Last updated: October 11th at 11:54pm ET.
Panthers vs. Bucs (London)
Team Totals: Panthers 25, Bucs 23
The Bucs’ defense reinforced its pass-funnel nature in last week’s 31-24 Superdome loss wherein Teddy Bridgewater set Todd Bowles’ secondary ablaze for four touchdowns and just his fifth 300-plus-yard game in 32 career starts. Tampa Bay has allowed consecutive top-four fantasy weeks to Daniel Jones (QB2), Jared Goff (QB4), and Bridgewater (QB4) while permitting the NFL’s third-most completions of 20-plus yards (22) and falling to 22nd in the league in sacks with 11, all but two delivered by one player (Shaq Barrett). Although Kyle Allen has returned to Earth since his four-score Week 3 destruction of Arizona, this matchup gives him low-end QB1 streamer appeal and should lock Allen into two-QB-league lineups. … No team has better defended Christian McCaffrey this season than Bowles’ Bucs, which held him to 53 scoreless yards on 18 touches in Week 2. CMC has 179 yards or more in each of his other four games. Tampa Bay also limited Alvin Kamara to 104 yards on 22 touches last Sunday and has permitted just 92/250/2 (2.71 YPC) rushing to enemy backs this year. Even as McCaffrey is an obvious top-three RB1 play each week regardless of opponent, there are reasons to curb expectations in this matchup. … Reggie Bonnafon ripped a 59-yard touchdown run off the bench in the fourth quarter of last week’s win over Jacksonville, finishing with a 5/80/1 rushing line and showing he is McCaffrey’s fantasy handcuff.
Allen’s 2019 target distribution: CMC 23; Curtis Samuel 20; D.J. Moore 15; Greg Olsen 13; Jarius Wright 9. … Albeit with Cam Newton at quarterback, Samuel logged a season-high 91 yards in these teams’ Week 2 meeting. Tampa presents a plus draw for wideouts; Michael Thomas (11/182/2), Robert Woods (13/164/0), Cooper Kupp (9/121/1), Sterling Shepard (7/100/1), Samuel (5/91/0), Moore (9/89/0), Darius Slayton (3/82/0), and Brandin Cooks (6/71/0) all met or beat expectations against them in the last month. … Moore rebounded from his Week 4 clunker to pace Carolina in Air Yards (89) and receiving (6/91/0) in last week’s win. Although Samuel and Moore have been frustratingly up and down, both receivers’ Week 6 outlooks are elevated by this friendly matchup. They are upside WR3/flex plays in Tampa Bay. Samuel is further aided by popping as Week 5’s No. 6 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Even amid flops in back-to-back games, Olsen’s usage has not changed with snap rates of 97% and 98% and 58 routes run, eighth most among NFL tight ends over the last two weeks. This is an obvious bounce-back spot; Tampa Bay’s defense got shredded by Evan Engram (6/113/1), Olsen himself (6/110/0), Gerald Everett (5/44/1), and Jared Cook (4/41/1) in its last four games. Tyler Higbee (4/41/0) and Josh Hill (3/39/0) also chipped in above-expectation results versus the Buccaneers during that span.
Jameis Winston’s Week 5 step back after two monster games can be largely attributed to New Orleans’ time-of-possession domination; the Bucs’ offense ran a season-low 55 plays and got clocked 33.5 to 26.5 in the Saints’ 31-24 win. Tampa Bay’s Week 6 possession time should rebound after Bruce Arians’ team held the ball for 34 minutes in its Week 2 win at Carolina. More concerning is Winston’s matchup against the Panthers’ zone defense; Jameis has a 20:20 TD-to-INT ratio when facing zone compared to a 26:6 TD-to-INT ratio against man since the beginning of 2017. Also worrisome is Tampa Bay’s losses of RG Alex Cappa (broken arm) and RT Demar Dotson (hamstring), who block on red-hot Panthers LOLB Brian Burns’ side of the field. Still playing some of the best football of his career over the past three weeks with consecutive fantasy scores of QB5 > QB1 > QB14, Winston remains a viable if risky play in Week 6’s fourth-highest-totaled game. … Playing from behind certainly impacted things, but Arians and OC Byron Leftwich once again stayed true to their three-man RBBC at New Orleans with Ronald Jones handling the most touches (11), Peyton Barber the most snaps (35%), and Dare Ogunbowale the most routes run (16) in the group. The good news is Carolina’s Kawann Short-less defense can be run on, having yielded 109/512/4 (4.70 YPC) rushing to enemy backs. The bad news is Arians is committed to this incredibly fantasy-unfriendly rotation that lowers all members’ floors and ceilings regardless of their opponents.
Jameis’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Chris Godwin 43; Mike Evans 38; Ogunbowale 16; O.J. Howard 14; Breshad Perriman 12; Cameron Brate 10; Barber 9; Bobo Wilson 7; Jones 6; Scott Miller 2; Justin Watson 1. … Coming off consecutive monster performances, Godwin should stay hot against a Panthers defense that has surrendered valuable PPR production to slot WRs The God Himself (8/121/1), Dede Westbrook (7/82/0), Christian Kirk (10/59/0), Cooper Kupp (7/46/0), and Larry Fitzgerald (5/36/1). All told, Carolina has yielded completions on 39-of-47 slot targets (83%) this season. … Evans is the squeaky wheel after last week’s goose egg in Marshon Lattimore’s coverage, although Week 6 opponent James Bradberry is no slouch. Evans’ last five stat lines versus Carolina are 4/61/0 > 4/48/0 > 1/16/0 > 6/107/0 > 5/60/0. I’m sticking with Evans as a season-long WR1 play, but Godwin is clearly the superior one-for-one bet against the Panthers. … Howard has yet to exceed five targets in a 2019 game and didn’t see a single look when these teams met in Week 2. Continue to stream waiver-wire tight ends over Howard.
Score Prediction: Panthers 27, Bucs 24
Bengals at Ravens
Team Totals: Ravens 29.5, Bengals 18.5
0-5 with an outright tanking play-calling disposition, the Bengals nevertheless head to Baltimore with a chance for offensive optimism. Andy Dalton has quietly turned in top-17 fantasy scores in 4-of-5 starts with top-12 results in three and now faces a Ravens defense that permitted 300-plus passing yards in three of its last four games. Baltimore ranks 27th in sacks (9), gifting enemy passers clean-enough pockets that they’re averaging the NFL’s fourth-most yards per attempt (8.5) when facing John Harbaugh’s team. FS Earl Thomas looks downright slow on game tape, and SS Tony Jefferson (ACL/MCL) is done for the year. Dalton is a high-end two-QB-league play in this plus draw. … Albeit with limited doses of DT Brandon Williams (knee), the Ravens were rocked for 64/373/6 (5.83 YPC) rushing by Chiefs, Browns, and Steelers backs in their last three games. While this matchup isn’t overly imposing, the time to sell Joe Mixon in season-long leagues remains now after he logged a season-high 109 total yards in last week’s loss to Arizona. Giovani Bernard still siphoned 40% of Cincinnati’s backfield playing time and has out-targeted Mixon 17 to 16 on the year. Stash Bernard and sell Mixon where you can.
Dalton’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Tyler Boyd 53; Auden Tate 24; Tyler Eifert 20; Gio 17; Mixon 16; Damion Willis 13; Alex Erickson and C.J. Uzomah 9; Drew Sample 3; Stanley Morgan 2. … Boyd is quite capable of withstanding Cincinnati’s offensive incompetence by ranking top three in the NFL in targets on a team constantly playing from behind. Boyd was the Bengals’ biggest post-John Ross beneficiary in last week’s loss to Arizona, drawing a season-high 14 targets. Boyd runs 66% of his routes in the slot, where fellow interior WRs Jarvis Landry (8/167/0), Christian Kirk (6/114/0), Larry Fitzgerald (5/104/0), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (7/75/1) scored big against Baltimore in the last four weeks. … Tate saved his Week 5 box score with a two-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter but played 100% of Cincinnati’s offensive snaps against Arizona and should see no Week 6 playing-time reduction. I’m approaching Tate as a touchdown-or-bust WR4/flex option in a game where Ravens top CB Marlon Humphrey may chase Boyd into the slot, which would enhance Tate’s matchup. … Despite Arizona’s inability to cover tight ends, first-year Bengals coach Zac Taylor showed his nonexistent commitment to Eifert by playing him on 27% of Week 5’s offensive snaps and using Eifert on pass routes on just 14 of Dalton’s 39 dropbacks.
Back home after his first-career three-pick game, Lamar Jackson catches the cupcakiest of bounce-back spots against the Bengals, who permitted QB6 (Jimmy Garoppolo), QB16 (Josh Allen), QB13 (Mason Rudolph), and QB6 (Kyler Murray) results in their last four games while allowing the NFL’s second-most QB rushing yards (152) and showing no ability to generate pressure with the league’s fourth-fewest sacks (6) and QB hits (20). For those willing to fade recency bias, Jackson should be a popular Week 6 DFS play. … Mark Ingram’s outlook is similarly favorable with 16-plus touches in three of his last four games facing a Cincinnati defense enemy backs have shredded for 125/636/6 (5.09 YPC) rushing and a league-high 373 receiving yards. … With touch counts of 9 > 7 > 6 in Baltimore’s last three games, Gus Edwards is Ingram’s handcuff with flex viability in deeper leagues. Edwards’ Week 6 usability is enhanced by this matchup; teams facing the Bengals are averaging a league-high 33.2 rushing attempts per game, which should allow Edwards to approach double-digit touches in positive script.
Update: Softening up the Ravens’ run-game matchup will be the absences of DE Carlos Dunlap (knee) and DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), who were both ruled out on Friday.
Jackson’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Marquise Brown 34; Mark Andrews 32; Nick Boyle 12; Willie Snead and Hayden Hurst 11; Miles Boykin and Seth Roberts 8; Ingram and Justice Hill 7; Edwards 3. … Brown tweaked an ankle in last Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh, setting five-week lows in snaps (46%) and routes run (25) and now has just 93 yards on 21 targets in the Ravens’ last three games. The good news is Cincy has allowed at- or above-expectation production to fellow WRs D.K. Metcalf (4/89/0), Deebo Samuel (5/86/1), Diontae Johnson (6/77/1), Marquise Goodwin (3/77/1), Larry Fitzgerald (6/58/0), and Cole Beasley (8/48/0). Coach John Harbaugh confirmed early this week that Brown’s availability is in no doubt, and Brown is promisingly popping in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Buy Low Air Yards Model. … Teams targeting tight ends against the Bengals are 14-of-19 passing (73.7%) for 214 yards (11.3 YPA) and a touchdown this year. Even as Andrews’ foot injury has devolved into an on-field concern, his Week 5 playing time (52%) was right on par with Andrews’ season averages, and his 30 pass routes run were Andrews’ second most of the year. Especially since he’s the only tight end popping in this week’s Buy Low Air Yards Model, I’m riding with Andrews as a boom-bust TE1 play against Cincinnati.
Update: Despite coach John Harbaugh‘s early-week confidence in Marquise Brown‘s (ankle) availability, he was unable to practice all week and is considered a game-time decision. Players that don’t practice all week rarely play on Sundays, especially rookies. Since the Ravens’ target distribution has been so narrow, I would look directly to Mark Andrews as the primary usage beneficiary rather than trying to get cute with ancillary pass catchers. I also think the Ravens could run Lamar Jackson a bit more than usual as an additional means of moving the chains.
Score Prediction: Ravens 28, Bengals 23
Seahawks at Browns
Team Totals: Browns 24.5, Seahawks 22.5
Seattle visits Cleveland coming off a mini-bye following its thrilling Thursday night win over the Rams to face a Browns team that got eviscerated 31-3 by San Francisco on Monday night and returns home on a short week. While his team’s rest advantage helps, Russell Wilson’s main concern is the Browns’ highly-talented defensive front; Seattle’s creaky offensive line has allowed Wilson to be pressured at the NFL’s eighth-highest rate (38.3%) and hit at the seventh-highest clip (17.8%), while Cleveland ranks sixth in sacks (16) and will line up game-wrecking AFC sack leader Myles Garrett over turnstile RT Germain Ifedi for most of Sunday’s affair. Even amid valid protection concerns, I’ll keep riding Wilson as an elite every-week QB1 with top-five fantasy scores in three of his last four starts. It helps that Cleveland has allowed the NFL’s eighth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks. … Rashaad Penny’s Week 5 return dealt Chris Carson’s workload a mere glancing blow; Carson out-touched Penny 28 to 8 on season highs in snaps (85%) and routes (30) and (double) caught what proved the game-winning touchdown from five yards out. With 18-plus touches in 4-of-5 games and a robust 48-reception pace in a Seahawks offense that has shown true dedication to feeding him more targets, Carson should be treated as a matchup-agnostic RB1. Creamed by Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman last Monday night, Cleveland does not present a worrisome run-defense draw, anyway, having allowed 117/586/3 (5.01 YPC) rushing to enemy backs.
Update: The Seahawks will be without starting LT Duane Brown (biceps) against game-wrecking DE Myles Garrett and a Browns defensive front that is the strength of the team. This puts Cleveland’s D/ST into play for desperate streamers and increases the variance of Russell Wilson‘s outlook. We could see him under heavy siege.
Update II: Rashaad Penny reappeared on this week’s injury report after an apparent setback, despite coming off a long week following last Thursday night’s win over the Rams. Chris Carson‘s Week 6 workload will be even more solidified should Penny miss. C.J. Prosise is Seattle’s No. 3 back.
Wilson’s target distribution: Tyler Lockett 36; D.K. Metcalf and Will Dissly 26; Carson 17; Jaron Brown and C.J. Prosise 13; David Moore and Malik Turner 6; Penny and Luke Willson 3. … Including playoffs, Lockett has 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in seven of his last eight games, silencing concerns about his consistency. Lockett runs 72% of his routes inside, where Cooper Kupp (11/101/2) and Willie Snead (2/61/1) beat expectations against Cleveland within the last three weeks. The weakest link in Browns DC Steve Wilks’ secondary, slot CB T.J. Carrie has been cooked for 20 completions on 29 targets (69%), 239 yards (8.2 YPA), and three touchdowns. … Metcalf has drawn more Air Yards (429) than Lockett (397), leads the NFL in end-zone targets (9), and has shown relative consistency with 60-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-5 games. I’m still treating Metcalf as a boom-bust WR3/flex option facing a Browns secondary that should get back boundary CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams from hamstring injuries. … The Seahawks are manufacturing plays to feed Dissly, who padded his stats on a seven-yard pitch play last week, played a season-high 89% of Seattle’s offensive snaps, and ranks sixth among tight ends in yards (250) and first in touchdowns (4) over the last month. Opponents have completed 23-of-32 passes (72%) for 223 yards (7.0 YPA) and four touchdowns when targeting tight ends versus the Browns.
Even for as atrocious as Cleveland looked last Monday night, this is a traditional bounce-back spot for an NFL team returning home after a national-television massacre on the road. I expect Baker Mayfield to play his best game of the season against a Seahawks pass defense that has supported high floors by surrendering top-16 quarterback results in 4-of-5 games – including top-12 finishes to Andy Dalton, Kyler Murray, and Jared Goff – while ranking 26thin sack rate (4.9%) and dead last in QB Hit Rate (9.4%). In what I believe can be a back-and-forth shootout game, I like Mayfield as an extremely low-owned DFS-tournament play and upside QB1 streamer. … Nick Chubb was fortunate to survive last week’s 31-3 rout for 99 yards from scrimmage, logging his second-highest snap rate of the season (83%) and 17 of the Browns’ 18 running back touches. Since Hue Jackson was fired midway through last year, these are Chubb’s touches/yardage/TD counts in games immediately following Browns losses: 23/90/1 > 23/209/2 > 17/83/1 > 22/98/1 > 23/183/3. It helps that Chubb is quietly on pace for 48 receptions, while Seattle has yielded the NFL’s sixth-most receiving yards to running backs (271). I’m personally going to run at least one Browns team stack in DFS tournaments featuring Mayfield, Chubb, and a Cleveland receiver.
Mayfield’s 2019 target distribution: Odell Beckham 43; Jarvis Landry 39; Chubb 20; Damion Ratley 15; D’Ernest Johnson 7; Ricky Seals-Jones and Demetrius Harris 6; Dontrell Hilliard 5; Rashard Higgins 3. … Some notable wide receiver lines allowed by Seattle: John Ross (7/158/2), Cooper Kupp (9/117/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (5/84/0), Tyler Boyd (8/60/0), Michael Thomas (5/54/1). Despite his painfully slow start, Beckham ranks top ten in targets and No. 11 in Air Yards (518), and he is set up to rebound from back-to-back sub-30-yard clunkers based on opportunity and matchup. OBJ is popping as this week’s No. 6 buy-low receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Landry has been Cleveland’s most-stable receiver with 60-plus yards in 4-of-5 games, and he is due for positive-touchdown regression with zero touchdowns on the year. … Callaway had a nightmarish return from his four-game suspension in San Francisco. He was on the intended-receiving end of both Mayfield picks – including a Callaway end-zone drop – and goose egged on three targets. The Browns desperately need Higgins (knee) to return.
Score Prediction: Browns 27, Seahawks 24
Saints at Jaguars
Team Totals: Jaguars 22.5, Saints 21.5
Fresh off spraying Tampa Bay’s lopsidedly pass-funnel defense for four touchdowns and just the fifth 300-yard game of his 32-start career, Teddy Bridgewater encounters a Jaguars defense that held three of its last four quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB20 or worse and ranks top seven in the NFL in both sacks (16) and QB hits (34). In a low-totaled road game, Bridgewater is likelier to revert to his pre-Week 5 QB30 > QB22 > QB27 ways than repeat last Sunday’s QB4 finish. He’s a two-quarterback-league play only. … Pummeled by Panthers backs for 321 total yards and four touchdownsin last week’s defeat, the Jaguars have generously yielded 108/610/5 (5.65 YPC) rushing to enemy backs. Sean Payton would be smart to “borrow” last week’s Christian McCaffrey blueprint when designing Alvin Kamara’s Week 6 usage. In a probable low-owned spot, Kamara is an exciting DFS-tournament play against the Jags. … Yet to reach double-digit touches in a 2019 game, Latavius Murray is entrenched as Kamara’s handcuff only.
Update: Alvin Kamara injured his ankle in Thursday’s practice and did not practice on Friday, a concerning late-week trend. Latavius Murray should be added in all leagues with 20-plus-touch potential behind one of the league’s very-best offensive lines facing a surprisingly soft Jaguars run defense. Deep leaguers may want to note that Dwayne Washington is the Saints’ No. 3 back. I found it interesting that the Saints held Murray out of Friday’s practice with a “not-injury-related” designation, suggesting they didn’t want to risk any chance Murray could go down in potential preparation for Kamara sitting out.
Bridgewater’s 2019 target distribution: Michael Thomas 39; Kamara 23; Jared Cook 19; Ted Ginn 12; Josh Hill 9; Murray and Taysom Hill 4; Tre’Quan Smith 2. … Thomas’ drop-off from Drew Brees to Teddy has been nonexistent; he has an 82% catch rate and is averaging 9.7 yards per target with Bridgewater, both in line with his Brees efficiency marks. Emmanuel Sanders (5/104/0), Adam Humphries (6/93/0), D.J. Moore (6/91/0), Tajae Sharpe (2/70/0), Courtland Sutton (6/62/2), and DaeSean Hamilton (3/57/0) all beat box-score expectations against Jacksonville in the last three weeks. Like Kamara, Thomas is an excellent Week 6 DFS-tournament play, especially with Jalen Ramsey (back) fully expected to miss. … Cook scored his first touchdown as a Saint last week but has yet to clear 45 yards and remains waiver-wire fodder in season-long leagues. … Ginn hasn’t topped 35 yards or five targets since Week 1. All Saints ancillary pass catchers should continue to be ignored.
Getting better by the week and most-certainly Jacksonville’s highest-upside option whenever Nick Foles (collarbone) returns – Foles’ target date isn’t until Week 11 – Gardner Minshew has logged QB13 > QB18 > QB15 > QB8 fantasy results through four starts, while New Orleans has yielded QB3 > QB9 > QB1 > QB24 > QB14 outcomes five weeks in. The Saints’ best two defensive performances occurred at home in the Superdome; they’re visiting the Jaguars and facing one of the NFL’s hottest-young quarterbacks this week. Minshew has exhibited a high-enough floor and ceiling for Week 6 streamer contention and belongs in DFS-tournament discussion, as well. … Leonard Fournette finally caught the positive end of touchdown variance in last week’s loss to Carolina, hitting third-quarter goal-line pay dirt and emerging with 137 total yards. His buy-low window slammed shut, Fournette has reestablished himself as the centerpiece of an ascending Jacksonville offense on chronological Weeks 1-5 touch counts of 17 > 19 > 21 > 31 > 27. Behind only Christian McCaffrey in snaps played among NFL backs, Fournette warrants legitimate every-week RB1 treatment and never commands enough ownership in DFS tournaments.
Minshew’s 2019 target distribution: Dede Westbrook 37; D.J. Chark 34; Fournette 28; Chris Conley 20; James O’Shaughnessy 19; Geoff Swaim 14; Marqise Lee 3; RyQuell Armstead 2; Keelan Cole 1. … This is a breakout spot for Westbrook, who runs 87% of his routes inside; teams targeting New Orleans in the slot are 30-of-41 (73%) for 410 yards (10.0 YPA) and three TDs, highlighted by Tyler Lockett (11/154/1), Chris Godwin (7/125/2), and Cooper Kupp (5/120/0). Particularly with Marshon Lattimore likely to chase Chark, Westbrook is a standout DFS play and should be locked into season-long lineups. … As Week 5 opponent Carolina mistakenly failed to assign top CB James Bradberry in shadow coverage to Chark, the Jaguars’ second-year breakout receiver went to town on Ross Cockrell, Javien Elliott, and Tre Boston for a career-best game (8/164/2). Lattimore chased Amari Cooper (5/48/0) and Mike Evans (0/0) in the last two weeks, yet it’s fair to wonder if Chark has commanded Amari- and Evans-level respect. Averaging 97.0 yards and a touchdown per game, Chark has earned every-week WR2 treatment in season-long leagues regardless of opponent. Chark ranks No. 9 in the NFL in Air Yards (430) during Minshew’s four starts. … Conley has 73 scoreless yards on ten targets over the last three weeks. … The Jags will turn to some combination of Swaim and rookie Josh Oliver after O’Shaughnessy’s (ACL) loss.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 23, Saints 17
Texans at Chiefs
Team Totals: Chiefs 29.5, Texans 25.5
Texans-Chiefs predictably has Week 6’s highest total (55) and is an obvious game to lean toward in all lineup decisions. … Deshaun Watson’s biggest week-to-week obstacle is always pass protection, but he should get comfortable pockets here with Kansas City missing interior difference-maker DT Chris Jones (groin) while ranking 21st in sack rate (5.9%) and 26th in QB Hit Rate (12.2%) in DC Steve Spagnuolo’s first year. After the Texans reshuffled offensive-line components, Watson was not sacked for just the second time in his career and took a single hit in last week’s shootout win over Atlanta. In Watson’s 27 starts, his yards per pass attempt (7.95 to 8.77) and yards per carry (5.78 to 6.22) both spike on the road, while the Chiefs have allowed the NFL’s ninth-most QB rushing yards this year. … One risk to Watson’s Week 6 ceiling is the possibility coach Bill O’Brien tries to jam Carlos Hyde down Kansas City’s throat, somewhat sensible in theory since Jones and NT Xavier Williams (high ankle sprain) are both missing from a Chiefs defensive front that was already trucked for 126/668/3 (5.30 YPC) rushing by enemy backs in Weeks 1-5. This is a revenge game of sorts for Hyde, who was cut by Kansas City in September. O’Brien has shown a true infatuation with him; Hyde set season highs in snaps (63%) and carries (21) in last week’s victory, even as Hyde is down to 3.19 yards per carry over his last three games. Still all but nonexistent in the passing game, Hyde is always a touchdown-or-bust flex option. … Duke Johnson averaged 6.9 yards per rushing attempt with five catches for 52 yards in Weeks 3-5 but hasn’t topped ten touches since Week 1.
Watson’s target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 44; Will Fuller 39; Jordan Akins 15; Kenny Stills 14; Duke and Darren Fells 13; Keke Coutee 11; Hyde 7. … Frustrated Hopkins drafters are sick of hearing it, but Fuller, Fells, and Coutee all having big Week 5s was the best-possible thing that could have happened to Nuk, who needed his teammates to step up in order for defenses to stop tilting coverage his way. With all of that on tape, Hopkins is staring a monster breakout game in the face at K.C. D.J. Chark (4/146/1), Chris Conley (6/97/1), Marvin Jones (3/77/0), Kenny Golladay (5/67/2), Tyrell Williams (5/46/1), and Dede Westbrook (5/30/1) have all exposed the vulnerability of Spags’ secondary. Nuk is my overall WR2 in Week 6, behind only Julio Jones. … Up to fourth in the NFL in Air Yards (542), Fuller’s destruction of Atlanta could have been even bigger had he not stepped out of bounds twice at the one-yard line. Fuller destroyed Falcons top CB Desmond Trufant for 124 of his 217 yards and all three of Fuller’s TDs, and Kansas City doesn’t have a corner that can carry Trufant’s jock. Fuller should stay locked into season-long lineups as a WR2 in Week 6’s highest-totaled game. … Coutee played only 44% of Houston’s Week 5 offensive snaps and drew four targets on just 20 routes, even without Stills (hamstring) in the lineup. With Stills again considered a game-time decision, the Texans’ No. 3 wideout situation should be avoided outside of deep leagues. … Even as Fells hit pay dirt twice in last week’s second half, they came on his only two targets of the game. Akins and Fells both ran the same number of pass routes (24) and remain touchdown-or-bust dart-throw streamers.
A full practice participant this week after last Sunday night’s ankle scare, Patrick Mahomes now catches the Texans at Arrowhead Stadium with a shot to get back Tyreek Hill (shoulder) in the highest-totaled game of Week 6. Banged for top-12 fantasy quarterback results in 4-of-5 games – including Matt Ryan’s overall QB2 finish in Week 5 – the Texans play zone coverage on 68% of passing snaps; Mahomes has torched zone looks for eight touchdowns, zero picks, and an obscene 12.9 yards per pass attempt this year. With just one TD pass over his last two starts, Mahomes is primed for positive regression in this probable track meet. … Damien Williams was immediately reinstalled as Kansas City’s lead back after his two-week knee injury, pacing the backfield in touches (12), targets (4), and snaps (57%). Even as fantasy-friendly results didn’t follow in the Chiefs’ 19-13 loss to the Colts – two early-game end-zone targets landed just beyond his reach — Williams’ usage was promising for his chances of returning RB2 value versus Houston. Texans DC Romeo Crennel’s unit has defended the run decently – holding enemy backs to 4.29 yards per carry – but has been gashed by running backs in the passing game for a league-high 9.0 catches and 67.2 receiving yards per game. Williams, by far, is the Chiefs’ best receiving back. … Logging just two touches on a 23% playing-time clip, LeSean McCoy took a major step back in Williams’ return. While I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of McCoy, he must be downgraded to a low-floor flex option until Andy Reid shows us evidence McCoy can be trusted for double-digit touches again. Historically, Reid has preferred one-back offenses over committees. … Darrel Williams played 21% of Kansas City’s Week 5 snaps, didn’t touch the ball, and is a bench stash going forward. Darwin Thompson was inactive.
