NFL Fantasy Football: Wes Welker and the Must Start Players for Week 6

Sam McGawContributor IIOctober 12, 2011

NFL Fantasy Football: Wes Welker and the Must Start Players for Week 6

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    With Week 5 in the books, many fantasy owners either feel thankful they survived their star player's bye week, or they regret not making that last second waiver wire pickup that would have led them to victory.

    While six teams have a bye this week, there are still many elite players available that can lead your team to a win this weekend.

    Here are the players you must start in Week 6.

Quarterback: Tony Romo at Patriots

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    It's obvious, if a quarterback is playing the New England Patriots, start him.

    While the Patriots held Mark Sanchez to only 166 yards passing and two touchdowns last Sunday, they are still every quarterback's favorite matchup.

    Unlike Sanchez, Tony Romo is an elite quarterback in the NFL.

    Although he threw three second half interceptions in Week 4, Romo still managed to have 331 yards and three touchdowns against a strong Detroit Lions pass defense.

    This week, Romo goes against the NFL's 31st ranked pass defense in the Patriots.

    While Romo has this week's best matchup, he also might be getting back his best receiver.

    According to Josh Ellis of, wide receiver Miles Austin practiced on Monday for the first time after missing the last two games with an injured hamstring.

    If Romo can have Austin back this week, it will force the Patriots to not only account for Austin, but Dez Bryant as well.

    Not to mention, Romo also has Jason Witten as another target to throw to.

    Start Romo this week as he is sure to post big numbers.

Quarterback: Tom Brady vs. Cowboys

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    Going into Week 6, the Cowboys have the NFL's 14th ranked pass defense. So why start Tom Brady against a decent pass defense?

    Well, because he is Tom Brady.

    Throwing for an NFL best 1,874 yards and 14 touchdowns, Tom Brady continues to be a top asset for any fantasy owner.

    Although the Cowboys pass defense has been decent, they have only played one quarterback that is somewhat close to elite status.

    That quarterback was Matthew Stafford, who passed for 240 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 against the Cowboys.

    On Sunday, Brady gets his shot to take on the Cowboys in what is a guaranteed shootout.

    Brady is a must start in Week 6, as if you wouldn't have started him anyway.

Running Back: Fred Jackson at Giants

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    Fred Jackson has been a fantasy stud this season.

    In five games, Jackson has 480 yards rushing, 19 catches for 232 yards receiving, and five touchdowns.

    In other words, Jackson has been absolutely incredible.

    It also helps that Jackson is coming off a huge game against the Eagles last week. In that game, Jackson rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown. He also had six catches for 85 yards.

    For his Week 6 matchup, Jackson heads to New Meadowlands Stadium to take on the New York Giants.

    In the past three weeks, the Giants defense has let opposing starting running backs rush for 364 yards and five touchdowns.

    Expect much of the same when Jackson comes to town to take on this 21st ranked run defense.

Running Back: Darren McFadden vs. Browns

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    Against the Texans on Sunday, Darren McFadden was held to only 51 yards rushing as the Raiders defeated Houston just a day after owner and NFL legend Al Davis passed away.

    Although McFadden hasn't hit the 100 yard rushing mark since Week 3, he still leads the NFL in rushing coming into Week 6 with 519 yards on the ground.

    This week, McFadden welcomes the Cleveland Browns to Oakland, a team that has struggled when it comes to stopping the run.

    The Browns (2-2), have allowed 124.5 rushing yards per game this season, ranking 25th in the league.

    Most recently, Cleveland allowed Titans running back Chris Johnson to rush for his only 100-yard game this season against them in Week 4.

    Look for the Raiders to get McFadden the ball often as they will struggle to pass the ball against Cleveland’s fourth ranked pass defense.

Wide Receiver: Wes Welker vs. Cowboys

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    What do you call a receiver that has 45 receptions, 740 yards receiving, and five touchdowns, just five weeks into the season?

    You call him Wes Welker, because he has done just this, and shows no sign of slowing down.

    Last week, many people speculated Welker would be slowed down by Darrelle Revis and the Jets defense. It turns out, they were right.

