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Inside the Matchup

Week 6

By: Andy Swanson | Mike Krueger | Nick Caron | HC Green



Sunday Early:


Sunday Late:




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

Buccaneers @ Eagles - (Krueger)
Line: TB -7.0
Total: 52.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Bucs are throwing the ball more than any other team in the league as evidenced by Tom Brady’s league-leading 225 pass attempts through five games. He’s 2nd in TD passes (15) only one behind Patrick Mahomes and currently sits as fantasy’s No.2 quarterback. He’s currently bringing along three pass catchers, all wide receivers with Rob Gronkowski out, that can be in your starting lineup. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown have all had WR1 performances but knowing which week they will occur is the tricky part. They’re all safer plays when Gronk sits (as he will in Week 6) as Brady isn’t looking for the TE position as much with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate on the field. Evans (45) and Godwin (41) are a step above Brown (28) in targets through five games.

The Eagles are capable of getting pressure on the quarterback and have yet to give up a 300-yard passing day as they tend to play two deep safties in hopes of avoiding big plays in the passing game. They gave up a ceiling game to Tyreek Hill in Week 4 (11-186-3) but have otherwise held receivers in check as opponents opt for a more run-heavy approach against this defense. That shouldn’t and won’t dissuade you from keeping Brady and his pass-catchers in your lineup. He and they have been too good.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette has become the clear lead-back on this team and is worthy of RB2 consideration in Week 6. He has 32 carries and 10 targets over the last two weeks while Ronald Jones has seen 13 opportunities in the same time span. Giovani Bernard is back from his knee injury and mixing in just enough to be a nuisance but holds more value in games we think the Bucs may be trailing in the second half. That isn’t the case here. The Eagles are somewhat of a run-funnel defense and have given up 95-plus rushing yards to Ezekiel Elliott, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Chuba Hubbard over the last three weeks. Give Fournette a go in your RB2 or Flex spot.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (high-end)
RB2: Leonard Fournette (high-end)
WR1: Mike Evans (low-end)
WR1: Chris Godwin (low-end)
WR3: Antonio Brown (high-end)
TE2: Cameron Brate (low-end)

Passing Game Thoughts: Despite amassing only 7 passing TDs in five games, Jalen Hurts is a top 10 fantasy quarterback thanks to 341 rushing yards and 3 TDs on the ground. He’s also No.3 in our consistency rankings for the position. DeVonta Smith is leading the receiver group and the only real trustworthy player at the position. Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins have some boom/bust appeal given the likely game flow if you’re willing to take on the risk. Tight end Dallas Goedert has been placed on the Covid-19 list and is looking like a longshot to get cleared in time for this Thursday night game. That would mean a large role Zach Ertz and immediately make him a low-end TE1 given the lack of the depth at the position.

DeVonta Smith is poised for another solid outing against a defense that’s banged up in the secondary and has given up the 5th most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Bucs have allowed at least 275 yards and 2 TDs through the air to every quarterback they’ve faced including Matt Ryan, Mac Jones and Jacoby Brissett.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: It’s been a rough start for Miles Sanders who hasn’t seen more than 15 carries in a game and has yet to find the endzone. He’s seen fewer targets than Kenneth Gainwell (21-19) and his best fantasy finish (RB15) came back in Week 1. Otherwise, he’s barely been serviceable as a Flex option. Sanders is getting the bulk of the rushing opportunities but continues to cede some pass-down work to the rookie. Unfortunately for Sanders, the Eagles are throwing at a 62-38 clip, and this game sets up for Gainwell to have a better day through the air and will likely leave Sanders’ owners once again shaking their head.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jalen Hurts (high-end)
WR2: DeVonta Smith (mid-range)
WR4: Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins
Flex: Kenneth Gainwell (PPR), Miles Sanders
TE1: Zach Ertz (low-end)
Bench: Dallas Goedert (Covid-19 list)

Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Eagles 23 ^ Top

Dolphins @ Jaguars (London) - (Swanson)
Line: MIA -3.0
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Miami Dolphins travel to England this weekend to take on the Jaguars in the second London game of the season. At 1-4, the Dolphins have been one of the biggest disappointments, considering how well they played last year and the young talent they have on offense.

They are a team in desperate need of a win, as falling to 1-5 would almost certainly kill their shot at catching the Bills in the AFC East. On a positive note, the team activated quarterback Tua Tagovailoa from IR and he should return to the starting lineup.

Another positive was the play of running back Myles Gaskin last week against the Bucs, who came back from the fantasy grave to post a pair of receiving touchdowns and ten catches. Although you could argue that was more of a correlation to a tough run defense of the Bucs and a positive game script for receiving backs, it still was a nice sign to see Gaskin more involved in the passing game.

The Jags rank 17th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks but 6th in points allowed to running backs. Look for Miami to try to use a more run-heavy approach to their matchup with the Jags than they did with the Bucs, but Jacksonville has proven to be susceptible to the pass as well.

After back-to-back games in which he posted 13.6 and 14.6 fantasy points, tight end Mike Gesicki was M.I.A. last week against the Bucs. Look for Tua to target the mobile tight end in this game, as Jacksonville is tied for the most touchdowns given up to tight ends on the season.

DeVante Parker is questionable with a shoulder injury after missing last week with the same injury. Unless he gets a full practice in on Friday, I would avoid playing him.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: As mentioned in the passing section, Gaskin stormed back to fantasy relevancy with ten catches for 75 yards and a score last week against the Bucs, as the Dolphins opted to pass more to running backs instead of trying to run against the vaunted Tampa Bay front seven.

Unlike Tampa Bay, you can run on the Jags, and the Dolphins should return to a more balanced approach. The question is, will head coach Brian Flores make the smart move and play Gaskin in a lead-back role, or will he continue to use both Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed. While we hope he makes the right choice, it would not surprise us to see him use all three backs again.

The Jags are dealing with some injuries that would make an already bottom-tier defense even more susceptible to the run. Starting WLB Myles Jack suffered an oblique injury against the Titans last week and is considered day-to-day, and starting defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris is also questionable.

From a matchup perspective, only the Lions have given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs. In addition to giving up three rushing touchdowns and 130 yards to Derrick Henry last week, James Conner posted two rushing touchdowns, and Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon combined for 95 rushing yards in Week 2.

You can run on the Jags. The question is will one of the Dolphin running backs get enough carries to make them fantasy-worthy starts.

Value Meter:
QB2: Tua Tagovailoa (High-End)
RB2: Myles Gaskin (Low-End)
WR3: Jaylen Waddle (High-End)
WR4: Preston Williams (High-End)
TE1: Mike Gesicki (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Trevor Lawrence enters Week 6 as the No.22 ranked quarterback in fantasy points per game. It has not been pretty, but the first overall pick has averaged more fantasy points than Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, and Ben Roethlisberger, and he currently sits as the top rookie QB in points per game.

You are likely only going to start Lawrence as a second quarterback in a super-flex league, as there are better options to consider on most waiver wires. However, if Lawrence continues to put up a rushing touchdown as he has done in each of the last two games, he will enter the conversation as a top-12 QB.

Laviska Shenault was a breakout favorite last week with D.J. Chark out for the season and a plus-matchup against the Titans. The second-year WR did catch a long 58-yard pass, but that was his only catch of the day. Jamal Agnew, the team’s special team ace, led the team in targets and catches, with 6/41/0. Marvin Jones was another massive bust, with just one reception for 25 yards on five targets.

Based on last week, you are likely looking for other options that Jaguar pass catchers. While we don’t blame you for looking elsewhere, it should be noted that the Dolphins have given up the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks and the fourth-most to opposing wide receivers. From a matchup perspective, this is a plus-matchup and one in which the Jags passing options could bounce back.

However, the Dolphins have been awful against the run as well, and this could be a James Robinson game.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Speaking of Robinson, you should consider him a must-start play this week and a low-end RB1 with huge upside. In half-point per game scoring, the Dolphins have given up the most fantasy posts to running backs, with eight total scores and nearly 900 total yards allowed in five games. Three opposing backs have topped 100 yards, including Peyton Barber of the Raiders. If Barber can top the century mark, we have confidence that Robinson can do the same.

Robinson rushed for 149 yards and a score last week against the Titans, making it the third straight game with a score. We would like to see him get more than 18 touches, and this game should provide a game script in which that could happen.

Value Meter:
QB2: Trevor Lawrence (High-End)
RB1: James Robinson (Low-End)
WR3: Marvin Jones (High-End)
WR3: Laviska Shenault (High-End)
TE2: Dan Arnold (High-End)

Prediction: Miami 28, Jacksonville 24 ^ Top

Bengals @ Lions - (Green)
Line: CIN -3.5
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Coming off a pair of workmanlike performances in wins over Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, Joe Burrow (throat) came under fire in Week 5, getting sacked three times and taking other big hits -- he was taken to the hospital after the game for precautionary reasons due to a throat contusion. Burrow also tossed a couple of interceptions, including a terrible one in overtime. He did throw for 281 yards and two TDs as well, but this would still have to be classified as an uneven showing.

What continues to look great, though, is Burrow’s chemistry with Ja’Marr Chase, who had six receptions for 159 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown shortly before halftime that changed the complexion of the game after the Packers had scored 16 in a row. Tee Higgins (5-32-0) returned after missing two games with a shoulder injury and was OK, though he did have a late drop on a drive that ended in a missed field goal. With both Chase and Higgins on the field, Tyler Boyd (4-24-0) fell back into a tertiary role.

Given the injuries they’ve had in the secondary and the level of competition last Sunday, the Lions held up admirably in holding Minnesota to 275 yards and one TD. The Lions are currently 17th against the pass (251.6 yards per game) and should be feeling pretty good about the matchup after facing the duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Still, Cincinnati has the weapons to move the ball with Chase already a borderline WR1 and Higgins at least a solid WR3 entering Week 6. Burrow is expected to play and could be a low-end QB1 while Boyd is a flex play when the other WRs are healthy.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: It was a bit of a surprise to see Joe Mixon (10-33-1) in uniform last Sunday after he hurt his ankle in Week 4. It was obvious that he was on a pitch count, but that was mitigated by strong work from Samaje Perine (illness), who had 15 total touches for 83 yards and a score. Unfortunately, Perine tested positive for COVID on Monday, and he may be unavailable this weekend. Assume a bigger workload from Mixon regardless of Perine’s status and consider him an RB2 against a Detroit defense that is currently allowing 130.2 yards per game against the run (23rd).

Value Meter:
QB1: Joe Burrow (inj-throat)
RB2: Joe Mixon
WR1/WR2: Ja’Marr Chase
WR2/WR3: Tee Higgins
Flex: Tyler Boyd
Bench: Samaje Perine (COVID)

Passing Game Thoughts: Ever since throwing for 338 yards and three TDs in the opener, Jared Goff has averaged 241 yards, 1 TD and 0.5 INTs per game. He’s also been plagued by fumbles, an issue that’s unlikely to be aided by the loss of C Frank Ragnow (toe), who underwent season-ending surgery on his toe. There were those that believed much of Goff’s early success was due to Rams head coach Sean McVay’s schemes and pre-snap adjustments that he relayed, and nothing he’s done in Detroit has altered that narrative.

Of course, it’s debatable how good anyone could be with this supporting cast, which took a hit when Quintez Cephus (shoulder) was lost with a broken collarbone. Without him, Amon-Ra St. Brown (7-65-0) is the most interesting of the Lions’ wideout with the rookie catching 13 passes on 16 targets over the last two weeks. T.J. Hockenson (knee) has been quiet recently as well, managing just eight grabs for 74 yards and no TDs in the last three games combined after catching eight in each of his first two.

Cincinnati has been solid defensively in 2021. Granted, they couldn’t handle Davante Adams (11-206-1) last week, but there are a lot of secondaries around the NFL that suffer from the same affliction. The Bengals have 13 sacks on the year and have allowed only six TD passes. Despite his struggles, Hockenson remains a TE1 as long as his balky knee doesn’t cost him game action. After that, Goff and St. Brown could be worth owning, though neither should be played here.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Detroit’s offense continues to flow through the combination of D’Andre Swift (17 touches, 104 yards, 1 TD) and Jamaal Williams (15-65-0), and both figure to see a lot of action again in Week 6. Cincy is 10th against the run this year at 101.4 yards per game, and outside of a 57-yard run by Aaron Jones they held Green Bay to a 3.6 YPC average. Both Swift and Williams can be played this week with the former as an RB2 with upside and the latter as a steady RB3.

Value Meter:
RB2: D’Andre Swift
RB3: Jamaal Williams
TE1: T.J. Hockenson (inj-knee)
Bench: Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown

Prediction: Bengals 24, Lions 22 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Football Team - (Krueger)
Line: KC -6.5
Total: 54.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Chiefs have hit the skids but Patrick Mahomes continues to deliver QB1 performances week in and week out thanks in large part to suspect defense keeping them in catchup-mode for good. He leads the league with 16 TD passes and sits atop our QB Consistency Rankings after five weeks. Tyreek Hill has lacked some consistency but his ceiling weeks are like no other. He’s also had exactly one rushing attempt in four out of the five games. A quad injury has landed Hill on the injury report and caused him to miss practice Wednesday and Thursday. Follow his status closely this weekend. Mecole Hardman saw his highest target count (9) of the season last week and has some boom/bust Flex appeal especially in this matchup against Washington, which has given up the most fantasy points to wide receivers through five weeks.

Travis Kelce leads all tight ends in fantasy points (90.9 PPR) and is an auto-start whenever he is on the field. He took a wicked shot to the head last week but is expected to play. With Washington offering little resistance through the air and Clyde Edwards-Helaire out with a knee injury, the Chiefs game-plan should be clear.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: CEH will miss at least the next three games after landing on IR which hands the lead running back duties over to Darrel Williams with a little bit of Jerick McKinnon mixed in. We could see a sprinkle of Derrick Gore but he’s not fantasy relevant at the moment. Rumors of a trade for Marlon Mack (IND) have been discussed but a deal is unlikely to be reached ahead of this game.

The Chiefs are a mediocre running team and have not gotten their money’s worth from all of their offensive line additions this off-season. Washington is middle-of-the-pack against the run which makes this somewhat of a stalemate in this facet of the game. Williams is viable in the passing attack and should see enough work on early downs to be a Flex consideration with some nice RB2 upside if he’s able to break a long run or find his way into the endzone.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB2: Darrel Williams (low-end)
WR1: Tyreek Hill (high end)
TE1: Travis Kelce (high end)
Flex: Mecole Hardman
Bench: Josh Gordon, Jerick McKinnon

Passing Game Thoughts: We have the two worst pass defenses squaring off in this contest which is why you see a 55.5 point total for this game. The Chiefs have allowed four straight 30-point fantasy performances to Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen. Taylor Heinicke certainly isn’t in the same class as those four QBs, but if you’ve watched the Chiefs defense play this season, there are legitimate reasons to be excited about Heinicke’s fantasy prospects in Week 6.

