The good news about week 6 is that only the Saints and Chiefs have a bye; the bad news is that there is a whole new round of injuries that fantasy owners have to navigate. With so many players being injured, fantasy owners are picking the waiver wire clean trying to find replacements who will at least keep them competitive.
I already covered who was hurt in week 5 and what free agents you should target off the waiver wire in Tuesday's fantasy recap article, so now we just need to make sure you put the right guys in and leave the wrong guys out so you have the best chance to win this week's matchup.
To make matters worse, A.J. Green aggravated a toe injury in Wednesday's practice. Green did have an MRI on Wednesday, but there was no word on the results at the time this article was written. Word is that Green could miss multiple weeks, so Mohamed Sanu becomes an interesting WR3 as long as he is out. Marvin Jones didn't practice on Wednesday, so his status is questionable.
In case you missed it, my waiver wire picks for Week 6 are in this order: Mark Ingram (if still unowned) Branden Oliver, Andre Williams, Ronnie Hillman, Justin Hunter, Odell Beckham, and Matt Prater for those in need of a kicker.
Philip Rivers – Chargers: While it is no shock at all that Rivers is owned in 99.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, it did surprise me that he is only started in 38.4 percent of those leagues. He's only 4th in the NFL for passing yards (1,443), tied for 2nd in passing touchdowns (12), has just 2 INTs on the season, and 2nd in fantasy points on NFL.com with 105.62. What does this man have to do to get some love from fantasy owners? PUT HIM IN!
Jay Cutler – Bears: In the same vein of Rivers we have Cutler, a player owned in virtually every league on NFL.com (97.8 percent) but started in just a fraction of them (27.2 percent). Why is a player who is ranked 4th in QB points this season on NFL.com (98.80) sitting on so many benches while a guy like Tom Brady is started in 62.0 percent of leagues and ranks 25th for QBs with 58.22 points? Cutler and the Bears have a juicy match-up with a Falcons team that has been called "defenseless" by some.
Branden Oliver – Chargers: Antonio Gates called Oliver "Sproles, with more power", which is high praise from a future Hall of Fame player. Oliver is going to get as many touches as his body will allow with the Chargers so desperate for RB depth that they brought back Ronnie Brown (who will be cut the second Donald Brown looks healthy enough to play). Oliver could have himself a HUGE day against a Raiders defense that is giving up 27.3 PPG to RBs in PPR leagues this year (12th most). I'd give some serious thought to playing Oliver as high as an RB1 this week.
Andre Williams – Giants: Word is that starter Rashad Jennings will sit out until after the Giants bye in Week 8, meaning Williams will be the starter unless he too is injured. Williams gets the Eagles this week and the Cowboys next week, which should make fantasy owners salivate at the prospect of RB1 points off the waiver wire! I'd rank Williams somewhere in the 12-15 range for RBs this week and would feel comfortable with him as a RB2 on my team.
Odell Beckham – Giants: I don't want people going crazy and asking if they should play Beckham over proven talent this week, but the Eagles secondary has been roasted this season. On average the Eagles are allowing 29.7 PPG to WRs in standard scoring formats this year, and a mind-blowing 44.3 PPG in PPR formats. Beckham is still 3rd on the depth chart behind Victor Cruz and Ruben Randle, but there are plenty of points to go around against the Eagles secondary and the Giants Coach Tom Coughlin said of Beckham "we will push him along even further now." Beckham is in the WR3 range going forward.
DeSean Jackson – Redskins: It's hard to play Jackson given Kirk Cousins' up and down play, but it is hard to sit him against a Cardinals secondary that is giving up a league high 46.8 PPG to WRs in PPR formats, and 29.3 PPG in standard formats (2nd most) this season. I do have to wonder if the Redskins will feed Pierre Garcon this week after Richard Sherman said "Pierre doesn't matter in this league." Even if Cousins does look Garcon's way a lot this week, I think there will be enough chances for Jackson to also have a big game.
Jordan Reed – Redskins: It's not that I think the game will be ultra high scoring, but the Cardinals struggle defending the pass and Cousins has shown that he can put up massive passing yards. Reed should be back after missing the past five weeks with a hamstring injury, and Niles Paul showed last week that he is a pure pass-catching TE who cannot block enough to be a fulltime starter. We all know that TE is an all-or-nothing position in fantasy football, and Reed has the talent to be a difference maker both in the NFL and in fantasy football.
