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Week 14 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 .

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Raiders at Jaguars - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Weather warning: Rain and mild wind possible. Long road trips have not been kind to the Raiders. This year they put up 13 points at Tennessee and 3 points at Pittsburgh. Last year they only scored more than 13 points once in six trips east of the middle of the country. These trips are always tough to prepare for and it doesn't help that the Raiders will take on an improving Jacksonville defense. That is to say they've gone from awful to average, though. Expect the Raiders to lean on Darren McFadden to hit the edges of the Jags' defense and catch passes from Jason Campbell and pace the offense. There's also room for Jacoby Ford to keep playing well as the Raiders have used play-action very well lately and can definitely fool the Jaguars with it. But a big issue for the Raiders will be simply having the ball as Jacksonville's formula for winning lately has involved running with Maurice Jones-Drew and others and playing keep-away. The Raiders' run defense is wobbly (last week's blowout win over San Diego notwithstanding) and playing fresh off of a cross-country flight is sure to hurt them. Jones-Drew should extend his 100-yard games streak to six (he should finish the season with the streak intact given his matchups) and put some points on the board for Jacksonville in the process. David Garrard can use play-action himself off of MJD and strike against the Raiders, giving him and Marcedes Lewis a shot to be effective.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Jason Campbell QB David Garrard
Darren McFadden RB Maurice Jones-Drew
Michael Bush RB Rashad Jennings
Jacoby Ford WR Mike Thomas
Louis Murphy WR Mike Sims-Walker
Zach Miller   TE Marcedes Lewis
Sebastian Janikowski K Josh Scobee
Raiders DST Jaguars
Browns at Bills - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Weather warning: Rain/snow possible. This should be a battle between the ground games, much like it was when these teams met last season. Cleveland might not have gotten far with Peyton Hillis last week, but against the Bills (five touchdowns, 497 rush yards allowed to running backs over last three games) he should have an excellent day. Jake Delhomme has been passing since returning under center, completing 48 of 69 attempts over two games. Benjamin Watson and Mohamed Massaquoi have been the biggest beneficiaries, though neither should be counted on for big stats in this game as Buffalo should be able to key in on at least Watson. Buffalo will take a crack at Cleveland's run defense, much like each of the Browns' last four opponents. Fred Jackson has a shot to get well over 100 total yards, though the Browns are developing some confidence in their secondary and might drop a safety to try and limit Jackson and force Ryan Fitzpatrick to pass. Steve Johnson has been a bust lately and he'll be covered by rookie cornerback Joe Haden, who has been playing well, so when the Bills throw they might have to go toward Lee Evans and David Nelson as they did last week. Nelson hasn't been half-bad recently and could draw a favorable matchup with nickelback Eric Wright.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Jake Delhomme QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Peyton Hillis RB Fred Jackson
Mohamed Massaquoi WR Steve Johnson
Brian Robiskie   WR David Nelson
Chansi Stuckey   WR Lee Evans
Benjamin Watson TE David Martin
Phil Dawson K Rian Lindell
Browns DST Bills
Bengals at Steelers - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Weather warning: Rain/snow possible. Anyone out there think the Bengals have a chance? Cedric Benson's been OK at scoring touchdowns but his rushing average against all but the worst run defenses is in the tank. The Steelers' success against the run has been well documented and if Benson can't part the Steel Curtain, Carson Palmer will have the game on his shoulders pretty quickly. The Steelers' secondary can be exploited, but given Palmer's haphazard play it's tough to expect him to do a number on Pittsburgh. The Bengals' best hope offensively is Terrell Owens, who scored twice on the Steelers earlier this season from different areas on the line of scrimmage. Though Palmer will likely target whoever is in single coverage on a given play between T.O. and Chad Ochocinco, Owens is the one who has more targets and better results (Ochocinco's recent history against the Steelers is ugly). It does not help the Bengals that Anquan Boldin is the only wide receiver to have found the end zone against Pittsburgh since T.O. did in Week 9. The Steelers will have far more success on the ground than the Bengals; the Bengals have allowed at least one rushing touchdown in nine of their last 10 games (nine losses). Rashard Mendenhall should lead the way for Pittsburgh, which in turn takes pressure off of Ben Roethlisberger and his injured foot. Big Ben doesn't have a good track record against the Bengals and Cincinnati's starting cornerbacks are still very effective. That said, if Roethlisberger finds a matchup where Hines Ward or Emmanuel Sanders are in single coverage against backup cornerback Jonathan Wade, he's going to sling it. Mike Wallace should also be good for a deep ball here if the weather cooperates.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Carson Palmer QB Ben Roethlisberger