KC should focus on taking away Terry McLaurin but obvious focal points like Marquise Brown (6-113-1) and DeVonta Smith (7-122-0) had no problem beating this secondary. Curtis Samuel continues to be plagued by his groin injury leaving Dyami Brown (knee) and veteran Adam Humphries as the other wide receiver options worth considering. Even in this plus matchup, both would be dart throws. Tight end Logan Thomas (hamstring) will miss his second game leaving tight end Ricky Seals-Jones to do work against Safety Daniel Sorensen. RSJ is a viable fantasy option as a result.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: Antonio Gibson currently sits as the RB14 in PPR leagues based on FPts/G but really hasn’t been a significant factor in the receiving game. He has 10 receptions on the year while teammate J.D. McKissic continues to play in obvious passing situations including most third downs. Gibson has been dealing with a shin issue the last two weeks but is expected to play in what should be a good game environment for both backs. McKissic is a sneaky play in PPR leagues.

The Chiefs are terrible against the pass but have also given up the 8th most fantasy points to running backs. Already weak at the linebacker position, Chris Jones sat out last week with a wrist injury and DE Frank Clark has had an unforgettable start to the season leaving this defense lacking in playmakers in their front-seven. Jones missed practice on Wednesday and remains questionable.

Value Meter:
QB1: Taylor Heinicke (low-end)
RB2: Antonio Gibson (high-end)
WR1: Terry McLaurin (high-End)
Flex: J.D. McKissic
TE1: Ricky Seals-Jones (low-end)
Bench: Dyami Brown, Adam Humphries, Curtis Samuel (groin)

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Football Team 24 ^ Top

Vikings @ Panthers - (Swanson)
Line: MN -2.0
Total: 46.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins continues to be a solid under-the-radar quarterback, with ten passing touchdowns and just two interceptions in five games. He currently ranks 13th in points per game, ahead of Ryan Tannehill, Joe Burrow, and even Aaron Rodgers.

Unfortunately, he has just two passing touchdowns in his last two games against Cleveland and Detroit, and he has a difficult road matchup against a surprisingly good Panthers defense that ranks 20th in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. If you take out the Dak Prescott four-touchdown game in Week 4, the Panthers have allowed just three passing touchdowns to Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, and Jalen Hurts.

You are starting both Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, without a doubt. Tyler Conklin at tight end looked to be a growing part of the passing offense in Week 3 with 7/70/1 against the Seahawks, but he killed fantasy managers with just six catches for 43 yards combined in his last two games.

Outside of a pair of scores for Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin in Week 4, the Panthers have all but shut down opposing tight ends, including both Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz last week.

The two major injuries of note in this game are star running backs Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey. Cook missed the last two games with an ankle injury and is questionable again this week. He did practice in full on Thursday. His return would be a boost for everyone in the passing game, as his elite skillset opens up the placation pass for Jefferson and Thielen.

McCaffrey’s return is not as clear, although he is going to get a limited practice in on Wednesday as he looks to recover from a hamstring strain. His return to the field would help create a positive game script for the Vikings passing offense in what could be a high-scoring game.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: If you took Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey in drafts this summer, you are likely kicking yourself, as Henry continues to defy the odds and put in a historic workload.

Cook posted over 100 combined yards in each of his first two games before suffering an ankle injury at the end of Week 2. He missed games three and five but looks to be on track to return this week against the Panthers.

The question is, which Panthers' defense will he face on Sunday? The one that completely shut down Alvin Kamara, or the one that gave up over 200 total yards rushing to the Cowboys?

The Panthers could be getting back their stud inside linebacker Shaq Thompson, who missed last week with a foot injury. He is listed as questionable and looking more like he will be out.

If Cook is out, be sure to fire up Alexander Mattison in all formats. Mattison has yet to score a rushing touchdown, but he does over 100 yards rushing in each of the games Cook missed.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins (Low-End)
RB1: Dalvin Cook (High-End)
WR1: Justin Jefferson (High-End)
WR2: Adam Thielen (High-End)
TE2: Tyler Conklin (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Sam Darnold love train came to a screeching halt last week in a 21-18 loss at home to the Eagles. Darnold threw three interceptions, completed just 56% of his throws, and added nothing on the ground for fantasy managers. If you chased the 35.5 points he scores against the Cowboys the week prior, chances are you had a bitter beer face all day on Sunday and lost your matchup.

Should you double down on Darnold or move on to another streaming option? There are a few things to consider. First, the Vikings have actually been pretty good against opposing QBs, even though Kyler Murray torched them for 37 points in Week 2.

Since then, the Vikings have given up just one passing touchdown combined to Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, and Jared Goff. Minnesota appears to be getting things together, which is not great news for Darnold and those old ghosts in his head.

As you would expect, the correlation of stifling opposing quarterbacks negatively affected wide receivers during that span, with only DK Metcalf of the Seahawks topping 100 yards or making a score. He did both.

Does this mean you should bench D.J. Moore? Of course not, but he could be in line for a similar stat line that Amon-Ra St. Brown put up last week, with 7/65/0. I imagine Moore will fare better, but based on how bad Darnold played against the Eagles, who knows what will happen.

The wild card in the whole equation is Christian McCaffrey. If he is back and ready to go, his presence in both the passing and running game will open things up for Darnold and limit the effectiveness of blitzes by Mike Zimmer and the Vikings defense. Go ahead and blitz Darnold a bunch and see what happens when CMC tears you up on a screen or two.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: McCaffrey sounded close last week but did not suit up. He sounds close again this week, but missed practice on Thursday. You would think that he would be close based on the fact that they did not put him on IR for a reason. But go ahead and ask Joe Mixon managers from last season how well that reasoning paid off.

If he is active, you are starting him. Just be sure to have your lucky rabbit’s foot and rub the belly of a Buddha to create some luck that he won’t re-aggravate his hamstring.

You can run on the Vikings, a defense that has given up the 10th-most points to opposing running backs this year. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt torched them for 170 combined yards, and even the Lions combined to top the century mark.

Value Meter:
QB2: Sam Darnold (High-End)
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (Low-End)
WR2: D.J. Moore (High-End)
WR3: Robby Anderson (Low-End)
TE2: Tommy Tremble (High-End)

Prediction: Minnesota 31, Carolina 27 ^ Top

Texans @ Colts - (Swanson)
Line: IND -10.0
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Tyrod Taylor is still a few weeks from returning to the field, so it will once again be the Davis Mills show for the Texans as they head north to take on their division foe, the Indianapolis Colts.

Mills has done exactly what you would expect of a rookie quarterback. While there have been flashes of competence, he has made more than a few boneheaded throws and has as many interceptions as touchdowns in five games. On a positive note, he is averaging more fantasy points per game than fellow rookies Trey Lance and Justin Fields, and his five touchdown passes through five games are the same as first-round pick Mac Jones.

You are not starting Mills in anything more than the deepest of two-quarterback leagues. In fact, the only player in the passing game who should be on most rosters is Brandin Cooks. Cooks ranks 24th in fantasy points per game and commands a 33.6% target share.

Chris Moore and Chris Conley each flashed last week with a touchdown against the Patriots. While we hope that is a sign of more to come for the Houston passing game, we anticipate that was more of a correlation to Cooks being shut down by Bill Belichick. Starting either of those two players looks like futile point chasing.

Lamar Jackson demolished the Colts passing offense last week, vaunting the Colts up to third overall for most points allowed to QBs this season. The Colts are a shell of what they were last season, with three opposing quarterbacks torching Indy for at least three passing touchdowns in five games.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: As a unit, the Texans have combined to score the fourth-fewest points per game this season. Not one of the veterans that make up this geriatric unit has topped 100 yards in a game, and they have not scored a touchdown on the ground or in the air since Week 2.

Add in the fact that the Colts are stout against the run and have allowed just two touchdowns all season, and you have the recipe for a situation to avoid.

