The Primer: Week 6 Edition (2021 Fantasy Football)
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By now it’s become cliché for fantasy football managers to say things like, “Wow, the season is really flying by,” or, “I can’t believe it’s Week 6 already,” because we say it every year.
But still, I can’t believe it’s Week 6 already.
You know why we feel this way every year, don’t you? It’s because we don’t give the season time to breathe anymore.
We get the weekly wave of Sunday games, then the Monday-night game to end the week, and then it’s waiver claims on Tuesday nights, the first meaningful injury reports of the week after Wednesday practices, and a game on Thursday night to kick off a new week. The weeks bleed together, and then one day we’re putting up holiday decorations.
I’m still not sure how much I like weekly Thursday-night NFL games, which we’ve been getting since 2012. Oh sure, I like having a football game to watch on Thursday night. And stand-alone games are great because it’s easier to pay attention to things like personnel groupings and formations. Plus, everyone piles onto Twitter at once to offer their $0.02 on big plays, dumb mistakes, bad calls, weird commercials, whatever. It’s glorious.
But is it great that we start the fantasy week on a Thursday? I don’t love it, honestly. I kind of miss the days when everyone was tied 0-0 at 1 p.m. Eastern, and a moment later all those simultaneous kickoffs put footballs in the air. Now, blood has been drawn in most fantasy matchups by the time we get to Sunday’s early games (or early game, if it’s a London week). Someone is already at an advantage by Thursday night. The disadvantaged have to stew on their disadvantage for two and a half days.
Once the fantasy week is over, it’s time to make waiver claims for the new week. Some leagues process waivers in the small hours of Thursday morning, allowing owners to wait until Wednesday night to make their claims. But most leagues forgo the cooling-off period and process waivers a day earlier, in the wee hours of Wednesday. No cooling off. No time to lick wounds after losses or bask in the afterglow of victory. Instead, we’re figuring out waiver claims on Tuesdays. less than 24 hours after the end of the Monday-night game.
Why do most leagues run waivers early? Because we want our new players, and we want them now. We’re the Veruca Salts of the waiver wire.
At this point, my bosses are probably reaching for a giant curtain hook to pull me offstage because wall-to-wall fantasy football is good business for the purveyors of fantasy content. We’re supposed to like it when fantasy managers are hyper-engaged.
I like it just fine. I’m just saddened by the way the nonstop season affects our perception of time. Of course, I realize that time would move at the same rate regardless of how the fantasy calendar was stacked. But the fantasy season seems to move faster now, and a lot of people agree with me on that. It’s become a horse race. A dash. It’s not a Saturday-morning jog through the park with a water break at the bridge. There’s no downtime between events. We race past one checkpoint after another and then suddenly we’re in the homestretch.
Look, I realize there’s no getting the horses back in the barn. (And now I’m blowing through horse analogies like some people blow throw FAB.)
I just wish we could savor the seasons a little more, and that they wouldn’t pass by so quickly.
Welcome to Week 6.
– Pat Fitzmaurice
(Before you continue reading, I should mention that The Primer is no longer going to be a solo venture most weeks. It’s going to be a joint effort in partnership with my colleague Kyle Yates, who’ll be taking half the games each week. One human alone could never fill the shoes of the late Mike Tagliere.)
Miami Dolphins vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Tua Tagovailoa: Tua is reportedly set to make his return to the starting lineup this week against Jacksonville after being on Injured Reserve since week two. We still haven’t seen a ton from Tua in this offense this season to know what to fully expect, but there are certainly reasons to be optimistic moving forward. While we can’t view him as a trustworthy start in 1QB leagues in his first game back, he’s absolutely in the Superflex conversation due to the matchup. The Jaguars are allowing nearly 300 passing yards per game and 1.4 passing touchdowns on average to opposing QBs this season. The upside is certainly there for us to take the risk with him in his first game action since week two against Buffalo.
