Can you believe that we’re almost halfway through the Fantasy Football regular season? Week 6 will mark the real turning point for many owners. If you’re down, you’re not out yet. Even if you have just a couple of wins, things can change very quickly in the NFL, just ask Alvin Kamara owners how they feel about the return of Mark Ingram!
Week 5 was another exciting week, especially watching another record-breaking performance when Drew Brees hit rookie WR Tre’Quan Smith for a 62-yard TD. Another record was also quietly set when Adam Thielen recorded his 5th straight 100+ yard game to open the season.
But that was last week. What are we looking forward to in Week 6?
1. Backfields In Flux
There are quite a few backfield situations to monitor around the NFL and see if Week 6 can give us any insight as to the path forward. The biggest question comes out of Philadelphia where Jay Ajayi has been placed on the I.R., and his replacement was not at all clear to fantasy players. After last night’s game, it appears to be a clear split between Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement. In Atlanta, Devonta Freeman has popped back up in the injury news with a bone contusion in his foot, putting his upcoming schedule in doubt. Out west, desperate owners are trying to figure out the guy, if there is one, that the 49ers have to rely on with Matt Breida being banged up, again. Down in Duval (Jacksonville), Leonard Fournette is out for Week 6 and likely through the team’s bye week. Jamaal Charles was just signed to backup to TJ Yeldon but is unlikely to have any major impact for fantasy purposes.
2. Bye Week Management
There are a few things to keep in mind with the Week 6 and upcoming bye weeks. First, Week 6 is the last week for just two teams to have off, as Week 7 kicks off a five-week stretch of the traditional four teams off, with six teams missing weeks 9 and 11. After Week 6 is the perfect time to start shopping your players with upcoming bye weeks while targeting players who have already had their bye. My top priority target is Alvin Kamara. After a fantastic start to the season, Kamara was a major letdown for owners with the return of Mark Ingram. Play up that storyline and make a strong play for Kamara after this weekend.
Bye weeks are also great times to watch for rookies to emerge. After the Week 6 bye for Detroit, it won’t be a surprise to see the Detroit Lions finally push LeGarrette Blount and his 2.5 yards per carry to the wayside and allow the exciting rookie Kerryon Johnson and his 5.7 ypc to become the primary ball carrier. Johnson has the skills and potential to become a league winner of the opportunity share changes. His performance to this point has been as a flex player, so targeting him in a trade should not be too expensive.
3. NFL Trade Deadline
Speaking of trading, the NFL trade deadline is Week 8. While the NFL rarely sees deadline trades and pales in comparison to baseball and basketball’s frenzy at their respective deadlines, we have seen trades take place. Keep an eye on the most realistic trade rumors. Making a preemptive trade could land you an underperforming player for well below market value if traded to the right team, such as LeSean McCoy being traded to the Eagles. Conversely, take advantage of any hype of a potential trade, as non-RB players that change teams rarely make a significant impact on the new team as they learn a new system.
4. The Highs and Lows of NFL Kickers
Many leagues have eliminated the kicker from their fantasy rosters (for good reasons!), but kickers are still impacting their respective NFL teams. When a kicker misses an FG attempt, the opposing team often gets the ball back with better field position than if the kick was good. Additionally, kickers like Mason Crosby can put the offense in a catch-up position, which all fantasy owners appreciate.
On the flip side, kickers can be the hero of the game. Take, for example, Graham Gano, who kicked a 63-yard game winning field goal to defeat the Giants*.
*Fun Fact: There have been 18 FGs of 60 or more yards in the history of the NFL (dating to 1970). In the past four seasons (2015-2018) there have been four, two of which have been game-winners against the Giants: Jake Elliot’s 61-yarder in 2017 and Graham Gano’s 63-yarder last week.
Here’s the problem with kickers in fantasy football, exemplified perfectly in Week 5: Through the first four weeks, Mason Crosby was one of the highest scoring kickers, and he got plenty of opportunities in Week 5 with 5 FG attempts and an extra point attempt. Even with those attempts, Crosby had a terrible day, missing 4-of-5 FGs and an extra point. The previous games and opportunity made him a great play for owners until he scored negative points for all those misses. On the flip side, Gano was coming off a bye week and had just three total FG attempts in the three previous games going into the week. He was not a highly started kicker for Week 5, but his 4 FGs (63, 47, 47, 39) and 3 XPs scored him between 15 and 22.6 points, depending on scoring format.
5. Time to Sell?
There are quite a few big name players that are not living up to their draft spot. At some point owners need to decide if it’s time to sell or bench the “stud” in place of a higher performing player. Week 6 is that perfect time to evaluate your team, identify the current weaknesses a make a real play to improve it. Once the Week 6 games have played out, if you draft day stud is still looking like a bust, it’s time to make drastic moves for the second half of the fantasy season and get your team playoff ready.