We’re into the middle of October and things are starting to heat up for the NFL. We’re also in our first round of bye weeks and the injuries are piling up. So, you might be trying to figure out who you should start and who you should pull from your lineups. Let this weekly column help provide you some suggestions at each position. But, before we dive into Week 6, let’s review how my recommendations went for Week 5.
For transparency purposes we’ll measure quarterbacks and tight ends against Top 12 finishes (QB1 and TE1) and we’ll measure running backs and wide receivers against Top 24 finishes (RB1-2, WR1-2). All finishes come from Fantasy Pros PPR scoring leaders lists found here.
QB: Matt Ryan, QB12 Hit. Some huge performances later in the weekend had me sweating this one out, but Ryan was good enough to finish Top 12.
RB: Chase Edmonds, RB51 Miss. Edmonds came into the game as RB12 on the season, having been reliable all year. He wasn’t Sunday.
WR: D.J. Moore, WR49 Miss. Moore wasn’t great on Sunday, neither was Sam Darnold.
TE: Dalton Schultz, TE7 Hit. Schultz has been money for Dallas all season.
QB: Trey Lance, QB20 Hit. Lance was better than I thought, owing mostly to 89 yards rushing on 16 carries. But he didn’t finish Top 12, so it’s still a win.
RB: Myles Gaskin, RB2 Miss. Gaskin looked like a bust all season but suddenly became the focus of the Dolphins’ offense Sunday. Who knew?
WR: Courtland Sutton, WR10 Miss. Sutton exploded in the Fourth Quarter as the Broncos battled back. As a fan, I was pleased. As an analyst, I goofed.
TE: Anthony Firkser, TE23 Hit. I liked Firkser’s potential but he isn’t getting the work.
On to the Week 6 recommendations!
Start: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
About: I know, I know, you probably were already. Murray started the season red hot, and was QB1 for a time, but he’s cooled a bit the past few weeks. In Week 5, he finished as QB23, getting banged up and recording just one yard rushing. This week he’s playing the Browns, and while it’s a tough game, I still believe in the signal caller for the Cardinals. Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert had good days against the Browns, I think Murray finishes Top 12 too.
Sit: Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
About: I’m happy Fields is the starter in Chicago. I think it’s going to be good for the team. I also think he’ll finish as a solid QB2 by the end of the year. But he’s going against the Packers and has some work still to do. So far he’s completing just 51.4 percent of his passes, throwing a touchdown against two interceptions. I don’t expect him to light it up against Green Bay, either.
Start: Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
About: Remember after Week 1, when we were sweating after Ekeler didn’t see a single target? Yeah, me either. Ekeler has been on fire of late, as have the Chargers. He’s currently sitting as RB2 on the season, scoring three touchdowns against the Browns in the thriller last week. The Chargers face the Ravens this week, a defense that just allowed Jonathan Taylor to score as a rusher and receiver, as he posted 31-plus PPR points. This figures to be a shootout, and Ekeler is one of the prime movers in the Chargers’ offense. Start him.
Sit: Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
About: It’s been a tough week for the Raiders. The team started 3-0, suffered two brutal losses, and saw Head Coach Jon Gruden resign Monday amid scandal. Now, they travel to Denver to battle their division rivals, who have a defense that has been fairly stout. While Najee Harris looked good last week, the Broncos have generally kept opposing backs bottled up. And Jacobs hasn’t exactly been thriving. He had just 34 yards in Week 1 but scored twice to make his day. After missing two games with injury, he’s returned to 88 yards on 28 carries in two games since. The Raiders’ line hasn’t been great, and the defense has put them in position to need to play catch up. Jacobs could land in the end zone and squeak into the Top 24, but I’m not banking on it. Look elsewhere.
Start: Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
About: When the Ravens said Lamar Jackson would be passing more I had my doubts. I likely wasn’t alone. But he has been passing more and that’s been a good thing—particularly for Brown and tight end Mark Andrews. While young receiver Rashod Bateman could see his first action this week, it’s been Brown that’s carried the receiver room. Through five games he is WR6 on the season. The Ravens face the Chargers this week and I’d expect Lamar to need to chuck it around the yard some more to keep up. Make sure Brown is in your lineup.
Sit: Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
About: You probably saw my comments about Fields above, well that isn’t without consequence. Fields is likely the best quarterback Robinson has played with. but it’s going to take some time to build up that rapport. Meanwhile, Robinson is a pedestrian WR61 on the season. He’s not even the highest scoring receiver on his own team. Robinson could make a big play that gets him into the end zone and salvages a big day, but the way the Bears’ offense has been playing, it doesn’t feel likely. It’s time to moderate expectations, and accept that Robinson isn’t a must start.
Start: Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
About: I keep waiting for Knox to come back to Earth and it hasn’t happened yet. And you know what? I don’t think it is going to happen. The Bills face the Titans on Monday Night Football and I expect another up-tempo game. The Titans’ defense hasn’t been robust, and Knox has been a huge part of the arsenal for Josh Allen. He’s TE3 on the season and has become a huge touchdown target. He has caught five touchdowns already in 2021. He should be in your lineup as the third-year breakout appears to be in full swing.
Sit: Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
About: The Browns have plenty of money invested in receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry, along with tight end Hooper. Yet, so far, they haven’t gotten a big return on investment. When the Browns have needed a big play at tight end they’ve turned to David Njoku, who is TE13 on the season while Hooper is just TE26. He’s a fine tight end, and a low-end TE2, but he doesn’t belong in your lineup if you’re looking to hit it big.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL Fan and Broncos’ Homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.