Week 6 Fantasy Football Start or Sit: What Should We Do With Najee Harris?

Another season of fantasy football, another trove of start-or-sit scenarios to answer.

It's not just enough to draft the right team and make the right moves off the waiver wire, no. We all know that. We also have to make sure that we are starting the right players each week.

Of course, we have our studs, anchors, and the players we're starting virtually no matter what. We don't need anyone to tell us to start Cooper Kupp.

But, the further down the lineup we go, the more those questions trickle in.

Then again, no player is a "must-sit" in every scenario, and perhaps the WR3 you've been plugging in each week may have a better alternative.

To answer the question, "Should I sit Player X," depends on the answer to the question, "Who can you start instead?"

That's why I like to switch up the typical start-or-sit column format. I'm going to be listing out all relevant fantasy football players each week and bucketing them into tiers.

Take some of the guesswork out of setting our lineups weekly, I'll be leveraging thousands of slate simulations that are based on numberFire's player projections with dynamic measures for variance, such as quarterback rushing, running back receiving, and receiver target depth.

The results will boil down to three tiers: players we should be confident about starting, players we can consider starting whenever we don't have better alternatives but who aren't must-plays, and players we should try to bench whenever we do have better alternatives (i.e. players listed above them on the list).

These players are listed in order of frequency of hitting the stated threshold (i.e. QB12, RB24, WR24, and TE12 performances), and higher on the list means more startable.

The groupings reflect a 12-team, single-quarterback league with the following hypothetical in mind: if I had other viable options on my bench or the waiver wire, should I start this player this week?

Players not listed should be presumed sit-worthy in a shallow or standard-sized league, and all fantasy points references and rankings reflect half-PPR scoring.

Note: Injuries impact projections and will be forecast as best as possible, but be sure to check out numberFire's updated fantasy football projections closer to kickoff and track NFL player news updates.


Start With Confidence
- Josh Allen at KC (76%)
- Lamar Jackson at NYG (71%)
- Jalen Hurts vs. DAL (68%)
- Kyler Murray at SEA (64%)
- Patrick Mahomes vs. BUF (63%)
- Aaron Rodgers vs. NYJ (59%)
- Justin Herbert vs. DEN (57%)
- Tom Brady at PIT (53%)
- Joe Burrow at NO (50%)
Consider If Needed
- Geno Smith vs. ARI (49%)
- Matthew Stafford vs. CAR (46%)
- Daniel Jones vs. BAL (44%)
- Kirk Cousins at MIA (44%)
- Russell Wilson at LAC (39%)
- Marcus Mariota vs. SF (38%)
- Jimmy Garoppolo at ATL (38%)
- Justin Fields vs. WSH (35%)
- Carson Wentz at CHI (35%)
Bench If Possible
- Mac Jones at CLE (34%)
- Cooper Rush at PHI (32%)
- Jacoby Brissett vs. NE (31%)
- Zach Wilson at GB (30%)
- Trevor Lawrence at IND (30%)
- Matt Ryan vs. JAC (29%)
- Kenny Pickett vs. TB (28%)
- Jameis Winston vs. CIN (24%)
- P.J. Walker at LA (21%)
- Teddy Bridgewater vs. MIN (7%)
- Skylar Thompson vs. MIN (5%)

Notable Injuries and Early-Week Projection Notes
- The Miami Dolphins' quarterback situation is uncertain for Week 6. If Teddy Bridgewater starts, he is 37% likely for a top-12 week. If Skylar Thompson starts, he is a Tier 3 play (23%).
- Mac Jones is projected to return but is still a Tier 3 option.
- Jameis Winston is projected to return but is still a Tier 3 option.

This week at quarterback, there's a clear (and large) Tier 1 and then a pretty wide Tier 2, as well. Even with bye weeks starting up, you probably won't need to dig too deep to find a starting quarterback in 12-team leagues. That's a nice situation to have.

The arrow continues to point up for Geno Smith. His Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back sits at 0.28. The NFL average is only 0.06 this season, and the 0.28 mark ranks Smith behind only Tua Tagovailoa, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen. That is incredible company. Smith and the Seattle Seahawks will face the Arizona Cardinals in one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups of the weekend. He's a streaming option for sure -- and might be more than that for the rest of the season.

