Heading towards the midway point of the fantasy football season, teams are starting to separate themselves in your league. There are the top few teams in the league that were able to avoid serious injuries so far, have had a favorable schedule, and are probably pretty solid up and down the lineup. Then the middle tier of teams that have taken on some hard luck with a guy or two going down and maybe caught some opposing fantasy teams at their best. Lastly the teams fledgling at the bottom of the standings with catastrophic injury woes, roster mismanagement and perhaps in some cases, the guy who forgets to update his roster. Everybody hates that guy.
Anyway, I’ll take a look at who were the fantasy studs in Week 6. My criteria for the piece will try to focus on players who flew under the radar early in the season and now may be paying dividends for your squad. For instance, Melvin Gordon scored the most points in fantasy for Week 6. In most leagues, though, Gordon went in the late first or early on in the second round. So if you have him, you played him. Here I would like to take a look at places where you may have had to make some savvy roster moves as your team dealt with players that are banged up or worked around the bye week.
Week 6 Fantasy Studs: Who Got You Through Byes And Injuries?
Quarterback: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
I keep waiting for this guy to come back to earth, but it was not meant to be in Week 6 against the lowly Cleveland Browns at home. Deshaun Watson accounted for roughly 24.3 fantasy points depending on your scoring settings. He passed for 225 yards and three touchdowns, adding a two-point conversion. Watson has thrown three or more TD passes in each of his past three starts. It is amazing he got beat out for the starting job by Tom Savage in Week 1. The Texans are on bye in Week 7, but Watson has forced his way in as a must-start for fantasy owners going forward. He is the number one overall fantasy player over the first six weeks.
Honorable Mention: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins accounted for more points (28.8) than Watson in Week 6, tearing up the San Francisco 49ers for 330 yards, two touchdowns and added another score rushing. I gave Watson the nod for “stud” this week as he went undrafted in most fantasy leagues so his overall value is much higher. Cousins, though, has proven to be a solid fantasy quarterback this year and is making himself a lot of money in “reality.”
Running Back: Adrian Peterson, Arizona Cardinals
Most people move to the desert to retire, but Adrian Peterson found a resurgence in his first game in Arizona. After infamously criticizing New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton on the sidelines in his first game with the team, it seemed only a matter of time before the Saints would have to move on from Peterson. In five games with the Saints, Peterson only garnered a total of 29 carries for minuscule 81 yards. Fast forward to Week 6, after getting traded to the Cardinals for a late-round draft pick, Peterson made the most of his second chance. He rushed for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns, scoring over 25 points in most fantasy leagues. If you were looking for a fill-in for David Johnson, as Arizona was when they made the deal, maybe Peterson is your guy.
Honorable Mention: Jerrick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings
Fantasy owners raced to the waiver-wire once news hit of Dalvin Cook‘s injury. The hot waiver pickup was thought to be Latavius Murray, whom the Vikings brought over from Oakland on a 3-year, $15 million deal. However, in his first start for Minnesota, Week 5, following the Cook injury, Murray only got 12 carries and mustered 31 yards. Compare that to the 16 carries, 95 yards and one touchdown put up by Jerrick McKinnon. Also, McKinnon’s pass-catching ability is a factor as he caught six passes for 51 yards. In Week 6 against Green Bay, Murray still got the start but was again outplayed by McKinnon. This time, McKinnon scored two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air. McKinnon actually vultured the rushing TD from Murray, who didn’t convert his 1st-and-Goal attempt. Despite a fumble, McKinnon put up 22.4 points.
Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
The top fantasy receiver in Week 6 was Antonio Brown, as he should be. So for my “stud” in Week 6, like Peterson, I went with another Arizona veteran. Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 passes for 138 yards, including a touchdown. His best game this season came against Dallas in Week 3, where he had 13 receptions for 149 yards and a score. Fitzerald is still capable of putting up big fantasy numbers and figures to be a mainstay for fantasy starting lineups this season.
Honorable Mention: Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
Perhaps Marvin Jones isn’t on your fantasy team, but after Week 6 he should be. Jones had 6 catches for 96 yards, including a beautiful one-handed touchdown catch. Jones has been a bit inconsistent to this point in the season as his 18.6 points against the Saints was nearly eight points better than his previous best output this season. However, with Golden Tate expected to miss some time after the Lions Week 7 bye, Jones expects to get the bulk of the targets for a couple of games.
Tight End: Evan Engram, New York Giants
With all the injuries on the Giants offense, Evan Engram found himself to be Eli Manning‘s main target early against the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. He caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. With Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall done for the season, Engram will be the focal point from now on for the Giants offensively. With the tight end designation, Engram could emerge as a must-start at the position over the next few games.
Honorable Mention: Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brate has been second guessed ever since Tampa Bay drafted OJ Howard. In spite of the rookie additon, Brate has emerged as a top fantasy tight end. After a throw away game in Week 2, Brate has produced double-digit scoring outings in each game over the past four weeks. He’s also added TD’s in all four of those games as well. He saved his best performance for Week 6. Even with Jameis WInston injured in the game, Brate still logged 6 receptions for 76 yards and hooked up with backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for the touchdown catch.