Week 6 Pickups: Top Free-Agent Targets Fantasy Owners Must Claim

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Andre Roberts #12 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football after a reception against the Cleveland Browns during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A lot of key fantasy football players are on a bye in Week 6. Cam Newton, Matt Forte and Marques Colston are among the myriad of big names who won't be available to help fantasy teams chase victory, meaning owners will have look to the free-agent market for help.

Even though the available player pool has been diminished since bye weeks started, there are still some useful players available for desperate owners. Let's take a look at the best available option at each of the three key positions.


QB: Christian Ponder

Ponder continues to get overlooked despite scoring at least 15 fantasy points in three of his five starts. For whatever reason, likely memories of his poor rookie season, owners haven't been willing to take a chance on the Minnesota Vikings quarterback.

For those who rely on Newton or Drew Brees and need a replacement, Ponder is worth a serious look. Along with his surprisingly reliable performances this season, he gets a very favorable matchup against a weak Washington Redskins secondary.

The Redskins rank 31st in passing yards allowed at nearly 330 per game and have given up more passing touchdowns than any other team. Even though Ponder isn't ready to be an every week fantasy starter, he's a great option in Week 6.


RB: Vick Ballard

Ballard takes over for an injured Donald Brown in the Indianapolis Colts backfield. As any veteran fantasy football player knows, any starting running back has some type of value, especially with so many committee situations nowadays.

The rookie out of Mississippi State has only touched the ball 22 times through four games, but should see a major increase until Brown returns. It starts this week with a game against the 31st-ranked New York Jets run defense.

Although Indianapolis has been passing a lot in the early weeks with Andrew Luck, that has been mostly out of necessity while playing from behind. Expect a more balanced attack featuring Ballard in a close game with the Jets, leading to a solid fantasy showing.


WR: Andre Roberts

After five weeks, Roberts has a better scoring average than DeSean Jackson, Andre Johnson and even Arizona Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald. Yet, he's still available in around 55 percent of ESPN leagues.

He should reward the 45 percent who own him with another big game. The Cardinals are facing the Buffalo Bills, who have been giving up points at a ridiculous rate, and should throw a lot due to a run of injuries at the running back position.

Opposing defenses, including Buffalo's, will continue to shade toward Fitzgerald with hopes of keeping him from taking over the game. That leaves plenty of chances for Roberts to get involved. Don't leave him on the waiver wire any longer.