How is it already week 6 of the NFL season? At this point, your roster probably looks nothing like you imagined it would when you drafted. Before the season started, Devonta Freeman was a late flier in a backfield by committee on a bad team. Now, he's the top scoring back. That Tony Romo / Dez Bryant combo you rolled out in week 1...well, that's not going so well. This game is all about how you manage rosters through injuries, performance swings, and of course, bye week issues. The good news is that this week's byes are pretty harmless as we're losing Cowboys, Raiders, Rams, and Buccaneers. So unless you're counting on Amari Cooper, Todd Gurley, and Mike Evans to carry your squad, you can probably get by. There are some good football games this weekend - let's dig in.
Game of the week: New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts - This one was pretty obvious. The Sunday Night Football game again delivers the goods and showcases last year's AFC title game. NBC must pay a ridiculous sum of money to snipe these matchups. Before the season, I thought it was pretty clear that Tom Brady was going to burn the league down. I don't have him on one single team, which disturbs me greatly, because through four contests Brady looks as good as he ever has. Brandon LaFell is nearing a return and Dion Lewis has solidified his value as the pass catching back so valuable to Brady. Julian Edelman is a PPR monster and Rob Gronkowski is, well, Gronk. This offense will look to put up a crooked number against the team that started the "deflate gate" issues (and don't tell me they don't want to pound them). The game plan previously has been to run the ball against this squad, so LaGarrette Blount becomes a must play here too. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Brady throws a little more than previous matchups.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts are going to need to score a lot of points. They need Andrew Luck back for this one and all signs point to that happening. I know Luck hasn't been sharp this year but this is the kind of game he needs to step up and throw for 400 yards and 5 TDs. I think you have to play Luck this weekend and hope for a big game. New England will look to take away TY Hilton but I'm not sure they have anyone fast enough to completely shut him down. Temper your expectations on Frank Gore as they might be trying to play catch up for most of this one, however Gore can contribute in the passing game as well.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Tennessee Titans - Coming out of a bye week and with a new Head Coach, I'm curious to see what Tannehill can do against an average pass defense. It's fair to say that Tannehill has played poorly thus far but his worst games came against the Bills and Jets. If he can put up better numbers against the Titans, he can at least come back into the discussion of a QB by committee for your squad.
Randall Cobb vs. San Diego Super Chargers - If we examine the season thus far for Randall Cobb, he has put up two acceptable games (9, 11 points), one monster game (28 points), and two duds (4, 2 points). Those two duds have come in back to back weeks. This week he gets the Chargers secondary who have been good against the pass. Cobb could put up pedestrian numbers again this week before the Packers go on bye. On the other side of that break is the Denver Broncos. I believe in Cobb's talent and a bad game here could present an interesting buy low opportunity.
Chris Ivory vs. Washington - Ivory is coming off a bye week but last we saw him, he was running roughshod over the Dolphins in London. I'm interested to see if he can hold up against a good run defense like Washington. If Ivory can show respectable numbers this weekend, he'll likely be an integral part of your squad going forward.
4 Defenses to Use - I hate to say it, but I like the Vikings defense this weekend as I'm not sure the Chiefs will adapt well to life without Jamaal Charles. I would absolutely play the Carolina Panthers this weekend against the Seahawks. Until that offensive line shows some level of competence, it is open season. This should be the week that it's safe to play the Houston Texans against the Jags, although who knows what's going on down there. Maybe it's bad juju for cutting Charles James. Finally, if you're desperate, I'd give the Tennessee Titans a whirl if you believe the Dolphins are a complete mess (fairly good bet).
4 Defenses to Abuse - Start all of your Packers (vs. Chargers), Patriots (at Colts), Cardinals and (at Steelers). Yes, all of those are obvious, but that also means we're probably going to see huge point totals from those big offensive systems so if you have those guys, play them. I'd also roll out your Ravens with confidence against the 49ers. The Ravens have gotten off to a rough start, but Justin Forsett appears to have found his groove and we will hopefully get Steve Smith Sr. back in our lives this weekend. Life is better with the possibility of a Steve Smith ruckus.
Shotgun Longshot - Joe Flacco - I mentioned it above, but I like Flacco this weekend. Maybe I'm just naïve, but the Ravens are a good football team and the 49ers are the kind of team that they can get right against. I know the 49ers played the Packers tough, but I'm willing to bet Flacco can put up respectable numbers.
Toss Sweep Sleeper -Knile Davis - The fantasy community has decided Charcandrick West will be the primary back for the Chiefs with Jamaal Charles out. That could absolutely be the case. However, Davis has filled in before and he's been a good back for the Chiefs while West is an unknown. The depth chart may change and the Chiefs are entering this week in a backfield by committee approach. Davis could win the job just as easily and he's still widely available.
Fly Route Flier - Marvin Jones - Sitting around 35% ownership, the inconsistent Jones is battling a foot injury. If he plays this weekend against the Bills, this Bengal is worth taking a flier on. Andy Dalton is truly playing good football and Jones can absolutely be a factor. He's a better receiver than Mohammad Sanu and a better bet to have a big game.
What are you looking forward to the most this weekend? Is anyone disappointed about a lack of Todd Gurley this weekend?