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NFL Week 6 PFF Preview: Players to watch, fantasy football advice and betting projections

By PFF Analysis Team
Oct 9, 2019

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PFF provides every fan with the right information to best prepare for Week 6 of the 2019 NFL season. We offer advanced stats and grades on key players to watch, fantasy football advice and links to PFF Greenline predictions for all 14 NFL games on the schedule for this week.

[Editor’s Note: ELITE subscribers have access to all of PFF’s fantasy football projections, rankings and lineup tools in addition to PFF NFL and College Greenline, an online dashboard with predictions for the spread, total and moneyline for every FBS and NFL game every week. Subscribe today to gain access!]

Thursday, October 10

New York Giants @ New England Patriots

Players to Watch

Three of the NFL’s top defensive backs in terms of PFF coverage grade will suit up on Thursday night, and all three play for the Patriots. Jonathan Jones and Jason McCourty own the two highest coverage grades among qualifying cornerbacks through five weeks, and Devin McCourty ranks second among safeties and fourth among all qualifying defensive backs in coverage grade. Daniel Jones and the Giants’ injury-plagued offense will face an uphill battle finding the end zone, let alone a win in Foxborough this week.

Fantasy Football Preview

The Patriots have allowed all of 34 points through five weeks, easily the fewest in the league. Of course, of their five opponents, none are among the 20 teams with at least 100 points so far. And with games against the “rookie quarterback, third-string running back” Giants and the “comedy of errors” Jets in the next two weeks, the Patriots could be looking at a record-setting points-allowed pace. Is it the best defense we’ve ever see? No, almost certainly not. But for fantasy? It doesn’t really matter. This is our game’s top unit, and with Week 15-17 matchups against the Bengals, Bills, and Dolphins, there’s no reason not to invest.

Greenline Preview

The Patriots have been bet down from an opening -17.5 with the Giants finding some backing at the start of the week. This total has also dropped 1.5 points with the juice applied to the over total. In this matchup of the top overall defense against the 32nd-ranked defense, Greenline sees value in the current total but little discernible edge in the spread price.  

Sunday, October 13

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Players to Watch

Kyle Allen is coming off two ugly performances in Weeks 4 and 5 largely because of some ugly fumbles, but he’s still performed above expectation when pushing the ball downfield. Among the 34 signal-callers with 25 or more attempts of 10-plus air yards, he ranks 13th in passing grade (84.3), seventh in adjusted completion percentage (63.6%) and 10th in passer rating (125.4) on such throws. He’s also been charted as accurate on 46.9% of his throws of 10-plus air yards, the ninth-highest percentage among qualifying quarterbacks through Week 5.

Opposite of Allen, Chris Godwin and the Bucs’ offense will look to put up points in droves. Godwin leads all qualifying wideouts in PFF receiving grade (91.3), and Jameis Winston‘s passer rating when targeting Godwin is 156.9.

Fantasy Football Preview

Take out Week 17 of last year, when he barely played, and Christian McCaffrey has had 100-plus yards from scrimmage in 12 of his last 13 games, including at least 179 in four of five this year. The one exception? Week 2, when he totaled only 53 yards … against these Buccaneers, who have also kept Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Todd Gurley and the 49ers’ backfield in check. You’re using McCaffrey in every league, every scenario, no matter what, but no one can be shocked if he has a slightly down Week 6.

Greenline Preview

The Bucs picked up quite a bit of steam after their impressive Week 4 win over the Rams. They let down backers last week, failing to cover against the Saints in their NFC South showdown. Bettors seem to have taken note as this week’s line opened as a pick ’em but has continued to slide toward the Panthers, currently given a -2 spread. Greenline seems some value in that spread but will need to be acted on quickly with this number seemingly on the move. 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

Players to Watch

Throwing the ball 10 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage, Lamar Jackson has thrown an inaccurate, uncatchable ball 47.3% of the time. Only Cam Newton, Mitchell Trubisky and Josh Rosen have logged worse percentages than Jackson on such throws. The Bengals’ defense is nothing to be scared write home about, but Jackson’s flawed accuracy shows up against the best and worst NFL defenses. Cincinnati needs to capitalize and force the young Ravens signal-caller to throw into tight windows.

