Matchups

Silva's Week 6 Matchups

Updated On: October 11, 2018, 7:01 pm ET

1:00 PM ET Games

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
Team Totals: Falcons 30, Buccaneers 27

Eviscerated by Pittsburgh 41-17 and desperate after a 1-4 start, the Falcons catch the NFL’s worst pass defense inside Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz dome for Week 6’s second-highest-totaled game. The Falcons topped 30 points in three of the last four weeks, while Tampa Bay yields an NFL-high 34.8 points per game and 6.99 yards per play, most by any team since 1970's AFL-NFL merger. The Bucs have surrendered fantasy results of QB1 (Mitchell Trubisky), QB10 (Ben Roethlisberger), QB18 (Nick Foles), and QB2 (Drew Brees), boding well for Matt Ryan’s chances of a monster bounce back. The Falcons have scored touchdowns on 11-of-13 red-zone trips at home. … Tevin Coleman will retake lead-back duties after logging touch counts of 20 – 17 – 17 on 64% - 78% > 57% playing-time clips in Devonta Freeman’s (foot, knee, groin) Weeks 2-4 absences. Ito Smith’s usage was 10 – 5 – 10 touches on 30% - 15% - 43% snap rates. As Bucs DC Mike Smith is the rare NFL coach who hilariously still emphasizes run over pass defense, Tampa Bay has held enemy backs to a sturdy 75/276/4 (3.68 YPC) rushing line while getting flamed in the air, including allowing an NFC-high 82 receiving yards per game to running backs. A home-favorite lead runner in this probable shootout, Coleman is a fringe RB1 with a 17-20 touch projection. Smith is a shot-in-the-dark flex.

 

 

Ryan’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Julio Jones 54; Mohamed Sanu 31; Austin Hooper 27; Calvin Ridley 26; Coleman 14; Smith 9. … Michael Thomas (16/180/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (9/116/0), Taylor Gabriel (7/104/2), Nelson Agholor (8/88/1), Ted Ginn (5/68/1), and Antonio Brown (6/50/1) have all exploited the Bucs’ rookie-filled secondary. Julio is as good a bet as ever to snap his scoreless streak in this matchup; Smith’s defense has yielded the NFL’s most touchdown catches per game to enemy wideouts (2.3) after surrendering the sixth-most receiver scores last year. Despite last week’s clunker in Joe Haden’s coverage, Julio’s ceiling is monstrous in this indoor track meet. … Ridley’s ridiculous Weeks 2-4 TD binge was always bound for regression, but it would not surprise if the first-round pick popped back up for a big Week 6. Ridley still leads Atlanta in red-zone targets (5) and is second in Air Yards (349) behind Julio. Ridley is averaging a modest 6.0 targets per game in the last month, so expectations should stay in check despite his small-sample high-scoring run. This remains a tough-to-fade matchup considering Ridley’s upside. … Slot man Sanu made a rare explosive play in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh, turning an RPO slant into a 43-yard catch-and-run TD. As Sanu runs 76% of his routes inside, it is notable that Thomas, JuJu, and Agholor all beat up on Tampa Bay in the slot. … Usage is always a question mark for Hooper, but his Week 6 matchup is not. Fellow TEs Vance McDonald (4/112/1), Zach Ertz (11/94/0), Trey Burton (2/86/1), Josh Perkins (4/57/0), and Ben Watson (4/44/0) have all produced at or above expectation versus Tampa.

This is a smash spot for Jameis Winston, who finished 2017 on a tear with a 317-yard average and 9:5 TD-to-INT ratio over the final five weeks, then shredded the 2018 preseason under innovative Air Raid OC Todd Monken on 30-of-41 (73.2%) passing for 388 yards (9.5 YPA), three touchdowns, and no picks. Winston has been a high-floor, high-ceiling producer versus Dan Quinn’s defense with QB3 - QB10 - QB5 - QB16 - QB12 career results. Winston now draws Atlanta at its weakest point minus DT Grady Jarrett, SS Keanu Neal, MLB Deion Jones, and FS Ricardo Allen. Winston deserves to be one of Week 6’s highest-owned DFS quarterbacks. … Scratched in Weeks 1-3, second-rounder Ronald Jones finally made a Week 4 appearance and paced Tampa’s backfield in touches (11), albeit mostly in garbage time. Early-season starter Peyton Barber has 148 scoreless yards on 50 runs (2.97 YPC) and has been a non-factor in the passing game. Barber ranks a lowly 32nd among 38 running backs in Football Outsiders’ rushing Success Rate. This is a backfield to avoid in Week 6 lineup decisions, but Jones is worth stashing in 10- and 12-team leagues as the Bucs’ likely-eventual lead back. Barber is almost certainly on his way out. The Bucs’ inability to run the ball whatsoever further bodes well for Winston.

Winston’s Week 4 target distribution: Adam Humphries 6; Mike Evans 4; Cameron Brate, Chris Godwin, and DeSean Jackson 3; Barber 1. … Winston’s eye for slot man Humphries is notable on a Bucs team lacking pass-catching backs and facing a Falcons defense playing musical chairs at slot corner. Humphries has cleared 60 yards once in his last 17 games, however, scoring one TD in that span. … Reeling in the secondary, Atlanta gave up a league-high ten TDs to wide receivers in the last month. Evans’ last five stat lines against Quinn’s secondary are 5/79/1 > 6/78/0 > 11/150/2 > 5/99/1 > 5/61/1. … As O.J. Howard (MCL) practiced in a bulky knee brace all week, Brate is an intriguing streamer/DFS punt in this probable high-scoring affair. In the Bucs’ Week 4 loss to Chicago, Brate logged year highs in snaps (59%) and routes run (28) and doubled his Air Yards (62) from Weeks 1-3 combined (31). Over the last month, offenses targeting tight ends versus Atlanta have completed 15-of-17 throws (88%) for 167 yards (9.8 YPA) and a touchdown. … Godwin is in similar position to Ridley as a largely touchdown-reliant commodity who plays limited snaps (55%) and averages 5.5 targets per game. … Even as Jackson showed more chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick in Weeks 1-4 than he did with Winston all last year, this game’s track-meet possibilities greatly enhance D-Jax’s WR3 appeal. Atlanta has allowed the NFL’s third-most passing scores (12).

Score Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Falcons 31

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Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Team Totals: Bengals 27.5, Steelers 25.5

Steelers-Bengals sets up as a high-scoring affair between teams that rank No. 3 (CIN) and No. 4 (PIT) in scoring with Joe Mixon at the forefront of Cincinnati’s offense after returning to the Week 5 lineup for a season-high 25 touches on 78% of the snaps. Run stoppage is Pittsburgh’s defensive strength; DC Keith Butler’s unit has limited enemy running backs to a combined 99/338/2 (3.41 YPC) rushing line and the league’s third-fewest receiving yards (104). Mixon has still earned matchup-proof RB1 treatment with 22 or more touches in 3-of-3 games. Despite coach Marvin Lewis’ claim Mixon would share work in last week’s win over Miami, No. 2 back Mark Walton touched the ball twice. Giovani Bernard (knee) will miss at least one more game. … Andy Dalton is a high-floor play with top-15 fantasy results in 4-of-5 starts facing a Steelers defense that has allowed top-12 finishes to 4-of-5 quarterbacks faced. Since Bill Lazor took over as Bengals playcaller last Week 3, Dalton has a 37:15 TD-to-INT ratio across 19 starts.

Dalton’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd 43; Bernard 21; John Ross 15; Mixon 12; C.J. Uzomah 10; Walton 7; Tyler Kroft 6. … In the Bengals’ first post-Tyler Eifert game, Green set season highs in targets (10) and yards (112) as Lazor schemed him away from Xavien Howard by running Green in the slot on a season-high 45% of his routes. Lazor figures to deploy Green similarly this week after Joe Haden shadowed Julio Jones in Week 5 and held him catch-less for three quarters. Haden has played four slot snaps all year. Pittsburgh has allowed the NFL’s most touchdown catches (13) and seventh-most 20-plus-yard pass plays (21), and Green is the Bengals’ best bet to deliver both. … As fellow slot WRs Jarvis Landry (7/106/0), Mohamed Sanu (4/73/1), and Willie Snead (6/56/0) all produced at or above expectation against the Steelers, this is an unimposing matchup for Boyd, whose slow Week 5 (4/44/0) was a byproduct of game environment. The Bengals beat the Dolphins with their running game and defensive touchdowns, while Dalton completed a season-low 20 passes for fewer than 250 yards. Cincinnati will almost certainly have to throw more this week; teams facing Pittsburgh average the fourth-most pass attempts (41.0) in the league. … Alex Erickson – not Josh Malone – stood in as the Bengals’ No. 3 receiver in Ross’ (groin) Week 5 absence. Regardless of health and matchups, this is a fantasy situation to avoid. … Uzomah dominated snaps (92%) and routes run (28) over Kroft (40%, 9), who suffered a late-game foot injury and is out this week. Uzomah is a matchup-based streamer against the Steelers, who were gutted by Travis Kelce in Week 2 (7/109/2), Bucs TEs in Week 3 (9/106/1), Ravens TEs (10/99/0) in Week 4, and Austin Hooper (9/77/0) last week.

1pm ET road games have long been Ben Roethlisberger’s kryptonite; his last five yardage/TD/INT stat lines in such affairs are 335/1/3 - 236/2/1 - 216/1/1 - 235/1/0 - 263/2/1. Although this game’s setting increases Roethlisberger’s volatility, the matchup itself is far from daunting against a Bengals defense that has yielded top-12 fantasy results to 4-of-5 quarterbacks faced. Since last year’s Week 9 bye, Big Ben has a 34:12 TD-to-INT ratio and 332.5-yard average over 13 games. … Even with Vontaze Burfict back from suspension, the Bengals have continued to struggle in run defense by yielding a 107/502/2 (4.69 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. Cincinnati has also given up the league’s seventh-most catches (34) and eighth-most receiving yards (287) to James Conner’s position, convenient since Conner ranks top ten among NFL backs in catches (22) and top five in receiving yards (239). Even when Le’Veon Bell ends his holdout, Conner has more than earned a committee role. Cognizant of Ben’s away-game struggles, the Steelers have tended to lean more on their running game outside of Heinz Field. Bell averaged 2.1 more carries per game on the road in 2016, and 1.1 more road-game carries last year.

Roethlisberger’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Antonio Brown 66; JuJu Smith-Schuster 53; Conner 28; Vance McDonald 17; Ryan Switzer and Jesse James 14; James Washington 13. … The Bengals have done a better job than most teams of containing Brown, holding him to stat lines of 8/101/1 - 4/65/1 - 3/58/0 - 4/39/0 - 7/119/0 in their last five meetings. This year’s Cincinnati secondary isn’t as stout, yielding the NFL’s sixth-most catches (73) and ninth-most yards (882) to wide receivers. Brown leads the league in targets and end-zone targets (11) and is fourth in Air Yards (670). … Smith-Schuster has scored a touchdown and/or cleared 100 yards in eight of his last nine games. It is perhaps notable the Bengals held him in check twice last year (2/39/1, 4/17/0). JuJu continues to log WR1-caliber usage, ranking top ten in the league in targets and No. 2 in red-zone targets (15). … The Steelers went heavy on two-tight end sets last week, so Washington played his fewest snaps in a month (57%). Washington’s target totals in Weeks 2-5 were 5 - 2 - 4 – 0, too low for fantasy utility. … Switzer’s targets in the same timespan were 2 - 3 - 7 - 1. He played two snaps last week. … McDonald ran a season-low 20 routes as the Steelers built a comfortable lead and leaned on their run game in last week’s 41-17 rout. Brown was the lone Steeler to top four targets in the game. James ran 16 pass patterns and drew a 38-yard pass-interference flag, finishing with 20 scoreless yards. McDonald’s timeshare usage will hurt his reliability, but he is still a top-12 tight end play at fantasy’s thinnest position.

Score Prediction: Bengals 24, Steelers 23

 

 

LA Chargers @ Cleveland
Team Totals: Chargers 22.5, Browns 22.5

Amid Hue Jackson’s continued sabotage attempts, the Browns improved to 2-2-1 in last week’s overtime upset win and now host a Chargers team traveling cross country for a 1pm ET start. Baker Mayfield rebounded resiliently from last week’s first-pass pick to drop 342 yards at 8.0 yards per attempt with 23 rushing yards on Baltimore’s shutdown defense. In his first two starts, Mayfield’s fantasy finishes are QB20 (Raiders) and QB15 (Ravens) with room for growth as Mayfield's rapport improves with his young receivers after being mind-numbingly prevented from taking first-team practice reps all summer. Quarterbacks to face the Bolts are Patrick Mahomes (QB4) > Josh Allen (QB26) > Jared Goff (QB6) > C.J. Beathard (QB17) > Derek Carr (QB23). In a pro-Browns environment, this is a plus draw for Mayfield as a two-quarterback-league start. Mayfield has a real chance to be worth streaming soon with a cakewalk Weeks 7-10 schedule (@ TB, @ PIT, vs. KC, vs. ATL). … Even as Carlos Hyde logged 19 Week 5 touches, his season-low in snaps (35%) was concerning as Duke Johnson played 51% of the downs but touched the ball just six times, and Nick Chubb handled a year-high 14% of the snaps but only three touches. The Browns’ backfield is still heading for unreliability with all three deserving usage but a coaching staff lacking creativity. On weekly touch counts of 23 > 17 > 25 > 22 > 19, Hyde is Cleveland’s lone playable back against a Bolts defense that has permitted 67/288/2 (4.30 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s sixth-most receiving yards (299) to running backs. ... Despite leading all NFL backs in yards per touch (6.01) over the 2015-2017 seasons, Johnson has failed to top six touches in any 2018 game. ... Chubb hasn’t exceeded three carries yet and dropped his lone Week 5 target.

Mayfield’s 2018 target distribution: Jarvis Landry 29; David Njoku 20; Antonio Callaway 19; Rashard Higgins 12; Duke Johnson 9; Hyde and Derrick Willies 5; Darren Fells 3. … Slot receivers to face the Bolts included Jordy Nelson (4/43/1) - Seth Roberts (4/41/0) - Cooper Kupp (4/71/1) in the last three weeks, while PFF has charged Chargers slot CB Desmond King with 17-of-19 targets allowed (90%) for 145 yards and a touchdown. Slot man Landry is entrenched as Mayfield’s go-to guy. . … Njoku has left yards on the field with at least one drop in 4-of-5 games. He still ranks top seven among NFL tight ends in targets (34) and Air Yards (278). After pacing Cleveland in Week 4 catches (5), Njoku led the team in Week 5 targets (11). Njoku’s Week 6 matchup is his biggest obstacle against a Derwin James-keyed Chargers defense that has stymied Travis Kelce (1/6/0), Jared Cook (4/20/0), and Charles Clay (2/29/0). Njoku remains a compelling if low-end TE1 with 157 yards on 20 Mayfield targets (7.85 YPA) after Njoku managed 33 yards on 12 Tyrod Taylor throws (2.75 YPA). … Callaway played 69% of the Browns’ Week 5 offensive snaps after Hue Jackson threatened to cut the rookie’s playing time for drops. Callaway’s targets (5) and Air Yards (55) did take hits, but the Browns need him in a full-time role after No. 3 WR Rashard Higgins sprained his MCL and No. 4 WR Derrick Willies fractured his collarbone in practice. A Santonio Holmes clone, Callaway is squarely in play as a WR4 and DFS sleeper.

All-but perfect in last week’s 26-10 demolition of the Raiders, Philip Rivers enters Week 6 with a sterling 17:2 TD-to-INT ratio over his last seven games and multiple touchdowns in six straight. Rivers would have had three scores instead of two had Melvin Gordon not tripped over his own lineman’s foot at the 10-yard line on a would-be 44-yard receiving TD. Rivers’ matchup is still no pushover; stocked with up-front talent from the Sashi Brown era, the Browns’ defense has held 4-of-5 quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB15 or worse while limiting opponents to bottom-ten clips in completion rate (58.6%), yards per attempt (6.34), and passer rating (74.2). Working in Rivers’ favor is Browns DC Gregg Williams’ league-high blitz rate combined with Rivers’ league-best QB rating when pressured (110.1). On the road facing a low-key ferocious defense, I’m still downgrading Rivers’ outlook. … The Browns pose a non-scary run-defense matchup after yielding a 129/537/4 (4.16 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. A model of consistency, Gordon has cleared 100 total yards and/or scored a touchdown in ten straight games. With four or more receptions in 5-of-6 weeks, Gordon is a matchup-proof RB1. … Austin Ekeler was quiet in Week 5 beyond turning a flat-route catch into a 44-yard TD after Rivers bobbled a snap against the Raiders, then dumped down to his 4.43 speed back. Ekeler’s weekly touch counts are 10 > 14 > 7 > 10 > 7. He remains a low-volume flex option with big-play potential.

Rivers’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Keenan Allen 45; Gordon 38; Mike Williams 22; Tyrell Williams 19; Ekeler 17; Antonio Gates 16; Virgil Green 9; Travis Benjamin 6. … Beginning with most recent, Allen’s last four road-game receiving lines are 3/44/0 - 6/67/0 - 5/63/0 - 5/54/0. His matchup remains favorable against a Browns defense that has permitted at- or above-expectation production to fellow interior WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster (5/119/0), Willie Snead (5/55/0), and Jordy Nelson (5/48/1). … Mike continues to lead the Bolts in Air Yards (378), but he has seen fewer than five targets in three of the last four games and is essentially being used as a low-volume deep threat. A boom-bust WR3/4, Mike is also the likeliest Charger to draw shadow coverage from red-hot Browns rookie CB Denzel Ward, who shut down John Brown for 58 scoreless yards on 14 targets last week. … Tyrell’s weekly target counts are 5 - 3 - 3 - 5 - 3, rendering him a low-floor WR4/flex option who needs splash plays to make fantasy noise. Tyrell has drawn just one red-zone target, and none since Week 1. … Gates’ usage has not risen since signing just before the season. He is averaging 14 routes run per game over the last month, playing 35% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps. Regardless of matchups, Gates is purely a touchdown-or-bust streamer play.

Score Prediction: Browns 24, Chargers 20

Seattle vs. Oakland
Team Totals: Seahawks 25.5, Raiders 22.5

Seahawks-Raiders will take place in London, where Wembley Stadium earned an early reputation for hosting low-scoring games over weather and field-condition concerns. 12 of the last 18 (67%) London games produced 47-plus points, however, including numerous barn-burning shootouts. The venue isn’t nearly as much of a concern as Derek Carr’s up-and-down play. Pressing in first-year coach Jon Gruden’s offense, Carr leads the NFL in interceptions (8) and has finished as a top-16 fantasy passer in just 1-of-5 starts, while four straight quarterbacks to face Seattle finished QB18 or worse. Although Gruden’s offense has sporadically teased, ultimately the Raiders have failed to top 21 points in nine of their last ten games. … Marshawn Lynch is this week’s squeaky wheel after Gruden called a pass play at the one-yard line in last week’s loss. Carr got picked off, reminiscent of Russell Wilson’s infamous Super Bowl goal-line interception. Despite establishing himself as Oakland’s best offensive player in September, Lynch tallied a season-low 11 touches against the Chargers. In this "revenge" game, Lynch deserves to be heavily fed against a Seattle defense that coughed up touches/yards/TD counts of 26/113/3 (Todd Gurley), 25/112/1 (David Johnson), and 19/138/0 (Ezekiel Elliott) in its last three games. Only the Cardinals (25) have given up more runs of ten-plus yards than Seattle (20).

