NFL Fantasy Mailbag: Who to start, sell, trade, or waive

You send us NFL fantasy questions… we give you NFL fantasy answers! Here is the best of the Week 6 Mailbag entries.

So many questions… so little time. Let’s get right to it. 

1. Who best to start between Michael Thomas, Hogan, Julio Jones, Crabtree and Will Fuller V? I’m loaded with WRs!

Sent in by JD

That is quite a selection! I would rule Thomas out right away. He is likely to draw Darius Slay in coverage, which could mean a long day for the Saints receiver. Will Fuller only caught three passes last week. If two of them weren’t in the end zone, we’d be calling him a bust. Sit him down even against the Browns. No reason for Houston to run the score up this week.  

Each of the remaining three has a concern. Michael Crabtree has a quarterback who is probably playing with some pain and stiffness in his back. Even though he is starting on my team, I would sit him in favor of Julio Jones and Chris Hogan. 

Jones had a bye week to recover from his hip pointer and returned to practice without limits Monday. With Mohamed Sanu sidelined, Ryan may force even more passes Jones’ way.  

Hogan is touchdown dependent, but Tom Brady is playing football like he is in a video game and one goal is to hit Hogan with a touchdown pass before moving on. I’m sticking with Hogan one more week. Go with Jones and Hogan, but if you start Crabtree over Hogan, that wouldn’t be the worst idea I’ve heard. 

2. Should I sell high on Deshaun Watson or do I hold onto him? I got Rivers, Dalton, and Watson but only need two.

Sent in by Cam

Usually, I don’t trust rookies to hold up for a full season, but Watson may be an exception. Watson has the best schedule matchups of your three quarterbacks through the season, but faces the Jaguars and Steelers during NFL fantasy playoff weeks. Rivers faces the Jets and Chiefs during those same two weeks. Dalton has a tough matchup every other week before facing the Vikings and Lions during the playoffs. I would try to unload Dalton first. I would only trade Watson if your overall roster is good enough to get to the playoffs with lesser quarterback play. 

3.  Should I look to put Dez Bryant on the trade block if I can get a decent WR back?

Sent in by Dan

After four consecutive weeks facing a shut-down cornerback, I expected Dez to have a monster game against Green Bay. The touchdown made it a respectable, but still unimpressive fantasy line. Now that Dak Prescott has rediscovered Cole Beasley, Bryant’s target numbers could slip. He has more positive matchups than negative in the weeks after the bye, so it’s not vital to get rid of him – but if someone offers a front-of-the-pack receiver, I would make the deal. 

4. I have M Evans, TY Hilton, J Landry, L Fitzgerald and M Bryant. Who should start?

Sent in by Remy

Mike Evans will play with Patrick Peterson draped all over him, so leave him on the bench. If you are in a standard league, Landry’s 20 catches for 25 yards won’t help you much. I predicted big games this week for Ben Roethlisberger and Jacoby Brissett, with a tired Carson Palmer limping towards his bye week. But the trade for Adrian Peterson might lift the spirits in Arizona, and Tampa Bay gives up more NFL fantasy points per game to wide receivers than any other team. Martavis’ target share is not guaranteed, so I would put Hilton and Fitzgerald in as my starters. 

5. Does Marlon Mack’s performance make him a must-have? Or was it a one-off he’s unlikely to repeat?

Sent in by Gur

He might repeat that performance, but not every week, and he will have to do it in about one-fourth of the offensive plays. Frank Gore and Robert Turbin continue to take the bulk of the snaps for Indianapolis. That will not change soon as Coach Chuck Pagano is very loyal to his veterans. Mack had a similar performance in Week 1 and followed it up with eight yards on seven touches in Week 2. So, he is not a must-have by any means unless Gore gets hurt. 

6. Which running backs are people sleeping on right now who could be big in week 6? 

Sent in by Tom

Alvin Kamara of New Orleans is still owned in only half of the standard NFL fantasy leagues. That should jump after Tuesday’s trade of Adrian Peterson validated the rookie’s role. I am looking for a lot of fantasy points from both teams in New Orleans Sunday, including from Kamara. 

Joe Kelly of Washington faces the San Francisco 49ers off a bye week. Jay Gruden says he wants to run the ball more, and Kelly says he feels completely healthy. The Niners give up the fifth-most points per game to running backs. I was never good at math, but that might add up to a good day for the Redskins’ running back. 

Dion Lewis got nine touches to Mike Gillislee’s twelve on Sunday. He appears healed and as quick and powerful as ever. Tom Brady is taking too many hits and is already playing hurt (left shoulder sprain). The Jets are not stout against the run. Look for the Patriots to go run-heavy Sunday. Lewis will take about 14-17 touches and score at least once in New York. 

7. Why don’t fantasy leagues extend into Week 17? Isn’t that just wasting a week?

Sent in by Cheryl

Can you imagine making it to your NFL fantasy championship game and watching your starting quarterback and running backs sit out the second half of their NFL games? In Week 17, most NFL playoff positions are set, so coaches are not as worried about winning as they are about making sure their stars don’t get hurt before the first-round playoff game. They rest as many starters as they can in Week 17, making it almost impossible to field a reliable fantasy team. 

8. I lost OBJ. Is Roger Lewis really the best replacement?

Sent in by Sam

First of all, don’t pick up or play any Giants the next two weeks. Not only do they face the Broncos and Seahawks’ defenses, they face them both coming off their bye weeks. By the end of those two weeks, we should see clues as to who takes what role in the New York passing game. Sterling Shepard will be the top dog when he returns. My guess is rookie Travis Rudolph and re-signed Tavarres King eventually see more time and targets than Lewis. But the best replacement for OBJ is not on the Giants. Look for more consistent receivers from other teams. 

Send your NFL fantasy football questions to [email protected] and look for the answer on Wednesdays in our NFL Fantasy Mailbag. 

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Pat Opperman


Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.