Updated 10/11 at 7:00 PM ET. Removed Giants TE Rhett Ellison.
Jameis Winston could not have a better setup for his first start of 2018. He returns under center with the Nos. 2 and 6 receivers by average points (Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson in .5 PPR) while another (Chris Godwin) checks in at No. 35. He will be facing the Falcons in the domed-environs of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a matchup with a 57.5 over/under. The Falcons’ injury-ruined defense is allowing 40 points over its past three games. For the season, it is coughing up the third most quarterback fantasy points. Disappointment has been a theme throughout Winston’s four-year career, but it is hard to see how he screws this one up.
Week 6 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: Patrick Mahomes has been limited to one passing touchdown over his past two games but has compensated with a pair of ground scores. The sophomore prodigy has cleared 300 yards passing in four-straight starts. … Aaron Rodgers was missing his Nos. 2 and 3 receivers in Week 5 and still generated his most yards (442) since 2013. Now headed back home to face the 49ers’ undermanned defense, Rodgers could be getting back Geronimo Allison (hamstring). … Although his stats didn’t look awful, Matt Ryan was horrendous in Week 5, going belly up in a plus road matchup with the Steelers. He should atone at home against the Bucs, who are allowing a hard-to-fathom 358 weekly passing yards and 9.12 yards per attempt. … Tom Brady’s six interceptions are just two fewer than he threw in all of 2017. He’s tossed two picks in back-to-back games. Nevertheless, Week 5 against the banged up Colts was his best start of the season. Although the Chiefs’ pass defense has overperformed by some measures, it’s still No. 31 by yards allowed. Andy Reid’s unit famously performs better at home than on the road. There’s little standing between Brady and a massive day.
Although battling through a chest injury, Deshaun Watson has vowed to take the field against the Jekyll-and-Hyde Bills. Watson has thrown for at least 375 yards in three-straight games and has yet to post fewer than 36 rushing yards. Regressing or not, he’s an elite option on a weekly basis. … Week 5 was Jared Goff’s worst start and he still threw for 321 yards while posing a 10.03 YPA against the Seahawks. The Broncos’ defense is in full-on collapse. It initially appeared Goff could be missing Brandin Cooks (concussion) and Cooper Kupp (concussion), but they are both tentatively on track to play. … Kirk Cousins enters Week 6 second in yardage (1,688), fifth in completion percentage (71.2) and seventh in QB rating (105.1). He’s both compiling and posting excellent rate stats. The Redskins chose Alex Smith. … With the majority of his elite fantasy brethren having excellent Week 6 matchups, Cam Newton checks in a little lower than usual. The Redskins, of course, are not a stay-away unit. They invited Drew Brees into their kitchen over and over and over again on Monday Night Football.
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Andy Dalton has completed fewer than 60 percent of his throws in four-straight starts against the Steelers. The Bengals have held up slightly better against the pass than their division rivals so far this season, but I will give Ben Roethlisberger the slight Week 6 rankings advantage. Ben finally got going Antonio Brown going in Week 5 and has produced three scores in three of his past four outings. He usually holds up better than Dalton in what is always a fiercely-contested divisional matchup. … After averaging a career-high 35 attempts per game last season, Russell Wilson has seen that number dip to 28. He is staying afloat in fantasy by virtue of a 7.0 touchdown percentage. He’s in the QB1 mix against a Raiders defense that has just six sacks through five games and is allowing 8.66 yards every time the opposing quarterback attempts a throw. … Carson Wentz has gotten a little bit better each time out, though he’s merely the QB18 by average points. For Week 6, he gets a Giants defense allowing the ninth-fewest quarterback fantasy points on a short week. The G-Men will also be getting back top pass rusher Olivier Vernon (ankle).
Aside from a curious Week 4 hiccup against the Raiders, the Browns have been stout against the pass. It’s a tough road matchup for Philip Rivers, who despite a dominant “real life” campaign so far checks in as the QB13 by average points. … The Colts’ passing and running games have merged into one, with Andrew Luck attempting a ridiculous 49 throws per game. For Week 6, he will once again be slinging it without T.Y. Hilton or Jack Doyle. Volume goes a long way in this business, but Luck’s lack of weapons and the Jets’ solid pass defense render him a QB2. … As this laugh-out-loud “highlight reel” attests, Blake Bortles was stupendously bad in Week 5 … and the QB3 in fantasy. There’s an element of blind luck there, but Bortles will be throwing it all over the yard for however long Leonard Fournette (hamstring) remains sidelined. The Cowboys have a middle-of-the-road pass defense. … Injuries have played a part, but the Chargers aren’t coming anywhere close to living up to their pre-season reputation on defense. It’s not a scary home matchup for Baker Mayfield, who has been crisp and decisive but hurt by his lack of reliable weapons. Mayfield is getting murdered by his pass catchers’ mistakes. … He hasn’t looked very good while doing it, but Derek Carr is fifth in yardage (1,641).
Joe Flacco has attempted more than 40 passes in four-straight games for just the second time in his career. We would expect him to remain airborne against the Titans, though Mike Vrabel’s defense is serving up the fifth-fewest quarterback fantasy points. … Alex Smith has five touchdowns through four games. It’s as if 2017 never happened. … To say Mitchell Trubisky got the last laugh on me in Week 4 would be putting it mildly. I said Trubisky was not even a QB2. He proceeded to throw six touchdowns. His 47 fantasy points against the Bucs’ league-worst defense represent 48.4 of his season total. As you can see from his rank, I am not assuming lightning will strike twice. … C.J. Beathard plays like a crash test dummy. He is going to get injured and miss time. Until he does, he will be a plug-and-play QB2 for two-quarterback league desperados. … Eli Manning has been better in fantasy than real life while the Eagles are struggling in the secondary. I still can’t rank him as anything other than a last-gasp QB2. … Were Sam Darnold to replicate last week’s blowup, the Colts’ injury-ravaged defense would not be a bad place to do it. … The weather can still change, but there is more evidence to suggest Marcus Mariota is bad than good.
Week 6 Running Backs
RB Notes: Todd Gurley is on pace for 22 rushing touchdowns, which would be the most since LaDainian Tomlinson scored 28 in 2006. … Melvin Gordon is averaging 67 rushing yards and 52 receiving yards, putting him on pace for 1,904 yards from scrimmage. He has found the end zone in 4-of-5 games. … Ezekiel Elliott had averaged at least 4.58 yards per carry every game until getting brick walled by the Texans in Week 5. The Jaguars are more forgiving on the ground than through the air but are still just 18th in rushing yards allowed per week (101.2). … If Week 6 is James Conner’s last ride as the Steelers’ bell cow, it will be in an attackable matchup. The Bengals are permitting 4.51 yards per carry, as well as the 10th most running back fantasy points. Of note is Vontaze Burfict’s recent return … Saquon Barkley’s season low for yards from scrimmage is 100. He is averaging 116. The Eagles are a foreboding short-week matchup, but Barkley appears to be “off the rails”-proof in the Giants’ frequently off-the-rails offense.
The RB8 by average points in .5 PPR, Christian McCaffrey is the RB7 in full PPR. He has been used in a variety of ways by new OC Norv Turner, both solidifying his floor and increasing his ceiling. … Looking healthier and more explosive each week, Sony Michel has piled up 222 yards across his past two games. For Week 6 he gets a Chiefs defense allowing a league-worst 5.76 yards per carry. Touches should be aplenty in a game with an eye-popping 59.5 over/under. … Opposing Michel will be Kareem Hunt, who has been somewhat touchdown dependent. Thankfully, there should be no shortage of drives to finish in New England. Hunt is averaging 135 yards from scrimmage over his past two games after that number was only 58 through his first three. … Joe Mixon was supposedly going to be on a snap count in Week 5. Instead he touched the ball a season-high 25 times. He will be out there every play for what should hopefully be a high-scoring affair with the Steelers. … Jamaal Charles’ signing should not change T.J. Yeldon’s status as a near every-down player in Leonard Fournette’s (hamstring) absence. Charles, who had a little something left in the tank for the Broncos last season, could provide some quality snaps in the “Corey Grant role” but not enough to create fantasy value.
