Friday, October 16, 2009
Week 6 Starters & Benchwarmers
You don’t need me advising you to start Aaron Rodgers and Larry Fitzgerald, or to bench anyone wearing a Browns jersey. So I’ll leave the obvious recommendations to the network bozos and focus instead on players typically on the bubble of most fantasy lineups. Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 6.
Watch ‘em roll
David Garrard, QB, Jaguars vs. Rams. Assuming Mike Sims-Walker avoids another pre-game blunder, Garrard’s receiving corps will be back at full strength against the sad-sack Rams. Both defenses have been sieve-like, so don’t be surprised to see Garrard bounce back from last week’s drubbing in Seattle. After all, each of his five passing TDs this year has come at home.
Ray Rice, RB, Ravens at Vikings. Minnesota has yet to surrender a score to any tailback this season, so why the favorable recommendation? For starters, Rice has finally eclipsed Willis McGahee as both a rusher and receiver. The shifty second-year back is an integral part of the Ravens’ offense, and all his talents will be exploited against the Vikings on Sunday.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos at Chargers. San Diego is giving up more than 150 rushing yards per game, while the rookie has recently emerged as the team’s workhorse back. With little competition for touches, Moreno could have a breakout game under the Monday night lights.
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers at Buccaneers. With just 20 receptions for 255 yards, the elite wideout currently resides outside the Top 50 fantasy receivers. He’ll vault into the Top 20 after torching Tampa Bay’s overly generous secondary, which has already surrendered a dozen passing scores to date.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles at Raiders. A one-week wonder? Not when the rookie’s next opponent is Oakland and his red-hot quarterback is at the controls. The Giants’ receivers toyed with this secondary last week, and Philly’s passing attack is equally lethal.
More thumbs up: QBs Matt Hasselbeck, Donovan McNabb, Ben Roethlisberger; RBs Ryan Grant, Cedric Benson, Steven Jackson, Thomas Jones; WRs DeSean Jackson, Antonio Bryant, Santana Moss, Mike Sims-Walker, Braylon Edwards.
Roll ‘em back
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens at Vikings. After a blistering start, the second-year passer has cooled off recently. Though Minnesota’s secondary is penetrable, it’s best to bench Flacco until he and his top target, Derrick Mason (neck), get back in the groove.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers vs. Broncos. Facing one of the NFL’s premier defenses, LT’s miserable season is unlikely to improve soon. As difficult as it may be to sit him, his stubborn ankle injury and the presence of the explosive Darren Sproles combine to make him a bad bet this week.
Julius Jones, RB, Seahawks vs. Cardinals. Arizona has allowed a league-low 71 rushing yards per game. This matchup should be all about the passing games, and Jones was a bit player in last week’s blowout of the Jaguars.
Terrell Owens, WR, Bills at Jets. Already suffering through the worst slump of his career, Owens now squares off against Darrelle Revis, arguably the best cover corner in the NFL. Coming off two consecutive losses, the Jets will show no mercy on the toothless Bills. While you’re at it, bench Lee Evans, too.
Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings vs. Ravens. After beginning his NFL career with a bang, Harvin has been targeted just seven times over the last two games. He’s also been limited by a shoulder injury this week, so don’t count on much from the rookie in a tough matchup.
More thumbs down: QBs Brett Favre, Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel; RBs Willie Parker, Willis McGahee, Kevin Smith, Michael Bush, Brandon Jacobs; WRs Calvin Johnson, Lance Moore, Earl Bennett.
TAKING A FLIER
Donnie Avery, WR, Rams at Jaguars. I know, I know… I’ve preached against the evils of the “Lamest Show on Turf” for weeks. But some of you still own Avery, so you might as well play him now. Jacksonville has given up 11 passing scores to date, and it’s safe to assume the Rams will be throwing often in what could be a surprisingly high-scoring affair between two defenseless teams.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…benches Drew Brees against the Giants’ No. 1-ranked pass defense. Though the Saints’ gunslinger is coming off a two-game stretch without a touchdown pass, he’s simply too explosive to bench. Besides, New York’s impressive stats have been generated at the expense of four of the worst passing teams in the league, plus a bumbling Tony Romo.