1:00 PM ET Games
Chicago @ Baltimore
Team Totals: Ravens 23, Bears 16.5
Bears-Ravens projects as a fantasy-unfriendly affair with the second-lowest game total of Week 6 (39.5). Joe Flacco hasn’t posted a weekly finish above QB15 this year and has three straight results outside the top 20. In a matchup the Ravens should be able to approach conservatively and lean on their running game, Flacco is mid-range to low-end two-quarterback-league start who hasn’t shown a high floor or ceiling five weeks in. … As Terrance West exited last week’s win in Oakland with what looks like a multi-week calf strain, Buck Allen resumed dominating backfield snaps (71%), touches (25), and targets (5) and punched in a second-quarter goal-line run. Allen quietly ranks sixth in the NFL in red-zone carries and seventh in carries inside the ten (7). Allen is also second on the Ravens in red-zone targets (3). Allen’s weekly workloads weren’t reliable with West in the lineup, but that should change moving forward. He is a confident RB2 start as a significant home-favorite running back facing a middling Bears run defense that ranks 16th in DVOA. … Alex Collins is the Ravens’ top interior runner, but that doesn’t mean much when all he offers is 7-12 carries per game without receiving involvement and Allen hogs scoring-position work. Collins has yet to catch a pass across 51 snaps as a Raven. Even as West exited last week’s win early and Baltimore experienced positive game script, Collins played just 24% of the offensive snaps. Collins hasn’t helped himself with one drop on two targets and two lost fumbles among 37 carries.
Flacco’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Jeremy Maclin 28; Allen 24; Mike Wallace and Ben Watson 22; Breshad Perriman 16; Nick Boyle 11; Michael Campanaro 9. … Even as the Ravens’ target leader, Maclin is barely WR4/flex worthy with fewer than 60 yards in 5-of-5 games. Maclin runs over 60% of his routes in the slot, where the Bears have limited Adam Thielen (5/34/0), Randall Cobb (4/44/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (2/39/0), Adam Humphries (2/18/0), and Mohamed Sanu (6/47/0). A stat line like Cobb’s would appear to be Maclin’s ceiling at this point. … Wallace’s box scores have shown signs of life over the past two weeks, although he has topped five targets in just 1-of-5 games. With that said, Chicago’s secondary is more vulnerable on the perimeter than interior. I still think Wallace is a point-chasey, low-floor, WR4 play at best. … Badly missing ILB Jerrell Freeman (pectoral) and FS Quintin Demps up the middle, Chicago yielded Kyle Rudolph’s season-best game (6/45/1) in last Monday night’s loss to Minnesota. The Bears do get ILB Danny Trevathan back from suspension this week. Watson has reached 45 yards in just 1-of-5 games and has targets totals of 3 > 6 > 4 over the past three weeks. He’s just a deep-league streamer.
Since the beginning of the 2016 season, the Ravens allow 24.0 points per game on the road. They allow 15.4 points per game at home and host the rookie-quarterbacked Bears this week. While I am optimistic on Mitchell Trubisky’s long-term prospects from a skill-level standpoint, this is about as tough a spot as it gets for his second NFL start. It’s also an opportunity to fire up the Ravens’ D/ST. … While Tarik Cohen continues to lose snaps to Benny Cunningham, Jordan Howard’s role has stabilized with 19-plus touches in three straight games. Putting the ball in Howard’s belly gives the Bears their best chance to compete with the Ravens, who have yielded a generous 106/473/4.46/4 rushing line to enemy backs in the past month. … Cohen’s weekly touch counts are in descent (16 > 10 > 7) since Cunningham got over his early-season high ankle sprain. The Ravens have allowed the NFL’s fourth-fewest receptions to running backs (20). … Zach Miller led the team in targets (7) in Trubisky’s debut and is the Bears’ only fantasy-viable pass catcher against a Ravens defense allowing the NFL’s tenth-most fantasy points and 14th-most yards (256) to tight ends. … No Bears wideout exceeded five targets in last week’s loss to the Vikings. Playing time was distributed as follows: Markus Wheaton (75%), Tre McBride (69%), Kendall Wright (54%). With Wheaton (groin) out indefinitely, the Bears re-signed Tanner Gentry off their practice squad this week to make the picture even less clear. Josh Bellamy is also in the mix for snaps.
Score Prediction: Ravens 23, Bears 17
Cleveland @ Houston
Team Totals: Texans 29, Browns 18
Deshaun Watson has made four NFL starts, in them recording fantasy finishes of QB9, QB16, QB2, QB1 by constantly pressing the issue and envelope regardless of score or down and distances. His fantasy outlook elevated by J.J. Watt (tibia) and Whitney Mercilus’ (pectoral) year-ending injuries, Watson is a legitimate top-three QB1 play at home against the hapless Browns, who have allowed each of their first five quarterbacks faced to post top-15 results including top-five performances by Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton. Watson’s floor and ceiling are raised by his mobility, leading the league in quarterback rushing yards (179) with an average of 40.8 yards rushing per start. Watson-to-DeAndre Hopkins should be the highest-owned DFS stack on the board this week. … Another reason to like Watson is Cleveland’s pass funnel. The Browns rank 31st in pass-defense DVOA but third against the run, holding enemy backs to a combined 113/333/2.95/2 rushing line. While the matchup isn’t ideal, I’m sticking with Lamar Miller as a low-end RB1 who’s tallied 15-plus touches in 5-of-5 games with raised efficiency since Watson took over under center. While the DFS public understandably goes all in on Watson, Miller seems likely to go overlooked as a high-ceiling tournament play favored at home by more than a touchdown. … D’Onta Foreman lost a fumble and set a four-week low in touches (5) in last week’s loss to Kansas City as the Texans played from behind. Foreman would be a dart-throw flex, but he needs to be rostered in all season-long leagues as a player who is one Miller injury away from flirting with every-week RB1 value.
Watson’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 56; Bruce Ellington and Ryan Griffin 15; Miller 13; Stephen Anderson 11; Will Fuller 9; Foreman 4. … This is about as obvious a blowup spot as it gets for Hopkins against a Browns defense so far flamed by Antonio Brown (11/182/0), T.Y. Hilton (7/153/1), A.J. Green (5/63/1), Jermaine Kearse (4/38/1), and Jeremy Maclin (4/31/1). Like Watson, the Texans’ defensive losses enhance Hopkins’ outlook. … For contrarian purposes, it is notable that Jason McCourty is PFF’s No. 1-rated cornerback and the Browns have used him to shadow No. 1 wideouts at times. In the unlikely event McCourty keeps Hopkins in check, a possible off-the-radar beneficiary is Griffin. Cleveland has been torched by Jesse James (6/41/2), Ravens TEs (13/121/0), Bengals TEs (7/79/2), and Jets TEs (7/63/1), essentially begging tight ends to gash them by keeping FS Jabril Peppers 20-25 yards deep of the line of scrimmage on pass plays and proactively creating mid-field gaps in their own defense. Griffin hasn’t been heavily targeted, but he plays 89% of the Texans’ offensive snaps and is Week 6’s streamer tight end du jour. … Fuller’s four TDs on nine targets the past two games are obviously unsustainable, but he’s not someone to bet against this week. Based on where they normally align, Fuller will run most of his routes at struggling LCB Jamar Taylor, whom PFF has charted with the NFL’s sixth-most yards allowed (338) and second-highest passer rating when targeted (140.8) among 109 qualified cornerbacks.
Kevin Hogan is a two-quarterback-league sleeper against the Watt- and Mercilus-less Texans. Although Hogan has never started an NFL game, he did post a top-14 finish off the bench last Week 7 and was last week’s QB11 upon replacing DeShone Kizer. Likened to Jeff Garcia coming out of Stanford, Hogan was drafted by Andy Reid and is an underrated athlete who completed over 65% of his college throws. … Isaiah Crowell has played his way out of RB2 contention with sustained ineffectiveness, reaching 4.0 yards per carry in three of his last 17 games. The Texans have held enemy backs to a 119/407/3.42/1 rushing line and league-low 107 receiving yards. … Duke Johnson’s touch counts over the last month are 7 > 8 > 13 > 9. He’s scored a touchdown in three straight weeks to stay afloat, but Johnson has week-killing potential the next time he doesn’t hit pay dirt. Still, I’m riding with Johnson as a flex play in PPR leagues despite what appears to be an unfavorable draw. The Browns project to play from behind, enhancing Johnson’s target outlook.
Hogan’s 2017 target distribution: Ricardo Louis 9; Rashard Higgins 7; Seth DeValve 6; Johnson and David Njoku 4; Crowell and Kasen Williams 2; Bryce Treggs and Kenny Britt 1. … Louis has commanded the highest number of Hogan’s targets while logging snap rates of 75% > 86% > 76% over the last three weeks. A 4.43 speedster out of Auburn, Louis is an opportunity-driven WR3/flex in Houston. … Hogan has thrown four touchdowns on the year and two have gone to Njoku. Unfortunately, Njoku continues to share time with DeValve and has an uneven Week 6 matchup. The Texans have given up big games to Rob Gronkowski (8/89/1) and Travis Kelce (8/98/0) but slowed Delanie Walker (3/51/0), Tyler Eifert (3/42/0), and Marcedes Lewis (0/0). As a part-time player, Njoku is an exciting but high-risk streamer.
Score Prediction: Texans 30, Browns 20
Green Bay @ Minnesota
Team Totals: Packers 24.75, Vikings 21.75
Aaron Rodgers draws his toughest to-date challenge against a Vikings defense that gave up just one top-15 quarterback finish in the first five games and has held Rodgers to weekly results of QB20, QB11, QB13 in Minnesota since Mike Zimmer became coach in 2014. Just 2-of-21 enemy passers have reached 300 yards against Zimmer’s defense since the beginning of 2016. Rodgers remains someone to bet on and not against with 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in ten straight games and top-eight weekly finishes in four straight. Rodgers should be played with full confidence in season-long leagues and will have low DFS ownership. … As Ty Montgomery (ribs) is expected to miss at least one more game, Aaron Jones is slated for another week of bellcow usage after dominating snaps (88%) and touches (20) over Jamaal Williams (1, 3%) in last Sunday’s win over the Cowboys. This matchup will be far tougher than last week’s against a lights-out Vikings run defense that has held enemy running backs to a combined 109/362/3.32/1 rushing line and the NFL’s sixth-fewest receiving yards (147). Firing up Jones as a high-ceiling RB2 is a bet on his voluminous workload and Green Bay’s high-scoring offense as a whole. Jones has already equaled Weeks 1-4 starter Montgomery as the Packers’ team leader in red-zone carries (7) and is just one behind Montgomery in carries inside the ten-yard line (4) and carries inside the five (2).
