The bye weeks are upon us with the Cardinals, Bills, Panthers and Bengals off in Week 6.
We’re not going to state the obvious here; rather, the focus is on the mid-tier options as well as players who are normally starters but might be worth a sit in a given week.
Michael Bush, Raiders at 49ers
With Darren McFadden out last week, Bush had a productive game against a solid Chargers run defense, gaining 104 yards and a touchdown on the ground to go along with three receptions for 31 yards.
McFadden’s hamstring is still bothering and his playing status for this week’s game against the 49ers is in doubt; however, Raiders head coach Tom Cable has stated that if McFadden does go, he will suit up as a backup behind Bush.
San Francisco’s run defense has been a bit of a disappointment in 2010, ranking 18th in the league after finishing sixth in 2009.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants vs. Lions
Playing with a sore ankle last week, Bradshaw split the workload with Brandon Jacobs for the first time in three games, with Jacobs stealing a touchdown amongst his 10 touches.
Bradshaw was respectable with 67 yards on the ground and 22 receiving yards on 19 touches but figures to have a big game this week against Detroit.
The Lions rank 26th in run defense and have given up the second most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs at 25.2 per contest.
Look for Giants to go back to the game plan that relegated Jacobs to a minor role in the offense and for Bradshaw to run wild on the Lions.
Ronnie Brown, Dolphins at Packers
Brown hasn’t been producing at the same clip he did last season and is averaging just 69 total yards per game with one touchdown in 2010.
However, there are some signs that he could be in line for a greater workload and more production in the coming weeks; he is now fully healed from the hamstring injury he suffered during the team’s Week 3 loss to the Jets and head coach Tony Sparano said this week that the Dolphins will recommit to the running game.
This week, the Dolphins get a Packers defense that has major injury problems. Brown is worth a look in your starting line-up in Week 6 and hopefully he gets it going.
Ryan Torain, Redskins vs.Colts
I recommended him last week against the Packers and he let me down with 40 yards on 16 carries to go along with 27 receiving yards; that was disappointing but I’m sticking with Torain as a Start ‘Em this week against a Colts run defense that ranks 29th in the league.
Torain is the type of big, powerful back that can run over Indy’s smallish front seven and the Colts will be forced to start either Mike Newton or Aaron Francisco with both Bob Sanders and Melvin Bullitt out at strong safety.
Peyton Hillis, Browns vs. Steelers
Hillis has been a fantasy revelation in 2010 but Week 6 presents a significant obstacle in the form of the Steelers run defense.
Pittsburgh ranks first in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 62 yards per game. That’s the first in a long laundry list of issues that stand in the way of Hillis being productive this week.
Here is the rest of the list: The Steelers are coming off their bye, the Browns will be on the road, their passing offense ranks 22nd in the league and they will likely be forced to start rookie third round pick Colt McCoy.
Thomas Jones, Chiefs at Texans
Although Jones started last week against the Colts, he was relegated to bench for much of the game with Jamaal Charles getting the majority of the playing time and touches (17 to eight); in addition, Jones managed just 17 yards on his eight carries despite facing a porous Colts run defense.
With the Chiefs in need of a spark on offense, I’m a firm believer that head coach Todd Haley will reduce Jones’ workload in favour of Charles going forward.
If that’s not enough for you, let’s throw in the fact that the Chiefs will go on the road to face the Texans fifth ranked run defense.