NFL

15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 6

Chase Claypool dominated in Week 5, and he needs to be added this week. What other moves should you make?

Fantasy football can be so, so cruel.

Last week, everyone was on Brandin Cooks. The Texans were finally facing a beatable defense, Cooks was seeing volume in the offense, and the game was projected to be a high-scoring one.

Goose egg. Brandin Cooks didn't catch a single pass in the game.

Fantasy managers lost confidence in Week 5. And what happened? Cooks goes off for 161 yards and a score.

On everyone's bench.

(He wasn't on your bench, though. I know, I know.)

But what's worse? Watching a player go off on your bench, knowing you can use him in future weeks, or watching a player go off on your waiver wire, knowing you could've had him at the start of the week for absolutely free?

That's what plenty of fantasy managers are wondering this week with Chase Claypool.

Add Chase Claypool

Rookie Chase Claypool isn't going to keep this up. He's scoring a touchdown on every 5 targets, when, during this high-scoring season, NFL wide receivers have averaged a touchdown on every 20 or so targets. Moreover, according to Mike Clay's opportunity-adjusted touchdowns metric (oTD), Claypool has been the most fortunate touchdown scorer in football so far this year.

That's not really the point.

The larger picture shows Claypool becoming an every-down player in the Steelers' offense, even with a healthy Diontae Johnson, who exited Sunday's game early with a back injury.

Things were already trending up for Claypool. In Weeks 1 and 2, he played no more than 37% of Pittsburgh's snaps in a single game. Over the team's last two games, he's played no fewer than a nice 69%. That's coincided with a spike in target share, too. He saw 11.4% of the team's targets in Week 3, and then, this past week, that number shot up to over 32%.

The one piece of information missing here is that Johnson also left Pittsburgh's Week 3 game early. So, in back to back games, Johnson's been unable to play a significant number of snaps due to injury. You could make the argument that Claypool's benefited -- and that's probably true -- but the Ferrari's out of the garage. It wouldn't be logical for the 4-0 Steelers to make Claypool a part-time player again, sharing lots of snaps with James Washington.

You need to add him this week. A trio of Claypool, Johnson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster has the chance to be nasty. And, for what it's worth, this is likely bad news for anyone hoping for a James Washington breakout. (Washington is a deeper add this week, though, with the Diontae Johnson injury.)

Buy Clyde Edwards-Helaire

There's a lot of Clyde Edwards-Helaire frustration in the fantasy football community. Don't believe me? A simple Twitter search shows that this person's mad, this person's mad, this person's mad, this person thinks he sucks, this person's mad, and this person thinks he's a bust.

Now's your time to buy.

It was a disappointing outing for CEH in Week 5. With a plus matchup and the potential for a positive game script, everything lined up for a big outing. And Edwards-Helaire finished with just 11 PPR points.

But the market share numbers are there. He still saw 90.9% of Kansas City's running back rushes on Sunday to go along with over 19% of the team's targets. On the season, his running back rush share is 81% and his target share is 14%. The only other running back with those marks is Ezekiel Elliott.

It's understandable if you're disappointed with CEH's start. It's also not time to give up on him, especially considering he was one offensive pass interference call away from a touchdown on Sunday, which would've completely altered this narrative.

Sell Mike Evans

Last week's column featured Mike Evans as a sell, and he went out and scored another touchdown on five catches.

Good job, JJ!

The same logic from last week applies to this one for Evans, though. He's essentially being used like goal-line back for Tampa Bay, having secured four goal-line targets on the season, tying him for the league lead. Even still, 6 touchdowns on 35 targets isn't sustainable, nor is 6 touchdowns on 271 yards. Historically, a player with that many yards would be expected to score fewer than two touchdowns.

And then there's the Godwin factor. Chris Godwin's now missed three games for the Bucs this year. In those contests, Evans has averaged almost a 23% target share per game. With Godwin, that number drops to 11.4%.

Expect Evans to continue to produce, but not at this rate. That's the reason he's a sell.

