NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Preview
We're approaching Week 6 of the 2012 fantasy football season, and unless your team is protected by some sort of magical force field, you're probably dealing with a few key injuries. No fantasy owner would think less of you for shedding some tears over the state of Cedric Benson's foot or Aaron Hernandez's ankle. Still, don't spend too much time in the fetal position—even the most competitive leagues are sure to have a few potential stars on the waiver wire.
Let's take a look at some key additions, locks, and busts for this week's NFL action:
Story Line To Watch: Bears D Mauls the Competition
Most fantasy football players would rather have a stud running back than a stalwart defensive unit, but the Chicago Bears are doing everything in their power to change that. Through the first five weeks of the 2012 season, the Monsters of the Midway have generated more defensive touchdowns (five), interceptions (13), and sacks (18) than any other team in the NFL. Even more impressively, the Bears have put up at least 20 fantasy points in each of their last three games, which is more than certain disappointing running backs can say. Chicago is on a bye in Week 6, but look for its defense to continue to carry fantasy owners to victory.
Lock of the Week: Vikings WR Percy Harvin Vs. Redskins
The Minnesota Vikings have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 season, and star receiver Percy Harvin is a big reason why. The fragile speedster has been a huge part of the team's rushing, receiving and returning efforts, recording three all-purpose touchdowns to go along with his 407 receiving yards. More importantly, Minnesota's passing game is clicking just in time to bloody the hapless Washington Redskins defense. The 'Skins have been incredibly generous to opposing receivers this year, allowing more fantasy points to flankers than any other defensive unit. With Adrian Peterson drawing defenders to the line of scrimmage, look for Harvin to exploit their shoddy secondary all day long.
Others Locks: QB Matt Ryan vs. OAK, RB Trent Richardson vs. CIN, WR Roddy White vs. OAK, TE Tony Gonzalez vs. OAK, Miami D/ST vs. STL
Bust of the Week: Patriots QB Tom BRady vs. Seahawks
Tom Brady has made a career out of proving his doubters wrong, but even the great ones put up an occasional clunker. In Week 6, the Michigan grad is faced with the daunting task of overcoming a top-ranked Seattle Seahawks defense. Through the first five weeks of the season, Seattle has yielded fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any other team in the NFL. In fact, offenses are averaging a pitiful six yards per pass attempting against Seattle's ballhawking secondary. Add in a strong defensive line and New England's sudden dedication to its running game, and Brady owners may be looking at some pedestrian numbers.
Other Busts: QB Matt Stafford vs. PHI, RB Ahmad Bradshaw vs. SF, WR Torrey Smith vs. DAL, TE Rob Gronkowski vs. SEA, Houston D/ST
Sleeper of the Week: Colts RB Vick Ballard Vs. Jets
At this point, the New York Jets would give up a 100-yard rushing effort to just about anyone. Last week, Houston running back Arian Foster had his way with the tattered unit, racking up 152 yards en route to a phenomenal fantasy night. In Week 6, it's Vick Ballard's turn to whack the piñata.
The little-known Indianapolis Colts rookie was impressive during the preseason, and an injury to starter Donald Brown paves the way for Ballard's first extended action. Jets coach Rex Ryan is sure to be preoccupied with the Colts passing attack, especially after Andrew Luck's dominant performance last week in Green Bay. Ballard is still readily available in most leagues, and his 20-plus-carry workload should produce a solid fantasy effort.
Other Sleepers: QB Kevin Kolb vs. BUF, RB Mikel LeShoure vs. PHI, WR Andre Roberts vs. BUF, TE Fred Davis vs. MIN, Tampa Bay D/ST
Under the Radar: ALex Green, RB, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay's heartbreaking loss to the Indianapolis Colts wasn't the only upsetting result to come out of Week 5. Cedric Benson, the workhorse of the Packers' running game, suffered a foot injury that will likely sideline him for at least two months. While this news isn't so great for the Cheeseheads, it does have potential for fantasy owners in need of a backfield option.
Second-year Packer Alex Green was impressive as Benson's replacement, showcasing deceptive speed while racking up over six yards per carry. Green is probably going to be splitting time with fellow benchwarmer James Starks, but his athleticism and upside should allow him to net the majority of the team's offensive reps. Stow him on your bench for now.
Other Players to Watch: Browns QB Brandon Weeden, Cardinals RB William Powell, Lions RB Jahvid Best, Browns WR Josh Gordon, Colts WR T.Y. Hilton, Cardinals TE Rob Housler