Week 6 Fantasy Sleepers: Worthwhile Roster Additions to Consider

A handful of productive fantasy performers emerged in Week 5. None was more dominant than Dallas Cowboys rookie Terrance Williams, who exploded for 151 yards and a touchdown on just four receptions on Sunday.

However, Williams isn’t the only potential addition worth considering this week.

Below, we’ll highlight and rank the top sleepers worth adding to your roster heading into Week 6.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tennessee Titans

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of quarterbacks with better matchups in Week 6 than Tennessee’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, but there are very few solid passers available in leagues across the country.

While Fitzpatrick may be projected to struggle against the Seattle Seahawks and their third-ranked pass defense on Sunday, keep in mind that he accounted for 20 fantasy points in standard leagues this past week against the NFL‘s fourth-ranked pass defense in Kansas City. 

The veteran, who has 400 total yards and three touchdowns since taking over for Jake Locker in Week 4, is a better option than Brandon Weeden and a worthwhile add for Matt Ryan and Ryan Tannehill owners this weekend with the Falcons and Dolphins both on a bye in Week 6.

Week 6 Quarterback Sleepers
1 Ryan Fitzpatrick Tennessee Titans 0.6 20
2 Terrelle Pryor Oakland Raiders 32.5 19
3 Brandon Weeden Cleveland Browns 1.1 11

ESPN Fantasy

Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams

While Justin Blackmon was racking up yards through the air on Sunday, St. Louis Rams rookie Zac Stacy was picking them up on the ground, rushing for 78 yards on 14 carries against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The former Vanderbilt star had just one carry coming into Week 5, but appears set to take on a much heavier load in the backfield moving forward. After all, his average of 5.5 yards per carry is the best among all St. Louis running backs in 2013.

Unless you’re set with consistent performers at running back, Stacy, who is only owned in 1.2 percent of all ESPN leagues, is a must-add going up against the Houston Texans in Week 6.

Houston ranks 27th against the run this season, giving up more than 126 rushing yards per game.

Week 6 Running Back Sleepers
1 Pierre Thomas New Orleans Saints 15.5 20
2 Willis McGahee Cleveland Browns 22.2 13
3 Zac Stacy St. Louis Rams 1.2 7

ESPN Fantasy

Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars may be the laughing stock of the NFL these days, but second-year wide receiver Justin Blackmon appears determined to turn things around in North Florida after breaking loose for 136 yards and a touchdown on five receptions against the St. Louis Rams in Week 5.

Blackmon has served his four-game suspension and is now a worthwhile addition for fantasy owners. 

He’s only owned in 20 percent of all ESPN leagues and should be an easy add for most owners in need of improved production at the wide receiver spot. 

Oh yeah, did I mention that Blackmon and the Jags will be up against the Denver Broncos’ league-worst pass defense in Week 6?

Week 6 Wide Receiver Sleepers
1 Justin Blackmon Jacksonville Jaguars 20.0 19
2 Terrance Williams Dallas Cowboys 1.3 23
3 Keenan Allen San Diego Chargers 1.2 17

ESPN Fantasy

Availability and scoring stats according to ESPN Fantasy.

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Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 6: Analyzing Breakthrough Stars from Week 5

As always, a few breakthrough stars emerged in Week 5, scoring bundles of points for fantasy owners and taking the NFL by surprise. 

The question that intrigued owners (or prospective owners) are asking is whether or not these players are worth starting next week. Can lightning strike twice?

Let’s find out. 

Notes: All stats based on ESPN standard-scoring leagues. Points against stats from ESPN.

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Week 5 Stats: 16-25 for 197 yards and two touchdowns; 15 fantasy points

Analysis: You may be about selecting a player who scored 15 points is on this list, but keep in mind that Foles accumulated those stats in a little over a half in relief of the injured Michael Vick. Foles led the Eagles to 20 points after entering the game (though Eli Manning’s three interceptions helped), and the Eagles didn’t seem to miss a beat with him under center. 

