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Fantasy Football: Week 6 Recap

Thank god we finally saw the return of a little smashmouth football in Week 6. Many of the game’s elite RB’s shone brightly on Sunday, but Le’Veon Bell was once again among the standouts, rushing for 179 yards and a TD. If I could somehow show the same kind of patience whilst driving as Bell does waiting for a hole to open up in the backfield, my blood pressure would be several points lower. Seriously though, Bell’s 28.1 fantasy points against the Chiefs D/ST was widely unexpected. Then again, you can’t assume anything this year. This week we say goodbye to Aaron Rodgers, hello to Adrian Peterson, and all the rest. Here’s everything else I saw in Week 6:

Thumbs Up

  • It’s not hard to see why an opposing QB could have a monster day against the Patriots D/ST, but Josh McCown? That is a shocker. The Jets’ starter led the league in passing yards this week with 354. He also threw a pair of TD’s and 2 INT’s, finishing seventh among QBs with 20.3 fantasy points. Those numbers could have looked even prettier if the Jets only kept McCown off the turf. He was sacked twice on the final drive, desperately trying to find wide open receivers down the field. McCown obviously isn’t a realistic fantasy option (ever), but this was a big test in which he passed.
  • There’s something about Jordan Howard vs. the AFC North that = money. Only a few weeks removed from his explosion against the Steelers, Howard rushed for 167 yards and 18.6 fantasy points on a career-high 36 carries. The best part, though, was Howard getting dirty when it mattered. After foolishly running out of bounds on the previous drive, Howard broke a strong tackle from Eric Weddle deep inside Bears territory to eventually bounce to the outside and take the ball down to the 43. It’s just the play you’d expect from a Top 10 back, and it was good enough to set up the Bears’ second win of the season.
  • Pharoh Cooper scored the first kick return TD of the season, taking the opening kickoff 103 yards to the house against the Jaguars. Unfortunately, it sucks to be us, because no one owns the Rams’ WR. Fortunately, that was quickly forgotten by some more Leonard Fournette magic three plays later. One carry, one 74 yard barn burner, tieing the game 7-7 within the opening two minutes. Fournette finished with his third triple-digit game of the season (130 yards) and continues to lead the league in rushing TD’s (6).
  • The Rams’ D/ST will run riot on you brother! How about two defensive TD’s, one of which was a crazy blocked punt that was returned over the goal line in a rugby-like scrum. The Rams also notched up five sacks on Blake Bortles, as well as nine tackles for a loss. Owned in less than 50% of leagues, this is a must own unit of doom.
  • And just like that, Adrian Peterson is a thing again. The world feels whole after his 134 yard, 2 TD display, and for such little time to adapt to the Cardinals’ offense, you have to be encouraged going forward. Finishing with 25.4 fantasy points, Peterson’s triple yard day was his first in well over two years. If you’re lucky you can still get your hands on him, and since all of Arizona was chanting his name on Sunday, it feels like we’re staring at a Top 20 RB once again.
  • Not to be outdone, Melvin Gordon was your leader among RBs this week. Just like Howard, he too played the role of Captain Clutch on the Chargers’ final drive, running the ball up the gut to set up Nick Novak’s game-winning field goal. Better yet, though, how does 15 catches for 125 yards and 3 receiving TD’s sound? It all rounded out to a nice even 36 fantasy points for owners, and in case Gordon wasn’t already in your Kareem Hunt/Todd Gurley conversation, he should be now.
  • Would you believe the Saints D/ST led the day in fantasy points at one stage? All in all, 3 TD’s, 3 INT’s and five sacks certainly helped, and if you’re in an IDP league, Cameron Jordan should now be on your radar.
  • Some might say we shouldn’t celebrate Chris Thompson’s massive day because it came against a raggedy 49ers defense. If you consider the fact that the Niners have now lost five straight games by three points or fewer, though, you’ll soon realize this defense isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. Anyway, Thompson’s 138 combined yards totaled 17.8 points for fantasy owners this week. He remains a strong play depending on the matchup, and has now become a huge difference maker in PPR leagues, putting up 100 plus yards in three of his five games.
  • You probably already know by now, but DeShaun Watson is the first rookie with three consecutive 3 TD games. He also leads the league in TD’s thrown, and a big part of that is due to Will Fuller V’s emergence this season. The Texans’ second-year receiver put up 14.2 fantasy points this week against the Browns, and has quickly become a tidy flex option in all league formats. He also has eight total catches this season, five of them being for TD’s. If you’re looking for a serious red zone threat, here’s your winner.

