Stars of Week 6
QB: Deshaun Watson, HOU: 28-37, 335 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
RB: Derrick Henry, TEN: 22 carries, 212 yards, 2 TDs
WR: Justin Jefferson, MIN: 9 catches, 162 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Travis Kelce, KC: 5 catches, 65 yards, 2 TDs
The first two players in the Week 6 fantasy honor roll come from the Texans-Titans matchup, starting with QB Deshaun Watson. The Texans’ franchise signal caller had himself an excellent game, tossing four TDs and throwing for over 300 yards. His counterpart with the Titans, Ryan Tannehill, also had four TD tosses and easily could’ve taken the award. But Watson edges him out by a hair.
But don’t worry about the Titans, as they’re turn is up. The top performance in Week 6 – irrespective of position – goes to RB Derrick Henry. The Titans’ RB rumbled for 212 yards and 2 TDs, looking like a man among boys. He’s an unquestioned top 5 RB and will continue to dominate the NFL.
Vikings WR Justin Jefferson has taken the NFL by storm, playing like a six-year vet rather than a rookie with six games of experience. Jefferson scored two TDs, catching 9 balls for 162 yards against the Falcons. Jefferson has made himself a weekly must start, and he’s got room to get better – scary for the rest of the league.
And we end this section honoring the same TE who took Week 5’s honors – Chiefs’ star Travis Kelce. The only question with Kelce is how many more times he’ll take the top spot before the year is out…will be multiple times.
Week 6 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.
- Ryan Tannehill, QB – TEN: 30-41, 364 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
Analysis: The Titans sit at 5-0, as one of only three undefeated teams. While their fantastic start should be the top news item for the team, it’s actually their handling of Covid protocols, and the movement of several games as a result of the outbreak at their facility that has gotten the most attention. We will redirect the focus back to the football field, where QB Ryan Tannehill has quietly continued to put comfortable QB1 stats. As of the Week 6 games, Tannehill was rostered in only 68% of leagues (per Yahoo!). That number should be 100%. Tannehill’s fantasy points per game at QB ranks 6th thus far into the season, trailing only Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. That’s quite the company to keep. While Derrick Henry remains the alpha of the Titans’ offense, Tannehill has terrific weapons in the passing game, including AJ Brown, Corey Davis and emerging tight end Jonnu Smith. Tannehill showed in 2019 that he has evolved from his days with the Miami Dolphins, as he averaged 9.6 yards per attempt and sported a 22 to 6 QB to INT ratio. Add 4 more TDs from Sunday’s game against the Texans, and Tannehill sits at a healthy 7.9 yards per attempt with a 13 to 2 QB to INT ratio for 2020. The stats back up the eye test – Tannehill has developed into a top NFL QB, both in real life and in fantasy. If you need a QB and Tannehill remains available, snatch him up immediately. If you already own Tannehill, then keep an eye on starting him most weeks. Next week’s battle with the Steelers will be tough, but Tannehill has a mouth watering schedule during the fantasy playoffs, facing off against the Lions, Jaguars and Packers from Weeks 14-16. Alright, you know what to do here.
- D’Andre Swift, RB – DET: 14 carries, 116 yards, 2 TDs
- Adrian Peterson, RB – DET: 15 carries, 40 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: The Detroit Lions drafted D’Andre Swift in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft, with the intent of Swift eventually becoming the team’s lead running back. The Georgia Bulldog alumnus came into the tilt with the Jaguars with only 42 career rushing yards, and exited the matchup with nearly four times as much. Swift and Adrian Peterson split the carries evenly, but the production did not end up even. Swift busted out a 54 yard run, something that AP won’t be pulling off at this stage of his career. Swift looked spry, blazing by the Jaguars D, all while hitting the holes aggressively. So what does this performance mean for the Lions’ rushing attack going forward? For the easy part, last year’s leading rusher, Kerryon Johnson, has been delegated to third chair and has the least fantasy value. As for Swift vs AP, look for this game to be the catapult for Swift taking over as the clear Lions’ RB to own. This does not mean that Swift will become the bell cow back. AP will still factor into the rushing game. Per PFF, the snap count for the Lions’ RBs went 28 – Swift, 27 – AP and 19 – Johnson. Look for Swift to start moving towards fifty percent of the snap count, with AP and Johnson splitting the rest. Swift is clearly their best RB, and he also has skills as a receiver. Swift should be viewed as a RB2 in good matchups, with a floor of a RB3/flex in tougher matchups. Unless you have incredible depth or a very shallow league, Swift should be in your starting lineups moving forward. AP will be matchup dependent, vacillating from RB3/flex to RB4/bench depending on who the Lions are facing. For the 26% of leagues where Swift remains available, he’s your no brainer top RB to add for the week.
- Damien Harris, RB – NE: 6 carries, 14 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: The New England Patriots have long been the nemesis of fantasy football managers, with weekly unpredictability the main culprit. With Sony Michel out and many top RBs on bye in Week 6, some of us were forced to start Damien Harris. Well, that didn’t end well! Harris only mustered 14 yards over six carries, while minimally impacting the passing game – as expected. With Cam Newton at QB in place of Tom Brady, Patriots’ RBs lose value across the board. Newton simply takes too large of a portion of the carries, including at the goal line. The simple analysis above also applies to Sony Michel whenever he returns. Harris and Michel are simply desperation plays, with no matchup yielding enough confidence to be a recommended start for either player – even at a flex spot. As for the third member of the Patriots’ backfield, Sony Michel, his story varies slightly. As the pass catching back, he maintains relevance, but with a low end flex ceiling. Newton’s propensity to carry the rock cuts into his value as well. Ideally, it’s recommended to avoid the Patriots’ backfield in its entirety…this year more than ever.
- Tee Higgins, WR – CIN: 6 catches, 125 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: The Cincinnati Bengals’ future looks bright, with rookie franchise QB Joe Burrow showing that he’s the real deal. The team still needs to build out its offensive line and add to its tight end room, but it’s set with Joe Mixon at running back, and with the wide receiver room also showing significant growth. While AJ Green’s arrow points downward, rookie WR Tee Higgins has flashed so far this season. The Clemson product had his best game to date, with 6 receptions for 125 yards to lead the team against the Colts. This past Sunday is the continuation of a trend, as opposed to a blip on the screen – Higgins has 264 receiving yards over his last three games, having caught 14 passes during this time. Most importantly, Burrow has targeted Higgins 23 times over this period. Per PFF, Higgins led the Bengals’ WRs in snap count with 59, narrowly beating out the aforementioned Green (58 snaps) and the third member of the primary WR group, Tyler Boyd (57 snaps). Given Higgins’ chemistry with Burrow and his clear role as a starting WR given his snaps make him a must add if you need a WR. Higgins has great size at 6’4”, and plays physical…reminding me a bit of Green in his youth. While he’s got a long way to go to have AJ Green’s career, the early start to his career has been promising. Consider Higgins as a WR3/flex play as the season moves forward. The Bengals get the Browns next week, so if you’ve got him, make sure to fire him up into your lineups. For those of you in leagues where he’s still available (just under half of leagues), this is your last chance to snag Higgins.
- Rob Gronkowski, TE – TB: 5 catches, 78 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Curiosity surrounded Gronk’s return to the NFL, when announced that he would reunite with BFF Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. Gronk may be the best tight end in NFL history, but after sitting out a season, how much Gronk had left in the tank at age 31 was unknown. The early results didn’t look promising, as Gronk entered this past Sunday’s matchup with the Green Bay with a stat line of only 12 receptions for 140 yards over five games, failing to find the end zone even once. Well, Gronk served as a rude host to the Packers, breaking out for 78 yards and a TD over five catches. Brady targeted Gronk a team leading 8 times, ahead of stalwart WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Is the old Gronk back? I would suggest tempering your expectations. From film study, Gronk still looks slow, and the Bucs did a nice job scheming him open. On the positive side, Gronk is moving a tad better than earlier in the season, and given fellow tight end OJ Howard being out for the season, there’s greater opportunity for Gronk to get additional targets. Given the totality of the circumstances, Gronk should get a slight bump in rankings as the season moves forward, but he’s still not a weekly start. He’ll be in that 10-15 range, with starting prospects dependent on matchups. If you need a TE, Gronk’s worth an add – but keep expectations within reason, as the Patriots’ version of Gronk will not be back.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been featured above, and 2) a player available in more than 50% of leagues.
QB: Teddy Bridgewater, CAR
RB: Boston Scott, PHI (top waiver add in most leagues with Miles Sanders out)
RB: JD McKissic, WAS
WR: Travis Fulgham, PHI
WR: Christian Kirk, ARI
TE: Anthony Firkser, TEN (assuming Jonnu Smith is out)