Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 6: Critical Advice for Sunday's Toughest Matchups
For fantasy football owners, there's nothing more frustrating than agonizing over lineup decisions, especially when they involve a player going up against a difficult opponent.
Every week, owners in every league are left to watch as a usually productive fantasy stud runs into an unfavorable matchup, and ends up managing only a fraction of their typical yardage.
Heading into a pivotal Week 6 for fantasy owners everywhere, here's a look at which players to think twice about starting due to the teams they'll be playing.
It's been a difficult season thus far for the perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver, as Larry Fitzgerald continues to be surrounded by Arizona's mediocre offense, which has slowed his production.
Unfortunately, for those who own Fitzgerald, things won't get any better in Week 6, as the Cardinals get set to take on the 49ers.
Despite missing a couple of key pieces on the defensive side of the ball, Jim Harbaugh's squad still remains among the league's best, so this isn't a week to attach your hopes to a struggling big-name receiver going up against a very tough opponent.
Fitzgerald is still much better than his 24 catches and three scores suggest, but with Carson Palmer under center, it may be a while before he returns to being a truly elite fantasy receiver on a weekly basis.
In addition, during Fitzgerald's last two visits to San Francisco, he's managed just 54 yards and a touchdown on five catches, and given his struggles so far this season, I wouldn't bet on him reversing that trend today.
Definitely don't sense much optimism on Larry Fitzgerald and his hamstring issues for 49ers game— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 13, 2013
And, as ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported, Fitzgerald's hamstring is still bothering him enough that the Cardinals are concerned about whether he'll even be able to play, so the chances of him doing much of anything against the 49ers are even slimmer than before.
As soon as we heard that Calvin Johnson would be on the field for the Lions, Reggie Bush became that much more dangerous at running back for Detroit.
Last week, Bush managed just 44 yards on 13 carries (along with another 25 yards through the air), and much of that can be attributed to Megatron's absence.
Without Johnson in the fold, the Packers were able to zero in on Bush, and focus more on limiting his effectiveness, because he's undoubtedly Matthew Stafford's most talented target when his top receiver is out.
So, even if Johnson is playing the role of decoy in the Lions offense, his size and natural ability alone will force the Browns to pay attention to him, which should free up real estate for Bush.
If Johnson's lining up consistently, and doesn't visibly appear to be hobbled, expect Bush to bounce back after last week's disappointing performance.
It's been a trying year at times for former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford, but last weekend's three-touchdown performance against the Jaguars was at least a little bit encouraging.
But now, with Bradford and the Rams heading to Houston to take on the reeling Texans, it will be very difficult for the 25-year-old to build on his Week 5 success.
That's because Houston currently boasts the league's best defense, so unless Matt Schaub and the Texans offense turn the ball over enough to tire their own defense out, Bradford will likely be in for a rough afternoon.
And assuming Schaub's as inconsistent as he's been, this will likely be a close one, so don't expect Bradford to rack up much production in garbage time.
Houston's record isn't even somewhat indicative of how well the team's defense has performed early on, as the Texans have made life difficult for Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Phillip Rivers already this season.
In addition, until Tavon Austin develops into the big-play threat the Rams were hoping he'd be when they took him early in Round 1 of the 2013 NFL draft, or St. Louis' 30th-ranked running game improves, Bradford won't be nearly as dangerous of a passer as he could be.
For fantasy owners, Chris Johnson's first five weeks of the season have been utterly disappointing, as the three-time Pro Bowl back has failed to reach 100 yards yet thus far.
This week, Johnson and the Titans will be taking on Pete Carroll's smash-mouth Seahawks defense, and things don't look promising for CJ2K rebounding in Seattle.
No, the Seahawks' numbers against the run haven't been anything to write home about, as they currently sit 19th league-wide in that category, but Tennessee's lack of an effective passing game will put pressure on Johnson to carry the mail, which he hasn't been able to do so far this season.
Johnson still obviously has the potential to be a fantasy standout, but if you've got other options this week, they're probably safer bets than the former East Carolina star.
So far this season, the only player to rush for 100 yards against Seattle's been Arian Foster, but it is definitely worth keeping in mind that he did so with aerial threats that Johnson doesn't have on his side.
If you have other options, Johnson may be worth leaving on the sidelines this weekend.
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