David Johnson has been an every-down player the past three weeks, a timeframe in which he’s been the RB9 in .5 PPR. Johnson deserves better, but his 2018 is not the apocalypse it looked like it might become. … As is the case with nearly all of Hue Jackson’s pronouncements, Nick Chubb’s bigger Week 5 role did not materialize. Carlos Hyde handled the ball 19 times, a number he’s hit in 4-of-5 games. … James White had two carries for zero yards in Week 5 and still finished as the RB15 in standard. He’s being used in matchup-proof, format-proof fashion since Rex Burkhead landed on injured reserve. … The Bears poured points on the Bucs before their Week 5 bye, but Jordan Howard did not get in on the fun, handling the ball 11 times for 25 scoreless yards. This, as Tarik Cohen exploded for 174/1 on 20 touches. With Mitchell Trubisky unlikely to replicate his Week 4 success, Howard gets a rankings reprieve against the Dolphins. … Back in the lineup, Chris Carson had his second-straight 100-yard game in Week 5 but ceded 14 touches and 25 snaps to Mike Davis. Carson handled the ball 20 times. With the Seahawks focused on the run, Carson gets the top 20 benefit of the doubt against the Raiders’ bottom-five ground defense.
Phillip Lindsay continues to easily out-produce Royce Freeman. For a deeper dive, check out my Monday article. Lindsay’s only concern against the Rams’ soft run defense is the game getting away from the Broncos early. The Broncos would do well to phase Devontae Booker out of their backfield committee. … Mike McCarthy — who is not having a good season (decade?) as Packers coach — has predictably refused to commit to Aaron Jones. No matter, Jones has out-gained Jamaal Williams 188-124 since returning in Week 3. It’s in slow motion, but Jones is taking over the Packers’ backfield. … LeSean McCoy finally showed a pulse in Week 5. The Texans are the Bills’ kind of opponent, but no one should be surprised if McCoy immediately returns to flat lining. … It’s been a weird ride, but Alex Collins has touched the ball at least 12 times each of the past four weeks. … Alfred Morris’ usage will increase during Matt Breida’s (high-ankle sprain) absence but do not be surprised if Kyle Juszczyk caps Morris’ touch ceiling at a lower-than-expected level.
Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder, knee) and Chris Thompson (knee, ribs) are Week 6 question marks. Even if they suit up — which both appear on pace to do — their effectiveness could be at far less than 100 percent. … This is where things really start to get ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Isaiah Crowell rushed for a career-high 219 yards in Week 5 despite getting out-carried 20-15 by Bilal Powell. He is now nursing an ankle injury. Crowell averaged 43 yards across his first four games. Crowell and Powell could switch rankings spots depending on Crowell’s health. … Marlon Mack (hamstring) is practicing in full, but there is little reason to believe anyone other than Nyheim Hines will be worth FLEX consideration out of the Colts’ backfield. … Devonta Freeman returned from his extended absence to a three-man committee and immediately injured his foot. Regardless of Freeman’s availability, Tevin Coleman is the preferred Falcons running back for Week 6. … Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood should get the bulk of the Eagles’ running back work in Jay Ajayi’s absence. Clement is the better player, but it is unclear how things might manifest themselves during this short week. … Lamar Miller is rapidly fading. He is the preferred Week 6 play over Alfred Blue but not by much. … Ronald Jones is worth a dart throw in a likely shootout if you are desperate.