Now, we’ve learned Vick will likely be out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:

#Eagles QB Michael Vick is not expected to able to play on Sunday, source confirms. We’ll see Nick Foles again. (ESPN first reported)

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 7, 2013

#Eagles made clear that when he’s healthy, Michael Vick is the starter. But he won’t be Sunday. Nick Foles gets another crack at impressing

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 7, 2013

Vick owners need to add him as a handcuff across the board. But should he be started?

Long Verdict: Probably not. The Bucs allow just 12.5 points to opposing quarterbacks per week, and shutdown corner Darrelle Revis will likely take DeSean Jackson, the one dangerous weapon the Eagles have in their passing attack, out of this game.

Desperate Vick owners may not have a choice but to start him, but everyone else should look elsewhere.

Short Verdict: SIT

Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints

Bleacher Report’s Josh Zerkle gives his take on Pierre Thomas.

Week 5 Stats: 19 rushes for 36 yards; nine receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns; 20 fantasy points

Analysis: It was Thomas’ turn in the Saints backfield to post big fantasy numbers, a week after Darren Sproles crushed it for owners. This doesn’t really change the fact that Sproles is the only Saints back worth starting. Still, next week, we could see Khiry Robinson explode for big fantasy numbers, given the way the Saints rely on different running backs from week to week.

Long Verdict: Thomas had five games with seven or more fantasy points a year ago. This was his first performance with more than five points this season. Even desperate owners should recognize that Thomas can’t be relied upon on a weekly basis.

Short Verdict: SIT

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears

Week 5 Stats: 10 receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown; 27 fantasy points

Analysis: For the second week in a row, Jeffery has exceeded 20 fantasy points. He now has 18 receptions on the season for 419 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Just as importantly, he’s been targeted in the Bears offense 45 times this season, second among Chicago pass-catchers to only Brandon Marshall.

If teams want to double Marshall, Jeffery has proven more than capable of burning them. And this week he faces a New York Giants defense that has given up 22 or more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in four straight weeks.

Long Verdict: At worst, he’s worthy of your flex spot, and…oh, why beat around the bush? Here’s your long verdict—START HIM!

 Short Verdict: START

Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Week 5 Stats: Four receptions for 151 yards and one touchdown; 23 fantasy points

Analysis: Williams is an exciting young talent, and along with Dez Bryant, he torched the Denver Broncos secondary. Williams now has 11 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown in the past two weeks, and the Cowboys next face a Washington secondary that is giving up 27 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week.

He sure seems like a flex play this week, right?

Long Verdict: Well, yes, if Miles Austin doesn’t play. Williams has played well as Austin has missed the past two games, but some of his production would surely dip upon Austin’s return. Still, Williams may be worth a stash even if Austin gets healthy this week.

Short Verdict: START if Austin is out, SIT if Austin plays

Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants

Week 5 Stats: Six receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns; 21 fantasy points

Analysis: In Week 1, Leonard Hankerson registered 20 fantasy points against the Philadelphia Eagles defense. In Week 2, Eddie Royal put up 27. In Week 3, Donnie Avery scored 14 fantasy points against Philly. In Week 4, well, just about everyone from the Denver Broncos torched the Eagles.

The point is this—the Birds have made second, third and even fourth options in the passing game look brilliant this season. Don’t get too excited about Randle—he’s a good young player, but it’s hard to see him coming close to 20 fantasy points again.

Long Verdict: Teams have thrown the ball successfully against the Chicago Bears this year (278 passing yards per game allowed, 23rd in the NFL), but the Bears have also forced 14 turnovers, third in the NFL. Seeing as the Giants have committed 20 turnovers already this year, Eli Manning could be throwing more to the Bears than his own wide receivers. 

Short Verdict: SIT

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Week 5 Stats: Six receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown; 17 fantasy points

Analysis: For a more in-depth look at Allen’s fantasy prospects moving forward, check out my article here.

The short version is this: Allen is the San Diego wide receiver I would want to own moving forward, but the fact that Vincent Brown has been targeted more (31 targets to 19) and that Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead seem to be Philip Rivers’ favorite targets is somewhat worrisome. Allen has been brilliant in the past two weeks, however (11 catches for 195 yards and a score), making him a definite stash grab on waivers this week. 

