Perhaps tougher than knowing who to start in Fantasy Land each week is having the stones to sit the big names on the bench. It is always difficult to see a name like Calvin Johnson or Maurice Jones-Drew riding the pine, but it gets even more vexing when one of your bench players completely outperforms a stud, all because you were too scared to have him take a seat.
With that in mind, here are the big names to avoid as we head into Week 6 of the fantasy season. After a strong showing last week where I chose four out of six Deuces correctly, my confidence is brimming with picking the losers, even if that does pose quite the paradox. Now is the time to step up and take some of these guys out of your lineup.
Deuces – Week 6
WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants (@ San Francisco 49ers) If there is one thing I know about Jim Harbaugh, it is that he has elephant blood running through his veins: The man does not forget. The Niners have been scheming for this rematch of last year’s NFC title game since January, and top priority will be to take Cruz out of the equation and make Eli Manning rely on his young wideouts who are filling in for Hakeem Nicks. San Francisco is only allowing one passing touchdown per game, so don’t get greedy and expect Cruz to haul in another hat trick like last week. Trade in your salsa this weekend for some bean dip, instead. Prediction: 72 yards receiving = 7.2 fantasy points
RB Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (@ Seattle Seahawks) Look up the word stingy in the dictionary, and it is likely that next to it you will find a Seattle Seahawks logo. The boys from the land of Pearl Jam are giving up a devilish 66.6 yards rushing per game. At home, that number drops to 57 yards, which does not bode well for Ridley, who is coming off back to back 100-plus yard games. If New England works a lead and grinds out the clock, the carries will come for the Pats’ “lead” back, but the likelier scenario sees Bill Belichick switching up his rushers to try and keep Seattle off balance. Prediction: 43 yards rushing + 1 TD = 10.3 fantasy points
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. New England Patriots) This game will be tough for runners on both sides of the ball. While Lynch will be hoping to tap into his Beast Mode against the Pats’ eighth-ranked rush defense, the odds he accomplishes much are slim. New England has allowed a long run of only 17 yards this season, and opposing running backs have only made it into the end zone twice. Granted, Lynch was the lone rusher to put the hurt on San Francisco last season, but being the main weapon on a lackluster offense is going to make him the man with a target on his back. Beware. Prediction: 86 yards rushing + 5 yards receiving = 9.1 fantasy points
QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (@ Philadelphia Eagles) Detroit’s game is just too one-dimensional for this matchup. Yes, Stafford can throw it up to Calvin Johnson all day, but the quarterback only has three – three! – touchdowns in four games. I will give him that he has played tough passing defenses like San Francisco and St. Louis, but even Minnesota’s middle-of-the-pack secondary shut him out in Week 4. Put up against two of the top corners in the game, it looks to be a week to let Stafford take a rest. Prediction: 222 yards passing + 1 TD + 2 INTs = 8.88 fantasy points
RB Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (@ San Diego Chargers) San Diego has quietly put up the fifth-ranked rushing defense in the league, which is no small feat when your divisional opponents boast running backs like Darren McFadden and Jamaal Charles. McGahee struggled last week against New England, mustering only 3.64 yards per carry and losing a key fumble near the end of the game. The Chargers, meanwhile, hold runners to less than 75 yards per game and have recovered four fumbles early this season. McGahee will still be a factor in the receiving game, which makes him worthy of a flex option this week, but don’t expect RB2 points out of him. Prediction: 66 yards rushing + 16 yards receiving = 7.2 fantasy points
WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (vs. Green Bay Packers) I have a number in my head, and I want you to guess it. It’s the number of catches Johnson had against a pitiful Jets defense, and it is also the loneliest number. That’s right, Johnson had a measly one catch against New York last week, and a physical Green Bay defense will only continue to hold him in check. While Matt Schaub gets blinded by Clay Matthews’s hair, Johnson will continue to attract safety help and be blanketed by coverage as he has been all season. The one thing Andre does have going for him, though, is that the Pack have yielded a whopping 10 passing touchdowns this year, so there is hope. With his owners’ luck, though, the TDs will probably go to a wide open Owen Daniels or a nice catch-and-run by James Casey. Prediction: 98 yards receiving = 9.8 fantasy points