As we head into another week, more injuries present opportunities to other players. It’s not always the studs that win you your fantasy league, as the diamond in the rough often pays huge dividends. Let’s begin with who we want in our lineup this week.
Christian Ponder (Vikings QB) – If you have Cam Newton or Drew Brees on a bye this week, Christian Ponder is only owned in 36 percent of leagues. The Vikings face off against an embarrassing Redskins pass defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. With the way Ponder has been hooking up with Percy Harvin and emerging stud tight end Kyle Rudolph, it will be a great day for him in week six.
Vick Ballard (Colts RB) – The Colts starting running back Donald Brown had surgery to repair cartilage in his knee on Tuesday, so he’ll be sidelined for a few weeks. Vick Ballard has gotten most of the carries as the backup and will now start, so if you need a running back, they go up against the Jets defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs.
LaRod Stephens-Howling (Cardinals RB) – With yet another Cardinals running back going down for the season, LSH is next in line against the third-worst rushing defense, the Buffalo Bills. When Howling started the final game of the regular season last year, he rushed for 93 yards. While William Powell and Alfonso Smith are competent running backs in Arizona, Howling looks to get most of the touches.
Andrew Hawkins (Bengals WR) – He had 13 targets last week — the same amount as A.J. Green. While he hasn’t reached the end zone in the past two weeks, I look for a big game this week against the second-to-last pass defending Browns. Pro bowl corner Joe Haden will be back this week for the Browns, who should be all over Green and leave Hawkins with the ability to shine big time.
Kyle Rudolph (Vikings TE) – Have I mentioned the 6-foot-7 natural handed talent yet? He’s eighth among tight ends, yet only owned in 68 percent of leagues. He gets plenty of targets every game and is a deadly weapon in the red zone. I’m starting him for the rest of the year in a couple of my leagues, and trading Jason Witten away after his breakout game to get something else in return. And if you’re not as confident as I am, he plays the Redskins defense that can’t defend the pass.
Now some guys that we need to sit on the bench.
Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants RB) – I don’t care that he is coming off of a 200-yard rushing week against the Browns. They play the 49ers this week who have allowed less than 80 rushing yards per game this season. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined for just 70 yards last week. It’s almost an automatic sit when you go up against this scary San Francisco defense.
Torrey Smith (Ravens WR) – The Ravens play the Cowboys this week, who have been second-best against the pass. Having revamped their secondary, I don’t like Smith’s chances of having a good game this week. He’s a speed guy that’s very inconsistent and has also been nursing an ankle injury all week.
Stevan Ridley (Patriots RB) – He’s been great this year, but the Seahawks are second-best against the run, and the Patriots will have to have their success by passing this week. Brandon Bolden also steals carries. Terrible matchup, and you don’t know what you’ll get with the Patriots week-in and week-out.
Jermichael Finley (Packers TE) – Finley is probably the biggest fantasy tight end disappointment so far this year. He’s banged up, plus he goes up against the best passing defense in the league in Houston this week. There seem to be plenty of other options at tight end out there until Finley can get back on track.