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.


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.


  1. Ladd,

    Do you think I should start Maclin over Kevin Walter this week? I know you are high on Maclin this week and not so high on Schaub this week but I watched as Derek Anderson and Mohamed Massaquoi (the #2 WR, like Walter) ripped up Cinci's D b/c Cinci was focusing on #1 WR Braylon Edwards. Thanks!

  2. I've got a hard choice this week. Do I play Orton or Brees as my QB. Both are up against teams they should score well against. I don't want to be the "Bonehead that benches Brees" but still.. :D
    I'm leaving Mendenhall in the team until late Saturday, hoping his Questionable will switch to Probable. He'd be a better bet, I believe, than Johnny Knox whom I have on the bench as a possible replacement.

  3. What are you talking about Arizona is coming off a bye week? They beat Houston last week. Under the Julius Jones write-up you say Arizona leads the league in rush defense (true) but they are coming off a bye (not true). At least proof read your garbage article for the future. If you write two sentences about someone at least make it true sentences, not too much to ask. I would like to see the results of your picks because just a quick look makes me think you don't know what you are talking about at all. It says a lot about journalism that your article is being syndicated in newspapers and that is not good for journalism.

  4. Ladd,

    For week 6, can you please let me know which 2 you would start from the following: Driver, Kevin Smith, Mike Sims-Walker, Kevin Walter, A. Bradshaw and Willie Parker?

    Also, which TE would you recommend - Winslow or G. Olsen?

    My league is non-PPR, 6 points for all TDs, and 1 point for 20 yards rushing/receiving.

    I greatly appreciate your sage advice!


  5. rjfrank,

    Yeah, I'd have to go with Maclin vs. the Raiders. My problem isn't so much with Schaub as it is with Walter. He's been pretty invisible for a couple weeks now.

  6. Garp,

    Don't be a bonehead...

    And Mendenhall should be gold.

  7. Adam,

    Thanks for pointing out the error. Not sure how I missed that. Thanks also for reading my trash. I look forward to your reviews of my work. Where can I tune in to evaluate your job performance?

  8. Allyson,

    Seems to me your choices come down to Driver, Bradshaw and Sims-Walker. Tough call, but I'd probably sit Driver, though I'd hate to do that against Detroit.

    And stick with Winslow.

    Good luck

  9. Ladd,

    After mulling over it on and off today and checking as many sources as I could find, I've decided not to be a bonehead, and also to trust in the recouperative powers of NyQuil. This is my hardest week in the league, here's hoping :)

  10. Ladd,

    What do you think about a starting QB.

    Hasselback (free agent in my league)

    Favre (Ravens are tough vs run what about the pass?)

    Rodgers (against Lions) (my current starter)>

    Berrian or H.Nicks?

    Thanks man!!!

    Steve in Plano

  11. Steve,

    I like Hasselbeck's chances today, but would definitely stick with Rodgers.

    And Berrian.

    Good luck!

  12. So glad I wasn't a bonehead. Was the match of the week in our league, all the others were pretty much foregone conclusions. Courtesy of Bree's exceptional work I took the win 101-98. A little close for comfort!