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There’s no need for a fancy introduction this week. Let’s just get right to the starts and sits.

After three rough Start of the Week suggestions over the past three weeks —
Cam Newton
failing against the
New Orleans Saints
in Week 3,
Chris Carson
breaking his ankle in Week 4 and
Jay Ajayi
fumbling against the
Tennessee Titans
in Week 5 — I’m ready to redeem myself and help you win your leagues.

Let’s go.

Editor’s Note: Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg.

Start of the Week

Kirk Cousins

/ Redskins
(vs. SF)

Week 6 projections: 23.3 Fantasy points

The NFL season is a grind. Even though teams only play once a week, each game wears on a player and makes them more vulnerable as the season goes on. The hope is the schedule is fair, but we know that’s not always the case. And that brings us to the
San Francisco 49ers
, who are playing their third road game in a row in Week 6 at Washington.

The three-game trip started in Arizona in Week 4, and moved on to Indianapolis in Week 5, and both of those games went to overtime. San Francisco lost both. The 49ers will have traveled nearly 10,000 miles over a 16-day period, according to the Mercury News, and they have already played 10 quarters before kicking off against Washington.

To make matters worse, the
Washington Redskins
are coming off a bye. So we have a tired defense against what should be a fresh offense at home.

To quote Kirk himself: 


Cousins has a great opportunity this week to be a Fantasy star, and he’s coming off two solid performances before Washington’s bye. He scored 32 Fantasy points against Oakland in Week 3 and 23 points at Kansas City in Week 4, is his best stretch of the season.

We expect Cousins to build off those previous outings, and the hope is his receiving corps finally starts playing at a high level on a consistent basis. The group of
Jordan Reed
Terrelle Pryor
Jamison Crowder
Josh Doctson
has been disappointing, whether due to inconsistent play or injury, but the bye week could be the cure.

Cousins scored 22 Fantasy points coming off his bye last year against Minnesota, and this game could be an audition of sorts for next year. Playing for San Francisco and head coach Kyle Shanahan, Cousins’ former offensive coordinator in Washington, could be a possibility if he becomes a free agent in the offseason.

But we have time to worry about that down the road. For this week, look for Cousins to beat up a tired 49ers defense, which is allowing an average of 19.4 Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

I’ll take the over on those points for Cousins this week. He’s rested and ready to go. And the 49ers aren’t. 

I’m starting Cousins over: Cam Newton (vs. PHI),
Matt Ryan
(vs. MIA),
Alex Smith
(vs. PIT),
Carson Wentz
(at CAR) and
Matthew Stafford
(at NO)


Sleeper quarterbacks

  • Carson Palmer
    (vs. TB): Palmer has been up and down with his Fantasy production this season, but this is a good matchup to trust him in, even with the Tampa Bay defense getting healthy with
    Lavonte David
    Kwon Alexander
    and T.J. Ward back at practice this week. Two of the past three quarterbacks to face the
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    have scored at least 31 Fantasy points, and Palmer has a good track record at home. In his past five home games going back to last year, Palmer is averaging 23 Fantasy points.
  • Jacoby Brissett (at TEN): Brissett has done well in the past two games where he’s had favorable matchups, which were Week 3 against Cleveland and Week 5 against San Francisco. He scored at least 17 Fantasy points in each outing, and this game should put him in that range against the Titans. Two of the past three quarterbacks to face Tennessee have scored at least 40 Fantasy points, and Brissett is a solid streaming option in Week 6.

  • Case Keenum
    (vs. GB): Keenum is worth using as a streaming option in deeper leagues this week since he’s facing a
    Green Bay Packers
    defense that has allowed two of the past three opposing quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points. With Sam Bradford (knee) hurt, Keenum can solidify himself as the starter for the
    Minnesota Vikings
    moving forward, even if
    Teddy Bridgewater
    (knee) returns soon. I’m starting Keenum in a two-quarterback league this week.

Bust Alert

Alex Smith

/ Chiefs

Week 6 projections: 19.5 Fantasy points

Smith has been amazing so far this year, and he comes into this game as the No. 2 Fantasy quarterback, behind only Watson. He has three games with at least 28 Fantasy points, and he hasn’t scored less than 18 points in any outing yet. But he’s due for a letdown, which should happen this week. Smith has faced the
Pittsburgh Steelers
four times over the past three seasons, and he’s averaging just 255 passing yards in those matchups, with four total touchdowns and one interception. Smith is also 1-3 vs. Pittsburgh over that span. The Steelers have yet to allow a quarterback to score 20 Fantasy points this year, although they haven’t exactly faced stiff competition from guys like
Blake Bortles
Joe Flacco
Mike Glennon
, Keenum and
DeShone Kizer
. Still, it’s hard to expect a huge performance from Smith this week, and this will be his worst game of the season against the Steelers.

Running backs

Sleeper running backs

  • Andre Ellington
    (vs. TB): Fantasy owners are going to panic about Ellington with the Cardinals adding Peterson via trade, but that would be a mistake. Ellington is still the best running back in Arizona based on his role in the passing game. He has 32 targets in the past three games, which has resulted in 23 catches for 210 yards. He has yet to score this season, but that doesn’t matter in PPR, where he is a must-start option. I like Ellington as a flex option in standard as well.

  • Jerick McKinnon
    (vs. GB): You saw what happened with McKinnon on Monday night in Week 5 against Chicago when he had 16 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown and six catches for 51 yards on six targets. He was the man despite
    Latavius Murray
    getting the start, and that shouldn’t change this week. He now faces a Packers team that has allowed six running backs to either score or gain 100 total yards, including two receiving touchdowns. McKinnon should be considered a low-end starter in any format.

  • Tevin Coleman
    (vs. MIA): Coleman has been the pass-catching running back for the
    Atlanta Falcons
    this year ahead of
    Devonta Freeman
    , and that should be a good role against the Dolphins. Miami has already allowed four running backs to catch at least four passes in four games, and Coleman comes into this matchup with 13 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown in four outings. Consider Coleman at least a flex option in standard leagues and a low-end starter in PPR.

  • Chris Thompson
    (vs. SF): The 49ers and their tired defense now get to chase around Thompson, and pass-catching running backs have done well against San Francisco this year. The 49ers are among the league leaders with 35 receptions allowed to running backs with 300 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
    Jonathan Stewart
    Todd Gurley
    and Ellington have scored at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league just on their receiving stats alone against the 49ers, and the Redskins could be without
    Rob Kelley
    (ankle) this week. I would also consider
    Samaje Perine
    a sleeper this week if Kelley is out.

  • Theo Riddick
    (at NO): I like
    Ameer Abdullah
    this week as a No. 2 Fantasy running back, but Riddick has flex appeal, especially in PPR. The Saints have struggled with pass-catching running backs this year, with
    Rex Burkhead
    James White
    Christian McCaffrey
    all scoring at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league just on their receiving stats alone against the Saints. Riddick has been quiet this season with Abdullah staying healthy, but he does have four catches in two of his past three games. If the Lions get behind in this matchup then Riddick will be heavily involved in the comeback effort.

Bust Alert

Carlos Hyde

/ 49ers
(at WAS)

Week 6 projections: 9.6 Fantasy points

There’s not a lot to like about Hyde this week, which lowers his upside to a flex option at best in the majority of leagues. He’s still dealing with a hip injury for the past three weeks, and he’s losing touches to rookie
Matt Breida
, with coach Kyle Shanahan saying he would use a hot-hand approach moving forward. That was the case in Week 5 at the
Indianapolis Colts
when Hyde played 33 snaps compared to 35 for Breida. This game could get lopsided quickly with the Redskins offense playing against a tired 49ers defense, which could take Hyde off the field. And the Redskins have allowed just one rushing touchdown for the season. I’m nervous about Hyde’s outlook this week.

Wide receivers

Sleeper wide receivers

  • Danny Amendola
    (at NYJ): He’s been great for PPR owners in three of the four games he’s been able to play this year, with at least six catches in three outings and either a touchdown or 77 receiving yards in those contests. In a standard league, Amendola has at least seven Fantasy points in three of four games. He’s a solid No. 3 receiver in standard leagues and a starter in PPR.