Update: The Texans added top CB Johnathan Joseph to Friday’s injury report with wrist and hip ailments, listing him as questionable.
Travis Kelce has drawn seven red-zone targets – second most in the league – with five inside the ten – also second most – yet scored on none of them. Positive regression should hit Kelce very soon, possibly in a multi-touchdown explosion. In this probable high-scoring affair, he’s the best tight end play of the week. … Houston’s burnable secondary has allowed at- or above-expectation wide receiver lines to Keenan Allen (13/183/2), Michael Thomas (10/123/0), Ted Ginn (7/101/0), Calvin Ridley (5/88/1), Chris Conley (4/73/0), and D.J. Chark (7/55/1). Tyreek Hill will be a no-brainer WR1 if green lighted by Kansas City’s medical staff. … With Sammy Watkins (hamstring) looking doubtful, Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman will likely round out the Chiefs’ three-receiver set should Tyreek play, although Byron Pringle stated his Week 5 case to play ahead of Hardman by out-snapping him 77% to 61% and leading Kansas City in receiving (6/103/1). When all Chiefs receivers are healthy, I still think the pecking order goes as follows: Hill > Watkins > Robinson > Hardman > Pringle. Despite his big Week 5, I believe Pringle will need both Hill and Watkins to miss Sunday’s game in order to be fantasy playable against the Texans. It’s notable that Robinson popped in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Buy Low Model this week.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 34, Texans 30
Redskins at Dolphins
Team Totals: Redskins 22, Dolphins 19
Refusing to give up after Jay Gruden’s firing and having determined No. 15 overall pick Dwayne Haskins isn’t ready to play, the now-Bill Callahan-coached Redskins will turn back to Case Keenum as the signal caller they believe gives Washington its best chance to win. As Miami’s pass defense was drilled for QB1 (Lamar Jackson), QB5 (Tom Brady), QB7 (Dak Prescott), and QB11 (Philip Rivers) fantasy results in Weeks 1-4, Keenum offers legitimate season-long streamer appeal and DFS-tournament discussion in stacks with Terry McLaurin. Respectably, Keenum was fantasy’s overall QB9 before his unceremonious Week 4 in-game benching. … In a game the Redskins should finally win, Adrian Peterson has room for actual optimism. Callahan has made it clear he wants Washington to amass more run-game volume, while the Fins have been pounded for 129/617/5 (4.78 YPC) rushing by enemy backs. Albeit still quite touchdown reliant, Peterson is a gambling man’s RB2 play in this plus draw. … All told, backfields facing the Fins have averaged a whopping 37 touches per game, indicating both Peterson and Chris Thompson have realistic shots at paying Week 6 fantasy dividends. Enemy backs average 10.7 yards per catch and have four receiving TDs in four games against Miami. Thompson is a PPR-specific flex with RB2 upside.
Keenum’s target distribution: Thompson 25; McLaurin 24; Trey Quinn 23; Paul Richardson 20; Vernon Davis 17; Jeremy Sprinkle 6; Peterson 5; Steven Sims and Wendell Smallwood 3; Kelvin Harmon 2. … McLaurin returned at full Week 5 strength after missing Week 4 with a hamstring injury, drawing a team-high seven targets on a season-high 95% snap rate. Dolphins top CB Xavien Howard had a rough first month, surrendering completions on 14-of-18 targets (78%) for 162 yards (9.0 YPA) and two TDs. McLaurin has caught all three of his touchdowns and 83% of his yards from Keenum. … Quinn warrants PPR-specific WR4/flex consideration with target counts of 6 > 7 > 7 in Keenum’s three full games facing a Dolphins defense that has allowed 23 completions on 29 slot targets (79%) for 403 yards (13.9 YPA) and five TDs. Quinn runs 81% of his routes in the slot. … The matchup is right for a dart throw on Richardson, but he’s finished with 50 yards or fewer in 10-of-12 games (83%) as a Redskin. I’d think of him as a boom-bust WR4. … Assuming he gets cleared, Davis (concussion) is a viable Week 6 streamer; Dolphins opponents are 24-of-27 passing (89%) for 314 yards (11.6 YPA) and a touchdown when targeting tight ends. Davis has played over 70% of the Redskins’ offensive snaps in all four of his 2019 appearances.
Update: Vernon Davis (concussion) was ruled out for the second straight week. He will be replaced by Jeremy Sprinkle, who played only 45% of last week’s offensive snaps and isn’t a fantasy option despite this plus draw.
This is a rare opportunity to stream the Redskins’ D/ST; all four defenses to face Miami have banked top-12 fantasy weeks. … At the same time, two-quarterback leaguers may not catch a better opportunity to fire up Josh Rosen for the rest of the year; 4-of-5 signal callers to face Washington have logged top-13 results, while Rosen had extra time to build rapport with his supporting cast during the Dolphins’ Week 5 bye. … It’s also a plus draw for Kenyan Drake, who enters Week 6 with double-digit touches in three straight games (11 > 15 > 12), while Washington is permitting an unimposing 4.30 yards per carry and the NFL’s eighth-most catches per game (6.2) to running backs. Drake is a dicey if viable PPR-oriented flex option in one of the best matchups he’ll get all year. … Popping as Week 6’s No. 2 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model, Preston Williams offers breakout-game potential with a team-high 20 targets on Rosen passes. Fellow WRs DeSean Jackson (8/154/2), Julian Edelman (8/110/1), Sterling Shepard (7/76/0), Taylor Gabriel (6/75/3), Devin Smith (3/74/1), Michael Gallup (6/68/0), Allen Robinson (6/60/0), Alshon Jeffery (5/49/2), and Amari Cooper (4/44/1) have all paid dividends versus Washington. … DeVante Parker played the same number of pre-bye Week 4 snaps as Williams (43) and delivered a season-best 4/70/1 receiving line against the Chargers. Parker’s 14 targets rank second most on the team on Rosen passes, giving Parker boom-bust WR4 appeal in this plum draw with Washington.
Score Prediction: Redskins 24, Dolphins 23
Eagles at Vikings
Team Totals: Vikings 23.5, Eagles 20.5
The Eagles begin their gauntlet of Weeks 6-11 pass defenses (@ MIN > @ DAL > @ BUF > vs. CHI > vs. NE) at Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium, where Mike Zimmer’s team has held each of its last six home opponents to 24 points or fewer and a measly 15.5-point average, including Week 1’s shutdown of high-powered Atlanta (12 points) and Week 3’s muzzling of the suddenly-lively Raiders (14). The Vikings have limited Aaron Rodgers (QB19), Matt Ryan (QB14), Derek Carr (QB20), Chase Daniel/Mitchell Trubisky (QB20), and Daniel Jones (QB21) to substandard outcomes while ranking top ten in sacks (15) and QB hits (33). In season-long leagues, I’d be willing to explore streamers over Carson Wentz this week. … Also eliminating ground games, Zimmer’s unit has held enemy backs to 104/388/1 (3.73 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s second-fewest receiving yards per game (23.2), boding poorly for an Eagles backfield where playing time is already being split. Jordan Howard led the position group in Week 5 carries (13) but was not targeted and hasn’t run more than nine pass routes in a game this year. Miles Sanders is the superior Week 6 PPR play with Darren Sproles (quad) sidelined; Sanders caught 4-of-5 targets for 49 yards in last week’s win over the Jets, running 15 routes on 42% of the snaps. Howard is a low-floor, touchdown-dependent flex option at Minnesota. Sanders is an underrated PPR-oriented flex play.
Wentz’s Weeks 2-5 target distribution: Zach Ertz 38; Nelson Agholor 27; Mack Hollins 18; Alshon Jeffery 17; Sanders 13; J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Dallas Goedert 7; Howard 6; Sproles 5. … Ertz is Philadelphia’s lone confident Week 6 pass-catcher play with stat lines of 10/110/1 and 8/93/0 in his last two meetings with Zimmer’s defense. Darren Waller (13/134/0) and Austin Hooper (9/77/0) have exposed some leaks in Minnesota’s tight end coverage. … Agholor has ghosted with four targets in two games since Jeffery returned from his calf injury, earning droppable status in 10- and 12-team leagues. The Vikings haven’t been generous to fellow slot WRs Mohamed Sanu (5/57/0), Hunter Renfrow (3/28/0), Geronimo Allison (4/25/1), Golden Tate (3/13/0), and Anthony Miller (2/11/0). … Jeffery has looked stiff and athletically deficient on tape since returning from injury and now faces a Minnesota secondary that allowed just one enemy wideout to clear 80 yards (Davante Adams) in its first five games. As usual, Jeffery is a touchdown-or-bust WR3 option. … Hollins will make another start for DeSean Jackson (abdomen), but his route totals have dipped in four straight weeks (52 > 47 > 20 > 17), culminating in a near-nonexistent passing-game role over the last two games. … Goedert has yet to exceed three targets in a 2019 game.
