Coach’s Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit – Week 6

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EAGLES @ GIANTS – Ciriaco

Quarterback

START – Carson Wentz, Eli Manning

SIT – None

The Giants have been feisty pass defenders so far this year. NFL.com has the team in blue as the number eight overall pass defense. This is partly due to tough cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Landon Collins and part of it is having a bottom-eight run defense. The problem is, I don’t fully trust Wendell Smallwood to carry the ball 25+ times Sunday. I do trust Wentz to take advantage of the coverage of Giants linebackers to move the ball. I never will trust Eli fully but the Eagles have been taken advantage of through the air in 2018. Giving up an average 276.8 yards per game, I’ll trust Eli this week to find his targets taking advantage of the Eagles secondary, notably toast victim Jalen Mills. It may not be pretty but it will be startable.

Running Back

START – Wendell Smallwood, Saquan Barkley

SIT – Josh Adams, Corey Clement,  Elijah Penny

Smallwood is not a back I fully trust but is worth a spot start in this match-up. Corey Clement is coming back from a quad injury but I am loathe to start a guy coming back from injury unless I’m desperate. In what should be a game that Smallwood receives the majority of the carries I’ll start him against the previously noted eighth-worst run defense in the league. Barkley is already a top-five fantasy running back and a weekly winner, he always starts. No other back will get enough touches to be relevant.

Wide Receiver/Tight end

START – Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Nelson Agholor, OBJ, Sterling Shepard

SIT – Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Matthews, Rhett Ellison

Zach Ertz is an every week starter. The Giants are second in points given up to tight ends this season. I expect Goedert to find his way onto the field and cause problems for the Giants linebackers. I don’t expect much from Agholor but in PPR he is a borderline starter for teams struggling with byes. This is shaping up to be a classic OBJ game. Mills has been a consistent burn victim by opposing WR1’s. Even double coverage will not keep him from being a top 12 option in week six. Sterling Shepard is a strong start with Engram inactive. I expect the aforementioned Jenkins to give Jeffry all he can handle.

BUCCANEERS @ FALCON – Ciriaco

Quarterback

START – Jamesis Winston, Matt Ryan

SIT – None

With both teams bottom five in points-per-game and yards-per-game, this profiles as the shootout to target this week. I will trust that Winston will be forced to pass early and often, relying on his wealth of talent catching his passes. Matt Ryan is fourth in the league in deep ball attempts leading to his second ranking in air yards. He will feast on Tampa’s leaky secondary.

Running Back

START – None

SIT – Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Ito Smith, Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber

Peyton Barber has been a non-factor on the ground and Jones has done little with the opportunity he has received this year. Both share time in the backfield and on fantasy waivers. You may not have a better option but with Freeman back from injury this backfield has turned into a three-way timeshare. I would avoid unless at least one is removed from the equation. If Freeman sits I would start Coleman or Ito is you are really desperate.

Wide Receiver/Tight ends

START – Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Cameron Brate, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley

SIT – DeSean Jackson, Austin Hooper

Defense has been a struggle since the Falcon lost three defensive starters. The Bucs have been terrible defending passing games all season. Both of these teams are giving up over 32 points per game, plenty coming through the air. Evans is a top-eight WR this week and Godwin will get back to scoring TD’s weekly. Winston frequently targets Brate as a security blanket when on the field together. Jameis’ return has me concerned about Jackson’s output. The two struggled to connect in 2017. Julio had 253 yards and two scores against the Bucs last year. He should be the number one WR in week six. Sanu and Ridley have solid PPR floors this week and they will score at least once combined. The Bucs strong linebacker group should be able to limit Hooper’s effectiveness leading to more passes going toward the receiving group.

CHARGERS @ BROWNS – Ciriaco

Quarterback

START – Phillip Rivers, Baker Mayfield

SIT – None

Rivers is a borderline start for me, considering the 12 PM start for a west coast team traveling east. The only problem is it is hard to sit a guy averaging almost 300 yards per game to go with 13 TD’s. Rivers scored at least twice in every game the year and Sunday will be no different. Bakermaynia is taking over Cleveland as well as fantasy enthusiast worldwide. San Diego is an average defense still missing pass rusher Joey Bosa. After Mayfield went up and down the field for 365 total yards I fully believe Mayfield will be a solid starter Sunday.   

Running Back

START – Melvin Gordon, Austin Eckler, Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde

SIT – Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson

Gordon is having a career year so far this season. Averaging what would be a career-high 4.6 yards-per-carry, Melvin has been one of the most consistent players in fantasy football. 595 total yards with 28 catches and six scores, Gordon will start every week. The Chargers have a minimal drop off in RB production when Gordon goes to the bench. Ekeler has been spectacular with his limited touches. On pace for over 1200 yards and nine TD’s, Ekeler makes a good start in this game. Hyde will be startable in an average match-up as he should generate a decent amount of touches against a defense giving up 4.1 yards-per-carry. The only worry with Hyde would be the Chargers going up early and Hyde game scripted off the field. This would, in theory, make Duke a start. I’ll bet on Mayfield keeping this one close. Until Chubb gets fed carries he is impossible to trust in a starting role.

Wide Receiver/Tight end

START – Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Antonio Gates, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku

SIT – Tyrell Williams, Antonio Callaway

Denzel Ward has been an impressive rookie so far but I’m not sitting Allen. Mike will win the battle of the Williams’ as I see him scoring in this contest. The Browns are terrible at defending the tight end so the elderly Gates is a low-end option for owners struggling to replace the bus full of injured TE’s. Jarvis Landry will attempt to avoid Casey Hayward’s coverage on his way to a startable game. Njoku has a top five snap share so far so he is definitely getting the playing time. The Big Chief has increased his yardage in each game this year, topping out at 69 yards last Sunday. He will continue to get better and better with franchise QB Mayfield at the helm. This could be the first of those week winning games for the TE yet to score a TD. Callaway has done little since his breakout game versus a suspect Saints secondary. I expect Heyward to take him out of this game.

COLTS @ JETS – Josh

Quarterbacks

START – Andrew Luck

SIT – Sam Darnold

The Indianapolis Colts do not yet have a semblance of a running game. In order to move the ball, Andrew Luck must throw, throw and throw some more. Volume puts him in the QB1 range each week, and talent pushes him into the must-start category. New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is a long way from being on Andrew Luck’s level. While he may run into a long bomb or two and have a fantasy-relevant outing from time to time, Darnold should not be in lineups outside of deep 2QB leagues.

Running Backs

START – Bilal Powell, Nyheim Hines

SIT – Isaiah Crowell, Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, Robert Turbin

The surprising name on the sit list is New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell, who is coming off a 200-yard game. However, Crowell has been great every other week and has been downright awful in between. This is an in-between week. The two running backs to start are Nyheim Hines of the Indianapolis Colts and Jets tailback Bilal Powell. Both of these backs excel at catching passes out of the backfield. With the Jets likely to be trailing, Powell should be called upon for plenty of receiving work. While the Colts should be leading, they have not been able to run the ball effectively. With Marlon Mack returning from injury and Robert Turbin in his second game back after a suspension, there is plenty of competition for carries. However, Hines has carved out a good role as a pass-catcher and remains a PPR flex play each week.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Ryan Grant, Quincy Enunwa, Charles Rogers, Eric Ebron

SIT – Robby Anderson, Zach Pascal, Chris Herndon, Terrelle Pryor

With the Colts expected to be without receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle again this week, receivers Ryan Grant, Charles Rogers and tight end Eric Ebron will be in line for more targets. While Ebron slots in as a solid tight end start, Grant and Rogers are low-end PPR options. The volume of targets makes them worth a start, but both have issues with being effective. The lone Jets receiver worth starting is surprisingly Quincy Enunwa. While Enunwa failed to haul in any of his five targets last week, he operates in the short-passing game, which is an area the Colts struggle to defend. Robby Anderson made an impression last week with two touchdowns, but he only had just three catches. The volume hasn’t been there for Anderson this season, and a big game doesn’t make him worthy of a spot in the lineup.

SEAHAWKS vs. RAIDERS – Josh

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Russell Wilson, Derek Carr

While NFL games in England are a fantastic feature of the season and often feature a breakout performance or two, starting either quarterback in this matchup is not worth the gamble. The Oakland Raiders have not been good this season, and Derek Carr has scored fewer than 16 fantasy points in four of five games. While Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees are on a bye this week, Carr has not been good enough to trust even as a fill-in this week. The same can be said for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. While Wilson still has the skill set and pedigree to be a top-end fantasy quarterback, the opportunity has not been there for him this season. The Seahawks have committed to running the ball the last weeks, and Wilson has thrown no more than 26 passes in any of those games. The Raiders also aren’t great at stopping the run, so it should be another low-opportunity outing for Wilson this week.

