It's hard not to be excited about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers after their Week 5 come-from-behind triumph over the Dallas Cowboys.
There's nothing surprising about Rodgers coming through in the clutch and producing huge fantasy numbers. However, the Packers' schedule is exceptionally favorable over the next two weeks, and they should be able to put more big numbers on the scoreboard as they face the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints.
The strength of the Vikings is their defense, but they played Monday night on the road against the Bears and needed a late interception by Harrison Smith to put themselves in position to secure a victory with a late field goal. Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had some success against the Vikings after buying time by leaving the pocket, and that's an area that Rodgers has excelled at throughout his career.
Rodgers should be able to take advantage of a tired Minnesota defense. It seems unlikely that Sam Bradford (knee) will be able to play effectively in this game and the Vikings are likely to go with Case Keenum. It will be difficult for the Vikings to sustain their offense against the Packers, and that means Rodgers should get the ball in some favorable positions to put points on the board.
It should be even more of a party for Rodgers when the Packers host the Saints in Week 7.
Week 6 Cheat Sheet and Rankings
Top 10 Quarterbacks
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
2. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions
4. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns
5. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots at New York Jets
7. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
8. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
10. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
Here's the bottom line for Rodgers against the Vikings: He should throw for 330 yards with three TDs and no interceptions.
The belief in Stafford may be somewhat over the top, but we see his improvement and his desire to become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Stafford has completed 64.2 percent of his passes and thrown for 1,116 yards. He also has a 9-1 TD-to-interception ratio, and that's what really hits home. Stafford used to be a scatter-armed interception machine, but he has cleaned up that part of his game. Stafford will have 315 passing yards with three TDs against the Saints.
There's nothing that fits Brees' personality and profile better than a passing shootout with a top opposing quarterback, and that's just what he is going to get against the Lions. He will have a chance to match Stafford pass for pass, and he should be able to engage him on a near-even basis. Brees may no longer have the arm strength he had at the peak of his game, but he is as smart a leader as can be found in the game. Brees throws for 300 yards and two touchdowns.
Watson may face more pressure than any other rookie quarterback in recent memory. He has already proved himself to some extent, but he also had the security of knowing he was playing with perhaps the most talented defensive team in the league, so he didn't have to do it all himself.
That has changed dramatically with season-ending injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Watson is as sharp a young quarterback as there is in the game. While he will have a bad game or two throughout the season, it won't come against the Cleveland Browns. Look for Watson to throw for 250 yards and two TDs and run for 65 yards and another score.
Top 10 Running Backs
1. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Rams
4. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
5. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins
6. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
7. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens
8. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts
9. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons
10. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants
Gurley has become something of a stud, and the better he does, the better it is for second-year quarterback Jared Goff. Gurley has explosive speed once he gets to the second level, and he is just as dangerous as a pass-catcher as he is a runner. The Jaguars have played solid defense this season, but we doubt that unit will hold up once Gurley hits them in the mouth. Gurley finishes the game with 125 rushing yards, 60 receiving yards and two TDs.
Hunt is becoming a relentless force for the Chiefs. In the Week 5 win over the Houston Texans, he was held in check until well into the second half, but he was overpowering in the late stages of the game and able to hammer the Texans into submission with 29 carries for 107 yards. Hunt has excellent finishing speed and he will get the best of the Pittsburgh defense. Hunt runs for 115 yards and two TDs.
Fournette is motivated to establish himself as an excellent NFL running back and help the Jaguars become a winning team. He is well on his way to establishing those goals and he has an excellent chance to have a big game versus the Rams. Fournette rushes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Top 10 Wide Receivers
1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
2. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns
4. Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins
5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
6. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots at New York Jets
7. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
8. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins
9. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions
10. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints.
Brown is the best receiver in the NFL, but the Steelers are coming off one of their most disappointing games in recent memory after a 30-9 home loss to the Jaguars. The Steelers have the kind of talent that should allow them to contend for the Super Bowl, but something has been wrong. They are playing the undefeated Chiefs on the road this week, and that opponent should bring out the best in the Pittsburgh offense. If the Steelers come up with a better effort here, Brown should catch 10 passes for 165 yards and two TDs.
Nelson continues to dominate with his speed, athleticism and skill, and it's clear that Rodgers will look for him when the Packers get close to the red zone. Nelson has also shown the ability to score on long plays, and that should happen here against the Vikings. Look for Nelson to catch eight passes for 140 yards and two scores.
Hopkins is just a remarkable receiver who can win the fight on the 50-50 ball and also accelerate into open space after making the catch. Look for the Texans to turn up the heat on the offensive end as the defense is in trouble. Hopkins will punish the overmatched Cleveland Browns with 130 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Top 10 Tight Ends
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots at New York Jets
2. Zack Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers
3. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts
4. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
5. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins vs. San Francisco 49ers
6. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
7. Martellus Bennett, Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
8. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Ed Dickson, Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
10. Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions
Gronkowski did not play in New England's Week 5 game against the Bucs, but he should be healthy against the division rival Jets, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Gronkowski is the best weapon that Tom Brady has when he is healthy and inspired, and he should be both in this game. Gronkowski cannot be stopped in the open field and he will have eight catches for 140 yards and two TDs in this game.
Ertz is just a wonderful tight end who knows how to make himself available for second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Ertz is strong enough to win the battle in tight coverage, and he can also get away from the tackler and pick up yards after the catch. He will have six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers.
Look for Marcus Mariota to return to the lineup Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts, and the Titans should be able to move the ball fairly well against one of the NFL's weakest defenses. Walker knows how to get open and hold onto the ball, and while he has not caught a TD pass to this point, that will change against the Colts. He will have six catches for 85 yards and a TD.
QB Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts
RB Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings
RB Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
WR Roger Lewis, New York Giants
WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets
Brissett is the quarterback to pick up if you have been faltering at the position. He may not be the smoothest operator, but he is well-trained coming from the New England Patriots and he is a fearless performer. His accuracy can be an issue, but he makes up for that with his willingness to pick up yards and touchdowns with his running ability.
Jones is emerging as an excellent backup running back with the Packers. Jones runs with quite a bit of quickness and surprising power, and the Packers can afford to let Ty Montgomery get back to full health and play Jones while waiting for that to happen.
Lewis gets a dynamic opportunity to succeed in the Giants lineup due to the injuries suffered by Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. Since Sterling Shepard (ankle) is not at full health and can't do it all by himself, look for Lewis to step up and make a name for himself.