Fantasy Clicks: Week 6 Revelations
Tom Brady (center), Wes Welker (L) and Ben-Jarvus Green Ellis: Elsa/Getty Images
As for the Titans, Kerry Collins and Vince Young posted the kind of numbers we may never see again in fantasyland (and that includes anything Derek Anderson does from this point on), completing only 2-of-14 passes for -7 yards. How does a team end up with negative passing numbers, you ask? Look no further than Nate Washington's 22-yard loss on his only catch. The lone bright spot from this debacle, not surprisingly, was RB Chris Johnson, who rushed for 128 yards on only 17 carries. Just think, if he would've doubled his touches ... maybe, just maybe kicker Rob Bironas would have squeezed in a field goal attempt. Instead, we're left to speculate on Johnson's trade value -- which likely won't improve until the Titans win a game -- or at the very least -- one on-field snowball fight.
Minnesota 33, Baltimore 31
Regarding the Vikings, we feel compelled to lob a mea culpa at Brett Favre, who has once again earned the freedom to come and go as he pleases in NFL circles, even at the tender age of 40. Favre had always been a surefire Hall of Famer in skeptical fantasy owners' minds entering this season, but after four straight superb outings -- including the 278 yards and three touchdowns against Baltimore -- he won't ever be criticized in this forum for waffling back-and-forth about returning during/after training camp. In one fell swoop, Favre has unlocked the boundless potentials of Sidney Rice (6 catches, 176 yards) and TE Visanthe Shiancoe (4 catches, 48 yards, 2 TDs) -- without diminishing the fantasy value of Peterson (166 total yards vs. the Ravens). By the way, did you happen to catch Favre DURING Rice's 63-yard catch? While sprinting downfield, he gave a benevolent shoulder-high shove to rookie WR Percy Harvin ... who almost didn't play Sunday, due to -- you guessed it -- shoulder problems. Boom!
Carolina 28, Tampa Bay 21
As for the Buccaneers ... for what's it's worth, QB Josh Johnson (192 total yards, zero TDs) has a top-10 arm and a top-5 case of fumbleitis; Cadillac Williams (77 yards, 1 TD) still boasts top-end speed down the sidelines (despite two torn patellas in recent years) and Derrick Ward (7 total yards), Antonio Bryant (2 catches, 37 yards) and Kellen Winslow Jr. (3 catches, 29 yards) have a nasty habit of disappearing in games -- which is very hard to accomplish when wearing sandwich boards that read, "Will Swashbuckle For Food".
Oakland 13, Philadelphia 9
As for Philly ... Brian Westbrook (141 total yards) was a sight for sore eyes, at least in the minds of Points Per Reception league owners. His nine-catch day (for 91 yards) may have been a direct result of the Raiders' bend-but-don't-break defense down the stretch; but it was also sufficient enough for PPR owners to pencil him in as an every-week starter from this point forward -- including next week's, ahem, showdown with the Redskins. DeSean Jackson (6 catches, 94 yards) and TE Brent Celek (4 catches, 75 yards) are also week-in, week-out starting considerations in the Eagles' pass-first, pass-second offense, fronted by Donovan McNabb (269 yards, zero TDs) and his weekly flirtation with 50 passes.
Larry Fitzgerald: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
As for the Seahawks ... in hindsight, this game represented a karmic payback from last week's 41-0 home thrashing of the Jaguars. Even when fully healthy, Matt Hasselbeck is NEVER a lock for four TD passes. Julius Jones should seldom be a stronger play over Matt Forte or Steven Jackson. And Nate Burleson should never be mentioned in the same breath as Fitzgerald, Boldin, Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne or Randy Moss -- and yet, that's exactly what happened following his two-touchdown day against Jacksonville. On the flip side ... Hasselbeck (112 passing yards vs. Arizona), Jones (5 rushing yards) and Burleson (40 yards) are certainly better than their Sunday outputs suggest. Unfortunately, it'll take two weeks to find out if that's really true, since Seattle doesn't play again until Week 8 (at Dallas).
New Orleans 48, N.Y. Giants 27
Regarding the Giants, so much for the purported fantasy greatness of Louisiana natives Brandon Jacobs (35 total yards) and Eli Manning (178 passing yards, 1 TD) and WR flavor-of-the-month Steve Smith (4 catches, 44 yards). In a game loaded with scoring possibilities, each star fell woefully short of their Week 6 estimates. The same cannot be said for receivers Hakeem Nicks (5 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD) and Mario Manningham (4 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD), both of whom can likely be found on waivers (especially after so many owners jumped ship on double-M last week). As luck would have it, they're both sound flex options for Week 7 (vs. Arizona).
Atlanta 21, Chicago 14
In defeat, the luckless Bears were actually stronger in the fantasy realm, despite never trailing by more than seven points (aka, Garbage Time). QB Jay Cutler threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns, solidifying his standing as a week-in, week-out starter for 12- or 14-team leagues. Greg Olsen rose up from the dead to catch five balls for 57 yards and one touchdown. Earl Bennett pulled down four balls for 57 yards, and Devin Hester flashed and dashed his way to 94 total yards (six catches). The only disappointing performance -- of all people -- came from RB Matt Forte, who suffered the double indignity of tallying only 60 yards and fumbling twice near the goal line ... on successive plays.
Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 14
On the other end of the spectrum, there's no point in discussing the fantasy prospects of any Brownie, outside of Jamal Lewis or Cribbs (for leagues that reward kick-return TDs). Derek Anderson (122 passing yards, 1 TD) is less attractive than Josh Johnson or Ryan Fitzpatrick, talented rookie WR Mohammed Massaquoi (5 catches, 83 yards) is laboring in a 1960s offense and backup RB Jerome Harrison (26 total yards) has vanquished every bit of fantasy goodwill from Week 4 (152 total yards vs. Cincy). To be brutally honest, an expansion team (helmed by an intelligent GM, of course) could find better fantasy talent in next year's draft and off other NFL practice squads. Ouch!
Maurice Jones-Drew: AP
As for the Jaguars ... don't read too much into Torry Holt's 101 receiving yards. Everyone knew he'd have a great day against his old team. But it still doesn't change the fact he's at the end of his fantasy rope (especially on grass). Don't read too much into David Garrard's 366-yard performance, as well. Bottom line: It's impossible to throw one's arms around a quarterback who cannot throw at least one touchdown against the sad-sack Rams. On the flip side, isn't it amazing what WR Mike Sims-Walker (9 catches, 120 yards) can do on a good night's sleep? (Don't get the joke? Click here for a PG-13 explanation.)
Last but not least ... it's a crime that it took three paragraphs to mention Maurice Jones-Drew and his 178 total yards (133 rushing), along with three touchdowns. But what's left to say about this human dynamo ... other than it's likely too late to move heaven and earth to land him in a trade -- especially PPR leagues. He's still worth the trouble of surrendering Greg Jennings, Vincent Jackson and Joseph Addai, though ... just for the privilege of owning him.
Houston 28, Cincinnati 17
Speaking of Ocho (5 catches, 103 yards) ... it's starting to feel like 2005 or '06 again for the NFL's most notorious Tweeter, meaning he's a lock for 10 catches, 100 receiving yards or one TD even on blah days. The problem is, he no longer has Houshmandzadeh on the opposite side of QB Carson Palmer (261 total yards, 1 TD vs. Houston). Instead, he's surrounded by a bunch of bland, interchangeable possession receivers, none of which have any sustained fantasy value (outside of Andre Caldwell in deeper PPR leagues). That doesn't bode well for Cedric Benson (45 total yards, 1 TD), who'll be expected to carry the week-in, week-out rushing load for a team that had been living (and now dying) by the sword of nailbiting outcomes since Week 1.
Buffalo 16, N.Y. Jets 13 (OT)
Regarding the Bills, Marshawn Lynch (72 yards) remains a flex-starting option every week ... but Fred Jackson, Terrell Owens, Lee Evans, Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick (136 total yards, 1 TD) are merely expendable benchwarmers with little cachet on the trade market -- at this time (Evans can turn things around in a jiff). And even if T.O. is dealt to a contending club before the NFL trade deadline ... no one would honestly start him over, say, Nate Burleson, Steve Breaston, Kevin Walter, Donald Driver or Lance Moore.
Green Bay 26, Detroit 0
Regarding the Lions, Drew Stanton is a better fantasy option than Daunte Culpepper at this juncture. Why are we mentioning this? Well, there is speculation that Matthew Stafford has a wink-wink visit with renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews this week, which may lead to knee surgery in the very-near future. So, for those in two-quarterback leagues ... or sadists with Michigan State ties (like yours truly) ... Stanton possesses greater upside in the short-term -- even if it wasn't reflected in his 57-yard, zero-TD, two-INT effort against Green Bay. As for the other Detroit playmakers, only Kevin Smith (61 total yards) warrants a locked-in spot on fantasy rosters ... at least until Calvin Johnson returns from injury. But even when that occurs, Calvin serves as the No. 1 sell-high option among NFL receivers. For whatever reason, he likely won't sniff 12 touchdowns this season.
Kansas City 14, Washington 6
Now for the bad news: Jason Campbell (89 passing yards, zero TDs) does not deserve a fantasy start the rest of the season -- under any circumstances. He just concluded a mediocre run against St. Louis, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Kansas City -- the current dregs of NFL society -- and still sits no better than the 25th-best starter during non-bye weeks. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel (200 total yards -- 14 rushing) should not be a QB1 consideration in the immediate future, as well. However, he's a must-keep in 12- or 14-team leagues, stemming from Kansas City's cake schedule in the season's second half ... and that he's the lesser of two evils when stacked against Campbell on the waiver wire.
Jay Clemons can be found on Twitter, day and night (@SI_JayClemons), accessing your fantasy questions and comments. You can also read his award-winning Revelations every Sunday and Monday during the NFL season.