Fantasy Football Week 6 Starts, Sits, and Sleepers
Unless you called Raiders over Chiefs in Week 5, no bolder plays were made compared to our Starts, Sits, and Sleepers for Week 5. Some paid off, others paid off BIG. Quite frankly, we’re here to do it again.
As COVID and injuries loom over another weekend of football, the field is ripe with players willing to break out. Before getting to those players, here’s a recap of last week’s picks.
Sleeper Chase Edmonds Is Wide Awake
Rushing for 36 yards, catching five passes for 56 yards, and scoring one touchdown, the recommendation for Chase Edmonds was not predicated on having more touches than Kenyan Drake, rather, that the dual-threat of producing both on the ground and through the air would lead to a solid fantasy performance by Edmonds. And it did.
Scoring more fantasy points than the aforementioned starting running back, Edmonds may not see many contests with this kind of production, but with Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid game plan building some early success made possible by DeAndre Hopkins’s arrival to Arizona, don’t discount Edmonds from being a Chris Thompson-like FLEX option with the amount of receiving yards he’ll be due for.
Riskiest Picks Pay Off
Ryan Tannehill. Jonnu Smith. If either of these players stayed on your bench despite our strong recommendation, it’s time to stop worrying and start winning. Week 5’s biggest upset of the week featured these two star players for the Titans, reinforcing faith in Jonnu as a TE1 and Tannehill as a reasonable pick for QB1 with the added threat of running after scoring a rushing touchdown on Tuesday. The Titans are on a roll and until proven otherwise, Tannehill, Jonnu, and A.J. Brown are “startable” players.
Tyler Lockett, Not A Lock In Week 5
Catching four passes for 44 yards against an unassuming Vikings secondary, Tyler Lockett may be losing some of the spotlight to sophomore receiver D.K. Metcalf, but his big-play ability in the middle of an MVP campaign by Russell Wilson will leave fantasy owners frustrated by benching the player more often than playing him with production like this past week’s. Fire up Lockett against the Cardinals in Week 7 and let us know how that works out (forecast: it will work out).
Now, it’s time for Week 6’s Starts, Sits, and Sleepers.
Start – Tom Brady vs. Green Bay Packers
The Great One has been making a lukewarm case in the Brady or Belichick argument at a 3-2 record compared to the Patriots’ 2-2 record (one rescheduled COVID game). Completing 64% of his passes and throwing a 12:4 TD:INT ratio, Brady has lacked a consistency under center when considering the upgrade of weapons. Chris Godwin has missed time due to a hamstring injury and the severe stone hands that Tampa Bay’s receivers have played with can lend to why Brady’s completion percentage has been pedestrian.
Mike Evans‘ stats have been identical to that of a goal line’s back — heavy red-zone targets but few yards to show — and with a weak offensive line leading to outbursts from the former New England quarterback, many are suspecting that Brady may be past the household notoriety.
Facing a Packers defense that is loaded with talent but still unable to keep the scoreboard low, Brady will find his redemption against Aaron Rodgers and benefit from the return of Godwin with a high-flying game.
Another start — Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. New York Jets
Sit – Kirk Cousins vs. Atlanta Falcons
There’s a general rule to follow that when an overdue coaching change finally happens in the midst of a season, the team at the helm of the switch usually performs well. We called it with the Houston Texans after firing Bill O’Brien and the same may be in store for the Atlanta Falcons going against the Minnesota Vikings. With former head coach, now interim head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Raheem Morris, taking over the team this upcoming Sunday, the defense is hungry in pursuit of their first win of the season and this may be the one.
Another sit — Teddy Bridgewater vs. Chicago Bears
Sleeper Start — Andy Dalton vs. Arizona Cardinals
In the wake of an awful injury to Dak Prescott, backup quarterback Andy Dalton is inheriting one of the best offenses in the league and will prove whether this offense still has the pieces to compete for a Super Bowl. While most teams consider the loss of their starting quarterback five games into the season a death note for the remaining 11 games, Cowboys fans find themselves in the best-case scenario by having a capable quarterback (3x Pro Bowler, 70-61 as a Cincinnati Bengal) who can utilize the weapons on offense for this team effectively. While the biggest question mark remains with their offensive line which has arguably been the identity of this team for the past five years, integral to the smooth transition at quarterback once Tony Romo retired and helping establish Ezekiel Elliott as a top-5 running back, and is starting to face a massive drop off from its peaks.