Do we keep rolling out Matthew Stafford? It depends, of course, on the other options available to us. Stafford is at a -0.04 Passing NEP per drop back on the season. That efficiency is worrisome. However, the Carolina Panthers are shaping up as a true funnel defense. They are the best adjusted rush defense in football but -- despite allowing just 218.4 yards per game passing -- sit 23rd in adjusted passing efficiency allowed, according to numberFire's opponent-adjusted metrics. We can likely roll out Stafford this week and get a solid game from the quarterback position in return.

Kirk Cousins is in a plush spot this week against the Miami Dolphins. Miami ranks 25th in pressure rate, 22nd in depth of target allowed, and 30th in yards per target allowed on downfield passes. numberFire's model ranks them 26th in adjusted pass defense and 30th in passing success rate allowed, as well.

Running Back

Start With Confidence
- Jonathan Taylor vs. JAC (85%)
- Christian McCaffrey at LA (79%)
- Saquon Barkley vs. BAL (78%)
- Nick Chubb vs. NE (76%)
- Austin Ekeler vs. DEN (73%)
- Leonard Fournette at PIT (73%)
- Joe Mixon at NO (70%)
- Dalvin Cook at MIA (70%)
- Rhamondre Stevenson at CLE (68%)
- Alvin Kamara vs. CIN (68%)
- David Montgomery vs. WSH (66%)
- Breece Hall at GB (66%)
- Aaron Jones vs. NYJ (65%)
- Kenneth Walker III vs. ARI (60%)
Consider If Needed
- Miles Sanders vs. DAL (59%)
- Jeff Wilson at ATL (59%)
- Melvin Gordon at LAC (59%)
- Najee Harris vs. TB (55%)
- Cam Akers vs. CAR (55%)
- Raheem Mostert vs. MIN (53%)
- A.J. Dillon vs. NYJ (52%)
- Ezekiel Elliott at PHI (51%)
- Kareem Hunt vs. NE (43%)
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. BUF (41%)
- Travis Etienne at IND (41%)
- James Robinson at IND (40%)
- Devin Singletary at KC (40%)
Bench If Possible
- Tyler Allgeier vs. SF (39%)
- Brian Robinson at CHI (38%)
- Eno Benjamin at SEA (38%)
- Tony Pollard at PHI (38%)
- J.K. Dobbins at NYG (35%)
- Darrell Henderson vs. CAR (34%)
- Michael Carter at GB (33%)
- James Conner at SEA (32%)*
- Mike Boone at LAC (29%)
- Chase Edmonds vs. MIN (28%)
- Rachaad White at PIT (26%)
- Mark Ingram vs. CIN (26%)
- Jerick McKinnon vs. BUF (26%)
- Antonio Gibson at CHI (25%)
- DeeJay Dallas vs. ARI (25%)
- Damien Harris at CLE (16%)*

Notable Injuries and Early-Week Projection Notes
- James Conner is projected for half of his usual workload. If he is deemed a full-go, he is 46% likely for a top-24 week.
- Damien Harris' partial projection initially puts him at 16%; a return to his normal workload would increase those odds to 37%.

What's up with Najee Harris? Do we bench him? How bad is it? Well, it's not great. Harris has played on 65.0% of the Pittsburgh Steelers' snaps this season, a workload that has added up to 13.8 carries and 3.0 targets for just 58.0 scrimmage yards per game. Harris is seeing 55.6% of the team's red zone rushes, yet that works out to just 2.0 per game. Harris is drastically underperforming on his opportunities, too. He has averaged 14.4 rushing yards under expectation per game and 1.04 yards under expectation per carry. Now, he faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who aren't quite as elite against the run as they have been in recent seasons (they're 26th in rushing success rate allowed to opposing backs). In a traditional start-or-sit column, he's be flagged as a sit. However, the reality is that he's still in the consider-if-needed tier despite the poor returns.

Raheem Mostert's fantasy stock is trending up. Mostert has seen his snap rate sit at 73.3% and 67.7% the past two games, and in that split, he has averaged 16.5 carries and 3.0 targets for 101.5 scrimmage yards. He also has a 60.0% red zone rushing share in that two-game sample. You could do a lot worse than that type of role among this tier of running backs in a week where things taper off quickly.

We might be seeing a slowly developing backfield takeover for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Travis Etienne has now out-snapped James Robinson in consecutive weeks (a 52.9% to 42.9% split in that span). In that sample, the workloads aren't great for either back: 9.0 carries and 3.0 targets for Etienne and 9.0 carries and 1.0 targets for Robinson. However, Etienne is generating 0.87 yards per carry over expectation with Robinson at a 0.01 on the season. Etienne wins out in rushing success rate (45.4% to 34.8%, via numberFire's model), too. Robinson was looking like a lock-in level RB3 early in the season, but now we should be leaning toward Etienne and looking to downgrade Robinson when we can.

Brian Robinson is also a likely candidate for a methodical backfield takeover in Washington. Robinson's return may push Antonio Gibson more toward special teams. Robinson had just 9 carries and 22 yards in his Week 5 debut, but he did that on only 16 snaps. That means he got an opportunity on 56.3% of his snaps. For context, Nick Chubb is at a 56.6% opportunity-per-snap rate on the season. Even if Robinson doesn't see an abundance of snaps, his per-snap usage might push him over the top among the flex-tier options. It's best to take a wait-and-see approach this week wherever possible, however.

Wide Receiver

Start With Confidence
- Cooper Kupp vs. CAR (86%)
- Deebo Samuel at ATL (83%)
- Justin Jefferson at MIA (73%)
- Stefon Diggs at KC (73%)
- Ja'Marr Chase at NO (73%)
- D.K. Metcalf vs. ARI (65%)
- Jaylen Waddle vs. MIN (65%)
- Tyler Lockett vs. ARI (57%)
- Mike Evans at PIT (55%)
- Courtland Sutton at LAC (54%)
- A.J. Brown vs. DAL (53%)
- CeeDee Lamb at PHI (53%)
- Marquise Brown at SEA (50%)
Consider If Needed
- Chris Godwin at PIT (48%)
- Michael Pittman Jr. vs. JAC (48%)
- Diontae Johnson vs. TB (47%)
- Keenan Allen vs. DEN (46%)
- Amari Cooper vs. NE (45%)
- DeVonta Smith vs. DAL (44%)
- Allen Lazard vs. NYJ (43%)
- Drake London vs. SF (43%)
- Mike Williams vs. DEN (43%)
- Jerry Jeudy at LAC (42%)
- Jakobi Meyers at CLE (41%)
- Christian Kirk at IND (40%)
- Terry McLaurin at CHI (37%)
- D.J. Moore at LA (37%)
- Gabe Davis at KC (35%)
- Michael Thomas vs. CIN (35%)
- Curtis Samuel at CHI (34%)
- Rashod Bateman at NYG (34%)
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. BUF (33%)
- George Pickens vs. TB (31%)
- Brandon Aiyuk at ATL (30%)
- Romeo Doubs vs. NYJ (30%)
Bench If Possible
- Adam Thielen at MIA (29%)
- Garrett Wilson at GB (28%)
- Darnell Mooney vs. WSH (27%)
- JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. BUF (26%)
- Alec Pierce vs. JAC (26%)
- Chase Claypool vs. TB (26%)
- Tyler Boyd at NO (25%)
- Marvin Jones at IND (24%)
- Elijah Moore at GB (24%)
- Randall Cobb vs. NYJ (24%)
- Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. NE (22%)
- Michael Gallup at PHI (21%)
- Tyreek Hill vs. MIN (20%)*
- Zay Jones at IND (20%)

Notable Injuries and Early-Week Projection Notes
- Tyreek Hill is projected for a partial workload early on in the week. If he starts, his top-24 odds are 69%.
- Tee Higgins' partial projection puts him initially at 14%; a full workload would bump those odds to 53%.

If we look solely at healthy games, target share leaders among wide receivers are as follows: CeeDee Lamb (35.0%), Cooper Kupp (33.7%), Drake London (33.1%), Jakobi Meyers (31.8%), and Davante Adams (31.2%). Meyers has been a focal point of the Patriots' offense in his three games. He is averaging 9.0 targets per contest with an elevated 11.2-yard average depth of target. Notably, he is yet to see a red zone target. That can last only so long, especially with Damien Harris banged up. The Cleveland Browns rank 26th in yards per route run allowed to receivers and have allowed a top-five target-per-route rate to the position.

If we have Marquez Valdes-Scantling rostered, we likely have been hoping we can deploy him as a WR3 or flex option in the exciting Kansas City Chiefs offense. So far, that wouldn't have been very fruitful, as he hadn't broken 63 receiving yards until Monday night's game in Week 5. That most recent outing marked season highs in targets (8), catches (6), and yards (90) for Valdes-Scantling. Notably, Valdes-Scantling has not scored and has just an 11.1% red zone target share. He does, though, lead the Chiefs in downfield targets per game (3.0), and for as good as the Buffalo Bills have been, they're 29th in yards per target allowed on downfield passes.

Since Romeo Doubs' Week 3 role shift, the Green Bay Packers have had some interesting (yeah, let's call it "interesting") target shares. Allen Lazard leads at 21.0%, Doubs is second at 20.0%, and Randall Cobb is third at 18.1%. So, it's been a tight contest in that regard. However, in Week 3, Doubs led with a 23.5% target share, he and Lazard tied at 25.0% in Week 4, and Cobb led at 33.3% in Week 5. It's been a pretty up-and-down offense, and although the sims like them all to a degree, none are super confident starts. What helps is a matchup against a New York Jets team allowing a catch rate over expectation of 7.7% to wide receivers -- in case we are hoping to get the right Green Bay receiver in our lineups this week.

Tight End

Start With Confidence
- Travis Kelce vs. BUF (84%)
- Mark Andrews at NYG (78%)
- Tyler Higbee vs. CAR (63%)
- George Kittle at ATL (62%)
- Zach Ertz at SEA (56%)
- Dallas Goedert vs. DAL (53%)
Consider If Needed
- Kyle Pitts vs. SF (47%)
- David Njoku vs. NE (39%)
- Irv Smith Jr. at MIA (39%)
- Gerald Everett vs. DEN (38%)
- Logan Thomas at CHI (37%)
- Noah Fant vs. ARI (36%)
- Robert Tonyan vs. NYJ (32%)
- Evan Engram at IND (32%)
- Hayden Hurst at NO (31%)
Bench If Possible
- Eric Saubert at LAC (26%)
- Dawson Knox at KC (26%)
- Mike Gesicki vs. MIN (26%)
- Cole Kmet vs. WSH (25%)
- Tyler Conklin at GB (24%)
- Jonnu Smith at CLE (23%)
- Daniel Bellinger vs. BAL (22%)
- Adam Trautman vs. CIN (20%)
- Mo Alie-Cox vs. JAC (20%)
- Will Dissly vs. ARI (20%)
- Pat Freiermuth vs. TB (19%)*
- Taysom Hill vs. CIN (18%)

Notable Injuries and Early-Week Projection Notes
- Kyle Pitts is projected to return.
- Pat Freiermuth is projected for a half workload, given his uncertain status. If he is a full go, he rates out at 44% likely to be a top-12 tight end.

Tight end is a mess after the top six.

Although Pitts missed Week 5's contest and is averaging just 5.5 targets per game in a low-volume passing offense, the model still likes him. The matchup against the San Francisco 49ers is pretty tough for tight ends. They're allowing a catch rate over expectation of -8.4% and just 0.73 yards per route run against the position. I could point out the usage and matchup concerns and call him a sit, but that doesn't help us figure out his probability of putting up a good week. It's still higher than most tight ends' odds, and that matters. Realistically, if you have Pitts and he does play, you're plugging him in. Don't complicate it more than that.

Evan Engram gets one of the best tight end matchups in the league this week, especially with the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans on bye. The Indianapolis Colts are 27th in adjusted fantasy points per target allowed to the position as well as 23rd in yards per route run allowed to tight ends. Against the Colts in Week 2, Engram caught 7 of 8 targets for 46 yards. Since that game, he has a 16.3% target share, which is actually 10th-best among all tight ends.

Hayden Hurst's role is noteworthy. Tee Higgins may not be 100% this week, and in Week 5, that led to an extended role for Hurst, who saw 7 targets across 29 routes (a season-best 78.4% route rate). The matchup is difficult individually (the New Orleans Saints are third in adjusted fantasy points per target allowed to tight ends), but we could do much worse than Hurst if needed -- especially for those of us looking to replace T.J. Hockenson or Darren Waller.