Can you really trust Winston in his first start of the season against the Falcons?
It’s Week 6 and the fantasy football season is really moving along. We haven’t hit the big bye weeks yet where six teams are off, but this week is the Saints and Lions. So that means all you Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford owners will be looking for a quarterback to start this week.
Luckily, there are some great options. Jameis Winston and Blake Bortles are among them, but if you are thinking about streaming Joe Flacco, maybe look elsewhere.
Before we dive into all of my Week 6 QB (and defense/special teams) start/sit advice, let's see how I did in Week 5.
Good Calls for Week 5...
Start Carson Wentz (23.04 fantasy points) – That’s back-to-back 300-yard games now for Wentz and the touchdowns are coming next.
Sit Marcus Mariota (5.16 FP) – Hopefully you didn’t draft Mariota to be your QB1, if so, it’s time to find a replacement.
Bad Calls for Week 5...
Start Derek Carr (15.22 FP) – In a game where the Raiders needed Carr to be at his best to win and he was playing from behind, he instead struggled big time. He's not even really worth considering as a QB2 at this point.
Sit Russell Wilson (22.92 FP) – Wilson isn’t running the ball at all, but three touchdown passes sure do help, even though he only had 198 passing yards.
Teams on bye: Detroit, New Orleans
START THESE QBs...
Jameis Winston, TB (at ATL)
Winston made his season debut in Week 4, coming off the bench and cleaning up for Ryan Fitzpatrick with the Bears in complete control of the game. He threw for 145 yards and a touchdown, but also tossed two interceptions against a Chicago defense that was playing with a multi-score lead. This is a good spot for him, though, with the Falcons giving up 32.6 points per game. The also have been among the most generous when it comes to fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs.
Blake Bortles, JAC (at DAL)
Most likely, the Cowboys will be without Sean Lee again in Week 6, and while that’s great for T.J. Yeldon and the run game, Bortles should benefit from a less than full strength Dallas D as well. Don’t forget that most of Yeldon’s great game last week came through the air (8-69-1). The Cowboys have had a tough time covering slot receivers, so Dede Westbrook could be in for a big game. The floor is low with an erratic guy like Bortles, but Deshaun Watson just put up 415 total yards while giving Dallas its first interception of the season.
Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. PIT)
Fantasy’s current QB16 in points per game through five weeks, Dalton has seemed to have a better season than that number would indicate. He’s tied for third in touchdowns with 12 and threw multiple scores each of the first four games before the Bengals came out flat last week. A matchup against division foe Pittsburgh presents a big bounce-back opportunity. The Steelers have surrendered the most touchdown passes, second-most yards, and second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The game has a 53-point total, which is the third highest on the slate, so there should be plenty of fantasy goodness to spread around.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Sam Darnold, NYJ (vs. IND)
Darnold has had his ups and downs in his rookie season, but he flashed his talent last week, throwing for nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns in a big win over the Broncos. He’s beginning to gel with his receivers and showcased tremendous accuracy in his downfield throws. Darnold is fortunate to have another above-average matchup this week against Indianapolis. The Colts are giving up an average of 20.4 fantasy points per game to QBs.
SIT THESE QBs...
Marcus Mariota, TEN (vs. BAL)
Many proclaimed that Mariota was back after his 390-yard, three-TD performance in a big home win against the Eagles in Week 4. Then he came crashing back down to earth with a more Mariota-like 139 total yards and no touchdowns on his way to the overall QB31 performance in a loss to Buffalo. Coming home to face a Ravens defense that is fourth in pass-defense DVOA and is giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks makes Mariota a hard pass. Baltimore-Tennessee has the second-lowest total on the board at 41 points, while the Titans’ implied team total of 19 is fifth lowest among the 30 teams in action. Mariota isn’t even on the two-QB league radar this week.
Dak Prescott, DAL (vs. JAC)
Prescott’s touchdown rate is down and his interception rate is up for the second straight season, leading to career lows in completion rate (62 percent) and passer rating (81.4) thus far. And those numbers get even worse when facing a pass rush, which is a strength of this week’s opponent. As it stands now, his overall performance is only good enough to win six games during a 16-game season per ESPN (38.4 QBR, 26th out of 33 qualified passers). His biggest test will come on Sunday against the Jaguars, a defense that is allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to the position (12.0) this season.
Joe Flacco, BAL (at TEN)
In two-QB leagues, sit the quarterback who’s thrown at least two TDs in three of his five games this season. The Titans are stifling against opposing passers, and if the Browns’ up-and-coming defense could shut Flacco down, so can Tennessee, who has given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Philip Rivers, LAC (at CLE)
Over their first five games, the Browns have picked off Ben Roethlisberger three times, held Drew Brees under 250 yards and didn't give up a TD pass to Sam Darnold (169 yards/two INTs) or Joe Flacco (298 yards/INT). Yes, Derek Carr had a great game in Week 4, but four great games out of five isn’t too shabby for any defense. Rivers is great, but Cleveland’s defense is second in the league in QB rating allowed (74.2) and has given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Houston Texans (vs. BUF)
Josh Allen has had his ups and downs as a rookie, but the potential is always there for a massive dud (see Week 4's seven-sack, two-INT shutout in Green Bay). A road game in a noisy stadium against a solid pass rush isn't a recipe for success for Allen and the Bills.
Cleveland Browns (vs. LAC)
By far the leader in takeaways (15), Cleveland continues to play well defensively, especially at home (15.7 ppg, eight sacks, 11 takeaways in three games). The Chargers are a potent offense that doesn't allow many sacks (seven) or make many mistakes (five turnovers), but the long road trip could have them a step slow, at least to start the game. Cleveland is worth keeping in your lineup.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Denver Broncos (vs. LAR)
Denver's defense put up a huge stinker against the Jets a week ago on a short turnaround and this week's home game vs. the Rams doesn't look great on paper. Los Angeles is averaging 34.6 points and almost 470 yards per game and DSTs have averaged one fantasy point against Jared Goff and company.
Carolina Panthers (at WAS)
The Panthers DST was one of the best in fantasy football a week ago, scoring 12 points in a win over the Giants. They are a sit this week as opposing defenses have recorded just three sacks, two takeaways and averaged a mere five fantasy points when facing Alex Smith and the Redskins on their home field.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.