Cedric Benson RB Rashard Mendenhall
Bernard Scott   RB Isaac Redman
Terrell Owens WR Mike Wallace
Chad Ochocinco WR Hines Ward
Jermaine Gresham TE Matt Spaeth
Clint Stitser   K Shaun Suisham
Bengals DST Steelers
Falcons at Panthers - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Weather warning: Rain possible. Take a look at how the Panthers' run defense has fared over their last five games and figure Michael Turner to have a field day. Unless he gets hurt, expect him to get a lot of work and carry the Falcons. Here's where things get interesting: Matt Ryan has attempted 41 passes in two career games at Carolina, completing just a little more than half in each for modest yardage and one total touchdown. In both games he was playing from behind -- highly unlikely this time around given the state of the Panthers' offense. Roddy White's targets could be affected, but he's still expected to be involved (the Falcons won't run Turner 45 times). The Panthers should only have success with Jonathan Stewart, but unlike Turner his carries could be limited. Will Mike Goodson play? How far behind will the Panthers get before passing on every down? Was the Falcons' run defense letting LeGarrette Blount charge past them last week a fluke? It's tough to expect a big game from Stewart, and the rest of the Panthers offense is handcuffed by Jimmy Clausen.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matt Ryan QB Jimmy Clausen
Michael Turner RB Jonathan Stewart
Ovie Mughelli   RB Mike Goodson
Roddy White WR Steve Smith
Michael Jenkins   WR Brandon LaFell
Tony Gonzalez TE Dante Rosario
Matt Bryant K John Kasay
Falcons DST Panthers
Giants at Vikings - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Originally the prevailing thought was that the Giants would run the ball a lot in this matchup, but with Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith expected to return, expect more of a balanced approach for the Giants. The matchup to watch will be Nicks on Vikings cornerback Asher Allen, who has struggled in pass defense this season and could get shredded. Assuming he's active, feel confident going with Nicks, who spent the Friday before the game practicing with the first-team offense. The Giants' ground game has been excellent since their meltdown against Philadelphia three weeks ago and the belief here is that they'll still take several cracks against the Vikings run defense. Brandon Jacobs could score on a goal-line plunge and Ahmad Bradshaw should see enough opportunities to rack up notable yardage. Keep this tidbit in mind: The Vikings haven't allowed a rushing touchdown at home, but they haven't played any of the league's top rushing offenses at home either. The Giants qualify. Aside from Adrian Peterson, the Vikings are in trouble in this matchup. It will help that Steve Hutchinson is back on the Vikings' O-line but otherwise the Giants' front four should cause some disruption. That's not good for whoever is quarterbacking the Vikings, though at least Tarvaris Jackson could escape some pressure and extend plays. This shouldn't be a productive game for the Vikings' receivers other than Sidney Rice, who is essentially all the team has as a mid-range and deep threat. You can be sure the Giants will blanket him and do its part to keep him from scoring. The Giants secondary has been playing well as they've allowed just one touchdown to a wideout over their last three games. Furthermore, if Brett Favre starts he could be forced into turnovers that give the Giants the clock, meaning more time to run the ball and escape Minnesota with a needed victory.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Eli Manning QB Brett Favre
Brandon Jacobs RB Adrian Peterson
Ahmad Bradshaw RB Toby Gerhart
Hakeem Nicks WR Sidney Rice
Steve Smith WR Bernard Berrian
Mario Manningham WR Greg Camarillo
Kevin Boss TE Visanthe Shiancoe
Lawrence Tynes K Ryan Longwell
Giants DST Vikings
