Week 6 was a pretty low scoring fantasy week for the top players in the league. If not for two Monday night heavy-hitters, only three running backs would have reached 18 points in PPR this week. Even still, just five got there. (In Week 5, 14 players reached that mark. In Week 4, 16 players.) We also saw low scores from the top 24 quarterbacks, the guys turned to in two-QB or superflex leagues. Normally, the backend of the top 24 gives managers about a dozen points. The first month of the season, the 25th QB averaged 12.5 points. This week, that man scored 5.44 points.
Byes have something to do with that, as players from four teams are not available. Byes this week robbed us of performances from a number of the top passers playing right now. We also were without fantasy studs yet again due to injury. Dalvin Cook was added to the list of sidelined studs. Cook's replacement, Alexander Mattison, was supposed to be a substitute stud, a la Kareem Hunt in Cleveland. These guys were supposed to be one injury away from stud status as fill-ins. They both got their chance, and neither performed well in Week 6.
It's a good reminder that opportunity isn't the only thing that makes a player a stud, and bankable studs don't always come through week in and week out. Even the best of players put up dud performances. Not all duds are created equal though. Some disastrous performances are signs of more to come. Here are Week 6's studs turned duds.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Everything was set up for Elliott to be unleashed. His quarterback went down, meaning the team would want to rely on him more than it had all year and perhaps win one for Dak in the process. The Cowboys were facing a below-average defense in Arizona. They also still have first place in the NFC East in their sights, so building on a good outing could see them cruise to a playoff berth in the worst division in the modern era. Instead, everything went wrong. Elliott was stuffed and stumbled. He fumbled twice. The game got away from Dallas, meaning Andy Dalton had to throw the ball 54 times! In the end, Elliott finished with a measly 80 yards from scrimmage, no scores, and those two fumbles.
With divisional games each of the next two weeks, Elliott should find it easier to run the ball, though it still remains to be seen how this offense will function with Dalton in the ideal scenario. They surely want to run more than they were able to Monday, but there may not be the huge push to pound the ball on the ground that everyone assumed there'd be when Prescott went down.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Much like Elliott in Dallas, the game script went completely away from Hill in Kansas City. The difference was his team was cruising. The Chiefs rushed the ball 46 times, leaving Hill with just four touches and 25 yards from scrimmage. It was easily his worst game of the season.
The Buffalo defense has been one of the worst in the league by Football Outsiders' DVOA. Denver, on the other hand, has been pretty good. Yet the Broncos don't defend the pass nearly as well as the run (18th against the pass, 7th against the run). That should flip the script next week in Hill's favor. What makes the KC offense special is its ability to adapt and beat people in a number of ways. Most of the time, Hill will be prominently involved; occasionally he will take a back seat as he did here.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers just put together one of the worst fantasy days a quarterback can possibly have when they don't leave a game early. Quarterback is such an important fantasy position because of the high floor it carries. Passing is so prevalent. It's why leagues with a superflex spot are essentially just leagues with a second QB spot. It would be insane to start a skill player over even the 25th-ranked QB likely to score, as outlined above, at least a dozen points each week.
Rodgers bucked all those trends in Week 6, scoring an amazing 3.8 fantasy points (depending on league settings). There isn't much else to say. Everything seemed off. What makes this performance so unusual is that Green Bay didn't even generate any garbage-time production. It was shut out the final three quarters of the game, and Rodgers only had time for 35 pass attempts. Compare that to Andy Dalton's terrible game. Dalton finished with 54 pass attempts and grabbed a meaningless (except for fantasy) touchdown in the fourth quarter. None of that materialized for Rodgers and the Packers.
There also isn't much to take away. Rodgers was in the midst of an MVP-caliber season before this game. Tampa Bay is one of the best defenses in the league, and it had his number this time.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Evans is a top-10 wide receiver each week because of his ceiling. He also possesses a very low floor, which is a headache for fantasy managers. This was already the third time this season Evans saw fewer than five targets and made either two or one, single catch. It was also, however, the first time all year he didn't score a touchdown. Put it all together, and Evans generated a simply horrendous fantasy day of 10 total yards.
The touchdown pace was bound to slow, but we were hoping it wouldn't come the same week that he failed to get involved in the offense at all. The drastic swings of Evans' season have something to do with his early injuries, as well as melding with a new quarterback. The worrisome fact is that Evans' three, low-target outings have all come when Chris Godwin played. Godwin has 20 targets in three games. Perhaps the sample size is too small to read anything into it, but the surface numbers indicate Evans is Tom Brady's go-to guy when he's the lone stud receiver, but when both guys are available, Brady looks to Godwin instead.
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