Here’s this week’s look at good and bad fantasy matchups.

Note: I try to pick less obvious players. I’m not going to tell you to play Peyton Manning or LaDainian Tomlinson or Randy Moss. No kiddin’, Sherlock.

Warning: I’m not immune to accidentally suggesting a player that might be injured and out for the week — or even the season. As much as I follow the game, mistakes can happen. If it does happen, just give me a polite jab and I’ll correct myself.

Thumbs Up

The following players should have favorable matchups this week. Their chances of success are greater due to tendencies by the opponent’s defense.


Jay Cutler, Den vs. NY Jets
The Broncos like to throw the ball a lot and the Jets aren’t very good at defending the pass.

Kyle Orton, Chi vs. Minnesota
Orton had 283 yards and 2 touchdowns the last time he faced the Vikings, and with the difficulty the Bears face running the football against this Vikings’ run defense, he may need to throw often.

Other favorable matchups: Matt Ryan vs. San Diego, Philip Rivers vs. Atlanta, Chad Pennington vs. St. Louis.

Running Backs

Raiders RBs, Oak vs. Kansas City
The duo of Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden torched the Broncos last week for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. They stay within the division this week and face a much worse run defense in Kansas City.

Ronnie Brown, Mia vs. St. Louis
After a tough game against the Patriots, Brown should rebound nicely against the shoddy Rams.

Other favorable matchups: Larry Johnson vs. Oakland, Thomas Jones vs. Denver, DeAngelo Williams vs. Green Bay.

Wide Receivers

Bernard Berrian, Min vs. Chicago
Berrian had 6 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown last time against Chicago, and unless the Bears’ defense has turned the corner — which I don’t think it has — he could be in line for another big game this week.

Jets WRs, NYJ vs. Denver
The Broncos’ defense is giving up 27.5 points per game, the 5th-most in the NFL, and could get beaten by Brett Favre and his top two options, Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles.

Other favorable matchups: Falcons WRs vs. San Diego, Lee Evans vs. San Francisco, Broncos WRs vs. NY Jets.

Tight Ends

Jerramy Stevens, TB vs. New Orleans
Stevens is a big target who is being used in the passing game more and could see a lot of balls thrown his way against a bad Saints pass defense.

Dallas Clark, Ind vs. Cleveland
After struggling through the first five games this season, Clark has come on strong the past six weeks as the Colts’ offense has played much better. The Browns have problems against the pass and Clark could have a big game.

Other favorable matchups: Greg Olsen vs. Minnesota, Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Chicago, Tony Scheffler vs. NY Jets.


Stephen Gostkowski, NE vs. Pittsburgh
Gostkowski may see a lot of field goal attempts against a tough Steelers defense because the Patriots may not get into the end zone much.

Matt Bryant, TB vs. New Orleans
The Saints aren’t a very good defense so Bryant should see the field a lot.

Other favorable matchups: John Carney vs. Washington, Rian Lindell vs. San Francisco, Ryan Longwell vs. Chicago.


Miami Dolphins, Mia vs. St. Louis
The Dolphins usually play good defense, save for last week against New England. But as the Bears found out this past week, the Rams are a nice bounce-back game for defenses.

Baltimore Ravens, Bal vs. Cincinnati
This is a dream matchup for fantasy owners with the Ravens’ defense. The Bengals are the second-lowest scoring team in the league and are prone to turning over the ball.

Other favorable matchups: New York Giants vs. Washington, Indianapolis Colts vs. Cleveland, New England vs. Pittsburgh.

Thumbs Down

The following players should have unfavorable matchups this week. Their chances of success are worse due to tendencies by the opponent’s defense.


Matt Cassel, NE vs. Pittsburgh
Cassel has been impressive lately, but he faces the No. 1 pass defense this week.

Jake Delhomme, Car vs. Green Bay
Delhomme has been prone to making ill-timed turnovers this year and this is not the defense to be making bad passes against.

Other unfavorable matchups: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Baltimore, Eli Manning vs. Washington, Jason Campbell vs. NY Giants.

Running Backs

Matt Forte, Chi vs. Minnesota
Forte could still play a valuable role in the passing game, but the Vikings’ No. 2 run defense held him to just 56 yards on 20 carries in their last meeting.

Peyton Hillis, Den vs. NY Jets
Hillis has been the Broncos’ leading rusher the past two weeks and has scored 3 times. But the Jets have a stout run defense, which was the main reason they knocked off the unbeaten Titans last week.

Other unfavorable matchups: Patriots RBs vs. Pittsburgh, Clinton Portis (Q) vs. NY Giants, Adrian Peterson vs. Chicago.

Wide Receivers

Randy Moss, NE vs. Pittsburgh
If you have two other solid receivers, this might be the week to play them. Moss has come on strong as of late as Matt Cassel has become more comfortable in this offense, but facing the top pass defense this week, Moss’ chances could dwindle.

Steve Smith, NYG vs. Washington
Smith leads the Giants in receptions but he and the other New York receivers have a tall order against a good pass defense this week.

Other unfavorable matchups: Marques Colston vs. Tampa Bay, Bengals WRs vs. Baltimore, Muhsin Muhammad vs. Green Bay.

Tight Ends

Chris Cooley, Was vs. NY Giants
Cooley had one catch for 7 yards the last time these two teams played and things don’t look any more optimistic for him.

Owen Daniels, Hou vs. Jacksonville
The Jaguars have a decent pass defense and could give Daniels a difficult matchup.

Other unfavorable matchups: Jeremy Shockey vs. Tampa Bay, Kevin Boss vs. Washington, Marcedes Lewis vs. Houston.


Shayne Graham, Cin vs. Baltimore
Against the Ravens’ tough defense, it’s not likely the Bengals will move the ball much or give Graham many field goal opportunities.

John Kasay, Car vs. Green Bay
At one point this season, Kasay was the NFL’s top kicker as far as field goals made are concerned. Now, he’s fallen to No. 13 and he heads into Lambeau where it’s a tough place to kick.

Other unfavorable matchups: Matt Prater vs. NY Jets, Shaun Suisham vs. NY Giants, Joe Nedney vs. Buffalo.


Carolina Panthers, Car vs. Green Bay
Normally a good defense, the Panthers could see a Packers team spread the field at home and they might have a difficult time containing the Packers’ talented receivers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TB vs. New Orleans
Even though I think Tampa will win this game, it’s never a good idea to play a fantasy defense against the Saints’ high-powered offensive machine.

Other unfavorable matchups: Atlanta Falcons vs. San Diego, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston, Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis.