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Friday, November 9, 2007
Engel: Subbing for Brady, Moss

By Scott Engel
ESPN.com

Every week, I will share my personal selections and picks in ESPN.com's minigames, plus feature my lineups in prominent expert leagues that I am participating in this season. I'll explain the reasoning behind many of my choices, in an effort to assist you in making your own decisions or to explain why certain picks may seem risky or unusual.

GRIDIRON CHALLENGE
QB1: Drew Brees (Value: 7.2)
QB2: Matt Hasselbeck (Locked at 6.8)
RB1: Willie Parker (6.2)
RB2: Marshawn Lynch (Locked at 5.7)
WR1: Marques Colston (5.5)
WR2: Plaxico Burress (5.7)
TE: Heath Miller (4.4)
K: Shaun Suisham (Locked at 3.2)
D/ST: Seattle Seahawks (4.8)
Total Team Value: (49.5)

ENGEL'S ANGLES: I finally had to remove Tom Brady and Randy Moss from my lineup this week. I simply replaced them with the rejuvenated duo of Drew Brees and Marques Colston. The Rams have allowed 12 touchdown passes, and only two teams in the NFC have surrendered more. Parker should roll up big yardage against the Browns, and I have also retained Lynch, who I expect to score more than once against Miami. The Seahawks are expected to turn up their passing game, so I also held onto Hasselbeck this week. Burress should come up big in a big game against Dallas. Miller is a regular touchdown target and the Browns have allowed an NFL-high 20 touchdown passes. Suisham stays on my roster, because he's a decent kicker and I don't want to spend much at that position. Seattle has 23 sacks, has allowed an NFL-low five touchdown passes, and held the 49ers to three points in their first meeting of the season.

ELIMINATOR

Pick: Seattle Seahawks (versus San Francisco 49ers)

ENGEL'S ANGLES: I have been on target eight of nine times this season, and while this Monday nighter won't thrill most people, I'm looking forward to seeing my favorite team, the Seahawks, on the national stage against a reeling Niners squad that has lost six straight games. Both teams could be without their starting running backs, but Seattle has a much more effective passing game. The 49ers have allowed 11 touchdown passes, while Seattle has amassed 13 touchdown passes, tied for second in the NFC. The 49ers won't be able to run the ball very effectively without a healthy Frank Gore, and when Alex Smith finds himself in adverse passing situations, the Seahawks will bring the blitz, and San Francisco doesn't have the weapons needed to beat the pressure. Seattle may be the weakest of all the division leaders right now, and they will play unevenly. Yet the 49ers won't make them pay for their mistakes or counter with much offense when Seattle goes three-and-out. The Seahawks will make enough plays in the passing game to hide their flaws and should ultimately win decisively. The running game is very disappointing and the defense can be exposed by teams with better passing games, but this matchup is perfect for Seattle to hold onto its lead in the worst division in football.

PIGSKIN PICK 'EM: VS. THE SPREAD

Atlanta +4 1/2 at Carolina
Minnesota +6 1/2 at Green Bay
Denver +4 1/2 at Kansas City
Buffalo -2 1/2 at Miami
New Orleans -11 1/2 versus St. Louis
Cleveland +9 1/2 at Pittsburgh
Jacksonville -4 1/2 at Tennessee
Washington -2 1/2 versus Philadelphia
Cincinnati +5 1/2 at Baltimore
Detroit +1 1/2 at Arizona
Dallas -1 1/2 at New York Giants
Chicago -3 1/2 at Oakland
Indianapolis -3 1/2 at San Diego
Seattle - 9 1/2 versus San Francisco

ENGEL'S ANGLES: The Panthers don't have enough firepower on offense to blow out the Falcons. Minnesota will use its running game to stick close to Green Bay. The Broncos and Chiefs will wage a classic AFC West war, with both teams exchanging the lead often. The reborn Saints will make easy work of the winless Rams. Cleveland won't beat the Steelers, but they will earn some more respect from their hated rivals. The Jaguars will pull off a near-miss in a low-scoring affair with the Titans. The Bengals will rise up and put a hurting on the Baltimore defense. I cannot fathom how the Cardinals are favored over the Lions. The Cowboys will prove to be too much for a Giants team that has fattened up on lesser opponents during their winning streak.

