Fantasy Preview: Dolphins WR Jakeem Grant out, Redskins Terry McLaurin safe bet
The bye week does some strange things to a person's fantasy football lineup. For the first time this season, four NFL teams have a week off: Indianapolis, Chicago, Oakland and Buffalo. There aren't many weekly locks out of that group of teams, but there are still players who regularly start, and as such need replacements.
That's pretty much the only reason to consider playing many of the skill position players in Sunday's early-game matchup between the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins.
The two teams rank No. 30 and No. 31, respectively, in terms of offensive Expected Points Added (EPA) for the 2019 season. Neither has been very explosive, or consistently able to move the football, and both teams tend to get shut down after halftime adjustments are made.
The biggest news on Sunday morning is that Dolphins WR Jakeem Grant has been ruled out of the game due to his hamstring issues.
6-foot-3 UDFA Preston Williams from Colorado State will eat up Grant's snaps, and he has been a big-play threat, but wildly inconsistent with questionable hands. Still, he's an interesting flyer for leagues that play four wide receivers.
Safe Bet: Redskins WR Terry McLaurin
According to Pro Football Focus, McLauin has the second-biggest WR-vs-CB advantage in Week 6, over former Pro Bowler Xavien Howard. Howard has looked nothing like his former self in 2019 and has struggled to a 45.6 defensive grade on the season. McLaurin, the third-round rookie out of Ohio State has an 80.1 grade. His three-for-three TD-per-game streak was ended against the Patriots, but that was against the Patriots' Stephon Gilmore, likely the best corner in the game. He still managed three receptions for 51 yards with Colt McCoy throwing him the ball. Expect much better results against the Dolphins porous secondary.
McLaurin will be in line for a few big plays off the arm of Case Keenum, and should earn his second 100-yard performance of the season and get into the end zone at least once, if not twice.
Smart Move: Dolphins RB Kenyon Drake
It makes little sense to plug a Dolphins skill player, but with shifty and diminutive WR Grant ruled out, Miami might lean towards a few more carries out of the backfield. Grant is in position to have a big impact against a Washington defense that cannot stop the opposing team's run. Now, many times run stats are based on who is winning in the fourth quarter and looking to salt away a victory, something Miami is not accustomed to. Still, Washington is giving up 110.8 yards a game on the ground and 6.2 catches to opposing backs, according to ESPN. If you need a spot starter, Drake could be useful if you still have him on your roster.
Sleeper: Redskins RB Chris Thompson
One of these days Washington is going to admit Thompson is an actual weapon they should scheme around, and if there's any chance of that it could happen in Bill Callahan's first game as interim coach. He's said he is going to focus on the run game, but the short, dump-off passing game is an extension of the run game and Thompson should be seen as that. He's averaging 10.7 yards a reception and has the shiftiness to do big damage against a poor defensive team like Miami.