The Market Report: Week 6

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The Market Report: Week 6

The Market Report is your one-stop Monday shop for all the movement from a big weekend of NFL football.

These are the players who stood out for fantasy-relevant reasons — the good reasons, the bad reasons, and the in-between.

This column will be posted every Monday afternoon.

UPGRADES

Players about whom we’re feeling more optimistic based on recent play or news.

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady (TB) — In Week 3, Brady threw for 432 yards and a TD in a loss to the Rams. Then, he had to parlay that into one of the most emotional games in his career — struggling in bad weather in his return to New England in primetime. In Week 5, he showed why he’s still awesome, carving up the hapless Dolphins to the tune of 411 passing yards and 5 TDs. Brady has the NFL’s best trio of wide receivers at his disposal, and he did this without the services of the injured Rob Gronkowski (ribs). What makes them all the more dangerous is he also has two strong options to catch the ball out of the backfield in Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard. FWIW, Brady did have his throwing hand wrapped after the game, but it’s apparently nothing to worry about (we’ll keep an eye on it). In Week 6 on a short week, he gets an Eagle defense that swallowed up Sam Darnold this past week, but has really struggled against Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes. (Joe Dolan)

Running Backs

Najee Harris (Pit) — JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against the Broncos in Week 5, and Najee could be the biggest beneficiary from the injury. Najee could see more targets funneled his way with JuJu’s 25 short aDOT targets (6.9 yards) going elsewhere — Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool will see the biggest boost in the passing game. The Steelers have also used 11-personnel at the second-highest rate (81%) through the first four weeks of the season (per Sharp Football), and they could veer into more two-TE sets with Pat Freiermuth, Eric Ebron, and Zach Gentry seeing the field more. Harris has topped 4.0 yards per carry in each of the last two weeks against the Packers and Broncos, and he could have more success as a runner if the Steelers get more big bodies onto the field to help out their weak offensive line. Najee has reeled off 19+ FP in four straight games since his Week 1 dud, and he’s going to be even more pivotal to this offense moving forward with JuJu out of the lineup. (Tom Brolley)

Leonard Fournette (TB) — “All-Season Lenny” is feeling it right now. In a blowout win over the Dolphins in Week 5, Fournette managed 12/67/1 rushing and 4/43 receiving on 5 targets, making it his second consecutive game with over 100 yards from scrimmage, coinciding with two of his three snap shares above 60% of the season (82% in Week 4, 62% in Week 5). While receiving specialist Giovani Bernard returned to play 23% of the snaps in Week 5, and had a receiving TD, Fournette ran 28 routes to Gio’s 8, and with Ronald Jones a distant third in this backfield in snap share, Fournette has taken over a truly fantasy-relevant role. Fournette is the pre-MNF overall RB14 on the season… and in Week 6 gets an Eagle defense that has given up an individual 100-yard rusher in three straight games, all since losing star DE Brandon Graham. (JD)

Myles Gaskin (Mia) — This upgrade is very tentative so… good luck. After being effectively benched in Week 4 (a season-low 23% snap share), Gaskin played a season-high 69% snap share in Week 5 against the Buccaneers, turning in a massiver fantasy day with just 5/25 rushing… and 10/74/2 receiving. This was, of course, after Gaskin didn’t receive a single target in Week 4. He’s the best receiver in the Dolphins’ backfield, so it isn’t necessarily shocking that he was the choice when Miami was playing from behind in a blowout loss, but it’s become really hard to trust anyone in a backfield that the franchise has made evident it doesn’t view as important. The Dolphins stink, and their defense is third-worst in the NFL in both yardage and points allowed. That is conducive to a good receiving back getting a lot of work. Gaskin is that, but Miami also doesn’t commit to running it at all. He’s an upgrade for us, but have fun using him! (JD)

A.J. Dillon (GB) — The Packers have been putting more on Dillon’s plate the last two weeks after he totaled exactly 26 scrimmage yards in each of his first three games on a 29% snap share. He totaled 15/81 rushing with a 16-yard catch on a 40% snap share against the Steelers in Week 4 before posting 8/30 rushing and 4/49/1 receiving on a 33% snap share against the Bengals. Dillon could just be running hot since he ran just 10 routes compared to Aaron Jones’ 29 routes in Week 5, but Dillon’s performances the last two weeks should create more playing time opportunities moving forward. The Packers have little at the skill positions behind Jones and Davante Adams with Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring, IR) out of the lineup for at least another week, so they should continue to look for opportunities to get Dillon involved moving forward including this week in what could be a grind-it-out affair against the Bears. (Tom Brolley)

