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NFL Skinny: Week 3 Preview

Brandon Funston
Yahoo Sports

NFL football 2010 is as unpredictable as ever.

I needed a late field goal by New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley(notes) on Monday night just to climb to even at .500 on my Week 2 picks in this forum. And look at the top four fantasy producers at the RB and WR positions, so far: Jahvid Best(notes), Arian Foster(notes), LeSean McCoy(notes), Matt Forte(notes) (for the RBs) and Hakeem Nicks(notes), Miles Austin(notes), Reggie Wayne(notes), Austin Collie(notes) (for the WRs). Depending on when you drafted this past summer, it's not hard to imagine one owner constructing a team consisting of all these players … let's see, Wayne and Miles Austin at the turn, McCoy and Best in the third and fourth, Nicks and Forte falling into the fifth and sixth, Collie and Foster as late-round flyers. Yeah, sure, that would have been possible, somewhere, sometime.

Of course, I always like to take a hard look at the fantasy landscape after three weeks of the season, as it's the first split that feels like the anomalies get ironed out, at least a bit, and we can start taking what we're seeing a lot more seriously. So, with that all-important Week 3 upon us, let's dive in and take a look at how I see it playing out.

Week 3 Preview
A snapshot of each Week 3 matchup

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
49ERS – 2.7 YPC | 7.0 YPA
CHIEFS – 3.3 YPC | 7.5 YPA

What to watch for: It's going to be desperation time for the 49ers on Sunday as the team most picked to win the NFC West can ill-afford to drop to 0-3. I think you'll see a similar offensive game plan to what we saw on Monday night – a whole lot of RB Frank Gore(notes) and TE Vernon Davis(notes) (KC has already yielded big days to TEs Antonio Gates(notes) and Benjamin Watson(notes)). The KC defense has some playmakers, but it has just three sacks on the season and SF did a good job in pass protection on MNF, so QB Alex Smith should have something to build off of following a solid rebound effort on MNF. Consider him a chartreuse option this week. … No QB with two games under his belt has scored fewer points in fantasy than Matt Cassel(notes). The KC passing attack looks awful (that falls mostly on Cassel) and I fully expect SF to stack the line, clog running lanes and fire off the ball after Cassel, daring him to beat SF the way QB Drew Brees(notes) did (barely) on MNF. This is not a good game to roll with a straight-line guy like RB Thomas Jones(notes), and RB Jamaal Charles(notes) is likely to struggle mightily on the ground but could end up with a big gainer or two in the passing game given the aggressive nature of SF and the fact that KC will likely find itself in a lot of passing down situations. Charles would be my only KC play this week.

Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Jamaal Charles
Alex Smith, Kansas City Defense, San Francisco Defense, Michael Crabtree(notes), Tony Moeaki(notes)
Thomas Jones, Dwayne Bowe(notes), Chris Chambers(notes), Matt Cassel, Josh Morgan(notes)
Sleeper: Dexter McCluster(notes)
Injuries:
Prediction: San Francisco 24, Kansas City 14
DETROIT LIONS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
LIONS – 4.5 YPC | 9.5 YPA
VIKES – 3.7 YPC | 6.9 YPA

What to watch for: It's a good week for QB Brett Favre(notes) to get well as DET is allowing the third-most FAN PTS to QBs after allowing the most to QBs a season ago. But DET can also get after the QB this year (league-high 10 sacks), so MIN is likely to stick to its formula of a heavy dose of RB Adrian Peterson and TE Visanthe Shiancoe(notes), while mostly avoiding deep routes that require Favre to bunker down in the pocket. I would expect WR Percy Harvin(notes) to be active in the flats and on crossing routes underneath if his hip will allow, but his health casts him in a yellow light. … MIN is at home, it is 0-2 and it will be surlier than ever on the defensive side. DET QB Shaun Hill(notes) is a game manager that lacks a big arm to burn an attacking defense like MIN. He completed 19 of 25 passes in Week 2 to his RBs and TEs, and that attention to quick hitters will continue this week for fear of DE Jared Allen(notes). For that reason, rookie RB Jahvid Best remains a green light, and TE Brandon Pettigrew(notes) (7/108 in Week 2) is also a nice dice roll. You probably won't feel inclined to bench WR Calvin Johnson(notes), but he is likely to finish with no better than a good, but not great, 6/60/1 type of line.

Adrian Peterson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Jahvid Best, Minnesota Defense
Calvin Johnson, Brett Favre, Percy Harvin, Detroit Defense
Shaun Hill, Bryant Johnson(notes), Bernard Berrian(notes)
Sleeper: Brandon Pettigrew
Injuries: MIN WR Percy Harvin (hip); MIN LB Ben Leber(notes) (back); MIN CB Cedric Griffin(notes) (knee); DET QB Matthew Stafford(notes) (shoulder); DET WR Nate Burleson(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: Minnesota 27, Detroit 16
BUFFALO BILLS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BILLS – 3.5 YPC | 6.9 YPA
PATS – 3.9 YPC | 7.1 YPA

What to watch for: BUF is the worst offense in the NFL – terrible offensive line, QBs that can't throw deep to the one aerial threat they have (Lee Evans(notes)) and a backfield being split three ways. Keep punting on these guys. … NE has a top five offense and BUF is allowing nearly 25 points per game. The Bills have done well in recent years against the pass, but WRs Randy Moss(notes) and Wes Welker(notes) did just fine against them last season. The NE running game, if you could call it that, is now without utility RB Kevin Faulk(notes) (ACL), so a platoon of RBs Fred Taylor(notes) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) will likely split something in the neighborhood of a 20-carry pie – both qualify as deep sleepers (beyond 12-team leagues). Rookie TE Aaron Hernandez(notes) qualifies as a straight up sleeper for all league sizes. He impressed in preseason with his athleticism and he's hauled in a catch of 45-plus yards in each of his first two regular season games. BUF gave up 100-plus yards to TE Jermichael Finley(notes) last week and Hernandez is a good bet for at least half of that in Week 3.

Tom Brady(notes), Randy Moss, Wes Welker, New England Defense
All Buffalo regulars
Sleeper: Aaron Hernandez, Fred Taylor, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Injuries: NE RB Kevin Faulk (knee); BUF LG Andy Levitre(notes) (shoulder);
Prediction: New England 28, Buffalo 13
ATLANTA FALCONS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
FALCONS – 5.9 YPC | 6.8 YPA
SAINTS – 4.8 YPC | 7.6 YPA

What to watch for: I think it's fair to have concerns about ATL RB Michael Turner(notes) despite expectations that his sore groin won't keep him out in Week 3. He hasn't been able to stay on the field much since mid-way through last season and for the sake of preservation, we are likely to start seeing a 20/10 carry split between Turner and backup RB Jason Snelling(notes) instead of the originally expected 25/5 scenario. That said, it would be hard to sit Turner against a NO defense that he has averaged 100-plus yards against and has scored a TD against in each of his three matchups since arriving in ATL. QB Matt Ryan(notes) struggled at NO last season and he could have trouble again if he continues to lock onto WR Roddy White(notes) at the exclusion of TE Tony Gonzalez(notes) and the other WRs. Saints CB Jabari Greer(notes) is liable to make Ryan pay with a pick-6 like in '09 if he keeps that tunnel vision approach. This temperature-controlled matchup has produce healthy point totals in recent years, but I expect ATL to be fairly conservative with a heavy ground approach and an emphasis on working the middle with Gonzalez in blitz situations. … Among non-obvious NO plays, I'd count TE Jeremy Shockey(notes), who has averaged 60-plus yards in his past three meetings with ATL. He could see an expanded role as a safety valve with the Saints changing up the playbook with RB Reggie Bush(notes) out. And until a healthy, adequate replacement is found for Bush, expect RB Pierre Thomas(notes) to handle a major load. He has to be in your lineup this week. The ATL secondary has allowed a lot of big pass plays since the beginning of last season, and I'd say there's a very good chance that either WR Devery Henderson(notes) or Robert Meachem(notes) hits on a big one. But I won't commit to either as a top 40 WR this week.

