Welcome to Week 6!
We’re nearing the midpoint of the fantasy regular season. Only seven weeks left! The waiver wire is a little lighter this week, as a lot of the low-hanging fruit has been picked clean over the first five. I’ve done my best to sort through the pile and find the best options for you.
For you deep leaguers, I’m just scratching the surface in this space. If you are in a big format or just want a deeper dive into the free-agent pool, go to rotobahn.com and check out my expanded waiver wire and podcast. It’s completely free. No registration. No signing in. Just follow the link and enjoy.
The Bills, Bears, Colts and Raiders are on their byes this week.
Sam Darnold, Jets
Only the Jets could lose their most important player to mononucleosis. Darnold should return this week, but he needs final clearance, which is all about his enlarged spleen—a typical issue with mono. As I’ve been saying all year, the Jets have a pretty choice second-half schedule. I’d add Darnold now, even if he can’t go this week.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Cousins is fool’s gold to some extent, but I like his schedule enough over the next several weeks to recommend him here as a QB2 on your fantasy team. Yes, Cousins broke out of his “slump” against a hapless Giants team, but even in his “breakout”, he only threw 27 passes. Unless you think he’ll continue to be madly efficient—like Russell Wilson, you really can’t buy into Week 5 as a big turnaround. It’s his matchup with the Eagles this week that you should be focused on. He’s a solid Week 6 streamer.
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars
Minshew threw for 374 yards and two scores against the Panthers—both of them going to D.J. Chark. His play overall has been revelationary but Nick Foles will probably come back at some point, so there could be a “Cinderella factor” here with Foles’ return representing midnight. Apart from that, Minshew has shown the mettle to start for you on most weeks as the back half of a QB pairing in Superflex formats, or as a QB2 in singles leagues. For Week 6, he has a tough matchup at home against the Saints.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals
It’s not a good week for plug-and-play running backs but Edmonds gives you a solid shot at Week 6 glory. However, it’s just that—a shot, because David Johnson’s back could easily rebound with some rest, and that would nullify most of what we expect from Edmonds this week. If Johnson sits, his backup becomes a sweet play—a borderline RB1. If Johnson plays, Edmonds is a risky flex option.
Jamaal Williams, Packers
Williams was in the league’s concussion protocol last week, but he is likely to return for Week 6 and he’s been getting plenty of action on most weeks.
New head man Matt LaFleurseems intent on using two backs rather than turning Aaron Jones into a bell cow.
Alexander Mattison, Vikings
He is the most important handcuff player in fantasy right now because he’s good and because the Vikings are hugely committed to the ground attack. So much so that Mattison has some stand-alone flex value. And, we know how often Dalvin Cook tends to get dinged up. Mattison needs to be rostered in all formats that roster over 150 players.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots
Yes, he’s been dinged up with a sore foot, but he’s also looked very good and the workload has been there when healthy. I’d be rostering Burkhead in all 12-team leagues if he is out there for some reason. Granted, while he is available in 73 percent of all Yahoo leagues, he’s probably rostered in 99 percent of New England area leagues. Still, Rex is worth a look.
Jonathan Hilliman, Giants
He could be a factor on a short week with Saquon Barkley not yet a lock to play and Wayne Gallman in concussion protocol. He’s nothing special but he could be getting the snaps and carries if the two aforementioned guys are not available. Hilliman could be a one-week life-raft.
Jamison Crowder, Jets
Crowder and Robby Anderson (64 percent owned on Yahoo) have been dumped in too many leagues and you can profit on this. The Jets, as much of a flaming trash heap as they’ve been, are a good bet for a second-half turnaround. This is due to a few things, but primarily it’s about an easing schedule and the return of Sam Darnold. Add Crowder in all PPR leagues and add Anderson in all leagues, period.
Mohamed Sanu, Falcons
He’s tough to figure. Sanu is that guy who scores well on my bench but always goes for about 17 yards if I choose to play him. That being said, when Atlanta’s pass protection breaks down, Sanu’s slot role usually leads to extra targets. And, the Falcons have not been protecting well. For the near term, you can use Sanu in medium to large PPR formats.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers
He’s been the WR2 in the Steelers’ scheme since Week 3. Johnson would be a thing by now but the Steelers have been trying to find their way forward without Ben Roethlisberger, who is gone until 2020. Johnson is unlikely to lose his job, because he is, in my view, the best receiver they have after Juju Smith-Schuster. The money question is, can Pittsburgh effectively triage their passing game? If they can, Johnson is a solid weekly flex option or bye week replacement.
Cole Beasley, Bills
I’ve been blowing this horn for weeks and I’m not going to stop—even after a down week that saw Beasley catch only three balls for 21 yards. With Zay Jones having been dealt to Oakland, Beasley’s role is completely locked in. He’s a weekly starter in 12-team PPR leagues. Don’t be shocked if he continues to get better within this offense. He’s a great fit for Josh Allen.
Auden Tate, Bengals
He’s mostly for those of us who play in large formats, but Tate is locked into a larger role with both A.J. Green and John Ross out. Green could return soon, but Ross will be out another two months, so Tate’s appeal will last throughout the bye weeks. He’ll catch some balls every week, but his best trait is probably his red-zone ability. He scores touchdowns.
Zay Jones, Raiders
The Bills just shipped him to Oakland and his value gets a bump in my view, for a few reasons. Gruden’s scheme is a solid fit for Jones, whose skillset is, at its best, reminiscent of Tyler Boyd’s. The other factor is opportunity. Jones has been an extra piece in Buffalo this year, but he’s a potential every down player for Oakland. He should have some flex appeal right out of the box.
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots
Phillip Dorsett is nursing a hamstring injury and Meyers should be the next man up if the hamstring lingers as they tend to do. And, complicating matters further is the Patriots' short week of prep as they play on Thursday Night against the Daniel Jones-led Giants. In bigger leagues, Meyers could be a nice flex play, if you are in need of one, and with four teams on their bye this week, you just might.
Chris Herndon, Jets
I won’t waste too much breath here as I have been begging you all to pick up Herndon for weeks. He will return from his suspension this week and take up a large role in the Jets passing attack. Add him in all leagues.
Hunter Henry, Chargers
I’m guilty of being a bit asleep at the switch on this one. I was skeptical when I heard that Henry was trending ahead of schedule with his knee injury. We still have time to get in a little early here and I’d definitely do that if you need some tight end help, or if you just want to stash a potential trade chip. Henry should be back either this week or next. He’s a weekly starter the second he steps on the field. You can make a strong argument to add him ahead of Herndon. Herndon is more of a lock for this week and next but Henry should be the more valuable guy for the rest of the season.
Gerald Everett, Rams
Everett has been flashing and certainly deserves a mention here, but a few things keep him from being a great add as a starter. First, he splits time with Tyler Higbee which limits his ceiling and more importantly, his weekly floor. The Rams also have three very good receivers to feed plus a guy named Todd Gurley, who tends to be involved as a receiver. So a steady diet for either of their tight ends feels like a stretch.