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2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Busts & Overvalued Players 2020 Fantasy Football Matchups and Start/Sit 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers Editor Note Featured Football Featured Homepage NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Booms and Busts - Starts and Sits for Week 7 Lineups

Week 6 in the NFL brought what may be one of the cleanest weeks of action to begin the season. With no catastrophic injuries affecting teams for the remainder of the year, the play on the field seemed to settle in as the more well-known players performed up to par. With big weeks from Derrick Henry and Julio Jones, along with others, it felt like all was right with the world. Now the question will be can they keep it up, or will we go back to the wild and wacky guessing game that is fantasy football?

Now that we are six weeks into the NFL season the crystal ball is becoming more clear. The cream always rises to the top and talent always finds a way. Which is what we are seeing if you look at positional rankings over the first six weeks. Players like Alvin Kamara and DeAndre Hopkins find themselves in their rightful places. But of course, there are outliers like Josh Allen and Robby Anderson taking full advantage of plus matchups to begin the season and it reflects in their rankings. The guessing game of the early parts of the fantasy season is out the window now and looking at matchups breeds success. Knowing which players are set up for big games while knowing which players are in for tough days and require benching is key for fantasy managers. With several weeks of data at our disposal, sifting through to set optimal lineups should be fairly easy.

Knowing positive and negative matchups is vitally important to a manager's success. That is what we provide for you here with the Woos and Boos of Week 7. I take a look at those under the radar plays that should be considered starting options for the week, while also pointing out the household names that could be in for disappointing weeks based on tough matchups.

 

Week 7 Woos

Matthew Stafford @ Atlanta Falcons

The beneficiary of "Who plays the Falcons?" this week will be Stafford. He has been an up-and-down performer to begin the season and is valued as a QB2 most weeks. But the offense has been without a fully healthy Kenny Golladay and the passing offense was struggling without him. Now with Golladay back, the Lions will be facing the worst defense in fantasy in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks (29.9 FPPG). The defense has continued to play horribly, allowing at least three touchdowns in each game except one (Week 5). Look for that to continue this week as the Stafford/Golladay connection is primed for a big day.

David Johnson vs. Green Bay Packers

I'm usually not one to promote playing David Johnson as I'm not very high on him as a fantasy player. But coming off a solid RB1 week against the Titans he is set up for success yet again in Week 7. He will be facing a Packers Defense that next to last in points allowed to the position (28.0 FPPG) and allows 6.8 FP over the average in scoring. They have had back-to-back weeks allowing multiple touchdowns to opposing RBs and we all saw what Ronald Jones did to this defense. Now the multi-faceted Johnson will get his turn and could turn in yet another RB1 scoring week for fantasy managers.

Tee Higgins vs. Cleveland Browns

Higgins continues to shine each week as the targets have been consistent since Week 3. He seems to be a big play waiting to happen as he is currently top-20 in air yards (525) and deep targets (9). This week he will look to take advantage of a Browns Defense that is near the bottom in points allowed to the position (30.5 FPPG). With the Bengals having plenty of weapons to cover on defense, Higgins should be able to see single coverage all day and I would count on another score in this matchup. I view him as a WR3 going into the week with WR2 upside and should be starting in all lineups.

Logan Thomas vs. Dallas Cowboys

Thomas re-emerged from his vanishing act in Week 6 as he found the end-zone for the first time since Week 1. There could be some sort of rapport between him and Kyle Allen as Thomas recorded a season-high 42 yards on four targets, finishing as TE9 on the week. This week he will look to take advantage of the porous Cowboys Defense, which is currently allowing 9.5 FPPG to the position. Thomas is the perfect candidate to start for managers that like to stream the position.

 

Week 7 Boos

Drew Brees vs. Carolina Panthers

My how the mighty have fallen. What used to be a perennial top-5 QB, Brees has been able to muster only two QB1 finishes on the season. He ranks 20th in passing yards (1,331) and 28th in air yards (1,010), showing that there is an unwillingness to take the shot down the field for the big play. This week could yet again be a struggle facing a Panthers Defense that is one of the best in the league in points allowed to the QB (14.6 FPPG). With Michael Thomas again in question for this offense in Week 7, starting Brees could be a risky proposition for fantasy managers.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire @ Denver Broncos

There are multiple factors here in play as I look at Edwards-Helaire for Week 7. Most fantasy managers will be starting him, or in a position to have to start him. But with Le'Veon Bell set to make his team debut, and facing a very stout Broncos run defense (12.1 FPPG, best in the league), Edwards-Helaire could struggle to find consistency. Sure, he recorded an RB1 finish a week ago (his first since Week 1) and is currently second in rushing yards (505). But he ranks just 16th in yards-per-carry (4.6) and 14th in evaded tackles (25). Look for the sure-tackling Broncos to bring him down early, eliminating his chances to get to the second level. He still will be played by fantasy managers in Week 7, but be sure to temper expectations.

Allen Robinson @ Los Angeles Rams

Robinson, bad quarterback play aside, remains the WR9 on the season. He requires plenty of targets to do his damage in matchups as his ability to get into the end-zone has just not been there (two TDs on the season). He is fourth in the league in receptions (40), third in air yards (674) but just 23rd in scoring. Expecting a quality start from him against a tough Rams secondary (16.3 FPPG, best in fantasy) will be a bit much to ask. He is another player that fantasy managers will be in a position to have to play, but the likelihood that he scores well enough to help you win will be minimal.

Tyler Higbee vs. Chicago Bears

Higbee has been by and large a disappointment for fantasy managers to begin the 2020 season. Aside from his three-score game in Week 2, he has not found the end-zone. The other statistics are not kind to him either. He ranks 21st in targets (21), 26th in routes ran (105), and 25th in red-zone targets (3). All showing a player that is inconsistently used in an offense that ranks 29th in the league in pass plays per game. This week he faces a tough road yet again as the Rams face a Bears Defense that allows just 7.8 FPPG to opposing TEs. With the poor play to begin the season, Higbee could be a player that most fantasy managers should be benching this week and use the waiver wire to stream a better matchup.



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Updated Week 7 PPR Rankings (Top 400)

Welcome to Week 7 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 7 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates:

These rankings are a consensus from four of our lead fantasy football columnists - Nick MarianoPierre Camus, Brandon Murchison, Scott Engel, and Dominick Petrillo - who have all analyzed the NFL matchups and game slates for Week 7.

And in case you weren't aware, our very own Nick Mariano was ranked #11 overall in 2018 out of ~120 industry experts, and was ranked #9 overall the year before. So be sure to follow his rankings every week!

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings (PPR)

You can also see our Week 7 ranks for Half-PPR and Standard scoring.

Note that quarterbacks, defenses and kickers are all grouped separately towards the bottom. Each of those positions is ranked on their own. This is to allow owners to compare running backs, wide receivers and tight ends for their FLEX spot (without seeing QB, DEF, K mixed in).

Last updated on Friday 10/23 at 7:00 am ET:

Tier Rank Player Name Pos
1 1 Alvin Kamara RB
1 2 Aaron Jones RB
1 3 DeAndre Hopkins WR
1 4 Davante Adams WR
1 5 Kareem Hunt RB
1 6 Ezekiel Elliott RB
1 7 Derrick Henry RB
1 8 Stefon Diggs WR
1 9 Mike Davis RB
2 10 Julio Jones WR
2 11 Kenny Golladay WR
2 12 Travis Kelce TE
2 13 D.K. Metcalf WR
2 14 Tyreek Hill WR
2 15 Joe Mixon RB
2 16 James Conner RB
2 17 Calvin Ridley WR
3 18 James Robinson RB
3 19 Chris Carson RB
3 20 Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB
3 21 Allen Robinson II WR
3 22 Keenan Allen WR
3 23 A.J. Brown WR
3 24 Todd Gurley II RB
3 25 Terry McLaurin WR
3 26 Ronald Jones II RB
3 27 Chris Godwin WR
3 28 Tyler Lockett WR
3 29 Will Fuller V WR
3 30 George Kittle TE
3 31 Josh Jacobs RB
3 32 Robert Woods WR
3 33 Amari Cooper WR
3 34 Robby Anderson WR
3 35 Chase Claypool WR
3 36 Michael Thomas WR
3 37 Cooper Kupp WR
4 38 Mike Evans WR
4 39 David Johnson RB
4 40 Kenyan Drake RB
4 41 David Montgomery RB
4 42 Tyler Boyd WR
4 43 Antonio Gibson RB
4 44 CeeDee Lamb WR
4 45 Odell Beckham Jr. WR
4 46 D.J. Chark Jr. WR
4 47 D'Andre Swift RB
4 48 Darrell Henderson RB
4 49 D.J. Moore WR
4 50 Jamison Crowder WR
4 51 Darius Slayton WR
5 52 Devonta Freeman RB
5 53 Devin Singletary RB
5 54 Travis Fulgham WR
5 55 Brandin Cooks WR
5 56 Tee Higgins WR
5 57 James White RB
5 58 Darren Waller TE
5 59 Boston Scott RB
5 60 Jerick McKinnon RB
5 61 JuJu Smith-Schuster WR
5 62 T.J. Hockenson TE
5 63 Christian Kirk WR
5 64 Mike Williams WR
5 65 Laviska Shenault Jr. WR
5 66 Adrian Peterson RB
5 67 Hunter Henry TE
5 68 Jarvis Landry WR
5 69 Justin Jackson RB
5 70 Julian Edelman WR
5 71 Deebo Samuel WR
5 72 Michael Gallup WR
5 73 Marvin Jones Jr. WR
5 74 Melvin Gordon III RB
6 75 Phillip Lindsay RB
6 76 John Brown WR
6 77 Jerry Jeudy WR
6 78 Tim Patrick WR
6 79 Chase Edmonds RB
6 80 J.D. McKissic RB
6 81 Mecole Hardman WR
6 82 Keelan Cole WR
6 83 Robert Tonyan TE
6 84 Dalton Schultz TE
6 85 Cole Beasley WR
6 86 Golden Tate WR
6 87 Evan Engram TE
6 88 Brandon Aiyuk WR
7 89 James Washington WR
7 90 Henry Ruggs III WR
7 91 Rob Gronkowski TE
7 92 A.J. Green WR
7 93 Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR
7 94 Noah Fant TE
7 95 Frank Gore RB
7 96 Damien Harris RB
7 97 Jamaal Williams RB
7 98 Hayden Hurst TE
7 99 Austin Hooper TE
7 100 Jared Cook TE
7 101 Randall Cobb WR
7 102 Jonnu Smith TE
7 103 Demarcus Robinson WR
7 104 Latavius Murray RB
7 105 Adam Humphries WR
7 106 Russell Gage WR
7 107 Diontae Johnson WR
7 108 Jimmy Graham TE
7 109 Damiere Byrd WR
7 110 Eric Ebron TE
7 111 Greg Ward WR
8 112 Breshad Perriman WR
8 113 N'Keal Harry WR
8 114 Logan Thomas TE
8 115 Danny Amendola WR
8 116 Joshua Kelley RB
8 117 Emmanuel Sanders WR
8 118 Darnell Mooney WR
8 119 Darren Fells TE
8 120 Le'Veon Bell RB
8 121 Tyler Higbee TE
8 122 Anthony Miller WR
8 123 Rex Burkhead RB
8 124 Kendrick Bourne WR
8 125 Malcolm Brown RB
8 126 Zack Moss RB
8 127 Duke Johnson Jr. RB
8 128 Tre'Quan Smith WR
8 129 Larry Fitzgerald WR
8 130 Andy Isabella WR
8 131 Scotty Miller WR
8 132 Lamical Perine RB
9 133 D'Ernest Johnson RB
9 134 Jeff Smith WR
9 135 JaMycal Hasty RB
9 136 Drew Sample TE
9 137 Brian Hill RB
9 138 Corey Davis WR
9 139 Hunter Renfrow WR
9 140 DeSean Jackson WR
9 141 Dontrelle Inman WR
9 142 Giovani Bernard RB
9 143 Greg Olsen TE
9 144 Leonard Fournette RB
9 145 Nelson Agholor WR
9 146 Cordarrelle Patterson WR
9 147 Tony Pollard RB
9 148 Anthony Firkser TE
9 149 Josh Reynolds WR
9 150 Richard Rodgers TE
9 151 Gerald Everett TE
9 152 Chris Conley WR
9 153 Chris Thompson RB
10 154 Jordan Akins TE
10 155 Cam Akers RB
10 156 Sterling Shepard WR
10 157 Isaiah Wright WR
10 158 Rashard Higgins WR
10 159 John Hightower WR
10 160 Curtis Samuel WR
10 161 Kerryon Johnson RB
10 162 Ian Thomas TE
10 163 Corey Clement RB
10 164 James O'Shaughnessy TE
10 165 Cedrick Wilson WR
10 166 Dion Lewis RB
10 167 KJ Hamler WR
10 168 Darrell Daniels TE
10 169 Tyler Johnson WR
10 170 Cameron Brate TE
11 171 Gabriel Davis WR
11 172 Olamide Zaccheaus RB
11 173 DaeSean Hamilton WR
11 174 Kenny Stills WR
11 175 Wayne Gallman RB
11 176 Tyler Eifert TE
11 177 David Moore WR
11 178 Chris Herndon IV TE
11 179 Tyler Kroft TE
11 180 Jalen Guyton WR
11 181 Jeff Wilson Jr. RB
11 182 Kalif Raymond WR
11 183 Austin Mack WR
11 184 Denzel Mims WR
11 185 Braxton Berrios WR
11 186 Benny Snell Jr. RB
11 187 Dan Arnold TE
11 188 Raheem Mostert RB
11 189 Royce Freeman RB
11 190 Collin Johnson WR
11 191 Jeremy McNichols RB
11 192 Justin Watson WR
11 193 Albert Okwuegbunam TE
11 194 Mike Thomas WR
11 195 Vance McDonald TE
12 196 Jesse James TE
12 197 Darrel Williams RB
12 198 David Njoku TE
12 199 Will Dissly TE
12 200 Ito Smith RB
12 201 Dawson Knox TE
12 202 Van Jefferson WR
12 203 Jason Croom TE
12 204 Byron Pringle WR
12 205 Anthony McFarland Jr. RB
12 206 Christian Blake WR
12 207 Cole Kmet TE
12 208 Kyle Juszczyk RB
12 209 Trent Taylor WR
12 210 Darrius Shepherd WR
12 211 Carlos Hyde RB
12 212 Ke'Shawn Vaughn RB
12 213 Harrison Bryant TE
12 214 Isaiah McKenzie WR
12 215 Cam Batson WR
12 216 K.J. Hill WR
13 217 Freddie Swain WR
13 218 Peyton Barber RB
13 219 Jalen Richard RB
13 220 Ryan Izzo TE
13 221 Ryan Griffin TE
13 222 Ty Johnson RB
13 223 Jace Sternberger TE
13 224 C.J. Board WR
13 225 Kaden Smith TE
13 226 Damion Ratley WR
13 227 Dontrell Hilliard RB
13 228 Travis Homer RB
13 229 JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR
13 230 Jason Witten TE
13 231 Seth Roberts WR
13 232 Nick Vannett TE
13 233 Keith Kirkwood WR
13 234 Miles Sanders RB
13 235 Jaylen Samuels RB
13 236 AJ Dillon RB
13 237 LeSean McCoy RB
13 238 Trenton Cannon RB
13 239 T.J. Yeldon RB
13 240 Devontae Booker RB
13 241 Marvin Hall WR
13 242 Demetrius Harris TE
13 243 Darwin Thompson RB
13 244 Cam Sims WR
13 245 Jason Huntley RB
13 246 Malik Taylor WR
13 247 Ryquell Armstead RB
13 248 Josh Hill TE
14 249 Alex Armah RB
14 250 Marcedes Lewis TE
14 251 Patrick Mahomes II QB
14 252 Russell Wilson QB
14 253 Cethan Carter TE
14 254 Josh Allen QB
14 255 Noah Brown WR
14 256 Kyler Murray QB
14 257 Ryan Nall RB
14 258 Equanimeous St. Brown WR
14 259 Aaron Rodgers QB
14 260 Deshaun Watson QB
14 261 Jakobi Meyers WR
14 262 Pharaoh Brown TE
14 263 Jakob Johnson RB
14 264 Blake Bell TE
14 265 Matthew Stafford QB
14 266 Matt Ryan QB
14 267 Justin Herbert QB
14 268 Tanner Hudson TE
15 269 Elijhaa Penny RB
15 270 Alec Ingold RB
15 271 Ben Roethlisberger QB
15 272 Ray-Ray McCloud WR
15 273 Tom Brady QB
15 274 Dare Ogunbowale RB
15 275 Ryan Tannehill QB
15 276 Josh Adams RB
15 277 Jacob Hollister TE
15 278 Cam Newton QB
15 279 Drew Brees QB
15 280 C.J. Prosise RB
15 281 Joe Burrow QB
15 282 Jaydon Mickens WR
15 283 Carson Wentz QB
15 284 Gardner Minshew II QB
15 285 Ted Ginn Jr. WR
15 286 Luke Stocker TE
15 287 DeAndre Washington RB
15 288 Adam Trautman TE
15 289 Eno Benjamin RB
15 290 DeeJay Dallas RB
15 291 Cyril Grayson Jr. WR
15 292 Teddy Bridgewater QB
15 293 Samaje Perine RB
15 294 Jared Goff QB
15 295 Virgil Green TE
15 296 Andy Dalton QB
15 297 MyCole Pruitt TE
15 298 Derek Carr QB
15 299 Chris Manhertz TE
15 300 Kyle Allen QB
15 301 Daniel Jones QB
15 302 Baker Mayfield QB
15 303 Jimmy Garoppolo QB
15 304 Foster Moreau TE
15 305 Nick Foles QB
15 306 Drew Lock QB
15 307 Sam Darnold QB
15 308 Brett Rypien QB
15 309 Antonio Gandy-Golden WR
15 310 C.J. Beathard QB
15 311 Tyler Ervin RB
15 312 Jarrett Stidham QB
16 313 Javon Wims WR
16 314 Case Keenum QB
16 315 Jake Butt TE
16 316 Nick Mullens QB
16 317 Alex Smith QB
16 318 Taysom Hill QB
16 319 Harrison Butker K
16 320 Geoff Swaim TE
16 321 Younghoe Koo K
16 322 Wil Lutz K
16 323 Lee Smith TE
16 324 Jeremy Sprinkle TE
16 325 Mason Crosby K
16 326 Temarrick Hemingway TE
16 327 Nick Keizer TE
16 328 Matt Prater K
16 329 Bryan Edwards WR
16 330 Zane Gonzalez K
16 331 Ross Dwelley TE
16 332 Devin Asiasi TE
16 333 Ryan Succop K
16 334 Tyler Bass K
16 335 Michael Badgley K
16 336 Jaeden Graham TE
16 337 Greg Zuerlein K
16 338 Michael Burton RB
16 339 Daniel Carlson K
16 340 Jason Myers K
16 341 Zay Jones WR
16 342 Randy Bullock K
16 343 Khari Blasingame RB
16 344 Graham Gano K
16 345 Stephen Gostkowski K
17 346 Anthony Sherman RB
17 347 Robbie Gould K
17 348 Brandon Powell WR
17 349 Deon Yelder TE
17 350 Jake Elliott K
17 351 Keith Smith RB
17 352 Nick Folk K
17 353 Gunner Olszewski WR
17 354 Levine Toilolo TE
17 355 Cody Parkey K
17 356 Luke Willson TE
17 357 Joe Flacco QB
17 358 Derek Carrier TE
17 359 Dustin Hopkins K
17 360 Jalen Hurts QB
17 361 Donald Parham Jr. TE
17 362 Kai Forbath K
17 363 Johnny Mundt TE
17 364 Auden Tate WR
17 365 Buffalo Bills DST
17 366 Reggie Gilliam RB/TE
17 367 Andy Janovich RB
17 368 Los Angeles Rams DST
17 369 Kansas City Chiefs DST
17 370 Philadelphia Eagles DST
17 371 Riley Ridley WR
17 372 Taywan Taylor WR
17 373 Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST
17 374 J.J. Taylor RB
17 375 New England Patriots DST
17 376 Los Angeles Chargers DST
17 377 Kalen Ballage RB
17 378 Trayveon Williams RB
17 379 New York Giants DST
17 380 Chicago Bears DST
17 381 Pittsburgh Steelers DST
17 382 Cleveland Browns DST
17 383 Nick Westbrook-Ikhine WR
17 384 Washington Football Team DST
17 385 San Francisco 49ers DST
17 386 Joey Slye K
17 387 Ka'imi Fairbairn K
17 388 Tyron Johnson WR
17 389 New Orleans Saints DST
17 390 Kenjon Barner RB
17 391 Isaiah Zuber WR
17 392 Chris Boswell K
17 393 Brandon McManus K
17 394 Marquez Callaway WR
17 395 Deon Cain WR
17 396 Ty Montgomery RB
17 397 Pharoh Cooper WR
17 398 KeeSean Johnson WR
17 399 Dante Pettis WR
17 400 Cairo Santos K
17 401 Andre Roberts WR
17 402 Jonathan Brown K
17 403 Sam Ficken K
17 404 Quez Watkins WR
17 405 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR
17 406 DeAndre Carter WR
17 407 Alex Erickson WR
17 408 Tyrie Cleveland WR
17 409 Diontae Spencer WR
17 410 Trent Sherfield WR
17 411 Deonte Harris WR
17 412 Quintez Cephus WR
17 413 Bennie Fowler III WR
17 414 John Ross WR
17 415 Keke Coutee WR
17 416 Cincinnati Bengals DST
17 417 Richie James Jr. WR
17 418 Vyncint Smith WR
17 419 Dallas Cowboys DST
17 420 Green Bay Packers DST
17 421 Seattle Seahawks DST
17 422 Tennessee Titans DST
17 423 Sam Sloman K
17 424 Arizona Cardinals DST
17 425 Las Vegas Raiders DST
17 426 Atlanta Falcons DST
17 427 New York Jets DST
17 428 Jacksonville Jaguars DST
17 429 Detroit Lions DST
17 430 Carolina Panthers DST
17 431 Denver Broncos DST
17 432 Houston Texans DST


Win Big With RotoBaller

Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:

More Weekly Lineup Prep


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




Categories
2020 Fantasy Football Advice Editor Note Featured Football Featured Homepage NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 6 Analysis

Your wide receivers remain essential components toward your primary goal of securing league championships. As this unique regular season continues to unfold, an expanding assortment of tools is available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge regarding this critical position. Those results are contained in this weekly statistical breakdown of multiple categories, which is designed to help you fulfill your championship aspirations.

This will be the sixth installment that will examine game-specific data, including updated totals for targets, first downs, red-zone targets, snap counts, and a compilation of advanced statistics. The information that is contained in this weekly report will analyze how various receivers are being utilized, and how effectively they are capitalizing on their opportunities. This massive collection of data supplies the foundation from which the numbers that are generated in various categories can be evaluated.

As the season progresses noteworthy changes in usage and production will be blended into the equation. That will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference, PFF, NextGenStats, Rotowire, Rotoviz, and Football Outsiders were all used as resources in compiling this data.

 

Week 6 Target Leaders 

Wide Receivers Total Targets Targ/Game YPT
Allen Robinson 66 11 7.2
Amari Cooper 65 10.8 7.7
DeAndre Hopkins 61 10.2 9.9
Stefon Diggs 59 9.8 9.4
Terry McLaurin 58 9.7 8.4
Calvin Ridley 57 9.5 9.6
Robby Anderson 51 8.5 11.1
Keenan Allen 50 10 7.1
CeeDee Lamb 50 8.3 9.9
Adam Thielen 49 8.2 8.5
Tyler Boyd 48 8 8.7
D.J. Moore 48 8 9.9
Jamison Crowder 46 11.5 8.3
Cooper Kupp 45 7.5 8.3
A.J. Green 45 7.5 4.8
Darius Slayton 44 7.3 9.2
Odell Beckham 43 7.2 7.4
Marquise Brown 42 7 9
Brandin Cooks 42 7 8.7
Robert Woods 41 6.8 8
Will Fuller 41 6.8 11.1
DeVante Parker 40 6.7 9.1
D.K. Metcalf 39 7.8 12.7
Tyler Lockett 38 7.6 8.9
Tee Higgins 38 6.3 8.9
Keelan Cole 38 6.3 9.5
Tyreek Hill 38 6.3 10.1
Mike Evans 37 6.2 7.6
T.Y. Hilton 37 6.2 6.5
Cole Beasley 37 6.2 9.7
Emmanuel Sanders 36 7.2 8.4
Russell Gage 36 6 8
Julian Edelman 36 7.2 8.4
Justin Jefferson 36 6 14.9
Laviska Shenault Jr. 35 5.8 8
Greg Ward 34 5.7 5.6
Michael Gallup 34 5.7 10.9
D.J. Chark 34 6.8 7.8
Jerry Jeudy 33 6.6 8
Jarvis Landry 33 5.6 9.7
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 30 6 8
Darnell Mooney 30 5 6.5
Davante Adams 30 10 8.4
Julio Jones 30 7.5 11.7

 

Allen Robinson leads all wide receivers in targets for the second consecutive week (66). Amari Cooper is second (65), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (61), Stefon Diggs (59), Terry McLaurin  (58), and Calvin Ridley (57). Robby Anderson is next (51), followed by Keenan Allen (500, CeeDee Lamb (50), and Adam Thielen (49), while D.J. Moore and Tyler Boyd are tied with 48. Jamison Crowder is next (46), followed by Cooper Kupp (45), A.J. Green (45), Darius Slayton (44), and Odell Beckham (43). Marquise Brown (42), Brandin Cooks 42.  Will Fuller 41, Robert Woods, (41), and DeVante Parker (41), are the only other wide receivers who have eclipsed 40 targets.

Robinson also leads all wide receivers with 48 targets since Week 3. Cooper is second once again with 42, followed by McLaurin (41), Diggs (37), Hopkins (36), and a three-way tie with Boyd, Ridley, and Lamb at 35. Kupp and Anderson have collected 34 targets, while Crowder and Thielen are tied with 33 during that four-game span. Allen and Tee Higgins are next with 32, Fuller has captured 31, and both Marquise Brown and Justin Jefferson have been targeted 30 times. Jefferson’s recent surge in usage and production will be examined further in the 5 Things I Noticed section.

Robinson also leads to the position with 25 targets during the last two weeks, while Diggs is located directly behind him with 24. Crowder and the surging Travis Fulghum are in a tie for third (23). Cooks and Lamb are next (21), while Cooks’ teammate Fuller is tied with McLaurin at 19. D.J. Chark Anderson and Thielen are next (18), followed by Kupp, and Ridley in a tie at 17.  Five different receivers have also been targeted 16 times during that two-game span – Higgins, Moore, Jefferson, A.J. Brown, and Marquise Brown.

Crowder leads all receivers in targets per game (11.5) and is one of six receivers who is averaging 10+ - Robinson (11), Cooper (10.8), Hopkins (10.2), Allen (10), and Adams (10).

Justin Jefferson leads all receivers with a 14.9 yards per target average. Chase Claypool is the only other receiver with an average of 14+, followed by Metcalf (12.7), Julio Jones (11.7), and three receivers who are tied with an average of 11.1 - Anderson, Fuller, and Scott Miller. Michael Gallup and Travis Fulgham are next (10.9), followed by four receivers that are tied at 10.8 – Josh ReynoldsCorey Davis. Gabriel Davis, and Mecole HardmanTim Patrick and Kenny Golladay are tied at 10.7, while Tyreek Hill (10.1), Hunter Renfrow, and Christian Kirk (10.0), are the only other receivers who currently have an average of 10+

 

Largest Weekly Changes

Wide Receivers Week 5 Week 6 Changes
A.J. Green 1 11 10
D.J. Chark 4 14 10
Davante Adams INJ 10 10
Julio Jones INJ 10 10
Tim Patrick BYE 8 8
Breshad Perriman INJ 8 8
Amari Cooper 4 10 6
D.J. Moore 5 11 6
Julian Edelman BYE 6 6
Justin Jefferson 5 11 6
Adam Humphries COVID 6 6
Terry McLaurin 7 12 5
Robert Woods 5 10 5
DeVante Parker 3 8 5
Jerry Jeudy BYE 5 5
Marquez Valdes-Scantling BYE 5 5
Zach Pascal 2 7 5
Marcus Johnson 3 8 5
Jamison Crowder 10 13 3
Will Fuller 8 11 3
Keelan Cole 6 9 3
James Washington 4 7 3
Calvin Ridley 10 7 -3
Brandin Cooks 12 9 -3
Tyreek Hill 6 3 -3
Larry Fitzgerald 7 4 -3
Brandon Aiyuk 6 3 -3
Travis Fulgham 13 10 -3
Marquise Brown 10 6 -4
Jarvis Landry 9 5 -4
Odell Beckham 9 4 -5
T.Y. Hilton 10 5 -5
Allen Robinson 16 9 -7
Robby Anderson 13 5 -7
Darius Slayton 11 4 -7
Mike Evans 9 2 -7
Chase Claypool 11 4 -7
Jeff Smith 11 4 -7
Stefon Diggs 16 8 -8
Adam Thielen 13 5 -8
Gabriel Davis 9 1 -8

 

D.J. Chark captured 14 targets during Jacksonville’s Week 6 matchup with Detroit, which was the highest total for any wide receiver during the week. It was also his first double-digit target total since Week 14 of last season. Chark was one of 13 different receivers who collected 10+ targets during the Week 6 matchups. Jamison Crowder continued his streak of double-digit targets in every game this season while also attaining the second-highest total for the week (13). Terry McLaurin’s 12 targets placed him third, while four receivers were all targeted 11 times during Week 6 -Will Fuller, D.J. Moore, A.J. Green, and Justin Jefferson.

Robert Woods was among the six receivers who captured 10 targets, as he was joined by Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Travis Fulgham, and two receivers who returned after being sidelined by injury - Julio Jones and Davante Adams. Robinson, Cooks, Kupp, and Keelan Cole all received nine targets while a group of eight receivers was targeted eight times - Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, DeVante Parker, Tim Patrick, Marcus Johnson, Breshad Perriman, and Cincinnati teammates Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.

Four different receivers experienced a week to week increase of +10 in their target totals. Both Devante Adams and Julio Jones had been sidelined during Week 5 and re-emerged to join the two other receivers who attained a weekly increase of +10 during their Week 6 matchups. They were joined by Chark who had been averaging five targets per game from Weeks 1-5. A.J. Green also experienced a surge of +10 by collecting 11 targets just one week after being targeted just once when the Bengals traveled to Baltimore.

Tim Patrick returned from his Week 5 bye and promptly captured eight targets in New England. That tied him with Breshad Perriman who easily established a new season-high by collecting his eight targets. Amari Cooper, D.J. Moore, and Justin Jefferson all attained a week to week increase of +6. They joined by Julian Edelman and Adam Humphries who did not perform in Week 5 but resurfaced to capture six targets in Week 6. The weekly totals for seven different receivers rose by +5 during their Week 6 matchups - Terry McLaurin, Robert Woods, DeVante Parker, Jerry Jeudy, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Indianapolis teammates Zack Pascal and Marcus Johnson.

Gabriel Davis established a career-high when he received nine targets in Week 5. However, Josh Allen only launched one pass in his direction during Buffalo's Week 6 matchup with Kansas City. The week to week decrease of -8 ties him with his teammate Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen. However, managers will not be concerned about the Week 6 results for either veteran.

Six different receivers experienced a week to week reduction of -7 -Allen Robinson, Robby Anderson, Darius Slayton, Chase Claypool, Jeff Smith, and Mike Evans - whose two targets in Week 6 tied his career-low.

 

Week 6 Air Yards

Wide Receivers Air Yards Cmp AY % AY aDOT
Calvin Ridley 836 453 39.5 14.9
D.K. Metcalf 717 374 44.5 17.5
Adam Thielen 696 358 43.3 14.5
Marquise Brown 673 275 45.8 16
Allen Robinson 665 343 32.8 10.2
A.J. Green 659 170 30.4 14.6
Stefon Diggs 637 420 35.1 11
Will Fuller 610 360 32.1 14.2
Tyreek Hill 580 259 34.6 15.3
Amari Cooper 569 273 26.6 8.8
Terry McLaurin 562 216 42.8 10
Darius Slayton 559 331 45 12.7
D.J. Moore 559 320 41.3 11.9
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 556 169 35.8 18.3
Odell Beckham 531 272 38.7 13.3
Michael Gallup 528 285 27.1 16
Robby Anderson 503 322 36.9 9.5
DeAndre Hopkins 494 317 30.5 8
Tim Patrick 474 259 26.2 16.3
CeeDee Lamb 471 310 22.1 9.6
Justin Jefferson 469 351 27.6 13
Tee Higgins 467 227 25.3 13.2
Brandin Cooks 456 255 26.2 11.4
Tyler Boyd 448 301 21.4 9.3
D.J. Chark 431 219 24.1 12.7
Jerry Jeudy 429 188 24.7 13.8
T.Y. Hilton 424 180 27.6 11.8
Keelan Cole 420 261 24.9 11.1
Keenan Allen 410 201 31.1 8.7
Darnell Mooney 408 166 20.7 13.8
John Hightower 400 65 19.5 21.2
Preston Williams 398 181 24.9 14.4
DeVante Parker 389 282 25.2 9.6
Mike Evans 387 209 22.6 10.5
Julian Edelman 386 230 37 10.7
Mike Williams 379 167 27.7 17.2
Christian Kirk 378 124 24.2 16.4
Scott Miller 374 201 19.3 16.3
Jamison Crowder 367 189 23.1 8
Julio Jones 359 227 16.5 12

Calvin Ridley continues to lead all wide receivers in air yards after six weeks of game action (836). He is followed by D.K. Metcalf (717), Adam Thielen (696), Marquise Brown (673), Allen Robinson (665), A.J. Green (659), Stefon Diggs (637), and Will Fuller (610). No other wide receivers have eclipsed 600 yards entering Week 7. Tyreek Hill is next (580), followed by Amari Cooper (569), and Terry McLaurin (562), while Darius Slayton and D.J. Moore are tied at (559). Marquez Valdes-Scantling is next (556), followed by Odell Beckham (531), Michael Gallup (528), Robby Anderson (503), DeAndre Hopkins (494), Tim Patrick (474), CeeDee Lamb (471), and Justin Jefferson (469).

Marquise Brown has emerged as the new league leader in percentage share of air yards (45.8). Slayton is second overall (45.0), followed by Metcalf (44.5), Thielen (43.3), McLaurin (42.8), and Moore (41.4). No other receivers have obtained an average of at least 40%. Calvin Ridley is next (39.5), followed by Odell Beckham (38.7), Julian Edelman (37.0), Anderson (36.9), Valdes-Scantling (36.0), Diggs (35.1), and Hill (34.6).

John Hightower leads all wide receivers in targeted air yards (21.3), followed by Valdes- Scantling (18.4), Mike Williams (17.6), Michael Gallup (16.8), Marquise Brown (16.4), Metcalf, and Scott Miller in a tie at 16.3. Christian Kirk is next (16.1), followed by Tim Patrick (16), Andy Isabella (15.8), Ridley (15.4), Preston Williams (15.3), and Hill (15.1). No other wide receivers have attained an average of 15+. Thielen spearheads a group of four receivers that are averaging 14+ through Week 6.

 

Week 6 First Downs

Wide Receivers First Downs
DeAndre Hopkins 31
Calvin Ridley 28
Amari Cooper 28
Tyler Boyd 27
Terry McLaurin 26
Stefon Diggs 25
Robby Anderson 24
CeeDee Lamb 24
Allen Robinson 23
D. J. Moore 23
Adam Thielen 22
Justin Jefferson 22
Keenan Allen 21
Darius Slayton 21
DeVante Parker 20
Will Fuller 20
D.K. Metcalf 19
Cole Beasley 19
Tyreek Hill 18
Cooper Kupp 18
Marquise Brown 18
Keelan Cole 18
Tyler Lockett 17
Russell Gage 17
Emmanuel Sanders 17
Mike Evans 17
Odell Beckham Jr. 17
D.J. Chark 17
Laviska Shenault Jr. 17

 

DeAndre Hopkins has maintained his league lead in first down receptions (31), while Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper are tied for second (28). Tyler Boyd is next (27), followed by Terry McLaurin (26), Stefon Diggs (25), Robby Anderson (24). CeeDee Lamb (24), Allen Robinson (23), D.J. Moore (23), and Minnesota teammates Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson with 22. Keenan Allen and Darius Slayton are tied with 21 first downs, while DeVante Parker and Will Fuller each have 21 receptions for first downs. D.K. Metcalf and Cole Beasley are next (19), while four receivers are tied with 18 receptions for first downs - Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, Marquise Brown, and Keelan Cole.

Jefferson collected six receptions for first downs in Week 6, while Cooper captured five. McLaurin accumulated four catches while a collection of receivers collected three first down receptions in Week 6.

 

Week 6 Red Zone Targets

Wide Receivers Inside 20 Inside 10 Inside 5 Team %
Calvin Ridley 8 4 2 26.67
Adam Thielen 8 4 2 38.1
Darius Slayton 8 5 2 28.57
Emmanuel Sanders 8 4 2 26.67
Russell Gage 8 4 2 26.67
D.J. Chark 8 3 1 21.05
Zach Pascal 8 4 3 25
N'Keal Harry 8 4 2 40
DeAndre Hopkins 7 3 1 33.33
Robby Anderson 6 2 1 26.09
Stefon Diggs 6 3 3 16.22
Amari Cooper 6 3 2 19.35
CeeDee Lamb 6 5 4 19.35
Allen Robinson 6 2 1 18.18
Will Fuller 6 2 1 26.09
Tyreek Hill 6 4 1 20
Cole Beasley 6 5 2 16.22
Keenan Allen 6 1 0 31.58
Julio Jones 6 2 1 20
Odell Beckham 6 5 4 33.33
Mike Evans 6 5 4 17.65
Sammy Watkins 6 5 2 20
A.J. Brown 6 3 0 24
DK Metcalf 5 4 0 17.86
Cooper Kupp 5 2 1 22.73
Tyler Lockett 5 4 3 17.86
Tee Higgins 5 3 3 17.24
Robert Woods 5 1 0 22.73
Travis Fulgham 5 1 1 22.73
Kenny Golladay 5 2 0 16.13
Preston Williams 5 4 3 19.23
Brandon Aiyuk 5 4 3 16.13
Trent Taylor 5 2 1 16.13

Entering Week 5, N’Keal Harry led all wide receivers with eight red zone targets. As we fast forward two weeks to the current leaderboard, Harry remains stagnant with his eight targets and is now tied with seven other receivers for the league lead - Calvin Ridley, Adam Thielen, Darius Slayton, Emmanuel Sanders, Russell Gage, D.J. Chark, and Zach Pascal. DeAndre Hopkins has collected seven targets, while 14 different receivers have been targeted six times inside the 20.

Five different receivers are tied for the league lead with five targets inside the 10 - Slayton, CeeDee Lamb, Cole Beasley, Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, and Sammy Watkins.

Lamb, Beckham, and Evans are tied for the league lead with four targets inside the five, while Pascal, Stefon Diggs, Brandon Aiyuk, Preston Williams, Tyler Lockett, and Tee Higgins, have all captured three targets in inside the five.

Julio Jones had only been targeted twice inside the red zone as he entered Week 6. But he registered more targets than any other wide receiver in Week 6 (4). Travis Fulgham, A.J. Brown, D.J. Chark, and Pascal all collected three targets inside the 20 during their Week 6 matchups.

 

Week 6 Snap Counts

Wide Receivers  Week 6 Snaps  Total Snaps Total Snap %
Michael Gallup 72/80.9% 417 89.84
Amari Cooper 79/88.7% 392 81.51
DeAndre Hopkins 48/77.4% 380 93.26
Terry McLaurin 70/95.9% 379 94.99
Tyreek Hill 67/91.8% 370 86.82
Robert Woods 57/95% 357 90.15
Adam Thielen 52/92.9% 350 92.11
Tyler Boyd 57/78.1% 348 77.85
Calvin Ridley 59/73.8% 346 79.18
Mike Evans 51/78.5% 344 83.7
Cooper Kupp 55/91.7% 343 86.62
D.J. Moore 64/94.1% 338 84.29
Allen Robinson 58/87.9% 338 83.87
Darius Slayton 40.83.3% 337 91.33
Zach Pascal 58/92.1% 324 81.41
Odell Beckham 48/84.2% 314 78.7
Damiere Byrd 55/96.5% 312 92.58
Stefon Diggs 51/96.2% 307 89.5
D.K. Metcalf BYE 304 95.6
DeVante Parker 46.82.1% 301 76.79
Marvin Jones 62/80.5% 301 88.01
Tyler Lockett BYE 300 94.34
Robby Anderson 59/86.8% 299 74.56
Kendrick Bourne 41/56.2% 299 72.93
T.Y. Hilton 59/93.7% 298 74.87
Brandin Cooks 63/87.5% 297 82.5
A.J. Green 58/79.5% 296 66.22
Larry Fitzgerald 38/61.3% 295 82.87
Will Fuller 66/91.7% 292 81.11
Keelan Cole 48/75% 292 73.37
Jarvis Landry 44/77.2% 289 72.43
Keenan Allen BYE 288 80.22
Brandon Aiyuk 62.84.9% 288 82.76
Tee Higgins 59/80.8% 288 64.43
Justin Jefferson 50/89.3% 287 75.53
Marquise Brown 62/84.9% 284 76.14
Dontrelle Inman 66/90.4% 280 70.18
Tre'Quan Smith BYE 279 83.28
Preston Williams 40.71.4% 275 70.15
Chris Hogan IR 274 82.78
CeeDee Lamb 60/67.4% 274 71.35
JuJu Smith-Schuster 42/64.6% 271 77.65
Josh Reynolds 50/83.3% 270 68.18
Russell Gage 51/63.8% 267 61.1
D.J. Chark 57/89.1% 266 80.12
N'Keal Harry 51/89.5% 266 78.93
Greg Ward 58/88.7% 266 62.88
Tim Patrick 59/92.2% 265 79.58
Jalen Guyton BYE 264 73.54
Demarcus Robinson 69/94.5% 263 62.32
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 53/84.1% 259 76.4

Michael Gallup now leads all wide receivers with 417 offensive snaps. His teammate Amari Cooper is second (392), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (380), Terry McLaurin (379), Tyreek Hill (370), Robert Woods (357), Adam Thielen (350), and Tyler Boyd (348). Calvin Ridley is next (346), followed by Mike Evans (344), Cooper Kupp (343), and two receivers who are tied at 338 - Allen Robinson and D.J. Moore. Darius Slayton is next (337), followed by Zach Pascal (324), Odell Beckham (314), and Damiere Byrd (312). Stefon Diggs and D.K. Metcalf spearhead a group of seven additional receivers that have been involved in at least 300 offensive of snaps from Weeks 1-6.

Metcalf leads the position in offensive snap count percentage (95.6), followed by McLaurin (95.0), Metcalf‘s teammate Tyler Lockett (94.3), Hopkins (93.2), Damiere Byrd (92.6), and Thielen (92.1). Slayton is next (91.3), followed by Woods 90.2, Gallup 89.8, Diggs (89.5), Marvin Jones (88.0), and Tyreek Hill (86.8). Jamison Crowder, and Cooper Kupp, are among the group of 17 additional receivers that have performed on over 80% of their teams’ offensive snaps.

Cooper led all receivers in offensive snaps during Week 6 matchups (79). His teammate Gallup was second with 72. McLaurin was next (70), followed by Demarcus Robinson  (69), and Hill (67), while Dontrelle Inman was tied with Will Fuller at 66. Julio Jones and D.J. Moore were next (64), while four receivers were tied with 63 snaps. Brandin Cooks, Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and A.J. Brown. Three receivers were next with 62 snaps - Brandon Aiyuk, Marquise Brown, and Marvin Jones. Deebo Samuel and Jeff Smith were next 60, while a group of five receivers was tied at 59 - Tee Higgins, T.Y. Hilton, Tim Patrick, Calvin Ridley, and Robby Anderson.

Damiere Byrd led the position in snap count percentage for Week 6 (96.5). McLaurin was second (95.9), followed by Woods (95), Robinson (94.6), Moore (94.1), Hilton (93.7), Thielen (92.9), and Tim Patrick 92.2. Zack Pascal was next 92.1, followed by Fuller 91.7, Kupp (91.7), Inman (90.4), and N’Keal Harry (89.5). Justin Jefferson was next (89.3), followed by D.J. Chark (89.1), Cooper (88.7), Crowder (88.7), and a collection of four additional receivers that were involved in at least 85% of their teams’ offensive snaps during Week 6.

 

Five Things I Noticed

1. The Vikings enter their Week 7 bye while contending with the uncomfortable reality of a 1-5 record.

The numerous shortcomings that have permeated the team include an overly generous defense (ranked 28th) that has surrendered 413.7 yards per game - which is 72 yards higher than the 341.6 that their 14th ranked unit allowed during 2019. The vulnerable nature of Minnesota’s defense has not compelled Mike Zimmer to completely abandon his penchant for the ground game.

But the Vikings have risen slightly to 25th in pass play percentage (53.1%), after ranking just 30th with a 50.9% percentage during 2019. The Vikings are also ranked 21st in passing (235 yards per game). This is slightly above last season when the Vikings were 23rd while averaging 220.2 yards per game. Kirk Cousins is also averaging 29.2 attempts per game, which is slightly below the 29.6 attempts per game average that he attained during 2019. However, Minnesota’s top two receiving weapons are also commandeering an even 50% of Cousins’ targets. This has enabled Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to function as highly productive resources for their fantasy GMs regardless of their team’s deficiencies.

 

In Weeks 1-2, Jefferson averaged 3 targets, 2.5 receptions, and 35 yards per game. But the 21-year old rookie delivered a statistical explosion in Week 3 (7 receptions/175 yards/1 touchdown) that has fueled his meteoric rise toward weekly WR2 status. He accumulated more receiving yards than any other receiver in Week 6 (166) and also tied for first at his position in receptions (9). Jefferson also resides at WR1 in scoring from Weeks 3-6 and has averaged 7.5 targets, 5.8 receptions, and 117 yards per game during that span. If you extract the results of his matchup in Week 5 versus Seattle (5 targets/3 receptions/23 yards) he has averaged 8.3 targets, 6.7 receptions, and 149 yards per game.

Jefferson was outside the top 70 in receiving yards entering Week 3 but has soared to fifth overall (537) after stockpiling 166 yards during Minnesota’s matchup with Atlanta. He has also averaged at least 18.4 yards per reception and 15.1 yards per target during three of his last four contests, which has propelled him to the league lead in yards per target average (14.9), and fourth overall in yards per reception (19.2).

None of this diminishes the numbers that Adam Thielen has attained through six matchups, as he is currently WR3 in scoring. The seven-year veteran also leads the league with seven touchdowns and is fourth in percentage share of air yards (43.3%). Thielen is also 10th in targets (49), 14th in receiving yards (415), and third in air yards (696). Regardless of the frequency with which Zimmer is willing to rely on Cousins and the passing attack, Thielen and Jefferson will not be contending with formidable competition for targets. This should sustain their current status among the league leaders in a collection of categories.

 

2. DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf entered the NFL in 2019 after performing in a total of 21 games at Ole Miss.

Projections for his professional career contained a blend of excitement surrounding his unique blend of physical attributes that was offset by concerns regarding limitations in his experience, and his need for further development as a receiver. That contributed to Metcalf being just the ninth receiver to be selected during the NFL Draft.

Metcalf’s prospects for delivering a breakout season were discussed here last April.  The rationale was based upon his exceptional combination of size, speed, and athleticism that would enable him to explode into high-end WR2 territory. He has accomplished that, while his accelerated progression as a receiver has propelled him to the periphery of WR1 status. This has also fueled Metcalf’s emergence as arguably the NFL’s premier deep threat. His usage and production have exceeded even the most optimistic expectations entering the regular season, which provides the incentive for reviewing his accomplishments after five contests.

Metcalf entered Seattle’s Week 6 bye in a tie for 13th with 39 targets (7.8 per game). He was also second in air yards (717), third in percentage share of air yards (44.5), fifth in yards per target (12.7), and eighth in targeted air yards (16.3). Metcalf was also tied for 11th in first downs (19) and tied for fifth in targets inside the 10 (4). He had also joined teammate Tyler Lockett in placing among the top 10 in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement ratings (DYAR) for wide receivers.

Seattle's restructured offensive approach has also been beneficial in his statistical surge as the Seahawks have climbed to 11th in pass play percentage (60.9%). This represents a significant change from 2019 when the aerial attack ranked just 27th (54.0%). Russell Wilson is assembling touchdowns at a historic rate, as his 19 touchdown passes are just one short of the all-time record for the first five regular-season games.

A team-high 24.2 share of Wilson’s targets is being distributed to Metcalf, who was WR4 in scoring entering his Week 6 bye. Metcalf’s aforementioned 12.7 yards per target average is nearly four yards higher than his average as a rookie (9.0). His 22.5 yards per reception average is exactly 7 yards higher than the 15.5 he attained in 2019. Metcalf has also added an additional 42.9 yards per game when contrasted with last season 2019 (99.2/56.3). At his current pace, Metcalf would collect 125 targets, capture 70 targets, and stockpile 1,587 yards.

Tyler Lockett is also constructing a highly productive season even though he has been surpassed by Metcalf in targets, first downs, air yards, targeted air yards, percentage share of air yards, and yards per target. Lockett does lead the Seahawks in receptions (30), while his 68.4 yards per game average is still the highest of his career, However, it is Metcalf that has become Seattle’s most explosive and productive receiver. That will remain intact regardless of whether Seattle eventually adds Antonio Brown.

 

3. Several wide receivers returned to game action following their collective receiving very from injuries.

Julio Jones was leading the league in receiving yards (157), was second in air yards, and included among the top five in targets (12), and receptions (9), after Week 1. However, a protracted hamstring issue had limited him to eight targets, six receptions, and 56 yards from Weeks 2-5. It also created trepidation for many managers regarding the potential of Jones’ to deliver substandard numbers due to the lingering impact of his injury in Week 6. But he tied for eighth among all receivers in targets (10), and was third in both receptions (8), and receiving yards (137). He also accumulated 71 air yards, while averaging 17.1 yards per reception and a season-high 13.7 yards per target.

Davante Adams also re-emerged for the first time since Week 2, following a recovery from his hamstring injury. He attained a double-digit target total for the second time this season by capturing a team-high 10, and his season-long average of 10 targets per game ties him for sixth among all receivers. He also paced Green Bay in receptions (6) and receiving yards (61) during Green Bay’s matchup in Tampa. He should continue to stockpile targets and supply favorable numbers to fantasy GMs while performing as the focal point of the Packers' aerial attack.

Breshad Perriman also resurfaced in Week 6 to deliver what was easily his most productive outing since signing his one year, 8 million-dollar deal with the Jets. Perriman had been limited it came to 76 snaps, seven targets, five receptions, and 29 yards entering New York’s AFC East matchup with Miami. But he established new season-highs in targets (8), receptions (4), and receiving yards (62). The 27-year old Perriman also averaged 15.5 yards per reception and 7.8 yards per target against Miami, after averaging 5.85 yards per reception, and 4.7 yards per target prior to the contests. The Jets desperately need another receiver beyond Jamison Crowder to perform reliably, while anyone who invested in Perriman during the offseason would be ecstatic if that would transpire.

A.J. Brown was involved in his second matchup since his reemergence from a knee issue that had forced his absence in Weeks 2-3. He has collected 12 of 16 targets for 138 yards and three touchdowns since his return. Brown finished ninth among overall among all receivers with a 50.3% percentage share of air yards in Week 5 and was also 13th in target share (33.3) during that matchup with Buffalo. He has also averaged 11.45 yards per reception and 8.55 yards per target since resurfacing in the lineup. Even with Corey Davis scheduled to also return this week, Brown has reestablished his WR1 status on the Titans and should provide managers with the WR2 that they had envisioned during their draft process.

 

4. Many fantasy GMs have constructed rosters that contain Dallas receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, or Michael Gallup.

If you are among them, then you might have overcome your initial concerns regarding Dak Prescott season-ending ankle fracture, and shifted into renewed optimism regarding Andy Dalton's prospects of keeping your wide receivers productive as the season advances.

Of course, that was before Dalton's calamitous performance in Week 6. Dalton's unsightly efforts included two interceptions, a 4.9 yard per attempt average, and a quarterback rating of 38.7.

However, it will be beneficial to examine the target distribution and production for Dallas receiving weaponry during Dalton’s initial start under center. Cooper was second overall in targets (55) as he entered Week 6. He was also second in receptions (39/7.8 per game), fourth in first downs (23), seventh in receiving yards (433/84.8 per game), and ninth in air yards (510). Exceptional newcomer CeeDee Lamb was 10th in targets while averaging 8-per game. He was also ninth in receptions (29/5.8 per game), and seventh overall with an 86.6 yards per game average. Lamb was also 16th in yards per target (16.8), 21st in air yards (394), 10th in first downs (20), and tied for the league lead with five targets inside the 10. Gallup was tied for 35th in targets (5.6 per game). But he was also 13th in air yards (453), third in targeted air yards (17.4), and seventh in yards per target (12.4).

Despite Dalton's deficiencies, anyone with Cooper or Lamb on their rosters has reason to be satisfied with their receiver's production. Both players collected 10 targets, caught seven of those passes, and combined for 143 yards. Cooper overcame a slow statistical start to eventually collect a double-digit target total for the fourth time this season, and the third time in his last four matchups. He also generated his second touchdown and attained a yard-per-target average of 11 + for the third consecutive game.

Lamb's 10 targets created a streak in which he has now attained a double-digit total in two consecutive matchups. His yards per reception average (9.1) was significantly lower than the 15.5 that he had averaged from Weeks 2-5. He also registered the lowest yards per target average of the season (6.4) after entering the game with an average of 10.7.

Gallup was targeted six times which essentially matched his season average. However, he tied his season-low in receptions (2) while his 23 yards were 46 fewer than his average of 69.6 prior to the matchup. He also dropped from 13th to 16th in air yards, and from third to fourth in targeted air yards. The results of the Week 6 outing also diminished his season-long yard per game average by nearly eight yards (61.8). Any continued struggles by Dalton could be most impactful to Gallup, due to his downfield usage. However, if you have been dependent upon any member of this trio for your fantasy points, there is no reason to alter your plan after one matchup.

 

5. The focus will now shift toward two receivers that have been mentioned recently in this column but still do not appear to be garnering the level of attention that they deserve among fantasy GMs.

Tim Patrick has leapfrogged presumed lead receiver Jerry Jeudy by commandeering WR1 responsibilities in Denver.

Courtland Sutton was originally expected to function as the Broncos' top receiver, but a torn ACL abruptly terminated his season. First-round selection Jeudy was the logical candidate to absorb the majority of targets following Sutton’s injury.

But Patrick has now garnered more receptions (20/17), and assembled more yardage (310/266) than Jeudy, even though his role did not expand until Noah Fant and K.J. Hamler also encountered injuries. Patrick also leads the Broncos in target share since Week 4 (25%), while Jeudy is second at 14.3%. Patrick is also leading the team in percentage share of air yards (35.1%), while easily generating the most air yards during that span (214). He has also averaged a team-high 14.0 yards per target during that sequence and is tied for third among all receivers with five receptions of 20+ yards. Even after Fant and Hamler return, Patrick should still operate as Denver’s WR1 and will supply fantasy GMs with a viable WR3 option.

 

Travis Fulgham was included in last week’s review, and his career transformation continued in Week 6. The former sixth-round pick was originally selected by Detroit in 2019. However, he did not register a reception as a Lion. But he eventually landed on the Eagles’ practice squad and was signed to their active roster in early October. His stock has soared since Week 5, as his production during the past two matchups has cemented him as Philadelphia’s primary receiving option. His ability to capitalize on his recent surge in usage has been timely for the Eagles, whose conga line of injured receiving options has been expanded following Zach Ertz’s ankle injury.

Fulgham has been WR3 in scoring since Week 5 and is third among all receivers with 23 targets during his last two contests. He also leads all receivers in air yards (124), is second in receptions (16), and is also second in receiving yards (227) during that span. He has also captured a 36.1% target share while averaging a 30.5 percentage share of air yards since his Week 5 emergence. That easily exceeds the second-highest share of both John Hightower and Zach Ertz, who were tied at 16.7%. Fulgham’s ascension into Philadelphia’s WR1 responsibilities should continue for the foreseeable future, which provides managers with a legitimate WR3 for their rosters.



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2020 Fantasy Football Running Back Rookie Rankings: Post-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rookie running back rankings. These rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft, but things will of course change as we get closer to the NFL season. Those of you who are regular RotoBaller readers have likely already seen our updated overall fantasy football... Read More

3 months ago

2020 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rookie Rankings: Post-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rookie wide receiver rankings. These rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft, but things will of course change as we get closer to the NFL season. It's been well-documented that the 2020 wide receiver class is one of the best to come... Read More

3 months ago

2020 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rookie Rankings: Post-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rookie quarterback rankings. These rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft, but things will of course change as we get closer to the NFL season. You might have already seen the first iteration of our updated fantasy football rookie rankings, released the morning... Read More

3 months ago

2020 Fantasy Football Tight End Rookie Rankings: Post-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rookie tight end rankings. These rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft, but things will of course change as we get closer to the NFL season. Those of you who are regular RotoBaller readers have likely already seen our updated overall fantasy football... Read More

3 months ago


More NFL Rookie Articles

 

2020 PPR Rankings - Redraft

Michael Florio's Updated Draft Rankings vs Industry Consensus

Every single season there is a hunger for fantasy football rankings. Every single season people draft their entire fantasy football team off of a list of names ordered by their favorite analysts or site. And every year those people make the most common mistake when it comes to rankings! The mistake so many fantasy players... Read More

3 months ago

Updated 2020 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings: Post-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football PPR rankings (top 440). These PPR rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft - factoring in trades, off-season moves and rookie situations - but things will of course continue to change as we get closer to the start of the NFL season. Adjustments... Read More

3 months ago

Updated Wide Receiver PPR Draft Rankings and Analysis

Saddle up, PPR drafters! Here’s your all-inclusive reference for each tier of receivers throughout your draft. We’re looking at how safe each receiver is, their potential upside (or lack thereof) and if they have a chance to jump up a tier in the receiver hierarchy or if they belong in the one below. Snagging a... Read More

3 months ago

Updated Tight End PPR Draft Rankings and Analysis

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, there are more than five tight ends to get excited about heading into a fantasy football season! Breakout seasons from Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, and more propelled the position to new heights in 2019. Fantasy players will no longer be overcome with a sense of... Read More

3 months ago

Updated Running Back PPR Draft Rankings and Analysis

Hitting on the right RB can win you a league. Christian McCaffrey was a monster in 2019, rewarding fantasy players who took him over Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliot, and in some instances even Saquon Barkley. Sorting out this year’s RB landscape could be the difference between winning it all and missing the playoffs. This year,... Read More

3 months ago


Updated PPR Rankings for 2020 Fantasy Football Drafts

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football PPR rankings (top 440) for the month of August. Also included are player tiers and auction values. These refreshed PPR rankings are being released as we head into the heart of fantasy football draft season, factoring in all of the off-season moves and news.... Read More

3 months ago

The King's Updated Rankings, Including Superflex (Premium Content)

Here are The King's latest fantasy football rankings in all formats, including PPR, Half PPR, and non-PPR. In the case of the last category, I am not going to call it “standard” anymore, as non-PPR does not seem to be the true scoring system used by most savvy players nowadays. In my opinion “Classic” would... Read More

PREMIUM 4 months ago

Wide Receiver PPR Rankings, Tiers and Analysis

It’s never too early to prepare for the 2020 fantasy football season! What better way to get a leg up on the competition than to consume content filled with interesting tidbits to help you determine your favorite draft targets! With that in mind, let’s turn to a position that has become one of the deepest... Read More

6 months ago

Tight End PPR Rankings, Tiers & Analysis

Fantasy football players probably hope the 2020 NFL season is better for tight ends than the 2019 season was. 2018 was arguably the greatest year for tight ends in the history of the NFL and fantasy football thanks to Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz setting the single-season record for receptions and San Francisco’s George Kittle setting the... Read More

6 months ago

Running Back PPR Rankings, Tiers & Analysis

Welcome back RotoBallers! Is it too early to rank running backs for the 2020 fantasy football season? Never. Getting a good idea of the fantasy football landscape before training camp isn’t a bad idea, and we're constantly bringing you fresh analysis here at RotoBaller HQ. Today I'm here to discuss our fantasy football rankings for... Read More

6 months ago


Early 2020 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings: Pre-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's early 2020 fantasy football PPR rankings (top 440). These PPR rankings are being released before the 2020 NFL Draft so things will of course change. Adjustments to these PPR rankings will be made all offseason long, so check back regularly for updates. You can also see our staff's ongoing rankings... Read More

8 months ago

More Rankings and ADP Analysis Articles

 

2020 Half-PPR Rankings - Redraft

Updated Half-PPR Rankings - Top 450 Post NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rankings (top 450) for half-PPR scoring formats. For those who are not familiar, half-PPR scoring means that skill players receive an extra 1/2 point for every reception. These rankings are being released after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft - meaning the ranks are... Read More

3 months ago

Michael Florio's Updated Draft Rankings vs Industry Consensus

Every single season there is a hunger for fantasy football rankings. Every single season people draft their entire fantasy football team off of a list of names ordered by their favorite analysts or site. And every year those people make the most common mistake when it comes to rankings! The mistake so many fantasy players... Read More

3 months ago

The King's Updated Rankings, Including Superflex (Premium Content)

Here are The King's latest fantasy football rankings in all formats, including PPR, Half PPR, and non-PPR. In the case of the last category, I am not going to call it “standard” anymore, as non-PPR does not seem to be the true scoring system used by most savvy players nowadays. In my opinion “Classic” would... Read More

PREMIUM 4 months ago

Tight End Half-PPR Rankings, Tiers and Analysis

We continue with our breakdown of RotoBaller's early 2020 draft rankings for Half-PPR leagues by looking at everyone's favorite position - tight end! While the names at the very top are no surprise, the next tier looks vastly different from a year ago. There are also some young, upcoming players that could make a fantasy splash... Read More

6 months ago

More Rankings and ADP Analysis Articles

 

2020 Standard Scoring Rankings - Redraft

Michael Florio's Updated Draft Rankings vs Industry Consensus

Every single season there is a hunger for fantasy football rankings. Every single season people draft their entire fantasy football team off of a list of names ordered by their favorite analysts or site. And every year those people make the most common mistake when it comes to rankings! The mistake so many fantasy players... Read More

3 months ago

Top 450 Standard (Non-PPR) Draft Rankings - Post NFL Draft Updates

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rankings (top 450) for standard scoring formats. For those who are not familiar, standard scoring is the default for many providers and means that skill players do not receive any extra points for receptions. These rankings are being released after the conclusion of the 2020... Read More

3 months ago

Updated Running Back Draft Rankings - Standard Scoring (Non-PPR)

The NFL might be a quarterback-driven, pass-first league these days, but you are not going to win a fantasy football league without a decent running back corps. Even though more NFL teams are going with a running-back-by-committee philosophy rather than relying on a running back to be a three-down workhorse, fantasy rosters have to be... Read More

3 months ago

Updated Wide Receiver Draft Rankings - Standard Scoring (Non-PPR)

RotoBaller’s 2020 wide receiver rankings for standard fantasy football leagues are looking a little different than they did a few months ago. The NFL draft, trades, free-agent signings, salary-cap cuts and opt-outs due to the COVID crisis have all affected the wide receiver rankings since the last time our website’s rankings were released. So now... Read More

3 months ago

Updated Tight End Draft Rankings - Standard Scoring (Non-PPR)

The NFL season will be here quicker than Travis Kelce runs a slant route. RotoBaller’s tight end rankings for standard fantasy football leagues have not changed drastically during the offseason, but there have been some risers and fallers to make note of. Most of the fantasy value changes have to do with the supporting casts... Read More

3 months ago


The King's Updated Rankings, Including Superflex (Premium Content)

Here are The King's latest fantasy football rankings in all formats, including PPR, Half PPR, and non-PPR. In the case of the last category, I am not going to call it “standard” anymore, as non-PPR does not seem to be the true scoring system used by most savvy players nowadays. In my opinion “Classic” would... Read More

PREMIUM 4 months ago

Wide Receiver Standard Rankings, Tiers and Analysis

It’s June and the football season is right around the corner. Soon we will be meeting with our league mates to conduct our fantasy drafts. This is possibly the most exciting time of the fantasy season. The social interaction with a live draft adds a personal element to our fantasy rosters. The memories and good... Read More

5 months ago

Running Back Standard Rankings, Tiers and Analysis

In the NFL, everyone knows that quarterback is the most vital positions to the success of their team. But in fantasy football, the most vital position is running back, with seven of our top nine ranked players at the position. That's especially true in standard scoring leagues. It's such a relief to have one of... Read More

5 months ago

Tight End Standard Rankings, Tiers and Analysis

It is never too early to start setting up your cheat sheet for your fantasy football drafts and auctions. The 2020 NFL season is going to be interesting fantasy-wise at the tight end position. With longtime fantasy demigod Rob Gronkowski putting his pro wrestling career on hold and coming out of retirement to reteam with... Read More

6 months ago

Early 2020 Fantasy Football Standard Rankings: Pre-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's early 2020 fantasy football standard rankings (top 430). These standard rankings are being released before the 2020 NFL Draft so things will of course change. Adjustments to these standard rankings will be made all offseason long, so check back regularly for updates. You can also see our staff's ongoing rankings... Read More

8 months ago


More Rankings and ADP Analysis Articles

 

2020 Best Ball Rankings

Tight End Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis - August

Tight ends continue to climb in valuation, as top-notch players like Travis Kelce and George Kittle have entered the conversation as late first-round or early second-round picks in best ball formats with TE Premium scoring such as FFPC. Even in typical scoring formats, some fantasy managers want to secure a relatively safe option at an... Read More

3 months ago

Wide Receiver Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis - August

As you prepare for each draft, multiple factors are incorporated into your analysis of every selection. For those of you who participate in the highly popular Best-Ball leagues, this process includes building a team that can withstand the challenges that can emerge during the season, without having the opportunity for any form of in-season roster... Read More

3 months ago

Quarterback Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis - August

So far so good. It appears the NFL season will start on time as planned, so fantasy football draft season should proceed as usual. Of course, if you are a best-ball player, you've been drafting for months and will simply continue to build your portfolio of rosters. The quarterback position requires a specific plan of... Read More

3 months ago

Running Back Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis - August

As you prepare for each draft, multiple factors are incorporated into your analysis of every selection. For those of you who participate in the highly popular Best-Ball leagues, this process includes building a team that can withstand the challenges that emerge during the season, without having the opportunity for any form of in-season roster management.... Read More

4 months ago

Wide Receiver Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

We are advancing through June with rising optimism that a 17-game regular season will eventually unfold. The team at RotoBaller shares your enthusiasm while providing you with non-stop news, and analysis. This is designed to help you prepare for upcoming drafts, and reshape your current rosters. We are also making continual updates to our tiered rankings... Read More

6 months ago


Running Back Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

We have entered June with rising optimism that a 17-week regular season will eventually unfold. The team at RotoBaller shares your enthusiasm while providing you with non-stop news, and analysis. This is designed to help you prepare for upcoming drafts, and reshape your current rosters. We are also making continual updates to our tiered rankings in... Read More

6 months ago

Updated Best Ball Rankings - Top 385 Post NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rankings (top 385) for best ball formats. For those of you who are not familiar with fantasy football best ball leagues, they are draft-only leagues. Once the drafts are complete, there are no moves for the rest of the season -- no setting lineups,... Read More

7 months ago

Wide Receiver Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

The Best-Ball draft process continues to escalate, at a time in which owners are searching for any form of fantasy football that can be embraced. The enticement of being able to build a roster that will not require in-season management also adds incentive to participate in this format. The team at RotoBaller has just updated our... Read More

7 months ago

Running Back Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

The Best Ball draft process continues to escalate, at a time that owners are searching for any form of fantasy football that can be embraced. The enticement of being able to build a roster that will not require in-season management also adds incentive to participate in this format. The ranking experts at RotoBaller have just updated... Read More

8 months ago

Tight End Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

Just a year ago, we were bemoaning how boring the tight end position was in fantasy football. There was Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, George Kittle and a bunch of scrubs. Everyone else was lumped into an unappealing mass of nonproductivity. Then the season came and names like Darren Waller and Austin Hooper emerged as studs, not... Read More

8 months ago

Quarterback Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

A lot has changed at the quarterback position since last year. While most of the names remain the same, there are some recent fantasy studs that are still without a home such as Jameis Winston and Cam Newton. We've also seen players like Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill seemingly resurrected from the dead. This year's... Read More

8 months ago

Early 2020 Fantasy Football Best Ball Rankings: Pre-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's early 2020 fantasy football best ball rankings (top 360). For those of you who are not familiar with fantasy football best ball leagues, they are draft-only leagues. Once the drafts are complete, there are no moves for the rest of the season -- no setting lineups, no trades,... Read More

8 months ago


More Best Ball Analysis Articles

 

Dynasty League Rankings

Updated Fantasy Football Dynasty Rankings: Post-NFL Draft

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football dynasty rankings (top 400) including RBs, WRs, QBs, TEs and NFL Rookies. These dynasty rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft - factoring in trades, off-season moves and rookie situations - but things will of course change as we get closer to the... Read More

3 months ago

Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Tight End)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right? We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.) But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand... Read More

6 months ago

Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Wide Receiver)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right? We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.) But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand... Read More

6 months ago

Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Running Back)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right? We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.) But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand... Read More

7 months ago

Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Quarterback)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right? We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.) But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand... Read More

7 months ago


More Dynasty Analysis Articles

 

IDP League Rankings

2020 IDP Rankings - Top 120 Defensive Players for Fantasy Football

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rankings (top 120) for IDP formats. For those of you who are not familiar with fantasy football IDP leagues, these are formats where individual defensive players (IDP) are drafted by fantasy managers and accrue points for defensive stats like tackles, sacks, interceptions, etc. Our... Read More

3 months ago

Early IDP Tiered Rankings & Analysis for 2020

Individual Defensive Player (IDP) formats are becoming more popular in fantasy leagues, but not all IDP leagues are the same. Your IDP ranks can and should change depending on your league's format. An example might be that if your league requires you to start a defensive tackle (DT) specifically, then Aaron Donald's fantasy value would... Read More

6 months ago

More IDP Analysis Articles

 


 

Rankings Archives

Click below to see archives of our rankings from previous years. Categories include tiered staff rankings for PPR, Half-PPR and Standard scoring leagues. Also included are impact rookie rankings and dynasty rankings.

