In seasonal fantasy football, matchups often boil down to which owner makes the right start/sit decisions. You can’t hold allegiances to projections or name recognition, you simply have to play the guys you think will wind up with the most fantasy points.
Here are the fringe options that might / should be in your fantasy lineup in Week 6.
Week 6 Start ‘Em
QB Andy Dalton vs. PIT
The Steelers defense has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, but is always a bit more unreliable on the road. Pittsburgh has coughed up the fourth-most passing YPG (296.2) and ranks 30th in non-adjusted DVOA pass defense. The schedule doesn’t get much easier for the Black and Yellow against Andy Dalton and the Bengals ninth-ranked passing offense (DVOA). Dalton has struggled at Pittsburgh in years past, but went 21-of-36 for 234 yards and 2 TD to post a 96.3 passer rating in his last home start against the Steelers. Pittsburgh plays at the fifth-fastest pace in the league in the first half and Cincy is fourth in the league in TD percentage on drives (.320%) so we could have a shootout in Cincy.
RB Tevin Coleman vs. TB
Devonta Freeman was eased back into action after missing several weeks with a knee sprain, and now he’s questionable with a foot contusion. Even if Freeman plays, Coleman is likely to split the workload pretty much evenly and do more damage as a receiver against a Bucs team that gives up the most passing YPG (358) and PPG (34.8) by far this year. Tampa has given up the fifth-most receiving yards (328) to opposing backs despite only playing four games this season. Coleman carried 19 times for 97 yards and 2 TD the last time he faced this defense and is poised for an elevated workload given Freeman’s status.
RB Corey Clement @ NYG
He hasn’t played since Week 3, but Corey Clement should jump into the fire on Thursday night with Jay Ajayi (knee) done for the season. Darren Sproles (hamstring) is still out, giving Clement almost exclusive access to passing duties while Wendell Smallwood should handle early-down work. The Giants have only given up six passing TDs this season, and a league-high four of those have gone to running backs. Expect a blitz-heavy approach from the G-Men at home in a primetime, forcing Carson Wentz to hit Clement on a few potentially big screen plays.
WR Josh Gordon vs. KC
People are jumping off the Josh Gordon bandwagon quickly, even dropping the superstar talent in some leagues. While he’s only logged a total of 36 offensive snaps through two appearance with the Patriots, that number will continue to grow, especially after the mini Bye week that follows a Thursday night game. Catching Tom Brady’s 500th career TD pass in highlight fashion will certainly endear himself to the future Hall of Famer and he’s gaining trust while Chris Hogan is losing trust. Up next is a high-powered Chiefs team that is sure to put points on the board and keep the Pats throwing late in the game, not like they need any encouragement. New England ranks fourth in pace of play during neutral situations and fourth in pace with a 7-plus point lead this season.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. SF
If Randall Cobb (hamstring) is able to practice Friday, many will assume that Marquez Valdes-Scantling is no longer a viable starter. That may not be the case. We’ve seen Aaron Rodgers make a career out of may a young receiver and he seems to be developing a good rapport with the rookie. At 6-foot-3, he provides a valuable big body in the red zone that Cobb can’t replace. Geronimo Allison (concussion/hamstring) is also a threat to eat into his workload, but MVS is trending upwards with one of the best quarterbacks in the game targeting him.
TE Austin Hooper vs. TB
At such a thin position, it should seem obvious to start a player with a solid floor in Austin Hooper. The steady third-year man is the TE9 in PPR formats and is coming off a career day in which he caught 9-of-12 targets for 77 yards. With Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley getting all the attention in the red zone, Hooper could wind up open against a porous Tampa defense that’s specifically vulnerable to TEs because of its Cover 2-based scheme.