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Week 8 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.

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Lincoln Financial Field
Atlanta Falcons
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matt Ryan Three of last 4 QBs to play PHI has 2 TDs against them. Ryan threw four TDs against them in 2011.
RB Michael Turner Only one true RB has scored on the Eagles (a fullback also scored), only four have topped 80 total yards. Not a ton of upside.
WR Julio Jones Five WRs have 10+ Fantasy points against the Eagles in their last four. Jones will keep the Eagles' hands full.
WR Roddy White Eagles have allowed four 100-yard receivers in their last four games. Roddy has 1 TD in his last 7 road games.
TE Tony Gonzalez No starting TE has posted more than 6 Fantasy points vs. PHI this year, only one TD has been allowed to a tight end by Philly.
DST Falcons Five of six DSTs to play PHI this year have posted 11+ Fantasy points.
Philadelphia Eagles
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Michael Vick Tough call: Falcons' D line & secondary should pressure Vick but Eagles have been stellar with backs against the wall before.
RB LeSean McCoy Three RBs have totaled 90 yards in Falcons' last two games. RBs have averaged 171.0 total yards per game in last two vs. ATL.
WR Jeremy Maclin Has played ATL each year of his career. Totals: 24 catches, 413 yards, four TDs! Falcons have allowed TD to WR in each of last three.
WR DeSean Jackson Was shut down by Falcons in 2011 and limited in 2010 but faces Atlanta after they surrendered 104 yards & TD vs. Denarius Moore in Week 6.
TE Brent Celek Just one TD allowed to TE s in the Falcons' last five games. Struggled in 2 of last 3 vs. ATL.
DST Eagles Expect more blitzing from this defense but not enough to make them valuable against the Falcons.

There will be a lot of pressure on Michael Vick to stay up with the kind of scoring Atlanta is capable of. In order to keep up with the Falcons' 29 points per game, Vick will have to throw more than he should right now and that's when turnovers happen. In just six games the Falcons defense has 10 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and 16 sacks -- that spells trouble for Vick. Atlanta gives up 144 yards per game on the ground but can Philadelphia stick with the run game? They usually don't when the score is going the other way. Atlanta has already beaten the Panthers and Redskins and in the Washington game held Robert Griffin III to 7 yards rushing before he got hurt. -- Pat Kirwan

Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Soldier Field
Carolina Panthers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Cam Newton Easy week to pass on Newton. No QB has tossed 2 TDs vs. CHI, Cam has 2+ TDs in just two games.
RB Jonathan Stewart Was on the field for 55 of Panthers' 62 plays last week, led the team in carries. He's the better Panthers RB in a bad matchup.
RB DeAngelo Williams   Can't trust him after getting two carries last week. Bears haven't allowed a rush TD to a RB since Week 1.
WR Steve Smith Scalded Chicago for 181 yards in '11 but has 175 yards in his last three. Bears have given up just two 100- yard games to WRs so far.
WR Brandon LaFell   Scored last week but has a long way to go to earn the trust of Fantasy owners. CHI has allowed just 4 TDs to WRs all year.
TE Greg Olsen He scored on his old team last year but has just four TDs since then (18 games).
DST Panthers Three of last four DSTs to face Bears didn't top 10 Fantasy points. Bears have allowed just 5.0 sacks in last three games.
Chicago Bears
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Jay Cutler Carolina might be 1-5 but QBs have one or fewer TDs against it in all but one game this year.
RB Matt Forte Panthers allowing 184.3 total yards to RBs this season but only one TD (a catch) to backs in their last three.
RB Michael Bush Panthers haven't allowed a rush TD since Week 3 but all three rush TDs scored by RBs have been from a yard out.
WR Brandon Marshall Panthers have allowed 4 TDs to WRs in their last four games with three WRs topping 90 yards.
DST Bears The unit's on fire: 15+ Fantasy points in 5 of last 6 games. Panthers have yielded 10+ Fantasy points to 3 of last 4 DSTs.

