Week 6 Startability Index (Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em)

Welcome to the Week 6 Startability Index.  If you’re new, here’s how it works.

The Index isn’t just about who to start and sit; fantasy is not that black and white. Here players are assigned a number from 1-10, which categorizes their fantasy value for the week. (10) is a must-start. (7) is a probable start, could have a big week, but not guaranteed a certain point threshold. (5) could go either way, but probably won’t be awesome or disastrous. (3) Very unlikely to put up good numbers. And so on.

As always, please request any players not listed below in the comments section.


Robert Griffin III vs. Minnesota (6): Ah, Week 6’s big fantasy conundrum. The Redskins are saying they will decide on Griffin after practice Friday. That fact that he is practicing today (Thursday), and maintains there have been no setbacks from the concussion is obviously a good sign. But definitely have a backup plan, and come back for more updates.

Andrew Luck at New York Jets (7):  With two 300+ yards passing, 2 touchdown games in a row, Luck is quietly become a fantasy force. The Jets have more talent in the secondary than do Luck’s last two opponents,  Green Bay or Jacksonville, but with Donald Brown out this team should be throwing more than ever.

Christian Ponder at Washington (9):  The Redskins have allowed every opposing quarterback to throw for over 300 yards. The only exception being Josh Freeman, who threw for 299. I don’t care if Ponder was Brady Quinn; he would be worth a start against the Skins. Luckily for owners he is not.

Tony Romo at Baltimore (6): When we last left off in the Tony Romo Saga, he was the keynote at an interception conference. Heading to Baltimore after the bye, Romo is looking to build something positive. From a fantasy perspective, he has put up at least 250 yards in every game, but only has two touchdowns in his last three games. Romo should be able to rack up the yardage on the Ravens, who gave up 320 passing yards to Brandon Weeden two weeks ago.  And maybe you’ll get lucky with a nice touchdown-to-interception ratio as well.

Running Backs

Vick Ballard at New York Jets (6): Ballard is a big question mark as Sunday will be his first heavy-duty workload. Donald Brown had consistently been gets 16-18 carries before the injury. Ballard may see a slight reduction, or may not since the Jets run defense ranked 31st in the league.

Alex Green at Houston (4): I was slightly higher on Green this week until Mike McCarthy pulled the old “going with the hot hand” routine.  That makes Green, who is really an unknown, a major risk.

Steven Jackson at Miami (3):  The Dolphins have a lot of issues but their run defense is not one of them. In fact, that unit tops in the league, allowing only 61.4 rushing yards a game. They’ve also only allowed just  two rushing touchdowns. Pretty tough to recommend any opponent at this point.

Doug Martin vs. Chiefs (5): Martin had an abysmal game against the Redskins before the bye week.  He still should still see the majority of carries; however that number was only 8 against the Skins’. The Chiefs have a better-than-average run defense, and have only allowed two opposing backs to top the 100-yard mark this season.  Martin is an acceptable start, especially in PPR leagues, just temper your expectations.

Ryan Mathews vs. Denver (7): Mathews owners rejoice! News has come in that Norv Turner has decided to make Mathews the go-to guy again. And it comes at a good time for fantasy owners as he gets a Broncos run defense that gave up 251 yards on the ground to the Patriots last week.

Wide Receivers

Kenny Britt vs. Pittsburgh (4): Britt will play this week, and the good news for owners is he claims to be back at 100%. Given Hasselbeck’s other options and Britt’s potential, he should see ample targets. But the Steelers have a top ten pass defense, although less intimidating with Troy Polamalu out.  I still suggest giving Britt another week on the bench if you can.

Michael Crabtree vs. New York Giants (6): The Giants have allowed at least one opposing receiver to register near or above the 100-yard mark in every game. Crabtree had his best game of the season last week (116 yards, 1 TD), and will certainly get his targets Sunday. But with the passing game gelling, how much company will Crabtree have?

Victor Cruz at San Francisco (8): With four touchdowns in two games, Cruz is on fire right now. In last year’s NFC Championship, Cruz had 10 catches for 142 yards. Even with San Francisco’s improved secondary, Cruz should be targeted a lot in this one.

Andrew Hawkins at Cleveland (5): Hawkins has yet to really break out and has been standing still at the 40-80 yard mark. This week is a decent opportunity as the Browns pass defense ranks near the bottom of the league, and has already surrendered 12 touchdowns in the air.

James Jones at Houston (7): Jones is a model of consistency. Over the last two games he has two touchdowns in each and is averaging 11.3 yards per reception. As long as Greg Jennings is out (a definitive question at the moment), keep rolling with Jones. His SI number would be even higher if the opponent were not the Texans.

Jordy Nelson at Houston (5): Nelson has been a disappointment for owners this year. He isn’t running great routes and Aaron Rodgers has been a little out of sync this year. The Texans are not the remedy. They are a Top 5 secondary, allowing under 200 yards passing a game. Greg Jennings’ continued absence should help Nelson in theory, as should less emphasis on the running game with Cedric Benson out. But until Nelson looks like 2011 Nelson, starting him is going to continue to be a nerve-wracking, but necessary for many, experience.

Tight Ends

Scott Chandler at Arizona (7):  With four touchdowns to date, Chandler has been a surprise. The Cardinals have one of the better secondaries out there, having only allowed five total passing touchdowns on the season. But Chandler is a favorite target of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s and will likely see plenty of targets.

Anthony Fasano vs. St. Louis (3): Fasano has five receptions in two out of his last three games. Unfortunately he’s a short yardage receiver (averaging 7.9 yards per catch), so while he may snag a touchdown here and there, he is not a reliable start.

Brandon Pettigrew at Philadelphia (5): Pettigrew is getting enough targets (about 5 a game) but he only has one touchdown on the season. The Eagles has been very stingy against opposing tight ends as they’ve only allowed a touchdown.