Fantasy Football Week 6: Biggest Sleepers at Every Position
Week 6 sleeper picks will force fantasy managers to dig deep at quarterback and tight end. If you're in need of wide receiver help, a few players can easily slide into your WR2 or flex spot.
The Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders are on a bye week, so every position has a top performer or two who will ride the bench. Managers will have to find fill-ins for Russell Wilson, Alvin Kamara, DK Metcalf and Darren Waller.
Believe it or not, two 37-year-olds on opposing teams made this week's sleeper list. Although it seems odd to put your faith in two players way past their primes, they're in ideal situations that should draw your attention.
Before you scramble to fill voids in your starting lineup, take a look at the suggestions below. Every player is available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. New York Jets (40 percent rostered)
Ryan Fitzpatrick's first five games define boom or bust. In three contests, he's thrown for a combined seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. For the other two outings, the Miami Dolphins quarterback failed to log a touchdown pass but tossed five interceptions.
Fitzpatrick's hot and cold streaks should make you a bit nervous, but he's primed for another stellar performance against a New York Jets defense that allows 8.3 yards per pass attempt, which is tied for 28th across the league.
By the way, the Jets have allowed at least 30 points in each of their last four contests. Fitzpatrick should light up Gang Green's defense for multiple touchdowns at home.
Kirk Cousins vs. Atlanta Falcons (37 percent rostered)
Kirk Cousins may have to shoulder more of the offensive load with Dalvin Cook expected to sit out Sunday, per The Athletic's Chad Graff. With wideouts Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, he can handle the added responsibility to move the ball.
Over the last three outings, Cousins has averaged two touchdown passes with 249 yards or more. Cook played a role in the short passing game, but Alexander Mattison can fill a bigger role. He has eight catches for 57 yards. Tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. can also fill a void in the intermediate aerial attack.
We don't know what to expect from the Atlanta Falcons defense after head coach Dan Quinn's dismissal, but the team ranks 31st against the pass while tying for the most touchdowns allowed (15) through the air. That's a good enough reason to plug Cousins into your lineup.
Andy Dalton vs. Arizona Cardinals (23 percent rostered)
Andy Dalton will take over a high-octane Dallas Cowboys offense with Dak Prescott (ankle surgery) on injured reserve.
Dalton started for the Cincinnati Bengals for most of nine seasons from 2011 to 2019. He's posted modest passing numbers, only eclipsing 4,000 yards twice and 30 touchdowns once. However, the three-time Pro Bowler may have his most talented wide receiver group with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.
The Cowboys' aerial attack faces stiff competition as the Arizona Cardinals' fourth-ranked pass defense comes to AT&T Stadium.
Nonetheless, Dalton looked sharp for a quarter and a half under short notice in Week 5, completing nine of 11 passes for 111 yards. He's a deep sleeper who's worth a shot because of all the playmakers around him.
Duke Johnson vs. Tennessee Titans (26 percent rostered)
This suggestion is connected to Houston Texans interim head coach Romeo Crennel, who openly discussed the possibility of a bigger role for Duke Johnson going forward.
"We like what Duke brings to the table, and just like in the receiving area, one guy wasn't getting as many balls coming his way until last week," Crennel told reporters. "Next week, Duke might be the guy who shows up more in the running game and in the receiving game as well."
Johnson has just 78 scrimmage yards. However, he's someone to pick up in case Crennel delivers on his intent to give the sixth-year running back more touches. As a dual-threat playmaker, Johnson could provide give a boost at the flex position in point-per-reception leagues.
Frank Gore vs. Miami Dolphins (22 percent rostered)
What year is it? Yes, 37-year-old Frank Gore makes the sleepers list, which means you're probably desperate for running back production. Yet this is a rare moment that he's a solid flex option.
On Monday, head coach Adam Gase said he doesn't want to overload rookie fourth-rounder La'Mical Perine and "stunt his growth." The New York Jets released running back Le'Veon Bell on Tuesday. Assuming the lead skipper sticks to his word, Gore could touch the ball 15 to 20 times.
Managers shouldn't pass up on Gore's potential volume if they're scraping the bottom of the waiver wire for help at running back.
J.D. McKissic vs. New York Giants (9 percent rostered)
Despite his role as a backup running back, J.D. McKissic lists third on the Washington Football Team in targets (25). The offense doesn't have a solid No. 2 pass-catcher, so that opens the door for role players to produce solid numbers.
McKissic saw eight targets in each of the last two contests as Dwayne Haskins Jr., Kyle Allen and Alex Smith all took snaps under center. His role as a receiver out of the backfield seems steady.
