Fantasy Football Week 6: Confident Calls on Toughest Lineup Decisions

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2018

Fantasy Football Week 6: Confident Calls on Toughest Lineup Decisions

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    The 2018 NFL season keeps chugging along, and it's been an adventure every step of the way. We're nearly a month and a half in, and we're still getting weekly surprises.

    Last week, we saw the Buffalo Bills knock off another quality opponent, while the Cleveland Browns played their third overtime game in five weeks—and finally won one. On top of that, a New York Giants receiver had a sideline meltdown, and his name wasn't Odell Beckham Jr.

    The surprises have carried into fantasy as well. The Kansas City Chiefs defense had a strong fantasy outing, Marshawn Lynch had a terrible one and Beckham threw for a touchdown.

    This cavalcade of curiosity makes it difficult to predict which second-tier fantasy options are worth the start. Well, we're to help by analyzing factors like opponent, early-season performances and player health.

    We'll be making our choices based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring formats. All rankings and fantasy statistics via FantasyPros.

QB Jameis Winston

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Jameis Winston is back as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter. Given the talent in Tampa's receiving corps, he's definitely worth a look as a streaming option.

    With Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford both on bye this week, a QB streamer may be exactly what you need.

    Fortunately, this is a terrific week to start Winston if you were lucky enough to grab him off the waiver wire. He'll be going up against a terrible Atlanta Falcons defense that allows an average of 277.2 yards passing per game (23rd in the NFL).

    In addition to facing a bad defense, Winston will benefit from having a virtually nonexistent running game beside him. As a team, Tampa has averaged just 3.1 yards per carry and 69.5 yards rushing per game.

    Winston will be asked to carry the offense. With a full two weeks to game-plan, the fact this will be his first start of 2018 shouldn't prevent him from doing that.

    Verdict: Start

    Projection: 328 yards, two TDs, one INT

QB Derek Carr

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    Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been a bit of a conundrum when it comes to fantasy. He has the tools and the talent around him to be a legitimate fantasy stud, but he hasn't been consistent enough to enter must-start territory.

    It looked like he was finally getting it together in Week 4 when he dropped 437 yards and four touchdowns on a very good Browns defense. However, he followed that up with a subpar day (268 yards, one touchdown, one interception) against the Los Angeles Chargers in front of what was essentially a home crowd.

    Should you trust Carr this week against the Seattle Seahawks? The short answer is no.

    The Legion of Boom may be no more, but the Seahawks have still provided a tough matchup for fantasy quarterbacks. In fact, only three teams have allowed fewer points to fantasy quarterbacks this season. Expect another average day for Carr over in London.

    Verdict: Sit

    Projection: 255 yards, one TD, one INT

RB Aaron Jones

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    It's not difficult to trust the talent of Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, who is averaging 6.1 yards per carry. What's tough is trusting that the Packers will utilize Jones enough to make him fantasy-relevant.

    Jones had just seven carries and two receptions last week.

    "It was fine," Jones said, per Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Jamaal [Williams] and Ty [Montgomery] were doing great. I didn't have any problem with it at all."

    Adams isn't as polished a pass-blocker as Williams or as reliable a pass-catcher as former receiver Montgomery. Therefore, it isn't surprising to see him underutilized when Green Bay is in pass-first mode.

    Against the struggling San Francisco 49ers, the Packers should be able to implement a more balanced offensive game plan. This should lead to more carries for Jones and more fantasy points for his owners.

    Verdict: Start

    Projection: 89 yards rushing, two receptions, 24 yards receiving, one TD

RB Adrian Peterson

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    For most of the season, Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson has been a reliable, if unspectacular, flex starter—up until last week, anyway.

    Peterson was on his way to a solid game against the New Orleans Saints—he had two receptions and 42 combined rushing and receiving yards—before suffering a shoulder injury. That injury makes Peterson a tough call against a Carolina Panthers defense that ranks a so-so 14th in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

    According to John Keim of ESPN.com, Peterson plans to play through his injury.

    If Washington didn't have Chris Thompson, Peterson might be worth the risk. However, Thompson is already the team's primary third-down back, and he's capable enough as a runner—he's been inconsistent but has hit some big plays to average 4.3 yards per carry—to cut further into whatever workload Peterson will have.

    Considering Peterson is 33 years old and at less than 100 percent, that workload could be on the slim side.

    Verdict: Sit

    Projection: 48 yards rushing

WR Josh Gordon

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    For the second straight week, New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon had a mere two receptions. Fortunately for those who decided to start him, one of those went for 34 yards and a score. Still, that isn't the kind of heavy workload that instills confidence in a fantasy owner.

    Gordon, though, has instilled confidence in quarterback Tom Brady.

    "I think it speaks to the trust I have in him in a very short period of time to make those types of plays," Brady said on The Kirk & Callahan Show on WEEI (h/t Darren Hartwell of NESN.com).

    If Brady trusts Gordon, we're going to trust him against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that has surrendered 343.0 passing yards per game (31st in the NFL).

    Yes, Gordon will be competing with Rob Gronkowski, James White and the recently reinstated Julian Edelman for targets, but if Brady truly does trust him to make big plays, he is going to get opportunities. In what could be a shootout with second-year phenom Patrick Mahomes, Gordon could get lots of big-play opportunities.

    Verdict: Start

    Projection: Five receptions, 98 yards, one TD

WR Allen Robinson

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    Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

    Chicago Bears wideout Allen Robinson hasn't been consistent this season—he had 10 receptions and 83 yards in Week 2 but five receptions and 73 yards in the next two games combined. He hasn't lived up to the expectations of those who expected him to be a No. 1 receiver with Chicago.

    However, Robinson has been all right as a low-end flex option. Though he had just two receptions and 23 yards last week, one was for a touchdown.

    While we expect a higher workload for Josh Gordon in Week 6, we don't see the same for Robinson against the Miami Dolphins. The Miami defense isn't perfect, but it has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts this season.

    In addition to a less-than-ideal matchup, Robinson faces the prospect of having Chicago's defense lead a low-scoring, run-intensive game plan. Chicago has allowed just 16.3 points per game, second-fewest in the NFL, which means Robinson is unlikely to benefit from a shootout.

    Verdict: Sit

    Projection: Two receptions, 48 yards

WR Antonio Callaway

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Rookie Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway has flashed playmaking potential, but drops and inconsistent play have made him an unreliable fantasy option. Callaway saw just five targets and finished with three receptions and 22 yards in Week 5.

    However, Callaway is likely looking at a significant role against the Chargers this week. Fellow wideout Rashard Higgins is expected to be out between two and four weeks with a sprained MCL, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

    This should leave Callaway as the unquestioned No. 2 receiver opposite Jarvis Landry. He'll fill that role against a Chargers defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

    The only team to allow more fantasy points to opposing wideouts is the Saints. Callaway had three receptions, 81 yards and a touchdown against them in Week 2.

    Verdict: Start

    Projection: Four receptions, 76 yards, one TD

WR Corey Davis

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    Tennessee Titans wideout Corey Davis had a breakout game in Week 4, racking up 161 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions. This may have led you to insert him into your starting lineup, only to experience Week 5 disappointment.

    Against the Buffalo Bills, Davis amassed 49 yards on four receptions. That's not disastrous for a low-end flex starter, but it's far from what you expect from a team's No. 1 receiver. Unfortunately, it's also about what we should expect from Davis against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6.

    The Ravens are allowing just 215.4 yards passing per game and have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

    Starting Davis is already a risk because of the uncertainty that surrounds Tennessee's passing attack. Marcus Mariota has thrown for fewer than 130 yards in three of his four games this season. With one of the league's top pass defenses on the other side of the scrimmage line, Davis is best avoided.

    Verdict: Sit

    Projection: Four receptions, 42 yards

TE C.J. Uzomah

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    Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah is far is far from fantasy gold. He has just nine receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown this season. Even with Tyler Eifert out for the year, he makes for a tough decision because the Bengals have no shortage of receiving options.

    Against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, however, Uzomah becomes more appealing.

    The Steelers defense played respectably against the Falcons last week, but it's largely been a mess this season. Pittsburgh has allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game this season at 296.2.

    Pittsburgh has also allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

    Uzomah had two receptions for 43 yards last week against the Dolphins. He could double his production against the Steelers. Expect him to be a solid TE option.

    Verdict: Start

    Projection: Four receptions, 76 yards

Redskins D/ST

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    Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

    Heading into last week's game against the Saints, Washington boasted the top defense in the NFC with 278.0 yards per game allowed. Of course, the Redskins were cut apart by Drew Brees and the Saints to the tune of 447 yards and 43 points.

    While the Panthers aren't the offensive juggernaut the Saints have been most of the season—the Saints average 10 more points per game—they have averaged 32 points over their last two games. In addition, Carolina hasn't been handing out easy fantasy points.

    Fantasy D/ST units have averaged just 3.8 fantasy points against the Panthers this season.

    Don't expect the Washington defense to get decimated like it did in New Orleans, but it won't be a quality fantasy option either.

    Verdict: Sit

    Projection: 28 points allowed, two sacks, one INT

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