The Bengals improved to 6-0 with a 34-21 victory against the Bills in Week 6. With Cleveland and Baltimore losing, and Pittsburgh winning, the landscape of the AFC North is becoming pretty clear. The Bengals have a firm grasp on the division, while the Steelers are just trying to hang on until they can get Ben Roethlisberger back. Then you have the Browns who always seem to be "one of the guys" in the division, with the Ravens pulling up the rear. Before the season nobody outside of Cincinnati expected the Bengals to be undefeated and be dominating the division as they are, but you can't deny that they are for real now!
Switching to fantasy football, this week was dominated by the passing game, with 8 QBs throwing for 300-plus yards, 3 reaching the 400-yard milestone, and 1 even hitting the unthinkable 500-yard mark. 26 WRs caught at least one touchdown pass this week, and 13 TEs scored 10 or more fantasy points. In contrast, just 5 RBs reached the 100-yard mark in rushing, and the RB2 ranks are littered with 60-yard guys who only ranked that high because the yardage totals were so low across the board. In fact, Russell Wilson's 53 yards rushing would have tied him for 15th if he were an RB, ahead of guys like Chris Johnson, Ameer Abdullah, and Melvin Gordon.
And don't forget to play in the FREE FanDuel Cincinnati Fantasy Pass contest each week to win exclusive Bengals prizes. I'm in there, and you are invited to play directly against me to see if 2nd place really is just the first loser!
Matthew Stafford – Lions: Stafford finally rewarded his faithful owners by having a good game this season, putting up a healthy line of 405 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, and chipping in 37 rushing yards against the Bears atrocious defense. I'm not a believer in Stafford anymore, but I will give credit where credit is due. Stafford was the #1 QB in fantasy football for Week 6.
Blake Bortles – Jaguars: When will people stop sleeping on Bortles and the Jaguars offense when it comes to fantasy football? All he did this week was put up 331 passing yards, 37 rushing yards, 3 TDs, and 3 INTs, stats good enough for a solid QB1 ranking in any format. On FanDuel Bortles posted 29.54 FP, stats WELL worth his $7,300 price tag for the 5 percent of owners smart enough to take the ride with him this week.
Andy Dalton– Bengals: Dalton and the Bengals cruised to a victory in Buffalo, but that didn't stop the fantasy stud from putting up 243 yards and 3 TDs on the day. Dalton has found his groove with OC Hue Jackson, and he is running the offense like a well-oiled machine. The Bengals have a bye next week, and face the Steelers on the road in Week 8. Dalton is an every-week QB1 until we have reason to think otherwise.
Jeremy Hill& *Giovani Bernard– Bengals:* The strangest thing about Sunday's win was Jeremy Hill scoring on a passing play, and Giovani Bernard scoring on a running play. Nevertheless, Hill scored and put up 69 total yards (56 rushing, 13 receiving) and a TD to finish as a top-tier RB2. Bernard put up 73 total yards (50 rushing, 23 receiving) and a TD of his own, finishing Week 6 just a few spots down from Hill as a RB2.
Ronnie Hillman – Broncos: Hillman was the man the Broncos leaned on during Sunday's game, running the ball 20 times for 111 yards. He didn't reach the endzone, which is a shame, but the yards alone were good enough for Hillman to finish as a RB1 in a down week for fantasy running backs.
John Brown – Cardinals: The Cardinals have been high on Brown since last season, and he was able to step into the No. 2 WR role with Michael Floyd out to start this season. Brown started the season somewhat slow, but has found his groove over the past few games. This week he turned 114 targets into 10 catches for 196 yards. He did lose a fumble, and failed to find the endzone, but the receptions and yards were enough for a top-3 finish in most fantasy formats. His $6,100 price on FanDuel was below the mark for a top-tier WR, and one that owners could afford if they wanted to have a well-rounded team. However, the 22.6 FP he gave back where more than enough to pay back owners willing to invest in him over Larry Fitzgerald.
Martavis Bryant – Steelers: What a difference a quarterback makes! With Michael Vick under center, Bryant managed just 2 catches for 8 yards. But, when Landry Jones took over, Bryant upped his game and hauled in 4 catches for 129 yards and 2 TDs. Word is Jones will start next week against the Chiefs, and Bryant becomes an instant starter in any fantasy league he is owned in unless your WR ranks are as deep as the Pacific Ocean. Teams have to pick their poison when it comes to covering Antonio Brown or Bryant, and 9 times out of 10 they will choose to cover Brown, leaving Bryant with plenty of room to roam.
Stefon Diggs – Vikings: Diggs got the start this week opposite Mike Wallace, and he outshined him in every facet of the game imaginable. Diggs was targeted 9 times, reeling in 7 of them for 129 yards. This game alone could very well push Charles Johnson to the No. 3 hole at WR, making Diggs a great waiver wire addition this week for WR needy teams out there. For those DFS players, Diggs' bargain basement price of $4,300 was key to victory for many of the winning teams. Any time you can spend under 5k on a player and get 16.4 FP out of him, you have a leg up on the competition!