If they can keep Dalton upright against a vulnerable Cardinals defense, Dalton will be able to find his trio of receivers and move the ball down the field, not as well as Dak, but not too far from his production either.
Another sleeper — Joe Burrow vs. Indianapolis Colts
Start — Raheem Mostert vs. Los Angeles Rams
With the crowded backfield in San Francisco, it may be hard to pick up and play the arguable RB1 from this group, especially returning from an injury. With Tevin Coleman still sidelined and an emerging tandem of Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson filling in the play missed by Mostert, head coach Kyle Shanahan may be setting up his committee of running backs to be more of a versatile group than leading with a single back to successfully evade the defensive line of the Rams this Sunday.
Leading the league in yards per carry, Mostert will get a solid opportunity against a Rams defense that is allowing close to five yards per carry against opposing running backs, setting the stage for Sunday night to be Mostert’s reminder to the league that 2019 was no one-hit-wonder of a campaign for the veteran running back.
Another start – D’Andre Swift vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Sit – James Conner vs. Cleveland Browns
After last week’s win against the Colts and landing a 4-1 record through five weeks of football, the Browns will give the undefeated Steelers a run for their money which will surely include Pittsburgh’s backfield. With the offensive line ailing from David DeCastro’s likely absence on Sunday and Myles Garrett’s disruptive performance this year, Conner’s lanes are looking to be crowded with a Browns team that may be playing with a chip on their shoulder after their last meetup, which led to the infamous Garrett-Rudolph altercation.
Averaging over six yards per carry his last two games after nine total rushing yards in Week 1, Conner is a hot-or-cold prospect that gives most fantasy owners some credible hesitance. As a team that still hopes to run the ball even without star running back Nick Chubb, expect the Browns to keep the games’ total time of possession in their favor, leading to less time on the field for the hit-or-miss Conner.
Another sit – Damien Harris vs. Denver Broncos
Sleeper Start – Devonta Freeman vs. Washington Football Team
Weeks ago we advised staying clear of any New York Giant that may be a tempting start in the midst of COVID uncertainty and a growing number of injuries to star players. With more players sidelined and fewer options for fantasy managers to plug in, this is the week to start a Giant and his name is Devonta Freeman.
Proving to be the same dual-threat from Atlanta, Freeman’s reception yards since landing with the team have given him serious FLEX value in an anemic market for running backs. Facing a Washington Football Team that has yet to shed its status as one of the worst overall teams in football, the Giants are hopeful this will be the week to land their first win. Keeping Devonta Freeman a targeted skill player for this offense will not only prove how much the former Pro Bowler has in the tank but how much more effective the offense can run through this free agency pick.
Another sleeper – Todd Gurley vs. Minnesota Vikings
Start – CeeDee Lamb vs. Arizona Cardinals
An early contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year, CeeDee Lamb is fitting seamlessly into the loaded Cowboys offense that is now facing serious question marks after the brutal injury to Dak. As the QB Start column suggests, Andy Dalton is the ideal quarterback to take the reigns in the interim. Having made A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd notable names for fantasy, the former Bengal is also in a position of redemption to prove to this league that he may be the best backup in the league. Out of the trio comprised of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and the recommended Lamb, CeeDee is a good bet against a Cardinals secondary that is as resistant as old Western saloon doors.
Another start — Robert Woods vs. San Francisco 49ers
Sit — Terry McLaurin vs. New York Giants
The NFC East rivalry set to pit Terry McLaurin against James Bradberry is a matchup nightmare for Washington. Among the league’s best in pass blocks/breakups, the Giants rising star at cornerback will be fit to challenge “Scary Terry” in an uncertain time for the no. 1 receiver now that Washington is fumbling through quarterbacks midseason in pursuit of the top spot in a miserable division.
Washington’s QB carousel does not line McLaurin up with a promising outlook until a clear decision is made on who the starter will be — Kyle Allen, Dwayne Haskins, and the inspirational Alex Smith all lower-end options — and with Logan Thomas and Antonio Gibson becoming more of a focal point in John Donovan’s scheme, Terry McLaurin is a good sell-high opportunity if someone in your league is deficient at wide receiver.
Another sit – Tyler Boyd vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sleeper Start – Preston Williams vs. New York Jets
This could have been the start of the week, but too many people are sleeping on Preston Williams’s production.
I will own up to doubting the effectiveness of an aged Fitzpatrick last week, but Preston Williams is the young, emerging receiver that is helping revive the throwing game for Miami similar to Kenny Golladay’s presence with the Lions. Coming off of a 106-yard game against a formidable 49ers defense, Preston will undoubtedly draw the attention of the Jets defensive unit going into Week 6 but then that red flag turns into a fleeting thought once you try to name a Jets defensive back off the top of your head.
Another sleeper – Lavishka Shenault Jr. vs Detroit Lions
Start – T.J. Hockenson vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Detroit tight end is looking to live up to his first-round pick from last year after a meddling rookie campaign that was mostly derailed by injury. Averaging 70% of the snaps at tight end for Detroit in the last two matchups, Hockenson will look to rebound after his first real disappointment of the year (two catches, 9 yards) against the New Orleans Saints. Before then, Hockenson was averaging over 50 yards and four catches a game despite the messy coaching that is plaguing the Lions. Like good ole times.
Another start – Dalton Shultz vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sit – Eric Ebron vs. Cleveland Browns
Eric Ebron has long been a player on the brink of a breakout, despite one good campaign with the Indianapolis Colts. After catching five passes for 43 yards against the Eagles, Ebron is reverting to the hopeful that never was (or will be?) even with Roethlisberger as his quarterback and no true competition at the position in Pittsburgh. Clearly undersized and without a dependable set of hands (losing one fumble in Week 5) Ebron’s projection for the rest of the year is a matchup-based, TE2 with discouraging prospects as Chase Claypool emerges as another target for Roethlisberger. This week’s lack of Diontae Johnson may be the only silver lining for the veteran tight end.
Another sit – Darren Fells vs. Tennessee Titans
Sleeper Start – Robert Tonyan vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This guy needs to see more work, with or without Davante Adams.
Aaron Rodgers trusty tight end during Adams’ multi-week absence due to injury is becoming a trending pick-up for most fantasy managers and this Buy is starting to shape up as the breakout, free agency player of the year.
Similar to Darren Waller and Jonnu Smith last year, Tonyan is benefitting from a reliable quarterback that knows how to find their tight end both in the end zone and down the field. Catching 14 passes, 173 receiving yards, and five touchdowns through three games, no longer sleep on this player and pick him off the waiver wire, if somehow available. Despite a tough matchup against Devin White and the Buccaneers, Tonyan has displayed a versatile speed that has gotten the better of Demario Davis, Deion Jones, and Jamie Collins. We’re sorry Devin, but this matchup does not appear to work in your favor.
Another sleeper – Kyle Rudolph vs. Atlanta Falcons
Start – Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
The Dolphins secondary loves picking the ball off and Sam Darnold loves to be picked off. Sometimes a matchup is as easy as “QB vs. Defense” and the Jets offensive strategy has left Darnold gasping for air. With Xavien Howard and Byron Jones on the opposite end, a pick-six isn’t out of the question this weekend and we would bet on at least one.
Another start – Indianapolis Colts vs. Minnesota Vikings
Sit – Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns did a great job at showing how past his prime Philip Rivers is playing, despite the team change. Myles Garrett is tearing through o-lines and despite having good value as a fill-in D/ST in the first five weeks, the Browns’ contest against the Steelers may be the bucket of water for this red-hot team. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown only one interception so far this year (Comeback Player of the Year?) and the receiving corps in Pittsburgh has been eating up opposing secondaries all year. As mentioned, the Steelers will likely be playing this game with some added English after last year’s embarrassing display of football etiquette when Garrett tried to knock Mason Rudolph’s head off. Mike Tomlin knows what to expect of this brutish matchup and you can always expect him to adjust accordingly, even with Baker’s recent success.
Another sit – Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions
Sleeper Start — Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
Last week showcased the difference between a fired-up Texans team under Romeo Crennel, and a winless start with Bill O’Brien as head coach. The Texans will look to come back down to earth against the undefeated Titans, whose running attack and error-free play by Tannehill may keep the possession on Tennessee’s side for a good majority of the game. Once the Titans defense takes the field, Malcolm Butler and the Titans secondary will have a favorable matchup against a sputtering Texans wide receiving corps and a bad offensive line that will leave Deshaun Watson looking for answers on a team without them.
Another sleeper — Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals