Sunday Showdown

Injuries, changes, and the bye-week play havoc into a starting lineup of a fantasy team owner's strategy for game-day. Imagine being the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or even Oakland Raiders, where injuries have taken their toll on the running game there. Week-eight of the NFL season will be no different. And we'll see a little shuffle at the QB spots as well.

RB Tiki Barber has proven to be a huge player for the Giants. Week-in and week-out Barber has been a factor for the surprising Giants. Lining-up against a Minnesota defense that ranks 29th against the rush, Barber should have ample opportunities to continue on his solid 2004 season. With four rushing touchdowns to his credit in the 2004 season thus far, Barber can be expected to find the end-zone on Sunday.

RB Chester Taylor has been an ample backup to Jamal Lewis in Baltimore for the past couple seasons. Due to Lewis' suspension, Taylor has been thrust to the forefront in what will be his last starting opportunity of the season, barring an injury to Lewis. Baltimore's pass-deficient offense relies on the running game to carry the offense. Taylor will get many opportunities against an average at best Philadelphia Eagles rush defense.

RB Priest Holmes and the Kansas City Chiefs will be playing the game today which has been in the back of their collective minds since last season's playoff loss, to the Indianapolis Colts. The Kansas City offensive line is playing extremely well and the Chiefs are determined to pound the ball at the Colts early and often in this AFC match-up. Don't expect an eight-touchdown performance by the Chiefs on the ground this week against the Colts, but anticipate Holmes leading a rushing charge against an overrated Indianapolis defense.


Detroit rookie WR Roy Williams is one of the brightest lights in this resurgent season in Detroit. He has already caught 24-362-5 and figures to be the first option for QB Joey Harrington. However, Dallas head coach Bill Parcells is not about to let Williams run wild. He will have Cowboy FS Roy Williams double-cover his namesake and tattoo him whenever he gets the chance. The Detroit receiver will have many great days in his career, but this will not be one of them.

QB Michael Vick may be the most athletic player in the league today. The problem for Vick and his Atlanta Falcons is they face a Denver Broncos team that was embarrassed on Monday night football this past week. Very quick and athletic on the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos will attack the Atlanta offense with this noted speed and stunts to confuse and force Vick to abandon the confines of the West Coast offense of which Jim Mora and company have been struggling to fully utilize with Vick. With a less than average 4-to-6 TD-interception ratio this season, the odds are this ratio will not improve against a hungry Denver defense.

WR Randy Moss has greatly improved from a pulled hamstring, but is not near 100-percent and the Vikings heading into their contest Sunday against the New York Giants. While practicing this week, the Minnesota coaching staff is apprehensive about Moss further or re-injuring the hamstring. Early in the game, Moss may get a few looks as the coaching staff determines how healthy he is. If the trio of Nate Burleson, Marcus Robinson, and Kelly Campbell can handle the load, with an interjection of running back Michael Bennett lining-up as a receiver, Moss will not factor into the game…………..Something the Minnesota coaching staff is hoping for.

Change and Injuries taking their toll

We have a changing of the guard in Buffalo as Willis McGahee takes over as the starting back for the Bills. This is excellent news for McGahee owners and horrible news for Travis Henry owners. If you own Henry, unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that the rest of your fellow owners haven't heard the news so trying to unload him will be a difficult task.

In Tennessee, the Titans Chris Brown is nursing a turf toe injury. He will start the game, but it is unsure how much he will be able to play. This is where Antowain Smith comes into the picture. Depending on the seriousness of Brown's injury, Smith's performance could be boom or bust. With so many running backs having a bye this week, he may be worth the gamble.

Brian Westbrook will most likely be out this week when they host the Ravens. Before you pick up Dorsey Levens or Reno Mahe, keep in mind that the Eagles are facing the Ravens this week and the Steelers next week so don't expect any major contributions from them.

There are a lot of fantasy owners scrambling for a running back this week as the Browns duo of Lee Suggs and William Green, the Saints Deuce McAllister, the Buccaneers Michael Pittman and Rams backs Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson are all dealt a bye this week.

If you fall victim to this scenario, the Panthers Brad Hoover could be your answer. Last week Hoover rushed for 99 yards on 24 carries against the Chargers. The team has announced that Stephen Davis is once again out and DeShaun Foster was declared out for the year making Hoover the lone back available.