There are more than a few injuries on the Colts that should be considered when evaluating this matchup. Starting corner Xavier Rhodes and starting safety Andrew Sendejo are in the concussion protocol and could miss the game. Their absence makes us like Cooks even more.

Defensive ends Kwity Paye and Kemoko Turay missed practice on Wednesday are questionable for the game on Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB2: Davis Mills (Low-End)
RB3: Mark Ingram (Low-End)
WR2: Brandin Cooks (High-End)
WR4: Chris Conley (Low-End)
TE2: Pharaoh Brown (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: He has not done much as a stand-alone fantasy football starter, but as a real-life quarterback, Carson Wentz has not been bad this season. He has seven passing touchdowns to just one interception, and his 65% completion percentage is the second-best of his career. But he is not running like in previous seasons, and that absence of rushing production caps his ceiling for fantasy.

The Michael Pittman Jr. breakout appears to be upon us, with the former second-round pick from USC leading the team in receiving yards and targets, with a 25% target share and 27.3% red zone target share. Although he has just one touchdown and one 100-yard game this season, he has two games of 12 targets and looks to be taking a second-year leap.

Third-year WR Parris Campbell posted 4/56 on six targets last week, while veteran Zach Pascal continues to play in over 80% of the team’s snaps and is always a threat to score.

From a matchup perspective, the Texans rank ninth in fantasy points allowed to QB’s. They are a terrible defense that lacks talent at all levels of the defense. Not only should Jonathan Taylor eat in this game, but the passing weapons for the Colts have a plus matchup as well.

The Colts are a frustrating unit when it comes to passing yards, and snaps divvied out to tight ends, as Mo Alie-Cox, Kyler Granson, and Jack Doyle all see plays in games. No other team has given up more fantasy points to tight ends, but you cannot trust a team like Indy that uses multiple tight ends.

However, if you are looking for a cheap DFS play, big Mo Alie-Cox could be a nice home run option.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Jonathan Taylor went absolutely ham last week against the Ravens, with 160 total yards and a pair of scores. After a slow start to the season, Taylor now has three touchdowns and 250 total yards in his last two games.

The Texans have been surprisingly average against the run this season, considering they have one of the worst rosters in the league. No opposing running back has reached 100 yards in a game, and no opposing back has topped 20 fantasy points.

That will change this week, as Taylor and the Colts will have a field day running against this defense and with a game script conducive to running out the clock.

There are no significant injuries on the defensive side of the ball for the Texans that should affect this game. Backup Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is dealing with a hip injury, but he is likely to suit up.

Value Meter:
QB2: Carson Wentz (High-End)
RB1: Jonathan Taylor (Elite)
WR2: Michael Pittman Jr. (Low-End)
WR3: Zach Pascal (High-End)
TE2: Mo Alie-Cox (High-End)

Prediction: Indianapolis 28, Houston 14 ^ Top

Rams @ Giants - (Krueger)
Line: LAR -9.5
Total: 48.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford isn’t going to give you an extra fantasy boost with his legs (14 rush yds) but he is 3rd in the league in passing yardage and does have enough dynamic playmakers to help sustain is mid-range QB1 status. Cooper Kupp has been an early season surprise leading all fantasy receivers in PPR points per game (23.8). He’s received double-digit targets in all five games and had fantasy finishes of WR11, WR1, WR3, WR41, and WR22. Robert Woods broke out of his slump in Week 5 (12-150-0) and while the volume hasn’t been there to start the season he has salvaged two weeks with touchdowns.

The Giants have given up the 8th most fantasy points to quarterbacks and the 7th most to tight ends, which could signal a nice game for Tyler Higbee who is on the low-end TE1 / high-end TE2 line. However, a likely game script would involve a heavy dose of the Rams running game which would limit the ceiling of the Rams’ passing attack. As a result, Stafford is probably more of a high-end QB2 than QB1 this week.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: A rib injury caused Darrell Henderson to miss Week 3 but he quickly assumed his normal workload in Week 4 and continues be the lead back with touch totals of 17, 16, 19, 18 in his four games. Sony Michel is getting around 10 touches a game and isn’t involved much in the passing attack which makes him a risky fantasy play. However, both could see increased value this week as the Giants have given up three 100-yard performances (Melvin Gordon, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott) and are missing some key pieces on offense that could hamper their ability to keep this game close. We could see quite a few rushing attempts by the Rams in the fourth quarter as they put this game on ice giving a nice fantasy boost to both Henderson and Michel.

Value Meter:
QB2: Matthew Stafford (high-end)
RB1: Darrell Henderson (low-end)
WR1: Cooper Kupp
WR3: Robert Woods (high-end)
TE1: Tyler Higbee (low-end)
Flex: Sony Michel
Bench: Van Jefferson, DeSean Jackson

Passing Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones took a hard shot to the head last week and is currently in the concussion protocol. He is practicing this week and it appears is going to get cleared prior to Sunday. If he does play, he will be missing Kenny Golladay (hyperextended knee) but will welcome the return of Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton after both missed the last two weeks with hamstring injuries. Rookie Kadarius Toney had a breakout game last week after Golladay was injured and will likely get over-hyped this week. The Rams have not played their typical stout defense, especially against the pass, ranking middle-of-the-pack in most categories. They’ve given up 100-yard receiving games to Michael Pittman Jr. and Mike Evans. Toney and Shepard are viable fantasy options to consider but keep your expectations tempered. Tight end Evan Engram has yet to get his 2021 season on track. He’s simply not seeing enough volume. He’s coming off his best game of the year (4-55).

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Just as we were getting comfortable with Saquon Barkley regaining his RB1 status, another injury. This time Barkley sprained his ankle and will likely miss at least the next two games. In his place, Devontae Booker should see the majority of snaps at running back against the Rams who rank 16th in fantasy points allowed to the position and have given up 4 touchdowns to running backs. Elijhaa Penny was the only other Giants RB to see a touch in Week 5 so with the team thin at the position, Booker is a volume-based RB2 that could sneak into RB1 territory with a trip to the endzone.

Value Meter:
QB2: Daniel Jones (mid-range)
RB3: Devontae Booker (mid-range)
WR3: Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard
TE2: Evan Engram (low-end)
Bench: Darius Slayton, John Ross

Prediction: Rams 30, Giants 17 ^ Top

Chargers @ Ravens - (Green)
Line: BAL -2.5
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: To take nothing away from Joe Burrow, who looks like a legit up-and-comer, if you redid the 2020 draft, Justin Herbert would be the consensus No. 1 pick. Going against a defense that had given up 13 points over their previous two games combined, Herbert went 26-for-43, for 398 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs; he even ran for 29 yards and a score on four attempts. Beyond the numbers, it’s Herbert’s willingness to work downfield and not be content with checkdowns that makes him stand out.

It doesn’t hurt that Herbert gets to throw to the tandem of Keenan Allen (6-75-0) and Mike Williams (8-165-2), who is finally looking like the player the Chargers envisioned when they picked him seventh overall in 2017. While Williams is putting up an incredible 105-1602-20 pace, Allen continues to plug along as one of the NFL’s top route runners and most reliable targets. Austin Ekeler is also a dangerous weapon in the flat with three receiving touchdowns already. Rounding out LA’s options is veteran Jared Cook (1-29-0), who must be accounted for.

Only three teams have allowed more passing yards this season than the Ravens, which have given up 296.4 per game and were just torched by a middling Colts offense for a career-high 402 yards from Carson Wentz. Keep in mind this also happened on Monday night, so Baltimore will be playing on short rest. Herbert, Allen and Williams are must-starts regardless of matchup. Cook could also be played as a lottery ticket at TE.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: While the passing game is LA’s bread and butter, Ekeler (17-66-2) is a dynamic dual-threat presence out of the backfield. For the season, he is averaging 109 total yards and 1.4 TDs per game. The Ravens sit seventh in rushing yards per game at 93.2, but their 4.3 yards per carry allowed is tied for 15th. After watching Jonathan Taylor shine in a hybrid rushing/receiving role Monday night to the tune of 169 yards and two touchdowns, Ekeler should be a confident choice as an RB1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Justin Herbert
RB1: Austin Ekeler
WR1: Keenan Allen
WR1: Mike Williams
Bench: Jared Cook

Passing Game Thoughts: These past two weeks have been tough ones for the “Lamar Jackson can’t throw the ball” crowd. After passing for 316 yards in Week 4, Jackson set a career high with 442 yards and four touchdowns in a comeback win over the Colts on Monday Night Football. While the yardage was nice, the scores were more important after the Louisville product accounted for just six total TDs (four passing, two rushing) over his first four games combined. Of course, more passing means less running, with Jackson averaging 45 yards rushing without a score in those two games.

Despite making several moves to inject life into the passing game, it’s holdovers Mark Andrews (11-147-2) and Marquise Brown (9-125-2) that are delivering. One thing that has stood out this year about Baltimore’s passing attack this season is how much of it is vertical with Jackson ranking fourth in the NFL in yards per attempt (9.1); that’s way up from his first three seasons (7.5). In other receiver news, Sammy Watkins (hamstring) looks like he might miss Week 6 with his first (but probably not last) injury of 2021 while Rashod Bateman (groin) has a chance to make his NFL debut.

LA currently sits seventh in pass defense on the season, allowing 214.2 yards per game, a number that’s no doubt been buoyed by good health from Derwin James, who played in just five games combined the past two years. While the Chargers have a middling 10 sacks on the year, Joey Bosa must always be accounted for. Jackson and Andrews are both must-starts with Brown checking in as borderline WR2/WR3. Keep an eye on Bateman as he was a first-round pick and widely considered ready to contribute at the NFL level as a rookie.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: While it’s wildly premature to label the Ravens as a passing team, it no longer sounds completely detached from reality. The team’s string of 43 consecutive games of 100-plus rushing yards was snapped Monday night, and their backs managed just 24 yards on 11 combined carries. Latavius Murray (6-17-0) continues to see the most touches with Ty’Son Williams (4-6-0) returning to the active roster after his surprise Week 4 scratch. LA ranks dead last against the run this year, allowing 157.6 yards per game and 5.6 YPC, so if the Ravens can’t get things rolling it might be time to get concerned. Pencil Murray in as an RB3 and leave the rest.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson
RB3: Latavius Murray
WR2/WR3: Marquise Brown
TE1: Mark Andrews
Bench: Ty’Son Williams

Prediction: Chargers 31, Ravens 24 ^ Top

Packers @ Bears - (Green)
Line: GB -6.0
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Early on last Sunday there was more than a whiff of a Saints repeat as Green Bay failed to score in the opening quarter and Aaron Rodgers threw his first pick since Week 1. He got things going after that, however, passing for 344 yards and 2 TDs to go along with that INT. That broke a 10-game stretch where the veteran threw for fewer than 300 yards. Two of those 10 games came against the Bears last season, though despite passing for a modest 451 yards in those meetings, Rodgers threw eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.

Surprisingly, Davante Adams (11-206-1) was not a huge factor in those games, catching 12 passes for 107 yards, though he did score in each of them. The offense felt more diverse last season, however, with Adams already being targeted 61 times this year -- he is on pace for 207 in 2021, as compared to 149 last season. Robert Tonyan (1-8-0) also scored twice against the Bears, and if OL Elgton Jenkins (ankle) returns from a three-game absence it might free up the tight end to get more involved in routes. Randall Cobb (2-30-0) also has a long history of making big plays versus Chicago.

Of course, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns, and much like the Packers offense, the Bears defense has righted the ship after a poor Week 1. They come in 12th against the pass (228.6 yards per game) and lead the NFL in sacks with 18. Green Bay has held up extremely well with a patchwork line against the likes of T.J. Watt and Nick Bosa, but getting Jenkins back would still be helpful when dealing with Khalil Mack (foot) and Akiem Hicks (groin), assuming both play. Rodgers is a low-end QB1 with Adams a must-start. After that, Tonyan and Cobb could be speculative risk/reward plays.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Aaron Jones (14-103-0) and AJ Dillon (79 yards and a TD on 12 combined touches) seem to be finding their stride as a backfield tandem, like what we’ve seen in years past with Jones and Jamaal Williams. Jones compiled 177 total yards and one score against Chicago last season. The Bears are currently 12th in run defense (103.8 yards per game) and are one of eight teams allowing less than 4.0 YPC. Jones is a solid RB1 with Dillon carrying some flex appeal based on his recently increased usage.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
RB1: Aaron Jones
Flex: AJ Dillon
WR1: Davante Adams
Bench: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (IR-hamstring), Randall Cobb, Robert Tonyan

Passing Game Thoughts: In his three starts, Justin Fields (knee) has averaged 9.7 completions, 129 yards, 0.33 TDs and 0.33 INTs. As a runner, the Ohio State product has gained 25 yards on nine attempts during that time. It’s clear that Chicago is bringing the rookie along slowly and limiting what they ask of him. While that’s a smart move for developing a young quarterback, it doesn’t do much for fantasy owners. Fields has also taken a lot of punishment, especially in his first start, and suffered a hyperextended knee in Week 5.

With Fields passing sparingly, Allen Robinson (4-32-0) has seen his fantasy stock take a nosedive. After posting a 102-1250-6 line last season, Robinson is currently on pace for a 58-615-3 showing. It’s hard to pull the plug on someone that was undoubtedly an early-round pick in most fantasy drafts, but at this point if you’re sticking with him in your lineup, it’s based purely on past results. Darnell Mooney (3-35-0) is the team’s leading receiver on the year, albeit with modest production. Both players are on the injury report this week so if you’re considering either one keep an eye on that.

Green Bay is currently 10th against the pass, allowing 220.4 yards per game. Their 12 TDs allowed is tied for fourth-most in the NFL, but five of those came in the opener. Star CB Jaire Alexander (shoulder) is currently on IR and won’t play in Week 6, and fellow starter Kevin King (shoulder) might not play, either. Despite that, only Robinson offers any fantasy appeal here as a low-end WR3 or flex option.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: With David Montgomery (knee) on IR, Damien Williams (16-64-1) and Khalil Herbert (18-75-0) stepped up with a strong showing against Las Vegas last Sunday. Williams was placed on the reserve/COVID list Thursday after a positive test and may be unavailable for Sunday. If so, Herbert should get the bulk of the work. The Packers have yielded just 102.2 yards per game (12th) on the ground, but there’s no doubt the Bears will try to run the ball. If Williams goes, he’s a RB2/RB3 with Herbert as a flex. If Williams sits, Herbert becomes an RB2.

Value Meter:
RB2/RB3: Damien Williams (COVID)
Flex: Khalil Herbert
WR3/Flex: Allen Robinson
Bench: Justin Fields, David Montgomery (IR-knee), Darnell Mooney

Prediction: Packers 30, Bears 16 ^ Top

Cardinals @ Browns - (Green)
Line: CLE -3.5
Total: 50.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Through the first three games, Kyler Murray (shoulder) passed for 1,005 yards, 7 TDs and 4 INTs; he also ran for 70 yards and three TDs. Since that hot start, however, Murray has averaged 254 yards passing, 20 yards rushing and 1.5 TDs per game (all via the air). He also dinged up his shoulder during last week’s hard-fought win over San Francisco. While it wasn’t severe enough to leave the game, bear in mind it was a similar issue that caused last year’s promising season to go off the rails, so it is something to monitor closely.

With more depth outside, DeAndre Hopkins (6-87-1) isn’t being force-fed the ball in 2021 anywhere close to last season with his per-game targets dropping from 10 to 6.8. He’s still a must-start WR1, but he’s no longer in the conversation for top fantasy WR. Of the other options, Rondale Moore (8 touches, 97 yards) has seen the most consistent usage and brings flex value with some upside each week. Veteran A.J. Green (1-13-0) and Christian Kirk (5-39-0) round out the receivers, and though both carry value it’s hard to know when to plug them into your lineup.

One loss of note was that of Maxx Williams (knee), who suffered a significant knee injury last Sunday and will likely miss the rest of 2021. Williams was coming on strong after injuries had ruined the early seasons of his career, and it’ll be interesting to see where those looks go. Cleveland ranks 11th in pass defense (223.2 yards per game), but they looked lost against Justin Herbert and the Chargers last week, allowing 398 yards and 4 TDs to the Bolts. Keep Murray as your QB1 and hope the injury doesn’t negatively affect him too much.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: All you need to know about Arizona’s running game in Week 3 is that Moore led the way with 38 yards. The actual running backs, Chase Edmonds (6-15-0) and James Conner (10-29-1), never got anything going against the 49ers, and the Browns could pose a similar challenge. Only Tampa Bay has allowed fewer rushing yards per game than Cleveland (75.6) though they have surrendered five TDs. While neither back is airtight, Edmonds can be plugged in as an RB2 with Conner and his goal-line usage as an RB3 or flex.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray (inj-shoulder)
RB2: Chase Edmonds
RB3/Flex: James Conner
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
Flex: Rondale Moore
Bench: A.J. Green, Christian Kirk

Passing Game Thoughts: Baker Mayfield entered last weekend with the fewest passing TDs among any full-time starting QB with just two. He matched that number in Week 5, throwing for 305 yards and two TDs in a shootout loss to the Chargers. It was another hint of what Mayfield is capable of on any given Sunday, but it also served as a reminder that Cleveland’s offense runs through its two backs, and all things being equal the Browns want to lean on that duo.

Making things doubly frustrating for fantasy owners is that there is no reliable target among Cleveland’s pass catchers. Odell Beckham Jr. (2-20-0) is clearly the biggest name, but he has back-to-back weeks with two receptions and hasn’t topped 100 yards in a game since Oct. 13, 2019! Austin Hooper was a reliable producer in Atlanta, but he wasn’t even targeted last Sunday while David Njoku went off for 149 yards and a score on seven catches -- he entered Week 5 with a 7-111-0 line for the season.

Arizona ranks eighth in passing yardage allowed (214.4 yards per game) with seven TDs and five interceptions. Their pass rush has slowed after a fast start, and the team could be without Chandler Jones (illness) this Sunday due to a positive COVID test; Jones is reportedly fully vaccinated, so he still has a chance to be cleared for the game. About the only playable option here is Beckham as a shaky WR3 based almost entirely on his reputation and upside.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Whatever the passing game lacks, the combo of Nick Chubb (21-161-1) and Kareem Hunt (12-61-2) provide in terms of explosiveness. In addition to his role as the No. 2 back, Hunt is also arguably the team’s most reliable receiver, catching five more balls last week for 28 yards. This is going to be a stern test for the Cardinals run defense, which has allowed 139 yards per game (28th) and 5.4 yards per carry (31st) on the year. Make sure Chubb and Hunt are in your lineup this week.

Value Meter:
RB1: Nick Chubb
RB2: Kareem Hunt
WR3: Odell Beckham Jr.
Bench: Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry (IR-knee)

Prediction: Browns 27, Cardinals 23 ^ Top

Raiders at Broncos - (Caron)
Line: DEN -3.5
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: A tumultuous situation off the field has led to a new head coach in Las Vegas as the team turns to longtime special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia after Jon Gruden resigned from the position on Monday. There was already some toxicity brewing in Las Vegas and now the team has the unenviable task of heading on the road to face one of the league’s best defenses, the Denver Broncos.

The Raiders disappointed this past week against another good defense in the Bears as Derek Carr turned in his worst fantasy performance of the season, throwing for just 206 yards and no touchdowns with an interception. Carr has now been held to fewer than 210 passing yards in back-to-back weeks and the near-400-yard performances we saw through the first three weeks of the season seem like a distant memory. Denver has one of the best secondaries in the league and given the situation in Las Vegas right now, this seems like a wise week to bench the majority of your Raiders offensive weapons.

The only real exception to this rule continues to be tight end Darren Waller. While Waller hasn’t really been excellent since his huge Week 1 performance, he continues to see a huge chunk of the team’s targets. We should expect that Waller sees another big day of opportunities given Denver’s excellent cornerbacks. It’s true that the Broncos have done a great job of containing opposing tight ends as they’ve given up the second-fewest fantasy points to the position this year including no touchdowns, but they’ve also faced some weak competition at the position. The only “name brand” tight end they’ve faced was Baltimore’s Mark Andrews, who was targeted eight times, catching five of those passes for 67 yards. Waller is better than Andrews and should be in line for another solid fantasy day.

If you’re going to look beyond Waller, Raiders slot receiver Hunter Renfrow has continued to be by far the team’s most consistent receiver. While he’s not producing huge numbers, he’s had double digit PPR fantasy points in every game thus far and he’s caught at least five passes in every contest while being targeted at least six times. He’s not an exciting option, but the opportunities continue to be there in PPR.

Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards have each had their moments, but they’ve turned in more single-digit PPR days than they have double-digit ones, while their target shares remain relatively low given the amount of playing time they’re seeing.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: With Peyton Barber out due to a toe injury, Josh Jacobs got back to his bell-cow status in Week 5, carrying the ball 15 times while adding four receptions in the passing game. While he only produced 67 total yards with those touches, Jacobs was able to get into the end zone and, perhaps most importantly, significantly out-snapped backup Kenyan Drake by a ratio of almost four-to-one. We may see Barber return this week which could give Jacobs a bit more competition for carries, but this is still his backfield.

Unfortunately for Jacobs, he’s now set to go on the road against one of the league’s best fantasy defenses against opposing running backs. The Broncos had held every running back they’ve faced this season to fewer than 60 rushing yards heading into Week 5 before they matched up against Steelers rookie Najee Harris. Game script meant that the Steelers were able to lean heavily on Harris, which they did, giving him 23 carries on the day which he converted for 122 yards and a touchdown. There’s some hope that the Broncos are weakening up in their front seven now that we’re a quarter of the way through the season, but don’t expect too much in this one from Jacobs. This is a tough matchup and the Raiders could just completely lay an egg.

Value Meter:
RB2: Josh Jacobs (low end)
TE1: Darren Waller
Flex: Hunter Renfrow (PPR only)
Bench: Derek Carr, Kenyan Drake, Peyton Barber, Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards

Passing Game Thoughts: The Broncos were expected to be one of the league’s worst passing offenses, especially after Jerry Jeudy went down, but it’s pretty undeniable that Teddy Bridgewater has been better than advertised. While the team fell short this past week against Pittsburgh, Bridgewater delivered through the air, passing for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with one interception, against one of the league’s best defenses.

Bridgewater remains at best a low-end QB2, but he has now shown us that he’s at least capable of getting the ball to wide receiver Courtland Sutton. Sutton saw his second 10-target game of the season this past week (7-120-1) and for the second time, he delivered in a huge way for fantasy owners. While he’s dudded out in the other three games this season, Sutton has delivered the big spike weeks that we like to see from a WR2 in fantasy. He does have a tough on-paper matchup this week, however, against the Raiders who’ve done an excellent job of containing opposing wide receivers. While they’ve faced some fairly low volume passing games in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Miami and Chicago, it’s worth noting that they did shut down Las Angeles Chargers receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in Week 4, holding the duo to just 47 combined receiving yards with no touchdowns. Sutton’s a low-end WR2 this week with upside given his potential target share, but we should expect this game to be low scoring and therefore that will probably keep him out of WR1 territory.

The only other fantasy-relevant wide receiver in this offense right now is Tim Patrick. Patrick has quietly delivered four 12-plus-point PPR fantasy days so far this season, including a season-high seven catch performance against the Steelers this past week. He’s still a low upside option given the Denver passing game as a whole, but he’s viable as a PPR flex/WR3 if you’re in need of someone who can deliver a decent floor.

Tight end Noah Fant has quietly held onto low-end TE1 status this season, even after dropping a dud his past weekend against Pittsburgh. Fant hasn’t yet caught more than six passes in a game this season and he’s been held to fewer than 50 receiving yards in all but one game. Still, he’s an interesting TE1 this week in what appears to be a favorable matchup on paper. The Raiders gave up a huge 10-catch game to Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki back in Week 3 and then have given up three touchdowns to opposing tight ends over their two games since.

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: Things continue to be split fairly evenly in the Denver backfield between veteran Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams. Williams was the better performer from a per-touch standpoint this past week in Denver’s loss to Pittsburgh, but neither player was involved enough to be much of a factor for fantasy. That’s really the worry with this backfield. When the Broncos fall behind on the scoreboard, which we expect them to quite a bit this season, there just isn’t enough of an opportunity for both backs to get involved in the offense. They end up cannibalizing one another’s upside and that’s just a bad situation for fantasy.

However, in Week 6, they do have an interesting matchup at home against a Raiders defense that has struggled recently to contain opposing running backs. They’ve now given up 96 or more rushing yards to opposing running backs in three straight games, including this past week’s 139 rushing yard performance from the Chicago duo of Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert. A positive game script is definitely possible in this one, given the ugliness surrounding the Raiders and their performance this past week, which would give the Broncos the ability to do what they like to do - run the football.

It’s hard to get behind either of these backs as anything other than Flex plays, but there’s reason to like them both in that role for your fantasy team. You might be frustrated if you start one guy and the other one ends up getting into the end zone, but that’s the game we play.

Value Meter:
WR2: Courtland Sutton
TE1: Noah Fant
Flex: Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams, Tim Patrick (PPR only)
Bench: Teddy Bridgewater, Kendall Hinton, David Moore

Prediction: Broncos 23, Raiders 16 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Patriots - (Krueger)
Line: DAL -3.5
Total: 50.5

Passing Game Thoughts: We haven’t seen the volume from Dak Prescott (20th in attempts) but efficiency (74% completion) and 13 passing TDs (T-3rd) have kept him in low-end QB1 territory for fantasy purposes. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are holding WR2 value despite the lack of volume and tight end Dalton Shultz is on a heater with 23 targets, 18 catches and 3 TDs in his last three games far outpacing fellow tight end Blake Jarwin. Schultz played on 73 percent of the teams snaps last week and can be trusted as TE1 until the tides turn.

New England has been stingy on defense up until last week when they inexplicably gave up 312 yards and 3 TDs to Davis Mills, Chris Conley and Chris Moore. I’d chalk that up as an anomaly and expect the Patriots defense to revert back to form, keeping a lid on the Dallas passing attack. It’s safe to play Dak, Lamb, Cooper and Schultz but keep your expectations in check. It’s worth noting that New England has given up a grand total of 106 yards to tight ends in five games. Amari Cooper has battled a rib and now a hamstring injury early in the season and it’s difficult to watch him gimp around out there and feel comfortable about him as a fantasy play. Unless you’ve got a viable WR2 to replace him, you’ll probably just have to deal with the uncertainty.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott seems to have put his dismal 2020 season behind him. He’s currently 5th among fantasy PPR backs (19.1 FPts/G), averaging 5.3 yards per carry and averaging 20 touches per game in Dallas victories. All of this despite ceding a decent amount of work to Tony Pollard who has earned Flex consideration with at least 10 touches in his last four games. New England has only allowed two running back touchdowns and has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher. Both Alvin Kamara (RB10) and Leonard Fournette (RB13) posted respectable fantasy finishes against Belichick’s defense so deploy Zeke as usual.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (low-end)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (low-end)
WR2: CeeDee Lamb (mid-range)
WR2: Amari Cooper (low-end)
Flex: Tony Pollard
TE1: Dalton Schultz
Bench: Cedrick Wilson, Blake Jarwin

Passing Game Thoughts: Hopefully you’re not relying on Mac Jones as your fantasy QB. Even in two-QB league’s he’s at the bottom end of consideration given the lack of deep targets and inability to make plays with his legs. With only 5 TDs and 5 INTS he doesn’t even rank inside the top 24 fantasy quarterbacks. The Patriots are throwing at a relatively high ratio (64-36) which is keeping WR Jakobi Meyers and to a lesser extent, TE Hunter Henry, fantasy considerations. Everyone else in this passing offense is an afterthought. The likely game script of New England playing from behind, coupled with Dallas giving up the third most FPTs to QB and 6th most FPts to receivers does bode well for a good game from Meyers. Perhaps he gets his first receiving TD of his career? He’s got sneaky WR2 value in this contest.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: Damien Harris (ribs) lost a fumble at the goaline and was in and out of the game due to injury last week which kept him in middling Flex territory for the week. He’s missed practice Wednesday but is likely to suit up against the Cowboys. The lack of positive game script this week is likely to keep his fantasy value in the RB3 or Flex range. Brandon Bolden has assumed the pass-catching role in this offense but has yet to show enough usage or upside to get excited about his fantasy value. However, this is a game where we could see the higher end of his range if New England gets behind early. Rhamondre Stevenson saw 11 carries last week in his first real action of the season but was largely ineffective (23 yards). He remains off the fantasy radar for now.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mac Jones (low-end)
RB2: Damien Harris (low-end)
RB3: Brandon Bolden (mid-range)
WR2: Jakobi Meyers (mid-range)
TE2: Hunter Henry (mid-range)
Bench: Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith

Prediction: Cowboys 26, Patriots 20 ^ Top

Seahawks @ Steelers - (Green)
Line: PIT -5.0
Total: 42.5

Passing Game Thoughts: On Jan. 1, 2012, Tarvaris Jackson led the Seahawks in a 23-20 overtime loss to Arizona. For the 149 games since then, Russell Wilson (finger) has been Seattle’s starting quarterback. That streak will end Sunday night when Geno Smith makes just his third start since 2014 in place of Wilson, who is set to miss 4-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his injured finger. Smith was decent in relief last Thursday, connecting on 10 of 17 passes for 131 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT (on which the receiver fell), but we’re entering a world of unknowns for the Seattle offense.

Of their top two receivers, DK Metcalf (5-98-2) seems better suited to weather the storm. At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, the third-year pro can work anywhere on the field and can run through smaller defensive backs on quick passes. The outlook is murkier for Tyler Lockett (5-57-0), who was already more of a feast-or-famine option that relied on downfield shots many weeks to carve out significant fantasy value. More Gerald Everett (illness) might be an option as well, now that he looks ready to return after missing two games following a positive COVID test.

