Start 'Em

Week Like the Matchup
October 08, 2006

QUARTERBACK

DAMON HUARDChiefs AT Cardinals
With three of the better fantasy QBs having byes this week, Huard should be anappealing stopgap. He was efficient against the 49ers (18 of 23, two TDs, nopicks), and he'll work over Arizona's 25th-ranked pass defense. Better yet, theCards should put up some points, which will mean more passing by K.C.

TOM BRADYPatriots VS. Dolphins
Brady is completing more passes to wide receivers each week, which suggestshe's more confident throwing downfield. That will result in better stats.Having Doug Gabriel in the lineup is also important; in two games sincereturning from a hamstring injury, he has 10 catches for 122 yards and twotouchdowns.

BRAD JOHNSONVikings VS. Lions
Wouldn't it be great if your QB played Detroit every week? Johnson struggledagainst the Bills, but so have most other passers. He'll do better against aLions defense that has yet to get an interception and has allowed the two otherNFC North teams to throw for 629 yards and seven touchdowns total.

DREW BLEDSOECowboys AT Eagles
Remember one thing: Bledsoe's performance will have a lot to do with the effortturned in by Terrell Owens, who visits Philly for the first time since wreakinghavoc there last year. Emotions aside, the banged-up Eagles are in the bottomthird of the league in pass defense, so Bledsoe could have a field day.

SUPER SLEEPER

ALEX SMITH

QB 49ERS

VS.

Raiders

Smith enters theBattle of the Bay Area having done an about-face from a rookie season in whichhe threw just one touchdown pass and was picked off 11 times. Despite SanFrancisco's manhandling by the Chiefs on Sunday, Smith has been impressive,starting the season with 115 consecutive passes (three for touchdowns) beforethrowing his first interception. Until Sunday, Smith had more passing yardsthan Tom Brady, Marc Bulger, Carson Palmer or Kurt Warner. Don't be fooled by aRaiders defense that has allowed just 137.7 yards per game through the air:Oakland hasn't faced a big-armed QB in its three losses. Instead, it's beengetting killed on the ground. As a bonus, the 49ers' offense is balanced enoughfor both running back Frank Gore and Smith (who'll connect repeatedly withAntonio Bryant, Arnaz Battle and Eric Johnson) to have giant games against thelowly Raiders.

RUNNING BACK

LAMONT JORDANRaiders AT 49ers
The perfect salve for the Oakland offense was a date with the Browns. Jordanhad 128 of his team's 194 rushing yards (he added a touchdown), which more thandoubled his season output. Expect more of the same this week: The Niners haveallowed a RB to top 100 yards in each of the last three games.

LAURENCE MARONEYPatriots VS. Dolphins
The rookie's 125-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Bengals signaled thepassing of the baton in New England; the quicker Maroney is now the featuredback ahead of Corey Dillon. The Miami defense had its hands full trying to stopa Texans attack that had Ron Dayne as the lead back. Enough said.

CLINTON PORTISRedskins AT Giants
With his shoulder injury healed, he is again one of the league's most lethalfantasy weapons. Portis gained 140 yards from scrimmage, including his first100-yard rushing game of 2006, in last week's OT win over the Jaguars. Plus,he's scored a touchdown in every game he's played this season.

FRANK GORE 49ersVS. Raiders
Don't be scared off by the whitewashing San Francisco got from the Chiefs, whohave a defense-oriented coach and were coming off a bye week. The Raiderssurrendered 100 yards to Reuben Droughns, who had a total of 59 entering thatgame. Gore and the Niners will run wild.

TIGHT END

ERIC JOHNSON49ers VS. Raiders
Subbing for the injured Vernon Davis, Johnson laid an egg (three catches, 14yards) in his second start of 2006, and has only 11 catches (one touchdown) for103 yards on the year. But the six-year veteran should find success againstOakland, which has allowed an opponent's tight end to score in each game thisseason.

JASON WITTENCowboys AT Eagles
With all eyes on Terrell Owens, look for Dallas to try to make big plays withother options. That includes Witten, who to this point has been largelyforgotten in the Cowboys' offense. After making 66 catches and scoring sixtouchdowns in 2005, he has only nine catches for 97 yards and no TDs in'06.

WIDE RECEIVER

TERRELL OWENSCowboys AT Eagles
It would be easy to say that Owens is worth gambling on this week, but in facthe isn't much of a risk at all. T.O. gets up for big games, and this is hisbiggest since Super Bowl XXXIX (nine catches, 122 yards). He'll find a way toproduce, and in the process will help WR Terry Glenn and TE Jason Witten havebig games as well.

EDDIE KENNISONChiefs AT Cardinals
Kennison finally got on track with six catches, 86 yards and a TD against the49ers. Too bad most owners had him on the bench--or worse, had already unloadedhim. He'd be a fine pickup as a third WR for Week 5, and then it will probablybe safe to get rid of him: K.C. next faces the Steelers, Chargers andSeahawks.

MARVIN HARRISONColts VS. Titans
Trying to guess which receiver Peyton Manning will favor--Harrison or ReggieWayne--can be maddening, especially with three good receiving tight ends. Buthistory says Harrison will have the biggest day: Over the last two years he'saveraged almost seven catches, 93.5 yards and a touchdown against theTitans.

MARQUES COLSTONSaints VS. Buccaneers
Apologies to Joe Horn, but it looks as if Colston is the Man in the Big Easy.The Hofstra rookie's connection to Drew Brees has improved every week, asevidenced by his 132 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Note to Alge Crumpler(bye this week) owners: Colston's a TE-WR in most leagues. Take advantage.

KICKER

JOHN CARNEYSaints VS. Buccaneers
Tampa Bay comes out of its bye week with a rookie sixth-round pick (BruceGradkowski) making his first start at quarterback. That should mean morepossessions than usual for New Orleans, which would create added scoringchances for this former Buc. Carney, 42, has been true on 10 of 11 field goaltries and has 38 points, putting him in the running for the NFL scoringtitle.

DEFENSE

COLTS VS.Titans
Indianapolis gave up too many points (28) to the Jets last week, mostly becausedefensive backs Bob Sanders, Nick Harper and Marlin Jackson were out withinjuries. Still, the Colts got three sacks and an interception. Now theimpotent Tennessee attack comes to town for what promises to be one of thebiggest mismatches of the season.

DAVID SABINO THE PERFECT TEAM: WEEK 5

QB PEYTON MANNING vs. Titans You won't need anyoneelse to score

RB LARRY JOHNSON at Cardinals Piling up yards at analarming rate

RB DEUCE MCALLISTER vs. Buccaneers Should have ampletouchdown chances

WR TERRY GLENN at Eagles T.O. gets the spotlight,Glenn the catches

WR TORRY HOLT at Packers He and Marc Bulger are adeadly duo again

TE JERMAINE WIGGINS vs. Lions Emerging presence inVikings' attack

K NATE KAEDING vs. Steelers Field goals fly when goodteams meet

D BEARS vs. Bills Physical matchup isn't the best forBuffalo

SIX PHOTOSJOHN PYLE/CAL SPORT MEDIA (SMITH); AL TIELEMANS (HUARD); TOM DAHLIN (BRAD JOHNSON); JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (JORDAN); SIMON BRUTY (PORTIS); ROBERT BECK (ERIC JOHNSON) THREE PHOTOSWADE PAYNE/ICON SMI (OWENS); G. NEWMAN LOWRANCE/WIREIMAGE.COM (HARRISON); CHRIS BERNACCHI/SPORTPICS (CARNEY)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)