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Week 4 Fantasy Football Matchups

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: Dave Richard breaks down every game from a Fantasy perspective each week with the help of CBSSports.com NFL Insider Pat Kirwan, who will provide his unique take to assist owners in their lineup management.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens -- Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, M&T Bank Stadium
Cleveland Browns
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Brandon Weeden   Ravens haven't allowed a QB to throw two or more TDs in 23 straight games. Make it 24 after Thursday.
RB Trent Richardson Ravens have yielded a rush TD to a back in every game this year. Defense's focus will be on Richardson, but he could still be solid.
WR Travis Benjamin Speedy outside receiver who could see more reps with Mohamed Massaquoi hurt. Keep an eye on him.
WR Greg Little Might be on his final straw with coach Pat Shurmur after more drops through the first three weeks.
TE Jordan Cameron   Deep sleeper. Big size, decent speed. Getting an opportunity to play more because of veteran injuries.
DST Browns   A problem: Ravens posting 32.7 points and 419.3 total yards per game. Allowed just 44 points in two games vs. BAL last year.
Baltimore Ravens
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Joe Flacco Browns have allowed back-to-back 300-yard, multi-TD passers. Great week to gamble on him.
RB Ray Rice Though they've allowed every starting RB to get 10+ Fantasy points, Browns have yet to allow a rushing score. Rice should change that.
WR Torrey Smith Two touchdowns last week in emotional game put Smith back on the map. Had just 60 yards in two games vs. CLE in 2011. More is expected here.
WR Anquan Boldin Good sleeper. Browns have allowed 5 TDs to WRs since Joe Haden's suspension started.
TE Dennis Pitta Cleveland D has been OK vs. tight ends, but Pitta is averaging 10.0 Fantasy points per week.
DST Ravens Browns have given up eight sacks, six INTs through three weeks with two sub-17 point games. Ravens DST should roll.

The Ravens run defense is no joke at home. Last week they held Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead of the Patriots to 28 carries for 71 yards at 2.5 a carry. Keep in mind Tom Brady presented a major passing threat on every play and the Ravens plan wasn't to stuff the run. Trent Richardson will get his touches but with a rookie quarterback and average receivers, he will struggle on early downs. He may pick up some yardage on third downs when the Ravens might be playing the pass. Ray Lewis is sure to make Richardson know what it means to play the Ravens. The Ravens' no-huddle offense will apply pressure with early scoring and could turn the Browns into a one-dimensional passing team, and that could take Richardson's numbers down a notch. -- Pat Kirwan

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Georgia Dome
Carolina Panthers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Cam Newton Falcons have made minced meat of opposing QBs (2 pass TDs, 7 INTs). Cam totaled 513 yards, 2 TDs and 5 INTs (with 83 yards & one rush TD) vs. ATL last year.
RB Jonathan Stewart Panthers run better with Stewart active. Has scored in last three overall, scored at Atlanta last year.
RB DeAngelo Williams Falcons run defense has allowed 5.1 yards per carry to RBs with three TDs. Panthers could lean on RBs to aid Newton.
WR Steve Smith Kind of a risk. Hasn't scored this season, hasn't scored in last three vs. ATL and Falcons have allowed just one TD to WRs so far.
WR Brandon LaFell Wait-and-see. LaFell's hot start weakened by horrible Week 3. Falcons pass D has been solid.
TE Greg Olsen Falcons have given up one TD to TEs this season and no TE has more than 37 yards receiving. Olsen scored in last game vs. ATL.
DST Panthers   Falcons scoring 31.3 points per game, Panthers giving up 26.3 points per game. Look elsewhere.
Atlanta Falcons
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matt Ryan Has 2+ pass touchdowns in 6 of last 8 games with one INT. Had 5 TDs, no INTs vs. CAR last year.
RB Michael Turner Panthers have allowed five RBs to post 10+ Fantasy points. With TDs in two straight, Turner should roll.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers Starting to play more and had most productive game of his career last week with 15 total touches.
WR Julio Jones Charred the Panthers for 2 TDs in only game against them last year.
WR Roddy White Has one TD in each of last three seasons vs. Panthers, two of which came at home.
TE Tony Gonzalez Graham declawed Panthers in Week 2; Bennett hurt them in Week 3. Gonzo's turn.
DST Falcons Five INTs of Newton in two games last year and 7 INTs so far this year. Pretty good choice.

