What an amazing draft pick Ezekiel Elliot has turned out to be for the Dallas Cowboys, becoming the first rookie in NFL history to run for 130 yards in 4 straight games. Everyone expected him to do well behind the Cowboys massive offensive line, but to set an NFL record in Week 6 of the NFL season… that's insane!
Around the rest of the league, it was a day of unlikely heroes emerging to lead the few fantasy owners to victory. Guys like Case Keenum, Marcus Mariota, Jay Ajayi, and Spencer Ware found themselves at, or near, the top of their respective positional rankings. It's weeks like this that nobody can predict as upsets ruined not just NFL rankings, but fantasy football standings as well.
Another injury has fantasy owners scurrying to the waiver wire to find a replacement, this time at the QB position. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury on Sunday, one that was later confirmed to be a torn meniscus. He already had meniscectomy surgery on Monday, so his recovery is underway. And to be clear, a meniscectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of a torn meniscus. It sounds a little more serious than it is (overall), with the recovery timetable being much shorter than for a full repair.
The waiver wire has been picked pretty clean by this time, so just remember to swap out your bye week players in Week 7 (Panthers and Cowboys), and grab what little there is (Kenny Britt, Golden Tate, and maybe Ware) to fill your holes. Be sure you check your Week 9 byes and plan ahead. Know that Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, and Washington all have a bye in Week 9, so your roster is likely to be thin.
Drew Brees – Saints: It's never a surprise when Brees lights up a defense and finishes as the #1-ranked fantasy QB. But when he throws for 465 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception against a defense that most experts had pegged as elite before the season started, that's when people are a little amazed.
The Saints hit the road to take on the Chiefs in Week 7. They give up the 8th-fewest fantasy points to QBs this season at 17.3 PPG. I would consider him a lower-end QB1 next week.
Matt Ryan – Falcons: It was hard to use Ryan in fantasy leagues this weekend, with him facing the Seahawk's Legion of Boom. However, those who did got a special treat as he roasted them for 335 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. His numbers could have been better if the referees would have caught a late pass interference when Richard Sherman grabbed Julio Jones' arm as he was falling backwards to make an acrobatic catch.
Nevertheless, Ryan finished with QB1 numbers and now heads back home to take on a Chargers defense that gives up 22.0 PPG (10th-most) to fantasy QBs this season. Just plug Matty Ice into your QB1 slot and leave him alone until Week 11 when he has a bye.
Case Keenum – Rams: It isn't going to be often you see Keenum's name on the winners list, so you might want to screen shot it and Tweet it to him here. It helps that he played the Lions in Week 6, a team whose defense has given up the most fantasy points to QBs this season at 27.1 PPG. That's pretty impressive when you consider the Cleveland Browns are still in the NFL.
Keenum seemed to move the ball at will for most of the game, racking up 321 passing yards (27 of 32 completions), 3 TDs, and 1 INT. Keenum is in no danger of losing his job with bad games, but he also isn't likely to have another day like this again this season. Chalk it up to a choice matchup and move on.
Marcus Mariota – Titans: Playing the Browns will make things look easier than they really are, and Mariota made his weak WR corps look like Pro Bowl nominees this weekend because of it. Mariota finished with 284 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and chipped in 64 rushing yards just to make his fantasy owners happy.
Forty-one of those rushing yards came on a designed run on the first play from scrimmage. Mariota has done a good job limiting his mistakes, but he also looks like a QB that is going to max out his potential due to his team not giving him anyone to throw to. He has a pretty favorable schedule until his Week 13 bye, so grab him if you own Roethlisberger.
Jay Ajayi – Dolphins: I know there is at least one fantasy owner fuming at me this week. You see, this guy asks me every week who he should start at RB, and Ajayi is always on the list. My answer is always the same, though: "You can't trust Ajayi or the Dolphins offense." Well, this week the kid busted out with 204 yards (on 25 carries) and 2 touchdowns, despite Arian Foster being active for the first time since Week 2.
Ajayi out-carried Foster 25-6, and gave the Dolphins something to think about for next week as they take on the Bills at home. Foster isn't ready to take on a full workload just yet, but Ajayi is little more than an untrustworthy RB2/3 against the Bill in Week 7.
Spencer Ware – Chiefs: There are few things more frustrating in fantasy football than a starting RB coming back from injury, causing you to drop the guy who had been playing well, the team going on a bye, and then the guy who most people cut breaks out for a massive game while the starter takes a back seat. Does Coach Andy Reid not understand the problem he caused for fantasy owners this weekend with that trickery?
Ware finished with 163 total yards and a touchdown against the Raiders solid run defense. Coach Reid said on Monday that Charles isn't ready for a full workload, information that would have been useful on Saturday! Go grab Ware for an RB2 play in Week 7 against the Saints liberal defense.
Ezekiel Elliot – Cowboys: There is little more that can be said about Elliot than has been said by the national media, but this kid is a fantasy stud that is going to be a top-5 fantasy pick for the next decade if he can avoid injuries. He already has an NFL rookie record under his belt, and has people already talking about rookie of the year if he keeps this up.
This week he finished with 28 carries for 157 rushing yards and caught 2 passes for another 17 yards. While he didn't score, the yardage alone was enough to put him in the top 5 for fantasy RBs in Week 6. I would consider playing him next week even though the Cowboys have a bye. The way this kid is running, he might get some yards from the sofa!
Brandin Cooks – Saints: If you remember, I told you to start Cooks this week because I knew it was time for the WR to bust out of his slump, and bust out he did. Cooks roasted the Panthers for 7 catches, 173 yards, and 1 touchdown at home. Eighty-seven of those yards came on a touchdown in the first quarter, but he was able to get yards almost at-will.
Cooks looks more like a boom-or-bust WR, and one that has far more success at home than on the road. Next week he takes on the Chiefs, in Kansas City, making him a risky play I personally wouldn't trust.
Golden Tate – Lions: Tate had been a colossal bust leading up to this game, accounting for just 17 catches and 134 receiving yards. OC Jim Bob Cooter changed all that by force feeding him in Week 6, allowing him to finish with 8 receptions, 165 yards, and a touchdown against the Rams. With Calvin Johnson gone, fantasy owners had drafted Tate as the Lions' No. 1 WR in the pre-season. But that wasn't to be as Marvin Jones took control of that job from day 1.
Tate isn't someone I would trust unless we can be promised he will see 10 targets per game going forward. And since that isn't going to happen, I'd leave him on your bench until we see a pattern.
Odell Beckham Jr. – Giants: Beckham has been in the news all season long with his antics on the field causing ownership to weigh in on it publicly. Things like that can go one of two ways: either the player will take it personally and shut down, or he rises from the ashes like a Phoenix and shuts everyone up. Well, ODB decided to step up and hauled in 8 of 10 passes for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Ravens.
Beckham is clearly an elite fantasy WR, but he has a QB that is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride week to week. You have to play him as a top-tier WR1, but understand there will be highs and lows.
Kenny Britt – Rams: If you look at his total stats this season (30/492/2), Britt is clearly flying under the radar in Los Angeles. He's ranked 16th for fantasy WRs through six weeks of the season and is someone you should own in most formats. The Rams offense is a mess, but Britt is currently on pace for 1,300-plus yards this season.
I would pick him up this week, but understand he has more PPR value than standard value.
Coby Fleener – Saints: Fleener was another guy I told you to start in Week 6, and he didn't disappoint with his 6 catches, 74 yards, and 2 TDs (1 rushing, 1 receiving). There were big hopes for Fleener when he came to New Orleans, with fantasy owners thinking he could be the next Jimmy Graham for the Saints. That hasn't quiet been the case, as Fleener has been slow to get on track with the Saints offense.
The Saints had a bye in Week 5, and Fleener looked like a guy who understood things against the Panthers on Sunday. If he is indeed on the same page as Brees, the second half of the season could be a big one for him and his fantasy owners. He'll be hard to play on the road in Week 7.
Hunter Henry – Chargers: We are seeing the end of an era in San Diego this season, with Antonio Gates on his way out and Hunter Henry taking over. Henry hasn't looked anything like the rookie he is, posting a 19/310/3 line through six weeks of the season. This week he accounted for 6 catches, 83 yards, and a touchdown.
