OWEN DANIELS TE
TEXANS VS. Bills
In fantasy football, efficiency can be a beautiful thing. Daniels doesn't even crack the NFL's top 12 in receptions by a tight end, but with five TDs he's got a leg up on guys like Kellen Winslow Jr., Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. Not bad for a rookie fourth-round pick who has played the position for only four years. (He was recruited by Wisconsin as a quarterback.) Daniels has quickly become a favorite in Houston--not only of David Carr but also of the coaches. When Carr was yanked against the Titans in Week 8, Daniels still had five second-half grabs, two for scores. Against Buffalo he'll face a defense that has allowed a tight end to lead his team in catches three times. In the past three weeks the Bills have been underwhelming against three 6'3"-plus tight ends (allowing an average of five catches and 59 receiving yards). Daniels is modestly listed at 6'3".
PHILIP RIVERS Chargers AT Broncos Against Denver, which stuffs the run, expect San Diego's balance to shift away from RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who's been hogging TDs (15 in the last five weeks). Instead, coach Marty Schottenheimer will look to exploit the Broncos' pass defense, which has allowed 992 yards in its last three games.
TOM BRADY Patriots AT Packers This could be the last Brett Favre--Tom Brady meeting, and it might be the best. Last time, in 2002, the QBs combined for just 330 yards, with Brady tossing three interceptions. Both pass defenses rank among the bottom 10 of the NFL, so expect fireworks, especially from Brady, who is due for a big game.
MATT LEINART Cardinals VS. Lions In three weeks without Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring), Leinart played only two quarters of solid football, struggling during the rest (one TD, five interceptions). But he hit the now healthy Fitzgerald, who returned on Sunday, six times for 80 yards. The duo will shine against Detroit, which is 19th against the pass.
ANTHONY THOMAS Bills AT Texans The job is the A-Train's to lose for as long as Willis McGahee is out, which could be a while. Thomas has rushed 48 times for 204 yards and a TD since taking over two weeks ago. Houston has allowed a rushing TD in seven of nine games this year and more than 100 rushing yards eight times.
KEVIN JONES Lions AT Cardinals With 995 total yards from scrimmage and seven TDs, Jones is one of the most productive fantasy performers of the season, even after hitting a roadblock against the Niners last week. Surprisingly, the only team not to score at least 21 points against Arizona this year is the Rams, who still won 16--14.
RUDI JOHNSON Bengals AT Saints Though he did not start last week (he was disciplined for breaking team rules), he still found the end zone and has now scored TDs in six of Cincinnati's nine games. New Orleans has allowed 100 yards to AFC North backs Willie Parker (Steelers) and Jamal Lewis (Ravens) in two of the last three weeks.
HINES WARD Steelers AT Browns With the continued improvement of wideouts Cedrick Wilson and Santonio Holmes--both of whom have had great Novembers--defenses can no longer key on Ward. History is also on Ward's side: In 2005 he had 15 catches, 229 yards and two TDs in two games against Cleveland.
LAVERANUES COLES Jets VS. Bears For whatever reason, the Bears have had a hard time against diminutive burners. Lee Evans (5'10") caught nine balls for 94 yards and a TD five weeks ago, and in '05 Steve Smith (5'9") torched Chicago for 387 yards and two TDs over two games. Coles (5'11") is a Smith doppleg√§nger by any measure.
DONTE' STALLWORTH Eagles VS. Titans Stallworth's 84-yard catch-and-run TD last week served two purposes. First, it was a reminder that he's a serious deep threat and a bona fide fantasy starter. (He leads the league at 21.1 yards per catch.) Second, it shows that his bum hammy has healed. Stallworth is a must play against Tennessee.
JERRAMY STEVENS Seahawks AT 49ers There is apparently nothing like a good kick to the groin to jump-start a player's production: After missing most of the first half of the season with an injury, Stevens took a knee to his privates from Tyler Brayton on Nov. 6 in prime time; on Sunday he reached the end zone for the second time in three weeks. He should thrive against the tight-end-vulnerable 49ers.
JOHN CARNEY Saints VS. Bengals A game with Cincinnati is guaranteed to be a day at the races: The Bengals' three most recent opponents have averaged 34.7 points a game. Meanwhile, the Saints have put 111 points on the board in their last four games, against the Eagles, Ravens, Bucs and Steelers. Carney has missed only two field goal tries this year and is 6 for 6 in the Superdome.
VIKINGS AT Dolphins The Vikings thought they would be lining up against old teammate Daunte Culpepper this week; instead they'll see another familiar face: QB Joey Harrington, who while he was with the Lions threw seven touchdown passes in six games against Minnesota but also was picked off a stunning 13 times.
IS HE FOR REAL?
Undrafted three years ago out of Wyoming, Floyd spent much of his first two NFL seasons on San Diego's practice squad recovering first from a broken collarbone and then from a strained Achilles. He entered this year with a career total of three catches for 49 yards and a TD (all in '04). Last week against the Bengals he had five catches for 109 yards and a score. At 6'5" he is a matchup problem for most of the league's cover corners-- especially in the red zone, where he leads Chargers wideouts with three touchdown grabs. Expect more.
DAVID SABINO THE PERFECT TEAM: WEEK 11
QB DREW BREES vs. Bengals Brees to Marques Colston is fun to watch
RB JULIUS JONES vs. Colts Might not break a sweat in getting 100 yards
RB LARRY JOHNSON vs. Raiders Seven TDs, four games against Oakland
WR ROY WILLIAMS at Cardinals Elite receiver versus suspect secondary
WR TERRELL OWENS vs. Colts With Tony Romo at QB, T.O. gets the ball
TE KELLEN WINSLOW vs. Steelers Tough opponents don't faze him
K LAWRENCE TYNES vs. Raiders Chiefs run up score on hated rival
D DOLPHINS vs. Vikings DE Jason Taylor plunders the Minnesota offense
AARON M. SPRECHER/ICON SMI (DANIELS); JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (RIVERS, LEINART); JC RIDLEY/WIREIMAGE.COM (THOMAS); TOM DIPACE (JOHNSON); GREG TROTT/WIREIMAGE.COM (WARD); HUNTER MARTIN/WIREIMAGE.COM (STALLWORTH)
LARRY FRENCH/GETTY IMAGES (STEVENS); HUNTER MARTIN/WIREIMAGE.COM (CARNEY); GREG TROTT/WIREIMAGE.COM (FLOYD)