Firing Marty Hurney at this point made little sense to the organization. The owner isn't hiring a new general manager during the season and it will only cause the organization to look like a rudderless ship. We haven't even got to the trading deadline yet, and who will sign players off the street when season ending injuries occur? Players on the roster are going to wonder if Cam's post-game press conference had anything to do with it and they are all wondering who is next. Cam Newton sounds like the pressure is getting to him when he should be wondering how he can play better and maybe get the ball to Steve Smith more. Smith doesn't have a touchdown yet in 2012. Chicago is going to be very tough on Newton with their 'mug' defense and the speed they play with all game long. The Bears defense gives up 11 points a game at home and already has 14 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, five touchdowns and 21 sacks. I don't think we are going to see the Superman act this week. -- Pat Kirwan

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, LP Field
Indianapolis Colts
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Andrew Luck Titans have given up 16 pass TDs (at least 2 per week), four 250+ yard passers. Luck has four 2+ TD games, but all at home.
RB Vick Ballard Titans run D has allowed 119.3 rush yards to RBs per game, has given up a 100-total-yard running back in each of last three. But will Ballard have to share a lot with Donald Brown?
RB Donald Brown Can't feel good about starting a running back two weeks off of having knee surgery, but he will impact Ballard's workload.
WR Reggie Wayne Titans' pass defense got rocked last week, has allowed 3 TDs to WRs in last two weeks.
WR Donnie Avery Avery continues to get looks but do little with it, but that could change vs. porous Titans pass D.
TE Coby Fleener Worth considering. Tennessee has allowed 6+ Fantasy points to seven TEs in 7 games.
DST Colts Don't look now but DSTs vs. TEN haven't had double-digit weeks since Hasselbeck started. Colts defense iffy as it is.
Tennessee Titans
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matt Hasselbeck Great sleeper for Week 8. 5 of 6 QBs vs. IND have thrown at least 2 TDs, four have 240+ yards.
RB Chris Johnson Colts run D has allowed 8 rush TDs & 124.5 rush yards per game. Must start.
WR Kenny Britt Colts have allowed 7 TDs to WRs in their last three, though no WR has topped 90 yards vs. IND since Week 2.
WR Nate Washington Had season-high six catches at Buffalo last week, scored in each game vs. Indy in 2011.
WR Kendall Wright Multiple receivers have caught touchdowns in each of last three vs. IND, so Wright has some sleeper appeal.
TE Jared Cook Had a 100-yard game vs. Indy in 2011 but has yet to score on Colts. Indy's been awesome vs. TEs this year.
DST Titans   Don't use them. Defenses are sacking Luck (16 on the year) but not getting much else.

Why has Matt Hasselbeck been the right guy for the Titans? First, he gets the team in the right play and settles down the young players. Matt is not going to put up big passing numbers with Chris Johnson running so well right now but he will distribute the ball. In the last two games he hit eight different receivers which isn't great for Fantasy Football but a problem for their opponents. It will be more of the same this week against the Colts at home. Indianapolis has allowed 11 touchdowns to wide receivers including two in each road game they've played this season. -- Pat Kirwan

Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Lambeau Field
Jacksonville Jaguars
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Blaine Gabbert   Packers' pass defense stats are on the up and up and will continue to be vs. Jacksonville.
RB Rashad Jennings Packers have allowed 3 TDs to RBs over last two. Jennings a versatile threat with 100+ total yards last week.
WR Cecil Shorts WRs have caught 6 TDs vs. GB in last five but just 1 in their last two. Shorts a deep sleeper.
WR Justin Blackmon   Can't trust him. Plays a ton, has potential, but hasn't scored since the preseason.
TE Marcedes Lewis   Only one TE has scored on the Packers over their last five games. Don't like Lewis' chances.
DST Jaguars   The 49ers, Bears and Texans DST have totaled 11 or fewer Fantasy points vs. the Packers. Jags can't be trusted.
Green Bay Packers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Aaron Rodgers Of course you're starting him. Jags have allowed 240+ yards & 2 TDs in each of last four games to QBs. Rodgers should destroy them.
RB Alex Green Jags run defense has gotten tough (1 rush TD to RBs in last four) and Green could start losing carries.
WR Randall Cobb Ridiculous: Has 19 catches for 273 yards & 3 TDs in last three games. Jaguars have allowed 4 TDs, 181.0 yards to WRs in last three games.
WR Jordy Nelson For a guy who relies on speed to make plays, having a hamstring injury could severely hamper his production. If active Nelson's good but not great because of his leg.
WR James Jones Healthy and proven to be productive in place of injured starters. Jaguars' secondary shouldn't be too much trouble for him.
TE Jermichael Finley Jaguars have been surprisingly good vs. tight ends, Finley's been a major disappointment.
DST Packers Each of last three DSTs to play Jaguars have had 11+ Fantasy points. Even without Woodson they should play well.