Long Verdict: The Colts have generally been pretty stingy against opposing wide receivers, allowing a total of 17.4 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week. In deeper leagues, owners hurting due to the byes or needing a flex can roll the dice, but in general Allen is better served remaining on your bench this weekend.

Short Verdict: SIT

Hit me up on Twitter—I’ll answer your fantasy lineup questions, make ill-fated NFL predictions and tweet knee-slapping jokes. Well, the first two things, at least. 

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Raiders release demoted QB Flynn

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have moved on from the failed Matt Flynn experiment, releasing the $6.5 million quarterback after he was beaten out in training camp by Terrelle Pryor and following one poor regular-season start.

Flynn, acquired by Oakland on April 1 to be the Raiders’ franchise quarterback from the Seattle Seahawks for a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft and a 2015 conditional pick, had been demoted to third-string, behind Pryor and undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. This after Flynn threw a pick-6 interception, fumbled twice and was sacked seven times in a 24-14 loss to Washington on Sept. 29.

He was booed mercilessly by the home crowd and his body language sagged as Pryor sat out that game recovering from a concussion. With Pryor under center, the Raiders jumped out to a 17-0 lead over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night en route to a 27-17 victory.

“I don’t know, exactly, what the reason was, why it didn’t work but it just, it didn’t work,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “Terrelle came in and he took over the job and he’s earned the position that he’s in so we just felt like it was probably best to go ahead and move on from that.”

A year ago, Flynn signed with Seattle after four years as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup in Green Bay and two stats-driven starts, including a 480-yard, six-touchdown performance in the 2011 season finale.

Flynn has made $14.5 million from the Seahawks and Raiders combined the past two seasons for a total of one start. 

Mike McCarthy, Flynn’s former head coach in Green Bay, is surprised things haven’t worked out for the quarterback.

“I definitely am surprised because when his opportunity came I obviously gave him a very high recommendation,” McCarthy said. “Injuries and all the different types of things, quarterback competition in both places, a lot of factors go into it.

“I haven’t watched the film of Matt so I really can’t even give you an educated or informed opinion on how exactly he did play, but on a personal level I’m very fond of Matt Flynn, he was excellent in his time here and I wish him the best of luck.”

Pat White, a second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2009, is set to visit the Raiders on Tuesday, along with David Carr, the top pick of the 2002 draft, sources said.

“We’ll look,” Allen said, when asked where the Raiders go from here. “We’ll always be looking in terms of what’s out there. Obviously right now we’ve got Matt McGloin, who’s on the roster, and we’ve got Tyler Wilson, who’s on the practice squad, and we feel good about those two guys.

“But we’ll always continue to look and see if there’s any options out there that can make us a better football team.”

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.

  • Covered Raiders for CSNBayArea.com and Sacramento Bee for eight years
  • Member of Pro Football Writers Association
  • Previously worked at Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal and Sports Illustrated

Freeman to vie for Vikes’ job; to sit Sunday

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings won’t rush to make Josh Freeman their starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, but coach Leslie Frazier said Freeman will get a chance to compete for the job once he’s up to speed on the team’s offense.

Freeman’s one-year contract with the Vikings will be official once the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback passes a physical Monday afternoon, and he likely will join the team Wednesday.

Either Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel will start for the Vikings at home Sunday — the Vikings still need to see whether Ponder’s broken rib has healed enough for him to play — but their future at the position beyond that is unclear.

Frazier said Ponder is “still our starter” if he’s healthy and added that “Christian still has a bright future here with our football team,” though he conceded “it may not look like that on the surface.” 

But the coach also said that the chance to start was a central part of his conversations with Freeman before the Vikings signed him.

“I mean, that’s part of the equation,” Frazier said. “When we talked with him, that’s definitely on the table, so we’ll see how well he progresses and how well he picks up our offense.”

Freeman, who was released by the Buccaneers after several run-ins with the coaching staff over the past few months, is also in the first stage of the NFL’s substance-abuse program for what he claimed was a one-time mistake with his ADHD medication. Frazier said he and the Vikings’ front office did enough research on Freeman’s past to believe he could fit in with the team.

“You hear so many things; you have to find out what’s true and what’s not,” Frazier said. “Once I did a little digging and had a chance to talk with him, I think we’ll be able to coexist. I think we’ll be all right.”

The move would seem to suggest that Ponder’s future in Minnesota is in doubt. The third-year quarterback threw two touchdown passes against five interceptions in the Vikings’ first three games and missed the team’s last game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London, where Cassel led the team to its only win.

Ponder, the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft, said “in my eyes, I’m getting prepared to play” on Sunday against the Panthers. He wouldn’t divulge details about a meeting he had with Frazier on Monday morning about the Freeman move, but Frazier said both Cassel and Ponder wanted only to know how their roles would look in the future.

“One thing you can expect in the NFL — expect the unexpected,” Cassel said. “Because every week it changes. You never know what’s going to happen. I learned that over time; this is my ninth year now. Anything that’s overwhelming, or surprising, it’s one of those things that’s the NFL.”

  • Previously covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • Also covered Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild and Washington Nationals
  • Twin Cities native and University of Minnesota graduate

Panthers WR Smith rips ref: ‘He was garbage’

Updated: October 7, 2013, 5:57 PM ET

David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith wasn’t happy that he dropped a couple of passes, including one that would have been a first-quarter touchdown, in Sunday’s 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

But he was even less happy with umpire Dan Ferrell, claiming that the official missed at least one pass interference call and refused to give him the proper spot late in the third quarter.

“To be honest, I make enough money where if Roger [Goodell] wants to fine me, he can,” Smith said Monday. “I really think that referee probably was the sorriest referee I have ever met.”

To be honest, I make enough money where if Roger [Goodell] wants to fine me, he can. I really think that referee probably was the sorriest referee I have ever met. … No. 64, he was garbage.

— Steve Smith on umpire Dan Ferrell

Smith confirmed he was referring to Ferrell, who wears No. 64.

“No. 64, he was garbage,” Smith said. “There is a lot of things I would let him hold, but nothing valuable.”

The NFL typically fines players and coaches for being critical of officials, so Smith understood his comments might come with consequences. His references to Ferrell came up when discussing a play in which he felt the Arizona defender interfered by grabbing his jersey.

“No. 64 told me on my route, I felt like I got held where he had the back of my jersey,” Smith said. “[The defender] used that to slingshot his way through and bat the ball down.

“[Ferrell] said he grabbed my jersey. He saw it, but he didn’t think it was enough to change the course of the route. I’ve only been playing football for a little bit. Just picked it up. I said, ‘OK.'”

Smith said in years past, he would have “went off” in that situation. He said Ferrell continued to explain the play to him repeatedly during the game.

“One time we were on defense and he was standing on the sideline and he decided to continue the conversation I never started,” Smith said. “I said, ‘OK.’ It was pretty interesting.”

But Smith was adamant that pass interference should have been called.

“It was pass interference in Mexico, Europe, rugby, in pretty much every other sport but Arizona yesterday,” he said. “But then when I pushed off, it was pass interference.”

Smith was called for offensive pass interference late in the third quarter as the Panthers (1-3) were trying to overcome a deficit. It was the same play on which Carolina starting left guard Amini Silatolu went down with a torn ACL in his right knee that will sideline him the rest of the season.

One play later, quarterback Cam Newton was sacked for a safety that gave Arizona a 12-6 lead.

On Carolina’s next possession, Smith caught a third-down pass in which he stretched for the first-down marker. The officials ruled him down a yard short after a 6-yard gain.

The Panthers challenged and the play was reversed, giving Smith eight yards and a first down.

“When I dove for the first down, he was standing right there,” Smith said of Ferrell. “He didn’t even acknowledge that. He received a check that day. I hope he feels good, because he was terrible.”

Smith acknowledged he had a bad game as well, taking full blame for the loss because of the dropped touchdown pass on Carolina’s opening series.

“My dropped pass cost us the game,” Smith said. “I ran a slant; should have caught that. I didn’t. I got a PI [pass interference] penalty, which was very interesting. I got leg humped and hugged a few times.

“Being a pretty good flag football player, I think I got my flag pulled on my jersey a few times. I would say pretty much I take that one on the chin and say, ‘That’s me.'”

