The San Francisco 49ers travel east to face the Buffalo Bills at 10:00 a.m. PT. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings both have a bye this week. After five weeks, if you have Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, David Johnson, DeMarco Murray, or Ezekiel Elliott you are probably doing well so far. If you spent a high draft pick on Adrian Peterson, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Jr., Latavius Murray, or Keenan Allen you have hopefully found good value on your waiver wire.
We’re back with some start/sit advice as you set your lineups for week 6. We’ll look at notable 49ers and Bills for each position, and then offer up some start and sit advice around the league.
49ers-Bills: After five weeks of a stagnant aerial attack with Blaine Gabbert, the 49ers have announced that Colin Kaepernick will be starting his first game this year. The Bills have been stingy against signal-callers this year and that trend should continue this week. Rex Ryan will look to bring plenty of pressure and confound Kaepernick in his first start this year. Given Kaepernick’s struggles last year, fantasy owners that grabbed Kaepernick off the waiver wire should temper their expectations this week. Tyrod Taylor has found a way to win games this year but has not been nearly as explosive as his breakout year in 2015. Taylor has only passed for more than 125 yards in two of the past five games and his rushing totals are not what fantasy owners were hoping for this year. He has been middle of the road but has been reliable in garnering double digit fantasy points over the past month. Start: None; Maybe Start: Tyrod Taylor; Sit: Colin Kaepernick
Other Starts: Russell Wilson is coming off a bye, had 309 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Jets, and faces a Falcons team that has yielded an NFL-worst 14 touchdowns through the air. Despite my distaste for rooting for Seahawks players, if you own Wilson he should be putting up points for your fantasy team. All indications are that Carson Palmer will be back this week and has a home game on Monday night against the aforementioned Jets that have struggled to defend the pass all year. If Brian Hoyer is still available in your league go pick him up and ride him this week. In Hoyer’s three full starts he has exceeded 300 yards passing per game and thrown for two touchdowns in each game. With a home matchup against a struggling Jaguars defense he should continue that streak.
Other Sits: Fantasy owners that were expecting big numbers from Kirk Cousins this year have been extremely disappointed. Unfortunately, that disappointment will continue this week against an Eagles squad that has been terrific against the pass, only allowing three passing touchdowns this year. Eli Manning has put up back to back weeks with horrendous fantasy numbers and his season totals include only five touchdowns to four interceptions. With a tough home game against the Ravens, Manning should continue to ride the pine. Andrew Luck has had a solid fantasy season to this point but has a very unfavorable matchup under the bright lights in Houston. The Texans defense has stymied quarterbacks all year, allowing the least amount of passing yards per game, so fantasy owners should consider benching Luck if they have a better option.
49ers-Bills: The crown jewel of the 49ers offense, Carlos Hyde, has been making fantasy owners happy all year. He has six touchdowns over the past five weeks and has only failed to hit paydirt once this year. Hyde is currently on pace to rush for 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Bills defense has been great against quarterbacks but only mediocre against running backs. Hyde should continue accumulating fantasy wins for your team. On the other side of the ball, LeSean McCoy, seems to have finally gotten on track this year. After starting the year with two consecutive losses the Bills parted ways with ex-49ers Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman and have been undefeated since then. Likewise, Shady McCoy’s production has been positively impacted by the Bills’ recent success. Since G-Ro was handed his walking papers, McCoy has posted 330 yards on the ground, two rushing touchdowns, and one touchdown reception over three games. McCoy is likely chomping at the bit after watching David Johnson effortlessly score two touchdowns on 157 yards rushing last week. With the 49ers still reeling from the loss of NaVorro Bowman expect McCoy to have a big day. Start: Carlos Hyde, LeSean McCoy; Sit: Everybody else.
Other Starts: Christine Michael has looked like a legitimate threat running the ball. He has three touchdowns over the past two weeks and should continue dominating the touches out of the Seahawks backfield with Thomas Rawls still sidelined with an injury. Jordan Howard will remain on my start list after two consecutive starts of surpassing 100 yards on the ground. He has a favorable home matchup against the Jaguars and should continue starting for the Bears and your fantasy team. Lamar Miller threw up a stinker last week against an impressive Vikings defense. He has a great home matchup against the struggling Colts defense and I am expecting him to finally tally his first touchdown of the year this week.
