New Orleans (-6.5) at Carolina, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Panthers are just 1-3 but are much more competitive compared to last season, and Cam Newton has become king of the backdoor cover. Newton also continues to be the steal of fantasy drafts (assuming he was even selected in your league), as there's an argument he's the No. 1 fantasy QB thanks to his rushing ability, especially inside the 10, which has in turn really hurt Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams' value. Steve Smith is on pace to finish with 2,120 receiving yards, which would be 272 more yards than Jerry Rice's record-setting 1995 season... The Saints have won three straight and are currently in the middle of a three-game road trip, and they better not overlook a Carolina team that's no longer a doormat. Drew Brees is on pace to throw for 5,640 yards and gets a Panthers' secondary that has allowed an NFL-high 9.0, so he should be in store for another big game Sunday. Jimmy Graham is at minimum a top-three fantasy TE if not No. 1, and Marques Colston is expected to play a full complement of snaps in Week 5. New Orleans' backfield hasn't done many favors to fantasy owners, although surprisingly Darren Sproles leads the NFL with 4.6 YPC after contact.
Predictions: Cam Newton throws for 240 yards with a TD toss to Steve Smith, and he also adds 40 rushing yards and a score on the ground as well. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart total 120 yards, with the latter reaching the end zone. The Saints' RBBC produces 110 yards from scrimmage, with Mark Ingram scoring from in close, while Drew Brees adds 325 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham the recipients, as the road team comes out on top. Saints 27-24.
Philadelphia (-2) at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Bills lost for the first time this season last week, despite carrying a 17-3 lead into halftime. Ryan Fitzpatrick and company get a Philly secondary Sunday that has surprisingly struggled this year, as they have allowed a 10:2 TD:INT ratio. Although the Eagles are tied for the NFL-lead with 15 sacks, they have also been gashed by the run (5.3 YPC) and will be without star DE Trent Cole (calf) this week, so expect Fred Jackson's big season to continue... "The Dream Team" has lost three straight games, so Sunday is something of a must-win while playing in a competitive NFC East division. Michael Vick totaled 491 yards last week, and Buffalo struggles to pressure the passer and can be exploited with big plays, so expect the Eagles to put plenty of points on the board, especially with their backs against the wall.
Predictions: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 250 yards with touchdowns to Stevie Johnson and David Nelson, while Fred Jackson totals 110 yards and hits pay dirt. LeSean McCoy produces a similar line, while Michael Vick throws for 275 yards with TD strikes to Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. Vick also adds 50 rushing yards and adds a score on the ground as well, as Philly wins a high-scoring affair. Eagles 31-21.
Seattle (+10) at New York Giants, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Seattle enters 1-3, although they did trim a 27-7 down to two points in about 12 minutes of gametime last week, finally losing 30-28. The Seahawks face a tough task Sunday, having to travel across the country to play a morning game against a solid Giants team. Tarvaris Jackson has played better of late, thanks partly to Sidney Rice's return. Despite being his team's workhorse, Marshawn Lynch is a borderline top-40 fantasy back... Coming of three straight wins, including the last two on the road, the Giants may be due for something of a letdown as big favorites and with a bye upcoming. Eli Manning has got 8.5 YPA with an 8:2 TD:INT ratio over four games this season, so he's been fantastic. Seattle has allowed just three passing TDs on the year, but their 68.9 completion percentage and 7.4 YPA allowed tell more of the story, so Manning's nice season should continue. Hakeem Nicks is a beast, and Mario Manningham makes for a buy-low candidate coming off a DNP followed by a one-catch performance. Justin Tuck (neck/groin) and Brandon Jacobs (knee) are both questionable to play, but luckily New York has plenty of depth at those positions.
Predictions: Tarvaris Jackson throws for 170 yards with a touchdown to Sidney Rice, while Marshawn Lynch is bottled up. Ahmad Bradshaw totals 120 yards and reaches the end zone, while Eli Manning adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, as New York wins handily. Giants 27-13.
Cincinnati (+1) at Jacksonville, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Bengals come in 2-2, and their next three opponents have a combined record of 2-10. Andy Dalton has been competent, and A.J. Green continues to impress. Cedric Benson was left for dead by many (including me), but he's been surprisingly productive this year, getting 4.5 YPC while shedding tackles. The Jaguars rank in the top half in both passing and rushing defense, although Jacksonville isn't a great home-field advantage... After beating a Tennessee team that has yet to lose since, the Jaguars have dropped three straight games, and they look to be in for a long season with rookie Blaine Gabbert at the helm combined with possibly the worst WR corps in football. The Bengals have allowed just 6.3 YPA and four passing scores while yielding an NFL-low 3.1 YPC this season, so it's safe to expect a defensive battle Sunday.
