Underdog Battle Royale Picks: Week 6
"Ah yes, I love the smell of bye weeks in the morning," I thought to myself as I logged in for yet another day of the fantasy season and realized the first bye week period was officially upon us.
Of course, the most dreaded round of byes comes in Week 7, but Week 6 still features a few significant blows to fantasy rosters with players like Alvin Kamara, Deebo Samuel, Calvin Ridley and of course Zach Wilson all out for the week.
We also get some exciting games like the Ravens vs. the Chargers in what could be an offensive shootout. And we may also get an angry Chiefs team (2-3) ready to rebound against a dismal Washington Defense.
Here's a look at this week's slate of games, and some players I like for Week 6 of Underdog Fantasy's Battle Royale tournament.
Week 6 Spread and Over/Under
- Washington (+7) vs. Kansas City - O/U 55.5
- New England (+4) vs. Dallas - O/U 52
- Baltimore (-3) vs. Los Angeles Chargers - O/U 51.5
- Cleveland (-2.5) vs. Arizona - O/U 49.5
- Detroit (+3) vs. Cincinnati - O/U 47.5
- New York Giants (+10.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams - O/U 47.5
- Carolina (+1) vs. Minnesota - O/U 46.5
- Chicago (+4.5) vs. Green Bay - O/U 45
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
The Baltimore Ravens spent Week 5 getting shredded to bits by the Colts and Carson Wentz through the air, as Wentz threw for 403 yards and two touchdowns. Although one of those touchdowns did come on a 76-yard screen pass to Jonathan Taylor, Wentz had a solid day nonetheless, as he and head coach Frank Reich went out of their way to pick on Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett all day.
If Averett and the Ravens had trouble with the likes of Wentz and Michael Pittman, one could only imagine what Justin Herbert, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen could do against them.
This game has the third-highest projected total on the weekend, and Herbert is making a push to be in the MVP conversation.
Through the first five games, Herbert has thrown for 1,576 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also rushed for 60 yards and a score. While there's a bit of disparity between Underdog's projections for Herbert (22.4 points) and our rankings (19.7 points, QB7), I like Herbert and this passing attack that has thrown 11 touchdowns over the last three weeks against the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills became just the second rookie quarterback to throw for three touchdowns against a Bill Belichick Patriots team last weekend in the Texans 25-22 loss to New England.
Mills had a rather solid day overall, completing 21-of-29 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Mills finished as the QB6 overall with 24.7 fantasy points.
Now the Patriots get another Texas quarterback, only one in a less defunct offense than that of Houston. Dak Prescott and the high-powered Cowboys offense will look to continue its offensive tear, as Dak has thrown for 728 yards and 10 touchdowns to just one interception. He's averaged 20.54 fantasy points on the season (QB9)
The Patriots' defense has stood up well to several QBs on the season. They allowed only 11.1 fantasy points to Tom Brady in Week 4.
Underdog projects Dak as the overall QB5 on the week with 20.8 fantasy points. Our rankings project him for 19.6 points (QB8). He looks like a nice pivot off of some of the more popular names on this week's slate - aka Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Colts running back Jonathan Taylor is coming off a tremendous Week 5 against the Ravens in which he totaled 169 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on his way to 29.5 fantasy points.
The entire Colts running game looked dominant last week, as they averaged 4.9 yards per carry on the day.
Now looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to the Ravens, the Colts should continue to lean on their running game against a bad Texans team.
Taylor, who is averaging 104.8 yards from scrimmage and 0.6 touchdowns per game rushed 29 times for 174 yards and one touchdown against the Texans in 2020, while also catching seven passes for 56 yards and another score.
Our rankings project Taylor for 16.9 PPR this weekend (RB8).
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
This one could be one to monitor after Mixon was limited in Week 5 against the Packers due to injury (ankle), but no reports of any setbacks thus far is a good sign for Cincinnati's bell-cow back. Despite being used in limited action, Mixon still managed to rush 10 times for 33 yards and a score as he and the Bengals now get a bad Lions team in Week 6.
Over their last five games, the Lions are allowing 107.6 rushing yards and 0.8 rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs on the season. And teams have loved running on them at a rate of 23.6 rush attempts per game.