The team reportedly cleared Allen (arm) to play Sunday. He'll have an opportunity to move the ball against the New York Giants' 18th-ranked scoring defense, which bodes well for McKissic, who's a big part of the short passing game.
Laviska Shenault Jr. vs. Detroit Lions (40 percent rostered)
Surprisingly, Laviska Shenault Jr. has flown under the radar. He's yet to have a breakout game with 100-plus-yards to push his name atop the waiver-wire list, but the rookie second-rounder's steady production warrants attention.
Shenault leads the Jacksonville Jaguars in catches (23) and receiving yards (270). In Week 5 against the Houston Texans, he led the team in targets (eight). Also of note, DJ Chark Jr. exited the game with an ankle injury. His status for the upcoming matchup remains unclear.
The Jaguars will face the Detroit Lions, who've surrendered nine passing touchdowns in four games. Against a defense that's vulnerable through the air, Shenault may have a busy day, especially with Chark out or suited up at less than 100 percent.
Keep a close eye on Shenault's practice participation. He missed Wednesday's session with a hamstring ailment.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31 percent rostered)
We haven't seen Aaron Rodgers in a week because of the Green Bay Packers bye, but just in case you forgot, he's on fire. The two-time All-Pro has thrown for 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions in four games, so managers should stack up on his pass-catchers.
Wideout Davante Adams missed two games with a hamstring injury but logged a full practice Wednesday. Regardless of Adams' status, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has sleeper appeal. He's a big-play pass-catcher who averages 17.5 yards per reception.
If Rodgers finds Valdes-Scantling deep, he could easily creep into the top 20 in scoring among wide receivers. The Packers face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense that ranks 16th but surrenders few scores (seven). Yet with Rodgers' hot hand, Valdes-Scantling makes the watch list as a decent WR3 or flex option.
Preston Williams vs. New York Jets (24 percent rostered)
If you're in need of a WR2 or flex option, take a chance with Preston Williams while he's hot.
In Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers, Williams recorded a career-high 106 receiving yards to go along with a touchdown. He has some boom potential, averaging 19.5 yards per catch. As a starter who plays 70 percent of the offensive snaps, the Colorado State product may reward you in favorable matchups.
Last week, the Dolphins beat the 49ers 43-17. Now they face the New York Jets, who give up the second-most points (tied with the Atlanta Falcons) and rank 25th against passing attacks. Managers can use a sleeper stack with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and Williams in their lineups.
Jimmy Graham vs. Carolina Panthers (49 percent rostered)
Over the last three weeks, Jimmy Graham has been heavily involved in the passing game. He saw 20 targets during that span.
Graham hasn't eclipsed 60 receiving yards in a game this season, but he's clearly the go-to pass-catcher in the red zone with a team-leading four touchdown receptions.
In Week 6, the Chicago Bears will face the Carolina Panthers' top-five pass defense, so don't expect Graham to rack up a ton of yards. However, his high target share gives him a good chance at a score if the Bears can advance the ball inside the Panthers' 20-yard line.
This recommendation relies solely on Graham's potential opportunities rather than the matchup.
Trey Burton vs. Cincinnati Bengals (9 percent rostered)
Trey Burton missed the first three weeks while on injured reserve with a calf injury. The coaching staff didn't ease him into the game plan upon his return to the field.
In two contests, Burton has seen 11 targets, securing seven passes for 49 yards. Those numbers won't excite you, but think back to the offseason for a moment. Head coach Frank Reich voluntarily mentioned Burton as someone who could have a productive season.
Once Burton suited up, Mo Alie-Cox, who had a couple of productive fantasy weeks, nearly disappeared in the passing offense. He has seen just three targets over the last two contests. Jack Doyle has four catches for 61 yards this season.
Burton is the tight end to roster from the Colts offense.
Cameron Brate vs. Green Bay Packers (4 percent rostered)
With tight end O.J. Howard on injured reserve with a torn Achilles, Cameron Brate saw a significant uptick in snaps and targets against the Bears, which led to a decent outing compared to his production from Week 1 to Week 4.
In Week 5, Brate hauled in five out of six targets for 44 yards. Before that game, he saw just two targets.
Howard's absence puts Brate's name on the fantasy radar because Rob Gronkowski isn't the dominant pass-catcher we saw with Tom Brady in New England before he retired in 2019.
While wide receiver Chris Godwin nurses a hamstring injury, Brate's spike in targets could lead to red-zone opportunities. He faces a Packers defense that ranks 19th against passing attacks.