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Starting Points for Week 6

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With six teams not playing this weekend and injuries continuing to pile up, your talent pool is thinner than usual. Yours truly will help you try to find some "Bye Week Broskis" to keep your starting lineups strong.

Quarterbacks

Get 'em active ...

Eli Manning (vs. Buffalo) -- Yes, the interceptions were back in an ugly Week 5 loss to the Seahawks, but Eli also threw for a career high 420 yards and three touchdowns in the game. He has posted a big game in three straight weeks and has thrown 11 touchdowns with only four interceptions in his last four games. Victor Cruz has really breathed some life into this passing attack and with Cruz playing a prominent role in the offense over the last three weeks, Eli is averaging 332 yards and three scores per game through the air. See, there is still a Manning putting up huge numbers in 2011! The Bills enter this game having surrendered 10 passing scores on the year, tied for third most, and they have been especially generous of late. Over the last four games, no quarterback (including Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell) has produced fewer than 20 Fantasy points against the Bills and they have given up an average of 331 yards passing, 2.75 total touchdowns and 26 Fantasy points per game. They do generate turnovers and have 11 interceptions during that span, but those negative points have not slowed down any of the other quarterbacks and Eli showed just last week that it won't stop him from a big game either. Eli is a great start for your teams in week 6. (Projection Snapshot: 319 yards passing and two TDs with two INTs)

Quarterback Bye Week Broski: Colt McCoy (at Oakland)

For more from Nathan check out his website at thefantasyconsultant.com

Ride the pine ...

Curtis Painter (at Cincinnati) -- I was mocked on Fantasy Football Today for recommending Painter as a Bye Week Broski in Week 5 and he delivered a very solid game of 277 yards and two scores for those who took the plunge. I am well aware that Paintermania is running wild and that he has produced over 275 yards and two scores (21 plus points in both weeks) with no interceptions in his two starts, but the Bengals are one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. The Bengals are allowing just 12.4 points per game to opposing quarterbacks -- fourth fewest in the league -- and they have been especially dominant of late. Over the last three weeks, the Bengals have allowed only one passing touchdown and no quarterback has gotten to 225 yards or 12 Fantasy points against them. In fact, no quarterback has produced 20 points against them on the season and no quarterback has even hit 225 yards in all five games. They are the third-ranked pass defense in the NFL at 205.8 yards per game and I think the Bengals are going to paint an ugly picture for the Colts offense in Week 6, so keep Painter and his flowing locks on your bench. (Projection Snapshot: 200 yards passing and one TD with two INTs)

Running Backs

Get 'em active ...

Cedric Benson (vs. Indianapolis) -- Benson will not be suspended this week, which means he must be in your starting lineups against the Colts. I expect the Colts offense to struggle against an excellent Cincinnati defense in Week 6, which means we will see a heavy dose of Benson against a porous Colts run defense. Indianapolis is giving up 145.2 yards per game (second), 1.2 touchdowns per game (third) and 20 fantasy points per game (eighth). Three of the five starters against them have run for over 100 yards and four of the five have topped 100 total yards. The Colts have been especially bad in their two road games, giving up 318 yards and three touchdowns rushing while opposing runners totaled 53 Fantasy points. Benson is second in the league with 101 carries but as last week showed, carries do not always equal production. Benson is coming off of a disappointing game with just 53 yards on 24 carries, but he won't only be busy in Week 6, he will also be very productive. Look for 100-plus yards and his first red zone touchdown of the season, making Benson is a quality No. 1 running back for your teams this week. (Projection Snapshot: 113 yards rushing, one TD; 13 yards receiving)

Shonn Greene (vs. Miami) -- Rex Ryan said the Jets were going to get back to running the football in Week 5 against the Patriots and that sure seemed to be the case as Shonn Greene had his best game of 2011. He ran it a season high 21 times and produced, you guessed it, a season high 83 yards and a touchdown. Clearly having center Nick Mangold back was a huge piece of the puzzle for Greene and he should continue to have success in Week 6 against the Dolphins. The Fins are giving up an average of 148 total yards per game to opposing running backs, including 104 yards rushing, and are giving up 17 points per game to the position. I expect Miami to struggle offensively with Matt Moore under center, which means that the Jets should be able to wear down the Dolphins defense with a power ground attack as the game progresses. Greene is that fourth quarter hammer (LaDainian only had two carries last week) and should see another 20-plus carries and approach 100 total yards with a touchdown. (Projection Snapshot: 88 yards rushing, one TD; 12 yards receiving)

Running Back Bye Week Broski: James Starks/Ryan Grant (vs. St. Louis), Ryan Torain (vs. PHI), Earnest Graham (vs. NO if Blount is out)

Ride the pine ...

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. Dallas) -- I loved Green-Ellis last week against what has turned out to be a surprisingly soft Jets run defense and he had his best game of the year by far with a career high 136 yards rushing and two scores. One thing Bill Belichick is a master at is developing a game plan that limits the effectiveness of an opponent’s strengths while exploiting their weaknesses. That's why the Pats called a season high 34 rushing plays in Week 5 and why they will probably air it out a ton in Week 6. The Cowboys are actually tops in the NFL against the run, giving up just 61.8 yards and .25 touchdowns per game. No running back has reached 50 yards against the Boys and they are only allowing 12 points per game to the position, third fewest in the league. A closer examination however reveals that half of those 12 points per game come from receiving totals, so they are in essence allowing a total of 6 points per week to running backs on rushing totals alone. You can, however, throw on the Cowboys, which is where I expect to see Tom Brady and company attack this defense. Only Rex Grossman failed to put up 19-plus points against the Dallas pass defense, so look for the Pats to rely much more on the aerial assault this week than they did in Week 5. Yes, Green-Ellis could easily punch in a short touchdown, but even with that, I'd put his upside at about 10 points this week. I'd rather play a higher upside option and keep the red-hot Law Firm reserved in Week 6. (Projection Snapshot: 43 yards rushing)

Mark Ingram (at Tampa Bay) -- Ingram may be the most frustrating running back (who is healthy) in all of Fantasy Football right now. He plays for an awesome team and is their goal line back, yet he has only two scores on the year and has yet to reach 60 total yards in a game. Ingram has seen as many as 17 carries and as few as nine and has only averaged over four yards per carry in one game so far. Last week, he had a perfect matchup with Carolina and was only able to pick up 32 yards and a score on nine runs. This week he faces another defense that just gave up over 200 yards and two touchdowns on the ground the week before, so he should be a must start, right? I am not so sure after taking a closer look at the Bucs defensive performances. Tampa Bay is definitely much better at home and the numbers certainly bear that out so far. In 2011, the Bucs are giving up an average of 17.4 points per game to opposing running backs, which is fairly generous. However, they are giving up an average of 31.5 points per game on the road and only 8.7 per game at home. In their last two home games, they held the Falcons (with Michael The Burner Turner) and Colts running backs to just 10 points combined. When you consider that Ingram is accounting for only 27.4 percent of the New Orleans running back Fantasy production, it is hard to get too excited about him this week. Much like I feel about BenJarvus Green-Ellis, sure he could score and get your 10-11 points, or he could fail to score and leave with 4 or 5 like he has already done three times in 2011. To put it clearly in perspective, Ingram has just one more Fantasy point on the year than his less heralded backfield mate, Pierre Thomas. The Bucaneers were just embarrassed and will play tough at home in a big divisional game, so look for Ingram to post very modest totals. (Projection Snapshot: 43 yards rushing)

Wide Receivers

Get 'em active ...

Steve Johnson (at N.Y. Giants) -- Touchdown Steve has gone without in back-to-back games and I get the sense that many Fantasy owners are panicking with him. I would not do that, especially when you consider that no teams are harder on opposing No. 1 Fantasy receivers than the Eagles and Bengals, his last two opponents. No opposing No. 1 receiver had reached 70 yards against either team and only Hakeem Nicks (who was held to 23 yards against Philly) scored against them. In other words, he struggled in some very tough matchups. Over the first three weeks of the year, Johnson was averaging seven catches for 85 yards and a score per game and I look for him to return to those numbers against the Giants in Week 6. The Giants are allowing 25.6 points per game to opposing receivers, ninth most, and I expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to get the ball back into the hands of his top receiver this week. Look for a relatively high scoring affair and feel very comfortable keeping Steve Johnson in your lineups. (Projection Snapshot: 75 yards receiving, five catches and one TD)

A.J. Green (vs. Indianapolis) -- Give the man eight or more targets in a game and A.J. Green will produce double-digit Fantasy points every single time. Green enters Week 6 with an 80 percent consistency rate (tied for third among wide receivers) and when he gets the chances to make plays, the man makes plays. Green has seen eight or more targets in three games and in those contests he has picked up 332 yards receiving and two scores. He is posting amazing efficiency numbers for a rookie wide receiver, as he is catching nearly 60 percent of his targets and averaging 9.8 yards per target. Andy Dalton is going to Green more and more as the year progresses and I do not expect that trend to stop against the Colts in Week 6. The Colts have been abused by true. No. 1 receivers. In Week 1 Andre Johnson caught seven passes for 95 yards and a score. In Week 3, Mike Wallace erupted for 144 yards and a score on five catches and just last week Dwayne Bowe caught 7 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Look for Green to stay hot and feast on a Colts team that can not handle big, fast stud receivers. (Projection Snapshot; 88 yards receiving, one TD)

Wide Receiver Bye Week Broski: Mario Manningham/Victor Cruz (vs. Buffalo)

Ride the pine ...

Brandon Marshall (at N.Y. Jets) -- Marshall leads the NFL with seven drops through his four games and will have to deal with Revis Island and a new quarterback in Week 6. Matt Moore has not exactly been a productive quarterback in his NFL tenure, although he did have a nice little stretch at the end of 2009. Since then however, Moore has thrown only five touchdowns with 11 interceptions while averaging less than 200 yards per game and right around six yards per attempt. That is not a recipe for success when you have to face the Jets' excellent pass defense that has allowed only one passing touchdown in its last four games and has held every quarterback not named Tom Brady or Tony Romo to less than 165 yards passing. When they have not played Brady or Romo, the Jets have held opposing receivers to just 25 points total in those three games. Since we all know Matt Moore is no Romo, I think it is best to stay away from all Dolphins other than running back Daniel Thomas in Week 6, and that includes Marshall. If you need any more reasons as to why to sit Marshall, keep in mind that he was held to just two catches for 16 yards in his only game against Revis as a member of the Fins. Yes, he did score in that game, but seven points (or one if he does not score) is not enough to pay the Fantasy bills in the year of passing. (Projection Snapshot: 35 yards receiving)

Tight Ends

Get 'em active ...

Dustin Keller (vs. Miami) -- Keller is in a slump with just three catches for 19 yards in his last two games, but look for him to turn it around against the Dolphins in Week 6. After their first four games, the Fins are allowing a 75 percent consistency rate to opposing starting tight ends and are giving up 12.5 points per game to the position, second most in the league. Keller himself owns Miami, with 17 catches for 202 yards and three scores in his last three meetings with them. He has a 67 percent big game rate during that span and if the Jets look back to their 2-0 start, they will see that Keller was a huge factor with 11 catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Getting Keller involved off of play action should be a point of emphasis for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer this week. Given Keller's excellent history of success against Miami and the fact that it is a very favorable matchup, owners should look to get him back into lineups for Week 6. (Projection Snapshot: 64 yards receiving, one TD)

Tight End Bye Week Broski: Heath Miller (vs. Jacksonville)

Good luck this week!

Glossary
Target Conversion Rate or Catch Rate (TCR): The percentage of a player's targets (passes thrown to them) that are converted into receptions. Over 60 percent is excellent, 66 percent is elite and under 52.5 percent is worrisome.
Yards per Target (YPT): A player's receiving yards divided by his targets. In other words, the numbers of yards a team gains on average every time they attempt a pass to a certain player. Over 10 is exceptional, over 8 is solid and 6 or lower is horrendous.
Red Zone Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 20 yard line
Red Zone TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Red Zone opportunities that result in a TD
Goal Line Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 5 yard line
Goal Line TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Goal Line opportunities that result in a TD
Consistency Rate: The percentage of quality starts a player gives you out of 16 games. For QBs that is a game with 300+ yards passing OR multiple TDs. For RBs/WRs: A game with 100+ yards rush/rec or a game with a TD. For TEs: A game with 60+ yards receiving or a TD. For a Kicker: A game with multiple FGs.
Big Game Rate: The percentage of dominant starts a player gives you out of 16 games (games missed with injury count as a bad game since they do not help your Fantasy teams). For a QB that is a game with 300+ yards and 2+ TDs or 200+ yards and 3+ TDs. For a RB/WR that is a game with 100+ combined rush/rec yards and a TD or a game with multiple TDs. For a TE that is a game of 60+ yards and a TD, 100+ yards or a game with multiple TDs.

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

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Player News
Cowboys' Garrett: DL Nick Hayden an 'important signing'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made it a point of emphasis to mention to reporters at the NFL Meetings that re-signing defensive lineman Nick Hayden was important, reports the Dallas Morning News.

“Well, we’re always trying to get better and we have to get better,’’ Garrett said. “We have to bring some impact players into our defense. But Nick has been such a good player for us as a leader of that defensive line and he’s a really productive player. There’s a lot of the dirty work but he’s one of those guys who makes a lot of hits on the ball, is around the football a lot and simply makes a lot of plays.

"That was an important signing for us.’’

Hayden has started all 16 games with the Cowboys for two consecutive seasons. Over his seven-year career, he has 135 total tackles, two sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.


Giants' Coughlin: WR Victor Cruz looks 'really good'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is encouraged that wide receiver Victor Cruz can return to form, according to the NY Daily News. Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon that forced him to miss 10 games last season.

“I think he will be back to the player that he was and hopefully better. Victor looks really good, he’s starting to run, I was in the field house watching him rehab, he’s coming along well.” … As for when Cruz will be back at practice, full-time, Coughlin added, “I don’t know. I shouldn’t say this, because medically I really do not have a definite answer, but by training camp, hopefully. He will work his way through.”

Through his five years in the NFL, Cruz has 264 receptions for 3,963 yards and 24 touchdowns.


Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower to miss at least six months
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower is going to miss between six and seven months, according to the Boston Globe.

Hightower had surgery this February to repair a torn right labrum. The team is concerned that he might not be able to be ready for the start of the reguar season. He played through the injury for a good portion of the 2014 season prior to surgery.

The 25-year-old started all 12 games he played, collecting 89 total tackles, six sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.


Packers to use pistol formation more often this season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) After implementing the pistol formation into the offense to help take stress off of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' leg in 2014, the Packers are considering to use it more often this season, according to the Journal Sentinel.

"I like the pistol," head coach Mike McCarthy said during a break at the NFL owners meetings this week. "I think there's a lot of value regardless of the injury to Aaron. I know he likes it. There's a place for it year-round in your offense."

Although McCarthy has no intention of turning Rodgers into an option quarterback, the system provides unpredictability for opposing offenses.

"I would say this is about the third year it's been part of our pace and installation," McCarthy said. "Really, when we moved to it exclusively there at the end of the year it really wasn't a change for us.

"I liked it from a self-scout standpoint. It gives you another self-scout variable when you're in the gun, but you also have the tailback behind you. (There are a) lot of benefits to it."


Report: Vikings sign CB Terence Newman
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) The Vikings have signed cornerback Terence Newman to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with $750,000 in guarantees on Thursday, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. 

Newman spent the last three seasons with the Bengals after playing nine years for the Cowboys. The 36-year-old has had at least one interception in each year of his 13-year career. The cornerback has recorded 741 total tackles, two sacks, 147 passes defensed, 37 interceptions, and eight forced fumbles. 


Kubiak wants Peyton Manning comfortable with playbook
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak wants to make sure that all of his players are comfortable with the new offensive playbook, including quarterback Peyton Manning, reports ESPN.

“I think you prepare to help him call that game throughout the course of the week," Kubiak said. “A lot of people put emphasis on him calling plays at the line, but you’ve also prepared to do that throughout the course of the week, so you, as a coach, 'Here’s what I think is best in that situation.' In a lot of ways you’re still working together. You’re just going about it a different way."

“You never want to put a player in a position where he’s doing something he’s uncomfortable with," Kubiak said. “One of things about having a veteran, especially like Peyton, he’s going to let you know, 'This is what I do best and this is what I feel comfortable with.' That’s what you need to go do as a coach. You might tweak things here or there that you think may help, but you’re never going to take him out of his comfort zone and what he feels like he does best.”

Manning, 39, recently took a pay cut of $4 million to help clear salary cap space for the team.


LB Brandon Magee still committed to playing in NFL
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) After being released by the Buccaneers, linebacker Brandon Magee is going to participate in spring training with the Boston Red Sox. That being said, he is still committed to playing in the NFL, according to Pro Football Talk. 

Magee's agent, Blake Baratz, emailed Pro Football Talk regarding his client's desire to resume his NFL career.

“There have been rumors circulating that Brandon Magee, who was recently released by Tampa Bay, has given up football with the intention of playing professional baseball. This could not be further from the truth,” Baratz wrote. “While he does attend spring training for a few weeks up until the beginning of the NFL off-season program, he is 100% fully committed to playing in the NFL.”

Magee, 24, has seen action in 17 games the last two seasons, nine of which were in 2014 with the Buccaneers. He has registered 10 total tackles in his career.


Bill O'Brien: 'Sky's the limit' for WR DeAndre Hopkins
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) With Andre Johnson now in Indy, DeAndre Hopkins enters the 2015 season as the Texans' undisputed No. 1 receiver.

“He had a really good year last year and the sky’s the limit with Hop (Hopkins)," coach Bill O'Brien told NFL Network. "He’s an excellent young player who works extremely hard and we’re looking forward to putting together our whole receiving corps and he should be the leader of that.”

Hopkins led Houston with 1,210 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns last year. He has 128 catches for 2,012 yards and eight scores in his two NFL seasons.


Giants RB Shane Vereen will be more than third-down back
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Giants running back Shane Vereen is being viewed as much more than just a third-down running back, according to nj.com.

The team is excited about his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, but he'll be relied on to do more than that.

"I see him in that regard as a pass receiver coming out of the backfield, a pass protector, a guy who runs the ball in the three-wide offense in the run game, if you will, which is very prevalent today in our sport," coach Tom Coughlin said at the NFL Annual Meetings this week. "So I see him in that regard."

Last season the Giants did not have one receiving touchdown by a running back. Vereen, formerly of the Patriots, had three receiving touchdowns out of the backfield last year.

"Well, you know what [Vereen] can do. Quite frankly, it's something from an attack standpoint we've had some success with, but not to the extent that he has," Coughlin said. "When you look at Vereen, a lot of the [Tom] Brady hookup with Vereen was the ball was almost automatically going to him. First down, if it was zone coverage, they were dropping the ball down and he would scoot. So we know that. Will we open it up to more parts of it?"

The 26-year-old has 907 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground, adding 107 receptions for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns through the air in four years. 


Chiefs confident they'll reach deal with Justin Houston
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt told the Kansas City Star he's confident the team will sign standout outside linebacker Justin Houston to a long-term deal. The Chiefs put a $13.1 million nonexclusive franchise tag on Houston, which he has yet to sign.

“He knows, and his agent knows, how much we want him back,” Hunt said. “We just all have to be patient, and eventually, we’re going to get him signed to a long-term deal.”

Houston has 48.5 sacks in his four-year career. 

“I’ve been very consistent in saying that we not only value Justin as a football player, that we not only value Justin as a person and leader, and we want him to be a Chief for life,” Hunt said.


 
 
 
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