Fantasy Football Week 6: Riskiest Starts of This Weekend
Fighting to remain in the fantasy football playoff picture involves some risks for your lineup.
It is, however, vitally important to keep in mind the upcoming matchups of key players that are vulnerable to a down week.
Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins is a prime example for Week 6.
Fortunately, according to Rich Campbell of The Washington Times, RG3 did return to practice:
Griffin won’t be cleared to play against the Vikings until he remains asymptomatic through Sunday morning, coach Mike Shanahan said. He is on track to play, though, because he has not experienced any symptoms since 15 minutes after he absorbed a blow to the head while scrambling in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Even if RG3 does manage to suit up, though, Washington's offense will face a strong Minnesota Vikings defense. To that end, let's check RG3 and other risky fantasy football players for this week.
Brandon Lloyd: WR, Patriots (at Seahawks)
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The New England Patriots are facing their toughest defensive test of the season.
Through five games, the Seattle Seahawks rank No. 5 against the pass, No. 3 versus the rush and give up only 258.6 total yards per game.
Seattle's secondary features lockdown cornerbacks in Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman and is assisted with depth by veteran Marcus Trufant. Safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are among the most underrated in football and the Seahawks' pass rush is relentless.
Having recorded 16 sacks this season, Seattle will get pressure on Tom Brady.
Combine that limited time in the pocket on most passing plays as well as the coverage, and Brandon Lloyd will get blanketed. Although he can beat single coverage, Seattle is talented enough to play a lot of Cover 1 and force Brady to hit his check-down receivers.
Also, Seattle's offense runs the ball quite effectively with Marshawn Lynch. Therefore, don't expect the Pats to have their normal number of possessions to rack up points. Altogether, this will limit Lloyd's opportunities and potential production on Sunday.
Ahmad Bradshaw: RB, Giants (at 49ers)
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On the year, Ahmad Bradshaw has collected 333 rushing yards, scored twice on the ground and has averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
That's definitely solid production, and he also has 82 receiving yards on nine catches.
That said, 200 of Bradshaw's rushing yards came last week at home against the Cleveland Browns. Include his 29 receiving yards and that Week 5 total accounts for 55 percent of his yards in 2012.
Squaring off against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, Bradshaw will get shut down. Although Bradshaw fared well against the Niners in the NFC Championship Game, San Francisco was not as dominant against the pass.
So, Eli Manning was able to orchestrate a balanced attack that prevented the 49ers from stacking the box. Fast forward to now, and San Francisco is much improved against the pass. In turn, the Giants aren't going to be as balanced offensively to set up the run.
Regardless of how many carriers or receptions Bradshaw gets, the 49ers front seven will be all over the field. After all, San Francisco has given up just three points combined the past two weeks and an average of only 262.6 total yards per game for the season.
Brandon Pettigrew: TE, Lions (at Eagles)
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The only thing keeping the Detroit Lions from a catastrophic meltdown is the passing game.
Ranked No. 2 in passing offense, the Lions still sit at 1-3 and play the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6.
The Eagles also have reliable coverage linebackers in DeMeco Ryans, Akeem Jordan and rookie Mychal Kendricks. Defending the intermediate routes was an issue for Philly in 2011, and it has clearly been fixed for 2012.
Well, don't expect a lot of numbers from Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew. All three 'backers can stick with him in man coverage, and the Eagles pass rush will force the Lions to utilize Pettigrew for additional protection of Stafford.
Anticipate every defensive end giving Pettigrew a jam at the line to prevent a free release as well. This helps the total coverage shell underneath, which will force Stafford to use Nate Burleson as the secondary target to Calvin Johnson.
James Jones: WR, Packers (at Texans)
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So far James Jones has been one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite receiving targets.
And this comes as no surprise since Greg Jennings has missed two games and the rushing attack remains unreliable.
Jones is also quietly on pace to surpass all personal bests for a single season, but Week 6 is going to slow that down. For one, the Green Bay Packers take to the road, and they are 0-2 away from Lambeau Field in 2012 (officiating aside).
Secondly, Green Bay lines up against the Houston Texans, who are undefeated and one of the league's most complete teams. On the defense, Houston is extremely disciplined against the run and that allows for solid man coverage against the pass.
Now include the Packers' lack of a ground game, regardless of who is in the backfield, and Green Bay is will likely be one-dimensional versus an elite defense. Fortunately for Jones, he has enjoyed a consistent season thus far; however, the Texans will get quarterback pressure and play physical coverage to reduce his impact.
If anything, Jones will get a decent number of targets, but yards after the catch will be held to a minimum.
Robert Griffin III: QB, Redskins (vs. Vikings)
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Robert Griffin III is a Week 6 risk for more than one reason.
Obviously, as mentioned in the intro, the one standing out is his health.
That aside, the Vikings also field one impressive defense. Jared Allen remains an elite pass-rusher, and Minnesota has significantly improved against the pass compared to 2011.
Additionally, Minnesota is stellar against the run and has allowed just 33 total points in the past three games. RG3 and the Redskins have struggled to consistently move the ball throughout a game against tougher defenses, so if he plays, expect the Vikings to keep him contained inside the pocket.
No defense can afford to let RG3 get outside, so linebacker spies and outside blitzing will occur to keep him in check. Minnesota's offense also plays a factor, because with Adrian Peterson and a run-oriented attack, the Vikings can control the game tempo.
In short, that will take away RG3's number of opportunities to make plays and allow Minnesota's defense to rest and work on better in-game adjustments.
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