NFL: MAY 31 San Francisco 49ers OTA
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Week 6 stunk. In Week 5, there were 14 games around the NFL and there were 630 total points scored; in Week 6, there were 514 points scored in 14 games entering Monday night. It wasn't just the lowest-scoring week of the season, it was the lowest-scoring week by a huge margin. 

Here are the points per game for every week so far: 

  • Week 1: 49.8
  • Week 2: 44.1
  • Week 3: 43.6
  • Week 4: 41.0
  • Week 5: 45.0
  • Week 6: 36.7

I'm actually underselling how bad this week has been for scoring by just comparing it to the rest of this season. Those 36.7 points per game for Week 6 are the lowest league-wide average for a week since Week 8 of the 2007 season when current Titans coach Mike Vrabel was AFC Defensive Player of the Week. 

So, yeah, if your team didn't do much this week, I promise, you weren't alone. And we added a significant amount of injury to insult this week with a bunch of key players going down with injuries. Before we get to our early look at the Week 7 waiver wire and my winners and losers from Sunday's action, here are the injuries you need to know about from around the NFL:

Justin Fields, QB, Bears (thumb) – Fields suffered a dislocated thumb after landing on his throwing hand Sunday, and while he tried to go back in, he wasn't able to grip the ball properly. X-rays also came back negative – if you're sensing a theme here, I can't blame you – and he'll also have an MRI on Monday to determine whether there is any further damage. This has the potential to be the most significant injury of the week, and unfortunately, Tyson Bagent, an undrafted free agent, isn't likely to be someone Fantasy players want much exposure to. He probably won't be great for the Bears pass-catchers, especially DJ Moore, either. Let's hope Fields is okay.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, 49ers (oblique) – McCaffrey tried to play through the injury, logging one snap that was nullified by a holding penalty, but was unable to do anymore. There was no update on his condition after the game, but oblique injuries tend to be pretty tricky – you don't see them as much in the NFL as in, say, baseball, but they have a tendency to linger longer than you think. Hopefully, that won't be the case here, and McCaffrey does have an extra day to get ready for Week 7 against the Vikings on Monday night, but at this point, I'm preparing to play without him.

Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers (shoulder) – X-rays came back negative for Samuel, but we're waiting on an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury. Hopefully, it won't be too serious, and he's got that extra day to get back, too. But Samuel has been pretty beat up already this season, and it's affected his performance, so I'd rather they hold him out until he's 100% – I probably won't start Samuel in Week 7 either way, at this point. 

David Montgomery, RB, Lions (ribs) – Montgomery had X-rays taken during the game, which came back negative and seemingly rules out a fracture here. However, the Lions will await the results of further testing on Monday to determine the full extent of the injury. Montgomery has been tremendous this season, but he already missed one game with a thigh injury, so they might opt to play it safe with him. That decision would be easier if Jahmyr Gibbs is back from his hamstring injury in Week 7 against the Ravens.

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jaguars (knee) – Lawrence spoke with reporters after Sunday's game and told them he felt "pretty good," but will undergo testing Monday as well. He didn't have a wrap or brace on the knee after the game, but that doesn't necessarily mean he avoided an injury that will linger, and with the Jaguars playing Thursday in Week 7, even a minor injury could still keep him out. C.J. Beathard would be an obvious downgrade for the Jaguars pass catchers heading into a tough matchup against the Saints

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans (ankle) – Tannehill was on crutches after the game, but this is one spot where the schedule does us a favor – the Titans are off in Week 7, so he'll have an extra week to heal.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Raiders (back) – Garoppolo went to the hospital as a precaution, which is a little alarming. We don't really have any details other than that, but we should be preparing for the potential of either Brian Hoyer or Aidan O'Connell to start for the Raiders in Week 7 against the Bears, and it would be a shame for a backup to drag the offense down in such a prime matchup. 

So, yeah ... if you thought the offense was bad this week, imagine what things might look like without several starting quarterbacks and a couple of the best running backs in the game. We'll have more information on all of those injuries tomorrow, and hopefully, we'll get good news across the board – wouldn't it be nice to get some good news for a change?

We'll be back tomorrow with a full breakdown of all the injury news you need and how it impacts the full Week 7 waiver wire. For now, here's my early look at the top options, plus my biggest winners and losers from Sunday's action. 

Biggest Winners and Losers 

Here's who has the arrow pointing up or down coming out of Sunday's action:


Sam Howell, QB, Commanders

Howell's got his limitations as a player, and in some ways, they are holding the Commanders offense back. But the Commanders are also happy to live with them because the positive plays tend to be really impactful. Is he too confident in his own ability to extend plays and fit throws into tight windows? Definitely! But he's a confident, adventurous quarterback who has put up 20-plus points in six-point-per-pass-TD leagues in three straight games and five of seven as a starter overall. He's got the Giants on the schedule in Week 7, which means he's probably going to rank in the top 12 at QB for me. 

