Start’em Sit’em Week 6
Start’em and Sit’em is back for Week 6 of the NFL season. Along with the other fine tools provided by Gridiron Experts, this article is here to help guide you to victory in your Week 6 Fantasy Football matchups. There are several matchups worth discussing and we will go through those matchups now. One friendly reminder heading into Week 6 is that the Bears, Colts, Raiders, and Bills are all on their bye week. Another friendly reminder is to remember to set your lineups in time for the Panthers and Buccaneers playing in London, on Sunday at 9:30 am (EST).
Recapping Last Week
For me, it is hard to consider last week as anything but a victory. Sure, no one is perfect, but that being said, I nailed a handful of my takes. The biggest win out of the whole column was undoubtedly Will Fuller who finished as the number one wide receiver on the week. Following that was suggesting Tom Brady and Andy Dalton who both finished inside the top 12, as well as recommending that you sit Aaron Rodgers. However, as previously stated, no one is perfect and two blunders of mine were suggesting that you start Marquez Valdes-Scantling and that you sit Josh Jacobs. The lastest results have me fired up to tackle Week 6 with you, so let’s get started. As always, if you any other start or sit questions that are not answered here, please feel free to reach me on twitter.
- Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
- Start percentages originate from ESPN.com
- Start options range from 0-60%
- Sit options range from 50-100%
The following are my Start’em Sit’em Week 6 recommendations:
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Cardinals vs. Falcons
ESPN Start Percentage: 43.4%
The Arizona Cardinals might be basement dwellers in the NFC West but when it comes to producing for fantasy, that certainly isn’t affecting Kyler Murray. Headed into Week 5, Murray has finished three weeks in which he had ranged from the eleventh to the fourteenth best quarterback in fantasy. Against the Bengals this past Sunday though, Murray would have his first week inside the top ten. What changed for Murray was that he had his first game with double-digit rushing attempts as he ran for 93 yards and a touchdown. His fantasy production should continue in Week 6 when the Cardinals welcome in the Atlanta Falcons. Last season, the general belief was that the defensive woes in Atlanta were a direct reflection of their injury report. Whatever the reasoning might be this time around, the Falcons defense is currently number one in most points allowed to quarterbacks. None of this should come as a surprise as DeShaun Watson absolutely torched the Falcons this past Sunday with 426 passing yards and five touchdowns. They are one of just seven teams to allow double-digit touchdown throws and are also tied with the Broncos and the Dolphins for fewest sacks in the league with just five. This is the best matchup that Murray has had in his early career and I see no reason why he will not be able to take full advantage of it. For what it is worth, the Falcons are tied for second in allowing rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks with two. Also, I would like to give an honorable mention to the quarterback opposing Murray this week, Matt Ryan.
Vikings vs. Eagles
ESPN Start Percentage: 5.4%
There might not have been a phrase used more last week than ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’. That being said, it certainly proved to be true for Adam Thielen who had 130 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Throwing him the football, finally, was the $84 million dollar man, Kirk Cousins. It hasn’t always been pretty for Cousins but coming off of his first fantasy performance with 20 points or more this season, I believe that his matchup against the Giants will serve as some rolling momentum into the Vikings next matchup against the Eagles. To no one’s surprise, the Eagles rolled over the Jets last week. Don’t let that cloud your judgment though as the Eagles have been in the top ten in points allowed to quarterbacks in three out of their five games this season. The Vikings quarterback isn’t going back to being a must-start in fantasy but coming off of his first 300-yard passing performance since Week 12 of last season, I think that Cousins will give you another week of fantasy relevancy.
Packers vs. Lions
ESPN Start Percentage: 64.2%
Last week, I suggested that you sit Aaron Rodgers and it proved to be useful information as for just the sixth time since 2015, the Packers quarterback failed to throw for a touchdown in a game. While I’m not anticipating him having another game without a touchdown, I do think that he will once again be a player that you should consider sitting. On Monday Night Football in Week 6, the Packers will welcome in a well-rested Detroit Lions defense that is in the top ten in fewest points allowed to quarterbacks. I will grant you, their ranking is certainly helped by the fact that the Lions did have their bye last week. That being said though, I still find it impressive that the Lions are one of just six teams this season to allow less than five touchdown passes. What is even more impressive is that three of the Lions four games this season have come against quarterbacks who are currently in the top 10 in fantasy scoring at the position. Aaron Rodgers and the 2019 Green Bay Packers are a prime example of the idea that sometimes a team’s pursuit of winning doesn’t always correlate with a player’s fantasy history, and that’s ok. That’s life.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
Patriots vs. Giants
ESPN Start Percentage: 56.8%
Out of all of my picks last week, selecting Sony Michel as a start candidate was the call that I was questioned about the most. So with that in mind, even though I usually don’t mention Thursday night participants in this column, I’m going to roll with Sony Michel again in Week 6. Despite finishing the week as a top 10 running back, Michel wasn’t strong out of the gates. Against the Redskins last week, the second-year back was being out-touched by James White and had just 33 total yards of offense at halftime. It was a tale of two halves though as Michel would wind up finishing with 123 total yards of offense and a touchdown. I’m not suggesting that Week 6 won’t be without its headaches, but I do like Michel going up against a Giants defense that is sixth in rushing yards allowed to the running back position. While the Giants weren’t really tested by a Redskins running back in Week 4, last week they would allow Dalvin Cook of the Vikings to finish as a top 10 running back. His next two matchups after this week will be tough but with a rushing score in three of his last four games, this is as good a week as any to utilize Michel.