Cordarrelle Patterson (Atl) — It’s still absolutely mind-blowing that the Atlanta Falcons are the team that has figured out how to use Patterson. And use them correctly they did this week, especially in a pinch with Calvin Ridley (personal matter) out. Patterson had been stuck getting just 20-25 snaps per game and making the most of them in the opening month but broke out for season-highs in carries (14) and snaps (46 total | 59% share) en route to his third-straight game with over 100 scrimmage yards. Patterson took his 14 carries for 54 yards and added 7/60 receiving for 18.4 FP. Now, over his last four games, Patterson has finished as the RB4, RB19, RB1, and RB16 (pending MNF). If he continues getting more snaps and an increased role, Patterson won’t need to run hot and score fluky TDs to be a very valuable fantasy asset. (Graham Barfield)

Elijah Mitchell (SF) — After a two-game absence with a shoulder injury, Mitchell returned against the Cardinals and played almost exclusively as the 49ers featured back. Mitchell was on the field for 68% of the plays while Trey Sermon got just two snaps total. Mitchell might not have turned in a huge box score (9/43 rushing | 2/19 receiving), but his usage tells us that Kyle Shanahan views him as his featured back moving forward. Even though Trey Lance played like a rookie in his first start, we still got a glimpse of what the upside is with Lance as a runner and his ability to break off chunk gains on the 49ers zone-read plays will only help open rushing lanes for their backs. Mitchell’s arrow is ticked straight up. (GB)

James Robinson (Jax) — Even though the Jaguars extended their losing streak to 20 games, Robinson continued to get it done. After a very shaky start in Week 1 and 2, Robinson has now seen at least 19 touches in three-straight games and, as a result, has finished as the RB4, RB9, and RB11 (pending MNF) in weekly output. Robinson was really the lone bright spot for the Jags’ on Sunday as he ripped the Titans for 18 carries, 149 yards (8.3 YPC), and a score. Robinson has been running extremely well all year long and it’s a testament to how good of a player he is despite his Snake Oil salesman and narcissistic head coach. Urban Meyer gave Robinson 14 first-half carries, and even in a relatively tight ball game (for Jaguars standards), Robinson got just four carries in the second-half. 4! To make matters even worse, with the game on the line – it was 4th and 1, down 12 early in the fourth – Meyer decided to give Carlos Hyde the most pivotal play of the day and he was promptly stuffed for a three yard loss. If you look past the circus that is the 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars you will also see that Meyer is a Adam Gase-ian coach who can’t take any responsibilities for his actions both on and off the field. Even before the creepy viral video last week, there were rumblings that Meyer did not have the respect of his players. All long-time suffering Jaguars fans have every right to want both Meyer, and the man who hired him, owner Shad Khan, gone. By hiring Meyer in the spring to take over yet another rebuild, it was clear that Khan does not understand what it takes to run an NFL franchise and the only reason Meyer still has a job right now is because Khan can’t admit his mistake this early. (GB)

Wide Receivers

Mike Williams (LAC) — Not that we were panicking after last week and a tough matchup with Raider CB Casey Hayward, but it certainly appears that Week 4’s 1-catch performance was the fluke for Williams, who torched the Browns’ banged-up secondary for the best game of his career — 8 catches, 165 yards, 2 TD, on 16 targets. Williams has now tied Tyreek Hill (116.1) FP for the overall WR2 behind Cooper Kupp, and while Keenan Allen remains one of the NFL’s most reliable chain movers, Williams has been the red-zone and big-play option for QB Justin Herbert, who continues to ascend to new heights every week. We’re not saying anything profound here because there’s nothing profound to say — he had a down game, but Williams is a stud, and as long as he stays on the field, he’ll be a matchup winner and DFS slate breaker. (JD)

Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool (Pit) — JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against the Broncos in Week 5, which means Diontae and Chase are going to be even bigger target hogs moving forward. Johnson saw just two targets against the Broncos in Week 5, but he turned them into an efficient 2/72/1 receiving. Claypool erupted for 5/130/1 receiving on a team-high six targets (24% share) after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury. Ray-Ray McCloud will take over as the team's primary slot receiver while James Washington could see an uptick in snaps, as well. Claypool has run just 19% of his routes from the slot, but he’ll play more big slot when Washington is on the field, who has a 25% slot rate to open the year. Ben Roethlisberger currently isn’t playing well enough to lift Diontae and Claypool into elite fantasy WR territory, but both players have a chance to be volume-base low-end WR1s moving forward. (TB)

Robert Woods (LAR) — The squeaky wheel got some much-needed grease in Week 5. ​​Woods had been the forgotten man in Los Angeles’ two-man show at WR through the first four weeks, and HC Sean McVay vowed to change that leading up to the Rams’ showdown with the Seahawks. Cooper Kupp continued to eat with 7/92 receiving on 10 targets against Seattle, but Woods also got a seat at the table with a game-best 12/150 receiving on 14 targets — he nearly doubled his production from the first four weeks (15/172/2 receiving). It’s clear that Kupp is Matthew Stafford’s boy through the first month of action so this could be seen as a good time to sell high on Bob Trees, and we wouldn’t blame you. However, Week 5 may have served as a reminder to McVay to keep his do-everything receiver involved in the offense, and it could be the start of a new relationship for Stafford after Woods hauled in nearly everything thrown his way. We’ll see how the targets are dispersed moving forward, but Woods is back in the WR2 picture against the Giants this week. (TB)

Tight Ends

Kyle Pitts (Atl) — He lives! After a very slow start, Pitts turned in his best game as a pro so far in London. Granted, it obviously helped that Calvin Ridley (personal) sat out, but Pitts was unrecoverable against the Jets and turned his season-high 10 targets into a monster 9/119/1 line. Pitts was looking like a massive bust from the fourth round of drafts in the opening month, so we have to give him an upgrade for taking advantage of what was a soft matchup. The Falcons are on BYE in Week 6 and then face the Dolphins, Panthers, and Saints next. (GB)

DOWNGRADES

Players about whom we’re feeling less optimistic based on recent play or news.

Quarterbacks

Russell Wilson (Sea) — Barring a miracle recovery, Russ’ quarterback-best 149 consecutive starts will end this week after he needed surgery to repair a torn tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand. He’s expected to miss at least the next three games (@Pit, NO, Jax) with his earliest possible return coming in Week 10 against the Packers after their bye week. Wilson will not only miss time but there’s a chance the injury could affect his efficiency when he does return, which is a concern since we’re already dealing with limited passing volume (27.3 attempts per game in full games) and a lack of rushing upside (17/68/1 rushing). The Seahawks are trending in the wrong direction, and their run of eight postseason appearances in the first nine years with Wilson is in jeopardy in a highly competitive NFC West. (TB)

Running Backs

Saquon Barkley (NYG) — The injury looked nasty — you’ve likely seen the size of Saquon’s ankle swollen like a baseball — but fortunately, it appears the Giants RB managed to avoid a serious injury when he had a fluke accident, stepping on a Cowboys defender’s foot in Week 5. It’s a low-ankle sprain without, it appears, any associated fractures or breaks, so Barkley could miss minimal time. For now, we’re not expecting him to play in Week 6 against the Rams, but he could return as soon as Week 7 against Carolina. Devonte Booker will be a low-end RB2 as a fill-in against the Rams’ defense. (JD)

Chris Carson (Sea) — Carson sat out Week 5 after he suffered a “flare up” of a long-term neck condition. He had played on 45% of the snaps or less in both Weeks 3-4 with Alex Collins working his way into the mix. Collins took over the backfield with a 71% snap share with Carson out of the lineup, and he finished with a solid 15/47 rushing and 2/25 receiving on three targets in their loss to the Rams — DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer combined for 8/57 scrimmage behind him. Our Edwin Porras wrote that Carson is likely dealing with an arthritic condition, which means this issue likely isn’t going away any time soon and it could flare up again later this season. Carson is going to be a frustrating low-end RB2 moving forward since he could miss time or leave mid-game at any point, and Collins is going to stay in the mix. (TB)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) — CEH suffered an ugly-looking knee injury in Kansas City’s loss to the Bills in Week 5, which had Tyreek Hill and Darrel Williams carrying him off in a unique fashion. CEH at least escaped with a relatively minor injury based on the scene on SNF, as he’ll miss a couple of weeks of action with an MCL sprain. CEH had just started to build some positive momentum after a slow start to the season. He posted 100+ rushing yards with a receiving touchdown in both Weeks 3 and 4 after he combined for 13.8 FP in his first two games. CEH is likely to make an appearance on the injured reserve for at least three weeks, which means Williams is likely to step into the lead back role with Jerick McKinnon factoring in behind him, mostly in passing situations. Williams posted 5/27 rushing and 3/18 receiving on five targets on 43% of the snaps in Week 5 while McKinnon had a two-yard carry while catching both of his targets for 13 yards on 31% of the snaps. (TB)

