3 Lessons Learned After Week 6

Chris Allen reviews three noteworthy performances coming out of Week 6 and provides some advice for fantasy managers on how to approach their situations going forward.

The main lesson coming out of Week 6 is to not overreact to single week performances. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was widely considered a marginal bust with his lack of touchdowns and questionable vision on his short-yardage attempts. He still lost out on a goal-line attempt but hung 161 yards on Buffalo to stave off the Le'Veon Bell hype for another week. Lamar Jackson only had three rushing yards after missing two practices in Week 5. The knee injury had most of the league concerned about his future until he ran for 108 yards reminding us all of what he can do with the ball in his hands. We’ve had enough games to weigh past performance along with our weekly takeaways. Keep that in mind, I review some of the week’s highlights and lowlights with the trends and actionable thoughts to take us into Week 7 and beyond.

Quarterback: Gardner Minshew, Jaguars

Week 6 Results: 21.9 (Projected), 18.1(Actual)

A 3.8-point differential isn’t usually the cause for concern, but we can’t just scout box scores and move on to the next week. The Jaguars suffered their fifth loss in a row in Week 6. It’s not like we expected Jacksonville to win the division. However, coaching and quarterback changes are happening across the league and we’d like some certainty that Minshew will be available to us in future weeks. D.J. Chark Jr wasn't as impressed with his quarterback’s latest performance, and Minshew’s peripherals tell a similar story. His completion percentage has steadily declined over the last month of games. His percentage of on-target throws hasn’t been above 70% since Week 3. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown on a pass greater than 15 air yards since Week 2. We can forgive some of his play due to Jacksonville’s 23rd-ranked offensive line, but we saw him make up for the deficiency via scrambles in 2019. Last season he ran for 344 yards. This season he’s on pace for 268.8. Minshew is currently the QB14 through six weeks of the 2020 season. His offseason ADP would see this as a win, but his shaky performances warranted a second look into what’s ailing the Jaguars’ passing game.

Advice Moving Forward:

Continue to start Minshew in positive matchups, but keep an eye out for other options. Minshew had an excellent start to the season with a nearly perfect game against Indianapolis. His yardage total (173) may have been weak, but his efficiency as a passer was what started Jacksonville off with a win. He generated an average of 0.4 Expected Points Added per Play (EPA per Play) and +20.9% Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE). Essentially, he was increasing the Jaguars’ chances of winning with each the majority of his attempts. He didn’t maintain that same level of efficiency moving forward, but his next three games showed similar skill. Minshew average 0.1 EPA per Play and +3.4% CPOE from Weeks 3-5 despite the 9.2-point clunker to start off Week 3 on Thursday Night Football. We attributed his drop in play with D.J. Chark Jr’s absence and his fantasy points have certainly agreed with the sentiment. However, his peripherals do not. In the past two weeks, Minshew’s efficiency has dropped to -0.1 EPA per Play and -1.5% CPOE. He salvaged what would have been a lackluster Week 6 with a short-yardage rushing touchdown, but his peripherals have been concerning. He faces the Chargers who are coming off of their bye but have allowed over 300 passing yards to three of their last four opponents. Minshew may be fine for Week 7, but he doesn’t carry the same certainty as he had in weeks past.

Running Back: D'Andre Swift, Lions

Week 6 Results: 10.8 (Projected), 27.3 (Actual)

Swift is just the third rookie running back to finish as an RB1 this season. With so much hype surrounding the rookie class, coaching staffs have kept our hopes in check with committees to hold our favorite prospects back from stardom. J.K. Dobbins has had to contend with Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram II. Cam Akers has been both injured and trapped behind Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson. D’Andre Swift was thought to be in a similar situation, but his talent couldn’t be held back any longer. He had already secured a 12% target share, but we needed the breakout game for him to secure his place atop the pecking order in Detroit. We’d like to think going over 100 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns would be enough, but we’re dealing with Matt Patricia. The same head coach who immediately signed Adrian Peterson upon his release from Washington. Before we lock Swift into our RB2 spot moving forward, I took a look into his Week 6 usage and how we can approach the rookie over the next few weeks.

Advice Moving Forward:

Either trade Swift for positive value or hold, but he’s not automatically an RB2. If you just stroll down Narrative Street, the idea of a Swift takeover makes some sense. Fantasy managers have been waiting on Swift to break into the fantasy ranks after assuming he’d become the lead back given his second-round draft capital. Adrian Peterson was just a hindrance, and Swift’s 27.3 PPR points is a sign of better things to come. However, the results oversell his usage. The rookie still only saw 44.7% of the running back touches in Week 6. It’s an improvement on 34.5% share prior to their bye, but Swift was also on the field for just 38% of Detroit’s offensive snaps. Even in a game where Swift earned a 13% target share, Matt Patricia still saw fit to split carries between all three running backs. His workload uncertainty is the reason why Swift is a hold (or trade for greater value) for the time being. He should have more opportunity to prove himself a viable fantasy asset as the Lions face Atlanta, Minnesota, and Carolina over their next five games. Swift should become a valuable asset moving forward, but we shouldn’t be ready to crown his Week 6 performance a breakout event just yet.

Wide Receiver: T.Y. Hilton, Colts

Week 6 Results: 13.3 (Projected), 2.1 (Actual)

A.J. Green, Larry Fitzgerald, and T.Y. Hilton were receivers we’d target early in drafts. We knew their role, projected target share, and they’d meet their seasonal projections barring injury. But Father Time is undefeated. T.Y. Hilton is the WR68 in PPR scoring through six weeks. He’s yet to score more points than Allen Lazard who went on Injured Reserve after Week 3. The Colts had leaned on the run in Weeks 3 and 4 with a 46.7% neutral passing rate which capped Hilton’s volume, but Rivers has attempted 77 attempts in their last two games. Hilton’s low fantasy output and shrinking target share is a cause for concern. With Indianapolis heading into their bye, I took a closer look at his usage trends to see if there’s anything to salvage moving forward.

Advice Moving Forward:

If you haven’t already, drop Hilton as the Colts go on their bye. His fantasy totals have been disappointing the entire season (7.4 PPG), but there’s always been some hope attached to his value. In Weeks 1 and 2, it was his lack of chemistry with Philip Rivers. The response was that he just needed to shake off the rust. In Weeks 3-5, it was drops negating deep throws and possible touchdowns. The response was that mental mistakes can be overcome. And throughout it all, Hilton was the primary receiver in the Colts’ offense. He held a 20% target share with 34% of the team’s air yards which solidified our aspirations for a T.Y. comeback in the coming weeks. But Hilton’s usage took a significant step back in Week 6. His target share dropped to just 12% in a game where Philip Rivers threw 44 pass attempts for a season-high 371 yards. Consequently, Hilton was passed up in the pecking order by Marcus Johnson, Zach Pascal, and Trey Burton. Hilton didn’t even receive a red-zone target as the Colts scored 31 points. The ascension of more reliable assets within the offense limits any chance Hilton had left for being a viable asset on our benches. With the Colts entering their bye, Hilton’s best left out on the waiver wire until we see more out of the veteran.

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