No fantasy expert or rankings site predicted Brandon Lloyd to lead all wideouts in receiving last year. The well-traveled wide receiver had never had more than 733 yards in a season during his four stops, but, shockingly, was able to nearly double his career high.
At first glance, the Top 25 receivers thus far this season contain many familiar names including Wes Welker, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, and Dwayne Bowe. Most of these receivers were taken within the first three to four rounds of their drafts in standard leagues. However, look a little deeper at the Top 25 and you will notice quite a few strangers on this list including Victor Cruz, Early Doucet, A.J. Green, Eric Decker, Doug Baldwin, and Jordy Nelson. Cruz and Doucet moved up their respective depth charts and may be cashing in with increased focus on Nicks and Fitzgerald, while Nelson simply has one of the best arms in the NFL tossing him the ball. Nevertheless, there are a number of pass catchers on the rise through first five weeks of the season. The challenge is to identify which of these names will continue to be legitimate producers versus a trendy flash in the pan.
Take a dive with me as we discuss one of these names along with a few other key matchups in Week 6.
QB AJ Dalton- Before Week 1, many fans and analysts forecasted the Cincinnati Bengals to be the league’s doormat this season with the departure of stars Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, and Terrell Owens. With a winning record of 3-2 and a much improved, stingy defense, the Bengals are competing with Baltimore and Pittsburgh for rights to the AFC South division. Rookie Andy Dalton has been a pleasant surprise and useful in deep leagues. If your quarterback is hindered with injury, on bye, or just lost their starting job to Tim Tebow, then give Dalton a look in Week 6. The Bengals’ QB prepares to lasso the struggling Indianapolis Colts who have allowed 23 and 27 points to opposing quarterbacks over the last two weeks including four touchdowns to Matt Cassel. Dalton is indeed a rookie and relatively inconsistent, but may be a serviceable option this weekend if you are in dire need of a starting quarterback.
Week 6 Projection: 200 passing yards and two touchdowns.
RB Ryan Torain- After joining forces again with Coach Mike Shanahan in Washington last year, Torain impressed with 742 rushing yards over 8 games. However, he appeared to be Shanahan’s “third wheel” this season with the arrival of Tim Hightower and rookie Roy Helu. When opportunity knocked during Week 4, Torain answered with 135 rushing yards on 19 carries. With Hightower currently nursing a bum shoulder, Torain may be in line for the start and the bulk of the carries against one of the league’s worst run stoppers, the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly has allowed over 105 rushing yards and at least 26 points to opposing backs this season. If Torain starts or receives even half the carries, he should be in line for a productive outing.
Week 6 Projection: 100 rushing yards and one touchdown
WR Victor Cruz- Cruz may be this season’s Brandon Lloyd. Cruz earned a start after the injury to Mario Manningham and has not looked back since. Even with Manningham healthy, Cruz has still been productive and made every Top 10 highlight reel after his circus grab against Seattle last weekend. With Eli Manning targeting him eleven times last game along with a favorable matchup against the Buffalo Bills’ secondary, Cruz is a more attractive start than many other notable receivers.
Week 6 Projection: 100 receiving yards and one touchdown
TE Heath Miller- Tight ends have been a challenging position to assess this season. With Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark off the radar, the waiver wire has been useful for owners to pick up a trending tight end. Pittsburgh’s veteran tight end Heath Miller is a name that most are familiar with. Coming off a solid game in Week 5 against Tennessee along with a matchup against Jacksonville, which allows the second most points to tight ends, Miller may be in store for an encore. If you need a tight end for Week 6 and the waiver wire is slim pickings, then it may be Miller time.
Week 6 Projection: 60 receiving yards and one touchdown
Minnesota Vikings DEF- After surrendering second half leads in the first four weeks, the Minnesota Vikings’ defense closed the door to earn their first win by defeating the Arizona Cardinals. Minnesota’s defense is not as potent as previous years, but has shown signs of life and is tied for 2nd in sacks. With a short trip southeast to Soldier Field, Minnesota should feast on Chicago’s weak offensive line and pressure Jay Cutler. Expect Cutler to be hurried and hit often.
Week 6 Projection: 11 fantasy points
Week 5 Results….Not bad!
QB Mark Sanchez
Week 5 projection: 250 passing yards and two touchdowns
Week 5 results: 166 passing yards and two touchdowns (Partial Success)
RB Willis McGahee
Week 5 projection: 100 rushing yards and one touchdown
Week 5 results: 125 rushing yards (Partial Success)
WR Julio Jones
Week 5 projection: 100 receiving yards and one touchdown
Week 5 results: 16 receiving yards (FAIL)
TE Brandon Pettigrew
Week 5 projection: 75 receiving yards and one touchdown
Week 5 results: 39 receiving yards and one touchdown (Partial Success)
Week 5 Projection: 11 points
Week 5 Results: 14 points (SUCCESS!..On last play of game)
Best of luck this week!