Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings: Position-by-Position Breakdown
It’s been a wild, must-see football season thus far, and fantasy football players are certainly enjoying the ride. Between Peyton Manning’s super-human exploits and several breakouts emerging on the scene, it has been one heck of a ride as we hit Week 6.
It should be noted that the wide receiver position is as deep as ever, and this is a week they should make for great flex options. It was yeoman’s work compiling a list of the top-20 receivers, as Anquan Boldin, Justin Blackmon, T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks, Danny Amendola, Cecil Shorts, Pierre Garcon and other emerging threats did not make the cut.
In this slideshow, I will break down every major fantasy spot and give the top-20 options at each position/unit.
So, let’s dive right in and breakdown the matchups and trends in this week’s position rankings.
Disclaimer: These lists are just for this week and do not reflect any seasonal value.
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- Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos- What superlatives are left for Manning this year? Now he has a date at home with Jacksonville. Expect total domination.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints- The Patriots (the Saints' Week 6 opponent) have been good against the pass this year, but Brees will get his numbers nonetheless.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers- A road trip to Baltimore may be a tough assignment, but the Ravens can be beat through the air and, as always, Rodgers is a great start.
- Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys- After scorching the Broncos for a whopping 505 passing yards and five touchdowns, Romo should be trusted with supreme confidence these days. A matchup against the pathetic Redskins defense only enhances his value.
- Tom Brady, New England Patriots- Brady didn’t fare too well in Cincinnati, but back home and with more weapons to work with (perhaps Rob Gronkowski?), Brady should rebound in a big way against the Saints.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers- Newton wasn’t at his best in his game at Arizona (no touchdowns and three picks), but a trip to Minnesota and their 29th ranked pass defense should get him back on track.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins- After a much-needed bye week to rest and regroup, Griffin III should be raring to go when the Redskins visit Dallas on Sunday night.
- Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions- A road trip to Cleveland will be tough, and if Stafford is down Calvin Johnson, well, he has only low-end No. 1 QB appeal.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts- Not expected to do much against Seattle, Luck threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns this past week. With a matchup in San Diego, Luck should do even better on Monday night.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers- Kaepernick was not needed to do much in the 49ers win over the Texans, as San Francisco ran the ball well against Houston. Don’t expect that to be a trend with Arizona (who do well against the run) up next.
- Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers- With not much of a running game to work with, Rivers will continue to sling it, and a home game against the Colts makes Rivers an advisable start.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks- Wilson has been a bit inconsistent this year, but he is coming off a great performance on Sunday vs. Indianapolis (210 passing yards and a touchdown and 102 rushing yards). Now back at home against Tennessee, Wilson makes for a safe start.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears- Cutler is coming off passing for 358 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Saints. Now the Giants and their beat-up defense come to town, and as such, Cutler should make for a low-end start this week.
Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders- The matchup (@Kansas City) is not preferable, but between his arm and legs, Pryor should do enough this week to be a serviceable option.
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams- After passing for three touchdowns against the Jags, maybe Bradford can get back into a groove. Going up against Houston (the Rams' Week 6 opponent) is not as daunting as it once was.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers- After a rough start, Roethlisberger has thrown for 789 passing yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. A matchup with the Jets on the road shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals- It has been a disappointing season for Dalton thus far, but he could do well in Buffalo this week as a low-end selection.
- Eli Manning, New York Giants- Manning is making his mistakes, no doubt, but between the Giants nonexistent run game and the fact they have to play from behind most of the time, Manning is racking up the yardage (6th in the NFL in passing yards). However, a quick turnaround game in Chicago makes Eli nothing more than a No. 2 QB this week.
- Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens- Flacco has a bit of a Super Bowl hangover, throwing more picks (eight) than touchdowns (five) thus far. However, a matchup vs. Green Bay is not that daunting.
- Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs- Not the sexiest choice in the world, Smith is still getting it done for the undefeated Chiefs. A matchup at home vs. the Raiders could make Smith an excellent sleeper this week.
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Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings- Back at home and well rested off a bye, Peterson should go back to producing at his elite level.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans- After nearly rushing for 100 yards against the 49ers this past Sunday (98 yards rushing) and rushing for 102 yards vs. Seattle the week prior, Foster is getting it in gear. He is back to must-start status (as if he ever wasn’t), and a matchup against St. Louis could lead to big results.
- LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles- While the Bucs do a good job against the rush, you have to run with McCoy as a must-start every week, as he's still the league’s leading rusher.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs- Charles had another fine day (108 yards rushing and a touchdown) this past Sunday at Tennessee, and a matchup with the Raiders should lead to similar results.
