David Garrard vs. HOU
Garrard is well rested coming off a bye and played his best fantasy game of the season in a four-touchdown performance against the Cowboys his last time out. This week he faces a Texans defense ranked last in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position. The Texans have allowed a league-high 20 touchdown passes as well as a league-high 2,482 yards. With a number of fantasy starting quarterbacks on byes or injured, Garrard should be a top-10 performer this week.
Santonio Holmes vs. CLE
Last week Holmes had his first big performance in a Jets uniform, cracking the 100-yard plateau. This week, Holmes has the type of matchup that could result in another big game as the Jets travel to the Browns. The Browns are 27th in the league in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and are just one of seven teams in the NFL that have allowed at least 10 touchdown receptions to wide receivers this season. Look for Holmes to have another productive outing in Ryan Bowl I.
Fred Jackson vs. DET
The Bills don't have much of a running game, but Jackson clearly is the back who gets the ball when they go to the ground game. Jackson has received 51 carries in his last three games and should have his best outing of the season this week against the Lions. While the Lions defense is vastly improved from a fantasy perspective, it still ranks 31st in fantasy points allowed to the running back position and has allowed at least 100 yards on the ground in five of its last seven games. Look for Jackson to have his best fantasy performance of the season in this matchup and be a good flex option this week.
Anquan Boldin vs. ATL
Boldin is coming off one of his worst fantasy games of the season against the Dolphins last week. He bounced back nicely in his only other poor outing this season and has a nice matchup to kick off the NFL Network Thursday night schedule. The Falcons rank just 29th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and have given up at last two touchdowns in their last three games. In what should be a good contest Thursday, look for Boldin to shine.
Tampa Bay Def vs. CAR
The Buccaneers did very little last week in their matchup against the Falcons but face a much less potent offense in the Panthers this week. In their first meeting this season, the Buccaneers held the Panthers to just seven points and had four sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. The Panthers rank last in scoring, 30th in sacks allowed per game, 29th in fumbles lost per game and last in interception percentage. Look for the Buccaneers to have a strong outing this week.
Brett Favre vs. CHI
Favre is coming off a career-high 446 yards in perhaps a season-saving win against the Cardinals last week. This week, Favre goes on the road to face division foe Chicago in another game that has must-win written all over it. Favre will find the going much tougher this week as the Bears have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season with a league-low five touchdowns. Only one quarterback (Matt Hasselbeck) has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions against the Bears this season. Favre may have a few more magic moments in his golden arm, but this week he doesn't figure to shine.
Matt Ryan vs. BAL
Ryan already has 13 touchdown passes in eight games this season and figures to set a career high in that and many other categories in 2010. Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown pass in seven straight games and has surpassed 200 yards in all but one game. This week Ryan faces one of his toughest tests of the season against a Ravens pass defense that has allowed the fifth fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this year. The Ravens also have multiple interceptions in their past three games. While Ryan may be too good to bench especially with Rodgers, Brees and Rivers on byes, it could be a night where Matty Ice melts.
Peyton Hillis vs. NYJ
Hillis has been one of the top fantasy finds of the year. He has been solid to excellent in each of the last five weeks and destroyed the Patriots last week in a huge win for the Browns. However, this week the matchup gets much tougher as Hillis faces a Jets run defense ranked as the toughest against fantasy running backs in the league. While Hillis faced a tough test in the Steelers and had a solid game with 90 total yards and six catches, the Jets statistically are nearly twice as good as the Steelers in pass defense against running backs, and 49 of Hillis' 90 yards came via the pass. Again, with the byes and injuries Hillis may have to start, but this may be the week where Hillis doesn't exceed expectations.
Dwayne Bowe vs. DEN
While Bowe has not had a lot of catches, he has made the most of his opportunities. Six of his last 17 catches have gone for touchdowns as he is on a four-game touchdown streak. This week figures to put that streak in jeopardy as the Chiefs face a Broncos pass defense ranked seventh against wide receivers, and fourth in action this week. The Broncos have allowed more than 100 yards to teams' receivers once in the last five games. Furthermore, the Chiefs running game should have a field day as the Broncos rank last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to the running back position. This week figures to be great for Charles and Jones while Bowe does a lot of downfield blocking.
Tony Gonzalez vs. BAL
While the Ravens have been hard on quarterbacks this season, they have been even tougher on tight ends. The Ravens are the second stingiest defense to tight ends in the league, allowing just over three catches for about 37 yards per game. Gonzalez has struggled this season in the yardage department as he has gained more than 41 yards receiving in only two games. Thursday night does not figure to add to the legacy of one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history.