Fantasy Football Weekly Recap: Week 6 (2019)
Week 6 is in the books except for the Lions’ visit to Green Bay, and what a week it was. The winless Jets toppled Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. Along with Dallas, seven other teams lost games by just one possession. Sean McVay’s fabled offense didn’t show up against Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers. Some big-name injuries rocked the league: Amari Cooper left the Cowboys’ game with a quad injury, Will Dissly hurt his Achilles, and Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard got carted off the field. Both Marcus Mariota and Josh Rosen managed to get themselves benched. And on Sunday Night Football, the Steelers picked the Chargers apart with a third-string quarterback.
Where does this leave your fantasy team? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Top 5 Surprises
Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN) and Stefon Diggs (WR – MIN)
Cousins and Diggs have been mired in Kevin Stefanski’s run-first offense this season. But the duo broke out against the Eagles, who boast a strong front seven but a weak secondary. Cousins threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns, and most of that went to Diggs, who caught seven passes for 167 yards and three scores. Although the tandem looked good, it’s probably time to sell high. The matchup with the Eagles was a perfect storm, as head coach Mike Zimmer and Stefanski put together a pass-happy game plan to exploit Philadelphia’s atrocious, banged-up secondary while avoiding their rock-solid run defense. Dalvin Cook has proven to the coaching staff that he can run this offense, and I doubt the Vikings will change their strategy after one impressive game. Oh, and if you don’t want to sell, just let me remind you how the duo had been performing through Week 5. Cousins was averaging 208 yards per game and one score, while Diggs was averaging three receptions for 50 yards per game.
Devonta Freeman (RB – ATL)
Freeman exploded for 118 all-purpose yards and two scores in the Falcons’ loss to the Cardinals. It’s just Freeman’s second 100-plus yard performance this year. Admittedly, Freeman faced the fierce Vikings and Eagles defenses in Weeks 1 and 2, so that’s bringing his numbers down. The Falcons running back put up these numbers while splitting reps with Ito Smith, who turned his 11 touches into 64 yards. I wouldn’t bank on Freeman replicating his Week 6 performance, however, as he hit season-highs in yards per carry and per catch. That said, he’s a proven part of the Falcons offense, as his 22 touches led the team. He’s a borderline RB1/RB2 in his matchup with the Rams next week.
Carlos Hyde (RB – HOU)
Hyde tasted some sweet revenge on the team that cut him earlier this year. The running back earned 116 rushing yards on 26 attempts, adding 14 yards through the air on one reception. It’s the third game this season that Hyde’s gotten 20-plus carries, although it was his first 100-yard performance. The Texans have shown a new willingness to spread the ball around this year to both Hyde and Duke Johnson’s benefit. Hyde’s got some bad rushing defenses on his schedule, and the Texans’ offense is high-powered enough to maintain a lead. While this week might have been his ceiling, he’s still got RB2-level floor if the Texans keep giving him 17.5 touches per game.
Hunter Henry (TE – LAC)
The tight end went off in his first game back from injury. Henry picked up where he left off in Week 1, earning eight receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Even with Melvin Gordon back in the mix, Henry was still the most powerful weapon in Philip Rivers’ arsenal. Speaking of Rivers, the quarterback has struggled with throwing the ball deep this season, and he’s only averaged more than 10 yards per attempt in one game this year. That’s good news for Henry, who does most of his damage on short or medium routes. The tight end market has been abysmal this season, so Henry’s success is a welcome relief. Keep starting him.
Chase Edmonds (RB – ARI)
David Johnson’s handcuff looked like a lot more than a handcuff on Sunday. Johnson and Edmonds combined for 17 carries, and Edmonds earned five of them, good for 30 percent. He got involved in the passing game, too, as he turned his two receptions into 33 yards and a touchdown. Edmonds was highly efficient with his few opportunities, and the back averaged 7.4 yards per touch. While he likely got more looks in the Cardinals’ offense because of Johnson’s back injury, Kliff Kingsbury has been tinkering with his Air Raid scheme since the start of this season. Owners shouldn’t look at Edmonds like a sure-thing play every week, but he’s still one of the highest-upside handcuffs in the league. He might even develop into an Austin Ekeler-type player by the end of the year.
Top 5 Disappointments
The Los Angeles Rams
Is Sean McVay’s high-powered offense a myth? Last year’s Chiefs-Rams showdown convinced lots of smart people that similar passing attacks were the NFL’s future. But then Super Bowl LIII happened, and the Rams scored just three points. And this week, the Rams scored only seven against the 49ers. Who’s to blame? Well, Jared Goff threw for just 78 yards on 24 attempts, so that’s a place to start. Goff has failed to score more than two touchdowns in a game this season, so he’s been a disappointment to those who took him as their QB1. Goff also nuked his wide receivers’ stats: Cooper Kupp caught four balls for 17 yards, Brandin Cooks snagged three for just 18 yards, and Robert Woods did not catch a single pass. Fortunately, he did score the Rams’ only touchdown on a running play. Some fantasy owners gambled on Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson, but neither back put up the RB1 numbers that were up for grabs without Todd Gurley around. It might be time to start selling your Rams, people.
Keenan Allen (WR – LAC)
When will we learn our lesson about Allen? He was projected to be the WR3 according to FantasyPros’ expert consensus rankings, but the Charger put up a measly two receptions for 33 yards. It wasn’t for lack of passes because Philip Rivers threw 44 times. Meanwhile, Hunter Henry and Mike Williams combined for 13 receptions (half of Rivers’ total completions), 172 yards, and two touchdowns. Allen wowed us in Weeks 1 through 3 by averaging just under 10 receptions per game for 134 yards and one score through that span, but he’s since bottomed out. Allen has totaled 11 receptions for 99 yards and no touchdowns since then. Ugh. He takes on the Titans next, and after that, he’s got dates with the Bears and the Packers. Hopefully, you can sell him high after next week and before those two elite secondaries shut him down.
Will Fuller (WR – HOU)
Last week, Fuller caught three touchdowns. This week, Fuller dropped three touchdowns. The Texans succeeded without him, however, as they pounded the Chiefs into submission with their running backs and tight ends. We all knew that Fuller was a high-ceiling, low-floor player on a week-to-week basis, but before this week, most of the blame for his early-season struggles rested on Deshaun Watson’s shoulders. But Fuller has proven that he, too, makes mistakes, and he’ll look to rebound after his five-catch, 44-yard game. He’s got games against some pretty unremarkable secondaries before his Week 10 bye, so I’d keep cautiously inserting Fuller into your lineup when you know that you’ll need some upside to win.
Jameis Winston (QB – TB)
Winston thew five interceptions across the pond on Sunday. Five. Sure, he also threw for 400 yards and a touchdown, but his misplaced passes erased most of his actual accomplishments. Winston looked more like the sloppy passer we saw in Weeks 1 and 2 than the gunslinger we got in Weeks 3 and 4. Fortunately for Winston, he’s got a bye week to recover from the disaster, and then the Bucs start a two-game road trip to play the Titans and the Seahawks. Through five weeks, the two teams were giving up 15.4 and 17.3 fantasy points to quarterbacks, respectively, which put them around mid-pack compared to the rest of the league. Like Fuller, Winston is a high-ceiling, low-floor option every week. If you want off of Jameis’ Wild Ride, wait until he has another good game so that you can sell high.
Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
Before Week 6, Henry was averaging 77.6 rushing yards per game, and he had scored a touchdown in every game except his Week 4 matchup with the Falcons. But Henry ran for only 28 scoreless yards this week as the Titans offense collapsed against the Broncos. Head coach Mike Vrabel benched Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill in the third quarter, but it was too little, too late to save Henry’s week for fantasy owners. Although Henry performed disappointingly, I’d look for him to rebound — he’s got easy home matchups against the Chargers and the Buccaneers the next two weeks. And even though there’ll be some lingering quarterback controversy after this week, it shouldn’t affect Henry’s floor too severely. He’s still a low-end RB1, high-end RB2 each week.
Jared Goff (QB – LAR) has 13 fumbles and 13 interceptions in his last 12 games.
Sure, go ahead and blame Darrell Henderson for Goff’s fumble in Week 6. The quarterback is still turning the ball over far too often. If Goff can’t get this problem under control, it’ll keep costing the Rams (and his fantasy owners) points in crucial situations. Goff has been producing like a fringe QB1 this season, so you might be better off streaming some weeks or finding another quarterback for rotational purposes.
Jordan Howard (RB – PHI) got 13 touches this week, and Miles Sanders (RB – PHI) only got six.
Don’t panic about Howard just yet. While Sanders earned more fantasy points than Howard this week, he did so with far fewer opportunities. Howard is still the back to own, and he’s still got more touchdown upside given his red-zone work. He dealt with a negative game script against the Vikings, and he should rebound against the Cowboys next week.
Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS) has yet to earn fewer than 50 yards in a game.
Scary Terry is, well, scary. Through six games, the Ohio State product looks like one of the best receivers in this years’ class, and he’s done it with a rotating series of quarterbacks: Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, and Colt McCoy. With Jay Gruden fired, we’ll have to see how new coach Bill Callahan plans to run the offense against a team that isn’t Miami. Still, looking quarterback-proof as a rookie is a great way to start a career. Kudos, Terry.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR – HOU) hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1, but he’s still getting 30% of the Texans’ air yards and 28% of their target share.
This one is for all the Hopkins owners who are thinking about selling him after another so-so game. Deshaun Watson has turned a corner, and while Tytus Howard’s injury doesn’t bode well for him, I’m optimistic that the Texans are trending in the right direction. Sure, Hopkins has to compete with Fuller, Keke Coutee, Kenny Stills, Duke Johnson, Darren Fells, and Jordan Akins. He’s also better than all of them at football, so you should have faith.
Gardner Minshew (QB – JAC) is still a rookie.
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco wrote that Minshew “actually looked like a rookie quarterback for the first time this season,” as the quarterback struggled against New Orleans. The Saints were able to pressure Minshew and cover his security blanket, D.J. Chark, but not every team will be able to do that. Minshew’s got the Bengals up next, so I’d look for him to rebound against Zac Taylor’s 0-6 team.
Of the seven teams that were undefeated after Week 3, we were overrating the Cowboys and the Rams.
The NFC’s darlings, Dallas and Los Angeles, have come crashing back down to Earth. Or, in this case, .500 records. The Cowboys have lost to the Saints, Packers, and Jets; the Rams, meanwhile, have dropped to the Buccaneers, Seahawks, and 49ers. Both Dak Prescott and Jared Goff have struggled to maintain their hot starts to the season, and both teams are now dealing with injuries along their offensive lines. I do not doubt that both squads will recover, but they’re not the sure-things we all thought they were.
…and we were underrating the 49ers.
Meanwhile, Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers look like the best team in the NFC. We dismissed their wins to the Buccaneers, Bengals, Steelers, and Browns, but we can’t ignore their 20-7 throttling of the Rams on Sunday. George Kittle looked like a stud tight end this week, and Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman were able to run down the clock. Meanwhile, no Rams rusher or receiver earned more than 50 yards. The Patriots were the only other team that’s looked this dominant against the Rams in recent memory.
Don’t let the final score fool you, the Chargers are bad.
The Chargers got beat up by duck-calling quarterback Devlin Hodges, Benny Snell, and James Conner. Hodges only threw for 132 yards, and 92 of them went to running backs, but the Steelers still broke out to a 24-0 lead. All 17 of the Chargers’ points came in the fourth quarter, long after the game had pretty much been decided. Last week, the Chargers lost to a then-winless Broncos, and their only wins have come against the Colts (Ok, not bad) and the Dolphins (Oof). We’ll see if Anthony Lynn can turn things around, but he’s got to deal with an aging quarterback, an unmotivated running back, and a whole bunch of injuries.
Benny Snell (RB – PIT) might be worth adding.
Pittsburgh’s strategy of featuring their third-stringers seemed to work out pretty well for them. Not only did they start Devlin Hodges, but they also turned to Benny Snell on just under half of their total rushing attempts. While James Conner missed some snaps with an injury, and although Jaylen Samuels was out with a knee injury, Snell proved that he could handle an NFL-caliber workload. Snell turned 17 attempts into 75 yards, and he added 14 yards through the air on one reception. He’s probably sitting on waivers in your league, so he could be worth an add if you’ve got the room.
Freddie Kitchens and Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE) choked under pressure.
After the Browns’ embarrassing defeat last week on Monday Night Football, Kitchens told the press that “you can’t have mistakes.” He even added that “we’ve got to do a better job coaching these guys.” What did Coach Kitchens say after Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks? He once again blamed “too many mistakes” for the loss. Huh, at least he’s self-aware. Not only did Baker Mayfield toss three interceptions, but Kitchens also cost the Browns a touchdown. After a questionable spot prevented the Browns from getting a score on third down, Kitchens decided to challenge the call — right before Nick Chubb ran into the end zone. The Browns lost the challenge, lost possession one play later, and lost the game. You hate to see it.
The Jets and Falcons are pretty good for one-win teams.
Let’s end on a positive note. Adam Gase’s Jets looked very good against the Cowboys now that Sam Darnold is healthy, as Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, and Robby Anderson all kept the ball moving. I’m confident that there are some more wins in the Jets’ future. Meanwhile, the Falcons have just one win despite their talent-loaded roster. How can you be 1-5 with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Devonta Freeman, and Austin Hooper? The front office might have to ask Dan Quinn that one at the end of the year, but I’m sure he’ll coast to some more wins off of his players’ talent before then.