Week 6 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Fantasy Football Stars to Play and Bench

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins passes during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Unlike the outcomes of games outright, the landscape of fantasy football hasn't returned to something resembling the usual heading into tough Week 6, start 'em, sit 'em decisions. 

Where games themselves have started seeing the usual suspects even out and win, a guy like Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson slotted as one of the top fantasy performers in Week 5. 

Compounding the issue now is owners left scrambling for help with the NFL losing superstars like Odell Beckham Jr. to season-ending injuries.  

These factors all stack atop the normal fantasy problems, like trying to dissect what looks like a tough overall week. Here are reinforcements of sorts for owners in need as we compare some of the top matchups to rank the best values before diving into start-sit questions.  

           

QB

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Cam Newton (vs. PHI) vs. Carson Palmer (vs. TB)Cam Newton
Kirk Cousins (vs. SF) vs. Ben Roethlisberger (at KC)Kirk Cousins
Jameis Winston (at ARI) vs. Matt Ryan (vs. MIA)Matt Ryan
Deshaun Watson (vs. CLE) vs. Drew Brees (vs. DET)Drew Brees
Aaron Rodgers (at MIN) vs. Matthew Stafford (at NO)Matthew Stafford
Author's opinion

Star to Start: Kirk Cousins vs. SF 

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 02:  Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half on October 2, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Imag
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is on fire heading right into what could be one of his best matchups of the year. 

Coming off a Week 5 bye, meaning extra time to prepare, Cousins gets to stay home and beat up on the San Francisco 49ers, whose defense is allowing the 12th-most points to quarterbacks on average this year. 

San Francisco's poor resume includes coughing up north of 300 passing yards to Indianapolis Colts backup Jacoby Brissett, who totaled 18.96 points. 

Cousins shouldn't have any problems blowing past that number, especially considering he's thrown five total touchdowns over his past two outings. 

           

Star to Sit: Jared Goff at JAX

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08:   Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

In Week 6 Goff walks headfirst into a buzzsaw known as the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Those Jaguars allow the fewest points per game to signal-callers, holding four out of five quarterbacks encountered to single-digit production. 

Make no mistake—Goff has been a breakthrough stud this year, both in fantasy and real life. But he regressed to single-digit production in Week 5 and doesn't figure to recover against the Jaguars. 

            

RB

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Kareem Hunt (vs. PIT) vs. C.J. Anderson (vs. NYG)Kareem Hunt
Todd Gurley (at JAX) vs. Christian McCaffery (vs. PHI)Todd Gurley
Melvin Gordon (at OAK) vs. Jordan Howard (at BAL)Jordan Howard
Leonard Fournette (vs. LAR) vs. DeMarco Murray (vs. IND)Leonard Fournette
Jerick McKinnon (vs. GB) vs. LeGarrette Blount (at CAR)LeGarrette Blount
Author's opinion

Star to Start: Jordan Howard at BAL

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 28:  Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is grabbed by Quinton Dial #91 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 28, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 35-14.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Time to jump back aboard the Jordan Howard train. 

Yes, Howard has had a pair of disappointing outings this year, including a 7.6-point showing in Week 5. But the Chicago Bears' lead back worked his way through a shoulder injury to start the season and has still posted three outings of 12 or more points, including a 26.6-point outburst. 

Now Howard should have an easier time than usual with the Bears deciding to go with rookie Mitchell Trubisky under center. This didn't show in Week 5 thanks to a tough Minnesota Vikings defense, but it will in Week 6. 

There, Howard will get to beat up on a Baltimore Ravens defense coughing up the eighth-most points to running backs on average. Opportunities equal production, and with Howard getting a minimum of 18 carries in each of his past three outings, he's going to have one of the bigger days of the week.

           

Star to Sit: Jay Ajayi at ATL

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 08:   Jay Ajayi #23 of the Miami Dolphins carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans in the third quarter on October 8, 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Don't release Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi outright, but don't expect much from him in Week 6, either. 

Owners have to be getting used to the idea by now. Ajayi has yet to score a rushing touchdown and has reached double-digit output just once, meaning he hasn't been close to the player he was last year. 

Matchup doesn't always equal production, either. In this case, Ajayi gets an Atlanta Falcons defense allowing the ninth-most points to backs. 

It sounds great, but we're talking about a Dolphins team that has scored six, zero and 16 points over their past three games going to Atlanta and likely falling behind against quarterback Matt Ryan. Look for game flow to limit Ajayi's usage right away. 

            

WR 

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Antonio Brown (at KC) vs. Larry Fitzgerald (vs. TB)Antonio Brown
T.Y. Hilton (at TEN) vs. DeAndre Hopkins (vs. CLE)T.Y. Hilton
Julio Jones (vs. MIA) vs. Mike Evans (at ARI)Julio Jones
Kelvin Benjamin (vs. PHI) vs. Jarvis Landry (at ATL)Jarvis Landry
Alshon Jeffery ( at CAR) vs. Tyreek Hill (vs. PIT)Tyreek Hill
Author's opinion

Star to Start: T.Y. Hilton at TEN 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 08:  T.Y. Hilton #13 of the Indianapolis Colts catches a pass for a first down in overtime during the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Indianapolis, India
Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Don't shy away from Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton now. 

Andrew Luck or not, Hilton hasn't had any problems putting on a show in recent weeks, hitting 17.7 points or higher in two out of his last three appearances. Granted, the exception was a three-point affair, but so it goes in Seattle. 

Matchup is everything with Hilton right now without Luck, which makes him one of the more notable starts in Week 6 when his Colts visit the Tennessee Titans. 

Tennessee has coughed up the fourth-most points to wideouts on the season, including a whopping eight touchdowns. This doesn't guarantee Hilton a touchdown outright, but his target total sitting at six or better in every game so far says the odds rest in his favor. 

             

Star to Sit: Demaryius Thomas vs. NYG

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 11:  Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos signals for a first down after making a catch against the Los Angeles Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

While still a big name, Denver Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas has been one of the bigger fantasy duds of the year. 

Over four appearances, Thomas has yet to score double-digit points despite eight targets in three games. Blame can go all over the place in Denver for this, but the reality is that even in a four-touchdown week from quarterback Trevor Siemian, Thomas only caught six passes for 71 yards. 

Now Thomas walks into a miserable encounter against the New York Giants, owners of a defense permitting just the fourth-fewest points to wideouts on average.  

The long-term outlook for Thomas isn't good, though the short term is outright miserable. 

          

TE

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Cameron Brate (at ARI) vs. Austin Hooper (vs. MIA)Cameron Brate
Zach Ertz (at CAR) vs. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (vs. NE)Zach Ertz
Rob Gronkowski (at NYJ) vs. Zach Miller (at BAL)Rob Gronkowski
Ed Dickson (vs. PHI) vs. Delanie Walker (vs. IND)Delanie Walker
Evan Engram (at DEN) vs. Travis Kelce (vs. PIT) Travis Kelce
Author's opinion

Star to Start: Zach Ertz at CAR

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 08: Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field on October 8, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles finally hit double digits a week ago, posting 12.1 points on six catches for 61 yards and a score. 

Which isn't to suggest Ertz has struggled all year. He's been arguably the most reliable tight end in fantasy while scoring a minimum of 8.1 points every week, a rarity given how tough the spot has been. 

Ertz doesn't have the best matchup outright against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6, but he's too reliable to pass up here after a 12-target game, his third foray into double-digit targets this season. 

Few tight ends see this sort of usage, and Ertz is outright the top target in Philadelphia, meaning he's going to see plenty of looks against a stingy defense in a game that could feature plenty of scoring. 

              

Star to Sit: Kyle Rudolph vs. GB 

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09:  Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the football ahead of Sam Acho #93 of the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at Soldier Field on October 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Chicago
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph enters Week 6 coming off his best game of the season, a 10.5-point showing via six catches for 45 yards and a score. 

But Rudolph setting season highs in targets (nine) and catches doesn't mean he set a new weekly bar. In fact, it means regression is likely on the menu in most normal circumstances. 

Compounding this issue is a game against the Green Bay Packers, owners of a defense that has allowed the second-fewest points to tight ends on average, even holding Jason Witten to 4.1 points on eight catches and 10 targets. 

              

All scoring info, points-against info and ownership stats courtesy of Yahoo standard leagues.