NFL Waiver Wire: Week 6 Deep Dive

NFL Waiver Wire: Week 6 Deep Dive

This article is part of our NFL Waiver Wire series.

We're quickly approaching the halfway point of the regular season for most fantasy leagues. That means injuries and bye weeks are both mounting, all while fantasy managers try to conserve their FAAB for a late-season push. That makes it extremely important to be aware of shifting depth charts and anticipating which players could see expanded roles prior to the rest of your leagues. Let's dive into some of those topics for both shallow and deeper formats as we head into Week 6 action.

Quarterback

Sam Darnold vs. Vikings (46 percent ESPN)

Darnold has started to slip back to his Jets ways by turning the ball over five times across his last two games. But with the exception of Week 5, he's remained very efficient in terms of yards per attempt. Darnold has a number of upcoming favorable matchups, so it's a good time to invest in him as a backup/matchup play as others drop him.

Trevor Lawrence vs. Dolphins (45 percent ESPN)

Speaking of efficiency, Lawrence has averaged over eight yards per attempt in each of his last two contests after failing to surpass 6.5 in any of his first three appearances as a pro. Miami has been exceedingly generous to opposing quarterbacks, so Lawrence is a viable streamer if needed.

Matt Ryan - BYE (31 percent ESPN)

Ryan heads into his bye week having thrown multiple TDs in four consecutive games. He's also averaged nearly 41 pass attempts per contest, so he should have enough volume to produce moving

We're quickly approaching the halfway point of the regular season for most fantasy leagues. That means injuries and bye weeks are both mounting, all while fantasy managers try to conserve their FAAB for a late-season push. That makes it extremely important to be aware of shifting depth charts and anticipating which players could see expanded roles prior to the rest of your leagues. Let's dive into some of those topics for both shallow and deeper formats as we head into Week 6 action.

Quarterback

Sam Darnold vs. Vikings (46 percent ESPN)

Darnold has started to slip back to his Jets ways by turning the ball over five times across his last two games. But with the exception of Week 5, he's remained very efficient in terms of yards per attempt. Darnold has a number of upcoming favorable matchups, so it's a good time to invest in him as a backup/matchup play as others drop him.

Trevor Lawrence vs. Dolphins (45 percent ESPN)

Speaking of efficiency, Lawrence has averaged over eight yards per attempt in each of his last two contests after failing to surpass 6.5 in any of his first three appearances as a pro. Miami has been exceedingly generous to opposing quarterbacks, so Lawrence is a viable streamer if needed.

Matt Ryan - BYE (31 percent ESPN)

Ryan heads into his bye week having thrown multiple TDs in four consecutive games. He's also averaged nearly 41 pass attempts per contest, so he should have enough volume to produce moving forward even if he isn't the same quarterback he used to be.

Teddy Bridgewater vs. Raiders (18 percent ESPN, 49 percent FFPC)

Besides his matchup against the Jets and concussion-shortened Week 4 game, Bridgewater has finished as QB 16 or higher in every contest this year. That's not league-winning production, but it's sufficient for fantasy managers in a tough spot.

Carson Wentz vs. Texans (11 percent ESPN)

Wentz has finished as a top-20 QB in four of five starts this season. That's not thrilling production, but it's passable for managers who can't field significantly better options. Add in a start against Houston, and there's the slightest hint of upside. 

Tua Tagovailoa at Jaguars (25 percent ESPN)

Tagovailoa is expected to return this week. He shouldn't be an immediate start, but it's worth noting he completed three passes of 20 or more yards Week 1 against New England while only managing to match that mark three times over his entire rookie campaign. 

Running Back

Giovani Bernard at Eagles (12 percent ESPN)

Given the typically short benches of ESPN leagues, this roster rate makes some sense given Bernard's struggles with injuries early in the season. However, he appears to be ahead of Ronald Jones – though behind Leonard Fournette – in the Buccaneers' running back depth chart, which makes him a worthwhile pickup where available.  

Rhamondre Stevenson/Brandon Bolden vs. Cowboys (seven percent ESPN/eight percent ESPN, 38 percent FFPC)

Damien Harris didn't practice Wednesday after suffering a chest/rib injury in Week 5's win. His continued absence would create opportunity this weekend. And given Harris' problems hanging onto the ball early on this season – he's lost two fumbles – his absence could create opportunity in the New England backfield moving forward. 

Marlon Mack vs. Texans (six percent ESPN)

Mack doesn't carry a significant role in Indy, but he's been subject to plenty of trade rumors. Most recently, he's been connected to the Chiefs after the injury suffered by Clyde Edwards-Helaire. And if that move came to fruition, it would instantly boost Mack's value.

Chris Evans at Lions (two percent ESPN, 34 percent FFPC)

The Bengals' backfield is a bit of a puzzle right now. Joe Mixon was limited to 28 percent of the team's offensive snaps Sunday against the Packers while dealing with an ankle injury. Samaje Perine operated as the team's primary back, but has since tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, Evans could sneak into a significant role in this positive matchup.

Joshua Kelley at Ravens (one percent ESPN, 23 percent FFPC)

Kelley quietly made his season debut in Week 5, and was immediately on the field for 35 percent of offensive snaps. His production was hardly notable otherwise, but he appears to be the new handcuff to Austin Ekeler in favor of Larry Rountree.

Darrynton Evans vs. Bills (two percent ESPN)

Evans practiced with the Titans last week after being designated to return from injured reserve. Like Kelley, he could return and immediately be the backup to Derrick Henry. That won't provide any standalone value, but it's worth tracking who the backup is likely to be moving forward given the volume Henry commands.

