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Week 6 fantasy matchups: Pats, Cowboys should make their points


The big Week 6 showdown between New England and Dallas is as big for fantasy owners as it is for the fans of the Patriots and Cowboys. Not only are both of these teams undefeated, they are scoring machines. New England has scored 182 points in five games; Dallas has scored 176. Only one team in NFL history has scored more points through five games -- the St. Louis Rams, with 217 points in 2000.

The Patriots and Cowboys average a combined 71.6 points per game; no game since 2000 has featured two higher-scoring teams in Week 6 or later. Just to get close, you have to go back to a 2002 matchup between the Raiders and Chiefs, who combined to average a combined 66.8.

And one key note to fantasy players with any key players from this game: Don't be concerned if it's not a high-scoring first half. Tony Romo has thrown 11 of his 13 TD passes in the second half of games, and Tom Brady has a 134.2 passer rating in the second half. If you like scoring, this is the game to watch. My guess is that these teams will combine for more than 57 points. The only negative is that weather could be a factor; the forecast for Sunday callas for thunderstorms.

Here's a look at key fantasy matchups for Week 6:

Rams at Ravens
I don't think you can play anyone on St. Louis. The Rams haven't had a rushing TD yet this season. They rank 27th overall on offense, averaging just 287 yards per game. Now they must face a Ravens defense that allows just 2.9 yards per rush. For Baltimore, I think RB Willis McGahee will do well here despite the fact that the Ravens are starting three rookie offensive linemen. You have to like WR Derrick Mason a little. He leads the league in receptions with 44 but only has one TD receptions. In other words, he's due.
Vikings at Bears
I like RB Adrian Peterson of the Vikings a little, although it's harder to run on the road because sometimes the crowd noise makes it tough to audible out of a bad play. I doubt the Vikings can pass against the Bears. Kelly Holcomb most likely will be the starter. He's been sacked 10 times in 67 attempts, and the Bears have 17 sacks for the season. I wouldn't play Cedric Benson or any other RB for Chicago, seeing as how Minnesota leads the league in run defense and has yet to allow a rushing TD. I do like QB Brian Griese and WR Bernard Berrian, but the best play for Chicago is now TE Greg Olson. I think Olson will present a tough matchup for all opponents the rest of the way, because he's flanked out almost like a receiver and the safeties can't cover him.
Dolphins at Browns
Check the injury reports for the status or RB Ronnie Brown. If healthy, I like him to have another solid effort both running and catching the ball. I like QB Cleo Lemon a little, as I think both receivers -- Ted Ginn Jr. and Chris Chambers -- will be productive. This is a game that an inexperienced QB can play well in, because the Browns don't show multiple looks on defense. For Cleveland, it doesn't look like RB Jamal Lewis will play. That makes RB Jason Wright an interesting choice, because teams can definitely run on Miami. QB Derek Anderson can be inconsistent, but he is finding ways to get the ball to WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow. I don't think WR Joe Jurevicius will play.
Redskins at Packers
This series goes back to 1932, but they've only played 29 times in that time span -- the Packers have 29 wins against Tampa Bay alone since 1976. For Washingtion, I like QB Jason Campbell and WR Santana Moss (but check his injury status). I like RB Clinton Portis a little, but it's tough to run on Green Bay. It doesn't look as if WR Antwaan Randle El can play. For Green Bay, there is still no RB worth playing. That leaves QB Brett Favre, spreading the ball between WRs Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones, in that order.
Texans at Jaguars
Houston has won two straight and four of the last six in the series against Jacksonville. It appears RB Ahman Green will play -- he should be okay, though I wouldn't expect him to get more than 70 yards. The best bets for the Texans are WR Andre Davis and TE Owen Daniels. I like both running backs for Jacksonville -- Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. The caveat is that they only have one rushing TD between them. I like QB David Garrard and WR Dennis Northcutt, but the player I like most is TE Marcedes Lewis.
Bengals at Chiefs
Of WR Chad Johnson's 44 career TD catches, 24 have been on the road. So I like Johnson and WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and I expect QB Carson Palmer to have a very big game. I don't think RB Rudi Johnson will play again this week. Look for RB Larry Johnson to have a big game here against a Cincinnati defense that is allowing 403 yards per game. I think QB Damon Huard will play and I think he'll do well. As a result, you should play rookie WR Dwayne Bowe, who has become the Chiefs' no. 1 target. I wouldn't be surprised if Tony Gonzalez catches a TD pass here; he needs one more to break the record for career TDs by a tight end, and I'm sure they'd love to see him get the record at home.
Eagles at Jets
A couple of stats in Philadelphia's favor: Andy Reid is 8-0 coming off bye weeks, and the Eagles are 7-0 all-time vs. Jets. I like RB Brian Westbrook and QB Donovan McNabb to have big days. Don't be surprised if WR Kevin Curtis does well here. For the Jets, I like QB Chad Pennington a little. I know some people feel that Kellen Clemens could make an appearance here if Pennington falters, but it's hard to throw an inexperienced QB into a game like this against a team that blitzes as much as the Eagles do. I also like both WRs, Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery, to do well.
Titans at Buccaneers
I like QB Vince Young to make some plays here, even though he really has no go-to receivers. It's really safe to play either of the Tennessee running backs -- Chris Brown or LenDale White. Even though it's a running back by committee, they both get plenty of carries -- the Titans have averaged 21 more rushes per game than passes. For Tampa Bay, I like QB Jeff Garcia, WR Joey Galloway and RB Earnest Graham. Galloway hasn't done much since Week 1, he's due. Just keep in mind that Tennessee's defense, after ranking near the bottom of the league last year, ranks fifth in 2007.
Panthers at Cardinals
Running backs DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams are really the only plays here for Carolina. You can't really play QB David Carr, even if he is healthy enough to start. And even though WR Steve Smith has caught five TD passes in five games, he had only one catch last week and clearly misses Jake Delhomme. For Arizona, I definitely like QB Kurt Warner now that he's set as the full-time starter. I think the Cardinals will score a lot of points in this game, and since WR Anquan Boldin probably won't play, that means WR Larry Fitzgerald should be very productive.
Patriots at Cowboys
New England's game plan will be to spread the ball around to its many dangerous targets. I like QB Tom Brady a lot, along with WRs Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth. Don't expect much out of RBs Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris. They'll share carries, and Dallas is pretty good against the run. The Cowboys have only allowed one rushing TD all season. Besides, the Patriots have 16 TD passes this season and four rushing TDs. So you know what they plan to do. For Dallas, I think the one player not to play is WR Terrell Owens. I think the New England defense will focus its attention on stopping Owens. But I still like QB Tony Romo, RB Marion Barber, TE Jason Witten and WR Patrick Crayton to make plays.
Raiders at Chargers
Much like Tennessee, expect Oakland to run, run and run some more. They are averaging 194 rushing yards per game. However, RB LaMont Jordan is hurt, Justin Fargas is coming off great game and Dominic Rhodes is active after being suspended for the first four games. And on top of that, San Diego has a tough run defense. I also think they'll have a tough time getting the ball to WR Ronald Curry. If there was a time to predict that RB LaDainian Tomlinson would have a monster game, this would be it; LT has 1,455 rushing yards in 12 games vs. Oakland. QB Philip Rivers plays very well at home. TE Antonio Gates is second in the league with 40 catches.
Saints at Seahawks
We've finally hit the point where it's hard to play QB Drew Brees and expect him to bouce back to 2006 form. I think you have to bench him until he can prove otherwise. Overall, don't expect much offense from either team in this game. The lone play for New Orleans is RB Reggie Bush, since he should accumulate the all-purpose yards. For Seattle, RB Shaun Alexander usually plays well in this matchup -- he has five TDs in his last two against the Saints (three rushing, two receiving). I like QB Matt Hasselbeck, and with Deion Branch out I like WR Bobby Engram to step up. Another side note: Mike Holmgren is 5-0 lifetime vs. New Orleans.
Giants at Falcons
I like QB Eli Manning, RBs Derrick Ward and Brandon Jacobs, and WR Plaxico Burress here. Atlanta's defense played well the first two games of the season, but not very well in the last three games. For Atlanta, I like QB Joey Harrington a little, along with WR Roddy White. Even though RB Jerious Norwood still hasn't made an impact this season, I am going to stick with him.