Other Sits: Isaiah Crowell had his worst outing of the year with a pitiful 22 yards on 13 carries and travels to face a Titans defense that continues to frustrate running backs, allowing only two rushing touchdowns all year. Matt Forte has really slowed down the past three weeks, not surpassing 65 all-purpose yards once over that span, and travels to the desert this week to face a Cardinals defense that has been generally stout against the run. Matt Jones was unable to find any running room last week against the Ravens, rushing for only 31 yards, and fantasy owners should expect a repeat performance against an Eagles squad that has been consistently shutting down opposing running backs. T.J. Yeldon and Jay Ajayi should both be dropped after poor production and the returns of Chris Ivory and Arian Foster respectively.
49ers-Bills: With the change at quarterback it is anybody’s guess how that will impact the pass-catchers. Until now, Jeremy Kerley has been the only consistent threat for the 49ers, snagging touchdown passes in back to back weeks. Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton have mostly been invisible this year. Colin Kaepernick has a cannon for an arm so perhaps we see more downfield shots. Until we see how Kaepernick plays this year, fantasy owners should temper their expectations with any of the 49ers wide receivers. With the Bills losing star wide receiver Sammy Watkins to injury they need somebody to step up. The prime candidates, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, have not done a lot to instill confidence in fantasy owners. Woods is averaging less than 40 yards receiving per game and has not found his way into the endzone this year. Goodwin only has 31 total yards over the past three weeks but was able to secure a touchdown last week. Tyrod Taylor needs to throw the ball to someone but fantasy owners should not expect much from the Bills receiving corps. Start: None; Maybe Start: Jeremy Kerley, Sit: Everybody else.
Other Starts: If Steve Smith, Sr. can’t suit up Sunday, fantasy owners should consider starting Mike Wallace against a struggling Giants defense. Jordy Nelson does not have outstanding receiving yardage totals but has tallied five touchdowns over four games and remains Aaron Rodgers favorite target. Fantasy owners should start Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree with Cooper having a great week last week and Crabtree garnering a lot of looks in the red zone. With Eric Decker’s injury, Brandon Marshall will see enough targets to do some serious damage even despite a poor matchup against the Cardinals. On the other side of the ball, Larry Fitzgerald is a must-start against a Jets defense that has given up over 300 passing yards per game and 12 passing touchdowns.
Other Sits: Most likely you cannot afford to sit Julio Jones, but with an upcoming game against the Seahawks owners should not expect big totals from Jones. The Seahawks have only allowed one passing touchdown this year to the four passes they have picked off. Another top wide receiver that will struggle this week is T.Y. Hilton. He squares off against a Texans team that has allowed the least passing yards per game this year. Fantasy owners should not trust Odell Beckham, Jr, this week either as he has been fairly quiet all year (he has been outscored by Jeremy Kerley to this point in non-ppr leagues). Beckham, Jr. finally notched his first touchdown grab of the year last week but I expect the Giants to struggle offensively against the Ravens.
49ers-Bills: All indications are that Garrett Celek will the starter on Sunday. Celek saw plenty of looks last week but only managed one catch for six yards against the Cardinals. There is a possibility Vance McDonald returns to action this week but regardless who starts for the 49ers they will have a difficult matchup against a Bills defense that has not allowed tight ends to do much of anything. Charles Clay should be the primary receiving option from the tight end position. Clay is off to a slow start this year but had his most productive week of the season against the Rams last week, snagging five receptions for 73 yards. Clay has the third most reception on the team (behind Woods and McCoy) but is still looking for his first touchdown this year. So far the 49ers have not been successful in bottling up tight ends and that trend should continue with the season-ending injury to Navorro Bowman.. Start: None; Maybe Start: Charles Clay Sit: Everybody else.
Other Starts: Delanie Walker deserves another week on the start list after getting back on track with a touchdown last week. He faces a Browns team that allowed Martellus Bennett to casually walk the football into the endzone on one of his three touchdown receptions last week. Fantasy owners should expect Travis Kelce to continue putting up solid numbers after back to back weeks of grabbing touchdowns. He faces a Raider team that has not been able to stop the pass all year. Jesse James has clearly instilled confidence in the red zone after posting three touchdowns over the past 5 weeks. He has carved out a niche in the Steelers high-powered offense and has a great matchup against the Dolphins.
Other Sits: Jordan Reed is currently undergoing the NFL’s concussion protocol and faces the Eagles, the NFL’s stingiest defense when it comes to tight ends. Dwayne Allen should not be started against a stingy Texans defense despite his touchdown catch last week. Against the Seahawks, Jacob Tamme should remain on the bench after an astounding four receiving yards over the past two weeks. Even in the most prolific passing attack in the NFL, Tamme is still not a reliable start.
If you have other start/sit questions drop them in the comments below!