Another week, another glorious feast for the NFL wood-chipper. Among the top of the 2022 Fantasy Football Week 6 Trends and Storylines is the league-wide fallout from some major injuries.
Rashaad Penny was carted off and is out for the season. Darren Waller injured his hamstring and never returned to Monday night's game in Arrowhead. James Conner and Damien Harris both suffered injuries and never returned to their games.
You know, as a general and obvious sentiment: Injuries suck. Especially for the people who got hurt, but also for the product the NFL runs out week after week. And, as Tom Brady vehemently suggested going into Week 5, the product already isn't that great this year. Bad football. Sloppy play. Consistency feels like it's at an all-time low.
And Fantasy managers are feeling it. So let's sift through the detritus and talk about some encouraging developments, and some less so, from this past weekend's slate of games.
2022 Fantasy Football Week 6 Trends and Storylines
Get direct access to our award-winning analysts via Discord and more by signing up for an F6P Membership.
Backup Running Back Value
Embed from Getty Images
Those of you that drafted handcuffs, or those of you who saved priority waiver claims/FAAB for the inevitable marquee RB injury: this is your week.
Obviously, Kenneth Walker needs to be the top waiver dog this week. His stat line yesterday was inflated by a long touchdown, but he's going to be the guy in a run-heavy Seahawks offense that has proved pretty efficient under Geno Smith.
With both Darrel Williams and James Conner injured on Sunday, Eno Benjamin ended up with a 54% snap share and 11 total touches. He's an above-average pass-catcher who has shown an ability to create yards with every touch. He's a must-add.
Not so much a backup, but if you didn't already add Rachaad White, consider this your last chance. He was out there with Tom Brady for a season-high 39% snap share on Sunday. On eight touches, he generated 43 yards. He's seen nine targets in the past two games. That will continue to rise.
With Damien Harris injured, Rhamondre Stevenson had himself an absolute monster game. There's likely little pathway to acquiring Stevenson now, but Pierre Strong qualifies as a deep stash this week. This is true especially because Ty Montgomery isn't expected back anytime soon.
Lastly, did anyone else notice the high-value touches for Josh Kelley yesterday in Cleveland? Sure, Austin Ekeler exploded for over 30 points again, but Kelly seems to have established himself as the clear-cut option behind him. He scored in the game and had two red-zone touches.
Dameon Pierce...is Him?
Dameon Pierce: 17 missed tackles forced on runs vs the Jaguars
That’s the most PFF has EVER recorded in a single game ? pic.twitter.com/wXC8LZnEz8
— PFF (@PFF) October 10, 2022
In a year when returns on investments seem like they're at an all-time low, and so many gambles haven't paid off—even though I'm not a Dameon Pierce owner myself—this one felt good.
The above tweet stamps a quantitative exclamation point on what we all watched on Sunday (and, to some degree, the week before). Dameon Pierce is the guy in Houston. And, short of maybe Josh Jacobs (another surprise?), he's running as hard as any previously established running back in the league.
There's not much to say here, other than that if you drafted Pierce: congrats. Enjoy this ride. It's not always going to look like it has the past two weeks, but you caught lightning in a bottle in a year when most of us have been left holding the bag.
Terry McLaurin and Brandin Cooks might be the Bannermen for 2022 WR2 Busts
Embed from Getty Images
Even in 2021, it always felt like a bit of an inconsistent ride with McLaurin and Cooks. But it's almost been unbearable in 2022.
After Sunday's games, McLaurin is WR31 in scoring, Cooks WR36. Both of these guys were highly sought after in rounds three and four of our drafts. Many people who grabbed RBs and maybe an elite TE early snagged one of these two as their WR1. And they're posting WR3 numbers in aggregate.
With so much change this past offseason—and with so little practice time with new coaches, personnel, quarterbacks, etc.—this harkens back to my criticism about the NFL's inconsistency in quality so far in 2022. These two feel like the bannermen of that inconsistency, at least at the wide receiver position. Mills feels more comfortable handing the ball off to Pierce, now. Carson Wentz targets Curtis Samuel more than he does McLaurin.
The opportunities are there, and there aren't many better choices than to run these guys and other disappointing WR2-hopefuls (Tee Higgins, Keenan Allen, D.J. Moore, Diontae Johnson—I'm looking at you) out there week after week.
And maybe they're buy-low targets. But part of the frustration with McLaurin and Cooks, and a lot of the rest of the league, is that it's hard to tell whether potential buy-low targets are actually just busts this year. We don't know if Wentz will target McLaurin more; we don't know if Mills and Cooks will pick up their rapport from last year.
WR2s have been a nightmare this year.
Bye Weeks are Back!
Embed from Getty Images
Everyone's favorite time of year. As if season-long lineup setting wasn't hard enough.
This week, the Lions, Titans, Raiders, and Texans are on bye. I count four great running backs that will be out, as well as four great wide receivers.
Good luck rebounding this week if you've got major names on bye!
Get direct access to our award-winning analysts via Discord and more by signing up for a F6P Membership!