Trevor Lawrence: Over the first few weeks of the season, it was looking pretty rough for Lawrence as he transitioned into the NFL from Clemson, but he’s started to settle in and he’s becoming a weekly viable fantasy option at the QB position. While he certainly isn’t posting up gaudy numbers – he’s only averaging 203.5 passing yards over the last four weeks – he’s starting to see his rushing workload increase and that’s what has fantasy managers excited. Over the first two games, Lawrence only had three rush attempts. For anyone who watched Lawrence’s college tape, this was the most baffling thing to witness because he absolutely dominated on the ground with his movability at his size, but Urban Meyer just wasn’t using him in this fashion. Since that point though, Lawrence has 21 rush attempts for 91 rushing yards and two touchdowns. If Lawrence isn’t able to capitalize as a passer in any given matchup, he’s at least bringing a high floor with his workload on the ground. Looking ahead to week six, Lawrence now has a matchup against the Miami Dolphins defense that just got absolutely eviscerated by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers passing attack. After five weeks, the Dolphins are now allowing the 4th-most fantasy points to opposing QBs and Lawrence should be able to do enough in this one to be viewed as a low-end streaming option.
Myles Gaskin: What the heck just happened?! After being one of fantasy football’s most consistent RB2s through the first three weeks of the season, Myles Gaskin was eliminated from the offense in week four to the tune of just 12 total snaps. Without any sort of explanation as to why Gaskin was phased out of the offense, fantasy managers were forced to pivot and bench the talented RB due to the matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What did Gaskin do though? He jumped back up to 37 total snaps in week five and finished the game with five rush attempts for 25 yards and 10 receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns! After not scoring a single touchdown throughout the entire season up to that point, Gaskin exploded on virtually everyone’s benches, and fantasy managers are left scratching their heads trying to discern what Brian Flores is doing with this backfield. It’s encouraging to see Gaskin be so heavily utilized as a receiving option out of the backfield – which is where he shines – but there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Gaskin and his workload moving forward. To go from just 12 snaps in week four to 37 snaps in week five is a massive swing and there’s no guarantee now that that usage remains moving forward. With that being said, Jacksonville is absolutely a matchup where we should consider Gaskin for our starting lineups. The Jaguars simply cannot stop anyone on the ground and the scoring opportunities are going to be there for Gaskin. If Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed are going to remain on the sideline for the majority of the game (just 16 combined snaps in week five) then Gaskin is a rock-solid low-end RB2 this week. That’s a big question mark right now though.
James Robinson: During the postgame press conference after the Jaguars’ week five loss to the Titans, Urban Meyer was asked about the decision to give Carlos Hyde the ball on a crucial 4th & 1 play near the goal-line rather than using Lawrence or Robinson. He said, “I don’t micromanage who’s in the game.” While Robinson has been utterly fantastic for fantasy managers over the past few weeks, he’s always going to have a cap on his fantasy ceiling with Meyer at the helm. If Robinson is in on that play – Hyde lost several yards on the attempt, FYI – the Jaguars most likely cash in and make the game competitive. Instead, Robinson is pulled for Hyde and he has to watch the veteran RB fail to convert a crucial play. While there’s room to have a conversation about what Robinson’s ceiling could be for fantasy football if he didn’t have Meyer as his head coach, it’s still important to recognize what he’s doing on the field. He is now on pace for 228 rush attempts, 1,315 rushing yards, and 13.6 touchdowns on the ground. Additionally, he’s set to add 48 receptions for 300 yards through the air as well. These are top-tier numbers at the RB position for fantasy football and there’s virtually no matchup where we should be concerned about playing the second-year RB moving forward. In week six against Miami, he can be viewed as a low-end RB1.