As the stone-age Vikings finally showed willingness to open up their offense in last Sunday’s trouncing of the Giants, Kirk Cousins responded with an extreme-efficiency 11.3 yards per attempt on 22-of-27 passing, two touchdowns, and no turnovers, good for Week 5’s QB9 fantasy score. This week’s matchup dictates OC Kevin Stefanski should continue riding Cousins’ arm; enemy backs have managed a putrid 85/239/2 (2.81 YPC) rushing line against run-tough Philly, yet only four NFL defenses are surrendering more passing yards per game (288.6), and 3-of-5 quarterbacks to face DC Jim Schwartz’s pass-funnel unit have registered top-eight fantasy weeks. I would play Cousins over Wentz straight up and strongly consider him in DFS tournaments. … While immensely profitable in the fantasy short term, Dalvin Cook’s 22.6 touches per game are the most he’s averaged since his final season at Florida State and a reminder that Alexander Mattison should be stashed in all leagues with some bye-week flex utility and RB1/2 upside if Cook went down. … While Cook’s Week 6 rushing efficiency is likely to take a matchup-driven hit, he can compensate in the passing game, where Schwartz’s defense has served up the NFL’s fifth-most catches (34) and seventh-most receiving yards (257) to enemy backs. Even on the typically run-first Vikings, Cook ranks 11thamong running backs in targets (24) and has six catches in back-to-back weeks.
Cousins’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Adam Thielen 30; Cook 24; Stefon Diggs 23; C.J. Ham 9; Kyle Rudolph and Bisi Johnson 8; Irv Smith 6; Ameer Abdullah 4. … Despite early-season unhappiness with his role, Thielen has 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-5 games and should run circles around Philly’s inept secondary. As Johnson has emerged as Minnesota’s main slot receiver, Thielen is running 68% of his routes outside, and Diggs 83%. In Davante Adams (10/180/0), Terry McLaurin (5/125/1), Julio Jones (5/106/2), Calvin Ridley (8/105/1), and Marvin Jones (6/101/1), the Eagles have already given up 100-yard games to five perimeter wideouts. … The Eagles have allowed the NFL’s 12th-most catches to tight ends (23), including TE1 games to old-fogies Jimmy Graham (6/61/1) and Vernon Davis (4/59/1), giving Rudolph hope of finally busting his five-game slump. Rudolph hasn’t seen many targets, but that’s mainly because the Vikings are running the ball so much. Rudolph has still run 50 routes over the last two weeks, tenth most among NFL tight ends. If the Vikings do as they should and attack the Eagles via the pass, Rudolph’s chances of finally turning in a productive week would grow exponentially.
Score Prediction: Vikings 21, Eagles 20
Falcons at Cardinals
Team Totals: Falcons 27, Cardinals 24.5
Matt Ryan visits the desert with 300-plus yards in six straight games and top-eight QB1 results in three of his last four starts, while Cardinals DC Vance Joseph’s unit has conceded top-12 QB1 scores in 4-of-5 weeks with a picturesque 12:0 TD-to-INT ratio allowed. Always a high-floor, high-ceiling play, Ryan makes for an especially compelling DFS start with stack-partner Julio Jones in obvious bounce-back position and Larry Fitzgerald as a game-stack option on the other side. This game has obvious shootout potential, and offenses facing Arizona’s defense are averaging the NFL’s sixth-most plays per game (66.4), potentially adding to Atlanta’s box-score opportunity. … Devonta Freeman kept lead-back usage in last week’s shootout loss to Houston, out-snapping Ito Smith 55% to 47% and out-touching him 16 to 11. Scoreless in Weeks 1-4, Freeman finally caught positive-touchdown variance when Ryan hit him for a nine-yard TD catch at the end of last week’s first half. Freeman enters Week 6 with 16-plus touches in three straight games facing an Arizona defense that has allowed the NFL’s tenth-most rushing yards per game to enemy backs (105.0). Freeman is an underrated RB2 play; Smith is a touchdown-or-bust flex.
Update: Second on the team in sacks with 3.5, Cardinals OLB Terrell Suggs missed practice all week with a back injury and is listed questionable to play. The Cards may also be without starting DE Zach Allen due to a neck injury. Allen missed Week 5 and did not practice this Friday.
Ryan’s 2019 target distribution: Julio Jones 44; Austin Hooper 42; Mohamed Sanu 36; Calvin Ridley 32; Freeman 26; Smith 14; Justin Hardy 8. … The blowup likelihood of Atlanta’s pass-catcher corps should enhance Ryan’s DFS stock. It doesn’t get better than this. … Still missing both starting corners, Arizona has let up usable wideout lines to Tyler Boyd (10/123/1), Danny Amendola (7/104/1), Marquise Brown (8/86/0), Marvin Jones (4/56/0), Curtis Samuel (5/53/1), D.J. Moore (1/52/1), Kenny Golladay (4/42/1), and Auden Tate (3/26/1). Beginning with most recent, these are Julio’s last three stat lines immediately following sub-50-yard games: 5/106/2 > 9/138/1 > 8/106/2. In his career, Julio also averages 8.2 more yards per game on the road with a 13.8% higher touchdown probability. … T.J. Hockenson (6/131/1), Mark Andrews (8/112/1), Greg Olsen (6/75/2), and Will Dissly (7/57/1) have all smashed the Cards, setting up Hooper for yet another above-par week. Only Darren Waller (37) has more receptions than Hooper’s 34 among tight ends. … Week 5 set up perfectly for Ridley at Houston, and this week is similar facing a Cardinals secondary whose absences of both starting corners forces it to overcompensate for an alpha presence like Julio. Ridley should stay locked into season-long lineups as a WR3 with legit WR1 upside. … Sanu can’t be dismissed with 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in three straight games. Sanu runs 86% of his routes in the slot, where Arizona has allowed completions on 36-of-48 targets (75%) for 432 yards (9.0 YPA) and six touchdowns. I’m very rarely big on Sanu, but this is the week to play him.
This is also the week to play Kyler Murray; Dan Quinn’s Falcons coughed up top-12 fantasy results to Carson Wentz (QB11) > Jacoby Brissett (QB11) > Marcus Mariota (QB7) > Deshaun Watson (QB1) in Weeks 2-5 while generating innocuous pressure; Atlanta is tied for dead last in sacks with the Dolphins (5) and barely laid hands on oft-pressured Mariota and Watson in the last two weeks. Having never finished below QB18 five weeks into his career, Murray is a high-floor, high-ceiling play sure to go lower owned than he should in DFS tournaments. … Coach Kliff Kingsbury revealed that David Johnson played through a back injury at Cincinnati, explaining his 69% snap rate and Chase Edmonds’ 37% clip. Johnson has 17-plus touches in 4-of-5 games, ranks No. 4 among NFL backs in receiving yards (247), and will be an obvious RB1 if he plays, but he did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Johnson’s injury and Edmonds’ season-high 11 touches in last week’s win warrant Edmonds a solidified place on your fantasy bench. If Johnson doesn’t get the green light, Edmonds will deserve to be one of Week 6’s most-popular DFS plays. Kingsbury’s spread scheme has allowed the Cards to rank No. 1 in the NFL in rushing DVOA.
Update: David Johnson was DNP, DNP, limited on the practice report, ending the week as questionable. Johnson personally sounded confident on Friday that he will play, but conceded the backfield may be closer to an even split with Chase Edmonds. In such a pristine matchup, I’m riding with Johnson as a risky if still fringe RB1/2, and Edmonds as an underrated flex play with 15-touch upside.
Update II: The Falcons ruled out top CB Desmond Trufant (toe) on Friday, forcing either raw fourth-round rookie Kendall Sheffield or longtime DFS moneymaker Blidi Wreh-Wilson into the starting lineup across from badly-struggling Isaiah Oliver. Upgrade Kyler Murray‘s outlook even more.
Murray’s target distribution: Larry Fitzgerald 44; Christian Kirk 36; David Johnson 33; KeeSean Johnson 26; Damiere Byrd 18; Edmonds 9; Charles Clay and Trent Sherfield 7; Pharoh Cooper 2; Andy Isabella 0. … Even as Fitzgerald’s Week 5 wasn’t flashy, he led the team in targets (8) and Air Yards (83) and has caught at least five balls in every 2019 game. This is a plus draw for Fitz, who runs a league-high 94% of his routes in the slot; teams targeting the slot against Atlanta are 31-of-41 passing (76%) for 306 yards (7.5 YPA) and four touchdowns. … Apparently due back from his ankle injury, Kirk drew target counts of 12 > 8 > 12 in his three full games to begin the season and is immediately playable as a WR3 with WR2 upside in PPR leagues. Kirk runs 82% of his routes in the slot. … Outside receivers in Kingsbury’s offense have more or less served as decoys. KeeSean led Arizona’s wideouts in Week 5 snaps yet hasn’t cleared 50 yards in a 2019 game. Same goes for Byrd, who is expected back from his two-week hamstring pull.
