NFL Skinny: Week 5 Preview

What a week. Not only do suspended players like Ben Roethlisberger(notes) and Santonio Holmes(notes) get to return to the practice field and prepare for real games again, but we've also witnessed two very noteworthy trades, the latest of which – Randy Moss(notes) to Minnesota – offers a pretty big "Wow" factor.

As I've continued to make mention in my Big Board, Moss is on a pretty lengthy streak of sub-100-yard games. In fact, he's gone 12 consecutive games (including last season's playoff game) without topping 75 receiving yards. If you've paid close attention, you know that Moss' skills are eroding. But he can still go up and snatch a ball out of the air with the best of them – he has nine touchdowns in those past 12 games.

A dedicated defensive game plan for Moss can now pretty much shutout the future Hall of Famer, but that's still going to be useful for Minnesota because at least it means things will open up for the others. And no doubt MIN QB Brett Favre(notes) will have no problem tossing up those jump balls that Moss is so good at securing. But he's not going to fix the Sidney Rice(notes) issue. Moss can no longer do what Rice was able to last year, which was being a physically dominant chain-mover. In terms of Moss' value, though, I'm not sure it changes drastically. He'll take on a more prominent role in MIN, but with a QB whose skills have also greatly diminished.

The big winner in the Moss deal is NE WR Brandon Tate(notes). I struck out in two leagues where I was trying to claim him on waivers, so owners were already well aware of what a Moss trade could mean before it actually happened. Tate has excellent speed and he'll immediately become QB Tom Brady's(notes) best deep threat. Other WRs like Julian Edelman(notes) and Taylor Price(notes) now also become a bigger part of the mix, but it might take some time to see how they'll fit in.

In Seattle, football fans just received a huge Halloween costume inspiration – Beast-mode!

Marshawn Lynch(notes) was released from exile in Buffalo on Tuesday and is headed to the Pacific Northwest take on an expected featured role in the Seahawks backfield and likely render Justin Forsett(notes) a third-down/change-of-pace back. For Lynch, it's a better situation than what he was in. Colleague Andy Behrens explained the relevant fantasy points on Tuesday. I'll just add in a couple extras on top of his spin.

First, it is arguable that over the remainder of the regular-season schedule, no team has an easier schedule for RBs than Seattle. And second, there is a dire need for healthy, serviceable, experienced running backs in the league right now and Julius Jones(notes), cut to make room for Lynch, is likely to re-surface quickly in another team's backfield mix.

Alright, I was a pitiful 6-8 on my picks last week. Hey, I never claimed to be a reality expert. Let's get to the fantasy nuts and bolts of the week ahead.

Note: Miami, New England, Pittsburgh and Seattle are on bye in Week 5

Week 5 Preview
A snapshot of each Week 5 matchup

Key Stats
JAGS – 4.3 YPC | 9.2 YPA
BILLS – 4.6 YPC | 7.4 YPA

What to watch for: This is, arguably, a meeting of the two most inept defenses in the NFL this season – take a look at Michael Salfino's fantasy team defense power rankings (bottom table). BUF QB Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) isn't pretty to watch, but he's averaging more FAN PPG in his two starts than Drew Brees(notes), Tony Romo(notes), Matt Schaub(notes) and Tom Brady, to name a few. It's hard for me to believe that I'm ranking him as a top 12 signal-caller this week, but that's the reality of the situation (the reality being that the Jags' pass defense is that bad). In the Lynch-less backfield, RBs Fred Jackson(notes) and C.J. Spiller(notes) are expected to split time fairly evenly. I'd take the plunge this week on Spiller's game-breaking skills in most deeper formats, and I'd buy in on Jackson in most deeper PPR formats. … JAC QB David Garrard(notes) has yet to top 175 passing yards, and he's terrible on the road. I don't care about the matchup, I'm not touching the Jags' passing game, and that includes WR Mike Sims-Walker(notes), who was held without a catch for the second time in Week 4. RB Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) suffered a minor ankle sprain in the Week 4 upset of the Colts. MoJo is expected to be all good for Week 5, but given that he's almost certainly not 100 percent and because the matchup is so juicy for running backs, I'm giving backup RB Rashad Jennings(notes) sleeper status with the idea that a few more carries might come his way – he's a justifiable dice roll for deep leaguers in a bye week and/or injury pinch.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Fitzpatrick, C.J. Spiller
Fred Jackson, Lee Evans(notes), Roscoe Parrish(notes), Mike Thomas(notes), Marcedes Lewis(notes)
David Garrard, Mike Sims-Walker, Buffalo Defense, Jacksonville Defense, Buffalo TE
Sleeper: Steve Johnson(notes), Rashad Jennings
Key Injuries: BUF CB Terrence McGee(notes) (leg); JAC RB Maurice Jones-Drew (ankle)
Prediction: Buffalo 24, Jacksonville 20
Key Stats
BUCS – 4.8 YPC | 7.2 YPA
BENGALS – 4.1 YPC | 5.7 YPA

