It’s time for our Week 6 Starts and Sits! Remember we’ll do our best to predict outcomes based on what’s given to us. That’s diving into the numbers, digging through the juicy matchups, examining trends, watching the film, and collecting data that should lean towards certain players being better starts than others. While it won’t always play out that way, fantasy is a game of what’s most “likely” to happen and we need to attack it that way.
Every week we try to make some of your decision-making easier with what we’ve collected, but ultimately it’s your call on what you want to do with your team. We’re going to discuss Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends on each week’s slate, and I hope that we can win you the week!
Now, let’s hit it big.
Quarterbacks to Start:
Joe Burrow | Cincinnati Bengals: While Joe Burrow may only be QB17 on the season at 18.63 fantasy points per game, he’s been incredibly hot recently. In fact, over his last two games, Burrow is averaging 35 attempts for just under 315 yards per game and four touchdowns over that span. Good for QB10.
Burrow is coming off a scary throat contusion, but was released from the hospital on Sunday night and should be good to go against Detroit. While the Detroit defense has only given up 18.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (20th), they’ve given up the 8th-most points overall to opponents. We’ve also routinely seen pass catchers against the Lions (Justin Jefferson, Darnell Mooney, Mark Andrews, Davante Adams) all eclipse 100 receiving yards against them, with plenty left on the table for more. That should benefit the Burrow-Chase connection in this matchup and you should feel extremely comfortable playing Burrow this week.
Taylor Heinicke | Washington Football Team: Taylor Heinicke has quietly worked his way into the streamer quarterback conversation, having averaged 18.76 fantasy points per game. The QB15 this season has scored 21 fantasy points in three of his last four games while rushing for at least 40 yards in two straight. He’s shown to us that he’s a great quarterback to start given the right matchup.
Well, that right matchup happens to be this week. The Washington Football Team hosts the Kansas City Chiefs who have given up the 5th-most passing yards and 2nd-most fantasy points per game (28.1) to opposing quarterbacks. In a game with one of the highest projected point totals on the weekend, I’d expect that Heinicke is a big part of this shoot-out.
Carson Wentz | Indianapolis Colts: For those that stayed up for the Monday Night Football thriller, you got to witness an all-time classic comeback and one of the best games early on this season. Sadly, this East Coast viewer fell asleep early and had to stick to watching the highlights the following day. If you did watch, you got to see Carson Wentz put on his best performance of the season. Wentz completed 25 of 35 passes for 402 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage was especially impressive considering he hadn’t topped 251 yards in a game this season prior.
Wentz gets to face a Texans team that is giving up 21.3 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and is the worst team against opposing tight ends. That’s especially big as Wentz loves throwing to his tight ends whenever he can, dating back to his Eagles days. In a game I expect the Colts to win handily, Wentz should be able to replicate his Week 5 performance.
Quarterback to Sit:
Ryan Tannehill| Tennessee Titans: Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans might be one of the weirdest storylines early on in this NFL season. While the Titans stand at 3-2 and are first in the putrid AFC South, they have not been what we pictured them to be outside Derrick Henry going into this season. Henry is on pace to break the record for most touches by a running back in a season and by a wide margin. However, the vaunted play-action Titans passing attack has been lackluster, to say the least. Tannehill only has one game this season with multiple passing touchdowns and has had less than 200 passing yards in two of his last three games. He’s right now QB20 on the season, which is a far cry from the QB1 many predicted him as. He also only has one rushing score after recording seven in 2020.
Tannehill and his 32.2 combined fantasy points over the last two weeks face a Buffalo Bills team that has given up the fewest points to quarterbacks so far this season at 13 fantasy points per game. On top of that, they’ve also only given up the 2nd fewest passing touchdowns (5) to opposing quarterbacks and have collected eight interceptions over the last three games. Everything about this matchup spells bad news for Tannehill and I would recommend looking for fantasy points elsewhere.
Running Backs to Start:
Darrel Williams | Kansas City Chiefs: Many Clyde Edwards-Helaire believers like myself were devastated to see him get put on short-term IR and out the next three games. However, someone will need to step up in his absence and that man is Darrel Williams.
