Another slew of byes have added to the stress factor for many fantasy owners heading into what is usually a critical week of the season. The Cardinals, Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, Seahawks and Titans all are off this Sunday.
Luckily, the remaining matchups provide a number of interesting scenarios for sleeper options to spring out. Here are a few guys you can start in a pinch as you round out your Week 6 lineups.
Colt McCoy, QB, CLE
Owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo leagues, Colt McCoy is quietly becoming a very nice weekly option.
In leagues where passing TDs count as six points, McCoy has easily scored double digits each week of the season. That includes 20 against the solid Bengals defense in Week 1, 15 versus the Colts in Week 2, 18 against Miami in Week 3 and 17 versus the Titans in Week 4 before last week’s bye.
That was with a hodge-podge group of receivers. Since that time, rookie sensation Greg Little has been unleashed into the starting lineup.
It helps that McCoy has reliable Ben Watson and a solid out-of-the-backfield receiving option in Peyton Hillis. Paired with Little and adding in very talented if under-achieving Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie, McCoy has a lot of unheralded but solid weapons.
The matchup this week helps, too. Against the Raiders, in what should be a high scoring affair, McCoy will have plenty of opportunities to sling the pigskin.
McCoy is a great buy-low candidate in general, but even more appealing option for this week.
Torrey Smith, WR, BAL
Sweating it out as I eyed Dwayne Bowe’s bye in my one dynasty league, I was intrigued to hear that Lee Evans has been ruled out for this week’s game against the Texans.
This opens the door for rookie speedster sensation Torrey Smith, who had an amazing breakout in Week 3 against the Rams. Yet, fantasy owners have a short attention span. After Torrey was a mega hot waiver add heading into Week 4, his one catch for one yard against the Jets quickly cooled his stock. He’s available in 62 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Except, for those who actually watched the Ravens-Jets Week 4 game saw a different story. Smith was blanketed by the best corner in the game and yet he still had several opportunities to blow out big plays (including two potential passes that would have been easy TDs), but erratic passes from Joe Flacco missed their mark by a large margin.
Flacco won’t be as easily rattled against the Texans, especially since Houston is without Mario Williams. However, this game could be a big-scoring event and Torrey Smith will cash in on this opportunity. Don’t miss the boat.
Earnest Graham, RB, TB
As I’ve said countless times before, opportunity can easily overshadow talent, and Graham is currently in a very good opportunity.
Already making some noise in PPR leagues with numerous check-downs from Josh Freeman, Graham is now projected to start for the Buccaneers Sunday as LeGarrette Blount is doubtful at best.
The matchup against the Saints may not be the easiest, but there are also much tougher defenses out there against the run. Graham’s proficiency out of the backfield makes him that much more alluring to those of us in PPR leagues.
Surprisingly, even with the news about Blount fairly well known, Graham is owned in just 42 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Devin Aromashodu, WR, MIN
In fantasy circles, the name Aromashodu is becoming as nauseating as David Boston’s was years ago. He’s a talented receiver with big-play potential that keeps burning his respective fantasy owners.
So it is no surprise to see him available in virtually every Yahoo league at the moment. Except last week, he was the one that finally sparked the Vikings offense into life. While he had just two catches, he made the most of them to the tune of 82 yards.
Bernard Berrian was supposed to take the reins of the receiving corps, but more missed meetings and other locker room primadonna antics have paved the way for Aromashodu to have a bigger role moving forward.
It helps that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has gone on record saying that they need to “keep featuring him as often as we can.”
The Bears pose a tough test, but the primetime Sunday night contest should showcase a bigger role for Aromashodu.
Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
Another quietly consistent fantasy signal-caller, Dalton has done very well in his rookie campaign. The fact that he’s owned in just 18 percent of Yahoo leagues is a travesty at this point of the year.
Rookie receiver A.J. Green has shown that he is a big-time weapon and Dalton has enough other decent receiving options to merit weekly starts in a number of deeper leagues.
This week against a Colts team that is a total mess on both sides of the ball, Dalton is especially appealing.
Ryan Torain, RB, WAS
Owned in just over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, I wasn’t going to add Torain here since he won’t be as readily available to plug-and-play in a number of leagues.
However, his potential to score is so high this week, I just couldn’t leave him off. He should be started in nearly 100 percent of leagues.
I know that counting on Mike Shanahan when it comes to running backs is about as reliable as Lindsey Lohan is in attending her counseling appointments. Shanahan makes moves in his backfield at whim. The most recent flavor of the month, Torain, took over in Week 4 for Tim Hightower and ran for a large chunk of stats.
This week, the Redskins match up against an Eagles squad that can stop the run as well as a sheet of toilet paper can bind up the Mississippi River. It is still very possible that Hightower and Roy Helu steal a couple of carries and time in the limelight, but Torain will score enough to merit wide-spread starting in most every league format.
Ed Dickson, TE, BAL
Owned in just 17 percent of Yahoo leagues, Dickson has been targeted a surprising 32 times in the first four games of his season (the Ravens were on bye last week). He has hauled in at least four passes in three of the four games and has become a reliable target for Joe Flacco in a Ravens offense that is slowly becoming a more pass-heavy team.
While the Texans are actually pretty solid against opposing tight ends, Dickson has the potential to be a very solid PPR option based on sheer volume alone.