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Week 8 Rushing Matchups

by Mark Wimer and Joe Bryant, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Great Matchups: [CHI] [DET] [HOU] [JAX] [MIA] [SD]
Good Matchups: [NO] [NYJ] [OAK] [PHI]
Neutral Matchups: [ARI] [DAL] [STL]
Tough Matchups: [ATL] [BAL] [BUF] [CAR] [CLE] [DEN] [GB] [IND] [MIN] [NYG] [SF] [TEN]
Bad Matchups: [SEA]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Peyton Manning is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Matt Forte was unhappy with his and the Bears' rushing effort last week (12/35/0 as a team, with 6/24/0 rushing and 4/25/0 receiving for Forte) 'It's not frustrating, it's disappointing.' he said after the game. 'We can't get frustrated because if we get frustrated, it's just going to carry on. In the back of your mind, it's just going to lead to more bad things. Got to forget about it, go out next week and play better... We just have to get better. We have to look at more film, lift more weights, everything. Then we have to get out on the field and show it, not just practice it.' Over the last four weeks, Forte is the 15th ranked fantasy back over the last four weeks, with 33/168/1 rushing and 11/81/0 receiving in three contests - he's not blowing up any fantasy leagues, but he hasn't totally tanked, either.

Luckily for Forte owners, this week the cure that is the Cleveland Browns' D is coming to Soldier Field. The Browns have allowed 641 rushing yards in the last four weeks (an average of 160.25 per game over four games), and are worst in the league during that span with 1,666 overall yards allowed from scrimmage. Last week, Green Bay shellacked them 31-3 while piling up 41/202/1 rushing as a team.

This is a great week to start Matt Forte (or any other of the key players on Chicago).

Weather: Soldier Field expects nice weather (for Chicago in November) - a high of 49 F and a low of 40 F with a 20% chance for precipitation. If the forecast holds up, weather conditions shouldn't play a big role in determining the outcome of this game.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Well, it's a given that only die-hard fans will watch this battle of 1-6 Detroit vs. 0-7 St. Louis (them, and football analysts who watch every game every week). It may not be a snooze-fest, though, as both teams have a capable running back to bring to the dance - in Detroit's case, that player is Kevin Smith. Over the last four weeks (three games), Smith is the 17th-ranked fantasy RB in the PPR format, with 54/144/2 rushing and 7/63/0 receiving during the three games he's played - he led the team in rushing vs. Green Bay two weeks ago with 15/61/0 rushing, outgaining both Drew Stanton (5/11 for 57 yards, zero TDs and two interceptions) and Daunte Culpepper (6/14 for 48 yards, zero TDs and one interception). Smith is the lone bright spot on this team while Calvin Johnson has been out.

The Rams' rush D is as poor as their 0-7 record would indicate, currently averaging 135.9 rushing yards allowed per game (27th in the NFL) with 11 rushing TDs given up. Indianapolis' rushing attack piled up 26/156/2 on the ground vs. St. Louis last week, and the Colts aren't a top rushing unit by any stretch of the imagination.

This is a great matchup for Smith.

Weather: Inside Ford Field, weather won't be a concern for either team.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Steve Slaton is the second-best fantasy RB in the land over the past four weeks, with 71/214/2 rushing and 18/207/3 receiving to his credit during that time span. He has fumbled and lost the ball three times in that time span, though, but coach Gary Kubiak isn't overly concerned - 'People smell blood because he's put some balls on the ground,' coach Kubiak said after the game on Sunday. 'Steve's our guy, and I have a lot of confidence in him. It's our job to help him find a way to hold on to the football. He touches it, and good things happen. But at the same time, you can make five big plays and one turnover can get you beat. Steve understands that.' Chris Brown remains an after-thought in the offense, with 4/14/0 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving to his credit last week - Slaton had 18/67/1 rushing with 4/22/1 receiving vs. San Francisco.

The Buffalo rush D is one of the worst in the NFL, currently averaging 172.4 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing TDs given up to date. They've handed over 855 yards in the last four contests, with 25/116/1 handed over to Carolina last week and 40/318/1 given up to the Jets two weeks ago. It isn't hard to run the ball against the Bills.

This is a great week to be a Slaton owner.

Weather: Ralph Wilson Stadium expects a high of 59 F with a low of 48 F on Sunday - there is a 20% chance for precipitation that day. As long as the forecast holds up, it should be a nice day to play (or watch) some pro football.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Jacksonville thrashed Tennessee 37-17 back in week four, with 30/137/1 rushing as a team, although Maurice Jones-Drew struggled to gain much ground during the contest (6/14/1 rushing with 3/14/0 receiving) - backup Rashad Jennings (9/53/0 rushing) and David Garrard (8/38/0 rushing) did most of the damage on the ground that week. Since that game, Jones-Drew has voiced his displeasure with the amount of work he was receiving, and it paid off for him in the team's most recent game, when he racked up 33/133/3 rushing and 5/45/0 receiving vs. St. Louis. 'The O-line backed me up, David threw 300 yards to Torry and Mike Sims-Walker and the defense stepped up when we were struggling,' Jones-Drew said of the 23-20 victory over St. Louis. 'It was a total team effort.' HC Jack Del Rio commented 'When we're running and protecting, I think we're able to generate offense like that. It was good to see.' With Jones-Drew and company coming off a bye week - so is Tennessee - all the players involved should have fresh legs this week.