  • John Brown
    (vs. TB): Brown has 14 targets in his past two games, and he scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 5 at Philadelphia. He’s still dealing with a quad injury, which is something to monitor, but if he’s able to play in Week 6 against Tampa Bay then he’s worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver. The Buccaneers allow the most Fantasy points on average to opposing receivers this year.

  • Tyrell Williams
    (at OAK): The Raiders are prone to big plays, as Doctson caught a 52-yard touchdown in Week 3, and
    Mike Wallace
    went off for three catches for 133 yards last week. Maybe
    Travis Benjamin
    benefits from that in this matchup, but I don’t mind trusting Williams as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week in all leagues.

  • Marvin Jones
    (at NO): Jones had a season high in targets (eight), catches (six ) and yards (54) last week against Carolina, and he could also have a big game like Tate this week against the Saints. You want to get people in this game on your Fantasy roster given the potential of offensive fireworks, and Las Vegas has this matchup as the highest-scoring game for the week at 51 total points.

  • Willie Snead
    (vs. DET): We hope Snead will make his season debut this week against the Lions, and he’s still dealing with a hamstring injury coming off a bye, so keep an eye on his status. If he plays, see above on Jones on why you should play him, even with the potential of rust. In two career games against Detroit, Snead has 12 catches for 114 yards, which could make him useful in PPR.

Bust Alert

It’s been 10 games since Thomas scored a touchdown going back to last year, and he has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league over that span. He’s still worth starting in all PPR leagues, but Thomas could struggle this week if he’s matched up with Giants’ cornerback
Janoris Jenkins
. Only one No. 1 receiver has scored against the Giants this year —
Mike Evans
in Week 4, and that touchdown came against cornerback
Eli Apple
, not Jenkins. Thomas is just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best in Week 6.

Tight ends

Sleeper tight ends

  • George Kittle
    (at WAS): Kittle is starting to get more involved over the past two weeks, and he has 12 targets for nine catches, 118 yards and one touchdown over that span. This week, Kittle faces a Redskins defense that has allowed four tight ends to score at least nine Fantasy points on the season, with one in every game. Kittle is a great streaming option in all leagues.
  • A.J. Derby (vs. NYG): Derby is a great one-week flier based on the matchup. He faces the Giants in Week 6, and they have allowed the most touchdowns to opposing tight ends with six, with six tight ends reaching double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. He’s the leader in targets among tight ends in Denver with 13, but he only has one game with quality production, which was Week 4 against Oakland with four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Still, given the opponent, he’s worth the risk if you need a one-week starter.

  • Zach Miller
    (at BAL): It was fluky how Miller got his first touchdown of the season in Week 5 when a tipped pass from
    Mitchell Trubisky
    that should have been an interception landed in Miller’s lap in the end zone against the Vikings. But the nice thing about Trubisky’s first start was he targeted Miller seven times, as Miller finished with his best Fantasy outing of nine points. We hope this is the start of something good with the rookie quarterback, and Miller is worth using as a low-end starter in Week 6 at Baltimore.

Bust Alert

Ed Dickson

/ Panthers
(vs. PHI)

Week 6 projections: 5.6 Fantasy points

Dickson seems to be a big reason for Newton turning things around, and he’s played well the past two weeks with eight catches for 237 yards on nine targets. But don’t chase his career game against the Lions and think that’s the norm moving forward. He had five catches for 175 yards on five targets in Week 5, but you’re more likely to get the six Fantasy points he scored in Week 4 against New England this week against the Eagles. Philadelphia has allowed one tight end to score double digits in Fantasy points this year,
Travis Kelce
in Week 2. We doubt Dickson gets to double digits in points this week, and he’s just a low-end starting option at best in most leagues.

Defense/Special Teams

Start ‘Em

Jaguars (vs. LAR) – 10.5 Projected points

Los Angeles Rams
played a real defense for the first time this season in Week 5 against Seattle, and we all saw the results. Goff had two interceptions, a season high, and the Rams scored a season-low 10 points. It was much different than the results from beating up Indianapolis, San Francisco and Dallas over the first month of the year. The Jaguars DST has been awesome, and just had their best performance in Week 5 at Pittsburgh with two touchdowns, five interceptions and nine points allowed. Jacksonville has limited three teams (Houston, Baltimore and Pittsburgh) to single digits in points, and this should be another dominant performance for the Jaguars DST.

