It's a bit fascinating to watch Carson Palmer pick up the Raiders offense on the fly all while trying to keep Oakland in the division hunt. Palmer has thrown six interceptions, one for each quarter of football he has played this season, and the Raiders are 0-2 since trading for him. Fantasy-wise, however, Palmer picked up right where he left off last season by throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns in his first start last week against Denver. While there's still a learning curve for him, Palmer is once again a fantasy football asset with a talented group of wide receivers.
GOOD MATCH UPS
Michael Vick vs. Cardinals defense: Vick had his second worst fantasy performance of the season last week against the Bears, throwing for just 213 yards with zero touchdowns and rushing for just 34 yards. The good news is that he has one of the best possible match ups this week to help him rebound. The Cardinals are giving up 272 passing yards per game, 29th in the NFL and 118 yards rushing, 16th in the NFL.
Chris Johnson vs. Panthers defense: Last week I advocated benching Johnson and I did so in both leagues in which I own him. Naturally, Johnson turned in his best performance of the season, totaling 102 yards on just 18 touches. This week, I'll be reinserting Johnson into my fantasy lineups and the rest of his owners may want to do the same with a great match up against the Panthers on tap. Carolina is giving up 133 rushing yards per game this season.
NOT SO GOOD MATCH UPS
Andy Dalton vs. Steelers defense: Dalton has had a nice rookie season, averaging more fantasy points per game than the likes of Joe Flacco and Jay Cutler. He's made a solid QB2 all season but runs into his toughest test of the season to date just one week after throwing for a career-high three touchdowns. The Steelers are allowing just 185 yards passing per game this season and opposing quarterbacks are averaging just 5.9 yards per attempt.
Rashard Mendenhall vs. Bengals defense: I know I had Mendenhall as a bad play last week but this week brings another bad match up for Mendenhall owners. While Mendenhall did manage a respectable 52 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Ravens last week, the Bengals run defense is just as good as Baltimore's (actually, it's slightly better statistically). It would be wise to leave Mendenhall on your bench if you have other options at RB for this week.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders: Ford's biggest game of the season has him on fantasy owner's radars for the upcoming week. The second year wide receiver caught five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown while starting over Darrius Heyward-Bey. Owners looking to use Ford while he's hot should take note that the Chargers (Oakland's opponent this week) are allowing just 192 passing yards per game, fourth-best in the NFL.
Kyle Mulligan is a contributing sports writer for the Observer. He welcomes your feedback and can be reached at email@example.com.