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Inside the Matchup
Week 6
10/11/18; Updated: 10/12/18

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Justin Bales



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:




- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Eagles at Giants - (Katz)
Line: PHI -3.0
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Caron Wentz is back. He is showing no restrictions from his surgically reconstructed knee throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns last week. Alshon Jeffery was predictably erased by Xavier Rhodes so Wentz leaned on Zach Ertz (10-110-1). Ertz now has double digit targets in every game this season and double digit receptions in three games. The Giants are only allowing 229 passing yards per game, but they actually have one of the weaker schedule adjusted pass defenses. Outside of the Saints, the Giants haven’t faced a single top half of the league passing offense. This is a great spot for Jeffery to bounce back, but Nelson Agholor could run into trouble as he’s been relegated to the third option in this passing game. Perhaps it is Wentz related, but since Wentz took over, Agholor, who caught 16 balls over his first two games with Nick Foles, has caught a total of 13 passes over the last three games.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: The Eagles only ran the ball 12 times last week as they were in comeback mode, but, once again, no Eagles RB reached the 50% snap threshold. Both Jay Ajayi and Wendell Smallwood played 49% of the snaps with Smallwood more involved in the passing game with a 3-44-1 line. Smallwood is a better player and now no longer has to worry about Ajayi stealing snaps after he tore his ACL against the Vikings. The Eagles offense revolves around Wentz, which means Smallwood is a solid play. He will split the work with Corey Clement, who has missed the last two games with a quad issue. Josh Adams will enter the rotation as well, but look for this to be more of a 45-45-10 split. The Giants are coming off a game where they mostly contained Christian McCaffrey on the ground (17-58), but did allow him to catch five passes. The Giants are allowing 4.6 yards per carry against and the Eagles have a strong run blocking offensive line.

Value Meter:
QB1: Carson Wentz (low end)
WR2: Alshon Jeffery (low end)
TE1: Zach Ertz (elite)
Flex: Nelson Agholor, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement
Bench: Jordan Matthews

Passing Game Thoughts: Eli Manning threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers, but also had two very bad interceptions. Odell Beckham Jr. finally caught a touchdown, but not before he threw one to Saquon Barkley. Beckham has nothing to fear from an Eagles secondary that was just thrashed by Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs for a combined 17-207-1. Beckham should show well on Thursday along with Sterling Shepard, who has excelled in Evan Engram’s absence. I fully expect Engram to return Week 7 so Shepard owners should enjoy one last hurrah as the clear second option in the passing game. The Eagles are currently ranked bottom 10 in pass defense and they allow 277 passing yards per game. On a short week, you never know how players will perform, but this is a game where the Giants should lean more on the pass to score points.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley has nowhere to run, but is such a talented player that he still posts elite fantasy numbers through his receiving ability. Barkley managed just 48 yards on 15 carries last week, but added a season high 81 receiving yards on four receptions, including two that went for scores. Barkley is one of the select few reliable RB1s. The Eagles only allow 3.4 yards per carry to opposing rushers and are a top half team at defending running back receptions, but Barkley is such a heavy piece of the Giants’ offense that it doesn’t matter. He will volume his way to RB1 numbers and if he’s efficient, or if he can score, he will post elite numbers.

Value Meter:
QB2: Eli Manning (mid-range)
RB1: Saquon Barkley (mid-range)
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr. (elite)
WR2: Sterling Shepard (low end)
Bench: Evan Engram (MCL), Rhett Ellison

Prediction: Eagles 26, Giants 20 ^ Top

Bucs at Falcons - (Bales)
Line: ATL -3.0
Total: 57.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Atlanta Falcons have struggled against the pass, allowing 277 passing yards per game this season. They have also allowed 12 passing touchdowns with only four interceptions through five games. Jameis Winston will draw the start coming off of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bye week. He attempted 20 passes in his only half on the field this season, and he could see 35+ attempts this week if his workload mirrors Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started during Winston’s suspension. Given the high projected total, this a great spot for everyone involved in the Bucs passing game.

Mike Evans has been enjoying an elite season, averaging a 7.3 / 106.5 / 0.8 line on 9.8 targets per game. He also leads the Bucs with a 26.2% target share. DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin have both looked outstanding, somewhat splitting snaps. Jackson has needed only 22 targets to record 17 receptions for 424 yards and three touchdowns. He has scored 15+ fantasy points in three of his four games this season. Godwin hasn’t been quite as successful, posting a 15/193/3 line on 22 targets, but has also scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his four games. It’s worth mentioning that Adam Humphries has been a long-time favorite of Jameis Winston, and he saw a season-high seven targets last week. Cameron Brate’s status is dependent on O.J. Howard’s status. If Howard (knee) is healthy, they will split snaps and neither make great options. If Howard is out, Brate will make a great option in this game.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: The Falcons have struggled against the run this season, allowing their opponents to average 121.4 rush yards per game. That may not matter, though, as the Bucs are utilizing a running back by committee approach. Ronald Jones saw his first action of the season against the Chicago Bears during the fourth week. He will likely lead the Bucs in touches over Peyton Barber this week, but neither has performed well enough to be used this week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jameis Winston (high-end)
WR1: Mike Evans (mid-range)
WR2: DeSean Jackson (high-end)
WR3: Chris Godwin
TE1: Cameron Brate (if O.J. Howard is out)
Bench: Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber

Passing Game Thoughts: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have featured the worst pass defense in the NFL this season, allowing a league-high 358 passing yards per game. They have also allowed 13 passing touchdowns with only one interception through four games. Matt Ryan has looked elite at home, where he’s averaging 355 passing yards and 3.3 passing touchdowns per game this season. Ryan has also scored 29+ fantasy points in each of his three home games.

Julio Jones has been an elite option, totaling 34 receptions for 564 yards, although he has yet to find the end zone. It’s only a matter of time before he sees positive touchdown regression, right? Mohamed Sanu ranks second on the Falcons in targets (31), and he has been heating up recently. After recording a 6/35/0 line in his first two games, he has posted a 14/220/2 line over his last three games, scoring double-digit fantasy points in each of those games. Calvin Ridley is the other receiver that can be considered, as he has flashed elite upside. He struggled a bit in his last game, but posted 16.7, 40.5, and 21.5 fantasy points in his three games prior. Austin Hooper is coming off of his best game of the season, catching nine passes for 77 yards on 12 targets. He gets an elite matchup, as the Bucs rank near the bottom of the NFL against tight ends. The entire passing attack can be considered in this matchup.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Devonta Freeman returned from injury last week, splitting snaps with Tevin Coleman. Neither player looked great in that game and Tampa Bay is allowing only 87.8 rushing yards per game this season. Freeman and Coleman both come with some upside, but this is a situation that is better to avoid, especially in this matchup. If you’re in a tight spot and Freeman (toe) is ruled out, then Coleman becomes a viable option as he’s likely to 18 to 21 touches. Ito Smith would also see carries in a backup role if Freeman is ruled out.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (elite)
WR1: Julio Jones (elite)
WR2: Mohamed Sanu (mid-range)
WR3: Calvin Ridley (boom or bust)
TE1: Austin Hooper (low-end)
Flex: Tevin Coleman (if Freeman is out)
Bench: Devonta Freeman

Prediction: Falcons 35, Bucs 31 ^ Top

Steelers @ Bengals - (Swanson)
Line: CIN -2.0
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Ben Roethlisberger has been a fantasy stud through the first five games of the season, with four games of at least 22 fantasy points, including a 41.5 behemoth at home against the Chiefs Week 2. Although he enters Week 6 as the No.8 ranked fantasy quarterback in points per game, Big Ben is on pace to set a career-best of 27.4 FPts/G, nearly five points per game higher than his 2009 season when he threw for 4,328 yards and 26 touchdowns.

