Fantasy Football Week 6: Hit the panic button on early-season busts Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Joe Mixon?

Usually on Tuesdays, I'll send out a message to our team of experts asking for their take on the biggest questions facing Fantasy players for the upcoming week, focusing on the top waiver targets, toughest matchups, and struggling players Fantasy managers are considering benching. However, as we look ahead to Week 6, it seems there are more big names struggling than usual.

That was thrown into stark relief Monday in Week 5, as the Browns were thoroughly dismantled by the 49ers, leading to a negative Fantasy day from Baker Mayfield and a 6.2-Fantasy point effort from Odell Beckham that dropped him to 30th at the position for the season. But those were hardly the worst showings of Week 5: Mike Evans' catchless performance probably takes the cake there.

Long story short, there are a lot of studs currently costing the Fantasy community dearly. You're probably starting to panic, and we can't blame you. What we're here to do is try to help you figure out whether it is time to panic, whether you should hold on to your struggling studs, or whether there might even be a buying opportunity. I grabbed our entire Fantasy team to get their thoughts on the following seven players: Odell Beckham, Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, Joe Mixon, David Montgomery, Josh Gordon, Aaron Rodgers

I asked two simple questions for each player: 

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how worried are you about _____? 
  2. How should Fantasy players handle them right now?

Here's here you'll be hearing from as we try to figure out how to handle these players: 

  • Jamey Eisenberg, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
  • Dave Richard, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
  • Heath Cummings, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
  • Ben Gretch, CBS Fantasy Editor
  • Ben Schragger, Fantasy Football Today Producer
  • Chris Towers, CBS Fantasy Senior Editor
CLE Cleveland • #13
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
YTD Stats
REC
23
TAR
43
REYDS
335
TD
1
FPTS/G
12
  • Jamey: I give Beckham a 2 on the panic-o-Meter. While the last two weeks have been awful with a combined seven PPR points, he did score at least 11 in his first three outings. Buy low now if you can.
  • Dave: 6; His quarterback is stressing behind a below-average offensive line. The playcalling in Cleveland is improving but not running on all cylinders. And the receiver himself is dropping passes and fumbling punts. Beckham will bounce back to some degree, but not to a consistently elite value. You could consider buying low on him, but if you have him, you could also just sell out because the upcoming schedule won't exactly help him. 
  • Heath: 5; I don't feel comfortable with him as a top-10 wide receiver but I still fully expect he'll bounce back. I'm not close to considering benching him.
  • Ben G.: 4; You have to hold Beckham right now, and he's arguably a buy depending how low you can get him. The situation is obviously not good, and you'd need a discount to acquire him, but everything we do is related to perception, and the Browns laying two massive eggs in island games over the past three weeks has a spotlight on their ineptitude, while they had a strong game against the Ravens in between. Beckham's value outpaces perception by a solid amount.
  • Ben S.: 8; I'm very concerned about Beckham, as the Browns passing attack is pitiful and he hasn't produced despite 8.6 targets per game. Even worse, there isn't a get-right matchup for the consensus second round Fantasy pick in the foreseeable future, facing Seattle, New England, Denver and Buffalo over the next four games.
  • Chris: 4; The work is there, and the Browns are doing what they can to find new ways to get the ball in his hands, with two pass attempts in his last two games and two rushes in Week 5. Baker Mayfield isn't going to be a top-five QB in the NFL, and the Browns probably aren't going to win the Super Bowl like some thought before the season. But if Beckham ends up with 140-plus targets, I'm going to want him on my teams. I'll be making some offers this week. 
TB Tampa Bay • #13
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
YTD Stats
REC
18
TAR
38
REYDS
368
TD
4
FPTS/G
15.4
  • Jamey: 3; While he's falling behind Chris Godwin as the No. 2 receiver in Tampa Bay, that doesn't mean he won't be productive moving forward. He might not return the value of where you drafted him in Round 2 in most leagues, but he'll still finish the season as a top-20 Fantasy receiver, regardless of format.
  • Dave: 2; The Bucs should end up passing plenty week in and week out, so as long as Evans stays upright he should flirt with top-20, if not top-12, production. Like the Browns, the Bucs' offensive line issues are their biggest problem. 
  • Heath: 6; Evans has actually been worse than his ranking because of that game against the Giants. My concern right now is that he and Godwin have flipped places in terms of Fantasy value. That wouldn't mean you're benching him but it would mean you're not getting what you paid for on Draft Day.
  • Ben G.: 2; There's way too much "one or the other" from Fantasy players when two players can succeed in modern offenses. Evans' value takes a hit in many peoples' eyes because of Chris Godwin's production, but it shouldn't. He was sick early in the year, and is coming off a bad game now, but put up a monster in between, and has seen tons of air yards all year, save for Week 5, the Bucs' worst game as a team. There's almost nothing to worry about. 
  • Ben S.: 3; Laying a goose egg in Week 5 obviously frustrated Fantasy owners and the emergence of Chris Godwin removes the volume-based floor from Evans, but the big-play potential with Winston at QB provides weekly matchup-winning upside. Expectations should be lowered to a high-upside WR2 rather than the WR1 Evans has been in the past, but you can feel comfortable starting Evans moving forward.
  • Chris: 3; Week 5 was just weird. And maybe Evans really isn't the No. 1 receiver for the Bucs. But, unless they actually buy into Ronald Jones in a way that seems unlikely, this is going to be a team fueled by the passing game, and Evans is still seeing healthy volume with plenty of high-value targets down the field. The No. 2 WR in this offense can still be a must-start Fantasy option, and if that's all Evans is, I'm not too worried. Though I am glad I have more Chris Godwin shares than Evans shares this season. I would buy low this week if the opportunity presented itself.
CLE Cleveland • #6
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1247
RUYDS
0
TD
4
INT
8
FPTS/G
10.8
  • Jamey: 10; He's someone you can drop in all leagues. No games with multiple touchdowns so far, a bad offensive line and he plays a deep position when it comes to Fantasy. He's not someone you need to keep on your roster.
  • Dave: Zero. Not sweating Mayfield. Because I HAVE ALREADY CUT HIM FROM MY TEAMS. 
  • Heath: 8; I still think it's unlikely he's this bad all year long but you can't start him right now and at a position as deep as quarterback that means he's droppable.  
  • Ben G.: 6; Because he's a quarterback, Mayfield's cuttable in one QB leagues. But I'll keep a close eye on him for the reasons I noted above regarding Beckham, because there's still a chance things click and the Browns right the ship somewhat. I don't actively want to buy either because the Browns really do look lost at this moment, but you can't sell in SuperFlex or 2QB unless you get a reasonable return. 
  • Ben S.: 10; Mayfield's passes aren't nearly as sharp as they were at the end of 2018, he isn't on the same page as OBJ, and the Browns offensive line is terrible. All of these factors result in Mayfield being a huge Fantasy disappointment, as he is droppable in all 1-QB leagues.
  • Chris: 10; If I'm buying low on Beckham, I have to also believe better days are ahead for Mayfield, and I do. But that doesn't mean you need to hang on to him right now, or should be buying low. If he starts to turn it around, you'll be able to snag him on waivers, especially since he doesn't really have a good matchup coming up in the next few weeks. 
CIN Cincinnati • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
YTD Stats
RUYDS
242
REC
12
REYDS
68
TD
1
FPTS/G
9.2
  • Jamey: 0; He's had at least 17 total touches in each of the past three games, and he has either 100 total yards or a touchdown in two of those outings. He's fine, and I expect plenty of big games moving forward.
  • Dave: Based on where I drafted Mixon? A seven. With lowered expectations? A zero. I still think Mixon can find his way to 10 non-PPR Fantasy points more often than not. It's the mega-games that I doubt he'll have often. That makes him more of a No. 2 Fantasy running back. 
  • Heath: 5; I mostly think Mixon is going to be fine as a high-end No. 2 running back and that's not too far from what you paid for him. The situation is bad but it mostly has been since Mixon arrived in Cincinnati.  
