2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 6

Up to Date Player Injuries and Relevant News from All 32 NFL Teams Heading into Week 6

Buffalo: With QB E.J. Manuel out 5-8 weeks with a knee injury, and undrafted rookie backup Jeff Tuel having looked like an undrafted rookie last Thursday in week 5, Thaddeus Lewis will start at QB for Buffalo this week. He may be without his best WR though as Steve Johnson is Questionable and considered a game time decision because of a back injury. Between injury, matchup, and no practice time this week with a brand new QB, Johnson shouldn't be trusted in fantasy starting lineups (providing he's even active) unless you have no other choice. If Johnson can't go, T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley, or returning Marquise Goodwin (Probable after missing the last 4 games with a hand injury) will start in his place. RB C.J. Spiller is Questionable but he played through his ankle injury last week and is fully expected to do so again this week. With rookie Kicker Dustin Hopkins having gone on Injured Reserve finally with a groin injury, Dan Carpenter gets to finish out the season as the Bills kicker.
Miami: The Dolphins go into their bye week pretty healthy offensively. RB Lamar Miller continues to steadily push Daniel Thomas into just a backup role. A second half breakout is certainly possible for Miller.
New England: Latest word is that TE Rob Gronkowski will not be playing week 6 and it's unknown when he will finally return. It was revealed this week that Gronkowski's concern is the forearm he's had multiple surgeries on and not the back as was originally believed. The structural stability of the arm itself has independent doctors skeptical about clearing Gronkowski for game action (team doctors have cleared him though and probably told him he could play weeks ago which is why we've had this weekly shuffle on status the last few). No matter, Gronkowski is now not expected to be active week 6. RB's Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden are both Questionable but both are expected to play. Ridley likely returns as the primary rushing down RB and Bolden the 3rd down guy. LeGarrette Blount literally fumbled away his chances to usurp Ridley in week 5. WR Danny Amendola is Questionable but he suffered no setbacks in his recovery from a groin injury playing week 5 and is expected to be fine for week 6. Tom Brady's consecutive game with a passing TD ended last week. Don't be surprised if he puts up a few just to vent some frustration.
New York Jets: Bilal Powell is likely to lead the 3 headed RBBC between himself, Chris Ivory, and Mike Goodson. But make new mistake, this situation is going to be fluid going forward and those who expect big things from Powell based on his weeks when Ivory was out with injury and Goodson on suspension are going to get a rude awakening sooner or later; and I bet sooner. Powell is a RB3/4 being treated by many as a RB2. Burnt hand teaches best. Consistency from any of the Jets RB's is not to be expected and each will have their good days and bad days. WR Santonio Holmes is out a few more weeks with a hamstring injury. TE Kellen Winslow was suspended 4 games for violating the leagues ban on PED's (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Either Winslow should sue for a refund as they obviously didn't work, or he'd be in a Rascal scooting all over the field without them. Winslow is completely droppable in every type of league. Jeff Cumberland takes over as the Jets starting TE. He's better than Winslow anyway.  
Baltimore: Despite both WR's Marlon Brown (thigh) and Jacoby Jones (knee being listed as Questionable, both are expected to play week 6 after missing last week with their injuries. Brown likely slides back in as the starter opposite Torrey Smith and Jones likely will be eased back in as the #3 WR and on returns. It's uncertain how the Ravens will shuffle their other WR's going forward as Tandon Doss had done fairly well the last couple of games subbing in as a starter and may have played his way to a permanent role in the WR corps. Backup RB Bernard Pierce is Questionable with a thigh injury and while expected to play, doesn't have much stand alone value in fantasy.
Cincinnati: WR A.J. Green has been too quiet the last 4 games. After a stellar 9-162-2 stat line in week 1, Green has been held to 22 catches for 199 yards and 1 TD in the last 4 combined. he's getting his targets (45 in those 4 games) but Andy Dalton is not consistently getting the ball to him. It would help if someone else at WR would step up. The time share between RB's Giovani Bernard and Benjarvus Green-Ellis swung back into BGE's favor last week, but I doubt if that will be the case often going forward. I think the nature of the low scoring game last week made it preferable for the Bengals to run BGE more against his former team.
Cleveland: Brandon Weeden is back in as the starting QB with Brian Hoyer out for the year with a torn ACL. Weeden has a chance to redeem himself and while he's not as good as the old Browns regime thought him, he's also not as bad as the current regime seems to think of him either. And it needs to be remembered that in Weeden's 2 starts, he didn't have Josh Gordon available to throw to. It was Weeden at QB last season when Gordon first starting putting up big numbers so don't worry too much about Gordon. RB Willis McGahee carried the football 26 times week 5. He's locked in as their featured rushing RB, but he cedes 3rd down and passing down duties to Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey.
Pittsburgh: Ben Roethlisberger is Probable with the finger injury he suffered back in week 4. He'll be fine. Rookie RB Le'Veon Bell is ready to roll the rest of the season and isn't on the injury report at all for week 6. He appears to have put his foot injury behind him and the Steelers will use him as a 3 down bell cow most likely. A 20+ carry RB like Bell needs to be started despite a sub-par matchup against a good Jets run defense.
Houston: If he has another poor outing this week against the lowly Rams pass defense, this is likely to be the last time we see QB Matt Schaub start a game for Houston this season. A good game will go a long way into getting him back in the good graces of fans and coaches. For what it's worth, I expect he'll have that good game as the Rams are a giving defense. WR Andre Johnson is expected to play despite being listed as Questionable with the shin injury he keeps playing through each week. Officially though, the Texans say he will be a game time decision. Be ready to have a backup plan ready in case this is a true GTD. Arian Foster is Probable with minor thumb and chest injuries. He has regained his prior seasons form and is a RB1 while pushing Ben Tate into RB4 territory. Foster should run well against soft St. Louis. TE Owen Daniels was placed on IR/Designated for Return earlier this week because of a broken leg injury. He's eligible to return in week 14. Garrett Graham takes over and gets to hog all the TE targets now. Graham becomes an instant borderline fantasy TE1/2.
Indianapolis: The Colts signed RB Dan Herron off the Bengals practice squad this week to provide depth behind starter Trent Richardson and backup Donald Brown. Richardson has yet to produce a big game and has struggled with a low yards per rush attempt average since joining the Colts, but I think as he gets more comfortable in the offense he'll be fine. It's just taking time. WR T.Y. Hilton is finally off the injury report entirely and he appears to have pushed Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the starting WR spot.
Jacksonville: With Blaine Gabbert OUT with a hamstring injury, Chad Henne is back in as the starting QB week 6 and probably the rest of the season, or until he proves to stink so bad again that the Jaguars turn back to Gabbert once he's healthy. Simply put the Jaguars should just stick with Henne as at least he can put up some fantasy stats and since the Jaguars aren't winning NFL games they might as well make fantasy owners like them more by helping us win our games. WR Cecil Shorts is Probable despite having missed some practice time this week because of a groin injury he's struggled to get over the last couple of weeks. Shorts is supposed to be fine for week 6. Actually, I like both Shorts and Justin Blackmon as fantasy plays this week because of the fact the Jags are likely to be on the wrong side of that 27 points spread in the second half and the WR's should pick up some quality garbage time stats. With TE's Marcedes Lewis and Allen Reisner both OUT for a while, Clay Harbor is the starting TE and a name to keep an eye on in case he can benefit from garbage time stats too. As the trade deadline approaches expect Maurice Jones-Drew's name to pop up a lot. The Jaguars have nothing to gain as a team by not trying to get something in return for him as he is a free agent at the end of this year and likely they will let him walk. They really need to call the Giants.
Tennessee: WR Kenny Britt continues to draw the ire of coaches with suspect effort on the field. I think it likely that the Titans would take a cheese sandwich in return for Britt right about now. RB Shonn Greene still hasn't recovered enough from his knee procedure to be able to practice yet and he is OUT again this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a tendency to turn the ball over to opponents and faces the Seahawks defense in Seattle. Do the math and make sure to have a better QB option going this week.
Denver: Peyton Manning's quest to have the best season ever produced by a QB continues against cupcake Jacksonville this week. We're going to learn whether the single game record for TD passes is important to Manning or not as he certainly should be able to throw for 8 on the Jags if he wants to. While Knowshon Moreno should be a shoo-in for a big game given the matchup, why do I get the feeling that John Fox will call the dogs off at halftime and we'll see a lot of rookie Montee Ball this week once the game is well in hand? Those expecting a big game from Moreno could come away disappointed. Those who start Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and Julius Thomas probably won't be.
Kansas City: Blisters on his toes have Jamaal Charles listed as Probable. He's fine. WR Donnie Avery is also Probable despite a shoulder injury. TE Sean McGrath will continue to gobble up check downs to the TE by QB Alex Smith with Anthony Fasano (ankle; knee) Doubtful and rookie Travis Kelce (knee) OUT. Keep an eye on McGrath as a potential fantasy TE2 in ppr formats for the targets he'll get because of Smith's limitations.
Oakland: Darren McFadden is Questionable and while he was able to get in limited practices this week he is not expected to play. Officially though he is being called a game time decision. If he plays, it will likely be in a platoon with both Rashad Jennings (also Questionable with a hamstring injury, but expected to play) and Marcel Reece. Against a good Chiefs run defense, McFadden is hard to trust as a fantasy starter this week even if active. After losing out on Josh Freeman, the Raiders decided they still wanted to release Matt Flynn. Terrelle Pryor is locked in as the starter and Matt McGloin is his current backup.
San Diego: RB Ryan Mathews has passed his concussion protocols and will start Monday night. His return puts a halt to any value Ronnie Brown would have had and Danny Woodhead falls back to being just a ppr option. It was nice to see Vincent Brown and rookie Keenan Allen have good games last week. But I'm not jumping on the bandwagon yet. I loved Brown in preseason as a sleeper but he's disappointed too many weeks for me to be happy with one good week; Allen is still a raw rookie with mediocre speed.
Dallas: WR Miles Austin practiced in full all week and is listed as Probable for week 6. This will be his first game action since suffering a hamstring injury 3 games ago. But since Austin has proven to have a high capacity for recurrence of hamstring injuries, I'd be careful about how much I trust him. I liked what I saw out of rookie Terrence Williams the last 2 games and think Williams could legitimately push Austin for playing time. The only thing that could screw that up though is Jerry Jones. Jones may decide that because he pays Austin a lot more, he should be playing more. We'll see. Williams is the future starter in 2014 though as I expect Austin will be let go by then and so dynasty leaguers should grab him now for future returns on the investment.  
New York Giants: We'll find out next week how serious RB David Wilson's neck injury is. He's supposed to be getting a second opinion on Monday and the current expected timetable is that Wilson will miss the next 3 weeks. With RB Da'Rel Scott having suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to make him miss 2-3 weeks, Brandon Jacobs and Michael Cox stand alone as the only healthy RB's the team has right now. I would be surprised that even after Jacobs found the fountain of youth Thursday night if the Giants didn't try to make a trade for a RB. Mikel Leshoure, Mark Ingram, and probably Maurice Jones-Drew all could be had and the Giants need to do something about the position. And as for Eli Manning. Will everyone please stop saying the Giants should bench him. I know he's been throwing a ton of interceptions, but do you really think it would be better with Curtis Painter at the helm or rookie Ryan Nassib? Really??
Philadelphia: Despite Michael Vick having practiced all week, and even in full on Friday, he is listed as Questionable on the injury report and while being called a game time decision, it's expected that he won't play week 6. The whole thing sounds very weird to me as I would expect if Vick were truly entrenched as the starter, he should be starting if he can. There's something going on here that isn't passing the eye test. Either Chip Kelly is fooling the media and Vick is going to start this week over Foles; or Kelly is using the hamstring injury Vick has an excuse for getting Foles into the starting lineup and seeing whether Foles can lead the Eagles to wins. We'll learn the truth Sunday morning. Tentatively expect Foles to start week 6 and for Vick to return week 7. But nothing will surprise me here.
Washington: The bye week allowed RB Alfred Morris (ribs), TE Jordan Reed (thigh), and TE Fred Davis (ankle) to get over their injuries. Each is listed as Probable. Morris may find himself in a little more of a timeshare with Roy Helu though as we could start to see the beginnings of the 2013 version of Shanihanigans at RB. Morris is till the top RB, for now. I expect Reed to continue to separate himself from Davis as the top receiving TE. And Leonard Hankerson has another chance to continue pushing Josh Morgan out of the starting lineup. Hankerson has a huge talent advantage as a pass catcher over Morgan, but Morgan is one of the best blocking WR's in the game. Nothing quite like Mike Jenkins Jr. hindering a younger WR's progress.
Chicago: Wheel squeaks and wheel gets greased. Brandon Marshall broke out of his string of mediocre games Thursday night. While Alshon Jeffery had a poor box score it needs to be noted that he came really close to having a much better game; Cutler just didn't connect with him on a couple of passes that would have made Jeffery's final line a lot better.
Detroit: Calvin Johnson is Questionable and will be a true game time decision because of the knee injury that caused him to be a surprise inactive week 5. Between the injury and a poor matchup, Megatron is not necessarily a "must start" even if active. I wouldn't sit him to play Tavon Austin, but I could to play Pierre Garcon or any other quality proven fantasy WR2. But that's assuming Johnson plays. Kris Durham would likely start if Johnson doesn't. With rookie RB Theo Riddick OUT with a concussion, Mikel Leshoure figures to be active week 6. But he also figures to be the 3rd RB behind Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. TE Tony Scheffler is also OUT with a concussion so maybe we'll see more of intriguing undrafted rookie Joseph Fauria. Dynasty leaguers should be paying attention to Fauria. Right now he's just a big red zone target, but he has potential to be more.  
Green Bay: RB James Starks remains OUT with the knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago. The Packers haven't said what the exact injury was but it must be more than minor if he's missing this much time. Johnathan Franklin remains locked in as the backup to Eddie Lacy and Lacy is a full time featured RB so Franklin has little fantasy value outside of being a handcuff to Lacy. Starks is the only offensive player even listed on the Packers injury report this week so it may finally be the first week where all WR's and TE's are finally at full strength. It comes at a good time for fantasy owners.
Minnesota: A day after the tragic death of his 2 year old son, RB Adrian Peterson hasn't announced yet if he is going to play week 6 or not. Peterson had said earlier on Friday that he was going to play Sunday, but then the news broke later that his son had passed away and nothing has been heard since. If he changes his mind, and God knows he has every right to in the wake of this personal nightmare, fantasy owners should be ready to make a switch. If Peterson doesn't change his mind and does play, start him as he may take a lot of his emotions out in his running this weekend. Even though Christian Ponder is Probable and healthy enough to start, the Vikings are going to start Matt Cassel instead. It doesn't really matter as neither QB is going to be starting in a couple more weeks. Josh Freeman wasn't signed to a bigger salary than what Cassel and Ponder make combined to sit on the bench for long. Ponder's Vikings career is over unless he's willing to be a backup going forward.  Kicker Blair Walsh is Questionable with a hamstring injury on his non-kicking leg. Walsh is tentatively expected to be okay for week 6 but if the Vikings sign another kicker later today we'll know he isn't going to.
Atlanta: Harry Douglas steps into the starting lineup with Julio Jones gone on injured reserve because of a fracture in the foot he had surgically repaired while in college. Douglas is unproven as a starting WR, but it's said "luck is when preparation meets opportunity"; well here's a mid season example of it and I recommend Douglas as being a higher upside end of the bench fantasy WR than many guys out there. Roddy White suffered a hamstring injury to go along with the ankle injury he's struggled to get over and there's no guarantee that he'll be ready to play when the Falcons return from this week's bye. The rest of the WR corps is Drew Davis, Kevin Cone, and Brian Robiskie. At least they should have RB Steven Jackson back in week 7. Matt Ryan goes from the middle of the fantasy QB1 rankings to being in the 1/2 borderline range.
Carolina: TE Greg Olsen is Probable despite a foot injury. He's expected to start without issue. Rookie RB Kenjon Barner is Doubtful with a foot injury. Barner suited up for the first time week 5 because of a preseason foot injury and apparently he suffered a setback. Barner has no fantasy value with RB Jonathan Stewart eligible to return from the reserve/PUP list in week 7. Stewart is reportedly close to being able to practice on those ankles he had surgery on during the off-season. But there's no telling if he'll hold up. Stewart is only worth considering as a roster stash for those with big benches to stash plenty of players on.
