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Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 6: Start Rhamondre Stevenson, Raheem Mostert; Sit Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith

Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 6: Start Rhamondre Stevenson, Raheem Mostert; Sit Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith article feature image
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Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images. Pictured: Rhamondre Stevenson

A number of shocking things have happened over the first five weeks of the NFL season, and setting fantasy lineups might be a serious chore with the sheer number of injuries and befuddling situations.

Whether you’re 5-0 or 0-5, stay diligent on the waiver wire, send trade offers and make savvy start/sit decisions. There’s way too much football left to get complacent or give up.

Below are some players at each position you should start in Week 6, as well as some players you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.

Week 6 Start ‘Em

Quarterbacks to Start

Geno Smith, Seahawks (vs. Cardinals)

Is it possible that Geno Smith is the real deal and we are currently witnessing a Year 10 breakout?

In all seriousness, Smith has looked phenomenal, both from the eye test and on paper as the Seahawks’ starter. He is the QB7 through five weeks, ahead of players such as Justin Herbert, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford to name a few.

He was near-flawless last week against the Saints, completing 16-of-25 attempts for 268 yards and three touchdowns — each from 35-plus yards. One of his touchdowns was a highlight-reel-worthy connection with Tyler Lockett for 40 yards in the fourth quarter.

I love the matchup this week against the Cardinals, whose defense ranks bottom six in pass DVOA (per Football Outsiders) and has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Smith is a low-end QB1 for Week 6 and worthy of streaming consideration as a bye-week fill-in and beyond.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at Dolphins)

Cousins is coming off his best game of the season. He completed 32-of-41 attempts for 296 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Bears and was the QB5 for the week.

Cousins is the overall QB11 through five weeks, which is about where I expected him to be (not bad considering he went undrafted in many leagues). An added bonus to Cousins’ fantasy value is that the Vikings’ porous defense creates game scripts that require him to throw frequently.

I love the matchup this week against the Dolphins, whose defense ranks dead-last in pass DVOA and has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The unit struggled last week against Zach Wilson, who was able to tack on 210 yards in the game.

Cousins is a solid, low-end QB1 with upside in this positive matchup.

Wide Receivers to Start

Gabe Davis, Bills (at Chiefs)

Davis positively exploded in Week 5 after he was a complete decoy in the week prior. He caught 3-of-6 passes for a whopping 171 yards and two touchdowns — one of which a 98-yard haul in the first quarter. It was Davis’ best game of the season by far, and he finished as the WR1 for the week.

Davis’ target share has been mediocre, but the young star clearly has the ability to create home run plays. He should be considered a high-upside WR2 in the marquee matchup of the week against the Chiefs, whose defense has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to receivers.

Chris Olave, Saints (vs. Bengals)

Olave continued his bid for Offensive Rookie of the Year (currently tied with Dameon Pierce as the betting favorite at 5/1 odds) last week against Seattle and caught 4-of-6 targets for 54 yards and a touchdown.

It was the former Buckeye’s second straight game with a touchdown and third game in a row with at least 13 fantasy points in half PPR. This is even more impressive considering he suffered a concussion mid-game.

Olave is quickly trending toward becoming the Saints’ clear-cut No. 1 with Michael Thomas’ health waning. The veteran wide receiver was reportedly ruled out for this week with a foot injury.

Olave was able to practice on Friday, which is a step in the right direction for his availability. Continue to monitor the injury reports, especially with the NFL’s new concussion protocol in place.

Assuming Olave plays, he is a WR2 with upside — even against the Bengals defense, which has been above average against the pass.

Jakobi Meyers, Patriots (at Browns)

Meyers returned after a two-week injury hiatus and shined opposite rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe in the Patriots’ dominant shutout of the Lions. He caught 7-of-8 targets for 111 yards and a touchdown and was the WR7 in half-PPR scoring.

In the three games Meyers has played, he has participated in at least 80% of snaps and has been targeted at least six times. He should be considered a high-floor WR3/flex option (especially in PPR formats) against the Browns, whose defense has been susceptible against the pass.

Devin Duvernay, Ravens (at Giants)

Despite a paltry target share, Duvernay has shown flashes of greatness this season.

The Year 3 wideout appears to be a touchdown magnet and already has a career-high four touchdowns in five games. He is coming off a very solid Week 5 against the Bengals in which he saw a season-high seven targets and caught five passes for 54 yards with three rushes for 24 yards.

Duvernay’s target share was likely augmented with Rashod Bateman sidelined with a foot injury. Bateman is trending toward missing the Ravens’ Week 6 contest against the Giants, whose defense is bottom nine in pass DVOA.

Duvernay is a high-upside WR3/flex this week.

Running Backs to Start

Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots (at Browns)

Stevenson had his best game of the season in Week 5 with Damien Harris going down early with a hamstring injury. The Year 2 back tacked on 25 carries for 161 yards and caught two passes for 14 yards against the hapless Lions and finished as the RB14 in half-PPR scoring.

Stevenson immediately vaults into the mid- to high-end RB1 conversation with Harris likely to miss multiple games, the Patriots continuing to lean on rookie signal-caller Bailey Zappe, and this mouthwatering matchup against the Browns.

Cleveland ranks last in defensive rush DVOA (per Football Outsiders) and has allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this year. The unit was just carved up by Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley in Week 5 and Caleb Huntley and Tyler Allgeier in Week 4.

Start Stevenson with confidence until Harris returns.

Raheem Mostert, Dolphins (vs. Vikings)

Mostert dominated the Miami backfield in Week 5 and was its lone bright spot in the team’s loss to the Jets. He saw 18 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown — his first 100-rushing yard game since Week 13 in Baltimore back in 2019 — and finished as the RB13 for the week.

Mostert’s involvement has come at the expense of Chase Edmonds, whose face was on milk cartons after recording one touch last week. Edmonds’ snap counts have fallen precipitously since Week 1, from 63% to 51%, 44%, 28% and 15%.

For now, Mostert appears to be the lead back, though that could change at any time given his speckled injury history. I like him as a start this week with rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson slated to get his first NFL start. I expect Miami to lean heavily on the run.

Minnesota’s defense has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs this year, making Mostert a solid RB2.

Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks (vs. Cardinals)

Walker is a no-brainer start with Rashaad Penny done for the season after suffering an unfortunate broken tibia against the Saints. The rookie stepped up and tallied eight carries for 88 yards — 69 of which came on an impressive touchdown run.

It was Walker’s best game of the season and the Michigan State product should be in line for the lion’s share of work. I am much more optimistic about the Seahawks’ run game with Geno Smith playing at a high level and keeping the team competitive in games.

This contest has the second-highest point total of the week. Walker should be considered a high-end RB2 based on volume alone.

Eno Benjamin, Cardinals (at Seahawks)

Benjamin is coming off his best game of the season as he was the last man standing with James Conner (ribs) and Darrel Williams (knee) suffering injuries. He had eight carries for 25 yards and a touchdown plus three catches for 28 yards. He also saw a season-high 54% of snaps and was the RB23 for the week.

Benjamin is in line to see a significant workload this week and beyond with Conner ruled out. I love this matchup all around — Seattle has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs and rank 24th in defensive rush DVOA.

Tight Ends to Start

Taysom Hill, Saints (vs. Bengals)

Hill absolutely exploded in the Saints’ Week 5 win over the Seahawks. The versatile player rushed nine times for 112 yards and three touchdowns and tacked on a passing touchdown on his lone passing attempt of the day. He tallied 34.1 points in half-PPR scoring and even edged out Travis Kelce’s four-touchdown performance on Monday Night Football for the TE1 spot.

His usage is erratic, though he seems to be more consistent with Andy Dalton under center versus Jameis Winston, who has missed the last two weeks with a fractured back. Hill’s role in this revamped Saints offense may be evolving past mere novelty and he offers the most upside of any tight end-eligible player in light of his unique usage as a running back and quarterback.

Hayden Hurst, Bengals (at Saints)

Hurst had yet another nice fantasy day for during the Bengals’ 19-17 primetime loss to the Ravens on Sunday Night Football. Hurst, Baltimore’s first-round pick in 2018, caught 6-of-7 targets for a team-high 53 yards and a touchdown and was the TE4 in half PPR this past week.

His role may have been expanded with Tee Higgins clearly activated to be a decoy and nothing more. That said, it is his second game in a row finding the end zone and third game this year with at least seven targets. With Higgins still on the injury report, I love Hurst as a Week 6 streamer for T.J. Hockenson or Darren Waller managers.

Defense to Start

Rams D/ST (vs. Panthers)

The Rams D/ST has been fairly unremarkable this season. They were a complete dud in Week 4 against the 49ers and recorded just four points against a Cooper Rush-led Cowboys team.

I have renewed faith against the Panthers, whose offense has tallied the fewest offensive yards this year and will be starting XFL star P.J. Walker with Baker Mayfield out with a high-ankle sprain.

Week 6 Sit ‘Em

Quarterbacks to Sit

Russell Wilson, Broncos (at Chargers)

The Broncos offense showed signs of life in Week 4 against the Raiders as Wilson tossed two touchdowns and rushed for one to finish as the QB3. They were a complete dud the following week in a primetime game against the Colts we would probably all like to forget happened. Wilson completed 21-of-39 attempts for 274 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions — his second game this year without a touchdown.

