Your Target and Touch Report for Week Six uncovers quality lineup options
Settle down, Alvin Kamara owners. Mark Ingram did you a solid on Monday night, one that you’ll appreciate come Fantasy playoff time when Kamara is likely to be fresher than he would have been prior to the win over the Redskins. Kamara was on pace for 392 touches from scrimmage. I even warned you here last week, and for those Ingram owners who took my advice and played him in DFS formats, allow me to give you my PayPal info…
Week Six has an “either you do, or you don’t” vibe with a host of players. The time is coming where those disappointing high draft picks had better come to the party while hoping the surprise party goers continue raising hell. For the first time this season, Mother Nature will make her presence felt in the form of freezing rain and snow flurries. Ah, the thought of an early fall…
He Hate Me (At Least on Odd-Numbered Weeks)
Few, if any, receivers, have been as frustrating than Raiders wideout Amari Cooper, who last week had one damn target for 10 yards. Cooper’s disappearing act continued his season-long trend of being a Fantasy bust in odd-numbered weeks (a combined four catches for 26 yards) before going full-on Michigan J. Frog in even-numbered weeks (18 catches, 244 yards, one touchdown). Cooper and the Raiders travel to London to meet a Seahawks pass defense that is 20th in Fantasy Points Allowed to opposing receivers, and while this should be a good draw for him, I’d advise not to run out Cooper as nothing more than a WR3/Flex. His free-swinging results always make him riskier in PPR formats.
The Burning of Atlanta
Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson screams “MUST START” against a Falcons defense that has allowed 290 passing yards per game and is 27th in Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing wideouts. Jackson has been surprisingly consistent this season, recording three 100-yard games while averaging a video game-like 24.9 yards per catch. It’s too early to suggest that he’s able to maintain this pace. Yet if Jackson does so, it would be the highest Yards Per Catch average since 2010 when — surprise! — Jackson, then with the Eagles, led the league with 22.5 yards per catch. Of course, Eagles fans remember Jackson for a non-catch that season (say what you want about him as a baseball play-by-play announcer, but I’d take Joe Buck when it comes to football). Jackson’s a strong WR2 and makes a great stack with Jameis Winston in DFS formats.
Turn Up the Volume
The Chargers, who meet the Browns on Sunday, come in 12th in Fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs. Carlos Hyde averages only 3.5 YPC, yet he is second only to the Rams Todd Gurley in carries (100) and will get the bulk of the touches in the red zone. He has five touchdowns this season, and even though the Chargers have allowed only two rushing scores, press forward with Hyde.
Yes, No, Maybe (Subtitled: Red Sox-Brewers World Series? Count Me In!)
Yes: Coming off a career-best 12 targets in last week’s loss at the Steelers, Falcons tight end Austin Hooper, who caught nine passes for 77 yards) gets another strong matchup against a Buccaneers defense that is last in Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing tight ends at 16.7 per contest. This shapes up to be a shootout, making Hooper a solid play yet again.
No: It was nice to see LeSean McCoy finally show up for the 2018 season during last week’s win over the Titans, but I’d avoid him as the Bills hit the road to contend with a Texans run defense that allows 3.4 yards per carry. Houston’s D started hitting its stride in the overtime win over the Cowboys and with little support around him, McCoy’s going to feel like a Texas-sized chicken fried steak (with all the trimmings) in front of a pack of hungry high school offensive linemen (trust me, I’ve seen that experience. It’s not pretty).
Maybe: It feels like the Colts haven’t had a productive runner since Lenny Moore, and while rookie Nyheim Hines isn’t the answer, he could solve a host of problems in PPR formats. Hines has caught 21 of his 25 targets in the last three games and could exploit a Jets team that hovers near average when it comes to Fantasy Points Allowed per game to opposing running backs. He’s not quite a must-start, but Hines could emerge as one of this week’s more productive players at the position.
Come On, Come On, Come On, Come On and Touch (and Target) Me, Baby
Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears: I’m not holding my breath on a Jordan Howard resurgence. Until then, Cohen makes a solid Flex option going against a Dolphins defense that ranks 28th in Fantasy Points Allowed to opposing running backs. He could put up impressive numbers if the Bears find a way to get him 12-15 touches.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs: You know Patrick Mahomes is going to crank one 60-65 yards in the air into the waiting hands of Watkins, who would only need a play or two like that to justify using him in the potential free-for-all at the Patriots on Sunday night. Apart from his early exit in Week Four, Watkins has averaged eight targets per game, a number that could produce huge results for his owners.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers: I’m running with him if Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison miss Monday’s game versus the 49ers. The Notorious M.V.S. caught seven of his 10 targets in last week’s loss to the Lions and his 6’4 frame is made for red zone fade routes and 50-50 balls from Aaron Rodgers.
David Njoku, TE, Browns: He’ll be involved in one of the week’s best games within a game when he squares off against Chargers rookie safety Derwin James, who has become a lock-down presence against opposing tight ends. However, Njoku has seen 18 targets in the last two games and has become a trusted option for Baker Mayfield.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks: A third straight 100-yard game is in the offing for Carson, who gets to feast on yummy grub in Britain before hitting the buffet table that is the Raiders 28th-ranked run defense. Seattle will have an old school feel, as Carson gets 20-plus touches and still have enough left over to make backup Mike Davis Fantasy viable.
Chester Rogers, WR, Colts: Indy won’t have T.Y. Hilton available, so feel free to use Rogers as a Flex option against a Jets defense that allows 290 passing yards per game. Considering the Colts running game borders on non-existent, Rogers will be in line for at least a third straight game of 11 targets from a resurgent Andrew Luck.
Bilal Powell, RB, Jets: He came a yard short of crossing the 100-yard mark in last week’s win over the Broncos. He might get that (and more) if Isaiah Crowell’s ankle keeps him off the field against the Colts. His pass receiving skills will make Powell a strong candidate for 20-25 touches from scrimmage if the Jets turn to him as the lead back.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: Yes, him again. Ekeler caught his third touchdown pass of the season last week and must be considered a strong RB2 in PPR formats. Cleveland is 22nd against the run but it’s not Ekeler’s running skills (which are solid, BTW) that has led to him being a consistent play.
Gimme A Sleeper!
Steelers wideout Ryan Switzer has caught 12 of his 14 targets, and in a game that could evolve into a gunslinger’s delight between Ben Roethlisberger and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, the young Pittsburgh slot man could find himself in favorable matchups when the Steelers go with an empty backfield. He’s a reach but one to consider grabbing.