New Orleans: Mark Ingram is Questionable and considered a game time decision. I expect that decision will be to make him inactive, but that's just a guess. Even if active I wouldn't expect much from Ingram. The top RB's on the Saints are Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. WR Lance Moore is also Questionable but he hasn't practiced at all for a couple of weeks now because of a hand injury and he isn't likely to play, or be effective even if he does.
Tampa Bay: The bye last week helped WR Vincent Jackson heal up an injury enough to where he isn't on the injury report this week, but it wasn't enough time for his teammate WR Mike Williams. Williams is officially listed as Questionable with a hamstring injury. However, after getting in limited practices all week he is expected to play. Also playing will be TE Tom Crabtree. Crabtree has been out since suffering a high ankle sprain in preseason. But he is Probable and returns to the starting lineup. Crabtree needs to prove he deserves to be considered for fantasy as he's got a rookie QB in Mike Glennon throwing him the ball now. Expect a heavy dose of Doug Martin going forward with Glennon at the helm and expect better results against a leaky Eagles defense than what Martin got against the Cardinals top fantasy run defense two weeks ago.
Arizona: WR Larry Fitzgerald is listed as Questionable because of a hamstring injury. Fitzgerald wasn't on last week's injury report at all and had seemingly put this week 2 injury behind him, but there must have been an aggravation of it. This is just a reminder to all that hamstring just don't go away quietly, even when it seems like a player has gotten over it. However, Fitzgerald was able to practice in full on Friday and is tentatively expected to start week 6. But between the hamstring, the lack of production of late, and the suspect matchup this week, Fitzgerald is far from being his usual "must start" self. By this time of the season we know who starts every week regardless of matchup and who doesn't, and unfortunately, with the exception of week 1, Fitzgerald hasn't put up the numbers to be considered more than a fantasy WR2 and a matchup play. Carson Palmer struggles the last few games certainly haven't helped Fitzgerald.
St. Louis: Rookie RB Zac Stacy did well enough last week to earn a second consecutive start. Even though Stacy is listed on the injury report as Questionable with a chest injury he is tentatively expected to be fine after practicing in full on Friday. I'm not convinced Stacy's status as the starter is permanent yet though. It takes more than a good game against Jacksonville to convince me. A second consecutive good game, this time against Houston, would do the trick though. Stacy would lock himself in as the starter, with Daryl Richardson as the change of pace, and Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham battling to be active each week. This is how it should have been to begin the season with and I said so; many times.
San Francisco: TE Vernon Davis is Probable and appears to have gotten mostly over his hamstring injury. Davis is a strong play this week against a Cardinals defense that has had problems giving up big numbers to quality TE's this season. RB Frank Gore historically has had some of his best games against Arizona and with the 49ers seemingly going back to a power rushing offense since they lack any playmakers at WR, Gore will get the ball plenty against an Arizona run defense that is actually top ranked in fewest rushing fantasy points allowed. We'll see what's stronger this weekend: history or this new found stingy run defense for the Cardinals as the 49ers will run Gore plenty and Kendall Hunter should get 5-7 carries as well. Jonathan Baldwin is getting more playing time but still hasn't asserted himself over the other options opposite Anquan Boldin. If he doesn't do it soon, he's going to have new competition as Mario Manningham is eligible to come off the reserve/PUP list in week 7 and word is that he may be able to start practicing right away. Manningham isn't likely to have a lot of upside coming off major knee surgery but he could surprise. Torn ACL's are no longer the death knell for careers they once were.
Seattle: Marshawn Lynch is expected to start and be fine for this week according to reports despite his being listed as Questionable with a "non-injury related" hip injury. Don't ask. It's Pete Carroll likely just being Pete Carroll. You should be fine considering Lynch as you normally would for your starting lineup week 6. TE Zach Miller is lucky to be listed as high as Questionable after not practicing at all this week because of a hamstring injury. Miller is not expected to be active week 6. Keep an eye on backup TE Luke Willson. He has a chance to show off his impressive skills this week.