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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 6

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We're officially more than a quarter of the way through the 2021 NFL season. We now have over five weeks of data to analyze that will help us manage our fantasy teams during the next quarter of the season. As I always say, things change from week to week, but more data points are always better than fewer data points. Let's see how we can use this information to help us make important decisions as we head into Week 6 and beyond.

In this weekly column, we'll be looking at players whose arrow may be pointing up, and players whose arrow may be pointing down based on the previous week's games. We'll try not to overreact, but instead, use relevant data to make informed decisions about certain players.

Here are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 6 of the NFL season.


Fantasy Football Risers for Week 6

Kadarius Toney, New York Giants

Prior to his ejection in Week 5 after he threw a punch at a defender, Kadarius Toney led all receivers with a 46.4% target share. That came in a week Davante Adams drew 16 targets and had a massive 45.7% target share. Toney took full advantage of his opportunity with both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton inactive and with Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay leaving the game early due to their respective injuries. He ended up being targeted on 54% of his routes, putting up a line of 10-189-0 on 13 targets. Toney also had multiple opportunities to score a touchdown in this game, both running out of the wild cat and as a pass-catcher. He's averaging 11 targets per game in his last two games and has done more than enough to earn a full-time role in the Giants offense moving forward. If you didn't get a chance to add him prior to his Week 5 explosion, Toney is going to cost you a pretty penny on the Waiver Wire this week.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

With JuJu Smith-Schuster possibly out for the season with a dislocated shoulder, Claypool should now jump into close to an every-down role for the Steelers alongside Diontae Johnson. He only played 55% of the snaps in Week 5, but put up a line of 5-130-1 on six targets. His 24% target share led all Steelers. Over his last three games, Claypool is averaging 10 targets per game and has a 24.4% target share. With a full week of preparation without Smith-Schuster, expect Pittsburgh's most polarizing receiver to be in the gameplan far more in Week 6 than he was in Week 5.

Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals

Moore opened the season getting five targets on just 29% of the snaps. He followed up that performance in Week 2 with a line of 7-114-1 on eight targets playing on 46% of the snaps. The snap share dropped in Week 3 but came back up to 42% in Week 4. Week 5, he had almost a 50% snap share and ran more routes (20) than Christian Kirk (18). He drew six targets (targets per route run rate of 30%) and even had three carries for 38 additional yards. Slowly but surely Rondale Moore is surpassing Kirk as the Cardinals' WR3. He should be on every fantasy football roster going forward.

Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills

Somewhat similar to how Rondale Moore is overtaking Christian Kirk, we've seen Zack Moss overtaking Devin Singletary the last few weeks. That culminated in a career-high 74% snap share for Moss in Week 5. Singletary meanwhile, played on a career-low 26% of the snaps. Moss out-touched him 15-to-8. That included four targets for the second-year back who hasn't previously been very involved in the passing game. Moss also has a stranglehold on the goal-line role with nine carries inside the 10-yard line compared to just three for Singletary.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons

Calvin Ridley was out for Week 5, but I'm not letting that stop me from calling Patterson a riser this week. He played on a season-high 59% of the snaps and got a career-high 23 opportunities (14 carries + nine targets). It's also unknown at this point in time how long Ridley (personal) and Russell Gage could be out. Even so, with his performance thus far, we should expect Patterson to continue getting opportunities for this Falcons team. Keep riding the wave.

Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington Football Team

Ricky Seals-Jones (RSJ) stepped in for Logan Thomas in Week 4 and was immediately given the Thomas role as the pass-catching tight end for the Washington Football Team. That more than carried over into Week 5, when RSJ ran 46 routes on 99% of the snaps. He only finished the day with five catches for 41 yards, but his eight targets were good for a 19.5% target share. Additionally, three of his eight targets came in the red zone. With Thomas on IR, and pass-catchers Dyami Brown, Curtis Samuel, and Cam Sims all dealing with injuries, the opportunity is ripe for Seals-Jones in the next couple of weeks.

Other Risers: Amon-Ra St. Brown, David Johnson, Donald Parham Jr., Khalil Herbert, Robert Woods


Fantasy Football Fallers for Week 6

Elijah Moore, New York Jets

Granted he was coming off a concussion, but Elijah Moore finished fourth in routes run (16) in Week 5 behind Corey Davis (27), Jamison Crowder (24), and even Keelan Cole (18). He saw just two targets on 41% of the snaps. With Crowder back and Davis the likely WR1, there may not be enough work for the rookie in an offense that struggles to move the ball up and down the field.

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

Even with Tee Higgins back in the fold, Boyd still managed to play on 82% of the snaps as the primary slot receiver in Week 5. He saw just five targets though on 38 routes run compared to nine for Ja'Marr Chase and eight for Higgins. In two games played without Higgins, Boyd is averaging 8.5 targets per game. In three games with Higgins, Boyd is averaging just 43 yards on six targets per game.  He looks to be third in the pecking order so long as both Higgins and Chase are on the field and should be considered more of a low-end flex play moving forward.

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Five games into the season and Allen Robinson has eclipsed 35 receiving yards in just one game. That's right, he's averaging just 3.4 receptions for 36.2 yards per game. The Bears' offense with both Justin Fields and Andy Dalton looks equally as stagnant. They play at one of the slowest paces in the league as well, averaging just 57.8 plays per game. Of those plays, they're averaging just 24.4 pass attempts per game, the second-fewest in the NFL. I can't imagine Robinson doesn't pick it up at some point, but we have more than enough data now to suggest he may not be worth anywhere near the third-round pick we spent on him this season.

Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers

Elijah Mitchell returned to the lineup in Week 5, and Trey Sermon vanished into oblivion, playing on just two snaps late in the game. He got one carry, which went for seven yards. Meanwhile, Mitchell had 11 opportunities (nine carries + two targets) on a season-high 68% of the snaps. In the three games Mitchell has played, Sermon has played on just three total snaps, carrying the ball just twice for a total of 15 yards. Kyle Shanahan has made it abundantly clear who the starting running back is when everyone is healthy, and that's Elijah Mitchell.

Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots

Unfortunately for fantasy managers who were high on Jonnu Smith heading into the season, it seems as if the Patriots paid $50M for a blocking tight end. In Week 5, Smith ran just eight routes compared to 25 for Hunter Henry. In five games, he's averaging just 23 yards on 4.6 targets per game. Smith is droppable in all formats and should be replaced with guys like Ricky Seals-Jones and Dan Arnold.

Other Fallers: Robert Tonyan, Christian Kirk, Cole Beasley, Devin Singletary, Dallas Goedert

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