With Smith under center, you can bet Pittsburgh will focus on stopping the run and making the veteran prove he can move the ball after seeing such limited action since his early years with the Jets. For the season, the Steelers have allowed 260.6 yards and 2 TDs per game, and their 10 sacks are well off their 2020 output. Obviously, you’ll want to hold off on doing anything with Smith, but Metcalf and Lockett can continue to be deployed as starting receivers with the former as a steadier selection.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: With Chris Carson (neck) inactive, Alex Collins got most of the work against the Rams, carrying the ball 15 times for 47 yards. Head coach Pete Carroll indicated Carson should return to practice this week and might suit up Sunday night. Although Pittsburgh has been solid against the run (100.4 yards per game; 9th), they haven’t been as dominant as in years past. As such, Carson could be a focal point of Seattle’s offense if he plays. He can be used as a low-end No. 2 or strong No. 3 back. Collins might be a risky flex, moving up to an RB3 if Carson is inactive again.

Value Meter:
RB2/RB3: Chris Carson (inj-neck)
Flex: Alex Collins
WR1/WR2: DK Metcalf
WR2: Tyler Lockett
Bench: Russell Wilson (IR-finger)

Passing Game Thoughts: It took a month, but the Steelers finally made a philosophical change on offense, riding their rookie back and sprinkling in Ben Roethlisberger (pec) instead of vice versa. Big Ben attempted a season-low 25 passes, completing 15 of them for 253 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs -- the 10.1 yards per attempt were his highest since Nov. 8, 2018. Such low usage is likely unsustainable, but the message it sends is clear: our 39-year-old QB can no longer carry the offense.

While Roethlisberger had already fallen well out of fantasy starter territory, less passing will cause a ripple effect. The question, though, is whether the season-ending shoulder injury to JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder) will offset that for Diontae Johnson (2-72-1) and Chase Claypool (5-130-1) since that pair figure to get a higher percentage of the looks going forward. The injury should also make James Washington (groin) a free-agent target in larger leagues, although he’s dealing with a groin injury of his own.

A year ago, Seattle had the 31st-ranked pass defense in the NFL. This season, they’ve moved all the way up to 30th at 305.6 yards per game. They waived Tre Flowers, who started the first three games of the season, and are hopeful the return of rookie Tre Brown (knee) from a knee injury will help stabilize the secondary, but he’s unlikely to play in Week 6. This Sunday night, Johnson can be used as a WR2 with Claypool as a borderline WR2/WR3. Roethlisberger and Washington, if he plays, should stay on your fantasy bench.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: After a slow start, Najee Harris (23-122-1) is starting to show why he was a first-round pick. The rookie has averaged 4.8 YPC over his last two games, significantly up from the 3.1 he averaged in Weeks 1-3, and he scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. His 28 receptions are also second among backs behind only D’Andre Swift (29). Remarkably, Seattle ranks even worse against the run than the pass, allowing 145.2 yards per game on the ground (only the Chargers have allowed more). Harris should be a strong RB1 this Sunday.

Value Meter:
RB1: Najee Harris
WR2: Diontae Johnson
WR2/WR3: Chase Claypool
Bench: Ben Roethlisberger (inj-pectoral)

Prediction: Steelers 24, Seahawks 19 ^ Top

Bills @ Titans - (Swanson)
Line: BUF -5.5
Total: 53.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Josh Allen continues to be a fantasy stud, with 12 passing touchdowns and only two interceptions, with another two rushing touchdowns on the ground. His 26.7 fantasy points per game are fourth on the year behind only Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes.

The same could not be said of Stefon Diggs, who is averaging five fewer points per game than he did in his breakout first season with Buffalo in 2021. The target share is down to 26.9%, as Allen continues to spread the ball around to Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, and newly found favorite target, tight end Dawson Knox.

Knox skyrocketed from 56% of the snaps in week 1 to 96% last week and has a touchdown in all but one game. If the first five games are any indication, Knox is the Mark Andrews or Darren Waller breakout candidate for 2021.

If there were ever a game for Diggs to bounce back, it would be this one against the Titans. Not only will the Titans present a game script that will help the passing game with a high-scoring game, but they also have a terrible defense and one of the worst secondaries in the league.

Only the Bucs and the Football team have given up more fantasy points to wide receivers. Fire up Diggs in this game, and reap the rewards. Also, Diggs leads the NFL with 12 red-zone targets in five games yet has just one score. Look for that to change going forward.

You should also start Emmanuel Sanders in all formats, as he has gelled well with Allen and has garnered at least five targets in every game. The same cannot be said of Cole Beasley, who looks to be the odd man out in Buffalo with the emergence of Knox. There are a finite number of targets in a game, and he looks to have drawn the short stick (no pun intended).

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Devin Singletary continues to be the starter of the bills by name, but Moss appears to be the one you want to start and the one the Bills trust most in passing downs. Singletary is averaging an impressive 5.2 yards per carry, but Moss has four touchdowns to just one for Singletary and is often in for more red zone plays.

Moss has three red zone targets to just one for Singletary, and Moss ranks tied for 6th in total red zone rushes in the league.

The Titans have fared far better vs. the run than the pass this season, but that does not mean they are a good defense. It has a ton to do with game script and opponents taking the path of least resistance with the passing game.

Chris Carson managed a pair of scores, and James Robinson ran wild last week to the tune of 18/149/1. Fire up Moss as a flex, and Singletary also is flex-worthy in larger formats.

Value Meter:
QB2: Josh Allen (Elite)
RB2: Zack Moss (Low-End)
Flex: Devin Singletary (Low-End)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (High-End)
WR2: Emmanuel Sanders (Low-End)
TE1: Dawson Knox (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: To summarize the passing game for the Titans this season, the best and most simple answer is to say there is not one. Injuries to A.J. Brown and Julio Jones have limited the Titans to the 9th-fewest points scored by WR, and Ryan Tannehill currently ranks 21st in fantasy points for quarterbacks.

Tannehill has just six passing touchdowns in five games and only ranks as high as he does because of 130 rushing yards and a touchdown.

This is Derrick Henry’s team, and head coach Mike Vrabel is going to ride his horses into the ground.

The question, is will the game script allow the Titans to run as much as they want? Only the Panthers have given up fewer points to opposing running backs, and no RB has reached the end zone on the ground. In fact, teams have only rushed the ball 77 total times in five games vs. Buffalo, second only to the Buccaneers.

No doubt the Titans will want to run the ball, and Henry will get his even if it takes 30 carries. But for Tennessee to have any shot winning this game, they will need to throw the ball.

A matchup to watch will be TreDavious White on Brown. White is by far the best cover corner for the Bills, and Brown is the main threat in the passing game. It is not impossible to find success against White, but it will be a bit of a challenge.

That leads us to Julio Jones, one of the biggest busts of the season for fantasy after a slow start mixed with another hamstring injury. No opposing wide receiver has topped 76 receiving yards this season, and only two have found the end zone. This is by no means a great matchup for Jones, but if there was ever a need for him to step up, this would be the game.

Julio has practiced on Wednesday and Thursday and should be good to go on Monday Night. Just be sure to have a fallback option in case he is inactive again.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: We are running out of superlatives and comparisons of Derrick Henry. He is amazing and a must-start every week, even against a tough run defense like Buffalo. Henry will get his touches and a touchdown or two. Just don’t be surprised for lower than usual yardage.

No other team in the league has created more lopsided game scripts than Buffalo, with an average of just under 40 points in four of their five games. The Titans have one of the worst defenses in the league and will struggle to stop Josh Allen, making this a frustrating game for Henry managers.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Tannehill (High-End)
RB1: Derrick Henry (Elite)
WR1: A.J. Brown (Low-End)
WR3: Julio Jones (High-End)
TE2: Geoff Swaim (High-End)

Prediction: Buffalo 40, Tennessee 28 ^ Top