Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 6
Week 6 NFL Fantasy Sleepers
The definition of what a Fantasy Football Sleeper is, really depends on the type of owner you are, and the type of fantasy league you’re in. For the extent of this article series, I’m going to suggest players that you might not be considering for week 6.
For the second consecutive week, Deshaun Watson is fantasy football’s overall scoring leader. After dropping 33.7 fantasy points on the Titans in Week 4, he lit up the Chiefs for 35.5 points in Week 5. However, since Watson is blossoming into a household name, he is no longer being viewed a sleeper. It was fun while it lasted. Currently, being started in 60.1 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues entering Week 6, Watson should be inserted into lineups without hesitation moving forward. If he maintains this high-level of play, however, he’ll eventually be considered matchup proof. Watson is fantasy’s QB2 with 112.7 points.
Most-Productive Players from Week 5
Sleepers Week 5: Full-Disclosure
|Player||Pos||Rank||Points||PPR Rank||PPR Points|
The following is a recap of the players from my Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers article. You can read that here.
Entering Week 6, some fantasy owners may be forced to shop the waiver wire due to a handful of notable injuries around the league. With players that include Sam Bradford, Odell Beckham Jr. and Bilal Powell all succumbing to injuries last week, be sure to check out Andrew Erickson’s Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 6 to assist you with filling the vacant holes on your fantasy rosters.
Week 6 Byes:
- Bengals, Bills, Cowboys, Seahawks
Here are my Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week Six.
ESPN Start Percentage: 27.0
In a blockbuster deal, the Arizona Cardinals acquired running back Adrian Peterson from the New Orleans Saints on Monday in exchange for a conditional draft pick. While the move was likely unexpected, it was necessary. Why? Because losing David Johnson for an extended period, if not the entire season, in Week 1 exposed the Cardinals’ offense. They are aging, especially at quarterback, Carson Palmer, and at WR1, Larry Fitzgerald. Although their ranked ninth in total yards and second in net passing yards, they struggle to score the football. The Cardinals are ranked a meager 29th in the NFL in total points with 81 and a 16.2 PPG average.
Arizona’s poor performance doesn’t only spell trouble for head coach Bruce Arians — he’ll likely be on the hot seat following what could be another disappointing season if they continue to play sub-par football — but Palmer’s job could also be on the line. Let’s face it, I don’t believe, barring a Super Bowl victory, Palmer is the Cardinals’ QB in 2018. If the Peterson acquisition fails to light a spark, what’s stopping Arians from benching Palmer in favor of Drew Stanton or Blaine Gabbert, especially if he feels his job is on the line this offseason? Although Palmer isn’t playing terribly, there is room for improvement. While he’s thrown for 1,573 yards and averages 314.6 YPG in 2017, he’s only completed 59.9 percent of his passes with six TDs and five INTs. He currently sits as fantasy’s QB12 with 78.6 points and a 15.7 FPPG average.
Palmer is entering a favorable matchup Sunday against a Buccaneers defense ranked fifth in fantasy production allowed to QBs yielding 19.7 FPPG. Already one of the league’s worst units, Tampa Bay’s defense is heading into the matchup wounded. With Kwon Alexander (hamstring), T.J. Ward (hip), Lavonte David (ankle) and Keith Tandy (hip) all dealing with their respective injuries, both Palmer, and the Cardinals’ offense are prime bounce-back candidates after only scoring seven points in last Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia. Palmer has QB1 upside in Week 6 in one of the better QB matchups from this week’s slate of games.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 9.0
For the second consecutive week, I’m featuring Jacoby Brissett in my sleepers column. Not only has he played a tremendous role in improving a Colts offense since taking over for Scott Tolzien in the season opener, but he’s also been surprisingly productive from a fantasy perspective. Since his first 2017 start with the Colts back in Week 2, he’s the QB13 with 64.2 points.
Coming off of a Week 5 outing against the 49ers in which he threw for 314 yards and one INT, adding another 14 yards and one TD on the ground, the versatile sing caller finished as the QB10 with 18 points. Entering another plus matchup against the Titans Sunday, Brissett could be in line for another productive outing. With T.Y. Hilton returning to a high level of play — since Week 2, he’s fantasy’s WR6 with 46.9 points — plus, the recent emergence of Marlon Mack at running back, Brissett’s fantasy value is beginning to peak. Facing a Titans defense surrendering the third most fantasy points to QBs, Brissett is an upside QB2 for Week 6.
Running Back Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 26.7
Although the Patriots are loaded with weapons on the offensive side of the football, one of the most consistent performers not named Tom Brady comes in the likes of their primary receiver out of their crowded backfield, James White. Through the first five games of the season, the pass-catching specialist is second on the team in targets with 35, while Chris Hogan has a team-leading 37. Catching 29 of his 35 targets for 230 yards as a receiver while combining another 76 yards on 20 carries as a rusher — he has yet to score a TD — White is fantasy’s RB20 with 59.6 points and an 11.9 FPPG average in PPR scoring formats.
In Sunday’s matchup, White will face an inconsistent Jets defense ranked fourth in fantasy production allowed to RBs surrendering 22.1 FPPG. Accumulating a 15-108-2 stat line as a receiver in four career games against the Jets — he’s scored a TD in 2-of-4 meetings — White is a confident Flex start for Week 6 whose value peaks in PPR scoring formats.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 24.9
Chris Thompson opened the 2017 season on fire. In the first three weeks of the year, he was fantasy’s RB3 with 59 points. After totaling 350 yards on 27 touches and scoring all four of his touchdowns in the aforementioned three-game time span, Thompson was invisible in Week 4. He finished as the RB59, accumulating a seventh of a fantasy point versus Kansas City.
Following a Week 5 bye, the Redskins are heading into a much more inviting matchup than their last one against the Chiefs in which Thompson was non-existent. In Sunday’s matchup with the 49ers, Thompson will encounter a defense that’s allowed the fifth most fantasy points to RBs giving up 22.0 FPPG. Moreover, their exploitable unit also ranks third in most receptions (35) and receiving yards (300) surrendered to the position, which bodes well for Thompson’s Week 6 outlook.
Since Rob Kelley is considered a “longshot” to play on Sunday with an ankle injury, Thomspon could see a slight increase in his opportunity-share. Samaje Perine should garner the bulk of the early-down work while Mack Brown, who was only active for one game thus far in 2017, is expected to serve as the emergency back. Thompson is a boom or bust RB2, whose value peaks in PPR scoring formats, in Week 6.
Wide Receiver Sleepers
ESPN-Start Percentage: 15.7
Willie Snead, a preseason breakout candidate, hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts. Opening the year on a three-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Snead was then designated inactive with a hamstring injury in Week 4, his first game of eligibility. Following the Saints’ Week 5 bye, however, Snead, who has been a limited participant in practice this week with the before mentioned injury, is slated to make his 2017 debut on Sunday against the Lions, barring a setback.
In a favorable home matchup facing a Detriot defense ranked 14th in fantasy production allowed to WRs yielding 20.6 FPPG, Snead could be in line for an expanded target-share. With Darius Slay expected to shade Michael Thomas, Snead, who will likely operate as the team’s primary slot receiver, could create mismatches if he’s moved around the field and exploit a questionable Lions’ secondary. He is a mid-tier WR3 for Week 6.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 4.1
Since Atlanta’s top two WRs are banged up — Mohamed Sanu is unlikely to play with a hamstring injury while Julio Jones is trending toward an active designation despite remaining limited in practice with a hip — Taylor Gabriel is on track for an expanded role on Sunday against the Dolphins. With Sanu out, and he’s fully expected to be, Gabriel will be considered the Falcons’ WR2 behind Jones, who has yet to find the end zone in 2017. While there is variance in their statistics, their target-share is considerably close. Jones leads all Falcons WRs in targets with 30, followed by Sanu’s 24 and Gabriel’s 18.
Although Gabriel’s upcoming matchup with the Dolphins isn’t the greatest — Miami’s defense ranks 23rd in fantasy points surrendered to WRs allowing 17.8 FPPG — he remains a quality fantasy option for this week’s slate. Despite being viewed extremely boom or bust, Gabriel should garner serious Flex consideration in Week 6 facing a Miami secondary that has given up a 45-582-2 stat line to opposing WRs through four games.
Tight End Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 48.2
The New York Giants are in shambles as a team, but more so, on the offensive side of the football. They never appeared to get going in 2017. Despite being ranked 14th in total net yards, the Giants struggle to score points. They are ranked 28th in total points with 82. However, when it rains it pours. For the Giants, things have gotten worse with no signs of improvement on the horizon.
In Week 5, the Giants lost their top three WRs to injury. Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall are both sidelined for the remainder of the year with their respective ankle injuries that will require surgery, while Sterling Shepard’s playing status is up in the air for Sunday’s Week 6 matchup in Denver with an ankle injury of his own. Although Shepard will return at some point, the door is left wide open for Evan Engram to lead New York in targets and receiving.
While New York is shorthanded at wide receiver — they will likely employ Tavarres King and Roger Lewis as their top wideouts — it shouldn’t matter this week. Even a healthy Beckham, Marshall and Shepard were ultimately expected to struggle mightily against a Broncos defense that’s given up the 18th most fantasy points to WRs. However, the Denver defense isn’t as stingy versus opposing tight ends, which bodes well for Engram.
Ranked seventh in fantasy production allowed to TEs surrendering 9.1 FPPG, the Broncos defense presents a plus matchup for the budding Giants’ rookie. Although he was held catch-less on four targets in last week’s loss to the Chargers, he is fantasy’s TE12 with 26 points. Fully expected and on track to be Eli Manning’s top target, Engram has rising TE1 upside in Week 6.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 3.615 targets through five games this year, Njoku caught 12 of them for 118 yards and three TDs. While he is fantasy’s TE8 with 29.9 points, he’s the TE5 since scoring his first career TD in Week 2 with 27.9 points in that time span.
While Njoku appears to be heading into a terrible matchup on Sunday against the Texans, Houston’s defense isn’t as stout as they were in years past. In fact, they are presently ranked 15th in total net yards allowed and 28th in points against, surrendering 130 points through the first five games of the year. Moreover, now that the Texans have lost Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt for the remainder of the season with their respective pectoral and knee injuries, their defense is at a greater disadvantage. Facing a Texans defense ranked 11th in fantasy production allowed to TEs yielding 8.5 FPPG, Njoku is a startable TD-dependent TE2 for Week 6.
Two Sleepers in Case You’re Desperate
ESPN Start-Percentage: 26.3
Theo Riddick is having a down year so far — he’s fantasy’s RB48 with 22.6 points in standard scoring formats and the RB33 with 40.6 points in PPR through five games. However, if there was ever a time to start him, it’s in his upcoming matchup against the Saints. Since the New Orleans defense is surrendering the 13th most fantasy points to RBs yielding 19.9 FPPG, plus, allowing opposing RBs to catch 32-0f-41 targets for 303 yards and a TD thus far in 2017, Riddick could be in line for his most productive outing of the year.
While Ameer Abdullah is out-snapping Riddick 148-to-130 this season, the latter out-snapped the former 30-to-22 last week against Carolina, likely because the Lions were playing catch-up for the majority of the afternoon. If the Saints get off to an early lead on Sunday and Detriot is once again forced to play from behind, Riddick could garner the greater amount of touches in consecutive weeks, which bodes well for his fantasy outlook. In what should be a high-scoring affair, Riddick is in the Flex conversation, especially in PPR scoring formats, for Week 6.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 11.3
Although Matt Forte, who has missed the past two games with a toe injury, appears on track to return Sunday against the Patriots — he’s practicing in a limited capacity this week — there are no guarantees that he’ll garner an active designation until game day, which bodes well for Elijah McGuire’s fantasy outlook for Week 6. With Bilal Powell trending toward an inactive designation for Sunday’s matchup — he has yet to practice this week with a calf injury — McGuire could be in line for an expanded workload, especially if Forte is limited.
With Forte sidelined since Week 4 and Powell missing most of Week 5’s win over the Browns, McGuire has proved he is a reliable fantasy asset. Totaling 161 yards and a TD on 25 touches in the past two games, McGuire is fantasy’s RB12 with 221.1 points in that time span. Facing a Patriots defense that gives up the second most fantasy points to opposing RBs surrendering 23.8 FPPG, McGuire is a desperation Flex play for Week 6. However, if both Forte and Powell are ruled out, McGuire would rise into the RB2 tier. He would be the clear-cut Jets RB1 in that scenario.
McGuire is also featured in Mike Hauff’s Week 6 Draft Kings Primer. You can view the rest of his picks, including his lock of the week here.
Thank you for reading about my sleepers for Week 6. I hope you enjoyed it! Want more? Mike Hauff and I debate fantasy football news, notes and yes, sleepers, on our show, the Faceoff, a Gridiron Experts podcast. Check it out. Oh, and before I forget, we will answer your questions on our show! All you have to do is Tweet us with your question @FFfaceoff.