Now that we are into the part of the season where bye weeks wreak havoc on lineups, fantasy football managers will be facing even more difficult lineup decisions. Let’s take a look at our Week 6 RB start ’em and sit ’em plays.
Week 6 Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
Which running backs are starts heading into Week 6?
Start ‘Em | Melvin Gordon & Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos (vs. LV)
The Broncos have employed one of the most even running back timeshares in the NFL. Through five weeks, Melvin Gordon has 70 touches while Javonte Williams has 65. This is as down the middle as it gets.
The split time has made it difficult for fantasy managers to trust either Gordon or Williams. In Week 6, fantasy managers can trust them both.
Bye weeks are upon us, which means fantasy managers need to adjust the threshold of the caliber of player worth starting. Denver’s RB duo is set up to succeed this week. The Raiders have allowed the eighth-most rushing yards this season and 7 rushing touchdowns.
Last week, we saw the Bears implement the same type of timeshare as the Broncos. Khalil Herbert played 53% of the snaps, while Damien Williams played 48% of the time. Herbert carried the ball 18 times for 75 yards, while Williams carried the ball 16 times for 64 yards.
The Broncos are coming off a loss and are more capable of moving the ball offensively than the Bears. Gordon and Williams are also more active in the passing game. Gordon is averaging 2 receptions per game, while Williams has caught 3 balls in three straight games. Look for both backs to handle 13-15 touches and be viable RB2/flex plays.
Start ‘Em | Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins (@ JAX)
I had a strong week in my Week 5 start/sit recommendations, but my biggest miss was Myles Gaskin. I thought we’d be here talking about how Gaskin is droppable. Instead, the Dolphins went back to Gaskin as their lead back, playing him on 69% of their offensive snaps.
Most notably, Gaskin was Miami’s de facto WR1 last week, catching all 10 of his targets for 74 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although Gaskin only carried the ball 5 times, the Dolphins had to abandon the run game early with the Bucs pouring it on. That won’t be the case against the lowly Jaguars.
Jacksonville has allowed the 13th-most rushing yards this season but also the most rushing touchdowns (9). Gaskin will obviously not be as active through the air this week, but he should see way more than 5 carries.
After four consecutive losses, and more importantly, four straight games of negative game script, the Dolphins are poised to win a game — or at the very least, not be playing catch up for most of it. I’m sorry I let you down, Myles. I know you won’t let me down this week.
Week 6 Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
These running backs should be left on your bench in Week 6.
Sit ‘Em | Alex Collins, Seattle Seahawks (at PIT)
If you’re anything like me, whenever you grab that hot waiver wire pickup, you want to deploy him before his usefulness expires. It feels like such a waste to spend all that FAAB on a guy like Alex Collins only to sit him in his first or second week on your team. Unfortunately, that’s what you should probably do this week.
The Seahawks have some solid matchups in the coming weeks — just not in Week 6. The Steelers have allowed the ninth-fewest rushing yards this season. Last week, aside from one long run from Javonte Williams, they completely shut down Denver’s rushing attack.
We saw what Collins’ stat line looks like against a tough defense. Collins carried the ball 15 times against the Rams last Thursday night. That type of usage is awesome, but he totaled just 47 rushing yards.
Collins’ 71% snap share is highly encouraging, and his volume puts him in a spot where if you need to start him, he’s not going to totally torpedo your lineup. However, we have a sample of the type of fantasy production you can expect from Collins if he doesn’t score a touchdown. It’s barely RB3 numbers. Look elsewhere this week, if possible.
Sit ‘Em | James Conner, Arizona Cardinals (at CLE)
For three consecutive weeks, James Conner has fallen into the end zone. However, Conner was always just a replacement-level talent propped up by his situation and opportunity. In Arizona, the situation is great, but the opportunity is limited. So far, Conner has made the most of his opportunity by consistently plunging into the end zone. But that’s all Conner can do.
The former Steeler is averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per carry while doing nothing in the passing game (just 4 receptions all season). This week, the Cardinals are going to be highly pass-heavy against a Browns defense that erases running backs. Cleveland allows just 75.6 rushing yards per game, the second-fewest in the league.
Chase Edmonds remains Arizona’s clear lead back, which is why Conner’s snap share has never crested 50%. More importantly, Edmonds is the preferred passing-game option, and I expect the Cardinals to do a lot of passing to try and beat the Browns in Cleveland.
Among Arizona’s five wins, two have been blowouts where they dominated throughout. In those games, Conner carried the ball a total of 34 times. In their other three more competitive games, Conner has a total of just 29 carries.
It’s entirely possible that the Cardinals find themselves inside the 5-yard line this week and give the ball to Conner to fall into the end zone. But banking on that is a dicey proposition. Don’t chase the touchdowns — fade Conner this week.