Mon Oct 19th 2020
2020 Week Six Review
Garbage Time Glory
Week six was a strange one, with a few big upsets, some low scoring duels, some blowout wins, and plenty of garbage time for a few teams in comeback mode. The NFL games were less than exciting overall, apart from the overtime game between Houston and Tennessee. Even when the NFL games are less than entertaining, following our dynasty teams is still a blast.
I had a mediocre week, personally. My teams finished 4-4 this week. Win or lose; it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my teams.
After following all of the games this week, here are my thoughts on what we learned after week six and its impact on our dynasty teams.
Week Six Observations
Garbage Time Glory
- Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz benefited fantasy teams while killing their NFL teams on Sunday. Cousins threw three interceptions in the first half, and Wentz and the Eagles were shut out in the first half. Both quarterbacks didn't lead their teams to a touchdown until halfway through the third quarter, and each proceeded to rack up three touchdowns in garbage time. Cousins made Thielen's day respectable with 51 yards and a touchdown and skyrocketed Jefferson's fantasy day by giving him 166 yards and two touchdowns, all in garbage time. Wentz did a lot of his damage on the ground with 49 yards and a touchdown, but he also helped carry Fulgham to a 17-point fantasy game in garbage time. These are the type of games that put dynasty managers on tilt when they're on the losing end of it and cause them to laugh out loud when they're on the winning end of it. I'm in enough fantasy leagues that I felt both sides on the coin on Sunday. Watching garbage time points wreck or float your fantasy team is one of the best and worst parts of playing this game. It was on full effect in these two games.
The Third Year Is A Charm
- The third year is a charm for Ronald Jones. He's clearly won the lead running back role in Tampa Bay despite the rookie they drafted (Ke'Shawn Vaughn) and the two free agents they signed (Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy). After two terrible years, he's bounced back to become an every-week fantasy starter with quickly rising dynasty value. He touched the ball 20-26 times each of the last three weeks. He's looked explosive on the ground, breaking many long runs, and he's run hard, running guys over to get first downs. While he has struggled with drops, Brady continues to throw him the ball. He's averaging almost three receptions per game. It never looked like he would get there but, Jones is moving into the class of the great running backs drafted in the 2018 rookie class (Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb) rather than the 2018 busts (Royce Freeman, Kerryon Johnson, Rashaad Penny, and Sony Michel). Better late than never!
- Tennessee's fantastic end to the season and playoff run last year after Tannehill became the starter has carried over this year. It's impossible to call it a fluke any longer. Tannehill has come from the bench to become a top-twelve quarterback. He scored the ninth most average points per game (24.6) coming into Sunday, and he added to that average by scoring 32 fantasy points in an overtime win against Houston. He's completing 70% of his passes, averaging 273 yards per game and 2.6 touchdowns per game. Defenses have to stack the box against Derrick Henry, giving Tannehill simple looks on play-action passes. He has his stud wide receiver, A.J. Brown, back from injury, and his tight end, Jonnu Smith, has matured into one of the best run-after-catch tight ends in the league. All signs are pointing up for Tannehill and the undefeated Titans. There's no need to feel dirty anymore when starting him in your line-ups. He's the real deal.
Can't Handle The Heat
- Second and third-year quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Baker Mayfield are playing poorly and taking the dynasty value of their talented pass catchers down with them. Jones managed to connect with Slayton for one touchdown, but other than that and the long run, he only threw for 112 yards. That's really hard to do in the 2020 NFL. Jones is averaging only 203 passing yards per game and has thrown twice as many interceptions (6) to touchdowns (3) in six games. He's scoring less than 13 fantasy points per game. Mayfield is averaging even fewer yards passing per game (183). He has thrown ten touchdowns, but, like Jones, has six interceptions. Mayfield is scoring 14 fantasy points per game. Neither quarterback is startable in one-quarterback leagues, and while they need to be started in two-quarterback leagues, 21 non-quarterbacks are averaging more points per game than Mayfield 50 non-quarterbacks averaging more points per game than Jones. What's worse is how both quarterbacks are dragging down the pass catchers on their teams, making them on-the-bubble players every week when making start/sit decisions.
Tight End Changes
- I write more about this below when listing players I am targeting this week on the waiver wire. There are a few new battles for targets and snaps among tight end groups on a few teams. Miami, Indianapolis, and Houston have tight ends that have scored two touchdowns each in the last two games. In a position group that is very muddy in the middle of the pack, maybe one or more of these guys could emerge to be a reliable starter this year or in years to come.
