Week 6 Fantasy Football Projections: 5 Players to Stay Benched This Week
Want to make yourself angry? Play fantasy football. For every 31-fantasy-point week from Marques Colston, you will have a two-fantasy-point week from Steve Johnson. It's like playing in an NCAA bracket pool: You will be wrong; it's just a matter of being wrong less than the other guy.
So it's a good thing that math is rarely wrong. NumberFire.com uses mathematical projections and analysis to help minimize the headaches. It was one of the few places to nail Colston and Alex Smith's Week 5 breakout. It also would have told you not to trust Chris Johnson; he was the No. 24 RB on its list.
So who should you avoid this week to minimize the heartburn? Glad you asked. Read on to avoid hanging your head in Romo-esque shame at the end of the week.
Each one of the players mentioned here was started in at least 40 percent of ESPN leagues last week, although in a perfect world, that number should reduce to zero percent based on the math.
QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
NumberFire Projected Stats: 233.76 passing yards, 1.42 TDs, 1.21 INTs, 3.66 rushing yards
Projected Fantasy Points: 12.29 (No. 23 QB)
Week 6 Opponent: Baltimore Ravens
In Week 1, Romo went off against the New York Giants, a defense that numberFire has ranked at No. 24 in opponent-adjusted efficiency. Since then, Romo has brought Cowboys fans PTSD flashbacks of the Quincy Carter era with two TDs, seven INTs and 23 fantasy points in his past three games.
Granted, those three games where Romo stuggled worse than a replacement ref came against some tough defenses; the Bears (No. 3 in numberFire's opponent-adjusted rankings), Buccaneers (No. 11), and Seahawks (No. 17) have been confusing opposing quarterbacks all season. Know who else has? The No. 13 Baltimore Ravens.
In the past two weeks, the Ravens have not given up a single passing touchdown. Since the start of the season, they have only given up two—one each to Tom Brady and Michael Vick. If Romo's going to break his string of poor outings, the Ravens are a poor team for him to have to go against.
And if all of that wasn't enough, Romo has been one of the least efficient QBs in the league since Week 2. NumberFire likes to use a stat called Net Expected Points (NEP) to determine a player's effectiveness in helping his team over the average NFL player.
In his past three games, Tony Romo has lost the Cowboys seven NEP of value. That means that if the Cowboys had a league-average QB under center other than Romo, they would have scored seven additional points combined over those three games. Ouch.
RB Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
NumberFire Projected Stats: 17.13 rushing attempts, 55.97 rush yards, 0.30 rush TDs, 1.95 receptions, 13.94 receiving yards, 0.02 receiving TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 8.57 (No. 24 RB)
Week 6 Opponent: Miami Dolphins
You know, Steven Jackson didn't perform too badly against the Cardinals on Thursday night, did he? Against numberFire's No. 2 opponent-adjusted defense, Jackson managed 76 yards, a 4.2 yards per carry average, and successfully held the ferocious Richardson-monster-vulture at bay to a mere 35 yards on nine carries. Things are looking up in the Jackson world...
... until he smacks right into the side of an angry dolphin. Specifically, a Miami Dolphin, that fierce beast that has been studied specifically for its rush-stopping ability.
In five games so far this season, absolutely nobody has been able to run on Miami. Not a single team (not player, team) has been able to hit the century mark in rushing yards against them. Not the Texans with Arian Foster, not the Raiders and Run-DMC, not the Bengals with the Law Firm, not the Jets' backfield... thing. Nobody.
Especially considering Jackson's recent history, what makes you think he'll be any different? Jackson has only had a single 100-yard rushing game since Week 10 last season, and his season high this year is last week's 76 yards. Stay far, far away.
RB C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
NumberFire Projected Stats: 6.06 rushing attempts, 30.16 rush yards, 0.33 rush TDs, 0.96 receptions, 7.56 receiving yards, 0.05 receiving TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 5.94 (No. 28 RB)
Week 6 Opponent: Arizona Cardinals
The fun ride is over, friends. The Spiller bandwagon had crashed head-first into a Buffalo snow bank, and that wagon is not likely to be repaired any time soon.
