Week 6 was the unofficial “back-up running back” week, as many were in service due to the plethora of injuries to starters. Outside of the two running backs on the list below, two wide receivers made headlines for multiple reasons (some good, some bad).
Here are a few takeaways from Week 6.
Welcome to the realm of fantasy gods, Mr. Taylor.
Jonathan Taylor looked unstoppable while posting a total of 158 scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns, finishing as RB3 on the week. Bizarrely, he only had four touches in the first half but exploded in the second half. It seemed like his coaches finally remembered his excellence as he saw a season-high of 65 percent of snaps. What’s funny is that he is currently RB5 on the season, and it almost feels too low. I don’t believe most realize just how great Taylor has been this season.
Describing Taylor as a mere superstar is almost disrespectful. Taylor has been superhuman this season, currently tied for third in rushing touchdowns and top five in rushing yards (472). Despite only seeing a 10% target share, Taylor is in the top 10 for receiving yards (210). It’s almost unfair as Taylor is seeing fewer opportunities compared to the best running backs.
Jonathan Taylor in the last 3 weeks
🔹 441 total yards (1st)
🔹 5 TDs (1st) pic.twitter.com/e5E7wmthPm
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 18, 2021
Give this man the ball, Frank Reich!
Oddly, one of the best running backs in the league is only averaging 14.5 rushes a game. For context, he is outside the top-25 running backs in snap percentage (52%) and the top-20 (57%) in opportunity share. Translation: Not used enough. It’s not even a matter of game script, as Taylor has been very involved whether the Colts are winning or losing. And it's not like his counterparts are getting a lot of run in the offense either.
Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack are each only seeing a 25% opportunity share. Hines, who is considered the passing-down back, is virtually tied with Taylor at about an 11% target share. Basically, we aren’t sure why Taylor isn’t given a larger workload, but he is making most of his limited opportunities. Meanwhile, it is encouraging that he saw his highest snap percentage on the season in Week 6. Carson Wentz is also healthier and playing better, which is benefiting Taylor in terms of the offense being more efficient.
Even with the odd usage, Taylor is still a bonafide RB1 going into Week 7 when he'll match up against the 18th-ranked rushing defense in the San Francisco 49ers.
Waddle Baby Waddle baby
As a Dolphins fan, it was slow torture watching them lose to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Thankfully, there are players like Jaylen Waddle who made the game worth watching. He showed out in London by catching 10 passes for a season-high 70 yards and two touchdowns, finishing as the WR4. Apparently, he only likes to score touchdowns with Tua Tagovailoa as this was his first time scoring since Week 1. Speaking of Tagovailoa, the reunion with his buddy Waddle must have “felt so good” as Waddle tied a season-high 28% target share. Also, Waddle barely left the field, seeing a season-high 93% of snaps.
All that said, despite Waddle having an amazing game, we have to remember he still plays for one of the worst offenses in the league.
If losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars wasn’t embarrassing enough, this Miami Dolphins team has been a train wreck all season, especially on offense. They have struggled with offensive efficiency as they are currently 28th in passing yards and 29th-ranked overall. To add insult to injury, they are 31st in points scored and 22nd in plays run. But there is a silver lining:
Jaylen Waddle was in a route on 94% of Miami's pass plays (season-high) and garnered 28% of targets.
He accounted for 30% of third and fourth down targets and 50% of the looks inside the five.#MIAvsJAX
— Context Matters (@dwainmcfarland) October 17, 2021
With the 29th-ranked defense, the Dolphins are forced into a lot of situations where they have to throw. The Dolphins are ranked seventh in passing attempts, which favors Waddle as he leads the team in target share, especially with Devante Parker and Will Fuller being out due to injury. Waddle will also benefit from the fact that he is game-script independent; he will be Tua’s go-to target in close games or if they are trailing. He has a chance to dominate again in Week 7 as he gets to see the 31st-ranked defense in the Atlanta Falcons.
I guess the motto “Bear Down” was referring to the direction of the Chicago Bears’ passing offense. Unfortunately, Allen Robinson has been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy this season. In Week 6, Robinson had 4 receptions on 7 targets for 53 yards, which sadly was his second-highest yardage total for the season. His WR47 rank on the week makes you question if he is even startable.
Although Robinson’s numbers weren't spectacular, there were some positive trends to monitor from this past week.
Robinson saw the second-highest target share (28%) and most targets (7) with Justin Fields under center. He also saw his highest number of air yards (161), which was more than he saw from Weeks 3-5 combined. Even though air yards don’t translate directly to fantasy points, it shows intent, especially downfield. Fields also missed Robinson on a wide-open touchdown, which would have drastically changed his week. Now It's just a matter of how we view Robinson going forward.
At this point, it would be a miracle if Robinson finished as a top-24 receiver. He is also clearly the WR2 compared to Darnell Mooney in terms of target share (27%) and receiving yards (306). Hopefully, he sees an increase in target and yards, but Robinson is no more than a flex player until further notice. He does have a chance for a bounce-back, however, as he faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are ranked 27th in passing yards allowed.
No Clyde Edwards-Helaire? No problem! Darrel Williams did more than his fair share to help the Kansas City Chiefs secure their third win of the season. He put up 80 total scrimmage yards and two short touchdowns, finishing as the RB7. He obviously performed extremely well, but how did Williams’ performance compare to Edwards-Helaire’s usual output?
Darrel Williams got the workload Clyde Edwards-Helaire only dreams about:
Attempts 84% ✅
Short-down-distance snaps 100% ✅
2-minute offense 100% ✅
Jerick McKinnon 28% snaps, 12% atts, 32% routes, 4% tgts#KCvsWAS
— Context Matters (@dwainmcfarland) October 17, 2021
Surprisingly, Williams outshined Edwards-Helaire in numerous ways. For starters, Williams had 21 rushing attempts, which was more attempts than Edwards-Helaire has seen in any game this season. Additionally, Williams saw a 75% opportunity share, where Edwards-Helaire has only topped that once this season back in Week 1 (85%).
But wait, there’s more!
If that wasn't impressive enough, Williams scored 23.90 fantasy points, which was more than Edwards-Helaire has scored in his entire career. Regardless of his impressive week, it’s too early to make a case that Williams is better than Edwards-Helaire for fantasy. Since Williams set such a higher bar, we do have to ask ourselves, is he just a one-week wonder?
I would give him a little more credit than that. He is currently the RB1 for the Kansas City Chiefs, who, despite their record, are one of the best offenses in the league. He will also benefit from positive game scripts as the Chiefs should be favored in the majority of their matchups. He should be cemented into your starting lineup for as long as Edwards-Helaire is out.
Williams has a chance to be an RB1 once again as he faces the 24th-ranked defense in the Tennessee Titans in Week 7.