Week 6 Offered Plenty Of Fantasy Surprises
Sometimes fantasy football makes no sense.
Like last year’s top-scoring fantasy running back, Devonta Freeman, getting outscored so far this season by his backup, Tevin Coleman.
Or Jay Ajayi’s performance Sunday.
The Miami running back hadn’t done much since starter Arian Foster went down in Week 2 with hamstring and groin injuries. Ajayi only topped 10 fantasy points once in Foster’s absence, so it made sense for fantasy owners to bench him this weekend when Foster returned to the lineup to face the Steelers.
But Ajayi surprisingly got the lion’s share of the work — more carries (25) than he’s had in any game this season. And he made the carries count, totaling 204 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Foster had just three carries for three yards.
It was one of many Week 6 surprises. In this week’s column, we’ll take a look at these unexpected performances — good and bad — and try to figure out what they mean going forward.
¦ My guess is that Ajayi is going to remain the Dolphins’ starter and possibly even the workhorse back until he stops performing well. I suggested readers pick him up a few weeks ago when coach Adam Gase admitted his running back-by-committee approach wasn’t working and he needed to “narrow” the rotation. Ajayi will be a week-to-week play, but the job is clearly his to lose.
¦ Tight end Coby Fleener of the Saints stunned the Panthers Sunday with a rushing touchdown on fourth down. He added 74 receiving yards and a touchdown through the air. Fleener had been a major disappointment, but now has scored 20 or more fantasy points in two of his past three games. He might not reach the gaudy numbers fantasy owners had hoped for when they drafted him, but his arrow is pointing up.
¦ Even though Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has been nothing but a fantasy disappointment in his career, it’s still surprising that he can’t get it done with competent quarterback Carson Wentz. Ertz has yet to score a touchdown this season or reach 10 fantasy points in the three games he’s been healthy for. The Vikings will be a brutal test for the Eagles on Sunday, but if Ertz can’t manage a quality game in the next two contests against the Cowboys and Giants, he belongs on the waiver wire.
¦ Tajae Sharpe of the Titans was one of the most hyped sleepers this offseason. I wasn’t buying it and, honestly, I think part of the hype was that the guy has a cool name that some fantasy analysts seemed to want to repeat over and over. Sharpe hit rock bottom Sunday with zero catches and one rush for one yard. If you’re scoring at home, that’s 0.10 points. Sharpe hasn’t topped six points since Week 1 when he scored 11. It’s time to cut Sharpe.
¦ Golden Tate of the Lions was benched by many owners and dropped by some after failing to reach eight fantasy points in any of his first five games. But he erupted against the Rams on Sunday, totaling 168 yards and a touchdown. Tate will continue to play second fiddle to Marvin Jones Jr., but this performance gives owners hope that Tate can at least be playable. If available, he’s worth picking up and stashing on you bench to see if he can sustain any value.
¦ Patriots’ Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett did very little a week after posting big numbers. Hogan managed just one reception and 39 yards Sunday against the Bengals a week after totaling 114 yards against the Browns. Bennett went scoreless and managed just 48 yards a week after totaling 67 yards and three touchdowns. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. This is consistent with what Tom Brady does — spread the ball around. The only player who consistently dominates under Tom Brady is Rob Gronkowski. Others can go off at any time, but playing them week to week can be a rocky road.
¦ The surprising early-season run by Steelers tight end Jesse James could be coming to an end. James scored three touchdowns in his first five games, but managed just 13 yards Sunday. He also lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a knee injury and tight end Ladarius Green, who signed in the offseason to be the starter, said he will be back this week against the Patriots. Green is worth keeping your eye on as a possible pickup.
KEVIN AMERMAN writes a weekly column about fantasy football for Times-Shamrock Newspapers. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @kevinamerman for fantasy football news and updates.