C.J. Spiller still shows up as the ninth-highest earning running back in a standard ESPN leagues, but smarter fantasy owners will take a look at his past two weeks as an indicator of future success. In those weeks, Spiller, with Fred Jackson back in the lineup, Spiller has averaged 7.5 carries, 28.5 yards rushing and 1.5 fantasy points.
Jackson as the lead back in Buffalo does not seem to be going anywhere soon. Each of the past two weeks, Jackson has received more carries than Spiller. The timeshare was a more manageable nine-seven split in Jackson's favor in Week 5, but in Week 4, he received 13 carries to Spiller's eight. Throw in Tashard Choice and Brad Smith stealing occasional carries as well, and the big-play opportunities for Spiller are limited.
Even worse is this week's opponent: numberFire's no. 2 opponent-adjusted defense, the Arizona Cardinals. The most fantasy points the Cardinals have given up to an opposing running back this season is nine, to Marshawn Lynch in Week 1 and Stevan Ridley in Week 3. LeSean McCoy and Steven Jackson are among the names that have failed to penetrate the Arizona front seven.
WR Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
NumberFire Projected Stats: 3.43 receptions, 59.67 receiving yards, 0.36 TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 7.97 (No. 30 WR)
Week 6 Opponent: St. Louis Rams
Now that Danny Amendola is sidelined for a while, does Brian Hartline inherit the role of "That best fantasy guy that came out of nowhere"? I hope he does. Hartline has been incredible, and numberFire saw it before anyone else; I touted him as a must-pickup for two straight weeks before his big breakout game.
I'm such a fan of Hartline that I recommend... nobody starts him this week. To quote the immortal Norm McDonald, "Wait, what?"
Just like the Miami Dolphins, the St. Louis Rams have a very specific team profile: zero offense, but a sneaky good defense. That Yadier Molina-inspired St. Louis sneaky-goodness especially manifests itself in the secondary.
The five quarterbacks to play them this year, including RGIII at the height of his power and often second-round fantasy selection Matthew Stafford, have combined for two TDs and eight interceptions against the Rams secondary.
Meanwhile, Hartline has been extremely streaky. He does come into this game as the No. 8 receiver in the NFL with 56 standard-league fantasy points overall. But his two games against the Raiders and Cardinals comprise 75 percent of that total; he hasn't gotten above five FP in his other three games. His 56 percent catch rate is well below the league average of 60 percent, and last week, he was not the leader in Dolphins targets for the first time all season (finishing one behind Davone Bess).
WR James Jones, Green Bay Packers
NumberFire Projected Stats: 3.15 receptions, 40.06 receiving yards, 0.37 TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 6.30 (No. 44 WR)
Week 6 Opponent: Houston Texans
If you have James Jones on your team, you're probably going to start him this week. Two touchdowns a piece in two consecutive games will do that for you.
I can also tell you that if you decide to start James Jones, the odds of it turning out successfully are not in your favor.
Aaron Rodgers has become a master at mixing up his receivers; so far this season, four different Packers have led the team in targets in five games. Week 1, it was Jermichael Finley. Week 2, Nelson; Week 3, Jennings, Week 4, Nelson again, Week 5, Jones. Before leading the team being targeted with 22 percent of Aaron Rodgers' throws this past week, Jones had not seen higher than 16 percent of Rodgers throws all season.
Further muddying the waters is Jones's catching ability. Jones has been a spectacular pass-catcher this season; perhaps a bit too good given his history. His current catch rate sits at an above-average 67 percent; in his five previous NFL seasons with a significant number of targets, he has only topped the 60 percent mark twice.
But you could perhaps get away with him this week too, if not for the team he's facing. The Houston Texans have numberFire's No. 1 opponent-adjusted defense so far this season. The Packers have only faced one team in numberFire's top 10 this season: the Chicago Bears, a game in which Jones went for two catches and -1 yards receiving.