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Fantasy Football Rundown (Week 6): Starts & sits for every NFL game

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A sentence on every fantasy viable player this week.

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Rundown. In here you will find at least one sentence on every player with fantasy value in Week 6 of the NFL. I would highly recommend using your web browsers search function to find specific players you’re curious about.

Let’s begin!

Teams on bye: Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, and Las Vegas Raiders

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

Broncos

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock returns (shoulder) in time for a date with the vaunted Patriots defense. Although Pats’ cornerback Stephon Gilmore is on the COVID - Reserve List, New England’s secondary is still a force to be reckoned with regardless. Lock is just a QB3.

Wide receiver Tim Patrick looks like he’s finally making good on the promise he’s flashed from time to time, owning the team’s highest snap-share at the position over the last few weeks. It’s worth noting though that the increased usage coincided with pass catching tight end Noah Fant’s ankle injury. Patrick’s near perfect catch rate has to count for something though. Expect him to remain a solid part of this offense in the Week 6 tilt against the Pats—a match-up that unfortunately renders him just a boom/bust flex option.

Jerry Jeudy, meanwhile, carries a 5% edge over the rest of the Broncos pass catchers in the team’s air yards share. Given his usage volume and talent, we can expect Lock to lock onto Jeudy as his primary pass catcher. Jeudy is a high-floor flex play with an uncertain ceiling.

K.J. Hamler’s field-stretching role is unlikely to bear fruit this week.

DaeSean Hamilton is not fantasy-relevant.

Should Noah Fant return (ankle), he’d be an immediately TE1. Lock peppered him with targets before the quarterback went down and we should expect nothing different upon Fant’s return.

The backfield was shaken up after lead running back Melvin Gordon was arrested on DUI charges Tuesday night. His status is completely up in the air but it’s likely he’s looking at a 2-3 game suspension. As a result, Phillip Lindsay is suddenly an exciting RB2 option, likely to get force-fed 18 or more touches. No. 3 back Royce Freeman saw almost no work while Lindsay was out with a toe injury from Weeks 2-4. It’s possible he does get involved more in the passing game for Gordon’s absence though and Gordon’s specialty is his pass catching ability while Lindsay is more of a pure rusher. Freeman is a low-end flex option who could garner real value in PPR formats, against a different opponent.

Patriots

With Cam Newton suddenly off of the NFL’s COVID - Reserve List, the Patriots’ offense is cocked, locked, and ready to rock. Denver’s defense has been entirely unimposing, keeping Cam locked firmly in the position’s fantasy elite.

Denver’s back-end has been generally generous to opposing wide receivers, allowing the 11th-most passing yards per game. Julian Edelman elevates from a Brian Hoyer-induced flex play to a high-end WR2. Likewise, possession receiver N’Keal Harry—who Newton has shown a great personnel affinity for—is a flex play with moderate PPR upside and downfield player Damiere Byrd has a good shot at connecting on a few beep balls. the Broncos have repeatedly been beaten for chunk gains over the last three weeks.

There are no tight ends of note on the roster.

With Sony Michel on Injured Reserve, Damien Harris has assumed the backfield’s primary rushing role, locking him in as a high-floor flex play. 15 carries per week can be safely assumed but unfortunately, his touchdowns will be tough to come by as Newton is the team’s primary rushing option around the goal-line. James White holds equal value as the team’s notorious pass catching back. Rex Burkhead and J.J. Taylor are just sporadic contributors at this point.

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

Texans

Free of Bill O’Brien, Deshaun Watson is having fun again. With the highly efficient Titans’ offense on tap, Watson will need that fun to fuel him in what appears to be a full-on shootout. This week’s overall QB4 needs to be locked into fantasy lineups.

Will Fuller is an every-week Top 15 wide receiver option. Given that he’s facing a Titans’ defense that’s allowed downfield receivers like Stefon Diggs (10 catches, 106 yards) and Justin Jefferson (seven catches, 175 yards, 1 touchdown—the touchdown being 71-yarder), Fuller deserves high-end WR1 consideration.

Fellow downfield dynamo, Brandin Cooks, can be flexed with the expectation of at least one mammoth, chunk gain. Slot receiver Randall Cobb offers mild full-point PPR flex usage.

Kenny Stills, DeAndre Carter, and Keke Coutee belong in free agency.

