Editor's note: Every week this season, gay teenage NFL fan Jeremy Brener will give his perspective and predictions for the upcoming week).
Pittsburgh Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams likes to wear pink. I'm not sure if it is his favorite color, but he wears it for his mother, who died of breast cancer last year. The NFL has been an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness in the month of October. You will see players wear pink gloves, hats and shoes to honor breast cancer survivors. However, Williams doesn't want to wear it only in October, but the entire season. This week, the NFL told him that he could not wear pink all season.
I'm surprised that the NFL is saying now that Williams can't wear pink all year. I understand that the NFL has a uniform policy, but Williams is a unique case. A large bulk of Williams' charity work is for research of breast cancer. He is paying for 53 women to have a mammogram in honor of his mother. Williams has dyed part of his hair and painted his nails pink on some occasions.
I find it strange that the NFL has this big campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness month, but they don't advocate it during the other 11 months of the year. It's like saying that LGBT Pride is only important in June because it's LGBT Pride Month, but it is not important during the other months of the year. LGBT Pride is important throughout the year, as is Breast Cancer Awareness, and Black History and Hispanic Heritage and every other important cause that has a "month."
It's clear that Williams had an amazing relationship with his mother. Not many men would dye their hair pink, so props to him. Williams should be able to honor his mother throughout the entire year like he does in October by wearing the accessories he wants. Who is he hurting by wearing pink gloves in November? Or a pink hat on the sidelines in September? The NFL should alter their dress code and allow Williams to wear pink for the entire season.
Here are some Week 6 notes:
Game of the Week
New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts
Last year, these two teams faced each other twice, and the Patriots got the better of the Colts both times - and it wasn't even close. They faced each other last year in Week 11, and Jonas Gray ran for four touchdowns. Then, the Patriots gave it back to the Colts in the AFC Championship game, better known as the "Deflategate Game." The PSI of the footballs did not affect the outcome, the Patriots simply clobbered the Colts. Now, the stakes are a little different. Both teams are leading their division, but while the Patriots' stock seems to grow, the Colts' stock is going the other way.
The Colts need to find a way to win outside of the worst division in football if they want to win in the playoffs. They have failed to do that this season, but this matchup against the Patriots could send them back in the right direction. Andrew Luck will likely start after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. 40-year-old backup Matt Hasselbeck has even outplayed Luck, as he won both of his starts in Luck's absence. Luck needs to get his rhythm back, and what better time to do it than at home against the defending champions? Will he get his mojo back this week? I'm leaning towards no. The Patriots have been the best team in the NFL this season and are contenders to repeat. They don't look like they have missed a beat, as evidenced in their 30-6 victory over the Cowboys last week. I think the Patriots will defend their undefeated record on Sunday Night Football by beating the Colts, 35-20.
Upset of the Week
New York Giants over Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants have been on a tear recently. After starting 0-2, they have won three straight and find themselves at the top of the NFC East. The Giants could easily be 5-0, as they had fourth-quarter leads in each of their losses to the Cowboys and Falcons, yet they find themselves an underdog going into their Monday Night Football battle with the Eagles. The Eagles also started out 0-2, and have only lost once since then. Even though the Eagles won convincingly last week, they are the definition of inconsistency. We have seen a good Eagles team and a not-so-good Eagles team so far, and you never know which one is going to show up when they play. I like the way the Giants have been playing so far, and Eli Manning won NFC Offensive Player of the Week last week, throwing for more than 400 yards in a comeback victory over the 49ers. I think Eli will follow up his award-winning performance with another great game as they beat the Eagles in Philly, 34-24.
Honorable Mention: San Francisco 49ers over Baltimore Ravens
Fantasy Start of the Week
49ers WR Anquan Boldin vs. Baltimore Ravens
Boldin killed it on Sunday Night Football, torching the Giants secondary with eight catches, 107 yards, and a score in easily his best game of the year. This week, he has another favorable matchup as he takes on his former team, the Ravens. Boldin has been hit-or-miss this year, but that has been a matchup scenario. The Ravens are second in fantasy points allowed to receivers, and last week, they allowed Josh McCown to go off and throw for more than 450 yards. I expect Boldin to do similar to what he did last week: find the end zone and put up 100 yards.
Honorable Mention: Vikings WR Mike Wallace vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Fantasy Sit of the Week
Chiefs RB Charcandrick West vs. Minnesota Vikings
West is the No. 1 waiver pickup this week on the fantasy wire, and he should be. His workload will significantly increase, but do not start him just yet. The golden rule in fantasy football is you do not start an unproven player. West is taking over for Jamaal Charles, but that does not mean he is Charles. Plus, the chances of a running back by committee in Kansas City are very high. Knile Davis and De'Anthony Thomas have both been praised by Andy Reid and have been said to get an upgraded role in the offense, and a veteran is likely to be signed as well. West does have the most potential to become the breakout back in the Chiefs offense, but bench him until he becomes that breakout back.
Honorable Mention: Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart vs. Seattle Seahawks
Fantasy Pick-up of the Week
Saints WR Willie Snead
Before the season began, I thought it would be Brandon Coleman in the position that Willie Snead is in now. However, it's the 2014 undrafted Ball State product who has become one of Drew Brees' favorite targets. He has recorded 5+ catches in each of the last three games and in the last two games, he has logged at least 80 yards. He led the Saints in receptions and yards last week in their loss to Philadelphia, and with Marques Colston sidelined with an injury this week, Snead is likely to get the start opposite Brandin Cooks for Thursday Night Football. Given the circumstances, I like Snead's chances of having a third straight quality week.
Honorable Mention: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick vs. Ravens
Lock of the Week
Green Bay Packers over San Diego Chargers
The Packers are at home this week, and Aaron Rodgers doesn't lose at Lambeau. The last time A-Rod played a full game and lost as the Packers starter was Week 1 in 2012, a loss to the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. The Packers are undefeated even without Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson and star tackle Bryan Bulaga. They face a Chargers team that has struggled this season at 2-3, and they are coming off a short week in which they lost heartbreakingly at home to the Steelers. The Chargers have had O-line struggles this season and this is not the Chargers team people projected to be a playoff contender this preseason. I am expecting a 42-28 victory by the Packers as they go into their bye 6-0.
Honorable Mention: Atlanta Falcons over New Orleans Saints
Buzzer's Best Bet
Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski will make one pick each week against the spread.
Carolina +7 at Seattle. Pick: Carolina
This has the look of a game decided by a field goal, and the last three regular season games between these two teams have been decided by 4, 5 and 4 points. The Seahawks have only two wins and one of those was against a Bears team quarterbacked by Jimmy Clausen, so that game was basically a bye. Seattle does not score enough to cover.
Last week: 1-0. Season: 4-1
(Gary Barnridge/Photo by Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)
Hot Player of the week
Browns TE Gary Barnidge
I was so wrong about Gary Barnidge last week. I tabbed him as a sit, but he proved my wrong by catching eight balls for 139 yards and a touchdown. That makes it three straight weeks of touchdowns for Barnidge, who is the third best fantasy TE this season behind Tyler Eifert and Rob Gronkowski. One strong week can be a fluke, two strong weeks can be a coincidence, but three straight weeks of solid football play has Barnidge on a hot streak. He's emerged as Josh McCown's favorite target, with at least six catches and 75 yards in each of his last three starts. I like Barnidge to continue this trend of high numbers, and he should definitely be a name you should know by now.
Jeremy Brener lives in Houston. He can be reached via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@BrenerJeremy).