Offseason reports painted Doug Martin as a new man following his four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances (in this case, Adderall). Hype became reality in Martin’s 2017 debut against the Patriots, as he generated 74 yards on just 13 carries (5.69 YPC). Looking leaner than he has in seasons past, 28-year-old Martin also looked faster. 42 of Martin’s 74 yards came after first contact, good for an average of 3.2.
Martin’s only Week 5 disappointment was his meager workload. That was to be expected following his extended layoff. Also to be expected is greater Week 6 involvement. Martin has had 10 days to heal up and get back in the groove after a month away from the team. Coach Dirk Koetter, a major run-game proponent last season, surely wants to recommit following Jameis Winston’s recent shaky play. The Cardinals are not a plus matchup, but Martin’s workloads should be voluminous from here on out, putting him in the RB1 mix.
Week 6 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: Tom Brady has a modest three scores over his past two games, but is getting Rob Gronkowski back for Week 6. Brady’s 8.73 YPA would be a new career high, while his 68.2 completion percentage would be his best since his record-setting 2007. … Coming off the Saints’ bye, Drew Brees will have his full stable of weapons for the first time all season. Headed to the Coors Field of the NFL, Brees’ opponent, Detroit, is allowing the sixth most weekly passing yards (256). … Aaron Rodgers has posted at least three touchdowns in three straight starts. Making it four could be difficult against a Vikings D allowing the seventh fewest quarterback fantasy points. Rodgers managed only one score in last year’s trip to Minnesota. … Deshaun Watson has .2 more fantasy points than Tom Brady, making him the QB1 through the season’s first five weeks. He has done this in one fewer start. Allowing the fifth most quarterback fantasy points, the Browns offer another potential blowup spot. … Fresh off getting shredded by Jacoby Brissett, the 49ers and their woeful secondary are going to have a whale of a time slowing a rested Kirk Cousins in Washington.
Cam Newton followed up his QB2 Week 4 performance against the Patriots with a QB5 day in Detroit. He’s officially back, and has a shreddable short-week opponent in an Eagles team allowing 283 weekly passing yards. … Matt Ryan returns from the Falcons’ bye as merely the QB18 by average points. The Dolphins, who are allowing rival quarterbacks to complete 73.3 percent of their passes, are ready to change that. Ryan’s only concern is that ‘Fins don’t put up a fight, keeping the Falcons in ground-and-pound mode at home. … Matthew Stafford has been snoozing the alarm since his four-score Week 1, posting five touchdowns in four games. He has just the Week 6 matchup to change that in the Saints. New Orleans’ pass defense, though slightly improved in Weeks 3 and 4, is still allowing 8.6 yards per pass attempt. Only the Patriots have been worse. … Philip Rivers has five touchdowns over his past two starts. His nine scores are tied for seventh, while he’s fifth in yards (1,365). It’s hard to believe he won’t get into a shootout with the Raiders.
Boasting an 11:0 TD:INT ratio, Alex Smith is the QB3 by average points through five starts. He’s yet to post a QB rating below 104.9, and is goosing his passing with 22 weekly rushing yards. The Steelers are tough, but matchups have yet to matter for the Chiefs offense. … Carson Palmer has tallied just one multi-touchdown effort, but is averaging 315 yards and a whopping 45 attempts. He’s ridden that sheer volume to QB14 status. The banged up Bucs are a nice home matchup. … Jameis Winston was flat out terrible in a golden spot against the Patriots last week. Not terrible was a returning Doug Martin. Even against the Cardinals’ ground-tough defense, the Bucs are going to re-establish the run, and try to keep the ball out of Winston’s hands. … Derek Carr was 29-of-49 (59.1 percent) for 261 yards (5.32 YPA) and two touchdowns in Weeks 3 and 4 before injuring his back. The Raiders’ offense is struggling. The Chargers are not an imposing matchup, but let’s see how Carr fares at less than 100 percent.
Ben Roethlisberger questioned his own play, so what are we to do? He has more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six). I still believe he has too much upside to rank any lower, while the Chiefs are quietly surrendering the sixth most quarterback fantasy points. A Sunday shootout would have Roethlisberger’s arrow pointing back in the right direction. … Jacoby Brissett has only two passing touchdowns, but is goosing his floor with big plays and rushing. The Titans’ crumbling defense has been susceptible to both big plays and quarterback scrambling. A spiked week is within reach for Andrew Luck’s fill-in. … Carson Wentz is coming off the first four-touchdown performance of his career, but will be missing RT Lane Johnson. As DraftKings’ Adam Levitan points out, Wentz’s stats took a major nosedive without Johnson last season. That, coupled with a tough matchup in the Panthers, calls for Week 6 caution. … The Giants are in full-on collapse. In addition to what’s happening on offense, they will be missing Olivier Vernon (ankle) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (suspension) for Week 6. Trevor Siemian should get to two scores for the third time in four home starts.
Case Keenum has just four touchdowns in four appearances, but will offer QB2 juice more often than not because of the stable of weapons at his disposal. … On paper, the Redskins are a stay-away matchup for Brian Hoyer. In practice, they will be missing Josh Norman this week. The 49ers haven’t stopped throwing all season, resulting in two 330-yard efforts in Hoyer’s past three games. … For his first career start, Kevin Hogan gets a Texans defense that will be adjusting to life without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Hogan should have clean pockets in what could be a high-scoring contest. … Eli Manning was heating up until losing Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. Shepard is the only wideout who will return this season, but it seems unlikely to be in Week 6. The only thing working in Manning’s Week 6 favor is the volume he’ll accrue in garbage time. … Despite coach Adam Gase’s words, Jay Cutler should be considered series to series. … Mitchell Trubisky’s scrambling ability will lead to some big fantasy days, but it’s hard to think of a worse matchup for his second career start than Baltimore on the road.