Although the depth of talent missing from the “main slate” is not nearly as challenging as last week, there are actually fewer games (10) than at any point this season. Week 6 begins the first of nine consecutive bye weeks across the league, as well as the second and final London game. The four teams on bye are 1) Falcons; 2) Jets; 3) 49ers, and 4) Saints. I have attached a list of all bye weeks for this season and their respective fantasy implications.
In addition to the four teams on bye, the following four games are “prime time” games and will also not be part of the main slate: 1) Thursday-Bucs @ Eagles; 2) Sunday Morning-Dolphins vs Jaguars; 3) Sunday Night-Seahawks @ Steelers, and 4) Monday Night-Bills@ Titans.
Review of Week Five Results:
Through four weeks of writing this article, last week was my best performance in regards to projections. Out of the 14 players that were mentioned, only three of them performed statistically different than I had expected. Antonio Gibson was listed as an “ice play”, but wound up rushing 20 times for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Obviously, the three yards per carry were spot on. The two touchdowns allowed him to have a good fantasy day. In addition, two of my value plays didn’t live up to my expectations. These two were: 1) Darnell Mooney (3 catches for 35 yards), and 2) Tyler Conklin (2 catches for 25 yards).
Although I had several good picks, my favorites were my stack of Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler, as well as my projection that James Robinson would be a “Fire” pick. Robinson had 18 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown, while Ekeler himself had 119 total yards and three touchdowns. To pull his own weight, Herbert completed 26 of 43 for 398 yards and four touchdowns.
Fire Them Up!!
Matthew Stafford, Rams-$6700-@ Giants: On the season, Stafford has completed 117 of 172 pass attempts( 68%) for 1,587 yards (3rd in NFL) and 12 touchdowns(tied for fifth). Despite this success, Stafford has struggled over the last two weeks. He has thrown for three touchdowns, but also two interceptions over that span.
In Week 6, he travels to New York to take on a Giants’ defense that gives up the seventh-most fantasy points to QBs. With an implied total of 29, and facing an exploitable defense, look for Stafford to have a bounce-back game. Stafford will be a top-eight quarterback this week.
Joe Mixon, Bengals-$6400-@Lions: After suffering an ankle injury at the end of week four’s Thursday night game, Mixon was used in a limited capacity in Week 5. Mixon only played on 28 percent of the snaps and had 11 touches. In his stead, Samaje Perine played in 61 percent of the snaps and had 16 touches. Perine will miss Week 6 due to COVID restrictions.
According to Bengals’ head coach Zac Taylor, Mixon “should get a full workload”. Facing a Lions’ defense that gives up the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs, a full complement of touches typically yields fantasy success. DFS players should view Mixon as a top 12 running back this week.
Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team-$7100-vs Chiefs: As a PSA, I would encourage DFS players to check the inactive list on Sunday morning to clarify McLaurin’s status. While the Washington coaching staff is “optimistic” that he will play, McLaurin popped up on the injury report on Friday with a tight hamstring.
In a game that features a 55.5 point over/under, I love this matchup for “Scary Terry”. As seven-point underdogs, Washington should be trailing for much of the game. Against a Chiefs’ defense that gives up the 14th-most fantasy points to opposing WRs, McLaurin will be a Top 10 receiving option this week. Look for him to build on his season stat line of 29 catches for 400 yards and three touchdowns.
Mark Andrews, Ravens-$5200-vs Chargers In Monday night’s game against the Colts, Andrews had 11 catches (on 13 targets) for 147 yards and two touchdowns. This brings his season total to 29 catches for 400 yards and two touchdowns. With the Chargers giving up the absolute most fantasy points to TEs, look for Andrews to have another huge performance. Andrews should be the TE2 this week.
Colder Than Ice:
Aaron Rodgers, Packers-$7200-@ Bears: Through five games, Rodgers has completed 107 of 163 pass attempts (65.6 percent) for 1,241 yards and ten touchdowns. While these averages are solid (248 passing yards and two touchdowns per game), 19.4 fantasy points per game doesn’t warrant a $7200 price tag.
When you combine Rodgers’ stats with the fact that the Bears allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to QBs, then Rodgers becomes my fade of the week. Although Rodgers will provide serviceable stats, he should finish outside of the top ten this week.
Josh Jacobs, Raiders-$5900-@ Broncos: Although the price tag for Jacobs is far from excessive, I much prefer other running backs such as Darrell Henderson, Darrel Williams, and Kareem Hunt at similar price points. On the season, Jacobs has 38 carries for 122 yards (3.2 YPC) and three touchdowns.
Facing a Broncos’ defense that allows the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs, Jacobs is in line for tough sledding. He should be viewed as nothing more than a touchdown-dependent low-end RB2 this week.
CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys-$6500-@ Patriots: Over the last three weeks, Lamb has recorded a combined nine catches (on 14 targets) for 163 yards and one touchdown. His 49-yard touchdown last week has provided almost a third of the 163 receiving yards.
With a matchup looming against a Patriots’ defense that allows the eighth fewest fantasy points to WRs, Week 6 does not appear to be a bounce-back week. Lamb is best viewed as a lower-tier WR2 this week.
TJ. Hockenson, Lions-$5k- @Bengals: Much like Lamb, the last three weeks have not been kind to Hockenson. He has registered 8 catches (on 13 targets) for 74 yards and zero touchdowns during that span. In Week 6, he takes on a Bengals’ defense that gives up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to TEs. Although I have to bite my tongue to suggest it, Hockenson appears to be on track for a finish outside of the Top 10 at the position.
Bargain Bin-Deep Tourney Plays:
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team-$5800-vs Chiefs: Much like McLaurin, this selection is based more on opportunity and game script. On the season, Heinicke has completed 102 of 159 pass attempts for 1,208 yards and eight touchdowns. Although these stats are just marginal, the Chiefs’ defense allows the opportunity for more.
For the season, the Chiefs have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. As an underdog in an expected high-scoring game, there should be tons of passing volume for Heinicke. DFS owners should expect low-end QB1 numbers from Heinicke in week six.
Khalil Herbert, Bears-$4600-vs Packers: With fellow RB David Montgomery out with a knee injury in Week 5, Herbert split carries with Damian Williams. Herbert had 18 carries (compared to Williams’ 16) for 75 yards and no touchdowns. Williams is out for Week 6 due to COVID restrictions.
One concern about Herbert is his complete lack of involvement in the passing game. In Week 5, he had zero targets. In addition, Herbert had only 34 catches in 46 college games. With the opportunity for more than 20 touches, DFS players will hope for a touchdown to push Herbert’s weekly total above 15. With this price point, I am willing to take that chance.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions-$4200-vs Bengals: Over the last two weeks, St. Brown has amassed 13 catches (on 16 targets) for 135 yards and zero touchdowns. With fellow WR Quintez Cephus suffering a season-ending broken collarbone injury in Week 5, St Brown will continue to be targeted. Against a Bengals’ defense that allows the 16th most fantasy points to WRs, St Brown should be viewed as a WR3 with upside for more.
Hunter Henry, Patriots-$3900-vs Cowboys: After a very slow start to the season (five catches for 73 yards and no TD’s through two games), Henry has recorded 15 catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns over the last three games. With an implied total of 24, Henry should be a top ten TE option in week six.
Stack of the Week:
Although I really like Herbert again this week (and will mention his stack shortly), my other favorite stack is Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase($13k). On the season, Burrow has completed 104 of 145 pass attempts (71.7 percent) for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Chase has 23 catches (on 35 targets) for 456 yards and five touchdowns. In addition, Chase has scored at least 13.4 PPR fantasy points in each game.
Even though the Lions have not been overly generous to either QBs (12th-fewest fantasy points) or WRs (11th fewest), I am more than willing to take a chance on this stack at their combined price tags. As mentioned earlier, I still really like Herbert and Ekeler ($15,200) playing at the Ravens. The Ravens give up the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs and the sixth-most to RBs. One development to keep an eye on is Mike Williams’ knee injury. He is listed as questionable and has not practiced all week. If he misses the game, Keenan Allen ($ 6,400) would make for a less expensive stack that would be productive as well.