Jaylen Waddle: When Parker was ruled out on Sunday morning, it seemed like it was a foregone conclusion that Jaylen Waddle was going to see an absurd target share in the matchup against the Bucs. It was clear that the Dolphins weren’t going to even try to run on the Bucs and there weren’t very many receiving options left for Miami that were going to take away opportunities from the speedy wideout. Unfortunately, Waddle accounted for just six of Brissett’s 39 pass attempts and he disappointed with just two receptions for 31 yards. After totaling 13 targets from Brissett in week three, Waddle has just seen 10 targets over the past two games combined and he has just 64 receiving yards as a result. Waddle has certainly been a bust in lineups that have played him expecting more than mid-range WR3 production, but we shouldn’t move him completely out of our lineups just yet. The Jaguars have been torched by opposing passing attacks this season and there’s the possibility that Waddle has a bounce-back game in this one due to Tua coming back into the fold. We can’t comfortably predict it based on what we’ve seen from him over the past couple of weeks, but the upside is there in this game. He can be viewed as a mid-range/low-end WR3 this week.
DeVante Parker: At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether or not Parker is going to be able to return for this matchup against Jacksonville after missing last week with a hamstring injury. If Parker does suit up, he’s unlikely to be at 100%, which means that we could see him on a snap count. This limits his fantasy potential and he’ll need to find the end zone to return FLEX value. That’s a risky play in starting fantasy lineups, so we’ll need to monitor the practice reports this week to see his health status.
Preston Williams: Williams came back into the starting lineup this past week against Tampa Bay due to the injuries above him on the depth chart and it seemed like he was on his way to a massive performance after the first drive. Williams quickly reeled in two receptions for 55 yards, but things were pretty quiet for the third-year wideout after that. Williams finished the day with just three receptions for 60 yards and no score, but he did showcase his talent and ability on multiple occasions. Williams is nothing more than a deep-league stash at this point that will need Parker and Will Fuller to continue to miss time to see the field, but he will have value when he’s on the field due to his skillset. If Parker and Fuller both miss this upcoming game against Jacksonville, Williams becomes a sneaky play in deep leagues.
Marvin Jones: Does Meyer really know what he’s doing as head coach of the Jaguars? While Jones was on the field for 93% of the snaps in week five, he saw just five targets in a game where the Jaguars were trailing for the majority of the contest. While that’s not exactly appalling without context, when you zoom out a bit, it becomes much worse. Jones finished with the same amount of targets last week as Tavon Austin and he finished with three fewer targets than Jamal Agnew. While Agnew and Austin were fine with their opportunity, everyone knows that this is not the way in how you win football games. Featuring Jones gives the Jaguars the best chance to see a victory, but that’s apparently not something that this coaching staff understands. This matchup against Miami is an incredibly tantalizing one for opposing WRs so far this season – especially after last week’s routing by Tampa Bay – but Jones simply cannot be trusted in starting lineups as anything more than a high-end FLEX play due to his usage. Could Jones come through with a big performance here if he is force-fed targets? Absolutely. Will the Jaguars do that? It’s impossible to say.
Laviska Shenault: After the injury to DJ Chark, Jaguars OC Darrell Bevell talked about how he expected to have Shenault take on a bigger role offensively. What did that translate to on the field this past week? A 9% target share and just one reception for 58 yards. Additionally, to make matters worse, Shenault watched Agnew and Austin both finish with a combined 13 targets last week. Shenault’s an incredibly talented wide receiver that could be a fantasy football superstar if he was used correctly, but the Jaguars seem incapable of understanding who they have with him on their roster. At this point, we cannot trust Shenault anywhere near our starting lineups if Jacksonville is going to feature Agnew and Austin ahead of him. He’s worth holding on your bench one more week to see if the coaching staff comes to their senses, but if he doesn’t come through this next week, it’s time to simply move on.
Mike Gesicki: Gesicki stood to benefit last week in the absence of Parker and he certainly was a focal point of the offense in week five against the Bucs. Gesicki saw the second-most targets on the team with seven, but he only turned it into four receptions for 43 yards. With that being said, fantasy managers shouldn’t be upset with this performance when they survey the other options at the TE position. Many other fantasy managers are left dealing with essentially zero points in their starting lineups from other players, but Gesicki at least provided a safe floor. It wasn’t quite what we hoped for or expected, but we can’t be too upset with it. Looking ahead to next week, Gesicki draws a matchup against the Jaguars’ defense that simply cannot slow down anyone. Even though the Dolphins might lean a little more on their run game here than they have in previous weeks, Gesicki is still a solid start as a low-end TE1 due to the potential that he finds the end zone.