    After posting 158 yards or more receiving against the Dolphins, Bills, and Raiders, Welker went against the Jets and ONLY had five receptions for 124 yards.

    Sense the sarcasm?

    Let’s face the facts. Tom Brady is going to get Welker the ball no matter what it takes. This week, it only comes easier against the Dallas Cowboys.

Wide Receiver: Hakeem Nicks vs. Bills

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    Throughout five games this season, Hakeem Nicks has caught 28 passes for 412 yards and three touchdowns.

    While the other Giants receiver, Victor Cruz, is getting a lot of attention for his big games, Nicks still remains the top option for Eli Manning.  

    This week, Nicks has the potential to be the top scoring receiver in fantasy football.

    His opponent, the Bills, have been atrocious against the pass.

    While they have intercepted a league leading 12 passes in five games, they have still allowed big games from receivers.

    In the past four weeks, the Bills have allowed 1323 passing yards and nine touchdowns through the air.

    In these four games, the Bills allowed 100 yards or more receiving to five players, including Wes Welker, who caught 16 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3.

    Don't expect Nicks to have those kind of numbers, but expect Manning to get the ball to Nicks a lot as the Bills are unlikely to have an answer.

Tight End: Brandon Pettigrew vs. 49ers

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    While Matthew Stafford has been making headlines by connecting with Calvin Johnson for nine touchdowns this season, Brandon Pettigrew has quietly become a good option for fantasy owners.

    In his past three games, Pettigrew has caught 21 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown.

    Next up for Pettigrew and the Lions, the San Francisco 49ers.

    The 49ers are off to a surprising 4-1 start, led by quarterback Alex Smith and one of the league's most underrated defenses.

    Even though they are one of the most underrated defenses, they still struggle at defending the pass.

    Ranking 23rd against the pass, the 49ers have shown they do have some holes in the secondary.

    In addition, opposing tight ends have had some good success against San Francisco. 

    Allowing 283 yards and a touchdown in the past four games to tight ends, the 49ers may struggle with Pettigrew and the weapons that surround him.

    While Stafford will get the ball to Calvin Johnson frequently, Pettigrew should receive a decent amount of targets as he is starting to become the No. 2 option in the passing game.

Tight End: Jimmy Graham at Buccaneers

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    New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has been phenomenal this season.

    In his last three games, Graham has caught 22 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns, showing he is a valuable threat in all leagues.

    The next matchup for the Saints is NFC South foe, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    While the Buccaneers are ranked 20th in defending the pass, they have still been decent in defending tight ends.

    However, Graham is not your normal tight end, especially because he is playing for New Orleans.

    Saints quarterback Drew Brees is one of the best when it comes to distributing the ball. Due to this, most of his receivers stats fluctuate each week.

    In spite of this, Graham has consistently put up good numbers every week.

    He has been the Saints leading receiver in each of the past three weeks, and currently leads all tight ends in receiving yards and catches.

    He is a must start for the rest of the season, unless proven otherwise.  

Defense: Packers D vs. Rams

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    During the course of this season, it is well known the Packers defense had been struggling. However, they have been productive in the fantasy football world.

    In their last three games, the Packers have picked off seven passes and have one fumble recovery, which was returned for a touchdown.

    It only gets easier for the reigning Super Bowl champions this week when they play the St. Louis Rams.

    Currently, the Rams are ranked 31st in total offense, while ranking last in total points scored.

    The Packers should have a field day against the Rams on both sides of the ball. Their defense will be a force this week in what is a probable blowout.

Defense: Bengals D vs. Colts

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    The Bengals defense has been a pleasant surprise this season.

    After Week 5, the Bengals boast a third ranked passing defense and a seventh ranked run defense.

    In Week 4, Cincinnati held the Buffalo Bills to only 14 points and 273 yards of total offense.  That is something remarkable considering how incredible the Bills have played this season.

    This week, the Bengals face the Indianapolis Colts.

    Yes, Curtis Painter has played good in his past two games. However, it was against the Buccaneers and the Chiefs, two teams that aren't high caliber when it comes to stopping the pass.

    This week, Painter goes against a high-caliber pass defense.

    Look for the Bengals defense to shut down the Colts on all phases of the game.

    If you have them, start them.