Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 6: Making the Call on Fantasy Football Fringe Starters
Injuries have been an early storyline of the 2021 NFL season. We have already seen fantasy staples like Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Jarvis Landry ruled out, and the Week 5 injury list included the likes of Russell Wilson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Saquon Barkley.
With several injuries to consider, and the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets on bye, many fantasy managers will be forced to play fringe starters at key positions in Week 6.
Here, we'll examine several second-tier players—those rostered in between 30 and 80 percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues, according to FantasyPros—who have enticing or concerning matchups or situations for the week.
These picks are based on factors like projected role, past production and matchup. Choices are also based on points-per-reception (PPR) scoring formats.
Week 6 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns
Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills
Latavius Murray, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots
A.J. Green, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Jared Cook, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Buffalo Bills
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins
Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers
Start 'Em: Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
It seems fantasy managers haven't quite caught up with the Joe Burrow hype train. While the second-year gunslinger is beginning to play like a top-tier quarterback on the field, he's still rostered in only 67 percent of ESPN leagues.
Now is a great time to get on board with the 24-year-old, especially if you have Matt Ryan or Russell Wilson sitting out the week. The Cincinnati Bengals signal-caller has been solid over the last two weeks, throwing for a combined 629 yards with four touchdown passes and two interceptions.
While the Detroit Lions don't make for a stellar matchup, they're not exactly intimidating, either. They have allowed the 12th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks but rank 31st in yards per passing attempt allowed.
Expect Burrow to easily top 275 passing yards—a number Kirk Cousins hit a week ago—with multiple touchdowns.
The LSU product is an even better play in leagues that award bonus points for long plays. He has hooked up with college and Bengals teammate Ja'Marr Chase on scoring plays of at least 30 yards in four of five games this season.
Sit 'Em: AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon is becoming a solid complement to starter Aaron Jones. While he hasn't had an outlandish fantasy performance yet, he did have five receptions, a touchdown and 176 scrimmage yards over the last two weeks.
Aaron Rodgers has been impressed with the 23-year-old's development this year.
"He is really taking that step and becoming a three-down back," the quarterback said, per Wes Hodkiewicz of the team's official website.
However, this is not an ideal week for managers to lean on Dillon. The Chicago Bears have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, and the No. 2 back is not regularly part of the passing attack.
While the Boston College product had four receptions in Week 5, he has been targeted two or fewer times in every other game this season.
Look for Green Bay to attack a Bears defense that ranks 14th in passing yards per attempt this season through the air. Jones is a fine play against the Bears; Dillon is not.
Start 'Em: A.J. Green, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals wideout A.J. Green is coming off a disappointing one-catch, 13-yard game that will give some managers pause. However, he had scored touchdowns in two of the previous three weeks and topped the 100-yard mark in the third.
Expect the 33-year-old to get back on track against a Cleveland Browns defense that is hampered by injuries. Rookie cornerback Greg Newsome II was injured heading into Week 5, and cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams both got banged up against the Los Angeles Chargers.
According to the Associated Press, the Browns have MRIs scheduled for Ward (neck) and Williams (shoulder).
While the Browns have allowed the 14th-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, injuries are likely to loom large in Week 6. And with plenty of attention being given to guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Green should take advantage of regular one-on-one opportunities.
It isn't out of the question to see the Georgia product top 100 yards and reach the end zone in this matchup.