Week 6 Busts: Expectations for D.J. Chark should be lowered this week against Marshon Lattimore and the Saints.
In the Weekly Fantasy Unit, there are crimes committed that would shock and appal you: Negative points, underwhelming superstars and outright busts. These are the findings of one man on a mission to expose the NFL’s biggest perpetrators before they strike again.
These are … the Fantasy Files.
Welcome everyone to Week 6 of the 2019 NFL Season! Week 5 has come and gone and for fantasy owners around the world, we’re entering a crucial portion of the season. This stretch from Weeks 6-10 will separate the winners from the losers, the pretenders from the contenders. That process begins this week, and we’re here to help you cement that contender status. Let’s take a look at last weeks notes:
WHERE WE HIT:
- James O’Shaughnessy (7 Points)
- After quietly emerging as one of Gardner Minshew’s favorite targets in Jacksonville, O’Shaughnessy was a trendy streaming tight end option over the past month. Unfortunately, he left last Sunday’s contest with a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. His 57 average of 4 targets per game doesn’t leave a major role for another player to step into. Consider this position a black hole for the Jags moving forward.
- Kansas City D/ST (3 Points)
- In what was easily the biggest upset of the season so far the Indianapolis Colts manhandled the Kansas City Chiefs and walked out of Arrowhead with a victory. They succeeded by running the ball all game long and pressuring Patrick Mahomes regularly. Kansas City’s defense looks like swiss cheese right now despite adding Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark in the offseason. New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnaulo will need to figure something out, otherwise, this team’s Super Bowl hopes will remain hamstrung.
- Le’Veon Bell (12 Points)
- Considering the draft stock that most owners likely sunk into drafting Bell (late 1st round/early 2nd round), twelve points should be considered a disappointment. We marked Bell as our primary suspect heading into Week 5 because of the lack of weapons at the Jets disposal, and the overwhelming strength of Philadelphia’s run defense. Bell touched the ball 22 times and didn’t eclipse 100 total yards in a game where New York only mustered six points. He’ll be a prime bounce-back candidate in the second half with Sam Darnold back under center starting Week 6.
WHERE WE MISSED:
- Matt Ryan (32 Points)
- NFC South quarterbacks have been a hard nut to crack through the first month+ of this season. Between Jameis Winston last week and now Ryan in Week 5 we’re left shaking our heads at the inconsistency. Ryan came into a surefire shootout with the Texans with a TD/INT ratio of 8/7 and one of the worst defenses in the league. The Falcons lack of efficiency on defense has forced Ryan to throw for over 300 yards per game this year which gives him a solid floor, but his ceiling may have been this game. His performance jumped from an above average one to a great one because of a rare rushing TD. Owners can’t expect Ryan to have a rushing score on any given week, but he’ll remain a borderline Top 10 QB play on volume alone.
- Josh Jacobs (27 Points)
- The aformentioned “Mack Attack” in the UK was canceled on Sunday afternoon courtesy of a surprisingly strong game from the Oakland Raiders offensive line. Against the NFL’s third ranked run defense, the Raiders were able to impose their will on the ground with Josh Jacobs. The rookie had the best game of his young career against one of the leagues top defenses, shredding the Bears to the tune of (29 touches/143 Yds/2 Tds). If this performance from Oaklands offensive line is legit they may have a real shot at being competitive well into the second half of the season.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster (15 Points)
- This one hurt. This one hurt primarily because it felt like a complete outlier, but nonetheless, JuJu came through in Week 5 against Baltimore. The second-year wideout recorded a perfect catch rate on the day (7 targets/7 receptions) and turned them into 75 yards and a TD. JuJu also lost a crucial fumble in the game that ultimately cost Pittsburgh the victory. With Mason Rudolph out of commission for the foreseeable future following a nasty Earl Thomas hit, the prospects of Pittsburgh’s offense are a complete mystery. Smith-Schuster is one of the best sell high candidates in fantasy now based on name value and recent production. Capitalize on this big week and try to move him as soon as you can.
NOW, with that out of the way, let’s jump into the bust candidates for Week 6:
QUARTERBACK: JARED GOFF (Los Angeles Rams)
You wouldn’t know it by looking at his passing yards, but Jared Goff hasn’t had a particularly great start to the 2019 season.
For both the Rams and fantasy purposes, Goff has wavered between mediocre and above average through the first five weeks. Goff has eclipsed 20 fantasy points just once on the year in standard formats so far (against Tampa Bay), and he needed to throw the ball nearly 70 times to hit that mark. This week the Rams will be looking to bounce back from two tough losses against an undefeated 49ers team at home.
