Fantasy Focus: Week 6 - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Fantasy Focus: Week 6


Another weekend is in the books of fantasy football fun, and by now, there are some teams we feel we can count on, that can help us project performance. Take for instance, the Vikings' defense, which has been downright nasty and nothing looks like that will change.  Unfortunately, there are still several teams, where it seems to be a week-to-week situation.  How about Detroit for example?  After how they had played, did anyone give Matt Stafford much of a chance to post anything useful Sunday against a tough Philly 'D'?  Probably not, but then of course, he throws 3 touchdown passes!  It can be frustrating, when you're trying to play the matchups, and things don't turn out the way we figured they would, but it's the NFL--or "the never figure-it-out league!!"  So, we'll just continue to break down the matchups the best we can, and make the best calls based on what we know and hope for the best!  Let's dig in to this weekend's action!!

49ERS AT BILLS -- 12:00 CST

This one could be ugly in fantasy and reality.  The big story here is that Colin Kaepernick could replace Blaine Gabbert at starting quarterback for San Francisco...finally!!!  We'll have to see how much of an upgrade Kaepernick is, but he surely can't be much worse than Gabbert was.  I would hold off on starting him, but it can't hurt to pick him up and put him on your bench.  As for the receiving corp, it's hard to say how this will affect them.  Jeremy Kerley has been an efficient slot/possession receiver, and I could see him continuing to be fairly productive.  He's put up nice numbers in 3 of the 5 games this year.  Now who knows if that will continue, with the change in quarterback, because that can be a fickle thing, but Kerley is still worth a WR 3–4 or flex spot.  As for Torrey Smith and the rest of the receivers, we'll just have to wait and see how things go.  The one must-start here is still running back Carlos Hyde, although I don't like the matchup here, against a very tough Bills' defense in Buffalo.  He still an RB-2 start though.  Do not start the 49ers defense at all.

As for Buffalo, it's all about LeSean McCoy, and you're definitely starting him here.  Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is also an interesting play against a not-so-great 49ers' defense.  He's a good spot start, if you're hurting at QB this week.  He has that extra value since he makes so many plays with his legs.  At receiver, with Sammy Watkins done, Robert Woods is the de-facto #1, and he's been getting targets.  He came up small last week, but he Taylor just missed him on a couple big plays.  He's not a bad play though if you need someone in your flex or WR-3 slot who can get you 5-7 catches.  He's definitely more valuable in a PPR format though.  The rest of the wideouts are unreliable.  Tight end Charles Clay finally showed up, but you can't count on him week to week.  The Bills' 'D' should be a great start here at home against San Fran!


This should be fun and an interesting matchup as well.  Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins are playing well now after dropping their first two, but they didn't really come through last week for us, in a low-scoring slugfest in Baltimore.  I'm not sure what to think this week with Philly coming to Washington.  Last week, Matthew Stafford and the Lions threw 3 TDs against the Eagles' D, before they began to put clamps down.  This is one of those divisional matchups that you just never know about.  First let's start it out with a MAJOR buzzkill.  Tight end Jordan Reed suffered a concussion sometime in Sunday's game, and by all accounts, is going to miss this one!  He was doing so well, but unfortunately, the injury bug has bitten him again.  Niles Paul and Vernon Davis will try to step up in his absence.  Paul is probably the better play if you're the gambling type.  As for the aforementioned Kirk Cousins, I think if you're hurting and need someone, he could do okay here playing at home, but if you have someone with a far better matchup, then you should sit him.  As for the receivers, I'm a little worried about DeSean Jackson against his old team.  The Philly safeties are tough and could put the clamps down on him.  Proceed with caution if you plan on using D-Jax, and I know there are some people out there that just have to play him anyway.  I think Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garçon can be WR-3/flex plays, but if you can guess which one will do better, more power to you, LOL!  Last week it was Garçon, the two weeks before that it was Crowder.  It makes for a tough situation to predict, so if you want to roll the dice on one, be my guest.  At running back, it could be another tough one for Matt Jones.  I'd avoid him here if possible.  The Redskins' defense is not a great play this week.

