Thursday, October 15, 2009

Who's Hot and Who's Not for Week 6

Each week I'll try to post some must-starts, some must-sits and the surprises we should have in store.  Take 'em, leave 'em, trash-talk 'em.  It's your choice.  I'll also keep track of my accuracy by position and overall.  I'll be working with Yahoo! standard league points to define my success.  I'm not trying to pick completely obvious starts or sits, so some of these may seem a little questionable, but that's half the fun.  On average, I'll look at two quarterbacks, two running backs, two or three wide receivers, one tight end, and one team defense.

Start 'Em!


Mark Sanchez (NYJ) vs. Buffalo

Buffalo's statistic of allowing only 185.6 yards passing per game is awfully deceptive considering Derek Anderson's two completion performance last week in that embarassing debacle.  Look for Sanchez to continue taking advantage of his new toy in Braylon Edwards.  In addition, it looks likely that he could slip away on a couple of runs if need be, especially if his new receiver helps further in stretching the field.  The ground game for the Jets may take over at points considering the Bills' inability to contain the run, though Sanchez will create a few big plays.

The Line: 28 attempts, 19 completions, 198 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 4 carries, 13 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown

Tom Brady (NE) vs. Tennessee

Look for football's fantasy king from 2007 to take back some of his old glory.  Of course, it seems surprising that Brady would ever be called into question, but his six touchdowns on the season aren't really awe-inspiring by any means.  The Titans, however, are simply pathetic against the pass and sometimes it takes just that to rebuild a quarterback's confidence.  On the other hand, the run stopping abilities of Tennessee will keep the Patriots doing what they do best, throwing the ball all over the place.  So much attention has been placed on Brady lately, especially his new tendency to overthrow the deep routes, that you can expect him to make some changes this week, coming in big fantasy numbers.

The Line: 40 attempts, 31 completions, 276 yards passing, 3 passing touchdowns

Running Backs:

Matt Forte (CHI) vs. Atlanta

Matt Forte as a rookie was a grand investment for fantasy owners last year, but he hasn't lived up to his first-round selection this year.  Atlanta is allowing 127 yards per game rushing and Forte will take advantage of this not-so-prolific run defense.  The run will help set up play action and the Bears offense will find its groove this week as Jay Cutler continues tossing the pigskin with confidence.  Forte will greatly benefit from this with his involvement in the passing game and a stretched field thanks to the emergence of Johnny Knox will prevent Atlanta from putting eight in the box.

The Line: 21 carries, 97 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 4 receptions, 28 yards receiving

Jonathan Stewart (CAR) vs. Tampa Bay

There's been a lot of hooplah surrounding DeAngelo Williams in the matchup against Tampa Bay.  Last year, the duo of Williams and Stewart racked up a franchise record of 299 yards on the ground.  Carolina can't trust Jake the Fake to lead their offense but Williams can't do it alone, as evidenced by the first weeks of the season.  The Panthers achieved their first victory when they gave more carries to Stewart and it was Stewart who crossed the goal line.  His ten carries for 39 yards (3.9 ypc) far outpaced Williams' 2.2 yards per carry.  Things should go back to normal after Stewart proves himself against the weak Bucs defense inside the red zone.  Don't expect big yardage, just expect him to push the pile and score, while Williams runs the long distances.

The Line: 12 carries, 42 yards, 2 touchdowns

Wide Receivers:

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

The Housh will again prove a boon to those of you who had faith in this import.  He's becoming an integral part of the passing offense.  He won't necessarily boast the two touchdowns of last week, but against an Arizona defense that is the worst in the league against the pass.  Expect Matt Hasselbeck's return to continue to bolster the Seahawks offense and Houshmandzadeh to benefit through his increased level of comfort with his quarterback.

The Line: 9 receptions, 84 yards receiving, 1 touchdown

Santana Moss

Kansas City's defense is just plain bad.  There's nothing good to be said, other than that opposing offenses tend to look pretty good against them.  This week the benefactor will be Moss.  His downfield work will suit Jason Campbell's arm just fine and his ability to simply outpace secondaries will mean the potential for a long score is high.  When Campbell isn't dumping the ball off to Chris Cooley in the short and middle ranges, he'll look deep for Moss, with big yardage gains in store.

The Line: 7 receptions, 104 yards, 1 touchdown

Tight End:

Chris Cooley (WAS) vs. Kansas City

It's going to be a good day for one of Campbell's other favorite targets, his star tight end.  Cooley will be on the receiving end of the majority of whatever isn't thrown in the direction of Moss.  Another touchdown seems in order for this reliable tight end whose number is cooled rather frequently in the passing game.  The Chiefs also need to exercise caution with Clinton Portis after last week's game, so the line may be stacked against the run, leaving the play action opportunties for Cooley across the middle and in the slot to grow abundant.

The Line: 8 receptions, 76 yards, 1 touchdown


Cincinnati vs. Houston

Without Steve Slaton being a real threat and with the incredible corner coverage smothering Andre Johnson, the Bengals are poised for a sharp fantasy outing.  They may not be a first choice defense after giving up so many points to the Cleveland Browns recently, but expect them to be a strong sub for a poor matchup or bye week replacement.  An interception or two seems likely as Schaub will have to start taking risks to get the ball to Johnson, his greatest playmaker.

The Line: 17 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Risk of the Week

Kevin Smith (DET) vs. Green Bay

Smith is truly the workhorse of the Detroit offense and should be a consistent fantasy producer this year but Green Bay is a tough defense.  However, their numbers aren't as strong as their reputation.  The Lions and Packers actually have similar base lines, especially in rushing yards allowed.  The Pack is giving up 112.2 yards per game to opposing rushers.  This number could be easy to exploit by a healthy Smith who could be the biggest offensive threat for the Lions with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson coming off of hefty injuries.  He may not give Detroit a win, but the Lions aren't suffering as much as they were last year, so expect an offensive pulse to be there for the Kitty-Cats.

The Line: 24 carries, 87 yards, 1 touchdown

Sit 'Em...


Drew Brees (NO) vs. New York Giants

In this matchup of the titans, these teams will have to try to exploit each other's weaknesses.  With the Giants only allowing 104.8 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, it is likely that the Saints will look to their steamrolling ground game to get the job done.  Brees will certainly do better than most quarterbacks against the Giants, but if you have another solid matchup option, bench Brees in favor of your backup.  Pierre Thomas will be working the rush in strong fashion like he did against the Jets.  Expect Brees to set up touchdowns more than get touchdowns.

The Line: 29 attempts, 19 completions, 170 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

Matt Schaub (HOU) vs. Cincinnati

Coming into this season, the Bengals were expected to be their porous selves, allowing offenses to march all over them.  However, like the Broncos of this year, their defense has made a strong turnaround and will continue to find their swagger against the Texans.  The shutting down of number one wideouts will continue with Andre Johnson as wild as that seems and Schaub will have to rely on Owen Daniels and Jacoby Jones, who will feel the pressure as well.  Though Cincinnati allows decent yardage totals to quarterbacks, they will be effective in the red zone and expect at least two picks against Schaub.

The Line: 32 attempts, 17 completions, 198 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions

Running Backs:

Ray Rice (BAL) vs. Minnesota

Rice may be emerging as the premiere back for the Ravens, but the Vikings are more than adept at shutting down the opposition on the ground.  A smaller back like Rice will show some productivity in the passing game, but the trenches will prove too much and his total yards will be far from the century mark.  Expect Joe Flacco to take command of the offense and for him to exploit some of the air game weaknesses in the Vikings defense who are allowing an average of 224.6 yards per game to quarterbacks.  Also, this will be the week that Willis McGahee poaches another touchdown and sees more productivity as the stronger of the two rushers.

The Line: 14 carries, 35 yards rushing, 5 receptions, 32 yards receiving

Julius Jones (SEA) vs. Arizona

Matt Hasselbeck is back as the offensive commander in Seattle and Arizona has the worst pass defense in the league.  There's no reason for the Seahawks to not go to the air in what will be a shootout between veteran quarterbacks.  Jones will see limited usage and nothing within the red zone will be handed his way.  No one will run on the goal line after the Cardinals' stand against Chris Brown and the Texans.

The Line: 12 carries, 29 yards, 1 reception, 12 yards

Wide Receivers:

Andre Johnson (HOU) vs. Cincinnati

It's been a pattern for the Bengals defense to shut down No. 1 wideouts this year and Johnson will be the latest to succumb to this astounding feat.  The Bengals will be hard-pressed to make this accomplishment happen against the receiver who is best poised to knock down all barriers (as evidenced by his 17 yard catch-and-run touchdown last week).  However, a merely human number line seems very possible.

The Line: 5 receptions, 52 yards

Johnny Knox (CHI) vs. Atlanta

With Forte running wild, 'da Bears will not rely as much on the passing game to support their offense, even with Jay Cutler under center.  Knox will be drawing more attention as he becomes a larger part of the air game.  Devin Hester will likely be the Bears receiver to play this week, with his speed being put to better use with Cutler's arm.  Knox won't necessarily be an afterthought, but he just won't post wantable numbers.

The Line: 3 receptions, 38 yards

Tight End:

Zach Miller (OAK) vs. Philadelphia

In a decent world, a good tight end like Miller would be able to put up numbers no matter which team he was starting for, but the Raiders are the exception.  The miserable franchise still has JaMarcus Russell starting for them and troubles for Tom Cable are only a distraction that further inhibits any forward progress.  Miller is just falling behind because of his team and the Eagles defense is not to be messed with, especially by such a weak team.

The Line: 1 reception, 7 yards

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