Titans @ Cowboys - (Marcoccio)
Passing Game Thoughts: Vince Young had a relatively big passing day in Week 1 against the Raiders but has been his usual unreliable self (from a fantasy perspective at least) since. He has not broke 200 yards passing nor has he thrown for more than 1 TD pass in any game during Weeks 2-4. His lack of running while trying to prove himself as a pocket passer, hasn’t helped his fantasy owners either. Former Rutgers star Kenny Britt has caught a TD pass the last two weeks but must begin to show some consist production before he can make a real fantasy impact. With that said, he is far too talented to lose targets to mediocre veterans like Justin Gage and Nate Washington, so if Vince Young ever develops into a adequate NFL passer, Britt could blossom.
Young is the type of QB that can neutralize the Cowboys above average pass rush if he can mange to escape the pocket and make some big plays with his legs early in the contest. If that does happen, with the Cowboys being a middle of the road pass defense (215 ypg and 4 TDs in 3 games), the former Texas star may be able to post adequate stats for those that need a bye week filler. You likely can find a better option though.
Running Game Thoughts: Chris Johnson has fallen way off the pace from achieving his goal of 2,500 rushing yards. However, he has had a few big runs called back due to penalties and he is still a “sure thing” in your starting line-up even when he has a “down” week. The Cowboys however may present a stiff test for Johnson, as they have only allowed 83.7 rushing yards per game and have not allowed a rushing TD on the season.
Vince Young: 185 yds passing, 1 TD, 1 Int. / 45 yds rushing
Kenny Britt: 75 yds receiving, 1 TD
Nate Washington: 65 yds receving
Bo Scaife: 15 yds receiving
Chris Johnson: 105 yds rushing, 1 TD / 40 yds receiving
Passing Game Thoughts: Tony Romo had his best season as a pro in 2009 (4,483-26-9) but got off to a slow start in 2010 largely as a result of his makeshift o-line. The line has been getting a little more healthy in recent weeks and will now be coming off a bye which should allowed them to come back strong. Rookie WR Dez Bryant has been targeted often by Romo this early season, but in the last game it was forgotten man Roy Williams that starred in the passing game. However, it’s Mile Austin and TE Jason Witten that are the ones that fantasy owners can truly rely on as they offer the talent and targets necessary for consistent production.
After a miserable 2009, the Titans pass defense has come back around this season (210.8 and 3 TDs). Cortland Finnegan is developing into one of the better coverage CBs in the league and may make life difficult for Miles Austin this week, allowing the other options to see an increase in targets.
Running Game Thoughts: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Jerry Jones came out this week and said that everyone involved from the coaching staff down to the guy selling peanuts at the stadium are in agreement that Felix Jones needs to be more involved in the offense going forward. Of course that really means that Jerry Jones thinks that Felix Jones needs to be more involved in the offense going forward. Felix has bulked up, looking stronger while still maintaining his big play ability so it wouldn’t be an unwise decision, but we’ll see if it happens. OC Jason Garrett seems to fall in love with the passing game once the whistle blows which makes any Cowboy RB a risky start.
The Titans are the 10th ranked run defense in the NFL. They are giving up only 92 yards per game and have only allowed one rushing TD on the season, so for this week at least abandoning the run may not be such a bad way to go for the Boys.
Tony Romo: 285 yds passing 2 TDs, 1 Int. / 15 yds rushing
Roy Williams: 25 yds receiving
Miles Austin: 40 yds receiving
Dez Bryant: 55 yds receiving, 1 TD
Jason Witten: 95 yds receiving, 1 TD
Felix Jones: 80 yds rushing, 1 TD / 30 yds receiving
Marion Barber: 35 yds rushing / 5 yds receiving
Prediction: Cowboys 24 Titans 20 ^ Top
Vikings @ Jets - (Marcoccio)
Passing Game Thoughts: Ho Hum, another boring Monday Night contest lacking any subplots or intrigue. Yes, Brett Favre makes his return to his one time home of New Jersey to face his former team. While it’s not exactly Favre returning to Lambeau Filed as an opponent, the fact he returns with Randy Moss as his pitch and catch partner helps add some luster. Moss and Favre will only have a few days to create some chemistry, however given Brett’s gunslinger mentality and Moss’ deep speed the transition should come quickly for the two future first ballot Hall of Famers. Moss’ presence should also help open up the underneath routes for Percy Harvin and Favre favorite Visanthe Shiancoe which could be the real story come Monday Night.
Randy Moss v. Revis 2010 II (a/k/a the slouch v. the stud) was not expected to unfold until much later in the season. However, in a strange twist of fate, Revis makes his return to the field three weeks after tweaking a hamstring while covering Moss on his amazing one handed TD catch to once again face Moss. It’s always a difficult decision to bench a stud like Moss, but in a week where he is learning a new playbook, meeting new teammates and will be facing a very difficult matchup, it’s something to at least consider, even if he will potentially be rejuvenated by his new surroundings. Also keep in mind, the return of OLB Calvin Pace should really help the Jets’ pass rush which could in turn make those deep routes a dangerous proposition given Minnesota’s o-line issues and Brett’s bum ankle.
Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson will be in the house as well, a fact that’s easy to overlook with all the Favre/Moss hype that is sure to come. The Vikings would be wise to try and pull back the reigns on the Jets blitzes by running Peterson up the gut early in the game. Peterson is a game changing back and will be the key to Minnesota pulling out a tough road win. If the Vikings can run the ball, it will make it more likely that Moss makes more of an impact on the field than he will during the pre-game show.
Of course the Jets 7th ranked run defense will be looking to keep Peterson in check, as they have done to all opposing running games thus far. With my sincere apologies to Ray Rice, Fred Taylor, Ronnie Brown and Marshawn Lynch, this will however be the stiffest test they have faced.
Brett Favre: 235 yds passing 1 TD, 2 Ints.
Randy Moss: 45 yds receiving
Percy Harvin: 80 yds receiving
Visanthe Shiancoe: 65 yds receiving, 1 TD
Adrian Peterson: 105 yds rushing, 1 TD / 5 yds receiving
Passing Game Thoughts: Mark Sanchez has thrown for 8 TDs with zero interceptions through four weeks. That is quite a turnaround from last season where he finished with 12 TDs against 20 interceptions. Sanchez has worked extremely well with third year TE Dustin Keller, who is part of the new breed TEs that create mismatches wherever they line up. This week the former Trojan adds another weapon to the mix, former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Holmes is a playmaker that can run the short routes or stretch the field with equal aplomb and should form a dangerous duo with Keller. Holmes’ arrival will push Jerricho Cotchery to the WR3 role further diminishing his already minor fantasy value.
Sanchez’ progress will be tested this week as he faces the leagues 3rd ranked pass defense. (189.0 ypg and 3 TDs). The Vikings have turned around what was a very poor pass defense last season and have received strong play from CB Antoine Winfield. Surprisingly the Vikings have played the pass well without the benefit of a strong pass rush – only 4 sacks on the season – but with a player like Jared Allen on the team that could change any given week.
Running Game Thoughts: LaDainian Tomlinson has looked remarkable during the 2010 season and is clearly out to prove that he’s not finished yet. Last week he rushed for 133 yards and 2 TDs, including a 26 yarder where he left safety Donte Whitner grasping at air. Shonn Greene joined the party with a 100 yard game of his one – but unfortunately the Jets will not be playing the Bills every week so don’t expect both backs to be able to generate so much production on a weekly basis.
The Jets of course do not play the Bills this week, instead they face the Williams Wall and the Vikings 4th ranked run defense. The Vikings have been a tough opponent for opposing rushers for a few years running now – and it will interesting to see how Nick Mangold, Matt Slausen and Brandon Moore handle the tough interior of the Vikings front seven. If they can win their battles letting Tomlinson and Greene get their games going, the Jets should be able to defend their home field.
Mark Sanchez: 240 yds passing, 2 TDs, 1 Int. / 10 yards rushing
Braylon Edwards: 60 yds receiving, 1 TD
Santonio Holmes: 65 yds receiving
Dustin Keller: 80 yds receiving, 1 TD
Shonn Greene: 35 yds rushing / 5 yds receiving
LaDainian Tomlinson: 75 yds rushing, 1 TD / 35 yds receiving
Prediction: Jets 28 Minnesota 17 ^ Top
Saints @ Cardinals - (Eakin)
Passing Game Thoughts: The Saints offense has started 2010 slower than most expected. Ranked fifth in passing is sluggish by their standards. Many factors may be involved but perhaps the most glaring has been the lack of big plays from top WR Marques Colston. In fact, both TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Lance Moore have better yards and more scores than Colston through four games. The Cardinals may provide just the dose of bad defense medicine that could kick-start the Saints engine. Colston will draw a tough cover corner in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, so he is still a bit of a risk, but odds are good that Lance Moore will extend his hot streak to three games. The Saints can take advantage of the Cards lack of cover ability at the safety and nickel corner positions. Moore has taken much of the quick hitting short routes the Saints usually reserve for Reggie Bush when active. Jeremy Shockey should also be licking his chops after seeing the Cards lose coverage on TE Antonio Gates for two scores last week. The sleeper play of the week is Devery Henderson. Henderson has been the main deep threat from the saints this season and draws one of the league’s most picked on CBs, Greg Toler. Henderson or Meacham will hit him for a big play, odds are its Henderson.
Running Game Thoughts: Pierre Thomas is questionable after missing last week with an ankle sprain. In his place Ladell Betts and Chris Ivory split carries evenly. Neither back has huge potential in that scenario even with a weak defense. Ivory is the more of the goaline threat, which may give him an edge. If Thomas plays, you have to assume he can have a big day.
Drew Brees: 300 yds/2 TDs
Marques Colston: 60 yds
Lance Moore: 75 yds/1 TD
Devery Henderson: 70 yds/1 TD
Pierre Thomas: 65 yds rushing/40 yds rec/1 TD
Passing Game Thoughts: As the season quickly spins out of control the Cardinals will turn to QB Max Hall, a rookie from BYU. The coaches are big fans of Hall, and maybe with a week of reps he’ll improve, but he looked lost when he entered in relief against the Chargers last week. The passing offense will remain limited while the rook gets his sea legs. They will continue to target Larry Fitzgerald a ton, but the Saints pass rush and exotic blitzing will confuse Hall and bracket Fitz. Another rookie Stephen Williams, has been thrust into a great opportunity with Breaston and Doucet out, but so far hasn’t parlayed his preseason magic into real game contributions. If you drafted Fitz, you may be stuck playing him, things can’t get worse.
Running Game Thoughts: The Saints can be run on. The Cards will test put that theory to the test to protect their rookie signal caller. It will be interesting to see how RB Beanie Wells is used. Wells didn’t get his first carry last week until the end of the second quarter. With their current struggles, it is mysterious why the most talented healthy RB would not be thrust into action right away. His usage is apparently a mystery to Wells himself as his post game tirade showed. If he is second fiddle to Hightower again then it’s time to put a dog collar on him while he sits in the doghouse. For now, this backfield remains a split until proven otherwise.
Max Hall: 150 yds/1 INT
Larry Fitzgerald: 60 yds
Stephen Williams: 35 yds
Tim Hightower: 45 yds rushing/30 yds rec
Chris Wells: 65 yds/1 TD
Prediction: New Orleans 31 Arizona 10 ^ Top