15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 6
You have to worry about the player, but you also have to worry about the market.
When it comes to buying and selling players in fantasy football, those are the two areas of concern. The player himself -- his statistical profile, how his team is using him, his outlook -- is obviously important. But if everyone -- the market -- views a player the exact same way?
Good luck generating a trade.
For those of you who are into the dynasty format of fantasy football, you probably remember how Kadarius Toney was viewed before and after the NFL Draft. His statistical profile was below-average, and since such a large number of fantasy analysts view the game with a data-driven lens, the consensus feel towards Toney was that he...well, people thought he was overrated.
I thought he was overrated.
Toney was a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, but my prospect model liked six wide receivers more than him. My post-draft rankings liked seven wide receivers more than him.
Here's the thing, though: Kadarius Toney is on more than one of my dynasty rosters. (Not that any of you care about my fantasy teams.)
My distaste for Toney's profile -- the player -- couldn't drive me to simply not draft him. Every player becomes valuable at some cost, and because the majority of the fantasy industry wasn't high on Toney, he fell in drafts. Sometimes, he fell far.
It's an important lesson to remember when you read recommendations from idiot fantasy analysts like myself. Actionable advice in fantasy football isn't just about an individual player's outlook. It's also about the market -- it's also about what it takes to acquire or sell that player.
Oh, and Kadarius Toney? Yeah, he's balling out.
Note: The transactions each week are not in order of importance.
Add Kadarius Toney
Injuries to Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton during Week 3's game against the Falcons allowed Kadarius Toney to see more work in the Giants offense. In Weeks 1 and 2, Toney's snap shares didn't even reach 30%. In Week 3, that number shot to about 66%. The following week, with both wide receivers out, Toney played roughly 78% of New York's snaps.
Like I mentioned in last week's 15 Transactions column when talking about Toney, he played the majority of his snaps from the slot in Week 4. Per Next Gen Stats, he played 60.6% of his snaps from that area of the field in Week 4 en route to a 6-catch, 78-yard performance. That makes sense, since Sterling Shepard, their slot guy, was out.
Shepard and Slayton were both out in Week 5, and Kenny Golladay ended up missing most of the game with a knee issue. That resulted in Toney playing just 29.2% of his snaps from the slot. He saw 10 targets while playing the outside, and he caught 8 of them for 150 yards. He totaled 189 yards in total on the day.
Why bring this all up? Because it shows versatility. Even if each wide receiver is healthy, rational coaching would keep Toney on the field. He probably won't hit 189 receiving yards in a game again this year, but he's absolutely worth an add this week if you passed on him a week ago.
Buy AJ Brown
It's been a rough year for A.J. Brown. In Week 1, the Titans offense was a dumpster fire, but he was able to secure a touchdown on eight targets. In Week 2, Brown had arguably the worst game of his career, catching just three of his nine targets in a pass-friendly script. He was hurt early in Week 3 and then missed Week 4, and then this past weekend, he posted a measly 38 receiving yards.
Brown managers are undoubtedly frustrated. And they should be; in each of his last three games, he's scored fewer than eight PPR points. He only did that once in 2020.
There's some reason for optimism, at least. In the three games that Brown's finished, he's averaged a target share per game of 24.8%. That's only 2.5 percentage points lower than his average a season ago, and it's a good target share compared to the rest of the league.
Tennessee continues to score touchdowns in the ground, too. Yes, yes, I know -- they have Derrick Henry. But their pass-to-rush touchdown ratio this season -- how they're scoring their touchdowns -- is 0.75. That's a bottom-five ratio in the league, and it's far smaller than the team's season-long low under Mike Vrabel of 1.07. Their average pass-to-rush touchdown ratio over the last three seasons has been 1.24, and that's with a whole lot of Ryan Tannehill rushing touchdowns thrown in there. Tannehill, this season, has scored just once on the ground.
