Week 6: Sit 'Em
Despite a 3-2 start to the season, the Bengals' third year quarterback has shown signs of regression following two good seasons to start his career. Dalton has turned the ball over seven times in five games, while accounting for just five touchdowns. He nearly threw the game away in Week 5 with a terrible interception late in the fourth quarter. The Bengals are going to have to rely on their running game more as the season progresses seeing as Dalton cannot be trusted to take care of the ball. Despite being drafted as a high end QB2 in fantasy leagues, don't think of Dalton as a safe play. Well, he's safe, actually, but that's about it. Look elsewhere for a starting quarterback this week.
The rookie running back had an impressive debut, scoring two touchdowns and totaling 84 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. Bell's second start will provide a stiffer test, as Bell and the Steelers face the league's third ranked rush defense in the New York Jets. The Jets are allowing just 79 yards per game on the ground, making it likely that Bell will struggle to top his week four numbers. Bell should see a large majority of the carries, as Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer did not make much of their opportunities while the rookie running back was out with a foot injury. Despite the likelyhood that Bell will touch the ball between 15-20 times this week, I would keep him on fantasy benches this week in New York.
Despite scoring his first touchdown of the season in week five, Chris Johnson is still struggling to get anything going on the ground. Johnson rushed for just 17 yards on ten carries against the Cheifs, but did add four receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown through the air. The former 2000 yard rusher is averaging a measly 3.1 yards per carry on the season, and this week's match-up with the Seahawks should do nothing to boost his average. Johnson is still not seeing any goal-line work, and aside from his broken play, 50 yard receiving touchdown last week, has not sniffed the endzone in five games. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere for a RB2 this week in Seattle.
The Cardinals' starting running back has been a tremendous disappointment this season, averaging just under 44 yards per game on the ground - and is no longer the only running back getting major playing time in the Arizona backfield. Rookie running back Andre Ellington split time with Mendenhall in week five, touching the ball 11 times for 83 yards. Ellington is likely to receive more playing time as the season progresses, which is bad news for Mendenhall owners. Ellington is a better pass receiver out of the backfield, something that could come in handy against the 49ers this week. If the Cardinals are in catch-up mode early, the rookie could see more playing time than the veteran Mendenhall. The former Steelers running back should be left on fantasy benches this week.
Fantasy owners were encouraged following weeks three and four in which Washington averaged six receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown, but an injury to Jake Locker dampened expectations and Washington is now likely to struggle with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. Fitzpatrick is extremely inconsistent, and found Washington just three times for 30 yards in his first start of the season. A WR3 with Locker under center, Nate Washington will be no more than a desperation bye week fill-in for as long as Fitzpatrick is throwing him the ball. Fantasy owners now need to scour waiver wires to find a replacement for the nine year veteran wide receiver. Keep Washington on your benches this week.