Well, Carson Wentz finally threw an interception, but hey it was bound to happen!  I wouldn't be afraid to start him if necessary, against a so-so Washington defense.  The only one of his receivers you can trust is Jordan Matthews, although he hasn't exactly been killing it or anything.  You're still playing him here as a nice WR-2.  Other than that, save yourself a headache with the other guys.  At tight end, Zach Ertz wasn't great last week, but give him another shot in his second week back from injury, as he may now have his sea legs under him.  With that, downgrade Brent Celek.  At tailback, now that Ryan Mathews is back, he'll get around half of the carries probably.  Roll with him as an RB-2/flex play.  Darren Sproles is a nice guy for your flex spot, especially in a PPR league, with his versatility.  I like the Eagles 'D' here, as Cousins has been known to turn it over and Matt Jones has been known to fumble it!


Well, the Browns are still winless, and you knew they would be in for it, in Tom Brady's return!  Unfortunately, they didn't have much of a chance after Cody Kessler went down with injured ribs.  All reports are saying that Kessler will be able to come back this week, though, but you don't want to start him.  Tennessee's defense is pretty darn tough up front, but their back-end is not so hot.  There's a chance that Josh McCown returns this week, but that's questionable.  At running back, I think Isaiah Crowell could have another tough week this week, but he should certainly be more productive than last week!  I could see him getting around 70 yards and maybe a TD.  The good thing is that Browns' head coach Hue Jackson is committed to handing him the rock!  Crowell is an RB-2 play or flex.  At WR, the only guy to consider is Terrelle Pryor, who has been consistent in his production.  He's a nice WR-3 or flex.  If tight end Gary Barndige's ankle is healthy, roll with him too.  Forget the Browns' defense, as always!!

For the Titans, there's still not much here.  I'm happy to see that tight end Delanie Walker is back to normal, so he's a great play here.  Of course, DeMarco Murray is their offensive centerpiece, so he's a no-brainer start!  Marcus Mariota is a nice plug-and-play here against this weak 'D', so if you used him last week in Miami, hold onto him for this one and use him.  Other than that, forget it.  The receivers are all too inconsistent to predict what they'll do, and really none of them have done much anyway.  The Titans' defense is obviously an excellent start this week!


Joe Flacco and friends may begin to look a little better, with the firing of offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and the coinciding promotion of Marty Mornhinweg to the same position.  One would have to hope that the offense would open up some more and become more explosive.  Flacco can throw a good deep ball, but they sure weren't letting him throw it downfield much.  I think this could help receiver Mike Wallace.  If you need Flacco, he is a decent start this week, based on all this.  Wallace is also a decent WR-3/flex play, especially because there's no guarantee that Steve Smith will play after hurting his ankle last week and sitting out the second half.  If Smith doesn't play, you can also bump up Breshad Perriman a little bit, but I think he's still too risky to start.  Perriman is a good pickup though, to just see what happens later.  Tight end Dennis Pitta is a good play, especially in a PPR.  At running back, roll with Terrance West again, as he's definitely been getting the volume--over 30 carries for over 200 yards the last 2 weeks combined!  As for the Ravens' defense, is a possible start to consider here against what has been a somewhat stagnant Giants' offense this year.

As for N.Y., you're obviously starting Odell Beckham.  I'd still say that Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard are WR-3/flex starts, despite their poor numbers last week.  If you need Eli Manning, you can play him, but I'd be worried doing it.  I'm starting to wonder about Eli, because he's been inconsistent this season.  It looks like he's been trying to force it to Beckham too much lately, which isn't necessarily helping his numbers.  At running back, Rashad Jennings may be a gametime decision.  If he goes, I would only use him as a flex in this tough matchup.  If he's out, then Orleans Darkwa would get the start, but I wouldn't start him.  Bobby Rainey has been viable the last couple weeks catching passes out of the backfield, and he's not a bad play as a flex in a PPR if you need someone.  Tight end Will Tye has taken over the main pass-catching duties, but he's just not getting enough looks to use him.  The Giants' 'D' hasn't been a good start lately, as they're just not making any plays, so forget them.  This could be somewhat of a low-scoring game though.


Well it looks like Cam Newton is going to be cleared from concussion protocol, so if that's the case, then hell yes, start him!  The Saints are one of the worst, if not the worst, defensive teams in the league!!  Also, Jonathan Stewart also looks like he'll be cleared to play this week after missing a few weeks with injury, so roll him out there too if he is active!  As for the receivers, I'm starting Kelvin Benjamin and no one else, at this point!  Devin Funchess, Ted Ginn, & Philly Brown are too unpredictable, & they're a major headache!  Tight end Greg Olsen is ballin' out, so keep him in this week, as he will probably go off again.  Now, the Carolina defense has been very average this season and actually somewhat of a disappointment.  You probably have to play them, but if there's a team like the Titans (who are playing the Browns) on your waiver wire, they might be a nice plug-and-play, so you could sit the Panthers' 'D' then.  If not, just use them and hope they can slow down the Saints a little.

For the Saints, I like them more than I would've thought, against Carolina, since their defense hasn't been as good as last year.  I mean their DBs have struggled (see Julio Jones-300 yds), and even Tampa had success running on them last week, so they are vulnerable.  You're starting Drew Brees and RB Mark Ingram.  As for the receivers, I know Brandin Cooks has been a pain in the rear, but this could be a good week for him against this secondary.  Use him as a WR-2.  Willie Snead is a good WR-2 as well, and Michael Thomas is a nice WR-3.  Tight end Coby Fleener is a sneaky play this week, against the Panthers' 'D' which has been torched by tight ends!  Avoid the New Orleans defense at all costs!


This is the second juicy matchup in a row for the Bears' offense, against an unexciting Jacksonville 'D'.  I love running back Jordan Howard here, as I think he could have another big game!  He's a definite RB-1 this week!  Quarterback Brian Hoyer has been a solid fill-in for Jay Cutler, and he may have actually won the starting job full-time, after the last couple of weeks.  If you need a sneaky plug-and-play QB this week, Hoyer could be your guy, here.  His receivers are a bit banged-up though.  Alshon Jeffery is a weekly injury report guy it seems, but he played last week, so there's no reason to think he won't this week.  By now, we should all be used to his limited practice schedules, LOL!!  Start Jeffery as a WR-2 as long as he goes.  Now, WR Eddie Royal did miss last week, so he's one to keep an eye on for Sunday.  He could be a game-time decision, and if he goes, he's a decent flex play.  As for receiver Cameron Meredith, he exploded onto the scene last week, with 130 yards and a TD!  I'm not sure you want to start him yet, but either watch him or try to pick him up and keep him on your bench, to see if he becomes a consistent producer.  Tight end Zach Miller played last week through his rib injury, so there's no reason to think he won't play this week either, despite practicing in limited fashion again.  Roll with him as long as he plays, because he and Hoyer have some good mojo workin'!  The Bears' defense is actually not a bad play here at home, against turnover-prone Blake Bortles.

For the Jags, I do think this could turn into somewhat of a shootout, so this isn't a bad week to start Bortles if you need him.  Receiver Allen Robinson is a must-start.  His co-horts, Allen Hurns and Marquise Lee, have not done enough for me to endorse using them right now.  Tight end Julius Thomas put in full practices earlier this week, and he's a go for Sunday.  I would only start him if you're hurting at the tight end spot.  He was only putting up average numbers before the injury.  In the backfield, Chris Ivory came back healthy 2 weeks ago, and played some, but didn't do much with his carries.  I think if you need an RB-2 or flex, you have to lean on T.J. Yeldon right now, who's been running the ball better.  Forget using the Jacksonville defense, please!


