This week in fantasy could very well be a pivotal week for your team. In one league I’m 1-4 and I cannot afford to go 1-5, but the leader in my division is 3-2 so all is not lost yet. One good week and I can be right back in it. The key is not to panic, to trust in my players, and to play the waiver wire judiciously ahead of my Week 6 contest.
As usual, unless they’re studs (think Brees, Freeman, and Jones) I wasn’t playing them on Thursday night anyway, and odds were no one in your league trusted in Ben Watson enough to play him either, so you’re no worse off for wear. They key now is to trust in your players to correct their course. Don’t worry about the team you’re playing against. Just work through your own lineup one position at a time.
That’s what I’m here for. It’s time for Setting Your Lineup…
QBs to PLAY
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Washington – He’s a journeyman so you can’t trust him, right? Tell that to Fitz because he obviously doesn’t know it. The Redskins defense isn’t as maligned as it used to be, but you can still throw on them, and Fitz will definitely get the ball to his receivers in this one. You’ll already have Brandon Marshall active, and Eric Decker will be a solid WR2. Get Fitzpatrick active.
Colin Kaepernick vs. Baltimore – That Ravens defense just isn’t the same, and they’re vulnerable to both the run and the pass right now. It fits into Kaepernick’s wheelhouse. He’s been playing better of late, and I think it continues here against a team fighting to find its identity.
Jay Cutler vs. Detroit – Yes, his receivers are all banged up, and he might not even have Martellus Bennett in this contest, but he’s still got that arm and… it’s Detroit. This game is likely to be a shootout, in which case I like both quarterbacks to shine in the fantasy universe. Oh, and Cutler still has Matt Forte, who, last I checked, is a dynamic receiver out of the backfield.
QB to AVOID
Josh McCown vs. Denver – Three straight weeks going over 300 yards, and McCown must feel pretty good right about now, but this week he’s going up against that phenomenal Broncos defense that has limited every single quarterback they’ve faced this season. The streak continues for them, and it’s a bump in the road for McCown. Keep him on the bench.
RBs to PLAY
Giovani Bernard @ Buffalo – Jeremy Hill is not dead, but even if he were playing well, Gio Bernard would get more work in this one. Buffalo has been great against the straight up running game, but Bernard catches the ball well and has been playing lights out of late. Count on Andy Dalton to find him early and often in both the run game and the pass game.
Knile Davis @ Minnesota – With Jamaal Charles out for the rest of the season the consensus has been that Charcandrick West will get the vast majority of the carries, but what works best against the Vikings will be a downhill approach. Guess who that favors? Davis. Besides, Andy Reid likes to keep everyone guessing. I like Davis a lot in this one.
Melvin Gordon @ Green Bay – The way to beat the Packers at Lambeau Field is to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field, and the best way to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field is to run the football. Todd Gurley showed it can be done last week, and now it’s Gordon’s turn. There’s just something about rookie runners that feels so good against the Pack.
RB to AVOID
Dion Lewis @ Indianapolis – There’s something to be said for LeGarrette Blount and his insanely good history against the Colts, but even more than that, Lewis is as of Saturday morning questionable for the contest with abdomen issues. The Patriots won’t need him for this one. You might not have alternatives on your bench, but temper expectations.
WRs to PLAY
Eric Decker vs. Washington – I’m all in on the Jets offense in this one, especially coming off the bye week against a defense that has been playing above its head so far this season. Chris Ivory will keep them honest and open up lanes for Fitzpatrick to pick them apart through the air.
Allen Hurns vs. Houston – Quietly (or not so quietly, if you’ve been paying attention), that Jacksonville offense has been humming along the past few weeks. They don’t have the wins to show for it, but that’s okay when you’re talking about fantasy points. Both Hurns and Robinson (the Allens) have been worthy of slotting into your lineup before, and the same is true this week against a Houston defense that is vulnerable against the pass.
Donte Moncrief vs. New England – Contrary to popular opinion, this will not be a one-sided affair. With Andrew Luck back Moncrief should shine against a re-vamped New England secondary that hasn’t been great against #2 receivers. Don’t be snowed by the Andre Johnson show last week in that revenge game. This one will return the balance of power to Moncrief, and he will benefit those who put him in the lineup.
WR to AVOID
Pierre Garcon @ NY Jets – If you haven’t gotten it right now, I don’t trust the inconsistent Redskins offense. Cousins will always be in line to make the “big” mistake, and against this very good Jets defense that’s more probable than not. It also means that you can’t trust his receivers. DeSean Jackson might be back to take some pressure off the rest of the corps, but imagine who will be on Revis island if Jackson isn’t 100%?
TEs to PLAY
Delanie Walker vs. Miami – The Dolphins have been all out of sorts, and I don’t think that a simple coaching change will fix them in short order. More likely they’re a work in progress all season, and that continues against a Tennessee offense that was just stymied last week. In keeping with the up-and-down rookie QB theme, I think Mariota has a good one here, and Walker benefits. Kendall Wright is a good flex play too.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Kansas City – Kansas City has been a massive disappointment on defense, nearly as much as the aforementioned Dolphins, but they will sell out to stop Adrian Peterson from beating them in this one. That opens the door for Teddy Westside… I mean Bridgewater to have a good day through the air. Rudolph is a great PPR play, and he can even help you in standard leagues based on his potential to score.
Zach Ertz vs. NY Giants – Monday night should be full of fireworks with Eli Manning and Sam Bradford facing off against two defenses that give up a ton of yardage through the air. Bradford has been skilled lately at getting the ball to various receivers, and Ertz has had his fair share of work. The Giants give up yardage to tight ends so both Celek and Ertz are good plays this week.
TE to AVOID
Charles Clay vs. Cincinnati – The Bengals are fantastic against tight ends, and they have been all season. Clay was used only sparingly last week, and there will be more of the same this week. If you have an alternative on your bench you might want to get him active instead.
FLEX to PLAY
Antonio Brown vs. Arizona – Sure, Brown hasn’t caught a touchdown pass from anyone but Ben Roethlisberger, and I don’t see any way the big guy plays in this game, so maybe he’s not an obvious play at WR, but as a flex play he has massive potential. He’s an obvious stud, even though the past few weeks haven’t featured him. He asked Vick to get him the ball this week, and he will. Don’t sit Brown based on the matchup or the QB.
Keenan Allen @ Green Bay – The Packers can be beat through the air, and someone besides Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead needs to catch the ball for Rivers. I think Keenan Allen will be up to the task, and you should get him active for what should be a high scoring game on both sides of the ball.
C.J. Anderson @ Cleveland – Yes, the Broncos running game has been abysmal all season long (aside from that 72-yard run from Ronnie Hillman in Week 4). But if there’s any week they’ll finally get it going it will be this one against Cleveland. And Anderson’s the man because he’s healthy while Hillman is dealing with an injury and might not even be available. Get him off your bench for this one.
FLEX to AVOID
Jonathan Stewart @ Seattle – This is not the week to trust Stewart, against an angry Seahawks team that just gave up a game they had to win against Cincinnati. They’re back at home, and they will stuff the Carolina run game. The only player you can trust for Carolina in this one besides Cam Newton is Greg Olsen.
K to PLAY
Nick Novak @ Jacksonville
Josh Brown @ Philadelphia
Mike Nugent @ Buffalo
K to AVOID
Andrew Franks @ Tennessee
D/ST to PLAY
Jacksonville vs. Houston
Philadelphia vs. NY Giants
Tennessee vs. Miami
D/ST to AVOID
Green Bay vs. San Diego