James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
There are a total of six teams on a bye this week (Falcons, Broncos, Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles and Chargers), so many owners have been scouring the waiver wire and working the trade lines to try and fill out the best possible roster for Week 6 success. The problem is, trades are rarely fair, and most GMs only do a deal if they feel they are CLEARLY winning.
Just as a little extra info, I do like guys like Andrew Luck, Tony Romo, Felix Jones, Stevan Ridley, Mike Williams and Hakeem Nicks this week. Nicks is going to be a WR1 going forward, so now is the time to try and buy low on him and get you a stud for the second half of the NFL season.
Josh Freeman – QB, Buccaneers: Freeman has thrown for 627 yards and 4 TDs in his last two games, and faces a Saints defense that gives up 24.5 PPG to QBs, fifth worst in the NFL. I would play Freeman over a starter like Jay Cutler this week, but I would also cut him after this week if your regular QB has already had his bye.
Stevan Ridley – RB, Patriots: Ridley is being overlooked by all the big box websites because the Seahawks held him to just 34 yards on 16 carries last week. Do you know: the Seahawks held DeMarco Murray to 44 yards on 12 carries back in Week 2. I am not worried about Ridley this week and am playing him over Marshawn Lynch in my Dolphins NFL.com league.
C.J. Spiller – RB, Bills: Spiller is going to rotate with Fred Jackson every other series, and he is currently averaging 7.6 YPC this season. Obviously that is a number that will come down as he sees more touches. Spiller has proven he is a homerun threat every time he touches the ball, and the Bills are committed to getting him involved in the offense going forward.
Kenny Britt – WR, Titans: Britt is coming fresh off an 11-target outing last week, and the Bills are sporting the No. 29-ranked pass defense in the NFL. Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t have the arm strength to go far downfield, so expect a lot of short passes for modest gains. Those in PPR leagues should end up with WR1 numbers.
Donnie Avery – WR, Colts: With Joe Haden focusing on stopping Reggie Wayne, Avery is going to get a shot at repeating last week’s performance of 60 yards on 12 targets. There is no guarantee that Avery scores, but the targets will lead to catches, which will lead to yards, which could lead to touchdowns.
Scott Chandler – TE, Bills: Chandler is someone that I personally do not own in fantasy leagues because he is only worth using two or three times a season. And, lucky for you, this week happens to be one of them. The Titans allow a league-worst 15.2 PPG to TEs, which is 2.7 points higher than the next worst team (Redskins). He may not kill it with yardage or receptions, but he should find the end zone on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers Defense: The Packers are owned in a startling 89.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet they rank out as the No. 19 fantasy defense thus far. That being said, The Packers face the one team whose offense is your best defense, the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have scored the eighth-fewest points in the NFL this season with 110, and now they are without their No. 1 WR in Danny Amendola. This could get ugly quick, fast and in a hurry.
Matthew Stafford – QB, Lions: The one great thing Stafford has going for him this weekend is Calvin Johnson. Outside of that, he has an underperforming TE in Brandon Pettigrew, and two obviously weaker WR options in Nate Burleson and Titus Young. Then you have the Bears defense, which is No. 1 in PPG to QBs (12.7 PPG), No. 1 in INTs (13), and No. 1 in points allowed (71). He could have a fluke good game this week, but I’m not starting him in my NFL.com league.
Christian Ponder – QB, Vikings: Ponder has really come on in his last two games, throwing for 610 yards and 4 TDs. But, this week he faces a Cardinals defense that is No. 2 in PPG to QBs (14.2). I still think Percy Harvin does his damage, but I have a feeling the Vikings will utilize Adrian Peterson to grind it out against the 14th-ranked Cardinals fantasy run defense (15.3 PPG).
Rashard Mendenhall – RB, Steelers: Mendenhall is iffy to play on Sunday, but even if he does take the field you have to wonder at what percentage of health. No matter how good he feels, you can rest assured that the Steelers will use a heavy rotation of Isaac Redman should Mendenhall take the field.
Shonn Greene – RB, Jets: The Patriots have been pretty good against the run thus far, allowing just a single rushing TD and 408 yards on the ground. Greene had his career day last week as he sliced up the Colts defense for 161 yards on the ground and 3 TDs. I am betting he returns to his norm of 40 yards and no touchdown dances.
Steve Smith – WR, Panthers: Smith isn’t someone most people can outright bench because of how high they drafted him. But, the Cowboys have the No. 1-ranked defense in fantasy points allowed to WRs (25.8 PPG). Smith has been on a steady yardage decline since starting off the season with 106 receiving yards in the opener, and he has failed to score this season. Smith is starting to resemble one of the more overrated fantasy WRs in 2012.
Brandon Lloyd – WR, Patriots: I was a big proponent of Lloyd heading into the fantasy draft, but I have since changed direction due to a lack of production. Lloyd is averaging 66.8 YPG and has scored just once this season. Did you know that Lloyd is tied for fifth in the NFL with 57 targets, but ranks 18th with 401 receiving yards? The looks are there, just not the numbers we need in fantasy football.
Jermichael Finley – TE, Packers: Finley is tied for third in targets (35) with reserve WR Randall Cobb on the Packers. The reality is that Finley has been unreliable and there is a chemistry problem between Aaron Rodgers and Finley. I wouldn’t cut him because the talent is there, but I would bench him until further notice and find you a waiver wire TE like Chandler to fill in this week.
Baltimore Ravens Defense: The Ravens are without their future Hall of Fame LB in Ray Lewis, their best CB in Lardarius Webb, there are conflicting reports on the availability of OLB Terrell Suggs, and DB Ed Reed is playing with a torn labrum. Given all the problems this defense has right now, and how well the Texans offense is clicking, I would sit the Ravens and consider cutting them outright if there is something on the waiver wire that catches your eye. Sometimes it is better to let a bad fantasy player become someone else’s problem, rather than sitting on your bench and taking up a roster spot.