In our attempt to provide every possible way for you to have more reason to kick yourself after a well researched fantasy loss, we antagonizingly analyze each and every weekend matchup. This past week has been one of solace in a time of despair. Philadelphia failure ended with a Phillies World Series victory over the Rays. One hundred seasons of champion-less sports in the win deprived city were forgotten with a five game route to redemption. A television comedy scene filled with supposed funny shows like The Big Bang Theory was pulled out of a depression by the 30 Rock premiere. A more literal depression has risen over 1000 points this week to the tune of sighs of relief throughout an economically challenged nation. And seemingly hopeless fantasy owners were given new found optimism in times of Carson Palmer injuries and Larry Johnson woes by newfangled, bright side showing statistical analysis sites. This here blog isn't any miracle calculator, but we do believe that it contains some resurrection inducing powers. The abilities are most clearly seen inside the weekend previews that start... now.
Saturday, November 1
Houston Texans @ Minnesota VikingsFantasy Impact Players QB— Matt Schaub, Gus Ferrotte RB— Adrian Peterson, Steve Slaton WR— Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Bernard Berrian TE— Owen Daniels, Visanthe Shiancoe Key Stat 61—Since Week 4, the Texans' quarterback (be it Matt Schaub or Sage Rosenfels), Steve Slaton, Andre Johnson, and Kevin Walter, have averaged a total of 61 fantasy points between them per game. Our Take Tosten Burks— The Vikes will be able to stop Houston's running game—I'd probably sit Slaton if I had the depth to do so—but Minnesota's pass D is mediocre at best. The Texans take this with a dominant momentum-fueled passing game smash. Zach Fein—As noted in the Key Stat above, Houston's offense has been on fire the past few weeks. Start the aforementioned four Texans, plus the obvious Adrian Peterson and Bernard Berrian. The Vikings' offense can't keep up with the Texans', so Houston should win by a touchdown or so.
New York Jets @ Buffalo BillsFantasy Impact Players QB— Trent Edwards, Brett Favre RB— Thomas Jones, Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington WR— Lee Evans, Jerricho Cotchery, Laveraneus Coles TE— Robert Royal Key Stat 13.2—In his past four games against the Jets, Lee Evans is averaging 13.2 fantasy points. Our Take Tosten Burks— Feel free to double take, but the Jets' run defense is fourth in football. Lynch is only averaging 64 rushing yards per game, so if you have another option, I'd take it. Especially when Buffalo knows that the passing game for sure will work against the crashing Jets secondary. Zach Fein—I see this game as a high-scoring festival. Start everyone: Cotchery, Coles, Evans, Lynch, Thomas Jones, Favre, and Edwards. Heck, Leon Washington wouldn't be too bad of a flex play in 12-team leagues.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago BearsFantasy Impact Players QB— Kyle Orton, Dan Orlovsky RB— Matt Forte, Kevin Smith, Rudi Johnson WR— Calvin Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Rashied Davis TE— Greg Olsen Key Stat 3.3—Average rank from the bottom in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (worst), running backs (seventh-worst), wide receivers (worst), and tight ends (fourth-worst). Our Take Tosten Burks— I really like Greg Olsen for some reason. He had a huge game last week and Lloyd won't be back in full capacity if he's back at all, so I think I just am pumped at the opportunity of a big performance by a white guy. Zach Fein—Kyle Orton is a top-five QB, Forte a top-three RB, and the Bears' defense is a top-three defense this week. Calvin Johnson is averaging 16 fantasy points in his last three games; he's a must-start as well.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland BrownsFantasy Impact Players QB— Derek Anderson, Joe Flacco RB— Willis McGahee, Jamal Lewis, Le'Ron McClain WR— Derrick Mason, Braylon Edwards TE— Kellen Winslow, Todd Heap Key Stat(s) 14—The Browns have given up only 14 (real life) points per game in the past four weeks. 17—The Ravens have scored only 17 (real life) points per game in the past four weeks. Our Take Tosten Burks— Kellen Winslow may be the most motivated guy in the league this weekend. Think he doesn't want to just drop a couple touchdowns and shove 'em in the face of Cleveland's doubting brass? Zach Fein—This game should be a low-scoring, defense-oriented game (see Key Stat above). Jamal Lewis, Willis McGahee and Braylon Edwards (along with both defenses) are the only good starts. Everyone else is a bench due to the bad matchup.
Green Bay Packers @ Tennessee TitansFantasy Impact Players QB— Aaron Rodgers, Kerry Collins RB— Chris Johnson, LenDale White, Ryan Grant WR— Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Justin Gage TE— Bo Scaife, Donald Lee Key Stat 1/3—The Titans have given up 12.4 points per game this year, exactly one-third less of the 18.6 they gave up all of last year. Our Take Tosten Burks— James Jones' returning could allow Green Bay to open up the offense a bit, but don't expect many sparks to fly in this matchup between two top pass D's, aside from the dominant Tennessee ground game. Zach Fein—The Titans will stay undefeated this week against the Packers and newly-signed Aaron Rodgers. I rank the backs in this game Chris Johnson, LenDale, and Grant; start them all, along with Jennings. Rodgers is a borderline starter.
Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis RamsFantasy Impact Players QB— Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger RB— Tim Hightower, Edgerrin James, Antonio Pittman WR— Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Donnie Avery, Torry Holt TE— Leonard Pope Key Stat(s) 19.2—Average fantasy points per game of the top wide receiver going against the Cardinals, since Week 3. 13.5—Donnie Avery's average fantasy points per game in his last four games Our Take Tosten Burks— Jim Haslett said that Jackson is looking the same as last week—and last week Jackson didn't play. It sounds like Pittman will get the start, and another tiny step out of complete fantasy irrelevancy. Now it's just semi-complete fantasy irrelevancy. Zach Fein—If I could choose one early game to watch, this would be it. I wouldn't be surprised to see 70 points put up by both teams. Warner, Bulger, SJax, Edge, Hightower, Boldin, Fitzgerald, Breaston, Avery, and Holt are all starters. Wow.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Kansas City ChiefsFantasy Impact Players QB— Jeff Garcia, Tyler Thigpen RB— Earnest Graham, Kolby Smith WR— Antonio Bryant, Dwayne Bowe, Ike Hilliard TE— Tony Gonzalez Key Stat 5.2—Points per game more that Kansas City has given up to opposing running backs than any other team. Our Take Tosten Burks— Warrick Dunn is hurt and Larry Johnson is suspended. Dunn's backmate Graham will touch the ball more and benefit; Johnson's backmate Smith will be able to get tackled for a loss more and very probably have a concussion. Zach Fein—Earnest Graham, my colleague Tosten Burks' mancrush this week, is a top-five running back. Do not start Tyler Thigpen. Do not. Besides Graham, I'm only playing Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez, and the Buccaneers' defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati BengalsFantasy Impact Players QB— David Garrard RB— Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor, Cedric Benson WR— TJ Houshmandzadeh, Matt Jones, Chad Johnson TE— nada Key Stat 9—Despite their 0-8 record and terrible defense, the Bengals have an average rank of only ninth-worst against opposing QBs, RBs and WRs in terms of fantasy points allowed. Our Take Tosten Burks— Trivia time. Who has the eigth-best passing defense in terms of yardage in the NFL? The Bungles. MoJo, Grandpa Fred, and Housh are the only players worth a glance here. Zach Fein—And despite that Key Stat, the Jaguars should have a field day. Play Garrard, both Jags' RBs, the not-suspended-yet Matt Jones, and the Jags' defense. The only Bengal I'd start is T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but I'm not too confident about him either.