The lines this week still reflect parity because 11 out of 14 are seven points or less. However, there still remain a handful or so that cause one to pause and consider why the line is what it is. Then one tries to read the possible fantasy implications.
Here are four games that caught my interest.
Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons (+3):
This is an odd line given the Texans' lack of weapons at WR and RB to help QB Matt Schaub. The Falcons scored 27 points against Carolina defense. Is the Houston defense that much better that it merits its team a three-point advantage on the road? I see no other reason to think the Texans are three point road favorites. If Vegas is correct, then one would expect the Atlanta offense to be bottled-up.
Pittsburgh Steelers ar Arizona Cardinals (+6):
In a week that had 9 road favorites amongst its fourteen games, this one stands out. With former Steelers offense coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, now coaching the Cardinals, one would assume he would be able to game-plan for essentailly the same personnel he coached last season. Add-in the fact that the Steelers established their 3-0 "dominance" against the Charlie Frye-led Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, one wonders if the Steelers are for real or if their success has been built upon weak opponents. Vegas is clearly signalling the former. If correct, then Matt Leinart won't be a good start as Kurt Warner is likely to be leading no-huddle drives in the 4th quarter.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts (-9.5):
This is an interesting line for fantasy football because the Broncos' CB tandem of Champ Bailey and Dre Bly should be good enough to hold elite WRs Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne to "mediocre" numbers i.e 5 receptions and 60 yards. However, a ten-point margin of victory hints at Vegas' belief in the Colts defense and the ability of RB Joseph Addai. I am also guessing that Peyton Manning's genius could make 3rd WR Anthony Gonzalez an excellent sleeper start this week.
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals (+7):
Along with the Steelers/Cardinals, this road favorite seems just the type of line that gets the Patriots beaten. No one doubts the Bengals ability to score points. It is their defense that has manhood issues. A TD underdog at home on Monday night might just be the bitch slap needed to get the Bengals defense to show-up. Vegas doesn't think so. However, this is a reflection on the Cincy D and means little for the fantasy prospects of the Cincy O.