As the season goes on, so does our fantasy winning streak. A number of our Week 5 selections came through with the goods, led by a monster comeback game from Tom Brady. Ryan Fitzpatrick disappointed, but Matt Ryan was limited in his matchup against the Broncos, despite picking up the W. Jordan Howard had a monster game as predicted, and Eddie Lacy was well on track to do the same with 80 odd yards midway through the second quarter before unfortunately succumbing to injury. Matt Jones failed to live up to the hype as predicted.
In the receiver department we didn’t fare so well, with both Smith and Matthews having surprisingly quiet games, although the former was due to injury. DeAndre Hopkins was kept in check before cashing in during garbage time, but he still only managed to rank 20th for his position, so resting him would not have proven to be the wrong decision depending on your depth. TE Jesse James rewarded owners with another TD while Brate and Clay were both limited. Now, with that out of the way, it’s time for our Week 6 picks!
Must Start QBs
Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans (v Cleveland Browns)
Ah, the Cleveland Browns defence – 2016’s gift that keeps on giving. As predicted last week, Patriots QB Tom Brady tore them to shreds, and this week a far less prolific QB has his chance to put in a big one for fantasy owners. Last week Marcus Mariota produced an excellent fantasy game with three TDs through the air and one with his feet. Importantly, Mariota went to his rushing game on 7 occasions against Miami – his most attempts for the season so far. Given the Browns obvious weaknesses against any form of offence, it’s easy to see Mariota picking up another bag of TDs via his receivers as well as doing some damage on the ground.
Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals (v New York Jets)
The Cardinal’s veteran QB returns to action after being sidelined by concussion, and his return is a timely one after Arizona potentially averted the early demise of their season in Week 5. While Palmer was throwing for decent yardage before his injury, his performance has been well down on 2015 when it comes to TDs and picks. Against the Bills he played almost as poorly as he did in last year’s NFC Championship game. But after a week off which saw the offence lift its game and with a match up against the Jets on the cards for Week 6, I’m predicting Palmer’s strongest game of the season. His receivers are all finding their groove after a few tough week’s while the same cannot be said for the Jets once feared defences. So far the Jets have given up the fourth most points to opposing QBs, and I’m expecting that trend to continue on Monday night.
Must Sit QBs
Ryan Fitzpatrick – New York Jets (v Arizona Cardinals)
On the other side of the matchup, we have Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets. I showed faith in the newly re-signed QB to get it done last week and was repaid with a swift kick in the teeth for doing so. Needless to say, I’m prepared to hold a grudge when it comes to fantasy football, especially when the player I believed in has a tough match up! The Honey Badger and co stepped up last week as Arizona produced a crucial divisional win, and on the back of their rejuvenated offence I’m tipping the unit to again make like tough for the depleted Jets. Things aren’t getting any easier for New York and last week’s performance did no show me enough to suggest they’re capable of turning the corner any time soon – certainly not this week anyway.
Must Start RBs
LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills (v San Francisco 49ers)
The one they call Shady has enjoyed a very solid start to 2016 and is much of the reason for Buffalo stringing together three straight wins. His opening two matches were somewhat limited, but in games against New England, Arizona and LA he has managed to produce a couple of huge runs on his way to picking up big chunks of yardage and a couple of TDs. With this week’s match up against the Niners, McCoy looks set to explode. San Francisco have given up more rushing yards to opposing RBs than any other team and have leaked 5 TDs on the ground. With McCoy hitting top form and the Bills having a couple of receiver injury concerns, look for them to place a very strong emphasis on the running game. I’m backing the RB for another huge game on the ground and wouldn’t be surprised to see him pick up a couple of TDs.
Lamar Miller – Houston Texans (v Indianapolis Colts)
After making an off season move from Miami to Houston, many fantasy coaches had high expectations for Lamar Miller, especially given all the moves made by the Texans to bolster their offence. But it’s fair to say so far his performances have been somewhat overwhelming. So much so, many coaches that used a high draft pick on him (this writer included) have been benching him in favour of in form RBs such as DeMarco Murray and, most recently, Jordan Howard. But it’s not all doom and gloom for Miller. Despite limited opportunities (in part thanks to a struggling Brock Osweiler), Miller has still managed to produce respectable yardage, averaging just under 100 combined yards per game. The only issue is he’s yet to cross the plane for a TD. This week should see that dry spell brought to an end, with the Colts being one of the worst teams against opposing RBs. They’ve conceded 4 TDs on the ground and 3 through the air against RBs, which suggests a tasty match up for the dual threat Miller. I’m tipping him to have his 2016 breakout game and finally reward the patience of coaches who were hoping for so much more thus far.
Must Sit RBs
Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys (v Green Bay Packers)
This seemingly outlandish call shouldn’t come as too much of a shock for regular readers of this column. I like to make bold predictions, and (thankfully!) they usually come off. This week’s out there pick of the week is potentially the bravest of the year so far. But it’s the right match up for it. We’ve got this years leading RB coming up against the seasons strongest rushing defence – and I’m picking the immovable object to come up trumps against the unstoppable force. Some may say the Packers defence has been boosted by the lack of feature backs they’ve come up against, but they have been that dominant against the run I feel they still would have done the job against anyone. Let’s not forget they kept future HOF’er Adrian Peterson to 19 yards from 12 carries before he went of injured in Minnesota. Elliott has been amazing, and has no doubt shown Rookie of the Year credentials early, but I’m tipping this to be one of his few low points for the season.
