Week 6

antone_smith_2011_09_01This Thursday matchup was finally a close one, even though it didn’t start off that way, with Houston proving that they might just be in some games against good teams instead of wilting like they did last season. And fantasy-wise it was a spectacular day for T.Y. Hilton, who was singlehandedly unbeatable in coverage on the night. I’m already down big in one of my leagues playing against him this week. Luckily for me the same guy played DeAndre Hopkins and he had negligible points.

Week 6 is the week where many of you are hoping to make a move in fantasy. One of my favorite two fantasy teams if 3-2 while the other one is 1-4. For the 1-4 team the margin of losses is less than 10 points, which burns, but that’s why it’s fantasy. It should even out as the season goes along, starting this week.

It’s time for Setting Your Lineup…

QUARTERBACKS

Andy Dalton, CIN. The loss last week in New England wasn’t Dalton’s fault, and in fact he has stepped up big in games this season when it’s necessary. I think the defense holds up strong at home, and with or without A.J. Green, Dalton has a good game tossing the ball to Sanu, Bernard, and Gresham. He will get over 20 fantasy points at home this week.
Brian Hoyer, CLE. I’m one of those Hoyer believers. I think he finds a way, but his finding a way doesn’t always equate into quality fantasy outings every week. He did, however, have a quality fantasy outing in his first game against Pittsburgh this year, and I think he has another one here. The matchup is a good one for him because the Steelers give up lots of points through the air, and Hoyer has been playing very well. He is a top-10 play this week..
Charlie Whitehurst, TEN. Jacksonville hasn’t been the best on either side of the ball this season, so that’s a check in the Whitehurst category. Another is that he played pretty well in relief of Locker last week. The third is that he has Delanie Walker to toss the ball to, and he has been a beast this season. I like Whitehurst to do well in this game, and I’m penciling him in for three passing touchdowns and over 20 fantasy points against the Jaguars.
Kyle Orton, BUF. I don’t even think about Tim Tebow anymore when I consider Orton. He played a solid game last week ,and New England isn’t exactly lights out defensively against receivers, or against running backs who catch well. Orton has both in Sammy Watkins and Fred Jackson. Another week taking first reps helps as well, and I think Orton will be top-12 this week.

AVOID: Tony Romo, DAL. He’s playing at Seattle, and even though he hasn’t turned the ball over much this season to this point, he will be playing behind in this one. That’s a recipe for Romo disaster because that’s when he tends to turn the ball over, and against that opportunistic Seahawks defense in Seattle, he’s not a good play this week.

RUNNING BACKS

Branden Oliver, SD. Ride him while he’s hot because he has an excellent matchup this week in Oakland. In fact, I would even venture to say don’t count on Philip Rivers to be outstanding because he doesn’t have to be. Oliver showed last week that he has that speed and power to make things happen both inside and outside of the tackles. And Oakland isn’t stopping anybody on the ground. Advantage: Oliver.
Antone Smith, ATL. I’m all in on Smith and his playmaking ability. It seems like every single week, even with limited touches, he makes huge plays. It’s only a matter of time before he gets more touches and I think that starts this week. He’s fast, he makes people miss, and he’s playing against that patchwork Chicago run defense. I like both him and Steven Jackson in this one.
Terrance West, CLE. I still don’t buy into Ben Tate as a solid contributor to that Browns’ offense, and he’s still way too injury prone. In the last game against Pittsburgh, even though Tate was in the lineup, West had a better game with over 100 yards. I think he does it again this week and once again embarrasses that Steelers’ defense.
Shane Vereen, NE. I don’t usually like to tout any of those New England runners, but I think against that tough Buffalo defense they might get down early and that’s when they use Vereen more as a pass-catcher. He thrived in that role against Buffalo last year, and I think he will do it again in this one as Brady’s security blanket. Count on Vereen for some good yardage and a touchdown in Buffalo.

AVOID: C.J. Spiller, BUF. Remember how high I am on Fred Jackson getting yardage through the air? That’s how down I am on Spiller on the ground against New England. He’s not getting the touches, number one, and he’s not active in the passing game. I think Orton’s big game comes at the expense of Spiller, and you should leave him on the bench.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Pierre Garcon, WAS. He has totally disappeared the past two weeks as DeSean Jackson has gotten a lot of the work, particularly in Seattle last week, but Garcon is due for a big one. Now that teams are starting to key in on Jackson he will get his opportunity against a relatively poor pass defense in Arizona so far this year. They’ve given up a ton of points to receivers, and I think Cousins will re-acquaint himself with Garcon in this matchup.
Mohamed Sanu, CIN. What I said about Dalton rings true here as well. The last time I suggested Sanu as a starting option he didn’t do much because Green was active and had a great game. Green won’t be active in this one, and even if he is he will be hobbled, quite unlike earlier this season. Sanu has a great rapport with Dalton, and he’s facing a Panthers defense that has been suspect against the pass. Don’t sleep on Sanu throwing another touchdown pass either.
Rueben Randle, NYG. What can I say about Randle? He likes playing against Philadelphia, and I don’t think that changes here. He has proven to be Eli’s go-to man on third downs and in the red zone. He’s a top-10 play this week against a suspect Eagles’ defense that gives up yards to opposing receivers.
Jeremy Maclin, PHI. Foles has to find Maclin in this one to keep the game competitive, and I think he does. Maclin has quietly gotten a ton of targets so far this season and has maximized those opportunities, gathering most of those passes in and scoring touchdowns. He didn’t get one last week, and he will start a new streak this week against the Giants, who he has historically done well against in his career.

AVOID: Randall Cobb, GB. This season Cobb has been pretty much touchdown-dependent, and if he hadn’t scored one last week he would have had a horrible stat line with only two catches. You probably can’t afford to sit Cobb this week, but I don’t think he scores a touchdown, which makes for a weak play. In one of my leagues I’m playing Garcon instead of him, that’s how much I don’t believe in him this week.

TIGHT ENDS

Owen Daniels, BAL. He hasn’t scored since week two, and he’s due for a breakout. Luckily for him he’s facing the Tampa Bay defense this week, a unit that has given up lots of yardage to the tight end position this season. I like him to get a lot of looks and score at least one touchdown in this one, as Flacco likes to look his way.
Delanie Walker, TEN. Look for Walker to bounceback, even if Whitehurst is under center. He needs someone to toss the ball to, and Walker is a big target in the middle of the field. I think he has a monster game against that porous Jacksonville defense. Get him active.
Zach Ertz, PHI. Much has been made about that Giants defense playing well against tight ends so far this season, and a lot more has been made about Ertz’s lack of touches the past three games, but I think he rebounds at home on Sunday night in that versatile Eagles offense. Foles will need to release the ball sooner, and Ertz will benefit from having Sproles as a decoy, especially in the red zone. Look for Ertz to have a good campaign this week and score a touchdown in the process.
Jordan Cameron, CLE. Speaking of big disappointments the past few weeks, Cameron has to rank right up there. In fact, he’s been riding the bench in more fantasy leagues than a little, but I like him against a Pittsburgh defense that hasn’t been lights out against tight ends this season. Cameron is imposing, and he’s finally healthy. I think Hoyer finds him for some serious yardage and at least one score this week.

AVOID: Antonio Gates, SD. Gates has been boom or bust this season, and I honestly don’t think he can be counted on from week to week to produce. He had 18 standard fantasy points against the Jets, but now he faces an Oakland squad that most teams just run over. Just like I don’t think Rivers will run up huge fantasy totals in this one, I am similarly discouraged about Gates’ prospects. If you have a better option, go with him this week instead of the veteran.

Good luck setting your lineups.

The Fantasy Ace

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