As week six of the NFL season is upon us we find ourselves a quarter of the way done with this season. Just as in real NFL Football managers and fans alike are fist pumping while others are scratching their heads as their guaranteed "ballers" fail while fantasy nobodies are saviors. Let's see if we can get you fist pumping this week. This isn't "Fantasy Football for Dummies". If you have a top 5 player at a position you should probably play them every week, unless they're injured. Let's get into it.
Christian Ponder QB (vs. WASH): Ponder has produced 18+ points in 3 of 5 weeks. While that may not be the greatest stat the Washington has allowed 13 TDs through the air with all 5 QBs throwing for over 300. If that wasn't enough, they're also allowing the most fantasy points to opposing teams receiving corps (so start Harvin and possibly Simpson as a flex also). I like a defense that averages over two TDs a game through the air, don't you?
Doug Martin/LeGarrette Blount RB (vs. KC): It's looking like a full blown even time share in TB. Per the Tampa Bay Times, Blount's performing better in practice and Bucs Head Coach Greg Schiano places great emphasis on practice performance when determining the roles of players on game day. The Chiefs have allowed 5 TDs to opposing running backs. This bodes very well for Blount who has taken over as the goal line back for the team. Martin won't get the workload he got in his first two games due to the time share, but each time he's had at least 20 carries he's finished with double digits in fantasy points. With the Chiefs giving up 4.4 yards per rushing attempt there will be much work to go around.
Michael Turner RB (vs. OAK): In the attempt at full transparency, I cannot stand Michael Turner as a football player. He's getting old, slowing down, a hype machine that feasts on terrible defenses. That being said, after five weeks, he's 12th in fantasy points among RBs. He should be active in most leagues against the Raiders, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to runners. Right up his alley.
Andre Roberts WR (vs. BUF): Andre Roberts = target machine. With 19 targets in last 2 weeks and 11receptions for 157yards and 2TDs, Roberts is also 3rd among all Wide Receivers with 3-redzone Touchdowns through 5 weeks. If that's not enough, he's playing the Bills. You know the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing WRs Bills? They have allowed eight opposing receivers to reach double digits in fantasy points. Roberts has four touchdowns on the season so far.
Vincent Jackson WR (vs. KC): A very up and down season for the former-Charger gets even more volatile. This game will all come down to which Chiefs secondary do you believe will show up? The Chiefs have allowed five receivers to reach at least eight fantasy points this season and three to reach double digits in five games. Stevie Johnson, Julio Jones, and Lance Moore all put up big numbers against this D while they shut down Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, and Roddy White. Jackson also has at least 10 targets in three of four games and he has been solid when he has a weaker matchup, which this looks to be.
Owen Daniels TE (vs. GB): People are falling asleep on Daniels simply because the Texans haven't had to throw much. That will definitely change this week with them playing the Packers. Daniels has been Schuab's most targeted option in the red-zone and on third downs when he is throwing. 16 targets and 3 TDs over the past 3 weeks works for me. It probably doesn't hurt that the Pack are really soft against TEs so far this season, allowing the 11th most points to TEs this year.
Dolphins D (vs. STL): This Dolphins D has truly been impressive this season. If anyone watched their blowout loss to the Houston Texans you could even see it that early in the season (offensive turnovers gave up the majority of those points). The Dolphins had eight sacks and two interceptions at Arizona in Week 4 and three turnovers against the Bengals. Even with playing the Texans they still have one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Facing a team who doesn't have a rushing TD and missing their best WR they should be in double digits again this week.
Andy Dalton QB (vs. CLE): Two words: Joe Haden. Now six more: Dalton, you sucked last week. Haden's probably a top 5, if not top 3 CB in the league and he's back from his four game suspension. In two games against the Browns in 2011, Dalton had 351 passing yards, two TDs COMBINED. The only game Haden played in this season was the horrific week 1 game for Michael Vick where he threw 4 INTs. I wouldn't even think about it knowing that Dalton's bailout WR (AJ Green) will likely be erased.
Alfred Morris (vs. MIN): Morris has been money in the bank the last three games. But he's playing against a Minnesota D that has been even more money against opposing RBs this year. The Vikings have yet to allow a running back to score and they have held MJD, Donald Brown, Frank Gore, Mikel Leshoure, and CJNoK to a COMBINED 21 Fantasy points. Based on this matchup and the Redskins likely changing their offense at least a little so that RGIII runs just a little less coming off a concussion you can probably expect his worst performance of the season.
Steven Jackson RB (vs. MIA): After giving up 19 Fantasy points to Arian Foster in Week 1, the Dolphins have held Darren McFadden, Shonn Greene, Ryan Williams and Green-Ellis to a combined 10 Fantasy points. Jackson has yet to score this season and could find it tough to reach double digit points this week. (See Dolphins D, start em above)
Torrey Smith WR (vs. Cowboys): If you've seen my other post you'll probably notice my man-crush with the Cowboy's Brandon Carr. The guy's essentially shut down every deep threat he's faced as of yet. With the Ravens coming off an extremely bad receiving week against the Chiefs I'm not sure it gets better this week for them against the Cowboys secondary. Smith's only two good games this season as of yet were against terrible secondaries (NE and Cleveland without Haden). I see the Ravens winning with the running game only if Carr's on Smith all game.
Stevie Johnson WR (vs. ARZ): Johnson is pretty much a boom or bust player this season. If he scores he's great. If he doesn't he stinks. The good news: The Cardinals have given up three touchdowns to opposing receivers and three have reached double digits in fantasy points. The bad: They held Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and DeSean Jackson to 19 Fantasy points combined. Simply put, whoever Patrick Peterson guards has a rough day. That means someone from the Bills WR corps will likely be worth starting, just not Johnson.
Brandon Pettigrew TE (vs. PHI): Unless you're in a PPR league, Pettigrew's just been terrible. In fact, he's just 17th in fantasy points among tight ends in standard leagues while averaging around 55 yards per game. This means there's probably better options on the waiver. If you're still playing him it's simply on hopes, dreams, and name only. The Eagles have given up the 4th least points to TEs also. No bueno.
Houston Texans D (vs. GB): The bad news: Brian Cushing is out for the year. The good news: So it seems is Greg Jennings. Both of these injuries are huge. I know you probably can't bring yourself to bench the Texans, but there is a gaping hole in the middle of that defense now and they will be ran on. (Looking for a big day from Green and/or Starks). Also something else to point out is while the Texans have looked extremely solid on D, they have yet to play a team that hasn't subsequently been thought of as over rated. This week should be a good gauge of where they really are. This game has the potential to sneak up into the high thirties in my opinion.
Matt Schaub QB (vs. GB): The Packers D has allowed 15+ points to every QB faced not named Jay Cutler. Drew Brees and Andrew Luck both just destroyed them for 3 TDs apiece. Aaron Rodgers is very likely to come out throwing early and often which could lead to the Texans having to play catch-up with some questions to be answered on defense (see above). The Pack are giving up the 8th most fantasy points to opposing QBs.
Aaron Hernandez TE (vs. SEA): If Hernandez plays, and it looks like he will, don't start him. He's coming back from a high ankle sprain and likely won't be very effective or even be in the game very much. ESPN is stating that he will be in a very limited role. Combine that with the fact that they're playing one of the best defenses in the NFL and he just doesn't make for a good play this week. Extremely risky.
Vick Ballard RB (at NYJ): With Donald Brown now out 2-3 weeks following knee surgery Ballard now has the chance to start for the Colts, making most think of him as at least a flex option, if not a start this week. The Jets can no longer stop the run like they used to as they've allowed seven running backs to score touchdowns and five to reach double digits in fantasy points. BUT Ballard has also been...well, terrible this year. I mean 42 yards on 21 carries for the season and people are clamoring over the guy mainly due to the matchup. Something will have to give. There is obvious risk in starting an unproven rusher like Ballard, but if he succeeds it will likely be in a big way. It comes down to this, who do you choose to win: The terrible run D or the terrible RB?
Teams/Players on bye:
New Orleans Saints: D.Brees, M.Colston, L.Moore, D.Henderson, J.Graham, D.Sproles, P.Thomas, M.Ingram
Carolina Panthers: C.Newton, S.Smith, B.LaFell, G.Olsen, D.Williams, J.Stewart, M.Tolbert
Jacksonville Jaguars: B.Gabbert, MJD, J.Blackmon, L.Robinson, M.Lewis
Chicago Bears: J.Cutler, B.Marshall, A.Jeffrey, M.Forte, M.Bush, K.Davis
Don't forget to take a look at the injury report to make sure your guys are playing!
So until next week, who's in your lineup Big Cat Country?