Fantasy Football Fast Forward: Jets, Lions, 'Boys finally deliver
Long-dormant Jets, Lions and Cowboys players woke up with big Week 6 games
Matt Ryan and Alex Smith both had poor days, as did their offensive teammates
Robert Griffin III bounced back, but it's still smart to sell high now on the rookie
Shonn Greene has a message to everyone who wrote him and the Jets off: How do you like me now?
Greene rose from the ashes for a 161-yard, three-touchdown performance Sunday, doing it in an offense that said: We're running Greene right at you against an eight-man box; try to stop us.
"I think we can do it every week against any team," Greene said. "It's just a matter of us executing, not stopping ourselves and working hard during the week."
The Colts couldn't. The next three run defenses the Jets will face are some of the best in the NFL -- the Patriots, Dolphins and Seahawks -- but the Jets and Greene owners have at least this week to enjoy the huge results.
We break down the rest of the game changers in our Week 6 Fantasy Football Fast Forward:
The Jets weren't the only ones to have their fantasy players wake up. Two of the most frustrating teams in the first-quarter of the season came out of the bye week blazing against what was supposed to be tough, tough defenses. Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten look like must-starts again, while Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson prove they should remain active in all leagues, regardless of the matchup.
While the Cowboys get a suspect Panthers team next week -- start everyone -- you can't be real giddy about your Lions' matchup against the Bears next Monday night. Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Jason Hansen might be the lone Lions you keep active.
On the Cowboys side, a potential sit might be DeMarco Murray (foot), who will get an MRI on Monday. It looks like the once-buried Felix Jones warrants a flier off waivers this week, even if Murray plays. The Cowboys pounded the ball at a good Ravens run defense and should find plenty of holes against that Panthers front.
The Raiders at home were supposed to be a dream matchup for your Falcons. Matt Ryan posted a stinker, though, with three interceptions, just one TD and a sub-250-yard game. Ryan didn't look like he was going to have a bad day against anyone, anywhere this season.
As Ryan goes, so too go all your Falcons. Roddy White's day was still decent, because of the short TD reception, but Michael Turner, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez were below average.
It is going to be a tough next few weeks for your Falcons, too. After a bye week, they go to Philly to face a great Eagles secondary and then face a very underrated Cowboys secondary. Perhaps Ryan's fantasy MVP season might be falling apart now.
If you can trade him for Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Tom Brady, you should probably do it now.
No one could have seen this performance coming, not in such an important NFC Championship Game rematch. Alex Smith was terrible and his turnovers helped take Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and the running game out of the mix.
It shouldn't get any easier this Thursday on a short week against a tough Seahawks defense, particularly against the run. The 49ers are far less of a sure thing in fantasy now.
You can go ahead and cut Smith. You wouldn't want to start him against the Seahawks anyway.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins -- This might have been RGIII's best performance yet. Keep him active in all leagues. The Giants embarrassed Alex Smith and the 49ers, but the running numbers make RGIII arguably the best QB in fantasy right now. (Yes, he is still a sell-high candidate, though: If Pierre Garcon (foot) remains out, he just doesn't have the receiving weapons).
Andrew Luck, Colts -- We probably shouldn't crown him a fantasy MVP just yet. That was a bad performance on the road. The good news is Luck has looked great at home and he draws the Browns in Week 7. That should keep Luck in a lot of lineups.
Carson Palmer, Raiders -- Fantasy is probably not giving him enough credit. He has avoided the turnovers that made him so frustrating a week ago. With the Raiders getting healthier, it is a good time to jump on their bandwagon right now, if there is one. Palmer gets to face the Jags and Chiefs in the next two weeks.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers -- The 328 yards and three TDs aren't the best news with Freeman this week. It is the ensuing matchup with the suspect Saints secondary you should be getting excited about. It makes Freeman a borderline must-start in all leagues, especially since six QBs are going to be taken out of the eligible pool with a heavy bye Week 7.
Christian Ponder, Vikings -- He came through in a favorable matchup, but asking for a repeat performance next week against the Cardinals will be a tall order. You're better off giving another QB a try next week, even if you love Ponder's development going forward.
Matt Hasselbeck, Titans -- He held up very well against a good defense and now looks like he can be a sleeper bye-week replacement in Week 7 against the Bills' suspect run defense, if he gets another start over Jake Locker (shoulder). The Titans are saying Locker will start, though, if he practices this week.
Sam Bradford, Rams -- He is having to make do with spare parts but he at least has delineated his primary targets to Brandon Gibson, rookie Chris Givens and tight end Lance Kendricks. Bradford and company might be interesting Week 7 plays against the Packers because of the expectation of garbage-time numbers.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks -- The rookie has had some huge moments, mostly at home, but don't dare use him against the 49ers next week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills -- Better numbers will come against the Titans next week, but you have to be fed up with his recent production. The fact both of the elite running backs are healthy actually means less numbers, particularly garbage-time chances, for Fitzpatrick.
Kevin Kolb, Cardinals -- He left the game with a rib injury, but John Skelton (2-for-10) did nothing to wrest the starting job away going forward. Neither QB or any of your non-Larry Fitzgerald Cardinals should be considered good options at Minnesota next week.
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks -- He was bottled up against a good Pats run defense, but you have to keep running him out there in all leagues. He won't have a great day against the 49ers on a short week (Thursday night), but he will at least be busy in terms of touches.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs -- He was facing a tough matchup, but you should be worried about him because the Chiefs tend to give up on the running game when they're down by more than one TD. That is going to happen a lot if Matt Cassel (concussion) cannot take the QB duties back from Brady Quinn, who played like a bad backup QB.
Darren McFadden, Raiders -- His 98 combined yards and a TD represent an encouraging effort heading into some favorable matchups. It is still a good time to buy into McFadden if anyone is selling.
Stevan Ridley, Patriots -- The Seahawks proved to be too tough of a matchup for Ridley. He should rebound against the Jets next week, if not with yardage then at least with a TD. The fact Brandon Bolden (knee) left Sunday's game in Seattle might mean Ridley will be the goal-line ball carrier against the Jets.
Fred Jackson, Bills -- He is still splitting time but the Bills are a very run-heavy team that makes both backs productive in most weeks. Week 7 against the Titans should be a great week to play Jackson and his cohort.
C.J. Spiller, Bills -- He doesn't get the touches Jackson gets, but he's still more productive. This is arguably one of the best backs in fantasy if not for Jackson's presence. Spiller is a must-start against the Titans also.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants -- Apparently they are serious about their running game right now, allowing Bradshaw to get 27 carries and be a rare 100-yard rusher against the 49ers (116 with a TD). His back-to-back performances make him a must-start in all leagues, regardless of the matchup. The Redskins have a solid run defense, but Bradshaw just ripped two better ones in the Browns and 49ers in back-to-back weeks.
Reggie Bush, Dolphins -- The bruised knee is going to get a much-needed bye week. The good news is there are some promising matchups on his schedule thereafter. It might be a good time to buy low on Bush.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers -- His rookie season has gotten a bit sidetracked, particularly since LeGarrette Blount is back in the mix for carries and taking the important ones near the goal line. Martin and Blount probably should both be considered starters against the Saints run defense next week, though.
Steven Jackson, Rams -- He didn't muster much against a tough Dolphins run defense and the bad news is it doesn't get much easier against the Packers next week. What's worse, rookie Daryl Richardson broke off a 44-yard run and might be moving his way into a timeshare. Jackson is a low-end fantasy starter now.
Mikel LeShoure, Lions -- He managed just 70 yards rushing and 24 yards receiving, but his fantasy owners might have bigger issues coming going forward. Jahvid Best (concussion) is eligible to return to practice in Week 7 and the Lions face the tough Bears run defense. LeShoure is a risky play and a bad performance might help Best gain some steam off the PUP list.
Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers -- That was a hugely disappointing effort, a sign he is not 100 percent yet. It makes him a questionable option against the Bengals run defense next week, even if that Achilles' isn't a hindrance. Isaac Redman was huge in his new third-down receiver role, so consider him a sleeper still. Baron Batch, who picked up a short TD run, isn't a real fantasy option yet.
William Powell, Cardinals -- He easily outplayed La'Rod Stephens-Howling and should be considered the Cardinals RB to own going forward. The problem is the schedule is tough at Minnesota and against the Packers and 49ers in the coming weeks. All those teams have run defenses to avoid if you have a marginal fantasy option like Powell, or LSH.
Vick Ballard, Colts -- He got a lot of love because he was taking over as a starting RB, but this Colts offense just doesn't run the ball well enough to consider him a fantasy starter. Ballard was bad against a previously hammered Jets run defense and doesn't figure to be any better against a Browns run defense that is a lot better than it is given credit. Ballard is not a good start, much less worth owning outside of being a Donald Brown (knee) handcuff.
Montario Hardesty, Browns -- Trent Richardson's (side) injury is not considered serious but the suspect Colts run defense was ripped by the Jets and Hardesty might be a sleeper to use as a flex option in the six-team bye Week 7.
Cedric Peerman, Bengals -- He is going to be a popular guy off waivers -- because of his eight catches for 76 yards -- but let someone else waste their pick on him. Peerman is going to face the Steelers next week and he needs to prove to be a more regular target before he's trusted in fantasy.
Hakeem Nicks, Giants -- He was able to play, but he sure looked like he was limping. In a favorable matchup against the Redskins next week, you start Nicks if he plays, but that sure doesn't look certain he will at this point. If Nicks doesn't play, Domenik Hixon is a nice flier, especially in PPR formats.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs -- Bowe owners should be booing the Chiefs fans that cheered Cassel's injury, because Bowe was rendered useless with Quinn at QB. At least the bye Week 7 is going to remove the guesswork on whether to start Bowe.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers -- Apparently expecting him to decline with Freeman as his QB vs. Philip Rivers was bad advice. Jackson has been great and is a must-start against the Saints next week.
Jeremy Maclin, Eagles -- Consider the injury woes well behind him now. He heads into the bye week with a huge six-catch, 130-yard, one-TD effort. He looks like a must-start going forward.
Mike Williams, Buccaneers -- If you can put your finger over his disappointing 2011 stat line, you will see an elite fantasy WR. You should consider him as such against the Saints next week.
Denarius Moore, Raiders -- Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) returned but Moore is clearly Palmer's go-to receiver right now. DHB didn't catch a pass. A favorable schedule makes Moore a must-have and must-start the next few weeks.
Kenny Britt, Titans -- The late TD makes him a great option against the suspect Bills defense in the bye-heavy Week 7. He will be a borderline must-start, if Hasselbeck starts.
Mario Manningham, 49ers -- Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree are still the better fantasy options, but Manningham deserves a look on rosters, if not starting lineups. It is a tough matchup coming up Thursday vs. the Seahawks, but Manningham has the chance to emerge as a solid fantasy option for owners through the remainder of the bye season.
Sidney Rice, Seahawks -- Doug Baldwin also caught a TD pass, but Rice is shaping up to being the go-to WR finally. He isn't a great play against the 49ers, but he is at least worth stashing for a more favorable matchup. Rice is woefully underrated right now.
Kendall Wright, Titans -- Hasselbeck has made him the most frequently targeted receiver over Nate Washington and even Britt. The fact Locker might be under center next week might make you a bit wary of Wright next week.
Josh Gordon, Browns -- He is making big plays and looks like he has become the Browns' go-to WR with Greg Little in the doghouse due to drops. He looks like a viable starter against the Colts in Week 7, especially with a season-high six teams on bye.
Brian Hartline, Dolphins -- This blanking has to be frustrating to the point where you can consider cutting him if you need a bye-week replacement and don't have bench depth. Ryan Tannehill's offense is a bit surprising, but it spreads the ball around so much, so no one receiver is worth trusting in fantasy.
Stephen Hill, Jets -- He has proven healthy and reeled in a short TD, which makes him a potential option against that suspect Pats secondary next week. There should be at least some garbage-time numbers coming with the Pats coming off a loss.
Aaron Hernandez, Patriots -- They said he would be limited but in fantasy terms he is back as a must-start. Rob Gronkowski's frustrating season might be about to get worse with a healthy Hernandez stealing some red-zone targets.
Jermaine Gresham, Bengals -- He has been revived from a slow start to the season and should be consistently among the top 12 fantasy TEs to start going forward. Andy Dalton has been doing a good job getting the ball to his primary targets.
Brandon Myers, Raiders -- This is a good time to move him into the start category among TEs. He had another solid five-catch, 62-yard week and the Raiders have a favorable couple of matchups coming up. Palmer has made Myers a viable fantasy option, perhaps even a weekly start.
Martellus Bennett, Giants -- He gets a much more favorable matchup next week, but he has probably cost himself a spot in starting lineups, if not on rosters, in the past few weeks. There are better TEs to use right now, even if Bennett is a sleeper to reacquire down the stretch.
Anthony Fasano, Dolphins -- He found the end zone, but he doesn't warrant a look on the waiver wire because he is headed into his bye week.
Blair Walsh, Vikings -- The rookie very clearly is a must-start in all fantasy leagues. Peterson's struggles to get the ball into the end zone figure to continue against the Cards run defense next week.
New York Giants -- Don't be so quick to dust this unit off for your fantasy starting lineup. Robert Griffin III and the Redskins loom. It is a dangerous matchup in a game that could become a shootout.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets -- They are two underrated defenses coming off great performances in Week 6, but they are both facing great offenses in Week 7. If you're streaming defenses in fantasy, avoid the Bucs vs. the Saints and the Jets vs. the Pats.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his Scouting Report on Friday and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).
SI Now Live Friday December 20, 2013
SI Now: Olympians on Liberty Mutual, gearing up for Sochi