Benjamin Watson – Saints: I'll be honest, if you had Watson in your line-up, you deserve a medal! The Saints offense has been impossible to predict this year, and Watson is far from being someone you could count on for stats even if the offense was clicking. But, that didn't stop him this weekend as the aging (34-years-old) TE turned in the best performance of his career by catching 10-of-12 targets for 127 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. If you look up "chasing stats" in the fantasy dictionary, you'll see a picture of Watson next to it with a red circle and a line through it. Watson isn't someone you should consider at TE even if you are hurting for one.
Miami Dolphins defense: The new-look Dolphins came away from Week 6 with a decisive victory against the Titans, and the defense was a big part of it. Not only did they shut down Marcus Mariota throughout the day, they gave up just 10 points while racking up 6 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 recovered fumbles, and scoring 1 defensive touchdown. Defenses have to generally be played on a game-to-game basis, but the Dolphins can be left in the starting line-up for Week 7 as they face the Houston Texans at home.
Marcus Mariota – Titans: I cautioned people to slow down with the "must-add waiver wire QB" talk after Mariota opened the season up with a 4-TD performance against the Buccaneers. Rookies always struggle in the NFL, and QBs even more so because of the amount they have to see on every single play. This week Mariota had his worst game of his young career, throwing for 219 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs, while taking 5 sacks and losing 2 fumbles against the Dolphins. Mariota will be a rollercoaster ride all season long, and not one that I want to be on personally.
Peyton Manning – Broncos: Manning did it again, he disappointed fantasy owners with yet another low-end QB2 performance against a defense without their top two DBs. Manning was able to reach 290 yards passing (because it was a close game), but managed just a single touchdown while throwing 3 INTs. The truth of the matter is Manning waited a year too long before retiring, and instead of us see him go out on top… we are watching a Hall of Fame QB limp his way to the finish line.
Alfred Morris – Redskins: I saw a highly respected website say that Alfred Morris was a sleeper start on Sunday since Matt Jones was not going to be in the line-up. If by sleeper they meant not worth owning or playing, then yes… he was a sleeper. Morris had his typical 2015 game of 32 total yards (21 rushing, 11 receiving) and no TDs on 12 touches. This Morris (not me) is someone fantasy owners need to stop trusting to win them games, and realize that I've been right about him since saying Week 1 was an aberration rather than a sign of things to come this season.
Eddie Lacy – Packers: Lacy hit a new low in Week 6, running the ball just 4 times for a total of 3 yards and no touchdowns. He did add a pair of catches (2) for 17 yards, but that wasn't enough even in PPR leagues to salvage the day for owners who burned a 1st round pick on Lacy this season. What's worse for Lacy and his owners, James Starks finished the game with 112 rushing yards and 2 TDs on the day. Lacy has long been one of the more consistent fantasy RBs in the NFL, so I am still trying to buy-low on him for a 2nd half run.
Charcandrick West – Chiefs: Well, West's fantasy life was quick lived! West lost a late 4th quarter fumble, which resulted in his benching. What's worse for fantasy owners was that he didn't get anything going prior to the fumble that would keep Kniles Davis from taking the starting job from him before next week's game. West finished Week 6 with 33 yards rushing, 6 yards receiving, and 1 lost fumble. West and Davis look like they will pretty much kill each other's fantasy value as they split touches for the rest of the season.
Mike Wallace – Vikings: After Wallace put up an 8/83/1 line against the Broncos elite defense back in Week 4, I was licking my chops at the match-up with the Chiefs following a Week 5 bye. While he was targeted 9 times, Wallace managed to catch for 2 of them for 23 empty yards. This game was a step backwards for Wallace with Diggs showing his ceiling is high in the NFL. With the Vikings being a run-heavy team, and Diggs showing his skills, Wallace is more of a WR4 than the WR3 we thought he might end up being this year.
Antonio Brown – Steelers: With Big Ben out of the line-up, and Vick well past his prime, Brown never really had a shot to be the WR1 people drafted him to be this week. Patrick Patterson shadowed Brown, limiting him to just 3 catches (on 8 targets) for 24 yards and no TDs. We can only hope that Landry comes in against the Chiefs and gets Brown back on track.
Richard Rodgers – Packers: The fantasy TE market did well this week, and I had to go all the way down to Rodgers to find a disappointment. The only real reason he made the list is because he is owned in 51 percent of leagues, and started in 36 percent of those leagues, but managed to total just 34 yards on 2 catches against the Chargers. Rodgers ceiling is around 45 yards in a good week, putting him as a TD-or-Bust kind of fantasy TE. If you waited until Rodgers to get a TE, chances are you are just happy with whatever you get anyway.
Buffalo Bills defense: Playing the Bengals this season has been a recipe for disaster when it comes to fantasy defenses, and that was evident this week for the Bills. Not only did they allow 34 points to the Bengals, but they failed to register a single sack, INT, recovered fumble, or defensive touchdown. Because of the points allowed and lack of defense stats, the Bills LOST their fantasy owners 1.00 points this week in standard scoring formats. If your league counts return yards for defense, they could have gotten you a max of around 3 points. Either way, the Bills were one of the worst fantasy defenses for Week 6.