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NFL Skinny: Week 6 Preview

Brandon Funston
Yahoo Sports

I have to admit, the reality side of the NFL is not getting any easier for me to figure out. I went 5-9 last week on game score predictions in this space, which is as bad as I can ever remember. It's a crazy year in the NFL where the gap between the haves and have-nots is not that far apart. There are no undefeated teams left and 24 of 32 teams have at least two losses through five weeks.

Luckily, I work for Yahoo! Sports Fantasy and not a Vegas sportsbook, and things have been a little better for me on the non-reality side of things. So, as we dive into the Week 6 slate, feel free to ignore that game score prediction. That may be the bottom line for each matchup capsule, but it's not the bottom line we fantasy players should really care about.

Alright, let's get Week 6 started …

Note: Buffalo, Arizona, Cincinnati and Carolina are on bye in Week 6

Week 6 Preview
A snapshot of each Week 6 matchup

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ CHICAGO BEARS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
HAWKS – 2.7 YPC | 7.3 YPA
BEARS – 3.5 YPC | 6.0 YPA

What to watch for: Look for SEA to go conservative (read: run heavy) as it looks to keep QB Matt Hasselbeck(notes) in one piece on the road against Julius Peppers(notes) and Co. The road has been tough for Hasselbeck, and the loss of WR Deion branch(notes) leaves him with a very inexperienced receiving corps. Newly acquired RB Marshawn Lynch(notes) is going to be thrown into the fire against a CHI defense that has been just so-so the past couple weeks against the run after being a shutdown unit the first three weeks – if CHI LB Lance Briggs(notes) (ankle) can't play, that will give added confidence to the SEA run attack. I'm going bold with an 80/1 line prediction for Lynch. … CHI QB Jay Cutler(notes) (concussion) has been cleared to practice this week and he's expected to play. Only the WAS defense has seen more pass attempts than SEA, a result of a strong SEA run defense and the fact that typically the team has struggled to consistently pressure the QB. No team is allowing more 20-yard pass plays per game than SEA and, although CHI will be concerned about having Cutler in the line of fire too often, you can expect he'll be given some opportunities to go up top to WR Johnny Knox(notes) and deep over the middle to TE Greg Olsen(notes) (SEA allows the fourth-most YPG to TEs). RB Matt Forte(notes) is a tough one to figure out, but he's produced two mammoth, carry-a-fantasy-team-on-his-back efforts, thus far, and you can't leave yourself out of the running for another one by benching him. Take heart in the fact that SEA does allow generous yardage to RBs in the receiving game.

Jay Cutler, Johnny Knox, Matt Forte, Greg Olsen, Marshawn Lynch, Chicago Defense
John Carlson(notes), Seattle Defense, Devin Hester(notes)
Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Williams, Deion Butler
Sleeper: Golden Tate(notes), Brandon Stokley(notes), Chester Taylor(notes)
Key Injuries: CHI QB Jay Cutler (concussion); CHI LB Lance Briggs (ankle); CHI OT Chris Williams (hamstring); SEA OT Sean Locklear(notes) (knee); SEA CB Marcus Trufant(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: Chicago 24, Seattle 17
BALTIMORE RAVENS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
RAVENS – 4.2 YPC | 6.0 YPA
PATS – 4.4 YPC | 7.4 YPA

What to watch for: BAL RB Ray Rice(notes) had his '10 breakout performance last week and you can count on him to keep it rolling against a beatable NE run defense that he ran wild against in two meetings a year ago – combined 33 carries, 262 yards, 2 TDs. QB Joe Flacco(notes) will probably play it fairly conservative so long as the team is keeping the score close, and that seems like a pretty good likelihood with WR Randy Moss(notes) no longer in the employ of NE. That said, NE has issues in pass defense, as well, having allowed four WRs to top 80 receiving yards in its four games. I'd bank on WR Anquan Boldin(notes) becoming the fifth to accomplish that feat. … DEN showed in Week 5 that the sterling numbers posted by the BAL pass defense prior to Sunday's affair probably had a lot to do with the aerial competence of its previous opponents. Owners of QB Tom Brady(notes) should not look at this matchup with fear, especially since the NE and DEN offenses are similar. But NE no longer has that deep factor, like DEN WR Brandon Lloyd(notes), although your interest should be piqued to see how WR Brandon Tate(notes) looks in trying to fill that role this week. I suspect there'll be a steady barrage of short passes from Brady to WRs Wes Welker(notes) and Deion Branch, with TE Aaron Hernandez(notes) and Tate used as the field stretchers. Hernandez's track to stardom was accelerated by the Moss deal. RB Danny Woodhead(notes) looks like he's found his niche in this offense doing the utility work that RB Kevin Faulk(notes) was so good at. You can't trust RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) on the ground against BAL, but this one feels like a game where Woodhead could surprise again.

Tom Brady, Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez
Joe Flacco, Todd Heap(notes), Derrick Mason(notes), Deion Branch, Brandon Tate, Baltimore Defense, New England Defense
BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Sleeper: Danny Woodhead, Willis McGahee(notes)
Key Injuries: NE OT Nick Kaczur(notes) (back); BAL OT Jared Gaither(notes) (back); BAL CB Josh Wilson(notes) (hamstring)
Prediction: Baltimore 23, New England 20
DETROIT LIONS @ NEW YORK GIANTS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
LIONS – 4.8 YPC | 7.6 YPA
GIANTS – 3.5 YPC | 6.3 YPA

What to watch for: QB Matthew Stafford(notes) is not expected to play against the firing-range NYG defense. The Giants have shut down every QB not named Peyton Manning(notes) this season and are third in the league with 19 QB sacks. If you have been pressing your luck with QB Shaun Hill(notes), now is a good time to cash out. He may wind up throwing often while playing from behind, but he'll be under duress and efficiency will be elusive. You can role the dice with RB Jahvid Best(notes) and TE Brandon Pettigrew(notes), but you can't be optimistic considering the NYG are a top 10 defense in fantasy against each of those positions. To make matters worse, WR Calvin Johnson(notes) is dealing with a shoulder injury that threatens to knock him out of Sunday's game. He can't be green-lighted given the matchup and health situation. … While the NYG are a top 10 defense in fantasy against each of the skill positions, DET is among the 10 worst against each spot save TE. QB Eli Manning(notes) has a crazy amount of WR talent to work with and he's a no-brainer this week. RB Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) has had troubles holding on to the football, but he's run the ball like a man possessed (NFL-high seven carries of 20-plus yards). But he is still nursing a sore ankle and, given the way RB Brandon Jacobs(notes) has rebounded the past few weeks, don't be surprised if Bradshaw is used sparingly in the second half if the Giants get out to a comfortable lead.

Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks(notes), Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith, Jahvid Best, Brandon Jacobs, NY Giants Defense
Shaun Hill, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler(notes), Calvin Johnson
Nate Burleson(notes), Kevin Boss(notes), Detroit Defense
Sleeper: Mario Manningham(notes)
Key Injuries: NYG C Shaun O'Hara(notes) (ankle); DET QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder); DET LB DeAndre Levy(notes) (groin); DET WR Calvin Johnson (shoulder)
Prediction: NY Giants 30, Detroit 13
ATLANTA FALCONS @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
FALCONS – 4.2 YPC | 7.1 YPA
EAGLES – 4.3 YPC | 6.5 YPA

What to watch for: ATL is pretty much a four-man fantasy crew, and two of them (RB Michael Turner(notes) and WR Roddy White(notes)) you're going to start against almost all comers. That leaves TE Tony Gonzalez(notes) and QB Matt Ryan(notes). Based on the matchup, going Gonzo is not a bad idea this week. The attacking PHI defense has long been susceptible to TEs and it has already allowed two 100-yard games to TEs this season (Brandon Pettigrew and Vernon Davis(notes)). As for Ryan, PHI has been very tough at home against QBs, having held the past five signal-callers that it has hosted to fewer than 200 passing yards (including Aaron Rodgers(notes) and Donovan McNabb(notes)). Ryan has a career 79 QB Rating on the road (93.4 at home). I'm seeing him through yellow-colored glasses this week. … Don't be fooled by the decent numbers for the ATL pass defense. It has faced Dennis Dixon(notes), Derek Anderson(notes), Alex Smith and a Seneca Wallace(notes)/Jake Delhomme combo meal. The only true passing threat it faced, Drew Brees(notes), shredded it for 365 yards and 3 TDs. No doubt, PHI QB Michael Vick(notes) would like to take his shots against his former team, but it sounds like he won't be ready to go, which means QB Kevin Kolb(notes) should role again. He looked solid on Sunday night at San Francisco in Week 5, and the matchup with ATL this week should be even more accommodating. I think the environment will be ripe for another PHI offensive explosion and I'd be inclined to green-light all the key Eagles.

Kevin Kolb, LeSean McCoy(notes), Jeremy Maclin(notes), DeSean Jackson(notes), Brent Celek(notes), Michael Turner, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez
Matt Ryan, Philadelphia Defense
Atlanta Defense, Michael Jenkins(notes)
Sleeper: Jason Snelling(notes)
Key Injuries: PHI QB Michael Vick (ribs); PHI OL Jason Peters(notes) (knee); PHI WR DeSean Jackson (knee); PHI DT Brodrick Bunkley(notes) (elbow); PHI RB LeSean McCoy (ribs); ATL LB Sean Weatherspoon(notes) (knee); ATL WR Michael Jenkins (shoulder)
Prediction: Philadelphia 31, Atlanta 23
CLEVELAND BROWNS @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BROWNS – 4.1 YPC | 7.7 YPA
STEELERS – 2.6 YPC | 6.4 YPA

What to watch for: I might have been tempted to gamble on CLE RB Peyton Hillis(notes) in difficult circumstances at PIT, but not at less than 100 percent – he's got a groin issue. And, really, Hillis was the only reasonable start consideration on the CLE side. Colt McCoy(notes)? Moving on … PIT gets a soft landing for QB Ben Roethlisberger's(notes) return. CLE is a much-improved run defense, but RB Rashard Mendenhall(notes) is coming off a 20-point fantasy effort (standard scoring) against BAL and this matchup is more favorable than the BAL affair. As for the passing game, I'm not going to buy into the thought that Big Ben will need time to get up to speed. By all reports, he's in the best shape of his career and he had a great preseason throwing the ball. I think PIT will come out with a balanced attack and not shy away from throwing the ball. TE Heath Miller(notes) is the only Steeler I'm yellow-lighting, but he had two solid efforts against CLE last year and this is really about his lack of involvement in the offense with Roethlisberger out and the fact that CLE is one of just three teams remaining that has not allowed a TE touchdown. The reality is that Big Ben has an affinity for Miller, so consider him more of a chartreuse option despite the caution flag designation.

Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, Hines Ward(notes), Mike Wallace(notes), Pittsburgh Defense
Peyton Hillis, Heath Miller
Colt McCoy, Benjamin Watson(notes), Mohammed Massaquoi, Joshua Cribbs(notes), Jerome Harrison(notes), Cleveland Defense
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: CLE QBs Jake Delhomme(notes) and Seneca Wallace (ankle)
Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Cleveland 7
MIAMI DOLPHINS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
FINS – 4.2 YPC | 6.0 YPA
PACK – 4.7 YPC | 6.0 YPA

What to watch for: Let's get to the most pressing situation right off the top here. If GB QB Aaron Rodgers is deemed unfit to play on Sunday because of his concussion injury suffered last week, I don't think you can feel good (green) about any Packers offensive player. Maybe a solid veteran possession-type like WR Donald Driver(notes), but that just doesn't ring with certainty. With the green (in the inexperienced definition of the word) QB Matt Flynn(notes) behind center and TE Jermichael Finley(notes) out for the next 3-6 weeks with a knee injury, it's really hard to predict how this offense will run. If Rodgers plays, and reports are sounding more positive on that front, go ahead and commit to Driver, WR Greg Jennings(notes) (who GB wants to get more involved in the offense), and don't discount athletic rookie TE Andrew Quarless(notes) (4/51 in Week 5). … MIA catches GB at the right time as the Packers are decimated by injuries. It's always hard to predict from week to week who emerges in a starring role between RBs Ronnie Brown(notes) and Ricky Williams(notes), but there should be opportunities for them considering the injuries (GB LB Clay Matthews(notes) is unlikely to play) and how GB has fared against the run to this point (4.7 YPC). I'm keeping the faith on Brown, and I'll list him in the green here and Williams in the yellow, but in truth they should be viewed as fairly similar in value. MIA QB Chad Henne(notes) has topped the 300-yard mark in each of his past two games, but he's thrown four picks in that span and GB is a very opportunistic defense. Henne will probably be asked to rein it in a bit, and I don't think WR Brandon Marshall(notes) has huge upside in this game, but I seriously doubt I would ever sit him. WR Davone Bess(notes) has been showing off some of the sweetest hands in the league the past two weeks and he's become a reliable PPR guy. But in non-PPR setups, I'd probably look elsewhere given his lack of involvement in the red zone (1 RZ target).

Ronnie Brown, Brandon Marshall, Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver
Ricky Williams, Brandon Jackson(notes), Chad Henne, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano(notes), Green Bay Defense, Miami Defense
Matt Flynn
Sleeper: Andrew Quarless, James Jones(notes)
Key Injuries: GB QB Aaron Rodgers (head); GB TE Jermichael Finley (knee); GB TE Donald Lee(notes) (chest); GB LB Clay Matthews (hamstring); GB LB Brandon Chillar(notes) (shoulder); GB LB Nick Barnett(notes) (wrist); GB DT Ryan Pickett(notes) (ankle); GB FS Derrick Martin(notes) (knee); MIA OT Jake Long(notes) (knee); MIA LB Channing Crowder(notes) (groin)
Prediction: Green Bay 24, Miami 20
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS @ ST. LOUIS RAMS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BOLTS – 3.8 YPC | 6.0 YPA
RAMS – 4.3 YPC | 6.8 YPA

What to watch for: SDG QB Philip Rivers(notes) could be without WR Legedu Naanee(notes), but that should be of little consequence for the No. 1 fantasy QB. Naanee hasn't been much of a factor since Week 1 as TE Antonio Gates(notes) and WR Malcom Floyd(notes) have dominated his attention in the passing game. However, if Naanee can't go, consider WR Buster Davis a sleeper play. STL has allowed the 8th-most FAN PPG to WRs and Davis has been someone that Rivers has just missed with on the deep ball on a few occasions this season. The expectation is that rookie RB Ryan Mathews(notes) will take the clear lead role in the SDG backfield as soon as he can get through a full week of practice without limitations with his ankle. With RB Mike Tolbert(notes) coming off a tough Week 5 in which he produced a 12/11/1 line with his second fumble in the past three games, the timing is ripe for Mathews to step up and prove he's good to go. … The loss of WR Mark Clayton(notes) puts the STL passing game in a tough spot. I love WR Danny Amendola(notes) and fully expect he'll continue on a 100-catch pace for as long as he holds up. I'd be inclined to start him in leagues of 12 teams and more, but he's a middleman, and that limits his ability for an explosive fantasy performance. Until QB Sam Bradford(notes) finds somebody else that he's comfortable with, look no further than RB Steven Jackson and Amendola for the Rams.

Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, San Diego Defense
Sam Bradford, Mike Tolbert
Brandon Gibson(notes), St. Louis Defense
Sleeper: Buster Davis, Michael Hoomanawanui(notes)
Key Injuries: SDG WR Legedu Naanee (hamstring); STL LG Jacob Bell(notes) (head); STL WR Mark Clayton (knee)
Prediction: San Diego 28, St. Louis 13
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
SAINTS – 4.1 YPC | 7.2 YPA
BUCS – 4.9 YPC | 6.8 YPA

What to watch for: TB QB Josh Freeman(notes) continues to look like a future star. He's been very impressive considering the cards he's been dealt in Tampa Bay, and the rapport he's developing with rookie WR Mike Williams looks special – Williams has already become a tough sit for fantasy owners in even seemingly harsh matchups. This week, the matchup does look a bit rough considering that NO has allowed the fewest FAN PPG to WRs. But the Saints have faced four of the five worst teams in the league in terms of QB Rating and it is allowing a healthy 7.2 YPA. Williams is special and I'd be hard-pressed to bench him in this one. And I'll have Freeman slotted right around the border of the QB top 15 this week (color him chartreuse), which means he's someone worth considering if you are a Carson Palmer(notes) (on bye) owner. As for the four-header RBBC in Tampa Bay, I'm not sure what to make of it, not that it matters. … NO WR Marques Colston(notes) finally had a Colston-like 7-97 line in Week 5. Those numbers will always be there whenever QB Drew Brees wants to mine them. He'd gotten away from Colston for a few weeks, but I'm guessing that this is the start of a turnaround for Colston. He topped 70 yards in each of his meetings with TB last season and I'd set expectations for around 75 yards in this one, give or take a touchdown. TE Jeremy Shockey(notes) has had three consecutive solid performances and he's top 12 TE material this week. And if you are thinking about doubling down on WR Robert Meachem(notes) after he finally found pay dirt last week, it's worth noting that TB has allowed five pass plays of 40-plus yards in four games. You have to figure NO will take some shots downfield. AT RB, if Pierre Thomas(notes) can make his way back from an ankle injury, you have to like his chances against the 10th-most generous defense in fantasy to opposing RBs. The Ladell Betts(notes)/Chris Ivory mash-up is uninspiring, though.

Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Mike Williams, Kellen Winslow(notes), Jeremy Shockey, Pierre Thomas (if he plays)
Josh Freeman, Chris Ivory-Ladell Betts (if PT doesn't play), Lance Moore(notes), New Orleans Defense
Devery Henderson(notes), Tampa Bay Running Backs, Tampa Bay Defense, Sammie Stroughter(notes)
Sleeper: Robert Meachem
Key Injuries: NO RB Pierre Thomas (ankle); TB C Jeff Faine(notes) (leg); TB S Sean Jones(notes) (back)
Prediction: New Orleans 26, Tampa Bay 20
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ HOUSTON TEXANS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
CHIEFS – 3.2 YPC | 6.4 YPA
TEXANS – 3.6 YPC | 8.3 YPA

What to watch for: In the past two games, KC RB Jamaal Charles(notes) has outcarried RB Thomas Jones(notes) 28 to 27, with a big advantage last week. Charles did fumble against IND, and I would not put it past HC Todd Haley to return a heavy workload to TJ this week against a stout HOU run defense that has shown some weakness up the gut (5.0 YPC on rushes up the middle). I'm playing JC every week because his go-off potential is too high to leave on the bench. But, as I said, don't be surprised if TJ sneaks back into the picture a bit. The clear HOU weakness on defense is its secondary, which allows 8.3 YPA. But QB Matt Cassel(notes) and WRs Dwayne Bowe(notes) and Chris Chambers(notes) have done next to nothing and it's really hard to go into this game with much confidence in their support for your fantasy team. The one component of the passing game you can get behind is rookie TE Tony Moeaki(notes). HOU has allowed 96 more yards to TEs than any other team in the league. … HOU has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde, having scored 30 or more points three times and 13 or less twice (both of those coming in its past two home games). It's really hard to imagine HOU laying a third consecutive egg at home. KC has been impressive on defense, allowing just 14.2 PPG, but I would at least roll with the Texans' big three (QB Matt Schaub(notes), RB Arian Foster(notes), WR Andre Johnson(notes)).

Matt Schaub, Jamaal Charles, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Tony Moeaki
Houston Defense, Kansas City Defense, Kevin Walter(notes)
Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers, Jacoby Jones(notes), Owen Daniels(notes)
Sleeper: Dexter McCluster(notes)
Key Injuries: KC WR Chris Chambers (finger); KC LT Branden Albert(notes) (wrist); HOU WR Andre Johnson (ankle); HOU G Mike Brisiel(notes) (knee); HOU RB Arian Foster (knee); HOU WR Jacoby Jones (calf)
Prediction: Houston 24, Kansas City 17
OAKLAND RAIDERS @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
RAIDERS – 5.0 YPC | 7.7 YPA
NINERS – 3.9 YPC | 7.4 YPA

What to watch for: We'll see if there is much fight left in the dog that is the 0-5 49ers. One player who you'll know will bring his hard hat is RB Frank Gore(notes). He's struggled in the running game this season (3.7 YPC or less in four of five games) but has been making hay in the passing game. This week, though, the ground should be his friend as OAK is the only team in the league allowing 5.0 YPC. Apparently, SF QB Alex Smith had a mandate to throw WR Michael Crabtree(notes) the ball last week. Crabtree validated that directive with his best day as a pro (9/105/1). He's a special talent and you would expect that he's caught the attention of OAK CB Nnamdi Asomugha(notes) this week. While an Asomugha assignment could make Crabtree a sketchy play, TE Vernon Davis is looking just fine. OAK has allowed the fourth-most FAN PTS to TEs, and that includes a combined 110 yards and 2 TDs to the vaunted duo of Bo Scaife(notes) and Joel Dreessen(notes). OAK has also allowed 2 TDs to each of the five QBs it has faced, including Vince Young(notes) and Derek Anderson. QB Alex Smith looked like he turned a corner after nearly getting benched in the second-half on Monday night in Week 5. I like his prospects this week, but I can also picture a rash benching by HC Mike Singletary if he pulls another one of his backpedaling fumble-6 maneuvers. He's on a short leash, which has to land him under the caution flag. … Whether OAK RB Darren McFadden(notes) (hamstring) plays or not, OAK is in good shape in the backfield after RB Michael Bush(notes) stepped up last week with a strong effort in an upset of San Diego. OAK is a strong running team, and a full workload for Bush is enough for me to buy-in in most all situations. Buying into the OAK passing game this week, outside of stud TE Zach Miller, however, would be a major leap of faith. OAK QB Bruce Gradkowski(notes) sounds like he'll start despite a sprained joint in his shoulder. It's not hard to imagine him on the sidelines if he takes a good shot to that shoulder on Sunday.

Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, San Francisco Defense, Michael Bush, Zach Miller
Michael Crabtree, Alex Smith, Oakland Defense, Louis Murphy(notes)
Josh Morgan(notes), Bruce Gradkowski, Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes)
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: OAK QB Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder); OAK OG Robert Gallery(notes) (hamstring); OAK RB Darren McFadden (hamstring); OAK DL John Henderson(notes) (foot)
Prediction: San Francisco 21, Oakland 17
NEW YORK JETS @ DENVER BRONCOS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
JETS – 3.3 YPC | 7.0 YPA
BRONCOS – 4.4 YPC | 7.2 YPA

