This is the Week 6 “Fire or Flop” series, highlighting my favorite and not-so favorite fantasy football plays of the week. I am not going to mention elite players because you will usually be starting them every week anyways (Def/ST, the exception). I will list five players from each position group (excluding K) that I feel good about each week, followed by others that I don’t. As always, my thoughts are with PPR in mind.
Deshaun Watson vs. Cleveland Browns — Watson has been outstanding the last three weeks, scoring 25 fantasy points in Week 3, followed by back-to-back 40-plus-point performances in Weeks 4 and 5. He has increased his fantasy points totals every week this season. Does he have yet another monster game ahead of him against the fourth-worst Def/ST against QB’s (Cleveland, 20.57 FPPG)?
Carson Palmer vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Palmer doesn’t get much love but he’s only had one bad game this year, and that was in Week 1. He’s had a TD every week, went over 300 passing yards in Weeks 2-4 and had 291 in Week 5. This week, he faces the Buccaneers, who allow the fifth-most FPPG to QB’s (20.49).
Kirk Cousins vs. San Francisco 49ers — The Redskins are coming off of their bye week and are facing a 49ers’ Def/ST that gives up 17.88 FPPG to QB’s. If I were a bettin’ man, I would imagine that Cousins and the passing game will be very active, featuring Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson.
Matthew Stafford @ New Orleans Saints — Lions and Saints, Stafford and Brees. In the past, matchups with these two dome teams has meant plenty of offense. In fact, in the six Stafford vs. Brees showdowns, the two teams average 837.7 total yards of offense. Brees is already a must start most weeks, but I would encourage you to start Stafford this week as well. New Orleans is allowing the 10th-most FPPG to QB’s (18.59).
Jacoby Brissett @ Tennessee Titans — If you’ve got a hankering to start Brissett at some point, you might want to do it now. He’s got a great matchup against the Titans this Monday (21.24 FPPG to QB’s), but the good matchups stop there. The Colts face Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Houston, Pittsburgh and then have their bye week in succession after this week.
Eli Manning @ Denver Broncos — I hope for the sake of your team that this is not a consideration for you.
C.J. Anderson vs. New York Giants — I don’t expect this game will be pretty. Anderson averages 17.5 FPPG at home this year, and I expect a heavy dose of the run for the Broncos against the Giants.
Ameer Abdullah @ New Orleans Saints — Abdullah has been able to put together some nice outings lately, totaling 109 yards against the Vikings, 86 against the Falcons and 86 against the Giants. He has also caught 3 passes each in three of the last four weeks. New Orleans gives up 19.9 FPPG to RB’s, so Abdullah and Theo Riddick are both decent plays this week.
Mike Gillislee @ New York Jets — The Jets have been much better than initially advertised, and the Patriots defense has been much worse than initially advertised, but I don’t expect this to be some long-fought battle. New England should be able to exploit New York and give them a heavy dose of Gillislee on the goal line.
Alvin Kamara vs. Detroit Lions — With Adrian Peterson now out of the picture, it boosts the value of both Mark Ingram and Kamara. Both are good PPR options, but Kamara makes more plays with the ball in his hands and get get downfield better for bigger chunk plays. I expect Kamara to be a good PPR flex option pretty much weekly now. He is already RB27, averaging 11.3 FPPG, and increasing his fantasy point totals each week.
Chris Thompson vs. San Francisco 49ers — The last two weeks have been rough on us Thompson owners. He started out averaging 22.5 FPPG in the first three weeks. Then, in Week 4 he faltered to just 1.2, and then had his bye week in Week 5. Now, Thompson gets a good matchup (San Francisco, 21.96 FPPG to RB’s) who just allowed a similar player in Marlon Mack to go for 93 yards and a TD. I’m rolling with Thompson again this week.
DeMarco Murray vs. Indianapolis Colts — If you take away Murray’s 75-yard touchdown against Seattle in Week 3, then you have one awful season for him thus far. Outside of that run, he is averaging 39.6 rushing yards per game, and only has 39 total receiving yards. I warned you about Carlos Hyde last week. The Colts defense really is not that bad against the run to these bigger starting RB’s. That type of runner is very TD-dependent against the Colts.
LeGarrette Blount @ Carolina Panthers — With 377 rushing yards in the last three weeks, people are definitely warming back up to Blount. However, I do not like this matchup. I think Philadelphia will win, but it will be by the arm of Carson Wentz. Carolina is pretty stingy against RB’s, ranking at No. 7 with 14.84 FPPG.
T.Y. Hilton @ Tennessee Titans — Hilton is dominating in good matchups this year. In games against the Browns and 49ers, he combined for 14 catches (18 targets) for 330 yards (23.6 avg) and 1 TD. The Titans are surrendering the fourth-most FPPG to WR’s (26.24).
Chris Hogan @ New York Jets — It’s a bit surprising, but Hogan is fantasy’s WR5 right now. He has scored 5 TD’s in the last four weeks, and Tom Brady is targeting Hogan 7.4 times per game.
Devin Funchess vs. Philadelphia Eagles — At this point, I don’t think Funchess’ production is a fluke. Since Week 2, he is averaging 5.5 catches (8.3 targets) for 62.3 yards and has scored 3 TD’s in the last two weeks. The plays that people that Kelvin Benjamin might be making this year, they’re going to Funchess. I like Funchess again this week, taking on the Eagles’ third-worst Def/ST against WR’s (26.34 FPPG).
Golden Tate @ New Orleans Saints — Aside from posting 107 yards in Week 1, Tate hasn’t had that signature huge game yet this year that we’re accustomed to seeing from him. That could happen this week. Stafford is targeting Tate 8.0 times per game, and the Saints are giving up 21.8 FPPG to WR’s.
Adam Thielen vs. Green Bay Packers — Thielen is a pretty solid option every week, but I especially like him this week. It looks like Case Keenum will get the start for the Vikings. Since he is healthy, that bodes better than if Sam Bradford were back out there. Thielen is averaging 8.0 targets per game, and Green Bay’s defense is pretty banged-up right now.
Los Angeles Rams WR’s vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — To be honest, there’s not really many WR’s that I feel badly enough about this week to force myself to tell you that I do. However, I will tell you that it’s not a great idea to start the Rams’ WR’s (Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Tavon Austin) against Jacksonville. The Jaguars give up the third-fewest FPPG to WR’s (13.12). And, LA’s only WR who is talented enough to beat any Jags DB one-on-one (Watkins) has A total of 1 catch (6 targets) for 17 yards in the last two weeks.
Delanie Walker vs. Indianapolis Colts — The Colts’ inside linebackers do not move well in space, which is an understatement. There is no reason — regardless of QB — why Walker shouldn’t have a pretty good game. He’s averaging 8.2 FPPG and the Colts are giving up 10.22 per game to the position.
Evan Engram @ Denver Broncos — If not Engram, then who? Denver gives up the seventh-most FPPG to TE’s (9.13), and Engram may find himself as the top option in the passing game with all of their WR’s out. Engram had the first bad game of his young career last week, catching 0-of-4 targets. However, he averaged 4.8 catches (7.5 targets) for 50.0 yards and had 1 TD in the four weeks prior.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. New England Patriots — The Jets probably won’t be able to get a lot going downfield, so they will need to rely on Seferian-Jenkins, Jeremy Kerley and the short passing game. Seferian-Jenkins is averaging 8.03 FPPG so far this year and New England is allowing 11.48 per game.
Jack Doyle @ Tennessee Titans — Doyle should be back from his concussion this week. He has been a full participant in practice but will need to be cleared by an independent doctor. I consider him a good play most weeks, so as long as he’s active, this is no different.
David Njoku @ Houston Texans — This is one of my riskier plays for the week, but I like Njoku’s fantasy prospects with QB Kevin Hogan starting this game. Right off the bat, Houston lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the rest of the year, so that gives the Cleveland offense a break. Njoku has scored 2 of his 3 TD’s this year with Hogan as his QB, and they’ve both been beyond 20 yards, so that shows a certain level of comfort. I want to see this duo for an entire game, and I think they have a good chance of having a decent outing this week.
Ed Dickson vs. Philadelphia Eagles — Dickson blew up for 175 yards last week, which is going to make some people interested in him. However, note that he has had four entire seasons in his career where he didn’t even have that many yards.
Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants — This doesn’t seem fair. The Broncos get a turnover-prone Eli Manning who is already playing with one hand tied behind his back because of the Giants injuries at WR.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Rams — They’ve pretty much become a must-start at this point. They’re the top Def/ST in fantasy right now, they lead the league in sacks (20), interceptions (10) and takeaways returned for touchdowns (4). They are second in fumbles forced (6) and fumbles recovered (5).
Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins — I’ve been high on Jay Cutler and the Dolphins offense early in the year, and they’ve rewarded me with a total of 16 points scored in their last three games. Now that I’m turning the other cheek, they’ll probably make me regret it. However, if Cutler is tossing up gimmes to this defense, they’re taking it the other way for six. I trust Atlanta’s defense more than I trust Miami’s offense right now.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears — How mundane Baltimore’s offense is takes away from how good their defense is. Bears rookie QB Mitch Trubisky did a decent job last week against Minnesota, but this will be a tougher test this week on the road in Baltimore.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — This matchup looks like it’ll be a ground-and-pound effort on offense with two defenses clobbering each other on the other end. I don’t think either Def/ST is a bad play, and you should especially be starting Jacksonville’s right now.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Yes, Jameis Winston tends to throw interceptions, but he also leads a very good offense that just got Doug Martin back. Arizona may get some notches in the “sack” and “takeaway” columns, but I expect Tampa to be able to put up points and yardage.
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