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NFL Skinny: Week 10 preview

Brandon Funston
Yahoo Sports

I finally enjoyed the sweet taste of Pick'Em success last week, going 12-1 in game score predictions in this forum – please forgive me my Patriots-over-Browns misstep.

Unfortunately, I was beat up pretty good on the fantasy side of the ledger last week. I just need Malcom Floyd(notes) and Antonio Gates(notes) to heal up this bye week and start taking back the points that they're ceding to guys like Seyi Ajirotutu(notes), Patrick Crayton(notes) and Randy McMichael(notes). Here's hoping for many happy and healthy returns in Week 11. In the meantime, I've got work to do.

Let's get to the Week 10 matchups, and how I envision them playing out.

Note: Green Bay, Oakland, New Orleans and San Diego are on bye in Week 10

Week 10 Preview
A snapshot of each Week 10 matchup

BALTIMORE RAVENS @ ATLANTA FALCONS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
RAVENS – 4.2 YPC | 6.7 YPA
FALCONS – 4.1 YPC | 7.9 YPA

What to watch for: The first Thursday game since Week 1 features two ball-hog squads. Both ATL and BAL rank among the top four in Time of Possession, a common side effect of ranking among the league leaders in rush attempts per game. The rub here is that both defenses have been strong against the run (among the seven stingiest to RBs in fantasy) and it could force these run-centric squads to open up the passing game more than usual. If that's the case, give BAL the advantage as ATL has conceded the most FAN PPG to QBs over the past month and BAL QB Joe Flacco(notes) is the No. 5 QB in FAN PPG during that same four-week span. With BAL S Ed Reed(notes) back (3 INTs and a forced fumble in his past two games) and BAL allowing the fourth-fewest FAN PPG to QBs (just 1 TD pass allowed in four road games), don't trust anyone in the ATL passing game outside WR Roddy White(notes), who is expected to be fine for this one after tweaking his knee in Week 9. TE Tony Gonzalez(notes) stepped up for White last week (8/72) but this matchup is especially tough on TEs. Consider him slightly chartreuse this week, but more yellow than green.

Ray Rice(notes), Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin(notes), Michael Turner(notes), Roddy White
Tony Gonzalez, Matt Ryan(notes), Baltimore Defense, Willis McGahee(notes), Todd Heap(notes), Derrick Mason(notes)
Michael Jenkins(notes), Atlanta Defense
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: ATL WR Roddy White (knee); ATL C Todd McClure(notes) (knee)
Prediction: Baltimore 24, Atlanta 23
DETROIT LIONS @ BUFFALO BILLS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
LIONS – 4.7 YPC | 7.5 YPA
BILLS – 4.8 YPC | 7.3 YPA

What to watch for: This is a showdown of the seventh- and eighth-most generous defenses (Yards Per Game). In terms of the metrics I list here (YPC and YPA) they both rank well below average, especially against the run. The easy analysis here is that if you own any Bills or Lions, and generally give them strong start consideration each week, there won't be many better matchups to come along for them than this week. That said, keep a close eye on DET RB Jahvid Best's(notes) injury situation (toe and hand). If there's word that he'll be limited this week because of his health condition, consider DET backup RB Kevin Smith(notes) a strong sleeper. Also, if you are missing out on a Drew Brees(notes), Aaron Rodgers(notes) or Philip Rivers(notes) this week because of the bye, DET QB Shaun Hill(notes), replacing the injured (again) Matthew Stafford(notes), is a worthy stop-gap replacement – lest we forget that he's finished among the top 6 at QB in three of the five weeks in which he's been a starter, and he was knocked out of commission in one of the other starts. For BUF, you have to start TD machine WR Steve Johnson(notes), but I actually think this could be a week where WR Lee Evans(notes) grabs the spotlight again. Johnson will command more attention, WR Roscoe Parrish(notes) is out for the year and DET has allowed a robust seven pass plays of 40-plus yards in eight games – the go-route is an Evans specialty.

Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes), Steve Johnson, Fred Jackson(notes), Calvin Johnson(notes), Shaun Hill, Jahvid Best, Lee Evans, Brandon Pettigrew(notes)
Nate Burleson(notes), Detroit Defense
Buffalo TEs, Buffalo Defense
Sleeper: Kevin Smith, Tony Scheffler(notes), C.J. Spiller(notes)
Key Injuries: DET QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder); DET DE Cliff Avril(notes) (leg); DET PK Jason Hanson(notes) (knee); DET CB Chris Houston(notes) (shoulder); BUF WR Roscoe Parrish (wrist); BUF LB Andra Davis(notes) (shoulder); DET RB Jahvid Best (toe)
Prediction: Buffalo 30, Detroit 27
MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ CHICAGO BEARS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
VIKES – 3.8 YPC | 6.7 YPA
BEARS – 3.5 YPC | 6.0 YPA

What to watch for: The potential return of MIN WR Sidney Rice(notes) is the big story leading up to this divisional grudge match. But with or without Rice, this game doesn't have the look of an offensive fireworks show. CHI allows the fourth-fewest PPG (16.6) and both teams have scored fewer than 20 PPG on offense. If you look at the success that these defenses have had in fantasy against each of the skill positions, there's no reason to feel optimistic about anyone in this game outside of MIN RB Adrian Peterson, who has gone off in each of his six career meetings with CHI (11 TDs and an average of 138 YFS). If Rice does return, though, I'd certainly move MIN QB Brett Favre(notes), coming off a career-high in passing yards, into startable range.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Defense
Matt Forte(notes), Brett Favre, Percy Harvin(notes), Visanthe Shiancoe(notes), Bernard Berrian(notes), Chicago Defense, Johnny Knox(notes), Jay Cutler(notes), Earl Bennett(notes)
Greg Olsen(notes), Devin Hester(notes)
Sleeper: Sidney Rice, Chester Taylor(notes)
Key Injuries: MIN WR Sidney Rice (hip); MIN WR Percy Harvin (ankle);
Prediction: Chicago 22, Minnesota 20
NEW YORK JETS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
JETS – 3.3 YPC | 6.6 YPA
BROWNS – 3.9 YPC | 7.4 YPA

What to watch for: Can CLE pull off another surprise upset? I won't say it's impossible, but I think reality will finally bite the Browns this week. The NYJ offense is no friend to opposing defenses, as the Jets take care of the football and protect the QB. And CLE can't expect to ride on the shoulders of RB Peyton Hillis(notes) this week as Gang Green hasn't allowed a TD to a RB since Week 1. That said, I wouldn't bench Hillis because he's really the only hope for CLE this week on offense, and he's scored at least 9 FAN PTS against three of the top seven run defenses in fantasy (PIT, BAL, ATL). … CLE has been nearly as stingy at the goal line to opposing RBs as the Jets, having allowed just 2 RB TDs. Given how the Browns have stacked up against the run and the trend to a more even distribution of carries in the NYJ backfield, I'd run both LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) and Shonn Greene(notes) under the caution flag this week. Although the matchup is ripe for the NYJ passing game, Jets QB Mark Sanchez(notes) probably won't force the issue through the air unless the Jets fall behind like it has the past couple weeks. That said, TE Dustin Keller(notes) looks like a very safe play and Sanchez and WRs Braylon Edwards(notes) and Santonio Holmes(notes) are defensible options – I've colored them yellow (below), but consider each to have chartreuse upside.

Peyton Hillis, Dustin Keller, NY Jets Defense
Mark Sanchez, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene
Cleveland Defense, Colt McCoy(notes), Cleveland WRs, Benjamin Watson(notes)
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: CLE QB Jake Delhomme(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: NY Jets 23, Cleveland 13
CINCINNATI BENGALS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BENGALS – 4.4 YPC | 6.6 YPA
COLTS – 5.1 YPC | 6.6 YPA