Miles Sanders (Phi) — The Eagles don’t run the ball as is, likely foolishly, but one of the biggest standouts of the early part of their season in their young offense has been rookie RB Kenny Gainwell, who just looks more confident and effective than Sanders so far. And while Sanders was in the game to close things out for Philly in their gutty win over the Panthers in Week 5, he messed up twice, running out of bounds on two occasions as the Eagles tried to run the clock out. He finished with 11/45 rushing and 6 yards receiving, while catching all 5 of his targets, running a route on 27 of Jalen Hurts’ 40 dropbacks (Gainwell had just 8 routes). Sanders played a season-high 75% of the offensive snaps, compared to a season-low 24% for Gainwell, and he still barely cracked 10 FP in a PPR. Sanders is still usable, but the Eagles’ offense is skewed way too heavily to the pass, and it seems highly unlikely that they’ll run it aggressively against the Buccaneers’ run defense in Week 6. Sanders making dumb mistakes as the Eagles tried to close out a win won’t help matters either. (JD)

Damien Williams (Chi) — This isn’t a huge downgrade — after all, Williams turned in 16/64/1 rushing and 2/20 receiving on 3 targets in his first game starting for the injured David Montgomery. That was good enough to rank as the pre-MNF RB21, which is probably plenty for what Montgomery handcuffers were anticipating. What does constitute a downgrade was Williams’ usage vis-a-vis the usage for rookie Khalil Herbert, who was heavily involved as well. Herbert outsnapped Williams 53% to 48%, outrushed him with 18/75 on the ground, and also ran just 3 fewer routes than Williams (10 to 7). The situation may have dictated this as Chicago had a lead for much of the game on the Raiders, and Herbert was the “closer.” Williams is still the better play given his receiving workload, and that could be important next week against the Packers. But Herbert was probably more involved than we bargained for. (JD)

Dalvin Cook (Min) — Unfortunately, Cook missed his second game with a nagging sprained ankle that he suffered back in Week 2. Last week, Cook tried to gut it out but was clearly less than 100% – he got just 9 carries and played on 49% of the snaps. At this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Vikings just hold their star running back out through their Week 7 bye to make sure he is all of the way back. The Vikings have to run the gauntlet in Weeks 8-12 after their off date with five games against the Cowboys, Ravens, Chargers, Packers, and 49ers and definitely are going to need Cook at his best to come through that stretch above .500. In the meantime, Alexander Mattison is a bonafide stud for as long as Cook is sidelined. Mattison lost a crucial fumble late, but absolutely shredded the Lions for 153 scrimmage yards on 31 touches. (GB)

Trey Sermon (SF) — With Eli Mitchell back, Sermon took a backseat in Week 5 as Mitchell played on 68% of the snaps while Sermon got just two plays total. It’s clear that Kyle Shanhan simply does not trust Sermon and if Mitchell, Ja’Mycal Hasty, or Jeff Wilson are healthy – Sermon won’t have much of a role. The 49ers are out on BYE next week and it sounds like Wilson will have a chance to return in Week 7 coming off his knee injury. At this point, Sermon is only worth holding onto in deep bench 12- and 14-team leagues. If you’re in a shallow league with only 5-6 bench spots, feel free to drop Sermon and make space for a better RB stash. (GB)

