The Sunday Night Football game did not disappoint this week – we had 83 points on the board and fantasy players across the board contributed from start to end. As we stand, the PPR WR1, QBs 4 & 11, RBs 4, 8, & 14, and Ks 2 & 4 were all part of the game, and we didn’t mention Gronk and Travis Kelce (who seemed like duds with how many points were scored).
** Update: The Monday Night game was just as exciting. Aaron Rodgers is the king (& QB5), Davante Adams is your weekly WR2, Jimmy Graham slots in at TE5, and Marquise Goodwin slid into the WR7 spot. A lot of big performances on Monday night — who won you a game? Let me know on the twitter machine.
For me, the many different scorers from the two night games swung pivotal fantasy match-ups this weekend, as I battled four different 4-1 teams. I came out 2-2 from those games, which I think is a pretty nice win. And with that little humblebrag/self burn, let’s check out the winners and losers.
Your Week One Greg Jennings Award Winners – Put the Team on their Back!
Tyreek Hill. If you didn’t start TyFreak after his less-than-stellar 3-week stretch, you’re kicking yourself today. The speedster got behind the Patriots woeful defense for a trio of scores, tacking on 142 yards in the process. The Cheetah proved that while he may not find the end zone every week, he’s the biggest home run threat in the NFL right now. No offense, DeSean Jackson. This game will be in consideration for top performances of the season when all is said and done.
Ryan Whosmagic? Nah. It’s always been about Famous Jameis Winston. The oft-troubled QB decided to come out to play in his first start of the year. Tossing the ball around for 395 yards, 4 scores, (2 picks – because he’s Jameis after all). Add another 30 yards on the ground, and Winston was the QB1 on the day.
On the ground, a trio of first round picks dominated to the tune of 35 points or more (in PPR leagues). Saquon Barkley (130, 1 rushing; 9 for 99 receiving), Todd Gurley (208 yards & 2 TDs), and Melvin Gordon (132 & 3 scores) separated themselves from the rest of the RBs, but it was definitely a great week for runners. From there – let’s look at each group of players:
Of the Quarterbacks, the top of the board doesn’t look too off from the norm, with the obvious exception in the five-hole.
- Jameis Winston – 395, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 31 yards on the ground
- Matt Ryan – Jameis’ running mate for the passing affair in Atlanta, Ryan also put up some big numbers tallying 354 yards, 3 TDs, and zero picks. Ryan had a very clean, chalky day.
- Dak Presscott finds himself back in the top 3 for the first time this season, largely thanks to his legs. 82 yards on the ground and a score helped lift his paltry passing numbers: only 183 yards and 2 passing scores. However; for fantasy, Dak brought a little of that past magic back to the present.
- Patrick Mahomes – 2 INTs marred the great performance by the second-year signal caller. Mahomes continues to crush it, netting 352 yards and 4 TDs (3 to the Cheetah). However, the Belichick-led Patriots found a few ways to confuse Mahomes, mostly by chipping and hedging on Travis Kelce throughout the game.
- Brock Osweiler has one start and one top five finish so far in 2018. Who says the Brock Lobster couldn’t escape the endangered species list. And against a rising Bears D/ST! Brock’s 380 yards and 3 TDs were a big surprise; but his 2 picks were classic Osweiler, as well.
- Mitch Trubisky followed up his fantastic week 4 performance with another solid day out of the bye week. He tossed for 316 yards, another 3 scores, and added 47 yards on the ground. The Bears offense continues to be a difficult one to pick skill players on, as they spread it around effectively, but that same dynamic is leading to a consistent, viable fantasy threat at QB. Look for more of this from Trubisky moving forward.
- Carson Wentz didn’t look too injured in this one. 278 yards, 3 TDs.
- Andrew Luck continues to chuck it, though he needs his best pass catchers back. T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle continue to be on the shelf, and although Luck is doing his best, he needs the big plays that come from T.Y. Still, 301 and 4 TDs is no slouch. He also needs to take care of the ball better – with 3 INTs on the day.
- Cam Newton’s 275 Yards, 2 TDs, and 43 rushing yards are good enough for a top 10 finish.
- As is the 3 TD, 222 yard game from Russell Wilson.
I already mentioned the top 3 Running Backs above, but there were a number of great performers yesterday:
- Saquon Barkley. Stud.
- Todd Gurley. Bigger Stud.
- Melvin Gordon. Another Stud.
- Kareem Hunt – no surprise in the four-hole. Hunt’s day was buoyed by a long TD catch, but the 2nd year back still tallied 180 plus yards and a score on the day. Not too shabby.
- James Conner – in what might be his final curtain call of the season, Conner shined for over 100 yards and a pair of scores. We’ll see how this plays out, but IMO, if Bell comes back, he’s going to get the bulk of the work. Sell at your own risk!
- Latavius Murray is out on waivers in a lot of leagues (over 50% of ESPN leagues), and he finally turned in a valid performance. The story here: Dalvin Cook is still injured and that is frustrating. The second story: start all RBs against the Cardinals. Murray tallied 106 yards and 2 scores on 24 touches.
- Tarik Cohen has now had back-to-back quality performances: 5 rushes for 31 yards and a score to go along with 7 catches for 90 yards is going to net you 20-plus PPR points.
- Sony Michel continues to impress. In what was clearly his best-looking game of the year, the rookie back racked up 106 yards and 2 scores.
- Peyton Barber racked up over 100 all purpose yards and a score, with 4 catches. He was the final 20+ point scorer (again, PPR).
- Ezekiel Elliot scored a late TD and eclipsed the century mark on the ground. Pretty standard for Mr. Crop Top.
Just missing the top ten: Alex Collins, Joe Mixon, Corey Clement, James White, Duke Johnson, Frank Gore, Christian McCaffrey, LeSean McCoy, and David Johnson. Although the final couple of these guys barely cracked a dozen points.
For your pass catchers, it was a fun day. While only 9 RBs topped 20 points in PPR, there were a dozen receivers — though the names are far wilder. Three of the top 6 have 7% ownership or less in ESPN leagues. I’m betting that changes after this week as all 3 will make the majority of waiver wire columns. Be wary of being too reactionary, however.
- Tyreek Hill – as mentioned above, you start him every week and either profit or suffer.
- Davante Adams jumps the ship and slides into our #2 hole in PPR scoring. Jumping Thielen for the weekly lead in targets, Adams turned 16 Rodgers looks into 132 yards and 2 TDs on 10 catches.
- Albert Wilson – the primary beneficiary of the Brock Lobster’s nice day, Wilson snagged 6 of 9 targets, for 155 yards and 2 scores. Good for 34 PPR points. Hot damn.
- Cole Beasley slides into the 4 spot with a 9-catch, 101-yard, 2 touchdown game.
- Adam Thielen is good at football. Full Stop. He led the league this week in targets* (15) and catches (11), and tallied his 6th straight 100-yard game (123), one away from the league record. Oh, and he caught a touchdown. Suck it Julio. *Before MNF.
- Alshon Jeffrey shined on Thursday night, catching 8 balls for 74 yards, twice finding the end zone.
- Marquise Goodwin was a guy I doubted a lot coming into this game. On the twitter machine before the game, I even recommended sitting him. That was a bad call, as the speedster scored twice on the woeful Packers secondary, ending with a 4-126-2 line.
- Tyrell Williams found pay dirt twice during a 118-yard day. He’s owned in less than 2% of leagues, and this lightning-in-a-bottle performance will be his best of the season.
- Julio Jones. Wait — he didn’t get into the end zone? How is he still top ten? #NeverJulio still managed 143 yards on 10 snags (from 14 targets). One less catch and target than Thielen, but the only other guy with double-digit catches on the week. Someday, TD regression will come.
- Tyler Boyd. I tweeted out after Boyd’s second TD of the day that we need to stop giving up on young receivers. Boyd has shown that the year three jump is still valid, and we need to consider him a top-36 WR for the rest of the year.
- Emmanuel Sanders has been nothing short of fantastic all year. The oft-injured star has certainly caught Case Keenum’s attention the most this year, and he’s been very consistent catching the ball. His 115 yards and a score are no fluke. Sanders has top 10 potential this season.
- Michael Crabtree still has some giddy up left in the tank. Topping 20 PPR points for the first time this season, Crabtree finally maximized his weekly target share to the tune of 93 yards and a score on 6 catches.
Outside of the top 12, but over the 20-point PPR threshold, we find Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Just below that mark sits Jermaine Kearse, Robert Woods, DeAndre Hopkins, and Devin Funchess.
With a top-3 guy still to play, we look at who’s already shined this week from the big boys with hands. Only two of the top ten TEs didn’t get into the end zone (#s 8 & 10), so remember what the position is all about. Scoring Tuddies.
- Austin Hooper – 10 targets, 9 catches. That’s solid work for Matt Ryan’s new trusted TE. 71 yards and a score help get you into the top spot, as well.
- Zach Ertz is the apple of Carson’s eye, and he continues to put up numbers. 7 snags, 43 yards, and a TD.
- David Njoku showed why you drafted him this year, as the chemistry between he and Mayfield is undeniable. 12 targets led all TEs this week, and he hauled in 7 for 55 and a TD.
- Eric Ebron continues his excellent campaign with another score, adding 70 more yards as well.
- Jimmy Graham slots into the Top 5 TEs after a heavily-targeted week where Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison were sidelined. Graham saw nine Rodgers targets, snaring five for over 100 yards.
- O.J. Howard returned from injury and caught all four balls thrown his way, resulting in a 4-71-1 line for the big man.
- Who’s Nick O’Leary, and why is he in the top 10? Answer: he’s the Dolphins TE who snagged all four catches, as well — just for about 10 less yards than Howard.
- Vernon Davis is old but he can still move, as evidenced by his early score.
- Vance McDonald didn’t find the end zone, but he caught 7 of 8 targets for 68 yards.
- Who is Chris Herndon? Just a 2-catch guy who rumbled his way to a long TD. You’ll never read his name again. Probably. Sorry, Chris.
- Rob Gronkowski squeaks into the top 12 for a second straight week, thanks to a pair of key catches on the final drive. I still think Belichick is simply saving Gronk’s hits this season for when they need it later on. He always gets involved in key situations, but it’s as if they’re trying to limit his exposure. Makes sense for the best TE in the game when healthy.
- Trey Burton owners were rewarded with a single score. Nothing more.
Travis Kelce snagged 5 balls for 61 yards in a disappointing match-up with Gronk, but the Patriots really focused on shutting him down. C.J. Uzomah, Ricky Seals-Jones, Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen, and Kyle Rudolph all just missed out on the honors at the TE position.
What about the Losers?
The list is long in Week Six.
As the excuses for some of these guys get harder and harder to come by, it’s time for owners to start making difficult decisions. I’ll break the losers down into a couple of categories:
Fluky Poor Performance Equal Buy Low Targets:
- Deshaun Watson – the young QB couldn’t get it going, but the team pulled out the win. Better days are ahead for Watson. I’d throw in that Will Fuller finally saw a bit of that regression we’ve been talking about. I still trust both guys moving forward, however.
- Stefon Diggs – statistically, he’s clearly the #2 guy to Adam Thielen. However, Diggs saw #1 corner Patrick Peterson for just under 60% of routes. On those plays, he only saw two throws from Cousins, catching both. He’s a technician of a route-runner, and I’m buying low where I can.
- Jarvis Landry – I thought he’d be a WR1 with Baker at the helm, but Mayfield has been spreading it around fairly well. That said, Landry still had opportunities – 9 targets – so I’m saying buy low.
- Marshawn Lynch – in the revenge game, it was the Seattle defense that really brought the attitude. Lynch is still a quality RB2. He still had 16 touches. He is what he is.
- Brandin Cooks – bad weather and a little banged up before this one led to a decreased output from Cooks. He will still get his in this offense.
- Mike Evans – what happened here? Is Jameis to blameis? Alas, I am not selling Evans – he’ll find the end zone soon.
I’m Worried, But Holding:
- T.J. Yeldon did not live up to his previous performance. He had a couple plays called back, as well. However, he’s only valuable as Fournette heals, so we need the games he starts to be quality ones.
- Corey Davis & Dion Lewis are in the abysmal Titans offense. Lacking innovation, blocking, and health, Tennessee looks like a drowning mouse. That said – I trust the talent here, and I’m not selling if I can avoid it.
- John Brown had a down week. This game was low-scoring, and Brown didn’t see his normal opportunities deep. They’ll return in higher-scoring affairs.
- Carlos Hyde let you down. A popular trading candidate the past week, Hyde couldn’t get it going this week. I’m hoping he’s sent to the Eagles, which would allow Nick Chubb to get a chance at the Browns starting gig and would get Hyde into an offense that could better utilize his skill set.
Who am I Selling & Benching?
- Chris Carson has been hit or miss — and if you’re the reactionary owner, you’ve missed out each time, regretting giving him a chance again this week.
- Buck Allen. After scoring in weeks 1-3, Allen hasn’t found the end zone in weeks 4-6. He should be finding a way to your bench.
- Sammy Watkins is not a fantasy football starter. And yet, I saw two different league mates start him this week. Stop starting the name.
- Jordy Nelson is part of the underwhelming Raiders offense. But after 3 nice outings in a row, Nelson dropped a goose egg in standard scoring (2 catches for just 6 yards) and did no favors in alternate styles.
- The devolution of the Jags DST proves definitively that you should never reach for a defense in the draft.
And, of course, Injuries Were Impactful
- Early game injuries included: Chris Thompson (rib, knee), Josh Allen (elbow), Amari Cooper (ego, concussion), Quincy Enunwa (high ankle sprain), and Calvin Ridley (ankle).
- Cooper Kupp is the biggest name to go down — well, the man with the most impact this season so far. Kupp is reportedly dealing with an MCL strain, meaning he’ll be shelved for a few weeks.
- Late scratches included: T.Y. Hilton, Dalvin Cook, & Devonta Freeman.
That’s a lot to process, I know. Over 75 fantasy relevant players. But fantasy is a numbers game, so I wanted to share the numbers.
If you need better players, the trade is my favorite way to go. Check out my Week 6 Trade Targets, or pay attention for the list coming out later this week. Let me know your thoughts — who did I miss? Who else won you a week? Let me know on the Twitter machine: @MillerBadger. And as always, tell your friends… or don’t.