Thirty thoughts I had after watching every play from the Week 6 action (and wondering why the Cubs didn't hire Ryne Sandberg):
• The Bears offensive line is seriously undermining what could be a dynamic passing game. It's also time for Mike Martz to admit his line is terrible and start designing more short throws. Jay Cutler hurt the Cowboys with short and intermediate passes, which resulted in them dialing back the blitz.
• Mike Williams impressed me, but the Bears have been torched by nearly every team's top receiver this season. I was more impressed with the 11 targets for Johnny Knox.
• There's room for Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch to both be productive, but give me Lynch. In an equal timeshare, as this appears to be, I always want the guy who gets the goal-line carries.
• Like we said in this space last week, the Jermichael Finley injury is bad news for everyone in Green Bay except Greg Jennings, for whom it's a boon. Jennings had easily his best game to date in Week 6, catching six passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. He's going to continue to get more targets as the season goes on. I have him as a top-10 receiver going forward.
• The touchdowns haven't been there for Brandon Marshall, but with the number of targets he gets, that is bound to change. He faces some big name defenses in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Tennessee in the next three weeks, and that's something I'd be dropping into trade discussions for the big-time receiver.
• I promise you the Ryan Mathews breakout game is coming. Soon. Once the Chargers decide not to immediately fall behind, Mathews is going to have a monster of a game. He looked good again last Sunday, carrying the ball 12 times for 64 yards. It's only a matter of time, and I think it happens this week against the Patriots.
• Looking for a sleeper at wide receiver? Danario Alexander steps into the Mark Clayton role for the Rams. At 6-5, he's an ideal red zone target. I wouldn't be starting him with a full strength team, but with six teams on bye next week, it's likely you could use some depth at wide receiver.
• Without Randy Moss, Tom Brady is barely a top-10 quarterback. From week to week, Deion Branch or Wes Welker could end up as the top receiver for the Patriots. I'm not sure either is a great option in non-PPR leagues.
• After Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson, there's no running back I want more the rest of the way than Ray Rice. Willis McGahee didn't get a carry against the Patriots, resulting in 28 totes for Rice. The only thing keeping Rice from the class of Peterson and Johnson in the preseason was his lack of goal-line carries. Now that he looks to be getting those, the sky is the limit.
• First, Shaun Hill completed 9-of-15 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. After he broke his forearm, Drew Stanton racked up 222 yards and a score, completing 73 percent of his passes. No matter who starts for the Lions, they appear to be a reliable backup fantasy quarterback.
• If it weren't for Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw would be a top-5 back. Still, I'm happy I invested heavily in the Giants in my drafts. This is a powerful offense, top to bottom. And I still think you can buy low on Steve Smith.
• What now, Andy Reid? Once Michael Vick is fully healthy, Reid's got a pretty tough decision on his hands. Whichever one ends up starting is a top-10 quarterback going forward, no matter how long DeSean Jackson is out.
• Even though Jackson has had more success with Vick, I think his absence has a greater effect on Kolb. Kolb threw some really nice deep balls Sunday, and Jackson's ability as a home run threat is a huge asset for a quarterback with that type of arm.
• There's the Mike Wallace I've expected to see all year: three catches, 90 yards and a touchdown. Get used to lines like that for Wallace for the remainder of the year. There's no doubt in my mind that he's a top-20 receiver, and he could push the top 15.
• Finally, the Saints have started getting Robert Meachem involved. I'd trade Marques Colston for Meachem, straight up.
• Get some Chris Ivory. He solidified his role in the offense going forward, meaning Pierre Thomas may only be a fringe option, even when fully healthy.
• Please Tampa, I'm begging you to stop subjecting us to Cadillac Williams. It's over. And with Kareem Huggins out for the year, just let us all see what LeGarrette Blount can do.
• It looks like Todd Haley fooled us again into thinking he'd let Jamaal Charles take the job and run with it. And after a huge game from Thomas Jones, don't expect Charles to have the job to himself any time soon.
• Dwayne Bowe has arrived. Hard to tell if he has finally realized the season started, or if it was just a result of the Texans' terrible pass defense, but if I'm a Bowe owner (I am), I'm not waiting around to find out. See what he can fetch in a deal.
• Get your quarterbacks and receivers in your lineup whenever they play the Texans.
• For some reason, I don't want to believe in the "Brandon Lloyd, Fantasy Force" thing, but after 10 more targets against the Jets, I guess I have to buy in too. So much of a receiver's success comes from opportunity and surroundings. Lloyd's opportunities are plentiful, and his surroundings favorable.
• Dustin Keller will have an MRI on his wrist, but with he doesn't appear to be in serious jeopardy of missing any time after the Jets' bye. It is something to keep an eye on, though.
• Is Jason Campbell the worst quarterback in the league? He just kills Zach Miller.
• It'll be interesting to see the division of labor in the Raiders' backfield once Darren McFadden returns. I maintain Michael Bush is the back you want, even after his lackluster performance against the 49ers.
• Michael Crabtree is a top-15 receiver for the rest of the season. Act accordingly.
• He may not have done much with his 14 carries, but it was encouraging to see Felix Jones as the lead back over Marion Barber. His 10 receptions showed why he needs to be on the field as much as possible for the Cowboys. I own him in a league where we start two running backs, two wide receivers and a flex, and I'll be starting him every week for the rest of the season.
• Sunday night, at Green Bay, huh? This is the Randy Moss breakout week. Thankfully for the purity of Joe Buck's eyes, it's not a Fox game.
