6 Players You Can't Start In Week 6
What's interesting about fantasy football is that it pretty much boils down to a game of risk. Not Risk the board game, mind you - although we've been over that one before! - but risk in the same way a stock portfolio is about risk. It's not really about always picking home runs; it's about not picking the players who will kill your roster.
So with that in mind, here's a few landmines you'll need to avoid in Week 5, powered by the mathematical models that make us the most accurate projection engine in the business. Remember kids, if it ain't math, it's probably just some fat guy and his opinion.
It can never be said that we don't have a mancrush on Terrelle Pryor. Much like half of our staff, Pryor is a good ol' Pittsburgh boy with the brown-colored "water" of the Monongahela River coarsing through his blood. He's an unparalleled athlete and he's finally turning the corner so far as actually learning how to throw the ball. He's going to be a very good player, and a high draft pick for years to come.
He's a terrible start this week.
Nothing against Terrelle though - this is all due to the Kansas City defense, a swarming red horde of turnovers, stunt blitzes, and awesomeness. The Chiefs ranked #1 in our defensive power rankings with a score of -50.21 NEP; this means they're giving up an average of ten points per game less than average defenses would in the same situations. Ten points! Do you really think someone just learning the position going against that defense on the road is a good start?
Bench him. Start your regular guy, and if he's on a bye week, grab Nick Foles off the waivers.
Oh, Chris Johnson. You were once so much better than your highly boring name would suggest. Your play suggested something more dynamic, like Maximus Von Brilliant. These days you're living up to all the soft, doughy grayness that your insurance salesman name indicates.
Where your comparables were once Terrell Davis, you now top out at William Green 2002. William Green? Who? Oh, right, someone roughly league-average with a boring name. How appropriate!
To make matters worse, you're going into Seattle (our #3 NEP power-ranked defense) with Ryan Fitzpatrick under the center. I hope you'll get some time to visit Pike Place Market and maybe egg Clay Bennett's old apartment, otherwise that trip is going to be quite unpleasant.
Every now and then, miracles happen. The Bobcats win a game, West Virginia gets an applicant with an SAT score higher than 1000...hell, even bands as terrible as LFO had a hit. And so too in the football world do miracles occur, such as the curious case of Pierre Thomas and his sudden rash of competent play.
One must however take a lesson from the NFLX stock price however, and learn that what goes up must invariably also go down. Pierre simply won't have a week like last week, and there's a million reasons why. Let's go over a few of them, machine-gun style.
He's never had that many receptions - or targets - in his life. The Patriots have the #2 NEP defense. They're playing in Foxboro a week after the Patriots lost, and oh yeah, his top comparables include Chris Brown and Derrick Ward. Read enough?
When everyone was going nuts about Kenbrell Thompkins in the preseason, we were hot on Julian Edelman. When everyone was flapping their Cheetos-encrusted lips about Zach Sudfeld, well, we told them they were crazy and they didn't deserve to be in the fantasy sports recommendations business. Guess what happened, my pretties?
Unfortunately, the show is probably over. Rob Gronkowski comes back soon and Danny Amendola looks to be finally healed from whatever paper cut he's had for the past month, all coinciding with a strange return to Earth by Tom Brady, the result of a very mediocre rushing attack. Factor in a surprisingly potent New Orleans defense, and you've got on tap low-scoring game for what looks on paper to be a shootout.
Rueben Randle is not going to get 14 targets ever again. And I mean ever, the queen's ever. The royal ever. He should get a DVD of that game made because let me tell you, he's going to want to show it about a thousand times over the course of his life.
He's a WR3 - and probably #4 when you factor in Brandon Myers - on a team that can't run, going on the road against a stout Bears defense, with a QB who is playing as confidently as I'd be if I were asking Kate Upton out. Remember Mario Manningham? Dominik Hixon? How well do you think WR3's sustain week in and week out on this offense, hmm?
You should only start him if Hakeem Nicks' hamstrings fall off, and if you do have him, trade him. Before this Sunday.
This one hurts. It's hard not to love Heath Miller. He's fought his way back from a torn ACL..only to find himself on the worst Steelers team since Weegie Thompson was on the active roster.
To make matters worse, it's clear he's not all the way back. His blocks are missing some crunch, and more important for you, Mr. All-I-Care-About-Is-Fantasy-And-Fried-Chicken, so are his route-running and explosiveness. He's a solid decoy and he's going to force defenders to account for him, but he's not the red-zone option he once was and he's very unlikely to top double-digit targets this season unless a game is really, really out of hand. Not when Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are around.
The Jets won't score enough to make this a shootout, and their defense is stout enough to make the Steelers work for their points. Or, more accurately, work to get themselves into the opportunity to give up a backbreaking turnover that costs them the game.
Either way, if you're tight at TE, look at Coby Fleener off the waivers if he's available. If he's not and you have to go deep like the Janet Jackson song of the same name, look at Garrett Graham as well.