Running Backs

START – Chris Carson, Jalen Richard, Marshawn Lynch

SIT – Mike Davis, Rashaad Penny

Chris Carson has emerged as the clear lead back for the Seattle Seahawks, who have committed to pounding the football in recent weeks. After logging more than 30 carries in Week 3, Carson missed a game nursing an injury. Despite Mike Davis churning out more than 100 yards and two scores in his absence, Carson returned last week and led the team in touches and yards. In a great match-up, Carson is an easy start this week. However, Davis is a sit with the volume not tilting in his favor. For the Oakland Raiders, both Marshawn Lynch and Jalen Richard make the start list, though Richard checks in as a PPR flex option. Lynch has run the ball fairly well this season, and the Seahawks have surrendered at least 70 rushing yards to five running backs so far this season. The Raiders’ defensive issues have left the team trailing later in games this season, and Richard turns into a target monster when his team is playing catch-up.

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Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Amari Cooper, Tyler Lockett, Jared Cook

SIT – Jordy Nelson, Nick Vannett, Doug Baldwin, David Moore

Like Isaiah Crowell, Amari Cooper has seen his production go from fantasy star to bottom of the barrel and back again each week. Cooper was awful in Week 1, then stellar, then awful, then stellar, then awful again. This week he’s due to be stellar again, right? Also a start is tight end Jared Cook. The state of the tight end position is a fantasy wasteland, plain and simple. Cook has been a top-three option so far, amazingly, and is a must-start (talk about things that would’ve sounded like trash takes in the preseason). The Oakland Raider on the sit list is Jordy Nelson. There simply won’t be enough passing success from Carr to sustain more than a few fantasy performers. For the Seattle Seahawks, Tyler Lockett is a start, as his big-play ability should be able to burn the Raiders defense at least once. He’s also been great on those adlib plays with Wilson. On the sit list for the Seahawks is Doug Baldwin. Hampered by knee issues, Baldwin was a non-factor last week, catching just one pass. It’s simply too much risk to trust him in the lineup this week.

PANTHERS @ REDSKINS – Josh

Quarterbacks

START – Cam Newton
SIT – Alex Smith

As the No. 6 quarterback on a fantasy points per game basis, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is a must-start each week. While Washington has been solid at home against quarterbacks – quarterbacks have scored more points each week than the previous one. Rising from Sam Bradford’s dreadful 3.8 points in Week 1 to Drew Brees going for almost 28 points in Week 5, Washington has been exposed through the air. On the other side, Alex Smith is averaging just 16.3 fantasy points per game. Without the type of high-powered weapons he had in Kansas City, Smith has been rather pedestrian in his first season in Washington. There’s no reason to trust him this week.

Running Backs

START – Chris Thompson, Christian McCaffrey
SIT – Adrian Peterson, C.J. Anderson

This is one of the more simple calls of the week. The Panthers don’t use C.J. Anderson much, if at all, so Christian McCaffrey is the only start for them, and he’s a must-start anyway, especially in PPR. On the other side, Washington likely runs into a situation where it needs to throw to keep up with Carolina. This results in Adrian Peterson being game-scripted out while Chris Thompson gets an added boost as the pass-catching back.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Devin Funchess, Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, Greg Olsen (if he plays)
SIT – Ian Thomas, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Paul Richardson

The state of the tight end position in fantasy is terrible. Jordan Reed is a must-start and he’s been surprisingly healthy all season thus far. Greg Olsen is set to return from an injury this week and would be a start if he suits up. Expectations for him should be tempered, but it’d be difficult to find 10 options better than Olsen this week. At receiver, Devin Funchess remains the top option for the Panthers, though his production is likely to dip with Olsen in the lineup. Jamison Crowder is a fringe flex starter in PPR formats for Washington, as Smith likely needs to throw more than the coaches would like to keep his team in the game this week.

BILLS @ TEXANS – Matt

Quarterbacks

START – Deshaun Watson

SIT – Josh Allen

Watson is exceeding expeditions this season having thrown for 300 yards or more in 4 straight games. The second-year pro came out of week 5 a little dinged up with an apparent chest injury but assuming he plays this week, he’ll face a Bill’s defense that gives up the 9th fewest PPG to opposing QBs. Watson is projected to score 25 PTS start him. Allen is coming off a laughable performance where he only threw for 80 yards and 1 Int. While this week is a great match-up on paper because the Texans allow the 6th most passing yards per game, you can’t trust him against the Texans and really, he shouldn’t even be on a roster.

