Week 6 fantasy highs and lows: Rhamondre Stevenson, Brandon Aiyuk impress

Week 6 of the 2022 fantasy football season was highlighted by big games by Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Aiyuk and more struggles for Aaron Rodgers. Which developments from the week are worth reading into? Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft offer their analysis.

Stevenson gets a heavy workload

With Damien Harris sidelined -- remarkably, despite hints that he'd be out multiple weeks, he was ruled out on Sunday only at inactives list time -- Rhamondre Stevenson stepped up with a huge amount of work, demonstrating his versatility and raw ability in the process. He played 85% of the offensive snaps, absorbed 19 of 23 rushing attempts that went to running backs and ran all 19 routes by Patriots running backs, things that look completely out of the ordinary considering Bill Belichick's tendency to spread things around in his backfield. Stevenson had his moments in this game, struggling to find space at times, but his 31-yard touchdown underscored his potential as a runner, and his receiving chops had previously been well-known. He's a potential RB1 -- more so in deeper-than-standard leagues, however -- anytime this backfield is his alone. -- Cockcroft

Stevenson has the physical profile and make-up of an RB1. We know he can drop the hammer on contact and, as we saw on Sunday, Stevenson will hit the accelerator when he gets into the open field. The Patriots running back has also caught 14 passes over his last four games. There's PPR upside here, too. -- Bowen

Pitts finds the end zone

Kyle Pitts caught his first touchdown of the year on a red zone slant route in the Week 6 win over the 49ers. Play-action with the tight end aligned as the backside X receiver. That's easy money. Given his traits as a receiver, however, why aren't we seeing more target volume and matchup-based deployment for the tight end in Arthur Smith's offense? Pitts' 10.9 PPR points on Sunday were his most since the Week 3 game at Seattle (13.7), but he still sits at 13 total receptions on the season. Without the volume, and the usage that creates consistent scoring opportunities or explosive play situations, Pitts will remain a lower-tier TE1 for the Week 7 game versus the Bengals. -- Bowen

More struggles for Rodgers

Davante Adams' absence is clearly having an adverse impact on Aaron Rodgers' production, as 2022 is now the first season in his 15 as an NFL starter in which he has failed to deliver a 20-plus-point fantasy performance during one of the first six weeks, and his 81.02 points total in those six games are easily his fewest. Rodgers was pressured relentlessly by the Jets' defense in this one, and that's not a defense that's traditionally considered one of the league's most ferocious, and Randall Cobb's early exit due to an ankle issue can hardly take all of the blame. Rodgers doesn't seem in rhythm at all with this group of receivers when he's aiming deep, and that'll put him in rough spots against tougher opponents, especially if playing from behind as he was in this game. He's looking like a matchups quarterback through and through. At least that means he could deliver QB1 numbers against the Commanders next week or Lions in Week 9, but there's no way right now that you can trust him against defenses like the Bills in Week 8 or Cowboys in Week 10. -- Cockcroft

Aiyuk comes up big

Game flow forced the 49ers to throw the football in the Week 6 loss at Atlanta, but let's still focus here on Brandon Aiyuk. The wide receiver did post season highs in PPR scoring (23.3), targets (11), receptions (8) and touchdowns (2). And we have to account for his red zone usage in this one. Aiyuk scored his first touchdown on a wide receiver screen, and came back to win a one-on-one matchup from a slot alignment for his second score -- with both receptions inside the 20-yard line. With a Week 7 matchup versus the Chiefs, Aiyuk will remain a touchdown-dependent WR3 in my rankings. -- Bowen

Other observations

​​Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Thanks in large part to his 60-yard, game-winning touchdown reception with less than two minutes left in the Bengals' 30-24 victory, Chase delivered his fantasy managers 32.2 PPR fantasy points, most among wide receivers from the 1 p.m. ET games. It's already the third time this season, and sixth in his two-year NFL career, that he has exceeded 25 points, and while the matchup here skewed heavily in his favor after Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore was scratched due to an abdominal injury, Chase's full skills were on full display in this one. He's a top-shelf NFL (and fantasy) talent, locked into the top five at his position for our purposes, with four of six games in double-digit targets to go along with great chemistry with his quarterback, Joe Burrow. -- Cockcroft

Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets: After posting 27.7 PPR points in the Week 5 win over Miami, Hall dropped 20.1 PPR points on the Packers up at Lambeau Field on Sunday. The rookie has now scored a touchdown in three straight games, with at least 19 touches per game over that stretch. We know he has explosive play ability as a dual-threat option in this New York system. It's also pretty clear that the Jets see him as the No. 1 back given his volume and offensive deployment. Need an example? Look at Hall's 34 yard touchdown run on Sunday. That's a counter scheme -- with Hall aligned as a wing back. Hall and the Jets get the Broncos next. He'll be a fringe RB1 in my rankings. -- Bowen

Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills: His 30.8 PPR fantasy points on Sunday gave him a position-best -- and second-best overall -- 150.6 through six weeks, which is the 14th most by any wide receiver through that many team games since at least 1950. Diggs has delivered back-to-back elite performances, doing so in games where Gabe Davis was equally noteworthy, which underscores both his own elite talent and the Bills' heavy passing leaning. Diggs is a locked-in, weekly top-5 wide receiver. -- Cockcroft

Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks: You can lean on Walker in this Seattle offense. Taking over as the lead back for an injured Rashaad Penny, Walker posted 110 total yards -- on 23 touches -- to finish with 19.0 PPR points in the Week 6 win over the Cardinals. The rookie, who has now scored a rushing touchdown in two straight games, showcased the traits of a No.1 back, in my opinion. He can slip tacklers. The ball carrier vision is there. And he has the lateral juice to bounce the ball on the edge. The Seahawks get the Chargers' leaky run defense in Week 7, where Walker will be an RB2 in my ranks. -- Bowen

DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers: Things can't get much worse for him, can they? Moore managed only three catches and 7 yards on his seven targets, with even the change at quarterback to P.J. Walker failing to turn his season around. At this point, Moore's managers, who roster him in 94.4% of ESPN leagues, are assuredly hoping the Panthers trade him in advance of the Nov. 1 deadline -- though the team will certainly aim to move Robbie Anderson, who was ejected from the game by his own coach, first. Even Moore's schedule doesn't inspire optimism, as he'll face the Buccaneers, Falcons (twice) and Bengals the next four weeks, with all of those defenses either tougher than average against wide receivers or sporting decent talent at cornerback. -- Cockcroft

Marcus Mariota, QB, Atlanta Falcons: His best fantasy performance in a starting assignment in more than three years was one in which he didn't have to do much at all via the air, as Mariota scored 24.16 points despite attempting just 14 passes. Remarkably, he did it by capitalizing upon a run-heavy offensive approach, and against a 49ers defense that traditionally has been quite good at containing the run. Mariota could contribute for fantasy purposes at the level of a high-end QB2, though his unpredictability with falling into the matchups makes him a tough guy to roster outside of those two-quarterback or superflex leagues. I can't say I see value in him in other circumstances, not yet. -- Cockcroft

Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers: Jones' 7.4 PPR points were his second-lowest scoring totals of the season, and it's now been four weeks since the Packers running back has found the end zone. In a game versus the Jets, where I expected to see heavy run game volume for Jones, he totaled just 19 yards rushing (on nine carries). He'll slip down to the RB2 range for the Week 7 game at Washington. -- Bowen

Matt Ryan, QB, Indianapolis Colts: Ryan's 58 pass attempts on Sunday in the win over the Jags were a season high. So were the four touchdown throws and the 27.16 fantasy points. Without Jonathan Taylor, the Colts went pass heavy -- and Ryan distributed the ball to eight different players. His tape has been below average at times this season, but give the veteran quarterback some credit here. Ryan made some throws in this one, including the deep-ball toss to rookie Alec Pierce to win it. -- Bowen

This was a heck of a performance in a game that, early on, looked like it was leaning heavily the Jaguars' way, and it restored some of my faith in Ryan, but more importantly made me feel a lot better about Michael Pittman Jr.'s appeal going forward. Pittman saw 16 targets, caught 13 and scored 26.4 PPR fantasy points, and I'd argue that of the Colts' most heavily targeted receivers in this game, he's the one most likely to keep up the usage in future weeks. He aligns brilliantly the next two weeks, facing the Titans and Commanders. -- Cockcroft

Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots: His production has spiked with the change at quarterback to Bailey Zappe, an injury-driven move to be fair, as Henry saw a team-high seven targets and scored a season-best 16.1 PPR fantasy points. That gives him a combined 12 targets and 25.5 points in Zappe's two starts, and it's clear by watching that Zappe has brought a spark to the offense and has Henry in his sights. Keep tabs on the Patriots' quarterback decision through the week -- Mac Jones was nearly ready to return for this game -- as Henry could be a borderline TE1 in Zappe's games. -- Cockcroft

I've been impressed with Zappe, Tristan. The rookie quarterback can read it out quickly. He throws with timing, too. And the schemed concepts can set him up. Good fit for what the Patriots want in their offensive system. -- Bowen

Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers: With another touchdown reception on Sunday in the Week 6 game versus the Jets, Lazard has now scored in four of five games played this season. Yes, he is a touchdown-dependent option in your lineup who has caught five or more passes only once this season. But given how critical the one-on-one throws are in this Green Bay offense, Lazard still provides WR3 value (with more non-PPR upside) as a vertical target for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Throw the outside verts and the slot fades. Lazard heads into a Week 7 matchup with the Commanders next. -- Bowen

Deon Jackson, RB, Indianapolis Colts: His breakthrough performance -- 8.1 PPR fantasy points while catching a whopping 10 passes -- was marred by his early departure due to a quadriceps injury, and at this stage it certainly seems that the Colts are snake-bitten at running back, with Jonathan Taylor (ankle) and Nyheim Hines (concussion) ahead of him on the depth chart having missed this game with injuries of their own. We'll need to see who is healthy and practicing throughout the week to make a determination as to Colts running back utility for Week 7 at the Titans, but Jackson has shown that he's roster-worthy even as a mere insurance policy. -- Cockcroft