Through six games, Travis Etienne has already matched his rushing
TD total (five) from 2022, including four the last two games.
And his seven total receptions in those two contests confirm that
he’s well established in Jacksonville’s offensive gameplan on
a weekly basis. The Tank Bigsby boogeyman that some predicted
would make an appearance in 2023 to limit Etienne’s ceiling has
yet to surface, so Etienne should continue being the primary back
for the foreseeable future. Etienne has 82 percent of the RB carries
through six weeks. Whether or not that kind of domination continues
into the second half of the season remains to be seen. But for
now, let’s enjoy the chokehold Etienne has on this backfield,
as that’s becoming less and less a thing in the league.
But while Etienne is a bona fide RB1 this week, we must acknowledge
that he will be facing one of the toughest defenses in the league.
The Saints are ninth against the run and have only given up one
rushing TD this season. So, while Etienne is an unquestioned RB1,
don’t be shocked if his numbers are limited compared to
the two previous games.
We were told that Trevor Lawrence was a generational QB ever
since his sophomore year at Clemson when he tossed 36 TDs as a
20-year-old. Fast-forward four years and there’s been very little
that’s been proven to be generational about him. He’s a middle-of-the-road
QB with production and numbers to prove it. Lawrence’s seven passing
TDs are only one more than Atlanta’s Desmond Ridder, someone fans
and media has been clowning most of the year. Sure, Lawrence has
had a game or two where we think he’s about to turn the corner,
but he immediately turns back into a pumpkin. Kind of like when
he threw seven TDs total over back-to-back games last year against
Tennessee and Dallas, only to throw one TD total in the next three.
It’s maddening having him on your fantasy roster, and now he’s
battling a knee issue against a top pass defense. I’m not a fan
of his lack of consistency, nor his prospects for putting up decent
numbers on the road against the fifth-best pass defense that’s
only allowed eight TDs through the air in six games.
Lawrence’s struggles will surely decrease the probability
of Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Evan Engram doing much of
anything. New Orleans has only given up more than 181 yards passing
in a game twice this year, including limiting the dreadful Patriots
to 111 passing yards in Week 5. Jacksonville’s passing game
may frustrate those relying on its players to put up numbers on
Thursday; I simply don’t like the chances of this inconsistent
offense being productive. It’s a tough call to suggest benching
these players—especially the receivers and tight end—but
I strongly encourage you to keep those expectations in check.
This could be an ugly offensive game for the Jags.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
After hauling in only three total catches in Weeks 4 and 5, Chris
Olave rebounded nicely last week with a 7-catch, 96-yard performance
on 10 targets. He now gets to face the 31st-ranked pass defense
that has given up at least 310 yards through the air in each of
the last two weeks. There will be numerous opportunities for Olave
to shine in Week 6, as his lead-dog status in the passing game
would dictate. His chances for success, of course, will depend
on QB Derek Carr getting him the ball. But Carr has had his struggles
leading this passing game. His five passing TDs is the lowest
total of his career through a season’s first six games. Ouch.
Despite Carr’s shortcomings, Olave should be productive and may
even see the end zone for only the second time in 2023.
In all honesty, Michael Thomas was on my do-not-draft list this
year. I simply did not have the courage to select a player who
hadn’t played a full season in four years. However, through
the season’s first six games, Thomas continues to make himself
a startable option in most leagues as a WR3 or flex. That’s
especially so this week with byes starting to affect rosters.
We can expect a lot of dump-offs to Kamara, which will limit Thomas’s
targets. But if you are forced to play Thomas this week, you should
Rashid Shaheed has had moments this season, as he’s a big
play waiting to happen. His 18.6 yards per reception is third
in the league. It will take an injury to one of the top two targets
for Shaheed to become a thing in fantasy. As for Carr, keep him
on your bench for the reasons stated above.
Amari Cooper is not known as an explosive receiver who’s capable
of big plays downfield week in and week out. Yet he’s had the
best season of his career so far regarding yards per catch (16.7).
That’s stellar work, especially for a team’s WR1 playing without
his starting quarterback. His 108 yards last week against a tough
San Francisco pass defense shows that he’s a tactician running
routes and can get open against anybody. Deshaun Watson (shoulder)
remains iffy going into this game, although he was able to log
a limited practice session on Thursday. If Watson suits up or
if P.J. Walker gets another shot, it probably won’t matter much
for Cooper’s prospects this week. While Indy’s defense has had
moments of limiting offenses in 2023, they are susceptible to
giving up big yardage days through the air. Start Cooper with
As for Jerome Ford, he’s now on the plus-side of an RBBC with
Kareem Hunt. It’s been essentially a two-to-one split so far in
Ford’s favor, yet he’s still carved out enough production to warrant
starting consideration. The Colts have given up nine rushing TDs—only
two teams are worse—so, Ford could easily find paydirt this week.
He’s a good RB2 in Week 7.
The Cleveland offense doesn’t have the bandwidth to support multiple
fantasy options at this point, especially if Watson is sidelined.
Elijah Moore, Kareem Hunt, and David Njoku are all depth players
in fantasy with little value as starters. As such, all should
be on your bench.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Pittman had his best game last week against Jacksonville, hauling
in nine of 14 targets for 109 yards. While he hasn’t scored
since the season opener, Pittman is the unquestioned leader in
the Colts’ passing game. His 60 targets are 19 more than
the next closest teammate. Pittman will be challenged, however,
as the Browns are the league’s toughest defense against
the pass. On average, teams are only throwing for 121 yards per
game against them. If the Colts are to do anything through the
air, Pittman will lead the way.
