With Sammy Watkins out, Robinson will step up as a WR3 for fantasy purposes
It's another week in fantasy football, and owners may have some tough decisions to make. The Las Vegas Raiders' entire starting offensive line is currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as right tackle Trent Brown tested positive and the others were identified through contact tracing.
The NFL has already moved the Buccaneers-Raiders game out of the "Sunday Night Football" slot (replacing it with Seahawks-Cardinals) and it's possible their game could be moved to another day or postponed entirely (not like we haven't seen that already). This uncertainty means no Raiders or Bucs were considered for this week's Up/Down list. And even if this game is played as scheduled, the possibility of a depleted Las Vegas offensive line does not bode well for Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller and the rest of the Raiders' offense, both in terms of real-life and fantasy production.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, Minnesota
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. In each game this season, QBs have thrown for multiple touchdowns. Bridgewater had a rough outing against a tough opponent in Chicago in Week 6. In good matchups, Bridgewater has had success. He also was able to show that he still could get yards on the ground with 48 rushing yards in Week 6. Between the matchup and the way that he has been playing, Bridgewater should finish higher than his No. 14 ranking.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco 49ers
With Raheem Mostert sidelined (again), it will be up to McKinnon to take on his role. Jeff Wilson Jr. has shown that he is not going to be part of this offense, and he is dealing with an injury as well. JaMycal Hasty did get more chances in Week 6 after Mostert went down, finishing with 37 yards. However, McKinnon is the one that should be involved in the passing game as well. He's ranked No. 26 in a tough matchup against the Patriots, but he should exceed that ranking. The Patriots are going to focus their attention on George Kittle, leaving McKinnon as the target for Jimmy Garoppolo's dump and check-down passes.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks game against the Cardinals has been flexed into the "Sunday Night Football" slot (replacing Buccaneers-Raiders), so Russell Wilson has the opportunity to shine in primetime again. If Wilson is shining, Lockett is likely going to benefit. Lockett's two most recent games before Seattle's bye were rough but in the first three of the season, he recorded no fewer than seven receptions or 67 yards. He also had four touchdowns in that span. Coming out of the bye, look for Wilson to get Lockett involved early and often. He's ranked No. 23 this week but even if Arizona focuses its attention on him, Lockett should exceed that ranking.
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
With Sammy Watkins out, some fantasy owners thought that Mecole Hardman would benefit. Instead, it's been Robinson. Yet, this week, Hardman (No. 42) is ranked higher than Robinson (No. 55). Robinson has been the one that Watkins owners should be starting. In Week 6, Robinson had five receptions for 69 yards. Hardman put up a goose egg. On Sunday, Robinson should exceed his ranking once again.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans
Part of Smith's low ranking (No. 17) is because he injured his ankle in Week 6. In that game, he only had one reception for 13 yards before leaving early. In relief, Anthony Firkser caught eight passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. The team wants to use the tight end, and Smith was able to practice in full this week. He's going to play in Week 7, even though it is a tough matchup against Pittsburgh (although Steelers lost LB Devin Bush to a torn ACL). Smith is borderline TE1 this week.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
It's certainly possible that the Falcons/Lions game will become a shootout. However, the Falcons/Packers game in Week 4 also was projected to feature plenty of points. In that game, Ryan threw for 285 yards but nary a touchdown. Ryan did have a great game in Week 6, torching the Vikings for 371 yards and four touchdowns. It certainly helped that he had both of his top receivers back. Julio Jones isn't 100 percent, but should keep playing through his injuries. Ryan should have a good game, but not quite as high as his No. 7 ranking.
Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills
Moss was a guy that fantasy owners grabbed in drafts, thinking that he would take over Devin Singletary's job. After missing three weeks because of a toe injury, Moss returned in Week 6. He had five carries for 10 yards. He has yet to have double-digit carries this season. Given the injury and the way the Bills have been playing, it is unlikely that Moss will have a bigger role, even in what could be a blowout game against the New York Jets. He's ranked No. 27, but Moss is not even worthy of an RB3 slot.
D'Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns
Johnson was a big waiver wire pickup when Nick Chubb went down, but the Browns just haven't used him in their offense. Kareem Hunt has taken over Chubb's role and he's done it well. In Week 5, he had 72 rushing yards, three receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown. In a tough matchup in Week 6, he had 40 rushing yards. In that span, Johnson has had 12 carries for 33 yards and one reception for four yards. He also fumbled in Week 6, which bodes well for Hunt. Johnson is ranked No. 41, but this seems high.
Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans
Fuller has a touchdown in the past four games. He hasn't had more than six receptions, but he's had two 100-yard games in that span as well. Fuller, when healthy, has been capable of having good games. However, he's ranked No. 14 this week and the Packers will likely have Jaire Alexander on him. Alexander has shut down No. 1 receivers in the past few weeks, and Fuller is next on that list.
Eric Ebron, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers do not use the tight end position as much as they have in the past. In five games, Ebron has one outing with more than 50 yards. In Week 6, he had two receptions for nine yards. The Titans are a good matchup for tight ends, but trusting Ebron is tough. He only has one touchdown this season, and he'll need another to reach his No. 11 ranking.
Full Disclosure from Week 6
5 Up (3/5 correct)
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans (Ranked: 16, Actual: 3)
Adrian Peterson, RB, Lions (Ranked: 36, Actual: 17)
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins (Ranked: 43, Actual: 56)
Chase Claypool, WR, Steelers (Ranked: 35, Actual: 13)
Robert Tonyan, TE, Packers (Ranked: 15, Actual: 26)
5 down (4/5 correct)
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons (Ranked: 8, Actual: 2)
James Robinson, RB, Jaguars, (Ranked: 3, Actual: 9)
Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Rams (Ranked: 23, Actual: 27)
Robby Anderson, WR, Panthers (Ranked: 24, Actual: 34)
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles (Ranked: 6, Actual: 22, left with injury)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.