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Patriots' numbers will decline, but Cassel worth a roster spot
Matt Cassel has been handed the keys to Tom Brady's sports car. Can he drive it?
The short answer: yes. But in the long run, it won't matter from a fantasy perspective. Randy Moss can make any quarterback look good, the reliable Wes Welker will step up and the Patriots' running back rotation of Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris is capable of taking the pressure off.Cassel will win ballgames by avoiding mistakes, not by churning out gaudy numbers. Think of Ben Roethlisberger early in his career. New England is now more grinder than grand -- a successful Patriots team won't translate into the fantasy numbers to which you have grown accustomed.
Cassel's worth a spot on your roster, maybe as your backup for the off week, but don't play him this week against the Jets. His first NFL start is sure to have its deer-in-the-headlights moments.
A Royal pain
Just when you figured out the answer to, "Who the heck is Eddie Royal?" Brandon Marshall returns to the Broncos' lineup to steal some of the rookie's thunder after a one-game suspension.
Royal totaled 146 receiving yards on nine catches, including a 26-yard TD, on Monday night. Too bad his NFL debut will probably stand as his best game of the season.
The two wideouts will be a powerful tandem, so start both. But keep in mind Marshall was Denver's go-to guy last year and will remain so.
The real beneficiary is quarterback Jay Cutler, who looks like the real deal this season. I like him at home against the Shawne Merriman-less Chargers.
Start 'em, sit 'em
Normally, a home date against the 49ers would be a good time for Matt Hasselbeck to get well, but he's missing a QB's key ingredient -- receivers. Seattle's down to Logan Payne and Courtney Taylor. Who? Exactly. And Maurice Morris is hurt too. Could be a long day of three-and-outs. ... Lower your expectations for Falcons running back Michael Turner against the Bucs, but raise them for Tampa's Earnest Graham. ... No Vince Young? Big deal. Take your Titans, especially Chris Johnson, against Cincinnati. ... The Colts' offense and Vikings' defense both have something to prove in their matchup. Bet on Peyton Manning and Co. ... Giants running back Brandon Jacobs will bully the Rams, and his teammates on defense will steal Marc Bulger's lunch money.