Okay, let’s take care of the elephant in the room – Tony Romo. Yes, he’s not the most clutch of NFL quarterbacks, but was the Cowboys’ 51-48 loss to the Broncos on Sunday his fault? Absolutely not. The guy threw for over 500 yards and five touchdowns. Perhaps it was the defense’s fault, a defense that surrendered 51 points and 517 total yards. No, Romo isn’t the best quarterback late in games, but he’s been the sixth best fantasy quarterback since 2008. So please, give credit where credit is due and blame where blame is due.
With that, let’s take a look at some of the better match-ups heading into Week 6. Hint: one of them is against the Cowboys’ defense.
Note: Numbers are based on PPR data from FFToday.
Robert Griffin III @ Dallas
Peyton Manning isn’t the only one who’s embarrassed the Cowboys aerially this season. Quarterbacks are scoring an average of 30.8 fantasy points per game (FPPG) against Dallas. They’re the only team allowing 30 fantasy points or more per game to quarterbacks.
While Robert Griffin III hasn’t been the most consistent quarterback in 2013, there’s no reason not to start him this week. Griffin III could easily reach Top 5 fantasy quarterback numbers in Week 6.
Andrew Luck vs. San Diego
The Colts have been more conservative with the pass than other teams so far in 2013, but it would behoove them to sling it on Monday night against the Chargers. Andrew Luck has a great match-up in the first Monday night game of his career. San Diego is second to the Cowboys in FPPG allowed to quarterbacks at 28.5.
The Chargers have also allowed 137 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks, something the Colts will hopefully take into account in their game plan.
Cam Newton @ Minnesota
If you’re still holding onto Cam Newton, you won’t regret it this week. He’s been arguably the most frustrating fantasy quarterback in 2013 but it should be a 20+ point week for Newton as the Panthers face the Vikings on the road. Minnesota is seventh worst in the NFL allowing 26.1 FPPG to quarterbacks.
Even more encouraging this week for Newton is that the Vikings are the worst fantasy rush defense in the NFL. Only three teams have given up 300 or more rushing yards and the Vikings are one of them (Cowboys and Dolphins are the other two). However frustrated or angered you may be towards Newton, he won’t let you down this week. Give him another chance.
DeMarco Murray vs. Washington
Murray was included here last week, and he came through, so I’m doing it again. Really, I would start any major Cowboys this week (Romo, Bryant, Murray, Witten), because aside from the Eagles, the Redskins have the worst overall defense in the league as far as fantasy points are concerned. The 505 yards they have given up on the ground are fourth most in the NFL, even after their Week 4 bye. Opposing running backs average 26.6 FPPG against Washington. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game saw both teams score at least 28. Murray will have a big role in the Cowboys’ offense once again.
Willis McGahee vs. Detroit
The former Baltimore Raven and Denver Bronco had a surprisingly impressive fantasy performance last Thursday night against the Bills. McGahee carried the rock 26 times for 72 yards and a touchdown. The 2.8 yards per carry (YPC) left something to be desired, but the main stat was the 26 carries. McGahee reasserted himself as a fantasy starter, at least for this week.
In Week 6 the Browns host the eighth worst fantasy defense against running backs in the Detroit Lions. Detroit has allowed 24.3 FPPG to the position through five weeks. McGahee’s expected volume alone warrants at least a flex spot in your lineup this week.
Knowshon Moreno vs. Jacksonville
Despite what LeSean McCoy tweets, Knowshon Moreno has been a great fantasy running back in 2013. The fifth year running back is averaging 5.1 YPC on the season and had his most productive outing in the passing game on Sunday against the Cowboys, catching five passes for 57 yards. Moreno also had a season-high 19 carries for 93 yards against Dallas. Moreno’s resurgence has been one of the more pleasant surprises of the 2013 fantasy football season.
He should continue his success against the lowly Jaguars at home on Sunday. Jacksonville has actually been decent in the fantasy realm against opposing running backs, allowing an average of 22.6 FPPG. But, with the Broncos listed as 28 point favorites, Moreno should see a lot of action, particularly late in the game with garbage time carries. Consider Moreno a solid RB2 in Week 6 against Jacksonville.