Dan Arnold: Arnold came out in his first game as a Jaguar and showed enough flashes to hint that there might be something here with his fit in this Jacksonville offense. We just needed to wait and see if Arnold would acclimate to the offense over time before we considered him for fantasy lineups. That acclimation period was a lot shorter than many were expecting though and Arnold was a fantastic fantasy asset in week five against the Titans. Arnold ran 30 Receiving Routes last week and finished with six receptions for 64 yards on a shocking eight targets. At the TE position in fantasy football, so many managers are left chasing the touchdown production or ridiculous efficiency from a yardage perspective. However, we need to chase after volume way more than we do. If Arnold is going to have a clear role in this offense that is going to be playing from behind more often than they’re not, he’s absolutely in the starting conversation. This week against Miami, Arnold can be viewed as a mid-range TE2 with upside.
Minnesota Vikings vs Carolina Panthers
Kirk Cousins: Cousins visits Charlotte this weekend to face a Panthers defense that hasn’t allowed 200 passing yards to an opposing quarterback since Jets rookie Zach Wilson threw for 258 yards in Week 1. Carolina’s pass defense ranks No. 2 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric behind only Buffalo, and the Panthers are allowing only 6.3 yards per pass attempt. Cousins got off to a torrid start, throwing for 918 yards and eight touchdowns in his first three games, but he’s cooled off in the last two weeks. He had 203 yards against the Browns in Week 4 with one touchdown and one interception, averaging 5.3 yards per attempt. Against an injury-plagued Lions defense in Week 5, Cousins threw for 275 yards with one touchdown and one interception. I have Cousins ranked QB14 this week, and that feels too high even in a week with four teams on bye. I’d start Taylor Heinicke over Cousins without hesitation, and I want no part of Cousins in DFS.
Sam Darnold: After stringing together three consecutive 300-yard passing games, Darnold threw for a season-low 177 yards against the Eagles in Week 5. He had one TD pass against Philadelphia and threw three interceptions. Darnold’s matchup against the Vikings this week is no cakewalk. Minnesota’s pass defense ranks fifth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, and PFF grades the Vikings ninth in both pass rush and pass coverage. Darnold is QB9 in fantasy scoring, but his five TD runs artificially inflate that number. Consider him more of a high-end QB2 for this week and steer clear in DFS.
Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison: All last week the Vikings were coy about whether Cook would try to play through a high-ankle sprain in Week 5. He did not, and Mattison had a huge game in Cook’s stead, with 25-113-0 rushing and 7-40-1 receiving. Cook practiced on Wednesday, which makes it seem as if he’ll be back this week. You would think that even if Cook plays, he’ll cede some of his usual workload to Mattison. But maybe not. When Cook missed one game with a groin injury in October 2020, he came back the next week and had 30 carries for 163 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers, adding a TD catch for good measure. For now, I have Cook at RB15 and Mattison at RB37, but those are placeholder rankings until we get a better read on Cook’s health. The Vikings’ RBs have a tough matchup this week against a Carolina defense that’s yielding just 9.9 fantasy points per game (0.5 PPR) to opposing running backs.
Christian McCaffrey and Chuba Hubbard: For a while, it seemed as if McCaffrey might return from his hamstring injury in Week 5, but the Panthers decided to hold him out, and now head coach Matt Rhule says it’s 50-50 whether CMC will play in Week 6. McCaffrey practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, just as he had last week. If he’s active, you’re starting him in season-long leagues, albeit with reduced expectations. But I’ll avoid him at $8,800 on DraftKings and accept my punishment if he plays and goes berserk. Hubbard, who had 24-101-0 rushing and 5-33-0 against the Eagles last week, will land in RB2 range if McCaffrey misses another game. Update: Christian McCaffrey has been ruled out.
Justin Jefferson: The Vikings’ opponents this week, the Panthers, have been stingy against the pass and are graded fifth in the league in pass coverage by PFF. But matchups are of little concern to Jefferson investors, who have watched their stud receiver stack up one nice game after another. Jefferson ranks sixth in the league in both receptions (33) and receiving yards (462). He’s averaging 103.4 air yards per game and has accounted for over 40% of the Vikings’ air yards this season. Kirk Cousins has a passer rating of 131.1 on his Jefferson targets this year. Cousins’ overall passer rating: 103.7. Jefferson missed practice Wednesday with an ankle injury, so we’ll have to monitor his status. Assuming the injury is minor, I’m ranking Jefferson WR5 this week. His $8,000 price tag on DraftKings is a bit too rich in light of the ankle injury and the tricky matchup.
Adam Thielen: Thielen and Justin Jefferson both missed practice Wednesday, Thielen with a foot injury, Jefferson with an ankle injury. It might not be a bad idea to leave Thielen on your bench this week even if the foot issue is minor. He faces a Carolina defense that’s been tough against the pass. Thielen has been held to 50 receiving yards or fewer in four straight games, and he’s averaging just 1.34 yards per route run, almost a full yard lower than Jefferson (2.33). Thielen is ranked WR31 this week and even that feels generous. He’ll slide further if there are any questions whatsoever about his medical outlook later in the week.
K.J. Osborn: This week’s matchup vs. the Panthers is tough, but Osborn will be worth considering at a bargain-bin price of $3,500 on DraftKings if either Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen (or both) can’t go in Week 6. Both receivers missed practice Wednesday. Osborn has 20-233-1 this season but has been held to less than 30 receiving yards in three straight games.
D.J. Moore: Moore is coming off his first disappointing game of the season, and a 5-42-0 stat line isn’t even that bad. It just goes to show how much we’ve raised the bar for one of the league’s most promising young receivers. Even after the slow week, Moore still ranks seventh in the league in targets (50), fourth in receptions (35), and ninth in receiving yards (440). He’s the WR6 in this week’s rankings. Moore isn’t a bad value at $7,300 on DraftKings, but there are better values to be had at that price tier.
Robby Anderson: It’s been a disappointing season for Anderson, and there’s little hope for a turnaround now that Christian McCaffrey is on the way back from a hamstring injury to siphon targets away from other pass catchers. With CMC injured for most of the 2020 season, Anderson had 95 catches for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns. The secret to his success was a major role change. Anderson’s average depth of target in his final two seasons with the Jets hovered around 15 yards. Last year, his aDOT was 9.7 yards. Life as a short-area receiver suited him. But Anderson’s aDOT is back up to 15.2 yards this season, and he’s caught just 41.4% of his targets. Anderson is a low-end WR4 for now, but I might move him out of the top 50 at receiver if McCaffrey is cleared to play.
Terrace Marshall: Marshall’s scant reception and yardage totals belie healthy snap counts and route totals. Sam Darnold simply isn’t looking in the rookie’s direction very often. Marshall has 13-107-0 on 20 targets. Keep him stashed if you can, but keep him out of your lineup for now.
Tyler Conklin: The TE19 in fantasy scoring entering Week 6, Conklin could get a target bump Sunday against the Panthers if Justin Jefferson and/or Adam Thielen are sidelined by the injuries that kept them out of practice Wednesday. Consider Conklin a midrange TE2 based on the assumption Jefferson and Thielen will play and adjust accordingly.
Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas: Tremble scored the first touchdown of his career on Sunday, finishing with 2-12-1 on a season-high four targets. Thomas, who’s been playing more than half of the Panthers’ offensive snaps, had 4-40-0 on five targets last week. Neither is playable in fantasy yet.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson: Fantasy managers that had Jackson as their starting QB in week five most likely walked away with a victory. Did you know that Jackson’s 41.88 fantasy points in week five against the Colts ranked as a top-20 fantasy football performance all-time at the QB position? Jackson ended the Ravens’ Monday Night Football comeback with 442 passing yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 14 rush attempts for 62 yards. While it wasn’t looking pretty in the first half, Jackson rebounded and found chemistry with his receivers, and willed his team back to a victory. We’ve been waiting for the massive performance from Jackson so far this season and we got it this past week. Now, Jackson enters back into another matchup that should force the Ravens to throw the ball quite a bit to stay in it against the Chargers. This game has all the makings of a shootout and points are going to be flying up on the board. Jackson needs to be back in starting lineups this week as a top-3 option.
Justin Herbert: Lamar Jackson put up the fantasy performance of a lifetime in week five with 41.88 fantasy points and it was dominant enough to rank inside the top-20 fantasy performances at the QB position all-time. And somehow, he didn’t even finish as the QB1 on the week. That title belongs to Herbert thanks to his massive outing against the Cleveland Browns defense in week five. Herbert ended last week’s shootout with 398 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, and an additional 29 yards on the ground with another score just for good measure. His 42.88 fantasy points ranks as the 14th-most by a QB in the entire history of the NFL and it’s insane to think that he’s only in his second year in the league. The ceiling is through the roof for this young QB and he now remains locked into starting lineups every single week moving forward. In this matchup against Baltimore that could quickly turn into another battle all the way until the end, Herbert can be viewed as a mid-range QB1.
Latavius Murray: The game script got out of hand pretty quickly for the Ravens last week and Murray’s fantasy value took a hit because of it. He finished with just six rush attempts last week and added two receptions for just 13 yards and no touchdown. We know Murray is a touchdown-or-bust option at the RB position and he’s going to hurt your lineup if he doesn’t score. To prove this point, here are Murray’s fantasy finishes in games where he’s scored a touchdown this season: RB26 in week four, RB24 in week two, and RB31 in week one. In games where he hasn’t scored, Murray has finished as the RB55 and the RB51. Even when Murray does find the end zone, he’s still not a valuable fantasy asset that comes with plenty of upside. He is merely just returning value on where he’s being ranked and that’s a risky game to play for fantasy managers every single week. The matchup against the Chargers this week is enticing as they’re allowing the 6th-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season, but we still need to view Murray as nothing more than a touchdown-or-bust FLEX play.
Ty’Son Williams: Williams was back and active this past week against the Colts, but he managed to see just six total touches in a game where the Ravens were playing from behind for the majority of the contest. We could see the Ravens commit more to their run game here in this matchup against the Chargers who rank 31st in Football Outsiders’ Rush DVOA metric, but Williams is a very risky play for fantasy lineups. That’s all assuming that he’s even active for this game too. He merely remains just a bench stash for right now.
Austin Ekeler: Ekeler is so good that he scores touchdowns even when he’s not trying to. Near the end of the game last week, Ekeler was given a red zone carry and was simply trying to go down to keep the clock running, but the Browns defense (wisely) pulled him across the goal line and Ekeler’s fantasy managers rejoiced. In all seriousness, Ekeler was dominant in week five against the Browns and put up a whopping 30.4 Half PPR points. Up to this point of the season, Ekeler now ranks fourth in the NFL in red zone rush attempts with 18. All of last season – albeit in 10 games – Ekeler had just 18 red zone rush attempts when all was said and done. The receiving work is still there for the talented RB and he’s getting valuable scoring opportunities each and every game with this newfound usage close to the end zone. He’s slowly worked his way up my rest-of-season rankings after each game and there’s no reason why we should view him as anything less than a top-5 option for the remainder of the year. In this matchup against the Ravens, who are allowing the 7th-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season, Ekeler’s a smash start.
Marquise Brown: We’re now through five weeks of the 2021 NFL season and Brown is the WR6 in all of fantasy football. He’s absolutely dominated so far this season and he’s averaging 17.9 fantasy points per game. The scariest thing is that Brown’s fantasy totals could have been so much higher if he had reeled in those three deep passes against the Lions in week three, which most likely would’ve put him on the overall WR1 pedestal. Bateman seems set to return to the lineup this week, which will limit Brown’s target share slightly, but there’s no reason why Brown should be out of our starting lineups at any point moving forward. He comes with week-winning upside and he’s producing at an extremely high level. He can be viewed as a mid-range WR2 in week six.
Rashod Bateman: Bateman appears to be set to make his NFL debut this week against the Chargers and this should only help out the Ravens offense and Jackson. Bateman’s a sure-handed receiver that’s going to be able to operate underneath and help move the chains. He has the potential to make an impact for fantasy football down the line, but it’s unlikely to happen here right out of the gate. We should pick up Bateman in our fantasy football leagues if we have the space on our bench, but we can’t trust him in our starting lineups just yet.
Devin Duvernay: Duvernay made an impact last week due to the negative game-script for the Ravens, but he’s unlikely to command a significant target share this week with Bateman, Brown, and Andrews all expected to be active. Duvernay is merely just a dart-throw FLEX play in deep Dynasty leagues right now.
Keenan Allen: Through the first five weeks of the season, we can confidently say that Allen hasn’t lived up to expectations. Based on where he was drafted, fantasy managers expected a lot more than a WR23 ranking on the season up to this point. With that being said, Allen is still providing weekly fantasy value and he’s producing for lineups. It may not be in the way we all wanted or expected coming into the year, but there’s a lot to be said for consistency for your WR2 spot in your lineup. Allen has yet to see less than eight targets in a single game this year and he’s had just one performance where he finished with less than 50 receiving yards. Williams is taking the upside away from Allen in this Chargers offense this season, but he’s still a rock-solid play every single week due to his high floor. In this matchup against the Ravens’ secondary, Allen can be viewed as a low-end WR2.
Mike Williams: Ladies and gentlemen, the WR1 in all of fantasy football through five weeks, Mike Williams! The off-season buzz surrounding Williams and the talk that targets find the X-receiver in this offense proved to be 100% true and Williams has been the unquestioned steal of fantasy drafts. Even with a dud performance in week four, Williams is averaging 20.1 fantasy points per game and he’s helping carry fantasy rosters to victories each and every week. Based on pre-snap alignment, Williams is expected to draw coverage from Anthony Averett this week and that’s a massive advantage for Williams and the Chargers passing game. Expect another big performance here from Williams this week and he can be viewed as a low-end WR1 with massive upside.
Mark Andrews: Hello, Andrews! Welcome back to the top-tier of fantasy football TE rankings! Andrews went nuclear in week five against the Colts and he helped carry countless fantasy rosters to a victory with this performance. Against the Colts on Monday Night Football, Andrews saw 13 targets and he reeled in 11 of them for 147 yards and two touchdowns! Did you know that his 41.7 PPR points in week five ranks 11th all-time at the TE position? This is insane production at the TE position and it’s good to see it happen to a player that fantasy managers have been waiting for it for quite a while. Moving forward, we can’t expect a top-15 all-time performance from Andrews in this matchup, but he has solidified himself as a top-3 option rest-of-season. He’s been incredibly consistent up to this point and we now know that the week-winning upside is certainly there. Fire him up with complete confidence this week in a game that could quickly turn into the shootout of the week.
Jared Cook: Cook has certainly had an up-and-down year so far, but that’s not atypical of fantasy football TEs. His performance in week five wasn’t what fantasy managers were hoping for when they plugged him into their starting lineups, but this offense is high-powered enough that he remains a worthy start in fantasy leagues every single time. The upside is there, but we just might not get the consistency that we want from him week in and week out. Unless you have a more trustworthy and consistent option at the TE position on your fantasy roster, Cook’s still worth starting every week. We just have to live with the wide range of outcomes. He can be viewed as a high-end TE2 this week.