While Goff usually plays better in LA, he will be going into this game without Todd Gurley in the backfield. This one could become one dimensional quickly for the Rams on offense, and the Niners defense is good enough to take advantage of that weakness.
RUNNING BACK: JAMES CONNER (Pittsburgh Steelers)
This selection has much more to do with Conner’s supporting cast than Conner himself.
The 2nd year starter blew up in the wake of Le’Veon Bell’s hold out last year and flew to the top of draft boards in 2019. Owners that drafted Conner anticipated another monster season from the talented tailback, but injuries around him and the presence of Jaylen Samuels have limited his upside so far. Now on their third quarterback, and staring down a Top 10 draft pick in 2020, the Steelers have the feel of a team that’s already out of the running.
Conner should see an additional boost in usage due to the inexperience Pittsburgh will have under center, but opposing defenses will be planning for him each time out. We don’t anticipate big things for the Steelers as a whole against a talented Chargers defense this week.
WIDE RECEIVER: GERONIMO ALLISON (Green Bay Packers)
With star wideout Davante Adams officially ruled out for Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions, the temptation to start either of the Packers other options will be real for some owners. While it’s difficult to trust either option given Green Bay’s reliance on the run game, we believe Marques Valdez-Scantling is a safer choice than Allison.
Allison has averaged just 4 targets per game on the year and has scored twice. The opportunities may be boosted slightly for him with Adams out, but he’ll run the risk of matching up with the Lions top corner, Darius Slay in this one.
TIGHT END: JARED COOK (New Orleans Saints)
Coming into the 2019 season Jared Cook was earmarked by many fantasy analysts to be a sneaky Top 5 tight end candidate.
Entering an offense with Drew Brees after breaking out in Oakland’s abysmal system in 2018, Cook was expected to be somewhat of a Jimmy Graham lite for New Orleans. The results so far have been pretty up and down. With Brees sidelined for the past three weeks, Cook has seen his target count fluctuate from as low as (2) to as high as (6) and has scored just once on the year altogether. His target ceiling suggests value in PPR formats, but in standard leagues, Cook is no better than a touchdown-dependent option.
We expect that trend to continue in a tough match-up with a talented Jaguars defense in Week 6.
DEFENSE: HOUSTON D/ST
Houston’s defense allowed a combined 700+ passing yards, 5 TD/1 INT to the tandem of Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan over the past few weeks. This week they’ll have to face an angry Patrick Mahomes who will be more than motivated to take out his frustrations on them following Kansas City’s shocking loss to the Colts. Houston just doesn’t stack up against Kansas City’s offense well (few teams do). We fully expect this one to be a high flying shootout of epic proportions between two of the leagues best young quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Fade both defenses and make sure you have your popcorn ready for this one.
PRIMARY SUSPECT: D.J CHARK (Jacksonville Jaguars)
This week’s Primary Suspect will undoubtedly rub more than a few fantasy owners the wrong way.
D.J. Chark has been one of the more surprising breakout talents of the first month of the 2019 season. For a Jacksonville team that looked focused on establishing Dede Westbrook with Nick Foles heading into the year, it’s the Minshew to Chark connection that’s really taken hold. Chark opened the year hot with Foles under center, catching all four of his targets for 146 Yds/TD, and went on to score in the next two games as well with Minshew under center. He’s quickly become Minshew’s favorite target on offense, holding a WR1 level target share (8 targets per game), and eclipsing 100 receiving yards in two games already.
The reason fantasy owners will balk at this selection is because of what Chark did just last week. The budding star saw a season-high in targets (11) and caught 8 of them for 164 yards/2 TDs against the Carolina Panthers. This performance has made Chark either virutally untouchable, or one of the hottest sell high names in fantasy football depending on what kind of league you’re in.
We’re here to say that we believe in his talent, but we don’t believe he will have similar success against the New Orleans Saints in Week 6.
The reason for that is simple: Marshon Lattimore. With the exception of Stephon Gilmore in New England, there’s little argument that Lattimore has been the best cover corner in the NFL through the first month of action. In the past two weeks alone Lattimore has erased Amari Cooper and Mike Evans from the stat sheets (Cooper: 5 Rec/48 Yds, Evans: 0 Rec/0 Yds).
He’s playing at an elite level and taking away teams top receiving options seemingly at will, and that means a match-up with Chark this week. Start D.J. if you want to, but know that there’s a killer out there in gold who will have his eyes on him all game long. Expectations should be lowered.