A.J. Green has had one monster game this season and four less-than-satisfying showings. Can he break out against the Bills?
As always, I like to start my fantasy football start/sit articles by taking a look back at how I did the week before. So before we dive into Week 6, here’s how the Week 5 wide receiver/tight end advice did.
Start DeAndre Hopkins (16.9 fantasy points) — Hopkins is a target machine and even though defenses know he’s getting the ball, they can’t stop him.
Start Allen Robinson (19.2 FP) — If Blake Bortles is going to air it out every game, Robinson is a must-start.
Sit Amari Cooper (4.9 FP) — He was blanketed all game by an excellent Broncos secondary.
Start Antonio Gates (21.2 FP) — Rivers loves throwing to Gates and it showed Monday night.
Start Tyler Eifert (21 FP) — Eifert is starting to look more and more like the best receiving threat on the Bengals.
Plus I warned you about starting Jason Witten. That was an ugly offensive performance by the Cowboys last Sunday.
Start Charles Clay (0.7 FP) — Clay was really the only receiving threat the Bills had, but their offense never really got going against the Titans because they never had the ball long enough.
Sit Gary Barnidge (19.9 FP) — If Josh McCown is going to throw the ball all over the place to keep the Browns in games, Barnidge is going to put up massive numbers every week.
Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay
START THESE WRs…
Willie Snead, NO (vs. ATL, Thurs.)
Do yourself a favor and go check the waiver wire right now to see if somehow Snead is still available and if he is, grab him. Drew Brees has a new favorite target and his name is Snead (not Brandon Coleman like everyone thought at the beginning of the year). Snead has seen his targets increase each week and he is coming off a monster game in a loss against the Eagles where he caught six of 11 targets for 141 yards. The Saints play host to the Falcons Thursday in a game where you know they are going to fall behind early. That means lots of Brees passes in the second half and look for Snead to be the main beneficiary and score his second touchdown of the season.
A.J. Green, CIN (at BUF)
Other than in Week 3 where Green scored 34.7 fantasy points after a 10-catch, 227-yard and two-touchdown performance, he has been rather pedestrian this season. Green wasn’t a major part of the Bengals’ game plan last week against the Seahawks and only scored seven fantasy points. That will change this week where Green will definitely be a major focal point in the Bengals’ offensive game plan. The Bills can’t defend the pass. Up until last week, the Bills had allowed a minimum of 22 points to WRs while also surrendering seven touchdowns to the position in their first four games. The Bills haven’t faced a WR as good as Green yet this season, so expect big numbers from him this week.
Brandon Marshall, NYJ (vs. WAS)
Did you know that Marshall has put together three straight 100-yard receiving games and has already scored three touchdowns this season? If you did, you must bleed green. Marshall has been one of the most consistent wide receivers this year and coming off his bye week, he’ll look to continue his hot start against a pretty good Washington Redskins defense. Luckily for Marshall owners, Washington is much better against the run than the pass. The Redskins are 10th in the league in terms of fantasy points given up to WRs this season. No one has been able to stop the Ryan Fitzpatrick-to-Marshall train yet this season, and it won’t stop this week. Chalk Marshall up for another 100 yards and a touchdown.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK…
Donte Moncrief, IND (vs. NE)
Moncrief has basically fallen off of everyone’s radar the last few weeks because he has been catching balls from Matt Hasselbeck instead of Andrew Luck. That will change this week when Luck returns to take on the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are going to do everything they can to destroy the Colts thanks to “Deflategate,” and the Colts don’t have the defense to stop them. This means that the only chance the Colts have of winning this game is for Luck to play like the Luck of 2014 and throw the ball downfield. Luck and Moncrief were establishing excellent chemistry before the QB got hurt and look for Moncrief to better his Week 2 numbers of 122 receiving yards and a touchdown.
SIT THESE WRs…
James Jones, GB (vs. SD)
Anyone who snagged Jones off the waiver wire in Week 1 probably thinks pretty highly of themselves and for good reason. Jones has scored five touchdowns in his first five games. But there are holes starting to show in Jones’ game, as opposing defenses are starting to shade his way and limit his opportunities. Last week is a great example where Jones did have a pretty good game with 77 yards and a touchdown, but he was targeted only three times. Ty Montgomery had more targets. It won’t help Jones’ cause that it looks like Davante Adams will be playing this week and the fact that the Packers are playing the San Diego Chargers, who just happen to be pretty good against the pass, giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to WRs on the season.
Travis Benjamin, CLE (vs. DEN)
Benjamin has come out of nowhere this season to put up 411 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his first five games and anyone who was smart enough to snag him early in the season off the waiver wire, has been riding him ever since. He’s played so well that he is now a consistent threat that opposing defenses must account for. This week however, it’s best to stay far, far away from Benjamin. The Denver Broncos and their impressive pass defense are coming to town. The Broncos are first in the NFL with only 11.8 fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs per game. They’ve shut down Steve Smith Sr., Jeremy Maclin, Calvin Johnson and Amari Cooper. All of those guys are better than Benjamin. Leave him on your bench.
Jordan Matthews, PHI (vs. NYG, Mon.)
