Stars of Week 6
QB: Matthew Stafford, LAR: 22-28, 251 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
RB: Derrick Henry, TEN: 20 carries, 143 yards, 3 TDs
WR: CeeDee Lamb, DAL: 9 catches, 149 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Noah Fant, DEN: 9 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD
One of the leading questions heading into the 2021 NFL season was how well the Sean McVay – Matthew Stafford marriage would work. We’ve got our answer, as Stafford has been magnificent with the Rams. Stafford threw for 4 TD passes against the Giants, all without breaking much of a sweat. He’s a QB1 and a weekly starter in fantasy leagues.
King Henry has thrice taken top RB honors in this young season, and that won’t be his final tally. Henry sits in a tier of his own among not only RBs, but all fantasy players. 3 TDs and 7 yards per carry versus the Bills…another day at the office.
Bill Belichick is well known for taking out a team’s best option on offense. Against the Cowboys, he schemed against WR Amari Cooper. No problem for the Cowboys, as fellow WR CeeDee Lamb had a monster game, including the game winning TD reception in overtime. Lamb remains a high end WR2 and a weekly must-start.
The Denver Broncos never threatened the Las Vegas Raiders in their matchup this past Sunday, but Broncos’ tight end Noah Fant sure took advantage of his team playing catchup by hauling in 9 passes for 97 yards, including a TD in garbage time. Fant has established himself as a weekly must start at tight end.
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.
Leonard Fournette, RB - TB: 22 carries, 81 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers run a highly pass centric offense, which makes sense given that the G.O.A.T. helms the team’s QB position. Meanwhile the Bucs’ rushing offense has been a fantasy wasteland for some time now, but is that now a relic of the past? Well, Lenny Fournette sure thinks so, and methinks the same. After more than a year of sharing backfield duties with Ronald Jones, Fournette appears to have pulled away as the lead back. Against the Eagles this past Thursday night, Fournette outcarried Jones by a 22 to 5 margin, while finding the end zone twice. The previous week, Fournette outcarried Jones by 12 to 5 margin, and move one week further back, the margin was 20 to 6. The timeshare has officially disintegrated into a Fournette-led backfield. While Tom Brady and the plethora of weapons in the passing game will continue to serve as the team’s north star on offense, there’s enough room for a lead RB to play a vital fantasy role as well. Consider Fournette a mid-level RB2 moving forward, while Ronald Jones may be dropped from rosters.
Darrel Williams, RB – KC: 21 carries, 62 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: The Kansas City Chiefs plucked Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of LSU in the 2020 draft to serve as the team’s running back of the future. CEH had a solid rookie season in 2020, albeit not as spectacular as many had forecasted. Fast forward to 2021, and CEH’s performance has mostly mirrored that of his rookie year. With CEH suffering an injury in week 5, backup RB Darryl Williams had a chance to strut his stuff this week against the Washington Football Team, and he didn’t disappoint. While the YPC didn’t pop, Williams did find the end zone twice, while also catching three passes out of the backfield. CEH’s return date remains to be determined, but Williams will be a steady RB2 for as long as CEH sits. That part of the analysis is easy – the harder issue to pin down is what happens once CEH returns. It’s not out of the question for the Chiefs to employ a timeshare between the two backs, or even for Williams to nudge CEH out of the top chair. To make clear, CEH will likely resume lead back duties, but just keep in mind that it’s not guaranteed. The guess here is that Williams will – at the very least - cut into CEH’s carries moving forward. If you are able to get RB2 value for CEH in a trade, it would make sense to make that move.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR – CLE: 4 catches, 101 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt serve as the focal point for the Cleveland Browns offense, but QB Baker Mayfield has proven to be a capable passer, even if not spectacular. Unfortunately the Browns have been bit hard by the injury bug at WR, with Jarvis Landry missing several games and Odell Beckham Jr. recently returning from injury himself. On the losing end of a shootout versus the Arizona Cardinals, it wasn’t Beckham who led the Browns WRs in receiving, but rather Donovan Peoples-Jones. The second year receiver from Michigan hauled in two TD passes among his four receptions, including a 57 yard hail mary pass. Peoples-Jones will undoubtably be a hot commodity for the week 7 waiver wire, but should he be? No, he should not. First off, don’t forget where the bulk of his production came from this past Sunday – a flier’s up catch that happened to work out. Subtract that unlikely play, and you’re left with 3 catches for 44 yards and one TD. While the TD makes that line usable, the rest of the stats don’t do much for your fantasy lineup for a WR. Through his first 5 games this season, Peoples-Jones had a total of 5 catches for 127 yards and no TDs. In short, Peoples-Jones had a great game this past Sunday, but repeatability appears unlikely. If you’re desperate for a WR in this bye laden week, go ahead and make a play for him. But know that he’s a WR4, and not higher.
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE – WAS: 4 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Tight end Logan Thomas broke out in a big way last season, so much so that he became Washington Football Team’s number two option in the passing game. Unfortunately, Thomas suffered a hamstring injury in week 4, and has since landed on injured reserve. Enter Ricky Seals-Jones as the next man up, and thus far the results have been impressive. This past Sunday, Seals-Jones found the end zone while hauling in four passes for 58 yards, over 6 targets. The week before, QB Taylor Heinicke targeted Seals-Jones a whopping 9 times, resulting in 5 catches for 41 yards – not bad for a tight end. Also helping matters for fantasy purposes, Washington’s defense has been a sieve. As such, Washington’s offense has had to chase points, resulting in a positive game script for Seals-Jones and the passing offense. Thomas will remain out for at least the team’s next two games, so Seals-Jones can offer you a top 12 TE option over the next few weeks. Washington faces Green Bay next week, which will present yet another positive game flow scenario.
Players to Target Via Trade
As trade season starts to heat up, here are a few players for you to target, whom you may be able get at a discount from managers in your league:
Player Season Stats
Alvin Kamara, RB – NO: 94 carries, 368 yards, 1 TD (15 catches, 113 yards, 3 TDs)
Kamara was comfortably a top-5 pick in fantasy drafts, but he hasn’t had the fantasy stats to match the lofty draft status…yet. Looking at his rushing stats, and you’ll see that he’s only found the end zone once over 94 carries. Look for regression to the mean with respect to his rushing TDs, which makes him an attractive trade target.
Stefon Diggs, WR – BUF: 28 catches, 463 yards, 2 TDs
Similar to Kamara, Stefon Diggs came off draft boards very early this year, and has had similar issues finding the end zone. The Bills run a pass-centric offense, and the Bills face an easy schedule the rest of the way. Look for Diggs’ numbers to pop across the board, and see if you can pry him away from an impatient manager at a discount.
Kyle Pitts, TE – ATL: 24 catches, 308 yards, 1 TD
The Atlanta Falcons have been sleepwalking through the 2021 season, with only WR-RB Cordarrelle Patterson exceeding fantasy expectations. Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts finally broke out in week 5 with his first 100 yard game and TD. The game will continue to slow down for the rookie as the season goes on, and the team will focus on developing Pitts as they sink well out of playoff contention. So expect a monster second half of the season from Pitts, and try to land a deal here.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case a player 1) who has NOT been featured above, and 2) remains available in more than 50% of leagues.
QB: Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (vs ATL)
RB: D’Ernest Johnson, CLE (vs DEN)
RB: JD McKissic, WAS (@ GB)
WR: Rashod Bateman, BAL
WR: Darnell Mooney, CHI (@ TB)
TE: Cole Kmet, CHI (@ TB)
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