Henry is Philip Rivers' go-to guy in the redzone, with Gates popping up every now and then to vulture a TD in what looks like his farewell tour. Henry should be owned in all formats.
San Diego Chargers defense: So far this season the Chargers have tried to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 3 of the 4 games they've played, causing them to head into Week 6 with a 1-4 record. This week the Chargers defense stepped up, limiting the Broncos to 13 points, but racking up 2 sacks, 1 safety, and 2 recovered fumbles.
The Chargers have a top-10 fantasy defense this season, but only because of Week 2, 3, and 6. They are a defense you can stream in the right matchup, but not one to hold on to as an extra defense on the bench.
Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers: The big news of the week will be Roethlisberger and his injury outlook. I'm not cutting bait with him, and I really don't think you should either. My guess is he will miss 1-2 games (bye in Week 9) and be back on the field before you know it.
Big Ben had a juicy matchup on paper, facing the Miami Dolphins and a defense that generously gave up 21.79 PPG to QBs heading into this game. With that said, the Dolphins did limit him to just 189 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, and a 2-point conversion. Stay tuned for more information via my social media.
Russell Wilson – Seahawks: Wilson had a sweet matchup this weekend, facing a Falcons secondary that gave up the most fantasy points to QBs (31.34) heading into this week. However, he clearly didn't look like he was over his knee injury, and finished the game with an empty 270 yards passing.
While he didn't throw any interceptions to hurt his owners, he also didn't throw any touchdowns to help them. He had the best matchup he will see all season and he did nothing with it. Wilson gets the Cardinals in Week 7, the Bills in Week 9, and the Eagles in Week 11, so it will be a rocky road for him until we near the fantasy playoffs. Be aware, and beware.
Carson Wentz – Eagles: Wentz will easily go down as the best QB pick of the 2016 NFL draft, which is sure to frustrate the team that passed on him at No. 1, the Rams. With that being said, Week 6 is one he would like to forget as the Redskins held him to just 11 of 22 passing, 179 yards, no TDs, and no INTs.
The Eagles got ahead with defense and special teams, both of which scored, putting him in a situation where he didn't need to throw much. But, when he did, the Redskins pinned their ears back and went after the rookie, sacking him 5 times. Wentz draws the Vikings next week, who are coming off a bye. I'll let you in on a little secret: someone whose last name starts with a "W", ends with a "Z", and has "ent" in the middle will be on my Sit 'em list on Thursday.
Jamaal Charles – Chiefs: Charles is not in charge when it comes to the carries in Kansas City, managing just 9 this week against the Raiders. Ware is playing very well right now, and the Chiefs seem in no hurry to turn the workhorse role back over to him.
Charles is a hold in fantasy league, but not someone you should play until his touches at least equal Ware's. That may not be for a while, so patience is going to be key with him.
Matt Forte – Jets: Forte with the Jets started out well with 197 yards and 3 TDs (all 3 in Week 2) in his first two games. But since then, he has just 164 yards rushing if you include his 19 from Monday night. What's worse is he isn't even a factor in PPR formats these days, managing just 8 catches and 31 yards the past 5 weeks.
Forte is on the wrong side of his career, and you'd do well to try and trade him to a RB-needy team while you still can. With Bilal Powell handling all the pass-catching work, and Forte averaging 2.1 YPC or less in 2 of the last 3 games, things could go bad for him and his fantasy owners if he doesn't pick it up quick, fast, and in a hurry.
Justin Forsett – Lions: When Forsett was cut by the Ravens just before the season, fantasy owners scrambled to replace him with someone from the waiver wire. Then they resigned him, and those same owners went and snatched him back up, only to see him cut after a dismal showing. The Lions signed him because they were down to me and my boss at RB, and again, fantasy owners ran to the waiver wire to grab the once highly-touted RB.
Forsett is well past his prime, and that showed as he was out-touched by Zach Zenner 16-5, and out-performed by a margin of 77-5 in yards. Cut him loose, and hope someone else wastes a roster spot on the 31-year-old RB.
Arian Foster – Dolphins: Foster was used in much the same was as Charles was this weekend, a decoy for the defense to worry about. Returning from a hamstring injury, Foster managed just 3 carries for 3 yards, and caught 2 passes for 12 yards. He isn't close to 100 percent healthy, and all the Dolphins did was give him a few touches to let his legs remember what NFL action feels like.
Hamstring injuries are tricky for players to deal with, and running backs even more so. I'd hold on to Foster for now, but I wouldn't play him for a few more weeks at least.
Demaryius Thomas – Broncos: Gone are the days of Thomas being an elite fantasy WR, and owners need to understand that when next year's draft rolls around. While he did manage 10 targets this week, he reeled in just 5 of them for an unimpressive 35 yards. Thomas also lost a fumble that caused the game to slip further away from the Broncos than it should have.
Thomas is a middle of the road WR2 with Trevor Siemian under center, but one that has WR1 upside in the right matchup. The Texans are dealing with a multitude of injuries in their secondary, putting him back in the WR1 discussion for Week 7.
Antonio Brown – Steelers: The Dolphins had their best game of the year on defense, limiting the Steelers to just 317 yards of total offense. That number would be 60 yards less if Darius Heyward-Bey hadn't broken an end-around for a touchdown. It was the perfect storm for the Steelers, with the Dolphins defense shutting them down and Roethlisberger ineffective and injured.
Brown will have to deal with Landry Jones at QB while Roethlisberger is out, but things might not be as bad as some will say. Jones has shown absolutely nothing in his NFL career, but he is sure to lean on Brown and Le'Veon Bell heavily in Week 7 when the Patriots get ahead on the scoreboard. Not IF they get ahead; WHEN they get ahead!
DeAndre Hopkins – Texans: Hopkins is in the same boat as Thomas with his fantasy value being drastically overrated due to his past production. Hopkins has arguably one of the worst free agency signings of the offseason throwing him the ball in Brock Osweiler. Even though the Texans pulled out a win against the Colts this week, Hopkins was blanketed by Vontae Davis and virtually shut down.
While he did manage to haul in 9 catches for 71 yards, the stats are misleading since the Texans were throwing from behind in the 4th quarter. The Colts lost the game more than the Texans won it, and someone is sure to lose their job over signing Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million contract, with $37 million guaranteed and a $12 million signing bonus.
Antonio Gates – Chargers: As I said earlier, the end of an era in San Diego is upon us. Gates has taken a back seat to Henry, even if the depth chart says otherwise, with a season-high of 4 receptions and 30 yards, both coming in Week 5 against the Raiders. This week he managed just 2 catches for 16 yards, but did draw 6 targets on the day.
Gates is someone that should be on the waiver wire, as his production is pretty much TD-or-bust. And even when he does score, he doesn't have the yards to go along with it. He is like Jerome Bettis in his final season; 2 touchdowns, but just 2 carries for 2 yards.
Delanie Walker – Titans: Fantasy lovers around the world were salivating at the matchup with the Browns this week, one that had Walker in the discussion for finishing as a top-3 fantasy TE. Well, that didn't happen as Walker was sleepwalking through this one, hauling in his lone reception for 21 yards in the 4th quarter.
Walker had been targeted 8 times in each of his previous two games, making one wonder why Mariota forgot all about him in what could have been a career-high game against a team fighting for the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. He has another plus matchup next week against the Colts, so let's just hope this week was a fluke.
Zach Ertz – Eagles: Ertz was the victim of the Eagles not really needing to throw given their defense and special teams putting them ahead. In the end, he accounted for just 3 targets, 1 reception, and 22 yards on Sunday.
These things happen with fantasy TEs not named Rob Gronkowski. Next week he gets the Vikings, making him a TE2 I would sit on my bench.
Pittsburgh Steelers defense: The Steelers finished this week with the worst fantasy defense in the NFL, allowing 30 points and managing not a single sack, INT, or recovered fumble. The Dolphins simply outplayed them on Sunday, both on offense and defense. The Steelers are like most other defenses in the NFL these days, only worth owning in the right streaming matchup.
With Roethlisberger out, and New England coming in to Pittsburgh for Week 7, I'd put as much distance between the Steelers defense and yourself as possible.