Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
Welcome to Week Six, dear reader, I am Brennen Gorman and I am in charge of our On the Bubble column. These articles will focus on bubble and bench players that could make an impact this week, even if they might not make an impact every week, and on bubble and bench players that might not make an impact this week.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ESPN Own: 33% / Start: 7%]: Week Six looks to be the week Jameis Winston returns in earnest against a terrible Atlanta defense. Tampa Bay’s offense was electric the first four weeks of the season and Winston, for all his shortcomings, is well positioned to excel in Week Six.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals [ESPN Own: 58% / Start: 24%]: Another match-up dependent streamer, Andy Dalton is facing a league-worst Pittsburgh defense that has let up an average of 320 passing yards per game this season. The emergence of Tyler Boyd and return of Joe Mixon has Cincinnati’s offense firing on all cylinders.
Phillip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers [ESPN Own: 87% / 55%]: Phillip Rivers, like most seasons, has been remarkably consistent – currently sitting as the fifth best quarterback this season. Week Six seeks to dampen that streak against a Cleveland defense that has utterly shut down quarterbacks in all but one week outpacing even Jacksonville’s defense.
Start: Running Backs
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks [ESPN Own: 84% / Start: 42%]: Yes, Chris Carson has competition after Mike Davis blew up in Week Five, but all signs point to Carson still getting a full workload in Seattle’s run-first offense. Davis may hawk a decent amount of carries, but Carson is still the guy to play in Week Six against a weak Oakland defensive line.
Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings [ESPN Own: 9% / Start: 44%]: Even if Dalvin Cook returns in Week Six, Latavius Murray should still get enough carries to be relevant as Minnesota eases Cook back into work. While Minnesota has had a lackluster run game so far this season, a matchup against a last ranked Arizona might be the medicine this offense needs.
Sit: Running Backs
Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens [ESPN Own: 92% / Start: 44%]: Alex Collins has had an inconsistent workload this season and is a fringe RB1A at-best. He has a tough matchup against Tennessee and Javorius Allen is wildly out-snapping Collins (50/27 in Week Five). I would not trust a Baltimore running back and certainly not Collins in Week Six.
Start: Wide Receivers
Ryan Grant, Indianapolis Colts [ESPN Own: 7% / Start: 22%]: T.Y. Hilton is looking less likely to play, leaving the door wide open for Ryan Grant. Grant was unable to capitalize in Week Five when Hilton missed time, but he is the clear favorite behind tight end Eric Ebron for Andrew Luck‘s attention. Although Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal receive comparable targets, they are generally either short yardage or neither has been able to bring the targets down.
Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons [ESPN Own: 57% / Start: 19%]: Mohamed Sanu may be on the low end of Atlanta’s receiving core, but he has been a consistent red zone threat for the team. Tampa Bay’s defense is truly the worst of any team (worst than Atlanta’s) meaning this game should absolutely turn into a shootout.
Sit: Wide Receivers
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears [ESPN Own: 93% / Start: 22%]: Even in Chicago’s Week Four blowout, Allen Robinson did not receive much attention and did not do much with the targets he was given, ultimately ending with two receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown. Whether Week Four was the true Matt Nagy offense remains to be seen, but there has been little to inspire confidence in Mitch Trubiskys use of Robinson.
Start: Tight Ends
Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers [ESPN Own: 82% / Start: 59%]: I am comfortable doubling down on Vance McDonald on the heels of his worst week of the season. He had a season-low target share, but still is the top receiving tight end on the team with a solid matchup against Cincinnati.
Sit: Tight Ends
Trey Burton, Chicago Bears [ESPN Ownership: 80% / Start: 21%]: As with Allen Robinson above, Trey Burton has not had a role in Chicago’s offense that many foresaw in the preseason. Burton has seen a modest target share, but has been limited to a few short yardage plays and one big play that resulted in a touchdown. As with most tight ends, Burton is boom-or-bust and Week Six against Miami feels like a bust.
Green Bay Packers D/ST [ESPN Own: 55% / Start: 31%]: From sit to start, Green Bay has a solid matchup against a bad and injured San Francisco offense. Green Bay should control the clock and run the table in Week Six.
Denver Broncos D/ST [ESPN Own: 63% / Start: 46%]: Denver has been a pretty sub-par defense this year and it will not get any better in Week Six against the league-leading Los Angeles Rams offense (1st in passing, 6th in rushing).