With Dalvin Cook likely sitting this one out, Mattison brings RB1 upside in a great matchup
Week 5 started a little rocky, but it ended smoother than many expected, and the same goes for fantasy owners (unless you have Dak Prescott or Dalvin Cook). The Bills and Titans were able to play their game and while a couple of issues have started to pop up this week already, the hope is that the Week 6 schedule will remain as it is currently constructed.
We do know that four teams are on bye and a few games have been moved around, but fantasy owners should be good to go as long as they pay attention to what's going elsewhere. Grab your starters, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.
Teams on bye: Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans, Seattle
START These RBs
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons
All signs point to Dalvin Cook sitting out in Week 6 with an abductor strain and since Minnesota has a bye in Week 7. But based on what Mattison did last week against Seattle, it's not like we should expect much of a drop-off. Especially considering Mattison will get his shot at a Falcons defense that has allowed an opposing running back to score a touchdown in four of the last five games (the Bears RBs couldn't find the end zone). Mattison ran for 112 yards on 20 carries Sunday night after Cook left the game. He added three receptions for 24 yards. He's a borderline RB1 this week.
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have allowed eight rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs this season, the most in the league. In Week 5, Todd Gurley ran for 121 yards and a touchdown. A running back has scored a touchdown against Carolina in every game so far this year. Montgomery hasn't really been able to do a lot of damage on the ground thus far (82 rushing yards in Week 2 is the most). This could be the game where he rewards his fantasy owners.
SIT These RBs
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos
Harris returned from injured reserve in Week 4, although most fantasy owners likely still had him on the bench as it wasn't clear that he was going to be active and the Patriots had their Sunday game postponed and moved to Monday night. He then promptly ripped off 100 yards on 17 carries in the loss to the Chiefs. Harris may have claimed the Sony Michel role but he wasn't involved in the passing game, although the Patriots didn't have Cam Newton at quarterback either. If Newton is able to return this week (which is the indication), that could change how many carries Harris sees. The matchup against Denver is tough as well so it will be hard to trust Harris as anything more than an RB3 this week.
D'Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
With Nick Chubb on IR, fantasy owners knew that Kareem Hunt would have a bigger role. It did seem that Johnson would also have fantasy value as he was scooped off the waiver wire. But those who took a shot were disappointed in Week 5 when Johnson had eight carries for 32 yards and one catch for four yards. It's baffling as he had 13 carries for 95 yards the previous week, but it should be enough to keep him on fantasy benches in Week 6, especially against the Steelers' stout D.
START These WRs
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
The Broncos face the Patriots in Week 6 and it seems that they will get Drew Lock back. The receiving corps for the Broncos is struggling and Lock will likely try to find Jeudy as much as he can. Tim Patrick is really the only other pass catcher on the team, especially with tight end Noah Fant dealing with an ankle injury and not guaranteed to play. Jeudy should get more than enough targets to put up the numbers that fantasy owners want to see. Another thing to keep in mind is the situation with Melvin Gordon, who was charged with DUI. The team may enforce disciplinary action. This may mean even more work for Jeudy.
Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys (Mon.)
After starting the season on fantasy rosters as a promising WR2/3, Kirk has yet to live up to the hype. He did have five receptions for 78 yards last week, which represented a season high in both as well as targets (seven). He had a touchdown in Week 4, and between the good matchup against the Cowboys and the promising usage trend, it may be worthwhile to take a gamble on Kirk this week.
SIT These WRs
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams (SNF)
Now that Deebo Samuel is back and healthy, Aiyuk's role has diminished. The quarterback situation for the 49ers also is murky, as Jimmy Garoppolo did not play well in his return last week and was benched at halftime. It seems that Garoppolo will still be the starter, but that doesn't mean fantasy owners should rush to start the 49ers' pass catchers, with the exception of George Kittle. Aiyuk, especially, is only a WR4 against a tough Rams secondary.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
A.J. Green is dealing with another hamstring injury and hasn't been able to practice this week, putting his status for Sunday in doubt. However, even if Green misses this game, it does not necessarily mean that Boyd gets a boost in value. The Bengals face the Colts, who are a tough matchup. Indianapolis will likely focus its defensive attention on shutting down Joe Mixon and forcing Joe Burrow to throw. But the Colts' secondary is solid, making Boyd a WR3 at best this week.
— 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.