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Target Analysis: Week 6 (2020 Fantasy Football)

Oct 21, 2020

Despite the poor quarterback play in Washington, Terry McLaurin is getting plenty of targets.

We’ve seen it time and time again. Volume is the clearest indicator of fantasy success, as it’s rare for a player to be a fantasy football stud without the opportunity to convert touches into points. Pass-catching opportunities, especially in PPR leagues, are often a bigger determinant of fantasy success than the player’s talent or circumstances.

So, every week of this fantasy season, I am going to diagnose the target landscape in the NFL. Who’s seeing the highest share on a team? Who’s trending downward? And most importantly, what takeaways can we draw from this data to ultimately help you make better fantasy lineup and roster decisions?

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Here is your Week 6 Target Analysis:

Arizona Cardinals

8 24 8.00 61 10.17 ⬆️
4 14 4.67 29 4.83 ⬇️
3 15 5.00 24 4.80 ⬇️
2 14 4.67 25 4.17 ⬇️
2 8 2.67 14 2.33 ⬇️
2 3 1.00 8 1.33 ⬆️

Arizona’s offense didn’t look in sync for much of the first half, but they were still able to score 38 points on an atrocious Cowboys defense and essentially wrap up the game by halftime. DeAndre Hopkins had a rare down performance in a Cardinals uniform, only catching two passes despite being targeted eight times. He and Kyler Murray were just not on the same page for most of the game outside of one 60-yard catch and run. Christian Kirk surprised the few that started him, catching an 80-yard touchdown off of his three targets. Larry Fitzgerald led the Cardinals in receptions with three, but he only managed 22 yards.

Even though Kirk caught a deep touchdown, that should not change your opinion of him. He’s still ranked fourth on the Cardinals in targets for the season and will never reach WR2 upside outside of an injury to Hopkins. This passing offense will continue to run through Hopkins. Even though he disappointed many fantasy managers that needed him, he has the perfect get-right matchup against a Seattle secondary that has been gutted this season by opposing quarterbacks.

Atlanta Falcons

10 14 4.67 30 7.50 ⬆️
7 22 7.33 57 9.50 ⬇️
4 16 5.33 32 5.33 ⬇️
4 12 4.00 36 6.00 ⬇️
4 10 3.33 17 2.83 ⬇️
2 15 5.00 22 3.67 ⬇️

With all of the worry that Julio Jones could miss time or potentially be ineffective due to his hamstring injury, many fantasy managers benched him in Week 6. Unfortunately for them, Jones had a day. The future Hall-of-Famer grabbed eight of his 10 targets for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, his running-mate Calvin Ridley still had a solid performance, catching six passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. The dominance of Atlanta’s two alpha wideouts meant less of a need for the ancillary pieces, as Hayden Hurst salvaged his day with a garbage-time touchdown and Russell Gage caught four passes for 65 yards.

Teams typically have a rallying performance following the firing of their head coach, and Atlanta was no exception. This offense is capable of producing two top-12 wide receivers each and every week, so Jones’ and Ridley’s ceiling will always be present so long as Matt Ryan is under center. Hurst may have given you 15.7 PPR points this week, but most of that production came on a 35-yard touchdown catch at the end of the game. He’s quite uninvolved in the offense and is more of a streaming candidate than an every-week option. Gage is merely a fill-in player if your team has been decimated by injuries and bye-weeks.

Baltimore Ravens

6 24 8.00 42 7.00  ⬇️
4 16 5.33 33 5.50  ⬇️
4 9 3.00 14 2.33  ⬆️
3 7 2.33 12 2.00  ⬆️
3 6 2.00 11 1.83  ⬆️
2 7 2.33 15 2.50  ⬇️

If you look back at my prior articles, I’ve said nearly every week that Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews are the only viable fantasy pass-catchers on this team. The Ravens’ game plan is hyper-focused on the run game and will only allow a maximum of two pass-catchers to thrive in any given week. I say “maximum” because, unfortunately, even the lack of involvement from other players does not spell consistency for Brown and Andrews. Brown caught four balls for 57 yards, and Andrews caught two balls for 21 yards. Without deep plays for the former and touchdowns for the latter, they are low-floor options.

Despite their low floor, you are pretty much locked into starting them based on their draft capital. If you are fortunate enough to have not been bit by the injury bug or you drafted incredible depth, then by all means keep Brown on the bench unless you need a “Hail Mary” play in your lineup. Andrews, meanwhile, is still a top tight end for fantasy. That may be due more to the disaster that is the tight end landscape than his own prowess, but nonetheless, you need to start him every week.

Buffalo Bills

8 31 10.33 59 9.83 ⬇️
7 17 5.67 37 6.17 ⬆️
4 9 3.00 27 4.50 ⬆️
2 9 3.00 24 4.00 ⬆️
2 5 1.67 10 1.67 ⬆️
Gabriel Davis 1 11 3.67 18 3.00 ⬇️

Stefon Diggs may have been one of the most undervalued fantasy players this draft season. After many complained that Josh Allen would be a clear downgrade from Kirk Cousins as the talented route-runner transitioned from Minnesota to Buffalo, Diggs has done nothing but provide great performances for his fantasy managers. Even in a rainy matchup versus a tough Kansas City secondary, he caught six of his eight targets for 46 yards and a touchdown. He could’ve even had a better day had he not drawn so many holding and pass-interference penalties from his defender. The Buffalo offense may not have been pretty on Monday night, but Diggs was a consistent producer.

Cole Beasley filled in nicely as a desperate PPR option, catching four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, John Brown was abysmal in his return to action; he came up empty on his four targets, putting up a rare goose-egg for the usually consistent wide receiver. He and Beasley are both solid plays this week against the New York Jets, so you should feel comfortable inserting them in your lineup despite their Week 6 performance.

Carolina Panthers

11 22 7.33 48 8.00 ⬆️
5 29 9.67 53 8.83 ⬇️
3 19 6.33 36 6.00 ⬇️
2 3 1.00 5 0.83 ⬆️
2 2 0.67 2 0.33 ⬆️
2 2 0.67 2 0.33 ⬆️

We, as a fantasy community, need to adjust our expectations for D.J. Moore. As someone who was quite high on him coming into the season, I still have trouble thinking of him as anything other than a low-WR1. That’s just not the case. He actually had a great game on Sunday in a tough matchup versus the Bears, as he caught five of his 11 targets for 93 yards. The problem, once again, is we expect that to be his floor. This game should be considered a victory for Moore managers, especially since he saw double the targets of Robby Anderson, but many will still see this as a defeat.

Anderson was able to make do with his limited targets, corralling four of his five looks for 77 yards. He’s still an auto-start every week until proven otherwise. Moore is a decent FLEX, but he’s still going to be second fiddle in this offense in normal circumstances. Soon enough (potentially Week 8), Christian McCaffery will be back in the lineup and potentially alter the target distribution among positions. Although Davis is already averaging approximately six targets, McCaffery could command a higher share and hurt the prospects of Moore and Anderson once he returns.

Chicago Bears

9 35 11.67 66 11.00 ⬇️
8 18 6.00 36 6.00 ⬆️
5 19 6.33 28 4.67 ⬇️
5 19 6.33 30 5.00
3 12 4.00 26 4.33 ⬇️
3 6 2.00 11 1.83 ⬆️

I don’t know how they do it, but the Chicago Bears continue to find ways to win. In a slobber-knocker of a matchup with the Carolina Panthers, Nick Foles targeted Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham to a high degree. Robinson is always involved, as he has garnered nine or more looks in every game this season. He is remarkably consistent and continues to be the driving force of this offense. Meanwhile, Graham’s involvement is much harder to predict; he’s only surpassed five targets in three games this season. Nonetheless, he’s second on this team in targets and is one of the preferred red-zone threats.

Robinson’s incredible target consistency makes him one of the more valuable WR1s in fantasy. He should be in your lineup every week regardless of the matchup. Graham, on the other hand, is still just a streamer. His inconsistency from week-to-week makes it hard to recommend him, but if you are desperate at tight end, you can do worse. Darnell Mooney is an interesting hold, as he’s clearly the No. 2 wideout for Chicago.

Cincinnati Bengals

11 17 5.67 45 7.50 ⬆️
8 23 7.67 38 6.33 ⬇️
8 22 7.33 48 8.00 ⬆️
3 17 5.67 26 4.33
Giovani Bernard 3 5 1.67 20 3.33 ⬆️
3 5 1.67 14 2.33 ⬆️

A.J. Green had a fantasy game versus Indianapolis; I can’t deny it. He put up 17.6 PPR points by catching eight of his 11 targets for 96 yards. However, I still believe he’s the WR3 in this offense. Both Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd saw eight targets, with the former catching six balls for 125 yards and the latter catching five passes for 54 yards. I’m not saying Green doesn’t have fantasy value, but you will never know when to start him. He’s unfortunately a hold. If you could trade him for a more reliable starter after his Week 6 performance, I would certainly pursue that opportunity.

Higgins is making the case to be an every-week start. He’s been phenomenal over the past three weeks, averaging 7.67 targets and 88 yards. He’s what many fantasy managers wanted Green to be this season. As of now, Higgins is a fine FLEX play and definitely worth heavy consideration as a weekly start. Boyd still appears to be the safety blanket for Joe Burrow in the slot, so you can feel comfortable starting him as a WR2. Aside from the three big wideouts in Cincinnati, you aren’t rostering any other Bengals pass-catchers.

