We’re near the halfway point of the fantasy football season. Bye weeks are here, injuries abound, and we’re all just trying our best to put a patchwork team together. If it makes you feel any better, David Johnson might be back in a little over a month, but that’s a weird and extremely roundabout way of making yourself feel better. That’s fantasy football, isn’t it? Constant justification and validation mixed with a healthy amount of masochism. Onto Week 6.
Four teams are on a bye: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Seattle.
Start of the Week
Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been able to truly turn on Beast Mode since Week 1, but the Chargers are the worst in the league in rushing defense, giving up over 160 yards per game on the ground. The Raiders need to establish a solid offensive presence if Carr is still out, and riding Lynch through the Chargers front seven should be a high priority. Lynch seems motivated, too. His touchdown run against Baltimore showed a glimpse of his former self.
Jameis Winston: Winston had a sneaky-decent game against the Patriots, it just wasn’t sexy. He’ll be able to score more than one touchdown this week against the Cardinals. Carson Wentz was able to carve up Arizona by spreading the ball around, and Winston should be able to do that (Hi, Cameron Brate) and make Mike Evans Great Again in the process. MEGA.
DeShaun Watson: The NFL has a way of catching back up to players who break out, but for now, the Watson wave of awesomeness is one you want to ride to fantasy immortality. He threw five more touchdowns this week against a solid Kansas City defense. The Browns are surprisingly good at defense, and Myles Garrett is back and looks like a stud, but Watson is doing it all — running, passing, in general being the best. Just go for it, man. Let’s look at stuff:
Philip Rivers: Oakland still doesn’t have an interception on the year, they’re almost dead last in adjusted yards per attempt, and the offense, without Derek Carr (he might play this week), isn’t going to be on the field for long stretches of time. Philip likes to pass. A lot. Play Philip. He is fun to watch.
— Brandon Frm NJ (@BrandonfrmNJ) October 1, 2017
Alex Smith: He’s been able to do it all this season, and the delicious YAC Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt produce week in and week is impossible to deny, but Pittsburgh has been able to shut down all comers with their top 5 defense against opposing passers. Smith has to come down to earth at some point, and Pittsburgh has the defense to do it.
If he does it this week, though, it’s time to just go all-in like Matt Ryan last year or Carson Palmer the year before.
Matthew Stafford: This very well could turn out to be a solid outing for Stafford, but he’s banged up with an ankle injury and traveling to New Orleans might not help. Winston, Watson or Cam Newton could be better this week since Stafford hovers around the 8-12 range typically anyway.
Jared Goff: Here’s a reminder just in case you were gonna get clever on the bye weeks: Jacksonville has the top overall pass defense in the league. They just picked off Ben Roethlisberger five times at home. Don’t do it.
WIDE RECEIVER STARTS
Larry Fitzgerald: The Bucs are giving up plenty of points to receivers, and we saw what Amendola was able to do to them underneath in Week 5. All of the Cardinals receivers could be good plays, you just want to make sure they’re healthy. The fact is, Fitz will give you the most consistent snap count and the most opportunity.
Devin Funchess: Cam Newton seems healthy, his offense is also healthy, and the Panthers are going to get into shootouts. Funchess is a big guy who can go up and get the ball when Newton needs him to, and he’s filling the void left by Ted Ginn. The Eagles have a poor pass D (they give up the 4th-most passing yards in the league), so this could be the third game in a row that Funchess delivers WR2 numbers with upside. The Olsen injury really helped him.
Golden Tate: He’s going to get right one of these games, and the Saints should allow him to get there as long as Matthew Stafford is healthy. He had 8 targets in Week 5, which he turned into 5 catches for 48 yards. If he can maintain a steady target share, and the Saints blow a play, he can score his second touchdown.
WIDE RECEIVER SITS
Stefon Diggs: He suffered a groin injury during Monday Night Football’s Star Wars Spectacular, and has a history of not playing well while injured. The Vikings have a somewhat juicy matchup against the Packers in Week 6, but it’s unknown if the up and down Case Keenum will be under center, or the injured Sam Bradford. You probably drafted Diggs late. Hopefully the bye week will let you bench him, or flex him at best.
Mike Wallace: The Bears have been surprisingly stingy against WR1s, and Mike Wallace is notoriously boom or bust. The Bears could absolutely fold and blow it like they always do (Bears fan here), but Wallace is best used in DFS only.