What to watch for: This is likely to be a very tough week for TB rookie wideout Mike Williams. The CIN bracket coverage is very good at eliminating perceived go-to WR options – Randy Moss, Anquan Boldin(notes) and the Panthers' Steve Smith have combined to average less than 40 receiving yards and 0 TDs against the Bengals this season. I have much respect for TB QB Josh Freeman's(notes) talent, but this is a tough road matchup and he hasn't yet given us a 200-yard passing performance in '10. The word is that Tampa Bay is going to start a liberal rotation of several bodies in the backfield. This is a unit that is averaging just 3.4 YPC. That it is going to further divide up such a small pie to begin with makes this a complete hands-off situation. … CIN RB Cedric Benson(notes) hasn't had a run of more than 13 yards this season, but that hasn't prevented CIN from feeding him the rock – sixth in carries (80). Count on another 20-plus totes against a TB defense allowing the fourth-most YPC (4.8). QB Carson Palmer(notes) has been tough to put a finger on, twice throwing for less than 200 yards and twice going over the 300-yard mark. I wouldn't expect him to throw a lot in this one, but he should be reasonably effective when he does – TB allows a healthy 7.2 YPA and is not all that good at getting pressure on the QB (4 sacks). WR Terrell Owens(notes) is the second-most targeted WR in the league and is coming off a 10/222/1 performance. You're not benching him, especially with rookie WR Jordan Shipley(notes) likely out with a concussion.

Cedric Benson, Terrell Owens, Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco(notes), Cincinnati Defense
Jermaine Gresham(notes), Kellen Winslow(notes), Josh Freeman
Mike Williams, Carnell Williams(notes), LaGarrette Blount, Sammie Stroughter(notes), Tampa Bay Defense
Key Injuries: CIN WR Jordan Shipley (concussion); CIN S Roy L. Williams (knee); CIN CB Johnathan Joseph(notes) (arm);
Prediction: Cincinnati 26, Tampa Bay 13
Key Stats
FALCONS – 4.6 YPC | 7.4 YPA
BROWNS – 3.8 YPC | 7.9 YPA

What to watch for: This is a meeting of two straight-line power running backs in ATL's Michael Turner(notes) and CLE's Peyton Hillis(notes). That battle will be a central focus of this game, and given the abilities of the ATL run defense and the fact that CLE doesn't have the kind of diversity on offense that ATL has, don't be surprised if Hillis wins the Ram-Man competition. The expected return of CLE QB Jake Delhomme(notes) does give the Browns at least a glimmer of hope for forgotten WR Mohamed Massaquoi(notes) and the CLE passing attack. I wouldn't be surprised if Delhomme and Massaquoi connect on their second pass play of 40-plus yards in this one. ATL is going to be geared up to stop Hillis and play-action should be a useful tactic. … ATL QB Matt Ryan(notes) is ninth among QBs in FAN PTS, and CLE allows the 10th-most FAN PPG to QBs. Given the solid job CLE has done against the run (consider Turner an RB2 this week, not RB1), this game sets up for Ryan to throw the ball a considerable amount. I'd green light Ryan and the ATL passing game.

