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Thank you DeVonta Smith and Rhamondre Stevenson for saving me in this column last week. We are now in fantasy Week 6 and things are definitely going to get more interesting. With the first bye weeks to ensue, we will be without players like Derrick Henry, Dameon Pierce, Davante Adams, Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift (hr Jamaal Williams?).
It’s not late, but it’s certainly not early in the season anymore, so it’s time to dig a tad deeper. Every FLEX play may not be ideal for your roster, but the main goal is to get through the week with a win. Let’s see if we can get you there.
Mostert has now become one of the better values in fantasy this season. After two straight games of dominating the Dolphins’ backfield touches, he’ll get a decent matchup against a Vikings defense that is the 10th-worst in fantasy against running backs. He ran for 113 yards in a Week 5 blowout loss against the Jets, showing he can get it done no matter the game script. Chase Edmonds is all but a distant memory now as he’s only received eight total touches in the past two games. Furthermore, the Vikings defense just let up 62 receiving yards to David Montgomery in Week 5. In Week 4, off-the-couch veteran Latavius Murray had 11 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings.
It’d be nice for the Dolphins to have Teddy Bridgewater back, but even with Skylar Thompson at QB, Mostert should be able to find some running room.
Cam Akers – RB, Rams vs. Panthers
I’ll be real here, I don’t even know how to start this… after how Akers has fared this season, how could I? Hear me out though — we could be onto something. I’d probably put Darrell Henderson here too if he had gotten more than 11 carries in the past two games. Sean McVay won’t quit Akers so neither will I, especially in this matchup. Despite a disgusting 51/151/1 stat line for the season, Akers (and the rest of the Rams’ offense for that matter) has a chance to get right in Week 6. The Rams are -10.5 favorites and on tap to make the Panthers’ third-string quarterback PJ Walker. The Panthers defense is the sixth-worst against running backs in fantasy this season.
This is how they’ve done against backs so far:
Week 1: Browns’ RBs – 33 carries, 187 yards, 1 TD
Week 2: Giants’ RBs – 23 carries, 82 yards
Week 3: Saints’ RBs – 21 carries, 79 yards, 1 TD
Week 4: Cardinals’ RBs – 24 carries, 110 yards
Week 5: 49ers’ RBs – 25 carries, 143 yards, 2 TDs
The reason I mention Henderson here is that he played more snaps than Akers for a second straight game. It’s not like he’s not out there at all, he’s very much involved. He also received more targets and ran more routes than Akers in Week 5. Akers, however, saw 74% of the opportunities for Rams’ backs last week. McVay is determined to get Akers going and based on the matchup and expected game script, this may finally be the one.
We know the Rams have one of, if not the, worst offensive lines in the NFL, but if it’s not this week for Akers, then when?
Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.
McKenzie was practicing and close to playing in Week 5, so it’s almost a sure bet he’ll go in Week 6. Last week was “Gabe Davis” day as he erupted for three receptions, 171 yards and two touchdowns. Prior to McKenzie getting knocked out of the Bills’ Week 4 game with a concussion, he certainly was on Josh Allen‘s radar. In Week 3, McKenzie racked up nine targets, seven catches, 76 yards and a touchdown. He was well on his way to another decent outing in Week 5 with six targets, four receptions, 21 yards and a touchdown. In Week 6 he has a rematch of last season’s divisional round with the Chiefs. This game has the highest projected game total at 54 points. In an expected shootout, McKenzie, Davis and Devin Singletary should all be solid plays.
George Pickens – WR, Steelers vs. Buccaneers
I’m not sure what Kenny Pickett will do this week, but I’d bet my bottom dollar that he’ll be throwing a lot again. Pickett attempted 52 passes in Week 5 as the Steelers were being mop-wiped by the Bills, and Pickens was a beneficiary of that. Pickens had his second straight game of at least eight targets and six receptions. In those games, he recorded 102 and 83 yards as it appears he’s supplanted Chase Claypool as the team’s WR2.
Pickens will get a tough matchup against the Bucs who jumped out to a 21-0 lead against the Falcons in Week 5. If anything similar occurs this Sunday, expect Pickett to let it fly. Starting Pickens so soon may not be ideal, but there are a lot of byes — you could do worse.
AJ Dillon – RB, Packers vs. Jets
Prior to Week 6 when Dillon registered only six carries (for 34 yards), he was averaging 14.2 per game. The Jets actually have a respectable middle-of-the-road defense against backs in fantasy this season, but two of their last three matchups came against poor run offenses in the Steelers and Bengals. As mentioned earlier in this article, the Jets are fresh off a game where they let Raheem Mostert run for 113 yards. Dillon has been efficient recently rushing 23 times for 107 yards in his past two games. The Packers (especially Aaron Rodgers) are pissed off after losing to the underdog Giants in Week 5 and come into Week 6 as 7.5-point home favorites. Game script could put Dillon over the top in Week 6.
Alec Pierce – WR, Colts vs. Jaguars
How dare I recommend starting anyone on the Colts’ offense outside of Jonathan Taylor hours Michael Pittman? Especially after how bad the offense looked in Week 5, in what many Twitter folks coined the worst game ever played. Despite all that, Pierce was a bright spot. For Week 6 he’s more of a desperation FLEX player after being the apple of Matt Ryan‘s eye in Week 5. Last week he had all career-highs catching 8-of-9 targets for 81 yards. Pierce seems to have finally established himself as the second option in the Colts passing game (over who I thought it would be, Parris Campbell).
With injuries and byes looking us in the eyes, throw Pierce in the lineup if you need him.