Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 6: Smart Matchup Plays, Sleepers and More
Week 6 represents the de facto midway point for many fantasy-football leagues. It's time to start dividing between contenders and pretenders.
To remain a contender in your league, you must continue playing the right matchups and finding the perfect sleepers. Wins and losses are decided every week in the lineups and pickups you choose now.
In the following slides, we'll break down some of the best matchups, sleepers, studs and duds of Week 6 of the fantasy-football season.
Favorable Matchup: Donald Brown, RB, Colts
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UPDATE: Brown has reportedly been ruled out Sunday vs. the Jets and will likely miss 2-3 weeks with a knee injury. Vick Ballard will likely start in his place.
-- End of Update --
Lost in translation in the Colts' come-from-behind win Sunday was just how well Donald Brown ran the football, despite Indianapolis missing both its starting guards and center along the offensive line.
Against the Packers, Brown ran 17 times for 84 yards in his best performance to date this season. He didn't score, but Brown could in Week 6.
Indianapolis travels to New York to take on the Jets, who continue giving up huge fantasy scores to opposing running backs. The Jets have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position this season, including touchdowns in each week.
Brown may not put up Arian Foster-type numbers (152 yards, TD), but he could approach 100 with a score if the Colts give him the opportunity. In almost any format, that kind of production is starting-running-back material.
Favorable Matchup: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
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Andy Dalton was disappointing in a good matchup against the Dolphins during Week 5, throwing for under 250 yards and two interceptions. We're not ready to give up on Dalton yet, however, as he's got another good matchup in Week 6.
The Browns, who allow the fourth-most points to fantasy quarterbacks, welcome Dalton to Cleveland Sunday.
Consider that in Week 2, Dalton went over 300 yards with three touchdowns against this same defense. And over his last two games against Cleveland, Dalton has almost 600 yards and six scores.
Projecting a stat line of 250 yards or more with a couple of touchdowns is certainly within the realm of possibility this week.
Sleeper: Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals
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Andre Roberts was held to just five catches and 39 yards as the Cardinals' offense sputtered to just three points in St. Louis last Thursday. But there should be confidence that Roberts and the passing game can bounce back in Week 6.
The Cardinals face the Buffalo Bills, who feature a defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and fourth-most to receivers. During two different weeks this season, the Bills have allowed at least three touchdowns to opposing receivers.
Roberts leads the Cardinals in touchdowns with four. He should add to that total Sunday.
Sleeper: Baltimore Ravens D/ST
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ESPN currently projects the Ravens' defense/special teams to score three points against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6.
No opposing offense has allowed more points to fantasy defenses than the Cowboys, and the Ravens have scored at least 10 in three of five weeks this season. This is a plus matchup for owners of Baltimore's defense.
Dallas has had a turnover in every game this season, including eight over its last two. Tony Romo making at least one mistake Sunday is a given. Expect the Ravens to continue making ball security an issue for the Cowboys in Week 6.
Stud: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
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What do you get when you mix the second-best fantasy quarterback in 2012 (Matt Ryan) with the second-worst fantasy defense against quarterbacks in 2012 (Oakland)?
Pure, 24-karat fantasy gold.
Ryan and the Falcons' passing attack should have their way with a Raiders secondary that is among the worst in football. The game will be played on the fast track of the Georgia Dome, too.
If you needed any more convincing of Ryan's "stud" status for Week 6, consider this: Over the last two games, Oakland has allowed 722 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger combined for just 22 incompletions and 66 completions.
Ryan should continue putting up MVP-type numbers Sunday.
Stud: Matt Schaub, QB, Texans
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Matt Schaub found tough sledding in New York Monday night, throwing for just 209 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Jets.
Things should get much easier in the passing game this week.
The Green Bay Packers are making the trip to Houston, and packed with them is a fantasy passing defense that has allowed the most points to opposing quarterbacks over the last two weeks.
Drew Brees shredded Green Bay for 446 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie Andrew Luck went for 362 and two Sunday.
Schaub may not put up astronomical passing yards, but the touchdown opportunities should be abundant. He's a borderline must-start across all formats.
Dud: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
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Fantasy owners may have a hard time benching Ahmad Bradshaw in Week 6 after he ran for 200 yards and a score against the Browns Sunday, but it's probably the right thing to do.
Awaiting him in San Francisco is fantasy football's stingiest defense against opposing running backs. Over five games, the 49ers have allowed just 30 total points to opposing backs. Bradshaw had 26 just last week.
Owners could point to Bradshaw's 127 total yards against the 49ers in last year's NFC Championship Game as a sign that production could come Sunday, but the "dud" factor is still really high. Start Bradshaw with caution.
Dud: Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
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Like Ahmad Bradshaw, sitting Reggie Wayne after his 212-yard, one-score explosion in Week 5 would be a difficult decision. 90 percent of owners won't, and no one will blame them.
But the matchup in New York should at least give Wayne's owners pause.
The Jets are the No. 4 fantasy defense against opposing receivers, and one look at the box score Monday shows what New York could do to Wayne Sunday. Texans receiver Andre Johnson was held to just one catch for 15 yards while matched up with Antonio Cromartie, who has embraced his new role as the team's shutdown corner.
Andrew Luck will continue looking Wayne's way, and the targets should keep coming, even in New York. But Wayne could have a big letdown performance against the Jets this week.