The big news to start Week 6 is that the Jets have placed Eric Decker on IR with a torn rotator cuff. Decker and the Jets have opted for surgery, which will effectively end his season.
Owners previously hoping for a late season return can drop Decker. Quincy Enunwa becomes the Jets' WR2 and should be added in all leagues. He has received 11, 7 and 7 targets over the last three weeks and should remain in that range as long as he stays healthy. His viability for Week 6 is in question due to a poor match-up, but he's well worth the pickup.
Let's look back to Week 5. My recommendations to start Eddie Royal and Julian Edelman didn't work out as they were held to under 50 yards each. However, the targets were there (9, 10 respectively) and each player will continue to play significant roles in their offenses. Jerick McKinnon predictably received heavy volume but struggled with his YPC. He also continued to lose redzone looks to Matt Asiata. Brian Hoyer was my saving grace, finishing as the No. 5 Quarterback.
I won't take credit for Stefon Diggs missing the game. However, I will remind everyone that I strongly suggested sitting Will Fuller. Ryan Mathews saved his day with a receiving touchdown and Tevin Coleman laughed in my face and his sickle-cell trait. Week 5 wasn't my shining moment but I'll continue to do my research and help with lineup choices as best I can.
Let's take a look at Week 6.
Week 6 Start 'em, Sit 'em
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Coming off a bye-week, Smith is one of the best QB options for owners looking for an exploitable match-up. Smith will be taking on the Raiders' soft defense in Week 6. Through five games, the Raiders have given up the second most Fantasy points to the QB position at 23.58 per week. If you remove Marcus Mariota's ugly stat line, the average jumps to 27.66. Oakland has given up an insane 330.6 passing yards per game on 8.8 yards per attempt.
Smith hasn't been great this season, as he's posted just two useful Fantasy games. However, this week is shaping up to be a very fruitful one for Smith. While the Raiders defense is terrible, their offense can throw with the best of them. Through five games, the Raiders rank eighth in total passing yards and third in passing touchdowns. Combine a poor defense with a good offense and there's plenty of potential for this game to be high scoring.
With a full compliment of weapons at his disposal, Smith is more than capable of putting up a quality performance on Sunday. Surprisingly, the Chiefs lead the NFL in pass shares, throwing the ball on 67% of their plays. That may change as Jamaal Charles gets healthier, but expect Kansas city to continue the pass-heavy offense for one more week.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Yes. I'm doubling down on the Chiefs offense this week and it'll probably come back to bite me in the butt. Maclin hasn't been great thus far, averaging just 61.0 YPG with one touchdown, which came in Week 1. Considering how often Kansas City has thrown the ball, it's strange that Maclin has struggled to put up points.
Expect Maclin to turn the tide in his easiest match-up to date. The Raiders are terrible against opposing teams WR1, allowing 100 yards or a touchdown (or both) to all top receivers, with the exception of Tajae Sharpe.
Owners with notions of benching or selling low on Maclin should reconsider until after this juicy matchup. Maclin is poised to take advantage of a soft match-up and post WR1 numbers.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
After recommending Gio in Week 1 (and having it blow up in my face), you'd think I'd be crazy to place a bet on him producing again. But this time it's different! I swear! Early on Wednesday, Jeremy Hill was seen with his left arm in a sling, following a shoulder injury suffered last week against the Cowboys.
Jeremy Hill's left arm is in a sling #Bengals
— Elise Jesse (@Elise_JesseWLWT) October 12, 2016
But the plot thickens! Hours later, Hill was seen practicing in full with the first team.
Even better news for Jeremy Hill fans, he's taking 1st team snaps in practice right now
— Elise Jesse (@Elise_JesseWLWT) October 12, 2016
Maybe Hill was wearing the sling for muscle stability, or maybe Marvin Lewis was trying to "game" Belichick. Either way, there's doubt surrounding Hill's health going into Sunday. If Hill is limited in any way, Bernard will benefit in a big way. While New England has been able to hold opposing running backs to just 3.7 YPC, they have some trouble against receiving backs. The Pats have allowed at least four receptions to RB in four of their five games, including three games where the opposing backfield had six or more catches. With Hill being as one dimensional as he is, Bernard is looking at heavy usage through the air.
With Tom Brady back in the fold, this game could get out of hand early. If the Bengals are forced to come from behind, Bernard could see an uptick in targets. Yes, I realize that Gio is just as likely to put up two fantasy points as he is 20, but Hill's injury and general ineffectiveness will open the door for Gio to take advantage.
Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo Bills
The Bills have to throw it at SOME point, right? Tyrod Taylor is near the bottom of the league with just 6.5 yards per attempt. With his number one receiver bring Robert Woods, I don't blame the Bills for leaning heavily on Lesean McCoy. When the Bills do have to pass, Clay seems to be their most dependable chain-mover.
Clay has caught five passes in each of the last two weeks, and his yardage has improved every week with new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. Clay has always been an impressive talent with the speed and athleticism to produce much more than he has. His many problems relate to injuries, but Clay's knee wasn't an issue in Week 5.
Clay may not have a huge day. However, his skill set and chemistry with Taylor make him a decent start for tight end streamers - or those needing a filler if Jordan Reed gets the scratch.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Let's all agree to strike last week from the record. Drew Stanton leaned heavily on Larry Fitzgerald as his main target against the 49ers. Brown's awful output has a further excuse; he only saw four targets. This week, Carson Palmer returns from his concussion, meaning Brown involved in the offense once again.
Michael Floyd is a massive disappointment this season; his involvement in the offense continues shrinking. Taking over the starting job, Brown will have a very favorable match-up in front of him. The Jets rank 31st in pass defense and give up the second most points to receivers this season. They are especially friendly to No. 2 receivers, most recently giving up 139 yards and two touchdowns to Sammy Coates.
In the same fashion as Coates, Brown should be able to take advantage of the Jets secondary on deeper routes. Although he's been inconsistent so far, look for Brown to have a good game against a reeling Jets team.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders
Crabtree has been very consistent this season, scoring 10 or more points (standard) in four of five games. The game he did not score 10, he scored nine. Against a tough division rival, his solid streak may come to an end.
The Chiefs pass defense has been good once again, giving up just 240.5 yards per game. While they do give up the fifth most Fantasy points to wide receivers, the numbers may be deceiving. While below average against opposing WR1, the Chiefs have been excellent against WR2. Compared to league average, the Chiefs surrender just over three fewer Fantasy points to WR2.
While it's a tough match-up, Crabtree's talent and the strength of the Raiders offense should keep his floor relatively high. However, there's a good chance he'll be held out of the endzone. Unless you have three better options, you're not sitting Crabtree, but expectations should be held in check.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
This could be Prescott's last start before giving the job back to Tony Romo, but don't expect the rookie to go out with a bang. Prescott has been impressive through five games, maintaining his value through ball protection and his ability on the ground. His passing is adequate, but nothing to blow anyone out of the water, throwing just four touchdowns passes in five games.
The Packers defense demonstrate excellence against the run this season; giving up the fewest fantasy points to running backs. The Packers are also great at stopping opposing quarterbacks, holding their four opposing QB to just 11 yards rushing. If Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot stay held in check on the ground, the game well rest on Prescott's arm.
While serviceable, another week without Dez Bryant is much to overcome if forced out of his comfort zone. This might be the week that he throws his first interception. Expect a below average performance from Prescott this weekend.
Arian Foster, RB, Miami Dolphins
To the surprise of no one, Foster was unable to last very long before suffering an injury. This season, he was only able to make it through one full game, before suffering groin and hamstring injuries early in Week 2. Foster practiced both Wednesday and Thursday and we expect him to play against the Steelers. Coming back against a solid run defense, Foster will have a tough time making an impact in his return to action.
Through five weeks, the Steelers defense given up the 13th most Fantasy points to running backs. They've been much better lately, holding Matt Forte and Spencer Ware to under 10 Fantasy points in standard leagues. The biggest games they've surrendered have been to receiving backs Gio Bernard and Darren Sproles.
After suffering another soft tissue injury, the Dolphins will likely ease Foster back into action. In an already muddled backfield, Foster will likely have a touch count. However, there's a chance he could catch a few passes to maintain his floor. Foster may reach a limit up against a solid run defense. The Dolphins will need to air it out to keep it close, making him a risky FLEX play this weekend.
Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Allen is coming off his second best game of the season, catching six passes for 50 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. He'll be in for a more tougher task this week against division rival Houston. Allen is a low ceiling player, who's weekly value depends entirely on catching a touchdown.
To date, the Texans have been excellent against tight ends, surrendering under 100 total yards to Martellus Bennett, Travis Kelce, Delanie Walker and Kyle Rudolph. With weaknesses elsewhere in the defense, the Colts will exploit those areas, instead of forcing passes to Allen.
This week expect Allen to put up a dud, unless he's able to catch a short yardage touchdown. Unless the waiver wire TE options are very thin, owners should drop Allen for a better option in Week 6.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
Parker was a popular breakout candidate going into the season, with the expectation that he would build on the second half of his 2015 season. So far that hasn't been the case. Forced to miss one game due to injury, Parker put up less than stellar performances in two of his four games.
More concerning, Parker has been losing targets over his last two games. In Weeks 2 and 3, Parker saw a combined 19 targets, which he turned into 157 yards and a touchdown. In Weeks 4 and 5, Parker saw just six total targets. There hasn't been any news out of Miami regarding an injury, so the lack of targets may be due to Adam Gase not liking something in his game.
Although the Dolphins will likely be playing from behind, we have no idea what kind of volume Parker will receive. He's a decent big-play threat, but may struggle against a Steeler defense that gives up the 7th fewest points to wide receivers. Parker will be a low floor WR3 this week.