This Indianapolis backfield is not quite settled as to how carries
will ultimately be distributed. Make no mistake, though. At some
point, Jonathan Taylor will take over, but Zack Moss has been
a revelation this year, and his play will continue to warrant
carries. To what extent that will eat into Taylor’s potential
remains to be seen, but last week’s contest saw Moss get
seven carries and Taylor eight. Neither did much with those limited
opportunities, but it was a glimpse into how they intend to use
both, at least in the near-term. We may have to let this situation
play out before providing firm intel. Meanwhile, proceed with
caution in this backfield.
I’m a fan of Josh Downs. I think he’s someone to
stash on your roster with the hopes that he breaks out this season.
At this point, though, he’s a bye-week filler or injury
replacement. Same deal with Gardner Minshew. He posted more than
300 yards passing last week but turned it over three times. Cleveland
will present his toughest test so far this season. Keep him on
James Cook had just eight touches (five carries) in the Bills’
Week 5 loss to the Jaguars but bounced back with a 15-touch game
in their Week 6 win over the Giants. Backup Latavius Murray also
got 12 touches, so the touch distribution might have fantasy managers
a bit worried, though this has been the case throughout most of
the season and Cook has continued to put up solid RB2 numbers
most weeks despite having scored just one touchdown on the season
thus far. Cook has touched the ball between 13 times and 21 times
in five of Buffalo’s first six games.
Buffalo’s offense has been struggling a bit over the past
two weeks, scoring just 34 points over those games. They now face
a middle-of-the-road run defense, but an offense of their own
that has scored just 35 points over their past four games combined.
There’s very little chance that the Bills get away from
their run game, which should give Cook a solid floor. The Saints
and Raiders combined for 62 running back rush attempts against
the Patriots over the past two weeks, totaling 289 yards.
Even without standout rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez, the
Patriots did an amazing job of taking away both Chris Olave and
Davante Adams over their past two games. Olave had two catches
for 12 yards, while Adams had two catches for 29 yards. However,
this allowed secondary receivers Michael Thomas (four catches
for 65 yards) and Jakobi Meyers (five catches for 61 yards) to
find more success.
There’s a concern that the Bills will just opt not to pass
much, given that the score could get out of hand early in this
one. Additionally, Davis is coming off of a three-catch, 21-yard
day - his worst fantasy performance of the season so far. It came
on just four targets, marking the fourth time in six games that
he had been kept to four or fewer targets.
Unless he gets lucky and scores multiple touchdowns on a small
target number, Davis just is not likely to produce a truly huge
fantasy day very often. Still, given the high number of byes here
in Week 7, Davis probably needs to be considered a low-end in
a lot of lineups just because he is capable of delivering big
splash plays that save entire fantasy weeks.
Tight end Dalton Kincaid returned to practice earlier this week
after missing Week 6 while recovering from a concussion. A positive
note is that fellow tight end Dawson Knox was not productive even
with Kincaid sidelined, as the veteran caught just three of the
six passes that came his way for 17 yards.
Kincaid has been held to five or fewer receptions in every game
and has not yet exceeded six targets in any contest. He’s
averaging just 6.9 yards per reception and hasn’t yet scored
a touchdown. Tight ends tend to take a while to develop in the
NFL so it’s not surprising that Kincaid hasn’t broken
out yet, but he’s someone who can be benched or even dropped
in shallow leagues.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
There’s not much to like about the New England offense that ranks
31st in the league in points per game, averaging just 12 points
scored per contest. The only player in the New England passing
game who should be inspiring any sort of excitement at all right
now is veteran wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. Bourne has now been
targeted nine or more times in three of the Patriots’ six games.
He leads the team in total targets with 44, with his next closest
teammate, tight end Hunter Henry, having seen just 28 targets
so far. Bourne is a PPR-only option in deep leagues where you’re
starting a lot of players. His upside just isn’t strong enough
to be started as a WR2 or even a WR3.
The dreadfully disappointing season for Patriots running back
Rhamondre Stevenson took a one-game break against the Raiders
this past week. Even though Stevenson carried the ball just 10
times, he produced 46 yards on the ground - a 4.6 yard per carry
average which was by far his best performance of the season. Additionally,
he caught five passes for 24 more yards, which should give us
at least some hope that the Patriots are beginning to manufacture
open-field touches for him.
The Bills have quietly been a good defense for opposing running
backs. Buffalo has given up the 10th-most fantasy points to the
position. Saquon Barkley, Travis Etienne, Devon Achane, and Breece
Hall have all had games where they produced nearly or even well
over 100 total yards against them. Stevenson is not the explosive
player that those backs are, but he’s still seeing a fairly high
number of touches per week right now and that should be enough
to make him a solid RB2 here in Week 7.
Fade: Everyone Else
Offenses that are scoring as few points as the Patriots are just
do not offer enough upside for fantasy managers to trust the individual
players. There are six teams on byes so Mac Jones is probably
a must-start in two-quarterback formats, but there’s probably
a fairly compelling case to be made that you could bench him in
SuperFlex formats in favor of other skill position players who’ve
shown more upside this season. No other players in the Patriots
offense have shown us enough to make them startable fantasy options
at this point.
You can make a decent case that Meyers has shown more chemistry
with Jimmy Garoppolo (back) this season than Adams, but this Sunday
the Raiders will turn to one of their backups. In the one previous
game Jimmy G missed, Meyers had just two receptions for 33 yards.
Despite similar production, Meyers isn’t on Adams’ level in terms
of talent, and backups tend to favor the top guys -- in Week 3,
Meyers was targeted four times to 13 for Adams. He still has potential
as a flex, but it could also be a down week for Meyers.
Garoppolo will officially miss Week 7 due to a back injury suffered
last Sunday. The last time that happened, the Raiders turned to
rookie Aidan O’Connell, who took seven sacks and turned
the ball over three times in a loss to the Chargers. It remains
to be seen who’ll get the nod this weekend, though with
the team at 3-3 and facing a winnable game we’re guessing
they will go with Hoyer. Regardless of who starts, they’re
not worth your time, even facing a subpar Bears secondary.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
It was a bit of a surprise that Roschon Johnson (concussion)
didn’t clear the NFL’s concussion protocol before last Sunday,
and with him missing practice this week, it certainly appears
he’ll miss another game. As such, expect Foreman (15-65-0 in Week
6) to once again man the starting role with Darrynton Evans as
the complement. As a team, the Bears are averaging 4.8 yards per
carry (fifth in the NFL), while Las Vegas is allowing 4.3 YPC.
With Chicago expected to have a first-time starter at quarterback,
Foreman could shoulder a heavy load. He’s a quality RB3 with upside.
After registering a dozen receptions for 127 yards and 3 TDs in
Weeks 4 and 5, Kmet crashed back to Earth last Sunday, hauling
in just two passes for nine yards. The injury to Justin Fields
(thumb) further muddies the tight end’s outlook. On one hand,
Tyson Bagent lacks Fields’ talent. On the other, the rookie could
do a lot of checking down and throwing quick hitters, which could
mean a healthy number of targets for Kmet. While he carries risk,
Kmet should be viewed as a low-end TE1.
Set to make his first NFL start for an injured Fields, Bagent
should be avoided. While he looked decent at times, given the
circumstances, he had two critical turnovers, including a fumble
that was returned for a touchdown. The Raiders have done well
defensively the past two weeks, so this isn’t a matchup
to roll the dice on.
Sam Howell had one of the ugliest single-game performances of
2023 back in Week 3 when he threw four interceptions in Washington’s
blowout loss to Buffalo. With the exception of that game, Howell
has been a consistent fantasy producer as one of the best QB2s
in fantasy or even a low-end QB1 for those in desperation. What’s
perhaps a bit surprising is that he’s actually been doing
it with his arm and not his legs. Howell has now thrown multiple
touchdowns in three games, including back-to-back games in Weeks
5 and 6 against Chicago and Atlanta - two teams that prefer to
keep games low-scoring. He now faces the Giants, a defense that
has intercepted just three passes on the year, so feel confident
in starting Howell this week if you’re in need.
Terry McLaurin was only targeted 16 times over his first three
games, but he’s now seen 26 targets over his past three
games. This has allowed McLaurin to increase both his floor and
ceiling, bringing him solidly back into the fantasy WR2 conversation.
He’s been Sam Howell’s favorite target and should
continue to see plenty of passes come his way this week. The Giants
have given up the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers
so far this season, including a 10-catch game to Stefon Diggs
this past week.
We’ve fallen down this path before, but Curtis Samuel is beginning
to look like a player who fantasy managers need to take notice
of. The veteran “Swiss Army knife” player has now scored a touchdown
in three straight games while being targeted 19 times over that
stretch. His increase in production has corresponded with a drop
in production from Jahan Dotson, so this might actually be more
intentional and schematic than it seems on the surface. It’s tough
to trust any player who’s only seen five or more targets in two
of his six games, but Samuel is an interesting bye-week fill-in
against a bad Giants pass defense.
Dotson was one of the hottest fantasy risers late in draft season,
but things have certainly not worked out for those who took a
chance on the former first-round NFL Draft pick. Dotson has failed
to exceed 40 receiving yards in any contest and has only scored
one touchdown. Worse yet, he’s coming off his lowest usage
game of the season as he was targeted just once in Washington’s
Week 6 victory over Atlanta. He’s still running routes on
87 percent of Washington’s snaps this season, but there’s
not much else to be excited about with him right now.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Giants wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson saw his best usage
of the season this past week as he ran routes on 73 percent of
the team’s pass plays while commanding a 27 percent target
share. That increased usage also resulted in Robinson’s
best fantasy performance yet as he caught all eight of the passes
that came his way for 62 yards. He’s a low-aDOT player who
doesn’t offer a ton of explosiveness, but the Giants’
offense isn’t really pushing the ball down the field much
right now anyway, so he’s locked into a significant role
The Commanders have given up the fifth-most fantasy points per
game to opposing wide receivers, including huge games to Drake
London, D.J. Moore, A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, Marvin Mims, and
Brandon Johnson. This is one of the biggest pass-funnel defenses
in the league and Robinson should have a good chance to exploit
The biggest concern right now is that Robinson is (again) dealing
with another injury, this time a knee that has kept him out of
practice throughout the early part of the week. We’ll need
to keep an eye on him, but he’s a sneaky fantasy starter
if he’s active.
If Robinson is out, fantasy managers could look to his teammate
Darius Slayton. Slayton hasn’t done much this season, but he’s
run routes on well over 80 percent of New York’s pass plays, whereas
no other wide receiver on the team has run routes on more than
51 percent of the team’s pass plays. Slayton is also coming off
of a four-catch, 69-yard day against the Bills on a season-high
six targets - all season highs for him.
The tight end landscape continues to be a total trainwreck, so
there probably aren’t many fantasy teams out there that
could realistically bench him for another player who has a higher
ceiling, but Darren Waller continues to disappoint and has now
gone six games without a touchdown. Additionally, the former Raiders
star has now been held to fewer than 50 receiving yards in four
of his six games.
On a positive note, Washington has given up three touchdowns
to opposing tight ends over their past two games, so perhaps Waller
can finally get into the end zone for his first time in a Giants
Fade: Giants Quarterbacks
We can’t really blame Tyrod Taylor for the Giants’
loss against a much better Bills team, but the truth is that he
just doesn’t bring a lot of upside to this offense as a
whole. He completed 24 passes for just 200 yards on the day, adding
24 yards on the ground.
There’s a chance that Daniel Jones is back this week after
he missed Week 6 with a neck injury, but it’s tough to be
very excited about the quarterback position on this team no matter
who’s behind center. Even if Jones is out there, we have
to be realistic and understand that if his neck is still bothering
him then he’s probably also going to be hesitant to take
off and run, thus limiting the only part of his game where he’s
above average. This is a quarterback situation we’ll want
to avoid, if at all possible, for now.
A journeyman tight end (Jonnu Smith) is matching the production
of Kyle Pitts. That’s all you need to know about Pitts and his
current status as a fantasy option. Drake London emerged last
week and finished with the most receptions and receiving yards
of his young career. But relying on these two, means relying on
QB Desmond Ridder. That’s a terrible position to be in. Plus,
Tampa’s pass defense usually feasts on teams with average passing
games, having limited the Bears and Saints to under 170 yards
passing. That said, London can be used as a WR3 this week with
I remain baffled that Tyler Allgeier has five fewer carries than
Bijan Robinson. Every team in the NFL has a Tyler Allgeier, but
only a few have players the caliber of Robinson. But inexplicably,
the team continues using Allgeier—with his 3.2 ypc compared to
Robinson’s 5.0 ypc—in key situations. I don’t get it. Anyway,
Allgeier is not a fantasy starter. Keep him on your bench.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Chris Godwin is a WR3 in fantasy with upside. That’s not
great, nor is it terrible, but it does make deciding what to do
with him fairly easy on a week-to-week basis. He’s yet to
find the endzone this season, but his 14 receptions on 18 targets
over the past two games gives him a respectable floor.
Meanwhile, Rachaad White has stumbled out the gate in the first
five games of the season. He’s yet to rush for more than
73 yards, but he does supplement his ground production with some
action in the passing game. Not to the degree that it makes up
for the lack of rushing production, but it elevates his floor
somewhat, so he’s not a total dud. White is just too inconsistent
to count on at this point, though.
Mayfield came back down to earth with a loud thud last week against
Detroit after throwing three TDs the prior week against New Orleans.
The Lions held him out of the endzone and limited him to barely
50 percent completion percentage. Mayfield is a streaky QB, so
his up and down play is not a shock. But it is that inconsistency
that keeps Mayfield on fantasy benches or the waiver wire.
With David Montgomery (ribs) set to miss this week, Gibbs (hamstring),
who has sat out the last two games with a hamstring injury, is
expected to return. The rookie hasn’t met expectations thus far,
but in the one game he played without Montgomery, he carried the
ball 17 times for 80 yards -- that came against Atlanta in Week
3. Running the ball is engrained in Detroit’s DNA right now, and
they won’t shy away from it even without their bell cow or against
the league’s No. 10 run defense. Assuming he’s active, Gibbs should
slide into your lineup as a borderline top-20 option.
Put bluntly, Goff has not delivered away from Ford Field during
his tenure with the Lions. Granted, he tallied 353 yards and 2
TDs in Tampa Bay last Sunday, but that was just the second time
in his last 15 road games that he’s thrown for more than
one TD. The Ravens have been a lockdown unit against the pass
as well, trailing only Cleveland in pass defense on the season
at 163.2 yards per game. With injuries and Byes, it’s a
tough week for fantasy owners to find a serviceable option at
quarterback. Even within those constraints, it’s difficult
to advocate slotting Goff in as a QB1.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
While the signing of Odell Beckham Jr. garnered most of the headlines,
through six weeks it’s been Flowers that has emerged as the No.
1 receiver in Charm City. The rookie comfortably leads the club
in targets (48), receptions (35), and receiving yards (367), and
he just scored his first NFL touchdown last Sunday. Detroit has
been tougher on the run than the pass this year, which is enough
to make Flowers a WR2 for Week 7.
Minus J.K. Dobbins (Achilles), Edwards has emerged as the lead
back, tallying 72 carries on the season to 37 for Justice Hill.
His 16-41-0 line from Week 6 shows that he’s been doing a lot
of work between the tackles, and he’s unlikely to find the going
any easier this week against a Lions team that tops the NFL in
run defense (64.7 yards/game). He avoids a full-blown fade designation
because we know the Ravens are committed to running the ball,
so he should have opportunities to overdeliver as an RB3/flex.
The Seahawks have allowed the 2nd most points to wide receivers
his season, but their secondary has been getting healthy and it
looks to be tougher work for receivers going forward. Still, Brown
continues to dominate Arizona's target share even when things
aren't going right (11 targets last week on a 4-catch day) and
he's far away his QB's best option until Michael Wilson develops
more of a route tree. Target volume gives Brown a good chance
to have a decent game despite a matchup that isn't as easy as
the numbers suggest.
On the Fence: N/A
Fade: QB Joshua Dobbs, All Cardinals RB's, All Cardinals TE's
The Seahawks allowed three straight 300-yard passing performances
to start the season, but the Seahawks secondary was dealing with
injuries out of the gate and looks poised to have all of their
key pieces healthy for the first time. Jamaal Adams returned last
week, and the Hawks turned Joe Burrow back into the quarterback
he was Weeks 1 through 3, after he had his first substantial performance
in Week 4.
The only mobile quarterback that the Seahawks have faced prior
to Dobbs has been Daniel Jones, and they dispatched him without
a score while pinning 2 picks to his name. Kyler Murray has hit
the practice field and may be a couple of weeks away from returning.
If you haven't been able to get something on the trade market
for Dobbs yet, this might be your final shot. Take what you can,
you probably won't miss him this week.
The loss of running back James Conner (IR) led to the difficult
task of trying to parse out the value of Keaontay Ingram and Emari
Demarcado. Enter Damien Williams, who essentially erased Demarcado
from the equation. Ingram did manage 12 touches, but Williams
was not far behind with 9 and, unsurprisingly, neither running
back was able to make a significant dent with those touch totals.
The Seahawks are allowing just 2.7 yards per rush this season.
The main avenue to success for anyone in the Cardinals running
back room might be through the air, as the Seahawks have surrendered
at least 5 receptions to a running back each of the last three
weeks. But neither the 31-year-old Williams nor Ingram appear
to be significant receiving threats. This is a situation worth
At tight end, Trey
McBride had a significant performance last week, and this
may indeed signal the moment he begins to usurp Zach
Ertz as Arizona's top TE. Yet it remains to be seen how long
such a transition might take to reach full fruition, and this
is not a great matchup. Bobby Wagner and company have made easy
work of tight ends - the 5th fewest points allowed to the position
- and so it's best not to roll with either Ertz or McBride this
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
The Cardinals have surrendered season-best performances to quarterbacks
Daniel Jones and Joe Burrow - both who have otherwise struggled.
Brock Purdy also had a nearly perfect day against the Cardinals,
throwing just one incomplete pass and picking up his second highest
fantasy total of the season (21.3 points). This matchup has all
of the makings of a get-right game for Geno Smith, just as the
Chargers did for Dak Prescott last week. Smith is still waiting
on the big boost of having a healthy offensive line, but tackle
Charles Cross, guard Phil Haynes and guard Damien Lewis all logging
in limited practices on Wednesday is a meaningful step in the
right direction. There's plenty enough to like in this matchup
to roll with Smith.
Metcalf takes on a Cardinals team that has given up the 7th most
points to wide receivers, and much of that damage has been done
by WR1's. Recently, both Brandon Aiyuk and Cooper Kupp have walloped
the Cards for 148 yards receiving. Between those two outings,
Ja'Marr Chase had a game for the ages, collecting 15 receptions
for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns. The possible return of Budda Baker
(just 1 game played in 2023) is worth noting, but cornerback seems
to be the real issue. Marco Wilson is the only Cardinals cornerback
to have started every game and he's been scorched - allowing 133
passer rating in coverage. Clearly, the Cardinals are looking
for answers at corner and that makes this a rich spot for Metcalf.
Lockett is dealing with a hamstring injury and was limited to
start the week. If he progresses by Friday, he's likely worth
a start. But if he sits or appears headed towards more of a decoy
role, Smith-Njigba should be headed towards a bigger snap count
and target share. Njigba is already coming off of season-highs
in both snap rate (72%) and receiving yards (48).
Fade: Seahawks Tight Ends
Pete Carroll's Tight-End-Go-Round continues to make it difficult
to start Noah Fant,
let alone Colby
Parkinson or Will
Dissly. Most likely, you're looking for Fant to come up with
a touchdown in this one. The bad news is that the Cardinals have
not surrendered a touchdown to any tight end this season. It's
no further comfort that George Kittle had just 1 reception for
9 yards against the Cardinals last week. If you are short at tight
end this week, it's probably best to look elsewhere for help.
Pat Freiermuth and the Steelers roll in to Los Angeles to take
on a Rams defense that hasn't had a lot of answers for the tight
end position since they let Bobby Wagner go during the off-season.
The impact of losing Wagner shows in the numbers: Only the Broncos
and Jets are giving up more than the 12.6 FPtst/G the Rams are
surrendering to opposing tight ends. In Week 4, Dallas Goedert
had his break out party against the Rams, picking up 8 receptions
117 yards and a touchdown. Last week, it was Trey McBride showing
signs that he's ready to take the reins from Zach Ertz, pulling
down 4 receptions for 62 yards.
Opposing teams are liking what they're seeing against the Rams
defenses when it comes to the tight end, as the Colts, Eagles
and Cardinals each targeted their tight ends 10 times versus Los
Angeles. This is a great spot for a once again healthy Freiermuth
to break out.
The Rams are making life difficult for opposing receivers in
2023, and last week Marquise Brown (4-34-0 on 11 targets) was
the latest victim. Only select elite talents have made any noise
against the Rams thus far this year, and the Steelers are lacking
that kind of talent. The best bet is George Pickens this week,
and that's only if the Rams happen to reprimand Derion Kendrick
for his arrest, causing their secondary to get a bit thin.
If there is a weakness to the Rams pass defense right now, it's
that safeties Russ Yeast and Jordan Fuller have both surrendered
over a 100 rating to opposing wideouts, so losing Kendrick could
provide Pickens opportunities to take advantage of the Rams safeties
downfield. The situation is worth monitoring.
The Rams have continued to have mixed results against opposing
QBs, but little of the damage has been done in the passing game.
Los Angeles has given up just 1203 passing yards in six games,
with 3 touchdown tosses against 3 picks. Kenny Pickett lacks the
special QB mobility which the Rams have been vulnerable against.
Alarmingly, he only has 12 yards rushing in five games. Even with
Diontae Johnson likely to return this week and the possibility
that Rams corner Derion Kendrick could be sat following a gun
charge, it's not a particularly good spot for the struggling Pickett.
Meanwhile, 2023 is turning into an even more disappointing season
for Najee Harris than 2022 was. Off-season moves by the Steelers
and the drafting of massive tight end Darnell Washington seemed
to have Pittsburgh blocking scheme moving in the right direction,
but - coupled with a passing game thus far lacking teeth - Harris
continues to face smothering penetration from defenses.
Harris, for his part, has broken a tackle once every 7.9 rushes,
one of the best totals in the league. He's also broken three tackles
on just 5 receptions, but there's been no space to work with,
and it's not poised to get easier going on the road against an
Aaron Donald-led Rams defense that has given up just the 25th
most points the running backs. Najee's fortunes could improve
in the weeks ahead, especially as young blocking talent gains
experience and perhaps the offensive line develops some chemistry,
but this is not likely to be the week that jump starts Harris's
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Matthew Stafford is third in passing yards with 1677, and he
faces an opponent in the Steelers who have surrendered a pair
of three hundred passing yard performances to opposing quarterbacks,
and have yet to allow less than 220 yards through the air. With
Kyren Williams out, Ronnie Rivers sent to the IR and Cam Akers
traded, the Rams are going to have to dig deep at running back
and that might mean Stafford threatens a season high in passing
The other side of the coin is that Stafford has yet to top 20
fantasy points and has just one multi-touchdown passing performance.
