By Matthew Postins
Fantasy Football Contributor
Welcome to my Week 6 Fantasy Football preview column. I don’t delve into rankings, stats or data. You can find all of that at other sites. In fact, that’s where I find mine. My column is all about my impressions of different players and situations that could impact your fantasy team this week and in the future. We’ll check back in after Week 6’s games.
1. Wow, the Raiders’ pass defense is really bad. The Raiders give up 330 yards per game and 137 points so far this season. Start Kansas City’s Alex Smith with confidence that he might put up his best game of the season to date.
2. It’s right after the Broncos-Chargers game. You hate what all of those players did to your fantasy teams (unless you have Chargers kicker Josh Lambo), but you love those Color Rush uniforms, am I right?
3. Cameron Meredith is probably the biggest beneficiary from Kevin White’s season-ending injury. He scored 19 points in a standard league in Week 5 against Indianapolis. Will Meredith continue that trend? We’ll see. I expect Eddie Royal will see his numbers go up a bit as well. If you need WR depth in smaller leagues Meredith may still be out there. If you’re in a larger league he’s probably already gone.
4. One week after blowing the roof off of fantasy football Sammie Coates is a questionable start this week. Why? A hand laceration that caused him to miss a couple of days of practice. This isn’t like taping up a running back’s injured hand and letting him carry the ball. Coates is going to have to be able to flex that hand to catch the football. If he can’t the Steelers shouldn’t play him. Even if he does play, I wouldn’t start him unless you had to. I’d have too many questions over the use of that hand.
5. I’d mute your expectations for Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott just a bit this weekend. The Packers have the league’s No. 1 rated run defense. I’ve seen some make the point that the Pack has faced teams in the lower half of the league’s run offense rankings, which is true. But when you take those Packers games out of the equation, all but one of those opponents is ranked much higher. I’d take that as a sign that the Packers are going to thoroughly key on Elliott on Sunday, as they should. He’s not a lock for 100 yards, though I think it’s fairly likely he’ll score.
6. The game that might get you a ton of fantasy points on Sunday? Maybe Jacksonville at Chicago? Neither defense is particularly good. The Jags have ample weapons and Chris Ivory is fully healthy now. As for the Bears QB Brian Hoyer will probably start and here’s Hoyer’s numbers in his last 16 NFL starts — 2,842 yards, 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Dude can ball. I’m not sure I’d want to start him over, say, Tom Brady, but any of his receivers would do just fine.
7. If you have a better option at QB than Matt Ryan, I’d start him. He and the Falcons are on the road against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, and Seattle is fantasy’s No. 1 pass defense. Then, take into account that Ryan only managed 16 fantasy points against a very good Broncos defense and you get a recipe for a pedestrian fantasy afternoon.
8. If I had Arian Foster I wouldn’t start him again. In his last two seasons he’s played six games, rushed for a little more than 200 yards and scored once. He has two receiving scores, but Foster’s value is really wrapped up in running the ball, not catching it. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jay Ajayi had the starting job in full by the end of this season on merit and not based on Foster’s injuries.
9. James White. Hey, maybe the Patriots will finally settle on a running back, right?
10. My lineups. I play in three different leagues. If you care, here’s are my starting lineups this week (subject to change, of course):
LSFL (scoring only – 4-1 record): QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Jeremy Hill, RB Chris Ivory, WR Demaryius Thomas, WR A.J. Green, WR Allen Robinson, PK Nick Novak, Def. Carolina. I’m going to stick with Novak for one more week but for crying out loud, Houston, score some points. Or at least stall out some drives in field goal range.
Dereliction (yardage/PPR with bonuses for long TDs and FGs – 0-5 record): QB Russell Wilson, RB Chris Ivory, RB Ryan Mathews, TE Greg Olsen, TE Jimmy Graham, TE Delanie Walker, PK Dustin Hopkins, DEF Pittsburgh. Perhaps the problem is I have too many tight ends?
NFFL (fractional scoring/PPR): QB Tom Brady, RB Gio Bernard, RB Frank Gore, WR Brandin Cooks, TE Travis Kelce, WR A.J. Green, PK Mason Crosby, DEF TBA. I’ll have to get a new defense this week, but I’m not dropping the Vikings. It’s the best fantasy defense in the game.