Start’Em Sit’Em Week 6
Five weeks of the regular season are now complete, and all of you have already experienced varying degrees of the unexpected. Both in terms of performance, and health. As the level of output from many players that we painstakingly selected for our rosters on draft day has not matched what we originally envisioned.
For instance… maybe you had the seventh overall pick, decided to begin constructing your roster by selecting three wide receivers, and ultimately drafted DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Sammy Watkins in the initial three rounds. At the time, you would have been extremely optimistic about the impending production that this trio would deliver. But if that scenario actually occurred, then the results from the past five weeks have been exceedingly brutal. Conversely, if you adopted the same approach and selected A.J. Green, Mike Evans, and T.Y. Hilton with your first three picks, then your season has unfolded far more favorably.
Regardless of how many Week 1 starters have remained productive staples of your weekly rosters, we continue to research our options, make adjustments, and continually strive to generate the best possible lineups as the season progresses. It is what we do as fantasy owners.
Of course, bye weeks are yet another element of roster modification. If you own any Vikings or Buccaneers, those players will not be available this week. Those of you who are not dealing with any bye week issues in Week 6, will soon will be faced with your own absence of preferred starters. To help ease your transition through these byes, and avoid a sudden predicament from being unprepared, you can locate which teams are included in the most imminent bye weeks directly below.
- Week 6 Byes: Minnesota, Tampa Bay
- Week 7 Byes: Carolina, Dallas
- Week 8 Byes: Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
With that in mind, here are my Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em recommendations for Week 6. As always, no space will be devoted to elite players that you should already be planning to deploy. Instead, the focus will remain on the Start and Sit options that are more uncertain. Enjoy the games, and good luck this week.
QB Start: Russell Wilson vs. Falcons
There have been questions surrounding Wilson’s availability after he endured multiple injuries during Seattle’s first three contests. He continued to perform at less than 100% during that span while averaging 256 YPG and manufacturing just two touchdowns. However, he has recaptured must start status, after overcoming sprains to both his MCL and his ankle in Week 4, and shredding the Jets for 309 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed 72% of his passes, during what was easily his best performance of the season. This week, he will be the beneficiary of an excellent matchup versus a Falcon pass defense that ranks 27th and is yielding 290 YPG. This unit was a lowly 31st before facing Paxton Lynch in Week 5. While they held him below their season-long average, they still permitted 223 yards during his first professional start. The Falcons are also yielding the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (27.8 PPG), and have also surrendered a league-worst 14 touchdowns through the air. Wilson will return from an additional week of rest and should be primed to deliver a massive number of fantasy points for owners.
QB Sit: Eli Manning vs. Ravens[the_ad id=”63198″]Manning’s owners have a legitimate reason for feeling trepidation about utilizing him, in the aftermath of his most recent substandard outing. He amassed a season-low 199 yards in Green Bay, and it appeared that his total would be even more disappointing throughout most of the contest. Manning also couldn’t bolster his production with a favorable touchdown total, as he managed only one. That was generated late in the game, and it was just his second since the Giants’ opener. Currently, there are 21 more quarterbacks that have amassed more touchdowns. Worse, Manning is not operating with proficiency, which is troubling given this week’s unfavorable matchup. Baltimore ranks seventh against the pass and has limited opposing aerial attacks to 191 YPG. Only two signal callers have reached 200 yards against this unit, which is yielding the sixth fewest fantasy points to the position. The Ravens’ ability to prohibit high-quality production, coupled with Manning’s current inability to provide it, should compel owners to search elsewhere for their starter.
RB Start: Jordan Howard vs. Jaguars
In the past three weeks, Howard has elevated from an astute waiver wire pick-up for opportunistic owners, to a possible RB2, to a viable weapon that can now be considered a locked-in weekly starter. Especially given how many enticing matchups against vulnerable run defenses are diffused by the existence of multiple back committees, or the limitations of the runners under consideration. None of that applies to Howard, who is being provided with volume and has proven to be proficient as Chicago’s workhorse back. After Howard rumbled for 118 yards on 16 carries (7.4 YPC) in Week 5, he has now rushed for 229 yards in Chicago’s last two games, while amassing 295 total yards during that span. While Jacksonville’s 17th ranked run defense does not reside among the league’s most woeful units in that category, owners can take advantage of Howard’s appealing combination of attributes and will be rewarded with another highly productive outing.
RB Start: Jonathan Stewart / Fozzy Whitaker at Saints
Despite the shortcomings that the Panthers suddenly possess on both sides of the ball, they can generate success throwing against the Saints’ 29th ranked pass defense, and can also accumulate significant yardage on the ground. The Saints rank just 26th against the run and have been gashed for 121.5 YPG. Plus, they have surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing runners, while permitting a monstrous 31 PPG, and yielding eight touchdowns. As of this writing, Stewart is expected to return in Week 6. If that occurs, then he should build upon his 2015 output, when he amassed 134 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans. The Saints have also been vulnerable to running backs that are adept at accruing receiving yards, as Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Melvin Gordon all surpassed 40 in Weeks 3 and 4. This is significant since Whitaker can generate receiving yardage, and would also deliver a productive outing if Stewart is unable to perform, or if the tandem splits touches during this matchup. In Weeks 2-4, he accumulated 131 total yards against San Francisco, had a 56-yard touchdown reception wiped out by a Kelvin Benjamin penalty versus Minnesota, and amassed 86 receiving yards against Atlanta. Stewart’s status should be monitored, but he is a viable option this week if he returns. If he does not, Whitaker would also be fully capable of producing sizable yardage against the Saints.[the_ad id=”65749″]
RB Sit: Isaiah Crowell at Titans
Crowell had vastly exceeded expectations heading into Week 5, as the third-year back was third overall in rushing with 394 yards, and had constructed a 98.5 YPG average. But he struggled immensely last Sunday, managing mere 22 yards on 13 carries (1.7 YPG) versus New England. Owners should not overreact over the long term to the limited output. Because Crowell has already bolted for at least 120 yards twice this season, and should rebound to deliver more high-quality performances. However, that will not occur this week, as Tennessee has performed effectively in its efforts to contain the run. The Titans have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs, while yielding only two scores on the ground. They have also permitting just two opposing rushers to reach 40 yards this season and limited the Jay Ajayi dominated Dolphin rushing attack to paltry 51 yards in Week 5. Keep Crowell affixed to your bench for one more week.
RB Sit: Matt Jones vs. Eagles[the_ad id=”58837″]Last week in this column, I advised owners to sit Jones against Baltimore’s stout run defense. He then proceeded to produce paltry 31 yards on 14 attempts against the Ravens, managing just 2.2 YPC. He has run more proficiently than he did during his rookie year, which includes the rise in his overall YPC average from 3.4 to 4.1. But he has also failed to exceed 31 yards in two of his five contests and is destined to struggle in his attempt to accumulate yardage this week. As he will be contending with a Philadelphia run defense that ranks third, and is allowing 73 YPG. The Eagles have also permitted only one back to reach 50 yards in any game this season, and are 25th overall in fantasy points allowed to the position. Jones owners should pinpoint another option due to this daunting matchup.
WR Start: Larry Fitzgerald vs. Jets
Carson Palmer’s lingering ineffectiveness, and the subsequent concussion that reduced him to spectator status have negatively impacted both Arizona’s passing attack, and the team’s overall record. But even as the stock of Michael Floyd and John Brown has collectively plunged since the onset of the regular season, the 33-year old Fitzgerald has managed to remain unfettered by the impediments that have curtailed his fellow receivers. He continues to thrive in his 13th season, after torching the 49er secondary for 81 yards and two touchdowns in Week 5. He is tied for the league lead among all receivers with five touchdowns, has generated at least 60 yards in every game, and should accumulate excellent numbers this week. He will be working against a Jet unit that ranks just 31st versus the pass, has allowed 302 YPG, and has been shredded for 12 touchdowns through the air. Fitzgerald should deliver for his owners regardless of whether Palmer or the perpetually limited Drew Stanton are under center.