The hope for Stafford this week is that he might be able to approach
400 yards passing in a high-volume performance against the Steelers
defense, and perhaps have his second multi-touchdown effort without
much of a running game to turn to near the goal line.
Meanwhile, the Steelers have allowed the 3rd most points to wide
receivers, having given up three massive performances. We know
what Kupp can do and the question is going to be a continuous
one for the Rams: is there enough meat on the bone available for
Pittsburgh hasn't been vulnerable to WR2's or 3's, giving up
just one double-digit performance to the 2nd and 3rd options (Jakobi
Meyers). In Nacua's favor is the fact that the Rams are likely
to lean harder on their passing game. Nacua can be thought of
as a borderline flex option this week, and for those in a pinch,
the hope is that Nacua could see double-digit targets.
Evans will the the third-string RB behind Royce Freeman and Darrell
Despite facing the likes of George Kittle, Mark Andrews, and
Dalton Schultz this year, the Steelers have given up just 17 receptions
for 176 yards and 1 touchdown to tight ends. For Higbee, it was
devastating to his prospects that Cooper Kupp looks like he hasn’t
lost a beat, but Pucua Nacua and Tutu Atwell, both acquitted themselves
very well in Kupp's absence. Nacua, particularly, has maintained
major relevance and has amassed 18 targets since Kupp's return
two weeks ago - he still leads the NFL in receptions. As a result,
It's very difficult for a tight end who falls to third or fourth
option for his quarterback to succeed in fantasy football without
a friendly match up and/or special talent. Higbee has neither
in his favor, so he is a sensible sit this week.
Zach Evans was selected in the 6th round by the Rams this season,
and on paper he appears to be their top option at running back
this week. Yet the Rams have signed veteran Darrell Henderson
to the practice squad, who has plenty of experience with the team,
having played 50 games with Los Angeles and started 28 during
his career. Henderson could take on early-down work as Evans never
handled more than 12 carries per game during college, whereas
Henderson handled as many as 16 per game at Mississippi.
The Rams have also already elevated Royce Freeman to the active
roster from the practice squad. Freeman is the most sizable of
the three, at 6 feet tall and 238 pounds. In their respective
pro careers, both Freeman and Henderson have handled 15 or more
carries on numerous occasions, with Henderson going over 20 carries
in a game as recently as 2021. But keep in mind that it's been
Evans who has been on the active roster all along, making the
situation completely murky.
Expect Henderson to be called up to the active roster as early
as this weekend, and then it will be anyone's guess who Sean McVay
calls on most against the Steelers. If there is an upshot, it's
that the Steelers have twice surrendered a 100-yard to a rusher
this year. But that came in the season's first two weeks, and
the Steelers defense has been healthier since, holding respective
team-leading ball carriers Josh Jacobs, Dameon Pierce and Gus
Edwards to just 3.6 yards per rush and 1 touchdown.
This is really a bet against the Broncos defense, more than a
bet on Jordan Love. Love disappointed against the Raiders two
weeks ago, and he's been extremely dependent on touchdowns, completing
just 56% of his passes and throwing for merely 217 yards per game,
but he does have rushing upside (21.8 rushing yards per game and
2 rushing touchdowns).
The Broncos just surrendered their third 300-yard passing game
last week, and while that was against Patrick Mahomes, they surrendered
335 yards passing to Justin Fields the week before - easily his
career high. Additionally, had Sam Howell come away with just
1 more passing yard in Week 2, it'd actually be four three-hundred
yard passing performances allowed through six games.
The two games where the Broncos have avoided QB's racking up
passing yards against them were versus Zach Wilson (199 yards)
and Jimmy Garoppolo (200 yards). The Broncos have also surrendered
four multi-touchdown games to QBs, including a pair of 4 touchdown
performances - right up Jordan Love's alley. Green Bay also had
a bye week with which to run Love through extra reps of the game
plan, which bodes well against a Broncos team that seems lost.
Denver has also been taken to task by tight ends, allowing the
most fantasy points per game to the position. Logan Thomas (9.2
pts), Cole Kmet (24.1), Tyler Conklin (8.7) and - quite unsurprisingly
- Travis Kelce (16.9) have all easily finished the week among
the Top 10 performers when taking on Denver. The only exceptions
came via the Las Vegas TE quagmire, and from Miami’s blocking
TE Durham Smythe. While Luke Musgrave is a rookie and still polishing
his game, his 23 targets are third on the Packers and he has no
serious contender on the roster for opportunities at the position.
He fits the bill of being the kind of tight end to enjoy a good
day against Denver.
While the Broncos have been scorched by opposing quarterbacks,
wide receivers have been merely middle-of-the-pack against this
defense. Patrick Surtain is a large reason for this. Opponents
have had success moving their go-to receiver around, particularly
into the slot. Christian Watson has only played about 30% of his
snaps in the slot thus far in his career, but the Packers may
increase that total this week in order to try and free him up
While wide receivers haven't dominated Denver, it's been a different
story with running backs. The Broncos (and Panthers) are in another
stratosphere when it comes to allowing running backs to have huge
days. Five different running backs have registered a twenty-plus
point performance against them. The question is, which Green Bay
running back takes advantage of it?
In Aaron Jones' absence two weeks ago, AJ Dillon saw 20 carries.
