QB, Colt McCoy, Browns at Raiders
McCoy has attempted at least thirty nine passes in three of his 4 games in 2011. He has thrown for a score in every game this year and has two multiple touchdown pass games. The Raiders have allowed 4 consecutive multiple touchdown pass games, are ranked 30th against the pass, allowing 300 yards and ten scoring throws. Rookie wide receiver Greg Little has a great match up, as does TE Evan Moore, the Raiders are weak near the goal line in pass coverage against the TE. This match up actually favors McCoy throwing at the goal line instead of pounding Peyton Hills, making the Raiders easy targets for play action. The Raiders will allow another multiple touchdown pass game.
RB Earnest Graham, Buccaneers vs. Saints
With LaGarrette Blount probably missing this week with a sprained knee Graham will get most of the backfield touches. QB Josh Freeman trusts Graham as a receiver much more than he does Blount, because of this we should see Graham get at least 25 touches. The Saints are 17th against the run, allowing 107 yards a game, and 5.2 yards a carry. You would think they would be better against the run with teams having to pass as much as they do against them. They allowed one hundred sixty two rushing yards to the Panthers last week. Graham’s workload as a runner and receiver make him a valuable fantasy play this week.
RB Ryan Torain, Redskins vs. Eagles
Any starting running back the Eagles face is a must start. Torain gained 135 yards on 19 carries and scored against the Rams his last game. The Eagle run defense is ranked 30th, allowing 5 yards a carry, and have given up 5 rushing scores. In their five games this year, Fred Jackson was 26-111-1, Frank Gore 15-127-1, Ahmad Bradshaw 15-86, and scored on a reception, Michael Turner 21-114-1, and Steven Jackson and Carnell Williams combined for 147 and a score for the Rams. The trend should continue.
TE Jake Ballard, Giants vs. Bills
Ballard has emerged to fill the role of Kevin Boss. Ballard has caught 10 of the twelve targets he has seen, and has averaged 19 yards a reception. He has scored in each of his last two games. Eli Manning has 4 consecutive multiple touchdown pass games and throws to Ballard at the goal line. The Bills are easy to move the ball on; they have allowed at least 448 total yards in 4 consecutive games, their pass defense is 27th, allowing more than 280 yards a game and 10 scores. The two teams that they faced that target the TE at the goal line, scored against them, Jermaine Gresham with the Bengals and Rob Gronkoski with the Patriots.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills at Giants
Fitzpatrick is playing well but not spectacularly the past couple of weeks. He is 41-58, for 392 yards one touchdown and one interception his last two game. The running game and defensive turnovers won the game for the Bills last week against the Eagles. Now, with the loss of WR Donald Jones to an ankle injury, and with veteran speedster Roscoe Parrish already gone for the year, the Bills receivers are more possession type players and they will not stretch the field as much as they had. This week they face a Giant pass defense which is 19th in the league, allowing 251 yards a game, but just 5 touchdown passes, and they lead the NFL with eighteen sacks. Those statistics say that while the Giants are allowing passing yards, they are not allowing many TD’s, translated, they are playing well inside the 20 yard line. That is where Fitzpatrick has been doing his most damage, the short scoring throw. I like the Giants in this match up, especially with little used Naaman Roosevelt having to start at wide receiver. If the Bills win this week it will be because of Fred Jackson and not quarterback play.
WR Anquan Boldin, Ravens vs. Houston
This appears to be a favorable match up on paper for Boldin, but Houston will try and take away Joe Flacco’s wide receivers this week. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will play a similar pass defense that the Titans’ coordinator Jerry Gray did in their win over the Ravens. They bracketed the wide receivers and challenged Ray Rice to beat them in the passing game, Rice scored, but Boldin was held to just three receptions. His biggest play of the day was the drop he had in the second half in the end zone. Houston feels that with DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing that they can cover Rice. This will allow cornerbacks Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph to get additional coverage from the safeties on the Raven wide receivers. Boldin had just three receptions last year against Houston; we should see the same type of statistics this week. Houston is 10th against the pass, allowing 208 yards a game and has fifteen sacks, even without the injured Mario Williams they should get pressure on Flacco, keep an eye on rookie linebacker Brooks Reed on passing downs.
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots vs. Cowboys
It is hard to focus on the entire Dallas Cowboy team because of all the attention Tony Romo gets. The Cowboys have a great front seven and are playing the run better than anyone in the NFL. They allow just below 62 yards a game rushing, 3.1 yards a carry, and have given up just one touchdown on the ground. The Lions who had to play from behind most the game rushed for just sixty three yards and the Redskins were held to 65 yards against them. Green-Ellis pummeled the Jets last week for 136 yards and two scores. The Cowboys should be able to move the ball on a below average New England defense, that is now missing Jerod Mayo. This game has the makings of a shootout, coupled with the Cowboys solid run defense, passing will be the flavor of the afternoon, making the running game an afterthought.
RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Panthers at Falcons
Williams posted his best game of the year last week against the Saints, rushing for 115 yards on just nine carries and a touchdown. The score came on a sixty nine yard run, that is what the problem is for Williams and Stewart owners, the only way they are crossing the goal line is on a long run. Cam Newton is getting the goal line carries, he has five rushing touchdowns. The Panthers will continue to use Newton on those plays. Another problem is that the Panther defense is soft and Newton has to throw to keep them in games. Williams and Stewart are not going to touch the ball as much as they have in past years. The Falcons in 2011 are ninth against the run, allowing just 89.2 yards a game 3.5 yards a carry. The Packers rushed for just fifty seven yards last week against them, the Seahawks 53 yards the week before. Keep them on your fantasy bench.