Fantasy Football Week 6 BS Meter
Getting ahead of your competition will win you a fantasy football championship if you're cautiously aggressive.
For instance, if you're undefeated or 4-1 with a solid-to-strong running back stable that includes David Johnson, this might be the time to make a move. Even though Johnson is coming off another top-10 performance, a lot of his value is tied to touchdowns. It makes sense in the long run to turn him into a more stable asset on a better, contending team (or into assets on contending teams).
If you've been streaming quarterbacks over the first month of the 2018 season, one extra step is to find someone who has more than just one good matchup over the next few weeks. Baker Mayfield fits into this category based on his schedule over the next two months, so adding him now could be a shrewd, low-risk move that pays off with multiple weeks of great production.
The best fantasy owners know when to let go before it's too late.
It's easy to cling to positive memories of players with name value like Larry Fitzgerald or Russell Wilson, especially if they are failing to live up to expectations. If you're unsure about what to do with formerly great fantasy assets, focus on the numbers and not the names. Sometimes, it's easy to cloud your judgment if you can't separate your feelings from the reality of poor production.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations covering the most pressing issues in fantasy football heading into Week 6. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10, with 1 being completely true and 10 being total B.S.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
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T.J. Yeldon Is an RB1 Until Further Notice
The Jacksonville Jaguars are hurting at the running back position.
Leonard Fournette's hamstring injury won't go away, and according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, he'll miss Week 6 after sitting out Weeks 2, 3 and 5. Fournette has been on the field for just 45 snaps this season, and the timetable for his return is indefinite. Rapoport also reported Corey Grant is done for the season following the Lisfranc injury he suffered in Week 5.
That's all bad news for the Jaguars, but it's turned T.J. Yeldon into a major fantasy asset. With Fournette out and Grant limited to just two snaps in Week 5, Yeldon had 10 carries for 53 yards and eight receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets to finish with 26.2 fantasy points. Yeldon saw a season-high 92.8 percent of the snap share.
For the season, he is a top-10 fantasy back with 89.2 fantasy points (17.84 fantasy points per game). He's handled 59 of 122 rushing attempts (48.4 percent) for the Jaguars and 32 of 211 targets (15.2 percent) in five weeks. At 4.4 yards per carry and 8.8 yards per reception, Yeldon is not only getting a boost from a major workload, but he's also performing well in the role.
The Jaguars have no choice but to keep Yeldon this busy, so you can continue to start him with confidence as an RB1 until Fournette can prove he can stay on the field and perform the duties of a lead back. Yeldon has quickly become one of the top—if not the top—waiver-wire additions this season.
B.S. Meter on Yeldon being an RB1 until further notice: 1/10
Now Is the Time to Sell David Johnson
Relying on touchdowns to carry fantasy value is always dangerous but especially on bad teams.
If you've been rolling with David Johnson over the first five weeks, those touchdowns are making up the bulk of his production. You're fooling yourself if you think Johnson can find his way back into the top tier of fantasy running backs this season. He's surviving as a fringe RB1 because of his five total touchdowns, which is why this is the time to sell him high.
After the Cardinals gave Johnson just 34 carries (116 yards) in the first three games, they fed him 40 times (126 yards) in the last two weeks. He scored once on the ground in those first three weeks but has since added three touchdowns in the last two contests. Johnson has just nine red-zone carries, with five coming inside the 10-yard line and three coming inside the 5-yard line. Twenty-two players have more red-zone carries. Ten players have more carries inside the 5-yard line.
Johnson may not be going far when he carries the ball, but at least he's getting opportunities.
The same can't be said for his role in the passing game. Inexplicably, he hasn't had more than four targets in a game since Week 1, when he caught five of nine targets for 30 yards. Since then, he has a total of 13 targets, 10 receptions, 90 yards and a touchdown. Larry Fitzgerald (25), Ricky Seals-Jones (25) and Christian Kirk (26) all have more targets than Johnson.
On the season, the Cardinals have scored just 65 points, which includes a defensive touchdown in Week 5. With a rookie quarterback in Josh Rosen and a young receiving corps outside Fitzgerald, Arizona is in an obvious rebuilding state, which is fine, but it's not good for Johnson's reliability. Because his fantasy value is so tied to touchdowns on a bad team, his margin for error is slim. Now is the time to sell him while he remains among the top 12 running backs in fantasy points. Regression could hit him hard.
B.S. Meter on now being the time to sell Johnson: 2/10
The Colts Will Continue to Feature Eric Ebron
Fantasy players have no choice but to keep an open mind when it comes to the tight end position. For the Indianapolis Colts, that initially meant buying into the idea that both Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron could have value. Week 1 gave us that, with Doyle posting seven receptions for 60 yards on 10 targets and Ebron turning five targets into four receptions, 51 yards and a touchdown.
Unfortunately for the Colts, that tandem hasn't been on the field together since Doyle injured his hip in Week 2. After Ebron played just 45.1 percent of the snaps in the opener, he dropped to 26.2 percent in Week 2, yet he found the end zone on one of his three catches for 26 yards. Without Doyle in Week 3, Ebron had just five receptions for 33 yards. But his targets shot up to 11, and his snap share went all the way up to 88.1 percent.
When Doyle missed Week 4, Ebron had another busy but more productive game with five receptions for 40 yards and a score on 10 targets in an 83.5 percent snap share. Doyle would once again sit out Thursday's matchup with the New England Patriots, and this time Ebron went off for nine receptions, 105 yards and two touchdowns on 15 targets while playing 71.1 percent of the snaps.
Not only did Ebron finish Week 5 as the top fantasy tight end, but through five weeks, he's the No. 3 tight end in total fantasy points. Doyle's return from a hip injury is unknown, although it's hard to see him seriously hurting Ebron's output. Ebron leads the Colts in targets (45) and touchdowns (5) and is second in receptions (26) and yards (255). He's also third in the league among all players with 12 red-zone targets.
The Colts would be foolish to mess with one of the only bright spots of the season. You can expect Ebron's role to remain large, which keeps him firmly in the TE1 tier.
B.S. Meter on the Colts continuing to feature Ebron: 3/10
Baker Mayfield Is Primed for a Fantasy Breakout
It's not a coincidence that the Cleveland Browns have two wins in three of Baker Mayfield's appearances. Tyrod Taylor was a safe but underwhelming starter with a low ceiling. Mayfield is much more willing to attempt tougher throws, even if that means making mistakes, which is fine for the rookie.
In two starts (three games), Mayfield is 63-of-107 for 838 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in addition to 31 rushing yards on eight attempts. After posting just 12.8 fantasy points in a Week 4 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Mayfield bounced back with 342 yards, one touchdown and an interception along with 23 rushing yards for 17.98 fantasy points in a Week 5 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
That was good enough for a top-15 finish among fantasy QBs.
If you've been streaming quarterbacks, Mayfield might be a name to grab now and hang on to for the next two months. Starting this week, he faces the Los Angeles Chargers at home followed by two road games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Weeks 9-10 bring the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons to Cleveland before the Week 11 bye. The Browns go back on the road for the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans in Weeks 12-13.
Based on the first five weeks of the season, every single opponent Mayfield faces from Weeks 6-13 is a bottom-11 defense in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Kansas City all in the bottom five.
You can't ask for a better schedule for a fantasy quarterback, so Mayfield has a good chance of turning into a reliable fantasy producer over the next two months. It may not always be pretty, but the volume should be there. And with the matchups in his favor, he has the talent around him and in him to produce.
B.S. Meter on Mayfield being primed for a fantasy breakout: 4/10
An RB2 Will Emerge from Jay Ajayi's Injury
Just when it seemed like the Philadelphia Eagles were approaching full health in their starting offense, they lost starting running back Jay Ajayi to a torn ACL, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Ajayi was already playing with a back issue and had missed Week 3, so the Eagles had been operating with Ajayi at less than 100 percent, yet this is still a blow.
In true Doug Pederson fashion, the Eagles have had three running backs lead the team in fantasy points in five weeks. Ajayi did it in Week 1 (20.2) and Week 4 (11.1), Corey Clement had it in Week 2 (19.5), and Wendell Smallwood was out in front for Week 3 (18.1) and Week 5 (16.1). None of the Eagles have carried it more than 16 times (Clement in Week 3), with Ajayi notching 15 carries in Weeks 1 and 4. Smallwood leads the group as a receiver with 10 receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets, although Clement does have eight receptions for 74 yards on 10 targets in three games.