Go back and look at the Jaguars' 2010 game against the Texans when Jennings started for the injured Maurice Jones-Drew. Then, he had 26 touches for 142 yards and a TD. He led the team in receptions that day and led the Jags in receptions last week when he came in for MJD. Jennings will get 20-plus touches against the Packers and close to 100 yards but the rushing yardage may come at 3.0 yards per carry. But stats matter here, and Jennings should have the opportunity to get a lot of them. -- Pat Kirwan

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, MetLife Stadium
Miami Dolphins
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Ryan Tannehill Jets have allowed just three pass TDs, no 300 yard games since Revis' injury. Tannehill went scoreless vs. NYJ in Week 3.
RB Reggie Bush Jets held Bush to just 61 rush yards in Week 3, but he had just 10 carries. They've allowed 152.3 total yards per game to RBs over their last three.
RB Daniel Thomas   Jets have allowed 7 rush TDs this year but just one in their last three games.
WR Davone Bess Decent PPR option. Has 5+ catches in each of last two vs. NYJ including five for 86 yards in Week 3.
WR Brian Hartline Jets' pass D is solid vs. WRs. No TDs since Week 2, no 90+ yard wideouts allowed all year.
TE Anthony Fasano Desperation sleeper. Jets have allowed at least 4 Fantasy points to all but one starting TE they've faced, including Fasano.
DST Dolphins Jets QBs have been picked off seven times, sacked 15 times, scored under 24 points four times.
New York Jets
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Mark Sanchez Though only one QB has 2+ TDs vs. MIA this year, Fins giving up 303.0 pass yards per game. Sanchez had 306 with a score in Week 3.
RB Shonn Greene Miami hasn't allowed an 80-yard rusher or a rush TD since Week 1. Greene had 49 yards on 21 touches vs. MIA in Week 3.
WR Jeremy Kerley Has 70+ yards in each of last two vs. MIA including a 7-yard TD in Week 3. Dolphins have allowed eight WRs to get 7+ Fantasy points through six games.
WR Stephen Hill Has seven targets in 2 of last 3 (17 overall) but just seven catches in those three games.
TE Dustin Keller No TE has scored on Miami but three have had 60+ yards against them. Keller has 4 TDs in last 5 vs. MIA.
DST Jets Sleeper. Every defense except Oakland has posted 12+ Fantasy points vs. Miami. Jets have topped that number three times.

Let's break down two receivers: Brian Hartline and Jeremy Kerley. Hartline was targeted 48 times in the first four games and just five times in the Dolphins' last two. Teams used the first four games to develop their game plan for Hartline and quickly noticed all the first-and-10 targets (23) and started showing rolled coverages to him in the pre-snap read. Tannehill went other places with the ball. Right now the Dolphins are running the ball nearly 58 percent of the time on first down. As for Jeremy Kerley, he went from being targeted 14 times in the first four weeks to 26 times in the last three games. He really doesn't have good yards after the catch numbers but he does move the chains with 10 first down receptions in the last three weeks. With the Shonn Greene run game starting to pick up, Kerley should see his production off the play-action game stay close to eight targets, five receptions and 70 yards, but he hasn't scored a touchdown in four games. -- Pat Kirwan

New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams -- Sunday, 5:00 p.m. ET, Wembley Stadium
New England Patriots
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Tom Brady The Rams' pass defense might have been figured out: They've allowed five pass TDs (no INTs) over their last two games.
RB Stevan Ridley Interesting matchup. Rams have held opposing RBs to zero TDs & 36.0 rush yards per game over their last three but Ridley's busted through tough run defenses.
RB Shane Vereen Still like the idea of stashing Vereen on deep-league rosters.
WR Wes Welker Rams were solid vs. WRs until last three weeks: 177.0 yards per game to WRs with four TDs in that span.
WR Brandon Lloyd Sixty-five targets, 35 catches, one touchdown. Might give him the nod with Hernandez not playing.
TE Rob Gronkowski Rams have been great against tight ends but Gronkowski still a threat to do damage.
DST Patriots DSTs have totaled between 9 and 11 Fantasy points over last four weeks. Not the best option but OK to start.
St. Louis Rams
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Sam Bradford Big-time sleeper. Pats have allowed 290+ yards to each of last 5 QBs (four with 3+ TDs).
RB Steven Jackson Jackson's been hot but only three RBs have totaled over 80 yards vs. Pats with 2 TDs allowed.
RB Daryl Richardson Has had 10+ touches each of last two games for an average of 89.0 yards per game.
WR Chris Givens Has a 50+ yard catch in each of last four games. Five-plus targets in each of last three. Played more snaps than S-Jax last week.
WR Brandon Gibson Has 16 targets in last two as the Rams' top-targeted WR. Pats have allowed 7+ Fantasy points to 7 WRs in their last three games.
TE Lance Kendricks Sleeper. Pats have allowed a TD to TE in 4 of last 5. Kendricks hasn't had more than 4 targets since Week 3.
DST Rams   There isn't a DST yet to exceed 10 Fantasy points vs. the Pats and the Rams aren't expected to be the first.

