Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 6 Rankings

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Updated 10/13/2013 at 12:00 PM ET.

Chris Johnson: RB3? Johnson is 20th overall in raw running back fantasy points — remember six teams have already had their bye — and a further distant No. 25 in fantasy points per game (excluding players who’ve played less than three games). Johnson is No. 5 in the league in carries (94), but has yet to score a rushing touchdown. He’s averaging 3.12 yards per tote after posting a 4.50 mark in 2012. Johnson also has only eight catches in five games. That’s fewer than FBs Bruce Miller and Anthony Sherman, to name a few. This is a player who averaged three grabs per game coming into 2013.

So to summarize: Johnson is one of the league’s most worked running backs, but doesn’t have a score on the ground. Despite the heavy workload, he’s not Tennessee’s goal-line back (just five of his 94 carries have come inside the opponent’s 10-yard line), and doesn’t have a role in the passing game. In other words, Johnson has the volume fantasy owners crave, but none of the advantages it usually provides (guaranteed goal-line looks, catches to pad poor rushing totals).

Culprits? The Titans’ remade interior line hasn’t panned out the way they were expecting. First-round pick Chance Warmack is No. 55 in Pro Football Focus’ guard ratings, while free-agent prize Andy Levitre is only No. 28. C Robert Turner is getting pushed around. Tennessee’s schedule has been bandied about as a factor, but by enemy run defenses, Johnson has faced the league’s No. 25 (Pittsburgh), No. 29 (Houston), No. 24 (San Diego) and No. 21 (Kansas City) units by yards allowed. Only the Jets in Week 4 (No. 2) rank as a truly imposing matchup on paper.      

The film reveals a simple truth: Johnson is less willing than ever to fight for extra yards. His legs stop churning once he reaches the pile. Johnson only seems interested in going the whole nine yards if … he can see the whole nine yards the second he gets the ball. He loses interest if there’s not a big hole, and that’s a problem, as Warmack, Levitre and Turner aren’t creating many big holes. Johnson, of course, has never been known as the league’s most physical runner. There’s always been much more finesse than violence to his game. But this season you can practically see him waving the white flag at the first sign of a fight. Johnson has five broken tackles in five games. That’s fewer than Danny Woodhead. CJ?K is perfectly content to get arm tackled, and will slow up to make things easier for incoming linebackers. He also gets more passive, or perhaps tired, as the game wears on. On carries 1-10, he’s averaging 4.0 yards. On everything after, that number plunges to 2.14.   

Are there any silver linings? The schedule … sort of. Johnson gets Seattle and San Francisco in Weeks 6 and 7 before things ease up with St. Louis, Jacksonville and Indianapolis after the Titans’ Week 8 bye. Those teams are permitting a collective 4.73 yards per carry. But that soft spot of the schedule is still three weeks away, and as Weeks 1-5 have shown, inviting matchups might not be enough in and of themselves to get Johnson going.  Since Johnson only seems interested in operating in space, the Titans have to get him more involved as a receiver. Week 5 was a sign that they’re hoping to do just that, as he notched four of his eight 2013 catches, taking one to the house for a 49-yard touchdown. Otherwise … this might be a player who simply isn’t keen on doing what needs to be done to get his season out of the gutter. Johnson’s workload will keep him on the RB2 borderline for another 2-3 weeks, but unless something changes in a hurry, CJwhateverK will soon find himself among the RB3s of the world.   

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $50,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 6. It's $25 to join and first prize is $7,500. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

Week 6 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning vs. JAC -
2 Aaron Rodgers at BAL -
3 Drew Brees at NE -
4 Tony Romo vs. WAS -
5 Robert Griffin III at DAL -
6 Philip Rivers vs. IND -
7 Andrew Luck at SD -
8 Tom Brady vs. NO -
9 Matthew Stafford at CLE -
10 Cam Newton at MIN -
11 Jay Cutler vs. NYG -
12 Russell Wilson vs. TEN -
13 Terrelle Pryor at KC -
14 Colin Kaepernick vs. ARZ Probable (foot)
15 Eli Manning at CHI -
16 Ben Roethlisberger at NYJ -
17 Alex Smith vs. OAK -
18 Joe Flacco vs. GB -
19 Chad Henne at DEN -
20 Nick Foles at TB -
21 Sam Bradford at HOU -
22 Andy Dalton at BUF -
23 Matt Schaub vs. STL -
24 Geno Smith vs. PIT -
25 Brandon Weeden vs. DET -
26 Carson Palmer at SF -
27 Ryan Fitzpatrick at SEA -
28 Matt Cassel vs. CAR -
29 Mike Glennon vs. PHI -
30 Thad Lewis vs. CIN -

QB Notes: How do you know when the No. 1 quarterback is heads and shoulders above his competition? When he’s so good that the matchup of a lifetime could be a fantasy liability. We know Peyton Manning is going to rip apart the Jaguars limb by limb. The problem is, he might do it too quickly. There’s no way of knowing how long Manning will play in what is being billed as one of the biggest mismatches in NFL history. There’s also the matter of the Jaguars’ league worst run defense. Manning might be perfectly content to stick the ball in Knowshon Moreno’s chest for the majority of the afternoon. We’re just nitpicking, however. One quarter might be all Manning needs to make his fantasy owners’ day. Just don’t be surprised if he has one of his “worst” games of the young season, throwing for “only” 300 yards and three touchdowns. … Has Aaron Rodgers’ start seemed slow to you? It shouldn’t, he’s on pace for a career-high 5,324 yards, and is the No. 4 fantasy quarterback (by average points) through five weeks.

Drew Brees’ typically hot start speaks for itself, but it’s worth noting that with 31.25 percent of the season in the books, he’s on pace to break his 2011 NFL yardage record of 5,476 by 34 yards, and throw for a career-high 48 touchdowns. … Remember Tony Romo’s slow start? Romo entered Week 5 averaging just 6.72 yards per attempt, and on pace for a modest (by his standards) 4,060 yards. 506 yards and one 14.06 YPA later, Romo has laid to rest any concerns, and follows up his historic performance — his 36 attempts against Denver were the fewest ever by a quarterback in a 500-yard performance — with an even better matchup. The Redskins enter Week 6 allowing 9.2 yards per attempt — 0.4 more than any other team. Romo’s top-five rank isn’t a reaction to his Week 5, but a reflection of the right matchup at the right time. … The matchup is right for Robert Griffin III — Monte Kiffin’s defense has spent the year chasing ghosts — but it was in Week 4, too, and Griffin managed only 16.4 fantasy points against the Raiders. If RGIII doesn’t show noticeable improvement coming off Washington’s Week 5 bye, it might be time to readjust expectations.

Matthew Stafford’s Week 6 rank is inextricably linked to Calvin Johnson’s (knee) health. If Megatron plays, Stafford will be a top-eight option. If Mega doesn’t go, Stafford will remain out of the top 10. For now, Johnson is a true game-time decision. … Philip Rivers has been held below 400 yards only twice in five games. That’s the good news. The bad news is, he’s faced two top-10 passing defenses, and been held below 200 yards each time. Monday, he gets Indy’s sixth-ranked unit. It’s a big test. … Week 5 snapped Tom Brady’s streak of 52 consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass. Week 6 is expected to snap a different streak — Brady’s five-game stretch without world-beating TE Rob Gronkowski. With Danny Amendola (groin) also one week healthier, things remain on the upswing for Tom Terrific. … Andrew Luck gets a Chargers’ pass defense that can really only be described as a swinging gate. The Bolts are allowing enemy passers to complete 69.8 percent of their passes, while permitting 289 yards per game. Their 112.4 QB rating against is the worst in football. With injury and ineffectiveness beginning to sap the Colts’ run-first philosophy, Luck could be entering the top 10 to stay.

Cam Newton wasn’t blameless in Sunday’s debacle. As former Rotoworlder Gregg Rosenthal notes, Newton still has (major) issues sensing the rush. It’s a big part of the reason he was pressured an unfathomable 20 times against Arizona. But the majority of the blame still falls on the Panthers’ horrendous coaching, and inability to put their quarterback in the best position to succeed. Until “OC” Mike Shula realizes he needs to be manufacturing rush attempts every game for his dual-threat quarterback, Newton’s weekly output is going to be hard to nail down. The upside remains high, but the downside is lower than it should have ever been allowed to get. … On one hand, there’s “Jay Cutler is facing the Giants, hooray!” On the other there’s “turnover happy quarterback playing in a weekly showcase known more for its sloppiness than anything else.” Cutler is a QB1 for Week 6, but the matchup isn’t an inviting as it would be on a Sunday. … Averaging just 25.4 pass attempts per game and without a rushing score, Russell Wilson finds himself mired in the QB1 “friend zone.” His real-life play has been steadier than the stats suggest, but the fantasy upside might not be there until Percy Harvin returns and/or the Seahawks’ offensive line improves. Otherwise, coach Pete Carroll is going to stick with what's working, and that’s feeding Marshawn Lynch.

Terrelle Pryor has looked more impressive every week. His field awareness is light years ahead of where we thought it would be, while he’s sixth in the NFL in completion percentage (68.3). He’s turned the ball over only twice, and zero times over his past three starts. But he’s still just 20th in fantasy points per game, and is taking on a Chiefs defense that leads the league in sacks (21) and is second in QB YPA against (5.9). The time isn’t right to be overcome with excitement and start Pryor over one of your studs. … I’m a Colin Kaepernick apologist, but combined with his recent sluggishness, the matchup just isn’t right in a Cardinals defense that took its play to the next level after getting ILB Daryl Washington back in Week 5. Kaep is a QB1 dice roll for Week 6. … Two quarterbacks are completing fewer of their throws than Eli Manning this season: Blaine Gabbert and Josh Freeman. On the road on a Thursday night, Eli is a boom-or-bust QB2 against the Bears’ slipping defense. … Matt Schaub will be on a short leash Sunday. … Nick Foles has the ability to put up fantasy points in Chip Kelly’s offense, but on the road in a game where his No. 1 receiver will be doing battle with Darrelle Revis, he’s got a rough matchup. … Don’t expect any “FitzMagic” from Ryan Fitzpatrick in Seattle.

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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