Tennessee has been outscored 90-9 in their most recent two games - teams don't bother to run much on the Titans (they average 95 yards rushing allowed per game, with five rushing TDs given up to date) because their pass defense is so spectacularly bad. The team is dead last in the NFL averaging 310.7 net yards allowed per game, with 19 passing scores (last in the NFL) allowed vs. just four interceptions generated (tied for next-to-last in the league). However, the Titans have managed to get worse in this phase of the game over the last four weeks, averaging 129.3 rushing yards allowed per game during that span of time. They gave up 127 total points in the last four weeks (second-worst behind only St. Louis during that time span) - mnost recently, New England ran wild for 30/193/2 vs. the Titans. This team is in collapse, folks.

The Jaguars are .500 and gathering momentum, while divisional rival Tennessee is falling apart at the seams. Advantage, Jacksonville.

Weather: LP Field expects moderate weather on the first day of November, with a high of 63 F and a low of 43 F - there is a 0% chance for precipitation. It should be a fine day to play pro football (maybe the Titans can play at that level in nice weather?).

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense at New York Jets Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Miami won the first matchup between these two teams in week five, 31-27, on a TD run by Ronnie Brown with six seconds left in the game - it was a see-saw, back-and-forth affair. The Dolphins piled up 36/151/2 rushing during the contest, with 21/74/2 rushing by Brown (and 3/14/0 receiving) and 11/68/0 rushing put up by Ricky Williams - Williams led the team in receiving during that contest, with 3/70/0 to his credit. Last week, Williams showed his heels to the Saints often, compiling 9/80/3 rushing and 2/12/0 receiving against his old team - Brown contributed 16/48/1 rushing to the effort as the Dolphins tuned up for this rematch with 30/137/4 rushing in the wild, 80-points-scored, 34-46 loss to New Orleans.

The Jets have averaged 141.25 rushing yards allowed per game in the last four weeks, with 19/119/0 handed over to the Raiders last week. Two weeks ago, the Bills gained 42/142/0 rushing while playing the Jets - right now, the Jets' defensive front is struggling to contain opposing backs.

The Dolphins ran the ball with great success the last time these teams played, and the Jets have showed little sign of improvement since then - this looks like a great matchup for the visiting Dolphins.

Weather: The Meadowlands expects temperate weather on Sunday, with a high of 58 F and a low of 41 F - there is a 20% chance for precipitation. As long as the forecast holds up, it should be a nice day to play and watch pro football.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Chargers eked out a 24-20 win over Oakland in the seasons' second Monday Night Football game during opening weekend, with 23/77/2 rushing as a team (13/55/1 rushing and 1/1/0 receiving for LaDainian Tomlinson, with 9/23/1 rushing and 5/43/0 receiving for Darren Sproles). Since then, Tomlinson has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries and the OL has been hard-hit by injuries, leading to a limping rushing attack, currently averaging 70.5 yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry. Last week, Tomlinson was right on pace with 23/71/0 rushing (a 3.1 yards per carry average) and 2/2/0 receiving vs. the Chiefs. Darren Sproles was actually more productive in total yards from scrimmage, with 5/41/0 rushing and 3/58/1 receiving - he's making the most of limited touches, though is production is erratic from week to week. Over the past four weeks, Tomlinson has 48/156/0 rushing with 6/31/0 receiving (37th-best fantasy RB in PPR format during that time frame), while Sproles has posted 6/41/0 rushing and 5/78/1 receiving in the same span (44th-ranked fantasy RB).

This week, the Chargers should enjoy big results from their backs, though - the Raiders are currently 30th in the NFL averaging 169.7 rushing yards allowed per game, and they've given up a league-worst 11 rushing TDs so far. The Jets trampled these guys for 54/316/4 rushing last week; the Giants piled up 41/220/3 rushing back in week five. Only the Eagles (14/67/0 rushing) failed to get much traction against the Raiders in recent weeks. Most of the time, they are pushovers in this phase of the game.

Tomlinson has struggled this year, but against the soft Raiders, he and Sproles should flourish - this is a great matchup for the Chargers.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a beautiful Southern California day on Sunday, with a high of 79 F and a low of 56 F with a 0% chance for rain. It should be a great day to play (and watch) pro football.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

New Orleans is currently third in the NFL averaging 154.5 rushing yards generated per game, with an average of 4.6 yards per carry - they remind us of the '08 version of their divisional rivals, the Falcons. Mike Bell (12/80/0), Pierre Thomas (8/30/0) and company combined for 27/138/3 rushing vs. the Dolphins last week - Reggie Bush (3/10/1 rushing with 3/16/0 receiving) and Drew Brees (2/3/2 rushing) scored the TDs last week while Bell and Thomas did the grunt work and moved the chains. This unit is performing well as a tandem, although Thomas (42/188/1 rushing with 5/60/0 receiving over the past three games, #25 among all fantasy RBs for that time span) and Bell (27/114/1 rushing, #34) haven't been compelling fantasy backs most weeks due to the extensive sharing of the workload (six players logged at least one rush last week). Bush has seen relatively little work this year (see last week above), but coach Sean Payton insists that he isn't being phased out - 'No, not at all,' Payton said. 'He's a big threat for us, a guy that we want to get the ball to and we continue to get the ball to.' In fantasy terms, Bush is becoming an afterthought of late.

