What a time to be alive if you’re a fantasy football fan. Seriously, what were the odds entering this fantasy football season that through five weeks, the trio of Sam Bradford, Dak Prescott, and Carson Wentz would have fewer interceptions (1) combined than Andrew Luck (3), or that Eddie Lacy — the former Green Bay Packers golden boy who became a laughing stock for his weight — would average more yards per carry (5.5) than LeSean McCoy (5.3), Ezekiel Elliot (5.0), and David Johnson (5.0)?
It gets better as the current league leader in sacks, Buffalo’s Lorenzo Alexander, has eight sacks on the year and entered 2016 with a grand total of nine in his previous nine years; from 2011 to 15, Alexander only had 3.5 sacks in 67 games for the Redskins, Cardinals, and Raiders. This has been the year of the unpredictable, and we’re only five weeks in!
Unpredictability in fantasy football can be a fun thing, but as we enter Week 6 and a must-win time for the 2-3 teams out there — and even some 1-4 teams — you need to predict who is going to fail and who will succeed. As always, we’re here to help you out with your fantasy tips for Week 6 of the NFL season.
QB: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals ($6,000): There is no chance in this world that I am going to suggest playing a quarterback coming off a major concussion and playing behind a battered offensive line against a Jets defensive line that can hit the quarterback with ease. No chance. You may think I’m insane for suggesting this, but San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick ($5,000 and owned in 4.0 percent of ESPN leagues) is an intriguing option against Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills. Think about it: The guy’s healthy, has a chip on his shoulder, and is facing a head coach who is known for giving up big games to players that many doubt can pull a big game off. Thanks for all those years in New York, Rex.
RB1: Matt Jones, Washington Redskins ($4,000): Trap game alert — somewhat, as the suddenly hot Redskins host Carson Wentz and the surprising Philadelphia Eagles. Don’t be fooled, my friends, this is a game that the Redskins are going to blow, and Jones, who rushed for only 11 yards on seven carries in his lone game against the Eagles last year, is likely to struggle again. I said it last week, but James White of the New England Patriots ($4,100 and available in 57.6 percent of ESPN leagues) could be a smart, cheap play against the struggling Bengals.
RB2: Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers ($5,100): The good news for Stewart owners is that he’s back at practice for the 1-4 Panthers (via the Charlotte Observer), but the bad news is he’s likely a week or two away from really contributing again. Stay away from him for now, but travel to Oakland for your replacement running back. What can I say, I love DeAndre Washington ($4,200 and owned in just over half of ESPN leagues at 50.9 percent), and he should be in for another huge game this weekend against Kansas City. Yes, I say another huge game even though the rookie running back only averaged 2.6 yards a carry against the Chargers a week ago. Like I said, I’m smitten with this kid and his potential.
WR1: John Brown, Arizona Cardinals ($4,500): Please, don’t buy into the media hype about how Brown should be a must-start this week. Starting Brown, even with how horrendous the New York Jets’ defense has been against the pass this year, is a mistake — especially with the issues at quarterback regarding whether Palmer will start. Despite a prolonged injury to starting quarterback Jay Cutler, veteran Eddie Royal has somehow skyrocketed to being the 19th-best wide receiver in ESPN leagues this year (where he’s available in 41.9 percent of leagues and is worth just $4,000 on DraftKings), and against a messy Jacksonville Jaguars defense, the former electric return man is a solid option.
WR2: DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins ($5,800): Revenge game against the Eagles or not, I can’t allow my readers to think starting Jackson, who has looked older this year, in a must-win weekend. Owned in only 5.0 percent of ESPN leagues, former New England Patriots wideout Brandon LaFell ($3,200) is an interesting play as the Bengals take on his former team in Foxborough. Something needs to change with this Cincinnati Bengals offense, and maybe LaFell, who has two touchdowns on the year, is the key to fixing Marvin Lewis’ offense in their first year without Hue Jackson.
WR3: Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos ($6,800): A major rule of fantasy football is that if you have a big-name wideout on a team with QB issues, stay away for a bit of time. With things still unclear about how Trevor Sieman will fare on Thursday night against the Chargers (the Broncos’ official website is calling him questionable to start), maybe setting Denver’s Demaryius Thomas is a smart idea for the time being. I’ve been high on him for years, so I’m a bit biased, but it is great to see Kenny Britt ($3,700 and 10.3 percent) making plays and being successful with the Los Angeles Rams. Give him a start for the 3-2 Rams, who have a chance to make a statement on Sunday against the Detroit Lions — who, for what it’s worth, have struggled against the pass in 2016.
TE: Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons ($2,800): Matt Ryan is balling like it’s 2012 for the Falcons, but tight end Jacob Tamme’s stat lines have been inconsistent in the first five games. I love Tamme and what he brings to the table, but benching him this week just feels safe. Luckily, there’s a big name available in many leagues as Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seems to have found Heath Miller’s replacement in Jesse “I’m not a cowboy” James ($3,000 and 26.5 percent of ESPN leagues). With Pittsburgh on the road against a broken Miami Dolphins team, pick James up and start him either as a tight end or a flex because with how often the Steelers will be in the red zone, he’s sure to get targets.
Defense: Indianapolis Colts ($2,200): No. For as much as Brock Osweiler has struggled with adjusting to Houston, starting a pitiful Colts defense against him on the road on Sunday night is a mistake. This pick may turn out to be a mistake too, but in a home game against a Denver Broncos team with quarterback issues, maybe Joey Bosa and the Chargers defense ($2,500 and 3.4 percent) could work out as a low-key option. It’s not an ideal selection, but this is the year of unpredictability! Anything can happen.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]