Cam Newton is going through what every quarterback goes through when defenses have enough game tape to figure him out. The option offense is going to be reduced from the package because defenses have answers for it. Cam also has to battle back from his own disappointment in games. He is 0-11 when he throws at least one interception in a game. He threw five interceptions last year against Atlanta, both division losses. Steve Smith is trying to work on Cam's emotional strength and it will improve but his role in the Panthers scheme must also undergo some positive changes. -- Pat Kirwan

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Ford Field
Minnesota Vikings
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Christian Ponder DET defense progressively worsening vs. good (not great) QBs, allowing 276.3 pass yards per week.
RB Adrian Peterson Had over 100 total yards last week vs. SF. Lions run D has been OK. Has 8 TDs & over 1,000 total yards in nine games vs. DET.
WR Percy Harvin Has one TD in each of last three seasons vs. Lions, two in Motown. Harvin has at least 98 total yards per game.
WR Jerome Simpson Makes Vikings debut after three-game suspension. Had 100 yards and/or a TD in 6 of last 11 games last year.
TE Kyle Rudolph Lions have allowed 3 TDs to TEs over last two games. Rudolph has scored three TDs in last two games.
DST Vikings Lions averaging 29.0 points per game this season, scored 30.0 points per game vs. MIN in 2011. Stafford sacked 10 times by MIN in 2011.
Detroit Lions
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matthew Stafford Has 275+ yards in 2 of 3 games this year, is improving on turnovers but needs to score more. MIN has allowed 5 passing TDs so far.
RB Mikel Leshoure Vikings run D has yet to allow TD or over 77 rush yards to a RB. They're a handful. Temper expectations.
WR Calvin Johnson In case you were wondering, he's had at least 90 yards and/or a TD in each of last seven overall.
WR Titus Young   Took eight games for Young to score his first TD last year. Vikings have allowed just two TDs to WRs so far.
TE Brandon Pettigrew Must-start. Vikings have allowed red-zone touchdowns to tight ends in three consecutive games.
DST Lions Haven't scored more than 8 Fantasy points in a game this season, allowing a gross 31.3 points per game.

Christian Ponder is clearly emerging as a confident quarterback that has better athletic ability than advertised. The guy hasn't thrown an interception yet in his 97 passes and has four touchdowns in his last two games. Detroit is putting the pressure on their front four to get after the quarterback and they will be better than they were last week. Last year Detroit sacked him three times in 24 pass attempts but a quick game and a bootleg game off of Adrian Peterson's run game should offset the rush to some degree. -- Pat Kirwan

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Ralph Wilson Stadium
New England Patriots
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Tom Brady Track record firmly on Brady's side: Has 3+ TDs in each of last four vs. BUF. Totaled 725 yards passing in two games against Bills in 2011.
RB Stevan Ridley Bills have yet to allow 100 total-yard RB and just two rush TDs. Ridley might score, might fall short on 100 total yards but should be a factor.
WR Brandon Lloyd Receivers have scored six touchdowns in three games against the Bills. Lloyd still leads Patriots in targets with 33.
WR Wes Welker Only has 2 career TDs vs. Bills as a member of the Patriots. Both came at Buffalo last year.
TE Rob Gronkowski Buffalo native kills the Bills. In four career games Gronk has 314 yards and seven TDs against them. Obvious must-start.
DST Patriots Bills have scored more points per game (29.0) than the Pats have (27.3). Might not be worth starting.
Buffalo Bills
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 300 yards and two TDs per game vs. Pats in 2011 (with six interceptions). Fitzpatrick is on a roll & New England just gave up big numbers to Flacco.
RB C.J. Spiller If he's active he's worth flex start. Pats run D nothing to write home about and Spiller's legs are just fine.
RB Fred Jackson Like him better if Spiller is out. With Spiller active, Jackson might get eased into action given his knee and Spiller's own exploits.
WR Steve Johnson Has a TD in 3 of last 4 vs. NE, has a TD in each of last four overall. Big-play receivers have burned Pats in 2 of 3 games this year.
TE Scott Chandler Low-end choice this week. Pats have allowed at least 6 Fantasy points to starting tight ends every week this season.
DST Bills They've been on a roll last two weeks but Pats present big test. Not the week to trust them.

The Patriots playing the Ravens in Baltimore is a lot different than facing the Bills in Buffalo. Fred Jackson is needed in Buffalo with C.J. Spiller unsure to play and he has decent numbers against New England in the eight games he has faced the Pats. He averages 14 touches for 87 yards but only has two touchdowns in those games. Expect about the same from him this week when he returns from injury. As for the Patriots running backs, Stevan Ridley splits time with Danny Woodhead and the Bills have only given up two rushing touchdowns in three games. Not sure those guys will deliver big. -- Pat Kirwan

