Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 6
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 6
Another NFL week has come and gone. We saw players at every position have big games in week 5 (Justin Fields, D.J. Moore, Ja’Marr Chase, Breece Hall, Travis Etienne, Dallas Goedert, and George Kittle). It was such a huge week that if you were playing against the Fields/Moore stack, you were already looking toward week six after the Thursday night game.
Those weeks are not the norm, but they are a lot of fun when they happen. While it’s impossible to say just when they will occur or who will be the biggest benefactor, there were some encouraging signs beyond the ridiculous output we saw in week five. With that in mind here are my starts and sits for week six.
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Week 6 Starts
Start Stat Percentage, via Sleeper
Justin Fields (QB)
Chicago Bears vs. MIN (68% Start)
Over the last two weeks, Fields has been electric, throwing for 617 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 82 yards on the ground. While his rushing totals have not been at the elite level we witnessed last year, he seems to finally be developing as a passer now that D.J. Moore provides him a true WR1. Skeptics will look at the last two weeks and be less than convinced because the Bears went up against the Broncos and Commanders, two teams that opponents have been able to pass on. That shouldn’t diminish your confidence in Fields moving forward, He has looked more poised, more in control, and simply better than the previous three weeks. He is currently the QB3 and now gets to face a Vikings team that is also struggling, allowing over 260 yards and nearly two touchdowns a game through the air. It could be another big day for Fields. Start him with confidence.
Brock Purdy (QB)
San Francisco 49ers vs. CLE (36% Start)
Coming into this season most analysts and experts believed Purdy was a solid NFL QB and a valuable fantasy asset, but I doubt anyone thought he’d be the QB7 through five weeks, averaging over 23 fantasy points a game with his best showing (34.08) coming in a week five contest against a very good Dallas Cowboys defense. Simply put, there has been nothing ugly about Purdy’s performance. In San Francisco, Purdy has found himself in the perfect situation. His skill set is a perfect fit for this offense and with the embarrassment of riches at the skill positions it’s not surprising he’s accounted for 11 total touchdowns (nine through the air and two on the ground.) The 49ers are going to have multiple opportunities to score every week. There is too much talent on this team for opposing defenses to be able to shut them down, and boasting an elite-level defense means that the 49ers’ offense will see the field a lot, pushing Purdy close to matchup-proof territory. In a week six matchup against the 2-2 Browns you can feel free to fire him up.
Alexander Mattison (RB)
Minnesota Vikings vs. CHI (70% Start)
Mattison has yet to score more than 15 points in a single game this season. The ceiling we hoped for, may not exist, and as Cam Akers gets more integrated into the offense Mattison’s fantasy value may crater. That shouldn’t happen in week six when Mattison faces the Chicago Bears who, prior to week five, were allowing over 115 yards and a touchdown per game on the ground. They may have been able to shut down Brian Robinson but that was largely due to the game script. The Bears got ahead early and took Robinson out of the game. Make no mistake, this is still not a great run defense. Mattison is not a great running back either but should find plenty of room to run and produce this week, which could lead to his best output of the season. If that fails to happen, Mattison may take up a permanent residence on your bench, but for one more week, you can feel comfortable putting him into your lineup.
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB)
New England Patriots vs. LV (71% Start)
Stevenson has been a major disappointment this season. With an ADP of a top 10 running back Stevenson has failed to return value on that investment and I would not blame anyone if they were unable to see the path to him doing so. The Patriots offense is a mess right now. Defenses don’t have to respect the arm of Mac Jones and are stacking the box, making it difficult for Stevenson to operate leading to his 2.76 yards per carry. I still believe that the best is yet to come for Stevenson, but I also acknowledge this suggestion could come back to bite me. This offense may just be bad all season killing the fantasy value of all their skill players, but I have to believe Belichick will make the proper changes to help right this ship. That could happen as early as week six against the Las Vegas Raiders. If you drafted Stevenson you may not have a lot of other options that are better from a talent basis and against a defense that can be run on, it would make sense to give Stevenson one more chance.
Adam Thielen (WR)
Carolina Panthers vs. MIA (63% Start)
For some reason, there are still those doubting Thielen this year in fantasy. I get it. He’s not the most trendy name. He’s a 33-year-old veteran that people don’t want to believe is going to be able to keep producing at his current level, but if he was any other player he would be 100% rostered and have a much higher start percentage based on what he’s doing on the field. Since a down week one, Thielen has averaged 19.2 fantasy points and 11 targets per game, including two 11-catch 100+ yard games. In week six the Panthers are going to have to pass a lot to even hope to keep up with what is arguably the best offense in the league. Thielen has been a security blanket for rookie QB Bryce Young. Young QBs often rely on their veteran receivers to aid in their development and that is exactly what we are seeing. If Thielen continues to see double-digit targets (and there is no reason to believe he won’t) he should continue to produce as a reliable WR2 and should be in lineups.
Chris Godwin (WR)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. DET (12% Start)
Godwin just had his bye week so this start percentage may not reflect reality but based on the current situation his true start percentage is likely still too low. This past week the Buccaneers were on a bye, but in week four (after Evans left the game with a hamstring injury) Godwin had his highest output of the season in all aspects with 11 targets, eight receptions, 114 yards, and a WR10 finish. If Evans is out in week six Godwin will become the de facto #1 wide receiver for Baker Mayfield and should be able to produce in a game where they could be playing from behind. He will also be going up against a defense that is allowing 22.6 fantasy points to wideouts in 2023. Godwin has always been a talented wide receiver but whereas teammate Mike Evans has been the big-play/touchdown guy, Godwin has relied on being the most heavily targeted wide receiver on the team to produce. Until week four that wasn’t happening. If Godwin begins to get more targets, which could start in week six, he could become a set-it-and-forget-it wide receiver. Get him in your lineups.
Logan Thomas (TE)
Washington Commanders vs. ATL (13% Start)
Logan Thomas is a hard player to rely on. He has had a bit of an up-and-down season, but is currently the TE9 in half-PPR formats and is coming off his best game where he saw 11 targets, catching nine for 77 yards and a touchdown. He seems to be building a rapport with QB Sam Howell and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue. The TE position is one of the hardest positions to find consistency, so you shouldn’t count on 16+ fantasy points every week from Thomas, but in week six he is facing a Falcons defense that is giving up an average of 13 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Throughout his career, Thomas has been able to produce when healthy. Staying healthy has been an issue, but he is healthy now and could be called on early and often, leading to a productive afternoon.
Kyle Pitts (TE)
Atlanta Falcons vs. WAS (59% Start)
I don’t blame you if you aren’t ready to trust Pitts after one productive week that saw him finish as the TE9 with 11 targets, seven receptions, and 87 yards. It was easily his most productive game of the season and the hope is that the Falcons are going to continue to find ways to get the ball in the hands of one of their most talented playmakers. I know there is a possibility that Pitts comes crashing back down to earth against a team that is not giving up a ton of points to the position, but I’m willing to give Pitts a week to show it wasn’t a fluke. He is still one of the most athletically gifted and talented players at the position and the Falcons would be wise to continue to look his way. There isn’t a lot of touchdown upside with Pitts, with only three touchdowns in his young career, but if he keeps getting this type of volume it’s reasonable to believe eventually he’ll find the end zone. When that happens you’re looking at another top 10 (possibly top 5) finish. Against a team that just struggled mightily against the 1-4 Bears (and gave a touchdown to Cole Kmet) week six might be that week.
Week 6 Sits
C.J. Stroud (QB)
Houston Texans vs. NO (50% Start)
C.J. Stroud has been incredible this season. He has thrown for over 240 yards in every single game. He has thrown for two touchdowns in three out of five games. He is averaging 37.2 attempts a game and has yet to throw an interception. The fact that we can look at a week where he threw for 249 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions as a disappointment is a testament to how well he has played. This might lead to his week six start percentage to skyrocket. Not so fast. His week five performance in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons WAS a disappointment. Unfortunately, it won’t get much better in week six when he goes up against the stout defense of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints just shut down the New England Patriots forcing Mac Jones to get benched for the second consecutive week after throwing for 110 yards and two interceptions. Stroud is playing better than Jones, but if this Saints defense continues to play at such an elite level, the ceiling we have grown accustomed to with Stroud could be capped. Another thing to consider is that Tank Dell could miss the game after suffering a concussion in week five, limiting Stroud even more. The future is bright for Stroud but in week six he’s best left on your bench.
Breece Hall (RB)
New York Jets vs. PHI (79% Start)
It will be nearly impossible to convince anyone to sit Hall after what he did in week five. After being limited the first four weeks, Hall received a full workload, carrying the ball 22 times for 117 yards and a touchdown, adding three receptions for 17 yards. This made him the RB3 on the week with 26.9 half-PPR points. He looked healthy, and dynamic, and is the clear RB1 on the Jets. It was great to see. This damage was done against possibly the worst running back defense in the league, but still, Hall got the opportunity and seized it. Nothing can be taken away from him, and he is a solid RB2 with RB1 upside for the rest of the season, but this week he faces much stiffer competition. The Eagles have been solid against opposing running backs, and the talented defensive line could wreak havoc on quarterback Zach Wilson all day. Coming out of their bye week in week seven Hall will have a much friendlier lineup with matchups against the Giants, Chargers, and Raiders, but in week six, if you find it impossible to sit him, at least temper expectations.