Well, you certainly have to like the Pittsburgh matchup here!  Ben Roethlisberger is an obvious play, as he could be in line for another big game!  LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown are obvious starts as well.  I'm worried about receiver Sammie Coates this week, as he's dealing with a lacerated hand, he injured sometime Sunday.  He hasn't practiced all week, and so this could come down to a game-time decision.  Keep an eye on his status leading up to kickoff.  The good thing, is it's a noon kickoff.  Markus Wheaton hasn't practiced either, so Darrius Heyward-Bey and Eli Rogers could get extra run in this one.  Yikes!  If Coates or Wheaton don't play, just don't worry about messing with anyone else.  I would think that Coates could surely give it a shot, though, if his hand is taped up to protect the injury, but you never know.  Tight end Jesse James has caught a touchdown pass in 3 of the last 4 games, but he's a risky play otherwise.  The Steelers' defense is a rock solid start!

As for Miami, it looks like they could finally get Arian Foster back.  If you've been waiting and really need him, throw him in there as your RB-2 or flex.  Jay Ajayi will take a more complementary role, If Foster plays.  Other than Foster, receiver Jarvis Landry is the only lock on this team I'm starting.  As for Davante Parker and Kenny Stills, you know what you're getting with them:  boom or bust type production.  If you feel lucky, I'd lean Parker, but I don't like either of them, because Ryan Tannehill is their quarterback.  He's been brutal lately.  Forget it.  The Dolphins' defense would help you try to lose; don't go there.


For L.A., which I still can't get used to typing L.A!, Todd Gurley could be in for a nice game here.  The Lions' can be run on, AND the Rams FINALLY have started getting Gurley involved in the passing game...FINALLY!!!  Any way they can maximize his touches, should be paramount.  Roll him out as your RB-1!  Other than him, we know how it's a struggle.  I am starting to feel good about WR Kenny Britt now.  His consistency has been remarkable, catching between 4-6 balls every week, with only one game below 60 yards!  He's a nice WR-3/flex play in any format.  Tavon Austin seems to be getting more involved lately too, so if you have been waiting to use him, throw him in your WR-3 or flex this week.  There's no one else to mention of note.  I'm not buying Brian Quick, as he came back to Earth last week.  Also, avoid QB Case Keenum.  The Rams' defense is a very average play this week.

As for Detroit, I think they'll be decent here, so if you need Matthew Stafford, roll with him.  It's an easier matchup than Philly last week, but definitely won't be a cake walk.  I like Marvin Jones this week as a solid WR-2 play.  Other than him, though, it's a head-scratcher.  Golden Tate continues to disappoint, despite the Lions saying they're going to try to make sure he gets in on the action.  You have to sit him, now, until things get better.  Anquan Boldin just isn't doing enough either to use right now.  Tight end Eric Ebron is headed toward a DNP (did not play), with his knee injury, so make sure you check his status before kickoff.  Running back Theo Riddick is in the same boat, as he hasn't hit the practice field this week.  Check on him before kickoff too, and have a backup plan ready.  The recently-signed Justin Forsett, from Baltimore, could be the starter...yikes!!  The Lions' defense at home, is a decent play, against underwhelming quarterback, Case Keenum.


For Cincinnati, I think they will lose this one, so with that being said, they will be playing from behind, I feel, for most of the game.  This means that it SHOULD be a "Giovani Bernard game", as opposed to a "Jeremy Hill game".  With those two RBs, it just seems like they're both very game-flow dependent.  So, with Bernard being the better pass-catching back, he gets more volume when they're trailing or when they're up against a stellar run defense.  With Hill, he tends to be better early on, and then if they get and keep a lead, he keeps getting the ball, and can be that run-out-the-clock guy.  Obviously this isn't a set in stone script, but it seems to happen this way....just like last week when they fell behind quickly and lost to Dallas.  Hill was never a factor in the game, while Bernard played way more.  I think Bernard is a nice flex start, while Hill is at-best, an RB-2 or flex.  If you think you can sit him, I'd really consider it.  As for Andy Dalton, he could put up numbers, especially if they're behind, but I think he's a dicey play anyway.  A.J. Green is a hard guy to sit, but just know that Bill Belichick is known for minimizing the opponent's star player's production.  WR Brandon LaFell could be a beneficiary, if they double-team Green.  Tight end Tyler Eifert is headed towards another week out with back and ankle injuries.  Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomeh will continue to share the load. The Bengals' defense is not a good start this week.

