Somehow this column navigated its way through last week batting .500. Who would have thought Owen Daniels would lay an egg against that Raiders defense or Gary Barnidge would catch a touchdown between his legs to punctuate a huge game against the Ravens?
Hopefully you were able to avoid land mines like Martellus Bennett, Randall Cobb and Amari Cooper while benefiting from solid games by Jamison Crowder and Willie Snead IV. Hopefully this week will be a return to normalcy. If so, take heed of the following.
Mike Wallace, WR, MIN vs. KC ($5,400)
Adam Thielen, WR, MIN vs. KC ($4,500)
Miglio: The Kansas City Chiefs have not been very good on defense. That is especially true for that secondary, one that has allowed the most fantasy PPG to opposing receivers. Having faced a gauntlet that includes DeAndre Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas, Randall Cobb, and A.J. Green hasn’t helped matters, but guys like Marquess Wilson and Brandon Tate have also scored on the unit. That’s where low-priced options like Adam Thielen come into the picture -- he actually got more snaps than rookie counterpart Stefon Diggs last week. Of course, if Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace make it back from injury, Thielen's appeal disappears. Wallace looks to be on track to play, which makes him a rather enticing option at that price.
Rudnicki: The Chiefs have surprisingly been the most generous matchup for receivers this year with 11 touchdowns allowed. Things have improved since Sean Smith returned from suspension, but they still had trouble with the Bears last week who were without their top two wideouts. The Vikings could also be without two or three of their top receivers this week, which should create a lot of opportunity for players further down the depth chart. Both Wallace and Thielen productive against a much tougher Broncos secondary in their last game, and you have to think they will find things even easier here.
Greg Olsen, TE, CAR @ SEA ($6,300)
Miglio: It’s rare to say a player has a good matchup against the Seahawks -- particularly when in Seattle -- but that defensive unit has lost its luster. It has been particularly bad against tight ends, having given up four touchdowns and the fifth-most standard PPG to the position thus far this year. It’s not as if they’ve faced Rob Gronkowski every week, either -- Richard Rodgers and Lance Kendricks have scored, and nascent Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert torched that unit last week for a pair. Greg Olsen is next up.
Rudnicki: Kam Chancellor’s return helped spark the Seahawks defense, but he was victimized repeatedly by Tyler Eifert and the Bengals last week. Seattle is not playing up to their normal levels of defense and have given up four touchdowns to opposing tight ends in five games this year. Coming off the bye week, I expect the Panthers to come up with ways to get their best receiver heavily involved in this matchup.
Darren Fells, TE, ARI vs. PIT ($4,800)
Miglio: The Raiders managed to shut Denver’s tight ends out last week, which brought them back to the pack, though they are still giving up the most points to the position. The Steelers are gaining on them, however, after giving up a pair of touchdowns to Antonio Gates. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals boast the league’s most prolific offense, and Carson Palmer is spreading the wealth like he’s Bernie Sanders. Fells might catch a windfall this week against that woeful Pittsburgh pass defense.
Rudnicki: The Steelers have shown improvement on defense in recent weeks, but they still looked vulnerable against tight ends as they gave up two touchdowns on Antonio Gates on Monday Night Football. Their best cover safety Will Allen left that game early with an ankle injury and may not be ready to play this week, which should open things up even more. The risk here is that the Cardinals tend to use their tight ends as blockers more than receivers, but Wells is an inviting target in the red zone and should get more looks than usual.
Richard Rodgers, TE, GB vs. SD ($5,100)
Miglio: You will note that Green Bay receivers don’t have a great matchup this week below, but that is not the case for Richard Rodgers. He is very much a boom-or-bust GPP candidate on a weekly basis, and he could hit BINGO this week.
Rudnicki: The Chargers are strong at corner, but vulnerable over the middle. Rodgers has seen a steady increase in targets over the past few weeks as the Packers have looked to get him more involved in the passing game. That trend should continue this week and he has a great chance to score his third touchdown in five games.
Kamar Aiken, WR, BAL @ SF ($6,000)
Miglio: We didn’t quite hit BINGO with Kamar Aiken last week, but four catches for 78 yards was a decent return for Joe Flacco’s de facto No. 1 receiver. This week, Aiken gets to face a thoroughly broken San Francisco pass defense that has already allowed over 1,000 receiving yards on the season.
Rudnicki: Everybody saw on national television how poorly the 49ers secondary is playing when they were 441 yards and 41 completions to Eli Manning. As the default No. 1 receiver option for Baltimore now that Steve Smith is injured, Aiken seems like a safe play with upside. (Miglio’s note: Smith could be back this week, but Aiken is still a good option.)
DeVante Parker, WR, MIA @ TEN ($5,000)
Miglio: There aren’t many compelling reasons to start any Dolphins this week given their early-season implosion and the uncertainty that comes under a new coaching staff. Thus far, DeVante Parker has barely gotten onto the field. So why does this make sense? It doesn’t, really. But Parker has great size, speed and skill, and the Dolphins might finally try to unleash him this week against a Titans defense that has benefited from some poor quarterback play from opponents to date.
Rudnicki: Coming into this season, I think most expected the Titans to have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. While they have been hurt by some big plays, they are not giving up a lot of yards or completions. I’m not sure I see much to get excited about here as Parker has not been very involved for the Dolphins thus far.
Golden Tate, WR, DET vs. CHI ($6,900)
Miglio: The Detroit Lions offense may be applying for Federal disaster assistance soon the way things are headed, but this is as good a week as any to turn things around. A mediocre-at-best Bears defense comes to town, and the lusty boos from last week’s abysmal performance should hopefully serve as player motivation to right the ship. Golden Tate had a whopping 18 targets last week -- though many of those came from Dan Orlovsky -- and he could get loose a couple of times against Chicago. As dangerous as he is after the catch, Tate could wind up with a huge stat line on Sunday.
Rudnicki: The Bears have shown improvement in the secondary over the past couple weeks, but they are still vulnerable at the corner position. Calvin Johnson figures to see plenty of double teams, which should allow Golden Tate see more favorable matchups and build off the 18-target game he saw last week.
Zach Ertz, TE, PHI vs. NYG ($5,000)
Miglio: The Philadelphia offense has found its way on the wings of two-tight end sets. Unfortunately, that hasn’t translated to a big week for Zach Ertz yet. But a healthy target count augurs well for the third-year tight end in a nice matchup against the Giants defense.
Rudnicki: Ertz produced solid numbers against a favorable matchup a week ago, and should be able to build on that again this week. The Giants have been one of the most generous defenses for opposing tight ends all season, and the Eagles offense is just starting to show some signs of life.
Kendall Wright, WR, TEN vs. MIA ($5,800)
Miglio: Brent Grimes is back in action this week, and the Miami Dolphins might literally be lit on fire by new head coach Dan Campbell as a motivational ploy. They have been terrible on defense to date, but getting healthy after a bye week could lead to marked improvement, but Kendall Wright could have a nice week regardless.
Rudnicki: The Dolphins have looked terrible in most facets thus far, which is why they are looking at a brand new set of coaches in charge. The pass rush has been extremely disappointing, and they never had good depth in the secondary to begin with. Wright should have had a bigger game against the Bills and voiced his displeasure afterwards, so the signs point to a big game this week.
Travis Benjamin, WR, CLE vs. DEN ($6,300)
Miglio: The Cleveland Browns offense is clicking like a metronome set at 140 BPM thus far this season. But a rendezvous with the NFL’s best defense could bring the beat to a halt.
Rudnicki: Josh McCown is on a roll, but it should all come crashing to a halt this week when the Broncos pay a visit. Chris Harris Jr and Aqib Talib make things difficult for almost every receiver they face, and have combined to allow just one touchdown to an opposing receivers all season.
Jimmy Graham, TE, SEA vs. CAR ($6,300)
Miglio: A disappointing season continues for Jimmy Graham, who squares off against a stingy Carolina defense this week.
Rudnicki: The Panthers defense has yet to face a tight end even half as good as Jimmy Graham this year, but they have only given up an average of 23 yards to the position in four games. That’s not a good sign for a Graham, who has just FIVE targets in each of his last two games. He just hasn’t looked like a good fit for the Seattle offense thus far.
Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS @ NYJ ($6,000)
Miglio: Darrelle Revis. ‘Nuff said.
Rudnicki: The Jets defense is capable of dominating thanks to their strong collection of cornerbacks. They have had a bye week to prepare for this matchup and get to face Kirk Cousins at home. Whether it’s Revis, Cromartie, or Skrine, I’d think avoiding all Washington receivers this week makes a lot of sense.
Randall Cobb, WR, GB @ SD ($8,100)
James Jones, WR, GB @ SD ($6,600)
Miglio: We saw what a tougher matchup did to Randall Cobb’s production last week, and James Jones’ fantasy output was basically on a fortuitous 77-yard catch-and-run where he barely got into the end zone. The San Diego Chargers have been just as stingy against wide receivers this season—Markus Wheaton’s huge touchdown notwithstanding—and the Packers could try to get Eddie Lacy and Richard Rodgers more involved against the softer middle of that Chargers defense.
Rudnicki: While many might remember Brandon Flowers letting Wheaton get behind him for a killer touchdown on Monday night, they shouldn’t forget that Antonio Brown was also held to just three catches on 6 targets. The Chargers boast a pretty strong group of cornerbacks and they have managed to keep almost all of the receivers they’ve faced this year in check.
Charles Clay, TE, BUF vs. CIN ($5,700)
Rudnicki: Tight ends have not had much success against this defense in 2015. They have yet to give up a touchdown or even 50 yards to a tight end this year. That doesn’t bode well for Clay, who got all the defensive attention from the Titans last week as teams started to realize that he might be the most dangerous target.
Julian Edelman, WR, NE @ IND ($7,900)
Miglio: It’s tough to say any New England player is going to have a down week at this point, but Julian Edelman might be your best bet to fail in Week 6. Sure, the Patriots might go into Lucas Oil Stadium pumped for a blowout, but Edelman didn’t get in on much of the scoring action last season. New England eviscerated Indianapolis by a combined 87-27 score in two tilts last season, but the diminutive wideout “only” caught 14 passes for 148 yards in those games. Vontae Davis hasn’t quite been a shutdown corner this season, but he could be problematic enough for Tom Brady and Co. to find other ways to slice up the Colts.
Rudnicki: There is certainly a chance that game script could limit Edelman’s chances here, but I think he’s set up for a strong game actually. While Vontae Davis is a top notch cover corner, he plays on the outside and Edelman works out of the slot where he should find plenty of open space against a defense that is really struggling.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN vs. KC ($5,000)
Miglio: Kyle Rudolph has been as disappointing as ever this season, scoring just once and barely getting involved for the Vikings. You might think that this would be a good week to start him at a good salary, but that would be a bad idea. As generous as the Chiefs have been to receivers and quarterbacks, quality tight ends have just not done much against that unit.
Rudnicki: The Chiefs are just not a defense you want to face if you’re a tight end. Eric Berry is playing great right now, and Ron Parker is no slouch either. They held Martellus Bennett and Tyler Eifert in check the past two weeks, and should hold up well against Rudolph here too.
Keenan Allen, WR, SD @ GB ($7,700)
Miglio: This may come as a bit of a surprise, but the Green Bay Packers are among the best teams at slowing down opposing wide receivers. Behind the outstanding play of Sam Shields and his cohorts, Green Bay has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG to the position. That is in spite of Jeremy Maclin’s second-half garbage time explosion a few weeks back. Keenan Allen rolls into town with the Chargers this week, and his target share already took a hit with Antonio Gates back in the fold last week. Fewer targets against a quality opponent could spell fantasy disaster this week.
Rudnicki: Sam Shields is pretty good, but the Packers have given up some big games to opposing receivers this year. (Miglio’s note: Aaron and I should have a prop bet on this one. I’ll take the under on 5.5 catches for 65 yards and 0.5 touchdowns.)
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