There are numerous excuses one could make: It’s a completely new team, the coaching and play-calling has been subpar, and Wilson is apparently banged up with a shoulder injury. In the end, the reason is immaterial for fantasy and it’s a massive indication of the state of affairs when I would genuinely prefer to start Wilson’s successor in Seattle, Geno Smith, this week.

The matchup against the Chargers is okay — not great — and will probably end up being fairly run-heavy as Los Angeles has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this year. Wilson falls outside of the top 12 in Week 6 and is a sit for me — even with four teams on bye.

Matthew Stafford, Rams (vs. Panthers)

I am once again asking you to sit Stafford.

To his credit, he did finally break a two-week touchdown dry spell last week, though that did not translate to many fantasy points. He completed 28-of-42 attempts for 308 yards, one touchdown and one interception and was the QB23 for the week.

Stafford has not been good, but in his defense, the offensive line has been a major pain point and the Rams’ attempt to establish the run has been anemic at best. Los Angeles’ offensive line is allowing a NFL-high 4.2 sacks per game (tied with Indianapolis) and the team is rushing for a NFL-low 62.4 yards per game.

This was Stafford’s fourth week finishing well outside the QB1 tier. He is the QB24 for the season and cannot be trusted in one-quarterback leagues this week — even against the Panthers and their subpar pass defense.

Wide Receivers to Sit

Diontae Johnson, Steelers (at Buccaneers)

Johnson was just okay in a tough Week 5 matchup in Buffalo. He caught 5-of-13 targets for 60 yards and was the WR37 for the week in half-PPR scoring.

This was rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett’s first NFL start (a brutal introduction to the NFL against the Bills’ defense). The good news is Johnson appears to be the team’s No. 1 with Pickett under center as he was the most-targeted receiver.

The bad news is Johnson’s catch rate is low and rookie George Pickens outperformed him from a yardage perspective. Johnson is a sit for me this week facing off against yet another tough defense.

The Buccaneers rank No. 1 in pass DVOA and have allowed the seventh-fewest receiving yards this season. Johnson falls into the boom-or-bust WR3 tier in Week 6.

DeVonta Smith, Eagles (vs. Cowboys)

Smith had another explosive day for fantasy in the Eagles’ win over the Cardinals. He caught a team-high 10-of-11 targets for 87 yards and finished as the WR15 for the week.

He has been up-and-down this year and was a complete dud in Week 4 against the Jaguars and in Week 1 against the Lions. This could be another disappointing game for the Year 2 wideout with the Cowboys on deck.

Dallas has been impressive defensively and ranks top four in pass DVOA having allowed the eighth-fewest passing yards this year. Smith is a risky WR3 with downside in this difficult matchup.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chiefs (vs. Bills)

If you had told me before the season began that Smith-Schuster was averaging seven targets a game in a Patrick Mahomes-led offense through five weeks, I would have (mistakenly) assumed the former Steelers receiver would be better than WR56.

Smith-Schuster posted yet another dud in what should have been a positive matchup against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. He caught 3-of-8 targets for 33 yards and was the WR66 for the week.

Things won’t get easier this week against the Bills, whose defense ranks sixth in pass DVOA and has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Smith-Schuster is a low-upside WR3 in this brutal matchup.

Garrett Wilson, Jets (at Packers)

I am crestfallen that the return of Zach Wilson has tanked Garrett Wilson’s fantasy value.

Garrett Wilson was one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft and flashed greatness in Week 2 with a two-touchdown, 100-receiving yard game against the Browns. He has just five catches for 68 yards over the last two contests — and the Jets dropped 40 points in one of those games.

It’s less than ideal that we have come to this, but pure talent can only overcome so much. Wilson, Elijah Moore and Corey Davis are all firm sits for me this week against the Packers’ above-average pass defense.

Running Backs to Sit

Najee Harris, Steelers (vs. Buccaneers)

Harris is trending in the wrong direction. He was serviceable over the first three weeks of the season as the RB17 in half PPR (slightly disappointing given you probably had to drop a late first- or second-round pick to secure the Year 2 back). Things have gotten markedly worse, however, as Harris was the RB46 over Weeks 4 and 5.

The snap counts are even more concerning: In Week 5 against the Bills, Harris saw a season-low 49% of snaps while backup Jaylen Warren saw a season-high 51%.

The Steelers now face the Buccaneers, whose defense has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Harris falls into the fringe RB2/RB3 territory based on the matchup and concerning workload split with Warren.