2019 fantasy football rankings columns and analysis

2018 fantasy football rankings columns and analysis

2017 fantasy football rankings columns and analysis

2016 fantasy football rankings columns and analysis

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




Categories
2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Matchups and Start/Sit Editor Note Featured Football Featured Homepage NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid - Week 7

The CB Matchup Chart has been a helpful resource all season, specifically in Week 6Last week's article was predictive in forecasting boom games for Julio Jones, Justin Jefferson, and Christian Kirk. It also predicted let-downs from Robby Anderson, Cooper Kupp, and Mike Evans. This week's chart will give the most accurate landscape of CB matchups yet, as I have continued to update it with new data and left and right alignment splits.

The chart below is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points. There are inherent flaws within the data compilation of cornerback play. The first being the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things. Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science. The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups, rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics. The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red. The "PPGA" is the number of fantasy points per game that the player has given up. A name in blue means the corner could possibly shadow the WR1. A name in red means that the player is dealing with an injury. WRs highlighted in yellow have an easy matchup. WRs highlighted in pink have a tough matchup.

 

Cornerback Ratings and Matchups - Week 7

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in most cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player. However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners. This weekly process has made it clear to me that the WR talent and his target share are more important than his opposition.

It’s become a tradition to start this space each week with attacking Atlanta. Kenny Golladay could have his best game of 2020 this Sunday. All of Atlanta’s outside CBs are below average, so the fact that Kenny G and Marvin Jones Jr. split time on the right and left shouldn’t matter much. Jones has had a down year so far. If he fails to produce against Atlanta, it might be time to drop him in fantasy leagues.

I highlighted both A.J. Green and Tee Higgins because they play right and left side just about evenly.  Whoever gets more snaps on the left side will have the easier matchup against Terrance Mitchell. Denzel Ward is a completely different story.  It would make sense to attack Mitchell with Higgins, but we can’t be sure until game day. Ward plays exclusively LCB.

Denver’s secondary didn’t give up much to the New England passing attack last week. Prior to their win against the Patriots, they were one of the most frequently burnt units in the league. Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill are in bounce-back spots after Buffalo chose to play their safeties 20 yards deep in Week 6.

Detroit has been dominated by outside WRs, so in a game with a 56.5 total, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are both potential slate-breakers.

Stefon Diggs is in a good spot against the Jets. They move him around the formation and he has a plus matchup against two bad outside CBs.

The chart projects a very favorable matchup for DeAndre Hopkins as the LWR against Seattle. The Seahawks have been gashed by LWRs all year, and Hopkins lines up on the left side the majority of the time. However, it’s important to note that Tre Flowers has been responsible for a lot of fantasy points against that position. Quinton Dunbar hasn’t been good this year, but he’s better than Flowers. I’ll be watching that matchup very closely, especially after Hopkins inexplicably flopped against Dallas.

In the slot, Jamison Crowder gets a Bills Defense that he exposed in Week 1.  Meanwhile, Greg Ward gets a matchup with Giants rookie Darnay Holmes, who has been abysmal.  Finally, the underwhelming JuJu Smith-Schuster gets another easy matchup against Tennessee’s Kristian Fulton. Fresh off a disappointing outing against the Browns, anything other than a breakout game could mean JuJu simply isn’t a priority target for the Steelers anymore.

Finally, Tyler Boyd does not have as easy a matchup as the chart indicates. Kevin Johnson has been a much better slot corner in recent weeks compared to who the Browns used earlier this season.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Avoid

James Bradberry is having an amazing season and probably deserves some DPOY consideration at this point.  I expect him to shadow and severely limit Travis Fulgham in Week 7.

In that same game, I expect Darius Slay to match up against Darius Slayton and limit him as well.

Jaire Alexander is one of the best corners in the league and may shadow Will Fuller.  Alexander had Deshaun Watson's number in college so I wouldn't be surprised if Watson tried to avoid him.  The bad news for Brandin Cooks is that even if Alexander moves off his home at LCB and shadows Fuller, Cooks will have a tough matchup with Green Bay's other outside corners.

Tre’Davious White is back for the Bills, so Breshad Perriman is not an advisable start this week.

D.J. Chark plays both right and left, but the bad news for him is that both Chargers’ outside corners are outstanding. Laviska Shenault Jr. is going to have a game with an explosive touchdown sooner or later, but this not a good matchup for him either.

The Saints have done a terrific job against RWRs this year, so downgrade Robby Anderson a bit for the second consecutive week.

The Washington Football Team's pass defense has been well above average at limiting fantasy points to opposing WRs. With Andy Dalton at QB, all three of the top Dallas WRs should be downgraded a bit.  I especially don’t love Amari Cooper’s matchup against Kendall Fuller.

Similarly, Kyle Fuller and the Bears have done a great job against WRs all year.  This might not be the best week for the Rams’ WR group, especially Robert Woods.

As far as slots go, there are a lot of good players in bad spots.  Randall Cobb, Jerry Jeudy, Cole Beasley, Julian Edelman, and Hunter Renfrow have the most difficult slot matchups in the league this week.  I would like to specifically highlight Brian Poole, who has been stellar as the Jets’ slot corner.  The Jets have been atrocious, but Poole deserves All-Pro consideration at this point.  Nickel backs are no longer just sub-package players.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



Win Big With RotoBaller

Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:

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Categories
2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers Editor Note Featured Football Featured Homepage NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Slow Starters Ready to Break Out in Fantasy?

We are now more than a third of the way into the fantasy football season and a seemingly clearer picture is available across the landscape. After a pandemic-shortened offseason and lack of preseason exposure, there were plenty of worries headed into the first month specifically. Thus far, one of the most prevalent topics with regards to how the pandemic played a part in fantasy is injuries because that is the easiest connection to make between lack of training camp reps, allowing for limited ramp-up time for players.

While injuries are the most tangible, slow-starting players are also ones who may have been hurt by the limited reps. Several skill guys had their snaps/roles cut early on in the season (Joe Mixon for example), yet were brought along over the course of subsequent weeks. Every player's performance is affected differently. Some are due to the pandemic, others are due to a rough schedule. It is often hard to pinpoint but this piece takes the best possible approach to evaluating each player's position.

Here are five slow starters expected to bounce back this season. For any questions on this topic or any other post, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@RotoSurgeon) and shoot it through.

 

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

I'm not buying any of the Jalen Hurts hype coming from the internet. Wentz has not been perfect, but thus far, he is not the only problem in Philadelphia's offense. Currently, nine out of 11 offensive starters are out with injury. Plus, Wentz is dealing with a league-worst 16 drops from his pass-catchers.

The Zach Ertz injury is a blessing-in-disguise because a plodding TE is now removed from the equation, allowing for more dynamic players to take his place. Richard Rodgers will sub in for the interim and Dallas Goedert, upon return from IR, will then take over. Ertz has been terrible this season despite having a fruitful history as Wentz's safety blanket. He shrinks the field around him, forcing more attention elsewhere.

Losing Miles Sanders would prove costly if the Eagles were not facing the New York Giants this week and then facing off against Dallas' putrid defense afterward. Boston Scott and the backups should fill-in just fine. With a bye week right after, Sanders should be fully healthy for the stretch run to take control of the NFC East in the second half.

Jalen Reagor's timetable to return from his thumb injury lines up here as well along with DeSean Jackson and Lane Johnson. The Eagles are in the most advantageous position within the division, making it possible they even add a dynamic piece at the trade deadline given the plethora of receivers potentially available for trade. Wentz is currently QB15 in scoring with a ceiling around the top-six given his increased rushing. Wentz is running more, and more efficiently than ever with 6.1 yards-per-carry on 28 carries. He is on pace for a career-high 75 attempts and already has four touchdowns on the ground which make up for and negate the increased turnovers this season.

 

Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams

It is inconceivable that Akers only played one snap this past weekend versus the 49ers but it happened and Rams head coach Sean McVay's "game-flow" explanation was a non-answer. Akers was not drafted with their first pick in the 2020 draft and named starter out the gates to ride the bench. Either there was an issue in practice or Akers is still not fully healthy.

Despite playing 13 snaps in Week 5 and touching the ball nine times, it did not make much sense to keep him benched the next week, especially with McVay commenting on his increased involvement. Akers returned along a reasonable timeline from his rib cartilage injury, yet the "optimal recovery time" according to Inside Injuries of The Athletic is five weeks as to not re-aggravate the rib. Akers suffered the injury in Week 2 and we are now heading into Week 7.

Darrell Henderson has looked very good in a handful of games and mediocre in others. Nevertheless, he has the "hot-hand" and will continue to start until he is usurped or fails. Akers will have to be the one to usurp him and fortunately for fantasy GMs who are stashing him, he is quite capable. Henderson is seldom used on third-down and obvious passing-situations because of his limitations as a pass-blocker and receiver. This is where Akers could thrive and eat into the RB snaps.

Malcolm Brown has been a black hole when given touches since Week 2 but that is nothing new. Brown is averaging 3.7 yards-per-carry and 2.2 yards-per-target thus far, below-pedestrian numbers. If Akers' issue with getting on the field is due to the Rams' desire to unleash him on third-down and passing downs, there is a fantasy monster brewing that should have been unleashed earlier.

 

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

Hilton has been extremely disappointing early on, no one is arguing against that. The assumption coming into the season was that despite a clear decline for Philip Rivers, the fringe Hall-of-Fame QB would still be an upgrade over Jacoby Brissett as a passer. That, unfortunately, has not been very true as Rivers is looking like a shell of himself but the Colts are winning games on the back of their top-three defense. The addition of RB Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the 2020 draft was meant to spark the offense as well but he has been just as disappointing, if not more than Rivers given the high hopes that come with youth. All-in-all, the Colts' offense is bad.

Hilton's 6.5 yards-per-target on the season is a career-low and he has not found the end-zone yet through six games. However, he did have a TD called back this past week on a penalty far away from the play. He has six red-zone targets on the season and is still building rapport with Rivers. Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. are out for the foreseeable future and now Hilton is playing nearly every snap. Over the first four weeks, he did not play more than 80% of the offensive snaps in a single game, but these past two, he has played 95% and 94%, respectively. Hilton owns a 19% target share this season with a season-high 10 coming two weeks ago versus the Browns. He is still fast/explosive and has brighter days ahead given a very soft second-half schedule.

 

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Hollywood Brown is one of the fastest players in the league playing on arguably the most versatile offense, and yet, his fantasy production is lacking in 2020. Part of the reason for this is Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' low-passing volume, and another is the lack of need for extensive receiving production.

Brown has just one red-zone target on the season and did not crack 80% of snaps through the first four weeks of the season but has 86% and 85% over the past two weeks, respectively. The Ravens have outscored opponents thus far by a margin of 75 points. In their one loss to the Chiefs, Brown was blanketed and then phased out from the game by being on the opposite end of a blowout.

Brown's home-run ability makes him a stereotypical boom-or-bust option but with a 26% target share and nine yards-per-target, he is just on the wrong end of touchdown variance with one on the season. He's a fantasy star on the cusp of breaking out.

 

Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

Austin Hooper has ascended to fantasy relevance over the past few weeks but has yet to truly break out. After signing the largest free-agent TE contract ever, Hooper was expected to be a massive part of Cleveland's offense after a fantastic stretch in Atlanta. While a good bit of his production was driven by a high-volume passing offense next to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, Hooper held his own with a large target share and end-zone production.

Through the first three weeks of the 2020 season, Hooper totaled seven receptions on 10 targets for 62 yards and no touchdowns. Just this past week, he had five receptions on six targets for 52 yards with 57 yards the game prior. Snaps have not been an issue as he is on the field plenty but with David Njoku back in the mix, he has seen a dip below 80% over the past two weeks despite an increase in targets.

Fortunately, Njoku has once again requested a trade out from Cleveland, leaving Hooper and Harrison Bryant as the primary options at the position. Hooper played up to 98% of the snaps in games sans Njoku and will likely carry a massive share moving forward. He's building rapport with QB Baker Mayfield but there is work to be done.

Having only two red-zone targets thus far is disappointing, but that could change as the chemistry grows. Cleveland is being forced to throw more often than they'd like with star RB Nick Chubb out-of-commission. Hooper's role will continue to grow and it could hopefully blossom in the second half of this season.



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NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why this column is the most important one you'll read today. It's time to tackle how quarterbacks have done through six weeks of play.

To gain the biggest edge in your fantasy football league, it's necessary to understand how to apply the advanced statistics being used in sports nowadays. Back in the day, it was all about wins and losses, passing yards, and touchdowns scored. It's not that those stats are now worthless, they just don't offer enough information to savvy analysts. While football is still in its infancy compared to baseball in terms of analytics, the evolution the sport has seen lately in those terms is notable.

Each week, I'll be tackling NFL's Next Gen Stats, bringing you data from the previous week's games with notable takeaways you should consider when assessing fantasy players for the upcoming week. In case you're new to the series, or Next Gen Stats altogether, I recommend you read our NGS-primer. Now, let's get to the data!

 

Week 6 - The State Of The Passing Game

One of the most important concepts to consider when analyzing players are Air Yards. The metrics around it are key to know who is really over-performing or under-performing among receivers and passers, but it doesn't have much to do with rushers.

Today, I'll present each of the stats from the NFL's advanced metrics site, its correlation with quarterback-fantasy points, and a list of leaders and trailers in each category along with some notes and takeaways on both the players' and the metrics' impact on fantasy football as a whole.

As we'll be discussing quarterbacks and their passing stats, I will reduce the fantasy points per game averages to just those related to passing. That means that I have removed the rushing/receiving fantasy points the qualifying quarterbacks have logged during the season. I've called this metric paFP/G, which is to say passing Fantasy Points per Game.

So let's dive in. Note: The cutoff is set at 45 pass attempts.

 

Time to Throw

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: 1%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • When it comes to explaining fantasy points, there are few less predictive metrics than Time to Throw. The relationship sits at a measly 1% through more than a third of the season, just imagine...
  • That's why things like this happen: no. 1 quickest TT (Ben Roethlisberger) is averaging 17.8 paFP/G... while no. 2 slowest (Josh Allen) is averaging virtually a similar 20.7 paFP/G.
  • Three of four players with a TT below 2.5 seconds were either benched (Haskins), started the season as the reserve (Foles), or will be benched next game (Fitzpatrick).
  • On the other hand, all but one (Mitchell Trubisky) of the 21-slowest QBs in TT (all taking 2.7+ seconds to throw) have not been benched for a backup (some, like Drew Lock or Sam Darnold, were only benched due to injuries).
  • Through six weeks, there are six QBs averaging 20+ paFP/G, and their TT marks are spread all over the spectrum, ranging from 2.67 (Ryan Tannehill) to 3.07 (Josh Allen).
  • Something similar happens at the bottom of the paFP/G leaderboard: of the eight QBs averaging below 10 paFP/G so far, the TT numbers range from 2.65 (Jeff Driskel and Andy Dalton) to 3.05 (Drew Lock).
  • As expected, the longer a QB takes to throw, the more yardage he tends to rack up as routes have more time to develop. The relationship between TT and CAY and IAY is up to 49% and 44% respectively through W6.
  • On the other hand, there is a negative-46% relationship between TT and expected COMP% so far this year. The longer a quarterback takes to throw his passes, the lower the expectation is he completes them (makes sense, assuming "slower" passes are harder to complete as they tend to go for more yards downfield).
  • All things considered, don't put much weight on this metric, as it is way more descriptive of past performance than predictive of future ones.

 

Completed/Intended Air Yards & Air Yards Differential

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: 34% / 0% / 36%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • While there is a rather high relationship between Completed Air Yards and paFP/G, there is zero relation between Intended Air Yards and paFP/G. That is rather surprising, and will probably vary through the rest of the season, but interesting nonetheless with more than a third of the year in the rearview mirror already.
  • Take CAY and IAY for what they are. In fantasy leagues, what amounts to points are the things that happen on the field (CAY), not what players want to happen (IAY).
  • Although Ryan Tannehill IAY is just 7.6 yards, his CAY is at 7.2 yards, which means he has the smallest difference between both values (AYD) at just -0.3 yards. He might not be throwing the most explosive bombs downfield, but he's doing what he's attempting to to perfection.
  • Nick Mullens and Drew Brees are the only other quarterbacks with an AYD over -1.0 yards. The difference with Tannehill, though, is that they're averaging over one fewer air yard per attempt (6.5 and 6.1 IAY respectively), making their high AYD marks much easier to reach.
  • Drew Lock has been as wild as it gets. His AYD of -6.0 leads all qualified quarterbacks by a mile, with Flacco having the second smallest mark (-4.9), already more than a yard over Lock's value. No other quarterback is below -3.5 (Mitchell Trubisky) AYD.
  • Oh, by the way, try to find the similarities between those three (solution: all of them are bench-fodder).
  • Both Denver Broncos quarterbacks with min. 45 attempts (Lock and Driskel) have the two largest CAY+IAY combined marks at 19.8 and 18.5 yards respectively. Kirk Cousins is third with 18.2. The problem for the two Broncos is that none they're just completing 6.9 and 8.0 CAY compared to Cousins' league-leading 8.4.
  • Don't believe the lack of relationship between IAY and paFP/G? Well, Drew Lock has the highest IAY mark so far (12.9) while averaging the fewer paFP/G (5.7). Then, Andy Dalton has the second-lowest IAY (6.1), and is averaging the third-lowest 7.5 paFP/G... Similar outcomes, wildly distant IAY marks.
  • Same at the top of the paFP/G leaderboard: Aaron Rodgers (9.3 IAY) is averaging 20.6 paFP/G while Derek Carr is at a virtually similar 19.9 paFP/G average with a rather low 7.1 IAY (10th-lowest among 38 qualified QBs).
  • When it comes to the relationship between CAY and paFP/G, though, things are a little better. Of QBs with 20+ paFP/G on the season, their average CAY sits at 6.8. Of QBs with fewer than 10 paFP/G so far, their average CAY is at 5.6, more than a yard lower.
  • Complete more passes for more yardage, and reap the rewards. As simple as that, I guess.

 

Aggressiveness

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: negative-19%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • We define "Aggressiveness" as the percentage of passes a quarterback throws into tight coverage, that is, when a defender is within 1 yard or less of the receiver at the point of the catch/interception. Don't take this metric as a sign of "braveness" or anything like that, though. It relates more to reckless-passing than anything else.
  • A quick peek at the most aggressive passers gives you an idea of what we're dealing with here: Trubisky has been benched already, Foles replaced him, Fitzpatrick is insane (and will the bench next Miami's game), Jones has yet to prove his worth (which is growing smaller by the day), Haskins is on the trade list, and Joe Burrow has been forced to risk the biscuit on a weekly basis...
  • There is just a negative-19% relationship between AGG% and paFP/G, but it's rather funny to find the top-five most aggressive players averaging paFP/G inside a tiny 1.8-clip ranging from 12.8 (Foles) to 14.6 (Fitz).
  • Don't get it wrong or for what it's not. Of the seven least-aggressive players (all below 12.0 AGG%) the paFP/G range from a putrid 8.9 (Mullens and Darnold) up to the league-leading 26.0 (Russell Wilson).
  • Joe Burrow already led the league in aggressive attempts back in Week 3. He's still leading by a lot through Week 6, with 53 passes into tight coverage to Wentz's 44 and Fitzpatrick's 40. No other player is at 40+ attempts.
  • Of QBs with at least 100 passing attempts, Russell Wilson has thrown the fewer into tight coverage (14 of 169), followed by Sam Darnold (15) and Cam Newton (20).
  • Drew Brees has been long discussed being washed up. Well, it very well could be the case, and he's not really trying to improve by himself. Not only are his 5.3 CAY and 6.1 IAY two of the lowest marks among qualified QBs, but he's also throwing the ball -2.5 yards behind the first-down marker on average. That's virtually the same as hyper-conservative passers as Nick Mullens (-2.8), Teddy Bridgewater (-2.1), and Dayne Haskins Jr. (-2.1).
  • Obviously, King of Wilderness Drew Lock leads the league in AYTS (Avg. Yds. to the Sticks) with a monster 4.4 mark. Trubisky is second at a distant 2.0, followed by Aaron Rodgers (0.8), the first of mortals.

 

Attempts & Yards & Y/A

Correlation with Fantasy Points: 60% / 74% / 67%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Not many big secrets hidden in these three stats, am I right? The correlation is high with fantasy points basically because fantasy points rely mostly on pure yardage, and to rack up yards you have to throw the ball (the more the better, that is). Doesn't take a genius.
  • Before getting injured (ugh) Dak Prescott was averaging a league-leading 44 pass attempts per game. Now that he's out for the season, Joe Burrow and Matt Ryan both sit at the top of the leaderboard with 41 each. Gardner Minshew II is third (40), and the only other player with a 40+ per-game attempt average.
  • Among QBs with at least 100 attempts over the season, Lamar Jackson is making it clear that Baltimore is not about to generate high passing-related numbers. Jackson has attempted the fewest passes per game so far (27), followed by Baker Mayfield (28) and Newton/Cousins (29).
  • The sample is small (three games, 73 pass attempts), but Nick Mullens wasn't bad while backing up Jimmy Garoppolo averaging 8.4 Y/A in his appearances this season. Only five other QBs are currently averaging that mark, although all of them have at least 141 pass attempts (Justin Herbert) and as many as 222 (Dak Prescott).
  • Speaking of Herbert. The battle of rookie-quarterbacks between him and Burrow is split in half: Herbert is the efficient passer (8.5 Y/A for 1,195 total yards on 141 throws) while Burrow is the volume leader (6.6 Y/A for 1,617 yards on 246 throws).
  • Tua will start his first game in Week 8, so we don't expect him to make this column at least until we revisit the quarterback NGS leaderboards in Week 12 (he won't reach enough attempts to meet the threshold just in Week 8 alone).
  • Y/A for quarterbacks with 20+ paFP/G: 7.8, 7.9 (x3), 8.4, 8.9.
  • Y/A for quarterbacks with fewer than 10 paFP/G: 5.0, 5.7 (x2), 6.1, 6.8, 6.9, 7.5, 8.4.
  • Yes, that explains the really-high 67% relationship between Y/A and paFP/G. Bank of bulky throwers, folks.
  • Now that we're into Y/A, there is another rather-high relationship between this statistic and touchdown-passing: positive 59% through six games. You might have expected this, or not, but the longer distance an attempt goes for, the higher tally of touchdowns a quarterback tends to rack up.
  • Both Deshaun Watson and Willson have the league-leading 8.9 Y/A, and they have scored 13 and 19 passing touchdowns respectively already (tied for fifth-most, and most, respectively).
  • On the other end, Daniel Jones and Darnold have just 3 passing touchdowns each (min. 130 attempts) while averaging paltry 6.1 and 5.7 Y/A marks...

 

Completion Percentage & xCOMP & COMP Above Expectation

Correlation with Fantasy Points: 59% / 26% / 56%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • The world of hypotheticals is cool, but what truly matters is what actually happens on the field. That is why the real completion percentage is the stat that matters, and why the expected rate doesn't cut a good deal for fantasy GMs.
  • That being said, the difference between both marks (CPOE) is also a very strong indicator of fantasy performance, almost on par with actual COMP%, which makes sense considering that those that "overperform" or play to higher-than-expected levels on average are the ones who more often than not put on high-octane performances.
  • As ridiculous as it sounds, after six weeks Chef Russell Wilson is the only player over 6.1 CPOE. I mean, he's at 7.7 completion percentage points over expectation, which means he's 1.6 above no. 2 Derek Carr. That 1.6 difference is the same as that between Carr and no. 7 Philip Rivers...
  • Say what you want about Carr, but he's been a beast this season--as he usually is on a yearly basis and I won't get tired of repeating. Get Carr from waivers if he's still available there, seriously. He's a QB1 in even the shallower of leagues, believe it.
  • While Wilson's 169 pass attempts are far from the league-leading Burrow's 246, they are a fairly high amount to still be putting on a massive 7.7 CPOE over five games. For context, only Kyle Allen (55 attempts) and Justin Herbert (141) have CPOE marks 4.0+ even though they have minimal and lower samples to show for it.
  • Once more, Herbert's 5.9 CPOE is way higher than Burrow's 3.6. Another W for the Chargers rookie. Burrow edges Herbert on actual/raw passes completed over expectation 9 to 8, though that's reasonable considering he's tossed 104 more balls over the year.
  • Wilson himself has completed 13 more passes than expected. Carr comes second with 11, followed by Tannehill (10) as the only three players at 10+ through W6.
  • On the negative side of things, the two of Haskins and Wentz have both missed on 10 passes expected to have ended in actual completions. No other QB has fewer than 8...
  • ...does that mean it is time to sit Wentz? Not so fast, folks. Patrick Mahomes' CPOE is a paltry -3.8 (seventh-lowest among qualifiers) but not a single soul is even thinking of benching the former reigning SB champ. The CPOE model doesn't love Mahomes because that model works with knowledge of where receivers are at to calculate pass-completion expectations. What does that mean? The model knows Mahomes is usually throwing balls to wide-open receivers, so every time he misses on them he gets ultra-negatively-impacted on the CPOE front.
  • The model isn't dumb and Wentz has been plain bad, though. Don't get it wrong and bench him for good (if you're reading this, then yes, you too, Doug).
  • Everybody could have guessed the leader in expected completion rate: mighty washed Drew Brees, at 70.6%. He's the only quarterback, in fact, over 70%+. Talk about trying to stay out of trouble...
  • Baker Mayfield, though... The Brown has tossed passes expected to be completed just 58.5% of the time, which ranks as the lowest percentage among passers with at least 100 attempts, and second-lowest (Drew Lock) among qualified QBs.
  • Kirk Cousins is the only other 100+ attempts passer below an xCOMP% of 60%.

 

That's it for today. Until we meet again next week, I hope you can crush your waiver wire, set up the best possible lineup, and get ready for another weekend full of fireworks!



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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 7 of the NFL season.

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Risers

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Since firing Bill O'Brien, the Texans have played like a completely different team, Although they fell short against the Titans last week, Deshaun Watson looks like the guy everyone drafted to be a top five fantasy quarterback. Watson now has three consecutive 300+ yard passing games and seven passing touchdowns in his last two games. Watson gets the Packers, bye, Jaguars, and Browns over the next four weeks. None of those are imposing foes.

Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

Even though A.J. Green actually had a strong performance last week, make no mistake about it, A.J. Green is done. The new WR1 in Cincinnati is Tee Higgins. With how quick fantasy managers are often willing to jump onto rookies, it's surprising to see Higgins out there in so many leagues. Higgins is averaging eight targets over his last four games and has hit double digit fantasy points in all four of them. He had his first 100 yard receiving day last week. He is only going to improve as the season goes on and looks very much like the player hopeful drafters wished A.J. Green would be.

Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Somehow, Kirk Cousins is supporting two top five fantasy receivers. Justin Jefferson already has three 100 yard receiving games and two games with 30 fantasy points. Game script obviously helped and Jefferson will always be at the mercy of Mike Zimmer's desire to never call pass plays, but the Vikings are not a good team and that will often force Zimmer's hand. Even though Stefon Diggs is thriving in Buffalo, Jefferson is proving that letting Diggs go wasn't necessarily a bad decision. Jefferson and Adam Thielen have quickly become of the best wide receiver duos in the league. Now fully entrenched as a starter, Jefferson is already a weekly must start and should only get better coming out of the bye in Week 8.

D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

There is little doubt that D'Andre Swift needs to be on this list, but we need to exercise a bit of restraint. Swift certainly looked quite good last week en route to his first 100 yard rushing day and over 25 fantasy points. However, Swift still played just 38% of the snaps. We're putting our faith in a bit of rational coaching here. The Lions drafted Swift in the second round to presumably be there primary back. Their goal certainly wasn't to hope the Football Team released a 47 year old Adrian Peterson so they can stuff the ball into his chest 20 times a game. While the AP signing made sense given Swift's preseason injury, the goal, we think, was always for Swift to take over when ready. He sure looks ready. It would be mind-numbingly stupid if Swift didn't at least earn an increased role, hopefully making him a weekly RB2 going forward.

JaMycal Hasty (RB, SF)

When Raheem Mostert was out for three weeks with a sprained MCL, it was Jerick McKinnon as a near every down back. In Week 4, McKinnon played 92% of the snaps. When Mostert went down with a high ankle sprain last week, we expected more McKinnon. That is not what happened. UDFA rookie Jamycal Hasty played 21% of the snaps, which was fewer than McKinnon's 32%, but there were long stretches where Hasty played every snap. It could just be Kyle Shanahan getting an extended look at what he has, but it wasn't like the game against the Rams was a complete blowout. Hasty looked quicker and more explosive than McKinnon and I have a sneaking suspicion that Hasty is going to be the primary back for as long as Mostert and Tevin Coleman are out, with McKinnon maintaining his role as the passing down back.

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Fallers

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

To be perfectly honest, there weren't any performances by fantasy relevant quarterbacks that truly concerned me in Week 6. Aaron Rodgers' was the worst so we at least must take some notice, but it came against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Bucs pressured Rodgers relentlessly and forced him into multiple mistakes. Rodgers had fewer fantasy points than Joe Flacco. Let that marinate for a moment. With that being said, Rodgers' next four opponents are the Texans, 49ers, Vikings, and Jaguars. He will be fine. It's just worth acknowledging that disastrous games are still in his range of outcomes.

