Fantasy Football Breakdown: Week 6
Every fantasy season, owners are hit with the shocking news of their star players being injured or benched for younger players who are proving themselves. The key is to continuously be able to improve your team and to adapt to the unpredictability that fantasy football presents.
Through five weeks, the NFL has managed to squeak by with only minor hiccups. As more positive test results emerge from all 32 facilities, fantasy owners are being challenged with the possibility that their players also may contract the virus.
New names and young playmakers are being relied on now more than ever during this pandemic, making it crucial for owners to know the ins and outs of the NFL in 2020. As always, there are players with both positive and negative matchups heading into Week 6.
Here are six must starts and six players you should avoid this weekend.
Alexander Mattison (RB, MIN vs ATL)
Mattison yet again finds himself as the lead back in Minnesota due to a Dalvin Cook injury. The Vikings catch a break and face a struggling Falcons team while they are without Cook, one of their top playmakers.
Mattison showed enough last week for owners to have faith in him as a RB2 or flex play in Week 6. The struggles of Kirk Cousins and the reliability that the Vikings have on their run game make it hard to sit Mattison this week, unless you are loaded with running backs.
The Falcons and Vikings have played in shootouts all year, so expect another one in this game.
Myles Gaskin (RB, MIA vs NYJ)
Gaskin has been a humble surprise for owners who took a flyer on him during the beginning of the season. Many did not expect Miami to be competing in the many close games they it has played in so far.
Gaskin was able to score his first touchdown last week and there is a good chance for more of those on Sunday. If the Jets continue to get themselves in these third-quarter blowouts, Gaskin may be asked to handle a heavy dosage to work the clock.
The Dolphins should handle the Jets like everyone else. That will result in Gaskin having another successful week as a RB2 or flex play.
Cam Newton (QB, NE vs DEN)
Newton was hit with a positive COVID-19 test last week. This was detrimental to a New England team who had the pleasure of facing the Kansas City Chiefs without their star quarterback.
If all goes to plan this week, Newton should be back healthy with a relatively easy matchup. Denver has been one of the worst defenses against opposing fantasy quarterbacks this season.
The Broncos even found a way to allow Sam Darnold to score 23.4 points in Week 4. New England needs a win, and a big day from Newton would do just that. Expect Newton to get in the end zone a few times on Sunday, as the Patriots star is a mid-tier QB1 play with high upside in Week 6.
Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN vs ATL)
Jefferson was a disappointment in Week 5 after a Week 4 breakout party. All hope should not be lost when it comes to the LSU product’s fantasy value. Jefferson now gets one of the worst defenses in the NFL to go up against compared to a Seattle secondary that is full of playmakers.
If you need a flex play, Jefferson could be your guy this week. Whether the Vikings win or lose on Sunday, it will be a high scoring affair that involves all the playmakers.
Expect Jefferson to join in on the fun that wideouts have been having against Atlanta’s defense.
AJ Brown (WR, TEN vs HOU)
Tuesday’s performance was very promising, as Brown was able to catch seven balls for 82 yards and a score. The flashes we have seen from Brown would make some think he is the next breakout wide receiver.
The Titans are the hottest team in the NFL and get to play one of the coldest teams in the Houston Texans. The Texans are in shambles and it would be no surprise to see Brown make use of that.
With questions revolving around the injuries to both Corey Davis and Adam Humphries, that makes Brown’s success even more important. If Houston continues their woes defensively, Brown could be a difference-making WR2 or flex play heading into Week 6.
Evan Engram (TE, NYG vs WAS)
Engram finally made his impact felt during last Sunday’s tough loss in Dallas. Engram was able to find the end zone for the first time all year on a running play.
Though this was yet another concerning game from Engram and Daniel Jones, it was a good sign to see Jason Garrett try to implement the tight end a bit more in his game plan. The Giants now get their most winnable matchup so far in 2020.
New York plays a team in which they were able to dominate twice in 2019. If Joe Judge is going to get his first win here in Week 6, he will need players like Engram to step up.
The Giants receiving core still remains decimated and Engram needs to fill that void. Between him and Darius Slayton, someone will find the end zone on Sunday in a toilet bowl matchup.
Don’t be shy to play Engram after a couple of letdowns.
