Bye Week: Detroit Lions, Houston Texans
Start – Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
What was looking to be one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, the Super Bowl LI rematch, has lost some hype. The Patriots defense does not look as good as in years past, and the team has struggled to close out games. The Falcons offense is not as explosive as last season but this is still a revenge game for the Falcons so expect them to never let off the throttle. This could end up being one of Matt Ryan’s best games of the season.
Denver’s “No Fly Zone” continues to be one of the best defensive backfields in the league, shutting down every quarterback they face. Unfortunately for the Broncos, their offense is struggling mightily which leads to low scoring games and fantasy nightmares. The Chargers will look to run the ball with Melvin Gordon even if they start to fall behind a little, knowing that the Denver offense will not be able to get many points on the board. Rivers will end up being more of a game manager in this matchup so do not expect fireworks from the LA quarterback.
Start – Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins offense has been less than stellar to say the least, but Ajayi has picked up his production over the past two weeks. Over that time span he has rushed for 207 yards on 51 carries, much higher than in the first three games of the season. It seems that head coach Adam Gase has realized that Ajayi has the talent to be the focal point of the offense, especially one lead by Jay Cutler. If Ajayi isn’t on your fantasy team, you might be able to get him for a bargain.
Joe Mixon hasn’t broken out like some analysts expected him to, but not all of that falls on him; the Bengals offensive line has been poor to start the season and the offense has yet to find a rhythm. Through five weeks, Mixon has 187 yards and one touchdown and is only getting 15 touches per game. I would keep Mixon on your bench this week with his matchup against a Steelers defense that just held the leading rusher in the league to 21 yards.
Start – Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Most teams who are struggling to start the season tend to favor younger players and increase the youth of their team, but that has been the opposite case for the Cardinals. The triplet of Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and now Adrian Peterson has shown that age truly is just a number, and this is especially true with Fitzgerald. This season he has caught 42 passes for 465 yards and 3 touchdowns, and continues to be Palmer’s favorite target.
Sit – T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck has been ruled out once again for week seven, meaning Jacoby Brissett will continue to lead the Colts offense. Although Brissett has proven to be capable to start in the NFL, this hurts the fantasy value of the wide receivers. Hilton has struggled to maintain a high enough floor to be an every week fantasy starter, but his production ceiling is one of the highest. The Jaguars come into town with one of the best cornerback tandems, so Hilton will likely struggle.
Start – Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota is back for the Titans, improving the fantasy value of every member on the offense, especially Walker. Mariota did return las week, but looked out of form and not as mobile as normal, which is typically his greatest advantage, so once he is 100% healthy again, Walker should return to TE1 production levels. The Titans get a favorable matchup with the Browns this week, so if all is well Walker should be back on track.
Coby Fleener was one of my sleeper tight ends coming into the season but has not performed up to his ability, especially considering that he has one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time throwing to him. So far Fleener only has 11 catches on 16 targets through the first 5 games, and didn’t catch a single pass in last week’s high scoring affair with the Lions. Unfortunately, Fleener can be dropped in all re-draft leagues until Brees starts to look his way more often.
Start – Buffalo Bills
The Bills are coming off their bye week to an opponent that might have Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback. If those words don’t scream matchup heaven to you, then I don’t know what will. Buffalo’s defense has been above average this year and should come off the bye week fresh with an extra week of preparation. Jameis Winston looks to be out for this game with a sore shoulder, so Fitzpatrick will get the nod giving a major advantage to the Bills.
Wade Phillip’s defense does not have quite the resemblance of the Broncos Super Bowl winning squad, but they have done well in some matchups this year. This week I am skeptical in their matchup with the rejuvenated Cardinals offense. The Cardinals traded for Adrian Peterson and started him last week, and he had a vintage A.P. game with 134 yards and two touchdowns. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald have also found their connection that had been missing in the first quarter of the season, so watch out for a high scoring affair in LA.