- Players flying under the radar this week who might be able to help you win your fantasy game.
It’s Week 6 and Jay Ajayi is out for the year after tearing his ACL, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp may or may not play due to their concussions, and Matt Breida is dealing with an ankle injury. Throw in byes for two of the more fantasy friendly teams—the Saints and the Lions—and more than a few owners are going to be scrambling to find a diamond in the rough for Week 6.
A great way to identify a potential spot start is to leverage 4for4’s signature strength-of-schedule metric, adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA). Many sites publish raw fantasy points allowed by position, but 4for4 goes a step further and adjusts those numbers for a defense’s relative year-to-date schedule strength. So if a defense has seen a murderer’s row of running backs, it will be reflected in the defense’s aFPA. As a ranker, I use this metric weekly when putting together our award-winning projections.
Let’s see if we can dig up a few gems for Week 6.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (at Chargers, 23rd in quarterback aFPA)
In his last 10 quarters of NFL football, Mayfield is playing at a 316-yard, 1.2-touchdown, 7.67-YPA pace. He has also added 33 yards rushing in his last two starts. And the Browns are letting him throw—he’s averaging 10.3 pass attempts per quarter (or a 41.2-attempt per-game pace). Mayfield’s matchup with the Chargers makes him an intriguing start in Week 6. The Chargers have yielded an average of 291 yards (8.37 YPA) and 1.8 passing touchdowns to Derek Carr, C.J. Beathard, Jared Goff and Josh Allen. When the highly-efficient Goff is removed, those averages are at a still-respectable 270 yards (7.87 YPA) and 1.3 touchdowns, and Mayfield is more competent than Carr, Beathard and Allen.
Alfred Morris and Kyle Juszczyk, 49ers (at Packers, 17th in running back aFPA)
Breida is likely to miss Week 6, and that leaves Morris as the primary running back against the Packers, a defense that has yielded 4.2 yards per carry and one rushing touchdown per game this season. It’s possible that Morris will suffer from bad game flow, though he has six catches on the season and saw five targets last week in a 21-touch effort against the Cardinals. Juszczyk caught six passes for 75 yards last week and now has 14 catches on the year. He’s worth as a spot start in PPR formats.
Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (at Falcons, 28th in running back aFPA)
A quick look at the Bucaneers’ RBBC Report shows that in his first active game, Jones out-touched Peyton Barber 11 to 8. It looks like the team is genuinely interested in seeing if the rookie can improve what’s been a woeful running game. Coming off the bye—which gave the team an extra week to prepare for the Falcons—Jones’s role could be even larger in Week 6. Throw in a nice matchup against Atlanta and Jones should be able to post a sneaky good fantasy line on Sunday.
Mohamed Sanu, Falcons (vs. Buccaneers, 32nd in wide receiver aFPA)
Tampa slot corner M.J. Stewart has yielded a hefty 2.38 fantasy points per target this season and he’ll be on Sanu for most of Sunday’s game in Atlanta. Sanu is quietly turning into a fantasy starter with three straight usable lines: four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Saints, 6-111 against the Bengals, and 4-73-1 last week against the Steelers.
Michael Crabtree, Ravens (at Titans, 23rd in wide receiver aFPA)
Crabtree has been a bit disappointing this season, but he is averaging 9.2 targets per game and has 40 in his last four constests. He’s also in the top 25 in the league in total air yards. His matchup this week with Malcolm Butler is extremely favorable, so he’s a threat to break out against the Titans.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers (at Falcons, 4th in tight end aFPA)
O.J. Howard is dealing with a knee injury and is unlikely to play in Week 6. If he’s out, Brate becomes a great streaming option, given his proven rapport with Jameis Winston. Since last season, Winston has targeted Brate on 14.2% of his pass attempts, and the tight end has accounted for 14.7% of Winston’s passing yards, and 30% of his touchdowns. The Falcons have been pretty stingy against tight ends, but they did yield 4-38-1 to Tyler Eifert in Week 4, and gave up 6-88 to Saints tight ends in Week 3.