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Five up, five down for Week 6

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Disclaimer ... Before you start reading, please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you make a decision on players you are on the fence about.

The high-flying offense of the Saints will not be producing for you this week. You will also be without Cam Newton, Steve Smith and the Panthers. Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler of the Bears are also out of your lineups. While that is tough, the Week 6 byes also mean that you will not be able to feast on the suspect defenses of the Saints, Panthers and Jaguars. To help you sort through the mess and stay on the winning track, here are five to start and five to sit for Week 6.

Get 'em active ...

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans (vs. GB)
Current own/start %: 98/49
I'd start him over: Tony Romo (at BAL), Joe Flacco (vs. DAL), Eli Manning (at SF)
Something is wrong in Green Bay right now and that something is the pass defense. It was bad in 2011 and it is worse this year, as the Packers can not stop anyone who can throw the ball (just ask Andrew Luck, who carved them up on a 14-play game winning drive in Week 5). Luck finished that game with 32 Fantasy points and he is the second straight quarterback (Drew Brees was the other) to top 30 points against Green Bay. In the last two weeks, the Packers have allowed 808 yards and five touchdowns passing and while Schaub won't blow up like that, he should have a solid 20-point day. Four quarterbacks have hit at least 18 points against the Packers and three have produced at least 23, with the lone exception being Jay Cutler in an ugly Thursday night debacle. The Packers have allowed multiple passing scores in three straight games and in four out of five to start the season. With Green Bay having to be very concerned about the league's best running back in Arian Foster, look for Matt Schaub to be able to carve up the Packers on play action. I think both Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels will have big days. If you are without Cam Newton, Jay Cutler or Drew Brees, Schaub is a great option for you this week.

Kevin Kolb, QB, Cardinals (vs. BUF)
Current own/start %: 44/18
I'd start him over: Tony Romo (at BAL), Christian Ponder (at WAS), Ryan Fitzpatrick (at ARI)
I am sure no one enjoyed the 10 days to recover after a Thursday night beating at the hands of the Rams more than Kevin Kolb. The reason he enjoyed it so much was that he knew in Week 6 he would get to lick his wounds against the hapless Bills. Buffalo is giving up a league-high 27.4 points per game to opposing quarterbacks and it should come as no surprise that they have also allowed a league high 12 passing scores. Four of the five quarterbacks who have faced the Bills this year have finished in the Top 12 at the position and each of them has produced at least 22 points. Three quarterbacks have thrown for three touchdowns against the Bills this year and in the last two weeks alone, Tom Brady and Alex Smith have thrown for 650 yards and six touchdowns. The Bills have also allowed a quarterback to run for a score (Brady and Colin Kaepernick) in those last two games. Yep, over the last two weeks, the Bills have given up 79 points to quarterbacks, which is more than 11 teams have allowed to quarterbacks all season! With Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells both out, the Cardinals will need to throw it, throw it and then throw it some more this week. Before Week 5, Kolb had posted back-to-back games of 21 and 26 points respectively and he will get back over 20 points this week against the Bills as a tremendous "Bye Week Broski."

Other QBs with favorable matchups: Philip Rivers (vs. DEN), Andrew Luck (at NYJ), Michael Vick (vs. DET), Matthew Stafford (at PHI), Ben Roethlisberger (at TEN), Peyton Manning (at SD) Bye Week Broski: Brandon Weeden (vs. CIN)

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Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers (vs. TEN)
Current own/start %: 97/64
I'd start him over: Ahmad Bradshaw (at SF), Alfred Morris (vs. MIN), Chris Johnson (vs. PIT)
I have vowed to stay away from Thursday night games, but once again, I just can't help myself. I feel very good about it this week though, because we know which team will dominate the point of attack. The Titans are a bad football team and the Steelers will be able to get the push up front to lead Rashard Mendenhall to a very solid Fantasy day. You have to be impressed with his Week 5 debut against the Eagles, as Mendenhall ran 14 times for 81 yards and a touchdown (the score was on a backwards pass to be fair) and added two catches for 20 more yards. He had 101 total yards with the score and was only the second running back all season to produce double-digit Fantasy points against the Eagles. As Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson have shown us, the ACL injury is not what it once was, so I expect Mendenhall to keep rolling in Week 6 against the Titans. Tennessee is giving up 24.2 points per game to running backs this year -- third most in the NFL -- and no opposing primary ball carrier has produced fewer than 103 total yards or nine Fantasy points. Four of the five opposing starters have produced 14 points or better and I think Mendenhall will find the end zone against a team that has given up 1.2 running back scores per week.

Vick Ballard, RB, Colts (at NYJ)
Current own/start %: 3/0
I'd start him over: Steven Jackson (at MIA), Alex Green (at HOU), Chris Johnson (vs. PIT)
One man's injury is another man's opportunity and with Donald Brown going down in Indianapolis, Ballard will get the chance to step up. He will also get the chance to step into many lineups now that owners have to deal with bye weeks and injuries to expected Week 6 starters like Brown and Cedric Benson. Brown himself had put up at least nine Fantasy points in three of the first four games of the year for the Colts, so they have been able to generate solid production from the running back spot thus far. Ballard has not done anything in his rookie season, but that should change against the bad run defense of the New York Jets. Through five games, the Jets have been extremely generous to opposing runners and no primary runner has been held under nine points against them all season long. For the year, they have allowed a league-high seven rushing touchdowns to running backs and are giving up 24.6 points per game to the position, fourth most. The Jets are surrendering 172 yards rushing each week, which is second most in the NFL. Already, the Jets have allowed five runners to top 11 points against them and Ballard could easily be the sixth. With some big name runners either on a bye or having a brutal matchup, this is the week to dial up Ballard as a "Bye Week Broski" No. 2 running back or flex option against a Jets team that has allowed at least 27 points to running backs in three straight games.

Other RBs with favorable matchups: DeMarco Murray (at BAL), Trent Richardson (vs. CIN), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at CLE), Doug Martin (vs. KC), Bye Week Broskis: Shonn Greene/Bilal Powell if Tim Tebow starts (vs. IND), LeGarrette Blount (vs. KC), Daniel Thomas (vs. STL)

Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals (vs. BUF)
Current own/start %: 85/41
I'd start him over: Anquan Boldin (vs. DAL), Brandon Lloyd (at SEA), Denarius Moore (at ATL)
Andre Roberts was on my sit list for Week 5, but he is back on the start list for Week 6 against the Bills. Roberts has scored in six of his last nine games dating back to 2011 and while he did struggle in Week 5, I loved that he saw 10 targets. Roberts is the clear No. 2 receiver in Arizona and since you know I love Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald this week, I also think Andre should get back into the end zone and into your lineups. The Bills have allowed a league-high 10 wide receiver touchdowns this year and six of those have gone to non-primary receivers, also most in the NFL. They are giving up 29.6 points per game to the position this year and they have allowed multiple receiver scores and 31 or more receiver points in three different games. Roberts has seen his targets increase in each of the last three weeks and it will happen again this week due to the fact that Arizona will have to throw the ball on nearly every play. Roberts has a tasty matchup against the Bills and he can help get you through the Marques Colston, Steve Smith and Brandon Marshall bye week blues.

Other WRs and TEs with favorable matchups: Percy Harvin (at WAS), Andre Johnson (vs. GB), Jeremy Maclin/DeSean Jackson (vs. DET), Vincent Jackson (vs. KC), James Jones (at HOU), Sidney Rice (vs. NE), Steve Johnson (at ARI), Mike Wallace/Antonio Brown (at TEN), Heath Miller (at TEN), Owen Daniels (vs. GB), Fred Davis (vs. MIN), Kyle Rudolph (at WAS) Bye Week Broskis: Josh Gordon (vs. CIN), Mike Williams (vs. KC), Dennis Pitta (vs. DAL)

Ride the pine ...

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys (at BAL)
Current own/start %: 97/20
I'd rather start: Ben Roethlisberger (at TEN), Kevin Kolb (vs. ARI), Christian Ponder (at WAS)
The Ravens have not allowed a quarterback to throw for multiple passing touchdowns against them in 23 straight regular season games. That is the daunting trend that Tony Romo has to try and deal with coming off of the bye week, which followed a disastrous five-interception loss to the Bears in Week 4. Romo has not produced 20 Fantasy points in a game since Week 1 when he had 29 against the Giants. Since then, Romo has a grand total of 27 Fantasy points and has been a huge bust. The Ravens are giving up just 11 Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, due in large part to the fact that they have allowed a league-low two passing touchdowns all year long. Only Michael Vick has topped 20 points against the Ravens in 2012 and he needed nine points with his legs to get there. Tom Brady, who is on a different level than Romo, managed just 19 points against this Ravens team and that is why I don't see any reason to start Tony in Week 6. I do believe in him long term and would absolutely buy low after the stinker I expect him to have this Sunday, but I am not starting him in any league this week.

Other QBs with tough matchups: Tom Brady (at SEA, but I would not sit him), Robert Griffin III (vs. MIN), Andy Dalton (at CLE), Ryan Tannehill (vs. STL), Carson Palmer (at ATL), Matt Hasselbeck/Jake Locker (vs. PIT)

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Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins (vs. MIN)
Current own/start %: 100/82
I'd rather start: DeMarco Murray (at BAL), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at CLE), Donald Brown (at NYJ)
Alfred Morris has been a Top 12 Fantasy running back in four of the first five weeks of the NFL season, which is mighty impressive. Equally impressive is the fact that no running back has finished in the Top 12 or produced double-digit Fantasy points against the unbelievably stout run defense of the Vikings. Minnesota enters Week 6 with the league's second toughest defense on running backs. They are giving up 7.8 Fantasy points per game to the position (second), 57.4 yards rushing per game (fourth) on 3.0 yards per carry (third) and they are one of only two teams that have yet to allow a single running back touchdown. Even scarier for Alfred Morris is that of the 7.8 points per game that the Vikings are allowing this year, more than half of it is coming from receiving totals, as backs are averaging 45 receiving yards per game. Morris doesn't even have 45 yards receiving on the season and has just two catches for 16 yards in five games total. So, all of his production will have to come on the ground against the Purple People Eaters and that is a scary prospect. Robert Griffin III could be out for this game as he recovers from a concussion and if that is the case, it will only mean more defensive pressure on Morris. He has been and is a flat out stud, but this is a week to temper your expectations for Alf and look for other options.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants (at SF)
Current own/start %: 100/80
I'd rather start: Stevan Ridley (at SEA), Rashard Mendenhall (at TEN), Fred Jackson (at ARI)
Fresh off of a career-best 200 yards rushing against the Browns in Week 5, Bradshaw will get brought back to earth against the brick wall known as the 49ers run defense. This year, the 49ers have not allowed a single runner (or group of runners for that matter) to reach 90 yards rushing or score a single touchdown against them. In fact, only one group of running backs has even topped 70 yards rushing against the 49ers, who are allowing a league-low 6.2 Fantasy points per week. Despite facing the talented duo of the Bills last week, the fact still remains that only one runner has even topped six points against them. That runner was Adrian Peterson, who needed 27 touches to get to 10 Fantasy points in Week 3. Keep in mind that only one running back has produced 100 yards rushing against the 49ers in their last 44 games and they have allowed only two running back rushing scores in their last 22 games. With only two runners above 80 yards (AP and Marshawn Lynch) in the last 22 games as well, it will take a big receiving effort from Bradshaw to produce double-digit points in Week 6. In the 2011 NFC Championship Game, Bradshaw did have 12 points against the 49ers on 26 touches and had a season-high 52 receiving yards. Keep in mind that five receiving Fantasy points for Bradshaw is an aberration and it has happened only five times in 74 career games. If you are out of options, you can hope for the best with Bradshaw, but I'd rather take my big Week 5 and run before dialing AB back up in Week 7 against Washington.

Steven Jackson, RB, STL (at MIA)
Current own/start %: 99/52
I'd rather start: Mikel Leshoure (at PHI), Chris Johnson (vs. PIT), Doug Martin (vs. KC)
After holding BenJarvus Green-Ellis to just 14 yards on nine carries in Week 5, the Dolphins remain the league's top run defense, giving up just 61.4 yards per game on the ground. They are ceding just 2.8 yards per carry -- also best in the NFL -- and no running back has rushed for a touchdown or produced double-digit Fantasy points against them since Arian Foster did it in Week 1. When you also consider that no running back has run for 80 yards or averaged more than 3.0 yards per carry (with a minimum of six carries) against this defense, it seems like we are in store for another week of disappointment from Mr. Jackson. After all, Jackson himself has not scored a single touchdown, produced double-digit Fantasy points or run for 80 yards in a single game this year either. I am sorry Miss Jackson, I am for real when I say Steven has to be sitting on the bench in Week 6 against the Fins.

Other RBs with tough matchups: Chris Johnson (vs. PIT), C.J. Spiller (at ARI), Alex Green (at HOU)

Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens (vs. DAL)
Current own/start %: 99/55
I'd rather start: Malcom Floyd (vs. DEN), Sidney Rice (vs. NE), Michael Crabtree (vs. NYG)
Over the last two weeks, Anquan Boldin has been the leading receiver for the Ravens, catching 13 of his team-high 22 targets for 213 yards. Boldin has produced at least eight Fantasy points in three of his four games this year -- including the last two -- but also has two stinkers with a combined four points. This week he takes on a Cowboys team that has allowed just two receivers all year long -- Brandon Marshall and Devin Hester -- in the Week 4 blowout, to even top six points against them. In fact, Marshall is the only receiver all year who has even eclipsed the 60-yard mark against this lockdown defense that has had two weeks to prepare for the Ravens. Boldin has been a hot topic given his excellent play of late, but both he and Torrey Smith (who will need a bomb or a score to succeed) will have a long day at the office against the Cowboys, who are giving up 14.5 points (second fewest) and 0.5 touchdowns (fifth fewest) per game.