Tight end Darren Fells predictably lit it up last week with Jordan Akins battling a concussion and a high-ankle sprain. Although he’s been cleared of the former, the latter could linger for weeks. Until Akins returns and forces a Texans tight end platoon, Fells is a high-end streaming option that should be added by all tight end-needy teams.

David Johnson continues to be a volume and match-up-based RB2. The Titans’ run-defense offers little in the way of resistance to opposing backfields.Backfield-mate Duke Johnson Jr. continues to get preserved for a years-away breakout game. He’s not startable at this point.

Titans

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s magnificent efficiency should keep on humming this week. By average weekly fantasy points, Tannehill is the overall QB9. The Texans’ defense is just an all-around terrible unit. Tannehill is a high-end streaming option.

Missing since Week 1, wide receiver A.J. Brown stormed back into our lives last week by pulverizing the Bills’ vaunted secondary. It’s fair to note that both Corey Davis and Adam Humphries were on the NFL’s COVID - Reserve List, allowing Brown the target volume that he truly deserves. Humphries has since been activated and brought onto the active roster. Humphries’ return may impact No. 3 fill-in wide receiver Kalif Raymond more than Brown though. Should Davis remain on the COVID - Reserve List, fantasy managers can safely expect a performance similar to Week 5 from Brown—an outing that netted him overall WR12 .5PPR results. He’s a must-start Top 15 option.

Humphries should resume his highly efficient underneath role, running routes in the slot that provide Tannehill with a quick means of getting rid of the ball. He’s a lightweight version of Jamison Crowder who carries a high, flex-worthy floor and decent upside in PPR leagues.

Kalif Raymond offers boom/bust potential, operating as the team’s designated downfield receiver. This is good of a match-up as any to start him—the risk is real though.

Tight end Jonnu Smith is .5PPR’s overall TE2 in average weekly scoring. It helps that Houston isn’t notably stout against the position but the play-making ballerina is a high-end TE1 option regardless of anything.

With Darrynton Evans on Injured Reserve (hamstring), Jeremy McNichols takes on the roster of Mr. Irrelevant behind lead back Derrick Henry. Henry is this week’s overall RB2 as he gears up to face a Texans defense that’s allowed the most rushing yardage to opposing backfields (802).

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Browns

Regardless of the match-up, Baker Mayfield has finished as a mid-to-low QB2 in four out of five games. Against Pittsburgh’s King Kong of a defense, he needs to be left out of starting rosters. He’s the overall QB22 this week.

Odell Beckham Jr. was alarmingly sent home from practice with an illness on Thursday as the team awaits the results of that day’s COVID-19 tests. The test results are expected to be known on Friday. Even if Beckham were to play, a date with the Steelers is about as tough as it gets. Beckham Jr. can’t be trusted as anything more than a boom/bust flex option, if active.

Jarvis Landry is a high-floor flex option with, perhaps, sneaky upside. Depending on Beckham’s availability, Landry could see a sharp uptick in targets but even with Beckham out there, Landry has a better-than-expected outlook on Sunday. Over their last two games, the Steelers have allowed solid outings to slot receivers Randall Cobb and Greg Ward—both of whom found pay dirt.

Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones are not fantasy-relevant.

Austin Hooper reassuringly held his strong snap share last week, with the return of David Njoku from Injured Reserve. Rookie tight end Harrison Bryant was the one who suffered in the snap department, with he and Njoku operating as a 2-man committee for the team’s No. 2 tight end role. Hooper delivered ho-hum results through the first three weeks of the season. Weeks 4 and 5 have yielded outstanding results though and tight end-needy managers should look to add him ASAP. Although the Browns do operate in a 12 personnel (two-tight end) base offense, the No. 2 role is unlikely to return consistent fantasy value while being played by two people.

No. 2 running back, D’Ernest Johnson, did see some work last week but it was mostly late in the game. Kareem Hunt is the unquestioned bellcow in this offense right now and he can be trusted to produce as a rock-solid RB1, even in a tough match-up with the Pittsburgh front-seven. Johnson is just a handcuff. A final note: Hunt is no longer being listed with a groin injury on the Browns’ Week 6 injury report. With that malady behind him though, he appears to have picked up a thigh injury. Thigh issues are typically significant bruises, but as long as it’s not a bone bruise, he’s good to go.

Steelers

The Steelers’ offense is bulldozing opposing defenses and Ben Roethlisberger’s surgically repaired has been integral to their success. He’s a no-brainer QB1 every week.

Chase Claypool put the league on notice last week, scoring multiple touchdowns while operating as the team’s No. 1 receiver. A brief plug, in Week 5’s Rundown, this writer let readers know that Chase Claypool had a shot to post a red zone rushing touchdown: “Philly has allowed rushing touchdowns on trick plays to wide receivers [sic] LA’s Robert Woods and SF’s Brandon Aiyuk. Both Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool have seen rushing action this season, slightly increasing their odds at a red zone end-around score”. It just so happens, he did exactly that on a 2-yard rushing score. With Diontae Johnson suffering a back injury—an injury that can seriously linger—Claypool has rapidly taken over as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. He’s a top 12 option this week.

Slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster retains WR2 rights this week. Although typically a high-end flex at this point, JuJu has a terrific match-up against a Cleveland Browns secondary that’s allowed touchdowns to slot receivers in four out of five games this seasons.

Should Diontae Johnson sit this week, James Washington would operate as the team’s designated deep threat—a role deserving a solid flex consideration.

Eric Ebron has been inching towards back-end TE1 viability over the last two weeks. He showed up on the injury report this week with a hand injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice though. For a pass catching tight end, that’s troublesome. Monitor practice reports but make other plans at tight end this week. It’s possible that Vance McDonald steps up, should Ebron sit. McDonald had all of 2019 to prove that he could fill the role though and the team felt it necessary to bring in Ebron in the offseason. He’s not a great streaming option.

Excluding Week 1’s ankle-induced flop, James Conner is the overall RB6 in .5PPR average weekly scoring. His snap share control over the rest of the backfield remains superb, with No. 2 back Benny Snell Jr. hitting the field only to give Conner a breather. Conner is this week’s overall RB8, one spot behind his counterpart, Kareem Hunt on Sunday. Snell is just a handcuff.

Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles

Ravens

Lamar Jackson is showing everyone why drafting a quarterback early is a dangerous prospect—he’s just the QB11 in scoring. Jackson is undeniably the most dynamic signal caller in the league. Fantasy’s scoring system just lets so-so QBs post predictable, big days though. Game the system next time.

That said, Jackson is this week’s overall QB6. The Philadelphia secondary has slowed bad quarterbacks and stepped aside for good ones. Jackson is obviously the latter.

The sadness train rolls on for Marquise Brown who, according to PFF’s Jarad Evans, has seen an unacceptable 29% of his targets deemed “uncatchable”. Jackson needs to dial it in. Fortunately for Brown though, lock-down cornerback Darius Slay is in the league’s concussion protocol at the moment. Without him, the 2nd-year receiver would be a strong flex option with access to long-touchdown upside.

This tweet from Josh Hermsmeyer puts into perspective what the Ravens’ wide receiver corps really has to offer.

Although it’s fair to point out that Devin Duvernay has seen a slight uptick in snaps and offers sneaky bonus value with his return game usage, he still has a long way to go before he can be considered a real flex option. Against the hapless Eagles’ secondary, he could be started as a long-shot boom/bust flex option though.

Miles Boykin and Willie Snead are zero-floor/shaky ceiling flex options.

Mark Andrews is firmly in contention to take overall TE1 honors this week. The tight end is second on the team in terms of overall target market share (21.64%) and his 40.91% red zone target market share is nearly four times that of the next closest Raven. To somehow make matters even better, Philadelphia has been demolished by opposing tight ends this year. Logan Thomas had his lone good game against them in Week 1 (four catches, 37 yards, one touchdown—.5PPR TE7). Tyler Higbee hung five catches, 54 yards, and three touchdowns on them in Week 2 (.5PPR TE1). George Kittle posted a mammoth 15-catch, 183-yard, one-touchdown smoke-show against them in Week 4 (.5PPR TE1). If desperate, No. 2 tight end Nick Boyle could even be deployed as a streaming option.

The Ravens’ backfield has been a clown car of snap sharing with Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards all regularly seeing the field. Mark Ingram is the only rusher who has much of anything going for him. His red zone rushing market share is over four times higher than that of any other Ravens back and Philadelphia has allowed the 3rd-highest rushing touchdown total on the year (8). He’s a flex option.

