Wondering whether or not to start Philip Rivers and Chris Johnson, or bench Colt McCoy and Patrick Crayton? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for real help with your starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 6 of the 2010 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers vs. Browns. Cleveland’s pass defense is not as bad as you’d think, but they will be no match for Big Ben and his receivers. Roethlisberger has been champing at the bit to return, so don’t expect him to settle for handing the ball off all afternoon. Pittsburgh’s defense will reward him with plenty of short fields to navigate as well.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants vs. Lions. His ankle injury is behind him; and though Brandon Jacobs will poach the occasional goal-line carry, Bradshaw is sure to romp through Detroit’s porous run defense.Shonn Greene, RB, Jets at Broncos. Denver surrendered an unfathomable 233 yards and four touchdowns on the ground last week, while Greene finally scored for the first time on Monday night. Both New York tailbacks should have a field day in this highly favorable matchup.
Eddie Royal, WR, Broncos vs. Jets. You know Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd are red hot, but Royal is quietly approaching Top 10 fantasy receiver status himself. The Jets’ secondary has been struggling (23rd-ranked pass defense), while its run defense remains stingy. Watch Orton and his wideouts soar again, especially with a high probability that Darrelle Revis misses the game with a nagging hamstring.
Tony Moeaki, TE, Chiefs at Texans. The rookie has been the most consistent and productive receiver in the Chiefs’ lackluster aerial attack. Facing the league’s passing doormat, he should have his best performance to date. You’d like to think Dwayne Bowe also would excel, but his butter fingers make him less than reliable.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Orton, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan; RBs Matt Forte, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Bush, Ryan Torain, Joseph Addai; WRs Johnny Knox, Brandon Lloyd, Pierre Garcon, Malcom Floyd, Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings, Percy Harvin, Steve Smith (NY), Santonio Holmes, Michael Crabtree, Nate Washington, Santana Moss.
Roll ‘em back
Shaun Hill, QB, Lions at Giants. It’s hard to believe, but Hill is the sixth-best fantasy passer in the league, despite a nearly even TD (8) to INT (7) ratio. But his most dangerous weapon, Calvin Johnson, may be limited – or even out – with a shoulder injury, and the Giants’ defense has been absolutely suffocating in recent weeks.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns at Steelers. One of the biggest surprises in Fantasyland will be asked to shoulder the offensive load with Colt McCoy expected to make his first NFL start (talk about bad timing). Unfortunately, Hillis will be facing the NFL’s stingiest run defense – coming off a bye, no less – with a painful thigh injury and little air cover to support him.
Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks at Bears. Now that Marshawn Lynch is in the fold, Forsett’s touches will surely be reduced. How dramatically in this first game is anyone’s guess. But Chicago’s rush defense is the league’s third-toughest, so neither Seattle back can be expected to produce much in this one.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars vs. Titans. He’s been boom-or-bust this season, thanks mostly to David Garrard’s inconsistent play. The Titans specialize in harassing opposing quarterbacks (NFL-best 22 sacks, plus 7 INTs), which spells trouble for everyone in the Jaguars’ passing offense.
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans vs. Chiefs. His early-season heroics are a distant memory now, as injuries to Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub’s struggles have combined to ground Houston’s air attack. Kansas City’s secondary held Peyton Manning without a passing score last week, which doesn’t bode well for Schaub or his No. 2 receiver.
More thumbs down: QBs Schaub, Garrard, Kevin Kolb, Matt Hasselbeck, Sam Bradford, Jason Campbell; RBs Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, Earnest Graham, Marshawn Lynch, Felix Jones, Marion Barber; WRs Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson, Danny Amendola, Brandon Tate, Jacoby Jones.
Taking a flier
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs at Texans. Cassel has had only one solid fantasy day this season (250 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT vs. the 49ers in Week 3), but he has yet to face a secondary as welcoming as Houston’s. Everyone seems to have a career day against the Texans, so don’t be shocked when Cassel sits at or near the top of the passing charts this weekend.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHObenches an active Aaron Rodgers against the Dolphins. His playing status may go down to the wire Sunday due to the concussion he sustained last weekend, but if the Packers start him, you must follow suit. Even without TE Jermichael Finley, he has plenty of dangerous weapons at his disposal; so it’s safer to roll with Rodgers than without him.
Ladd Biro is a syndicated fantasy football columnist and host of Sporting News Radio’s weekly Fantasy Files show (Saturdays, 9-10 am ET). Follow his daily fantasy advice at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com) and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).