James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
Fantasy football owners took a huge blow entering Week 6 as Falcons WR Julio Jones was placed on injured reserve (season-ending) after breaking the screw that was surgically implanted in 2011. It wouldn’t be so bad if Jones was the only problem on the Falcons roster, but he isn’t. Roddy White reportedly has just a 50-50 chance to play in Week 7 (the Falcons are on a bye this week), and Steven Jackson has missed the last three games (due back in Week 7) with a pulled hamstring. If White can’t go in Week 7, that would leave Matt Ryan with Harry Douglas, Kevin Cone and Drew Davis at WR, and Tony Gonzalez at TE to throw to. Jason Snelling was forced from Monday night’s game with a concussion, leaving his Week 7 availability up in the air.
With all the hits to the Falcons roster, Ryan becomes a dicey play going forward even if White comes back 100 percent healthy. The truth is that at age 31, White can’t get the same separation from DBs that he once did and is likely to hold more value in PPR leagues than standard scoring formats. He will draw plenty of targets when healthy, but I’m not sold on him putting up stud numbers in terms of yards or touchdowns. Gonzalez will get a slight boost in value due to the added targets, but don’t go putting him in that top 5 conversation until the Falcons show us how the passing game adapts to the loss of Jones.
The Bengals are sure to be licking their chops as they enter Week 6 against the Bills. I don’t want to ruin the picks below, but the Bengals are sharks and there is blood in the Buffalo water this weekend! The Bills defense has allowed the 10th-most passing yards and TDs (1,417 and 9) to QBs this season, so
Chad Henne – QB, Jaguars: It’s not that I think the Jaguars have a chance to win this game and Henne will pull out the miracle. It’s quite the opposite in fact. The Broncos should be up after their first drive, and won’t look back. That means Henne and the Jaguars will be playing from behind on just about every play. While he could throw a few INTs, he should also be able to put up enough “garbage time” stats to give him a QB1 ranking when the day is over. I would seriously consider playing Henne if you own Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford or even Terrelle Pryor.
Philip Rivers – QB, Chargers: While Rivers is owned in 82.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, he is started in nearly half of them (47.0 percent) because the Chargers have no true names at WR that fantasy owners can trust. The Chargers play a Colts defense that gave up 41 points in its first two games, and then let the Seahawks score 26 points last weekend. Rivers is actually the No. 4-ranked QB on NFL.com right now, and is grossly underrated when it comes to fantasy production.
DeAngelo Williams – RB, Panthers: Williams has had one truly great fantasy season with the Panthers, and that was back in 2008 (1,518 rushing yards and 8 TDs). This season his only good fantasy game came in Week 3 against the Giants, where he ran for 120 empty yards on the ground. This week the Panthers take on the Vikings, and they have allowed RBs to score 22.9 fantasy PPG this season (fourth-worst in the NFL), and have allowed four rushing touchdowns (tied for third worst). It is about time for Williams to score, and I see him with RB2 value this week.
Vincent Jackson – WR, Buccaneers: Jackson is owned in 96.5 percent of NFL.com leagues, but ranks out No. 55 for WRs this season after he has seen his stats drop in each of his first four games this season. The Bucs changed QBs from Josh Freeman to Mike Glennon, and that didn’t help Jackson at all last week. But, the Bucs had a bye at just the right time in Week 5 and Jackson should do damage against an Eagles defense that gives up the most fantasy points to WRs this season at an alarming 37.3 PPG. Jackson is ranked in the WR2 range with real upside into the WR1 crowd if Glennon does his job.
T.Y. Hilton – WR, Colts: Reggie Wayne is still the main man with the Colts, but Hilton is making quite a name for himself this season. So far Hilton has 20 catches for 342 yards and 2 TDs, stats good enough to tie him for 24th among WRs on NFL.com standard scoring formats. This week Hilton and Andrew Luck get to feast on a Chargers secondary that gives up 29.7 fantasy PPG, third worst in the NFL. Even though 94.8 percent of NFL.com fantasy players own Hilton, just 34.3 percent of them start him.
Antonio Gates – TE, Chargers: Rivers has a long history with Gates, so the lack of true names in the WR corps means Gates will be targeted all that much more (10 targets in Week 5). Gates is the No. 4-ranked TE on NFL.com and owned in 97.4 percent of their leagues, but started in just 53.9 percent of them. That start number should be closer to the owned number, and you should be staring Gates until he has his bye in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals Defense: When I started looking at the Week 6 defenses I noticed that all the usual suspects were among the starters, and the same were on the sitter’s list. With that being said, the defense I like the most this week is the Bengals. The Bills have a practice squad QB starting for them, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are both dinged up, and the Bills are sure to run the ball more times than any other team this week due to their QB problems. The Bengals just have to stack the line and play man coverage on the outside and they could easily hold the Bills to a field goal or less in this one.
Terrelle Pryor – QB, Raiders: Pryor has seen his NFL.com ownership jump to 40.3 percent as of Thursday afternoon, after being drafted in the single-digits in fantasy leagues. This weekend the Raiders are on the road against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to QBs this season at 17.0 PPG. If you’ve put all your eggs into Pryor’s fantasy basket, consider what I said above and play Henne off the waiver wire this weekend.
Russell Wilson – QB, Seahawks: Wilson did better than I expected last week against the Colts, but the Titans secondary is better than the Colts in fantasy points allowed to QBs (15.4 PPG for the Titans, fifth in the NFL). Wilson’s weapons on the passing game aren’t all that great, and the Titans haven’t allowed a rushing TD this season to a QB. So, while Wilson may make some plays happen on his own, I am not a fan of him to put up those top 5-7 numbers owners are expecting from him on a weekly basis.
Bilal Powell – RB, Jets: Last week Powell ran for just 38 yards on 12 carries, which produced a season-low 4.70 fantasy points in NFL.com standard scoring leagues. With Mike Goodson back from suspension and handling third-down duties, and Chris Ivory back into the mix for touches, Powell is someone you should trade for just about whatever you can get. His value is going to keep going down with all those RBs in the fold.
Maurice Jones-Drew – RB, Jaguars: For all the same reasons I like Henne this week, I don’t like MJD. The Jaguars won’t have the opportunity to run the ball because they will be forced to throw it 50 times playing from behind. MJD currently sits ranked No. 35 for RBs on NFL.com, and that number is sure to drop after Week 6.
Chris Givens – WR, Rams: Over half the people who play fantasy football on NFL.com own Givens (51.3 percent), but he ranks out as their No. 68 WR through five weeks of the NFL season. This week the Rams lock horns with the Texans and a stingy secondary that has allowed WRs to haul in just 411 receiving yards and 4 TDs in five games this year. The Texans are No. 1 in fantasy points allowed to WRs with an average of 13.3 PPG allowed, so I wouldn’t play anyone in a Rams uniform that lines up at WR this week.
Miles Austin – WR, Cowboys: The Redskins give up the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs this season at 29.4 PPG, and Austin will be active for Week 6. But, rookie Terrance Williams shined last week (151 receiving yards and a TD), which should cause Austin to lose snaps and touches this week. While Austin could finish with solid stats if he catches just one touchdown, it is equally as likely that Williams pushes Austin out of the fantasy picture and his value continues to roll downhill. Who knows, maybe the Falcons make a run at him before the trade deadline.
Jared Cook – TE, Rams: After a huge opening week (141 yards and 2 TDs), Cook has barely done enough to make a blip on the fantasy radar (125 yards and no TDs in the four games since). As I mentioned with Givens above, the Texans shut down the pass and allow just 6.4 fantasy points to TEs this season. Cook was a sell-high candidate after Week 1, and now his trade value is all but gone. Garrett Graham of the Texans would be a better TE option to start on a weekly basis.
New England Patriots Defense: The Patriots are owned in 90.2 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 82.2 percent of those. Heading into Week 6 they are ranked No. 10 in NFL.com scoring, but they face a Saints offense that is ranked fourth in the NFL with 405.0 total YPG, and seventh with 134 points scored. The Patriots should get back TE Rob Gronkowski this week, and if you add him to Danny Amendola you have an offense that can now move the ball. This might be a higher-scoring game than analysts are projecting it to be, and that is never a good thing for fantasy defenses.