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Matchup meter: Palmer, Luck both poised for big fantasy weeks


Jonathan Vilma is a fine linebacker, but he is no savior. The Saints' run defense has been torn apart by opponents this season, and ranks near the bottom of the league in yards allowed per carry (4.9), yards allowed per game (161.0), and touchdown runs allowed (eight). No man, not even Vilma, can stop that amount of bleeding.

• Number to know: 5.3 -- The average number of yards gained by the six feature backs to face the Saints this year -- Alfred Morris, DeAngelo Williams, Jamaal Charles, Cedric Benson, Ryan Mathews and Doug Martin. All but one of those players (Benson) scored at least one touchdown.

• Expect a big day from: Denver's Willis McGahee has shown versatility in recent weeks, but he hasn't found his way to the end zone much. The Saints will roll out the red carpet.

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

Oakland's passing attack vs. Kansas City's defense

The Chiefs give up big passing plays galore -- 13 touchdown passes and six completions of 40 or more yards. Opposing passers have registered a 106.5 QB Rating, in part, because the Chiefs have also failed to force interceptions (just four).

• Number to know: 8.9 -- The Chiefs' secondary ranks second-to-last in yards allowed per passing attempt. In their last contest against Tampa Bay, Kansas City allowed Josh Freeman an average of 12.6 yards per attempt, including four completions of 30 or more yards.

• Expect a big day from: Carson Palmer is on pace to throw for more than 4,500 yards this season but he has averaged just 1.2 touchdowns per game. The Chiefs should allow Palmer to hook up with Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey on a few deep balls this weekend.

Indianapolis' passing attack vs. Tennessee's defense

Wherever the Titans go, an aerial attack is sure to follow. Tennessee is tied for last in touchdown passes allowed (16) and is the only defense to allow an opposing completion percentage over 70 (72.7). Even average players have had success against the Titans secondary -- San Diego backup tight end Dante Rosario caught three touchdowns in Week 2, and Steelers backup running back Isaac Redman set a career high with 105 yards receiving in Week 6.

• Number to know: 108.2 -- The QB Rating Tennessee's defense has allowed to opposing quarterbacks, highest in the league.

• Expect a big day from: Andrew Luck is already a fringe starter; fantasy owners can expect another big week from the Colts rookie signal caller. It could also be a breakout week for Luck's tight end, Coby Fleener. The Titans have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season.

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

Philadelphia's passing attack vs. Atlanta's defense

The Falcons' secondary is tied for the league lead for fewest touchdown passes allowed (six) and ranks among the top 10 in opposing QB Rating (74.5). This unit picked Peyton Manning off three times and held Philip Rivers under 200 yards passing.

• Number to know: 31.7 -- Even though the Falcons are the only remaining unbeaten in the NFL, and thus are often playing with a lead, they rank among the leaders in fewest opposing passing attempts per game.

• Who to bench: Sorry to Mike Vick owners if this seems a little like rubbing salt in your wounds. Vick could still finish the 2012 season on a positive note; he'll just have to wait one more week. It might also be a rough week for tight end Brent Celek. The Falcons held Antonio Gates to 22 yards in Week 3, and they've given up just two touchdowns to tight ends all season.

New England's rushing attack vs. St. Louis' defense

The Rams are starting to play Jeff Fisher ball, at least on defense. St. Louis has not allowed a rushing score in its last three games, and has limited all three of those opponents to less than 3.0 yards per carry. For the season, St. Louis is giving up 98.9 rushing yards a game -- tied for 10th in the league.

• Number to know: 3 -- The number of runs of 20 or more yards the Rams have allowed this season.

• Who to bench: Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, Danny Woodhead -- whoever you got, sit them down this week, if possible. The Patriots will rely on Mr. Brady and the passing game in this contest.

Detroit's passing attack vs. Seattle's defense

The nightmare continues for Matthew Stafford. This week he will stare across from Richard Sherman and Seattle's very loud, very proud and very stingy secondary. The Seahawks rank among the top 10 in virtually every key pass defense category -- opposing QB Rating and completion percentage, team sacks, touchdown passes allowed and yards per attempt.

• Number to know: 178.0 -- The average number of passing yards Seattle has allowed to opposing quarterbacks in four road games this year. Last week Alex Smith completed 14 of 23 passes for 141 yards.

• Who to bench: If you haven't already, it's time to shut Stafford down until he proves he belongs in the lineup. The same could also be true of tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who has been held to less than 40 yards receiving the past two weeks.