As is often the case with squeaky wheel superstars who complain about not getting production, Antonio Brown came through with six catches for 101 yards and two scores last week. It was the first 20-plus point game for Brown and the first time he reached the century mark in yardage this season.

Brown’s elevated usage and strong play by the Steelers defense relegated JuJu Smith-Schuster to just four catches for 34 yards on four targets. Although the second-year budding star salvaged his low volume day with a touchdown, he now has failed to reach double figures in both of his previous two games after starting off hot.

Both players are excellent starts and must-plays this week against the Bengals secondary that allows the 18-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Five wide receivers, including all three Atlanta wide receivers, reached double-digit fantasy points against Cincinnati this season. The Bengals have done a decent job in limiting opposing wide receivers to just five total touchdowns in five games, but they have allowed 73 catches so far in 2018, which is tied with New England for the seventh-most.

Tight ends have also found success against the Bengals (ninth-most points to opposing TE), making Vance McDonald an interesting high-risk/high/reward play. But starting McDonald could backfire, like the one catch, six-yard turd he gave to his fantasy owners in Week 5.

One factor that could make the tight end matchup more favorable for Big Ben is the likely absence of starting linebacker Preston Brown who left last week’s game against the Dolphins with an ankle injury.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: James Conner came through with a big day against the Falcons last week, with 185 total yards and two touchdowns. It was the second 30-plus point game for the second-year back from the University of Pittsburgh and the second time in which Connor reached the century mark in rushing yards. With the likely return of Le’Veon Bell just two weeks away, Conner is making a case to still be involved in the offense even with Bell back, and he is also making the thought of trading Bell more palatal for Steeler fans.

It will be interesting to see if Conner will be able to parlay his Week 5 performance into another strong showing against the Bengals. Although Cincy ranks 12th in fantasy points allowed to RBs, they have allowed only two rushing touchdowns on the year. Aside from Christian McCaffrey’s 184-yard game Week 3, no other back has managed to run for more than 63 yards.

On the positive note for Conner owners, he should be able to make up for any shortcomings on the ground with a strong showing in the air. The Bengals can be beaten in the air, as evident by the seven-catch performance last week by Kenyon Drake and the fact that the Bengals are tied with the Jets for seventh in catches allowed out of the backfield.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger (Mid-Range)
RB1: James Conner (Low-End)
WR1: Antonio Brown (High-End)
WR2: JuJu Smith-Schuster (High-End)
TE1: Vance McDonald (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: You may not know it based on the fact that he currently ranks 15th overall among fantasy quarterbacks, but Andy Dalton is on pace to set career highs in passing touchdowns, passing yards, completion percentage, and fantasy points. The Red Rifle reached the 20-point plateau in four of his five games, highlighted by a 30.2-point barrage in Week 4 against the Falcons.

As one would expect of a quarterback having a solid start to the season, star wide receiver A.J. Green is also off to a great start, with 409 yards and five receiving touchdowns. Like Dalton, Green is well on his way to posting career numbers accros the board, and his 14.2 fantasy points per game ranks just behind Adam Thielen and Cooper Kupp.

Two other significant factors that have propelled the Bengals to 4-1 atop the AFC North are the improved play of the offensive line and the emergence of Joe Mixon as one of the most talented and multi-dimensional tailbacks in the NFL. With an offensive line giving Dalton more time to pass, the Bengals rank 16th in total offense this season after finishing dead last in 2017.

The good times should continue to roll for Dalton and the skill portion players for the Bengals this week with Pittsburgh coming to town. Only the lowly Bucs have allowed more points to opposing quarterbacks than the Steelers, and only the Bucs and Saints have allowed more points to wide receivers. Everyone should fire up all of their shares of Green, Tyler Boyd, and Mixon, and Dalton is an attractive play in both cash and tournament DFS. The odds-makers in Vegas believe this game will be the second-highest scoring contest this week after the Tampa Bay/Atlanta game, and fantasy owners should try to get a piece wherever possible.

The Steelers enter the game relatively healthy on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive back Morgan Burnett is dealing with a groin injury that forced him to miss Sunday’s game against the Falcons. Also, starting linebacker Vince Williams was unable to play Week 5 due to a hamstring injury. Both players will likely be questionable for the game on Sunday against the Bengals.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon showed no signs of lingering issues from a knee procedure that cost the former Oklahoma Sooner two weeks of action. Mixon showed a quick burst and power out of his cuts last week against the Dolphins, with 115 total yards and one receiving touchdown for 17.5 fantasy points. Although the sample size is limited, Mixon ranks eighth among running backs this season in average points per game, ahead of first-round picks Zeke Elliott and Kareem Hunt.

Mixon’s value may be found more in the receiving game this week as opposed to on the ground against a Steelers team that allows the fifth-fewest points to running backs. Running up the middle against Cam Heyward, Javon Hargrave, and Stephon Tuitt has proven to be a difficult task, and something teams have tried to avoid, especially when the Steeler pass defense is so poor.

But that doesn’t mean that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will not try to establish the run with the hope of slowing down the pace of the game and establishing play action passing for Dalton. Although the Bengals offense is much improved, they do not want to get into a shootout against the Steelers.

Value Meter:
QB1: Andy Dalton (Low-End)
RB1: Joe Mixon (Low-End)
WR1: A.J. Green (High-End)
WR2: Tyler Boyd (Low-End)
TE2: C.J. Uzomah (High-End)

Prediction: Bengals 34, Steelers 28 ^ Top

Chargers @ Browns - (Krueger)
Line: Pick
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Philip Rivers has been what we’ve expected, throwing at least 2 TDs in every game and giving you roughly low-end QB1 production. Through five weeks he ranks as the QB12 for quarterbacks that have played more than two games, despite being a zero in the running game. The passing attack spreads the ball around to three different receivers and two different running backs making it difficult to get ceiling games from Keenan Allen who’s primarily used on short, low aDOT throws. With Travis Benjamin (foot) a candidate for the inactive list, the target distribution should be condensed to Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams. Tight ends Antonio Gates and Virgil Green simply do not receive enough opportunities to be considered as anything more than a dart throw.

The Browns have done a respectable job on defense this season ranking in the middle of the pack in FPts allowed to quarterbacks and receivers with only 7 passing TDs allowed and two receivers (JuJu Smith-Schuster, Amari Cooper) to gain over 100 yards. With an over/under in the mid-40s it’s unlikely this game shoots out which is likely to keep Rivers in the low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 area. Vertical receivers haven’t found the endzone against this Browns secondary with Ted Ginn Jr. (4-55-0), Robby Anderson (2-22-0) and John Brown (4-58-0) turning in mediocre performances meaning Allen is most likely to have a big game over one the Williams brothers (yes, I know they’re not brothers) who are seeing roughly 4 targets per game.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Through five games Melvin Gordon has been performing like a first round draft pick totaling 6 touchdowns and ranking as the RB3 in both PPR and non-PPR leagues. Gordon is also bucking his inefficient label, currently sporting a healthy 4.6 yards per carry. He’s sharing a 75-25 split with Austin Ekeler who’s carved out a meaningful role in this offense especially as a receiver where’s he’s already notched three touchdowns from Philip Rivers. You may consider the Chargers to be a pass-first team, but they rank 16th in rushing attempts per game, squarely in the middle of the pack and 21st in pass attempts per game.