What to watch for: There are two players you can't keep down this week for CIN – RB Cedric Benson(notes) and WR Terrell Owens(notes). TO is the most targeted WR in the league and is tied with NYG WR Hakeem Nicks(notes) for the most FAN PPG at the position (14.9). It's very evident that QB Carson Palmer(notes) is looking first to TO much more than he is to WR Chad Ochocinco(notes). That said, Palmer will likely be handing the ball off more than he throws it so long as CIN can keep things close. IND has been consistently manhandled against the run, having allowed seven RBs to rush for 87 yards or more. And big, physical workhorse backs like Benson setup particularly well against this fast, but undersized defensive front. … For IND, I think owners of WR Reggie Wayne(notes) should be a bit concerned about the CIN bracket coverage that has been effective at shutting down go-to receivers, at least when CIN has been healthy in the secondary. Yeah, I know, you never bench Wayne. I'm just saying that there's legit downside for him this week. Assuming Wayne gets extra attention from CIN, look for WR Pierre Garcon(notes) to be on the end of a big play or two from QB Peyton Manning(notes). TE Jacob Tamme(notes) has looked every bit the part of Dallas Clark(notes) in his two games since filling Clark's shoes. Manning clearly trusts Tamme, who has quickly become unbenchable. The IND backfield is still murky because of injuries and split duties. CIN has been a fairly generous run defense, but a Donald Brown(notes)/Javarris James timeshare is not inspirational. WR Austin Collie(notes) is sitting this one out (concussion), so consider WR Blair White(notes) a quality sleeper in that fertile IND slot role.

Peyton Manning, Cedric Benson, Jacob Tamme, Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis Defense
Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, Donald Brown
Jermaine Gresham(notes), Cincinnati Defense
Sleeper: Blair White, Jordan Shipley(notes), Javarris James(notes), Mike Hart(notes) (if he plays)
Key Injuries: IND WR Austin Collie (concussion); IND RB Joseph Addai(notes) (neck); IND RB Mike Hart (ankle)
Prediction: Indianapolis 31, Cincinnati 21
TENNESSEE TITANS @ MIAMI DOLPHINS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
TITANS – 4.1 YPC | 6.5 YPA
FINS – 3.8 YPC | 7.4 YPA

What to watch for: Not a bad first matchup for new TEN WR addition Randy Moss(notes) as MIA has allowed 6 TDs to WRs in its past five games. I'm assuming TEN QB Vince Young(notes) will make it back from his ankle injury this week but, be it Young or QB Kerry Collins(notes) throwing the ball, I'd count on Moss getting at least a few jump ball opportunities downfield on Sunday. I think it is fair to expect the usual contact high for the WR starting opposite Moss, and that's Nate Washington(notes) in TEN – consider him another one of this week's chartreuse posse. In deeper leagues, why not roll the dice on a guy that has two receptions of 50-plus yards in this offense even before opposing defenses were tasked with the responsibility of shutting down both RB Chris Johnson and Moss, not to mention the scrambling potential of Young. … It's very hard to mine optimism from the MIA backfield. Even last week when RB Ronnie Brown(notes) finally put up a decent fantasy line (99 YFS, TD), six of his nine carries, 45 of his 59 rushing yards and his lone score came on the team's opening drive. I'll continue to fly Brown and RB Ricky Williams(notes) under the yellow banner. In fact, it's hard to green light anyone from an offense that is scoring the fifth-fewest PPG (17.9) against a defense allowing just 18.8 PPG. But I'll remain stubborn on WR Brandon Marshall(notes) – that MIA can't figure out how to get his talents more involved in the offense is an indictment on offensive coordinator Dan Henning, who deserves to come under fire for the job he's done this season.

Chris Johnson, Vince Young, Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall
Davone Bess(notes), Nate Washington, Chad Henne(notes), Tennessee Defense, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Anthony Fasano(notes)
Miami Defense, Bo Scaife(notes)
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: MIA FS Tyrone Culver(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: Tennessee 26, Miami 19
CAROLINA PANTHERS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
CATS – 3.8 YPC | 6.0 YPA
BUCS – 5.0 YPC | 6.9 YPA

What to watch for: The CAR offense is averaging five fewer points than any other team in the league. And it just lost starting QB Matt Moore(notes) for the season with a shoulder injury, meaning that it's likely rookie Jimmy Clausen(notes), he of the 48.0 QB Rating, will be back at work on Sunday. You should probably forget about all Panthers in this game, but it's hard not to think that if RB DeAngelo Williams(notes) can return this week from a foot injury, he would have a decent chance for success against a TB defense allowing 5.0 YPC – you have to figure CAR will try to run all day with Clausen behind center, and Williams could have an even heavier workload if platoon RB Jonathan Stewart(notes) doesn't get cleared following a Week 9 concussion. If Williams can't go, backup RB Mike Woodson suddenly becomes interesting. … I expected TB RB LeGarrette Blount(notes) to struggle last week, but this week should be better for the bruising rookie. CAR is allowing just 3.8 YPC, but the Panthers lost starting MLB Dan Connor(notes) for the season in Week 9. Also, you have to assume TB will dominate the possession time count. There should be no shortage of opportunities for Blount. No WR has surpassed 85 yards against CAR, which allows the third-fewest FAN PPG to the position. This game does not set up well for TB WR Mike Williams. CAR has talented corners, a formidable scheme against the pass and there's also the strong likelihood that TB will be able to grab the lead in this contest and ride Blount for most of the afternoon. I'm guessing that when QB Josh Freeman(notes) does drop back to pass, TE Kellen Winslow(notes) will be the one he's seeking out most often.

LeGarrette Blount, Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay Defense
DeAngelo Williams, Mike Williams, Josh Freeman, Steve Smith, Carnell Williams(notes)
Carolina QB, Carolina TE, Carolina WRs (not named Smith), Tampa Bay receivers (not named Williams), Carolina Defense
Sleeper: Mike Goodson(notes)
Key Injuries: CAR QB Matt Moore (shoulder); CAR RB DeAngelo Williams (foot); CAR RB Tyrell Sutton(notes) (ankle); CAR RB Jonathan Stewart (head); CAR DE Greg Hardy(notes) (head); CAR LB Dan Connor (hip); CAR LB Thomas Davis(notes) (knee)
Prediction: Tampa Bay 23, Carolina 12
HOUSTON TEXANS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
TEXANS – 4.0 YPC | 8.2 YPA
JAGS – 4.4 YPC | 8.7 YPA

What to watch for: You could make a reasonable argument that this matchup will feature the two worst pass defenses in the league. HOU allows the most FAN PPG to QBs and the second-most to WRs, while JAC allows the second-most FAN PPG to QBs and the most to WRs. Considering that each team boasts an upper echelon RB, as well, you really have to feel bullish about most every offensive player involved in this one, with the exception of HOU WR Kevin Walter(notes). I actually picked him up and started him last week on a hunch, and because I was dealing with bye/injury issues. Of course, he delivered his third doughnut in a row – take a chance on him if you want, but he's dead to me.

Arian Foster(notes), Maurice Jones-Drew(notes), Andre Johnson(notes), Matt Schaub(notes), David Garrard(notes), Mike Sims-Walker(notes), Marcedes Lewis(notes), Mike Thomas(notes)
Houston Defense, Kevin Walter, Jacksonville Defense
Sleeper: Joel Dreessen(notes), Jacoby Jones(notes)
Key Injuries: HOU TE Owen Daniels(notes) (hamstring)
Prediction: Houston 29, Jacksonville 26
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ DENVER BRONCOS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
CHIEFS – 3.8 YPC | 6.5 YPA
BRONCOS – 4.6 YPC | 7.7 YPA

