Evan Silva

Matchups

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Matchups: Going Greene

Friday, October 01, 2010




Arizona @ San Diego

The arrow is pointing skyward for Malcom Floyd with the impending return of LT Marcus McNeill. As San Diego's deep threat, Floyd has the most to gain from improved protection. He's also an elite play this week. Floyd has 90-plus yards and a touchdown in each of his last two games, and as an LWR will square off with Cardinals RCB Greg Toler in the base defense as opposed to LCB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. ... Legedu Naanee managed just 51 total yards in Week 3 despite 455 passing yards from Philip Rivers. Keep Naanee reserved. ... Antonio Gates is running away with the top spot among fantasy tight ends. He's got four touchdowns through three games.

Philip Rivers leads the NFL in passing yards through three weeks and ranks third in fantasy scoring by quarterbacks. His ability to overcome McNeill and Vincent Jackson's absences has been extremely impressive. Rivers is a surefire every-week starter. ... Ryan Mathews definitely didn't have a high ankle sprain. Such injuries, without fail, cost players multiple games, and Mathews practiced restriction-free all week. The No. 12 overall pick may lose goal-line carries to Mike Tolbert, but you've got to play Mathews against the Cardinals' 31st-ranked run defense. He won't have a better matchup all year. ... Mathews' return relegates Tolbert to the bench outside of the potential short-yardage opportunities. The fullback is no longer a strong option.

With Steve Breaston (knee surgery) and Early Doucet (sports hernia surgery) out until Week 7, Larry Fitzgerald will be Derek Anderson's first read on every single play moving forward. Tied for third in the NFL in targets, Fitzgerald has seven touchdowns in his last eight games. ... Fitz commands double teams (and routinely beats them), so new starter Stephen Williams will see constant single coverage. Williams is incredibly risky, of course, but there are worse options if you're in a bye-week crunch. Behind Fitz, Anderson almost literally has nowhere else to throw.

San Diego's defense is top-ten against both the pass and run, but a healthy Beanie Wells is an every-week starter. Returning to a full practice Thursday, Wells turned the tide of Arizona's backfield last week with 14 carries and a 5.36 yards-per average compared to Tim Hightower's 11 totes and 3.64 YPC clip. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has announced that Wells will receive more carries going forward -- a scary proposition for defenses. He's an Adrian Peterson-type talent at 100 percent. The Cardinals are an exponentially better offense with Wells as the feature back.

Sunday Night Football

Chicago @ NY Giants

Amid crucial injuries to his offensive line, Jay Cutler has maintained composure against the lethal pass rushes of Green Bay and Dallas. The Giants' front seven is as dangerous as any, but it's difficult to sit the No. 5 overall fantasy QB. Just proceed with caution. Cutler lucked out of at least three interceptions against Green Bay in Week 3. ... Devin Aromashodu is out of the picture, but new slot receiver Earl Bennett doesn't offer near as much playmaking ability. ... Johnny Knox is the Bears' leader in targets and receiving yards through three games. On Sunday, he'll square off mostly with Giants RCB Terrell Thomas, who's been whipped in coverage in back-to-back weeks.

Devin Hester is averaging four targets a week. He'll face Giants top CB Corey Webster in this one, making Hester a poor bet outside of return-yard leagues. ... Greg Olsen is playing 86 percent of Chicago's snaps. He's still a TE2, but a respectable fill-in for those experiencing bye-week blues. The only big-time tight end the Giants have faced is Dallas Clark, who posted a 5-83-1 line. ... Matt Forte is coming off a slow game, receiving just 13 touches in Week 3 because the Bears abandoned the run against the Packers. A repeat doesn't seem likely. The Giants have the most rushing attempts against league-wide, indicating that opposing offensive coordinators don't envision them as tough a ground-game matchup as their 3.8 YPC allowed indicates.

The Giants' Steve Smith started slow, but bounced back against the Titans with nine catches for 103 yards. Smith isn't going to be a WR1 because he isn't even the best receiver on his own team, but at least gets a plus Week 4 matchup. Smith ordinarily squares off with left cornerbacks, and the Bears have benched LCB Zackary Bowman for oft-burned Tim Jennings. No matter which corner Chicago trots out, Smith will be too much to handle. ... Hakeem Nicks has a touchdown and/or seven catches in each of the first three games. The No. 4 fantasy receiver will give RCB Charles Tillman fits along the sideline. Peanut can't run with Nicks. ... Mario Manningham has produced as a top-20 receiver thus far. He's New York's best deep threat and a worthy WR3.

Ahmad Bradshaw hasn't seen fewer than 17 touches in a game yet, but this isn't a good matchup. The Bears are getting all kinds of up-front penetration while yielding a league-low 2.1 yards per carry. Bradshaw also lost a killer fumble -- his second in three starts -- to squander an 83-yard Giants drive late in last week's loss to Tennessee. The prospect of Bradshaw getting repeatedly stuffed is real, as is the potential for Brandon Jacobs to see an increased role. Bradshaw can't keep putting the ball on the ground. ... The Bears have given up two passing TDs in three games and are permitting just 6.6 yards per throw. You can do better than a struggling Eli Manning.

Monday Night Football

New England @ Miami

Kevin Faulk is finally having a fantasy impact, and it took a season-ending ACL tear to show up. With Faulk on I.R., Aaron Hernandez, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and even little Danny Woodhead are seeing expanded roles. ... Hernandez has been the most impressive of the lot. Rookie tight ends often struggle for consistent snaps due to poor blocking, but the Pats are utilizing Hernandez as an every-down player, scrapping the blocking idea to send him on consistent pass routes. He played 76.5 percent of the Patriots' offensive snaps in Week 3 and is an easy top-12 tight end play with Jason Witten, Kellen Winslow, Visanthe Shiancoe, and Tony Moeaki all out on Week 4 byes.

Randy Moss has three TDs in his last two games. Great receivers find the end zone when they're struggling for yards and catches. He's an elite play. ... Wes Welker returns from a slow game (4-45) in which the Pats uncharacteristically threw just 27 times. Miami doesn't have a slot corner capable of containing him. ... The No. 4 fantasy QB, Tom Brady torched the Fins for 332 and 352 yards in their two 2009 meetings, averaging 10.4 yards per throw. ... Regardless of Fred Taylor's (toe) status, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has emerged as the favorite for carries in the Pats' backfield. It's not an exciting distinction, but is enough to make BGE a viable bye-week desperation play.

So much for the ill-conceived idea that Brandon Marshall's 100-reception streak would end in "the Dolphins' run-heavy offense." The AFC's leader in targets has 22 grabs through three games, putting him on pace for a career-high 118 catches. The Patriots have no answers for the physical freak, playing musical chairs in the secondary. It's going to be a long night for Pats RCB Kyle Arrington. ... At least from a non-PPR standpoint, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are all but canceling each other out in fantasy. Hartline has 17 targets and 112 receiving yards. Bess has 15 targets and 149 yards. Bess is a low-end WR3 if your league awards points for catches.

Chad Henne is a recommended play if your starter is on a bye. The struggling Pats secondary has surrendered an NFL-most seven passing TDs and is allowing 7.5 yards per throw. Henne is fresh off a 363-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Jets, and New England brings very little pressure. ... Though a mild hamstring injury limited him to 11 carries in Week 3, Ronnie Brown appears to be on the verge of separating himself from Ricky Williams. Long a Patriots killer, Brown is averaging a full two yards more per-carry than Williams (5.4 to 3.4). New England ranks 20th against the run, giving up 4.4 yards per rushing attempt. Brown is a borderline RB1 in the matchup.


Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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