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Week 6 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

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Cleveland Browns Stadium
Cincinnati Bengals
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Andy Dalton Joe Haden's back but defense is banged up around him. Dalton could easily rebound vs. still suspect defense.
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis Decent start. His play has been off lately but Browns run D is vulnerable. Green-Ellis had 105 total yards against them in Week 2.
WR A.J. Green Haden's return doesn't scare Green, who scored on him & had 51-yard pass play on him in separate games last year.
WR Andrew Hawkins Big plays were a huge factor in Bengals' last win vs. Browns. Maybe Hawkins gets a chance again.
TE Jermaine Gresham Gresham scored in both games against the Browns in 2011, struck out in first 2012 game.
DST Bengals Last week was first time a DST didn't get 12+ Fantasy points vs. Browns this year.
Cleveland Browns
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Brandon Weeden Decent one-week sleeper. Weeden had his best game at CIN in Week 2 (322 yards, 2 TDs).
RB Trent Richardson Must start. Had 145 total yards & 2 TDs in first game against Bengals this season.
WR Josh Gordon Gordon's two catches went for TDs last week, overshadowing his eight targets. Playing time on the rise, matchup a challenge.
TE Jordan Cameron Waiting for him to breakout. Might be waiting until 2013.
DST Browns Had six sacks in Week 2 vs. CIN, but also allowed 34 points, 375 total yards.

The Bengals watched BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumble three times leading up to the Dolphins game and were looking for options if that continued. Instead, Green-Ellis was ineffective in the first half against the Dolphins, averaging 1.4 yards on five carries. Bernard Scott came in and averaged 8.0 yards per carry in the first half. Scott heading to IR doesn't necessarily mean Green-Ellis gets all of his touches back against Cleveland. BJGE got 21 carries against the Browns earlier this year and averaged just 3.6. Whether its Brian Leonard or another back, don't count on Green-Ellis getting most of the work even though the Browns couldn't stop Ahmad Bradshaw last week. -- Pat Kirwan

Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, M&T Bank Stadium
Dallas Cowboys
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Tony Romo Ravens haven't allowed QB to toss 2 TDs in 25 straight games. Too big of a risk to start.
RB DeMarco Murray Surprise: Baltimore's allowed 9+ Fantasy points to an opposing RB every game. Will the Cowboys coaches lean on him?
WR Miles Austin Baltimore has given up three 100-yard games to WRs over last four games.
WR Dez Bryant Ravens have given up just 2 TDs to receivers, both secondary options. Maybe Dez gets lucky.
TE Jason Witten Only one TE vs. BAL has topped 60 yards receiving. None have scored.
DST Cowboys Ravens have given up 4.0 sacks each of last two games. Tough matchup otherwise.
Baltimore Ravens
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Joe Flacco Cowboys secondary is rested and very effective (one QB has 2 TDs against them), but Flacco is money at home.
RB Ray Rice You're starting him but Cowboys' D-line is getting healthy. Held all but one RB to under 100 total yards, only 2 RBs have scored.
WR Torrey Smith Cowboys gave up first 100-yard game and first TD to WR in last game. Smith has all 3 TDs at home, 3 best Fantasy games at home.
WR Anquan Boldin Matchup is tough for Boldin vs. either of Cowboys' quality cornerbacks. Keep expectations in check.
TE Dennis Pitta Cowboys have struggled with non-stud TEs. Allowed 3 TDs to 3 of 4 & 40+ yards to 3 of 4. Pitta's in play.
DST Ravens Each of the last three DSTs to play charitable Cowboys have posted 16+ Fantasy points.

Dallas has to try and run the ball early, but a number of things will come into play. In the last three games DeMarco Murray has a grand total of 41 carries for 106 yards at 2.6 per rush. He has the same yardage as a receiver in those games which probably will happen in this game as well. Teams have been able to run the ball on Baltimore, but doing it at their place is a little different than facing the Ravens on the road. In three home games the Ray Lewis-led Ravens have given up 249 yards at 3.1 per carry and the longest run is 14 yards. The Ravens' no-huddle offense also adds pressure to the equation: If they put up points it will trigger the Cowbys to start to throw more and that could lead to a disaster. Six of Baltimore's seven touchdowns are at home. The Baltimore defense has given up one touchdown at home. This will be a tough day for the Cowboys offense, potentially similar to what they experienced at Seattle earlier this year. -- Pat Kirwan

Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Lincoln Financial Field
Detroit Lions
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matthew Stafford Philly pass rush has been a little soft but secondary has come up solid. Only one 300+ yard passer allowed all season.
RB Mikel Leshoure Tough matchup. Three RBs have had 80 rush yards vs. PHI, none with 100. Only two have scored.
RB Joique Bell Deep sleeper in PPR formats. Lions say they want to get him more involved.
WR Calvin Johnson Eagles have allowed three 100-yard receivers in last three games. Calvin's topped 100 yards twice this season.
WR Nate Burleson Risky one-week replacement but playing time has to flow his way after Young's slow start.
TE Brandon Pettigrew Mystery injury could limit him. Eagles have been great vs. tight ends so far.
DST Lions   Opposing DSTs have has 12+ Fantasy points vs. Eagles, but Lions have yet to get past 10 Fantasy points in a game.
Philadelphia Eagles
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Michael Vick Only 2 QBs have attempted 30+ passes vs. DET, both had 2 TDs & 21+ Fantasy points. Vick has had at least 30 pass attempts per game.
RB LeSean McCoy Obvious must-start. 2 of last 3 starting RBs vs. DET have totaled 100+ yards. McCoy has 100 total yards and/or TD in 4 of 5 games.
WR DeSean Jackson Lions have been lights-out vs. WRs, but Jackson too explosive to sit vs. untested secondary.
WR Jeremy Maclin More like a good third receiver or flex this week. Target totals were improved in Week 5, receiving average needs boost.
TE Brent Celek Was a target for Vick last week in the red zone, could be again here. Lions have given up 3 TDs to TEs in last three games.
DST Eagles Every DST vs. Lions has posted double-digit Fantasy points. Eagles could use it, they've topped 10 Fantasy points once.

Philadelphia is a tough place to visit. The Eagles have beaten the Ravens and Giants at home and that means they took care of Joe Flacco and Eli Manning. Both Eli and Flacco threw the ball 42 times against the Eagles and managed 40 points between them. Mathew Stafford comes in on a three-game losing streak and averaging 49 pass plays a game. The Eagles 'wide 9' defensive front will look forward to rushing Stafford 49 times. The Lions need Mikel Leshoure to run the ball effectively in the first half or the Lions will be in trouble on offense. The good news for Stafford is that the Eagles haven't had a sack in two games and if Stafford gets the time he will put up big numbers. Matthew has played four games in his career when he wasn't sacked and the results are impressive: 12 touchdowns and 1,219 yards in four games. If he has time, and if his receivers hold on to the football, he'll be OK. -- Pat Kirwan

Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, MetLife Stadium
Indianapolis Colts
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Andrew Luck Luck has 22+ points in each of last three. Jets have allowed one QB to get over 20 Fantasy points this year.
RB Vick Ballard Easy waivers-to-lineup sleeper. Jets have allowed 7 rush TDs, 144.6 rush yards per game to RBs.
WR Reggie Wayne No one will sit Wayne but Jets' pass D solid vs. WRs. No TDs since Week 2, no 100-yard wideouts allowed all year.
WR Donnie Avery Not a great sleeper. Only four WRs have 5+ catches in a game vs. Jets, none in the last two weeks.
DST Colts Risky start, but not bad if desperate. Three of five DSTs to face Jets have had 13+ Fantasy points.
New York Jets
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Mark Sanchez Can't be trusted even in a good matchup. Has thrown 3 TDs & 5 INTs over last four games.
RB Shonn Greene Colts have allowed rush TD to RB every week plus three 80-total-yard RBs this year, but Greene has 12 or fewer touches in 3 of last 4.
RB Bilal Powell Maybe this is the week to give Powell a try given soggy Colts run D, but who knows how much work he'll get?
WR Jeremy Kerley Has TD in two of last five games, 45+ yards in 4 of 5. Getting a heck of an opportunity with Santonio done for the year.
TE Dustin Keller   Sanchez desperately needs him but Colts have been great vs. TEs (1 TD allowed, no TEs over 50 yards this year).
DST Jets Each of last three DSTs to play Colts have had six Fantasy points. Jets might do a little better than that but expectations still low.

The Jets defense has issues, starting with the loss of Darrelle Revis. His absence affects their run defense as well as the pass defense. The Jets like to run-blitz teams and they can't afford to do it as much or as effectively as they once did with Revis gone. The Jets have to stop the first down run game of the Colts, which averaged 4.5 yards per carry with Donald Brown. He got the ball on seven first downs a game and most of them were in the second half after Luck softened up the defense with his passing game. Last week against the Packers Brown got his number called on four of the first five earned first downs and averaged 5.2 per carry. Now rookie Vick Ballard steps on the field for the Colts and if he can make headway early in the game it wouldn't be a surprise if he got the kind of first-down love Brown got. That could lead to a good game against a Jets team that's been steamrolled by some of the best backs in the league. -- Pat Kirwan

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Raymond James Stadium
Kansas City Chiefs
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Brady Quinn   Quinn has one game with 250+ yards, three multi-TD games in 15 tries. Bucs have been surprisingly good vs. the pass.
RB Jamaal Charles RBs have scored in each of last three vs. TB, all have totaled at least 55 yards. Charles might get 55 yards on one carry!
WR Dwayne Bowe Four receivers have topped 100 yards vs. the Bucs, but with Quinn at QB Bowe's chances to do it shrink.
DST Chiefs Chiefs pass rush, secondary is improving but Bucs have held opposing DSTs to under 10 Fantasy points in 3 of 4 games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Josh Freeman Gutsy sleeper. Chiefs have allowed 2+ pass TDs in 4 of last 5 but Freeman has only 10 two-plus TD games in the pros (45 games).
RB Doug Martin Worth a shot coming out of the bye. KC has allowed 160.6 total yards and 5 total TDs to RBs this season.
RB LeGarrette Blount Should see a slightly increased role. Wouldn't be stunned to see him score, making him a Week 6 sleeper.
WR Vincent Jackson Didn't score in 2 games vs. KC last year -- and that was with Rivers. Chiefs have allowed 2 TDs to WRs in last 3 vs. NO, SD & BAL.
WR Mike Williams Since Julio Jones in Week 1, no receiver has had more than 82 yards against the Chiefs.
DST Buccaneers Every DST to play the Chiefs have posted at least 11 Fantasy points, and that was with Cassel at QB.

Kansas City comes to Tampa Bay, and that should be a reason to get excited for Bucs fans, but you never know with the ground and pound mentality on the West Coast of Florida. Granted, Baltimore ran for 133 yards against Kansas City but the Bucs don't have Ray Rice or the passing game that threatens teams like Baltimore has this year. Be careful about activating Doug Martin to your fantasy team. He has been getting fewer touches each week since the beginning of the season. Carries have been 24, 20, 19 and 8 and he hasn't scored a touchdown in his last two games and only has one in 71 carries for the season. If the Bucs want to beat the Chiefs they need to turn Josh Freeman loose in the passing game and let him create like he did in 2010. -- Pat Kirwan

Oakland Raiders at Atlanta Falcons -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Georgia Dome
Oakland Raiders
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Carson Palmer Will have to throw. Falcons pass D has been mostly good, but Palmer averaging 270 yards per game with one multi-TD outing.
RB Darren McFadden We'll see if bye week helped him get on the same page with his O-line. Alfred Morris torched Falcons run D last week for 135 total yards.
WR Denarius Moore Falcons have allowed 3 TDs to WRs & none with more than 82 yards. Might be best as a flex.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey Expected back on the field for first time since scary hit vs. PIT. Can't trust him yet.
TE Brandon Myers Only one TE has more than 55 yards vs. Falcons. Tough to trust.
DST Raiders   Falcons averaging 29.6 points per game, 376.4 total yards per game. Don't think so.
Atlanta Falcons
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matt Ryan Has 2+ pass TDs in 8 of last 10 and 3 TDs in 3 of 5 games this year. Raiders pass D is awful.
RB Michael Turner Whodathunkit? TDs in four straight games. Make it five: OAK has allowed 4 total TDs to RBs in last three.
WR Julio Jones Pretty much every stud WR has put up big numbers against the Raiders. This one should be automatic.
WR Roddy White Raiders allowing 184.8 yards per game just to wide receivers! White has to be in lineups.
TE Tony Gonzalez Tight ends have scored four times in last three vs. Raiders. Gonzalez too hot to sit.
DST Falcons Not a great sleeper: Opposing DSTs have topped 10 Fantasy points once this year vs. OAK.

The Raiders are headed to Atlanta to meet the undefeated Falcons. Good Luck! Darren McFadden is the key to any success the Raiders can hope for in this matchup. Right now he averages 19 touches and 78 yards per game with just one TD in four games. The debate is about the zone scheme or the angle blocking run game. To me it's not an issue. He has been successful in both and struggled in both. The Falcons give up 143 yards a game on the ground and every team Atlanta has faced got over 100 yards rushing. He should be able to get 100 yards on 20 carries in a game like this if the Falcons offense doesn't score so fast that it forces the Raiders to become one dimensional. McFadden is also the leading receiver and if things start to go bad he should see a few more receptions than we've seen him get since the 13 he caught in Week 1. The Raiders are 5-22 the last 27 times they came to the East Coast, but that doesn't mean McFadden can't have a decent day. -- Pat Kirwan

St. Louis Rams at Miami Dolphins -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Sun Life Stadium
St. Louis Rams
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Sam Bradford Very tough to like Bradford with WR corps thinned out, especially after the Dolphins tamed Andy Dalton last week.
RB Steven Jackson Risky start. Zero games with double-digit Fantasy points and Dolphins have been great vs. decent-to-poor RBs so far.
WR Chris Givens Worth stashing, not starting. Caught a deep bomb last week, will test Miami secondary this week.
WR Brandon Gibson Hot start has given way to weak production over last three weeks (7 catches, 80 yards, no TDs).
DST Rams Sleeper. Four of five DSTs to play Miami have had 12+ Fantasy points including Bengals last week.
Miami Dolphins
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Ryan Tannehill Not the week to try Tannehill. Rams pass D among best in the league, just two pass TDs allowed this year!
RB Reggie Bush Starting RBs have done well vs. Rams, totaling 70+ yards in 4 of 5 games and rushing for TD in 3 of 5.
RB Lamar Miller With Thomas out, Miller steps into primary backup role behind Reggie. Worth a stash in deep leagues.
WR Brian Hartline Only Calvin has topped 100 yards on the Rams, only Leonard Hankerson has found the end zone. Hartline's risky.
WR Davone Bess Four secondary WRs have caught at least 5 passes this season against the Rams. Maybe Bess can too.
DST Dolphins Not just a sleeper but a must-start. Rams struggling to run, weak at receiver. Dolphins have 10+ Fantasy points in each of last four.

The loss of Danny Amendola is a serious one because he is Bradford's 'go-to guy' since they started playing together. This is like Tom Brady losing Wes Welker, but there are no Gronkowskis of Lloyds to lend a hand to Bradford. Amendola was averaging 11 targets a game and the other viable receivers -- Brandon Gibson, Lance Kendricks and Chris Givens -- averaged 11 targets between them. Givens has to step up and rookie draft pick Brian Quick has to grow up quickly for Bradford to have any kind of chance. Amendola moved the chains 18 times in the first four games and I'm not sure the remaining receivers can deliver that production. -- Pat Kirwan

Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals -- Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, University of Phoenix Stadium
Buffalo Bills
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Risky start. Knowing the Bills they'll come out firing vs. ARI but no QB has had 20 Fantasy points against them.
RB Fred Jackson Cards have allowed one RB to score (Jovorskie Lane on a goal-line plunge) & have yet to allow a 100-total-yard RB.
RB C.J. Spiller Spiller averaging 8.5 touches since Fred Jackson's return. Should be non-factor vs. Cards, who have contained Reggie Bush, LeSean McCoy.
WR Steve Johnson Arizona's been beaten by the bomb but can Johnson connect with Fitzpatrick? Just one 30+ yard reception this year.
TE Scott Chandler He remains involved in Buffalo offense & Cards have allowed 2 TDs to tight ends this year.
DST Bills Another risk. Cards have been generous to opposing DSTs thanks to turnovers & poor OL, but Bills haven't lived up to expectations.
Arizona Cardinals
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Kevin Kolb Pretty good sleeper. 4 of 5 QBs vs. BUF have had 250+ yards and 2+ TDs. Can OL protect him?
RB William Powell Decent physical back with some wiggle. He'll play some, dark horse to find the end zone.
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling The good: Five RBs have had 10+ Fantasy points vs. BUF including four starters. The bad: LSH isn't an every- down back.
WR Larry Fitzgerald Duh! Receivers have 10 TDs in five games vs. Bills. BUF has allowed 100+ yards to WR in two straight.
WR Andre Roberts Good sleeper. Bills allowing 184.8 pass yards per game just to receivers. Roberts should get a slice.
DST Cardinals The Niners and Patriots DSTs posted 15+ Fantasy points on the Bills over last two weeks. Cards should follow suit.

Kevin Kolb does well when he's not pressured, and the Bills haven't been pressuring anybody. The Cardinals get a few extra days to figure out how to repair an offense that has given up 17 sacks and 30 hits on the quarterback in their last two, and whatever they come up with should be effective against Buffalo. Coach Ken Whisenhunt would love a better run game to take the pressure off the passing game but I'm not sure he can find one. In their last 21 games the Cardinals have cracked the 100-yard mark just six times and have an overall run average of 3.8 per carry. The Cards haven't rushed for a touchdown in their last three games, but here come the Bills and maybe the fortunes change. In the last two weeks Buffalo has given up 558 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 78 carries -- that's over 7.0 yards a carry. Beanie Wells is gone, Ryan Williams is gone, William Powell is a college free agent who had one carry last week and LaRod Stephens-Howling was inactive last week. Their best running back might be Patrick Peterson, but he's not moving into the backfield full-time. As tempting as it is, stay away from the Arizona running backs this week. -- Pat Kirwan

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks -- Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, CenturyLink Field
New England Patriots
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Tom Brady What a matchup! Seahawks have shut down Romo, Rodgers, Cam. Brady has 2+ total TDs in 3 of 5 games, 300+ yards & TD in other two.
RB Stevan Ridley Tough matchup. No RB has topped 60 rush yards or 74 total yards vs. Seahawks this season.
RB Danny Woodhead Sleeper. Pats will run hurry-up & put Woodhead out there. Has TD and/or 60 total yards in each of last three.
RB Brandon Bolden Wouldn't chance it. Seahawks have given up just two rush TDs so far this season.
WR Wes Welker No WR has had more than 63 yards vs. SEA this year. Welker should top it, but not blow 'Hawks away.
WR Brandon Lloyd Only 2 TDs have been scored by WRs vs. Seahawks' defense. Lloyd's been in a funk.
TE Aaron Hernandez Huge matchup on horizon for Hernandez vs. Seattle's physical, large cornerbacks. It's one he could win.
TE Rob Gronkowski You'll start him, but the Seahawks have allowed one TD to tight ends in last 10.
DST Patriots Expect Pats to slam on run, dare Russell Wilson to throw. Could extend 2-game 10+ Fantasy points streak.
Seattle Seahawks
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Russell Wilson Pats have allowed 10 pass TDs in last three games but Wilson has just 5 TDs in five games.
RB Marshawn Lynch A little risky. Pats have allowed just one 100-yard game & 1 TD to RBs through five weeks.
WR Sidney Rice Not a horrible sleeper. Rice has been held under 70 yards every game with one TD but Seahawks must take some shots with him.
WR Golden Tate Deep sleeper. Tate continues to see lots of snaps, Pats have allowed 5 TDs to WRs in last three games.
TE Zach Miller Very risky sleeper. Pats have allowed at least 8 Fantasy points to TEs in each of last three.
DST Seahawks OK to start. Remember, they've hung in there vs. strong offenses. Playing at home helps a lot.

