Fantasy News & Analysis

Ian Hartitz’s Week 6 fantasy football fallouts: Nullified touchdowns, missed big plays and more

  • Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields threw a pair of game-winning-caliber touchdown passes last Thursday night, but he lost, so do the math.
  • New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley selfishly/selflessly decided to guarantee his employer a victory and robbed fantasy managers of an additional touchdown by purposely falling down at the 1-yard line.
  • Dallas Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb had a potential 60-yard house call fail to come to fruition when Cooper Rush was instead pressured into throwing an interception.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Week 6 has come and gone. 14 NFL games brought joy, laughs and tears; today we’ll focus on the latter sadness and break down just how close some came to achieving fantasy football glory.

What follows is a breakdown on all the “Sheesh” moments from Week 6. I’ve watched every game and used PFF’s backend tools to help determine instances when:

  • Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass
  • Pass-catchers did receive an accurate pass that should have resulted in a score or big gain, but the ball was dropped
  • Ball carriers managed to get all the way to the one-yard line, but didn’t score
  • Players scored or picked up big yardage, but the play was nullified by penalty
  • Other random shit happened that tilted fantasy football managers of all shapes and sizes

But first, the two players who defined Week 6 in terms of pure sheesh.

Bears QB Justin Fields: The Bears got all the way down to the Commanders’ 6-yard line to start the second quarter courtesy of an electric 64-yard run from Khalil Herbert. Too bad the drive resulted in zero points: Fields missed an open Ryan Griffin from three yards out before getting stuffed at the 1-yard line attempting to take the ball into the end zone himself. The Commanders rose to the occasion on fourth down and stuffed Herbert at the goal line.

Still, that was nothing compared to the end of the game. First, Dante Pettis had a go-ahead four-yard touchdown in his hands before letting the ball bounce harmlessly to the turf. Next,  Darnell Mooney caught the pass … but didn’t actually have possession until he was outside of the end zone due to a bobble. A game of inches, as they say.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley: The Giants’ stud running back committed a cardinal sin on Sunday: Prioritizing the real-life urge to win over fantasy football. Credit to Barkley for utilizing a rather filthy spin to earn the Giants a game-winning first down; that didn’t make his decision to fall down at the 1-yard line instead of into the end zone any easier for his fantasy managers to watch. An incredibly selfish or selfless play depending on who you ask.


Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass

The following pass-catchers should have had a much bigger day at the office, but unfortunately their respective quarterbacks weren’t quite up to the task for at least a moment. The following handful of players had to deal with some subjectively shitty near misses:

This is *not* a good column to be appearing in back-to-back weeks, but such is the case for Ravens QB Lamar Jackson:

  • Devin Duvernay’s one-catch day should have been far bigger, as Jackson missed his de facto No. 1 wide receiver (at least with Rashod Bateman sidelined) from both 16 and five yards out. Duvernay had broken fairly free in the end zone on both occasions, yet all we can do is sit here and say one thing: Sheesh.
  • Mark Andrews had a step deep for what could have been a 40-yard score with a perfect pass. Alas, Jackson’s heave was overthrown and fell incomplete.
  • Packers RB Aaron Jones lined up out wide and ran a mean sluggo to break open deep. However, fellow A-aron (Rodgers) sailed the pass out of bounds, preventing the possible 75-yard house call from occurring.
  • Rams WR Brandon Powell had a pretty rough two-play stretch when he first broke wide open on a wheel for a walk-in 20-yard score, only for Matthew Stafford to throw the ball long and out of bounds. Powell rebounded with a chunk gain inside the 5-yard line on the very next play, but was banged up and had to watch Darrell Henderson score the touchdown instead.
  • Cardinals TE Zach Ertz had a pair of near misses: Kyler Murray sailed a potential 31-yard score just a bit too long when the Seahawks were still running defenders onto the field. The pair also narrowly missed connecting on a 30 yarder a few drives later; this time the larger issue was a no-call on an awfully-handsy Seahawks defender.
  • Seahawks QB Geno Smith hasn’t had many misses this season, although D.K. Metcalf had more than enough separation to convert a 15-yard score early in their Week 6 win over the Cardinals. Unfortunately, Smith’s pass sailed into coverage instead of away from it, resulting in an incompletion instead of a touchdown.
  • Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb broke wide open deep after his primary coverage defender fell down. A perfect pass yields a 60-yard touchdown. Even a decent pass would have been good for at least 30 yards. The result: Cooper Rush was pressured into throwing a duck of an interception. It’s safe to say Lamb is excited about getting Dak Prescott (thumb) back.

Big-time drops. You hate to see it

Six drops stood out this week as key missed opportunities to either score a touchdown or at least pick up a huge chunk gain.