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Arrowhead Stadium
San Diego Chargers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Philip Rivers Big matchup: KC has allowed 8 passing TDs in three weeks to big-armed QBs. But Rivers has 4 INTs and (ack!) no TDs in last 2 vs. KC.
RB Ryan Mathews Might be the right opponent for him after knocking off rust last week. Has had double-digit Fantasy points in each of last three vs. KC.
WR Malcom Floyd Wow: Has TD and/or 100+ yards in 8 of his last 11 overall. Chiefs have allowed at least 1 TD to WRs every week so far.
TE Antonio Gates This has got to be the week: Chiefs have allowed TD to TE in every game this year. Gates has 70+ yards and/or a TD in 5 of last 6 vs. KC.
DST Chargers Held the Chiefs to 40 total points last year but that was without Jamaal Charles. Charles will be a handful for the Bolts.
Kansas City Chiefs
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matt Cassel Chargers have been ripped for 275+ pass yards in 2 of 3 games & allowed 3 pass TDs to Matt Ryan last week. Cassel a deep sleeper.
RB Jamaal Charles Michael Turner had 80 yards & a TD last week vs. SD. Charles is a little bit faster. Expect good numbers.
RB Shaun Draughn   One of my favorite long-term sleepers in deep leagues. Might even be a desperation starter if Hillis is out.
WR Dwayne Bowe Chargers have yielded one TD to WRs per game but no more than 67 yards. Bowe has 1 TD vs. SD in last four meetings w/ weak yardage.
WR Jon Baldwin   Had best game of 2011 vs. SD last year. Has six catches for 98 yards in last two games, could see role increase this week.
TE Tony Moeaki   Chargers have clamped down on tight ends after struggling against them late in 2011.
DST Chiefs Massive risk: Chiefs DST has been awful but Chargers offense hasn't crushed KC, scoring 20 points or less in 3 of last 4 meetings.

The Chiefs were able to contain tight end Jimmy Graham and hold him to four receptions for 16 yards last week and need to do it again when Antonio Gates comes to town. As Romeo Crennel told me this week, Philip Rivers to Gates is a primary concern. Expect up to five receptions and 50 yards from Gates this week. Rivers is another story now that he has the threat of the run in the backfield with Ryan Mathews back on the field. With him back, the play-action pass comes alive. Getting left tackle Jared Gaither is another important factor that can't be overlooked. Rivers averages 40 pass plays, 284 yards and just under two touchdown passes a game in six games in Kansas City. He'll need protection and a good ground game to exceed his averages. -- Pat Kirwan

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Edward Jones Dome
Seattle Seahawks
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Russell Wilson Rams have allowed 2 pass TDs w/ 5 INTs. It'll take a Hail Mary for Wilson to be solid.
RB Marshawn Lynch Had 80+ yards & TD in each game vs. Rams last season. Rams have allowed four total TDs to running backs through three games.
WR Sidney Rice Scored in one game vs. Rams last year but has yet to exceed even 40 receiving yards in a 2012 game.
WR Golden Tate   Emerging talent? Has 3+ catches in last seven overall. Maybe game-winning
DST Seahawks Tough turnaround for Seahawks DST but they held Rams to 20 total points in two games last year.
St. Louis Rams
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Sam Bradford Seattle has limited QBs to under 2 pass TDs in 10 of last 11 games including Aaron Rodgers last week.
RB Steven Jackson Has 120+ total yards and a TD in last meeting vs. SEA, but was healthy then. Groin injury limited him last week.
WR Danny Amendola Physical Seahawks cornerbacks should be trouble for Amendola, but he should still reach five-catch, 70-yard level.
WR Brandon Gibson   Only two double-digit receivers allowed by Seahawks this season, neither had more than 63 yards receiving.
TE Lance Kendricks   Seahawks have allowed one TD to tight ends in last eight overall.
DST Rams Only one DST has posted 10+ Fantasy points vs. Seahawks this season. Rams more of a desperation option.

Two weeks ago Danny Amendola faced a lot of vanilla zone coverage looks and he knew how to sit right down in the triangles and catch passes. Teams will look at him like they look at Wes Welker and bracket him off with an inside and outside defender. Bradford will go to him anyway considering the fact when these two play together Amendola averages eight targets and six receptions. Pete Carroll will play a lot more man-to-man on Amendola with his big physical corners and that could hurt his production. In his only two games against the Pete Carroll-led defense, Amendola has seven catches for 54 yards (7.7 avg.) and zero touchdowns. -- Pat Kirwan

