Week 6 Fantasy Football: Instant Sunday Recap

Eric Mack@@EricMackFantasyFantasy Football Lead WriterOctober 13, 2014

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The fantasy wins—maybe losses—keep adding up. So do the injuries. It is the nature of the beast.

The New York Giants' Victor Cruz (knee) was carted off Sunday night, while the New England Patriots lost a pair of starters in Stevan Ridley and Jerod Mayo. The MRIs on Monday figure to be must-watch TV for fans of those teams and the affected fantasy owners.

Until we get the official bad news, Bleacher Report takes a look at the headlines from the Sunday that was in fantasy, including five surprising studs and five unexpected duds.

Five Surprising Week 6 Studs

QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Who saw this coming? Joe Flacco has become a fantasy superstar, suddenly. The inclination would be to say this won't continue, but the Atlanta Falcons are next up in Week 7. They are not an imposing defense.

Torrey Smith has woken up from early-season struggles, Steve Smith is going strong and Owen Daniels—quiet in Week 6—will eventually become involved. There are weapons there, and Flacco is capable of putting up good numbers against the Falcons at home.

Flacco is available in 30 percent of CBSSports.com leagues after being active in just 19 percent of them for his remarkable five first-half touchdowns against the beleaguered Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Flacco is just coming into his own, and he is a well-timed replacement if you have a struggling starter or Nick Foles on bye.

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WR Brandon LaFell/QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Brady has made a career of making surprising stars out of spare parts. Veteran wideout Brandon LaFell is the latest edition.

LaFell, four catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns, has emerged as a Brady red-zone target because of his size at 6'3". Rob Gronkowski might be the No. 1 option in that regard, but Brady and the Pats like to spread the ball around. Julian Edelman isn't going to be the factor in the red zone that LaFell can be.

LaFell was owned in just 17 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, active in just 3 percent. That number is going to jump against the suspect New York Jets secondary for a home Thursday night matchup. It should be another big week for Brady, LaFell and the Pats.

QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

It isn't surprising Cam Newton had a big performance at Cincinnati. It was the way those fantasy points were scored. With running backs DeAngelo Williams (ankle) and Jonathan Stewart (knee) out, Newton took the Panthers' running game in his own hands.

Newton not only threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns, but he also added 107 yards rushing and a score on 17 carries. The latter rushing totals are No. 1 running back fantasy numbers...coming from a quarterback. It was what made Newton a fantasy star as a rookie, and he is finally healthy enough to impact the game in that regard again.

"Those things came to fruition today," Newton told Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer. "I felt better and hopefully it looked like I ran better."

The Panthers needed to generate offense with the losses at receiver from the offseason and at running back over the past month. Newton is doing it on the ground now that his offseason ankle issues are resolving themselves. Head coach Ron Rivera told Jones they wanted to slowly unleash him:

I said from the beginning we were not going to make any (decisions) that put the young man at risk. He's our franchise quarterback. And we waited, we took our time. He did everything he was asked to do in preparation for (Sunday). (Sunday) was as good a day as it could have been. I don't want to declare him back because I'm not the doctor, but I think he's pretty close.

He is close enough to consider him a must-start fantasy option through the bye season now. Week 7 at the Green Bay Packers should be bountiful. At the very least, start him in more than the 33 percent of CBSSports.com leagues he was active in Sunday.

WR Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals

It isn't a surprise Mohamed Sanu stepped forward in A.J. Green's (toe) absence, but the 10 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown put him in another category. Sanu is a legit third-year wide receiver breakthrough who belongs in all fantasy starting lineups on a weekly basis.

Sanu, the most-added player in ESPN.com leagues coming into this performance, is still owned in just 38.8 percent of leagues there. That won't last any longer, particularly with Green expected to be out for Week 7, according to ESPN's Bob Holtzman.

Next up for the Bengals is a road game at Indianapolis. Expect that game to run into the 20s, if not 30s, for both teams. Sanu is a must-start for that one and a repeat most-added player in ESPN formats.

TE Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

The Redskins have plenty of weapons in their passing game, but fantasy owners got one more viable starter back with Reed's return from his early-season absence due to a hamstring issue. It was quite a return too.

Reed racked up eight catches for 92 yards, proving his hamstring is finally 100 percent. Next up for the Redskins is a home game against the Tennessee Titans. That should be another good one for him.

Tight end is a position you don't want to gum up your roster with reserves. With Reed back, you should feel confident cutting his replacement and just riding him through thick and thin.

Five Week 6 Duds

RB Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 12:   Timothy Wright #81 of the New England Patriots and  Stevan Ridley #22 of the New England Patriots celebrate a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 12, 2014 in Orchar
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Ridley wasn't going to be the first fantasy running back to score a rushing touchdown against the Buffalo Bills defense this season (per FFToday.com) necessarily, but his outcome Sunday was even worse than the disappointing numbers. Ridley might be done for the season now.

The NFL Network's Albert Breer tweeted Ridley has a knee injury feared to be a torn ACL, which would sideline him for the season. Ridley will have an MRI on Monday.

Those 10 carries for 23 yards won't be missed. Ridley's loss would make Shane Vereen more intriguing in standard leagues, but he isn't a between-the-tackles runner. Brandon Bolden is, so consider him a sleeper in deeper formats.

WR Wes Welker, Denver Broncos

This isn't the Welker we had come to know. We might have to consider him outside the category of the wide receivers you want on your roster right now, much less active in lineups.

Welker just isn't a touchdown threat—he never was—but he is now also struggling to get targets and catches. He was held to one garbage-time reception for eight yards against the weak New York Jets secondary.

The problem is Welker is a fantasy receiver who needs volume. That won't happen as long as Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas remain healthy. Even Emmanuel Sanders is a much better choice as a fantasy fill-in receiver.

Welker is through his suspension, and the Broncos are through their bye. But you won't want to start Welker against the San Francisco 49ers defense next week. You can cut Welker if you need a more productive option now—seriously.

WR Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks

Harvin completed a tough week. After having three touchdowns called back Monday night, Harvin had three more receptions for nothing...this time zero yards. It is extremely hard to consider Harvin a starting-caliber fantasy receiver right now.

Russell Wilson should make someone productive in the Seahawks' passing game, but the problem is the ball gets spread around so often. Also, the Seahawks are a run-first team that needs a field-stretcher. Despite being a blazer, Harvin has been more of a short-yardage catch-and-run type.

It used to be injury that frustrated Harvin's fantasy owners. Now, it is a lack of impact even when healthy.


WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 28:  Cordarrelle Patterson #84 of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled by Kemal Ishmael #36 of the Atlanta Falcons at TCF Bank Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Patterson is another Harvin case, although Patterson's struggles can be tied to an ineffective offense just as much as his lack of downfield receiving prowess.

Patterson is a talent who needs to be schemed into touches. They are tough to come by for him and the Vikings right now. Patterson was held to two catches for 15 yards and one carry for two yards.

It might not be all Patterson's fault. Adrian Peterson is all but finished for the season, and the Vikings have had to rotate three starting quarterbacks, the last of which, Teddy Bridgewater, isn't ready for prime time.

Patterson should not be cut...yet...but he cannot be started either.


WR Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

Take out Allen's Week 4 performance (10 catches for 135 yards), and his sophomore season has been a huge bust. Even a week of health and a matchup against the Oakland Raiders couldn't ignite the player who should have been Philip Rivers' favorite target.

The primary problem is Rivers has picked a different favorite target seemingly every week. If it is not Malcom Floyd, like it was Sunday (five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown), Eddie Royal or Antonio Gates, it has been Branden Oliver and the running game carrying the Chargers offense.

The good news is Allen is healthy after his groin issue. The bad news is you have to sit him until he proves productive. The potential of watching his rebound on your bench is just fantasy's reality for this struggling sophomore.

We will keep you updated every step of the way during the fantasy season with Tuesday's Insider Notebook, Wednesday's Big Board, Thursday's Predictions and Saturday's The Ultimate Guide to Sunday's Action. These are comprehensive must-read pieces every week.

Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game.

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