Cleveland has given up the 11th most fantasy points to running backs this season, getting blasted by James Conner in Week 1 (31-135-2; 5-57-0) and Marshawn Lynch (20-130-0, 3-27) in Week 4. They righted the ship against the Jets running back duo in Week 3 and limited the Ravens’ runners to modest totals in Week 5. The Chargers use of their running backs gives Gordon a safe floor against the Browns who have yet give up a receiving touchdown to a running back.

Value Meter:
QB2: Philip Rivers (high-end)
RB1: Melvin Gordon
WR2: Keenan Allen (low-end)
WR3: Mike Williams
Flex: Austin Ekeler
Bench: Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates

Passing Game Thoughts: Since taking over the starting job in Week 4, Baker Mayfield has turned a QB18 and a QB13 performance while scoring roughly 23 fantasy points in each contest. In a season where quarterback scoring is through the roof, 3 passing TDs in two games isn’t enough to crack QB1 status. Mayfield’s passing options took a hit last week with Rashard Higgins leaving early with a sprained MCL. In his place, Derrick Willies (?) saw 5 targets, catching 3 for 61 yards. We could assume with a week to gameplan that Higgins’ normal target share will be spread across to Jarvis Landry, Antonio Calloway and tight end David Njoku with Willies seeing more like three targets in a typical game flow. Speaking of Njoku, he’s racked up 18 targets since Mayfield took over and makes for fine TE1 option, yes even against safety Derwin James who’s had a fine start to his rookie season.

The Chargers have struggled getting sacks this year and have given up the 9th most fantasy points to quarterbacks but those stats are skewed a bit by the four-touchdown game allowed to Patrick Mahomes in Week 1. Still, this is a decent spot for Mayfied who’s is in line to produce his typical solid QB2 performance that should feature a lot of medium depth looks for Jarvis Landry and Njoku. Callaway has struggled with efficiency this year catching 13 of 29 targets and will likely need to find the endzone to hit value.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: Carlos Hyde continues to lead the Browns backfield in touches each week but lacks efficiency and lacks targets in the passing game. Duke Johnson continues to be underutilized seeing about 5 touches per game. Johnson has yet to find the endzone had has been a bust for fantasy owners hoping a change in offensive coordinator would breathe new life into the pass-catching back. A week after rushing 3 times for 105 yards and 2 TDs, you might think Nick Chubb would be primed for an increase in opportunities. Nope. He got his 3 carries which turned into 2 yards.

The Chargers have faced the second-fewest rushing attempts (87) for any team that’s played five games so it’s not surprising they’ve given up only two rushing TDs on the season. Todd Gurley is the only RB to crack the 100-yard mark against them while Kareem Hunt (49), LeSean McCoy (39), and Marshawn Lynch (31) have all been held to under 50 yards rushing.. There’s nothing in this matchup that suggests Hyde, Duke and Nick Chubb will depart from their normal roles, meaning Hyde is an uninspiring TD-dependent RB2 while Johnson and the rookie can be left on your bench.

Value Meter:
QB1: Baker Mayfield (low-end)
RB2: Carlos Hyde
WR2: Jarvis Landry
TE1: David Njoku
Bench: Duke Johnson, Nick Chubb, Antonio Callaway

Prediction: Chargers 27, Browns 24 ^ Top

Bills at Texans - (Bales)
Line: HOU -10.0
Total: 41.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Simply put, there is very little to like about the Buffalo Bills passing game. Josh Allen has flashed upside because of his rushing potential, but he has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in each of his last three starts. Houston has been an average team against the pass this season, but there’s very little reason to believe Allen will have much success this week. Zay Jones has been the best receiver for the Bills, and he has totaled 13 receptions for 164 yards through five games. It is one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL, and there isn’t a single receiver or tight end that should be considered in this matchup.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy hasn’t been given a large workload for the most part this season, but that wasn’t the case last week. In his last game, McCoy totaled 108 yards on 26 touches, although he didn’t find the end zone. Houston has looked outstanding against the run this season as they are allowing only 3.4 yards per carry. Buffalo could be down early in this game, making a McCoy a player to avoid in negative game script.

Value Meter:
Bench: LeSean McCoy, Josh Allen, Zay Jones, Kelvin Benjamin, Charles Clay

Passing Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson has been playing at a high level for the most part this season, averaging 324.2 passing yards and 1.6 passing touchdowns per game. He has also added 201 yards and one touchdown on the ground through five games. He gets a matchup against the Buffalo Bills, who are allowing only 235 passing yards per game, but teams simply haven’t needed to throw against the Bills. If Houston gets out to a big lead early, which is likely, they may not throw 40+ times in this game.

DeAndre Hopkins has seen double digit targets in each of his five games this season, recording a 30.5% target share. He’s a safe option in a crowded receiver group. Will Fuller is coming off of a bad game, but scored a touchdown in each of his first three games this season. He should see a larger role in the offense as he works back from injury, as well. Keke Coutee is the new receiver in the offense, totaling 17 receptions for 160 yards and one touchdown on 22 targets in two games. He has been seeing short targets that are high percentage throws out of the slot. Keep in mind, this game could be a blowout early on, which could limit each players targets. Hopkins is the only safe receiver, but Fuller and Coutee also come with tremendous upside.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Lamar Miller was in somewhat of a workhorse role before his injury, as he saw the majority of the touches in Houston’s backfield. He’s expected to return to that role in a game that Houston should be looking to run out the clock. Buffalo is allowing only 96.2 rushing yards per game this season, but they have also allowed five rushing touchdowns. Miller could also see a role in the passing game, making him a solid option on this slate.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson (mid-range)
RB2: Lamar Miller
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (elite)
WR2: Will Fuller (mid-range)
WR3: Keke Coutee (high upside)

Prediction: Texans 27, Bills 10 ^ Top

Bears at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: CHI -3.5
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The last time we saw Mitchell Trubisky, he was tossing six touchdowns against the Bucs. The biggest conundrum entering this week is whether the Bears’ Week 4 game plan was specific to that particular opponent or a genuine change in offensive philosophy. We won’t know until we see it, which places question marks around all of the Bears’ skill position players. The Dolphins are allowing 65 yards per game to opposing WR1s and 64 yards per game to opposing WR2s. Allen Robinson is still the Bears’ leader in targets, but only saw four in a game where Trubisky threw for 354 yards. I’m much more intrigued by Taylor Gabriel. He caught all seven of his targets for 104 yards and two touchdowns two weeks ago and will likely avoid Xavien Howard this week. Gabriel appears to have a better rapport with Trubisky.

The Dolphins are middle of the pack against the TE, but that really doesn’t matter since you cannot sit Trey Burton because he is a walking, breathing TE, which is good enough in 2018. Burton has yet to see more than six targets in a game so there is some volume concerns. He is a touchdown dependent option, like most TEs.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: The same Bears’ conundrum applies here. If the Bears are going to air it out more, then we will be seeing a lot of Tarik Cohen. If the Bears intend to do more of what we saw Weeks 1-3, then it should be back to Jordan Howard. Cohen had the best game of his young career two weeks ago, touching the ball 20 times for a total of 174 yards and a touchdown. It is certainly concerning that in a game featuring positive game script, Howard had just 11 carries to go along with no targets. Howard remains somewhat touchdown dependent, but he’s also seen just two goal line carries this year.

