Packers vs. Ravens Fantasy Advice: Sit Johnathan Franklin, Start Joe Flacco

USA TODAY Sports

Start (almost) as many Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens as possible in Week 6. In a game that should go well over the Vegas-projected total, you'll want a piece of this fantasy pie.

One of the most overlooked aspects of deciding who to start and who to bench in fantasy football is taking a look at the Vegas over/under, or total, for the game. Perhaps the only people that can project the game better than the gamblers are the sportsbooks trying to outsmart the gamblers.

So when you're face with a tough start or sit decision, look to the total, my friends. Case in point: While many fantasy football advice sites will have St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford ranked above or around Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Flacco is the much more attractive start because he is playing in a game with 48.5 projected points where as Bradford' game only has a total of 41 points. Seven-and-a-half points are a big deal in this case, so Flacco should be the slam dunk choice.

Point totals are your friends in fantasy. Don't use them as the end-all be-all, but I usually like to use them as a tiebreaker in a tough decision. The people that set the over/unders are very good at what they do. If they weren't, they'd be out of a job. And with that nugget, let's look at this week's Green Bay game:

QUARTERBACKS

Spoiler alert, I don't think either of these two teams defenses are equipped to stop the opposing offenses. So I am going to project some pretty high scores for all of the players listed below. With the Pack missing Clay Matthews and the Ravens still adapting to life without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, this game should be a shootout. Green Bay was able to shut down a neutered Detroit attack last week without Calvin Johnson, and the Ravens have allowed 46 combined points the last two games to the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

You're not reading this to see if Aaron Rodgers is a good start this week. Play him! But I think Flacco is a sneaky good play in Week 6. With Casey Hayward expected to miss along with the absences of both Matthews and Brad Jones, Flacco should have a big day. I'm playing him over Alex Smith, Russell Wilson and the struggling Colin Kaepernick. You should do the same.

Aaron Rodgers: 340 yards, 4 touchdowns passing, 1 interception, 20 yards, 0 touchdowns rushing
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Joe Flacco: 310 yards passing, 3 touchdowns passing, 2 interceptions
Verdict: Start in most 10 and 12 team leagues

RUNNING BACKS

Here's where things get tricky. If Rodgers and Flacco go nuts passing, that means the running backs will probably under-perform, right? Exactly! It's going to be tough to sit Ray Rice this week, and I won't advise it just based on his prowess around the goal-line and pass-catching skills. Eddie Lacy is a different story. I don't know how active he's going to be in the game plan if Rodgers is tossing the ball all over the field. I'd actually rather play Danny Woodhead or Knowshon Moreno over him.

The backups will obviously only be desperation plays given my dim outlook for the rushing games this week. Bernard Pierce will get a few carries, but not much more than that. and I don't think it's crazy to say that barring injury, we've seen the best of Johnathan Franklin this year. John Kuhn will be the third-down back when Lacy is out. Franklin's fumbling issues will keep Mike McCarthy from trusting him with any important snaps. James Starks has also already been ruled out.

Eddie Lacy: 55 yards rushing, 0 touchdowns, 1 catch, 10 yards, 0 touchdowns receiving
Verdict: Start as a flex in 12-team PPR leagues or RB2 in 10- or 12-team standard leagues

Johnathan Franklin: 5 yards rushing, 0 touchdowns, 2 catches, 10 yards, 0 touchdowns receiving
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

Ray Rice: 60 yards rushing, 0 touchdowns, 4 catches, 40 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start as borderline RB1 in 12-team PPR leagues or RB2 in 10-team leagues

Bernard Pierce: 20 yards rushing, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

WIDE RECEIVERS

Buckle up, baby! This is going to be wild. If you own a Packers receiver not named Jarrett Boykin, make sure he's starting this week. Rodgers and Flacco will probably exchange touchdown passes for most of the day. The difference between them is that Rodgers has more weapons to spread out his targets than Flacco. I expect another big day from Torrey Smith, but after that, it will be very hard to predict numbers for Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown. Here's my best guess:

Randall Cobb: 7 catches, 95 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Jordy Nelson: 6 catches, 90 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

James Jones: 5 catches, 75 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all 12-team leagues and most 10-team leagues as a WR3

Torrey Smith: 8 catches, 110 yards, 2 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Marlon Brown: 4 catches, 60 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start as a flex in all 10- and 12-team PPR leagues

Jacoby Jones: 4 catches, 50 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start as a flex in all 10- and 12-team PPR leagues

Tandon Doss: 3 catches, 40 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start only as desperation flex in 12- and 14-team PPR leagues

TIGHT ENDS

Jermichael Finley continues to have a very good season. He's being targeted all over the field, and in the red zone, which is huge for fantasy purposes. It seems like his concussion issues are behind him, and Rodgers should find him open again this week with Baltimore paying so much attention to the Packers' wideouts. (Don't play Quarless.)

On the other side, I expect to Dallas Clark to grab more than a few balls over the middle when Flacco is trying to get the Raven to catch up in the fourth quarter. I even think a keep-it-close-garbage-touchdown is in the cards for Clark this week as well. For those of you playing in tight end premium leagues like the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC), Clark makes a better start than Kyle Rudolph, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert this week. (Don't play Dickson.)

Jermichael Finley: 6 catches, 65 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Dallas Clark: 6 catches, 55 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start as a sneaky TE1 in all 12- and 14-team PPR leagues

KICKER

Mason Crosby is back! (I hope I didn't just jinx him.) And Justin Tucker is one of the best in the league. The problem for both this week is I foresee a lot of extra points as opposed to field goals. Still, you have to play kickers in explosive, offense-driven games because of the potential for a random stopped drive in the red zone.

Mason Crosby: 2 field goals, 4 extra points
Verdict: Start in most 10- and 12-team leagues

Justin Tucker: 1 field goal, 3 extra points
Verdict: Start in most 12- and 14-team leagues

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Things are not going to be pretty here. I see Baltimore playing from behind, so Flacco could throw a couple picks late. But unless there's a big kick return in the cards from either of these units, sit them. Once Matthews, Jones and Hayward are back for the Pack, things will then start looking a little rosier.

Packers: 2 sacks, 0 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions, 0 touchdowns, 420 yards and 24 points allowed
Verdict: Bench in most leagues

Ravens: 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 0 touchdowns, 435 yards and 34 points allowed
Verdict: Bench in most leagues

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