Rodgers’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Davante Adams 39; Randall Cobb and Martellus Bennett 31; Jordy Nelson 28; Montgomery 23; Geronimo Allison 15. … The Vikings have checked perimeter wideouts Michael Thomas (5/45/0), Antonio Brown (5/62/0), Marvin Jones (2/42/0), and Mike Evans (7/67/0) with Xavier Rhodes’ shadow. It’s unclear whether the Vikings will shadow Nelson with Rhodes, however, and Jordy runs 28% of his routes in the slot, where Rhodes plays only 4% of the time. Beginning with most recent, Nelson’s last four stat lines against Zimmer’s Vikings are 9/154/2, 5/73/1, 8/68/0, and 1/66/1. … On the off chance Rhodes does chase Jordy, Adams would stand to benefit against swinging-gate No. 2 CB Trae Waynes. Albeit with only one 70-yard game in five, Adams has been more boom than bust due to his continued scoring binge. Including January’s playoffs, Adams has 18 touchdowns in 24 games since the start of last season. … Cobb will run most of his routes at 39-year-old slot CB Terence Newman. The diversity of Green Bay’s passing game has caused Cobb some inconsistencies. I like him as a WR3/flex in PPR, but wouldn’t consider him a reliable bet. Since suffering a Week 2 chest injury, Cobb’s target totals have fallen from 13 and 9 in Weeks 1-2 to 4 and 5 in Weeks 4-5. … Bennett has frustrated because he is scoreless through five games, but I still find him tough to fade with the sixth-most targets among NFL tight ends and three targets inside the ten-yard line, which ranks second on the team behind Nelson (5). The Vikings have been gashed by tight ends, yielding 5/54/1 to Coby Fleener in Week 1, 6/50/1 to Bucs tight ends in Week 3, 7/82/0 to Lions tight ends in Week 4, and 4/56/1 to Bears tight ends last week.
This appears likely to be another Case Keenum start, lowering Vikings offensive expectations and making all their skill-position players riskier fantasy bets. With the exception of Week 3 against an injury-ruined Bucs defense, the Vikings have managed point totals of 9, 7, 20 in Keenum’s appearances. Particularly with Stefon Diggs (groin) in danger of not playing or playing at less than 100%, Green Bay’s D/ST is worth a look as a Week 6 streamer, while Keenum is a low-end two-quarterback-league dart. Just 1-of-5 signal callers to face Packers DC Dom Capers’ defense has finished above QB14 on the week. … As last Monday’s win over the Bears wore on, the Vikings progressively turned over their backfield to Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon wound up out-snapping Latavius Murray 67% to 31% and out-touching him 22 to 14 in an exciting all-purpose display that saw McKinnon lead Minnesota’s offense in both rushing (16/95/1) and receiving (6/51/0). The Packers play mediocre run defense, ranking 20th in DVOA and allowing a combined 128/520/4.06/3 rushing line to enemy backs. McKinnon is an RB2 play in all formats with RB1 upside in PPR. … Continuing to battle an ankle injury he had surgically repaired in the offseason, Murray has been a predictably poor fit in Minnesota. He has 69 yards on 26 carries (2.65 YPC) and has run 25 pass routes to McKinnon’s 68 on the year. Murray is a dangerously low-floor flex option.
Keenum’s Weeks 2-5 target distribution: Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen 25; Kyle Rudolph 20; McKinnon 13; Jarius Wright 5; Murray 4; Michael Floyd 1. … Diggs’ 2016 production was zapped after he suffered a first-month groin injury, exceeding 60 yards just three times from Week 3 onward. Diggs’ Week 6 matchup isn’t worrisome, but his health and quarterback play are. Assuming he’s even active, I would downgrade Diggs to a boom-bust WR3/flex. … Last week, Rotoworld’s Nick Mensio forecasted Rudolph would be the main beneficiary of Dalvin Cook’s (ACL) loss. Rudolph promptly delivered a season-best game (6/45/1), drawing eight of his nine targets from Keenum. The Packers played stout tight end defense in the opening month, then gave up eight catches to Jason Witten last week. … Thielen is a highly intriguing DFS tournament play against Green Bay, whom he shredded last Week 16 (12/202/2). In Diggs’ three missed games last year, Thielen drew target totals of 8, 11, 1. Thielen runs 65% of his routes in the slot, where Mohamed Sanu (5/85/0), Kendall Wright (4/51/1), and Cole Beasley (4/23/2) have all paid dividends against Green Bay. … Laquon Treadwell (59%) and Floyd (46%) shared time as the Vikings’ third receiver in Week 5. They would likely start across from each other should Diggs not play.
Score Prediction: Packers 24, Vikings 17