The Dolphins are allowing just 3.7 yards per carry, but allow 61.3 yards per game to opposing RBs through the air. For Howard owners, I fear this may be another Cohen heavy game. Both need to be in lineups even though one may disappoint.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mitchell Trubisky (low end)
RB2: Jordan Howard (mid-range)
RB2: Tarik Cohen (low end, ppr)
WR3: Allen Robinson
WR3: Taylor Gabriel
TE1: Trey Burton (low end)

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill proved last week why you can never trust him. He followed up his pathetic 100-yard performance against the Patriots with a 185 turnover fest against the Bengals. Tannehill went full DeShone Kizer last week with a pick-six and a fumble fix in the second half, costing his team the game. Albert Wilson, Danny Amendola, and Kenny Stills continue to see similar targets but lack any fantasy relevance. The Bears are second in the league in sacks despite having only played four games and allow just 231 yards passing per game. They have also recorded eight interceptions. This is a bad matchup for the Dolphins and they simply don’t possess any playmakers in the passing game, outside of Jakeem Grant who is seldom used, and not of any use to fantasy owners.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: Kenyan Drake rebounded from two dismal performances to lead the Dolphins in receiving with 69 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions last week. Drake also rushed six times for 46 yards. He played 64% of the snaps so there does not seem to be any move towards Frank Gore. The problem for Drake is his offense just isn’t good enough to make him useful regardless of matchup. The Bears allow 3.4 yards per carry and are the only team in the league yet to allow a rushing touchdown. They are also best in the league in defending pass catching RBs. Drake and Gore are avoids this week.

Value Meter:
Flex: Kenyan Drake
Bench: Ryan Tannehill, Frank Gore, Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills, Mike Gesicki

Prediction: Bears 27, Dolphins 13 ^ Top

Cardinals @ Vikings - (Swanson)
Line: MIN -10.0
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Josh Rosen and the Arizona Cardinals won their first game of the season last week with a 28-18 victory over the host San Francisco 49ers. Although the game was primarily decided by a strong defensive performance by the Cardinals, including a late defensive score off of a C.J. Beathard fumble, Rosen played well for a rookie and clearly looks to be the better option at quarterback for the Cardinals.

But from a fantasy perspective, Rosen has little value if he continues to throw for less than 200 yards and a touchdown per game. He will also need to improve on his 49% competition rate, and the Cardinal receiving corps is not doing him any favors with seven drops on the year.

Expecting a strong performance by Rosen or any of the Cardinals skill position players in the passing game is a lofty goal as the team heads north to take on a Vikings defense that appears to have its groove back. After limiting Jimmy Garoppolo and Aaron Rodgers to just one touchdown apiece, the vaunted Vikings defense allowed three and five touchdowns respectively to Josh Allen and Jared Goff. Mike Zimmer’s team appeared to be back on track last week with a 23-21 road win over the Eagles, limiting Carson Went to just two passing touchdowns.

Rosen will be tested early with complex blitz packages and disguised coverages designed to force the rookie to make bad decisions with the ball. Allen used his legs to beat the Vikings and Goff used a plethora of weapons, a strong offensive line, and elite play calling to beat Minnesota Week 4. Rosen does not possess the athleticism of Allen and he does not have the weapons, offensive line, or the play calling that Goff enjoyed in his game vs. Minnesota, leading me to assume that it will be a rough day for the rookie on Sunday.

The only skill portion player on the Cardinals worthy of a start is David Johnson, and even then his value really only resides in his work as a receiving back and a possible goal line carry. Larry Fitzgerald has been limited with back and hamstring injuries, making him a risky play at best, while Christian Kirk has flashed at times but is going to be tested by the Vikings secondary.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: David Johnson enters Week 6 as the No.16 running back in fantasy points per game. Although Johnson is fourth in the league in touchdown runs, his 13.2 points per game are well below his breakout 2016 season in which he averaged nearly 21 points per contest. He has yet to post a 100-yard rushing game and his 3.3 yard per carry average ranks 40th among qualified running backs.

On a positive note, Johnson has only one game without a touchdown this season and continues to bail out fantasy owners with a touchdown in nearly every game. That stat will be tested this week against the Vikings, a team that has yet to surrender a rushing touchdown in five games and allows the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Johnson may find some value this week as receiver out of the backfield. The Vikings are tied for second in the league with two receiving touchdowns allowed to RBs, with Kyle Juszczk, Chris Ivory, Todd Gurley, and Wendell Smallwood all posting games of at least 44 receiving yards.

Value Meter:
RB2: David Johnson
Bench: Josh Rosen, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Ricky Seals-Jones

Passing Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins has done more than enough so far to live up to his monster free agent contract, with 1688 passing yards and 11 touchdowns in his first five games with the Vikings. Cousins is on pace to set career marks in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completion percentage, and most importantly for fantasy owners, fantasy points per game.

The former Redskin has flourished with the receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, with the latter currently ranked as the No.1 wide receiver in fantasy with 47 catches for 589 yards and three touchdowns. Cousins has also incorporated tight end Kyle Rudolph to the tune of 23 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns, with the former Norte Dame currently ranked as the No.10 fantasy tight end.

The one disappointing aspect of the Viking offense has been the rushing attack. Injuries to Dalvin Cook and subpar play by the offensive line and Latavius Murray have the Vikings sitting just above the Bucs as the worst rushing team in the league. That may change this week with the possible return of Cook to the starting lineup from a few games off due to an injured hamstring. Cook is the most skilled pass-catching running back on the team, and his absence has been felt in the passing game.

When you consider the fact that the Cardinals rank sixth against the pass and dead last against the run, it will make sense for offensive coordinator John DeFilippo to focus on the ground game this week with Cook and Murray. That’s not to say that Cousins, Thielen, and Diggs are not must-starts, but it would not surprise me to see the Vikings defense take over this game and Cousins not throw the ball as much as in weeks past.

A matchup to watch will be Patrick Peterson against one of the two top receivers for the Vikings. Statistically speaking Peterson should shadow Thielen, the leading receiver on the team and Cousins’ favorite target. But he could also line up against Diggs on the outside and leave Thielen matched up against Jamar Taylor in the slot, which would be excellent news for Thielen owners.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: With Dalvin Cook out nursing a strained hamstring, veteran running back Latavius Murray proved to be ineffective running the ball behind a subpar Viking run-blocking offensive line. Negative game scripts against Buffalo and the Rams relegated Murray to just four carries combined in Weeks 3 and 4, and Murray failed to do much against the Eagles last week with 42 yards on 11 carries.

Assuming that Josh Rosen does not do his best Josh Allen impersonation and the Vikings do not trail the Cardinals by two touchdowns in the first quarter on Sunday, the Viking run game should have its best collective performance of the season against an Arizona defense that allows the most points to opposing running backs.

The question is will Cook be active, and if he is active, how much of the workload will he get? It would seem prudent to limit his touches if the Vikings are well ahead in the game, but it would also make sense for Mike Zimmer and the coaching staff to look to get Cook and the running game going after such a disappointing start to the season.

Fantasy owners need to monitor Cook’s status up to game time. If he is a go, and assuming he gets at least 15 carries, Cook should be considered a viable RB2 on Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins (Mid-Range)
RB2: Dalvin Cook (Low-End)
WR1: Adam Thielen (Mid-Range)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (Low-End)
TE1: Kyle Rudolph (Low-End)

Prediction: Vikings 30, Cardinals 14 ^ Top

Colts at Jets - (Katz)
Line: NYJ -2.5
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Is Andrew Luck back? He looks fine, but his fantasy production is being driven by high attempt numbers (53-31-40-62-59). T.Y. Hilton is going to miss another game with his hamstring injury. With Hilton out, Chester Rogers caught eight passes for 65 yards last week and was Luck’s clear top target at receiver. He is a PPR option for as long as Hilton is out. The biggest beneficiary of all the injuries to the Colts has been Eric Ebron. Without Jack Doyle and Hilton, Ebron has commanded double digit targets each of the last three games. He saw a whopping 15 targets last week and scored his second and third touchdowns in the last two games. Given the state of the TE position, Ebron is a locked in TE1 as long as he is healthy. He’s missed two practices this week so check his status on Sunday.

The Jets are tied for the fifth most interceptions with seven and allow 267 passing yards against per game. They allowed Case Keenum to throw for 377 yards last week, but a lot of that was in garbage time as the Jets dominated. The Jets are not going to dominate the Colts as easily, but this is still an offense that runs through its quarterback. The pieces in the Colts passing attack are not flashy options, but they produce making them fantasy considerations in Week 6.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Nyheim Hines is the clear lead back for the Colts. He played 67% of the snaps last week against Jordan Wilkins’ 22% making Hines the guy you want…for now. Marlon Mack is better than both of them and he keeps practicing, but not playing. If he can get back on the field and stay healthy, he still has a good shot to take control of this backfield. Hines has 20 targets over his past two games and the Jets allowed Broncos backs to catch 11 passes for a total of 94 yards last week, but, again, much of that was in garbage time. Either way, Hines is a solid PPR asset. Just be sure to monitor Mack’s status as his activation would really throw a wrench into things.

Value Meter:
QB1: Andrew Luck (low end)
RB2: Nyheim Hines (low end, ppr only, down to a Flex if Mack plays)
WR3: Chester Rogers (ppr only)
TE1: Eric Ebron (mid-range)
Bench: Jordan Wilkins, Marlon Mack, Ryan Grant, T.Y. Hilton (hamstring), Jack Doyle (hip)

Passing Game Thoughts: Don’t be fooled by Sam Darnold’s three touchdown effort last week. He still only threw for 198 yards and completed just 10 passes on 22 attempts. I imagine Robby Anderson was a hot waiver pickup but he’s likely fool’s gold. Two touchdowns on three receptions on five targets is not something to chase. Quincy Enunwa’s goose egg is a reminder of the floor players possess on the Jets, but I still like Enunwa long term this season.

The Colts have actually been surprisingly good defensively this year. If you discount what happened when they faced Tom Brady, they’re allowing 268 passing yards per game. The Colts are also tied for third in the league with 17 sacks. Darnold has taken 11 sacks on the year and has thrown in an interception in every game except, surprisingly, Jacksonville. Darnold has thrown for under 200 yards in four out of five games. This is a low volume passing attack and team that would prefer to run the ball making Enunwa the only receiver I’d trust, and it’s tenuous at best.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Isaiah Crowell rushed four times for zero yards against Jacksonville. So, naturally, he followed that up by rushing 15 times for 219 yards against Denver. Crowell is still a touchdown dependent RB2 and while he exploded last week, that will not be the norm. Bilal Powell actually had more carries (20), but only had a pedestrian 99 yards. It was an anomalous game for the Jets. The Colts are allowing 4.0 yards per carry and have allowed five rushing touchdowns on the season so if the Jets get close, they will try and punch it in on the ground. I don’t expect significant negative game script here, which is bad news for Powell. I implore fantasy owners to not overreact to last week.

Value Meter:
RB2: Isaiah Crowell (low end, TD dependent)
WR3: Quincy Enunwa
Flex: Bilal Powell
Bench: Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson

Prediction: Colts 19, Jets 17 ^ Top

Seahawks at Raiders - (Caron)
Line: SEA -2.5
Total: 48.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Russell Wilson’s Week 5 performance ended up being fine from a fantasy standpoint, but the way he got there has to be concerning. Wilson threw three touchdown passes against the Rams, but became the first player in 2018 to do so while throwing for fewer than 200 yards. With Doug Baldwin still not at full capacity, the Seahawks passing game just does not have any trustworthy weapons. Tyler Lockett is probably the safest option, but even he has only seen 11 targets come his way over the past two weeks and he hasn’t been over seven targets in any one game so far this season. Baldwin saw just one target in Week 5 and simply can’t be in fantasy lineups until we see more. Receiver David Moore did score a pair of touchdowns in last week’s game but he saw just four total targets on the day and it’s likely that his performance was just an outlier in an otherwise fantasy-irrelevant season.

Even against an Oakland secondary that has given up multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in four of their five contests so far this season, Wilson and the Seahawks passing game is just not one to be excited about. Wilson is usually able to add some value with his legs, but that hasn’t been there either this season. The honest truth is that Wilson just isn’t the player we’ve seen in years past and there are a good number of streaming options who are probably a better play than he is this week.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: If you’re looking for some hope in this Seattle offense, it might come in the form of running back Chris Carson who, albeit not spectacular in results, has seen the ball quite a bit when he’s been healthy. Carson has now seen 51 total carries in the past two games he played in and is clearly established as the team’s primary ball carrier. There is still room for backup Mike Davis to see some touches, as he did a week ago when he got 12 carries, but that was also in a game where Carson was coming back from an injury. Look for Carson to again shoulder the bulk of the carries this week against an Oakland defense that has been weak up the middle at defending against the run. Carson isn’t a great outside runner, but he has been effective when asked to grind out the tough yards up the middle, so this might actually be a good matchup for him.

Value Meter:
RB2: Chris Carson (high-end)
Flex: Tyler Lockett
Bench: Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Mike Davis, Nick Vannett, Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown, Rashaad Penny

Passing Game Thoughts: The ugly 2018 season continued for the Raiders this past week as they were held to just 10 points on the road against the Chargers. Quarterback Derek Carr has now thrown just seven touchdown passes in five games - four of which came in one contest in Week 4 - and he’s managed to throw eight interceptions already. Meanwhile, his receiving options have been wildly inconsistent. We know that Amari Cooper is an extremely volatile player, but it’s never been this unpredictable. Cooper already has two games this season where he’s gone over 115 receiving yards, but he’s failed to reach even 20 receiving yards in any of the other three games. Not only that, the target numbers have varied wildly as well. He saw 10 and 12 targets respectively in his two big games, but a total of nine targets in the other three games combined. That type of unpredictability can net you big wins in daily fantasy tournaments when he hits, but he’s become almost completely unusable for seasonal leagues.

Facing a Seattle secondary that has held opposing passing games to 200 or fewer yards three times already this season, this just does not look like one of those “boom” games for Cooper. The only player in this passing game who fantasy owners should be excited about this week is tight end Jared Cook. Seattle has been good against opposing tight ends so far this season, but they haven’t exactly played against many top talents thus far. Cook himself is an inconsistent player, but he’s at least seeing relatively consistently high target share numbers in the Oakland passing game and he plays a position that is completely depleted, so he’s a TE1 until we see him falter for multiple weeks in a row.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Week 5 was the type of game we have to be worried about for a player like Marshawn Lynch. The Raiders fell behind early against the Chargers and it led to a very low usage game for Lynch, who saw just nine carries and two targets on the day. Meanwhile backup Jalen Richard, known as the team’s top pass catching back, played 51-percent of the Raiders’ offensive snaps. The Raiders are less likely to be blown out in this game against a weaker Seattle offense, but there’s still a realistic possibility that Lynch ends up riding the pine late in just about any game. That should be a concern, but it’s probably not enough to bench Lynch in most formats as he’s been quite good this season aside from that one week slip-up. Lynch had double-digit standard fantasy point totals in each of his first four games this season, anchored by touchdowns in three of those four contests. He’s the unquestioned goal line back in Oakland and should see plenty of work if and when the Raiders get back into that area of the field.

Value Meter:
RB1: Marshawn Lynch
TE1: Jared Cook
Flex: Amari Cooper
Bench: Derek Carr, Jalen Richard, Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant, Doug Martin, Seth Roberts

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Raiders 21 ^ Top

Panthers at Redskins - (Katz)
Line: WAS -1.0
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Cam Newton returned from a bye week to record his third consecutive multi-touchdown game. He tossed scores to a returning from injury Curtis Samuel and to Christian McCaffrey. The only fantasy relevant receiver, at least for now, is Devin Funchess, but he hasn’t been particularly useful. Funchess has one touchdown on the season has caught four balls or fewer in three out of four games. More concerning for Funchess is the potential return of Greg Olsen this week. Funchess averages about five fewer PPR FPts/G with Olsen in the lineup than without him.

The Redskins had the league’s third best pass defense before being eviscerated by Drew Brees last week. They managed to force Brees to throw a pass that hit the ground exactly three times. With this game being at home, I expect a better effort from the Redskins defense, but that won’t stop Newton from remaining a QB1.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: Christian McCaffrey is one of the select few reliable weekly RB1s. McCaffrey’s touch counts through four games are: 16, 22, 30, 22. Last week, he posted his lowest combined yardage total on the season with 93. He also scored his first touchdown. He has an incredibly high floor and gets a Redskins defense that has allowed five rushing touchdowns on the season. The Redskins only allow around 40 yards per game through the air to opposing running backs. They limited Alvin Kamara to 15 yards on three receptions last week, but it’s fair to attribute most of that to game script. C-Mac is going to catch passes and this matchup should not scare fantasy owners one bit.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton (mid-range)
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (mid-range)
TE1: Greg Olsen (low end if he plays)
Flex: Devin Funchess
Bench: Curtis Samuel, D.J. Moore

Passing Game Thoughts: Alex Smith was simply dreadful last week. Against a pathetic Saints defense, he couldn’t manage a single touchdown pass (although he did rush for a score) and threw for 275 yards despite negative game script. Smith is just 18th in air yards per attempt and 28th in true completion percentage. None of the Redskins receivers have any fantasy value. Jordan Reed only saw two targets last week, which is baffling considering Smith attempted 39 passes. Reed remains a TE1 given the state of the position, but he certainly cannot be considered reliable in this offense. Fortunately, the Panthers have been one of the worst teams in the league against the TE, allowing 65 yards per game to the position. The Panthers are also allowing 281 passing yards per game, but it’s difficult to trust Smith given his play this season.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: The Redskins are running out of running backs. Adrian Peterson took a huge shot to his knee early in last week’s contest. He played through it, but then dislocated his shoulder later in the game. He intends to play through that as well. It remains to be seen whether that is something he is actually permitted to do and how effective he can be. Last week, he managed six yards on four carries and 36 yards on two receptions. If Peterson can’t go, we could see more of Kapri Bibbs because Chris Thompson won’t be an every down back. Thompson led the team in catches last week with six and carries with eight and is still the back you want in this offense. Thompson is also dealing with an injury himself as his quarterback hung him out to dry on a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter. He told reporters after the game that his ribs were “fine,” but that is famously what his teammate, Derrius Guice, said about his knee after his tore his ACL. Players cannot be trusted on their own injuries.

The Panthers have been excellent against pass catching RBs, but did give up 81 yards through the air to Saquon Barkey last week. Although, to be fair, 57 of those came on a gadget play. Play Thompson if he’s healthy and avoid everyone else.

Value Meter:
RB2: Chris Thompson (low end, ppr only)
TE1: Jordan Reed (low end)
Flex: Adrian Peterson (if he plays)
Bench: Alex Smith, Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, Kapri Bibbs

Prediction: Redskins 23, Panthers 20 ^ Top

Rams at Broncos - (Caron)
Line: LAR -7.0
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Jared Goff played his worst game of the 2018 season this past week, throwing just one touchdown while throwing two interceptions for the first time since Week 5 of the 2017 season, but it still wasn’t all that bad from a fantasy standpoint. It’s also worth considering that Goff lost two of his top three receivers - Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp - to concussions during the contest. With Cooks taking a horrifying hit to the helmet that knocked him out, many believe that he’ll be out of the Rams’ Week 6 contest against the Broncos and while there does seem to be more optimism regarding Kupp’s availability, fantasy owners need to keep their eyes open on game day for any news regarding these receivers. Obviously, any missed time by either or both Kupp and Cooks would seemingly lead to a bigger target share for Robert Woods who has already been great this season and consistently plays almost all of the Rams’ offensive snaps.

In addition to Woods, another player to keep an eye on if either Kupp or Cooks is out would be wide receiver Josh Reynolds. Reynolds ended up playing 55 percent of the Rams’ offensive snaps in Week 5 and catching two passes despite not being a part of the gameplan coming into the game. If given an opportunity, the 6’3” Reynolds presents an interesting cheap option out wide who should see significant playing time in one of the league’s best offenses. That alone would make him an interesting Flex option for those in need against a Denver secondary that just got done giving up a three touchdown day Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold in in Week 5. The Rams have consistently built their offense around utilizing three receivers on just about every play, so whoever is on the field should have some fantasy relevance.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: With the Broncos coming off of giving up over 300 rushing yards to the combination of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell in Week 5, it makes all the sense in the world that Todd Gurley would again be the top-ranked fantasy running back for Week 6. Even a simply above-average running back would be an easy fantasy RB1 against this defense, but when you consider that it’s Gurley - the 2017 fantasy MVP who’s already well on his way to doing it again in 2018 - it’s just a no-brainer. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Play Gurley with all the confidence in the world. This might be one of the juiciest matchups that any running back has all season.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff
RB1: Todd Gurley
WR1: Robert Woods (low-end)
WR2: Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp
Flex: Josh Reynolds (if Cooks or Kupp are out)
Bench: Malcolm Brown, Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee

Passing Game Thoughts: It happened in a blowout loss on the road, but Case Keenum did finally throw another touchdown pass this past weekend after failing to do so in three straight previous contests. In fact, Keenum tossed two passing touchdowns - one to Demaryius Thomas and one to rookie Courtland Sutton - in the loss. What’s interesting, though, is that Emmanuel Sanders was by far the most-targeted player in this offense, seeing 14 targets to Thomas and Sutton both seeing six. Where those targets took place, though, was also something to pay attention to as Sutton somehow managed to see a whopping five targets in the end zone. To put that into context, Thomas and Sanders have combined for just two end targets between the two of them on the entire season. While that could have just been an attempt to exploit a matchup that the Denver coaching staff saw, it’s also something that we need to keep an eye on over these next couple of weeks. Sutton isn’t a player who we want to be starting in standard fantasy leagues, but he does have some serious upside if the Broncos end up using his big frame and ball tracking skills as a red zone weapon. Thomas and Sanders are both usable fantasy options, which Sanders being the more trustworthy option given his target share, but neither is a particularly great play against a solid Rams secondary.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: A double-digit halftime deficit in Week 5 led to the Broncos utilizing Phillip Lindsay more than they likely would have otherwise, but a 16-to-9 share differential in Lindsay’s favor over fellow rookie Royce Freeman is certainly something we need to pay attention to. If there’s any team that can put up huge point totals, it’s the Rams offense and there’s a very real chance that the Broncos fall behind relatively quickly in this game and end up essentially abandoning their traditional between-the-tackles running game. On paper, this looks like another Lindsay game with Freeman more likely to be a touchdown-or-bust type of fantasy option.

