We’ve made it to Week 6, and the strongly built fantasy championship contenders are starting to take form.
It is no time to give up hope if you are sitting 1-4 or 2-3. Several years ago, I was 2-7 with the lowest scoring team in my league. I made a few key trades and ran the table for a championship against a highly competitive group of gamers. I say this not to brag but to illustrate that giving up loses 100 percent of the time. Sticking it out, making calculated roster moves, and not losing focus on the ultimate goal gives you a chance.
So you’re telling me there’s a chance?
To succinctly recap Week 5’s recommendations: By in large, I stunk, so for that I apologize. We can’t be right all of the time, and some weeks we are wrong far more than others.
QB Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
The veteran game manager rarely spins a quality fantasy effort, but he had an extra week of preparation before traveling to the Bay Area. Oakland is tied for the division lead with Denver, and KC knows it has to win this one to keep within striking distance. Smith faces the softest matchup for quarterbacks the NFL can offer. The Raiders have allowed 338 yards per game and 2.4 passing touchdowns to signal callers. Smith accounted for five total touchdowns in two games last year versus Oakland, albeit a modestly different Raiders squad.
RB Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos
The rookie is chipping away at C.J. Anderson’s workload, whether it be by design or game flow, and it doesn’t help Anderson’s cause that Booker has been just as effective of late. Will this earn him more playing time? Not necessarily, but because of game flow, the rookie was targeted six times in Week 5. Booker hopes to catch the San Diego Chargers with their pants down this Thursday night. Coordinator John Pagano’s defense has allowed 48 receptions to running backs in five games. That’s insane. Nearly 10 catches a game to the position … yikes. No team has allowed a higher yardage total, and only two teams have given up more touchdowns through the air to RBs. This one could cross from a one-nighter to a lengthy courting.
QB Drew Stanton, Arizona Cardinals
This one is entirely dependent on what happens with Carson Palmer’s recovery from a concussion. Entertaining the idea that Palmer sits again, Stanton takes on the fourth weakest matchup. The New York Jets have allowed 12 touchdown passes in five games, intercepting just two balls, and a whopping 319.8 yards per contest through the sky. Stanton is able to make things happen in spurts, but it won’t be pretty. He can approach 270 yards and two scores, but a matching number of interceptions is likely in tow.
Make it a fling
WR Brian Quick, Los Angeles Rams
The once-promising receiver has been targeted at least four times in 60 percent of his games this season, hauling in 50 or more yards in each of the last three games, all while scoring a trio of touchdowns in this time. On the docket before a Week 8 bye, Quick faces the ninth and 11th easiest matchups, respectively, in Detroit and the New York Giants. Following his vacation, Quick does battle with the Panthers (21st), Jets (3rd), Dolphins (5th) and Saints (8th) — several easy matchups to exploit. He’s a cheap date at the waiver market and available in nearly 90 percent of leagues polled.
Put a ring on that thing
WR Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears
Replacing Kevin White (ankle, IR) in Week 5, Meredith exploded with nine grabs on 12 targets, 130 yards and a touchdown. The Bears’ shiny, new toy faces three of the six most exploitable opponents for fantasy receivers over the next four games (five weeks, Week 9 bye), and then the 11th-ranked New York Giants in Week 11. If Meredith can continue to play at a high level over this stretch, he’s a must-own the rest of the way. As a wise divorce attorney once said, “Date before you marry.”
The big tease
QB Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
The second-year passer has popped off several times in his young career. Last season, he logged three games of four total touchdowns and followed up two of those games without a score. He took over in Week 5 of this season, running for a score and tossing three more — a total that matched his previous four games combined. I can give him a pass for his poor play on the road against the divisional-rival Houston Texans last week. I also recognize the lack of talent around him and the system restrictions, but some fantasy owners will see what he did in Week 5 and automatically assume he’ll hammer the Cleveland Browns. Don’t be so presumptuous. Guardedly play him, and only if you are in a rough spot, as this will be one of his best chances to show he is becoming more consistent.
Grounds for divorce
WR Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
I picked on him once already, so it’s time to pile on. His offensive coordinator said a big game was in store last week, and I’d hardly call a 3-39-0 line as a worthy effort. Tate was a non-factor for fantasy purposes, and he waited until the final drive to snare 27 of his 39 yards. And that was without tight end Eric Ebron in the lineup. The passing game runs through Marvin Jones Jr., Theo Riddick and Anquan Boldin. Tate has 31 targets on the year, resulting in 17 receptions for 134 yards and no scores. No good. Kick him to the curb in all standard formats.