What to watch for: DEN could be in big trouble this week. It went into its Week 9 bye having lost four straight, three coming against teams that rank among the top six in rush attempts per game (NYJ, BAL, OAK). Now it will face the most run-heavy team in the league in KC. Not surprisingly, DEN is the most generous run defense in fantasy, so consider KC RBs Jamaal Charles(notes) and Thomas Jones(notes) as bolded green options this week. In the passing game, I'm not expecting much from the Chiefs. WR Dwayne Bowe(notes) is always a threat to score, but he'll be draped by DEN CB Champ Bailey(notes) this week, and Bowe is scoreless in his five career games against DEN. KC TE Tony Moeaki(notes) is a better bet this week – DEN allows the eighth-most FAN PPG to TEs. … For DEN, QB Kyle Orton(notes) and WR Brandon Lloyd(notes) are unbenchable … but everyone else is completely benchable. DEN RB Knowshon Moreno(notes) lacks game-breaking skills and loses goal-line touches to backup QB Tim Tebow(notes). WR Eddie Royal(notes) hasn't scored or topped the 40-yard mark in four straight games. WR Jabar Gaffney(notes) is scoreless in seven straight, although he did have 14 catches for 213 yards against KC in week 17 of '09. That's not that relevant to this season but, if it came down to having to decide between Gaffney and Royal, it would certainly swing my opinion in favor of Gaffney. Alright, moving on …

Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, Tony Moeaki, Kyle Orton, Brandon Lloyd
Dwayne Bowe, Knowshon Moreno, Jabar Gaffney, Kansas City Defense
Eddie Royal, Denver Defense, Denver TEs, Kansas City WRs (not named Bowe), Matt Cassel(notes)
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: KC RB Dexter McCluster(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: Kansas City 26, Denver 17
DALLAS COWBOYS @ NEW YORK GIANTS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BOYS – 4.4 YPC | 8.0 YPA
GIANTS – 3.5 YPC | 6.1 YPA

What to watch for: Not sure how you can look at this game and feel like Dallas won't get blown out. The only potential hiccup for the Giants could be that it might be without two starters on the offensive line. But even in the event that both starters are out, DAL has too many issues and the Giants too few to think that this can be a closely contested game. If you've spied Michael Salfino's latest Fantasy Team Power Rankings, you know that the Giants rank No. 1 in both offense and defense. If you regularly employ Giants players, this is certainly not a matchup that will give you pause for those players. For DAL, you'd expect that QB Jon Kitna(notes) will have to pass – he combined with the injured Tony Romo(notes) for 40 passes against NYG in a 41-35 loss in Week 7. Kitna's favorite weapon has been rookie WR Dez Bryant(notes), who has the fifth-most fantasy receiving production in the league in the past three weeks. WR Miles Austin(notes) has been targeted an equal numbers of times as Bryant in that span (26) but he's caught eight fewer passes (20 to 12) and is scoreless since Romo's exit. TE Jason Witten(notes) has been fantastic under Kitna, averaging nearly 79 receiving yards and scoring twice (one from Romo) in the past three weeks. He has to be started. The DAL backfield is the second-least productive in fantasy for the season and the worst for the past three weeks. This isn't the matchup that it gets things figured out.

Ahmad Bradshaw(notes), Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Eli Manning(notes), Brandon Jacobs(notes), Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, NY Giants Defense
Jon Kitna
Dallas Defense, Roy Williams, Marion Barber(notes), Felix Jones(notes)
Sleeper: Mario Manningham(notes), Danny Ware(notes)
Key Injuries: DAL WR Roy Williams (head); DAL DL Marcus Spears(notes) (calf); DAL DL Sean Lissemore(notes) (ankle); DAL CB Terence Newman(notes) (ribs); NYG WR Hakeem Nicks (ankle); NYG LT David Diehl(notes) (hamstring); NYG C Adam Koets(notes) (knee)
Prediction: NY Giants 31, Dallas 18
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
HAWKS – 4.0 YPC | 7.5 YPA
CARDS – 4.4 YPC | 7.5 YPA

What to watch for: These two offenses have combined to average less than 36 PPG this season, but there's a decent chance that some respectable fantasy numbers will ultimately come out of this contest. SEA is dealing with major injury issues on the defensive line and that should open the door for the ARI running game and make life a bit easier for ARI QB Derek Anderson(notes). And SEA should have QB Matt Hasselbeck(notes) back, in addition to a healthier offensive line this week (including rookie LT Rusell Okung), and that should bode well for a SEA offense facing the 26th-rated defense, according to the Salfino fantasy power rankings. These teams met in Week 7, and WR Mike Williams (11/87/1) and RB Marshawn Lynch(notes) (24/89) were the offensive stars (relatively speaking) for SEA, and both are at least chartreuse options this week. For ARI, RB Beanie Wells(notes) (14/54/1) led the way in the last meeting. Wells dealt with an allergic reaction to an injection he got for his knee prior to Week 9 and he wound up handling just one carry at Minnesota last Sunday. I'm expecting him to make a full return in this one and do no worse than he did in his last meeting with SEA. But the best ARI weapon on Sunday will likely be a DEF/ST that has produced 7 TDs, only four fewer than the offense.

Beanie Wells, Larry Fitzgerald(notes), Mike Williams, Arizona Defense
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Defense, Steve Breaston(notes), Tim Hightower(notes), Matt Hasselbeck
Derek Anderson, Deion Butler, John Carlson(notes), Arizona TEs
Sleeper: Justin Forsett(notes)
Key Injuries: SEA WR Golden Tate(notes) (ankle); SEA OT Russell Okung(notes) (ankle); SEA DT Brandon Mebane(notes) (calf); SEA DT Colin Cole(notes) (ankle); SEA QB Matt Hasselbeck (concussion); ARI DT Darnell Dockett(notes) (shoulder); ARI DE Kenny Iwebema(notes) (knee); ARI LB Paris Lenon(notes) (ankle); ARI S Kerry Rhodes(notes) (hand)
Prediction: Arizona 23, Seattle 21
ST. LOUIS RAMS @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
RAMS – 4.3 YPC | 6.4 YPA
49ERS – 3.6 YPC | 7.4 YPA

What to watch for: Ahh, the good 'ole NFC West, where any matchup of the four teams in the division can only be described as offensively challenged. This particular showdown features the third- and fourth-most anemic offenses in the league. On the SF side of the equation, RB Frank Gore(notes) and TE Vernon Davis(notes), who will return from an ankle injury, are perma-green options. And WR Michael Crabtree(notes) is close to gaining that designation despite the 49ers' QB carousel – Crabtree is the No. 19 WR in FAN PPG over the past five weeks. … On the STL side of things, all bets are iffy outside of RB Steven Jackson, though QB Sam Bradford(notes) looks viable this week against an SF defense that has allowed at least 250 passing yards to six of the past seven QBs it has faced. In PPR leagues, consider WR Danny Amendola(notes) worthy of being green-lighted – despite subpar yardage numbers, he has 24 catches in his past four games and TDs in two of them.

Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, San Francisco Defense
Sam Bradford, Danny Amendola, St. Louis Defense
San Francisco QBs, San Francisco WRs (not named Crabtree), St. Louis TEs
Sleeper: Laurent Robinson(notes)
Key Injuries: STL WR Danario Alexander(notes) (knee); SF TE Vernon Davis (ankle); SF QB Alex Smith (shoulder)
Prediction: San Francisco 20, St. Louis 16
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
PATS – 4.1 YPC | 7.6 YPA
STEELERS – 2.6 YPC | 6.8 YPA

What to watch for: NE is among the top 10 most generous defenses in fantasy to the QB, RB and TE positions, and ranks below average against WRs, as well. It's a great looking matchup for all the PIT key offensive components, but the potential fly in the ointment would be if the Steelers are without the three starters on the O-line (listed in the injury section below). More than likely Center Maurkice Pouncey(notes) will be fine, but the other two are likely to be Questionable. … Among RBs with at least three starts since Week 3, NE RB Danny Woodhead(notes) is No. 23 among RBs in FAN PPG (PPR leagues) in that span. And we've seen that against tough run defenses and in scenarios where NE is playing from behind, he's a preferable option to teammate RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes), as is the case this week. I wouldn't mess with BGE against the Steelers, but Woodhead I could see making a living against the Steel Curtain. NE QB Tom Brady(notes) and the Patriots passing game has lost some fire power. TE Aaron Hernandez(notes) is promising, but the receiving corps has been wildly inconsistent as a whole and Brady has become a dink-and-dunk king, which hasn't translated well in fantasy – No. 24 among QBs with at least two starts since Week 4 in FAN PPG. WR Wes Welker(notes) has gone six games without scoring a TD, and he's delivered 53 yards or less in five of those contests. WR Deion Branch(notes), despite a 9/98/1 performance in Week 6 in his Pats return, is who we thought he was – he has a combined 7/81/0 line in the three games since. I wouldn't give any Patriots the green light this week.