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, MetLife Stadium
San Francisco 49ers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Alex Smith Smith's accuracy through three weeks a real improvement. Jets allowed 2+ pass TDs in 2 of 3 games with Darrelle Revis. Now he's out.
RB Frank Gore Jets have allowed a rush TD to RB in each of first three games. Gore should be next.
WR Michael Crabtree King Crab becoming PPR machine with 6+ catches per game this season.
WR Mario Manningham Even with Jets secondary less of a threat, tough to trust Manningham (zero TDs) in return to MetLife.
TE Vernon Davis Jets have given up 2 TDs to tight ends on the year. Davis is 3 for 3 in finding the end zone this season.
DST 49ers After Week 1 explosion, Jets offense has totaled 26 points, 607 yards in two games. Niners should rebound.
New York Jets
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Mark Sanchez   No one's trusting Sanchez in Fantasy though Niners have allowed six total TDs to QBs this season.
RB Bilal Powell Jets could give him more of a look in the offense but the matchup is a disaster.
RB Shonn Greene Averaging 2.6 yards per carry on the year. Niners allowing 3.4 yards per carry. Nightmare should continue for Greene.
WR Santonio Holmes Only James Jones of the Packers has managed to top 10+ Fantasy points among WRs Niners have faced.
WR Jeremy Kerley Only eight catches on the year but two touchdowns in three games. Jets will have to throw more this week.
TE Dustin Keller Niners have allowed red-zone touchdowns to tight ends in three straight. Major sleeper.
DST Jets No Revis, declining run defense makes the Jets DST a mediocre Fantasy option.

The 49ers are developing a better passing game than they had last year, but they have little desire to use it if they don't have to. They have called an average of 34 pass plays per game,which is respectable, but Smith averages 214 yards passing and less than two touchdowns a game. With Darrelle Revis gone for the year, San Francisco will have an effective passing game but not big numbers. Alex usually ups his pass plays to 37 per game on the road but he also gets sacked one out of every 10 throws. I'm expecting a balanced approach from the Niners. -- Pat Kirwan

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Reliant Stadium
Tennessee Titans
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Jake Locker Will have to throw a lot but will do so vs. pass D allowing 5.8 yards per attempt & 3 TDs in three games.
RB Chris Johnson Texans have yet to allow a rushing score; have held RBs to under 70 rush yards/game. Bench this guy.
WR Nate Washington Houston gave up first TD to WR last week. Washington has scored in 2 of last 3 vs. Houston and 2 of last 3 overall.
WR Kendall Wright Posted first seven-catch game last week but is more of short-area threat. No 20+ yard catches, averaging 7.3 yards per catch.
WR Kenny Britt If he plays is unlikely to be close to 100 percent. Can't trust him on those legs and against this defense.
TE Jared Cook Had 60+ yards or a TD in each game vs. Houston last year. Texans gave up first TD to TE last week.
DST Titans   Texans averaging over 150 rush yards per game and 29.3 points/game. Tough matchup.
Houston Texans
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matt Schaub Titans have given up 8 pass TDs, two 275+ yard passers. Schaub has 2+ TDs in five straight vs. TEN. Rock-solid starter.
RB Arian Foster Titans have allowed four 1-yard touchdown runs through three weeks. Foster, Tate might each get one.
RB Ben Tate Had at least 90 yards rushing in each game vs. TEN last year w/ 1 TD. Foster played in only one of two games.
WR Andre Johnson Titans pass D got ripped for three TDs last week including a Hail Mary. Scored in five straight vs. TEN until getting hurt against them last year.
WR Kevin Walter   Desperation starting option given the juicy matchup. Last score vs. TEN came in 2010.
TE Owen Daniels Week 3 was first time Titans didn't allow TD to TE this year (five in first two weeks). Daniels has delivered 8+ Fantasy points in 2 of 3 games.
DST Texans Should come up with turnovers vs. sloppy QB Locker. Look for a rebound week after struggling at Denver last week.

Nate Washington may have only been targeted three times last week, but all three were receptions for 112 yards and a TD including an excellent athletic grab. The touchdown reception was right out of the famous Lynn Swann playbook. The Titans run game is not very good and that means 35-45 pass plays in a game like this from Jake Locker. That means Kenny Britt and Nate Washington will get double-digit targets. Kendall Wright may get his catches but I don't think he will have the yardage or touchdowns the other two will have in this game. -- Pat Kirwan

Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars -- Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, EverBank Field
Cincinnati Bengals
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Andy Dalton Stunning: Has back-to-back 300-yard, 3 TD games on just 58 total pass attempts. Had 2 TDs at Jags last year. Brave owners will start him.
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis Jags have allowed three 20-point Fantasy RBs and one 9 point Fantasy RB this season. He's a must.
WR A.J. Green Green should thrash Jags pass D that couldn't contain T.Y. Hilton's speed last week. Green had 90 yards & TD at JAC last year.
WR Andrew Hawkins A boost in targets could be around the corner after showing moves in last two games. Sleeper.
TE Jermaine Gresham Starting tight ends have caught at least 5 passes per game vs. Jaguars this year. No TDs, though.
DST Bengals Jaguars 29th in points per game with 17.3, 30th in total yards with 268.3. Good sleeper.
Jacksonville Jaguars
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Blaine Gabbert Bengals pass defense is poor. Every opposing QB has had at least 24 Fantasy points. Still wouldn't trust Gabbert.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew Dream matchup for MJD: Bengals have allowed at least 13 Fantasy points per week to opposing RBs.
WR Justin Blackmon 15 targets, four catches, 31 yards, no TDs. Matchup is ripe for a turnaround. Keep him benched, don't cut him.
TE Marcedes Lewis Bengals have allowed 9+ Fantasy points to opposing TEs in two of three weeks this season.
DST Jaguars   The way Bengals are scoring (28.3 points/game) and the way the Jaguars are allowing them (23.3 points/game) makes this DST a pass.

What's wrong with Justin Blackmon? For starters, let's not forget he is a rookie receiver with a struggling second-year quarterback. Blackmon has been targeted 15 times in three games but only has four receptions at 7.8 yards a catch. He only has five yards after the catch, which is troubling as well. Now that MJD is back in his form it should open up the passing game and maybe an increase in production for Blackmon. I would hold off on playing him until he has a big day and that may be weeks from now. -- Pat Kirwan

Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals -- Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, University of Phoenix Stadium
Miami Dolphins
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Ryan Tannehill   Cardinals have slowed down Tom Brady & Michael Vick in consecutive weeks. Hard to love Tannehill's chances.
RB Reggie Bush Seems healthy but there's modest expectations given the knee and the matchup. Cardinals put the boots to LeSean McCoy last week. Be careful using Bush.
RB Daniel Thomas Arizona has yet to allow a 100-total-yard RB or a TD to a RB rushing or receiving. Tough week for Miami.
WR Brian Hartline   The likes of Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and DeSean Jackson have been slammed by the Cards so far. Don't like Hartline's chances.
DST Dolphins Cards are 3-0 but offense has put up exactly 20 points in three games. Kolb's been sacked four times, hasn't been picked off yet. Not worth the risk.
Arizona Cardinals
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Kevin Kolb Matchup is okay (Miami's allowed 250+ passing yards per game) but Kolb's playing efficient football. Stats aren't booming.
RB Ryan Williams Big opportunity starts against tough run defense. Dolphins allowing 2.5 yards per carry to opposing RBs with two rush TDs allowed.
WR Larry Fitzgerald Fitzgerald should pummel the Miami secondary. Fins have allowed two 100-yard receivers through three games.
DST Cardinals Must-start. Tannehill has five turnovers, been sacked four times and has totaled two TDs this season. And Reggie Bush isn't 100 percent.

Arizona is on a seven-game home winning streak with 28 sacks from the defense. They will get after Ryan Tannehill after just beating Tom Brady and Michael Vick. Coach Ken Whisenhunt wants to be better at running and might get his chance to do that with Williams as the primary rusher now that Beanie Wells is out for a while. The Dolphins are an excellent run defense, which compounds things, and that could lead the Cardinals to more passing in the early going. Miami holds teams to 2.4 yards per carry but give up 315 yards per game passing. With that being the case, this could be Kevin Kolb's best passing day, especially since he finally figured out how to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. -- Pat Kirwan

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos -- Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Oakland Raiders
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Carson Palmer Palmer's throwing the ball a ton, Broncos allowing just over 250 passing yards per game with at least 2+ TDs per opponent. Palmer's sneaky.
RB Darren McFadden Broncos have given up double-digit Fantasy points to RBs in each of last two. McFadden has had 150+ total yards in each of last 3 vs. DEN.
WR Denarius Moore Has yet to score on Broncos (played them twice last year) but Denver was done in by the big pass play last week. That's Moore's specialty.
TE Brandon Myers Great sleeper if he plays. Broncos have allowed a TE to score every game this season. Myers has 55+ yards per game.
DST Raiders Broncos averaging 25.7 points/game and 348.3 points/game. Raiders defense can't hang.
Denver Broncos
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Peyton Manning Manning has had 240+ yards per game, 2TDs in 2 of 3 games. Raiders got decimated by Big Ben last week. Manning should do the same in his easiest matchup to-date.
RB Willis McGahee Only one team has really run on the Raiders (Miami) and they crushed them. McGahee crushed them too in last meeting (163 yards, 2 TDs).
WR Demaryius Thomas Has 90+ yards and/or 1+ TD in 7 of last 10 games. Obvious Fantasy starter despite last week's bomb.
WR Eric Decker Scored on OAK for first time in last meeting. Raiders have allowed at least one WR to get 11+ Fantasy points per game.
TE Jacob Tamme Raiders have allowed three TDs to TEs over last two weeks. Tamme's in line for a pretty solid game.
DST Broncos Raiders putting up 20.3 points/game, 346.0 yards/game. Broncos should be able to land some sacks, INTs.

