Fantasy Sunday Rundown Week Six: Start/Sit/Sleeper

Fantasy predictions, breakdowns and player analysis for the upcoming NFL games this week.


Dolphins running back Lamar Miller runs the ball versus the Buffalo Bills during last season’s matchup between the two teams. Photo by Max Jackson|Staff Photographer

Jacob Kleinberg, Contributing Writer

Bengals at Bills

Start: Tyler Eifert (TE – CIN) Eifert got going again this past weekend against Seattle. The Bengals offense is turning out to be ripe with weapons this season, which isn’t necessarily a good thing for them fantasy-wise. Each week, someone is going to be “the guy” in that offense, and the others risk posting dud numbers. This week, I think they’ll go to Eifert a lot again.

The Bills have two excellent young corners who will surely limit AJ Green, and a stout line that should limit running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Start Eifert against a tough Bills defense.

Sit: Jeremy Hill (RB – CIN) Again, the carries aren’t there for Hill, and the matchups he’s faced have been brutal. The passing game in Cincinnati is working and Bernard is the favorite back for them in passing situations. Hill will have value in the next few weeks as the Bengals have some better matchups, but avoid starting him again this week.

Sleeper: Mohamed Sanu (WR – CIN) Through the last four games, the Bills have allowed 27 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns to slot receivers. Sanu may very well lead the Bengals in receptions this week if Eifert doesn’t. At the very least, he’ll have meaningful targets in an offense that is moving the ball effectively.

Broncos at Browns

Start: C.J. Anderson (RB – DEN) This one is probably a pretty controversial pick, but if there is a week for Anderson to do well, it’s this one. The Browns are the second worst run defense in the league. Quarterback Peyton Manning is struggling, so the Broncos have been forced to keep trying to get the ground game to work.

Ronnie Hillman hasn’t displayed enough talent to take C.J. Anderson’s starting spot, and now Hillman is dealing with a hamstring injury. Everything adds up perfectly to get Anderson going. If he doesn’t, it’s time to permanently bench him.

Sit: Owen Daniels (TE – DEN) Daniels was hyped up this past week because of his matchup with Oakland. The Raiders have struggled against tight ends this season. Daniels caught none of his five targets. Manning is really struggling to spread the ball around like he used to, and Daniels isn’t targeted enough in general to be fantasy relevant.

Sleeper: No sleeper here. The Broncos will run their offense through Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Cleveland’s offense will struggle against the Broncos’ tough defense after blowing up for over 500 yards last week .

Bears at Lions

Start: Ameer Abdullah (RB – DET) Abdullah is another struggling running back I think will have a good day on Sunday. The Bears have given up an average of 100 yards a game to opposing running backs, and outside of Theo Riddick (who is much more of a receiving threat than a threat on the ground), the backfield in Detroit is void of talent. Abdullah will have plenty of opportunities and a plus matchup at home on Sunday.

Sit: Alshon Jeffery (WR – CHI) If Jeffery is actually able to play today, I’d have trouble trusting him. He could have an immediate impact, but more likely, quarterback Jay Cutler will continue to heavily target Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. If you don’t have good wide receiver depth, then by all means start him. But chances are you’re getting on just fine with another option. Continue to do that this week before you work Jefery back into your lineup.

Sleeper: Theo Riddick (RB – DET) He’s still un-owned in the majority of Yahoo leagues, but he had 13 targets last week. He could be a PPR goldmine.

Texans at Jaguars

Start: Deandre Hopkins (WR – HOU) Hopkins is leading the league in yards through five weeks, and he’s second in receptions to Atlanta’s Julio Jones. He’s really the only trustworthy option besides Arian Foster for the Texans, and Foster is an injury risk week to week.

Sit: TJ Yeldon (RB – JAX) The Texans’ defense has been disappointing against the run this season and as a whole, the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line is rated as the 27th in the NFL by Football Outsiders, making it a bottom ten unit. This week I like Houston to cause trouble in the Jaguars’ backfield, especially in the run game.

Sleeper: Cecil Shorts (WR – HOU) Outside of a pick at the end of the game, Brian Hoyer looked pretty decent spreading the ball around last week against the Colts. Shorts has averaged five receptions per game this season. If he’s healthy and he plays Sunday, he’s got potential in PPR as a bye-week wide receiver fill-in. The Jaguars are a decent matchup for opposing wide receivers as the 11th worst pass defense in the league.