 

 

Carr’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Jared Cook 41; Amari Cooper 31; Jalen Richard 29; Jordy Nelson 28; Martavis Bryant 19; Lynch and Seth Roberts 15. … Seattle has given up minimal tight end production because the best one they’ve faced is Trey Burton. Missing difference makers at linebacker (K.J. Wright) and safety (Earl Thomas), Pete Carroll’s defense presents an unimposing matchup for Cook, whose Week 5 dud was caused by Oakland’s general ineptitude, managing ten points and running their lowest play count of the season (53). … Cooper continued his boom-bust trend against Casey Hayward, following up his Week 4 explosion with a Week 5 dud. Cooper has now finished below 50 yards in 12 of his last 18 games (67%). Nothing about Cooper’s Week 6 matchup is particularly worrisome, but high highs and low lows have become his norm. … Nelson is the Raiders’ lone bankable passing-game presence with a touchdown in three straight weeks. His five red-zone targets rank second on the team behind Cook (11). As Nelson ranks 76th in the NFL in Air Yards (234), however, he is likely to remain more of a touchdown-dependent WR3/flex than the yardage monster Jordy flashed in Week 3, when he exploited numerous Dolphins coverage busts for big plays. … A week after committing two drops, Bryant lost a midfield fumble against the Chargers and wound up running a season-low 10 routes. He has no business being rostered in 12-team leagues.

Russell Wilson escaped last week’s loss to the Rams with passable fantasy production because he threw three touchdowns, but he completed only 13 throws in a decidedly run-heavy attack, and Wilson himself didn’t scramble once. 22nd among quarterbacks in rushing attempts (11) and 20th in rushing yards (42), the loss of Wilson’s dual-threat value is sinking his floor and ceiling. Beat writers have stated Wilson scaled back running due to a hamstring injury. Seattle has a Week 7 bye forthcoming. Until then, Wilson will have to make do with his passing prowess. Oakland gave up top-12 fantasy results to Ryan Tannehill (QB7) and Philip Rivers (QB11) in two of the last three weeks, and in between Baker Mayfield threw for 295 yards and multiple TDs in The Black Hole. The Raiders are highly vulnerable to deep balls, conceding the NFL’s third-most 20-plus-yard completions (23) and a league-high six pass plays of 40-plus yards. Wilson ranked top ten in the NFL in passer rating on 20-plus-yard attempts in each of the last three years and is No. 12 this season. … Chris Carson returned from his hip injury as Seattle’s slight backfield leader, tallying 20 touches on 58% of the snaps to Mike Davis’ 14 touches on a 42% playing-time clip against the Rams. With their quarterback hobbled and run-game devotee Brian Schottenheimer calling plays, it’s safe to expect another ground-heavy Week 6 game plan. So slow on defense they’re painful to watch, the Raiders have been rinsed for a 109/551/5 (5.06 YPC) rushing line by enemy running backs and gave up passing-game chunk gains of 44 and 34 yards to Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon last week. Carson is again a worthy RB2 play. Davis is an underrated RB2/flex. Rashaad Penny is a special teamer.

Wilson’s Weeks 4-5 target distribution: Tyler Lockett 11; Doug Baldwin 8; Davis, Nick Vannett, and David Moore 6; Brandon Marshall 4; Carson 1. … Oakland’s inability to rush the passer and resulting inability to stop long balls bodes well for Lockett, who leads Seattle in Air Yards (370) by more than 100. He ripped off three 40-plus-yard catches in the first five games, not including last week’s 39-yard TD where Lockett badly burned Rams top CB Marcus Peters. Lockett also ran more slot routes (11) than Baldwin (9) last week. Oakland’s slot coverage has been dusted by Emmanuel Sanders (4/96/0), Keenan Allen (8/90/0), Albert Wilson (2/74/1), Cooper Kupp (5/59/1), and Jarvis Landry (4/34/1). … Baldwin was the odd man out in Week 5’s run-heavy affair, drawing one target among Wilson’s season-low 21 attempts. Although reduced passing volume is a real concern, Baldwin is likelier than not to bounce back against Oakland’s putrid secondary, where 2017 first-round CB Gareon Conley got benched last week after allowing a 48-yard catch to Tyrell Williams. Conley got burned for a 59-yarder by Antonio Callaway the week before. … Moore has emerged as Seattle’s primary outside receiver, last week out-snapping Marshall 52% to 12% and scoring twice on four targets. Brown played just 15% of the downs and has yet to top three targets in a 2018 game. Moore remains unlikely to see heavy target volume as a big-play-dependent WR4/flex.

Score Prediction: Seahawks 27, Raiders 23

Chicago @ Miami
Team Totals: Bears 23, Dolphins 19

Following back-to-back demoralizing road losses to New England and Cincinnati, the once-undefeated Dolphins return home to face arguably the NFL’s best defense fresh off its bye. Miami’s Week 5 collapse began soon after LT Laremy Tunsil's third-quarter concussion; fill-in LT Sam Young and RT Ja'Wuan James both got beaten like a drum as the Bengals scored two defensive TDs. Tunsil has been cleared for Week 6, but Miami still misses LG Josh Sitton (shoulder, I.R.) and C Daniel Kilgore (triceps, I.R.). Ryan Tannehill’s outlook is worrisome; Chicago leads the NFL in sacks per game (4.5), ranks No. 2 in QB hit rate (20%), and has forced at least two turnovers in 4-of-4 games. Bears DC Vic Fangio’s unit has earned the rare distinction of being an every-week D/ST fantasy starter. Added to Friday's injury report as questionable, Tannehill (shoulder) is a low-end two-quarterback-league play. … The Dolphins have settled on Frank Gore as their primary between-the-tackles grinder with Kenyan Drake as the space back, the role for which Drake was initially ticketed coming out of Alabama. Gore out-carried Drake 23 to 9 over the last two weeks, while Drake set season highs in routes run (29), targets (11), and receiving production (7/69/1) against Cincinnati. Unfortunately, neither Dolphins runner is a desirable fantasy option against the Bears, who have limited enemy backs to a combined 70/205/0 (2.93 YPC) rushing line and a league-low 89 receiving yards.

Tannehill’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Drake 25; Kenny Stills 24; Albert Wilson 23; Danny Amendola 20; Jakeem Grant 17; Mike Gesicki 12; Gore 4; DeVante Parker 3. … Drake’s passing-game spike further diminishes the usability of Dolphins wideouts and tight ends, who already lack reliability in a low-volume passing offense where no individual is force fed. … Stills has drawn measly weekly target counts of 5 > 3 > 5 > 6 > 5 with 40 yards or fewer in 3-of-5 games. He’s a splash-play-dependent producer facing a Bears defense that has yielded the NFL’s fourth-fewest completions of 20-plus yards (12). … Amendola doesn’t have a 50-yard game or a touchdown on his 2018 resume. … Wilson has cleared 50 yards in 1-of-5 games. … Gesicki saw a year-high five targets in last week’s loss, only to finish scoreless and below 35 yards for the fifth straight game. The Bears have so far faced fellow TEs Will Dissly (3/42/1), Ricky Seals-Jones (1/35/1), Cameron Brate (3/29/1), Jimmy Graham (2/8/0), and O.J. Howard (0/0). … Grant’s big-play ability is unquestioned, but his usage is inconsistent at best. He has cleared 40 yards in 1-of-5 games and went catch-less on one target last week. If Parker returns from his quad injury this week, Grant and Wilson’s snaps would take the biggest hits. None are roster worthy in season-long leagues.

Back from Chicago’s bye following his DFS-milly-winning Bucs destruction, Mitchell Trubisky visits Miami for just his fifth start in rookie coach Matt Nagy’s system. Nagy’s Week 4 game plan specifically exploited Tampa’s inability to defend wheel-route concepts in stone-aged DC Mike Smith’s vanilla zone. Trubisky began the season locked onto Allen Robinson as a one-read passer, but he grew more comfortable in his progressions and involved additional weapons as September flew by. It’s still important to note Trubisky has finished better than the fantasy QB18 in just 1-of-4 starts, and the Bucs’ pass defense is certifiably the NFL’s worst. Miami has yielded fantasy results of QB29 (Marcus Mariota/Blaine Gabbert), QB23 (Sam Darnold), QB18 (Derek Carr), QB15 (Tom Brady), and QB24 (Andy Dalton). Trubisky is not yet trustworthy beyond two-quarterback leagues. … Just as notable from Chicago’s pre-bye victory was Tarik Cohen’s usage explosion, logging season highs in snaps (48%), touches (20), and total yards (174) as a focus of Nagy’s wheel-route emphasis. Jordan Howard’s weekly snaps (71% > 73% > 62% > 54%) and routes run (24 > 25 > 15 > 14) have taken concerning dips as a one-dimensional grinder in Nagy's multiple attack. This matchup favors Cohen over Howard against a Miami defense that has stoutly limited enemy backs to a 130/509/4 (3.91 YPC) rushing line but yielded the league’s seventh-most receiving yards to the position (294). Nagy would be smart to match Cohen against Dolphins coverage-liability WLB Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky’s 2018 target distribution: Allen Robinson 32; Taylor Gabriel 29; Trey Burton 19; Cohen 16; Howard 12; Anthony Miller 11. … The Bengals kept A.J. Green away from Dolphins top CB Xavien Howard last week by moving Green into the slot for a season-high 45% of his routes. It’s a tactic Nagy could conceivably copy with Robinson, who already aligns inside 35% of the time. Robinson has a commanding team lead in Air Yards (384) and five red-zone targets, tied with Gabriel for most on the Bears. Robinson is a solid-if-unspectacular WR3 play. … Despite his diminutive stature, Gabriel leads the Bears in targets inside the ten-yard line (4) and drew 227 Air Yards in Weeks 3-4 to Robinson’s 161. Gabriel’s slot-route rate (36%) is also a tick higher than Robinson’s. With seven or more targets in three straight games, Gabriel is arguably just as strong if not a better WR3/flex bet than Robinson. … Burton’s weekly pre-bye target counts were 6 - 4 - 5 - 4, and his 175 Air Yards ranked 12th among tight ends in Weeks 1-4. Burton is a fringe TE1 play against the Dolphins’ zone coverage. Miami has allowed the NFL’s 13th-most yards to tight ends (269).

Score Prediction: Bears 17, Dolphins 16

 

 

Arizona @ Minnesota
Team Totals: Vikings 26.5, Cardinals 16.5

White hot with an 11:2 TD-to-INT ratio and 295-plus yards in four straight games, Kirk Cousins heads back to Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium dome after a two-game road trip having made more highlight-reel tight-window throws than any NFL quarterback. Bereft of a running game, Cousins has dropped back to pass on a league-high 75% of snaps while compensating for one of pro football’s leakiest offensive lines with the NFL’s No. 2 QB rating under pressure, destroying defenses on play action, and elevating teammates Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who are both on pace for career-best years. 49ers backup C.J. Beathard picked apart Arizona’s defense for Week 5’s QB5 fantasy finish in Kyle Shanahan’s ball-out-quick game plan. Vikings OC John DeFilippo must carbon copy Shanahan's approach, especially without LT Riley Reiff (foot) against a Cardinals pass rush that ranks top ten in sacks (14) and QB hit rate (16.8%). … Dalvin Cook’s (hamstring) "limited" Friday practice after a "full" Thursday session suggests he'll play short of 100%, concerning since the last time this happened Cook was a second-half ghost in the Vikings' Week 4 loss to the Rams. The good news is Arizona has yielded a league-high 25 run plays of ten-plus yards and faced 156 rushing attempts, most in the NFL by a 26-carry margin. Only the Chiefs and Falcons have allowed more receiving yards to backs (339). Enemy RBs have combined to score a whopping nine TDs in only five games against Arizona. The bad news is Cook is headed for tandem usage with Latavius Murray as a risky RB2/flex. Beat writer Ben Goessling reported Saturday that Cook will have a "pitch count" of 20-25 snaps.

Cousins’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Adam Thielen 66; Stefon Diggs 55; Kyle Rudolph 27; Laquon Treadwell 25; Dalvin Cook 12; Latavius Murray and C.J. Ham 11; Aldrick Robinson 4. … The first player in NFL history to top 100 receiving yards in five straight games to open a season, Thielen now draws an Arizona defense that got eaten up underneath by 49ers slot WR Trent Taylor (7/61/1) last week. Thielen is tied with Antonio Brown for the league lead in targets and is five yards shy of DeAndre Hopkins (594) for first place in receiving yards. The Cardinals’ lone team strength is pass rush, and Thielen continues to dominate Cousins’ under-pressure targets. … Diggs projects to run the Vikings’ most Week 6 routes at Patrick Peterson, although Diggs kicks inside to the slot on 23% of his plays, and his quick-twitch game is tough for even the league’s best corners to handle. Diggs remains a locked-in WR2 with WR1 upside. Dating back to last season and including the playoffs, Diggs has 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in nine of his last ten games. … George Kittle (5/83/0), Trey Burton (4/55/0), and Jordan Reed (4/48/1) have all produced at or above expectation against Arizona’s zone coverage. Albeit rarely a high-upside play, Rudolph has caught five or more passes in four straight games and is a respectable, if low-end TE1.

Revived in Josh Rosen’s two starts with 25 and 20 touches, David Johnson draws his toughest to-date matchup at Minnesota, which is one of just three remaining teams yet to allow a rushing score to a running back. No team has given up fewer run plays of 15-plus yards than the Vikings (1). Mike Zimmer’s defense has also permitted the league’s fourth-fewest catches to backs (18). Johnson did log a season-high 94% playing-time clip in last week’s win over San Francisco, but he is purely a volume-based RB2. The Cardinals appear likely to be without LG Mike Iupati (shoulder) and RT Andre Smith (hamstring). Coming off their first 2018 win, this is a letdown spot for Arizona at 1pm ET on the road. … Although takeaways from Rosen’s Weeks 4-5 starts were mainly positive, he managed QB23 and QB27 fantasy finishes and is not playable outside of two-quarterback leagues. Last week's start was less aesthetically pleasing than Rosen's debut, struggling with accuracy in a game won by the Cardinals' defense. … Rosen hit Christian Kirk for a first-pass 75-yard play-action touchdown bomb last week, but otherwise Arizona’s passing game was nonexistent. Cardinals pass catchers need their quarterback to break 200 yards to become fantasy viable. … Larry Fitzgerald is scoreless on the year and hasn’t reached 40 yards in a month, battling a hamstring injury that may be more severe than he or the team has let on. The Cards signed career slot WR Kendall Wright on Monday in a potential show of concern. Fitz plays 80% of his snaps in the slot. … Chad Williams hasn’t reached 25 yards in a game yet. … Ricky Seals-Jones is coming off a catch-less game despite drawing six targets and 110 Air Yards, third most among all tight ends in Week 5. Based on opportunity and matchup, RSJ is worth dart-throw discussion against a Vikings defense that's been hammered by Zach Ertz (10/110/1), Jimmy Graham (6/95/0), George  Kittle (5/90/0), and Buffalo's TE corps (3/44/1), and will be without FS Andrew Sendejo (groin).

Score Prediction: Vikings 24, Cardinals 13

Indianapolis @ NY Jets
Team Totals: Jets 24, Colts 21

Fresh off throttling Denver in a deep-ball-filled, run-dominant affair, the Jets’ offense catches a downward-trending Colts defense that surrendered 37 (Texans) and 38 (Patriots) points in the last two weeks. Week 5 star Isaiah Crowell can stay hot after Indianapolis coughed up a generous 69/320/3 (4.64 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs in its last three games. Although Crowell’s fantasy bottom line has been wildly inconsistent – he is also a boom-bust runner on the field – his RB2-caliber usage has been fairly steady with 14-plus touches in three of the last four games. … Bilal Powell still out-touched Crowell 20 to 16 and out-snapped him 55% to 40% despite losing a first-drive fumble Denver parlayed into a Courtland Sutton TD. It was Powell’s first-career lost fumble on a carry. Powell has double-digit touches in 5-of-5 games and has out-targeted Crowell 15 to 8, notable since Indy has permitted the NFL’s second-most catches to running backs (39). Less touchdown reliant than Crowell, Powell is an underrated PPR flex play. Crowell (ankle) barely practiced this week and will be a game-time decision, enhancing Powell’s sleeper appeal. The Colts are missing starting DTs Denico Autry (hamstring) and Margus Hunt (knee). … 3-of-5 quarterbacks to face the Colts have logged top-15 fantasy results, including back-to-back top-five finishes by Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady. Coming off his career-best score (QB14) highlighted by three 20-plus-yard touchdowns against the Broncos, Sam Darnold is a solid two-QB-league start.

 

 

Darnold’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Quincy Enunwa 42; Robby Anderson 21; Jermaine Kearse 17; Terrelle Pryor 16; Powell 15; Crowell 8 and Eric Tomlinson 8. … Enunwa was a Week 5 catch-less disaster, dropping a third-quarter quick screen and letting a would-be long TD glance off his fingertips after beating Broncos top CB Chris Harris deep down the middle. Enunwa also ran a season-low 32% of his routes in the slot, where Kearse took over with Enunwa and Anderson outside. Announcers revealed Enunwa dealt with an undisclosed hand injury, and he indeed played with a brace on his right hand. Enunwa’s 51 Air Yards weren’t far below his season average (58.8) and his Week 6 matchup is unimposing, but the injury and transitioning usage increase his risk as a WR3/flex. … Anderson entered Week 5 as a sneaky breakout candidate after setting season highs in targets and Air Yards the week before. He capitalized for a monster 3/123/2 line, taking Bradley Roby to school on out routes and go balls. The Colts deserve credit for limiting big plays in DC Matt Eberflus’ assignment-sound zone – only six teams have given up fewer 20-plus-yard catches (14) – although Indy’s secondary personnel remains weak on the perimeter, where Anderson runs 83% of his routes. As usual, Anderson is a boom-bust WR3/flex. … Kearse is scoreless and has yet to top 35 yards in four appearances. … Pryor ran two routes in Week 4 and three last week.

On pace for a league-record 784 pass attempts on a Colts team that can’t run the ball and is falling apart defensively, Andrew Luck visits The Meadowlands with consecutive top-six QB1 weeks to face a Jets defense that yielded top-14 numbers to Ryan Tannehill (QB14), Blake Bortles (QB10), and Case Keenum (QB8) in three of its last four games. Gang Green is missing top CB Trumaine Johnson (quad) and slot CB Buster Skrine (concussion), while Indy gets back LT Anthony Castonzo (hamstring). The man-coverage Jets have served up the league’s sixth-most quarterback rushing yards (97). Producing even without T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) and Jack Doyle (hip), Luck has reentered the every-week QB1 mix as the NFL’s highest-volume passer. … The Colts got a needed long week after a Thursday night game where they had more inactive players than spots on their pre-game inactives list. Marlon Mack is due back from a hamstring pull he originally suffered in Indianapolis’ August 9 preseason opener. Mack played in Week 2, but managed 11 ineffective touches on 30% of the snaps and suffered a setback. Until Mack shows sustained ability to stay on the field, he will remain bench fodder. His return does remove Jordan Wilkins from flex contention. … Nyheim Hines is the Colts’ lone usable fantasy back after logging a season-high 22 touches on 68% of the snaps in last week’s loss to New England. The Jets are most vulnerable to enemy backs in the passing game, where they’ve permitted the NFL’s seventh-most catches (34) and 12th-most receiving yards (260) to Hines’ position. Hines ranks top five among running backs in receptions (29) and is a legit RB2 in PPR leagues.

Luck’s Week 5 target distribution: Eric Ebron 15; Chester Rogers 11; Hines and Ryan Grant 9; Zach Pascal 7; Erik Swoope 3; Wilkins and Marcus Johnson 2. … A volume hog sans Doyle, Ebron has capitalized for a team-high 36 targets in three games and leads all tight ends in end-zone targets (11) and touchdowns (5). Ebron missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with various leg ailments, although he returned Friday and beat writers expect Ebron to play. On the off chance he can't, ex-basketball player Swoope would become an upside streamer after logging 3/44/1 receiving on only 11 pass routes last week in Foxboro. Swoope nearly had a second score but was ruled down at the one. … Slot man Rogers draws Indy’s top pass-catcher matchup against a Jets secondary missing Skrine after allowing at- or above-expectation stat lines to fellow slot WRs Dede Westbrook (9/130/0), Jarvis Landry (8/103/0), Golden Tate (7/79/1), Emmanuel Sanders (9/72/0), and Danny Amendola/Albert Wilson (7/69/1). Although Rogers is not a big-play or touchdown threat, his back-to-back eight-catch games are hard to ignore as an underrated PPR option with Doyle, Hilton, and perhaps even Ebron on the shelf. … Grant gets a tougher matchup on the outside, but he is similar to Rogers as a high-volume possession receiver with 7 and 9 targets in the last two games, good for 5/64/0 and 6/58/0 box-score results. … The Colts’ makeshift three-wideout set is rounded out by Pascal, who was a Week 5 disaster with one catch for 12 yards and a drop on seven targets. It’s fair to wonder if Pascal could lose playing time to Johnson, who caught both of his Week 5 targets for 17- and 9-yard gains on 42% of the snaps.

Score Prediction: Jets 23, Colts 21

Carolina @ Washington
Team Totals: Panthers 22.5, Redskins 22.5

The Redskins return home after an embarrassing Monday nighter in New Orleans where Alex Smith was so dreadfully inaccurate and indecisive that he put his own pass catchers in harm’s way. Setting recency bias aside, this is a sneaky bounce-back spot against an overrated Carolina defense that has yielded three straight top-15 fantasy quarterback results and last week ended the Giants’ infamous 36-game streak of failing to score 30 points. The Panthers’ defensive downfall has been their inability to rush the passer, ranking 28th in QB hit rate (12.1%) with nine sacks in four games. … Even on a short week, Adrian Peterson will apparently play despite claiming to have dislocated his shoulder on Monday night, as well as sustaining ankle and knee injuries. Chris Thompson left the same game with knee and rib injuries after a goal-line hospital ball from Smith sent him to the shelf. Kapri Bibbs is third in line for backfield work. The health of Washington’s backfield members is a much greater concern than their matchup, where Carolina has coughed up an efficient 68/336/2 (4.94 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. Thompson has led the Skins in targets in 3-of-4 games. Peterson has been entirely boom or bust in every game.

Smith’s 2018 target distribution: Thompson 31; Jordan Reed 22; Jamison Crowder 20; Paul Richardson 19; Josh Doctson 13; Peterson 9; Maurice Harris 8; Vernon Davis 7. … Reed’s Week 5 routes run (28) and snaps (64%) were robust at the Superdome, but Smith’s nightmare game left the Skins without a single pass catcher clearing 60 yards. Before the team’s Week 4 bye, Reed scored a touchdown and/or cleared 50 yards in 3-of-3 games. In the Panthers’ last three games, teams targeting tight ends against them completed 17-of-21 passes (81%) for 195 yards (9.3 YPA) and two touchdowns. His ownership certain to be lowered by recency bias, Reed is one of Week 6's premier DFS-tournament plays with target competitors Thompson, Crowder, Richardson, and Doctson all banged up. … Slot WRs Tyler Boyd (6/132/1), Sterling Shepard (4/75/0), and Cole Beasley (7/73/0) have all produced at or above expectation versus the Panthers, giving Crowder an unimposing draw after he saw a year-high eight targets against the Saints and led Washington in receiving. Crowder and Thompson are tied for the team lead in red-zone targets (4). … Harris has a chance to stand in as the Skins’ main outside receiver with Richardson (knee, shoulder) and Doctson (heel) nursing injury. Harris tied Crowder and Thompson for the team lead in Week 5 targets (8) and led Washington in Air Yards (110), just ahead of Crowder (102).

This is an eruption spot for Christian McCaffrey against a Skins defense that has served up a 74/327/4 (4.42 YPC) rushing line and 6.8 receptions per game to enemy backs. McCaffrey continued to dominate Carolina’s workshare in last week’s shootout win over the Giants with 22 touches on 97% of the snaps. The breakout sophomore has five or more catches in 3-of-4 games and has topped 20 touches in three straight. … Much like Week 6 counterpart Smith, Cam Newton turned in his season-worst passing performance coming off Carolina’s Week 4 bye, throwing two second-half interceptions that directly allowed the Giants to stay in the game. Newton still rushed eight more times and is now on pace for 144 carries; his career high is 139. Consistently a high-floor, high-ceiling producer, Cam has yet to finish below the QB16 in weekly fantasy scoring with top-seven results in 2-of-4 starts. Washington’s pass defense was pasted by Drew Brees so badly in Week 5 that top corner Josh Norman got benched. Featuring two teams in rebound position coming off disappointing games, Panthers-Redskins offers underrated high-scoring potential. Greg Olsen’s (foot) return can only help Carolina’s offensive cause.

Newton’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: McCaffrey 32; Devin Funchess 28; Jarius Wright 19; Ian Thomas and Torrey Smith 16; D.J. Moore 8; Curtis Samuel 4; C.J. Anderson 3; Olsen 2. … Olsen struggled initially in his 2017 return from the same Jones fracture he is coming back from now, catching one pass for ten yards on 34% of the snaps in his first game, missing the next week, going catch-less in the ensuing game, then exploding for 9/116/1 to cap off the month. Regardless of matchups, Olsen should be viewed as an extremely dicey Week 6 fantasy play until he puts tangible production on the stat sheet. … In order, Funchess’ receiving lines in Olsen’s first month back last season (Weeks 12-15) were 7/108/0 > 4/60/1 > 3/59/1 > 1/19/0. Funchess should still be teed up with relative confidence as a WR2/3 at Washington, although his usage is likely to take a hit once Olsen gets up to full speed. … With McCaffrey, Funchess, and Olsen restored atop the passing-game pecking order, complementary weapons Wright, Smith, Thomas, Moore, and Samuel all project to take backseats. Moore did set season highs in yards from scrimmage (67) and routes run (16) in last week’s win, while Samuel ripped off a tackle-breaking catch-and-run touchdown from 25 yards out. Unfortunately, both are role players with unreliable volume.

Score Prediction: Panthers 27, Redskins 24

Buffalo @ Houston
Team Totals: Texans 25.5, Bills 15.5

On a two-game win streak after their 0-3 start, the Texans play host to a Bills team that held Kirk Cousins (QB23), Aaron Rodgers (QB19), and Marcus Mariota (QB30) to well-below-expectation fantasy results in Weeks 3-5. Buffalo has yielded the NFL’s ninth-most quarterback rushing yards (89), however, and Deshaun Watson has been a top-ten QB1 in four straight weeks while leading all quarterbacks in rushing (201). With all his weapons set to play after Will Fuller and Keke Coutee battled early-season hamstring injuries, Watson is locked in as an every-week starter despite this non-ideal matchup. … While Lamar Miller (chest) sat out Week 5, Alfred Blue took over as the Texans’ workhorse with 28 touches on 99% of the snaps, struggling on the ground (20/46/0) but totaling 119 yards and making nifty open-field weaves on eight receptions. Although Miller is due back against Buffalo, this backfield is in imminent danger of becoming a near-even committee, if not leaning toward Blue due to Miller’s sustained ineffectiveness. Miller and Blue will be shaky flex options until a clear usage picture materializes. Due back from the PUP list in Week 7, D’Onta Foreman’s return will further muddy the Texans’ going-forward backfield.