The Falcons' rush D is not among the league's elite, currently ranking 23rd in the NFL averaging 117.7 yards allowed per game, with three rushing TDs handed over during the past six games. However, they've clamped down during the second quarter of the year - Dallas managed 28/115/0 last week; Chicago had 23/83/0 the week prior - over the past four weeks, the Falcons average 99.3 yards rushing allowed per game (three games). They're becoming more stubborn in this phase of the game.

The Saints have a powerful offense with a great stable of runners, but Atlanta isn't going to lie down for them. In the Superdome, this looks like a pretty good matchup to us.

Weather: Inside the Louisiana Superdome, weather conditions won't play a role in determining this divisional grudge match.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Jets Rushing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Miami won the first matchup between these two teams in week five, 31-27, on a TD run by Ronnie Brown with six seconds left in the game after Thomas Jones put the Jets ahead at 5:12 in the fourth quarter with a three yard TD run - it was a back-and-forth divisional battle the first time these teams met. Thomas Jones had two rushing TDs in the game (13/42/2 rushing), while Leon Washington led the team in rushing (11/45/0 rushing with 1/13/0 receiving). Unfortunately for the Jets, Washington was carted off the field last week (broken leg - out for the season), but fortunately backup RB Shonn Greene showed off his skills in clean-up duties, posting 19/144/2 rushing vs. the hapless Raiders. Thomas Jones has been on fire in recent weeks, with at least one TD scored in the last four games (five total during that span of time, with 74/421/5 rushing and 3/20/0 receiving to his credit during that span of time). The Jets look like they'll be just fine with Jones and Greene to carry the load going forward.

The Dolphins field the league's fourth-ranked rush D when it comes to yards allowed per game (86.7), but they are pretty generous in the red zone with seven rushing TDs given up through six games. New Orleans piled up 27/138/3 rushing vs. Miami last week on the way to a 46-34 victory over the Dolphins. The Jets had 30/138/2 rushing the last time these teams clashed in week five. Right now, the Miami defensive front isn't playing very well - they've allowed 322 rushing yards in their last three contests.

Jones and Greene have momentum and their home-field crowd at their back this week, while the Dolphins are fading in this phase of the game. This looks like a good matchup for the home team.

Weather: The Meadowlands expects temperate weather on Sunday, with a high of 58 F and a low of 41 F - there is a 20% chance for precipitation. As long as the forecast holds up, it should be a nice day to play and watch pro football.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Oakland had a decent game rushing the football on the second Monday Night Football game opening weekend, posting 32/148/1 as a team, with 17/68/0 rushing with 2/25/0 receiving for Darren McFadden (since injured and currently out of the lineup), while Michael Bush gained 12/55/1 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving during the contest. Since week one, though, the wheels have come off the Raiders' offense, which has been completely ineffective most weeks (they were blanked last week by the Jets 38-0 and were embarrassed by the Giants in week five 44-7 - even in their win, vs. Philadelphia, the team only managed 13 points). The Oakland team has 20 points scored in the last three games. With Darren McFadden sidelined by a knee injury and Michael Bush not impressing the coaching staff, old, reliable Justin Fargas has come back to the forefront for the Raiders - last week he gained 8/67/0 rushing to lead the attack and added 3/23/0 receiving. Bush, in contrast, managed 8/25/0 rushing and 1/6/0 receiving. It appears that Fargas is the ascendant back on this squad now - he should command a respectable number of touches each week going forward.

The Chargers' defensive front currently averages 137.7 rushing yards allowed per game (28th in the NFL), and have allowed 6 rushing TDs to date. The Chiefs managed 31/121/0 rushing vs. San Diego last week; Denver posted 33/101/0 rushing vs. the Chargers two weeks ago. Over the past four weeks, the Chargers have given up 399 rushing yards in three games (133 per contest) - this unit is sub-par by most standards.

The Raiders have asked their veteran back, Fargas, to carry the load - this week, he's got a good matchup to work with.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a beautiful Southern California day on Sunday, with a high of 79 F and a low of 56 F with a 0% chance for rain. It should be a great day to play (and watch) pro football.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs New York Giants Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Brian Westbrook may not be able to play this week, thanks to the concussion he incurred vs. Washington - 'We'll just see. We'll see how he is. I'm not going to put him out there when he's at risk,' head coach Andy Reid said in reference to Brian Westbrook's injury situation. Reid added, however, that he thinks Westbrook is 'going to be all right.' However, all right may take more than a few days to reach - LeSean McCoy (14/37/0 rushing with 5/30/0 receiving vs. Washington) may need to carry the load for Philadelphia this week. He's posted 59/212/1 rushing with 13/92/0 receiving for the Eagles so far this year - he's a dual-threat back much like Westbrook.

The Giants' rush D isn't impressive this year, averaging 103.6 yards allowed per game (15th in the NFL) with 10 rushing TDs given up to date (only the Rams and the Raiders have handed over more rushing scores so far, with 11 each). Arizona's underwhelming attack put up 22/72/2 rushing vs. the Giants last week - New Orleans notched 40/124/3 vs. the Giants two weeks ago. This unit is in crisis entering week 8, friends.

This looks like a good matchup for McCoy (or Westbrook, if he can go).

Weather: Lincoln Financial Field expects a high of 58 F with a low of 41 F and a 10% chance for rain on Sunday - that's pretty decent weather for Philadelphia in November. Weather conditions shouldn't play a big role in deciding this game as long as the forecast holds up.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Chris Wells started to assert his claims to playing time vs. the Giants, posting 14/67/1 rushing and 3/10/0 receiving last week. The only problem came about when he fumbled the football (again) - Wells has 3 fumbles so far this season and ball security remains a concern for the coaching staff when considering putting him into the game. Tim Hightower helped out Wells with a lost fumble of his own last week (4/9/1 rushing with 2/11/0 receiving) - both backs incurred the displeasure of the coaching staff. We'll see how the mix shakes out this week - it looks like Wells is becoming the lead back as of week eight, though.

The Panthers' defense has been actually playing very well in the last four weeks, with 251 rushing yards allowed in three games (83.6 per contest, on average) - Buffalo could only manage 30/53/1 rushing vs. Carolina last week. Tampa posted 25/124/1 rushing vs. Carolina the week before - but overall this unit is much improved during the second quarter of the season (their season average of 133.2 rushing yards allowed per game to date shows just how far they have come in recent weeks). If their offense could stop turning over the ball, this team could go places.

Wells started to gain momentum last week, but he still plays on the last-ranked rushing attack in the NFL (averaging just 3.0 yards per carry to date) - meanwhile, the Panthers have plugged some leaks in recent weeks. This looks like a neutral matchup from where we're sitting.

Weather: University of Phoenix Stadium expects a high of 83 F with a low of 53 F and a 0% chance of rain on Sunday - that's nice enough weather that the roof may be opened up, though if bad weather threatens they'll button up before game time.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Dallas' backs were secondary to the Dallas passing attack vs. Atlanta - Marion Barber had 14/47/0 rushing and 1/1/0 receiving during the game, while Felix Jones managed 8/37/0 rushing and 2/6/0 receiving in his return to the field from a knee injury. All told, the team gained 28/115/0 rushing (helped to that total by 6/31/0 rushing by QB Tony Romo). Two weeks prior, the team posted 26/150/1 on the ground, led by third-stringer Tashard Choice (8/92/1 rushing) - Marion Barber was ho-hum in that game, too, with 15/53/0 rushing to his credit. The Dallas RBs are enduring something of a power-outage right now, friends. Barber ranks 35th among all fantasy backs (PPR format) over the last four weeks, with 40/141/1 rushing and 3/28/0 receiving during that time span.

The Seahawks went into their bye last week off a tale of two dissimilar games -they lost 27-3 to Arizona in week six, with 26/62/1 rushing allowed to the Cardinals; but won in week five 41-0 vs. Jacksonville while holding Maurice Jones-Drew and company to a measly 15/38/0 rushing on the ground. All told, the team averages 99.3 rushing yards allowed per game (14th in the NFL), with five rushing TDs allowed in six contests - it's fair to call the Seahawks' rush D mediocre.

The Dallas rushing attack isn't scaring anybody right now - against the Seahawks' so-so unit, this looks like a neutral matchup to us.

Weather: The forecast for Dallas Cowboys' Stadium is quite nice (69 F for a high with a low of 53 F, and a 0% chance of rain). The retractable roof may be open in such conditions, although if it turns stormy they'll close the roof. Weather conditions aren't likely to make a big impact on this game.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense at Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Despite having zero TDs this year, Steven Jackson is second among all fantasy backs with 143 rushes (for 635 yards) and has piled up 21/169/0 receiving this year. That's good enough to land him at #16 among all fantasy RBs despite the dismal 0-7 record that St. Louis currently sports. Against the Colts last week, Jackson ran wild for 23/134/0 (a 5.8 yards per carry average), although he had less luck against the stingy Indianapolis pass D (1/-1/0).

Long-suffering Jackson owners may see light at the end of the scoring tunnel this week, though, with the 1-5 Lions on the schedule. To date, the Lions are 20th in the NFL averaging 112.3 rushing yards allowed per game. However, like the Colts, the Lions are fairly stingy at the goal line, with only five rushing TDs handed over to date through six contests. Green Bay posted 30/107/0 vs. the Lions in week six; Pittsburgh managed 21/82/1 back in week five. Even though the Lions can't boast many wins this year, their rush D borders on respectable.

Jackson runs wild between the 20's on ocassion (St. Louis is currently 16th in the NFL averaging 111.3 yards per game), but they are tied with Kansas City in last with zero rushing scores to date. Will this week be the week Jackson finds the end zone? Only time will tell - this is a neutral matchup for the visiting Rams in the rushing phase (although Detroit has given up 17 pass TDs so far and Jackson is a capable receiver out of the backfield - he may score a TD as a receiver this week).

Weather: Inside Ford Field, weather won't be a concern for either team.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

This is a huge NFC South game, between the only contenders for the divisional title. Atlanta enters the game off a disappointing showing vs. Dallas, with Michael Turner underwhelming observers with a 2.8 yards per carry average in Dallas Cowboys' Stadium (18/50/1 rushing was his stat line at the end of the game). Jason Snelling did a great job filling in for the injured Jerious Norwood, though, gaining 7/68/0 rushing and 1/10/0 receiving (Verron Haynes chipped in 1/10/0 receiving during the game as well). Coach Mike Smith indicated that Snelling may be in line for more work in coming weeks: 'Well, if he continues to run the ball like that, yes. He ran the ball very effectively. He's a guy who has come in and played fullback for us and the tailback position as well and Jason, every time he has gotten an opportunity, he has played very efficiently. He could warrant more touches.' All told, the Falcons posted a respectable 26/124/1 rushing as a team - Turner needs to elevate his game for this contest, though. He's only collected 53/177 yards rushing in the last three games, although his five rushing scores during that span (2/16/0 receiving) have salvaged his fantasy value for his owners (he's currently #13 among all fantasy backs over the last four weeks in the PPR format). Atlanta averages a sub-par 3.6 yards per carry this year, with just a smidgen over 100 yards rushing per game on average (102.8 per contest, 19th in the NFL this year to date). This week, the team signed veteran Aaron Stecker to boost the RB stable - he's played with Tampa and New Orleans during his career - he'll provide depth and also can handle some of Norwood's return duties while Norwood gets his hip healed up.

The Saints' rush D is playing well during 2009, currently ranking eighth among NFL units averaging 92.3 rushing yards allowed per game - they have coughed up eight rushing TDs to date, though - the team sometimes breaks down at the goal line. That was the case last week, when Miami hung 30/137/4 rushing on the Saints (doubling the number of rushing TDs they've given up this year in one fell swoop). It's fair to say that the Saints' defensive front took a step backwards last week.

The Falcons' attack is mediocre-to-sub-par from week to week, while the Saints are usually fairly stalwart in this phase of the game despite their stumble last week. This looks like a tough matchup for the visiting Falcons.

Weather: Inside the Louisiana Superdome, weather conditions won't play a role in determining this divisional grudge match.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Both Baltimore and Denver come into this game off bye weeks, so each team should be close to 100% healthy and well-prepared for each other in this critical AFC matchup. The Ravens' Ray Rice has been super-productive for his happy fantasy owners in the last few weeks - he's the #1 fantasy RB in average points per game over the past four weeks in the PPR format (3 games), with 35/249/2 rushing and 22/240/1 receiving during that time span. Against the Vikings two weeks ago, he amassed 10/77/2 rushing and 10/117/0 receiving to help many fantasy owners over the top in their leagues. Willis McGahee (7/3/0 rushing vs. Minnesota) and LeRon McClain (1/1/0 rushing with 1/-2/0 receiving) have become bit players while Rice has exploded.

The Bronco's rush D is currently third in the NFL averaging 79.7 yards allowed per game, with only two rushing scores handed over to date. They are the #1 D in the land when it comes to total points allowed, with just 66 given up to date. Over the past four weeks, the team has given up an average of 81 rushing yards per game, right in line with their season performance. San Diego was held to 21/73/0 most recently.

Ray Rice is a premier dual-threat fantasy back, but he'll have a tough fight on his hands when the top-tier Broncos come to town.

Weather: M and T Bank Stadium expects temperate weather on Sunday, with a high of 60 F and a low of 44 F with a 10% chance of rain. As long as this forecast holds up, conditions shouldn't have a big impact on the game.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Buffalo's RB stable was held in check by the Panthers last week, managing just 30/53/1 as a team on the ground. Marshawn Lynch gained most of the ground with 17/40/1 rushing and 1/7/0 receiving - Fred Jackson was ineffective with just 5/2/0 rushing in his time on the field. Over the past four games, Lynch has posted 61/174/1 rushing and 14/117/0 receiving to Jackson's 42/126/0 rushing with 5/43/0 receiving. Lynch is the lead back in this tandem, without a doubt. Now that Ryan Fitzpatrick has breathed a little life into the passing game, maybe Lynch and Jackson will find a few more creases in opposing defenses to hit.

The Houston rush D is nothing special when looked at from the season perspective, averaging 115.6 yards allowed per game (21st in the NFL), with a whopping 10 rushing scores handed over to date. However, they've stiffened in recent weeks, with 17/46/1 allotted to Cincinnati two weeks ago and 19/59/0 grudgingly allowed to San Francisco last week - in fact, during their last four games, the Texans average 48.5 rushing yards allowed per game. They've made quite a turn-around during October, as you can see.

