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Player Challenge strategies for Week 6

Senior Fantasy Writer
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This column is primarily designed to help strategize for our four-week Player Challenge games, but is essentially about great matchups and overlooked stats, offering deeper options for those in daily leagues.

Quarterback

My pick for the Player Challenge: Peyton Manning, Broncos

I hate being that guy -- "Oh hey everyone! Pick Peyton Manning!" -- but the Jaguars have given up the fifth-most Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, and Peyton Manning is a man possessed.

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There's a solid counter-argument to using Manning this week: the Broncos could jump out to a huge lead early and then just run all day after getting their cushion. And Tony Romo, coming off a 500-yard game in Week 5, gets to face off against a Washington defense that has allowed the fourth-most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. But Washington is also coming off a bye, and we saw last week that a team coming off a bye (Green Bay), facing a division rival (Detroit) could cancel out plenty of stats and numbers and suppositions and well-laid plans. Granted, the Lions were hurt by the loss of Calvin Johnson before the game, but the Packers seemed pretty tuned in to what the Lions were doing, regardless. At the end of the day, we may be splitting hairs here -- it's Peyton Manning against Tony Romo for a starting quarterback spot. There may not be a wrong answer.

A deeper alternative for daily leagues: Andrew Luck, Colts

The Colts play San Diego Monday night and the Chargers have given up the third-most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. T.Y. Hilton emerged in Week 5, Trent Richardson is going to get better every week as he learns the offense and Reggie Wayne was fifth in receptions and second in targets last season. Even though the Colts are just 24th in the NFL in passing yards per game (220), they have an offense that can take off without warning. Luck has the tools and a favorable matchup in Week 6, so he's worth a good-value start in daily formats if the price is right.

Running Back

My picks for the Player Challenge: Arian Foster, Texans; Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

The Rams have been bad against the run this season. They're allowing the second-most Fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, having given up six touchdowns (five rushing) and two games of 150-plus rushing yards. Additionally, the Rams are allowing 4.6 yards per carry to opposing backs. Arian Foster, who gets to face the Rams in Week 6, has just two touchdowns so far this season, but has two games in a row with 20-plus carries (averaging 100 rushing yards). And he's led the league in touchdowns twice over the last four seasons.

Charles makes for an interesting play because he'll be the first back to really challenge the Oakland run defense. The Raiders have allowed just 13.8 Fantasy points per game to opposing running backs -- the 10th-lowest average in the league. But here's the list of running backs the Raiders have faced:

Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, Maurice Jones-Drew, Denard Robinson, Justin Forsett, Jordan Todman, Will Ta'ufo'ou, Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball, Knowshon Moreno, Alfred Morris (who was injured in that game), Roy Helu, Evan Royster, Darrel Young, Danny Woodhead, Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown.

Of that group, only Moreno, Morris and Woodhead are in the top 30 among Fantasy running backs. Morris had seven points in his game when he was hurt, Woodhead had 10 Fantasy points (and 58 receiving yards) in his Week 5 matchup and Moreno ... well, not everyone is going to shine. But Charles is a step above all the running backs the Raiders have faced so far and should shine in his Week 6 matchup.

A deeper alternative for daily leagues: Willis McGahee, Browns

McGahee faces the Lions in Week 6 and Detroit has already given up seven touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. Granted, the Lions have faced stiff competition -- Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris and Matt Forte -- but they've run into minor problems with Rashard Mendenhall (14 Fantasy points) and Eddie Lacy (99 rushing yards). McGahee has seen his carries increase each week -- from eight in Week 3 to 15 in Week 4 to 26 in Week 5. And while his yards per carry have been unimpressive, he's going to get better every week as he acclimates himself to the offense. Keep in mind, McGahee has played just three games since last November, is coming off surgery, missed all of the preseason and is learning an entirely new system. This Week 6 matchup against the Lions -- a team allowing 5.3 yards per carry -- should allow McGahee to break out for the first time this season.

Wide Receiver

My picks for the Player Challenge: Vincent Jackson, Bucs; Dez Bryant, Cowboys

Jackson is coming off a bye and gets to face Philadelphia at home. The Eagles have allowed 37.2 Fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, giving up 11 touchdowns in five games. Nine receivers have finished with 80 or more yards. Five receivers can boast multi-touchdown games. Four have put up 20 or more points. Mike Glennon may be untested at quarterback, but he doesn't have an especially tough challenge ahead of him and Jackson's skill should win out.

A good amount of Washington's ugliness came in Week 2 against the Packers, when Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson combined for three touchdowns and James Jones had 178 receiving yards. Washington has only allowed five touchdowns (over four games), but five wide receivers have gained 100 or more yards. Bryant has a nice history against Washington, with an especially nice recent history against the team -- in his last three games, Bryant has averaged 94.7 receiving yards and has three total touchdowns.

A deeper alternative for daily leagues: Mohamed Sanu, Bengals

Sanu has yet to really shine this season, with just one game over 50 yards and one touchdown. But he gets a nice matchup against Buffalo in Week 6, a team that has allowed the second-most Fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. The Bills have given up eight total touchdowns over five games, so even if A.J. Green is the player who takes off for the Bengals, there's going to be some leftover yardage and possible touchdowns for Sanu.

Tight End

My pick for the Player Challenge: Jason Witten, Cowboys

Most of the arguments for Dez Bryant can be applied to Witten -- Washington is not good against the pass and hasn't been very successful against tight ends -- allowing four touchdowns over four games -- and an average of 11 Fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Witten has scored about 10 points per game, but it's been hit-or-miss: he has two games of 18 or more points and three games of six or fewer. With a lot of momentum from Week 5, coupled with a great matchup, Witten is a solid tight end start for Week 6.

A deeper alternative for daily leagues: Martellus Bennett, Bears

I realize it's foolish to pick an offensive player in a Thursday night game, but the Giants have given up 12.6 Fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Now throw that on top of the fact that defenses are going to have to pay attention to both Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, and it leaves Bennett with a bit of an opening. Sprinkle all of that with Bennett having played for the Giants last year and the matchup gets even more enticing. If he's available at the right price, Bennett could be a nice daily league play for Week 6.

DST

My pick for the Player Challenge: 49ers

The Bears are getting a Giants team without David Wilson on a Thursday night. And as enticing as that sounds, it gives me that, "don't go in there," horror movie-style feeling. Like it's just a little too quiet. Instead, I'm going with the 49ers, who have scored 44 Fantasy points in the last two weeks and get a Cardinals team that is not the offensive powerhouse we originally thought it might be. The 49ers do have the Jaguars in a few weeks, so holding onto them for that matchup may not be the worst idea, but the Cardinals have scored 25 points just once this season (their 18.2 point per game average is the fifth-lowest in the league) and they're 30th in yards per game. The 49ers are on a roll right now and could do some damage against a slipping Arizona team.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Report: Packers' Andrew Quarless arrested on gun charges
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:07 pm ET) Packers tight end Andrew Quarless was arrested for firing a gun twice in Miami on Saturday, per the Miami New Times.

Quarless was involved in a fight at South Beach and fired the gun into the ground. 


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The Titans were 24th in the league in yards after the catch last season, but with Mariota under center that can all change.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” wide receiver Harry Douglas said. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”


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by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) Saints running back Khiry Robinson might be the least known of his backfield counterparts, but he doesn't feel like the off man out, per ESPN.com.

Robinson knows the team is heavily invested in the likes of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but he's still confident he can thrive in whatever role the Saints put him in.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said.

Robinson has shown flashes of success during his three years in the league. Injuries played a key role against him last season, which can ultimately put him as the third back on the depth chart. He will use the offseason to continue to improve and challenge his counterparts for playing time.

“I just gotta keep working,” Robinson. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”


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(7/3/2015) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
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(7/3/2015) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery - not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


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Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


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(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
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(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


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(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


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(7/2/2015) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


 
 
 
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