Rashard Mendenhall(notes), Ben Roethlisberger(notes), Hines Ward(notes), Mike Wallace(notes)
Tom Brady, Danny Woodhead, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, Heath Miller(notes)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Deion Branch, Brandon Tate(notes), New England Defense
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: NE PK Stephen Gostkowski(notes) (quad); PIT C Maurkice Pouncey (lower leg); PIT LG Chris Kemoeatu(notes) (ankle, knee); PIT LT Max Starks(notes) (neck); PIT DE Brett Keisel(notes) (hamstring)
Prediction: Pittsburgh 30, New England 20
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
EAGLES – 3.9 YPC | 6.5 YPA
SKINS – 4.6 YPC | 6.8 YPA

What to watch for: PHI QB Michael Vick(notes) showed little rust from his month-long injury hiatus last week, throwing for 218 yards and a TD and rushing for 74 yards and a score in a win over Indianapolis. While his style is conducive to injury, and the Week 4 loss to WAS was when Vick was knocked out of action with his chest injury, he's simply too explosive in this offense to even consider benching, especially if you consider that WAS has allowed the third-most FAN PPG to QBs. PHI WR DeSean Jackson(notes) also returned last week and was all over the field making plays against an IND defense that is always tough on WRs. WR Jeremy Maclin(notes) took a back seat to Jackson in Week 9, but he had caught 4 of Vick's 6 TD passes coming into the game and he has a good chance to add to that total against a Redskins secondary that has allowed 10 TDs to WRs. RB LeSean McCoy(notes) had 174 YFS when these teams met in Week 4, including 12 catches for 110 yards. That's the kind of history card you can't ignore. TE Brent Celek(notes) has been a waste of space with Vick at the helm. He caught a TD against WAS in Week 4, but it was after QB Kevin Kolb(notes) entered the game. … QB Donovan McNabb(notes) won't lack for motivation in this one after his late benching at Detroit in Week 7. And, of course, he's facing his old team. But McNabb has yet to throw for more than 1 TD pass in a game and he was good for only 125 passing yards, a TD and an INT in his last meeting with the Eagles. I don't feel good about him, or any of the Redskins this week, for that matter. The backfield is a question mark as Ryan Torain(notes) and Clinton Portis(notes) try to get back from leg injuries. Torain has featured rights now, and he's looked good enough when healthy in this role to justify running him out there in what is a tough matchup – he went for 70 yards and a TD on 18 carries in the last meeting – but if he's not healthy enough to play, and handle a full load, I wouldn't bother with any other WAS RB. TEs are historically a nice choice against the attacking PHI defense, and this year is no exception. Feel good about WAS TE Chris Cooley(notes), who scored in the previous meeting. WR Santana Moss(notes) was shutout against PHI in Week 4. I'm guessing he'll catch a pass this time around, but there's a lot of WRs I'd rather have this week.

Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Defense, Ryan Torain, Chris Cooley
Donovan McNabb, Santana Moss, Washington Defense
Brent Celek, Anthony Armstrong(notes)
Sleeper: Keiland Williams(notes)
Key Injuries: PHI S Nate Allen(notes) (neck); PHI G Max Jean-Gilles(notes) (head); PHI CB Ellis Hobbs(notes) (hip); WAS QB Donovan McNabb (hamstring); WAS RB Clinton Portis (groin); WAS RB Ryan Torain (hamstring)
Prediction: Washington 26, Philadelphia 24

Note: YPC stands for Yards Per Carry; YPA stands for Yards Per (Pass) Attempt

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