Vincent Jackson vs. Philadelphia
Yes, he’s been disappointing fantasy squads all season, including mine, but I believe, in at least three of the four chambers of my heart, that Vincent Jackson will break out in a big way this week. The main reason why I’m so convinced of this is because of the defense he’s going up against — the defense that has given up the most receiving yards to receivers (1,207) and most receiving touchdowns (11) in the NFL. In fact, the Eagles pass defense has been so bad this year that their 55.9 FPPG allowed to wide receivers is 10 more than the next worst (45.8 by the Bills).
So please, for your own good, and even if it’s just for one more week before you look to trade him. This is one week when he won’t disappoint. Jackson is also a good play in daily leagues.
Reggie Wayne/T.Y. Hilton vs. San Diego
Finally, the Colts are giving T.Y. Hilton the ball. The lack of targets going Hilton’s way has been a conundrum all season, but the tables are finally starting to turn in his favor. After getting just five targets in their first game and four targets in their third game, Hilton has been targeted 15 times combined in the two games since Week 3.
And while an Indianapolis-San Diego match-up may not seem like it would produce a lot of offense, don’t be surprised if we have a barn-burner on our hands Monday night, especially with the Chargers giving up 45 FPPG to opposing receivers. Start Reggie Wayne as a high-end PPR WR2 and Hilton as a low-end PPR WR2 in Week 6.
Torrey Smith vs. Green Bay
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Torrey Smith is the sixth most targeted wide receiver through five weeks (51 targets). While the one touchdown isn’t what we were expecting up to this point, Smith is third in the NFL in receiving yards (556). He should see plenty more receiving yards this week against a Green Bay defense that gives receivers an average of 40.3 FPPG.
Also keep in mind the impact the absence of Clay Mathews will have on Joe Flacco, who should have a little bit more time in the pocket to find Smith down-field.
Vernon Davis vs. Arizona
Despite playing in just four games so far in 2013, Vernon Davis is still the 10th highest scoring PPR tight end. That rank should increase after Week 6 against the Cardinals, who allow 23.6 FPPG to tight ends, worst in the NFL. What’s even more favorable for Davis this week is that Cardinals’ stud cornerback Patrick Peterson should be shadowing the 49ers’ top receiver, Anquan Boldin, for the majority of snaps.
The Peterson factor should force Colin Kaepernick to look Davis’ way more often than usual. I like Vernon Davis as a Top 8 tight end this week against Arizona.
Greg Olsen @ Minnesota
Even with the success of Ted Ginn Jr. and the fact that Steve Smith is still on the team; Greg Olsen leads the Panthers in receptions (21) and receiving yards (273) so far this season. The security blanket for Cam Newton should have another productive game against the Vikings in Week 6. Don’t be surprised to see a touchdown from Olsen either as Minnesota has allowed six tight end scores through the first five weeks, aiding their 21.6 FPPG to tight ends.
49ers vs. Arizona
On paper Week 6 should be a pretty productive week for defenses, the 49ers included. After showing promise in Week 1 the Cardinals’ offense has completely sputtered since. It won’t get any easier for them this week playing at Candlestick Park on Sunday. What’s particularly nice for the 49ers is that Carson Palmer has thrown nine interceptions through five games this year. That’s tied for second most in the league. Couple that with the six interceptions San Francisco has and it should make for a nice defensive outing for the 49ers.
Jets vs. Pittsburgh
While the Jets haven’t forced a ton of turnovers this season (three through five games) they are tied for fifth in the league in sacks with 16. New York likes to get after the quarterback, and what better quarterback to get after than Ben Roethlisberger? The Steelers’ offensive line is depleted and Roethlisberger has a tendency to prolong plays. I like the Jets against a skittish Roethlisberger this week in the Meadowlands.
Click here for a complete list of projections from Gridiron Experts.