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Play Em’ or Bench Em’: Week 6

Hello owners,
Week 5 is in the books and now we look onto week 6, but before we do I need to get something off my chest. I’m sorry for my Jay Cutler love last week. I’m extremely sorry if you started him last week. (Sad face emoji) Alright, back to this week. Bye weeks continue this week as the following teams will be off: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks. Make sure you adjust your roster(s) accordingly. Not only do we have another wave of bye weeks, multiple players acquired devastating injuries. I wish them all the best and a speedy recovery. With all these components stacking up against you let’s find some players you can play this week along with some streamers.
***Obvious players like Aaron Rodgers, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Travis Kelce and other players of that caliber will not be featured in these columns***

Play Em’

Quarterback

-Matthew Stafford at New Orleans

  • There are a lot of factors that could go against Matthew Stafford in this game. Like some nagging injuries, Stafford doesn’t play well on the road and that this offense is more conservative with a respectable running game. However, Stafford is a warrior and has fought through painful injuries in a game before. Both the Lions and Saints have high powered offenses that can turn this into a scoring frenzy. Despite the minor injuries and conservative approach, Stafford is going to put this team on his back once again and deliver for his fantasy owners. Everyone remember what Sam Bradford did to the Saints on Monday night in week one? Expect a similar showing from the Lions offense.

-Deshaun Watson v. Cleveland Browns

  • It does not matter who the rookie is playing, he just scores touchdowns! Watson has been able to deliver high point totals against some of the best defenses in the league and this week he’ll get to have a field day against the Cleveland Browns who have proven they still aren’t making any strides as a franchise. Josh McCown put almost 20 points on the Browns defense last week and I think that’s the floor for Watson. The only thing that owners should be worried about is if the Texans get up big and then put in Tom Savage in the second half. Other than that expect another quarterback the Browns passed on to dominate them.

-Phillip Rivers at Oakland Raiders

  • The Chargers got their first win last week! Yay! Even better it was against Eli Manning in his stadium. Who really had the last laugh? Still Eli Manning because he has two Super Bowl Rings, but that’s beside the point. Let’s talk about Rivers now shall we? Rivers and the Chargers are a way better team than what their record indicates. Rivers is the catalyst of the Chargers offense and he’ll get this team rolling. From a fantasy standpoint he’s had 18+ points in all but one game this year. This week he’s playing a Raiders team that just made Joe Flacco look good again. Start him comfortably.

-Kirk Cousins v. San Francisco 49ers

  • The Redskins are coming off a week 5 bye week so they had extra time to prepare for this game. Kirk Cousins is slowly developing some chemistry with his play-makers this season and it’s making the offense better. Oddly enough if you think Cousins will be in a different uniform next season, the 49ers are a popular pick of his next location. This could be somewhat of an audition so to speak. Regardless, the match up favors Kirk Cousins and he’ll take advantage of a defense that’s struggled to contain quarterbacks this year.

*STREAMERS*

-Jacoby Brissett at Tennessee Titans (Monday Night)

  • Andrew Luck has already been ruled out for Monday’s contest against the Titans, so that means another start for Brissett. If you watch tape of the Colts games where he’s played, Brissett has showed promise and has put the Colts in positions to win. He’s made the team competitive and can put points on the scoreboard. This will probably be his easiest match up yet facing a Titans defense hardly containing anyone. Heck, they even let Jay Cutler score a touchdown (Yes, I’ll laugh at myself beside you). If your QB1 has a bye, don’t be afraid to take a chance on this guy.

-Josh McCown v. New England Patriots

  • The Patriots defense is not good. Like at all. Josh McCown has this Jets team on a 3-game winning streak and he’ll look to pull a major upset over the Patriots this week at home. Win or lose, McCown will have a good fantasy outing as he’s had double digit points in all but one game this year. McCown isn’t an ideal selection on a weekly basis, but this week if you need a filler he’s a great option.

Running Back

-DeMarco Murray v. Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night)

  • The Titans running game has been sup-par thus far and it’s affecting the offense. Murray owners are also seeing more Derrick Henry than they like as well. However, this week they’re on prime-time football against a Colts defense struggling to contain running backs. Marcus Mariota is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, so even if he does play he won’t be 100%. Murray is the workhorse back for this team and if the Titans want to get back in the win column they’ll be smart and take the game out of Matt Cassel or a less than 100% Marcus Mariota’s hands and feed their beast.