San Diego Chargers defense: You might not know it unless you own them, but the Chargers defense is actually ranked 5th in fantasy points on NFL.com this season. This week they get a chance to further pad those fantasy numbers as they head north to face off with the Raiders. Derek Carr is on track to play this week and that could be a good thing because he is just two weeks removed from a sprained MCL and high-ankle spring, meaning his mobility could be reduced. I have the Chargers as a top 5 fantasy defense this week.
Austin Davis – Rams: A lot of owners who are struggling at the QB position flocked to the waiver wire to grab Davis after he lit up the Eagles for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns last week. The problem is he runs into a much different defense this week as the 49ers actually do play both sides of the ball fairly well. I think NFL.com's projection of 10.94 fantasy points for Austin this week is high, and I wouldn't want him starting for me in even 2QB leagues. You can do better with Carson Palmer off the waiver wire if he plays this week or Ryan Tannehill if Palmer sits again.
Tom Brady – Patriots: Ok, so Brady got off on the Bengals in Week 5, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then! The Bills defense has held up with a change in defensive coordinators and they are allowing just 18.6 fantasy PPG to QBs this year, 14th best in the NFL. Brady isn't the same QB he was a few years ago, and his WR corps certainly isn't the same. It's time fantasy owners started looking at what a player IS doing instead of what a player did in the PAST!
DeMarco Murray – Cowboys: Let me preface this by saying I don't want to sit Murray in the leagues I own him in, but am SERIOUSLY considering it this week except in my ESPN church league where you are only allowed 3 RBs on the roster (thanks for that rule Donald Pooler) and I play two RBs and an RB in the flex. Head Coach Jason Garrett has said he wants to scale back Murray's workload as he is on pace for 416 carries. Murray has a lengthy injury history and the Seahawks have one of the scarier run defenses in the NFL. T elaborate on that, the Seahawks are allowing just 10.9 PPG to RBs this season, 2nd best in the NFL and just 0.3 points behind the 49ers. Understand that if you play Murray this week, there is a very real chance he could find himself on the Losers list on Tuesday morning.
Alfred Morris – Redskins: You know I like [Alfred] Morris because he has an amazing last name! But, that doesn't mean I want him on my fantasy team this week against a stout Cardinals run defense. The Cards are giving up just 12.1 PPG to RBs this season, the 4th fewest in the NFL. Morris is averaging just 11.00 PPG on NFL.com. Combine the two and you have the makings of another Week 5 performance where he gained just 29 yards on 13 carries.
Cordarrelle Patterson – Vikings: Patterson is by far one of the bigger fantasy disappointments so far this season, averaging just 6.88 PPG on NFL.com through five weeks. While he does get a huge boost with Teddy Bridgewater returning this week, I find it impossible to trust a guy who has just 19 touches through five weeks despite being the best playmaker on his team. I'd rather miss one good week from Patterson than waste another week looking at 6 points while I have someone like [Justin] Hunter or [Odell] Beckham sitting on my bench scoring 10-plus points.
Sammy Watkins – Bills: Watkins gets a boost in fantasy value with Kyle Orton at the helm over E.J. Manuel. But this week the Bills lock horns with the Patriots and Watkins is expected to be covered by Darrelle Revis. Revis isn't nearly as scary as he once was, but I still wouldn't trust Watkins as anything more than desperation WR3 play this week.
Tim Wright – Patriots: I am somewhat surprised I have to address this, but I have gotten more emails than I can count asking if Wright should be added off the waiver wire. The answer is categorically no. Wright played just 19 total snaps in Week 5, even though you might think he was on the field more since he finished with 5 catches, 85 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Wright is never going to be an Aaron Hernandez type of player within the Patriots offense, so what will end up happening is you will go through the agony of playing him four or five weeks and having nothing to show for it, then getting a 5-85-1 line in a fluke performance.
Carolina Panthers defense: I had the Panthers as a must-own fantasy defense heading into the season, so it doesn't surprise me that they are owned in 85.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 75.9 percent of them. But, what is disappointing is that the Panthers are ranked just 12th overall this season largely because they have allowed 120 points to opposing offenses (tied for 10th most in the NFL). This week they get a Bengals team that will probably be without their stud WR [A.J.] Green, but I think they will still get points on the board with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill grinding out yards on the ground.