NFL Week 6 Recap: Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Cowboys-Chargers Monday Night Football

2T24B5J Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys safety Markquese Bell (14) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Austin Ekeler makes a quiet return: Ekeler was given plenty of opportunities in his first game back. His biggest play came on a 28-yard reception, but his return also featured several short gains and some losses.

Jake Ferguson plays more snaps but gets fewer targets: Nobody who started Ferguson in this game will be happy with tonight's performance, but this game was a good sign for his future production.

• The star wide receivers shine: CeeDee Lamb and Keenan Allen led their teams in receiving production.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2023.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Chargers

Austin Ekeler returns to the Chargers: Ekeler returned to a relatively typical role in the offense.

  • Before tonight, Ekeler had played only one game with Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator (Week 1). He played just over 50% of offensive snaps in that game, but the Chargers ran 80 offensive plays, which is why there was a lot of rotation.
  • Ekeler typically played between 59% and 69% of the offensive snaps per game last season. 
  • He took the first seven snaps of the game and was rotated in and out significantly throughout the half. As the game progressed, Ekeler was rotated out less frequently, including playing 13 of 16 fourth-quarter snaps.
  • Ekeler tended to get the ball whenever he was on the field tonight. He ended the day with 27 yards on 14 carries and four receptions for 35 yards.
  • This is the kind of rotation we can expect in close games, but expect Ekeler to be rotated out more if they are playing with a lead.

Monitor the health of Donald Parham Jr.: Parham was on the injury report with a wrist injury. He was listed as questionable but ultimately played.

  • He was close to even with Gerald Everett in offensive snaps in Week 3 and was out-snapping him in Week 4 before suffering an injury. 
  • He played in this game but didn’t play as much as before the injury.
  • He still led the tight end room in receiving yards, with 19 on two catches, but Everett scored a touchdown.
  • Given the four-man rotation, it’s unlikely that a Chargers tight end could be trusted as a fantasy starter this season. But if anyone emerges, it could be Parham rather than Everett.

Tony Pollard dominates offensive snaps: The Cowboys played their closest game of the season, leading to Pollard rarely leaving the field.

  • The Cowboys have won three games by 20 or more points and lost one by 32. In those games, he played less than 70% of the offensive snaps because the Cowboys shifted more toward backups late in those games.
  • He played 86% of the offensive snaps in the 28-16 loss to the Cardinals in Week 3, the one relatively close game Dallas had played before tonight.
  • Pollard’s workload tonight didn’t necessarily lead to more production in the run game, but it was his best game as a receiver this season, thanks to his volume of catches and the 60-yard catch to begin the fourth quarter.
  • He ended the game with 30 yards on 15 carries and 80 receiving yards on six receptions.
  • Pollard hasn’t fully lived up to his ADP at this point due to his volume and quality of play, but this was at least a step in the right direction in both categories.

Jake Ferguson’s playing time increases: Ferguson rarely left the field for the Cowboys. 

  • Ferguson had rotated out at times throughout the season, regardless of the personnel Dallas was in.
  • He notably lost time in 11 personnel, even on third downs. It was often Peyton Hendershot taking snaps away from Ferguson in passing situations, but Hendershot missed the last few games and is currently on injured reserve.
  • This had resulted in a slight increase in playing time for Ferguson, but he was still subbed out more than most fantasy managers would have liked.
  • That changed in this game, as he played nearly every snap in 11 personnel and was taken out only a few times in other personnel groupings. He reached the playing time fantasy managers would hope for.
  • The only problem is that his targets decreased dramatically. He caught his only target after seeing at least three targets in every other game and at least seven targets in three of the first five.
  • If Ferguson matches the playing time from this game with his target rate from previous games, he would be a must-start fantasy tight end.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • This was the Chargers’ second game without Mike Williams. Their wide receiver rotation was similar to Week 4, where Keenan Allen and Joshua Palmer were every-down receivers, Quentin Johnston would join in 11 personnel and Keelan Doss and Derius Davis mixed in here and there.
  • Malik Davis was called up from the practice squad for the first time this season and was active, leaving Deuce Vaughn as a healthy inactive for the first time. Davis didn’t play any offensive snaps on offense in this game.
  • Seventh-round rookie wide receiver Jalen Brooks was active for the Cowboys for the first time since Week 2, but he still hasn’t seen his first NFL target.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.


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