Each week, Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com breaks down all the NFL games from a fantasy perspective.
Baltimore at New England
The Ravens should display some good offensive balance in this game. The Patriots are allowing more than 112 yards per contest, and Ray Rice should break free for a few good chunks of yardage on his way to approaching the 100-yard mark. Joe Flacco will receive solid protection and will have time to spread the ball around against a vulnerable pass defense. Expect more than one TD pass from Flacco, which means Anquan Boldin will find the end zone. Boldin will also see some double teams, which means Derrick Mason will make some PPR contributions and Todd Heap can post some adequate totals. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will also be targeted near goal line. Benjarvus Green-Ellis will have to work hard for his yardage, and is not an optimum start this week. Tom Brady will use Wes Welker and his tight ends to move the ball. Aaron Hernandez will deliver quality yardage numbers, and Rob Gronkowski will get looks at the goal line. How often Deion Branch and Brandon Tate contribute remains to be seen, and neither player should be started. Brady will move the ball in a controlled passing attack yet still should throw two TD passes.
Seattle at Chicago
The Bears allow only 78.6 rush yards per game, but have surrendered five rushing TDs. The Seahawks will find ways to get Marshawn Lynch the ball in his Seattle debut, and even if the yardage numbers aren't outstanding, he should get some scoring chances. Matt Hasselbeck will have to get rid of the ball quickly to evade Julius Peppers, so expect John Carlson to make significant contributions, even while the ball is spread among the Seahawks pass-catchers. Seattle is allowing an NFC-best 72.8 yards per game, and you cannot count on Matt Forte for any kind of consistency. Do not expect two big games in a row from him. Jay Cutler may operate conservatively at times, and his best target will be TE Greg Olsen. Still, there will be soft spots in the Seattle pass coverage that can be exploited, and Cutler will find Johnny Knox for a few healthy gainers. Cutler will provide his owners with solid, yet unspectacular numbers in his return to action.
Detroit at New York Giants
Without Calvin Johnson at full strength, the Lions could struggle on offense. Shaun Hill will have to scale back the passing game considerably to avoid a furious New York pass rush. Downfield shots may be limited and Hill cannot be expected to provide his owners with strong numbers. The Giants have defended the run very well lately, and can bottle up Jahvid Best for much of the day if Hill cannot loosen the defense up. The Lions pass defense has been notoriously soft this year, and you can expect a strong statistical outing from Eli Manning. If the Lions try to double or bracket Hakeem Nicks based on what they see on film from last week, Steve Smith could be Manning's go-to guy this time. A smooth passing game will open up running room for Ahmad Bradshaw, a very good RB2 start. The Giants offense will also put Brandon Jacobs into position to score from short range.
Atlanta at Philadelphia
The Eagles will know that Michael Turner is coming, but they may not be able to stop him. Philadelphia is allowing more than 125 rushing yards per game, and Turner should break loose in the second half even if he gets a lot of defensive attention early. Matt Ryan is not producing the desired fantasy numbers, yet he still makes the timely throws. He will deliver key strikes to Tony Gonzalez, and no defense can contain Roddy White right now. No unit can fully hold down LeSean McCoy, either, although the Falcons are playing very well on defense. If the Falcons focus on limiting McCoy as a runner, he can hurt them as a pass-catcher in space. Kevin Kolb will certainly have to look for McCoy as a safety receiver, because John Abraham is going to charge into the Philadelphia backfield often. Kevin Kolb is facing a sturdy defense that will pressure him often, and he may have a lot of difficulty locating DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin downfield. Kolb isn't going to produce much offensively. When he isn't connecting with McCoy, Kolb will have to get the ball to Brent Celek to keep the chains moving.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh
The Browns offense obviously becomes even more predictable with its quarterback issues, but Peyton Hillis takes on all comers with his physical style of running. Do not assume Hillis cannot be productive based on the matchup, and he still deserves strong consideration as a RB2. Ben Watson becomes much less appealing without a healthy Seneca Wallace, as the QB made Watson his go-to guy, and any other Cleveland QB may not have the same on-field rapport with the TE. The Browns are allowing 120.0 rushing yards per game, and have little hope of containing Rashard Mendenhall. Because the running game will be the crux of the Steelers offense, there will not be much pressure on Ben Roethlisberger to open up the passing game. Yet he is still a quality starter, and will have enough attempts to make sure he gets in rhythm, making Hines Ward and Mike Wallace worth heavy consideration as WR3 options this week. Heath Miller, however, may not produce as hoped until the Pittsburgh QB is truly back in form by Week 7 or so.
