What to care about and ignore from Week 6 fantasy
In this area, I’ll go through all that we gained from the Week 6 action and offer you 5 things I appreciate along with 5 things I can’t summon up the psychological energy to take care of.
Excellent news for you: We’re going to do this workout in psychological chaos every Sunday of the routine season.
5 Things I appreciate
Seahawks have the exact same aggravations without Russell Wilson
A lot of things looked precisely the exact same for Seattle in Week 6. We understood they wouldn’t be as excellent with a backup quarterback however the technique to the circumstance was not perfect.
For many years, we’ve grumbled about the Seahawks being too conservative, too bullish on a typical post-Marshawn Lynch running video game, and far too based on Russell Wilson developing magic on vertical tosses. They ran that precise very same offense in Week 6 … simply without Wilson.
Well, he was there — he simply wasn’t active. In between his pregame regimen, going back and forth with refs late in the 4th quarter, and calling the overtime coin toss … he may have been the most active non-active quarterback I’ve ever seen.
The running video game did strike some high minutes for Seattle. Alex Collins had the ability to clear 100 backyards however those all was available in lots throughout the 3rd quarter. When it sputtered, the whole offense entered into a downturn. They simply never ever integrated in layup tosses for Geno Smith at any point. Pass-catchers were so hardly ever in area. It was the exact same old check-downs and shot plays asked of the Seattle quarterback at all times.
The absence of Wilson was constantly going to hinder the offense, however it even did more than that. His lack exposes the essential defects of this group’s general viewpoint. No matter who the offending organizer is under Pete Carroll, the technique stays the exact same.
It eliminates any margin for mistake, which Wilson can cover. Without him, we get … this.
Geno Smith had to do with what you’d anticipate. And though he may improve the more he makes starts, I’m simply uncertain that the circumstance is ever going to alter for him … or Wilson when he’s back. We understand the disappointment exists and it even appeared like it boiled over for him as soon as throughout the video game, after another conservative call:
Greg Olsen hypothesized last Thursday that Wilson may still attempt to require his escape of Seattle this offseason. In some way, in a video game which he did not play, you might comprehend his aggravations a lot more than ever. Regardless of all the success of the Seattle company in the Pete Carroll period, Wilson is questioning what’s on the opposite. I get it.
Perhaps he’s the veteran quarterback option who presses Seattle’s really exact same Week 6 challenger over the top in 2022.
Dak Prescott is playing like a Top-3 QB
It’s simply amazing how well Dak Prescott is playing in all stages. He’s as vibrant a passer as ever however he’s taken another action from a pre-snap and matchup-exploitation viewpoint.
We lastly saw Prescott and the Cowboys’ death offense in a neutral/back-and-forth script considering that the Week 1 opener versus Tampa Bay. Prescott needed to toss it 50-plus times and cleared 400 backyards through the air. It resembled 2020 Dak all over once again.
Even then, it wasn’t simply CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper doing all the work. Lamb was certainly vibrant, amassing 11 targets and scoring two times, consisting of the walk-off in overtime. Nevertheless, Cooper kipped down simply 55 backyards on 8 targets. As strange as it sounds, that’s a testament to Prescott.
Eight Cowboys players caught a pass in this win. Dalton Schultz remains a huge piece of the pie. Even more ancillary players like Noah Brown and Cedrick Wilson popped up with huge catches. Prescott is the tide that raises all boats.
Dallas is still not the high-flying funnel offense run by simply the wide receivers. That dream is dead. But the version of the offense we are actually getting is bringing the best out of Dak Prescott.
The Stafford Rams can steamroll
We got a pair of middling games from the Rams offense when they went up against two NFC West rivals the last couple of weeks. Los Angeles came back with a vengeance on Sunday.
Matthew Stafford and co. straight outclassed the Giants. To be fair, the Giants are playing with a skeleton crew on offense right now. But this is just a testament to how well Stafford and the Rams can play when everything hits.
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Stafford delivered in a big way in Week 6, chucking four touchdowns and averaging nearly nine backyards per attempt. He was right in sync with Cooper Kupp, as usual, but also got Robert Woods to another solid game and uncorked a beauty of a touchdown to running back Darrell Henderson.
We all talk about buying low. That’s the ideal way to make trades, stock decisions, etc. Sometimes it does make sense to buy high. We might be about to hit that moment with the Rams.
As they reminded us of their ceiling by thrashing the Giants, I couldn’t help but take a look at their upcoming schedule. Los Angeles draws the Lions, Texans, Titans, 49ers, Packers, and Jaguars over their next six games. That is a slate full of winnable games and/or exploitable defenses.
Week 6 was an example of what this team can do when they’re steamrolling an inferior opponent. We could see a lot of that over the next couple of months.
Cason Wentz is … slinging it?
Carson Wentz uncorked some deep balls last Monday against the Ravens and that theme continued against the Texans.
Wentz has averaged over 11 yards per pass attempt in each of his last two games. Some of the figures from Week 5 are juiced up by a long catch and run from a Jonathan Taylor screen pass.
Against the Texans, it was earned.
T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell both hauled in 50-plus-yard deep passes from Wentz. Michael Pittman averaged 17.5 yards per catch and Mo Alie-Cox snagged a 28-yard score.
Suddenly, the Colts’ offense looks like it has a lot of juice.
Pittman has broken out as a No. 1 receiver while ancillary players like Campbell, MAC, and Hilton are making their presence felt (the latter might have suffered another injury, though). All of this came with Jonathan Taylor looking just unstoppable. He ripped off an 83-yard touchdown run, his second mega-explosive play in as many weeks.
It all comes back to Wentz. If this aggressive, vertically inclined version of Wentz sticks around, the Colts can go places. It’s not inconceivable that the farther we get from his injury-riddled summer and the healthier the entire roster gets, the more comfortable Wentz will be.
The Texans and Jaguars are well behind with one win apiece and the Titans draw a matchup with the fearsome Bills on Monday night. The AFC South is there for the taking.
The Bengals passing volume remains low
A spot where the Bengals could simply cruise to a win over the Detroit Lions was not the time for the Bengals to revert to their old pass-heavy ways. Still, this was a perfect reminder as to what the offense looks like now.
Despite potentially not being at 100 percent, Joe Mixon handled 18 carries and paced the team. He also drew five catches, including a huge 40-yard score. Joe Burrow threw three more touchdowns but only passed 29 times.
Joe Burrow has thrown more than 35 passes in just one game this year. He cleared that number in 8 of 10 games in 2020. One of the ones he went under that was the Washington game where he got injured. This is a huge shift.
The efficiency has been there for Burrow and he’s been drastically better as a deep passer. However, with the low volume available and banking entirely on efficiency, the trickle-down effect is dangerous for some of the receivers. Tyler Boyd has a low aDOT and was only viable when Tee Higgins was out. Higgins has only reached 60 yards in one game this year. You can’t start any receiver outside of Ja’Marr Chase with any level of confidence with the Bengals operating like this.
Perhaps the run-to-pass ratio flips drastically over the course of the next month when they run into the Ravens, Browns, and Raiders in closer games. I’m just not banking on it.
5 Things I don’t care about
Pretending there will ever be something more for Pittsburgh
I wasn’t delusional enough to think that somehow removing JuJu Smith-Schuster was going to be a catalyst for change in the Pittsburgh offense. I did think it would open up more opportunities for Chase Claypool to make a bigger impact.
Claypool was indeed the No. 2 receiver, taking 63 snaps to Diontae Johnson’s 69. It only amounted to just two catches for 17 yards on seven targets. Claypool made some mistakes, most notably an offensive pass interference late in the game where he was already making the catch out of bounds. However, there were also a handful of passes where he was open deep and Ben Roethlisberger just couldn’t get it anywhere close.
The Steelers’ offense isn’t likely to change from what we’re seeing. Najee Harris will grind his way to get his, both on the ground and through the air. The only receiver to consistently play well and earn steady volume is Diontae Johnson. He was making plays all night for Roethlisberger and — this was ridiculous — charged with a drop where he had to work back almost five yards to an under-thrown ball just to get his hands close to it.
After Johnson, rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth is going to flash and Claypool will have better days and some other ancillary pieces might have moments. But this team just is what it is. They were able to scratch and claw to a win in a slugfest with the Seahawks. That’s how Pittsburgh is going to have to win because this version of the offense won’t ever pull away from a quality team.
Picking a Cardinals wide receiver
The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver corps is becoming a lesser version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’. Not in overall unit quality; no one boasts a trio of legitimate superstars like the Bucs.
However, Arizona is becoming a similar fantasy football conundrum. The targets are distributed between DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk rather evenly. It’s a lock that three of them will produce something near relevant numbers but there’s a good chance one will be left out in the cold.
But just like you don’t want to be the one to miss out on the big game for a Buccaneers receiver no matter what happened last week, we’re starting to get there with the Cardinals receivers.
Kyler Murray is just that good right now. He’s been absolutely electric throwing the ball downfield all season and was white-hot against the Browns.
No pass-catcher cleared 80 yards or eight targets in this game but Hopkins, Kirk, and Green split four touchdowns between them (two for Hopkins). Hopkins’ and Green’s roles are pretty locked in while Kirk and Moore may alternate their big weeks. The last two weeks between them provide a solid example. Still, you’ll consider them every single matchup because of their own explosive ability and attachment to Murray.
We’ll see next week how the addition of Zach Ertz shakes this distribution up, if at all.
The Chiefs’ flaws
You can’t avoid the issues on Kansas City’s roster. The defense will remain a weak link. The offensive line is still trying to find itself. The mistakes are frustrating.
And yet, results like Week 6 show exactly why I struggle to get too worried.
Kansas City did not play a clean game on Sunday. Not even close. The odd trend of Tyreek Hill and co. volleying Patrick Mahomes’ passes to defenders continued. Mahomes’ two picks against Washington put him at eight for the season. He had six all of last year and just five in 2019.
Former Chiefs tight end Ricky Seals-Jones captured a wide-open pass at the 20-yard line from Taylor Heinicke and somehow still simply walked right into the end zone. We’ve seen plenty of plays like that all season for the Chiefs.
Despite these poisons in Week 6 that are perfectly emblematic of how 2021 is going for Kanas City, they still beat Washington by almost 20 points. Very few holes are too deep to dig yourself out of when you have Mahomes and his typical cast of explosive sidekicks.
There’s no doubt that Kansas City isn’t the same force we’re used to. Odds are we won’t see them in a third-straight Super Bowl. Some of these poisons won’t be cured all season. Nevertheless, it still feels inevitable that the Chiefs will hang around all year, just like they did in this game. At any moment they can do a few special things to get over the top.
While this might not be the same Chiefs of 2018 to 2020, I’m willing to overlook the problems and focus on the good.
Early season Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold looked like he had found new life in Carolina through the first three weeks of the season. A more familiar variation of Darnold has appeared, however, over the last three video games.
Darnold’s propensity for mistakes, getting frenetic in the pocket, and causing turnovers have sunk the Panthers back from being a possible fringe playoff team to an average operation.
There are 2 big factors that have led to Darnold’s decline. The Panthers’ already makeshift offensive line has started to crack under injuries and Christian McCaffrey has still not returned from a hamstring injury. This has always been the issue for Darnold. He simply can’t play in chaos.
When whatever is perfect, Darnold’s strong skill-set can shine through and he looks like a great quarterback. There’s no question he’s talented and can drive a well-oiled car. The problem is that in the NFL, situations are almost never perfect. Almost every vehicle is going to have an occasion faulty part.
Yes, I know Darnold was let down by drops, especially by Robby Anderson. We all watched the strong drive he put together to force the Vikings into OT. Still, it’s hard to not see where things are trending for Darnold. Both things can be true here. He’s certainly not in fantasy starting discussions anymore and his long-term viability for Carolina is in question.
Ravens’ main characters hung backstage
If you knew the Ravens were going to topple the Chargers 34-6, you would have assumed Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown, and Mark Andrews had massive days. You would have been wrong.
Lamar Jackson cleared 50 yards on the ground and Mark Andrews scored a touchdown but it was the elder statesmen group of running backs that ran the day. The Chargers rush defense had been picked on all year and Baltimore was simply the next in line. No one handled more than 10 carries but all three of Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le’Veon Bell found the end zone. The former two guys ripped off several crucial runs.
That said, I believe this was mostly a matchup and game script-induced approach. If Justin Herbert and the offense had given it back to the Ravens, I think we would have seen the passing game we were getting used to.
If anything, the Ravens’ passing game did get a stock up with Rashod Bateman finally seeing the field and playing a huge role:
Bateman led the team in targets and while he didn’t have a big box score, it’s a big development. He did have one miscue that led to a Jackson interception however those will even out as he gets comfy.
Sprinkling an improving Bateman on the top of an already hazardous aerial attack is a nice mid-year boost. I remain very bullish on him, Jackson, Brown, and Andrews throughout 2021.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.