  • Ben G.: 8; The offense is really holding back Mixon, who ran well against the Cardinals and got a season high in rush attempts, but 19 rushes isn't great, and it was the first time he saw more than 15. With Giovani Bernard cutting into his routes so he can't generate big reception totals, and an offense that isn't generating green zone touches even against a defense like Arizona, his upside looks like a poor man's version of 2018 David Johnson
  • Ben S.: 2; After an ankle injury limited Mixon over the first two weeks, the Bengals RB has seen encouraging volume, averaging 16.3 carries and 60.7% of snaps in each of the past three games and outplaying backup Giovani Bernard. Mixon has yet to score on the ground this year, but expect him to find the end zone in upcoming favorable matchups against Baltimore, Jacksonville and the Rams.
  • Chris: 3; It was strange to see the Fantasy community treat Mixon as if it didn't quite matter how bad the offense around him might be, even after the Bengals lost A.J. Green and multiple starting offensive linemen. However, Green should be healthy soon, and Mixon won't keep being this inefficient — we've already seen improvement since his ankle injury — so I think better days are ahead. If we redrafted today, I'm still not taking him with my second-round pick, but if I could buy him for the equivalent of a fourth-rounder today, I'd be thrilled to. 
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
YTD Stats
RUYDS
225
REC
9
REYDS
72
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.2
  • Jamey: 4; He's going to remain the workhorse running back for the Bears, and better games are ahead. While the start of the season was frustrating to an extent, especially his performance in Week 5 against Oakland in London, he's still looking at 15-plus touches on a weekly basis, which makes him a starter in most leagues.
  • Dave: I'll say a six on Montgomery. His upcoming schedule is tough and I'm not so sure the coaches will re-commit to him as their primary back (again). 
  • Heath: 3; I still expect Montgomery will mostly deliver as a low-end No. 2 running back. Week 5 was a letdown but he's dominating carries for the Bears and that will pay off eventually. Buy low.  
  • Ben G.: 7; I think Montgomery's Week 5 was more the product of the Bears getting scripted out of running the ball, and Montgomery's snap share had been trending well. But there are offensive issues here, too, and even with Mike Davis relegated to the bench, Tarik Cohen playing so much on passing downs is bad news for Montgomery's upside. 
  • Ben S.: 9; Montgomery is stuck in a committee on an offense that simply isn't very good. Poor rushing efficiency and the presence of Tarik Cohen in the passing game will likely to haunt Fantasy owners for the remainder of 2019. Montgomery has yet to top three catches in a game and has only scored double digit non-PPR Fantasy points once. 
  • Chris: 7; I don't want to bury Montgomery for his career, but I'm just not seeing anything from him right now that makes me think he's anything more than a guy. He hasn't been super effective as a runner — I don't care how many tackles you are breaking if you aren't moving forward — and he's been a non-factor in the passing game. Maybe he sees a late-season breakout, or figures it out in the offseason ala Le'Veon Bell, but I don't see much reason to be optimistic beyond his role in this average-at-best Bears offense. 
GB Green Bay • #12
Age: 35 • Experience: 15 yrs.
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1307
RUYDS
52
TD
6
INT
1
FPTS/G
16.8
  • Jamey: 5; The only reason I'm concerned about Rodgers is how long Davante Adams (toe) could be out. If that injury lingers, Rodgers could be tough to trust in most leagues. But if Adams comes back -- hopefully for Week 6 against Detroit -- then Rodgers should be a weekly starter without hesitation.
  • Dave: 1; You have to think Rodgers will turn things around. Eventually Davante Adams will return and Aaron Jones won't account for all of the Packers scoring. Now's the time to buy low on him if you're streaming quarterbacks. 
  • Heath: 5; I'm not worried Rodgers is bad now. I am worried he's listening to his coach and doing what's best for the team. That's great for the Packers but bad for his Fantasy value.   
  • Ben G.: 7; Relative to preseason expectations, there's plenty of reason to be concerned about Rodgers. Even despite some tough matchups early and the injury to Davante Adams, it seems very unlikely he'll suddenly be an elite quarterback the rest of the way. The offense just isn't built that way, and his secondary weapons are not progressing as hoped. 
  • Ben S.: 4; I don't buy that the Packers will continue to feed Aaron Jones as much as they have over the past few weeks, and I expect Rodgers' red zone attempts to increase. Rodgers is past the toughest part of his schedule and should get back to posting 20+ Fantasy points weekly until the Fantasy playoffs. There should be some concern about his matchups down the stretch, facing CHI and MIN in the Fantasy semifinals and championship weeks.
  • Chris: 10; If you drafted Rodgers this season, you probably did it early enough that "pretty good Fantasy QB" just isn't going to cut it. He hasn't posted a Y/A above 7.4 since 2014, and has been closer to average (or even below) in touchdown rate in three of the last five seasons. Have we considered the possibility that he just isn't a difference maker anymore? Only throwing more than 35 passes once in five games doesn't help matters. I'm not cutting him, but I'm not buying him either. 
NE New England • #10
Age: 28 • Experience: 4 yrs.
YTD Stats
REC
19
TAR
35
REYDS
280
TD
1
FPTS/G
10
  • Jamey: 1; Buy low, buy low, buy low. Big games are coming for Gordon, who is averaging nearly nine targets per game in his past three outings, and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1. You might be able to get him cheap, and he should be worth it, especially with Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) now banged up.
  • Dave: As long as Gordon continues to get a lot of targets and the Patriots play weak defenses, I'm fine with him starting. Obvious risk-reward but the panic level is at a four, max. 
  • Heath: 4; Him being a little bit boom-or-bust shouldn't be surprising with the types of routes he's running. But if he busts against the Giants on Thursday night this number will balloon.
  • Ben G.: 4; Gordon's aDOT is oddly much lower than last season (10.2 vs. 13.6 with New England last year), and part of his lack of production is the Patriots haven't really had to take many shots downfield. It's a little concerning, but I'd expect those opportunities to arise at some point. He's more of a buy than someone to panic on.
  • Ben S.: 7; The Patriots are very content going run-heavy in the red zone and spreading the ball to guys like Ryan Izzo, Jakobi Meyers and Brandon Bolden rather than leaning on Gordon. The only reason my panic isn't a 10 is that Phillip Dorsett is week to week with a hamstring injury, which could allow for Gordon to see the necessary uptick in targets to provide WR2 value over the next few weeks.
  • Chris: 6; On pace for over 110 targets, the workload we were hoping for from Gordon has been there. He just hasn't stepped up as the red zone option I was thinking he could coming into the season. The Patriots have actually thrown the ball more than I expected, and that volume is what makes me hold out hope for Gordon. Put the ball in his hands enough and good things are going to happen. I would buy.

So who should you sit and start this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 6 Fantasy rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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