Thumbs Down

  • Just days after stating his dissatisfaction with his role in the Rams’ offense, Sammy Watkins put up another stinker against the Jaguars. He was held to 11 yards on just four targets, as it’s now become clear Robert Woods is the go-to man for Jared Goff. The Jaguars secondary is incredible against the pass, but the lack of targets almost makes you wonder if there are serious dramas going on between Watkins and the coaching staff off the field. Either way, trade him or bench him. There’s no real reason for optimism.
  • On another bleak note, Amari Cooper failed to show up (again). For those owners that hoped for the best with Derek Carr returning, you were likely disappointed with Cooper’s 28 yards and 7.8 fantasy points. Cooper was a buy-low candidate prior to Sunday, but now, I’m not really seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • So Matthew Stafford finally throws for over 300 yards, only to throw 3 INT’s in the process? Go figure. Tough day against a top-notch Saints defense. The offensive line didn’t help either, allowing five sacks and a whole bunch of hurries, as Stafford also finished with his lowest passer-rating since Week 5 of 2015 (62.3).
  • The Bucs D/ST seems to get worse and worse by the week. They left Larry Fitzgerald wide open on several occasions and allowed Carson Palmer all the time in the world – hitting him just four times all game. The Cardinals picked up 17 first downs through the air and allowed 272 yards to Palmer. With the Panthers and the Saints coming up, this is a defense to avoid going forward.
  • The Raiders looked all in on Marshawn Lynch in the first half, and against a Chargers defense that ranks fourth lowest in rushing yards allowed, it made perfect sense for Oakland to try and wear them down. For whatever reason, though, the Raiders gave up on that plan in the second half, and Lynch wound up with 13 carries for 63 yards. It’s not a completely terrible performance, but Lynch’s 6.3 fantasy points really isn’t what we expected from such a powerful back. The talent still seems present, the Raiders just don’t seem interested in exploiting it.
  • As an owner, figuring out which week you should actually start Mike Gillislee is proving to be an insurmountable challenge. Life becomes even harder when the Patriots decide to throw the ball on goal line situations, just like they did against the Jets on Sunday. Gillislee’s value is heavily handcuffed to the end zone, and if Bill Belichick chooses to do something different, you’re at the mercy of the 2.4 points he put on the board this week.
  • Back to the Raiders, Derek Carr’s outing was pretty ho-hum. After returning from a back injury, his very first pass was intercepted on a back shoulder route intended for Michael Crabtree. Overall Carr finished with 6.8 fantasy points, and with the Chiefs coming to town next week, things don’t get any easier in a hurry.

On the Shelf

  • I wish I could sit here and lay out some replacements for Aaron Rodgers, but truth be told, he’s irreplaceable. No one likes to see the game’s greats go down, and since this is now Rodgers’ second collarbone injury, you have to feel for him. This isn’t a situation where you’ll want to add Packers backup Brett Hundley, but it could be a situation where you’ll want to add Colin Kaepernick or Tony Romo. Actually, you know what, let’s not even discuss that…
  • A big part of the Bucs schmozzle against the Cardinals was Jameis Winston standing on the sidelines from the second quarter onwards. It’s been labeled as a shoulder injury, but we await some more details as the week goes on.
  • Leonard Fournette owners held their breath as the rookie limped off the field with an ankle injury. He planted his right foot hard on the turf as he tried to avoid an oncoming defender, falling to the ground in pain. Fournette later returned, but this could be one to watch this week.
  • The Broncos ruled out a possible Emmanuel Sanders return after he rolled his ankle underneath oncoming defender Landon Collins on Sunday night. It was a tough play to watch, and one not for the faint-hearted.

Rockin’ Rooks

Kareem Hunt is the ultimate jack-in-a-box. He winds you up with a lousy four rushing yards in the first half, and just when you think this might finally be the week where we see some regression, he suddenly explodes with a casual 110 combined yards and 16 fantasy points. I guess a lot of this can be blamed on the Chiefs’ playcalling, and the Steelers D/ST was phenomenal in the first half clogging up any rushing lanes, but still, when does this stop? Perhaps the only takeaway we can make from this game is that when Hunt is limited to the 21 yards he saw on Sunday, Alex Smith’s job becomes ten times tougher. On the final play of the game he failed to even throw in the vicinity of a wide receiver on 4th and 15, and with Tyreek Hill also putting up only 34 yards, suddenly the Chiefs’ once methodical offense, looked a little lost.

Surprise, Surprise

Normally this section is dedicated to a big-time, unexpected breakout, but let’s talk Laquon Treadwell for just a second. It’s not a huge secret that the Vikings have been keeping Treadwell’s talent under wraps for the past two years. On Sunday, though, he had a catch that basically turned the clock back, and highlighted why you may want to consider adding him to your fantasy team if you’re desperate at receiver. The one-handed catch on the sideline was huge, so too was Treadwell’s crucial block and the fact that he nearly forced a fumble. This might apply to those of you in dynasty leagues, but Treadwell’s 51 yards on three targets really can’t go ignored. Stefon Diggs’ groin injury should line Treadwell up for a lot more targets, and since he’s owned in less than 1% of leagues, he’s worth the reward. If you need further convincing, just take a look at Adam Thielen’s explosion onto the scene last season. From catching 12 passes in 2015 to nearly 1,000 overall yards the very next year, anything is possible in the Vikings’ offense.

Mr. Irrelevant

And this week on Top 20 receivers doing sweet, sweet, nothing, Terrelle Pryor! Against San Francisco, you’d expect the Redskins to be spreading the ball around, and while they certainly did, Pryor accounted for just 23 yards and three receptions. He’s now caught just 10 passes since his multi-reception outing in Week 1, and with the Redskins offense looking extremely unpredictable each week, it’s hard to find value in Pryor going forward. A lot could also be made of Kirk Cousins and Pryor’s lack of chemistry in the preseason. Often the two were completely on opposite pages, and with owners now scrambling for a receiver that will offer more than just 42.9 fantasy points across a five-week period, you have to consider other options with Pryor having hot and cold weeks. Two potential candidates: Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor.

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