Eagles

Quarterback Carson Wentz faces a brutal match-up with the Ravens’ dominant secondary. He’s just a back-end QB2.

Second-year wide receiver Travis Fulgham has broken out over the last two weeks, parlaying his route running and production into overall WR5 .5PPR results in that time span. Operating as the team’s X-receiver, we can expect double-digit targets in this one. Running routes primarily on the outside, his duels with Ravens’ perimeter cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters will put his talent to the test. Target volume like that though keeps Fulgham as a solid flex candidate though.

Slot receiver Greg Ward Jr. looks to have taken over tight end Zach Ertz’s role as the interior route runner from the slot. Ertz has played terrible and Ward has continued to develop from his 2019 breakout. Given the tough match-up, Ward retains high-floor value but his ceiling will be hard to come by. While the Ravens have been vulnerable to tight ends, Ertz’s 2020 TE17 .5PPR results make him tough to trust. He’s just a TE2 in this one.

Teams in need of a tight end should consider adding Dallas Goedert, who looked great before suffering an ankle injury. Goedert is eligible to return from Injured Reserve for next week’s game.

Expect John Hightower to continue getting cardio in this week. He’s not a viable fantasy option against Baltimore.

The availability of injured wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson is completely up in the air. Jackson would bring ambiguous downfield value were he active and Jeffery is impossible to trust.

The Ravens’ front-seven is not the running back-erasing force that it once was, having allowed generous outings to opposing backfields all year long. Expect Miles Sanders to safely return RB1 value in a solid match-up this week. He’s the overall RB6.

Boston Scott and Corey Clement are not fantasy-relevant. Scott is the preferred handcuff.

Washington Football Team at New York Giants

Football Team

Kyle Allen will be slingin’ balls again this week as the Football Team’s starter. It’s a moderate match-up for the backup signal caller but the overall state of Washington keeps him as a back-end QB2.

The outlook for Washington’s top weapon, Terry McLaurin is not good. Per PFF’s Jarad Evans, the Giants’ coverage of opposing No. 1 wide receivers, who operate primarily on the perimeter, has been lethal. Keyed by offseason acquisition James Bradberry, the best combined receiving statline of top wideouts who have faced the Giants’ secondary—Amari Cooper, Robert Woods, Brandon Aiyuk, Allen Robinson, and Diontae Johnson—is six catches, 70-yards, and zero touchdowns. Like the rest, McLaurin is a tough-to-bench asset. If started, expectations need to be tempered.

Fill-in slot receiver Dontrell Inman deserves flex consideration, however, as the G-Men have surrendered bountiful days to interior route runners like JuJu Smith-Schuster in Week 1 (six catches, 69-yards, and two touchdowns), Cooper Kupp in Week 4 (five catches, 69-yards, and a touchdown), and CeeDee Lamb in Week 5 (eight catches and 124-yards).

Tight end Logan Thomas can no longer be started in fantasy lineups despite his outstanding usage, both overall and in the red zone.

Running back Antonio Gibson saw a sharp increase in snap share last week, beating his on-field percentage over the previous two weeks by more than 10%. Unfortunately, the coaching staff’s affection for J.D. McKissic keeps the latter far too involved in the team’s offense. The transfer of McKissic’s passing game usage (eight targets in each of the last two games) would work wonders for Gibson’s fantasy outlook and there’s slight reason for optimism in that regard in the long term. Gibson’s per game targets has jumped drastically (registering five over the last two weeks) from where we were in Weeks 1, 2, and 3. For this week though, fantasy managers should find solace in the fact that opposing backfields have routinely pummeled Washington’s defense with running backs rushes. Benny Snell’s success in Week 1, San Fran’s rushing TD bonanza in Week 3, and Ezekiel Elliott’s monster outing in Week 5 are all a testament to that. Gibson is a back-end RB2. McKissic is a floor-only flex option.

For those interested, J Moyer of FF Astronauts, just posted a brief tutorial on Antonio Gibson’s use of the jump cut as compared to Ezekiel Elliott. It’s clear that Gibson is still developing as a runner but it’s good to see the youngster trying to find his way.

Giants

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is a living harbinger that all fantasy managers should make note of. His scheme is archaic and cannot be trusted against even mid-tier modern day NFL minds. Accordingly, Daniel Jones is a completely unusable fantasy quarterback option, even in a good match-up.

Darius Slayton remains the lone brightspot in the Giants’ pass catching corps. The talented downfield play-maker has a great shot at a high-end flex outing against a Washington secondary that’s been burned in consecutive weeks for six completions of 25-yards or more, including three greather than 40-yards in last week’s tilt against the Rams.

Golden Tate is not usable.

Tight end Evan Engram has the lowest qualifying average targeted air yards in the NExt Gen Stats’ database. Despite the solid match-up, he is not a viable TE1 option.

Washington’s front-seven is an entirely unimposing run-defense unit, giving way to a bevvy of fantasy points to opposing backfields. As such, Devonta Freeman is a volume, and match-up, based flex option.

Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis have been rendered completely unusable as the New York coaching staff forcefeeds Devonta Freeman and his blown-out legs.

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings

Falcons

This is a get-right spot for quarterback Matt Ryan as the Falcons head to Minnesota for a tilt with a Vikings secondary that’s allowed the league’s 6th-most passing yard production (1,357) and is tied for the 4th-most passing touchdowns allowed (10). Of course, with the positive COVID-19 tests the team suffered early this week, fantasy managers need to keep a close eye on local news cycles. They’ve had all negative tests since though, so Matt Ryan’s bounceback train is rolling full steam ahead. He’s this week’s overall QB10.

Despite battling a hamstring injury this week, Julio Jones has been removed from the team’s injury report. It’s entirely possible that Jones is deployed as a decoy but given the match-up, sitting one of the best receivers in the league is not recommended. Roll with Julio as a high-end WR1.

.5PPR’s overall WR3 in scoring, Calvin Ridley is firmly in play to take overall WR1 scoring honors this week. Lock him into your lineup and throw away the key.

Wide receiver Russell Gage has cooled off from his hot start but even so, college players could have themselves a day against this Vikings secondary. He’s a solid flex option.

Olamide Zaccheus is not a fantasy option at this time but could be held as a Julio insurance policy through this week’s game, pending Julio’s ability to make it through the game without a hamstring re-aggravation.

Hayden Hurst is just a borderline TE1/2 with all of the other mouths to feed.

The table is set for running back Todd Gurley to once again defy expectations because of an easily exploitable match-up. The Vikings front-seven has yielded the NFL’s 8th-most rushing yards (663), granting him a back-end RB1 ranking.

Brian Hill is just a bench stash.

Vikings

Quarterback Kirk Cousins finds himself in a borderline can’t-miss spot, facing a Falcons’ defensive back-end that’s allowed the NFL’s 2nd-most passing yardage (1,679) and the most passing touchdownds (15). Fantasy managers in dire straits at the position should add Cousins as a high-end streamer.

.5PPR’s overall WR1 in scoring, Adam Thielen is in prime position to keep his reign going. He’s an elite WR1 option against the Falcons’ hapless secondary.

Since his breakout in Week 3, Justin Jefferson is .5PPR’s overall WR15—a reasonable spot for fantasy managers to expect him to remain after the dust has settled on Monday night.

Tight end Irv Smith Jr. was finally a featured part of the offense last week, establishing himself at the perfect time ahed of this week’s showdown. Seahawks’ tight ends smacked Atlanta for four catches, 41-yards, and a touchdown in Week 1. Backup Dallas tight ends Dalton Schultz and Blake Bell racked up a ridiculous 11 catches, 122-yards, and a touchdown in Week 2. Bears’ tight ends posted a nine-catch, 75-yard, and two touchdown performance in Week 3. The PackersRobert Tonyan hung six catches, 98-yards, and three scores on them in Week 4. With a track record like that, there’s little chance that Minnesota’s Week 5 bye allowed them to solve their tight end coverage issues. Irv Smith Jr. has the potential for a Top 5 Week 6 finish at the position.

On a PFF Fantasy Football Podcast with Ian Hartitz episode from earlier this week, Hartitz made it a point to recount his talk with a Vikings’ beat writer who unwaveringly asserted that Alexander Mattison would step in as the team’s full-on bellcow back should Dalvin Cook miss time. With Cook’s groin injury sending him to the bench, Mattison is set to rock the Falcons’ dreadful front-seven. He’s this week’s overall RB5.

Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars

Lions

Quarterback Matthew Stafford enters a great situation, facing a Jacksonville defense that allowed QB8 results in Week 2 to Ryan Tannehill, QB8 results in Week 3 to Ryan Fitzpatrick, and QB6 results in Week 5 to Deshaun Watson. Stafford is this week’s overall QB12.

Accordingly, wide receiver Kenny Golladay is a Top 12 option at his position as well.

Marvin Jones Jr. far too volatile to be serioulsy considered as anything more than a boom/bust flex option.

Danny Amendola could have a decent PPR outing against Jacksonville’s lacking slot coverage.

Jacksonville’s safeties and linebackers have allowed stellar outings to opposing tight ends. Both Jonnu Smith (Week 2) and Darren Fells (Week 5) racked up Top 5 finishes while Mike Gesicki found the endzone against them in Week 3. T.J. Hockenson is a solid streaming option at the position.

Adrian Peterson gets his highest ranking of the season as a high-end flex option against a Jags’ front-seven that’s been pummeled by opposing backfields. Miami backs piled up 100 yards from scrimmage, five catches, and a score in Week 3. Joe Mixon had his season-best performance against them with 181 total yards, six catches, and three scores in Week 4 and Houston’s David Johnson efficiently roashed them for a 5.6 yards per carry mark, totalling 96 yards on the ground while sprinkling seven receiving yards on top last week.

D’Andre Swift’s promising increase in snaps in the team’s last outing bodes well for his future production. He’s a good dart throw as a flex and a savvy bench stash overall.

Jaguars

Look for Gardner Minshew to continue his outrageously efficient ways in another great match-up with a bad secondary. He’s a mid-tier QB1 this week.

Jags’ No. 1 WR D.J. Chark snuck in a limited participation in practice this week (ankle), putting him tentaviley on track to play. It’s far from a guarantee though. When Chark has been hampered or hurt, we’ve seen the team turn to Keelan Cole and Laviska Shenault for production and that’s exactly what fantasy managers should do in this one. Start either of the latter two players as stout flex options. Chark managers should look into backup plans but be prepared to start him, with lowered expectations, should he be active.

Tyler Eifert, if active (neck), is not a viable fantasy option.

James Robinson is set to find his ceiling for the first time since Week 3 against a Detroit Lions’ front-seven that’s allowed 6th-most rushing yards on the year (681). With his passing game usage firmly cemented at this point, managers should trust him as a mid-to-low RB1.

Chris Thompson is not a viable fantasy option.

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts

Bengals

Joe Burrow faces a rough match-up against a well coached Colts’ defense. He’s a mid-tier QB2.

The key to success against the Colts’ secondary is in their slot coverage. Pure slotsters like Laviska Shenault (Week 1), Braxton Berrios (Week 3), and Jarvis Landry (Week 5) have posted solid outings against them. As such, slot man Tyler Boyd gets the green light as a high-end flex option this week.

Perimeter players, Tee Higgins, Mike Thomas, and Auden Tate are all risky flex plays.

Hopefully the coaching staff saw A.J. Green completely quit on plays last week and relegate him either to the bench or the GM’s office to get his contract worked out.

Drew Sample is not a dependable asset this week.

Joe Mixon faces a tough match-up but got a late week boost when it was confirmed that the Colts’ stud interior linebacker, Darius Leonard (groin), was unable to practice at all this week. Look for Mixon’s heavy workload to keep him relevant as a high-end RB2, coupled with this new development.

Giovani Bernard is not fantasy-relevant.

Colts

It’s entirely possible that Philip Rivers has a decent outing this week, given the solid match-up, but fantasy managers should not bank on it. His play has been undeniably bad through five weeks.

T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal are low-ceiling, zero-floor flex plays.

Trey Burton has taken over as the team’s No. 1 pass catching tight end but the overall situation makes him a complete avoid.

Jonathan Taylor is still forced to split snaps as he’s struggled to separate from Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines. Given the can’t-miss match-up, facing a Bengals’ defensive front that’s allowed the NFL’s 2nd-most rushing yards in the league (295), Taylor can be treated as a high-end RB2 with a good shot at a slump-busting outing.

Both Wilkins and Hines are low-end flex plays with Wilkins as the preferred favorite for 4th-quarter action.

Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

Bears

Nick Foles finds himself as a mid-tier QB2 against a rookie-infused Panthers defense. His main man, wide receiver Allen Robinson, should have no issue educating the youth about playing cornerback in the NFL. Expecta dominant outing for one of the game’s best. He’s an elite WR1 play this week.

Downfiled receiver Darnell Mooney has soundly separated from slot receiver Anthony Miller in 2-wide receiver sets. Expect Mooney to get loose for a few long balls this Sunday with a touchdown-based chance at high-end flex results. Miller, meanwhile, offers just moderate PPR flex-viability.

Tight end Jimmy Graham continues to be a touchdown-or-bust weekly play. Given the expected ease with which Chicago should be able to move down the field, a chance at a touchdown should be considered high.

The Panthers’ run-defense is the fantasy equivalent of performance enhancing drugs for opposing backfields. Offering little in the way of resistance on the ground, they’ve allowed the NFL’s 7th-highest rushing yard total (667) and the 3rd-highest rushing touchdown total (8). For the first time this year, fantasy managers can fire David Montgomery up as a back-end RB1.

Cordarrelle Patterson is a mid-to-low flex option as the team’s new rotational back.

Panthers

Teddy Bridgewater is a no-go this week, teeing off against a Bears’ secondary that’s allowed just four passing touchdowns on the season, the fewest in the NFL. He’s just a back-end QB2.

Robby Anderson’s outstanding 27.43% target market share and 28.00% red zone target market share keep him firmly locked into the Top 15 wide receivers. One should not expect a ceiling game from him though.

D.J. Moore, the team’s downfield play-maker can’t be trusted as anything more than a boom/bust flex option—he’s just not seeing enough work and this is a very challenging match-up.

Slot receiver Curtus Samuel and tight end Ian Thomas are not fantasy-relevant at this time.

The Bears’ general inability to stop opposing backfields from racking up production as team’s try to avoid their vaunted secondary sets the table nicely for Mike Davis to keep on humming. Playing outrageously well in relief of Christian McCaffrey (ankle), Davis is .5PPR’s overall RB4 during that time. Fittingly, he’s this week’s overall RB3.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

Jets

The only fantasy-relevant player on Adam Gase’s horrific New York Jets team is wide receiver Jamison Crowder. Crowder is a weekly, match-up-independent WR2.

Dolphins

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has deservedly earned fantasy’s overall QB6 position in scoring. The fearless gunslinger should pick apart the hapless Jets squad that has players demanding to be traded or released. He’s a locked-in QB1.

As such, we can confidently fire up perimeter receivers DeVante Parker and Preston Williams as rock-solid WR2s with Parker as the team’s overall favorite.

No. 2 on the team in target market share (17.44%), tight end Mike Gesicki is primed to open a can against the Jets’ effectively vacant safety positions.

Slot receiver Isaiah Ford even makes for a decent boom/bust flex play.

Myles Gaskin potential was unlocked last week (.5PPR’s overall RB10) as the Dolphins brass opted to hold goal-line rumbler Jordan Howard out of the game. The opportunity allowed Gasking to see a goal-line carry that he punched in with ease. Assuming the trend holds and Miami rolls into Week 6 with just Gasking and Matt Breida active, fantasy mangers should expect Gaskin to go off against a Jets’ defense that’allowed the 9th-most yardage on the ground (643) and the 2nd-most rushing touchdowns (9). Adding in the that Gaskin is tied for the 5th-most running back targets in the league (25), it’s easy to see the breakout back erupting for high-end RB2 numbers. Start him with confidence. Additionally, with an expected blow-out on our hands, it’s not hard to see backup Matt Breida seeing double digit second-half touches, resulting in solid flex-worthy numbers.

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Packers

Aaron Rodgers is about to face the stiffest test of the season against a Bucs’ defense that’s tied for the league’s 3rd-highest interception total (6), the 5th-most passes defended (25), and the 5th-highest pressure rate (27.7%). With his top pass catcher, Davante Adams, back from a hamstring injury Rodgers is able to stay on the QB1/2 borderline but managers should not expect him to come close to a ceiling game here. Adams, meanwhile, retains right to a Top 5 ranking.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Malik Taylor, and Darrius Shepherd are all long-shot flex options.

Tight end Robert Tonyan has worked his way into Rodgers’ inner circle and can be trusted to produce TE1 numbers, regardless of the opponent.