Running Backs

START – LeSean McCoy, Lamar Miller

SIT – Chris Ivory, Alfred Blue

McCoy looked like his vintage self against the Titans carrying the ball 24 times for 85 rushing yards. Running room could be hard to find against the Texans who allow 9th fewest rushing yards per game. But he should be used a ton again this week considering he’s the Bill’s only offensive weapon. McCoy is projected to score 9 PTS, start him. As of now, Miller is expected to play in week 6. Miller is an intriguing play against the Bill’s defense that has given up 5 rushing TD on the season. The Texan’s offensive line has been bad but the game flow to should keep Millers involved. Miller is projected to score 7 PTS start him.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller

SIT – Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Charles Clay, Keke Coutee

Hopkins gets a tough match-up this week when he faces off against the Bills and Tredavious White. The Texans number one wideout is virtually unstoppable so this should be a fun battle to watch. Buffalo’s defense has held WRs in check this season allowing the 9th fewest PPG for the position. Will Fuller was quiet vs the Cowboys last week only catching 2 balls for 15 yards. I expect Fuller to bounce back this week because most of the secondary’s attention will be on Hopkins. Hopkins is projected to score 19 PTS and Fuller is projected to score 12 PTS start both WRs. The Texans are allowing the 6th most PPG to WRs so it’s it’s a shame you can’t start any Bill’s receivers against them. Sit all of Bill’s receiving options this week including the tight end.

CARDINALS @ VIKINGS – Matt

Quarterbacks

START – Kirk Cousins

SIT – Josh Rosen

Kirk Cousins draws a Cardinal defense that ranks in the middle of the pack in passing yards allowed but has given up the 6th fewest points to QBs. Considering how bad the Vikings run game is, I expect Minnesota to lean on Cousins and the passing game a lot this week. Cousins is projected to score 24 PTS, start him. Rosen is coming off his first career win, he struggled for most of the game but managed to connect with Kirk on a long 75 yard TD bomb. This week he faces a Vikings defense that has struggled to stop QBs giving up the 4th most passing yards and 6th most fantasy points. Rosen has to start producing before he can be trusted in fantasy lineups, sit him.

Running Backs

START – Dalvin Cook if he plays, David Johnson

SIT – Latavius Murray, Chase Edmonds

Dalvin Cook has been dealing with a hamstring injury for the past three weeks and there’s a good chance he sits this one out too. If Cook doesn’t play Latavius Murray would draw the start against a Cardinals defense that is the 2nd worst run-stopping unit in the league giving up 142 rushing yards per game. It’s hard to recommend starting a RB that has averaged 3.5 yards-per-carry. Sit Murray. David Johnson gets the stout Vikings run defense in week 6. The Cardinals stud RB has scored at least 16 fantasy points in 4 out of 5 games. The Vikings defense allows the 7th fewest PPG to RB. Johnson is projected to score 13 PTS Start him.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph

SIT – Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Ricky Seals Jones

Adam Thielen now has five straight games with 100 yards receiving and Diggs is no slouch either averaging 80 yards and 11 targets per game this season. In Week 6 the dominate WR duo draws the Cardinals stingy secondary that is currently giving up the 4th fewest PPG to WR. Thielen is projected to score 19 PTS and Diggs is projected to score 16 PTS start both Vikings WR. Kyle Rudolph has a tough test this week too because the Cardinals are only allowing 45 receiving yards per game to tight ends. Regardless of the match-up, Rudolph is locked in as a TE1 with high TD upside. Rudolph is projected to score 9 PTS start him. The bottom has completely dropped out on Fitzgerald. He only has 10 catches for 100 yards in his last 4 games combined. Kirk has been targeted 16 times over his last 3 games. Last week he caught a beautifully thrown ball and took it to the house for a 75 yard TD. Rosen and Kirk are starting to develop a rookie connection on the field. The Cardinals offense is abysmal right now there’s no Bruce Arians calling plays anymore and they have an inexperienced signal caller under center. Sit all the receiving options on the Cardinals team this week.

STEELERS @ BENGALS – Matt

Quarterbacks

START – Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton
SIT – None

Roethlisberger threw for 3 TD and 300 yards last week and has a good chance to match those numbers against the Bengals. I expect a shootout in what could end up the highest scoring contest of the week. Cincinnati allows the 6th most PPG to QB and Ben is projected to score 21 PTS start him. Dalton struggled last week against an underrated Dolphins defense. I expect him to be extra motivated in this divisional game. The Steelers defense allows the 2nd most PPG to QB. Dalton is projected to score 25 PTS start him.

