Matchup Meter: Ravens, Packers poised for big Week 5 outputs
Ravens' passing attack and Packers' rushing attack should both have big days
Chris Johnson broke through last Sunday, but could regress against Vikings
Pats Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden could both cool off after huge outings
Fantasy owners know all about the Giants' banged-up secondary. Now, they can also exploit the team's front seven. The Giants, who have suffered without tackles Chris Canty and Shaun Rogers, rank 22nd in rushing yards allowed per game (118.3). Opposing backs are seeing plenty of opportunities, with a 20-carry back emerging in three of four games this season. The only opposing back who failed to hit that total was Carolina's DeAngelo Williams, but he did damage on his 11 carries.
Number to know: 5.0 -- The number of yards opposing lead backs have averaged per carry in four games against the Giants this season.
Expect a big day from: Cleveland rookie rusher Trent Richardson, who has found the end zone three times but averaged just 3.5 yards per attempt. The Giants provide Richardson a chance to make up some ground.
These matchups suggest success is around the corner for a number of suspect fantasy starters ...
Baltimore's passing attack vs. Kansas City's defense
The Chiefs are one of three defenses to have allowed 10 or more touchdown passes so far this season, and the unit ranks among the bottom five in yards allowed per attempt. All four quarterbacks who've faced Kansas City have thrown at least two scores, and of them, only Drew Brees (240 passing yards, three touchdowns) failed to register a QB Rating of 100.0 or better.
Number to know: 65.1 -- The completion percentage the Chiefs' secondary has allowed to opposing passers this season.
Expect a big day from: Joe Flacco, whose fantasy stock continues to rise. This summer he was often the last "backup" quarterback to come off the board; now Flacco is making an argument for the starting lineup. His big arm should help Baltimore produce more big plays this week.
Green Bay's rushing attack vs. Indianapolis' defense
The Colts would like to do a better job of stopping the run, but as is often the case with a rebuilding a football team, progress has been slow. Through three games Indianapolis has allowed an average of 131.3 yards on the ground (25th) and 4.3 yards per carry (22nd). In the Colts' last contest, Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew registered 177 yards -- the second-highest total for any back this season.
Number to know: 18.3 -- Average number of rushing attempts for Green Bay's Cedric Benson over the past three weeks.
Expect a big day from: Benson, who has become more comfortable in Green Bay's offense and now deserves serious consideration from fantasy owners. He is not MJD by any stretch of the imagination, but he could be a viable No. 2 back this week.
These fantasy stars might need a rest this week due to an unfavorable matchup on the horizon ...
New England's rushing attack vs. Denver's defense
The Broncos know full well the Patriots live and die on the arm of Tom Brady, but their defense won't need to stack the box to stop the New England backs. Denver ranks seventh in yards allowed per carry (3.4) and among the top 10 in rushing yards allowed. This unit stopped both Michael Turner and Darren McFadden dead in their tracks.
Number to know: 42 -- Number of yards Turner gained on 17 carries against Denver in Week 2 this season (2.5 yards per carry).
Who to bench: Stevan Ridley, who had fantasy owners excited earlier this season. Many also scrambled to pick up fellow Patriots back Brandon Bolden earlier this week off the waiver wire. Both will see touches in this contest, but there is no way of telling which, if either, will perform against the Broncos' stout run defense.
Carolina's passing attack vs. Seattle's defense
No opposing wide receiver or tight end has gained more than 65 yards against the Seahawks' defense this season. The list includes Larry Fitzgerald, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and all of Green Bay's targets. Seattle's pass defense ranks among the top 10 in several categories, including passing yards and touchdowns allowed, opposing passer completion percentage and opposing QB Rating.
Number to know: 6.2 -- Number of yards Seattle's secondary allows per passing attempt, fourth best in the league.
Who to bench: Cam Newton should stay, but receivers Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell might not make the cut. LaFell has been cold the past two weeks and Smith has yet to find the end zone.
Tennessee's rushing attack vs. Minnesota's defense
Minnesota's run defense has been strong for a few seasons, and currently is tied with New England for allowing the seventh fewest yards on the ground per game (85.3). The Vikings have allowed just one rushing score and have not allowed a 100-yard rusher through four contests.
Number to know: 15 -- The most yards the Vikings have allowed on a running play this season.
Who to bench: Crazy as it sounds, Chris Johnson won back a lot of fantasy owners with his 141-yard effort a week ago. Johnson is hit-or-miss, and this matchup seems to suggest a miss is in the cards for Week 5.