Fantasy Football Hot Takes: NFL Week 6
Dan Malin recaps the weekend's action in the NFL with his fantasy football hot takes and what you need to take away from everything you saw.
This is definitely a week where I’m searching desperately for a take. We had a few injuries, but nothing debilitating (well Raheem Mostert is now injured so you can blame me for that one). But what did we learn, or what were we reminded of in Week 6? Well, the Patriots backfield is still annoying for fantasy. The Browns and Baker Mayfield still aren’t very good and in time Cleveland is likely looking for another franchise quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t going anywhere, so please don’t mention Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL Seasonal Chat (... well, this is awkward). And the Bengals are still the Bungles, no matter what kind of first half lead they build. Overall it was a quieter Sunday, and given the general chaos of the 2020 season, I’ll savour this calmer week and take from it some inspiration. Here are some hot takes from Week 6, albeit a little calmer than week’s past.
Adrian Peterson Is Not The Player In D’Andre Swift’s Way
D’Andre Swift finally had his breakout game of 2020. I’m of the mindset that if you flexed him in PPR formats, he’s done okay through the Lions’ first five games. Coming into Sunday he had double-digit fantasy points in PPR formats in three of four games. Obviously, nobody is dropping him now and don’t be surprised or offended if he isn’t mentioned in the waiver article. His ownership is simply too high. As the season progresses I still believe they get more use out of him. He and Adrian Peterson can co-exist as a two-headed backfield if Kerryon Johnson is phased out (or better yet, a healthy scratch each week). Swift could manage to catch 50-55 passes this year (he has 16 through five games) and there is room for more work. Out of 77 offensive plays on Sunday, Swift was on the field for 28 of them, while Peterson saw 27 snaps, and Johnson had 19. Again, if Johnson can get nudged out of the offense, these two can co-exist and we’ll trust the youth and explosiveness of Swift even though Peterson has been serviceable as well. He was the first Lions rookie to run for 100+ yards and two touchdowns in a game since Barry Sanders. For a team that has struggled to run the ball since Sanders’ sudden retirement after the ’98 season, Swift brings excitement to the offense.
Mike Evans Is A MASSIVE Problem
This comes on the heels of the following tweet from Rotoworld Football:
Evans: 10% target share in three games with Godwin https://t.co/BTEkmu8r6Y— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) October 18, 2020
How is that even possible? He’s a big target and a star in this league, and yet just a 10% target share in games with Chris Godwin ? How is this a thing? The entire fantasy community had a general inclination that when Brady signed with Tampa Bay it would be a downgrade to Evans’ value. And despite the poor target share, he still had six touchdowns in the team’s first five games, although four of his touchdowns came from inside the two-yard line and only one touchdown came from outside the ten-yard line. But we’ll look back on Evans season and marvel at the randomness of it. Sure there’s the fact that he’s playing a little banged up, but these numbers with Godwin are very concerning. Godwin has 16 catches on 20 targets in three games this season. In those games with Godwin, Evans has four catches on ten targets for 14 yards. Granted, he has three touchdowns in those games but we’ve already touched on the anomaly of his touchdowns.
For what it’s worth we could also lump JuJu Smith-Schuster in this discussion. JuJu is not a squeaky wheel. He’ll never complain about workload or target share. He’s a true team-first kind of player. But Ben Roethlisberger gave him high praise for how happy he was for Chase Claypool’s monster performance in Week 5. Naturally, this seemed like a game where Ben would reward JuJu and get him involved and yet again, it just didn’t happen. Even without Diontae Johnson, JuJu had just two catches. Now, Big Ben only attempted 22 passes and strangely enough, James Washington led the team in targets with seven. So we’ll need to be a little more patient with JuJu but there’s no denying the fact that these two wide receivers are in wildly frustrating situations.
The D/ST Facing the Jets Are Worth A FAAB Bid If Available Each Week
In one league I actually spent FAAB money on the Dolphins D/ST. It wasn’t a great amount, maybe like three or four bucks, but I was playing the best team in the league and wanted to put myself in position to truly compete. But we’re looking at one of the greatest free squares each week. The Jets unloaded Le’Veon Bell, and they’re stuck with playing Joe Flacco at quarterback, and the offensive line had to be shaken up during Sunday’s game. Most of New York’s offensive production came in garbage time and they were just 2-for-17 on third down conversions. If somebody dropped the Bills D/ST in your league, you may want to pick them up for next week. For DFS, I wouldn’t consider the team facing the Jets each week a lock. If the price is right, then sure. Last week Miami was just $2,900 on DraftKings and they returned 5X value. But tread carefully from a DFS perspective because some teams have struggled to return even 2X value against New York when priced up.