Worried about Stevan Ridley? Don't be. He didn't start last week but he has not started several games and has done well, just see his game against Denver as proof of that. Ridley has more carries than Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead combined as well as more yards per game than those backs combined. New England is a moody team when it comes to running the ball. For example they had a two week stretch where they ran the ball 94 times and followed it the last two weeks with 57 runs. The Rams only see 25 run plays a game from opponents and give up 4.0 per carry. The Rams pass rush and their excellent cover corners could mean a nice workload for Ridley on the road. -- Pat Kirwan

San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Cleveland Browns Stadium
San Diego Chargers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Philip Rivers This is a get-right game, if not a shootout. 4 of last 6 QBs vs. CLE have thrown 3 TDs and every QB has had 2+ TDs.
RB Ryan Mathews Wouldn't be surprised to see Chargers turn to him more out of the bye. Browns allowing 194.7 total yards per game to RBs
WR Malcom Floyd Should get a piece of the 202.8 yards per game the Browns allow to wide receivers. Has 5 catches each of last two weeks.
TE Antonio Gates Browns have cleaned up vs. tight ends (2 TDs allowed, no 70-yard receivers) but Gates too big a factor in Chargers offense.
DST Chargers After allowing four DSTs to top 12+ Fantasy points, Browns have held last three to 8 Fantasy points or fewer.
Cleveland Browns
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Brandon Weeden Has 2 TDs in each of last three games, Chargers have allowed 2+ pass TDs in each of last four games.
RB Trent Richardson Comes down to trust with him: We know what he's capable of but how much work will he get and how effective will he be? It helps that he had a full week of practice.
RB Montario Hardesty SD has allowed 9+ Fantasy points to four RBs through six games, allowed 4 total TDs to RBs.
WR Josh Gordon TD streak should stay alive vs. SD defense that's allowed 7 TDs to WRs over last two games!
WR Greg Little Good sleeper. Not only are Bolts yielding tons of TDs but have given up 240.5 yards per game to WRs.
WR Josh Cooper Another deep sleeper. Has 11 targets over last two weeks, could figure as eventual red-zone target.
DST Browns Chargers have allowed 18 sacks, nine interceptions and nine forced fumbles. Browns could get a piece.

Something appears to be different about Philip Rivers' deep ball. Last year he was an excellent deep-ball thrower but so far in 2012 it looks like going deep isn't his strong suit. Also it appears that Rivers is throwing the ball too much in recent games. In the last two games (both losses) Rivers called over 40 pass plays in both games. Since 2009 when Rivers throws 40 or more passes his record is 1-14. Cleveland gives up 134 yards a game on the ground at 4.5 per run and the Chargers need to run the ball more than they throw it. Since 2009 when Rivers throws less than 30 times his record is 19- 0. -- Pat Kirwan

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Ford Field
Seattle Seahawks
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Russell Wilson Lions have allowed 2 TDs in 3 of last 5 games and 30+ rush yards to QBs in 3 of last 4.
RB Marshawn Lynch Detroit hasn't allowed a rush TD to a RB since Week 2 but has given up at least 80 total yards to every RB with 17+ carries.
WR Sidney Rice Sleeper. Lions have given up 389 yards and two TDs just to WRs in their last two games.
DST Seahawks 5 of 6 DSTs vs. Lions have posted double-digit Fantasy points. Seahawks have 10+ Fantasy points in all but one game.
Detroit Lions
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Matthew Stafford Another difficult matchup. Only Tom Brady has posted over 20 Fantasy points on Seahawks. Stafford has just two 20+ Fantasy games.
RB Mikel Leshoure The Niners used excellent blocking to gash the Hawks last week. Not sure Lions can do the same thing to help Leshoure.
WR Calvin Johnson You'll start him but the matchup is tough. Can you believe Calvin has yet to catch a TD pass from Stafford this year?
WR Titus Young Will see a major bump in playing time with Burleson out. Had season-high 81 yards last week.
WR Ryan Broyles Is the NCAA all-time leader in receptions. Gives Stafford a good-hands man out of the slot.
TE Brandon Pettigrew Seahawks have done well vs. TEs (Vernon Davis went catchless last week). Pettigrew hasn't scored in four games, has under 40 yards in each of last two.
DST Lions Week 8 sleeper. Seahawks have scored under 20 points in all but two games including all of their road games.