Miami at Green Bay
To truly get the offense clicking again, Miami needs to get the running game rolling. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams should both see a lot of carries. Brown does not have much statistical upside right now, and you cannot expect outstanding totals even if he takes a lot of handoffs. Williams, however, can make a very nice flex option as he often produces well when he gets an opportunity to develop a rhythm. Chad Henne is not recommended for use in a challenging road start, but Brandon Marshall will relish a matchup with Charles Woodson and may win a few battles, which means he will catch a TD pass. Davone Bess may also find some holes in the secondary. Brandon Jackson is not dependable and can easily follow up last week's promising performance with a complete dud. The lack of a reliable running game and the loss of Jermichael Finley makes the Packers easier to defend. Greg Jennings will be denied the deep ball again and is a risky start, and Donald Driver may be good for PPR options in terms of total catches, but do not expect impressive yardage numbers or a TD.
San Diego at St. Louis
The Rams 22th-ranked passing defense in yards per game is in for a long day against Philip Rivers, who is one of the elite QBs in fantasy football right now. The Rivers-to-Antonio Gates combination will continue to click, and you can bank on another impressive outing from Malcom Floyd. The Rams will know who they have to stop, yet they won't be able to stop them. A very strong passing attack will open up running lanes for Ryan Mathews, who will become a bigger part of the offense this week. Mathews could come through with his best game as a pro so far, and Mike Tolbert could get some chances to score near the goal line. San Diego ranks sixth against the pass, and without Mark Clayton, Sam Bradford will not be able to move the ball consistently. Danny Amendola should not be considered over more established pass-catchers until he proves he can produce well without Clayton around. For now, use him as a bye week filler if you must. Also, scout Brandon Gibson, who does seem to have the confidence of Bradford. The St. Louis offense will obviously revolve around Steven Jackson again, yet it always seems to be a bonus if he actually scores.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
The Saints have become easier to defend without a consistent running game and the playmaking skills of Reggie Bush, who commands a tremendous amount of defensive respect. Even with the addition of Julius Jones, New Orleans will not threaten any defense with its ground game and opponents will be focused on stopping the downfield attack. Drew Brees must be conservative and avoid mistakes. That means getting the ball to dependable targets such as Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Jeremy Shockey. Look for Brees to take what the defense gives him, and do not expect a sudden climb back to his past performance levels just yet. Tampa Bay must emphasize ball control, as Josh Freeman has looked bad against the opportunistic Saints defense in the past. Earnest Graham is starting to emerge as Tampa Bay's best TD option among its RBs, yet is strictly a desperation option. Rookie Mike Williams is the only Buccaneer worthy of starting consideration, and should still be used against a secondary that can do a good job of holding down some opposing playmakers. Williams, however, has shown he is ready to stand up against any defense.
Kansas City at Houston
The Texans have been pushovers against the pass, and Matt Cassel will be primed to bounce back from a very disappointing game against the Colts. Expect Cassel to throw more than one TD pass, as he makes it a point to get the ball to Dwayne Bowe, who is in clear need of a confidence boost. A respectable passing game will allow the running backs to do their jobs, as Jamaal Charles breaks off some quality gainers and Thomas Jones sees a few short-yardage scoring opportunities. The threat of the ground game near the goal line will produce play-action throws to TE Tony Moeaki. The Chiefs have defended the run well, but Arian Foster will be determined to rebound from a very disappointing performance last week, and will produce the desired fantasy numbers. Matt Schaub will disappoint again, as the ground game carries the Houston offense, and the Chiefs defense will offer stiff resistance on key passing downs. Do not count on much production from Kevin Walter, either.
Oakland at San Francisco
The 49ers allow more than 111 rushing yards per game, and Michael Bush should perform well as the focal point of the Raiders offense. Darren McFadden may be ready to return to action, yet may not be much of a factor. A consistent running attack will set up play-action strikes to Zach Miller, who should give the San Francisco safeties a lot of trouble in coverage. Only the Bills have a worse run defense than Oakland, which allows more than 147 rushing yards per game. Frank Gore is easily one of the best RB starts of the week, and his success should help Alex Smith enjoy some time to throw. Smith will work frequently to Vernon Davis, and Michael Crabtree will not post outstanding totals, as he will certainly face Nnamdi Asomugha often, even if the matchup is not exclusive. If you are desperate for WR help, consider Josh Morgan, who may benefit from the attention drawn by Davis and Crabtree. Smith knows his leash is short, and may respond with a respectable performance.
New York Jets at Denver
Champ Bailey has done a great job of shutting down opposing No. 1 WRs, but the Jets do not have a clear-cut top target. Mark Sanchez will spread the ball around effectively, and while no one WR will stand out, the New York QB should provide his owners with at least adequate totals while making sure he gets the ball to Dustin Keller when it counts. No defense can seemingly stop the determined and rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson right now, and Shonn Greene is running with renewed confidence that makes him worth flex consideration. For all the hype the Jets defense generates, the unit ranks 23rd in passing yards per game allowed. The Broncos have no running game to speak of, yet still cannot be stopped in the air, as Kyle Orton is making sound decisions and taking advantage of a deep crew of WRs. Brandon Lloyd is a must-start, and Jabar Gaffney will be a solid PPR option this week. Orton should not be reserved based on the perceived matchup. The Broncos have too many options in the passing game and the Jets cannot defend them nearly as well without a healthy Darrelle Revis anchoring the defensive backfield.
Dallas at Minnesota
Tony Romo has been getting hit a lot this season, but the Vikings have not been generating consistent pass pressure. Romo will have time to throw, and that translates into another impressive fantasy performance. Miles Austin will come through with another sparkling outing, and Roy Williams will be a threat to score in the red zone. Both of these teams need a win badly, and will pull out all the offensive stops. For Dallas, that means lots of completions to Jason Witten, and many carries for Felix Jones, who can score any time he touches the ball. Brett Favre's reported elbow issues may not hold him back from making the plays he must, so Randy Moss will be geared up for a strong outing and Percy Harvin will again benefit from the presence of his new superstar teammate. Favre will still post numbers worthy of usage, as shorter throws can still generate yards after the catch. Adrian Peterson knows how important this game is for his team, and he will deliver the goods as hoped. Expect more than 100 yards and at least one TD run.
Indianapolis at Washington
The Redskins rank 30th in passing yards per game allowed, and that is simply bad news against Peyton Manning, who did not throw a TD pass last week and will be hungry to eat up large chunks of yardage. Manning may throw more than two TD passes, and Reggie Wayne is one of the top WR starts of the week. Dallas Clark should be a standout in all formats, and do not hesitate to start Pierre Garcon. The Redskins will make it a point to get Ryan Torain rolling while using the running game to control the clock and take pressure off Donovan McNabb. Torain should receive starting consideration as a RB2, but do not use him over a more reliable RB just yet. Donovan McNabb will let loose if he has to, so expect a quality performance from Santana Moss, and Anthony Armstrong is worth consideration in larger leagues. Chris Cooley, of course, will be McNabb's top TD target. Expect good yardage totals from McNabb this week.
Tennessee at Jacksonville
The Jacksonville pass defense has been notoriously awful this season. The Jaguars will come out focused on containing Chris Johnson, and Vince Young may respond by attacking the Jaguars' biggest weakness. You can start Young with confidence this week, and plug in Kenny Britt, as he is starting to blossom. Nate Washington is a true TD threat as well. Johnson should score more than once as the Titans move the ball well throughout the game. The Titans have a ferocious defensive front that will crush the pocket around David Garrard. Do not start the Jacksonville QB this week, and Mike Sims-Walker should be benched, as he may not fare well as a result of Garrard's struggles. Tennessee has allowed one rushing score in 2010, so even if Maurice Jones-Drew rolls up good yardage numbers in the national spotlight, he may be held out of the end zone.