Running Backs

START – James Conner, Joe Mixon

SIT – Giovani Bernard, Mark Walton

Joe Mixon returned to action last week rushing for over 90 yards and scoring 20 PTS. He received 25 touches so workload shouldn’t be a problem this week especially considering now that Gio is out. Pittsburgh is no cakewalk for running backs they currently allow the 5th fewest PPG to RB. Mixon is projected to score 17 PTS start him. James Conner ran all over the Falcons last week he rushed for over 100 yards scored 36 PTS. I expect more of the same this week in what is probably his last start of the season before Le’Veon Bell returns. Conner is projected to score 19 PTS start him.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster

SIT – John Ross, Vance McDonald, Jesse James

Antonio Brown had his first 100-yard receiving game last week, and he gets another good match-up in week 6. The Bengals are allowing the 9th most PPG to WR on the season. After a blazing hot start to the season, JuJu has slowed down in his last two contest catching a combined 8 ball for 94 yards. He should get back on track this week in what is expected to be a shootout. Brown is projected to score 24 PTS and JuJu is projected to score 15 PTS start both Steelers WRs this week. Green played like a beast last week against the Dolphins catching 6 balls for over 100 yards. And now he gets an even better match-up against a Steelers defense that allows the 3rd most PPG to WR. Tyler Boyd took a back seat last week catching 4 balls for 44 yards it was his worst game since week one. Boyd should come through for fantasy owners in this juicy match-up. A.J. Green is projected to score 19 PTS and Boyd is projected to score 13 PTS start both Bengals WRs this week. Sit all the tight end on both teams in this game.

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BEARS @ DOLPHINS

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Mitch Trubisky, Ryan Tannehill

Even though this match is in Miami and Mitch Trubisky is coming off a big win and a bye week, both players would be hard to start this week. Look elsewhere for starting options especially if Jameis Winston is available this week on waivers. The Dolphins defense is 20th in yards allowed per game with 273.6 and is currently leading the NFL in interceptions with 10 through five games. The Bears are 9th in yards allowed per game with an average of 230.5 through four games played. If you are stuck in a tough roster situation and you have to choose, roll with Mitch Trubisky.

Running Backs

START – Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen

SIT – Kenyan Drake, Frank Gore

It’s no secret how much of a difference Khalil Mack has made to the Bears defense. Chicago is leading the league in rushing yards allowed with 64 yards on average through four games played. What would be interesting to watch is if Kalen Ballage will finally get some more playing time. The Dolphins are currently 20th in rushing yards allowed per game with 109 through five games played. Jordan Howard has a great chance to get back on track after not getting too involved during the week 4 blowout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tarik Cohen is somewhat of a sneaky PPR play in this game. In week 4, James White was able to rack up eight receptions for 68 yards and a score against Miami. Last week, with Joe Mixon returning from injury, he was able to catch three of his targets for 22 yards and a score.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Kenny Stills, Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel

SIT – Anthony Miller, Trey Burton, Albert Wilson, Danny Amendola, Devante Parker, Jakeem Grant, Mike Gesicki

The Miami receiving core should be set up to have a better game than Chicago in this one, but with the Miami offense in flux, it’s truly hard to trust any pass catcher in this game. Kenny Stills should be able to turn in at least a flex level performance in this one, but if you have other options please start someone else. Miami has been more generous in yards allowed to secondary receivers so there is a decent chance that Taylor Gabriel could put in a decent performance, but again, not much more than a flex appeal here too. I am trusting that the bye week gave Chicago enough time to realize they need to toss the rock to Allen Robinson on a more consistent basis. His highest targets came in week two when he got 14 targets against Seattle. I view him as a WR3 in this one. The rest of the Miami core is just not trustworthy against the Chicago pass rush. Ryan Tannehill will be running for his life and may not have time to through the ball. Anthony Miller is still dealing with a shoulder injury and should not be played until we see how he reacts to contact. Finally, Trey Burton does not have a good match-up on paper against the Dolphins defense, but if you are stuck play Burton.

RAMS @ BRONCOS

Quarterbacks

START – Jared Goff, Case Keenum

SIT – None

It’s pretty simple, start all Rams sit all Broncos right? I crack myself up. In all seriousness, Goff is the clear starter here even with two of his top wide receivers dealing with a concussion.  Jared Goff is leading the league in passing yards with 1,727 through five games played. It’s a home game for Keenum, but it just might not make that much of a difference. Now, I am listing Keenum as a start for two types of leagues. Owners in deeper leagues or two QB leagues might want to play Keenum. Denver is going to be trailing in this game, and probably by a lot. Keenum will be forced to throw it to someone and he could produce some points in the game even if it is garbage time. If you only play one QB, SIT KEENUM.

