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Week 6 Rankings

By Cody Smith

Dealing with COVID is something new this season that many fantasy managers are having to deal with. Last week it was the Broncos and Patriots getting postponed. They’ll now be playing each other this week. Also last week the Titans and Bills were pushed back to Tuesday Night Football, where the two teams eventually played.

This week we have another set of teams currently on COVID watch. As of this article, the Atlanta Falcons have had positive tests, putting their game against the Minnesota Vikings in Jeopardy this weekend. The Indianapolis Colts have also had positive tests, as they are set to play the Bengals this weekend.

Managers find themselves in a tough spot here, but the best we can do is set lineups, hope for the best and if games do get postponed be sure to have a backup plan for any of your starting players that may end up on an impromptu bye week.

Just like last week I’ll be ranking players in “COVID watch” games, but rankings are subject to change should any games be postponed to COVID. I’ve also decided to add a “COVID watch” list below where I typically list teams that are on a bye.

Now let’s get to the content!

Teams on “COVID watch”: Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals.

Teams on bye this week: Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders.

Injury Notes

Dak Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle Sunday. Prescott goes from perhaps the best fantasy option at QB, to no longer around this season. Dak can be dropped in redraft leagues, while new Dallas quarterback Andy Dalton is a nice speculative add, as he’ll have more weapons at his disposal on this Dallas offense than he ever had in his tenure with the Bengals.

Baker Mayfield is dealing with a rib injury this week and has been limited at practice. Mayfield should play, but if he doesn’t, your Cleveland offensive weapons get downgraded with Case Keenum as the backup.

The New York Jets will go to Joe Flacco for the second week in a row as Sam Darnold continues to recover from his AC joint issue. The main takeaway from Flacco playing last week is that Jamison Crowder doesn’t care who his quarterback is, he can post a big game no matter what.

Dalvin Cook injured his groin last week and is an incredibly long shot to play this weekend. Alexander Mattison should step up and provided solid fantasy value in his absence.

Kareem Hunt played through a groin injury last week just to suffer a thigh injury in the game. I’d imagine he toughs this injury out too and ends up taking on the Steelers this weekend but keep an eye on injury reports. D’Ernest Johnson would probably be the guy if Hunt can’t go.

Adrian Peterson has not practiced this week with a non-COVID related illness. Without All-Day, D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson will see a bump.

Mike Evans is still battling an ankle injury, but he played through it last week and recorded a line of 5-41-1 against a tough Chicago defense. He should gut it out again.

Darius Slayton has been limited this week with a foot injury but should be a go on Sunday. Keep an eye on injury reports.

Laviska Shenault Jr. is questionable this week with a hamstring injury. He has been limited in practice which is a good sign. I expect him to play this weekend. Teammate D.J. Chark is also questionable with an ankle injury and has yet to practice this week. I’m a little more concerned about him than Shenault. He’s still worth a play if he is active Sunday.

Odell Beckham Jr. has been sent home from the team facility due to an illness all week. He has tested negative for COVID, so if he’s feeling better by Sunday I would expect him to play. Teammate Jarvis Landry has been practicing on a limited basis with a rib and a hip injury. He seems on track to play.

Jonnu Smith is listed as questionable with a quad injury suffered in Tuesday’s game against the Bills. In the game Smith caught five balls for 40 yards and a pair of scores. He’s been limited this week, so I expect him to tough it out this week against Houston.

Noah Fant is limited this week with the same ankle injury he suffered in Week 4. According to head coach Vic Fangio, Fant is “50-50” to play this weekend. No matter what, I would bench him in a tough matchup against New England.

Hayden Hurst popped up on the injury report this week with a back injury. Hurst isn’t particularly good anyway, as he isn’t posting TE1 numbers this season. The matchup with Minnesota isn’t terrible, especially with Julio Jones probably not playing. Spot start him if you must.

Others to keep an eye on: Dwyane Haskins (illness), Leonard Fournette (ankle), Jeff Wilson Jr. (calf), Giovani Bernard (groin), LeSean McCoy (ankle), Jordan Wilkins (calf), Sammy Watkins (hamstring), Julian Edelman (knee), Russell Gage (shoulder), Scotty Miller (hip/groin), John Brown (knee), Curtis Samuel (knee), Corey Davis (COVID), Julio Jones (hamstring), Diontae Johnson (back), Chris Godwin (hamstring), Mo Alie-Cox (knee), Jordan Akins (concussion), Tyler Eifert (neck), Rob Gronkowski (shoulder).

Quarterbacks I Like

Kyler Murray gets the opportunity to attack the porous Dallas defense this week and he should do just that. The current QB5 on the season (one spot behind the injured Dak Prescott) faces a Dallas defense that has allowed 11 passing touchdowns in five games this season. Pair that with Murray’s ability to run the ball and his five rushing touchdowns on the season and I believe we’re going to get a top-3 quarterback performance from the second-year player this week.

Ben Roethlisberger is a guy I’m playing everywhere I have him this week. Ben has yet to score less than 22 fantasy points in a single game and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in all four games the Steelers have played this season. In a game against a rejuvenated Browns offense, Ben may have to keep throwing all game to keep a lead, which is great against the Browns' 26th ranked defense against opposing quarterbacks. Cleveland has allowed more passing touchdowns than even the Dallas defense has, allowing 12 passing touchdowns in five games. I’m expecting a huge game from Big Ben.

Quarterbacks to Avoid

Aaron Rodgers is having a great 2020 season, but Week 6 seems like an iffy matchup against a tough Tampa Bay defense. The Bucs are fourth best in the league against opposing quarterbacks, having allowed multiple touchdown passes in a single game just twice (Drew Brees Week 1 and Justin Herbert Week 4) and over 250 passing yards in a game just twice (Teddy Bridgewater Week 2 and Herbert Week four.) I’m expecting them to be able to slow down Rodgers and the Green Bay pass attack this weekend.

Teddy Bridgewater is coming off a QB1 performance in Week 5 where he threw for 313 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons. He faces a much tougher test this weekend against the Chicago Bears who have not allowed a QB to pass for multiple touchdowns in a game this season and have not allowed more than 18 fantasy points to an opposing quarterback this season. The Bears defense is legit and should slow down Bridgewater this week.

Quarterback Rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes @Buf

2. Kyler Murray @Dal

3. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Cle

4. Deshaun Watson @Ten

5. Lamar Jackson @Phi

6. Josh Allen vs. KC

7. Cam Newton vs. Den

8. Matthew Stafford @Jax

9. Kirk Cousins vs. Atl

10. Ryan Tannehill vs. Hou

11. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. NYJ

12. Matt Ryan @Min

13. Jared Goff @SF

14. Baker Mayfield @Pit

15. Aaron Rodgers @TB

16. Daniel Jones vs. Wsh

17. Gardner Minshew vs. Det

18. Tom Brady vs. GB

19. Andy Dalton vs. Ari

20. Philip Rivers vs. Cin

21. Joe Burrow @Ind

22. Drew Lock @NE

23. Joe Flacco @Mia

24. Carson Wentz vs. Bal

25. Kyle Allen @NYG

26. Teddy Bridgewater vs. Chi

27. Jimmy Garoppolo vs. LAR

28. Nick Foles @Car

Runningbacks I Like

James Robinson makes this list for the second week in a row coming off a somewhat disappointing performance in my eyes last week. Robinson ran the ball just 13 times for 48 yards and caught five balls for 22 yards in a 10-point fantasy performance against the Houston Texans. This week he faces the 29th ranked Detroit Lions who have allowed five rushing touchdowns in four games to opposing running backs this season. They’ve also allowed teams to run for over 100 yards in three-of-four games and allowed 248 rushing yards to the Green Bay Packers in Week 2. If the Jags can stay in this game, Robinson should see a heavy workload. I’m expecting a 100-yard rushing game from the current RB9 in PPR scoring.

Alexander Mattison is a fantastic one-week plug and play. Mattison fills in for the RB2 on the season – Dalvin Cook – and gets a matchup with the 26th ranked rush defense of the Atlanta Falcons. In limited work last week, Mattison ran for 112 yards on 20 carries. He also caught three balls out of the backfield. If you own Mattison, you must play him this week.

Runningbacks to Avoid

Kareem Hunt could have a tough go of things this week against a stout Steelers; run defense. Hunt is banged up as well, battling through a thigh injury suffered last week while he was playing through a groin injury. The battered Hunt could cede some work to D’Ernest Johnson this week, especially if the Browns struggle to keep this one close. I’m downgrading Hunt a bit this week, but he should probably still be started. It’s tough to bench the current RB8 on the season.

Darrell Henderson Jr. worries me a bit this week, coming off a week that was solid only due to two touchdowns. In the last two games, Henderson has averaged just 2.6 and 2.5 yards-per-carry, with a maximum of three receptions in a game. That won’t be good enough to get it done in the long run with Malcolm Brown available to steal carries and Cam Akers returning from injury soon. Henderson faces the 49ers run defense this weekend, a team that has allowed just two rushing touchdowns this season and a max of 89 rushing yards by an entire team in a single game.

Running Back Rankings

1. Derrick Henry vs. Hou

2. Ezekiel Elliott vs. Ari

3. Aaron Jones @TB

4. Alexander Mattison vs. Atl

5. David Montgomery @Car

6. James Robinson vs. Det

7. Todd Gurley @Min

8. Jonathan Taylor vs. Cin

9. Mike Davis vs. Chi

10. Raheem Mostert vs. LAR

11. James Conner vs. Cle

12. Clyde Edwards-Helaire @Buf

13. Miles Sanders vs. Bal

14. Myles Gaskin vs. NYJ

15. Kareem Hunt @Pit

16. Phillip Lindsay @NE

17. Joe Mixon @Ind

18. Ronald Jones II vs. GB

19. David Johnson @Ten

20. Antonio Gibson @NYG

21. Devonta Freeman vs. Wsh

22. Devin Singletary vs. KC

23. Kenyan Drake @Dal

24. Darrell Henderson Jr. @SF

25. Chase Edmonds @Dal

26. D’Andre Swift @Jax

27. Adrian Peterson @Jax

28. J.D. McKissic @NYG

29. James White vs. Den

30. Leonard Fournette vs. GB

31. Frank Gore @Mia

32. Damien Harris vs Den

33. Jerick McKinnon vs. LAR

34. Nyheim Hines vs. Cin

35. Malcolm Brown @SF

36. Royce Freeman @NE

37. Matt Breida vs. NYJ

38. Rex Burkhead vs. Den

39. Mark Ingram @Phi

40. Mike Boone vs. Atl

41. Jamaal Williams @TB

42. J.K. Dobbins @Phi

43. Zack Moss vs. KC

44. D’Ernest Johnson @Pit

45. Duke Johnson @Ten

46. La’Mical Perine @Mia

47. Cordarrelle Patterson @Car

48. Brian Hill @Min

49. Chris Thompson vs. Det

50. Dion Lewis vs. Wsh

Wide Receivers I Like

DeAndre Hopkins is the current WR1 on the season in PPR scoring and faces the 30th ranked defense against wide receivers of the Dallas Cowboys. I’m expecting a gigantic game on Monday night from Hopkins who is averaging nearly 11 targets and nine receptions per game.

Juju Smith-Schuster is due for a big game this weekend against a suspect Cleveland Browns' secondary. The Browns have had trouble covering slot receivers this year, fitting right into Juju’s strengths. I expect all the Steelers' wideouts to have a nice game, but Juju ought to lead the way. Diontae Johnson is out this week so look out for rookie Chase Claypool as well.

Wide Receivers to Avoid

Robby Anderson faces a tough Chicago defense this week, and despite having double-digit targets in three-of-five games this season, Anderson may find tough sledding as the Bears have allowed just one receiving touchdown to wide receivers in five games this season.

Tyler Boyd may struggle this week facing a Colts' defense that has been one of the top units in the league. Indianapolis is seventh best in the league against opposing wide receivers allowing under 100 total yards to receivers in two games this season. Boyd only has one touchdown on the season and has eclipsed 100 yards just once. It may be tough for him to accomplish either this weekend.

