Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
We no longer get five days between games to evaluate, analyze and investigate as the NFL has made Thursday the beginning of the week. So it's already time to put together fantasy lineups for Week 6 starting with the Thursday night matchup between Pittsburgh and Tennessee.
The Titans (1-4) are last in the NFL in points allowed (36.2 ppg), 28th against the run yielding 144.2 yards per game and 25th against the pass coughing up 279.6 ypg.
The combination of a weak run defense and Rashard Mendenhall should provide for excellent returns to fantasy owners even if Pittsburgh (2-2) tries to keep his workload to around 15-18 rushes.
The Steelers found their running game for the first time last weekend. Not coincidently, it was the first game of the season for Mendenhall. He returned from January ACL surgery to rush 14 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. His appearance immediately forced the Eagles to defend the run, something teams haven't had to do with Isaac Redman or Jonathan Dwyer at tailback.
With no running back in their first three contests, the Steelers were forced to throw more than they normally like, but the results pleased fantasy owners who invested in the Pittsburgh passing game.
Ben Roethlisberger has been excellent, throwing for 1,111 yards and eight touchdowns against just one interception. He's spread it around evenly to Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller.
Wallace reported to the team just before the season began and while he's caught 19 balls for 251 yards and three scores, his yards per catch has dropped significantly. He had just two catches last weekend, and three drops, but expect a big game from Wallace against the Titans.
Brown just keeps getting better. He's been Big Ben's No. 1 target in every game this season and has 25 receptions for 326 yards and a score. He's a must start.
The surprise of the trio of receivers is Miller. He's always been a complete player, but under-utilized in the Pittsburgh offense. Not so this season, particularly near the goal line, where he has scored four times from inside the 5-yard line. He's Roethlisberger's go-to guy in the red zone now that Hines Ward has retired.
The Titans have talent at the skill positions, but an ineffective offensive line is the primary cause for most of the team's struggles on offense.
They can't run the ball even though they have talented Chris Johnson at tailback. And while it's true that C.J. doesn't seem to be running the ball as well as he did during his first three seasons, he hasn't found a lot of holes to run through. The Steelers, even without Troy Polamalu (calf), should be able to shut Johnson down.
Which means the Titans will have to go to the air. Matt Hasselbeck is a competent quarterback with three and a half quality receivers around him.
The half is injured Kenny Britt, who is dealing with an ankle injury and two offseason knee surgeries. Britt has been on a play count and can't be counted on to produce fantasy-worthy numbers.
Nate Washington, rookie Kendall Wright and Jared Cook are three viable fantasy receivers whom you could start. Washington (19.8 ypc) is the team's deep threat, while Wright is the team leader in targets with 44. Cook has 19 receptions for 237 yards, but wasn't very involved in the offense last week. Hasselbeck has said he wants to use him more this week, which is always a good sign.
Both kickers are solid, but the Titans' Rob Bironas has the bigger leg and can get you bonus points for distance if given the chance. He was 6-for-7 from 50 or more yards last season.