Welcome to our sixth weekly start/sit advice column of the season. Five weeks into the league year, we’re really beginning to figure out which sleepers have woken up and which players are certified busts. There are players who I did not expect to be mentioning as starts or as sits at this point in the season, but so much of the fun of fantasy football is the unpredictability of it.
So, let’s predict it. Here are the starts and sits for Week 6 of the 2019 season. If I don’t mention a player you need advice on, you can always reach out on Twitter.
Gardner Minshew vs Saints
The sample size has gotten large enough to justify building a tentative reliance on Minshew as a QB1, and this week could be an especially nice one to fit him into your lineup if you need him. The Saints have been the third-easiest fantasy matchup against quarterbacks so far, behind only the Dolphins and the Falcons, so Minshew shouldn’t have a hard time hitting the 16-point threshold he’s surpassed every week this season. And the ceiling is a lot higher than that, if Minshew can get himself into a shootout against the New Orleans offense.
Teddy Bridgewater at Jaguars
Speaking of which. This Saints-Jaguars matchup featuring neither Drew Brees nor Nick Foles still intrigues me from a fantasy standpoint. The Jaguars defense without Jalen Ramsey has and will continue to struggle, and Teddy Bridgewater finally found his groove last week, connecting often with Michael Thomas and really getting the offense back in gear. Without Ramsey, Jacksonville too should struggle against Thomas, and the Saints offense should be in for yet another easy day.
Jared Goff vs 49ers
He’s been a better fantasy quarterback than he’s been an NFL quarterback, but even so, Goff would be better off left on the bench this week. From everything we’ve seen so far, the 49ers are not a team to trifle with. They’ve been the third-most difficult defense against fantasy quarterbacks and just bullied Baker Mayfield into submission, leaving him with a negative fantasy score. San Francisco is looking scarier by the week, while Goff continues to struggle to get the Rams’ offense running at full capacity. His surrounding offense can always carry him to an adequate fantasy day, but nothing more than adequate should be expected.
Jameis Winston vs Panthers
Winston has actually been riding a hot streak lately, but there’s a decent chance that comes to a screeching halt against the Panthers. In Jameis’ first matchup against Carolina in Week 2, he was held to fewer than 14 fantasy points. With Panthers continuing to put relentless pressure on the quarterback (20 sacks this season, second in the NFL), Jameis could once again be under fire all game. With Winston being a notoriously mistake-prone quarterback under pressure, this is a good week to stay away.
Chris Thompson at Dolphins
Is this game going to be hideous beyond belief? Without question, but when you see the Dolphins on a player’s schedule, you put that guy in. Miami has been the league’s best matchup for opposing running backs, and with a team with as many question marks as the Redskins, Thompson’s reliability is going to be all the more important down the stretch. Thompson has caught at least four passes in every game, for an average of over 53 yards. He could leave those numbers in the dust on Sunday.
Tevin Coleman at Rams
After Monday night’s trouncing of the Browns, it appears to be quite clear that the 49ers are a team that can field two fantasy starters in their backfield. Matt Breida is a strong start and Tevin Coleman, returning from an ankle injury sustained in Week 1, received 16 carries in his first game back en route to 97 yards and a touchdown. He could be an even stronger start than Breida down the stretch. The Rams haven’t been a difficult matchup for running backs thus far, so Coleman, clearly without a workload restriction, is a valid candidate for your FLEX spot.
Miles Sanders at Vikings
Sanders is slowly being surpassed by Jordan Howard in terms of touches, and therefore is slowly falling out of the fringe RB starter tier and into the benchwarmer tier. With Howard playing so well, there is no reason to expect this to change anytime soon, and there definitely is no reason to expect two Eagles RBs to put up start-worthy numbers against the Vikings, who are holding opposing backfields to 3.6 yards per carry, for only one touchdown on the season.
Royce Freeman vs Titans
Not that anyone’s really dying to start Royce Freeman. He’s been outplayed by Phillip Lindsay, as expected up to this point, and in the Broncos offense, he’s never going to see a high number of goal line carries. You really only want to start Freeman if his chances of getting in the end zone are high, and with the Titans being one of five teams to allow two or fewer touchdowns through Week 5, this isn’t a particularly strong choice.
Michael Gallup at Jets
If the little of what we’ve seen out of Michael Gallup is going to last, it won’t be long until he cements himself as a no-brainer starter. Through three games, he’s averaging 6.7 receptions for 113 yards, so if you just picked him up this week and need a bye week fill-in or a tentative FLEX play, I wouldn’t advise against jumping the gun and playing Gallup this week. A matchup against the Jets certainly can’t hurt.
Christian Kirk at Falcons
If he’s available, you don’t want to miss out on starting Kirk, or any wide receiver for that matter, against the capitulating Falcons defense. I could point out that the Falcons are allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers and the second-most overall points in the NFL, but I think their tape against Will Fuller and the Texans says it all.
Brandin Cooks vs 49ers
It would appear that Cooks has found himself as the third receiver in an offense that can’t really accommodate three solid fantasy receivers anymore. Cooper Kupp has far outstripped both Cooks and Robert Woods, but Woods has been the better asset than Cooks too. And now with Gerald Everett getting into the mix and Todd Gurley taking control in the red zone, Cooks doesn’t have the same appeal that he had a year ago. Top it off with a matchup against San Francisco and a concussion that he sustained in Week 5, and you might have to grudgingly put Cooks on the bench this week.
Emmanuel Sanders vs Titans
Sanders has been completely hit-or-miss this season, with three games above 86 yards and two games below 10 yards. You’re rolling the dice when you put Sanders into your lineup, and with the Dolphins continuing to focus heavily on the ground, riding both Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, the great games may start becoming more sparse. Sanders was targeted just once against the Chargers, and while he’ll always be a breakout threat, a game against a stiff Titans defense doesn’t bode particularly well.
Greg Olsen at Buccaneers
Speaking of total boom or bust players, Olsen may be at the top of that list. Olsen didn’t catch a single pass last week, and he only caught two for five yards the week before that. But times are hard and finding a start-worthy tight end is never easy. Olsen has a pretty welcoming matchup against Tampa Bay, the second-easiest fantasy defense against tight ends, so you probably won’t find a better option on waivers. Let Olsen have this chance at a bounce-back week before really panicking.
Delanie Walker at Broncos
The only real difference between Walker and Olsen is that Walker is playing a good defense. Useless from a fantasy perspective the last two weeks, a matchup with the Broncos and a knee injury isn’t likely to suddenly reverse the direction Walker is headed. Again, there aren’t many options out there, but if anything at all catches your eye, you might be better off going in a direction that offers a little more excitement.