5 Burning Questions For Week 6 (2021 Fantasy Football)
Bye weeks are here, which means fantasy managers will soon have some tougher decisions to make as it pertains to starting lineups, roster cuts, trades, and more. Without further ado, let’s begin talking about some burning questions as we inch closer to mid-October.
Remember to reach out with questions on Twitter (@toomuchtuma) anytime.
1. Is Chase Claypool primed for his sophomore breakout?
The early returns for Claypool weren’t all that promising a few weeks ago. Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t playing well, the offensive line was a mess, and Claypool himself wasn’t a full-time player. A lot has changed in recent weeks, most notably the season-ending shoulder injury to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Claypool should now move into an every-down role within Pittsburgh’s offense.
In the two games that the second-year wideout was active but Pittsburgh was missing one of Smith-Schuster or Diontae Johnson, Claypool’s target shares were 26% and 25%. A certified playmaker who scored 11 total touchdowns as a rookie in 2020, Claypool should be upgraded to WR2 valuation moving forward. Big Ben and the O-line are still slight concerns, but volume is king in fantasy football, especially when we’re discussing a talent like Claypool.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 10, 2021
2. What’s the state of the Bills’ running backs?
It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Buffalo’s RB situation. Zack Moss has gone from being a healthy scratch in Week 1 to taking over the backfield over their past three games. The sophomore running back is the team’s lead ball-carrier who ran a whopping 63% routes-per-pass play in Week 5. He’s also handling the short down and distance work (70% for the season) while taking over the two-minute offense as well. Simply put, he’s a low-end RB2 while Devin Singletary is shifting towards handcuff status for the time being.
3. Should we talk about Kadarius Toney some more?
This is a 2021 Week 6 fantasy football article, which means I’m contractually obligated to write about Toney. This is beginning to feel a lot like Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014, right? A Giants first-round wide receiver who was a questionable draft pick, who gets hurt during training camp, who plays minimally early on, and who later erupts? Sounds familiar to me.
The rookie was sensational in his Week 5 breakout against Dallas, using his unique stop/start ability to consistently beat defenders in man coverage while tacking on a seemingly limitless number of yards after the catch. Of course, his 189 receiving yards from Sunday are the most from a first-year player this season. He posted an absurdly elite 7.88 yards per route run (YPRR) while attacking all areas of the field from multiple formation alignments (in the slot, out wide, etc.). This isn’t a situation to take lightly or to sell high on. Rookies who post 189 receiving yards in a single game don’t come around often.
Kadarius Toney makin’ it look easypic.twitter.com/BpFbAv8Amu
— Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler) October 13, 2021
4. Is Adam Thielen regressing?
He might be. The veteran receiver turned 31 back in training camp and the table below shows his YPRR since 2017. As you can see, the trend isn’t good.
Even in 2020 there was an argument to be made that Thielen was overly reliant on touchdowns. Entering Week 4 of 2021, he had scored 18 times in his past 18 games. It's true that Minnesota designs plays for him in the red zone, but the worry for fantasy purposes was what would happen if the TD efficiency declined at all. In Weeks 4-5, Thielen totaled five receptions for 86 scoreless yards. We can no longer consider him an every-week WR2 moving forward. He's still start-able, but expectations should be that of a WR3 now.
5. Who is a noteworthy sell-high player entering Week 6?
This is the perfect time to sell high on Antonio Gibson. It was reported entering Sunday's game against the Saints that he's dealing with a stress fracture in his shin, which apparently won't heal until after the season. Then he went out and scored two rushing touchdowns against New Orleans. Fantasy managers might want to keep holding on after the big game, but a closer look under the hood shows his role hasn't changed at all throughout the year.
"Gibby" continues to receive around 65% of the team's rushing attempts while only seeing a 5-8% target share per game. Meantime, J.D. McKissic hogs legitimately all of the passing-game work. Gibson will need a McKissic injury to reach RB1 upside. Until then, he's a TD-dependent RB2, even after a big performance.