Sleeper DSTs

  • Falcons (vs. MIA): The Dolphins offense, or lack thereof, has helped many opposing DSTs this year. The Jets, Saints and Titans have all scored at least 15 Fantasy points, as the Dolphins have scored 19 points or less in every game this year. The Falcons DST only has one game this year with double digits in Fantasy points, Week 2 against Green Bay, but this is a great streaming option given the matchup with Miami.
  • Redskins (vs. SF): You know the drill by now. The 49ers should be tired after three road games in a row, including two in overtime, and the Redskins defense should be well rested coming off a bye week. The 49ers have also allowed two DSTs this season to score at least 14 Fantasy points, and they have given up nine sacks in their past three games.
  • Patriots (at NYJ): Even though the Jets have won three games in a row against Miami, Jacksonville and Cleveland, the opposing DSTs for the Jaguars and Browns have still played well, with at least 13 Fantasy points in each outing. For the season, the Dolphins are the only opposing DST with fewer than 13 Fantasy points against the Jets, and they have allowed eight sacks in the past two weeks. The Patriots DST has been a disappointment so far this year, but this is a good matchup to trust them as at least a streaming option.

Sit ‘Em

Rams (at JAC) – 9.8 Projected points

We’ve been trained so much to think of playing the DST against the Jaguars in recent years because of Blake Bortles and his struggles. But that hasn’t been the case this year. The Jaguars are among the league leaders in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing DSTs, and the Titans in Week 2 are the lone team to score more than seven Fantasy points against them. Bortles isn’t throwing enough passes to make mistakes, and he only has four interceptions. He’s also been sacked just five times, and the Jaguars are averaging nearly 28 points per game on offense. The Rams DST has played well this season and comes into this matchup with an interception in three games in a row and 15 total sacks on the year. But given how the Jaguars have played this year, especially at home, you might consider avoiding the Rams DST this week.


Start ‘Em

Dustin Hopkins

/ Redskins
(vs. SF)

Week 6 projections: 9.6 Fantasy points

Hopkins has made multiple field goals in each of his past three games, but he’s yet to score double digits in Fantasy points this year. That should change this week. The 49ers allow the most Fantasy points to opposing kickers, and three kickers have made at least three field goals in a game against San Francisco this year. Four kickers have also scored at least 11 Fantasy points against the 49ers, who have allowed the most field goals on the season with 15. Hopkins should be a top-five kicker this week.

Sleeper kickers

  • Wil Lutz
    (vs. DET): Don’t forget about Lutz coming off his bye week, as he should continue to be among the best Fantasy kickers this year. He’s scored at least eight Fantasy points in every game, including two games with at least 12 points, with 10 field goals in four outings. The Lions have only allowed two kickers to score at least nine Fantasy points this year, but this game should be a high-scoring affair, which works out for Lutz. If he’s still available on waivers, go get him and lean on him as your starter for the rest of the season.

  • Brandon McManus
    (vs. NYG): McManus has scored 10 Fantasy points in each of his past two games, as he’s made six field goals over that span. The Giants allow the fifth-most Fantasy points to opposing kickers and are third in field goal attempts allowed with 14. Four of five kickers have also made at least two field goals against the Giants, and McManus is worth trusting this week.

  • Nick Novak
    (at OAK): Novak was perfect in his return to the Chargers in Week 5 against the Giants with two field goals and three extra points and no missed kicks. Maybe the Chargers should have never given up on Novak, their kicker from 2011-14, and he has a good matchup this week against the Raiders, who have allowed multiple field goals in every game this season. Novak is a great streaming option this week.

Sit ‘Em

Chris Boswell

/ Steelers
(at KC)

Week 6 projections: 6.6 Fantasy points

Boswell has just one game this season with double digits in Fantasy points, Week 2 against Minnesota. In fact, his two best games have come at home against the Vikings (14 Fantasy points) and vs. the Jaguars in Week 5 (nine points). Otherwise, Boswell has scored eight Fantasy points or less in three games on the road, and he’s averaging just 5.3 points over that span. The Chiefs have yet to allow a kicker to score double digits in Fantasy points this year, and we doubt Boswell is the guy to do it given his track record on the road. He should not be started this week.

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