The Fantasy Footballers’ Rankings Audit & Podcast Highlights for Week 6
Welcome in, #Footclan! It’s (almost) football time!
In the absence of Thursday Night Football, we were instead treated to the monumental conclusion of “Bell Watch” when prolific rusher Le’Veon Bell signed with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. With a simple signature, the projections and stress levels of millions of Fantasy Football managers went haywire.
Looking back, it’s wild that the Chiefs have gone from an anemic RB room led by the undrafted & underrated Damien Williams, to now boasting a first-round talent in Edwards-Helaire AND a superstar workhorse with Bell. We may truly be witnessing the next football dynasty develop right in front of us. But there are still plenty of challengers out there staking their claim for the throne. Luckily, we get to watch them battle it out with an exciting new slate of games in Week 6 of the National Football League!
As a reminder, this article is another weekly installment where I’ll review the Fantasy Footballers’ player rankings and highlight a few specific players per position that deserve extra attention. I’ll also recap important moments from the past week’s Fantasy Footballers’ podcast episodes with links to each episode provided. So be on the lookout every week for this series!
Also, please keep in mind that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated whenever any breaking news is released. So always refer to their rankings page or click on a specific player below to see their latest rankings!
Now without further ado… let’s go already!
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Lions QB Matthew Stafford has disappointed fantasy GMs who expected a return to the gunslinger who was the overall QB6 last year before ending the season early due to injury. Instead, they got an underappreciated vet who is merely the QB22 on the year (although they did just have their bye). But the times, they are a-changing. This week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Stafford ranks as the guys’ consensus QB8 (Andy: QB8, Mike: QB7, Jason: QB12). He’s a sneaky top-12 option in a possible shootout with a favorable matchup. He’s also Andy’s Start of the Week. It helps tremendously that he’ll have his starting WR Kenny Golladay back on the field. In the first two games without Kenny G, Stafford ended as the QB21 and QB19. In the two games after WITH Golladay, he was QB15 & QB9. This Sunday should serve as a reminder of why Stafford was such a highly regarded sleeper pick in fantasy drafts.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a forgetful performance last week against the Bears, Buccaneers QB Tom Brady became the butt of jokes across the nation. Because of his poor showing, he’s now the ‘Ballers’ consensus QB13 and a “Four-Get-About-It” candidate. This week, he finds himself at a redemption spot against another legend in QB Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers. Fortunately for Brady, their defense isn’t anything to fear for QBs. He should also have 2019’s “breakout of the year” WR Chris Godwin back in action, adding a reliable and dangerous target to his arsenal. Best of all, Vegas currently projects this game with a 55.5 total implied score, the second-highest of all games this week. Don’t let his advanced age fool you, Brady is still a lethal passer who can run up the scoreboards in real life and on your fantasy lineup. This has all the makings of a geriatric firefight. I’m betting that an angry Tom Brady will light up Tampa Bay with multiple touchdowns for a finish as a top-10 QB.
— NFL (@NFL) October 15, 2020
Running Back Rankings
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
Forget what I wrote last week. THIS is the week for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Now that Le’Veon Bell has joined the roster, CEH officially has one week left to impress his coaches and the millions of fantasy GMs who’ve rostered him. He hasn’t quite dazzled us yet, but he gets his last chance against the Buffalo Bills before Bell joins the squad the week after. Though they’re a tough matchup on paper, they did just relinquish two TDs to Derrick Henry last week, and 120 total yards plus a score to Darrell Henderson Jr. in Week 3. In fact, the last four starting RBs against the Bills have averaged 15.7 points, and every starter reached at least 10+ PPR points EXCEPT for their Week 1 opponent… Le’Veon Bell. I may be writing this on “narrative street,” but I believe CEH will finally ball out in order to cement his place on the lineup. He’s no slouch either. Edwards-Helaire is not only the rookie leader in rushing yards per game and RB routes run, he’s the ‘Ballers’ consensus RB10, although there is quite a disparity in the rankings (Andy: 7, Mike: 10, Jason: 14). This will be the week, because this has to be the week. For whom the bell tolls? Not for CEH, so long as he balls out in Buffalo.
“If you draft a player to be a backup, why did you draft him? You’re drafting a guy because you think he’s worthy of being drafted at that spot, but you’re also drafting him because you think he can compete. If you’re going to say, ‘This guy’s a backup,’ – really? That doesn’t make any sense to me.” – Herm Edwards.
The famed former DB, broadcaster, and current ASU head coach was clearly talking about real-life football because backups are demonstrably valuable in fantasy football. The three RBs listed above are all designated backups that will have bell cow-sized workloads this Sunday courtesy of injuries to their lead backs — Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook, Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey, and Cleveland’s Nick Chubb. Mike Davis has already shown how valuable this opportunity can be as he’s been incredibly impressive and is the third-highest scoring RB in the three weeks he’s taken the reins. Same for Kareem Hunt, who was already productive when sharing the load and is the overall RB7 on the season. Meanwhile, not only do fantasy managers expect Alexander Mattison to replicate the same results as a healthy Cook would but so does Cook himself, saying that Mattison is “just a bigger version” of him. The Footballers’ have them ranked as this week’s RB4 (Mattison), RB6 (Davis), and RB8 (Hunt), so you’re likely starting them if you’re lucky/smart enough to roster them. It’s rare to see three backup RBs (and undrafted rookie James Robinson) all in the top-eight rankings. With all the chaos surrounding this year, it makes sense that there will be more injuries or COVID-related setbacks that will thrust backups into the spotlight. So make sure you check out your waiver wire to see if there are any more of these lottery ticket backups available, then stash them if you have the bench space. They just might win you a week or more.
Wide Receiver Rankings
Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team
It’s October, so it must be time for “Scary Terry” to haunt our opponent’s with his superb gameplay. Only, it’s not quite Halloween yet, so WR Terry McLaurin will have to wait another week before he’s finally unleashed. Though he appears to have a good matchup against the Giants’ 21st ranked defense against WRs, their shutdown CB James Bradberry will undoubtedly shadow McLaurin to a serviceable yet dissatisfying fantasy score. Bradberry’s most recent victims include Amari Cooper (finished as WR79) and Robert Woods (WR50). I believe McLaurin has the talent to thrive regardless of coverage, but he’s limited by the least desirable QB carousel of Kyle Allen, Dwayne Haskins, or Alex Smith. Andy and Mike still have faith in McLaurin by listing him as their WR12, while Mike disagrees with a WR23 ranking. I lean towards Mike’s assessment although I’m sure the truth will lie somewhere in between.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rookie standout WR Chase Claypool, aka Mapletron, was the waiver wire darling this week after he erupted with four TDs in a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. His explosion was so monstrous that he wasn’t just the WR1 that week, but it was massive enough to make him the overall WR15 this year. Keep in mind, he was averaging only three targets in his first three games. Oh, and he already had his (forced) bye week. His week 5 numbers were the highest fantasy score among all positions, beating second-place QB Patrick Mahomes by a wide margin. The concern was that Claypool only found success once fellow wideout Diontae Johnson left the game. Well, good news for those that paid up for Claypool, because the Steelers already announced that Johnson is OUT. Therefore, Chase Claypool is IN. The gang has him ranked as their consensus WR23, but with the news of Johnson’s inactivity, I’m confident he will improve on that. They also have a great matchup against the Cleveland Browns, which is why Mike made ALL Steelers’ receivers his Start of the Week. There’s always the concern that he won’t get targeted enough or won’t see the valuable red-zone looks this time — especially with other end zone threats like TE Eric Ebron and RB James Conner around — but I’m betting that he’ll reel at least one in for a score. The gamble may not pay off, but if it does, it will be spectacular.
Watch Ben Roethlisberger seeing Chase Claypool is lined up on LB Nathan Gerry on final TD
You can see Ben change play and then he had to tell Chase that the play is coming to him
Chase Claypool 👀
“He just told me. And he kinda told the whole defense” pic.twitter.com/ghpTHPwC3K
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 12, 2020
Tight End Rankings
Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings
The offseason lottery ticket, Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr., has simply not paid off. That is, until last week’s narrow loss to the Seahawks, where Smith finished as the TE13 thanks to his four receptions for 64 yards. Prior to that, he was the TE72, in between the prestigious Jets’ Ryan Griffin and the Browns’ Stephen Carlson, the latter of which I didn’t even know was an active player in the NFL. So why is Smith suddenly on the radar and the crew’s consensus TE15? Because he gets to face Atlanta next, that’s why. The Falcons’ Swiss-cheese defense has given up the SECOND MOST points to opposing TEs. They were the ones who let Green Bay’s Robert Tonyan score THREE times. They also let Chicago’s Jimmy Graham score twice. Even Dallas’ Dalton Schultz and Seattle’s Greg Olsen both have TDs against Atlanta. So it would make sense that Smith is next. And with how lackluster the position has been, all it takes is a TD to enter the hallowed threshold of being a TE1. But beware, because last week’s opposing TE, Carolina’s Ian Thomas, completely goose-egged by missing his lone target. That’s the thing about the Falcons’ defense. They’re not just bad against TEs… they’re bad against every position. Minnesota could certainly choose to attack with their WRs and RBs, while totally ignoring Smith. Or he could reel one or more passes for a TD. I think Smith is a great desperation play for those streaming TEs to no avail, but if you have a more proven option like Mike Gesicki, Evan Engram, or Hayden Hurst, then I’d advise sticking with them instead.