Tight Ends

I typically like to have at least one riser and one faller at each position. The tight end position in 2020 is making that exceedingly difficult. It's just unfathomably bad. Coming into the year, it looked like things would be better because there were so many late round breakout hopefuls. The problem is none of them panned out and the earlier round tight ends are all hurt or busts. Anthony Firkser was the overall TE1 last week. George Kittle and Travis Kelce are smashing and Darren Waller has been reliable. Other than those three, you're just hoping every week. Firkser, Trey Burton, Darren Fells, Adam Shaheen, Logan Thomas, Nick Boyle, and Irv Smith were amongst the TE1s last week. Meanwhile, Tyler Higbee, Zach Ertz, T.J. Hockenson, and Evan Engram have been total busts. Noah Fant and Jonnu Smith are hurt. Mark Andrews has three TE1 games and three complete bust games. At this point, your goal should be to find someone playing snaps and running routes that has a hope of seeing a red zone target or two.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

Six weeks into the season is more than enough time to start drawing conclusions. We have a Mike Evans problem. Although Evans had four consecutive double digit fantasy point efforts sandwiched between Week 1 and Week 6, he's been far worse than that; he just happened to find the end zone in every game of the season prior to last week. Evans has 27 targets across the three games Chris Godwin missed. Evans has 10 targets across the three games Godwin played. That's a trend. That matters. Tom Brady, while still good enough to potentially win a super bowl, is not good enough to carry two WR1s and it looks like Evans is playing second fiddle to Godwin. The touchdown upside remains there, but Evans is going to be extremely volatile going forward.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

Heading into 2019, one of the biggest questions in football was whether JuJu Smith-Schuster could operate as a true WR1 with Antonio Brown gone. Unfortunately, that question was never answered in 2019 because Ben Roethlisberger went down in Week 2 and JuJu dealt with injuries throughout the season well. The question remained heading into 2020. Through six weeks, I'm ready to say JuJu is not WR1 material. Whether it's AB, Diontae Johnson, or Chase Claypool, the answer to who Roethlisberger prioritizes is simply "not JuJu." JuJu now has posted three consecutive games with five targets or fewer and his only two quality fantasy games came in games where he scored. Johnson shouldn't be out much longer and with Claypool's performance, there is now way he's just going back to a rotational role. JuJu may very well be the odd man out here as there's little doubt in my mind he's the third most talented wide receiver on the Steelers.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

There is just no way we can ignore how awful Ezekiel Elliott has played this season. The numbers aren't terrible, but fumbling five times in a season is inexcusable, let alone five times in six games, including two last week. The Cowboys once elite offense is now a joke. Andy Dalton cannot sustain the fantasy values of all three receivers, Dalton Schultz, and Elliott. The player(s) that suffer each week may not be the same, but there will be least one or two odd men out. If not for the fumbles, Zeke would have put up a respectable 12 fantasy points due in large point to Dalton's incompetence resulting in constant checkdowns to Zeke. The running back will be fine, particularly in ppr leagues, but his touchdown upside has been severely hindered. Zeke may be more RB2 than RB1 the rest of the way.



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Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get to those waiver wire lightning round heading into Week 7.

This column is published early every week and then updated on a daily basis. Each day of the week will also yield more in-depth waiver wire analysis for all positions.

Waiver pickups are listed in priority order (in a vacuum) and broken down by position. Players must be rostered in roughly less than 60% of Yahoo leagues and therefore will range from shallow options in standard leagues to deep options in PPR formats.


Running Backs (Priority Order):

Justin Jackson
Boston Scott
Frank Gore
Zack Moss
Joshua Kelley
La'Mical Perine
J.D. McKissic
Royce Freeman
Jamaal Williams
T.J. Yeldon

 

Wide Receivers (Priority Order):

Chase Claypool
Travis Fulgham
Mecole Hardman
Henry Ruggs III
Tee Higgins
Mike Williams
Laviska Shenault Jr.
N'Keal Harry
A.J. Green
James Washington
Marcus Johnson
Adam Humphries
Keelan Cole
Zach Pascal
Tim Patrick
Russell Gage
Preston Williams
Gabriel Davis
Darnell Mooney
Breshad Perriman

 

Tight Ends (Priority Order):

Dallas Goedert
Rob Gronkowski
Austin Hooper
Darren Fells
Logan Thomas
Eric Ebron
Trey Burton
Irv Smith Jr.
Gerald Everett
Jimmy Graham
Cameron Brate

 

Quarterbacks (Priority Order):

Justin Herbert
Andy Dalton
Teddy Bridgewater
Carson Wentz
Baker Mayfield
Daniel Jones
Gardner Minshew II



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Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 7

After the NFL started with a scorching hot offensive showcase, last week was somewhat of a letdown. Many players came back down to earth for the first time this year. From the Tampa Bay defense smothering Aaron Rodgers to the Cardinals overpowering the dwindling Cowboys, something just didn’t feel the same last week. Thankfully, we have some great matchups in week 7 to fix that.

What is usually a tight division rivalry will have a new look this Thursday as both the Giants and the Eagles have multiple offensive injuries. Given the list of notable players above, it is clear that lots of players who are usually buried on the depth chart will have their time to shine this Thursday. Who will be up to the challenge?

It all starts on Thursday night with a division rivalry. Unfortunately, lots of players are injured, but the one thing you can’t take away is how much this game means for both teams. The winner of this game should be first in the division heading into this weekend. With so much on the line, it has to be a good game. Here is your Thursday night preview for Week 7.

 

NYG @ PHI 8:20 pm EST

Notable Injuries

 

Must-Starts

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI): After looking like he should be benched for Jalen Hurts in the first half, Wentz led his team to a 22 point fourth quarter against Baltimore’s stout defense last week. Though the comeback fell short, it was very impressive to see, especially given that prior to this performance, Wentz was commonly seen to be having a “down” year. What many people don’t realize is that he is the QB10 on the year and remains one of the most steady quarterbacks in the NFL.

For the second straight year, the Eagles pass catchers all seem to be getting injured. Thankfully, there is a possibility that Goedert, Jeffery, Jackson, and Reagor all back for this game. If even one of those weapons comes back this week, Wentz is a must-start.

Graham Gano (K, NYG): Yes, Gano makes this section. Currently, he is tied for fourth in field goal attempts, hitting 15 of 16, and has yet to miss an extra point. Rivalries usually bode well for the kickers, and I don’t think this game will be any different. Besides, don’t you remember when Jake Elliott hit that 61 yarder to win the game? It might be time for the Giants to return the favor.

 

Solid Options

Darius Slayton (WR, NYG): It might come as a surprise, but Slayton is currently the WR-20 in Half PPR formats. In the last two games, he has racked up 170 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions. He is proving himself to be the WR-one on this team and is the only real deep threat on the roster. If Shephard comes back, he might see less volume, but I think it is time to give Slayton the respect he deserves and put him in your lineup. Darius Slay returning for the Eagles is the only reason I am placing him outside of the “Must-Start” tier.

Travis Fulgham (WR, PHI): Wow, if Slayton surprised you, just wait for this guy. Travis “Full-Yard” Fulgham was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the 184th pick in 2019. Since then, he has had a nine-day stint with the Packers and joined the Eagles right before this season. With the current state of the Packers’ receivers, maybe they should have looked closer at this guy. Anyways, in Fulgham’s three games played, he is averaging six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.

To put this in perspective, he is currently averaging THE MOST fantasy points per game of all Wide Receivers (18.5). If Jeffery or Jackson come back soon, he may lose some volume, and like Slayton, he’ll have a great corner covering him in James Bradberry. This combination pushes him outside of the “Must Start” options. Even though it’ll seem risky, it’s time we stand in the flames and start him this week as a solid option.

Devonta Freeman (RB, NYG): Full disclosure, I do not think Devonta Freeman looks like a back talented enough to turn down a $4 million contract from Seattle. Having said that, last week Freeman was the only running back on the roster to have a rush attempt. There is no question he is the guy in New York. It is hard to find any back with that kind of workload, and he is going against a defense that is allowing the 12th-most rushing yards per game. I’m giving you the confidence to make him a relative must-start, RB-two/flex play this week. 

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG): I can’t believe I am doing this. Trust me, I don’t want to do this, but Daniel Jones should be in consideration in many 2QB leagues and 12+ team, single QB leagues. Hear me out.

Yes, Jones has yet to crack 18 fantasy points this year. And yes, four of his weeks are under ten points, but I like this matchup. Division game, against a defense that is allowing an average of 355.2 passing yards per game, plus he might get Sterling Shephard back. It might be gross, but the stars are aligning. The hidden gem for me is that Jones currently has the fourth-most rushing yards at the position. That’s only behind Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Cam Newton!

With the rushing floor, the passing volume, and if he can hang onto the ball (big IF) he should have a good week. I would start him over Sam Darnold vs. Buffalo, Drew Lock @Kansas, and Gardner Minshew @LA Chargers.

 

Potential Sleepers

Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG): Shepard looks to return to the field after his three-game absence on the IR. In the one full game we have seen, Shepard brought in 6 receptions for 47 yards. The next week, while only playing 23% of snaps due to injury, he was targeted four times. We’ve seen Jones hyper-target Shepard before, and with Tate disappointing lately, I’d keep my eye on Shepard. 

Evan Engram (TE, NYG): Fun fact: in Engram’s matchups against the Eagles he is averaging 10 targets, 6.5 receptions, and 66 yards. Fantastic. However, it is important to note that he has only played the Eagles twice in his career… and both times were in his rookie season. Ouch. This is the perfect section for Engram because all he has done is sleep. One of my favorite tight ends to draft this season, has shockingly underperformed. I blame a lot of this on the entire team looking horrific, however, you still expect more from the fourth-year tight end.

Given the tight end landscape, if you are looking to move away from Engram and stream the position, I’m going to encourage you not to. I would rather play Engram with his talent and his 17.4% target share over players like Eric Ebron, Trey Burton, and Logan Thomas this week. 

Since I’m already in the flames, I might as well start playing with fire. I’d like to make Engram my Pie Shop call for this week. The Eagles have allowed six touchdowns in six weeks to the tight end position, making this Engram’s best chance to get his first receiving touchdown of the season.

*Pie Shop: An Australian term (usually used in Rugby League) to describe who will score a Try (or in this case touchdown) this week.

 

Consider Sitting

Boston Scott (RB, PHI): This might surprise some people, especially with Miles Sanders out, all the FAAB that was spent, and the fact that we know Scott is the next man up. Although he hasn’t shown much this year, he did end last year on a 33.8 fantasy game without Sanders. I’m not saying this can’t happen again, as he should get the majority of the work for a team that is 12th in rushing yards per game. However, if there is one bright spot on the Giants’ defense, it’s their defensive line. Despite trailing in almost every game they’ve played, they are currently allowing the eighth fewest rushing yards against.

I suspect this to be a tight game and for Corey Clement to get some work as well. Thankfully Scott should receive all the passing work making him game-script proof. I believe he will be a fine volume flex-play in any PPR format, but I am placing him in the “sit” section to warn people he might not have been worth the FAAB this week.

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI): Before you read any further, as of this writing Goedert is still questionable to play. If he does, most people will think he is a smash-play. However, I think there’s something else going on with the Eagles.

Yes, Ertz looks like his age has caught up to him over the last few weeks. Plus, there is a world where Goedert explodes and takes the job in his absence, but I just don’t think it will be this week. I say that for two reasons. One, if he still hasn’t been cleared for the game and it’s Wednesday, we can almost guarantee he won’t be 100% healthy. Secondly, say what you will about Ertz being washed, but you can’t take away the fact he is the TE22 on the season. To me, that says more about the system than just Ertz’s ability. I’m thinking there is something else going on in Philly and that “role” isn’t the same this year.

The last deal-breaker for me is that the Giants have only allowed one touchdown to the tight end position all season. Pair that with him not being fully healthy, and I just don’t trust it. This goes for any other Eagles tight ends that are playing this week.  If you are a Goedert manager, there is reason to be excited if he heals up for next week against the dejected Cowboys Defense.

Corey Clement (RB, PHI): If I am not recommending Scott, there is no way I am putting faith in Clement. Corey Clement has proven himself to be a serviceable backup over the last few years. However, we don’t know what this backfield will look like, nor have we really seen Clement play this year. You can’t start this man. 

Golden Tate (WR, NYG): 3.8 receptions, 31.2 yards, and zero touchdowns is what Golden Tate is averaging a game this season. I’ll let you make the call here. 

Any Other Philadelphia Wide Receivers: Whether it’s Jeffery, Jackson, or Reagor, you need to be cautious with all of them - I would need to be blown away by a practice report in order to consider playing them. But I’ll warn you, you can’t win your matchup on Thursday, but you can definitely lose it.

 

There are some rivalries that always manage to end up in tight games and this is one of them. I think the Giants hang around in this game, and I expect both offenses to produce.

Here are my picks: Giants +4.5 (2-4), Over 43.5 (2-4)



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Updated Week 6 PPR Rankings (Top 400)

Welcome to Week 6 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 6 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates:

These rankings are a consensus from four of our lead fantasy football columnists - Nick MarianoPierre Camus, Brandon Murchison, Scott Engel, and Dominick Petrillo - who have all analyzed the NFL matchups and game slates for Week 6.

And in case you weren't aware, our very own Nick Mariano was ranked #11 overall in 2018 out of ~120 industry experts, and was ranked #9 overall the year before. So be sure to follow his rankings every week!

 

Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings (PPR)

You can also see our Week 6 ranks for Half-PPR and Standard scoring.

Note that quarterbacks, defenses and kickers are all grouped separately towards the bottom. Each of those positions is ranked on their own. This is to allow owners to compare running backs, wide receivers and tight ends for their FLEX spot (without seeing QB, DEF, K mixed in).

Last updated on Sunday 10/18 at 9:00 am ET:

Tier Rank Player Name Pos
1 1 Ezekiel Elliott RB
1 2 DeAndre Hopkins WR
1 3 Adam Thielen WR
1 4 Derrick Henry RB
1 5 Davante Adams WR
1 6 Tyreek Hill WR
1 7 Mike Davis RB
1 8 Alexander Mattison RB
1 9 James Robinson RB
2 10 Aaron Jones RB
2 11 Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB
2 12 Stefon Diggs WR
2 13 Jonathan Taylor RB
2 14 Allen Robinson II WR
2 15 Calvin Ridley WR
2 16 Kareem Hunt RB
2 17 Kenny Golladay WR
3 18 Miles Sanders RB
3 19 James Conner RB
3 20 David Montgomery RB
3 21 Travis Kelce TE
3 22 Robert Woods WR
3 23 Todd Gurley II RB
3 24 Mike Evans WR
3 25 George Kittle TE
3 26 Raheem Mostert RB
3 27 Joe Mixon RB
3 28 CeeDee Lamb WR
3 29 A.J. Brown WR
3 30 Cooper Kupp WR
3 31 Ronald Jones II RB
3 32 DeVante Parker WR
3 33 Amari Cooper WR
3 34 Antonio Gibson RB
3 35 Will Fuller V WR
3 36 Robby Anderson WR
3 37 Justin Jefferson WR
4 38 JuJu Smith-Schuster WR
4 39 Terry McLaurin WR
4 40 Myles Gaskin RB
4 41 Odell Beckham Jr. WR
4 42 Mark Andrews TE
4 43 Devin Singletary RB
4 44 Marquise Brown WR
4 45 David Johnson RB
4 46 Jamison Crowder WR
4 47 Tyler Boyd WR
4 48 D.J. Moore WR
4 49 Kenyan Drake RB
4 50 Darius Slayton WR
4 51 Jonnu Smith TE
5 52 D.J. Chark Jr. WR
5 53 Chris Godwin WR
5 54 Chase Claypool WR
5 55 Laviska Shenault Jr. WR
5 56 Julio Jones WR
5 57 T.Y. Hilton WR
5 58 Jarvis Landry WR
5 59 Brandin Cooks WR
5 60 Devonta Freeman RB
5 61 Julian Edelman WR
5 62 Chase Edmonds RB
5 63 Darrell Henderson RB
5 64 Tee Higgins WR
5 65 Mecole Hardman WR
5 66 Michael Gallup WR
5 67 Mark Ingram II RB
5 68 Deebo Samuel WR
5 69 Evan Engram TE
5 70 Christian Kirk WR
5 71 Phillip Lindsay RB
5 72 T.J. Hockenson TE
5 73 Travis Fulgham WR
5 74 Mike Gesicki TE
6 75 Golden Tate WR
6 76 Jerry Jeudy WR
6 77 John Brown WR
6 78 Preston Williams WR
6 79 Robert Tonyan TE
6 80 Brandon Aiyuk WR
6 81 Keelan Cole WR
6 82 Russell Gage WR
6 83 Adrian Peterson RB
6 84 Dalton Schultz TE
6 85 Marvin Jones Jr. WR
6 86 Curtis Samuel WR
6 87 Cole Beasley WR
6 88 Zach Ertz TE
7 89 James White RB
7 90 Randall Cobb WR
7 91 Nyheim Hines RB
7 92 Eric Ebron TE
7 93 Tyler Higbee TE
7 94 Austin Hooper TE
7 95 N'Keal Harry WR
7 96 Greg Ward WR
7 97 Scotty Miller WR
7 98 Damien Harris RB
7 99 Cam Akers RB
7 100 Anthony Miller WR
7 101 James Washington WR
7 102 Zach Pascal WR
7 103 Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR
7 104 Tim Patrick WR
7 105 Demarcus Robinson WR
7 106 Hayden Hurst TE
7 107 Duke Johnson Jr. RB
7 108 J.K. Dobbins RB
7 109 Larry Fitzgerald WR
7 110 Frank Gore RB
7 111 A.J. Green WR
8 112 Jimmy Graham TE
8 113 Jerick McKinnon RB
8 114 Andy Isabella WR
8 115 Darnell Mooney WR
8 116 Gabriel Davis WR
8 117 J.D. McKissic RB
8 118 Kendrick Bourne WR
8 119 Damiere Byrd WR
8 120 Irv Smith Jr. TE
8 121 Rex Burkhead RB
8 122 Chris Conley WR
8 123 D'Andre Swift RB
8 124 Olamide Zaccheaus RB
8 125 Jeff Smith WR
8 126 Adam Humphries WR
8 127 Cordarrelle Patterson WR
8 128 Malcolm Brown RB
8 129 Danny Amendola WR
8 130 Miles Boykin WR
8 131 D'Ernest Johnson RB
8 132 Darren Fells TE
9 133 Isaiah Ford WR
9 134 Josh Reynolds WR
9 135 Logan Thomas TE
9 136 Tyler Eifert TE
9 137 Dontrelle Inman WR
9 138 Drew Sample TE
9 139 Rob Gronkowski TE
9 140 Leonard Fournette RB
9 141 Willie Snead IV WR
9 142 Zack Moss RB
9 143 Gus Edwards RB
9 144 Kenny Stills WR
9 145 Brian Hill RB
9 146 Trey Burton TE
9 147 Tony Pollard RB
9 148 John Hightower WR
9 149 Jamaal Williams RB
9 150 Chris Thompson RB
9 151 Lamical Perine RB
9 152 Tyler Johnson WR
9 153 Giovani Bernard RB
10 154 Cedrick Wilson WR
10 155 Kalif Raymond WR
10 156 Ian Thomas TE
10 157 Cameron Brate TE
10 158 Isaiah Wright WR
10 159 Breshad Perriman WR
10 160 Devin Duvernay WR
10 161 Braxton Berrios WR
10 162 Jack Doyle TE
10 163 Kyle Rudolph TE
10 164 Wayne Gallman RB
10 165 Byron Pringle WR
10 166 Dion Lewis RB
10 167 Chris Herndon IV TE
10 168 Darrel Williams RB
10 169 DaeSean Hamilton WR
10 170 Gerald Everett TE
11 171 Matt Breida RB
11 172 Van Jefferson WR
11 173 Collin Johnson WR
11 174 Boston Scott RB
11 175 Marcus Johnson WR
11 176 OlaBisi Johnson WR
11 177 Mike Boone RB
11 178 Auden Tate WR
11 179 Ke'Shawn Vaughn RB
11 180 Rashard Higgins WR
11 181 Dan Arnold TE
11 182 Dawson Knox TE
11 183 David Njoku TE
11 184 Mike Thomas WR
11 185 Darrius Shepherd WR
11 186 Jakeem Grant WR
11 187 Tyler Kroft TE
11 188 Ito Smith RB
11 189 Benny Snell Jr. RB
11 190 Nick Vannett TE
11 191 Royce Freeman RB
11 192 James O'Shaughnessy TE
11 193 Jordan Wilkins RB
11 194 Kerryon Johnson RB
11 195 Anthony McFarland Jr. RB
12 196 Nick Boyle TE
12 197 Jeff Wilson Jr. RB
12 198 Sterling Shepard WR
12 199 Kyle Juszczyk RB
12 200 Anthony Firkser TE
12 201 C.J. Board WR
12 202 Jake Butt TE
12 203 Chad Beebe WR
12 204 Ryan Izzo TE
12 205 Trent Taylor WR
12 206 Dante Pettis WR
12 207 Isaiah McKenzie WR
12 208 Vance McDonald TE
12 209 Peyton Barber RB
12 210 Damion Ratley WR
12 211 T.J. Yeldon RB
12 212 Ashton Dulin WR
12 213 Daurice Fountain WR
12 214 Darrynton Evans RB
12 215 Darwin Thompson RB
12 216 Jeremy McNichols RB
13 217 Marcedes Lewis TE
13 218 Christian Blake WR
13 219 Justin Watson WR
13 220 Jakobi Meyers WR
13 221 Richard Rodgers TE
13 222 Ryan Griffin TE
13 223 Jace Sternberger TE
13 224 Dontrell Hilliard RB
13 225 Tyler Ervin RB
13 226 Noah Brown WR
13 227 Trenton Cannon RB
13 228 Darrell Daniels TE
13 229 JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR
13 230 Harrison Bryant TE
13 231 Kaden Smith TE
13 232 Jaylen Samuels RB
13 233 Antonio Gandy-Golden WR
13 234 C.J. Ham RB
13 235 AJ Dillon RB
13 236 Ty Johnson RB
13 237 Adam Shaheen TE
13 238 Corey Clement RB
13 239 Pharaoh Brown TE
13 240 Demetrius Harris TE
13 241 Albert Okwuegbunam TE
13 242 Dare Ogunbowale RB
13 243 Alex Armah RB
13 244 Jordan Howard RB
13 245 Marvin Hall WR
13 246 Chris Manhertz TE
13 247 Lynn Bowden Jr. RB
13 248 Ryan Nall RB
14 249 KeeSean Johnson WR
14 250 Ameer Abdullah RB
14 251 Jaydon Mickens WR
14 252 Ryquell Armstead RB
14 253 Javon Wims WR
14 254 Gunner Olszewski WR
14 255 JaMycal Hasty RB
14 256 Jesse James TE
14 257 Josh Adams RB
14 258 Patrick Laird RB
14 259 Jason Huntley RB
14 260 DeAndre Washington RB
14 261 Tanner Hudson TE
14 262 Buddy Howell RB
14 263 Eno Benjamin RB
14 264 Cole Kmet TE
14 265 Andy Janovich RB
14 266 Lee Smith TE
14 267 Patrick Ricard RB
14 268 C.J. Prosise RB
15 269 Taywan Taylor WR
15 270 J.J. Taylor RB
15 271 Riley Ridley WR
15 272 Jakob Johnson RB
15 273 Justice Hill RB
15 274 Blake Bell TE
15 275 Qadree Ollison RB
15 276 Cethan Carter TE
15 277 MyCole Pruitt TE
15 278 Durham Smythe TE
15 279 Patrick Mahomes II QB
15 280 Kyler Murray QB
15 281 Trayveon Williams RB
15 282 Josh Allen QB
15 283 Luke Stocker TE
15 284 Devin Asiasi TE
15 285 Aaron Rodgers QB
15 286 Lamar Jackson QB
15 287 Deshaun Watson QB
15 288 Cyril Grayson Jr. WR
15 289 Ross Dwelley TE
15 290 Ben Roethlisberger QB
15 291 Matthew Stafford QB
15 292 Ryan Fitzpatrick QB
15 293 Kirk Cousins QB
15 294 Nick Keizer TE
15 295 Cam Newton QB
15 296 Brandon Powell WR
15 297 Gardner Minshew II QB
15 298 Ryan Tannehill QB
15 299 Tom Brady QB
15 300 Jared Goff QB
15 301 Tyler Conklin TE
15 302 Matt Ryan QB
15 303 Andy Dalton QB
15 304 Trevon Wesco TE
15 305 Joe Burrow QB
15 306 Teddy Bridgewater QB
15 307 Daniel Jones QB
15 308 Quintez Cephus WR
15 309 Trent Sherfield WR
15 310 Carson Wentz QB
15 311 Nick Mullens QB
15 312 Steven Mitchell Jr. WR
16 313 Nick Foles QB
16 314 Baker Mayfield QB
16 315 Philip Rivers QB
16 316 Cam Sims WR
16 317 Jimmy Garoppolo QB
16 318 Kyle Allen QB
16 319 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR
16 320 Deon Cain WR
16 321 Alex Erickson WR
16 322 Joe Flacco QB
16 323 Drew Lock QB
16 324 Jaeden Graham TE
16 325 Jeremy Sprinkle TE
16 326 Levine Toilolo TE
16 327 Jalen Hurts QB
16 328 Marcus Baugh TE
16 329 Brett Rypien QB
16 330 Justin Tucker K
16 331 C.J. Beathard QB
16 332 Deon Yelder TE
16 333 Harrison Butker K
16 334 Zane Gonzalez K
16 335 Greg Zuerlein K
16 336 Rodrigo Blankenship K
16 337 Johnny Mundt TE
16 338 Stephen Gostkowski K
16 339 Matt Prater K
16 340 Mason Crosby K
16 341 Aldrick Rosas K
16 342 Dan Bailey K
16 343 Joey Slye K
16 344 Jason Sanders K
16 345 Chris Boswell K
17 346 Younghoe Koo K
17 347 Jarrett Stidham QB
17 348 Robbie Gould K
17 349 Nick Folk K
17 350 Alex Smith QB
17 351 Sam Sloman K
17 352 Ka'imi Fairbairn K
17 353 Ryan Succop K
17 354 Graham Gano K
17 355 Tyler Bass K
17 356 Cody Parkey K
17 357 Randy Bullock K
17 358 Jake Elliott K
17 359 Cairo Santos K
17 360 Sam Ficken K
17 361 Dustin Hopkins K
17 362 Brandon McManus K
17 363 Baltimore Ravens DST
17 364 Indianapolis Colts DST
17 365 New England Patriots DST
17 366 Los Angeles Rams DST
17 367 Miami Dolphins DST
17 368 Pittsburgh Steelers DST
17 369 Washington Football Team DST
17 370 New York Giants DST
17 371 Chicago Bears DST
17 372 Kansas City Chiefs DST
17 373 Carolina Panthers DST
17 374 Tennessee Titans DST
17 375 San Francisco 49ers DST
17 376 Arizona Cardinals DST
17 377 Green Bay Packers DST
17 378 Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST
17 379 Cincinnati Bengals DST
17 380 Minnesota Vikings DST
17 381 Cleveland Browns DST
17 382 New York Jets DST
17 383 Detroit Lions DST
17 384 Denver Broncos DST
17 385 Buffalo Bills DST
17 386 Dallas Cowboys DST
17 387 Philadelphia Eagles DST
17 388 Jacksonville Jaguars DST
17 389 Houston Texans DST
17 390 Atlanta Falcons DST


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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 6

Welcome to Week 6, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight choices and players to go with or consider avoiding when faced with tough lineup decisions in Week 6 of the fantasy football season.

These choices are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a 10% discount and get access to all of my ranks in all formats, plus a full roster of tools and analysis for the entire 2020 season.

Skill position picks here are based on PPR ranks.

 

Week 6 RB Spotlight Options

Jonathan Taylor; He is tied for the lead among rookies with 3 rushing TDs and ranks 3rd with 307 rush yards this season. Taylor only has a long run of 16 yards  and has not shown much ability to create extra running room or big plays. If he doesn’t have his best game yet this week vs. Cincinnati, you may have to think about trading him if your fantasy team is not above .500. He eventually may display more upside, and is a must-start RB2 this week, but he needs to show us more soon.

Phillip Lindsay/Royce Freeman: Here is an interesting tweet from my friend and one of my favorite fantasy analysts nowadays, Jacob Gibbs of SportsLine. It reminds us that the Broncos have never been fully trustworthy of Phillip Lindsay. So if you are desperate for an RB option this week, expect Royce Freeman to get in he mix for Denver. New England is fifth-best in Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to RBs, so neither is an ideal option, yet you can still get enough from Lindsay to use him as a flex option and hope for close to 10 points for Freeman. With injuries and bye weeks forcing us to go deep, you have to look for potential volume over matchups in many cases.

La'Mical Perine: If you have a pressing need at the RB2 spot this week, you can consider Jets rookie La’Mical Perine. The frequently misguided Adam Gase has indicated he cannot expect to heavily lean on a 37 year-old Frank Gore with Le’Veon Bell gone. But Gase has proven he will often forgo the best apparent route of potential success. So a time share between Gore and Perine is very possible. Yet Perine may get enough touches to ably plug your flex or gaping RB2 hole this week, and even Gase can likely see that Gore has no goal-line potential anymore. No matter their record, the Jets always play Miami tough, so you may be able to get a decent amount of Fantasy output from Perine this week.

Darrell Henderson/Cam Akers; Henderson has 4 TDs in his past 3 games on the road. Cam Akers had a career-high 61 rush yards last week. Henderson has earned more playing time than expected, but Akers was drafted to play a significant role in the Rams offense. This backfield situation has the look of an emerging time share. San Francisco is an obviously challenging matchup, but Henderson remains in play as a low-end RB2 with better TD potential for now and Akers may get enough quality touches to consider him as a desperation play.

 

Week 6 WR Spotlight Options

Brandin Cooks: The suddenly resurgent Cooks led the Texans with eight catches for 161 yards and a TD in Week 5.  With Bill O’Brien gone, and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly free to operate the offense as he sees fit, Cooks re-emerged in the form we have often seen in the past. The Titans rank 24th vs. WRs, so Cooks has a better matchup than you may anticipate, and he is a quality fantasy WR3 play in Week 6.

Travis Fulgham: He set career highs with 10 receptions for 152 yards and had his second career TD catch in Week 5. The matchup looks very unfriendly vs. the Ravens this week, but again, we are looking for potential volume over matchups right now. Fulgham has already won the trust of Carson Wentz by making big plays and showing the willingness to battle for tough catches. He can be a worthy flex or deep WR play if you are thin at either position this week.

Preston Williams: The second-year man had four catches for a team-high 106 yards and TD last week. He has a TD catch in 2 of his past 3 games.  Williams seems to be finally getting close to his pre-injury form of his rookie year, when he was a very pleasant fantasy surprise. Expect another TD catch vs. the Jets this week. Isaiah Ford is also worthy of desperation consideration because of the matchup with the Jets.

Mecole Hardman: There is a lot of Hardman fantasy love going around this week with Sammy Watkins out. I can see starting him if you have a very pressing need at WR or the flex spot. But I would certainly not use him over a more reliable or proven option. Hardman has yet to show he can be reliable, even when Watkins has been hurt or simply not performing as hoped. While Watkins dealt with injuries for a three-game stretch last year, Hardman had receiving lines of 4-79, 4-45 and 2-28 with a TD. He has not yet proved that he can turn increased opportunities into more upside.  I am not saying a good outing cannot happen, but I need to see it first before I consider Hardman as anything more than a deeper streamer.

 

Week 6 QB Spotlight Options

Matthew Stafford:  He has two or more TD passes in his past three road games. We have not seen his best fantasy game yet this season, and Kenny Golladay is healthy after getting the bye week for extra rest from an earlier injury. The Jaguars are 25th in Fantasy Points Per Game Allowed to QBs, so he is a good streaming option, especially if you have Russell Wilson, Drew Brees or Justin Herbert unavailable this week.

Kirk Cousins: I expect the Vikings to continue to lean more on the run, because that is who they are. I don’t have Cousins ranked inside the Top 15 even while facing Atlanta. Cousins ranks 24th in completions and 20th in passing yards. I would not be surprised to see two-plus TD passes, but I am not expecting a 300-yard game, either. He is a respectable streamer, yet I am not expecting too much upside.

 

Week 6 TE Spotlight Options

Eric Ebron: Ebron has caught TD passes in two consecutive games. With JuJu Smith-Schuster underperforming, Diontae Johnson out and Chase Claypool sure to draw more defensive attention this week, Ebron will have opportunities to make more key plays for the Steelers in a big AFC North showdown with the upstart Browns. Cleveland is also 27th in FFPG allowed to TEs.

Robert Tonyan: When Tonyan caught three TD passes in Week 4, he became the first Green Bay TE since 2011 to pull off the feat (remember Jermichael Finley?) You may be wondering if Tonyan is going to be here today, gone tomorrow. I say he is here to stay as a quality fantasy option. There was much internal and inner circle chatter about Tonyan in the preseason. He worked out with George Kittle in the offseason and Green Bay does not have a dependable pass-catcher outside of Davante Adams. TE is extra-thin with Darren Waller, Hunter Henry and Jared Cook off this week. Tonyan is a top 5 play in Week 6 regardless of matchup.



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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 6

Hi, y'all! Five weeks of NFL action are in the books and we're moving on to another. Welcome to our Week 6 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. Each week we'll be analyzing every game from the Sunday slate, helping you optimize your fantasy lineups and take down your opponent. Be sure to check back regularly for any updates on player injuries or other pertinent information.

Frank Ammirante will start off by covering the first set of games that begin at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, and Justin Carter will take you home with his analysis of the late afternoon and evening games. You can also read about the Cardinals vs Cowboys and Chiefs vs Bills Monday Night Football matchups. Let's help guide you to that Week 6 victory!

