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RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 6

Welcome back to this week’s edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, which is a matchup guide for all of this weekend’s (and Monday’s) NFL contests. While this piece is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used for some of those decisions as well.

In each of the NFL Week 6 game profiles below, players mentioned in the green light sections have a great matchup, and can be counted on as rock solid options for the week. Players mentioned in the yellow light sections have just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns, meaning they are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire. Players in the red light sections have serious concerns, and need to have expectations lowered for the week, and/or should be avoided if possible. Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not be the guy(s) carrying your team to victory this week.

Bye Week Teams: Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle, Buffalo

Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Bears Ravens
Quarterback 18th 28th
Running Back 16th 8th (tied)
Wide Receiver 15th 27th
Tight End 13th 6th
Defense/Special Teams 8th 15th
Vegas Line: Ravens -6.5
Vegas Over/Under: 39
Ravens’ DL Brandon Williams (foot) is still without a timeline to return, and the Ravens’ have now allowed over 100 rushing yards in three straight contests since he went down. Jordan Howard is averaging 89.7 rush yards per game with three touchdowns since Week 2. Regardless of their rush defense struggles, the Ravens D/ST is in a great spot as 6.5-point Vegas favorites against rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky, who is starting his first NFL road game.
Mike Wallace had his second decent showing in a row last Sunday, catching three balls for 133 yards. The Bears aren’t exactly a wideout funnel, but Wallace seems to has established himself as the go-to receiver over Jeremy Maclin, who is battling a shoulder injury. Buck Allen put himself back on the fantasy map last week, turning 24 touches into 85 total yards and a score against Oakland as the prime beneficiary of Terrance West‘s calf injury. With West’s status looking dubious for Week 6, Allen figures to have a large role in a game where his team is a heavily favored. Zach Miller has some sleeper appeal after going 3-39-1 last Monday night, as the Ravens can be beaten over the middle of the field.
Ben Watson has mostly been a fantasy non-factor since scoring a touchdown in Week 3, with just 7 catches for 45 yards over his last two games. Kendall Wright‘s fantasy arrow appears to be pointing up with Mitch Trubisky at the controls, tough the Ravens are one of the more stingier defenses against wideouts. The Alex Collins hype train had been gaining steam in recent weeks, but it appears Buck Allen is the current clubhouse leader in the backfield after out-touching Collins 24-12 last week against Oakland. Tarik Cohen‘s touches have decreased each game since Week 3 (he only had 7 on Monday night), as head coach John Fox insists on keeping Benny Cunningham involved on passing downs.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Packers Vikings
Quarterback 22nd 26th
Running Back 14th 31st
Wide Receiver 12th 13th
Tight End 31st 8th
Defense/Special Teams 14th 25th
Vegas Line: Packers -3
Vegas Over/Under:
46.5
Davante Adams shook off his Week 4 concussion to drop two touchdowns against the Cowboys last Sunday, figures to draw coverage from either Terence Newman or Trae Waynes, who have both been exploitable this season. The Vikings have limited opposing QBs all season, but Aaron Rodgers is officially en fuego, with 10 touchdown passes over his last three games. Adam Thielen could end up the Vikings’ no. 1 receiver for this game if Stefon Diggs (groin) sits. The Packers have been better this season than last against opposing WRs, but still give up 152 yards per game to the position.
Jordy Nelson (back) is practicing fully, but will most likely draw coverage from CB Xavier Rhodes, who as held his assignments mostly in check this year. Aaron Jones looked like he should have been the Packers’ starting RB all along after hanging 125 rushing yards and a score against Dallas.  The Vikings, however, give up just 72.4 rushing yards per game to opposing backfield, and fellow Packers RB Ty Montgomery‘s potential return from a rib injury caps Jones’ upside. Randall Cobb also figures to be relied upon heavily on underneath routes if the run game predictably struggles. Be wary that Cobb has  only caught 8 passes for 73 yards over the past two weeks though. Jerick McKinnon looks like the RB to own in Minnesota, and has the receiving chops to contribute via the air if the Vikings find themselves in a boat race with Green Bay. Case Keenum is back on the streaming radar in a potential shootout. Keenum didn’t need to do much last Monday against the Bears, but has shown this season he can air it out with the best of them. Kyle Rudolph has re-introduced himself to the fantasy world after being dormant since Week 1, and may be relied upon more if teammate Stefon Diggs (groin) is sits out or is limited. Speaking of Diggs, he is a great spot to rebound after last week’s dud, but has a poor history of playing well while injured. Martellus Bennett finally broke the 50-yard threshold last Sunday against the Cowboys, but still has not done enough to warrant being considered anything more than a tertiary option in the Green Bay passing game. The Vikings have allowed a TE score in three of five games this season though.
Green Bay has surprisingly given up on average the 14th-most fantasy points to opposing D/STs. Still, starting fantasy D/STs against Aaron Rodgers is typically not a recipe for success, even if the Vikings are generally a strong choice most weeks. Latavius Murray looks like a waste of a waiver claim, as McKinnon was clearly the better back on Monday night, and out-gained Murray 146-43 in total yards.

