We are already in the second quarter of the 2013 NFL season, and for fantasy football owners whose teams haven’t started on the right foot, the next few weeks are crucial to their chances of making the playoffs.
One of the toughest decisions each week is determining which quarterback to start, especially for people who don’t play in a two-quarterback per week league. We all know that superstars such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers should always be in the starting lineup, but what about the second-tied quarterbacks?
Here’s some advice on who to start and who to sit among middle-tier quarterbacks in Week 6.
Jay Cutler: Start vs. Giants
Jay Cutler isn’t the most reliable quarterback to lead your team to the Super Bowl, but in fantasy football, he’s proven to be a smart start this season.
Over the last two weeks, he’s averaged 337 yards passing in addition to four touchdown passes and three interceptions. Unlike last year, Cutler has plenty of quality receivers to target not named Brandon Marshall. Second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery has emerged as the No. 2 option in the passing game with 325 yards receiving and two touchdowns over the last two games. The offseason addition of tight end Martellus Bennett has given Cutler another good target in the red zone and on third downs.
Even though he has plenty of weapons in the passing game, the real reason to start the Bears QB this week is because he’s playing a New York Giants defense that has given up no less than 31 points in all five games this year. Cutler should also have plenty of time in the pocket to find an open receiver because the Giants have tallied only five sacks, which shows how awful their pass rush has been this season.
Colin Kaepernick: Sit vs. Cardinals
After his phenomenal Week 1 performance in which he threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a fantasy disappointment. Over the last four weeks, the former Nevada star has passed for 547 yards (average of 139.25/game) with only three touchdown passes and four interceptions.
Not only is Kaepernick struggling in the passing game, he’s also failing to provide much production on the ground with just 154 yards and no touchdowns this season.
In Week 6, he goes up against a talented Cardinals defense that features elite cornerback Patrick Peterson, who will likely be matched up against the 49ers’ top receiver Anquan Boldin. Arizona is also tied for third in the league with seven interceptions, including five in the last two games.
San Francisco has gotten back to a power-running game in their last two games with plenty of carries given to Frank Gore, and that strategy has resulted in two straight wins. Expect more of the same on Sunday.
Cam Newton: Start vs. Vikings
Newton disappointed fantasy owners in Week 5, but he’s expected to bounce back in Week 6 against a Minnesota Vikings defense that ranks 29th against the pass with 326 yards allowed per game.
Minnesota also has just nine sacks on the season (fourth-fewest in the NFL) and no elite cornerbacks for Newton to worry about.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns in his only career start against the Vikings back in 2011, and don’t be surprised if he gives a similar performance on Sunday.
Matt Schaub: Sit vs. Rams
Schaub doesn’t have a horrible matchup against a St. Louis Rams defense that ranks 17th against the pass and has only three interceptions on the year, but in his inability to protect the football makes him one of the most unreliable quarterbacks in fantasy this week.
The Texans’ star has only eight touchdown passes and nine interceptions this season, in addition to a 76.9 QB rating. Houston is at its best when star running back Arian Foster is getting plenty of touches, and that will likely be the game plan in Week 6 because the Rams are 28th against the run.
Another reason to sit Schaub is based on No. 1 receiver Andre Johnson‘s health. According to the team, Johnson may be a “game-time decision” on Sunday. A less-than-100-percent Johnson and the absence of top red zone target Owen Daniels due to injury will limit Schaub’s options in the passing game.