Week 6 Sleepers: Golden in Seattle
Trades in the NFL often provide opportunities for young players to establish themselves in larger roles. That's the scenario that has come to pass in Seattle, as the Seahawks just dealt Deion Branch back to the New England Patriots. This trade gives a trio of young, talented receivers a chance to become the next big fantasy stars.
Mike Williams is the number one in Seattle, and though he hasn't done much in four games this season (11 catches for 138 yards), he should be in line for more looks with Branch out of town. He's not the guy I want to talk about today.
Deon Butler is now the "veteran" of the Seattle receiving corps, having caught 15 passes for 175 yards in 2009. Of the new top three receivers in Seattle, he's the only one with a TD this season. But he's not the guy I want to talk about today either.
Former Golden Domer Golden Tate had a nose for the end zone in college, racking up 25 TDs in his final two years at Notre Dame. The Seahawks spent a second-round pick on Tate. As he becomes more comfortable with the playbook, he's sure to see the field more. When better to see an uptick in playing time than after a bye week?
Tate had a good week of practices during Seattle's off-week, and although he has just eight catches in three games this season, he's primed to make a big impact on the passing game. At 2-2-2, Seattle is in the thick of the division title hunt in the NFC West. I don't think they would have traded Branch unless they felt they could move forward with one of their young guys in a starting role. That guy is Tate, and he could be in for a big second half of the season.
If you're hurting at wide receiver, you may want to jump on him early, especially if you play in a deeper league with limited options in free agency. Tate plays Chicago on Sunday, and I think a TD is in the cards for the rookie.
Week 6 Sleepers
Josh Freeman, QB, TB
Up against a tough Cincinnati secondary on the road, Freeman put together a 60 percent completion percentage while racking up 280 yards and a TD, which came with just 86 seconds left in the game. Freeman now goes home to face the Saints, a team hurting in the secondary. Throw in a couple points from the Tampa Bay QB's running ability, and he should have a nice fantasy day in Week 6.
Matt Cassel, QB, KC
The Chiefs haven't passed much this year, but the Texans can't stop anybody that puts the ball in the air. Based on matchup alone, Cassel is worth considering on the road in Houston. The Chiefs passing game could very well have their best game of the season against a team giving up nearly 330 yards and over two TDs per game.
Isaac Redman, RB, PIT
The Steelers have a home game on tap against the Cleveland Browns and overmatched rookie QB Colt McCoy. Ben Roethlisberger will be back in his first game of the season, and it's very conceivable the Steelers and their dominant defense has this game locked away by halftime. If so, the Browns could see a large dose of Redman, who is second on the team in carries this year. Owners looking for a long shot may want to roll with Redman.
Keiland Williams, RB, WAS
The Redskins won a tough game against the Packers in Week 5, and even though the outcome was great for Washington, new starter Ryan Torain averaged just 2.5 yards per carry on his 16 attempts. After being signed off the practice squad, Williams saw just two touches in Week 5. With a full week of practice, he may see more work against a soft Colts rush defense.
Mike Hart, RB, IND
With Joseph Addai ailing in Indianapolis' Week 5 game against the Chiefs, Hart came on to rush for 50 yards and a TD on 11 carries. If Addai is limited throughout the week, the Colts may decide to give him the week off, which would actually be two weeks of rest including Indy's bye in Week 7. His absence would make Hart a decent RB2 in Week 6.
Danny Amendola, WR, STL
With Mark Clayton out of St. Louis' Week 5 game early, Amendola rattled off a dozen catches, immediately becoming Sam Bradford's go-to receiver. Even though San Diego (St. Louis' Week 6 opponent) has played the pass well this season, you just can't ignore a receiver getting that many targets. If you added Amendola off your wire, use him this week.
Dexter McCluster, WR, KC
We've already mentioned how bad Houston is at defending the pass, so any search for receiving sleepers should include Texan opponents. This week it's the Chiefs, and McCluster is a prime candidate for a breakout game. The Chiefs do what they can to get the ball in the talented rookie's hands in the passing, running and return game.
Damian Williams, WR, TEN
Tennessee faces Jacksonville on Monday night, and no team has allowed more TD receptions than the dozen surrendered by the Jaguars. As the third option for Vince Young, Williams could be in for a solid 50-yard, one-TD game against this defense. Buffalo secondary receivers Steve Johnson and Roscoe Parrish combined for 104 yards and two TDs on nine catches against Jacksonville in Week 5.
Andrew Quarless, TE, GB
The Packers face the Dolphins in Week 6, and in two of Miami's last three games, the leading receiver on the opposite team has been a tight end (Visanthe Shiancoe in Week 2, Dustin Keller in Week 3). That could mean big things for Jermichael Finley-substitute Andrew Quarless, who had four catches for 51 yards in relief in Week 5.
Seattle Seahawks, TM, SEA
The Seahawks should be well-rested for a Week 6 game against Chicago, considering Seattle enjoyed a bye week in Week 5. Because of the off-week, there's a good chance this defense is floating around unowned in your fantasy league. They've been great in four games this season, and now they get to feast on a terrible Chicago offensive line. If Caleb Hanie winds up under center at some point, even better.