Dameon Pierce (RB)
Houston Texans vs. NO (73% Start)
Pierce has been one of the bigger disappointments at running back this year. After a promising rookie campaign (and lacking any real competition for carries) we all had high hopes for Pierce’s potential this season, but he has yet to make good on that potential. Through five games Pierce’s highest point total is 13.4 in half-PPR formats and he has scored under nine points in three games. He also has three games with under 40 rushing yards and has only scored one touchdown on the season. If there was a lack of volume or if the passing attack of the Texans was bad we might be able to make sense of his lack of success, but neither of those things are the case. Over the last two weeks, Pierce has 44 carries, and Stroud and his pass catchers have been highly productive. One would think this would lead to space for Pierce to maneuver, but that has yet to materialize. In week six things don’t get any easier. The Saints have allowed just 91.6 yards per game to opposing running backs, a mark that Pierce has yet to hit. At this point, Pierce has become a prove-it type of player and should remain on benches until he shows he’s able to replicate what he did much of last year.
Terry McLaurin (WR)
Washington Commanders vs. ATL (82% Start)
McLaurin is having a frustrating start to the 2023 campaign. Barely a top 30 wide receiver, McLaurin has only scored double-digit points in two of five games, with only one touchdown on the season. His target share is also a concern, leading his team in targets in just two of the first five games. Coming into the season it was anticipated that the Commanders’ passing attack would run through McLaurin and Dotson, but quarterback Sam Howell seems intent on spreading the ball around which has led to a larger piece of the pie for Curtis Samuel and Logan Thomas than anyone anticipated. He now faces a Falcons defense that has been surprisingly good, only allowing one 100-yard receiver on the season. That, combined with the trends we’ve seen in the Commanders’ passing game, make it difficult to view McLaurin as anything more than a low-end flex play, instead of the high-end WR2 you hoped you were getting. Keep him on your bench.
Drake London (WR)
Atlanta Falcons vs. WAS (59% Start)
Let’s stay with the Commanders/Falcons game when discussing sits of the week. In week five, against the Houston Texans, Desmond Ridder finally got things going in the passing game throwing for 329 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Don’t let that trap you into being convinced the Falcons finally got things figured out. Ridder is still Ridder and will have far fewer ups than downs. This will continue to hurt the pass catchers but possibly none more than London. In Ridder’s best game of the season, it was Pitts, not London, who benefited the most (although London did have his best game of the season.) Prior to week five London had zero, six, two, and three receptions with more than 60 yards in only one of those games. On paper, London has a good matchup in week six against a Commanders team that has been burned by D.J. Moore, A.J. Brown, and Stefan Diggs, but I’m not sure I love the comparison. All three of those players rank in the top 15 in YAC, which has never been London’s biggest strength. They are also all linked to better quarterbacks with more upside than London. London is a talented pass catcher who can make things frustrating for this Commanders secondary, but I would have to see more consistency from Ridder before I believe week five was anything more than an outlier performance.
George Kittle (TE)
San Francisco 49ers vs. CLE (90% Start)
It is common knowledge that after a player goes off for a three-touchdown performance the thing to do is sit them the following week. Ok, that may not be the consensus but that is exactly what I would consider doing with Kittle this week. Any way you slice it, Kittle produced for his fantasy managers in week five against a very solid Cowboys defense, but a closer look at how he produced, as well as what has been happening throughout the season, should provide some cause for concern. In week five, by far Kittle’s best week, he only saw four targets, three of which went for touchdowns. That kind of efficiency should not be expected every week. Before week five Kittle had fantasy finishes of 3.4, 4.5, 12.5, and 1.4 points, and only has two top 5 finishes at the position this season. The issue isn’t Kittle’s talent, it’s the talent of everyone else on the team. In week four it was Brandon Aiyuk’s turn to have the monster game with six catches for 148 yards. In week three it was Deebo Samuel with six catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. Other than Christian McCaffrey it is difficult to know which player will produce from week to week, and now they face a Browns defense that ranks first against wide receivers and is tied for fifth against tight ends. If you drafted Kittle you may not have a better option than to start him, but in a tough matchup, and given the nature of this offense I would try to pivot if I could.
A die hard Bears fan and fantasy sports fantastic, T.J. Besler earned his journalism (and theatre) degree from The University of Iowa. When he isn’t busy writing parodies for his YouTube channel Parodies for Charities he can be found either on stage performing or doing all things fantasy football related. Besler has traveled to nearly all 50 states either for work or leisure, and is grateful to everyone who has helped him along the way, especially his lovely wife Elsa, without whom much of this would not be possible. BEAR DOWN!