If Aaron Jones - limited participant on Wednesday/Thursday - isn't
able to get back from his hamstring injury this week, Dillon is
a must start. But if Jones is able to return, his all-around ability
as a runner and receiver makes him a surefire start at RB1. If
you roster either back, keep a close eye on Jones' status as the
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
The Broncos running back room is crowded. The Packers have been
vulnerable to running backs both in terms of the ground game (107
yards per game and 5 TDs) and the passing game (32 receptions
allowed), but Samaje Perine and recent committee addition Jaleel
McLaughlin are likely to share pass catching duties and could
split the rushing touches that don't go to Javonte Williams.
Williams still remains the favorite to lead the team in rushes
and to be featured at the goal line, but in his four healthy games
he's only seen between 10 and 13 rushes, meaning he'll have to
make the most of his opportunities to pay off. The matchup is
good enough to consider him a borderline flex.
Wilson currently sits just inside the top 12 in QB fantasy points
per game, but he's amassed that with the benefit of a light schedule
that included Washington, Miami and Chicago - three of the eight
friendliest defenses for quarterbacks this year.
Enter Green Bay, whom quarterbacks haven't had much luck against
- aside from a surprise top 10 finish from Desmond Ridder. Ridder's
237 passing yards have been the ceiling to-date, and no other
QB has mustered a multi-touchdown performance versus the Pack.
To this point, the Chiefs are the toughest fantasy defense that
Wilson has faced, and he was unable to even reach double figures.
Discussion continues to grow about the possibility of Wilson
being benched. Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap recently highlighted
that Wilson's guaranteed money for 2024 would nearly double if
he were to get injured this season. It's possible that Wilson
ends up making a similar exit to that of former-Raider Derek Carr
last year. While such a benching - if it occurs - is more probable
later in the season, no two situations are the same and the risk
grows with the increasing possibility that the Broncos have a
shot at the first overall pick in next year’s draft.
As with the Cardinals Joshua Dobbs, it’s worth considering
keeping Wilson out of your line up and - if you can find a desperate
suitor - trading him away. With recent injuries at the position
and bye weeks in play, this might be your window to get some kind
The Chiefs have made life hard for running backs in 2023. As
a matter of fact, David Montgomery's 13.4 fantasy points in Week
1 is the most they've allowed to any running back this year. Alexander
Mattison is the only other RB to even break double digits. Mattison
and Montgomery needed a score to get to double figures, and that's
the only two scores the Chiefs have surrendered to backs thus
Austin Ekeler enters this hostile situation coming off of a disappointing
performance (just 27 yards rushing and 62 total yards with no
scores), but was encouraging from a touch stand point (18). Ekeler
(ankle) appears to have gotten through the game without any harm,
and looking ahead to a game where the Chargers may find themselves
trailing, Ekeler should see more than enough volume through the
air to at least chase RB2 status.
In two games since Mike Williams went on the IR, Palmer has amassed
15 targets and recorded 7 receptions for 137 yards. Much like
last season, injuries have moved Palmer up the target tree and
put him in WR3/4 territory. Consider him on that fringe against
a Chiefs defense that has played pretty well, but may force Justin
Herbert into position to throw a lot of passes.
The Chiefs have faced the likes of Sam LaPorta, Evan Engram,
Cole Kmet and T.J. Hockenson at tight end thus far. They've yet
to surrender more than 8.7 points to any of them (Engram). Gerald
Everett is not on the level of these four tight ends, and he's
stuck behind Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Josh Palmer on the
target tree. Speaking of trees, 6’8” Donald Parham has more than
nipped into Everett's red zone opportunities, with 3 touchdowns.
That's bad news for a guy whose fantasy relevance is largely touchdown
dependent, especially against a tough Chiefs defense.
If the outlook is tough for Gerald Everett, it's not much better
for rookie wide receiver Quentin Johnston. Johnston has been targeted
just 13 times - six less than Everett - and has played just 33
percent of offensive snaps. The injury to Mike Williams has led
Johnston to see a boost in snaps (about 50%) over the last two
weeks, but even that bounce hasn't led to production (1 reception
on 5 targets over that span).
With a season high of 18 yards to this point, it's looking more
and more like there may be a lot of similarity between Johnston's
rookie campaign and the rookie year of the guy he's slated to
replace. One can hope that the long-term results also match, as
Johnston becoming the next Mike Williams would hardly be a bad
thing. For now, it's best to sit him against a Chiefs defense
that has given up the 9th fewest points to wide receivers.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
The Chargers have allowed 8 receivers to reach double figure
point totals in just five games. Tyreek Hill, River Cracraft,
Justin Jefferson and Brandin Cooks have all had their season high
performance against Los Angeles. There's no shame in getting done
in by Hill or Jefferson, but for Cracraft and Cooks, it's been
their only respective double-digit outputs to-date. The Chiefs
lack a stud wide receiver, and largely lack wideouts with a large
enough role to bank on, but Rashee Rice has fleshed out enough
of an opportunity to like him in this spot.
Rice leads Chiefs wideouts in targets (28), receptions (21),
reception rate (75%), success rate (61%) and touchdowns (2). Only
Travis Kelce has been thrown to more by Patrick Mahomes than Rice.
Against the Chargers secondary, it only took Cracraft and Cooks
a grand total of 5 and 4 targets, respectively, to have their
best day of the season, and Rice should see at least that many
targets this weekend.
Toney has now seen 6 targets each of the last two weeks, and
he's also handled 3 rushes and thrown a pass during that time.
The rushes have amounted to negative 4 yards and the pass fell
incomplete, but it remains evident that Andy Reid has expectations
that Toney can and will make plays.
The Chiefs are clearly trying to utilize Toney in big spots.
As such, Toney did come away with a touchdown last week and has
8 total catches in the last two matchups. His snap rate has also
jumped to 40% over the last two games, after peaking at 28% in
the Week 2.
