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Fantasy football 2023 Week 6 sleepers: Back to Dak in prime time?

We've almost made it through the first third of the season. As we head into Week 6, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that only two teams are on a bye (Packers and Steelers). That means you may not have to make quite as many tough add/drop or start/sit decisions.

The bad news? Injuries have hit hard. Justin Jefferson (hamstring), De'Von Achane (knee), James Conner (knee) and Anthony Richardson (shoulder) all headed to injured reserve this week, sidelining them for at least a month. It's like fantasy managers aren't allowed to have nice things. So, for yet another week, we're scrambling to fill in the gaps we didn't expect to exist. And again, we come to you with sleepers to help get you over the hump.


Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys DAL · QB
Los Angeles Chargers
2023 · 2-2-0

Trying to make Dak Prescott a sleeper pick after last week’s game feels like a tough sell. Prescott was pulled in the fourth quarter for Cooper Rush as the Cowboys were utterly routed by the 49ers. It felt like a mercy mission after Dak threw three interceptions to fast-track the game out of control. When the dust settled, Prescott had fewer than five fantasy points -- a new low output in what is becoming an underwhelming season. 

The silver lining here: The Chargers are not the 49ers. Not by a longshot. San Francisco continues to be one of the tougher defenses on fantasy quarterbacks. The Bolts are one of the most QB-friendly. Los Angeles is allowing nearly 300 passing yards per game. That’s after you factor in games against Raiders rookie backup Aidan O’Connell and a Titans passing attack that ranks among the NFL’s worst. Certainly, Dak and the Cowboys can muster a semblance of a passing game. Prescott is mostly likely already starting in two-QB formats. Now he has low-end QB1 vibes in Week 6.

Desmond Ridder
Atlanta Falcons ATL · QB
Washington Commanders
2023 · 2-3-0

Just when you thought it was safe to forget about Desmond Ridder, he comes though with a performance to make you at least rethink your priors. The second-year quarterback comfortably set a new single-game high with 329 passing yards against the Texans. It was the first time he’d surpassed 240 yards in an NFL game. It was also his largest fantasy output for any given week in his (young) career.  

Next up is a date with a Commanders defense that hasn’t been in command of too many opponents recently. Washington has allowed 33 or more points in four straight games -- including 40 points to Justin Fields and the Bears in Week 5. They have surrendered 10 touchdown passes with just two interceptions. They’ve also allowed a league-high 188 rushing yards to quarterbacks, just in case Ridder gets frisky and decides to take off (which he can do). It’s still best not to get carried away -- Ridder’s starting value is mostly limited to two-quarterback formats.


Gardner Minshew
Indianapolis Colts IND · QB
Jacksonville Jaguars
2023 · 3-2-0

I didn’t expect to be back here so soon. Anthony Richardson is back on the shelf -- this time for a month or more -- after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 5. That means the Colts will again turn to Gardner Minshew to carry them through the rookie's absence. Minshew was respectable in his lone start this season, a surprising Week 3 win over the Ravens. This week’s test shouldn’t be quite as formidable.  

In Week 6, the Colts will finish their season series with the Jaguars. Forgetting the #revenge aspect of Minshew-versus-the-team-that-drafted-him, Jacksonville has been middling against quarterbacks in 2023. It gave up big numbers to Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen (of course). It shut down Desmond Ridder (of course). But in Week 1, the Jaguars gave up 223 yards and a touchdown to an unpolished Richardson making his first career start. Minshew’s ceiling is limited, and the floor isn’t particularly stable. But for anyone needing a second QB this week, he’s worth a look.

Running backs

Alexander Mattison
Minnesota Vikings MIN · RB
Chicago Bears
2023 · 1-4-0

Some were worried that the Cam Akers trade to Minnesota was going to signal the end for Alexander Mattison. Instead, it seems to have lit a fire under the Vikings incumbent (maybe that was the point?). Since the trade, Mattison has played relatively well. If nothing else, it doesn’t look like Akers has been a real threat to taking over Minnesota’s RB1 job. 

Armed with that knowledge, we can view Mattison with a bit of optimism this week against Chicago. The Bears have been very forgiving to fantasy running backs this season, allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to the position. Their run defense has been better than average this year, but they've also allowed the most receiving yards to running backs. That's good news for Mattison, since he’s running a route on about half of Vikings pass plays. His ceiling is limited, but he does have a relatively stable floor. Consider him a low-end RB2 this week.  

Emari Demercado
Arizona Cardinals ARI · RB
Los Angeles Rams
2023 · 2-3-0

Tuesday brought a slew of bad fantasy news. Along with the losses of top-tier fantasy stars Justin Jefferson and De'Von Achane, James Conner was placed on the shelf with a knee injury of his own. That takes away a running back who had been an unsung hero for fantasy managers in the first month of the season.  

So far, the Cardinals have been a one-back offense. That volume helped make Conner productive. We’ll see if that remains true in his absence. Even if it doesn’t, undrafted rookie Emari Demarcado should get the first crack at the job. The rookie performed well after Conner left the game last week, rushing for 45 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. He’s already shown he can be an asset in the passing game and was trusted with the goal-line work as well. If he continues to get work in the two-minute drill, game script won’t be an issue. He was a popular waiver target this week and should get some flex consideration as well.

D'Onta Foreman
Chicago Bears CHI · RB
Minnesota Vikings
2023 · 1-4-0

A common phrase in the NFL is “next man up.” For the Bears backfield this week, “last man standing” might be more appropriate. After Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, and Travis Homer all picked up injuries, the previously healthy-scratched Foreman should be pressed into action in Week 6. 