Peyton Hillis, Matt Ryan, Roddy White(notes), Tony Gonzalez(notes), Michael Turner
Mohamed Massaquoi, Benjamin Watson(notes), Atlanta Defense, Cleveland Defense
Jake Delhomme, Jerome Harrison(notes)
Sleeper: Joshua Cribbs(notes), Harry Douglas(notes)
Key Injuries: CLE QB Jake Delhomme (ankle)
Prediction: Atlanta 26, Cleveland 23
Key Stats
RAMS – 4.6 YPC | 6.8 YPA
LIONS – 4.8 YPC | 8.7 YPA

What to watch for: DET rookie RB sensation Jahvid Best(notes) emerged from Week 4 without any further issues with his turf toe and, although it's a rough injury in terms of its impact on quickness and cutting ability, Best has to be considered a green light in Week 5 against a Rams defense that, while much improved against the pass, is still very beatable on the ground. There's some speculation that DET QB Matthew Stafford(notes) will try to return this week. Shaun Hill(notes) has been solid in his absence and either QB would be a moderately attractive play this week, but there's enough uncertainty that you should look for another viable option at QB (like Sam Bradford(notes)) first. I like DET TE Brandon Pettigrew(notes) if Hill plays because Hill has fallen in love with Pettigrew. With Stafford behind center, I'd trust only WR Calvin Johnson(notes). … DET has allowed the fourth-most YPC and second-most YPA. On paper, there's absolutely no reason not to roll out any of the STL big three (Bradford, RB Steven Jackson, WR Mark Clayton(notes)). And WR Danny Amendola(notes) should be good for at least his usual 6/60 line.

Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Mark Clayton
Danny Amendola, Brandon Pettigrew, Shaun Hill
Nate Burleson(notes), Detroit Defense, St. Louis Defense
Sleeper: Matthew Stafford, Daniel Fells(notes)
Key Injuries: DET QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder); DET RB Jahvid Best (toe); DET WR Nate Burleson (ankle); STL RB Steven Jackson (groin); STL CB Kevin Dockery(notes) (hamstring): STL S O.J. Atogwe (quad)
Prediction: Detroit 21, St. Louis 20
Key Stats
CHIEFS – 3.2 YPC | 6.8 YPA
COLTS – 5.0 YPC | 7.6 YPA

What to watch for: KC is a much-improved defense, but not so much that you consider sitting the key components of the No. 2 offense in the league. Perhaps only IND RB Joseph Addai(notes) should give you pause, but he scored twice last week and has 45 TDs in 62 career games in this offense. … The IND rush defense is among the worst in the league. And KC RB Jamaal Charles(notes) could actually lead the platoon split over Thomas Jones(notes) this week if KC can't hang close with Indy early on. I suspect that the Chiefs will be chasing, which is conducive to QB points, but IND is solid at keeping the opposing passing game in check (save a Kyle Orton(notes) explosion in Week 3) and I wouldn't mess with anyone in the KC air attack with, perhaps, the exception of rookie TE Tony Moeaki(notes), quickly a Cassel favorite in the red zone.

Jamaal Charles, Peyton Manning(notes), Reggie Wayne(notes), Austin Collie(notes), Dallas Clark(notes), Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Defense
Thomas Jones, Kansas City Defense, Tony Moeaki
Matt Cassel(notes), Dwayne Bowe(notes), Chris Chambers(notes)
Sleeper: Dexter McCluster(notes)
Key Injuries: IND DB Melvin Bullitt(notes) (shoulder); KC DE Tyson Jackson(notes) (knee); KC RT CB Javier Arenas(notes) (ankle, foot)
Prediction: Indianapolis 33, Kansas City 17
Key Stats
PACK – 5.2 YPC | 6.4 YPA
SKINS – 3.7 YPC | 7.1 YPA

What to watch for: No team has seen more pass attempts against it than WAS. And the Redskins allow the 11th-highest QB Rating (91.1). The Redskins have held Steven Jackson, Arian Foster(notes) and LeSean McCoy(notes) to less than 70 rushing yards, which is more than enough reason to sit the sham that GB is calling a backfield (Brandon Jackson(notes)/John Kuhn). … I'm not at all enamored with WAS RB Ryan Torain(notes). He appears to be the near future for the Redskins with RB Clinton Portis(notes) dealing with a groin injury. And his matchup looks good on paper, as GB has allowed 5.2 YPC. But Torain's not that dynamic and he's not that durable, and I'm no more than lukewarm on him this Sunday. I'm actually a bit less than lukewarm on the WAS passing game. While GB did allow 300-plus yards to DET QB Shaun Hill last week, he threw it 54 times and only had a QB Rating of 77.0. GB gets after the QB (NFL leader with 16 sacks) and forces turnovers, and like we saw last week, QB Donovan McNabb(notes) (who is dealing with a sore quad this week) will find it hard to lean on his one legit WR threat (Santana Moss(notes)) with the kind of pressure that GB will bring to the table. TE Chris Cooley(notes) is the one (green) glimmer of hope for McNabb this week.

