The bye week seemingly couldn’t have come quick enough for the Falcons, with Steven Jackson out since Week 2 due to a hamstring injury and Roddy White continuing to struggle with a high ankle sprain. A 1-4 record certainly doesn’t help either. But now that the bye week is here, the Falcons have received the worst news imaginable: Julio Jones is out for the year due to a fractured foot.
A player of Jones’ stature is about as close to irreplaceable as a WR can be, and not helping matters is the team’s limited depth chart behind slot man Harry Douglas. With White’s status up in the air, it’s conceivable both Kevin Cone and Drew Davis will be called upon to take a number of snaps way out of line with their talent level. A Wednesday signing of Brian Robiskie sure isn’t going to be the team’s saving grace.
With that in mind, and with the troubles the team has had on the offensive line this season, it’s time for fantasy owners to look to trade quarterback Matt Ryan. And I’m not just talking about dealing him for a borderline QB1 and help elsewhere — that ship has sailed. Ryan owners need to be prepared to accept any type of value for Ryan, as he’s in for a rocky 2013 campaign.
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Start/Sit Week 6
Start: Jay Cutler vs. NYG
The Giants have been a matchup dream over the first five weeks of the season, allowing 12 touchdowns and only managing four interceptions. They gave up their second 300-yard game of the season in Week 5 to the Nick Foles/Michael Vick duo and ceded 288 yards to Alex Smith the previous week. Cutler gets to throw to one of the best No. 1 receivers in football and now has a fantastic No. 2 option in the form of Alshon Jeffery to go along with the quality play of Martellus Bennett, who is expected to suit up Thursday. That makes Cutler worth using as a QB1 over Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson.
Sit: Terrelle Pryor at KC
Pryor was named a “start” last week and came through with his best start of the season, completing 18 of 23 passes for 221 yards and two TDs. This week, he gets a Chiefs defense that hasn’t allowed multiple passing TDs to any QB this season but does have seven interceptions. On the road against a 5-0 team with maybe the best defense in the league, Pryor should be parked on the bench unless owners have little behind him at the quarterback position.
Start: Maurice Jones-Drew at DEN
In a game where his team is nearly four-touchdown underdogs, Maurice Jones-Drew may make for a curious “start” designation. However, Jones-Drew is a rare bell-cow back in a league where committees have started to become the rage. The Jaguars should continue to feed him on the ground even into the second half, and that could produce some quality garbage-time scoring. The Broncos, for all their success, have surrendered a rushing TD to a running back in all five of their wins. I can see Jones-Drew racking up 80 total yards and a touchdown, making him fine RB2 material.
Sit: Ben Tate vs. STL
On the surface, Tate has a fantastic matchup against the Rams, a team that has had trouble stopping running backs this season. However, Tate’s workload has been limited this year, with the talented running back failing to collect double-digit carries in any game despite a world-beating 6.2 yards-per-carry mark. The Texans have increased their ground attack, but it’s all gone to starter Arian Foster, who has accumulated 58 touches over the last two weeks. If that continues against the Rams, Tate won’t receive enough looks to be trusted as a starter. Consider him a desperation play only.
Start: Kendall Wright at SEA
Wright has developed into the Titans’ top target, though he hasn’t posted a breakout fantasy performance to date. Credit a tough scheduled that has included matchups against the Jets and Chiefs over the last two weeks. His game this week appears to be in that same class, but the Seahawks have surrendered three 100-yard receiving performances to receivers already (Cecil Shorts, Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton). With the Titans likely to remain in comeback mode, Wright should find a way to put together a WR3-worthy performance.
Sit: Kenbrell Thompkins vs. NO
I tabbed Julian Edelman as a shaky option in Week 5, and he delivered just two catches for 35 yards, both season lows. Don’t blame his amount of targets, as he was thrown the ball seven times. Thompkins actually saw his targets start to vanish, as he was thrown just five passes, catching three for 16 yards. That’s not going to get any better moving forward, with Danny Amendola getting healthier and Rob Gronkowski expected to return in Week 6. The Saints have done a respectable job against receivers this year, save for Alshon Jeffery’s 218-yard performance from a week ago. As a guy fighting for targets in an almost-healthy lineup, Thompkins is hands-off until another injury strikes.
Bye Week Plug-and-Plays
TE: Coby Fleener at SD; Brent Celek at TB; Heath Miller at NYJ
PK: Mason Crosby at BAL; Alex Henery at TB; Robbie Gould vs. NYG
DF: New York Jets vs. PIT; Detroit Lions at CLE; Minnesota Vikings vs. CAR
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to CBSSports.com's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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