News & Analysis

Jahnke: Fantasy football reactions from the Week 6 Monday Night Football doubleheader

Oct 19, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker (32) causes Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) to fumble in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight we were treated to our third Monday Night Football doubleheader in six weeks. The first matchup gave us two of the teams most likely to win their divisions, while the second pitted together two teams that will in all likelihood be fighting for playoff spots come December. Three of the four teams came into the night with very interesting running back situations, while the fourth team has Ezekiel Elliott, who ultimately had a night he'd rather forget.

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As always, this collection of fantasy reactions will include snap counts for skill players on each team, along with notes on players who saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall during the action.

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills

Kansas City Chiefs Buffalo Bills
WR WR
Demarcus Robinson – 69 snaps Stefon Diggs – 53 snaps
Tyreek Hill – 68 snaps John Brown – 53 snaps
Mecole Hardman – 29 snaps Cole Beasley – 35 snaps
Byron Pringle – 27 snaps Gabriel Davis – 35 snaps
Marcus Kemp – 2 snaps Isaiah McKenzie – 7 snaps
Andre Roberts – 1 snap
TE TE
Travis Kelce – 65 snaps Tyler Kroft – 30 snaps
Nick Keizer – 21 snaps Reggie Gilliam – 3 snaps
Deon Yelder – 7 snaps Lee Smith – 3 snaps
Ricky Seals-Jones – 2 snaps
HB HB
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 49 snaps Devin Singletary – 41 snaps
Darrel Williams – 23 snaps Zack Moss – 14 snaps
Darwin Thompson – 3 snaps
Total – 73 snaps Total – 55 snaps

Winner: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

Edwards-Helaire's fantasy stock came into question this past week after the signing of Le’Veon Bell. He made the most of his last game without Bell, however, rushing for 161 yards on 26 carries. Unfortunately, Darrel Williams scored the one rushing touchdown for the Chiefs, but it was still Edwards-Helaire's most impressive performance since Week 1.

The consensus is that Bell will mostly take Williams' playing time, but there is at least a chance Bell will also cut into Edwards-Helaire’s carries. After today's game, those odds are a little lower.

Loser: QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

The Bills have fielded one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the league, but over the first 50 minutes of the game, Allen only completed nine passes for 66 yards. His passing numbers were padded during the last 10 minutes as the Bills tried to catch up, which is when he connected on his second touchdown pass of the night and subsequently rescued his fantasy value.

Allen also led the Bills in rushing yards, with 39. His low passing numbers meant none of his receivers had a particularly impressive game, with no one topping 50 yards, and his team-leading effort on the ground meant that none of his running backs had a great game either.

Player To Drop: WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

Hardman has been fourth on the Chiefs' depth chart, making it hard to know when he could have a big game. However, he was elevated to an every-down role in the aftermath of Sammy Watkins‘ Week 5 injury, so the expectation coming into this game was he would see the vast majority of snaps.

Instead, he ended up splitting time with Byron Pringle; Pringle ended up running more pass routes than Hardman, while Hardman was used more as a run-blocker. The second-year pass-catcher was held to one target and no catches.

It always seemed like his path to being a fantasy starter was beating out Demarcus Robinson or someone getting hurt. This game destroyed the latter theory and pushed things further away from the former theory coming true. Robinson led the Chiefs in yards, with 69 on five catches.

Returning From Injury: RB Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills

Moss returned from injury after missing the last few weeks. During the first two weeks, Moss saw over 40% of the offensive snaps, but he played significantly less in this game. Chances are they were easing him back, and he will see more snaps in future weeks.

He only ran for 10 yards on five carries, which wasn’t great, but Devin Singletary wasn’t any more impressive. The one bright note for Moss is that he was on the field in the Bills' only snap within 10 yards of scoring.

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals Dallas Cowboys
WR WR
Christian Kirk – 50 snaps Amari Cooper – 79 snaps
DeAndre Hopkins – 48 snaps Michael Gallup – 72 snaps
Larry Fitzgerald – 38 snaps CeeDee Lamb – 60 snaps
Andy Isabella – 19 snaps Cedrick Wilson – 25 snaps
Trent Sherfield – 6 snaps Noah Brown  – 23 snaps
TE TE
Darrell Daniels – 44 snaps Dalton Schultz – 72 snaps
Dan Arnold – 26 snaps Blake Bell – 19 snaps
Evan Baylis – 6 snaps Sean McKeon – 6 snaps
HB HB
Kenyan Drake – 42 snaps Ezekiel Elliott – 54 snaps
Chase Edmonds – 23 snaps Tony Pollard – 32 snaps
Rico Dowdle – 3 snaps
Total – 62 snaps Total – 89 snaps

Winner: WR Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

Kirk was held to only two catches, but that’s all he needed to get to 86 yards and two touchdowns. His scoring helped establish the Cardinals’ big first-half lead. Only getting three targets on 22 passes isn’t a great rate, but his playing time was very promising.

In each of his last three games, Kirk saw between 58% and 64% of the offensive snaps, and he was far behind DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald in each game. This week, it was Kirk in and Fitzgerald out on two-tight end sets. If Kirk continues to play in these formations going forward, his fantasy value will only go up.

Loser: RB Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

Playing time was trending toward Edmonds playing more and Kenyan Drake playing less, but that trend stalled in this game in part due to the game script. Edmonds has been the third-down back all season, but he has been seeing increased work on early downs. This week, Drake played more than twice as much on first and second downs — he ended up with 20 carries and two touchdowns, while Edmonds only ran the ball five times, and both were targeted twice.

With the game secured and the clock ticking down, it typically makes sense to bring in the backup running back. Instead, the Cardinals made it a point to get Drake over 100 yards. Because Drake played well and the Cardinals appeared committed to him, it wouldn’t be surprising if Drake continues to see the majority of snaps for at least a few more weeks.

Buy Low: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Elliott fumbled twice early in the game, both of which led to Arizona touchdowns. Of course, the Cowboys then opted to use Tony Pollard much more than they otherwise would have. Fantasy managers playing PPR were saved by Elliott catching eight passes for just 31 yards. He also ran for 49 yards on his 12 carries, beating Pollard's 31 yards on 10 carries.

Outplaying Pollard in the run game will mean that he keeps his every-down role, and his high target share is something that could continue with how many targets he should see while Andy Dalton is under pressure. Nearly half of the Cowboys targets under pressure these past two weeks have gone to running backs.

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