Fantasy Football: 5 Things We Learned in Week 6
The NFL landscape has changed drastically since the start of the season just over a month ago -- a full quarter of the teams in the league aren't even starting the quarterback they went into the season with. Injuries reshaped the league right out of the gate.
What made Week 6 so special was the return of several star players from the injuries that kept them sidelined so far this season. Despite the time these players missed, they still managed to impress in Week 6 -- especially for fantasy. Far too often we have to address injuries -- it's a delight when we are able to celebrate a player's triumphant return from them.
Tyreek Hill Is Ready to Rock
Patrick Mahomes has definitely missed Tyreek Hill this season -- even if his stats don't exactly reflect that. Hill injured his clavicle in the very first game of the season, leaving the Kansas City Chiefs' wide receiver depth chart looking a little sparse the past few weeks.
Hill exploded back into the starting lineup in Week 6, notching 5 receptions for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns on a team-high 10 targets. His 171 air yards were the fourth-most among wideouts this week, pending Monday Night Football.
The craziest part of Hill's impressive return was that he put up these numbers while playing on just 50% of the team's offensive snaps. Andy Reid and the rest of the Chiefs' coaching staff might have just been easing him back into swing of things, but it's clear that Hill hasn't missed a beat. He'll be an every-week starter for your fantasy teams for the rest of the year.
Hunter Henry's Homecoming
Tyreek Hill wasn't the only star player making a triumphant return from a Week 1 injury this week -- Hunter Henry absolutely crushed it in Week 6, reminding everyone why he was a coveted draft pick in fantasy leagues this season.
Henry popped off right away, catching the first pass of the game for 19 yards. He stayed heavily involved throughout, catching 8 of 9 targets for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. You love to see it.
Henry was a beast in the red zone and the player Philip Rivers had the most success targeting in Week 6. While he played just 66% of the Los Angeles Chargers' offensive snaps, you can feel confident he'll continue being a key component of this offense. If he's somehow available in your leagues -- as of Monday Morning, he's available in 37% of Yahoo! leagues -- you absolutely have to pick him up. He's an every-week starter at the tight end position right off the bat.
Sam Darnold Is Sick No Longer
Sensing a theme? We haven't seen Sam Darnold since Week 1. It was announced shortly after that disastrous season debut that the sophomore quarterback was dealing with mono. That illness sidelined him for what ended up being a disastrous, five-week stretch for the New York Jets, but Darnold lit a fire under his team in his return from the illness, toppling the Dallas Cowboys.
Darnold completed 23 of his 32 pass attempts for 338 yards and 2 touchdowns and looked like a completely different quarterback than the one we saw back in Week 1. Darnold's health not only secured the first win of the season for the Jets but also should put a number of Jets players back on your radar for fantasy football.
Robby Anderson probably benefits most from Darnold's return -- he exploded for 125 yards and a score in this one -- but Le'Veon Bell is also a big winner. Running backs are highly dependent on their teams to put them into high-value situations for fantasy. Things were looking bleak for Bell when Luke Falk was at the helm, but with Darnold leading the offense, Bell was able to find the end zone for the first time since Week 1. And don't forget about Chris Herndon, either. Darnold connected with Herndon placeholder Ryan Griffin for a score in Week 6. Herndon will be a highly-sought after player when he manages to work his way back into the starting lineup, so check out his availability in your leagues.
The Titans Have a Quarterback Dilemma
When Ryan Tannehill outperformed Marcus Mariota in the 2019 preseason, people began speculating as to whether or not Tannehill might actually steal the starting job outright. Mariota remained the team's starter heading into the season, but rumors of a "short leash" continued circulating up until the Tennessee Titans' Week 1 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Mariota hasn't done himself many favors since that victory -- he trounced the Atlanta Falcons' non-existent defense in Week 4, but so has every other quarterback they've faced -- and finally got himself benched this past weekend. It was a truly difficult performance to watch: Mariota completed just 7 of 18 attempts for 63, throwing 2 interceptions and taking 3 more sacks.
The Titans' offense was lifeless with Mariota at the helm but picked things up when Tannehill came in to replace him. There was a reason the Miami Dolphins moved on from their former first round quarterback -- he was always just fine -- but he handily outplayed Mariota in this one. Tannehill put some air back in the ball, throwing for 144 yards in just over a quarter of play.
The Titans have a tough decision to make heading into Week 7, but Tannehill's encouraging Week 6 performance should make things a little easier for them. Marcus Mariota's time as a starting quarterback might be coming to an end, and that could be a good thing for the Titans.
Adrian Peterson Is Running Like it's 2009
New Washington interim head coach Bill Callahan wasn't kidding when he told the media he planned to run the ball more. Adrian Peterson rushed the ball 23 times for 118 yards in the team's first win of the season, signaling the start of a new direction for Washington's offense.
Those 118 yards were more than he rushed for in his first four games of the season combined, and his 25 touches were the most he's had in a game since Week 16 of the 2018 season. Nearly every drive of the day started off with a Peterson carry -- it's clear the offense is going to run through him for the rest of the season.
Ordinarily we love to see that kind of volume in fantasy football, but this situation is a little different. Washington won't play the Dolphins -- the only team worse than they are in the NFL -- every week. Peterson managed an impressive 5.1 yards per carry in Week 6, but that's pretty much par for the course for backs facing the 'Phins. He'll face much tougher defenses for the rest of the season, starting with the San Francisco 49ers' top-notch defense next week.
Peterson is going to remain an RB2 or RB3 for the rest of the season on the back of his workhorse-level volume, but on a non-existent Washington offense, you're never going to feel great about starting him.