Fantasy Football Week 6 News & Notes: Sam Darnold to return, Zay Jones to Oakland

Sam Darnold will return Week 6 following his bout of mono, and it's not a moment too soon for a struggling Jets offense. 

Throughout the offseason, expectations for the Jets weren't high. And through four games, it's hard to be overly optimistic. But there's a very real buying opportunity here for Fantasy Football, in part because by some metrics the Jets have the easiest remaining schedule.

The offense showed plenty of life this preseason with Darnold at the helm. In fact, Darnold looked ready to break out in his second season, something that wouldn't be surprising at all for a top five pick. While he's been out, the offense has stumbled, but key position players have played big snap shares, at least until a Week 5 that saw a little more rotation.

Le'Veon Bell in particular has had a very valuable workload. If you're feeling like you missed a buying window on Leonard Fournette after his monster role hadn't translated into Fantasy points in the first few weeks of the season, Bell is a great target as your next option even as he may be a bit more expensive. 

The offense has held Bell back, and he's the RB10 in PPR and RB23 in non-PPR in terms of points per game. The vast discrepancy is because of a monster receiving role thus far — Bell has the fifth-most targets and third-most receptions among the league's backs, numbers that are backed up by at least 23 routes run in every game. 

Bell's running a lot of routes because he's playing nearly every snap. Among the league's backs, only Christian McCaffrey has a higher average snap share, and only McCaffrey and Fournette have averaged more raw snaps per game. 

But despite the big reception numbers, the offense has held Bell back, as he hasn't scored since Darnold's Week 1 start and is really struggling in terms of efficiency, something we would perhaps expect considering defenses haven't had to respect the threat of the pass. I expect Bell's yardage and touchdown numbers to rebound, making him a top-five PPR running back candidate rest-of-season and at least top 10 in non-PPR as well. He's already had his bye, and among his 11 remaining matchups through Week 16 of the season, the Jets have six matchups with teams in the top eight in terms of PPR Fantasy points per game allowed to running backs (Cincinnati, Dallas, Washington, Jacksonville and Miami twice), with just one against a team in the bottom eight of that same stat (New England). 

Similarly, Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder are interesting buy lows at wide receiver, while Demaryius Thomas played a big Week 5 role and is worth a stash in deep leagues. Chris Herndon is eligible to return from his suspension Week 6 and has been a favorite upside tight end option for the rest of the season of mine, but he reportedly injured his hamstring running routes on his own last Friday and Jets coach Adam Gase called it a "legit" injury. We'll have to monitor his status, but when healthy I still like him as an upside play if tight end is a problem area and you're lamenting missing out on other upside options who have broken out like Darren Waller and Mark Andrews

Here what else you need to know as we prepare for Week 6:

  • Steelers wide receiver James Washington is expected to miss a few weeks with a shoulder injury. Diontae Johnson has led the passing game in Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR), a metric that combines team share of targets and air yards, over each of the past three weeks. Expect Johnson to continue being a big part of the passing game alongside JuJu Smith-Schuster and Vance McDonald, though the quarterback situation leaves plenty to be desired.
  • The Giants are not expected to have Evan Engram or Saquon Barkley for their Thursday night matchup with the Patriots, and Sterling Shepard and Wayne Gallman are also out. That would leave Jon Hilliman as the lead back, with Golden Tate, Darius Slayton and Cody Latimer as the main receivers, and likely Rhett Ellison the lead tight end. Patriots DST should crush again. 
  • The Patriots are not expected to have Phillip Dorsett or Rex Burkhead on the short week, but their status isn't clear. With Burkhead out last week, Sony Michel caught his first three passes of the season while running a season-high 21 routes. Dorsett's absence opens up playing time for Jakobi Meyers, but Josh Gordon is likely the biggest beneficiary. 
  • Jaylen Samuels will out at least a month after a knee scope. Expect James Conner to be leaned on more heavily, while rookie Benny Snell should see additional work as the No. 2. 
  • Fullback Kyle Juszczyk is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, and that quietly opens up some work in the passing game. Juszczyk has been targeted at least 40 times in each of his two seasons with San Francisco, and has eight targets in the 49ers' four games so far. Expect a few more targets for the running backs; Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert each ran 11 routes in Week 5, while Tevin Coleman ran four. 
  • The Raiders acquired Zay Jones from the Bills for a fifth-round pick. Oakland is very thin at wide receiver and has been using Trevor Davis heavily over the past two weeks in his first two games with the team. Expect Jones to have a chance to earn an early role, and the 2017 second-round pick who set all-time Division I records for career and single-season receptions while at East Carolina has reasonable deep-league appeal given the available opportunity.  
  • New England released Ben Watson and will move forward with Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo as their tight ends. Izzo scored in Week 5 but ran just seven pass routes, while LaCosse ran a season-high 42 and appears both healthy and their likeliest bet to be a Fantasy contributor at the position going forward. 
  • The Titans signed kicker Cody Parkey to replace recently released Cairo Santos, who missed four field goals in Week 5. 

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