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Inside the Matchup


Week 6

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green
10/16/20

Sunday Early:

CHI @ CAR | CIN @ IND | DET @ JAX | ATL @ MIN | WAS @ NYG

BAL @ PHI | CLE @ PIT | HOU @ TEN | DEN @ NE


Sunday Late:

NYJ @ MIA | GB @ TB | LAR @ SF

Monday:

KC @ BUF | ARI @ DAL


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

Bears at Panthers - (Swanson)
Line: CAR -1.5
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The 4-1 Bears are one of the more surprising teams in the league. The Nick Foles-led offense ranks 27th in points per game and yards per game, but their defense has kept them in games and leads the league in red zone defense.

Foles is only fantasy relevant in two-quarterback and deep 14-team leagues. As the 27th-ranked quarterback, Foles is a better real-life QB than a fantasy option, yet he has done an excellent job keeping Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham fantasy relevant.

Robinson currently ranks 19th among wide receivers in fantasy points per game. He is averaging a full point per game more than last season and is on pace for a whopping 182 targets. The volume is there, but Robinson has not come through with big touchdown games. If you have a manager in your league who is not happy with the fact that Robinson has just two touchdowns on the year, I would recommend trading for Robinson based on the elite volume he continues to see.

Jimmy Graham is fourth in the league in touchdowns at the tight end position. Unlike Robinson, Graham does not get a ton of passing volume and relies solely on touchdown production. You can play the veteran tight end in this game against the Panthers, but keep in mind Carolina has allowed just one TD on the year to opposing tight ends, and only Hunter Henry has topped 50 yards.

Starting cornerback Donte Jackson was limited with a toe injury on Thursday and is questionable for the game on Sunday, while defensive end Brian Burns was limited and currently in the concussion protocol. The absence of Burns could give Foles more time in the pocket, and Jackson is the team’s best cover corner.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: David Montgomery is once again averaging less than four yards per carry and has only one rushing touchdown on the year. He has not looked particularly impressive since joining the league last season as a third-round pick from Iowa State, but he continues to be the lead back for the Bears and should be in your lineup this week.

Only the Lions have given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Panthers, a rush defense that should be even worse going forward with the season-ending injury to defensive lineman Kwan Short.

Todd Gurley ran wild against the Panthers last week with 121 yards and a score on 14 carries. A similar stat line is not out of the question for Montgomery, especially now that the Panthers do not have their best defensive lineman.

Value Meter:
QB2: Nick Foles (High-End)
RB1: David Montgomery (Low-End)
WR1: Allen Robinson (High-End)
WR3: Anthony Miller (Low-End)
TE1: Jimmy Graham (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Teddy Bridgewater has been an excellent real-life quarterback for the Panthers and a solid fantasy option for fantasy managers in his first year with the team. Bridgewater has more fantasy points than Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins, and just three fewer points than Lamar Jackson.

Bridgewater took advantage of two subpar defenses in the last two weeks with 276/2 against the Cardinals and 313/2 vs. the Falcons in Week 5.

This week’s matchup against the Bears is arguably the most difficult challenge for Bridgewater and the passing game. The Bears have given up the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and just four total passing touchdowns in five games. Only one QB has scored over 20 fantasy points against Chuck Pagano’s defense, and no quarterback has topped 300 passing yards.

You are starting both D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, but you should temper your expectations. Only the Rams have given up fewer points to opposing wide receivers, with Mike Evans becoming the first WR on the year to score a receiving touchdown against the Bears last week.

The one weakness in the Bears pass defense has been covering tight ends. The Bucs combined for nearly 100 receiving yards against the Bears on Thursday Night Football, and both Evan Engram and T.J. Hockenson managed over 50 receiving yards.

The Panthers do not feature tight ends much in their passing game, but they may need to make adjustments in this matchup against a tough Chicago secondary.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Teams have found it far easier to run against Chicago than trying to beat the Bears in the passing game. Chicago ranks 18th in fantasy points per game while giving up 4.54 yards per carry.

Mike Davis has been nothing short of amazing while filling in for the injured Christian McCaffrey. The former Bear, who will likely have some extra motivation against his old team, is the fourth-ranked running back in fantasy points over the last three games, with a touchdown against the Chargers, Cardinals, and Falcons.

Davis is the best play on the Panthers this week and should be considered a strong low-end RB1 or an elite RB2.

Value Meter:
QB2: Teddy Bridgewater (High-End)
RB1: Mike Davis (Low-End)
WR2: D.J. Moore (Low-End)
WR3: Robby Anderson (Low-End)
TE2: Ian Thomas (Low-End)

Prediction: Chicago 24, Carolina 17 ^ Top

Bengals @ Colts - (Swanson)
Line: IND -8.0
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The rookie season for first overall pick Joe Burrow has been filled with up and down moments that one would expect of a young player getting acclimated to the NFL.

The former LSU Tiger threw for 316 yards, and three touchdown passes against the Browns week two and another 312/2 against the Eagles Week 3, only two post 183 yards and an interception in a lopsided loss to the Ravens in Week 5.

What we have learned so far is Burrow can have good performances against subpar secondaries like the Browns, Eagles, and Jags. Solid defenses like the Chargers and Ravens will challenge the rookie to produce substantial fantasy numbers.

The Colts fall under the latter when it comes to defenses in the NFL. Only the Bears have given up fewer points to opposing quarterbacks than the Colts, a team that shut down Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles, and Baker Mayfield in the past three matchups. No opposing player has topped 250 passing yards against Matt Eberfuls’ defense, and only Gardner Minshew managed to top 2 passing touchdowns.

Burrow is not a great option in anything other than two-quarterback leagues and should not be high on your list as a 12-team streamer. The same goes for A.J. Green, the disgruntled former star who looks to be all but done.

Rookie Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd continue to be the primary weapons for Burrow in the passing game, with the former leading all Bengals receivers in snap percentage last week.

Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon enters Week 6 as the No. 17 ranked running back in fantasy points per game. He is averaging a paltry 3.7 yards per carry and has only three total touchdowns this season that all came in one game against the Jags.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Outside of that monster 36-point game against the Jags, Mixon has not topped double digits in any game while averaging fewer than three yards per carry in three of his five contests.

The Colts are a terrible matchup for running backs. You are not going to be able to bench Mixon based on his draft capital and chance of scoring a touchdown, but expecting a big game against a Colts defense that gives up the second-fewest points is unrealistic.

On a positive note, Kareem Hunt did manage 93 total yards and a score against the Colts, albeit on a busted scramble play that culminated with Hunt making a fantastic catch in the back of the end zone.

Value Meter:
QB2: Joe Burrow (Low-End)
RB2: Joe Mixon (Low-End)
WR3: Tyler Boyd (Low-End)
WR3: Tee Higgins (Low-End)
TE2: Drew Sample Low -End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Indianapolis Colts are paying Philip Rivers $25M to throw five interceptions and just four passing touchdowns in five games this season. Although the veteran QB is completing the highest percentage of passes in his career, he's on pace to throw a whopping 12 passing touchdowns and 16 interceptions while all but killing the value of all the passing options on the Colts for fantasy purposes.

The wide receiving corps for the Colts has a combined one receiving touchdown in five games. By comparison, Mike Evans of the Bucs leads the league with six touchdowns on his own.

While we would like to say this is a good matchup for Rivers and the passing game to get on track, the Bengals are far more susceptible to the run than the pass, and it would make sense for Frank Reich and the Colts to run the ball early and often in what could be a surprisingly low scoring game.

You cannot start T.Y. Hilton with any sort of confidence even in this game. Hilton’s 4.6 yards per reception places him 88th overall at the position, behind other stalwarts like Christian Blake, Quintez Cephus, and Jalen Guyton.

To make matters worse, the Colts use three tight ends in Mo Alie-Cox, Jack Doyle, and Trey Burton, effectively canceling each other out for fantasy.

Until further notice, you cannot start anyone on the Indy passing game. Instead, focus on Jonathan Taylor in the ground game and Hot Rod Blankenship for your placekicker.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: When Marlon Mack went down, we all assumed that the sky would be the limit for rookie Jonathan Taylor. Taylor does have three games of double-digit fantasy production and one 100-yard game under his belt, but it has not been exactly the game-breaking perfection we all thought.

Taylor is on the field for about 55% of snaps, with Nyheim Hines working in around 35% of the time and Jordan Wilkins also seeing touches.

From a fantasy perspective, you can run on the Bengals, and opposing running backs have found great success against Cincinnati. Five different running backs have topped 10 fantasy points vs. the Bengals, including a combined 47.4 points scored between Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

Fire up Taylor in all formats, and Hines has some value in PPR leagues. The Colts DST is once again a solid play, and don’t be surprised to see Rodrigo Blankenship post a fourth-consecutive top-6 performance.

Value Meter:
QB2: Philip Rivers (Low-End)
RB1: Jonathan Taylor (Low-End)
WR3: T.Y. Hilton (Low-End)
TE2: Trey Burton (Low -End)

Prediction: Indianapolis 24, Cincinnati 14 ^ Top

Lions @ Jaguars - (Swanson)
Line: DET -3.0
Total: 54.5

Passing Game Thoughts: In a battle of one-win teams, the Lions head to Jacksonville to take on Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars. Matthew Stafford and the Lions enter this contest fresh off a much-needed bye week that hopefully gave wide receiver Kenny Golladay an extra few days off to fully recover from a lingering hamstring injury.

Stafford enters Week 6 as the No. 20 ranked quarterback based on fantasy points per game. His 21.8 FPts/G is better than Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, and Baker Mayfield, but he is currently four points per game off of his impressive early-season run from 2019.

The Jags defense presents an excellent opportunity for both Stafford and Golladay, as Jacksonville gives up the seventh-most points to opposing quarterbacks and the 15th-most points to wide receivers. All five quarterbacks who have faced the Jags have topped 20 fantasy points, while three quarterbacks have topped 300 passing yards.

This game has the makings of a shootout, and you will want to have both Stafford and Golladay in your lineup. One player on the Lions you may want to avoid is Marvin Jones, who has just five total targets over the last two games and has yet to top 55 yards receiving in any game.

T.J. Hockenson is an interesting play and a nice low-end TE1. The Jags have given up at least 69 yards and/or a touchdown to opposing tight ends, and Hockenson has 53 yards or a touchdown in all four games.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Detroit running backs have combined to score the 14th-most fantasy points despite no 100-yard rushing yards or multi-touchdown performance in any game by a Lions player.

Adrian Peterson continues to be the lead early-down back and is averaging a respectable 4.5 yards per carry. His volume makes him a decent flex option, but his lack of work in the passing game limits his upside.

D’Andre Swift is the best pass-catching back in the stable of running backs and scored two weeks ago against the Saints. Unfortunately, he is not getting enough volume to give owners a level of comfort to start, and Kerryon Johnson is getting enough snaps to frustrate both Smith and Peterson owners.

From a matchup standpoint, the Jags present an excellent opportunity for fantasy production. Jacksonville has given up the ninth-most points to opposing running backs, including a monster three-touchdown game to Joe Mixon and the Bengals.

Value Meter:
QB2: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB3: Adrian Peterson (High-End)
RB3: DíAndre Swift (High-End)
WR1: Kenny Golladay (High-End)
WR4: Marvin Jones (High-End)
TE1: T.J. Hockenson (Low -End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Jaguars entered 2020 as an early favorite to secure the No.1 draft position in next season’s NFL draft. With a win over the Colts to kick off the season and the emergence of running back James Robinson, that narrative appeared to be false, and the Jags looked like the surprise team of the early part of the season.

Unfortunately for Jags fans, the team dropped the next four games, including last week’s disappointing 14-30 loss to the winless Texans. The poor performance as of late should not be placed on the shoulders of second-year quarterbacks Gardner Minshew, who has completed nearly 70% of his passes and is on pace to throw for 4600 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Minshew’s 24.1 fantasy points per game are better than Lamar Jackson, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Jared Goff, and the Jaguar wide receiving corps has combined to score the fifth-most points.

After a monster two-touchdown game against the Bengals in Week 4, D.J. Chark burned owners with three catches for 16 yards before leaving in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. This is an excellent matchup against a Lions defense that has given up four games of at least 13 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, but starting Chark on a bum ankle might be a risky move.

Laviska Shenault and Keelan Cole owners should feel comfortable starting both players this week, even if Chark plays. This projects to be a high scoring game and the Lions are one of a few teams that rank in the bottom 12 across the board in points allowed to WRs, QBs, and RBs.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: James Robinson enters this matchup against the Lions on the heels of his worst performance of the year. The undrafted rookie sensation scored just seven fantasy points while rushing for a mere 48 yards on 13 carrels against the Texans.

Robinson’s disappointing performance should not dissuade you from starting him this week against Detroit. No other team has given up more points (average) than Detroit. Aaron Jones posted a monster three-touchdown game against Matt Patricia’s defense, and the Saints torched the Lions for three more scores in Week 4.

You can run on the Lions, and running backs have also found success in the passing game. Fire up Robinson as a solid RB1 play, and don’t be surprised if wide receiver Laviska Shennault also has a solid day on the ground.

Value Meter:
QB1: Gardner Minshew (Low-End)
RB1: James Robinson (High-End)
WR2: D.J. Chark (Low-End)
WR3: Keelan Cole (High-End)
WR3: Laviska Shenault (High-End)
TE2: Tyler Eifert (Low -End)

Prediction: Jacksonville 32, Detroit 28 ^ Top

Falcons @ Vikings - (Green)
Line: MIN -4.0
Total: 54.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Hours after an uninspired loss to the Panthers, the Dan Quinn Era officially came to an end when both he and GM Thomas Dimitroff were fired. The team never fully recovered from their Super Bowl collapse and subsequent departure of then-OC Kyle Shanahan, who coaxed the best out of Matt Ryan. Now, the veteran QB looks lost. He completed 21 of 37 passes for 226 yards, 0 TDs and a game-changing pick in the end zone. Ryan has thrown just one TD pass in his last three games, which has coincided with Julio Jones (hamstring) playing exactly one half of football.

It's unknown whether or not Jones will return as he's likely to be a game-time decision, which is always a tough spot for fantasy owners -- the last time he was active he didn't play in the second half. So, while he's a WR1, there's a lot of risk involved. On the other side is Calvin Ridley, who posted an 8-136-0 line against Carolina in Week 5; it was his fourth 100-plus-yard performance this season, making his complete shutout on MNF look like an outlier. He's a solid WR1.

Hayden Hurst has been inconsistent at tight end, but his upside at a position that seems to be having a down year overall leaves him with starter value. The same cannot be said of Russell Gage (shoulder), who has six grabs over the last three games after opening the season with 15-160-1 combined in Weeks 1 and 2. Minnesota has been playing better recently but still ranks 27th in pass defense at 271.4 yards per game to go with 10 TD passes. Despite his recent struggles, Ryan offers QB1 upside this week.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: If there was a silver lining offensively last week it was the production of Todd Gurley, who ran 14 times for 121 yards and a score. He also added 29 yards as a receiver in a performance reminiscent of his glory days with the Rams. Gurley has now scored four TDs in his last three games and is firmly in RB2 territory against a Vikings defense that ranks 24th (132.6 YPG) against the run. Add a potential X-factor: Minnesota has a bye next week before a divisional game, which creates a trap game atmosphere to this Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (low-end)
RB2: Todd Gurley
WR1: Julio Jones (inj)
WR1: Calvin Ridley
TE1: Hayden Hurst
Bench: Russell Gage (inj)

Passing Game Thoughts: For the most part, the Vikings played exactly the game they wanted to play, dominating time of possession and pushing around Seattle's defense. It wasn't enough to secure a win, but it was Kirk Cousins' best game of the year as he threw for 249 yards and two TDs along with one bad INT (the continuation of a season-long trend). Cousins hasn't been playable thus far, but there is some real upside this week based on Atlanta's vulnerability and Dalvin Cook's likely absence.

Not that it necessarily needs to be written, but I'll write it anyway: Adam Thielen is the No. 1 receiver in Minnesota. With all of the buzz surrounding Justin Jefferson's back-to-back big games that seemed to be getting lost in the shuffle. Well, Sunday served as a reminder as Thielen tormented Seattle's secondary with precision routes to catch nine of 13 targets for 80 yards and two scores. Jefferson, meanwhile, was quiet, with just three catches and 23 yards. While Thielen is a WR1, Jefferson is more of a WR3.

There was one other development worth noting, and that was Irv Smith, who caught four passes for 64 yards. The second-year tight end flashed as a rookie but did almost nothing over the first month. Keep an eye on him this week to see if he builds on Week 5. As for Atlanta, only Seattle has allowed more yards per game (335.8) via the air, but the Falcons have surrendered nearly double the TDs (15 to SEA's 8). On paper, this is a great matchup for Minnesota.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: With Dalvin Cook (groin) expected to be inactive this Sunday, Alexander Mattison (20-112-0 in Wk 5) is in line to start. The second-year back isn't Cook, but his career average of 4.7 yards per carry is no accident. He should get plenty of work against Atlanta, which has given up 110.2 yards per game on the ground (14th). While we're rating Mattison as an RB1, there's no doubt the Falcons are weaker versus the pass, so he isn't a lock to post huge numbers. And a potential second X-factor: teams often get a bump following a coaching change, so don't rule out an inspired effort from the Falcons in Week 6.

Value Meter:
QB2: Kirk Cousins
RB1: Alexander Mattison
WR1: Adam Thielen
WR3: Justin Jefferson
Bench: Dalvin Cook (inj)

Prediction: Vikings 34, Falcons 28 ^ Top

Football Team at Giants - (Katz)
Line: NYG -2.5
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The best moment of the NFL season thus far has been Alex Smith’s return to live action. I fear for his health every time he takes a snap, but it was incredible to see after what he’s been through. He will be this team’s starting quarterback by Week 9 at the latest. For now, Kyle Allen gets his chance after his first start was truncated due to an arm injury.

The Giants have been surprisingly solid defensively, allowing just 232 passing yards per game. They’ve forced a turnover in all but one of their games. It seems likely that Allen will turn the ball over at least once.

When he’s not turning it over, he’ll be looking for Terry McLaurin, who is on his way to being the new Allen Robinson having to deal with a medley of horrible quarterbacks. McLaurin has already seen targets from three different QBs this season, but has yet to see fewer than seven targets in a game. He’s locked in as the only viable member of this passing attack.

Logan Thomas’ snap share and routes run remains encouraging, but he has exactly one reception in each of his last two games. Unless the target share catches up to the playing time, he’s waiver wire fodder. With Steven Sims out, Dontrelle Inman has been the Football Team’s WR2, although someone named Isaiah Wright played the second most snaps at wide receiver last week. It goes without saying, but you don’t even need to consider anyone other than McLaurin here.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: Antonio Gibson has been between nine and 13 carries in every game this season and now has seen five targets in back to back games. His role is rock solid even though he’s still splitting snaps with J.D. McKissic. Gibson’s 56% snap share last week was his highest thus far. No one on the Football Team has much of a ceiling given how bad they are, but Gibson comes with a strong weekly floor.

The Giants allow an average 20% target share to running backs. McKissic is actually on the fantasy radar after consecutive eight target games. With the Football Team’s lack of receiving options behind McLaurin, they’ve been utilizing their running backs more as receivers. A 50% snap share and an average of five receptions over his last three games has McKissic as at least a passable injury/bye week replacement. The Giants have allowed six rushing touchdowns this season and, for the first time since Week 1, perhaps game script won’t get away from Washington. This is a nice spot for Gibson to find a touchdown or two.

Value Meter:
RB2: Antonio Gibson (mid-range)
WR2: Terry McLaurin (mid-range)
Flex: J.D. McKissic (PPR only)
Bench: Kyle Allen, Logan Thomas

Passing Game Thoughts: I saw a fun little nugget of information on Twitter last week. Do you know the last New York based football team to win at MetLife Stadium? The answer is the New York Guardians. With the Giants as small home favorites, this is their first real opportunity to change that.

Unfortunately, it will require Daniel Jones actually resembling an NFL quarterback. Through just five games, Jones has already taken 16 sacks and lost three out of four fumbles. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown since Week 1. Last week against the Cowboys was his first game all season without multiple turnovers. For someone with zero pocket awareness, incapable of feeling pressure, staring down the barrel of Chase Young is not good news.

Sterling Shepard is out at least one more week so Darius Slayton remains the clear WR1 for this team. Slayton had a monster game last week with eight catches on 11 targets for 129 yards. He’s only had two productive games, but he’s averaging eight targets a game. Meanwhile, Golden Tate is just a guy in this offense. He’s caught at least four passes in every game, but hasn’t exceeded 47 receiving yards. He’s not a fantasy option. Evan Engram was supposed to be useful, but he saw just two targets last week. He’s very difficult to trust, but given the state of the tight end position, and the matchup against a team that has allowed 28% of its total receiving yards to go to tight ends, you can’t fade Engram this week. Your alternative almost certainly isn’t worth it.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: While Devonta Freeman’s snap share suggests this is a committee, the usage paints a different picture. Freeman has played exactly 54% of the snaps each of the last two weeks, but he saw 11 carries two weeks ago and 17 carries last week. Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis are just rotational backups. Freeman looked like dust in his first game with the Giants, but has looked increasingly better in each subsequent game. Rust is a real thing and Freeman is shedding it at the moment. Touchdowns for the Giants will remain difficult, but Freeman’s volume keeps him in flex consideration.

Only the Cowboys allow a lower percentage of receiving yards against them to go to running backs than the Football Team. Freeman has six receptions over his past two games, but don’t expect any sort of reliable receiving floor this week. Washington has allowed eight rushing touchdowns and since Daniel Jones seems incapable of throwing one, if the Giants do score, there’s a solid chance it’s Freeman.

Value Meter:
WR3: Darius Slayton
TE1: Evan Engram (low end)
Flex: Devonta Freeman
Bench: Daniel Jones, Golden Tate

Prediction: Football Team 26, Giants 24 ^ Top

Ravens at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: BAL -7.5
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Death. Taxes. The previous season’s overall QB1 not being worth his ADP. Lamar Jackson is barely a QB1 through almost 40% of the fantasy regular season. He’s not playing particularly poorly, it’s just that the Ravens have yet to play in a competitive game.

The Eagles are allowing 241 passing yards per game, which is way more than Jackson has thrown for in every game since Week 1. The Eagles have been horrible this season, which does not bode well for a Jackson explosion as the Ravens will once again not need to do much to win a game.

The one bright spot in the Ravens offense from a fantasy perspective is Mark Andrews. The Eagles are a great matchup as they’ve allowed 24% of receiving yards against them to go to tight ends and a whopping five touchdowns to the position. The only other member of this passing attack worth starting is Hollywood Brown. We know what he is at this point. He’s a stretch Z miscast as an X. There will be games this season where he blows the top off and games where he catches three balls for 30 yards. His opportunities will likely be limited this week as the Ravens may not have to throw much, but it’s at least encouraging that Brown saw a season high 10 targets last week in a game the Ravens dominated wire to wire.

Devin Duvernay is so clearly the second best wide receiver on the team. His snap share has increased each of the last three weeks, but at a high of just 29%, he’s well off the fantasy radar. He’s a name to monitor, though, if his usage increases.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: There’s not much to discuss with the Ravens running game. Josh Harbaugh doesn’t care who plays running back or how much. It’s been a mostly even split between Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and J.K. Dobbins. None of them have a defined role. They’ve all seen goal line work. Ingram and Dobbins have seen some targets. The Eagles have allowed eight rushing touchdowns. It seems likely the Ravens will score via the ground, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be the one running it in. If I saw any one of these backs on the waiver wire, I wouldn’t even consider picking him up.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson (mid-range)
WR3: Marquise Brown
TE1: Mark Andrews (high end)
Bench: Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins

Passing Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz has been awful this season. He’s completing a career low 60% of his passes and has thrown nine interceptions already, the most in the league. Fortunately, he’s rushed for a score in three of his five games, boosting his fantasy value despite his poor play.

The Ravens are allowing 243 passing yards per game, allowing just six passing touchdowns. They are more vulnerable through the air than on the ground, but they are by no means a favorable matchup.

The Eagles are shuffling through wide receivers like a 10 year-old shuffles through Halloween candy. Their newest toy is Travis Fulgham, who posted a 10-152-1 line last week. By all accounts, he should be their WR1 this week. That means he gets a whole lot of Marlon Humphrey. Regardless, the Eagles are going to be trailing so they are going to be throwing making Fulgham useful on volume alone.

Greg Ward and John Hightower are not seeing enough work to be considerations. DeSean Jackson has been limited at practice for two weeks now. He’d be an extremely risky start if he ended up playing.

Zach Ertz would be an auto bench and a strong drop consideration in most seasons, but not in 2020. There are so few tight ends worth anything that Ertz being an every down player is enough to justify keeping him in your lineup. Ertz has a total of five catches for 15 yards over his last two games combined. He’s topped 42 yards receiving just once. Teams target the tight end against the Ravens just 18% of the time. Ertz might just be bad now on top of having a bad quarterback in a bad matchup. You don’t have much of a choice, but Ertz is not someone you’re happy about starting.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders was absolutely horrific last week. He had a monster fantasy game because he scored two touchdowns and while we never complain about a 74-yard score, the fact that he managed just six yards on his other 10 carries is terrifying. Against a Ravens defense allowing a mere 92 rushing yards a game and just three total rushing touchdowns, Sanders is not going to be smashing this week. He’s still an obvious start because of his volume, but the efficiency will take a hit. Ravens’ opponents target the running back position 25% of the time so there’s hope that Sanders can bolster his floor with receptions, but unless he busts off a big run or falls into the end zone, he’s more RB2 than RB1 this week. Boston Scott is well off the fantasy radar as he barely plays.

Value Meter:
RB2: Miles Sanders (mid-range)
TE2: Zach Ertz (high end)
Flex: Travis Fulgham
Bench: Carson Wentz, Boston Scott, Greg Ward, DeSean Jackson

Prediction: Ravens 31, Eagles 17 ^ Top

Browns @ Steelers
Line: PIT -3.5
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Facing the NFL's top defense, the Browns opened things up a little with Baker Mayfield (ribs), who completed 20-plus passes for the first time since Week 1 for 247 yards and a pair of TDs. He looked in control, found the right outlet and avoided mistakes... until he didn't. Mayfield threw two second-half INTs, both of which led to scores that turned a two-possession game into a one-possession game. While the Browns held on, it reaffirms why the offense's focus has been the running game.

In fact, only Lamar Jackson (189.8) is averaging fewer passing yards per game this year than Mayfield (195.2) among regular starters. That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. (5-58-0 in Wk 5), Jarvis Landry (4-88-0) or Austin Hooper (5-57-0), all of whom have been big-time fantasy producers during their career. Right now, Beckham (59 YPG) is the best bet. While Landry (56 YPG) isn't behind in yards, he has zero TDs to OBJ's three and has struggled with drops. That makes Beckham a WR2 this week with Landry as a low-end WR3 or flex.

Hooper, meanwhile, has seen his role expand. After opening 2020 with seven receptions for 62 yards combined over his first three games, he has logged 10 catches, 91 yards and a score in the last two -- his 10 targets in Week 5 led the team. He's on the cusp of TE1 status again. The Steelers have allowed 237.5 passing yards per game (15th), though that's only part of the story as they're tied for the NFL lead in sacks (20) despite playing just four games. With Mayfield already banged up, this looks like a stiff test.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: With Nick Chubb (knee) missing his first full game, Kareem Hunt stepped in as the primary ball carrier, rushing 20 times for 72 yards (he also caught three passes for 21 yards and a TD). D'Ernest Johnson clinched the win with a 28-yard run on third down but managed just four yards on seven other carries. As good as Indy was against the run, Pittsburgh is better, yielding a measly 64 yards per game on 3.3 yards per carry. Hunt's ability as a receiver allows him to maintain RB1 status.

Value Meter:
RB1: Kareem Hunt
WR2: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR3/Flex: Jarvis Landry
TE1: Austin Hooper (low-end)
Bench: Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb (inj), D'Ernest Johnson

Passing Game Thoughts: Although the sample size is still small, it certainly appears that post-surgery Ben Roethlisberger isn't the same player that passed for 5,129 yards in his last full season. The veteran is taking fewer chances and passing to underneath targets, resulting in just one INT in 143 attempts and a completion percentage of 69.9 percent – well above his career average of 64.4. While his yardage hasn't been great, Big Ben is on pace for 40 TD passes. He's a midrange QB1 this week.

When JuJu Smith-Schuster caught 111 passes in 2018 many figured the USC product would take over the ball-dominant receiver role Antonio Brown filled for so many years. Thus far, that hasn't been the case. Smith-Schuster has been a chain mover, averaging just 9.0 yards per catch, and even though he's their most talented pass catcher his production level dictates he max out as a WR2 in Week 6. Popular breakout candidate Diontae Johnson (back) has been knocked out of the past two games with injuries and is also averaging fewer than 10 yards per reception (9.8). He's a shaky WR3.

Chase Claypool destroyed the Eagles last weekend, accounting for 116 total yards and four touchdowns (three from Roethlisberger). There's a lot to like about Claypool, but bear in mind his usage prior to Week 6 had been minimal, and Johnson was sidelined for much of that game. Deploy Claypool as an intriguing WR3. While it's tough to advocate for three playable fantasy wideouts on a single team in a given week, the Browns have struggled badly against the pass, ranking 30th at 296.4 yards per game. Only Atlanta and New Orleans have allowed more TD passes.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: If James Conner's Week 5 performance looked abnormal you may not have been paying close enough attention. Conner ran 16 times in Week 2, 18 times in Week 3 and 15 times last Sunday. The work has been consistent. He just did a lot more with his opportunities in the previous two games. The going figures to be tough again this Sunday, though, as Cleveland has surrendered just 87 rushing yards per game this year, good for fourth in the NFL. With Pittsburgh not riding Conner as heavily as they have in the past he's a better fit as an RB2.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger
RB2: James Conner
WR2: JuJu Smith-Schuster
WR3: Diontae Johnson
WR3: Chase Claypool
Bench: Benny Snell, Eric Ebron

Prediction: Steelers 31, Browns 27 ^ Top

Texans @ Titans - (Swanson)
Line: TEN -3.5
Total: 53.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The first game of the Bill O’Brien-less Houston Texans was a smashing success. Deshaun Watson threw for his first three-touchdown game of 2020 and threw for 359 yards against the Jags.

A big reason for the change in fortunes for the passing attack was an increase in downfield targets to Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller. This was the first game all season in which the Texans offense did not look like it drastically missed DeAndre Hopkins, and the Texans defense finally provided a positive game script.

After goosing owners with zero catches against the Vikings, Cooks came backs with eight catches for 161 yards and a score on 12 targets. The matchup against the Titans is nowhere near as attractive as the Jags, but Cook owners must play him this week based on the change volume.

Fuller continues to be a must-start option as long as he is healthy. Fuller has touchdown receptions in each of his last three games with a solid floor of 50 or more receiving yards.

Although they just limited Josh Allen to his worst game of the year, the Titans defense has not been a terrible matchup for opposing quarterbacks this year. Tennessee ranks 12th in fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, including three-touchdown games by Gardner Minshew and Kirk Cousins.

You can start Watson with confidence this week as a mid-range QB1. The game script should favor a high scoring game with Ryan Tannehill and the Titans, forcing Watson to put up points to stay in the game.

Tight end Jordan Akins has been limited with a concussion and may miss this game. Should he miss, Darren Fells would get a massive snap count like last week (86%), and could be a sneaky play against a defense that gives up the 12th-most points to opposing tight ends. If you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to play Fells in season-long, give him a shot as a cheap play in DFS.

Injuries to starting cornerbacks Jonathan Joseph and Chris Jackson could greatly improve the fantasy outlook for Texan wide receivers. Both players are dealing with hamstring injuries and could miss this game against Houston.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: David Johnson saw a 78% snap count against the Jags, a team that has struggled to stop opposing running backs. Johnson used that large usage to produce a decent stat line of 103 total yards for 10.3 fantasy points. Johnson did not reach the end zone, but he did post an impressive 5.6 yard per carry average.

Duke Johnson was barely used against the Jags and struggled with just eight yards on three carries, with one catch for 11 yards in the passing game. Starting Duke in anything other than deep 14-team leagues is a risky move.

From a fantasy perspective, the Titans present an above-average matchup for Johnson. James Robinson and Dalvin Cook posted monster performances vs. Tennessee, and even the Bills in a disappointing performance on Tuesday managed to produce a double-digit fantasy performer in T.J. Yeldon.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson (High-End)
RB2: David Johnson (Low-End)
WR2: Will Fuller (Low-End)
WR3: Brandin Cooks (Low-End)
TE2: Darren Fells (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: ESPN put out an interesting tweet on Tuesday comparing Ryan Tannehill to Patrick Mahomes. According to the tweet, Tannehill has nearly identical fantasy production to Mahomes since taking over as the starting quarterback for the Titans in the middle of last season.

Tannehill enters Week 6 against the Texans as the No.9 ranked quarterback with 25 fantasy points per game, which is better than Lamar Jackson, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, and even Deshaun Watson.

A.J. Brown bounced back from a disappointing Week 1 performance against the Broncos and subsequent knee injury to post 7/82/1 against the Bills. Brown was on the field for 71% of the Titans snaps and saw a 75% target share among Titans wide receivers. Start him this week with confidence against a Texans defense that gives up the 15th-most points to opposing wideouts.

Of course, you are starting Jonnu Smith regardless of opponent, as Smith leads all tight ends in fantasy points and touchdown receptions. The Texans rank in the middle of the pack in points allowed to the tight end position, and a likely high-scoring game script would make Tannehill and the passing game throw more than usual.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: Only the Lions, Panthers, Packers, and Raiders have given up more fantasy points than the Texans to opposing running backs in 2020. Three opposing running backs have topped 100 rushing yards, including rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who rushed for 138 yards and a score in Week 1.

When you combine that stat with the fact that Derrick Henry leads the league in rushing attempts per game and his seventh in fantasy points per game, you have a recipe for another monster running game for King Henry.

The Titans will lean on Henry early and often with the goal of taking advantage of a subpar Texans run defense while also keeping Deshaun Watson off the field. Henry should produce at least 100 yards and a score while finishing as an elite fantasy option.

Rookie Darrynton Evans was placed on IR with a hamstring injury, and third-down back Jeremy McNichols missed Wednesday’s practice with rib injuries. This could be a monster usage day for Henry and his biggest game of the season for fantasy managers.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Tannehill (High-End)
RB1: Derrick Henry (Elite)
WR1: A.J. Brown (Low-End)
TE1: Jonnu Smith (Elite)

Prediction: Tennessee 34, Houston 30 ^ Top

Broncos at Patriots
Line: NE -9.5
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: You would think that having to analyze this game for a second week in a row after it didn’t happen last week would be easy. You’d be wrong. My analysis last week presumed Brett Rypien vs. Jarrett Stidham. It looks like we’re getting Drew Lock vs. Cam Newton.

We only got to see one full game of Lock this season and it was a low scoring affair where he played alright. A Patriots defense allowing just 235 passing yards per game is a difficult matchup for Lock’s return. As if that isn’t difficult enough, while Lock was out, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, and K.J. Hamler all went down. Tim Patrick has become the new WR1 in Denver. He led the team with seven targets in their last game and is a viable bye week/injury fill in this week against a Patriots defense that has surrendered seven touchdowns to wide receivers in just four games.

Across from Patrick will be Jerry Jeudy, who caught just two passes in the Broncos’ last game, one of which was a complete fluke of a long touchdown. You could do worse than Jeudy in a pinch, but right now, there’s just no ceiling for the rookie receiver.

Fant got in a couple limited practices this week, which gives him a chance to suit up. If he does play, you probably don’t have a better option so you might as well throw him in there. Overall, this is a bad matchup for the Broncos against a good team with a depleted pass catching corps.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: One good bit of injury news for the Broncos is they are going to get Phillip Lindsay back from his toe injury this week. Lindsay practiced in full leading up to last week’s game so he’ll be ready to go with the extra week off.

Melvin Gordon played 80% of the snaps two weeks ago. That number was going to come down regardless with Lindsay back in the fold, but now we have the added wrinkle of Gordon’s DUI arrest earlier this week. It is extremely likely that Gordon is slapped with a suspension, but there’s no guarantee it begins this week. If the team decides to deactivate Gordon, that puts Lindsay in the must start territory and keeps Royce Freeman in his change of pace role.

Gordon had his best game of the season two weeks ago with the Broncos correctly trying to hide Brett Rypien. If he ends up playing, he will have a great chance to build on that this week. The Patriots are allowing 115 rushing yards per game and have allowed just one rushing touchdown. Despite the unfavorable matchup, whether it’s Gordon or Lindsay, his volume be quite strong. This is a situation where you’re obviously starting Gordon if he plays, but only starting Lindsay if Gordon does not.

Value Meter:
RB2: Melvin Gordon (mid-range)
RB2: Phillip Lindsay (if Gordon gets suspended)
WR3: Tim Patrick
TE1: Noah Fant (low end if he plays)
Bench: Phillip Lindsay (if Gordon plays) Drew Lock, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Royce Freeman

Passing Game Thoughts: The silver lining of the week off is it gave Cam Newton enough time to get cleared. Newton is past his bout with coronavirus and will start this week.

In their last game, Damiere Byrd led the Patriots in targets with 10 while N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman each had six. The Broncos have been weak against the pass, allowing 256 passing yards per game and seven touchdowns thus far. 73% of their receiving yards allowed have gone to wide receivers. That’s good news for Edelman and in a week with a number of big time receivers on bye, puts Byrd and Harry on the streaming radar. Newton’s rushing attempts and yardage have declined in each of his three games started, but I wouldn’t worry too much about Newton running. There is no deliberate effort to curtail Newton’s rushing attempts. He will run as much as he has to and returns to his status as a must start quarterback.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: The only section of this game I didn’t have to rewrite involves the always enigmatic Patriots backfield. The Patriots backfield underwent a big overhaul last game. Sony Michel and Damien Harris swapped place and James White returned from a two game absence. The split was about 50-30-30 between White, Harris, and Burkhead (the Patriots occasionally put two running backs on the field). White commanded eight targets and is the best fantasy option going forward, but it’s worth noting that the Broncos have allowed just 9.34% of their receiving yards against them to go to running backs. With the vast majority of White’s production coming as a receiver, this is a bit of a concern, but in ppr formats, White should get there on receptions alone.

Harris, despite being third in snaps, led the team with 17 carries and rattled off 100 yards. He may have only played 23 snaps, but he was given the ball on 17 of them. That’s the good news. The bad news is he’s being used exactly like Michel with zero work in the passing game. Rex Burkhead was the primary goal line back so while Harris definitely looks like someone worth rostering in fantasy, his upside is capped due to the lack of passing down and goal line work. With the Patriots as home favorites, even if it is Stidham at quarterback, game script should not get away from them like it did against the Chiefs, which should allow Harris a chance to splash. He’s a viable option this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton (low end)
WR3: Julian Edelman
Flex: James White, Damien Harris
Bench: Rex Burkhead, NíKeal Harry, Damiere Byrd

Prediction: Patriots 27, Broncos 20 ^ Top

Jets at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: MIA -9.0
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: It will be a second consecutive start for Joe Flacco as the Jets continue to protect Sam Darnold. The Jets are a fantasy wasteland, with one exception: Jamison Crowder. Although he’s played just three games this season, Crowder has seen double digit targets in all of them and surpassed 100 yards receiving in all of them. He’s even scored twice. He’s been a fantasy monster despite playing on the league’s worst offense. With the Jets always facing negative game script, they’ll be throwing and throwing to Crowder.

Breshad Perriman returned to a limited practice this week. Whether he plays or not has no bearing on him, or Crowder. Jeff Smith actually led all Jets receivers in snaps last week. He saw 11 targets, but only managed to catch three of them. That type of volume is generally worth chasing, but Perriman’s return could throw a wrench into that plan. Smith is a desperation option. Finally, there’s Chris Herndon, everyone’s favorite failed breakout tight end. His snap share has gone down each of the past three weeks. He’s not a fantasy option.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: The Jets releasing Le’Veon Bell does come as somewhat of a surprise, but playing without Bell is nothing new as the Jets have done it for more games this season than not. Adam Gase mentioned Lamical Perine getting more work, but after he played zero snaps last week, I’ll have to see it to believe it. Frank Gore will continue to be the lead back and continue to be completely useless. Gore averaged 16 carries a game during Bell’s three game absence and failed to even sniff double digit fantasy points. With no receiving game work and no touchdown upside, Gore does not belong on fantasy rosters. The Dolphins have allowed eight rushing touchdowns, but with the Jets, it's always more about their offensive futility than a favorable matchup.

Value Meter:
WR2: Jamison Crowder (high end)
Bench: Joe Flacco, Breshad Perriman, Jeff Smith, Frank Gore

Passing Game Thoughts: Since Ryan Fitzpatrick regained the starting job last season, he’s been the overall QB3. Everyone’s favorite streamer is actually not a streamer. Fitzpatrick is the streamer you pick up and then think to yourself, “Maybe I should hang onto him.” And you should. Fitzpatrick has three 300-yard passing games and three multi-touchdown games. He’s been a QB1 in four straight games and now gets a Jets defense allowing 265 passing yards per game.

DeVante Parker somehow managed just three targets in last week’s offensive explosion, but it’s hard to fade him in a week with injuries and byes ravaging fantasy teams. Parker hasn’t been the stud he was down the stretch last season, but he’s avoided matchup losing performances this season either via volume or touchdown.

69% of receiving yards allowed by the Jets have gone to wide receivers. Preston Williams is in consideration as well. His snap count has hovered around 60% over the past three weeks, but perhaps he’s finally feeling like his old self after tearing his ACL last season. Williams still has yet to see more than five targets since Week 1, but he’s a preferred red zone option, scoring a touchdown or a two point conversion in each of the last four games. With Fitzpatrick playing as well as he is, you can start Williams if necessary.

After seeing 10 targets in Week 4, Isaiah Ford went back to being an afterthought with just two targets on 36% of the snaps. He’s waiver wire fodder. Finally, we have Mike Gesicki, who has two games over 90 receiving yards and two games under 30 receiving yards. He’s by no means a reliable option, but the tight end position is a disaster. His 45% snap share last week is somewhat concerning, but you don’t have a better option.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: Despite acquiring Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, the Dolphins have elected to make Myles Gaskin their primary back. He’s played at least 63% of the snaps in every game this season. Most encouraging is his passing game usage. Gaskin has at least four targets in every game this season. He scored his first two touchdowns of the season last week and is setup to thrive against a Jets defense allowing 128 rushing yards a game and nine rushing touchdowns total. Breida touched the ball 10 times last week, albeit in a blowout win, but 10 touches is enough to put him on the desperation flex play radar. He’s certainly not recommended as the clear backup to Gaskin, but you could definitely do worse than Breida.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Fitzpatrick (mid-range)
RB2: Myles Gaskin (mid-range)
WR2: DeVante Parker (low end)
Flex: Preston Williams
Bench: Matt Breida, Isaiah Ford

Prediction: Dolphins 34, Jets 16 ^ Top

Packers @ Buccaneers - (Swanson)
Line: GB -1.0
Total: 55.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers has been a revelation for his fantasy managers this season. He enters Week 6 as the No.6 ranked quarterback in fantasy points per game, with the same number of passing touchdowns as Patrick Mahomes, despite already having his bye week. As you would expect, Rodgers leads the league in fewest interceptions among qualified passers (0), and he is completing a whipping 70.5% of his passes.

Rodgers has done this without Davante Adams and Alan Lazard for two of his four games. Adams has been practicing all week and appears ready to return from a hamstring strain.

Tight End Robert Tonyan is tied with Mark Andrews and Jonnu Smith for the league lead in receiving touchdowns at the position with 5 TD receptions in just three games. Tonyan has a touchdown in each of his three games played and should continue to be a factor in this game despite the return of Adams.

Tampa Bay boasts a young and talented secondary that includes cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, and rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. After a strong start in which the Bucs held Michael Thomas to just three catches for 17 yards, opposing wide receivers have started to find more success, including a ten catch performance by Allen Robinson last week.

Both Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore were able to hit 100 yards against the Bucs, and the Chargers shocked everyone with a pair of long touchdown passes by Justin Herbert to Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton.

There are no significant injuries on the Bucs defense that would affect this fantasy matchup for the Packers. For the Packers, the major injury news is that Adams has been a participant in practice on Monday and Tuesday and will likely return to the field on Sunday.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: You could make an argument that the collective downgrade of Aaron Rodgers by most of the fantasy community entering drafts is the worst blunder since a certain well-known analyst for ESPN had Mike Vick ranked first overall back in the day.

Jones has been terrific. He ranks third in the league in fantasy points per game behind only CMC and Alvin Kamara. He has a touchdown in all four games, including a monster three-touchdown game against the Lions Week 2.

The AJ Dillion threat proved to be a fluke, with the former Boston College star rushing just eight times in four games. Jamaal Williams continues to be involved and has value as a flex in PPR formats, but Jones is the stud and should be played as an RB1 each week regardless of format.

The Bucs present a difficult challenge for running backs, but they are by no means impossible to run on or score fantasy points against. Tampa Bay has given up the eighth-fewest points to opposing running backs, and no opposing RB has topped 60 yards on the ground.

On a positive note, the Bucs have given up five total touchdowns to RBs in five games, and only the Falcons, Panthers, and Chargers have given up more receptions to opposing backs. Don’t expect a ton of yardage on the ground, but Jones is a strong candidate for a receiving touchdown and some big plays in the passing game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (Low-End)
RB1: Aaron Jones (High-End)
R3: Jamaal Williams (Low-End)
WR1: Davante Adams (Low-End)
WR3: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Low-End)
TE1: Robert Tonyan (Low -End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Tom Brady continues to defy the odds and father time. The ageless one ranks 10th in fantasy points per game and is on pace for his best fantasy year since 2016. Brady threw for 365 yards and five touchdowns two weeks ago against the Chargers, but came back down to Earth last week with 253/1 against the Bears.

Mike Evans is tied with Adam Thielen for the league lead in receiving touchdowns at six, despite the lowest yard per target and yard per reception totals in Evans’ career. Without a couple one-yard touchdown catches, Evans would be somewhat of a disappointment based on his low yardage and volume.

Chris Godwin is working his way back from a hamstring injury and could play this week, although he has yet to get in a practice with the team and continues to work on the side.

The team lost O.J. Howard to a season-ending leg injury, which could open the door for Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate to get more work. Gronk has yet to score a touchdown in 2020 and appears to be a shell of his former self.

From a fantasy perspective, the Packers have been tough against opposing tight ends. They are one of three teams who have yet to give up a touchdown to a tight end, and only T.J. Hockenson has topped 60 yards. You can start Gronk or Brate as a last-stitch option for the hope of scoring a touchdown, but expecting a large yardage day might be a mistake.

With a 52-point opening line by the Vegas odds-makers, this game appears to be a shootout between two teams who rank in the top-12 in scoring. The Packers have averaged an impressive 38 points per game, while the Bucs rank 11th with 27.2.

You want a piece of this game where you can get it, and the best two options on the Bucs are Brady and Evans. A sneaky play at wide receiver is Scotty Miller. With Jaire Alexander likely matched up against Evans on the outside, look for Brady to target Miller in the slot against Chandon Sullivan.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Ronald Jones has quietly posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances against the Chargers and the Bears. While his lack of receiving prowess continues to be the common narrative for Jones, he has the second-most rushing yards over the past three games, trailing only Dalvin Cook.

Jones will likely be the primary back again this week against a Packers defense that has given up the third-most points to opposing running backs. However, owners should know that Leonard Fournette was present for Tuesday’s practice and did not appear to have his ankle taped. A return to action for Fournette could eat into the value of Jones.

