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NFL Week 6: "Ask the Docs" Replies

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 6 is here, and we've got fantasy teams scrambling for a win. Injuries are piling up, critical decisions need to be made with "who to start" on marginal players, and trade offers are on the table. No worries! The Docs are here to help you sort it all out and carefully get you through this fantasy minefield. Lot of great questions this week, so let's get to 'em!

"I have a predicament. Matt Forte has a bye week, and Steven Jackson is my other running back, which as we all know is never reliable. I picked up a few options off the waivers, and I need to start two, so between Jackson, Alex Green, Vick Ballard, and Brandon Bolden who do I start?"
--Greg, Tucson, AZ

Docs: Greg, we would take a chance on Ballard. He's a nice, bruising back that had success running for Mississippi State in the SEC. At 5'10" / 217 lbs, he is cut from the perfect mold of a NFL RB. Admittedly, this is a risky start, but we feel Ballard has the most upside this week out of the RBs listed. If you wanted to be a little more conservative, Steven Jackson is your next play after Ballard. You know Jackson will get you some points, and he is "due" for a TD (he won't finish the year with zero TDs), but as you already pointed out, he has been unreliable thus far in the season with a host of bumps and bruises. Ballard also has a more favorable match-up than Jackson this week. Both of those factors are why we slightly lean to Ballard this week. At any rate, both of these RBs as longs as many others are shown in our Weekly Rankings, so be sure to check them out each week. They can help with some of these week to week starting decisions. You can find them here: Fantasy Football Weekly Rankings.

"I'm weak at the WR position and am thinking of trading Rashard Mendenhall for Jordy Nelson. My WRs are Steve Smith, Steve Johnson and Pierre Garcon. My RBs are currently Trent Richardson, Alfred Morris, Willis McGahee, Mendenhall, Brandon Bolden and Mikel Leshoure. Does this seem like a trade that could help my team, or is there no real hope for Nelson to break out this season?"
--Eric, Boston, MA

Docs: Eric, if you can make the trade, we would go ahead and do it. Your RB depth is better than your WR depth at this point, and Nelson brings a player to your line-up that could develop into an every week starter for you. The Packers are in a real funk, and it's hard to imagine their passing game struggling much more. They've got another tough match-up this week against the Texans, but we expect them to start turning things around. It starts at QB, and the Packers have one of the best. Unfortunately Mendenhall left Thursday Night's game very early with an Achilles injury; however, the injury has turned out to be minor and he should be fine. Hopefully this injury doesn't scare the Nelson owner you were wanting to trade with.

"Would it be a good move to trade Steve Smith (CAR) for Anquan Bolden or keep Smith?"
--Kevin, Waynesboro, PA

Docs: Kevin, we would keep Smith. Cam Newton is locked onto Smith like few QBs are. The problem with Smith is that Newton has struggled this year. Meanwhile, Bolden has really benefited from the seemingly overnight emergence of Joe Flacco. This has inflated Bolden's value artificially in our opinion. We fully expect Flacco to come back down to earth and for Newton to improve as the season wears on. As this happens, Bolden's value will decrease while Smith's value will be on the rise. Keep Smith.

"Need to pick a Flex player start in a league the awards 0.25 points per reception (PPR) between RB Vick Ballard, WR Wes Welker, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, and RB Mikel LeShoure. Thank you ;-)"
--Pam, Albuquerque NM

Docs: Pam, the thing that makes this tricky is that Welker is listed as Questionable (ankle), but we still go with him. There are few players in football right now as hot as Welker, and the Hawks' CB Marcus Trufant has struggled. We expect Welker to give him fits. Sprinkle in the fact in you are in a league that awards some points for receptions, and that is the icing on the cake for starting Welker this week.

"I could potentially get Vincent Jackson, Steve Smith (CAR), or Greg Jennings in a trade from a guy in my league. Who do you like the most going forward throughout the season?"
--Tyler, Stratford, WI

Docs: Tyler, we like Jackson. Josh Freeman has been locked on Jackson like nobody's business all year. In fact, Jackson leads the league in lowest conversion rate of targets to catches, but that hasn't stopped Freeman from continuing to look Jackson's way early and often. Jackson has no where to go but up. Even if he starts converting a few more of those targets to catches, you will see an impact in his numbers. We love the upside and stubbornness of Freeman to throw, throw, and throw some more towards Jackson, who at 6'5", brings a great redzone presence to the table as well (starting TE Dallas Clark is 6'3").

"After having such a big game in week 5, I am not sure whether to start Ahmad Bradshaw or to keep my 2 main starters in Steven Jackson and DeMarco Murray. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated."
--Kevin, Canton, NY

Docs: Kevin, we go with DeMarco Murray and Bradshaw here. Bradshaw did have a monster week last week, and the Giants offensive line has been playing at a very high level. However, the immovable force known as the 49ers front seven is a different story, and if you sprinkle in the buzz around David Wilson right now from his big run last week, it's enough for us to shy away from Bradshaw over Murray (head to head). We expect Murray to start ramping it up moving into the next phase of the season. He is a great weapon out of the backfield as a pass-catcher, and he can take it to the house from anywhere on the field. The Cowboys have had a BYE week to watch game tape and realize Murray is not being used as effectively as he could and that he is the key to their success. It's one thing saying it. It's another thing watching what you've done on tape and realizing you really weren't implementing that like you may have thought you had. As for Jackson, and as stated in a previous reply above, he is just too unreliable at this point to start relative to either Murray or Bradshaw. Again, go with Murray and Bradshaw. Keep in mind our Weekly RB Rankings. We custom generate this list every week to list our top 25 RBs based on talent, match-up, and a host of other factors. You can find them here: Fantasy Football Weekly RB Rankings

Thanks to all for the great questions! That's a wrap for this week. We tried to address some of the more common questions with more detailed answers to try to not only help the specific person asking the question, but the masses as well. Enjoy watching football this week and good luck to your fantasy teams!

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