Cotchery could find some holes against the Cover Two
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals:With S Mike Doss out for the year and Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders missing time due to injury, the Colts secondary has been giving up big plays on top of big plays. The corners play soft and the pass rush has been limited, so Palmer will have plenty of chances to go downfield, but only after the Cats have established the run. Expect Cincy to run Rudi Johnson until his legs fall off, or until the Colts defense can stop him. We know this, neither will happen in the first half, setting Palmer up for some big numbers.
Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks:Alexander will run left behind Walter Jones, reading the lead block of his FB Mack Strong. If Strong can get his hands on the LB and force him outside, Alexander will cut back inside and take his chances one-on-one with the MLB. If Strong seals the OLB inside, Alexander will make one cut to the outside and be off to the races. He is an easy start choice this week against a 49ers defense that is improving, but still undermanned.
Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals:Boldin has a big frame and will use his size and strength to overpower Denver's smaller CB Darrent Williams, who will try to force him inside towards the defensive help. Boldin will be fine with that as he has the physical presence to compete for the ball in traffic. With Champ Bailey on Fitzgerald, look for Leinart to look more often to Boldin's side. He is a solid #2 starter for your fantasy squad this week.
Chris Cooley, Washington Redskins:Cooley's athletic ability presents a tough match up for all of the Saints' linebackers. The New Orleans safeties will be in Cover Two, providing help outside the hashes on the go routes of Santana Moss and Brandon Lloyd, leaving Cooley to outrun MLB Mark Simoneau on the seam without safety help. Cooley is a top five pick this week.
Baltimore Ravens:Another five sacks and three takeaways last week just add to the pile of stats this unit has racked up this season. Look for Cleveland quarterbacks Derek Anderson or Charlie Frye to take a beating, and Reuben Droughns will find little daylight between the tackles in the run game. This is as easy as these decisions come this time of year. A no-brainer.
J.P. Losman, Buffalo Bills:Losman has been much more accurate and effective in the short to intermediate passing, and that, combined with his mobility and ability to elude pressure, has opened things up downfield. He has connected for one big strike a game it seems, using Lee Evans' speed to stretch the field, but aside from a high completion percentage, he's offered little to impress us on the fantasy front. With the Dolphins blitz pressure in his face, he's more likely to throw interceptions than TD's this week. Don't start him.
Reuben Droughns, Cleveland Browns:Droughns didn't play in the first meeting between these teams this season, but his rushing totals have been in the single digits in two of the last three games. Droughns just hasn't been right this season, and hasn't been helped by a makeshift offensive line that hasn't been able to run block or pass protect with any consistency. With uncertainty at the QB position, look for Baltimore to key on Droughns and limit him to another poor outing. He is not a fantasy option this week.
Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:The Bucs will be forced into max protection schemes this week to help the O-line against the aggressive pass rush of the Bears. The bad news is we don't know if the protection will hold up long enough for Gradkowski to get rid of the ball. The good news is that if it does, there won't be a whole lot of guys for him to throw to other than Galloway, because they'll be blocking. Still, teams are taking away Galloway, not that Gradkowski has the green light to chuck the ball downfield anyway in Jon Gruden's ball-control attack. Galloway is probably best as your 3rd this week.
Kellen Winslow, Cleveland Browns:Winslow hasn't scored more than five points in most standard fantasy leagues in close to five weeks. Teams have focused on him and Edwards and forced the Browns quarterbacks to lesser options like WR Joe Jurevicius and TE Steve Heiden. New QB Derek Anderson has a good rapport with Heiden from their days together on the scout team and has looked his way more often, which has taken reps from Winslow in recent weeks as well. He is still a starter against the Ravens cover two, but look for bracket coverage to limit his big play ability.
Denver Broncos:The Broncos are not the same defense that was advertised earlier this year. Arizona has a running game going now, and Matt Leinart has the poise and the weapons to make big plays in the passing game. This is not a good week to start them.
Sleeper of the Week
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans:Johnson is hugely talented and has the speed, hands, and route running ability to be one of the best in the game. But the limitations of the Houston offense have held him back. He hasn't turned in a 100-yard game in eight weeks, an unthinkable stretch. While he has caught an average of eight balls a game, teams have been able to shut down his run after the catch with double teams, especially with Eric Moulds not drawing much attention in coverage. But, look for Houston to try to stretch the field vertically against a banged up New England secondary this week. Johnson will run by soft coverage of the corners, releasing on go routes, and running deep posts at the safeties, testing their coverage skills. He is a starter this week.
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, New York Jets: The Vikings like to play Cover Two zone defense, giving Cotchery room to run the crossing routes against the Vikings LB's. Cotchery does not have breakaway speed but is fearless in traffic, finds the hole in zone coverages and does a solid job of gaining yards after the catch. The LB's will have to close quickly when Cotchery runs the underneath routes or the Jets will be able to control the ball through sustained drives. He is a #2.