Through five weeks, our Position vs. Fantasy Defensive Points Allowed tool is solidifying as a tool to help you find good matchups. It'll keep getting stronger as the weeks go by, and we'll have less reason to say things like, "But they played against Devonta Freeman last week - of course their numbers versus running backs are horrible!"
As always, please remember that the players listed are mostly meant to be borderline guys, who need reasons for you to play or bench them. You won't see recommendations to start DeAndre Hopkins and Adrian Peterson, because you should always start Hopkins and Peterson. Make sense? Good.
Note: The fantasy points per game (FPPG) referenced below are from FOXSports.com standard leagues.
Week 6 byes: Cowboys, Raiders, Rams, Buccaneers
Thursday game: Falcons at Saints
Stay away: Josh McCown, Browns (vs. Broncos)
Over the past three games, McCown has thrown for approximately eight million yards (actually, it's 1,154). This week, he'll face a Broncos' defense that has allowed a puny 7.9 FPPG and a 70.9 QB rating to opposing quarterbacks. Maybe next time, Josh.
The Packers' defense ranks fifth with 13.4 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks. They're getting plenty of sacks, and against the Chargers' struggling offensive line, more should be coming this week. Philip Rivers isn't in a great spot here.
Play, play, play: Jay Cutler, Bears (at Lions)
With Alshon Jeffery apparently on target to return and a matchup with the Lions' 26th-ranked defense (18.4 FPPG allowed to opposing QBs) on tap, Cutler is my QB12 this week. The Lions have given up 9.2 yards per pass attempt, which is worst in the league.
Did you see Eli Manning light up the 49ers on Sunday night? Joe Flacco gets them next, and he might have Steve Smith (back) in the lineup. The Niners rank 29th with 20.5 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks, who have completed 71.8 percent of their passes and thrown for 298.8 yards per game against them.
Stay away: Alfred Morris/Matt Jones, Redskins (at Jets)
These guys combined for 35 yards on 19 carries against the Falcons in Week 5, so you might be down on them already. But Morris was your fourth-round pick, and Jones was your prized stash - maybe you're still holding out hope? Not against a Jets' defense that ranks second with 11 FPPG allowed to opposing running backs. Todd Bowles' group has given up just one rushing touchdown AND they get DT Sheldon Richardson back this week. The Redskins might score negative points.
As good as Shane Vereen looked in Week 5, it's difficult to trust him or any of his teammates because they Giants have been dividing the backfield workload among three backs. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams don't look playable against an Eagles' defense that allows just 3.5 yards per carry and 12.7 FPPG to opposing backs.
Play, play, play: Duke Johnson, Browns (vs. Broncos)
The Broncos have been solid against the run, but they've allowed a whopping 8.6 receptions per game to opposing running backs, including eight to Theo Riddick in Week 3 and seven to Marcel Reece last Sunday. Johnson is just the type of back to annoy Denver's stellar defense - maybe the one Brown capable of doing so this week - and can be started in all formats.
We've got no reason to trust C.J. Anderson, who is sharing time with Ronnie Hillman and running against eight-man boxes. But ... Hillman "tweaked" a hamstring in Week 5 ... and Anderson has gotten double-digit carries in four of his five games ... and Denver is facing a Browns' defense that ranks last with 26.7 FPPG allowed to opposing backs, in addition to 5.0 yards per carry. If you can't start Anderson now, can you ever?
Stay away: Pierre Garcon, Redskins (at Jets)
The Jets are absolutely harassing opposing passing games. They're 11th against opposing fantasy wideouts with 19.6 FPPG allowed, but they've permitted a 51.1 completion percentage, 5.7 yards per attempt and 185.5 passing yards per game. How can you start a receiver against them? You can't, dammit.
Here are the Broncos, again. Best in the league with 13.1 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers, seven INTs against three touchdowns in five games. They're nasty. Travis Benjamin has emerged as a viable fantasy wideout over the past few weeks, but I've got him at WR36 for this one.
Play, play, play: Mike Wallace, Vikings (vs. Chiefs)
Wallace hasn't been very productive as a Viking, but that's partly because his team doesn't throw very often â Teddy Bridgewater has thrown fewer than 30 passes per game so far. However, Wallace caught eight passes for 83 yards on 10 targets against the Broncos in Week 4, and gets a matchup this week with the bottom-ranked Chiefs' defense (36.8 FPPG allowed to opposing WRs).
This recommendation is contingent on Steve Smith's return to action, but Kamar Aiken has caught nine passes for 155 yards and a touchdown in his last two games, and faces the 28th-ranked 49er defense (28.1 FPPG to opposing WRs). Smith practiced Wednesday as he attmepts to return from fractures in his back, but if he can't go, fire up Aiken.
Stay away: Heath Miller. Steelers (vs. Cardinals)
Miller has been targeted five times in Michael Vick's two starts, and matches up with a Cardinals' defense that ranks second with 3.5 FPPG allowed to tight ends. He's the opposite of a streaming candidate.
Play, play, play: Jacob Tamme, Falcons (at Saints)
Where did THAT come from? After catching eight passes in his first three games, Tamme caught eight more for 94 yards against the Redskins in Week 5. After the top three or four tight ends, production can be very unpredictable, but Tamme seems like a good bet tonight against a Saints' defense that ranks 30th with 13.5 FPPG allowed to the position. I've got him at QB12, putting him squarely in streaming range.