Nick Mensio

Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week 6 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes.

QUARTERBACK

Start of the Week: Jameis Winston at Falcons: This is the hottest fantasy matchup of Sunday’s day games. (Chiefs-Patriots will be played on Sunday Night Football.) Neither of these squads play much defense, and the 57.5-point total is the second-highest on the Week 6 slate behind the aforementioned Kansas City-New England date set at 59.5 points. Winston is back in the saddle for his first start of the season after coming on in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick last time out in Week 4 in the blowout loss to the Bears. Winston had an incredible preseason, going 30-of-41 passes (73.2%) for 388 yards (9.5 YPA) with three touchdowns and no picks. He was Pro Football Focus’ top-graded passer in the summer exhibitions. That’s a small piece of the puzzle, as we’re not going to take preseason stats for more than they should be taken for, but Winston’s numbers are at least notable. The Falcons are giving up the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are 28th in pass-defense DVOA. Their injury troubles are well documented to this point, having lost defensive linchpins SS Keanu Neal (torn ACL), MLB Deion Jones (foot), and FS Ricardo Allen (Achilles’) to season-ending injuries. Ben Roethlisberger (250 yards, 3 TDs, QB5), Andy Dalton (337 yards, 3 TDs, QB9), Drew Brees (399 yards, 5 TDs, QB1), and Cam Newton (377 yards, 3 TDs, QB7) have all been top-nine fantasy quarterbacks against Atlanta the past four weeks. Winston has also had huge games against coach Dan Quinn’s defense the past two years. He’s made three starts against Atlanta, not counting his 2015 rookie season, and has gone 281 yards, 4 TDs > 261 yards, 3 TDs > 299 yards, 3 TDs. Winston has one of the better supporting casts in the league and is coming off a bye. Winston is a lock-and-load surefire QB1 streamer with the potential to be top-12 the rest of the way.



Starts

Andy Dalton vs. Steelers: 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 at home against the Dolphins only to overcome a 17-point deficit and win in convincing fashion. A preseason star just like Jameis Winston above, Dalton’s big summer has carried over into the regular season. Weeks 1-4, Dalton was the overall QB10. A matchup against division foe Pittsburgh presents a big bounce-back opportunity. The Steelers have surrendered the most passing touchdowns, second-most yards, and second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor (QB6), Patrick Mahomes (QB2), Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB8), and Joe Flacco (QB12) were all top-12 fantasy passers against the Steelers Weeks 1-4 before Matt Ryan snapped the streak as QB18 in Pittsburgh last Sunday. The Bengals are at home with a near-full arsenal of weapons aside from Tyler Eifert (leg, I.R.) and a reshaped offensive line that is Football Outsiders’ No. 10 pass-blocking unit. The 53-point total for Steelers-Bengals is the third-highest on the slate.

Matt Ryan vs. Bucs: Ryan is a top-four fantasy passer through five weeks, so calling him a start isn’t some earth-shattering take by any means. But coming off a QB18 performance in Pittsburgh last Sunday and suffering a foot “injury,” Ryan isn’t someone owners should be looking to replace Week 6. Ryan was the QB8, QB5, and QB2 the previous three weeks, sandwiching them with his underwhelming day against the Steelers and QB24 night in Philly in the opener. This is a mammoth bounce-back spot at home against a Bucs defense that got flamed by Mitchell Trubisky last time out when he set new career bests for passing yards (354) and touchdowns (6) en route to the overall QB1 day in Week 4. The Bucs have had their bye week to try and get right, but their secondary remains a total disaster, ranking dead last in pass-defense DVOA and fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. This game also gets to be played in the friendly fantasy dome environment of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. All three of Ryan’s aforementioned top-eight fantasy performances came at home in the dome. The combined point totals in those games have been 55 > 80 > 73. The 57.5-point total for Bucs-Falcons may be a tad low, and it’s the second-highest total of Week 6.

