It’s hard to stay up to date with absolutely everything that went down in NFL Week 6. Obviously you know the big storylines—Darrel Williams filled in perfectly for Clyde Edwards-Helaire and CeeDee Lamb torched the Patriots’ secondary—but it’s important to also note minor storylines, ones that might have more actionable fantasy football takeaways.
I’ve gone game-by-game to bring you the biggest fantasy narrative to come out of each game.
Dolphins at Jaguars: Tua’s Return Wakes Up Miami’s Pass Catchers
Tua Tagovailoa played his first game since Week 1 Sunday against the Jaguars and instantly reinvigorated the Dolphins’ passing attack. Tua threw for over 300 yards even while missing two of this top three receivers in DeVante Parker and Will Fuller. It was Mike Gesicki and Jaylen Waddle who led the charge, both posting their best games of the season.
Looks like a Jaylen Waddle day 🍵 pic.twitter.com/tTtdug6lqt
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 17, 2021
Now the Jaguars defense is so bad that they’ll make anyone look good, but fantasy managers should be very encouraged to see Tua slinging the football around and getting his top weapons involved. If you want to try and buy low on any Dolphins’ receivers, do so quickly.
Also, speaking of buy low, do so on Laviska Shenault. Gretchen Wieners would be proud with how hard I’m trying to make Shenault happen. He’s just too talented and seeing too much volume (7+ targets in four out of six games) for him not to eventually give you big fantasy outings. See if you can buy him at WR3/4 value.
Chargers at Ravens: Rashod Bateman Led the Ravens in Targets His First NFL Game
Much hype had been made about rookie Rashod Bateman’s eventual return to (and start in) the Ravens’ offense. While the stat-line might not wow you, he still managed to assert himself as Lamar Jackson’s top target, tying with Mark Andrews for a team-leading six targets.
Bateman is rostered in under 45% of Sleeper leagues and should definitely be a top target this week. With the Ravens throwing the ball more regularly, Bateman has the potential to be a high-end WR3 on a weekly basis, even as he’s still getting his footing.
Also, I hate the Ravens’ backfield. Latavius Murray carried the ball nine times and scored a touchdown, Devonta Freeman carried the ball nine times and scored a touchdown, and Le’Veon Bell carried the ball eight times and scored a touchdown. All that was missing was Ty’Son Williams getting eight carries and a touchdown. Sell all your Ravens’ running back stock.
Vikings at Panthers: Sell Adam Thielen, Hold D.J. Moore
It was a good week for Thielen managers. After a string of bad outings for the veteran receiver, Thielen went off against the Panthers, torching them for 126 yards and a touchdown on 11 catches.
Thielen makes an impossible catch for the TD 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 17, 2021
Some may think this marks the return of elite fantasy receiver Adam Thielen but I would like to slow your roll just a bit. This game went into overtime and the Vikings ran well above their average number of plays this season. More plays obviously means more opportunities for players to get work. It’s also only the second time this season that Thielen has seen over 9 targets and 50 yards this season, the other time coming in Week 1.
Thielen is still a touchdown reliant WR3 in my book who will have the occasional big game. And those “big games” might become more and more infrequent as the Vikings face a tough schedule rest of the year.
On the flipside, D.J. Moore managers shouldn’t panic and sell their stud WR1. It’s been two down weeks for Moore but he’s still averaging double-digit targets in those games. With the Giants and Falcons on tap, Moore will bounce-back to his WR1 ways shortly.
Packers at Bears: Darnell Mooney Is the Bears’ WR1
This is wild to say with Allen Robinson still on the roster but Mooney week-in and week-out has proven to be Justin Fields’ top target. Mooney is averaging 6 targets and 53.5 yards per game since Fields took over in Week 3. Robinson on the other hand is averaging 5 targets and 43.8 yards.
Fields to Mooney! It's a three-point game in Chicago.
— NFL (@NFL) October 17, 2021
Robinson managers should find hope that Week 6 against the Packers, the receiver had possibly his best game with Fields under center. Still, until we see otherwise, Mooney—who’s still just 60% rostered in Sleeper leagues—is the WR1 in Chicago and should be started in good matchups (i.e. their Week 7 game against the Buccaneers).
Also, hope you added and started Khalil Herbert like I told you to.
Bengals at Lions: Go Add Amon-Ra St. Brown
I spent much of last week hyping up St. Brown as a great streaming option and while his numbers weren’t gaudy, he did manage to finish with five catches on seven targets. Yes they were only for 26 yards, but this is the third game in a row that St. Brown has seen at least seven targets and had five catches. The rookie receiver has emerged as a reliable member of the Lions’ passing game and at 52% rostered in Sleeper leagues, he should be added especially in deeper leagues.
Also, the days of Jamaal Williams being a reliable flex option every week might be behind us. He played his lowest snap percentage of the season vs the Bengals and saw his lowest touch count.