Thursday night wasn’t the most joyous occasion for Commanders WR Curtis Samuel’s fantasy managers. The Commanders’ target-hog receiver dropped a b-e-a-utiful throw down the seam from Carson Wentz; this absolutely should have been a 40-yard touchdown.

Last season, Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase led the NFL with eight receiving touchdowns on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield. He nearly had his first such score from 29-yards out on Sunday; too bad the stud second-year receiver dropped the well-thrown ball. Of course, Chase more than made up for the miscue during his 7-132-2 homecoming performance.

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo took a rare shot deep down the field to Ray-Ray McCloud of all people at the beginning of the second half. Seriously: Jimmy G threw this sucker 50 yards on a DIME, but McCloud failed to come up with the catch. The great-grandson of Fox McCloud was rightfully charged with a drop.

Buccaneers WR Russell Gage had back-to-back opportunities to score from the 11-yard line. The first incompletion is tough to blame on anybody in particular; the second misfire was charged as a drop and for good reason.

Giants WR Marcus Johnson had both hands on a potential score from Daniel Jones in the back of the end zone; too bad Marcus Peters was right there to help knock the ball away. Johnson was officially charged with a drop on the potential five-yard score; either way, Wan’Dale Robinson scored the next play.

Bills WR Isaiah McKenzie had an afternoon to forget against the Chiefs, dropping a sure-thing touchdown in the end zone on fourth and goal from the 3-yard line. McKenzie had another case of the butterfingers later, ultimately putting forward a rather brutal effort in his quest to work fully ahead of rookie Khalil Shakir.


So close, yet so far away

49ers TE George Kittle (8-83-0) had a nice bounce-back performance for his fantasy managers. The day would have been bigger with better chemistry with Jimmy Garoppolo, who seemingly wanted Kittle to keep going to the back of the end zone on a potential 18-yard score, but the tight end flattened the route and the pass fell incomplete. Jimmy G haters could probably just call this a bad pass; either way, it’s a sheesh.

Another miss that’s tough to blame on any particular party featured Browns WR Amari Cooper running a nifty double-move to get open in the end zone from 23 yards out. Jacoby Brissett was well aware and even pump-faked in Cooper’s direction; the problem was that pressure got there as he attempted the pass, leading to a sack and fumble out of bounds. Mark this one under things that you only see in all-22.

Chiefs WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling nearly had the first touchdown of his Chiefs career from 15 yards out; too bad 1.) MVS was ruled down at the 1-yard line, and more importantly 2.) Patrick Mahomes waited too long to sling the ball, leading to an illegal man downfield penalty. Mahomes then had to watch a 50/50 ball briefly fall into Travis Kelce’s hands from 15 yards out, only for the ball to get knocked out and fall incomplete. The drive ended with an interception. Reminder: Buffalo won 24-20. Sheesh.

Cowboys WR Noah Brown made one of the season’s best catches to seemingly score a 12-yard touchdown right before halftime. One problem: Brown only got a single foot down inbounds, turning the incredible one-handed touchdown into an incredible one-handed incompletion.

It was a disappointing evening for Mike Williams fantasy faithful, particularly considering he was oh so close to hauling in what would have been a 40-yard reception in overtime. In fact, I'm not so certain that Williams didn't get two feet inbounds while writing this, but the replay officials said f*ck it: Incomplete. Absolutely brutal sheesh for Williams faithful who had literally been waiting hours for something good to happen.


Unrealized air yards are a helluva drug

PFF’s Josh Hermsmeyer breaks down the week’s top buy-low candidates with his handy-dandy air yards model; don’t be surprised if a couple of Packers wide receivers are featured ahead of Week 7. The following five players had at least 80 unrealized air yards in Week 6, meaning they had a ton of downfield opportunities, but failed to capitalize on them for one reason or another:


Other sheeshes

There were a number of other near misses throughout Week 6 that were tougher to fully blame one particular party, but that doesn’t make the near-miss result any less sheeshful for the fantasy managers and fans at hand to deal with.

