After five weeks, fantasy owners of Dalvin Cook and Devonta Freeman are lamenting those draft picks, while those who gambled on Austin Ekeler and Tyler Boyd feel as if their fantasy IQs went up sharply.
Week 6 constitutes a make-or-break moment for a host of players who have yet to live up to their preseason projections, along with those labeled as breakouts who are still digging to see the light of the expectations placed among them.
START: Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: Making his first start of the season, Winston gets a plum matchup against a Falcons secondary that has been strafed for 12 touchdown passes and is 28th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. Winston was 16 of 20 for 145 yards and a touchdown after mopping up for Ryan Fitzpatrick in a loss at the Bears. He won’t waste time getting the ball downfield to Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, so plug him in and watch him make up for lost time.
SIT: Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Receivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp both remain in concussion protocol and while it’s possible both will play, the matchup at the Broncos is filled with hurdles. Goff has been just OK on the road, averaging a modest 18 fantasy points in his first two road games compared to the 33 PPG he has averaged in three games in Los Angeles. Facing the Denver pass rush is also an issue, but Mother Nature will be the biggest reason to sit Goff, as the forecast Sunday calls for snow flurries and temperatures in the mid- to upper-20s at kickoff.
START: James White, RB, Patriots: Even with Julian Edelman back and Josh Gordon continuing to be added into the flow of the passing game, White remains a great play for the potential Sunday night slugfest against the Chiefs. In the last two games, White has 18 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns and will maintain that type of production against a Kansas City defense that allows seven catches and 90 yards per game to opposing running backs. In PPR formats, White is a borderline RB1 this week.
SIT: Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins: The injuries (ankle, knee, shoulder) are piling up on Peterson, who had only six yards on four carries in the Monday night loss at New Orleans. The Panthers have the sixth-best run defense in the league and it’s unlikely the Redskins will give him a full workload. If Peterson is limited, it will be a mild disappointment for those who’ve used him as a sneaky good pass catcher in PPR formats.
START: Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: Only the Buccaneers and Saints allow more fantasy points per game to opposing receivers than the Steelers, who can no longer put the bulk of their focus solely on A.J. Green. Boyd has caught nearly 70 percent of his targets and has seven catches of better than 20 yards, making him an excellent WR2 play against a Pittsburgh pass defense that has given up 13 touchdown passes and 21 completions of better than 20 yards.
SIT: Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders: He’s become too inconsistent, drawing only one target in last week’s loss to the Chargers. Whatever the cause of the disconnect between him and quarterback Derek Carr, Cooper’s down-up-down-up-down act is already wearing thin with his fantasy owners. The Seahawks secondary is no longer the feared unit it once was, but they are still ninth in the league in passing yards allowed per game and are second with nine interceptions. Maybe Cooper continues his yo-yo trend, but there’s little motivation to risk a spot in the lineup for it.
START: Chester Rogers, WR, Colts: With T.Y. Hilton doubtful, Rogers again plays the role of top wideout for Indianapolis, who faces a Jets team that is 26th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing receivers. This should play well for Rogers, who was targeted 11 times in each of the last two games. He has yet to score a touchdown this season yet the high volume of targets from Andrew Luck only increases the chances of him finally visiting the end zone.
SIT: Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers: Yes, he’s slated to play against the Redskins on Sunday. However, there is no indication as to how much he’ll be used. Either way, Olsen will need this game to get back into form. Washington is a modest 17th in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends, so there’s no need to feel that Olsen is missing a must-start opportunity. Olsen owners will be best off using this game as a gauge to how far along he is before becoming a viable fantasy starter once again.
START: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: After failing to throw multiple touchdown passes for the first time this year in last week’s loss to the Dolphins, Dalton will make up for lost chances against the Steelers, who are 31st in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. Dalton is averaging a solid 23 fantasy points per game and will exceed that number facing a defense that’s allowing 320.4 passing yards and nearly three touchdown passes per contest.
SIT: Dion Lewis, RB, Titans: Since scoring 16 fantasy points in Week 1, Lewis has a combined 15 FP in the last four games. The Titans have been unable to effectively utilize Lewis, who has only 60 rushing yards on 25 attempts over his last three games. Don’t expect those numbers to suddenly trend upward against a Ravens defense that is seventh in the league in rushing yards allowed and has given up only two rushing touchdowns all season.
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