Fantasy Football Week 6: What you missed Monday, as Jerick McKinnon steps up and Sam Bradford takes a step back

What's this? Every Tuesday through Friday, Chris Towers will catch you up on the previous day's biggest news first thing in the morning. Here's what you missed Monday:

Jerick McKinnon ran away with the Vikings' RB job

Latavius Murray started the game, but it was McKinnon who ended it. He didn't receive his first carry until the team's fifth drive of the game, but McKinnon dominated work from that point on, picking up all 22 of his touches while Murray would receive just nine more. All in all, the split wasn't that drastic, but McKinnon was just the far more effective player, totaling 95 yards on 16 carries, and leading the team with six catches for 51 yards to boot.

McKinnon won't totally bury Murray, who still has value as a short-yardage back and pass blocker, but there's no reason to think Murray will get the lion's share of the work moving forward. McKinnon has never fully gained the trust of this coaching staff despite flashes in the past, and as underwhelming as Murray is, Matt Asiata wasn't exactly better. So, there's no guarantee McKinnon will be the guy moving forward, but it was a nice opening salvo in the RB battle, and McKinnon certainly looks like the back to own for Fantasy, at least.

Sam Bradford re-injured his left knee

Bradford didn't look right at any point Monday night, and was pulled off the field in the second quarter after he came up limping. He had missed three weeks due to a bone bruise in his left knee, and clearly needed more time. Case Keenum replaced him and moved the ball well enough to get the win, but it remains clear this offense's upside is limited if Bradford is hurt.

Expected the Vikings to continue to go week-to-week with Bradford, as the injury remains one the team believes he can manage. However, based on how he played Monday, it's hard to get excited about his return at any point.

The Bears offense isn't ready for primetime

You don't want to be too tough on Mitchell Trubisky, who showed some flashes in his NFL debut Monday night. The Vikings are one of the league's fiercest defenses, and have proven to be a tough test for even battle-hardened signal callers. So, this isn't an indictment of Trubisky specifically.

However, his ascendance didn't just change everything for the Bears overnight. The receiving corps is still woefully undermanned, with no real playmakers capable of elevating their play. This is a replacement level group, arguably the worst in the league, and Trubisky probably isn't ready to carry an offense on his own.

He did show more exciting abilities than Mike Glennon, at least, especially with his legs. Trubisky picked up just 22 yards on three carries, but the Bears took advantage of his mobility notably on their two-point conversion, a double handoff that ended with tight end Zach Miller pitching the ball to Trubisky, who went into the end zone untouched. This team will have to get creative to move the ball, and they showed a willingness to do so.

Trubisky is unlikely to have much Fantasy appeal this season, but it'll be fun to watch him figure it out.

Other Notes

  • Stefon Diggs was dealing with a groin injury… He played 50 of 71 team snaps Monday, and barely made an impact, hauling in one of four targets for 4 yards. We know how good Diggs is when healthy, but this injury along with the QB issues, could make him a risky play moving forward.
  • Teddy Bridgewater should begin practicing this week… That doesn't mean he will be activated for games this week, but the Vikings are expected to bring him off the PUP list, at least. He will then have three weeks of practice to get up to full strength before they must decide whether to have him eligible for games. With Bradford ailing, don't be surprised if Bridgewater is the starting QB before long. In fact, you should hope for it; he's better than Keenum.
  • Michael Floyd made his return… He was fourth among WR in snaps, and will battle with Laquon Treadwell for playing time. In a low-volume passing game with Case Keenum as his likely starting quarterback. There isn't enough room in this offense for a third Fantasy relevant WR.

What else you need to know from around the NFL Thursday

Three Giants' WR are out for the season

Odell Beckham was unsurprisingly ruled out for the season Monday, as he was placed on IR and will undergo surgery to repair a fractured ankle. Dwayne Harris was ruled out for the season Sunday with a foot injury, and Brandon Marshall surprisingly joins them on the shelf, announcing Monday his own ankle injury will require season-ending surgery. That coming after coach Ben McAdoo told reporters Marshall suffered a sprain Sunday.

That brings an end to Marshall's disappointing first season with the Giants, and makes Eli Manning's outlook even more grim. However, life will go in New York, and Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard are going to get every opportunity to prove they were worth their draft pedigree. You won't want to use them in Week 6 against the Broncos, and Week 7 against the Seahawks might be out too. And then they get a bye in Week 8. So, the short-term doesn't look very good.

From Week 9 on, however, the schedule gets much easier, and this talented young duo could end up making a substantial difference in the second half of the season. Both Engram and Shepard look worth stashing for the next few weeks, if you can afford the roster spot. The bet here is, both will be widely available in three weeks.

The 49ers will go with a hot hand approach at RB

Carlos Hyde wasn't pleased about losing work in Week 5, but it might be something he just has to deal with moving forward. Kyle Shanahan told reporters Monday Hyde will remain the starting running back, with Matt Breida entering games after him, and Shanahan will use the "hot hand" to determine who plays from that point on. 

Now, this doesn't necessarily mean Hyde is being benched. He's a talented back in his own right, and there's every reason to believe in some weeks, he'll be the hot hand play. However, his job security is clearly at risk here, and that makes him a risky start in any given game. If he stumbled out of the block and Breida rips off one long run early, that could doom Hyde, as it did Sunday. I don't want to give up on his talent, but Hyde should be viewed as more of a No. 3 RB moving forward.

Other notes

  • Matthew Stafford is dealing with ankle, hamstring injuries... Stafford got beat up Sunday, and is dealing with multiple injuries according to reports. The team wouldn't confirm them, with coach Jim Caldwell saying only Stafford's status will be detailed with the first injury report of the week Wednesday. Stafford almost never misses time, so we'll keep an eye on this one throughout the week. 
  • Andrew Luck (shoulder) ruled out for Week 6... So, it'll be at least one more week before we see him out there. Week 7 against the Jaguars doesn't look like the soft landing it might have been before the season.
  • Jordy Nelson missed time in Week 5 with a hamstring injury… Specifically, Nelson was held out of the team's final drive Sunday. He insisted Monday the injury was nothing to worry about., but he has dealt with nagging issues this season so far.
  • Charles Clay (knee) underwent surgery… The surgery was not considered a major procedure, and Clay's absence will likely be counted in weeks, not months. That's a good sign, though we're still talking about knee surgery. Clay can be dropped, and won't be Fantasy relevant until he's back at full strength.
  • Bilal Powell (calf) is day to day… Powell was forced out of Sunday's game due to the injury, as he sat the entire second half. Rookie Elijah McGuire stepped up to replace him, and would do so again if Powell's absence extends to Week 6.
  • Marcus Mariota (hamstring) could be a game-time decision… The Titans gave Mariota a chance to get on the field in Week 5, but opted not to risk it. His chances of playing in Week 6 are obviously better, but this will remain a situation to monitor. Their offense would be tough to trust, even with a great matchup against the Colts on the way. However, the Monday night kickoff does increase his chances of playing.
  • Terrance West (calf) will not require an "extended absence" … West had an MRI taken on the calf, which did not show severe damage. Ian Rapoport reports West will still have to miss some time, however. 
  • The Browns have not named a starting QB… DeShone Kizer was benched in favor of Kevin Hogan at halftime last week, and Hue Jackson will decide who starts in Week 6 against the Texans by Wednesday. Kizer has been a mess for the Browns, but Hogan wouldn't make the offense look much better for Fantasy.
  • The Buccaneers released Nick FolkYeah, that one wasn't hard to see coming. They'll have someone else missing kicks for them in Week 6.
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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