Austin’s Fantasy Train: Week 6


Austin West, Contributing Writer

This may have been one of the best weeks of fantasy football I have had in a while. Six of eight predictions hold true for Week 5 and my fantasy teams were all fairly successful. I am currently a part of five fantasy leagues that are either PPR redraft or PPR dynasty leagues. While they have been all over the board so far this season in terms of wins, this week all but two ended up getting the win including my 0-4 team in my home league getting their first victory of the season. Of course, there are some big names that weren’t on last week’s fantasy train that helped with these wins, and plenty around the country. One of the biggest was Buffalo wide receiver Gabe Davis who on his first two receptions had two touchdowns and 160 yards, and ended with a total of 32.1 fantasy points.  


Now for the people that were on the train last week. Folks, let’s be honest: I got too cocky. The fantasy football gods were not pleased with how well my predictions were last week so they decided to jinx James Robinson and Courtland Sutton to have underperforming games. Thankfully, the Derek Carr prediction is correct against the Chiefs and Dallas Goedert stays above his projection for the fourth straight week and knocks it out of the park with a solid 17.5 points. Those who missed the train last week, all deserved to miss the train. That’s right, for the first time this season each prediction on who would underperform was correct. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. The main takeaway from last week’s underperforming predictions is that all of those players, minus the rookie Drake London, have been considered solid fantasy players, either coming into the season or coming into this week. Matthew Stafford, Najee Harris, and Pat Friermuth were players drafted to win leagues but in reality, probably have lost people plenty of matchups. Trust me, I’ve fallen victim to a Stafford underperformance myself and it’s never fun. What is fun though, is going through this week’s predictions for who’s riding the Fantasy Train and who’s missing it. 


Tickets to Ride 


Quarterback, Kyler Murray: In a return to the Fantasy Train, I believe the first returning player, Kyler Murray looks poised for a huge game against the Seattle Seahawks. Geno Smith and the Seahawks have been one of the top-scoring offenses in the league which will put pressure on the Cardinals and forces them to stay in the game. This allows Kyler Murray to be able to do what he does best, throwing the ball downfield and scrambling for extra yards. Seattle has allowed almost 260 passing yards a game as well as 1.6 touchdowns per week. You can’t forget the two rushing touchdowns given up to the position as well, especially with a dual-threat quarterback like Murray. With over 200 passing yards and 25 rushing yards in each of the last four games plus his eight total touchdowns on the year, Murray has found a matchup made for production. 


Running Back, Rhamondre Stevenson: One guy that fantasy analysts have been waiting for to blow up: Rhamondre Stevenson. As the backup Patriots running back to Damien Harris, he had a slow start to the season but has seen his rushing opportunities increase every single week. After Harris went out with an injury in last week’s game against the Lions, Stevenson was able to pick up 161 yards on the ground on 25 carries. Although he only caught two passes in the contest, that’s the lowest his receptions and targets have been since week two. Against a Browns defense that has gotten worse against the run week by week, giving up 161 rushing yards and a touchdown to Austin Ekeler last week, Rhamondre Stevenson looks to implement himself as a true RB1. 


Wide Receiver, Mike Evans: Mike Evans and the Buccaneers face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary who just gave up three touchdowns and over 300 receiving yards to Buffalo Bills’ wide receivers. After the Buccaneers’ receivers were held to no touchdowns last week, thanks to Fournette taking the lone receiving touchdown, they were still able to throw for 351 yards. Even with the Steelers worse than average run defense, expect Tom Brady to target his receivers, especially Evans. Evans has seven or more targets in three out of his four games and averages almost 80 yards a game. While he remains touchdown dependent, all of his touchdowns have come from within the red zone and you can expect the Buccaneers to be there often.  


Tight End, Zach Ertz: We have ourselves a nice Cardinals stack on the Fantasy Train with Kyler Murray and Zach Ertz. Ertz has been a sneaky good tight-end prospect this year for fantasy as he’s scored at least ten points every week and has exactly six receptions in the last three games. That’s what I call consistency, especially at a position that has such a drop-off from the top players. Excluding all Taysom Hill statistics, because he’s the biggest outlier in the NFL when it comes to true position, the Seahawks have given up four touchdowns through the air to tight ends as well as an average of five receptions per game. With Ertz being the second most targeted pass catcher by Kyler Murray, by almost 20 targets, Murray will look to him often to open up the offense against a weak Seahawks secondary. 


Missed The Train 


Quarterback, Justin Herbert: The Chargers face off against the Denver Broncos whose pass defense has been one of the best in the league. Only allowing just over 200 yards per game and four touchdowns, Justin Herbert could be in for a long game especially if Keenan Allen is still out with an injury. Austin Ekeler could also be a controlling factor in this game, cutting down on Herbert’s passing opportunities, as the Broncos have given up over 110 yards rushing per game and two touchdowns on the season. The Broncos have also been one of the best teams against quarterbacks in the NFL giving up an average of 13.9 points to the position and Herbert has been underperforming his projections for the last three games. He remains a starter for many teams but be prepared for another underperformance.  


Running Back, Miles Sanders: I can see the hate coming already. “He doesn’t compete with anyone on his team for the starting job.” “He plays 61% of snaps and is touching the ball on 42% of snaps.” I get it, you’re probably going to keep starting Sanders, just like Herbert, if you have no better options than the previously mentioned Rhamondre Stevenson. However, Miles Sanders is a player who became extremely touchdown dependent and has been for a couple of years. He’s had two games over 15 fantasy points and they’re the only games where he has scored a touchdown. He faces the Dallas defense, the toughest of all teams they’ve faced so far, who haven’t allowed over 20 points in a game and only 90 rushing yards per game to running backs plus a lone touchdown. With Jalen Hurts vulturing touchdowns from him when the Eagles get into the red zone, Sanders becomes a nervous play this week.  


Wide Receiver, Jaylen Waddle: Concussions may prove the downfall of the Miami Dolphins. Both quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater are both out on concussion protocol and are unlikely to play this week against the Minnesota Vikings. This leaves the seventh-round rookie out of Kansas State, Skylar Thompson to lead the Dolphins. After replacing Bridgewater early against the Jets, Thompson threw for just 166 yards and an interception while relying heavily on the run game. Jaylen Waddle only garnered three targets from Thompson during the game compared to his counterpart Tyreek Hill who only had seven. With only the third-string currently active for this game against a bend, don’t break the Vikings’ defense, and lower expectations on Waddle.  


Tight End, Hayden Hurst: Coming off a breakout week for people who were looking for tight end flyers this week, Hayden Hurst will be settled down by the New Orleans Saints defense. Hurst benefited from the lack of Tee Higgens due to an aggravated ankle injury as he became the true number three receiver in the offense behind Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd. However, the Saints are top five in fantasy points allowed to the position with no touchdowns allowed and only an average of 3.6 receptions per game. Hurst’s outlook will drop even more if Higgins returns for this game to eat up many of his targets.