Observer Fantasy Corner — Week 6
It’s time for another rendition of the Observer Fantasy Football Corner. No time for small talk. Let’s get to it.
Must Start — Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
In what feels like a lifetime, the Titans finally played their first game in two weeks against the Buffalo Bills last night. However, this game counts for week five in fantasy, and that is not the matchup we will be looking at. Derrick Henry is set to face the Houston Texans week six, and I am almost certain he will have a big game. The former Heisman winner has finally found a groove in the NFL since last season and up until the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak, was continuing this.
The Houston Texans have been rather disappointing after starting the season 1-4 and in a divisional battle in which Jacksonville almost came back, there is little doubt that the Titans won’t dominate them. The Texans defense has given up six rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs and an average of 4.7 yards per carry. Henry is averaging 3.9 yards per carry but due to the limited amount of games the Titans have played (three), this number should be overlooked. In Henry’s last game against the Texans, he rushed for 211 yards and three touchdowns which makes him my favorite play this week. Expect Henry to have another great game and continue his blooming career.
Must Sit — Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon is having a much better start to the season than he did last year. Averaging 4.1 yards per carry, Mixon’s success has not translated to wins for the Bengals. Granted the Bengals are still a developing team with a rookie QB and a poor offensive line, it makes sense as to why they are about a year from competing in a stacked AFC North. Mixon is set to face one of the leagues best defenses in the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts’ defense has allowed only one rushing touchdown and 432 yards to opposing running backs this season which is pretty impressive. This defense is legit and was my sleeper pick to be among the top five units in the NFL. Do not play Mixon this week even if he is among your top backs as he will probably have less than 10 fantasy points. This is just a bump in the road for Mixon, and any other week I would have no hesitation to start him.
Who to Pick up
Andy Dalton, QB, Dallas Cowboys (owned in 0.2% of leagues)
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (owned in 35.6% of leagues)
Must Start — Jonathan Taylor, RB Colts
Taylor continues to chug along in the midst of a solid rookie season for an equally solid Colts offense that has over 20 points in four of their first five games. The Colts starting running back and second round pick has rushed for over 55 yards each of the last four weeks, scoring a touchdown in three of them. Indianapolis doesn’t have an overly difficult matchup this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, and with Indy having a bye week following that matchup, expect Taylor to be used maybe a little bit more than normal thanks to the scheduled extra rest after.
Must Sit — Tyler Higbee, TE, Rams
Higbee was a surprise superstar in week two with a three-TD showing against the Eagles (while sitting on my bench, unfortunately), but he hasn’t found the end zone since. Against a Washington defense that isn’t exactly stout, especially when it comes to defending tight ends (fourth best matchup for TEs, according to Yahoo), Higbee had a season low 12 receiving yards on just two targets (tied with week three for his season low), as the Rams offense hummed to a 30-point performance and win over Washington with him contributing much. To make matters worth, Higbee will have a much tougher matchup this week against the 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Better off passing on Higbee for the time being, at least until he shows signs of getting his groove back in the Rams’ pass game.
Who to pick up?
WR Chase Claypool (owned in 17% of leagues)
Must Start — Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Thielen has been one of the few bright spots for a struggling Vikings team, and following Stefon Diggs’ departure in the offseason, Thielen has become the clear number one receiver in Minnesota. He has seen eight or more targets in four out of five games this season, with double digits targets in both of the last two weeks. Thielen has caught a whopping six touchdowns through five games, which is tied for the league lead with Mike Evans, and has scored over 26 points three times in Standard PPR leagues. Next week the Vikings host the Falcons, another enticing matchup for Thielen in the passing game. Atlanta ranks 31st in the league in passing yards given up per game at 335.8 and 30th in points given up per game at 32.2, providing plenty of opportunity for Thielen to get loose and find the end zone.
Must Sit — Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan has now had three abysmal weeks in a row after finishing with a single-digit performance against the Panthers. The Falcons are now 0-5 and their offense, which many saw as loaded with talent coming into the season, has been producing less and less as the season progresses.
Ryan also seems to have a knack for throwing interceptions at crucial junctures within games, and his interception in the end zone this past week was a tough pill to swallow for his fantasy owners. A matchup with Minnesota, who likes to chew up the clock with long, run-heavy drives, is not very appealing, so it is best to keep Ryan on your bench until he rediscovers his early season form, especially with Julio Jones potentially out with an injury.
Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (owned in 17% of leagues)
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings (owned in 41.6% of leagues)
Must Start — Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
Despite missing two games early in the season, Crowder has been the only bright spot on an otherwise talent-deprived team. He has eclipsed 100 yards and been targeted at least 10 times in each of his three games played so far in 2020, two with Sam Darnold and one with Joe Flacco at quarterback. Facing a weaker Miami defense this upcoming week, Crowder will once again be able to pace the Jets wideouts in targets and perhaps extend his 100-yard game streak to four on the season. The hamstring injury that forced him to miss weeks two and three is firmly in the rearview mirror, so feel confident putting Crowder in your starting lineup this week.
Must Sit — Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team
This may come as a surprise, given the outstanding season Scary Terry is having so far for the newly minted Football Team. However, things have changed significantly in Washington since the first four weeks of the season, over which McLaurin averaged nearly 100 yards per game with Dwayne Haskins under center. McLaurin’s chemistry with Haskins was undeniable, but the projected starter this week, Kyle Allen, holds much less promise. The matchup poses another problem, as the Giants have a surprisingly good defense for an 0-5 team. McLaurin figures to be shadowed by lockdown corner and DPOTY contender James Bradberry for most for most of the game, severely limiting his already reduced upside and should be riding the pine for your fantasy team this week.
Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (owned in 17% of leagues)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins (owned in 20% of leagues)
Must Start — Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Justin Jefferson has been one of the standout rookies this season, already boasting two games with over 75 yards despite limited targets in four of his five games. However, this play isn’t really about that. What makes Jefferson such a surefire start is the team his Vikings will be playing next week. Through five games, the Atlanta Falcons have been an absolute dumpster fire, and their defense is a big part of that. They’re the second worst pass defense in the NFL, and with Dan Quinn’s firing this last week they’re unlikely to be any more organized than before. Expect a total air raid attack from the Vikings, with Jefferson being a huge beneficiary of this matchup.
Must Sit — Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
This one might feel like a stretch. After all, this is Aaron Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game of football. The same Aaron Rodgers who, after finally showing the first glimpses of Father Time last season, has bounced back for a resurgent year to start this season. However, I feel like his start is a mirage, and last year’s Rodgers is what we’re going to start to expect moving forward. Of the four teams he’s gone up against so far, three of them rank among the top seven worst defenses in the NFL thus far, while the fourth (New Orleans Saints) gives up the fourth most fantasy points to QBs in the country. Sorry, but I think his upcoming matchup with a destructive Tampa Bay defense might expose some of the flaws we saw from him last season.
Who to pick up: Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (owned in 9.4% of leagues)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins (owned in 22.8% of leagues)
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.