Packers at Lions - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Expectations are high for the Packers here as the Lions have been scorched against the pass. Detroit's given up eight touchdowns through the air over their last three and Aaron Rodgers himself has destroyed the Lions for 14 touchdowns, three interceptions and four 300-yard games in five career starts against them. So it's all systems go for Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, but here's the catch: If the Packers build a big lead, they now have the back in James Starks to grind the clock late. And Detroit's run defense is no better than its pass defense: Four rush touchdowns allowed over the last two games with a 4.6 rush average against them over the course of the season. Starks is likely to be the Packers' most productive back on Sunday, but there's still a question of how many opportunities he'll get; last week Starks had nine of 18 carries in garbage time. The Lions took to the air in their last meeting with the Packers and came close to beating them at Lambeau Field. Expect them to follow a similar formula here even with Drew Stanton at quarterback. Stanton was able to keep the Lions close with the Bears last week and should be able to do the same here. Calvin Johnson has been solid against the Packers over his career and with Charles Woodson gimpy he could continue his assault. There's also room for Brandon Pettigrew to pick up chunks of yardage as the Packers clearly have a problem with athletic tight ends: Pettigrew had eight for 91 on them earlier this year and Vernon Davis and Tony Gonzalez scored on the Pack in consecutive weeks. The Packers have allowed only two quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns on them all season -- Shaun Hill in Week 4 was one of them. Stanton could be the third.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Aaron Rodgers QB Drew Stanton
James Starks RB Maurice Morris
John Kuhn RB Jahvid Best
Greg Jennings WR Calvin Johnson
Donald Driver WR Nate Burleson
Andrew Quarless   TE Brandon Pettigrew
Mason Crosby K Dave Rayner
Packers DST Lions
Buccaneers at Redskins - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
The Bucs should come off the bus running. Last week they were able to puncture the Falcons' run defense, and the Redskins run D is inferior after falling down to the Giants last week and giving up over 100 rush yards to all but three opponents this season. LeGarrette Blount should play well, and there's even room for Cadillac Williams and Earnest Graham to contribute. That might take the ball out of Josh Freeman's hands a little bit, something that might be needed after two rough performances (48.0 comp. pct. against the Ravens and Falcons). Heck, they might get Freeman running after Vick's game at Washington in Week 10. Mike Williams' matchup against DeAngelo Hall will be one to watch, too. The Redskins are expected to come out testing the Bucs' secondary, particularly cornerbacks E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis and both safeties. Between Tampa Bay's iffy secondary and weak pass rush, Donovan McNabb might put up some good numbers. The Bucs have allowed two passing touchdowns in each of their last two games and that was with cornerback Aqib Talib. Washington's run game also would have a chance if Mike Shanahan could settle on which back he'd use. Ryan Torain is expected to share reps and can't be considered a great option even with the positive matchup since it's his first game back from injury.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Josh Freeman QB Donovan McNabb
LeGarrette Blount RB Ryan Torain
Cadillac Williams RB James Davis
Mike Williams WR Santana Moss
Arrelious Benn   WR Anthony Armstrong
Kellen Winslow TE Chris Cooley
Connor Barth K Graham Gano
Buccaneers DST Redskins
Seahawks at 49ers - Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Despite all of their ugly losses, the 49ers run defense hasn't played poorly this year, allowing just five rush touchdowns on the season. Three have come over their last four games, but with the Seahawks only looking good on the ground against the Panthers lately (everyone looks good against the Panthers), figure that Matt Hasselbeck will take to the air in this matchup. Problem is that none of his receivers are exactly reliable here, and the 49ers secondary got embarrassed last week by Donald Driver and are sure to play more disciplined ball at home. If he plays, Ben Obomanu is the most appealing since he's catching nearly everything Hasselbeck is throwing at him and the Niners should be able to control Seattle's tight ends better than the Panthers. San Francisco handed Seattle a win in Week 1 courtesy of two turnovers by Alex Smith that led to Seattle touchdowns. Smith is back under center for the 49ers and will have to play much better in order to stay under center. He'll likely connect with Vernon Davis first -- not only does he have a rapport with him but Seattle