Must Start WRs
Jeremy Maclin – Kansas City Chiefs (v Oakland Raiders)
I’ve named Maclin a must start earlier this season, only to see him produce one of this lowest performances in a while. This week though, I love the match up too much to leave him out. And it’s not just the Chiefs offensive matchup that contributes to this, but also their poor defensive ability this year against opposing wideouts. Firstly, the offence. the Raiders have been the worst against opposing WRs this year. They’ve leaked over 1000 yards and 7 TDs to receivers, conceding almost 30 fantasy points per game to the position. Maclin is the obvious benefactor here if that trend were to continue. On the other side of the coin, the Chiefs are fifth worst, conceding 750 odd yards and 5 TDs. Why is this relevant? The Raiders have the offensive arsenal to score points against this Kansas City lineup, meaning I don’t expect the Chiefs to get a small lead and get into the ground. They’re going to have to throw the football to stay in this game. Last time these two teams played Maclin picked up 3 TDs, and I’m expecting another big performance from him on Sunday.
Brandin Cooks – New Orleans Saints (v Carolina Panthers)
After having an explosive first week of 2016 with 140 yards and two TD, Brandin Cooks has been extremely limited in the week’s preceding the Saints early bye. But the Saints WR’s performances haven’t been without effort. He’s still received his fair share of targets, he just failed to make the most of them against Atlanta and was kept in check courtesy of a strong match up against Jason Verrett and the Chargers. Given the struggles we’ve seen from the Panthers secondary, most notable against Atlanta, I’m expecting Cooks to bounce back to form in a big way this week. The speedy wideout often runs similar routes to Falcons veteran Julio Jones, so while I’m not expecting Cooks to replicate Julio’s 300 yard effort from earlier this year, I am expecting big numbers, especially given the Saints offence is almost entirely dependent on Drew Brees and the pass.
Must Sit WRs
DeSean Jackson – Washington Redskins (v Philadelphia Eagles)
The Redskins number 1 WR sure has been a frustrating player to follow in 2016. He started the year against Pittsburgh with a promising 100 yard game only to follow it up with 40 against Dallas in week 2. In week 3 against the Giants he picked up another 100 odd yards and a TD, only to back it up with 5 (yes, FIVE) yards against the CLEVELAND BROWNS of all teams in week 4. Week 5 was another disappointment as he accumulated 35 against the Ravens. In week 6, he faces perhaps his toughest matchup of the year against the Eagles, a top 5 pass defence who have given up only one TD against wide receivers all year. The form line shows Jackson is having an unpredictable season, so he could manage to bust out a big game, especially with Kirk Cousins timely return to form. But I just can’t bring myself to trust him, and I’m confident to side with the stats on this one.
Must Start TEs
Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans (v Cleveland Browns)
Since 2014 Heisman winner and 2015 number 2 draft pick Marcus Mariota came into the league, Delanie Walker has often been his main man in the passing offence. So much so, that the veteran TE enjoyed his best ever season in the rookie QBs debut year. In 2016 this trend looks to continue with Walker on track to produce similar numbers. Notably, in 2016 Walker’s two best games have been against teams with lesser passing defences, with the combination bullying the Lions and Dolphins to the tune of 83 and 66 yards respectively, with a TD in each game. The Cleveland Browns fall firmly into the category of teams with weak passing defences and are by far the worst in the league at stopping TEs, a fact emphasised massively last week by Martellus Bennett. I’ve already tipped Mariota for a big game this week, and you can rest assured he’ll be achieving that by leaning on his favourite receiver.
Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys (v Green Bay Packers)
My second Dallas player featured this week, but for vastly different reasons. While I’m expecting Green Bay to be strong against the run this week, one area they haven’t been overly impressive is the pass defence, and the TE position appears to be causing a few problems for them. They’ve given up 300 yards and two TDs to the position in their 4 games this season, leaking roughly 10 fantasy points a game. It could have been much worse too, with Giants TE Will Tye dropping a ball just before half time last week that had he caught it would almost certainly been a 50 odd yard TD. As for the Cowboys, since Dez Bryant has been out, Witten has been targeted on a quarter of rookie QB Dak Prescott’s passes. He’s so far picked up a solid amount of yardage but yet to do anything of fantasy relevance due to the lack of scoring. Given the targets he enjoys and the overall match up this week, I’m tipping the veteran TE to put in his best game of the season.
Must Sit TEs
Will Tye – New York Giants (v Baltimore Ravens)
Speaking of Tye, I’ve noticed he’s been a player that’s picked up a bit of attention over the last two week’s thanks to promising performances against Minnesota and Green Bay in the absence of Larry Donnell. But I would strongly warn those who intend on picking him up off the waiver wire, as a streaming TE or even in daily fantasy. Firstly there is a strong possibility Donnell will return this week, and if he does he will slot right back into the number 1 TE position. But even if he doesn’t, the Giants have a tough match up this weekend against the Baltimore. The Ravens defence has given up only 200 yards to opposing TEs and are yet to concede a TD to the position. Regardless of how well Tye has been playing and how good his numbers could have been with a bit of luck, this week looks to be a very tough one – regardless of whether he retains his starting spot or not.