Is this the week Megatron returns for the Lions and Calvin Johnson's fantasy owners?
As we look at Week 6, it is likely your fantasy team is marred by injuries. Whether it was to the quarterback position, the running back position or you are staring at a listing of Qs or DNPs next to names on your roster, it's been tough. As a fantasy owner, your goal is simple: set your best lineup each week. We all know how frustrating it is to see a player have a huge day... on your bench.
While we make bad calls (no one can truly predict what will happen - that's why they play the games), we try to use the data we have to make good calls. Part of that is knowing which players are poised to have a good game (five up) and others that are lower in the ranks because they aren't expected to do as well this week (five down). This isn't a start/sit, just an analysis of the rankings.
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
With Philadelphia in the bottom third of the league in terms of pass defense, Eli Manning is the seventh-ranked quarterback for Week 6. The Giants do play on Monday night, and Manning seems to shine in prime time. He's thrown for three touchdowns in the past two games and currently has 10 touchdowns to two interceptions on the year. Assuming Odell Beckham Jr. plays, Manning is a QB1.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins
Yes, Miller has been terrible. However, the Dolphins supposedly are going to focus on the run and getting Miller more involved. Through four games, Miller has 37 carries. Granted, he's only run for 131 yards with those carries, but hopefully the Dolphins have worked on the run game over the bye week. It's a gamble to start Miller, because fantasy owners have been burned over his previous four games, but Tennessee can be beat on the ground. The Titans are allowing an average of 4.4 yards per attempt, the sixth-worst average in the league.
Antonio Andrews, RB, Tennessee Titans
Andrews didn't exactly run away with the starting job for the Titans, but he did get in the end zone, which helped his fantasy line for Week 5. Andrews will get the goal-line carries, and he catches the ball, which gives him value in PPR leagues. He's not worth starting in standard leagues, but he has value as a RB3 in PPR leagues. The Titans aren't committed to any of their running backs (as they say), so expect Andrews to still get an opportunity to carry the ball.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
When Megatron has to be on a "five up" list, it's hard times in the fantasy football world. But Johnson hasn't had a game over 100 yards yet this season and he only has one touchdown on the year. Historically he has played very well against Chicago, and everyone knows that the Bears' secondary can be beaten. He's averaged 6.4 receptions per game, and Matthew Stafford has been terrible. However, keep in mind the Lions played Denver, Arizona and Seattle over the past three weeks. While good players should still be able to beat good defenses, a date with Chicago is just what this 0-5 team ordered. Johnson is our 11th-ranked wide receiver this week.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
While everyone knows that Oakland is terrible against tight ends (don't talk about Week 5 and Owen Daniels), it's lesser known that the Giants are pretty bad too. The Giants have given up the third-most fantasy points to tight ends, and they haven't played against any elite ones (Jason Witten, Jacob Tamme, Jordan Reed, Charles Clay, Garrett Celek). Each week a tight had has either had a touchdown or at least 75 yards. Ertz is coming off seven targets in Week 5, where he caught five of those for 60 yards. Look for him to be more involved in the passing game against a weak defense.
Josh McCown, QB, Cleveland Browns
While McCown has been on fire recently, he is only the 14th-ranked quarterback for Week 6. Denver's defense has been playing lights-out. The Broncos have only allowed three passing touchdowns this season, and the longest reception they've allowed is 33 yards. McCown has been playing well and utilizing the weapons on his team, but he's no match for the Broncos. He's a low QB2 this week.
Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Hill has 58 rushes for 176 yards through five games. Without the five touchdowns (which came in two bursts - two in one game, three in another), he would be waiver-wire fodder. The Bengals insist he is their starter, but when it come to the eye test, Giovani Bernard is the better back. It's hard to trust starting Hill until he proves that he is going to get carries and be able to do something with them. He has two fumbles on the year as well and in a year where running back is a tough position, Hill is just a RB3 for Week 6.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
As the Lions' offense has been struggling, Abdullah has not looked like the running back that experts thought he could be in the preseason. Since Week 1, Abdullah has not had more than 35 rushing yards, more than two receptions, more than 20 receiving yards and he hasn't found the end zone. Joique Bell has missed the past two games, and Abdullah has done nothing to run away with the starting job. With Bell expected back and Theo Riddick stepping up, Abdullah's value has taken a hit. He's the 26th-ranked running back for Week 6. While the matchup with Chicago is favorable, it's hard to trust him as more than a RB3.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
While Watkins hopes to return from his calf injury this week, he simply can't be trusted. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor status is uncertain due to a MCL sprain, which means EJ Manuel could get the start. While Manuel is capable of throwing the ball, he will likely be used as a game manager to just get through with backup running backs and banged-up receivers. The matchup against Cincinnati isn't a cakewalk, but the Bengals can be beaten through the air. However, let Watkins get back into a game before starting him in fantasy.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks
A stat line: 21/204/2. That's Jimmy Graham through five games this season. He's had two games with over 50 yards and three games with 30 yards or less. It's been brutal as a Graham fantasy owner, and there's no sign that will change this week. Graham is our 14th-ranked tight end for Week 6, which is a far cry from where he was last season. Carolina has been the stingiest to tight ends thus far, so until the Seahawks can game plan to get Graham more involved, he's only a TE2.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.