  • Covered Panthers, NFL for 11 years
  • More than 25 years experience covering NFL, college football and NASCAR
  • Joined ESPN in 2006

NFL to meet with Indian tribe over Redskins

Updated: October 7, 2013, 5:38 PM ET

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The NFL says it will meet with representatives of an Indian tribe from New York that is campaigning for the Washington Redskins to change their nickname.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says Monday a meeting was scheduled for next month and could happen sooner.

The Oneida Indian Nation held a symposium on the issue Monday in Washington to coincide with the NFL owners’ meetings taking place across town.

At the symposium, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., said the league and team are “promoting a racial slur” and “this issue is not going away.”

In an interview with The Associated Press last week, President Barack Obama said he would “think about changing” the Redskins’ name if he owned the team.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder says he’ll never change the team’s name.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

Robert Griffin III Represents a Great Buy-Low Option in Fantasy Football

Robert Griffin III has not gotten off to the best start this season, although that makes him an appealing trade target in fantasy football leagues across the country.

The 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year was incredible for the Washington Redskins last season, racking up yards with both his arm and his legs while remaining efficient in everything he does. Not only did he lead his team to the playoffs, but he was also an elite fantasy player.

Griffin ended the year tied with Peyton Manning for the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks in standard leagues.

Unfortunately, a number of factors have contributed to a slow start for the quarterback in 2013. He is down from 20.3 points per game to only 16.8 points per game, while failing to top 14 points since Week 2.

In a year where every quarterback seems to be putting up huge numbers every game, this type of effort has not helped out fantasy owners too much.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

However, there is plenty of reason to believe he will turn things around in the coming weeks.

The quarterback entered the season coming off a major knee surgery that kept him out of action in the entire preseason. While he was medically cleared to play in Week 1, he was still rusty when he stepped onto the field for the first time.

Where will Robert Griffin III rank among fantasy quarterbacks in 2013?

Where will Robert Griffin III rank among fantasy quarterbacks in 2013?

  • Top 5

  • 6-10

  • 11-15

  • 16 or worse

Griffin saw his numbers drop across the board, including in completion percentage, yards per attempt and especially quarterback rating. 

After four games, though, he will have played the equivalent of the preseason. This time, plus the bye week, will give him a better chance to get on the same page with his receivers. Against the Oakland Raiders, he completed passes to seven different players and did not throw an interception for the first time all year.

If he can keep spreading the ball around while avoiding turnovers, he will sustain enough drives to get himself in the end zone. 

Another issue to this point has been Griffin’s inability to run. After averaging 54.3 rushing yards per game with seven touchdowns, he is only averaging 18 and has failed to get into the end zone. 

Still, this is another thing that will come with confidence. His 37-yard performance against the Detroit Lions in Week 3 showed he still had the ability, but the Raiders did a good job of slowing that down in Week 4.

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

As he gets healthier, he will continue to leave the pocket and showcase the skill that helped him excel last season. 

However, the biggest change in production will come based on the upcoming schedule. Each of Washington’s next six opponents are ranked among the bottom 10 in passing yards allowed per game. The bottom four squads in this category are all on the upcoming schedule.

Considering the Redskins defense is not getting any better, Griffin will likely have to throw the ball often in order to keep up on the scoreboard. This will allow him to take advantage of the poor defenses and put up some big numbers as a passer.

As a result, the superstar will once again be an elite fantasy football option.

If you are in need of a quarterback and have the opportunity to trade for Griffin in your league, you should absolutely be willing to part with some talent to get him. On the other hand, do not let him go before he starts to break out in the coming weeks.

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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Fantasy Basketball Sleepers 2013: Young Players Ready for Breakout Seasons

While anyone can predict that LeBron James or Kevin Durant will have another big season, the top fantasy owners will be able to grab the stars before they get big.

If you can draft a player in the middle rounds that produces like a first-round pick, you will be in great shape for the rest of the season.

None of these players have produced at high levels to this point, but a change in circumstances will give them a chance to have a huge season. 

Derrick Favors, PF, Utah Jazz

Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

Despite being the third-overall pick in the 2010 draft, Derrick Favors has not gotten much of an opportunity to shine.