Baker Mayfield vs. Chargers: I had a real tough time picking a not-obvious fourth option here. It was between Mayfield and Sam Darnold, but I’m going to slide slightly with Mayfield on this one. Coming into the year, the Chargers were supposed to be one of the more feared pass defenses. But Joey Bosa (foot) has yet to play, Casey Hayward isn’t playing at his 2017 All-Pro level, and the Bolts have been pretty forgiving to opposing air attacks. Sure, Patrick Mahomes (QB4) and Jared Goff (QB6) had huge days against the Bolts, and that’s to be expected, but even C.J. Beathard threw for 298 yards and a pair of touchdowns against this defense in Week 4. The Chargers are a disappointing 16th in pass-defense DVOA and 24th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Since taking over as the starter, Mayfield is fantasy’s QB22, but he’s been hurt by a number of drops. Looking at you, Antonio Callaway and David Njoku. The yards have been there with an average of 318.5 in two starts, though he’s required overtime in both instances. This just looks like a plus spot against an underperforming pass defense coming cross-country for an early 1 PM ET start. Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees owners like myself may be in a bind with slim pickings on the waiver wire, and Mayfield just might be the best of the bunch with the greatest upside thanks to rushing ability.

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Sits

Philip Rivers at Browns: Rivers has been phenomenal through five weeks; he’s sixth in completion percentage, fifth in yards per attempt, second in touchdown passes, and third in passer rating as fantasy’s QB7 in points per game. Rivers has been a top-15 fantasy passer every week and has three top-10 finishes. He’s been as consistent as they come at the position, but Sunday might prove to be his toughest test to date. The Browns are second in pass-defense DVOA and 11th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Among teams that have played five games, only seven have allowed fewer passing touchdowns than Cleveland. The Browns lead the league in takeaways with 15. This is an elite unit at the moment and No. 2 in total defense behind the Bears at Football Outsiders. Only Derek Carr has a top-12 fantasy finish against Cleveland, and he needed an entire 10-minute overtime to do it. Notable passers to struggle versus Cleveland were Drew Brees (QB14) and Ben Roethlisberger (QB21). Rivers is just a two-quarterback league option for me.

Marcus Mariota vs. Ravens: The flavor of the week at this time last week, Mariota was coming off 390 yards and three touchdowns in a big home win against the Eagles in Week 4. He was being talked about as the add of the week at the position and a possible QB1 the rest of the way. I wasn’t buying it and listed Mariota as a “sit”, and he answered with a Mariota-like 139 total yards and no touchdowns on his way to the overall QB31 performance in Buffalo as the Titans fell to Josh Allen’s group 13-12. Mariota was hurt by a mind-numbing drop of a short touchdown by Nick Williams, but he would have needed a few more of those touchdowns to be a useful fantasy piece. I simply do not trust Mariota; he’s far too inconsistent and has had way too many lows compared to highs in recent memory. Coming home to face a Ravens defense that is fourth in pass-defense DVOA and No. 2 in fantasy points allowed 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 30 teams in action. Mariota isn’t even on the two-QB league radar.

Mitchell Trubisky at Dolphins: Trubisky had the game of his life the last time we saw him, throwing for 354 yards and six touchdowns as the overall QB1 at home against the Bucs back in Week 4. That is a truly bad secondary Tampa Bay puts on the field each week. The Bears have had two weeks to get ready for the Dolphins, but there’s no way I’m putting any faith in Trubisky to come close to repeating his last performance. Miami’s defense hasn’t been its problem; the Dolphins are fifth in pass-defense DVOA and third in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Miami has yet to allow a top-12 fantasy performance through the air, as running backs have been the issue in recent losses to the Patriots and Bengals. The 41.5-point total for Bears-Dolphins is the fourth-lowest of Week 6 and features two top-five defenses. Coach Matt Nagy has Trubisky on the right path, but we need to see more before going with him in fantasy circles. He’s a weak two-QB league play.


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Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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