NFL

Fantasy Football FAB Report: Week 6

Brandin Cooks exploded for 161 yards and a touchdown in Houston's first game following the firing of head coach Bill O'Brien. How much of your waiver budget is he worth heading into Week 6?

Free agent budget waivers (FAB) are, without a doubt, the way to go. While some leagues are still sticking to the ancient ways of rolling list waivers (yuck) or waiver priority determined by the reverse order of standings (barf), many of the savvy ones are moving over to budgets. It makes sense -- why not give every manager an equal shot at every player. Do you really want to reward people for sucking at fantasy? Okay...rant over.

Every Tuesday evening, I (along with most managers in leagues with FAB waivers) spend countless hours trying to figure out how much to offer for the week's top available players -- which so happens to be exactly what this piece will cover.

Instead of telling you that you should be adding Alvin Kamara or Patrick Mahomes, this piece will focus on players who are rostered in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues.

Let's get to this week's top players and how much of my budget I'd be willing to offer to acquire them.

(The suggested offers are for 12-team, half-PPR leagues.)

Quarterback

Depending on your scoring and roster formats, how much you should spend at quarterback varies from league to league. If you're in a traditional, four-point-per-touchdown, one-quarterback league, there is rarely an occurrence where you should be spending a big chunk of your budget on the position. However, if you're in a Superflex or straight up two-quarterback league, that story changes entirely. With that in mind, let's look at this week's top streaming options.

The suggested salaries in this piece will be for standard scoring leagues.

Andy Dalton (3% rostered) - Dalton was thrown into the fire in Week 5 after Dak Prescott's brutal injury, and he didn't do much. However, with a week of practice as the team's starter under his belt, the Red Rifle could be one of the premier streamers in Week 6. Dalton will have the league's best receiving trio when he takes on the Arizona Cardinals this week. While Arizona has surrendered the ninth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks to date, that's mostly smoke and mirrors. The Cards have held two of the five passers they've faced to under 18.5 fantasy points -- however, it is very much worth mentioning that those two quarterbacks were Dwayne Haskins and Joe Flacco. They've allowed an average of 21.7 to Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, and Teddy Bridgewater. Dalton also gets Washington in Week 7 -- the Footballs have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position. You shouldn't need to spend a ton to get him in a one-quarterback league.

Suggested offer: 3-4%

Ryan Fitzpatrick (21% rostered) - Over the last four weeks, Beardpatrick has finished as the QB11, QB8, QB10, and QB2 -- it's difficult to get that kind of consistency from an early-round quarterback, let alone a streamer. Despite all that, Fitzpatrick isn't even rostered in a fourth of Yahoo leagues. In Week 6, Fitzmagic will take on the New York Jets, a team not known for their football abilities. In fact, to date, only the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars rank lower than the Jets in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. You have a right to worry about the fact that the Miami Dolphins are 8.0-point favorites (according to FanDuel Sportsbook), but given the state of Miami's defense, the Bearded One should still see plenty of volume.

Suggested offer: 3%

Kirk Cousins (32% rostered) - Cousins is taking on the Falcons -- in general, that would make a signal-caller the top streamer on the slate, but there's more than enough reason for hesitancy here. Cousins has attempted more than 27 passes just once this season. Sure, that could spike with Dalvin Cook expected to be out for the matchup, but Alexander Mattison is more than up to the task of replacing Cook.

Suggested offer: 1-2%

Running Back

Unlike quarterback, running back is a premier position in almost every format. For that reason, this is a position you'll want to be generous with. Of course, some backs have more value in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues than they do in standard, so be sure to keep that in mind.

There are only two running backs rostered in under 50% of Yahoo leagues that are worth any sort of significant investment. Let's get to it.

Alexander Mattison (41% rostered) - Whether or not you end up landing Mattison in waivers will depend entirely on how much you want to spend on what's likely to be a one- or two-game play. Cook "tweaked his groin" against the Seattle Seahawks, and it's not believed to be serious, which means that he'll likely be back after Minnesota's Week 7 bye. That would mean that you're getting Mattison as a starter for one game. Sure, he's one of the league's most valuable handcuffs, but you don't want to be spending a huge chunk of your budget on a guy who will ride the pine unless the player ahead of him gets hurt. Mattison received 20 carries and 3 targets on Monday Night Football, and he turned those into 136 total yards. The matchup against the Falcons isn't as slam-dunk as one might think. Atlanta currently ranks sixth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play. They have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to the position, but a whopping 60.8% of those points have come through the air. Cook saw just two targets in three of his five games this season, so it's not a sure thing that Mattison will be locked into a sizeable target share. All that said, I'd still rank him as a top-10 option for Week 6.

Suggested offers: If you've got the budget to spend but aren't desperate for a win - 15-18%. If you are desperate for a win and don't have any viable alternatives - 30-33%

Justin Jackson (44% rostered) - In his first game sans Austin Ekeler, Jackson played 59% of the snaps, received 15 carries, and garnered 6 targets. He turned that into 94 scoreless total yards and 5 receptions. Those are all really intriguing numbers, but Jackson does have a bye in Week 6 -- that actually works to the advantage of savvy managers. A running back who only scored 11.5 half-PPR points is not likely to cost all that much heading into a bye. Now, Ekeler is expected to miss four-to-six weeks. Worst case scenario for Jackson, which means two startable games. Best case -- he gets four games as the lead back, three of which will be salivating matchups. Coming out of the bye, Jackson will face the Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, and Miami Dolphins. While the Broncos are stingy against the run (it's worth noting that they lost Jurrell Casey for the season), the other three are against teams that are all bottom-10 against the position in terms of fantasy points allowed. And if Ekeler were to somehow miss one more game, Jackson would get to face the Jets. Yum.

Suggested offer: 12-15%

Wide Receiver

While it may vary based on scoring (standard versus PPR), wideouts are generally valued at similar rates in most formats. However, leagues that require you to start at least three wideouts could see inflated offers at the position.

Receiver is where the bread and butter is in Week 6.

Chase Claypool (17% rostered) - Claypool's immediate value is more or less tied to the health of Diontae Johnson. Johnson garnered a whopping 23 targets in the first two games and has left each of the last two contests early with different injuries. In Week 5, it was a back injury that knocked Johnson out -- the Pittsburgh Steelers are hopeful that he'll be on the field in Week 6. However, given the fact that Johnson's already dealt with other injuries this season, and how well Claypool played when given a chance in Week 5, he is undoubtedly worth a sizable offer. On 11 targets and 3 carries, Claypool totaled 7 receptions, 116 yards, and...[checks notes]...four touchdowns. In Week 3, Claypool led Pittsburgh wideouts with 61 snaps. In Week 5, he finished just 5 snaps behind JuJu Smith-Schuster for the team lead. What's he done with those snaps? Well, among receivers with at least 20 targets this season, Claypool ranks first in Reception NEP per reception, Reception NEP per target, and Target NEP per target. Even if Johnson does come back in full health, Claypool has earned more snaps and looks.

Suggested offer: 25-30%

Brandin Cooks (44% rostered) - After dropping a goose-egg in Week 4, Cooks' roster share dropped to well below 50% in Yahoo leagues. In Week 5, he left all those managers who dropped him with a feeling of despair -- he totaled 161 yards and a score on 8 receptions in his first game without Bill O'Brien holding the offense back. Should we expect Cooks to see 12 targets on a regular basis? I'd say that's a bit of a stretch, though he should remain very much involved as long as he stays healthy. He'll have week-winning potential every time he takes the field.

Suggested offer: 15-20%

Mike Williams (40% rostered) - While Claypool took advantage of Johnson's absence, Williams made the most after Keenan Allen went down with a back injury. If he's healthy, Williams should be on your radar regardless of Allen's health now that he's playing with a competent passer. He has seen at least 77% of his team's snaps in three of the four games, and the Los Angeles Chargers have some juicy matchups coming out of the Week 6 bye. Speaking of the bye, you might be able to get a slight discount on Williams, as some managers will turn their focus to players who can help them in Week 6.

Suggested offer: 15-18%

Other options: Travis Fulgham (3% rostered) caught 10 passes for 152 yards and a score against Pittsburgh in Week 5. Fulgham has seen snap shares of 60% and 78% in his last two games, and he should continue to see run as the Philadelphia Eagles' receiving corps gets back to full health. The upcoming matchups aren't titillating, and Philly wideouts have proven to be frustrating roller coasters this season. As such, 10% would be my max offer here ... Mecole Hardman (40% rostered) will be a top add with Sammy Watkins expected to be out a couple of weeks. Hardman played a season-high 69% of the snaps in Week 5 after Watkins exited with an injury, which is encouraging, but it might not be reasonable to expect a huge uptick in volume. Hardman has never seen more than six targets in a game. Still, he's worth an add as a high-upside flex play. Don't dish out more than 8-10%.

Tight End

Let's just face it -- the tight end position is a barren wasteland.

Jimmy Graham (41% rostered) - Graham is the only tight end worth making any kind of offer for. Graham has played at least 62% of the snaps in each game, has seen at least five looks in four of his five outings, and he leads all tight ends with nine red zone targets in 2020. At this position, that'll definitely play. Also, did you know that Graham played basketball in college?

Suggested offer: 7-8%