Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 6 fantasy football moves to make now

What a Week 6 with Peyton Manning setting personal bests, Tom Brady and the Patriots re-grouping and standing tall against Cincinnati on prime time, the Panthers pushing to 3-2 and alone atop the chaotic NFC South and new running backs bursting onto the scene of major fantasy football relevance. Let's start with the prime new running backs you will want to aggressively try to add in your waivers. 

First, welcome Branden Oliver (San Diego) who was the top fantasy running back this week. Especially if you are in need of a running back shot to the arm, I would say go all in with waiver dollars more or less to acquire Oliver. This kid is for real. I spotlighted him two weeks ago to pick up. The undrafted free agent out of Buffalo racked up 114 rushing yards off just 19 carries, caught four passes for 68 yards and scored two touchdowns this  week. Donald Brown went down with a concussion and Ryan Mathews is still out for a few more games. Oliver has drawn comparisons to Darren Sproles because he's short and wears the same number, but Oliver is more powerful than the former Charger.

Rashad Jennings was bound to suffer some sort of injury due to his workload and that happened Sunday, although Jennings avoided major injury (sprained MCL). He will be out a few weeks leaving Andre Williams to be the lead back in the meantime for the Giants, including a nice match-up this week at Philadelphia. Williams is a downhill runner with tremendous power and he can deliver punishment. Williams was the recipient of the 2013 Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back last year at Boston College with 2,177 rushing yards, the 5th-most in a season in FBS history. 

Montee Ball (Denver) was knocked out with a groin injury against the Cardinals, and fantasy GMs are probably glad they won't need to play him anytime soon. Ronnie Hillman will get the start and he is a priority add for this week as well. Hillman rushed for 64 yards after becoming the featured back this past week after Ball left the game. If nothing else, Hillman has a lot more speed and wiggle. C.J. Anderson was a healthy scratch this past week (mainly as he doesn't play special teams) but he will figure heavily as well and Anderson could end up as the starter down the road (and Anderson arguably has more upside). 

Another week, another long, sudden Antone Smith touchdown for the Falcons - I also spotlighted Smith two weeks ago for pick-up and will do so again this week. Smith now has four long touchdowns and he is one of the top fantasy running backs in any scoring format (especially touchdown-heavy formats of course), and despite the fact that he's touched the ball just 17 times! How does Atlanta not give this guy more work and just sees what happens at this point? It's unreal. Falcons' Head Coach Mike Smith did say after Sunday’s game that, "We need to have more plays designed for Antone."

Get Storm Johnson (Jacksonville) on your radar. Jacksonville needs all the offensive sparks it can get and Johnson was easily their best back this last week albeit on limited touches (27 yards rushing on four carries). Johnson runs hard and has a nice combination of vision and quick feet, and he also is solid out of the backfield as a receiver. As an added plus, Johnson was a teammate of Blake Bortles at the University of Central Florida. 

Zac Stazy (St. Louis) left the game against the Eagles in the third quarter with a calf injury and was immediately shut down for the rest of the game. Benny Cunningham filled in just fine collecting 71 total yards on ten touches and a rushing touchdown. Stacy however is not expected to miss Week 6 (but Cunningham remains a good addition). 

If you miss out on all those guys, George Winn could get the start in Detroit pending the status of Reggie Bush (ankle) and Joique Bell (concussion). Winn took his 11 carries for 48 yards against a tough Bills run defense on Sunday, although Bush is expected to be available for Week 6. 

Turning to other positions, New York Giant rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is a must add if available as well. Beckham has a ton of talent (he was the 12th pick in this year's NFL Draft), and it was just a matter of getting over a hamstring injury to show it. In his NFL debut this week against Atlanta, Beckham caught four passes for 44 yards and caught the game-winning touchdown. The rapport between Beckham and Eli Manning should only improve as they get more time together on the field. Beckham missed nearly all of the summer and the first four games with the hamstring issues.

Speaking of rookie wide receivers, one that has not really busted out yet, but certainly could on any given week is Davante Adams (Green Bay). Adams scored his first NFL touchdown on Thursday night. While he caught just 1 of 4 targets, it was a blowout in which Aaron Rodgers threw just 17 times. Adams has the #3 wide receiver job for Green Bay locked down and Adams is just one injury away to either Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson from major fantasy production. 

It looks like it is time to start taking quarterback Austin Davis (St. Louis) a little more seriously. Davis turned in his second-straight 300-yard, 3-TD game on Sunday. He has good weapons and is slinging it. The only negative is the Rams have San Francisco and Seattle as their next two opponents. 

Tight ends Luke Willson (Seattle) and Tim Wright (New England) are your top two grabs at that position for the week. 

Other fantasy notes 
There were three note-worthy NFL accomplishments this week as well. 

In addition to throwing a career-best 477 yards this week, Peyton Manning collected his 500th, 501st, 502nd and 503rd career passing touchdowns. Only Manning and Brett Favre are in the 500-touchdown club. Favre currently leads the NFL record books at 508. Manning is going to demolish that record. 

Tom Brady re-grouped and led the Patriots to a nice win over the then-undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. Along the way, Brady passed the 50,000-yard plateau and is now at 50,232. Only six quarterbacks in NFL history can make that claim (Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Drew Brees, John Elway and now Brady). 

Wes Welker collected seven receptions this week giving him 854 for his career. With it, Welker passed Rod Smith and Welker is now the leader for most receptions by an undrafted player in NFL history. Welker hasn't really got going in his two games back, but he remains a solid start in this Bronco offense (13 receptions, 118 yards and no touchdowns in two games).