24 Hours 'Til Sunday — Andy Richardson
Posted Oct. 31 at 10:48 PM
Yesterday was Halloween, which means I was able to put on a sheet and stumble into things and look like an idiot without actually going back to college. Ghost costumes are simple and classic, but they can also be dangerous. Anyway, onto the games.
Jets at Bills: A game for first place in the AFC East, once the Patriots lose at Indianapolis. Coles and Cotchery are both probable so you don't have to worry about them playing, as we had to a week ago. Marshawn Lynch won't do much here, but Lee Evans gets a nice matchup. Could be a really good game to watch between two teams hoping to take the division for themselves.
Lions at Bears: Sounds like Brandon Lloyd won't play much if at all, but Marty Booker will. The Lions have about the league's worst pass defense, so it's tempting to start even a guy like Booker. The Bears are poor statistically against the pass, but that's no reason to think the Lions offense will exploit it. Remember, they're actually considering signing Daunte Culpepper.
Jaguars at Bengals: How disappointing are the Jaguars? Not as much as the Bengals, but in Cincinnati there were no expectations. (Which is a good thing.) A few injuries on the offensive line mean a lot to a team. I'm still starting Jones-Drew, but I've definitely lowered my expectations. Word is Chad Ocho Cinco is planning some kind of Obama tribute if he scores. It's a pretty big "if" these days.
Ravens at Browns: Old Browns versus new Browns. Tough to see Cleveland's offense doing much, as per usual, but Jamal Lewis has been respectable against his former team, so maybe he'll manage some minimal production. Kellen Winslow is playing in what figures to be his final season in Cleveland -- I'm not buying this "we've made up" talk. More likely, I want to keep playing so I'll keep my mouth shut until the offseason.
Bucs at Kansas City: Tyler Thigpen had a big game at New York against the Jets. If he does it two weeks in a row, I'll eat my hat. Best fantasy starts: Earnest Graham, the Bucs defense, and maybe Tony Gonzalez. I'm actually forced to start Kolby Smith in one league with all the good running backs gone and Tomlinson on a bye. I don't expect much, but 30 yards is better than a zero.
Texans at Vikings: Shootout of the week! Seriously. Big game for Adrian Peterson and probably the Houston passing game. Sidney Rice will apparently play; I'd pick him up this week but wouldn't start him until he gets through a full game healthy. Ahman Green seems unlikely to play, making it a Steve Slaton-Ryan Moats combo. Slaton sure, Moats no way.
Packers at Titans: Evidently 7-8 good games in a Packers uniform is enough to get you a fat new contract. First Ryan Grant, now Aaron Rodgers. Don't get me wrong, seems like a fine investment in Rodgers, but really, it could have waited until after the season, especially given Green Bay's remaining schedule, which may work against Rodgers' value. Anyway, Titans should have a lot of success running the ball in this one. One worry for Titans' fans: letdowns on short weeks after wins over big division rivals occasionally do happen.
Cardinals at Rams: I think we know the Cardinals will put up plenty of yards and points here, which should indicate the Rams will do the same. Unfortunately, Steven Jackson is a game-time decision. I think he'll probably play, but you won't know for sure until Sunday morning. Keep him ready, because you want him in the lineup if he starts. Veterans on both teams want more opportunities, Edgerrin in Arizona and Holt in St. Louis. Holt might get his this week; worth a spot start if you've got him.
Dolphins at Broncos: Big game likely for Miami's offense. Denver can't stop anybody at anything. Probably the fifth straight year they'll can their defensive coordinator. He deserves it, but after a while you have to think they might determine the problem starts a little higher up than the coordinator. Dolphins upset coming. Oh yeah, Broncos running backs. Pittman should be OK to start. Torain, only in the deepest of leagues.
Falcons at Raiders: May not be much passing in this game. A lot of Michael Turner (Norwood might be out) and a lot of Justin Fargas (McFadden almost certainly will be out; how do you run with toe injuries on both feet?).
Cowboys at Giants: This seemed like a great game a month ago. Now it looks like a one-sided beating for Dallas and Brad Johnson. Giants' receivers and Eli Manning look good this week. Rushing yards may be hard to come by.
Eagles at Seahawks: Tough last year for Mike Holmgren. Oh, I finally dropped Deion Branch this week. A backup kicker has more value. Even if he ever gets back on the field, what the heck is he going to do? L.J. Smith won't play. He doesn't catch much when he does. DeSean Jackson, Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook -- all look good this week.
Patriots at Colts: Sounds like LaMont Jordan will play, and maybe he'll have a big game. Or maybe he'll get a third of the carries, with Kevin Faulk and BenJarvusGreenEllis getting the other reps. Betting on what the Patriots might do at running back is right up there with betting on the Broncos. Not wise. I like the Colts passing game this week as Peyton takes out some frustration on a team that used to own him. Things are swinging the other way now. Big concern: Reggie Wayne is questionable with a knee injury. Tough to count on him, especially given this is a night game. Not a bad week to get Anthony Gonzalez into a lineup. I wouldn't touch Addai, either.
Steelers at Washington: Monday game, so briefly: I don't see much offense here. Very, very hard to bench banged-up stars like Santana Moss and Clinton Portis, but I'm probably going to do it unless my other options are horrible. Tough to see either doing a lot against this defense, and if they're not 100 percent -- or worse, late scratches -- just not worth it. I'm not much interested in the Willie Parker-Mewelde Moore tandem this week, either. Steelers have played two games against NFC East foes. Final scores were 15-6 and 21-14. More of the same this week.
Enjoy the games.
Posted by ROBERT JOHNSON | Nov. 01 at 01:00 AM
Andy, don't you think Cutler, Marshall and Royal will absolutely light up the Dolphins? I do.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Nov. 01 at 03:06 AM
Yes - Dolphins better against the run than pass. It would be nice to see the Broncos come out of their bye looking as good on offense as they did a few weeks ago.
Posted by Moishe Steigmann | Nov. 01 at 10:26 AM
Hi Andy, just one note about the Rodgers signing. Their is great benefit in signing him now. The Packers are about $20 million below the cap, and NFL teams have until Monday or Tuesday (I forget) of this week to sign players and have their salaries count against the cap this year. So, by signing Rodgers now, they can put forward a significant portion of his salary on this year's cap rather than future years. They've done this often under Ted Thompson's tenure, which is one reason they are almost always far below the cap.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Nov. 01 at 08:31 PM
Moishe- you're right. I still think it's kind of premature, it does make sense to do it now as opposed to a month from now.
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