Week 6 is here in the NFL, and for fantasy owners it's time to take stock of who starts and who sits ahead of your league's game. There are some fantasy players that are in for tough sledding ahead in Week 6, and we'll try to pick out the guys to be leery of as you prepare to set your fantasy lineups.
This isn't necessarily an indictment of these 10 players' abilities on the football field, but we're aiming more for finding the fantasy owner the right mix and offering some insight on how you can potentially set yourself up for success in Week 6.
So here you'll find 10 players that should be avoided come Sunday when looking for points.
Peyton Hillis has had a great season, emerging as the Cleveland Browns' No. 1 asset in their running game and as a lone bright spot on offense as the team has struggled through injuries and effectiveness at quarterback with either Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace.
Hillis, however, heads into Week 6 both banged up and facing one of the best defenses in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hillis has dealt with a quad injury throughout the week leading up to the Steelers game, but is expected to still play in spite of the injury.
That's a red flag, but when you factor in how stingy the Pittsburgh defense has been against even great running backs like Michael Turner and Ray Rice, I think Hillis belongs on fantasy benches for Week 6.
Matt Ryan was attacked in the pocket by the unimpressive Cleveland Browns defense, and he struggled mightily to maintain his balance and get rid of the ball. He threw for only 187 yards, but did manage to hook up with Roddy White for a long touchdown pass. Michael Turner was the bulk of the Atlanta offense last week, as he ran for 140 yards on only 19 carries.
Ryan will face an even better pass rush against the Philadelphia Eagles, and he'll be on the road for the second straight game. The Eagles are known as an aggressive defense when it comes to harassing a quarterback, and I expect Ryan to be under pressure for most of the day.
Matty Ice will struggle in Week 6, and fantasy owners should avoid starting him if they can.
Jahvid Best looks like the Lions' answer at running back for years to come, but in Week 6 he will be up against a very stingy run defense in the form of the New York Giants.
The Giants have shut down backs like Arian Foster, DeAngelo Williams and Matt Forte in 2010, and I expect Best to have a problem finding holes at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday.
With questions surrounding Calvin "Megatron" Johnson's status ahead of the Lions/Giants tilt, Detroit may try to lean heavily on the running game to generate points and keep the Giants' offense off the field. However the front four of the Giants has played at an elite level for two straight weeks, and I expect them to continue to dominate in the trenches and make life very hard on Best.
Through two weeks of Kevin Kolb under center in place of the injured Michael Vick, top receiver DeSean Jackson has not been able to get into a rhythm with his quarterback, and his fantasy numbers have dwindled. Jackson was enjoying another strong season once Vick took over halfway through Week 1, but his injury and Kolb's time as starter has taken away the big-play threat of Jackson's downfield routes.
Kolb seems to prefer short and intermediate passes, which runs counter to Jackson's biggest strengths—extending the defense by running downfield against defensive backs. As a result, I find him a tough start against the Falcons defense, which has played well against the pass for most of the season.
I think Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy (if he plays) stand to be better receivers on the Week 6 stat sheet than DeSean Jackson. For Jackson owners, Michael Vick can't get healthy fast enough.
The master of the Miami Dolphins' Wildcat spread offense, Ronnie Brown has had a mixed bag of a season. His first two games were solid, as he ran for 145 yards and a touchdown.
His production dropped off after Week 2, however, and in Miami's last game in Week 4 against New England he was largely ineffective, mustering only 27 yards on his 11 carries.
Heading on the road at Green Bay, I expect the Packers to focus on shutting down the Dolphins' two-headed running attack in an effort to make quarterback Chad Henne beat them. The idea of starting Brown is extremely unappealing, as the Packers have had good success against opposing rushers.
With Brown's form slipping in recent weeks, look elsewhere if possible when searching for rushing production.
The league won't continue to be caught off guard by the high-powered Denver Broncos passing game, and I think this week will be Denver's toughest test going up against the New York Jets and their hard-nosed defense.
Even though cornerback Darrelle Revis had a subpar game against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5 and is considered questionable to play, Antonio Cromartie chased Randy Moss all across the field and shut him down, save for one big play.
I expect Cromartie to be on top when Kyle Orton targets Brandon Lloyd in Week 6, and the pairing should see its production drop off for the first time this year.
The Jets will have no trouble shutting down the Broncos' non-existent running game and will put all their attention on slowing the passing game. I expect Lloyd to have his worst game to date as a result, and while he remains a good option to start in that Kyle Orton loves throwing to him, I expect a slip in production.
A kicker that's often a start in fantasy leagues, Lawrence Tynes belongs on your bench in Week 6. He came down with a sprained non-kicking ankle during practice this week and is questionable for the Giants' game against the Detroit Lions.
The Giants have taken the precaution of signing Shayne Graham in advance of the game, and it's no sure thing that Tynes will get the field-goal opportunities.
Tynes can be shaky and inconsistent even when fully healthy so when you add an injury to the mix, it would be wise to try and find another kicker so you can avoid getting a goose egg out of your kicker slot.
In an effort to get their running game on track, the Seattle Seahawks shipped out Julius Jones and have now turned their rushing duties over to Marshawn Lynch. The former Buffalo Bill had some big years, but in moving to Seattle, he will be rushing behind a poor offensive line and going up against a tough Bears defense.
As a result, even though Lynch is now back on the fantasy radar as a No. 1 back, I can't see him having a positive impact on the road at Soldier Field. He might have better games down the line, but I would not take a chance on starting Lynch as even a flex play this week.
The Chiefs have been one of the league's biggest surprises over the season's first five weeks, and their defense has been a key ingredient in why they are off to a 3-1 start. They had a good week on defense last week, keeping Peyton Manning mostly in check and actually getting pressure on the usually quick-releasing quarterback.
Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans feature an extremely potent offense that's gone two weeks without having a truly solid offensive game. Their offensive line has struggled, and they've dealt with some injuries to their big playmakers that have hampered their effectiveness.
This week, though, I expect them to have a much better showing at home than their embarrassing loss last week to the Giants. As a result I find it very hard to start the Kansas City defense. Schaub was slow to get rid of the ball against the Giants, but I expect his passing to improve against Kansas City as he'll look to Andre Johnson early and often.
Similarly, Arian Foster will present a big challenge to the Chiefs' run defense that is coming off facing the anemic Colts' running game. All told, I don't recommend playing the Chiefs defense at all this week.
The Vikings offense had major struggles on the road at New York in Week 5, and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was a big part of the problem on offense. He was targeted by quarterback Brett Favre seven times, but only pulled in two receptions for 28 yards. Randy Moss being in town, as well as Percy Harvin's renewed health, reduces Shiancoe's chances of being a big point-getter in the Minnesota offense.
Also worrisome is the injury status of veteran quarterback Brett Favre.
It's doubtful Favre will miss the game, but the Vikings will probably turn more and more to running back Adrian Peterson in order to ease off Favre's injured elbow. This hurts the entire Vikings passing game, but given Favre's new toy in Moss along with a favorite target returning in Harvin, I see another down week for Shiancoe.
If there are better options available at tight end I recommend exploring them.