Good ball, no dice: Saints QB Andy Dalton threw a low pass where only Marquez Callaway could catch it in the end zone from 19 yards out; the pass went off his hands and wound up falling incomplete. Not officially a drop, but it would have been a lot cooler if Callaway had made the tough catch. … Buccaneers QB Tom Brady fired a rather pretty pass down the seam to an open TE Cam Brate from 17 yards out. It would have been a touchdown if LB Myles Jack was born one inch shorter and hadn’t been able to barely tip the pass. … Ravens QB Lamar Jackson suffered a similar near miss. Jackson’s potential five-yard score bounced off the chest of TE Mark Andrews; only after seeing the slow-motion replay could viewers be certain that the pass was in fact tipped first. … Giants QB Daniel Jones gave Darius Slayton a chance to come down with a one-handed 13-yard score, but the potentially awesome catch wasn’t completed and fell incomplete. … Rams WR Allen Robinson almost found the end zone twice on Sunday, but he was rather viciously held at the goal line on an iso route opportunity. The refs curiously swallowed their whistles on the play. Let’s just say that A-Rob wasn’t pleased with the officiating on Sunday. … Chargers QB Justin Herbert managed to hit Mike Williams in the facemask 30 yards downfield despite having Broncos CB Patrick Surtain draped all over him. Unfortunately, that latter reality resulted in Williams not having a chance to get his hands up, and the refs chose not to throw a flag. Sheesh. … Broncos TE Greg Dulcich had a wide-open touchdown early in the Broncos’ Monday night matchup against the Chargers, but a potential second score went off his outstretched hands in the end zone. This wasn’t an egregious drop; the ball was a little wide and the coverage was tight. Still, it objectively would have been a lot cooler had Russell Wilson and Dulcich managed to be a bit more on the same page for the potential nine-yard score. … The Chargers-Broncos' rather brutal (to put it nicely) Monday night affair featured one last hail mary attempt from Justin Herbert before overtime. The ball didn't come close to getting to the end zone, but somehow found Josh Palmer‘s hands roughly 40 yards from the line of scrimmage; unfortunately, Palmer couldn't maintain possession with a defender on his back, and the “meaningless” play wound up costing fantasy managers an extra chunk of potential points.

Not the worst throw, but also not the best: Commanders WR Terry McLaurin had a step down the sideline, but a slight underthrow by Carson Wentz – combined with a helluva recovery from Bears CB Jaylon Johnson – caused the potential 20-yard score to fall incomplete. … Saints QB Andy Dalton nearly had a 16-yard strike to Alvin Kamara on a wheel route, but the pass was thrown just a bit too long and wound up incomplete. … Steelers WR George Pickens sure seemed to have a step from seven yards out, but we’ll never know for sure because Kenny Pickett threw the ball out the back of the end zone and never gave his ultra-talented rookie receiver a chance. … Browns QB Jacoby Brissett had an open David Njoku in the end zone down the seam from 23 yards out. It’s too bad the borderline hospital ball wasn’t just a bit lower; Njoku just barely got a hand on the incomplete pass.

Penalties are annoying whether they are warranted or not: 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk would have had an even bigger performance had his 39-yard gain not been wiped out by a (fair) offensive holding penalty. … Packers RB Aaron Jones found some rare room up the middle on a 22-yard burst; the celebration was short-lived due to the gain being wiped out by a hold. … Patriots TE Hunter Henry found the end zone eventually, but his initial one-yard score was nullified because he stepped out of bounds before coming back inbounds to make the catch. … Loyal fantasy managers of Dolphins WR River Cracraft will be bummed to find out that his 32-yard gain down to the Vikings’ 2-yard line was wiped away due to a holding penalty. … Chiefs TE Travis Kelce picked up 31 yards early in the fourth quarter, but the gain was overturned due to an offensive pass interference penalty that announcer Tony Romo called “soft.”

Just short. Sheesh: Note that sequences where a player was downed just short of the goal line, but later went on to score the touchdown themself on the same drive, aren’t listed. … Both Bears QB Justin Fields and RB Khalil Herbert were downed at the 1-yard line before the offense turned the ball over on downs. … Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette had a chance to score from the 3-yard line and was stuffed at the 1. On the next play, he lost three yards. The Bucs had to settle for a field goal. … The Jets had *eight* chances to score from inside the Packers’ 5-yard line on the same fourth-quarter possession before settling for a field goal. Michael Carter and Zach Wilson (twice) were both stopped at the 1-yard line, while Breece Hall went zero for three in his opportunities during the sheesh-quence. … Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson would have had a hat trick of scores had he not been stuffed on back-to-back carries on the 1-yard line early in the Patriots’ beatdown over the Browns. … Jaguars WR Jamal Agnew took a reverse 19 yards down to the 1-yard line. Then Travis Etienne got stuffed on a wildcat attempt. The next play featured James Robinson getting the offense back to the 1-yard line, only for Trevor Lawrence to wind up being the one to find the end zone. … Vikings WR Justin Jefferson ran a nice whip route to break open and gain 25 yards; his fantasy managers sure would have loved if he went for 26 yards into the end zone. Cardinals RB Eno Benjamin carried the ball for two yards from the 3-yard line only to watch Kyler Murray lose four on the next play. Arizona ultimately had to settle for a field goal.

Sheesh-six: Stud Jets CB Sauce Gardner seemingly had a pick-six off Aaron Rodgers on the Packers’ very first possession; further replay proved to be a buzz kill and showed that the pass had actually hit the ground first.

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