Denver Broncos (+3.5) @ San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are and have been overrated. Sure, their backs are against the wall here, but that wall is high, and sitting on top of it is a bunch of Broncos ready to straight donkey punch them right off the wall like Humpty freaking Dumpty. The Broncos are even better than I thought they would be, and I expected a lot more from Josh McDaniels’ guys than most. They run the ball well, throw the ball efficiently, make few mistakes, and play hard-nosed tough tackling defense. I’m sure the Chargers will put up some points, maybe even keep it close, but the better team getting 3 points, I like that value.
Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons (-3): I still don’t get this line. I’ve always figured that Vegas gives the home team 3-4 points, so what they are saying here is that the Bears are, at the very least, even with the Falcons. Really? The Bears aren’t a good road team, lets make that clear. They’ve lost 6 of their last 9 games on the road, and those 3 wins were against the Lions (last season, a team that didn’t win a game last time I checked), the Rams (last season, they were actually even worse than the Lions), and the Seahawks this season in a very close game in which the Hawks were brutalized by injuries and had Seneca Wallace trying to win the game for them. I’m sorry, but something about that recent history doesn’t put me in the Bears-backers section. Atlanta beat down a good 49ers team last week, but that’s not why I’m taking them here. I’m taking them because not only are they better than Chicago, possess better players than the Bears, but they are a good home team playing a bad road team with a spread that claims the two are equal. Now the Falcons struggle with prolific passers, but a lot of yards in his second season and a reasonable start to his first year in Chicago don’t quite make Jay a top flight passer in my book. Like I said, I still don’t get this line. Give me the Falcons.
Philadelphia Eagles (-14) @ Oakland Raiders: There’s no reason to take the Raiders here. They have no offense, their defense isn’t good enough to win games (circa Bears or Ravens of yester-year) and they have a clown owner and a head coach that likes to punch out assistant coaches when they even hint at how big of a circus he’s heading up in Oakland. These guys in the uniforms make the fans in Oak-town look normal. Have you seen that commercial where the guys are getting all dressed up for a KISS concert and when they pop out of their van in full KISS gear, it just happens that they read their tickets wrong and they were smack dab in the middle of Oakland tailgating? Well, the Oakland Raiders seem to play like a bunch of guys that did the same damn thing as the KISS guys. Sure, a new way is born, but that way is a joke. If JaMarcus Russell throws twenty feet short or thirty feet long on any more throws, I’m going to fall over laughing, and I thought he had a decent future. Lets face it, the Raiders are like the Clippers, they pay players lots of money in exchange for their souls. I feel bad for Richard Seymour, but I’m taking the Eagles favored by a couple touchdowns on the road. It’s a shame that Al Davis sold his soul in exchange for the Raiders franchise for eternity. I’m sure he’ll have roster moves and coaching changes written out for the next 20 years in his will. Philadelphia scores fast and often, they have a defense that takes advantage of mistakes, the Raiders make lots of mistakes, I think the defense might cover this spread all by themselves…
Arizona Cardinals (+3) @ Seattle Seahawks: I hope the Hawks win. I don’t like the brand of football Arizona plays offensively, I think they give up way too many big plays. However, I don’t see the injured Hawks offensive line doing enough to slow that Cardinal pass rush. They have 3 back-ups on the O-line starting group, and that’s being generous with the word back-ups, some of these guys are back-up back-ups. And the Cardinals front four can bring it. Now I’ve been hurt by the Hawks a lot, going against them or betting for them, so buyer be ware, but I see the Cardinals winning this game by 10.
Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots (-9): The Titans have been brutal, and I don’t think their secondary woes will get quelled when Tom Brady and the suddenly sputtering Patriots offense hosts them this Sunday. If anything, I expect Tom and company to beet down the 400 yard passing barrier, put up tons of points, and continue to play solid defense like they’ve done all season long. It may be a popular pick, and the Patriots may be a different offense than they were last year, but last year’s team would have ousted this year’s Titans 70-14. This year’s Patriots could do at least half that mark, and the defense can keep the Titans out of the end zone most of the day.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-9): It’s very rare that when you look at tales of the tape and one side wins at every statistic – welcome to the Bills and Jets tale of the tape. Points, Yards Gained, Yards Allowed, Red Zone Efficiency, Time of Possession, Kicking, Penalties, Turnovers, hot wives, confidence – I mean shoot, the only thing these two teams are even close in is New receivers that were consistent problems for their former teams, and that’s a freaking tie, no winner there. The Bills have a solid rushing attack, and usually that would give them a shot in the dark, running clock, keeping it close, keeping their defense off the field – but not these Bills, no way, they run the hurry up. The hurry up was never designed to hurry up and get your defense back on the field. Only, that’s the only kind of hurry up Buffalo runs. I don’t see the Jets losing three straight. I do see the Jets running the ball 60% of the time. With three good running backs, New York will finally realize their strength and stick to it. The Bills will fall, again.
The old man made it two weeks in a row, but at least it stayed in family again. Despite Red Red and Josh’s fantasy genius, neither has found a top spot in any one week this year. But I’m not settling for 2nd, getting the top spot three straight weeks to start the season felt a lot nicer than two straight 2nd place finishes. I’m out for the glory in Week 6. There are some more gross games that you’d like to stay away from this week (Rams/Redskins for one) and some great ones that fantasy should shine in. Here are the predictions for Week 6’s Fantasy Football action. Let the ghost of Drew Bledsoe in Patriot-ic red, white, and blue and his chubby 7th grader-like athleticism shine through with rapture, lead me back to the promise land you dopey Cougar!!!
