Friday, October 11, 2013

Week 6 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start your Broncos, or to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and Lance Moore? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 6 of the 2013 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins at Cowboys.  He’s off to a disappointing start, but after getting an extra week of rest and preparation, RG3 is poised for a breakout performance against one of the league’s most generous secondaries.  Griffin won’t need to pad his stats with rushing yards to excel in this matchup.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers vs. Colts.  Ryan Mathews (concussion) is not expected to suit up this week, but I like Woodhead’s chances regardless.  Indy’s rush defense is fairly soft and Woodhead has proven to be a reliable multi-purpose threat in San Diego’s offense.  Look for him to approach 100 combined yards, with another end zone appearance, on Monday night.

Zac Stacy, RB, Rams at Texans.  As projected, the rookie staked a strong claim to the starting role against the Jaguars and he’ll get a chance to build on his solid debut against the less-than-stout Houston defense this weekend.  Stacy’s sore ribs are not expected to limit him, while Daryl Richardson should continue to fade into the background.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts at Chargers.  The second-year speedster finally got on track last week, surprisingly against the stingy Seattle secondary.  Make sure he’s in your lineup against the sad-sack Chargers pass defense.  Darrius Heyward-Bey is a starter in name only.

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns vs. Lions.  Is he auditioning for a job in Atlanta?  We can dream.  But in any event, Gordon has an excellent opportunity to soar this weekend against the vulnerable Detroit secondary.  He and Brandon Weeden have built a strong rapport, and opponents can’t afford to regularly double-team Gordon with TE Jordan Cameron also on the field.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Tony Romo, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger; RBs DeMarco Murray, Knowshon Moreno, Bilal Powell, Reggie Bush, Giovani Bernard, Trent Richardson, Darren Sproles, Willis McGahee; WRs Pierre Garcon, Steve Smith, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Marques Colston, Antonio Brown, Torrey Smith, DeSean Jackson, Danny Amendola, Justin Blackmon.

Roll ‘em back

Matt Stafford, QB, Lions at Browns.  With the very real possibility that Calvin Johnson will be inactive again, Stafford could be facing a very stingy pass defense without his most lethal weapon.  Shutdown corner Joe Haden would provide a tough test for a less-than-100-percent Megatron anyway; but if the wideout sits, all bets are off for Stafford and the Lions’ passing game.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars at Broncos.  Don’t even think about it.  Jacksonville will likely abandon the running game during the National Anthem.  Meanwhile, MJD barely mustered a respectable outing against the soft Rams run defense last week.  He’ll be lucky to see 10 carries in this lopsided affair.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans at Seahawks.  If not for a 49-yard scamper on a dump-off pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, CJ1K would still be looking for his first TD of the season.  In the deafening confines of CenturyLink Field, Johnson is unlikely to find much daylight.  Getting yanked at the goal-line is the ultimate insult to his fantasy owners.

Stevie Johnson, WR, Bills vs. Bengals.  E.J. Manuel (knee) is out.  Jeff Tuel played himself out of a job in Week 5.  So Thaddeus Lewis has been promoted from the practice squad to start against a defense that just snapped Tom Brady’s 52-game streak with at least one TD pass.  Meanwhile, Johnson has been nursing a back injury and flew to California on Thursday for a family funeral.  He may not play Sunday; but if he does, you’ll forgive me for being pessimistic about Johnson’s chances in this one.

Eddie Royal, WR, Chargers vs. Colts.  After his blistering start over the first two weeks, Royal has turned ice cold with just eight receptions in the last three games.  He has become an after-thought in the Chargers’ high-powered attack, as Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown have stepped up their games.  Not only should Royal be benched against the Colts’ stingy pass defense, but you can safely drop him if you have a better use for his roster spot.

More thumbs down: QBs Andy Dalton, Russell Wilson, Carson Palmer, Sam Bradford; RBs Rashard Mendenhall, DeAngelo Williams, Rashad Jennings; WRs DeAndre Hopkins, Nate Washington, Sidney Rice, Rod Streater, Greg Jennings, Ryan Broyles, Jeremy Kerley, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt.


Nick Foles, QB, Eagles at Buccaneers.  Though Mike Vick is recovering quickly from his hamstring injury, all signs are still pointing to Foles starting this contest.  While clearly not the runner that Vick is, that’s not what matters most in Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense.  Foles performed well when pressed into action against the Giants, and he has plenty of weapons to make him a high-upside candidate against the so-so Bucs’ defense.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…benches Tom Brady, unless you have another elite option.  There’s no denying that the future Hall of Famer is struggling, primarily due to the turnover in his receiving corps.  But Brady is still an elite talent, capable of posting stellar numbers against any defense at any time.  With Danny Amendola back and the possibility (though slim) of Rob Gronkowski returning as well, Brady could have a statement game against the overachieving Saints secondary.


  1. Hey Ladd,

    Now that Julio is done, I was hoping you could give me your opinion as to which WR on the waiver wire might provide the most upside in a standard, PPR league, in my attempt to replace Julio:

    Tavon Austin (recently dropped)
    Vincent Brown (also recently dropped)
    Miles Austin (again, recently dropped)
    Ryan Broyles
    Austin Pettis
    Brandon Gibson

    Any advice would be great!



  2. Of those, it's one of the Austins. If Miles can stay on the field, he's probably the most viable. Tavon has the most upside. None of them will be half of Julio.