Here are the guys I like or dislike in week 6 compared to the other experts on FantasyPros.com. I focus on guys that are actually on that start/sit bubble. There’s no need to tell you I’m a bit lower on Randall Cobb when I have him ranked #16 and the expert consensus rank (ECR) has him ranked #10. Both rankings tell you to start him. Some of the names discussed below are Joe Flacco, Willis McGahee, James Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and several others.
If you have additional start/sit questions, feel free to ask in the comments below or ask me on Twitter @TheRealTAL.
Joe Flacco / vs. Green Bay / ECR: 15 / My rank: 9
Flacco had a decent game in week 1 against the Broncos, but has struggled against some tough competition in the four weeks since. Every team he has faced in that time span has had an above average pass defense. But the Packers pass defense has not been above average this year. They have allowed the 9th most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, they’re the 3rd worst pass defense according to Football Outsiders, and they’re the 7th worst team in pass coverage according to ProFootballFocus.
Philip Rivers / vs. IND / ECR: 9 / My rank: 12
The Colts had a below average pass defense last year, but they’ve been much better so far this year as both Football Outsiders and ProFootballFocus have them rated as a top ten pass defense. Vontae Davis has played like a top corner, Greg Toler has been average, and Darius Butler has been good in limited work.
Russell Wilson / vs. Tennessee / ECR: 12 / My rank: 18
Speaking of good corner play, the Titans have had the best one-two corner punch so far this year. According to ProFootballFocus, Alterraun Verner has been the best cover corner in the league, and Jason McCourty has been the 5th best. Given that Seattle’s receivers aren’t too intimidating, these corners should continue to dominate. Seattle is going to win this game, but they’re going to do it with stifling defense and Marshawn Lynch, not Russell Wilson.
Willis McGahee / vs. Detroit / ECR: 24 / My rank: 19
McGahee is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry, but he’s getting a ton of work near the goal line. According to Mike Clay, McGahee has 8 carries from the three yard line or closer in just three games. He obviously doesn’t have a ton of talent left, but you have to like his usage.
The other reason he cracks the top 20 is that the back-end of the RB2 situation is pretty grim, and a lot of those marginal guys have tough matchups. Le’Veon Bell may have the toughest matchup possible against the Jets, MJD and the Jags should be throwing all day when trailing the Broncos, and Chris Johnson has to go to Seattle. But McGahee gets the Lions whose front seven is much better at rushing the passer than they are stopping the run. They’re a bottom ten run defense according to ProFootballFocus, Football Outsiders, and fantasy points allowed to RB.
Giovani Bernard / @ Buffalo / ECR: 19 / My rank: 27
I’m really not sure why a guy who is locked into a definitive time-share and who is facing a tough Bills run defense is considered to be a consensus top 20 option. And on top of that, the other guy in the time-share is more likely to get in the end zone. According to Mike Clay’s oTD (opportunity-adjusted touchdowns), Green-Ellis should (and does) have a couple more rushing TDs. Green-Ellis just gets more carries in tight.
James Jones / @ Baltimore / ECR: 29 / My rank: 17
This could be completely faulty logic, but Lardarius Webb is Baltimore’s best corner so I assume he spends the most time on Jordy Nelson. The other two Baltimore corners are Jimmy Smith and Corey Graham. Graham has played fewer snaps, so I assume he’s the nickel guy and the guy most likely to be on the slot man, Randall Cobb. That presumably leaves Smith on Jones. According to ProFootballFocus, Smith has been the 12th worst cover corner this year. Football Outsiders’ data also backs up the idea that Baltimore struggles the most against the second outside option. Baltimore is rated 14th against #1 receivers, 21st against slot receivers and 24th against #2 receivers.
Eric Decker / vs. Jacksonville / ECR: 15 / My rank: 23
Denver isn’t going to need to score 40 this week, so I think someone is going to get left out. To figure out who I thought that would be, I went back to the Football Outsiders data for how teams perform against specific types of players. According to that data, the Jags are the worst at defending the tight end (Julius Thomas), 24th against #1 receivers (Demaryius Thomas), 26th against slot receivers (Wes Welker) and 5th against #2 receivers (Eric Decker).
Larry Fitzgerald / @ San Francisco / ECR: 23 / My rank: 31
The ECR has Fitzgerald as a borderline starter in 12 team leagues and a flex play in ten team leagues, but I don’t think you can use him in this matchup. The 49ers allow the second fewest fantasy points per game to receivers, and they’re rated as the best team in the league against #1 receivers by Football Outsiders. I would actually play Michael Floyd over Fitz this week.