A weekly look at some favorable matchups for the less than obvious players. There'll be no "Start of the Week: Adrian Peterson vs. the Lions" here.
QB - David Garrard - High Risk Warning
Garrard has an improved o-line, and what seems to be fairly competent receivers. They should be more than match for Indy's banged up secondary. Bob Sanders is confirmed to be out, Marlin Jackson may sit out as well, and if Bethea and Hayden play, they'll be playing at less than 100%. Garrard has a good enough arm to exploit the broken secondary, but as I said, he comes with a risk; The Jags will be starting two rookie tackles vs. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
Prediction: 24/32, 344 yds, 3 TDs, 1 int
RB - Leon Washington
Washington is out to prove he's with the monster contract he's been demanding, and Jets seem willing to give him the opportunities to do so. His first chance comes against the Texans, who just traded away their best run stopper in the middle. He'll likely still be the second horse to Thomas Jones, but he has enough explosiveness that he'll like finish the game with a much better statline.
Prediction: 11 carries for 102 yards, 5 catches for 47 yards, 2 total TDs
WR - Anthony Gonzalez
Taking over as the new featured receiver opposite Reggie Wayne, he faces a favorable matchup against the Jaguars porous secondary. With Rashean Mathis shadowing Wayne all day, Gonzo2 should have no problem getting open and hauling in some big ones. The only thing that could take away from a big day for him is losing targets to an equally good play: Dallas Clark.
Prediction: 7 catches, 112 yds, 2 TDs
TE - Jeremy Shockey
Okay, kinda obvious. Any player vs the Lions is a near sure bet, but Shockey has been going undrafted in most leagues, which makes for an insane pickup value at the TE position. Shockey is athletic and strong, and finally seems to be on the same page as Brees, making for a monster matchup.
Prediction: 6 catches, 96 yds, TD
Defense - New Orleans Saints
The suspensions of Will Smith and Charles Grant are officially on hold for at least Week 1, meaning the newly energized pass rush will be in full effect against a weak o-line and a rookie QB. New DC Gregg Williams is taking a more aggressive stand with the defense, and will use every trick he's got to harass the rookie signal caller.
Prediction: 6 points surrendered, 4 sacks, 2 ints