-Marshawn Lynch v. Los Angeles Chargers

  • With or without Derek Carr starting for the Raiders, Lynch should ‘Beast’ in this contest. The Chargers give up a lot of points to opposing running backs and struggle mightily with the bigger physical ones. Remember how LeGarrette Blount stiffed arm all those defenders into submission? Yeah, Lynch can do that too, but better. “Beast Mode” isn’t the same player that ran angry in Seattle, but he has a great match up to run wild. Regarding the quarterback situation, whether it’s Carr or Manuel the Raiders will want to not put pressure on them to make plays. Carr coming off an injury and Manuel coming off a not so great game.

-Mike Gillislee at New York Jets

  • Rex Burkhead is expected to come back from his injury which would affect the James White owners more than Gillislee. The Patriots backfield has been a headache to deal with in recent years, but as of now Bill Bilichick has shown that Mike Gillislee is the best pure runner for the Patriots. The Jets defense is very giving to opposing runners and in a game that the Patriots are expected to score big and win the game by half time; Gillislee could see a lot of carries in the second half to waste the clock as well. I can see another multiple touchdown game from this back.

-Ameer Abdullah at New Orleans

  • Ameer Abdullah came so close to rushing for 100 yards a couple weeks ago. It would’ve been the first time since Reggie Bush awhile back. Last week wasn’t as promising as he got stuffed by a good Panthers front line. This week doesn’t pose as much of a threat as the Lions travel to New Orleans, who is very generous defense. With Matthew Stafford being a little hobbled up I can see the Lions feeding their best runner the ball. I can see the magical 100 yards rushing for the running back in this contest. I know, you’re all like “wait, didn’t you have Stafford as a Play Em’ and not to worry about his injury?” Yes, yes I did. However, like I said the Saints defense is very nice to opposing offenses. I can see Abdullah rushing for his 100 and Stafford tossing a few touchdowns as well.

*STREAMERS*

-Matt Breida at Washington Redskins

  • Last week Carlos Hyde got benched and Matt Breida took advantage. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Hyde is still the starter, but he’ll ride the hot game during the game. Breida has been a name tossed around in some leagues as a waiver-wire stash, but now he’s becoming a legitimate name to flex. If Carlos Hyde continues to struggle and Breida can consistently show results this could become a running back by committee approach or a 50/50 split. Either way Breida is worth a look.

-Marlon Mack at Tennessee Titans (Monday Night)

  • Before the season I said that Marlon Mack was drawing comparisons to Joseph Addai. Well, when Mack is given opportunities he’s delivered and shown flashes of star potential. At times he looks like the best back for the Colts and I wouldn’t surprise if the team starts to incorporate him into the offense more and more. Frank Gore is great and a future hall of famer, but developing Mack into a potential starter would benefit the Colts in the long run. I’m glad this game is on Monday night because everyone will get to see just how explosive and talented this kid is.

Wide Receiver

-Terrelle Pryor v. San Francisco 49ers

  • Kirk Cousins and Terrelle Pryor finally connected for a touchdown right before the bye week. Well with the week off and time to prepare for this game while working on the chemistry, I expect there to be more touchdown connections between the two for weeks to come. I mentioned earlier with Kirk Cousins this game could play as a “try-out” for his potential future boss and Pryor could be a benefactor as a result.

-TY Hilton at Tennessee Titans (Monday Night)

  • The Jacoby Brissett to Hilton connection is starting to heat up. TY Hilton is building a nice rapport with his quarterback and now he plays a team that’s allowed the most points to opposing #1 wide receivers. For all those negative people saying “well Hilton plays in the slot”, Jarvis Landry also plays in the slot and scored a touchdown last week. #KeepHating and play the Colts best offensive option in this one.

-Devin Funchess v. Philadelphia Eagles (Thursday Night)

  • Oh how Devin Funchess has been a player that’s supposed to break out year after year. Well, it appears that this was the year. With Greg Olsen out multiple weeks with a foot injury and Kelvin Benjamin not playing at 100%. Funchess has stepped up big time. The Eagles give up a lot of points to wide receivers right now and Funchess has the physical traits to out-muscle the smaller corners on the Eagles roster. I expect to see Devin Funchess strong 2017 campaign continue.

