Not to make light of an unfortunate and sad situation, but the torn ACL in the right knee of Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is one of the main reasons weekly fantasy football leagues have roared to the forefront of fantasy sports.
The collective NFL and fantasy nation watched in horror as the Chiefs primary offensive weapon went down without contact and eventually left Sunday’s 18-17 loss to the Chicago Bears. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid told reporters the preliminary report he saw regarding Charles’ injury suggests his season is over, and the worst fears were confirmed Monday.
Now fantasy players in traditional season-long leagues who were depending on Charles to carry their team to a championship, as well as the Chiefs real hopes of returning to the postseason, are up in flames.
But weekly fantasy players, whether they call FanDuel or DraftKings their platform of choice, have the option of resiliency at their disposal. They won’t be forced to cut Charles and scour the waiver-wire for a mid to low-level replacement, or even sell the farm for an elite running back in a trade.
Instead, weekly players can just find the next-best elite running back with a favorable matchup in Week 6 and carry on as if Charles was never on their roster. And that could be the reason more fantasy players are forking of millions to FanDuel and DraftKings, with each company reportedly worth more than a $1 billion and setting new records with 7.1 million users and $43.6 million in entry fees in Week 5 alone, according to Bloomberg. And that came on the heels of the alleged fraud scandal that continues to surround both sites.
Turning to Week 6, finding the next best option at running back has proven difficult this season, with most topline star’s falling flat. Just take a look at who rules atop the NFL rushing leaderboard after five weeks.
With only Chicago’s Matt Forte, Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson standing out, no other player listed in the top 10 was viewed as more than a second or third round fantasy pick in the offseason. Now the likes of the Jets Chris Ivory, Cardinals veteran Chris Johnson, breakout Falcons star Devonta Freeman, and the rejuvenation of Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin are dominating the fantasy world.
But our latest weekly fantasy rankings for every key position should help clarify Week 6 for owners. Here are our players to target for weekly leagues in Week 6, broken down and ranked by position.
Week 6 byes: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay
Key players on byes: Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders; Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers; Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
1.Tom Brady, Patriots
2.Aaron Rodgers, Packers
3.Carson Palmer, Cardinals
4.Andy Dalton, Bengals
5.Joe Flacco, Ravens
Brady gets to torture the team that started maybe the wildest offseason in league history, the Colts, while Rodgers may have a difficult task against the Chargers No. 3 secondary. Dalton is making an MVP push after lighting up Seattle’s secondary and could do the same to the Bills No. 24-ranked unit. Flacco and the Ravens have had some bad luck, but can turn things around against the 49ers hapless D.
1.Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2.Devonta Freeman, Falcons
3.Arian Foster, Texans
4.Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
5.Matt Forte, Bears
AD and Freeman are Week 6’s safe picks, but Foster’s slowly worked back to form and next faces a Jags D that’s allowing 103 rushing yards a game. Forte slips back from No. 2 last week to No. 5 because the Bears offense can’t seem to keep any top receivers on the field and Detroit could focus its efforts just on stopping him.
1.Julio Jones, Falcons
2.Antonio Brown, Steelers
3.A.J. Green, Bengals
4.Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
5.Julian Edelman, Patriots
Hamstring and toe injuries hampered Jones in Week 5, but he next gets the Saints beleaguered pass defense allowing 9.1 yards per pass, second-worst in the league. Brown’s struggled since Ben Roethlisberger went down, but goes against a Cardinals D that’s No. 14 against the pass and has allowed 547 yards after the catch. He and Fitzgerald could be at the center of a shootout, with the Steelers D barely a shade better. Edelman’s a must buy against a No. 28 Indy secondary.
1.Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2.Martellus Bennett, Bears
3.Tyler Eifert, Bengals
4.Travis Kelce, Chiefs
5.Greg Olsen, Panthers
It’s tempting to move Gronk from No. 1 because the Colts are actually solid against tight ends, letting up only 5.3 fantasy points a game, but the Patriots are out for blood. Bennett might be a stronger pick when facing a Detroit defense coughing up 8.8 points per contest to tight ends. Same goes for Olsen vs. Seattle’s surprisingly inconsistent work this season.
1.Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers
2.DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
3.Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
4.T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars
5.Giovani Bernard, Bengals
Hyde’s a gamble against the Ravens, a defense that’s holding opposing rushers to 3.8 yards per rush and has allowed just four rushing scores. Not to mention the overall one-dimensional nature of the 49ers offense. However, San Francisco looked sharp late against the Giants and maybe Colin Kaepernick opens doors for Hyde again. Hyde could be a very astute buy in Week 6 with other weekly players shying away because of Baltimore’s D. Otherwise, if there was an award for a receiver rising above poor quarterback play Hopkins would win in a landslide. Gordon gets to finally feast on Green Bay’s dreadful No. 30 rushing defense, and Yeldon’s an early ROY candidate facing Houston’s equally pitiful efforts against the run.
Everyone should feel bad for the Browns and Josh McCown because Denver will be in town in Week 6. And you could say the same for the Redskins, who get to host a well-rested and methodical Jets D coming off a bye. Meanwhile the Patriots pass rush (fourth with 16.0 sacks) get either a limited Andrew Luck or 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck, and there’s no way the Colts offensive line plays the best game of their lives for the second straight week. The Bengals are a sneaky pick against a Buffalo offense that right now has zero playmakers behind quarterback Tyrod Taylor.