Chiefs at Vikings

Start: Travis Kelce (TE – KC) Kelce has had two disappointing games in a row, but the loss of Jamaal Charles should lead to a significant increase in targets for Kelce. Their entire offensive system is built to feature Kelce, Charles and Maclin. With Charles out, those targets will need to be redistributed, and Kelce should benefit the most in short yardage scenarios where Charles would normally get the ball out of the backfield or in the middle of the field. Kelce should resurge in week six against the Vikings.

Sit: Mike Wallace (WR – MIN) Wallace had a huge game before the bye week, catching eight passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Before that, he averaged under five targets a game. Wallace will have big games and duds. He’s an inconsistent WR3 option season long.

Sleeper: Stefon Diggs (WR – MIN) There was a lot of talk about Diggs after week four, but that died down quickly during the Viking’s bye week. In his NFL debut with the Vikings, Diggs was targeted 10 times. He caught six of those passes for 87 yards and showed big play making ability against the Broncos elite defense. He’s a deep sleeper, but if he hits he’s a potential dynamite stick.

Dolphins at Titans

Start: Jarvis Landry (WR – MIA) The only reason this isn’t an obvious start is because the Titans have only been letting up 167 yards per game and the Dolphins offense has struggled.

The Titans pass defense isn’t as good as the numbers project, as they’ve only played against Jameis Winston, Josh McCown, an injured Andrew Luck and Tyrod Taylor. It’s suspected that Dolphins new head coach Dan Campbell wants to run the ball more, which should open up the passing game for Miami. He’s also been targeted more than ten times a game in every game this year.

Sit: Dorial Green-Beckham (WR – TEN) This should be obvious, as he had one good game and then a goose egg after his team’s bye week. I picked him because I do think he’s worth a stash in most leagues. I expect Kendall Wright to be the featured option in the passing game for Tennessee.

Sleeper: Antonio Andrews (RB – TEN) Andrews has gotten a touchdown in each of his last two matchups. He also was targeted four times, catching three of those for 45 yards. He’s another deep sleeper, and I think you’re playing for a touchdown if you start him, but the good news is you’ll probably get one. The Dolphins have allowed a whopping 78 points to running backs in four games.

Redskins at Jets

Start: Eric Decker (WR – NYJ) Decker has had a touchdown in every game he’s played this season. He also plays as the slot receiver in Chan Gailey’s offense, and the Redskins have struggled this season defending passes in the middle of the field. The Redskins have allowed the seventh most-fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Decker at home against the Redskins is a strong flex play.

Sit: Kirk Cousins (QB – WAS) Cousins is starting on more teams than he should be because of injuries to Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck. I hate him this week, even in two quarterback leagues. He’s a young inexperienced QB against the best defense in the league. Stay away.

Sleeper: Jamison Crowder (WR – WAS) Crowder has 21 catches in his last three matchups. Against the Falcons, he caught all eight of his targets for 87 yards. He’s benefited from injuries to both Jordan Reed and Desean Jackson. I expect his catch rate to go down when either one returns, but he’s earned a steady role in the Redskins offense.

Cardinals at Steelers

Start: John Brown (WR – AZ) Hopefully you read this column and started him last week. Fire him up again. The Steelers’ secondary wasn’t too great to begin with, and now they’re dealing with some injuries. Brown has lightning speed and is a deep threat in an offensive system which features the deep pass, and a quarterback who is very good in the vertical passing game. Everything adds up for him again this week.

Sit: Antonio Brown (WR – PIT) If you told me Brown would be a recommended sit for week six before the season started, I wouldn’t believe you. But Michael Vick didn’t even look for him against the Chargers. Let’s all hope Big Ben comes back soon. It’s the Leveon Bell show in Pittsburgh until then. Most likely you’ll start Brown, because you probably don’t have a better option, but it’s going to be boom or bust.

Sleeper: David Johnson (RB – AZ) I don’t know if Johnson qualifies as a sleeper, but he’s only owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues. The first year running back has six touchdowns in five games. That’s ridiculous. He’s the third running back on the roster, behind Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington. Despite his position on the depth chart, he keeps finding ways to score, whether it be in goal line scenarios, punt or kick returns, or catching passes out of the backfield. I’m not sure how he’ll score in Pittsburgh, but I expect the Cardinals to score a lot of points against a soft defense. It’s a safe bet Johnson will account for some of them.

Panthers at Seahawks

Start: Greg Olsen (TE – CAR) I’ll start by saying I actually would avoid everyone from this game. Seattle’s offense is totally broken as a result of an offensive line that absolutely refuses to block anyone, and they have to play a stellar defensive front for Carolina.