Williams filled in admirably down the stretch last year when he was the lead back for the Chiefs in their first two playoff games. Williams had 26 carries for 130 yards (5 ypc) and five catches for 25 yards. This season he’s already scored two rushing touchdowns in limited snaps and should be able to produce like an RB2 as long as CEH is off the field. He faces the Washington Football Team that is right in the middle of the pack in terms of RB fantasy points per game with 25.4 but has allowed 18 or more fantasy points to a running back in each of its last three games (Zack Moss, Cordarrelle Patterson, Alvin Kamara). Williams should be an easy plug-and-play.
Chase Edmonds | Arizona Cardinals: Now hear me out. I know Chase Edmonds is coming off his worst game of the year with just 4.4 fantasy points. He’s also ceding work to James Connor in the Redzone. But let’s look at the facts though: Edmonds still remains third on the team in target share (16.56%), second in catches (23), while still receiving 34% of the carries. He’s very involved on one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NFL.
Edmonds is currently RB18 at 12.8 fantasy points per game having scored 0 touchdowns. That is what we like to call an outlier. The moment positive touchdown regression starts for Edmonds, he’s going to smash. While he’s going to face a Cleveland Browns defense that is 5th-best against running backs, they just surrendered 119 yards and three total touchdowns to Austin Ekeler last week. I’m starting Edmonds in this spot.
Javonte Williams | Denver Broncos: This has been roughly a 50-50 backfield so far this season. In fact, Melvin Gordon only has five more total touches than Javonte Williams. We have seen the explosiveness of Williams on display in the past two games, having averaged more yards per carry than Gordon and showing what he can really do with that 49-yard run against Pittsburgh. Let’s not forget Denver spent high draft capital on this player and it seems to be a matter of when and not if, he becomes the lead back.
He now gets a Raiders defense that ranks 12th at the position in points allowed to running backs at 26.3 fantasy points per game and has allowed four touchdowns to running backs in the last three games. The Bears and Chargers ran all over the Raiders the last two weeks and now it’s the Broncos’ turn.
Running Back to Sit:
Miles Sanders | Philadelphia Eagles: MANY thought that Miles Sanders was going to be a bargain this year in drafts. At a 3rd or 4th round cost, he was getting drafted as an RB2 or RB3 and many were feeling good about it. Well, here’s the reality five weeks in: Sanders has yet to score a touchdown this season. He is RB30 at 10.1 fantasy points per game and it doesn’t look to be getting better any time soon. He’s scored double-digit PPR points in only one of his last four games and received just twenty carries over his last three games combined!
Going against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that ranks in the top third against running backs at 23.2 fantasy points per game, it’s not a great matchup. Tampa Bay has allowed one rushing touchdown to a running back all season. The way to beat the Buccaneers with your backs is through the air, as we saw last week with Myles Gaskin’s ten catch-two touchdown game. The back on this team that excels in that is Kenneth Gainwell and not Sanders. Gainwell is a sneaky flex and Sanders shouldn’t be started.
Wide Receivers to Start:
Brandin Cooks | Houston Texans: The WR18 had his worst game of this season last week, managing to only put up 5.3 total PPR points. In fact, he’s scored a combined 15 fantasy points over the last two weeks against Buffalo and New England, after putting up 61.7 over the first three weeks. What’s been consistent during this time? His targets. Cooks is only behind Davante Adams in terms of target share this season with an insane 34% of the market for Texans pass catchers.
The Colts and their putrid secondary that just allowed Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews to torch them on Monday Night Football is just what the doctor ordered. The Colts have allowed ten receiving touchdowns this year, which is tied for the most in the NFL. They also give up over 41 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (7th-most). This should be a smash spot for Cooks.
Kadarius Toney | New York Giants: Congratulations if you were able to snag the early waiver-wire gem at wide receiver this season. Kadarius Toney seems to be the real deal as in his last two games he’s had 16 receptions for 267 yards and could’ve easily had even more had he not punched Damontae Kazee and gotten ejected. Obviously being down Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton has helped give Toney a way bigger piece of the pie than he might normally receive, but you still have to perform when given the increased role. He has more than done that. Let us not forget that he was a first-round pick, and the last time something similar like this happened for the Giants was when Odell Beckham Jr. stepped in a quarter of the way through the season in his rookie year. Look how that turned out for the Giants.
While Shepard and Slayton are expected to return, Kenny Golladay and Saquon Barkley are both out for Sunday, which is two huge pieces in the passing game. The Rams rank in the middle of the pack in 39.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (15th) but they have been susceptible recently, having given up three receiving touchdowns to wide receivers in the last two games. The talent is fully on display right now and you can’t bench Toney outside the shallowest of leagues.
Devonta Smith | Philadelphia Eagles: We mentioned above with how bad a play Miles Sanders is against this Buccaneers defense. It is the exact opposite for Devonta Smith, who is receiving nearly 24% of the target share in the Eagles air attack. Over Smith’s last two games alone, he has 18 targets and has caught 14 of them for 199 yards. He’s WR32 at 12.5 fantasy points per game but that’s mainly because of his one touchdown on the season. Many have seen the touchdowns called back over the last couple of weeks and know the positive regression is coming.
Smith can get it right this week against a putrid Tampa Bay secondary that has opponents airing the ball out on over 71% of their plays, which is the most in the NFL. Tampa Bay allows the third-most points to wide receivers at 46.7 fantasy points per game and ranks 11th-worst against opposing #1 wide receivers in terms of DVOA according to Pro Football Outsiders. Start Smith with confidence this week.
Wide Receiver to Sit:
Robby Anderson | Carolina Panthers: Raise your hand if Robby Anderson has burned you at some point this season, whether it’s been in season-long leagues or Daily Fantasy. I see a lot of hands raised. I’m officially out on Anderson for this season. After his 57-yard touchdown catch in Week 1, he has combined to score 23.5 PPR fantasy points over the last four weeks. That’s 5.8 per game. As Pat Fitzmaurice of Fantasypros notes, “Last year, (Anderson’s) aDOT was 9.7 yards. Life as a short-area receiver suited him. But Anderson’s aDOT is back up to 15.2 yards this season, and he’s caught just 41.4% of his targets.” The change in aDOT really seems to be affecting Anderson’s ability to produce like we saw last season.
Anderson now faces the Minnesota Vikings defense that ranks 21st in points allowed to wide receivers at 36 fantasy points per game. What’s even worse is that they’re 6th best against opposing #2 WR’s in DVOA. The defense also has given up 0 scores through the air over the last two weeks. Anderson is un-startable until further notice.
Tight End to Start:
Donald Parham | Los Angeles Chargers: While everyone might flock over to Jared Cook in this matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, I’m looking at the tight end that will get a little less shine in this matchup. The 6’8 popular sleeper candidate this offseason in Donald Parham has scored touchdowns in back-to-back games and faces a Ravens team that ranks 2nd-worst against the position giving up over 19 fantasy points per game.
Cook will run more routes and has routinely seen more targets, but I think Parham has become a real Redzone weapon for this explosive offense and Justin Herbert will be looking more to Parham towards the goal line. Look for him to make it three straight weeks in the endzone when he scores this Sunday.
Tight End to Sit:
Robert Tonyan | Green Bay Packers: After bursting on the scene as a top-10 tight end in 2020, Robert Tonyan has come back to Earth in a big way. He is TE32 on the season. That is behind names like Juwan Johnson, Hayden Hurst, and Pat Freiermuth. Tonyan has had ten or fewer yards and two or fewer receptions in four of five games this season.
While ranking t-2nd on the team in targets, he’s fourth in Redzone targets. That is huge for a touchdown-dependent tight end that was second on the team behind Davante Adams last season. He now faces a Bears team that gives up only nine fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends and has allowed only one touchdown from the position all season. Look elsewhere for your tight end streamer.