Aaron Rodgers(notes), Jermichael Finley(notes), Greg Jennings(notes), Donald Driver(notes), Chris Cooley, Green Bay Defense
Ryan Torain, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, Washington Defense
Joey Galloway(notes), Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn(notes),
Sleeper: James Jones(notes)
Key Injuries: WAS LT Trent Williams(notes) (knee); WAS QB Donovan McNabb (quadriceps); GB LBs Nick Barnett(notes) (wrist) and LB Brandon Chillar(notes) (shoulder); GB S Morgan Burnett(notes) (knee)
Prediction: Green Bay 28, Washington 17
Key Stats
BEARS – 3.5 YPC | 6.6 YPA
CATS – 3.3 YPC | 6.5 YPA

What to watch for: CAR RB DeAngelo Williams(notes) is rounding into form, having averaged more than 6.0 YPC in each of the past two games. The CHI run defense is stout, although it withered late against NYG in Week 4. If CAR rookie QB Jimmy Clausen(notes) can build on his solid, if very conservative and unspectacular, performance in Week 4, Williams should be able to turn in at least serviceable RB2 numbers. But count on CHI stacking things up against the run early and daring Clausen to beat them through the air with former Panther Julius Peppers(notes) breathing down his neck. CAR WR Steve Smith has been a predictable non-factor with Clausen at the helm. And he's a red light now with a high-ankle sprain. No team will employ a more anemic passing game on Sunday than CAR. For that reason, consider DeAngelo a low-end RB2 … CAR is allowing just 3.3 YPC and the defense has been solid all-around this season. Last week, it concentrated on not giving up big plays to the New Orleans passing game, and that came at the expense of the run defense a bit. But it held NO to just 16 points, so it was a solid strategy. And it's probably a strategy it will continue to employ against CHI given the major deficiencies of the CHI offensive line in both run and pass blocking. CHI RB Matt Forte(notes) has averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry in each game and it's time to forget about the notion of him going for 1,000 receiving yards. He's a major yellow light at the moment. CHI QB Jay Cutler(notes) was sacked nine times in the first half of Week 4 before suffering a concussion that leaves him questionable this week. He could play, and CAR does not get after the QB that well, but I'd certainly not feel confident starting Cutler or anyone in that passing game outside of TE Greg Olsen(notes) given the state of the offensive line and the strong competition they'll face from the CAR defense.

DeAngelo Williams, Greg Olsen, Carolina Defense, Chicago Defense
Jay Cutler, Johnny Knox(notes), Jonathan Stewart(notes)
Devin Hester(notes), Dante Rosario(notes), Jimmy Clausen, Brandon LaFell(notes), David Gettis(notes)
Sleeper: Chester Taylor(notes)
Key Injuries: CAR WR Steve Smith (ankle); CAR FS Sherrod Martin(notes) (mild concussion); CHI QB Jay Cutler (concussion); CHI RG Lance Louis(notes) (knee);
Prediction: Carolina 17, Chicago 16
Key Stats
BRONCOS – 4.1 YPC | 7.1 YPA
RAVENS – 4.3 YPC | 5.2 YPA

What to watch for: DEN looks like the West Coast version of the Patriots, selling out to its strength – the pass. QB Kyle Orton has yet to throw for less than 295 yards and he is liberally using four different receivers with success. He's accurate and makes quick, sound decisions. He already put up big numbers against a strong pass defense in IND a couple weeks ago, and I don't think you can sit him despite another tough matchup this week. Forget about the running game, which is generating a league-low 2.2 YPC. … BAL RB Ray Rice(notes) was held to a 8/20 line in Week 4, which shouldn't be too discouraging to his fantasy owners given his health (deep knee bruise) and brutal matchup with PIT. His knee should be much improved this week, and we know the matchup will be. I like Rice to top the century mark in yards from scrimmage in this one. This isn't a bad matchup for the BAL passing game. DEN has allowed just shy of 20 FAN PPG to the underwhelming trio of David Garrard, Matt Hasselbeck(notes) and Vince Young(notes), not to mention a 325/3 line to Peyton Manning. QB Joe Flacco(notes) and WR Anquan Boldin are reasonable, if not strike-it-rich, green light options.