Watson’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 57; Will Fuller 28; Keke Coutee 22; Ryan Griffin 20; Blue 12; Miller and Jordan Akins 10; Jordan Thomas 8. … Hopkins figures to draw shadow treatment from Tre’Davious White, who checked Corey Davis (4/49/0) last week and has allowed just 118 scoreless yards on 18 targets (6.6 YPA) this season. White sprained his ankle in Wednesday’s practice, however, and Watson’s willingness to pull the trigger on tight-window throws keeps Hopkins in the elite WR1 tier. Hopkins has secured 11 of his 39 receptions on slot routes, where White travels only 2% of the time. … Fuller operated as a decoy in last Sunday night’s win over Dallas, drawing only three targets but promisingly playing 96% of the Texans’ snaps. Although Fuller will remain a low-floor play until he shows he’s fully over the hamstring injury that has plagued him since preseason, his ceiling is impossible to ignore in a game where White could conceivably slow down Hopkins, and the rest of Buffalo’s secondary has been hit hard by injuries and retirements. … Coutee played 71% of Houston’s Week 5 snaps and ran a route on 42 of Watson’s 45 dropbacks, solidifying a near-full-time role. Zero of Coutee’s 22 targets have come on throws attempted 20-plus yards downfield, but his manufactured-touch usage is valuable in PPR. Coutee’s first-career TD came on a goal-line pop pass. … Griffin failed to top five targets in Weeks 1-4, then arose for nine against the Cowboys. Griffin’s volume figures to dwindle as Fuller regains his featured passing-game role.

The Bills finally stayed competitive enough for LeSean McCoy to pile up volume in last week’s upset of Tennessee, parlaying 26 touches into 108 yards and showing he has gas left on repeated chunk-yardage runs. McCoy’s Week 6 matchup is much tougher at Houston, which has limited enemy backs to 119/410/1 (3.44 YPC) rushing and shut down Ezekiel Elliott (20/54/0) last week. McCoy remains a risky RB2/flex option in Buffalo’s dysfunctional offense. … Although Houston’s pass-rush metrics are league average, their D/ST is highly advised against Josh Allen, who's committed six turnovers in 18 quarters behind an offensive line that has allowed the NFL’s highest sack rate (13.5%) and second-highest QB hit rate (21.5%). Many of Buffalo's offensive woes can still be pinned on Allen; NFL Films guru Greg Cosell described the struggling No. 7 overall pick as a "lost player" after watching last week's tape. The Bills have scored 13 points or fewer in 3-of-5 games. … As Allen has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in three straight starts and is completing an anemic 53.3% of his throws, it should come as no surprise that all of Buffalo’s pass catchers lack fantasy relevance. The Bills tried a flea flicker to Kelvin Benjamin in last week’s win, but Allen’s pass was wildly off the mark. Charles Clay is scoreless in 16 straight games. McCoy led the team in Week 5 receiving yards – with 23.

Score Prediction: Texans 27, Bills 10

 

 

4:05 PM ET Game

LA Rams @ Denver
Team Totals: Rams 29.5, Broncos 22.5

Embarrassed by the Jets last week, the Broncos return home with Vance Joseph and Case Keenum under heavy fire following three straight losses. As defensive-minded Joseph & Co. fancy themselves a run-first team, and their quarterback is struggling, Denver figures to recommit to its ground game against a Rams defense that has been pasted for a 98/476/3 (4.86 YPC) rushing line by enemy backs, including Chris Carson and Mike Davis’ 31/184/1 (5.94 YPC) destruction in Week 5. This would also be a means of keeping Sean McVay’s unstoppable offense off the field. Despite Joseph’s promises to increase Royce Freeman’s workload last week, Phillip Lindsay out-touched him 15 to 8, and snaps were split nearly evenly between Freeman (39%), Lindsay (38%), and Devontae Booker (29%), albeit impacted by negative game script in Denver’s 34-16 defeat. Lindsay remains the best RB2/flex option in the backfield. Freeman has single-digit touches in three of the last four games. … Even as Keenum has been plain atrocious for a month, he offers contrarian if high-risk DFS-tournament appeal in this possible shootout. The Rams served up a sterling 8:0 TD-to-INT ratio over the last three weeks, while DC Wade Phillips’ pass rush isn’t getting home with the league’s tenth-fewest sacks (10) and eighth-fewest QB hits (24). LCB Aqib Talib’s (ankle, I.R.) loss has proved catastrophic, and RCB Marcus Peters has allowed the most touchdowns in the league (5). Keenum’s floor is still basement low, and another poor performance could force Joseph to consider installing preseason star Chad Kelly.

Keenum’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Emmanuel Sanders 44; Demaryius Thomas 39; Courtland Sutton 26; Jeff Heuerman 19; Booker 17; Lindsay 12; Freeman 6. … The Rams have struggled against slot WRs Adam Thielen (8/135/1) and Tyler Lockett (3/89/1) in back-to-back games, promising for Sanders after he finally got red-zone usage in last week’s loss. Not targeted once inside the opposing 20 in the season’s first month, Sanders drew a whopping four red-zone targets against the Jets, including two inside the ten. … Demaryius still has the best Week 6 matchup in Denver’s pass-catcher corps; Rams LCB Marcus Peters and Talib fill-in RCB Sam Shields have combined to surrender eight touchdown passes in the last three weeks. Thomas finally overtook Sutton as Denver’s leader in Air Yards (392) against the Jets, sparked by a garbage-time 42-yard score. … This game’s shootout potential raises Sutton’s intrigue as a deep-league or DFS tournament dart. The rookie continues to get steady big-play and scoring-position chances. Consistent connections just haven’t materialized yet with Keenum, although Sutton did turn Bilal Powell’s first-quarter fumble into his first-career TD in last week’s defeat. … Heuerman will never be a sexy play, but he offers some Week 6 sleeper appeal. Only 12 NFL tight ends have run more routes than Heuerman over the last two weeks, and he leads Denver in both red-zone targets (5) and targets inside the ten (3). The Rams have allowed the league’s seventh-most yards to tight ends (371).

The Rams look to keep their five-game streak of topping 30 points alive at Denver, which coughed up 34 to the Jets last week after yielding 27 to the Ravens and Chiefs consecutively in Weeks 3-4. Jared Goff has strange positive-road splits since Sean McVay took over as Rams coach, managing a 19:7 TD-to-INT ratio in L.A. compared to 21:4 in away games. Denver’s defense has taken a major turn for the worse due to below-average pass rush and burnable perimeter cornerback play, ranking 20th in the NFL in QB hits (28) while allowing the NFL’s eighth-most yards per pass attempt (7.9) and sixth-most completions of 20-plus yards (22). Rams-Broncos has the third-highest total on the Week 6 slate despite snow in the forecast. Our main concern as fantasy players is always with wind, and it’s not expected to be windy in Denver on Sunday. … The Broncos’ run defense collapsed in the last two weeks, giving up a combined 56/445/2 (7.95 YPC) rushing line to Chiefs and Jets backs. Todd Gurley leads the NFL in red-zone carries – by a margin of 12 – and carries inside the five (10) and has yet to log fewer than 21 touches in a 2018 game. As Goff’s cold-weather exposure is nonexistent having played his college ball at Cal-Berkeley and pro ball with the Los Angeles Rams, this sets up as an especially busy day for Gurley in a plus matchup.

Goff’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp 41; Brandin Cooks 33; Gurley 25; Tyler Higbee 9; Gerald Everett 8. … McVay stated all week he expects Kupp and Cooks to play despite leaving last week’s game with concussions. … The Broncos are reeling on the boundaries, where RCB Bradley Roby got cooked so badly by Robby Anderson (3/123/2) last week that Roby didn’t even show up to Monday’s film session, drawing a hefty fine. On the season, PFF has charged Roby with a mouth-watering 132.9 passer rating when targeted. Bookend CBs Tramaine Brock (groin, thigh) and Adam Jones (hamstring) have battled myriad injuries. When healthy, the journeymen have both looked to be on their last legs. Cooks runs a team-high 73% of his routes outside and will draw the most of Denver’s burnable perimeter corners. Woods is next up at 67%. … Kupp’s matchup is toughest as a 74% slot receiver taking on Chris Harris, who has been his typical shutdown self with 110 scoreless yards allowed on 27 targets (4.07 YPA) this year. Kupp can perhaps be downgraded to a WR3, but the Rams’ matchup-proof offense should help swing lineup-decision ties in Kupp’s favor. Cooks and Woods are legit WR1s.

Score Prediction: Rams 24, Broncos 23

4:25 PM ET Games

Jacksonville @ Dallas
Team Totals: Jaguars 22, Cowboys 19

Stymied by the Texans in last week’s overtime loss, Ezekiel Elliott draws another tough matchup versus Jacksonville, which has limited enemy backs to 104/376/2 (3.62 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s tenth-fewest catches (23). Zeke is still an impossible season-long fade at home with touch counts of 27 > 29 > 19 > 22 in the last month. Kareem Hunt did tag Jacksonville for 94 total yards and a score in Week 5. One game after posting the second-most receiving yards of his career (88), Zeke set a career high in receptions (7) against Houston. … Dak Prescott can be written off beyond deep two-quarterback leagues with zero finishes above QB18 this year facing an elite Jags pass defense that held Patrick Mahomes to his year-worst fantasy result (QB17) last week. Jacksonville has allowed a league-low six offensive touchdowns through five games. … This isn’t a matchup to get cute with any of the Cowboys’ passing-game members.

 

 

Although Blake Bortles threw several embarrassing interceptions in last week’s loss – one was pick sixed by Chiefs DT Chris Jones, and another caromed off an offensive lineman’s helmet – Bortles wound up with top-five QB1 results on 430 passing yards via a whopping 61 attempts and 4/34/1 rushing line. Dallas poses a far tougher test, particularly with difference-maker DT David Irving finally back from suspension to supplement a nasty pass rush that ranks top six in sacks (15) and QB hits (33). The Cowboys’ D/ST is a strong streamer; the Jaguars are so thin up front they signed swinging-gate ex-Giants OT Ereck Flowers after placing LT Josh Wells (groin) on I.R. Wells had been filling in for Cam Robinson (ACL). Second in the NFL in interceptions (7) with ten sacks taken in the last three weeks, Bortles is a two-QB-league option only versus a Dallas defense that has yielded top-12 fantasy results to just 1-of-5 quarterbacks faced. … The Jaguars are so thin at running back they signed long-washed Jamaal Charles off the street. Corey Grant is out for the season (Lisfranc), and Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is out indefinitely. T.J. Yeldon piled up Weeks 4-5 touch counts of 21 and 18 and played a career-high 93% of the Jaguars’ offensive snaps at Kansas City. Still missing WLB Sean Lee (hamstring), the Cowboys have served up the NFL’s fourth-most running back receptions (37). Yeldon is a high-end RB2 based on volume and matchup.

Bortles’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Donte Moncrief 37; Keelan Cole 34; Dede Westbrook 33; Yeldon 32; James O’Shaughnessy and Niles Paul 13; D.J. Chark 10; Fournette 4. … Moncrief has pulled ahead as Jacksonville’s No. 1 receiver, leading the team in targets, Air Yards (482), red-zone targets (5), and targets inside the ten (4). High-leverage opportunity puts Moncrief in WR3 discussion each week. Moncrief’s Week 6 matchup is no cinch, however, against plus-sized Dallas perimeter CBs Byron Jones (6’1/199) and Chidobe Awuzie (6’0/202). As their offensive line has been up and down and Prescott’s passing game nonexistent, pass defense is the Cowboys' new No. 1 team strength. ... It is at least mildly concerning for the rest of Jacksonville’s pass catchers that second-round vertical specialist Chark ripped 38- and 30-yard gains in last week’s loss, perhaps earning more playing time. He’s played only 31% of the snaps to this point. … Cole has settled in as a hit-or-miss producer in an evenly-spread target distribution atop this wideout corps. Pegging Cole’s big games beforehand will likely remain difficult. … Smaller, quicker interior WRs Golden Tate (8/132/2), Tyler Lockett (4/77/1), and Keke Coutee (6/51/1) have given Dallas problems in three straight games. Westbrook best fits the bill as a 91% slot receiver. … With Austin Seferian-Jenkins (core muscle) on I.R., the Jaguars will turn to a tight end rotation of Paul and O’Shaughnessy. Not only have they drawn the exact same number of targets, Paul and O’Shaughnessy have run the exact same number of 2018 pass routes (67). O’Shaughnessy has logged slightly more playing time (35%) than Paul (29%) to date.

Score Prediction: Jaguars 21, Cowboys 17

Baltimore @ Tennessee
Team Totals: Ravens 22, Titans 19.5

Following Week 4’s tease upset of Philadelphia, Tennessee’s offense went back in the tank at Buffalo and now returns home for a worst-case-scenario draw against the Ravens, who shut down everything in sight. Baltimore has yielded just six touchdown passes in five games – four by Andy Dalton on a short-week Thursday night game in Week 2 – while holding 4-of-5 opponents to 14 points or fewer. The Ravens have generated a whopping 40 batted passes -- tips at the line are a longstanding problem for Marcus Mariota -- while Baltimore ranks No. 6 in sacks (15) and No. 9 in QB hits (32). Mariota is a back-end two-quarterback-league play. … The Ravens perennially play stout run defense, and 2018 is no different after DC Wink Martindale’s front allowed a 100/371/1 (3.71 YPC) rushing line and the NFL’s second-fewest receiving yards (108) to enemy backs in Weeks 1-5. In a likely low-scoring affair, both Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis profile as weak flex plays based on matchup and their own ceiling-capping RBBC usage. Henry remains scoreless on the season and is averaging one measly target per game. Lewis lost a back-breaking third-quarter fumble in last week’s letdown loss to the lowly Bills.

Mariota’s 2018 target distribution: Corey Davis 32; Lewis and Taywan Taylor 18; Tajae Sharpe 10; Henry and Jonnu Smith 5. … All but blanked in last week’s meeting with Tre’Davious White, Davis now faces a Jimmy Smith-infused Ravens secondary that has allowed the NFL’s sixth-fewest yards per game (149.0) to wideout units while holding Jarvis Landry (5/69/0), Demaryius Thomas (5/63/0), Antonio Brown (5/62/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (4/60/0), and Emmanuel Sanders (5/38/0) to below-expectation results in the last three weeks. Still No. 18 in the NFL in targets (44) and No. 19 in Air Yards (456), opportunity keeps Davis in the every-week WR3 hunt. … Taylor’s first-drive fumble in last week’s loss directly led to Josh Allen’s 14-yard rushing TD, which wound up being more than the difference in the game. Taylor’s snaps (46%) and routes run (15) were both his fewest since Week 2. He is a WR4/5 until shown otherwise. … Sharpe has been held to 30 yards or fewer in 5-of-5 weeks with one touchdown over his last ten games. … A massive disappointment in Delanie Walker’s absence, Smith has reeled in 0-of-5 targets from Mariota and is in danger of losing playing time to preseason star Anthony Firkser.

The best area to attack Tennessee is on the ground, where Mike Vrabel’s defense has allowed the NFL’s sixth-most rushing yards to enemy backs (510) on a cool 4.40 per-carry clip after reviving LeSean McCoy for season highs across the board last week. Javorius Allen is the Ravens’ best PPR running back option after pacing the backfield in Week 5 touches (14) on a season-high 58% of the snaps. Allen still leads the Ravens in carries inside the five with 5 to Alex Collins’ 3 and has 21 catches, 13th most among NFL backs. Allen did lose a third-quarter fumble in last week’s loss to Cleveland, however, and coach John Harbaugh has shown little tolerance for miscues. … Collins broke a 19-yard run on the first play of last week’s defeat, then managed 40 scoreless yards on his remaining 11 carries, dropped a pass, and limped off the field after a three-yard loss in the second half. Collins entered the game batting a knee injury. He is a risky flex play each week. … This game’s low-scoring projection limits Joe Flacco to two-quarterback-league appeal, combined with Tennessee’s allowance of the league’s fifth-fewest fantasy points to Flacco’s position. Flacco is also likely to be under duress; only seven teams have hit quarterbacks on a higher percentage of dropbacks than Tennessee (17.5%), and only eight have a higher sack rate (7.3%). The Titans’ seven offensive TDs allowed are second fewest in the league behind only Jacksonville (6).

Flacco’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Michael Crabtree 46; John Brown 44; Willie Snead 33; Allen 27; Nick Boyle 18; Mark Andrews 16; Collins and Maxx Williams 14. … Crabtree’s abysmal 2018 continued in Week 5, dropping three more balls to bring his season total to a league-high eight. Most egregious was Crabtree letting the would-be go-ahead TD bounce off his hands in Baltimore’s overtime loss. Although his to-date play has been inarguably atrocious, Crabtree popping as Week 6's No. 2 buy-low wide receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer's Air Yards model gives Crabtree at least a modicum of DFS-tournament appeal. The target volume has certainly been there. … Brown could have had a monster Week 5 if not for a few errant Flacco throws and star Browns rookie CB Denzel Ward’s sticky shadow coverage. Brown drew a season-high 14 targets, including eight of 15-plus Air Yards. Ideally, the Ravens will get Brown matched on reeling Titans RCB Malcolm Butler this week. PFF has charged Butler with a league-high 405 yards allowed, including four TDs. Only Rams CB Marcus Peters (5) has been burned for more scores. … Keyed by Logan Ryan’s physical slot coverage, the Titans have checked interior WRs Dede Westbrook (3/31/0), Danny Amendola (4/26/0), and Nelson Agholor (5/22/0) while struggling to slow perimeter WRs Will Fuller (8/113/1), DeAndre Hopkins (6/110/1), Alshon Jeffery (8/105/1), and Kenny Stills (4/106/2). From a matchup standpoint, this game sets up better for Crabtree and Brown than slot man Snead. … The Ravens used a value-draining four-man TE rotation in Hayden Hurst’s Week 5 debut with Boyle playing the most snaps (45%), Andrews seeing the most targets (3), Hurst logging 24% of the downs, and Williams playing 31%. It's an obvious fantasy situation to avoid.

Score Prediction: Titans 17, Ravens 16

Sunday Night Football

Kansas City @ New England
Team Totals: Patriots 31, Chiefs 28

As the total on Chiefs-Pats has reached 60 in some shops – highest of an historically-high-scoring 2018 season – this is a game to lean toward in season-long lineup decisions and hammer in DFS. … Tom Brady draws a Chiefs defense that is missing difference-maker OLB Justin Houston (hamstring) and allowing the NFL’s third-most yards per play (6.5). With the sole exception of Case Keenum, 4-of-5 quarterbacks to face Kansas City have generated top-10 fantasy results. Facing the Chiefs also spikes passing-game volume; no NFL team faces more pass attempts per game (47.0). … One conceivable scenario is the Patriots leaning heavily on Sony Michel’s interior running to control the pace of the game and keep Kansas City’s dangerous offense off the field. Michel’s touch counts are 15 > 25 > 19 in the last three weeks, while enemy running backs have rocked Chiefs DC Bob Sutton’s front for an 87/482/4 (5.54 YPC) rushing line. Michel needs more receiving involvement to reach true RB1 status, but he’s earned high-end RB2 treatment as the lead runner on one of the NFL’s highest-scoring teams. … Week 6 also sets up well for James White, who has led New England in targets in 4-of-5 games and ranks No. 2 among NFL backs in catches (32). The Chiefs have allowed a league-high 454 receiving yards to running backs.

Brady’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: White 44; Rob Gronkowski 31; Phillip Dorsett 29; Chris Hogan 19; Cordarrelle Patterson 14; Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon 9; Michel 6. … Week 5’s Thursday night game gave Gronk a few extra days to rest his balky ankle. The Chiefs gave up 8/164/1 to Steelers TEs in Week 2, 6/86/0 to 49ers TEs in Week 3, 5/74/0 to Broncos TEs in Week 4, and 10/92/0 to Jaguars TEs last week. In Eric Berry (heel) and Eric Murray (ankle), the Chiefs are missing two of their top-three safeties. … Kansas City has permitted a league-high 27 completions of 20-plus yards, and Houston’s loss will exacerbate those problems. This bodes well for Gordon, who has the Patriots’ highest Average Depth of Target (14.7) with gains of 34, 19, 16, and 13 in two games. Gordon ran only 12 routes in Week 4 and 18 in Week 5, although an extended week after last Thursday night’s win gave OC Josh McDaniels surplus time to increase Gordon’s usage. He’s a high-ceiling if low-floor WR3/flex play in this best-case-scenario draw. Gordon could push for near-full-time work if the thigh injury Hogan suffered in Wednesday's practice keeps him out. Hogan did not practice on Thursday, although he practiced in "limited" fashion on Friday. … Edelman’s usage was exactly what we wanted in his Week 5 debut, running routes on 39-of-44 Brady dropbacks (89%) and catching 7-of-9 targets. He'll be an every-week WR2 in PPR the rest of the way. … Dorsett’s playing time has descended since the Gordon trade (94% > 70% > 61%). He logged season lows in routes (26) and targets (3) in last week’s win over the Colts.

Even as Patrick Mahomes committed his first two turnovers of 2018 and posted his season-worst fantasy result (QB17) in Week 5, Mahomes moved the offense consistently, averaged over 8.0 yards per attempt for the fifth time in six career starts, scored a rushing touchdown for the second straight game, and improved to 6-0 as a starter. Mahomes has shredded teams that struggle to rush the passer, and New England fits the bill with the league’s third-fewest sacks (7) and 13th-lowest QB hit rate (14.1%). The Pats have 29 quarterback hits on the season, but 12 came in Week 1 against Houston’s league-worst pass protection. They’ve barely averaged four hits per game since. … Kareem Hunt’s matchup is similarly strong; New England’s defense has permitted a cool 4.45 yards per carry to running backs. RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s fibula fracture is sure to sting, however, and Hunt’s passing-game usage remains a concern with two targets or fewer in 4-of-5 games. Hunt’s workloads have stayed bankable with 18-plus touches in four straight games, but the lack of receiving involvement lowers Hunt’s floor and ceiling.

Mahomes’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Travis Kelce 46; Tyreek Hill 39; Sammy Watkins 29; Chris Conley 17; Hunt 9; Demetrius Harris 8. … Kelce leads all NFL tight ends in Air Yards (489) by a 69-yard margin and has the most red-zone targets (7) and targets inside the ten (3) on the Chiefs. After facing no notable tight ends in the first month, the Patriots were obliterated by Colts TEs for a combined 12/149/3 receiving line last Thursday night. … Hill checks in as Week 6’s No. 1 buy-low target in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model after Odell Beckham exploded atop the model last week. TyFreak also has strange home-road splits with 17 of his 24 career touchdowns (71%) occurring at non-Arrowhead venues. Hill’s last ten away-game receiving lines are: 9/54/0 > 5/90/1 > 7/169/2 > 6/185/2 > 7/68/0 > 2/64/1 > 6/125/1 > 4/68/0 > 5/77/1 > 7/133/1. New England’s defense distinctly lacks speed, which sets up beautifully for The Cheetah. … Watkins showed no Week 5 ill effects from his Week 4 hamstring scare, parlaying eight targets into 6/78/0 receiving against the Jaguars on 86% of the snaps. Watkins’ 36 routes run were his second most of 2018. In the highest-totaled game of the season, Watkins should be locked into lineups as a WR3 with WR2 upside. … The thought of giving Conley a DFS-tournament whirl can be fun in theory, but the results generally are not. Conley hasn’t gained 25 receiving yards in a game this year, and he hasn’t reached 60 yards since December of 2016.

Score Prediction: Patriots 34, Chiefs 30

 

 

Monday Night Football

San Francisco @ Green Bay
Team Totals: Packers 28, 49ers 18.5

Albeit prompted by a four-score halftime deficit in Detroit, Aaron Rodgers is coming off his season-best fantasy game to face a 49ers defense that gives up easy pass plays running a Seahawks-style system without the proper personnel. DC Robert Saleh’s unit has supported high fantasy floors by coughing up top-14 weeks to 4-of-5 quarterbacks faced and allowing a combined 12:1 TD-to-INT ratio. Rodgers drew a murderer’s row of pass-rush units in his first five starts; the Niners rank 26th in sacks (9) and 25th in QB hit rate (13.5%). Staying true to form, this year’s Packers have dropped back to pass at the NFL’s third-highest clip (71%) after finishing fourth in in dropback rate in 2017, and first in 2016. This is a blowup spot for Rodgers. … Negative game script prevented Aaron Jones from seeing a single second-half carry in last week’s loss. Green Bay projects for positive script on Monday night, enhancing Jones’ breakout potential. San Francisco has played stout run defense, though, limiting enemy backs to a 104/391/4 (3.76 YPC) rushing line. And Jones’ touch counts in three games since returning from suspension are 7 – 11 – 9 on 25% - 38% - 27% playing-time clips. Until we see tangible evidence of change in the Packers’ backfield distribution – coach Mike McCarthy continued to state that is unlikely this week – Jones will remain a boom-bust flex play on low volume. … Jamaal Williams’ touch counts since Jones’ return are 7 – 11 – 8, staying involved because of superior pass-protection skills and not his running ability. … Ty Montgomery’s Weeks 3-5 touch counts were 10 – 7 – 5. Jones is Green Bay’s lone fantasy-viable back.

Davante Adams enters Week 6 ranked No. 8 in the league in red-zone targets (10) with a touchdown in eight of his last nine games. Only six NFL players have more overall targets (55), and only eight have more Air Yards (562). Whereas 49ers LCB Richard Sherman never moves in Saleh’s Cover-3 zone, Adams runs 70% of his routes at other areas of the field. 49ers RCB Ahkello Witherspoon has given up the NFL’s second-most touchdown passes (4), including Christian Kirk’s 75-yard scoring bomb last week. … Much as he did to Rob Gronkowski in Week 3, Lions coach Matt Patricia went to great lengths to stifle Jimmy Graham in Week 5. Detroit stuck long-limbed CB Deshawn Shead on him in man coverage and bullied Graham at the line with multiple defenders on obvious passing downs and in scoring situations. Graham didn’t help himself by dropping a 21-yard TD, but still come away with a usable 6/76/0 receiving line. Saleh’s defense plays straight up without matchup-based scheming, so Graham should face much softer coverage looks. … The Packers’ complementary wideout distribution will come down to health. Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (hamstring) returned to practice on Thursday, boding well for their chances to play. Although Marquez Valdes-Scantling (7/89/1) and Equanimeous St. Brown (3/89/0) capitalized on their increased Week 5 opportunities in Allison and Cobb’s absence, the rookies will be pushed back down the depth chart as soon as the veterans return. Thinking forward, it’s notable that St. Brown passed J’Mon Moore last week after Moore played ahead of St. Brown the week before.

Matriculating the offense in ball-out-quick game plans astutely designed by Kyle Shanahan, C.J. Beathard has earned every-week starter treatment in two-QB leagues with deep streamer upside after logging QB18 (Chargers) and QB5 (Cardinals) fantasy results in Weeks 4-5. Shanahan’s quick-pass attack is designed to compensate for Beathard's sub-par pocket awareness. Two starts in, Beathard’s average of 2.30 seconds to attempt is fastest in the NFL among 35 qualified passers in PFF’s charts. Beathard is still a streamer target for Green Bay's D/ST; the sophomore quarterback has committed 13 turnovers and taken 22 sacks in seven career starts. … Matt Breida (ankle) is not expected to play, forcing Alfred Morris into San Francisco’s lead-back role after Alf logged 21 touches in last week’s loss to Arizona. Although Morris’ pass-catching resume is nonexistent, he drew eight targets from checkdown-specialist Beathard in the last two games and has zero drops this year. 2017 feature back Carlos Hyde was similarly limited in the passing game, yet still set career highs in targets (88) and catches (59) under Shanahan. The Packers have played leaky run defense, yielding a 100/443/4 (4.43 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. Morris’ biggest Week 6 concern is the possibility San Francisco enters negative script should Rodgers start hot. In that scenario, versatile FB Kyle Juszczyk could end up hogging snaps and catches.

Beathard’s Weeks 4-5 target distribution: Pierre Garcon 19; George Kittle 15; Trent Taylor and Kendrick Bourne 11; Juszczyk 10; Morris 8; Marquise Goodwin and Victor Bolden 4. … Garcon turned in a miserable Week 5, dropping three balls including one that caused a Beathard interception. Garcon’s usage has been there but the production has not. He has yet to reach 60 yards in a game this season and is scoreless in 16 straight. … Kittle has been the biggest beneficiary of the 49ers’ ball-out-quick offense with 11 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown in Beathard’s two starts. Leading the team in red-zone targets (6) and targets inside the ten (3), Kittle has earned every-week TE1 reliability. Green Bay has allowed the NFL’s tenth-most yards to tight ends (308). … Goodwin missed Week 5 with hamstring and quad injuries, forcing more onto Taylor, Bourne, and Bolden’s plates. Goodwin practiced fully this week. Goodwin has played six mostly-full games with Beathard over the past two years. Always a big-play-dependent producer, Goodwin’s stat lines in them are 4/80/0 > 0/0 > 2/68/0 > 1/83/1 > 4/78/0 > 2/24/0.

Score Prediction: Packers 34, 49ers 23


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