As we look ahead to Week 6, I have to admit I’m kind of fascinated by the Giants. I mean, what in the world are they going to do on offense as they head into Denver? The Broncos are first in total defense and are the toughest team to run against, which is kind of a problem for New York, which has almost no pass-catchers after last week’s carnage.
Who knows, maybe Evan Engram will get something like 75 percent of the pass targets, while the rest are divided up between Shane Vereen and Wayne Gallman, but in the meantime, here are some situations the week is offering that promise to have a little more fantasy impact. As always, the idea is to get an idea about how to proceed with moves such as trades or waiver claims.
The Redskins offense
Brian Davidson, Getty Images
Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins scrambles during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 2, 2017 in Kansas City, Mo.
Matchup: vs. 49ers, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Coming out of a bye, and at home against one of the league’s more generous defenses, we may see some Washington players break out of their early season malaise. Jordan Reed, in particular, is healthy and has a great chance to finally reward those who took him with an early draft pick. So does Terrelle Pryor Sr., but he’ll need to show that he is still a priority in the passing game, especially with Josh Doctson coming on strong. Jamison Crowder is another fantasy-draft darling who has underwhelmed, while Ryan Grant‘s two TDs are as many as the rest of the WRs combined.
Rob Kelley is expected to miss this game, or at least be very limited, with an ankle injury, giving Samaje Perine a terrific chance to put fumbling and pass-protection issues behind him and earn more of the coaching staff’s trust. Or he could, you know, literally fumble away the opportunity. Chris Thompson owners will want to see him get back to making big plays after a too-quiet Week 4.
T.Y. Hilton and Marlon Mack, Colts
Michael Conroy, The Associated Press
Indianapolis Colts’ T.Y. Hilton makes a catch against San Francisco 49ers’ Jimmie Ward during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis.
Matchup: vs. Titans, Monday, 8:30 p.m.
The Colts haven’t fared well in their first two road games, but they were jumped in the first by a Rams team that we now know is much better than expected, and predictably stifled in the second at Seattle. Tennessee should make for a more welcoming host, as it allows the third-most fantasy points to both QBs and WRs, making this a tasty spot for the Jacoby Brissett-T.Y. Hilton connection. If Hilton does have another big game, which would be his third in four weeks, it could make him a great sell-high candidate. Indy’s schedule during the all-important Weeks 13-16 is brutal (at Jaguars, at Bills, vs. Broncos, at Ravens), but the star WR’s expected production, plus reports of Andrew Luck coming back soon, should leave his owners capable of getting out while the getting’s good.
Marlon Mack’s eye-opening Week 5 (9 carries for 91 yards and a TD) made him a popular figure off waiver wires this week — ESPN’s 10th-most added player, as of this writing — and he’ll be set up nicely to eat into Frank Gore‘s workload some more. Heaven knows, the Colts could use some more big-play guys apart from Hilton, and it’s not as if Gore figures into the team’s long-range plans.
Packers at Vikings
Ronald Martinez, Getty Images
Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on Oct. 8, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.
Matchup: Sunday, 1 p.m.
The RBs will be worth watching on both sides of this divisional battle. For Green Bay, Aaron Jones figures to be the lead back again, but this time against a tougher opponent, and a big game in Minnesota would be all the more impressive than his 125-yard, 1-TD rushing day at Dallas. We don’t know yet if Ty Montgomery will play, as he returned to a full practice this week but is still recovering from multiple broken ribs. If Jones continues to look good, Montgomery may see his playing time significantly reduced, no matter how soon he returns to full health.
Latavius Murray‘s playing time was significantly reduced in a head-spinningly short amount of time. Expected to become the Vikings’ lead back after Dalvin Cook’s season-ending injury, Murray started Week 5’s matchup with the Bears and got some early carries, but it quickly turned into the Jerick McKinnon Show. When Minnesota’s 20-17 win was over, McKinnon had vastly outdone Murray in yards (146-43), touches (22-14) and long TD runs (1-0), appearing to flip the timeshare. However, one game does not tell the full tale, and Murray should get some cracks against a Packers defense allowing the 11th-most rushing yards per game. McKinnon was already slated for the passing-downs role, though, so Green Bay jumps out to a big lead, he will likely dominate the snap count.
Ross D. Franklin, The Associated Press
New Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson pauses during an NFL football news conference at the team’s training facility Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz.
Matchup: vs. Buccaneers, Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
Arizona saw that its 32-year-old early-downs back was averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, so it did the only sensible thing by releasing him after trading for … a 32-year-old back averaging 3.0 yards per carry. Upgrade! In fairness, it was a low-risk, reasonable-reward move for the Cards, whose offense could well fit Peterson’s skill set better than the Saints’ did. If nothing else, Peterson has a distinct size advantage over the departed Chris Johnson, and he could benefit from being allowed to get into more of a rhythm than Sean Payton ever would allow in New Orleans.
Of course, Peterson might not get any more favors from Arizona’s struggling offensive line than Johnson did, and he’s never been above-average in pass protection, which won’t help embattled QB Carson Palmer keep the chains moving. Still, it’s an intriguing development, if only to see Peterson get what could be his final chance to show that he does have something left in his Hall of Fame tank.
Trade fixes for fantasy — and real — football teams