Matt Forte RB, Chicago Bears (166 rushing yards, two touchdowns); Ray Rice RB, Baltimore Ravens (133 rushing yards, two touchdowns)
Hakeem Nicks WR, NY Giants (12 receptions, 130 yards, 2 touchdowns); Phillip Rivers QB, San Diego Chargers (431 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Malcolm Floyd WR, San Diego Chargers (213 yards, 1 touchdown); Brandon Lloyd WR, Denver Broncos (135 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Miles Austin WR, Dallas Cowboys (166 yards, 1 touchdown)
Todd Collins QB, Chicago Bears (6 of 16, 32 yards, 4 interceptions); Jimmy Clausen QB, Carolina Panthers (9 of 21, 61 yards, 1 interception)
Arian Foster RB, Houston Texans (11 carries, 25 yards); Anquan Boldin WR, Baltimore Ravens (1 reception, 8 yards)
Beanie Wells RB, Arizona Cardinals (20 carries, 35 yards)
BYE: Cardinals, Bills, Panthers, Bengals
Ben Roethlisberger vs Cleveland
Analysis: Normally, I would wait a week to see how a player performs after coming off an extended break, but I’m making an exception here. Based on Ben’s last four games vs Cleveland you can reasonably expect 200+ yards and two touchdowns from him. Ben has worked diligently on his mechanics while on suspension and has had a full week of practice to work on timing.
Joe Flacco @ New England
Analysis: I would consider starting any quarterback facing the Patriots who rank 28th against the pass. The Patriot defense has given up multiple touchdowns to every QB they’ve faced this year with Carson Palmer and Chad Henne also getting 300 + passing yards. Last year, Flacco had 264 yards and two touchdowns and one interception vs the Patriots. Expect similar stats this week.
Other QBs with good matchups: Eli Manning vs Detroit, Matt Cassel vs Houston, Jay Cutler vs Seattle, David Garrard vs Tennessee, Vince Young vs Jacksonville
Ahmad Bradshaw vs Detroit
Analysis: Bradshaw lost some carries last week because of a sore ankle, but was still productive. He should get more work this week against the Lions who rank 26th in run defense. Bradshaw averages 4.9 yards per carry and 6.9 yards per reception. He’s averaging 106 total yards per game and is a solid start this week.
LaDainian Tomlinson @ Denver
Analysis: LT has 20 touchdowns in 20 career games vs Denver and might be extra motivated this week as he needs only 75 rushing yards to reach 13,000 for his career. The Broncos defense is allowing 127 rushing yards per game and is dealing with several injuries this week. Starters Brian Dawkins, Andre Goodman, and Robert Ayers have been ruled out with injuries. Both LT and Shonn Greene could run wild in Denver.
Other RBs with good matchups: Ryan Torain vs Indianapolis, Brandon Jackson vs Miami, Michael Bush vs San Francisco, Ronnie Brown vs Green Bay
Santonio Holmes @ DEN
Analysis: All the Jets receiving options should do well in this game against the Broncos who I mentioned earlier will be missing three defensive starters. The one player who is a slight concern is Braylon Edwards, who could see a lot of Champ Bailey. Holmes, who had three catches for 41 yards on nine targets in his debut last week against Minnesota, should do well in this matchup.
Pierre Garcon @ Washington
Analysis: Garcon returned to his starting role in week five after missing two games with a hamstring injury. Peyton Manning didn’t waste any time finding Garcon, who was targeted a team-high 14 times. Washington is ranked 30th against the pass so Garcon should be in for a decent day.
Other WRs with good matchups: Steve Smith (NYG) vs Detroit, Hines Ward vs Cleveland, Malcolm Floyd vs St. Louis, Johnny Knox vs Seattle
Marcedes Lewis vs Tennessee
Analysis: If you are looking for help at tight end, you might find Lewis still available on the waiver wire in your league. Lewis now has five touchdown receptions on the year and ranks 4th in fantasy scoring for tight ends behind Antonio Gates, Dustin Keller and Zach Miller. Tennessee currently ranks 27th against the pass.
Other TEs with good matchups: Tony Moeaki vs Houston, Greg Olsen vs Seattle, Heath Miller vs Cleveland,
Pittsburgh vs Cleveland
Analysis: Colt McCoy is expected to make his 1st NFL start. Enough said.
Other D/ST with good matchups: Chicago vs Seattle, NY Giants vs Detroit, San Diego vs St. Louis
Sam Bradford vs San Diego
Analysis: Bradford just lost his go-to receiver, Mark Clayton, for the year. This week he goes on the road against the 3rd ranked pass defense in the NFL. Bradford struggled against Detroit last week so my expectations for this week are obviously very low.
Sean Hill @ NY Giants
Analysis: Sean Hill has surpassed expectations since taking over for the injured Matthew Stafford but this week he faces the #1 passing defense in the NFL. The Giants shut down Matt Schaub last week and sacked Jay Cutler 10 times the week before. On top of that, Hill could be without Calvin Johnson who is nursing a shoulder injury.
Other QBs with tough matchups: Alex Smith vs Oakland, Chad Henne vs Green Bay, Colt McCoy vs Pittsburgh, Josh Freeman vs New Orleans
Thomas Jones @ Houston
Analysis: Jones disappointed last week against a soft Indianapolis run defense. This week he gets a stiffer test in Houston that ranks 5th against the run. Jamaal Charles looks like the more dangerous runner in KC and might start to steal more and more carries as the year progresses.
Peyton Hillis @ Pittsburgh
Analysis: Hillis has been very good this year. He’s the type of player that can win you a fantasy football championship because you didn’t have to spend a draft pick to get him. This week, however, he faces the best run defense in the league, at home, coming off of a BYE week. Hillis is also dealing with a nagging thigh injury and rookie quarterback Colt McCoy will start for Cleveland. There are way too many negative factors surrounding Hillis this week.
Other RBs with tough matchups: Felix Jones vs Minnesota, Marshawn Lynch vs Chicago, BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs Baltimore, Knowshon Moreno vs NY Jets
Deion Branch vs Baltimore
Analysis: Branch was traded to the Patriots this week and may produce down the road but I would wait a week or so to see what Branch has left in the tank. In five games with Seattle, Branch only had 13 receptions for 112 yards and one touchdown. Tom Brady has several other options at his disposal and likes to get everyone involved. Baltimore isn’t the best matchup for Branch either as they currently rank 2nd in pass defense.
Bernard Berrian vs Dallas
Analysis: Berrian was invisible BEFORE the Vikings traded for Randy Moss. He had zero targets against the Jets last week and was outplayed by Greg Lewis, who appears to have passed him on the depth chart. For anyone still holding onto Berrian, it’s probably safe to drop him.
Other WRs with tough matchups: Brandon Tate vs Baltimore, Nate Burlson vs NY Giants, Kevin Walter vs Kansas City
Jeremy Shockey @ Tampa Bay
Analysis: Shockey has not been a major factor in the New Orleans offense this year and faces a tough test this week. Tampa Bay has been strong against opposing tight ends only allowing one touchdown that came last week against Cincinnati’s Jermaine Gresham, who only managed 24 yards in the game.
Other TEs with tough matchups: Brandon Pettigrew vs NY Giants, Aaron Hernandez vs Baltimore, Ben Watson vs Pittsburgh
St. Louis vs San Diego
Analysis: The Chargers are #1 in yards per game (461.8) while the Rams rank near the bottom in passing yards against and total yards allowed. Phillip Rivers has been awesome and it looks like Ryan Matthews is back and ready to roll. St. Louis allowed 44 points last week to the Detroit Lions with only one forced fumble and one sack.
Other Defenses with tough matchups: Washington vs Indianapolis, Detroit vs NY Giants, Cleveland vs Pittsburgh
Rashard Mendenhall, RB
Analysis: Mendenhall doesn’t have a great track record vs. Cleveland. In two games in 2009 he carried the ball 33 times for 115 yards and one touchdown. Surprisingly, Cleveland is the only team in the NFL to not allow a running back to score a rushing touchdown in 2010. All that aside, Mendenhall remains a must-start. The return of Ben Roethlisberger should open up the passing game which will force teams to loosen up their run defenses and allow Mendenhall even more room to run.
Mike Wallace, WR
Analysis: The return of Roethlisberger immediately improves Wallace’s value. Cleveland allows 7.7 yards per pass, which ranks 30th in the NFL. Wallace has the potential to see several deep balls and could be in for a big day.
Hines Ward, WR
Analysis: Ward loves playing the Browns especially at home. In Ward’s past five games against the Browns he has 30 catches for 389 yards and three touchdowns. In his past three home games against Cleveland, he has 21 catches for 309 yards and two touchdowns. I would consider starting Ward this week.
Heath Miller, TE
Analysis: Miller also has very good numbers vs Cleveland. In the 10 games he has totaled 29 catches for 386 yards and three touchdowns. The 386 yards are his most against any opponent. Miller has also managed five catches in four of his last five games against Cleveland. The Browns have been very good against TEs in 2010, holding them to an average of four Fantasy points per week, which is third lowest in the NFL. However, with Miller’s track record against Cleveland, he might be considered a sleeper start for Week 6.
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