As with Rice, the matchup is so good that four or five touches
may be more than enough to produce flex value, and Toney has a
number of ways to get there. He comes with a bit more risk than
Rice, of course, as he hardly played in Week 3 (just 2 snaps)
and he has a history of soft tissue injuries. Consider him a boom-or-bust
option at flex versus the Chargers.
The Chiefs wide receivers remain the weekly story and no one
more so than Skyy Moore. The writing may be on the wall for now.
Coming into the year, one of the roles which Moore was supposed
to absorb was that of former (and now current Chief) Mercole Hardman.
With Hardman reacquired this week via a trade with the Jets, and
likely needing little time to get reacquainted with his old offense,
it's appears that Moore stands to be the biggest loser as a result.
Moore hasn't really done much to the point to warrant a start
on your roster, anyway, but this is probably the kiss that seals
With 19 targets over his past two games, Jaylen Waddle is back
in the good graces of fantasy managers after producing back-to-back
double-digit fantasy days with a touchdown. We’ve been waiting
for the breakout and it’s finally here. Now the Dolphins
face an Eagles defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy
points per game to opposing wide receivers. We know that Tyreek
Hill is going to get his, but there should still be plenty of
meat left on the bone for Waddle. Fire him up as a high-level
WR2 with legit WR1 upside.
We now have a six-game sample size where the Miami backfield
has been dominating for fantasy. It’s primarily been Raheem
Mostert with Devon Achane having a short stint as the RB1 before
he got injured, but this past week we saw Salvon Ahmed get into
the end zone for the first time as he carried the ball six times
for 23 yards and added three receptions for 11 yards in the passing
game. Ahmed’s usage has some fantasy managers interested
as we’ve seen the Dolphins implement a dual-headed backfield
in just about every game, but we should be cautious as the Dolphins
have also played in quite a few games where they’ve blown
out their competition, giving them incentive to rest their starting
The other thing we need to pay attention to is that Jeff Wilson
has been practicing fully throughout the week and it appears likely
that he will return here in Week 7. Wilson has a history of being
utilized in this backfield and there’s a good chance that
he’d actually be given the mop-up duty in the scenario where
the Dolphins got ahead by multiple scores. Of course, the Dolphins
might also opt to limit his touches and instead turn this into
a three-headed backfield, which would make both Ahmed and Wilson
very shaky plays.
Both players are worth stashing in deep leagues, but let’s
try to get a better understanding of how they’ll be utilized
before we put them in our starting lineups.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
While he didn’t match his monstrous Week 5 performance
of 117 receiving yards, fantasy managers should still be confident
in Philadelphia tight end Dallas Goedert after he was targeted
eight times in Week 6. Goedert has now seen at least seven targets
in four of Philadelphia’s first six games, making him one
of the higher floor players at the position even though he’s
only had one real difference-making performance.
Goedert now faces a Dolphins defense that has given up the 12th-most
fantasy points to opposing tight ends so far this season. The
best tight ends they’ve faced have been Darren Waller, who
scored 16.6 fantasy points against them, and Hunter Henry, who
scored 17.2 fantasy points against them. This is a great matchup
for Goedert and one that he should be able to exploit.
The Eagles offense struggled mightily against a good Jets defense
this past week, but one player who’s been struggling for
much longer than that is wide receiver DeVonta Smith. Smith was
targeted 11 times in the loss to New York but managed to haul
in just five of those passes for 44 yards and he’s now been
held to single-digit fantasy points in three of his past four
games. In fact, Smith has now been held to fewer than 50 receiving
yards in four of the Eagles’ six games played. Smith is
certainly one of the better WR2s in the league, but Hurts’
inaccuracy as a passer has really hurt him.
Additionally, Smith has been sitting out of practice with a nagging
hamstring injury - something he’s been dealing with since
Week 3. We shouldn’t expect that he’s going to miss
this game, but he might not be operating at full capacity and
that makes him an even riskier play than he normally would be.
The positive is that Smith does now face a Miami defense that
has given up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers,
so don’t take this as a “must-bench.” Rather,
limit your expectations of him right now because things have been
ugly and we probably want to see him produce before having our
normal confidence in him.
In absorbing his first regular-season loss, Purdy struggled.
He completed just 12 of 27 passes for 125 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
Expect the second-year pro to rebound on Monday night. The 49ers
could be missing a couple important pieces, though both McCaffrey
and Deebo Samuel (shoulder) have a chance to play. Either way,
the 49ers have the talent to put points on the board, especially
against a middling defense like the Vikings. In a thin week for
the position, Purdy has top-10 upside.
Samuel departed the team’s Week 6 loss with a shoulder
injury early on, finishing the day without a reception. The physical
wideout entered the year as the top receiver on the club, but
he’s fallen behind Aiyuk at this point and is operating
more as a high-end gadget guy, averaging 77.2 combined yards per
game (excluding last Sunday). With the possibility that he’ll
be inactive or, even worse, limited Monday night, you shouldn’t
view him as more than a WR3 if he suits up.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Addison got his first taste of life as a No. 1 receiver last Sunday,
and the results were mixed. He was targeted five times, catching
three for 28 yards and a touchdown, the fourth of his rookie year.
The low yardage was disappointing given he was facing the Bears,
which boast one of the NFL’s worst defenses. The going will
be tougher this Monday against the 49ers, though the success Amari
Cooper enjoyed while catching balls from P.J. Walker at least
provides hope that Addison can be a WR3.
Through his first three games of 2023, Cousins averaged 358 yards,
3 TDs, and 0.67 INTs per contest. Over the last three, that drops
to 201 yards, 1.67 TDs, and 0.67 INTs. The 49ers rank 10th in
pass defense (197.8 yards per game), and they’ve racked
up 10 picks on the season versus only five touchdown passes. If
you have any kind of decent alternative, Cousins is best left
on your bench for Week 7.