As the days get shorter and colder, the NFL picture starts to become clearer. Everyone finally has an idea of who is good, who is bad, and what to expect going forward. Surprises still happen of course, but at least now we have somewhat of a clue as to how the games might progress going forward.
Byes: ATL, MIA
Who to Start:
QB Cam Newton (CAR) vs. MIN: No Rodney Harrison, the Panthers shouldn't bench him, and neither should fantasy owners this week. Despite his struggles last week, the Vikings secondary is pretty atrocious, and Newton could exploit that.
RB Alfred Morris (WSH) vs. DAL: He ripped the Cowboys twice in 2012, and with the Cowboys rush defense being pretty unsavory this season, he could certainly do that again Sunday Night. His rib injury doesn't appear to be holding him back, either.
WR Torrey Smith (BAL) vs. GB: He's emerging as one of the better receivers in the league, despite having almost no help around him. The Packers secondary has been torched often, especially on the road, so Smith could have another big time outing.
WR Reggie Wayne (IND) vs. SD MON: He and T.Y Hilton both could be in for monster days against a San Diego secondary that has been beat up pretty badly often this season, even last week against Terrelle Pryor.
TE Julius Thomas (DEN) vs. JAX: Everyone's favorite new waiver wire gem has himself an amazing matchup this week against Jacksonville... not even just for the obvious reasons. The Jaguars cannot defend Tight Ends at all, so he should feast on Sunday.
DEF San Francisco vs. ARZ: Yeah all those concenrs about the 49ers defense have been pretty unfounded, haven't they? They've rebounded quite nicely since the start of the season, and the Cardinals mainly hapless offense is going to pose few problems.
Who to Sit:
QB Matt Stafford (DET) vs. CLE: Even though I don't think the Browns will win this game, I do think their defense will keep them in it, especially their secondary. Matt Stafford is turnover prone, so the Browns defense could prey on that.
RB Chris Johnson (TEN) vs. SEA: He's in a fantasy wasteland by this point, and aside from that flukey TD last Sunday, he was pedestrian at best. The Seahawks are usually stout against the run, especially at home, so this matchup doesn't bode well for Johnson.
WR Dwayne Bowe (KC) vs. OAK: Huh? Aren't the Raiders pretty awful and the Chiefs pretty awesome? Yes, but Bowe has never had much success against the Raiders in his career, and if there's one player they'll try to take out of the game early, it's Bowe.
WR Tavon Austin (STL) vs. HOU: He's been a large disappointment both for Rams fans and in fantasy land, and going up against the Texans stout secondary next won't make for any easier outings.
TE Jermaine Gresham (CIN) vs. BUF: His 2012 success has seemingly gone away quick due to teams being able to take him out of games and Tyler Eifert getting more targets. The Bills are tough against Tight Ends so Gresham could be in for a long day.
DEF New England vs. NO: At some point the injuries have to take their toll, don't they? They probably will against a very good, resurgent New Orleans offense.
3 Super Sleepers:
QB Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. NYG THU: Jay Cutler is turnover prone, but the Giants defense has been a literal sieve this season, and on a short week the home team usually has an advantage. He could have a monster game.
RB Bilal Powell (NYJ) vs. PIT: I'm averse to recommending any of the Jets running backs because each could lose carries to each other quick. But Powell is the steadiest of the 3, and the Steelers rush defense has been pretty bad this season.
DEF Cincinnati vs. BUF: Thad Lewis. Enough said.
QB Colin Kaepernick (SF) vs. ARZ: Yep, he's here again. And there's good reason. The Cardinals defense has been impressive this season, and Kaepernick's numbers have tumbled consistently. Todd Bowles' unit has been better than advertised, so if you have a better option, it might not hurt to slide Kaep down a notch for a week.
Good Luck in Week 6!