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks- Coming off a 100-yard game (102 rushing yards vs. Indianapolis), Lynch is once again a no-brainer for a game at home against Tennessee.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears- The Giants are a mess right now, and with a short turnaround trip to Chicago on Thursday night, Forte could do a lot of damage against their beat up defense.
Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- With a switch at quarterback to Mike Glennon, and after a bye, the Bucs should feed the ball a lot to Martin this week in their matchup with the Eagles.
Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens- That’s more like it! Rice returned to his old form after rushing for 74 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins this past week. He should do well with the Packers visiting Baltimore this week.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys- In Dallas’ epic shootout with Denver, the Cowboys went away from feeding Murray (who was off to a good start and ended with 12 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown), but don’t expect that to be the case when they head to Washington on Sunday.
- Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions- Although he had a subpar effort vs. the Packers, Bush is too talented to not expect a bounce-back effort this week against Cleveland.
- Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos- While he takes a backseat to Peyton Manning and the passing game, Moreno is still a valuable weapon. Considering how weak Jacksonville is against the run, expect Moreno to shine this week.
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts- Richardson’s transition to the Colts has been up and down, but eventually he should find his way, and a trip to San Diego could get him back on track.
- Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers- Gore keeps chugging along and should be viewed as a low-end No. 1 running back or high-end No. 2 option when Arizona visits San Francisco this week.
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers- Lacy came back on Sunday and firmly established himself as Green Bay’s lead back, rushing for 99 yards against Detroit. As such, he’s a solid running back to bank on.
- Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills- Yeah, I’m going the easy route here and listing both Jackson and Spiller in this space, but in a true running back-by-committee, either of them could explode in their game against Cincinnati this week.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins- Morris is expected back this week and should be ready to go after a long layoff. A game vs. the Cowboys makes Morris an advisable start.
- Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers- Although not much of a running threat, the way he catches passes and lines up in San Diego’s packages makes Woodhead a great value all year. This week he’ll go up against Indianapolis and their weak run defense.
- Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers- After scoring two touchdowns in his debut, Bell should be plugged into lineups with confidence going forward. The Jets (the Steelers' Week 6 opponent) are a bit of a tough matchup, but Bell has a ton of upside, nevertheless.
Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints- Sproles didn’t have a great game in Chicago, but you can’t hold him down for long. Expect him to get back on track with a matchup in New England this week.
- Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati- While he shares carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bernard is the playmaker to roll with when the Bengals visit Buffalo this week.
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Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys- Simply put, Bryant is a beast, and he’ll be hard to contain this season. He should feast on a weak Washington secondary on Sunday night.
- Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions- After shocking everyone and not suiting up on Sunday, Johnson hopes to return this week when the Lions face the Browns in Cleveland.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals- Green is struggling (not topping 70 yards since Week 1) just as his quarterback Andy Dalton is. Eventually Green should erupt. It could be this week when Cincinnati visits Buffalo.
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears- While he has taken a back seat to Alshon Jeffery’s exploits of late, Marshall is still the man in Chicago and should go off against the Giants on Thursday night.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos- While he didn’t put up awesome numbers in the shootout at Dallas (57 yards receiving), you know with Peyton Manning as your quarterback you’ll get your numbers. A juicy matchup with Jacksonville will help him rebound.
Wes Welker, Denver Broncos- As Peyton Manning’s check-down receiver, Welker will remain high on the wide receiver ranks all season.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles- A matchup in Tampa should not slow down Jackson, who’s having a great bounce-back season.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens- Smith is fully breaking out this year, and as Baltimore’s only reliable weapon in the passing game, he should be relied on all season as a high-end option.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans- Coming off an unimpressive performance in San Francisco (three receptions for 39 yards), Johnson should rebound against the Rams at home this week.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers- Cobb is clearly a playmaker. He’ll always be a danger to score and rack up all-purpose yards, and he has a good matchup (@Baltimore) to exploit.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers- As a trusty weapon of Aaron Rodgers, Nelson will always retain fantasy relevance, and up against a vulnerable Ravens secondary this week, Nelson should have a fine day.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants- The Giants may be a mess at the moment, but if there is one constant, it’s the reliable production Cruz gives them.
- Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts- The Chargers (the Colts' Week 6 opponent) can be beat through the air, and Wayne is as good a No. 2 wide receiver as there is.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals- Fitzgerald has been a tad inconsistent this year, but as an elite force at wide receiver, he’s tough to sit—even with a tough matchup at San Francisco.
Eric Decker, Denver Broncos- With Peyton Manning passing at this rate, there should be enough passes to go around to make Decker a viable option all year. He certainly has the potential to go off against Jacksonville this week.
- Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns- Gordon has been a dependable force for the Browns ever since his return from suspension (18 receptions for 303 yards and two touchdowns in just three games). It doesn’t matter who’s throwing him the ball. Gordon should get loose for a few big plays against Detroit.
- Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints- As long as Drew Brees is feeding him the ball, Colston will remain a high-end receiver.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers- Brown has exploded in the last two weeks (21 receptions for 284 yards and two touchdowns) and he should do well enough in his matchup with the Jets.
- Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- While Jackson is in a slump (five catches for 61 yards in his last two games), he should get going with a matchup against a suspect Philadelphia secondary at home.
- Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears- Is Jeffery a must-start after two awesome performances (15 receptions for 325 yards and two touchdowns)? Well, no, but he is definitely a recommended start against a wobbly Giants squad.
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Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints- Head and shoulders above the rest at the position, you know you are going to get consistent and awesome production from Graham week in and week out (this time against New England in Week 6).
- Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos- Peyton Manning went to Thomas a lot on Sunday at Dallas, and Thomas had a brilliant performance (nine receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns) in return. Thomas is an emerging stud and his potential is limitless with Manning as his quarterback.
- Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys- Witten should wreak havoc in his matchup vs. Washington this week.
- Jordan Cameron- Cleveland Browns- Consider his Week 5 outing vs. the Bills (three receptions for 36 yards) a hiccup. Cameron is still a must-start vs. Detroit.
- Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers- Gates is as good a tight end option as there is in the league, and a Monday night affair with Indianapolis should bring out the best in him.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers- Apparently back at full health and producing (three receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown vs. Houston in Week 5) at a high clip, Davis is back to being a must-start tight end.
- Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears- Bennett has been putting up consistent numbers all year, and a matchup against his old Giants’ teammates on Thursday night makes him a highly recommended start.
- Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers- As one of Cam Newton’s most trusted targets, Olsen always makes for a good start at tight end.
- Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers- Now that he appears to be healthy again, Finley has to be viewed as at least a low-end No. 1 tight end.
- Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams- Cook has been a massive disappointment ever since his Week 1 outburst, but he still has to be viewed as a low-end No. 1 tight end when he and the Rams take on Houston this week.
- Coby Fleener- Indianapolis Colts- Although he didn’t have a good game against Seattle on Sunday (two receptions for 15 yards), Fleener should fare much better when he faces the Chargers in San Diego on Monday night.
- Rob Gronkowski- New England Patriots- Gronkowski is nearing a return. So, once again check the injury report. If he gets cleared, Gronkowski has to be plugged into lineups right away.
- Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers- As he gets healthy—and coming off an additional week of rest—Miller is poised to break out. As one of Roethlisberger’s most trusted targets, Miller is a tight end you should lean on.
- Garrett Graham, Houston Texans- With the injury to Owen Daniels, Graham has a golden opportunity to make a statement, and he has a good chance to do damage in his matchup with St. Louis this week.
- Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals- Eifert has mostly been between 3-5 receptions for roughly 40-60 yards each week, but he is capable of so much more. Maybe his game at Buffalo this week is when he breaks out.
- Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles- While he is not the high-end option he once was, Celek is always a threat to score. As Nick Foles’ security blanket, Celek is a solid choice this week when the Eagles visit Tampa.
- Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions- With the Lions down Nate Burleson and maybe Calvin Johnson, Stafford should lean on Pettigrew more and more this week.
- Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals- Gresham is still involved in the Bengals offense. As a safety valve for Andy Dalton, Gresham should be considered a fallback option at tight end.
- Sean McGrath, Kansas City Chiefs- McGrath has been solid the last two weeks (nine receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown), and the Raiders are an exploitable matchup this week.
- Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets- After scoring in two straight games and racking up 113 receiving yards in the process, Cumberland is someone you should keep your eye on.
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- Matt Prater, Denver Broncos- With the points the Broncos are putting up, Prater is as good as gold. Expect a lot of points against Jacksonville.
- Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks- Hauschka is tied for second in the NFL in field goals made (12), and a matchup at home vs. Tennessee shall make him an excellent option once again.
- Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots- In what could be a shootout when the Saints visit New England, Gostkowski should be very busy on Sunday.
- Garrett Hartley, New Orleans Saints- What was said about Gostkowski can be said about Hartley here.
- Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys are certainly going to put up some points against Washington this week, and Bailey is as safe as there is at kicker.
- Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs- The resurgence the Chiefs have enjoyed has raised the value of many of its players, and Succop is certainly no exeption. Expect Succop to be active on Sunday vs. Oakland.
- Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings- Well rested after a bye, Walsh should be active in his game at home against the Panthers.
- Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens have been stalling on a lot of drives this year and as a result, Tucker has been good at connecting on field goals, as he has drilled 11 (tied for 5th most in the NFL).
- David Akers, Detroit Lions- The Lions' game with the Browns may come down to field position, and Akers could factor into the affair.
- Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers- The Packers could go off at a moment’s notice, and that could be the case when Crosby and the Packers visit Baltimore this week.
- Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers- Novak is in the top 10 in points among kickers in most standard fantasy leagues, and a home date vs. Indianapolis should make him a dependable kicker.
- Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles can put up points, and with the Buccaneers (the Eagles' Week 6 opponent) in disarray, Henery should be a reliable kicker to trust.
- Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts- Tried and true is Vinatieri, and a trip to San Diego on Monday night should keep him busy.
- Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears- The Giants have been giving up an average 36.4 points per game (most in the NFL) this year. Surely, Robbie Gould can rack up a few in Thursday night’s affair.
- Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders- The chances may be slim this week at Kansas City, but Janikowski’s strong leg might lead to a few field goals.
- Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams- While Zuerlein has a strong leg, he needs opportunities, and the Rams might put him in enough positions to score this week at Houston.
- Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers- A matchup vs. the Cardinals should yield a lot of points for Dawson and the 49ers.
- Nick Folk, New York Jets- After kicking a game-winning field goal on Monday night in Atlanta, Folk is riding a lot of momentum, and the Jets could put up some points against a broken down Pittsburgh team on Sunday.
- Randy Bullock, Houston Texans- While not the most accurate kicker, Bullock should at least get his chances in Houston’s game with St. Louis.
- Dan Carpenter, Buffalo Bills- With Thad Lewis under center for the Bills, don’t expect to see Buffalo move the ball all that well. So, Carpenter may be needed in their game against Cincinnati to finish off drives.
Team Defense/Special Teams
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- San Francisco 49ers- The 49ers have gotten back on track after a shaky start and are once again an excellent start. A home matchup with Arizona this week might lead to some turnovers and sacks.
- Seattle Seahawks- A home date with a mediocre Titans’ offense should yield a lot of defensive points for Seattle.
- Chicago Bears- A turnover-prone Giants squad coming to town on a short turnaround makes the ball-hawking Bears defense an excellent choice this week.
- Denver Broncos- After getting lit up by Dallas, this is clearly a defense you will have to mix and match. This week they just so happen to make for a great start with the hapless Jags coming to town.
- Kansas City Chiefs- The Chiefs are legit, and a home date with the Raiders should allow them to keep producing at a high level.
- Cincinnati Bengals- That’s more like it. After some early inconsistency, the Bengals showed their true colors against the Patriots in Week 5. They should do very well in Buffalo this week.
- Houston Texans- The Texans have been a disappointment on defense this year, but they should do well enough with the Rams coming to town this week.
- New York Jets- Back at home against a solid yet unspectacular Pittsburgh offense, the Jets should make enough plays to justify rolling with them.
- Dallas Cowboys- While they were lit up by the Broncos (and who doesn't?), the Cowboys should not have the same problems with the Redskins.
- Cleveland Browns- While they did a great job of racking up the defensive points against the Bills, a matchup with Detroit is less than ideal.
- Pittsburgh Steelers- After a week off from their London getaway, the Steelers could put up a good fight against the Jets.
- Carolina Panthers- The Panthers might be able to put the clamps down on the Vikings this week. Remember, the Vikings will probably be led by Matt Cassel.
- New England Patriots- The Patriots have been a solid unit all season, but slowing down Drew Brees and company will be be a tough task.
- Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens will have it tough with Green Bay coming to town. So the Ravens are only a low-end selection this week.
- Green Bay Packers- Sure, the Packers will miss Clay Matthews, but the Ravens (the Packers' Week 6 opponent) are no offensive juggernaut.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- If the Bucs are to win on Sunday, the defense has to play well against the Eagles.
- Indianapolis Colts- Surprisingly, the Colts have been getting a great effort from their defense this year, but a matchup in San Diego could get dicey.
- Detroit Lions- Cleveland is by no means a well-oiled machine on offense, and the Lions could force Brandon Weeden into some mistakes.
- New Orleans Saints- The Saints are making some progress this year under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. New England (the Saints' Week 6 opponent) has not been the same offensive machine it has been in the past.
- Minnesota Vikings- Although they have been a mess on defense thus far, a home game against a middling Panther’s offense makes Minnesota a low-end defense to gamble on. Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon