Fantasy Football Week 6: What you missed on Thursday night, including Saquon Barkley's brilliance
Saquon Barkley has been as good as advertised, and it hasn't been enough for the Giants. Chris Towers breaks down their blowout loss on Thursday night, along with the rest of the news from around the NFL.
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Saquon Barkley is the real deal
130 yards on 13 carries. 99 yards on nine catches. Six straight games of 100-plus all-purpose yards in a row. There's little doubt even after just one-third of one season, that Barkley is a special player, the kind of running back who can be a dominant Fantasy option in any circumstances. He has rushed for 438 yards (5.2 ypc) and added 373 yards on 40 catches through six games, putting him on pace for nearly 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. You drafted Barkley to be a must-start stud, and that's exactly what he's been. Mission accomplished.
The rest of the Giants' offense isn't
Unfortunately, he can't do much to elevate the rest of this offense. They can't block anyone, which means the only good things that happen tend to come from Barkley does something outrageous just to get back to the line. When they do block well, Eli Manning has looked almost entirely unwilling to take a shot down field – great news for Barkley; not so much for everyone else.
And it's not clear what the answer is moving forward. Evan Engram's return will give Manning one more option to throw to, but that isn't such a good thing for Fantasy owners, given that there isn't exactly a ton of volume to spare in this offense. For his part, Odell Beckham is still averaging 84.3 yards per game, with at least four catches in each game. He hasn't been the stud you hoped for, but he's been start-able every week, and he still has a ton of upside. I wouldn't trade him right now; the perception of Beckham has never and likely will never be lower.
The issue here is the quarterback. Manning looked washed up last season – and the year before that – and things have gotten worse for him. And I don't know what the fix is. The line needs to play better, and Manning needs to play better. If they can't, it's going to be a long season in New York.
Corey Clement was the back to start in PHI
This was a bit of a frustrating one for Fantasy analysts and players. Clement is the more talented back, but he was coming off an injury and expected to be limited, which made Wendell Smallwood the back to start in this matchup with Jay Ajayi out. And Smallwood got more snaps (44 vs. 26) and touches (19 vs. 14) … but Clement got the touchdown.
Smallwood rushed for 51 yards on 18 carries, with one catch for 0 yards, while Clement had 43 yards on 11 carries, and added three catches for 26 yards. But it was the touchdown that set him apart. Moving forward, I would bet it will be Clement on the larger side of the platoon, and it's frustrating we didn't even get one good game out of Smallwood as the hot waiver-wire pickup of the week. You won't necessarily want to drop Smallwood, but he'll be a low-end flex option moving forward, I would expect.
Other notes from TNF
- Jason Peters left with a biceps injury … Carson Wentz was under more pressure than expected in this one, and both of his tackles left the game at various points with injuries. Peters' seems to be the most serious one, as he did not return to the field and was reportedly diagnosed with a torn biceps. He could play through the injury.
Other notes from around the NFL
- Devonta Freeman (foot) isn't expected to have a long-term absence … The injury may prove enough to keep Freeman out this week, but it doesn't seem likely to linger as long as the knee issue that cost him three games earlier in the season. He did not practice Thursday.
- Dalvin Cook (hamstring) practiced in full … It seems like Cook will be ready to return for Week 6 against the Cardinals. Hopefully it goes better than his last return from the injury, when he had just 10 carries and wasn't on the field in the second half. You have to assume the Vikings won't let him on the field at anything less than 100 percent at this point.
- Isaiah Crowell (ankle) was not at practice again … That makes two missed practices, making Crowell a risk to miss Week 6. We'll see what happens Friday, but Bilal Powell could be in line for a huge role in Week 6 against the Colts.
- Eric Ebron (shin, quad, ankle, knee) was not at practice again … Ebron has also missed two practices in a row with a variety of maladies. This seems like more than rest, though there hasn't been much reporting on the exact severity of the injuries. Monitor his status Friday, but you may want to find a replacement just in case.
- Matt Breida (ankle) has been unable to practice … This doesn't come as much of a surprise, as Breida's injury was expected to be one that needed more than just one week to heal. Expect Alfred Morris to get the bulk of the work Monday against the Packers if Breida can't go.
- Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp (concussion) expected to practice in full Friday … Both have made progress, and Sean McVay expects to have them out there Friday. That would be a good sign for their chances to play in Week 6, which has been McVay's expectation all along.
- Chris Hogan (thigh) missed practice … At this point, it might be tough to notice if Hogan isn't out there. If he doesn't play, Josh Gordon could see a larger role in what should be one of the best shootouts in the league Sunday against the Chiefs.
- Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison (hamstring) practiced Thursday … It looks like the Packers could have their full complement of pass catchers available, though it is worth noting both were limited, and could still have work left to get back on the field.
- O.J. Howard (knee) was limited again … Howard is looking to return from a sprained MCL, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he sits out at least one more game.
- Jamison Crowder (ankle) and Paul Richardson (knee, shoulder) were out of practice again … This is certainly a concern, given the state of the Washington passing game; Alex Smith could certainly use the help. Ironically, Jordan Reed is the only healthy pass catcher for Washington right now.
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 6? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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