Studs and Duds – Week 6: Cassel ready to break out?

After taking a sabbatical during week four, I got back on track last week and didn’t fare too badly with my predictions. Although again my title pick didn’t pan out all that great (the Detroit Lions passing game did NOT rebound after the bye week!), and my pick of Clinton Portis to have a rough go of it against the Eagles did not quite work out, big games from Matt Forte and Michael Turner, along with a weak performance (again!) by the Jacksonville running game led me to a pretty decent record for the week. As usual, I’ll be looking to improve again this week, and who better to lead me there but my boy Matt Cassel of the Patriots. So without further ado, here are your studs and duds for week 6…

Studs

  • Matt Cassel, QB, Patriots: After a few weeks of the main “stud” not living up to their billing (Ryan Grant, Lions), I’m hoping Matt Cassel of the New England Patriots is the one to change my fortunes.  Cassel gave Patriots fans reason to start believing in his abilities with a 66 yard touchdown bomb to Randy Moss last week against a middle-of-the-road 49er’s pass defense. This week his task should be a bit easier as the Patriots play the worst pass defense in the NFL in the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers are allowing 266 yards per game through the air over the first five games of the season and have allowed an average of two touchdowns per game as well. If Cassel can simply get the average, it would be a fairly successful fantasy day.
  • Randy Moss and Wes Welker, WR, Patriots: If Cassel can have a big day against the soft Chargers defense, than the owners of his primary receivers Moss and Welker should also be in for a treat. Expecting around 100 yards and a touchdown for both of them wouldn’t be completely out of line.
  • Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: After rushing for a mere 32 yards on 21 carries against what was believed to be a bad Saints defense, there’s no way Adrian Peterson can have another bad game against an even worse defense (right?!) The Detroit Lions are allowing an outlandish 180 yards per game (5.0 yards per carry average) on the ground and have allowed seven touchdowns already this season by land. Expect big things from A-Pete this week.
  • Thomas Jones, RB, Jets: T-Jones hasn’t given fantasy owners a whole lot to be excited about this year as the Jets have been the “Brett Favre Show” up to this point. This weekend could be a bit different though, as the Jets take on a Bengals team that is actually pretty decent defending the pass…however, they’re not so great at stopping the run. Cincinnati has allowed over 170 yards per game via the run at a rate of 4.5 yards per carry, so Jones could be in for another day similar to his week one performance at Miami (101 yards, TD)
  • Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: Palmer has been one of the biggest busts of the season to this point, but he didn’t do all that poorly last week against the Cowboys. This weekend his opponent is a little less intimidating as he plays Brett Favre and the Jets. The Jets are one of the worst pass defenses in the league currently and Palmer should be able to put up some solid fantasy stats to the tune of 250 yards and a couple touchdowns. Update: Looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick will be handed the ball for the Bengals. I no longer feel so optimistic. He could still do alright against the Jets, but don’t go telling people you heard that here!
  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals: I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Housh still will have a decent game with Fitzpatrick at the helm. While I can’t recommend Ocho Sucko until he proves that he hasn’t forgotten how to play the game (or maybe until his injuries heal), Housh has been solid for Palmer Bengals quarterbacks the past few weeks (25 catches for 281 yards, 3 TD over the past three games.) Against the lowly Jets defense you can expect T.J. to have a big day.
  • Others: Jason Campbell (vs STL), Clinton Portis (vs STL), Bernard Berrian (@ATL),

Duds

  • Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: While it’s tough to sit your first round pick, this might be one of the times you think about it. Addai and the Colts play a Ravens team this weekend that hasn’t allowed a touchdown on the ground all season long and is allowing a meager 2.8 yards per carry (64 yards per game.) While the defense will be keeping a keen eye on Peyton Manning and the passing game, they haven’t been explosive enough this season for Baltimore to completely forget the running game.
  • Michael Turner, RB, Falcons: So far this year Turner has been the ultimate Jekyll/Hyde runner, torching those with soft rush defenses (DET, GB, KC), while having troubles with the better ones (TB, CAR.) Coincidentally he’s also following a pattern of hot, cold, hot, cold, hot. If all goes according to plan, this should be one of Turner’s down games, as he’s set for a “cold” performance and he’s also playing a team with a solid run defense. Chicago is only allowing 74 yards per game to the run this year and should hold strong against Turner the Burner.
  • Panthers RB’s: After a dominant performance by the Panthers running game last week (D. Williams played out of his mind!), it’s time for dose of reality. The Panthers play Tampa Bay in what should be a relatively low scoring affair. The Bucs have only allowed around 100 yards per game and have not given up a rushing touchdown all season. Splitting 100 yards between two running backs (Williams and Stewart) does not make for great fantasy stats.
  • Peyton Manning, QB, Colts: While Manning may have had some success against the Ravens in the past, this is a whole new year. Peyton has been very un-Manning-like this year (5 TD, 5 INT through five games) and things aren’t going to get easier for him this week. Baltimore is allowing under 130 yards per game through the air and have an outstanding TD/INT ratio of 3/7. Manning will probably get better than the average, but even 200 yards, a touchdown and a pick are not stats to write home about. If you have another option this week, think long and hard about plugging him into your lineup.
  • Derek Anderson, QB, Browns: Brady Quinn fans all over Cleveland are most likely chomping at the bit already after the play of Derek Anderson so far this season. This week the volume of their “We want Brady!” chants could get even louder too as the Browns play the Giants. New York is only allowing around 150 yards per game passing and Derek Anderson is only averaging around 135 yards. Those two stats combined lead me to believe that he will be in for a very rough day.
  • Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns: Edwards is having the struggle of his life to get back on the same page as Derek Anderson this year (maybe he shouldn’t race bare-footed any more!) Even when given the chance, Edwards has dropped too many passes to take advantage. He’ll have a rough go of it this weekend and continue his struggles.
  • Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: The Ravens should realize that in order to beat the Colts, they’re going to have to keep their mistakes to a minimum, which could mean keeping quarterback Joe Flacco on a short leash in terms of the types of throws he’ll be making. Indianapolis has only allowed one touchdown through the air this season anyways, so even if he does try to air it out, the results might be less than appealing. While you probably weren’t going to start Flacco this week anyways, this is just a friendly reminder in case you were.
  • Other: Jeff Garcia (vs CAR), Jamal Lewis (vs NYG), Lions RB (@MIN)

Last week: 11-6-3
Total: 48-23-19