Weekly Matchups

By Mike Beacom

Hard to believe but Kansas City’s rookie tight end Tony Moeaki has more catches than veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (18 to 15). If there is a silver lining for Bowe’s fantasy owners it’s that he has made big plays this year, evidenced by his 17.3 yards per catch and two touchdown catches of 40-plus yards.

Jacksonville’s defense allows more passing yards per attempt (8.8) than any other team in football, and has given up a league-worst 14 passing scores. Big-play receivers like Lee Evans and DeSean Jackson have had their way with the Jaguars so far.

Fantasy owners need to have faith that Bowe can build off of last week’s 108-yard effort. This may be his most favorable matchup of the 2010 season.

Here are a few other fantasy players facing favorable matchups in Week 7 (all of the players listed are considered backups or ‘fringe’ starters in most fantasy league formats):

Jay Cutler vs. Washington’s pass defense
Cutler is an unwanted man right now. He doesn’t rank among the top 15 in the league in passing yards, or the top 20 in touchdowns. So much for Mike Martz’s genius, eh! This week provides the signal caller with an opportunity to save his season. The Redskins allow the second-most passing yards per contest and do not possess enough speed in their secondary to keep up with the Bears fleet of receivers. No longer feeling the effects of his Week 4 concussion, Cutler will give the Redskins defense trouble.

Justin Forsett vs. Arizona’s run defense
Marshawn Lynch may be in Seattle colors now, but it means little if he is unable to out-perform Forsett, as was the case last week. Maybe the acquisition has motivated the 25-year-old back, who had his best game of the season last week. This week, Forsett hopes to feast on a Cardinals defense ranked No. 29 in rushing yards allowed per contest (140.8). When Forsett faced Arizona in Week 10 last season, he caught five passes, scored a touchdown and gained 123 yards on just 17 carries.

Jabar Gaffney vs. Oakland’s pass defense
Eddie Royal’s status is in question this week, leaving the door open for Gaffney to post bigger numbers. The ninth-year receiver has just one big game so far, but has consistently posted solid catch and yardage totals. In fact, he’s had at least 80 yards in each of the past two weeks and has caught five or more passes in each of the past four. His biggest knock is that he has only caught one touchdown (Week 1). Gaffney must like his chances this week against a Raiders secondary that has allowed 12 passing scores (30th in the league).

Davone Bess vs. Pittsburgh’s pass defense
Brandon Marshall has been a catching machine for the Dolphins, but Bess still gets enough attention to be helpful to fantasy owners. He has caught a touchdown in each of the past two weeks and is on pace to approach the 1,000-yard mark this season. Pittsburgh may own one of the league best run defenses, but that isn’t true of their pass defense (No. 24). Heck, Pittsburgh made first-time starter Colt McCoy look special last week. Miami’s Chad Henne is a better passer than McCoy and has better weapons, including Bess, who had five catches, 85 yards and a touchdown against Pittsburgh in the final week of the 2009 season.

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Top Fantasy Matchups this week.
Mike Beacom

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