Oct 21, 2011
Quarterback changes and player movement dominated the headlines this week and should make for a very interesting set of games. Without further ado, let us take a loot at the thirteen matchups.
Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers
The fans we actually chanting “We Want Beck” last week, and that sums up Rex Grossman’s career in a nutshell. Don’t expect the Redskin offense to change very much with John Beck under center, although it would be nice to know that Ryan Torain was starting AND getting a decent amount of carries. However, when it comes to the Shanahans, you need to reevaluate the RB situation on a weekly basis. I’m fully expecting the Panthers to target DeAngelo Hall, so expect Steve Smith to be on the end of a few deep balls in this one.
Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns
I never understood why the Browns were seriously contemplating giving Peyton Hillis a nice contract extension when they have his replacement in Montario Hardesty, especially with Hillis’ physical running style. It hasn’t mattered who has been in the Brown backfield since they continue to struggle on the ground. Greg Little appears to be approaching the level of safe #3 WR and he nearly scored last week. I do like him against a beatable Seahawk secondary. The Seattle QB situation continues to be a mess and it looks like “Clipboard Jesus” himself, Charlie Whitehurst will get the start. That puts a damper on using Sidney Rice or Doug Baldwin. If you’re taking a shot with Marshawn Lynch, ask yourself how many times he’s come through for you outside of the game against the Giants before the bye.
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
The Falcons actually closed out a game last week, and a big part of their success was because they were able to feed Michael Turner. That might not be so easy against a Lion team that should be able to put up some points on this shaky Falcon defense as opposed to struggling like they did against the 49ers last week. Matt Ryan has been kept upright in the last few weeks, but I doubt that continues against a dangerous Lion front. The big story of the week centered around the Lion running game, and it looks like Maurice Morris will get the majority of the carries. I’d only be using him if I’m very desperate.
Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins
While I don’t consider Tim Tebow to be a long-term answer as a starter for the Dolphins, he’ll be playing this game against a mess of a Dolphin team on Gator Day in Miami, which means it’ll be as close as a home game as the Broncos will get on the East Coast. I’d be significantly downgrading their WR corps, but am interested to see how Demaryius Thomas looks in what should be his 2011 debut. For those wondering about how this will affect Willis McGahee, I don’t expect much to change, but the GL carries McGahee wasn’t scoring on anyway may go to Tebow now. Matt Moore might not be very good, but I don’t think he’ll be any worse than Chad Henne, so Brandon Marshall’s value doesn’t change for me at all. He should continue to see plenty of targets.
San Diego Chargers at New York Jets
If it’s not obvious by now, the only thing that should scare you about the Jet defense is Darrelle Revis. However, don’t assume he’ll be on just Vincent Jackson in this game. When these two teams met in the 2009 Divisional Round, Revis had a sequence where he covered three different Chargers on three consecutive plays. With Antonio Gates expected back, Revis could see time on him because the Jets consider Gates a top threat and therefore, someone they must try to stop at all costs. Also, if you have Philip Rivers, start him instead of over-thinking things. LaDainian Tomlinson will be getting the “ceremonial” start and appears to have an enormous chip on his shoulder heading into this matchup against his old team. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Jets play the hot hand if Tomlinson is producing, but it should be noted that Shonn Greene has been decent the last two games. As for the Jet receivers, it’s Santonio Holmes and maybe Dustin Keller. I’m not buying into Plaxico Burress’ comments about him and Mark Sanchez getting on the same page or whatever garbage he was making up to cover the fact that he’s a terrible football player at this stage of his career.
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jay Cutler and the Bears can hang tough against teams that aren’t significantly better than them, and the Buccaneers fall into that group. They played with a little fire against the Saints last week, but Drew Brees certainly helped them out by trying to force the issue a little too much. Devin Hester may have played well last week, but I’m having trouble into buying him as the team’s most reliable receiver besides Matt Forte. The Buccaneers need to build on last week’s performance and continue to take shots down the field, which looks like the role Arrelious Benn might be filling going forward. If you are thinking about giving up on Mike Williams, just know he’s got more catches than DeSean Jackson and Santonio Holmes.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
It’s obvious the Texans miss Andre Johnson and defenses are adjusting accordingly. I’ve talked about their ability to get by without him because they have a good defense and a reliable running game. However, when Arian Foster admits to playing a terrible game, it shouldn’t come as a surprise why they lost last week. Tennessee looked lost against the Steelers before their bye, and need to prove they are more than an early-season surprise. Jared Cook needs to become that dynamic threat that is missing in this offense right now. Chris Johnson is almost off my radar, or at least the one I use to track high-end RBs. If you can move this guy and get great compensation back due to his name value, stop reading this a go make that move.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals
You couldn’t ask for a much better matchup for both the passing game and rushing attack for the Steelers. The Cardinals don’t do a good job stopping either, so Rashard Mendenhall should have a great chance to build on his huge game against the Jaguars last week. Ben Roethlisberger has been denied in his requests to use the no-huddle in an effort to get more of his weapons involved, but that’s because OC Bruce Arians still doesn’t trust this team’s OL, which shouldn’t be that surprising. Kevin Kolb hasn’t been able to get anything going this season and it’s hurt Larry Fitzgerald, but the Cardinals apparently used their bye week to tweak their passing game. Kolb will still be in trouble behind an OL that will have their hands full with the Steeler pass rush.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
Even though Kyle Boller is expected to start for the Raiders, it doesn’t mean he’ll finish this game. He’s a terrible passer, but he should know the offense significantly better than Carson Palmer, who didn’t have a typical off-season or preseason and hasn’t played since Week Seventeen of last season. However, because Boller stinks, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if Palmer sees action in this game. No matter who’s playing QB, the Raider ground game, specifically Darren McFadden, should be very active in this one. Speaking of ground attacks, I’m prepared for HC Todd Haley to give us a split between Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones with a little Dexter McCluster throw in for good measure to totally screw fantasy owners who picked up Battle looking for him to be a volume back for the rest of the year after his career-performance in Week Five.
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboy offense might have disappointed last week, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t put up huge numbers against a decimated Ram defense. There’s nothing to worry about when it comes to Miles Austin and Jason Witten, but Dez Bryant has been shut out in the 2nd half three times this season. While he was battling a thigh/quad injury, it is a little perplexing to see him disappear like that, but I expect him to be very active for all of this game. The Cowboy backfield is a mess right now, but I’d be leaning toward DeMarco Murray if I had to pick who’d be more productive between him and Tashard Choice. Sam Bradford looks like a gametime decision due to his ankle injury, which is a shame, because I was interested to see what he’d be able to do at full strength with the intriguing starting pairing of Brandon Lloyd and Danario Alexander. I expect Lloyd to be just fine, if not better, as a Ram than he was as a Bronco because he’s got a better QB on a team that wants to throw it, and he knows the offense from playing under Josh McDaniels in Denver.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Christian Ponder’s only job should be to handoff to Adrian Peterson for the rest of the year, but we doubt he’ll be able to do that as often as the Vikings would like since the Packers should be able to put up some points because, well, they are the Packers and no one can stop them. Even though he hasn’t done much this season and may not do much in this game, keep an eye on Viking rookie TE Kyle Rudolph, as he continues to see his snaps increase and could become a nice, safe target for Ponder. Owning a Packer RB is just a bad idea right now since neither James Starks nor Ryan Grant are any good, plus they don’t get enough carries to have significant production in this pass-first offense. If you’re a Jermichael Finley owner, I understand the frustration, but because he’s the most dangerous presence on the field besides Greg Jennings, teams will do their best to take him out of the equation and the Packers are fine with that since they know Aaron Rodgers will just look to the next open receiver. With a 6-0 record, I’d say that’s working out just fine.
Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints
Joseph Addai made a surprise return to practice on Friday to muddy up the Colt backfield a little more coming into this game, but I don’t expect their ground game to matter much because the way their defense is playing, the Saints are going to put up points in bunches leaving the game in the hands of Curtis Painter. Keep rolling with Pierre Garcon, as I expect him to be used as a downfield threat, especially if the Colts can isolate him on Roman Harper, who continues to be a liability for the Saints in coverage. The Saints look very dangerous now that Marques Colston is back in the mix, but I’ll continue to say that Jimmy Graham is the top option in this offense and may actually exceed the season Antonio Gates was on pace for year thanks to the perfect situation he’s in with this team.
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
Trusting Joe Flacco may be a risky proposition, but not when he got a clean pocket and a beatable secondary. That should be the case on Monday when he faces a Jaguar team that has no pass rush to worry about and a defense that should have their hands full with Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, who looks like a great sleeper this week with the Jaguars struggling in coverage. Baltimore’s defense will make life miserable for Blaine Gabbert and if their offense puts points on the board, it could take Maurice Jones-Drew completely out of it since his role in the passing game has been decreased this season.
That will do it for another edition of MATTchups, but as always if you have any questions, leave them below or send them over to me on Twitter (@TheMattCamp) and I promise I’ll answer them in time to set your lineups. Enjoy Week Seven and may victory be the end result of all your games.