This is a tough matchup for the Lions coming off a Monday night game where they could only generate 7 points with all of their turnover issues. Meanwhile, the Seahawks played last Thursday and lost while giving up just 13 points! Seattle has the big corners to play Calvin Johnson but they have to be careful with all the complaining about contact down the field in the past few weeks. This season the Seahawks secondary has held Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, Steve Smith, Rob Gronkowski and Michael Crabtree to zero touchdowns. They know how to make things tough on primary receivers. Meanwhile things have gotten tough for Calvin Johnson. In the last three games Calvin has 14 receptions and zero touchdowns. You may not like reading this but don't look for a big day from Calvin Johnson this week. -- Pat Kirwan

Washington Redskins at Pittsburgh Steelers -- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, Heinz Field
Washington Redskins
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Robert Griffin III RG3 too hot to sit but Steelers' defense has come around over last few games, have played better at home.
RB Alfred Morris Opposing RBs have posted 11+ Fantasy points in 3 of last 4 vs. PIT.
WR Santana Moss Playing time should go up for Moss after scoring in 3 of last 5 games. Steelers have allowed 6 pass TDs to WRs this year.
TE Chris Cooley   Use him at your own risk. Steelers have been hit or miss vs. TEs but not sure how much Cooley can be trusted.
DST Redskins   Each of the last five DSTs vs. PIT have posted 9 Fantasy points or fewer. Redskins DST can't be trusted.
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Ben Roethlisberger Must start. Every QB vs. WAS has 299+ yards passing, all but two have 2+ pass TDs. Big Ben should thrive.
RB Jonathan Dwyer Worth a start. Every RB vs. WAS with 15+ carries has posted at least 9 Fantasy points. Redskins allowed two rush TDs last week.
RB Isaac Redman Should play on some passing downs if at all, but Dwyer should be the primary rusher.
WR Mike Wallace Redskins secondary looked pretty good last week … until Victor Cruz burned them on a 77-yard bomb. Wallace can do that.
WR Antonio Brown Skins have allowed a WR to get at least 7 receptions each of last three games. Brown has 7 catches in 3 of his last 4 games.
TE Heath Miller Redskins have allowed TEs to score and/or get 70+ yards all but one game this year. Miller's a threat to score again.
DST Steelers Giants sacked RG3 four times, intercepted him once and recovered three fumbles last week -- and only got 13 Fantasy points.

Only the Rams have rushed for over 100 yards on the Redskins defense and that was back in Week 2. In the past five games, mostly without Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker, the Redskins run defense is giving up 83 yards a game at 3.5 per rush. The Steelers will get close to that production but in the end Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game is the key to the Steelers' success. Big Ben is averaging 41 pass plays a game and I expect more of the same at home against Washington. The Skins give up 340 passing yards a game and over two touchdown passes a game, so you know where I think the Steelers will do their scoring. -- Pat Kirwan

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs -- Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Arrowhead Stadium
Oakland Raiders
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Carson Palmer Five of six QBs vs. KC have 2+ TDs. Palmer's thrown 2+ TDs just once this season but has 290+ yards in 4 of 6 games.
RB Darren McFadden DMC's recent history vs. KC is rather ugly but Chiefs have allowed 196.3 total yards to RBs in their last three games.
WR Denarius Moore Chiefs have allowed 8 TDs to WRs this year including three in their last game at Tampa Bay. Moore has scored in two straight.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey He's a sleeper. DHB played in 78 pct.of Raiders plays last week and looked fresh (seven targets, four catches, 85 yards).
TE Brandon Myers Low expectations here. Chiefs have come around vs. tight ends over last three weeks, Myers averaging 55.6 yards per game.
DST Raiders Every DST vs. KC has posted at least 11 Fantasy points, three have found the end zone. Raiders are a sleeper again.
Kansas City Chiefs
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Brady Quinn   Not only have two QBs had 2+ TDs vs. OAK but only two have 250+ yards passing against them. Quinn might struggle.
RB Jamaal Charles Raiders have allowed 100 total yards & a TD to 3 of 6 starting RBs they've faced. Charles has good track record vs. KC, but will Hillis impact him?
WR Dwayne Bowe QB situation makes him a risk but he scored in last meeting vs. OAK with Kyle Orton as his QB. OAK has allowed 163.0 yards on average to WRs over last three.
DST Chiefs Each of last three DSTs to play OAK have posted 10+ Fantasy points (8.0 sacks, two fumbles recovered, two INTs).