The Gronk Of Old Is Returning To Form
This one actually doesn’t seem that crazy to me and I feel as if I’m justified in my previous mentions of him. Every week we rave about the depth at tight end and every year we’re shown that there are four or five reliable guys and the rest of the field is based on playing the matchups. The effort has been there to get Gronk the ball the last few weeks. And now we can simply look at the first four games as Gronk’s preseason, and he’s back into game shape (this may be a reach on my part). Gronk led the team with eight targets on Sunday and he finally found the end zone. Chris Godwin was the only other Bucs receiver to have more than two targets from Tom Brady . Gronk now has at least six targets in three of his last four games and let’s not forget the fact that Brady was looking for him in the end zone in previous weeks. And honestly the schedule for the rest of the season is very good for Tampa Bay:
- Week 7: at Las Vegas
- Week 8: at New York (Giants)
- Week 9: vs. New Orleans
- Week 10: at Carolina
- Week 11: vs. Los Angeles (Rams)
- Week 12: vs. Kansas City
- Week 13: BYE
- Week 14: vs. Minnesota
- Week 15: at Atlanta
- Week 16: at Detroit
Maybe the Saints pose the biggest threat but we’re looking at some very easy matchups coming up for Gronkowski at the tight end position. From what we’ve seen in terms of inconsistency from this position, Gronk could easily be in play as a Top 12 tight end rest of season.
Dan Quinn Adam Gase Convinced Ownership To Tank For Trevor Lawrence
For those who read last week’s article, you’ll know I had a three-paragraph conspiracy prepared regarding Dan Quinn tanking for Trevor Lawrence. And about three hours before publishing, he was fired. But hey it could still apply to the Jets. I can’t imagine any other reason why they still employ the guy. They released Le’Veon Bell last week, they have little-to-no direction as a franchise, and leadership is a mess. They're currently 0-6 and his firing could very well be coming. Truth be told, if Adam Gase is coaching to go 0-16 and get the first overall pick, then that’s his smartest move ever as a head coach. All professional sports organizations will never admit to tanking. Every team has the goal of "winning a championship every year." We get it. But there are always teams looking for the first overall pick. The Edmonton Oilers practically wrote the book on it. The Jets are a free square every week. They’re now without their big free agent acquisition from a couple years ago and their “franchise” quarterback is injured so they’re relegated to starting Joe Flacco . The only move for the Jets is to suck at an historic pace. The only way you instill confidence or faith in your fanbase is to draft a generational talent like Trevor Lawrence. Whether Adam Gase is in the future plans after 2020 (or during it, for that matter) is tough to say. Even the team's defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, made a backhanded comment regarding the team's offensive struggles. We all know Gase (or Williams for that matter) doesn’t deserve a head coaching job, but that's not as much of a hot take as it is scripture at this point. Howard summed it up perfectly with this tweet:
J.D. McKissic Is A Flex Play, Maybe Low-End RB2, In PPR Formats
McKissic was a last-minute addition to my waiver column last week and I wasn’t overly enthused about his prospects. In the previous two games he had 13 receptions on 16 targets for 86 yards. I figured, “well if the game script is there, he’ll get some run in garbage time.” But his snaps have remained solid and he’s still being targeted regardless who is at quarterback for Washington. He is a reliable check-down option. On Sunday he caught all six targets for 43 yards and he added 41 rushing yards on eight carries. He now has 19 catches in his last three games. This is potentially bad news because this is what Antonio Gibson should be doing. And to be fair, Gibson is still getting some love too as he has 13 catches in his last three games, but it just feels like McKissic is on the field more for garbage time. At the very least, he’s on the field for when the Football Team scores a touchdown to pull within a point and then Ron Rivera goes for two instead of playing for overtime with a crappy quarterback. Did that sound too salty?
Matt Ryan Will Return To Top Eight Form At Quarterback
Look, I’m an admitted Falcons hater. I live in Atlanta and I get off on the misery of Falcons and Bulldogs fans. I love tuning into 92.9 for Falcons Monday especially following disastrous losses. However, if I’m speaking objectively, Matt Ryan can (and will) be a great fantasy option rest of season. We’ve seen on two separate occasions quarterbacks put up really solid games following the departures of their head coaches. Something about a big franchise move motivates a team and its quarterback. On the Two-Minute Drill podcast with Mike Alexander last week he said that Raheem Morris is the kind of guy the team will play hard for. And sure, this was a great matchup for Matt Ryan and Co. but so are the next two matchups against the Lions and Panthers. Julio Jones came back and had a huge game and Ryan managed to keep Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst involved as well. The schedule after their bye week shapes up nicely if we assume the Falcons get into shoot outs with the Saints, Chargers, Bucs, and Chiefs. They won’t win many games, but if Julio Jones can stay on the field we should feel much better about Matt Ryan .