Week 6 Receivers
WR Notes: The NFL’s No. 3 receiver (564 yards), Julio Jones has 484 yards over his past four games against the Bucs’ still league-worst pass defense. … Eli Manning is slowly driving Odell Beckham to madness. That hasn’t stopped Beckham from going 8/100 in 3-of-5 games. The Eagles are quietly allowing the fourth-most receiver fantasy points. Jim Schwartz’s secondary is in legit disarray. Beckham’s concern will be the Eagles’ front seven harassing sitting duck Eli. … Antonio Brown finally got loose in Week 5. He scored in both of last year’s meetings with Marvin Lewis’ defense. … The first receiver since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970 to post five-straight 100-yard games to begin the season, Adam Thielen has not done so in fluky fashion, averaging a monstrous 13 targets. … DeAndre Hopkins will spend Week 6 in Tre’Davious White’s shadow. Hopkins doesn’t lose many matchups. This will be fun. … Aaron Rodgers said Davante Adams should be getting more targets. He got 12 of them in Week 5 en route to the second-biggest yardage day (140) of his career. Even if one or both of Geronimo Allison (hamstring) or Randall Cobb (hamstring) returns against the 49ers, expect the increased Adams emphasis to remain.
The WR2 by average points in .5 PPR, Mike Evans comes off bye against the Falcons’ barely-there defense. Coupled with the Bucs’ nonexistent D, shootout conditions will be swirling in the Mercedes-Benz Dome. … A.J. Green finally had a 10-target, 100-yard game in Week 5. He could have a hard time following it up against the Steelers. As ESPN’s Mike Clay notes in his excellent WR/CB matchups column, the Steelers used Joe Haden in shadow coverage last week. He had an excellent game on Julio Jones. … Tyreek Hill has not scored or surpassed 90 yards since Week 2. He will have a strong chance at getting going in what should be a big play bonanza in New England. … Stefon Diggs has drawn at least 10 targets in four-straight games, giving him almost as many looks as Adam Thielen. The Vikings’ narrow target tree will ensure week-to-week consistency for Kirk Cousins’ top-two receivers. … Ranking Rams receivers is a bit of a Week 6 chore, though both Brandin Cooks (concussion) and Cooper Kupp (concussion) are on track to get cleared. If each of Jared Goff’s Big 3 are a go, Cooks will be a high-end WR2, Kupp a mid-range WR2 and Woods a, uhh, midder-range WR2.
Keenan Allen is merely the WR29 by average points in .5 PPR. Powered by Denzel Ward, the Browns have played stingy pass defense. Allen does run 54.2 percent of his routes in the slot. … Jarvis Landry is tied for fifth in targets (57) but is just 21st in receptions (29). He needs to be more efficient for the receiver-desperate Browns. … Tyler Boyd is sixth in wide receiver yardage since his quiet Week 1. That’s even after last week snapped a string of three-straight 90-yard efforts. The Steelers are allowing the third-most fantasy points to enemy wideouts. … I’m betting big on Julian Edelman, who played 48-of-69 snaps in his Week 5 debut while catching 7-of-9 targets. He had been desperately missed in the short-area of the field for the Patriots. His usage is not going to be game plan specific. Chiefs slot CB Kendall Fuller has been ineffective. … We had been waiting on John Brown to up his target share. He finally did in Week 5, drawing 14 of Joe Flacco’s 56 attempts (25 percent). Naturally, Brown had one of his quietest games of the season with four catches for 58 yards. The Titans have been lockdown through the air thus far.
Emmanuel Sanders has been holding on for WR2 life as Case Keenum implodes. Working in his Week 6 favor is the Broncos’ almost certain need to throw all afternoon and the Rams’ early underperformance in the secondary. … Calvin Ridley did not score in Week 5 and has been out-gained 184-92 by Mohamed Sanu over the past two weeks. I’m giving him another week in the WR2 ranks because of his dream matchup with the Bucs. He will not lack for either big play or red zone opportunities. … Corey Davis’ lone big game came in his only truly plus matchup. The Ravens are anything but a plus matchup. We know Davis has it in him. It remains unclear if Marcus Mariota does. … Even as Mitchell Trubisky erupted in Week 4, Allen Robinson caught only two balls for 23 yards. Thankfully one of them was in the end zone. Coming off the Bears’ bye, he has a tough matchup with Miami’s Xavien Howard. … Wildly efficient in his Week 4 debut, Alshon Jeffery was equally inefficient in Week 5. For this week’s short-week matchup he will be shadowed by hot/cold Janoris Jenkins. … DeSean Jackson has 100 yards in 3-of-4 games. Of course, that was with Ryan Fitzpatrick. D-Jax has never had the greatest chemistry with Jameis Winston. The duo gets matchup benefit of the doubt against the Falcons.
Sterling Shepard has drawn at least seven targets in 4-of-5 games from Checkdown Eli Manning. He has a good setup for Week 6. The Giants will need to throw a ton and Eagles slot CB Sidney Jones has struggled along with the rest of the Birds’ secondary. … Will Fuller’s status is clouded by his ongoing hamstring issues and Keke Coutee’s ongoing emergence. … Devin Funchess has traditionally struggled when Greg Olsen is healthy, but it would be a stretch to call Olsen truly “healthy” right now. … Doug Baldwin … what was that? This is a hedge. I don’t believe Baldwin’s knees are bad enough that he now exclusively blocks and operates behind David Moore on the depth chart. … Geronimo Allison (hamstring) will be an upside WR4 if he gets cleared. Marquez Valdes-Scantling will be reduced to desperation WR4 if Allison plays. … It would have been nice if the Jets listed Quincy Enunwa’s hand issue on the injury report. The Colts are the right matchup, but Enunwa’s health is uncertain. … Kenny Stills: Not enough volume and an awful matchup in the Bears. … The Jaguars: I am guessing. … We could be talking about Christian Kirk as a WR3 before long.
Week 6 Tight Ends
TE Notes: Rob Gronkowski has yet to truly go off but is coming off his second-best game of the season. With 10 days to rest for a guaranteed shootout with the Chiefs, I’m restoring Gronk to his No. 1 overall perch. The Chiefs are allowing the fourth-most tight end points and just lost rookie S Armani Watts to injured reserve. Watts had been emerging as a playmaker for the Chiefs’ undermanned defense. … I thought Travis Kelce would be more boom or bust this season. Instead, he has established himself as Patrick Mahomes’ most consistent target. The only fear for Week 6 is that Patriots coach Bill Belichick will sell out to stop him. … Zach Ertz could just as easily be No. 1 as No. 3. He has caught at least 10 passes in 3-of-5 games. … George Kittle has 11 catches for 208 yards in two games with C.J. Beathard under center. He is the focal point of the 49ers’ offense.
With T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) and Jack Doyle (hip) expected to miss another game, Eric Ebron will remain the Colts’ No. 1 receiver. He’s been a poor man’s Zach Ertz the past three weeks, drawing at least 10 targets each time out. … Even with Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb sidelined in Week 5, Jimmy Graham couldn’t find the end zone. Allison could return against the 49ers. It is a plus TE matchup. … The Seahawks have defensed the seam well, permitting the seventh-fewest tight end fantasy points. Although he’s caught at least four passes each time out, Jared Cook has posted 31 yards or fewer in two of his past three games. … Jordan Reed is averaging 47 yards. … Week 6 sets up like a dream for Cameron Brate. That’s if O.J. Howard (knee) sits. … Trey Burton had a big Week 4 but is averaging just five targets. The Dolphins have surrendered the sixth-fewest tight end fantasy points. Considering his volume and quarterback, Burton can only be vaulted so far.
Following up the best game of his career, Austin Hooper gets a Bucs defense silver plattering the most tight end fantasy points. … It hasn’t been the prettiest, but David Njoku has caught 11 passes for 121 yards while averaging nine targets across Baker Mayfield’s two starts. … Greg Olsen is a wild card. Assume he will be on a Week 6 snap count and at real risk of re-injury. … The Bengals have allowed the ninth most tight end fantasy points but got Vontaze Burfict back for Week 5. Good luck predicting which Vance McDonald will show up. … With Tyler Kroft (foot) joining Tyler Eifert (ankle) on the shelf, C.J. Uzomah is a sneaky good streamer against a Steelers defense allowing the second-most tight end fantasy points. … Niles Paul is a plug-and-play option if you are truly desperate. Sean Lee (hamstring) remains sidelined for the Cowboys.
Week 6 Kickers
Week 6 Defense/Special Teams
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