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Week 6 Fantasy Faceoffs

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: Each week Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Nathan Zegura will tackle lineup dilemmas that you might be facing. These subjects are derived from discrepancies in Dave's and Jamey's weekly rankings .

Who's the better Week 6 replacement quarterback: Alex Smith or Joe Flacco?
Dave Richard We saw first hand in the 49ers game last week the advantage a team has over an opponent that enters a game coming off a Monday night appearance; the Niners spanked the Bucs and play the Lions, in Detroit, this week. Detroit's pass defense continues to be its weak link, and Smith has been good this year. His accuracy is crushing his career bests and he has thrown at least two touchdowns in three of his last four games. He's also getting better protection from his offensive line and is doing a nice job working with his tight ends and running backs -- a big plus since his receiving corps is thin. Attacking the Lions' safeties and linebackers with quick passes to his tight ends will go a long way in Week 6 -- Smith should record his third straight game with at least 20 Fantasy points.
Jamey Eisenberg I like teams coming off their bye because two weeks to prepare for an opponent is usually a good thing. Flacco has been studying the Texans defense since he last played in Week 4, and he should be ready to go. In his past two games coming off a bye, Flacco has passed for 441 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He has faced Houston twice in his career, including last season, and has 420 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in those matchups. The Texans just lost standout linebacker Mario Williams (pectoral), and Houston has allowed multiple touchdown passes in two of the past three games against Drew Brees and Jason Campbell. Smith, meanwhile, is facing a Lions defense that has more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns allowed (six). The only quarterback to play well against Detroit is Tony Romo, and Smith is down to Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn Jr. as his starting receivers. This is an easy call, and Flacco is your guy.
Nathan Zegura Joe Flacco is not a Top 12 quarterback for me this week, but I do prefer him to Alex Smith of the red hot San Francisco 49ers if you are hurting at the position this week. Flacco is coming off of his bye week and has a decent matchup against a Texans team that just lost Mario Williams for the year and has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in two of the last three weeks. While neither matchup is ideal -- the Lions are the fifth toughest defense against quarterbacks at 12 points per week and the Texans are eighth at 15.4 -- I would give a slight edge to Flacco given his supporting cast. Smith just lost Josh Morgan and will have to rely on tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker in addition to banged up Michael Crabtree. Flacco has a much more complete supporting cast at his disposal with Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Ray Rice and Ed Dickson. Flacco played very well coming off of his bye week last year with 266 yards and two scores and I expect another solid game against the depleted Texans.
Start or sit Jahvid Best vs. San Francisco?
Dave Richard Jahvid Best isn't rushing for 163 yards again, and he won't get to 100 rush yards either. The 49ers run defense will make sure of that. So why do I like Best anyway? Because he can still be effective out of the backfield, and the Lions will need him with the 49ers pass rush forcing Matthew Stafford to make quick decisions. This could easily be another game where Best totals close to 100 yards, and Fantasy owners will take their points any way they can get them. Also, for whatever it's worth, Best's top games this year have come at home, not on the road. The Niners will be a tough challenge for him, but in a week where Fantasy owners will be without Beanie Wells, Chris Johnson, Willis McGahee, Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert, you're going to need some really good running backs to bench Best, who has No. 2 Fantasy rusher potential.
I'd start him over: Mark Ingram (at TB), DeAngelo Williams (at ATL), Felix Jones (at NE)
Jamey Eisenberg Best is one of my favorite players this season, and I predicted him to have a breakout campaign. But I would consider sitting Best this week because he will be facing a tough opponent. The 49ers have allowed the fewest Fantasy points to opposing running backs and along with Denver, they have yet to allow a running back to score on the ground. LeSean McCoy is the only running back to score against San Francisco, and that was on a shovel pass. The 49ers have held Marshawn Lynch, Felix Jones, Cedric Benson and LeGarrette Blount to six Fantasy points or less, and Best is in for a letdown following his career game against Chicago on Monday night. Prior to that game, Best struggled against Minnesota (eight Fantasy points) and Dallas (six points), and he should be around six points again. The majority of his production will come as a receiver, but his rushing totals should be minimal.
I'd rather start: Mark Ingram (at TB), Ryan Torain (vs. PHI), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. DAL)
Nathan Zegura If you are in a point-per-reception league I am starting Jahvid Best even though he is taking on an excellent San Francisco 49ers defense. Best is averaging over four catches per game on the season and the Niners are giving up over four catches per game to opposing running backs, so in a PPR league I think Best still gets you double digit points without a touchdown. In a non-PPR league however, I would sit Best provided that you have a better option. The 49ers have now gone 27 straight games without allowing a 100 yard rusher, the longest streak in the NFL, and they are stifling opposing running backs from a Fantasy perspective. No team is allowing fewer points to opposing running backs than San Francisco, who are giving up just 7.8 points per game. They are second at 56 rushing yards allowed, eighth at 27 receiving yards allowed and have not allowed a single rushing touchdown so unless he breaks a long run, Best is going to struggle.
I'd rather start: Cedric Benson vs. IND, Earnest Graham vs. NO (if Blount is out), Ryan Torain (vs. PHI)
Which notable Fantasy quarterback would you cut for Tim Tebow?
Dave Richard I don't think I'm telling anyone anything when I say I'd cut Josh Freeman or Mark Sanchez for Tim Tebow. Those guys are meandering backup options who have begun to wear out their welcomes. Tebow represents a fresh change with potential to be a huge stat producer. But that said, any "big name" quarterback like Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Eli Manning simply isn't worth the risk. Let's keep something in mind here: If Tim Tebow is a "safe" candidate for 20 Fantasy points through his rushing endeavors then Ryan, Schaub, Roethlisberger, Fitzpatrick and Manning are equally safe through their passing abilities. This is not me telling you that Tebow is going to stink or that Tebow isn't worth adding, because I think he'll be solid and is absolutely worth adding. But giving up a proven quarterback commodity, a guy you can start under most circumstances, isn't worth it.
Jamey Eisenberg You have to love the way Ryan Fitzpatrick has played so far this season, but if last year was an indication, a lull is coming, especially when the weather turns cold in Buffalo. From Halloween to the end of the year in 2010, a span of nine games, Fitzpatrick had 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with only four games over 250 passing yards. He had just two games with multiple touchdown passes, and he doesn't have the upside of Tebow. As we saw last year with three starts, Tebow can be a consistent Fantasy quarterback since he had three games with at least 24 Fantasy points. It would be difficult to give up on Fitzpatrick now after his early-season production, but just as you added him then when his value was on the rise, you should do the same now with Tebow. For the rest of the season, Tebow will be the better Fantasy quarterback.
Nathan Zegura Tim Tebow is not the "prettiest" quarterback you have ever seen, but the guy produces Fantasy points. In any game in which he has had more than 10 combined pass and rush attempts, Tebow has produced at least 17 Fantasy points. In his three starts last year, Tebow produced at least 24 Fantasy points every time out and actually helped a lot of people, including yours truly, win Fantasy titles. Running quarterbacks score points and Tebow averaged 66 yards rushing and one touchdown per game last year. That's 12 points right there or the direct equivalent of 300 yards passing. Think about that for a second. He does not have to complete over 50 percent of his passes or look like a traditional quarterback for our purposes, he needs to score Fantasy points and he does that with his legs week in and week out. Tebow is the top waiver option this week and I would take him as my second quarterback over just about anybody out there including "The Genius" Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even if you are loaded at quarterback, grab him and use the kid or one of your other quarterbacks as trade bait. Instead of who I would take Tebow over, here is who I would not cut to get Tebow at the quarterback spot: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Tony Romo. Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Schaub are close, and I would rather have Tebow in tandem with them, but if you have one of the elite eight quarterbacks already, I think Tebow has more upside than anyone else at the position as your second quarterback, especially if you are in a four-point passing touchdown league.
Which player would you sell high on and trade?
Dave Richard If you own Cam Newton, you've probably enjoyed the numbers he's given you through five weeks (well, except Week 3). And if you own Cam Newton, you probably drafted him with a late-round pick or claimed him off waivers. Now's a great time to turn that steal of yours into a Fantasy stud someone took with an early choice. Newton will fetch an elite player in trade, if not two. If your team has more than three losses, you might want to consider pawning Newton for a good quarterback and a very good starter. Example: Philip Rivers and Dwayne Bowe. I wouldn't trade Newton if your backup was unproven and/or unproductive, and I would have traded Newton already if he was on your bench because you have Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady on your roster. If you're somewhere in-between, and if you're not winning Fantasy games, make a move to salvage your season and turn him into players that can help you.
Jamey Eisenberg If the season ended today, Victor Cruz would be the No. 11 receiver in standard leagues after catching 19 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns. There's no way he's going to keep up this pace barring a significant injury to Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, and Manningham is definitely someone to buy low. Last year, Manningham closed the season with 16 catches for 346 yards and four touchdowns in the final three games, and at some point that receiver is going to emerge again. When that happens, Cruz will take a back seat, and you should definitely trade him now while his value is at its peak. You can't rely on him to get fluky touchdowns like he had against the Eagles when no one tackled him or against the Seahawks when he scored off a deflection. We all know Eli Manning also tends to struggle as the year goes on, so sell Cruz now while you can still get something significant in return.
Nathan Zegura Calvin Johnson has a legitimate shot to rewrite the record books after catching nine touchdowns in his first five games of 2011. While I do think it is entirely possible that he keeps up this pace because he is clearly the most physically gifted and dominant receiver to perhaps ever play the game, selling high on Calvin is not a bad idea if the price is right. In my weekday chats here on CBSSports.com and on my SiriusXM radio show, I have heard trade offers such as Darren McFadden and Miles Austin, Arian Foster and Greg Jennings, LeSean McCoy and Roddy White in two-for-one offers for Megatron. If you can get a top Fantasy running back and an elite wide receiver like those deals above I would sell high on Calvin and take them. I have also seen people get offers from those owners who drafted say Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton such as Rodgers and Hakeem Nicks for Calvin, which would be a steal if you needed a quarterback. I do not know that there is anyone out there I would take one for one for Calvin right now, but if you can get two elite players like in the aforementioned actual trade scenarios, I would pull the trigger and sell high.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard , Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and Nathan at @NathanZeguraTFC .

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Player News
Texans' O'Brien: WR DeAndre Hopkins can 'be one of the best'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Texans head coach Bill O'Brien is very encouraged by the performance of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last season, per ESPN. O'Brien went as far as to say that Hopkins can be one of the best.

"He had a really productive year," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "The thing that we really like about Hop and that we want him to continue to do is his work ethic. He’s a hungry player. He works every single day. He came into the spring a year ago and he was learning the offense and thinking out there, then all of a sudden you could see all the work he put in and learning, he just took off."

Due to the departure of wide receiver Andre Johnson, the progression of Hopkins will be under the microscope as he is now the focal point of the passing offense.

"We just want to see him continue and progress," O'Brien said. "We think he can be one of the best, we think he is one of the best. We have a lot of confidence in him and we’re looking forward to seeing him progress when the offseason program starts."

In two years with the Texans, Hopkins has reeled in 128 receptions for 2012 yards and eight touchdowns.


Giants won't rush WR Victor Cruz back to the field
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:12 am ET) Although Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is hopeful that wide receiver Victor Cruz will be ready by training camp, the team will not rush him back, reports ESPN.

"I shouldn't say this, because medically I really don't have a definite answer, but by training camp hopefully, even if it's just to bring him," Coughlin said. "We're not going to just throw him to the wind. He'll work his way through. But I hope that would be the target."

Cruz tore his patellar tendon in week six of the 2014 season, causing him to miss the rest of the year. Coughlin is hopeful that he'll return to be the player that he was before the injury.

"I think he'll be the player that he was, and hopefully better," Coughlin said of Cruz. "But as far as when, I would be careful of what I would say there. Hopefully it's the first game. But if it isn't, you know we've done that one before. We just went through it. But I'm hoping it would be."

The former undrafted free agent has tallied 264 receptions for 3,963 yards and 24 touchdowns.


Lions QB Matthew Stafford to take more chances through the air
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was in new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's system for the first time last season. The team plans on taking more chances down the field in Stafford's second season in the new offense, Lombardi said, according to the team's official website.

“In his second year (in the offense) he’s going to be that much more comfortable,” Lombardi said.

“We’ll be able to tailor the offense a little bit more to what he likes and what he’s good at. I thought he played smart football and sometimes to a fault. We’ll look for him to maybe take a few more chances this year with the football.”

Although Stafford didn't take many shots down the field, he did throw a career-low 12 interceptions in 2014. 

The former first overall draft pick has thrown for 21,714 yards with 131 touchdowns and 85 interceptions during his six-year career.


Colts OLB Robert Mathis plans to be ready for training camp
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis is not ready to run yet, he told Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL. Mathis added that he plans to be ready for the start of training camp.

“It’s not going as fast as I would like to, but we are getting well and we should be clicking in camp,” Mathis told Sirius.

Mathis was suspended for the first four games of last season due to violating the league's substance abuse policy. He then suffered a torn achilles, forcing him to miss all 16 games of the 2014 season.

During his 11-year career with the Colts, Mathis has collected 487 total tackles, 111.0 sacks, 15 passes defensed and 48 forced fumbles.


Lions TE Eric Ebron has been working out with Matthew Stafford
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said that tight end Eric Ebron has been working out with quarterback Matthew Stafford in Atlanta this offseason, reports the Detroit News. Lombardi also said that the plan is to have Ebron be the No. 3 weapon in the passing game this year.

Ebron, 21, finished his rookie season with 25 catches for 248 yards and one touchdown. 


Cowboys' Tony Romo: DeMarco Murray asked me to take a pay cut
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was really hoping to remain with the Cowboys this offseason. So much so, he asked quarterback Tony Romo to take a pay cut to remain with the team, Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, per the Dallas Morning News.

"DeMarco ended up asking me, 'Why don't you take a pay cut?' I said, 'I will. I would take a pay cut to go do this,'" Romo said. "I was like, 'They're going to restructure me.' That's the same thing in some ways, just for the salary cap purposes. He was like, 'OK, now we're back to being friends again.' I would take $5 million less if meant getting him back.

"He knew that. It was just funny how he was literally worried about that part of it for a week. I'm like, 'That's not the reason.' I'm like, 'Obviously I'll restructure. I would even take a pay cut.' He was like, 'OK, we can be friends again.' It's amazing what you think about in those moments."


Giants QB Eli Manning wants to take offense 'to another level'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Giants quarterback Eli Manning is entering the second year in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system. Manning is ready to take the next step now that he is familiar with the system, reports the NY Daily News.

““This year will be a much easier transition, knowing that we have been through so much of it already,” said Manning, who recently had been working out at Ole Miss with some of their receivers and alumni. “It’s definitely a different starting point. I feel good about it. I feel that I have a good understanding of it.

“But there is still room to grow and that is why I try to keep it as fresh in my mind as possible. Looking at old game-plan sheets and calling plays in my head – throwing routes with receivers trying to call out plays to myself, so you don’t let it slip away. It was new last year and it wasn’t something I have been doing for 10 years, so you want to keep it fresh and go through your reminders and all your checks. So when we come back I haven’t taken a step backwards and have to re-learn things. It is still all there. There will be new stuff and we will be taking it to another level.”

Manning has started all 16 games in each season since 2005, throwing for 39,755 yards with 259 touchdowns and 185 interceptions.


Saints TE Josh Hill wants to grow into new role
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) After trading trading Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks, tight end Josh Hill is ready to step into his new role with the Saints, according to the team's offical website.

“I think it might open a few opportunities for me as I continue to grow in my role and just do everything they ask me to do,” Hill said when asked about the trade of Graham to the Seahawks.

Hill recognized that Graham helped him transition from college to the professional level.

“It’s a big difference, especially coming from a smaller school and a smaller city," Hill said. "He was always there for me. We became pretty good friends over the past few years so it will definitely be different without him.”

Head coach Sean Payton believes that Hill is ready to step up.

“Josh Hill is a player that we value a lot," Payton said last week at the NFL annual meeting. "He’s not on anyone’s fantasy first three rounds, I promise you, but he’s a real good tight end. He’s versatile in the running game, in the pass receiving game, a special teams player.”

Hill, heading into his third year in the NFL, has recorded 20 receptions for 220 yards and six touchdowns. 


Cowboys QB Tony Romo excited about this offseason
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is excited about what the offseason holds for him, according to ESPN.

“This is the first offseason where I’ve been able to kind of get after it this early and be able to kind of improve in a lot of different areas that I think you aren’t able to until you get healthy enough to attack it,” Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday. “I’m just excited about that, really.”

Romo, 34, is encouraged by the fact that he is able to do a lot of different things during the offseason process while working out.

“Now I’m able to do that while actually doing functional strength training through different versions of squats,” Romo said. “I’m not putting anything on my back and doing stuff like that but you are doing a lot of single-leg stuff and different things that I started getting into during the season that helped a lot. Now it’s nice to be able to do that in the offseason.”

Romo has thrown for 33,270 yards with 242 touchdowns and 110 interceptions in his 12-year career. 


WR Dwayne Bowe looks to revitalize himself with Browns
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is looking to revitalize his career now that he has joined the Browns, reports ESPN. Bowe was cut by the Chiefs in the middle of March.

"I have a chance to revitalize myself," Bowe, 30, told ESPN.com via telephone Tuesday. "Just sit back and watch."

Browns general manager Ray Farmer has familiarity with Bowe from their time with the Chiefs. The two sat down and watched tape from the 2010 season when he racked up 15 touchdown receptions.

"Him knowing what I can do, seeing me in practice, making crazy plays, splitting the safeties, he knows I still can do that," Bowe said. "I couldn't showcase that last year. He was pulling up old plays, saying, 'We are going to use you just like that.' Moving around, going on motion, trying to hit the deep ball, trying to break plays."

The 30-year-old wideout appreciated his time with the Chiefs and he has no regrets.

"It's been up and down, but it's been fun," Bowe said. "I don't regret nothing. People can talk about the NFL and playing wide receiver -- I feel I still have a good four more years in me."

Over his eight-year career, he has totaled 532 receptions for 7,155 yards and 44 touchdowns.


 
 
 
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