Week 6: Start 'Em
When it comes to setting your lineups for each week of the fantasy season, a good rule of thumb is simply to not overthink it. You drafted players for a reason and in almost all cases, it is to play them from the jump. Then again, don't let draft day pride interfere with a basic - or detailed - look at the matchups, something you most likely do throughout the season. That's why we offer the "Start 'em" column, where we look beyond the obvious names to offer suggestions on potential lineup options, perhaps someone sitting on your bench right now that you may have simply overlooked. Throughout the season check back here for sleepers and oh so subtle plays and also sneak a peak at our Matchup Analyzer page, which this week backs up our take on two sneaky AFC South wide receivers to ponder...
Originally I was going to recommend starting Donald Brown, but due to his injury, fantasy owners should look to Vick Ballard. This is Ballard's first season in the NFL and this Sunday will be his first start. He has played sparingly while backing up Brown, but with a juicy matchup this week against the NY Jets (who are giving up 172 rushing yards per game, tied for worst in the NFL) he could be worth a start . If you were planning on starting Brown this week, don't be afraid to give Ballard a look.
By now we all know that Green Bay's starting RB, Cedric Benson, will be gone for at least eight weeks and maybe the whole season. There is plenty of talk about who will carry the load in his absence. As it stands now, the Packers will most likely use a committee of Alex Green, James Starks and FB John Kuhn to run the ball, but Green stands the best chance to get the most carries especially this coming week. Starks was the starter last week, but he was horrible in the pre season and was also dealing with a turf toe injury that kept him inactive. That being said he will most likely be active this week, but since Green has been active through the first five games of the season, it stands to reason he will get the bulk of the carries this coming week. The rest of the season is another story, but for this week, if you need a starter at RB, give Green a look.
It's a dangerous time in Arizona if you're a running back. First Beanie Wells went on IR, then it was Ryan Williams on IR, add to that William Powell (who had a head injury when he came in to replace Williams in last week's game). Powell's status is still not known, and we will have to wait until later in the week to know if he will be cleared to play this week. La'Rod Stephens-Howlings will definitely get more of a look with all these injuries. While Stephens-Howlings is too small to be an every down back, he is worth a look in PPR or leagues that count return yardage. While you shouldn't expect starters touches for Stephens-Howlings, between some rushes and receptions, he should get enough touches to score fantasy points.
It was a real shame to see Danny Amendola go down with an injury last week. While it's sad for Amendola owners, it's probably good news for Brandon Gibson owners. We all know that Amendola was easily QB Sam Bradford's favorite target, but with him gone, Bradford will be looking for another go to guy. A good bet for that is Brandon Gibson as he is 2nd in all receiving categories to Amendola, so we can only expect that to rise. Gibson faces a Dolphins defense giving up 281 yards per game through the air, meaning there is a good chance there will be good opportunities for Gibson to put up points. If you need a flex starter this week, give Gibson a look.
It has been a wild ride for Josh Gordon since he decided to enter the NFL supplemental draft. He was taken by the receiver needy Cleveland Browns and since then he has been working hard to learn the playbook and become a regular target of rookie QB Brandon Weeden. While Gordon only has 9 receptions this season, he has been targeted 22 times and leads the Browns in yards (175) and TD receptions (2). Each week, Gordon and Weeden keep working to get better together and it shows. Last week Weeden targeted Gordon eight times (he only caught two of them, but they were both for touchdowns and a total of 82 yards). Look for the Browns to try and build on this and keep looking to Gordon for big plays. In deeper leagues if you need a flex start, give Gordon a look