Week 6 of the NFL season has arrived.
Last week’s start and sit decisions were tough ones that I met with solid analysis but sadly, much like Giancarlo Staton this postseason, I struck out on all three fantasy fastballs to drop my season start and sit accuracy to 43.8 percent.
In Week 5 the McCarthyism I feared ended up ruling and this killed Aaron Jones’ big-play potential. Alshon Jeffery, despite seeing a healthy volume with eight targets, failed to connect with Carson Wentz. Amari Cooper did his best in securing his only target on the day, but Derek Carr’s insistence on cowering in a corner versus top defensive backs continued.
With Week 6, the slate is wiped clean and a new week of fantasy football is dawning so let’s rise and greet it with perseverance and process. All season long I will continue breaking down your start or sit predicaments using our tools such as the Head to Head Tool to provide you with an in-depth, yet easily digested, way to look at player matchups comparatively that can give your fantasy roster the needed edge to bring home the win.
Start Tevin Coleman vs TB or James White vs KC ( Point per Reception Scoring)
With Devonta Freeman likely to be ruled out for Week 6 with a foot injury, Tevin Coleman gets another week as the presumed starter for the Falcons. Coleman draws the Buccaneers this week. Tampa Bay for all their defensive deficiencies has actually been tough against the run. Tampa Bay has yet to allow any starting running back to surpass 61 yards rushing on the season and are in the 73rd percentile in rushing yards allowed per game.
Where the Buccaneers have struggled has been against the pass. Via our Head to Head Tool, Tampa Bay has surrendered 373 yards passing per game while also allowing 3.25 passing touchdowns per game. Coleman has been touted (deservedly) as an excellent pass-catching running back over the years, but this season Atlanta is not using him in that capacity even with Freeman out. Coleman is only averaging 2.8 targets and 19.8 receiving yards per game, which ranks in the 29th percentile or lower among running backs. Look for Atlanta to lean on Mohamed Sanu, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Austin Hooper through the air this week.
In Freeman’s absence, so far this season Coleman has out-touched his backfield mate in Ito Smith a whopping 73 to 29. While Coleman has racked up more volume overall, he is losing the battle where it matters most, and that’s in the red zone. Ito Smith even in a limited role has out-touched Coleman 12-to-nine near the goal line. Coleman will rack up a comfortable 12-15 touches this week but with his roles in the red zone and pass game lacking, those touches will be minimally productive.
(Tevin Coleman’s per game Metrics vs Tampa Bay Defensive Metrics vs Running Backs)
James White has been a fantasy football darling so far this season heading into Week 6 as the RB7. White, through five games, is commanding a robust 25.4 percent target share from Tom Brady. Being a high volume and trusted weapon of Brady, who is currently third in the NFL in completion percentage inside the ten-yard line, is a path to fantasy dominance.
Kansas City is a dream matchup for White this week. The Chiefs are allowing nearly 200 combined yards per game to running backs thus far this season. The running back position as a whole versus this defense has been a week winning force in fantasy, averaging 38.1 points per game.
The creeping fear of Edelman’s return and the dent that could pose for White in the passing game was all for nothing, as White out targeted Edelman 14 to nine with Edelman playing a healthy 70 percent of the snaps versus the Colts.
Per our Head to Head Tool, the Chiefs have allowed 30.3 percent of their total receiving yardage to running backs on the left side of the field within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. White has racked up the largest percentage of his receiving yards in this area of the field. Even with Edelman back, White accounted for 58.3 percent last week of the total targets to this area of the field, outpacing Edelman in this area by a wide margin of seven targets to one. With the Patriots innate tendency to hone in on and exploit the opposition’s weaknesses, White will feast this week.
(James White per Game Results vs KC DST Metrics vs Running Backs)
Start- James White
Start Emmanuel Sanders vs LAR or Julian Edelman vs KC (0.5 Point per Reception Scoring)
Emmanuel Sanders set the NFL stage on fire in Week 1, finishing as the WR6 (0.5 points per reception, PPR) and eliciting droves of Case Keenum-to-Adam Thielen slot wide receiver love connection comparisons. Since that week, the screaming masses ushering in Keenum’s continued fantasy success have been subdued to a dull roar with Sanders suffering as Keenum struggles. Sanders has finished outside the top 24 wide receivers in 0.5 PPR in three of the last four weeks.
With Sanders playing 47.3 percent of his snaps from the slot so far this season, he will see a lot of Nickell Robey-Coleman, who has been beatable in zone coverage so far this season to the tune of forcing only one incompletion when targeted and allowing a 101.2 rating to opposing passers. With Sanders totaling a 66.7 catch rate versus zone coverage, which he has seen on the majority of his snaps, it would seem as if Sanders is set up for a bounce-back game this week.
The trump card in this equation is Keenum as it has been all season. Keenum faces a Rams defense that is in the 62nd or better percentile in passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed per game, only giving up 247.8 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per week.
With Keenum tossing more interceptions than touchdowns this season (seven to five) the Rams ability to create pressure and force turnovers will be pivotal. The Rams have struggled to do so this season, averaging only two sacks and 0.8 interceptions per game. With Keenum unable to take advantage of plus matchups in previous weeks versus Oakland and Kansas City, I have absolutely zero faith for him to play well against what looks like a middle of the road opponent on paper.
(Emmanuel Sanders Route and Coverage Metrics vs Nickell Robey-Coleman’s Route and Coverage Metrics)
The Patriots got the band back together last week with Tom Brady’s route running work wife Julian Edelman making his return.
Edelman looked like the same player that previously racked up 425 receptions and a 66.3 percent catch rate during his career by snagging seven of the nine targets he saw. This week’s matchup versus Kansas City has the looks of a high scoring offensive onslaught from both teams.
Julian Edelman played out of the slot 63 percent of the time in last week’s game and will draw coverage from Kendall Fuller this week. The Kendall Fuller of 2018 so far is not the player the Chiefs thought they were getting when they acquired his services in the Alex Smith trade. In 2017, Fuller allowed only a 50.8 percent catch rate for a 55.6 rating and snagged four interceptions in the process. This season has been an entirely different story as Fuller has been burned for a 60.8 percent catch rate and a 97.9 rating in coverage.
With Edelman only playing one game thus far we’ll turn back the hands of time to his last full season for route metrics. In 2016 Edelman’s most targeted route was the out in which he was targeted on 25.7 percent of Brady’s throws. Fuller has given up his only touchdown of the season on this route type. Both in this limited sample of targets but also in the overall scheme of the level of play Fuller has proven that the magic he displayed in 2017 has not been present this season.
Edelman is a lock this week after looking like his usual dependable self now walking into a great matchup in what will be a shootout game.
(Kendal Fuller’s 2018 Coverage Metrics)
(Kendal Fuller’s 2017 Coverage Metrics)
Start- Julian Edelman
Start Quincy Enunwa vs IND or John Brown vs TEN (0.5 Point per Reception Scoring)
Quincy Enunwa started the season off on the right foot, finishing Weeks 1 and 2 as WR17 and WR31, amassing a combined 21 targets over those two games. Since then despite averaging seven targets per game and a 28.6 percent target share Enunwa has failed to crack 70 yards or the top 36 among wide receivers.
While the Colts defense has not been stellar this season this unit has been quietly solid against wide receivers so far with the top three wide recievers on opposing teams depth charts each averaging less than 57.3 yards per game against this secondary. While Enunwa’s heat map provides hope that this is the week he reverses his fortunes with 66.7 percent of his targets coming in the Colts most susceptible areas of the field. These are also the areas of that Bilal Powell is active in the pass game.
The Colts are allowing, on average, 10.4 targets and 66 yards receiving per game to opposing running backs which both rank in the 35th percentile or lower. Look for Sam Darnold to attack the Colts defense via the short pass, but with Powell holding the matchup edge here and not Enunwa.
Finally healthy, John Brown has been a revelation so far this season with two top 20 finishes among wide receivers in his five games played. John Brown has been displaying big play ability every week with an average depth of target (adot) of 22.7 this season. In 2018 Joe Flacco who has decided to put his cannon of an arm back to good use. Flacco ranks third in deep ball attempts at the moment, which is a huge step forward from the 23rd ranking he held last season.
John Brown will matchup with Adoree’ Jackson this week for the Titans. Jackson has been impressive so far, allowing only a 16.7 percent catch rate on targets with an aDot of 14 or greater. John Brown has been able to convert throws past 14 yards at a clip of 39 percent.
While these numbers paint Brown as a boom-or-bust candidate, what has helped pad his floor are the three touchdowns that he has amassed. Outside of the long bombs, Brown has five red zone targets already this year. The combination of red zone involvement, target volume (8.8 per game), and a quarterback willing to consistently utilize Brown’s deep game prowess make Brown a safer option than it appears on the surface.
Start- John Brown
Derek also writes for Gridiron Experts & Fantasy Data. He is occasionally heard proclaiming his honey whiskey fueled takes on Sirius radio. Born in Louisiana he is a diehard Saints fan (Whodat). Derek now resides Fort Worth, Texas with his beautiful, football loving wife and three kids.