Running Backs

START – Todd Gurley, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman

SIT – Devontae Booker

Todd Gurley is walking right into another great match-up with Denver. In the first five weeks, Denver is 30th in yards allowed per game with 137 on average. Last week we saw Isaiah Crowell run all over Denver putting up 219 rushing yards on 15 attempts. The Denver backs are a different story. We are still dealing with a truly annoying committee approach between Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsey. Lindsey should be started over Freeman if you are stuck making that choice, but both backs could find value in this game. The Rams are 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed with 131.2 on average through five weeks. With the Broncos likely chasing points in this match, Lindsey could see a lot of targets coming his way too. Proceed with caution on both Denver backs, I would attempt to play them as a flex if at all possible.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, Josh Reynolds, Gerald Everett, Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, Courtland Sutton

SIT – Jeff Heuerman, DaeSean Hamilton, Khadarel Hodge

In case you missed it, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp left last week’s games against the Seahawks with concussions. Sean McVay has expressed optimism with both receivers playing this week. Please, please, please watch practice reports to see if these two are practicing. If they don’t practice by Thursday or Friday at the latest they might miss the game versus the Broncos. If that occurs, Josh Reynolds will see an increase in playing time and should be started against this Broncos defense. If Cooks and Kupp both sit Khadarel Hodge might have some appeal in deep leagues, but he is a sit for now. Robert Woods will also benefit from the absence of Cooks and Kupp. Woods finished week 5 with five receptions for 92 yards on seven targets. Gerald Everett has a decent chance to put up some points and could be considered in deep leagues only this week. At the end of the day, the Broncos are currently 13th in yards allowed to opposing receivers, but I have a feeling that will get a bit worse after Sunday. In McVay we trust. He will find a way to work past the injuries and still win on Sunday. Now if you are like me and are stuck with Broncos on your rosters it’s not all bad news. As I have mentioned a few times Denver will probably be chasing and Keenum will have to throw it to someone. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are still target leaders on the team and they represent WR2 and WR3 options respectfully this week. Courtland Sutton might sneak in for a flex play against the Rams and could be considered a start in deeper leagues only.

RAVENS @ TITANS

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Joe Flacco, Marcus Mariota

Both Quarterbacks in this game are walking into tough match-ups. The Ravens got Jimmy Smith back last week and Baltimore was able to hold Baker Mayfield to 342 yards, one passing touchdown, and one interception. The Ravens are allowing, on average, 215 yards per game which puts them fourth in passing defense. The Titans are allowing, on average, 210 yards per game which makes Tennessee third in the NFL for passing defense. Numbers don’t lie, sit both Joe Flacco and Marcus Mariota.

Running Backs

START – Javorius Allen, Alex Collins

SIT – Dion Lewis, Derrick Henry

Baltimore is fifth in the NFL in yards allowed on the ground to running backs which does not make this game inviting for Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry. Frankly, the Tennessee backs need to show us they can produce for fantasy before I trust them again this season. Looking at the Ravens backs, please note, I would prefer to play another running back. ONLY IF YOU ARE STUCK, you can play either Allen or Collins in super deep leagues or PPR formats. Again, look elsewhere for production at running back this week.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – John Brown, Hayden Hurst

SIT – Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, Jonnu Smith, Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead

The Ravens are fourth in the NFL in yards allowed to receivers through the first five games. Corey Davis is dominating targets with 45 in his five starts this season. If you own him in a deep league and if you area stuck this week, he is the only Titans receiver I would gamble on this Sunday. The Titans are actually second best in yards allowed to receivers with 225 per game. John Brown has gotten two fewer targets than Michael Crabtree with 44 on the year. John Brown has been more effective of the two and is the only wider receiver worth starting, but consider him a flex at best. The tight end market is really rough right now and if Hayden Hurst is available pick him up and start him if in serious need of a player. He only got two targets last week returning from injury, but I expect these targets to increase as the season progresses. He’s a low-end TE this week, but with slim pickings at the position you just might have to start him.

JAGUARS @ COWBOYS – Ben

Quarterbacks

START – Blake Bortles

SIT – Dak Prescott

The Cowboys have allowed both Matt Stafford and Deshaun Watson to go for 300+ yards against them over the past two weeks, and while Bortles isn’t either of those guys, teams have struggled to run against Dallas. Alfred Blue managed only 46 yards on 20 carries in Week 5 against this unit and Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount only managed 67 yards on 17 carries. Bortles will have to throw and the Cowboys can be beat through the air. He’s worth a cheap start for one of those “out of nowhere” Bortles gems he has from time to time. Dak, on the other hand, has no real weapons in the passing game and Jacksonville has one of the best defenses in the NFL. This will be a check-down ridden performance for the Dallas QB, stay away.

Running Backs

START – TJ Yeldon, Ezekiel Elliot

SIT – Leonard Fournette, Corey Grant, Rod Smith

Yeldon is going to be the horse once again while Fournette continues to punish his faithful fantasy owners. It’s hard to imagine Yeldon piling up a lot of rushing yards in this one, but he should make up for it in the passing game and serve as a solid start for his fantasy owners. Blue only managed 46 yards on the ground against the Cowboys last week, but he had 8 catches out of the backfield.  Zeke is, as always, a must-start but once again owners may be depending on a healthy dose of check-downs from Prescott to see a solid return from the superstar. You have to start him, but this isn’t a favorable matchup on paper.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief, Niles Paul, Geoff Swaim

SIT – Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Donte Moncrief, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DJ Chark

Every week the Cowboys DB’s give up startable fantasy weeks to opposing receivers. Last week was Keke Coutee/DeAndre Hopkins and Week 4 it was Golden Tate/Kenny Golladay. This week I’m tabbing Westbrook as the Coutee/Tate and Moncrief as the Hopkins/Golladay players. I’m far more confident in Dede than I am in Donte but I think both will get you points. The only starts I have for this one are the pair of tight ends that no one had ever considered prior to last week. Swaim is on here because, like Zeke, he’ll benefit from the check downs and the Jags can be beaten by tight ends. Kelce went off for 100 yards in Week 5 and the week prior even lowly Jordan Leggett managed a TD catch for the Jets. On the other side, Paul emerged as a far more usable receiving option than ASJ had been before he went down with an injury. Piling up a 7/65 line against Kansas City, he’ll look to repeat the 6/65 line that Ryan Griffin posted against this Cowboys team last week. There are probably safer bets than both Swaim and Paul, but it’s bye week season and both can get you home. Avoid the entire Cowboys receiving corps. Maybe one or two have big games, but it’s impossible to predict which and it could be none. Cole will fall into third wheel status in this one.

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CHIEFS @ PATRIOTS – Ben

Quarterbacks

START – Pat Mahomes, Tom Brady

SIT – None

Pretty easy calls here. You can’t sit either, I can’t tell you to sit either, pretty sure Yahoo! and ESPN would kick you out of your league if you tried to sit either. Go forth and prosper.

Running Backs

START – Kareem Hunt, Sony Michel, James White

SIT – Spencer Ware

I’ll admit, Hunt scares me a bit in this one. The Patriots have only allowed 140 total rushing yards over the past two weeks at home and that’s where they’ll be again. If Hunt is going to get his points this week, I think it will have to be through the air, but he’s a must-start as one of the best backs in the game. Just be prepared. Michel and White seem to have perfected the RB tandem that Ingram and Kamara had in 2017. The “thunder and lightning” duo have both been stout fantasy options the past two weeks and that isn’t going to change against a flimsy Chiefs defense.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Sammy Watkins

SIT – Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett, Chris Conley, De’Anthony Thomas

Hill, Kelce, and Gronk are must-starts and this game should see plenty of passing offense as a potential shootout. Neither team has a strong secondary so catches and yards should be readily available for the trio of superstars. There’s going to be room for some other pass-catchers to check in for some start value this week and that will likely be Edelman, Watkins, and Gordon. Edelman is a PPR machine and a must-start in PPR leagues and pretty close to one in non-PPR leagues as Brady’s preferred safety blanket. While Watkins and Gordon carry some risk, both are emerging as the outside threats on their respective offenses and should reward their owners this week. That would leave Hogan, Dorsett, Thomas, and Conley on the outside looking in. Same with Demetrius Harris and Demarcus Robinson.

49ers @ PACKERS – Ben

Quarterbacks

START – Aaron Rodgers, CJ Beathard

SIT – None

Rodgers returned to his all-star form in Week 5 ripping off 442 yards and 3 TD against the Lions. The Packers lost the game, but AA-Ron won in fantasy so it’s all good. He’s a must-start and faces off against the biggest surprise in fantasy, Mr. Beat-Hard. CJ has posted back to back 24+ fantasy weeks since taking over in San Francisco and despite the Packers recent success on defense against the pass, they are flawed. There are enough weapons here for Beathard to keep the magic rolling another week.