Cleveland Browns

6 23 7.67 33 5.50 ⬇️
5 20 6.67 33 5.50 ⬇️
4 21 7.00 43 7.17 ⬇️
3 7 2.33 18 3.00 ⬇️
3 4 1.33 7 2.33 ⬆️
2 5 1.67 6 1.00 ⬇️

Look away, Browns fans. This looked like the Cleveland offense we saw in Week 1, in which Baker Mayfield was utterly inaccurate and out of sync without a reliable rushing attack behind him. Whether this was due to his rib injury, the tough matchup, or potential regression is beside the point. The reality is that fantasy managers with shares in Austin Hooper, Odell Beckham Jr., and Kareem Hunt will need to deal with these awful low-floor games that the Browns will inevitably put up from time to time.

Austin Hooper saw the most targets in this game, managing five catches for 52 yards. I had been out on Hooper in the past, but after three games of solid fantasy output, I am willing to consider him as a streaming option in any given week. Jarvis Landry is still unstartable, as he does not receive nearly enough volume to make him anything more than a touchdown-dependent slot receiver. He’s the fifth-best red-zone threat for Cleveland, so feel free to drop him if you haven’t already.

Beckham disappointed as well, but oddly enough, this was more discouraging than his Week 1 bust game. At least when the Browns were getting blown out versus Baltimore, Beckham saw 10 targets and was heavily utilized. In this blow-out, Beckham only saw four targets and received little opportunity. There will be better days ahead for this offense, starting next week against a Cincinnati team that blew a 21-point lead to Indianapolis.

Dallas Cowboys

11 21 7.00 44 7.33 ⬆️
10 28 9.33 49 8.17 ⬇️
10 30 10.00 65 10.83 ⬆️
6 15 5.00 34 5.67 ⬆️
5 16 5.33 36 6.00 ⬆️
4 9 3.00 14 2.33 ⬆️

The Dallas Cowboys started their first game since 2015 without Dak Prescott in the starting lineup. While a reasonable downtick in passing efficiency was expected with Andy Dalton taking the reins, no one could have predicted they would be this atrocious. The Cowboys barely sustained any fantasy-relevant assets in this game, with most of the production coming in garbage time. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper each saw 10 targets, as the former caught seven passes for 64 yards while the latter caught seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. Ezekiel Elliot, however, received the most targets on Monday night. However, he caught eight passes for a measly 31 yards.

The ceiling of all Dallas pass-catchers is significantly lowered in Prescott’s absence. Nonetheless, you should start Lamb and Cooper every week unless you are somehow loaded at wide receiver. I still prefer Lamb to Cooper given the rookie will likely catch more passes from the slot, but both are mid-to-low WR2s with Dalton. Gallup becomes a much riskier WR3 play, although he probably has as good of a chance as any to put up a huge game. I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket based on Dalton’s first start with the Cowboys, but I have lost confidence that this passing attack will remotely compare to the Prescott-led offense.

Denver Broncos

8 15 5.00 29 5.80 ⬆️
6 6 2.00 6 1.20 ⬆️
5 9 3.00 33 6.60 ⬆️
1 4 1.33 10 2.00 ⬆️
1 3 1.00 6 1.20 ⬆️
1 3 1.00 7 1.40 ⬆️

This was the game all fantasy managers dread; there were eight field goals compared to only one touchdown. The Broncos moved the ball relatively well versus a stout Patriots defense, but they couldn’t get into the end zone. Jerry Jeudy disappointed in this difficult matchup, catching just two of his five targets for 32 yards. The rookie has had to play with three different quarterbacks through five games, so I don’t blame him for his dud performance. He’s better off sitting on your bench until we see him develop a better rapport with Drew Lock.

Tim Patrick was the Broncos’ leading receiver in Week 6, catching four passes for 101 yards. I still prefer Jeudy to Patrick as a fantasy option, but Patrick has become a viable FLEX play for those of you desperate enough to start him. Rookie Albert Okwuegbunam (thank goodness I don’t have to pronounce that) replaced the absent Noah Fant in this game. He caught two passes for 27 yards, but missed out on several end-zone targets that could’ve propelled his fantasy day. His utilization is a good sign that Fant can get back on track once he reunites with Lock.

Detroit Lions

6 14 4.67 21 7.00 ⬆️
5 9 3.00 25 5.00 ⬆️
5 7 2.33 24 4.80 ⬆️
4 8 2.67 20 4.00 ⬆️
2 5 1.67 23 4.60 ⬆️
2 4 1.33 8 1.60 ⬆️

This Detroit Lions offense finally showed signs of life after an abysmal start to the season. Against a downtrodden Jacksonville defense, rookie D’Andre Swift rushed for over 100 yards, scored two touchdowns, and caught three passes in a breakout game. Swift wasn’t involved much in the receiving game, but it is great to see his overall role expand. Kenny Golladay continues to widen the gap between him and Marvin Jones, as the former caught four of his six targets for 105 yards, while the latter put up an abysmal two catches for eight yards.