The Rams have only given up two total touchdowns to opposing running backs so far this season, however, and those came to Marshawn Lynch and Melvin Gordon. Freeman hasn’t exactly shown that type of talent and he’s certainly not getting the type of workload that those players are, so he’s a player who shouldn’t be in lineups as anything other than a low-end flex play. Lindsay does have a bit more upside due to the way that the Broncos utilize him in their offense, but even he is more of a low-end RB2 in this game that could quickly see the Broncos falling behind.

Value Meter:
RB2: Phillip Lindsay
WR2: Emmanuel Sanders
Flex: Demaryius Thomas, Royce Freeman
Bench: Case Keenum, Courtland Sutton, Jeff Heuerman, Devontae Booker

Prediction: Rams 31, Broncos 20 ^ Top

Jaguars at Cowboys - (Katz)
Line: JAX -3.0
Total: 40.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Keelan Cole, the best wide receiver on the team, cannot get consistent targeting. He had 10 last week, but that was after weeks of 3, 9, 8 and 4. Donte Moncrief had 15 targets last week after previous totals of 5, 3, 9, and 5. Dede Westborok only saw five targets last week after previous totals of 13, 4, 5, and 6. The problem has been Blake Bortles uneven play. He completely imploded last week and even though he threw for 430 yards, he turned the ball over five times. Now Bortles and company get a Cowboys defense with a shutdown corner in Byron Jones and projected neutral-positive game script where the pace of play will be extremely slow. Bortles won’t have the volume this week and while it is likely that one of his receivers is valuable, we have no way of knowing which one. The only pass catcher you should consider is Niles Paul, who is now the presumptive starting TE with Austin Seferian-Jenkins out with that lingering core issue. Paul saw nine targets last week, but it is important to realize that was in a game where Bortles attempted 61 passes. Regardless, with the way the TE position has been this season, Paul is on the streaming radar.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is not returning until Week 10, Corey Grant is on IR and Brandon Wilds has been released. Who would’ve thought that entering Week 6, T.J. Yeldon would be locked into one of the biggest snap shares at the position? Yeldon’s direct backup and the guy that will be seeing snaps when Yeldon needs a break is Jamaal Charles. Yes, that Jamaal Charles, whom the Jaguars signed a couple days ago. Yeldon is, at minimum, a volume based RB2. He should touch the ball 20+ times and could push 30 touches given the lack of depth behind him and the fact that the Jaguars should never be in a situation where they have to play catch up.

Dallas is allowing 52.5 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs and Yeldon has been heavily involved in the passing game, catching a touchdown last week and seeing 10 targets. You want Yeldon in your lineups this week.

Value Meter:
RB2: T.J. Yeldon (mid-range)
TE2: Niles Paul (low end)
Bench: Blake Blake Bortles, Keelan Cole, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook, Leonard Fournette (hamstring)

Passing Game Thoughts: I really just want to say “avoid all things Cowboys” and walk away. This coaching staff is such an embarrassment. Everyone is clueless as to how to run an offense and Jason Garret, as he has for years, actively tries to lose football games. He succeeded last week when he inexplicably gave the ball to the other team instead of attempting a 4th and 1 run with one of the best RBs in the NFL – something the Cowboys convert at a 95% rate. I digress.

Dak Prescott has regressed in his mechanics and has been relegated to pure checkdown artist. Prescott has attempted just 11.81% of his throws 15+ yards downfield. Excluding C.J. Beathard, who is not a real starting QB, that number is worst in the league. It is impossible for Prescott and the passing attack to do anything useful when every pass is underneath. Michael Gallup is clearly the best WR on the team, but he barely plays. Neither Allen Hurns nor Deonte Thompson are particularly useful. The only player you might consider is Geoff Swaim and only because TE is a dumpster fire. Swaim has 16 targets over his last three games. The Jaguars have a top five passing defense and lead the league in passing yards allowed at just 191 per game. They have also allowed a league low three passing touchdowns. Avoid everyone on Dallas.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott is beginning to feel the effects of the Cowboys team wide incompetence. Elliott had averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry in every game this season until he was limited to 2.6 ypc against the Texans last week. Zeke caught a season high seven passes to salvage his fantasy day as he had his first game that was both under 100 yards and without a touchdown. The Jaguars allow 4.0 ypc to opposing rushers and have only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season, one of which was to a quarterback. Zeke is going to touch the ball a lot and you are never benching him, but his ceiling is certainly capped by his anemic offense.

Value Meter:
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (mid-range)
Bench: Dak Prescott, Geoff Swaim, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup

Prediction: Jaguars 20, Cowboys 16 ^ Top

Ravens at Titans - (Bales)
Line: BAL -2.5
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Joe Flacco has found more success this season, but this is going to be a defensive struggle. It’s a tough matchup, as the Titans are allowing only 210 passing yards per game. They have also allowed only six passing touchdowns, while recording four interceptions this season. While Flacco has flashed upside, this is not a matchup to use him in, as it will likely be slow paced and low scoring.

The Ravens receivers make interesting options. Michael Crabtree has been extremely disappointing, but he is averaging 9.2 targets per game. Willie Snead has also found some success, as he’s averaging a 4.6 / 50.6 / 0.2 line on 6.6 targets per game. John Brown has been the best option, though. He’s only averaging 3.8 receptions per game, but he’s also averaging 79.2 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game. He leads the team in air yards, and he’s the only receiver that should truly be considered in this matchup.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Tennessee has struggled at times against the run this, allowing 124.4 rushing yards per game. With that being said, they have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season. Alex Collins and Javorius Allen have been splitting carries, and that will likely continue this week, limiting their overall upside. Allen has been the better option of the duo, and he has more ways to score fantasy points on a weekly basis but it’s never comfortable playing either of these running backs given their split usage.

Value Meter:
RB2: Javorius Allen (high risk)
WR3: John Brown (high risk)
Flex: Michael Crabtree
Bench: Joe Flacco, Alex Collins

Passing Game Thoughts: The Tennessee passing attack has been virtually non-existent this season. Marcus Mariota dominated the Eagles two weeks ago, but he has failed to throw for more than 130 yards in any of his other three games. He has also failed to throw for a touchdown in any of those games. Baltimore has allowed only 1,077 passing yards and six passing touchdowns through five games, making Mariota an easy avoid in this matchup.

Corey Davis leads the Titans with a 30.6% target share, but he has also struggled to produce outside of the game against the Eagles. Still, Davis is getting targets, and he comes with upside. Taywan Taylor has recorded five or more targets in each of his last two games, as well, although he will likely struggle in this matchup. Outside of Davis for upside, this is a passing attack to avoid this week.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: To nobody’s surprise, the Titans running backs have been splitting carries, which has hurt both of their values. Derrick Henry offers very little in the passing game, limiting his value, especially in this matchup. He’s yet to find the endzone and hasn’t scored more than 6 fantasy points in non-PPR leagues. He’s been a huge bust to this point in the season. Dion Lewis is the better fantasy option of these two backs, as he comes with PPR upside. It’s a tough matchup for him, as Baltimore is allowing only 88.4 rushing yards per game and has given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to running backs. Royce Freeman is the only running back to score a touchdown against this defense.

