Saints (5-0) at Patriots (4-1)
Time, TV: 4:25 p.m. (Fox).
Line: NE by 2.5.
Notable: Make no mistake, this matchup rocks, but what would really put it over the top would be a heavier dose of G ‘n R. In other words, it would be “Paradise City” if Graham were to be joined on the field by Gronkowski. This is shaping up as the Year of the Tight End — players at that position are on pace to set all-time records for combined receptions, yards and touchdowns — but no one is having a season like the Saints’ Jimmy Graham. The former Hurricane just set a record for most yards by a tight end in any four-game span (548), and he is at or near the top of NFL pass-catchers in all the major categories. On the other hand, the Patriots’ own TE-Rex, Rob Gronkowski, has been sidelined with injuries, but he is expected to make his debut today. Coming off a game in which New England was rudely welcomed to “The Jungle,” dropping a 13-6 contest at Cincinnati, the team certainly needs him. And, call me greedy, but it would be great to get some Gronk with my Graham.
Fantasy scout: Off to a good start? Feel like your roster is set to survive the bye weeks? Have I got some grab-and-stash free agents for you! Let’s start with Patriots running back Shane Vereen, last seen enjoying a huge Week 1 (159 yards and a score on only 21 touches), right up until he broke his wrist. Vereen isn’t scheduled to return until Week 11, but given the RB1 potential indicated in that performance, not to mention New England’s revolving (revolting?) door at running back, he’s a worthy pickup for forward-thinking owners.
Packers (2-2) at Ravens (3-2)
Time, TV: 1 p.m. (Fox).
Line: GB by 3.
Notable: Clay Matthews probably wishes he really was made of clay, at least on the play (d’oh!) last week when he broke his thumb while sacking Matthew Stafford. Matthews's three sacks lead the Packers, who sorely missed his pass-rushing presence when he sat out four games in 2012 because of a hamstring injury. Now they have to beat Joe Flacco in Baltimore, something no NFC team has accomplished. The Ravens quarterback is 10-0 against that conference, with 16 touchdowns and three interceptio.
Fantasy scout: Dennis Pitta won’t be worth picking up right away, but his situation bears monitoring. The tight end, who injured his hip before the season and is eligible to return in Week 9, isn’t likely to appear on the field until a few weeks after that. Too bad, because Baltimore, not to mention TE-deficient fantasy lineups, could sorely use his pass-catching skills.
Steelers (0-4) at Jets (3-2)
Time, TV: 1 p.m. (CBS).
Line: NYJ by 2.5.
Notable: Nice game, rook. Now do it again. Geno Smith’s outing Monday against the Falcons, in which he had three touchdowns and zero turnovers on 16-of-20 passing, was certainly eye-opening. But given his unsightly 11 turnovers coming into that game, New Yorkers will hold off on nicknaming the first-year QB “Broadway Geno” until he proves that he can repeat such effectiveness. Pittsburgh, which last played on Sept. 29 in London, needs to avoid Jets lag on the scoreboard if it wants to notch its first win.