As for New England, Tom Brady came back in a big way last week and now is always in your starting lineups obviously!  Julian Edelman, LeGarrett Blount, and Rob Gronkowski all have "questionable" tags on the injury report, but all are expected to play.  All are good starts here.  Receiver Chris Hogan looked great with Brady under center, so he's a nice flex or WR-3 play.  Running back James White is also a flex play if you need him, but he will have to get it done in the passing game like always, to come through for you.  The other tight end, Martellus Bennett obviously had a monster game last week.  Don't think that's going to continue, but he's a guy to keep on your bench in case Gronk gets hurt again.  I just don't think you can trust him to consistently come through.  He's actually a guy to sell-high and try to trade away if you can find someone who has a very weak tight end.  Maybe you can get something nice in return!  The Patriots' defense is a defense I always like, because more often than not, they're playing with a lead!


Well, well, if it isn't Jamaal Charles.... hey aren't you a running back for Kansas City??  Yep, he's coming back, full bore this week, after a cameo last week!!  Make sure he's in your lineups!!  I do still think Spencer Ware has some value, because I don't foresee the Chiefs giving Charles 100% of the touches out of the backfield.  If you still have Ware, he's a flex play and that's it, and hold on to him, because you never know when Charles will go down again.  We know what we're getting out of Alex Smith, and he's not normally an exciting starting QB play.  This week, however, is one week to consider using him, against a porous Raiders' pass defense.  He's a nice streaming option, if you play the matchups with your QBs.  Jeremy Maclin remains the only receiver worth starting here.  Travis Kelce had better be in your starting tight end spot too, against Oakland, who's terrible against tight ends!  The Chiefs' defense is one to avoid this week, as this could be a shootout.

For the Raiders, start QB Derek Carr and WR Amari Cooper with confidence.  Michael Crabtree is also a good play as a WR-2 or 3.  Tight end Clive Walford could be a game-time decision.  At running back, what a headache it's been!  Latavius Murray could be out again, with turf toe, as he hasn't practiced yet this week!  Be sure to check Sunday before kickoff, and if he's out, it will once again be a time-share between DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.  Don't forget Jamize Olawale either, who is a short-yardage pounder.  You just should avoid this, to keep your sanity, because we thought Washington would be the better play last week, but then Richard ended up with the better game.  They're just playing the "hot-hand" approach, which of course, is unpredictable.  What is predictable is the Raiders' defense, and you should keep them out of your lineups!


Dez Bryant is the big question mark here, and he practiced in a limited fashion.  I think the Cowboys will hold him out, with their bye week coming up next week, and then that would give him 2 more weeks to heal.  Check his status before kickoff though, but if he does play, I could see him being more of a decoy than anything!  Ezekiel Elliott is in perfect health though, and he's a must-start.  Dak Prescott could be starting his last game at quarterback for a while, if Dallas brings back Tony Romo in week 8.  Prescott is not a bad start if you need him, and this one could turn into a back-and-forth kinda game!  Tight end Jason Witten is a low-end starting tight end, but he's going to get at least a few catches each week if you're in need of any kind of points at all.  WR Cole Beasley is a PPR maven, so use him in those formats if you need to.  Other than that, I wouldn't go any deeper.  The Cowboys' defense is a very risky start against the Pack!

As for Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are no-brainers.  Nelson could see a lot of Dallas' top cornerback, Morris Claiborne, though, so keep that in mind, but you can't sit him.  His co-hort, WR Randall Cobb is questionable, with a neck injury, so keep an eye on reports this weekend on his status.  Another questionable guy is running back Eddie Lacy.  By now, you know that he suffered the ankle sprain Sunday night, but it's looking like he's going to be able to play.  Once again, check the inactive/active list before kickoff!  If he's out, well, it may not even be James Starks, because he's also injured.  Let's just hope Lacy plays because it would be a practice squad guy if he can't!  Receiver Davante Adams is the only other guy here to consider, and he's no more than a flex, and oh yeah, the Packer's tight ends have been totally useless by the way.  As for the Packers' 'D', leave them on your bench.


