Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 6
After the agonizing collection of devastating injuries that had negatively impacted many fantasy rosters in Week 4, it was everyone’s hope that we would be spared any similar occurrences in Week 5. Instead, Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending ankle injury. While DeVante Parker, Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall, Terrance West, and Charles Clay were also sidelined by health issues. Which only expanded this unwanted yet inescapable aspect of fantasy football even further. This will force some of you to pursue roster modifications, while Beckham owners also absorb the realization that they must proceed without him, in their attempts to qualify for the fantasy postseason.
- Week 6 Byes: Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, Seahawks
- Week 7 Byes: Lions, Texans
- Week 8 Byes: Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Giants, Titans
The Final Call Podcast
with Phil Clark and Andrew Erickson
Regardless of the specific challenges that you are encountering this week, this Gridiron Experts Start’Em Week 6 Sit’Em column will assist with the critical decision-making process that is involved with finalizing your lineups. As it is designed to provide a strategic approach toward recommending your best starts, along with the players that should be excluded this week. Since you are already depending upon the performers that you selected at the onset of your drafts, along with the consistent leaders in fantasy points, this column will not confiscate your precious time by discussing them here. Unless the recommendation is that you need to sit any off those players.
Kickoffs are approaching, so let’s examine the players that are featured in this Gridiron Experts Week 6 Start’em Sit’em column. Enjoy the games, and good luck in Week 6.
Philip Rivers at Raiders
Rivers entered Week 5 with an unimpressive 6:4 touchdown to interception ratio, but improved that quotient by generating three scores against the Giants last Sunday. He also assembled 258 yards, versus a New York pass defense that had been allowing only 217. He remains on pace to exceed 4,000 yards for the ninth time in his last ten seasons, after expanding his season total to 1,365. Which places him fifth among all signal callers. This has been bolstered by his two 300-yard performances in Weeks 2 (331), and 4 (347), and Rivers appears primed to reach that number again this week. When he has the opportunity to dissect a burnable pass defense, that just allowed a previously ineffective Joe Flacco – who entered the contest with 4 touchdowns and a 150 YPG average – to burn them for 222 yards last Sunday. Cornerbacks David Amerson, T.J. Carrie, and Sean Smith are completely capable of being scorched on any given play, as Keenan Allen should locate spacious areas within the slot, while Travis Benjamin is also a candidate to deliver at least one big play during this matchup. Plus, Hunter Henry should accumulate his best yardage total since Week 2 (80), and generate a touchdown, versus a unit that has already surrendered noteworthy yardage totals to Delanie Walker (76), Vernon Davis (58), and even A.J. Derby (75), while also yielding touchdowns to Davis and Derby. All of these factors present Rivers with a great opportunity to supply excellent numbers against this vulnerable unit on Sunday.
Also Start: Matt Ryan vs. Dolphins, Deshaun Watson vs. Browns
Ben Roethlisberger at Chiefs
During a week in which some teams that present difficult matchups for opposing quarterbacks are either on bye (Bills/Seahawks/Bengals), lining up against signal callers that should only merit consideration in deeper leagues (Jared Goff vs. Jaguars), or will be facing quarterbacks that should be in your lineups every week (Aaron Rodgers at Vikings/Drew Brees vs. Lions), we will focus the discussion on the 35-year old Roethlisberger. Whose unsettling output has expanded beyond his well-chronicled road performances (27 touchdowns/24 interceptions since 2014). He has produced four touchdowns during his previous matchups away from Heinz Field this season, although those were generated against the Browns (2), Bears (1), and Ravens (1). With Baltimore possessing the only respectable secondary among those previous opponents. But his abysmal five interception performance while performing at home last Sunday has only intensified concerns about entrusting him this week, and beyond. He will now attempt to rebound while spearheading the Steeler attack against Kansas City. You may recall his excellent numbers against the Chiefs last October (300-yards/5 touchdowns/0 interceptions), however, that encounter took place at Heinz Field. But when he faced the Chiefs during the postseason, his production was reduced considerably (224 yards/0 touchdowns/1 interception) in a rematch that occurred at Arrowhead Stadium. Of course, that is the venue where Roethlisberger will be performing on Sunday. When he must deal with a defensive unit that has allowed one 300-yard passer, and kept Tom Brady and Philip Rivers from generating a touchdown pass. While they did allow 5 touchdowns to Deshaun Watson in Week 5, that was a consequence of KC’s big lead. Plus, he presented the Chiefs with a mobility factor that Roethsliberger cannot replicate. Owners should not expect Roethlisberger to manufacture multiple touchdowns, and he will struggle to reach 240 yards during this matchup.
Also Sit: Eli Manning at Broncos, Derek Carr vs. Chargers
James White at Jets
Amid an assemblage of compelling storylines at the running back position, White’s performance to this point of the regular season has not elicited the amount of conversation that this fourth-year performer deserves. He leads the Patriots in receptions (29), after garnering seven during New England’s Week 5 matchup in Tampa, and has accumulated 17 catches during his last two games. He has also maximized his opportunities with sufficient effectiveness to lead the team in YAC (158), which also places him seventh overall among all receivers. White is also second on the Patriots with 35 targets, after being allotted 21 during the aforementioned two-game stretch (Weeks 4-5). His 20 carries are also second to Mike Gillislee (69), who functions in the unwavering role as the Patriots’ primary rusher. But his current target total resides at zero, with no discernible sign that his responsibilities will expand. This underscores how critical it is for him to score touchdowns – which he has failed to accomplish in three straight games – in order for owners to entrust him as their starter. This entrenches White as the preferable option. As he provides owners with an excellent RB3 /flex option in PPR leagues, who can be deployed as an RB2 for owners in need. He will also benefit from an exceptional matchup versus a Jet run defense that ranks 30th (143 YPG), and has surrendered the fifth most fantasy points to opposing rushers. New York has already permitted significant receiving yardage to LeSean McCoy (49), Jalen Richard (51), Leonard Fournette (59), and Duke Johnson (63). All of which presents White owners with a very easy decision this week.
Elijah McGuire vs. Patriots
While White is producing fantasy points for his owners, the 5’10” rookie will be assembling desirable numbers for his anyone who starts him during the same AFC East matchup. After receiving 14 touches in Weeks 1-3, he has been allocated 25 during the Jets’ past two contests. That includes his 21 rushing attempts, during which he rumbled for 113 yards (5.5 YPC), and generated a touchdown. He has also collected four of his five targets during that span, which has enabled him to accrue an additional 48 yards. He is a viable starter for this week’s enticing matchup, and could become one of the week’s most popular options, if Bilal Powell (calf), and Matt Forte (turf toe) are sidelined on Sunday. As the Jets will face a Patriot run defense that ranks 24th, is allowing 124 YPG, and has also permitted the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs. New England has already been gashed by Kareem Hunt (246 total yards/2 touchdowns), while yielding noteworthy output to Mark Ingram (75 total yards), D’Onta Foreman (90 total yards), Jonathan Stewart (68 rushing yards), and Doug Martin (82 total yards/1 touchdown). This situation is constructed favorably for McGuire, who not only will be the beneficiary of an enticing matchup, but could be functioning within an uncluttered backfield throughout the contest. All owners should vault him into their lineups this week.
Also Start: C.J. Anderson at Giants, Andre Ellington vs. Buccaneers
Mark Ingram / Alvin Kamara vs. Lions
As the Saints return from their bye, Ingram leads the team with 170 rushing yards, while averaging 4.0 YPC. Meanwhile, Kamara has only been allotted 15 carries for 83 yards. But his value to owners is generated by his output as a receiving weapon. As he has accumulated the most receptions (20) and receiving yards (147) among New Orleans backs. If you own either Ingram or Kamara, you had been enduring the team’s ill-fated attempt to blend a 2017 version of Adrian Peterson into the New Orleans offense, as it only served to diminish their opportunities. While the hurdle of a convoluted three-man committee has been eliminated by his trade to Arizona, their numbers will still be constrained this week. When they encounter an improved Detroit run defense that ranked 18th in 2016 (106 YPG) but enters Week 6 ranked fourth in that same category (74.6 YPG). The Lions did surrender 106 yards on the ground to Devonta Freeman in Week 3, although they have only allowed one other rusher to surpass 46 this year. Plus, after yielding 68 receiving yards to David Johnson during their season opener, they have permitted just one back to exceed 35 yards through the air. They had not surrendered a receiving touchdown to an opposing back until last Sunday (Christian McCaffrey), and they limited McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart to a combined 28 yards on the ground. Which should provide further perspective on the collective ceiling that will be placed on this week’s production for Ingram and Kamara. Even though the Saints will return after Sean Payton has utilized an additional week to prepare for this game, owners should not anticipate massive numbers by either back.
Marshawn Lynch vs. Chargers
As you have prepared your lineups on a weekly basis, you undoubtedly found favorable analysis regarding the 31-year old Lynch, and might easily have discovered a frequent narrative to start him because “this is the week he really gets going”. However, after five games as a Raider, the reality is that he is 25th among all backs with 194 yards, and has failed to exceed 45 yards in any game since Week 1. He has scored twice, but his output still dwells well below what many who drafted him were eagerly anticipating. This level of production is not entirely Lynch’s fault, as his much-heralded offensive line has struggled at various times during each of their last three contests. Still, he has largely failed to exhibit anything reminiscent of the renowned ‘Beast Mode’ running style, which may now be unattainable at this point of his career. This has steadily increased the likelihood that Jalen Richard will earn a sizable role within Oakland’s struggling offense. Because the undrafted free agent has average 5.3 YPC, and hss been more effective than Lynch when he is inserted into the lineup. Richard has repeatedly displayed agility and decisiveness and is capable of igniting an otherwise unimpressive ground game, that currently ranks just 23rd (90.6 YPG), as Lynch simply has been unable to match Richard’s burst (3.4 YPC). This week’s matchup is appealing, as the Charger run defense currently ranks dead last, and is permitting the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing backs. But that should serve as an enticement to start Richard, as opposed to negatively impacting your point total by continuing to entrust Lynch.
Also Sit: Aaron Jones at Vikings, Carlos Hyde/Matt Breida at Redskins
DeSean Jackson at Cardinals
Anyone who is reading this sentence is almost assuredly aware that Arizona quarterback Patrick Peterson has exhibited the textbook version of shadow coverage to this point of the regular season. Many of the formidable cornerbacks might move occasionally but are generally stationed on one side of the perimeter. But Peterson is among the select few who actually operates throughout his team’s formations every week. This has placed a significantly lower ceiling on most wide receivers who would otherwise deliver favorable production.
As Marvin Jones, Ty Hilton, Dez Bryant, Pierre Garcon, and Alshon Jeffery have combined for 165 yards, and manufactured just two touchdowns. However, Peterson’s presence has also provided opportunities for other receivers to accrue impressive reception and yardage totals, as they face far less daunting matchups. Kenny Golladay (69 yards/2 touchdowns), Golden Tate (107 yards), Brice Butler (90 yards/1 touchdown), Torrey Smith (70 yards/1 touchdown), and Nelson Agholar (93 yards/1 touchdown) all have delivered favorable output, while Aldrick Robinson and Trent Taylor even combined for 99 yards against the more beatable members of the Cardinal secondary. Jackson will add his name to this collection of receivers. As he can explode for substantial yardage, and is a strong candidate for a long touchdown when he runs routes (primarily) at Justin Bethel. Jackson reached 100 yards for the first time this season in Week 5 (106), and could have generated a 68-yard touchdown if Jameis Winston had delivered an accurate throw. He could easily surpass that yardage total, and discover the end zone during this week’s matchup.
During Baltimore’s first three contests, Wallace only managed three receptions for a dreadful grand total of 21 yards. It is highly possible that he was a jettisoned to your league’s waiver wire after that unsightly output. But in his last two games, Wallace has exploded for 188 yards and a touchdown with his nine receptions. That includes the 133 yards that he stockpiled in Oakland last Sunday. While the argument can be made that he exploited highly beatable cornerbacks, he will be operating against equally burnable corners this week. When he lines up against a Chicago defense that has already allowed eight touchdowns through the air, while permitting the seventh most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Three different wideouts have amassed 75+ yards against this unit (Mike Evans – 93/Antonio Brown – 110/Jordy Nelson 75), and Wallace could easily extend his statistical resurgence for an additional week. He remains available in many leagues, and it would behoove owners in need of a WR3 to secure him, then hoist him into their lineups before Sunday. As he should lead the Ravens in receiving yardage for a third consecutive week, and provide owners with an always coveted boost in fantasy points. Which will be delivered by a player who didn’t even reside on some of his owners’ rosters when the week began.
Also Start: Adam Theilen vs. Packers, Jaron Brown vs. Buccaneers
Jamison Crowder vs. Buccaneers
If you own Crowder and have endured the substandard numbers that he has delivered, then you may have convinced yourself that this is the week in which he will recapture the level of production that was consistently displayed during the 2016 regular season (67 receptions/847 yards/7 touchdowns). However, the goal of this section is to advise you when it is practical to avoid using a particular player in your lineup. Even if he it is not due to an imposing matchup. This undoubtedly applies to Crowder. As it is unwise to start him, until you have evidence that he can provide you with even acceptable production. Which is something that has not occurred during his initial four contests. He currently resides 138th overall among all receivers with 106 yards for the season – yes, you read that correctly. He has one less yard than Buffalo tight end Nick O’ Leary, after failing to reach 15 in two games, and actually registering a -7 in Week 4 when he faced Kansas City. His overall yardage total also places him just fifth on the Redskins, and it is noteworthy that he trails Ryan Grant in that category. This week’s opponent is not among the league’s formidable matchups, as San Francisco ranks 26th against the pass, and has surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. But that does not necessarily translate to increased production for Crowder. As he is contending for targets with Terrelle Pryor, Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, Grant, and Vernon Davis. While Josh Doctson increasingly lurks as yet another threat to pilfer opportunities. You should successfully uncover an alternative, that does not present the same degree of risk.
Cooper Kupp at Jaguars
We will now progress beyond prominent options at the wide receiver position. Including Kupp’s teammate Sammy Watkins, who should not be in your lineups this week. In order to focus on the rookie who is among the WR3 options, and has value that should rise as the season progresses. Kupp has been allotted 6+ targets in four of his last five games, including eight in Week 5. He has also responded by 60+ yards in two of those contests, produced a touchdown against the Colts in Week 1, then duplicated that feat versus Dallas in Week 4. He should remain highly involved within Sean McVay’s offense moving forward, and is a viable starter when his matchup is favorable. That may initially appear to be the case this week, since the best (if not only) way to attack Jacksonville’s formidable pass defense is to avoid the perimeter. As the stellar cornerback tandem of Jaylen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye have been a consistent topic in this column, due to the smothering coverage that they have exhibited on a weekly basis. That should entice offensive coordinators to avoid challenging them on the boundaries, and funnel their passing toward the interior. You could easily be aware of this, and are considering Kupp to be a sneaky start. However, it would be wise to keep him on your bench this week. Because even though Jaguar slot corner Aaron Colvin is not operating at the same level of proficiency as Ramsey and Bouye, he is still performing effectively, and should keep Kupp from accumulating numbers that owners would prefer from their WR3. There will be better opportunities to deploy him in upcoming weeks.
Also Sit: Roger Lewis at Broncos, Marvin Jones at Saints
Ryan Griffin vs. Browns
One of the more daunting tasks for nearly anyone who doesn’t own Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce, has been to simply find a tight end that will generate fantasy points. Locating one who will actually accomplish that on a reasonably consistent basis has become exceedingly difficult. For many of you, this quest has necessitated a weekly journey to the waiver wire to peruse your options. Followed by a transaction and immediate placement into the starting lineup. This week’s recommended start matches that scenario, as Griffin’s ownership remains exceptionally low. Even though he was essentially contained by Kansas City on Sunday Night (2 receptions/2 yards), he has established the ability to deliver a favorable stat line in Week 3 (5 receptions/61 yards/1 touchdown), and has a genuine opportunity to deliver similar output this week. Even though Cleveland’s defensive unit has improved in several areas, their inability to contain opposing tight ends has remained intact. In 2016, the Browns surrendered the most fantasy points to the position, while being shredded for over 1,000 yards, and a league worst 13 touchdowns. This season, they are allowing the second most fantasy points, and have been burned by a group of tight ends that will not be confused with the top tier options – Jesse James (41 yards /2 touchdowns) Ben Watson (91 yards), Tyler Kroft (68 yards/2 touchdowns) and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (29 yards/1 touchdown). The concept of starting Griffin might not initially excite you, but he is a legitimate streaming option for those in need.
Also Start: Hunter Henry at Raiders, Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Patriots
Jared Cook vs. Chargers
Continuing with virtually everyone’s most problematic roster position, we will now address this week’s recommended sit. Since it has been established that it is enormously difficult for most owners to uncover an acceptable weekly option, the prospect of benching him, and undertaking a search for yet another option can be laborious, and could easily be unsuccessful. Yet, those of you who opt to trust Cook in your lineups this week should be realistic about the anemic output that he is likely to deliver. Even though he has been targeted at least five times in every game, his yardage has hardly been impressive. Since amassing 56 yards during Oakland’s Week 1 matchup, he has averaged under 35 yards in his last four contests, while failing to exceed 25 yards twice. Plus, he has only managed one touchdown. A statistical surge should not be anticipated this week, as Cook must contend with a Charger pass defense that has allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. This unit has not permitted anyone from the position to reach 45 yards. Beyond the now matchup proof Zach Ertz, who generated 81 in Week 4. Otherwise, Los Angeles has been stifling in their coverage, including Week 3 when they yielded just a 1 catch-1 reception stat line to Travis Kelce. They also kept Evan Engram from even registering a reception last Sunday. If the lack of a viable alternative initially causes hesitation in benching Cook, you should persevere until you locate a better option.
Also Sit: Cameron Brate at Cardinals, Kyle Rudolph vs. Packers
Thanks for reading!