Welcome to Week 6 of the NFL season, the week things get real in fantasy. Week 6 represents the halfway point in most standard fantasy leagues and if you’re stuck on 1 or 2 wins, things have become dire in a hurry. Six losses is usually the Mason-Dixon line for the playoffs, so if you’ve taken 3 L’s AND have Mike Evans on a bye this week, you’re probably searching the waiver wire in a cold sweat. And if you have 4+ wins already, it might be a good time to make a trade with those desperate Mike Evans owners. Seriously, he’s a stud and this is fantasy football – don’t feel guilty preying on the weak.
But before we get into this week’s lineup decisions, I want to introduce a new feature to this column – accountability! Each week, we’ll review my recommendations from the previous week to see how well (or not well) I did. Last time I did some good things! Let’s go to the tape:
Dan Recommended: Start LeGarette Blount over Desean Jackson and Philip Dorsett
Verdict: GOOD CALL – Blount only had 37 rushing yards on 18 carries, but he saved the day by finding the end zone. Blount’s 9 fantasy points topped Desean Jackson (3 catches for 35 yards) and Philip Dorsett (2 catches for 26 yards). Not really a banner week for any of those three though.
Dan Recommended: Start Tyrell Williams over Duke Johnson in PPR
Verdict: GOOD CALL – Williams had a monster performance against Oakland last week, hauling in 5 catches for 117 yards and a TD (good for 22 points in PPR). Meanwhile, Johnson couldn’t get anything going against the Pats, finishing with 1 rushing yard and 2 catches for 21 yards (4 points in PPR). Tyrell Williams continues to be a hidden fantasy gem.
Dan Recommended: Start Eagles D/ST over Bills and Steelers
Verdict: BAD CALL – The Bills defense dominated on Sunday, holding the Rams to 19 points, recording 3 turnovers, and scoring a touchdown. Their 16-point showing (standard league) was more than the Eagles and Steelers put up combined. Defenses in fantasy are stupid!
Dan Recommended: Don’t cut Golden Tate yet.
Verdict: TBD – Tate had 6 touches on Sunday! Matt Stafford remembered he exists! Still, Tate only had 6 PPR points and you shouldn’t be starting him under any circumstances yet, but there’s a slight chance he becomes useful again.
Byes This Week
Minnesota Vikings – Kyle Rudolph, Jerrick McKinnon (groan), Matt Asiata (barf), Vikings D/ST
Tampa Bay Bucs – Mike Evans, Cameron Brate, whatever RB they’re using this week (Sims? Rodgers? Martin? Warrick Dunn?)
Only two teams on byes in Weeks 6 and 7, but watch out for Week 8 when we get SIX squads on byes. So rack up those wins now before you start loading your lineup with waiver wire fodder. Now let’s answer some questions:
Luck vs Wentz is a good fantasy debate and the answer depends on your risk tolerance. Carson Wentz is the greatest thing to ever happen to Pennsylvania and I’m absolutely writing him in for president next month, but he’s been good-not-great as a fantasy option. Only once has Wentz thrown for 300 yards in a game and he doesn’t have any of those 3 TD pass games you need for a dominant QB performance. Here’s a comparison of the fantasy numbers for Luck and Wentz so far:
Andrew Luck – 35, 9, 13, 17, 21
Carson Wentz – 19, 12, 21, bye, 16
Wentz’s floor looks like the 15-16 point range and likely hits low 20s if his receivers stop dropping touchdowns every damn week (YES NELSON, I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU). Luck is capable of putting up gaudy 350-yard, 4 TD stat lines, but he turns it over a ton and his coach seems hellbent on getting him killed by November. I’m playing it safe and saying Carson Wentz this week. The Redskins defense stinks and the Eagles will be looking to make a statement following their brutal last-second loss to the Lions. Both guys are decent options this week and Luck is probably better if you need a 30-point home run week, but Wentz is the steadier option and I bet he outscores Luck on Sunday.
To me, this comes down to Duke Johnson vs Matt Jones. If Tevin Coleman can blow up against Denver, he can certainly get his points against Seattle. The Seahawks’ mystique has faded a bit in the last year. They allowed 100+ yards and two scores to Carlos Hyde and have given up big plays in the passing game to Arian Foster, Todd Gurley, and Bilal Powell. I like Coleman a lot more than his backfield partner Devonta Freeman this week.
Ryan Mathews may have coughed up the game against the Lions, but he’ll get every opportunity to redeem himself on Sunday. The Redskins have the worst rushing defense in the NFL, so even if Wendell Smallwood eats a few of his carries, I expect Mathews to get enough work to be productive in your lineup. And as usual, he’ll find the end zone.
I know it seems like I have a beef with Duke Johnson, but I’m benching him again this week for Matt Jones. Jay Gruden is finally wising up to Kirk Cousins’s limitations and the running game is become more of a feature in Washington’s offense. He’ll get more touches than Duke Johnson and definitely has better odds of finding the end zone. I’m starting Tevin Coleman, Ryan Mathews, and Matt Jones. Keep Duke on the bench until the byes force your hand.
You’d have to pry Julio Jones and Mike Evans from my cold, dead fingers, so let’s eliminate them as trade pieces right off the bat. Julio is flat out untouchable and the only way I’m moving Evans is if Leveon Bell is coming back. Plus stacking receivers is my favorite strategy, especially in PPR leagues. That leaves Benjamin and Maclin has movable pieces.
I’d be nervous trading for Melvin Gordon – he really needs to score to be effective and his end zone trips are coming at an unsustainable rate right now. The Chargers haven’t been able to run the ball since Ladainian Tomlinson retired and if I had Gordon, I’d be looking to sell high to a RB-needy squad. Recommendation to avoid, you’re buying way too high.
Christine Michael is an interesting case, but I’m concerned he’s a ticking time bomb too. Thomas Rawls will assert himself at SOME POINT this season and Michael has proven incapable of carrying lead back responsibilities for the long haul. Trading for him is playing with fire and his value can only decline from here.
Jamaal Charles is the best candidate for a low-risk/high-reward trade. Owners have likely reached a level of irrational frustration with Charles and you might be able to take advantage of their impatience. Don’t kid yourself, Charles has sustained a 5+ yards per carry average far too long to be written off and the way Andy Reid uses his backs makes Charles even more valuable in PPR leagues. I know you’re probably sick of seeing the words ‘buy low’, but its really the best strategy for making trades. Just ask Warren Buffett.
I’d try to work out some sort of trade involving Travis Benjamin or Jeremy Maclin for Jamaal Charles. Benjamin and Maclin really aren’t top tier starters, but Charles absolutely has the chance to become an RB1. Obviously there’s risk involved, but fantasy trades favor the bold and Jamaal Charles combined with Julio Jones and Mike Evans has juggernaut potential.
Got a fantasy football question for next week? Whether its lineup decisions, trade proposals, or if you just want to insult me and family, hit me up on Twitter @DanS_SOTS and I’ll do my best to answer each and every one. Good luck this week and go Birds.