The best and worst fantasy football matchups for NFL Week 6

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 10:30:07 PM. Devin Funchess looks capable of continuing his hot play, but daily players should stay away from Mike Evans.

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Devin Funchess could find himself in the end zone again this weekend. (Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)

Week 5 was so brutal, I found myself DM’ing some of my PFF Fantasy writers late Sunday night to ask them to work up a piece on “What the heck do we do now?” reaction to injuries. Fantasy football is a heartless game, but never more so than a week that saw the Texans lose two of their top three defensive players and the Giants lose their top four receivers.

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Still, the other part of fantasy’s heartlessness is its unrelentingness. We don’t have time for a mourning period in the aftermath of losing Odell Beckham Jr., J.J. Watt, and others. Week 6 is roaring toward us, and to that end, here’s a look at some of the best (and worst) fantasy situations heading into the fantasy season’s midpoint.

Good situations


Kevin Hogan, QB, Cleveland Browns: After taking over for DeShone Kizer for the second half in Week 5, the Browns announced Hogan would be their new starting quarterback. Hogan has thrown three touchdowns so far on 42 dropbacks. Kizer’s two rushing scores were the only thing keeping him fantasy relevant, but Hogan is at least Kizer’s equal on the ground, with 140 rushing yards on 13 career carries. Add in an opposing Houston defense that just lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season, and Hogan could face less opposition than you might expect.

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Running backs

Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions: In Weeks 2 and 3, the Saints faced the Patriots and Panthers, two teams that have prominently featured pass-catching backs. In those two games, the team allowed 182 rushing yards to running backs, compared to 248 receiving yards (on 23 receptions). Miami was the Saints’ Week 4 opponent, but that offense couldn’t do much of anything and there isn’t really a receiving back on the Dolphins. In Week 6, New Orleans faces Riddick and the Lions. Riddick has ceded some work to Ameer Abdullah so far this year, but he’s still out-targeted his teammate 24 to 11. With the Saints’ secondary actually playing competently in recent weeks, expect the Lions to attack the team’s midrange weakness heavily.

Chris Thompson, RB, Washington: In Week 1, Jonathan Stewart caught a touchdown pass against the 49ers. In Week 3, Todd Gurley did. Andre Ellington didn’t score in Week 4, but he did have 14 targets and 86 receiving yards. The 49ers don’t stop any running backs well, but with the Washington ball-carrier situation up in the air considering Rob Kelley’s injury and Samaje Perine’s ineffectiveness, we at least know Thompson’s role. He’s not going to put up numbers like he did through Week 3, but he’s got a great situation in Week 6 to get back on track.

Wide receivers

Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers: Part of me wants to say pump the brakes on Funchess. The guy hasn’t topped 500 yards in either of his two seasons before this, and hasn’t gone above 70 yards in a game this year. It’s really just his three scores in the last two games keeping him solvent. And I’m sure I will be saying that soon enough. But not in Week 6. In Week 6, Funchess and the Panthers face off against the Eagles, which means Funchess will likely draw the still-struggling Jalen Mills — he of the 43.5 PFF grade that ranks 93rd of 109 qualifying corners — in coverage, and I’m just always going to recommend “receiver facing Mills.”

Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets: The Saints got one touchdown from a receiver against the Patriots — slot man Brandon Coleman. The Texans got one from a receiver against New England — slot man Bruce Ellington. Funchess’s two scores were lined up on the right, but came on midrange passes (10 and 16 yards). The Patriots have a bad pass defense, but nowhere is it worse than in the slot. Kerley hasn’t blown up yet in his time with the Jets, but he does have a 100-percent catch rate on his 17 targets. For PPR leaguers, this could be a strong Kerley week.

Tight end

Ryan Griffin, Houston Texans: I’m going to this well every week until I get a reason not to. Austin Seferian-Jenkins had his first touchdown as a Jet against Cleveland in Week 5. Tyler Kroft had a two-score game against the Browns in Week 4 after one career score before that. Benjamin Watson topped 90 yards in Week 2 for the first time since November of 2015 and only the third time since 2010. Jesse James had two touchdowns in Week 1, and has none on 12 catches since. The Giants have allowed more total fantasy points to tight ends, but have faced Jason Witten, Eric Ebron, Zach Ertz, Cameron Brate and Hunter Henry — a murderer’s row compared to who Cleveland has faced. Use tight ends against the Browns. Full stop.

Bad situations


Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: Only one quarterback has even reached double-digit fantasy points against the Steelers so far — DeShone Kizer, in Week 1. That said, here is the list of quarterbacks who have faced Pittsburgh: Kizer, Case Keenum, Mike Glennon, Joe Flacco, Blake Bortles. Any MLB pitcher will pitch circles around a middle-schooler, but that doesn’t tell you how good he is. That said, the Steelers have held all five of those quarterbacks below their averages — they have collectively put up 0.28 fantasy points per dropback against Pittsburgh, 0.37 in their other games. The Steelers might not be second-best-in-the-league good, but they do hold guys back.

Running back

Wayne Gallman, New York Giants: The Broncos are still carrying the reputation of a defense that is stout against the pass but struggles a bit more against the run. But that’s not quite right so far this year, as the Broncos have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. Gallman has been fine through two games of significant action — 132 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown — but with the Giants basically out of weapons beyond Gallman, Shane Vereen, and tight end Evan Engram, the Broncos will be able to stack the box and double down against Gallman. There might be short-range passing work for Vereen — the only touchdown the Broncos have allowed to a running back was Melvin Gordon’s receiving score in Week 1 — but on the ground, expect Gallman to hit a wall.

Wide receiver

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Five games into the season, and top receivers against Arizona (and Patrick Peterson) have a combined line of 15 receptions for 165 yards and two scores, and one of those scores was that ridiculous Dez Bryant catch-and-carry-the-whole-Cardinals-team to the end zone play in Week 3. Teams just don’t throw Peterson’s way — he ranks first among all cornerbacks in cover snaps per target (11.9) and per reception (27.3), and is second in yards per coverage snap (0.43). You’re probably stuck using Evans in Week 6, but you’d be forgiven if you looked elsewhere.

Tight end

Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders: The next touchdown the Chargers allow to a tight end will be the first this year. Evan Engram and Travis Kelce both played the Chargers, and they combined for one catch, on one target, for one yard. The Raiders need to integrate Derek Carr back into the offense (assuming he returns) and really need to get Amari Cooper going after four catches for 23 yards in his last three games combined. Don’t expect Cook to produce much in Week 6.

More fantasy football:

Five fantasy moves you need to make for Week 6

Week 5 takeaways: What to make of Giants’ injuries, Big Ben’s struggles

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