Fantasy Football Insider - Week 6

by Tim Heaney and Bryce McRae on October 17, 2009 @ 10:37:03 PDT


Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.


Running backs

  • Expect Maurice Jones-Drew to receive the ball 20-plus times this week. If not, there is a good chance you'll hear more from him on the offense after next week's game. If he gets that many carries, he should surpass the century mark for yards.
  • There wasn't any complex answer to why the Atlanta Falcons and Michael Turner beat up the San Francisco 49ers on the ground last week. They just outmuscled San Fran and pushed the linemen back into the LBs. Our insider thinks they'll have success this week, too, especially with the Chicago Bears down to their third-string middle linebacker.
  • The Carolina Panthers will try to control the ground game this week. Our source feels a big game is coming; DeAngelo Williams was just a step away from breaking a big one on a few plays last week.
  • Chris Johnson has been a statistical victim of the Tennessee Titans' frequent comeback efforts. They play from behind often, and the run blocking has been inconsistent. It's not all on his teammates, though: At times, Johnson hasn't hit holes aggressively. LenDale White has been left out in the cold even more since they can't control the clock.
  • The best bet for the New Orleans Saints backfield? Riding the hot hand on carries between Pierre Thomas (hamstring) and Mike Bell (knee), who returns after missing the last two games. Reggie Bush will still see his slash-and-dash plays, but it'll be limited.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a full backfield this week. Rashard Mendenhall will start, with Willie Parker (toe) gradually working back in and Mewelde Moore continuing his third-down role.
  • What do the New York Giants need to do to get Brandon Jacobs going? Blocking better would be one thing. Still, teams are stacking eight in the box every time he runs, and Jacobs is just running into guys. As the passing game opens, there should be more room for the 264-pound back.
  • Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams
    DeAngelo: ready for brown sugar
    Expect to see a healthy dose of Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw this week to keep the score low and the New Orleans Saints' explosive offense off the field.
  • Expect Jamal Lewis to see the majority of work once again in Week 6 unless the Browns have to air it out for most of the game. A logical carry estimation: Lewis 20, Jerome Harrison eight.
  • Expected to return to action this week, the Denver Broncos' Correll Buckhalter (ankle) should see about 30 percent of the touches against the division-rival San Diego Chargers in a pairing with starter Knowshon Moreno. Expect a ton of Broncos running this week.
  • FYI - the Detroit Lions' Kevin Smith doesn't have a carry of 20-plus yards this year.
  • Despite the chaos that usually plagues the New England Patriots' backfield utilization, Sammy Morris remains the best bet for touches, given he was used 20 times last week. Of course, take that with caution.
  • Larry Johnson will probably remain with the Kansas City Chiefs after the trade deadline.
  • The Arizona Cardinals' Chris Wells will be a big part of the offense sooner rather than later. Will that be this week? That's too hard to say ... but if it's not now, they have the New York Giants in Week 7 - tough to see them giving the rook his big shot on national TV.
  • The New York Jets should be able to pound the ball against a weakened Buffalo Bills' front seven. Weather could also play a factor in this game with frosty temperatures expected.

Wide receivers

Tight ends

  • The Atlanta Falcons' Tony Gonzalez could have a big game working underneath and finding the soft spots in the Chicago Bears' zone.
  • Since Greg Olsen already leads Chicago Bears' receiving targets in looks, it's probably impossible that they can try to go to him more often. They already use him extensively in the red zone and near the goal line. Maybe he just isn't meeting the hype; maybe he's just a talented option that isn't elite.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars WR Torry Holt
    Holt has a little extra incentive
    Don't expect the Washington Redskins' Chris Cooley to get downfield much. The 'Skins will need to keep him close to the line to help in protection; even when they don't, they'll need to get the ball out quickly because of injuries along their offensive line.
  • As great a fantasy matchup as the Baltimore Ravens' Todd Heap has against the Minnesota Vikings this week, beware. They may use more max protect formations for their road game, during which they'll line up against Minny defensive end Jared Allen.
  • It didn't show last week, but the addition of wideout Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets stable should help Dustin Keller. Edwards can draw double teams to the outside, which leaves room for Keller to work in the middle of the field.
  • We may see more Brandon Pettigrew in the Detroit Lions' Week 6 plans if wideout Calvin Johnson can't suit up.

Place kickers

  • It's best to wait until the New Orleans Saints declare inactives before you play their kicker in Week 6. It looks like John Carney will start over the returning-from-suspension Garrett Hartley, but it's not a certainty.

Defensive teams

  • Rod Marinelli has made improvements to the Chicago Bears' D-line, which just added defensive end Gaines Adams. Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye has resurged.
  • The Minnesota Vikings remain vulnerable in the middle of the field in their Tampa 2 scheme. Tight ends have been obliterating them with dumpoff catches.
  • The Baltimore Ravens overly pursued Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson last week and broke their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher. They forgot their gap responsibilities, and Benson found creases. Baltimore claims they've addressed this problem in practice this week. The Ravens appear motivated to prove they can overcome their mistakes, just in time to face the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson.
  • The Ravens' secondary, however, remains a work in progress, especially against taller receivers. This should remain a chronic problem. By the way, the Vikes' Sidney Rice is 6-foot-4....

Individual defensive players

Around the league

  • New York Jets TE Dustin Keller
    Braylon's arrival should help Keller
    Surprising that Baltimore Ravens OC Cam Cameron went away from the two hottest offensive hands - wideout Derrick Mason and tailback Willis McGahee - last week. Word is Cameron wants to justify the Ravens taking quarterback Joe Flacco in the first round by becoming more balanced.
  • Speaking of the Ravens, center Matt Birk squares off against his old mates, Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. Right guard Chris Chester will need to be more physical to help contain the big guys.
  • More Ravens news: The hot trade rumor going around is acquiring Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe for a second-round pick. Our source chuckled, saying that isn't likely.
  • Rookie tackle Sebastian Vollmer will be filling in for New England Patriots tackle Matt Light (knee), who is expected to sit out Week 6. Head coach Bill Belichick has praised Vollmer for his size and long arms, but it's still a bit disconcerting for owners of Pats skills players.
  • Rob Ryan's alterations to the Cleveland Browns D have shone through in the last few weeks. They have been blitzing less often than earlier in the season, and Cleveland employs a deep rotation in the secondary, which includes wideout Mike Furrey, who has taken some snaps in his original position at free safety. An IDP-league target? Let's not go that far....
  • The Houston Texans will rotate Chris L. White (starter) with Antoine Caldwell at right guard. They also had a rotation last year, but this pairing is a downgrade from Mike Brisiel (foot), who's out for the year. The pass protection will be key - they kept quarterback Matt Schaub from being sacked in 50 attempts last week.
  • Don't plan on seeing the Kansas City Chiefs making more frequent use of the no-huddle. Their O-line probably can't sustain the pace. They'll probably still use it in short bursts, though, like they did against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5.
  • If the Cincinnati Bengals can get a right tackle cheap before the trade deadline, they may consider it, but don't expect any movement from the 4-1 club.
  • The loss of Washington Redskins offensive tackle Chris Samuels (neck) is huge for their offense - he was their best player. His loss limits them; it'll be a lot of three-step drops, short passes, runs. They'll be a lot of max protect on Sunday.
  • If Redskins head coach Jim Zorn doesn't survive the season, two guys could replace him: defensive coordinator Greg Blache or defensive backs coach Jerry Gray. Offensive consultant Sherman Lewis could be brought in as the play caller if Zorn heads out.
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About Tim Heaney

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.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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