With bye weeks and injuries to deal with, let's hope Week 6 of the NFL season can avoid the COVID-19 scares that have led to schedule changes the last few weeks. Luckily, only one game was ultimately postponed in Week 5, but with several team's schedules already impacted beginning in Week 6, any further postponements would really lead to some headaches for Fantasy players.
As is, we enter Week 6 knowing the Raiders, Saints, Chargers, and Seahawks won't play due to their bye weeks, and we know Dak Prescott won't play again this season due to the ankle injury he suffered last week. It also doesn't sound like Dalvin Cook will play due to his groin injury, so it's best to proceed as if he isn't. There's a pretty good chance your roster needs some help in Week 6, in other words. So, let's see what the experts have to say.
I took some questions our readers on Twitter asked about Week 6 and combined them with a few of my own for this week's survey, focusing on how to replace Prescott, what his absence will mean for the Cowboys offense, and how to handle your roster at the one-third point of the season. Here's what the Fantasy Football Today team expects for Week 6.
What's your suggestion for replacing Dak Prescott? Trade or stream?
- Jamey Eisenberg: Streaming could be the easiest route to go, with guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton and Derek Carr available. But it's not a bad idea to try for a cheap trade for someone like Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Cam Newton or Ben Roethlisberger if one of those quarterbacks is just sitting on someone's bench.
- Dave Richard: Streaming is a no doubter. Why give up something when you just lost a strong roster piece like Prescott? The quick and easy fix is replacing Prescott with Andy Dalton. If I wanted to try and be a little more aggressive, I'd aim for Ryan Fitzpatrick off waivers first, then get either Dalton or Derek Carr and play the matchups.
- Heath Cummings: I'm generally against trading for quarterbacks, especially in non-analyst leagues. Streaming is the way to go but I may just pick up Dalton and plan on using him until he fails me.
- Adam Aizer: I recommend trying to trade for an elite QB. You may have to overpay, but having Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen (and possibly Deshaun Watson) gives you a huge advantage over your competition. If you're looking for a buy low, Matt Ryan is your answer!
- Chris Towers: My preference is to stream, given how many quarterbacks with 25-plus point potential seem to be on waivers every week — Fitzpatrick, Dalton, and Kirk Cousins for Week 6. However, that's obviously a riskier strategy, and you might want to avoid the headache. In which case, try to trade for someone like Matthew Stafford (a WR3 should do it), Deshaun Watson (a low-end WR2?), or Lamar Jackson (an RB2 might do it). If you want to not have to worry about the position at all, the latter two should be your priorities.
What are you expecting from the Cowboys offense moving forward?
- Jamey Eisenberg: I'm concerned about the offensive line for Dalton because he's obviously not as mobile as Prescott. Everyone other than Ezekiel Elliott gets a downgrade, so Amari Cooper is a mid-range No. 2 receiver, CeeDee Lamb a low-end No. 2 option and Michael Gallup a No. 3 receiver. I would also look for another tight end in case Dalton Schultz becomes non-existent moving forward.
- Dave Richard: As a passer, Dalton isn't far off from Prescott. As a mover in and out of the pocket, there's a massive difference. That will cost Dallas' offense some numbers. I would lower expectations for all of their wide receivers and I'm nervous Dalton Schultz might be asked to run fewer routes and pass block more (he's barely done so through five games) to help add protection.
- Heath Cummings: A slightly slower pace that is slightly more run heavy with somewhere around 80% of the efficiency I would have expected from Prescott. Elliott is Elliott. Cooper and Lamb are boom-bust No. 2 receivers, Gallup as a boom/bust flex. Dalton will be a mid range No. 2 quarterback with multiple No. 1 weeks.
- Adam Aizer: Dallas is no longer a top-5 offense but they will still be top 10 as they turn to one of the best backup QBs in the NFL. It's very hard to predict which wide receivers will be featured, but I'd look to sell CeeDee Lamb if you can get a top-50 player. I'd keep Cooper and you probably can't get much for Michael Gallup right now. If anything, he might be a buy-low WR. Dalton Schultz might be droppable if he has another quiet game this week.
- Chris Towers: My expectation is that we'll see a less aggressive version of this Cowboys offense with Dalton in place of Prescott. When you've got a QB like Prescott, you can run a fast-paced offense that spreads the ball around, confident that he'll make the right decision and make big plays. While Dalton is competent, they won't give him the same kind of leeway Prescott had. That should mean fewer passes overall but a higher percentage of targets to Cooper, Gallup and Lamb, and a steady dose of Elliott. As I said in Sunday's newsletter, any pass that doesn't go to Gallup, Lamb or Cooper is a win for the defense, and with a smaller margin for error, I would expect them to be the focal points.