I won’t say Swift has entered “must-start” territory, but he’s a perfect fit for this offense and has a juicy matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this weekend. I would have enough confidence to put him in the starting lineup, at least for this upcoming week, and hope his enhanced role continues. Golladay is a clear-cut start every week, and Jones can safely be dropped if you need the roster space. I know many who drafted Jones will feel uncomfortable sending your mid-round pick to the waiver wire, but he simply can’t be trusted to produce regardless of the matchup. If you can’t feel confident starting him, then you can’t keep him on your roster.

Green Bay Packers

10 10 3.33 30 10.00 ⬆️
5 13 4.33 30 6.00 ⬆️
5 10 3.33 28 5.60 ⬆️
4 10 3.33 18 3.60 ⬆️
2 2 0.67 5 1.00 ⬆️
Equanimeous St. Brown 2 2 0.67 2 2.00 ⬆️

With Davante Adams back in the lineup, the passing offense centered around his involvement. Targeted 10 times, he caught six balls for 61 yards. The Packers were out of sorts for most of this game, so there was little production to be had. Aaron Rodgers forced the ball to Adams on several plays, with both of his interceptions coming on passes headed Adams’ way. Aaron Jones tied Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the second-most targets, but neither did much of note through the air. Week 4’s breakout tight end, Robert Tonyan, came crashing back down to Earth with three catches for a measly 25 yards.

If Adams is on the field, you can’t really trust any other Green Bay pass-catcher. Tonyan is a fine tight end streamer, but he doesn’t have nearly as much upside without the target void that Adams’ absence had created. Adams and Jones will make up a majority of the targets every week, so thrusting Valdes-Scantling into your lineup is too risky. He’s a hold for now, but you may be able to drop him if we don’t see more production from him against a Houston defense that gave up 42 points last week.

Houston Texans

11 26 8.67 41 6.83 ⬆️
9 24 8.00 42 7.00 ⬇️
7 11 3.67 19 3.17 ⬆️
4 15 5.00 28 4.67 ⬇️
2 9 3.00 20 3.33 ⬇️
2 5 1.67 6 1.50 ⬆️

Just like Atlanta, this Texans offense rallied following their former head coach’s departure and put up their best performance of the season. Will Fuller led the Texans with 11 targets, catching six of them for 123 yards and a touchdown. Fuller has been remarkably consistent all season (aside from his Week 2 injury that led to a goose-egg), but he finally caught the deep pass we have all been waiting for. Watson connected with Fuller on a 53-yard touchdown pass in the second half, adding an extra dimension to Fuller’s fantasy potential. Meanwhile, Brandin Cooks followed up his impressive Week 5 performance by catching all nine of his targets for 68 yards and a score. Darren Fells, who salvaged his Week 5 fantasy day with a breakaway touchdown, added six catches for 85 yards and a score in Week 6.

Fuller has proven himself reliable enough to be an every-week start. I know most of us still fear that he will get injured again and put up another goose-egg, but that’s a risk with any player. His performance has inspired enough confidence to keep him in your lineup despite the matchup. Cooks is a decent WR3 play; he’s not as consistent as Fuller, but he has just as much upside as a deep-threat in this offense. Fells is a fine tight end streamer, as he continues to get wide open on those designed bootlegs.

Indianapolis Colts

8 12 4.00 12 2.00 ⬆️
7 17 5.67 28 4.67 ⬆️
6 13 4.33 27 4.50 ⬆️
5 20 6.67 37 6.17 ⬇️
5 16 5.33 16 5.33 ⬇️
4 8 2.67 17 2.83 ⬆️

The Colts trailed 21-0 early in this game, so nearly every pass-catcher saw an increase in targets from the prior week. Marcus Johnson was Philip Rivers‘ most targeted receiver in Week 6, catching five of eight opportunities for 108 yards. Hines finally saw his first decent target share since Week 1, as the game-script perfectly suited his talents. He caught five of his six targets for 27 yards. Trey Burton saw meaningful action as well, seeing five targets and scoring two total touchdowns in the contest.

The first meaningful takeaway from this game is that T.Y. Hilton is a fantasy bust. Despite having the perfect opportunity to accumulate targets, Hilton only managed one catch for 11 yards. Hilton should be benched until further notice, as he’s extremely unreliable. The second takeaway from this game (which was obvious) is that Jonathan Taylor needs to be a three-down back. On just four targets, Taylor managed 13.8 yards per reception compared to Hines’ 5.4 yards per reception. He’s also the best pure runner in this offense. Hopefully Frank Reich reads this article so he can be reminded that his committee isn’t helping anyone. Lastly, Burton is a solid streaming candidate going forward, especially if Mo Alie-Cox misses any more time. I don’t have enough faith in Johnson or Zach Pascal to recommend them as fantasy starts until I see more consistency.

