2015 Fantasy Football Tough Decisions: Week 6
Colby Conway helps you with all of those tough fantasy football lineup decisions in Week 6.
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Every Friday throughout the NFL regular season I will be sending you this lineup helper that I like to call: Tough Decisions. In this article I will break down players with similar value, ranking and projection heading into this coming week.
Let's take a look at the TOUGH DECISIONS for Week 6:
The Case for Hoyer: Call me crazy, but I like this matchup. Other than his late interception against the Colts in Week 5, Hoyer played extremely well. The return of Arian Foster helps the running game just as much as it helps the passing game. DeAndre Hopkins has proven to be a top receiver, so Hoyer has not one, but two reliable weapons to throw the football too. Hopkins and Foster combined for 20 receptions and the number could be similar in Week 6 against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has struggled to cover opposing running backs out of the backfield and Hopkins has been tough to slow down thus far. Quarterbacks who face Jacksonville are averaging 276.6 passing yards per game, and since the Jaguars have recorded just one interception in five games, Hoyer might be able to have a turnover-free game in Week 6. Once again, call me crazy, but Hoyer will be in plenty of DFS lineups.
The Case for Smith: What will Smith be like without Jamaal Charles in the backfield in 2015? Well, I guess we’ll find out. Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce are reliable pass-catchers, but Charles was the unquestioned focal point of the Chiefs' rushing, and hell, even the passing attack. Charcandrick West and Knile Davis will take over the backfield duties, but Smith will still be in for a tough time in Minnesota. Expect Minnesota to blitz Smith just as much as the Bears did after Charles’ injury, so if Smith can’t get the ball out quick enough, it’s going to be a long day. The Vikings are allowing just 243.25 passing yards per game, a number Smith could be hard-pressed to reach.
The Verdict: Hoyer. He might not be a good, or even average quarterback, but from a statistical standpoint, he is capable of putting up some games. The Jaguars have recorded just one interception on the year, so there is a chance that Hoyer, a Houston quarterback, has a turnover-free game!
The Case for Murray: Murray has been a fantasy bust to this point. However, after voicing his disgust for a lack of touches in Week 4, he received 20 carries and caught seven passes in Week 5 against the New Orleans Saints. Coincidence? Regardless, this is the type of game fantasy owners were expecting from the former rushing champion. He received 20 carries, which is a quality number, and ran for 83 yards and a touchdown. He turned his seven receptions into just 37 yards, but in PPR leagues, owners are happy he caught seven passes. Murray and the Eagles face the Giants on Monday Night Football, a team who is allowing just 3.49 yards per carry through the first five weeks of the season. The Philadelphia running back has received 62.5 percent and 60 percent of the team’s red zone rushing attempts and carries inside the five-yard line respectively. Expect Murray to be an impact on the ground and through the air in Week 6, resulting in a touchdown for the second straight week.
The Case for Lacy: Lacy rumbled for 90 yards on 18 carries in Week 4 against the 49ers, but a stout front four in St. Louis held the Green Bay running back to just 27 yards on 13 carries. In standard scoring formats, the first round pick in many drafts this offseason has just one game with double-digit fantasy points. For those in PPR formats, he has three. Lacy has been a disappointment thus far, but a Week 6 matchup with the Chargers could be the turning point of his season. The Chargers have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. San Diego has allowed opponents to rush for a gaudy average of 5.1 yards per carry this season, and three running backs have ran for 100 or more yards against them in 2015 (Giovani Bernard, Adrian Peterson, Le’Veon Bell). Could Lacy be the fourth to complete such a task? Despite his recent struggles, the odds should be in his favor to be the fourth 100-yard rusher against the San Diego Chargers in 2015.
The Verdict: Murray. He will likely receive more touches in this game than Lacy, and given his influence in the passing game, the Philadelphia running back will find the end zone in some fashion in Week 6. Between these two, Murray will have the better day.
The Case for West: With Jamaal Charles going down with a torn ACL, West seems poised to head the Kansas City backfield. Over the past three weeks, Knile Davis has seen just four snaps, while West has received 44. Even with Charles going down with the injury, Davis saw just two carries in Week 5 against the Chicago Bears, while West received seven. West figures to catch some passes out of the backfield, too, which boosts his fantasy value in PPR formats. We all know how Alex Smith loves to dink and dunk, so West owners will hope for a steady amount of targets. Expect him to be in many DFS lineups given his low price tag, but since he does have the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, he enters the flex conversation.
The Case for Miller: Miller has all the potential in the world, but the team hasn’t given him the volume of work he needs to be productive. He has just 37 carries and 10 receptions on the season, an average of just 11.75 touches per game. However, with a new head coach in town, Miller could perhaps see more touches, something fantasy owners would welcome with open arms. Despite allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, they are allowing 4.08 yards per carry, and have allowed three rushing touchdowns in four games. Much like Lacy, could this be the turning point in Miller’s season? It’s hard to say, because we don’t exactly know what his usage will be like in the new coaching regime. However, it’s going to be hard for Miller to see even less carries than he was seeing before the coaching change.
The Verdict: Miller. While West is the darling pickup from the waiver wire this week, I’m just not sold on him quite yet. Sure, the Miami running back has issues as well, but given an acceptable amount of touches, Miller has the ability to be a fantasy star.
The Case for Brown: Brown hasn’t been the same fantasy asset since Ben Roethlisberger went down with the knee injury. In games Roethlisberger has started (Weeks 1-3), Brown caught nine or more passes and went over 100 yards in each contest. However, since the conservative Michael Vick has taken over the starting duties in Pittsburgh, Brown lost his streak of at least five catches and 50 yards and has yet to score double-digit fantasy points in a game with the southpaw as his starting quarterback. Brown publically stated that he told Vick to trust him more and let him make plays, so we will have to see if Vick looks his way more in Week 6. The Steelers face the Cardinals on Sunday, and Brown will likely be covered by Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, not an easy matchup by any standards. Believe it or not, the consensus preseason No. 1 wide receiver is outside the top-10 of many fantasy experts this weekend.
The Case for Hilton: Hilton is the downfield threat for the Colts, but without Andrew Luck in the offense, his big play ability is lessened. Matt Hasselbeck has done an excellent job filling in for Luck, there’s no doubt about that, but for Hilton to be successful in fantasy formats, he needs Luck at the helm. The young signal caller will likely return in Week 6 for a matchup with the New England Patriots. The Patriots have allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to opposing wide receivers, so there is some upside here for Hilton. He is still looking for his first touchdown of the season, but in the team’s biggest game of the year to date, look for Luck to go to his top wideout.
The Verdict: Brown. Yes, Hilton has an easier matchup and will likely have his regular quarterback under center, but after Brown’s comments, it’s hard to believe that Vick won’t do everything he can to get the ball in his top receiver’s hands. Even though he is outside of the top 10 for many experts, continue to roll the dice with the top receiver in Pittsburgh.
The Case for Hurns: Although he still carries a questionable designation, this is the second straight week that he returned to practice—in a limited fashion—on Thursday after missing practice the day before. He has two straight games of 116 receiving yards with a touchdown and for what it’s worth, his best game of the season came against a division rival. In his rookie season, he caught just seven passes for 51 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans, but he could top those numbers on Sunday. Houston has struggled to stop opposing wide receivers of late, so Hurns could continue his touchdown streak in this one. He will be on the field on Sunday and since he will be covered by Houston’s second-best corner, Kareem Jackson, he has a good chance of putting up yet another quality game.
The Case for Decker: He has scored a touchdown in the three games he has played in this season and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to look his way in the red zone. Decker may only have 19 targets through three games, but six have come within the 20s, and those red zone looks are important for players’ touchdown dependent fantasy value. Brandon Marshall is the clear cut No. 1 wide receiver in New York, while Decker is holding off rookie Devin Smith for the No. 2 role. Smith actually saw more snaps than Decker in Week 4 (56 to 49), but Decker had the better fantasy day. The Washington secondary has been pretty solid this season, so touchdowns could be hard to come by for Decker. He always has a chance to score, but of the receivers in New York, Marshall is the best play, not Decker.
The Verdict: Hurns. His confidence is riding high following back-to-back 116-yard receiving games and he is looking to extend his touchdown streak to four straight games. Given the Texans’ defensive woes, he likely will.
The Case for Thomas: In his season debut with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thomas had a minimal impact, catching just two passes for 20 yards. It was an underwhelming debut, but keep in mind that he was on a limited snap count and continues to work back from his injury. He is the top tight end in Jacksonville, and even though he was on a limited snap count, it was evident. Marcedes Lewis started in Thomas’ absence and he averaged 57.25 snaps per game over the first four weeks. However, upon Thomas’ return to the lineup, Lewis received just 37 snaps in Week 5 against the Bucs, while Thomas was on the field for 30 snaps. The Jaguars' Week 6 matchup, the Houston Texans, struggled early on in the season defending the tight end, but they have been much better of late. Thomas should dominate the snaps at the tight end position moving forward and Week 6 could see Thomas find the end zone.
The Case for Rudolph: Rudolph has yet to become a major impact in Minnesota this season, upsetting many fantasy owners. After catching 10 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown over the first two games, he has just four receptions for 21 yards in the last two. His yardage has decreased in each game, while his receptions have held steady or decreased as well. To not be a bust in fantasy on any given week, he is completely dependent on touchdowns, but seeing as the Kansas City Chiefs have allowed just one touchdown to a tight end all year, he could be in for another tough week. You’re taking a leap of faith with Rudolph yet again in Week 6.
The Verdict: Thomas. He is the team’s go-to tight end and he could have a big day against the Houston defense. Meanwhile, Rudolph hasn’t seen the usage of late to warrant a starting spot in fantasy lineups. Thomas won’t have the fantasy value that he had in Denver, but he can still be a low-end TE1 in PPR formats moving forward.