Oakland is 4-1 against Denver in its last five meetings averaging 33 points a game. Peyton Manning wasn't there for any of those losses but he is now, and he's studying what Ben Roethlisberger did last week to the Raiders defense when he threw for 384 yards and four touchdowns. Look for at least 30 snaps of no huddle from the Broncos and close to 300 yards passing. Carson Palmer will throw 35-40 times against Denver and the challenge for Denver is getting to him behind the line. Palmer has only been sacked four times in 132 pass plays. Darren McFadden came alive in the run game last week after two weeks where he was the primary receiver on the team. He loves running against the Broncos if recent history means anything. In his last three games against Denver he averages 141 yards a game on the ground. -- Pat Kirwan

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers -- Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Lambeau Field
New Orleans Saints
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Drew Brees Threw for 419 yards & 3 TDs at Green Bay last season, has 3 TDs in 2 of 3 games this year. Packers defense good but he's a must.
RB Darren Sproles Had seven catches for 75 yards last year at the Pack. Reps have fluctuated wildly this season. Big-play potential keeps him relevant.
RB Pierre Thomas Has 10+ touches in each of last two games with very different results. If you need 5 or 6 Fantasy points, Thomas should come through.
RB Mark Ingram After getting gashed by Frank Gore in Week 1 the Packers have allowed just under 4.0 yards per carry to RBs with no TDs. Ingram's a risk.
WR Lance Moore Counter-intuitive to start Moore when he's not indoors but the Saints will throw plenty and Moore should benefit.
WR Marques Colston Here's all you need to know: Colston's fourth on the Saints in targets through three weeks. If Brees is recognizing he's not 100 percent, we should too.
TE Jimmy Graham Guy has scored at least one TD in eight straight games. Scored at Green Bay last year. No brainer.
DST Saints   Packers averaging 19.0 points/game, 304.3 total yards/game. Expect them to 'get well' vs. lowly Saints DST.
Green Bay Packers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Aaron Rodgers Could be a back-to-basics week for Packers: Look downfield more vs. 25th-ranked pass defense, run a little more too.
RB Cedric Benson Saints have allowed six TDs (five rushing) and over 200 total yards per game to RBs through three games.
WR Greg Jennings Has 19 targets in two games (10 last week). Eventually he'll break through. Saints pass D should give up some good numbers.
WR Jordy Nelson Next two games should yield big numbers for Nelson vs. poor pass defenses. Has to improve 12.8 receiving average.
TE Jermichael Finley Surprisingly, Saints have been efficient vs. tight ends, allowing 85 total receiving yards on the year.
DST Packers Saints offense still going strong, posting 377.3 total yards/game and 27.7 points per.

After the controversial loss in Seattle and a 1-2 record, look for the Packers to come out fast against the Saints. New Orleans is giving up 488 yards a game (273 in the air and an alarming 215 on the ground). Cedric Benson could have a big day but sooner or later Aaron Rodgers will get his 35 to 40 passes in and 250 yards passing. Rodgers struggles with sacks (16 in three games) but the Saints don't really have a good pass rush. This could be the week we'll all feel good about Rodgers. -- Pat Kirwan

Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Raymond James Stadium
Washington Redskins
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Robert Griffin III Another great matchup for RG3. Bucs allowing 275+ pass yards per game & Griffin has been running wild.
RB Alfred Morris Stats say Bucs are best vs. run. Reality is that they've given up double-digit Fantasy points to opposing RBs over last two weeks.
WR Pierre Garcon If back should dominate Bucs secondary that has allowed four 100-yard receivers through three weeks.
TE Fred Davis Had solid game last week, no longer lost in Redskins offense. If Garcon's out, look Davis' way again.
DST Redskins Bucs had 36 points in one game, 26 total in other two. Freeman's been sacked twice per week with four interceptions on the year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Josh Freeman Gutsy sleeper. Redskins have allowed 10 pass TDs & over 300 pass yards per QB this year. Freeman has yet to top 250 pass yards.
RB Doug Martin For all of Redskins' defensive issues, they've allowed just one RB (Darren Sproles) to top 10 Fantasy points. Not sure Martin is a must-start.
WR Vincent Jackson Six receivers have scored on Redskins including three last week. Three of those six WRs also had 120+ receiving yards. Jackson's a must.
WR Mike Williams Decent sleeper given the Redskins' pass defense woes. Problem is he has seven catches in three games, so not many chances for big stats.
TE LeGarrette Blount   Schiano says he'll use Blount more. Perhaps he means it, perhaps he wants to light fire under Martin.
DST Buccaneers   Redskins' offense has posted 40, 21 and 24 points in three games. Bucs defense has allowed 22.3 points/game. Not a good matchup.

Tampa Bay has taken a very conservative approach with Josh Freeman. For example, last week he only threw nine passes in the first half. The Bucs average 28 pass plays a game, so I wouldn't count on a big day from the Bucs receivers despite the Redskins' woes against the pass. Doug Martin will get his 22-25 touches in this game and probably produce 75 yards and a touchdown. -- Pat Kirwan

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles -- Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, Lincoln Financial Field
New York Giants
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Eli Manning Has 4 TDs in 2 of last 3 vs. PHI. Eagles ranked third vs. pass but have only taken on one legitimate passing team.
RB Andre Brown Brown's health, quickness give him edge over Bradshaw. No running back (one fullback) has scored on Philly so far.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw Had 130+ total yards & a receiving TD in only 2011 game at Eagles. Lost 7 carries to Brandon Jacobs in the game. Not sure he'll lose that little this time.
WR Victor Cruz Eagles killer: Followed up last year's breakout 110-yard, 2 TD game at PHI with 128 yards & TD at home.
WR Ramses Barden Not a horrible option for those who lost out on Hakeem Nicks, but matchup is tougher for him this week than last.
TE Martellus Bennett With a TD and 40+ yards in each game he's too hot to sit. Eagles have yet to allow a TD to a TE but Bennett will test that.
DST Giants Good start. Eagles have topped 21 points once through three weeks, totaled 33 points vs. NYG in two games last year.
Philadelphia Eagles
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Michael Vick Vick's last 4 TD game came at NYG in 2010. Other two meetings as PHI starter vs. NYG: 1 rush TD, no pass TDs. Risky.
RB LeSean McCoy Has 110+ total yards in 3 of last 4 with two TDs. Giants run D has allowed 12+ Fantasy points to 2 of 3 starting RBs.
WR Jeremy Maclin Had 3-game streak of double-digit Fantasy point games vs. NYG snapped in last 2011 meeting. Giants pass D still a concern.
WR DeSean Jackson Touchdownless in last four vs. Giants. Last score came in Vick's breakout game back in 2010. D-Jax has yet to score this year.
TE Brent Celek Giants have yet to allow a TD to a TE this season. Celek failed to score on Giants last year, has yet to score this year.
DST Eagles Eagles have allowed 50 points in last two games but just 617 total yards. Low-end option.

Michael Vick is struggling, and the turnovers and hits he's taking are starting to add up. Six interceptions, three lost fumbles, close to 20 hits while throwing and 15 open field tackles is too much of a beating for him to last the season. The Giants will get after him but the G-Men know Vick is a thorn in their side with a 2-1 record against them as the Eagles starter. Jeremy Maclin helps, but unless the Eagles offensive line improves drastically it will not matter as the well-rested Giants come to town with the idea of getting in Vick's face. -- Pat Kirwan

Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys -- Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Cowboys Stadium
Chicago Bears
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Jay Cutler Completing a gross 52.7 pct. of passes at 6.9 yards/attempt. Has been sacked 11 times. Cowboys have allowed 1 pass TD per game.
RB Matt Forte Starting to look like he'll play. Has 110+ yards in 8 of last 11 games with at least 10 carries.
RB Michael Bush   Cowboys have allowed 13+ Fantasy points to RBs in 2 of 3 games. Bush can't get there if Forte's healthy. Is Bush's shoulder healthy?
WR Brandon Marshall DAL has yet to allow a TD or even 60 yards to any WR this year, but he crushed Dallas for 103 yards & TD w/ Miami last year.
DST Bears Good start. Romo's been sacked 7 times, thrown 3 INTs in three games. Cowboys averaging 15.7 points/game.
Dallas Cowboys
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Tony Romo Has 250+ yards in each start but has 1 TD in last two games. Bears have only allowed 2 passing TDs so far.
RB DeMarco Murray Only RB to not post 10+ Fantasy points vs. Bears is banged-up Steven Jackson. DeMarco still has appeal.
WR Miles Austin Only one WR has topped 100 yards vs. CHI. Two have scored. Austin's big-game streak in some jeopardy.
WR Dez Bryant 21 straight games without 100 yards receiving. Five straight without a TD. Tough matchup. Keep him benched.
TE Jason Witten Nine straight games without a TD. Five straight without even 70 yards receiving. Bears defense has not allowed a TE to score.
DST Cowboys Despite offensive struggles Bears averaging 24.7 points/game. But Cutler has a BIG target on his back. Cowboys are worth starting.