David Johnson (RB, HOU @ TEN)
Johnson has yet to see a rejuvenation of his career that many were expecting when the Texans traded for him in exchange for star Deandre Hopkins. The former Cardinal looked okay on Sunday, rushing for 96 yards on 17 carries.
Johnson was unable to find the end zone, though, in Houston’s first win. It is hard to imagine Johnson being used even more after the firing of Bill O’Brien.
O’Brien made the move for Johnson and it was his idea to ship Hopkins out. The Texans are close to full rebuild mode once again to find support for Deshaun Watson.
The concept that the team’s future revolves around a 28-year-old back who is past his peak is asinine. Look for Johnson’s production to decrease throughout the rest of the season, starting with this game against a talented Titans defense.
Think about trading Johnson, as he is not going to win any owners championships this season.
Melvin Gordon (RB, DEN @ NE)
Gordon looked like himself in Denver’s last game against the Jets. Gordon rushed 23 times for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns against arguably the worst team in football.
The expectations for Gordon’s production to remain the same versus the Patriots is unrealistic. The combination of Drew Lock coming back from injury and this team being young and inexperienced may lead to a blowout on Sunday.
If the Patriots and Newton get up early, the Broncos are going to be forced to use their other running backs like Royce Freeman who is reliable in the passing game.
Travis Fulgham WR PHI vs BAL
Fulgham came out of nowhere last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Many thought that Carson Wentz had no effective options to throw the football to until Fulgham had a career day in Week 5.
The journeyman from Old Dominion was able to haul in 10 catches for 152 yards and a score vs Pittsburgh. Fulgham will be challenged a bit more this week, with a nasty Baltimore defense ahead of him.
It would be surprising to see John Harbaugh's team struggle with a wideout who has been cut several times. At the end of the day, Fulgham can be a rotational piece for the birds, but good teams like the Ravens are going to find ways to make the 25-year-old struggle.
Do not start Fulgham in Week 6 unless you have to. This is a player that you can stash on the end of your bench.
Tyler Boyd (WR, CIN @ IND)
Boyd only had 4 catches for 42 yards against Baltimore last week, and has now yet another difficult matchup to deal with in Week 6. The Colts defense has been successful against wide receivers so far. But, what should scare Boyd owners even more is that the Colts run defense is one of the best in the league.
If the Colts can stop Joe Mixon and keep this team out of the red zone, it is probably going to be another quiet day for Boyd. A.J. Green appears to be dealing with another injury, so even more defenders should be drawn Boyd’s way.
Without a touchdown, Boyd will have another performance like last week that hovers around 8-12 points in PPR leagues and even less in standard.
Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE @ PIT)
The Steelers defense is currently averaging five sacks a game. The young Browns offensive line has looked promising so far in 2020, but their toughest test is awaiting them.
Mayfield has started the year off well, passing for 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions so far in 2020. Still, the Browns have shown a reliance on the run game that really takes their offense as far as it goes.
It is going to be hard for Cleveland to run the ball as much this week, in a game where they could be down early trying to rally from behind. Do not expect Baker to be in a shootout with Big Ben, as this has the makings for a weird game and even stranger fantasy numbers.
Stay away from Mayfield in Week 6 if there are better options.
Noah Fant (TE, DEN @ NE)
Noah Fant has shown flashes of brilliance in 2020. At his peak, he has looked like Jimmy Graham with run after catch ability combined with a jump-ball aggressiveness that has the makings of an elite tight end.
But, sometimes the second-year pro seems to disappear on the football field. Even with the return of Lock this week, it does not get much tougher than this matchup.
Fant only had six targets in his last matchup with a struggling Jet defense, and only totaled 35 yards on five catches in a relatively a rough day.
The young tight end should rebound at some point this season, but to bet on it being against Bill Belichick's squad is a longshot.
Sam Kirk is a freshman at Penn State majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To get in contact with Sam email @firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism
Sam Kirk is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and podcaster for the CommRadio sports department. He is featured weekly in the fantasy football podcast as well as with the live show Hail Mary. Sam has written articles all across the board that deal with baseball, football and basketball. He is also working for a football media company called Inside the Hashes, writing articles and contributing to their YouTube channel.