Tampa Bay has completely shutdown opposing run games, allowing the 2nd-fewest rushing yards on the season (292) and just 4 rushing scores. The result of their vaunted pass rush though, is a high-volume of pass attempts towards running back in a safety valve manner. Aaron Jones, the NFL’s T-7th-most targeted running back (23) should have no issue racking up points via receptions, firmly keeping him in the Top 5 of the position despite the tough match-up.

Jamaal Williams is just a low-end flex option.

Buccaneers

The Packers’ secondary has performed less admirably than its Week 6 counterpart, managing just two interceptions, a league-worst 12 passes defended, and the 2nd-worst QB pressurate rate (17.6%). Tom Brady should have all day to throw this week, leading to a high-end QB2 ranking.

Both Mike Evans (ankle) and Chris Godwin (hamstring) are active this week and the duo should have no issue finishing in the position’s Top 15 .5PPR scorers.

Consider Scotty Miller a reasonable flex option but leave Justin Watson in free agency.

Tight ends Cameron Brate and Rob Gronkowski both saw six targets last week. Gronk managed a significantly higher snap total though, making him the favorite to return Top 12 fantasy value. Brate is a devil around the goal line though.

Ronald Jones’ fantasy managers are in a tough position. The defensive strength of the Packers is their run-stopping front-seven. The unit has allowed the 3rd-fewest rushing (423) yards on the year and just five touchdowns. With backfield-mate’s Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy missing games as of late, Jones’ target share shot up to the point that he currently sits tied with Aaron Jones for the 7th-most targets among NFL running backs (23). But now, McCoy is back and Fournette is a game-time decision. While McCoy wouldn’t do too much to Jones — he might hurt current No. 2 back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, although you weren’t using him this week anyway. The potential return of Fournette does throw a stick in the spokes though. Without Fournette, Jones is a mid-tier RB2. Should Fournette play though, both would be squeezed into flex value, albeit with Jones as the “healthy” favorite.

Sunday Night Football: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

Rams

San Fran’s banged up defense helped Carson Wentz to QB12 results in Week 4 and QB3 results to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 5. As such, Jared Goff can be streamed as a high-end option, capable of a Top 12 finish.

Both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp qualify as high-end WR2s. This SF defensive unit really is lacking.

Josh Reynolds has succinctly separated from No. 4 receiver Van Jefferson but doesn’t see enough work to be reliably fantasy-relevant. He’s a boom/bust flex option with the match-up providing a small opportunity to “boom”.

Although tight end Tyler Higbee has a nice fantasy total, it’s largely due to his three touchdown performance in Week 2. Sean McVay has found his way back to a base 3-wide scheme and fellow tight end Gerald Everett is seeing too much time on the field for Higbee to succeed. The two are just moderate TE2 options.

Perhaps the strongest indication that Sean McVay prefers Darrell Henderson, at least for the moment, is Henderson’s red zone-carry domination. With all three backs (Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers too) active last week, two saw RZ rushing work — Henderson had five and Brown had one. Given the topsy-turvy nature of the backfield, fantasy managers can’t trust Henderson as anything more than a high-end flex, even though his ceiling is much closer to a Top 15 back. Brown and Akers are just high-floor flex plays. Brown has the trusty, veteran factor while Akers’ athleticism has to be enticing to the coaching staff.

49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo is apparently healthy enough to start this week (ankle) and last week’s supposed ankle sprain-induced collapse. A date with the Rams’ defense that’s allowed the 5th-fewest passing yards (989), racked up a league-league 20 sacks (T-Steelers), and has registered the 8th-most passes defended (21), Garoppolo can’t be trusted anywhere near a starting lineup. He’s a QB3.

As a result, expectations for Deebo Samuel, Broandon Aiyuk, and Kendrick Bourne need to severely reduced. Aiyuk is the best bet to return flex value as Kyle Shanahan can be expected to manufacture touches for him near the line of scrimmage. None of them are high-ceiling options though.

George Kittle can never be benched though. His ability to routinely defy stout defenses from stymieing him makes him a reliable elite TE1 every week.

Raheem Mostert dominated backfield touches in his return to action last week and a usage-repeat shouold be expected in Week 6. It’s possible Jerick McKinnon is worked into the rotation a bit more to take pressure off of Garoppolo but he can’t be trusted as a high-floor option. He’s boom or bust. Mostert is a volume-secure high-end RB2.

Jeff Wilson Jr. is not expected to play after registering Did Not Practice deisgnations this week (calf).