Matchup Meter: Panthers' porous defense welcome sight for Blount
The Panthers are allowing an average of 137.5 rushing yards per game in 2011
Chiefs' passing attack could have big day against Bears' soft pass defense
Rashard Mendenhall gained only 44 yards in first game against Bengals this year
LeGarrette Blount is on his way to a second straight 1,000-yard season, thanks in large part to his 100-yard performances the past two weeks. But if there has been something missing for fantasy owners it's touchdown production. Blount has found the end zone just four times this season, and just once in his last five games. Perhaps things will take a turn for the better this week against Carolina.
The Panthers have allowed 15 rushing touchdowns this season -- tied with Indianapolis for most in the league -- and give up 137.5 rushing yards per game (even Indianapolis' Donald Brown looked sharp against Carolina last week). And in Blount's only game against the Panthers (Week 10 last season) he gained 91 yards and scored on a 17-yard run.
In a battle to help determine the NFC South basement, look for Blount and the Buccaneers' offensive line to slice up Carolina's front seven.
These matchups suggest success is around the corner for a number of suspect fantasy starters ...
Denver's receivers vs. Minnesota's defense
Fantasy owners are scared to death of Denver receivers due to Tim Tebow's ineffectiveness in the pocket. At least for this week, fantasy owners may want to give the Broncos passing attack a second look. The Vikings' secondary gives up the fourth-most passing yards and has allowed a league-worst 22 passing touchdowns. Opposing wide receivers have scored six touchdowns over the last three games combined.
Expect a big day from: Eric Decker has been the only receiver to produce since Tebow took over, but he has yet to have a game as big as what he'd had with Kyle Orton under center. This might be Decker's day to shine.
Miami's rushing attack vs. Oakland's defense
Nothing has improved for Oakland's defense -- the unit still allows the most yards per carry (5.3) and ranks 27th in rushing yards allowed. Plus, no team has given up more big runs (18 of 20-plus yards) than the Raiders.
Expect a big day from: Eventually, rookie Daniel Thomas will see more work for Miami. This week, however, Reggie Bush's big-play ability makes him the better option. Bush has been in a bit of a lull the past three weeks, but fantasy owners can expect him to snap out of it.
Kansas City's passing attack vs. Chicago's defense
Too soon for Todd Haley to start Kyle Orton? Nah. The Bears give up the third most passing yards of any defense (270.5 per game) and allow opposing passers to complete 62.0 percent of their attempts. Last week against the Bears, Carson Palmer was able to complete a pass to seven different receivers and notch his second 300-yard game of the season.
Expect a big day from: Wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston are both worth consideration, as is Orton if given the nod. No team has been passed on as much as Chicago (458 attempts).
These fantasy stars might need a rest this week due to an unfavorable matchup on the horizon ...
Pittsburgh's rushing attack vs. Cincinnati's defense
The 92.7 rushing yards the Bengals allow ranks fifth best, and even though opponents have run the ball 290 times, Cincinnati has maintained a 3.5-yard average -- scary stuff for opposing backs.
Who to bench: These teams met only a few weeks ago and it wasn't pretty for Pittsburgh's ground game. While Rashard Mendenhall did delight fantasy owners with two touchdowns, he gained just 44 yards on 16 carries and didn't break a run for more than 10 yards. Fantasy owners might want to hold Mendenhall back this week.
Atlanta's passing attack vs. Houston's defense
The Falcons offense could lose a little momentum this week in Houston. In five home games, the Texans have kept opposing passers to a 47.3 completion percentage and an average of 156.0 yards. In all games, the Texans rank second against the pass and first in opponent completion percentage.
Who to bench: Matt Ryan has been one of the hottest fantasy quarterbacks as of late, and that has helped put Roddy White back among the game's elite receivers. Fantasy owners probably cannot afford to sit White, but Ryan and Tony Gonzalez might be a different story.
St. Louis' rushing attack vs. San Francisco's defense
Through 11 games no back has scored on the 49ers. As impressive as that is, also consider that San Francisco allows eight fewer yards per game (75.5) than the league's second-ranked run defense. That's dominance.
Who to bench: Steven Jackson is considered a "must-start" back, but he's struggled the past two weeks against so-so competition (Seattle and Arizona) and now must face the league's biggest fantasy back killer.
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