This week’s intro is going to be short. The last couple of days have hit me like a MAC truck and are really challenging my mentals.
I want to take this time to tell everyone reading this that it’s okay to be selfish from time to time. Everyone that is in my life that helps me be the best person I can be — I love you all. I will forever and always do what I can to be someone my friends and family can rely on when they need something.
I try my hardest not to put my problems and what I deal with that challenges me onto my friends. And honestly, I don’t know why. Why can’t they be a support system for me in the way that I try to be for them?
It’s something that weighs on me every day, and it’s something that has been pushing me greatly the last couple of days.
So if you take anything away from this column today — and hopefully, it involves winning fantasy advice — just know that it’s okay to take care of yourself from time to time. It’s what I plan to do this weekend.
Recapping last week — oof, what a rough week for picks. The chalky plays were all the rage last week, which left little room for upside among those on the fringe. I hit on six out of 16 Plays and eight of 16 Fades. Definitely, a down week which pushed my season-long record to an even .500. Time to strap up and do better as we head into Week 6.
A quick reminder of what Play and Fade mean: Play simply means players that I love based on matchups and my expectation that they’ll finish with more points than projected. Fade indicates players that I think will underperform their projections/consensus weekly rankings. It doesn’t mean I’m outright benching them, but I’m likely not rushing to put them in any DFS lineups either. Onto Week 6.
QB Taylor Heinicke (WAS) vs. KC – Since Taylor Heinicke took over as the starter for the Football Team, he’s QB12. Now that you know how good he’s been directly under your nose, here’s a friendly reminder that the Kansas City Chiefs defense is atrocious. They’ve been diced up all season, and Heinicke has eight total touchdowns over his last four games. He also has 40 or more rushing yards in back-to-back weeks. Continuing the theme of how awful the KC defense has been against QBs, they’ve surrendered 40+ rushing yards three times in the last four weeks. It doesn’t take a math whiz to conclude that Heinicke is a viable streaming option with four teams on a bye this week. It just takes a math whiz to quarterback the Washington Football Team.
Other QBs with good matchups: Joe Burrow (CIN) at DET and Carson Wentz (IND) vs. HOU
RB Najee Harris (PIT) vs. SEA – With JuJu Smith-Schuster now out for the season, it stands to reason that Najee Harris will continue to see plenty of targets and usage. During the one game that Diontae Johnson was out, Harris saw 19 targets. Take out that anomaly, and Harris is averaging five targets a game. He set a career-high in carries last week with 23, which bodes well for what will likely be a heavy workload this week against Seattle. The Seahawks have allowed the 2nd most rushing yards, 5th most receptions, and 3rd most fantasy points to RBs on the season. The Steelers’ identity has always been to run the football. You don’t spend a first-round pick on a running back if you’re planning to do anything else. Harris has top 5 upside this week.
RB Joe Mixon (CIN) at DET – Joe Mixon was hobbled last week, which was evident by his 28.4% snap share. Heading into Week 6, he may not have a choice but to power through his injury with backup RB Samaje Perine recently placed on COVID/IR. Which, hey, is great for us fantasy managers in a juicy matchup for Mixon and the Bengals. The Lions have allowed ten TDs and the 5th most fantasy points to RBs through five weeks. DET has been fighting for HC Dan Campbell, but they just don’t have the talent. Mixon is due for a big game, and this is as good a matchup as any to get back on track.
Other RBs with good matchups: James Robinson (JAX) vs. MIA, Khalil Herbert (CHI) vs. GB, and Brandon Bolden (NE) vs. DAL
WR Stefon Diggs (BUF) at TEN – I know this feels like an obvious name, and I try to avoid those in this column, but I feel there’s a healthy bit of doubt circling Stefon Diggs at the moment. Diggs is currently WR25 on the season, but has only one top-24 week. He’s also 9th in targets, which bodes well for his future outlook. But of the top-15 WRs in targets, only Jakobi Meyers and Calvin Ridley have fewer fantasy points. With this week’s game in prime time and against a Titans defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to WRs on the season, this feels like the week we see THE Stefon Diggs we all hoped we would see. Of the five teams the Titans have faced, three have legitimate WR1s. All three finished in the top 7. Bet BIG on Diggs this week.
WR Diontae Johnson (PIT) vs. SEA – We should all know by now that when I find an opportunity to write about Diontae Johnson, I’m going to do it. He’s Top 10 in targets per game among WRs, yet he still doesn’t seem to get the respect that other WR1s receive. I’m sure it has something to do with the struggles of Ben Roethlisberger, but even Big Ben looked better last week. Amazing what happens when the running game gets going, right? Well, we know I like Najee Harris this week. So if the running game is going, good things will happen for Johnson. This year, the Seahawks have been shredded by offenses — allowing the 6th most fantasy points to WRs — and JuJu Smith-Schuster is done for the year. So Diontae is walking into an all-you-can-eat buffet, and I’m here for it.
Other WRs with good matchups: Tyler Lockett (SEA) at PIT, Jakobi Meyers (NE) vs. DAL, and DeVante Parker (MIA) at JAX
TE Tyler Higbee (LAR) at BAL – Tyler Higbee has been a pretty easy TE to grasp this year. When he’s had a good matchup, he’s provided a worthy fantasy game. A bad matchup results in less than stellar numbers. So how does Baltimore fair against TEs, you ask? They’ve allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to the position, which is inflated mainly by facing Travis Kelce and Darren Waller the first two weeks of the season. But Noah Fant, a TE with a pretty defined role in his offense, but up a slash line of 6/46/1 on ten targets. Higbee also has a role in his offense, so it’s fair to say that HC Sean McVay will dial up some plays to take advantage of a hole in the Baltimore defense. Higbee should be a TE1 this week as a result.
Other TEs with good matchups: Mo Alie-Cox (IND) vs. HOU and Ricky Seals-Jones (WAS) vs. KC
QB Dak Prescott (DAL) @ NE – Prescott has been phenomenal to begin this season. The Cowboys’ offense is clicking on all cylinders, whether on the ground or through the air. But here’s why Prescott worries me this week. Over the last four weeks, Prescott has only one game with over 30 pass attempts. The Patriots’ pass defense, which was admittedly bad last week against Houston’s Davis Mills, has allowed the 6th fewest fantasy points to QBs on the season. Let’s not forget, they shut down Tom Brady and the Bucs passing attack just two weeks ago, so I’m chalking up last week to good ol’ hubris getting the best of them. This doesn’t feel like a week the Cowboys will need to throw the ball 35+ times to keep up with a high-powered offense. Instead, they’ll focus on running the football and letting Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard do their thing. Much like last week, when I placed Patrick Mahomes on this list, I feel like Prescott’s upside is capped this week, finishing as more of a QB9-13 than a top 5 option that he’s only been once this year.
Other QBs with bad matchups: Derek Carr (LV) @ DEN and Baker Mayfield (CLE) vs. ARI
RB Aaron Jones (GB) at CHI – Aaron Jones has had some ups and downs against the Bears in his career. And through five weeks of 2021, he’s had some ups and downs. The Bears run defense has been solid this year, allowing the 9th fewest fantasy points to RBs. They’ve also allowed only three rush TDs to RBs on the season, and we all know that’s Jones’ bread and butter. A.J. Dillon is slowly working his way onto the field, playing 40% and 32.1% of the snaps the last two weeks — weeks where Jones was RB29 and RB23. I would still start Jones, but I would be surprised if Dillon doesn’t continue to earn snaps, especially after what he did as a receiver last week. And that affects Jones’s ceiling, making him a risky RB1 play.
RB Chris Carson/Alex Collins (SEA) at PIT – With Carson’s neck injury an issue, I’m not sure if he’ll play. This is me saying I don’t like either this week against Pittsburgh. Without Russell Wilson under center, I feel like we’re going to see a lot of teams stack the box to stop the run and dare backup QB, Geno Smith to beat them. The Steelers have the 6th highest pressure rate in the league, per Pro Football Reference, and the Seahawks offensive line is, well, bad. Stack the box against the run? Short gains. Stack the box, and Seattle decides to pass? Quick pressure leading to ill-timed throws. The Steelers allow the 4th fewest fantasy points to RBs on the season, and none of Seattle’s backs make me feel that will change this week.
Other RBs with bad matchups: Chase Edmonds (ARI) at CLE, Devin Singletary (BUF) at TEN, and Damien Harris (NE) vs. DAL
WR A.J. Brown (TEN) vs. BUF – I’m swinging big with these two Fades. We know what A.J. Brown was. But what is he currently? He’s been dealing with a hamstring issue, which obviously limits his mobility. He’s dealing with a quarterback who is apparently regressing into what he was in Miami. He’s also dealing with an offensive coordinator that would instead just dump passes off to running backs. Take all that bad and combine it with facing the best defense against WRs in fantasy, and you have the makings of a disaster waiting to happen. It’s starting to feel like your only hope is that Tennessee catches Buffalo coming off a hangover caused by their win over Kansas City last week. I hope Brown isn’t your only hope.
WR DeAndre Hopkins (ARI) at CLE – Did you know that DeAndre Hopkins is on pace for his lowest amount of targets in a season since his rookie year? Hopkins averages less than seven targets per game, which is unfathomable considering he’s averaged ten or more targets per game in five of his last six seasons. The Browns didn’t display it last week, but they do have an outstanding secondary. The Chargers offense runs through one receiver, the X (Mike Williams). The Cardinals aren’t the same type of offense. They run more spread formations than any team, running over 20% of their formations with four WRs. After bringing in A.J. Green and Rondale Moore this offseason, they now have four WRs that defenses can’t afford to double team. In layman’s terms, Kyler Murray doesn’t have to force-feed Hopkins. If Hopkins is draped, he won’t get the ball, pretty simple. My belief this week is whichever of Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore avoids Browns slot CB Troy Hill the most will have the best day among ARI WRs. And because of that, I’m fading Hopkins this week.
Other WRs with bad matchups: Adam Thielen (MIN) at CAR, Courtland Sutton (DEN) vs. LV, and Tee Higgins (CIN) at DET
TE T.J. Hockenson (DET) vs CIN – The one thing I love about T.J. Hockenson so far on this young season is the amount of routes he’s running. I also love how he’s one of only two legitimate targets on the team (RB D’Andre Swift being the other). What haven’t I loved? Hockenson has been dealing with an injury, and he’s primarily been a decoy, with only 13 targets the last three games and no TE1 weeks. This week, DET goes against a Bengals secondary that has allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points to TEs and allowed only one touchdown. With Hockenson still banged up, he’s an easy fade for me.
Other TEs with bad matchups: Robert Tonyan (GB) at CHI and Gerald Everett (SEA) at PIT
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