In addition to our weekly Waiver Wire posts, we’ll also be providing valuable matchup analysis each week along with our suggestions on who to start and who to bench. If you have any additional matchup questions, or you are not sure who to start this week, feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.

Chicago (4-4) at San Francisco (3-5)
Passing Defense 206.5 12th Passing Defense 241.0 24th
Rushing Defense 119.5 21st Rushing Defense 93.3 4th
Passing Offense 256.1 10th Passing Offense 204.1 22nd
Rushing Offense 90.5 28th Rushing Offense 101.4 21st
Fantasy Impact: Thursday night football has begun and we start off with a nice fantasy match-up here. Jay Cutler owners have been on a roller coaster ride and as predicted last week he had a nice day on Sunday; however, Greg Olsen was the big story. Olsen found the endzone three times and finally had a huge breakout day. If the Bears are going to have a chance to win this week then they will again need do it through the air so look for Cutler, Olsen, and Devin Hester (he is a legit starting wide receiver now) to all put up solid fantasy numbers. Now onto the forgotten man – Matt Forte, last week he had a very quite decent game but if he does not get involved in the passing game do not expect a repeat performance against this tough 49ers rushing defense. After a disappointing loss to the Titans last week (largely due to Alex Smith’s ineffectiveness) one would like to think that the 49ers will go back to controlling the clock and pounding the ball. Which bodes well for Frank Gore owners, if Gore produces then so will Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree since that will set-up the play action pass. Last week Davis did not find the endzone but had of 100 yards and 10 catches. It looks like my days of mocking Vernon are over – welcome to the NFL son.
Cincinnati (6-2) at Pittsburgh (6-2)
Passing Defense 241.6 25th Passing Defense 214.5 14th
Rushing Defense 83.9 2nd Rushing Defense 70.4 1st
Passing Offense 229.0 18th Passing Offense 287.6 5th
Rushing Offense 130.0 9th Rushing Offense 115.3 15th
Fantasy Impact: The Pittsburgh Steelers may have the best rush defense that they have had in the last five years this season – which is a scary thing, especially for Cedric Benson (who is a lock for comeback player of the year). I do not expect Benson to have a big day and he is borderline bench-able this week. This means that if the Bengals want to win they will have to do it through the air. It will on the shoulders of Carson Palmer who is a hit or miss quarterback every week, my guess this will be a miss week. This of course translates into not great things for Chad Ochocinco either (insert dollar bill joke here – it was funny everyone needs to relax). For the Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall has looked steller since taking over for “Fast” Willie Parker, but he is facing the 2nd best run defense in the league; therefore, like the Bengals, if the Steelers are going to put up points it will have to be though the air as well. Unlike Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger has been a solid play every game this week, on behalf of Fantasysmacktalk I apologize Ben. Due to their spread offense, he is an elite fantasy producer this year. It is a Drew Brees situation though since he spreads the ball around so much it is uncertain which wideout will have big day but Hines Ward always kills the Bengals so look for him to have a decent day.
Atlanta (5-3) at Carolina (3-5)
Passing Defense 246.4 27th Passing Defense 181.8 6th
Rushing Defense 123.5 24th Rushing Defense 122.1 23rd
Passing Offense 223.0 19th Passing Offense 191.0 23rd
Rushing Offense 119.9 11th Rushing Offense 153.0 3rd
Fantasy Impact: Welcome back Michael Turner! Turner was off to a slow start for the second overall pick earlier in the season but has blown up the last two weeks and could be poised for another big game against a Panthers team that has struggled against the run. Look for Roddy White not Tony Gonzalez to find the end zone (it feels like thye take turns week to week and this week is Roddy’s turn) but Matt Ryan is slowly becoming a spot start. He is looking like a second year player and if you have better option he might find his way to your bench since I predict the Falcon to run the ball and control the clock. On the flip side of the ball we all know what Carolina will do hand the ball to DeAngelo Williams over and over again. This limits the chance for turnovers and does give Carolina the best chance to win the game. (everyone that took Steven Jackson over Williams in the fifth spot is kicking themselves each week). So start Williams and yes this is a spot start week for Steve Smith. I touched on this last week but it saddens me to write that Smith is a spot start but with Jake Delhomme throwing him the ball that is the best he can be at this point.
Tampa Bay (1-7) at Miami (3-5)
Passing Defense 216.5 15th Passing Defense 246.9 28th
Rushing Defense 163.4 30th Rushing Defense 94.5 5th
Passing Offense 187.5 24th Passing Offense 178.1 28th
Rushing Offense 95.9 25th Rushing Offense 150.9 4th
Fantasy Impact: Tampa Bay finally won a game behind the rookie Josh Freeman last week. Freeman had a decent game and is a worth a look in two quarterback leagues this week. The Fins have had trouble against the pass this year but do not go crazy dropping any proven players for Freeman just yet. He will look to Kellen Winslow as a safety-net which could set up Winslow for a good game. The running attack is more of the same, a big time sharing of carries and going against this top 5 rushing defense means, bench Derrick Ward and Cadillac Williams this week. By the way if you still own Ernest Graham then you are in a crazy deep league or sitting in last place in yours. This week is a perfect match-up for the Wildcat, the Bucs are terrible against the run and Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams should get plenty of touches to do some damage. Out of the two, Williams is having the easier time finding the endzone so I am going to roll with him and state that he will just edge out Brown as having the best fantasy day in this match-up.
New Orleans (8-0) at St. Louis (1-7)

Passing Defense 219.5 16th Passing Defense 238.6 23rd
Rushing Defense 112.1 19th Rushing Defense 134.8 27th
Passing Offense 292.0 4th Passing Offense 184.1 25th
Rushing Offense 144.6 5th Rushing Offense 116.1 14th
Fantasy Impact: Drew Brees owners do not worry he will finally put together two halves this week against the Rams. Brees has had two quality starts the last two weeks but really only played well in the second half of each game. He will be back to his old self this week and so will Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey who both should put up over 75 yards and a possibly touchdown. With that being said, I believe that Pierre Thomas will have the biggest day, call it a gut feeling but I am sensing two touches out of him. (one receiving – one rushing) Now for the Rams the only guy worth talking about Steven Jackson but he will do what is expected 25-30 touches over 100 yards total yards and probably no touches.
Jacksonville (4-4) at New York Jets (4-4)
Passing Defense 242.3 26th Passing Defense 165.3 2nd
Rushing Defense 119.8 22nd Rushing Defense 108.1 15th
Passing Offense 233.6 16th Passing Offense 180.4 27th
Rushing Offense 140.3 6th Rushing Offense 177.6 1st
Fantasy Impact: Mike Sims-Walker, not Steve “no longer the other” Smith, will go down as the best pick-up off waivers this season (Dustin – nice call, by the way watch our late late round sleepers show we hit 7 out of 10, not bad for picking guys that were not drafted in over 95% of leagues) but this week he will be in the Meadowlands and those winds always make it tough for receivers. Due to the wind factor it will be the Maurice Jones-Drew show once again and as has been the case over and over, I expect him to produce. Jet fans were thinking Superbowl after week 3, now they just want to get a win. Marc Sanchez will play in winter conditions for really the first time in his career so if you have better options bench him. I understand the Jags are terrible against the pass but at least make sure it will be a decent day in New Jersey. So much like the Mojo show for the Jags, Thomas Jones will get the ball a ton and will almost certainly find the endzone this week. I expect this to be a rushing battle with Jones-Drew taking the win.
Buffalo (3-5) at Tennessee (2-6)
Passing Defense 198.8 10th Passing Defense 278.4 32nd
Rushing Defense 173.6 32nd Rushing Defense 111.9 18th
Passing Offense 170.8 30th Passing Offense 171.0 29th
Rushing Offense 110.0 19th Rushing Offense 161.0 2nd
Fantasy Impact: The Bills will get back Trent Edwards this week and if there was ever a time to start Edwards or Terrell Owens this is the week. The Titans cannot stop anyone’s passing attack and I do not expect them to start now. Since Edwards is coming back for an injury he does not have my full blessing as a spot start but Owens does. The Titans can still defend the run and the fact that Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson are in a 50-50 time share neither can be counted on for a huge day. Vince Young is still not fantasy relevant but it is good to see he is not trying to kill himself (too soon huh?) I still stand by the fact: do not start any Titan quarterback or wide receiver for the rest of the year. On the other hand, Chris Johnson is poised to have a monster day. As stated last week and confirmed through his numbers, he has the most big play potential and will capitalize on facing the leagues worst rushing defense.
