SEC in Fantasy, Week 6: Cam Newton joins some elite company

Auburn's most famous NFL product passed a major milestone in his return to action. But his postgame comments might have been even better.

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We got a milestone performance from Cam Newton and the New England Patriots in Week 6 — good, bad, and really ugly. Let’s break it all down, shall we?

With just under 10 minutes remaining on Sunday afternoon, Newton found himself in trouble. Yet again, the Denver Broncos pass rush was on top of him — not quite rendering flashbacks of Super Bowl 50, but bad enough. Trailing by 15 and still 46 yards from the end zone, Cam had to make a play. So he stepped up in the pocket, decided to make a run for it, and put a stiff-arm to the chest of a blitzing linebacker, springing him free through the middle.

He wouldn’t be touched again for more than 35 yards, when delivered a more furious stiff-arm into the ear hole of Broncos safety Justin Simmons before being knocked out of bounds inside the 10, setting up a first and goal for the Patriots — their best chance to score all day.

By then, the milestone had been earned. With that 38-yard run, Newton became just the second quarterback in NFL history to eclipse 5,000 career rushing yards. The only other one to accomplish that feat? Former Atlanta sports icon, Michael Vick.

Three plays later, Cam found himself in the end zone, trusting his feet and frame to punch home the first (and soon-to-be only) touchdown of the game for either side. On the two-point conversion, the Patriots ran play action and Newton was surrounded by white Bronco jerseys again. Going with a similar route to escape danger, the Denver defense was ready for him this time and stopped him just short.

That play was indicative of much of the rest of the game, both to that point and from there on. The Patriots had Cam try to do a little bit of everything to spark the offense.

For as good as his ground game was (enough to make him the owner of the top two rushing performances from a Patriots quarterback in the Belichick era), the passing attack was equally bad. Newton was 17-25 for 157 yards through the air, throwing two interceptions, including one on the Patriots’ first drive of the game.

So with just 3:14 remaining, trailing by six, the Patriots reached into their bag of tricks and let Julian Edelman throw the ball twice on their final drive. The first was a double screen pass from Newton to Edelman to James White for 22 yards. Then, six plays later, a double reverse pass to Newton for 16 yards.

From there: incompletion, sack, short gain, incompletion. Turnover on downs.

Game over. The Broncos had just become the first team to ever beat a Bill Belichick Patriots team without scoring a single touchdown. His record in such games is now 39-1. Denver pulled off the road upset on the strength of SIX Brandon McManus field goals.

The rock fight left Cam Newton looking in the mirror for answers.

Including Newton’s performance against Denver, here are the half-point PPR fantasy scores for each SEC school during Week 6 of the NFL season, along with the updated team standings and this week’s All-SEC squad:

Alabama

QB: Jalen Hurts (Eagles) - 3.1

RB: Derrick Henry (Titans) - 39.4

RB: Kenyan Drake (Cardinals) - 28.4

WR: Julio Jones (Falcons) - 29.7

WR: Amari Cooper (Cowboys) - 17.4

TE: Irv Smith Jr. (Vikings) - 9.5

FLEX: Calvin Ridley (Falcons) - 15.9

TOTAL = 143.4

By far, the highest weekly team total of the season belongs to the Crimson Tide in Week 6. Derrick Henry had a monster day on the ground, highlighted by yet another one of his signature stiff-arm sprung 90+ yard dashes to the endzone. Kenyan Drake sprinted 69 yards to the house in garbage time to add even more insult to the Cardinals dismantling of the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. For their bruise-and-blaze efforts, both backs earned All-SEC honors. Julio Jones looked REALLY good again facing a porous Minnesota Vikings defense, and though solid himself, Calvin Ridley finally had to take a backseat. Amari Cooper was the lone star for the Cowboys in Jerry World. In South Beach, Tua checked in, completed a couple of passes, and a new era began for the Miami Dolphins.

Arkansas

TE: Hunter Henry (Chargers) - BYE

FLEX: Jeremy Sprinkle (Football Team) - 0.0

TOTAL = 0

It was the Hogs’ turn to put up an egg this week, due a Hunter Henry BYE week and Cody Hollister being returned to the Titans’ practice squad.

Auburn

QB: Cam Newton (Patriots) - 20.0

RB: Kerryon Johnson (Lions) - 2.5

RB: Peyton Barber (Football Team) - 1.5

WR: Darius Slayton (Giants) - 10.8

TE: C.J. Uzomah (Bengals) - INJ

FLEX: Chandler Cox (Dolphins) - 0

K: Cody Parkey (Browns) - 1

TOTAL = 35.8

As mentioned above, Sunday was a mixed bag for Newton, but he didn’t exactly see it that way. Darius Slayton had just two catches on Sunday and was able to score for the first time since Week 1. The hot-hand approaches to the running game in Detroit and DC continue to keep Auburn’s running backs behind the 8-ball.

Perhaps what cost the Tigers the most this week was the kicking game. With Daniel Carlson’s Raiders on a BYE week, the kicking fate rested on the right boot of Cody Parkey, who has been effective and efficient this season. However, the game script flipped quickly on the Browns as they found themselves down very big very early. The Browns offense stalled throughout the game and Parkey did not even get the chance to attempt a field goal, instead converting on his only extra point attempt on the day. For the only SEC kicking unit that has produced a double-digit scorer every single week, the lone stick in the scoresheet hurt.

Florida

QB: Jeff Driskel (Broncos) - OUT

RB: La’Mical Perine (Jets) - 4.6

WR: Demarcus Robinson (Chiefs) - 9.4

WR: Van Jefferson (Rams) - 1.3

TE: Trey Burton (Colts) - 19.9

FLEX: Brandon Powell (Falcons) - 0

TOTAL = 35.2

Since returning from the IR in Week 4, Trey Burton has stood out in a somewhat crowded Indy TE group. Burton put together a career day on Sunday, including the first two touchdowns of the game for the Colts. His first was a throwback to his time at Florida, when the former Gator gadget lined up at QB and punched in a zone read keeper for his first rushing TD of his NFL career. The second, a goal-to-go throw to the end zone from Philip Rivers that jumpstarted the Indy comeback. Demarcus Robinson had his best fantasy week of the season, catching five passes for 69 yards. And in a newly Bell-cowless New York backfield, La’Mical Perine was forced to watch Frank Gore handle the bulk of the carries in between Joe Flacco’s 44 pass attempts… and no one deserves that.

Georgia

QB: Matthew Stafford (Lions) - 13.3

RB: D’Andre Swift (Lions) - 25.8

RB: Todd Gurley II (Falcons) - 8.2

WR: A.J. Green (Bengals) - 13.6

WR: Chris Conley (Jaguars) - 1.1

TE: Charlie Woerner (49ers) - 0.0

FLEX: Isaiah McKenzie (Bills) - 0.9

K: Rodrigo Blankenship (Colts) - 8

TOTAL = 70.9

Facing an ailing Jaguars secondary, the Lions instead chose to impose their will on the ground, making it somewhat of a bust day for Matthew Stafford but a boomer for fellow Dawg/Lion D’Andre Swift, who rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns. A.J. Green had his most catches since WEEK 3 OF 2017, with 8 for 96 yards — could he be rounding back into form? Blankenship rounded out his day with a 40-yarder late in the fourth, getting up to his season floor of 8 fantasy points.

Kentucky

RB: Benny Snell Jr. (Steelers) - 8.6

WR: Randall Cobb (Texans) - 9.2

WR: Lynn Bowden Jr. (Dolphins) - 0

TOTAL = 17.8

Randall Cobb and Benny Snell both had very few yards to their names, but each were able to find the end zone and gave Kentucky its second highest team total for the season.

LSU

QB: Joe Burrow (Bengals) - 17.7

RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs) - 18.9

RB: Darrel Williams (Chiefs) - 10.6

WR: Justin Jefferson (Vikings) - 35.1

WR: Russell Gage (Falcons) - 8.5

TE: Foster Moreau (Raiders) - BYE

FLEX: D.J. Chark (Jaguars) - 8.0

TOTAL = 98.8

The Bayou Tigers were able to bounce back from a disappointing Week 5 due to the performance of its standout rookies. Justin Jefferson set the Falcons secondary on fire in the second half, finishing with nine catches for 166 yards, two touchdowns, and a two-point conversion. The Tigers/Chiefs backfield duo of Clyde Edwards-Helaire (161 rushing yards) and Darrel Williams (41 all-purpose yards and a rushing TD) took advantage of a rainy Monday afternoon and Andy Reid’s most ground-centric attack in his Kansas City tenure.

Joe Burrow’s offense hit the ground running in Indy, as three different Bengals scored unanswered rushing touchdowns (including Burrow himself) in the first 15 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, and despite eclipsing 300 passing yards for the fourth time already in his rookie season, Cincinnati was unable to score a touchdown for the rest of the game and the Colts mounted the comeback.

Side Note: Russell Gage and DJ Chark had very similar fantasy outputs, but took very different routes to get to their points. Gage hauled in all four of his targets for 65 yards, while Chark was targeted a whopping 14 times, only connecting on half of those tries for 45 yards.

Mississippi State

QB: Dak Prescott (Cowboys) - INJ

WR: Isaiah Zuber (Patriots) - 2.1

TE: Jordan Thomas (Cardinals) - 0

TOTAL = 2.1

Zuber continues to chip in some fantasy change; this time with a 16-yard reception on his first NFL career target. But the story here is just how much Dallas misses Dak. Not to go all “Embrace Debate” here, but I think it is worth asking: Are the Cowboys making an even stronger case for Dak’s ongoing contract talks than even he was when he was lighting up defenses in the first few weeks of the season?

Missouri

QB: Drew Lock (Broncos) - 5.5

TE: Albert Okwuegbunam (Broncos) - 5.5

TOTAL = 11.0

The teammates were finally reunited, as Albert Okwuegbunam and Drew Lock connected twice in their first games back from injury — and Okwuegbunam’s NFL debut. Unfortunately for Lock, they were also united at just 5.5 fantasy points after that very ugly rock fight in New England. The Broncos will take the touchdown-less win, though.

Ole Miss

RB: Jordan Wilkins (Colts) - (-0.1)

WR: A.J. Brown (Titans) - 20.1

WR: D.K. Metcalf (Seahawks) - BYE

TE: Evan Engram (Giants) - 4.0

FLEX: Dawson Knox (Bills) - INJ

TOTAL = 24.0

A.J. Brown has proved that as long as he is on the field, opposing defensive backs are in trouble. The Titans #1 wideout caught a pair of touchdown passes on Sunday afternoon, including a score with 4 seconds to go in regulation that forced overtime, and, ultimately, another Titans win. Elsewhere, Jordan Wilkins went the wrong way with his only touch of the game, and Evan Engram caught a couple of passes for 30 yards.

South Carolina

RB: Mike Davis (Panthers) - 10.5

RB: Rico Dowdle (Cowboys) - 1.3

WR: Deebo Samuel (49ers) - 15.0

WR: Damiere Byrd (Patriots) - 5.3

TE: Hayden Hurst - 13.7

FLEX: Brian Edwards - BYE

K: Ryan Succop (Buccaneers) - 10

TOTAL = 55.8

Everything came in sixes for Deebo Samuel this week: 6 targets, 6 catches (one went for six), 66 yards, a rush for negative six. Hayden Hurst hauled in his third touchdown catch of the season for the Falcons. And Mike Davis juuuust managed to scratch out another double-digit performance, his fifth consecutive. During the surprise of the weekend down in Tampa, Ryan Succop converted all five of his extra point attempts and knocked down a 50-yarder in the third quarter of a 38-10 rout of the Green Bay Packers.

Tennessee

QB: Joshua Dobbs (Steelers) - OUT

RB: Jakob Johnson (Patriots) - 0

RB: Alvin Kamara (Saints) - BYE

WR: Cordarrelle Patterson (Bears) - 1.4

WR: Marquez Callaway (Saints) - BYE

TE: Jason Croom (Eagles) - 6.8

FLEX: Luke Stocker (Falcons) - 0

TOTAL = 8.2

A recently activated Jason Croom saved the Volunteers from certain doom in Week 6. Croom hauled in a 3-yard touchdown catch on his first target of the 2020 campaign. Cordarrelle Patterson ran for a yard and caught his lone target for eight more.

Texas A&M

QB: Ryan Tannehill (Titans) - 29.6

RB: Cullen Gillaspia (Texans) - 0

RB: Trayveon Williams (Bengals) - OUT

WR: Christian Kirk (Cardinals) - 21.6

WR: Josh Reynolds (Rams) - 11.5

TE: Jace Sternberger (Packers) - 0

FLEX: Mike Evans (Buccaneers) - 1.5

K: Randy Bullock (Bengals) - 12

TOTAL = 76.2

Tannethrill had another huge performance for the Titans, tossing the ball for 364 yards and four touchdowns. Even more impressive is the fact that he managed all of this without nearly tearing his knee to shreds in celebration.

Final mention of the Monday Night mauling in Dallas: Christian Kirk had his first multi-touchdown game since Week 10 of last season, as he made both of his catches count, including an 80-yard connection in the second quarter. On Sunday night, Josh Reynolds scored for the first time this year. And Randy Bullock put his name back on the All-SEC list after hitting from 55 and 47, and nailing all 3 extra point attempts.

Vanderbilt

RB: Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Buccaneers) - 4.2

RB: Khari Blasingame (Titans) - 0

WR: Trent Sherfield (Cardinals) - 0

TOTAL = 4.2

Ke’Shawn Vaughn ADDED to the Vandy total this week with five carries for 42 yards in the Buccaneers win Sunday afternoon.

FANTASY STANDINGS THROUGH WEEK 6

  1. Alabama: 605.2 (last week - 1)

  2. LSU: 512.1 (2)

  3. Georgia: 481 (3)

  4. Texas A&M: 356.5 (4)

  5. South Carolina: 293.2 (6)

  6. Auburn: 285.5 (5)

  7. Ole Miss: 187.6 (8)

  8. Tennessee: 186.7 (7)

  9. Florida: 150.5 (10)

  10. Mississippi State: 150.1 (9)

  11. Kentucky: 73.5 (11)

  12. Arkansas: 45.5 (12)

  13. Missouri: 22.9 (13)

  14. Vanderbilt: 15.4 (14)

WEEK 6 ALL-SEC FANTASY TEAM

QB: Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M/Titans) - 29.6

RB: Derrick Henry (Alabama/Titans) - 39.4

RB: Kenyan Drake (Alabama/Cardinals) - 28.4

WR: Justin Jefferson (LSU/Vikings) - 35.1

WR: Julio Jones (Alabama/Falcons) - 29.7

TE: Trey Burton (Florida/Colts) - 19.9

FLEX: D’Andre Swift (Georgia/Lions) - 25.8

K: Randy Bullock (Texas A&M/Bengals) - 12

TOTAL = 219.9

Week 6 was a record-setter for the SEC, as conference alumni put up four of the top six fantasy games of the week. For the first time this season, one team owned both positional spots in the lineup — Alabama’s running backs. Tannehill, Henry, Jefferson, and Jones each returned to All-SEC status for the second time. Drake, Swift, and Burton each picked up the honor for the first time this week, while Randy Bullock has been the best of the boots in the conference on three separate occasions.

Both the top and bottom four rankings stayed the same this week, but there was plenty of movement in the middle as each of the middle six teams have a new order. South Carolina now holds a slim lead on Auburn for the fifth spot. Ole Miss and Florida joined in on the jumps, and Tennessee and Mississippi State slid back a spot.

Week 6 was exciting all over the conference. What will Week 7 hold? Be sure to check back in next Tuesday, right here on The Auburn Observer.

Up next on The Auburn Observer: Subscribers will get a Wednesday morning story on the Tigers’ penalty problems — and how it must be a major point of emphasis in order to turn their 2020 season around.