Week 6 Lessons Learned: A Vikings Onslaught and a Jets Resurgence

by Tyler Strong ·

The NFL followed the offensive explosion that was Week 5 with a wacky Week 6. Some offenses had get right games, while others looked fraudulent. Matt Ryan went 30-36 with 356 yards and four touchdowns and his team lost. The Browns looked bad again. Oh, and Tom Brady saw four goal-line carries. Up is down, down is up. From Stefon Diggs to Kyler Murray, let’s use advanced stats, metrics and analytics to see how to react to the weekend’s action.

Lesson One (TNF): Tom Brady: Touchdown Vulture

The game was a bit closer than expected, but the Patriots still walloped the Giants on Thursday Night. It was all systems go for Sony Michel, with an opportunistic defense providing short fields and run-heavy game script. However, noted goal line back Tom Brady saw four carries inside the goal line, converting two for touchdowns. It was a maddening chain of events for Michel backers.

Check out Tom Brady on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

While Michel’s 24 touches and 113 total yards certainly didn’t hurt, it was #DeathTilt seeing franchise cornerstone Brady getting all those juicy short-yardage touches at the goal line. This was after Brandon Bolden cashed in for a rushing touchdown midway through the first quarter. The Patriots’ patented RBBC was in full effect in a game that was a Michel blow up spot on paper. His usage was solid, as he carried the ball 22 times as opposed to Bolden’s three and James White‘s three, but Michel’s high-end RB2 value is all tied up in those scoring opportunities New England so often finds themselves in. The red zone trips won’t dry up with the Patriots’ defense racking up turnovers, but Michel backers have to be getting impatient with his lack of touchdowns despite PlayerProfiler’s league-best +11.36 Game Script score.

Action: Michel is a middle of the road RB2 going forward. He can’t seem to cash in even in potential blow up spots, so it’s certainly a fair time to flex other options over him.

Lesson Two: Kirk Cousins and company are back

The Vikings’ passing offense, which is made up of Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and nobody else, built upon last week’s success by dunking on Philadelphia’s wet paper secondary. Diggs’ 167 yards matched his total from the last three weeks combined, and his three touchdowns were his first scores since Week 2. It may have taken public outcry from the receivers, but everybody should be happy after this performance. While Cousins is a player many love to hate, this explosion wouldn’t have been possible if he wasn’t putting dimes right on his receivers all day long. It was never a talent problem with anyone on this offense, it was always a volume problem.

Stefon Diggs Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Notably, the Vikings did all this aerial damage with a lead. It remains to be seen if the coaching staff will let this increased passing volume be the exception or the rule. With the best receiver duo in football, it would behoove the Vikings brass to use them accordingly, so let’s keep a close eye on that going forward.

Action: If you bought low on Diggs, congratulations. The increased passing volume and Alexander Mattison‘s production on Sunday could leave Dalvin Cook underowned in DFS next week. Cousins has played himself back into starting lineups going forward.

Lesson Three: Jets go full Lazarus, Cowboys don’t

Sam Darnold made his triumphal return to the starting lineup just in time to put another nail in the Cowboys’ coffin. Darnold’s reinsertion into the offense immediately benefited a passing game that was drawing dead over the last month. It only took a 92-yard touchdown pass perfectly placed for Robby Anderson to signify Darnold was officially back. Anderson and Jamison Crowder are back in starting lineups, and don’t forget about Chris Herndon‘s impending return.

Robby Anderson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The Cowboys looked like Super Bowl contenders for a couple weeks. Losses to the Saints and Packers brought doubt. Then the 0-4 Jets sent them back to Dallas looking like complete frauds. This team teased us with high-efficiency playcalling the first three weeks, and now they look to be back to their old ways. To make matters worse, Amari Cooper exited the game almost as quickly as it began with what’s been called a thigh bruise. He was in “pretty significant pain” and did not return. Dallas has a Week 8 bye, so it would not be surprising at all to see him sat for Week 7’s matchup with the Eagles. If this team drops a fourth straight game, their Super Bowl aspirations will be all but dead.

Action: If Cooper sits ahead of the Week 8 bye, Michael Gallup becomes a smash WR1 against an Eagles secondary that just got worked by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Anderson makes for an interesting contrarian GPP option against New England next week. It only takes one, as we saw against the Cowboys.

Lesson Four: Atlanta and Arizona head in different directions

Atlanta dropped to 1-5 in spite of exceptional play from Matt Ryan. He leads the league in completions and passing touchdowns, and is a shade behind Patrick Mahomes in passing yards. This is all fine for his receiving group, as they continue to amass massive counting stats while the defense fails to stop anyone. Julio Jones hasn’t scored since Week 3, but that won’t last long with as much passing volume as Atlanta is churning out. Folks are calling for “defensive-minded” Dan Quinn’s job, and they might get their wish if Atlanta’s defense looks this pathetic against the Rams or Seahawks next up.

Kyler Murray has looked more comfortable and poised every week, and he took full advantage of Atlanta’s “defense.” Murray racked up 340 yards and three touchdowns, adding 32 yards on the ground in his best fantasy day yet. When combining Arizona’s defense with lightning quick pace of play, there is ample opportunity for Murray and company to produce. He is top five in pass attempts and deep ball throws, top eight in deep ball completion percentage and top five in red zone pass attempts. With the Cardinals offense still having red zone conversion issues, Murray’s numbers have even more room to grow. Couple that with his 206 rushing yards thus far and he has all the makings of an elite fantasy option for a long time.

Action: Flow chart hero Austin Hooper has been the most consistent tight end in fantasy this season. Jam him in against the Rams, who George Kittle just worked for 8-105. Chase Edmonds continues to receive work in Arizona and is a premier buy in both dynasty and redraft, especially with David Johnson ailing.

Monday Night Homework: Davante Adams Absent, T.J. Hockenson Hobbled

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a bust in place of Davante Adams last week. In his defense, Aaron Jones was the Green Bay offense in Week 5. Now the Packers have to contend with a Detroit defense that’s allowed only one 300-yard day through the air, to Patrick Mahomes. MVS and Geronimo Allison will have to do battle with Darius Slay, who has been pretty solid, but did get worked by Keenan Allen in Week 2 for a 9-103 day. Jamaal Williams is also set to return, so Aaron Jones won’t be the only show in the backfield this week.

Detroit is slated to get T.J. Hockenson back after a scary tumble before the bye. He has been a rare productive tight end for Detroit and for fantasy thus far, and his return to the offense will be a catalyst in the middle of the field while Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones attract most of the secondary’s attention. With 2019 being another tight end wasteland, Hockenson is a good option even in a Monday Night sweat. Both Green Bay and Detroit have pretty balanced attacks and solid defenses, so it will be interesting to see how one attacks another in this key division matchup.