Jacksonville Jaguars

D.J. Chark Jr. 14 27 9.00 34 6.80 ⬆️
9 20 6.67 37 6.17 ⬆️
7 21 7.00 35 5.83 ⬇️
4 15 5.00 26 4.33 ⬇️
4 7 2.33 19 3.17 ⬆️
2 8 2.67 24 4.00

D.J. Chark Jr. was a question mark prior to kickoff, but he was able to suit up and lead the Jaguars in targets. Chark saw 14 opportunities in this game, catching seven passes for just 45 yards. Jacksonville’s offense was abysmal all day, so fantasy managers should be grateful he surpassed 10 PPR points. Keenan Cole, meanwhile, caught six of his nine targets for 143 yards in his best performance of the season. Rookie Laviska Shenault Jr., who put up solid fantasy outputs over the course of the season, disappointed in this matchup with the Lions. He only managed three catches for 10 yards despite seeing seven targets. While his four PPR points definitely didn’t help you this week, consider this an outlier of what should be a promising season for the second-round pick.

Chark should be in your lineup as a mid-to-low WR2, but his fantasy production will continue to vary with the streaky Gardner Minshew II. Shenault is a high-floor FLEX option, as he continues to be utilized all over the formation. Aside from those two pass-catchers, I am not confident starting any other Jaguar. Cole had a great game, but this performance is more of a flash in the pan. James Robinson is obviously still an every-week start, even though he salvaged his day with a garbage-time receiving touchdown.

Kansas City Chiefs

7 25 8.33 52 8.67 ⬇️
6 10 3.33 21 3.50 ⬆️
4 15 5.00 31 5.17 ⬇️
3 15 5.00 38 6.33 ⬇️
2 3 1.00 3 0.50 ⬆️
1 7 2.33 12 2.00 ⬇️

This matchup with the Buffalo Bills was all about the run game. The Chiefs ran for 245 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry on Monday night, thoroughly dominating the Bills on the ground. With their success in the run game, they didn’t really need to pass often to win. Travis Kelce still had himself a solid performance, catching five of his seven targets for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Demarcus Robinson was the receiver of choice for Patrick Mahomes, catching five passes for 69 yards, while Tyreek Hill only managed 5.5 PPR points.

The Kansas City stars have been obvious through six weeks. You are auto-starting Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Hill regardless of the matchup. Meanwhile, with Sammy Watkins out, the ancillary roulette wheel landed on Robinson in Week 6, as Mecole Hardman went catchless. If starting any skill-position players aside from the big three in Kansas City, you are rolling the dice.

Las Vegas Raiders

7 23 7.67 47 9.40 ⬇️
5 12 4.00 13 2.60 ⬆️
Alec Ingold 4 7 2.33 9 1.80 ⬆️
3 11 3.67 20 4.00 ⬇️
Henry Ruggs III 3 3 1.00 11 3.67 ⬆️
2 9 3.00 11 2.20 ⬇️

The Las Vegas Raiders were on a bye last week. The above represents their Week 5 target distribution.

Los Angeles Chargers

8 18 6.00 34 6.80 ⬆️
8 9 3.00 22 5.50 ⬆️
6 8 2.67 8 4.00 ⬆️
3 7 2.33 10 2.00 ⬆️
2 33 11.00 51 10.20 ⬇️
2 6 2.00 6 1.20 ⬆️

The Los Angeles Chargers were on a bye last week. The above represents their Week 5 target distribution.

Los Angeles Rams

10 22 7.33 41 6.83 ⬆️
9 24 8.00 45 7.50 ⬆️
5 13 4.33 21 3.50 ⬆️
4 9 3.00 13 2.17
4 12 4.00 18 3.00 ⬆️
4 10 3.33 21 3.50 ⬆️

The Los Angeles Rams seemed out of sorts all game. They were never able to establish the run versus a stout 49ers front seven, rendering their effective play-action passing and bootleg plays useless. This forced Jared Goff to drop back and throw 38 times, where he was largely ineffective outside of one deep throw to Josh Reynolds. The main beneficiary of their pass-heavy script, Robert Woods saw 10 targets and caught four for 29 yards and a touchdown. Cooper Kupp received nearly as many targets as Woods, but he caught just three passes for 11 yards. Tyler Higbee led the Rams in receiving yards with 56, while Reynolds led the team in yards per reception.

This was the rare week in which neither Kupp nor Higbee gave you a worthwhile fantasy stat-line. Even Woods, who is one of the most consistent fantasy assets in the NFL, salvaged his day with a receiving touchdown. The Rams’ short-term outlook doesn’t look much better, as they next play the Chicago Bears on Monday night. The Bears’ defense is one of the best in terms of limiting production to wide receivers, so you’ll have to think long and hard as to whether Kupp (or Higbee) is worth starting week.

