Donovan McNabb vs. GB
So far McNabb has had 1 game out of 4 with a better than 80 QB rating. He has yet to throw more than 1 TD in a game. He’s cracked 250 yards just once. I think he’ll get better as the season goes on (injury risks notwithstanding), but it’s time to accept the fact that he just won’t have as much value in Mike Shanahan’s system as he did in Andy Reid’s system. Play him against the really bad pass defenses. Green Bay isn’t one of them.
Brett Favre @ NYJ
Randy Moss blah blah blah double team blah blah deep threat blah. Great. We’ve seen what Darrelle Revis (assuming he’s healthy) can do to Moss — and that was when Moss was (not) catching passes from Brady. Moss definitely improves Favre’s outlook, but I’d give it a week before you bank your matchup on Favre.
Sam Bradford @ DET
Bradford’s really got me in a bind. Every year I remind myself not to overvalue rookie QB’s, no matter how poised they look. The correction will happen sooner or later; they all hit a wall where the information is just coming too fast and they can’t keep up. I say all that just to make this point: Bradford isn’t your longterm solution this year, but he should be just fine against one of the worst pass defenses in the league.
Eli Manning @ HOU
I’m not much of an Eli fan…there always seems to be somebody I can draft later than him that I’d rather have. But this looks to be a great situation — Bradshaw is a little dinged up, Jacobs is perpetually in the doghouse, the Houston pass defense is terrible, and the Houston offense is good enough that the Giants will need to keep pace by throwing the ball.
Ahmad Bradshaw @ HOU
Bradshaw gets downgraded for all the same reasons Eli gets upgraded. I don’t see him getting enough carries, or producing enough on the limited number of carries, to be started as a true RB1 this week. He may still be better than your RB2 or Flex options but keep expectations in check (and keep an eye on his injury status).
Michael Bush vs. SD
I know you are all excited about picking up/having stashed the new Raiders RB now that McFadden is hurt, but I’d be careful about starting him over other solid options. San Diego has been pretty stout against the run so far, and with Gradkowski at the helm, Oakland seems to be willing to even out their offensive balance.
Ryan Mathews @ OAK
Flipside of the same matchup. Despite some injury struggles and inconsistent usage, Mathews has put up good averages in the carries he’s gotten, and I would be surprised if he doesn’t get at least 14-16 carries this week against a poor Oakland run D. If you wanted to buy low, this might be your last chance.
Jamaal Charles @ IND
Keep the faith…I know the timeshare with Thomas Jones has been frustrating, but the Indy run D is so bad that Charles can put up RB1 numbers even on 10-12 carries. It’s hard to imagine KC trying to trade touchdowns with Indy, so I expect to see plenty of rushing to control the clock.
Malcolm Floyd @ OAK
It pains me to list Floyd here (and not just because I’m essentially stuck with him in one league). I cannot figure out why defenses continue to leave Antonio Gates uncovered right down the center of the field. But, as ridiculous as that seems to me, it does happen (and frequently), and I think San Diego will have more luck throwing over the middle of the field than testing the Oakland corners.
Larry Fitzgerald vs. NO
I was going to just put “Rookie QB.” in this space and move on, but it’s worth discussing for a minute — as odd as it seems, the move from Derek Anderson to Max Hall may benefit Fitzgerald over the rest of the season. Anderson has never been able to replicate his Pro Bowl season *cough*, and his lack of accuracy and poor decisions kill any value his strong arm might have. I’d wait to see how Max Hall looks before relying heavily on Fitzgerald, but keep your fingers crossed.
Mark Clayton @ DET
He’s getting plenty of looks, and while he’s probably a marginal WR2 on most good offensives, he’s got near WR1 value just because he lucked into being Sam Bradford’s favorite target.
Calvin Johnson vs. STL
The bad news is that last week I doubted Megatron and was wrong. Mea culpa. The good news is that the Lions seem committed to forcing the ball to Johnson regardless of the QB or defense. Start him and hope for a couple endzone jumpballs over the STL corners.
Tony Scheffler vs. STL
The Rams defense is much tougher over the middle, and whatever production is there will be split between Scheffler and Pettigrew. Either player won’t give you enough this week.
Zach Miller vs. SD
Okay, you’re probably starting him anyway, but the Real Zach Miller deserves a shout out for his 11 catch, 122 performance last week (with a TD to boot), and I think he’s got a shot to replicate his success this week. San Diego is a tougher pass D than Houston by far, but the Chargers have a odd soft spot for opposing tight end…wait, I just figured it out. Norv Turner has a gentleman’s agreement with opposing coaches — don’t cover our tight end, and we won’t cover yours. It’s the only logical explanation.
Marcedes Lewis @ BUF
Marcedes didn’t come through for me when I recommended (and started) him earlier in the season, but that’s what you get with him — it’s the risk you take when you are stuck with waiver-level TE’s instead of a legit starter. Still, you may as well go with the guy who has the potential for a couple TD’s, and Buffalo has been weak over the middle.
Tennessee Titans @ DAL
I suspect a lot of folks have been enjoying the Titans D so far (as I have), but if you can afford a roster spot to pick up a better matchup this week, I would. The Dallas offense hasn’t put together a really dominant performance so far, but they scare me enough to stay away.
Carolina Panthers vs. CHI
I was going to mention the Rams here against Detroit, but Doc just alerted me that Jay Cutler is definitely out this week. A Mike Martz offense is already prone to sacks and turnovers — the danger is that if Cutler can stay upright, he’s got the arm to burn you. But no Cutler, no danger.