I absolutely crushed it with my Week 5 fantasy recommendation to start Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. As far as the rest of my running back/wide receiver recommendations from last week? Let's just say that the majority of them have me looking forward to this week's opportunity. Win some, lose some.
Recall that I follow the guidelines of not suggesting a start for any WR or RB who is a "consensus" RB1 or WR1 (i.e. typically a player in the top 12 for his position that week). Likewise, I will be not suggesting that you sit an RB or WR who is not typically in the top 30 at either position.
We are now into the dreaded bye season. In some ways, the byes can make things easier, and in some ways harder. With the exception of maybe Alvin Kamara, the Saints, Falcons, Jets, and 49ers for the most part have players we might be deliberating, so with all of them on bye this week, things might be a little easier. Benefit or not, let's see who is worthy of inserting into your starting lineup and who should ride the pine.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, New Orleans, New York Jets, San Francisco
START These RBs
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out this tweet and accompanying graphic:
You think maybe, just maybe, that Williams might be due to go off?
Ty'Son Williams, Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Wait, we're not done with the above graphic.
Look at it again. Do you see who is in the most southwest corner of the graph? Latavius Murray. Murray should have done much more with his opportunities than he has. So I'm gonna go with the man behind Murray, Williams.
This is a deep pick, so you eight- and 10-team leaguers can easily ignore this. But I've said it earlier this season – the fantasy community gave up on Williams a little too quickly. John Harbaugh will "punish" borderline players pretty quickly, but he's pretty quick to forgive within a week or two. Lost in the Ravens' thrilling come-from-behind win on Monday night against Indianapolis was the fact that Williams actually out-touched Murray. He also had two catches to Murray's one.
The Chargers meanwhile are giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs. I wouldn't play Williams as an RB2 if you don't have to this week. But it is a bye week and he could make for a great punt play if you need it!
SIT These RBs
D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Both of these teams are better than you think they are. But the Bengals' defense is one of the biggest reasons they are better than many think. They are giving up the 10th-fewest rushing yards per game this season. While they have only recovered one fumble so far, they have forced four fumbles already, which is the same as the highly regarded Rams defense.
Smith has yet to rush for 60 yards. I don't see it suddenly happening this week.
Damien Harris, New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys
Let's get the matchup piece out of the way first. Dallas is allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs this season and is even better than Cincinnati when it comes to rushing yards allowed per game, allowing less than 80!
Now, throw in the "Never trust a Bill Belicheck RB" axioms and the number of backs likely to take both targets and touches away from Harris and there's no reason why Harris should even be considered as an RB2.
START These WRs
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans
Pittman is coming off his best week yet, having grabbed six passes for 89 yards and a touchdown on MNF.
Meanwhile, the Texans' secondary is void of a starting cornerback within 15 pounds or perhaps more importantly five inches of matching Pittman’s size (6-4, 223). T.Y. Hilton is still not a lock to make his season debut this Sunday and it's been reported that he had considered retiring after suffering a neck injury that required surgery. The Pittman bust-out game is coming. I wouldn't be surprised if it's this week.
Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos vs. Las Vegas Raiders
I've been deliberating whether or not to play Sutton in my dynasty league this week versus A.J. Brown or Chase Claypool as all three are often found in ranked close to one another. Given the bad matchup against Buffalo's defense for Brown and my questions regarding Ben Roethlisberger, I think I am starting Sutton.
But I probably should either way. For one, Sutton has an insane amount of air yards. Just seven receivers have racked up more than 600 air yards through five weeks and Sutton is third with 649 behind only Davante Adams and Mike Evans. Not exactly bad company to be in. But what I also like is how he is certainly trending upwards.
Sutton was just plain horrible in Week 1, but that's understandable against one of the better shadow DBs in the league, the Giants' James Bradberry. Meanwhile, he's coming off of a 7-120-1 performance in Week 5.
I'm going to assume Teddy Bridgewater starts this week, which would greatly enhance Sutton's chances for success. If so, I'd lock him in. Get it?
SIT These WRs
Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
I really like most of the top WRs in the rankings this week, so Cooper being just inside the top 20 is about as high as I will go for a sit option in that range. And I think Cooper can have an okay game. But a few things are lining up against it.
First off, the Patriots are allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the WR position. Given that the Patriots are giving up 111 rushing yards per game, don't be surprised to see a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard this week. Also, Michael Gallup (calf) might come off of IR this week. Even if Gallup is not activated, it's not as if Cooper has outplayed CeeDee Lamb the last three or four weeks. Given the choice between Cooper and any of the three WRs often ranked below him of DeVonta Smith (played Thursday night), Keenan Allen, or Robert Woods, I'd go with the latter.
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens vs.Los Angeles Chargers
So the guy goes from featured Start all the way to Sit in just one week? What gives?
Well, the answer is not the Chargers. Derwin James Jr. might be the best-known member of Los Angeles' secondary, but this group has been good as a whole. The Chargers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to WRs this season. Because of this and what happened on Monday night, I think the Ravens will attack with tight end Mark Andrews and their rushing game.
Furthermore, we could see Rashod Bateman activated from IR for this game, which would likely take a few targets away from Brown. Even if Bateman isn't activated, it's becoming a very crowded WR room. Sammy Watkins was forced out of the game Monday night with an injury but should be good to go this week. Meanwhile, Devin Duvernay has had 10 targets over the last two weeks. He too could lower Brown's ceiling. A lot of Brown's owners will gleefully start him this week after last week's explosion. Depending on the other options, I'd advise caution.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.