No intro this week, just the goods.
Christian Ponder, Vikings at Redskins (32nd vs. pass)
The kid has made great strides this season into looking like a better-than-average NFL QB. Of course, the way Percy Harvin has played hasn’t hurt, either. Can’t have a better matchup than this, and Harvin should go off, which means Ponder will reap the benefits.
Honorable mention: Brandon Weeden, Browns vs. Bengals (It has gone mostly unrecognized he has thrown for 290 or more in three of five games)
William Powell, Cardinals vs. Bills (30th vs. run); Shonn Greene, Jets vs. Colts (17th vs. run)
While it might seem to be running back by committee now in the desert, I think Powell is going to get the first crack at being the top bird. What better way to get it started than against a team that is allowing 172 rushing yards per game and almost two touchdowns on the ground? … The Jets have said they will go back to “ground and pound,” but they have yet to prove such a thing. If they can’t realize by now they need to handoff more and use Mark Sanchez less, then begin to prepare the Coach Ryan obit.
Honorable mention: Vick Ballard, Colts at Jets (With Donald Brown out, this could be a nice one-week start); LeGarrette Blount, Bucs vs. Redskins (Should start to steal some carries from Martin and get goal-line touches)
Sidney Rice, Seahawks vs. Patriots (31st vs. pass); Mike Williams, Bucs vs. Chiefs (10th vs. pass)
So what if he doesn’t have a quarterback to throw to him? Against this defense, it won’t matter all that much. Just throw it up and let him run, Russell. … Kansas City has been in the upper half of pass defenses, but they have given up a few big plays. And Williams proved he has that capability in his last start, and could have a chance for a repeat performance against a team that has allowed 10 passing touchdowns.
Honorable mention: Randall Cobb, Packers at Texans (Could be more valuable this week if you play in a league that allows individual returns); Denarius Moore, Raiders at Falcons (Oakland will be throwing the ball A LOT)
Jermaine Gresham, Bengals at Browns (28th vs. pass)
He has been steady, but not nearly the tight end some had predicted before the season (including me). With A.J. Green questionable, Andy Dalton could look early and often to his second option, which here should be Gresham.
Honorable mention: Coby Fleener, Colts at Jets (Targeted nine times last week)
KICKER: Nick Novak, Chargers vs. Broncos (Bounce back for S.D., which means lots of points scored)
Michael Vick, Eagles vs. Lions (3rd vs. pass)
It has come to the point where you just can’t rely on Vick, no matter how bad your backup is. If you’re in a league that subtracts points for turnovers, he’s absolutely killing you. (Like you needed me to tell you.) This could turn out to be another low-scoring game for Philly, and if it isn’t, they better hope LeSean McCoy has an out-of-this-world type of day.
Not-so-honorable mention: Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Cowboys (Dallas has top-rated pass defense)
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants at 49ers (8th vs. run); Jamaal Charles, Chiefs at Bucs (1st vs. run)
If you’ve read my columns long enough, you’ll know that my No. 1 rule for running backs is always start them against the Saints and always sit them against the 49ers. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, they have allowed only 13 touchdowns and only FOUR since the beginning of last season. Eli might throw 50 passes in this one. … I mean c’mon, the guy has only scored 68 points over the past three weeks. That’s not THAT great. Yes, of course I am joking. But I’m not joking that I would leave him on the bench this week if I had any comparable options. The Bucs have shut down the run effectively this season, allowing just more than 70 yards rushing per game.
Not-so-honorable mention: Alex Green, Packers at Texans (Now that he has the job, he faces a team that hasn’t allowed a rushing TD); Alfred Morris, Redskins vs. Vikings (Tough matchup, but tough to sit him, I know)
Torrey Smith, Ravens vs. Cowboys (1st vs. pass); Jordy Nelson, Packers at Texans (6th vs. pass)
The Cowboys are allowing just 170 yards per game through the air, and have been good at defending the big play. I still am trying to figure out why everyone seems to think this game is a slam dunk for Baltimore. … Every week, I keep hearing this is the week for Nelson. And every week, he keeps turning up lame. Even with Greg Jennings out – and possibly Jermichael Finley – I’ll believe it when I see it.
Not-so-honorable mention: Robert Meachem, Chargers vs. Broncos (One good week against the Saints does not mean the ship has been turned in the right direction); Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs at Bucs (Who is going to throw to him? Brady who?)
Brandon Pettigrew, Lions at Eagles (11th vs. pass)
His tweaked knee is only part of the reason why he isn’t a great play here. The Eagles have been tough against opposing tight ends, and Matt Stafford likely will be looking to get the deep pass rolling against a mediocre, albeit bend-but-don’t break, secondary.
Not-so-honorable mention: Jacob Tamme, Broncos at Chargers (Joel Dreesen beginning to become top TE in Denver)
KICKER: Justin Tucker, Ravens vs. Cowboys (I have a hunch this will be low scoring)
MY WEEK 6 LINEUPS (as of Thursday)
FINKS FOOTBALL LEAGUE (touchdown-heavy scoring, 3 pts passing TD, no PPR, 20-team keeper league with two separate conferences – which have separate drafts — of 10 teams)
MojoXpress (3-2, won 51-47)
Starters: PRivers, MLynch, LMcCoy, PHarvin, CalJohnson, JNelson (flex), DPitta, DAkers
Bench: MVick, JFreeman, ABradshaw, KevSmith, BTate, JStewart, DAmendola, RMoss, JGresham, SGraham
WHO DAT LEAGUE (mostly standard scoring, 6 pts passing TD, no PPR, 12-team keeper league)
Squirrel Pool (2-3, lost 151-100)
Starters: PRivers, TRichardson, MLynch, VCruz, AntBrown, KBritt (flex), JFinley, Bengals Def, BWalsh
Bench: MStafford, KevSmith, KOgletree, JBattle, RMoss, JFinley, AGreen, GHartley