likely Fantasy stats based around 4 points per passing TD and 0.5 points per reception.
There are two main approaches when look at fantasy player scoring trends. The first is to see how that player is performing from an output perspective. The second is to look at how their upcoming opponent has performed.
This article leans heavily on Fantasy Points Against (FPA). This number measures the total fantasy points given up per game to a position group by a defense. Other stats referenced may come from sources including Pro Football Reference, Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders.
As an early fourth-round pick in fantasy drafts, Smith-Schuster hasn’t failed to return value. He has, however, been disappointing on two fronts: yardage and team status. Smith-Schuster has only had 188 receiving yards through four games with most of his fantasy success coming through scoring plays. Additionally, the rises of Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool have seemingly relegated Smith-Schuster to a diminished role.
Based on what we saw from Pittsburgh’s defense last week, their matchup with Cleveland in Week 6 could have high scoring potential. The Browns have the third worst FPA to wide receivers this season giving opportunity to all Steelers wideouts.
Smith-Schuster stands out because he has played 66.3 percent of his snaps in the slot this season. Cleveland is the only team to have their two primary slot defenders (Tavierre Thomas and MJ Stewart) in the bottom 15 in passer rating allowed.
Smith-Schuster should be locked into lineups this week with a high floor in any PPR format and a high upside for yardage.
The Minnesota Vikings have figured out how to replace Stefon Diggs departure in the offseason: first round pick Justin Jefferson.
Jefferson dazzled in Week 3 against Tennessee catching seven passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. He ranks fourth in PFF Grade for Pass Routes of players with a minimum of 25 targets. The rookie has also coexisted nicely with Adam Thielen who is the overall WR1.
The Atlanta Falcons are likely the best opponent to suit Jefferson’s skill set. They rank eighth worst in FPA and have allowed seven Top 24 wide receivers. The Falcons have the 10th worst coverage grade as well.
The juiciest component of this matchup is Jefferson’s knack for the deep ball. He is tied for third in the NFL in reception of 20+ yards and Atlanta has allowed a league-worst 25 receptions of 20+ yards.
Jefferson can be confidently started as a WR2 this week in all formats.
DJ Chark looks like a game-time decision against the Detroit Lions so the Gardner Minshew may have to look elsewhere when passing. Fortunately, Jacksonville used an early draft pick to take Laviska Shenault, who is now primed for a big week.
Shenault is coming off a season-high 69% of snaps played last week and hasn’t seen a decrease in targets or receptions from one week to the next. He also ranks 8th in PFF Grade for Pass Routes among players with a minimum of 25 targets.
Detroit has the ninth worst FPA to wide receivers and the fifth worst PFF Coverage Grade. This game also has the fourth highest projected point total of the week. Someone in Jacksonville is set to have a big game and Shenault is the primary candidate.
The sleeper label almost doesn’t apply to Shenault in this spot because he can certainly be rolled out as a WR3 or Flex. His ownership percentage is still at a low 44 percent. If Chark is out, Shenault can be played as a weak WR2 in the absence of injured players or players on bye.
Unlike JuJu Smith-Schuster, DJ Moore hasn’t done a whole lot to satisfy owners who drafted him in the third round. There’s a long road ahead so Moore still has time to improve on his lackluster season performance. He has faced one of the toughest schedules to this point.
Unfortunately for Moore and the Carolina Panthers offense, their upcoming opponent has the second best FPA to wide receivers and hasn’t allowed a Top 24 wide receiver this season. The Chicago Bears only game allowing a 100+ yard receiver came against Calvin Ridley in Week 3.
Moore also hasn’t been able to return his draft value because the presence and ascent of Robby Anderson. Teddy Bridgwater has designated Moore as a clear second option by not throwing more than six passes his way since Week 2.
Moore is a risky flex play this week and should likely be benched in a tough matchup.
The Joe Burrow to Tee Higgins connection is something that will entertain fans for years to come. Higgins is only on 52 percent of rosters which is too low for the upcoming easy schedule. This week, however, the Bengals face one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The Indianapolis Colts have allowed only three Top 24 wide receivers and have the 8th best FPA to wide receivers. The only receiver with more than 100 yards receiving against them is Allen Robinson. They have also allowed only two touchdowns to wide receivers in the past four weeks.
The duo of Xavier Rhodes and Kenny Moore have made it difficult on quarterbacks this season and account for the second and fourth lowest passer rating to corner backs this season (among players with a minimum of 150 coverage snaps). Burrow will also have a tough time against a Colts defense averaging over two sacks per game. The Bengals offensive line, meanwhile, has allowed over four sacks per game.
Simply put, the Bengals and Tee Higgins are in a bad spot this week. Higgins doesn’t belong on waivers but is a shaky WR3 this week.