We’re already into Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season. Bye weeks have arrived to complicate roster construction, so knowing which unheralded players come with sleeper appeal can make all the difference between winning and losing.
Here are some of those undervalued players that make solid fantasy football sleepers in Week 6.
Tua Tagovialoa (QB) Miami Dolphins
Tua is expected to make his return off injured reserve this week and the Dolphins desperately need him. The offense has completely stalled without him. He draws the Jacksonville Jaguars in his return which is as good a matchup as you could hope for. To make adding him off waivers even more enticing if you’re streaming quarterbacks, he plays the Falcons next week. So he should be startable for multiple weeks.
He doesn’t come without risk. We aren’t sure what this offense is going to look like. We only saw this offense together against an exceptional Patriots’ defense and the Bills’ defense for less than two drives. However, if it all clicks you could find yourself a gem who can give you a big week and be a matchup-based start for you moving forward.
Khalil Herbert (RB) Chicago Bears
With all the focus on Damien Williams last week with David Montgomery out, Herbert somewhat surprisingly saw 18 carries. Williams only saw 16 carries, although, he did score a touchdown. It’s unclear exactly how these backs will split touches over the next couple of weeks, nevertheless, even if it’s a 50/50 split Herbert is a sneaky good flex option you likely stole off the waiver wire.
The Bears take on the Packers week, which is a decent matchup for running backs. They are middle of the pack this year against fantasy backs but have had a tough time stopping the run for years and didn’t do much to fix that issue this offseason. There is a good chance they slip in the rankings as the season goes on. If Herbert sees significant touches against them he should have a nice fantasy day.
Brandon Bolden (RB) New England Patriots
James White went down with an injury in Week 3 and Bolden has slid into his pass-catching role. Over the past two weeks, he has caught 10 of 10 targets. Like White there will be weeks where Bolden gives you very little value, however, there will also be weeks where his PPR value is inevitable. He will likely get you around five catches and a couple of carries each week and will see some red-zone work. If he can get you six catches, 50 yards, and a touchdown in your flex spot you have struck gold with a guy you picked up off waivers for next to nothing.
Jerick McKinnon (RB) Kansas City Chiefs
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined for the foreseeable future, McKinnon slides into the RB2 role behind Darrell Williams. He could see a decent amount of touches and work in the passing game. He is a risky play because we don’t have much of an idea of how this backfield will split touches while CEH is out. Nevertheless, this is an explosive high-powered offense and McKinnon could be a cheap way for you to get a piece of it.
Expect Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense to be focused and rolling after a bad loss to the Bills last week. They take on the Washington Football Team this week whose defense has been beyond disappointing. I like him better as a DFS play this week, but you can also use him as a desperation flex if your roster is beaten up with injuries and bye weeks.
James Washington (WR) Pittsburgh Steelers
Juju Smith-Schuster has been placed on IR and is out for the season. Washington now slides into the WR3 spot. He is going to have some big games moving forward. However, he’s more of a boom or bust option. We have seen in the past when he gets opportunities for an extended period of time he will have games when he does nothing and turn around and have a game where he has 100 yards or multiple TDs. Don’t expect a high volume of targets, however, he will be targeted with deep balls and in the end zone.
This week the Steelers take on the Seahawks which is a very favorable matchup for any fantasy option. They are giving up the sixth-most points to fantasy wide receivers. Washington will be a boom-or-bust option this week and moving forward, but playing Seattle upgrades his chance of a boom week.
Jaylen Waddle (WR) Miami Dolphins
The last time we saw Tua on the field he played two series against the Bills before his porous offensive line got his ribs crushed in. In the short time, Waddle was in Tua targeted him non-stop. He already saw six targets before the injury occurred. Since then we have seen Waddle become a target monster in Miami. He’s seen 36 targets so far this season.
Taking on the Jags is another benefit this week and Waddle could once again be the last wideout standing. Will Fuller is on IR and DeVante Parker is once again very questionable with a hamstring injury. He should be locked into your flex spot this week in PPR leagues. If he finds the end zone he has high-end potential.
Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR) Cleveland Browns
Peoples-Jones or Rashard Higgins, not Odell Beckham are the top wideouts in Cleveland. I know this is difficult for people to accept but both have been better and more productive since OBJ returned. I prefer DPJ over Higgins. He had more targets, receptions, and yards last week and is a more talented player, although, Higgins has the better fantasy day thanks to a TD.
If I’m starting a Browns’ wideout this week against the Cardinals it’s DPJ. And starting a Browns’ wideout isn’t a bad idea being that they are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. Their secondary isn’t very good and their explosive offense forces teams to shoot it out with them. I’m plugging DPJ into my flex spot this week and not considering Beckham.
Pat Freiermuth (TE) Pittsburgh Steelers
Like Washington, Freiermuth should benefit from the loss of Juju. Juju saw a lot of the short work and those targets could funnel to Frieremuth. We’ve already seen him overtake Eric Ebron as the top TE in Pitt and before Week 5 he saw nine targets in the previous two games and found the end zone. I expect his volume to go up and for him to see more red-zone targets this week and for the remainder of the season. If you’re scrambling for a TE on the waiver wire add him and he could have long-term value beyond just this week.
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