Cam Akers, Rams (vs. Panthers)

Akers was the Rams’ featured back in their Week 5 loss to the Cowboys. He saw 13 carries for 33 yards and finished as the RB58 in half PPR while Darrell Henderson Jr. did not record a rushing attempt.

Akers is the overall RB53 this season and has been out-snapped by Henderson in all but one game in which the pair tied.

From the eye test alone, Akers looks dreadful. His usage has been erratic and his sub-3 yards per carry does not inspire much confidence moving forward.

Perhaps the Rams’ Week 7 bye will help reignite this flailing offense. For now, I am sitting both Akers and Henderson, even against the Panthers defense, which has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs.

James Robinson, Jaguars (at Colts)

After a very strong start to the year, Robinson’s usage has been on the decline. He was the RB3 in half-PPR scoring through the first three weeks but is the RB62 over the past two weeks.

To make matters worse, Year 2 running back Travis Etienne Jr. has both outperformed and out-snapped Robinson in each of the last two weeks. Robinson saw a season-low 41% of snaps and was held to 27 rushing yards last week against the Texans.

This decline could have something to do with the Jaguars’ offensive decline since their Week 3 win over the Chargers, which has not lent itself to run-friendly game scripts.

Regardless, Robinson’s locked-in week-to-week starter status has officially been revoked, especially this week against the Colts, whose defense ranks No. 2 in rush DVOA (behind the 49ers ). Robinson performed well when these two teams first met in Week 2 and tallied 25 touches for 78 scrimmage yards and a touchdown, but with the workload shifting toward Etienne, Robinson falls into the risky RB3/flex territory. 

Tyler Allgeier, Falcons (vs. 49ers)

With Cordarrelle Patterson sidelined last week, Allgeier led the Falcons’ backfield, though that did not translate to fantasy production.

He saw 13 carries for 45 yards and finished as the RB54 in half PPR. Caleb Huntley had eight rushes for 35 yards and Avery Williams saw 5 touches for 21 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.

The answer to which Atlanta running back we should roster with Patterson out appears to be: None of the above.

I would not trust Allgeier, Huntley or Williams this week against the 49ers, whose defense ranks No. 1 in rush DVOA and has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Allgeier is a risky RB3 with a near-zero floor.

Tight End to Sit

Kyle Pitts, Falcons (vs. 49ers)

I am out of excuses for Pitts.

The Year 2 tight end started the season with back-to-back two-catch, 19-yard games — not exactly the production you were probably hoping for when you (likely) drafted him in the third round. Pitts gave us a glimmer of hope in Week 3 against the Seahawks’ porous defense and caught 5-of-8 targets for 87 yards, finishing as the TE6 in half PPR. He followed that up with a complete dud against the Browns in which he caught 1-of-4 targets for 28 yards and finished as the TE41.

Pitts sat out the Falcons’ Week 5 divisional matchup against the Buccaneers due to a hamstring injury, which was probably a gift in disguise for fantasy managers.

The harsh reality is this: Pitts is the TE25 through five weeks in half PPR, he hasn’t found the end zone in over a year and his target share is immaterial when quarterback Marcus Mariota only throws the ball 20-25 times a game.

The Falcons’ passing game has ranged from subpar to horrendous, and until head coach Arthur Smith decides to either use Pitts more or make a quarterback switch to Desmond Ridder, Pitts isn’t a trustworthy start. Toss in this week’s matchup against the 49ers, whose defense ranks No. 5 in pass DVOA and has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this year, it’s a recipe for disappointment.

Tyler Conklin, Jets (at Packers)

Similar to Garrett Wilson, Conklin is yet another casualty of Zach Wilson’s limited passing prowess.

Conklin had been rock solid with Joe Flacco under center for the first three weeks and was the TE4 in half PPR. Since Zach Wilson has taken over, Conklin has fallen to TE34 following a Week 5 bagel against the Dolphins. To Conklin’s credit, he was only targeted once in the game.

Wilson has rendered almost all of his pass catchers — except for Breece Hall — unusable for fantasy. To make matters worse, the Packers have been tough against the position this season and have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Conklin is waiver-wire fodder at this point.

Defense to Sit

Bills D/ST (at Chiefs)

The Bills have been brilliant defensively and are the DST2 this season. Their unit ranks No. 2 in defensive DVOA behind only the 49ers and has held opponents to a league-low 12.2 points per game.

They are a sit for me this week, however, due to the unfavorable matchup against the Chiefs, which has the highest point total of the week (54). Kansas City has scored a NFL-high 31.8 points per game and just dropped a seemingly effortless 41 points against the Buccaneers’ stout defense.

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