BITTER BIRDS
Week 6 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
The season is well underway, and while there has been many disappointments thus far, there has also been many breakout players. That is why a lot of fantasy success hinges on waiver wire and trade success. There are always buy-low and sell-high candidates, and those that are able to make that work to their advantage while also picking up potential producers from free agency usually find themselves in the playoffs. Weeks 6 through 12 will be the most important weeks of the fantasy season for many, and with that in mind, here are my positional rankings for week 6 (Players from Thursday night’s game are not included). Quarterbacks 1. Cam Newton, Carolina 2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh 3. Drew Brees, New Orleans 4. Tom Brady, New England 5. Russell Wilson, Seattle 6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay 7. Carson Palmer 8. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis 9. Matthew Stafford, Detroit 10. Derek Carr, Oakland 11. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville 12. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia 13. Alex Smith, Kansas City 14. Matt Ryan, Atlanta 15. Dak Prescott, Dallas 16. Brian Hoyer, Chicago 17. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo 18. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee 19. Eli Manning, New York Giants 20. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati 21. Kirk Cousins, Washington 22. Brock Osweiler, Houston 23. Joe Flacco, Baltimore 24. Ryan Tannehill, Miami 25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets Cam Newton should return from a concussion on Sunday and get back to his old ways. He was the best fantasy quarterback in 2015, and in a must-win game against the Saints in the Superdome, he will have to play like it. I believe he will, and he tops this week’s quarterback rankings. Russell Wilson, coming off a bye, said his knee feels much better than it did two weeks ago which should come as no surprise. With a bad knee, he turned in his best performance against the jets, so with a healthier knee and a great matchup against Atlanta, Wilson is a top 5 play. Speaking of the jets and injured quarterbacks, Arizona gets Carson Palmer back for their Monday night game. The Jets have been extremely fantasy friendly to quarterbacks, and although Palmer has not looked his usual self in 2016, he and the offense are simply too talented to be held down much longer. Fitzgerald is performing, as is David Johnson, so I fully expect Carson Palmer to put up big numbers. Alex Smith, in a must-win game and against a vulnerable Oakland secondary is a sneaky play this week. I think the Chiefs get a huge victory on the road, and Smith will have a lot to do with it. Running Backs 1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh 2. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee 3. David Johnson, Arizona 4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas 5. Lamar Miller, Houston 6. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo 7. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles 8. Jordan Howard, Chicago 9. Christine Michael, Seattle 10. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay 11. Mark Ingram, New Orleans 12. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 13. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta 14. LeGarrette Blount, New England 15. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina 16. Frank Gore, Indianapolis 17. Matt Forte, New York Jets 18. Terrance West, Baltimore 19. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia 20. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City 21. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland 22. Matt Jones, Washington 23. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta 24. TJ Yeldon, Jacksonville 25. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati 26. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati 27. Arian Foster, Miami 28. James White, New England 29. Spencer Ware, Kansas City 30. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants 31. DeAndre Washington, Oakland 32. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia 33. Jalen Richard, Oakland 34. Chris Ivory, Jacksonville 35. Bilal Powell, New York Jets 36. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland 37. Justin Forsett, Detroit 38. Dwayne Washington, Detroit 39. Bobby Rainey, New York Giants 40. Derrick Henry, Tennesse 41. Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina 42. Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina 43. Jay Ajayi, Miami 44. Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants 45. Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia 46. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore 47. Bobby Rainey, New York Giants 48. Chris Thompson, Washington 49. Alfred Morris, Dallas 50. Josh Ferguson, Indianapolis Will this finally be the week Lamar Miller breaks out? He and the Houston Texans’ offense have been very disappointing thus far. Aside from the breakout of Will Fuller V, many owners are wondering if DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller can return to form. I believe both will. Houston is committed to running the football, possibly even more now with Brock Osweiler struggling, and Miller faces almost no competition for touches. He is a rare three-down running back, and facing Indianapolis, who just allowed 163 yards and a touchdown to Chicago’s Jordan Howard, I believe Miller finally has that big game we have all been waiting for. Jordan Howard’s performance, however, was not a fluke. He is extremely talented and I think he will retain the starting job once Jeremy Langford returns. Howard is showing a solid combination of size and speed and reads blocks very well for a rookie. Invest in him while the price is still low. I expect Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Stewart to play Sunday, and play very well for that matter. Lacy had 11 carries for 81 yards against the Giants before he was injured, and needs to be a large part of the Green Bay offense if they want to have success. I think the Packers beat the Cowboys, and Lacy goes for at least 80 yards and a touchdown. That puts him as a low-end RB1 with potential for more. Jonathan Stewart has not played in three weeks, and Carolina has been struggling offensively without him even when Cam Newton was playing. With both returning Sunday against a bad Saints defense, I expect Carolina to score a lot of points. The Panthers will be cautious with Cam Newton’s goal-line usage, so Stewart should get those opportunities. He is an RB2 with top 10 upside. Wide Receivers 1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh 2. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants 3. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville 4. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay 5. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston 6. AJ Green, Cincinnati 7. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina 8. Julio Jones, Atlanta 9. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans 10. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis 11. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets 12. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona 13. Marvin Jones, Detroit 14. Amari Cooper, Oakland 15. Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago 16. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City 17. Jarvis Landry, Miami 18. Michael Crabtree, Oakland 19. Doug Baldwin, Seattle 20. Julian Edelman, New England 21. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia 22. Will Fuller V, Houston 23. Randall Cobb, Green Bay 24. Willie Snead, New Orleans 25. Terrell Pryor, Cleveland 26. DeSean Jackson, Washington 27. John Brown, Arizona 28. Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh 29. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville 30. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants 31. Cameron Meredith, Chicago 32. Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets 33. Cole Beasley, Dallas 34. Michael Thomas, New Orleans 35. Robert Woods, Buffalo 36. Mike Wallace, Baltimore 37. DeVante Parker, Miami 38. Golden Tate, Detroit 39. Tavon Austin, Los Angeles 40. Michael Floyd, Arizona 41. Chris Hogan, New England 42. Eddie Royal, Chicago 43. Anquan Boldin, Detroit 44. Jamison Crowder, Washington 45. Terrance Williams, Dallas 46. Kamar Aiken, Baltimore 47. Jeremy Kerley, San Francisco 48. Tyler Lockett, Seattle 49. Torrey Smith, San Francisco 50. Pierre Garcon, Washington Odell Beckham Jr. has been tweeting a lot of things about Sunday’s game. No trash talking or anything like that, just tweets that suggest to be that he is excited. Baltimore’s defense has been solid, but its weakness is its corners. Odell thinks he is the game’s best receiver, but he certainly has not been playing like it. I believe he is putting pressure on himself to perform, and while this would seem to be a bad thing given his emotional outbursts, I think it’s good. He is a rare, hall-of-fame talent, and with a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback nearing the end of his career, Beckham Jr. must keep his emotions in check if he wants to play in the post-season and put up big numbers. I think he has a huge game Sunday in a must-win game for the Giants, and ultimately grows up as the season goes on. I am high on Kelvin Benjamin in week 6 because of two obvious things: Cam’s return and the matchup with New Orleans. Fantasy is a matchups-driven game, which is why I constantly rank players higher than they usually would be when they play teams like the Saints, Falcons, Browns, Colts, etc. In general, a bad defense means more scoring opportunities for the offense. And in general, that means more opportunities for those offensive players to score fantasy points. There will always be exceptions to this (Julio Jones against the Saints in week 3), but all we can hope for is that our players take advantage of these opportunities; we can’t control the actual outcomes. Benjamin is a start every week, but should be in line for big numbers Sunday. A sneaky play this week is Arizona’s John Brown, who has led the team in receiving yards in Carson Palmer’s last two starts. He saw double digit targets in both games, including a career high 16 against the Rams, and has WR2 upside this week. Tight Ends 1. Greg Olsen, Carolina 2. Rob Gronkowski, New England 3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City 4. Delanie Walker, Tennessee 5. Jimmy Graham, Seattle 6. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia 7. Martellus Bennett, New England 8. Zach Miller, Chicago 9. Coby Fleener, New Orleans 10. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore 11. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville 12. Gary Barnidge, Cleveland 13. Jason Witten, Dallas 14. Jesse James, Pittsburgh 15. Charles Clay, Buffalo 16. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis 17. Jacob Tamme, Atlanta 18. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay 19. Clive Walford, Oakland 20. C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati 21. Vernon Davis, Washington 22. Will Tye, New York Giants 23. Niles Paul, Washington 24. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis 25. Lance Kendricks, Los Angeles Rob Gronkowski, getting healthier by the week, had a big day with the return of Tom Brady as many expected. However, it was his teammate, Marcellus Bennett, who scored three times. Can the two co-exist? I believe so. New England is using Gronk much more as a wide receiver this season than in seasons past. For many of his targets he has been lined up split outside. Most of Bennett’s targets come with him lined up as a traditional tight-end. Thus, in passing situations, the Patriots are basically treating Gronk like a wide receiver, which allows Bennett to play as the primary tight-end. Both are TE1s going forward. I think Zach Ertz has a big game against Washington, as Carson Wentz will have to look his way more if the Eagles are going to win. He is the most talented receiver on Philadelphia, and Carson Wentz is a very smart quarterback. It is inevitable that these two develop chemistry, and I think it starts Sunday. Speaking of Washington, Jordan Reed has been declared out with a concussion. Vernon Davis and Niles Paul will replace him, but neither are worth starting in week 6. Quietly, Gary Barnidge has bounced back from a slow start. He will not put up the numbers he did last season, but if you need a bye-week replacement for Kyle Rudolph, you can do much worse than Barnidge. Defense/Special Teams 1. Arizona 2. Buffalo 3. Pittsburgh 4. Tennessee 5. Seattle 6. Pittsburgh 7. Philadelphia 8. New England 9. Houston 10. Baltimore 11. Kansas City 12. Los Angeles 13. Detroit 14. Carolina 15. Green Bay 16. Chicago 17. Indianapolis 18. New York Giants 19. Oakland 20. New York Jets With Minnesota on a bye, there are certainly many owners looking for a replacement DST. Look no further than Tennessee. Quietly, the Titans have been playing good defense this season and get a matchup with the Browns, who will continue to start rookie Cody Kessler. In every league I have Minnesota, I am rolling with the Titans, and I recommend you do the same if you own the Vikings. The Titans are not owned in many leagues so they should be available. If not, Detroit is a decent option against Los Angeles. If Keenum turns it over and Detroit is able to win, which I think they are, the Lions DST could post respectable numbers. Keep an eye on how Philadelphia’s DST does on Sunday. I think this is a true test of their legitimacy as a starting option. Were the first three weeks a fluke, or was last Sunday a fluke? We will find out! Kickers 1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England 2. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis 3. Justin Tucker, Baltimore 4. Stephen Hauschka, Seattle 5. Graham Gano, Carolina 6. Mason Crosby, Green Bay 7. Dan Bailey, Dallas 8. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh 9. Caleb Sturgis, Philadelphia 10. Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona 11. Dustin Hopkins, Washington 12. John Brown, New York Giants 13. Matt Prater, Detroit 14. Nick Novak, Tennessee 15. Matt Bryant, Atlanta 16. Cairo Santos, Kansas City 17. Dan Carpenter, Buffalo 18. Mike Nugent, Cincinnati 19. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland 20. Will Lutz, New Orleans That wraps up my week 6 fantasy football rankings, good luck to all the teams this week!