Week Six Injuries
- Sanders hurt his knee after having another 100-yard day. Early indications are that he will miss several weeks of play. He's getting an MRI today. Boston Scott took the bulk of the snaps after Sanders left the game, and he should continue to do so if Sanders is sidelined for a few weeks. Corey Clement will see an increase in his touches too, but should not make much of a fantasy impact. Sanders' supreme talent is the only reason why he was performing well in fantasy on Philadelphia's awful offense. I don't think Scott is good enough to maintain fantasy relevance until Philadelphia gets some of its pass catchers back from injury so the offense can sustain drives. Right now, they cannot except in garbage time.
- Ertz hurt his ankle late in the game after another pitiful fantasy day. He's been getting plenty of targets but has not turned them into much for several weeks in a row. Goedert managers hope he can come back from his foot injury and steal the tight end job permanently from Ertz. It's rare to see a tight end fade so quickly, but Ertz just does not look like the superstar that he was for the last few years. If Goedert can return while Ertz missed time, everyone will see the difference in their athletic ability. If Goedert and Ertz remain on the injury report, there is not a tight end on Philadelphia worth rostering on dynasty teams.
- Ingram left the game with an ankle injury, giving all J.K. Dobbins managers what they've been waiting for. However, Dobbins equally split the workload with Gus Edwards, who scored a rushing touchdown. Dobbins is by far the better dynasty asset, but Edwards is a good talent that would be startable in fantasy line-ups if Ingram misses games. Edwards is an inconvenient truth for Dobbins managers this year, even with Ingram injured. Dobbins will take over the RB-1 job in Baltimore, just not this year.
- Mostert was having a great game and was clearly the lead back in San Francisco before tweaking his ankle. The injury was not too severe because he tried to return to the game but was ultimately held out in a game where the 49ers were in firm control. It's the same song and dance as earlier in the year when Mostert was hurt. If he misses time, McKinnon becomes an every-week starter again. The good news for Mostert managers is that with McKinnon and Mostert healthy to start the game, Mostert was the lead back and will be for the rest of the season if he can just stay healthy.
Week Six Waiver Wire
As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster leagues (true dynasty leagues), so the players I list here are for deep leagues only. If you play in shallower leagues, there are certainly better players than these to pick up off the waiver wire. That said, for those of you in true dynasty leagues, here is who I would be looking to pick up this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.
- Burton has become the leading tight end in Indianapolis. While this season, it's been a bit of a three-headed monster with Burton, Doyle, and Alie-Cox, Burton has found favor in coach Reich's eyes and is being schemed open in the passing game. While Doyle continued to out-snap him and had an incredible touchdown catch of his own on Sunday, Burton is being used far more in the passing game, receiving 16 targets over the last three weeks compared to Doyle's six.
- Marcus Johnson was resigned by Indianapolis this week, and Indianapolis made him earn it this Sunday. He was the most targeted (8) pass catcher on Sunday and turned his eight targets into five receptions for 105 yards. Johnson has had excellent performances with the Colts before. I remember losing a fantasy playoff game two years ago to a manager who had Johnson in his starting line up. T.Y. Hilton is washed up, and Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell, high draft picks, have yet to prove themselves. I'd like to add Johnson to my roster just to see how he can finish his one-year contract and position himself for a more significant role next year.
- In one league, bye-weeks and injuries cause me to pick up Fells off the waiver wire just before kickoff on Sunday and insert him into my starting line-up. It paid off, though I am still going to lose the game. Jordan Akins was playing ahead of Fells to start the year, which is why I dropped him from several of my rosters. Akins continues to miss games with his injury, and Fells is filling in just fine for him, scoring a touchdown for the second week in a row. He's playing well enough to muddy the tight end pecking order in Houston. As long as Akins is injured, he's worth starting, but when Akins comes back to play, it will be hard to do so with any confidence.
- Shaheen has scored a touchdown in back to back weeks, and this week he led the Dolphins in tight end targets. Gesicki continues to out snap him more than two to one, which is why I would not make Shaheen a top waiver priority, but I would consider adding him if I had a more droppable player on my roster. He was a second-round draft pick in 2017, so draft capital would suggest he could become a better player on his second NFL team.
