Week 9 fantasy matchups

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
(Nov. 2, 2005) -- Don't worry about the fact that Buffalo, Dallas, Denver and St. Louis all have byes this week. November in the NFL kicks off with a true heavyweight card, with the main event -- Colts-Patriots -- taking place Monday night in New England. Is the Indianapolis defense for real? What will Bill Belichick do to stop the Colts offense, which averages 27 points per game? Who wins the Brady-Manning duel? These and other questions will be answered soon.

The impressive undercard features Oakland-Kansas City, Carolina-Tampa Bay, Philadelphia-Washington and Atlanta-Miami. The road teams that need to win: Cincinnati at Baltimore, San Diego at the Jets, Seattle at Arizona, and the Giants at San Francisco.

If the playoffs were to begin today, the AFC teams would be New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Denver, with Pittsburgh and Jacksonville as the wild cards. In the NFC, it's the Giants, Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle, with Tampa Bay and Carolina as wild cards. That would be a 50 percent turnover from the 2004 playoffs, including the lack of one of the Super Bowl XXXIX teams (Eagles).

Finally, to highlight what the Colts have done so far: This is only the 36th time in NFL history a team has started the season 7-0. In 86 years of NFL history, there have been 1,705 opportunities for this to happen. In other words, what the Colts have accomplished has happened only 2.1 percent of the time in NFL history. Not bad.

Here are the fantasy matchups to watch this week:

Bengals at Ravens: For Cincinnati, I like QB Carson Palmer, WR Chad Johnson and RB Rudi Johnson. In two games against the Ravens last year, Palmer had 698 yards passing; he had three TD passes in last year at Baltimore (two to Johnson, one to T.J. Houshmandzadeh). Palmer has a TD-INT ratio this season of 16-5. ... For Baltimore, I like RBs Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor. I say that because Cincinnati is 25th overall on defense and 22nd against the run. If there were a bright spot in the Baltimore offense last week, it was QB Anthony Wright, who was 25 for 44 against Pittsburgh. Also, Wright actually has led Baltimore to seven consecutive victories at home.

Titans at Browns: I like Tennessee RB Chris Brown because the Titans have kind of run out of receivers. TE Ben Troupe is out. Cleveland is 27th overall against the run, and I imagine Tennessee would like to take as much time off the clock as possible. ... I really don't like anyone for Cleveland. QB Trent Dilfer hasn't been playing well and you might see rookie QB Charlie Frye in this game. ... It's hard to run on the Titans. ... Browns PK Phil Dawson has made 18 consecutive field goals.

Texans at Jaguars: Houston beat Jacksonville twice last year and really knocked them out of the playoffs. I like RB Domanick Davis in this game; Jacksonville is 26th overall against the run (even though they've allowed only two rushing TDs). ... For the Jaguars, I like RB Fred Taylor a lot -- Houston allows 165 rushing yards per game. ... WR Jimmy Smith is old reliable for Jacksonville, while Ernest Wilford had 145 yards receiving last week.

Raiders at Chiefs: This is always a fun game to watch. Both teams score a lot, though they've both improved on defense. ... For Oakland, I like RB LaMont Jordan, QB Kerry Collins and WR Randy Moss -- who said he felt real good the day after the Titans game. WR Jerry Porter is coming off a good week, and I think he can do it again. ... For Kansas City, I like the trio of QB Trent Green, RB Priest Holmes and TE Tony Gonzalez.

Falcons at Dolphins: Knowing Miami coach Nick Saban, the Dolphins will rush five and try to keep QB Michael Vick in the pocket and make him throw downfield. I still like Vick, TE Alge Crumpler and RB Warrick Dunn. ... For the Dolphins, I like RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

Lions at Vikings: I like RB Kevin Jones for Detroit -- moreso if Jeff Garcia plays than if Joey Harrington plays. WR Charlie Rogers is back for Detroit, but I don't think he'll be a factor. ... Minnesota allows 20 points per game at home, as opposed to 33 per game on the road. ... It's tough to run on Detroit, so I'll say QB Brad Johnson is the main play for the Vikings. I'd guess WR Troy Williamson will be his main target, but that's just a guess.

Bears at Saints: Chicago QB Kyle Orton is playing better, but the Saints are good against the pass. I like RB Thomas Jones, though rookie Cedric Benson is starting to emerge -- he had a 25-yard run last week, and I imagine he'll get a few more carries. ... It's tough to run on the Bears -- they allow 85 rushing yards per game and have given up only one rushing TD all season. I like QB Aaron Brooks and WRs Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth. As erratic as they are, the Saints are No. 8 overall on offense, and the focus definitely will be on passing.

Chargers at Jets: For San Diego, I like TE Antonio Gates, RB LaDainian Tomlinson, WR Eric Parker and QB Drew Brees. ... Brees is good on the road -- since 2004, his TD-INT ratio in road games has been 15-5, and he has 13 TD passes this season overall. ... For the Jets, you have to play RB Curtis Martin because he is so good, but New York is 30th overall on offense and San Diego's defense is improving. ... Just keep in mind that it's always tough when a West Coast team plays a 1 p.m. ET game in the East, plus they are facing a team coming off a bye.

Panthers at Buccaneers: This game pits 65-year-old defensive genius Monte Kiffin (Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator) versus 26-year-old emerging star Steve Smith, who leads the NFL in receiving. ... I like Smith and QB Jake Delhomme, and I think RB Stephen Davis will be OK, mostly late. Davis has nine TDs in his past seven games. ... Tampa Bay is very good on defense -- first overall and against the run, third against the pass. I don't think any Tampa Bay runners will do well against Carolina, which is second versus the run. ... WR Joey Galloway is having a Pro Bowl season.

Seahawks at Cardinals: For a long time, we've said QB Matt Hasselbeck is not good on the road, but he has improved recently. I like Hasselbeck and RB Shaun Alexander, who plays really well versus Arizona. ... WR Bobby Engram is supposed to return this week -- it's hard to say whether he or Joe Jurevicius will be the main target. ... For Arizona, WR Anquan Boldin is out 2-4 weeks with a bone bruise. QB Josh McCown had so-so efforts in the past two games, so Arizona is switching back to veteran QB Kurt Warner as the starter. The running game is not a factor, so WR Larry Fitzgerald is the only guy you would expect to do anything here. PK Neil Rackers is 22 for 22 this season, and he had a record three 50-yard FGs in a game against Seattle last year.

Giants at 49ers: The Giants have had trouble playing in San Francisco lately -- 2-10 in their past 12. ... I like QB Eli Manning, WR Plaxico Burress and RB Tiki Barber, who's playing as well as anyone in the league now. ... For San Francisco, I think the only two plays are RBs Frank Gore and Kevan Barlow, and I don't think you'll get a lot out of either one of them. It's hard to think QB Cody Pickett will do much in the passing game.

Steelers at Packers: Heath Miller has been the big story for Pittsburgh's offense. Last year, Pittsburgh's starting TE caught only nine passes all season. Miller already has six TD catches. ... QB Ben Roethlisberger is 9-0 on the road, with nine TD passes in his past six road games. ... For Green Bay, keep an eye on RB Samkon Gado, who was signed two weeks ago off Kansas City's practice squad. Gado is a native of Nigeria who was an undrafted college free agent from Liberty. He can run and is a pretty good receiver. Don't be surprised to hear people talking about this guy on Sunday night. ... QB Brett Favre might have a tough time here, as the line will have trouble protecting him.

Eagles at Redskins: The Redskins won 17-14 the last time these teams played in prime time. ... I like QB Donovan McNabb, WR Terrell Owens (if he plays; check the injury report. He did practice on Thursday.) and RB Brian Westbrook, to a lesser extent. They'll continue to get him the ball more, but it's hard to run the ball when you continually get in early holes. ... McNabb has 18 career TD passes against Washington. ... Despite a 36-0 loss last week, the Redskins are still good on defense. I like QB Mark Brunell and WR Santana Moss. ... It was hard to run on the Eagles before Denver ran them into the ground last week. I don't know if that will be the case this week with Clinton Portis. He'll be OK, but not great. TE Chris Cooley has been playing well for Washington.

Colts at Patriots: For the Colts, I like QB Peyton Manning, WR Reggie Wayne and RB Edgerrin James. ... For the Patriots, I like QB Tom Brady, who is passing for 288 yards per game, and I like WR Deion Branch. ... The Patriots have won 14 of the past 16 in this series, including six straight. The Colts' only victories in that span came in Indianapolis. ... New England made an interesting pickup this week -- FB Heath Evans. He's similar to Patrick Pass, who is out this week.

Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis was Baltimore's defensive coordinator from 1996-2001. In 2000, the Ravens allowed 165 points -- the fewest for a 16-game schedule in NFL history. The two teams will square off this week.

Under head coach Jeff Fisher, Tennessee is 39-1 when entering the fourth quarter with a lead.

Under head coach Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh is 95-1-1 when leading by 10 points or more during a game. That's the best mark by a head coach in NFL history with a minimum of 40 games.

Kansas City quarterback Trent Green has won five starts in a row against Oakland. If the Chiefs win Sunday, he will set a team record with six consecutive victories by a quarterback against the Raiders. All the victories have been by seven points or fewer.

Pittsburgh's Heath Miller is only the third rookie tight end in NFL history to catch six touchdown passes in his first seven games. The other two were Raymond Chester (Oakland, 1970) and Eric Green (Pittsburgh, 1990).

Last week against New Orleans, Ricky Williams (82 yards) and Ronnie Brown (106) became the first Dolphins tandem to rush for 80 yards or more in the same game since 1979.

Dallas rookie Marion Barber became only the second Cowboy to rush for more than 100 yards in his first start. The other was Scott Laidlaw in 1976. (I would think you could dominate the bar-bet circuit with this one.)

Minnesota's Brad Johnson will make his 100th career start this weekend. He is 58-41 (.586) as a starter.

Jets coach Herm Edwards started his coaching career with Marty Schottenheimer (1990-95) in Kansas City. The two will meet this weekend when the Jets play the Chargers.

Carolina's John Fox (33-26) is the winningest coach in Panthers history.

Giants defensive end Michael Strahan needs 2½ sacks to pass Derrick Thomas for the 10th most in NFL history.

The Bengals have intercepted five passes three times this season (Chicago, Green Bay and Minnesota). Only two other teams in NFL history have done this (Green Bay, 1943; Detroit, 1953).