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.
Michael Vick has been a disappointment this season. There's no other way to explain it. You drafted him to be a starting Fantasy quarterback, but he's barely a Top 20 player at his position.
But that's about to change.
Vick has the chance to turn things around with a favorable schedule ahead, starting this week against the Lions. He is about to become reliable again.
|Robert Griffin III||vs. MIN|
|Matthew Stafford||at PHI|
|Andy Dalton||at CLE|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick||at ARI|
|Tony Romo||at BAL|
The Lions have already allowed Alex Smith and Jake Locker to reach at least 21 Fantasy points in two games, both on the road. Going back to last season, the last five quarterbacks the Lions have faced on the road have reached at least 20 points.
Vick has also been better at home. In his past four home games he has eight total touchdowns and four interceptions with an average of 305 passing yards and 30 rushing yards.
We know Vick has to do a better job of protecting the ball with five fumbles on the season, including two last week, but he might not face much pressure in this matchup. The Lions have only nine sacks on the year and they also have no interceptions and just three fumble recoveries.
It's understandable to be afraid of Vick as a No. 1 option, and his starting percentage in CBSSports.com leagues was 57 percent in Week 4 and 52 percent in Week 5. But if you've been waiting for him to have a big performance, look for it to happen soon. This is a good time to buy low on Vick and we expect him to have a quality outing against the Lions.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals||21||13||45||16|
|Marques Colston, WR, Saints||11||31||98||1|
|Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants||11||26||83||1|
|Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers||14||19||88||3|
|Steve Smith, WR, Panthers||9||4||82||48|
|Steve Johnson, WR, Bills||9||3||64||62|
|Chris Johnson, RB, Titans||8||0||77||62|
|Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers||20||15||44||14|
|Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens||22||6||51||25|
|Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins||10||5||74||35|
|Alex Smith, QB, 49ers||15||34||15||2|
|Andrew Luck, QB, Colts||18||32||25||3|
|Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers||6||17||38||9|
Andrew Luck (at NYJ): The Jets pass defense hasn't been their problem this season even with the loss of Darrelle Revis to a torn ACL. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ben Roethlisberger are the only two quarterbacks who scored multiple touchdowns against the Jets and Revis was healthy for those two matchups. But Luck has been hot of late with at least 22 Fantasy points in his past three games with multiple touchdowns in each of those outings. He should find success again and has become a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback.
Philip Rivers (vs. DEN): Rivers has turned the corner the past two weeks with 40 Fantasy points combined against the Chiefs and Saints. He gets another favorable matchup this week against the Broncos, who have allowed multiple touchdowns to every opposing quarterback except Carson Palmer in Week 4. Rivers also likes playing at home, where he has seven touchdowns and three interceptions in his past four outings with at least 240 passing yards in three of those games.
Joe Flacco (vs. DAL): It's time to realize that the only time to fully trust Flacco is when he plays at home. In three home games this season he has averaged 26 Fantasy points against Cincinnati, New England and Cleveland. In two road games he is averaging 8.6 points at the Eagles and Chiefs. He has a tough matchup against the Cowboys this week, who have only allowed Jay Cutler to pass for multiple touchdowns against them. But they really haven't been tested with games against Eli Manning and Cutler but also Russell Wilson and Josh Freeman. Based on how Flacco plays in Baltimore we'll give them the nod as a starting option one more time.
Ben Roethlisberger (at TEN): Roethlisberger had his first bad game this year in Week 5 against the Eagles with 15 Fantasy points, but prior to that he had at least 19 in his first three games. He should return to that level against the Titans, who have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in every game this season. Roethlisberger faced the Titans in 2011 and had 228 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interception, so he knows this defense well. He won't be that productive this week, but you can expect another positive outcome.
Matt Schaub (vs. GB): The Packers pass defense is once again a mess after the past two games where Drew Brees and Luck combined for 808 passing yards, six total touchdowns and one interception. Factor in Wilson and Alex Smith and the Packers have now allowed four quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns against them. We know Schaub usually isn't asked to do much with how Houston runs the ball, but he might be throwing more than expected in this matchup. He should have his third game in his past four outings with multiple touchdowns.
|Christian Ponder||(at WAS)||Four quarterbacks have at least two touchdowns and 300 yards vs. WAS.|
|Kevin Kolb||(vs. BUF)||Bills have allowed 78 Fantasy points to quarterbacks the past two weeks.|
|Brandon Weeden||(vs. CIN)||Had 24 Fantasy points in Week 2 at the Bengals.|
Ryan Fitzpatrick (at ARI): Are we seeing the Fitzpatrick fade already? After four games with at least 19 Fantasy points to start the season he put up a dud in Week 5 at San Francisco with three points. This is another tough matchup against the Cardinals, who held Tom Brady and Vick to fewer than 16 Fantasy points each while Sam Bradford is the only quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns with two. We expect Fitzpatrick to turn things around soon, but he's not worth starting this week.
Andy Dalton (at CLE): Dalton was amazing against the Browns in Week 2 with 28 Fantasy points, but that was the first of cornerback Joe Haden's four-game suspension. He's back this week, and you'll notice a drastic change in Cleveland's pass defense. In two games against the Browns in 2011, Dalton had 351 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions combined. Haden played one game this season in Week 1 and the Browns forced Vick into four interceptions in that matchup. There's a good chance Dalton has his second bad game in a row after just 13 Fantasy points against Miami last week.
Carson Palmer (at ATL): This is the second of four games for the Raiders going to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. start, and the last time they lost 35-13 at Miami in Week 2. Palmer played well in that game with 18 Fantasy points, but this is a tougher matchup. The Falcons have only allowed multiple passing touchdowns once with Cam Newton in Week 4 and they have shut down Peyton Manning, Rivers and Robert Griffin III to nine Fantasy points or less in each game. Palmer's last game was also a disappointment with eight Fantasy points at Denver in Week 4, and we expect him to struggle in this matchup as well.
Tony Romo (at BAL): We hope the Cowboys used the bye week to fix some of their offensive woes, especially in the passing game, since it was ugly in their last outing in Week 4 against Chicago when Romo had five interceptions. He should improve this week, but it won't be easy against the Ravens, who have only allowed two passing touchdowns on the season to Vick and Brady. In fact, the Ravens have gone 23 regular season games without allowing multiple passing touchdowns to an opposing quarterback, and Romo has just two touchdowns in his past three games. It's hard to sit Romo most weeks, but this is a good time to consider another quarterback based on the matchup and his recent play.
Josh Freeman (vs. KC): We'd like to say start Freeman based on a favorable matchup with the Chiefs. Four quarterbacks have scored multiple touchdowns against them and Tampa Bay should be rested coming off a bye. But Freeman has yet to look like a quality Fantasy quarterback this season, and there's little reason to trust him. His best game was 17 Fantasy points at the Giants in Week 2 and that was his only game with multiple touchdowns. The Buccaneers will likely rely on their ground game early and often and Freeman might not have to do much. He's not a good bye-week replacement in standard leagues.
Bust alert: Robert Griffin III (vs. MIN): The Vikings defense has been impressive, especially of late. After giving up 484 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against Blaine Gabbert and Luck in the first two weeks, they have shut down Smith, Matthew Stafford and Matt Hasselbeck the past three games, holding them to 757 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions combined. They are the only team to intercept Smith and keep Stafford from throwing a touchdown, and Griffin might not be 100 percent this week following last week's concussion. He's expected to play, but he hasn't thrown a touchdown in two games and could be a little skittish running after last week's hit. Like Romo, it's tough to bench Griffin, but you should plan on other alternatives for this week if you can.