- McNichols looked excellent on Sunday. With Darrynton Evans on IR, McNichols is the clear back-up behind Derrick Henry. Henry often gets spelled on passing downs, giving McNichols opportunities to touch the ball. He did seven times on Sunday and turned the touches into 7.2 fantasy points. He's likely not a long-term dynasty asset, but he could be helpful in a pinch this year. He was a fifth-round draft pick in 2017 and just signed with Tennessee this year. He has a chance to earn a permanent role with the team now.
- Clement is worth a waiver add if Sander's injury is serious. He has had every opportunity to become a valuable fantasy player but remains on the bubble of dynasty rosters and NFL rosters.
Week Six Trades
Trades are hard to grade in a vacuum since scoring systems are different in each league, and every team has a diverse roster construction. That's why I write about trades made in my leagues and give context for why the dynasty owners made the trades. I grade the trade, but in the context of what each team was attempting to accomplish with the trade.
That said, here are my thoughts on trades that were made in my leagues this week. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.
Josh Allen <-----> DeShaun Watson and a 2021 3rd round pick
- This trade took place in my 12-team, half-PPR, six points per touchdown pass league. I made this trade for Allen. I'm 4-1 in the league and a top contender. Allen is the third-highest scoring quarterback in this league, averaging just one-tenth of a point less per game than Mahomes and 4.5 points per game behind Russell Wilson. I recently moved Allen up in my quarterback ranking to #4, while Watson moved down to #6. I don't see each player's dynasty value too differently, but I've grown to like Allen's more and believe he could put me over the top this year. The 3rd round pick was not my pick, but the pick of the worst team in the league, so it is very likely going to be pick #25 in next year's draft. The team that traded Allen to me has started acquiring future picks after his best player, Saquon Barkley, was lost for the year. He traded Barkley away for several first-round picks and is rebuilding. Watson is just as fine a quarterback to build around as Allen, so he could exchange quarterbacks for picking up this early third-round pick.
Tyler Boyd and Eno Benjamin <-----> Jamaal Williams and a 2021 1st round pick
- I made this trade in my ten-team standard league. I had been a perennial contender in this league, but my team shows its age this year. I'm in the middle of the pack and made this move to upgrade my starting wide receivers and get younger. My every-week starters are Keenan Allen, Robert Woods, and either Jarvis Landry or Brandin Cooks. I drafted Jalen Reagor and Bryan Edwards last year to get younger, but neither player has made an impact this year due to their injuries even though they earned starting roles on their team week one. The team that made the trade with me has been the best teams in the league for years but has hit hard times this year and is buying up many first-round picks. I'm choosing, instead, to fight this season. I may end up regretting it, but I believe adding Boyd to my line-up will give me a safer floor among my starting receivers.
Carson Wentz and a 2021 1st round pick <----> Dak Prescott
- I mention this trade to point out the value that Dak still holds in dynasty superflex leagues. The team that gave away Dak is 5-0 and wanted another quarterback to replace Dak as they push toward the playoffs. Wentz has not had a great start to the year but should improve as his pass catchers return from injury. He's nowhere near Dak's dynasty value, which is why he could also get a 1st round pick thrown in the deal. A top-tier team rarely receives a first-round pick thrown into a deal, but that's the going rate of Dak, who was the best dynasty asset on his team in this superflex league. The team that acquired Dak is competitive this year but still thought this was in his team's best interest in the long run.
J.K. Dobbins, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Tyler Higbee <-----> Stefon Diggs and Jonnu Smith
- I made this big trade in a 10-team standard league. I aggressively went after the two players I thought could take my team over the top this year. I traded for Diggs and Jonnu. I definitely bought high, and the other owner bought low after Juju, Dobbins, and Higbee have struggled to start the year, especially the last two weeks. I tried to find a trade that did not include Dobbins, my 13th ranked dynasty running back, but felt I needed to include him to get my Diggs, my 9th ranked dynasty wide receiver, and Jonnu, my 7th ranked dynasty tight end. I feel comfortable with my starting running backs in this league but wanted to upgrade at my WR-2 behind my WR-1, DeAndre Hopkins. I've been dropping Juju and Higbee in my rankings each week this season. Juju has been surpassed in targets by Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool several times this year, and Higbee was surpassed by Gerald Everett last week. I was happy to trade away Juju and Higbee, but it hurts long-term to trade Dobbins. Still, I like my chances with Diggs and Jonnu the rest of this year and for years to come.
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