September 23, 2011

Defensive back DeAngelo Hall did most of the trash talking this week, but it could be Washington's receivers who do most of the celebrating come Monday night. Pitted against archrival Dallas, the Redskins offense will rely heavily on a passing attack that has accumulated 541 yards (11th most in the league) through two weeks.

The Cowboys secondary, meanwhile, has accumulated nothing but lumps. Having faced a pair of suspect starting quarterbacks (Mark Sanchez and Alex Smith), the 'Boys have allowed a combined 92.4 QB Rating. This is not to say Rex Grossman is any better than Sanchez or Smith, although he did throw for four touchdowns in the teams' last meeting (Dec. 19, 2010). And neither of Dallas' starting cornerbacks is 100 percent (both Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins are expected in the lineup Monday).

The real fantasy winners in this contest could be wide receiver Santana Moss and tight end Fred Davis. In his last eight outings against the Cowboys, Moss has an average stat line of 7.1 catches and 98.4 yards. Davis has pushed Chris Cooley aside as the Redskins' top pass-catching tight end. This week Davis is an attractive play based on Cooley's history against Dallas' pass defense, including a combined 11 catches and 142 yards in last year's two contests.

These matchups suggest success is around the corner for a number of suspect fantasy starters ...

Arizona's passing attack vs. Seattle's defense

The Seahawks are one of only three NFL defenses to have allowed just one passing score. Call it a misleading stat. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 74.5 percent of their passes against Seattle's pass defense -- the highest percentage against any unit -- and for an average of 8.6 yards per attempt (26th).

• Expect a big day from: Larry Fitzgerald is a must, as always, but fantasy owners also have reason to plug quarterback Kevin Kolb into the lineup this week. Despite having few weapons to work with, Kolb has looked sharp in two starts (110.3 QB Rating).

NY Jets' rushing attack vs. Oakland's defense

The Jets rank a disappointing 28th in rushing offense (73.0 yards a game) after two substandard performances. This week the unit will feast on a Raiders defense that has allowed a league-worst 7.1 yards per carry. Last week, Buffalo's running game generated 223 yards on just 24 carries, as both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller found success.

Expect a big day from: Shonn Greene has not earned his role as a No. 2 fantasy back yet (just 75 yards in two games). This week is Greene's best opportunity to date to prove his worth.

Tampa Bay's passing attack vs. Atlanta's defense

The Falcons secondary was vulnerable to big plays against both Chicago and Philadelphia. The Bears completed two passes of 50-plus yards, while the Eagles lit up the skies for 314 yards. Through two weeks the Falcons have allowed 9.1 yards per attempt (30th). Opposing quarterbacks have also completed 69.4 percent of their passes.

Expect a big day from: Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn are the only two Buccaneers receivers to have caught a touchdown so far this season. Too bad both players have combined for fewer than 100 yards receiving. Perhaps their fortunes will change on Sunday. It may also be tempting for fantasy owners to give Josh Freeman a chance.

New England's rushing attack vs. Buffalo's defense

While the Bills offense has performed above expectations, the run defense has been as bad as everyone imagined. The unit has allowed three rushing scores and an average of 5.0 yards per carry -- and that's from a pair of Buffalo victories. Just think if a team gets out to an early lead and pounds the football to close out the clock. Actually, just wait for New England to do exactly that on Sunday.

Expect a big day from: Fantasy owners have grown frustrated by how Bill Belichick has rotated BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead. But maybe both have value this weekend. Last season, Green-Ellis gained 104 and 98 yards in his two games against the Bills; Woodhead gained 93 yards in the December meeting and scored a touchdown in both games.

These fantasy stars might need a rest this week due to an unfavorable matchup on the horizon ...

N.Y. Giants' passing attack vs. Philadelphia's defense

The future looks bright for Eli Manning and New York's cast of receivers based on the team's October slate. The present? Not so much. The Eagles have limited a pair of pretty good quarterbacks (Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan) to a combined 361 yards on 35 of 63 passing. And the Eagles pass rush ranks second in sacks (nine).

Who to bench: Manning and company have the Cardinals, Seahawks and Bills to look forward to. This week will be a rough one. Even wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is a scary start.

Chicago's rushing attack vs. Green Bay's defense

The Bears will attack the Packers pass defense for two reasons: (1) Green Bay ranks dead last against the pass, having allowed 800 yards, and (2) the Packers do a pretty good job up front of closing off running lanes. Combined, New Orleans and Carolina averaged 3.6 yards per attempt against Green Bay, with just one score on the ground.

Who to bench: In three years, Matt Forte has faced Green Bay seven times, including the playoffs. While he has occasionally found success as a receiver, Forte has struggled on the ground, with 119 carries for 439 yards (3.6) and just one rushing touchdown in those contests.

Indianapolis' receivers vs. Pittsburgh's defense

As if the absence of Peyton Manning is not enough to handicap the Colts' receivers, this week they face a Steelers unit that ranks fourth in pass defense. True, Joe Flacco made Pittsburgh look foolish in Week 1, but the Colts don't have a Joe Flacco on their roster.

Who to bench: One of the Colts receivers will have a nice week, but which one? Expect the Steelers to send a mixture of blitz packages at Kerry Collins, forcing him to make quick decisions for an offense he is still learning to work with. Keep Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie on the bench, and consider giving Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark (foot injury) a week off, if other options are available to you.

Cincinnati's rushing attack vs. San Francisco's defense

Cedric Benson's pending three-game suspension will be a distraction to the Top 10 fantasy back this week. So will a San Francisco run defense that's permitted just 2.5 yards per carry this season. The 49ers are also one of just four teams not to have allowed a rushing score.

Who to bench: Put Benson on a shelf and don't expect to dust him off until Halloween.

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