Since being traded to the Utah Jazz, he has mostly played as a reserve behind more experienced frontcourt players Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. However, the two veterans are no longer with the organization, and Favors will finally get his chance as a leading man.

In all likelihood, the big man will take advantage of this opportunity and post high averages in both points and rebounds. Last season, he ranked 14th in the league with 14.7 rebounds per 48 minutes. He also added 9.4 points in only 23.2 minutes per game. 

As he becomes a more featured part of the offense, Favors has the skill to become a 20-point, 10-rebound type of player. 

JaVale McGee, C, Denver Nuggets

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

As Nick Borges of ESPN notes (subscription required), one of the reasons George Karl was fired was his inability to utilize JaVale McGee. New head coach Brian Shaw is now set to make him a focal point of the offense.

The athletic center has proven to be an elite shot-blocker when he is on the court, and he is always capable of finishing around the net with a huge dunk.

In Denver’s fast-paced offense, Ty Lawson will often be able to find the seven-footer running the floor, and other centers will not be able to keep up. This will get him plenty of points per game, regardless of what McGee does in a half-court offense. 

After being mostly the butt of jokes for the past few seasons, McGee is set to become a legitimate NBA star. 

Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Like the other players on the list, Eric Bledsoe is set to get a lot more playing time this season compared to his first few in the league.

The former Los Angeles Clippers guard was traded to the Suns this offseason after Chris Paul re-signed with the team. This is a good thing for Bledsoe, as it now allows him to get starter’s minutes, although clearly for a weaker squad.

Bledsoe is naturally a point guard, but he will likely play the 2-guard with Goran Dragic running the offense. Still, the young player hit 39.7 percent of his three-point shots last season and is athletic enough to score at the basket.

On a team that desperately needs someone to take charge offensively, Bledsoe could become the go-to player. It would not be surprising to see him take this opportunity and score close to 20 points per game in the upcoming season.

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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Brandon Marshall’s Fantasy Trade Value, Updated Outlook Heading into Week 6

It was a rough week for fantasy football owners who rely on Chicago Bears wideout Brandon Marshall to put up WR1 numbers on a weekly basis. 

Jay Cutler targeted Marshall only five times in Chicago’s 28-16 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but the receiver managed to avoid a disastrous week by catching a two-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass. 

He has now failed to score in double-digits in standard format fantasy leagues in each of the last three weeks. 

To make matters worse, teammate Alshon Jeffery was targeted 13 times and had 10 receptions for 218 yards and a touchdown against the Saints. As noted by the Chicago Tribune‘s Sports Twitter account, the second-year pro set a Bears record in the process:

Jeffery sets Bears record with 218 receiving yards http://t.co/sI5rClKF0Q

— ChiTribSports (@ChiTribSports) October 7, 2013

Over the last two weeks, Jeffery now has 325 receiving yards and has been targeted by Cutler a team-high 24 times. FantasyGuru.com saw Jeffery’s breakout week coming, and figures that he will continue to trend in the right direction:

TD for Alshon Jeffery, I guaranteed at least a TD chance today for him, easy call, he’s coming on well.

— FantasyGuru.com (@Fantasy_Guru) October 6, 2013

Jeffery’s latest performances have clouded Marshall’s future as a clear-cut WR1. 

It’s hardly panic time for Marshall owners.

But now might be the time to consider a trade if you handcuffed Jeffery to his future. Conversely, now isn’t the time to make a trade for the 29-year-old star if the asking price is through the roof. 

Chicago has a slew of favorable matchups on the schedule over the next few weeks, so keeping Marshall as a mainstay on your roster is hardly a questionable decision.

The New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are all among the bottom feeders in the NFL when it comes to defending against the pass through Week 5, and those four teams are next on the schedule for the Bears. 

Marshall (378) and Jeffery (429) are currently both in the top 16 in receiving yards in the NFL, and it’s clear Cutler is confident that relying on both is a good strategy moving forward. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, that muddies the picture on who is more likely to be the top dog each week. 

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

At worst, Marshall is a high-tier WR2 in all formats.

Depending on the opposing secondary he’s set to face, there’s potential for owners to start him with confidence in a WR1 spot. 

Which wideout will finish the season with a better fantasy resume?

Which wideout will finish the season with a better fantasy resume?

  • Marshall

  • Jeffery

If you are disconcerted by Jeffery’s last two performances, no one will blame you for shopping Marshall for a trade. Don’t expect to get Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant in return, but a player like Jordy Nelson, Larry Fitzgerald or Reggie Wayne would provide nice value in a one-for-one deal. 

Against the Giants in Week 6, Marshall will look to get back into rhythm against a secondary that allowed backup Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles to throw for two touchdowns. DeSean Jackson had 132 receiving yards and one of those touchdowns in Philly’s win. 

It’s difficult to project Marshall’s Week 6 stat line with the emergence of Jeffery on the front burner, but this is still an All-Pro wide receiver we’re talking about. Start him with confidence next week, but be hesitant toward relying on his production to carry your WR unit the rest of the way. 

Week 6 Projection (vs. NYG): 6 receptions, 81 yards, 1 TD

Follow B/R’s Ethan Grant on Twitter. 

Keenan Allen’s Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook Heading into Week 6

Once again, a skill position player on the San Diego Chargers exploded for a big fantasy performance. And once again, it’s left fantasy owners wondering if they should be scrambling to add him on the waiver wire.

After Week 2, it was Eddie Royal. Last week, Danny Woodhead turned heads after he caught two touchdowns out of the backfield. This week, rookie Keenan Allen finds himself in the spotlight after catching six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. 

What’s more, as RotoWire noted (via ESPN), Allen was close to being even more productive:

Allen’s big night could have been even better. He had one touchdown catch overturned when it was ruled that he didn’t get a second foot down, and he also was the intended receiver on a pass that was intercepted in the end zone late in the game, where he was open but Philip Rivers threw it behind him.

Only Antonio Gates had more targets (10), though Royal, Woodhead and Vincent Brown all had nine. With Malcom Floyd on the injured reserve and out for the season, could Allen become a consistent fantasy producer for owners?

It’s possible, but it seems just as likely he’ll be a boom-or-bust play. Allen wasn’t the only player who had a breakout performance, as Brown also registered a season-high 11 fantasy points against the Oakland Raiders

Meanwhile, Woodhead led the team with nine receptions. 

The point is that it isn’t clear what option in the passing game Allen will be for Rivers, but he’s not better than No. 3, with Gates remaining Rivers’ most trusted target and Woodhead his preferred checkdown option. 

At this point, I’d rather have Allen than Royal—who has just eight catches for 102 yards and no scores in the past three games—but should Allen be added over Brown?

Allen has come on strong the past two weeks, with 11 catches for 195 yards and a score. Brown has been pretty quiet in general this season until Sunday night, but he does have more targets (31, the most among wide receivers in San Diego, to 19 for Allen) and has yet to flash the potential that had teammates and coaches excited this summer.

Around the fantasy community, however, the plaudits are coming in fast and furious for Allen. 

Brad Evans of Yahoo! Sports says folks should go out and get him:

One widely available FA worth shelling out $$ for: Keenan Allen. Coming out party in OAK. Fantastic rest of season schedule. Worth $12-$14.

— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) October 7, 2013

Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus Fantasy agrees:

Keenan Allen was my favorite speculative add of last week. So far, so good. Should be entrenched as a starter going forward. Buy. Buy.

— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) October 7, 2013

Even Kurt Warner was impressed (via NFL Media PR on Twitter):

@Chargers WR Keenan Allen looked real good. Pretty good receiving core being put together in San Diego.” – Kurt Warner

— NFL Media PR (@InsideNFLMedia) October 7, 2013

Given his past two weeks, Allen should be rostered. At some point, one of San Diego’s wide receivers should emerge as Rivers’ favorite and enter the land of fantasy viability that Gates haunts and Woodhead seems to be entering.

For now, I would lean on that player being Allen over Brown, but time should tell. Don’t be afraid to stash Allen while we wait to find out. 

Hit me up on Twitter—I’ll answer your fantasy lineup questions, make ill-fated NFL predictions and tweet hilarious (okay, corny) jokes. You bring the dip. 

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