The Bills have a decent duo of backs, but they will face a surging Texans' D this week when Houston comes to town - advantage, Houston.

Weather: Ralph Wilson Stadium expects a high of 59 F with a low of 48 F on Sunday - there is a 20% chance for precipitation that day. As long as the forecast holds up, it should be a nice day to play (or watch) some pro football.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense at Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

DeAngelo Williams took advantage of the soft Buffalo rushing D to average 5.6 yards per carry on his way to 16/89/1 rushing with 5/50/0 receiving. His counterpart, Jonathan Stewart, suffered a hand injury during the game and was limited to 7/25/0 rushing with 4/20/0 receiving - overall, the Panthers posted 25/116/1 rushing vs. Buffalo last week. It was an adequate performance, although fantasy owners were left wishing for more carries - against the worst rushing D in the NFL, the Panthers inexplicably threw the ball 44 times vs. rushing it just 25 times.

The Cardinals bring the league's #1 rush D to the table, averaging just 67.5 yards allowed per game, with only three rushing scores handed over during six contests to date. The Giants' stable managed 26/107/1 vs. the Cardinals last week - Seattle could only scrape up 11/14/0 two weeks ago, though. This is a stout defensive front, friends.

The Panthers have two talented backs but their QB is a shambles and the team may be switching mid-stream if Delhomme doesn't quit turning the ball over in a hurry. This is a tough matchup for a good RB stable stuck in a bad situation.

Weather: University of Phoenix Stadium expects a high of 83 F with a low of 53 F and a 0% chance of rain on Sunday - that's nice enough weather that the roof may be opened up, though if bad weather threatens they'll button up before game time.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

How tough has the sledding been for the Cleveland offense this season? Well, the Browns have scored four offensive touchdowns in over 80 possessions to date. The Browns have played four games without a touchdown this year, and against the Packers last week, the Browns converted two of 12 third downs. In the two weeks previous, the Browns converted 5 out of 13 (vs. Pittsburgh) and 4 out of 16 third downs (vs. Buffalo). Jamal Lewis is the 47th-ranked fantasy RB over the past four weeks, with 57/185/0 rushing and 2/15/0 receiving (in three games played). He managed 15/47/0 rushing vs. Green Bay last week. You get the picture.

The Bears' rush D is currently in the middle of the NFL pack, averaging 109.5 rushing yards allowed per game with six rushing scores given up over six games. Cincinnati ripped them up for 45/215/1 rushing last week (sweet revenge for Cedric Benson), though - Atlanta managed 23/68/1 rushing the week prior. The Bears' D has been up and down in recent weeks, as you can see.

Even an average defense is a tough challenge for the pathetic Browns' attack - advantage, Chicago.

Weather: Soldier Field expects nice weather (for Chicago in November) - a high of 49 F and a low of 40 F with a 20% chance for precipitation. If the forecast holds up, weather conditions shouldn't play a big role in determining the outcome of this game.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

With Correll Buckhalter back in the mix, Knowshon Moreno's production declined to mediocrity two weeks ago (18/44/0 rushing with 1/-1/0 receiving) - in fact, Buckhalter was the top rusher (10/46/0) vs. San Diego and he added more receiving yardage to the pot as well (4/29/0). It doesn't look like the Broncos are ready to hand the reins over to Moreno full-time, at least not yet. Over the first seven weeks, Moreno has posted 99/381/1 rushing with 9/68/1 receiving (#32 fantasy RB in average points per game in the PPR format during that time span), while Buckhalter has 47/313/1 rushing and 12/125/0 receiving (#22 fantasy RB in average points per game in the PPR format). Moreno is getting more touches, but Buckhalter is making more happen with his chances.

The Ravens' D is not what it used to be - they are in the middle of the NFL range this year with 130 points allowed to date (the range being 66 (Denver) to 203 points allowed (Tampa Bay)). The rush D is currently ranked seventh in the NFL, however, with an average of 92.3 yards allowed per game and only three rushing scores given up over six games. It still isn't easy to run the ball on the Ravens - even Adrian Peterson and the Vikings were limited to zero TDs (although they did pile up 31/167/0 on the ground that game).

The Broncos have an effective rushing attack currently averaging 132.7 yards gained per game (seventh in the NFL), but the committee has a tough challenge ahead on the road at Baltimore.

Weather: M and T Bank Stadium expects temperate weather on Sunday, with a high of 60 F and a low of 44 F with a 10% chance of rain. As long as this forecast holds up, conditions shouldn't have a big impact on the game.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Packers came up short in the Metrodome during week four, dropping the game vs Minnesota 23-30. Ryan Grant had over 100 yards combined during the contest, though (11/51/0 rushing and 4/50/0 receiving), and has built up steam since that loss, with 24/90/0 rushing and 3/17/0 receiving in the shut-out win over Detroit in week six, and then 27/148/1 rushing with 1/3/0 receiving vs. Cleveland. Backup Brandon Jackson has jumped into the mix with 2/6/0 rushing and 1/12/0 receiving vs. Detroit two weeks ago and 9/31/0 rushing vs. Cleveland last week (the team piled up 41/202/1 rushing vs. the Browns). The Packers come into this rematch on a high note.

The Vikings were beat by Pittsburgh last week, but 14 of Pittsburgh's 27 points came off defensive returns for TDs. The Vikings held Rashard Mendenhall and company to 20/106/0 rushing - in keeping with their season average of 95.3 rushing yards allowed per game, with only two rushing TDs allowed over seven contests. Baltimore's Ray Rice is the only player to have scored rushing TDs against the Vikings - he did it two weeks ago as part of the 18/81/2 team effort vs. Minnesota. In this phase of the game, the Vikings are still very forbidding.

Grant has a head of steam up, and he'll be in front of the home crowd this week. However, the Vikings won't make this easy for him - advantage, Minnesota.

Weather: Lambeau Field expects a high of 43 F and a low of 31 F with a 30% chance of precipitation on Sunday. If the weather is stormy at game time, the precipitation could fall as freezing cold rain, sleet, snow, or a mixture of all three. In such conditions, all phases of the game become more difficult - owners of Vikings or Packers will want to look at a shorter-term forecast before setting their lineups this week.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joseph Addai (20/64/1 rushing with 1/3/0 receiving) and Donald Brown (2/58/0 rushing) were the top rushers vs. St. Louis last week - unfortunately, Brown suffered a sprained shoulder that knocked him out of the game, allowing Chad Simpson to get in the mix - he contributed a late 31-yard TD to the mix and ended the game with 3/35/1 in the 42-6 drubbing of St. Louis. All told, the Colts ran for 26/156/2 against the soft Rams. Over the last four weeks, Addai is the sixth-ranked fantasy RB in the land (PPR format), with 46/137/3 rushing and 18/106/0 receiving to his credit. Brown ranks 43rd, with 17/113/1 rushing and 3/26/0. Brown expects to be OK for this contest despite his sore shoulder, but keep an eye on Footballguys.com's players in the news later this week to check on his practice participation.

San Francisco's rush D is currently sixth in the NFL averaging 88.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with five rushing TDs given up in their six games played. Houston ground out 27/90/1 vs. San Francisco last week; but back in week five the Falcons exploded for 40/148/4 rushing vs. the 49ers - they've been up and down in this phase of the game of late.

The Colts' stable took advantage of an easy matchup last week, but this week they face a much better defensive front - advantage, San Francisco.

Weather: Inside Lucas Oil Stadium, weather conditions won't impact the contest on Sunday.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Adrian Peterson was contained by the Packers back in week four, managing 25/55/1 rushing and 1/0/0 receiving during the first divisional grudge match - Minnesota won anyway, with 271 passing yards and three TDs from Brett Favre (30-23). Over the last four weeks, Peterson has been the eighth best fantasy RB in the land (PPR format) with 80/336/4 rushing and 11/89/0 receiving to his credit. Last week, he posted 129 yards of offense from scrimmage, with a TD (18/69/1 rushing vs. stout Pittsburgh, with 4/60/0 receiving) - it wasn't his fault that Minnesota lost. Chester Taylor gained 3/14/0 rushing and 1/7/0 receiving in his second-fiddle role.

The Packers have been very stingy with yards and TDs since these teams last played, allowing 21/58/0 to Cleveland and 18/78/0 rushing to Detroit (only three points allowed in the last two games). To date this year, Green Bay is 12th in the NFL with an average of 97.5 rushing yards allowed per game, but they have given up just two rushing TDs (Green Bay is one of four defenses with under 100 total points allowed so far, with 96 allowed in six contests). Any way you slice it, the Packers' defense is playing hard-nosed football in this phase of the game.

Peterson is an elite talent, but he'll have a tough time gaining ground at Lambeau Field in this intense battle for supremacy in the NFC North.

Weather: Lambeau Field expects a high of 43 F and a low of 31 F with a 30% chance of precipitation on Sunday. If the weather is stormy at game time, the precipitation could fall as freezing cold rain, sleet, snow, or a mixture of all three. In such conditions, all phases of the game become more difficult - owners of Vikings or Packers will want to look at a shorter-term forecast before setting their lineups this week.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Giants Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Giants have dropped two straight games, but Brandon Jacobs has been running strong during the losses, averaging 4.7 yards per carry vs. New Orleans (7/33/0 rushing with 1/2/0 receiving) and 5.8 yards per carry vs. Arizona (13/76/1 rushing with 2/11/0 receiving). Jacob's counterpart, Ahmad Bradshaw, has posted 10/48/1 and 12/32/0 rushing in the past two weeks, respectively. The Giants' RBs aren't overwhelming the competition of late, but they've been modestly productive, overall.

This week, the Giants will clash with their hated divisional rivals, the Eagles - right now, Philadelphia is ranked 11th in the NFL averaging 96.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with only three rushing TDs given up over six contests. One week after their humiliating loss to the lowly Raiders (in which the Eagles allowed 35/116/0 rushing to Justin Fargas and company), the Eagles bounced back with a 27-17 domination of Washington (limiting the Redskins to 19/62/0 rushing during the game). This is usually a tough defense to run the ball against.

The Giants are currently fith in the NFL averaging 141.9 rushing yards generated per game, but against the stout Eagles they'll have their work cut out for them at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. Advantage, Philadelphia.

Weather: Lincoln Financial Field expects a high of 58 F with a low of 41 F and a 10% chance for rain on Sunday - that's pretty decent weather for Philadelphia in November. Weather conditions shouldn't play a big role in deciding this game as long as the forecast holds up.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Frank Gore (13/32/0 rushing with 2/15/0 receiving) couldn't find much traction against the Texans last week - as a team, the 49ers managed just 19/59/0 during the contest. Glen Coffee was a non-entity last week with 2/3/0 rushing to his credit. All told, it was an unimpressive return to action for Gore, who'd been off the field since week three - but with a resurgent passing game appearing when Alex Smith joined the lineup, there is reason to hope for more running room in coming weeks. However, this week the 49ers face one of the top pass defenses in the NFL, so don't expect too much out of the San Francisco passing game this week and you won't be disappointed.

Indianapolis isn't overwhelming when it comes to rush D - they currently average 111.8 rushing yards allowed per game (19th in the NFL), but they have given up just four rushing scores during six contests. The Rams galloped to 30/155/0 vs. Indianapolis last week, while Tennessee managed 21/90/0 rushing in the previous game. The Colts give up yards between the 20's, but they are stout at the goal line - over the last four weeks, Indianapolis has alloowed the least points to their opponents, with 32 handed over (three games).

Gore didn't wow us last week, and it looks like he's in for another tough matchup in this road game. Advantage, Indianapolis.

Weather: Inside Lucas Oil Stadium, weather conditions won't impact the contest on Sunday.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Chris Johnson (16/83/0 rushing and 3/11/0 receiving) and Lendale White (2/2/0 rushing with 1/7/0 receiving) were contained by the Jaguars back in week four, and the Titans went down to defeat 37-17. Since then, the Titans have been in a downwards spiral, and enter this contest without a win to their credit. Most recently, Johnson's extreme effort against the Patriots (17/128/0 rushing) was wasted by the Titans who amazed the NFL world by throwing for negative yardage vs. New England two weeks ago. White was ineffective with 6/15/0, and youngster Javon Ringer stepped in to show what he could do as a complement to Johnson (7/47/0 rushing at the end of the day). All told, the Titans ran for 36/193/0 while the QBs threw only two completions all day long.

Jacksonville is a middlin' rush D this year, averaging 98.8 yards allowed per game, with three rushing TDs given up to date. Over the past four weeks (three games), the Jaguars have handed over 293 rushing yards (97.6 per game), which is right in line with their season average. St.Louis managed 18/55/0 rushing vs. the Jaguars in their most recent game.

The Jaguars aren't pushovers in this phase of the game, and they have controlled the Titans' backs previously - with the Tennessee pass offense in meltdown, we expect the Jaguars to work on stuffing the run and thereby dare the Titans to pass the ball.

Weather: LP Field expects moderate weather on the first day of November, with a high of 63 F and a low of 43 F - there is a 0% chance for precipitation. It should be a fine day to play pro football (maybe the Titans can play at that level in nice weather?).

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Seattle's stable of backs is 28th in the NFL entering week eight, averaging 90.8 rushing yards per game with just two rushing scores to their credit to date. They eked out 11/14/0 vs. Arizona in week six after a respectable effort of 40/143/0 rushing vs. Jacksonville in week five. The top back in the stable over the past four weeks is Julius Jones, at #68 among all fantasy RBs in the PPR format during that time span (28/64/0 rushing with 4/24/0 receiving), while Justin Forsett is right on his heels with 8/47/0 rushing and 4/24/0 receiving to land at #69. Yep, it's a pretty ugly unit, folks. The Seahawk's OL just got worse on Wednesday, when OT Walter Jones was sent to IR due to his ongoing knee injury woes - he may require another surgery and coach Jim Mora sounded pessimistic about Jones resuming his career next season.

Dallas coughed up 26/124/1 rushing to Atlanta last week - the Cowboys held K.C. to 29/72/0 rushing during week five, and back in week four they gave up 25/116/0 to the Broncos. On average, this unit allows 109.3 rushing yards per game (16th in the NFL so far), but they've only handed over three rushing scores this year over six games. This is a respectable, but not outstanding, unit.

The Seahawks' limited attack is facing a bad matchup this week.

Weather: The forecast for Dallas Cowboys' Stadium is quite nice (69 F for a high with a low of 53 F, and a 0% chance of rain). The retractable roof may be open in such conditions, although if it turns stormy they'll close the roof. Weather conditions aren't likely to make a big impact on this game.

The official NFL injury report with Probable, Questionable, Doubtful and Out designations will be available by Saturday. Please refer to the week 8 injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.