5 Burning Questions: Week 6 (Fantasy Football)
Through the first five weeks of the season, the top-5 fantasy wide receivers are Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper, Cooper Kupp, Michael Thomas, and D.J. Chark. Baker Mayfield hasn’t put up a single QB1 game yet, and Aaron Jones has eight touchdowns on 77 carries while Leonard Fournette has one touchdown on 95 carries. Nothing is going as we drew it up, but it’s been exciting all the same!
Here are the five burning questions for Week 6:
Who scores more points? Sean McVay or Kyle Shanahan?
Thought by many to be two of the brightest young offensive minds in the league, Sean McVay’s Rams and Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers go up against each other this Sunday afternoon. Through five weeks, the Rams rank sixth in offensive points and fifth in offensive yards, while the 49ers rank second and fourth in those categories, respectively. This should be a game overflowing with fantasy points on both sides, but which coach will come out victorious?
The teams the 49ers have beaten so far have a combined record of 5-15, and none of them are currently above .500. I think the 49ers will get a rude awakening when they take on the Rams at home. Greg Zuerlein missed a 44-yard field goal (which almost never happens) that would have put the Rams at 4-1, and the defending NFC champs have shown that their offense can still run up the score on anyone. The 49ers defense, which is currently giving up the second-fewest yards in the league, is about to get their biggest test of the season.
Is Chris Godwin the top dog in Tampa? Or will his production even out with Mike Evans?
Chris Godwin is currently on a wild, seemingly unsustainable, tear in the early part of this season. He’s scored six touchdowns through five games, including two multi-touchdown games, and he’s already topped 100 three times, which is only one fewer than his previous two seasons combined. Godwin received a lot of hype in the offseason, but next to no one predicted he’d be the WR1 overall through five weeks, and what’s more surprising to me is that he’s commanding a 26% target share from Jameis Winston compared to Mike Evans’ 23%.
Godwin has been the Bucs’ primary slot receiver, lining up there on 62.8% of his snaps, while Evans lines up on the outside 76.5% of the time and usually draws the opponent’s best defender. Godwin is arguably the best “second option” receiver on any team in the league, and he’s been terrorizing opponents from the slot all season. Between his skill set and the fact that he rarely faces top cornerbacks, I don’t see a drastic change coming in the Godwin/Evans dynamic for the rest of the season. I believe we’ve seen the one and only game where Evans catches zero passes, but I don’t think he’ll reclaim the definitive WR1 role from Godwin’s firm grasp, at least from a fantasy perspective, this season.
Can Teddy Bridgewater duplicate his performance from last week and become a fantasy starter in Brees’ absence?
Before last week, the last (and only) time Teddy Bridgewater threw four touchdowns in a game was December 20th, 2015, so this has been a long time coming. When he was the starter in Minnesota, Bridgewater was more of a game manager type quarterback, never exceeding 14 passing touchdowns or 447 pass attempts in a single season. In New Orleans, however, in Sean Payton’s offense with weapons like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, he’s shown that he can really let it fly.
While he’s still not throwing as much as Drew Brees generally does, he’s topped 30 pass attempts in three of the four games he’s played in, and in his first start against a below-average defense like the Bucs, he had a career game. When you have a historically conservative quarterback starting in a high powered offense, it’s really going to depend on the matchup. In his next three games, Bridgewater faces a Jaguars defense that has performed below average this season against the pass and should continue to do so without Jalen Ramsey in the lineup, followed by the nightmare that is Khalil Mack and the Bears’ defense, and then a Cardinals defense that has given up the fifth-most points and sixth-most yards in the league. He’s certainly startable in two of those games, but he’s not all of the sudden a matchup-proof commodity.
How many total touchdowns will be thrown when Patrick Mahomes faces Deshaun Watson?
Through his first 22 career games, Patrick Mahomes has thrown 61 touchdowns. Through his first 28 career games, Deshaun Watson has thrown 56 touchdowns. Only Kurt Warner has played 28 games or less through his first three seasons and thrown more touchdown passes than these two. So who will have more this Sunday?
Mahomes started the season as if he was fired out of a cannon. He picked up right where he left his league-leading 50 touchdown passes last year and threw 10 total touchdowns through his first three games this season. Since then, though, he’s seemed to have hit a stumbling block as he’s only thrown one touchdown over his last two games, despite topping 300 yards in both contests. Watson also has 11 passing touchdowns on the season, but his pattern has gone: 3, 0, 3, 0, 5, through five games. I don’t think that pattern will continue, especially as Vegas has the over-under at 54 points, at least six points higher than every other game total, but I do think Mahomes will have more touchdown passes in this one. The Chiefs offense was just as potent in Week 4 against the Lions, only they found the end zone on the ground instead of through the air, and then Week 5 was an anomaly that I highly doubt will be repeated. Mahomes is averaging 2.8 touchdowns per game through his first 22, and I think he’ll find himself on the right side of that average this week.
How will Dalvin Cook fare against the Eagles’ top-ranked rushing defense? Will the Eagles force Kirk Cousins to throw the ball?
Dalvin Cook is currently second in the league in rushing yards behind Christian McCaffrey, and he’s only had one game so far where he’s failed to break 100 yards. That game came against the Bears, and despite being held to just 35 yards, he did have a rushing touchdown and 35 receiving yards.
The Eagles are almost impossible to run on, and most teams should learn to not even try to run on them, considering how awful their pass defense is. They give up only 63 total rushing yards per game, the fewest in the league, and they’ve given up the sixth-fewest rushing touchdowns so far. Through the air, however, the Eagles have given up the sixth-most passing yards and the 12th most passing touchdowns. The Vikings have been running their offense through Cook in every game, but it may be time to make a change. Kirk Cousins is going to need to get hot if they want to compete against the Eagles. In 2018, Cousins only had two games where he threw the ball fewer than 30 times. This year, he’s already had games of 10, 21, and 27 pass attempts through just five weeks. I think the Vikings will attack where the Eagles are weak, and Cousins will have his best game of the season.