Update: Christian Kirk (ankle) was limited all week in practice and will be a game-time decision against the Falcons. Damiere Byrd (hamstring) is in the same boat.
Score Prediction: Falcons 30, Cardinals 28
49ers at Rams
Team Totals: Rams 26.5, 49ers 23.5
Undefeated San Francisco visits L.A. in a battle of offensive masterminds who were ironically both run out of town by the woebegone Redskins and have played to shootout results of 48-32, 39-10, 34-13, and 41-39 since Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan entered the head-coaching ranks. Mainly a game manager under Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo’s Weeks 1-5 fantasy results were QB28 > QB6 > QB27 > QB16, while Rams DC Wade Phillips’ defense was clipped by Jameis Winston (QB1) and Russell Wilson (QB3) in its last two games, all told yielding 85 points to Tampa and Seattle. The Rams will miss OLB Clay Matthews (broken jaw) and are down to 29th in QB Hit Rate (10.9%), while Garoppolo has a 6:3 TD-to-INT ratio and 74.4% completion rate when kept clean. Unfortunately, Garoppolo’s floor lowered when 49ers RT Mike McGlinchey (knee) joined LT Joe Staley (broken leg) on the shelf. San Francisco’s starting tackles are now sixth-round rookie LT Justin Skule and college TE Daniel Brunskill, last seen balling in the AAF. Despite the Rams’ lack of sack and hit production, they rank No. 2 in the NFL in pressure rate. Garoppolo is a very tough sell as a Week 6 streamer. … The 49ers came off their bye with Matt Breida handling a backfield-high 35% snap rate but getting out-touched 16 to 14 by Tevin Coleman with Raheem Mostert taking seven touches on a 32% playing-time clip. Early-season short-yardage maven Jeff Wilson was inactive. This remains an RBBC that will lack fantasy reliability, even for as well as Breida and Coleman have performed in Shanahan’s system. Breida and Coleman are dicey if entertaining RB2/flex plays in this spot. Mostert did get most of his Week 5 run in garbage time against the Browns and isn’t playable.
Jimmy G’s target distribution: George Kittle 29; Deebo Samuel 17; Marquise Goodwin 12; Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne 9; Breida, Richie James, and Kyle Juszczyk 8; Mostert 6; Coleman 3. … Teams targeting tight ends against L.A. are a perfect 11-of-11 for 160 yards (14.5 YPA) and a touchdown in the last two weeks. This bodes beautifully for Kittle, who busted his scoring slump in last week’s evisceration of Cleveland and obliterated the Rams for stat lines of 9/149/1 > 5/98/1 > 4/100/0 in these teams’ last three meetings. Travis Kelce (vs. HOU) is the only tight end I would play over Kittle on Week 6’s slate. … The Niners narrowed their wideout committee somewhat in last Monday night’s post-bye destruction of the Browns with Bourne and James taking backseats, yet none of their top-three receivers so much as drew five targets, and Pettis painfully dropped an easy second-half touchdown on a poorly-defended slant route. From a fantasy standpoint, it’s Kittle or bust in San Francisco’s receiving unit at this point.
Similar to last season, Jared Goff’s home-away splits are stark with QB9 and QB4 fantasy results in L.A. versus QB29, QB19, and QB11 scores on the road. Since the start of 2018, Goff has averaged 9.2 yards per attempt with a 25:6 TD-to-INT ratio at home compared to 7.4 YPA with a 14:13 TD-to-INT ratio away from Los Angeles. Goff’s biggest Week 6 worry should be San Francisco’s beastly front, which ranks No. 3 in tackle-for-loss rate (29.4%), No. 5 in sack rate (9.2%), and No. 6 in QB Hit Rate (18.3%) while yielding to-date quarterback scores of QB30 (Jameis Winston), QB10 (Andy Dalton), QB24 (Mason Rudolph), and QB32 (Baker Mayfield). Goff is a low-floor QB1. … Even as Todd Gurley escaped with two rushing touchdowns in last Thursday’s loss to Seattle, he fell below 20 touches for the eighth straight game and finished under 100 total yards in the fourth-consecutive week this year. He did log a season-high 93% snap rate against the Seahawks. This year’s 49ers have limited enemy backs to 70/267/0 (3.81 YPC) rushing and just 28.0 receiving yards per game. Gurley is best approached as a touchdown-reliant RB2.
Update: The Rams listed Todd Gurley as doubtful with a quad injury on Friday and are preparing to start Malcolm Brown against the 49ers. While this matchup is undoubtedly imposing, Brown should have virtually no competition for goal-line work and projects as a home-favorite feature back in a high-scoring game. I wouldn’t expect more than a small handful of touches for Darrell Henderson, in whom the coaching staff has shown no trust.
Goff’s 2019 target distribution: Cooper Kupp 63; Robert Woods 47; Brandin Cooks 34; Gerald Everett 26; Gurley 22; Tyler Higbee 18; Josh Reynolds 8. … The West Coast’s version of 2018 Adam Thielen, Kupp looks to top 100 yards for the fifth-straight game against a 49ers defense that’s been tormented by slot WRs Tyler Boyd (10/122/0), JuJu Smith-Schuster (3/81/1), Jarvis Landry (4/75/0), and Chris Godwin (3/53/1). Kupp averages 82 career yards per game at home versus 59 on the road. … Woods has seen at least seven targets in 15 of his last 17 games, raising his floor even if Woods’ ceiling is lower with a healthy Kupp. Woods’ stat lines against San Francisco since joining the Rams are 2/24/0 > 5/78/0 > 6/108/0. … Cooks’ availability will be determined by concussion protocol. An increasing disappointment, Cooks has cleared 75 yards once in the Rams’ last ten regular season games. … Everett was the Rams’ best skill player in last Thursday night’s loss to Seattle, breaking tackles and stiff-arming haters en route to a career-best 7/136/0 receiving line. Over the past two weeks, only Austin Hooper and Travis Kelce have run more pass routes than Everett among NFL tight ends. Assuming rational coaching, deploying more two-tight end sets would be a means of better protecting pressure-sensitive Goff against the pressure-proficient Niners. Cooks not playing would be another major boon to Everett’s TE1 outlook.
Update: Brandin Cooks will definitely be out there after the Rams removed him from the injury report on Friday. I still expect more two-tight end sets than usual from the Rams to help compensate for their disadvantages in the trenches against San Francisco’s mean defensive front. Gerald Everett belongs in top-ten TE1 discussion this week.
Score Prediction: Rams 24, 49ers 23
Titans at Broncos
Team Totals: Broncos 20.5, Titans 18
Derrick Henry looks to extend his consecutive games streak of 100-plus total yards and/or a touchdown to 11 when the Titans visit Denver, which has coughed up an unimposing 125/560/5 (4.48 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs and had all five of its 2019 games decided by nine points or fewer, suggesting the Titans should experience neutral script that allows them to keep riding Henry. An increasingly high-floor play, Henry’s Weeks 1-5 touch counts were 20 > 17 > 18 > 28 > 20 compared to Dion Lewis’ 6 > 4 > 4 > 8 > 4, reconfirming there is no committee here. Even without a substantive passing-game role, Henry has earned every-week RB1/2 treatment. … The Broncos’ D/ST is a better Week 6 play than Marcus Mariota, who unsurprisingly crashed back to Earth for last week’s QB27 outcome after his three-touchdown tease against the Falcons. Mariota has absorbed at least four sacks in 4-of-5 starts, while Vic Fangio’s Broncos have yet to surrender a single top-12 fantasy quarterback week, keeping Aaron Rodgers (QB25), Derek Carr (QB21), Mitchell Trubisky (QB31), Gardner Minshew (QB14), and Philip Rivers (QB28) in check.
Mariota’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Delanie Walker 25; Corey Davis 22; Adam Humphries 21; A.J. Brown 19; Lewis 15; Henry and Tajae Sharpe 8; Jonnu Smith 7. … Walker has run just 31 combined pass routes on snap rates of 31% and 44% in the last two weeks, all but disappearing from the passing game with blocker Smith taking over as the Titans’ primary tight end. Smith isn’t a fantasy option, but he did lead Tennessee in Week 5 receiving, gaining all 57 of his yards on a single screen pass. Despite Walker’s team target lead, the Titans’ tight end rotation is a situation to avoid. … Davis has cleared 50 yards just once in his last ten games. … Humphries is scoreless with one game above 30 yards. … With Broncos top CB Chris Harris likelier to chase more-established Davis assuming he shadows anyone at all, I like Brown as the favorite to lead Tennessee in Week 6 receiving. Brown played a season-high 65% of last week’s snaps and looks to be approaching a full-time role. Brown still has yet to exceed five targets in a game.
