By Stephen Dolan
Another week of close games is in the books with two games going to overtime and two more going down to the final seconds. Some division rivals faceoff this week as other conference rivals do the same. There are points to be had this week but also points to be lost. Let’s take a look at who to tab and who to steer clear of for Week 6.
Play: Tom Brady (vs. IND)
Brady has been flawless through his first four games of the season leading the Patriots to a 4-0 start while completing 72.5% of his passes. Despite only having four games under his belt thanks to the Patriots early bye, Brady is still fifth in the NFL with 1,387 passing yards. He has been on target as he has 11 touchdowns and no interceptions on the season. Brady is coming off a strong performance against the Cowboys where he threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns on 20-for-27 passing en route to a 30-6 victory. He faces a Colts team ranked 28th in the NFL against the pass.
Play: Sam Bradford (vs. NYG)
After a shaky start in Philadelphia, Bradford looked as though he turned things around on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints completing 32 of his 45 pass attempts (71.1%) for 333 yards and two touchdowns, but was still plagued by two interceptions. Bradford has played better over the last two weeks and is beginning to look more comfortable in Chip Kelly’s offense. He faces a Giants pass defense that ranks dead-last in the NFL against the pass. Play Bradford.
Other Good Plays: Joe Flacco (vs. SF) for $7,800, Eli Manning (vs. PHI) for $7,800, Andy Dalton (vs. BUF) for $7,600
Pass: Ryan Tannehill (vs. TEN)
Consistency has plagued Tannehill since he entered the league in 2012 and this season is no different. The Dolphins signal caller started the season off with two strong games, but has watched his play deteriorate over the last two games completing just 53.1% and 43.2% of his passes respectively. Tannehill will be playing his first game under interim head coach Dan Campbell, but faces a Titans defense that ranks first in the NFL against the pass allowing a stingy 167 yards per game. Pass on Tannehill.
Other Passes: Kirk Cousins (vs. NYJ) for $6,200, Matthew Stafford (vs. CHI) for $6,900
Play: Matt Forte (vs. DET)
Forte is the NFL’s leading rusher through the first five weeks of the season. He has been consistently rushing for 60+ yards per game for the inconsistent Bears offense while also being utilized in the passing game as he has nine catches for 102 yards and a touchdown over the last two games. Forte is facing a Lions defense that is allowing 126.6 rushing yards per game and has allowed a league-worst eight rushing touchdowns on the season. Play Forte.
Play: Chris Johnson (vs. WAS)
Johnson has been a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals over the first five weeks of the season. Originally signed for depth purposes, Johnson has stepped up for Arizona since starting running back Andre Ellington went down with an injury. Ever since, Johnson has only rushed for 405 yards, ranking second in the NFL and two touchdowns. He is facing a Washington defense that ranks 14th in the league against the run allowing an average of 97.6 yards per game. Play Johnson.
Other Good Plays: Le’Veon Bell (vs. ARI) for $9,000, Adrian Peterson (vs. KC) for $8,900, Carlos Hyde (vs. BAL) for $7,000
Pass: Alfred Morris (vs. NYJ)
Morris is struggling to hold on to Washington’s top back job with the emergence of Matt Jones and Chris Thompson. Redskins running backs have rushed for three touchdowns all season and none of them belong to Morris, who has topped 19 yards rushing just once in his last three games. Morris faces a Jets defense that is second in the NFL against the run allowing just 379 yards all season and forcing four fumbles. The Jets defense combined with Morris’ decreasing role in the offense makes him a solid pass candidate this week.
Other Passes: Thomas Rawls (vs. CAR) for $6,400, DeMarco Murray (vs. NYG) for $7,600
Play: Odell Beckham Jr. (vs. PHI)
Beckham continues to shine on the big stage as he caught seven passes for 121 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers. He injured his hamstring, which is a cause for concern, but he gets an extra day to recover as the Giants don’t play until Monday night. Beckham faces an Eagles defense that ranks 27th in the NFL allowing an average of 294.8 receiving yards per game, and only the Giants have allowed more receptions than Philadelphia’s 140. Play Beckham if he plays.
Play: Julian Edelman (vs. IND)
Edelman has been as consistent as they come for New England, posting 85 or more receiving yards in each of the Patriots’ first four games. He posted a season low four receptions on five targets on Sunday against the Cowboys, but put up a season-high 120 yards with one touchdown. He gets a favorable match-up this week against the Colts, who rank 26th in the league allowing 293.2 receiving yards per game. Play Edelman.
Play: DeAndre Hopkins (vs. JAC)
Hopkins leads the NFL in receiving with 578 yards on 42 receptions, which is impressive given the turmoil at the quarterback position in Houston. He has posted three consecutive 100-yard games as he is coming off his best performance of the year setting season-highs in receptions (11) and yards (169) in a 27-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He matches up against a Jaguars defense that ranks 21st against the pass this season.
Other Good Plays: Jordan Matthews (vs. NYG) for $6,600, A.J. Green (vs. BUF) for $8,100, Demaryius Thomas (vs. CLE) for $8,300
Pass: Travis Benjamin (vs. DEN)
Benjamin burst onto the scene this season with 411 receiving yards through the first five weeks, giving Browns fans something to cheer about. He has caught six passes in each of his last two games, but has not recorded a touchdown catch in either contest. Things get tougher for Benjamin on Sunday facing a Broncos defense that has been tough against the pass allowing an average of 221.6 receiving yards through their first five games and a league-best 9.4 yards per reception. The longest reception Denver has allowed this season is just 33 yards, making it a tough match-up for a deep threat like Benjamin. Pass.
Other Passes: Jarvis Landry (vs. TEN) for $7,300, Keenan Allen (vs. GB) for $7,700
Play: Tyler Eifert (vs. BUF)
Eifert posted a huge game for fantasy owners on Sunday against the Seahawks with eight catches on 12 targets for 90 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 27-24 overtime victory. Eifert has now posted 69 or more yards in three of the Bengals’ five games this season, including each of the last two. He has a favorable match-up on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, who are tied for 22nd in the NFL allowing 281.0 receiving yards per game and 10 touchdowns on the year. Play Eifert.
Other Good Plays: Rob Gronkowski (vs. IND) for $8,200, Charles Clay (vs. CIN) for $5,700
Pass: Gary Barnidge (vs. DEN)
Barnidge has been a pleasant surprise for the Cleveland Browns with 105 or more receiving yards in two of his last three games and touchdown receptions in each of the last three weeks. Barnidge caught eight passes for 139 yards and a touchdown in the Browns overtime victory over the Ravens on Sunday. Despite his success, Barnidge has an uphill battle on Sunday against the Broncos, who lead the league in yards per reception and longest pass play allowed. Pass on Barnidge.
Other Passes: Jordan Reed (vs. NYJ) for $5,700, Travis Kelce (vs. MIN) for $6,200
Play: Stephen Gostkowski (vs. IND) for $5,100
Play: Mason Crosby (vs. SD) for $4,900
Play: Brandon McManus (vs. CLE) for $4,800
Pass: Adam Vinatieri (vs. NE) for $5,000
Pass: Caleb Sturgis (vs. NYG) for $4,900
Pass: Mike Nugent (vs. BUF) for $4,700
Play: Broncos (vs. CLE) for $5,000
Play: Jets (vs. WAS) for $4,800
Play: Texans (vs. JAC) for $4,800
Pass: Cardinals (vs. PIT) for $5,000
Pass: Vikings (vs. KC) for $4,500
Pass: Giants (vs. PHI) for $4,400
QB: Tom Brady (vs. IND)
RB: Le’Veon Bell (vs. ARI)
RB: Danny Woodhead (vs. GB)
WR: Julian Edelman (vs. IND)
WR: Roddy White (vs. NO)
WR: Jordan Matthews (vs. NYG)
TE: Tyler Eifert (vs. BUF)
K: Mason Crosby (vs. SD)
D/ST: Broncos (vs. CLE)
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.