Congratulations to those of you who had Lavernaues Coles and/or BrettFavre in your lineups last Sunday as their three-TD and six-TD performances, respectively, probably put you over the top. However the Jets are on a bye (along with the tumultuous Browns, Raiders and Rams), so who should you play this week?
Trent Edwards, QB, Bills: Edwards is the perfect bye week replacement quarterback, especially since the man you're most likely trying to replace, Favre, lit up Arizona's secondary for six TDs last week in New Jersey against the same Cardinals team Edwards straps it on against this week. Don't look for six TDs from Buffalo's signal caller ( but a couple wouldn't come as a surprise, with running back Fred Jackson a likely candidate to be on the receiving end of one.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: Big Ben has been a big bomb thus far this season for fantasy owners but with the Steelers entire running game injured, it'll be up to him to create offense. His likely starting back, Mewelde Moore is a much stronger receiver out of the backfield than he is a pure runner, so look for a bunch of screens and swing passes to replace straight runs, and for Heath Miller to get more involved in the offense than the 11 catches he has so far. The Jaguars were tamed last week by the Texans and Matt Schaub, who threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns. You can look for close to the same from the Steelers main man.
Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots: After spending the first month of the season banged up, Maroney is ready to shoulder a heavy load of the Tom Brady-less offense that was shut down in Week 3 by Miami. Patrick Willis and the 49ers have allowed just four rushing TDs in four games, but opposition runners have averaged 124. 5 yards against them, more than enough to make Maroney worth the start, even with the unorthodox way Bill Belichick uses his personnel.
Ryan Grant, RB, Packers: One of the biggest fantasy disappointments of the first half of the season, Grant should regain some of his luster at home this week against the Falcons, who've been plowed over for 355 yards in the last three games and have given up at least one score on the ground in each of their four contests.
Chris Chambers, WR, Chargers: Another case of a player returning to a longtime home to face his former mates; however few players remain from Chambers' days in South Florida (which ended after only six games last year). Chambers has just eight catches thus far, but four of those have resulted in TDs. And prior to squelching the Pats defense, the 'Phins allowed five TD passes in two games to Chad Pennington and Kurt Warner while their corners have just five passes defended in three games. Look for at least one long score from Philip Rivers to Chambers.
Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith, WRs, Giants: With Plaxico Burress expected to sit out on Sunday serving his suspension, Hixon, normally New York's punt returner, and Smith, the Giants slot receiver, will be more involved in the offense. Hixon is especially interesting since he and Eli Manning have had excellent rapport whenever the ex-Bronco has been on the field, combining for 14.8 yards per reception.
Matt Prater, K, Broncos:Jason Elam's replacement has kicked his way into fantasy prominence, having booted two 50-plus yarders last week at Kansas City to raise his season totals to 9 for 10 and 3 for 3 from beyond 50 yards. He leads the NFL in kicking points and is now a must-have fantasy kicker. The Chiefs were the first team to contain the Broncos this year, so you can look for Tampa Bay to follow a similar defensive game plan, creating even more opportunities for the rookie to score.
Cowboys defense: Dallas has had problems keeping teams off the scoreboard this season, allowing 89 points in four games, but with a strong pass rush, players such as DeMarcus Ware and Pacman Jones in coverage and an electrifying return man in Felix Jones, Dallas still should be considered a top fantasy D. They'll right the ship this week against the toothless Bengals who'll likely be without Carson Palmer for a second straight week. A shutout is not out of the question, especially on the heels of an embarrassing loss at home to Washington.
LenDale White, RB, Titans: You probably know that the Ravens have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season, but what you may not know is that Baltimore has allowed just 14 ground scores since the start of the 2006 season, a span of 35 games and have allowed just a single field goal when opponents have gotten into goal-to-go situations this year. Since that's where White usually produces, it's best to let him sit this one out.
Michael Pittman, RB, Broncos: You can group in Andre Hall and Selvin Young here, too, since the Bucs are the only team to have gone four straight games without allowing a rushing TD. It's not that they're so stout against the run, it's just that teams have been able to pass against them at will. Instead, look for a big day from Jay Cutler and his receivers, especially Eddie Royal.
Matt Cassel, QB, Patriots: There are lots of rumblings that the Pats are in the market to replace their Brady replacement, and that's something you should be thinking about, too, if you're using a roster spot on him. Right now he's the worst kind of fantasy QB: efficient but not very effective. Only if you're in a point-per-completion league should he be in your lineup.
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