Is it wild to anyone else that we are already in Week 6 of the 2012 season? It seems like only yesterday we were mock drafting and anticipating that first kickoff between New York and Dallas.
Maybe it is because we now have football on three nights a week, or maybe it is because the season normally goes by this fast. Either way, it just seemed odd to type “Week 6” in this week’s headline.
Typing “Aces” also proved a bit tricky, as I just can’t seem to crack these sleeper performers week in and week out. Last week saw me repeating Week 4’s performance of one correct pick – big thanks to Michael Crabtree for actually proving me right, but no thanks to Philip Rivers against a normally unreliable New Orleans defense.
And speaking of the worst defense in the league, with the Saints on a bye this week, I have no team to give me that surefire Ace pick I can usually depend on. Which means I will probably go oh-for my picks this week, unless I can pull some magic out of my fake football hat.
Now sporting a 9-26 win-loss record in the Aces department, it can only go up from here, right?
Here goes nothing.
Aces – Week 6
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (@ Tennessee Titans) There is some good math favoring Big Ben in tonight’s matchup. Tennessee is surrendering a hair under 280 yards and more than two touchdowns in the air per game. Roethlisberger has a bevy of receiving weapons that can exploit the Titans secondary, and the surprisingly strong return of Rashard Mendenhall should also open up play action opportunities the team was not afforded earlier in the season. Ben is still flying under the radar this season, as his past fantasy output has always left him in quarterback no man’s land, but this week he will put everyone on notice. Prediction: 310 yards passing + 16 yards rushing + 3 TDs + 1 INT = 24 fantasy points
RB Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts (@ New York Jets)
Ballard, the newly-anointed starting running back in Indy thanks to “Dammit” Donald Brown’s knee surgery, could not have drawn a more generous date for his first big dance. New York has been atrocious against the run this season, allowing 172-plus yards per game and seven touchdowns on the year. Look for Indy to try and establish the run early to open things up late for Andrew Luck, which means plenty of opportunities for the rookie from Mississippi State. Prediction: 105 yards rushing + 1 TD = 16.5 fantasy points
TE Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills (@ Arizona Cardinals) Through the first four games of the season, Arizona’s defense looked unstoppable, holding vaunted offenses from the likes of Philadelphia and New England in check. After being exposed by a mediocre St. Louis squad last week, though, they are showing some weaknesses – weaknesses I expect Buffalo to take advantage of. The hidden beauty of Buffalo’s defense being so abysmal is that the offense takes to the skies for most of the game to play catch up, and as a result Chandler is second on his team in targets and fifth among all tight ends in fantasy scoring. I like him to haul in another touchdown this week while Arizona tries to handle Stevie Johnson and C.J. Spiller on the outside. Prediction: 63 yards receiving + 1 TD = 12.3 fantasy points
WR Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Buffalo Bills) On second thought, maybe I have found that special defense to pick on in New Orleans’ absence. After all, when you have given up 12 receiving touchdowns this season and let Michael Crabtree burn you for more than 100 yards, you’re officially on my nice list. Roberts has more targets on the season than Dez Bryant and more touchdowns than teammate Larry Fitzgerald, as he continues to prove his worth to an Arizona offense that must rely on quick passes if Kevin Kolb is going to live through the season. He is a great play against a defense that continues to disappoint fans but delight fantasy opponents each week. Prediction: 65 yards receiving + 1 TD = 12.5 fantasy points
WR Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati Bengals (@ Cleveland Browns) It’s a given that A.J. Green is going to lead the Bengals each week in targets, catches, yards, and awesomeness. It’s also a given, though, that Hawkins is going to rack up yards after the catch – the youngster is fourth in the league in that category behind big names like Welker and Harvin. Against Cleveland’s 26th-ranked pass defense, Hawkins should move up the ladder in those standings this Sunday. Prediction: 116 yards receiving + 1 TD = 17.6 fantasy points
RB Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ Kansas City Chiefs) For all intents and purposes, Martin has been a fantasy disappointment this season. Widely viewed as the second rookie running back players should covet (behind Trent Richardson), this writer went so far as to take Martin as his lead back in round 4. I have been rewarded with 36 total fantasy points and LeGarrette Blount vulturing a touchdown. Coming off a bye and taking on a weak Kansas City defense, though, this game is the one where Martin will go big. KC gives up 20 percent of their first downs to running backs, and Martin touches the ball about 18 times per game, which bodes well for his owners. Play him with confidence. Prediction: 92 yards rushing + 12 yards receiving + 1 TD = 16.4 fantasy points