Miami Dolphins

8 23 7.67 40 6.67 ⬆️
4 13 4.33 29 4.83 ⬇️
4 11 3.67 16 2.67 ⬆️
3 11 3.67 25 4.17 ⬇️
3 5 1.67 7 1.17 ⬆️
2 11 3.67 30 5.00 ⬇️

In the first shutout of the season, the Dolphins barely had to try versus the hapless Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick only needed to throw 27 times for 191 yards to score 24 points against New York. In a game that was over before it even started, there weren’t many productive pass-catchers on the Miami side of the ball. DeVante Parker had double the amount of targets of any other wideout, but he did little with his opportunities, catching just three balls for 35 yards. Jakeem Grant had the most catches on the day with four, and Adam Shaheen accumulated the most receiving yards. Preston Williams salvaged his day with a touchdown, but he only caught two of his three targets for 18 yards.

Williams and Mike Gesicki have been unable to garner enough targets to make them worthwhile starts. Due to the unreliability of options at his position, Gesicki is a fine streamer. Williams, however, should remain firmly on your bench until he can consistently put up high outputs. Parker is a fine WR3 with WR2 upside, as he’s averaging nearly eight targets per game over his past three contests. Still, the Dolphins didn’t need to pass the ball to beat their division rival, so I wouldn’t panic if you were disappointed by any Miami pass-catcher. However, everything could change once Tua Tagovailoa comes out of the bye week as the Dolphins’ starter. Don’t offload any shares of the Miami receiving core just yet.

Minnesota Vikings

11 21 7.00 36 6.00 ⬆️
5 28 9.33 49 8.17 ⬇️
5 11 3.67 16 2.67
5 7 2.33 8 1.33 ⬆️
4 8 2.67 14 2.33 ⬆️
2 5 1.67 11 1.83 ⬇️

Despite an abysmal performance from Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings, Justin Jefferson put up yet another game-breaking performance in his young career. The rookie caught nine passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns, with most of his production coming once the game was already out of reach. Nonetheless, garbage time makes no difference in fantasy. The WR1 entering Week 6 yielded most of his production to the rookie, but Adam Thielen still finished with three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Notably, the Irv Smith Jr. breakout seems to be upon us, as the second-year tight end caught four of his five targets for 55 yards. He wasn’t amazing, but it’s a relief to see Smith getting the involvement his draft capital warrants.

Thielen and Jefferson are auto-starts each and every week. As we have seen, some weeks Thielen will have the blow-up game, while other weeks Jefferson will get a majority of the work. Still, even though they present some variability, they each have WR1 ceilings and a relatively safe floor. Smith is a quality hold for those in two tight end or tight end premium leagues, but he has very little streamer value as of now.

New England Patriots

9 17 5.67 20 6.67 ⬆️
6 12 4.00 36 7.20 ⬆️
4 14 4.67 26 5.20 ⬆️
3 6 2.00 11 2.20 ⬆️
2 8 2.67 30 6.00 ⬆️
1 1 0.33 1 0.20 ⬆️

With Cam Newton back in the lineup, many of us expected this offense to get back on track and score more than one touchdown. Those who started any Patriot other than James White were extremely disappointed, as New England couldn’t get anything going. Julian Edelman converted just two of his six targets into catches, accumulating eight total receiving yards, while Damiere Byrd finished with three catches for 38 yards. The only usable fantasy asset was White, who caught eight of his nine targets for 65 yards.

White is a worthy high-floor, low-ceiling start for those in need of running back depth, but he’s the only player I would trust in my starting lineup. Edelman’s age is clearly showing, and it looks as though he’s trying to avoid contact over the middle of the field. Formerly a tremendous PPR weapon, his floor is now so low that he’s a major risk in any given week. The other Patriots pass-catchers are highly volatile and not worth rostering.

New Orleans Saints

14 28 9.33 36 7.20 ⬆️
10 28 9.33 45 9.00 ⬆️
6 7 2.33 7 1.40 ⬆️
6 6 2.00 6 1.20 ⬆️
3 13 4.33 21 4.20 ⬇️
3 6 2.00 18 4.50 ⬆️

The New Orleans Saints were on a bye last week. The above represents their Week 5 target distribution.

New York Giants

4 22 7.33 44 7.33 ⬇️
3 15 5.00 35 7.00 ⬆️
3 5 1.67 12 2.00 ⬆️
3 4 1.33 11 1.83 ⬆️
2 9 3.00 9 2.25 ⬇️
1 12 4.00 24 4.80 ⬇️

After having an offensive breakthrough last week versus Dallas, the Giants reverted to their offensive ineptitude in a close game versus Washington. No Giant caught more than three passes or finished with more than 45 receiving yards. It was a truly abysmal performance by quarterback Daniel Jones and the Giants’ skill position players. Darius Slayton caught two of his four targets, including a 23-yard touchdown pass, but he was the lone bright spot for fantasy managers who chose to start any New York receiver.