Brady Quinn is under center for the Chiefs and that means the Kansas City run game has to be great because the passing game will struggle. The Chiefs are committed to the run and average 34 runs a game at 4.8 yards per carry while the Raiders only run the ball 22 times a game at 3.6 per rush. Jamaal Charles and company will far exceed Darren McFadden and his running mates this week. -- Pat Kirwan

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys -- Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Cowboys Stadium
New York Giants
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Eli Manning Has at least 300 yards & 2+ TDs in each of last three in Dallas, but Boys limited him in Week 1 & have allowed just one QB to throw 2+ TDs all year.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw Bradshaw has tallied 12+ Fantasy points in 4 of last 5 vs. Dallas, has 12+ Fantasy points in each of last three overall.
RB Andre Brown Desperation choice. Each of last 4 rush TDs allowed by DAL have been from 3 yards or closer from the goal line.
WR Victor Cruz Cowboys did nice job against him in Week 1 and have allowed just 4 TDs to WRs all year, but Cruz too explosive to even think about sitting.
WR Hakeem Nicks Looks like he's getting closer to 100 percent. Matchup's tough but he's scored and/or caught for 100 yards in 4 of 6 career games vs. DAL.
TE Martellus Bennett Dallas has allowed 6+ Fantasy points to TEs in 4 of 6 games including a TD with 40 yards to Bennett in Week 1.
DST Giants Probably worth rolling with; Cowboys offense did well in Week 1 but have scored under 24 points four times in five weeks since.
Dallas Cowboys
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Tony Romo Every team has thrown for 240+ pass yards vs. NYG, four have 2+ TDs. Romo has 275+ yards & 2+ TDs in 4 of his last 5 against the Giants.
RB Felix Jones Expected to be limited if he plays, which is a problem. Giants have struggled vs. physical, volume-carry running backs. Felix isn't one of those backs.
RB Phillip Tanner If Murray and Felix are out for this one, Tanner's a decent sleeper for 15 carries and a possible touchdown. Otherwise he's a desperation choice.
WR Dez Bryant Has at least 70 yards or 1+ TD in every game vs. NYG (18-363-4 in five games). Giants allowing 182.1 yards per game to WRs with 10 TDs.
WR Miles Austin Has never had two solid games vs. NYG in a year, but Giants secondary in '12 is hit-or-miss. Austin surprisingly third on DAL in targets.
TE Jason Witten Witten's gone scoreless in last four vs. NYG with 69 yards or fewer in each game. Giants have yet to allow a TD to a TE, only one has had 60+ yards.
DST Cowboys The last five DSTs to take on the Giants have averaged 4.2 Fantasy points. Cowboys DST averaging 8.0 points per week.

The Giants couldn't stop DeMarco Murray in Week 1, but he's out now. They were so focused on Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin that Kevin Ogletree did the big damage in the passing game. Injuries in the secondary hurt their cause too. But the Giants are 4-1 in their last five games in Dallas. Tony Romo is 1-1 at home this year with one touchdown pass, six interceptions and five sacks. The Giants will dare the Cowboys to run the ball and play the pass most of the time, changing the dynamic of how Romo did against New York back on Opening Night. -- Pat Kirwan

New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos -- Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, Sports Authority Field at Mile High
New Orleans Saints
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Drew Brees 4 of 6 QBs vs. DEN have tossed 2+ TDs but none have thrown for 300+ yards. Bet Brees will be the first.
RB Darren Sproles Broncos have allowed only three RBs to top 10+ Fantasy points in six games, but if Saints throw a bunch he'll get his.
RB Pierre Thomas Desperation option. Has 10+ carries in each of last five games but just two with over 50 total yards.
WR Marques Colston No one's hotter than Colston but it's worth noting Broncos secondary has held WRs to one 80+ yard game and one TD over their last three.
WR Lance Moore Indoors or out, the guy's hot. 47 targets, 28 catches in five games and has been good for 6+ Fantasy points in four of them.
TE Jimmy Graham Expect a solid game if he plays. Broncos have struggled with tight ends all year, allowed 2 TDs to Antonio Gates in Week 6.
DST Saints   Saints have yet to exceed 11 Fantasy points this year. Don't like their chances against a strong and rested Broncos offense.
Denver Broncos
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Peyton Manning Gotta love him. Saints' pass D is awful, yielding 319.0 pass yards per game with 13 total TDs to QBs. Peyton has 300+ yards in each of last four overall.
RB Willis McGahee Saints allowing 187.1 total yards per game to RBs, have allowed a 100+ total yard RB in each of last 4. McGahee is a must.
WR Demaryius Thomas New Orleans has allowed 8 TDs to wideouts in their last four games including three last week.
WR Eric Decker A must. Saints giving up 216.7 yards per game to wideouts. Six receivers have 90+ yards against them on the year.
TE Joel Dreessen Dallas Clark, who hasn't done diddly since 2009, managed to burn the Saints for a TD last week.
DST Broncos Saints have been tough on DSTs, so it might not be the right week for this one unless you're expecting around 10 Fantasy points.

Peyton Manning likes both Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen very much and will let coverage dictate which guy gets the most opportunities. Dressen can line up anywhere and that can create good matchups for him. Tamme is more of a hybrid type and can draw corner coverage. Granted, Tamme was only targeted two times in the last game but he was targeted 27 times in the three previous games. Dreessen never gets double digit targets in Broncos games, so I could see Tamme having the better game. -- Pat Kirwan

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals -- Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, University of Phoenix Stadium
San Francisco 49ers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Alex Smith   No QB has had 20 Fantasy points against the Cards this year. Smith's exceeded 20 Fantasy points thrice in 2012.
RB Frank Gore Wheels have come off the Cards run defense: They've given up 295 rush yards & 3 TDs to good RBs over last two weeks.
WR Michael Crabtree Though Crabtree has a decent history vs. Cardinals (three games with 10+ Fantasy points in last five), not sure he can be trusted.
WR Mario Manningham   Take away the game vs. Miami and the Cardinals haven't allowed a 100 -yard WR. Only 4 WRs have 10+ Fantasy points against ARI.
TE Vernon Davis The good: Has a TD in 3 of his last 5 vs. ARI. The bad: Those 3 TDs came in SF. The ugly: Cards 2nd best in Fantasy points allowed to TEs.
DST 49ers Obvious must start. Each of the last four opposing DSTs vs. ARI have posted 15+ Fantasy points.
Arizona Cardinals
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB John Skelton Niners have allowed one passing TD over last four with no more than 193 yards passing per game.
RB LaRod Stephens- Howling True, Niners have allowed back-to-back 100-yard games and LSH is coming off one of his own, but still a very risky pick.
WR Larry Fitzgerald Has TD in each of last 3 vs. SF and a stud, but Niners have allowed just two TDs to WRs and 133.7 yards per game to wideouts.
WR Andre Roberts Weird: Has had 6 Fantasy points or less in each game following a matchup in which he scored.
DST Cardinals Five of seven DSTs Niners have faced have scored 10 Fantasy points or less but Cardinals have posted 10+ Fantasy points in every game this year.

LaRod Stephens-Howling is a sudden change of direction back and he can make people miss. The problem is that the 49ers linebackers don't miss. I would be surprised if he duplicates his Week 7 performance. Arizona is having so much trouble with pass protection that they would love to stay on the ground. Last year Stephens-Howling got three carries for 7 yards against the 49ers and he is sure to get 15-20 this week so long as the scoreboard dictates it. San Francisco's run defense has given up five touchdowns in their last 23 regular season games. I don't think Arizona is going to make it six scores. -- Pat Kirwan

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings -- Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, Mall of America Field
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Josh Freeman Has dominated last two games, but against weak pass defenses. Vikes have allowed 240.2 yards/game, 4 pass TDs in last 5 to QBs.
RB Doug Martin After the Cardinals shocked them on the ground Martin's an option but only 2 RBs have topped 80 total yards on MIN.
WR Vincent Jackson You'll start him, but Vikings have allowed just 3 TDs to WRs all year & have done well vs. big wideouts.
WR Mike Williams Williams has 4 receptions in each of last 3. Vikings allowing 63.9 yards per game to WRs with 4+ catches.
TE Dallas Clark   Not sure if I'd buy into Clark even after last week's game. MIN has allowed 4 TDs to TEs this year.
DST Buccaneers Risky sleeper. 3 of last 4 DSTs to play Vikings have had 10+ Fantasy points, Bucs have done that once in last three games.
Minnesota Vikings
Pos. Name Rating Comment
QB Christian Ponder Ponder has responded to weak games with big ones. Bucs have allowed 275+ yards to 5 of 6 opponents.
RB Adrian Peterson Bucs have allowed rush TD to RB in 4 of last 5. AP averaging 102.8 rush yards per game at home.
WR Percy Harvin Receivers averaging 240.3 yards per game against the Bucs. Harvin has 100+ yards in 2 of last 3.
TE Kyle Rudolph Rudolph hasn't gone scoreless in back to back games yet in '12, Bucs have allowed just three TEs to get 7+ Fantasy points.
DST Vikings Too hot to sit - they've posted 14+ Fantasy points in 4 of last 5. But Bucs have scored 22+ points in 4 of last 5.