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ and @juscarts and feel free to ask away. Let's get on to the matchups!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

Matchups We Love:

David Montgomery (RB, CHI)

The Carolina Panthers have established themselves as a run-funnel defense, allowing the most PPR PPG to running backs. Last week, Todd Gurley ran for 121 yards and one touchdown on 14 attempts, while catching 4-of-5 targets for 29 yards. David Montgomery has received bell-cow usage since Tarik Cohen's injury, so this is a potential RB1 spot for the sophomore back.

Mike Davis (RB, CAR)

Mike Davis has put up elite RB1 numbers while filling in for Christian McCaffrey. Davis takes on a Bears Defense that just allowed Ronald Jones to rush for 106 yards on 17 attempts, so this is not a matchup to avoid, especially for one of the hottest backs in football. Enjoy the RB1 production because this could be the last week before CMC returns.

Matchups We Hate:

Jimmy Graham (TE, CHI)

The Panthers have allowed the 10th-fewest points to tight ends. Last week, this defense shut down Hayden Hurst, limiting him to only 2 catches for 8 yards. Jimmy Graham is a touchdown-dependent streamer with Nick Foles under center, so you can avoid him in this tough matchup.

Teddy Bridgewater (QB, CAR)

Bridgewater takes on a Bears defense that limited Tom Brady to 253 yards on 41 attempts (6.2 yards per attempt) last week. The Bears defense is tied for 1st in PPG to quarterbacks, so this is a matchup to avoid. Expect the Panthers to lean more on check-downs to Mike Davis in this one, which caps Bridgewater's upside.

Other Matchups:

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI)

Robinson is now a clear-cut WR1 with Nick Foles, totaling 39 targets in the last three games, but this is a tough matchup. The Panthers have allowed the sixth-fewest PPR PPG to wide receivers. The high volume keeps Robinson on the WR1 radar, but he's more of a floor play this week.

Robby Anderson (WR, CAR) & D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

Anderson has become Bridgewater's favorite option in the passing game, while Moore has become more of a deep-threat in this offense. The Bears have allowed the third-fewest PPR PPG to wide receivers, so Anderson is the preferred choice since he's getting more of the targets. Consider Anderson as the low-end WR2 with Moore as an upside WR3.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Matchups We Love:

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE) & Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

The Steelers are tied for 27th with the most PPR PPG allowed to wide receivers. This defense just allowed Travis Fulgham to go off for 10 receptions, 152 yards, and a touchdown. One of these Browns receivers should be able to get loose against this Steelers secondary. OBJ (17 targets in last two games) and Landry (15 targets in last two games) are starting to get more looks and this is a great spot for them.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)

Big Ben has quietly been rock-solid so far this season, with two top-12 finishes in his four games (both as QB11). The Browns rank 28th in PPG to quarterbacks, so this is an exploitable matchup at home. This should be a close game with shootout potential (51-point total), so fire up Roethlisberger.

Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT), JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT), & Chase Claypool (WR, PIT)

The Browns rank 31st in PPR PPG to wide receivers, so this is a great spot here. Diontae Johnson missed practice on Wednesday, so if he were to miss this game, Claypool and JuJu would be strong options. Claypool is coming off a monster game, but we could see the Steelers try to get JuJu more involved this week (only 10 targets in last two games). JuJu mostly lines up in the slot and the Browns allowed CeeDee Lamb (5 receptions for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns) to have a big game against them. Consider Claypool an upside WR3 with JuJu as a low-end WR2.

Matchups We Hate:

Kareem Hunt (RB, CLE)

Hunt remains an RB1 in this one, but he's more of a floor play against a Steelers Defense that has allowed the third-fewest PPR PPG to running backs. Hunt will need to do more work in the passing game in order to reach his ceiling in this game, so I'd temper your expectations here.

Austin Hooper (TE, CLE)

I expect the Browns to funnel targets to their wide receivers in this one, as the Steelers have been stout against tight ends, allowing the 8th-fewest PPR PPG to the position on the season. While Hooper has seen his role increased in recent weeks (17 targets in last two games), this is a matchup to avoid - the Steelers just limited Zach Ertz to one reception for 6 yards.

James Conner (RB, PIT)

The Browns have been stout against the run, limiting opposing rushers to 3.70 yards per carry (6th in NFL). I expect the Steelers to air it out in this one, so Conner will need to find the endzone in order to have a big game here. Consider Conner a volume-based RB2 in this game.

Other Matchups:

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

Mayfield could have one of his better games of the season in this potential shootout, but it's hard to love him as a streamer because he's been mediocre this year - four of his five games have been under 7.0 yards per attempt. While I don't hate this play because I like the outlook for the wide receivers, I'm not excited about it either.

 

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings

Matchups We Love:

Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL) & Julio Jones

Ridley is in a great spot against a Vikings Defense that is tied for the fifth-most PPR PPG to wide receivers. You can toss the goose egg against the Packers out of the window because Ridley was banged-up in that game. Julio Jones returns to the lineup just in time for this great matchup. He's no longer on the injury report, so you should have no reservations about playing him this week. Both Falcons receivers are WR1s.

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Cousins has disappointed in recent smash spots against the Seahawks and Texans, but he gets another strong matchup here against a Falcons Defense allowing 8.47 yards per attempt (31st in NFL). Expect Atlanta to play well following Dan Quinn's firing, so this has the chance to be a close game with a lot of fireworks. Cousins is firmly on the streaming radar.

Alexander Mattison (RB, MIN)

Mattison will get bell-cow usage with the absence of Dalvin Cook. The Falcons rank 25th in PPR PPG allowed to running backs, so this is a terrific spot for Mattison to excel. The sophomore back was impressive last week while filling in for Cook, totaling 136 yards from scrimmage on 23 touches. Consider Mattison an upside RB2 here.

UPDATE: Dalvin Cook has officially been ruled out for Week 6.

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN) & Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Thielen is an elite WR1 who leads the NFL in target share, while Jefferson is one of the more impressive rookie wide receivers in the NFL. Both are in great spots against the Falcons, who rank 24th in PPR PPG allowed to wide receivers. Jefferson is coming off a slow week (3 catches for 23 yards), so we could see the Vikings get him more involved here. Consider Thielen a top-3 WR1 and Jefferson as an upside WR3.

Matchups We Hate:

Hayden Hurst (TE, ATL)

Hurst has been pretty disappointing this year, especially lately, as he's totaled a combined seven receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown in his past three games. He takes on a Vikings defense that has been solid against the tight end, ranking 13th in PPR PPG. Look elsewhere at tight end this week.

Other Matchups:

Irv Smith Jr. (TE, MIN)

Smith finally got involved in the offense last week, posting season-highs in targets (5), receptions (4), and yards (64) against the Seahawks. He gets a terrific matchup against a Falcons defense that is allowing the second-most PPR PPG to tight ends. Smith is a great streamer or DFS tournament play this week.

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)

Ryan has a good matchup here, as the Vikings have allowed 8.28 yards per attempt (29th in NFL), but it's hard to love him without Julio Jones in the lineup. If Julio were to play this week, you can fire up Ryan as a low-end QB1, as he would be a play that I love. Monitor the practice reports before deciding on Ryan.

Todd Gurley (RB, ATL)

Gurley is rolling right now, with four touchdowns in his last three games. He has a good chance to keep it going against a Vikings defense that is tied for 17th in PPR PPG allowed to running backs. Gurley doesn't get enough volume for me to love him this week (18 touches or less in four of five games this year), but he's still a solid RB2.

 

Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles

Matchups We Love:

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

Andrews gets a great matchup against an Eagles Defense that has allowed the fourth-most PPR PPG to tight ends this season. George Kittle exploded for 15 receptions, 183 yards, and a touchdown against this defense, so we could see Andrews have a ceiling game here.

Miles Sanders (RB, PHI)

Sanders has become a true bell-cow in this offense (18.25 touches per game).  This was a tough matchup: the Ravens are allowing only 3.96 yards per carry as well as the fifth-fewest PPR PPG to running backs - but DT Brandon Williams, the team's best run-stopper, is OUT for this game. The Ravens Defense has been much worse against the run without Williams in the lineup, allowing 4.6 yards per carry.

Matchups We Hate:

Mark Ingram II (RB, BAL), Gus Edwards (RB, BAL), & J.K. Dobbins (RB, BAL)

This Ravens backfield has become the easiest avoid in fantasy football, as it's a three-man committee where each back eats into each other's value. It's really surprising to see how sparsely used Dobbins has become (1 attempt last week). Until there is more clarity here, you can't play any of them, especially against an Eagles defense that ranks 8th in PPR PPG to running backs.

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI) & Travis Fulgham (WR, PHI)

Wentz has a new favorite target on the perimeter, as Fulgham has caught touchdowns in consecutive weeks, including an impressive performance against the Steelers last week, where he put up 10 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens just totally shut down the Bengals offense - Joe Burrow threw for 183 yards on 6.1 yards per attempt - so this is a really tough matchup. Look elsewhere at quarterback and wide receiver.

Other Matchups:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

It's concerning to look at Jackson's struggles through the air (51.4% completion rate last week). It's even more worrying to see his rushing volume: only two attempts last week. This is likely because Lamar is banged-up right now with some knee issues, so hopefully, he can get back on track following next week's bye. For this week, temper your expectations against an Eagles defense that ranks 10th in PPR PPG to quarterbacks.

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL)

Hollywood Brown is getting WR1 volume: 26.87% target share (13th in NFL) and 603 air yards (5th in NFL), but he'll likely be matched up with Darius Slay this week, which caps Brown's upside. While Claypool blew up against this Eagles secondary last week, he did so as the perceived number-two option at wide receiver - that won't be the case with Brown.

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)

Ertz has been an after-thought in this passing game, combining for only five receptions for 15 yards in the last two games. I expect the Eagles to make an effort to get their star tight end more involved against a Ravens Defense that has been exploitable for tight ends (19th in NFL in PPR PPG).

 

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts

Matchups We Love:

Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND)

Taylor has been a disappointment - many believed that he was ready to produce at an elite RB1 level following the season-ending injury to Marlon Mack - but he gets a great matchup here. The Bengals Defense is allowing 5.26 yards per attempt (30th in NFL) this season. This is a positive game-script for Taylor, as the Colts are home favorites in a game where they can control possession. Taylor has a great chance at a ceiling game this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN), Tyler Boyd (WR, CIN), & Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

The Colts Defense has established themselves as one of the best in the NFL this season. They are tied for the fewest PPG allowed to quarterbacks and rank 7th to wide receivers. I expect Burrow to be under duress for much of this game, as the Colts rank 15th in pass-rush win-rate, while the Bengals are 31st in pass-block win-rate. Expect more check-downs to Boyd, who looks like a low-upside WR3. Higgins is a player to avoid this week entirely.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

The Bengals defense has been solid against the pass, limiting wide receivers to only 34.4 PPR PPG (11th in NFL). Hilton has been held under 70 yards in every game this season, as it's clear that veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is no longer the player he once was. Consider Hilton a low upside WR4 in this struggling offense. Expect the Colts to establish their running game in this one.

Other Matchups:

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

Mixon has become an absolute bell-cow in this offense over the last week, averaging 30.5 touches per game over the last two weeks. What's most encouraging is that Mixon has caught 12-of-14 targets during that span, so he's starting to be used more in the passing game. While Mixon has a tough matchup against a Colts defense allowing the second-fewest PPR PPG to running backs, the high volume keeps him as a floor play.

 

Washington Football Team at New York Giants

Matchups We Love:

Evan Engram (TE, NYG)

Engram has been misused by new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who has opted to deploy the talented tight end in curl routes rather than downfield targets in the seam. Hopefully, Garrett comes to his senses soon because he's wasting Engram's talent. Engram has a great matchup against a Washington defense that ranks 27th in PPR PPG to tight ends. He's the top option in this Giants passing game this week.

Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)

Gibson is in a bounce-back spot against a Giants Defense that is tied for 20th in PPR PPG to running backs. With Bradberry likely causing issues for McLaurin on the perimeter, Gibson might be the best option for Washington to score points in this game. While it was nice to see Alex Smith back under center last week, he struggled in his return, so we'll likely see improvement with Kyle Allen back in the fold. Expect to see a few more check-down passes to this dynamic rookie this week. Brandon Scherff, Washington's best o-lineman, is back for this game, which bodes well for Gibson.

Matchups We Hate:

Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS)

McLaurin is the clear-cut number-one wide receiver on this team, but he has a tough matchup against cornerback James Bradberry, who just locked down Amari Cooper, limiting him to 2 receptions for 23 yards. This Washington offense is a mess right now, so it's best to look elsewhere this week. Consider McLaurin as more of a WR3 in this game.

Darius Slayton (WR, NYG), Golden Tate (WR, NYG)

Washington's defense ranks 4th in PPR PPG allowed to wide receivers, so this is a tough matchup for this Giants pass-catchers. Slayton is coming off a big game against the Cowboys (8 receptions for 129 yards) but it's hard to be too excited here. This Washington pass-rush could cause problems for Daniel Jones and his receivers, so consider Slayton as a WR3 with Tate as a WR4.

 


Hi, Justin taking over now. Thanks, Frank!

 

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

COVID List?

Let's get this out of the way first. Corey Davis and Adam Humphries are currently on the COVID list. If they stay on it, they won't play. For now, we're pretending they won't be available, but will update if things change.

UPDATE: Adam Humphries has officially been activated from the COVID-19 list.

Matchups We Love:

Ryan Tannehill (QB, TEN)

Even if the Texans haven't been terrible against opposing quarterbacks, I think we still have to consider Tannehill to be among the best plays of the group of quarterbacks who aren't universally considered QB1s. Even with multiple key receivers missing last week against Buffalo, Tannehill threw three touchdown passes, though only finished with 195 yards. Tannehill's efficiency gives him a high floor, though, and he should be considered a strong QB2 play this week.

David Johnson (RB, HOU)

The Texans gave David Johnson a season-high 17 carries in the first game of the post-Bill O'Brien era. The Titans allow the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. With involvement in the pass game as well, this is a great chance for Johnson to have a RB1 finish this week. Start him with confidence as a RB2.

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

Houston's run defense has been bad this year. Derrick Henry's about to stiff arm all 11 defenders at once or something. Very, very confident in him as an RB1 this week, and as a strong play in DFS contests because of his seemingly unlimited upside.

Brandin Cooks (WR, HOU)

Cooks opened the post-O'Brien era with 12 targets. Against a Titans Defense that allows the 11th-most points to opposing wideouts, I'll be starting Cooks as a WR3 all day. Much better value this week than teammate Will Fuller V, and while he still has a low floor, I like following the targets here.

A.J. Brown (WR, TEN)

With Davis and Humphries likely out again, we're looking at Brown as a strong play this week. Against Buffalo, Brown caught seven passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. He should continue to command a good number of targets and should be deployed as a WR2 and a great DFS play.

Jonnu Smith (TE, TEN)

Jonnu Smith rules. He'll get at least a half-dozen targets because of who's out and has five touchdowns already. If the Titans can get into the red zone a few times -- and why wouldn't they? -- then Smith has a great chance of ending the game with at least one touchdown.

Matchups We Hate:

Duke Johnson Jr. (RB, HOU)

Duke Johnson's Week 5 stat line: three carries for eight yards and one catch for 11 yards. Yes, the team has indicated that he'll get more work moving forward, but how am I supposed to trust Duke Johnson in a fantasy lineup this week???

Other Matchups:

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

After seeing how the Titans Defense -- which wasn't even at full strength -- made Josh Allen look mortal this past week, picking him off twice and holding him to season lows in completion percentage, yards, and adjusted yards per attempt, I can't tout Watson as a strong play. Sure, he's a must-start in season-long because of the upside he brings, but he gets the big, flashing "LOOK ELSEWHERE" sign when it comes to DFS. So overall, a mixed bag for Watson.

Will Fuller V (WR, HOU)

Eight targets last week and a touchdown for the third game in a row, but he also seems like he's fallen behind Brandin Cooks in the pecking order, which makes me just a little worried about his production. He remains a guy with a huge ceiling, but he's also got a slightly lower floor than I like from my WR2.

 

Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars

Matchups We Love:

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)

Doesn't it feel like we've all forgotten about Matthew Stafford? We should not do that, especially this week against a Jaguars Defense that allows the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing passers. With Kenny Golladay even healthier now, Stafford has a great chance here to provide high-end QB2 production. Love him as a bye week replacement or upside play for managers whose starting QB has a bad matchup, and love him as a good value play in DFS.

Gardner Minshew II (QB, JAC)

Speaking of streaming options at QB, Minshew takes on a Lions team that is only marginally better at not allowing fantasy points to quarterbacks. Detroit allows the 10th-most, which equates to 21.3 points per game. Minshew has shown that he's able to sling the football around and can throw for 300 yards. He's essentially about as good a play as Stafford.

James Robinson (RB, JAC)

The Lions allow more fantasy points per game to running backs than any other NFL defense does. Robinson had 18 touches last week against Houston. Yes, he struggled in that game on a per play basis, but he didn't struggle enough to suggest his role gets reduced going forward. Consider him an easy RB2 play with the upside for more.

Kenny Golladay (WR, DET)

With a bye week behind him, Golladay is probably the closest to 100 percent he's been all year, and he faces a Jaguars defense that let Brandin Cooks go off for over 100 yards last week. While Jacksonville only allows the 14th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, Golladay's talent makes him a high-end WR2 play with upside, especially with him having a 30.36 air yard percentage over his two games. He's the main deep threat for this Lions team.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, DET)

The Jaguars allow the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends. While Hockenson only had nine yards last game, he did catch a touchdown. At a shallow position, his upside outweighs the risk and you should play him as a low-end TE1.

Matchups We Hate:

Lions Running Backs (RB, DET)

I actually really like the matchup itself against the Jags, who allow the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. But here's the thing: Adrian Peterson, D'Andre Swift, and (to a lesser extent) Kerryon Johnson are competing for snaps here in an offense that doesn't run the ball a ton. Until one player emerges here, I'd prefer to avoid this whole situation.

Other Matchups:

Marvin Jones Jr. (WR, DET)

Detroit should end up throwing a lot, but Jones has seen his air yard percentage shrink to 15.96 percent this year. It was 27.17 percent last year and 37.78 percent the year before. Shorter throws means less chances for big plays, limiting his upside even against a Jags defense that's susceptible to the pass. Decent flex play in a 12-team league, but a fairly low ceiling.

D.J. Chark Jr. (WR, JAC)

He's here because I'm not 100 percent sure about his injury status. If he plays, you easily plug him in as a WR2, though the Jaguars are spreading the ball around a little too much for my liking this year as a person rostering Chark in a lot of leagues.

Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR, JAC)

Shenault is ascending right now and while he hasn't reached the level where I'm comfortable just straight up starting him in any of my leagues, I think he's a good sleeper pick against a Lions Defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to receivers. If Shenault continues to see his target share rise this week, it'll be time to fully devote ourselves to him as a fantasy play. As is, consider him an upside flex play and a great DFS value.

 

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

This game was supposed to happen last week, but it didn't. I already wrote a bunch of words about it here, so if you want week-old, possibly outdated analysis, read that. If you want much shorter, updated analysis, keep reading here.

Also, no idea what to do about Denver's running back situation. Melvin Gordon III was arrested for a DUI but hasn't been suspended yet, so...we'll see what happens there. Short answer: you have to start him if he plays, and you have to start Phillip Lindsay if Gordon does not play.

UPDATE: Melvin Gordon III is dealing with an illness and did not travel with the team. A source has stated on Saturday morning that he will not play this week. Phillip Lindsay owners should fire him up as an RB2/FLEX.

Matchups We Love:

Jerry Jeudy (WR, DEN)

The rookie did see a pretty big drop in targets last week, with just four of them. He caught two passes for 61 yards and found the end zone for the first time as a pro, though. The thing with Jeudy is that while he's a rookie, he's also the best receiver on this team and his dip in targets should be seen as a fluke. He'll have be a full-go this week and should be a solid WR3 option at worst for fantasy managers, even with all the question marks that this team has under center.

Julian Edelman (WR, NE)

Not a great stretch for Edelman, who has five catches in his last two games. He's also dealing with a knee injury. Those two facts do make me very tentative about playing Edelman in DFS, but as a season-long play, Edelman is a must-start as a third receiver. He'll face a banged-up Broncos secondary and will be the one real safe option for quarterback Cam Newton -- yep, he's back! -- to throw the ball to. It's not the kind of matchup I feel great about, but you gotta do what you gotta do in season-long leagues sometimes.

Phillip Lindsay (RB, DEN)

While I don't love the matchup itself, this screams VALUE. Lindsay's going to be a great value play in DFS who'll get a pretty good chunk of the backfield touches here over Royce Freeman, and he's got RB2/3 upside in season-long. Love sticking him in the flex over one of the lower-upside guys that I have in right now in some of my leagues.

Matchups We Hate:

All The Quarterbacks (QB, DEN/NE)

Both teams face a lot of uncertainty under center, and with this game happening on Monday, managers in season-long leagues might just want to avoid this situation completely.

For Denver, we're still not sure if it will be Drew Lock (shoulder) will be back or if Brett Rypien gets another shot. The Patriots passing defense isn't the 2020 Patriots, but I'm still not sure that I want to play Lock coming off an injury or Rypien in his first start back against them.

For New England, Cam Newton (COVID-19) is eligible to return, but will he be ready? You can't rush a guy back from coronavirus, right? The other options are Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, neither of which excite me. Hoyer was benched for Stidham last game, so I think we should assume that Stidham gets the start. He completed 38.5 percent of his passes with two interceptions and an adjusted yards per attempt of -0.77. Yikes.

James White and Rex Burkhead (RB, NE)

Damien Harris grabbed the lead back reins last week, leaving White and Burkhead behind. Burkhead had 12 touches, a number that likely drops a little. White had seven receptions and is a fine play in full PPR, but he only had 38 yards on those catches, so even in half-PPR, I think the floor is too low to justify a spot for him this week.

N'Keal Harry (WR, NE)

Yes, Harry had a touchdown last week, but he also had just three catches for 21 yards. Ever since his eight-catch game in Week 2, Harry's volume has been declining. If that trend continues, Harry has the chance to really sink your fantasy lineup.

Other Matchups:

Damien Harris (RB, NE)

Suddenly, Harris went from the IR to being the lead back for the Patriots. He turned his 17 carries last week into 100 yards. Harris isn't yet to "trust every game" level because we can't really ever trust a Belichick early-down back that much and the Broncos are only allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. But hey, if the volume sticks around, he can be a solid RB3 play.

Damiere Byrd (WR, NE)

If you're a fan of chasing the targets, may I interest you in Damiere Byrd, who was targeted 10 times last week, catching five of them for 80 yards? He was also targeted nine times back in Week 2, so this isn't the only time he's seen heavy usage. Byrd isn't a super consistent play, but I like his upside if you need a flex in a deep league.

Tim Patrick (WR, DEN)

Is Patrick still a sleeper? He's had a great season so far and face a Patriots Defense that won't have Stephon Gilmore, which should make things easier for him this week. He's had touchdowns in consecutive weeks and is a WR3 play on Monday night.

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:05/4:25 PM ET Games

Just two games on the afternoon slate for y'all, which isn't the best for those of us who prefer watching RedZone! Let's break them down.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

So, Fitzpatrick is currently the QB6 on the season. The Jets allow 19.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, tying them for 15th-most allowed. Not terrible, but I'm going to go ahead and trust Fitzpatrick this week if I'm in need of a quarterback due to bye weeks or a bad matchup for my starter. He should be a low-end QB1 as long as he remains the starter.

Myles Gaskin (RB, MIA)

Congrats to Gaskin, the biggest winner of Le'Veon Bell's decision to not sign in Miami. Gaskin remains the lead back in Miami heading into a meeting with the Jets, who allow the sixth-most points to opposing running backs. And with Jordan Howard now seemingly out of the picture after being a healthy Week 5 scratch, Gaskin saw four of the team's five red zone carries. He's an RB2 play moving forward.

Jamison Crowder (WR, NYJ)

Arguably the only good thing about the Jets, Crowder has the fourth-highest target share in the league. Missing two games hurts his overall numbers, but his 111.7 yards per game would lead the league if he qualified for that leaderboard. Crowder's not exciting, but he'll command plenty of attention from quarterback Joe Flacco and should be considered a WR2 with upside for now.

Matchups We Hate:

Joe Flacco (QB, NYJ)

Looks like Sam Darnold will miss a second straight game. While the Dolphins secondary has surrendered a lot of passing yards, I can't get behind playing Flacco this week. The Jets are a barren wasteland of football talent and Flacco's going to be doing what...throwing 12 passes to Jeff Smith? Not interested.

Other Jets Receivers

Jeff Smith was targeted a lot last week. He also caught just three of those 11 targets. There are also technically other receivers on this team too, but I'm not interested in any of them until Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims are back.

UPDATE: Breshad Perriman is expected to return this week.

Chris Herndon (TE, NYJ)

Another Jets pass catcher that I don't like this week! Sorry, Gang Green fans. But the Dolphins allow the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends and Herndon has failed to live up to any of the hype.

Other Matchups:

Frank Gore (RB, NYJ)

Volume will probably lead to Gore having an okay day, though I think you'll need the veteran plodder to find his way into the end zone for him to have a good day. Maybe you bet on that because of the volume, as he'll get plenty of carries now that Le'Veon Bell is a Chief. But he's still just an RB3 play. (Also, I'm not writing about Lamical Perine other than to say "don't play Lamical Perine.")

DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Isaiah Ford (WR, MIA)

Three talented players who seem to have fairly inconsistent target totals each week. I think all have value -- Parker as a low-end WR2, Williams as a WR4 with upside, and Ford as a WR4/5 with upside -- but the competition for targets and the possibility that this game gets out of hand against a disastrous Jets team and leads to a non-passing game script makes them all a little risky.

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)

Another talented player suffering from "too many mouths" syndrome. Gesicki had five catches for 91 yards last week, but that snapped a two-game skid for the third-year tight end when it came to catches, as he'd had just two total receptions the previous two weeks. I like Gesicki. I think his talent means you start him as low-end TE1/high-end TE2 play. But there's a lot lower of a floor with Gesicki than other TE1 options.

 

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Matchups We Love:

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

Yeah, Aaron Jones didn't regress. Fifth in rushing yards and 10th in receiving yards among running backs, he's third at RB in fantasy points per game and is a must start option every week. That's especially true this week against the Bucs, who'll be without Vita Vea up front, which will help open up inside space for Jones to run through. That he faces light fronts on 73.8 percent of his carries helps as well, as defenses spend a lot of time accounting for the whole Aaron Rodgers part of the equation.

Ronald Jones II (RB, TB)

It is FINALLY RoJo SZN. Consecutive 100-yard games and an increased involvement in the passing game have Jones set to keep the RB1 job in Tampa moving forward. Green Bay allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, so go ahead and lock Jones in as an RB2 this week.

Davante Adams (WR, GB)

Is it...really you, Davante? Expected to be back after missing Week 3 and 4, you need to immediately deploy Adams as a WR1, even if this isn't a great matchup for the Packers receivers.

Chris Godwin (WR, TB)

He should return from a hamstring injury and will serve as Brady's main slot option. Godwin led the team in target share in the two games he's played and should see the most targets on the team again this week, giving him strong upside and making him a high-end WR2 play with upside.

Matchups We Hate:

Leonard Fournette (RB, TB)

Well, the Packers do surrender a lot of points to running backs, but Fournette's lack of passing-game upside mixed with RoJo's ascension has me avoiding Fournette as much as possible.

UPDATE: Fournette is expected to be active, but limited due to his ankle injury.

Other Matchups:

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

YOU ARE PLAYING AARON RODGERS IN SEASON-LONG LEAGUES. But against a Buccaneers Defense that has been very, very good against opposing passers -- surrendering the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position -- there should be at least a good moment of pause before you throw Rodgers into your DFS lineup. Still, he's having a monster season and hasn't thrown a pick yet and is a locked-in QB1 play, though I do hate the matchup.

Tom Brady (QB, TB)

Tom Brady is a fantasy QB1 right now. But the Packers are allowing the 13th-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and Brady has been a roller coaster this year, with one game with five touchdowns and two games with one touchdown. Which Brady will we get on Sunday? Who knows, which is why I'm thinking of him as a QB2 despite his overall performance this year.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR, GB)

The return of Adams is set to cut into MVS's target share somewhat, making him a riskier play than usual. But an Aaron Rodgers receiver always has the ability to pay off, so don't be surprised to see a strong showing from him either. Little too risky to put in the "love" part of this matchup, though.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

So, a fun stat I saw earlier:

Yikes. Something about the connection between Brady and Evans isn't fully working yet, though his touchdown upside -- three of them in the aforementioned two-game sample -- means you can never bench Evans, as he provides a big red zone target for Brady. He's like Rob Gronkowski in New England, though has the downside of potentially playing like Rob Gronkowski in Tampa plays.

Robert Tonyan (TE, GB)

The Buccaneers are fine against tight ends and Tonyan's track record of production isn't quite long enough for us to say he's a must-play TE1, but he's definitely trending in that direction after catching five touchdowns in three games this year. I'd still say he's a high-end TE2 with a slightly tough matchup, but I definitely get it if you play him like he's a top 10 tight end, since he's coming off a huge game.

Rob Gronkowski (TE, TB)

We can't ignore the red zone rapport between Brady and Gronk and he did post a season-high 52 yards last game. But he's also a tight end in a Bruce Arians offense and he's also not GRONK anymore, so there's risk here. Consider him a decent streaming play for the rest of the season.

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

Matchups We Love:

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

Should lead the Rams in targets in this one, making him a strong WR2 play. I...don't have much else to say about Kupp, who isn't the most exciting player but just keeps chugging along and putting up solid game after solid game.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

Don't love the matchup, but also let's keep this simple: Kittle is a top-two NFL tight end. He's the only pass-catcher on this team that can be trusted on a weekly basis. Always play Kittle and always expect strong production, even if there are occasional lapses in that production.

Matchups We Hate:

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

I mean, Garoppolo was benched mid-game last week because the score got out of hand and team wanted to keep him healthy. He's likely not at 100 percent this week and considering how much of a disaster Week 5 was, I think we need to keep Jimmy G firmly glued to our collective fantasy benches for another week at least.

Rams Running Backs

Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown are swapping off lead back roles each week at this point, and Cam Akers is back and is getting some usage too. The 49ers have been a stout run defense this year, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. Too much uncertainty here for me to want any of these guys in a starting lineup, though you could deploy Henderson or Brown as a deep-league flex option.

Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk (WR, SF)

No NFL team allows fewer fantasy points per game to wide receivers than the Rams. Add in that the Niners are a run-first team and you get a recipe for disaster for Samuel, Aiyuk, and whoever else gets snaps at wide receiver. These two are probably WR4/5 plays if you're desperate.

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

In Week 2, Higbee caught three touchdowns. In the three games since, he's averaging 2.3 catches for 24 yards. Now, he faces a 49ers Defense allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. There's (probably) a point where Higbee looks like the player he was at the end of 2019, but this week isn't it.

Other Matchups:

Jared Goff (QB, LAR)

I know the 49ers defense is banged up and that Ryan Fitzpatrick was all over them last week, but I'm not fully sold on Jared Goff and this offense being as explosive as Fitzpatrick was. Maybe I'm wrong. Goff's a fine start -- I've got him going in some leagues -- but if the Niners can get pressure, they can throw him off his game a little bit.

Raheem Mostert (RB, SF)

Mostert returned from a two-game absence last week, rushing 11 times for 90 yards and catching three passes for 29 yards. He's a solid option as an RB2 against this Rams Defense, even though they've done a pretty good job against opposing backs over the last few weeks. San Francisco's run-first offense will present plenty of opportunities for Mostert.

Robert Woods (WR, LAR)

Since Week 3, Woods has just a 19.57 target share and has 10 percent fewer air yards than Josh Reynolds. That's not to say you should bench him, but there's less room for error than you might want. Woods is a WR2 play with more downside than he's had in the past.

 

Matchups Analysis - Monday Night Football

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys

Click here to read about the Monday Night Football matchup between the Cardinals and Cowboys.

 

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills

Click here to read about the Monday Night Football matchup between the Chiefs and Bills.



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Wide Receiver Matchups To Target in Week 6

The Week 5 wide receiver matchup article only featured one player that finished inside the top-10, and that was Jamison Crowder who finished as WR-7 on the week. Tee Higgins underwhelmed in a tough matchup against the Ravens Defense, Golden Tate flopped in a great matchup against the Cowboys and Deebo Samuel’s performance suffered due to poor quarterback play and the return of Byron Jones to the Dolphins secondary. Other than that, we did alright as CeeDee Lamb, Marquise Brown, Robby Anderson, Will Fuller and Laviska Shenault Jr. finished between WR-15 and WR-25 on the week.

As we’ve seen so far this season, nothing is more important than matchup analysis when it comes to fantasy football. The 49ers Defense was once strong, but it has gotten so beat up over the last few weeks, they’re no longer a matchup you need to avoid. The Colts, Ravens, Patriots and Bears Defenses are looking like units you want to avoid in the passing game. The Seahawks, Falcons, Saints, Browns, Cowboys and now the Chargers Defenses are looking like units you can really exploit moving forward.

Now, here are the top WR vs CB matchups for Week 6. Use these to set season-long lineups, as well as gain a competitive edge in the DFS games.

 

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions

$7,200 FanDuel / $6,200 DraftKings – vs Chris Claybrooks

The over/under is set at 54.5 points and the Lions are only favored by 3.5 points so this one should remain close throughout which means the Lions will likely need to throw for most of the game. Chris Claybrooks has been burned deep lately, and he’s giving up a 77% catch-rate along with 2.24 yards-per-route covered which is the fourth-worst mark in the NFL. The Jaguars Defense surrenders just over 38 fantasy points to wide receivers per game, and with Marvin Jones fading, Golladay should get most of the action in the passing game this week.