To put this all another way, we should expect the Tennessee offense to score their touchdowns through the air at least a little bit more than they have so far this year. Combine that with a solid target share, and Brown should still be fine enough. It makes sense to buy low this week.
Hold Myles Gaskin
For those of you who were waiting for this year's Myles Gaskin breakout game, congratulations: you got it during a week where you probably benched him.
Isn't fantasy football fun?
Put me in the group who thinks there's going to be some unpredictability with Gaskin moving forward. His Week 5, 10-target, 31.9-point performance was a good thing, there's no doubt. It's just that what he did wasn't very sustainable.
Tampa Bay is a tough team to run on, and we've seen back-to-back opponents take an approach where they didn't even really try. In Week 4, New England ran the ball just eight times against them. In Week 5, Miami had nine rush attempts.
Some of this can be credited to game script, but even in a neutral script against the Bucs, the Dolphins had a 72% pass rate. Their neutral script pass rate entering the week was over 10 percentage points lower than that. And their Week 5 matchup was one where they were missing pass-catchers.
So why not sell? Why not try to get rid of Gaskin after this monster performance?
Well, number one, the market for Myles Gaskin probably still isn't that strong. We shouldn't assume that a manager will just ignore what happened during the first four weeks of the season where Gaskin averaged fewer than eight PPR points per game.
Number two, Gaskin did see a season-high 68.5% snap rate. His strong outing could mean the Dolphins put him on the field more in the coming weeks.
And over Miami's next two games, they get the Jaguars and Falcons, two bottom-seven teams in adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs. Those contests set up a lot differently than their Week 5 matchup against the Buccaneers, but if Gaskin is able to capture a similar snap share, he should be able to produce. He may even see his value rise with a couple of decent performances.
Add Devontae Booker
Saquon Barkley saw his ankle swell up on the sideline in Week 5 after stepping on the foot of a Dallas defender, leading to a bigger workload for Devontae Booker. Booker saw 16 of a possible 17 non-Barkley running back rush attempts in the Dallas offense, and with the aforementioned injuries to the team's pass-catchers, he had an 11% target share on Sunday as well. Really, he saw Saquon Barkley-type usage.
Barkley could be sidelined two to four weeks with this injury, which makes Booker a must-add off the waiver wire this week.
Drop Trey Sermon
The San Francisco backfield isn't as complicated as some have made it out to be.
In Week 1, Trey Sermon was a surprise inactive. After a Raheem Mostert injury in that game, Elijah Mitchell became the lead back. When Mitchell was injured in Week 2, Sermon got his shot to be the top back.
And he mostly was disappointing. Sermon was the PPR RB26 and RB37 in his two starts this year, ceding a lot of pass-catching work to fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
Elijah Mitchell returned to the field in Week 5, and Sermon was pushed into a backup role. He carried the ball just once against the Cardinals on Sunday, where Mitchell had nine carries. Sermon played 2 offensive snaps, Mitchell played 40.
Every action that the 49ers have taken since the start of the regular season has pointed to Mitchell being the player you want in the backfield. Not Sermon.
At this point, Sermon's just a handcuff. But he's not even a high-end one when you consider his role when Mitchell was sidelined. You can drop him in most formats as a result.
Add Rhamondre Stevenson
Damien Harris is dealing with a ribs injury that kept him sidelined at times in Week 5 against the Texans. That's the first reason Rhamondre Stevenson, Harris' backup, should be on your radar this week.
The other reason is because Harris has had a couple of costly fumbles this season that could push Belichick and company to look to Stevenson. In Week 1, Harris lost a fumble with about three minutes remaining against the Dolphins, which led to a Patriots loss. This past week, he lost the ball at the goal line right before a potential touchdown.
Stevenson is a well-rounded big-bodied back. His production profile wasn't totally complete when he came out of school this past year, but in games played during his final collegiate season, he had an impressive 15% reception share. There's upside with Stevenson when you consider the Harris fumbling woes combined with James White's season-ending injury suffered a couple of weeks ago.
Sell Kareem Hunt
Are you having déjà vu?
There was a really stupid fantasy football analyst who suggested trading away Kareem Hunt last week. You know, the week before Hunt scored almost 26 PPR points.
OK, yes, that stupid fantasy analyst was me.
The idea with trading Hunt was not that he would never be relevant. It's just that I viewed him more as a high-end RB2 rather than the RB1 that he was performing as, and, well... I still kind of feel that way.
If the Browns participate in 90-point shootouts each week like they did in Week 5, then, yeah, Kareem Hunt's going to ball out. There's no reason for us to assume that'll happen, and that means regression is inevitably coming for Hunt. Eventually.
Hunt now has 5 rushing touchdowns when Cleveland's scored a total of 16 times on offense. His rushing touchdowns, in turn, have accounted for 31.3% of the Browns' overall touchdowns.
Since 2011, that type of touchdown share has been hit just 21 times -- or about twice per season. When looking at that sample of 21 running backs, the average running back rush share among the group was 72.9%. The average rush attempts per game was 18.1.
That makes sense; running backs who see a lot of volume in an offense are then going to capture a larger share of the offense's touchdowns.
This season, Kareem Hunt has a running back rush share of 36.9%, and he's averaging 11 rush attempts per game.
Meanwhile, even though the number got higher after Week 5, the Browns are still scoring their touchdowns in a strange way. Their 0.33 pass-to-rush touchdown ratio (4 passing touchdowns to 12 rushing touchdowns) is tied with Chicago for the lowest in the league. Over the last decade, no team has finished a season with a pass-to-rush touchdown ratio below 0.59.
Hunt is getting opportunity at the goal line but not at some insane rate. He has four goal-line rushes on the season, a number that's been matched or exceeded by 17 other backs. That list includes teammate Nick Chubb, who has six goal-line rushes. Chubb's just converted one of those (16.7%), when Hunt's converted three (75.0%).
Hunt can be efficient and will be efficient. The offense is favorable for running backs, and Hunt's 15.3% target share is a top-5 one at the position. That's why he's not going to disappear -- the idea was never that he was going to disappear.
He's just likely not going to keep this pace up.
Hunt has upside with an injury to Nick Chubb, so you've got to price that into any sort of trade. But, to me, Hunt is more of a mid-range to high-end RB2 in fantasy rather than this full-blown RB1. Touchdown regression should eventually hit.
Add Khalil Herbert
In Chicago's first full game without David Montgomery this year, we saw more of a split backfield than expected. Damien Williams had the valuable looks in the offense, handling 47% of the team's running back rushes to go along with a strong 15% target share. Williams also saw three goal-line rushes.
Rookie Khalil Herbert was involved, too, though, carrying the ball 18 times to Williams' 16. That high touch count wasn't totally the result of game script, either. During the first half of the Bears-Raiders tilt, Herbert had 7 rushes to Williams' 11.
I'd expect Herbert to be more involved in game flow situations like the one we saw in Week 5, which may not be super frequent, but he could have some flex appeal as we enter bye weeks. And he's got handcuff upside now as well.
Buy Zack Moss
After being inactive in Week 1 against the Steelers, Zack Moss has seen his usage get better and better each week. In Week 2, his first game of the season, he played just 28% of Buffalo's snaps. That jumped to 56% in both Week 3 and 4. Then, on Sunday night, we saw Moss reach a 74% snap share.
That increase in snaps correlated with an increase in touches. Moss had seen about half of the team's running back rushes over the two weeks prior to Week 5, but in Week 5, his running back rush share jumped almost to 65%. His target share was an impressive 16.7%, too.
Moss has slowly but surely become the 1A in the Buffalo Bills backfield. and I'm bullish in the short term. Over the next five weeks, no team has a better running back schedule than the Bills do. They get Tennessee in Week 6, a team that ranks in the bottom half of the league in adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs. After a Week 7 bye, they'll get the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Jets. Each of those teams rank in the bottom seven in the league in adjusted fantasy points given up to the running back position.
