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NFL Fantasy Football: Start 'Em/Sit 'Em - Week Six

Week six NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it was a pretty good week of fantasy for me in week five (2-1 for the week), but unfortunately, my last unbeaten team has fallen.  It was a real stinker, too.  For the year now my total record between my three teams is 11-4 (4-1, 3-2, and 4-1).  My previously unbeaten team got absolutely demoralized after Larry Donnell put up a big, fat donut and Keenan Allen underwhelmed yet again.  It didn't help matters that I had to go up against Peyton Manning and Andre Ellington.  My team in the Hogs Haven fantasy league found some success.  This hurts a little bit and I feel a little guilty, but the primary reason why my team did so well was Marshawn Lynch.  Still, I would have won even without his production on Monday night thanks to Justin Forsett continuing his hot streak for Baltimore.  My third team was also able to win thanks to an awakening by Kendall Wright and excellent performances by Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch. 

Here's how things went for a few of the guys I mentioned last week:

  • I want to start by apologizing for recommending LeSean McCoy and Alfred Morris.  Maybe I should have seen Morris coming due to the strong Seahawk offense (I admit, that one was a bit of a stretch), but I'm in disbelief over what's going on with McCoy this year.  Banged up OL plus oddly poor running from him equals disaster.  I'm not giving up on him yet and neither should you.
  • More apologies for the Steve Smith and Keenan Allen recommendations.  Not my best week predicting these things.  It's remarkable how poorly Allen has done in fantasy this year when you consider that Philip Rivers has been absolutely on fire.  Smith's poor day was his first as a Raven, so cut me a little slack there.  He'd been balling every single week all year.
  • Donnell is another one I got wrong.  I didn't really understand how it happened.  Donnell is on defenses radar now for the first time in his career and he's going to have to figure out how to remain productive even with the extra attention.
  • I would call the Larry Fitzgerald prediction a win.  He simply can't thrive with the Cardinal QB situation the way it is right now.  I said 50 yards.  He got 57.
  • Jason Witten is falling off and I called that one right this past week.  While 59 yards isn't terrible, you drafted him for more.

So here's what I'm going with for week six... take it or leave it:


Start 'Em

Kirk Cousins, WAS (@ Arizona Cardinals) - I like what I saw against the Seahawks... and the Cardinals are not the Seahawks.  In fact, the Cardinals have been one of the most favorable matchups in the fantasy world this year for opposing QB's.  I expect continued improvement with Cousins about to start his now fourth game in a row (basically five since he played most of the Jax game).  Sure, they have Patrick Peterson, but he's not looking quite like himself so far this year and the Cardinal defense has been bitten by the injury bug (we can relate).  Expect big things from Cousins and the Redskin offense this week: 350+ yards, 2+ TD's, 1 INT

Philip Rivers, SD (@ Oakland Raiders) - The opponent should say it all.  The Raiders are a hot mess and Rivers would have some serious MVP consideration if the season ended today (despite how he's treating my Keenan Allen).  Rivers and that Charger offense are on fire, especially in the pass game, and I don't expect the Raiders to be much of a speed bump.  If Oliver keeps their running game respectable, that'll help Rivers even further.  225+ yards, 2+ TDs

Russell Wilson, SEA (vs Dallas Cowboys) - We all saw what he did Monday night, right?  The man is good.  You know what?  He's even better when they play in Seattle.  And even better against a weak defense with an especially weak secondary.  You love the rushing yards and I'm fully expecting for Wilson (and the whole Seahawk team, really) to pick Dallas apart.  I think the Cowboys are a mirage so far and who are we kidding, this is Seattle in Seattle.  225+ passing yards, 2+ TD's, and 30-40 rushing yards.

Sit 'Em

Tony Romo, DAL (@ Seattle Seahawks) - You can basically read what I just wrote above about Wilson, except the opposite.  His back still isn't completely right and he's been bailed out a time or two by Dez Bryant.  Their offense is no predicated on the running game and, well, Seattle knows what to do with running games (see Morris, Alfred).  This defense is a whole different thing when they're in Seattle and Sherman matches up better with Bryant and Williams than the insanely fast DeSean Jackson.  Regardless of what anyone thinks about the QB I've listed here, the fact that it's a QB playing in Seattle should probably be enough for you to "sit 'em."  275 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.

