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Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football, and managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key fantasy risers and fallers heading into Week 6 of the NFL season. Dynasty owners, check out our separate Dynasty Risers/Fallers segment each week as well.

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Week 6 Risers

Cam Newton (QB - CAR)

Just two weeks after appearing on the Fallers part of this column, Cam Newton has seemingly discovered some sort of Lazarus pit. I was hesitant to put him here after one good week, but with two straight 30+ point performances, maybe, just maybe, Killa Cam is back. He has now posted consecutive 300-yard, three-touchdown passing games. He gets the Eagles this week. They are not a great defense, especially with injuries to Fletcher Cox and in the secondary. Perhaps I was a bit premature in calling for the release of Newton two weeks ago.

Davante Adams (WR - GB)

Davante Adams makes this list because no one thought he was going to play last week and there were legitimate concerns he might never play again. Just 10 days after being stretchered off the field and sent to the hospital, Adams returned, missing zero games, to snag seven of 11 targets for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Adams now has four touchdowns in five games. He is a legitimate WR2 and would be a WR1 if Jordy Nelson were less than 100%.

Jerick McKinnon (RB - MIN)

I wish you could see the exuberant expression on my face as I write this. I have been a Jerick McKinnon truther for just about his entire career. He is the best physical athlete ever measured in workout metrics, but has just never really put it together on the field. After all, there is more to playing football than raw physical ability. On Monday night, with all the talk of Latavius Murray being the workhorse, it was McKinnon that not only dominated snaps, but dominated the important ones. On passing downs, it was McKinnon. In the fourth quarter when the Vikings needed to score, it was all McKinnon. The highest rated SPARQ athlete in NFL history was the RB3 last week with 95 rushing yards and a touchdown and 51 receiving yards on 22 total touches. The Vikings have spent years refusing to let McKinnon be the guy. He may have just forced their hand.

Aaron Jones (RB - GB)

We've got a double dose of RBs this week. In Ty Montgomery's absence, Aaron Jones shined, finishing as the RB4 to the tune of 125 rushing yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. While I don't believe in handcuffing, if you were a Montgomery owner and wanted to handcuff your starter, hopefully you heeded my preseason advice and went with Jones over Jamaal Williams. By every measure possible, Jones was and is the far superior talent. It showed on Sunday. This is great news for Montgomery owners that were able to snag Jones, but terrible news for Montgomery owners when he comes back. There is simply no way that Jones didn't earn himself some snaps. Montgomery's usage was amongst the highest in the league. While that was sure to decrease by default, now it may devolve into a near timeshare. With that being said, I don't think Montgomery was particularly close to playing last week, so Jones should have another week or two of this backfield to himself.


Week 6 Fallers

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

I can't stand owning Russell Wilson. He is the epitome of inconsistency. After back to back multi touchdown efforts, Wilson went right back to his bread and butter - sub 200 yard single touchdown games. Wilson is not a reliable QB1 and never will be. He will certainly have his weeks. He is going to blow up again this season, probably  more than once. He will also mostly do what he's done the majority of the past two seasons - throw for one or no touchdowns. He gets a week off and then the Giants in week 7. It's not a difficult matchup, but that hasn't seemed to make a difference for Wilson.

Amari Cooper (WR, OAK)

Amari Cooper finished as the WR97 last week. Yes, you read that right. Do you know who Bernard Reedy is? Neither do I, but he finished with more fantasy points than Cooper. This is where we are. And don't blame E.J. Manuel. Michael Crabtree was just fine without Derek Carr under center. Carr is poised to return this week, but that has yet to matter for Cooper, who also appeared on the Cut List because what else do you do with a guy that has failed to reach double digit receiving yards in three straight games? Cooper's talent is undeniable, but he has officially hit rock bottom.

Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (WRs, MIN)

Monday night's game was a mess. Stefon Diggs caught just one pass for four yards before spending the majority of the game on the sidelines dealing with a groin injury. Diggs will probably be able to play through it, but he has not shown an ability to be effective playing through injury. Adam Thielen also had another lackluster performance. He has caught exactly five of eight targets in three straight games and posted his lowest yardage total, 34, last week. He has yet to score a touchdown. To add injury to injury and insult, a returning Sam Bradford did not even make it halfway through the game before bowing out with a reaggravation of his knee injury. My guess is Bradford's season is over. He won't be placed on IR, but he won't ever be fully healthy. Case Keenum will start week 6 and we might get Teddy Bridgewater week 7, which is a huge unknown. The arrow is pointing downward for the Vikings passing attack.

Carlos Hyde (RB, SF)

After posting double digit fantasy points each of the first four weeks, Carlos Hyde faceplanted in week 5 with just 11 yards on carries. Hyde ceded significant work to Matt Breida, who Kyle Shanahan stated was getting that work because he was the "hot hand." Kyle Shanahan is going to be exposed as a fraud of a head coach, but not before he buries the best player on his team, by far, for an inexperienced rookie. Nothing against Breida, he is a good player, but he isn't 10% of the player Hyde is. But this is a game and we have to react to what the coaches do. Unfortunately, Hyde appears poised to be victimized by his incompetent head coach.


More Week 6 Lineup Prep