they'd like here, much like last week vs. Oakland. Rashard Mendenhall's rushing average was weak in Week 11 but the Bills are ripe after getting trampled by Cedric Benson last week. If the Bengals could figure out how to get Benson going, the Steelers should be able to do the same with Mendenhall. They also have a good matchup against the Bills secondary; their O-line should be able to handle Buffalo's blitzes. Keep an eye on rookie Emmanuel Sanders, who might begin taking steps forward in the offense. The Bills are going to have to throw it a bunch, which they've done in four of their last five. I still feel like Fred Jackson can contribute just enough to start as a No. 2 Fantasy running back because the Bills will try to run the ball and there's no one else there to run it and he can catch it out of the backfield too. It'll be tough sledding but Jackson could total a healthy amount of yards. So if Buffalo finds the running tough, they'll have to pass, and last week was a nice wake-up call for why Ryan Fitzpatrick should at least deserve some consideration. A big reason for Fitzpatrick's success was because Cincinnati's secondary was in shambles. The Steelers' secondary is not. Steve Johnson is a candidate to score again; his matchup against Bryant McFadden isn't a bad one, but he's about all that's good about the pass attack this week.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Ben Roethlisberger QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Rashard Mendenhall RB Fred Jackson
Mike Wallace WR Steve Johnson
Hines Ward WR Lee Evans
Heath Miller TE David Martin
Shaun Suisham K Rian Lindell
Steelers DST Bills
Titans at Texans - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
On one hand, the Titans are turning to third-string rookie quarterback Rusty Smith as their starter. On the other hand, the Titans will play against a pass defense that has given up multiple receiving scores in all but one game. Tennessee has to be smart and lean on Chris Johnson this week, but they also need to be savvy and go after the Texans' awful secondary. Smith has a strong arm and put up some whopping numbers in college when he was healthy, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he ended up with a good yardage total here. Nate Washington is his best target, not Randy Moss, though in Moss' favor is the matchup as well as the eventuality that he could stop seeing so much coverage from opponents. Tough to trust Moss this week with the rookie quarterback and the one catch in two games looming over his head. The Texans have been doing the right things in their last two games, but they've still been losing. Tennessee has allowed three straight 300-yard games to quarterbacks, so its pass defense isn't much worse than Houston's. The Texans should establish Arian Foster as a rushing threat and then attack downfield with a big dose of Andre Johnson and a lot of quick three- and five-step drop passes to Joel Dreessen and Kevin Walter. Dreessen should especially continue his good play from last week as the Titans have struggled with covering opposing tight ends. Look for a lot of points, and the kickers tend to get some good opportunities in this series.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Rusty Smith QB Matt Schaub
Chris Johnson RB Arian Foster
Nate Washington WR Andre Johnson
Randy Moss WR Kevin Walter
Bo Scaife TE Joel Dreessen
Rob Bironas K Neil Rackers
Titans DST Texans
Chiefs at Seahawks - Sunday, 4:05 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
This should be another week for the Chiefs to lean on their ground game and not have to throw more than 30 times. Seattle's run defense is in terrible shape and even though they'll be playing at home they should bend to Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. Jones regained his form last week against a bad run defense in Arizona, and he should do it again here. At some point you'd figure that the Chiefs would begin developing other receivers outside of Dwayne Bowe, and this is a matchup to try and get Chris Chambers or Dexter McCluster more involved, but chances are Bowe is as good as it gets for their offense. The Seahawks threw quite a bit last week against the Seahawks but questions about Mike Williams' health could put handcuffs on Matt Hasselbeck. If he's out, the matchup becomes much easier for the Chiefs though the expected absence of cornerback Brandon Flowers will give the Seahawks the guts to throw deep as they've done in each of the last two weeks. It would be gutsy to roll the dice on Deon Butler, Brandon Stokley or Ben Obomanu. Kansas City's run defense has been giving up some yards lately; the Raiders, Broncos and Cardinals cumulatively totaled over 100 rush yards against them over the last three weeks. But the Seahawks will have to stick to the run to give them a shot to make it four in a row against the Chiefs (15 attempts between Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett last week). Seattle needs a big game out of their backs, but that seems unlikely, and because Lynch and Forsett share, they're not reliable for Fantasy help.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matt Cassel QB Matt Hasselbeck