The home field in Seattle will present some problems to the Patriots' no-huddle offense for sure. Tom Brady loves the no-huddle shotgun run game with a quick count, especially if the Seahawks try to play this game in nickel defense. The quick count probably needs a hand signal to overcome the noise but in the last two weeks the Pats' no-huddle shotgun run game has been called 33 times for 195 yards and will be employed again. In the end, Brady and his offense will put up solid numbers and the question really becomes can the Seattle offense stay up with the scoring? The Seahawks have won both home games over Dallas and Green Bay giving up a total of 19 points combined but neither team ran the ball like New England. Russell Wilson and company have to figure out how to put 24 points on the board to win this game. They have done it once in five games. -- Pat Kirwan

Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins -- Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FedExField
Minnesota Vikings
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Christian Ponder Excellent one-week replacement. 4 of 5 QBs have had 2+ pass TDs on Redskins (three had 3 TDs) & every QB has thrown for 299+ yards.
RB Adrian Peterson AP returns to the scene of his torn ACL last year. RBs have scored on the Skins in three consecutive games.
WR Percy Harvin Must start. Skins have allowed 5 100-yard receivers, 8 TDs to WRs. Harvin might be the best WR this week.
TE Kyle Rudolph Must start. Washington has given up four TDs to tight ends, precisely how many scores Rudolph has this year.
DST Vikings Defenses have slowed down against the Redskins (all but one with under 11 Fantasy points) but Vikings are too hot to bench.
Washington Redskins
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Robert Griffin III MIN has allowed 6 passing TDs so far, have been great vs. run. Who knows how RG3 will rebound from concussion?
RB Alfred Morris Huge challenge for Alf: Vikings run D has yet to allow TD or over 77 rush yards to a RB. Temper expectations.
WR Pierre Garcon Vikings have allowed just two TDs to WRs so far. Garcon doesn't seem like the same guy we saw in Week 1.
TE Fred Davis Vikings have allowed red-zone TDs to TEs in 4 of 5 including last week to Jared Cook. Davis might score.
DST Redskins   Here's a surprise: DSTs vs. Vikings have maxed out at 10 Fantasy points this season. You're not using the Skins DST anyway.

Robert Griffin III is looking like he will make it back for this game, which is good and bad. Good because the Redskins are better with him and bad because the Vikings can get after the quarterback, defend the run and are only allowing 15 points per game. There will be different defensive plans in Minnesota if Kirk Cousins or Rex Grossman play. A defensive end like Jared Allen will get a two-way go on the tackle if either backup quarterback is in the game, but if it's RG3 he'll be limited to an outside rush only. The Vikings will study the Bengals-Redskins game to see how they sacked RG3 five times and forced him to run 13 times. As usual Shanahan will want to run Alfred Morris all day long but the Vikings give up 3.2 yards per rush and 78 yards a game. Last year the Vikings put 33 points on the Redskins in Washington and the Skins had Orakpo for that game and Adrian Peterson left with his knee injury. Washington struggled to slow down Percy Harvin, who touched the ball 12 times for 150 yards and a touchdown. Griffin's health is an important issue in Washington but their defense is certainly having some trouble. -- Pat Kirwan

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers -- Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Candlestick Park
New York Giants
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Eli Manning Had 300+ yards, 2 TDs in each of two games vs. 49ers last year. WR corps isn't as strong this year, however.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw Bradshaw cracked Niners for 126 total yards in playoff meeting in January. He'll be lucky to come close to that this time.
RB David Wilson Worth stashing, not starting. Seems to have wrangled No. 2 RB job for now.
WR Victor Cruz Didn't score on Niners but did total 226 yards in two games vs. SF in 2011. Only one receiver (James Jones) has scored on the Niners this year.
WR Domenik Hixon Niners allowing 131.8 yards to WRs so far this season, only three have 80+ yards.
TE Martellus Bennett Banged up and lost in the Giants' shuffle after hot start. Matchup's good: Niners have given up four TDs to tight ends so far.
DST Giants Could get some sacks, maybe a turnover, but Niners have been good vs. opposing DSTs (only one with over 10 Fantasy points).
San Francisco 49ers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Alex Smith Maybe the Niners got Smith revved up for this matchup last week. Every QB vs. NYG has 240+ pass yards, three have 2+ TDs.
RB Frank Gore Had 119 total yards in playoff meeting. NYG have allowed 4 RBs to get double-digit Fantasy points this year.
RB Kendall Hunter Not as good of a sleeper as last week but Giants have given up 195 receiving yards to RBs in last three games.
WR Michael Crabtree Should regress after last week's explosion. Giants have allowed four WRs to get 5+ catches this year.
WR Mario Manningham Pretty good sleeper. Knows the Giants' scheme well, has improved statistically every week.
TE Vernon Davis Giants have been downright solid vs. TEs but Davis chewed them up for 3 TDs and 152 yards in two games last year.
DST 49ers Niners totaled nine sacks, 2 INTs, and 40 points against in two games vs. NYG last year.

