Fantasy Football Week 6 Sneaky Starts

Photo: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL season is flying by at a rapid pace. Speaking of byes, those pesky off weeks are once again at the forefront of our minds, with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers not participating in Week 6 action. Building a starting lineup is now a little bit trickier, so we’ll dive into some deeper options for those of you looking to fill out your roster.

Let’s take a look at some players flying under the radar who are sneaky starts in Week 6 (please note, all players below are currently rostered in fewer than 25% of leagues):

Quarterbacks

Taylor Heinicke (QB - WSH)

This is Heinicke’s third appearance on this list this season and we’re 1-1 in terms of QB1-level production. Consider this week the rubber match, and I like his chances to thrive facing off against a Kansas City defense that’s allowing the most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position this season (28.7). Heinicke has averaged 20.71 fantasy points per game in his four starts this year and will be forced to throw early and often to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense. Volume plus a great matchup equals a potential top-10 finish at the position for the Washington passer.

OwnersBox Price: $6100

Carson Wentz (QB - IND)

Wentz looked a little bit healthier in Week 5 and it led to his best fantasy performance of the season on Monday Night Football (22.58). He has a better matchup coming up this week at home against a Texans defense that’s allowing the 11th-most fantasy points per game to passers this season. Wentz’s connection with Michael Pittman Jr. is growing and the re-emergence of Mo Alie-Cox alongside Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell gives the quarterback plenty of weapons to work with. While you’d have a hard time starting him in single-QB leagues, you should feel more than comfortable putting him in your lineup as a QB2 or superflex.

OwnersBox Price: $6000

Deep Sleeper: Ben Roethlisberger (QB - PIT)

Running Backs

Jeremy McNichols (RB - TEN)

The Titans’ backup running back? Against Buffalo, the best defense in the NFL against fantasy running backs? 

Hear me out. This play is all about the potential game script. While Derrick Henry has been used more in the receiving game this year, he’s still not ‘the guy’ when it comes to that role. Given how great the Bills’ offense has looked and how bad Tennessee’s defense is, it’s fair to assume the Titans will need to throw a lot in the second half of this Monday Night Football game. That should mean we see a lot of McNichols on the field as Ryan Tannehill’s dump-down option. In Tennessee’s last loss (against the Jets in Week 4), McNichols led all Titans with 12 targets, eight catches, and 74 receiving yards. Expecting that sort of volume again is asking a lot, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he isn’t too far off from those numbers this week.

OwnersBox Price: $4100

Khalil Herbert (RB - CHI)

While Damien Williams will continue to be Chicago’s lead back for as long as David Montgomery is out, Herbert is going to be a thing. The rookie led all Bears with 18 carries last week for 75 yards. While offensive coordinator Bill Lazor leaned heavily on Herbert once the game appeared to be in hand—and that opportunity likely won’t present itself this week against Green Bay—the young rusher should still be able to reach the low teens in touches in a neutral matchup against the Packers. Also, Williams is a moderate injury risk so we can’t completely rule out a Herbert takeover game, either.

OwnersBox Price: $4800

Jerick McKinnon (RB - KC)

I’m quite intrigued by McKinnon’s potential role while Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out. Darrel Williams got the majority of the snaps (75% vs 25%) once Edwards-Helaire went down, but the split between Williams and McKinnon was closer to 60-40 when accounting for the entire game. That indicates that McKinnon will have a role in Kansas City’s offense moving forward. Given how victory-hungry the Chiefs are coupled with the great matchup against a Washington defense allowing the 10th-most points to fantasy running backs this season, McKinnon is absolutely worth a flier in deeper leagues.

OwnersBox Price: $4300

Deep Sleeper: Brandon Bolden (RB - NE)

Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR - DET)

St. Brown has received exactly eight targets in each of the last two weeks and could see even more work with Quintez Cephus on IR. The Lions are throwing nearly 40 times per game and the Bengals are a neutral matchup for fantasy wide receivers. After making a concerted effort to get the rookie the ball—and saying it publicly—over the last two weeks, it doesn’t appear St. Brown’s heavy workload is going away anytime soon.

OwnersBox Price: $3600

Ray-Ray McCloud (WR - PIT)

This is more of a hunch, but McCloud seems destined to take over as Pittsburgh’s starting slot receiver with JuJu Smith-Schuster out for the season. Before getting hurt last week, Smith-Schuster was averaging 6.8 targets per game. Now, it’d be highly optimistic to assume McCloud gets that sort of workload consistently, but with a juicy matchup with the Seahawks on tap, I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCloud put together a nice game—especially given Ben Roethlisberger’s overwhelming desire to check it down.

OwnersBox Price: $3000

Zach Pascal (WR - IND)

Pascal has made a few appearances on this list and is kind of a go-to guy for sneaky starts in general. It’s possible that changes when T.Y. Hilton makes his return, but right now Pascal is operating as WR2 in Indianapolis with touchdown upside. He hasn’t had fewer than five targets in any game this season and is averaging 3.6 catches and more than 40 yards per game. Once he finds the end zone again, the fantasy community will remember who he is and push to make him a top waiver-wire pickup.

OwnersBox Price: $4200

Deep Sleeper: Adam Humphries (WR - WSH)

Tight Ends

Ricky Seals-Jones (TE - WSH)

Seals-Jones played 99% of Washington’s offensive snaps last week with Logan Thomas on IR. Heinicke looked his way eight times and the tight end caught five of those passes for 41 yards—he also had a couple red-zone targets as well. There’s no reason to believe Heinicke won’t continue to pepper Seals-Jones with targets against a defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to the tight end position this season. Seals-Jones is a borderline TE1 this week.

OwnersBox Price: $3800

Mo Alie-Cox (TE - IND)

After a very quiet start to the season, Alie-Cox has re-emerged on the fantasy radar with a monster Week 4 and a solid Week 5. He’s caught six of his nine targets over the last two weeks, including a two-touchdown outing in Week 4. No team in the NFL has allowed more fantasy points to tight ends this season than Houston, so the arrow is pointing up as Alie-Cox is in a prime position to ball out for a third consecutive week.

OwnersBox Price: $4100

Deep Sleeper: Pat Freiermuth (TE - PIT)


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Written By:

Jaime Eisner

Managing Editor

Managing Editor of The Draft Network. He’s a former editor for Sports Illustrated, FanRag Sports and Arizona Sports. He’s the co-host of the TDN Fantasy Podcast and has an extensive background covering fantasy sports and sports betting.

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