Top Fantasy Football Performers: Jameis Winston Shreds the Falcons, More from NFL Week 6
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jameis Winston
- Here are the top fantasy football performers from Week 6 of the NFL season.
- Jameis Winston, Melvin Gordon, Albert Wilson and Austin Hooper highlighted their respective positions.
- Meanwhile, Julio Jones still hasn't caught a touchdown. You also might want to re-think what you know about the league's best defenses.
You might have laughed, or you might have cried. Ultimately, all of us were winners after experiencing yet another full Sunday of non-stop football.
This week’s action featured head-scratching performances from what we thought were some of the league’s best defenses, five quarterbacks who threw for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns, as well as entertaining early-afternoon shootouts featuring the Colts-Jets, Steelers-Bengals, Buccaneers-Falcons and Bears-Dolphins.
The following four players were the brightest Week 6 stars at their respective positions.
Fantasy Quarterback of the Day: Jameis Winston
Winston’s first start back from suspension went about as well as anyone could have hoped, other than the final score. Overall, he completed 30-of-41 passes (73%) for 395 yards (9.6 yards per attempt) with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
The fourth-year quarterback chipped in 31 scoreless yards on the ground and continued to show signs of improvement as a passer:
- Winston in 2015: 58% completion rate, 7.6 yards per attempt
- 2016: 61%, 7.2 Y/A
- 2017: 64%, 7.9 Y/A
- 2018: 75%, 8.9 Y/A
Up next is a fairly fantasy-friendly six-game stretch of defenses featuring the Browns, Bengals, Panthers, Redskins, Giants and 49ers.
It hasn’t mattered which team the Buccaneers have faced thus far. They’ve scored at least 27 points in all but one game this season, and their proven offensive line and abundance of weapons at wide receiver and tight end signal their early-season dominance probably isn’t a fluke.
Fantasy Running Back of the Day: Melvin Gordon
The Chargers have coasted to easy victories in three of their past five games — against the Bills, Raiders and Browns.
Gordon converted 20 touches into 150 total yards and scored three touchdowns on the ground Sunday against Cleveland’s previously stout run defense, continuing to establish himself as a legitimate contender for end-of-season awards:
Patrick Mahomes has rightfully stolen the AFC West spotlight, but it’s tough to name a more productive running back (outside of Los Angeles) than Gordon.
Up next for the league’s current PPR RB2 are more tasty matchups against the Titans, Seahawks, Raiders, Broncos, Cardinals and Steelers.
Fantasy Wide Receiver of the Day: Albert Wilson
Wilson played a season-low 19 snaps in Week 3 when DeVante Parker was active, and the presence of Brock Osweiler under center against the Bears’ league-best defense in Football Outsiders’ overall DVOA made this a matchup to avoid going into Sunday.
Big Al caught 6-of-9 targets for 155 yards and two touchdowns, including an electrifying 75-yard score to tie the game with only three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter:
Wilson has now scored four touchdowns on only 32 targets this season. The do-it-all athlete also threw a 52-yard touchdown in Week 3.
Wilson’s usage might be inconsistent moving forward in the Dolphins’ slow-paced, run-first offense, but defenses will need to respect the blazing speed the Dolphins boast at receiver: Wilson and Jakeem Grant join Tyreek Hill as the league’s three fastest players with the ball in their hands this season (per Next-Gen Stats).
Fantasy Tight End of the Day: Austin Hooper
Hooper’s big day was at least somewhat influenced by injuries to Calvin Ridley (ankle) and Mohamed Sanu (hip). The third-year tight end ultimately caught 9-of-10 targets for 71 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers’ porous secondary.
Hooper has seen double-digit targets in consecutive games after never having reached that threshold over his first 34 career games.
Long-term injuries to Ridley and/or Sanu could certainly continue to elevate Hooper’s workload, but it’s tough to see the team’s No. 4 option in the passing game continue to churn out big weeks consistently.
However, next week’s date against the Giants’ historically brutal tight end defense probably isn’t the time to bet on Hooper crashing back to earth.
Baker Mayfield had a Bad Day
Mayfield suffered a left ankle injury during the first half of the Browns’ matchup against the Chargers and moved gingerly afterward. Already lacking in raw athleticism, Mayfield’s limited mobility and increasingly erratic decision-making ultimately helped contribute to five sacks and two interceptions.
Still, two potential touchdown passes slipped through the hands of open Browns receivers, and the Chargers defense certainly has more talent than it displayed in the first five weeks of the season. This season’s No. 1 overall pick still has a fantasy-friendly stretch of defenses on the horizon:
Want Points? Play the Colts, Buccaneers or Falcons
Explosive offenses paired with terrible defenses are often ideal matchups to target for weekly game stacks in all fantasy formats. Three of this year’s shootout-friendly teams appear to the Colts, Buccaneers and Falcons.
All three have largely struggled to slow down anybody and everybody this season.
Points allowed per game:
Luckily for these teams’ respective defensive coordinators, each has a chance to right the ship in Week 7 (or simply prove just how bad they really are): The Colts will host the Bills, the Buccaneers will welcome the Browns and the Falcons will get the Giants at home.
It’s Definitely Not 2017 in Houston Anymore
The Texans are Exhibit A for why it’s important for your fantasy players to have a good offensive line.
Houston’s offense worked as one of the best units in the league with Deshaun Watson under center in 2017, but things haven’t been nearly as smooth this season:
Watson was pressured on a league-high 46% of his dropbacks heading into Week 6, and it’s safe to say that the seven sacks he took against the Bills didn’t help matters.
Watson has actually been more accurate — 65% completion rate in 2018 vs. 62% in ’17 — while continuing to average 8.3 yards per attempt. But his astronomical 9.3% touchdown rate from 2017 has fallen to 4.1% this season.
Next week’s matchup against an assuredly pissed-off Jaguars defense won’t help.
What Will it Take for Julio Jones to Score a Touchdown?
Jones has failed to find the end zone in 11 consecutive regular-season games. His previous career high was seven.
It’s pretty hilarious to see just how many Falcons have managed to catch a touchdown pass before over Atlanta’s past 44 quarters of football.
Sunday had every making of Jones’ breakout performance. Ultimately, he couldn’t make it happen against the Buccaneers’ league-worst secondary, even after Ridley and Sanu were forced out of action early.
Up next is a home matchup on Monday Night Football against the Giants, which will likely include a shadow date with Janoris Jenkins.
Maybe Defenses Actually Don’t Matter?
Just kidding. #TeamDefenseMatters.
With that said, we probably do place more importance on defensive matchups than we should considering the volatile week-to-week nature of the NFL. This was highlighted by the performance of the league’s previously top-three ranked defenses in overall DVOA.
Much like basketball: Great offense beats great defense in the NFL. Still, keep in mind that properly identifying and weighing matchups is a very difficult task for even the most knowledgeable fantasy analysts and fans to achieve.
DFS players and gamblers alike should utilize the FantasyLabs Player Props tool. Our industry-leading tool is composed of projections powered by Sean Koerner, the No. 1 in-season FantasyPros ranker for each of the past three seasons.
The props tool sorts through player props available at various online sportsbooks, compares them to our own set of internal projections, rates the quality of each potential bet on a scale of 1-10 and then identifies the book at which the bet can be made most favorably.
Entering Sunday, the 2018 NFL player props with a bet quality of 10 are 107-58-4 (63% win rate).
Ben Roethlisberger to throw for under 2.5 touchdowns at +130 odds was a particularly juicy prop entering Week 6. Big Ben’s infamous home/away splits have produced an average of 1.3 touchdowns on the road over the past five years compared to 2.5 scores through the air at Heinz Field. Roethlisberger had also thrown fewer than three touchdowns in 25-of-28 (89%) career games against the Bengals.
On Sunday? Big Ben threw for one touchdown on 46 attempts.
Hurt in Battle and Returning Soldiers
Week 6 presented plenty of key injuries on both sides of the ball. We won’t know more about Week 7 availability until later in the week, but the following skill-position players will certainly be worth monitoring:
- Browns QB Baker Mayfield (ankle)
- Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (ankle)
- Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu (hip)
- Raiders WR Amari Cooper (concussion)
- Raiders WR Seth Roberts (concussion)
- Raiders QB Derek Carr (left arm)
- Colts WR Ryan Grant (ankle)
- Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle)
- Bills QB Josh Allen (elbow)
- Colts RB Robert Turbin (shoulder)
- Browns WR Rod Streater (stinger)
- Cowboys WR Tavon Austin (groin)