Wide Receiver Rankings

1. DeAndre Hopkins @Dal

2. Juju Smith-Schuster vs. Cle

3. Odell Beckham Jr. @Pit

4. Julio Jones @Min

5. Marquise Brown @Phi

6. Adam Thielen vs. Atl

7. Will Fuller V @Ten

8. Terry McLaurin @NYG

9. Kenny Golladay @Jax

10. A.J. Brown vs. Hou

11. DeVante Parker vs. NYJ

12. Jamison Crowder @Mia

13. Tyreek Hill @Buf

14. Mike Evans vs. GB

15. Davante Adams @TB

16. Allen Robinson @Car

17. Amari Cooper vs. Ari

18. Stefon Diggs vs. KC

19. Chris Godwin vs. GB

20. Robby Anderson vs. Chi

21. Julian Edelman vs. Den

22. D.J. Chark vs. Det

23. Cooper Kupp @SF

24. Tyler Boyd @Ind

25. Deebo Samuel vs. LAR

26. Calvin Ridley @Min

27. Darius Slayton vs. Wsh

28. Travis Fulgham vs. Bal

29. Chase Claypool vs. Cle

30. Jerry Jeudy @NE

31. Jarvis Landry @Pit

32. Justin Jefferson vs. Atl

33. Brandin Cooks @Ten

34. Laviska Shenault Jr. vs. Det

35. Robert Woods @SF

36. Tee Higgins @Ind

37. CeeDee Lamb vs. Ari

38. D.J. Moore vs. Chi

39. John Brown vs. KC

40. Greg Ward vs. Bal

41. Mecole Hardman @Buf

42. Curtis Samuel vs. Chi

43. T.Y. Hilton vs. Cin

44. Marquez Valdes-Scantling @TB

45. Marvin Jones Jr. @Jax

46. James Washington vs. Cle

47. Cole Beasley vs. KC

48. Keelan Cole Sr. vs. Det

49. Michael Gallup vs. Ari

50. Randall Cobb @Ten

Tight-Ends I Like

Mark Andrews recorded a 27-percent target share last weekend against the Bengals. He caught six-of-nine targets for 56 yards and a score. Andrews has five touchdowns on the season as well. This week Andrews gets to face the 29th ranked Eagles' defense who has allowed five touchdowns in five games this season and allowed 183 yards to the tight end position two weeks ago against San Francisco. Andrews should have a nice game and hopefully account for a ton of yardage as well.

T.J. Hockenson should have some decent upside this week facing the 24th ranked Jaguars' defense. The Jags have allowed four touchdowns this season as well as a 129-yard game allowed to Jonnu Smith and the Titans in Week 2. Hockenson has a pair of touchdowns on the season and has scored no less than 9.3 PPR fantasy points in a single game this season. He should easily reach double digits this weekend.

Tight-Ends to Avoid

Noah Fant got lucky with the Patriots having to miss last week’s game due to COVID. The Broncos bye was moved up and now it seems as though Fant’s ankle – which would have certainly held him out last week – will be healed and ready to go. I’m still nervous about using him this week though. Not only are the Patriots a top-five unit against the tight-end, but Fant may need some time to get up to speed after missing much of his team’s practices the last two weeks. Denver quarterback Drew Lock also returns this week and may also need some time to get up to speed. I’m going to take my medicine and leave Fant on the bench this week.

Tyler Higbee’s work has been dwindling since a big Week 2 performance against the Eagles. Following Higbee’s 5-54-3 game against Philly, Higbee has posted a line of just 7-72-0 over the next three weeks combined. This may continue against the 49ers as Gerald Everett has been receiving more and more of the tight-end work as the season wears on. San Francisco is also top-10 in the league against the tight end position, allowing just one touchdown to the position all season.

Tight-End Rankings

1. Travis Kelce @Buf

2. Mark Andrews @Phi

3. George Kittle vs. LAR

4. Jonnu Smith vs. Hou

5. Evan Engram vs. Wsh

6. Eric Ebron vs. Cle

7. T.J. Hockenson @Jax

8. Zach Ertz vs. Bal

9. Mike Gesicki vs. NYJ

10. Dalton Schultz vs. Ari

11. Hayden Hurst @Min

12. Tyler Higbee @SF

13. Austin Hooper @Pit

14. Noah Fant @NE

15. Jordan Akins @Ten

16. Robert Tonyan @TB

17. Jimmy Graham @Car

18. Tyler Eifert vs. Det

19. Logan Thomas @NYG

20. Rob Gronkowski vs. GB

21. Cameron Brate vs. GB

22. Trey Burton vs. Cin

23. Drew Sample @Ind

24. Chris Herndon @Mia

25. Kyle Rudolph vs. Atl

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