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Fantasy matchups: Young, Portis are nice options

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  • By Rotowire .com Special to NFL.com
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By Derick Moss

Green Bay at Detroit
12:30 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE PACKERS

Suit ’em up: Some are calling this a trap game for the Packers, but they’re playing so well (and Detroit so badly) that it might be a snoozer. The Lions rank 30th against the pass, so Brett Favre, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Donald Lee and even James Jones are good to go.

Sit ’em down: Ryan Grant has a bit of a gimpy ankle, and the Lions rank eighth against the run. He’s not a terrible option, but might be a low-end play this week.

SCOUTING THE LIONS

Suit ’em up: Green Bay’s defense is playing well, but is surprisingly 18th against the pass. Jon Kitna won’t have much of a running game to help, so he’s a decent play, along with Roy Williams. Starting the other Lions receivers, however, is a guessing game, with Shaun McDonald being the next-best option.

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Sit ’em down: Kevin Jones is coming off a rough week against the Giants, and won’t get much more room to run against Green Bay. Detroit’s defense has created value by forcing an incredible amount of turnovers (28), but that pace can’t be maintained. This week’s a bad matchup.


New York Jets at Dallas
4:15 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE JETS

Suit ’em up: Thomas Jones is running well, but his inability to find the end zone is frustrating. Dallas is eighth against the run, primarily because it's in so many blowouts. The Cowboys are near the bottom of the league in rushing attempts against, which helps them statistically. With Laveranues Coles likely out, Jerricho Cotchery should be the Jets’ No. 1 target and a fine second wide receiever.

Sit ’em down: Kellen Clemens played well down the stretch last week, but poorly for most of the game until then. He’s not a great play this week, and Brad Smith, Coles’ replacement, is a real risk. Look elsewhere.

SCOUTING THE COWBOYS

Suit ’em up: As long as Tony Romo and Terrell Owens enjoy the lovefest, ride it while it lasts. The Jets have allowed 10 rushing touchdowns and give up 4.4 yards per carry, so Marion Barber and even Julius Jones both seem like decent options, with a slight edge to Barber (even though he’s been rather ordinary lately).

Sit ’em down: Patrick Crayton (ankle) is a gametime decision, so Sam Hurd might be a viable waiver wire pickup if you’re desperate.


Indianapolis at Atlanta
8:15 p.m., NFL Network

SCOUTING THE COLTS

Suit ’em up: This is a great team that is banged up and running on fumes. Joseph Addai, however, could be in line for a big day against a shorthanded Falcons rush defense, which ranks 23rd in the league. Even Kenton Keith might be a flex option, and this would be a good place for Dallas Clark to get back to Pro Bowl form.

Sit ’em down: OK, you can’t sit Reggie Wayne, but don’t expect a huge day against DeAngelo Hall and the Falcons’ 10th-ranked pass defense. Anthony Gonzalez might play, but he’s an iffy play at best, and Craphonso Thorpe hasn’t proven himself a factor, no matter who ahead of him gets hurt.

SCOUTING THE FALCONS

Suit ’em up: The offense is playing so poorly, there aren’t many choices. But here’s a nod to Warrick Dunn, who has been inconsistent but faces an average rushing defense.

Sit ’em down: Joey Harrington is back as the starting quarterback but faces the league’s No. 2 pass defense. Roddy White and Michael Jenkins are both risky plays.


Tennessee at Cincinnati
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE TITANS

Suit ’em up: Vince Young has stepped up his play, especially in the passing game, but his receivers keep letting him down. This matchup is too good not to start him, however. Because of that, LenDale White also gets a nod, but a few more fumbles (and burgers) might find him behind the able Chris Brown on the depth chart.

Sit ’em down: Roydell Williams has physical tools, but drops too many passes and is losing confidence from his quarterback. Brandon Jones is in a similar position, as Justin Gage might be developing into the team’s top receiving threat.

SCOUTING THE BENGALS

Suit ’em up: The Bengals are falling apart, and Carson Palmer, while still a decent play, is playing poorly. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is still No. 1 fantasy wide receiver, but Chad Johnson and Chris Henry might have equal value these days.

Sit ’em down: Rudi Johnson and Kenny Watson are splitting time, but Watson is clearly the better fantasy bet. Against Tennessee’s rugged front seven, neither will be a gamebreaker this week.


Houston at Cleveland
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE TEXANS

Suit ’em up: The Browns are 28th against the run and 31st against the pass, so most Texans are options unless the snow comes in (check the weather Sunday). Ron Dayne is an option this week with this matchup, and Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are No. 1 options.

Sit ’em down: Andre Davis is the team’s No. 3 receiver now that Johnson has returned, but he played well enough in Johnson's stead that the Texans are using three-receiver sets more often. But that doesn’t mean you should consider Davis more than a flex option.

SCOUTING THE BROWNS

Suit ’em up: Sure, Derek Anderson hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in two of three games, but he has a great schedule going forward and gets a good matchup this week. Joe Jurevicius has at least four catches in four consecutive games and is a sneaky pick this week.

Sit ’em down: There was talk at one point that Jason Wright would steal some of Jamal Lewis’ carries, but Lewis has been very good lately. This is a good matchup for most Browns.


Oakland at Kansas City
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE RAIDERS

Suit ’em up: The Chiefs are statistically average on defense, but they don’t allow a lot of points. Justin Fargas is really the lone fantasy option Oakland has and could have a decent day.

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Sit ’em down: Daunte Culpepper is a turnover machine and too risky to start, though he might get some yardage Sunday. LaMont Jordan is not even a backup at this point, which is amazing considering his fast start to the season.

SCOUTING THE CHIEFS

Suit ’em up: There just won’t be many points scored in this one. Tony Gonzalez is a sure thing, but take a chance on Brodie Croyle and Dwayne Bowe. Even though Oakland is fourth against the pass, the lack of a ground game means Croyle will put it in the air. He was pretty good last week against the Colts, who are even better than Oakland against the pass.

Sit ’em down: Priest Holmes is done for the season and Larry Johnson is out, too. Kolby Smith gets a start, but he hasn't impressed, and even against a bad run defense, he’s a risky play.


Seattle at St. Louis
1 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE SEAHAWKS

Suit ’em up: A good matchup for Maurice Morris, who likely will get the nod ahead of Shaun Alexander. Matt Hasselbeck is a nice play, while D.J. Hackett is establishing himself as a big-play threat.

Sit ’em down: Considering that Seattle is a pass-happy team these days, you’d think Marcus Pollard would be more of a factor. But he isn’t.

SCOUTING THE RAMS

Suit ’em up: There should be plenty of points in this one. Marc Bulger (when he’s not on his back) should connect with Torry Holt more than a few times, and Steven Jackson is a low-end No. 1 running back option this week.

Sit ’em down: Isaac Bruce has lost a step, while Drew Bennett is simply not much of an option at all these days.


Washington at Tampa Bay
1 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE REDSKINS

Suit ’em up: Tough defensive slugfest here. But the Redskins will probably look to Clinton Portis plenty this week. The Bucs are great against the pass, but only decent against the run. Chris Cooley remains a No. 1 tight end.

Sit ’em down: Jason Campbell has been outstanding in recent weeks, but the Bucs have given up just six passing touchdowns all season. Santana Moss had a great week last week, but he’s too inconsistent to start.

SCOUTING THE BUCCANEERS

Suit ’em up: The Redskins are 22nd against the pass and 11th against the run, but Jeff Garcia will still only put the ball up 20 times or so. He’s efficient enough to be a second quarterback, and Joey Galloway is a good play because of his deep-route skills. Earnest Graham is a No. 2 running back this week. Alex Smith is a decent tight end option.

Sit ’em down: Michael Pittman has never materialized into the fantasy player some thought he’d be, mainly because of Graham’s play. Ike Hilliard is way too inconsistent to be a threat.


