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October 09, 2006
Week Like the Matchup
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October 09, 2006

Start 'em

Week Like the Matchup

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QUARTERBACK

DAMON HUARD Chiefs AT Cardinals
With three of the better fantasy QBs having byes this week, Huard should be an appealing stopgap. He was efficient against the 49ers (18 of 23, two TDs, no picks), and he'll work over Arizona's 25th-ranked pass defense. Better yet, the Cards should put up some points, which will mean more passing by K.C.

TOM BRADY Patriots VS. Dolphins
Brady is completing more passes to wide receivers each week, which suggests he's more confident throwing downfield. That will result in better stats. Having Doug Gabriel in the lineup is also important; in two games since returning from a hamstring injury, he has 10 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

BRAD JOHNSON Vikings VS. Lions
Wouldn't it be great if your QB played Detroit every week? Johnson struggled against the Bills, but so have most other passers. He'll do better against a Lions defense that has yet to get an interception and has allowed the two other NFC North teams to throw for 629 yards and seven touchdowns total.

DREW BLEDSOE Cowboys AT Eagles
Remember one thing: Bledsoe's performance will have a lot to do with the effort turned in by Terrell Owens, who visits Philly for the first time since wreaking havoc there last year. Emotions aside, the banged-up Eagles are in the bottom third of the league in pass defense, so Bledsoe could have a field day.

SUPER SLEEPER

ALEX SMITH

QB 49ERS

VS.

Raiders

Smith enters the Battle of the Bay Area having done an about-face from a rookie season in which he threw just one touchdown pass and was picked off 11 times. Despite San Francisco's manhandling by the Chiefs on Sunday, Smith has been impressive, starting the season with 115 consecutive passes (three for touchdowns) before throwing his first interception. Until Sunday, Smith had more passing yards than Tom Brady, Marc Bulger, Carson Palmer or Kurt Warner. Don't be fooled by a Raiders defense that has allowed just 137.7 yards per game through the air: Oakland hasn't faced a big-armed QB in its three losses. Instead, it's been getting killed on the ground. As a bonus, the 49ers' offense is balanced enough for both running back Frank Gore and Smith (who'll connect repeatedly with Antonio Bryant, Arnaz Battle and Eric Johnson) to have giant games against the lowly Raiders.

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