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Fantasy Football: Week 6 NFL Matchups & Sit/Start Advice (Part 1)

 Rotoballer's Lou Cappetta brings you comprehensive Sunday fantasy football advice so you can set your lineup with confidence .  Click here for Part 2 of this week's matchup analysis.


Week 6 NFL Matchups: Fantasy Football Analysis & Sit/Start Advice


Carolina Panthers @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 10/13, 1PM

Steve Smith 2006-10-15Matchup We Love: Steve Smith, WR

Steve Smith had a rough game last week, as he dropped an open touchdown pass and got into it with a ref, while the Panthers ultimately lost a game they should have won. Carolina is inconsistent to say the least, and it's a matter of opinion whether that falls on the coaching staff or the QB, but I think we will see the "good" Panthers team show up Sunday. The Vikings secondary can't stop anyone from throwing, which should mean Cam Newton's number-one option bounces back with a huge game.

Analysis: Start Steve Smith with confidence.

Matchup We Hate: Matt Cassell, QB

Maybe you need QB help, or have a QB on a bye, like Matt Ryan, and you notice that Matt Cassel played pretty well last week, so you're thinking of using him. If that's the case, look elsewhere. There is a lot not to like here. First, the Carolina defense has been very good this year, and has given opposing QBs fits. Next, with the signing of Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel becomes the definition of "lame duck." The QB job is going to be Freeman's to lose, and even though it's reported that the Vikings want him to learn the offense a bit more before playing, it wouldn't shock me if he ends up coming in for Cassel if the offense stalls.

Analysis: Leave Cassell on waivers; his days as a starter are numbered.

Key Injuries: Greg Olsen TE, CAR (probable), Christian Ponder QB, MIN (questionable)

Start 'Em: Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings, Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Panthers DEF


Detroit Lions @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday 10/13, 1PM

Matchup We Love: Willis McGahee, RB

I thought it was crazy that Willis McGahee was out of a job for so long, especially after seeing the Giants running game, but he is now back and fully entrenched as the Browns' feature back. Sure, he's not what he once was, but he's still got some life in those legs, and after watching him carry the ball 26 times last week, it's obvious he'll have every opportunity to put up numbers. Cleveland is hot right now, and the Lions defense has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. That could spell a very nice day for McGahee.

Analysis: Willis McGahee makes a nice low-end RB2 or high-end flex play this week.

Matchup We Hate: Matthew Stafford, QB

The Lions struggled mightily on offense last week without star WR Calvin Johnson. The running backs were non-existent in the passing game, the rest of the wideouts looked like practice squad material, and the team's leading receiver ended up being drop-prone tight end Brandon Pettigrew. This week, Johnson is a gametime decision to play, in a matchup against a Cleveland defense that is considerably better than Green Bay's. That makes Matt Stafford a risky play this week, and while it's hard to bench a guy like him once the bye weeks begin, unless you plan on waiting until the absolute last minute you may want to look for another guy with a better matchup.

Analysis: Keep an eye on Johnson's status, but make sure you have a solid back-up QB. If Megatron is out again, sit Stafford.

Key Injuries: Calvin Johnson WR, DET (questionable), Tony Scheffler TE, DET (questionable), Chris Ogbayana RB, CLE (probable), Joe Thomas OL, CLE (probable)

Start 'Em: Matt Stafford, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Brandon Pettigrew, Lions DEF, Joe Gordon, Willis McGahee, Greg Little, Jordan Cameron, Browns DEF


Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Jets, Sunday 10/13, 1PM

Matchup We Love: Geno Smith, QB

As expected with a rookie QB, Geno Smith of the Jets has been up and down so far this year. He's shows plenty of signs of promise, yet he also has been quite turnover-prone. What has become evident with Smith is that he plays much better against a team with a weak pass rush, and that doesn't bode well for a Steelers team that is dead-last in the NFL in sacks (four on the year). As the Falcons proved Monday night, if Geno Smith has time to throw the ball, he's going to have a good game, and I'm predicting he'll do the same against Pittsburgh.

Analysis: Geno Smith makes for a great bye week option against a reeling Steelers squad. Start him if you got him.

Matchup We Hate: Steelers DEF

The New York Jets defense is the second-ranked squad in the NFL, and has put up 30 fantasy points so far this year in standard leagues. The Steelers defense has put up eight-- yes, you read that right, just eight-- total fantasy points this year. The only defense to put up fewer fantasy points is the Giants, yet the Steelers are still owned in 31 percent of Yahoo! leagues...12 percent more than the Jets! This is not the Steelers defense of a few years ago. This is a banged-up unit that can't get to the QB, and doesn't force turnovers. Sure, the Jets aren't the best offense, but I don't think the Steelers defense suddenly rights the ship against them. What we've been seeing is just what the Steelers defense is going to be this year, and it's not good. There's no reason to own them, let alone start them, even against the Jets.

Analysis: If you own the Steelers defense, drop them and find a better match-up on waivers.

Key Injuries: Heath Miller TE, PIT (probable), Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith S, PIT (probable), Antonio Cromartie CB, NYJ (questionable), Chris Ivory RB, NYJ (questionable), Mike Goodson RB, NYJ (probable)

Start 'Em: Geno Smith, Bilal Powell, Santonio Holmes, Kellen Winslow, Jets DEF, Ben Roethlisberger, Leveon Bell, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Denver Broncos, Sunday 10/13, 4:25PM

Match-up We Love: Justin Blackmon, WR

Obviously, we like all of the Broncos, but there are some things working particularly Justin Blackmon's favor, too.  In his first game of the season, Blackmon caught five passes for 136 yards and a score. He's got a boatload of talent, and he gets to go against a Denver defense that has given up the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. This is sure to get ugly early, and the Jags are going to have to throw, throw, throw just to keep up. Blackmon could actually end up with a monster statistical day in a loss.

Analysis: I'd start Blackmon this week, especially if you have a WR on a bye.

Match-up We Hate: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB

I avoided MJD in every draft I had this year, and I'm happy I did. I know his team is terrible, he has no QB and teams stack the box against him, but I think it's more than that with him at this point. MJD has dealt with all those same issues in Jacksonville for years now, and he's always found a way to be productive, but this year he looks old, and it's time to wonder he's beginning his career decline as he approaches 30. This matchup may prove especially tough for him if the Jaguars get down big early and they're forced to throw, as most expect.  Unfortunately, it's tough to bench a guy you probably had to use a second- or third-round pick on, especially once the bye weeks start, but it may be time to start considering it with MJD.

Analysis: Use MJD if you must, but'd sit him in favor of someone else.

Key Injuries: Cecil Shorts WR, JAX (questionable), Mike Brown WR, JAX (questionable), Ronnie Hillman RB, DEN (probable), Champ Bailey CB, DEN (probable)

Start 'Em: Cecil Shorts, Justin Blackmon, Peyton Manning, Eric Decker, Demayrius Thomas, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Ronnie Hillman, Knowshon Moreno, Broncos DEF


Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 10/13, 1PM

Vincent Jackson 2012Matchup We Love: Vincent Jackson, WR

With an offense in dissaray, it hasn't been the season many of us expected for Vincent Jackson. He has fewer than 300 receiving yards and has yet to catch a TD pass through five games. All of that should change this week, as he gets a very favorable matchup against a Philly defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year. Jackson is too good to continue the way he's going, so expect a breakout game this week at home against the Eagles.

Analysis: Start Vincent Jackson with confidence this week.

Matchup We Hate: DeSean Jackson, WR

I've never been a huge Jackson guy, but he's been very productive so far this year in Chip Kelly's offense. With that said, I'm leery of what he'll do this week against a tough Tampa D, especially since he'll surely find himself matched up against Darrelle Revis after calling him out this week. I never like it when a player gives another team "bulletin board" material, and I already thought Revis would shut him down even without the extra motivation. Don't forget, there may be no Michael Vick this week either. I'm avoiding Jackson this week, and you should too.

Analysis: Start Jackson if you must, but I'd leave him alone on Revis island.

Key Injuries: Michael Vick QB, PHI (questionable), Brandon Boykin CB, PHI (probable), Mike Williams WR, TB (questionable)

Start 'Em: LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Brent Celeck, Doug Martin, Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson, Bucs DEF


Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers, Sunday 10/13, 4:25PM

Matchup We Love: Frank Gore, RB

It's been brought to my attention that the Cardinals defense has yet to give up a rushing TD this season. That may be true, but it's also true that they've faced the pass-first attacks of Detroit and New Orleans, a Rams rushing attack that has no clear starter, and DeAngelo Williams, who hasn't found the endzone at all this year. Yes, they did stop Doug Martin, but with the way Tampa is playing on offense, that's not saying much. The Cards D is solid, but it's their secondary that's really tough, and with the inconsistency of Colin Kaepernick's passing this year, I'm expecting San Fran to take their chances on the ground. I'm going to go against the grain and pick Frank Gore to have a big day.

Analysis: Start Gore with confidence.

Matchup We Hate: Larry Fitzgerald, WR

I was high on Larry Fitzgerald coming into this year, and I really expected that he and Carson Palmer would form a great QB/WR combination. Unfortunately, the big games haven't come yet from the duo, and I'm no longer sure that they will. The offensive line can not keep Carson Palmer from getting hit, and he's a QB who needs time to throw to be successful. Palmer hasn't been able to get Fitzgerald the ball, and he's quickly on his way to another solid, yet unspectacular season. The San Francisco defense is going to get to Palmer plenty on Sunday, and that means it could be another ho-hum performance from Fitzgerald. It's time to temper expectations for the wideout until the play of the offensive line improves.

Analysis: Start Fitzgerald if you must or if you have guys on bye weeks, just don't expect huge numbers.

Key Injuries: Vernon Davis TE, SF (probable), Frank Gore RB, SF (probable), Larry Fitzgerald WR, AZ (questionable), John Abraham DE, AZ (probable)

Start 'Em: Collin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, 49ers DEF, Andre Ellington, LArry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Cardinals DEF



Click here for Part 2 of this week's matchup analysis.

Need Rankings? Check out our Week 6 Rankings to see how we value all players for Week 6. 

Be sure to check back tomorrow for our remaining Sunday matchups. And as always, for advice on demand, check out the chat room. Good luck in Week Six!