Hard to trust Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe


The Houston Texans were, in the sage written word of colleague Christopher Harris in the Week 6 Breakdown, "laughably bad against the pass" versus the New York Giants last week, and "at the moment there isn't a secondary you'd rather have your quarterback throw against than Houston's." Tough words, but I'm certainly on board with them. The Texans allow the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and there surely are owners who believe the trend continues this week as the Kansas City Chiefs visit Houston.

Well, one of the bigger changes I made to my Week 6 rankings Friday morning included re-entering Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers into my top 10. Earlier in the week, I didn't think he'd be allowed to play so soon after suffering a concussion. Now it looks like Rodgers will suit up. So, Rodgers is back in and my No. 25 quarterback got pushed out. Goodbye, Matt Cassel. And yes, I realize Cassel and partner in crime Dwayne Bowe are facing the awful Texans, but it didn't matter to me or, apparently Harris, who ranked Cassel 24th. When good passing offenses face strong defenses -- Kyle Orton and the Denver Broncos against the New York Jets this week is interesting -- our interest gets piqued. What about when an awful passing offense meets a comparable Swiss cheese defense?

The Chiefs rank second to last in the NFL in passing this season, and that could drop one last spot soon as Ben Roethlisberger returns to the Pittsburgh Steelers' lineup Sunday. Why do fantasy owners assume the Cassel that we all relied on from that one season with the New England Patriots is returning? Cassel has thrown for more than 176 yards in one of four games, and while Bowe is embarrassing himself with dropped passes -- wait, he just dropped another while you were reading! -- the fact is Cassel hasn't looked very good, either. Steelers quarterbacks Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon weren't very good, but Dixon had a seven-point fantasy game, Batch a 17-pointer. Cassel has topped six fantasy points in one game, and it was against the winless San Francisco 49ers. If the Chiefs were 1-3 instead of 3-1 -- and hey, give them credit for a terrific start buoyed by a strong dual running game, surprising defense and the tasty schedule -- I wonder if Cassel's job would be on the line.

The bottom line is that I can't trust Cassel against the Texans, and Bowe was my No. 28 wide receiver. No, until I actually see this passing offense do something, I can't rely on it, even in what appears to be an exceptional matchup. When the Texans face the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers in Weeks 8 and 9, the sky is the limit for scoring. Get joyous in anticipation of those games for Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. With Cassel and the Chiefs, pessimism reigns.

In addition to adjusting my rankings to make room for Rodgers -- obviously keep an eye on this one just in case the Packers start Matt Flynn instead -- here are some other late-week things to watch.

The desperation bowl: While Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has remained a top fantasy option despite his team's 1-3 start to the season, Brett Favre has not. Now the Minnesota Vikings quarterback is dealing with a slew of issues, on the field and off, and the team has listed him as questionable. What's questionable here is Favre's value. He's not sitting. He can say he might bench himself for a game or two, but do you really believe it? Favre is our No. 13 quarterback for the week, and with the balky elbow I moved him down a few spots.

Raiders run wild: I ranked Oakland Raiders running back Michael Bush quite well, 14th at his position, and the fact the team might get nominal starter -- really, do you think the Raiders even know? -- Darren McFadden back doesn't change it. I doubt McFadden is used as more than an occasional complement Sunday, so while I did rank him, I wouldn't call No. 34 a great spot. Really, that's probably too high. When both guys are healthy, they might destroy one another's value, but that's not this week.

Which Saints will march? Pierre Thomas is going to miss another week, and while the New Orleans Saints did acquire Julius Jones this week, let's face it, we're talking about Julius Jones. It's not like the Saints traded for Marshawn Lynch. Even with Thomas out, I'd avoid any New Orleans running backs, including/especially Jones.

Have a great weekend and best of luck to all in Week 6!