Add Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone

Dalvin Cook hurt his groin in Sunday night's tilt against the Seahawks, and that allowed backups Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone to see the field more than usual. Mattison saw the biggest leap, carrying the ball 18 times in the second half without Cook, and doing so effectively -- he finished the day with over 100 yards on the ground. Boone saw a pair of carries as well.

Entering Week 5, Minnesota was the most run-heavy team in the NFL in neutral game scripts. As we know, they utilize their running backs. So if Cook misses time, Mattison will be incredibly usable, with Boone being more of a "Let's see what happens" type of add.

Drop AJ Green

There was hope earlier in the season that A.J. Green was just on the wrong side of variance. His air yards profile was strong, he was seeing plenty of targets, and some of his matchups were tough. But it's unlikely Green's going to return to old form and be a dominant fantasy force again. He's averaged just a little over 5 PPR points per game, and he's scored just 1.3 points over the last two weeks. And now he's got a hamstring injury, too, which doesn't help.

Perhaps a change of scenery will help Green. That still seems like a stretch. He can be dropped.

Buy Matthew Stafford

There are going to be a whole lot of Dak Prescott managers out there looking for a replacement and, at least in the short term, Matthew Stafford could be your guy. He's not throwing it deep as frequently as he did last season when he led the league in deep-ball rate, but he's been solid enough, tossing at least two touchdowns in each of his last three games. And he's not had his top receiving weapon, Kenny Golladay, for part of the season as well.

The main reason to go after Stafford this week, though, is that he buys you some time. The Lions will face Jacksonville and Atlanta over the next two weeks, and they rank as two of the three best matchups for opposing quarterbacks in terms of adjusted fantasy points against. There's a chance he's got season-long value, but at the very least, he should come through in Weeks 6 and 7.

Sell Todd Gurley

The only starting running back to not have a big day against the Carolina defense so far this year has been Kenyan Drake, who's generally struggled all season long. The Panthers have been the most advantageous matchup for opposing backs in sum, having allowed nearly 10 fantasy points more than they should have per game to enemy runners this year. In other words, teams facing the Panthers have seen an uptick of 10 fantasy points scored versus their season-long average.

Todd Gurley experienced that in Week 5. He scored 25 PPR points when his season-long average entering the game was a little over 13, and it gave him yet another RB1 performance, his second in as many weeks.

Keeping this pace is going to be difficult. He has a 67.5% running back rush share on the year, which is 14th-best among running backs, but his target share is just 6.5%, a number met by 40 different backs. Gurley's really gotten by on rushing touchdowns -- he's averaging one per game -- in one of the pass-heaviest offenses in the league.

That's what scares me. Atlanta's thrown seven touchdowns versus having six rushing touchdowns, giving them a pass-to-rush touchdown ratio that's well below average. For such a pass-friendly team, we'd expect that number to favor the throw a little more.

The running back position is weak enough overall to where Gurley can absolutely be an RB2 from here on out. He's just played as an RB1 over the last couple of weeks, so it could be a selling opportunity.

Buy Jamison Crowder

The only reason Jamison Crowder is on this week's 15 Transactions list is because the market, each week, seems to undervalue him. And he's performed every week he's been active.

The fear is likely driven by the fact that he's on a Jets team that ranks second-to-last in yards per play, and New York's coach, Adam Gase, doesn't seem to have a plan to improve on that. That's totally understandable. The thing is, within this crappy environment, Crowder's come through with three top-20 performances in three games played, hitting target shares of 39.4%, 23.3%, and 32.3%. He's missed two games, but he's still one of just a handful of players across the league with at least 20% of his team's targets on the season.

This is a little subjective, but it doesn't feel like the market is quite caught up on how well he's done this year in such a depressing offense.

Add Travis Fulgham and John Hightower

The Eagles have had their fair share of wide receiver injuries, which has forced them to use players like -- checks notes -- Travis Fulgham. Wait, what? Travis Fulgham had a 36.1% target share in Week 5 against the Steelers? He caught how many passes? 10? For 152 yards?

It was a breakout game for Fulgham, who actually has pretty decent measurables overall. He saw an uptick in snap share from Week 4 to Week 5, and he played the second-most snaps at wide receiver on the team. And, clearly, he came through.

The wideout with the most snaps played was rookie John Hightower. Unlike Fulgham, Hightower was only able to haul in 2 of his 6 targets for 18 yards, but he led the NFL in Week 5 air yards with 210. He's a deep threat who could be worthwhile in deeper leagues while the Eagles deal with their pass-catching injuries.

I'd prefer Fulgham over Hightower, to be clear, but both could be considered this week, depending on the type of league you're in.

Buy Deebo Samuel

In two games since returning from injury, Deebo Samuel hasn't been able to finish higher than WR60 in weekly PPR scoring. And, upcoming, the 49ers will face the Rams and the Patriots. Oh, and San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn't look 100% on Sunday, leading to his benching.

So things could be better for Samuel.

Why buy? Well, you can use all of these things to your advantage when negotiating -- you can explain that the upcoming schedule is a little rough, and that Jimmy G isn't healthy. That's going to be especially easy if the Deebo team in your league has a poor record.

This is a longer-term play. His Week 4 debut saw him with just a 34.2% snap share, but that jumped to 89.1% in Week 5. His target share this past week didn't really match the production, either -- he only scored 4.2 PPR points, but he had a 22.9% target share.

If you don't want to risk things with the schedule and the quarterback position, I get it. I do think it's worthwhile to send an offer for Samuel this week, though, and see if you can grab him for some bench players. The peripherals are at least trending in the right direction.

Hold Hayden Hurst

We say it every year, but the tight end position is rough this year. Hayden Hurst has been somewhat of a disappointment, but he still ranks as a higher-end TE2 on the season despite two games with fewer than 10 receiving yards. The good news is that his target share hasn't been all that bad -- he's seen 14% of Atlanta's targets this year while hitting the 15% mark in three of his five games played. He had a rough outing in Week 5, but he actually hit his second-highest target share of the season against Carolina. And according to Pro Football Focus, Hurst ranks in the top-five in routes run at the position. Now's not the time to release him.

Sell Darrell Henderson

Plenty of you probably started Darrell Henderson in Week 4 but not in Week 5, and you're likely tilting at the results. He posted just 4.8 PPR points two weeks ago and, with Cam Akers back this past week, he tallied 21.8 points. He's now finished with a top-12 performance in three of his last four games.

According to numberFire's expected points model, Henderson's been the best running back for the Rams. The issue is that the LA backfield is split, and there's no sign of that changing. Not only has Henderson failed to play even half of the Rams' snaps in a single game this year, but, when talking about Akers on Sunday, Sean McVay said that we can "expect his workload to increase next week."

It's a messy backfield. If you have an opportunity to sell high, it's not a bad idea to explore your options.

Add or Hold Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins had one of the best matchups in football on Sunday night and posted one of the most mediocre lines that you'll find. The good news is that some managers may drop him as a result, which would be a mistake given their Week 6 game against Atlanta. As I mentioned earlier, the Falcons are one of the worst teams in adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, having allowed over six more points than their opponent's average this year. In a game with a 56.5-point over/under (per FanDuel Sportsbook), Cousins works this week.

Add Andy Dalton

Folks who lost Prescott could also just go to Andy Dalton. He's going to be available in almost all leagues, and even though he doesn't bring the same fire that Prescott does, Dalton's walking into a situation with some of the -- if not the -- best weapons in football. And Dallas' schedule over the next three weeks features games against Arizona, Washington, and Philadelphia, three teams that ranks in the bottom half of the league in adjusted fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position.

Add the New York Giants Defense

Like last week, we're met with some weak defensive streaming options for Week 6. The Giants face the Football Team as three-point favorites in a game with a low 43.5-point over under, so they're in play. New York's defense isn't great, but they do rank in the top half of the league in pressure rate, while Washington's surrendered the highest sack rate in the entire NFL. No matter who's under center for Washington, New York is a streaming option.