 

Will Fuller, Houston Texans

$6,700 FanDuel / $6,800 DraftKings – vs Malcolm Butler

In general, the Titans Defense struggles to cover quicker wide receivers and they’ve given up the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers so far in 2020. Will Fuller is a speedster and should give Malcolm Butler problems. This game has an over/under set at 53.5 points and the Titans are favored, which means Fuller should be the recipient of plenty of targets this week.

 

DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

$6,400 FanDuel / $6,800 DraftKings – vs Pierre Desir

At one time, Pierre Desir was a pretty good cornerback, but in 2020 he’s surrendering an 80% catch-rate and 1.79 yards-per-route covered which isn’t great either. The Jets Defense gives up the eighth-most passing yards in the NFL and 8.3 yards-per-attempt which is third-worst in the league. Parker is the Dolphins most-targeted wide receiver and he has a better matchup than Preston Williams or Isaiah Ford, so he should have a decent game.

 

Jamison Crowder, N.Y. Jets

$6,600 FanDuel / $6,100 DraftKings – vs Nik Needham

Byron Jones finally returned to the lineup for the Dolphins Defense in Week 5 which is trouble for opposing wide receivers that primarily play on the outside. Luckily, Jamison Crowder plays in the slot for 77% of his snaps and should avoid Jones for the most part. Nik Needham gives up a 67% catch-rate and 1.52 yards-per-route covered, both of which are the worst marks amongst all the Dolphins defensive backs. The Jets are 9.5-point underdogs so Joe Flacco should be throwing a lot here. Until Chris Herndon emerges, Crowder is the only thing going in the Jets passing game.

 

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

$5,900 FanDuel / $6,000 DraftKings – vs Isaiah Oliver

Although Justin Jefferson did have a poor stat-line in Week 5, he showed us his ceiling in Week 4. In Week 6, Jefferson will face Isaiah Oliver when he lines up on the outside, who surrenders a 74% catch-rate and 1.77 yards-per-route covered. When Jefferson bumps into the slot, which he plays 46% of the time, he will see Kendall Sheffield who gives up 2.35 yards-per-route covered which is third-worst in the NFL. On top of the solid cornerback matchup, in general, the Falcons Defense gives up over 42 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers each game which bodes well for Jefferson’s outlook. This game has an over/under set at 54.5 points so Jefferson may be involved in a shootout.

 

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

$5,800 FanDuel / $5,200 DraftKings – vs Desmond Trufant

The Lions have given up the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers so far in 2020, allowing five wide receivers to score more than 15 fantasy points (note that the Lions have only played four games). Laviska Shenault weighs 30 pounds more than Desmond Trufant who figures to be covering him this weekend. Normally I wouldn’t make a big deal about the weight difference between a wide receiver and cornerback, but it’s relevant because Shenault is so dangerous running with the ball after the catch and Trufant may have trouble bringing him down. D.J. Chark suffered an ankle injury last week which means he may be slowed, possibly making Shenault the No. 1 option in the Jaguars passing game.

 

Isaiah Wright, Washington Football Team

$4,500 FanDuel / $3,000 DraftKings – vs Darnay Holmes

Steven Sims was placed on IR last week and in his absence, Isaiah Wright played 77.8% of Washington’s offensive snaps. While Wright didn’t do much in Week 5, in fairness to him, Kyle Allen was knocked out of the game early and the receivers did have a tough matchup against a solid Rams secondary. In Week 6, Wright will see Darnay Holmes in coverage who has been a weekly fixture in this article. Wright has a four-inch height advantage over Holmes who gives up 1.75 yards-per-route covered and a 74% catch-rate. The Giants secondary has been decent as a unit in 2020, but Holmes has been the weak link. Wright is more of an tournament play in DFS formats and should only be played in the deepest season-long leagues if you’re desperate.



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Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

More delays, postponed games, and schedule changes. Get used to the new normal. We should be thankful that we at least have an NFL season that has gone mostly according to plan, other than every good running back being injured.

The waiver wire will be more important in 2020 than any previous season, especially after waivers clear in most leagues. Use the players suggested here for your early-week claims but keep the rest in mind for later in the week if necessary and check our NFL news feed for the latest injury updates.

As always, the options listed at each position below are listed in order of priority to help you plan your claims accordingly. Players listed include only those rostered in approximately 50% or fewer Yahoo leagues. For a deeper look at each position, check out our separate weekly waiver wire columns at QB, RB, WR, and TE.

 

Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings - 32% rostered

Cousins didn't torch Seattle like other QBs have done this year but he could have his best game yet in Week 6. He plays Atlanta in Week 6 and might have to do it without his main RB (see below). The Falcons are officially a dumpster fire at 0-5 and their pass defense is a large part of the problem. They just allowed Teddy Bridgewater to throw for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Every QB they've faced has gone over 300 yards and that includes the Nick Foles/Mitch Trubisky Frankenquarterback combo in Week 3. Even with a new coach, it doesn't make Atlanta any more formidable. Start Cousins if at all possible this week.

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys - 1% rostered

The outlook for Dallas' offense has changed for the worst reason imaginable. Dak Prescott suffered a gruesome injury that led to immediate foot surgery Sunday night, ruling him out for the remainder of the season. That makes the offseason signing of veteran Andy Dalton look like a brilliant move since he'll be in command of a high-octane offense for a team now desperate to reach .500 and push for the playoffs. Regardless of what you thought of Dalton in Cincy, he now has Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb to throw to, along with Ezekiel Elliott to dump the ball off to when pressure gets to him. Without the rushing ability of Prescott, Dalton projects as a low-end QB1 in good matchups and a fringe starter in tougher ones. Arizona's pass defense has been mediocre this year, so Dalton can be used as a straight-up Prescott replacement.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins - 20% rostered

The FitzMagic happened at the most unexpected time in San Francisco. Facing last year's NFC champion and top-ranked defense on the road, he threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns. In other words, it was the top-five fantasy he should have had last week but didn't. While he seems intent on fooling fantasy managers by bucking expectations, he shouldn't have a hard time generating points against the Jets. The Dolphins' readjusted schedule has them facing the defense that looks better on paper because they've faced subpar QBs like Brett Rypien and Nick Mullens (and Philip Rivers at this point). Fitzpatrick is always streamable but especially so in Week 6.

Nick Foles, Chicago Bears - 10% rostered

Your boring, desperation streamer for deep leagues this week is Foles. His value stems from the matchup with Carolina, which should keep his floor fairly high. They've improved over the weeks defensively, limiting Matt Ryan to 226 yards with no touchdowns on Sunday. Still, Foles isn't prone to disastrous games and should be a safe replacement for this newly heavy bye week.

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers - 48% rostered

After a shamefully-low rostered rate early in the week, Herbert was added by a lot of teams late once we saw another game canceled and the status of the Buffalo-Tennessee game in doubt. On paper, the matchup with New Orleans is favorable too and he took advantage. The Chargers were supposed to get the Jets next week but the COVID chaos has moved that game to Week 11 instead, which means the Chargers have their bye in Week 6. Herbert is simply a backup to stash if available.

Others to consider: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (46% rostered); Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (40% rostered)

 

Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings - 40% rostered

This is why you keep handcuffs insurance policies on your bench. Dalvin Cook was on his way to another great game in Week 5 before exiting with a groin injury. That led to a big dose of Alexander Mattison. He responded with his best Cook impersonation, running 20 times for 112 yards and chipping in another 24 receiving yards. Cook's MRI on Monday inspired confidence from coach Mike Zimmer, who said it was "clean." He could conceivably be back in action for Week 6, but the team may not rush him back. If he is forced to miss even one game, Mattison becomes an instant must-add. He's averaging a stout 4.6 yards per carry over his first two seasons and would become the new workhorse for a team that ranks in the top five in total rush attempts so far.

Damien Harris, New England Patriots - 52% rostered

There's not a great chance Harris is available in your league but the ranks are thin at RB this week so it's worth mentioning. The Pats' schedule has been in flux but it appears they will play their game vs Denver in Week 6. This isn't a smash spot as the Broncos have actually limited damage to running backs fairly well. We also have no idea if Cam Newton will be back and if so, whether that's a positive or negative. His presence obviously makes the offense much better but he also steals carries and goal-line carries from the backfield. Harris is a risky RB3 based on the upcoming matchup but should be a solid low-end RB2 the rest of the way, making him an instant add in 12+ team leagues unless you happen to be stacked at running back.

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers - 42% rostered

It was thought that Joshua Kelley would serve as the lead back on Monday Night Football but Jackson saw just as many touches. Neither were particuarly effective but it was a tough matchup with the Saints Defense, who has limited running backs in 2020. He hasn't shown much with his touches this year but averaged 5.1 yards per carry over his first two seasons and has breakaway speed in the open field. Pay attention to the snap counts going forward and consider him as a backup if you employ the #AllBenchRB philosophy.

D'Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns - 44% rostered

I stick by last week's recommendation of Johnson as the top RB because it was also stated that he should be on benches in Week 5. The Colts Defense is the best at limiting fantasy points to running backs and did an adequate job considering Darius Leonard was out. It's not any easier in Week 6 unfortunately, with a road game against the Steelers. After that, you can plug him in versus Cincinnati and Las Vegas, two of the worst run defenses out there, and start reaping the rewards.

J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team - 6% rostered

Antonio Gibson is irrationally adored by many a fantasy manager but McKissic continues to get the bulk of the receiving work out of the backfield. In Week 5, they nearly matched each other in total yardage; Gibson combined for 51 scrimmage yards and McKissic had 49. The 6-5 edge in receptions for McKissic and lack of touchdowns for Gibson evens them out. It's not as if they will have equal value going forward but the difference isn't as great as people think.

Others to considerDuke Johnson, Houston Texans (29% rostered); Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (15% rostered); Mike Boone, Minnesota Vikings (0% rostered)

 

Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers - 14% rostered

If Justin Jefferson's Week 3 performance (7-175-1) was a breakout game, then what do we call Claypool's Week 5? He exploded onto the scene with a four-touchdown game, catching seven passes for 110 yards and three scores. His other TD came on a two-yard run. He would have had another touchdown if not for a penalty that had it called back. A big impetus for his sudden involvement is the fact Diontae Johnson exited the game early again, this time with a back issue. Between a concussion, toe issue, and now back injury, Johnson has been absent for much of the season, so Claypool is a good bet to keep seeing snaps.

It was interesting to hear the broadcast team discuss OC Randy Fichtner touting Claypool's "availability" in practice each week, which also harkens to JuJu Smith-Schuster missing each Wednesday. This doesn't mean Claypool will be the WR1 in Pittsburgh but he will be targeted regularly in a high-octane offense and warrants a claim in all leagues.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars - 34% rostered

If you believe that football statistics come in predictable patterns, Shenault will have seven receptions next week.

image from Yahoo!

 

 

 

 

 

Spoiler: this isn't how the NFL works and we have no idea what Shenault will do next week. We do know that his target share keeps ramping up and he can provide a high floor in full PPR leagues. The Detroit Lions are a fantasy-friendly defense too, allowing the fifth-most points per game to wide receivers. Shenault is a solid WR3 who belongs on more rosters.

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans - 44% rostered

After being blanked last game, Cooks went off for a league-high 161 receiving yards on eight receptions. That makes two games over 95 yards and three games under 25 yards for Cooks this year. Good luck figuring out when he's going to pop. This was a plus matchup with Jacksonville and Cooks took advantage. That said, the Texans will likely continue to rely on the pass and Cooks will have his moments.

Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins - 22% rostered

Just when he entered drop territory in most fantasy leagues, Williams came alive in San Francisco. Much like his QB, Williams did what he was supposed to do last week against Seattle. Williams turned four catches into 106 yards with a touchdown and actually looked healthy. He is back on the waiver wire radar and is definitely stream-worthy against the Jets.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals - 34% rostered

It was reassuring to see Kirk become involved in the passing game again, catching five balls for 78 yards in a win over the Jets. It wasn't just the Nuk show, as Kirk tied DeAndre Hopkins for the team lead with seven targets. It was a laugher over the Jets but the next week's matchup could actually be better, as the Cowboys' secondary gives up more points to WRs. Kirk remains a volatile option but his ceiling is always enticing.

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles - 0% rostered

Your DFS tournament winner in Week 5 was the seventh receiving option for the Eagles heading into 2020. With their top three WRs sidelined as they have been since Week 1, Fulgham has gotten his chance and you could say the made the most of it. Fulgham caught 10 of 12 targets for 152 yards and a touchdown in a true breakout game against the Steelers. Just to jog your memory, Fulgham was a sixth-round pick by Detroit after coming out of Old Dominion. He came into Week 5 with two NFL receptions.

Before you empty the wallet to make Fulgham your top waiver priority, a couple of things to keep in mind. Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson could both return in Week 6, which obviously hurts Fulgham's target share. Second, the Eagles have done this before. Greg Ward caught eight passes on 11 targets for 84 yards in Week 3, Dallas Goedert caught eight of nine targets for 101 yards in Week 1. Doug Pederson has shown he will feed a guy in any given game, especially when the run game isn't working. Not to take anything away from Fulgham but he won't be a primary focus of this offense each week and will be a boom-bust flex option, not a league winner.

Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders - 43% rostered

Ruggs' 118-yard outburst didn't help many fantasy teams since he was rostered in less than half of all leagues and started in only 5% of Yahoo leagues. He did get our attention again after his opening-week touchdown. Ruggs is doing exactly what Mike Mayock envisioned when he made him the top receiver selected in the 2020 NFL Draft - stretching the field, hitting on big plays. The health issues make him hard to trust but the ceiling is sky-high on any given week. Don't count on Ruggs in Week 6, as the Raiders are scheduled for their bye week.

Jeff Smith, New York Jets - 1% rostered

I went into detail on Smith last week and the Jets are on a bye so this isn't a player to add right now anyway. I'll just throw this out there: despite catching only three passes for 23 yards, he was targeted 11 times. Smith could be considered the team's top target after Jamison Crowder right now, for what that's worth.

Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles - 18% rostered

Those searching for a midseason lotto ticket or in deep-enough leagues may consider stashing Jeffery. It's not sure whether he'll play this week or how effective he will be, so expect little to nothing and you won't be disappointed.

Jalen Guyton, Los Angeles Chargers - 2% rostered

Mike Williams returns, Keenan Allen goes out. It doesn't appear to be a serious injury but regardless, Guyton has carved out a role as deep threat and bomb-catcher. He caught a 72-yard bomb for a score last week and a 49-yard pass in Week 5. He won't catch more than two passes for you but if it goes for a long score, that's a decent flex play in times of desperation.

Cedrick Wilson Jr., Dallas Cowboys - 2% rostered

Although Wilson doesn't truly have standalone value, it's worth mentioning that he is still getting utilized as the fourth receiver in Dallas' pass-heavy attack. He also occasionally throws touchdown passes to Dak Prescott too, although sadly we can't count on that happening again. Wilson may be forgotten if the team narrows its options with Dalton behind center so save Wilson for the deepest of leagues only.

Others to consider: Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs (40% rostered); Golden Tate, New York Giants (35% rostered); Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (34% rostered); Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (33% rostered)

 

Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options

Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears - 40% rostered

He isn't the most exciting add, but Graham is 12th in receiving yards among tight ends and has four touchdowns. That makes him TE4 in standard leagues, believe it or not. He's more of a high-end TE2 in PPR leagues and streamable in most circumstances. A matchup with Carolina is just OK but he can serve as a replacement for Darren Waller managers.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans - 2% rostered

It wasn't a high-volume game for Fells but he did come through for those few who streamed him. Fells caught a 44-yard touchdown pass early in the game, serving as the main tight end with Jordan Akins out due to an ankle injury. He is lesser version of Graham in the sense that his value is higher in standard than PPR leagues and isn't assured the same level of targets. Fells caught seven touchdowns in 2019, so we know Watson will look his way in the red zone. That should count for something.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings - 6% rostered

Finally, signs of life from the second-year TE. Smith was supposed to step up as the main pass-catching tight end in 2020 but he's taken a serious step backward. Smith entered Week 5 grading out as the second-worst tight end (63 out of 64) according to PFF, while teammate Kyle Rudolph was 13th. It was reassuring to see Smith grab four passes for 64 yards on Sunday night while Rudolph caught just one for 10 yards. If you're in desperation territory for a tight end this week, Smith at least faces the Falcons who, besides being god-awful in every way this season, had been the worst defense against the tight end before Week 5.

Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts - 36% rostered

In a choice matchup, MAC Daddy pulled a disappearing act. The entire Colts offense struggled but for Alie-Cox to give his managers a big zero was a shock after his recent emergence. He can be used in a pinch again but then has a bye after Week 6 so it might be time to find a better short-term option.

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 2% rostered

With no O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski still serving as a blocker first, Brate caught five passes for 44 yards in Week 4. It's unclear whether Chris Godwin will return or whether Mike Evans or Scotty Miller are 100% but Brate is touchdown-dependent for value anyway.

Others to consider: Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals (4% rostered)

 

Team Defense - Waiver Wire Options

Miami Dolphins Defense - 2% rostered

I said this defense wasn't as bad as people think and it proved true in a surprising victory over the 49ers. Blame the ankle all you want, but the Fins forced Jimmy Garoppolo out of the game after picking him off twice. Now that the schedule has changed for several teams, we'll get the first Dolphins-Jets showdown of 2020. With Joe Flacco likely to start again, we could see another five-sack, three-turnover day or something comparable.

Minnesota Vikings Defense - 29% rostered

It used to be that the Falcons offense meant an automatic sit for opposing defenses. They've only scored 16 points in consecutive weeks and there seems to be a feeling that this team might have given up on the season. The Vikes have underachieved on defense all year but could find an elixir in Atlanta.

Washington Football Team Defense - 7% rostered

The Rams simply trounced Washington in Week 5, marking four straight games the defense has allowed 30+ points. The Giants were averaging 11 points per game until they put up 34 in Dallas. Daniel Jones is still turnover prone and this could be a low-scoring game based on both team's low pace of play.



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Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 5 Analysis

Your wide receivers remain essential components toward your primary goal of securing league championships. As this unique regular season continues to unfold, an expanding assortment of tools is available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge regarding this critical position. Those results are contained in this weekly statistical breakdown of multiple categories, which is designed to help you fulfill your championship aspirations.

This will be the fifth installment that will examine game-specific data, including updated totals for targets, first downs, red-zone targets, snap counts, and a compilation of advanced statistics. The information that is contained in this weekly report will analyze how various receivers are being utilized, and how effectively they are capitalizing on their opportunities. This massive collection of data supplies the foundation from which the numbers that are generated in various categories can be evaluated.

As the season progresses noteworthy changes in usage and production will be blended into the equation. That will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference, PFF, NextGenStats, Rotowire, Rotoviz, and Football Outsiders were all used as resources in compiling this data.

 

Week 5 Target Leaders 

Wide Receivers Total Targets Targ/Game YPT
Allen Robinson 57 11.4 7.4
Amari Cooper 55 11 7.7
DeAndre Hopkins 53 10.6 10
Stefon Diggs 51 10.2 10
Calvin Ridley 50 10 9.7
Keenan Allen 50 10 7.1
Robby Anderson 47 9.4 10.4
Terry McLaurin 46 9.2 9
Adam Thielen 44 8.8 8.3
Tyler Boyd 40 8 9.1
Darius Slayton 40 8 9.1
CeeDee Lamb 40 8 10.8
Odell Beckham Jr. 39 7.8 7.5
D.K. Metcalf 39 7.8 12.7
Tyler Lockett 38 7.6 9
D.J. Moore 37 7.4 10.3
Cooper Kupp 36 7.2 10.1
Marquise Brown 36 7.2 8.9
Emmanuel Sanders 36 7.2 8.4
Mike Evans 35 7 7.7
Tyreek Hill 35 7 10.4
A.J. Green 34 6.8 3.5
Jamison Crowder 33 11 10.2
Brandin Cooks 33 6.6 9.1
DeVante Parker 32 6.4 10.3
Russell Gage 32 6.4 7
T.Y. Hilton 32 6.4 7.2
Robert Woods 31 6.2 9.7
Greg Ward 31 6.2 5.5
Julian Edelman 30 7.5 9.8
Will Fuller 30 6 11.1
Tee Higgins 30 6 7.1
Cole Beasley 30 6 10.4
Sammy Watkins 29 5.8 7.7
Keelan Cole 28 5.8 7.6
Jerry Jeudy 28 7 8.4
N'Keal Harry 28 7 5.9
Isaiah Ford 28 5.6 6.2
Michael Gallup 28 5.6 12.4
Jarvis Landry 28 5.6 10
Laviska Shenault Jr. 28 5.6 9.6
Diontae Johnson 26 6.5 5.7
Kendrick Bourne 26 5.2 8.7
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 25 6.3 8.4
Darnell Mooney 25 5 6.4
Justin Jefferson 25 5 14.8
Larry Fitzgerald 25 5 4.9

 

Allen Robinson has now stockpiled 39 targets since Week 3, which is the most among all receivers during that three-game span. He has also collected at least 10 targets in eight of his last 11 regular-season matchups. His 16 targets in Week 5 tied his career-high which had originally been established in Week 7 of last season. It also propelled him to the league lead in targets for the year (57).

Amari Cooper is second overall (55), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (53), Stefon Diggs (51), Calvin Ridley (50), Keenan Allen (48), Robby Anderson (47), Terry McLaurin (46), Adam Thielen (44), and three receivers tied with 40 - Tyler Boyd, CeeDee Lamb, and Darius Slayton - who will be discussed further in the 5 Things I Noticed section. D.K. Metcalf and Odell Beckham Jr. are tied at 39, followed by Metcalf’s teammate Lockett (38), D.J. Moore (37), Cooper, (36), Marquise Brown (36), Emmanuel Sanders (36), and two receivers tied with 35 - Mike Evans, and Tyreek Hill.

A.J. Green has been targeted just 12 times during his last three matchups combined, after collecting 22 during Weeks 1-2. That raised his season total to 34, while Jamison Crowder and Brandin Cooks are next with 33. T.Y. Hilton, DeVante Parker, and Russell Gage are tied with 32, Robert Woods and Greg Ward, have been targeted 31 times, while Will Fuller, Julian Edelman, Cole Beasley, and newcomer Tee Higgins are the only other receivers that have reached 30 targets through the first five weeks.

Calvin Ridley has collected at least 10 targets in four contests which leads all receivers. Robinson’s three games of 10+ targets tie him with Cooper, Allen, Anderson, and Crowder - who has attained double digits in all three matchups that he has played in. McLaurin and Thielen have accomplished it twice, as Thielen has captured 23 targets during his last two contests (10/13).

Nelson Agholar leads all wide receivers with a 16.8 yards per target average. Justin Jefferson is second (14.8), followed by two receivers who commandeered their place within the fantasy landscape in Week 5 - Chase Claypool, and Travis Fulgham at 13.1. D.K. Metcalf is fifth (12.7), followed by Metcalf's teammate David Moore, and Michael Gallup with 12.4. Scott Miller is averaging 11.9 yards per target, followed by Stefon Diggs 11.5, Mecole Hardman (11.4), Josh Reynolds (11.3), Andy Isabella (11.3), Will Fuller (11.1), Gabriel Davis (11,0), and D.J. Chark (11.0). Lamb, Randal Cobb, and Corey Davis are next (10.8).

Carolina teammates Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore are among the 11 additional receivers that are averaging at least 10 yards per target. Moore's current 10.3 average is the highest of his career after he averaged 9.2 during his first two seasons. Anderson's average of 10.4 also exceeds his previous career-high of 8.3. There will be more discussion surrounding these two Panther receivers in the 5 things I Noticed section.

 

Largest Weekly Changes

Wide Receivers Week 4 Week 5 Changes
Chase Claypool BYE 11 11
Travis Fulgham 3 13 10
Stefon Diggs 7 16 9
A.J. Brown BYE 9 9
Brandin Cooks 3 12 9
Gabriel Davis 1 9 8
Mike Williams INJ 8 8
Allen Robinson 10 16 6
Emmanuel Sanders 9 14 5
D.K. Metcalf 6 11 5
Calvin Ridley 5 10 5
T.Y. Hilton 5 10 5
Deebo Samuel 3 8 5
Darius Slayton 7 11 4
CeeDee Lamb 7 11 4
Larry Fitzgerald 3 7 4
John Hightower 2 6 4
Darnell Mooney 9 5 -4
A.J. Green 5 1 -4
Olamide Zaccheaus 9 4 -5
D.J. Chark 9 4 -5
Sammy Watkins 7 2 -5
Zach Pascal 8 2 -6
Terry McLaurin 14 7 -7
Hunter Renfrow 8 1 -7
Scott Miller 7 0 -7
Isaiah Ford 10 2 -8
Keenan Allen 11 2/INJ -9
DeVante Parker 12 3 -9
Amari Cooper 16 4 -12

 

 

Robinson attained the highest weekly target total when he collected the aforementioned 16 targets during Chicago’s matchup with Tampa Bay. Diggs was also targeted 16 times during Buffalo's matchup in Tennessee, which was the second time that he has attained at least 13 targets during the last four weeks. Emmanuel Sanders had averaged 4.3 targets per game from Weeks 1-3. But he has captured 23 during his last two matchups, including his highest weekly total since Week 5 of 2018.

Philadelphia’s Travis Fulgham was originally selected by Detroit in Round 6 of the 2019 NFL Draft and failed to catch a pass for the Lions throughout all of last season. But fantasy GMs have quickly become acquainted with Fulgham after Carson Wentz launched 13 passes in his direction during the Eagles’ matchup in Pittsburgh. That tied him with Thielen and Anderson for the third-highest weekly total behind Robinson and Diggs. Cooks was next with (12), which resulted in his highest weekly total since Week 3 of 2019.

Five receivers collected 11 targets during their matchups - Metcalf, Slayton, Lamb, the Jets’ Jeff Smith, and Pittsburgh rookie Chase Claypool - who has become a scorching hot waiver wire target this week. Ridley, Marquise Brown, Crowder, and Hilton were the only other receivers to eclipse 10+ targets during Week 5. Among the collection of 14 receivers that reached double-digits, new season highs were established for Robinson, Anderson, Thielen, Cooks, Slayton, Lamb, Metcalf,  Smith, Hilton, Sanders, and Brown. The weekly totals for Claypool and Fulgham were also career bests.

Claypool's 11 targets following Pittsburgh's bye launched him to the largest week-to-week increase of +11. Fulgham’s 13 targets were generated one week after he collected three targets in Week 4. That difference of +10 was the second-largest week-to-week increase among all receivers. Cooks’ 12 targets were captured one week after he had been targeted just three times, which resulted in the third-largest increase for the week (+9). That also tied him with Diggs and A.J. Brown, -who performed for the first time since Week 1. Diggs' teammate, rookie Gabriel Davis, experienced an increase of +8 after collecting a career-high nine targets. That tied him with Mike Williams, while Robinson was next (+6), followed by Metcalf, Ridley, Sanders, Hilton, and Deebo Samuel, who all attained a rise of +5 in their week to week target totals.

Amari Cooper had accumulated 28 targets in weeks four and five, including the 16 that he captured last week. However, he was only targeted four times when Dallas hosted NFC East rival New York. That produced the largest week to week decrease of -12. The week five totals of DeVante Parker and Keenan Allen were both reduced by -9 although Allen’s back issue was responsible for his decline.

Isaiah Ford’s target totals have now fluctuated significantly during the past four weeks. After attaining nine targets in Week 2, his total dropped by =7 in Week 32. He was also targeted 10 times in Week 4 but received just two targets when Miami traveled to San Francisco. That created the decline of -8. The week to week totals for McLaurin, Scott Miller, and Hunter Renfrow all dropped by -7, while Zach Pascal’s two targets in Week 5 created a reduction of -6.

 

Week 5 Air Yards

Wide Receivers  Air Yards % Air Yards aDOT
Calvin Ridley 780 41.7 15.9
D.K. Metcalf 717 44.4 17.5
Adam Thielen 626 48.4 14.6
Allen Robinson 604 33.2 10.8
Marquise Brown 597 45.1 16.6
Tyreek Hill 569 37.7 16.3
Stefon Diggs 526 33.7 10.5
A.J. Green 512 28.8 15.1
Amari Cooper 510 27.7 9.3
Darius Slayton 497 44.2 12.4
Odell Beckham 490 39.6 13.2
Terry McLaurin 466 41.7 10.4
Michael Gallup 453 26.8 16.8
D.J. Moore 440 39.2 12.2
DeAndre Hopkins 437 31.2 8.2
Will Fuller 436 27.7 13.6
Robby Anderson 435 39 9.3
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 431 34.5 17.1
Keenan Allen 410 31.1 8.4
Brandin Cooks 397 28.1 12.8
CeeDee Lamb 394 22.7 10.1
T.Y. Hilton 394 33.1 12.7
Tee Higgins 382 25.5 13.6
Mike Williams 379 25.8 17.2
Mike Evans 375 25.1 10.7
Tyler Boyd 361 21.7 9
Jerry Jeudy 353 25.8 13.6
Julian Edelman 347 39.4 11.6
Tyler Lockett 345 24.9 9.1
Darnell Mooney 341 19.3 13.7
Scott  Miller 341 20.5 16.2
Christian Kirk 341 25.2 16.2
Preston Williams 340 24.1 14.8
DeSean Jackson 338 20.9 16.9
Justin Jefferson 329 24.1 13.2
Emmanuel Sanders 322 32.7 8.9
DeVante Parker 318 23.8 9.9
John Brown 302 27 13.1

 

Calvin Ridley has maintained his league lead in air yards (780) followed by D.K. Metcalf (717), Adam Thielen (626), and Allen Robinson (604). Marquise Brown is fifth overall (597), followed by Tyreek Hill (569), Stefon Diggs (526), A.J. Green (512), Amari Cooper (510),  and Darius Slayton (497), completing the top 10. Odell Beckham (490) is next, followed by Terry McLaurin (466), Michael Gallup (453), D.J. Moore (440), DeAndre Hopkins (437), and Will Fuller (436), Robby Anderson (431), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (431), and Keenan Allen (418) complete the list of receivers that have accumulated 400+.

John Hightower leads all wide receivers in targeted air yards (18.8). Mike Williams is second overall (17.6), followed by Gallup (17.4), Valdes-Scantling (17.2), Brown (16.9), DeSean Jackson (16.8), Ridley (16.4), and three receivers that are tied at 16.3 – Metcalf, Christian Kirk, and Scott Miller. Tyreek Hill is the only other receiver that has eclipsed 16 (16.1). Higgins and teammate A.J. Green are tied with 14.9, followed by Preston Williams (14.7), Thielen (14.5) Chase Claypool (13.9), and three receivers that are tied at 13.7 - Beckham, Darnell Mooney, and Gabriel Davis.

 

Thielen continues to lead his position in percentage share of team air yard‘s (48.4). Marquise Brown is now second (45.1), followed by Metcalf (44.5), Slayton (44.2), McLaurin (43.2), and Ridley (41.7). Beckham is next (39.6), followed by Edelman (39.4), Moore (39.2), Moore's teammate Anderson (39.0), Tyreek Hill (37.7), Valdes-Scantling (34,5), Diggs (33.7), Robinson (33.2), Hilton (33.1), Sanders (32.6), and Hopkins (31.2). Allen (31.1) completes the list of receivers that are averaging at least 30%.

 

Week 5 First Downs

Wide Receivers First Downs
DeAndre Hopkins 29
Calvin Ridley 25
Tyler Boyd 25
Amari Cooper 23
Terry McLaurin 22
Stefon Diggs 22
Robby Anderson 21
Keenan Allen 21
Allen Robinson 21
CeeDee Lamb 20
D. J. Moore 19
Darius Slayton 19
Adam Thielen 19
D.K. Metcalf 19
Tyreek Hill 18
Tyler Lockett 17
Cooper Kupp 17
Russell Gage 17
Emmanuel Sanders 17
DeVante Parker 17
Marquise Brown 16
Mike Evans 16
Justin Jefferson 16
Julian Edelman 16
Laviska Shenault Jr. 16
Sammy Watkins 16
Cole Beasley 16

DeAndre Hopkins leads are wide receivers with 29 first downs, while Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd are tied for second (25). Amari Cooper is fourth (23), followed by Terry McLaurin (22), Stefon Diggs (22), and three receivers that are tied with 21 first downs – Allen Robinson, Robby Anderson, and Keenan Allen. CeeDee Lamb leads rookies in yet another category with his 20 first downs, while Adam Thielen, Darius Slayton, D.K. Metcalf, and D.J. Moore, have all captured 19. Tyreek Hill is next (18), followed by five receivers that have collected 17 receptions for first downs - Tyler Lockett, Cooper Kupp, DeVante Parker, Emmanuel Sanders, and Russell Gage.

 

Week 5 Red Zone Targets

Wide Receivers Inside 20 Inside 10 Inside 5 Team %
Emmanuel Sanders 8 4 2 26.67
Russell Gage 8 4 2 32
N'Keal Harry 8 4 2 40
Darius Slayton 7 4 2 28
Adam Thielen 7 3 1 53.85
Calvin Ridley 7 3 2 28
Mike Evans 6 5 4 21.43
Keenan Allen 6 1 0 31.58
Sammy Watkins 6 5 2 22.22
CeeDee Lamb 6 5 4 26.09
Odell Beckham 6 5 4 37.5
Robby Anderson 6 2 1 28.57
DeAndre Hopkins 6 2 1 35.29
DK Metcalf 5 4 0 17.86
Tyler Lockett 5 4 3 17.86
Tyreek Hill 5 3 1 18.52
Zach Pascal 5 3 2 18.52
Allen Robinson 5 2 1 17.24
Stefon Diggs 5 2 2 15.63
Cole Beasley 5 4 2 15.63
DJ Chark 5 3 1 17.24
Trent Taylor 4 1 0 14.29
David Moore 4 1 0 14.29
Greg Ward 4 1 0 30.77
Chris Hogan 4 2 1 26.67
Tre'Quan Smith 4 1 1 13.33
Preston Williams 4 3 2 21.05
Hunter Renfrow 4 0 0 16
Cooper Kupp 4 1 0 22.22
Collin Johnson 4 3 2 13.79
T.Y. Hilton 4 0 0 14.81
Will Fuller 4 1 1 26.67
Amari Cooper 4 1 0 17.39
Tee Higgins 4 2 2 14.81
Anthony Miller 4 1 1 13.79
Brandon Aiyuk 4 3 2 14.29
JuJu Smith-Schuster 4 3 0 25
Julian Edelman 4 2 1 20
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 4 0 0 14.81
John Brown 4 2 1 12.5
Kenand ny Golladay 4 1 0 18.18

N’Keal Harry maintained his lead in red zone targets (8). However, he is now tied with Russell Gage and Emmanuel Sanders after the Week 5 matchups. Darius Slayton, Calvin Ridley, and Adam Thielen are next (7), followed by seven receivers that have collected six targets - Odell Beckham, Robby Anderson, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, CeeDee Lamb, and Sammy Watkins (6). Eight additional receivers are tied with five targets inside the 20 - D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Tyreek Hill, Zach Pascal, Allen Robinson, Cole Beasley, D.J. Chark, and Stefon Diggs.

Beckham, Evans, Watkins, and Lamb are tied for the lead with five targets inside the 10, while eight different receivers have been targeted four times  - Harry, Ridley, Sanders, Slayton, Metcalf, Beasley, Gage, Lockett, and Sanders.

Lamb, Beckham, and Evans are in a three-way tie for the league lead with four targets inside the 5.  Lockett has captured three targets, while a collection of 15 receivers have been targeted twice.

 

Week 5 Snap Counts

Wide Receivers  Week 5 Snaps Total Snaps Total Snap%
Michael Gallup 64/97% 345 89.84
DeAndre Hopkins 65/87% 332 93.26
Amari Cooper 42/64% 313 81.51
Terry McLaurin 54/100% 309 94.79
D.K. Metcalf 52/96% 304 95.6
Tyreek Hill 63/88% 303 86.82
Tyler Lockett 52/96% 300 94.34
Robert Woods 59/87% 300 89.29
Adam Thielen 81/93% 298 91.98
Darius Slayton 64/94% 297 92.52
Larry Fitzgerald 60/80% 295 82.87
Mike Evans 60/85% 293 84.68
Tyler Boyd 46/69% 291 77.81
Cooper Kupp 56/82% 288 85.71
Keenan Allen 12/17% 288 80.22
Calvin Ridley 48/74% 287 80.39
Allen Robinson 55/87% 280 83.09
Chris Hogan 45/65% 274 82.78
D.J. Moore 51/78% 274 82.28
CeeDee Lamb 36/55% 274 71.35
Zach Pascal 51/92% 266 79.4
Odell Beckham 63/86% 266 77.78
Jalen Guyton 65/92% 264 73.54
Kendrick Bourne 42/66% 258 76.56
Damiere Byrd BYE 257 91.79
DeVante Parker 53/79% 255 75.89
Stefon Diggs 60/83% 247 91.14
Jarvis Landry 56/77% 245 71.64
Keelan Cole 60/80% 244 73.05
Robby Anderson 47/72% 240 72.07
T.Y. Hilton 53/94% 239 71.34
Marvin Jones BYE 239 90.19
A.J. Green 28/42% 238 63.64
Sammy Watkins 26/36% 237 67.91
Justin Jefferson 70/80% 237 73.15
Preston Williams 40/60% 235 69/94
Brandin Cooks 48/83% 234 81.25
JuJu Smith-Schuster 57/76% 229 80.63
Tee Higgins 54/81% 229 61.23
Mike Williams 55/78% 227 74
Will Fuller 48/83% 226 78.47
Emmanuel Sanders 45/59% 224 66.77
Marquise Brown 54/86% 222 74

 

Michael Gallup has now led all wide receivers in offensive snaps for two consecutive weeks (345). He is followed by DeAndre Hopkins (332), Gallup’s teammate Amari Cooper (313), Terry McLaurin (309), D.K. Metcalf (304), Tyreek Hill (303), and two receivers that have performed on exactly 300 offensive snaps - Tyler Lockett, and Robert Woods. Adam Thielen is next (298), followed by Darius Slayton (297), Larry Fitzgerald (295), Mike Evans (293), Tyler Boyd (291), Cooper Kupp (288), Calvin Ridley (287), and Allen Robinson (280).

Metcalf (95.6), leads all receivers in offensive snap percentage, followed by McLaurin (94.8), Lockett (94.3), Hopkins (93.3), Slayton (92.5), Thielen (92.0), Damiere Byrd (91.8), and Stefon Diggs (91.1). Gallup (89.9) is next, followed by Robert Woods (89.3), Tyreek Hill (86.8), Cooper Kupp (85.7), Mike Evans (84.7), and Allen Robinson (83.1).

Thielen led the position in offensive snaps during Week 5 (81). His teammate Justin Jefferson was second (70), followed by Jeff Smith (68), Hopkins (65), Jalen Guyton (65), Gallup (64), Slayton (64), and three receivers that tied with 63 - Beckham, Hill, and Olamide Zacchaeus. Three receivers were also tied with 60 snaps (Evans, Fitzgerald, Keelan Cole). They were followed by Woods (59) JuJu Smith-Schuster (57), Deebo Samuel (57), and three receivers that were tied with 56 - Kupp, Landry, and Tampa Bay rookie Tyler Johnson.

McLaurin and Gabriel Davis led all receivers in snap count percentage during Week 5, by performing on 100% of their teams’ offensive snaps. Smith was third for the week (98.6), followed by Gallup (97.0), Zacchaeus (96.9), Aiyul (96.9), Lockett (96.3), Metcalf (96.3), Hilton (94.6), and Slayton (94.1). Thielen was next (93.1), followed by Guyton (91.6), Zach Pascal (91.7), Samuel (89.1), Hill (87.5), Robinson (87.3), Woods (86.8), Hopkins (86.7), and Beckham (86.3).

 

Five Things I Noticed

1. It has become increasingly clear that Robby Anderson has ascended beyond D.J. Moore as Carolina's true WR1 after five weeks of the regular season.

Moore entered the year in the aftermath of his 2019 breakout, in which he finished eighth among all receivers in yardage (1,175), and 10th in both targets (135) and receptions (87). He was also averaging 9.5 targets, 6.1 receptions, and 84 yards per game from Weeks 1-15, before a concussion, prematurely ended his season. This had vaulted him into high-end WR2 terrain which propelled his momentum as a Round 3 selection during the draft process. But fantasy GMs did not display a similar level of enthusiasm for drafting Robby Anderson after he signed with the Panthers during the offseason.

Anderson had finished 33rd in targets (96/6.0 per game) 43rd in receptions (52) and 37th in receiving yards (779) during 2019, although he tied for sixth in percentage of team's air yards (36.7). He appeared to provide Carolina with a downfield weapon who would primarily clear space for Moore by running deeper routes. But Anderson has thrived in the strategic approach of Matt Rhule and Joe Brady, and now enters Week 6 with 47 targets. That is 10 more than Moore and is also the league’s sixth-highest total. Anderson is also fourth overall in both receptions (36), and receiving yards (489), and has now paced Panther wide receivers in targets and receptions during each of their last three contests. That includes Week 5 when he also led Carolina in targets (12), receptions (8), and receiving yards (112).

Moore led the team in targets during their first two games, is 16th overall for the season (37), and is also 19th in receptions (22). However, he is also 10th in yardage (381), and 14th in air yards (440) - just three spots above Anderson (435). Both receivers are currently inside the top 10 in percentage share of air yards as Moore in ninth (39.2), followed directly by Anderson (39.0). However, Moore’s 57-yard touchdown in Week 5 was generated on a short reception in which nearly all yardage was generated after the catch. It was Moore’s first touchdown of the season - which ties him with Anderson.

Even though Moore’s current per-game averages (7.4 targets/4.4 receptions/76.2 yards), do not match his averages from 2019, anyone with the third-year receiver on their rosters should not become discouraged. He remains a WR2, and would still finish the season with 118 targets, 70 receptions, and 1,219 yards if he retained those averages over a 16-game schedule. Anderson has earned the distinction of WR1 status, as his combination of talent and opportunity should allow him to continue flourishing in Carolina’s restructured offense.

 

2. On the eve of last Sunday’s Week 5 matchups, several websites categorized “all Jet receivers” as “unplayable”.

This recommendation was due to the numerous deficiencies throughout the Jet offense, which was to be accentuated by the elevation of Joe Flacco under center. However, Crowder has repeatedly overcome the various hurdles that have permeated the Jet attack – both on and off the field. He was primed to enter the matchup having already navigated his team’s internal obstacles while accumulating 23 targets in just two contests. This should have provided fantasy GMs and analysts with sufficient confidence to keep him entrenched in the lineup, even though Flacco would be spearheading the offense.

Crowder remains the only wide receiver that has collected 10+ targets in every contest this season, as he caught eight of his 10 targets during New York’s Week 5 matchup with Arizona. That currently places him in a tie for 23rd among all receivers with 33 targets for the season, even though he was sidelined in Weeks 2-3. He is also 20th in yardage despite his two-game absence, after he assembled a season-high 116 against the Cardinals. He has now exceeded 100 yards in all three games (115/104/116). Crowder also vaulted to WR7 in scoring for the week, even though he was operating with Flacco.

Crowder’s usage and production in just three matchups have been sufficient to lead the Jets in targets (33), receptions (22), while he has also generated over 200 more receiving yards than any of his teammates (335). He is also sixth overall in yards after catch (170) and is averaging a career-high 15.2 yards per reception following his performance against the Cardinals.

The drama surrounding Le’Veon Bell provides yet another self-defeating development for the Jets, and the endless collection of issues that impact the franchise could compel fantasy GMs to overlook Crowder’s accomplishments this season. But that provides the rationale for including Crowder in this section. He has earned recognition for the excellent season that he is constructing amid the ugliness of his organization. There should be no hesitation in starting him, as he has become unrestricted by what could easily have been massive constraints in his production. He should be in all lineups moving forward. as savvy managers should know that they can place infinite trust in the sixth-year veteran.

 

3. The Packers were universally expected to bolster their wide receiving arsenal during the off-season.

However, it has been well documented that General Manager Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur eschewed the opportunity to provide Aaron Rodgers with additional options throughout free agency and the NFL draft. This initiated an eruption of widespread criticism, while also resulting in a Round 10 ADP for Rodgers.

Green Bay has risen to ninth in run play percentage (45.6%), after ranking 17th (40.2%) one year ago. However, the Packers also enter Week 6 bye with the league’s third-ranked passing attack (294.8 yards per game). Rodgers is QB6 in scoring, has constructed an exceptional 13:0 touchdown to interception ratio, and is second in touchdown percentage (9.4).

Rodgers accomplished this even though Green Bay ranks 24th in pass play percentage (54.4%), and has been without passing game centerpiece Davante Adams since Week 2. Adams was a strong candidate to lead the NFL in targets this season and achieved that in Week 1 (17 targets/42.5% target share). He should return this week to recapture his role as Green Bay’s target monster and could reprise his statistical surge from last season. Adams reemerged from a turf toe injury in Week 8 to finish second overall in targets (91) and receptions (58) from Weeks 8-17.

Allen Lazard generated a career-best 146 yards on eight targets in Week 3 but remains in the early stage of an extended absence following core muscle surgery. He still leads the Packers yardage (254), while Marquez Valdes-Scantling has garnered a team-high 25 targets (6.3 per game). Valdes-Scantling is also fourth among all receivers in targeted air yards (17.2), 18th in air yards (431), and 18th in percentage share of air yards (34.5). Valdez-Scantling also leads the team in target share (18.7) although that will change following Adams’ return.

Aaron Jones is second in target share (17.2). and entered his bye in a tie for third among all backs in targets (23). Third-year tight end Robert Tonyan has experienced a steady rise with his weekly target totals (0/3/5/6) which has propelled him to a 10.4 target share. Rodgers will continue to locate Jones and Tonyan as the season progresses. But Adams is easily the Packers’ primary receiver and should eventually resurface among the league leaders in each major category. Valdes-Scantling should be targeted with enough frequency to function as a WR3, even after Adams returns.

 

4. There were divergent opinions during the off-season surrounding the value for Giant wide receivers Sterling ShepardGolden Tate, and Darius Slayton.

Shepard was the first member of the trio to be selected during the draft process (ADP 112), although the fantasy community was split concerning which receiver would ultimately deliver the highest level of production.  But as the team enters their Week 6 matchup with division rival Washington, Slayton has separated himself by emerging as the most targeted and productive weapon among Daniel Jones’ trio of options at the position. The former fifth-round draft selection also collected the second-highest target total of his career in Week 5 (11), while his weekly total also tied him for eighth among all receivers.

He also eclipsed 100 yards for the second time this year, which matches the number of  100-yard performances that he delivered during his 2019 rookie season. Slayton is now 12th overall in targets (40/8 per game), fourth in percentage share of air yards (44.2%), 10th in air yards (487), 17th in receiving yards (365), and is also tied for 17th in receptions (23). He is also tied for fourth in red zone targets (7) and leads the Giants in each of those categories. Slayton also paces the team in target share (23.7), yards per reception (15.9), and yards per target (9.1). But while Slatyon's season is progressing favorably, the results have been disappointing for anyone who invested in Shepard or Tate during the draft process.

A toe injury has cemented Shepard to the sideline since he exited New York’s matchup with Chicago in Week 2. He has been limited to just 68 snaps, has collected just eight receptions, and currently remains on injured reserve. Tate’s usage and production also remain alarmingly short of expectations. The 32-year old has accumulated just 145 yards on 18 receptions and has failed to exceed 47 yards during any of his four matchups. His current per-game averages of 5.6 targets, 4.5 receptions, and 36.3 yards would result in season-long totals of 85 targets, 68 receptions, and 545 yards if Tate retained those weekly results during his remaining matchups. That would equate to his lowest usage and output since 2012.

The Giants currently rank third in pass play percentage (65.4%), and the team will not generate an effective ground game with their current components in their backfield.  This should preserve a consistent reliance on Jones and the passing game, with Slayton continuing to operate as the primary weapon in the aerial attack.

 

 

5. Henry Ruggs was one of three rookie receivers who delivered their most prolific outings of the season in Week 5.

Ruggs maximized his three targets by registering receptions of 46 and 72 yards during the Raiders' matchup in Kansas City. That resulted in astronomical averages of 59 yards per reception and 39.3 yards per target, while his 118 yards placed him eighth among all receivers in Week 5. He has been operating from the slot during 72% of his routes and is averaging 29.5 yards per reception and 16.1 yards per target. Ruggs’ exceptional speed blends favorably with his route running ability in allowing him to explode beyond defenders. Ruggs is also underrated as a competitive receiver who can prevail in contested catch situations. Volume is a concern, as he has averaged just 3.6 targets per game. But that is partially a byproduct of Ruggs playing through his knee injury in Weeks 1 and 2  If he can achieve sustained health Ruggs should justify the Raiders' decision to select him with the 12th overall pick in last April's draft.

Laviska Shenault led Jacksonville in targets (8), receptions (7), and receiving yards (79) during Jacksonville’s matchup in Houston. He has now collected 20 targets during his last three contests, which has elevated his season total to 28. That places him in a tie for the team lead with Keelan Cole. Shenault also leads the Jaguars in receptions (23) and receiving yards (270), after collecting 12 receptions and 165 yards in Weeks 4-5. Shenault is now averaging 11.7 yards per reception, after exceeding 11.3 in four of his five matchups, and has been involved in 63% of Jacksonville's offensive snaps- including his season-high 69.3% in Week 5. Shenault is also being deployed both outside and in the slot, and this versatility will blend with his physical style to expand his involvement in the offense as the season progresses.

The 6’4”, 240-pound Chase Claypool possesses the size and speed (4.42-40 yard dash) to create matchup nightmares for opponents. He had entered Week 5 with season totals of nine targets, six receptions, 151 yards, and one touchdown. But Claypool’s relevance skyrocketed when he led the Steelers in targets (11) receptions (7) and receiving yards (110) while averaging 15.7 yards per reception and generating three touchdowns. He also produced a fourth touchdown on the ground, while finishing WR1 in scoring for the week.  Claypool now leads the Steelers in receiving yards (261), and the 11 targets that he procured places his season total just six behind team leader Diontae Johnson, and only four behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. He is also third overall with an average of 20.1 yards per reception. Johnson experienced a back issue that forced him to the sideline in Week 5, but he remains Pittsburgh’s WR1. However, Claypool maintains the potential to remain relevant in the upcoming weeks, even though his production could be inconsistent.



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FAB Bidding - Week 6 Waiver Wire Targets

Crack that piggybank and recruit some reinforcements! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In case you were not aware, several fantasy sports platforms are switching from FAAB to FAB in 2020, and RotoBaller will make that change as well.

As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will go for. Each league values players differently and will continue to do so. These values are here to provide a baseline or priority order to understand roughly how much you should be looking to spend on a particular player. Specific needs are always reasonable cause for a manual override.

The injuries were lighter in Week 5, but losing the NE/DEN contest surely tilted many a roster. With four teams on bye for Week 6 -- SEA, LAC, NO, LV -- having depth is more important than ever. Don't shy away from the "boring" add to plug in. Here are my median FAB bid ranges and adds heading into Week 6, with Yahoo rostership rates from Monday night.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

21% rostered

The Dolphins will want to see Tua Tagovailoa in action eventually, but Fitzmagic season is in full effect. The Harvard alum wisely targeted San Francisco’s practice-squad DB Brian Allen often in Week 5, resulting in 350 yards and three scores in a blowout of the reigning NFC champs. And now he gets a green-light matchup with the Jets in Week 6, meaning Fitzpatrick and the Miami offense are solid plays once again. I recognize the 49ers were broken, but Fitz ranks top-five in aggression per NFL's Next Gen Stats and that will play in fantasy.

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

32% rostered

Cousins went 27-of-39 on throws for 249 yards and two touchdowns with an interception (and fumble lost) in Week 5. It wasn’t impressive as the Vikings ran all over the Seahawks, even once Dalvin Cook left with a groin injury. The 39 pass attempts blew away his previous season-high mark of 27 and may foreshadow Week 6’s date with a vulnerable Atlanta defense. Especially as Kirk was just one of five qualified QBs with an intended-air-yards mark of 10 or more entering Week 5.

The Falcons just got DJ Moore right and should offer little opposition to Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, but even a limited Cook or his backups could gash ATL. Perhaps they’ll be stiffer in hopes of proving that now-ousted Dan Quinn was the problem and not them. Cousins is a viable streamer for those seeking 18-20 points.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Running Backs

Alexander Mattison (RB, MIN) - FAB Bid: 10-15%

40% rostered

I’ll mention Mattison even though his rostered rate is slightly above the usual threshold. Dalvin Cook left Sunday night’s game with a groin injury and is receiving an MRI on Monday, which left Mattison in a smash spot against Seattle that yielded 136 total yards.

While he was momentarily banged up and Mike Boone also ran well, that highlights how all three RBs are talented and that Seattle’s D is in rough shape. If Mattison is the starter next week against Atlanta then you’ll want him plugged in. The Vikings have a bye in Week 7 and may elect to give Cook rest through then. Plus, you get all sorts of Hamilton-themed smack talk to drop:

Jamaal Williams (RB, GB) - FAB Bid: 3-6%

15% rostered

While Williams is a running back, he’s needed as a receiver right now given Green Bay’s injuries.  The Packers have little depth beyond Davante Adams, who is presumed back for Week 6, with an inconsistent Marquez Valdes-Scantling and upstart Robert Tonyan blossoming at tight end. This left Williams with an 8-95-0 receiving line alongside a poor 8-10-0 rushing line for Week 4. They won’t grind Aaron Jones into the ground, leaving Williams able to benefit from a vengeful Aaron Rodgers who is out to prove he’s still a king in today’s NFL.

*There simply aren’t many low-owned RBs that are ready to help in Week 6. If you need a running back on the roster then go after the insurance-policy backs such as Tony Pollard (what Mattison was) and hope to hit it big moving forward. I'm not here to conjure up names just to squeeze into a column -- if they aren't worth your FAB, I won't force it.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Wide Receivers

Chase Claypool (WR, PIT) - FAB Bid: 20-25%

14% rostered

Claypool erupted for four total touchdowns on Sunday, catching seven passes for 110 yards and three TDs while adding a two-yard TD rush for fun. He rallied for PIT once Diontae Johnson left with a back issue, which tacks on to his recent concussion and a toe injury to give him a frightful list of woes to overcome. Monitor Johnson's injury reports as the week progresses but Pittsburgh may not put this genie back in the bottle. If you have to make one add this week, it's Claypool.

Preston Williams (WR, MIA) - FAB Bid: 8-10%

22% rostered

Whew, about time! We knew we just had to wait for a matchup with San Francisco to get Williams right, right? He was the main beneficiary of the aforementioned Brian Allen matchup, securing 106 yards with a 32-yard touchdown mixed in on his four catches. The lower volume remains concerning, but this should keep him above Isaiah Ford on the depth chart. Miami won’t explode for 43 points often, but facing the Broncos in Week 6 should offer another opportunity to roll.

Travis Fulgham (WR, PHI) - FAB Bid: 8-10%

3% rostered

Fulgham showed that last week’s 2-57-1 line wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan scenario, as he dominated Pittsburgh’s defense for 10 catches, 152 yards, and a score on 13 targets. He and Greg Ward both did well with Philly trailing often (yet Zach Ertz still stunk). Philly will eventually return Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, and Dallas Goedert, so don’t get attached to double-digit targets. 

Tyler Johnson (WR, TB) - FAB Bid: 2-3%

0% rostered

The good news is that Johnson logged 61 yards on four receptions (six targets) in his first real taste of NFL action. The bad news is that it took injuries to Chris Godwin and Justin Watson, as well as Mike Evans and Scotty Miller being dinged up, to get Johnson there. It's hard to see those stars aligning yet again for Week 6's home date with the Packers, but it's not impossible. Aaron Rodgers and the Pack will surely push Tom Brady and the Bucs to action, and if Johnson is running in three-wide sets then you have a solid dart throw on your hands.

Olamide Zaccheaus (WR, ATL) - FAB Bid: 3-6%

8% rostered

Zaccheaus only managed a 13-yard catch in Week 5 after dropping that 8-86-0 line in Week 4. It was a disappointing follow-up, but it's promising that he stayed on the field and remained in the rotation with Julio Jones out. Russell Gage only had a 2-16-0 line as well, so it's not like Zaccheaus was the only one left out. And it's not like he was out there to run block:

Other WRs of Note:

  • Laviska Shenault Jr. (JAX, 34%) 4-5% - Two strong weeks in a row, targets trending up.
  • Christian Kirk (ARI, 34%) 4-5% - Season-high 7 tgts, 78 yds, DAL & SEA matchups coming.
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB, 33%) 3-4% - Still No. 2 WR for Rodgers, that has value.
  • N'Keal Harry (NE, 32%) 3-4% - Harry with 28 tgts thru 4 games, getting Cam back?
  • Cole Beasley (BUF, 29%) 2-3% - BUF throwing a ton, he’ll be needed against KC in Wk. 6.
  • Scotty Miller (TB, 29%) 2-3% - Goose egg hurt, but still a solid play if Godwin’s out.
  • Alshon Jeffery (PHI, 18%) 1-2% - Don’t forget about him, PHI is about to get crowded.
  • James Washington (PIT, 9%) 1-2% - Claypool draws spotlight, but JW viable if Diontae out.
  • Breshad Perriman (NYJ, 8%) 3-4% - Take Jeff Smith’s targets and give them to Perriman.
  • Darnell Mooney (CHI, 1%) 3-4% - Drew more tgts than Miller again, Foles missed open TD.
  • Nelson Agholor (LV, 2%) 1-2% - 3 TDs is great, only 11 tgts is not. Ted Ginn-ish at best.
  • Gabriel Davis (BUF, 2%) 2-3% - Unreliable w/ both Diggs and Brown healthy.
  • Cedrick Wilson (DAL, 2%) 0-1% - DAL defense may require lots of passing, Dalton will do.
  • Demarcus Robinson (KC, 0%) 0-1% - May step into potent offense if Watkins misses time.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Tight Ends

Darren Fells (TE, HOU) - FAB Bid: 2-3%

2% rostered

Fells found open space (read: busted coverage) for a 44-yard TD to fuel a 2-57-1 line on the day, enough for a top-3 TE week in half-PPR formats. He's TD-dependent and has only seen more than two targets in a game once so far, but we're all hoping Week 5's 30-14 victory signals a renaissance for Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense. Tennessee's defense offers stiffer competition than Jacksonville next week, but not by much. The Titans have quietly allowed opposing TEs to find paydirt in each of their first three games this season.

Gerald Everett (TE, LAR) - FAB Bid: 1-2% 

1% rostered

Everett caught all four of his targets for 90 yards against Washington while Tyler Higbee only had two catches/targets for 12 yards. It’s fair to question the hierarchy, especially after Higbee popped in the second half of 2019 after an injury sidelined Everett. Regardless, it's much closer to even than most people would think:

His ceiling is certainly the highest of these players, but he did just face Washington...so. Week 6's date at San Francisco should require more firepower as the Niners hope to rebound from embarrassment. Mike Gesicki just hung 91 yards on SF so perhaps Everett can replicate his 90-yard day there.

Irv Smith Jr. (TE, MIN) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

6% rostered

Big Irv established season-high marks with four catches on five targets for 64 yards against Seattle, building momentum for a date with Atlanta’s beleaguered defense in Week 6. Kyle Rudolph has averaged two targets through five games and isn’t ramping up, so we hope this is a sign that Smith is getting more involved. I'm tempering expectations and you may not want to hold him through Minnesota's Week 7 bye, but do note the recent upward trend here.

Cameron Brate (TE, TB) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

2% rostered

Brate answered the Week 5 call with five receptions for 44 yards on six targets, offering a midrange safety blanket for Tom Brady with O.J. Howard out. Rob Gronkowski topped 50 yards himself but didn’t look terribly graceful on his feet. Neither has a high ceiling these days, but the Bucs receiving corps is battered and needs both TEs to complement Mike Evans. If you simply need a solid 30-40 yards with decent red-zone usage then Brate fits the bill.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Defense/Special Teams

Miami Dolphins Defense (vs. NYJ) - FAB Bid: 0-1%

2% rostered

I realize the Dolphins typically elicit giggles, but they just bounced Jimmy Garoppolo after one half of play and now face the Jets. With confidence in their sails, Miami will look to build on Week 5’s five-sack, three-turnover performance against a reeling Jets team. Tack on that it’s a home matchup for Miami and you’ve got a good recipe to serve up on Sunday. Even as the Jets ease Le'Veon Bell and potentially Breshad Perriman back in, they are not to be feared. They simply get put into holes early and often, which leaves them taking risks and making mistakes for the majority of the game.

Minnesota Vikings Defense (vs. ATL) - FAB Bid: 0-1%

29% rostered

Matt Ryan and the Falcons have looked lost lately, which is exactly what the Vikings defense needs to see. While they just posted a season-high four sacks against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, the Vikes’ D has struggled on the whole. They’ve surrendered at least 23 points in each game thus far, but have faced the likes of Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, and Russell Wilson. If you can’t scoop Miami then take a look at Minny, who open as 3.5-point favorites per Vegas sportsbooks.



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Waiver Wire Express - Week 6 Lightning Round

Week 5 brought some key injuries and we lost the NE/DEN game (with BUF/TEN still up in the air). The biggest injury was Dak Prescott, who was carted off after suffering a compound ankle fracture, but we also saw Sammy Watkins and A.J. Green leave due to hamstring injuries alongside Diontae Johnson's back injury. Also, Dalvin Cook left SNF with a groin injury. For now, Week 6 byes are the Seahawks, Chargers, Saints, and Raiders. Now here's the waiver wire lightning round heading into Week 6.

This column is published early every week and then updated on a daily basis. Each day of the week will also yield more in-depth waiver wire analysis for all positions.

Waiver pickups are listed in priority order (in a vacuum) and broken down by position. Players must be rostered in roughly less than 60% of Yahoo leagues and therefore will range from shallow options in standard leagues to deep options in PPR formats.


Running Backs (Priority Order):

Alexander Mattison
Damien Harris
Phillip Lindsay
Frank Gore
Justin Jackson
Adrian Peterson
La'Mical Perine
Brian Hill
D'Ernest Johnson
Jamaal Williams
J.D. McKissic
Gus Edwards
Anthony McFarland Jr.
Darrynton Evans

 

Wide Receivers (Priority Order):

Brandin Cooks
Chase Claypool
Henry Ruggs III
Tee Higgins
Mecole Hardman
Preston Williams
Cole Beasley
Travis Fulgham
Laviska Shenault Jr.
Scotty Miller
Christian Kirk
Mike Williams
Keelan Cole
Greg Ward
Russell Gage
Zach Pascal
Olamide Zaccheaus
Tim Patrick
Isaiah Ford
Gabriel Davis
Jalen Guyton

 

Tight Ends (Priority Order):

Austin Hooper
Eric Ebron
Jimmy Graham
Rob Gronkowski
Logan Thomas
Irv Smith Jr.
Trey Burton
Darren Fells
Cameron Brate

 

Quarterbacks (Priority Order):

Ryan Tannehill
Kirk Cousins
Justin Herbert
Gardner Minshew II
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Andy Dalton
Philip Rivers
Teddy Bridgewater



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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 6

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 6 of the NFL season.

 

Week 6 Fantasy Football Risers

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

Everyone's favorite streamer is, perhaps...not a streamer? Ryan Fitzpatrick has posted between 23 and 27 fantasy points in four straight games. That's beyond streamer territory. That's a legitimate QB1. Most encouraging is his performance hasn't fluctuated based on caliber of opponent or game script. The Dolphins have become a passing team and they are letting Fitzpatrick sling it. With the Dolphins likely to beat the Jets this week and return to .500, we are nowhere near Tua Time. If you lost Dak Prescott, look no further than Fitzmagic to replace him.

Chase Claypool (WR, PIT)

Of course Chase Claypool was going to appear here. The rookie did not just put up what will almost certainly be the best wide receiver performance of the season, he put up one of the best fantasy performances of all time. Claypool became a near every down player following Diontae Johnson's early exit for a second consecutive game and absolutely dominated. Claypool commanded 11 targets, catching even of them for 110 yards and three touchdowns while adding a rushing score. It wasn't just volume either. Claypool looked like the super athlete he is. Don't expect anything near this again, but after what Claypool did, it seems impossible for the Steelers to keep him off the field. At the very least, he should be a weekly flex option.

Brandin Cooks (WR, HOU)

There can be no denying that Brandin Cooks' value is on the rise, so he is a required name, but I am admittedly skeptical over how real Cooks' explosion is. Cooks has two games with 20 receiving yards and one game where we went without a reception. Last week, Cooks popped off for 161 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. Is this a sign of things to come or just a blip? We will find out. But Cooks' increased involvement is definitely something we like to see.

Chase Edmonds (RB, ARI)

Every week, fantasy analysts are like, "If not now, when?" referring to Kenyan Drake. That's because the Cardinals have an extremely favorable schedule. Yet, every week, Drake fails to produce. Enter Chase Edmonds - the far superior talent - who has been far more effective. Edmonds is averaging nearly five targets a game and is coming off a season high 45% of the snaps. It's only a matter of time before the ineffective Drake is supplanted in this timeshare by Edmonds.

Alexander Mattison (RB, MIN)

With Dalvin Cook's groin injury, one of the most reliable backups in the league, Alexander Mattison, is now a three down RB1. Mattison displayed his ability with 112 yards on 20 carries last week while adding 24 yards on three receptions. From a fantasy perspective, the drop off from Cook to Mattison is minimal, at best. Mattison is an auto-start every week until Cook returns.

 

Week 6 Fantasy Football Fallers

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

The reigning MVP has not done anything specific to appear here. Rather, it's his season long performance. Lamar Jackson just isn't anywhere near worth the third round pick it cost to get him. Jackson is a back end QB1 with just two games over 17 fantasy points. The Ravens have yet to play a competitive game. They were on the right side of a blowout in their four wins and they got blown out by the Chiefs. No matter the scenario, Jackson isn't being leaned on - the Ravens are winning with ball control and defense. The schedule is about to get more difficult. Fantasy managers can only hope that unlocks the 2019 version of Jackson.

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

With Dak Prescott's season over, it's hard to envision the Cowboys offense remaining anywhere near as prolific with Andy Dalton. This may be a bit premature, but in the limited amount of Dalton we saw, it was Dalton Schultz who was the odd man out between him, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Asking Dalton to support four fantasy relevant pass catchers is a tall task. Dalton is one of, if not the best backup quarterback in the NFL, but he's not Dak Prescott. This offense will take a hit and by the looks of it, Schultz may take the biggest one.

Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

To the surprise of, well, at least not me, D.K. Metcalf is the WR1 in Seattle. Russell Wilson is certainly capable of supporting two WR1s. He very well may. But we've seen Tyler Lockett just disappear before and it may be happening again. After three straight WR1 weeks, Lockett has failed to top 44 yards in each of his last two, while Metcalf dominates. Lockett will be fine, but understand that these weeks will happen far more to him than they will to Metcalf.

A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

There are rumors of the Bengals shopping A.J. Green. There are people who think that matters. It does not. I reiterate: A.J. Green is done.

Jerick McKinnon (RB, SF)

Even with Raheem Mostert's return, it was expected that Jerick McKinnon would maintain some sort of role. Nope. McKinnon was only in the game when Mostert, the clear three down back, needed a breather. McKinnon played 92% of the snaps in Week 4 with Mostert out. In Week 5, McKinnon played just 25% of the snaps. He is completely irrelevant unless Mostert gets hurt again.



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NextGen Stats - Running Back Breakdowns and Takeaways

With five weeks of play in the books and things starting to settle a bit, it's time to get back to studying some of the rushers around the league and see how they have performed through (almost) the first third of the season. Here's to hope that we don't have any more setbacks with regards to COVID and we keep getting games worth number-crunching going forward!

To gain the biggest edge in your fantasy football league, it's necessary to understand how to apply the advanced statistics being used in sports nowadays. Back in the day, it was all about wins and losses, passing yards, and touchdowns scored. It's not that those stats are now worthless, they just don't offer enough information to savvy analysts. While football is still in its infancy compared to baseball in terms of analytics, the evolution the sport has seen lately in those terms is notable.

Each week, I'll be tackling NFL's Next Gen Stats, bringing you data from the previous week's games with notable takeaways you should consider when assessing fantasy players for the upcoming week. In case you're new to the series, or Next Gen Stats altogether, I recommend you read our NGS-primer. Now, let's get to the data!

 

The Running Game Is Alive!

One of the most important concepts to consider when analyzing players are Air Yards. The metrics around it are key to know who is really over-performing or under-performing among receivers and passers, but it doesn't have much to do with rushers. For this last group, which mostly features on the ground, we can look at time, speed, and efficiency metrics.

Today, I'll present each of the stats from the NFL's advanced metrics site, its correlation with rushers-fantasy points, and a list of leaders and trailers in each category along with some notes and takeaways on both the players' and the metrics' impact on fantasy football as a whole. For the 2020 season, the NFL has introduced the concept of Expected Rushing Yards (xRY; How many rushing yards is a ball-carrier expected to gain on a given carry based on the relative location, speed and direction of blockers and defenders?), and Rushing Yards Over Expectation (RYOE; The difference between actual rushing yards and expected rushing yards on an individual play or series of plays). I will also tackle Rush Pct Over Expected (ROE%; The percentage of runs where a ball-carrier gained more yards than expected) in this column.

I will only focus on fantasy production as pure rushers, eliminating the pass-catching element from their game. This will concentrate entirely on their total rushing yardage and rushing touchdowns in terms of the fantasy points per game numbers shown (labeled ruFP/G). I will also include an extra column, "ruFP/15Att", which is accounts for the fantasy points a rusher is getting per 15 rushing attempts, which would be considered an RB1 workload on average and allows us to know how different players in different roles would be doing if given the same opportunities.

So let's dive in. Note: The cutoff is set at 25 rushing attempts.

 

Efficiency

Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: negative-5%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Remember, the most "efficient" a rusher is, the least amount of yards he "wastes" going headfirst toward the opposition goal line in a straight route.
  • With that in mind, and through five weeks of play, we have gone from seven players with an EFF below 3.00 to just two of them among the 49 qualified RBs: Sony Michel and Gus Edwards.
  • Although the correlation between EFF and ruFP is negative (yet not very significant) both of them are finding relative success so far with averages of 13.4 and 8.5 ruFP on the ground per 15 attempts... That being said, their actual usage has both of them below 8 ruFP per game...
  • Only three players (Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones, and Miles Sanders) are above 10 ruFP per game while approaching the running game in the straightest, simplest of ways. Of the 12 RBs with marks below 3.6 EFF, only them are averaging those ruFP.
  • And at the other end of the leaderboard sits the man making that negative correlation look too small for what he's doing. Derrick Henry is third in ruFP per game, and dead-last in EFF. Makes sense given what we know so far...
  • ...or not. Actually, four of the next five RBs in the bottom part of the leaderboard to rank above Henry are averaging a paltry 3.9 ruFP per game and right in the middle of them, Josh Jacobs is at a great 13.5 average. As you can see, the correlation is nonexistent and EFF is more descriptive than predictive, to say the least.
  • Just a final note to disprove this stat as a fantasy-relevant one. The five-best RBs in ruFP per game (all above 15 ruFP/G) have the following EFF marks: 4.13, 3.69, 4.83, 3.31, 3.20. As random as it gets.

 

Percentage of Stacked Boxes Faced

Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: negative-14%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • The correlation between stacked boxes and fantasy points is going stronger than it usually does. It normally doesn't affect fantasy performances a lot, but this year through five weeks of play it sits at a reasonably-high negative-14%. Nothing incredible, but worth noting.
  • Don't throw away stacked boxes completely given that there normally is an almost non-existent relationship, but keep in mind that it is heavily related to the role a player has on his offense and to what teams expect from him.
  • The top part of the leaderboard is super-damaging for those ranking high in stacked boxes faced so far this season. Of the top-8 players in 8+D% (all above 27.5%), all of them are averaging fewer than 8 ruFP per game, and only three are above 5 ruFP/G.
  • Usage is not a factor in that equation. Even pro-rating the ruFP average to a per-15-attempts basis, only one of those eight players (Sony Michel; 13.4 ruFP/15ruAtt) would break the 10-ruFP/15ruAtt barrier. Other workhorses like Myles Gaskin and Mike Davis would be at just 7.2 and 9.1 ruFP/15ruAtt...
  • As is always the case with lowly-related stats, the bottom of the leaderboard is pretty much showing the opposite trend. Of the bottom-11 rushers, all having faced stacked boxes less than 10% of the time, only two (Alvin Kamara and Miles Sanders) are averaging more than 10 ruFP/G... Again, on a per-15ruAtt basis, just those two and Brian Hill would break the 10 ruFP/G barrier.
  • Flipping the chart order to the ruFP/G column, the relationship (or lack of it) shows: Dalvin Cook is averaging the second-most ruFP/G at 18.2 while facing 8+D on 18.5% of his attempts; Miles Sanders is averaging 12.4 ruFP/G (9th-most) yet he's faced 8+D on 1.6% of his carries.

 

Average Time Behind The Line Of Scrimmage

Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: 22%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • In the same vein as what is going on with the relationship between stacked boxes and fantasy points, the TLOS stat is showing early strong signs of being tied to fantasy production. Surprisingly knowing how, once more, it wasn't so high in 2019. It is still early with just five weeks on the books, so we'll see how this develops as we get deeper into the season.
  • The difference in ruFP/G between the top-15 players in TLOS (lower values) and the bottom-15 (higher TLOS) amounts to 2.9 fantasy points. Not incredibly high, but notable enough, thus the 22% correlation.
  • That difference if considering ruFP/15ruAtt on a pro-rated usage for all players is reduced to just 2.1 rushing fantasy points.
  • When we last tackle running backs, six of them were averaging more than 3.0 seconds behind the LOS. It's down to two after Week 5, and Melvin Gordon III was this close to missing the cut at 3.02 seconds. Jerick McKinnon, though, is on a league of his own.
  • McKinnon has seen a very reduced use, with just 35 carries over five games (7 per game). Pro-rated to 15 attempts per game he'd be leading the group proving the 22%-correlation as he'd be averaging 16 ruFP per game on that 15-carry usage.
  • All but one player averaging 10+ ruFP/G are taking more than 2.74 seconds to cross the LOS. The outlier is Ezekiel Elliott, whose 2.58 TLOS is the lowest in that group yet he's still at a 13.3 ruFP/G average on the season.
  • Frank Gore seems to be running against the clock... to no success at all. He's getting to the LOS in just 2.6 seconds but he's averaging a paltry 4.1 ruFP/G even on one of the heavier loads of all league RBs.
  • David Johnson is taking virtually the same time (2.57 TLOS) but he's more than doubling Gore's outcomes at 8.4 ruFP/G. Talk about a non-predictive stat...

 

ATT & YDS & Y/A & TD

Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: 61% / 74% / 28% / 85%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • With five weeks gone, there are still two players averaging 6+ YPC, and as many as 12 with 5+ YPC. That will go down with time (and five of those 12 players have 35 or fewer rushing attempts...), but with more than a quarter of the season played out, it's not bad to have so many high-averagers in the league.
  • Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel, both with a low number of attempts so far, would both jump to over 13 ruFP/G if given 15 carries per game... and that is having just one touchdown on the season! Give those men the rock and let them run wild with it!
  • Take a look at the bottom of the leaderboard, and if you have any of those bottom-five rushers in your roster get an instant depression for free. They are the only RBs to meet the 25-attempt minimum while posting fewer than 3.5 Y/A... and all of them are averaging fewer than 5.5 ruFP/G. Yikes. Not even pro-rating their usage to 15 attempts per game do we get better results, with Hines leading the pack at just 8.1 ruFP/15ruAtt...
  • Obviously, the most concerning cases among those five are the ones of Joshua Kelley and Frank Gore. Both have 60+ rushing attempts so far yet they're pretty much horrific in fantasy terms with putrid 5.3 and 4.1 ruFP/G averages respectively.
  • Tame your expectations when it comes to playing both Derrick Henry and Josh Jacobs. Both of them are averaging a paltry 3.7 Y/A and only the touchdowns are keeping them at the top of the fantasy leaderboards. Even on super-heavy workloads (both over 100 rushing attempts through W5) their low Y/A averages aren't helping matters, but the 4 and 5 TDs added sweet fantasy points to their season-overall tallies. If the TD-supply is cut out, though, watch out for heavy regression.
  • That's precisely the opposite of what is going on with Mostert and Michel, as they've been good on low-usage while not relying almost at all on scoring plays.
  • Something similar will happen at the bottom of the leaderboard. Of last year's qualified rushers, only two of them finished below 3.5 YPC while there are currently five players below the 2.0 mark. Don't expect that to hold for long--the averages will go up, or the players get out of consideration with fewer carries than to qualify for the leaderboard.
  • Dalvin Cook has played out of his mind. He's the only player with more than 80 rushing attempts averaging over 15 ruFP/G at a monster 18.2 with 7 touchdowns on the ground already (!). Of the three player with that amount of carries over the year, he's on his own world averaging 5.3 Y/A to the other three 3.6, 3.7, and 3.7. Also, if normalized to ruFP/15ruAtt, Cook would be averaging 14.8 fantasy points compared to the other three 7.3-to-9.6 range. Ridiculous.

 

YDS & RYOE & Y/A & RYOE/A & ROE%

Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: 74% / 27% / 28% / 17% / 15%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Starting this year, the NFL has introduced the concept of Rushing Yards Over Expectation. Basically, it comes down to the extra yards a rusher gained (or lost) in a given play given the context of that play (down, distance, etc...).
  • The RYOE metric indicates how many extra yards the rusher gained/lost on his carries over/under those he actually rushed for. Ex: YDS = 100, RYOE = 10, then the rusher was expected to rush for 90 yards, but overperformed that mark by 10 (RYOE) thus getting to 100.
  • The RYOE/A metric indicates the average extra yards gained/lost per rushing attempt. Ex: Y/A = 0.5, RYOE/A = -1.5, then the rusher was expected to rush for 2.0 Y/A but underperformed that mark by -1.5 (RYOE) thus getting 0.5 Y/A.
  • The ROE% metric indicates the percentage of rushing attempts the rusher exceeded the expected yards (gained more yards than expected). Ex: ATT = 10, ROE% = 50.0, then the rusher gained more yards than expected in 5 of 10 (50.0%) of his carries.
  • Both of our earlier-discussed friends Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel have been balling. They are one full yard above no. 3 Nick Chubb in RYOE/A, exceeding the expectations of their carries by 2.9 and 2.8 yards per attempt respectively. The distance between them and Chubb is the same as that between Chubb and no. 12 (!) Brian Hill.
  • Removing the yards over expectation from their actual Y/A, Mostert would rank 26th of 49 in Y/A, and Michel would be 32nd. Quite a bump down from the top-two spots, isn't it?
  • Looking at what would be the expected Y/A leaderboard (not included in the chart), Miles Sanders would lead the NFL with 5.0 eY/A, which is actually just 0.1 yards below his current 5.1 Y/A through five weeks. Mark Ingram II (4.9 eY/A) and Matt Breida (4.9) trail Sanders, but they have underperformed with -0.3 and -1.2 RYOE/A this season.
  • That -1.2 RYOE/A mark by Matt Breida is actually the second-worst among all 49 qualified running backs, only "bested" by Devonta Freeman's -1.5. Now, go wonder why the hell the Giants signed him to fill Barkley's role--are they under-the-radar tanking?
  • Shout-out to Frank Gore, who once more appears in a bad place in our leaderboards and gets another mention in this week's column. Among rushers with 60+ carries through W5, Gore ranks second-worst (Kenyan Drake) in RYOE/A at a putrid -0.8. Also, drop Drake and if you still want Cardinals' backfield shares after that then feel free to pursue Chase Edmonds if anything.
  • Another reminder: watch out for regression coming Derrick Henry's way. He's averaging 15.4 ruFP/G, sure, but he's needed 4 TDs to reach that mark and is rushing -0.6 RYOE/A in his four games and 101 carries...
  • I have been saying that Kareem Hunt is a better player overall than Nick Chubb since the Browns added the former to the roster. See, Hunt is being less efficient than Chubb (1.2 RYOE/A to 1.8), but he's getting more yards than expected on 54.3% of his carries to Chubb's 40.4% mark. That difference amounts to two carries per game in which he exceeds the expected rushing yards over Chubb's, and he's doing so while already having logged a fat-enough 70 rushing attempts.
  • Of the true workhorses through Week 5 (75+ rushing attempts), Ezekiel Elliott has posted the highest ROE% at 49.4% (virtually half of his carries go for more yards than expected). Kenyan Drake (85 ruAtt) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (81) have been trusted a lot by their teams on the running game, but they have underwhelmed with just 28.4% and 32.1% of their carries going for more yards than expected.
  • Rookie Cam Akers can't do more than you would expect from him with a league-trailing 23.1% of his carries exceeding yardage expectations. Same for Joshua Keely (27%) and Adrian Peterson (29.6). Oh, wait, perhaps AP doesn't belong in this group of youngsters...

That's it for today. Until we meet again next week, I hope you can crush your waiver wire, set up the best possible lineup, and get ready for another weekend full of fireworks!



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Monday Night Football Starts and Sits: Chargers at Saints

Week 4 has come and gone and COVID remains prevalent in the NFL heading to Week 5. With bye weeks upon us, fantasy managers also have to contend with positive cases for the Titans, Patriots, Raiders, and Chiefs. All of us understood these possibilities heading into the season, but seeing the NFL move games is still an odd sight.

Looking to Week 5, the primary Monday Night Football matchup comes in the form of the Los Angeles Chargers and New Orleans Saints. The Chargers have declared rookie first-round pick Justin Herbert their starting quarterback after three strong performances to open his career. The Chargers come into this game somewhat banged up on offense thanks to an injury to Austin Ekeler in Week 4 and Mike Williams in Week 3.

Meanwhile, the Saints are hoping to get Michael Thomas and Jared Cook back for this game after both players missed Week 4. It could be irrelevant though given the fact that Alvin Kamara looks as explosive as ever and is dominating teams both on the ground and in the air. With Drew Brees rounding into form after a quarter of the season, this game could be more entertaining than it looked at the start of the year.

 

Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints 

  • Game time: Monday 10/12 @ 8:15 EST
  • Game line: New Orleans -7
  • Over/Under: 50.5

 

Must-Starts

Drew Brees (QB, NO)

After a shaky opening to the season, Drew Brees seems to have righted the ship a bit in recent weeks. Despite not having access to Michael Thomas in the passing game, Brees has thrown for 534 yards and five touchdowns (with one interception) the past two weeks against the Packers and Lions. If Thomas can play (more on him a bit later), it will at the very least force coverage to account for him and open up his other weapons. The Chargers have struggled in the passing game on defense this season without Derwin James, allowing 22.7 points per week to opposing quarterbacks. They are fresh off Tom Brady throwing for five touchdowns without Chris Godwin and with a hobbled Mike Evans.

UPDATE: Michael Thomas has officially been ruled out for Week 5.

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

Justin Herbert continues to be the rookie surprise at the quarterback position. Herbert wasn’t able to surpass 300 passing yards for the third time in three starts, but he did complete a career-high 80% of his passes and three touchdowns against a relatively strong Tampa Bay defense in Week 4. The Chargers may be 0-3 in Herbert’s three starts, but he has played well enough to keep them within a touchdown against the Chiefs, Panthers, and Buccaneers, which isn’t too bad. Herbert will likely have to throw it again in Week 5 against the Saints, a secondary that has allowed 11 passing touchdowns this season and 22.2 points to quarterbacks per week.

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

Alvin Kamara failed to meet his lofty expectations in 2020 in what should have been a smash spot against the Lions. Kamara was still productive, carrying the ball 19 times for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding three receptions and 36 yards through the air, but he wasn’t needed once the Saints overcame a 14-point deficit to take a commanding lead against the Lions. It didn’t help that Latavius Murray was able to steal two scores from him in the red zone. Kamara has been the RB1 in fantasy this season, a trend that should continue against the Chargers. Los Angeles has done very well against the run this year (315 yards) but has struggled against pass-catching backs (154 yards and two scores), setting up for a great Kamara game once again.

Latavius Murray (RB, NO)

If you drafted Latavius Murray in your fantasy draft, then you have been happy with the results considering where you got him (typically right before or around the double-digit rounds). Murray has had at least 12 carries in three games, giving him a consistent enough workload to be a bye week fill-in or flex play. The only game where Murray failed to log a strong workload was a loss to the Raiders where the Saints were caught playing catch up the whole night. He has also been targeted at least once in every game, which adds to his value. Murray isn’t the strongest play, but in a week where numerous options are on bye or facing a COVID cancellation, you could do worse than a double-digit carry back.

Joshua Kelley (RB, LAC)

With Austin Ekeler out of the picture, Joshua Kelley would seem to be the logical player to see an increase in work. For one, he has already been utilized in a heavy usage role, totaling 35 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown the first two weeks of the season. Kelley has also seen an uptick in the passing game lately (despite going down to just 17 carries since Week 2), totaling seven catches (on seven targets) for 88 yards since Week 2. Kelley will likely split time with Justin Jackson, the RB2 in Los Angeles at the beginning of last season, but should have a solid game with double-digit touches. This week’s matchup isn’t great (New Orleans is only allowing 19 points per game to running backs), but Kelley should have the workload to justify a spot as your RB2.

Tre'Quan Smith (WR, NO)

After the Michael Thomas injury, Tre'Quan Smith has seen his role and production grow in the New Orleans Saints’ offense. Smith has been targeted 17 times since Week 1, catching 13 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. This culminated in a perfect week against the Lions where Smith caught all four of his targets for 54 yards and two scores. Michael Thomas may be able to return on Monday night, so time will tell on how concrete Smith’s role will be if that happens. However, Thomas will likely need time to shake off his high ankle sprain, making Smith a startable player given bye weeks and potential COVID cancellations.

UPDATE: Michael Thomas has officially been ruled out for Week 5.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

The emergence of Justin Herbert as a legitimate passer has provided a stable weekly floor for Keenan Allen. Since Week 1, Allen has been targeted 40 times, catching 28 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown against some solid competition. He has always been a fringe WR1, and the Chargers’ young quarterback hasn’t done anything to end that trend. Marshon Lattimore will be Allen’s stiffest competition so far this season, but given his double-digit target floor, he must be in your lineup no matter what.

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

Hunter Henry finally had his first down week against a tough linebacking and safety corps in Tampa Bay. After seeing at least seven targets and catching five passes the first three weeks, Henry only caught two of four targets for 39 yards in Week 4. Henry has been steady and reliable this season, serving as the safety blanket for Justin Herbert. He should have no problem getting back on track against a Saints Defense that has allowed 16.3 points per week to tight ends (second-worst in the NFL). The New Orleans secondary is allowing 10.3 yards per reception and five touchdowns to tight ends through four games this season.

 

Consider Sitting

Emmanuel Sanders (WR, NO)

After an initial disappointment as the Saints’ WR1 in the wake of the Michael Thomas injury, Sanders has been utilized far better in the past two weeks. Sanders was targeted nine times against the Lions in Week 4, catching six passes for 93 yards in an impressive come from behind victory against Detroit. These past three weeks probably were important for Sanders and quarterback Drew Brees to establish some rapport given the condensed offseason program they both faced. Even with Thomas potentially returning, the Chargers have two of the best perimeter cornerbacks in the league with Casey Hayward and Desmond King. Sanders will be up for a challenge, but with all the COVID-related madness, he may be a worthy pivot if you have a player with a safer matchup.

Mike Williams (WR, LAC)

This one is pretty simple: Mike Williams hasn’t played since early in Week 3 thanks to a hamstring and is registered as a "did not play" against the Buccaneers. Despite the week of rest, Mike Williams missed practice through Thursday of Week 5 as well. Even if Williams can practice over the weekend, we have seen players struggle to recover from hamstring strains only to reinjure them when going full speed again. Give Williams a week to prove he is healthy before re-inserting him into your starting lineups.

Jared Cook (TE, NO)

Like Michael Thomas, Jared Cook has also been practicing on a limited basis this week. With an extra day to practice, he should have the ability to get close to ready after having Week 4 off against the Lions. Cook has had a relatively modest role for the Saints this year, catching nine of 15 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown in three games. Given the poor state of fantasy tight ends, that is a downright robust line that probably got him close to a TE1 through three weeks. Waiting until Monday to play Cook is a dangerous game, especially against a Chargers Defense that has allowed only 10.3 points to tight ends every week this year.

Potential Sleepers

Justin Jackson (RB, LAC)

Justin Jackson saw a spike in his role after the injury to Austin Ekeler in Week 4 (although to be fair, it isn’t hard to see a workload spike when your previous two weeks were zero percent of the offensive snaps). Jackson carried the ball six times for nine yards and added two catches for 12 yards in the loss to the Buccaneers. However, he was on the field for 40% of the time, which suggests he could see an uptick in his work on the field. Jackson played well last season during the Melvin Gordon holdout, and will likely see 40% of the backfield’s touches with Ekeler injured. If you need a desperation flex play, he should be serviceable.

Jalen Guyton (WR, LAC)

Jalen Guyton has been a serviceable player during Mike Williams’ absence thanks to a hamstring injury. Guyton has been targeted seven times, catching five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He has filled in the role of a downfield threat well and should continue to do so with Williams on the mend. Guyton has a high-risk, high-reward feel to him this week with Keenan Allen likely to draw the attention of Marshon Lattimore and the injury to Austin Ekeler.

Adam Trautman (TE, NO)

To be clear, the only way Adam Trautman should find his way into your lineup is if Jared Cook doesn’t play AND you missed your waiver period the last week due to a catastrophic fantasy football blunder. Trautman registered no stats last week and played only 27% of the Saints' snaps in Week 4 despite the absence of Jared Cook. Trautman comes from the University of Dayton (like a certain someone writing this article) and still likely needs time to develop. He is an absolute desperation play but could find himself with a touchdown at any time given the injuries to the Saints.

 

Tough Call

Michael Thomas (WR, NO)

For the second straight week, Michael Thomas has been limited in practice trying to test out his ankle. Last week, it turned him into a late scratch against the Lions and only time will tell what the result of this week’s work will be. Ultimately, I would be wary of Thomas heading into this Monday night matchup. High ankle sprains notoriously take a lot of time to heal and we have seen numerous players recently (Alvin Kamara and Saquon in 2019) struggle once they return. A hobbled Thomas being hounded by Casey Hayward on defense is a potential recipe for disaster. It is very difficult to pivot off the player you likely took in the mid-to-late first round of your fantasy draft, but I am extremely skeptical of Thomas’ ability to produce in a tough matchup on Monday night.

UPDATE: Michael Thomas has officially been ruled out for Week 5.



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Updated Week 5 PPR Rankings (Top 400)

Welcome to Week 5 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 5 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates:

These rankings are a consensus from four of our lead fantasy football columnists - Nick MarianoPierre Camus, Brandon Murchison, Scott Engel, and Dominick Petrillo - who have all analyzed the NFL matchups and game slates for Week 5.

And in case you weren't aware, our very own Nick Mariano was ranked #11 overall in 2018 out of ~120 industry experts, and was ranked #9 overall the year before. So be sure to follow his rankings every week!

 

Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings (PPR)

You can also see our Week 5 ranks for Half-PPR and Standard scoring.

Note that quarterbacks, defenses and kickers are all grouped separately towards the bottom. Each of those positions is ranked on their own. This is to allow owners to compare running backs, wide receivers and tight ends for their FLEX spot (without seeing QB, DEF, K mixed in).

Last updated on Sunday 10/11 at 9:30 am ET after the Patriots-Broncos game was cancelled:

Tier Rank Player Name Pos
1 1 Alvin Kamara RB
1 2 Ezekiel Elliott RB
1 3 DeAndre Hopkins WR
1 4 Dalvin Cook RB
1 5 Kareem Hunt RB
1 6 Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB
1 7 D.K. Metcalf WR
1 8 James Robinson RB
1 9 Adam Thielen WR
2 10 Tyreek Hill WR
2 11 Tyler Lockett WR
2 12 Mike Davis RB
2 13 Josh Jacobs RB
2 14 Stefon Diggs WR
2 15 Chris Carson RB
2 16 Amari Cooper WR
2 17 George Kittle TE
3 18 Derrick Henry RB
3 19 Michael Thomas WR
3 20 Keenan Allen WR
3 21 Travis Kelce TE
3 22 Calvin Ridley WR
3 23 James Conner RB
3 24 Allen Robinson II WR
3 25 Jonathan Taylor RB
3 26 Joe Mixon RB
3 27 Todd Gurley II RB
3 28 Mike Evans WR
3 29 D.J. Chark Jr. WR
3 30 Robby Anderson WR
3 31 JuJu Smith-Schuster WR
3 32 Justin Jefferson WR
3 33 Cooper Kupp WR
3 34 Darren Waller TE
3 35 David Johnson RB
3 36 Robert Woods WR
3 37 Antonio Gibson RB
4 38 D.J. Moore WR
4 39 Terry McLaurin WR
4 40 CeeDee Lamb WR
4 41 Will Fuller V WR
4 42 DeVante Parker WR
4 43 Mark Andrews TE
4 44 Miles Sanders RB
4 45 Kenyan Drake RB
4 46 Tyler Boyd WR
4 47 Diontae Johnson WR
4 48 Marquise Brown WR
4 49 Odell Beckham Jr. WR
4 50 Jerick McKinnon RB
4 51 Ronald Jones II RB
5 52 Devin Singletary RB
5 53 Darius Slayton WR
5 54 Michael Gallup WR
5 55 Jamison Crowder WR
5 56 Golden Tate WR
5 57 A.J. Brown WR
5 58 Hunter Henry TE
5 59 John Brown WR
5 60 Myles Gaskin RB
5 61 Jarvis Landry WR
5 62 Deebo Samuel WR
5 63 David Montgomery RB
5 64 T.Y. Hilton WR
5 65 Tyler Higbee TE
5 66 Tee Higgins WR
5 67 Laviska Shenault Jr. WR
5 68 Devonta Freeman RB
5 69 Scotty Miller WR
5 70 Russell Gage WR
5 71 Jonnu Smith TE
5 72 Dalton Schultz TE
5 73 Mark Ingram II RB
5 74 Joshua Kelley RB
6 75 Evan Engram TE
6 76 Brandon Aiyuk WR
6 77 Zach Ertz TE
6 78 Le'Veon Bell RB
6 79 Emmanuel Sanders WR
6 80 Sammy Watkins WR
6 81 Tre'Quan Smith WR
6 82 Brandin Cooks WR
6 83 Hunter Renfrow WR
6 84 Hayden Hurst TE
6 85 Mike Gesicki TE
6 86 Greg Ward WR
6 87 A.J. Green WR
6 88 Zach Pascal WR
7 89 Curtis Samuel WR
7 90 Raheem Mostert RB
7 91 Latavius Murray RB
7 92 Cole Beasley WR
7 93 Adam Humphries WR
7 94 Randall Cobb WR
7 95 Darrell Henderson RB
7 96 Eric Ebron TE
7 97 Malcolm Brown RB
7 98 Christian Kirk WR
7 99 Nyheim Hines RB
7 100 D'Ernest Johnson RB
7 101 Chase Edmonds RB
7 102 Olamide Zaccheaus RB
7 103 Preston Williams WR
7 104 Mecole Hardman WR
7 105 Mo Alie-Cox TE
7 106 Jimmy Graham TE
7 107 Anthony Miller WR
7 108 Greg Olsen TE
7 109 Keelan Cole WR
7 110 Justin Jackson RB
7 111 Damiere Byrd WR
8 112 David Moore WR
8 113 Larry Fitzgerald WR
8 114 Henry Ruggs III WR
8 115 J.K. Dobbins RB
8 116 Isaiah Ford WR
8 117 Austin Hooper TE
8 118 Jared Cook TE
8 119 Alexander Mattison RB
8 120 Logan Thomas TE
8 121 Rob Gronkowski TE
8 122 Darnell Mooney WR
8 123 Jeff Smith WR
8 124 Dontrelle Inman WR
8 125 Andy Isabella WR
8 126 Frank Gore RB
8 127 Drew Sample TE
8 128 Kendrick Bourne WR
8 129 Duke Johnson Jr. RB
8 130 Nelson Agholor WR
8 131 Jalen Guyton WR
8 132 Zack Moss RB
9 133 Brian Hill RB
9 134 Jordan Akins TE
9 135 Miles Boykin WR
9 136 Kalif Raymond WR
9 137 Chris Herndon IV TE
9 138 Cordarrelle Patterson WR
9 139 J.D. McKissic RB
9 140 Gabriel Davis WR
9 141 Ian Thomas TE
9 142 Cedrick Wilson WR
9 143 Chris Hogan WR
9 144 Braxton Berrios WR
9 145 Julio Jones WR
9 146 James Washington WR
9 147 Gus Edwards RB
9 148 Chris Conley WR
9 149 Demarcus Robinson WR
9 150 Cam Akers RB
9 151 Willie Snead IV WR
9 152 Ke'Shawn Vaughn RB
9 153 Tyler Eifert TE
10 154 Darren Fells TE
10 155 Chase Claypool WR
10 156 Josh Reynolds WR
10 157 Kenny Stills WR
10 158 Chris Thompson RB
10 159 Cameron Brate TE
10 160 John Hightower WR
10 161 Boston Scott RB
10 162 Giovani Bernard RB
10 163 Jeff Wilson Jr. RB
10 164 Jordan Howard RB
10 165 Dan Arnold TE
10 166 Jack Doyle TE
10 167 Jakeem Grant WR
10 168 Kyle Rudolph TE
10 169 Tony Pollard RB
10 170 DaeSean Hamilton WR
11 171 Van Jefferson WR
11 172 Travis Homer RB
11 173 Dawson Knox TE
11 174 Matt Breida RB
11 175 Dion Lewis RB
11 176 OlaBisi Johnson WR
11 177 Trent Taylor WR
11 178 Zay Jones WR
11 179 Travis Fulgham WR
11 180 Mike Williams WR
11 181 Wayne Gallman RB
11 182 Isaiah Wright WR
11 183 Jalen Richard RB
11 184 Irv Smith Jr. TE
11 185 Tyler Johnson WR
11 186 Nick Vannett TE
11 187 Devin Duvernay WR
11 188 Jordan Wilkins RB
11 189 Leonard Fournette RB
11 190 Gerald Everett TE
11 191 Deonte Harris WR
11 192 Christian Blake WR
11 193 Noah Fant TE
11 194 Darrel Williams RB
11 195 Auden Tate WR
12 196 Damion Ratley WR
12 197 Trey Burton TE
12 198 Isaiah McKenzie WR
12 199 Nick Boyle TE
12 200 Jake Butt TE
12 201 Cole Kmet TE
12 202 Lamical Perine RB
12 203 Dontrell Hilliard RB
12 204 Jaydon Mickens WR
12 205 Anthony Firkser TE
12 206 Tyron Johnson WR
12 207 Will Dissly TE
12 208 Adam Trautman TE
12 209 Benny Snell Jr. RB
12 210 Peyton Barber RB
12 211 David Njoku TE
12 212 Anthony McFarland Jr. RB
12 213 Devontae Booker RB
12 214 Richard Rodgers TE
12 215 James O'Shaughnessy TE
12 216 Harrison Bryant TE
13 217 Freddie Swain WR
13 218 Daurice Fountain WR
13 219 Jakobi Meyers WR
13 220 Mike Thomas WR
13 221 Ito Smith RB
13 222 Ashton Dulin WR
13 223 Deontay Burnett WR
13 224 T.J. Yeldon RB
13 225 Cyril Grayson Jr. WR
13 226 DeeJay Dallas RB
13 227 Vance McDonald TE
13 228 Darwin Thompson RB
13 229 Darrynton Evans RB
13 230 JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR
13 231 Kyle Juszczyk RB
13 232 Antonio Gandy-Golden WR
13 233 Jaylen Samuels RB
13 234 Carlos Hyde RB
13 235 Ryan Izzo TE
13 236 Royce Freeman RB
13 237 Corey Clement RB
13 238 Noah Brown WR
13 239 Tyler Kroft TE
13 240 Donald Parham Jr. TE
13 241 Collin Johnson WR
13 242 J.J. Taylor RB