I can’t begin to comprehend why Evan Engram isn’t more heavily utilized. He has all of the physical traits and pass-catching abilities necessary to be one of the “elite” tight ends in the league, but he’s never reached his full potential with the Giants. I’ve said he’s merely a streamer last week, but he may be a drop candidate following this dismal output. Slot receiver Golden Tate was somehow worse, catching one target for 11 yards. For someone getting paid quite substantially by the Giants, his lack of involvement is befuddling. Slayton is the only Giants pass-catcher you can consider starting, and even putting him into your lineup is a risk.

New York Jets

13 33 11.00 46 11.50 ⬆️
8 8 2.67 15 5.00 ⬆️
4 24 8.00 24 8.00 ⬇️
4 6 2.00 9 1.50 ⬆️
3 7 2.33 19 3.17 ⬆️
3 6 2.00 8 1.33 ⬆️

It was difficult to see the Jets offense to get worse, but they somehow put up zero points against a very susceptible Dolphins defense. Without Le’Veon Bell, their run game provided zero fear in the hearts of opposing Miami linebackers. The Dolphins played coverage throughout the entire game and forced Joe Flacco into completing less than 50 percent of his throws for 186 yards passing. The offense was putrid, and Adam Gase has done a disservice to all loyal Jets fans out there.

Jamison Crowder has been one bright spot in a disastrous season for New York. He has seen at least 10 targets in every game in which he has been active this season. Both Flacco and Sam Darnold continually force-feed Crowder the ball, as he’s the only pass-catcher who consistently gets open. Breshad Perriman had eight targets and four catches after missing several games due to injury, but he’s not worth a roster spot.

Philadelphia Eagles

10 26 8.67 26 4.33 ⬇️
10 21 7.00 45 7.50 ⬆️
4 12 4.00 19 3.17 ⬇️
4 4 1.33 10 1.67 ⬆️
3 15 5.00 34 5.67 ⬇️
3 8 2.67 10 1.67 ⬆️

It’s time to start taking Travis Fulgham seriously. He has averaged 8.67 targets per game over his last three contests and put up six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown in Week 6. The Eagles were trailing for most of the game, so his numbers may be a bit inflated given the game script. Nonetheless, his recent production has been thoroughly impressive. Zach Ertz, meanwhile, continues to underwhelm despite overwhelming volume. With 10 targets at his disposal in Week 6, Ertz only logged four catches for 33 yards. That’s actually a good performance for Ertz if we are taking his recent outputs into account. Fulgham and Ertz were the only notable pass-catchers for Philadelphia.

It’s an odd thing to say, but Fulgham is a good FLEX option this Thursday against a Giants secondary susceptible to big plays this year. Meanwhile, Ertz is in the same boat as Engram; I would be comfortable dropping him if there is any remotely better option on the waiver wire, especially given his recent injury timeline. It may feel horrible to drop your fourth-round pick, but let another fantasy manager fall into the Ertz landmine.

Pittsburgh Steelers

7 11 3.67 26 5.20 ⬆️
4 15 5.00 24 4.80 ⬇️
4 10 3.33 24 4.80 ⬇️
4 9 3.00 28 5.60 ⬇️
1 4 1.33 15 3.00 ⬇️
1 4 1.33 4 0.80 ⬇️

With Dionte Johnson missing in action, many hoped rookie sensation Chase Claypool would once again have a blow-up performance. He didn’t score four touchdowns like he did in Week 5, but Claypool caught four catches for 74 yards and added a touchdown on the ground. Meanwhile, James Washington led the Steelers in targets with seven pass-catching opportunities; he hauled in four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Despite being the de facto No. 1 wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster caught just two passes for six yards in another disappointing output.

All Pittsburgh wideouts are worthwhile starts each week. In what could be a shootout with the Tennessee Titans in Week 7, Ben Roethlisberger may support three viable fantasy wide receivers. Obviously, not every wideout will have a good game. Still, they each present a high ceiling and are worth putting in your lineup. In order of preference, I would go Johnson, Smith-Schuster, Claypool, then Washington.

San Francisco 49ers

10 33 11.00 38 9.50 ⬆️
6 17 5.67 17 5.67 ⬇️
3 14 4.67 25 5.00 ⬇️
3 15 5.00 25 4.17 ⬇️
3 13 4.33 29 4.83 ⬇️
2 5 1.67 12 3.00 ⬇️

Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t even need to throw the ball downfield to have success in his matchup versus the Rams. Most of his attempts were behind or barely in front of the line of scrimmage, allowing his receivers to capitalize on their yards-after-the-catch abilities. Deebo Samuel was the poster-child for that philosophy in Week 6, as the 49ers constantly utilized him on tap-passes, including one that went for a 35-yard touchdown in the first quarter. George Kittle, meanwhile, led the team in targets, catches, and yards. He and Travis Kelce are a tier above the rest and are elite positional advantages for those that roster them.