• I'd be treating Ryan Torain as a top-20 back going forward. Also, if Chris Cooley misses any significant time, bump Fred Davis way up.
• Admittedly, I was more focused on Cliff Lee's dominance over the Yankees than the long-awaited duel between Kerry Collins and Trent Edwards.
• Something about Maurice Jones-Drew worries me. Maybe I subconsciously just want to fire up a fellow SI writer, but he's not breaking the big plays were used to seeing out of him. I'd rather have Michael Turner, Rashard Mendenhall or Arian Foster.
1. Drew Brees vs. Browns2. Philip Rivers vs. Patriots3. Aaron Rodgers vs. Vikings4. Joe Flacco vs. Bills5. Tony Romo vs. Giants6. Kevin Kolb @ Titans7. Kyle Orton vs. Raiders8. Jay Cutler vs. Redskins9. Eli Manning @ Cowboys10. Tom Brady @ Chargers11. Ben Roethlisberger @ Dolphins12. Sam Bradford @ Buccaneers13. Matt Ryan vs. Bengals14. Brett Favre @ Packers15. Donovan McNabb @ Bears
1. Ray Rice vs. Bills2. Adrian Peterson @ Packers3. Chris Johnson vs. Eagles4. Frank Gore @ Panthers5. Rashard Mendenhall @ Dolphins6. Michael Turner vs. Bengals7. Ahmad Bradshaw @ Cowboys8. Ryan Mathews vs. Patriots9. Steven Jackson @ Buccaneers10. Maurice Jones-Drew @ Chiefs11. LeSean McCoy @ Titans12. Cedric Benson @ Falcons13. Jamaal Charles vs. Jaguars14. Matt Forte vs. Redskins|15. DeAngelo Williams vs. 49ers16. Beanie Wells @ Seahawks17. Felix Jones vs. Giants18. Chris Ivory vs. Browns19. Ryan Torain @ Bears20. Michael Bush @ Broncos21. Thomas Jones vs. Jaguars22. Ronnie Brown vs. Steelers23. Peyton Hillis @ Saints24. Marshawn Lynch vs. Cardinals25. Fred Jackson vs. Ravens26. Knowshon Moreno vs. Broncos27. Justin Forsett vs. Cardinals28. BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ Chargers29. Brandon Jackson vs. Vikings30. Ricky Williams vs. Steelers
1. Miles Austin vs. Giants2. Roddy White vs. Bengals3. Randy Moss @ Packers4. Hakeem Nicks @ Cowboys5. Greg Jennings vs. Vikings6. Anquan Boldin vs. Bills7. Michael Crabtree @ Panthers8. Brandon Marshall vs. Steelers9. Terrell Owens @ Falcon10. Jeremy Maclin @ Titans11. Mike Wallace @ Dolphins12. Brandon Lloyd vs. Raiders13. Malcolm Floyd vs. Patriots14. Robert Meachem vs. Browns15. Larry Fitzgerald @ Seahawks16. Marques Colston vs. Browns17. Roy Williams vs. Giants18. Johnny Knox vs. Redskins19. Steve Smith (NYG) @ Cowboys20. Hines Ward @ Dolphins21. Santana Moss @ Bears22. Dwayne Bowe vs. Jaguars23. Chad Ochocinco @ Falcons|24. Percy Harvin @ Packers25. Danny Amendola @ Buccaneers26. Mike Williams (TB) vs. Rams27. Derrick Mason vs. Bills28. Mike Williams (SEA) vs. Cardinals29. Wes Welker @ Chargers30. Dez Bryant vs. Giants31. BONUS: Kenny Britt vs. Eagles -- His value is directly tied to Vince Young (knee).
1. Antonio Gates vs. Patriots2. Vernon Davis @ Panthers3. Kellen Winslow vs. Rams4. Tony Gonzalez vs. Bengals5. Aaron Hernandez @ Chargers6. Zach Miller @ Broncos7. Jason Witten vs. Giants8. Tony Moeaki vs. Jaguars9. Heath Miller @ Dolphins10. Brent Celek @ Titans11. Visanthe Shiancoe @ Packers12. Jermaine Gresham @ Falcons13. Ben Watson @ Saints14. Fred Davis @ Bears15. John Carlson vs. Cardinals
I still can't believe that Bears loss to the Seahawks last week. I had no idea the Concuss Cutler Commission (nickname for the Bears O-line, courtesy of my friend Ross) would have such trouble with blitzing defensive backs. Hopefully, you didn't listen to my top pick, because both the Steelers and Giants won.
1. Baltimore Ravens (vs. Bills) -- Going with the team playing the Bills is always a good strategy in survivor, especially when they're one of the three best teams in the league. This one will get out of hand quickly.
2. New Orleans Saints (vs. Browns) -- I think the Saints got themselves back on track last week, and a lot of it has to do with finally getting Robert Meachem involved. Chris Ivory also emerged as a legitimate running threat, giving Brees a little more breathing room down the field. Colt McCoy actually played pretty well in his NFL debut, but there's no way the Browns can keep up with the Saints.
3. Atlanta Falcons (vs. Bengals) -- Philadelphia handled the Falcons, but the Eagles are a top-three team in the NFC. Don't downgrade Atlanta at all based on that game. I didn't buy the Bengals at all coming into the year, and they haven't done anything to change that, especially with a quarterback who has to rank in the bottom-third in the league. The Falcons win comfortably.
Full disclosure: I've already used the Ravens and Saints in my survivor league, and will go with the Falcons this week.