Mike Hart is the name in the Indianapolis Colts’ backfield this week. With Joseph Addai and Donald Brown both nursing injuries, Hart may get the start on Sunday against Washington. This is a very interesting story to keep tabs on because if the Michigan alum gets the starting nod he would be a solid play in week 6. The Redskins have been pretty good against the run this season, but their defense has allowed 30 points twice so far. Peyton Manning should be throwing the ball early and often which is a good thing for Hart because when he does get carries it will open up the field for him. Plus, he’s a very good receiving back so look for Hart to get a little work pass catching as well as on the goal line. Addai may still play on Sunday, but right now it’s looking like Hart will be the man so scoop him up for the weekend.
Another running back getting his chance to start this weekend is Ladell Betts in New Orleans. Reggie Bush is still a few weeks away from returning from a broken leg and it doesn’t appear that Pierre Thomas’ ankle will be ready by Sunday either, so consider Betts a nice spot start in Week 6. The Saints travel to Tampa Bay on Sunday, so this is an excellent situation for him to walk into. The Buccaneers have allowed the opposing running back to run all over them the last two games (143 yards for Rashard Mendenhall and 144 yards for Cedric Benson) so Betts may get a crack at breaking 100 yards if he gets a decent amount of carries. He is certainly worth an add in all formats this week, but also be aware that Betts did lose a fumble last week and dropped a pass that resulted in an interception. Plus, Julius Jones was just signed as well so he could take some of the work away from Betts.
The New York Jets’ two-headed monster out of the backfield looked sharp Monday night against a tough Minnesota run defense. LaDainian Tomlinson is the clear-cut starter for the Jets, but Shonn Greene has started to find his role the last two weeks. He ran for more than 100 yards in Week 4 and scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 5 so that’s good news for those who have stuck with Greene. New York travels to Denver on Sunday and will look to once again pound the football against a weak defense, so both Tomlinson and Greene will get a solid amount of work. Expect to see double-digit carries out of each player. Tomlinson is obviously a must-start right now as he is every week and I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest Greene as a solid play also because I think he will make it three straight weeks of providing fantasy help.
Michael Bush, RB, Oakland Raiders
Bush was named the starter for Week 6 against San Francisco even though Darren McFadden should be active as well. With the starting nod, Bush becomes a nice sleeper for Sunday since it’s evident that he will get the majority of the carries for Oakland. McFadden has been dealing with a hamstring problem which is one of the worst injuries for a running back to have because it could linger all season. When given the opportunity Bush has produced and does have two rushing touchdowns on the season so he is very capable of having a big day against a team that is struggling as much as any team can struggle. I see Bush getting about 16-18 carries this week and should be close to 100 total yards so keep an eye on him if you are in need for a flex option or lower-end running back.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Sims-Walker has definitely gotten off to a slow start in 2010 with just 16 catches through five games, but he could be in line for a nice recovery against Tennessee. The Titans are coming off a win against Dallas in Week 5, but their defense wasn’t all that impressive. They allowed Tony Romo to throw for more than 400 yards against them so that’s encouraging news for Sims-Walker owners. Quarterback David Garrard really leaned on Sims-Walker in the second half last Sunday in a close game against Buffalo and he came up big with a handful of receptions and a touchdown. More targets should be in store for Week 6 because Jacksonville will look to exploit the weak pass defense of the Titans. This means that Sims-Walker should have one of his better games of the fantasy season.
Eddie Royal, WR, Denver Broncos
Even though the Broncos have an extremely tough matchup on Sunday against the Jets, I see Royal being a major contributor. Brandon Lloyd will certainly be bottled up by either Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis, so this will leave Royal plenty of room to operate in the middle of the field out of the slot. The interesting stat with Royal is that he has 330 receiving yards on the season and nearly 200 of those yards have come after the catch, so look for him to get short passes over the middle against rookie Kyle Wilson or slower linebackers and then run past them. Royal is a tough play this week, but after seeing how well Percy Harvin did out of the slot last week against New York, it’s very realistic that he could have a handful of grabs for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Lock of the Week
Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
Everyone was getting down on Sanchez for his performance Monday night where he failed to throw a touchdown pass and his completion percentage was very low. Well in his defense, the weather was miserable and his receivers dropped at least five very catchable passes. And though he wasn’t responsible for any scores, he didn’t turn the ball over at all so that’s a huge plus.
The bottom line is, Sanchez has led his team to a 4-1 record thus far and still hasn’t turned the ball over after five games. That’s pretty impressive for a second-year quarterback. He’s got a great matchup on Sunday at Denver. Let’s face it – the Broncos have a horrible defense. They have allowed 116 points and eight touchdown passes in five games, so I like Sanchez’s chances to have a solid game in Week 6. The Jets will be running the ball plenty, but this will only make it easier for him to find the open receiver and there should be plenty of those against Denver.