This should be another good test for the Atlanta offense!  The Seahawks defense is obvious good, but based on the way the Falcons played against Denver, I'm not going to panic.  I think you still have to use Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.  I am a little concerned about Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, but I would rank Freeman as an RB-2 and Coleman as a flex start.  As for any other receivers, I'm not using any of them.  I'm also sitting tight and Jacob Tamme this week, as he just hasn't been producing that much.  The Falcons' defense should probably stay on your bench this week.  They looked good last week, but Russell Wilson is a much better quarterback than the Broncos Paxton Lynch.

For Seattle, you have to love the matchup this week for running back Christine Michael. He's an RB-1.  Russell Wilson is an obvious start, as well.  Receiver Doug Baldwin is the only for sure start, for me, in this receiving corps.  Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse are just dart throws.  As for tight end Jimmy Graham, he's been great the past 2 weeks, so you're continuing to start him. Obviously, the Seahawks' defense should be in your lineup pretty much every week.


This could be a fantasy bonanza for the Houston offense!  Brock Osweiler is back at home, playing against a porous Colts' defense, so he's great for a spot start, say if you sat Philip Rivers in his rough matchup against Denver Thursday.  Plug in Osweiler and he should pay dividends!  I also like receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller this week.  I think this could be the week that Hopkins finally puts up big numbers again!  Running back Lamar Miller also has a juicy matchup, so roll him out there!  Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is basically the only healthy man standing in the tight end corp.  Fiedorowicz is actually dealing with a knee injury, but he's expected to be able to play.  He could be a sneaky tight end play this week, if you're really hurting.  The Texans' defense is kind of a dice-roll play this week.  The Colts offense is pretty good, ya know, and this game has a shootout feel to it on paper!

As for Indy, you're starting Andrew Luck, Frank Gore, and T.Y. Hilton obviously.  Gore is a good RB-2 play, despite a Texans' 'D' that's historically been pretty good against the run.  They've been a little more forgiving though this season, so use Gore if you need him.  Aside from Hilton, the other receivers are too much of a dice roll for me.  Philip Dorsett just hasn't been productive like we hoped he would.  Chester Rogers has been coming on of late, but he's still too risky to start.  At tight end, it looks like the Jack Doyle train has left the station, so Dwayne Allen is a solid TE-1 to deploy this week!  It helps that Luck has been looking his way more lately.  As for the Colts' defense, there's just one word:  run!


This has all the makings of a blowout, but I think some of the Jets can still be useful.  First of all, wide receiver Eric Decker has been placed on injured reserve, so he's out of the picture.  That leaves receivers, Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa, as the last men standing, and I think both are reasonable starts this week, because I would expect New York to be playing from behind, thus be throwing a lot.  Marshall and Enunwa are both WR-3/flex plays for me.  I don't like them any higher, just because the Cards' DBs are pretty good.  As for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, by now you know, don't play him, unless it's an incredibly good matchup.  He likes to turn it over too much!  In the backfield, Bilal Powell has been getting good run in the passing game, and since they've been behind a lot lately, he's been getting a lot of targets!  Use him as a flex in a PPR for sure.  Matt Forte is still okay to use as an RB-2, but he's been losing touches in the passing game to Powell.  If Arizona gets a big lead, Forte could once again disappoint.  Avoid the Jets' 'D' like the plague this week!

Finally, for Arizona, this is a GREAT matchup for their passing game!!  The Jets' pass defense is one of the absolute worst in the NFL!  You have to start Carson Palmer this week, as he's cleared from concussion protocol and back in the lineup, so put in back in yours!!  I like Larry Fitzgerald as an obvious WR-1.  John Brown is a nice WR-2 start, while Michael Floyd works for me as a WR-3 or a flex, purely based on the matchup.  Otherwise, Floyd hasn't been great this year.  I think they will really look to exploit the Jets' secondary, though, so all 3 receivers have a chance to do something.  In the backfield, David Johnson is obviously a good start, but you have to keep in mind that the strength of the Jets' defense is their run defense, so don't expect the 157 yards that Johnson had last week.  I'm starting the Arizona defense with confidence, as I basically outlined when I talked about Fitzpatrick!

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