Editor’s Note: Check out previous Film Studies including Is Julio Jones a Poor Red-Zone WR? and Is Andrew Luck Really Back?

We’re turning the page towards Week 6 and there were a number of eye-popping fantasy performances that we need to take notice of especially heading into placing waiver wire bids. Instead of just looking at the box scores, we had some of our Footballers Writing Staff do the watching for you. We took a look at a couple of Week’s 5 standouts: Robby AndersonChristian Kirk, Wendell Smallwood, and Austin Hooper.

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Robby Anderson– WR, New York Jets

What we remember most about Robby Anderson is that when he was teamed up with Josh McCown, he was a week winner. For a 10 week stretch (Weeks 3-13), Anderson was the WR4 in standard leagues. However, he also had fewer than 6 standard fantasy points in half of his games as a player with his boom potential also is known to bust. This year his fantasy value has been completely non-existent. However, he blew up for 2 long TDs against the Broncos, who have now given up the 2nd most deep ball completions (20+ yards) in the league. So what happened on film and how can that help us moving forward?

Here’s Anderson’s 1st TD and I wanted to show you how subtle and how easily this could be defended, especially on a 3rd down play.

First off, Anderson’s speed should be respected a bit more with safety help over the top. I chalk this up to poor discipline by Bradley Roby and the Broncos defense as there’s little reason anyone should have this much separation, especially a player that is known as a one-trick pony. You would think Roby would’ve learned his lesson but he got beat of another ball in the back of the end zone as rookie QB Sam Darnold trusted his playmaker to win a jump ball.

Before we crown Anderson with WR1 potential again, let’s throw some caution by highlighting a couple things:

  • Anderson saw his lowest snap percentage (51.4%) and ran his lowest route total (15) of the season. You could attribute this to the Jets being ahead so they were in obviously run formations or side with the fact he was absurdly efficient with his snaps.
  • Darnold has completed less than 50% of his passes over the last 3 weeks. I don’t care who your WR is if your QB is bottom-5 in INT %, bottom-10 in average yards per attempt, and the 2nd worst QB Rating in the league, there are going to be some rough days.
  • We also hadn’t seen Darnold complete a deep shot (20+ yards) since his Week 1 win against the Lions. Unless he begins to take shots downfield regularly, Anderson won’t see the kind of money targets that makes him a valuable flex option.

All of this to say that Anderson is definitely worth a pickup and stash. However, he could certainly give you a 2-for-18 game next week. –Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)

Christian Kirk– WR, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals fans: Rejoice!!! Your beloved team has finally cracked the win column with a big win Sunday over the 49ers. The play of Christian Kirk was a big reason why as his deep touchdown reception in the first quarter helped to ignite the offense to 28 points, their most of the 2018 season. For those who aren’t familiar with Kirk, he is a rookie wide receiver out of Texas A&M. He played the majority of his snaps in college in the slot and was one of the best slot receivers in college football last year. As you may know, the team already has a pretty good slot receiver…his name: Larry Fitzgerald. When reviewing Kirk’s film from Sunday’s game, I’m excited to see him learning to run routes from all over the field, including the outside. This should help him transition into a productive receiver at the NFL level with Josh Rosen under center for years to come.

Kirk was targeted just four times on Sunday, but he turned those four targets into three receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown. He also added a rush for five yards. Kirk started the game off with a BOOM, as he took the Cardinals’ first offensive play from scrimmage to the house on a 75-yard touchdown reception. Kirk set up the corner very well with a fake move to the outside and beat him to the inside where the safety was late to cover. He flashed speed, explosiveness, and big-play ability on this reception, which are the exact traits that made scouts excited for Kirk coming out of college. Kirk’s second target of the game was a bad drop, unfortunately. He was set up for a wide receiver screen and just flat out dropped a ball thrown right to his hands. If he catches it, there’s a good chance he picks up a nice chunk of yardage as he had at least four blockers ahead of him. Kirk also had another big reception on a wheel route called back due to offensive pass interference where another receiver set a pick play. He could have had a much bigger day if it weren’t for these two mistakes.

Kirk’s other targets weren’t anything to write home about, but he displayed reliable hands on a curl route for intermediate yardage and caught a screen for a few yards where the blocking in front of him completely broke down. All in all, I’m encouraged by Kirk’s performance as I think it highlights the variety of ways he can be effective. He is continuing to grow into an all-around receiver who is still learning how to play the game on the outside. In order to be fantasy relevant on a weekly basis in 2018, however, Kirk will need more volume from Rosen given that he’s only seen five and four targets in each of the past two weeks. –Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT)

Wendell Smallwood– RB, Philadelphia Eagles

With the recent news that Jay Ajayi is being put on the IR with a torn ACL, ending his season, Smallwood will be one of the hottest waiver wire pickups for Week 6. Smallwood seemed like he was on the verge of being cut in the off-season and UDFA Josh Adams made more noise during training camp. It’s a surprise we’re talking about Smallwood and not Corey Clement or Darren Sproles but that’s fantasy football. Smallwood has never been a super impressive prospect and while he has only 25 carries on the season, he has caught 3 balls each of the last 3 weeks.  I decided to watch all of Smallwood’s touches this season to get a bigger sample size. The game scripts, as well as Nick Foles‘ early starts, really forced some conservative play calling.

First, we need to keep in mind this Eagles’ line is elite, ranked #1 pre-season by PFF.  I wanted to find an example when Smallwood’s O-Line didn’t block so well. This took place in Week 4 in OT against Tennessee. Smallwood gets met in the hole but is able to bounce it outside.

While I won’t say he’s any type of special athlete, he’s not a complete JAG. There was lots of film to watch in Week 3’s game against the Colts. He showed more patience than I remembered setting up his blocks albeit against an overwhelmed Indianapolis front. Smallwood ran for 5+ yards on 6 of his 10 carries. While Corey Clement led the way with 55% of the snaps, Smallwood was the one on the field in the 2-minute drill at the end of the game. He got the carry inside the 5 for the game-winning TD.

Don’t expect Jay Ajayi’s truck stick or Darren Sproles’ elite receiving hands. But Smallwood has the skill set to remain on the field in this Philadelphia muddled backfield rotation. He should see 13+ opportunities per game and with an offensive line like this, he needs to be owned everywhere. However, understand this next week Corey Clement should return from injury and could end up with more touches.–Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)

Austin Hooper– TE, Atlanta Falcons

Going into this week, the Ballers discussed Hooper as a possible streaming option in a sea of blah options at the TE position. The Steelers had given up the 2nd most TE fantasy points in the league and the game had a 57.5 over/under. Hooper had his best game of the season catching 9 of 12 targets for 77 yards albeit while the Falcons were getting blown out on the road. So what actually happened on film?

Week Snap % Routes Run Targets Receptions Yards
1 88.5 13 4 3 24
2 80.0 4 5 5 59
3 94.7 3 4 3 23
4 82.8 28 2 1 19
5 82.8 37 12 9 77

Not only did Hooper almost double his season route total, but he was Matt Ryan‘s preferred check-down choice as he was getting harassed by the Steelers defensive line all game long. 5 of his catches were mere simple dump-offs or last second bailout attempts by Ryan. Hooper was targeted downfield (15+ yards) on 3 occasions, which is where he has seen success in the past a vertical seam killer. There was nothing that The Steelers were content allowing Hooper to see these simple looks while covering two deep to prevent Julio Jones to see a catch for most of the game.

Hooper is an admirable TE streamer once again as the Falcons take on the Buccaneers, arguably the worst defense in the league. You can’t bank on seeing 37 routes run again as that led the TE position. His snap share gives you something to hope in. –Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)

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