The RotoExperts.com Staff reviews all of the Week 6 games from a fantasy perspective.
I'm looking around for Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown. Because I certainly believe we were transported back to Week 10 or 13 of the 2007 NFL season on Monday night. It was a time when no one believed in Eli Manning yet and Derek Anderson was still considered a very good fantasy starter.
Man, I don't think anyone's gonna beat New England ...
Anyhow, one week after he looked like the general of a nearly unbeatable team, Manning was hit hard often and showed the same tendencies that made him an erratic fantasy passer before his memorable transformation to a unrelenting field general in the postseason. Manning made questionable throws and decisions, tried to force the issue at critical times, and locked onto targets. Future Giants opponents will rush to break down film of the three-interception outing in an effort to further expose his weaknesses.
I'm sure Manning himself, though, will watch the game films and learn quickly from them. He's already past the point in his development as a pro quarterback where one down outing is going to lead to a sudden fall back to his past form. I'm not worried about one down outing for Manning. His confidence and mindset dictate that he will bounce back. If you find a panicky Manning owner this week, try to wrest Eli from him. I'm certainly not taking him out of my lineups.
Anderson's followers may have thought he was simply tired of seeing all those Brady Quinn commercials, but the sheer truth is, teams who are desperate for a victory can be dangerous, as the Redskins and Dolphins also discovered on Sunday. The Browns needed the win badly on a national stage, and you can never discount motivation and emotion in the NFL. I'm not convinced yet that Anderson can keep his positive momentum flowing for too long. I need to see more than one good outing to be sold on him again, but I'm open to changing my mind on Anderson again after I saw him do a great job on Monday. He took what the defense gave him, then set it up for the big plays he wanted to create.
What was most notable was how the New York defensive line was dominated by Cleveland's outstanding blocking crew. The old adage says if you give any QB that much time to throw, he's going to make quality plays. So that's why we can remain optimistic on Anderson, and keep him on our rosters. When you see players like Justin Tuck being stood up in single blocking, and flattened by double-teams, you tale notice. Ryan Tucker played a great game at right tackle in his return from a hip injury, and the entire offensive line didn't allow a sack. Meanwhile, Manning's blockers, widely regarded as the premier group in the NFL, had more lapses and allowed their QB to get knocked around. He was sacked just once, but absorbed many other hard shots. I believe, though, his blockers will make the needed adjustments, too.
Of course, it was a relief to see Braylon Edwards go over 150 receiving yards, and we can start him with confidence again. I admittedly benched him for Rashied Davis in one of my leagues this week, but Edwards now gets back into my starting lineup without question. Even if Anderson is erratic in the weeks ahead, I expect inconsistency more than I do downright inability to get the ball to his best playmaker. At worst, I expect Anderson to be up and down in the near future, but he'll complete enough passes to Edwards on a regular basis to keep the WR active and stop worrying about his production. If Anderson completes more than 15 passes in any given week, Edwards will fare just fine.
Jamal Lewis truly earned his 88 yards and a TD, but I'm still questioning him as a regular RB2. Anderson needs to be more consistent to open up running lanes for Lewis and put him in position to finish off scoring drives. Let's not forget the drives in the game that ended up in field goals or less for Cleveland. Plus, the penalties became too much to count. Cleveland did play very sloppy at times, too, and I can't fully believe the offense is ready to fully roll forward yet. The adrenaline rush of Monday night could soon give way to another haphazard outing by the offense.
Plaxico Burress may have missed only one game, but it's clear that Manning's timing was not fully down with his top WR. Still, Burress scored, and there should eb no real worries about him going forward, as long as he returns phone calls from his team. Brandon Jacobs rushed for 67 yards and a TD in yet another impressive outing. He may be an injury risk, but I won't trade him. He's simply unstoppable. At least Cleveland strong safety Mike Adams tried to take him on, I respect that. Adams is a fine individual defender league player. He may have been run over more than once by Jacobs, but it was better than seeing Brian Russell of the Seahawks play completely scared of Jacobs the previous week.-- Scott Engel
Matt Ryan threw for a season-high 301 yards, including a clutch, 26-yard completion to Michael Jenkins in the waning seconds. Ryan threw for one touchdown and no interceptions against a Chicago defense that is known for bringing constant pressure on quarterbacks. This could be a defining game for Ryan, and the official start to him being a fantasy-relevant quarterback. He shouldn't be started yet, but if you are in a yearly league, grab him immediately. Roddy White played through a head injury and caught nine balls for 112 yards and a score. White is quickly emerging as a definitive WR1. Michael Turner's "Jekyll and Hyde" season continued as he rushed for only 54 yards on 25 carries. Turner has yet to deliver an impressive performance versus a top-notch NFL defense. Jerious Norwood received only three carries and is only worth considering in leagues that count return yards. Rookie Harry Douglas caught a season-high five passes for 96 yards. Douglas, a third-round draft pick, was actually Ryan's go-to receiver throughout most of the game and should be picked up in all formats. It's worth monitoring Douglas on your bench to see if his emergence continues.
Kyle Orton continued to prove doubters wrong as he threw for 286 yards and a touchdown. Orton's touchdown came on a late, fourth quarter drive that momentarily gave the Bears the lead. Matt Forte wasn't particularly effective on the ground, averaging only 3.8 yards per carry, but he totaled 110 yards and a touchdown. Forte is an every-week starter as his receiving numbers normally make up for any poor performance on the ground. Devin Hester's progression as a wide receiver took another positive step as he caught six passes for 87 yards. Hester is looking far more comfortable as a receiver, and his route running has improved significantly in the past few games. Hester can be counted on as a WR3. Greg Olsen had three catches for 41 yards. Fantasy owners can do much worse than Olsen at tight end. -- Brad Rysz
Matt Schaub returned to the Houston lineup and threw for 379 yards and one touchdown. Schaub also added a game-winning rushing touchdown. Other than a rough Week 3 against Tennessee, Schaub has posted good numbers. The interceptions are cause for concern, and he added two more Sunday, but he is still a lower-end starting fantasy quarterback who can post good yardage and TD totals. Andre Johnson had the game many of us want him to deliver more often, catching 10 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. As long as Schaub is the quarterback, Johnson is a WR1. Kevin Walter had 98 yards and is the perfect complement to Johnson. He can be started in three-WR leagues. Owen Daniels continues to put up solid yardage numbers (four catches, 70 yards), but still can't find the end zone. Those scores will come in time, and Daniels is a top 10 tight end for the remainder of the season. Steve Slaton fell back to Earth, totaling only 61 yards. Slaton is still an incredible talent and will have more productive games than not.
Chad Pennington passed for 284 yards, including two touchdowns to Patrick Cobbs. Cobbs caught touchdown passes of 53 and 80 yards. Cobbs had only two catches and three rushing attempts previous to this week's game, so it's likely that this was a flash-in-the-pan performance. Greg Camarillo led the Dolphins in receptions with four and had 49 yards. Camarillo is still the most intriguing Dolphins receiver. For those who still care, Ted Ginn Jr. had one catch for minus-one yard. Ronnie Brown ran in a six-yard touchdown and had 93 total yards. It's clear that Brown is back to being the RB1 that he was before last year's season-ending injury. Ricky Williams scored his first touchdown since 2005, and ran for 46 yards on 11 carries. Williams has taken a back seat to Brown and isn't likely to be much more than a 10-carry per game RB for the rest of the season. -- B.R.
Correll Buckhalter rushed for a touchdown and 178 total yards. When Brian Westbrook isn't playing, Buckhalter is a RB2 in most leagues. Donovan McNabb threw for 278 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, without Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis. DeSean Jackson led the Eagles with 98 yards on six catches. Hank Baskett caught four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. Baskett has been useful while filling in for the other injured Eagles receivers. With Curtis and Brown returning soon, Baskett will see his role diminish. L.J. Smith had only one catch, but it was a two-yard touchdown reception. Smith is one of McNabb's favorite red zone targets, so he is always a threat to score even though his yardage numbers are typically low.
Frank Gore was able to run through the Eagles formidable run defense for 101 yards and a score, while adding 16 receiving yards. Gore has proven that he can produce against even the toughest defenses. J.T. O'Sullivan passed for 199 yards and two interceptions. O'Sullivan was pressured often by the Eagles defense and wasn't able to find any rhythm. He is still a decent fantasy backup. Vernon Davis returned from fantasy obscurity and led the 49ers with six catches for 75 yards. Until Davis can produce back-to-back solid outings he shouldn't be started. Arnaz Battle added three catches for 39 yards. Battle and Isaac Bruce (two catches, 28 yards) have proven to be the only 49ers receivers worth owning. -- B.R.
