So, selecting Le’Veon Bell in the first round of your fantasy football draft was a pretty good idea after all.
That thought may have crossed the minds of those who drafted Jamaal Charles, who will miss the remainder of the season with an A.C.L. injury. It’s a painful reminder of how much bad luck factors into fantasy success (or lack thereof).
It turns out that it has been a rough year for a lot of first-round fantasy picks, with Dez Bryant missing an extended period of time, Andrew Luck and Marshawn Lynch missing games and underperforming, and C. J. Anderson losing his starting job.
There’s also Eddie Lacy, the average third overall fantasy draft pick, averaging only 9.1 fantasy points per game (35th best). We’ve been down this road before with Lacy, who turned around his slow start last season in a major way, so we wouldn’t sell our shares just yet.
Meanwhile, Bell has averaged about 20 fantasy points per game in his three games played, and if you were wise enough to have DeAngleo Williams backing him up for the first two games of the season, you really didn’t have to worry about Bell’s two-game suspension. Williams led all backs with 40.4 fantasy points over the first two weeks.
What is even worse for Charles owners is that the Chiefs’ backup running back that they may have had stashed on their bench, Kniles Davis, is now expected to take a back seat to Charcandrick West going forward. If you happened to snag West off your league’s waiver wire, start him this week as an RB2 against a Vikings unit that ranks 26th against the run (125 Y.P.G.).
Bengals (5-0) at Bills (3-2)
1 p.m. Line: Bengals by 3.5
Andy Dalton (CIN) — Dalton is the best quarterback in fantasy football (you read that right), after dropping 331 yards and scoring three touchdowns (one rushing) against the formidable Seahawks defense. He has averaged 345 passing yards with eight touchdowns over his last three starts. There’s no reason not to trust Dalton against the Bills (21.6 F.P.P.G. to QBs).
Tyrod Taylor (BUF) — Given his M.C.L. injury and the tough matchup, it is probably best to plan on other options at quarterback. The Bengals held Russell Wilson, a better quarterback with similar skills, to 213 passing yards, 21 rushing yards and one touchdown and sacked him four times last weekend.
Jeremy Hill/Gio Bernard (CIN) — The Bills have the third-best run defense in the N.F.L. (82.2 Y.P.G.). An opposing back has yet to top 49 yards against them this season. The projected game script favors Bernard once again as the better back to play.
LeSean McCoy/Karlos Williams/Dan Herron (BUF) — McCoy returned to practice Thursday but Williams did not. Check the injury report Sunday to see who ends up starting. The Seattle rookie Thomas Rawls rushed for 169 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown, against the Bengals last Sunday. The Bengals rank 18th against the run (108.6 Y.P.G.).
Wide Receiver/Tight End
A. J. Green/Marvin Jones (CIN) — Green is matchup-proof, but it’s worth noting that the Bills’ secondary has played well over the last two weeks, limiting Odell Beckham Jr. to 38 yards on three grabs and Kendall Wright to 29 yards on three catches.
Sammy Watkins (BUF) — Watkins expects to play and said of his calf, “If it pops, it pops.” His fantasy outlook hinges on whether Taylor joins him on the field. For now, consider him a low-end WR3.
Tyler Eifert (CIN) — The Bills limited Jordan Cameron, Larry Donnell and Delanie Walker to 90 total yards and no touchdowns over the last three games. It’s tough to sit Eifert after his 90 yards and two touchdowns against Seattle last weekend.
Charles Clay (BUF) — The Bengals have yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end. Taylor’s absence would further downgrade Clay’s fantasy outlook.
Broncos (5-0) vs. Browns (2-3)
1 p.m. Line: Broncos by 4
Peyton Manning (DEN) — The struggling legend remains low-end QB1, only because the Browns have yielded four-straight 20-point performances to Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, Philip Rivers and Joe Flacco.
Ronnie Hillman/C. J. Anderson (DEN) — Nobody allows more fantasy points to the position than the Browns and their 31st-ranked run defense, but both backs are sharing carries and can’t be trusted as more than low-end RB2/flex options.
Isaiah Crowell/Duke Johnson (CLE) — You really cannot trust any back in this game. The Browns’ running back committee will be up against the fifth-best run defense in the league.
Gary Barnidge (CLE) — The Broncos haven’t allowed a touchdown or more than 61 passing yards to any tight end this season. Barnidge had 139 yards on eight receptions in a tough matchup last weekend, so he’s tough to sit.
Bears (2-3) at Lions (0-5)
1 p.m. Line: Lions by 3
Matthew Stafford (DET) — Stafford remains the starter despite just 241 yards per game and six touchdowns compared with eight interceptions. The Bears have held the quarterbacks Wilson, Carr and Alex Smith to a 14-point fantasy average over the last three weeks, and over all rank second in the league against the pass. Start at your own risk.
Jay Cutler (CHI) — The Lions are the sixth-best fantasy matchup for quarterbacks (19 F.P.P.G.). They’ve allowed opponents to complete 76 percent of their passes, the highest rate in the N.F.L. Cutler would be a high-end QB2 play if his star receiver, Alshon Jeffery, can return.
Ameer Abdullah (DET) — His two fumbles landed him on the bench last weekend. He has averaged just 2.4 Y.P.G over his last four and has scored just once. Joique Bell’s expected return is another reason to stay away from Abdullah this weekend.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Calvin Johnson/Golden Tate (DET) — The Bears permit the 11th most fantasy points to the position. Johnson owners have been rightfully frustrated, but we would wait one more week before giving up hope.
Alshon Jeffery/Eddie Royal/Marquess Wilson (CHI) — Wilson (8 targets/85 yards/1 TD versus Kansas City) would be in the WR3 mix again if Jeffery or Royal were to sit out. Jeffery returned to practice this week, Royal did not. The Lions are tied with five other teams for the fourth most touchdown passes allowed and yield the ninth most fantasy points to receivers.
Martellus Bennett (CHI) — The Lions allow the sixth most fantasy points to the position (9.3 F.P.P.G.). He remains an elite option despite last weekend’s letdown.
Dolphins (1-3) at Titans (1-3)
1 p.m. Line: Titans by 1
Ryan Tannehill (MIA) — The Titans are the best team against the pass (188 Y.P.G.) and ninth in sacks, making Tannehill a low-end QB1 play.
Marcus Mariota (TEN) — The Dolphins have just one sack and three interceptions on the season. Start Mariota with confidence.
Lamar Miller (MIA) — The Titans have allowed 113 yards per game on the ground (23rd in N.F.L.), so the Dolphins should be able to lean on their ground game, but Miller has not topped 13 carries in a game all season.
Bishop Sankey/Antonio Andrews (TEN) — A great matchup, with the Dolphins ranking last against the run, but who in this backfield committee can you trust?
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Kendall Wright (TEN) — Wright voiced his dismay over his limited role last weekend against the Bills. That could lead to more looks against a weak Miami secondary that allows the eighth most points to the position.
Delanie Walker (TEN) — A low-end TE1 option against a Miami secondary that has allowed 153 yards and two scores to the position in five games.
Jordan Cameron (MIA) — The Titans have held tight ends to 4.5 F.P.P.G. over the last three weeks. Cameron remains a TE1 play, but a frustrating one who has yet to see the end zone this year.
Chiefs (1-4) at Vikings (2-2)
1 p.m. Line: Vikings by 4
Teddy Bridgewater (MIN) — Bridgewater gets the best fantasy matchup for quarterbacks, but has yet to throw more than one touchdown in a game and spends most of his time handing off to Adrian Peterson. He’s still only a QB2 play.
Alex Smith (KC) — The Vikings held quarterbacks Rivers and P. Manning to a combined 18.1 fantasy points before their bye. Look elsewhere for your QB2 needs.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Jeremy Maclin (KC) — He is averaging 125 yards per game and double-digit targets over the last three contests. He could be seeing even more looks in light of the Charles injury. The Vikings are considered a middle-of-the-road matchup, allowing the 18th most points to opposing receivers.
Mike Wallace (MIN) — Wallace is fresh off a bye, as well as his best performance of the season, and is up against the most favorable matchup for his position this week. Opposing receivers have eclipsed 20 fantasy points in three of the Chiefs’ five games this season.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN) — The Chiefs limited tight ends Eifert and Bennett to a combined seven catches, 101 yards and no touchdowns over the last two games, and Rudolph has continued to disappoint. Look elsewhere.
Redskins (2-3) at Jets (3-1)
1 p.m. Line: Jets by 7
Ryan Fitzpatrick (NYJ) — The depleted Redskins secondary played exceptionally well against the Falcons’ Matt Ryan last weekend despite missing their starting corners, DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver. Fitzpatrick remains a low-end QB2 play.
Chris Ivory/Bilal Powell (NYJ) — The Redskins’ run defense was the best unit in the league before they ran into the unstoppable force better known as Devonta Freeman (153 yards, 1 TD).
Matt Jones/Alfred Morris (WAS) — Avoid both Redskins backs if possible against the Jets’ elite run defense, which is surrendering the second fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Brandon Marshall/Eric Decker (NYJ) — As noted earlier, Washington’s secondary is missing its two best corners and has permitted double-digit fantasy points to the position in three of their five games. Start both Jets receivers with confidence.
Pierre Garcon/Jamison Crowder (WAS) — Top receiving options T. Y. Hilton, Jordan Matthews and Jarvis Landry have averaged 44.6 yards and no TDs against the Jets over the last three games. Garcon is not a recommended option this weekend.
Cardinals (4-1) at Steelers (3-2)
1 p.m. Line: Cardinals by 3
Carson Palmer (ARI) — The Steelers are allowing 22 F.P.P.G. to quarterbacks and were just torched by Rivers for 365 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Chris Johnson/David Johnson/Andre Ellington (ARI) — The Steelers permit the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing backs. Chris Johnson heads the committee as a low-end RB2 option this week.
Antonio Brown/Martavis Bryant (PIT) — Brown’s matchup with the Cardinals’ top corner, Patrick Peterson, and the hideous play of Michael Vick make him more a WR2 play this weekend. Bryant is expected to be active for the first time this season.
Texans (1-4) at Jaguars (1-4)
1 p.m. Line: Even
Blake Bortles (JAC) — The Texans have held quarterbacks to an average 14.4 fantasy points over the last three games.Bortles is also dealing with a shoulder sprain. There are better QB2 options this week.
T. J. Yeldon (JAC) — Yeldon missed practice Wednesday with the same groin injury that forced him to leave the Week 5 game. Factor in Denard Robinson’s likely return and Yeldon becomes a dicey low-end RB2 option if he indeed suits up.
Arian Foster (HOU) — Doug Martin gashed this unit for 158 total yards and three scores last weekend. Over all, the Jaguars have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to the position.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) — Receivers Julian Edelman, Hilton and Mike Evans averaged just 67 scoreless yards against the surprisingly stout Jacksonville secondary. But Hopkins, the second-highest scoring receiver in P.P.R. leagues, starts every week.
Allen Robinson/Allen Hurns (JAC) — The poor health of Bortles could cap Robinson’s ceiling this weekend. The Texans have allowed the fifth lowest target percentage caught and the ninth fewest yards after catch.
Panthers (4-0) at Seahawks (2-3)
4:05 p.m. Line: Seahawks by 8
Russell Wilson (SEA) — The Panthers have permitted just 12 fantasy points per game to the position through four games. They are also tied for second in interceptions (8). The N.F.L.’s most sacked quarterback entering Week 6 (22) is a safer QB2 play this weekend.
Cam Newton (CAR) — Seattle is permitting 16 F.P.P.G. a week to the position, even with Dalton’s big day last weekend. Newton is a weak play on the road this Sunday in his toughest matchup thus far this year.
Marshawn Lynch (SEA) — Lynch is expected to come back on Sunday and returns to must-start weekly status despite Carolina’s sixth-ranked run defense.
Jonathan Stewart (CAR) — Seattle is the worst matchup a fantasy back can have. The Seahawks are allowing just 92 scoreless rushing yards per game. Look elsewhere.
Greg Olsen (CAR) — Cincinnati’s Eifert had 90 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks last weekend. They are now considered the fifth best tight end matchup in fantasy.
Chargers (2-3) at Packers (5-0)
4:25 p.m. Line: Packers by 11.5
Philip Rivers (SD) — The Packers are the fourth-toughest team for a fantasy quarterback to oppose. Green Bay also ranks second in sacks with 20, which doesn’t bode well for the Chargers’ injury-riddled offensive line.
Eddie Lacy (GB) — The Chargers have surrendered an average of 28 F.P.P.G. to the position over the last three games. Start Lacy with confidence.
Melvin Gordon/Danny Woodhead (SD) — Backs Matt Forte, Charles and Todd Gurley have all lit up the Packers for 15 or more fantasy points this season. Both Chargers backs can be considered low-end RB2 options in standard formats.
Keenan Allen/Stevie Johnson (SD) — The Packers are the fourth-toughest team on opposing fantasy wide receivers. The return of Antonio Gates further degrades Allen’s Week 6 appeal. Johnson has missed practice all week and appears doubtful.
Richard Rodgers (GB) — The Chargers have yielded three double-digit fantasy performances to the position and represent the 10th-best matchup for the position. Play him where needed.
Ravens (1-4) at 49ers (1-4)
4:25 p.m. Line: Ravens by 1
Joe Flacco (BAL) — E. Manning torched this unit for 441 yards and three touchdowns despite missing his starting wideouts for much of the second half. We’ll feel better about Flacco as a QB2 play if Steve Smith gets back on the field.
Colin Kaepernick (SF) — An encouraging performance against the Giants and an outstanding matchup on paper (second best, 21 F.P.P.G.) make him a tempting daily league play for the brave.
Justin Forsett (BAL) — The 49ers rank 17th against the run and allow the sixth most fantasy points to running backs. Forsett missed practice with an ankle injury. Buck Allen would be the lone Ravens back to start with Lorenzo Taliaferro placed on I.R.
Steve Smith/Kamar Aiken (BAL) — Smith returned to practice but is not guaranteed to play. Opposing WR1s have totaled 494 yards, 30 receptions and 4 touchdowns over the last four weeks against the 49ers, so keep an eye on this situation.
Anquan Boldin (SF) — The Ravens have yielded 30 F.P.P.G. to the position, the second most this season. Boldin is a solid WR3 play as the top option in the 49ers’ passing game.
Patriots (4-0) at Colts (3-2)
8:30 p.m. Line: Patriots by 8
Dion Lewis/LeGarrette Blount (NE) — The Colts have allowed double-digit fantasy performances to the position in four out of five games. We see Lewis as a high-end RB2 and Blount as an RB3.
Frank Gore (IND) — The Patriots rank 20th against the run but have played well against the run over the last the weeks. Gore has played well of late as well, with three touchdowns in his last three games. He remains a solid RB1 play.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Julian Edelman (NE) — The Colts have allowed a receiver to post 14 or more fantasy points in each of the five games they have played.
Dwayne Allen/Coby Fleener (IND) — New England did an outstanding job limiting Jason Witten to 33 scoreless yards last weekend and is allowing 7.5 F.P.P.G. to the position on the season.
Giants (3-2) at Eagles (2-3)
8:30 p.m. Monday. Line: Eagles by 4
Eli Manning (NYG) — Manning is coming off his best game of the season, and one of the best performances of his career, but the health of his receivers clouds his Week 6 outlook. The matchup is a good one on paper, as the Eagles rank 27th against the pass and have permitted the 11th most fantasy points to the position.
Sam Bradford (PHI) — The Giants’ 30th-ranked pass defense gave up 20 fantasy points to a struggling Kaepernick last Sunday night and has allowed 314 passing yards per game on average. Bradford was still erratic last weekend, throwing two interceptions, but managed 333 yards and 2 TDS. He’s a low-end QB1 option.
Rashad Jennings/Shane Vereen (NYG) — No back has managed more than eight standard league fantasy points against the Eagles’ imposing front all season. Vereen’s role in the passing game could once again get a boost if any of the starting wideouts miss the game, making him the only Giants back worth consideration this week.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Odell Beckham Jr./Rueben Randle (NYG) — The status of Odell Beckham Jr. and Reuben Randle will need to be monitored throughout the week. Dwayne Harris would be a sneaky start against an Eagles secondary that is on the hook for the third most fantasy points to the position this year.
Zach Ertz (PHI) — The Giants are the fourth-best matchup a tight end can have (13 F.P.P.G.). Even the 49ers backup Garrett Celek managed to score against them, the fourth touchdown allowed to the position year. Ertz is worth low-end TE1 consideration Monday night.
Larry Donnell (NYG) — He could take on an expanded role this week with the Giants’ receiving corps as banged up as it is. The Eagles have permitted an average of 5 F.P.P.G. to the position thus far.