Offensively, the Bengals lack star power. With AJ Green and now John Ross battling injuries, Tyler Boyd has become the focal point of the offense. And while he does rank 22nd at his position in PFF receiving grade (75.1), he has just one touchdown on the year. Quarterback Andy Dalton has just a 64.5 passing grade playing with a dismal offensive line and just one healthy high-end receiving talent in Boyd. Points, wins, happiness, etc. are all hard to come by in Queen City right now.

Fantasy Football Preview

Five weeks into the season, Tyler Boyd is fourth in the league with 50 targets, and they might be the quietest 50 targets in the league. No wide receiver with as many yards as Boyd has only one touchdown, and he still hasn’t had a target in the end zone. It’s worth noting, though, that Boyd is 11th in the league in yards after the catch this year, while the Ravens are second in yards after the catch per reception allowed. With A.J. Green still out and John Ross joining him on the sideline now, Boyd is the last ticket in town.

Greenline Preview

The Bengals are the worst-ranked team according to our ELO metric with the third-worst defense in the NFL. They have actually caught some backing on their spread after opening as 13.5 point dogs — this spread has moved two points to 11.5. With the total rising slightly, Greenline has plays on both the spread and total in this AFC North matchup. 

Seattle Seahawks @ Cleveland Browns

Players to Watch

After his stunning performance in Week 5, Russell Wilson enters his bout with the Browns as PFF’s highest-graded quarterback in terms of passing grade (89.0). Including plays negated by penalty, Wilson has logged 16 big-time throws, including the beaut’ to Tyler Lockett against the Rams on Thursday Night Football this past week, and just two turnover-worthy plays. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 aimed pass attempts this season, he owns the fourth-lowest percentage of inaccurate, uncatchable targets through Week 5.

Baker Mayfield has undoubtedly underwhelmed so far this season. The second-year signal-caller hasn’t had an ideal situation with a suspect offensive line and questionable play-calling, but he still has more turnover-worthy plays (7) than big-time throws (6) and just a 72.0 passing grade through five games. He’s not the only one that needs to be better in Cleveland, but it all starts with him. The Browns need him to right the ship if they’re going to make a deep postseason run.

Fantasy Football Preview

Pete Carroll was true to his word about Chris Carson after the back lost a fumble in each of the season’s first three games. He said the team wouldn’t shy away from Carson, and they haven’t, instead doubling down on his usage. After Carson played on only 56.1% of the team’s offensive snaps in Weeks 1-3, he’s played 80.7% the last two weeks, including 62 of 73 snaps in Week 5 despite Rashaad Penny’s return to action (Penny played only 11 snaps). That sort of playing time makes Carson a borderline RB1.

Greenline Preview

Points could be on tap in this matchup of two offenses ranked in the top 10 while also having two defenses ranked in the bottom 10. After opening as -2.5 point favorites, this line has started to drop with some recency bias coming into effect after the Browns clunker on Monday Night Football. Continue to monitor Greenline with this spread expected to move to see where the best price and side is to bet in this game. 

New Orleans Saints @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Players to Watch

Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t been asked to do a lot since taking over for the injured Drew Brees in New Orleans. Among the 30 quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks this season, Bridgewater ranks dead last in ADOT at 5.9. However, he is executing the Saints’ conservative gameplan to perfection and  thrived when upping his aggressiveness a tad in the Saints’ Week 5 win over Tampa Bay. He owns the second-lowest percentage of inaccurate, uncatchable passes through Week 5 and earned a season-best 86.6 passing grade while logging a season-high 7.2 ADOT.

Gardner Minshew currently ranks ninth in PFF passing grade (75.3) among qualifying quarterbacks. More than just a mustache and fun backstory, Minshew also ranks third in PFF passing grade (92.8) on throws of 10-plus air yards this season. Only Carson Wentz and Patrick Mahomes have earned higher passing grades on such throws through Week 5.

Fantasy Football Preview

Marshon Lattimore struggled when shadowing DeAndre Hopkins in Week 1, but he went back to shadowing in Weeks 4 and 5 (against Amari Cooper and Mike Evans, no less) and had much more success. The two combined to go 4-of-8 receiving in Lattimore’s coverage for 39 scoreless yards, including Evans’ goose-egg in Week 5. D.J. Chark has been off to an electric start this season, but don’t be surprised if he sees Lattimore in coverage this week and struggles as a result.

Greenline Preview

Teddy Bridgewater and his 5.9 ADOT has now led the Saints to three straight victories and covers. This spread has actually moved against the Saints — after opening as a pick ’em, it has slid out to -1.5 for Jacksonville. With the total dropping slightly, Greenline offers some value on both the spread and total in this matchup.

Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs

Players to Watch

Among the 105 NFL defensive linemen with 100 or more pass-rushing snaps this season, the Texans’ JJ Watt ranks second in PFF pass-rushing grade at 88.6. Totaling 21 hurries, nine hits and five sacks, Watt also ranks first in pass-rush win rate (25.9%) and eighth in pressure percentage (16.5%) among the same group of qualifiers.

Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz will see the lion’s share of Watt’s pass-rushing snaps on Sunday. Among the 62 offensive tackles with 120 or more pass-blocking snaps this season, he ranks eighth in pass-blocking grade (80.0) and tied for fourth in pass-blocking efficiency (98.1).

Fantasy Football Preview

Since the start of the 2017 season, Patrick Mahomes leads the league in games with at least four passing touchdowns with eight. Deshaun Watson leads in games with at least five, with three. We’ll see how healthy Mahomes is after getting banged up Sunday night, but this is a matchup of maybe the league’s two best fantasy quarterbacks and could provide massive fantasy numbers.

Greenline Preview

By far the highest total on the weekend, this number has dropped slightly off the open but is still almost a touchdown more than any other game on this slate. The Chiefs have the first-ranked offense but are coming off by far their worst performance of the season. The Texans have the 10th-ranked offense and are coming off by far their best performance of the season. Some recency bias is again in effect with the Chiefs opening as -7.5 point favorites but now dropping to -5 in most spots. Greenline can point you in the right direction for plays on both the spread and total in this exciting AFC matchup. 

Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins

Players to Watch

Among the 87 NFL cornerbacks with 100 or more coverage snaps played through Week 5, the Redskins’ Quinton Dunbar ranks fourth in coverage grade (86.8) and second in passer rating allowed (46.7). He’ll have every opportunity to improve on his strong start to the season, as well, going against the hapless Dolphins passing attack in Week 6.

Put simply, Josh Rosen hasn’t been good in Miami. He’s been highly inaccurate and currently owns PFF’s fourth-lowest passing grade (53.3) among qualifying quarterbacks.

Fantasy Football Preview

If a football game takes place with no fantasy intrigue, does it make a sound? Terry McLaurin is the only player likely to see time in this game who has reached even 60 PPR points this season, while Preston Williams’ 41.1 points leads for the Dolphins. Ultimately, the softness of the matchup in both directions does actually make McLaurin, Williams, DeVante Parker and Adrian Peterson perhaps most of all interesting fantasy plays, but this is not an inspiring game.

Greenline Preview

This game features two of the four lowest-ranked teams in the NFL according to ELO and two of the bottom-five offenses. Washington has fired its coach with Miami firing most of its best players in an all-out effort to tank. Greenline can offer some betting plays if you can actually stomach watching this matchup. 

Philadelphia Eagles @ Minnesota Vikings

Players to Watch

While the box score tells a bit of a different story, Carson Wentz ranks second behind Russell Wilson in PFF passing grade through Week 5 at 88.4. His box-score production has suffered largely because of drops. No quarterback has had more drops from receivers than Wentz (15).

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, on the other hand, ranks 20th in PFF passing grade (64.8) with four big-time throws and six turnover-worthy plays. He did, however, earn an impressive 84.6 passing grade against the Giants in Week 5. He’ll need a similar output against Philly to secure the win on Sunday.

Fantasy Football Preview

Zach Ertz is averaging more than eight targets a game (8.6, to be exact), but the results haven’t quite been there like fantasy managers might have wanted. He hasn’t reached even 75 yards in a game yet this year, didn’t score his first touchdown until Week 5, and while yes, he’s averaging those 8.6 targets, that’s largely on the back of his 15-target Week 2 effort; he hasn’t topped eight targets in a game otherwise. A tight end who averages 8.6 targets and 62.4 yards a game with touchdown opportunities is still a weekly must-start, but so far at least, Ertz isn’t putting up the top-three numbers those who drafted him likely expected.

Greenline Preview

The Vikings finally got their passing offense rolling in a runaway victory over the Giants. They now head home for a showdown of the fifth- and sixth-ranked teams according to our ELO metric. With both offenses and defenses ranked in the top half of the league, this matchup figures to come down to quarterback play. This line has held strong at -3 with the juice flipping from the home favorite to the road dog. This could be a precursor to the line moving down with Greenline needing some movement to find value on either side of this spread. 

Atlanta Falcons @ Arizona Cardinals

Players to Watch

Grady Jarrett has been one of few bright spots for the Falcons’ defense to start the 2019 season. After signing a monster contract in the offseason, Jarrett currently leads all interior defensive linemen in PFF pass-rushing grade (88.5).

Jarrett will face a tough test against Arizona’s interior offensive line on Sunday. Yes, you read that correctly. The Cards’ interior offensive line has actually come out of the gates on fire. Guards Justin Pugh and J.R. Sweezy have both earned 74.0-plus pass-blocking grades so far this year, and center A.Q. Shipley is right there with them with his 74.0 pass-blocking grade through Week 5.

Fantasy Football Preview

By now, everybody knows about the Cardinals’ defensive struggles against tight ends. But Atlanta TE Austin Hooper is a valuable commodity no matter the matchup. He’s top-five at the position in targets, receptions, yards, yards after the catch, first downs and, of course, PPR points, where he’s second. An average tight end might be a smash play against Arizona, but Hooper has been far more than average so far this year.

Greenline Preview

The Sweatlanta Falcons have to be one of the most frustrating teams to back from a gambling perspective. Bettors appear to have forgotten their 1-4 ATS record to start 2019 quickly, as this line has moved toward the Falcons. After opening at -1, it has slid out to -2.5 for the road favorites. The total has also been on the move, opening at 49.5 before moving two numbers to 51.5 in most spots. Greenline sees some value on both the spread and the total in this matchup of two teams that have underachieved to start 2019. 

San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams

Players to Watch

The NFL average through Week 5 for offenses running the football with two or fewer wide receivers in formation between the 10-yard lines on early downs is 4.4 yards per carry. Kyle Shanahan and his 49ers are blowing that average out of the water with their 5.6 yards per carry average on such runs and, as a result, rank inside the top-10 in yards per carry when running the football on early downs so far this season.

Los Angeles needs standout performances on defense to keep San Francisco’s run-heavy offense at bay. Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers lead the team in run-defense grade at 87.3 and 85.1, respectively.

Fantasy Football Preview

Matt Breida got the headlines Monday night, but this appears to genuinely be a committee backfield. Jeff Wilson Jr. was a healthy inactive, but it was just about an even split otherwise, with Breida playing 26 snaps, Tevin Coleman 25 and Raheem Mostert 24. Coleman led the way with 16 carries (compared to 11 for Breida and 7 for Mostert), while Breida had the only three targets from this group. Ultimately, with the way the 49ers are running the ball (though monitor the Kyle Juszczyk situation), both Breida and Coleman are flex plays with upside, but there doesn’t appear to be much chance of getting a workhorse in San Francisco.

Greenline Preview

The 49ers look to continue their undefeated ways on the road in Los Angeles on Sunday. This total has jumped two full points in some spots since the opening 49. At the current 50.5-51 number, Greenline has a play on a certain side of the total but needs to be acted on quickly with this line continuing to be on the move.

Tennessee Titans @ Denver Broncos

Players to Watch

Rookie AJ Brown leads all Titans players with 10 or more routes run this season in yards per route run (2.38), yet he still ranks just fourth on the team in targets, with just 19 through Week 5. He needs more opportunities in Tennessee’s offense.

Denver features two of the NFL’s highest-graded receivers through Week 5 in Emmanuel Sanders (82.5) and Courtland Sutton (82.6). The duo has combined for 50 receptions, 708 receiving yards, 19 first downs and five touchdowns despite underwhelming play from Joe Flacco under center.

Fantasy Football Preview

Remember Delanie Walker? The Titans don’t seem to. The veteran tight end started the season strong, with two touchdowns in Week 1 and at least six targets in each of the first three weeks. The last two weeks, though, he’s had a total of four targets, catching a pair of them for 14 total yards. Darren Waller is the only tight end to top even 24 receiving yards against the Broncos this year, and it’s looking like Walker won’t be the next one to join him.

Greenline Preview

The Broncos smacked around the Chargers on Sunday, getting their first win of the season and a cover for Greenline’s written picks. With this week’s spread number continuing to move in the direction of the Broncos, does Greenline find value on Denver two weeks in a row? 

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Jets

Players to Watch

Among the 88 receivers with at least 100 routes run through Week 5, Amari Cooper (84.7) and Michael Gallup (83.1) rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in PFF receiving grade. The Dallas duo has combined for 52 receptions, 851 receiving yards, 29 first downs and six touchdowns. Gallup ranks first in yards per route tun (3.49), while Cooper ranks third at 2.93.

Jamal Adams and Brian Poole have been fantastic playing safety and slot cornerback, respectively, for the Jets’ defense so far this season. However, the same can’t be said for the team’s outside cornerbacks. Trumaine Johnson, Nate Hairston and Daryl Roberts have all earned coverage grades below 64.0 through Week 5. The trio has also allowed 68.6% of their collective targets to be completed for 429 yards, 18 first downs and three touchdowns.

Fantasy Football Preview

The jury is out on Sam Darnold’s pro career in a vacuum, but at least for this iteration of the Jets, his absence has been significant. The Jets have totaled 23 points, 419 passing yards and zero passing touchdowns in the three games Darnold has missed to mononucleosis. The Jets and Dolphins could combine their point totals so far this season and would still be comfortably the lowest-scoring team.

Greenline Preview

Dallas laid an egg at home against the Packers last week and now travels to New York with the possible return of Sam Darnold on the horizon. The Cowboys opened as 10.5-point road favorites, but this number has dropped dramatically, crossing the key number 10 all the way down to 7.5. Despite this drastic move, Greenline may still lean toward the Jets with this line movement potentially not being drastic enough yet. 

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Los Angeles Chargers

Players to Watch

Offensive linemen Matt Feiler and David DeCastro are the Steelers’ two highest-graded players of the offensive side of the ball through Week 5, and deservedly so. As a duo, Feiler and DeCastro have allowed just 12 total pressures across 364 combined pass-blocking snaps.

Defensively, the Chargers have almost completely relied on Joey Bosa to create pressure off the edge. He’s the only Bolts defensive linemen with a pass-rushing grade above 70.0 through Week 5.

Fantasy Football Preview

Most yards allowed to the slot through five weeks: Pittsburgh at 716. Most targets: Pittsburgh, 74. Most receptions: Pittsburgh, 54. Most first downs: Pittsburgh, 32. Most touchdowns: Pittsburgh has the second-most with five. It’s been a quiet couple of weeks for Keenan Allen after a huge start to the season, but don’t be surprised if he gets back on track Sunday.

Greenline Preview (Game of the Week)

The Sunday nightcap features the Chargers at home against the potential third-string quarterback for the Steelers. The spread has oscillated between -7 and -6.5 with little scoring expected on this low total of 41. Featured as our Game of the Week, Greenline leans slightly toward the Steelers with the over a distinct possibility, especially if the total begins to fall on quarterback news from the Steelers. 

Monday, October 14

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

Players to Watch

Lions receivers Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay have both been fantastic in contested-catch situations so far this season. Jones has caught 7-of-9 contested-catch opportunities, while Golladay has caught 10 of his 18 contested targets. Among the 26 receivers with at least eight contested targets through Week 5, Jones and Golladay rank second and eighth, respectively, in contested-catch percentage.

Jaire Alexander did not have a good outing against Amari Cooper and the Cowboys, and he faces another tough challenge with Jones and Golladay coming to Green Bay. After earning a season-low 45.3 coverage grade in Week 5, Alexander owns a 77.8 coverage grade on the year with an NFL-high 11 forced incompletions.

Fantasy Football Preview

The Packers’ offense did plenty to beat the Cowboys in Week 5, but the job was done almost entirely by Aaron Jones, who had 182 of the team’s 335 yards of offense. That meant that despite leading the team to 34 points, Aaron Rodgers finished only 24th among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring in Week 5, not even reaching 10 points. Rodgers is still passing plenty (his 36.0 pass attempts per game is the third-highest mark of his career) and getting decent passing yardage (261.4, middle of the road for his career), but he’s not throwing for touchdowns. So far, Rodgers has averaged only 1.2 passing scores per game. It would be his first time as a starter averaging under 1.6 passing touchdowns per game.

Greenline Preview

Monday night showcases the two teams sitting atop the NFC north as Matthew Stafford and the Lions travel to Lambeau. This total has clung to 47, with the Lions coming off their bye and the Packers showing their ability to establish the run in last week’s dominating performance over Dallas. With both teams ranked in the top half of the league according to our defensive rankings, Greenline offers no real edge on the total. The Lions have found backing on the spread — after opening as six-point ‘dogs, it has settled in at -4.5. Right now, Greenline finds some value on that number, but with it continuing to move, action needs to happen quickly.  

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