Passing offenses are rarely separate entities and are tied to the run game as well as the defense. Eli Manning is a more accomplished quarterback than Alex Smith and is capable of a big day but his defense and run game is not up to par with the 49ers. In the two meetings last year Eli called 105 pass plays, was sacked seven times but threw for 627 yards and four touchdowns. The Giants' run game was contained in those games at 3.2 yards per carry and no touchdowns. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks didn't score but did the bulk of the receiving with 44 targets, 23 receptions and moved the chains 17 times. Nicks won't be 100 percent if he plays at all. As for Alex Smith and the 49ers' attack, the Giants pass rush has disappeared and Smith is red hot. The 49ers' receiving weapons are dangerous and Vernon Davis is once again the key. Last year he had three touchdowns in two games against the Giants. I think the 49ers' attack will be more effective this time. -- Pat Kirwan

Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans -- Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, Reliant Stadium
Green Bay Packers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Aaron Rodgers Texans' secondary has faced one tough QB so far this year (Peyton threw for 330 & 2 TDs). Rodgers has a chance.
RB Alex Green Physical runner. Not a speedster, probably not much faster than Benson. Don't have high expectations, especially against this defense.
WR James Jones Rodgers clearly leaning on Jones in red zone: Has caught all six targets down there, five for TDs including four scores over last two weeks.
WR Jordy Nelson Has to step up after mostly slow start. Texans have allowed just 2 TDs to WRs all year with two over 75 yards, but who have they played?
WR Randall Cobb With run game on the decline, expect Cobb to see more work. Three of four targets last week came after Benson injury.
TE D.J. Williams Stepped in for Jermichael Finley last week. Desperation tight end if Finley is out.
DST Packers   Packers DST has exceeded 10 Fantasy points once this season. Texans should put up some numbers.
Houston Texans
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matt Schaub Good matchup, must start. Packers pass D has turned south, allowing 7 pass TDs & 938 pass yards over last three games.
RB Arian Foster Packers have held RBs to one rush TD this year (none in last four weeks). Foster should add to that total.
RB Ben Tate   Can't trust him this week, even as a one-week replacement. Is he healthy? How much work will he get?
WR Andre Johnson Kubiak said this week he has to get Johnson more involved. Packers have allowed 5 TDs to WRs in last three weeks. He better be involved!
TE Owen Daniels Has been hot & Packers iffy vs. tight ends (four have scored between 7-10 Fantasy points this season).
DST Texans They've put up big numbers but have only faced one potent offense this season. Still worth starting.

The Packers are struggling at 2-3 but every loss has been followed by a win. The problem is the wins have come at home and this week they head to Houston. The good news on Aaron Rodgers is that he has seven touchdown passes in the last two games. The bad news is Rodgers is getting sacked at a very alarming rate of once every 10 pass plays. Who is going to block J.J. Watt? The Texans defense has played Ryan Tannehill, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Mark Sanchez, so throw those games out and look only at the game against a real quarterback: Peyton Manning. Manning threw for 330 yards, two TDs, zero interceptions and took three sacks. That's the kind of day I expect Rodgers to have in Houston this week. -- Pat Kirwan

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers -- Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Qualcomm Stadium
Denver Broncos
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Peyton Manning Chargers allowed nine pass TDs, 896 yards over last three games. Peyton's a must start.
RB Willis McGahee Bolts have allowed 2 rush TDs, no 100-yard rush games but good RBs have pummeled them.
WR Demaryius Thomas Thomas has 100+ yards and/or a TD in 4 of 5 games. Chargers allowed 4 TDs to WRs last week.
WR Eric Decker Decker has 100+ yards and/or a TD in 2 of 3 games. Chargers allowing 203.0 yards on average to WRs over last three games.
TE Jacob Tamme Chargers dodged a bullet when Graham got hurt in Week 5, Gonzalez crushed them in Week 4. Tamme a risk regardless.
DST Broncos Rivers has been sacked 13 times in last four games, DSTs have totaled 11+ points twice in last four vs. Chargers.
San Diego Chargers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Philip Rivers Risky starter. Has 0 or 1 TD in each of last 3 vs. DEN. Broncos have shored up secondary over last 2 weeks after Matt Schaub crushed them.
RB Ryan Mathews Has at least 130 total yards in each of three career games vs. DEN. Broncos have allowed two 100-yard rushers over last three games.
RB Jackie Battle A week ago Battle was a threat to Mathews' workload. Now he might be a goal-line vulture and nothing more. Don't trust him.
WR Malcom Floyd Had 100 yards in last game vs. DEN, has TD in 2 of last 3 vs. DEN. Broncos have allowed 70+ yards and/or a TD to 7 WRs this season.
WR Robert Meachem Did phenomenal last week indoors vs. old team (2 TDs on four catches). Still not ready to trust him.
TE Antonio Gates Of all his AFC West opponents, Gates has done the worst vs. Broncos (4 career TDs). Doesn't help that Broncos shut down Rob Gronkowski in Week 5.
DST Chargers Only one DST vs. DEN has exceeded 10 Fantasy points so far. Chargers have topped 12 Fantasy points once this year.

Philip Rivers looked like the quarterback we expected last week, but it's clear there's still an adjustment period going on between him and his new receivers. It's starting to come around however. In the last two weeks Rivers has thrown four touchdown passes and completed 69.2 percentof his passes. He does struggle with poor protection being sacked once every 13 pass plays and it's even worse against Denver. In the last three meetings against the Broncos he has been sacked 13 times, or once every nine pass plays. If Ryan Mathews can deliver four to five yards a carry on early downs Rivers will have a 250-yard, two touchdown day. That's almost a given as Mathews has been very effective in his career against Denver and the Broncos run defense got gassed by the Patriots' up-tempo approach last week. Don't count on Antonio Gates for the touchdowns because he doesn't have one yet this season and only one in the last six games against the Broncos. -- Pat Kirwan

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans -- Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, LP Field
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Ben Roethlisberger Titans have given up 12 pass TDs (at least 2 per week), three 250+ yard passers. Big Ben hung 5 TDs on them in 2011.
RB Rashard Mendenhall Historically Mendenhall worse on road than home. Titans run D has allowed 130.4 rush yards to RBs per game.
WR Mike Wallace Expect a good bounce-back game. Titans have allowed three 100-yard receivers in last four games. Wallace scored on them in '11.
WR Antonio Brown Has 70+ yards in six straight. Eagles have allowed three 100+ yard receivers in last two games.
TE Heath Miller Must-start. Tennessee has allowed a TD to TE in 4 of 5 games (seven TDs overall). Miller scored on them last year.
DST Steelers 4 of 5 DSTs vs. TEN have had 12+ Fantasy points. Steelers not a huge risk here.
Tennessee Titans
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matt Hasselbeck Will have to throw but too risky to start. Has never had more than 1 TD per game vs. PIT in career.
RB Chris Johnson Scored on goal-line play, totaled 65 yards vs. PIT last year. Not many think he'll match those numbers.
WR Nate Washington Want to like Washington but low catch totals hold him back. Steelers shut down Eagles wideouts last week.
WR Kendall Wright Has 20 catches in last three games, has the makings of being a PPR starter in deeper leagues.
WR Kenny Britt Should play after knocking off rust last week. Five WRs have at least 6 Fantasy points vs. PIT in four games.
TE Jared Cook Pretty decent sleeper. Steelers have allowed TD to TE in three of four games.
DST Titans   Other than ridiculous special-teams game vs. DET, Titans DST has scored 6 or fewer Fantasy points per game.

The stats coming out of Thursday night games are only going to get worse as the season moves along and as injuries pile up. It's great for fans but really bad for players -- and especially for teams that travel. The Steelers head to Tennessee, which is a concern, but the Titans are in such disarray it shouldn't matter. Ben Roethlisberger now has a solid run threat in the backfield with the return of Rashard Mendenhall and that should open up a passing game that didn't look great against the Eagles. Christian Ponder threw two touchdowns against the Titans last week and that makes 12 against the Tennessee defense. I could see Big Ben throwing for 275 yards and two scores in this game. The Titans only sack quarterbacks once every 26 pass plays. The Thursday factor shouldn't hurt the Steelers. -- Pat Kirwan, CBSSports.com NFL Insider

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
Tom Brady has out-of-character performance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:52 pm ET) The Patriots have played some weird games against Jets in recent years, including a 27-25 squeaker when they were at their hottest back in Week 7. So perhaps it's not surprising quarterback Tom Brady wasn't at his best Week 16 at the Jets as the Patriots eked out another victory, this time by just one point.

He completed 23 of 35 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was coming off a streak of 10 games with both 200-plus passing yards and two-plus touchdowns.

Brady was playing without his top target, wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was out with a concussion. But with Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell still at his disposal and Danny Amendola filling in capably, that likely wasn't the reason for his struggles. The matchup shouldn't have been either given where the Jets rank against the pass, but in three of his last four games against the division rival, Brady has thrown for less than two scores. And in all four, he's thrown for less than 300 yards.

Maybe it's just a matter of them being too familiar with each other. In any case, you shouldn't let this performance discourage you from starting Brady Week 17 against Buffalo unless of course the Patriots have already secured homefield advantage throughout the playoffs by that point.


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet able to return Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:27 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was able to return Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Helfet was carted off in the first half with a rib injury. He was initially ruled questionable to return to the contest, but was cleared to return after half time. Helfet returned at the start of the third quarter. 


Patriots' backfield remains an enigma
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:17 pm ET) LeGarrette Blount was out for Week 16 at the Jets with a shoulder injury, which meant surely the Patriots would make Jonas Gray their go-to running back. After all, he had a 200-yard, four-touchdown game earlier this season and finally got out of coach Bill Belichick's doghouse with 11 carries for 62 yards last week.

Wrong again.

Gray was the Patriots' only running back to score a touchdown in Week 16, plunging in from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter, but to say he was the go-to back would be disingenuous. He and Shane Vereen tied for the team lead in carries with six, but Brandon Bolden also had five. And Vereen and Bolden were both more productive with their carries, averaging 6.3 yards and 6.4 yards, respectively, than Gray was with his, averaging 0.8 yards.

And then there's the fact that Vereen is far and away the best pass-catcher of the three, but he was hardly involved in the passing game on a quiet day for quarterback Tom Brady.

So basically, you wouldn't have gone right with any of Blount's three replacements, and considering they were all equally involved, you have to wonder how they'll impact Blount's role if he returns Week 17 against Buffalo. Given that it's a tough matchup anyway, you might just want to avoid every Patriots running back.


Field goals down Ravens in loss to Texans
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:01 pm ET) Coming off their best performance of the season, the Ravens DST unit failed to live up to expectations in Week 16's 25-13 loss to the Texans.

The Ravens mostly held the Texans offense in check, limiting them to 313 yards of total offense. However, the Texans had the ball in the red zone seven times, and were able to rack up a solid scoring day despite being held to just one touchdown, as they kicked six field goals in the win. The Ravens forced just one turnover, and failed to sack Case Keenum in the loss.

The Ravens finished Sunday's game with just 5 Fantasy points, one week after dropping 26 against the Jaguars. They will look to bounce back in Week 17, as they face the Browns in the season finale.


Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse ruled out with hamstring injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:59 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has been ruled out Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Kearse is dealing with a hamstring injury. He caught one pass for 8 yards before leaving the contest. 


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet gets carted off Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:57 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was carted off the field Week 16 against the Seahawks.

Helfet came into the game with an ankle injury, but was carted off with a rib injury. He is questionable to return to the contest. Helfet caught two passes for 9 yards before leaving. 


Texans DST keeps on rolling in win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:56 pm ET) The Texans defense dominated in Week 16, in a 25-13 win over the Ravens.

The Ravens managed just 211 yards of total offense in the game, despite running 68 plays. The Texans pass rush got home for just two sacks in the game, but they forced Joe Flacco into three interceptions anyways, as they finished the game with 18 Fantasy points, their second in a row with that total.

The Texans DST unit enters the final week of the season riding a eight-game streak with at least 10 Fantasy points, and they should have no trouble keeping it going with a matchup on the way against the Jaguars. 


Greg Zuerlein drills a 51-yarder
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:54 pm ET) Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 51-yard field goal against the Giants, making him 4 of 6 from 50-plus yards this season. He also hit a 20-yard field goal and three PATS for nine points.

Zuerlein wraps up the season at Seattle.


Steelers pass rush dominates in victory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:51 pm ET) The Steelers DST unit continued its solid play in Week 16, in a 20-12 win over the Chiefs.

The Chiefs racked up 327 yards of total offense in the win, but did little to take advantage of that. They made four trips to the red zone and failed to come away with a single touchdown, settling for four field goals in the loss. The Steelers forced one turnover and sacked Alex Smith six times, en route to 14 Fantasy points.  

The Steelers have at least 9 Fantasy points in eight of their last nine games, including 9 against the Bengals in Week 14. They will look to pull that feat again in Week 17, with the Bengals on the schedule again to close the season out. 


Don't lose faith in Mark Ingram
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 pm ET) Though Saints running back Mark Ingram scored a touchdown Week 16 against Atlanta, plunging in from 1 yard out in the first quarter, he didn't have the most productive afternoon, rushing 13 times for 38 yards and catching three passes for 17. He's now run for less than 60 yards in three straight games, averaging 46.7 during that stretch compared to 101.3 in his previous six.

It's not like the Saints have turned to other options, though, which was Ingram's problem in previous seasons. Khiry Robinson was the only other running back to get any carries in Week 16, and he had just two. It's just that the Saints haven't been in a position to run the ball in recent weeks, losing big in both Week 14 and, of course, Week 16.

So what about Week 15? That's partly on Ingram. He got the carries, finishing with 17, and didn't do much with him.

The good news is that the Saints should be able to win handily Week 17 at Tampa Bay, which should mean plenty of garbage-time opportunities against a so-so run defense. Outside of maybe PPR leagues, you'll want to keep Ingram active in Fantasy.


 
 
 
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