Hard to believe we’re already at Week 6 of this rapidly-moving 2021 fantasy football season. Those pesky bye weeks are now upon us to further complicate lineup decisions. It’s now more important than ever to know which players make good starts, and who should be benched this week.
Here are some unheralded players to consider starting, and a few to think about benching ahead of Week 6.
Taylor Heinicke (QB) Washington Football Team
We are now at a point with the Chiefs where just about every decent offensive player is worth starting against them, especially players involved in the passing game. It’s the ideal situation for quarterbacks. The defense is terrible, and teams must keep throwing to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes no matter what the score is. He’s too dangerous to just sit on a lead or he already has built a lead of his own.
No team is giving up more points to fantasy QBs than the Chiefs. Second on that list is the Washington Football Team. This one is going to be a shootout. Kansas City has held just one team under 30 points all season. The Browns Week 1 scored 29 points. Heinicke has shown an ability to have big games despite a Week 5 dud. There is no reason to believe that will happen again this week.
Myles Gaskin (RB) Miami Dolphins
Gaskin has been the only bright spot in the Dolphins offense during their four-game losing streak without Tua. If last week didn’t show the coaches this man needs to be on the field as much as possible, they are never going to get it.
The Bucs had been shutting down fantasy running backs all season and Gaskin found a way to have himself a monster game. He only carried the ball five times but managed five yards per carry and caught all 10 of his targets for 74 yards and two touchdowns. He has looked exceptionally better than the other backs and I don’t see how he isn’t the man in Miami moving forward after a failed Malcolm Brown experiment.
Darrell Williams (RB) Kansas City Chiefs
Williams had already often looked like the favorite back in Kansas City when Clyde Edwards-Helaire was healthy. Now that CEH will be sidelined Williams should see the vast majority of snaps at running back. And he doesn’t have anyone breathing down his neck and taking a ton of snaps as he did to CEH. The matchup is average against Washington, but this is a high-powered offense and I want a piece of it. Williams is a good way to get that piece. He should have a ton of upside as a back who can also catch passes in a game that looks like it should be a shootout.
Kadarius Toney (WR) New York Giants
With injuries to Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton, Toney is the last man standing and has exploded over the past two weeks leading the entire league with 141 yards after catch during that stretch and breaking out last week with 10 receptions for 189 yards. It is looking like he will be the WR1 in New York again this week and even when everyone is healthy, he has earned a major role in this offense.
The one concern is the health of quarterback Daniel Jones. He is currently in the concussion protocol and the backup is Mike Glennon. If Jones is out, that likely caps Toney’s upside. Even so, if Shepard and Slayton are both out Toney may still be worth plugging in thanks to his playmaking ability and likely volume.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR) Buffalo Bills
The Bills offense has been unstoppable and there hasn’t been a target funnel to Stefon Diggs like last season. Sanders has had a massive role in this passing game, and they take on the Titans this week who have been getting destroyed through the air and are allowing the most points to fantasy wide receivers.
Through five games, Sanders has 19 receptions for 322 yards and four TDs. In his last three games, he’s had two multi-touchdown games and has topped 50 yards in each game. He has been consistent and reliable, and this week is a great matchup for him and the Bills’ passing attack.
Ricky Seals-Jones (TE) Washington Football Team
With Logan Thomas on injured reserve, Seals-Jones has seemingly stepped right into his role in the WFT offense. He saw eight targets in his first shot at the TE1 job and caught five passes for 41 yards. While the overall production doesn’t blow you away, it’s hard to ignore the targets. As usual, I’m highlighting a streamable option this week and with byes starting this week you may need to pluck a guy off waivers. If you can add a red zone threat who will likely be in a shootout and can get eight targets, it’s hard to beat that.
Ryan Tannehill (QB) Tennessee Titans
Tannehill is currently sitting as the fantasy QB20 and hasn’t shown many signs that a turnaround is coming soon. This week he draws the Bills who are allowing the fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks and their defense is steamrolling their opponents. With Julio Jones still injured and A.J. Brown not playing anywhere close to his potential there is nothing to like about Ryan Tannehill this week. You should be closer to cutting him than starting him this week.
Devontae Booker (RB) New York Giants
Booker is a trap play this week. With Saquon Barkley out he will step into an assumed starter’s role. However, there is a lot to hate here. He faces a tough matchup with the Rams, his quarterback may be sidelined and he’s simply just not nearly as good as Barkley. Barkley hasn’t even been that great this year behind that offensive line, so why would Booker suddenly be a viable starting option? You can add him off waivers and stash him on your bench, but don’t plug him into your starting lineup this week.
Josh Jacobs (RB) Las Vegas Raiders
In three games this year, Jacobs has not yet rushed for 50 yards and isn’t much of a factor in the passing game. Kenyan Drake has eaten into any passing work he may have seen and nagging injuries make him a risk of early exit every week. This week he will be taking on a Denver defense that is allowing the second-fewest points to fantasy running backs. Jacobs hasn’t been a good start in great matchups and has been outperformed by Peyton Barber when he missed two games. If he doesn’t find the end zone, he’s useless. Leave on your bench Week 6.
Marquise Brown (WR) Baltimore Ravens
Hollywood is coming off a huge game and has become relatively consistent for fantasy owners. Nevertheless, he goes up against the Chargers this week and I don’t love the matchup. Not only are they allowing the second-fewest points to wideouts, but what the Chargers have focused on this season is preventing the big play. If you take the big play away from Brown, he will have a tough time putting up the numbers you hope to see from him. There is a good chance you can’t just sit him, but you should temper expectations for Week 6.
Odell Beckham Jr (WR) Cleveland Browns
It’s time we all acknowledge that Beckham has been a subpar fantasy player for a long time. Some people are holding on to his first few years in the league, but that’s not who you’re getting anymore. Last week, Baker Mayfield threw for over 300 yards and two TDs in a shootout and Beckham caught two of three targets for 20 yards. That was preceded by a two for 27 effort in Week 4. He’s not a reliable option anymore and there isn’t even much upside. To make matters worse Jarvis Landry may come off IR this week. It’s time to give up on OBJ.
Robert Tonyan (TE) Green Bay Packers
Tonyan needs to be benched until further notice and could even be sent to the waiver wire. He’s not seeing the targets this year and has only had one game all season when he was at all fantasy relevant. An injured Packers’ offensive line has led to him helping in protection and chipping defenders more this season. The addition of Randall Cobb hasn’t helped matters either. I know a lot of people were high on him this year and spent higher draft capital on him than ideal, nonetheless, until he proves he can produce you have to cut your losses.
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