NOTE: All stats are from the past four weeks (three or four games) unless
Do Not Bench List - All Positions
- Running Back Shaun Alexander, Seattle
Seahawks: Alexander had 14 carries for just 25 yards in Week 5 as
he was silenced by the Pittsburgh Steelers. His bad week continued when it
was learned that fullback Mack Strong (neck)
was forced to retire due to an injured vertebra in his neck. Strong's run
blocking was a noted facet in Alexander's success, and while he's not a complete
waste right now, Alexander's stock takes a bit of a hit. Despite averaging
68.2 yards per game on the ground over the last month, he hasn't scored a
touchdown in his last three games. Regarding Alexander's Week 6 opponents,
the New Orleans Saints have allowed 83.7 rushing
yards and a touchdown per game against running backs in the last four weeks.
This could be a rejuvenation week for the stud back.
- Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
Cardinals: The absence of wide receiver Anquan
Boldin (hip) has vaulted Fitzgerald back into the elite realm of wideouts,
as he led all wide receivers with 14 looks last week. He has averaged 9.5
catches and 128.0 receiving yards in his last two games but finally added
his first receiving touchdown of the season last week. Fitzgerald has been
the primary target for quarterback Kurt Warner,
so you can't hesitate to play him against the Carolina
Panthers, even if Boldin returns.
- Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin, Arizona
Cardinals: Boldin (hip) has missed the last two games, but it was
reported that he could possibly return in Week 6. Check back often this week
for updates on his status, as his return should be a boost a fantasy offense.
- Wide Receiver Torry Holt, St.
Louis Rams: Holt continues to carry the load without his favorite
sidekick, wide receiver Isaac Bruce (hamstring).
He has five catches in each of his last four games, and broke a two-game touchdown
drought with an end-zone grab last week. He also earned a season-high 89 yards
through the air. Although not outstanding, Holt keeps piling up double-digit
fantasy points for your team and avoiding the extreme drops in production
that sometimes come with being a stud receiver. The Baltimore Ravens
might knock him down a bit in Week 6, but you can't bench a wideout with his
current pattern, especially in points-per-reception leagues.
Warner - Quarterback Matt Leinart's
(collarbone) season-ending broken collarbone gives the desert starting job to
Warner. He is no longer the unassuming former grocery bagger who inherited the
starting job for the Rams during the 1999 season,
but this should open up his fantasy value, as he will no longer have Leinart
to fend off. Warner has been unspectacular, but hasn't hurt himself. He threw
his first pick of the season last week and has done just enough to get by without
being a detriment to Arizona. His Week 6 matchup provides a chance to continue
his path, since the Panthers allow 254.0 passing
yards per game over the last month. Think of Warner as an equivalent to Pittsburgh
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:
very efficient, but with minimal upside in his fantasy production. He is a weak
No. 1 or Bye week replacement this Sunday.
Bulger - For the second straight week, Bulger (ribs) will be out of
commission for the Rams. In his first go-round as a starter this season, quarterback
Gus Frerotte provided some positives to build
on for the coming weeks as a fill-in. Frerotte certainly wasn't coddled as the
new starter, as he went 24-for-43 in passing, attaining 262 yards with three
touchdowns and three interceptions. The Rams don't
seem to be back-peddling on their passing game, so Frerotte will most likely
stay as a significant part of the offense. Bulger could spend at least a few
more weeks on the bench to rest. This week, the Rams
travel to face the Ravens, so keep Frerotte on the bench in Week 6.
Hasselbeck - Hasselbeck's grotesque 13-for-27, 116-yard outing - complete
with an interception - gave his owners little help from the quarterback spot
in Week 5. The Steelers defense seemed to have his
number, and Hasselbeck has now thrown four interceptions in his last three games.
This week, Hasselbeck faces the Saints, who have provided their opponents with
fantasy comfort this season. At Qwest Field, the Seahawks' offense could be
in for a rejuvenation week, and Hasselbeck could benefit. The Saints
have allowed 1.67 touchdowns per game and 197 yards per game against quarterbacks
over the past four weeks, which is around what Hasselbeck's owners expect from
him each week. He is a low-end No. 1 or Bye week fill-in this week.
James - The Edge had another ho-hum week against the Rams, compiling
88 rushing yards and earning just one reception for the third straight week.
He had 27 touches last week with four looks, and his ground yardage has increased
in each of the past two weeks. Before facing the Rams, he had 57 yards against
the Ravens and 77 yards against the Steelers. The
Panthers have allowed 116.5 yards and 7.25 receptions
per game to the running back position over the last four weeks, so he might
have a chance to add a few more grabs to his stat line. He is a solid No. 1
fantasy back with a strong play in Week 6.
Leonard - Finally seizing his opportunity, Leonard broke out with 102
yards on 18 carries along with five catches for 33 yards against a solid Arizona
run defense. With the Rams' offense seemingly invigorated under Frerotte's control,
Leonard could stay a valuable dual threat until the return of running back Steven
Jackson (groin). The Ravens stand in his way this
week, and he might not come close to a repeat. You could still get some serviceable
numbers out of him, as he figures to be a big part of the offense. He makes
a serviceable Bye week replacement with a weak play this Sunday.
Burleson - After receiving just four looks in Week 5, both Burleson
and Engram could be in for productive weeks. Wide receiver Deion
Branch (foot) suffered a mid-foot sprain during Sunday's contest and will
miss at least the next two games. Maybe the removal of competition for statistics
will help Burleson, whose production has steadily tanked in the last three games.
He caught six passes in Week 3, two in Week 4 and had just one catch for seven
yards last week. It would be easy to think Burleson would get an increased workload,
and he could contribute a few catches against the weak Saints
pass defense, which has allowed 145.7 yards and 1.33 touchdowns per game to
wide receivers over the past four weeks. Burleson is a decent No. 3 with a strong
play against New Orleans this weekend.
Engram - Like Burleson, Engram's catches have decreased from four in
Week 4 to two last week. However, Engram received three less looks this week
despite the injury to Branch. And like Burleson, Engram's matchup with the Saints
secondary could open up some more opportunities for catches. Engram could be
argued as the No. 1 choice for Hasselbeck, as he has consistently opened up
looks from the slot position. He is a quality No. 2 option and a strong play
in Week 6.
Bruce - The veteran was unable to suit up in Week 5, and the prognosis
for Bruce (hamstring) hasn't improved for the coming week. Check in as the week
progresses for updated information, and keep him on your bench unless you hear
Bennett - With Bruce already out of commission, wide receiver Dante
Hall (ankle) suffered what Rams head coach Scott
Linehan called a “serious sprain” in his left ankle on a kickoff return.
This could be a green light for Bennett to see some more production. He already
broke through last week for his first touchdown of the season with two receptions
and 32 yards. If Bruce doesn't see the field in Week 6, Bennett could have an
above-average week as he is a strong play against the Ravens
secondary. Play him if you need a solid No. 3 wideout.
Pope - Pope finally hit the stat board after going two weeks without
a catch, but his lone reception only gained him five yards on the day. He doesn't
look to be an integral part of the Cardinals offense
and shouldn't enter your lineup this week.
Pollard - For the second straight week, Pollard registered two catches,
gaining 28 yards against a Steelers defense that
smothered Seattle. The otherwise porous Saints haven't
given tight ends much leeway, allowing just 35.3 yards and 0.33 touchdowns per
game against the position over the last month. It would be a good idea to keep
Pollard on the bench this week.
McMichael - McMichael seems to be an early favorite target for Frerotte,
as the tight end made his presence felt with seven looks - that's one more look
than Bennett and just two less than Holt. McMichael totaled three catches for
45 yards with his first touchdown of the season, as Frerotte spread the ball
around. He might have to work a bit harder this week against the Ravens, who
have only allowed 26.5 receiving yards per game against tight ends during their
past four games. McMichael can be played as a marginal No. 1 or Bye week replacement
with a weak play this Sunday.
Rackers - The Arizona kicker had a productive Week 5, hitting all four
of his extra point attempts while drilling his second 50-yard field goal of
the season. He went 2-for-3 in field goals, missing one within the 30-yard bracket.
Two of his four missed kicks this season have come from 50 yards or longer,
and he has missed one each in the 30-plus and 40-plus range. He has tabulated
at least 10 kicker points in three out of five games this year, and he gives
owners security at the kicker spot through a combination of reliability and
a spotty Cardinals offense. He's a go-for-launch this
week as a strong play against the Panthers, who have allowed 8.2 kicker points
per game over the last four weeks.
Brown - In Week 5, Brown settled for a goose egg after legging 11 points
against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4. The Steelers
shut him down last week, but Brown is still 8-for-8 in field goals and 9-for-9
in extra points on the season. You can't ask for more than that in terms of
accuracy. However, his 6.2 points per game leaves much to be desired, and he
should occupy a spot on your bench this week against New Orleans.
Wilkins - The veteran scored a season-high 11 points Sunday, going 3-for-3
in field goals with a long of 46. Wilkins is 3-for-6 in kicks from at least
40 yards out, and he might be in line for a bonus kick this week if St. Louis
has trouble penetrating the Baltimore defense. He can be played as a weak No.
1 or Bye week replacement option in Week 6.
Off Pnts Allw/G
Cardinals - Arizona allowed at least 20 points for the fourth time this
season against the Rams last week, but they were
able to spring for two sacks, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown)
off Frerotte. This week could be a bit easier, as the Panthers
must fill the void left by quarterback Jake Delhomme
(elbow), who will miss the season after undergoing ligament replacement surgery.
Even his replacement, quarterback David Carr (back/knee)
is considered day-to-day. Carr did pull out a victory through his injuries,
but he has a giant target painted on his chest this coming week. With Carr at
the helm, the Cardinals can be considered a steady
No. 1 or Bye week replacement option with a play this week.
Seahawks - The Saints
could help the Seahawks on both sides of the ball
this week. New Orleans has been troubled in finding a solution to their 0-4
season. The injury to running back Deuce McAllister
(knee) appears to have made their offense even more anemic, and quarterback
Drew Brees has not lifted his funk. Seattle had
trouble containing Pittsburgh's newly regenerated offense, but still averages
2.8 sacks per game. The Seahawks have allowed just
16.5 points per game this past month. They are a low-end No. 1 or Bye week fill-in
Rams - The ugly Rams
defense might get a reprieve the coming week against the Ravens. St. Louis has
allowed 69 points over its last two contests against the high-powered Dallas
Cowboys and the Cardinals. The Ravens have earned
just 22 points in their last two games, as their entire offense came off three
field goals by kicker Matt Stover against the
49ers last week. In a matchup of recent putridity,
the Ravens offense just might surmount the winless
Rams. Go with the percentages and find a different defensive unit.
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
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