Some WRs and TEs with tough matchups: Brian Hartline (vs. STL), Domenik Hixon/Hakeem Nicks (at SF), Pierre Garcon (vs. MIN), Nate Washington (vs. PIT), Nate Burleson (at PHI), Davone Bess (vs. STL), Darrius Heyward-Bey (at OAK), Jermaine Gresham (at CLE)

Good luck this week!

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Seahawks DST can't be stopped
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:04 am ET) The Seahawks DST had another dominant performance Week 16 at Arizona, continuing a nine-week run that has made it once again arguably the top unit in Fantasy. During that stretch, it has averaged 16.2 Fantasy points, allowing 11.9 points on 231.3 yards.

It allowed only six points on 216 yards in Week 16, recording four sacks and one interception. Of the Seahawks' 33 sacks this season, 20 have come in their last five games.

Clearly, they had a favorable matchup in this one, but they also shut down the Eagles in Week 14. You don't have any reason to shy away from the Seahawks DST against St. Louis in Week 17.


Kenbrell Thompkins comes out of nowhere
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:58 am ET) After making only modest contributions since coming over from the Patriots in Week 6, Raiders wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins suddenly emerged as quarterback Derek Carr's favorite target Week 16 against Buffalo, catching five passes for 90 yards. He hadn't caught even one pass since Week 13, and his previous high in yardage was 47.

Of course, you should know how this goes by now. Fellow wide receivers James Jones and Andre Holmes have both had their stretches of Fantasy relevance this season, as has tight end Mychal Rivera. The Raiders have a multitude of viable receiving targets, but their roles aren't so clear, which makes the task of picking the most impactful from week to week next to impossible.

In other words, you'd need to play in an especially deep league to take a flier on Thompkins for the season's final week.


Latavius Murray trustworthy up to a point
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:51 am ET) If his 23 carries Week 14 against San Francisco didn't convince you, Latavius Murray's 23 carries Week 16 against Buffalo should make the message loud and clear: He is the Raiders' top running back, and they're putting more faith in him than they ever did Darren McFadden.

Granted, it hasn't translated to much production yet, but the 49ers and Bills are two of the toughest defenses against the run. Unfortunately, Denver, the Raiders' Week 17 opponent, is ranked even higher at both.

Can you trust Murray to get his carries? He's gotten them two of the last three weeks, so most likely, yes. And with 20-plus chances, there's always the chance he breaks a long one. But the matchup will make it difficult.

You'd like to start him given his ever-increasing role, but you shouldn't force him into your lineup if you have two (or maybe three) respectable running backs already.


One way or another, Fred Jackson gets his
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:44 am ET) Trailing early Week 16 at Oakland with their playoff hopes on the line, the Bills didn't stick with the running game for long, attempting only three runs in the second half. But in a way, that worked to running back Fred Jackson's advantage. He's such a good pass-catcher out of the backfield that he still topped 100 total yards, doing so for the first time since returning from a groin injury in Week 12.

Even with the return of C.J. Spiller from a long-term shoulder injury, Jackson still led the Bills in carries, but with only six for 10 yards. He also led the team in catches with nine for 93 yards. He had 10 catches just two weeks ago, so clearly, he's a PPR stud.

Is he worth starting in standard leagues as well? Well, he's also gotten 20 carries twice in five games since returning. He hasn't been as effective on the ground as through the air, but yards are yards, however he gets them.

Their matchup Week 17 at New England will probably force the Bills to go pass-heavy again, so unless you're stacked at running back, you can find a spot for Jackson in your lineup.


Desperation fuels Kyle Orton's performance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:35 am ET) Bills quarterback Kyle Orton didn't have the most efficient day throwing the ball Week 16 at Oakland, but from a Fantasy perspective, it was a productive one. He threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns but also had two interceptions.

What's crazy, though, is that 196 of those yards came in the second half. The Bills were trailing a winnable game with their playoff hopes on the line, and their desperation showed. Unfortunately, that desperation also contributed to the second of Orton's interceptions.