Rashard Mendenhall (at TEN): Mendenhall's return comes at the right time for the Steelers and Fantasy owners dealing with bye weeks. He had 16 Fantasy points against the Eagles in Week 5 and should remain productive against the Titans, who have allowed four running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Tennessee has allowed a running back to score in seven of its past eight games, with Adrian Peterson breaking the streak in Week 5.
Willis McGahee (at SD): McGahee has been solid all season, but he lost a fumble in Week 5 at New England that could ultimately prove costly if it continues to happen. We expect McGahee to rebound this week as he has either a touchdown or 100 total yards in three of his past four games. In two games against the Chargers last year he had 39 carries for 242 yards and San Diego has allowed four running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points this season.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at CLE): The last good game Green-Ellis had was Week 2 against the Browns when he had 10 Fantasy points. Since then he has combined for 15 Fantasy points in three games with two uncharacteristic lost fumbles. He should rebound this week against the Browns, who have allowed five running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson last week when they combined for 32 carries for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Bernard Scott (knee) is out for the season, so Green-Ellis should get all the touches in a good matchup.
Vick Ballard (at NYJ): We had Donald Brown penciled into this spot, but he's now out 2-3 weeks following knee surgery. That allows Ballard the chance to start for the Colts, making him at least a flex option. The Jets can no longer stop the run like they used to as they've allowed seven running backs to score touchdowns and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points. There is obvious risk in starting an unproven rusher like Ballard, but he's replacing a running back in Brown who had at least nine Fantasy points in three of four games.
Doug Martin (vs. KC): I like LeGarrette Blount as a sleeper this week, but I still expect Martin to have a solid game as well. He needs a big performance as a confidence boost since his production has tailed off from 23 Fantasy points in his first two games to 10 in his last two. The Chiefs have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs with three reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Martin won't get the workload he got in his first two games, but each time he's had at least 20 carries he's finished with double digits in Fantasy points.
|LeGarrette Blount||(vs. KC)||Chiefs have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs this year.|
|William Powell||(vs. BUF)||Flex option against the Bills terrible run defense.|
|Danny Woodhead||(at SEA)||Look for Woodhead to play a lot in a no-huddle attack.|
|Shonn Greene||(vs. IND)||Should be his best game since Week 1 based on IND run defense.|
|Joique Bell||(at PHI)||Has at least six Fantasy points in every game this season.|
C.J. Spiller (at ARI): Spiller and Fred Jackson have been healthy the past two games, but Jackson continues to get more touches. In Week 5 at the 49ers, Spiller also went without a catch and has combined for three Fantasy points in his past two outings. This is also a tough matchup since the Cardinals have yet to allow a touchdown to a starter this year or 100 rushing yards to an opposing running back in its past 13 games.
Steven Jackson (at MIA): The Dolphins front seven has been among the best in the NFL and opposing rushers have struggled against them this year. After giving up 19 Fantasy points to Arian Foster in Week 1, the Dolphins have held Darren McFadden, Shonn Greene, Ryan Williams and Green-Ellis to a combined 10 Fantasy points. Jackson is coming off his best rushing performance in Week 5 against Arizona when he had 18 carries for 76 yards, but he has yet to score this season and could find it tough to reach double digits in Fantasy points this week..
Chris Johnson (vs. PIT): Even though the Steelers won't have Troy Polamalu (calf) or LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) this week we still have little faith in Johnson. He's struggled even in good situations. Johnson had 15 Fantasy points against the Texans in Week 4 but has combined for eight points in his other four games. The Steelers have allowed McFadden and LeSean McCoy to reach double digits in Fantasy points in their past two games, but Johnson has done little to inspire confidence this season. He should only be considered a flex option until he starts to turn things around, which we hope will happen soon.
Alex Green (at HOU): Green is worth adding in all leagues, especially if you lost Cedric Benson (foot), but that doesn't mean he's a must-start option. The Packers said they will give Green the first shot ahead of James Starks and Brandon Saine, and we hope he does well because Green Bay's next three games are against St. Louis, Jacksonville and Arizona. This week's matchup with the Texans is tough since they have yet to allow a rushing touchdown and only Johnson ran for 100 yards, with most of that production coming in garbage time. Consider Green a flex option at best in most formats.
