Bye weeks: Bears, Bills, Colts, Raiders.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers (9): Drafted as a top-four option, Rodgers is just 19th in fantasy scoring, behind even NFC North rival Matthew Stafford, who has played one fewer game. Rodgers had a bit of a rough slate to start with, though, and a date with Stafford’s Lions is part of a (theoretically) easier stretch that makes the Green Bay star a buy-low candidate.
Gardner Minshew (12): Not just a fun story, Minshew has put up starter-worthy numbers, and he can continue to steal Nick Foles’s spot atop Jacksonville’s depth chart with a matchup against a New Orleans squad that’s been the third-friendliest to fantasy QBs.
Baker Mayfield (17): After a horrific — and in some ways humiliating — outing in San Francisco on Monday night, Mayfield could be auditioning just to stay on fantasy rosters through Cleveland’s Week 7 bye. Coming out of it he gets the daunting task of facing the Patriots (away), Broncos (away) and Bills (at home).
Kyle Allen, Panthers (20): Also a game away from his team’s bye, how Allen, who has cooled after a hot start, fares against Tampa Bay might affect how much urgency Carolina feels to get Cam Newton back onto the field.
Austin Ekeler, Chargers (17): Sure enough, Melvin Gordon’s season debut saw him eat into Ekeler’s workload — but only on the ground, where the latter had a mere three carries for seven yards. Ekeler also got a whopping 15 receptions, for 86 yards, and anything even approaching that kind of usage in the passing game would keep the RB among fantasy’s upper crust in nonstandard formats.
Sony Michel, Patriots (18): Speaking of passing-game usage, Michel got three receptions in last week’s win over the Redskins, which doesn’t sound like much until you consider that he had exactly zero this season before that game. It’s always been a bit mystifying why New England hasn’t thrown more balls to Michel, who was something of the lightning to Nick Chubb’s thunder at Georgia, and it will be interesting to see if the trend continues.
Damien Williams, Chiefs (22): It appeared Sunday night that Williams was by far Kansas City’s preferred RB, although the whole game, a low-scoring Chiefs loss at home, may go down as an aberration. If he has indeed distanced himself from LeSean McCoy, who committed a costly fumble, Williams will return to RB1/2 consideration.
Matt Breida, 49ers (26): San Francisco was employing a frustrating, three-back committee even before Tevin Coleman returned from injury on Monday, but suddenly it was more of a two-man show against Cleveland. That’s very encouraging for Breida’s outlook, but it remains to be seen whether Raheem Mostert’s role has truly been diminished, and whether Breida can get some work in the red zone.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (2): Okay, we just saw Houston’s Will Fuller go bonkers, so can we hope that, in an expected shootout in Kansas City, Hopkins will finally have a huge game? One of fantasy’s true kingpins at WR, Hopkins has yet to score a TD and is averaging just 59 yards over his past four games.
Odell Beckham Jr. (8): Unlike his QB, Beckham is not veering perilously close to getting dropped, but a third straight lousy outing (preceded by a pedestrian 6-56-0 line) would be cause for panic.
Adam Thielen, Vikings (9): It’s one thing for the squeaky wheel to get a dose of grease, as Thielen did last week with a 7-130-2 line, but it’s another for that grease to be applied in an ongoing manner. A matchup with Philadelphia, which is much more easily attacked through the air than on the ground, bodes well for Minnesota’s newfound interest in throwing the ball.
Marquise Brown, Ravens (28): The first-round rookie followed up his Week 1 blowup with a solid 86 yards in Week 2, but since then he has 93 yards total, including 22 in each of his past two games. Baltimore may not need to air it out much to defeat hapless Cincinnati, and that scenario could provide an indication of just how important the Ravens think it is to get Brown the ball on a regular basis.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs (1): He’s third in scoring at his position, so it’s not like the consensus No. 1 TE has been a bust, but those who took him with a high draft pick would probably like to see Kelce score his second TD. Houston has fielded the fourth-stingiest defense to TEs, but a Kelce explosion is just a matter of time, and if Tyreek Hill returns this week for the Chiefs, his presence could open up room for his teammates to roam.
Greg Olsen, Panthers (6): Olsen was fourth in TE scoring through the first three weeks, but he has just two catches for five yards over the past two, including a Week 5 blanking. Squaring off with Tampa Bay, which Olsen ripped for 110 yards in Week 2, should end the drought — and if not, owners should think about replacements for more than just Carolina’s Week 7 bye.
Gerald Everett, Rams (9): One of this week’s hottest waiver-wire pickups, Everett will look to show that he really has attained a prominent place in the Rams’ passing-attack pecking order.