Starts, Sits & Smashes

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SURVIVOR SMASH: WEEK 6

I’m putting an end to this segment after swinging and missing three times in six weeks. My 2011 survivor picks have been equal parts garbage and horse manure.

For what it’s worth, I think the Bengals (vs. Indianapolis) are a strong play in Week 6, which means everyone in Cincinnati should brace for a loss.

POINT SPREAD SMASH OF THE WEEK

Current Record: 2-2 (no pick in Week 2)

I jumped on the Ravens at -6.5 early in the week, but that number is long gone. That means we’ll have to go with Plan B.

Indianapolis Colts/Cincinnati Bengals OVER 40.5: If you see this line at 41, make sure you buy the half point to get it down to 40.5. The OVER is 8-2 in the ten combined games these two teams have played this season. In addition, there’s a reason why this total opened at 38 and was immediately bet up to 40.5. The early money loves the OVER.

CLICK HERE to check out the rest of the Week 6 lines.

Bye Week: Cardinals, Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, Seahawks, Titans

START ‘EM UP

Tony RomoIt could be a party for Romo owners Sunday in New England.

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys (at New England): Romo returns to action from the Cowboys’ Week 5 bye rested and ready to rock. It’s a good thing, too, because the Dallas signal-caller has a very favorable matchup this Sunday in Foxborough against a Patriots secondary that is surrendering an average of 25.4 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (2nd-most in NFL). With Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Felix Jones healthy, the Cowboys shouldn’t have too much trouble finding the end zone.

The line: New England -7/55.5

Vegas notes: The Cowboys are 6-0 against the spread in their last six games as an underdog.

The pick: A small lean towards the Cowboys (+7), but this is probably a no play.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets): Thomas still isn’t fully recovered from the hamstring injury he suffered at the end of September, but that won’t stop us from recommending the Kansas State rookie for Monday night’s showdown in New York. The Jets currently rank 26th in the NFL in run defense (134.8 yds/gm) and are giving up an average of 24.1 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (5th-most in NFL). The assumption here is that Miami will come off their bye and will A) look to exploit the Jets’ biggest weakness (run defense) and B) will do everything they can to make quarterback Matt Moore’s life easier. Should the Fish try to consistently air it out against Revis and Cromartie, they’ll no doubt move to 0-5 on the season.

The line: NYJ -7/42

Vegas notes: Miami has won four of their last five games against the Jets. In addition, 54 or more total points have been scored in three of the last four meetings between these two teams.

The pick: OVER 42

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Indianapolis): I’m sold. In all honesty, I thought it would take Green and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton a bit longer to start producing consistent numbers. The reality of the situation is that it took less than 60 minutes. The rookie from Georgia has found the end zone in three of five games this season, is averaging 11.2 fantasy points per contest (standard scoring) and has a Week 6 date with an Indianapolis defense that is surrendering an average of 27.0 fantasy points per week to opposing wide receivers (7th-most in NFL). This dude has already become a weekly must-start.

The line: Cincinnati -7/40.5

Vegas notes: The OVER is 8-2 in the ten combined games played by Indianapolis and Cincinnati this season. As a result, it should come as no surprise that this contest opened at the Hilton with a total of 38 and was quickly bet up to 41.

The pick: OVER 40.5

Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets (vs. Miami): After a moderately hot start, Keller has caught just three passes for 19 yards with no touchdowns over his last two games. But we’re banking that he and quarterback Mark Sanchez turn it around on Monday night against a Miami Dolphins defense that currently ranks 31st in the NFL against the pass (307.0 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 13.0 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (2nd-most in NFL). If Keller can’t get it done this week, it’s probably time to start looking for another TE option.

The line: NYJ -7/42

Vegas notes: The Dolphins are 9-3-1 against the spread in their last 13 games as a road underdog, while the Jets are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games overall.

The pick: Pick made above (OVER 42)

Minnesota Vikings, D/ST (at Chicago): The Vikings currently rank second in the NFL in sacks (16), which is a major plus when you’re heading into a game against a Chicago Bears offensive line that just got sliced and diced in a Monday night loss to the Detroit Lions. Quarterback Jay Cutler has been running for his life and his anemic offense is giving up an average of 10.4 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses (t-10th-most in NFL). You watched that beat down on Monday night, didn’t you?

