Another week, another enticing slate of NFL action. Whether you play in season-long fantasy leagues, or merely dabble in the daily leagues, there are some players with mouth-watering matchups that you need in your lineups. Likewise, there are top fantasy performers who may warrant sitting in light of an unfavorable matchup. Well, we're here to help.
Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions
Last week it was Reggie Bush who was the must-start running back for the Lions. He didn't take advantage of Bell's absence last week against the Bills, and it's Bush who's now sidelined with an ankle complaint this Sunday. Bell, the undrafted free agent from Wayne State, hasn't broken out yet, but with Bush sitting out, Bell's potentially large workload against the Vikings can't be ignored. Additionally, with the best receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson a likely inactive, the Lions may choose to lean on a running game that's yet to really get going this season.
Further, Minnesota is giving up 122 yards per game on the ground in 2014, but Bell isn't a one-trick pony. In each of his first two seasons in the league, Bell reeled in 50+ catches. He only has caught nine balls (six coming in one game) this season, which reflects how he's utilized not his natural abilities. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi employs well-defined personnel packages, so Bell just hasn't been as involved in the passing game. Without the dynamic Bush, in addition to Megatron in the passing game, Lombardi may be forced to utilize Bell a little more. Start Bell with confidence today; 20 touches and a touchdown is a good bet.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Sanu's opportunity this Sunday lies in the lack of targets in Cincinnati passing game. All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green: OUT. 2013 breakout talent Marvin Jones: OUT. 2013 first-round pick tight end Tyler Eifert: OUT. That leaves Andy Dalton with few options on Sunday when the Bengals host the Panthers on Sunday. Expect a run-heavy approach from the Bengals, especially with Cinci's thunder and lightning duo, Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Dalton will still have to throw the ball at least a few times, and Sanu is essentially the only option.
The third-year receiver from Rutgers had yet turn heads in Cincinnati since being drafted a few years ago, but 2014 is starting to look like his breakout season. And he's no stranger to being peppered with targets. He caught 100+ balls in each of his final two seasons in Piscataway, New Jersey. Expect Dalton to look for him early and often, on short throws and deep shots alike. Expect to see 8-10 targets and some looks in the red zone for Sanu today, which is good enough to get him in your lineup.
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
In the fantasy quagmire that is the New England backfield, Ridley has swapped poor performances with strong ones through the first five weeks. For Ridley, it really comes down to his workload. His touches through the first five weeks: 8, 25, 19, 5, 27. That's about as irregular as it gets, and with Belichick constantly shuttling in running backs and mixing up game-plans, it's nearly impossible to tell how many carries any of his running backs will receive on a given day.
So, we'll look to the Buffalo defense for a few answers. The Bills are allowing just 72 yards on the ground per game through five weeks in 2014, so don't expect the Pats to have too much success on the ground early. Additionally, in seasons past, you could expect New England to jump out to an early lead and look to the ground game to close out the victory. Well, not this season. Despite their issues at quarterback, Buffalo is fielding their best team in a long while. With a close game, Ridley's already questionable workload is even shakier. Sit him down.
Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, WRs, Arizona Cardinals
There's always a late game or two with a questionable player who, if he plays, will have a great fantasy impact. That player on Sunday is Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer's been out since Week 2 with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. As of Sunday morning, the former Heisman Trophy winner is supposed to suit up, but with an injury as unpredictiable as a frayed shoulder nerve, how can we trust these reports? If Palmer can't go, it'll be on rookie Logan Thomas to get the job done for the Cardinals. Thomas looked like deer in the headlights when he played the Broncos last week.
Moreover, if Palmer starts, what are the chances he actually finishes the game? If you have other options in the late games and can afford to wait to make your lineup decisions, that's fine. However, if your options other than Fitzgerald and Floyd are kicking off at 1pm, the smart play would be to get them into your lineup and not worry about the complicated situation in Arizona. In a predominantly passing league, there are some stronger wide receiver options available for fantasy owners.
Good luck in Week 6. Once you set your lineups, download SnapCall, join us and call the plays for some of this week's action!