Jamaal Charles RB Justin Forsett
Thomas Jones RB Marshawn Lynch
Dwayne Bowe WR Deon Butler
Chris Chambers   WR Brandon Stokley
Tony Moeaki TE John Carlson
Ryan Succop K Olindo Mare
Chiefs DST Seahawks
Dolphins at Raiders - Sunday, 4:05 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
The Raiders are lucking into a great matchup here as the Dolphins' quarterback situation leaves them with minimal hope, Davone Bess and Brian Hartline at receiver and two new starters on the offensive line. Not good. This would be a decent week to lean on Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, but the Raiders' run defense has become solid -- from Week 7 through last week they held opponents to 3.8 yards per carry or less. Where they're vulnerable against running backs is through the air -- the Raiders allowed three passing touchdowns to runners over their last four games along with a nice 8.0-plus receiving average in each game. The Dolphins might be forced into using a small-ball approach and mix in a little bit of the Wildcat with it. Brown is only appealing because he catches the ball a decent amount and has scored in two of his last three games. The Raiders should get the chance to put their run game back on track after getting halted by the Steelers. Miami's getting worse against the run and Oakland should make it a priority to use the run to build the lead and keep with it to sustain the lead. It's easy to like Darren McFadden this week, but it's hard to trust any other Raiders -- Zach Miller's matchup won't be easy and it's tough to call which of the Raiders' speed receivers could get lucky and score on the Dolphins' weak secondary. The hunch here? Jacoby Ford, who played well in his last game at Oakland and was targeted eight times against the Steelers last week. Both kickers should shine and the Raiders DST is a good one-week option.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Tyler Thigpen QB Jason Campbell
Ronnie Brown RB Darren McFadden
Ricky Williams RB Michael Bush
Davone Bess WR Jacoby Ford
Brian Hartline WR Louis Murphy
Anthony Fasano TE Zach Miller
Dan Carpenter K Sebastian Janikowski
Dolphins DST Raiders
Eagles at Bears - Sunday, 4:15 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
Michael Vick hasn't faced a front seven as athletic as Chicago's yet this year, so this will be an interesting test for him. The Bears have never been afraid to pressure mobile quarterbacks and they have the linebackers to contain Vick. Like most defenses, they'll try to make him throw, and like most quarterbacks, Vick will have no problem doing just that. Chicago's defensive backs have been throttled by No. 1 receivers all year, so expect DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to be productive. What should ultimately help Vick is left tackle Jason Peters keeping Julius Peppers from making plays, but the Bears can bring pressure in other ways. They'll need to do it and contain Vick at the same time, a problem Vick's previous opponents couldn't properly do. The Bears have a shot. The Bears will have their hands full with the Eagles' front seven -- they've been good at getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks as well as slowing down the run. Take away their blowout win at Washington where they built a big lead and called off the dogs and they've yielded less than 3.5 yards per carry since Week 5. The Bears might find the rushing attack tough and abandon it like they did against Dallas, the Giants and Washington -- all NFC East teams. That won't help Matt Forte much but it does open the door for Jay Cutler to put the ball up a lot. He's been great at avoiding the blitz in his last two games and with his O-line improving to the point where they're not a total embarrassment, he could piece together a good game. Furthermore, the Eagles' secondary is banged up (Asante Samuel might not play) and could get beat when the Bears move to their four-receiver sets. So long as the Bears keep Cutler clean -- an order that's not as tall as it was a few weeks back -- he should do fine.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Michael Vick QB Jay Cutler
LeSean McCoy RB Matt Forte
DeSean Jackson WR Johnny Knox
Jeremy Maclin WR Earl Bennett
Brent Celek   TE Greg Olsen
David Akers K Robbie Gould
Eagles DST Bears
Buccaneers at Ravens - Sunday, 4:15 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
After the Panthers were able to establish the run against the Ravens, the Buccaneers will probably try hard to give LeGarette Blount and Cadillac Williams a shot to do the same. Tampa Bay didn't fear rushing into the 49ers' run defense and they're sure to do the same here. If anything, it could help open up the pass for Josh Freeman, and the Ravens might opt for a change at cornerback where Mike Williams lines up after Josh Wilson was burned for a long score for the second week in a row. Whether it's Wilson or possible replacement Cary Williams, expect the Bucs to go after that matchup. Meanwhile, Anquan Boldin has been missing in action lately: The Ravens' top receiver has 10 catches on 18 targets for 107 yards and one score in his last three games. He's been double covered and Joe Flacco has thrown to more open receivers during this span, and the Bucs could make it four in a row without a ton of receiving yardage for Boldin. Tampa's secondary has been getting better, allowing just one passing touchdown over their last three, and between their corners and their D-line starting to get aggressive, it could be a bit challenging for Flacco. If it does get hairy the Ravens could opt to slam the ball down the Bucs' throats with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee (Rice obviously the better of the two).
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Josh Freeman QB Joe Flacco
LeGarrette Blount RB Ray Rice
Cadillac Williams RB Willis McGahee
Mike Williams WR Anquan Boldin
Arrelious Benn WR Derrick Mason
Kellen Winslow TE Todd Heap
Connor Barth K Billy Cundiff
Buccaneers DST Ravens
Rams at Broncos - Sunday, 4:15 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
Expect the Rams to give Steven Jackson a huge workload here. Denver's run defense went back to their sloppy ways in Week 11 after shutting down the Chiefs in Week 10 and should have their hands full with Jackson and the Rams' good enough O-line here. The more work Jackson gets, the easier the game becomes for Sam Bradford, who doesn't have a good matchup even though the Broncos were dismantled through the air by the Chargers last week. Brandon Gibson has been coming on and is second on the team in receptions despite being invisible until Week 8, and he was able to leap up right behind Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson for a score last week. He's been coming on and could be a decent flex option if you're really hurting for help. Denver should battle back through the air themselves, which is their strength. St. Louis hasn't been too bad against the pass but playing at Denver against Kyle Orton has been disastrous for the Seahawks and the Chiefs, and the Rams should follow suit. It's worth noting that the Broncos have come out red hot in each of their last two in an attempt to control the flow of the game and give them a big lead. If they do that here they could end this one before the fourth quarter. St. Louis' corners have schemed well all season but the Rams' pass rush shouldn't hamper Orton too much, giving him time to chuck it deep. The reliable Broncos receivers -- Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney -- should be fine, and Knowshon Moreno should have another trademark touchdown-and-total-yard effort for Fantasy owners to enjoy.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Sam Bradford QB Kyle Orton
Steven Jackson RB Knowshon Moreno
Brandon Gibson WR Brandon Lloyd
Danny Amendola WR Jabar Gaffney
Michael Hoomanawanui TE Daniel Graham
Josh Brown K Matt Prater
Rams DST Broncos
Chargers at Colts - Sunday, 8:20 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
A shootout? You'd think so, but with the Chargers possibly short on receivers and the Colts going up against a good secondary, there could be some hiccups. Some -- not many. Talent should win out and for the second week in a row we should get treated to two of the league's best quarterbacks on the same field. Vincent Jackson rejoins the Chargers, and he should play a role, but the Colts have game planned well for him in the past and they should key in on him here with the rest of San Diego's passing offense a mess. Want a sleeper? Try Seyi Ajirotutu if Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee don't play. Even if one of those receivers play, Ajirotutu showed enough a few weeks back that he can reel in the deep ball, and if he's lined up in the slot with Jackson getting a lot of the Colts' attention, Rivers could look long for him. It looks like there's a chance Antonio Gates plays, and if that happens then he'll take plenty of targets from everyone. But the Chargers should also follow in the footsteps of past Colts opponents and run the ball. They should be very comfortable using Mike Tolbert at this point and he and Darren Sproles are quite the Thunder & Lightning tandem both as rushers and receivers (seven catches between them last week). Manning should be able to break up the Chargers pass defense, especially by going down the seams to Jacob Tamme and Blair White. Reggie Wayne will get his, though they could be hard yards, but the Chargers have had trouble with tight ends in the past and White could get more looks from Manning if the Bolts' top cornerbacks are on Wayne and Pierre Garcon. The Colts' run game could also produce fairly well as San Diego has been scored on in each of its last six games by running backs. It's out of the Colts' character to run the ball a lot, but if Indianapolis truly wanted to attack the weakness of San Diego, it try to dedicate 20 touches to their backs.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Philip Rivers QB Peyton Manning
Mike Tolbert RB Donald Brown
Darren Sproles RB Javarris James
Vincent Jackson WR Reggie Wayne
Malcom Floyd WR Blair White
Seyi Ajirotutu WR Pierre Garcon
Antonio Gates TE Jacob Tamme
Nate Kaeding K Adam Vinatieri
Chargers DST Colts
49ers at Cardinals - Monday, 8:30 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
Back to basics for the 49ers in a matchup that has favored Frank Gore for years. The stud rusher has topped 100 total yards in four of his last five against the Cardinals and scored at least once in seven of his last eight against them (11 total). With San Francisco desperate for wins, Vernon Davis banged up and the Cardinals yielding two touchdowns to rushers in each of their last four games, this has to be the direction the Niners go in. It might be predictable, a problem the Niners had last week, but if Arizona is focused on the run, the Niners could use play-action to get Michael Crabtree in single coverage against one of the Cardinals' cornerbacks and give him the chance for big plays. Then again, if Arizona learned one thing from the Bucs' win at San Francisco, it's that less is more when it comes to the pass rush -- Troy Smith had a hard time making decisions with the football. The Cardinals' run game is a mess and the 49ers have been mostly good against the run this season, so expect Derek Anderson to sling it. He had 295 yards last week and 322 yards the week before with Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston the primary benefactors. They'll pick up most of the slack here but Arizona has begun to use younger players and we might see Andre Roberts build on last week's game and tight end Jim Dray work from the line of scrimmage. If the Cardinals can do something to slow down Gore, they could pick up a crucial NFC West win.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Troy Smith QB Derek Anderson
Frank Gore RB Tim Hightower
Anthony Dixon   RB Beanie Wells
Michael Crabtree WR Larry Fitzgerald
Josh Morgan WR Steve Breaston
Vernon Davis TE Jim Dray
Shane Andrus K Jay Feely
49ers DST Cardinals
Patriots at Lions - Thursday, 12:30 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
Not a tough matchup at all for the Patriots, especially since they just scorched a Cover-2 defense with a weak run defense just last Sunday. The difference is that the secondary here is nowhere near as disciplined as the one Tom Brady scored two touchdowns on last week. There isn't a bad matchup anywhere you look for the New England receivers, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis should be able to play effectively. Don't mistake this for the Lions not putting up a fight, though. Shaun Hill is no Peyton Manning, but between the way his receivers are playing and the way the Patriots' secondary is struggling, he should land some good numbers. The matchup is real nice for Brandon Pettigrew -- if the Patriots are focused on containing Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, Pettigrew will land single coverage against a linebacker or safety and pick up chunks of yardage. And Maurice Morris isn't a terrible play because if the Lions use him on screens, he'll also see light coverage with the other receivers being guarded downfield. Look for a lot of points in this one.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Tom Brady QB Shaun Hill
BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB Maurice Morris
Danny Woodhead RB Jahvid Best
Wes Welker WR Calvin Johnson
Deion Branch WR Nate Burleson
Aaron Hernandez TE Brandon Pettigrew
Rob Gronkowski TE Tony Scheffler