PIGSKIN PICK 'EM: NO SPREAD

My selection in CAPS

Atlanta at CAROLINA
Minnesota at GREEN BAY
Denver at KANSAS CITY
BUFFALO at Miami
St. Louis at NEW ORLEANS
Cleveland at PITTSBURGH
Jacksonville at TENNESSEE
Philadelphia at WASHINGTON
CINCINNATI at Baltimore
DETROIT at Arizona
DALLAS at New York Giants
CHICAGO at Oakland
INDIANAPOLIS at San Diego
San Francisco at SEATTLE

ENGEL'S ANGLES: The Packers should come up with more late heroics to dispatch the Vikings. The Chiefs may look limp in the ground game, but will have just enough to hold off the Broncos. I'm not fully comfortable with the Buffalo pick. If the Dolphins are going to win, it will be at home against a divisional opponent like the Bills or Jets. The Eagles will plod through another loss, as they don't have the weaponry needed to challenge the Washington secondary. Brian Westbrook can't do it all by himself. The Bengals will attack the Baltimore secondary en route to a road win, and the Bears will also throw often against Oakland.

THE PRO LEAGUE

The ESPN.com Experts League, where I face off against nine other fantasy staff members. Check out Tristan H. Cockcroft's coverage of the league on our fantasy football pages every Friday.

QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB1: Travis Henry
RB2: Adrian Peterson (MIN)
RB/WR: Maurice Morris
WR1: Donald Driver
WR2: Reggie Wayne
TE: Dallas Clark
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: Green Bay Packers
Reserves: Derek Anderson, Jeff Garcia, Kolby Smith, Frank Gore, Ryan Grant, Maurice Hicks, Aaron Moorehead.

ENGEL'S ANGLES: Roethlisberger should be good for at least two touchdown passes against Cleveland. He, Peterson, Wayne and Driver are locked in among my skill position players. Morris is not locked in by any means. It all depends on Alexander's status, and I could also use Hicks if Gore sits out. Moorehead, who may start for the Colts, is yet another possible option, but it's highly unlikely he will crack the lineup. Henry has not played well recently, either. So both Hicks and Morris could be in my lineup this week. I expect Kolby Smith to be the better replacement for Larry Johnson than Priest Holmes, but I'm reluctant to use him just yet. The final decisions on two spots involving Henry and Morris right now will likely be made over the weekend.

FANEX FOOTBALL

A long-running, highly prestigious 12-team experts league that has always been tops among seasoned fantasy experts. Four points for passing touchdowns, 0.05 points for each passing yard, 0.1 each for rushing and receiving yards, one point for every reception. Only two add/drops allowed per week, with blind bidding.

QB: Matt Hasselbeck
RB1: LenDale White
RB2: Willie Parker
WR1: Reggie Wayne
WR2: Brandon Marshall
WR3: Nate Burleson
WR4: David Patten
TE: Vernon Davis
K: Jeff Reed
D/ST: Washington Redskins
Reserves: Donovan McNabb, Derek Anderson, Earnest Graham, Thomas Jones, Ted Ginn Jr., Darrell Jackson, Troy Williamson, Donald Lee, Dave Rayner and Vikings D/ST.

ENGEL'S ANGLES: Thankfully, I have Hasselbeck with Anderson facing the Steelers. McNabb might not crack the lineup again this year and I have not gotten much attention or good offers for him in trade talks. I expect a big game from Parker, and White played through his toe problem last week. Patten has earned his way into the lineup, and Burleson can still be a factor in the Seattle passing game, as Deion Branch is not looking ready to return just yet and Burleson may again split time at the split end position with D.J. Hackett. Davis will be the Niners' best weapon against the Seahawks.

KRAUSE PUBLICATIONS EXPERTS LEAGUE II

From the publishers of Fantasy Sports Magazine, a long-enduring fantasy industry staple. A 12-team league with similar scoring to Fanex, except running backs get 0.5 points for a reception.

QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB1: Willie Parker
RB2: Fred Taylor
RB/WR: Justin Fargas
WR1: Bobby Engram
WR2: Nate Burleson
WR3: Plaxico Burress
TE:Chris Cooley
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: Detroit Lions
Reserves: Maurice Hicks, Chester Taylor, Kolby Smith, Wes Welker, Marvin Harrison, Aaron Moorehead.

ENGEL'S ANGLES: I will be leaning on the Steelers heavily once again, and I love the fact they are facing the Cleveland defense. Fargas was a recent add who now cracks the lineup and may stay there for awhile. Fred Taylor is no lock to start, as I can also use Hicks. Engram will likely start at flanker for Seattle again, and I'm expecting a big game from him against the 49ers. The Lions defense makes its first appearance for me, and I am confident they will handle Arizona well.

Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can contact Scott here.