Wondering whether or not to start Aaron Rodgers and Demaryius Thomas, or to bench Derek Carr and Tavon Austin? 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 2014 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Eli Manning, QB, Giants at Eagles. No secondary has surrendered more TD passes than Philly’s (13) and Manning comes into this primetime matchup en fuego. With first-round draft pick Odell Beckham finally in the fold, Manning is fully armed with a deep and explosive receiving corps.
Branden Oliver, RB, Chargers at Raiders. Congrats if you scooped him up off the waiver wire. Oliver may only get a week or two as San Diego’s lead horse, but this week’s matchup is as sweet as it gets. Lamar Miller had the best fantasy day of his career against Oakland two weeks ago, and Oliver just sliced and diced the Jets’ (formerly) league-best run defense.
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins vs. Packers. This may be Miller’s last hurrah as a solid fantasy contributor. Green Bay sports the worst run defense in the NFL and Knowshon Moreno (elbow) will likely be limited, if he plays at all, on Sunday.
Wes Welker, WR, Broncos at Jets. He has yet to find the end zone or surpass 60 receiving yards since returning from suspension, but that should end Sunday. Given the uncertainty in Denver’s backfield and the Jets’ sieve-like passing defense, there will be plenty of balls to go around to all of Peyton Manning’s receivers.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins at Cardinals. Both Washington wideouts have been inconsistent this season, and Garcon has just four receptions for 51 yards to his credit over the last two games. Look for a nice rebound against an Arizona secondary that’s giving up an average of 302 net passing yards per game (31st in the league).
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger; RBs Frank Gore, Andre Ellington, Andre Williams, Fred Jackson, Bishop Sankey; WRs Percy Harvin, Steve Smith, Emmanuel Sanders, Kendall Wright, Roddy White, Brian Quick, Julian Edelman, Randall Cobb, Kelvin Benjamin, Sammy Watkins, DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, Golden Tate, Mohamed Sanu.
Roll ‘em back
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals vs. Panthers. Carolina’s secondary is vulnerable, but Dalton is likely to be without both A.J. Green (toe) and Marvin Jones (ankle) in this contest. Though Mohamed Sanu will see plenty of targets, the Bengals will surely lean on their talented backfield tandem to compensate for the depleted WR corps.
Reggie Bush, RB, Lions at Vikings. He was forced from last week’s game with his latest ailment (an ankle), and Joique Bell is on track to return Sunday after recovering from a concussion. Whether or not Bush plays, don’t be surprised if Bell gets the majority of the workload in Minnesota.
Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots at Bills. Ridley is coming off his best game of the season, but he’ll be facing a Buffalo run defense that has yet to allow a rushing TD. It doesn’t help that he’s still sharing carries with Shane Vereen. The Patriots will focus on moving the ball through the air, and Ridley isn’t a factor in the passing game.
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers at Rams. St. Louis boasts the league’s stingiest pass defense, in large part due to how generous they are to opposing rushers. Crabtree has been hobbled by a pesky foot injury; and though he’s expected to play, he’s unlikely to distinguish himself on Monday night.
James Jones, WR, Raiders vs. Chargers. Derek Carr (ankle, knee) is banged up, Oakland’s running game is the worst in the NFL and San Diego’s pass defense is on a roll. Jones has been the master of trash time stats, but I don’t like his chances in this one.
More thumbs down: QBs Matt Stafford, Colin Kaepernick, Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Tannehill, Austin Davis; RBs Steven Jackson, Zac Stacy, Alfred Morris, Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Doug Martin, Chris Johnson, Jerrick McKinnon, Toby Gerhart, Ronnie Hillman; WRs Eric Decker, Kenny Britt, Cordarrelle Patterson, Brian Hartline, Allen Hurns, Anquan Boldin, Markus Wheaton.
TAKING A FLIER
Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens at Buccaneers. He’s locked in a three-headed backfield committee, but Forsett is managing to separate himself from his sidekicks. He’s a better start in PPR leagues, but he’s a solid bet for big yardage and his fourth TD of the season against Tampa Bay’s depleted (and hospitable) defense.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…lets dead weight linger on your roster. Adrian Peterson isn’t coming back this season, folks. Nor is Ray Rice. And yet both players are still owned in a large majority of leagues. Unless you play in a keeper league, set them free and find a player that can help you win a title.