Predictions: Andy Dalton throws for 180 yards with a TD toss to Jermaine Gresham, while Cedric Benson runs for 80 yards sans a score. Maurice Jones-Drew counters with 110 total yards and hits pay dirt, while Blaine Gabbert adds 160 passing yards, as Jacksonville wins in a battle of field goals. Jaguars 16-13.
Kansas City (+1) at Indianapolis, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Chiefs won for the first time this season last week, although they have still been outscored by 77 points over four games. Dwayne Bowe has retained fantasy value, but beyond him, it's a sinkhole in Kansas City. Coach Todd Haley says Jackie Battle may get a look in the backfield, and while he can be added in deep fantasy leagues, he's an undrafted 28-year-old who's got just 3.0 YPC in his career, so expectations need to be held firmly in check... The Colts are 0-4, although they played competitively in Tampa Bay on Monday night, losing by a touchdown to the Bucs. Curtis Painter completed just 13-of-30 passes while making his first NFL start, and his numbers were boosted by a somewhat fluky play that went for 87 yards to Pierre Garcon, but it would be tough to argue he's not an immediate upgrade over Kerry Collins. Garcon appears to be Painter's favorite target, so he's back on the fantasy radar. KC has allowed an NFL-high 10 TD passes, so the Colts should be able to move the ball Sunday at home.
Predictions: Matt Cassel throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Steve Breaston, while KC's RBBC produces 80 total yards. Joseph Addai answers with 70 yards from scrimmage and a TD run, while Curtis Painter adds 240 passing yards with a touchdown to Dallas Clark, as Indy gets its first win of the year. Colts 24-16.
Tennessee (+4.5) at Pittsburgh, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Titans enter riding a three-game winning streak and get a banged up Steelers team Sunday. The defense has played extremely well, and despite a shaky offensive line, Matt Hasselbeck has been fantastic, getting 8.7 YPA with an 8:3 TD:INT ratio. The schedule will get harder, and the loss of Kenny Britt may eventually catch up to a team without much WR depth, so Hasselbeck's performance certainly can't be expected to continue, but he's suddenly turned the Titans into contenders in the AFC South... Pittsburgh is 2-2 and ravaged by injuries, as James Harrison (orbital bone) is out, and the offensive line is a complete mess. Moreover, Ben Roethlisberger is playing on two bad feet, including one he badly sprained just last week, and Rashard Mendenhall is highly questionable with a hamstring injury. If he's inactive Sunday, backup Isaac Redman should see a full workload, especially with Mewelde Moore (ankle) also out. Despite the tough matchup - Tennessee has allowed 3.2 YPC and just one rushing score this season - Redman could make for a sneaky fantasy play this week for owners dealing with injuries and/or byes.
Predictions: Matt Hasselbeck throws for 175 yards with a touchdown to Damian Williams, while Chris Johnson totals 125 yards and scores. Isaac Redman answers with 80 yards combined and a TD run of his own, while Ben Roethlisberger adds 240 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Antonio Brown, as Pittsburgh comes out on top. Steelers 20-17.
Arizona (+2) at Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Cardinals have lost three games in a row, none worse than last week at home versus the Giants, when they blew a 10-point lead with just five minutes to go. A questionable (non) call contributed, but Arizona deserves plenty of blame as well. Kevin Kolb has been an upgrade at QB, but he's also been erratic, and the defense is a real weakness. Beanie Wells (hamstring) is fast becoming a top-12 fantasy back, although his matchup against Minnesota is hardly ideal (3.3 YPC)... The Vikings are winless, although they haven't lost a game by more than a touchdown, so it's not like they have been complete doormats. Donovan McNabb has struggled, and even though he's had to deal with poor play by his receivers and offensive line, if the team keeps losing, he may eventually find himself benched for rookie Christian Ponder. But that's down the line, and McNabb has a plus matchup this week against an Arizona secondary that has yielded 8.0 YPA this season. Adrian Peterson doesn't have as much fantasy upside as some others, but he remains as safe as anyone and has played well this year despite his surroundings. He should be in store for a big game Sunday.
Predictions: Kevin Kolb throws for 240 yards with a touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald, while Beanie Wells adds 80 rushing yards and hits pay dirt. Adrian Peterson responds with 140 yards from scrimmage with two rushing scores, while Donovan McNabb adds 230 passing yards, as Minny finally gets a victory. Vikings 23-20.
Oakland (+5.5) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Raiders lost to the Patriots last week, but the game was a bit closer than the final score indicated, and they look like legitimate threats to contend in the AFC West. Darren McFadden is on pace for 2,400 yards from scrimmage and should continue to be the focal point of Oakland's offense. The Raiders' wide receiver corps is getting healthier (and crowded), but Darrius Heyward-Bey has quietly become a decent add in deep fantasy leagues... The Texans enter 3-1, but the team will be without Andre Johnson (hamstring) for at least the next three weeks, and with upcoming matchups in Baltimore and in Tennessee, Houston can ill afford to overlook a solid Raiders team Sunday. With no Johnson, expect Owen Daniels to lead the team in targets, with Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones possibly becoming viable fantasy options as well. Arian Foster, who looked fantastic in his return to the lineup last week, should get a ton of work. He should have a huge game against a Raiders' front seven that has allowed a league-worst 5.9 YPC.
Predictions: Jason Campbell throws for 230 yards with no touchdowns, while Darren McFadden totals 120 yards and scores. Michael Bush also adds a goal-line TD, but Arian Foster counters with 150 total yards and two touchdowns. Matt Schaub adds 240 passing yards with a TD toss to Kevin Walter, as Houston narrowly avoids an upset. Texans 24-23.
Tampa Bay (+3) at San Francisco, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: Tampa Bay enters winners of three straight, although they will be traveling during a short week after beating the Colts on Monday night. Josh Freeman has taken a slight step back this year, getting just 6.7 YPA with a 3:4 TD:INT ratio. LeGarrette Blount is a beast between the tackles, but the 49ers' strength on defense is their front seven, has they have allowed just 3.5 YPC and are the only team in football yet to allow a rushing TD, so Freeman may have to carry the team Sunday. Mike Williams has been a fantasy disappointment, but it's best to remain patient... San Francisco is surprisingly 3-1, sitting two games up in the NFC West. The team may be due to a letdown coming off a big comeback win over the Eagles as double-digit underdogs on the road last week, as Alex Smith may have played the best game of his career. His 7.4 YPA mark is easily a career-high, and he's limited turnovers in the 49ers' conservative offense. Braylon Edwards (knee) remains out, but Michael Crabtree showed a pulse last week. Frank Gore was surprisingly effective playing through his ankle injury in Week 4 despite not starting, and he returned to practice this week. He should once again be the centerpiece of San Francisco's offense Sunday.
Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 230 yards with a touchdown to Mike Williams, while LeGarrette Blount adds 60 rushing yards and a TD run. Frank Gore counters with 90 total yards and hits pay dirt, while Alex Smith adds 220 passing yards and a score to Vernon Davis. Ted Ginn returns a punt to the house, helping the home team prevail. 49ers 21-17.
New York Jets (+9.5) at New England, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Jets have dropped their first two games of their current three-game road trip, including an embarrassing loss in primetime last week in Baltimore. New York committed four turnovers and allowed three return touchdowns in the loss. As a result, coach Rex Ryan claims they are returning to the "ground-and-pound" philosophy, although that may just be rhetoric, as Shonn Greene and the offensive line have really struggled this season... After beating the Jets 45-3 in Week 13 last season, the Jets returned the favor by winning in New England in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The near 10-point spread is pretty eye-opening, especially when you consider the Pats have allowed a whopping 9.0 YPA this season. The Patriots have allowed the second-most points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks this year, whereas the Jets have allowed the fewest, so it should be an interesting battle Sunday. Expect Darrelle Revis to cover Wes Welker on-and-off but not shadow the slot receiver, and obviously Welker can't be benched in fantasy leagues regardless. Aaron Hernandez (knee) may return to the lineup, and with Danny Woodhead (ankle) unlikely to play, Stevan Ridley could once again get a chance to make an impact.
Predictions: Mark Sanchez throws for 270 yards and two touchdowns, with Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes the recipients. LaDainian Tomlinson gets more total yards, but Shonn Greene gets a goal-line score. Stevan Ridley also gets more yards, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis punches in a goal-line TD. Tom Brady adds 280 [passing yards with scoring strikes to Rob Gronkowski and Deion Branch, as New England wins by a field goal. Patriots 27-24.
San Diego (-4) at Denver, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: Denver comes in 1-3, but its schedule has been difficult. Kyle Orton has thrown seven touchdowns over the past three games, and he should have to keep chucking it this week to counter the Chargers' high-powered offense. Brandon Lloyd looks back to full strength and a must-start in most fantasy leagues, while Eric Decker isn't far behind as a dominant threat inside the red zone. Of course, all bets are off if the team ever switches to Tim Tebow. Willis McGahee somehow ran for 103 yards on just 15 carries last week against a Packers defense that has been extremely tough on opposing running backs... San Diego is 3-1, and while they haven't been overly impressive, at least the team isn't off to its typical slow start in the win/loss department. Philip Rivers didn't throw multiple picks in a game for the first time this season last week, although he'll be dealing with an extremely depleted WR corps Sunday, as Antonio Gates (foot) remains out, Vincent Jackson (hamstring) is questionable and Malcom Floyd (shoulder) is also banged up. Ryan Mathews racked up 149 yards last week despite missing a bunch of practice time leading up to the game, and coach Norv Turner recently stated he wants to get the back 24-25 carries a game, which is music to fantasy owners' ears.
Predictions: Kyle Orton throws for 250 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Lloyd, while Willis McGahee totals 70 yards and reaches the end zone. Ryan Mathews answers with 125 combined yards and hits pay dirt, while Philip Rivers adds 270 passing yards with scoring strikes to Mike Tolbert and Randy McMichael, as the road team comes out on top. Chargers 24-23.
Green Bay (-6) at Atlanta, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Comments: The Falcons are 2-2 and don't look much like the team that was the NFC's No. 1 seed last season. It's worth noting three of their four games played this year have been on the road (and all outdoors), and Matt Ryan and company typically play far better at home (their one game in ATL was a victory over the Eagles). The Packers have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in all of football this season. The last time these teams met was a Green Bay 48-21 blowout win in Atlanta in last year's Divisional Round, so the Falcons should be focused. Julio Jones looks like the real deal, although his emergence has hurt Roddy White's fantasy value... The Packers enter undefeated, and despite a shaky pass defense, it's hard not to consider the defending Super Bowl champs the best team in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers is playing on another level right now, and the Falcons struggle to get to the passer, recording just five sacks this season. Despite scoring 49 points and with Ryan Grant (kidney) out, James Starks didn't score a touchdown last week, so the safest course of action is taking a wait-and-see approach with this backfield from a fantasy perspective. The Packers come in rightfully as nearly touchdown favorites, but it's awfully tough to win five games in a row in the NFL, and Atlanta plays far better at home and should be fired up in primetime. An upset here wouldn't shock.
Predictions: Matt Ryan throws for 300 yards and two touchdowns, with Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White the recipients. Michael Turner runs for 80 yards and scores from the goal line, while the Packers' backfield committee produces a similar line. Aaron Rodgers adds 300 passing yards with scoring strikes to Jermichael Finley, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, as Green Bay wins in a shootout. Packers 28-27.
Chicago (+5.5) at Detroit, Monday 8:30 p.m.
Comments: The Bears enter 2-2, as they were somehow up 24-0 last week having attempted just one pass midway through the second quarter. Jay Cutler hasn't had a great season, and he gets a Detroit secondary that has ceded just 6.2 YPA on the year. Chicago's shaky offensive line could also have pass protection issues while playing in a loud dome in the first primetime game in Detroit in a long time. Matt Forte has always been good, but he's transformed into a star this year... The Lions are undefeated (and have won eight straight dating back to last season), although they have had to stage big comebacks each of the past two weeks and had some luck go there way recovering from a 27-3 deficit in Dallas last Sunday. Still, the team should be up for the Monday night game, and it's actually just the second home tilt of the year for them. Calvin Johnson looks unstoppable and is on pace to score 32 touchdowns this year. Jahvid Best can't run between the tackles, but his fantasy value is typically saved by his usage as a receiver.
Predictions: Jay Cutler throws for 250 yards with a touchdown to Kellen Davis, while Matt Forte adds 110 total yards and a rushing TD. Jahvid Best counters with 80 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown run of his own, while Matthew Stafford throws for 275 yards with scoring strikes to Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew, as Detroit wins it. Lions 27-20.