This week the Panther face the Seahawks who are allowing just over 100 yards rushing a game. Hoover should be able to pick up at least 75 rushing yards and possibly a score.

The spotlight on this week's rookie may only shine for a short time. The Bears have decided to give fifth round pick Craig Krenzel a shot at starting as Lovie Smith has named him the starter against the 49ers this week.

Krenzel had a successful career at Ohio State which included a National Championship as he led the Buckeyes to an overtime win over the Miami Hurricanes. He relieved Jonathan Quinn last week against the Buccaneers and led the Bears down the field to help them score their only touchdown of the game.

Overall he completed 9-19 passes for 69 yards. This should be viewed s an audition as a good performance will get him another start, a bad one could lead the Bears to start Tim Couch who was signed a couple weeks ago. Against the 49ers he will throw for about 200 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

David Carr (+) - A top ten fantasy quarterback who is getting better by the week.

Jake Delhomme (-) - Has hit a rough stretch, should be benched until he steadies the ship.

Michael Pittman (+) - Will see the bulk of carries with Mike Alstott out at least a month.

Marshall Faulk (-) - Has seen his playing time cut into by rookie Steven Jackson.

Anquan Boldin (+) - Returns to action to help boost the Cardinals offense, can make an immediate impact.

Laveranues Coles (-) - Has struggled in Joe Gibbs' offense and has a quarterback that can't get him the ball.

Jermaine Wiggins (+) - Playing in an explosive offense and will be thrown to inside the red zone which will lead to some touchdowns.

Boo Williams (-) - Hasn't been able to play up to expectations after a big year last season.

Onto Game-Day


Although the Titans list Steve McNair as a game-time decision, the general consensus is that he will be held out of action again this week after re-injuring his sternum two weeks ago. This means that Billy Volek can help you out as a decent value for fantasy purposes once again this week.

The 49ers Tim Rattay will start against the Bears after being limited all week with a forearm injury. He has been an excellent source for fantasy points this season and could have another big game again this week.

Running Backs

Chiefs running back Priest Holmes and Chargers back LaDainian Tomlinson will both start Sunday. They must start for your fantasy teams as well, but Derrick Blaylock and Jesse Chatman will see their share of carries and could finish out each of their team's games respectively.

It looks like the Titans Chris Brown will give it a shot and try to play through a turf toe injury against the Bengals, but realistically he will probably not be very effective. If you are looking for a running back, Antowain Smith is a nice last-second pick up who can help you out.

With Brian Westbrook out against the Ravens, Dorsey Levens is expected to start. While Levens gets the start, don't be surprised if Reno Mahe flashes his abilities and positions himself to start next week against the Steelers.

The Raiders are expecting Tyrone Wheatley to return to action when they take on the Chargers. Amos Zereoue will remain the starter for this week, but he will give leeway to Wheatley who has missed the last four games.

After injuring his wrist last week versus the Rams, Sammy Morris was held out of practice this week. With an extra day of rest the Dolphins said Morris will start against the Jets on Monday night.

Wide Receivers

Don't be concerned with the status of Randy Moss and Roy Williams, both of whom are nursing lagging injuries. While they might be a little banged up, the star wide outs will play and are a threat to score any time they touch the ball. Play them and take what you can get.

The Giants Amani Toomer has a pulled hamstring, but will attempt to play against the Vikings. You may want to use caution with Toomer. If he does play, he will be limited. Look for Kurt Warner to go to Ike Hilliard and Jeremy Shockey with Jamaar Taylor being a fantasy dark horse this week.

Good news for Quincy Morgan owners who thought he would be buried on the depth chart behind Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn. The Cowboys announced that Glenn will be out for the rest of the season with a foot injury, making Morgan the team's number two wide out.

The sprained ankle of Bobby Engram will keep him out of action for the second consecutive week. His absence means that Jerry Rice will see more playing time. Don't expect big numbers from Rice, but he may be able to help contribute as a number three or four fantasy wide out.

Tight Ends

In his second week of action since returning from injury, the Vikings Jermaine Wiggins is the fantasy play of the week at the tight end position. He will be very affective matched up against the Giants linebackers and there's a good chance he could see the end zone this week.

The Giants could get a big day from Jeremy Shockey with the injury to Toomer. With a thinned out wide receiving core, Warner will be looking Shockey's way more than usual this Sunday.

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