Week 6 Sleepers and Busts: In Love with the Gardner
If you had told me when the season began that I would have Gardner Minshew and Adrian Peterson listed among my Week 6 sleepers, I would have had several follow-up questions. But here we are. The ability to adapt to the ever-changing landscape in fantasy football is what separates the wheat from the chaff. We must constantly adjust our thinking and how we value players based on current trends and matchups. Despite the Miami-Washington game being fodder for fans, with the loser likely to earn next April’s top draft choice, there is a fair amount to like from a fantasy perspective. On the flip side, there are a couple of players who have had breakout seasons who are among my Week 6 busts. Past results do not always dictate future success. Keep reading to find out who makes my Week 6 sleepers and busts lists.
For help getting ready for NFL Week 6, check out our Week 6 Waiver Wire Recommendations, Week 6 FAAB Guide and Mick’s Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings! Or if you want to get all defensive about things, then check out Gary Davenport’s IDP Sleepers!
Week 6 Sleepers and Busts
Gardner Minshew (My rank: QB11; Expert Consensus Ranking: QB14)
Gardner Minshew has quietly finished as the QB16 or higher in all five games he has played in this season. That high floor certainly makes him worth considering this week when the Jaguars host the New Orleans Saints. In four starts, Minshew has yet to throw an interception while averaging 251 passing yards per game. The Saints permit 277 yards per game and 8.24 yards per attempt. Both of those numbers are in the bottom half of the league defensively. Minshew has also averaged 29.5 rushing yards per game. That is noteworthy because the Saints have allowed a league-high four rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks this season. Minshew is reportedly battling some groin soreness, so his mobility may be a bit limited. But there is a lot to like about this matchup. I would have no qualms starting Minshew this week.
Carson Wentz (My rank: QB15; ECR: QB12)
The consensus has Carson Wentz as a low-end QB1 this week, which is roughly where Wentz has lived this season. He has finished as a QB1 in four of five games in 2019. Based on that, it may seem safe to plug him into your starting lineup. But I just cannot get on board this week. Wentz has a daunting Week 6 matchup in Minnesota against the Vikings. Minnesota has allowed just 6.17 yards per passing attempt this season. That is the fifth-lowest mark in all of football. They have also played much better defense at home in recent years. Since the beginning of the 2017 season, they have only allowed just one quarterback to post a top-10 weekly fantasy finish against them. Wentz just does not have a very high ceiling in this matchup. I would try to find a better Week 6 option if at all possible.
Week 6 Sleepers: Running Backs
Adrian Peterson (My rank: RB22 in Standard; ECR: RB27)
Adrian Peterson has yet to clear 35 yards from scrimmage in a game this season. However, if there was ever a time to play him, this would be the week. Miami has allowed 615 rushing yards and five touchdowns to opposing running backs in just four games. Peterson will be fed early and often by interim coach Bill Callahan. Callahan is an offensive line coach who believes that Washington’s struggles were due to the fact the team did not run enough. Antiquated and flawed thinking aside, the fact is that Peterson is likely going to be featured in this matchup. If this game remains close throughout, we may see Peterson approach 20 carries. That volume makes him worthy of an RB2 slot, though you may not want to watch.
Kenyan Drake (My rank: RB24 in Standard; ECR: RB31)
Mark Walton (My rank: RB41 in PPR; ECR: RB50)
Kenyan Drake has been anchored by Miami’s terrible weekly game script. He enters Week 6 just 44th among running backs in PPR scoring. Even factoring in Miami’s bye, Drake is still just an RB4 in terms of weekly scoring. Drake is averaging just 11 touches per game, mostly because Miami has fallen behind big early and has been forced to forgo the running game. But that should not happen this week against Washington. Miami should be able to complete and possibly even pull out a victory. Washington has struggled to defend the run this season. They rank in the bottom-10 in the NFL in total rushing yards, receptions, and receiving yards to opposing running backs. Drake should be worthy of your RB2 spot, whereas the consensus does not even consider him a top-30 play.
For those in deeper leagues, I also like Mark Walton in this game for many of the same reasons I like Drake. Walton appears to have surpassed Kalen Ballage for the team’s backup role behind Drake. He should have a bigger role going forward. And of course, there is always the possibility the team trades Drake to stockpile more future draft picks. Walton is available in 89 percent of Fantrax leagues and is worth a stash if you can afford the bench spot. He may even be a plug and play Flex this week depending on your other options.
Bust Running Backs
Austin Ekeler (My rank: RB25 in PPR; ECR: RB14)
It seems odd to list Austin Ekeler as a “bust” this week, particularly in PPR leagues. After all, he ranks second among all running backs in PPR scoring this year and finished eighth last week despite the return of Melvin Gordon. However, I do not think it is a stretch to suggest Ekeler will not catch 15 passes in Week 6, as he did against Denver last week. Ekeler will remain involved and should be in line for 10-12 touches in this game. I do have him ranked 25th, which is startable in most instances. I just do not consider him a no-brainer start in this game. The Chargers should be able to dictate game flow in this game, as they will likely be facing third-string rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges. I think this will be more a Melvin Gordon week than an Austin Ekeler one, hence the relatively low ranking.
Jordan Howard (My rank: RB31 in PPR; ECR: RB26)
Jordan Howard has been one of the most productive running backs over the last two weeks. However, he will have a hard time keeping his hot streak intact this week in Minnesota. Minnesota’s defensive prowess is not just limited to the passing game. The Vikings have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to enemy running backs and are one of three teams who have given up fewer than two rushing touchdowns to the position this season. Despite Howard’s recent exploits, I would try to avoid starting him, especially in PPR leagues. The memory of him catching a touchdown pass in Week 4 is still fresh in many of our minds, but that is not Howard’s forte. He has been targeted just nine times on the year. Minnesota has also allowed the third-fewest passing yards to running backs this season. This is just a bad matchup all the way around.
Week 6 Sleepers: Wide Receivers
Dede Westbrook (My rank: WR24 in PPR; ECR: WR35)
When looking for weekly PPR sleepers, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is, “Who is facing P.J. Williams?” This week, the answer to that question is Dede Westbrook. This is excellent timing, as Westbrook has been trending upward in recent weeks. After catching just one of five targets for three yards in Week 2, he has developed a much better rapport with Gardner Minchew. Westbrook has had at least five receptions in his last three games and his yardage totals have increased week. I expect both of those trends to continue this week against Williams. Williams has allowed a 72.7 percent catch rate and 13.1 yards per catch this year. Westbrook should be heavily targeted throughout this game. The consensus has him as a borderline WR3, but I think he is in the WR2 conversation this week.
DeVante Parker (My rank: WR41 in Standard; ECR: WR54)
I may need another shower after recommending so many offensive players in this game. That goes double for my advocacy of DeVante Parker, who has routinely disappointed fantasy owners over the years. But, much like Adrian Peterson, if there was ever a week… Washington usually has their corners play sides, while Parker lines up all along the field. That means he should get plenty of chances to line up against Josh Norman, who ranks 93rd among cornerbacks in Pro Football Focus’ grading system, as well as slot corner Fabian Moreau, who ranks 94th. Preston Williams lines up on the left side nearly two-thirds of the time and is much more likely to face off with Quinton Dunbar (third-best according to PFF) than Parker is. Parker leads the NFL in air yards per game, as well as average depth of target. He has sneaky upside in this matchup.
Bust Wide Receivers
D.J. Chark (My rank: WR27 in Standard; ECR: WR19)
Based on my rankings, I am still very much in favor of starting D.J. Chark in season-long leagues. The former LSU product has blown up in his second season, and I think that much of what he has accomplished is legitimate and sustainable. Having said that, I would temper my expectations just a bit this week. As I mentioned when discussing Dede Westbrook, he has by far the best matchup among the Jaguars wideouts. The consensus has Chark ranked roughly 20 spots higher than Westbrook and I am just not buying it. I think Westbrook provides much better bang for your DFS buck in Week 6. Chark will still play an important role and should get plenty of looks. If you drafted him in redraft leagues, you are loving life and are starting him every week. I just would not go chasing last week’s points.
Robby Anderson (My rank: WR51 in PPR; ECR: WR41)
The return of Sam Darnold has owners desperate for a return to prominence for Robby Anderson. While better days are certainly ahead for the fourth-year wideout, I am not so sure that begins on Sunday against Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Part of the reason for that is the solid play of cornerback Byron Jones, who figures to line up against Anderson most of the time. Jones has graded out 27th among cornerbacks this season according to Pro Football Focus. Since the beginning of the 2018 season, only 53.8 percent of passes aimed at Jones have been completed, and Jones has given up just three touchdowns. The second half of the season figures to be kinder to Anderson, but I would not rush to play him just yet.
Week 6 Sleepers: Tight End
Vance McDonald (My rank: TE11 in PPR; ECR: TE14)
Vance McDonald returned to action last week after missing Week 4 with a shoulder injury. He had three catches for 34 yards and finished as a low-end TE2. That, unfortunately, is his likely floor going forward. McDonald is a lot less safe than he appeared when he was drafted as a top-10 tight end before the season. But the same can be said of plenty of tight ends in that range. This week, I expect him to have a better showing. He faces the Los Angeles Chargers, who have been riddled with injuries to their defense. The Chargers have already allowed three touchdown catches by tight ends this year. Pittsburgh is expected to go with undrafted rookie free agent Devlin Hodges as their starting quarterback. Hodges will need McDonald to be his security blanket in this one. I believe Vance McDonald will be a TE1 in Week 6.
Bust Tight End
Jason Witten (My rank: TE16 in PPR; ECR: TE12)
I simply do not understand the love for Jason Witten this week. Are people just hoping he will be awesome and play forever so he stays out of the booth? Whatever the reason, I just do not see Witten being a top-12 tight end this week. There are plenty of things the New York Jets do not do very well. One thing they are pretty adept at, however, is limiting tight end production. The Jets have allowed the fewest receptions to opposing tight ends this season. That was also the case last year. Witten must score in order to be a TE1. Dallas has plenty of other exploitable matchups all over the field in this matchup, with Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. I would much rather bet on those players to score touchdowns in this game as opposed to Witten.
Got a few Week 6 Sleepers of your own? Don’t be greedy! Drop them in the comments below. You can’t say, “I told you so,” if you didn’t tell us so.
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