by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders – vs. Kansas City
The evolution of Carr has continued into 2016, as he’s completing 66.8% of his passes, is averaging 276.6 yards per game (up from 249.2 last season) and owns a TD/INT ration of 11-to-2. The Chiefs are hardly a dream matchup, but the Raiders are going to be forced to lean on him once again given the questionable status of their running game. While he may not be an elite level QB1 this week, given the matchup, there’s enough to like to utilize him if you don’t have one of the top names in the league.
Sit – Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – vs. Los Angeles
Stafford has been a beast this season, overall, but over the past two weeks he’s failed to top 213 yards (393 total). His performance in Week 5 was saved by racking up 3 TD, but he also lost a fumble and has seemingly traded off good and bad days. Then you look at his numbers at home overall this season:
Obviously it’s nothing to write home about. Maybe he’s a low-end QB1, but we’d rather find a more trustworthy option.
Start – Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles – at Washington
There were legitimate concerns about Mathews and his potential usage entering Week 5, after he was banged up and miserable in Week 3 (2 carries for -5 yards). However the time off did him well, as he was the leader of the backfield (16 total touches for 75 yards and 1 TD). There’s little reason to think that it won’t continue, and with a favorable matchup (the Redskins have allowed the third most rushing yards, at 644) and having led the team in carries (11) he’s set up to excel.
Start – Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – at Oakland
Charles appears to be healthy, and while Spencer Ware has fared well in his absence the fumbling issues have been obvious (he’s lost a fumble in three straight games). That should lead to an opportunity for Charles to quickly reclaim lead back duties, and in a favorable matchup there’s certainly reason to think that he will immediately take advantage of it.
Sit – Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – at New England
Hill is banged up, and there are some questions as to whether or not he’ll be available for this game. Even if he plays, there’s reason to believe that the Bengals will fall behind early and be forced to turn to the air in an attempt to either keep up or catch up. Hill has been targeted 7 times in the passing game this season, with 5 coming in one game, and this type of game flow would lead to significantly more of Giovani Bernard. Maybe as a FLEX, but in most cases you’d want to play it a bit safer than Hill.
Sit – Matt Jones – Washington Redskins – vs. Philadelphia
The Eagles run defense has been stout this season, allowing just 217 yards to opposing running backs and 2 TD. They’ve been far more susceptible to backs who can catch the football (150 yards and 2 TD), and that’s not Jones’ game (27 receptions in 18 career games, with 8 coming in 5 games this season). Also, if you take out Jones’ big day against the Browns he has 181 yards on 51 carries for the season (3.5 YPC).
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – vs. New York Jets
New York’s secondary has been abysmal this season, allowing 991 yards to opposing wide receivers. While there has often been a lack of clarity in Arizona’s wide receivers, there’s no question that Fitzgerald is the leader of the pack (31 receptions, 361 yards, 5 TD). Throw in the expected return of Carson Palmer and there’s an awful lot to like.
Sit – Sterling Shepard – New York Giants – vs. Baltimore
In deeper formats it’s worth the risk, but given the matchup (Baltimore has allowed just 650 yards to opposing wide receivers) and the struggles of the offense overall it’s going to be a hard sell if you only have to start two WR. Remember, he’s totaled 44 yards over the past two games and this matchup isn’t much easier.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Willie Snead – New Orleans Saints – vs. Carolina
The Panthers have been surprisingly poor in the secondary and Snead is expected to be healthy once again. He had gotten off to a strong start (14 receptions, 226 yards and 2 TD in his first two games), and with the Saints playing at home we know the offense should produce. This is a good opportunity to exploit.
Sit – Jeremy Kerley – San Francisco 49ers – at Buffalo
The 49ers are traveling across the country and who knows how Colin Kaepernick will perform in his return to the lineup. As it is, do we really want to trust anyone in this offense?
Start – Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Atlanta
The Falcons are yielding the third most points per game to opposing tight ends, so it would seem Graham has found his footing just in time. He’s posted back-to-back 100 yard games, with 12 receptions, 213 yards and 1 TD, and there’s little reason to think that he won’t keep the good times rolling.
Sit – Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – at Green Bay
He has 5 targets or fewer in three of his past four games, hasn’t found the end zone yet this season and is under 50 yards receiving in three straight games. Maybe he finally erupts, but at a deep position there would appear to be better bets available.
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN
Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings: