Fantasy Football Week 6: Rankings, Projections and Waiver-Wire Tips

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2016

An early look at Week 6 hints at a week of explosive production.
An early look at Week 6 hints at a week of explosive production.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Early projections can make all the difference in fantasy football on a week-to-week basis. 

While others still await Monday Night Football between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers, owners can starting looking ahead to Week 6 and gaining an advantage in matchups and on the waiver wire. 

These early projections can say a lot. Last week, some people might have advised trotting out New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady against the Cleveland Browns at any cost (he scored 29 points). Others might have said Chicago Bears wide receiver Cameron Meredith is one of the best sleepers around with Kevin White hurt (he scored 17). Even more might have classified New York Jets running back Matt Forte as a massive bust (he scored five).

Here is what this week's early projections have to say about Week 6.

    

Week 6 Schedule

Thursday, October 13Time (ET)
Denver at San Diego8:25 p.m.
Sunday, October 16
L.A. Rams at Detroit1 p.m.
San Francisco at Buffalo1 p.m.
Jacksonville at Chicago1 p.m.
Cleveland at Tennessee1 p.m.
Philadelphia at Washington1 p.m.
Baltimore at N.Y. Giants1 p.m.
Carolina at New Orleans1 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Miami1 p.m.
Cincinnati at New England1 p.m.
Kansas City at Oakland4:05 p.m.
Atlanta at Seattle4:25 p.m
Dallas at Green Bay4:25 p.m
Indianapolis at Houston8:30 p.m.
Monday, October 3
N.Y. Jets at Arizona8:30 p.m.
Minnesota, Tampa Bay on bye. Source: ESPN.com

Quarterback

RankPlayerProjected Points
1Ben Roethlisberger24
2Cam Newton*23
3Tom Brady21
4Carson Palmer20
5Derek Carr19
6Drew Brees18
7Andrew Luck18
8Matthew Stafford17
9Blake Bortles17
10Dak Prescott16
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Boom: Carson Palmer, ARI (vs. NYJ)

By the sounds of it, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is ready to return with a vengeance in Week 6.

Palmer missed Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers, and he has some making up to do with fantasy owners after totaling only 14 points over his prior two outings.

Rest assured Palmer has spent his time in concussion protocol analyzing the weak New York Jets, who have allowed 12 passing touchdowns over the first five games of the season.

Palmer will merely be the latest to torch the Jets, doing so in the comfort of home after enjoying extra time off.

    

Bust: Matt Ryan, ATL (at SEA) 

It's not fun to sit a guy like Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

After all, Ryan entered Week 5 as the highest scorer at his position before tossing only one touchdown on the road against the Denver Broncos.

Like it or not, owners should expect the same thing in Week 6.

Ryan has to take on the Seattle Seahawks on the road, which means fighting uphill against a unit that has allowed only one double-digit outing to an opposing passer—and just one passing touchdown all year.

    

Sleeper: Alex Smith, KC (at OAK)

Want a smooth streaming waiver-wire add at quarterback?

Try Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Smith hasn't done much this year outside of a juicy matchup against the San Diego Chargers, where he tallied 27 points. Similar production against the Oakland Raiders wouldn't be much of a shock, though.

Last year, Smith hit the Raiders up for a 24-point outing in one of two games. This year, the Raiders have managed to allow 21 or more points to four different quarterbacks. Going against a familiar opponent, Smith (owned in 23.4 percent of leagues) should hit on that floor while spreading the ball around.

     

Running back

RankPlayerProjected Points
1DeMarco Murray15
2Ezekiel Elliott15
3Le'Veon Bell15
4Isaiah Crowell14
5Carlos Hyde14
6David Johnson14
7Melvin Gordon13
8DeAngelo Williams13
9LeSean McCoy13
10C.J. Anderson12
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Boom: DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs. CLE)

DeMarco Murray continues to cruise in Tennessee.
DeMarco Murray continues to cruise in Tennessee.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

DeMarco Murray has helped put the "fantasy" into fantasy football this year, because this is some odd timeline where he has escaped the Philadelphia Eagles and is once again a fantasy juggernaut.

Murray now does his damage with the Tennessee Titans and has already hit on 17 or more points three times. Expected or not, he's getting a rich blend of work out of the backfield, rushing and catching passes on the way to production.

Now the Murray show welcomes the Cleveland Browns to town, which is about as bad as it sounds. Cleveland has coughed up 20 or more fantasy points to three opposing backfields—numbers Murray could hit on his own.

     

Bust: Todd Gurley, LA (at DET)

It's back to the fantasy struggle house for Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley. 

Gurley hit on 14 points against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5, but it was only his second foray into double-digit production on the season.

A trip back to single digits makes the most sense when Gurley hits the road against the Detroit Lions in Week 6. The Lions have yet to allow a rushing score on the year, let alone notable fantasy production to a back.

Gurley is talented, but Detroit figures to control the contest.

   

Sleeper: Chris Ivory, JAC (at CHI)

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory might not be the best waiver option around from an availability standpoint (he's owned in 60.1 percent of leagues), but he's a must-add regardless.

Ivory comes out of a Week 5 bye likely to take the starting gig back after health issues marred the start of his season. He didn't see much work in Week 4 but had dealt with a lingering issue during the week's preparation.

Now Ivory gets to beat up on the Chicago Bears, who have already allowed 20 or more points to two opposing backfields. Chicago has done somewhat well against passers, so Jacksonville could look to keep it on the ground to get a win.

   

Wide Receiver

RankPlayerProjected Points
1Antonio Brown21
2Julio Jones19
3Michael Crabtree19
4A.J. Green17
5Marvin Jones16
6Will Fuller V16
7Kelvin Benjamin16
8Larry Fitzgerald15
9Jordy Nelson13
10Demaryius Thomas12
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Boom: Antonio Brown, PIT (at MIA) 

Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown has wildly impressed already this season, scoring five touchdowns and not really having any problems living up to fantasy expectations.

It's about to get better.

Thank the hapless Miami Dolphins. The Ndamukong Suh-led defense has found a way to cough up six receiving touchdowns to wideouts already. Four wide receiving corps so far have gone for 22 fantasy points or more against Miami.

Brown might just hit that bar on his own if the target-happy offense keeps gunning his way—Miami doesn't have a defender who can keep up with him.

    

Bust: Julian Edelman, NE (vs. CIN) 

On the other end of the expectation realm is New England Patriots wideout Julian Edelman.

While Edelman had to ponder life without Brady for four weeks, the quarterback's return didn't make much of a difference in Week 5—Edelman scored three points against the Browns while the offense focused on the tight ends.

Expect more of the same in Week 6 against the Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed six touchdowns to wideouts but is also weak against tight ends.

   

Sleeper: Cameron Meredith, CHI (at JAC) 

Mentioned in the intro, Meredith isn't done trying to convince fantasy owners to pick him up.

Meredith totaled his 17 points by way of nine catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. For those wondering, his 12 targets were more than quarterback Brian Hoyer gave to Alshon Jeffery, Zach Miller and Eddie Royal.

The two built a rapport as backups before injuries claimed the guys in front of them on the depth chart. Now that chemistry gets to strike it hot again thanks to a matchup with the Jaguars, who have allowed seven touchdowns to wideouts.

  

Tight End

RankPlayerProjected Points
1Jimmy Graham11
2Travis Kelce10
3Zach Miller10
4Greg Olsen9
5Dwayne Allen9
6Martellus Bennett8
7Jacob Tamme8
8Eric Ebron*8
9Delanie Walker6
10Jordan Reed5
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Boom: Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. ATL) 

Jimmy Graham has looked like his old self over the past few weeks.
Jimmy Graham has looked like his old self over the past few weeks.Elsa/Getty Images

There was a time when Jimmy Graham fell off the face of the planet in terms of fantasy relevancy.

That time is long gone, with Graham totaling 14 and 11 points over the past two weeks. Now his Seahawks get to clash with the Falcons.

Graham has seen a major uptick in usage just in time for an encounter with a defense that coughed up five touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the first five weeks of the season.

    

Bust: Jordan Reed, WAS (vs. PHI) 

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed is by far one of fantasy's best players, but there is only so much he can do in a poor matchup. 

Case in point—on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, Reed managed only five points.

This could be repeat-performance territory for Reed thanks to a Week 6 encounter with the Philadelphia Eagles. Against a defense that has yet to give up a score to the position, Reed is looking another single-point outing in the eye.

     

Sleeper: Gary Barnidge, CLE (at TEN)

Owners might be wary of any Cleveland Browns player, but remember the hot streak Gary Barnidge went on last year?

He might be on the cusp of something similar. Barnidge led the Browns in yards and targets last week on the way to seven fantasy points. It doesn't sound like much, but he's now hit 57 or more yards in three straight games.

Add a touchdown to that and owners are cooking. Given the question mark under center in Cleveland, Barnidge will continue to see heaps of targets.

   

Defense/Special Teams

RankUnitProjected Points
1Cardinals10
2Texans9
3Broncos9
4Eagles9
5Bills8
6Ravens7
7Seahawks7
8Chiefs6
9Rams6
10Bengals6
Author's projections.

     

All scoring info and statistics courtesy of ESPN.com standard leagues, as are points-against info and ownership stats.

Follow Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) on Twitter.

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