Kendall Hunter (vs. NYG): Last week we told you to use Hunter as a bye-week replacement with his matchup against Buffalo, and he had 11 carries for 81 yards. He now has 19 Fantasy points in his past two games, but this week his touches should be limited. Even though the Giants have allowed four running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points, this will be the Frank Gore show. Hunter should be kept in reserved and will only be a must-start option if Gore suffers an injury.
Bust alert: Alfred Morris (vs. MIN): Morris has been on a tear with double digits in Fantasy points in four of five games, including three in a row. He has proven that if Mike Shanahan has a running back he likes he will stick with him, and Morris is one of the best Draft Day bargains in 2012. But this could be a week to keep him reserved. Minnesota deserves plenty of credit for doing a fantastic job against opposing running backs this year. The Vikings have yet to allow a running back to score and they have limited the five starting running backs they've faced (Maurice Jones-Drew, Brown, Gore, Mikel Leshoure and Johnson) to a combined 21 Fantasy points. Morris only has one game without a touchdown or 100 rushing yards, but this should be his worst performance of the season based on the matchup.
Jeremy Maclin (vs. DET): Maclin appears to be healthy after dealing with a hip injury in Week 3 and he should start to see a rise in production. He only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points, which was Week 1 at Cleveland, but look for Vick to rely on Maclin this week. He should remain a starting option in most formats.
Malcom Floyd (vs. DEN): Floyd has a touchdown in two of the past three games against the Broncos, including three catches for 100 yards in their most recent meeting last year. Floyd has three games with double digits in Fantasy points on the season and the Broncos have allowed five touchdowns to opposing receivers and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points.
James Jones (at HOU): There's a good chance Greg Jennings (groin) will be out again this week, which should allow Jones to play at a high level. He had two touchdowns in each of his past two games against the Saints and Colts and he has five touchdowns on the season. The Packers will likely be throwing more than usual with Benson now out so this is a good week to count on Jones -- as well as Jordy Nelson and even Randall Cobb. The Texans pass defense is tough, but this game has the makings of a shootout.
Andre Roberts (vs. BUF): You're starting Larry Fitzgerald in all leagues and Roberts is worth using also as at least a No. 3 receiver. The Bills have allowed the most touchdowns to opposing receivers with 10 and eight have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Roberts has four touchdowns on the season, and he could have another solid game this week.
Vincent Jackson (vs. KC): The Chiefs have only allowed five receivers to reach at least eight Fantasy points this season and three to reach double digits, but if you're involved against this secondary you can succeed. Only one receiver who has at least seven targets has failed to reach eight Fantasy points, which was Devery Henderson in Week 3. Jackson has at least 10 targets in three of four games and he has been solid when he has a favorable matchup. This appears to be one of those weeks and we consider him a quality option in all formats.
|Sidney Rice||(vs. NE)||NE has allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers.|
|Josh Gordon||(vs. CIN)||Could emerge as No. 1 Browns receiver after scoring twice last week.|
|Jeremy Kerley||(vs. IND)||IND has allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers in four games.|
|Donnie Avery||(at NYJ)||Has eight targets each game and is due for a big performance.|
|Mario Manningham||(vs. NYG)||Gets revenge game vs. former team, which has a bad secondary.|
Steve Johnson (at ARI): Johnson continues to show that he's going to struggle when he doesn't score. He has 19 targets in his past two games against the Patriots and 49ers but just eight catches for 62 yards to show for it. The Cardinals have given up three touchdowns to opposing receivers and three have reached double digits in Fantasy points, but they have been able to limit Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and DeSean Jackson to 19 Fantasy points combined. If Johnson lines up against Patrick Peterson he should be in for a long game.
Denarius Moore (at ATL): The Falcons have done a solid job against opposing receivers as Demaryius Thomas is the only starter to score against them. They have held Dwayne Bowe, Eric Decker, Floyd, Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Pierre Garcon to five Fantasy points or less. Moore is the No. 1 receiver for the Raiders, even with Darrius Heyward-Bey (head) expected to return, but he should probably be considered just a No. 3 Fantasy option this week. He only has one touchdown in three games.
Pierre Garcon (vs. MIN): We hope Garcon can get back on track after the foot injury he sustained in Week 1 has limited his production. He has just four catches for 44 yards the past two weeks and he could struggle in this matchup. The Vikings have allowed three receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points but none since Week 2, including matchups with Michael Crabtree, Calvin Johnson, Nate Washington and Kenny Britt. And with Griffin banged up you might want to keep Garcon limited to just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver.
Robert Meachem (vs. DEN): Meachem had a great revenge game against his former team last week at New Orleans with three catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns, but he still has a long way to go. He had just four targets in that game and only has one game this season with more than four targets. The Broncos secondary is suspect, but until Meachem shows more consistency we wouldn't start him in most formats. Also, he continues to struggle outdoors with just 26 catches for 346 yards and two touchdowns in his past 10 outdoor games.
Nate Washington (vs. PIT): Washington has struggled of late with seven catches for 89 yards and no touchdowns in his past two games. He has two touchdowns on the season, but in the three games he didn't score he has combined for 10 Fantasy points. Washington, a former Steeler, has faced Pittsburgh three times and has just 10 catches for 111 yards and one touchdown. The Steelers have only allowed two receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points this year.
Bust alert: Dwayne Bowe (at TB): The matchup for Bowe is great since the Bucs have allowed five receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, but the concern is Matt Cassel (head) being out. Bowe has struggled without Cassel and last year he had one touchdown in the seven games Cassel missed with a broken hand. Brady Quinn might do a nice job getting Bowe involved, but there's risk involved. Bowe has two games this season with a combined 38 Fantasy points, but he has averaged six Fantasy points in his other three outings. That's a realistic expectation for his results in this game.
Kyle Rudolph (at WAS): Rudolph's breakout season continued last week against the Titans when he scored his fourth touchdown in his past four games. He has taken advantage of some great matchups so far and he has another favorable one this week. The Redskins have allowed a tight end to score in every game but one, which was Week 4 against the Bucs, who don't have a tight end to speak of. Jimmy Graham, Jermaine Gresham and Tony Gonzalez have all scored at least 12 Fantasy points against the Redskins and Rudolph should have another solid outing.
Heath Miller (at TEN): Miller failed to score for the first time this season in Week 5 against the Eagles, but he should rebound this week. The Titans have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends with seven touchdowns allowed. Brandon Pettigrew in Week 3 is the only tight end who failed to score against the Titans, and he finished with eight catches for 61 yards. Miller has an excellent chance to score his fifth touchdown of the season based on the matchup and he scored against the Titans in their meeting last year.
Owen Daniels (vs. GB): Daniels, not Andre Johnson, has been the go-to receiver for Schaub this year. In his past three games he has 13 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns on 16 targets. He has at least five targets each game and his 33 targets are two more than Johnson for the season. Daniels has a favorable matchup again this week since the Packers have allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Graham failed to score against Green Bay in Week 4, but he finished with seven catches for 76 yards. Daniels, who played at Wisconsin, should have the chance for another solid performance.
|Brent Celek||(vs. DET)||Three tight ends have at least 60 yards vs. DET.|
|Dwayne Allen||(at NYJ)||Has two touchdowns in past three games and could score again.|
|D.J. Williams||(at HOU)||Favorable matchup if he starts in place of Jermichael Finley.|
Brandon Pettigrew (at PHI): He hasn't played that great in standard leagues since he has yet to top seven Fantasy points. In PPR formats he's fine with at least five catches in three of four outings, but this is a tough matchup for him. The Eagles have already shut down Dennis Pitta, Martellus Bennett and Miller this season, holding them to a combined 10 Fantasy points.
Jermaine Gresham (at CLE): We had high hopes for Gresham the last time he faced the Browns in Week 2 since he had two touchdowns in his previous two meetings with Cleveland, but he finished with just four catches for 37 yards. Since then, Gresham has played better with 22 Fantasy points in his next three outings, but the Browns have continued to shut down tight ends. So far this year they have held Brent Celek, Gresham, Scott Chandler, Pitta and Bennett to a combined 14 Fantasy points, which includes Celek getting six points by himself.
Jacob Tamme (at SD): We pointed out last week how Tamme was losing production to Joel Dreessen, and it continued in Week 5 at New England. Even though Tamme had 11 targets and finished with six catches for 50 yards, Dreessen still had the better day with four catches for 21 yards and a touchdown on four targets, and it's the third game in a row he's scored. Tamme only has two red-zone targets on the season, and we know touchdowns are what all Fantasy owners want. It doesn't help matters that the Chargers have only allowed one tight end to score all season.
Bust alert: Jason Witten (at BAL): It was good to see Witten have a breakout performance in Week 4 against Chicago with 13 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets, and it appears like his early-season woes following the preseason spleen injury are behind him. But this is just a tough matchup for him. The Ravens have done a nice job against tight ends throughout the Ray Lewis/Ed Reed era and have allowed just one tight end (Celek in Week 2) to reach double digits in Fantasy points in their past 23 games. No tight end has scored against Baltimore this season and only three scored last year. Now, you can argue that Witten can have a Celek-like performance with eight catches for 157 yards on 11 targets, but history suggests Witten will post only modest stats in this matchup.
Dolphins (vs. STL): The Dolphins defense deserves plenty of credit for their performance the past two weeks, including an upset victory at Cincinnati in Week 5. The Dolphins had eight sacks and two interceptions at Arizona in Week 4 and three turnovers against the Bengals, and they have at least two interceptions in each of the past three games. They have one of the best run defenses in the NFL and now face Sam Bradford without his top target in Danny Amendola (shoulder). This should be the third week in a row with the Dolphins DST getting double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, and they are only owned in 16 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com following Week 5.
Giants (at SF): The Giants DST has one good game this season, which was Week 3 at Carolina when Cam Newton looked lost. Otherwise, they have not reached double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in four other games. The troubling thing is their sack total with only eight through five games and they failed to sack Brandon Weeden in Week 5. Facing the 49ers this week will be tough because Smith is the most efficient quarterback in the NFL with only one interception on the season and just six in his past 21 games. The Giants DST have actually saved their performance most weeks with eight interceptions on the season, but you can't rely on an abundance of turnovers in this matchup.
|Shaun Suisham||at TEN|
|Matt Prater||at SD|
|Jay Feely||vs. ARI|
Alex Henery (vs. DET): Kickers facing the Lions have enjoyed themselves this season since all four have made multiple field goals and reached at least eight Fantasy points. Two kickers (Greg Zuerlein and Rob Bironas) have at least 11 Fantasy points and Henery is looking for his second game with double digits in Fantasy points this season. He has been disappointing thus far with only eight field goals on the year, and his season low was Week 5 at the Steelers with just two extra points. But he should rebound against the Lions since every kicker has done well against them in 2012.
Sebastian Janikowski (at ATL): The Falcons defense has done an impressive job this season, and they are not only keeping teams out of the end zone, they are preventing field goal chances as well. No kicker has made multiple field goals against Atlanta this year and only two have tried with Ryan Succop and Billy Cundiff each going 1 for 2. Succop had the best game against the Falcons in Week 1 with six Fantasy points, and Janikowski is having a down year. His best game was Week 3 against Pittsburgh with 10 Fantasy points, and that was his only game with multiple extra point attempts. He is 8 for 8 on field goals, but he's not getting enough chances to shine. That might be a continuing trend with this matchup.