By the Numbers: Week 6 (2020 Fantasy Football)
By this point in the football season, NFL teams and fantasy managers alike are either filling roster holes for potential playoff runs or cutting their losses with eyes toward the 2021 campaign.
For winless organizations such as the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons, a mediocre season could mean a fresh start at quarterback in the form of Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, but fantasy managers in most leagues reap no rewards for such futility.
Sacko punishments are to be avoided at all costs and exist in part so fantasy managers will keep trying, which I encourage everyone to do regardless of record through five weeks.
Managers at the top of the standings have work to do as well and should be targeting stars from struggling fantasy teams whose managers are in win-now mode.
With four NFL teams on a bye this week, there should be at least one desperate manager in most leagues willing to deal a sitting star to fill a position of need.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a two-wide receiver offense for much of the past decade while relying heavily on running backs to support the passing game.
In the five seasons before Ben Roethlisberger missed most of 2019 with an elbow injury, his third-leading wide receiver averaged 7 half-PPR points per game.
Chase Claypool will be a popular waiver-wire pickup after his 39-point showing in Week 5, but I’d discourage fantasy managers from investing significant resources into the rookie out of Notre Dame.
Diontae Johnson, the Steelers’ presumed No. 2 receiver behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, left Sunday’s matchup in the first quarter with a lower back injury, which paved the way to increased opportunity for Claypool.
With Smith-Schuster and Johnson serving as Big Ben’s two primary receiving threats moving forward, I wouldn’t anticipate continued dominance from Claypool. Buyer beware.
Through five games, half-PPR RB28 Chase Edmonds leads the Arizona backfield with 18 receptions on 23 targets.
Starter Kenyan Drake, who was drafted as a second-round pick in most 10-team leagues, has totaled just six targets, and currently ranks as the RB30, averaging 9.7 half-PPR points per contest.
For the season, Drake leads the backfield duo in offensive snap percentage, but Edmonds reached a season-high in snaps in Week 5, which underscores his growing role in the offense.
It looks like Edmonds should have flex value moving forward, especially in PPR formats.
My hunch came to fruition in Week 5, as Jackson received 21 touches compared to Kelley’s 12.
Once again, Kelley showcased poor vision and failed to maximize on his opportunity, totaling 29 yards rushing on 11 carries.
It was only one week, but Jackson appears to be the clear front-runner in this backfield until Ekeler returns. It might be worth selling Kelley to a running back-needy manager (despite the Chargers’ Week 6 bye) as soon as possible, provided the rookie out of UCLA still has decent trade value.
Dallas Cowboys rookie CeeDee Lamb has been a sensation this season, as he currently ranks second among all NFL receivers in expected points added and fourth in routes run with 191.
While the 2020 receiver draft class was hailed as one of the best ever, Lamb appears to be the cream of the crop, as he currently ranks as the half-PPR WR11, just ahead of veterans such as Amari Cooper, Robert Woods, and Stefon Diggs.
Rookie Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor appeared certain for a top-10 fantasy campaign after Marlon Mack suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1, but so far, the former two-time Doak Walker Award winner looks nothing like he did at Wisconsin.
Taylor is currently averaging 1.2 yards after contact per attempt, which ranks 35th among qualified running backs. He’s also broken just two tackles this season and secured only 13 targets.
With games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions over the next two weeks, look for Taylor to get back on track and raise his fantasy stock heading into the second half of the season.
If Taylor plays well these next two weeks, I’d consider selling high on him before matchups against the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.