Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 6: Making the Call on Fantasy Football Fringe Starters
The pool of available players will shrink a bit for fantasy football managers in Week 6. That's because four teams will be out of action with the first bye weeks of the 2022 NFL season.
The Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans are on a bye this week. So notable playmakers such as Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, Raiders receiver Davante Adams, Titans running back Derrick Henry and others will need to be replaced in fantasy lineups.
But there will also be fewer players available as potential fill-ins, making it even more crucial for fantasy managers to make the right start/sit decisions with the players already on their rosters.
Here's some lineup advice regarding several fringe players heading into Week 6.
Start 'Em: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots
Rhamondre Stevenson couldn't be stopped in the Patriots' Week 5 win over the Detroit Lions, as he ran the ball 25 times for 161 yards, both career highs. He capitalized on the absence of fellow New England running back Damien Harris, who exited with a hamstring injury.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Harris is likely to miss multiple games because of the ailment. So that will give Stevenson some time to work as the clear lead runner out of the Pats' backfield, like he was for much of Sunday.
In Week 6, the Patriots are going on the road to face the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. It should be an opportunity for Stevenson to put up more big numbers, as the Browns are allowing 138.2 rushing yards per game, the fifth most in the NFL.
Stevenson has only one touchdown this season, and that came back in Week 3. But there's a good chance he'll get back into the end zone this week, as he'll get plenty of touches in a favorable matchup.
Sit 'Em: Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
A large number of fantasy football managers used a first-round draft pick to land Najee Harris before the start of the season. Through five weeks, the Steelers running back has not lived up to expectations early in his sophomore NFL campaign.
Harris is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry, and he hasn't run for more than 74 yards in a game. Last week, he had one of most disappointing performances yet, recording 11 carries for 20 yards and three catches for 16 yards in a road loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Pittsburgh has another challenging matchup in Week 6, as it will be hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. No team is giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Bucs, who are allowing only 14.46 points per game to RBs (per NFL.com).
Perhaps Harris will break out at some point this season, but it's not going to happen this week. So put him on the bench and find a better starting option.
Start 'Em: DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule earlier this week, and now they'll be without starting quarterback Baker Mayfield (high ankle sprain) for a bit. Yet, those could both end up being good things for DJ Moore's fantasy value.
Mayfield and Moore hadn't developed a connection through the first five weeks of the season, as Moore has only 17 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown this year. But he's been targeted 19 times over the past two games, which resulted in 10 catches for 109 yards. So there's a chance he's starting to get going.
With Mayfield out, Carolina will have to turn to PJ Walker at QB for the short term. While he's not a great passer, he has thrown the ball to Moore a good bit in his previous opportunities to play for the Panthers.
Carolina is heading on the road to face the Los Angeles Rams, who are giving up 42.42 points per game to opposing WRs (per NFL.com), which is the fourth most in the league. If Moore is going to get on track, Week 6 seems like an opportune time for him to do so.
Sit 'Em: Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns
Amari Cooper's first season in Cleveland has brought mixed results. He's had three stellar fantasy performances and two that were subpar. So he's been a true boom-or-bust wide receiver through the first five weeks.
Because Cooper has scored a touchdown in three of the past four games, it may be hard to consider taking him out of fantasy lineups for Week 6. However, there's a decent chance that he'll have one of his bust showings this week.
The Browns are hosting the Patriots, who rank 11th in the NFL in passing defense with 211 yards allowed per game. New England is also coming off a shutout of the Detroit Lions, who had one of the league's top offenses early in the season.
If your roster isn't deep at WR, then you may not have a choice but to start Cooper. But if you're trying to decide between multiple players, this could be an opportunity to sit Cooper in favor of a receiver who has a better matchup in Week 6.