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McNabb, Ward provide the X-factor
The Giants and Eagles, two beasts of the NFC East, face off in Philly on Sunday night. It's certain to be a great game, but from a fantasy perspective it likely plays out like the perfect bowl of porridge: not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
In other words, a solid but not spectacular outing from all your top earners: Eli Manning, Brandon Jacobs and Brian Westbrook.The Eagles' Kevin Curtis looks like he's back to his old self, and while there's been no go-to receiver for the Giants lately (where did you go, Plaxico?), tight end Kevin Boss has a TD in consecutive weeks. The wild cards in this game will be Derrick Ward for the Giants and Donovan McNabb for the Eagles.
Ward has the same all-purpose skills as the Eagles' Westbrook but doesn't get the playing time. Still, his pass-catching ability makes him a nice option if you're strapped at running back.
McNabb spent a lot of time on his back in his last two meetings with the Giants, getting sacked 15 times. New York's defense is still flying around with 30 QB takedowns (second in the league), but McNabb is playing with more spring in his step this season.
He won't come out unscathed against the Giants, but he'll find ways to get the Eagles into the end zone in a must-win game. Heck, he even threw a TD to his tackle last week. That ingenuity gives him an edge.
In other division clashes ... LaDainian Tomlinson has the matchup of the week against the Chiefs, who have allowed a league-high 14 rushing TDs and 182 ground yards a game. LT will light it up. ... The Saints' Drew Brees loves Atlanta. He's thrown five TDs in his last two trips there. ... Adrian Peterson puts a hurting on the Packers, and count on all of your Cardinals (except for maybe the edged-out Edgerrin James) vs. the 49ers on Monday night.
Extra pointers: Quarterbacks killing you? Surprised that even Gus Frerotte has been grabbed off your waiver wire? Get in line. But Joe Flacco, Tyler Thigpen and Sage Rosenfels are all viable options this week. ... I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for Maurice Jones-Drew. After being stymied for 63 yards and a score against the Jaguars' last two soft opponents, I expect him to find daylight in Detroit. ... Rams rookie Donnie Avery left a lot of people in the lurch with last week's three-catch, 26-yard effort, but don't give up on him just yet. Don't start him either.