Samuel is a worthwhile WR3 who you can feel comfortable putting in your lineup regardless of the matchup. His ceiling is low due to Kittle’s extensive involvement and San Francisco’s run-heavy approach, but he’ll give you a solid floor. Brandon Aiyuk, similarly, is a high-floor, low-ceiling option. He’s utilized just like Samuel, creating most of his yards after the catch. Jerick McKinnon didn’t see much work in this matchup, but with Raheem Mostert heading toward them injured reserve, expect his involvement to skyrocket over the next few weeks.

Seattle Seahawks

11 25 8.33 39 7.80 ⬆️
7 14 4.67 23 4.60 ⬆️
5 22 7.33 38 7.60 ⬆️
3 8 2.67 14 2.80 ⬇️
2 6 2.00 7 1.40 ⬇️
1 14 4.67 19 3.80 ⬇️

The Seattle Seahawks were on a bye last week. The above represents their Week 5 target distribution.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8 17 5.67 28 4.67 ⬆️
7 7 2.33 20 6.67 ⬆️
2 19 6.33 37 6.17 ⬇️
2 16 5.33 25 4.17 ⬇️
2 9 3.00 23 3.83 ⬆️
2 2 0.67 3 0.50 ⬆️

In the three games with Chris Godwin active, Mike Evans has 10 targets. This was by far his worst fantasy performance of the season, having caught only one of his two targets for 10 yards. Not many people believed Godwin and Evans would come close to the production they sustained in 2019 with Jameis Winston, but in terms of targets and yards, Evans has been a borderline bust. I know I can’t discount his six touchdowns, but his scoring volatility leads to outputs like he had in Week 6. Godwin, meanwhile, caught five of seven targets for just 48 yards in his return from a hamstring injury. Tampa Bay’s most productive pass-catcher in Week 6 was oddly Rob Gronkowski, who caught five of his eight targets for 78 yards and a touchdown.

Evans and Godwin are still automatic starts every week, but they no longer have the ability to sustain consistent WR1 production. Evans has become touchdown-dependent, while Godwin is a bit safer with less upside. Maybe they’ll become more reliable as Tom Brady develops more rapport with the tandem, but we need to lower our expectations in regards to their weekly output. Gronkowski may have had a good game, but I wouldn’t fall for the trap of streaming him. He’s still averaging under five targets per game on the season and needs to compete for red-zone catches with Evans and Godwin. Let another manager take on his risk.

Tennessee Titans

9 14 4.67 20 4.00 ⬆️
7 16 5.33 24 8.00 ⬇️
6 6 2.00 26 6.50 ⬆️
5 7 2.33 15 3.00 ⬆️
4 6 2.00 10 2.00 ⬆️
3 4 1.33 6 1.20 ⬆️

After Jonnu Smith exiting early with an ankle injury, Anthony Firkser took over starting duties and finished with nine targets; he caught eight for 113 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful anyone started him. A.J. Brown, on the other hand, continued his dominance from Week 5 by catching five passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns. He’s paying dividends for those who drafted him early and could potentially be a WR1 down the stretch. Another notable development was Derrick Henry’s involvement in the passing game. Along with his 212 rushing yards, Henry saw a season-high five targets, which he converted into two catches for 52 yards. The output is not important, but if the opportunity remains, Henry could overtake Alvin Kamara as the RB1 on the season.

Brown and Smith are still the only Tennessee pass-catchers you should consider starting. Even though Ryan Tannehill is playing lights-out, he doesn’t target Kalif Raymond, Adam Humphries, or Firkser often enough to establish any confidence in their fantasy viability. Brown has the potential to finish among the top 12 at his position despite missing two games, and Smith has the ability to finish as a top-three tight end. There’s no question of whether either player should be in your starting lineup.

Washington Football Team

12 33 11.00 58 9.67 ⬆️
6 22 7.33 31 5.17 ⬇️
5 15 5.00 22 3.67
5 11 3.67 27 4.50 ⬆️
5 11 3.67 17 2.83 ⬆️
4 12 4.00 36 6.00

Imagine how good Terry McLaurin would be if he had even remotely competent play from his quarterback. McLaurin saw double-digit targets for the third time this season; he saw seven or more targets in all of his 2020 contests. Even though the sophomore receiver put up a 7-74-0 stat line, he has yet to reach his ceiling given the abysmal performance from Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, and Alex Smith. The running back targets continue to be split in favor of veteran J.D. McKissic in lieu of rookie Antonio Gibson. McKissic has out-targeted Gibson on the season and once again saw more looks in Week 6.

McLaurin is a weekly WR2, with WR1 upside. He will continually get enough volume to sustain a solid floor, but his ceiling is capped by his anemic passing offense. Gibson and McKissic offer FLEX value given their consistent involvement in the receiving game, but unless one of them goes down, they will prevent one another from reaching their ceilings. Logan Thomas caught a touchdown in this game, but he is not targeted enough to be a worthy streamer unless you are in leagues that start two tight ends.

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Dan Ambrosino is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive and follow him @AmbrosinoNFL.

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