Tony Romo is at home and theoretically that should help his offensive line protect him. But that line gave up four sacks to the Bucs at home last week. In the previous two games Romo has only been sacked three times on the road in New York and Seattle. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler is being sacked one every nine pass attempts, which is horrible and as a result teams will take risks to hit him just to rattle him and get the negativity started. DeMarcus Ware and friends will be in his face while he holds the ball hoping Brandon Marshall comes open against Brandon Carr. Cutler hasn't cracked the 200-yard passing barrier in the last two games and it looks like a third straight game. -- Pat Kirwan

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Fred Jackson exits practice with lower leg injury
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:30 pm ET) Bills running back Fred Jackson was escorted to the locker room with team trainers after sustaining a lower leg injury during Friday's training camp practice, WGR50 in Buffalo reports. Jackson totaled 1,283 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns last season while playing 663 snaps last season. The Bills will open preseason Aug. 3 against the Giants.

Report: Vick Ballard suffers torn Achilles in training camp
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(6:16 pm ET) Colts running back Vick Ballard has been diagnosed with a torn Achilles, ESPN.com reports Friday.

Ballard went down with the injury at training camp Friday, and had to be carted off the field. He likely will not see the field again this season, as this has the potential to be a season-ending injury.

Ballard suffered a season-ending ACL injury last season, after appearing in just one game. 


David Wilson takes a hit, feels good
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:33 pm ET) Giants running back David Wilson "definitely" feels ready for football after taking a hit from linebacker Cooper Taylor in training camp practice on Friday. Wilson has come all the way back from a neck injury that halted his 2013 season. 

"That felt good," Wilson said to the New York Daily News. "I definitely know I'm cleared now."


Cordarrelle Patterson sits out as precaution
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:55 pm ET) Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson did not practice Friday because of a "tweaked foot," reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

He was sitting out as a precaution, and the injury is not expected to be serious.


Carl Nicks, Bucs part ways
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:53 pm ET) Carl Nicks and the Buccaneers have agreed to an "amicable" injury settlement, ending the guard's tenure with the team, FOX Sports reports. Nicks developed turf toe two years ago and it ended up becoming a complicated problem that forced him to miss all but two games of the 2013 season. 

Nicks said in a statement that he's going to "step away from the game." 


Report: Lynch's holdout won't last long
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:17 pm ET) Marshawn Lynch's holdout from Seahawks training camp will "probably" last five or six days at the most says ESPN's John Clayton, who figures the running back will balk once he realizes he won't get any new money added on to his deal. Lynch has held out through the very early days of camp because he wants a new deal just two years after signing his current contract. 

Chiefs to keep feeding Jamaal Charles
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:43 pm ET) The Chiefs don't plan to lighten the workload for running back Jamaal Charles this season, reports ESPN.

"I think he's got a lot in the tank," coach Andy Reid said. “We're going to keep using him. He's a good football player and he enjoys playing the game, so we'll keep getting him the football." 


Jeremy Maclin headed for big year
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:40 pm ET) Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, who is coming back from last year's torn ACL, is expected to be the No. 1 option in the passing game with DeSean Jackson now gone, reports Comcast Sports Net.

And if that's the case, Maclin could post the best stats of his career. His best season to date was 70 catches for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010.

"As far as numbers and everything, I've never really got into numbers," Maclin said. "But if they plan on me being a big part of this offense like I think they are, I think the numbers will come. I'm not going to get wrapped up in all that. That’s how I'm going to approach the season."


Rob Gronkowski not yet 100 percent
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:19 pm ET) Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said Friday he plans to make a fearless return to the field this season and put a string of injuries behind him, reports WEEI in Boston. Gronkowski is coming back from a torn ACL in 2013.

As for being at full strength, Gronkowski cautioned that there is still plenty of work remaining before that hurdle is cleared.

"If it were 100 percent, I'd be doing every single thing so no, I'm not 100 percent right now, obviously not," Gronkowski said. "I'm working my way to get to that and I'm working every single day to get to that and improving every single day. I'm preparing myself to my max ability right now for the first regular game. I can't really say anything from here on out because it's far away. Every single day, I'm just giving it everything I've got in the rehab room and out here on the field. I'm preparing myself and listening to my trainers, what they have for me so that I'm ready to go when it comes down to it. Hopefully, I am.

"No timetable at all. Just keep improving every single day and we'll see what the trainers want me to do. They've been through plenty of knee injuries throughout their years here."


Handful of Colts sit out practice
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:52 pm ET) In addition to Trent Richardson missing practice on Friday, the Colts have safety LaRon Landry, cornerback Vontae Davis and rookie guard Jack Mewhort all sitting out according to the Indianapolis Star. Landry and Davis' situations have been deemed precautionary. 

 
 
 
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