had problems with Davis in Week 1 and has struggled with quality tight ends all season. Davis could then open up the field for the Niners, giving Michael Crabtree a shot to dominate a Seahawks pass defense that's yielded seven touchdowns over their last three games (none last week against the inept Panthers). But before Smith does any work, the 49ers will run the ball, and the matchup is especially good there. Look for Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon to share the workload with Dixon called on if the game gets out of hand late. That might not happen -- this is the 49ers we're talking about -- but at the very least Dixon should find the end zone just like 11 other running backs have against Seattle this season, including one in each of Seattle's last eight games.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matt Hasselbeck QB Alex Smith
Marshawn Lynch RB Anthony Dixon
Justin Forsett   RB Brian Westbrook
Ben Obomanu WR Michael Crabtree
Brandon Stokley   WR Josh Morgan
Cameron Morrah TE Vernon Davis
Olindo Mare K Jeff Reed
Seahawks DST 49ers
Rams at Saints - Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Tough matchup for the Rams, who should find themselves sticking to their general gameplan of leaning on Steven Jackson and letting Sam Bradford take what the Saints defense gives him. Problem is that the Saints' defense matches up very well with the Rams receivers and should put a good amount of pressure on Bradford. Jackson has a shot to match last week's totals as the Saints' run defense is still the weakness there, but if the Saints offense does what it's expected to we'll see Bradford in the shotgun and passing on nearly every play sooner than later. What's expected of the Saints? Lots of passing as they take advantage of a banged-up Rams secondary. Cornerback Ron Bartell will miss the game and he's the Rams' top corner. Safety O.J. Atogwe is also hurting, though he should play. It's a nightmare for the Rams and it could mean an excellent week for any of the Saints' receivers (Robert Meachem would benefit the most from Bartell's absence). St. Louis has been stout against the run but if the Saints build a lead they will run the ball late. That's where things could get complicated as Pierre Thomas is expected to return and take some carries from Chris Ivory. Chances are the Saints won't rush Thomas into action, so Ivory is still the best rushing option for the Saints. We're also still waiting for Reggie Bush to make an impact -- he's had three targets in each of his two games since coming back.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Sam Bradford QB Drew Brees
Steven Jackson RB Chris Ivory
Kenneth Darby   RB Reggie Bush
Danny Amendola WR Marques Colston
Brandon Gibson WR Robert Meachem
Danario Alexander WR Lance Moore
Daniel Fells TE Jimmy Graham
Josh Brown K Garrett Hartley
Rams   DST Saints
Broncos at Cardinals - Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
With running backs coach Eric Studesville now calling the shots for Denver, expect the Broncos to become more run oriented. That's not a change from last week when Knowshon Moreno had 23 carries for 161 yards at the Chiefs. Now he'll take on a Cardinals run defense that's a shell of what it could have been this season. Arizona has allowed a rushing touchdown in each of its last six games with two running backs (LeGarrette Blount, Thomas Jones) double-dipping. With Studesville in charge, expect Kyle Orton's pass attempts to fall down but not necessarily his production since the Cardinals are equally vulnerable against the pass. Expect a conservative approach there for Denver. Meanwhile, the Cardinals will give John Skelton his first NFL start, and the timing couldn't be worse. Not that the Broncos defense is good, because they're not, but nothing says "stack the box" like an undrafted rookie under center. The Broncos will get by with double-coverage on Larry Fitzgerald, zone coverage against the rest of the Cardinals receivers and enough manpower to at least contain the Cardinals run game. Tim Hightower might score and put up marginal yardage given the state of the Broncos' run defense, but expect Denver to play well for their interim coach much like the Cowboys and Vikings did for theirs earlier this season.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Kyle Orton QB John Skelton
Knowshon Moreno RB Tim Hightower
Lance Ball   RB Beanie Wells
Brandon Lloyd WR Larry Fitzgerald
Jabar Gaffney WR Steve Breaston
Daniel Graham   TE Jim Dray
Matt Prater K Jay Feely
Broncos DST Cardinals
Chiefs at Chargers - Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Matt Cassel's mid-week appendectomy certainly doesn't paint a rosy picture for the Chiefs offense. He's doubtful to play, so the Chargers can really hone in on Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones because Brodie Croyle doesn't have a strong arm. That means bad news for Dwayne Bowe, who already will be in for a tough matchup against a Chargers pass defense that's given up just six touchdowns to wide receivers all year (Bowe had one catch for 13 yards vs. San Diego in Week 1). Figure the Chiefs to lean on that ground game; they're probably optimistic given how the Raiders ran on them for over 200 yards last week. The matchup is just as tough for the Chargers; Kansas City has been hard on the run all season and Philip Rivers' numbers haven't been huge over the last two weeks in part because his receiving corps is a mess. That will change with Vincent Jackson expected back, and with him returning there's hope for Rivers to put up good stats. The best recipe for the Chargers here will be to spread the ball around to keep the pass rush off of Rivers and get him into a rhythm. They can order some downfield shots by then or just stick to a good dose of Mike Tolbert. One thing seems likely: Because Cassel is out, the Chargers shouldn't fall behind early like they did against Oakland, though turnovers could always haunt San Diego. Additionally, the AFC West will effectively be won if the Chiefs win, so the Bolts have to ball out here. Rivers should rise to the occasion.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Brodie Croyle QB Philip Rivers
Jamaal Charles RB Mike Tolbert
Thomas Jones RB Darren Sproles
Dwayne Bowe WR Malcom Floyd
Dexter McCluster   WR Vincent Jackson
Tony Moeaki TE Antonio Gates
Ryan Succop K Nate Kaeding
Chiefs DST Chargers
Patriots at Bears - Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Weather warning: Snow and strong winds possible. Mother Nature might dictate both gameplans in this one. Snow won't be too much of an issue -- we've seen Tom Brady play well in the white stuff -- but if the wind is making accurate passes go off target, these teams will keep their offenses conservative. The Patriots are already kings of the dink-and-dunk attack, and they'll likely roll that way with a healthy dose of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead mixed in. If the weather isn't as bad as the forecasters suggest, take a long look at Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as the Bears will enter with their third-string strongside linebacker and the Patriots are sure to try and match up against him with their versatile tight ends. Believe it or not, bad weather would hurt the Bears more than the Patriots because the matchup for their run game is not as good as it is for their pass attack. A snow-covered field would also make the conditions worse for the Bears' speedy receivers. Assuming the weather is real bad, Matt Forte and Chester Taylor would take on a lot of work both as rushers and short-area receivers. Greg Olsen would also get involved, but the Patriots could bring their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage and contain all of them. Essentially, the Bears would evolve into the short-range offense the Patriots have been using lately, and that wouldn't give them a great chance to win because downfield matchups that would otherwise be exploitable would be lost. Granted, if the weather isn't a problem, then there's room for Earl Bennett to keep his strong play going and for Johnny Knox to stretch the defense. If you own any prominent Patriots or Bears, make sure you pay attention to the weather reports heading into Sunday.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Tom Brady QB Jay Cutler
BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB Matt Forte
Danny Woodhead RB Chester Taylor
Wes Welker WR Earl Bennett
Deion Branch WR Johnny Knox
Rob Gronkowski TE Greg Olsen
Aaron Hernandez TE Brandon Manumaleuna
Shayne Graham K Robbie Gould
Patriots DST Bears
Dolphins at Jets - Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
There's a very real chance that the Jets take out their frustrations from their humiliating loss at New England on the Dolphins. The Dolphins will know this coming in, but you have to figure that they'll take some elements of what the Patriots did on Monday night and try to apply them here. One big difference: Chad Henne is not Tom Brady. The Jets have allowed five rushing touchdowns over their last four games, and the Dolphins have been leaning on their backs a good amount over the last two weeks, so figure the Dolphins to try and hack away at the Jets there while mixing in short-area pass attempts. A bigger problem for Miami is Brandon Marshall drawing Darrelle Revis in coverage (Revis was hurt in their earlier matchup) and Brian Hartline missing the game. Simply put, the Dolphins don't have the weapons to put up a lot of points in this one, and the matchup isn't good for them. Davone Bess and Anthony Fasano could get a little more attention than normal, with Fasano a possible red-zone favorite against Jets safety Eric Smith. The Dolphins pass defense has played very well over the last month or so, but they haven't taken on any teams with threatening receivers. With Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and the rest of the New York offense, the Jets qualify, and the team will attempt to get their offense back on track against the Dolphins. Look for Mark Sanchez to lean on Santonio Holmes again, finding a matchup against Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith exploitable. Also, look for the Jets to get their ground game moving again -- we've seen Shonn Greene land more carries than LaDainian Tomlinson in the last three weeks and he might end up doing fairly well. Tomlinson still should end up with more total yards, but neither back should be considered poor choices in deeper leagues.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Chad Henne QB Mark Sanchez
Ronnie Brown RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Ricky Williams RB Shonn Greene
Davone Bess WR Santonio Holmes
Brandon Marshall WR Braylon Edwards
Anthony Fasano TE Dustin Keller
Dan Carpenter K Nick Folk
Dolphins DST Jets
Eagles at Cowboys - Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
The Eagles are pretty much at the point where they'll do what they've been doing: Run the offense through Michael Vick and let him lead the way to victory. They won't take the ball out of his hands here and the matchup against Dallas' secondary is gorgeous. Jeremy Maclin has had the hot hand for the Eagles and Brent Celek has begun to take on more work while DeSean Jackson has been good but not great. That could change here since the game is on National television and D-Jax likes to step it up in prime time (remember what he did to Washington in Week 10?). The only catch with Jackson is that he's typically had minimal yardage against the Cowboys in his career, but all of Philadelphia's playmakers are playing well with Vick. Dallas' offense is evolving: They lost Dez Bryant but gained Tashard Choice and now they might be more of a running threat than a passing threat. To keep Vick off the field, expect the Cowboys to try and establish the run first with Choice and Felix Jones while incorporating Jason Witten into the offense more. That should keep the chains moving, though they'll miss Bryant stretching defenses. They won't miss Asante Samuel not playing. Just remember that the Cowboys have used their running backs well in wins over the Giants and Colts and not so well in a loss to the Saints. There's a formula they'll try to follow here.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Michael Vick QB Jon Kitna
LeSean McCoy RB Tashard Choice
Jerome Harrison   RB Felix Jones
Jeremy Maclin WR Miles Austin
DeSean Jackson WR Roy E. Williams
Brent Celek TE Jason Witten
David Akers K David Buehler
Eagles DST Cowboys
Ravens at Texans - Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET | Fantasy Preview
Joe Flacco has been playing very well of late, and he should thrive against the Texans. Everyone knows just how bad Houston's pass defense has been, and the Ravens are sure to take advantage. Then again, they'll take advantage of Houston's holes on the ground too -- expect a monster game from Ray Rice to pace the Ravens. Ed Dickson is an interesting sleeper for the Ravens; he'll take the place of Todd Heap in this game and could end up with some meaningful stats. Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason look pretty good too, of course. The best news for Baltimore is that their offense will have to play close to 60 minutes because the Texans offense should keep it close. The Texans will have 11 days to prepare for this game and get their players healthy, and they'll have a full complement of offensive weapons including tight end Owen Daniels. Baltimore's run defense has been good but Arian Foster makes such an impact both as a rusher and as a receiver that he should come up with a good effort. In the past the Ravens have made it a point to take Andre Johnson out of the equation, but they've given up some big games to the league's best receivers this year. Expect the Texans to spread the ball around a little more than usual and let Matt Schaub take what the defense gives him. That could mean a lot of underneath stuff -- the Ravens won't blitz their defensive backs so Johnson doesn't burn them. Schaub should do well.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Joe Flacco QB Matt Schaub
Ray Rice RB Arian Foster
Anquan Boldin WR Andre Johnson
Derrick Mason WR Kevin Walter
T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR Jacoby Jones
Ed Dickson TE Owen Daniels
Billy Cundiff K Neil Rackers
Ravens DST Texans

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Player News
Report: Ray Rice files grievance against Ravens
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Running back Ray Rice has filed a grievance against the Ravens challenging the team's decision to terminate his contract in early September, Pro Football Talk reports.

Rice is arguing that the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows just one penalty per infraction. The league suspended the former Raven two games after reviewing the domestic-violence incident, but after a second video of the same incident was brought to light in the public forum, Rice was cut by the team and suspended indefinitely by the league.

Rice's grievance against the league is set for Nov. 5 and 6, while his grievance against the Ravens doesn't have a scheduled date for resolution. He'll look to seek the salary he would have earned if he had been reinstated in Week 3 in his grievance against the Ravens.


Arians: Cardinals TE Troy Niklas unlikely to return in Week 8
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians indicated Tuesday that tight end Troy Niklas (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Eagles, FOXSports.com reports.

Niklas has missed the last two weeks after suffering an ankle sprain. He has one reception for 16 yards on the season.


Report: Patriots expected to sign DE Alan Branch
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) The Patriots are expected to sign free-agent defensive end Alan Branch, the Boston Globe reports.

Branch was released by the Bills after a DUI arrest in August. The Patriots reportedly are going to be without defensive end Chandler Jones (hip) for about a month, leaving a need to add depth on the defensive line.


Report: Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) out multiple weeks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones missed practice Tuesday with a hip injury and is expected to be sidelined for about a month, the Boston Globe reports.

Jones recorded four tackles and a sack in the team's Week 7 win over the Jets last Thursday after entering the contest listed as probable. He has posted 4.5 sacks over six games this season.


Panthers LB Luke Kuechly to avoid fine after ejection
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly will not be fined for making contact with an official during his team's Week 7 loss to the Packers, NFL.com reports.

Kuechly was ejected from Sunday's game after the incident, which the linebacker contends happened because he wasn't aware it was an official pulling him from behind after a play. Panthers coach Ron Rivera disagreed with the decision to eject Kuechly and predicted the linebacker wouldn't face a fine.


Seahawks sign TE Brett Brackett, waive TE RaShaun Allen
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) The Seahawks claimed tight end Brett Brackett off waivers from Tennessee Tuesday and waived tight end RaShaun Allen. Brackett played two games with the Titans before being waived Monday.

Colts add Jeff Demps, Konrad Reuland to practice squad
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) The Colts signed running back/return specialist Jeff Demps and tight end Konrad Reuland to the practice squad Tuesday, the team announced. The team released quarterback Dominique Davis and wide receiver Chandler Jones to make room for the new additions.

Identifying a few streaming DST options
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) If you need to pick up and play a DST unit in Week 8, Jamey Eisenberg identifies three worth snagging in his waiver-wire column: the Colts (59 percent owned) in Pittsburgh, the Cowboys (43 percent) against Washington, and the Dolphins (36 percent) in Jacksonville.

Hitting the wire for tight ends
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) With how up-and-down many tight ends have been this season, identifying the right ones on waivers can be a key. In his Week 8 waiver-wire column, Jamey Eisenberg tries to pin down the best ones for you to target this week.

Ravens tight end Owen Daniels, coming off a six-catch performance with a touchdown in Week 7, is the top pick for the 41 percent of CBSSports.com leagues in which he is available. A big reason why is a matchup against the Bengals, who have allowed four double-digit Fantasy scoring games by tight ends this season.

The remainder of the top five for the week is rounded out by Coby Fleener of the Colts (44 percent owned), Charles Clay of the Dolphins (34 percent), Jared Cook of the Rams (47 percent) and Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings (32 percent), who makes more sense as a stash option if you can afford the roster space. 


Prioritizing waiver-wire picks at wide receiver
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) In his Week 8 waiver-wire column, Jamey Eisenberg takes a look at the wide receivers most worth adding ahead of this week's games.

The list is headlined by new Seahawks' No. 1 Doug Baldwin (33 percent owned), with Odell Beckham (68 percent) of the Giants, Davante Adams (21 percent) of the Packers, Allen Robinson (34 percent) of the Jaguars and Brandon LaFell (56 percent) of the Patriots rounding out the remainder of the top five.

If you need to drop someone to make room for any pickups this week, he also recommends possibly parting ways with the Vikings' Cordarrelle Patterson (81 percent) or the Steelers' Markus Wheaton (35 percent). 


 
 
 
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