If there is a way to beat the Packers defense, it is certainly on the ground. Todd Gurley, Dalvin Cook, and Latavius Murray all have had big games in losses against the Packers, including 197 total yards and two scores by Kamara.

While I would not expect a monster game from Jones, you can score points against the Packers, and the Bucs are likely going to need to score a ton of point to win this game against a Green Bay offense that is averaging nearly 40 points a game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (Low-End)
RB2: Ronald Jones (Low-End)
WR1: Mike Evans (Low-End)
WR3: Scotty Miller (Low-End)
TE2: Rob Gronkowski (High-End)

Prediction: Green Bay 30, Tampa Bay 21 ^ Top

Rams at 49ers - (Caron)
Line: LAR -3.0
Total: 52.0

Passing Game Thoughts: A top-12 scorer at his position through the first five weeks of the season, Jared Goff has continued to be a borderline weekly QB1 this season despite the team having lost both Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks this offseason. Wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp continue to reliably produce WR2 numbers each week, making them one of fantasy football’s best and most trusted duos.

Unfortunately, that’s about where the consistency ends in this passing game, as tight end Tyler Higbee has mostly been a flop this season other than his gigantic three touchdown performance back in Week 2. Higbee hasn’t caught more than three passes and hasn’t even been targeted more than four times in any other game this season, so he’s back to being a touchdown-dependent, low-end TE1. The usage of fellow tight end Gerald Everett hasn’t surpassed that of Higbee, but they’ve been close enough that neither player has really been able to break out other than the one game by Higbee. In other words, this tight end duo has become pretty much exactly what it was in 2019 prior to Everett’s injury - they’re two decently talented players, and we do prefer Higbee due to the fact that he’s playing over 80 percent of snaps, but neither one is someone who you really want to be relying on in fantasy football.

The 49ers pass defense started the season off strong with good performances against the likes of Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold and Carson Wentz, but their depleted secondary got exposed a bit this past week in a surprise blowout loss to the Dolphins. Ryan Fitzpatrick smashed the 49ers for 350 yards and three touchdowns and that should give Rams fantasy owners some confidence heading into this week’s game.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Most predicted that the Rams backfield would still be a committee at this point in the season, so we shouldn’t be overly surprised that Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers all saw significant work in Week 5 when the trio was healthy together for the first time since Akers’ injury in Week 2.

Henderson appears to be the lead back - at least for now - but even he was not on the field for even 50 percent of the teams’ snaps, so it’s definitely time to bring him down in our weekly rankings. The prevailing opinion seems to be that Akers will eventually take over this backfield, but for now he’s just not someone we should be putting into fantasy lineups other than in extremely desperate situations. Brown was given the majority of touches early in the season but he’s now relegated to essentially being a backup in this Rams offense, so he should also be on fantasy benches as well.

The trio of Rams backs is in for a potentially difficult afternoon as they’ll be up against an excellent 49ers run defense that has given up the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs so far in 2020. They haven’t allowed a single back to reach even 70 rushing yards in a game so far and they’ve only given up a total of three touchdowns to the position through five games. They haven’t played the most difficult running back schedule but this is still a very good run defense.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jared Goff (low-end)
RB2: Darrell Henderson (low-end)
WR2: Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp
TE1: Tyler Higbee (low-end)
Flex: Cam Akers (low-end)
Bench: Malcolm Brown, Van Jefferson, Josh Reynolds, Gerald Everett

Passing Game Thoughts: Perhaps Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t physically ready to be back in the lineup this past week. Perhaps the game script and the fact that the 49ers defense was allowing the Dolphins to move the ball up and down the field on them led to San Francisco being forced to implement a gameplan that they weren’t prepared for. Perhaps it was just a bad week. But no matter how you go about explaining the 49ers quarterback’s Week 5 performance, one thing is for sure -- there’s plenty of reason to be concerned about this passing game right now.

Garoppolo was unceremoniously benched for C.J. Beathard after a disastrous first half wherein he delivered negative fantasy points to those who played him. That does happen a few times per year, but it’s pretty rare for a player like Garoppolo who is known for being safe with the football and playing in a good offense.

Sure, Garoppolo will be back in the lineup here in Week 6 against the Rams, but we now have to seriously worry about the fact that he could again be sat down mid-game if he struggles again. That is one of the worst possible outcomes for a fantasy football quarterback and it’s a big part of why we need to be avoiding Garoppolo right now in single-quarterback leagues.

Quarterback problems haven’t exactly affected tight end George Kittle, however, who has been targeted an impressive 23 times in the two games since he returned from injury. Kittle is, of course, perhaps the best tight end in all of fantasy football and he’s seeing plenty of targets no matter who is behind center, so there’s no reason to be concerned about him at all. He’s one of the most reliable fantasy tight ends that we’ve ever seen and he’s practically matchup-proof.

Young wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are the players who we need to be most worried about. Samuel returned to the lineup in Week 4 and has seemingly returned to his role as the top wide receiver in this offense, but that still makes him the No. 2 target at best, behind Kittle. In a low volume passing offense to begin with, that means that Samuel needs to be extraordinarily efficient with the targets he does see. He was able to do that in his breakout rookie season, but his five catches for 54 yards on 11 targets through two starts this season is not very exciting. Better days are in store, for sure, but there’s a lot going on in this offense right now and it’s probably wise to keep him on your bench for the time being.

Aiyuk has been almost equally as unproductive as Samuel recently in terms of targets, receptions and yardage, but he did score in back-to-back weeks in Weeks 3 and 4, so he’s at least given fantasy owners some usable weeks. Nevertheless, he’s at best the No. 2 option in this passing game, and more likely the No. 3 option behind Samuel, so he, too, should be on the bench in most leagues. Understand, though, that Samuel and Aiyuk are both physically capable of producing WR1 numbers in a given week if they’re ever given a proper top WR target share.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: The bread-and-butter of the 49ers offense continues to be its running game and they got their starter back in Week 5. Most of us believed that it’d be more of a committee approach as they’ve done in the past with banged-up running backs, but Raheem Mostert immediately reestablished himself as the back to own in San Francisco by taking 14 total touches for 119 total yards. Meanwhile, Jerick McKinnon, who had dominated the backfield in Week 4, was relegated to change-of-pace duty as he touched the ball just three times in Week 5. Of course, it’s worth considering that the 49ers were shockingly behind multiple scores to the Dolphins in that game and that type of blowout loss is unlikely to be a recurring thing for a team as talented as San Francisco, but it does give us a good idea of what the 49ers will be looking to do with their running back position for the time being.

In Week 6, Mostert and the 49ers will face a Rams defense that has looked good against opposing running backs in recent weeks, but they’ve also had the luxury of matching up with some truly bad offenses. They did have two games against two of the league’s more talented backs in Ezekiel Elliott and Miles Sanders back in Weeks 1 and 2, and both of those backs rushed for over 90 yards against the Rams while also contributing in the passing game. Mostert isn’t likely to see quite as high of a touch share as Sanders and Elliott did, but he’s still the next-most-talented back the Rams have faced this season, so look for him to produce some solid high-end RB2 fantasy numbers this week, so long as the 49ers don’t fall behind multiple scores again this week.

Value Meter:
RB2: Raheem Mostert (high-end)
TE1: George Kittle (high-end)
Flex: Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk
Bench: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson, Kendrick Bourne

Prediction: Rams 27, 49ers 23 ^ Top

Chiefs at Bills - (Katz)
Line: KC -4.5
Total: 57.5

Passing Game Thoughts: I feel like I’m the only person glad this game was moved from Thursday night to Monday afternoon. The move was made due to the Titans’ Covid outbreak forcing their Week 5 game with the Bills to be played on a Tuesday, requiring the Bills to need a fair amount of time to practice. Whenever we don’t have a Thursday night game, I’m a happy guy.

Regardless of what day these teams play, Patrick Mahomes remains the best quarterback in the NFL. He has to be licking his chops to face an overrated Bills defense fresh off giving up over 40 points to the Titans’ run first offense. This game has serious shootout potential and Mahomes can’t be happy after losing at home to the Raiders. The Bills surrendered two touchdowns to Jonnu Smith last week, bringing their touchdowns allowed to tight ends total up to four. Every week is a good week for Travis Kelce, but this could be an especially good week as the Bills struggled to deal with Smith last week. About 30% of the Bills’ total receiving yards allowed has gone to tight ends.

Tyreek Hill is always a threat to splash on any given play. He has yet to have that truly massive game, but it’s coming. If Tre’Davious White has to miss another game, there will be no one even remotely capable of containing Hill. With Sammy Watkins out, Mecole Hardman becomes a hope and a prayer option, but he’s still splitting snaps with DeMarcus Robinson. Neither is recommended in fantasy leagues.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: The clock is ticking on Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy value. Le’Veon Bell cannot actually join the team until Wednesday at the earliest so for at least one more week, CEH is playable. Like most of the early round running backs, CEH has been a bust. He hasn’t been a season crippling bust, but he’s not returning anywhere near the value expected. CEH is being pulled off the field in the hurry up offense in favor of Darrel Williams, which caps CEH’s PPR upside, but he’s still commanding a 76.1% opportunity share, ninth in the league.

The Bills have already surrendered seven rushing touchdowns and despite only having one touchdown on the season, Edwards-Helaire has seven goal line carries. This could be the week he punches in a short one. The Bills have yet to allow a receiving score to a running back and only see 18% of targets against them go to running backs, but the Chiefs have made CEH a big part of their passing game with target counts of eight, three, six, and eight in his last four games. There’s no need to worry about CEH’s passing game usage.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes (high end)
RB1: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (mid-range)
WR1: Tyreek Hill (mid-range)
TE1: Travis Kelce (high end)
Bench: Sammy Watkins (hamstring), Mecole Hardman, Darrel Williams

Passing Game Thoughts: I want to say the old Josh Allen showed up on Tuesday night, but the new Josh Allen’s worst game is apparently still better than the old Josh Allen. His first interception wasn’t really his fault as it bounced off his receiver’s hands, but his second one was the type of mistake he used to make throughout his career that left viewers wondering what exactly he was thinking.

Amidst all that, Allen still completed 63% of his passes and threw two touchdowns. The Chiefs are fresh off allowing Derek Carr to light them for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Prior to last week, the Chiefs had only allowed four passing touchdowns on the season.

Stefon Diggs has never had more than five 100-yard receiving games in a single season. He has three already this season. Diggs has been a target monster and a prolific producer, averaging over 10 targets a game. John Brown didn’t play last week and what we learned is that if Brown is out, Gabriel Davis is a legitimate fantasy option. He saw nine targets, catching five for 58 yards. He also had a touchdown taken away. If Brown does play, he’s passable starting option in a potential shootout.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Zack Moss missed another game last week, but Devin Singletary did not really seize the opportunity. Surprisingly, Singletary was out-produced by T.J. Yeldon, who, yes, is still a player in the NFL. The Titans are one of the best teams in the NFL at defending running backs in the passing game so it is no surprise Singletary was limited to just one reception for eight yards.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, are one of the worst. Opponents target the running back position on 25% of their passes. Even if Moss returns, Singletary’s passing game role is safe and he is in line for a bounce back week. Just be sure to not expect any rushing touchdowns as Singletary has just three goal line carries on the season and that job will remain with Moss if he returns. If Moss doesn’t play, you still shouldn’t bother with Yeldon.

The Chiefs have been somewhat of a run funnel defense with teams wanting to attack them on the ground both to try and keep Mahomes off the field, but also because it’s been highly effective. The Chiefs allow 157 rushing yards per game and have allowed five rushing touchdowns. Singletary is in line for a bounce back game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (high end)
RB2: Devin Singletary (high end)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (low end)
WR3: John Brown
Flex: Gabriel Davis (if Brown sits)
Bench: Zack Moss

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Bills 31 ^ Top

Cardinals at Cowboys - (Katz)
Line: ARI -1.5
Total: 54.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Kyler Murray had his best game of the season as a passer last week completing 73% of his passes for 380 yards. Murray leads all quarterbacks in accuracy rating, but that’s largely due to his 21st ranked air yards per attempt. Everything is underneath. The good news is from a fantasy perspective, it really doesn’t matter as long as the touchdowns and the rushing continue. Murray has multiple touchdowns in every game this season and is averaging a touchdown’s worth of rushing yards per game.

The Cowboys, as we’re all painfully aware, are a historically bad defense. Even a team bereft of talent like the Giants put up 34 points against them, putting their average points allowed over their past four games at an even 40. The Cardinals are going to score a ton. The Cowboys have allowed nine touchdowns to wide receivers and 70% of the receiving yards they allow has gone to wide receivers. We know DeAndre Hopkins is setup to smash. He already has three games over 130 receiving yards. This could also be a nice spot for Christian Kirk to get involved. Last week’s seven targets, five receptions, and 78 yards were all season highs. The Cowboys can certainly keep pace with the Cardinals more than the Jets, which should present more opportunities for Kirk. He’s a sneaky good play this week.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: “This is the week for Kenyan Drake,” they said, each of the past three weeks. He had a solid fantasy game last week because he fell into the end zone, but there’s zero upside here. Drake has seen just six targets on the season and despite playing over 65% of the snaps in every game, he’s being out-produced by the vastly superior Chase Edmonds. There is little question as to what running back is the better start this week. It’s Edmonds. Targets are worth nearly three times as much as carries and Edmonds has exactly triple the amount of targets as Drake. He played a season high 45% of the snaps last week and it feels like it’s only a matter of time before he flips the timeshare in his favor.

The Cowboys allow the lowest percentage of receiving yards against them to running backs, but that’s more due to how much they get torched by wide receivers than their adeptness at defending running backs out of the backfield. You probably can’t bench Drake this week because volume alone should get him at least to flex levels of production, but Edmonds is setup to really break out.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray (high end)
RB2: Chase Edmonds (low end)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (high end)
WR3: Christian Kirk
Flex: Kenyan Drake

Passing Game Thoughts: Fun fact: the last player to start a game for the Dallas Cowboys other than Dak Prescott – current offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore in Week 17 of 2015. Moore lit it up that game with 435 yards and three touchdowns. We can only hope he can somehow transfer that energy to Andy Dalton.

At age 33, Dalton is not the top 12 fantasy quarterback he was for the better part of his Bengals career, but he’s still one of, if not the most capable backup quarterback in the NFL. With that being said, he is not Dak Prescott, so we cannot expect him to maintain the fantasy values of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Dalton Schultz. If he can even manage 70-80% of what Prescott was doing, that would be a massive win.

Dalton looked competent after taking over last week, completing nine of 11 passes for 111 yards. Gallup had two of the most important catches all season for the Cowboys, but still saw just four targets. Schultz caught just one pass on three targets. The most likely scenario is that Cooper and Lamb are mostly the same while everyone else takes a hit. I wouldn’t look too much into Cooper’s dud last week. He should bounce back in a projected shootout against a Cardinals defense that has allowed eight passing touchdowns this season. That may seem low, but two of their games were against the Jets and Washington. Dalton should be just fine and even though Prescott is gone, the Cowboys defense is still going to force them to throw a lot.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: It’s been a bit of a slow start to the season for Ezekiel Elliott, at least by his standards. Elliott is still searching for his first 100-yard rushing game and is averaging a career low 4.1 yards per carry. The good news is he’s still been great for fantasy managers as he’s averaging 6.4 targets a game and has scored in all but one game this season. The Cardinals allow 124 rushing yards per game and have only allowed three rushing touchdowns. They have, however, allowed three receiving touchdowns to running backs and 20% of their receiving yards allowed have gone to running backs. Even though Dalton is capable of running a pass heavy offense, it seems logical to think that Mike McCarthy will want to take as much pressure off his backup quarterback as he can by handing the ball off or calling high percentage pass plays to Elliott. Tony Pollard is coming off a season high eight touches, but he’s nothing more than the guy who plays when Zeke needs a breather.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andy Dalton (high end streamer)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (high end)
WR2: Amari Cooper (high end)
WR2: CeeDee Lamb (low end)
TE2: Dalton Schultz
Flex: Michael Gallup
Bench: Tony Pollard

Prediction: Cardinals 38, Cowboys 30 ^ Top