Who is your top waiver target for Week 6?
- Jamey Eisenberg: Where available, it's Alexander Mattison and it's not close. Aside from him, it would be Mecole Hardman, Chase Claypool and Justin Jackson if those guys are out there. I'd also look for J.D. McKissic in PPR, Fitzpatrick if I need a quarterback, and the Dolphins DST this week against the Jets.
- Dave Richard: Pretty obvious answer: Dolphins DST. JUST MESSING AROUND — although they will be a priority. My top option is Claypool. Some fun facts: Claypool has caught 65% of his targets this season with zero drops, an amazing 3.53 yards per route run (fifth best among wide recievers) and a 13.9-yard average depth of target. He previously played 76% of the snaps in Week 3 before 69% in his breakout performance against Philly. It would seem pretty silly for the Steelers to dial back his playing time when Diontae Johnson is healthy when they could put both guys out there with JuJu Smith-Schuster and really put defenses in a bind. Claypool has exceptional size and very good speed, it wouldn't be shocking to see him remain a powerful part of the Steelers offense.
- Heath Cummings: If Mattison is available it's easily him. He's a top-five back this week against Atlanta. If Mattison isn't there then I'd look for Claypool.
- Adam Aizer: If you can't get Mattison, then Claypool has to be your guy. This is definitely a lackluster waiver wire week, but Claypool has big potential. Additionally, there are a number of QBs you could be targeting including Ryan Fitzpatrick and Derek Carr.
- Chris Towers: To echo everyone else's sentiments, Mattison is a must-add if available, but he probably isn't. There's a good chance Claypool is, and he's definitely next in line. If you're looking for the guy who could be this year's A.J. Brown or DK Metcalf, Claypool is the best candidate. The Steelers have never been shy about leaning on rookie wide receivers, and Diontae Johnson has struggled to stay healthy and hasn't exactly lit the world on fire as the No. 1. Meanwhile, JuJu Smith-Schuster looks like a role player.
How much should I be weighing a player's preseason expectations vs. what we've seen so far?
- Jamey Eisenberg: You have five weeks to see what a guy is and what he should be capable of. The preseason expectations should be minimal when evaluating someone now.
- Dave Richard: Ignore the preseason expectations. They don't matter anymore. What we see on Sundays matters the most.
- Heath Cummings: On average maybe 50-50. For established veterans in familiar circumstances I would still lean towards preseason expectations, but for rookies or guys on new teams I would lean toward the first five weeks of this season.
- Adam Aizer: Preseason expectations still matter, but they become less relevant every day. It's clear that J.K. Dobbins is nothing more than a handcuff. It seems clear that D.J. Moore has been passed by Robby Anderson. The one player I'm not giving up on yet is Smith-Schuster. Obviously nobody is dropping him, but I still have hope that he can be a #1 WR. Perhaps I'm one week away from abandoning that hope.
- Chris Towers: I'm closer to Heath on this one, though I think you have to make a differentiation between "talent" and "opportunity" here. Your opinion on most player's talent level shouldn't have changed much yet, especially if they have an established track record. But you should absolutely buy into role changes, like the ones we've seen with Moore and Smith-Schuster. Those guys just aren't being asked to do what we thought they would.
At what point do you pull the trigger on trading a better WR for worse RB if your RB2 spot is trash?
- Jamey Eisenberg: It depends on the depth you have at wide receiver, as well as your record. But we know wide receivers will emerge — see guys like Claypool and Tim Patrick in recent weeks — and it's easier to cover that position than it is to find a good running back who is getting work in a productive fashion.
- Dave Richard: As soon as you realize "Holy barmops, my RB2 spot is trash!" it's time to make a move. This week's waiver wire is exactly why your prioritize running backs earlier in the season — you can find a receiver, a quarterback or a tight end off waivers this week. A running back? Good luck with J.D. McKissic!
- Heath Cummings: It depends more on what your WR depth looks like. I'm not trading a great receiver for a fine running back if it means my No. 2 or No 3 WR is going to be a problem now. Running back points aren't worth anymore than receiver points.
- Adam Aizer: Yesterday. It's OK to overpay if you are trading from a position of strength and filling a weakness. You can't win if you're starting Mark Ingram every week in your PPR league.
- Chris Towers: The problem with this question is, your RB2 spot is probably trash because of injuries or unexpected poor performance, and those are constants at the running back position. You always run the risk of trading for a running back who is about to get hurt or lose his role, which happens a lot more at that position than at wide receiver. If you're under .500, it's probably a move you should make, but it's a risky strategy.
Should I try to trade Mattison before he even starts this week for someone who has a more stable path to points the rest of the season?
- Jamey Eisenberg: Absolutely. Mattison might be good for one week since the Vikings have a bye in Week 7. Hopefully, Dalvin Cook is back by Week 8, but someone might want to buy a win by giving you something great just to use Mattison in Week 6 against the Falcons.
- Dave Richard: Only if the deal is an absolute no-brainer. Otherwise, why let go of a top-10 (top-5?) running back for Week 6? This is especially true if the deal you're offered for Mattison is the same kind of weak offer you could get after the Vikings bye. Use him, then move him.
- Heath Cummings: I think it's unlikely you'll get a rest of season starter for Mattison, but if you could I probably would. The most likely scenario has Mattison as just a one-week starter. But that one week should be a week-winner.
- Adam Aizer: If you are 5-0 or 4-1 I think it makes a lot of sense to trade Mattison, but you have to make sure you're getting someone you can trust. I think Mattison for Darrell Henderson won't cut it. But Mattison for D.J. Moore would.
- Chris Towers: I love the idea of this, but it's easier said than done. I tried to move Mike Davis a few times after his big first week as a starter — once packaged with Will Fuller for Michael Thomas! — and couldn't get a deal done. And that was with someone we knew was starting at least three games. Mattison looks like he'll be one and done. But if you could get a David Montgomery type, that'd be great.
Who is your top sell-high candidate right now?
- Jamey Eisenberg: Mike Davis is the easy choice. I traded him and Justin Jefferson to a running back-needy manager for Davante Adams. Sell Davis now before Christian McCaffrey is back, which could be in Week 7.
- Dave Richard: I've sent more-than-reasonable offers for Jared Goff. I think he's fine but ultimately replaceable. Maybe someone thinks more highly of him than I do.
- Heath Cummings: I don't know if he qualifies as a sell high, but Kenyan Drake scored a touchdown last week and I would seize that opportunity to see who still views Drake as a must-start running back. Given Chase Edmonds' role in the passing game, I'm not sure he is.
- Adam Aizer: Goff has scored 28 or more Fantasy points (6-point per passing TD) in 3 of his last 4 games. But he simply does not throw enough and already has two rushing TDs which ties a career high. See if the Prescott manager will overpay.
- Chris Towers: Mike Evans. He's 11th in Fantasy scoring in PPR leagues despite being 20th in targets, 21st in receptions, and 30th in yards. The worse news is, he ranks just 66th in average depth of target at 8.97 yards; through five weeks in 2019, he was seventh at 15.61. Tom Brady just isn't looking for Evans as often as Jameis Winston did, especially down the field. And it's not just because of all the short touchdowns: In 2019, Evans' average depth of target on plays inside the opponent's 10-yard line was 16.1, third-highest in the NFL; this season, it is 10.1, 55th. This is a problem.
Who is your top buy-low target?
- Jamey Eisenberg: I'm buying Julio Jones where available. He might never be the same guy again, but his value is so low right now you should be able to get him for a backup running back. If he can return to 100% he still has plenty left to offer as a Fantasy star.
- Dave Richard: This is going to sound silly, but I'm going to make offers on Christian McCaffrey in every league I'm in. He's not coming back in Week 6, but he will be back soon. If the guys sitting on him in my leagues are in win-now mode, they'll probably be open to hearing some good offers. That's good because he's practically impossible to trade for when he's healthy. He won't come cheap, but he can be had.
- Heath Cummings: After the news that McCaffrey could miss a couple more weeks I think it would have to be him if I'm above .500. If you need help right now I'd try to buy low on Joe Mixon. I'm thrilled by his role in the passing game recently.
- Adam Aizer: David Montgomery is on the field all the time and involved in the passing game. He seems like a must-start option going forward.
- Chris Towers: Michael Gallup. You might be able to get him for a bench piece, because that's probably what the person who has Gallup currently views him as. Me, I think he's a high-upside WR3, the perfect player to have with bye weeks here. Michael Gallup has the third-highest average depth of target in the NFL and has the chance to go off for 150 and a score every week.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 6 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.