Darren Fells, Houston Texans
Somehow, someway, the ‘Ballers’ consensus TE25 is not only a viable streaming candidate, but he’s also Jason’s Start of the Week. I’m of course talking about Darren Fells, the Texans TE who was the TE33 in the first four weeks before rising up to become the TE5 in Week 5 in a win against the Jaguars. But here’s the kicker: in that first month, Fells averaged a paltry 2.5 targets per game. That would explain his poor results, even in such a desolate position, right? In Week 5 — his “breakout” game — he received… TWO targets. The only difference was that he managed to break free for a 44-yard score thanks to broken coverage. He next faces the Titans, who are middling against TEs. Jason is optimistic that this Fells fella will have decent odds to fool oddsmakers by falling in the end zone for a TD. Unfortunately, the same can be said about all TEs, as even guys like Jason Witten, Jesse James, and Donald Parham Jr. have finished in the top-10 after reeling in a lucky score. It could certainly happen to Fells, but it’s too much of a crapshoot for my blood. But as they say, “fortune favors the bold.” Are you bold enough?
— NFL (@NFL) October 11, 2020
Biggest Takeaways from the Week 6 Podcasts
Monday (Week 5 Studs & Stinkers + Dak Fallout, Fumble Jones)
We kick off the week with Andy, Mike, and Jason sharing their favorite Monday Punday submissions at 01:55, including a discussion of the fallout after Dak Prescott‘s season-ending injury. Next is a recap of last Sunday’s game on the Weekly Rewind at 06:10. The ‘Ballers then discuss all their Fantasy Studmuffins at 18:55. We wrap up the episode with the Stinkers of the Week at 48:10.
Tuesday (Week 6 Waivers + Full Stream Ahead, Three Fiddles)
In this episode, Andy, Mike, and Jason recap Monday Night Football at 01:00. They move on to News & Notes at 10:55, before hitting the juiciest part of the episode: the Week 5 Waivers at 13:30, including a spicy chat about whether fledgling TE Zach Ertz is a “landmine” worthy of being dropped:
Is Zach Ertz a #FantasyFootball landmine?
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) October 13, 2020
Next up are their choices for Team Defense Streamers at 45:40 and QB Streamers at 47:30, concluded by a Mailbag segment at 51:40.
Wednesday (Fantasy Draft Redo + Remember the Titans, Buy/Sell)
The ‘Ballers kick off this episode with a rare TuesdayNightFootball.com Recap at 02:00. We then proceed with the Buy or Sell segment at 07:00, discussing hotly-contested players like Jonathan Taylor, Terry McLaurin, and Kirk Cousins. They move onto News & Notes at 12:45, before moving to the 2020 Fantasy Draft REDO at 21:55 where the guys go through a draft with the knowledge of what’s already happened so far this season.
Thursday (Starts of the Week + Week 6 Breakdown, Smell Tests)
Thursday’s episode starts with the Taking It Up To 100 segment at 02:20, where the guys plant their flag on blowup candidates Mecole Hardman, Antonio Gibson, and the WFT DST (!). That’s followed by the News & Notes at 06:15, then the ‘Ballers talk about the upcoming matchups in the Fantasy Forecast at 12:15. We then get to the meat & taters of the episode at 54:00: the ‘Ballers Starts of the Week! And don’t forget Jason Moore’s Iron-Clad Locked and Loaded 100% Guaranteed Boom-Boom Kicker of the Week at 01:01:20!
Another masterpiece from @jasonffl…
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) October 15, 2020
Friday (Week 6 Matchups + Lev Bell to Chiefs!)
The ‘Ballers lament the lack of TNF, before segueing to the FootClan Fridays segment at 03:15. They then discuss the News & Notes at 05:55, including a major discussion on the fantasy implications with Le’Veon Bell‘s signing with the Chiefs. Afterward, the crew details the Fantasy Forecast for the remaining Week 6 matchups at 17:20, before rounding off the episode at 59:00 with their can’t-miss segment, Prop It Like It’s Hot!
Have a great weekend #Footclan and let’s crush all our matchups! If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you check out the awesome Week 6 DFS Podcast by Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg) and Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT). And as always, remember to tune in Sunday for Mike’s live stream where he provides last-minute updates to help you make those crucial roster decisions!