Michael Turner, Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas, Roddy White, Marques Colston(notes), Tony Gonzalez, Jeremy Shockey
Matt Ryan, New Orleans Defense
Atlanta Defense, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Harry Douglas(notes)
Sleeper: Jason Snelling
Injuries: ATL RB Jerious Norwood(notes) (knee); NO RB Reggie Bush (leg); NO CB Randall Gay(notes) (head)
Prediction: New Orleans 31, Atlanta 20
TENNESSEE TITANS @ NEW YORK GIANTS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
TITANS – 4.1 YPC | 4.1 YPA
GIANTS – 3.7 YPC | 7.2 YPA

What to watch for: TEN was arguably the league's worst pass defense last season, but it looks much improved in '10. However, it faced QBs Jason Campbell(notes) and Dennis Dixon(notes), so let's temper the enthusiasm. I wouldn't hold QB Eli Manning(notes) back in this contest. His arsenal is deep, and TEN probably won't be able to thwart the Manning-to-WR Hakeem Nicks hook up the entire game. NYG RB Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) looks like a sure bet for 20-plus touches with RB Brandon Jacobs'(notes) role as the clear backup cemented. … That TEN QB Vince Young(notes) is getting his job back doesn't do much to help the TEN receiving options. WR Nate Washington(notes) is the best flyer of the bunch, leading the team in targets (13) and TDs (2). But he's just that, a flyer.

Chris Johnson, Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw
Steve Smith, Mario Manningham(notes), Nate Washington, Tennessee Defense, NY Giants Defense
Vince Young, Brandon Jacobs, Bo Scaife(notes), Kevin Boss(notes), Justin Gage(notes), Kenny Britt(notes)
Sleeper:
Injuries: NYG OL Shaun O'Hara(notes) (ankle) and Will Beatty (foot)
Prediction: NY Giants 24, Tennessee 20
CLEVELAND BROWNS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BROWNS – 3.8 YPC | 6.4 YPA
RAVENS – 4.0 YPC | 4.3 YPA

What to watch for: BAL is giving up 4.0 YPC, but it hasn't surrendered a TD to a RB and it has allowed the fewest FAN PTS to RBs outside of PIT. Forget about CLE RBs Jerome Harrison(notes) and Peyton Hillis(notes). In fact, CLE scored a combined total of 3 points in two meetings with BAL last season and it is averaging 14 points in losses to TB and KC. There's nothing I'd feel good about with this offensive unit in Week 3. … You have to expect BAL QB Joe Flacco(notes) to rebound from a brutal performance at CIN in Week 2, but he won't likely be asked, or needed, to do much in this one. This game could mirror what happened last year in Week 3, when BAL beat CLE 34-3 and RBs Ray Rice(notes) and Willis McGahee(notes) combined for three of the Ravens' four TDs.

Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin(notes), Baltimore Defense
Todd Heap(notes), Derrick Mason(notes)
T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes), Jerome Harrison, Peyton Hillis, Joshua Cribbs(notes), Seneca Wallace(notes), Mohammed Massaquoi, Benjamin Watson, Cleveland Defense
Sleeper: Willis McGahee
Injuries:
Prediction: Baltimore 26, Cleveland 10
DALLAS COWBOYS @ HOUSTON TEXANS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
COWBOYS – 3.0 YPC | 7.3 YPA
TEXANS – 2.3 YPC | 9.0 YPA

What to watch for: This has all the makings of an air show in Houston in Week 3. No team has allowed more aerial FAN PTS than HOU, which is good for DAL since it can't run the ball. This week, and most weeks, you roll with QB Tony Romo(notes), WRs Miles Austin and Dez Bryant(notes) and TE Jason Witten(notes) (assuming he plays). Avoid the RB cesspool and sure-to-be demoted-soon WR Roy Williams. … HOU may also find it difficult to pound away at DAL on the ground. The Cowboys have held tough against Clinton Portis(notes) and Matt Forte on the ground, thus far. But with three WRs in Andre Johnson(notes), Kevin Walter(notes) and Jacoby Jones(notes) that all stand at least 6-foot-2 and weigh in the 220 neighborhood, that's literally a tall order for the talented, but much smaller DAL CBs. I'd expect QB Matt Schaub(notes) to come out firing away once again. He might not get close to 500 yards this week, but 300 is a good possibility.

Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Kevin Walter
Jacoby Jones, Roy Williams, Houston Defense
Marion Barber(notes), Felix Jones(notes), Owen Daniels(notes), Dallas Defense
Sleeper: Martellus Bennett(notes)
Injuries: DAL CB Mike Jenkins(notes) (knee); DAL TE Jason Witten (head); HOU WR Andre Johnson (ankle)
Prediction: Dallas 28, Houston 27
PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
STEELERS – 2.2 YPC | 5.9 YPA
BUCCANEERS – 4.0 YPC | 6.3 YPA

What to watch for: This matchup is the early odds-on-favorite to win the Mr. Yuck sticker. Given the PIT QB situation and the inexperience of TB QB Josh Freeman(notes) against, perhaps, the best defense in the league, I'd very surprised if either team threw more than 25 times, unless forced into it because of the scoreboard (I'm talking to you, Bucs). I like TB QB Josh Freeman, but I'd be surprised if TB doesn't put the reins on him in this one, calling for a lot of dumps to RB Earnest Graham(notes) and short, low-risk strikes to WR Mike Williams and TE Kellen Winslow(notes). … PIT RB Rashard Mendenhall(notes) has had at least 22 carries in each game, thus far. I won't be surprised if he carries 25-plus times in this one. The PIT QB situation is a mess, which casts a cloud on all PIT receiving options, although I'm going to go with my gut and predict a long scoring strike to WR Mike Wallace(notes) – we've seen CLE WR Mohammed Massaquoi and CAR WR Steve Smith connect on 40-plus bombs against TB already.

Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Defense
Kellen Winslow, Heath Miller(notes), Tampa Bay Defense
Byron Leftwich(notes)/Charlie Batch, Hines Ward(notes), Carnell Williams(notes), Mike Williams, Josh Freeman, Sammie Stroughter(notes)
Sleeper: Earnest Graham
Injuries: PIT QB Dennis Dixon (knee)
Prediction: Pittsburgh 17, Tampa Bay 10
CINCINNATI BENGALS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BENGALS – 4.9 YPC | 5.6 YPA
PANTHERS – 3.0 YPC | 8.0 YPA

What to watch for: I tend to fall on the side of the argument that CAR QB Jimmy Clausen(notes) won't be that much of a detriment to the fantasy value of WR Steve Smith. Clausen can make the throws QB Matt Moore(notes) can make, and he can make more than former QB Jake Delhomme(notes) could make in his final couple years in CAR. And his NFL-ready rep is legit. The CIN matchup would not be ideal for Smith regardless of who was at QB this week and that CIN is allowing 4.9 YPC and CAR is starting a rookie QB does lend credence to the back-to-basics idea of CAR going heavy to the backfield. But CAR has not looked good running the ball, so even if it decides to go that route in Week 3, positive results are not guaranteed. That said, I'd still put my faith in RB DeAngelo Williams(notes). As for RB Jonathan Stewart(notes), I can't explain his diminished role thus far, but I don't think you can use him this week assuming his role will expand. I think you have to see it happen first. … CAR allowed 3 TD passes to Eli Manning in Week 1 and two more to TB QB Josh Freeman in Week 2. A big issue is a lack of a pass rush (just one QB sack). That bodes well for CIN QB Carson Palmer(notes), who has been one of the most protected QBs this season (just two sacks). Of course, RB Cedric Benson(notes) will get his carries, his 65-90 rushing yards and 0.5 TDs, but the passing game is what looks most optimistic for the Bengals.

Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, DeAngelo Williams, Chad Ochocinco(notes), Cincinnati Defense
Steve Smith, Terrell Owens(notes), Jermaine Gresham(notes)
Jimmy Clausen, David Gettis(notes), Dante Rosario(notes), Carolina Defense, Jonathan Stewart
Sleeper: Jordan Shipley(notes)
Injuries: CIN CB Adam Jones(notes) (shoulder); CIN WR Chad Ochocinco(rib); CAR WR Steve Smith (wrist)
Prediction: Cincinnati 22, Carolina 14
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
EAGLES – 4.2 YPC | 6.9 YPA
JAGUARS – 4.4 YPC | 10.1 YPA

What to watch for: JAC is allowing the fourth most yards per game and joins DET as the only teams giving up at least 120 YPG on the ground and 300 YPG through the air. You have to like all the regulars on an Eagles offense that has scored 52 points in just over six quarters under the direction of QB Michael Vick(notes). … JAC QB David Garrard(notes) has been much better at home in recent years, but this isn't really a matchup that I'd look to exploit with him this week. Stick with RB Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) and WR Mike Sims-Walker(notes) and it's fair to consider TE Marcedes Lewis(notes) against an attacking PHI defense that is typically susceptible to the TE.

LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson(notes), Jeremy Maclin(notes), Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Sims-Walker
Marcedes Lewis, Brent Celek(notes), Philadelphia Defense
David Garrard, Jacksonville Defense, Mike Thomas(notes)
Sleeper: Jason Avant(notes)
Injuries: JAC LB Justin Durant(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: Philadelphia 24, Jacksonville 20
WASHINGTON REDSKINS @ ST. LOUIS RAMS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
SKINS – 3.5 YPC | 7.8 YPA
RAMS – 4.7 YPC | 7.0 YPA

What to watch for: Given the talent in the WAS secondary (CBs DeAngelo Hall(notes) and Carlos Rogers(notes) and FS LaRon Landry(notes)), it's surprising to see that WAS has allowed the most FAN PTS to WRs through the first two weeks. Hall says that he doesn't care what DC Jim Haslett thinks, he's going to cover the opposing top wideout no matter what, his solution to fixing the pass defense problems. Facing STL and rookie QB Sam Bradford(notes) as opposed to the Texas QB twosome of Matt Schaub and Tony Romo should help, too, though Bradford probably isn't a bad flyer to take in deeper leagues. He's showed nice poise and has flashed the potential that made him the No. 1 overall pick last April. Bradford's main man, thus far, has been WR Mark Clayton(notes). But there's no sure thing among the STL receivers, especially if Hall is hell-bent on shutting down whomever he perceives to be the top guy. STL RB Steven Jackson could wind up leading the team in both rushing and receiving yards, as we saw HOU RB Arian Foster pick up 69 yards through the air last week against these Redskins. … WAS has leaned heavily on the pass under HC Mike Shanahan, so far, and this matchup looks good for the passing game. But we should see the focus shift to the running game this week. STL has allowed 4.7 YPC and yielded the fourth-most FAN PTS to RBs a season ago. WAS RB Clinton Portis has handled 31 of 40 WAS rush attempts and is clearly in control in the WAS backfield. He is likely in line for 20-plus carries this week.

Steven Jackson, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss(notes), Donovan McNabb(notes), Chris Cooley(notes)
Mark Clayton, Sam Bradford, Joey Galloway(notes), Washington Defense
Laurent Robinson(notes), St. Louis Defense, Daniel Fells(notes)
Sleeper: Danny Amendola(notes)
Injuries: WAS OT Trent Williams(notes) (toe); STL FS Craig Dahl(notes) (concussion); STL TEs Daniel Fells and Billy Bajema(notes) (MCL)
Prediction: Washington 23, St. Louis 19
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ DENVER BRONCOS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
COLTS – 5.6 YPC | 6.5 YPA
BRONCOS – 4.5 YPC | 7.2 YPA

What to watch for: DEN has just two sacks this season and they have a hope and a prayer of getting pressure on IND QB Peyton Manning(notes). To make matters worse, both DEN starting CBs Champ Bailey(notes) and Andre' Goodwin were injured against SEA last week and we don't know yet if either will be able to go on Sunday. The airways should be wide open for Manning and company, and that should in turn create space for RBs Joseph Addai(notes) and Donald Brown(notes) to operate in the backfield. It really looks good for everyone on the IND side of things, although WR Pierre Garcon's(notes) poor play to date has to give you pause regardless of the situation. … Last season, when DEN faced IND, and lost 28-16, the Broncos won the time of possession battle by putting the ball in the hands of RB Knowshon Moreno(notes) 26 times and throwing it to WR Brandon Marshall(notes) 28 times (21 receptions). Indy's Cover 2 defense is good at limiting big plays but has allowed 5.6 YPC, so a similar approach to last season, with behemoth rookie WR Demaryius Thomas(notes) filling Marhsall's shoes, could be in the works – consider him in chartreuse light. Moreno will get plenty of work, but he's a back with very limited upside – just two of his career 286 carries have gone for more than 20 yards – so don't overrate his matchup too much.

Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark(notes), Joseph Addai, Austin Collie, Knowshon Moreno
Demaryius Thomas, Kyle Orton(notes), Eddie Royal(notes), Pierre Garcon
Jabar Gaffney(notes), Brandon Lloyd(notes), Indianapolis Defense, Denver Defense
Sleeper: Donald Brown, Correll Buckhalter(notes)
Injuries: DEN CBs Champ Bailey (foot) and Andre' Goodman(notes) (thigh); DEN OTs Chris Kuper(notes) (ankle, knee) and Ryan Harris(notes) (ankle); DEN RB Laurence Maroney(notes) (thigh)
Prediction: Indianapolis 31, Denver 20
OAKLAND RAIDERS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
RAIDERS – 4.7 YPC | 7.6 YPA
CARDS – 4.4 YPC | 5.5 YPA

What to watch for: Put Larry Fitzgerald(notes) in the same boat as Calvin Johnson. Their talent is too good to ignore come time to set your lineup, but their current QB situation is dire. And this week, Fitzgerald will likely contend with OAK CB Nnamdi Asomugha often. You know the risks with Fitzgerald, but you're forgiven if you decide to start him anyways. ARI RB Tim Hightower(notes) didn't fumble last week and rolled up 115 yards on the ground at ATL. He's looking good this week against a long-suffering OAK run defense, especially if RB Beanie Wells(notes) (knee) can't go again – probably a coin flip proposition. Even if Wells does play, I would expect Hightower to see the majority of touches. … The ARI defense was beaten in every way in Week 2 at ATL and it will be looking to atone at home against OAK, and whichever QB (Bruce Gradkowski(notes) or Jason Campbell) is named starter for Week 3. Regardless of who starts, you have to think the team will continue to emphasize the good thing they have going in RB Darren McFadden(notes), who is tied with HOU RB Arian Foster for the most touches in the league (56). In the passing game, if Gradkowski gets the nod, it bodes well for WR Louis Murphy(notes), who has caught four of his five career TDs from Gradkowski.

Darren McFadden, Tim Hightower, Larry Fitzgerald
Louis Murphy, Zach Miller, Steve Breaston(notes), Arizona Defense, Oakland Defense
Derek Anderson(notes), Darrius Hayward-Bey
Sleeper: Stephen Williams(notes)
Injuries: OAK RB Michael Bush(notes) (thumb); ARI RB Beanie wells (knee); ARI WR Early Doucet(notes) (hernia);
Prediction: Arizona 23, Oakland 17
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BOLTS – 4.1 YPC | 5.6 YPA
HAWKS – 2.0 YPC | 6.7 YPA

What to watch for: The move of SEA DL Red Bryant(notes) from DT to DE has really worked wonders for the SEA rush defense, as has a healthy LB Lofa Tatupu(notes). With SEA feeding off the home crowd, it could be very tough sledding for the SDG running game, be it hobbled rookie RB Ryan Mathews(notes) or backup Mike Tolbert(notes). The Chargers are likely to once again ride the arm of QB Philip Rivers(notes), who is averaging 316 passing yards in two contests. WR Malcom Floyd(notes) will have a half-a-foot height advantage on the SEA CBs and a considerable weight advantage. We saw DEN rookie WR Demaryius Thomas capitalize on that last week and I expect Floyd, who would be among the top 10 scoring WRs in fantasy right now if not for the saturated turf in Arrowhead Stadium in Week 1 costing him a late TD, coming up with some big plays for Rivers. … It would surprise me if SEA didn't try to jump-start its running game in this contest. At the least, I expect it to get RB Justin Forsett(notes) involved in the passing game, where the Chargers' aggressive nature has led to good RB receiving yardage production – fifth-most allowed to RBs in '09 and 50 yards allowed to JAC RB Rashard Jennings last week. I like Forsett as a chartreuse option this week, and I'm giving him the green light here. In the passing game, it's not a bad week to dial up TE John Carlson(notes). SDG has been below average in fantasy against the TE for each of the past nine seasons. SEA QB Matt Hasselbeck(notes) has been markedly better at home the past few years, and given the crop of QBs that are slated to see action across the NFL on Sunday, Hasselbeck is far from the worst option.

Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, Justin Forsett
John Carlson, Matt Hasselbeck, Legedu Naanee(notes), Ryan Mathews, Mike Williams, Seattle Defense, San Diego Defense
Mike Tolbert, Deion Branch(notes)
Sleeper: Golden Tate(notes), Darren Sproles(notes)
Injuries: SDG RB Ryan Mathews (ankle); SDG LT Brandyn Dombrowski(notes) (leg); SEA LB LeRoy Hill(notes) (calf)
Prediction: San Diego 23, Seattle 20
NEW YORK JETS @ MIAMI DOLPHINS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
JETS – 1.8 YPC | 6.7 YPA
FINS – 4.1 YPC | 5.2 YPA

What to watch for: These two teams got surprisingly offensive both times they met in '09, no team scoring less than 25 points in either contest. At heart, both teams vastly prefer to run the ball, but MIA beefed up the passing game with WR Brandon Marshall, who catches a break with the likelihood that NYJ CB Darrelle Revis(notes) will miss the game with a hamstring injury. That moves Marshall into green light territory. As far as the MIA RB platoon of Ronnie Brown(notes) and Ricky Williams(notes) are concerned, it'll be facing the NFL's No. 2 rush defense in terms of YPC allowed (1.8) – I might be willing to gamble on Brown, who had one of just two 20-point fantasy days by a RB against NYJ last season and is coming off an 80-yard rushing performance in a tough environment in MIN last week. But, no matter what Brad Evans might tell you this week, I wouldn't want to roll with Ricky Williams on Sunday night. … NYJ averaged 35 rushes in the two meetings last year and it seems likely it will look to run the combination of RBs LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) and Shonn Greene(notes) 30-plus times on Sunday night. But I'm still not quite sure what to make of this duo – neither has reached double digit fantasy points in a game this season and MIA is not all that ripe of an environment for them. I'm flying both under the caution flag this week. I'm giving my only green light for the Jets to TE Dustin Keller(notes), who has now caught TDs in four of his past five games (including last year's postseason). And he had his best regular-season game of '09 against MIA in Week 8 (8/76/1).

Brandon Marshall, Dustin Keller
Ronnie Brown, LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene, Miami Defense, NY Jets Defense
Ricky Williams, Mark Sanchez(notes), Braylon Edwards(notes), Jerricho Cotchery(notes), Chad Henne(notes), Anthony Fasano(notes), Davone Bess(notes), Brian Hartline(notes)
Sleeper:
Injuries: NYJ C Nick Mangold(notes) (shoulder); NYJ CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring)
Prediction: NY Jets 23, Miami 22
GREEN BAY PACKERS @ CHICAGO BEARS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
PACK – 5.3 YPC | 5.8 YPA
BEARS – 1.4 YPC | 6.4 YPA

What to watch for: CHI QB Jay Cutler(notes) is the No. 2 QB in fantasy and sports a league-high 121.2 QB Rating after two weeks under Mike Martz's guidance. He also survived (and thrived) in what I expected to be a rough outing for him in DAL last week. So, while Cutler did throw six picks against this opportunistic GB defense last season, you really can't shy away from him now given how he's played early on. Unfortunately, he's spread things around pretty thin, with no WR currently sitting on more than Johnny Knox's(notes) seven receptions. He's got the slight early lead for the go-to role and he's got the most potential to break a long one (he's had a catch of 30-plus yards in each of the first two games). And it's worth noting that Knox topped 80 yards in both meetings with GB, the only games in which he accomplished that last season. If I'm an owner of RB Matt Forte, I wouldn't sweat that all his production is coming from the passing game. Martz's system led RB Marshall Faulk over the 1,000-receiving yard threshold once upon a time. … I mentioned last week that I wasn't a fan of GB RB Brandon Jackson(notes) for the long haul, and after his first week as the supposed featured back in the GB backfield, I'm even more convinced that the team will be pushing to make a move for a different back. There's nothing special about Jackson's running ability. He has no imagination and poor instincts. I would not be giving him a second chance this week against the top run defense in the league. I think you instead have to put your trust in QB Aaron Rodgers(notes) and the GB passing game. For what it's worth, Rodgers averaged just 182 passing yards and threw just 1 TD pass in two meetings with CHI last season. But I have no faith in GB being able to run against CHI on MNF, so I expect Rodgers will throw it more than his average of 26 pass attempts against them last year. No team has allowed more receptions to TEs than CHI (19). I don't have to tell you Jermichael Finley owners what to do.

Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Johnny Knox, Greg Jennings(notes), Chicago Defense
Donald Driver(notes), Green Bay Defense, Devin Hester(notes),
Brandon Jackson, Greg Olsen(notes), Devin Aromashodu(notes)
Sleeper:
Injuries: CHI OT Chris Williams (hamstring); GB OT Chad Clifton(notes) (knee)
Prediction: Chicago 26, Green Bay 20

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

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