The line: Chicago -3/41.5

Vegas notes: The favorite is 5-1 against the spread in the last six meetings between these two teams, while the Vikings are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games in Chicago.

The pick: No play. I don’t trust either of these teams.

Eli ManningEli owners need to ride the hot hand in Week 6.

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (vs. Buffalo): He won’t make it look pretty like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but dammit, Eli Manning continues to get the job done for fantasy owners. The eight-year veteran has thrown nine touchdown passes over his last three starts and has racked up an impressive 741 passing yards over his last two games to put him in the top-six in scoring among fantasy quarterbacks. Look for the solid stat lines to continue Sunday against a Buffalo defense that currently ranks 26th in the NFL against the pass (283.4 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 24.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (5th-most in NFL).

The line: NYG -3.5/50

Vegas notes: The OVER is 8-1-1 in the ten comb ined games played by these two teams this season.

The pick: This line smells fishy. Buffalo is 4-1 this season and the Giants are coming off an embarrassing home loss to a mediocre-at-best Seahawks team. I’ll bite and will take the Bills and the points (+3.5).

Ryan Torain, RB, Washington Redskins (vs. Philadelphia): The running back situation in Washington this season has caused nothing but headaches for fantasy owners and analysts alike. But after Torain torched the Rams for 135 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries in Week 4, we’d have to imagine that he’s the guy for Sunday’s divisional showdown against the Eagles. No team in the NFL is giving up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than Philadelphia (29.5 pts/gm), so if you were lucky enough to grab Torain off the waiver wire two weeks ago, now is the time to start him.

The line: Philadelphia -1.5/47

Vegas notes: In a rare turn of events compared to what’s happening around the rest of the NFL, the UNDER has cashed in three of Washington’s four games this season. The total opened at 47.5 at the Hilton for this game and has already been bet down to 47.

The pick: UNDER 47, but wait until just before game time and let the public push this up a bit. I’ll also take Washington +1.5.

Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants (vs. Buffalo): After what he’s done the last three weeks (16 receptions, 369 yards, 3 touchdowns), how can you not start him against a Buffalo Bills team that ranks 26th against the pass (283.4 yds/gm)?

The line: NYG -3.5/50

Vegas notes: The Giants are 0-4 against the spread in their last four games against a team with a winning record .

The pick: Pick made above (Buffalo +3.5)

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans (at Baltimore): Schaub posted a solid fantasy stat line in his first game without Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson (416 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs), but he needed 51 attempts to get there and only completed 47.1% of his passes in the process. We don’t see that happening Sunday in Baltimore. The Ravens are coming off a bye and are surrendering an average of only 12.4 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (2nd-fewest in NFL). You’re better off going in a different direction for Week 6.

The line: Baltimore -8/44.5

Vegas notes: This Hilton opened this line at Baltimore -5.5 and watched the early bettors pound the hell out of it all the way to Baltimore -8. The Ravens are the play, but laying the eight may be a bit steep.

The pick: To hell with it: Ravens -8</p>

Steven JacksonICONIt's been a tough year for Jackson who has to take on the Green Bay Packers this Sunday at Lambeau.

Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams (at Green Bay): S-Jax has carried the ball only 23 times this season and has yet to post more than 60 rushing yards in any start. Credit a lackluster St. Louis offense for the drought, but ride the trend and leave Jackson on the pine in Week 6 against a Green Bay defense that ranks third in the NFL against the run this season (75.8 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of just 14.1 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (4th-fewest in NFL). There’s a good chance the Rams will be playing from behind in this one, which means lots of second half passing.

The line: Green Bay -14/49

Vegas notes: 74% of the public is currently laying the points and taking the Packers.

The pick: The line is way too high for me to like Green Bay, but there’s no chance I’m getting down on this 0-4 St. Louis team. No play.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets): Marshall has only found the end zone once this season (Week 1) and has amassed just 95 total receiving yards over his last two starts. With Matt Moore as his quarterback and Darrelle Revis as his opponent, we think it’s wise to take a pass here.

The line: NYJ -7/42

Vegas notes: 74% of the public is currently on the Jets, while 70% of the public is backing the OVER.

The pick: Pick made above (OVER 42)

Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys (at New England): The Pro Bowl veteran has put up some impressive numbers this season and currently ranks seventh among tight ends in fantasy scoring, despite having already served his bye week. But with Miles Austin coming back healthy and a matchup against a New England defense that is surrendering just 5.0 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (5th-fewest in NFL), Witten could be in line for a rude awakening. Take caution.

The line: New England -7/55.5

Vegas notes: The OVER is 7-1 in the Cowboys’ last eight road games and 17-4 in the Patriots’ last 21 games as a favorite.

The pick: Pick made above (Cowboys +7, but this is just a lean).

San Francisco 49ers, D/ST (at Detroit): There’s no doubt about it: Jim Harbaugh’s defense is one of the best in the business this season and currently ranks second in scoring among fantasy D/STs. We like this unit a lot moving forward, but we advise you to look for an alternative option in Week 6 as San Francisco travels to Detroit to take on a Lions offense that ranks fourth in the NFL in scoring (31.8 pts/gm) and is giving up an average of just 5.2 fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs (3rd-fewest in NFL).

The line: Detroit -4/46.5

Vegas notes: The Lions are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games against a team with a winning record, while the 49ers 1-6-1 against the spread in their last eight road games against a team with a winning record.

The pick: Lions -4, but I don’t feel great about this one.

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers (at Detroit): The San Francisco signal-caller currently boasts a QB rating of 104.1 and is without question playing the best football of his of his underwhelming six-year career. But a Week 6 road date against the Lions spells trouble, as the Detroit front four can get off the ball in a hurry. Throw in the fact that the Lions are giving up an average of just 15.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and it’s probably best to leave Smith on the bench this Sunday.

The line: Detroit -4/46.5

Vegas notes: 68% of the public is currently backing the Lions (-4).

The pick: Pick made above (Lions -4, but this is just a lean).

Rashard MendenhallICONA limited workload makes Mendenhall a risky play in Week 6.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Jacksonville): Mendenhall is expected to start Sunday against the Jaguars after sitting out in Week 5 due to a hamstring injury, but he probably won’t handle the full workload. That’s strike 1. The Jacksonville Jaguars may be 1-4 this season, but their defense is giving up an average of just 16.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (11th-fewest in NFL). That’s strike two. If you go against the numbers and start Mendenhall this weekend, that will be strike three.

The line: Pittsburgh -12/40.5

Vegas notes: The Jaguars are 2-10 against the spread in their last 12 games against a team with a winning record, while the Steelers are 5-0 against the spread in their last five home games.

The pick: I’m leaning towards the Steelers (-12), but that’s just too many points to lay. No play.

Santana Moss, WR, Washington Redskins (vs. Philadelphia): Lets take a quick trip through history, shall we? In Moss’ last 11 games against the Philadelphia Eagles, the veteran wide receiver has scored just one touchdown and is averaging only 41.8 receiving yards per game. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Moss has racked up fewer than 30 receiving yards in five of his last six games against the Eagles. Even Marty McFly and Doc Brown couldn’t bail you out of this mess.

The line: Philadelphia -1.5/47

Vegas notes: Stop traffic. 70% of the public is currently backing the Eagles and laying the number. At what point does everyone STOP betting the Eagles?

The pick: Pick made above (UNDER 47 and Washington +1.5).

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Upcoming Games

Nov 26th, 12:30 PM

Houston -3 -105

Detroit +3 -105

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Nov 26th, 4:30 PM

Washington +3 +100

Dallas -3 +100

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Carolina +3.5 -110

Minnesota -3.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Tennessee +3 -110

Indianapolis -3 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Arizona -2.5 -110

New England +2.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Cleveland -6.5 -110

Jacksonville +6.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Miami -7 -120

NY Jets +7 -120

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Las Vegas -3 -110

Atlanta +3 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

NY Giants -6 -110

Cincinnati +6 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

LA Chargers +5.5 -110

Buffalo -5.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:15 PM

Baltimore +4.5 -104

Pittsburgh -4.5 -104

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Nov 29th, 4:05 PM

San Francisco +6.5 -110

LA Rams -6.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 4:05 PM

New Orleans -6 -110

Denver +6 -110

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Nov 29th, 4:25 PM

Kansas City -3.5 -110

Tampa Bay +3.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 8:20 PM

Chicago +8.5 -110

Green Bay -8.5 -110

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Nov 30th, 8:15 PM

Seattle -5 -110

Philadelphia +5 -110

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Dec 3rd, 8:20 PM

Dallas +7 -110

Baltimore -7 -110

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