What to watch for: DEN has the second-best passing offense in the league and the worst rushing offense in the league. THE NYJ employ the fourth-best rush defense in the league. It's not too difficult to figure out what DEN is going to have to do on Sunday. At BAL last week, the Broncos ran 13 times and threw it 38 times. At least DEN looks like it will catch a break and not have to face NYJ CB Darrelle Revis(notes), who will probably sit this one out while nursing his sore hamstring. DEN WR Brandon Lloyd has certainly drawn attention for having gone over the century mark in four of five games, and he'll likely draw NYJ CB Antonio Cromartie(notes). We saw this past Monday night when he was locked up on Randy Moss that Cromartie can be tough to shake. With Revis out and Cromartie locked up on Lloyd, WR Eddie Royal(notes) should be able to get some work done underneath. … The DEN run defense was pummeled by BAL last week and it will be in a more difficult spot this week against the best rush offense going on two years now. NYJ RB LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) seriously looks five years younger than he did a year ago and he's reached perma-green status. And RB Shonn Greene(notes) has netted a solid 11 FAN PTS in each of his past two games as the glorified backup. The Jets are going to try and preserve Tomlinson for the long haul when they can, and in blowouts, like the 38-14 Week 4 win at BUF when Greene got 22 carries, you can count on Greene carrying a sizeable load. I don't think this will be a blowout, though, so I'm leaning towards the caution flag on Greene. DEN CB Champ Bailey(notes) shut BAL WR Anquan Boldin down last week. Who he targets between WRs Braylon Edwards(notes) and Santonio Holmes(notes) will be significant because DEN is going to be without four members of its secondary this week and the non-Bailey WR is going to be in a very nice situation. Maybe Bailey sticks to a side of the field. Hard to say. But I don't think the NYJ will have to throw much, so I'm flying the passing contingent under the yellow banner.

LaDainian Tomlinson, Kyle Orton(notes), Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal, NY Jets Defense
Shonn Greene, Mark Sanchez(notes), Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller(notes), Jabar Gaffney(notes)
Denver RBs, Denver Defense, Daniel Graham(notes)
Sleeper: Jerricho Cotchery(notes)
Key Injuries: NYJ CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring); DEN WR Demaryius Thomas(notes) (neck); DEN DBs Brian Dawkins(notes) (knee), Darcel McBath(notes) (ankle) and Andre Goodman (thigh); DEN LB Robert Ayers(notes) (foot)
Prediction: NY Jets 29, Denver 20
DALLAS COWBOYS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
BOYS – 4.5 YPC | 6.0 YPA
VIKES – 4.0 YPC | 6.0 YPA

What to watch for: One of these two preseason Super Bowl favorites is going to fall to 1-4 when this one is over, and that last-gasp motivation should make this a fun game to watch. DAL doesn't seem to have a clue about its identity, although it does look like it has finally conceded that RB Felix Jones(notes) needs to be on the field much more often. It'll be tough sledding for Jones this week against a stout MIN front line, but we saw RB LaDainian Tomlinson have nice success to the outside against the Vikes last week and there's some hope that Jones can follow suit. Consider Felix in chartreuse light this week. WR Miles Austin(notes) is my top-ranked WR on my latest Big Board. MIN has done a good job on go-to WR types this season, but the team is down a man in the secondary after losing CB Cedric Griffin(notes) last Monday night to a torn ACL and that is going to leave a mark on this unit. Austin looks good, as does TE Jason Witten(notes), who is gaining steam with each week. He is coming off a 5/84/1 performance in Week 5 and went for 10/98 in a Divisional Playoff loss to MIN last January. … Yes, the numbers looked pretty good for the Brett Favre(notes)-to-Randy Moss connection in Week 5. But, had the NYJ not tried to blitz the safety (on Moss's side of the field) from about 20 yards back of the line of scrimmage, the 37-yard TD doesn't happen. That's football, though, and you have to like that Favre was willing to chuck it up for Moss on several occasions. That said, Favre looks like he's held together with duct tape and Moss is going to be more useful for opening up the rest of the offense (Can I get an "amen," Percy Harvin(notes)?) than he'll be as the producer of the offense. He's still finding the end zone with regularity even as the catches and yardage has dwindled. And he's still a top 50 fantasy value, in my book, so there's still easy justification for starting Moss this week against a fairly talented DAL secondary.

Adrian Peterson, Tony Romo(notes), Miles Austin, Randy Moss, Jason Witten, Percy Harvin
Brett Favre, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant(notes), Dallas Defense, Minnesota Defense
Visanthe Shiancoe(notes), Marion Barber(notes)
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: MIN QB Brett Favre (elbow); MIN CB Cedric Griffin (knee)
Prediction: Dallas 26, Minnesota 24
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
COLTS – 4.8 YPC | 7.1 YPA
SKINS – 4.5 YPC | 6.9 YPA

What to watch for: WAS allowed huge numbers in the passing game the first couple weeks but, as I said before, it has better talent than what the numbers indicated. And in the past three weeks, we are starting to see that talent shine through – WAS has allowed the eighth-fewest FAN PTS to WRS in that span. You never sit WR Reggie Wayne(notes), but I'd certainly entertain pine time for the sore-footed Austin Collie(notes) and the slow-starting Pierre Garcon(notes). RB Joseph Addai(notes) suffered a shoulder injury in Week 5, but the extent of the injury is unclear. That said, he took a vicious blow to his shoulder and I'd be surprised to see him suited up in Week 6. The Redskins have allowed the 12th-most FAN PPG to RBs so, depending on who gets the start (Addai or RB Donald Brown(notes)), consider that Colt an item of interest. … WAS is scoring less than 18 PPG and operates the eighth-worst rush offense in the league. As I said last week, RB Ryan Torain(notes) is an uninspiring replacement for the injured Clinton Portis(notes) and despite his seemingly cherry matchup against an IND defense allowing a healthy 4.8 YPC, he's lost his green light privileges. QB Donovan McNabb has yet to throw for more than 1 TD pass in a game this season, and IND has limited four of the five QBs it has faced to less than 165 passing yards. This one feels like a letdown game for WAS coming off the upset of GB last week. I'd try to steer clear of all Redskins this week.

Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss(notes), Dallas Clark(notes), Donald Brown
Chris Cooley(notes), Donovan McNabb, Ryan Torain, Anthony Armstrong(notes), Indianapolis Defense, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon
Washington Defense
Sleeper: Mike Hart(notes)
Key Injuries: IND RB Joseph Addai (shoulder); IND WR Austin Collie (foot);
Prediction: Indianapolis 31, Washington 16
TENNESSEE TITANS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Key Stats
(Defense)
:
TITANS – 4.3 YPC | 7.2 YPA
JAGS – 4.1 YPC | 7.6 YPA

What to watch for: Nice Monday night matchup, huh? The JAC secondary is so bad that it forces us to deeply consider the TEN passing game this week. A QB has scored at least 20 FAN PTS against the Jags in each of their five games. TEN WRs Kenny Britt(notes) and Nate Washington(notes) each have 3 TDs and are really the only things going in this passing game. I like Britt a bit more, but I consider both of them chartreuse-quality plays this week. … JAC TE Marcedes Lewis(notes) has created a buzz with his 5 TDs. And he had what was his career-best fantasy day when JAC hosted TEN last season (4/76/1). TEN has allowed a healthy amount of yards to TEs this season, so Lewis is a reasonable play. WR Mike Sims-Walker(notes), however, remains too much of a risk. Sure, he did score a TD last week, but he also finished below 50 receiving yards for the fourth time in five games. He hasn't yet shown enough good to balance out the bad and I'd be more inclined to play WR Mike Thomas(notes) over MSW if I had that choice this week. And despite the 3 TD passes last week, I'm still not ready to embrace QB David Garrard(notes) on the road. He finished with 139 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs in his last trip to TEN and he has a 14/18 TD-to-INT ratio in his past 18 road affairs.

Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew(notes), Vince Young, Marcedes Lewis, Tennessee Defense
Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Mike Thomas, David Garrard, Mike Sims-Walker
Bo Scaife, Jacksonville Defense
Sleeper:
Key Injuries: JAC RB Maurice Jones-Drew (wrist); JAC G Justin Smiley(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: Tennessee 26, Jacksonville 20

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

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