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Risers and Fallers – Week 6

Oakland Raiders vs Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan

Ryan came into the 2012 season being referred to as the quarterback set to make the biggest jump. So far this season he looks the part and then some. Matty Ice has been unbelievable and is right at the top of the quarterback list with Drew Brees and Tom Brady. This week, there are a lot of forecasters touting him as the overall number one fantasy quarterback. If the Falcons’ quarterback can answer the top spot call he could move into an undisputed top three option for the rest of the year. If Ryan beats up on the Raidershis numbers through six weeks would be nothing short of amazing.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns

Andy Dalton

As we just covered, Matt Ryan has been awarded the top quarterback projection spot for week six and could really bolster his value by meeting those expectations. Last week, many held Andy Dalton in high favor, placing him in the top ten quarterback rankings. Dalton, unfortunately, did not meet those expectations against what is one of the worst passing defenses in football in the Miami Dolphins. This week, Dalton gets a surprisingly effective Browns team that is getting back one of the best cornerbacks in all of football, Joe Haden. While A.J. Green is a monster and can certainly beat any coverage, Dalton may be forced to find other options more than he’s been used to so far in 2012. If Dalton can’t put up numbers two weeks in a row he will be on a downward slide, hindering his overall value. His climb up the ranks could hit a big time snag here.

St. Louis Rams vs Miami Dolphins

Rams Wide Receivers

The Rams have been full of surprises in 2012, most of which aren’t good ones. Though their record indicates real life success, the truth of the matter is that St. Louis is an elephant graveyard for fantasy value. Steven Jackson hasn’t managed to find his usual self, yet. Danny Amendola is now lost for an extensive period of time. Sam Bradford is putting up reasonable numbers but nothing worthy of a starting fantasy role. Aside from the Rams’ surprisingly good defense there isn’t a lot to like here. One good thing we can say about the Rams is their massive amount of depth. Even though Amendola is the best option at receiver there is still hope that someone can step up. Players like Brandon Gibson, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick, and Steve Smith are all in foran increasein targets.

The Miami Dolphins are one of the worst passing defenses in the league. There is a lot opportunity here from at least oneof these receivers to finally breakout and become ahot waiver wire commodity in Week 7. If you have roster room, snag the receiver that you think is best set to perform before this matchup to avoid using your waiver spot. If you had to grab one now to hold onto, Gibson would most likely be the best choice.

Indianapolis Colts vs New York Jets

Andrew Luck

Obviously, if Luck has a bad game here it doesn’t negatively affect his long term, overall value. But if he has another stellar outing he’ll be one of the highest ranked fantasy rookie quarterbacks we’ve ever seen. Luck could become a top ten option and stay there if he beats up on the Jets here in week six. Though New York is in complete disarray at the current time, they still offer one of the better defensive units even without Revis. A big game here would indicate that Luck is matchup proof and therefore worthy of being a top ten fantasy quarterback. It won’t be as easy as it was against the Green Bay Packers last week but that’s the whole point. This game will be much more indicative of how far along in the maturation process Luck truly is.

Detroit Lions vs Philadelphia Eagles

Matthew Stafford

Entering week six with only three touchdowns and even more interceptions is no where near the statistical level anyone was expecting. The current pace needs to be adjusted as Stafford is only set to pass for 16 touchdowns if this rate continues. Hopefully the bye week was just what he and the Lions needed to get things moving in the right direction.

In watching the last game, we could see that Stafford was seemingly struggling to even look at anyone other than Calvin Johnson. Though Megatron deserves heavy targets, if Stafford wants to be effective he needs to get other members of the offense rolling. No one is afraid of Nate Burleson catching 10 passes or Titus Young blowing up the secondary over the top. The second most targeted receiver on the Lions is tight end Brandon Pettigrew. His numbers (223 yards and 1 TD) certainly don’t reflect that. Stafford is currently killing owners as they are forced to start him each week only to have him completely fold in on himself. He’s bleeding fantasy value and absolutely has to put up numbers this week to salvage both his draft position and value as a weekly starter.

Kansas City vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dwayne Bowe

400-plus yards and three touchdowns is a nice way to open up the first five games of the season. Even though Matt Cassel wasn’t playing quarterback at an elite level, he still managed to get Bowe top end stats. With Cassel out this week and possibly longer the Chiefs will turn to journeyman Brady Quinn at quarterback. Quinn has been unimpressive since being selected in the first round by the Browns and couldn’t beat out Tim Tebow for starting duty with the Broncos.

The Chiefs’ running game with Jamaal Charles has been nothing short of spectacular and will likely be leaned on even more heavily in Cassel’s absence. The reduction in pass plays being called and the step back in quality from Cassel to Quinn could prove to be extremely detrimental to Bowe’s value. This week against Tampa Bay will give us a peak at what to expect from the new QB-to-WR combo moving forward if Cassel were to miss significant time or if he were to be benched. Bowe could potentially fall from a WR1 to a WR3.

Dallas Cowboys vs Baltimore Ravens

Tony Romo

The only way to describe Romo’s previous performance against the Bears is to quote the song You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch, “Stink, stank, stunk.” While the Cowboys did just have the bye week to sit down and try to figure some things out, they unfortunately get matched up against yet another top end defensive unit in the Ravens. While Romo doesn’t face any potential benching by Jerry Jones on the field, we as fantasy owners could be facing that exact proposition after this one.

The Ravens can be thrown on and Romo should have all of his options on the field, and completely healthy, for the first time in the 2012 season. After six weeks it’s tough to urge patience and argue a wait and see mentality, though. In most cases the fantasy playoffs start at about Week 13 which would put us roughly halfway through the fantasy season. Romo cannot afford to have another average to below-average game with more turnovers than scores. Owners will be forced to make the decision that Jerry Jones so adamantly claims that he won’t. If Romo does have another awful game, owners should adopt yet another Grinch quote, “I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.”

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