It is week 4 in the NFL. Oh how the time flies. It seems just like yesterday that Anthony Gonzalez was my favorite receiver to draft and I would take him way too early. And remember that time when LT fell to me in the 2nd round and I thought, yeah, I have to take him; it’s a steal at half the price! Or there was that guy, what was his name? Oh yeah, Steve Slaton. I think he was on this high powered sleeper offense that couldn’t miss. Oh and waiting on a QB and getting Donovan McNabb and thinking, yeah, that’ll work. Those were the days.
So here are the Sunday games all neatly wrapped in this Friday post. I hope you enjoy!
12:00 pm Games
Tampa Bay @ Washington
There’s no other direction to go from here but up, so we’ll get this clunker out of the way. Here are two bad teams that only a super fan could love (think fat men in moo moos with hog noses. Isn’t that how the swine flu got started?). The Buccaneers start Josh Johnson. No, not the Marlins’ pitcher, he’d probably be an upgrade. Johnson hurts what little value the Bucs offensive players had. It looks like Derrick Ward will be limited and Cadillac Williams will start, but only use him if you are hurting at RB. The only other Buc I would use is Kellen Winslow. He really is the only receiving threat they have.
The Redskins get to face another poor passing D in the Bucs. Even though they lost to the Lions they absolutely threw all over them. After a huge game last week Santana Moss is poised to lay a big fat egg, but you have to start him at home against such a bad pass D. You have to start all Redskins named Cooley, Portis and Campbell. And if Portis has a nice game try your hardest to trade him.
Tennessee @ Jacksonville
The Titans have lost more games than they did all last year. That is kind of funny, but not ha ha funny. Jacksonville’s pass defense is pitiful. I’ve been riding the QB carousel in one league waiting for McNabb to come back and I am throwing Old Man Collins out there this week. I’m not thrilled with it, but I’m not sweating bullets either. I expect Nate Washington to have a good game and Justin Gage as well, but I’m liking Washington more. Chris Johnson is of course an every week starter, and so is LenDale White in heavy TD leagues. He is getting all of the goalline carries and will get into the endzone.
The Jags’ core players should all be starters this week. The Titans run D is solid, but you don’t put MJD in a corner. The Titans pass D is not so solid so you have to run Mike Sims-Walker, Torry Holt and David Garrard out there and give them a shot.
Oakland @ Houston
I wish Darren McFadden could hold onto the ball and JaMarcus Russell had some skill. I clicked my heels together and I at least got the Houston rush D for my man DMac. Houston has given up 205 yards rushing per game. If you have McFadden on your roster and don’t play him here, trade him. And if he does go off like he should you might think about trading him anyway. He is one of my favorites, but until they resurrect Kenny Stabler or some other good quarterback from Raider lore it will be hard for McFadden to play up to his potential. I also would give Zach Miller another shot, but McFadden and Miller would be the only Raiders I’d deem worthy of my coveted starting slots.
Houston’s lack of defense has been a boon for their offense. The Raiders’ defense is good, but they are on the field too much. Asumogha is elite and can stop Andre Johnson, but he won’t be on him every down. And the Raiders haven’t looked great on the road. You’ve got to start all your regular Texan suspects: Schaub, Slaton, AJ, Daniels and Walter.
Cincinnati @ Cleveland
The Bengals have looked like a real team lately. The Browns on the other hand, have not. The Bengals should have no problem scoring on their inept defense. Cedric Benson is a must start. I never thought those words would ever come out of my fingers in that particular order. Carson Palmer has yet to put up old Carson Palmer numbers, but this would be a game where it could happen. Ochocinco is a must start as well, but the rest of the wide receivers are iffier. Palmer has done a good job of spreading the ball around and doesn’t seem to play favorites which is no fun for us fake football kingpins. If I were to start any other receiver on the Bengals it would be Caldwell. He could be emerging as Palmer’s safety blanket.
Derek Anderson will be the the starter this week in Cleveland. This is good news for Braylon Edwards, but not smack me in the ass and call me Chappy good news. Two years ago DA was good for Edwards, last year, not so much. This is Edwards’ contract year and DA is playing for his football life. You have to believe they’ll give the old 5 hour energy drink try. The Bengals’ defense can pressure the QB and should give Anderson some trouble, but Edwards also should have his chances. I’d start him if I had him on any of my teams. The Bengals run D is better than their pass D. It looks like Jerome Harrison will get the start again. He’s worth a flier if you are desperate, but I’d look for better options. If James Davis gets a decent workload he better do something or I’m throwing him on the electric waiver wire.
Seattle @ Indianapolis
Seneca Wallace will get the start again. He played better than I expected last week, but he was also at home. This week they are in Indianapolis. Indy can be run on and Julius Jones continues to surprise. As usual don’t expect huge numbers from JJ Seahawker, but he’s worth a flex. I’m not too fired up about any Seahawk receivers in this game. Burleson is probably a better start than Houshmandzadeh with Wallace in there. Housh needs accuracy and Burleson can work on the fly, which is where Wallace usually is. But look for better options against a good Colts’ pass defense. John Carlson is still getting plenty of looks so if he’s your TE start him.
The Colts are pretty much unstoppable right now. Manning, Wayne, and Clark are fantasy royalty and Donald Brown and Pierre Garcon are fantasy knights. They are all worth a start in this game. Where is Joseph Addai? Good question ghost in my computer. I’ve been over Addai before the season even started. Could he slip in for a TD or have a decent game? I guess so, but Brown is the guy in there when it counts.
New York Giants @ Kansas City
The Giants are good. I hate to say it because they have been boring me since Harry Carson. I don’t know why, but they put me to sleep as soon as they run onto the field. Is it their uniforms? Their style of play? Tom Coughlin’s red face? I don’t know. But, like I said, they are good and they have plenty of fantasy options. The Chiefs are the opposit of good on defense. Period. Yeah, I said period! Okay, exclamation point! Anyway, Little Bro, Jacobs, Bradshaw, parenthetical Steve Smith, and Manningham are all starts.
The Giants are good. I hate to say it, oh wait, I already did. Their defense is good, especially their pass D. I’d sit Cassell and check your options on Bowe. He practiced and looks like he’ll play, but the Giants are absolutely murdering #1 receivers. He could find the endzone which would probably be his only saving grace. Larry Johnson is dead to me. Jamaal Charles is the only startable Chief this week. The Giants have actually be pretty bad against the run, giving up over 6 yards a carry. At some point it will bite them in the arse, but not against the Chiefs.
Detroit @ Chicago
I’d start Megatron against anyone, ever. If I could have started him in kindergarten I would have. He had a mediocre game for his standards last week, but still looked about 12x better than anyone on the field. The Bears’ defense is improving, but injuries keep holding them back. I expect Detroit to be down which should get them throwing. Kevin Smith looks to be a game time decision. If he can go and isn’t hampered by the injury it helps the Lions offense immensely. Maurice Morris is not good. I would start Smith if he practices today without limitation, but I doubt that happens. Megatron is probably your only start for the Lions.
Baltimore @ New England
The way Baltimore has been playing it is difficult to sit any of their key players. Their offensive line is too good to sit either Rice or McGahee against anyone. I feel like Flacco will have a down game in NE, but I don’t think you can sit him unless you have a good backup or Flacco is your backup. Todd Heap isn’t getting enough work and unless the waiver wire is Death Valley I’d look there for some help. Derrick Mason is a must start #3 receiver, but I’d sit Mark Clayton.
The Baltimore D is still formidable, but now more so on the ground than through the air. There’s no reason to throw any Patriot running back out there against that D. You might as well sniff model airplane fuel and watch Teletubbies if that’s your plan. But of course you start Brady, Moss and Welker assuming they all play.
3:15 pm Games
Buffalo @ Miami
Miami’s run D is strong, their pass D is weak and Trent Edwards can’t seem to get the ball to Lee Evans or TO. This is the week it happens or Buffalo has no chance to compete this year. I’d start TO and Evans because if you own them you have to against the Dolphins. Lynch is a wildcard, but I doubt he’ll get a ton of carries and against that D he won’t have much room. Fast Freddie should still get the majority of the touches and has a better chance to be able to work in open space. I’d start him. Trent Edwards is an emergency start even against a bad pass D.
Ronnie Brown is a must start because that’s what he do. Chad Henne has a better arm than Pennington, but so did my eighth grade piano teacher Ms. Bellings, and she had to be 102. The Bills pass D is hurting and I think it’s worth the risk to give Bess and Ginn a try. Bess was targeted quite a bit by Henne last week. The Bills also are poor against TE’s and Tony Fasano is a poor TE.
New York Jets @ New Orleans
Mark Sanchez has looked like he invested his signing bonus in grit and he’s using it up like there’s no tomorrow. But grit only can take you so far and I think the Saints are going to bottle him up on Sunday (just think how much a bottle of Mark Sanchez grit would go for on Ebay!) The Saints pass D ain’t too shabby. They are ballhawking like there is no tomorrow and they don’t give up many yards per catch. You have to run Keller and Cotchery out there, but I’d be careful of Stuckey. I’m done with Thomas Jones. Start Leon Washington, they’ll be behind and LDub will get most the looks on their failed attempt to come from behind.
On paper this looks like a tough game for the Saints, but they’ll do their thing at home. Brees, Thomas, Shockey and Colston are all starts. Reggie Bush is a flex in ppr leagues, but I’d stay away from him otherwise. I wouldn’t call on the services of Henderson, Meachem, and Moore.
St. Louis @ San Francisco
Steven Jackson could play for the Rams and still be a fantasy stud. What? He does? Wow, I was just kidding. That’s amazing! He’s as good as my hyperbole. So start SJax and well, that’s about it. Kyle Boller will probably get the start and he can’t be any worse than Bulger. Donnie Avery is the only other player I’d consider. Without Laurent Robinson he should get a lot of looks. I’d wait on starting him if you can, but I wouldn’t trip you on the way to the computer if you needed him.
Coach Singletary says he’ll use Coffee the same way he used Gore, which is to run him into the ground until his ankles twist off. You have to start Coffee against the Rams. If Josh Morgan had shown he was even on the field I would say start him, but the only receiving threat I would start this week is Vernon Davis. Shaun Hill is worth a filler spot, but he is limp noodle armed and not dangerous.
Dallas @ Denver
Denver has given up no touchdowns through the air and picked off 5. Pretty good, but they have also played Jamarcus Russell and Brady Quinn, two starting QB’s that have already been benched. Huh? Russell is still starting? Nuh uh! That’s just crazy. Well, they’ve faced some losers. Tony Romo has been good, bad, and could be either in Denver. You have to start him if your backup blows, but I can’t tell you what he’ll do. It’s not like I’m some kind of fantasy football guru. Huh? Oh never mind. Barber is fully expected to play so you have to start him, but Choice should get a lot of work as well with Felix Jones out. I don’t need to tell you to start Witten, but I will. Start him!
The Denver offense is a royal pain in my arse. And I mean Royal! What has Josh McDaniels done to Eddie Royal? First off he brought in Kyle Orton, yeah, he sucks. And now he’s got this funky rotation and he hardly targets him? Can you feel my indignation coming through the screen? So, you can’t start Royal. You can start Marshall finally. He’s not elite, but he’s finally startable as Danny Tartabull. We have a bit of quandary when it comes to Moreno and Buckhalter. This may be the week we see a complete changing of the guard. Moreno is a must start until he proves otherwise and Buckhalter is as well. But if I could choose between the two it would be Moreno.
7:20 pm Game
San Diego @ Pittsburgh
Rivers, Jackson and Gates are must starts as usual, but with LT looking like he’ll play and Sproles’ carries getting cut into, I think you have to bench both against the Steelers. The Chargers will need to pass to beat the Steelers and that’s what they’ll do, pass, not beat them, well, maybe they will. I’m no nostrathomas.
Willie Parker has yet to practice and could be a game time decision which isn’t good when it’s the Sunday night game. The Chargers can be run on, but I’d stay away from their RB situation unless we get a report that Parker’s toe had been healed by Purple Jesus. Big Ben, Holmes and Ward are all starts, but not knock your socks off starts.