Shayne Graham K Dave Rayner
Patriots DST Lions
Saints at Cowboys - Thursday, 4:15 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
This one should come down to which passing offense has the fewest turnovers. That in and of itself favors the Saints, who have so many weapons for Drew Brees to work with, can control the clock and take some downfield shots on the Cowboys. Granted, Dallas' defense has been playing better, but it's still ripe for the picking. The Saints should come out firing here after warming up last week on the Seahawks, and that should spell good news for not just Marques Colston but Robert Meachem and potentially Jimmy Graham, too. Remember, the Saints used both of those guys in their first game off the bye; perhaps they've re-tooled a bit and will give more playing time to then (Graham's will hinge on Jeremy Shockey's status). Just don't expect Chris Ivory to repeat his feat from last week. Dallas' matchup isn't as easy as New Orleans' but given how Seattle gunned downfield last week and given how Jon Kitna has looked in his last two games, it's really difficult to dismiss them here. Look for the Cowboys to go after Jabari Greer after the Seahawks picked on him last week. A 5-foot-10 Greer doesn't stand much of a chance against 6-foot-2 Dez Bryant. And Felix Jones has a favorable matchup here, but after last week's bombing out against Detroit of all teams, he's relegated back to flex status -- if he plays since he is questionable with a hip injury.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Drew Brees QB Jon Kitna
Reggie Bush RB Felix Jones
Chris Ivory RB Marion Barber
Marques Colston WR Dez Bryant
Robert Meachem WR Miles Austin
Jimmy Graham TE Jason Witten
Garrett Hartley K David Buehler
Saints DST Cowboys
Bengals at Jets - Thursday, 8:20 p.m. | Fantasy Preview
If Carson Palmer throws three interceptions at Indy and two vs. Buffalo, you can be sure he's going to make some mistakes against the Jets here. Now last week we quickly dismissed Matt Schaub against the Jets and he still put up moderate stats. Palmer should do about the same, but don't expect Terrell Owens to be the guy who helps him get there. Owens should see a big dose of Darrelle Revis, who held him to under 40 receiving yards with no touchdowns in each game against him last year. Yes, he was with Buffalo and their offense was awful by comparison, but Revis has slammed down Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson lately -- Owens shouldn't be any tougher. Consider other options before riding T.O. on Turkey Day, and it doesn't help that he'll travel and play on the road on a short week. The Jets should be able to have their way with a depleted Cincinnati secondary and run defense. LaDainian Tomlinson is giving you enough in total yardage but his absence from the end zone is glaring. That could change here, and look for Mark Sanchez to steer clear of cornerback Leon Hall and go with whomever the Bengals end up starting opposite him. That should help out Braylon Edwards, who has made many plays this year lining up to Sanchez's right. Santonio Holmes is also playing out of his mind -- both of those guys could score.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Carson Palmer QB Mark Sanchez
Cedric Benson RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Brian Leonard   RB Shonn Greene
Chad Ochocinco WR Santonio Holmes
Terrell Owens WR Braylon Edwards
Jermaine Gresham TE Dustin Keller
Aaron Pettrey K Nick Folk
Bengals DST Jets
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Player News
Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:21 pm ET) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:20 pm ET) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jobbing
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:14 pm ET) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:21 pm ET) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:06 pm ET) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:12 am ET) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:01 am ET) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:54 am ET) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:52 am ET) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

Report: Niners won't release Aldon Smith
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 am ET) The 49ers might expect a suspension for pass rushing linebacker Aldon Smith, but they are not planning to release him, NFL Network reported on Friday.

Smith was arrested recently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker. He was also arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 


 
 
 
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