Wondering whether to start Tom Brady and LeVeon Bell, or to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and Benny Cunningham? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 6 of the 2016 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals vs. Jets. Palmer is out of the concussion protocol and heading back under center on Monday night. Though he’s been somewhat disappointing thus far this season, he’ll have a chance to rack up the points – fantasy and otherwise – against a putrid Jets pass defense that doesn’t travel well and is coughing up yards and TDs at a shocking clip.
Frank Gore, RB, Colts at Texans. One thing we know: If you want to move the ball against the Houston defense, it has to be on the ground. Gore is the undisputed workhorse of the Colts’ running game, and he will be very busy – and productive – in this contest. Especially in the red zone.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs at Raiders. You’ve been champing at the bit to play him, and now’s the time. Though he will most certainly yield some carries to Spencer Ware, Charles shook off the rust two weeks ago and has had the bye week to get stronger for one of his favorite matchups. Ware has lost a fumble in each of his last three games, so you know the team wants Charles to seize the lead role again ASAP.
Sammy Coates, WR, Steelers at Dolphins. Coates came of age last week, and while he may not score twice again on Sunday, he should continue to shine against the generous Miami secondary. Coates has missed practice time with a lacerated finger, but that shouldn’t keep him off the field. As a bonus, Markus Wheaton might be sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks vs. Falcons. Russell Wilson has had two weeks to rest, recover and prepare for this matchup against a secondary that has allowed a league-worst 14 passing TDs to date. Baldwin remains Wilson’s favorite target, and they should keep the scoring tally whirring on their opponent’s meter.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers):QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Alex Smith, Marcus Mariota; RBs LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount, Carlos Hyde, Tevin Coleman, Jordan Howard, Terrance West, Christine Michael, Mark Ingram, James White; WRs John Brown, Kelvin Benjamin, Will Fuller, Jeremy Maclin, Brandin Cooks, Mike Wallace, Marvin Jones, Tavon Austin, Julian Edelman, Michael Crabtree, Cole Beasley, Jarvis Landry, Jordan Matthews.
Roll ‘em back
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons at Seahawks. Ryan put up monster stats against poor defenses over the first four games, but he was held mostly in check by the Broncos. Now he’ll have to head further west to face a well-rested Seattle defense that has given up just one passing score to date. It’s tough (and often foolish) to sit your studs; but if you have a safer option, consider it.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers vs. Cowboys. He appears to be shaking off his ankle injury and is on track to play Sunday. But don’t be surprised if James Starks gets a larger share of the carries. Regardless which back carries the load, Dallas’ run defense is improving quickly and should be up to the challenge.
Matt Jones, RB, Redskins vs. Eagles. Jones is getting the lion’s share of the workload in Washington, but he has struggled to produce in three of the first five games. Philly has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher, and they’ve given up just two rushing scores to date. It could be a long day for Jones and, frankly, the entire Washington offense; especially if Jordan Reed (concussion) doesn’t play.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears vs. Jaguars. Those of us who drafted Jeffery this season know all too well how mediocre he has been, especially over the last three games. Despite the stellar play of Brian Hoyer, Jeffery remains a bit player in the passing attack. He has yet to find the end zone, and that’s not likely to change on Sunday with a rested, and improving, Jacksonville secondary focusing their attention on him.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, 49ers at Bills. Those counting on Kerley (ankle) to repeat his Week 5 heroics need to tap the brakes a bit. Colin Kaepernick will be throwing him the ball for the first time in real game action, now that Blaine Gabbert has been benched. Meanwhile, the Bills are playing inspired defense. Kerley has been a terrible fantasy receiver for most of his career, as you’ll be reminded on Sunday.
More thumbs down: QBs Andrew Luck, Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Tannehill; RBs Rashad Jennings, Isaiah Crowell, Jeremy Hill, Theo Riddick, Spencer Ware, Cameron Artis-Payne, Chris Ivory, Arian Foster, Jay Ajayi, Latavius Murray; WRs Randall Cobb, Michael Floyd, Robert Woods, Allen Hurns, DeVante Parker, Terrelle Pryor, Phillip Dorsett, DeSean Jackson, Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard, Quincy Enunwa.
TAKING A FLIER
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers at Saints. J-Stew appears to be recovered from his latest hamstring injury, but he’ll have to wrest the workhorse role back from Cameron Artis-Payne after his strong showing against the Bucs. That shouldn’t take long, as the Panthers desperately need to get back on track. The Saints’ run defense is horrendous, giving up a league-worst eight rushing scores and huge chunks of yards. Stewart should get enough work to produce solid dividends, and his ceiling is high.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO … sits Zeke Elliott against the NFL’s “best” run defense. Though the Packers have been impressive, they’ve built their resume playing four of the worst rushing teams in the business. Elliott has been money, and that won’t change on the not-yet-frozen tundra.
Ladd Biro is a four-time finalist and two-time winner of the Football Writer of the Year Award by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).