New Orleans at Carolina
1 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE SAINTS

Suit ’em up: New Orleans is schizophrenic on offense these days, and Carolina is a little better against the pass (14th) than the run (18th). However, Carolina is still a physical team up front, so expect the Saints to throw a bunch, meaning Drew Brees and Marques Colston are good options. Reggie Bush’s value is in the passing game.

Sit ’em down: David Patten, Devery Henderson and Lance Moore (in order) have slim fantasy value. The Panthers routinely struggle to defend tight ends, but Eric Johnson and Billy Miller are splitting playing time, so it’s tough to pick to play.

SCOUTING THE PANTHERS

Suit ’em up: Yes, the Saints defense is bad, but it is 14th against the run (29th against the pass). So take a chance on Vinny Testaverde, the likely starter under center (a low-end No. 2 QB), and Steve Smith, who’s likely to return this week. You could do worse than Jeff King, who could get free against this porous secondary.

Sit ’em down: With Smith back, Keary Colbert should be nowhere near your fantasy team, and Dwayne Jarrett might not be active. DeAngelo Williams is not getting enough touches to be effective, disappointing fantasy owners.


Buffalo at Jacksonville
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE BILLS

Suit ’em up: The Jags defense is indeed tough, but it is surprisingly 27th against the pass. The problem is J.P. Losman isn’t playing well, and Trent Edwards, if healthy, could be subbed in. Stay way from the quarterbacks, but start Lee Evans and consider Josh Reed a flex option, as the Bills will put the ball in the air.

Sit ’em down: With Marshawn Lynch likely out again, Anthony Thomas gets the call. Steer clear: The Jags are decent against the run (15th) and Thomas is running behind a shaky line.

SCOUTING THE JAGUARS

Suit ’em up: A good matchup for most offenses, the Jags will likely run it right down Buffalo’s throat, making Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor both options. David Garrard is also a good play this week, though he’s not a 300-yard threat. The Jacksonville defense is a great play this week.

Sit ’em down: Reggie Williams could find the end zone again, but he’s a risky play. Dennis Northcutt isn’t enough of a big-play threat to be a fantasy factor.


Minnesota at New York Giants
1 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE VIKINGS

Suit ’em up: Go ahead and start Chester Taylor, but this is a tough matchup. None of the other Vikings are worth looking at, with the possible exception of Visanthe Shiancoe as a No. 2 tight end.

Sit ’em down: Tarvaris Jackson had his best game last week, but he’ll be harassed all day this Sunday. Bobby Wade is the team’s top receiving threat, but that means little to fantasy players.

SCOUTING THE GIANTS

Suit ’em up: The Vikings are very good against the run (third) but dead last against the pass. Check the weather, but Eli Manning’s value might never be higher. Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey are top plays, while Amani Toomer is a good No. 2 wide receiver play.

Sit ’em down: Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward are both nursing injuries and might not play on Sunday. Reuben Droughns would take over the load, but the Vikings are a tough matchup. Expect 40 passes from Manning on Sunday.


San Francisco at Arizona
4:05 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE 49ERS

Suit ’em up: The Niners are just bad all over these days. Vernon Davis is still a high-upside risk at tight end, and Frank Gore is a No. 2 running back these days.

Sit ’em down: Trent Dilfer is no option any week, but against a rugged Cardinals unit he’s an even worse option. Darrell Jackson has just nine catches since Week 4.

SCOUTING THE CARDINALS

Suit ’em up: Kurt Warner is getting healthier, and Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin might both be No. 1 options this week.

Sit ’em down: Edgerrin James hasn’t broken 100 yards since week 2, but has six touchdowns this season. He’s a No. 2 option, but if the Cardinals get an early lead it’s possible they steal a little rest for James, who’s clearly slowing down.


Baltimore at San Diego
4:15 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE RAVENS

Suit ’em up: The Ravens are clearly a better offensive team with Kyle Boller under center, and the Chargers are 25th against the pass (though they do have 17 picks). Boller might be a low-end option this week, and Derrick Mason is a No. 2 receiver. Willis McGahee has been remarkably consistent and should be started. Take a shot at Quinn Sypniewski if Todd Heap is out.

Sit ’em down: Yes, Devard Darling had 107 yards and a touchdown last week. No, you should not pick him up off the waiver wire. Mark Clayton is also not a viable option at this point.

SCOUTING THE CHARGERS

Suit ’em up: Of course, the Ravens are great against the run (second) and have allowed just two rushing touchdowns. But LaDainian Tomlinson’s value as a receiver alone makes him a No. 1 running back. The Chargers defense might also be a decent play here.

Sit ’em down: Philip Rivers is struggling badly, and this is a bad game to regain any mojo. Chris Chambers is an option , but the others San Diego receivers are non-factors.


Denver at Chicago
4:15 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE BRONCOS

Suit ’em up: What happened to the Bears defense? It's 26th against the run and 16th against the pass. The problem for fantasy ownes is Andre Hall might have played his way into the backfield rotation, Selvin Young is a little banged up and Travis Henry might not be suspended this week but could be healthy. Rank them Young, Hall and Henry. Jay Cutler could be a No. 1 quarterback this week, while Brandon Marshall is a solid No. 2 receiver against a suspect secondary.

Sit ’em down: Javon Walker could be back this weekend, but give him a week to get his legs under him. His return pushes Brandon Stokley to the third receiver role and hurts his value.

SCOUTING THE BEARS

Suit ’em up: The whole lineup seems like it's in flux. Bernard Berrian has benefitted greatly from Rex Grossman’s return. Cedric Benson has been pretty mediocre all year, but he’s facing the league’s 31st-ranked run defense (though it's been better lately).

Sit ’em down: Speaking of Grossman, there’s some talk in Chicago that he’s back on the bench, and Kyle Orton might even get a start. Stay away from this QB situation, particularly against a tough set of cornerbacks.


Philadelphia at New England
8:15 p.m., NBC

SCOUTING THE EAGLES

Suit ’em up: Brian Westbrook is a great play virtually every week, and may be the Eagles’ only play this week. Take a shot at L.J. Smith, who’s played pretty well lately.

Sit ’em down: Donovan McNabb might be a late-week decision, but neither he nor A.J. Feeley figures to get much going against the Pats. Reggie Brown is simply too inconsistent for fantasy purposes.

SCOUTING THE PATRIOTS

Suit ’em up: The usuals (Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker) are great plays, and Ben Watson is emerging. Donte Stallworth is a third receiver option most weeks, including this one.

Sit ’em down: Laurence Maroney's opportunities are limited seemingly every week, and the Pats have shown they’ll play anyone at running back (Kevin Faulk? Heath Evans? Kyle Eckel?). Steer clear of them, even though the Eagles are better against the pass (12th) than the run (23rd).


Miami at Pittsburgh
8:30 p.m., ESPN

SCOUTING THE DOLPHINS

Suit ’em up: Another Monday Night snoozer. The Steelers figure to be ticked off after a debacle against the Jets, and the defense will tee off against poor Miami. Jesse Chatman deserves a start, if only because the Miami offensive line has been very good, and Chatman gets plenty of touches.

Sit ’em down: Ted Ginn Jr. Showed flashes last week, but he’ll be hard-pressed to find space to maneuver against the Steelers. John Beck might be a decent quarterback down the line, but he’s one of the worst bets in the league this week.

SCOUTING THE STEELERS

Suit ’em up: The Steelers defense is a great option this week. Miami’s defense might look good against the pass (fifth), but that’s because it's behind a lot and teams go to the run (ranked 30th). Willie Parker has a bum hip, so Najeh Davenport might get a few more carries than normal. Hines Ward is a good play this week, as is Heath Miller.

Sit ’em down: Santonio Holmes is injured, so that boosts the value of Nate Washington and Cedrick Wilson.

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