Week 6 gave us a little bit of everything. Derrick Henry had the biggest rushing performance of the season, and rookie wide receivers continued to dominate. There were plenty of players injured coming into the week with questions about how their replacements would be used. Unfortunately, there were also plenty of injuries to fantasy-relevant players on Sunday as well.
As always, this collection of fantasy reactions will include snap counts for skill players on each team, along with notes on players who saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall during the action — and how we should react to anything new.
This article will be updated as late games wrap up.
While all of the Bengals touchdowns came on the ground, a lot of their yards came in the air on passes to wide receivers. All three of their starters had eight or more targets, but Higgins had the most yards — he caught six of eight for 125 yards, with over half of that coming from a 67-yard play. The Colts had been one of the best teams at preventing fantasy points to wide receivers, which makes performances by Higgins and A.J. Green (96 yards on eight catches) even more impressive.
Since Burton returned from injured reserve, he’s been the Colts’ primary receiving tight end. While Jack Doyle had more snaps, Burton had more pass routes. This led Burton to catch four passes for 58 yards. That was the second-most receiving yards for a Colts player in the game. He was one of three players with a receiving touchdown and also had the team’s only rushing TD. We shouldn’t expect too many more rushing touchdowns this season, but he should remain the team’s top receiving tight end in an offense that likes throwing touchdowns to tight ends.
Mixon missed the majority of the second quarter due to a foot injury but returned to action for the rest of the game. That is part of the reason why the playing time was so close. In the fourth quarter when the Bengals were mostly passing, Giovani Bernard also saw significant playing time which would have likely happened regardless of the injury. While Mixon is expected to be OK, it appeared the Bengals would mostly use Bernard with a little bit of Samaje Perine when Mixon is out. Mixon scored a touchdown, which helped his fantasy production, but he averaged just 3.0 yards per carry and was back down to three targets.
The Lions backfield has continued to evolve. Today Swift and Adrian Peterson split playing time on first and second downs, while Kerryon Johnson had most of the third-down snaps while still taking some of the first and second downs. Because the Lions were winning all game, they were able to run more than pass. Swift made the most of his carries, gaining 116 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. He caught the most passes (3) among the Lions backs but for the fewest yards (7). While this game certainly looked promising for Swift, things could easily change again next week.
Jones was the Lions’ top wide receiver to start the season while Kenny Golladay was missing time due to injury. He never had more than 60 yards in those games. With Golladay back, his playing time hasn’t changed, but his catches and yards have declined. For the second straight week he was held to single-digit yards. Because his playing time has remained unchanged, it is too early to drop him. It also makes it very difficult to consider starting him going forward.
Cole has been one of the top two wide receivers for the Jaguars in terms of snaps all season, and it has led to pretty consistent play. He’s had at least five targets in every game and a touchdown in three of the first five games. While he didn’t catch a touchdown today, he did catch six of nine passes for an impressive 143 yards. Part of his production had to do with game script, but it’s a script that Jacksonville will see most of the season. He might not be the highest upside wide receiver on the waiver wire, but his floor each week is higher than most wide receivers available with some upside.
Two wide receivers in this game had double digit targets, over 100 yards and two touchdowns each. Julio Jones scored the first touchdown of the game and caught eight passes for 137 yards. Jefferson caught the last touchdown of the game and had one more catch for 29 more yards than Jones. While Jones helped his team win, this is fantasy football, where garbage time points count all the same. Jefferson put up the bigger numbers for the win. Fantasy owners for both players should be very happy with these performances, and there is every reason to believe they will continue to play well going forward.
Mattison had top-10 fantasy potential coming into the game with Dalvin Cook out with injury. He had three problems, which led to very minimal fantasy production. One is he didn’t make the most out of his opportunities. He had one 16-yard run and then 14 yards on his other 10 touches. Second is that the team viewed Ameer Abdullah as their clear passing-situation back. He received nearly all of the third-down snaps and played late in the game when Minnesota was passing to catch up. Finally, the game script was such that the Vikings stopped running early because of how quickly they fell behind. If Cook were to miss more time, I would expect Mattison to play better, but future Vikings games could easily have similar game scripts which would limit Mattison’s opportunities.
Ridley missed a little bit of time in the third quarter due to cramps. He quickly returned to the game. He caught six of seven passes thrown his way for 61 yards and a touchdown. While it wasn’t his best game and he was overshadowed by Jones, it was still a decent game out of Ridley. I wouldn’t expect this to be a problem in the future.