The Panthers, on the other hand, have one pass catcher (Olsen) and he’s going to be working against Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor this Sunday. Chancellor did look human against the Bengals just a week ago, but you can’t count on that to happen often. Olsen is a start because he’s really the only trustworthy option for Cam Newton to throw to, but manage expectations.

Sit: Everyone else. This is going to be a conservative football game with lots of defense, lots of short runs and not a lot of scoring. If I were a betting man, I’d take the under on most players in this matchup.

Ravens at 49ers

Start: Steve Smith Sr. (WR – BAL) He should be back in the starting lineup this week after suffering from four micro-fractures in his back. Even if he plays through some pain, he’ll produce in this matchup. Smith is one of the toughest players in the league, and the only viable receiver in the Ravens’ offense.

Sit: Colin Kaepernick (QB – SF) He looked good against the Giants, but don’t let that fool you. The Giants are dead last in pass defense and were playing with mostly backups on defense due to injuries. San Francisco only had about ten different passing plays installed for him last week, and even though the Ravens defense is a shell of its former self, they should be able to pick up on that this week.

Sleeper: Crockett Gillmore (TE – BAL) Gillmore has been back at practice this week, so chances are good he plays this game. He’s a viable tight end streaming option against a defense that failed to cover no-name tight ends Larry Donnell and Will Tye in the Meadowlands last week.

Chargers at Packers

Start: Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon (RBs – SD) Seeing a pattern here? I love these two week in and week out, especially Woodhead. Gordon played more snaps than Danny Woodhead last week, but Woodhead still put up RB2 numbers in PPR formats.

Gordon had (what looked like to me) his best game as a pro, and Woodhead stayed consistent in the 10-15 point range, which seems to be his floor. Fire both of them up this week if you own.

Sit: Stevie Johnson (WR – SD) Even if he’s healthy on Sunday, I’d still bench him. The return of Antonio Gates from his suspension is going to hamper his production for the rest of the season. He was an WR2/3 early on in the season, and will be relegated to a touchdown dependent WR3 going forward.

Sleeper: Richard Rodgers (TE – GB) He’s been a popular waiver wire add, but he’s still only owned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues. Rodgers had 14 targets in his last two games. Tight ends for Green Bay usually have a pretty consistent floor of 5-8 receptions and get looks in the end zone. He’s a safe play at tight end this week.

Patriots at Colts

Start: Dion Lewis (RB – NE) I love Lewis. I think when the season is over, he’ll have been the most impactful waiver add of the season. Tom Brady targeted him eight times last week in Dallas, which he converted to 59 yards and a touchdown. On his touchdown, Lewis caught a poorly thrown ball with one hand and proceeded to make four Dallas Cowboys miss tackles on his way into the end zone. Lewis continues to out-snap Legarrette Blount by a significant amount. He’s an every week RB2, especially in PPR.

Sit: Donte Moncrief (WR – IND) I’m low on the entire Colts passing game this week, seeing as they’ll either have 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck or injured Andrew Luck throwing them the ball, but T.Y. Hilton is too good to sit. The Patriots usually use their best corner on the one wide receiver and use a safety over the top to double the other, and I think Moncrief will get the double coverage and TY will get the one-on-one matchups.

Sleeper: Brandon LaFell (WR – NE) LaFell won’t play this week, as he’s still recovering from an injury. But he should be back between weeks seven and nine. He’ll be the second wide receiver in a Tom Brady offense, so stash him now.

Giants at Eagles

Start: Odell Beckham, Jr (WR – NYG) He may not play, but I expect him to be out there Monday night. He injured his hamstring towards the end of the 49ers game but came back for the final drive. Don’t let a pinched hamstring scare you off, he’ll produce against a leaky Philadelphia pass defense.

Sit: Rashad Jennings (RB – NYG) Jennings is one of those players who’s better in real life than he is in fantasy. The Eagles have been very good against the run in the last few weeks. While Jennings has looked pretty good, he gets rotated in and out too much with Shane Vereen and Andre Williams to be effective for your team.

Sleeper: Shane Vereen (RB – NYG) The Giants may be without Odell Beckham Jr, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle on Monday night. In that scenario, Vereen would become the biggest weapon for red-hot Eli Manning. Even if everyone is healthy, Vereen looked incredible as a receiver out of the backfield last week, and I expect the Giants to feature him heavily to control the clock in a game where they are going to have trouble running the ball.

Jacob Kleinberg is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him on this or other articles, email him at [email protected].