The Josh Freeman from 2010 is the guy we have been watching over the past three weeks in Tampa Bay. Two years ago he threw 25 touchdown passes to just six interceptions. He may never throw for 420 yards again like he did last week but his three-week average is 349 yards and 2.3 touchdowns. It's clear the Bucs have decided to let him throw more (37 pass plays per game) over the last three games and that will continue especially with Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson at the other end of his passes. Look for 275 yards and two touchdowns this week. -- Pat Kirwan

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Player News
Vikings hopeful tight end Kyle Rudolph can play in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:37 pm ET) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Monday if tight end Kyle Rudolph is healthy enough to play, he will be on the field for Week 17.

Rudolph, who has only played in eight games this year with an ankle and knee injury, has 24 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns this season. Week 16 was his first game out since Week 11 and had seven catches for 69 yards in his previous start for Minnesota. 


Chip Kelly unsure who will start at cornerback in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Monday he has not determined who will start at the cornerback position Bradley Fletcher has started at most of the season. The coaching staff will meet later on in the day to determine starters for Week 17.

"I thought Bradley's played well during the year," Kelly said. "You've got to look at it through the whole time."

Fletcher struggled again in Week 16, getting burned this time by DeSean Jackson on multiple catches, including a 55-yard completion.


Vikings Chad Greenway away from team to deal with personal issue
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway did not travel back to Minneapolis with the team. Instead he flew to San Diego to tend to a personal matter, coach Mike Zimmer told reporters on Monday, per the Star-Tribune. Greenway left Sunday's loss against Miami with a knee injury. Zimmer said he's unsure if he'll be able to play Week 17 against Chicago.

QB Hoyer injury could result in Shaw starting for Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer sustained a right shoulder injury late in the Week 16 game at Carolina and is considered day-to-day, per CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

His potential absence Sunday in Baltimore, as well as the loss of Johnny Manziel to a hamstring problem, could open the door for undrafted rookie and current practice squad quarterback Connor Shaw to start against the Ravens.

Shaw is set to be activated if the two can't play. Given the monumental struggles of Hoyer and Manziel lately, a strong performance by Shaw could complicate the situation regarding the position heading into the offseason. The Browns have been searching for their franchise quarterback since returning to Cleveland in 1999.


Bills officially release wide receiver Mike Williams
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:16 pm ET) The Bills officially announced Monday the release of wide receiver Mike Williams. He was traded to Buffalo in the offseason and had eight catches for 142 yards and a touchdown in nine games for the Bills this season. 

Seahawks OT Russell Okung due back at practice on Wednesday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:16 pm ET) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters that tackle Russell Okung is expected to return to practice on Wednesday, according to 710 AM ESPN Radio in Seattle. Okung was unable to play Sunday night at Arizona due to a chest injury. His status remains up in the air for Week 17 at home against St. Louis.

Falcons' Steven Jackson, William Moore to have further testing done
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:12 pm ET) The Falcons were unable to provide updates on injuries suffered by running back Steven Jackson and safety William Moore, the team announced Monday. Both will have further testing done Monday on injuries sustained in Week 16's game against the Saints. 

Moore sustained a shoulder injury Sunday to the same shoulder he injured in Week 4. He did not return to action. Jackson suffered a quad injury in the second quarter and was also unable to return to the game.

The Falcons are hoping to have both ready for Week 17 with the division on the line against the Panthers. Atlanta is a 3 1/2 point favorite, according to Vegas Insider.


Bears DE out Sunday with torn Achilles
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:10 pm ET) As expected, Bears defensive end Willie Young has been ruled out for the season finale at Minnesota with a torn Achilles.

"That's a tough one," Marc Trestman said about his loss. "He's been an inspirational leader. He'll be missed on Sunday."

Young ends his season with 10 sacks and having contributed to 40 tackles.


Falcons G Jon Asamoah expected to practice Wednesday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:09 pm ET) Falcons guard Jon Asamoah is expected to practice Wednesday on a limited basis, according to coach Mike Smith, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Asamoah missed Sunday's game at New Orleans with a back injury. His status remains uncertain for Week 17 against Carolina.

Panthers reinstate Frank Alexander, place De'Andre Presley on IR
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:03 pm ET) The Panthers announced a pair of roster moves on Monday. The team reinstated defensive end Frank Alexander to the 53-man active roster and placed wide receiver De'Andre Presley on injured reserve with a concussion.

 
 
 
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