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WR Start: Jeremy Maclin vs. Raiders
Maclin has not delivered the level of production that owners expected, as he is currently just 47th among all receivers in yardage (244), is 35th with a 61 YPG average, and has manufactured just one score. However, he should exceed his season high of 78 yards, and could double his touchdown total this week. After being demolished for 819 yards and seven touchdowns in their initial two contests, the Raider secondary yielded 256 YPG through the air in Weeks 3 and 4. As physical corners David Amerson and Sean Smith have improved their overall performance. But they can still be beaten for big plays, which was displayed when Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams torched them for a combined 234 yards last Sunday. Andy Reed and his staff have the advantage of an additional week to prepare for this matchup with Kansas City’s longtime rival, and should keep Maclin heavily involved in their offensive strategy. Expect him to exploit Oakland’s beatable corners repeatedly as a result.
WR Sit: Jeremy Kerley at Bills[the_ad id=”66786″]Kerley accrued 102 yards and a touchdown in Week 5 and accomplished that on the national stage that Thursday Night Football provides. That will propel him into a top spot among this week’s waiver wire additions, as will the fact that he has now accumulated 190 yards and two scores during San Francisco’s last two games. Kerley is indeed established as the slot receiver in Chip Kelly’s offense, and his recent output will entice owners to start him this week. However, his challenging matchup dictates otherwise. He should be facing Buffalo slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, who has been performing extremely well. Robey-Coleman just pilfered two Case Keenum passes in Week 5, and returned the second interception for a touchdown. Despite the highly productive performances, Kerley has also been held to less than 30 in two contests and is a strong candidate to attain very modest results in Buffalo.
WR Sit: DeVante Parker vs. Steelers
His pedigree as a first-round draft pick by Miami blended with his noteworthy combination of size, speed, and athleticism, has compelled owners to select him, and subsequently start him this season. But the lingering process of waiting for Parker to reward those who have invested in him, by becoming a viable weekly option, has become overly taxing. Because his output has been underwhelming on too many occasions due to his inconsistency, the ongoing deficiencies of Ryan Tannehill, and horrific state of the entire Dolphin offense. Parker is currently a mere 44th among all receivers with 247 yards, and his lone touchdown occurred against the vulnerable Browns in Week 2. This week’s matchup with Pittsburgh isn’t daunting. But even if you have bye issues at wide receiver, or have been impacted by multiple injuries at the position, there is simply too much risk of another unproductive outing to employ him in your lineups
TE Start: Jimmy Graham vs. Falcons
Questions churned regarding Graham’s status throughout the offseason, as there was considerable uncertainty whether he would even be available to the Seahawks in September. But after a forgettable one catch outing in Week 1, his contributions to the Seattle attack have elevated dramatically. Graham has maximized his 17 targets by eclipsing 100 yards in two consecutive games while reestablishing himself as an unquestioned TE1. This week he will be the beneficiary of an excellent matchup versus a Falcon pass defense that has been generous to opposing tight ends. Before facing a Denver offense that does not possess a legitimate weapon at the position, Atlanta had permitted the most fantasy points to tight ends, allowing a whopping 16 PPG. The Falcons have also surrendered five touchdowns through the air. As Greg Olsen and Coby Fleener located the end zone against this unit, along with the far less dangerous trio of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brandon Myers, and Clive Wolford also accomplished that feat. Keep Graham in your lineups for this appealing matchup.
TE Sit: Zach Miller vs. Jaguars
If you are a Kyle Rudolph owner searching for a one-week replacement or are generally disenchanted with your current starter, Miller might initially appear to be a reasonable option. As he just collected seven of eight targets from Brian Hoyer for 73 yards in Week 5, which was the second time that he has surpassed 70 yards in his last three games. He is a viable streamer when the matchup is favorable, but that is not the case this week. The Jaguars’ seventh-ranked pass defense has been particularly strong at quashing opposing tight ends this season. Jacksonville is yielding just 4.3 fantasy points per game to the position, has allowed only one tight end to exceed 22 yards, and has surrendered only one touchdown. It is highly unlikely that they will allow Miller to penetrate the end zone, or accrue sizable yardage during this contest.
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