Elite Starters: Guys picked early that I love this week…
1. DeAngelo Williams – It’s a shot in the dark, maybe, and Williams hasn’t been great this year, but Tampa calls…
2. Randy Moss – Tennessee Titans. Remember the Titans? Remember how they had a great secondary last year. Forget that.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew – He struggled last week, but in comes St. Louis to quell all problems.
4. Tom Brady – I’m starting to like anyone against the Titans secondary, but Tom has a special place in my heart.
5. Brandon Marshall – The big talented kid has seemingly figured it out, and that means bad things for San Diego.
Solid Starters: Guys picked in middle rounds that should outplay their ranking/draft position this week…
1. Matt Hasselbeck – Arizona really doesn’t let you run it, but they sure allow you to pass it. Matty can do that.
2. T.J. Housmandzadeh – If you like Matt this week, and I do, you have to like T.J.
3. Cedric Benson – This cat is running down hill. He put up a big number on Baltimore, Houston should fall like dominoes.
4. Brett Favre – A lot of people will be confused and sit Brett against Baltimore, should be one of this better throwing games.
5. Wes Welker – I think Welker has 10 or more catches for at least 100 yards this week. That’s 20 points and a great day.
Sleeper Starters: Guys ranked low, drafted low or not at all, but I still like them this week…
1. Nate Burleson – There was no reason for him to go undrafted in most leagues, he’s a weekly starter, this week should be great.
2. Donnie Avery – The kid is finally getting healthy and he can fly, Jacksonville struggles to stop even kiwi bird air attacks.
3. Rashard Mendenhall – I’ll ride this super sophomore until he lets me down, especially against the league’s worst run D.
4. Kyle Orton – The Chargers let opponents have their way, and Josh McDaniels likes to throw the rock. Good for Orton owners.
5. Eddie Royal – I love me some Eddie Royal this week against San Diego, especially since he saw 15 targets last week.
Sit ‘Em Son: I don’t care where they were drafted, I don’t like these guys starting this week…
1. Fred Jackson – It’s going to be tough for me to play Fred much, Lynch gets more carries and more receptions.
2. Vincent Jackson – An impossible guy to sit on most teams, but if you have other solid options, I think he struggles.
3. Julius Jones – Hopefully you listened to Red Red Ryan and traded him when he had value, AZ won’t allow much.
4. Santonio Holmes – Because why would the Steelers pass more than 20 times when they could run to victory easily?
5. Steve Slaton – In a non-ppr league, I think you sit Slaton. If it’s PPR, don’t expect a great day, but could be playable.
PS – Don’t play Dolphins, 49ers, Colts, and Cowboys in Week 6! Byes! Mind the gap!
Week 6 Fantasy Pre-Rankings
Michael Koenen has a special place in the hearts of everyone at LuckyLester.com – until he’s kicking field goals again, we’re not ranking the position ever… Get a 60 yarder Mikey!
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-14): Taking the Steelers as a double digit favorite is always scary, and especially this season considering they haven’t beaten anybody by that kind of margin, even allowing a late touchdown last week to the Lions to win by just 8 – and yes, I’m still a little bitter about that. But this match-up begs me to take the Steel City, and I won’t fight it. If you’ve read my picks, you know I love picking against a team that won last week and probably should have lost. When your quarterback goes 2-17 you should lose. When it’s against a defensive secondary that had 3 of 4 starters out with injury, you should really lose. When the most your entire team can score is two field goals, in a game where you were handed two turnovers deep in the opponents zone – you should definitely lose. But the Browns defied reality, beat logic, and tricked reason – and they got the win last week. The Steelers can run the ball, haven been doing it effectively since Rashard Mendenhall took over starting duties, and they can throw the ball very effectively as well. The Browns offense is brutal and their defense is rated at the bottom of the league in both passing and rushing. What can I say, this is the safest survivor pick this week, two touchdowns is a lot, but I’m taking the Steelers.
Carolina Panthers (-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Panthers have actually been a better road team than a home team over the years, especially when it comes to covering. Another thing begging me to bet the Bucs, Carolina should have lost last week. They were down 17-2 midway through the 3rd quarter. Now, they aren’t often a road favorite, and historically the Panthers aren’t a great favorite bet, but all things are going out the window this week because I don’t see Carolina losing to the Bucs to go 1-4. Carolina isn’t one of the bottom 5 teams in football, and the Bucs are. I thought the Bucs would be decent this year, but the re-build is going to be tough, and Carolina has enough to get it done. Defensively, they’ve actually been solid, but the offense has put them in absolutely no place to succeed. With Tampa Bay struggling to stop the run, I think DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have great weeks leading their team to victory. Steve Smith has a knack for getting into the end-zone against this division rival, and I expect him to make a visit in Week 6. A tough pick for me, my rules tell me Bucs, my mind tells me Carolina – you know what they say, mind over gambling on the Bucs!
Kansas City Chiefs (+7) @ Washington Redskins: This is a real excitement filled contest! For the fifth time this season (which makes that every single week so far) the Redskins are going up against an opponent without a win. Yes, despite being 2-3 on the season, 1-3-1 ATS, the Redskins opponents have been winless prior to meeting the Skins. Lucky for opposing teams, the Redskins have given opponents their first win of the season 3 times. They’ve managed to play close games, though, another reason to take the Chiefs this week in D.C. Another reason to take the Chiefs? They always cover against Washington, at least in the last 5 match-ups they have. What else? I like what I saw from Matt Cassel last week, and from the looks of it he’s getting a little more comfortable with his new offense. KC has played tough with some good teams this year, despite losing by double digits to both Baltimore and New York, they played solid football in both games. They’re winless so far, but if it’s up to the Redskins, that will change. KC’s secondary and run defense can be exposed, but there’s not much positive coming out of Washington these days, so I’ll just take the Chiefs and that free touchdown. This brings the question, should Washington be favored by a touchdown against anyone? I think not.