Fantasy football: Week 6 starters, benchwarmers

Ladd Biro
Special to Packer Plus
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Wondering whether or not to start Leonard Fournette and DeAndre Hopkins, or to bench Jay Cutler and Kerwynn Williams? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 6 of the 2017 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans vs. Browns: Watson is on an amazing run (5 TDs in each of his last two games!), and it’s hard to imagine the visiting Browns doing much to derail it. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are winning all the battles for Watson’s deep balls, and the young QB knows when to tuck it and run.

C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos vs. Giants: Denver has fully completed the transition to a run-centric offense, with Anderson leading the way. Though he has to share touches with Jamaal Charles, Anderson should have little trouble slicing through New York’s subpar run defenders.

Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers at Cardinals: Martin returned to the field in Week 5 and turned Jacquizz Rodgers into a forgotten man. Now that he has shaken off the rust, and eliminated the worry about a committee backfield, Martin is a safe start against an Arizona run defense that gives up chunks of yards.

Golden Tate, WR, Lions at Saints: Tate has been mostly disappointing this season, with just one touchdown and one 100-yard outing. But as long as Matt Stafford can stay upright, Tate should double those numbers against the vulnerable New Orleans secondary. This game will be contested through the air, and the Stafford-Tate combo should stay extremely busy.

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Redskins vs. 49ers:  Pryor had his best game as a Redskin prior to the Week 5 bye, and we have to assume he and Kirk Cousins further refined their chemistry during the break. They’ll return to face one of the league’s most generous secondaries, so look for Pryor to pay more dividends on his big free-agent contract.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian, Jacoby Brissett; RBs Jordan Howard, Aaron Jones, Jerick McKinnon; WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Jaron Brown, Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Pierre Garçon, Emmanuel Sanders, Davante Adams, Adam Thielen.

Roll ‘em back

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders vs. Chargers: Carr is expected to return from his back injury, but you shouldn’t rush him into your starting lineup. Not only was he struggling before he was knocked out, but he was getting zero help from Amari Cooper. The Chargers’ secondary is one of the NFL’s elites, offering little hope for Carr and his receivers to rekindle their fantasy mojo.

Mike Gillislee, RB, Patriots at Jets: Here’s what we know about Gillislee: If he doesn’t get his goal-line carries, he’s fairly useless to his fantasy owners. Gillislee has taken exactly 12 handoffs in each of the last three games, and he hasn’t caught a pass all season. On the other side, the Jets’ run defense has been holding up well against lead backs.

Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints vs. Lions: Kamara is the biggest beneficiary of this week’s trade of Adrian Peterson to Arizona. But you won’t see an immediate payoff, as the Saints are unlikely to dwell on establishing the run against the stout Detroit rush defense. Kamara will see his share of targets out of the backfield, but they aren’t likely to produce enough to make you wish you had started him.

Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers at Raiders: He’s coming off a single-reception game against the Giants, and now he’ll face both a solid Oakland secondary and the expected return of prized first-round draft choice Mike Williams. Philip Rivers isn’t shy about passing the ball, but he has too many mouths to feed among his receiving corps to make any of them – except possibly Keenan Allen – a desirable play.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers at Chiefs: As miserably as Big Ben played at home last week, he certainly can’t be trusted on the road against a solid Kansas City defense. Bryant’s role in Pittsburgh’s passing attack seems murky, and he clearly isn’t in sync with his struggling quarterback. Making matters worse, Juju Smith-Schuster is stealing his targets.

More thumbs down: QBs Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, Jared Goff, Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota; RBs Lamar Miller, Ty Montgomery, Tevin Coleman, Bilal Powell, Carlos Hyde, Frank Gore, Wayne Gallman, Rob Kelley; WRs Amari Cooper, Rishard Matthews, Eric Decker, Jeremy Maclin, Cooper Kupp, Willie Snead, Marqise Lee, Sammy Watkins, Kenny Golladay, DeVante Parker.


Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons vs. Dolphins: Atlanta is coming off a much-needed bye, during which Julio Jones had time to nurse his hip injury. But Mohamed Sanu’s hamstring has not yet healed enough to play. That means the speedy, play-making Gabriel will get plenty of looks from Matt Ryan, while the Dolphins’ sorry secondary focuses its attention on Jones.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…thinks Adrian Peterson will suddenly return to fantasy relevance in Arizona. Peterson, sadly, hasn’t looked good since 2015, and no back not named David Johnson has excelled in the Cardinals’ offense in years. Chris Johnson was a dud, and AP is the next man down.

Ladd Biro is a two-time winner and five-time finalist of the Football Writer of the Year Award by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (, on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).

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