Early Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 6: Melvin Gordon III, Rhamondre Stevenson, Najee Harris, and More

    As we take an early look at the main Week 6 start/sit decisions, who can fantasy managers look to start this week, and who might be better left out?

    Straight away, it’s time to start thinking about Week 6 start/sit decisions as fantasy football managers ponder waiver wire moves and trades heading into Week 6. Which players have matchups they might be able to exploit, and who might be better left on the bench so as not to hurt your point total in Week 6?

    As a general rule of thumb, we will only try to select players who were started in less than 40% of leagues last week as recommended starts. Equally, we will generally look to only recommend players that were in lineups in more than 50% of ESPN leagues last week as sits.

    Week 6 Fantasy Football Start ’em, Sit ’em

    Start ’em | Kirk Cousins, QB | MIN @ MIA

    Kirk Cousins just continues to be that fringe 12-team 1QB starting option that fantasy managers never feel quite right starting but is always there or thereabouts. His stats over the last years are remarkably consistent, with 260 yards per game through the air and a 66% completion rate.

    Last week, Cousins bolstered his 296 passing yards and one passing touchdown with a rushing touchdown. However, we cannot count on that every week, and we really need him to average more than his 1.4 passing touchdowns per game.

    Week 6 presents an intriguing opportunity against a struggling Dolphins defense. Miami ranks second from last in the league in terms of net yards per pass attempt and is tied with the Detroit Lions for the most fantasy points allowed to the QB position on average per week (22.5). The Jets just hung 40 points on the Dolphins, and the Vikings could very well compound that misery this week.

    Start ’em | Jimmy Garoppolo, QB | SF @ ATL

    Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t exactly set the world alight with his start to the 2022 NFL season, but the last two weeks have at least been promising. If we discount the game he came in for Trey Lance, then Garoppolo is averaging 234 passing yards per game and has a four-to-one touchdown to interception ratio.

    In Week 6, Garoppolo gets a solid matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta has allowed more than 18.5 fantasy points to QBs in four of their five games this year. While Garoppolo likely still doesn’t have a 25-point ceiling in this matchup, penciling in 15 points feels like a solid option. In 16-team leagues, Garoppolo could be an intriguing bye week fill-in this week.

    Sit ’em | Russell Wilson, QB | DEN @ LAC

    It’s tough to sit QBs when bye weeks start rolling around, but when they have played as poorly as Russell Wilson has, it’s also hard not to. We may even see Wilson miss the game if he struggles in practice this week. Therefore, the choice might be taken out of your hands. However, if he’s active, it would be prudent to consider sitting Wilson this week.

    The Chargers might rank in the middle of the pack in terms of points allowed to the QB this year, but the bulk of their average came in Week 3 in a bizarre game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, they limited Derek Carr and Patrick Mahomes to a combined 30 points, so they should be able to limit an injured Wilson. In 12 or 14-team leagues, you should look to sit Wilson this week and find a streaming option in his place.

    To see who might be an alternative option at the position this week, check out our Week 6 QB fantasy rankings.

    Start ’em | Melvin Gordon III and Mike Boone, RB | DEN @ LAC

    The other reason you might consider sitting Wilson is that this matchup could be dominated by the Broncos’ run game. In the last two weeks, the Chargers have allowed a total of 70 fantasy points to running backs.

    They’ve been dominated on the ground by Dameon Pierce, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt. Gordon needs a big performance in this one to hold off Mike Boone and Latavius Murray from the starting role, so look for him to run hard, as the Broncos still appear to believe he is their lead back.

    Boone is also an intriguing 16-team league option this week. His role is unlikely to grow a huge amount from last week, but we saw Hunt have a solid performance and find the end zone against the Chargers as the secondary back. Boone could be a sneaky 8-10 point PPR play at the RB position.

    Start ’em | Rhamondre Stevenson, RB | NE @ CLE 

    The injury to Damien Harris looks set to clear the way for Rhamondre Stevenson to stake his claim as the starting RB. When Harris went down, Stevenson was the only show in town and performed accordingly. The Patriots will likely have at least one or two more backs active this week, but Stevenson should still dominate the opportunities.

    MORE: Buy Low, Sell High Week 6

    The Browns have allowed 73.5 fantasy points to the RB position in the last two weeks. While it’s hardly surprising to see Austin Ekeler have a big day, the fact that Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Avery Williams combined for 199 yards and two touchdowns a week prior is pretty telling. New England wants to run the ball and play games tight, and this Cleveland defense plays right into their strategy.

    Sit ’em | Najee Harris, RB | PIT vs. TB

    The fall from grace for Najee Harris this year has been something. Harris is averaging just 3.2 yards per rush and played only 49% of the snaps in the blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills. While that likely was due to the blowout nature of the game, with the way things are going for Pittsburgh this year, that could be a common occurrence.

