QB: Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Chicago Bears)

The Chicago Bears are struggling this season and were only able to earn their first win last week with a two-point victory at home against the Raiders. Defensively, the Bears have looked disgruntled and lost this season, giving up an average of nearly 33 points per game thus far. Their pass rush suffered a major midseason hit as well as they traded away all-pro defensive end Jared Allen to the Carolina Panthers.

The Chiefs offense, despite not being able to locate wide receivers for touchdowns, has an immense amount of potential with weapons at nearly every skill position. This week, I look for Alex Smith to stand tall in the pocket and dish out dimes to his receiving core against a depleted Bears secondary. If I have Travis Kelce in my tight end spot this week, I’m getting excited for some big time numbers as well.

RB: T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

All of the ingredients in this matchup are pointing towards a big week for T.J. Yeldon. The rookie running back has looked impressive thus far this season, earning the starting job for the Jags. He’s already tallied 70 carries and 10 catches through four games, giving him a lot of chances to make a play with the ball in his hands.

Tampa Bay’s rushing defense has been subpar to say the least this season. They’re giving up 136 yards and a touchdown per game on the ground this far, and it looks as though they haven’t yet figured out a solution. Yeldon has yet to score his first NFL touchdown, and all indications are that this is the week he gets his first.

WR: Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears (@ Kansas City Chiefs)

The Bears’ passing game has yet again been disappointing through ¼ of the season. No Jay Cutler and an injury to Alshon Jeffery has left a lot of fantasy owners stumped and upset. This week, however, Cutler should be back near 100% having had an additional week to prepare. Jeffery may be back from injury this week, but either way, Royal gives Cutler another solid target.

The Chiefs’ pass defense, currently giving up nearly 300 pass yards per game, has been torn up in consecutive weeks by Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton. The Chiefs may be in for more trouble if Jay Cutler can come out with a solid performance this week.

TE: Larry Donnell, New York Giants (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

A season ending injury is never a good thing for a football team. For Larry Donnell, an IR stint due to MRSA for teammate Daniel Fells means only one thing – more playing time. Donnell will be the feature tight end for Eli Manning and the Giants in a system where we know Eli is capable of lighting up the scoreboard on any given Sunday.

The 49ers’ defense has not been awful against opposing tight ends this season, giving up only seven points per game. Donnell should be able to raise that average a bit with the majority of tight end reps now going his way. The 49ers haven’t faced an elite level tight end yet this season, and even though Donnell isn’t elite, he has the opportunity to put up big numbers this week against a reeling 49ers team.

K: Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona Cardinals (@ Detroit Lions)

Let’s all admit it – we were surprised to see the Cardinals fall to the Rams last week. Arizona had been absolutely red hot this season, especially offensively, and the Rams were able to slow them down. This week, they face a defense in the Detroit Lions that looked very impressive on Monday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks, keeping the game close down to the very end.

How does this translate well for kicker Chandler Catanzaro? We know the Cardinals are going to be able to move the football well, but will they be able to finish every drive with six? I don’t believe that will be the case this week, opening up a big window for Catanzaro to rake in some serious fantasy points.

D/ST: Houston Texans (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

To me, whether Andrew Luck plays or not may not proved to be that important for this decision. The Texans’ D, usually seen as one of the tops in the AFC, has underachieved to this juncture in the season. J.J. Watt has still been able to average one sack per game, tallying half of the team’s total. The emergence of Jadeveon Clowney will certainly boost that number as the season goes on.

For me, this matchup is all about the Colts’ offensive line. To say they have looked bad this year would be putting it very nicely. They haven’t given their quarterback, whether it was Luck or Matt Hasselbeck, any time to go through their progressions and make plays. On a short week this week, they will again struggle on Thursday night.

Image: Yeldon