Value Meter:
RB2: Dion Lewis (low-end)
WR3: Corey Davis
Bench: Derrick Henry, Marcus Mariota

Prediction: Ravens 17, Titans 13 ^ Top

Chiefs at Patriots - (Katz)
Line: NE -3.5
Total: 59.5

Passing Game Thoughts: This is easily the most exciting game of the season thus far with so much fantasy goodness. Patrick Mahomes threw 13 touchdowns over his first three games, but has cooled off a bit with just one in his last two at Denver, which is not easy, and against Jacksonville, the league’s top defense. Now, he gets the Patriots in what should be a festival of points. We all remember Tyreek Hill throwing up the deuces to open the season in 2017 against the Patriots. Hill hasn’t scored since Week 2, but he’s averaging a healthy 7.8 targets per game. This is a nice get right spot against a Patriots defense that is 29th against opposing teams’ WR1 per

Given the amount of points that should be scored, the matchup is also ripe for Sammy Watkins to perform above expectation. The Patriots are much better covering the WR2, but Mahomes is a magician and can’t throw every pass to Hill and Travis Kelce. Speaking of Kelce, he’s the best TE in fantasy. He has surpassed the guy on the other side of the field. Since his Week 1 debacle, Kelce has 100 yards or a touchdown in every game. Get all of your Chiefs in fantasy lineups.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Kareem Hunt has been an RB1 this season, but not necessarily in the way we’d expect. Hunt is barely a factor in the passing game as he hasn’t really been needed in that area. Mahomes’ eyes are always downfield and he rarely has to check it down which has resulted in just nine targets for Hunt through five games. Hunt has scored in each of his last four games and given that I expect at minimum four touchdowns from the Chiefs this week, Hunt is a decent bet to extend that streak to five. The Patriots are allowing 4.4 yards per carry, but have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season. Hunt is locked into lineups, but he’s going to need that touchdown to reach RB1 status again.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes (elite)
RB1: Kareem Hunt (low end)
WR1: Tyreek Hill (low end)
WR2: Sammy Watkins (low end)
TE1: Travis Kelce (elite)
Bench: Chris Conley, Spencer Ware

Passing Game Thoughts: Never count out Tom Brady. Even after the back-to-back losses at Jacksonville and Detroit, I refused to say Brady is done. I learned my lesson after the infamous Chiefs game in 2014. But, Brady is definitely not the same Brady we’ve come to expect. He’s already thrown six interceptions on the season with a pick in all but one game this year. The good news is Julian Edelman looked fine last week and played 70% of the snaps. That should increase this week and I expect double digit targets for Brady’s favorite weapon.

Rob Gronkowski has been lackluster as of late. He’s gone four straight games without a touchdown. This is a great blow up spot against a Chiefs team that still allows a league worst 343 yards passing per game. Given the explosiveness of the Chiefs offense, Brady may attempt 50+ passes. The Chiefs are allowing 86.3 receiving yards per game to opposing TEs. It’s going to be the Gronk and Edelman show through the air. Josh Gordon is an every week WR3 because of his touchdown upside, but he’s still not being used enough to trust. Chris Hogan belongs on the waiver wire.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Sony Michel has officially taken over as the primary rusher for the Patriots. Michel has a rushing score in each of his last two games and has toted the rock 43 times for 210 yards in that span. Despite his pass catching ability, he contributes nothing in that department. That is reserved for James White, who is a legitimate RB1 in PPR leagues. Last week, White didn’t record a single rushing yard on his two carries, but still managed RB1 numbers by catching 10 balls for 77 yards and a score. White has a touchdown in four out of five games this season. The Chiefs are bottom of the league in defending opposing RBs through the air, allowing 90.1 yards per game making White a very strong play this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (elite)
RB1: James White (low end, ppr)
RB2: Sony Michel (mid-range)
WR2: Julian Edelman (high end)
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (elite)
Flex: Josh Gordon
Bench: Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan

Prediction: Chiefs 41, Patriots 38 ^ Top

49ers @ Packers - (Krueger)
Line: GB -9.5
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The 49ers have been decimated by injuries including at the quarterback position with Jimmy Garappolo out for the year with a torn ACL. In steps C.J. Beathard who’s been more than respectable in the stat sheet (289-2-2 & 349-2-2) in his two starts but looks to be out of sync with his receivers and takes too many sacks. It doesn’t help that the 49ers receiving corps is beat up with Marquise Goodwin (hamstring/quad), Pierre Garcon (shoulder) and Trent Taylor (back) all nursing injuries. It appears Goodwin will be back for this game but it would be ideal to let him make it through a game unscathed before putting him in your lineup. The man who should be in your lineup is tight end George Kittle who’s posted at least 70 receiving yards in each of his last three games with target totals of 7-8-7.

The Packers rank 5th in sacks (16) and should be a fine D/ST option this week against Beathard. If the game goes to form, San Francisco will be playing catchup most of the game leading to good game script for the Packers-D and potentially for Beathard in garbage time, but I’d take my QB chances elsewhere. Green Bay got roasted by Kirk Cousins in Week 5 (425-4-1) but held Mitchell Trubisky, Alex Smith, Josh Allen and Matthew Stafford in check. Granted, not exactly a murderer’s row of quarterbacks but it’s difficult to imagine Beathard posting a Cousins-like performance at Lambeau.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: After spraining his ankle last week, it appears Matt Breida will sit in Week 6. He missed practice Thursday but since the 469ers don’t play until Monday night, he might not be ruled out until after the Sunday games. Fantasy owners should assume Breida will miss have plan B in place. If he does miss, Alfred Morris will get the start and would be a TD-dependent flex option with Raheem Mostert filling a change of pace role but not fantasy worthy. Fullback/H-Back Kyle Juszczyk would be an interesting play in PPR leagues if you’re desperate as Beatherd loves to check down to running backs. The Packers have allowed one 100-yard rusher (Adrian Peterson) but otherwise represent a neutral matchup against the run.

Value Meter:
RB2: Matt Breida (if he plays)
Flex: Marquise Goodwin, Alfred Morris (if Breida sits), Kyle Juszczyk (PPR only if Breida sits)
TE1: George Kittle
Bench: C.J. Beathard, Pierre Garcon

Passing Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers has been dealing with a gimpy knee since Week 1 but is still hovering around low-end QB1 territory. Another couple games like last week (442-3-0) and he’ll find himself near the top of the QB rankings. The biggest issue for this passing attack is the banged up receiver corps. Randall Cobb (hamstring) got in a limited practice Thursday as did Geronimo Allison (concussion). The Packers routinely practice on Saturday’s even on normal week’s so we’ll have to wait until then before we know who will be active out of this group. Marquez Valdes-Scantling who filled in nicely last week (7-68-1) would become a non-fantasy factor if Cobb and Allison return.

The 49ers are beatable through the air but in their defense they have faced four decent passing attacks to start the season (MIN, DET, KC, LAC). Davante Adams remains a solid WR1 play and has recorded double digit targets in three out of five games this season. He won’t face Richard Sherman the majority of this game and even if he did, Rodgers has proven he will target his top receiver regardless of matchup. Jimmy Graham has 1 touchdown catch but is currently the fantasy TE8 which shows you just how bad the position is this season. The 49ers have given up the 8th most fantasy points to the tight end position.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Much to the dismay of fantasy owners, the Packers are using a three-headed RBBC with Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery each receiving roughly 7-12 touches per game. This is exactly what Mike McCarthy hinted at during the pre-season so at least he’s sticking to his word. It’s plain to see the Jones has more spark in his step than the other two, but until the coaches decided to starting increasing his workload, fantasy owners shouldn’t expect anything more than Flex value from this position, regardless of the name on the back of the jersey. In favor of the Packers’ RBs this week is Green Bay being a 9.5 point favorite which could lead to a run to win the game scenario in the fourth quarter. The 49ers have given up the 10th most fantasy points to running backs including above average receiving days to Dalvin Cook (6-55), Theo Riddick (9-47), Melvin Gordon (7-55-1).

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
WR1: Davante Adams
WR3: Geronimo Allison (if he plays)
Flex: Aaron Jones
TE1: Jimmy Graham (low-end)
Bench: Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery

Prediction: Packers 31, 49ers 23 ^ Top