The matchup doesn’t appear to be the best one, on paper. Minnesota has been stingy to running backs in fantasy. The reason to trust Foreman this week is two-fold. The first is the potential for volume. The Bears have gotten back to running the ball, and Chicago has the fifth-most run-heavy offense over the past three weeks. Justin Fields can’t do it all alone. The second is that Foreman is a bruiser who can handle work at the goal line. Starting Foreman this week isn’t for the faint of heart, but he does have RB3 vibes in deeper leagues. 

Wide receivers

Curtis Samuel
Washington Commanders WAS · WR
Atlanta Falcons
2023 · 3-2-0

Before the season, much of the discussion about the Commanders’ passing game was about Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. Curtis Samuel was an afterthought -- if he was mentioned at all. Over the past few weeks, Samuel has been considered the fly in the ointment, preventing McLaurin from living his best life. Maybe now, we should consider Samuel for his own standalone value. 

Samuel’s target share in 2023 is equal to Dotson’s. His targets per route run are on par with McLaurin’s. It’s time to admit Samuel is a substantial part of Washington’s plan in the passing game. The Falcons haven’t been a pushover in the secondary this year, but they have had some trouble with slot receivers. That’s where Samuel works about two-thirds of the time. If the Commanders are as committed to throwing the ball as they were last week (51 attempts!), Samuel will have flex appeal in deep leagues.

Michael Gallup
Dallas Cowboys DAL · WR
Los Angeles Chargers
2023 · 2-2-0

The Cowboys have a winning record, but starting them in fantasy hasn’t been fun. CeeDee Lamb is outside of the top 15 receivers. Tony Pollard just barely creeps into the top 12 at RB. And the moment we get excited about Jake Ferguson, he turns back into a tight end again. (Translation: underwhelming). That’s before we talk about Dak Prescott. Well, yes, we talked about him above, but let’s not pretend that he hasn’t lived down to his current QB21 status. 

Fortunately, the Chargers are responsible for allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. That number is a tad misleading; they were lit up by Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson, but the rest of the wideout performances against the Bolts have been pretty pedestrian. More often than not, however, it’s been the secondary guys doing a lot of the work. Treylon Burks, Jordan Addison, and Braxton Berrios all had noteworthy games against Los Angeles. That trend bodes well for Gallup. He’s certainly a risk-reward play, but there’s upside in leagues that start three or more WRs.

Tyler Boyd
Cincinnati Bengals CIN · WR
Seattle Seahawks
2023 · 3-1-0

One of the bigger fantasy stories of Week 5 was the apparent return of the Bengals offense. Many managers went into the week wondering if Joe Burrow was even startable. For those who kept the faith, they were rewarded with 317 yards and three touchdowns. While none of those scores went to Tyler Boyd, he did match a season-high with six catches. And he would have had a touchdown had it not been called back because of a penalty.  

The caveat is that his sleeper potential this week is impacted by Tee Higgins’ availability. If Higgins' injured rib keeps him out of service again this week, Boyd should see another solid target share. It comes against a Seahawks defense that has been tagged by receivers for the most fantasy points per game. With plenty of attention going to Ja’Marr Chase, things could open up for Boyd to put in work. He’s a mid-tier WR3 this week.

Tight ends

Cade Otton
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB · TE
Detroit Lions
2023 · 4-1-0

We’ve reached the tight end portion of the program. Which means we will succumb to the soft discrimination of low expectations. Is this player a good bet? Or is he a good bet for a tight end? Does it really matter if they’re producing enough to help us win? Can I fit any more questions into this paragraph? 

There is upside. Cade Otton is heavily involved in running routes when the Bucs throw the ball, and with the high-powered Lions on the other side, Tampa should have to throw the ball plenty. It’s worth keeping an eye on Mike Evans, who is recovering from a hamstring injury. If he can’t go, that should also mean more targets in Otton’s direction. That’s a good thing against Detroit. The Lions are improved in a lot of areas, but they have still allowed more receiving yards to tight ends than any other team. Otton is a TE2 this week.

Logan Thomas
Washington Commanders WAS · TE
Atlanta Falcons
2023 · 3-2-0

There’s nothing specifically about Thomas that makes you want to run out and add him. His target share is inconsistent, and his weekly floor is frighteningly low. The Commanders are spreading the ball around. Four Washington players have at least 25 targets this season -- including Thomas. The silver lining: He’s getting high-leverage targets. Thomas is tied with Jahan Dotson for the most end zone targets on the roster. 

Atlanta’s defense is better than you’d think at first glance. They rank eighth against the pass, allowing fewer than 200 yards per game, but tight end has been a weak spot. Atlanta is giving up the second-most fantasy points per game to the position. Only Detroit has surrendered more catches to tight ends. The positive matchup combined with the possibility of high-value targets has Thomas as a high-end TE2 in Week 6.


Kansas City Chiefs
2023 · 4-1-0
Denver Broncos
2023 · 1-4-0

When we talk about the Chiefs, the defense isn’t usually the first thing that comes up. And fair enough -- their defense has not been great. But it has been good enough to help the team to a 4-1 start. They’ve been equally run-of-the-mill in fantasy, scoring six or fewer points in three of their five games. But when we’re looking at sleeper defenses, it’s less about the defense itself and more about the opposing offense. 

That brings us to Week 6. It’s hard to pin the Broncos' 1-4 record totally on the offense. Though Russell Wilson and company haven’t exactly helped matters. Denver doesn’t always give the ball away, but when it happens, it happens in bulk. Last week, the Broncos turned the ball over three times. That matched the three turnovers they had in Week 3, which followed up the two giveaways from Week 2. Add in the three to four sacks allowed each week and it adds up to a fantasy D/ST streamer’s dream. The Chiefs have top 10 potential this week. 

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for and a man who wonders why he lets the Dodgers torture him every year. Send him your irrational emotional experiences or fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or TikTok at marcasgrant.

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