PHILIP RIVERSChargers AT 49ers
The Chargers' coaching staff finally took the handcuffs off Rivers last week,and he responded with 242 passing yards and two TDs. The Niners havesurrendered an average of 224 yards and two TD passes per game. That mathtranslates into big games for Rivers, TE Antonio Gates and WR KeenanMcCardell.
DREW BLEDSOECowboys VS. Texans
The Texans have the league's worst defense, yielding 435 total yards per gameand allowing an average of 3.25 touchdowns. That's just the tonic ashell-shocked Bledsoe needs after a shattering loss last week in Philadelphia,during which he was sacked seven times and picked off three times.
REX GROSSMANBears AT Cardinals
The Cult of Rex is growing as fantasy players learn to appreciate Grossman'ssublime TD-to-interception ratio of 10-to-3 and regular appearances on the listof passing leaders. In games in the desert, opposing quarterbacks have averaged295 yards per game with a total of four TDs.
JULIUS JONESCowboys VS. Texans
Jones ran for 100 yards against the Eagles, which marked his second straightweek in triple digits. Houston, last in the NFL in total defense, allows nearly140 yards per game on the ground. That means a field day for Jones, his backupMarion Barber and the rest of the Cowboys in the Lone Star State battle.
WILLIS MCGAHEEBills AT Lions
Buffalo's spanking at the hands of the Bears cost McGahee the league's rushinglead, but he'll be able to rebound this week against a porous Detroit defensethat made Minnesota's Chester Taylor (123 yards against the Lions, after 97total in the previous two weeks) look like a superstar.
WARRICK DUNNFalcons VS. Giants
The leading rusher (365 yards) on the top rushing team (234.2 yards per game),Dunn has yet to score a TD this season. He's overdue. Look for Dunn andquarterback Michael Vick to be relentless on the ground, with Vick mixing in afew long strikes to receiver Ashley Lelie (box, left).
JOEY GALLOWAYBuccaneers VS. Bengals
He's having a see-saw season: zero yards in Week 1, 161 yards the followingweek, one catch for eight yards (one TD) in Week 3, 110 yards and one TD onSunday. Look for Galloway to finally have back-to-back big games, even with theCincinnati ball hawks (seven INTs) patrolling the secondary.
BERNARD BERRIANBears AT Cardinals
A main reason for the Bears' offensive resurgence, Berrian has 19 catches for413 yards and TDs in four of five games. Arizona has trouble with burners,surrendering 100-yard games to the speedy likes of Darrell Jackson and TorryHolt in four of its five games. Berrian should follow in those footsteps.
LAVERANUES COLESJets VS. Dolphins
Still among the league's top receivers, Coles was held in check last week(three catches for 19 yards) by an all-consuming Jaguars defense. However,Coles has an excellent track record against Miami, scoring seven touchdowns innine meetings. He'll add to that total this week.
ALEX SMITHBuccaneers VS. Bengals
That noise you heard Sunday afternoon was a collective sigh from fantasy ownerswho have Bucs on their team after they saw that Bruce Gradkowski is a capableNFL quarterback. Smith, who had five catches and one TD last week, was one ofthe rookie's favorite targets against the Saints and should continue to be asafety valve against Cincinnati.
JOHN KASAYPanthers AT Ravens
Carolina won't score often in this defensive struggle, but Steve Smith &Co. will move the ball enough to get into scoring position in one of thefriendliest venues for opposing kickers. Kasay has made at least two fieldgoals in four of the Panthers' five games this year and is among the NFL's topscorers through Week 5, with 38 points.
The key to this matchup is the condition of Chiefs tailback Larry Johnson, wholeft last week's game against Arizona with a sprained neck. If he's not 100%,the Steelers could pitch a shutout against a Kansas City offense that's heavilyreliant on its star. Even if Johnson is in form, don't expect Pittsburgh toyield much.
FALCONS vs. Giants
Since arriving inAtlanta in a three-team trade that took place late in the preseason, Lelie hasbeen relatively quiet--seven receptions (albeit for 136 yards) and no TDs. Butwith Roddy White slowed by minor injuries, Lelie could help balance an offensethat leads the NFL in rushing, yet ranks at the bottom of the league inreceptions and receiving yards. Those aerial numbers could improve dramaticallyafter the Falcons are through with the Giants, who have an overmatchedsecondary that in four games has allowed an average of 238 yards, as well as 12receptions of 20 or more yards and eight TDs. Coming off a bye, Atlanta willlikely have more big plays designed for Lelie, who led the league with 18.3yards per catch last year. Among his '05 efforts was a five-catch, 64-yard dayagainst the Giants. In this return engagement, look for Lelie to succeed ingetting deep.
IS HE FORREAL?
Herron wasn'texpecting to get a lot of carries on Sunday against the Rams, but when VernandMorency, who started in place of the injured Ahman Green, fumbled twice, inwent the barely used Herron. He responded by rushing for a career-high 106yards and one touchdown on 20 carries. Still, after the game coach MikeMcCarthy gave no indication that he'd reshuffle the depth chart, and evenHerron said, "Obviously, Ahman is the guy." The Packers have a bye thisSunday, which gives Green two weeks to heal his hamstrings and reclaim hisstarting spot.
THE PERFECT TEAM: WEEK 6
CARSON PALMER at Buccaneers
Has two weeks to prepare for a poor D
CLINTON PORTIS vs. Titans
Could gain 200 yards from scrimmage
LADAINIAN TOMLINSON at 49ers
Tears up another Bay Area club
CHAD JOHNSON at Buccaneers
Wins battle against Ronde Barber
TORRY HOLT vs. Seahawks
Had TDs in both meetings last year
ANTONIO GATES at 49ers
Flashback to stellar form of '05
K ROBBIE GOULD atCardinals
The best team also has the best kicker
D BRONCOS vs.Raiders
Oakland QBs threw 4 INTs against the 49ers!
SCOTT BOEHM/GETTY IMAGES (LELIE)
AL TIELEMANS (RIVERS)
JOHN BIEVER (GROSSMAN)
PETER READ MILLER (JONES)
SIMON BRUTY (DUNN)
AL MESSERSCHMIDT/WIREIMAGE.COM (GALLOWAY)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (COLES)
PAUL SPINELLI/GETTY IMAGES (SMITH)
AL MESSERSCHMIDT/WIREIMAGE.COM (KASAY)
JOHN BIEVER (HERRON)