Wide Receivers

D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (Sea) — Russell Wilson’s quarterback-best 149 consecutive starts will end this week after he needed surgery to repair a torn tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand. He’s expected to miss at least the next three games (@Pit, NO, Jax) with his earliest possible return coming in Week 10 against the Packers after their bye week. That means the offense will be in Geno Smith’s hands for the next month, which is a downgrade for this passing game. Lockett saw a team-best four targets (24%) from Smith in his one quarter of play, but he turned those looks into just a seven-yard catch and the back-breaking INT late in the game came when Lockett fell on his route. Metcalf dominated on his three targets (18%) from Smith, catching all three for 54 yards and a touchdown. Metcalf and Lockett should remain in fantasy lineups going forward, but floor performances will be more possible with Smith at quarterback. (TB)

Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley (Buf) — Josh Allen has more weapons than he’s ever had in his first three-plus seasons with Emmanuel Sanders and Dawson Knox playing at high levels through the first month of the season, and it’s hurt the fantasy bottom lines for both Diggs and Beasley. Diggs finished with 2/69 receiving on a season-low five targets (19% share) against the Chiefs while Beasley posted just a five-yard catch on two targets. Diggs has yet to reach 20+ FP in a game this season after hitting that mark seven times in 16 games last season. Meanwhile, Beasley has fallen below 8.0 FP and five targets in 3-of-5 contests and his snap share has fallen for three straight weeks (66%>50%>39%). Diggs hasn’t shown the same fantasy ceiling he demonstrated on a regular basis last season, but he has a chance to erupt against a shaky Titans’ secondary this week. Beasley will likely be more involved in the future, but he’s no longer a reliable floor option as a WR3/4 until he starts seeing more snaps and targets. (TB)

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pit) — JuJu may have played his final snaps in black and gold after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against the Broncos in Week 5. Smith-Schuster reluctantly returned to the Steelers last off-season on a one-year deal after he found a frigid market for a slot-only receiver, and he’ll once again have to settle for less than he’s looking for, now as a slot-only receiver coming off shoulder surgery. Ray-Ray McCloud will take over as the team's primary slot receiver while James Washington could see an uptick in snaps, as well. The Steelers have used 11-personnel at the second-highest rate (81%) through the first four weeks of the season (per Sharp Football), and they could also veer into more two-TE sets with Pat Freiermuth, Eric Ebron, and Zach Gentry seeing the field more. (TB)

Robby Anderson (Car) — It just ain’t happening for Robby this year. To be fair to Anderson, Sam Darnold’s erstwhile favorite target when both were with the Jets, it wasn’t happening for almost the entire Panther offense in Week 5 against the Eagles, but his struggles are painful. Anderson caught just 2 passes for 30 yards on 7 targets, and the only time he’s gone over 10 FP in a PPR league this year was in Week 1… when his only catch went for a 57-yard TD. Anderson got behind the Eagle defense, which has been strong at preventing big plays all year, just once in Week 5, but Darnold hung the ball up a little too long and Eagle DB Avonte Maddox made a spectacular play tipping it away. The irony is it might have been Darnold’s best throw of an overall awful day. But with Darnold really struggling the last two weeks against actual NFL teams after picking on an easy early schedule, we wonder if there are enough footballs to go around when DJ Moore is the clear preferred target. Anderson, the PPR WR70 through five games, is droppable in shallow leagues. (JD)

Odell Beckham (Cle) — In this very column last week, we wrote that Beckham was getting open and QB Baker Mayfield made a horrible throw that prevented him from coasting into the end zone for a long TD against the Vikings. And then we heard that Mayfield was playing through a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, which at least explains why he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in Week 4. But Mayfield was cooking in Week 5, going 23/32 for 305 yards and 2 TD while leading the Browns to 42 turnover-free points in a thrilling loss to the Chargers. So OBJ had a big game, right!!!! Well, does 2 catches for 20 yards and a brutal drop on his only other target count as “big?” Beckham played a season-high 82% of the snaps and ran a team-high 31 routes on Baker’s 33 dropbacks. He just didn’t get targeted. Most things in the world are explainable. The Scientific Method typically works. But in terms of the inexplicable, OBJ’s struggles in Cleveland are right up there with wondering where we go when we die. (JD)

Kenny Golladay (NYG) — Golladay was held catchless in Week 5 against the Cowboys — and not entirely because of his matchup with CB Trevon Diggs. Golladay played just 35% of the offensive snaps and didn’t haul in any of his 3 targets because he hyperextended his knee and couldn’t continue playing. That now means Golladay has fallen below 10 fantasy points in two of his first five games with the Giants, and has fallen below 11 FP in four of his first five. He has yet to score a TD. His injury was perhaps the “underreported” one in the Giants’ loss, because RB Saquon Barkley went out with an ankle sprain that fortunately appears to have looked worse than it is, and QB Daniel Jones suffered a frightening concussion and was demonstrably woozy on the field. Golladay is having an MRI on Monday, so we’ll have more of an update soon, but he could be looking at missing some time. If so — and heck, even if not — the Giants will continue to force feed the ball to Kadarius Toney. (JD)