Salvon Ahmed at Jaguars (two percent ESPN, 48 percent FFPC)

All the attention coming out of Week 5 is rightfully on Myles Gaskin based on his monstrous performance. However, Salvon Ahmed quietly pushed ahead of Malcolm Brown for the backup role. Miami's backfield has taken several weeks to come into focus, but it appears that roles are slowly becoming more clearly defined.

Jaret Patterson vs. Chiefs (one percent ESPN, 41 percent FFPC)

Antonio Gibson revealed last week he's playing through a hairline shin fracture. He described the injury as not particularly painful, which is seemingly backed by his continued usage in his typical role. Even so, it's probably worth speculating on Gibson's top backup in terms of rushing workload, particularly while it's not necessary to spend 50 percent FAAB to acquire him.

Wide Receiver

Tim Patrick vs. Raiders (35 percent ESPN)

Jerry Jeudy is progressing towards a return from an ankle injury, but he's out through at least Week 6. The Raiders have been fairly stingy against opposing wideouts this season, but Patrick has a consistent enough role to slightly dismiss matchup.

Rondale Moore at Browns (39 percent ESPN)

Moore's role remains maddeningly inconsistent, so his production has followed suit. However, the team has slowly shown an increased inclination to get him involved in the offense. One example is the fact he's received multiple carries in each of the last two weeks. It may take an injury to truly clear the path for Moore, but he's a great stash candidate for later in the year.  

A.J. Green at Browns (37 percent ESPN)

Green shares some of the same appealing traits as Moore, though that has to do with team context. His individual talent at this point in his career is no longer elite, but he's a key target for Kyler Murray and that is enough to remain intriguing.

Adam Humphries vs. Chiefs (one percent ESPN, 10 percent FFPC)

Humphries will be a beneficiary of the absence of Curtis Samuel. He isn't going to be a league-winning pickup, but with bye weeks he's a viable fill in PPR leagues as a FLEX option – particularly in deeper formats.

Demarcus Robinson at Washington (one percent ESPN, 27 percent FFPC)

Tyreek Hill is expected to play against Washington and Travis Kelce began the week with no injury designation. Those two factors take away some of the speculation appeal on Robinson, though there also appears to be something strange going on in Hill's situation. He didn't practice Wednesday (the latest report available at time of drafting) with a quad injury and was reported to have suffered a knee injury Sunday. Follow practice reports carefully to see if Hill is surprisingly out this weekend, where recent usage suggests Robinson would be the next man up. 

Marquez Callaway - BYE (40 percent ESPN)

Callaway won't catch a Hail Mary touchdown every week, so we can't really bank on his production in Week 5 as a reason to roster him. Add in the fact the Saints are heading into their bye week and Michael Thomas will be eligible to return in Week 7, and Callaway loses some appeal. On the other hand, Deonte Harris is battling a hamstring injury, so Callaway could retain the WR2 role even once Thomas returns. That makes him a name to at least keep in mind.

Anthony Miller vs. Seahawks (one percent ESPN, nine percent FFPC)

Miller joined the Steelers' practice squad this week, so he's not in line to make an immediate impact. But with JuJu Smith-Schuster ruled out for the year, this is a prime area for speculation. James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud were both covered in the traditional waiver wire column earlier this week and Miller is just one more name to keep on watch lists.

John Brown vs. Raiders (one percent ESPN, 39 percent FFPC)

Like Miller, Brown is currently on the Broncos' practice squad. With Jerry Jeudy nearing a return, it's possible nothing comes of the signing. But given Denver's depleted wide receiver corps, he's also a name worth monitoring.

Tight End

Zach Ertz vs. Buccaneers (32 percent ESPN)

Ertz didn't produce much last week with only one reception for seven yards. However, he saw six targets and has now averaged seven across his last three contests. With Dallas Goedert testing positive for COVID-19, Ertz should be locked into a strong role for Thursday's game.

Ricky Seals-Jones vs. Chiefs (seven percent ESPN)

In Washington's first full outing without Logan Thomas, Seals-Jones was on the field for 100 percent of the team's offensive snaps while running 36 routes and being targeted in the red zone. With Curtis Samuel sidelined for the foreseeable future, targets are up for grabs and that may only further benefit Seals-Jones.

Dan Arnold vs. Dolphins (three percent ESPN)

Arnold got fully integrated into the Jaguars' offense in Week 5 as he ran 28 routes and saw eight targets. As football fans and fantasy managers, we may want to see Laviska Shenault and other more exciting options get more involved, but the reality is Arnold seems to have a locked-in offensive role.

Evan Engram vs. Rams (30 percent ESPN)

Engram is a tricky case. He managed his best game of the season in Week 5, highlighted by accumulating 77 air yards. However, the Giants are getting healthier among their wide receiver corps with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton potentially on track to play. Engram's name still carries value, but he may not have as big of a role in the offense moving forward as his line last weekend indicates.

Ross Dwelley - BYE (one percent ESPN, 11 percent FFPC)

The 49ers are on bye in Week 6, but George Kittle was placed on injured reserve and won't return until Nov. 7. Even taking into account the bye, that will leave a few games for Dwelley to have the chance to produce. He ran 19 routes in Week 5 and saw an 88 percent snap rate. Given Trey Lance's struggles with accuracy, Jimmy Garoppolo being back under center would likely benefit Dwelley – which could occur Week 7.

Tommy Tremble vs. Vikings (one percent ESPN, 14 percent FFPC)

Tremble saw a season (and career) best 15 routes run in Week 5. It's possible he ultimately takes complete control over the top tight end role in Carolina at some point this season. Even so, the team has a clear hierarchy for target distribution, highlighted by DJ Moore, Robby Anderson and Christian McCaffrey. The chance of Tremble surpassing any of that trio is almost exactly zero, with Anderson being the lone exception.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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