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RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 6

Welcome back for the Week 6 edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, your matchup guide for all of this weekend’s (and Monday’s) NFL contests. While this piece is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used for some of those decisions as well.

In each NFL Week 6 game profile below, players mentioned in the green light sections have a great matchup, and can be counted on as rock solid options for the week. Players mentioned in the yellow light sections have just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns, meaning they are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire. Players in the red light sections have serious concerns, and need to have expectations lowered for the week, and/or should be avoided if possible. Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not be the guy(s) carrying your team to victory this week.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default PPR scoring system.

Bye Week Teams: New Orleans, Detroit

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Buccaneers Falcons
Quarterback 1st 3rd
Running Back 5th 3rd
Wide Receiver 2nd 5th
Tight End 1st 23rd
Defense/Special Teams 23rd 24th
Vegas Line: Falcons -3
Vegas Over/Under: 57.5
green-light
  • Jameis Winston – Returns for his first 2018 start after averaging 306.9 passing yards per contest in 2017 over the 11 in which he started and finished, seven of which Winston accounted for multiple touchdowns. The Falcons have given up an average of 326.5 passing yards and exactly three touchdowns to opposing contest in every game since Week 2.
  • Mike Evans – I’m not sure how happy Evans is to have Winston back under center, as the 25-year old wideout had been putting up some of the best numbers of his career with Ryan Fitzpatrick slinging the ball around. Nevertheless, Atlanta is tied with the Saints for most receiving touchdowns allowed to opposing wideouts (10), so Evans is the best bet to add to that total.
  • Matt Ryan – The Bucs are one of the few teams that may actually play worse pass defense than Atlanta. The team around Ryan may be cratering, but the veteran quarterback continues to put up useful fantasy stats, and currently sits as the overall QB3 despite last week’s dud against Pittsburgh.
  • Julio Jones – Currently sits as the overall PPR WR12 (last evening’s game not withstanding) through five weeks despite having not scored a touchdown this season. In 12 career games against Tampa Bay, Jones posted at least 111 receiving yards or more in 7 of them, and has scored 10 times.
yellow-light
  • Chris Godwin/DeSean Jackson – With the Bucs’ run game in shambles, expect both wideouts to be heavily involved in this projected shootout. Jackson had eclipsed 100 yards receiving three of four games prior to Tampa Bay’s bye week, while Godwin leads the team in red zone targets.
  • Cameron Brate – Should slot in as the Bucs’ primary pass-catching tight end for this week at least assuming O.J. Howard is out (if not, downgrade Brate to red light status). The Falcons are only allowing 45.8 receiving yards per game to the position, though Brate’s history catching touchdown passes from QB Winston is well-documented (14 scores in 31 games played across 2016-17).
  • Mohamed Sanu/Calvin Ridley – Sanu has averaged 73.3 receiving yards and scored twice over his last three contests, and has been targeted at least seven times in each of them. Ridley predictably crashed back to Earth with a 4-38-0 line of five targets last week, though remains favorite of QB Ryan’s in the red zone.
  • Austin Hooper – His 77 Week 5 receiving yards were the most in a game since the 2017 opener, and 12 targets were a career high. The Bucs have allowed an opposing tight end to top 80 receiving yards in three of four contests this season.
  • Tevin Coleman – Will likely regain control of the Falcons’ backfield for at least this week, as teammate Devonta Freeman (foot) is likely out. The Buccaneers have actually been more susceptible to pass catching backs this season, having allowed more receiving yards than rushing to opposing backfields, which is an area where Coleman excels.
red-light
  • Buccaneers Running Backs – Tampa Bay currently fields the NFL’s third-worst rushing offense with just 69.5 yards per game. Rookie second-round pick Ronald Jones finally saw his first game action in Week 4 after sitting as a healthy inactive in Weeks 1 thru 3, and manged just 28 yards on 11 touches. Meanwhile presumed “starter” Peyton Barber has been stuck in the mud, averaging just 37.0 rushing yards per game on the season. The Falcons have been particularly vulnerable to backs who catch passes (most receptions allowed to opposing backfields this season), which is a skill neither Barber nor Jones possess.
  • O.J. Howard (knee) – Returned to practice this week after suffering a knee injury in Week 4 that reportedly came with a 2-4 week timetable. If active, Howard will likely be limited thus capping both his and Cameron Brate‘s upside this week.
  • Devonta Freeman (foot) – Highly doubtful after missing practice all week.

Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Panthers Redskins
Quarterback 16th 18th
Running Back 20th 16th
Wide Receiver 13th 25th
Tight End 10th 18th
Defense/Special Teams 27th 17th
Vegas Line: Redskins -1
Vegas Over/Under: 
44.5
green-light
  • Jordan Reed – Recorded just a 1-21-0 line on two targets last Monday evening, though will likely need to take on an even heftier role with all the injuries to Washington’s receivers (Crowder, Doctson, Richardson). Carolina had difficulty defending opponents with capable pass catching tight ends (Falcons in Week 2, Bengals in Week 3).
  • Christian McCaffrey – Has disappointingly recorded just seven receptions over his past two contests after recording 20 across Weeks 1 and 2, though should be able to make up for the lack of pass game work on the ground this week. Pro Football Focus’ defense DVOA rankings currently list Washington as their third-worst rush defense.
  • Panthers D/ST – With all of Washington’s injuries on the offensive side of the ball coupled with recent poor quarterback play, this unit makes for a serviceable streaming option.
yellow-light
  • Cam Newton – Has been held to 237 passing yards or less in three of four 2018 contests. Even after getting scorched by the Saints in Week 5, Washington allows just the seventh-fewest passing yards per game.
  • Devin Funchess – Leads the Panthers’ receiving corps in targets, but has yet to see more than 9 in any contest this season. Washington’s secondary has been mostly stingy to opposing wideouts this season, but showed some chinks in the armor last Monday night.
  • Alex Smith – Flopped in epic fashion in last Monday’s pristine matchup versus the Saints, and is dealing with a banged up receiving corps to boot.
  • Adrian Peterson (shoulder) – If his injury ends up not being serious, Peterson faces a Panthers defense that has allowed just one running back to post more than 69 rushing yards against them this season.
  • Chris Thompson – Has amassed just 79 total yards over his past two contests, and is currently dealing with a rib injury suffered last Monday night.
  • Greg Olsen (foot) – In a surprise development, Olsen returned to practice this week and is on track to suit up.
  • D.J. Moore – Managed a career-high 67 total yards on five touches last Sunday, but now has to fend off a healthy Curtis Samuel in addition to Jairus Wright for targets.

Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Seahawks Raiders
Quarterback 28th 15th
Running Back 23rd 10th
Wide Receiver 12th 9th
Tight End 27th 17th
Defense/Special Teams 12th 13th
Vegas Line: Seattle -2.5
Vegas Over/Under: 
48
  • None of note.
  • Russell Wilson – Enjoyed a rebound performance in Week 5 against the Rams by tossing three touchdown passes, though was held to fewer than 200 passing yards for the third straight contest. The Raiders, who have allowed an opposing quarterback to put up at least 289 passing yards and two touchdowns in each of the last three weeks, though the Seahawks’ recent run-heavy approach to their offensive gameplan puts a limit on Wilson’s upside.
  • Chris Carson – Returned from a one game layoff to post a second consecutive 100-yard rushing effort in Week 5 against the Rams. Having amassed 54 total touches over his last two games played, Carson can be expected to shoulder the brunt of the Seahawks’ backfield load once again against a Raiders defense that has already allowed three 100-yard rushers this season.
  • Mike Davis – Appears to have leapfrogged highly touted rookie Rashaad Penny on the Seahawks’ RB depth chart, and has managed to find the end zone three times the past two weeks. With Seattle choosing to lean on their ground game in recent weeks, there should plenty of carries for both Carson and Davis.
  • Amari Cooper – Maddeningly inconsistent, Cooper has gone 18-244-2 in Weeks 2 and 4, as compared to 4-36-0 across Weeks 1, 3, and 5. Hopefully the Raiders don’t forget about Cooper this weekend against the Seahawks’ beatable secondary.
  • Jordy Nelson – Currently on a three game scoring streak, Nelson has emerged as the Raiders most consistent option in the passing game (which isn’t saying much), though he has yet to catch more than six passes in any 2018 contest.
  • Marshawn Lynch – Recorded just 41 total yards on 11 touches as Lynch fell out of the game plan with the Seahawks embroiled in a shootout with the Rams last Sunday. In a contest that should be much slower paced, look for Lynch to be more involved.
  • Jalen Richard – Has averaged 5-50 receiving over the past three weeks, and could continue to see similar pass game usage if this game turns into a track meet, which the over/under suggests it might.
  • Seahawks D/ST – The 1-4 Raiders have committed 9 turnovers this season and possess a -4 give/take ratio as one of the more dysfunctional offenses in the NFL.
  • Derek Carr – Averaging 328 passing yards per game, but still possesses an unfavorable 7:8 touchdown to interception ratio. Seattle has still been pretty good at limiting the output of opposing quarterback’s this season despite all the defensive losses.
  • Jared Cook – Posted 4-20-0 line on six targets last Sunday, which stands as Cooks lowest receiving output of 2018. The Seahawks are allowing the sixth-fewest receiving yards to opposing tight ends this season.

Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Colts Jets
Quarterback 8th 19th
Running Back 8th 13th
Wide Receiver 17th 6th
Tight End 6th 32nd
Defense/Special Teams 18th 10th
Vegas Line: Jets -2.5
Vegas Over/Under: 
45
  • Isiaiah Crowell (ankle) – Comes off a career high 219 rushing yards against the Broncos last week, though actually saw fewer offensive touches than Powell. With the Jets favored in this contest, look for Crowell to continue being used as a hammer in order to ease the pressure on young QB Sam Darnold. Keep an eye on practice reports, however, as Crowell is reportedly dealing with an ankle issue.
  • Chester Rogers – Has been targeted 11 times in back-to-back weeks, and will continue running as the Colts’ no. 1 wideout for as long as T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) remains on the shelf. The Jets have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts through five weeks, and are dealing with injuries to CBs Buster Skrine (concussion) and Trumaine Johnson (quad).
  • Andrew Luck – Figures to be playing without a full deck once again as WR Hilton and TE Jack Doyle (hip) remain out. The Jets are neutral matchup for opposing quarterbacks, allowing 367 passing yards per contest.
  • Eric Ebron – Dealing with a few maladies which have resulted in two DNPs this week, so verify his status on Friday. If he plays, Ebron should be looking at another massive target share, though the Jets allow the second-fewest receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends.
  • Ryan Grant – Continues to put in workman-like performances with at least five catches or a touchdown in four of five contests this season as one of the Colts’ few healthy pass-catchers.
  • Nyheim Hines – Has caught 16 passes over the past two weeks, as he’s emerged as a legitimate backfield threat. The Colts’ inability to run the ball should bode well for Hines as the Colts use short passes in lieu of handoffs.
  • Robby Anderson – Emerged from witness protection to post a 3-123-2 line on five targets. The Colts rank in the lower third of the NFL in terms of receiving yards allowed to wideouts, though perhaps Anderson’s breakout performance is a sign of the tide shifting his way in the New York passing game.
  • Bilal Powell – Actually saw more carries than Crowell last week, but finished with “just” 99 rushing yards (no receptions). If Crowell’s ankle injury ends up holding him out this week, Powell gets upgraded to green light status.
  • Quincy Enunwa – Failed to reel in any of his five targets last Sunday, as it was revealed after the game Enunwa may be dealing with a hand injury. So far there’s been no indication Enunwa’s Week 6 status is in doubt, though hand injuries severely limit a receivers’ ability to play the position.
  • Marlon Mack/Jordan Wilkins – Mack appears on track to return after logging full practices all week, further complicating a muddled backfield that also includes Robert Turbin. Wilkins hasn’t logged double-digit carries since Week 2.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.