Texans at Colts: Nyheim Hines Doesn’t Get Used In Games the Colts Are Winning
After a roaring start to the year, I’m sure many Hines managers are frustrated seeing the running back post three dud games in a row. Against the Texans Sunday, Hines only saw 5 touches for 22 yards. This marks the third game in a row that the back has only recorded four touches. As the whole point of NerdBall is to help fantasy managers make the best and right decisions for their fantasy team, I was curious to see if there was an explanation for Hines’ lack of production recently. Interestingly, there may be.
|% Snaps Routes Run
|1 vs Seahawks
|2 vs Rams
|3 vs Titans
|4 vs Dolphins
|5 vs Ravens
|6 vs Texans
(Routes run data via PFF.com)
As the Colts’ primary pass catching back, Hines sees his highest potential volume in games the Colts start behind. The first three weeks, the Colts all went into halftime down and in those games, Hines saw well over 20 passing snaps and ran routes on the vast majority of them.
Meanwhile, from Week 4 onward, when the Colts were playing with leads, Hines wasn’t on the field as much in passing situations or, in the case of the Ravens game, wasn’t asked to run routes as frequently. It’ll be interesting to see how much this tracks in the coming weeks but for now, Hines might be just a matchup-based play in fantasy football.
Also, Brandin Cooks is back thank you very much.
Rams at Giants: Never Fear, Devontae Booker Managers
If you are a Saquon Barkley manager, or just someone who wanted to stick it to the Saquon Barkley manager in your league, likely you spent a good portion of FAAB to add Booker off waivers last week. However, as Jordan and I talked about on last week’s starts & sits show, this was not going to be a good week for Booker facing off against the Rams.
Booker managers should take solace in the fact that the backfield was unquestionably Booker’s with Barkley sidelined. Booker led the backfield in snaps and touches by a healthy margin and finished with 16 touches for 69 yards. Things get a lot easier for him with the Panthers and Chiefs on deck.
Chiefs at Washington: Gibson’s Injury Opens the Door for McKissic
Antonio Gibson spent all last week limited in practice with a shin injury which then kept him in and out of the game Sunday. This led to J.D. McKissic playing 61% of the snaps and leading the backfield in touches and yards by a wide margin. If Gibson’s injury is still nagging him into Week 7, McKissic—who is 53% rostered in Sleeper leagues—becomes a must-add and must-start against the Packers.
Also, Ricky Seals-Jones played 100% of the snaps for Washington and led the receivers in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. With Logan Thomas out, RSJ seems to be a perfect TE streaming option.
.@RICKYSEALSJONES STRAIGHT TO THE CASA
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) October 17, 2021
Cardinals at Browns: All of the Browns’ Running Backs Are Injured
Nick Chubb missed Sunday with a calf injury. Kareem Hunt entered the game already dealing with a wrist injury. He then left the game with what looked like an Achilles injury but is thought to be just a calf strain. Needless to say, the tea that just LOVES to run the football quite possibly will be without their two star running backs for a foreseeable time. Chubb could come back for Week 7, but Hunt likely will miss at least some time. D’Ernest Johnson becomes a top waiver wire candidate given the rash of injuries plaguing Cleveland. Demetric Felton isn’t far behind him.
Raiders at Broncos: Trust Tim Patrick & Henry Ruggs
While Patrick isn’t flashy, he’s been one of the most consistent and reliable fantasy wide receivers to start the season. He’s scored double-digit .5PPR points and has had either a touchdown or 89 yards receiving in all but one game this season. He’s still out there on your waiver wire (44% rostered) and is a must-add for teams needing reliable WR depth.
Ruggs on the other hand has not been as consistent as Patrick, but has flashed the elite WR1 weeks that you’d expect a player of his talent to have. Against the Broncos, Ruggs went off for 97 yards and touchdown on 3 catches. Since Week 2, Ruggs has had at least 51 yards receiving in every game. In 3 of those games he’s gone for over 75 yards. Ruggs has earned the right to always be started moving forward.
— NerdBall Fantasy Football (@nerdballff) October 17, 2021
Cowboys at Patriots: Rhamondre Stevenson The New James White?
For those worried about Stevenson stealing rushing work from Damien Harris, I wouldn’t worry just yet. While Stevenson did carry the ball 5 times for 23 yards and a score Sunday against the Cowboys, Harris still dominated the backfield carries. He racked up 18 for 101 yards and a score of his own. Where Stevenson did see added work was in the passing game.
Stevenson led the backfield in routes run and targets with 3, catching both of them for 39 yards. The rookie back is a name to monitor on the waiver wire especially with Harris still nursing a rib injury.
Seahawks at Steelers: Add Alex Collins, Pray for D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett
Sunday Night Football was just about as hot a mess as everyone expected it to be. Honestly the only real actionable take from this game is that Alex Collins is a must-add and start for as long as Chris Carson is out. Collins ran the ball 20 ties against the Steelers for 101 yards and a touchdown. He was the lone bright spot in the Seahawks’ offense.
A 10-play, 75-yard @Seahawks TD drive cuts the Steelers lead in half.
— NFL (@NFL) October 18, 2021
Throwing the ball was another story. Geno Smith went 23-of-32 throwing the ball and failed to get either Metcalf or Lockett heavily involved. Metcalf caught 6-of-7 targets for 58 yards while Lockett only caught 2-of-7 targets for 35. It’s going to be rough for those fantasy managers with Russell Wilson out.