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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 6

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Editor's Note: The original version of this article was filed before news broke on Donald Brown's injury and was inadvertently posted. The article has been updated with the corrected version that should have been posted originally.

STRONG PLAYS

Andy Dalton vs. CLE

Dalton has had consecutive pedestrian weeks throwing the football, failing to break 250 yards in either week and throwing as many touchdowns (3) as interceptions. This week, Dalton should return to the quarterback he was in Weeks 2 and 3 when he was a fantasy stud. Week 2 was against this same Browns team, and Dalton threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns. These aren't far from the numbers the Browns normally allow. The Browns are 29th in the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and have given up three touchdown passes on three separate occasions in five weeks. Quarterbacks have also broken the 300-yard barrier in three of five games this season. Look for Dalton to be one of the better starts of Week 6.

Christian Ponder vs. WAS

While Ponder is far from a fantasy star and normally nothing more than a QB2, in his best two matchups of the season he averaged more than 250 yards and two touchdowns passing. This week's matchup against Washington qualifies as his best matchup of the season. The Redskins are surrendering the fifth most points to fantasy quarterbacks and have given up multiple touchdown passes in four of five games. They have also allowed at least 299 yards passing in every game this season. While Ponder might not reach those lofty stats, he could be a nice one-week fill in, especially for Drew Brees or Cam Newton owners.

Rashard Mendenhall vs. TEN

Mendenhall gave by far the best performance from a Steelers running back this season in last week's return versus the Eagles. Mendenhall was kept out of Tuesday practice due to precautionary measures but should be good to go in this excellent matchup against the Titans. The Titans have allowed the eighth most fantasy points to running backs and are 28th in yards allowed per game and 25th in touchdowns allowed per game. Barring any setbacks prior to kickoff, Mendenhall should be in your lineup in Week 6.

Doug Martin vs. KC

Martin's production has undoubtedly disappointed his owners in recent weeks. He totaled only 10 touches in Week 4 against the Redskins for 42 yards (33 rushing) and no touchdowns before sitting out last week on a bye. This week, though, Martin could regain some fantasy value with a matchup against a Kansas City defense that allows 4.4 yards per rush. Part of his problem against Washington was that Tampa Bay put the ball in the air 39 times to only 18 rushes (of which he still had more rushes, eight, than LeGarrette Blount, six). That likely won't be the case against the Chiefs, who are without Matt Cassel. Unlike the Redskins game, the Buccaneers likely won't fall behind early against backup Brady Quinn. That means more running and less passing for the Bucs, and Martin will be the main beneficiary even if Blount steals some carries along the way.

Eric Decker vs. SD

Many thought Decker would be Peyton Manning's top target in 2012, but after five games it's clear that Demaryius Thomas has assumed that role and has become a must-start weekly receiver. Still, Decker has averaged nearly nine targets a game and has caught at least four passes in every game. Decker has perhaps one of his best matchups to date against a reeling Chargers secondary. The Chargers are coming off a four-touchdown performance by Drew Brees, and in their only other matchup against a top-flight quarterback, gave up three touchdown passes to Matt Ryan. Last year, they struggled in every game against top-level passing teams. Look for Decker to have perhaps his best game of the season against the Chargers.

WEAK PLAYS

Tony Romo vs. BAL

Romo has struggled since Week 2. While he is throwing for more than 280 yards a game during that time he has thrown only two touchdowns, and we all remember the five interceptions against the Bears in Week 4 (seven total in that span). A bounce-back this week will be a challenge against the Ravens. The Ravens have allowed the fifth fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks and have given up just two touchdown passes in five games while collecting six interceptions. Furthermore, the Ravens haven't been the shutdown run defense they've been in the past. They have allowed either a rushing touchdown or more than 100 yards on the ground in every game this season. While Romo will be better than he was against Chicago, the matchup doesn't suggest the breakout game his owners need.

Ahmad Bradshaw vs. SF

Bradshaw exploded for 200 yards rushing last week against the Browns but this week faces his toughest matchup of the season against the 49ers. The 49ers are the toughest fantasy run defense to score against, have allowed only two rushing touchdowns in their last 21 games and have allowed more than 100 yards only twice in that time. With at least a couple of fantasy starters out on byes and injuries this week, Bradshaw will probably have to be in your lineup, but he is a flex option at best.

Alfred Morris vs. MIN

Wherever he was drafted or picked up, Morris has been perhaps the biggest steal in fantasy this season. Morris has topped 100 yards or scored a touchdown in every game this season. Morris' lowest rushing total of the season is 78 yards. However, Morris has benefited from fantastic matchups and his numbers will be challenged this week against the Vikings. The Vikings have given up the second fewest points to fantasy running backs and not allowed a rushing touchdown all season. In their last four games they have averaged 42.7 yards allowed per game to the running back position. With byes, Morris may be too good to bench, but we are calling for his worst game of the season this week.

Stevan Ridley vs. SEA

The toughest matchup for Ridley this season has been coach Bill Belichick as Ridley's only bad outing can be attributed to lack of use more than anything else. This week, Ridley will be tested against a tough Seahawks run defense. The Seahawks have allowed by far the fewest yards to running backs this season (215) and are the third toughest fantasy run defense overall. The Seahawks have not allowed a running back to rush for more than 55 yards all season. Ridley's production has been RB1 for most of the season, but this week he projects to have perhaps his worst outing of the season and produce low RB2 type numbers.

Dustin Keller vs. IND

The good news for the Jets is that Keller, who has been out basically all season, returns and will provide a much needed security blanket for the struggling Mark Sanchez. The bad news is that he is matched up against one of the NFL's best defenses against the tight end in the Colts. The Colts have allowed the fewest catches per game (2.75) and yards (24.25) this season while allowing just two passes to tight ends in their last eight games. Keller should be a welcome addition to an anemic offense, but the matchup suggests it will be another week before he is able to contribute.

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