Only three undefeated NFL teams remain, and they all should have close games this week. Minnesota (5-0) hosts Denver, Kansas City (6-0) visits Oakland and Carolina (5-0) hosts Tennessee.
This should mean reduced statistics for some of the teams' stars in these tough games.
Styf says start 'em
Steve McNair has emerged as a candidate for the NFL MVP, and this week will be key for his effort. He is a must-start every week from now on.
Another team that should get plenty of starting consideration is the Miami Dolphins. Jay Fiedler, Ricky Williams, Randy McMichael and the team's defense will be pumped when New England, who kept the 'Fins out of the playoffs last season, visit Pro Player Stadium.
This should be a good week to take a chance starting some Texans if your regular starters are on a bye week. Yes, Jets quarterback Chad Pennington might return, but that won't change the fact that last week's win over Buffalo was a fluke.
Also, look to start your Seahawks (Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck and Darrell Jackson) against Chicago.
Those who stepped off the "Bus" in the preseason when they heard Pittsburgh would start running back Amos Zereoue might consider getting back on. Veteran running back Jerome Bettis has had a touchdown in his last two games, and his carries are increasing and Zereoue's decreasing.
Stevie E. says sit 'em
Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb has proven to be inconsistent and unworthy of your lineup after leading his own team to a dismal 2-3 start this season.
McNabb, no doubt, is among the best in the game. But his performance so far this season hardly shows it - especially for fantasy owners who put stock in McNabb's success by using a first-round pick to nab the elusive quarterback.
His 11-completion, 126-yard, one touchdown outing against Dallas last week is an indicator that McNabb needs some time on your team's bench.
As Oakland continues to struggle, avoid the high-profile Raiders - Rich Gannon, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice and Charlie Garner.
Expect Oakland to struggle on Monday night against unbeaten Kansas City.
Look for New England quarterback Tom Brady to struggle against a difficult Dolphins' defense in an important matchup this weekend.
Be wary of starting Tennessee Titans when they travel to Carolina for a tall test against the stingy Panthers' defense.
Stevie E. says add 'em
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Second-year Houston quarterback David Carr is shaking off sophomore struggles to emerge as a quality fantasy player this year.
Even though he is throwing too many interceptions, Carr's passing yardage and touchdowns are improving as the Texans get better. In the past two games, Carr has thrown for 605 yards and three touchdowns on 48 completions.
Don't forget the four interceptions, but consider adding Carr as a late-season sleeper. You might be rewarded for your patience come playoff time.
Pennington is inching closer to returning to the lineup after breaking his wrist in the preseason. The Jets have struggled without the young leader, but showed life last week with a 30-3 rout of the Buffalo Bills.
When Pennington returns, he'll inherit a sub-500 team looking to prove itself during the final stretch of the season.
Keep Pennington on your radar as a possible pick-up in the weeks ahead.
Styf scouts the Spartans
Last week was similar to many great weeks that Mason has had this season, while Plaxico Burress struggled.
Mason has become McNair's favorite target, catching six passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns.
With Charles Rogers injured and Plaxico Burress on a bye week, that only leaves Mason, T.J. Duckett and Paul Edinger as Spartans picks this week.
Duckett, coming off a 50-yard performance against the Rams Monday night, goes up against the struggling Saints. In a tough game against Seattle, Edinger's leg may be the only thing keeping the Chicago in the game.
|Steve E's picks
Jon Styf can be reached at email@example.com. Steve Eder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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