Kyle Orton, Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Eddie Royal(notes), Brandon Lloyd(notes)
Jabar Gaffney(notes), Derrick Mason(notes), Baltimore Defense
Knowshon Moreno(notes), Laurence Maroney(notes), Correll Buckhalter(notes), Demaryius Thomas(notes), Daniel Graham(notes), Denver Defense, Todd Heap(notes), Willis McGahee(notes)
Sleeper: T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes)
Key Injuries: BAL RT Jared Gaither(notes) (back); BAL RB Willis McGahee (head); BA: RB Ray Rice (knee); DEN RB Knowshon Moreno (hamstring)
Prediction: Baltimore 24, Denver 16
Key Stats
GIANTS – 3.8 YPC | 6.5 YPA
TEXANS – 3.6 YPC | 8.7 YPA

What to watch for: I don't own NYG RB Ahmad Bradshaw(notes), unfortunately, but I was going against him last week, and from my overly nervous perspective last Sunday night, it sure seemed like Bradshaw was the only show in town for the Giants offense. He continues to look fantastic and creates yards where seemingly none exist. However, he's fumbled in three of four games, he's dealing with a sore ankle and Brandon Jacobs(notes) is starting to show signs of life. And he's got a tough matchup this week against a HOU defense that hasn't allowed a RB to top 55 rushing yards this season. OAK RB Darren McFadden(notes) came away from last week with nothing but good things to say about the Texans' defensive front. I'm putting Bradshaw under the caution flag this week. This is a fantastic matchup for QB Eli Manning(notes) and the passing game. HOU allows the second-highest QB Rating (107.8) and OAK QB Bruce Gradkowski's(notes) 278 passing yards in Week 4 is the lowest passing yardage total against HOU this season. … Assuming HOU RB Arian Foster doesn't miss any meetings, he's now an every-week starter, even if pesky RB Derrick Ward(notes) does start to take a few reps away, as head coach Gary Kubiak has mentioned. HOU WR Andre Johnson(notes) missed Week 4 with an ankle sprain and we won't know where he's at with that until late this week. Obviously, you're playing him if he goes. And WRs Kevin Walter(notes) and Jacoby Jones(notes) get a boost if Johnson goes because it pulls attention away from them, although Jones is looking iffy with a calf injury so Walter may be in line for a very heavy workload if things break negatively in terms of the injuries.

Arian Foster, Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Eli Manning, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks(notes)
Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, NY Giants Defense, Houston Defense, Kevin Boss(notes)
Owen Daniels(notes), Jacoby Jones
Sleeper: Mario Manningham(notes), Derrick Ward
Key Injuries: NYG RB Ahmad Bradshaw (ankle); NYG DL Mathias Kiwanuka(notes) (neck); NYG C Shaun O'Hara(notes) (Achilles, ankle); NYG LB Keith Bulluck(notes) (toe); HOU WR Andre Johnson (ankle); HOU WR Jacoby Jones (calf)
Prediction: Houston 28, NY Giants 24
Key Stats
SAINTS – 4.5 YPC | 7.5 YPA
CARDS – 4.4 YPC | 6.9 YPA

What to watch for: I'm anticipating that we'll see ARI QB Max Hall(notes) replace Derek Anderson(notes) this week. I'm also expecting we'll see RB Beanie Wells(notes), who has been very unhappy with his (lack of a) role since returning from knee surgery, get a hefty piece of the offensive pie this Sunday. Certainly, ARI can't expect much out of Hall or Anderson at this point, and clock-killing incompletions are the last thing you want when trying to keep NO QB Drew Brees off the field. I'd be tempted to role the dice on an expected 15-plus carries from Wells, but avoid the ARI passing game at all costs – yes, even WR Larry Fitzgerald(notes). … We're almost to a point where you can only really feel good about QB Drew Brees in the NO offense. We don't know if RB Pierre Thomas(notes) can play on his sore ankle and, if he can't, backups Chris Ivory and Ladell Betts(notes) split the carry pot. Ivory has the higher upside, but he's fumbled in two straight, which could cost him some touches. Brees has spread the love around so much in the passing game that not even WR Marques Colston(notes) can be counted upon anymore. That said, I think we'll finally see some life from Colston this week, perhaps something along the lines of the 7/78/1 line that WR Roddy White posted against ARI a few weeks ago. TE Jeremy Shockey(notes) has looked very good in the past two games and I'll have him ranked as a starter this week.

Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans Defense, Beanie Wells
Larry Fitzgerald, Lance Moore(notes), Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Ladell Betts, Tim Hightower(notes), Devery Henderson(notes)
Arizona QB, Stephen Williams(notes), Arizona TE, Arizona Defense
Key Injuries: NO RB Pierre Thomas (ankle); NO CB Tracy Porter(notes) (knee); ARI WR Steve Breaston(notes) (knee)
Prediction: New Orleans 31, Arizona 13
Key Stats
BOLTS – 3.8 YPC | 5.9 YPA
RAIDERS – 5.3 YPC | 6.5 YPA

What to watch for: SDG is allowing the third-fewest FAN PPG to RBS and WRs, and the second-fewest to QBs. But it should be noted that the Chargers have yet to face an above-average offense (KC, SEA, JAC, ARI). In fact, none of those teams average even 200 passing yards per game. OAK QB Bruce Gradkowski, believe it or not, brings to San Diego arguably the best passing attack the Chargers have seen to date. However, if RB Darren McFadden can't go because of a hammy injury, that does seriously hinder Gradkowski's aerial threat – Run-DMC caught six balls for 82 yards last week. TE Zach Miller is coming off a huge performance in Week 4 (11/122/1) and he's yet to have a bad fantasy performance in his career against SDG. He should be considered a top 6 fantasy TE option this week. But I'd be leery of the rest of the OAK passing game given how they performed last week – WRs Luis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes) both had just one catch – and how SDG has performed against the pass. If McFadden can't go, RB Michael Bush(notes) returned from a thumb injury with flying colors against HOU in Week 4 (7/40/1) and I think the odds would be good that he could reach 10-plus fantasy points for the second consecutive week. … Typically, SDG QB Philip Rivers(notes) plays it conservative at home, attempting 30 passes or less more often than not. And there's no reason to change things up this week as OAK allows the most YPC in the league (5.3). Not only is rookie RB Ryan Mathews(notes) a strong play, but you can pretty much count on backup RB Mike Tolbert(notes) being effective enough with even a mere handful of carries to justify running him out there this week. OAK CB Nnamdi Asomugha(notes) probably won't target an individual SDG WR in this one, which should make WR Malcom Floyd(notes) no worse than a cautionary play.

Antonio Gates(notes), Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, San Diego Defense, Zach Miller, Michael Bush
Malcom Floyd, Bruce Gradkowski
Legedu Naanee(notes), Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Defense, Darren McFadden, Louis Murphy(notes)
Sleeper: Mike Tolbert
Key Injuries: OAK RB Darren McFadden (hamstring); OAK WR Louis Murphy (collarbone); OAK LB Quentin Groves(notes) (hamstring); OAK DT John Henderson(notes) (foot); OAK QB Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder); SDG RB Ryan Mathews (elbow); SDG LB Shawne Merriman(notes) (calf); SDG RG Louis Vasquez(notes) (knee)
Prediction: San Diego 26, Oakland 17
Key Stats
TITANS – 3.7 YPC | 6.3 YPA
COWBOYS – 3.9 YPC | 7.4 YPA

What to watch for: Still can't look to anyone other than RB Chris Johnson in the Titans' sixth-worst offense in the league, especially in a tough road contest in DAL. … In the past two weeks, TEN has faced competent passing games and we are starting to see TEN have issues against the pass like we saw last season. The DAL passing game should be in line for another big effort. Count on DAL WR Miles Austin(notes) bouncing back from a rough Week 3 outing in a major way and rookie WR Dez Bryant(notes) using his physical advantage over the smaller TEN CBs to also make hay. In the running game, TEN has allowed four rushes of 20-plus yards, and quick backs like Darren McFadden and Ahmad Bradshaw had good success against the Titans in previous weeks. This feels like a Felix Jones(notes) game more so than Marion Barber(notes).

Chris Johnson, Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten(notes)
Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Dallas Defense, Tennessee Defense
Vince Young, Nate Washington(notes), Kenny Britt(notes), Bo Scaife(notes)
Key Injuries: TEN DE Derrick Morgan(notes) (knee); TEN DL Sen’Derrick Marks(notes) (knee); TEN WR Justin Gage(notes) (hamstring); DAL OG Kyle Kosier(notes) (knee); DAL TE Jason Witten (sprained MCL); DAL WR Dez Bryant (ribs)
Prediction: Dallas 27, Tennessee 19
Key Stats
EAGLES – 4.4 YPC | 6.0 YPA
NINERS – 3.8 YPC | 7.2 YPA

What to watch for: The first game under new OC Mike Johnson(notes) was ugly for SF QB Alex Smith and as things have deteriorated, you simply can't put any trust in Smith or his WRs at this point, especially against a very good Eagles pass defense. The PHI aggressiveness plays to the advantage of the opposing TE, so Vernon Davis(notes) can be started with some confidence in addition to 49er offensive center of the universe, RB Frank Gore(notes). … The PHI offense is enduring a forced shake up, thanks to injuries to QB Michael Vick(notes) and RB LeSean McCoy. Your best bet is to avoid the backfield mess, as it is unclear how much of the workload will be divided up between RBs Mike Bell(notes) and Eldra Buckley(notes). Then again, we don't know for sure that McCoy (ribs) won't play. With the Niners looking desperately for their first win and feeding off the home crowd against a PHI QB in Kevin Kolb(notes) who looks afraid to throw it deep, you probably want to put the entire Eagles offense on alert.

Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, San Francisco Defense, Philadelphia Defense
Kevin Kolb, DeSean Jackson(notes), Jeremy Maclin(notes), Brent Celek(notes), Mike Bell
Alex Smith, Michael Crabtree(notes), Josh Morgan(notes)
Sleeper: Eldra Buckley
Key Injuries: PHI RB LeSean McCoy (ribs); PHI QB Michael Vick (ribs); PHI CB Asante Samuel(notes) (concussion); SF LB Manny Lawson(notes) (knee)
Prediction: San Francisco 27, Philadelphia 17
Key Stats
VIKES – 3.6 YPC | 6.3 YPA
JETS – 3.2 YPC | 6.8 YPA

What to watch for: Poor Randy Moss, gets dealt out of the AFC East and his first game is against Darrelle Revis(notes) and the Jets. Tough break. Oh well, it makes the decision to sit Moss pretty easy for his owners. Obviously, this is a tough spot for all Vikings concerned, even RB Adrian Peterson. But All-Day is the only one that can transcend the matchup. TE Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) might also prove to be a decent play, assuming his hamstring injury really is minor. The Jets have allowed TDs to TEs the past two weeks and they allowed a combined 183 receiving yards to Todd Heap and Aaron Hernandez(notes) in Weeks 1-2. … WR Santonio Holmes enters the mix for NYJ this week and it's a situation where there is a lot of mouths to feed for a QB in Mark Sanchez(notes) who is not asked to throw the ball often. And TE Dustin Keller(notes) has been Sanchez's go-to guy, as it is, so it's probably best to sit on your Jets WRs and see how this one plays out. I'm getting really close to calling RB LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) a matchup-indifferent must-start. He's looked great, and he's got the hogs up front to create space in even the toughest situations. MIN is a stout run defense, but there's probably not 15 running backs I'd rather have for Week 5 than Tomlinson.

Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Dustin Keller, NY Jets Defense
Visanthe Shiancoe, Shonn Greene(notes), Mark Sanchez, Braylon Edwards(notes), Minnesota Defense, Santonio Holmes
Randy Moss, Percy Harvin(notes), Bernard Berrian(notes), Brett Favre, Jerricho Cotchery(notes)
Key Injuries: NYJ DE Shaun Ellis(notes) (knee); NYJ CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring); NYJ LB Calvin Pace(notes) (foot); MIN TE Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring); MIN C John Sullivan(notes) (calf)
Prediction: NY Jets 28, Minnesota 20