Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 6: Debating Difficult Fantasy Football Lineup Decisions

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2018

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2018, file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck looks to throw during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, in Indianapolis. The Colts take on the New York Jets on Sunday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

So far, so good for fantasy owners in NFL Week 6. 

Thursday Night Football was as simple as it gets as the Philadelphia Eagles cruised past the New York Giants. Carson Wentz led the former to a 34-13 win while posting 24.52 points, and Saquon Barkley predictably put on a show despite the mostly mediocre roster around him, drumming up 33.4 points of his own. 

But that is as easy as it will get for owners this week. 

Divisional matchups, injuries, trends and other factors muddy the start-sit picture, so let's compare some of the top matchups and list some notables to know. 



Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Aaron Rodgers (vs. SF) vs. Andy Dalton (vs. PIT)Aaron Rodgers
Matt Ryan (vs. TB) vs. Andrew Luck (at NYJ)Matt Ryan
Patrick Mahomes (at NE) vs. Sam Darnold (vs. IND)Patrick Mahomes
Deshaun Watson (vs. BUF) vs. Ben Roethlisberger (at CIN)Ben Roethlisberger
Tom Brady (vs. KC) vs. Kirk Cousins (vs. ARI)Tom Brady
Author's opinion

Start: Andrew Luck, IND (at NYJ)

Now isn't the time for owners to go away from Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. 

Yes, Luck has a tough matchup against a New York Jets defense allowing just the 14th-fewest points to opposing signal-callers on average. 

But Luck has also started to look better on a weekly basis and has 35.66 and 24.6 points over his last two outings with seven total touchdown passes over that span. 

Keep in mind, too, the Jets are on a downswing. The points-against standing is inflated thanks to an early simple schedule, whereas the last two quarterbacks to play the defense have hit a minimum of 22 points. 


Sit: Kirk Cousins, MIN (vs. ARI) 

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has been hit or miss so far this season, hence his scoring 31 or more points twice, but less than 15 as many times. 

It has to be a matchup-based approach for Cousins at this point, especially as his running game continues to get stronger. Keep in mind he's also throwing in too much of a predictable fashion because his defense is struggling—which is why he put up only 14.14 points in Week 5 on 37 attempts. 

Cousins has to deal with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6, and for all their faults, they at least don't get torched by quarterbacks. They allow the fourth-fewest points to the position so far, so matchup and a run-based game flow hint at Cousins getting grounded again. 



Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Ezekiel Elliott (vs. JAX) vs. Todd Gurley (at DEN)Ezekiel Elliott
Christian McCaffrey (at WAS) vs. Devonta Freeman (vs. TB)Devonta Freeman
Joe Mixon (vs. PIT) vs. David Johnson (at MIN)Joe Mixon
Adrian Peterson (vs. CAR) vs. LeSean McCoy (at HOU)LeSean McCoy
Dalvin Cook (vs. ARI) vs. Phillip Lindsay (vs. LAR)Dalvin Cook
Author's opinion

Start: Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. PIT) 

Feel free to unleash Joe Mixon in Week 6. 

The Cincinnati Bengals running back doesn't have a huge mindshare among owners because he already missed two games with an injury. 

But considering Mixon has appeared in three games, it's not bad his point tallies were 23.4, 9.2 and 19, the last number coming while he clearly wasn't 100 percent in Week 5. 

On paper, a matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers looks bad because they only surrender the fifth-fewest points to opposing backs on average. But that's mostly because the Steelers can't stop anyone through the air, and Mixon happens to be a workhorse who has 12 targets and a score as a receiver already, so he should feast in a game with the potential to be a shootout. 


Sit: Kenyan Drake, MIA (vs. CHI)

It's no fun to sit a starter like Kenyan Drake of the Miami Dolphins, mostly because of his incredible upside if he were being used right. 

But he isn't. 

Drake has single-digit carries three games in a row and counting. He may have turned limited chances into 21 points in Week 5, but he totaled 4.1 points over the first two games of that stretch. 

The Dolphins have a hobbled quarterback and poor coaching guiding Drake into a Week 6 encounter with the Chicago Bears, owners of the defense allowing the outright fewest points to backs on average. While Drake has the skill at times to overcome a situation like this, he doesn't if the coaches won't give him consistent looks, making for a dangerous fantasy scenario over the weekend. 



Matchup ComparisonVerdict
DeAndre Hopkins (vs. BUF) vs. Keenan Allen (at CLE)Keenan Allen
Jarvis Landry (vs. LAC) vs. A.J. Green (vs. PIT)A.J. Green
Julio Jones (vs. TB) vs. Mike Evans (at ATL)Julio Jones
Josh Gordon (vs. KC) vs. Antonio Brown (at CIN)Josh Gordon
Sammy Watkins (at NE) vs. Corey Davis (vs. BAL)Corey Davis
Author's opinion

Start: Mohamed Sanu, ATL (vs. TB) 

Mohamed Sanu has WR1 potential most weeks out, especially with Julio Jones unable to score a touchdown for some reason. 

The Atlanta Falcons "second" option, and perhaps the third thanks to the emergence of Calvin Ridley, still has three consecutive double-digit outings to his name. For those counting, he also has seven or more targets in each of those games. 

So while quantity and the shaky play of Matt Ryan might be a concern, keep in mind Sanu gets to go against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team allowing the second-most points to wideouts this season. 

That includes Week 5, where Chicago's top three wideouts all had at least 8.5 points with a high of 26.9, or the week prior, when all three Pittsburgh starters had at least 8.4. 


Sit: Michael Crabtree, BAL (at TEN) 

Baltimore Ravens wideout Michael Crabtree simply hasn't been reliable enough this season for fantasy owners despite superb usage. 

Crabtree has six or more targets in every game so far and double-digit looks in three of his five appearances. 

He's scored double-digit points once. 

While perhaps one of the most underrated players in the league from a talent perspective, Crabtree isn't turning looks into production in a timid Baltimore offense.

Sunday will feature him going against a Tennessee defense ranking right in the middle against wideouts, so there isn't much hope the usage equates to major upside. 



Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Zach Ertz vs. George Kittle (at GB)Zach Ertz
Eric Ebron (at NYJ) vs. Charles Clay (at HOU)Charles Clay
Rob Gronkowski (vs. KC) vs. C.J. Uzomah (vs. PIT)Rob Gronkowski
Travis Kelce (at NE) vs. Cameron Brate (at ATL)Travis Kelce
Vance McDonald (at CIN) vs. Austin Hooper (vs. TB)Austin Hooper
Author's opinion

Start: George Kittle, SF (at GB) 

Don't hop off the George Kittle train just yet. 

This year's breakout star at tight end should keep right on rolling when his San Francisco 49ers visit the Green Bay Packers. In a possible shootout, he'll be the preferred target, something we know easily enough because he has seven or more targets in four of his five games. 

In those four of five, Kittle has at least 10.8 points with a high of 21.5. So while Green Bay's defense might only let up the 11th-fewest points to his position, Kittle should bully himself to a strong day through sheer power of quantity.


Sit: Jared Cook, OAK (vs. SEA) 

Jared Cook is a guy with best-of-week upside—at times. 

Case in point, Cook ripped off 22.5 points in the Oakland Raiders season opener. In Week 4 he torched Cleveland to the tune of 27 points. 

He has 6.9 points or fewer in all three of his other outings. 

Expect a fourth in that column in Week 6 as the Seattle Seahawks visit town, bringing along a defense allowing the sixth-fewest points to the position. 


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