Ryan Grant was given 33 chances to score his first touchdown this season and was only able to gain 90 yards. That comes out to 2.7 yards per carry, and Grant's owners can now be truly disappointed. Aaron Rodgers has developed into a better passing quarterback than many expected, and Grant's role in the offense has diminished. Consider Grant a RB2 at this point. Rodgers played through a shoulder injury and threw for 208 yards, two touchdowns, and rushed for a score. Rodgers has the receivers to continue to post these numbers so don't expect a decline in stats. Greg Jennings scored another touchdown and added 84 yards. He is arguably the top receiving threat in fantasy football. Donald Driver had a pedestrian six catches for 53 yards. Driver is a WR3.
The Seahawks offense was miserable without Matt Hasselbeck, totaling only 177 yards and having the ball for only slightly more than 22 minutes. Charlie Frye replaced an injured Hasselbeck and threw for two touchdowns, 83 yards and two interceptions. John Carlson caught a touchdown pass and had four catches for 22 yards. After an impressive first two games, Carlson has been largely ineffective. Carlson should be on fantasy rosters, but not as a starter. Bobby Engram didn't have a catch and obviously had no chemistry with Frye. Julius Jones ran for only 44 yards on 12 carries. Jones wasn't asked to do much as the Seahawks were forced to pass most of the second half. -- B.R.
Just because you've heard "it depends on your scoring system" ad nauseam, does not make it something to tune out. It's often true. This weekend was a perfect example. Your scoring system dictated how good Adrian Peterson's day was. For those of you in TD heavy leagues, he gave you next to nothing. For those of you in yardage leagues, you have to be pretty satisfied with his 111 yards. But does your league penalize for turnovers? If so, you can't be happy with his two fumbles. While Peterson should be pursued, Gus Frerotte, despite putting up 296 yards and a touchdown, can continue to be ignored in most standard single-QB leagues. Those of you waiting for Bernard Berrian's breakout game finally got one as he had 131 yards and a touchdown. With Minnesota facing some easier secondaries the rest of the season, don't be surprised to see this as the start of something new. Bobby Wade had four catches for 71 yards, but you can add him to the "ignore" list.
Roy Williams, however, would have loved to post those numbers. Despite recent complaints about not seeing enough passes, Williams still only had two catches for 23 yards. I'd be getting a little nervous if I was Jon Kitna, as Dan Orvlosky looked capable, completing 12 of 21 for 150 yards and a touchdown. Calvin Johnson was the big beneficiary of Orvlosky's passes, catching four passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Johnson did leave the field late in the game with an injury, so check his status throughout the week. If healthy, he is a must-start every week. Any Detroit running back is not a weekly start, but for those of you who care, Rudi Johnson led the team in carries with 17, but managed only 38 yards. Kevin Smith had five carries for 62 yards, but much of that was gained on a single 50 yard run. -- Mark Strausberg
This is why you ignore the matchup and you don't bench your studs. Peyton Manning completed 19 of 28 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns. His torching of the Baltimore defense could have continued, but with Indy up by three touchdowns or more, he spent much of the game handing it off. Reggie Wayne caught eight of those Manning passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, cementing his must-start status. But the recipient of the "The Holy Grail: "I'm not dead yet" award for the week goes to Marvin Harrison, who had 83 yards and two touchdowns. Sell now while you can. Joseph Addai injured his hamstring early, which answers why you might be asking how Dominic Rhodes managed to have 73 yards and a touchdown. Mike Hart also got injured, so don't consider him, even in extremely deep leagues.
The Baltimore offense looked putrid, and one should expect more bad days to come. However, two items worth mentioning: 1) Ray Rice had the most productive day, leading the team in rushing with 23 yards, but also catching seven passes for 64 yards. An owner playing for next year in one of my keeper leagues was blasted for trading Randy Moss for Ray Rice this past week. Well, Rice had more points than Moss this week. Maybe he wasn't so dumb. 2) For those of you in deep leagues, Demetrius Williams is beginning to work his way back into consideration, and caught six passes for 53 yards. Don't pick him up just yet, but make sure he's on your radar. -- M.S.
And sometimes you play the matchup. Before my editors go berserk about me contradicting myself, let me say that if your stud is healthy, you play him. But if he's not 100 percent and the matchup is not ideal (oh, like say LaDainian Tomlinson and his turf toe) and your other choice has a juicy matchup, like Thomas Jones, you play Jones. Then you watch as Jones scores three touchdowns like he did against the Bengals. Jones is simply not as good as he was on Sunday. He remains a matchup play. Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles each had eight receptions, Cotchery had 85 yards and Coles had 61 yards. Brett Favre throws a lot more touchdowns than interceptions, which he failed to do this week. Expect a few more multi-touchdown games for Favre, but you should expect a few more games like this outing as well.
Ryan Fitzpatrick got the start again and scored on a one-yard touchdown run. However, I'm not so sure he made the ol' boys club members in the Crimson and White sweatshirts too proud with his 20 of 33 for 152 yards passing. As long as Fitzpatrick remains the field general, expect the Bengals receiving corps to continue to struggle as both Chad Ocho Cinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh combined on a 12-catch 107-yard day with no touchdowns. Chris Perry did very little to hold off Cedric Benson, as Perry totaled just 14 yards on 11 carries. It is probably best to avoid playing any Bengal at this time. However, if you're looking for a sleeper, it is worth noting that Ben Utecht returned from an injury suffered earlier this year and caught four passes for 34 yards. -- M.S.
The Rams scored 19 points without scoring an offensive touchdown. Hopefully you read our preview, and with the exception of Steven Jackson, benched your Rams this week. Marc Bulger passed for only 136 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Bulger is not start-worthy in any format. Jackson did have 111 total yards, but did not score. While Jackson should remain in your lineup, if you can move him and get good value, you should. Torry Holt caught five balls for 23 yards. That is just awful for a player of his caliber. Holt is quickly becoming a guy you can't start with confidence.
The Washington offense wasn't much better, although Clinton Portis did come to play with 143 total yards and two touchdowns. Jason Campbell passed for 208 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Campbell has now gone 10 quarters without a touchdown pass. Even though he had five receptions for 87 yards, Antwaan Randle El should be benched. Conversely, while two catches for 22 yards isn't going to help you win your week, continue to start Santana Moss unless you've got similar talent on your bench. Once Campbell rebounds, so should Moss. Chris Cooley did finish with five receptions for 57 yards, and remains a must-start based on talent. -- Matt Wirkiwoski
David Garrard threw for a season-high 276 yards, and added one touchdown, but those numbers still aren't good enough to start Garrard. Maurice Jones-Drew totaled 148 yards and two touchdowns to maintain his must-start status. Fred Taylor only touched the ball four times for a total of 20 yards, and can no longer be relied upon to generate useful fantasy points. Matt Jones had a nice game with seven receptions for 69 yards, and with Jerry Porter and Reggie Williams contributing basically nothing to the offense; Jones is looking like a better option for your WR3 spot. In the preview, we told you that Marcedes Lewis would score, and he did. Lewis may finally be living up to his potential, and needs to be in the conversation when discussing low-end starting options at tight end.
Jay Cutler didn't pile up the yards, as he only threw for 192, but those two touchdowns did help your fantasy team, and made up for that one interception. Cutler did nothing to dissuade fantasy owners to start him weekly without fear. Selvin Young didn't play Sunday, and the running game was left in the capable hands of Michael Pittman, who didn't disappoint, as he totaled 125 yards. Andre Hall received no touches. Watch the injury report to see Young's status against New England next week, but if he's still out, Pittman makes a nice flex play. With Eddie Royal a late scratch and Brandon Stokley suffering a concussion in the first quarter, Brandon Marshall was double-teamed often, but still managed to finish with nine catches for 98 yards. Stokley caught a touchdown pass before leaving the game, and backup tight end Daniel Graham caught the other touchdown. They only contributed significantly because of injuries. -- M.W.
Matt Cassel has yet to throw more than one touchdown in a game, and continued that streak with 203 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. That just won't get it done; bench Cassel immediately and indefinitely. The only running back worth starting was Sammy Morris, as he totaled 75 yards and one touchdown. Kevin Faulk added 77 total yards, and Laurence Maroney wasn't active for the game. Cassel is holding down the value of Randy Moss and Wes Welker, both should be dropped a slot on your fantasy depth chart. Welker had nine receptions for 73 yards, while Moss had only three catches for 26 yards. With Chris Chambers out, Vincent Jackson produced to the tune of five receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown. How about Malcom Floyd? Floyd caught three balls for 75 yards and a touchdown. Don't get too excited about Floyd's numbers, once Chambers returns, Floyd will fade back into obscurity. However, even when Chambers can play, Jackson is looking like a solid low-end WR2 for your fantasy squad. Antonio Gates finished with a disappointing four catches for 35 yards, but redeemed himself with a touchdown grab. LaDainian Tomlinson totaled 118 yards, but didn't score. While you certainly are going to start Tomlinson, if you can trade him for fair market value, do so. Philip Rivers had a near perfect game, with 306 passing yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. This was Rivers' fourth three-touchdown game of the season, making him an absolute must-start. -- M.W.
Earnest Graham's owners shouldn't be overly concerned by the disparity in carries between Warrick Dunn and Graham this week. With both of Tampa Bay's fullbacks injured, Jon Gruden turned to Graham to fill the role of the lead blocker, explaining his five carries to Dunn's 22. With nearly identical stats on the year, the Buccaneers running back timeshare will continue to make both running backs no better than RB3 options. Jeff Garcia was 15-of-20 for 173 yards and a touchdown, and has already been named the starter for next week's game against Seattle. He's not going to put up gaudy passing stats, but owners could do worse if they need an emergency fill-in at quarterback. It was a forgettable day for the Carolina Panthers.
Jake Delhomme threw three interceptions and zero touchdowns, and the duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for just 39 yards on 17 carries. There's nothing to worry about with Delhomme, his poor showing was simply the result of some ill-advised passes against a tough Buccaneers defense. He did manage to complete six passes for 112 yards to Steve Smith, and should at least be considered for a starting position every week. Williams and Stewart remain RB3 options that merit the occasional start when the matchup is friendly. -- C.R.
Drew Brees completed his first 16 passes on the way to 26-of-30 for 320 yards and three touchdowns. He completed passes to nine different New Orleans receivers, with Lance Moore hauling in seven for 97 yards. Devery Henderson had his third straight game with a reception of over 50 yards, and both he and Moore continue to be excellent WR3 options with Marques Colston and David Patten nursing injuries. Deuce McAllister had his second effective game in the last three weeks, although it was Reggie Bush who got the call at the goal line. With the Saints offense operating at such a high level, all McAllister has to do to be a reliable RB3 is to keep lowering his pads and plowing forward, and the scoring opportunities will come.
Justin Fargas returned and had 10 carries for 35 yards, while Darren McFadden had eight for 30 yards. Michael Bush had only three carries and is no longer worth owning as long as the top two guys are able to play. As with many time-shares across the league, both Fargas and McFadden are borderline starts depending on the matchups. JaMarcus Russell struggled all day long, completing just 13-of-35 passes for 159 yards and an interception. More disturbing than his inaccuracy was the fact that he has now lost a fumble in three consecutive games. Russell has the potential to be an effective fantasy quarterback by the end of the season, but in the meantime make sure you have another option at the position. -- C.R.
Neither Edgerrin James or Tim Hightower were able to get anything going on the ground for the Cardinals, although it's worth noting that James only had two more carries than his rookie backfield mate. Hightower is becoming more involved in the offense each week, and it's starting to cut into James' production. Expect that trend to continue throughout the year. Steve Breaston had another outstanding afternoon, catching eight passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. He's been a legitimate WR2 with Anquan Boldin out of the lineup, and while Boldin's return will hinder his value some, Breaston still managed to haul in nine balls for 122 yards during the Jets game that Boldin was injured in. He should remain entrenched in your lineup until further notice.
Felix Jones had just three carries for 22 yards and failed to record a touchdown for only the second time this season. Jones is as exciting as they come, but the lack of touches makes him the ultimate high risk/high reward player. His counterpart, Marion Barber III, was held under the 100 yard mark for the fifth time in six games, but he did catch a career high 11 passes for 128 yards, including a 70 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Don't be concerned with the lack of 100 yard games (Barber actually only has five career 100 yard rushing days, he almost always finds a way to put points on the fantasy scoreboard. -- C.R.