Monday Night Football is still a few hours away, so take a break from worrying about how many points you need out of which players to place in which contests… and start thinking about all that for next week instead. Week 6 starts in just three days – it’s never too early. Good luck!
Aaron Rodgers vs. SD ($7,700) – This is likely going to be a weekly occurrence, this picking between Brady and Rodgers. For me, for week 6, it’s Rodgers. San Diego gave up 356 yards and two TDs to Josh McCown. That’s already upside. And as for Brady, there is an argument that he would want to take something out on the Colts, but it is pretty well-established that he just likes winning, and here’s how the Pats have owned the Colts recently: 166 yards and 4 TDs for LaGarrette Blount in the Divisional round in 2013; Week 11 2014, 201 yards and 4 TDs for Jonas Gray; and, finally, 148 yards and 3 TDs for Blount in the AFC East Championship. So unless you’re predicting Brady running another one in, go with Rodgers.
Cam Newton @ SEA ($6,700) – Seattle’s defense hasn’t been SEATTLE’S DEFENSE, not really. They are one of the best defenses in football, but team’s have been able to match their physicality, getting some gains up the middle in particular. And Cam is the kind of physical player who can take advantage of that change. With most mobile quarterbacks, you have to be able to keep contain, and this defense is disciplined enough to make sure that happens. But Cam is different – he just keeps coming, right at you. And he accounts for so much of the Panthers’ offense that they don’t even have to put up a lot of points for him to have a useful fantasy performance.
Carson Palmer @ PIT ($6,600) – There is a real value to a fantasy QB who has scored at least 18 fantasy points in every game, even if you don’t think his upside is much more than that. The way the Cardinals are rolling right now, it doesn’t seem like the scoring opportunities are ending any time soon. But it also doesn’t seem impossible that he could have a random explosion that blows his current high of 28 fantasy points out of the water, not with the way both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown are playing as well. I am talking about the kind of consistency that never kills you and the kind of upside that can win you a week.
Phillip Rivers @ GB ($6,300) – This is it for me. No one cheaper than him does it for me this week, which is unfortunate, because sometimes you really just want to save even more than this on a QB. But I think that Rivers will be able to get rid of the ball against Green Bay, and when he has time, he’s dangerous. And since Rodgers is also going to be going off, he’ll have plenty of catching up to do. Now I just hope he gets through tonight looking good.
Arian Foster @ JAX ($7,000) – You forget how good Foster has been at catching the football because of how good he has been carrying it. But this guy can really catch, and run a good route, and that makes him one of two guys on this team capable of either of those things. And that has got to be a welcome relief for Brian Hoyer – he could use all the help he can find. Foster might not have 9 catches every week, but imagining 4-6 every week on top of being the primary runner is not farfetched at all.
Dion Lewis @ IND ($5,800) – Dion lewis has 23 catches in 4 games, which is more than a little bit useful in a PPR contest. But he also has an average of seven carries per game since Game 1 when he had 15 (which now seems like the outlier). But that works out to 13 touches a game in this offense, which is more than enough to make him worth this price tag. And his three TDs are no fluke – you can’t call something fluky when a RB consistently makes multiple defenders miss on his way to the end zone. That’s talent.
LaGarrette Blount @ IND ($4,400) – Yup, both Patriots running backs. And not Tom Brady. Call me crazy, but the Colts have not improved on defense. And no matter how badly they have been thrashed with the running game in the past, it’s not like they’re going to dare Brady to beat them. So yeah, Blount. He has 7 TDs in the last two games he’s played against Indy in a Pats uniform.
Charcandrick West @ MIN ($4,000) – Clearly, this is a call based only on opportunity, and it is going to be a popular one. But it will be popular for a reason, and if it pays off, you’re going to want to be on board. Because we KNOW the opportunity is there, and as to whether or not West is actually good enough to take advantage of it, this is what I know: he beat out Knile Davis, apparently, and Knile Davis was very effective when he was on the field (oh, I also know that he averaged 4.4 yards/carry yesterday, and looked explosive in the process).
DeAndre Hopkins @ JAX ($7,700) – In case you were wondering, Hopkins is the other Texan capable of running a route and catching the ball. He has at least eight catches in each of their last three games, including 11 for 169 yesterday. You have to love a player who can score you 30+ fantasy points without scoring a touchdown. The usual formula is that if you can’t get players from a high-octane offense, you want the players from teams where the production is consolidated. You don’t get much more consolidated than two guys.
