September 26, 2008

Snap, Crackle and Pop is a weekly column that reviews the major injuries (Snap) and then projects both busts (Crackle) and sleepers (Pop) for the coming week.

The bye weeks are here. The Giants, Colts, Patriots, Lions, Dolphins and Seahawks get the week off. No Randy Moss, no Reggie Wayne and neither Manning brother this week. Time to expand your horizons and dip into that waiver pool for some BWR (bye-week replacements).

• Steelers RB Willie Parker will miss at least one game with a knee injury that he suffered against the Eagles. If he has to skip a game, missing the Ravens defense is the way to do it. Rookie Rashard Mendenhall gets the start Monday night. The good news for the Steelers is that QB Ben Roethlisberger is not suffering any lingering effects of Sunday's hand injury. The injury forced him from the game in the fourth quarter.

• Eagles RB Brian Westbrook exited last week's Steelers game early with an ankle injury. If he doesn't practice by Friday you should expect Correll Buckhalter to start in his place against the Bears. Another ailing Eagle, L.J. Smith, is nursing a sore back. The creaky tight end is a risky play this week against the Chicago.

• Houston RB Ahman Green might suit up this Sunday. He has been out since Week 1 with an ankle injury. However, Steve Slaton will start against Jacksonville in any event. Slaton rushed for 118 yards and a TD against the Titans last week and the job is his now.

• Saints QB Drew Brees is starting to understand how Matt Hasselbeck feels. He's also running out of receivers. New Orleans WR Marques Colston (thumb), Terrance Copper (hamstring) and TE Jeremy Shockey (sports hernia) are all out, and WR David Patten (groin) is questionable against the 49ers. New Orleans' only healthy receivers are Robert Meachem, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. Forget backup TE Billy Miller as a fantasy option.

• In IDP news, Redskins DE Jason Taylor had to have emergency surgery at 3 AM Monday morning to remove a clot in his left calf. The condition was potentially career-ending if it had worsened. Taylor will be out Sunday for sure and there is no timetable for his return.

• The Monday night game will send offense back to the Stone Age. It's the Ravens' top-ranked defense versus the Steelers' second-ranked defense. The final score could be 4-2. Stay away from all Baltimore and Pittsburgh QBs/RBs/WRs/TEs -- even the healthy ones like Mendenhall. The one exception to this rule might be WR Santonio Holmes. Holmes has a good history against Baltimore.

• Chicago's rookie RB Matt Forte is averaging more than 100 yards per game this season. He will be lucky to get half that this week against the Eagles. Philadelphia is allowing only 46 yards a game and has contained some pretty good running attacks (Dallas and Pittsburgh).

• The winless Rams will switch quarterbacks, benching Marc Bulger in favor of Trent Green. Don't expect the change to magically boost Torry Holt's production, especially against a good Buffalo pass defense.

• The Tennessee running back tandem of LenDale White and Chris Johnson has a tough match-up against the Vikings. Nobody runs against the Minnesota line. Of the two, White is the slightly better choice since he would get the goal-line work, but neither is a strong play.

Derek Anderson's hold on the Browns' quarterback job is in some jeopardy. Brady Quinn got some reps with the first team in practice this week. However, don't let that stop you from starting Anderson against the Bengals on Sunday. The Browns opened the season against teams that are currently ranked first, second and ninth in team defense. Matchups had a lot to do with Anderson's performance. No more excuses this week, though. Anderson should have a big day against the Bengals' defense. Last year he chucked seven touchdowns in two games against Cincinnati. A good day for Anderson means a return to form for TE Kellen Winslow and slumping WR Braylon Edwards. Running back Jamal Lewis has been nearly as bad as Anderson, but he also thrives against the Bengals. He ran for 308 yards in the two Bengals games last season.

• What's true of the Browns is also true of their opponents, the Bengals. They have a beleaguered quarterback, Carson Palmer, and an under-performing receiver in Chad Ocho Cinco. They also face a weak defense (Cleveland) and should put up their best numbers of the season by far. I'm not a fan of his, but RB Chris Perry is a good BWR against Cleveland.

• Who is the second ranked quarterback in the NFC? It's the 49ers' J.T. O'Sullivan, with a 104.6 rating. The schedule has been kind to O'Sullivan and that will continue for at least another week -- New Orleans is near the bottom in team defense. Wide receiver Bryant Johnson (10 receptions for 151 yards) is a good play against the Saints.

• The Chargers offense is not to blame for their 1-2 start. San Diego is scoring 37 points a game despite not much of a contribution from LaDainian Tomlinson. QB Philip Rivers has been the difference with 3 TDs in each game. There's no reason to think the trend will stop against a bad Raiders team. Wide receivers Chris Chambers and the underrated Vincent Jackson are strong plays.

• Can the Rams' season get any worse? They are 0-3 and every loss was a blowout. The Bills come to town undefeated behind a hot quarterback, Trent Edwards. Edwards and receivers Lee Evans and Josh Reed are strong plays against the Rams 30th ranked pass defense.

You May Like