-Jarvis Landry at Atlanta Falcons

  • With DeVante Parker banged up with an ankle injury and Kenny Stills a non-factor as Jay Cutler continues to struggle for the Dolphins, Jarvis Landry has benefited from the sup-par play as he gets a lot of targets underneath with dump offs. Landry is the team’s best receiving option and the Falcons have struggled with slot receivers this year. On paper it looks like a tough match up, but Landry should have plenty of opportunities to get points for your team.

*STREAMERS*

-JJ Nelson v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The Cardinals offense has been up and down this season, but when Nelson is on the field he has this ability to streak open down field for a big gain or a touchdown. We all know Larry Fitzgerald is the best receiver on the Cardinals, but he’s been more of a possession or red-zone threat rather than a field stretcher. Nelson has shown good chemistry with Carson Palmer and should see many down field looks against the worst secondary in football.

-Albert Wilson v. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • With starting wide receiver Chris Conley going down with an achillies injury, Albert Wilson steps right up into the new starting role. Wilson and Conley almost split time as it is, but now that Conley is out it’s Wilson’s time to shine. Put all of Chris Conley’s season stats and combine them with Albert Wilson’s and you have a solid flex play. If you’re weak at the receiver position or need a bye week filler, give this guy a try.

Tight End

-Evan Engram at Denver Broncos (Sunday Night)

  • A rough weekend for the New York Giants as 4 of their receivers went down with injuries as 3 of them are out for the season. Evan Engram may be a rookie, but he’s the team’s best receiver now. With all the people coming off the practice squad and injuries piling up, Engram is a good start purely off the amount of targets he’s about to consume. The match up is tough, but the Giants will find a way to get the ball to their only remaining play-maker. Just don’t expect Odell Beckham-like numbers.

-Austin Seferian-Jenkins v. New England Patriots

  • ASJ was on the streamer list last week and boy did he deliver with a touchdown. This week he has a Patriots defensive secondary that is bad. Josh McCown likes to throw to his tight ends. Always has, always will. Since returning to the team from his two game suspensions, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been what seems the team’s best red-zone threat. He leads the team in targets since week 3 as well. ASJ appears to be fantasy relevant once again.

-Cameron Brate at Arizona Cardinals

  • The current fantasy relevant Tampa Bay tight end makes his first appearance in the column so far. Cameron Brate was overlooked by many after the team drafted OJ Howard in the first round, but he’s been the best tight end by far this year. Brate is still a red-zone threat and has connected with Jameis Winston on a few touchdowns this year. The Cardinals are a tough defense, but they’ve struggled defending tight ends this year. If you have Travis Kelce and he can’t go this week, give Brate a try.

*STREAMERS*

-AJ Derby v. New York Giants (Sunday Night)

  • The Giants are the worst defense against tight ends and you should always start one versus them. Granted the Broncos don’t have a dominate tight end that is on the field for majority of the snaps, but AJ Derby has looked like the best tight end on the roster. Among all tight ends on the team he has the most yards, receptions and touchdowns. If the Giants tight end woes continue, Derby will probably be the one to make it happen.

Defense

-Denver Broncos v. New York Giants (Sunday Night)

  • No viable running backs. All the wide receivers gone. Offensive line still bad. The Giants struggled to move the ball down field with its best play-makers and now they’re starless. The #NoFlyZone always says that no one leaves Mile High without an interception; well they might have a field day against Eli Manning and the Giants offense.

-Houston Texans v. Cleveland Browns

  • I know the Texans lost JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus and still without Brian Cushing, but come on they’re playing the Browns. The Browns lead the league in turnovers. No matter if it’s DeShone Kizer or Kevin Hogan; the Browns won’t be able to move the ball effectively against a Texans team that is still tough at home.

-Washington Redskins v. San Francisco 49ers

  • Josh Norman will be out of the game, but this defense is still a good unit. The San Francisco 49ers offense is nothing to be threatened by. The Redskins have a great run defense and excel and getting after the quarterback. They’ll make life miserable for Brian Hoyer and the 49ers offense.

-Atlanta Falcons v. Miami Dolphins

  • Speaking of struggling offenses the Miami Dolphins are probably the least efficient offense in the NFL. Jay Cutler has not been has not been the player some imagined he’d be. Jay Ajyai hasn’t lived up to his 2016 level. Everything is just slowly falling apart. On the flip side, the Falcons are an ascending young defense that’ll get after Cutler all game long.