Our rankings project Mixon as the overall RB16 at 13.6 fantasy points, but given the underwhelming performance of the Lions' defense this season, and Mixon's bell-cow status, Mixon could outperform those projections in Week 6.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers lost JuJu Smith-Schuster for the season (shoulder) as they now look to one of their two-star receivers to elevate themselves for the remainder of the season.
Enter Chase Claypool, who is currently second on the Steelers in targets (35), and first in receiving yards (341). His 52.3 fantasy points on the season are only a touch behind Diontae Johnson's 55 fantasy points, but Claypool offers tremendous, athletic upside in Week 6 against a bad Seahawks defense.
Through the first five weeks of the season, the Seahawks have allowed at least one receiver to go for over 100 yards in four of those games. Deebo Samuel and Robert Woods have each gone for over 150 receiving yards against the Seahawks in the last two weeks.
While Johnson may be the more reliable chain-moving target for the Steelers, in a game against DK Metcalf, give me the closest comparable player to him in Claypool, who is coming fresh off a performance in which he went for 5/130/1 against the Broncos.
Claypool is averaging five receptions per game for 82.25 yards and .25 touchdowns on 8.75 targets per game.
Our rankings project Claypool for 12.6 points (WR19).
Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team
Defensively, the Kansas City Chiefs have not been good this season. They've allowed three 100-yard wide receivers through their first five games. And even when limiting Bills wide receivers in terms of yards, Emmanuel Sanders still managed to squeeze out a receiving line of 3/54/2 and 18.9 fantasy points.
The Chiefs are allowing 1.4 receiving touchdowns per game to wide receivers this season and should be on watch for a big game from Washington's Terry McLaurin.
McLaurin has been the only true receiving threat for Washington this season, as he is averaging 5.8 receptions per game, 80 receiving yards per game and 0.60 touchdowns per game on 9.8 targets. McLaurin has seen 11 or more targets per game in three of five games this season and will likely be in line for a high-volume day as the Football Team aims to keep pace with Kansas City's offense.
Like Kansas City, Washington's defense has struggled on the season as well. They are allowing 31.0 points per game, and 293.4 passing yards per game to go with 2.8 receiving touchdowns per game - the second most of any team this season.
In what's projected to be the highest-scoring game on this weekend's slate, our projections have McLaurin set for 14.9 fantasy points (WR5).
Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington Football Team
Let's run it back with one more Washington Football Team player. This one, in particular, comes in a bit of a "revenge game" narrative, if that's your sort of thing. And the player seeking said revenge is tight end Ricky Seals-Jones.
Seals-Jones has long been one of my favorite tight ends who I hoped would one day get a chance. The former wide receiver converted to tight end while with the Arizona Cardinals, and posted a receiving line of 46/544/4 with them over two seasons. In 2019 he went to Cleveland, where he caught another 14 passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns.
For his career, RSJ has averaged 12.5 yards per reception, and has caught eight passes for 79 yards and one touchdown for the Football Team this season.
Now, RSJ gets a home matchup against Kansas City, a team he spent the entire 2020 season with.
In his first game without Logan Thomas, Seals-Jones saw a 99% snap share and caught 5-of-8 targets for 41 yards.
While his fantasy day wasn't great, it had the potential to be much better than the 6.6 fantasy points he provided. The Chiefs, as previously mentioned have struggled on defense this season. Their ability or inability to cover tight ends goes right along with those struggles, as they have allowed the most receiving yards per game to the position at 93.2 yards per game and the third most receptions at 6.2.
Our projections aren't overly high on Seals-Jones, as they project him for 6.8 fantasy points on the weekend (TE15). But a single touchdown will put him over that mark, and he did see a handful of end zone targets in Week 5.
Hunter Henry, New England Patriots
After a slow start to the season, Hunter Henry has now scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks, while averaging 6.5 targets per game over that span, including a season-high eight in Week 5 against Houston.
On the season, Henry has caught 20-of-26 targets for 216 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 8.7 fantasy points per game (TE9).
Like Ricky Seals-Jones, Henry also has a great defensive matchup for tight ends. Interestingly, the Cowboys are allowing the same number of receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends that the Chiefs are (93.2).
The Patriots are largely devoid of wide receiver talent outside of Jakobi Meyers, who looks decent.
In a game that could feature a high total and the Patriots trailing, rookie quarterback Mac Jones may look to continue leaning on Hunter Henry, who he appears to be developing a little bit of chemistry with.