In a low-scoring game with only three offensive touchdowns, Thomas gets the winner spot by having more receptions and yards than Darius Slayton and Cam Sims who scored the other touchdowns. Thomas caught three of four passes thrown his way for 42 yards. Thomas remains the clear cut tight end for Washington in passing situations and is a borderline TE1 in the right matchups.
For most of the game, Gibson and J.D. McKissic played basically the same amount. Late in the game, McKissic was in for the hurry-up offense. Gibson has one more carry than McKissic but 11 fewer rushing yards. McKissic also put up more numbers in the pass game. What made matters worse is that Peyton Barber saw his most playing time since Week 1, cutting into the playing time of both Gibson and McKissic. Ideally for Gibson, this would move closer to a one-person backfield, and instead it moved closer to a three-person backfield.
Board took a scary hit and left the field on a cart. In recent weeks, he’s been the Giants’ third wide receiver with Sterling Shepard out with injury. He caught one of three passes thrown his way for eight yards before the injury. Replacing him in three-receiver sets was Austin Mack. The undrafted rookie from Ohio State was activated off the practice squad earlier in the week and saw his first NFL action in this game. He caught the only pass his way for 1 yard. This led to Mack playing more than Golden Tate, as the Giants appear to be limiting Tate’s playing time regardless of who is healthy. Despite the high playing time, I wouldn’t rush to pick up Mack, as Shepard should be back soon and then Mack will be fourth at best on the depth chart.
Gandy-Golden left the game early in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. He has typically had the fourth-most snaps among the Washington wide receivers, but his playing time had been trending upward. In the first drive today, he saw the third-most snaps over Dontrelle Inman. With Gandy-Golden out, Washington rotated at wide receiver less than usual, resulting primarily in Inman receiving more playing time.
Fulgham was one of the most popular waiver wire targets this past week. Those who inserted him into their lineups this week were happy. While the Eagles passing game in general struggled, Fulgham led the team in targets (10), receptions (6) and yards (75). He also scored one of the two Eagles receiving touchdowns. Things for Fulgham will start to get interesting next week as some of the Eagles receivers are expected to return.
Ingram left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Before leaving he ran five times for 20 yards. In the second half, Gus Edwards played in over 70% of the first- and second-down snaps, while J.K. Dobbins played in over 80% of the third-down snaps. If Ingram misses time, Edwards would be the player to pick up as he would see the majority of the carries. He ran 14 times for an unimpressive 26 yards but at least had a touchdown. Chances are he would end up with the most yards among the two in a typical game where the Ravens have a lead.
Sanders left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return. Prior to leaving, he managed 118 rushing yards in large part thanks to a 74-yard carry. In the first half, Sanders was playing an impressive 26 of a possible 29 snaps. In the second half after Sanders left, Boston Scott played 33 snaps to seven by Corey Clement. It didn’t lead to many touches for either player as the Eagles were passing to catch up. If Sanders were to miss any time, Scott would be the player to own. He would get a lot more touches with Sanders out.
Ertz left in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. He had 10 targets before leaving, which tied Fulgham for the team lead, but managed only four catches for 33 yards. Ertz’s lack of production despite seeing plenty of targets remains one of the most surprising twists of the fantasy season. Richard Rodgers took over as the main tight end once Ertz left. Rodgers was already playing in all of the Eagles’ two-tight-end sets. He caught the three passes thrown his way for 31 yards. If Ertz misses time, Rodgers would be worth picking up in leagues that either start multiple tight ends or increase the scoring for tight ends. In most standard leagues, there are probably better free agent options.
Claypool didn’t go berserk like last week but still ended up with four catches for 74 yards as well as a rushing touchdown. What was most interesting about Claypool’s performance is that the Steelers used 22 personnel more than usual this week. They’ve used some form of 22 personnel 24 times this season, including eight today. Claypool had been the sole wide receiver in all 24 of those snaps. That’s why he had a big lead in snaps compared to the other wide receivers. Outside of those snaps, James Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster were on the field just as much as Claypool, and Washington received more targets. Once Diontae Johnson is healthy, Claypool could go from first to fourth in terms of wide receiver snaps.
Beckham should have seen several targets with the Browns trailing all day but ended up being thrown at just four times — his fewest targets in a game this season. He only managed two catches for 25 yards. In future weeks his target share should rebound. Read from source….