-Baltimore Ravens v. Chicago Bears

  • Mitchell Trubisky looked impressive in his debut, but if the Vikings defense was hard to figure out he’ll have another crack at another stout front. This time it’ll be away from Chicago in a tough Ravens environment. I want to see how the rookie responds in this one. The Ravens should also be getting back Brandon Williams as well.

Bench Em’

Quarterback

-Eli Manning at Denver Broncos (Sunday Night)

  • I mentioned it earlier, Eli Manning lost all of his best options and he’ll be throwing the ball to guys that maybe caught a pass from him in practice. There will be no chemistry, hardly any competitive effort and just a sad Eli Manning. Factor in this game is on the road on prime-time in Mile High Stadium where the Broncos play their best football. Oh and the Broncos are coming off a bye week, so they’re all fresh and ready to hit someone again. Good luck Eli Manning.

-Jared Goff at Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Jared Goff took advantage of some decent defenses in the first 4 weeks, but last week in a true test against the Seahawks he came back to earth. Once the Seahawks eliminated Todd Gurley from the game and made Goff beat them, he didn’t respond well. Sure he made a few plays and a potential game winning throw that Cooper Kupp dropped, but for the most part he looked puzzled. This week poses another challenge and another tough defense in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Oh and it’s on the road, which doesn’t bode well for Jared Goff.

-Ben Roethlisberger at Kansas City Chiefs

  • The big man himself even pondered the question if he still had it or not. Joking or not, his play on the field doesn’t help his case any. In an off-season where he thought about retirement you have to stop and think if this could truly be the last year of Ben Roethlisberger’s career. Regardless it’s still week 6 of this season and that’s down the line, but Roethlisberger hasn’t been good on the road and faces a tough Kansas City Chiefs defense. Remember the play-off game from last year? Yeah, zero touchdowns and all field goals. Maybe you should start the Steelers kicker in this one? I kid, I kid. Or am I? (O_o)!?

-Jay Cutler at Atlanta Falcons

  • The Miami Dolphins fan base in their first true home game of the season were chanting for Matt Moore to replace Jay Cutler. Yeah, that’s not a good sign. Jay Cutler hasn’t played well this season and if the struggles continue he could eventually be replaced by the back-up who actually didn’t play bad last year and helped get the Dolphins into the play-offs. Sorry again for last week. Won’t happen again.

Running Back

-Carlos Hyde at Washington Redskins

  • Carlos Hyde was on fire to start the year, but some recent struggles had him benched last week in favor of rookie Matt Breida. If the question on if the 49ers will make this a trend or not, the match-up isn’t too favorable as the Redskins defensive front is tough on runners. Or, I can be completely wrong and last week’s benching will motivate him and put on a spectacular show. Either way, I would avoid him this week.

-Isaiah Crowell at Houston Texans

  • The Crow seems to be clipped of its’ wings and caged. Duke Johnson is the running back to own in this backfield and he makes every touch count. Crowell has struggled to do anything with his chances this year and has failed to score a single touchdown this season. Which isn’t good because his value at this point is very touchdown dependent. Bench him or trade him if you can.

-Doug Martin at Arizona Cardinals

  • Doug Martin had a good debut after his suspension, but this week he’ll face a stout Cardinals front. The Cardinals defense is one of the best against the run and they’ll look to get back to that after they got embarrassed a week ago by LeGarrette Blount. This game is also being played in Arizona where the Cardinals are a completely better team and the Buccaneers are a worse team. Be cautious if you have to play him.

-Jonathan Stewart v. Philadelphia Eagles (Thursday Night)

  • Jonathan Stewart has been losing his value for years now. Cam Newton came to town and starting stealing his goal-line carries. Now he has to deal with Christian McCaffery getting all the passing downs and screen passes. Stewart is a decent running back, but as far as a viable fantasy option he just is not your guy.

Wide Receiver

-Jordy Nelson at Minnesota Vikings

  • Jordy Nelson is the next lucky contestant to go up against Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes has done an excellent job containing #1 receivers all year long for minimal production. Add in that Nelson has been dealing with a nagging hamstring issue and was held out of the Packers final drive that lead to a game winning touchdown. Nelson should play, but lower your expectations for this week.

-Kendall Wright at Baltimore Ravens

  • The Ravens are another team that has not been too kind to opposing #1 receivers. Kendall Wright isn’t a player you start on the normal basis, but he’s the Bears best receiver by far and appears to be Mitchell Trubisky’s favorite target. He’s been a decent flex play for many owners though. However, this week you should keep him on the bench in this bad match up.

