With every fantasy football season comes wins, losses and adversity. This week Packers TE Jermichael Finley went down for the season with a knee injury, QB Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion in the same game and the Chargers placed LB Shawne Merriman on injured reserve with a calf injury for the purpose of releasing him once he is healthy again.
Finley is obviously a huge loss and you will want to move quickly to snatch up Aaron Hernandez or Mercedez Lewis off the waiver wire. Rodgers is expected to start on Sunday against the Dolphins and looks like a solid top five play as always. Merriman on the other hand, is only really a factor for those who play in IDP leagues. And, even then, Merriman was not someone that you should have owned.
Then, on Wednesday, the Eagles acquired RB Jerome Harrison from the Browns in exchange for RB Mike Bell. Both players stay in the same back-up role they were in on their former teams and neither holds any fantasy value unless the starter goes down.
Byes: Cardinals, Bills, Panthers, Bengals
Jay Cutler: Cutler has been cleared to play this week and will start for the Bears. The better news for Cutler owners is that he faces a Seahawks defense that allows 302 YPG in the air (31st in NFL) and has given up six passing touchdowns in the first four games.
Joe Flacco: Flacco has thrown for 1,116 yards and five TDs in the first five games, but he has also thrown six interceptions thus far. I like Flacco this weekend because the Patriots pass defense is 28th in the league and they have given up nine… that's right… 9 passing TDs through the first four games. The Patriots are coming off their bye, but bad play is bad play.
Michael Bush: Bush burst out last week with 104 yards rushing, 31 yards receiving and a score, and that was against the Chargers top 10 ranked run defense. This week he faces another in-state rival in the 49ers and they are 18th against the run. So, expect more of the same with a possible additional touchdown from Bush this week.
Jamaal Charles: Charles looks like he has finally taken over as the Chiefs starting RB and he had a 19-8 carry ratio with Thomas Jones. This week Charles will run up against the Texans and their 5th ranked run defense. I personally think the Texans will give up some fantasy points to Charles this weekend, so I am going to start him in spite of the numbers.
Hakeem Nicks: Nicks is moving into the #1 WR role and pushing Steve Smith to his more natural role of WR2. Nicks has put up 240 yards and two TDs in the last two weeks, and he could easily do more of the same this weekend against the Lions. I know the Lions busted up the Rams offense last weekend, but the Giants are a far cry from the Rams.
Kenny Britt: Now, let me start and say I wouldn't go crazy and start Britt as a WR1, but as a WR2… sure. Britt has steadily improved of the past three games and has also caught a touchdown pass in each of them. This weekend he faces a 29th ranked Jaguars passing defense, so good things should be in works for him. But, the potential for a blowout with Chris Johnson salivating at the match-up is also there. So, this is a high risk/high reward situation… but danger is my middle name.
Kellen Winslow: Winslow is not the best TE out there for fantasy owners to start, but you could certainly do worse. He is averaging 4.25 catches and 53.5 yards-per-game, so there is plenty of reason to be optimistic this weekend. I'd consider him a solid 7-8 TE this weekend.
Chicago Bears Defense: I was skeptical of the Bears defense heading into the season, but they are healthy and looking like the real deal. The Seahawks are as middle-of-the-road as it gets in the NFL and I see no reason why the Bears can't shut them out if the sun shines right on Sunday.
Kevin Kolb: I had high hopes for the successor to Donovan McNabb in the off-season, but that has since faded. Kolb failed to win the starting job back from Michael Vick and in the two games since his injury he has thrown for 201 and 253 yards and a single TD against the 30th (Redskins) and 21st (49ers) ranked pass defenses. This weekend he'll face the Falcons and simply don't trust him knowing that Coach Andy Reid also doesn't trust him.
Tom Brady: Dare I do it again and tell you to sit your #1 overall pick? Yes I will! Brady has lost Moss and let's not fool anyone into thinking the Patriots are better off without him. Add to that the fact that they play a Ravens defense that allows a stingy 156.6 YPG in the air and the second fewest passing TDs (3), and you've got a prime bust candidate for Week 6.
Peyton Hillis: Hillis has been a waiver wire gem in the first month, but this week he runs into the Steelers and their stout defense. They give up just 62.2 YPG on the ground and have allowed just two rushing touchdowns. Try and play the guys you drafted instead of Hillis this weekend.
Marshawn Lynch: There was a stampede for Lynch when news broke of his trade to the Seahawks. Then, owners went nuts when Coach Pete Carroll made it clear that his new back is ready for a major role in his first game at Chicago. Here is where I come in… don't play Lynch this weekend. The Bears have the 3rd best run defense in the league and they are all healthy heading into this game.
Davone Bess: Bess probably had his best game of the season in Week 5 as he racked up nine catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. What that means is far too many people picked him up off the wire and too many people are going to stick him in their line-up, hoping they catch lightning in a bottle this weekend. I don't see it happening because Bess is simply too inconsistent to count on and I don't think Brandon Marshall is humble enough to share the wealth twice in a row.
Johnny Knox: Knox was on everyone's sleeper list this summer as the Bears geared up for a more aggressive passing attack under new coordinator, Mike Martz. But, Knox has failed to impress with his average of 2.6 receptions and 54.4 yards-per-game, not to mention that he has failed to score in the first five games of the season. Not only would I not play Knox this weekend, but I would probably cut him all together if there is a producing WR on the wire right now.
John Carlson: Carlson is barely breaking TE2 numbers most weeks and yet there are still about 53 percent of owners starting him. I personally stayed away from Carlson in the draft because he has Matt Hasselbeck throwing to him and I am going to advise you to stay away from starting him this weekend as well.
Minnesota Vikings Defense: If there is one thing you can bet on most weeks it is Brett Favre snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. What that also does it turn games into shootouts in which fantasy defenses suffer. The Vikings play the Cowboys in what could be a fairly high scoring game this weekend and I am staying away from the Vikings defense because of it.
Question of the Week
Q: I hate to type this...but is it time to drop Jermichael? (James S. Brown in Bloomington, IN)
A: Yes. The Packers might not put him on the IR in the hopes that he will be back for the post-season, but he most likely will not play another snap in the fantasy season.
For those of you that have asked about how I started doing this and about me, read this article in the newspaper about me from this week.
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