Matthews was the best player and the only offensive weapon the Eagles had in their first two games of the season, which was a great thing if you had him on your fantasy team. But now that Sam Bradford is no longer dinking and dunking the football down the field and the Eagles have opened things up, Matthews has been terrible the last three games. He’s scored a pathetic 14.3 fantasy points with zero touchdowns over that span. Matthews has watched as other Eagles have stepped up to play a bigger role (like Josh Huff) and now Matthews can no longer be counted on to produce quality fantasy points on a weekly basis.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…
Jarvis Landry, MIA (at TEN)
Like everyone on the Miami Dolphins, Landry has been a real disappointment so far this season. His only saving grace has been in PPR leagues, otherwise he’s been useless. That’s not going to change this week against a really tough Tennessee Titans defense. Believe it or not, the Titans have surrendered the second-fewest yards and the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs in 2015.
START THESE TEs…
Antonio Gates, SD (at GB)
This is probably the last time you’ll see Gates in the start section because he’s going to become an automatic start each and every week. Gates sat out the first four games of the season due to suspension and he looked faster and fresher than we’ve seen in the last few years. It sure didn’t take long for him and Philip Rivers to pick up where they left off last season. He caught nine passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns on Monday night against Pittsburgh. The Rivers-to-Gates magic will continue this week in Green Bay against a Packers secondary that will be playing a bend-don’t-break style of defense because by the second half the home team will have a large lead. That means plenty of opportunities for Gates.
Martellus Bennett, CHI (at DET)
Bennett, much like the entire tight end position, has been widely inconsistent this season. It’s absolutely infuriating when you assume that a player of Bennett’s caliber should have a great game against a Kansas City defense that can’t defend the pass, and he only gets 3.2 fantasy points in Week 5. Stay the course if you have Bennett on your fantasy roster, there is good news. He’s had 24 targets in the last two games and that’s unlikely to change even if Alshon Jeffery plays this week. Plus, the Bears visit the Lions this week and the Lions are a train wreck. Currently the Lions are giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends and are allowing one touchdown to the position per game this season. Look for that trend to continue as Bennett hauls in at least one score this week.
Gary Barnidge, CLE (vs. DEN)
Other than Devonta Freeman, has there been a hotter player in the NFL than Barnidge? In the last three weeks he’s been targeted an incredible 32 times and is averaging 16.6 fantasy points in those three games. That crazy value for anyone, let alone a tight end who no one knew about four weeks ago. Of course starting Barnidge does come with some risk this week against the Denver Broncos, but Barnidge is simply too hot not to start and see what happens. How’s that for deep fantasy analysis and insight?
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK…
Julius Thomas, JAC (vs. HOU)
Thomas finally played last week after missing the first four games of the season due to a hand injury. He didn’t start, but he did play in obvious passing situations and ended up catching two balls for 20 yards. The Jaguars signed Thomas to a big time deal this offseason and you know they have been chomping at the bit to get him on the field and get their money’s worth. Now that Thomas appears ready to go, look for Blake Bortles to target Thomas a lot, especially when he’s on the run and of course in the red zone. Thomas made a name for himself in Denver because he was a red-zone touchdown machine. Houston’s defense isn’t very good and that means lots of opportunities for Thomas to get his first-ever touchdown as a Jacksonville Jaguar.
SIT THESE TEs…
Charles Clay, BUF (vs. CIN)
Clay has gone from a must-start last week to an absolute must-sit this week. It’s not because he scored only 0.3 fantasy points last week, after all, Clay is still the No. 5 TE in terms of fantasy points. No, you need to sit Clay this week because he’s most likely lost Tyrod Taylor (MCL sprain) as his starting quarterback, which means he will be catching passes instead from EJ Manuel, at least for this week against Cincinnati. To make things worse, the Bengals have allowed an average of fewer than five fantasy points per game to TEs. Stay away from Clay this week.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. KC)
Playing in a Norv Turner offense, many thought that Rudolph would have a breakout season and was on many experts’ sleeper lists to start the season. But so far, Rudolph has failed miserably to live up to those expectations. Get this – he’s only scored more than 5.5 fantasy points in one of his four games this season. That’s disgusting. His streak of horrible games will continue this week against a Chiefs defense that has surrendered only one touchdown and an average of 4.78 fantasy points per game to opposing TEs.
Larry Donnell, NYG (vs. PHI, Mon.)
Donnell has had an up-and-down start to the 2015 season, but has seen his targets increase since the Giants’ offense has been on the upswing lately. Last week Donnell owners were saved by his incredible touchdown catch, helping him post 9.5 fantasy points. He will most definitely need another touchdown this week if he is going to have any value going up against an Eagles pass defense that has been one of the most difficult for TEs to produce against. Philadelphia has allowed an average of fewer than four fantasy points per game to opposing TEs.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…
Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. CAR)
Unfortunately you probably don’t have much of an option to sit Graham this week unless you were savvy enough to pick up Antonio Gates or even Tyler Eifert at the beginning of the season. So far Graham has been a terrible fit in the Seahawks’ offense and a lot has to do with the fact that he’s been asked to block more than he has ever had to before because Seattle’s offensive line cannot protect Russell Wilson. Even though head coach Pete Carroll stated this week that he would like to get Graham more involved in the offense, it’s not likely to happen against a Carolina Panthers defense that has given up the fewest fantasy points to TEs.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.