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position 49ers Redskins
QB 12th 19th
RB 4th 23rd
WR 8th 31st
TE 32nd 3rd
D/ST 17th 6th
Vegas Line: Redskins -11
Vegas Over/Under:
 46.5
Kirk Cousins threw for 585 yards and 5 touchdowns combined over the two games prior to his bye week. The 49ers have allowed at least 292 passing yards to opposing QBs in each of their last three games. Pierre Garcon gets to face the team he spent his past five seasons with that will be without star CB Josh Norman (ribs). Garcon is currently 8th in the NFL in pass targets, and is the only established receiving threat on the 49ers roster. Even without Norman, the Redskins’ D/ST is a great streaming option as 11-point Vegas favorites against a West Coast team in a 1pm start time.
The good news regarding Jordan Reed is practicing fully this week, and no longer on the Redskins’ injury report. The bad news is the 49ers have given up just 18.8 receiving yards per game and no scores to tight ends this season. Regardless, a healthy Reed should figure to be heavily involved given the struggles of the Washington WR corps. Terrelle Pryor finally got into the end zone prior to the Redskins’ bye week. Pryor is averaging just 46 receiving yards per game, but should be able to get going against a 49ers defense allowing 185 yards per game to WRs. San Fran has allowed the third-most receiving yards to opposing backfields, which bodes well for Chris Thompson‘s involvement in this contest. Samaje Perine has mostly underwhelmed in an expanded role, but with Rob Kelley (ankle) expected to sit, Perine has a great opportunity to find the end zone with the game being a projected blowout.  Rookie tight end George Kittle put himself on the fantasy map with a 7-83-1 performance against Indianapolis last Sunday, and could put up a similar performance this week, as the Redskins defense has allowed 90.3 yards per game to tight ends this year.
Jamison Crowder has been a major disappointment this season, with just 14 catches for 106 yards on the year. The Redskins have announced they plan to involve Crowder more going forward, but it’s hard to see that happening with Jordan Reed now healthy. San Fran head coach Kyle Shanahan claims that Carlos Hyde‘s dud game last week was not due to injury, and the first-year head coach plans to implement a committee with Hyde and rookie Matt Breida. Both aforementioned RBs are risky plays given the the uncertainty around their playing time, and the Redskins’ stinginess against opposing backfields.

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Lions Saints
Quarterback 25th 11th
Running Back 18th 13th
Wide Receiver 14th 11th
Tight End 12th 14th
Defense/Special Teams 21st (tied) 32nd
Vegas Line: Saints -4.5
Vegas Over/Under:
 51
This contest has one the highest over/unders of the week, so start Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Alvin Kamara with confidence. Thomas and Kamara are particularly interesting this week, as the Lions struggled with big bodied receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess last Sunday, and have  also given up the 4th-most receiving yardage to RBs this season. Mark Ingram should also see more than the 14.3 touches he’s been averaging through four comtests after Adrian Peterson was jettisoned to Arizona. Matthew Stafford (ankle/hamstring) is practicing fully, and will be needed this week to keep up with Brees and the Saints offense. Golden Tate should be able to get loose this week after failing to eclipse 58 receiving yards since Week 1.
The Saints allow 169 total yards to opposing backfields, which should set up Ameer Abdullah for a decent day. Coby Fleener could be primed for at least one more week of relevance against a Lions defense that just let Ed Dickson go bonkers for 175 receiving yards last Sunday.
It says a lot about Marvin Jones that his best game of the season came five weeks (6-54-0). It’s pretty much touchdown or bust for Jones. Theo Riddick has not seen the type of usage fantasy owners that drafted him hoped for. Riddick could pop in this one given the projected shootout, but it would be a big gamble at this point. Eric Ebron seems like a lost cause after catching just 5 passes for 42 yards total over the past three weeks. Willie Snead (hamstring) is expected to be active, but it’s still unclear how healthy he really is or what his role will be.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.