Tom Brady, NE (@ Buffalo Bills) - Tommy Terrific has been mostly bad this season and it looks as though the Patriots may be on their way down.  "But Alex, did you see what they did to the Bengals last week?"  Yes.  Yes, I did see what they did.  It was such a Patriot thing to do.  Just when everyone questions you, come out and do what they've seemingly always done.  The only problem is I actually think they're not so good now and that that Bengals game was more the outlier than the bad performances.  He has no WR's and his OL is pretty bad.  Start him if you want, but for the record, I'm telling you not to.  275 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.

Nick Foles, PHI (vs New York Giants) - Foles has not been the same as he was last year.  Not close.  His throws are off and for as good as the Eagles offense is, he's not really producing elite number in fantasy.  It's almost as if he's regressing.  He's not helped at all by the fact that the Eagles are having serious trouble running the ball and the Giants secondary is one of their strengths.  Could this be more a look of what he really is (as opposed to last year)?  250 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.

Running Backs

Start 'Em

Branden Oliver, SD (@ Oakland Raiders) - Oliver was a beast last week and the rookie has grabbed the starting RB spot and relegated Donald Brown back to fantasy obscurity.  Of course, it was only one week, but look at that matchup!  Oliver's shining day last week came against a stout Jet run defense and now he gets to run all over the Raiders who have to focus on Rivers and that Charger passing game first.  He can run, catch, block, and appears the real deal... through one game.  Still, can't we get excited about one game where HE LOOKED LIKE MJD!?  Of course.  I am.  100 rushing yards, 10-20 receiving yards, and who knows... maybe a TD.

Andre Williams, NYG (@ Philadelphia Eagles) - Without Rashad Jennings hurt and almost certainly not playing Sunday, Williams gets to carry the rock for the new and improved Giants offense.  The Eagles defense is mediocre at best and Williams was getting some touches even when Rashad Jennings was doing damage.  And consider this, Rashad Jennings has become a great fantasy RB this year in NY.  If he can thrive in that offense, why not the talented youngster Williams, too?  I expect scoring in this game and Williams runs and catches.  85 rushing yards, 10-20 receiving yards, and 1 TD.

Sit 'Em

Zac Stacy, STL (vs San Francisco 49ers) - I was wrong about Stacy last week.  He couldn't take advantage of that Philly matchup (42 rushing yards...) and got himself banged up in the process.  He may not even practice much this week, but he'll be out there on Sunday.  Avoid!  The 49ers are good against the run and I expect Austin Davis will have to try throwing the Rams back into this one.  For whatever you think of the '9ers, they're better than the Rams and they're at home.  RB's don't score against them.  50 yards.

Chris Johnson, NYJ (vs Denver Broncos) - As a general rule, I don't really ever advise starting Jets players.  Their offense is anemic and scary.  The Broncos are likely to man-handle them and I expect we'll see some more shoddy QB play along with basically no running game.  Johnson's better days are behind him and the Broncos defense is improved.  Plus, Ivory is there.  Just don't start him.  40 yards.

Ronnie Hillman, DEN (@ New York Jets) - A bunch of people have jumped on the Hillman bandwagon now that Montee Ball is hurt, but not me.  He's not nearly as good.  Hillman won't even dominate the carries for the Broncos this Sunday in NY, against the Jets impressive run defense.  This is Peyton Manning's offense and he'll have no problem operating it without much run support.  50-60 total yards.

Wide Receivers

Start 'Em

Golden Tate, DET (@ Minnesota Vikings) - Guess which team is one of the very best top matchups for opposing WR's in fantasy football?  Guess which WR (Hint: best in the world) is hurt?  Guess which team in this matchup has a stud QB who throws the ball a lot?  Can you guess why I think you should start Tate?  100 yards.