If Moss's current usage holds, he could be a locked-in RB2 during this four-game stretch.
Add Ricky Seals-Jones
Logan Thomas was put on IR last week, and the initial timeline was that he'd be sidelined for four weeks. So, in Week 5, backup Ricky Seals-Jones was moved into a starter role, and he thrived. RSJ saw 20% of Washington's targets, which turned into 5 catches for 41 yards. His target share was higher than any share Logan Thomas has seen this season.
Seals-Jones was essentially used like any other wide receiver on the team. Pro Football Focus credited him with 42 routes run, which was the second-most on Washington this week and just one behind Terry McLaurin. That elite usage should make him a near plug-and-play option at a weak fantasy position until Thomas gets back.
Add Dan Arnold
Dan Arnold played his second game with the Jaguars on Sunday, and in that contest, he had a 24.2% target share. That's kind of a big deal.
His first game with the team saw a pretty big split in routes run at the tight end position, with Arnold running 11 versus Chris Manhertz's 7, Luke Farrell's 4, and Jacob Hollister's 4, per Pro Football Focus. Arnold saw that routes run number jump to 30 in Week 5, with Hollister finishing second on the team in tight end routes run with 8.
This could mean serious fantasy football viability moving forward. Jacksonville's been forced to be a pretty pass-heavy team because of game script, ranking in the top half of the league in both pass rate and total pass attempts after five weeks. The Jags also have a slightly above average tight end target share even though they haven't had top-notch tight ends catching footballs for them this year.
Ricky Seals-Jones is the better short-term add, but don't sleep on Dan Arnold.
Buy Rondale Moore
By no means was Week 5 a bad one for Rondale Moore. He saw 6 targets and caught 5 of them for 59 yards, adding an additional 38 yards on the ground. This isn't exactly a "buy low" moment.
But I do think it's an interesting time to go after Moore in a trade. For the first time this season, Moore ran more routes than Christian Kirk, per Pro Football Focus. He still wasn't on the field in two-wide receiver sets -- A.J. Green ran 10 more routes -- but from Weeks 1 through 4, Kirk had run 113 routes versus Moore's 67. On Sunday, it was 20 to 18 in favor of the rookie.
Maxx Williams is now out after suffering a significant knee injury on Sunday, and that could lead to more volume for the other pass-catchers in the Arizona offense. With Moore already trending up from a usage standpoint, and with natural rookie progression happening, he makes sense as a buy this week.
Add Darrel Williams
Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered an MCL sprain on Sunday night against the Bills, and he's expected to be out for a few weeks. With CEH sidelined, we should expect Darrel Williams to pick up some work. In a negative game script, Williams played the most snaps for Kansas City and out-targeted backup Jerick McKinnon 5 to 2 while seeing more ground-game work. McKinnon isn't a terrible add in deeper leagues, but Williams should be the priority.
Add Taylor Heinicke
Week 5 was the first time Taylor Heinicke failed to finish as a top-12 quarterback in fantasy as a starter this season. We can cut him a little slack. The fact is, New Orleans hasn't been the easiest opponent for opposing passers this year, ranking fourth-best in adjusted points allowed to the position.
There's a chance for a Heinicke bounce-back game in Week 6. The Football Team faces the Chiefs in a game with, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, a 54.5-point over/under. Kansas City has surrendered four straight top-five quarterback performances, and although those games have been against good fantasy quarterbacks, when you adjust for schedule, they're still a bottom-five defense in points allowed to the position.
Add the Cincinnati Bengals Defense
The Cincinnati Bengals defense has really only had one game where they played well below expectation defensively, and it came in Week 4 on Thursday night against Jacksonville. This week, things look pretty good against the Lions. Cincy is a 3.5-point road favorite, and Detroit's been a top-10 opponent for defenses when looking at adjusted points allowed.