    Harris is just not making people miss this year. Through five games, he’s broken two tackles — or one every 34.5 rush attempts. Last year, Harris broke 30 tackles in 17 games at a rate of one every 10.2 attempts. His yards after contact have dropped from 2.2 last year to 1.1 this year. Therefore, he has now become a matchup-dependent starting RB option, and the matchup this week is not favorable.

    The Buccaneers have been a little more vulnerable to the run in the past two weeks but are still the third-toughest matchup for opposing RBs for fantasy. Additionally, there is every chance this game turns into another blowout and we see another split of work between Harris and rookie RB Jaylen Warren. Take a look at our Week 6 RB fantasy rankings, and see which backs you could turn to in place of Harris this week.

    Start ’em | Brandon Aiyuk, WR | SF @ ATL

    Brandon Aiyuk remains the clear second WR in Atlanta, behind only Deebo Samuel. In the last two weeks, it has only translated into seven catches for 95 yards, but those games turned into run-dominated blowouts for the 49ers. While that could be the case again this week, it feels like we are close to an Aiyuk blowup performance in a good matchup.

    The Falcons have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to the WR position on average (32.86). Additionally, they’ve allowed over 29 points to the position on four occasions. The only game in which Atlanta allowed fewer came when Jacoby Brissett was the opposing QB.

    Garoppolo has looked to Aiyuk in some big situations over the last few weeks, and he’s been extremely reliable in the last two games. That could pay off in a big way in Week 6.

    Start ’em | DJ Moore, WR | CAR @ LAR

    Baker Mayfield is injured, Matt Rhule is gone, and therefore, it’s time for the DJ Moore 2022 NFL season breakout. With Mayfield under center, Moore has averaged 7.5 fantasy points per game in half-PPR. That is more than four fantasy points fewer per game than he has averaged with the other QBs he’s played with in the past three seasons.

    Walker has been one of those quarterbacks, but when we look at games where Walker has played and thrown more than 10 pass attempts, Moore has actually been slightly better than when he plays with the other QBs combined in that same stretch. Moore averages 1.3 more receptions, 2.2 more targets, and 14 more receiving yards per game with Walker.

    The matchup this week provides an opportunity for Moore. Yes, the Rams just held Cooper Rush and the Cowboys’ passing game in check, but in other weeks, they have been vulnerable. Los Angeles allows the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers on average (34.5). They also gave up 30 fantasy points to the position in each of the first four weeks.

    Sit ’em | DK Metcalf & Tyler Lockett, WR | SEA vs. ARI

    Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf certainly haven’t struggled as much as we feared after Wilson’s departure. In fact, Lockett has gone from being one of the most inconsistent WRs to one that has seemingly become a must-start. The pair is averaging eight-plus targets and over 70 receiving yards per game while coming off a standout performance against the Saints.

    However, Week 6 sees them face arguably the toughest test since they both struggled in Week 1. The Arizona Cardinals have allowed an average of just 23.56 fantasy points to wide receivers, which is the seventh-lowest output for WRs in the league. Therefore, there is every chance we see one or both of these two struggle.

    In their previous two matchups against stingy defenses to WRs, Lockett had a big game against the 49ers but struggled against the Broncos. Meanwhile, Metcalf totaled just 71 yards on 11 receptions in the two games combined.

    One of these two could have a big week, but chances are both will not. This might be a week where you consider sitting whichever of these two you roster and looking elsewhere in PFN’s Week 6 WR fantasy rankings for your options this week.

    Start ’em | Dawson Knox, TE | BUF @ KC

    This is all dependent on whether Knox gets healthy or not for this week. If he does, the Chiefs are a matchup with huge potential. In the first four weeks, they gave up double-digit fantasy points to the TE position every single week. Unfortunately, if Knox is out, there is not a pivot to switch to, so let’s hope he plays and we can finally see some fantasy value out of one of last year’s big matchup options at the position.

    Sit ’em | Kyle Pitts, TE | ATL vs. SF

    There is a chance this decision will be taken out of your hands with Pitts’ hamstring injury. However, if the Falcons do push him back onto the field, then this is a clear time to try and avoid him if you can.

    The 49ers have stifled the tight end position this year. They have allowed an average of 3.82 fantasy points per game to TEs through the first five weeks.

    Tyler Higbee had a solid outing against them in Week 4, but no other TE group has scored more than 2.1 fantasy points in a single game. Pitts might be able to provide a similar output to Higbee, but with the injury, it would be extremely risky to start him. With uncertainty around Pitts, check out the PFN Week 6 tight end fantasy rankings to see who might be alternative options.

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