Five things to know Week 6
1. Assessing the impact of Tebow's arrival
Now that Tebow has been named starter for Denver, he should probably be owned in all leagues.
His career completion percentage of 48.9 highlights just how erratic he is as a passer, but he has made his hits count so far - his career YPA (8.0) and touchdown percentage (6.5) are both very good, though the small sample size (92 attempts) certainly invites the possibility of decline in both categories.
Still, the potential regression in Tebow's promising passing stats likely would be manageable due to his standout running ability. He ran for a touchdown in each of his three starts as a rookie and can be expected to average about 50 rushing yards per game.
Meanwhile, Tebow's promotion could be more good news for Willis McGahee, who is running quite strong. He has 228 yards on just 31 carries the last two weeks, and he should hit the 20-carry mark frequently as the Broncos will presumably go a bit more run-heavy to limit Tebow's exposure in the passing game.
Of course, any decrease in the offense's pass-attempt volume would be bad news for a Broncos wideout group that already needs to cope with Tebow's low completion percentage. It seems the best-case scenario is Brandon Lloyd or Eric Decker will remain viable in most leagues by emerging as a clear No. 1 receiver for Tebow, but it's also possible that the two merely cancel each other out by posting similar but mediocre numbers each week.
2. Earnest Graham should be a good Week 6 PPR option
Coach Raheem Morris didn't sound overtly optimistic about LeGarrette Blount's chances of playing through a knee injury against New Orleans in Week 6. While Morris certainly didn't rule Blount out, his overall tone wasn't especially rosy, as he was quoted as saying: "I don't want to rule [Blount] out, but I'm not looking at him. It is what it is. Next man up. I'd like to get more detailed information on him. I'll call him day-to-day for now."
Even if Blount does play, it sounds like he'll be a bit limited, and, moreover, few teams can force an opponent to play catch up better than the Saints. The Buccaneers probably will need to throw the ball more than they'd prefer if they're going to match the pace Drew Brees tends to set. For that reason, it would be surprising if Graham, Tampa Bay's primary passing-down back, didn't surpass double-digit fantasy points this week.
Even before Blount's injury entered the equation, Graham was showing the potential to have a season resembling the one Jets fullback Richie Anderson had in 2000, when Anderson caught 88 passes. Despite surprisingly catching no passes in Week 5, Graham still has 23 receptions through five games, leaving him on pace for roughly 74 on the year.
3. Be skeptical of Jackie Battle
While those of us who need running back help rarely are in a position to be picky, it's still difficult to believe Jackie Battle should be viewed as a potential season-saving pickup at this point.
Good as his numbers were against Indianapolis on Sunday, we're still talking about a player who, despite his 19-carry, 119-yard showing in Week 5, has a career rushing average of just 3.9 yards per carry and had a season rushing average of 3.0 yards per carry heading into last week. It's also worth noting that even Thomas Jones averaged 5.5 yards per carry against the Colts on Sunday.
So Battle might be better than Thomas Jones, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be able to hold off Jones and Dexter McCluster for enough carries to continue making an impact. He's worth adding in plenty of scenarios just in case he turns out to be more than a one-week wonder, but it'd take a deep league for him to be worth starting right away.
4. If possible, sell high on DeAngelo Williams ...
If Williams' last two performances are any indication, he still has the skills to be a standout runner in the NFL. He has 197 yards and a touchdown on the ground after facing off against the Bears and Saints, averaging a highly impressive 10.4 yards per carry over the span.
Of course, that rushing average leads into a gloomier and more important point: he has just 19 carries the last two weeks. It's possible that the Panthers will give Williams some more work in light of his strong recent performances, but Williams won't maintain a double-digit rushing average.
Even with a slight increase in his workload, the inevitable regression to the mean with his rushing average will keep his production from reaching its Week 4 and 5 heights, at least on any remotely predictable basis. Outside of deep leagues, Williams' owners would quite simply be better off replacing his roster spot with a player who is a more practical starting option on a week-to-week basis. 5. ... Marshawn Lynch, too I view Lynch's situation as almost the opposite of Williams' - here we have a player who at least occasionally gets a nice workload but doesn't have the skills to make the most of it.
After averaging 2.5, 1.8, 3.8 and 3.0 yards per carry in his respective first four games to start the year, Lynch blew up for 8.2 yards per carry as he burned the Giants for 98 yards and a score on the ground in Week 5, adding 33 more yards through the air.
While his carry totals of six in Week 2 and eight in Week 4 are low, he still received 43 carries in his other three games. The problem with Lynch is, particularly while dealing with a work-in-progress offensive line in Seattle, there's just not much reason to believe he'll ever receive a big workload while maintaining even average rushing efficiency - at least not on any consistent basis.
None of his 20-plus carry games last year featured a rushing average better than 4.0 yards per carry, with those three games resulting in a combined average of just 3.8 yards per carry. Additionally, the only 2010 regular season games in which he averaged 4.3 yards or better involved him receiving no more than 13 carries.
There's just not much reason to believe that Lynch will run efficiently in Seattle, but last week's game makes now the time for his owners to convince a trade partner otherwise.
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