Steve Smith, BAL (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - I was wrong about him last week, but he should definitely bounce back in this juicy matchup.  The Bucs are dreadful.  WR's are burning them right and left this year and Smith is still clearly the #1 in Baltimore and a major part of their offense (perhaps their best weapon this year).  85 yards and 1 TD.

Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (@ New York Jets) - The Jets secondary/pass defense is just about as bad as their run defense is good.  Sanders has been on a tear the past few weeks and has the best QB in the world throwing to him.  What more do you need?  90-100 yards.

Mike Wallace, MIA (vs Green Bay Packers) - This one is a bit of a bonus.  Green Bay's secondary is alright, but this is more about Wallace.  He's done surprisingly well this year.  It's mostly just a hunch, but I think Miami'll be airing it out to try to keep pace with Rodgers and co. and Wallace only has to bring down one of those bombs to make it all worth your time.  70 yards and 1 TD.

Sit 'Em

Larry Fitzgerald, AZ (vs Washington Redskins) - I told you last week and I'll repeat it again this week; he's lost a step and their QB situation is a mess.  Say what you want about the Redskins secondary, Fitz is in trouble as long as their QB's are in trouble, and not a single one of them could possibly be 100% this week except third-stringer Logan Thomas.  This is the week for Washington, folks.  I'm calling it.  50 yards.

Cordarelle Patterson, MIN (vs Detroit Lions) - The dream is over for this guy this year.  He's not having the year we thought and I'm jumping ship.  Their offense is a problem without AP and their QB situation is less than ideal right now.  It doesn't help that the Lions have been pretty good against WR's this year, either.  40 total yards.

Terrance Williams, DAL (@ Seattle Seahawks) - Seattle in Seattle.  40 yards.

Andre Johnson, HOU (vs Indianapolis Colts) - Hopkins is the guy there now and they both still have Fitzpatrick throwing the ball to them.  I think he's lost a major step and the sooner they stop trying to throw to him so much, the better for that team.  Colts do relatively well against WR's, too.  50 yards.

Tight Ends

Start 'Em

Antonio Gates, SD (@ Oakland Raiders) - Gates has been a TD machine this year.  Even if he doesn't get you a ton of yards, they're putting it up there for him in the end-zone.  It's remarkable really.  On top of that, the Raiders are about as favorable matchup as you'll find.  I was skeptical that old-man Gates would be able to do this coming into the year, but he's proving me wrong (2 TD's just last week after that huge 3 TD game in week two).  Rivers is a man on fire and Gates seems to be his guy, especially near the area of the field where it counts.  50 yards and 1+ TD's.

Greg Olsen, CAR (@ Cincinnati Bengals) - He's been a beast this year.  Hell, he's been a beast ever since Cam came on the scene.  He's been a top three fantasy TE all year and the Bengals don't do particularly well against that position.  Cam still isn't running and Olsen seems to be his favorite target, especially under duress.  80 yards.

Owen Daniels, BAL (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - He's taken over for Pitta and Flacco looks his way.  The Bucs are an awesome matchup for anyone going against them and Daniels has been better than expected recently.  He's out there almost every play and is a true workhorse of a TE.  60+ yards.

Delanie Walker, TEN (vs Jacksonville Jaguars) - Here's a bonus because Jaguars.  He wasn't stellar last week, but he's been tearing it up all year.  70 yards.

Sit 'Em

Zach Ertz, PHI (vs New York Giants) - The Giants are very good against TE's and please read what I wrote about Foles up above.  He's about as overhyped as any young TE I've seen recently and this OL problem is going to catch up to the Eagles soon.

Heath Miller, PIT (vs Cleveland Browns) - He wasn't very good last week when the opportunity was prime (Jags).  The Browns are better against TE's and I'm not sure if Miller's got it anymore.  I'd avoid.  40-50 yards.

Please leave any fantasy related questions you might have in the comments section and I'll try to answer as many and as quickly as I can.  It's fun to get everyone's perspectives on this week's matchups floating around down there and I'm always interested to see what kind of decisions different fantasy players have to make.  These are just general ideas for standard leagues, but we can all give and receive advice for unique situations as they come up.  Good luck!