Running Backs

START – Matt Breida (if healthy in PPR only), Alfred Morris, Aaron Jones

SIT – Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, Kyle Juszczyk (start in PPR only if Breida sits)

Breida is looking extremely doubtful to play this week but will torment owners with a Monday night kickoff. If he goes, he’s got too much upside in PPR formats to sit him, but I might bench him in standard leagues. I’m starting Morris either way because even if Breida plays, he might be too banged up and force Morris into extra touches. Volume is always sexy when it comes to fantasy so ride the touches (yes, that sentence was about fantasy football, not some other fantasy). Jones is the back to own and start in Green Bay and while this is simply not a good matchup on paper, with the 49ers only allowing 86 yards per game on the ground over their past three games, McCarthy has to realize that he needs a true ground threat to take the pressure off Rodgers. Start Jones this week, I’m calling for a breakout. Juszczyk is a sneaky PPR start if Breida doesn’t go, having emerged as a favored target of Beathard out of the backfield.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Devante Adams, George Kittle, Trent Taylor, Geronimo Alison, Jimmy Graham

SIT – Marquise Goodwin, Marques Valdez-Scantling, Randall Cobb, Kendall Bourne

Adams, Graham, and Kittle are must-starts at this point. A preseason sleeper for many, Kittle has had 5+ catches and 75+ yards in 4 of the first 5 games this year and Graham and Adams are Rodgers top weapons. After that group, it gets a little dicey. If he’s healthy, Allison is the next guy to go to in GB. Geronimo is coming out of the concussion protocol so hopefully he’ll be a full go and he’s had double-digit points every week he’s played. If he sits, you can start MVS who had a nice showing last week as the next guy up for the Packers with 6 catches and a TD. I’m fading Cobb regardless of healthy this week and the same goes for Goodwin. Goodwin has failed to get healthy or get going this year and that has opened the door for Taylor. Taylor is a sneaky PPR play as a poor man’s Adam Thielen, who put up 14/100 against this defense. It’s a stretch, but I like it.

KICKERS – Josh

START – Mason Crosby, Randy Bullock, Chandler Catanzaro

SIT – Caleb Sturgis, Jake Elliott, Josh Lambo

Returning to the start list of kickers after a terrible week is Mason Crosby of the Green Bay Packers. While his team got him in position to be a fantasy hero as well as a real football hero, Crosby failed miserably. The good news is the Packers have a favorable match-up this week and Crosby should be afforded extra opportunities in order to restore his confidence. Also making the start list are Randy Bullock of the Cincinnati Bengals and Chandler Catanzaro of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both should see their teams get into scoring range plenty in favorable match-ups. Philadelphia Eagles’ kicker Jake Elliott may find scoring chances harder to come by as his team takes to the road on a short week. Caleb Sturgis of the Los Angeles Chargers also makes the sit list. Be wary of West Coast teams playing road games in the East in the early slate of Sunday action. Josh Lambo is the final sit of the week, as the Jacksonville Jaguars get the bonus of playing indoors against the Dallas Cowboys. However, the Cowboys defense is tough and Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is hard to rely on for scoring opportunities.

DEFENSES – Josh

START – Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans

SIT – Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers

The Dallas Cowboys are risk-reward start this week as a defensive unit. The Jacksonville Jaguars and quarterback Blake Bortles visit this weekend. Bortles is great for opposing fantasy defenses when he Bortles his way up and down the field. However, Bortles has been bad, good, bad, good and bad for opposing fantasy defenses this season. Trends shouldn’t be ignored, and Bortles could turn in a good showing this week and hurt the Cowboys’ fantasy outlook. But if Bortles does Bortles-like things, the Cowboys defense could be a fantasy match-up winner. Also making the start list are the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans. Both face suspect offenses in the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills, respectively. The Philadelphia Eagles make the sit list as a defensive unit. Look no further than cornerback Jalen Mills getting burned repeatedly this season and the team being on the road on a short week for reasons why. The Los Angeles Chargers also make the sit list because of the schedule: an early game in the East for a West Coast team. Rounding out the defensive unit sits is the Cincinnati Bengals. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has too much firepower to start a defense against it.

Series Navigation<< Coach’s Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit – Week 5
Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker
Matthew Lotshaw
I was born and raised in St.Louis Missouri, I have been playing fantasy sports since high school I write weekly previews and strategy articles to help the fantasy community
Joshua Cook
Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a fantasy writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
Joshua Cook
Ciriaco

Ciriaco

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at SportsTalkLine
I'm a budding writer who's passion is for fantasy football. I love every NFL team but especially the Browns and what that franchise is creating on offense. I'm have two kids who I absolutely adore.
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