Willie Snead: For the OBJ and Brandon Marshall owners that are desperate (I actually know one), Jermaine Kearse, Funchess, Will Fuller, or any number of players could provide more upside with less risk than Snead. It’s his first game this season after a suspension and injury, and while you gotta like the Saints at home coming off a bye week against Detroit, you just don’t know how Snead fits into the plan quite yet. It’s not worth the risk.
RUNNING BACK STARTS
Elijah McGuire: It’s come to this. The weird part of the fantasy season when your lineups look nothing like pre-season projections. If Bilal Powell and Forte are out again, It’s McGuire time, and he could be solid. The rookie looked bad with his 11 carries for 20 yards and 2 catches for 10 yards against Cleveland, but they have a solid run defense. If he gets a full workload against the Patriots, he should be an RB3 in standard or an easy RB 2 in PPR.
LeGarrette Blount: Let’s roll him out again if Wendell Smallwood can’t go. He’s still looking good. He just needs more work.
Jay Ajayi: He’s getting work, his (white powder snorting) RB coach is out, and he’s going against the soft Atlanta run D. He may have disappointed over the last few weeks, but if he doesn’t get it done here, when will he? He had 25 carries in Week 5. With DeVante Parker possibly out, Smokin’ Jay could lean on his RB even more so he doesn’t have to work too hard.
Mandatory wildcat video:
RUNNING BACK SITS
Isaiah Crowell: It’s a rough bye week for running backs. We’re missing out on the Bengals, whatever is happening in Seattle, Zeke Elliott and LeSean McCoy, so you can’t get too cute with the running backs you sit. Sadly, if you can handle it, Crowell could be someone. Wayne Gallman might be a better play, and he’s in a terrible situation. I was so high on Crowell coming into the season, but everything is terrible now.
Theo Riddick: PPR league managers may want to flex him against the Saints, but he’s doing nothing and is possibly droppable. In a year with a thin RB field, Riddick falling out like this is rough stuff. He caught 4 of 5 targets for 45 yards against the Panthers, which is reassuring, but not that reassuring.
TIGHT END STARTS
Austin Seferian-Jenkins: The Patriots will give up points, and it will probably be in the middle of the field in this crucial divisional game in which playoff contention hangs in the balance. The AFC East is up for grabs, people. Austin Seferian-Jenkins will not let the Jets falter!
Evan Engram: The Giants are going to have to throw to someone, right? He had put up a zero on 4 targets last week, but the Giants are going to have to throw to someone, right? Brandon Marshall is done. OBJ is done… They’re going to have to throw to someone…
Kyle Rudolph: After seeing just barely more than two targets per game on the season, last year’s number two tight end was targeted nine times between Case Keenum and Sam Bradford. It seems like without Dalvin Cook, and with Stefon Diggs possibly banged up, Rudolph is the man now. More duck duck goose in our future?
TIGHT END SITS
Dwayne Allen: Gronk got hurt, and Dwayne Allen didn’t see a target. He ruined some people’s weeks. My week. He ruined it. Belichick will not stand for missed blocks.
Martellus Bennett: Another week with few targets (3) and thus marks the final week with Bennett on the sit list. It’s time to accept that Green Bay will never have worthwhile TE production when you can just stream.
Coby Fleener: Fleener scored like a top ten TE in the first two weeks, but since then, he’s seen 5 total targets and 42 yards. Kamara is becoming a major threat to everyone’s touches, and Willie Snead is back. Avoid Fleener.
NYJ RB Elijah McGuire: He’s a start in the running back column, and could have a big game against the Patriots.
PHI RB Corey Clement: He’s the next man up in the Sproles/Smallwood pass-catching role. If Smallwood can’t go again, he could be solid for the extremely deep league add.
(This was his only target.)
IND RB Marlon Mack: As Frank Gore sets NFL records, Mack refuses to go away. He absolutely needs to be stashed as a handcuff and as a player that’s consistently making noise when he touches the ball. If he ever gets a full workload, he could be an easy RB3 with upside.
GB RB Aaron Jones: Hopefully you got him last week when we suggested doing so, because he’s going to demand way more FAAB now that Ty Montgomery may miss more time. He averaged 6.6 YPC and looked like an actual running back that can take a running back’s workload. He likely won’t steal the job outright, but if he gets the start again with Montgomery out, you’re looking at a starter who will play 90+% of snaps and play them well.
49ers RB Matt Breida: The only thing worse than an injury is a coach saying he’s going with the “hot hand” approach. That’s what’s happening in San Francisco, and Breida turned his 13 touches into 10 carries for 49 yards and 3 catches for 22 yards. Not great, but worth having in case something happens with Hyde going hot/cold.