Lions @ Packers
ESPN Start Percentage: 22.1%
I will grant you, had the Lions not been on a bye last week, Kerryon Johnson would not have a start percentage as low as it is. Never the less, I’m selecting Johnson as a player that you should keep your eyes on as the Lions head into Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football. The last time the Packers had a home primetime game this season, they allowed Jordan Howard to finish second in scoring among running backs. Last week, despite having his fewest carries of the season, Ezekiel Elliott still finished as a top 12 running back against the Packers. Translation, the Packers are bad against running backs, so bad that they are allowing the second-most points to the position. As for Johnson, in two of his four games this season, the Lions running back has been a top 20 running back. What is even more promising than that is the Lions’ apparent commitment to feeding Johnson. In Johnson’s last two games, the Lions had given him twenty or more rushing attempts which is something they hadn’t done in Johnson’s previous 12 games as a professional. The biggest Johnson truthers have been looking for that sweet taste of fantasy dominance and I think that is going to be a reality for them in Week 6.
Matt Breida/Tevin Coleman
49ers @ Rams
ESPN Start Percentage: Less than 15%
This is two for one deal, folks. In Tevin Coleman’s first game back from a Week 1 ankle injury, fantasy owners finally got some clarity on what this 49ers backfield might look like, when healthy. The answer to one of the greatest riddles of all is that both Coleman and Matt Breida can share the same field and have fantasy relevance. Against the Browns on Monday night, Coleman and Breida combined for 211 yards rushing and while both players would score on the ground, Breida was also able to add an additional score through the air. There is no NFL team that has more yards per game on the season than the 49ers and both of these players will be very much relevant against a Rams defense that is allowing the eighth-most points to running backs. Looking closer at these Rams, in Weeks 2 and 3, the Rams were in the top 12 in fewest points allowed. In their other three games this year, the Rams finished inside the top 10 in most points allowed. Both of these running backs have RB2 upside in this NFC West showdown. Even coming off of their bye week, these players being started in less than 15% of leagues, Breida especially, is inexcusable. Plug these backs into your lineups and enjoy the returns.
Redskins @ Dolphins
ESPN Start Percentage: 18.7%
It is safe to say that things are not going according to plan in our Nation’s capital and thankfully, I’m not referring to politics. After a crushing defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots, the 0-5 Redskins decided to relieve Jay Gruden of his coaching duties on Monday morning. Interim head coach, Bill Callahan and the Redskins will need to regroup quick but if there was ever a get-right game, Week 6 is it. This Sunday, the Redskins are headed to Miami to take on another winless team, the Dolphins. This is a Dolphins defense that is allowing the third-most points to the running back position and I think that this could point towards Chris Thompson as a nice flex option in any point per reception format. Thompson is currently third in the NFL in targets among running backs and that should come in handy against a Dolphins defense that despite allowing only 18 receptions to back, is tied for first in touchdown receptions allowed. Even against the Dolphins, the Redskins fantasy options are limited but make no mistake, Chris Thompson is one of those options.
Rams vs. 49ers
ESPN Start Percentage: 97.3%
Two weeks ago, I had Todd Gurley as a player that you should sit and he wound up with two touchdowns. Potentially still bitter about my sit suggestion, the Rams running back went on to score another two touchdowns in Week 5. Despite overcoming my suggestion as a sit candidate, in my opinion, Gurley is still a touchdown-dependent running back. Over the two weeks, while Gurley has had four touchdowns, he has done so while rushing for just 67 yards on twenty carries. Next for Gurley and the Rams is the 49ers and this is a defense that is one of two teams that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown. The 49ers defense is also allowing a league-low 180 yards rushing to opposing running backs. On Monday night, the 49ers would allow Nick Chubb to rush with 87 yards. Inside the red zone, where Gurley will likely be used this Sunday, the 49ers held Chubb to negative four yards rushing. If there is a week to sell high on Gurley, this is the week. I get it, a 97.3 start percentage is hard to not just plug-in, but I truly think that win or lose, the 49ers continue to stop running backs at the goal line.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
D.J. Chark Jr.
Jaguars vs. Saints
ESPN Start Percentage: 30.4%
Perhaps it is lack of information, or maybe it is from rocking out to ‘Baby Shark‘ too hard but either way, D.J. Chark is flying under everyone’s radar. Chark, a top-five wide receiver in fantasy, is being started in just 30.4% of ESPN leagues and that needs to change. After just five weeks, Chark is the first Jaguars wide receiver since 2017 to have multiple 100-yard performances. The Jaguars receiver is currently tied for second in touchdowns among wide receivers and he is fifth in receiving yards. While Chark is tied for team targets with DeDe Westbrook, there is no doubt that Chark is the Jaguars receiver to own and I like Chark to continue his strong play in a Week 6 matchup with the Saints. Currently, the Saints are allowing the sixth-most points to wide receivers. That ranking is a pretty consistent one as the Saints have finished three out of five weeks inside the top 1o in most points allowed to the position. It will be interesting to see what happens to these Jaguars wide receivers once Nick Foles returns, but for now, Chark is a must-start. By the way, the lone game in which Chark failed to score a touchdown in this season, was a game in-which Chark had a touchdown called back.
Panthers vs. Buccaneers (London)
ESPN Start Percentage: 51.6%
From one D.J. to another, I like D.J. Moore in his next matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While this game will be played in London, it is also the second time that these two teams will square off this season. In their first matchup back in Week 2, Moore would be targeted fourteen times and finished with nine receptions for 89 yards. The volume should be there again against a Buccaneers defense that is allowing the fourth-most points to wide receivers and is one of three teams to allow 1,000-yards or more to the position. If there is a source of understandable concern here it is the lack of touchdowns for Panthers wide receivers. After five weeks this season, the Panthers are one of just seven teams that do not have a wide receiver with multiple touchdown receptions. In an attempt to alleviate that concern, as previously mentioned, this Buccaneers secondary can be taken advantage of. Taking it back to Week 2, a clearly injured Cam Newton would finish with 333 yards passing against this Buccaneers defense. Now, with Newton on the shelf, an able-bodied Kyle Allen, the Panthers should be able to pick this defense apart, and D.J. Moore will be one of the beneficiaries of that.
Dolphins vs. Redskins
ESPN Start Percentage: 0.1%
I will be completely honest with you when I say that when I woke up this morning, I did not expect to be recommending that you start DeVante Parker, but here we are. Clearly, this is for those who are in deeper leagues but I really think that there is something to starting either DeVante Parker or Preston Williams. The main reason for all of this is the Dolphins Week 6 opponent, the Washington Redskins. After five weeks, the Redskins are allowing the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers and are also second in most touchdowns allowed with nine. Most of those numbers came in the first three weeks of the season when the Redskins finished those games in the top 10 in most points allowed. In the last two weeks, the Redskins have been fourteenth or better in points allowed but even knowing that I still like the opportunity for Dolphins wide receivers to make an impact. Last week, against the Patriots, While Preston Williams is getting the volume and leading the Dolphins in targets, it is Parker who is making the most of his opportunities. In his last two games, Parker has had eight receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Chiefs vs. Texans
ESPN Start Percentage: 68.4%
Yes, I’m fully aware of Sammy Watkins injuring his hamstring on the first drive of the Chiefs Week 5 loss to the Colts. While his Week 6 status is up in the air if he does, in fact, suit up this Sunday, sit him. No matter how much you choose to wish it into existence, no matter how potent the offense, Watkins is a player that cannot be relied upon. After kicking down the proverbial door with 198 receiving yards in Week 1 of this season, the Chiefs wide receiver has had 167 receiving yards in his last four games. After finishing as the number one wide receiver in fantasy in Week 1, he hasn’t seen the top twenty since. Truth be told, the Texans’ defense is bad against wide receivers. They’re so bad that they are allowing the seventh-most points to the position. Even with that and even if Watkins is medically cleared, all signs point to Tyreek Hill making his return in Week 6 and that pushes Watkins even further into a crowded wide receiver depth chart. I said it back when the Chiefs signed Sammy Watkins to a $48 million dollar contract in March of 2018, he is nothing more than Dwayne Bowe 2.0. He is a player who had a big year, got paid by the Chiefs and has been unreliable ever since. He is a more well-known version of Corey Davis and you should let him boom or bust on someone else’s roster.
Maybe I’m just being a pessimist here but everyone sees Sammy Watkins with the Chiefs and says ‘look at all these weapons!’. I see Sammy Watkins in Kansas City and I think, Dwayne Bowe. #NFLFreeAgency pic.twitter.com/1MPFPmwieb
— Michael Hauff (@TheFFRealist) March 13, 2018
Vikings vs. Eagles
ESPN Start Percentage: 50.4%
Well, that squeaky wheel narrative didn’t work for everyone in Week 5. After a drama-filled week in Minnesota, Stefon Diggs ultimately boarded a plane with his teammates as they headed to New York to take on the Giants. In that matchup, Diggs would finish with just three receptions for 44 yards. This is Giants defense that was a great matchup for incoming wide receivers, but it didn’t seem to matter for Diggs. Maybe there is even more drama than we know about behind the scenes. Perhaps the type of player that Diggs is simply doesn’t fit into the Vikings 2019 offensive plans. Whatever the case might be, Diggs is a better player than his stat line suggests. With just one game with more than four receptions and just one game with more than fifty-yards receiving, unless you are in best-ball or daily fantasy, I find it hard to rely on Diggs. Opposing Diggs this week is an Eagles secondary that is allowing the fifth-most points to the position. His opponent didn’t seem to matter much last week and I don’t see why that should change in Week 6. While I would continue to roster Diggs in case of a trade, I’m finding it harder and harder to start the Viking’s boom or bust star. For what it is worth, if he does score a touchdown, it will only come off of two or three receptions.
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Panthers vs. Buccaneers (London)
ESPN Start Percentage: 52.0%
It is safe to say that Greg Olsen has cooled off. After finishing as a top-five tight end in Weeks 2 and 3, the Panthers veteran tight end has been borderline nonexistent, so much so that he went without a catch against the Jaguars last week. That being said, Olsen’s last two opponents are ranked in the top 12 in the fewest points allowed to the position. While his fantasy value might seem as foggy as the London streets, help is on the way. This week, as previously mentioned, the Panthers will cross the Atlantic as they prepare to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is a Buccaneers defense that has allowed the second-most points to the position. Against this Buccaneers defense last week, Jared Cook, a fantasy bust so far would wind up finishing the week as the fifth-best tight end in fantasy. Not many London matchups are filled with fantasy relevancy, but I like this matchup and I specifically like Greg Olsen.
Packers vs. Lions
ESPN Start Percentage: 34.2%
If you frequently read this column, you know that I’m good for breaking the percentage rules at least once in a given week. This week is no different as I do not see a player in that top 50% that I can in good faith tell you to sit. That aside though, while you may still play your studs at the position, this could be a bad week for the position as a whole. In Week 6, Travis Kelce, Evan Engram, and Zach Ertz are all going up against defenses that have yet to allow a touchdown to tight ends. Another tight end who is going up against a tough defense is Jimmy Graham of the Green Bay Packers. Last week, the general consensus among the fantasy industry was that Graham was a player to rely on. Hopefully, not too many of you took the bait on that as Graham would finish as the eighteenth best tight end on the week with just 41 yards receiving off of three receptions. In Week 6, Graham and the Packers will go up against a Lions team that is yet another defense has yet to allow a touchdown to the position. That is no small feat considering that two of the four tight ends that the Lions have held out of the endzone are the previously mentioned Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz.
Start’em Sit’em DST
49ers @ Rams
ESPN Start Percentage: 21.7%
While the 49ers are second in fantasy DST scoring, they haven’t always been the most consistent. In Week’s 1 and 5, the 49ers defense would finish as top three in scoring. Outside of that, they have been outside the top 20 in their other two games. All of that aside, for the second week in a row, I’m suggesting that you start their defense in fantasy. While the Rams have still been putting up points, their quarterback, Jared Goff is tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions. Ironically enough, the 49ers defense is tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions and is also one of five teams to have multiple defensive touchdowns on the year. This might not be the best secondary in the world, but the pass rush is making up for it. More often than not, the 49ers will be a DST that you can rely on in 2019.
Jaguars vs. Saints
ESPN Start Percentage: 52.8%
While Minshew-Mania continues to sweep the nation, sitting with just one interception and one fumble recovery, the once highly coveted Jaguars DST is ranked 25th in fantasy scoring. More recently, over the last two weeks, the Jaguars have finished outside the top 20 in DST scoring. This week, the Ramsey-less Jaguars will welcome in the New Orleans Saints who have been keeping their head above water despite playing without their future hall of fame quarterback. Over the last three weeks, two of the three defenses that have opposed the Saints have finished outside the top 20 in DST scoring. While I do not think that all hope is lost for this Jaguars defense in fantasy, there are better options in Week 6.