Fantasy Football

2018 Fantasy Football Week 6 Preview: Power System


We come now to that stretch of the season when we better understand the strengths and weaknesses of all the 32 teams in the NFL. We see several articles about team power rankings which fans peruse to get an idea where things stand.

Are they any use in fantasy? We do look at them and read the accompanied piece associated per team and sure enough a large bloc of the best fantasy players reside with the teams at the top.

Gee, that’s great. Now you can see how great the Rams are and why your opponent with Todd Gurley is so happy. At the other end, Matt Breida owners are happy enough with 50 yards and a touchdown.

These charts serve some useful purpose beyond this and especially for considering matchups for your starting lineups. We often use the straight record of “position vs team points allowed” for most of this. Seems like a sound system and logical, but with power rankings changing every week, how reliable can it hold up for the long run? How many weeks previous do we sample?

The team we knew in Week 1 is not the team of Week 6. Some parts are, but on the whole, the team’s past means less than the current trend. It would be more accurate therefore if we collect that info weekly of position vs fantasy points against and perhaps create a trendline from that.

We complicate the simple things in fantasy far beyond this too. We’ll always have an excuse that if it goes pear-shaped we can say we just did what the numbers said.

2018 Fantasy Football Week 6 Preview

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Games to Watch

Sunday Early
Steelers at Bengals

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Crucial. A power shift in the AFC North is on the line.

Andy Dalton is on track for a career season and his fantasy numbers coincide exactly with that as one expects from a strong streamer. His matchup with the Steelers feeds the needs too. Dalton already has 12 touchdown passes after Week 5. This pace puts him well ahead of the 25 he had in 2017.

Thus, it’s a heavy over/under for this game at 51.5 and one of the very rare times these teams have a line in the 50s.

We know these offenses with Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton have plenty enough to deliver. I would definitely have no trouble plugging in a sleeper in a contest like this.

Believe it or not, the key to this game comes down to the Steelers and Bengals offensive lines! The Steelers have a very hard job on Sunday to deal with Vontaze Burfict and Gino Atkins. The Bengals line has T.J. Watt on their menu with Cameron Heyward up front. Both Atkins and Watt are the current sack leaders in the NFL with six apiece.

With these pressures, the Bengals and Steelers need to establish a running attack to at least gain some play-action time and space. Therefore, Joe Mixon and James Conner have plenty of business ahead.

So this is one of those games you can start everybody fantasy relevant on both sides, except the DSTs. I could choose a few more sleepers than the guy below.

Sleeper: C.J. Uzomah, TE, Bengals

Sunday Late
Panthers at Redskins

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Adrian Peterson is important again. When was the last time we could say his availability had a direct bearing on a football game. The Redskins need as many weapons as they can get on the field as they can against a very stubborn Panthers defense.

The Redskins too have an underrated defense and this game could easily become a case of who wins the war of attrition.

The Panthers have the better weaponry to deal with all this, but they’ll need some creativity to open up Christian McCaffrey in the short passing. Fortunately, they now have Curtis Samuel in the mix to confuse defenses and designed schemes to break into the open spaces.

Samuel seems to me more like a scatback receiver and in a sense falls into the category of the Tavon Austin types, except that he’s bigger. It would not be surprising to see him take a couple of snaps out of the backfield.

However, for Alex Smith, this is just the kind of matchup befitting his style. Grind it out football. Look for a giant increase of usage for Jordan Reed over last week.

Same goes for Greg Olsen of the Panthers coming back from injury. The Panthers rushed him back for a reason. This is precisely the type of game for tight ends. Both Reed and Olsen are the keys to this game.

Sleeper: D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers

Sunday Night
Chiefs at Patriots

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A revenge game for the Patriots after the Chiefs spoiled their banner dropping party in the season opener of 2017.

Kareem Hunt introduced himself with a fumble, but from then on, the Chiefs rolled the Patriots for a 42-27 victory. Hunt found fantasy vindication, Tyreek Hill bloomed, Travis Kelce outmatched Gronk and the offense seemed unstoppable.

This year they brought them all back. This time they have a new and present danger that no defense has yet to solve. Patrick Mahomes.

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This guy is becoming a phenomenon. If the Patriots are to get revenge, they’ll have to deal with an accurate deep passer who seems to have a guidance system inside the football. The Patriots often key their defense toward shutting down a main playmaker – a key leftover from the Matt Patricia era. However, it’s not usually a quarterback.

Defending Mahomes

The Patriots have dilemma. Zone coverage is definitely O-U-T for dealing with Mahomes. Not with his weapons. If it were possible, the Patriots could simply stuff the running game and force small chunks underneath. Problem is, the Reid offense can cause havoc and zone defenders would have trouble distinguishing their roles. After a big play, you’d see two Patriots safeties chatting or arguing with one another about who should have had the coverage on who.

So the Patriots remain stuck with standard or press man-to-man. Not a bad thing, but at least they’ll have a chance to disrupt the timing of Mahomes if they can somehow get pressure up front. Unfortunately, Mahomes shows an uncanny ability to get those back shoulder throws because of his accuracy. So that might not turn out so well for the Patriots.

The Patriots coaches are better at figuring out something, but man oh man, after studying this, I can really see how hard it is to be a defensive coach against Patrick Mahomes.

Thus, Tom Brady better put his shootout helmet on. This means… (drum roll please) … Josh Gordon!

Sleeper: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Patriots

Monday Night
49ers at Packers

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The 49ers have devastating injury problems all across their offense. Apart from the quarterback, almost every single offensive player will either play banged up or not suit up at all.

They’ll at least have Marqiuise Goodwin, but in the scheme of things, he’s really a cold comfort. The best starter remains, as usual, George Kittle their star tight end.

Bottom line: Start the Packers defense.

As for the Packers, well, they have their issues too. However, when you have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, a second team wide receiver can look like a first teamer. Take for instance last week with Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Both had sound outings and made for excellent flex spot starts in Week 5. The “Rodgers effect” is real.

Their regulars look slowly read to return and a potential pummel of the 49ers could send the Packers faithful to the parking lot early in a good way.

Sleeper: Kendrick Bourne, WR, 49ers

Players to Watch

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Lamar Miller, RB, Texans (vs Bills)

There’s pressure on Miller to have a strong performance against the Bills. Even then, his health issues might cause him to give way to D’Onta Foreman following this game anyway. It may be the last time that Lamar Miller has week-to-week fantasy relevance in 2018.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Jaguars (at Dallas)

Although Charles has proven fantasy credentials of high esteem, time and tide had him cooling his heels in free agency. With Corey Grant on IR,  the Jags took a notion and put Charles on their roster. It may be a surprise to many, but Charles continued a strict regimen of training as though he were on a football team in the off-season. Jacksonville therefore might get more than they expected.

Robby Anderson, WR, Jets (vs Colts)

Chasing points or a wake up? We’re about to find out. Until last week Robby had long since gone into the bust bin. Now there’s a chance he might be back to some restoration of fantasy relevance. If he has another strong performance, he’ll no longer be just a “what the heck, why not” pick up off the waiver wire.

Corey Davis, WR, Titans (vs Ravens)

Speaking of bustable quantities, Davis did exactly what Robby Anderson might do this week last Sunday. Davis crashed back to his usual 2018 humdrum self after a breakout 31+ PPR collection in Week 4. We’re getting impatient with Davis and steady production looks very elusive right now. If Davis fails again, his fantasy value for the rest of the season might sink with the rest of the Titans pass-catchers.

Jordan Howard, RB, Bears (at Dolphins)

Before the Bears went on their bye-week, we saw something very disturbing. Although the Bears beat the Cardinals in Week 3, Howard had 24 carries with just 61 yards to show for it – a 2.54 YPC average. The following week in the blowout against the Bucs, the Bears scaled back everything on Howard. He had nothing much at all in Week 5. This player desperately needs a bounce back.

In the Booth on Sunday

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Kenny Albert

CBS Early

Steelers at Bengals: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Colts at Jets: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians
Chargers at Browns: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Bills at Texans: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

CBS Late

Jaguars at Cowboys: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Ravens at Titans: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

Fox Early

Panthers at Redskins: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis
Seahawks vs Raiders (London): Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Cardinals at Vikings: Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber
Buccaneers at Falcons: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman

Fox Late

Bears at Dolphins: Brian Custer, Greg Jennings

Check out the rest of our 2018 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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