- When Arizona has not pressured the opposing passer, quarterbacks are completing 76.2% of their passes (26th), for 8.4 Y/A (28th), and a 109.0 rating (27th).
- In Weeks 1 and 2, Calvin Ridley averaged 8.63 air yards per target. In the three games since, he has averaged 15.9 air yards per target.
- With Gardner Minshew in the game, Josh Downs has been targeted on 26.7% of his routes with 25.3% of the team targets.
As the editor here at Sharp Football, I am blessed to read every word of the best NFL betting and fantasy analysis on the internet every week.
Check out our in-season content schedule for everything we have to offer.
This great analysis often leads to me deep-diving into topics that could play a big role in the NFL week to come.
With that in mind, here are five interesting fantasy football situations or storylines heading into Week 6 of the NFL season.
1. Rams passing attack set up for a big day
The Rams passing attack struggled in the second half against the Eagles, but Cooper Kupp looked back to normal in his first action since Week 10 of last season.
Kupp finished with 8 catches on 12 targets for 118 yards.
As I wrote about last week, there was still plenty of space in this offense for Puka Nacua to get his even with Kupp back.
Nacua turned 11 targets into a 7-71-1 line, finishing as the WR11 to Kupp’s WR12 finish for the week.
This passing attack could be set up for another good game this week.
As Rich Hribar wrote in his worksheet preview for this game, Matthew Stafford should find success against Arizona’s defense:
“The Cardinals are last in the NFL in terms of pressure rate (25.5%), last in blitz rate (14.4%), and 25th in rate of man coverage (18.0%).
When Stafford has not been pressured this season, he is averaging 8.2 yards per pass attempt, which is eighth in the league.
When he has been pressured, he is averaging 4.8 yards per attempt, which is 25th.
When Arizona has not pressured the opposing passer, quarterbacks are completing 76.2% of their passes (26th), for 8.4 Y/A (28th), and a 109.0 rating (27th).”
The Rams also carry the second-highest implied team total of the main DFS slate, and the Cardinals are ripe with cheaper DFS options to use as runbacks.
This game could be a popular stacking option, but it is also likely to be worth it.
2. Josh Jacobs’ struggles should continue
Currently the RB11 in total fantasy points, Josh Jacobs has been getting there for fantasy based on volume and passing-game usage, but he has been terribly inefficient as a runner.
Among 57 qualified running backs, Jacobs ranks 51st in yards per carry (2.9), 56th in rate of 10-yard runs (2.5%), and 54th in the rate of 0 or negative runs (26.8%).
Not all of that falls on his shoulders. He is also 43rd in yards before contact per carry, and the Raiders rank 16th in ESPN’s run block win rate.
All of this has happened despite the Raiders playing the easiest schedule of run defenses so far this season, as Warren Sharp mentions in his betting preview for this game.
“So far this season, the Raiders have struggled to run the football. The Raiders rank #30 in YPC, #30 in explosive run rate, and #22 in EPA/rush.
And that’s despite playing the NFL’s easiest schedule of run defenses so far this season:
- #32 Broncos
- #27 Chargers
- #26 Packers
- #22 Bills
- #20 Steelers
Now, they must go up against the #6 run defense of the Patriots.
The Patriots defense ranks #5 in YPC, #8 in success rate allowed, and #4 in explosive run rate.”
New England’s defense took a hit with the losses of Matthew Judon and Christian Gonzalez, but the run defense remained stout last week.
Given the matchup and his struggles to this point, Jacbos will likely once again need volume to get there for fantasy.
3. Target the other Jaguars receiver
Calvin Ridley will understandably be a popular play in DFS this weekend and for good reason.
Not only have the Colts been one of the best matchups for receivers to this point in the season, but Ridley has already cooked them this year.
Back in Week 1, Ridley turned 11 targets into 8 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in a 31-21 win by the Jaguars.
Including Ridley, every WR1 except for Zay Flowers has been the WR7 or better against the Colts this season.
It makes sense to project Ridley for a similar performance.
That said, Ridley is not being used in exactly the same way he was back in Week 1, as I discussed on the Sharp Angles Podcast.
In Weeks 1 and 2, Ridley averaged 8.63 air yards per target. In the three games since, he has averaged 15.9 air yards per target.
It is not one big game propping up that average, either. It has been consistent over the last three weeks, and it also coincides with Zay Jones’ injury and Christian Kirk being more involved in the passing game.
Kirk has averaged 7.42 air yards per target so far this season.
Why does all this matter?
Well, we have a three-game sample of Trevor Lawrence with Doug Pederson against this Colts defense.
In those games, he has averaged 6.8 air yards per attempt with 76.2% of his passes traveling 10 air yards or fewer.
Overall over the last two seasons, Lawrence has averaged 7.3 air yards per attempt with 70% of his passes traveling 10 air yards or fewer.
Ridley is still a good play, but Kirk’s recent usage fits Lawrence’s trends against this defense better, especially with Jones still out, making him someone to target in DFS.
4. Tua Tagovailoa in a great spot against the Panthers
No one needs to be convinced to play Tua Tagovailoa against the Panthers, but it is worth thinking about just how good his fantasy day could be.
As Rich Hribar wrote in his DFS Core Plays article:
“The Panthers are 27th in the league in terms of pressure rate (30.1%).
Tua has faced two teams lower than Carolina at pressuring the quarterback and those were his QB1 (27.1 points) and QB2 (28.4 points) scoring weeks.
When Tagovailoa has not been pressured, he is completing 79.1% of his passes (fourth) for 10.4 yards per pass attempt (second) with 11 passing touchdowns (first) and a 128.2 rating (second).”
The concern for Tagovailoa this week is volume.
In the four games started by Bryce Young, the Panthers have averaged just 4.2 yards per play on offense, 1.36 points per drive, and have converted just 68.4% of their first downs into another first down or touchdown.
Those rates would rank 31st, 28th, and 22nd for the entire season.
Partly as a result of their offensive ineptitude, the Panthers have faced the third-fewest passing attempts per game so far this season.
Tagovailoa can still get there on efficiency, but he will likely need a hyper-efficient game to reach his DFS ceiling.
5. Josh Downs is back in business
With Anthony Richardson hurt, Gardner Minshew is back in the starting lineup, and that means we are back in on Josh Downs both in fantasy and the prop market.
As Ryan McCrystal wrote in his over/under article, Minshew’s game is set up perfectly for Downs:
“Minshew lacks Richardson’s scrambling ability, so he tends to get rid of the ball quicker. Take a look at their percentage of pass attempts released in 2.5 seconds or less according to TruMedia:
- Richardson: 55%
- Minshew: 64%
Since Downs typically lines up in the slot, he’s often the intended target in the quick passing game for Indy. 74% of his receptions have come on throws released in 2.5 seconds or less.”
That shows up in the target rates, as well.
With Minshew in the game, Downs has been targeted on 26.7% of his routes with 25.3% of the team targets.
With Richardson under center, he has been targeted on 16.7% of his routes and has received 16.0% of the team targets.
Downs is a better play in PPR leagues than standard, but he should be a solid enough option in both as long as Minshew is under center.
He is also a target for overs in the prop market this week.