In two games against Nick Saban's defense, Penny has a passer rating of over 100 and has thrown 4 TD while not turning the ball over
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints:Brees has never had a rocket arm, but his accuracy and touch are outstanding. Look for head coach Sean Payton to continue to use quick hitting passes in the short and intermediate areas of the field to keep Brees on track and to get the ball into the hands of players like Marques Colston and Devery Henderson.
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers:Off tackle to the left, behind Jonas Jennings and Larry Allen, is where Gore has made his living this season, and it will continue this week. The Cards are undersized up front and try to use quickness to penetrate the backfield. But they can be easily sealed off, creating big running lanes on either side of center. He is among the top rushers in the league and a sure starter.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals:Fitzgerald has put up similar numbers to those of teammate Anquan Boldin, but he has been Matt Leinart's first look in the red zone, scoring two TD in the last three games. He is a starter every week who can adjust to coverage and make plays all over the field.
Jeremy Shockey, New York Giants:Shockey has the ability to overwhelm the Saints safety, former Giant, Omar Stoutmire and has a huge size advantage as well over LB Mark Simoneau to create space in between the hashes and make some large gains. Shockey is also a perfect player in the red zone. By using play action with RB's Tiki Barber or Brandon Jacobs, Shockey can fake the block and get out into the route late when coverage has broken down. He is a starter every week if he's healthy.
Chicago Bears:The Lions have had trouble protecting the QB, and with Kevin Jones out for the year, there is little running game to speak of, especially with Mike Martz running the show. Look for the Bears to tee off on Kitna and accumulate sacks and turnovers at an alarming rate. They are the #1 fantasy defense right now.
Jeff Garcia, Philadelphia Eagles:Garcia has shown good patience in the pocket and still has enough scrambling ability to give plays time to develop. He is a veteran QB who can handle defensive pressure and makes good decisions with the ball as demonstrated by his 9 TD and 1 INT in five games. However, look for his run of strong play to end this week. The Cowboys can bring pressure off the edge and can collapse the pocket from the interior. Though Garcia has a valuable weapon in RB Brian Westbrook, the Cowboys can go to their nickel package and still get to the quarterback. If he has been your guy since McNabb went down, you'll probably have to start him this week, but this won't be his best game.
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh Steelers:With the exception of the Cleveland game two weeks ago, Parker has struggled against 3-4 fronts this season, and averaged just 2.2 yards per carry in the first meeting against the Ravens. He will run left, working the Steelers version of the dip play, running towards the middle of the line of scrimmage to get the LB's committing to the inside gaps, and then bounce the run outside to look for open space. But the Ravens create great backside pursuit and will engulf Parker. This is not a good week to use him. Don't make him anything more than your 2-back and look for a better matchup.
Roy Williams, Detroit Lions:Williams tried to win on vertical routes in the last game against the Bears, but couldn't beat the corner coverage. This time look for him to use his strong inside release to get off the line and make catches in the middle of the field. Bears coach Lovie Smith and Lions coach Rod Marinelli learned the same Tampa Two system, so Williams practices against it every day. He should have a good feel for open spots in the coverage and be more productive this time around. But cornerbacks Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman are ball hawks and will be aggressive with Williams, playing a physical brand of football all day.
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia Eagles:Smith has 18 catches in the last five games with Garcia under center, three of them for TD's. However, this week the Eagles will need his blocking skills to handle the Cowboys multiple blitz schemes. With Stallworth, Brown, Westbrook, and Greg Lewis all available to run routes, Smith is the odd man out and won't get as many chances with the ball.
Seattle Seahawks:Seattle is in trouble this week. With their struggles against the run, the last person they will want to see is LaDainian Tomlinson. Antonio Gates will be a load to defend in the middle of the field, and though the Hawks are among the league leaders in sacks, don't expect Rivers to give them a chance to get their hands on him. They are not a good play this week.
Sleeper of the Week
Chad Pennington, QB, New York Jets:The Jets will run the ball early to set up play action for Pennington, who has some of the best ball fakes in the league. The Dolphins LB's bite hard on play action, leaving Jerricho Cotchery and Chris Baker open behind the LB's and in front of the safeties. Once the safeties close on the short routes, Laveranues Coles will be a threat out on the perimeter in single coverage. We keep hearing how Pennington won't produce against the Dolphins this week, but in two games against Nick Saban's defense he has a passer rating of over 100 and has thrown 4 TD while not turning the ball over even once. We're going against conventional wisdom and saying you should put him in the lineup this week.
Ron Dayne, RB, Houston Texans: Dayne is built like a truck and runs like a truck, and when Colts LB Cato June runs into him, he's going to feel like he got hit by one, but he won't be alone. Look for the Colts to shoot the inside gaps with their speedy undersized defenders to try to get bodies on Dayne before he can get up a head of steam. But he will move the pile, and wear down an undersized front over the course of the game.