Last week: 6-7-1
Six-pack (my most confident picks each week): 9-8-1
Six-pack: Dallas, Carolina, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Miami
Colts at Jets
The difference: Didn't J.P. Losman just throw for 328 yards against the Jets defense last week? Maybe New York is better than we thought, but it won't show in this one.
Fantasy nugget: Laveranues Coles leads the NFL with 24 receptions. He's listed as questionable for the second consecutive week. Last week, he caught 10 balls for 78 yards. In other words, if he's in the lineup, he's a must-start.
The pick: Indianapolis (-9)
Chargers at Ravens
The difference: Two undefeated teams with great defenses who haven't faced any tough competition. This one will be a low-scoring affair, but you have to trust Steve McNair over Philip Rivers to make a play in the fourth quarter. On a sidenote, my weekly choice for why I love professional athletes: DEA says Chargers safety Kiel admits to shipping prescription cough syrup.
Fantasy nugget: LaDainian Tomlinson is the league's best running back, but he could struggle to put up big numbers this week. The Ravens linebackers and defensive line have been dominant thus far, allowing a league-low 34.3 yards per game on the ground.
The pick: Baltimore (+2.5)
Vikings at Bills
The difference: Buffalo turned the ball over three times last week and is now facing a Minnesota defense that has allowed just one touchdown pass over the first three weeks of the season. Don't expect another 300-yard performance from Losman.
Fantasy nugget: Anyone notice that Willis McGahee is leading the league in rushing? I know what you're thinking fantasy owners--he's yet to find the end zone. But don't be worried. He has company. Four of the league's top five rushers going into week four have yet to score.
The pick: Minnesota (+1)
Cowboys at Titans
The difference: What was the most bizarre part of the T.O. saga this week? I thought it was publicist Kim Etheredge saying, "Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive." Was she serious? I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure people who are suicidal don't hang on to money as a reason to live. I could be wrong here.
Fantasy nugget: I saw Kerry Collins being interviewed yesterday, and I swear he was talking with a southern accent. Didn't he grow up in Pennsylvania? Hasn't he only been in Tennessee for a month? Has anyone else noticed this? By the way, don't start any Titans under any circumstances, unless you've been cursed with tight ends this year like me and had to pick up Bo Scaife.
The pick: Dallas (-9.5)
49ers at Chiefs
The difference: These are two teams we know very little about after three weeks. The Chiefs defense has looked pretty good against the Bengals and Broncos, and San Francisco's offense can move the ball when the team is down big. I have the same feeling about this pick as I get when I hear Justin Timberlake on the radio: I kind of like it, but I know it's probably not right.
Fantasy nugget: Brian Westbrook had 154 total yards and three touchdowns against San Francisco last week. This is where fantasy owners who drafted Larry Johnson No. 1 get to cash in.
The pick: Kansas City (-7)
Saints at Panthers
The difference: New Orleans comes off an emotional victory and gets a short week to prepare for Carolina, a team that got Steve Smith back last week.
Fantasy nugget: Don't ask me what to do with DeShaun Foster or DeAngelo Williams. In week two, Foster ran 13 times for 26 yards, while Williams put up 74 yards on 13 carries. So common sense would point towards Williams getting more carries in week three right? Maybe this is why I'm winless in our Charm City league. Figuring out NFL coaches is impossible. Foster had 20 carries last week, and Williams had four.
The pick: Carolina (-7)
Cardinals at Falcons
The difference: Can we make a league-wide rule that nobody is allowed to pick Arizona for the playoffs in their preseason predictions? No matter how good the Cardinals look on paper each year, they always disappoint. Meanwhile, Atlanta was put in a tough spot playing in New Orleans on Monday night. They will bounce back with a strong performance.
Fantasy nugget: Is Matt Leinart worth owning? I don't think so. Earlier this week, it appeared he would get his first start against the Falcons, but Dennis Green named Kurt Warner the starter. I think Leinart will be good down the road, but don't expect much from him in his rookie year. Anyone have information on who he's dating nowadays?
The pick: Atlanta (-7)
Dolphins at Texans
The difference: Where are all the prognosticators that said Miami would dethrone the Patriots as AFC East champs? New England hasn't been very good, but the Dolphins have been awful. If they can't beat Houston by four points this week, I will pick against them the rest of the season. And in the words of Jeremy Shockey, write that one down.
Fantasy nugget: Perfect scenario for Daunte Culpepper owners: He throws for 300 yards and three touchdowns this week. You unload him for someone like David Carr and you don't have to watch a Dolphins highlight the rest of the season. Make this happen!
The pick: Miami (-3.5)
Lions at Rams
The difference: Mike Martz returns to St. Louis as offensive coordinator of Detroit. The Lions are averaging 12.8 points per game and were torched for over 300 yards by Brett Favre last week. So why am I picking them to cover? Because I'm an idiot. I thought this was clear by now.
Fantasy nugget: Look for a big game out of Marc Bulger. He threw for 309 yards last week against Arizona and hasn't been picked off yet this season.
The pick: Detroit (+5.5)
Patriots at Bengals
The difference: Aren't teams supposed to keep their franchise players happy? Are the Patriots trying to sabotage Tom Brady's career? Is there any way that this group of receivers can take New England deep into the playoffs? Could this be a 'passing the torch' game from the last great quarterback to the next great quarterback? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
Fantasy nugget: It looks like Cincinnati's group of receivers could rival Indianapolis' on a fantasy front. Chad Johnson has been a disappointment so far, but Chris Henry had two touchdowns last week and 113 yards the week before. And T.J. who's-your-mama returned to Cincinnati's lineup last week with nine catches for 94 yards and a pair of scores.
The pick: Cincinnati (-6)
Jaguars at Redskins
The difference: I thought the Jaguars would have trouble keeping up with the Colts last week, but they impressed me. Jack Del Rio (or JDR as my friend calls him) has his team ready to play every week. I can't see Washington's offense doing anything against Jacksonville's 'D.'
Fantasy nugget: Chris Cooley is flat out killing me in one league. Four catches for 18 yards against the Texans is enough for me to write him off this season, even if his league photo reminds me of the stoner who lived down the hall from me in college.
The pick: Jacksonville (-3)
Browns at Raiders
The difference: Make sure you set your DVR for this one. It's sure to be a classic. Luckily, rather than research these two teams, I can just go with my rule of always picking against Oakland this season.
Fantasy nugget: This is LaMont Jordan's make-or-break game with me. If he can't put up numbers against Cleveland, I'm sitting him for Mack Strong. Ok, I won't go that far, but I won't be happy.
The pick: Cleveland (-2.5)
Seahawks at Bears
The difference: Did you see the story earlier this week where Shaun Alexander said he was healed and would be ready to play in this one? Anyway, he's not playing, but it solidified his spot as one of the more underrated weird dudes in the NFL.
Fantasy nugget: Rex Grossman has better numbers than Matt Hasselbeck. Say that again out loud, and let it sink in.
The pick: Chicago (-3.5)
- Miami Dolphins
- New England Patriots
- Arizona Cardinals
- Detroit Lions
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Chad Johnson
- AFC East
- Atlanta Falcons
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Dallas Cowboys
- Denver Broncos
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Minnesota Vikings
- New Orleans Saints
- San Francisco 49ers