Even after Joe Flacco’s season-best Week 4 game, the Broncos grabbed their first 2019 victory on the back of Phillip Lindsay’s 147 yards and a touchdown on 20 touches with Royce Freeman’s 15 touches changing the pace against the Chargers. Even as Lindsay ran much hotter, Freeman out-snapped him (53% to 47%) again, reinforcing OC Rich Scangarello’s two-man RBBC commitment. The good news is Scangarello has also been committed to the run game in general enough for Lindsay to clear 15 touches in 4-of-5 games, while Tennessee’s run defense is less than a shutdown force, permitting 91/414/2 (4.55 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s seventh-most catches (32) to enemy backs. In another game Denver should win, Lindsay is an RB2 play with RB1 upside versus the Titans. Freeman has 15-plus touches in three of the last four weeks and is a viable if unexciting flex. … Flacco resumed game-managerial duties with just 20 pass attempts against the Bolts and should stay in that vicinity against a stout Titans pass defense. DC Dean Pees’ unit has allowed the NFL’s ninth-fewest yards per pass attempt (6.9) and fifth-fewest points per game (15.5) while limiting enemy quarterbacks to low-ceiling fantasy finishes of QB16 (Matt Ryan), QB12 (Jacoby Brissett), QB18 (Gardner Minshew), QB24 (Baker Mayfield), and QB13 (Josh Allen).
Flacco’s target distribution: Courtland Sutton 38; Emmanuel Sanders 35; Lindsay 23; Freeman 21; Noah Fant 16; DaeSean Hamilton 15; Jeff Heuerman 10. … Cementing himself as Denver’s No. 1 wideout, Sutton commanded Casey Hayward’s Week 5 shadow yet still emerged with a team-best 4/92/1 receiving line fueled by Sutton’s 70-yard catch-and-run score in the first quarter. With 87-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-5 games and a team-high 370 Air Yards, Sutton has earned matchup-agnostic WR2 treatment. … It’s fair to wonder if Sanders is starting to lose steam at age 32 coming off a torn Achilles’; he entered Week 5 battling a quad injury, played a season-low 63% of Denver’s offensive snaps, and finished with ten yards or fewer for the second time in three games. Sanders’ recent ups and downs push him onto the WR3/flex fringe with Sutton surging ahead in the Broncos’ low-volume passing attack. … Fant fell Week 5 victim to Flacco’s season low in attempts with just one target but also ran a season-low 19 pass routes and has yet to exceed five targets in a game this year. He’s a low-floor TE2.
Score Prediction: Broncos 24, Titans 17
Cowboys at Jets
Team Totals: Cowboys 25.5, Jets 18
Sam Darnold’s Week 6 medical clearance bodes nearly as positively for Dallas’ offense as the Jets’ from a fantasy perspective, giving Gang Green a shot at competitiveness they would have lacked with Luke Falk. The Cowboys expect back LT Tyron Smith (ankle) to shore up what projected as a clean pocket for Dak Prescott, anyway; New York ranks bottom three in sack rate (3.9%) despite DC Gregg Williams’ high blitz frequency. Five starts in, Dak’s fantasy outcomes are QB5 > QB24 > QB7 > QB3 > QB2. He should be locked into season-long lineups and has enough upside for DFS-tournament deployment in stacks with Amari Cooper or Michael Gallup. … Jets ILB C.J. Mosley’s (groin) continued absence and underrated DE Henry Anderson’s (shoulder) loss should make life easier on Ezekiel Elliott against a New York defense that has been otherwise stout, holding enemy backs to 83/297/4 (3.58 YPC) rushing through four games. Zeke sent impressive rookie Tony Pollard to the showers by handling 97% and 93% of Dallas’ offensive snaps and 38-of-42 (90%) Cowboys backfield touches over the past two weeks. As running backs facing the Jets have collectively averaged 27.3 touches per game, we should be able to project Elliott in the 24-25 touch range assuming he maintains that 90% touch share against the Jets’ depleted defensive front.
Prescott’s Week 5 target distribution: Cooper and Gallup 14;Randall Cobb 6; Zeke and Jason Witten 4. … Just as he did to Xavien Howard earlier this year, Cooper put a Week 5 clown suit on Packers top CB Jaire Alexander with elite route running in last Sunday’s loss, so much so that Dallas made a valiant comeback rally from its 24-0 second-half deficit and Cooper finished with a career-high 226 yards. Jets outside CBs Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts have been dusted for 33 completions on 46 targets (72%), 384 yards (8.35 YPA), and three touchdowns. On pace for a sensational 103/1,639/16 receiving line five weeks in, Cooper is an elite WR1 play in this plum draw. … Gallup returned from his two-week meniscus injury to run a season-high 47 routes on a season-high 86% playing-time clip against Green Bay and picked up right where he left off statistically. Including January’s playoffs, Gallup has topped 100 yards in three of his last four games. He is an upside WR2 in The Meadowlands. … Cobb catches Dallas’ toughest Week 6 pass-catcher matchup against Jets slot CB Brian Poole, who has allowed 56 scoreless yards on 18 targets (3.1 YPA) this year and bottled up Nelson Agholor (1/20/0) last week. … Witten has yet to exceed four targets in a 2019 game. He’s always a low-floor, touchdown-or-bust streamer.
Although Sam Darnold’s return gives the Jets and this game in general reasons for hope, Dallas’ D/ST remains squarely in play against a turnstile Gang Green offensive line that has surrendered league highs in tackle-for-loss rate (47.6%), sacks (23), and QB Hit Rate (30.1%) and resurrected the season for Eagles under-fire DC Jim Schwartz last Sunday. Philly entered Week 5 with three sacks in four games, only to emerge with ten moreagainst the Jets. Enemy passers have lowly fantasy results of QB19 (Eli Manning), QB15 (Case Keenum), QB30 (Josh Rosen), QB24 (Teddy Bridgewater/Taysom Hill), and QB23 (Aaron Rodgers) against the Cowboys. Darnold is a low-floor two-QB-league option in his first game back from mononucleosis. … Le’Veon Bell is easily the Jets’ highest-confidence Week 6 play with touch counts of 23 > 31 > 32 > 22 under his belt facing a Dallas defense that has permitted 94/431/6 (4.59 YPC) rushing and the league’s fifth-most receiving yards to enemy backs (56.4), raising Bell’s floor even if the Jets fall several scores behind. Le’Veon is on pace for career highs in targets (128) and catches (108). I like the idea of stacking Dak with Zeke and/or Cooper and “bringing it back” with Le’Veon in DFS tournaments.
Darnold’s 2019 target distribution: Jamison Crowder 17; Le’Veon 9; Robby Anderson 7; Ryan Griffin 4; Quincy Enunwa 3; Josh Bellamy 1. … Crowder was Darnold’s Week 1 checkdown of choice under heavy duress against the Bills, a theme that could easily replay itself versus Dallas considering the sorry state of Gang Green’s pass protection. Crowder is a PPR-specific WR3/flex. … Michael Thomas is the lone enemy wideout to clear 75 yards against the Cowboys this year. Anderson showed enough late-2018 rapport with Darnold that a big game is inevitable, but odds are it won’t happen this week. … Chris Herndon’s return from suspension will give the Jets a big upgrade on Griffin in their preferred three-receiver, one-tight end 11 personnel. Coach Adam Gase has been frustratingly vague on Herndon’s role in his first back, however. Sunday’s matchup is unimposing should Herndon resume full-time duties; tight ends have caught 28-of-37 targets (76%) for 283 yards (7.65 YPA) and a touchdown against Dallas this year.
Update: Chris Herndon injured his hamstring in Tuesday’s practice and won’t face the Cowboys, giving Ryan Griffin another start. Herndon is expected to miss at least two games.
Score Prediction: Cowboys 30, Jets 17
Steelers at Chargers
Team Totals: Chargers 24, Steelers 17
Their quarterback situation up in the air, the Steelers’ best shot at staying competitive on Sunday night will be to ride James Conner in Los Angeles. Chargers DC Gus Bradley’s defense has been gashed for 110/538/3 (4.89 YPC) rushing by enemy backs, while Jaylen Samuels’ (knee) loss solidifies Conner’s workload with little-used rookie Benny Snell in reserve. Although Conner’s usage and results have disappointed, he does have 14-plus touches in 5-of-5 games, while Snell has carried the ball six times without a single catch this year. … The Steelers are apparently trying to rush back Mason Rudolph from last week’s terrifying neck/brain injury. If Rudolph can’t get cleared, they’ll go with UDFA rookie Devlin Hodges, who completed just 52.6% of his preseason passes at 5.0 yards per attempt and took three sacks on 41 August dropbacks. Nicknamed “Duck,” Hodges was a prolific D-2 quarterback who tested well athletically (85th-percentile SPARQ) yet wasn’t even a priority rookie free agent after the draft, accepting a paltry $1,000 signing bonus from the Steelers. Just one quarterback to face the Chargers has finished above QB14. Tee up the Bolts’ D/ST and think of Hodges as an extreme-desperation two-quarterback-league option if he does get the nod. … You’re on your own trying to throw darts at Steelers pass catchers on Sunday night. Vance McDonald seemed to aggravate his shoulder late in last week’s loss to Baltimore and is questionable to play. JuJu Smith-Schuster has shown at least a modicum of consistency with 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-5 games, although his outlook would be worrisome if Duck got the start. Diontae Johnson is just as likely as JuJu and Vance to command team-leading volume. James Washington’s shoulder injury may force Donte Moncrief back onto the field.
