Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Michael Turner – He’s been very impressive to start the 2011 season. He’s avoided the injury bug and continues to produce both yardage and scores, just as expected. He looks just like the Turner from last season. But the Atlanta offense itself hasn’t been quite the same. That blame seems to fall back onto Matt Ryan. As the passing game continues to struggle, the scoring opportunities for the running game will falter a bit.
The latest hamstring injury to Julio Jones certainly isn’t going to help the passing attack. However, the drop-off in red zone scoring due to passing game issues should provide additional carries for the running game. As one stat dips the other should pick up for Turner. And Turner is one of those special backs who can score on his own from any distance when given the opportunity. Turner may not get as many in-close touches, but he should get a heavier overall workload due to the passing game issues.
Expect the most carries for Turner that he’s received in a while against a defense that can be run over. You should also expect the most yardage he’s had in 2011 here in Week 6 and he should make a huge jump up the rankings. Turner should be finding himself among such backs as Adrian Peterson, Fred Jackson and Darren McFadden after this outing.
San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions
Nate Burleson – With Calvin Johnson having an unbelievable, record-setting beginning to the 2011 season, you know that defenses have to be swinging attention his way. With two, and at times three defenders following Johnson all over the field, the other receivers should be given additional room to roam. If anyone has been benefiting from Johnson’s presence so far this season it’s been tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
Burleson has been less than productive to say the least. With how much money he’s been given added to his lack of production it seems as though Theo Epstein signed him to play right field for the Boston Red Sox. This is his last chance to actually do something. Matthew Stafford is piling up yardage and scores but Burleson seems to be more of a spectator and less of a contributor. It’s time for Burleson to perform or hit the waiver wire.
I’m guessing that Stafford continues to roll and continues to find his favorite targets in Johnson and Pettigrew early and often. But I also expect Jahvid Best to be held in check by the stiff 49ers’ run defense. With Best being held up, Stafford will need production from a new place, and it would most logically be his No. 2 wide receiver. If it doesn’t happen here against the 49ers, it just plain won’t.
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green – The rookie wide receiver has been extremely impressive so far in his young career. Andy Dalton already trusts him with deep-ball passes that could potentially lead to turnovers. So far, Green has been gaining Dalton’s trust. I’m expecting Green to further Dalton’s confidence level here in Week 6.
The Colts are all but done for the season. Their competitive spirit is completely shattered. Even before that shattering though, the defense wasn’t impressive to begin with. Green should be able to have the biggest game of his early career. Put Green in your lineup with the expectation of 100-plus yards and more than one score.
Also, one of the biggest fantasy boosts for a wide receiver is being on a team that houses a competitive offensive line but their team also has a defense that can be scored on. The Colts should make things interesting and keep the Bengals active in the passing game. Green has the chance to continue his move up the rankings and begin to gain consideration for a Top 10 wide receiver ranking position.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall – What exactly is going on with Mendenhall? You can try to blame the offensive line but both Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman have looked good behind the same line over the past two weeks. I know that he has a hamstring issue but even before that he couldn’t manage the numbers those were expecting when they took him as an early draft pick.
At what point do the Steelers decide to install these more productive players into the lineup on a weekly basis?
Mendenhall has to come out with guns blazing against the Jaguars here in Week 6. The Jaguars should provide Mendenhall with the matchup needed to put up a heavy stat line. Last week’s success from Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game should open up extra room for Mendenhall to roll through. I understand that the Jaguars’ defense has been better at stopping the run so far in 2011, but come on! If you don’t feel comfortable starting a Top 12 pick against the Jaguars then there is an obvious issue. If Mendenhall can’t excel in this relatively easy matchup but the other running backs that are lower on the depth chart do, it’s just a matter of time until the offensive game plan sways. Here’s your chance Mendenhall, put up or shut up.