Breece Hall, RB, Jets 

Hall didn't run the ball well Sunday, picking up 39 yards on 12 carries. Hey, that happens, especially against tough defenses like the Eagles. He was bailed out by a late touchdown, and hey, that'll happen, too, though perhaps less often than you'd like in a pretty bad offense. But he also showed he's at the point where he has multiple paths to Fantasy relevance, and that's what we're always looking for. Running game not working? Well, he was targeted five times on 33 passes, catching all five of them for 54 yards, giving him a path to both a high floor and high ceiling. This Jets offense is never going to be great, but he was an elite running back last season in a bad offense by earning work in both the rushing and passing game, and he ran a route on a season-high 58% of the team's drop backs after re-emerging as the clear No. 1 option in the running game last season. Given his big-play abilities, that usage is going to put Hall in the RB1 discussion every week. He's there from here on out. 

Drake London, WR, Falcons/Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons

The Falcons are kind of doing what we wanted them to. I mean, not entirely, obviously – Bijan Robinson split carries evenly with Tyler Allgeier Sunday, which should basically never happen. But still, they've grown more willing to put the ball in the air of late, even if they'll never be mistaken for a pass-first offense, and Desmond Ridder has shown he can at least occasionally hit on big plays. London and Pitts would be better in an offense that threw the ball both more aggressively and competently, but Pitts now has 30 targets over his past four games, while London has 34. That's not elite volume, but with players this talented, it should be enough to keep them in the starting discussion. At least until Arthur Smith gets a seven-point lead next week and decides to run the ball 45 times. 

Michael Pittman, WR, Colts

The hope with Gardner Minshew taking over at QB for the Colts was that they would sustain their fast pace on offense while leaning on the pass more, and while the game script tilted toward the pass Sunday, they came out on the first drive of the game and threw 11 times while running four times. Minshew wasn't great Sunday – in fact, it was one of the worst games he's ever had in the NFL – but it was pretty terrific for Pittman, who was targeted on 14 of 55 passes (25.5%) and turned it into nine catches for 109 yards. He's the clear top target in this offense, and that could lead to career-best numbers with Minshew at QB. 

Adam Thielen, WR, Panthers 

I actually don't really know what to say about Thielen. To a certain extent, I think his massive role represents a failing of the Panthers offense – he's not making plays down the field or after the catch, really, and opposing defensive coordinators probably aren't kept up late at night planning how to slow Thielen down, despite three 100-plus yard games in his past four. On the other hand … that's perfectly fine by us! The Panthers don't really have anyone else doing anything in the passing game, so there's little reason to think Thielen's role is going to change. He's 33 and has missed time over the past few seasons due to various lower-body, soft-tissue injuries, which I think is probably the biggest risk here. But, as long as he's healthy, I think Thielen is probably going to keep earning a ton of targets, and he's probably going to be a very useful Fantasy option, even if he probably won't keep getting 100 yards every week. 

Taysom Hill, TE, Saints 

The Saints actually used Hill like a tight end this week, and he looked qualified. Hill played 46 snaps Sunday and nearly all of them were either lined up as a traditional tight end or out of the slot, and as JJ Zachariason pointed out on Twitter, all eight of his targets came out of the slot. He benefited from the absence of Juwan Johnson, certainly, but it was still good to see Hill put together a solid Fantasy outing without anything gimmicky – especially since I'm sure the Saints will still have that gimmicky stuff in the playbook near the end zone. If Johnson is out again next week, Hill will belong in the streaming TE territory and not just because he might get a goal-line touchdown carry, for once. 


Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals

The hope was that last week represented Burrow turning the corner. He put together his best passing game of the season and has talked a lot since about how this is the best he's felt since his calf injury in training camp, and I think a lot of people just assumed that meant Burrow was "back." However, while he got off to a solid start Sunday, it was all still quick-hitting, short-area stuff, and that ended up catching up to the Bengals before long, as the offense stalled out and managed just a single field goal in the second half. Burrow was just one for four on passes that traveled 15-plus yards down the field, and that remains the key thing missing from this Bengals offense – and it's the key to unlocking the upside you thought you were getting here. Burrow has enough weapons that I'm not giving up on him as a starter, but this was an underwhelming showing against what was supposed to be a decent matchup. He's still just a low-end QB1 for Fantasy. 

Dameon Pierce, RB, Texans

Day three running backs who pop as rookies tend to be pretty poor bets to put together long, productive careers, and Pierce is looking like another example of that. He was really solid as a rookie, but now he's in a legitimate timeshare with Devin Singletary, who was the better runner Sunday, carrying 12 times for 58 yards while Pierce had 34 for 13. Pierce has been largely a non-factor in the passing game, and just hasn't been great in the running game yet, sporting a YPC below 3.0. The Texans built a lot of their offense around Pierce last season, but with C.J. Stroud looking great as a rookie and Singletary providing a better alternative, they don't need to rely on him as much. He'll have the occasional big carry game when the Texans are nursing a lead, but there's no guarantee he'll even dominate work in those situations now. Pierce is just an RB3 at this point.  

Emari Demercado, RB, Cardinals

This time last week, it looked like Demercado might be in line for a lead role in the Cardinals offense. And, to be fair, he did actually lead the team in snaps Sunday, playing 33 of 73. The problem is, he was mostly out there doing cardio – Demercado touched the ball just three times Sunday, including just one target on 26 routes. Veteran Damien Williams got nine touches off the practice squad, while Keaontay Ingram had 12. Demercado's role in the passing game could, in theory, make him Fantasy relevant in PPR leagues, but Joshua Dobbs has thrown just 12.2% of his passes to running backs, and the Cardinals are using Rondale Moore out of the backfield in some passing situations too, which doesn't help. Demercado isn't an instant drop, but he's not an obvious hold this week when waivers run, either. Not that Ingram is an awesome choice for Fantasy either, given his limited passing game role. With James Conner out, I think my preference is to just avoid this situation. 

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Titans

I don't want to overreact here, because Hopkins just had his best game of the season in Week 5. But it's hard not to be disappointed after watching him come down with just one catch for 20 yards against a secondary that has been pretty vulnerable at times. Part of the problem here is, the Titans offense ran just 46 plays Sunday as the Ravens dominated time of possession. It was actually a pretty run-heavy script, with 30 of those 46 plays being called passes, though, between sacks and scrambles, they only ended up throwing 21 passes. And that's the bigger concern moving forward, especially if Ryan Tannehill's ankle injury costs him more than just the Week 7 bye. The hope here is Malik Willis took a big step forward heading into his second year, but we should be skeptical until we're given good reason to believe otherwise after he failed to throw for even 100 yards in any of his three starts last season, and that'll make it especially tough to trust Hopkins when the Titans come back from the bye.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Jaguars

Ridley isn't earning targets at an especially high rate – 21% after Week 6 for the season – but the bigger concern might be that he's just not doing enough with the targets he is earning. Among 80 wide receivers with at least 20 targets through Sunday, Ridley ranks just 38th in yards per route run, 32nd in yards per target, and 40th in touchdowns per target. It's hard to argue the Jaguars just aren't using him right, in other words. Maybe he's still knocking off the rust. Maybe he'll get better as he goes along. Or maybe he's a soon-to-be 29-year-old who lost a step after basically not playing football for two years. I don't want that to be the answer, but with just two games of more than 40 yards out of six, the burden of proof might need to be on Ridley moving forward. I'm starting him, but it's as what he's been so far – a boom-or-bust, fringe WR2. 

George Kittle, TE, 49ers

This game should have set up perfectly for Kittle to play a significant role, with Samuel and McCaffrey's injuries, but he was targeted just twice on 27 pass plays Sunday, catching one of them for 1 yard. Which makes it tough to just shrug that off and say, "Yeah, Kittle will be a must-start tight end in Week 7, especially if McCaffrey and Samuel are out." That's probably what I'll do, especially since the Vikings aren't likely to provide as stout a defensive opponent as the Browns did. But, Kittle now has just one game with more than three catches this season, and just four with more than 40 receiving yards in 15 games since Brock Purdy took over as the 49ers primary QB, and just 51 catches for 695 yards total in those games with Purdy. Are we sure he's a must-start Fantasy TE at this point? 

Early Waiver-Wire Targets

Oct 1, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Denver Broncos running back Jaleel McLaughlin (38) takes off on an 18-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports Getty Images

With McCaffrey and Montgomery going down with injuries, running backs are going to be the biggest focus on the wire this week. Here's who I'd prioritize: 

Jeff Wilson, Dolphins (75% rostered) – Wilson couldn't quite make it back from IR this week, but hopefully, next week is the time. The Dolphins have a tough matchup on the way against the Eagles, but this offense is operating at a ludicrously high level right now, with four more touchdowns by running backs Sunday to bring their total to 19 through the first six games; they had 12 all of last season. Wilson would be in the RB2/3 range if activated next week. 

Jordan Mason/Elijah Mitchell, 49ers (9%/56%) – We assumed coming into the season that Mitchell would be the backup to McCaffrey, but now it's not so clear. Mitchell has dealt with a knee injury already this season, despite barely playing, and it was Mason who stepped up in McCaffrey's absence, rushing for 27 yards and a touchdown while Mitchell had just two carries for -3 yards. Hopefully, we get some clarity on the 49ers preference if McCaffrey is out because we should have an RB2 here. 

Craig Reynolds, Lions (6%) – If Gibbs is back, Reynolds probably won't matter too much; he had just four carries and played 29% of the snaps in the game Montgomery already missed. However, if Gibbs can't go, Reynolds should be the lead runner in a very good offense and will be in that RB2 range even against a tough Ravens defense. 

Kareem Hunt, Browns (59%) – Hunt is an interesting one, as he saw his role increase in Week 7, rushing 12 times for 47 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 24 yards. Jerome Ford is still the lead back here, but Hunt's role looked significant enough Sunday to put him in that RB3 conversation against the Colts.

There might be some other backs to target for Week 7, depending on what else comes out tomorrow. For now, here are the players at the other positions we'll be considering ahead of Week 7: