Fantasy Football Week 6: Players to start or sit

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Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).

Good luck with your Week 6 lineups.

Chicago Bears @ Carolina Panthers

Start in DFS: David Montgomery ($21), Mike Davis ($23)

Montgomery’s snap share and targets have been way up without Tarik Cohen, and he gets a Panthers defense that just lost DT Kawann Short and has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs. Montgomery is an easy top-10 RB in Week 6.

Davis is among the league leaders in broken tackle rate and no RB sees more targets as he’s without question a top-three fantasy back in PPR formats with Christian McCaffrey out. The Panthers are home favorites this week against a reverse-funnel Bears defense that’s difficult to throw on, so expect another heavy dose of Davis.

Detroit Lions @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Start: Matthew Stafford, Keelan Cole

Stafford hasn’t played nearly as well as last season, but he has seven TD passes over the last three games. He typically benefits from game script which should be no different this week against a Jacksonville pass defense ranked last in DVOA that has allowed an NFL-high 8.8 YPA this season in a game that should feature a ton of plays. Moreover, Adrian Peterson may not be 100% while dealing with an illness and Kenny Golladay should finally be fully healthy following the Lions’ bye, so Detroit will rely on its passing attack.

[Week 6 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

With D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault both banged up to varying degrees, Cole could see good volume in a matchup with an over/under of 54.5 points. Cole is quietly on pace to record 10 touchdowns this season and is an interesting Week 6 flier for those in deeper leagues.

Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings

Start in DFS: Calvin Ridley ($30)

Start: Irv Smith

With Julio Jones nowhere close to 100% even if he suits up and Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst failing to step up, Ridley is arguably the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver right now, even with Matt Ryan’s struggles. In a game featuring teams both in the bottom-seven in yards per play allowed this season, Ridley is worth paying up for in DFS.

It’s a bit of a gamble to assume Smith’s role will continue to grow in Minnesota’s offense, but that appears to be the plan, and the Vikings are down their starting running back (Alexander Mattison at $14 looks like a “free square” in DFS). They face an Atlanta defense that’s been gashed for the second-most fantasy points and an NFL-high seven touchdowns to tight ends this season.

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans

Start in DFS: Deshaun Watson ($31), Derrick Henry ($35)

Watson is getting a career-high 8.9 YPA despite losing DeAndre Hopkins (and Will Fuller for a game) and facing a tough schedule. The Texans used more play-action during the team’s first game without Bill O’Brien, and Watson is plenty capable of running more this season. In a matchup that should be fast-paced versus a Tennessee team that’s tied for bottom-three in yards per play allowed and just had a game Tuesday, Watson is a sneaky bet to finish as this week’s QB1.

Henry has yet to really get going this season yet has scored four touchdowns over the last two weeks anyway, and he typically gets better as the season progresses. This week Henry gets a home matchup versus a Texans defense that’s allowed the most rushing yards to running backs this season, and it’s only a matter of time before he has a monster game.

Washington Football Team @ New York Giants

Start: Logan Thomas

Sit: Daniel Jones

Thomas has disappointed when given opportunities this year, but Kyle Allen should provide a much-needed upgrade at quarterback. The Giants defend the run well, and James Bradberry will shadow Terry McLaurin, so Logan should be busy Sunday.

A rough schedule hasn’t helped, but Jones somehow hasn’t recorded a single touchdown since Week 1, and he gets a Washington defense that ranks #4 in DVOA. Jones’ not-horrible (0.5) CPAE provides hope for the future, but he’s tough to start even in Superflex leagues right now.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sit: Jarvis Landry

Start: Chase Claypool

Landry could see an expanded role if Odell Beckham Jr. (illness) were to miss Sunday’s game, but he’s dealing with a new rib injury while also recovering from hip surgery. The Browns should struggle to pass with a banged-up Baker Mayfield likely under constant pressure by a dominant Pittsburgh front seven.

It’s usually best to temper expectations with players coming off such outlier performances, but Claypool looks like the real deal (he’s second in the NFL in yards per route run). Moreover, Diontae Johnson has remained limited in practice this week dealing with his latest injury, while JuJu Smith-Schuster’s average intended air yards is second-lowest among wide receivers (with only old man Larry Fitzgerald running shorter routes), so opportunity should once again be there in Week 6 for the impressive rookie. The Browns have ceded the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (11)
How will Chase Claypool follow up his monster performance? (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles

Sit: Mark Ingram

Start: Travis Fulgham

Ingram’s 11 carries last week somehow marked a season-high for Baltimore running backs, which highlights just how useless they have been in fantasy. It’s possible game script helps lead to a touchdown for Ingram, but since he’s also seeing so few targets (just three over the last three games), he’s tough to start in Week 6.

Fulgham erupted out of nowhere last week, and he’s suddenly the Eagles’ #1 wideout with DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery struggling to return from injuries. Meanwhile, Zach Ertz looks washed up, while John Hightower turned 204 air yards (only DK Metcalf had more) into just 18 realized yards last week, so Fulgham should remain busy Sunday (he ranked top-10 in WOPR last week). It’s a small sample, but Fulgham leads the NFL in yards per route run and is a strong start in a game that projects to be fast-paced.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts

Sit: Joe Burrow, T.Y. Hilton

Burrow has put up nice TD numbers but has also gotten just 6.0 YPA while taking 11 sacks over two road games, and he now goes to Indy to face a Colts defense that ranks #1 in DVOA and has allowed the fewest YPA (6.2) while also recording the most interceptions (nine) this season. It should be considered a success if Burrow comes out of Sunday’s game healthy, and Joe Mixon’s ECR of RB10 is way too high in this matchup (I rank Ronald Jones, Myles Gaskin, and Raheem Mostert comfortably higher).

Whether it’s Hilton or Philip Rivers or both who’s washed up, the veteran wideout ranks outside the top-75 in yards per target this season, checking in at #94 in fantasy points per target. The Bengals have the #9 pass defense in DVOA, and this should be a slow-paced game dominated by the Colts’ defense (and rushing), so I don’t rank Hilton as a top-40 WR this week.

Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots

Start: Jerry Jeudy, Damiere Byrd

Jeudy should be fully healthy coming off a bye, and he returns to a Denver receiving group missing KJ Hamler (and Courtland Sutton) and with Noah Fant banged up after being carted off the field in Week 4. Denver is likely to get Drew Lock back this week as well, and New England has a middling pass defense that’s allowed 8.2 YPA this season.

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Byrd quietly had the sixth-highest WOPR in Week 4 when we last saw him, the Patriots will be getting Cam Newton back, and the Broncos are a funnel-defense that’s ceded just one TD run to an RB all year but has the #18 pass D in DVOA. Byrd ($12) is also a cheap DFS punt in Week 6.

New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins

Start in DFS: Jamison Crowder ($23), Myles Gaskin ($18)

Crowder ranks #8 in WOPR this season, so his ECR of WR32 this week is curious. With Lev Bell released, La’Mical Perine is a deep sleeper in this matchup (and should be rostered in deeper formats right now), but most likely the Jets struggle running with Frank Gore and are forced to throw while playing mostly from behind Sunday. Only Adam Thielen and DeAndre Hopkins have a higher target share than Crowder this season, so even with Joe Flacco at QB, he’s a top-10 WR.

With Jordan Howard (healthy scratch) possibly no longer stealing goal-line scores and a game-script that should be favorable with the Dolphins big home favorites against a Jets team with Joe Flacco at quarterback and Adam Gase at head coach, Gaskin should be considered a top-10 fantasy RB in Week 6. He has the fourth-most catches and the third-most red-zone touches among backs this season, and the Jets have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to RBs, so Gaskin ($18) is a DFS target.

Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Start: Robert Tonyan

Start in DFS: Ronald Jones ($20)

Tonyan scored three touchdowns when we last saw him in Week 4, and while he’s likely to remain somewhat TD dependent given his role (and the return of Davante Adams adds competition in the red zone) and the Bucs enter with the #2 ranked defense in DVOA, he’s a must-start at a thin tight end position that’s so far mostly failed to live up to the (my) hype.

Jones remains mistake-prone, and there’s a chance Leonard Fournette returns this week (and note the later game start time), so he’s certainly not without risk, but few backs match his Week 6 upside. Jones continues to get better and has looked like one of the league’s best runners recently, and he’s even seen 14 targets over the last two weeks. Fournette’s snaps are likely to be limited if he does return given his lack of practice, and Jones could go nuts against a Green Bay defense that’s allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. With the Bucs’ strong defense, litany of injuries at receiver, and the favorable matchup, Jones is a top-10 RB on my board in Week 6.

Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers

Start: Jared Goff

Sit: Deebo Samuel

The Rams have deployed a conservative offense this season (extremely run-heavy and with Goff having the lowest average intended air yards in the NFL) but are tied for fifth in yards per play anyway, and Goff has 10 touchdowns over the last four games. He also leads the NFL with 9.0 YPA and should shred a San Francisco funnel-defense that’s missing seemingly every member of its secondary to injuries.

Samuel returned to seeing a full workload of snaps last week, but he gets a Rams defense Sunday night that’s yielded the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Moreover, Deebo will be seeing (competing) targets from a hobbled Jimmy Garoppolo who was downright awful while trying to play through a high-ankle sprain last week.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Buffalo Bills

Start: Mecole Hardman, Cole Beasley

Hardman has his chance at seeing a bigger opportunity with Sammy Watkins sidelined over the next couple of weeks with a hamstring injury, and he’s immediately set up with a favorable matchup with Josh Norman, who’s allowed a generous 0.42 fantasy points per target this season (and may still be struggling to recover from Tuesday’s incident).

Beasley should see plenty of targets during a game with an over/under of a whopping 57.5 points, with Josh Allen likely to bounce back from a rare poor performance. Beasley is a sneaky PPR flex option who ranks top-10 in targets inside the 10-yard line this season.

Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys

Start: Christian Kirk, Andy Dalton

Kirk is coming off a season-high seven targets and gets a Cowboys defense on Monday night that’s allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. This game should feature a bunch of plays and a bunch of fantasy points to end Week 6.

Dalton obviously isn’t as good as Dak Prescott in real life and won’t provide the fantasy stats with his legs, but he’s in a near-perfect situation on a Dallas team that’s headed toward attempting the most passes in NFL history thanks to an awful defense (and poor turnover luck) and provides the best wide receiver trio in football. Indoors in a game with a total of 54.5 points (how are the Cardinals favored here?) and against an Arizona pass defense that ranks #26 in DVOA, I have Dalton as the #6 QB on my board. The Cowboys have three wide receivers in the top-25 in ECR this week, so Dalton’s expert consensus ranking (QB16) is head-scratching.

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