Update: The Steelers announced Friday that Mason Rudolph will be inactive against the Chargers, and Devlin Hodges will start. This is a blow to the entire Pittsburgh offense and upgrades the Chargers’ D/ST.
Already without LT Russell Okung (heart), the Chargers’ offensive line took another massive blow on C Mike Pouncey’s year-ending neck injury, especially concerning since Week 6 opponent Pittsburgh ranks No. 3 in sacks (19) and QB hits (37) and held its last three quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB17 (Lamar Jackson), QB28 (Andy Dalton), and QB27 (Jimmy Garoppolo). Although some of the Chargers’ pass-catcher matchups are favorable enough for Rivers to maintain high-end two-QB-league viability, I wouldn’t want him as my season-long starter in Week 6. Rivers has been a low-ceiling scorer to this point with a year-high finish of QB9. … The Chargers’ Week 5 offense was painful to watch as OC Ken Whisenhunt unsuccessfully forced the Melvin Gordon issue to the tune of 16 touches, which Gordon pathetically turned into 38 scoreless yards. Gordon looked slow and plodding with a long gain of seven yards, and Los Angeles’ up-front depletion bodes poorly for a rebound against a Steelers defense that leads the NFL in tackles for loss (40) and has held enemy backs to 3.95 yards per carry. An inferior fit to Austin Ekeler in the Chargers’ current offensive construct, Gordon is a low-floor flex option in Week 6. … Ekeler still out-touched (18) and out-snapped (66% to 46%) Gordon at Denver, setting a franchise record with 15 catches on 16 targets. The state of Los Angeles’ offensive line should dictate Ekeler continues to lead the backfield in usage as a superior receiver to Gordon on a team that will continue struggling to run the ball and must lean on short passes to move the chains. Still a locked-in RB2, Ekeler’s Sunday night matchup is favorable; the Steelers have yielded the NFL’s sixth-most running back catches (33).
Rivers’ 2019 target distribution: Keenan Allen 53; Ekeler 41; Mike Williams 28; Travis Benjamin 12; Justin Jackson 8; Gordon and Lance Kendricks 6; Hunter Henry 5; Virgil Green 4; Andre Patton 4. … Teams targeting the slot against Pittsburgh are 39-of-54 passing (72%) for 420 yards (7.8 YPA) and three touchdowns, boding well for Allen, who runs a team-high 52% of his routes inside. Allen blowtorched Steelers DC Keith Butler’s unit for 14/148/1 receiving last Week 13. It all adds up to a probable bounce-back week after consecutive sub-50-yard games. … Finally over his early-season injuries, Williams set Week 5 season highs in targets (13) and catches (6) in last week’s loss to Denver and is popping as Week 6’s No. 1 buy low in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. Scoreless on the year and due for positive-touchdown regression, Williams is a strong WR3 play at Pittsburgh. … Benjamin operated as the Bolts’ No. 3 receiver against the Broncos but has 30 scoreless yards to show for his 12 targets this year. His fantasy appeal is limited to one-game DFS slates. … Hunter Henry (knee) still seems to be a week away, but he’s resumed practicing on a limited basis and should be added in leagues where he was dropped.
Score Prediction: Chargers 24, Steelers 13
Lions at Packers
Team Totals: Packers 26, Lions 21
The Lions return from a lengthy bye for Monday night’s division showdown at Green Bay, which plays run-funnel defense by permitting 115/606/6 (5.27 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s tenth-most receiving yards per game to enemy backs (49.2). This plays at least somewhat into the run-first hands of Detroit, where Kerryon Johnson logged 70% of the Lions’ pre-bye Week 4 snaps versus the Chiefs, tied his season high in routes run (20), and established a career-high in carries (26). So long as Detroit keeps Monday night’s game close – they’re five-point dogs at Lambeau Field – Kerryon should push for 20 more touches as the Lions’ near-every-down back. … Having yielded consecutive fantasy results of QB10 (Carson Wentz) and QB5 (Dak Prescott), Green Bay’s pass defense no longer looks as impenetrable as it did against Mitchell Trubisky, Kirk Cousins, and Joe Flacco in Weeks 1-3. Matthew Stafford visits Lambeau with QB4 > QB14 > QB28 > QB5 fantasy results under his belt, exceeding expectations in a low-volume if still-aggressive vertical passing game wherein Stafford ranks No. 2 among 33 qualified quarterbacks in percentage of passes attempted 20-plus yards downfield. Green Bay has surrendered the NFL’s fifth-most completions of 20-plus yards (20), giving Stafford life as a low-end streamer, albeit with a volatile fantasy outlook.
Stafford’s 2019 target distribution: Kenny Golladay 36; Marvin Jones 24; T.J. Hockenson and Danny Amendola 19; Kerryon 9; Jesse James 7; Ty Johnson and Logan Thomas 5; J.D. McKissic 4. … Golladay is the heartbeat of Detroit’s downfield passing game, pacing the Lions in targets by a margin of 12 and Air Yards by 120 over runner-up Jones. As Amari Cooper (11/226/1), Michael Gallup (7/113/1), Allen Robinson (7/102/0), Courtland Sutton (5/87/0), Stefon Diggs (1/49/1), and Alshon Jeffery (3/38/1) have all delivered useful games against the Packers, Golladay should be locked into lineups as a WR2 on Monday night. … Although Jones is much less involved, he is on pace for career highs in receptions (72) and yards (1,108) and is a viable WR3 against what’s shaping up as an overrated Green Bay secondary. … Teams targeting tight ends against the Packers are 22-of-27 passing for 182 yards (6.7 YPA) and one touchdown. Assuming Hockenson (concussion) is cleared, he will be an upside streamer against as Packers defense likely to be missing dynamic rookie FS Darnell Savage (high ankle sprain). … Randall Cobb (3/53/0), Nelson Agholor (0/0), DaeSean Hamilton (0/0), and Anthony Miller (0/0) have been erased by the Packers’ slot coverage. I’m keeping a fade on Amendola beyond one-game DFS slates.
Back home after a monster upset at JerryWorld, Aaron Rodgers catches the Lions with underwhelming fantasy finishes of QB23 > QB19 > QB25 > QB2 > QB23 on his resume to face Matt Patricia’s defense off its bye. 3-of-4 quarterbacks to face Detroit have registered top-12 outcomes, but Davante Adams’ (toe) continued absence takes wind out of Rodgers’ upside sails, and Rodgers’ lone result above QB19 came against the decidedly pass-funnel Eagles. Although Matt LaFleur’s offense is showing signs of weekly progression, Rodgers remains an okay-not-great season-long start based on his to-date production. His late-week practice limitations due to a knee injury are further cause for alarm. … Even as Jamaal Williams (concussion) is due to back to return Green Bay’s backfield into a one-two punch, an assumption of rational coaching would keep Aaron Jones atop the committee after his four-TD Week 5 game. And it wasn’t just the touchdowns; Jones led the Packers in both rushing (19/107/4) and receiving (7/75/0) and single-handedly accounted for 54.3% of Green Bay’s offensive yards. If that doesn’t propel Jones to clear-cut feature-back duties over slow-and-plodding Williams, I’m not sure what will. Either way, Jones warrants locked-in RB1 treatment against the Lions, who have surrendered 88/375/5 (4.26 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s third-most receiving yards per game (69.8) to enemy backs.
Rodgers’ Week 5 target distribution: Jones 8; Geronimo Allison 6; Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Tre Carson 4; Jimmy Graham 3; Jake Kumerow and Marcedes Lewis 2; Robert Tonyan 1. … Green Bay’s widespread target allotment and new commitment to using running backs in the passing game have thrown a major wrench into their non-Davante Adams pass catchers. … Allison capitalized on Adams’ Week 5 absence for season highs in targets and playing time (86%) but is a touchdown-dependent WR5 without a game above 52 yards this year. … MVS remains the preferred Packers pass-catcher play. He booked a year high in snaps (94%) in last week’s win at Dallas, led Green Bay in Air Yards by a 60-yard margin over runner-up Allison, and popped as this week’s No. 4 buy low in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. Valdes-Scantling remains a boom-bust WR3/flex with Lions top CB Darius Slay due back from his pre-bye hamstring injury. … Kumerow is playable on one-game DFS slates after stepping in as the Packers’ clear-cut No. 3 wideout in Dallas and playing 67% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps but only drawing two targets. … Despite missing snaps with groin and quad injuries in Weeks 2-3, Graham ranks 11th among NFL tight ends in routes run and has carved out a fairly big role in Green Bay’s passing game when healthy. The Lions allowed 9/128/0 on 10 targets to Chiefs tight ends in their pre-bye Week 4 loss.
Score Prediction: Packers 23, Lions 21