7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 6
Sleeper is an ambiguous term. I'm defining anyone on less than half of Yahoo! rosters as a sleeper in the interest of providing clarity. Typically, I'll aim to feature players on fewer than 40 percent of rosters. However, this provides me some wiggle room.
Don't worry, deep-league gamers, this piece is intended to help folks in leagues of all sizes. With that in mind, I'm following my predecessor's lead, including honorable mentions. If the featured players are already rostered in your league, the honorable mentions should provide you with players to consider filling in for an injured starter or player on bye on your roster -- or for whatever other reason you're diving into the free-agent pool for a sleeper.
While it should go without saying, the featured players at each position are my favorite sleepers for the given week. The honorable mentions are listed in descending order of the percentage of rosters they're on.
Taylor Heinicke (16%) - The Kansas City Chiefs are wholly inept on defense, allowing the most points per game (32.6), per Pro Football Reference. One spot behind them is the Washington Football Team, coughing up 31.0 points per game. In addition, according to our power rankings, the Chiefs are the second-worst defense, and the Football Team is the fifth-worst defense.
In addition to both defenses failing to pull their weight, the game should be played at a speedy tempo. According to Football Outsiders, the Football Team is playing at the sixth-fastest situation neutral pace, and the Chiefs hover mid-pack, ranking 16th. So understandably, the expectation is point-scoring in bunches. According to our heat map, the Chiefs have the highest implied total (31.0 points), and the Football Team's implied total of 24.50 points is rock-solid, as well. In short, you're going to want exposure to this contest in fantasy football leagues.
Thus, the context is favorable for Heinicke. Also, he's playing a fantasy-friendly style, averaging 271.5 passing yards and 27.5 rushing yards per game, tossing seven touchdowns and rushing for one in his four starts this year.
Finally, our projections support streaming him, ranking him as QB13 in projected scoring this week.
Kenneth Gainwell (41%) - According to our snap counts, Gainwell's 22.54 percent snap share last week marked his lowest rate this year. Your initial reaction is probably, "Why would anyone want to stream him?"
My response is that matchups often drive value, which is the case with the rookie back this week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank as the third-best run defense in our power rankings, and teams wisely don't waste time carrying the football against their stout front. As a result, Tampa Bay's faced the most pass attempts (225) this season.
Gainwell's the best pass-catching back on the team. So, head coach Nick Sirianni would be wise to use Gainwell more in this matchup. For the year, he's averaging 2.8 receptions and 24.4 receiving yards per game, bolstering his receiving production with 4.2 rush attempts and 20.0 rushing yards per game. In addition, he's been more productive in the red zone than Miles Sanders, scoring two rushing touchdowns on three carries and reeling in four of five targets for 43 receiving yards.
Using FanDuel's half-point point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, Gainwell ranks as RB36 in our projections. So, he's a viable flex or bye-week fill-in at RB2 this week.
Darrel Williams (20%) - An injury to Clyde Edwards-Helaire paves the way to Williams commanding the lion's share of backfield work for the Chiefs. This year, Williams is second to CEH for carries, toting the rock 26 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns. However, he might inherit pass-catching duties, too. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams ran 24 routes and played 31 passing snaps compared to 22 and 24 for Jerick McKinnon in Week 5.
Sure, McKinnon could inherit a more significant chunk of the pass-catching work in hopes of keeping Williams fresh and avoiding overtaxing him. Still, last week, Wiliams held the edge in pass-catching work, and he's the better bet to receive goal-line carries. Finally, he's attached to this week's highest implied total -- like I noted above. Thus, our projections view him as RB25 in Week 6, making him a usable RB2 or flex option.
Mecole Hardman (43%) - I raise my hand, acknowledging I thought Josh Gordon would step into a semi-prominent role in Kansas City's offense last week. Instead, he played only five passing snaps. Comparatively, Hardman played 50, running 45 routes. For the year, Hardman ranks third on the team in targets (30), receptions per game (4.4), and receiving yards per game (39.8).
The speedy yet unrefined wideout's value receives a pick-me-up this week against Washington. The Football Team ranks as the fifth-worst pass defense in our power rankings. Coupling Kanas City's mouthwatering matchup with Washington's giving pass defense and the absence of Edwards-Helaire creates the potential for increasing pass attempts this week.
We rank the third-year wideout as WR45 in half-point PPR formats. So, if you need help through bye weeks or injuries at receiver, consider using Hardman.
DeVante Parker (41%) - Parker missed last week's game with a hamstring injury. His placement in this space is contingent on a return to the field, obviously. So, if you scoop him up, you'll need to stay abreast of the Miami Dolphins' injury report and keep a contingent plan in mind.
It appears there will be a change under center for the 'Phins this week, as Tua Tagovailoa is tentatively on track to return. Before the second-year quarterback was injured, he attempted 31 passes. The lefty directed seven passes Parker's way, accounting for team-highs in air yards (84) and receiving yards (81) as well as four receptions (third-most).
Parker has a soft matchup awaiting him if he returns this week. Additionally, the Jacksonville Jaguars rank dead last in our power rankings in pass defense. Finally, Parker ranks as WR33 in our projections, making him a low-end WR3 in Week 6.
Kadarius Toney (18%) - Toney is the final featured receiver. However, don't confuse his placement in this piece as tepid interest on my part, as he's my favorite featured wideout. I've been reluctant to buy into the rookie wideout until last week's blow-up showing. Now, I'm aboard the bandwagon.
JJ Zachariason discussed Toney in-depth on this week's 15 Transactions for Week 6 podcast. I highly suggest giving the episode a listen. Revisiting Toney's eruption in Week 5, he hauled in 10 of 13 targets for 189 yards, adding a rush for seven yards.
Beyond the numbers, I'm encouraged by his role in the offense. JJ discussed this on the linked episode, but Toney played 57.5 percent of his passing snaps in the slot in Week 4 and 40.0 percent wide. In Week 5, his slot rate dropped to 36.0 percent, and his wide percent surged to 64.0 percent. Toney's ability to excel aligned all over the formation alleviates any concerns I harbor regarding impending returns of injured fellow wideouts, namely slot maven, Sterling Shepard.
Toney's a priority addition whose upside extends beyond sleeper or streamer status.
Dan Arnold (5%) - I normally add a new tight end to this section. However, Arnold and Ricky Seals-Jones are so widely available, I'm sticking with the three tight ends I featured on Tuesday in 3 Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming Options for Week 6. Check out that piece for my rationale behind these three featured sleepers.
Finally, as I noted in that piece, Arnold's my favorite streamer at the position this week with upside to stick on rosters. Thus, that's why he's the headline tight end instead of an honorable mention.
Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.