Marvin Jones (Jax) — Even with DJ Chark (ankle) out, Marvin Jones saw just five targets against the Titans and caught one for 25 yards. In fact, Jamal Agnew and Dan Arnold led the team with 8 targets while Jones and Laviska Shenault were both barely involved. Great coaching, Urb! Jones will be a completely boom-or-bust WR4 next week against the Dolphins and then the Jaguars are mercifully on BYE in Week 7. (GB)

Tight Ends

T.J. Hockenson (Det) — It has been a rough couple of games for Hockenson after a hot start as he’s battled through a knee injury that’s limiting him in practice. Further compounding Hockenson’s sluggish past three games are all of the Lions injuries across the offensive line. Hockenson was left in to pass block three times against the Vikings and did a ton of work as a run blocker, and when that happens, it’s hard to also scheme up a bunch of targets in the passing game because Hockenson is exhausted from all the blocking. Hockenson got just three looks against Minnesota and turned them into 2/22 receiving. You likely don’t have any better options than Hockenson, but until he gets over this knee injury and the Lions offensive line gets healthier, it is going to continue to be a very up-and-down stretch. (GB)

George Kittle (SF) — Unfortunately, Kittle was put on I.R. this weekend with this calf injury he’s been trying to play through. It means that he won’t be eligible to return to the lineup until Week 9 so, all told, Kittle will get over a month’s worth of time off to get his injury right. With Kittle sidelined, Ross Dwelley stepped up and played on 29-of-38 pass plays (76%) but only got 2 targets against the Cardinals. (GB)

WATCH LIST

Players whom we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade, but their situations demand monitoring based on recent play, injuries, or news.

Quarterbacks

Joe Burrow (Cin) — Burrow had a rough day at the office in Cincinnati’s Week 5 loss to the Packers. He made a visit to the blue tent in the middle of the second quarter after he took a big hit on a third-down scramble, but he returned to action on the next play. Burrow also took a hit to the throat later in the game, which forced him to go to a local hospital for precautionary reasons after their overtime defeat. He was deemed to be healthy and he was released from the hospital later that night. Burrow topped 20+ FP for the second consecutive game after falling below the mark in his first three games, and he’s now thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of his first five games. We’d anticipate Burrow being ready to play against the Lions in Week 6, but it’s a situation to keep an eye since this is a unique injury. (TB)

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey (Car) — McCaffrey was a limited participant in Panthers practice all week with his hamstring injury, but didn’t play in Week 5 against the Eagles as the Panthers were likely smart with their star RB. Chuba Hubbard did an admirable job filling in, but barring a setback, it appears CMC will be back to take on the Vikings’ woeful run defense in Week 6. The Panthers are 0-2 without McCaffrey after a 3-0 start. He’ll immediately pop right back into fantasy lineups. (JD)

Antonio Gibson (Was) — It came out before Week 5 that Gibson is playing through a stress fracture in his shin, which explains Gibson’s slightly sluggish start to his 2021 campaign. It also explains why his role in the passing game has remained stagnant from his rookie season. He battled through the injury in Week 5 by posting 20/60/2 rushing while catching his only two targets for 12 yards on 19 routes and a 57% snap share in a tough matchup against the Saints. It’s not a bad idea to test the market to see if you can sell Gibson high off of his two-touchdown performance since his shin isn’t going to magically heal. Rookie Jaret Patterson should be considered as a bench stash just in case the injury becomes too much for Gibson to play through or if the team decides to shut him down at some point if their season continues heading south. (TB)

Joe Mixon (Cin) — Mixon suffered a low-grade ankle sprain in Week 4 and, for some reason, the Bengals rushed him back to play 19 snaps (28% snap share) against the Packers. His backup, Samaje Perine, was far more effective with 11/59 rushing and 4/24/1 receiving on five targets and 25 routes compared to Mixon’s 10/33/1 rushing and 1/2 receiving on one target and just eight routes. Mixon luckily bailed out his owners with a late touchdown to get to 10.5 FP for the day. Mixon’s workload will likely increase over the next couple of weeks as long as he doesn’t have a setback but, as we’ve seen with Dalvin Cook in recent weeks, it shouldn’t be taken for granted that he’s completely out of the woods just yet. (TB)

Damien Harris (NE) — It’s a good thing Dame scored early in Week 5, because things were rough otherwise. He should have had a second TD, but fumbled on his way into the end zone, and then left twice with a chest injury, playing just 33% of the offensive snaps. He finished with 14/58/1 rushing on that snap share, but he’s dinged up and the two lost fumbles he’s had this year could well earn him the famous ire of Bill Belichick. If Harris’ chest injury does clear in time for Week 6, however, it’s probably a good thing for his fantasy value that rookie Rhamondre Stevenson didn’t do much with his carries, posting just 11/23 rushing while playing a 35% snap share. Harris is the Pats’ best runner, but he needs to stop fumbling. (JD)

Chase Edmonds (Ari) — Edmonds was able to play in Week 5 despite a shoulder injury that caused him to miss a ton of practice time during the week. Unfortunately, it’s clear that his shoulder limited him against the 49ers as he set season-lows in both touches (9) and snaps (37). Edmonds is also barely getting any valuable looks in scoring range which further compromises his fantasy outlook on days where he doesn’t have 5-6 catches. The Cardinals have run 34 plays inside of the opponents 10-yard line this year and James Conner has been on the field for 65% of them and has 10 carries. Meanwhile, Edmonds has seen just 35% of the inside-10 snaps and handled just 4 carries. Edmonds will be on the back-end RB2 radar next week against the Browns. (GB)

Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill (KC) — The Chiefs dropped an 18-point decision to the Bills on Sunday Night Football, and they left the game a little worse for wear. HC Andy Reid said after the game that Hill “hurt his knee a little bit” in the loss, which will need to be monitored this week before their matchup with Washington. Tyreek still saw a position-best 85% of the snaps, but he managed just 7/63 receiving (9.0 YPR) on a team-high 13 targets (24% share). Hill is back to seeing double-digit targets in each of the last two weeks after he posted just 8/70 receiving on 11 targets in Weeks 2-3 against the Ravens and Chargers. As long as he dresses this week, Hill will be an elite option at the position against a struggling Washington defense. (TB)

Calvin Ridley ( Atl) — Ridley surprisingly missed Week 5 because of a personal matter. Russell Gage also missed his third-straight game with an ankle injury, leaving Kyle Pitts alone as the Falcons top receiver while Cordarrelle Patterson took on a much bigger role. We don’t know if Ridley will be able to return in Week 6 at press-time. (GB)

A.J. Brown (Ten) — The good news? Brown was able to play through a nagging hamstring injury this past week after missing most of Week 3 and all of Week 4. The bad news? He was clearly limited in his return. Brown got just 6 targets against the Jaguars and played on 64% of the snaps. Julio Jones (hamstring) missed his second-straight game and was never close to suiting up. The Titans desperately need their duo healthy next week for a pivotal game against the Bills. (GB)

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce (KC) — Kelce took a nasty hit in the head at the end of Kansas City’s loss to the Bills in Week 5, and HC Andy Reid said after the game that he suffered a stinger. His status will need to be monitored this week but it should be noted that Kelce hasn’t missed a game for an injury since he played just a single special teams snap as a rookie in 2013. He’s played in 115 games since 2014 with his only two missed games coming when the Chiefs rested him in the 2017 and 2020 season finales with their playoff seeding wrapped up. Kelce had a nine-game run of 20+ FP through Week 2 that dated back to last season (postseason included), but he’s cooled off a bit the last three weeks, topping out at 17.7 FP in Week 5 (6/57/1 receiving). (TB)

Darren Waller (LV) — It’s not that anything Waller does beyond getting hurt or retiring is going to change your play strategy with him, since there are few reliable TEs in all of fantasy football. But his game should have been better than 4/45 on 8 targets… as he dropped a good throw by Derek Carr over the middle for a potential big gain and was wide open for a long TD on a bad throw by Carr. You have to suck it up with Waller, but these down games for a guy picked in the 2nd round at a non-premium fantasy position are not acceptable. (JD)

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