Denver (6-2) at Washington (2-6)
Passing Defense 183.3 7th Passing Defense 159.9 1st
Rushing Defense 97.0 8th Rushing Defense 126.4 25th
Passing Offense 229.8 17th Passing Offense 220.5 20th
Rushing Offense 111.1 18th Rushing Offense 98.8 23rd
Fantasy Impact: Denver is slowly coming back to reality however, facing a dysfunctional Redskins team is just what they need. Do not let the overall number one passing defense fool you, Brandon Marshall is still a must start this week but Kyle Orton may need to find the bench. The Skins do have a decent passing defense but they have faced the easiest schedule in the league and any good team they have faced is up by so much they just run the ball the entire second half. Now due to the fact that Denver could not run the ball an inch against the Steelers I feel they will try to prove something and give Knowshon Moreno and Cornell Buckhalter a decent amount of touches. I would rank Moreno slightly higher than Buckhalter. The Skins looked unimpressive again last week (will they ever score more than 17 points?) and will probably lose Clinton Portis to a concussion. Head coach Jim Zorn has already said Portis is very doubtful for Sunday which means Ladell Betts should get the start. Betts always seems to capitalize on opportunities when they are presented to him so I believe he will have a decent day against this tough Broncos defense. I do not think anyone else for the Skins should be considered this week and maybe for the rest of the year (brutal schedule coming up for them – if you can trade any Skin now is the time).
Detroit (1-7) at Minnesota (7-1)

Passing Defense 263.1 31st Passing Defense 237.9 21st
Rushing Defense 109.9 17th Rushing Defense 94.8 6th
Passing Offense 213.3 21st Passing Offense 250.9 13th
Rushing Offense 104.4 20th Rushing Offense 118.8 12th
Fantasy Impact: Two names worth writing about for the Lions, Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith. Out of these two the only player that might have a good game is Megatron. The Vikings defense eats up the run but are susceptible to the long ball and Calvin is pretty good at that. He looked healthy last week so play Calvin confidently this week. The Vikings are coming off a bye and Brett Farve will face the league’s second worst passing defense that always give up the big play. This is a good thing for both Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin – up for fantasy rookie of the year in return yard leagues – however, I think the Vikings will get score big early and hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson over 25 times to milk the clock for the rest of the game. Expect over 100 yards and at least one touchdown out of AP this week.
Kansas City (1-7) at Oakland (2-6)
Passing Defense 252.3 30th Passing Defense 212.3 13th
Rushing Defense 136.3 28th Rushing Defense 161.0 29th
Passing Offense 182.8 26th Passing Offense 139.3 31st
Rushing Offense 96.1 24th Rushing Offense 93.6 26th
Fantasy Impact: Goodbye Larry Johnson, we won’t miss you at all!!! The Chiefs cut Johnson this week leaving the door wide open for both Jamal Charles and Kolby Smith. Of the two, Charles has the inside track but since the Chiefs ran the ball a total of 12 times last week he might not have a ton of value just yet. I do expect Todd Haley to run the ball a little more so this makes Charles a nice spot start against an Oakland team that gives up over 150 rushing yards per contest. Chris Chambers caught two touchdowns last week and will be added in a ton of leagues but remember this is the Chiefs with one of the worst offensive lines in the league – he will not get another multiple touchdown day for the rest of the year. Mark my words. Now if you are thinking this is the week to start JaMarcus Russell you have never read any articles that I have written. I’ll say it one more time, he is terrible at throwing the football and even if the Chiefs were giving up 350 passing yards a contest I still would not start him. With Darren McFadden coming back, the running back situation is just more confusing, so no Raider is worth starting this week.
Dallas (6-2) at Green Bay (4-4)
Passing Defense 233.5 20th Passing Defense 185.8 8th
Rushing Defense 103.0 12th Rushing Defense 97.1 9th
Passing Offense 276.9 9th Passing Offense 283.8 6th
Rushing Offense 138.6 8th Rushing Offense 121.0 10th
Fantasy Impact: After the first few weeks people were questioning the Cowboys for letting Terrell Owens go, but with the emergence of Miles Austin that noise has quieted down. Tony Romo has being playing some of the best ball of his career and Austin continues to step up each week. This week they are facing a tough blitzing Packers defense. On the positive side, Romo moves around well in the pocket so Austin and Romo’s boy Jason Witten should have good days – weather permitting. If there is inclement weather, then Marion Barber and company will simply get the ball numerous times. Tashard Choice stole a touchdown away from Barber last week but do not bet that will happen often. For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers is a must start every week and if he had a even a marginally decent offensive line he might be leading the league in all offensive categories. The line does not affect Rodgers as much as Ryan Grant who might be an ok spot start but try to deal him if you can before your deadline.
Philadelphia (5-3) at San Diego (5-3)
Passing Defense 204.8 11th Passing Defense 179.6 5th
Rushing Defense 99.8 10th Rushing Defense 130.1 26th
Passing Offense 247.8 15th Passing Offense 280.6 7th
Rushing Offense 111.4 17th Rushing Offense 69.6 32nd
Fantasy Impact: This is a big game for both teams and I fully expect Brian Westbrook to be a huge part of it. Last week Westbrook sat due to a concussion and it was more noticeable in the pass blocking than the running attack. Donavan McNabb had less time in the pocket which translated into a sub average game for DeShawn Jackson. This week they face a Chargers defense that has been playing better as of late but are still susceptible to the play action pass. Look for Westbrook to have a good day and for Jackson to catch one of his trademark bombs. One last note on the Eagles is that McNabb recently said it was his goal to get Brent Celek into the Pro-Bowl which means he will be targeted in the redzone. Charger fans are used to the slow starts and the mid season pickup but this year has had a different star – my boy Vincent Jackson (1000 yards and 10 touches basically a lock at this point). Look for Phillip Rivers to find Jackson and old reliable Antonio Gates during this entire game. With the bye almost over LaDainian Tomlinson might become a spot start and if you have better options he might need to find the bench this week. (first Steve Smith, then Owens, now LT all spot starts…..sad day)
Seattle (3-5) at Arizona (5-3)

Passing Defense 219.6 17th Passing Defense 247.3 29th
Rushing Defense 102.9 11th Rushing Defense 93.1 3rd
Passing Offense 251.1 12th Passing Offense 277.5 8th
Rushing Offense 84.5 30th Rushing Offense 79.5 31st
Fantasy Impact: Matt Hasselbeck looked liked a rejuvenated young man last week facing the Lions passing defense and this week he might find that same fountain of youth again. The Cardinals cannot stop anyone in the air so I expect Hasselbeck to find TJ Houshmandzadeh in the endzone and John Carlson as well. The Cardinals have had a tough time all year against good pass-catching tight ends and proved it again last week giving up three scores to Greg Olsen. Kurt Warner threw for five touchdowns last week and should look to his favorite target Larry Fitzgerald the entire game if Anquan Boldin has to sit again. Larry is proving me wrong and looks like the clear cut number one overall fantasy receiver (I had Andre Johnson). Oh by the way, Julius Jones, Tim Hightower, and Chris Wells will all carry the ball a few times. Out of these three I expect Hightower to have the most productive game.
New England (6-2) at Indianapolis (8-0)
Passing Defense 179.4 4th Passing Defense 195.3 9th
Rushing Defense 112.4 20th Rushing Defense 108.1 14th
Passing Offense 302.0 2nd Passing Offense 320.9 1st
Rushing Offense 114.3 16th Rushing Offense 85.4 29th
Fantasy Impact: Throw out all the past statistics for this one, anytime the Colt and Pats face each other it feels like a playoff game. Tom Brady will do what he does and find Randy Moss and Wes Welker, the difference will be the fact I feel he will drop back almost 50 times this week. If that suspicion hold true, then I think this will be an all out shoot-out. You do not even worry about who is carrying the ball for the Pats, even if it is third and short Brady will still throw the ball to Welker who is basically their short-yardage back but is masquerading as a receiver. Peyton Manning will be Peyton Manning and will do what he does and so will Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark (who had a monster game last week). Long story short expect fireworks for this Sunday Night game – start everyone and enjoy.
Baltimore (4-4) at Cleveland (1-7)
Passing Defense 225.8 19th Passing Defense 238.6 22nd
Rushing Defense 94.9 7th Rushing Defense 170.5 31st
Passing Offense 256.0 11th Passing Offense 136.3 32nd
Rushing Offense 116.1 13th Rushing Offense 99.6 22nd
Fantasy Impact: Great choice by the ESPN guys for selecting this game for a Monday Night Football game. Thank goodness for fantasy football – why else would anyone watch this game? The anlysis for this game does not require a nuclear science degree from MIT, simply put just start all Ravens on your fantasy team and sit all Browns. It is as easy as that. Okay in closing, my bold prediction for this week – Ray Rice 150 total yards and two touchdowns. Good luck to all…