-Amari Cooper v. Los Angeles Chargers

  • It’s sad to say this, but Amari Cooper has been awful this year and very disappointing if you drafted him in the first two rounds. He’s averaging about a catch a game on 4 targets the past 3 weeks. If Derek Carr is in it’ll boost his value a little bit, but people like production and until he starts producing at his draft position fans won’t be happy. If EJ Manuel has to start again, it could be another ugly game for the Raiders receiver. I know he’s probably your WR1, but bench him this week if you can.

-Jermaine Kearse v. New England Patriots

  • Wait isn’t the Patriots defense bad? Yes, it’s sup-par so far. However Malcolm Butler is good at taking the team’s #1 receiver out of the game and Jermaine Kearse has been just that for the Jets. As the offense opens up it seem like Kearse is slowly losing his place in the offense. Last week a late touchdown saved his outlook to give owners a glimpse of security moving forward. I would avoid him this week and find a flex play elsewhere.

Tight End

-Ed Dickson v. Philadelphia Eagles (Thursday Night)

  • Greg Olsen is still out so Ed Dickson will get the call once again. His break-out game last week came at a good time as the Panthers needed an offensive play-maker to help push the team to victory. This week the Eagles won’t be surprised by him and will contain him. The Eagles have one of the better safety duos in the league and have experience playing corner, so being able to cover the 6’4″ tight end should be an easy task.

-Martellus Bennett at Minnesota Vikings

  • The Vikings safeties are a good duo as well and should be able to handle the former NFC North player. Bennett hasn’t exploded for the Packers like many thought he could this year, but he’s been solid. In fantasy he’s more of a match-up spot play and that is not the week to play him. The Vikings have been good at keeping Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense in check and seeing as this game is in Minnesota gives me confidence that it could be another low scoring affair.

-Jesse James at Kansas City

  • The Chiefs are rough on opposing tight ends even without Eric Berry. Factoring in the offensive struggles on the offense and Ben Roethlisberger, it just doesn’t equate to a promising outlook for James. The Steelers are seemingly trying to keep their stars happy by feeding them the ball. Two weeks ago Antonio Brown threw a water cooler and then got almost every target it seemed. This week Le’Veon Bell said the team needed to run more. So, I’m expecting a heavy dosage of Bell in this contest. Jesse James isn’t the type to call out his teammates and demand the ball. Unfortunately that’ll result in not getting the required amount of looks for owners this week.

-Antonio Gates at Oakland Raiders

  • After the Chargers made it a point to get Gates into the record books, he’s kind of been fazed out of the offense. Hunter Henry has slowly been the upcoming at the Chargers tight end position and the most “complete” player according to the Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn. The hall of famer has had a good career both in real life and fantasy, but it appears his fantasy value is no longer. Bench him or see if you can get name value out of him.

Defense

-Detroit Lions at New Orleans

  • The Lions defense has been one of the best so far this season, but they’ll face a tough match up this week in New Orleans. Drew Brees and the Saints are coming off a week 5 bye and they’re one of the better teams in their home stadium. Brees should put up a lot of points in what could be a shootout. If you stream defenses and happened to grab the Lions as your only defense, it might be best to bench them for the week and stream someone else. Oh and stud defensive lineman Haloti Ngata was put on IR, which will hurt.

-Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (Thursday Night)

  • Cam Newton has performed like his MVP version the past few weeks. The Eagles are traveling to Carolina on a short week against an offense that seemingly has caught fire and been rolling. Newton is still a quarterback that can beat you in different ways and he’ll be looking to take advantage of a banged up secondary. This could be a high scoring affair which usually tends to be bad for defenses.

-New England Patriots at New York Jets

  • The Patriots looked improved on defense, but I’m not 100% sold on them being fixed quite yet. This Jets team has young talented players looking to impress ownership to be a part of the future plans. I expect the Patriots to win this contest, but I can also see the Jets putting up a fight in the early quarters and score at least 20+ points. Josh McCown is having a great year and will give his team hope mid-way through the game.
That concludes this week’s edition of Play Em’ or Bench Em’. As always, good luck in your match up(s) and I hope you win. If you ever need more help with your lineup(s) don’t hesitate, me or anyone from the SFT crew. We’ll always respond to you on all of our social media pages. So, don’t forget to like and share us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, as well as connecting with us on LinkedIn. Until next time, have a great day!
Austin Thomas

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