Brandon Marshall vs. WAS ($7,100) – So far this year, Fitzpatrick hasn’t been that bad, and the Redskins secondary, well, has been. Luckily, their run defense is also bad, so sometimes teams don’t bother throwing much on them. But the Jets have been more than competent on offense, so it doesn’t have to be a one or the other type situation. Marshall has already returned value for any owner who selected him in a re-draft league, and so far, his DFS price hasn’t caught up either. He has at least six catches in every game, three touchdowns, and three 100+ yard performances. He is only 31 years old, and not that long ago, was considered one of the most talented wide receivers in football. If Larry Fitzgerald can have a resurgence, so can he.
Larry Fitzgerald @ PIT ($7,000) – Oh, look, speaking of Larry Fitzgerald. The tough decision most weeks is not whether you can trust one of the Carnivals wide receivers, it’s which one. Yesterday it was split pretty evenly with John Brown, but so far, it seems like if one of them is going to dominate the production in a given week, it’s more likely to be Fitzgerald. And that’s not surprising – Palmer has always liked throwing the deep ball, and that’s Fitz’ specialty. The Pittsburgh passing defense is susceptible to his kind of talent, too, without a pass rush to make Palmer get rid of it and with outside corners who can be beaten. If anything, their strengths would lie in shutting down a receiver like Brown instead.
Allen Hurns vs. JAX ($5,000) – He has had 116 yards in each of their last two games, once on 11 catches, and next time on 5. In other words, he is a player who can help his team accomplish their goals in a lot different ways – high praise for a receiver, really. Robinson is also incredibly talented, and has also been more than useful for fantasy purposes, but the different ways Hurns has found to be productive could mean that he proves to be the more consistent of the two. If he can manage to be relevant even when the team is not playing well, he could actually manage to start to transcend the fact that he is, after all, a Jaguar.
Rob Gronkowski @ IND ($7,600) – Another weekly installment of “is Gronk worth it this week?” Well, do you remember when Gronk threw that guy “out ‘da club?” That was against the Colts. Gronk is a really big, talented man who loves football and who is going to want to come through in big way in this game. And I never said Brady wasn’t going to do anything. Oh, and also important – the Colts don’t have the pass rush to slow down his seam routes or require him to stay in blocking, and they don’t have a safety or linebacker who even comes close to be able to match up with him one-on-one in coverage.
Tyler Eifert @ BUF ($4,900) – Eifert now has five touchdowns in five games. Sure, he had two games where he wasn’t exactly useful, but he is a tight end. Tight ends are inconsistent. But he has the potential to score touchdowns (obviously) and he also has the potential to rack up a decent game based on nothing but catches and yardage, something usually reserved for wide receivers. With Dalton playing at a high level right now, and Eifert as one of his primary weapons, there is upside here even against a good defense (especially if Buffalo decides to focus on stopping A.J. Green and the running game).
Gary Barnidge vs. DEN ($4,400) – I mean, I don’t know – is he the best tight end in football? He’s got 20 catches for more than 300 yards and 3 TDs in his last three games, so if those three weeks are any indication, then yes, he might be. Well, other than Gronk. And as good as Denver’s defense is, unless you’re predicting a shutout, the Browns will have to go somewhere for some yards, and the guy who is getting open right off the snap, in the middle of the field, seems as good a choice as any.
Charles Clay vs. CIN ($4,300) – Cincinnati’s defense is good enough to take away a lot of what Buffalo will want to do, and Taylor is going to have to make some plays with his legs and his arm if the Bills want to win this one. Clay is just the kind of receiver who can get open quickly, and give Taylor a target to rely on. He didn’t have a good day yesterday, but he had 21 catches in the first four games of the year, and it would surprise me if they didn’t try to get him involved again.
Jets vs. WAS ($3,100) – Great defense, playing a crappy offense, coming off the bye, and at home. This really is the easiest defense pick I can remember making, basically ever. I like the Jets this week. A lot.
Dolphins @ TEN ($2,800) – The Dolphins were one of those defenses before the year that people really wanted on their fantasy teams, and so far, it hasn’t played out that way. But the talent is there, and if for some reason the motivation has changed, then you could start to see results in a hurry. As good as Mariota has been, the Titans offense still hasn’t been lighting up the scoreboard, and they can’t really run, so Miami’s pass rushers should be able to really get after the rookie and create some havoc. If you’re looking to save as much as possible at the position, this could be the play, because they could cost a few hundred dollars more in a few weeks.