The Bills have been eliminated, so no matter how much they're trailing Week 17 at New England, they probably won't be quite as desperate. You can expect more typical numbers from Orton -- maybe about 250 yards with one or two scores -- even if the matchup appears to be a favorable one, making him a player better left for two-quarterback leagues.


Kenny Britt clearly better with Shaun Hill
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:27 am ET) Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt caught a season-high nine passes on a season-high 11 targets Week 16 against the Giants, but his 103 receiving yards actually weren't a season high.

That's because he had 128, along with a touchdown, Week 11 against the Broncos.

That was Shaun Hill's first game back under center. Week 16, obviously, was his latest one. In the six games since Hill reclaimed the role, Britt has averaged 3.8 catches for 66.3 yards. In the nine games before then, he averaged 2.3 catches for 34.7 yards.

Britt has been especially good lately, averaging 73.3 yards in his last three games. Hill has also been fond of Stedman Bailey, but he doesn't seem to have a clear preference for one or the other.

Of course, the Rams passing attack isn't prolific enough to sustain both, so if you're going to target Britt or Bailey off the waiver wire, make sure it's in a deeper league. You wouldn't want to roll the dice on either in the season's final week if you can help it.


Andre Williams showing more ability
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:19 am ET) Carrying the load for the third straight game with Rashad Jennings sidelined by an ankle injury Week 16 at St. Louis, Giants rookie running back Andre Williams delivered his second 100-yard effort during that stretch, picking up 110 yards on 26 carries. Of course, just like in Week 14, it wasn't the steadiest performance. He had a 50-yard run in that one en route to a career-best 131 yards. He had a 45-yard run en route to his 110 yards in this one.

But that's true for most 100-yard rushing performances. The best backs break long runs occasionally, which makes up for all the 2- and 3-yard gains in between. It's easy to discount Williams' performance because of a long run here or a long run there because he's been so bad on a per-carry basis this season (take that 45-yard run away, and he averaged only 2.6 yards per carry -- oh noes!), but the fact is those long runs count, too. And he barreled over a couple of tacklers to complete it, which was nice to see.

Because Williams is short on receiving ability, his numbers don't look so great when he doesn't break a long run, but with all the carries he's getting now, his chances are better than not of breaking one. He's worth starting in standard leagues Week 17 against Philadelphia.


Rueben Randle not overshadowed for once
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:08 am ET) Since the emergence of rookie Odell Beckham in Week 9, and especially since his even bigger emergence in Week 12, wide receiver Rueben Randle has been an afterthought in the Giants passing game, averaging 2.3 catches for 31.8 yards in the four games leading up to Week 16 at St. Louis. But quarterback Eli Manning finally had enough yards to go around in that one, delivering Beckham his usual eight grabs for 148 yards and still finding Randle on six passes for 132 yards.

Randle even caught a touchdown pass, his first since Week 5. Of course, Beckham caught two and is now up to eight in his last five games, averaging 9.6 catches for 131.4 yards during that stretch.

You see the problem here, don't you? Manning was able to sustain both Beckham and Randle in this one, but that's only because he threw for a season-high 391 yards. If he regresses to a more modest total Week 17 against Philadelphia, we all know Randle is the one taking a back seat. Beckham has other-worldly talent, and Manning is smart enough to deliver him the ball as often as possible.

Of course, the Giants will probably have to throw a lot to keep pace with the Eagles, which bodes well for Randle, but you should still treat him as no more than a No. 3 wide receiver in Fantasy.


Odell Beckham making Eli Manning a stud
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:58 am ET) Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham had another eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns Week 16 at St. Louis, which has become par for the course for him. It was his second straight game and third game in five with more than 140 receiving yards and multiple scores.

What you may not have noticed, though, is that quarterback Eli Manning has taken off during that same stretch. He had a season-high 391 yards and three touchdowns in Week 16, completing 25 of 32 passes. Over his last five games, he has averaged 297.2 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

It stands to reason, of course. Beckham couldn't be putting up all those numbers without someone throwing him the ball. This may be one of those rare cases of the wide receiver making the quarterback as opposed to the other way around. Beckham is clearly a special talent, and Manning has made a point to deliver him the ball as often as possible.

It's reason enough to give Manning another chance Week 17 against Philadelphia if you've been suffering with Matthew Stafford or Colin Kaepernick and are somehow still alive in spite of it.


Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro hits two field goals
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro hit two field goals Week 16 against the Seahawks.

Catanzaro was the only source of the Cardinals' offense during the contest. He managed to convert from 27 yards out and 32 yards out. The Cardinals could not find the end zone, so Catanzaro did not have an extra point opportunity. Catanzaro will take on the 49ers Week 17.


 
 
 
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