Where does this leave this backfield for fantasy? In the short term, the answer might be Smallwood if the team makes the decision on who to go with based on health. Even though Clement was active for Week 5, he didn't see the field after sitting out Week 4 with a quad injury. Clement was listed as a full participant for Monday's walkthrough practice, while Darren Sproles (hamstring) was still sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Smallwood's snap count has risen every week this season. He played one snap in the opener and was all the way up to 49.2 percent of the snaps in Week 5. Clement topped out at 54.9 percent in Week 3, which was the only game Ajayi missed. Ajayi had at 51.3 percent snap share in Week 4, so even as the lead back, he didn't dominate the snaps.
This will likely be a committee without a clear, top option for fantasy. You should consider Clement and Smallwood RB3/flex options with RB2 potential for whoever grabs the lead in a given week. As of now, this looks like the group the Eagles will roll with, along with Josh Adams. According to Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the team doesn't have plans to pursue Le'Veon Bell. Don't expect one player to replace Ajayi or his fantasy production.
B.S. Meter on an RB2 emerging from Jay Ajayi's injury: 5/10
Amari Cooper Is a Reliable, Weekly Starter
The fantasy roller coaster known as Amari Cooper hit a predictable valley in Week 5 with one reception for 10 yards on his only target. He had a tough matchup against cornerback Casey Hayward and the Los Angeles Chargers in what ended up being a lopsided 26-10 loss for the Oakland Raiders.
This down game followed Cooper's pattern over the first five weeks. In Week 1, he caught just one of three targets for nine yards against a difficult opponent in the Los Angeles Rams. He shot all the way up to 10 receptions for 116 yards on 10 targets when he faced the Denver Broncos in Week 2. He crashed back down to two receptions for 17 yards on five targets in Week 3 versus the Miami Dolphins before jumping up to eight receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets in a Week 4 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Through five weeks, he's averaging 4.4 receptions, 56.0 yards and 6.2 targets per game, which puts him at 11.38 fantasy points per game. Despite two huge games, Cooper's three awful performances keep him out of the top 35 fantasy wide receivers for the season.
At this point, Cooper shouldn't be considered anything more than a WR3 for fantasy. He might have the biggest difference between his floor and ceiling, so as long as you don't overrate him, he can't disappoint you. That's also a good description of the Oakland Raiders as a whole.
B.S. Meter on Cooper being a reliable, weekly starter: 6/10
Ronald Jones Should Continue to Play Behind Peyton Barber
Ronald Jones had an awful preseason, so despite the Tampa Bay Buccaneers using the No. 38 overall pick on him, they entered the season with Peyton Barber on top of the depth chart. Instead of Jones backing up Barber, he was inactive for the first three games with Jacquizz Rodgers serving as the No. 2 back behind Barber.
Barber was busy over the first two games with 35 carries, but he managed just 81 yards and one reception for seven yards on two targets and no touchdowns. The Buccaneers won those games, so Barber stayed involved and active throughout, which wasn't the case for Week 3. The Buccaneers had to play from behind against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which explains why Barber was limited to eight carries for 33 yards.
Apparently, the Buccaneers finally felt they could get Jones into the mix for the Week 4 game with the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, the Buccaneers got blown out, so it was hard to get Jones involved in anything more than garbage time. Nine of his 10 carries came after the Buccaneers were already trailing 45-3 in the third quarter. Still, he had more touches than Barber (11-8), although he wound up with just 29 rushing yards and minus-one receiving yards.
With the Buccaneers coming out of the bye in Week 6 against the Atlanta Falcons, they'll go back to Jameis Winston and could increase Jones' workload and snap count after he played 31.7 percent in Week 4. Barber did nothing over the first month to put serious distance between him and Jones, so this could be the time for the rookie to get his chance. Atlanta allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs over the first five weeks, so Jones could be an intriguing reach play.
B.S. Meter on if Jones should continue to play behind Barber: 7/10
The Falcons Can Get Fantasy Value Out of 3 Running Backs
In Week 5, Devonta Freeman returned from the knee injury that kept him sidelined since Week 1. With the luxury of also having Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith, the Falcons didn't have to rush Freeman back into a big role. He was limited to just 38.9 percent of the snaps with eight carries for 32 yards and two receptions for nine yards on two targets. Coleman was right behind Freeman with seven carries for 15 yards and two receptions on two targets for 15 yards with 37.5 percent snap share.
Rookie Ito Smith remained in the mix just enough to be annoying, which could be an ongoing problem. He played just 12 snaps, turning three carries into five yards and a touchdown in addition to one catch on one target for five yards. When Freeman was out, Smith played between 14.7 and 42.9 percent of snaps in three games with 18 carries for 75 yards and a score plus seven receptions for 62 yards on eight targets.
Freeman's three-game absence put Coleman clearly out in front with 45 carries for 191 yards and nine receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. In those games, he topped out at 77.9 percent of the snaps with a low of 57.1 percent.
The question now becomes how the Falcons can get the most out of this backfield. Ideally, Freeman would have a clear lead to put him into the low-RB1/high-RB2 territory with Coleman involved enough to be considered a low RB2/high RB3 similar to how the Los Angeles Chargers use Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler.
The problem with that plan is the presence of Smith. He leads the team with 10 carries in the red zone and is tied with Coleman with five inside the 10-yard line. This backfield was already tough enough to deal with when it was just Freeman and Coleman, but if Smith is dominating the red-zone attempts, it could be a nightmare. It's hard to have a lot of faith in offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to get the most out of this talented backfield.
B.S. Meter on the Falcons getting fantasy value out of three running backs: 8/10
Russell Wilson Will Finish the Season as a Top-10 Fantasy Quarterback
Coming into Week 5, Russell Wilson was the No. 20 quarterback in total fantasy points (59.7) and 24th in fantasy points per game (14.9). That means he was a low-end backup at best and falling well short of expectations for the season. Week 5 was an improvement, but is it the best we'll see from Wilson in 2018?
He completed just 13 of 21 pass attempts for 198 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions to finish with 19.9 fantasy points, which was good for a top-12 finish. It was his best outing since he posted 20.4 fantasy points in Week 1 to tie Kirk Cousins for the ninth-most fantasy points that week. That was also the last game he threw for more than 226 yards.
Touchdowns have been the saving grace of Wilson's season. He has 10 in five games, although he was blanked in a Week 4 win over the Arizona Cardinals. In the last three weeks, Wilson failed to throw for 200 yards and didn't attempt more than 26 passes. Wilson's average of 28.4 attempts per game means the Seahawks are 29th in that category and in front of just the Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins.
Perhaps the most telling stat is Wilson's rushing yards. He has just 42 on 11 attempts including no attempts in Week 5. The Seahawks aren't making an effort to get Wilson going and he's not taking off on his own, which might be related to the hamstring injury he's dealt with over the last few weeks.
Wilson's lack of volume in the passing game coupled with a major decrease in his typical rushing numbers hurts any chance of him performing at a high level for fantasy. It's hard to see much changing for Wilson, so it's time to accept that he's not a weekly starter even if you drafted him to be one.
B.S. Meter on Wilson finishing the season as a top-10 fantasy quarterback: 9/10
Larry Fitzgerald Should Remain on Fantasy Rosters
No one likes to admit when a player is done, especially a future NFL Hall of Famer like Larry Fitzgerald, but in the fantasy world, his value is long gone.
Fitzgerald opened the season with seven receptions for 76 yards on 10 targets and looked like he'd be a reliable, active target for Sam Bradford. He followed that up with just three receptions for 28 yards on five targets and hasn't had a game better than that over the last three weeks. Week 3 was a two-reception, nine-yard effort on two targets. His targets jumped back up to seven in Week 4, but he managed just three catches for 28 yards. A Week 5 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers looked appealing, yet Fitzgerald had just a pair of catches totaling 35 yards on three targets.
He leads the team in targets (27) and is second in receptions (19) and yards (176) to rookie Christian Kirk, but he hasn't found the end zone and has just two red-zone targets. The Arizona Cardinals have just 65 points on the season, so scoring opportunities aren't even there to make up for Fitzgerald's lack of production.
He's battled through hamstring and back issues over the last few weeks, so while he's admirable to play through the injuries, he's just not producing enough to consider being even worthy of a bench spot. That might be tough to reconcile, but with 34.6 fantasy points on the season, he's not even a top-60 fantasy wide receiver. It's a tough pill to swallow, but you don't need to keep Fitzgerald on your roster.
B.S. Meter on if Fitzgerald should remain on fantasy rosters: 10/10