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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
Broncos TE Julius Thomas has 'a chance' to play Week 13
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:39 pm ET) Broncos tight end Julius Thomas sat out Week 12 due to his "severely sprained left ankle," but "there's a chance" he'll return for Sunday night's game at Kansas City, reports the Denver Post. More will be known Wednesday when Denver returns to practice.

"I have had better days, and I have had worse days," Thomas told the paper on Monday. "You hope you just wake up one day and it feels good again, but that didn't happen last week. But it has improved."

Thomas still leads the NFL with 12 touchdown catches.


Rams settling into three-receiver rotation
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:25 pm ET) The Rams "seem to have settled into a three-man rotation at wide receiver," reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The paper noted Kenny Britt played 59 snaps at San Diego, followed by Tavon Austin (50) and Stedman Bailey (43).

Chris Givens played just 14 snaps and was not targeted.

St. Louis hosts the Raiders on Sunday.


Bengals TE Tyler Eifert might not return until playoffs
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:53 pm ET) The Bengals' official website suspects tight end Tyler Eifert won't be back for the stretch run, but will return for the playoffs. Eifert has been sidelined since suffering an elbow injury in the season opener.

New injury for Lions RB Reggie Bush
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:42 pm ET) Lions running back Reggie Bush has missed four of the past six games due to an ankle injury. Now Bush is dealing with a back injury too, per the team's website. Bush was limited in Tuesday's practice with the two injuries, though he has said he plans to play Thursday against the Bears.

Bush has scored one touchdown in seven games this season.


Tony Romo benefiting from better supporting cast
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:36 pm ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is playing some of the best football of his career. He's thrown 22 touchdowns against three interceptions since the first half of the season opener against San Francisco.

Coach Jason Garrett said a number of factors are at play. "I think a lot of it has to do with the supporting cast," Garrett told the Dallas Morning News. "I think we're protecting better. We're running the ball better. He's got a lot of different weapons at his disposal. He's just doing a good job seeing the defense and throwing it to the right guy."

Romo plays the Eagles on Thanksgiving.


Brandon Marshall limited with ankle injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:11 pm ET) Bears wideout Brandon Marshall (ankle) was limited in Tuesday's practice ahead of Thursday's game at Detroit. Marshall was held to three catches and 32 yards Week 12 after back-to-back dominant performances.

Alshon Jeffery no longer on injury report
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:07 pm ET) Bears wideout Alshon Jeffery is not on the injury report this week after several weeks of dealing with a hamstring problem. Jeffery has caught a touchdown pass in three of his past four games entering Thursday's game at Detroit.

Calvin Johnson limited in Tuesday's practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:03 pm ET) Lions receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle) was limited in Tuesday's practice ahead of Thursday's game against the Bears.

Saints WR Nick Toon looking to build off best game
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:52 pm ET) Saints third-year wideout Nick Toon set career highs Monday night with three catches for 42 yards in the loss to the Ravens. The five targets he received also were a career best.

Toon is seeing increased snaps due to injuries to Brandin Cooks and Robert Meachem.

"Obviously, I prepare every week like I'm playing," he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "I got an opportunity to go out there and get some good work in. Hopefully, I can continue to be out there contributing and I just have to build off of what we did last night."

New Orleans visits the Steelers on Sunday.


DeMarco Murray says he's getting stronger as season progresses
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:21 pm ET) NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray told the Dallas Morning News he's excited about playing on a short week. The Cowboys won Sunday night at the Giants and host the Eagles on Thursday.

"As the year goes on, you feel better," he said. "I feel like I've gotten stronger throughout the year, so I have to continue to work hard during the week and it'll show up on Sundays."

Murray has run for 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. His 268 carries are by far the most in the league. Philly's LeSean McCoy is next with 217 carries.


 
 
 
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