Overall, Week 6 was my best week. I went 4-2 in my six leagues. Unfortunately, my two losses were in big-time money leagues where I really needed a win. One of those two losses was against an 0-5 team whose players finally went off…at my expense. In three of my four money leagues, I am last, second to last, and third to last in “Points Scored Against.” I can’t catch a break. Every team that goes against me blows up. In the league where I’m in last for PSA, the league has standard scoring, and scoring over 100 is very good. I have 726 points scored against me through six weeks, at a clip of 121 points per week. That’s absurd. If you read those Yahoo recaps, it says “If this team had your schedule, they’d be 0-6.” The fact that I’m 2-4 is a miracle. In another league, I have the second-highest scoring team in the league, but I’m also 2-4, because teams that play me go off and then do nothing against other teams. I expect a little bad luck from time to time, but the fact that it’s hitting me in every single league is starting to get ridiculous.
Some of the really bad breaks that went against me include:
- Starting Cecil Shorts, who went down early with an injury, and facing Justin Blackmon, who benefitted to the tune of 190 yards receiving.
- Having the Kansas City Chiefs Defense, who had 10 sacks, in a league that inexplicably does not count sacks as points for the defense! In the league where I was playing AGAINST the KC D, of course, sacks counted.
- Facing off against Vincent Jackson and Marshawn Lynch in multiple leagues, who got two touchdowns each after weeks of mediocre play.
- Banking on a Broncos blowout and starting Ronnie Hillman for the garbage time points, benching Stevan Ridley who had his best game of the year with two touchdowns (that was my fault…I outsmarted myself)
- The 0-5 dude starts Steven Hauschka and the Tennessee Defense. Hauschka gets taken out on a kickoff return and Seattle puts the punter in to kick the field goal. Awesome, I think. Seattle gets points but Hauschka doesn’t. Well, the new holder bungles everything up, and Tennessee gets a defensive touchdown and takeaway. And to make matters worse, Hauschka ends up BACK in the game and kicks two more field goals.
Hopefully my run of bad luck ends and I can catch a break for once. But I play against three teams who are starting Trent Richardson, including the league I traded him hours before the Browns traded him for real. So you know this is the week that Richardson will go off because of course it will be.
Let’s get into Week 7 before I decide to hang myself.
Note: “Comfortables” can be started in all leagues. “Cautions” may be started in 12-team leagues and should definitely be started in 14-team leagues, but might be bench considerations for 10-team leagues or lower. “Casualties” shouldn’t be started in any leagues. “Sleepers” are meant for FLEX spots in 12- and 14-team leagues
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
Comfortables: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Larry Fitzgerald, Seattle Defense
Cautions: Rashard Mendenhall, Andre Ellington, Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, Arizona Defense
Casualties: Carson Palmer, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Alphonso Smith, Stephan Taylor, Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Andre Roberts, Zach Miller (if active), Rob Housler
Thursday Night Game + Mediocre Offenses + Stout Defenses = LOW SCORING GAME. I wouldn’t blame you if you benched Russell Wilson for this one. Larry Fitzgerald proved last week that you don’t bench your studs (a lesson I learned the hard way). So aside from him, Marshawn, and the Seattle D, every other option is risky. Of course, given how it’s supposed to be a defensive struggle, this thing could turn into a shootout because the NFL is weird this year. But I’m banking on the defenses to rule the day here, especially Seattle’s.
Prediction: Seahawks win 7-3.
Chicago Bears vs. Washington Redskins
Comfortables: Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III, Matt Forte, Alfred Morris, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Pierre Garcon, Martellus Bennett, Chicago Defense
Casualties: Michael Bush, Roy Helu, Earl Bennett, Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson, Kellen Davis, Fred Davis, Washington Defense
Sleeper: Jordan Reed
Brandon Marshall continued the trend of whining baby WRs getting their bottle the game after they complain, which seriously hurt Alshon Jeffery owners. I expect a Jeffery turnaround this week considering Washington’s porous pass defense. I like all starters in this game, even Jordan Reed, who is getting more and more looks at tight end for Washington week after week. RG3 started displaying that speed we were waiting for last week against Dallas, and I think that barring injury he’ll get stronger and stronger as the weeks go on. This isn’t a great matchup for him, but I think he’ll get a couple scores and some yards on the ground.
Prediction: Chicago wins a shootout on the road.
St. Louis Rams vs. Carolina Panthers
Comfortables: Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Carolina Defense
Cautions: Sam Bradford, Zac Stacy, St. Louis Defense
Casualties: Daryl Richardson, Isiah Pead, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Brandon LaFell, Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks
Sleeper: Mike Tolbert
Carolina is getting like Tennessee for me. They’re impossible to predict. Either Newton and the Defense are clicking, and they look like a dominant team, or they’re not, and they look inept. Last week, we got the Dr. Jekyll of the Panthers. Will Mr. Hyde come out this week? I think not. St. Louis overperformed last week against a terrible Houston team. The offense isn’t very good. I’m ready to cut bait with Tavon Austin if I don’t own him in a keeper league (which I do unfortunately…so I have to hold on even if I don’t want to). I’m absolutely starting Mike Tolbert in a touchdown-heavy league I’m in. He’s the goal-line guy, moreso than Newton even. Go Kool Aid man!
Prediction: The good Panthers show up and dominate the Rams at home.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions
Comfortables: Matthew Stafford, Giovani Bernard, Reggie Bush, AJ Green, Calvin Johnson
Cautions: Andy Dalton, BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Joique Bell, Tyler Eifert, Brandon Pettigrew, Cincinnati Defense, Detroit Defense
Casualties: Mohammad Sanu, Marvin Jones, Patrick Edwards, Kris Durham, Ryan Broyles, Kevin Ogletree, Jermaine Gresham, Tony Scheffler
Sleeper: Joseph Fauria
Joseph Fauria who??? Looks like this dude is the new red zone target with defenses focusing all their attention on Megatron. Considering that his three touchdown catches were his only three catches of the day last week, I’d say it’s mining for fool’s gold to start chasing touchdowns. With this game, I’m only looking at the “studs,” and yes, that includes Megatron. He’s the most talented wide receiver in the league, banged up or not, and he’s “due.” It should be interesting to see him fight with AJ Green for the spotlight in this game.
Prediction: Stafford-to-Megatron heats up again and the Lions win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Comfortables: Doug Martin, Steven Jackson (if active), Jacquizz Rodgers (if S-Jax is inactive), Jason Snelling (if S-Jax is Inactive), Vincent Jackson, Tony Gonzalez, Tampa Bay Defense, Atlanta Defense
Cautions: Mike Glennon, Matt Ryan, Mike Williams (if active), Roddy White (if active), Harry Douglas
Casualties: Any Tampa WRs not named Jackson or Williams, Any Atlanta WRs not named White or Douglas
Sleeper: Tim Wright
Poor Falcons. No Julio Jones. A barely-mobile Roddy White. And possibly no Steven Jackson? He hasn’t practiced yet since pulling his hamstring in Week 2, which is concerning for a 30-year-old running back. I myself just traded Rob Gronkowski for him, and am concerned he might not see the field for a while. So if Roddy White is out, can you really rely on Harry Douglas to be a number one receiver this week, especially if he’s on Revis Island? DeSean Jackson, he is not. I like Jacquizz Rodgers in Jackson’s absence more than Jason Snelling, although Snelling is the goal-line back. I think Atlanta will have to lean on the run game, although Tampa’s run defense is stout. As for the Bucs, they’re starting to right the ship a little bit, but you have to wonder when Doug Martin’s going to have that breakout game. Considering how well the Jets ran on the Falcons a couple weeks back, and how demoralized the Falcons are, I think this is the week it happens. Vincent Jackson is a no brainer in the Bucs passing game, but former Rutgers Scarlet Knight Tim Wright has come out of nowhere as Mike Glennon’s security blanket, and is worth a look for deep DEEP sleepers at tight end. Jimmy Graham owners, take note.
Prediction: Martin gets it going, and V-Jax is involved heavy in the passing game, leading Tampa Bay to their first win of the year against a reeling Atlanta team.
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Comfortables: Ryan Tannehill, CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson, Lamar Miller, Mike Wallace, Charles Clay, Miami Defense
Cautions: Thad Lewis (if active), Stevie Johnson (if active), Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Scott Chandler, Buffalo Defense
Casualties: Matt Flynn (if Thad Lewis is inactive), Tashard Choice, Daniel Thomas, Robert Woods
Maybe over their bye the Dolphins figured out that they need to feature Lamar Miller more and stop trying to convince themselves that Daniel Thomas is any good. I don’t know how these guys can watch the same game tape we all watch and still think the backfield is in question? I actually like Tannehill a lot in this matchup and he’d be a good bye-week plug-in for Drew Brees owners. You have to start both CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. You can’t risk having either go off on your bench. Miami’s defense is tougher than it looks and they’re at home, but the talent is too tempting for Spiller and F-Jax is still getting the opportunities. I don’t like any options in the Bills passing game at all, regardless of who starts. Matt Flynn is back from the dead, people. You can’t like Stevie Johnson or Scott Chandler’s chances of succeeding in this one.
Prediction: Miami stymies Buffalo at home.
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Comfortables: Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Kenbrell Thompkins, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski (if active)
Cautions: Geno Smith, Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory, Aaron Dobson, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, New England Defense, New York Jets Defense
Casualties: LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, David Nelson
Sleeper: Jeff Cumberland
I’m tired of saying this is the week where Rob Gronkowski comes back and being wrong, so I’m done. Danny Amendola got flattened like a pancake, so feel free to roll with Julian Edelman in PPR leagues. He always thrives in Amendola’s absence. Kenbrell Thompkins is risky because he has to rely on the touchdown to get his points, but it’s a calculated risk to start him because Brady is looking his way. He’s also looking Aaron Dobson’s way, but Dobson keeps dropping whatever’s thrown to him. So if you get points for targets, start him immediately! Otherwise, use caution. It’s going to be hard to sit Stevan Ridley after he finally had his breakout game last week, and is back in the good graces of his coach, but be forewarned that the matchup isn’t that great. For the Jets, I think everybody’s risky. Can you comfortably start ANYBODY? I’d say Bilal Powell, but now that Chris Ivory’s in the mix, the waters are a little bit murkier. Still, with all this uncertainty, I think the Jets have a reasonably good shot of winning this game! They’re home, they always show up to play for the Patriots, and Geno Smith has been up and down, but he bounces back from bad performances. With possibly no Aquib Talib, and definitely no Vince Wilfork and Jerrod Mayo, the Jets definitely have a puncher’s chance here.
Prediction: New England squeaks by a game Jets team.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Comfortables: Tony Romo, Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, DeSean Jackson, Jason Witten
Cautions: Bryce Brown, Miles Austin, Zach Ertz
Casualties: Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Brent Celek, Dallas Defense, Philadelphia Defense
Sleeper: Joseph Randle
I expect a lot of offense in this one, but I expected a lot of offense last week when the Cowboys faced the Redskins and came away disappointed. But Philly’s defense is still bad, when even the friggin’ Bucs lit it up on them last week. Mike Glennon is no Tony Romo, so I expect everybody in Dallas’s passing game to benefit. Joseph Randle is the last man standing in the Cowboys backfield, so congratulations if you were able to pick him up (I was not as fortunate and had to settle for Brandon Jacobs…more on him later). He should benefit with some touches but I think the real beneficiary is Tony Romo. A decent secondary would focus more on the receivers, but Philly isn’t any good. This has shootout written all over it.
Prediction: Philly’s fast-paced offense can’t catch up to Romo and the Cowboys get a big division win on the road.
San Diego Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Comfortables: Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, Maurice Jones-Drew, Keenan Allen, Justin Blackmon, Antonio Gates
Cautions: Chad Henne, Vincent Brown
Casualties: All Jaguars Except MJD, Blackmon, and Henne (including Defense), Ronnie Brown, Eddie Royal
Sleeper: San Diego Defense
Nobody expected THAT out of the Jaguars facing the biggest point spread in history last week! Sure, they lost, but they have to feel great they were the only team to slow down Peyton Manning so far this year. Now they face Philip Rivers who is inferior to Manning, but I personally think the Jags lay an egg here. The loss of Cecil Shorts puts extra attention on Justin Blackmon, but he might be so damn talented that it won’t matter. Other than he and MJD, I’m not starting any Jaguars if I can’t help it. The Chargers look very sharp on offense with a two-headed running monster of Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead (both startable), and the emergence of PPR monster Keenan Allen. Even with the Chargers traveling across the country, I think they’ll efficiently put away Jacksonville.
Prediction: Chargers win on the road.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Tennessee Titans
Comfortables: Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, San Francisco Defense, Tennessee Defense
Cautions: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chris Johnson, Kendall Wright
Casualties: All Tennessee Backups, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Quinton Patton, Delanie Walker
Sleeper: Anthony Dixon
Where’s Admiral Ackbar when you need him? IT’S A TRAP! The Titans are winning this game. Colin Kaepernick has struggled offensively and relied on the running game to bail him out. He will face tough sledding this week against an underrated Titans defense at home. You have to start Gore, Boldin and Vernon Davis, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they all underperformed in this game. I don’t know who will score for the Titans, and neither do you, so you can’t start anybody, but I definitely think the Titans D is a sleeper D. Beware beware. Thankfully I don’t have to start anybody in this game.
Prediction: Mark it down. Titans win.
Cleveland Browns vs. Green Bay Packers
Comfortables: Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Josh Gordon, Jordy Nelson, James Jones (if active), Jordan Cameron, Green Bay Defense
Cautions: Brandon Weeden, Willis McGahee, Chris Ogbannaya (in PPR format), Jermichael Finley, Cleveland Defense
Casualties: Brian Rainey, Jonathan Franklin, Greg Little, Davone Bess
Sleeper: Jarrett Boykin
Losing Randall Cobb for the (fantasy) season hurts, but Jarrett Boykin might be able to be involved in the passing game if you managed to grab him off the wire. I really like Jordy Nelson as he remains the final healthy, reliable target standing for Aaron Rodgers. You’d think Jermichael Finley’s targets would go up, but he has to catch them for them to count. Eddie Lacy will be relied on more to control the tempo of the game, so I like Lacy a lot. For the Browns, it’s frustrating for Willis McGahee owners if they’re playing from behind. In that case, Chris Ogbannaya gets the nod, especially in PPR formats. Jordan Cameron hasn’t had a good game in three weeks, and got the majority of his points last week in garbage time. I’m willing to give Cameron another chance this week, but if he duds again, we have to chalk it up to Brian Hoyer and say that Cameron can’t contribute with Brandon Weeden throwing to him. Josh Gordon is still money though.
Prediction: Even without Cobb, the Pack rolls in Lambeau.
Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Comfortables: Alex Smith, Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Defense
Cautions: Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Donnie Avery, Garrett Graham, Shaun McGrath, Houston Defense
Casualties: TJ Yates, Ben Tate, Knile Davis
Holy hell the Texans are awful. How did this happen? You can’t start anybody in this passing offense. You have to start Andre Johnson but I wouldn’t feel happy about it at ALL. It doesn’t matter if it’s Matt Schaub or TJ Yates…against the Chiefs D at home, they’re not going to do well. I also like Alex Smith, and Dwayne Bowe gets his last chance here.
Prediction: KC remains unbeaten.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Comfortables: Ray Rice, Le’Veon Bell, Torrey Smith, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Baltimore Defense, Pittsburgh Defense
Cautions: Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Bernard Pierce, Marlon Brown, Emmanuel Sanders
Casualties: Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Felix Jones, Tandon Doss, Dallas Clark
This is going to be a low-scoring, defensive-minded affair. But you should still start the studs at RB, WR and DEF. I also like Heath Miller at TE for Big Ben. Le’Veon Bell needs to flash some of that wiggle he had against Minnesota, because the Jets bottled him up last week.
Prediction: Ravens get a big road win against their rival.
Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts
Comfortables: Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Knowshown Moreno, Trent Richardson, Demariyus Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Julius Thomas
Cautions: Coby Fleener, Denver Defense
Casualties: Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Donald Brown, Andre Caldwell, Darius Heyward-Bey, Joel Dreessen, Indianapolis Defense
I’m comin’ home. I’m comin’ home. Tell the world I’m comin’ home. I HATE THAT SONG SO MUCH. Anyway, nothing I need to say about the Broncos. You’re starting them all. This is the most potent offense in the NFL, regardless of how things went last week. I think Peyton’s coming back to Indy to prove a point. So much for Ronnie Hillman getting the garbage time points. My logic was sound though, as you can see that Knowshown Moreno got three rushing TDs. Roll with the starters this week and don’t get cute. On Indy’s side, as I mentioned at the top, you must start Trent Richardson. I’m playing against him in three of my four money leagues (including the league I traded him). And knowing my luck, he’ll go off. T.Y. Hilton is boom-or-bust. Hope for the boom this week.
Prediction: Peyton gives Indy flashes of what used to be by lighting up Lucas Oil Stadium.
Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Giants
Comfortables: Eli Manning, Adrian Peterson, Brandon Jacobs, Greg Jennings, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Reuben Randle, Minnesota Defense
Cautions: Matt Cassell (if starting), Kyle Rudolph, Brandon Myers, New York Giants Defense
Casualties: Toby Gerhart, Mike Cox, Jerome Simpson
Sleeper: Josh Freeman (if starting)
I’m all in on Brandon Jacobs this week. Got him in three leagues (tried for Joseph Randle but missed out…Jacobs is the consolation prize). He won’t have games like Chicago very often, but Minnesota’s depleted defense reminds me of Chicago’s front seven, and Jacobs should find the same success on the ground in this one. And God help me for being a Giant fan, but I think that you can roll with Eli for one more week. This is his last chance. Despite being a knucklehead, Reuben Randle keeps getting second chances (meanwhile Wilson has two fumbles and is benched for life, go fig). I think you can comfortably start him as well.
Prediction: The Giants should win this one. If not, they’re going 0-16.
Good luck (hope it’s better than mine!) in Week 7.