Just hours before the start of Week 6 (for most teams anyways) I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants – Wide Receiver
According to Ohm Youngmisuk (via Twitter):
“Hakeem Nicks is on flight to SF. Still may be game time decision but big step toward playing.”
Obviously, if Nicks is playing he is an option you are going to want to consider despite a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. In two matchups last season (including the playoffs) he had 7 receptions for 96 yards and 1 TD.
If you are considering using Nicks, I would grab either Domenik Hixon or Ruben Randle as a safety net. With a 4 PM EST start, you do not want to be left without an alternative. With Eli Manning obviously willing to throw to any receiver at any time, either one could post viable numbers in Nicks’ absence.
Aaron Hernandez – New England Patriots – Tight End
Initially it appeared like Hernandez was a lock to play this week. While that still appears to be the case, missing practice on Friday didn’t help. Then comes this news courtesy of Greg A. Bedard (click here for the article)
“Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who has been out since suffering a severe ankle sprain in Week 2 against the Cardinals, made the trip to Seattle and is expected to play on Sunday against the Seahawks. Hernandez’s role is to be determined based on how he feels on Sunday, but it’s likely to be in a limited role.”
As for as how much he’ll play, Bedard says that, “It could be a situation where Hernandez only plays 15-20 plays to stay on an upward track in his rehab.”
Having not played for a few weeks, the safer play would be to go with your alternative (especially if they play at 1 PM). No matter how he feels we aren’t going to know what type of role Hernandez is going to play, but if you have an option going later there’s a chance we get some type of update later in the afternoon. If you happen to have another TE going at 4 you can wait for the news, but I would plan on looking elsewhere. There’s just too much risk right now, though it would appear that he is back on track to be a must use option in Week 7.
Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins – Quarterback
Listed as questionable due to a concussion, the fact that he was a full participant at practice is a very good sign that he is going to play. Brian Tinsman of team’s official website (click here for the article) has a quote from coach Mike Shanahan saying:
“That’s what we have doctors for. Doctors make those decisions, we don’t,” he said. “That’s why we run all these tests. But why would you not let somebody play if he’s felt good right at the end of the game [and] every day until now? If he has these tests after practice today and all of sudden he’s not feeling good or something’s wrong, obviously we’re not going to take the chance.”
The Redskins play at 4:25 PM EST, so unfortunately fantasy owners may not have a definitive answer prior to setting their rosters. I would check the news this morning, but given what we have heard thus far I would be willing to gamble on him at this point. If you can find an emergency option starting at 4 PM or later (Kevin Kolb, perhaps), I would just to be safe. However, I would plan on using Griffin.
James Jones/Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers – Wide Receivers
Greg Jennings has already been ruled out for Week 6, meaning James Jones and Randall Cobb will both play a major role in the Packers’ passing game once again. That said the Packers take on the Houston Texans, who have performed like the best defense in the league. They are allowing just 190.2 passing yards per game and have allowed just 6 passing TD.
The matchup makes both low-end options and hardly must use, depending on who else you own. Jones hasn’t been yielding big yardage (56 or less each of the past three weeks), but he has 4 TD over the past two weeks. Cobb is the more dynamic player, but has just 22 receptions for 244 yards and 1 TD on the season.
If I had to pick one of the two I would go with Jones, but he’s more of a high-end WR3 due to the matchup.
Vick Ballard – Indianapolis Colts – Running Back
Here’s a little tidbit courtesy of Matthew Berry of ESPN (click here for the article):
“Not much to look at so far this year, but Ballard did have six touchdown runs of at least 20 yards at Mississippi State, which was the most of any SEC running back, a pool which included a guy named Trent Richardson. Ballard is a solid between-the-tackles kind of guy and the Jets have allowed seven rushing touchdowns inside the tackles through five games this season, tied for most in the league, and they’ve allowed 4.68 yards per rush inside the tackles, which is sixth worse.”
Hard to consider him a must use option, but the matchup is extremely enticing. As a FLEX option, or low-end RB2, he is worth using however.
Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs – Wide Receiver
Were you concerned about Dwayne Bowe thanks to Matt Cassell’s injury? With Aqib Talib suspended, things should be a little less worrisome (especially with Eric Wright also out). As it is Tampa Bay’s passing defense is allowing the most yardage per game on the season (345.2). Bowe is a must start option this week, even with Brady Quinn throwing him the football.
Stephen Hill – New York Jets – Wide Receiver
Do I trust anything New York Jets? Absolutely not, but it looks like Hill is going to return this week and Mark Sanchez needs to throw the ball somewhere. He showed how good he could be in Week 1 (though he disappeared the next two weeks before getting injured). With Vontae Davis listed as doubtful, a Colts passing defense that has allowed 8 TD (tied for 13th in the league) could get that much worse. I would consider Hill a desperation play, but if you are in need in a three receiver format he could be considered (more so than someone like Josh Gordon, who we will discuss in a moment).
Dustin Keller – New York Jets – Tight End
Having not played since Week 1, Keller is listed as probable and appears primed to return to the Jets’ lineup. It’s hard to trust him, though the team is in dire need of someone to catch the football. It all depends on your other options, but consider him a viable low-end option.
La’Rod Stephens-Howling – Arizona Cardinals – Running Back
He’s listed as probable, which is good but it is unable to trust him or any of the Cardinals’ running backs unless you are absolutely desperate. This is looking like a straight timeshare with William Powell, at best. With that in mind, if anyone is going to step up and claim the job the chances of it being Stephens-Howell are remote given his size.
Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns – Wide Receiver
Mohamed Massaquoi and Jordan Norwood are out. Travis Benjamin is doubtful. In other words, the Browns are running out of healthy bodies. It is obviously tough to depend on Gordon, but he should start opposite Greg Little (who has been plagued by drops).
Gordon is coming off a game where he had 2 receptions for 82 yards and 2 TD, but overall this season he has caught just 9 of his 22 targets. He’s a starter and faces a middle of the road defense, so he’ll be a play for the extremely desperate, but he is not a recommended option if you can avoid it.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings: