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START/BENCH: Week 6

The 2023 fantasy football season is taking shape — for better or worse.

If you invested a high pick in quarterbacks like Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts or Buffalo’s Josh Allen, you got exactly what you asked for. Not so much with Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, although there were signs of life last week against Arizona. But if you rolled the dice on Indianapolis’ Anthony Richardson, it’s bummer time — the rookie has been electric when on the field. But he just can’t stay out there so far.

It’s a similar situation with Miami rookie running back De’Von Achane. Achane has been ridiculous the past few weeks, setting records while averaging over 12 yards a carry. But now he’s expected to miss multiple weeks with a knee injury — crushing news for his managers, but a potential bonanza for those who rostered Raheem Mostert.

At wide receiver, Week 5 was just mean. We finally got Los Angeles Rams’ Cooper Kupp, and he looked like Kupp of old, pacing the team in targets and topping 100 receiving yards. He even co-existed with rookie phenom Puka Nacua. But the smiles didn’t last long — up in Minnesota Justin Jefferson suffered a hamstring injury that landed him on Injured Reserve.

And the tight ends? Detroit rookie Sam LaPorta leads the position in fantasy points after five games. That’s all that really needs to be said there.

So goes fantasy football. The ups. The downs. The injuries. All fantasy managers can do is keep plugging along. Keep trying to improve their teams. Try to weather the storm.

And hope.

At least the Week 6 byes aren’t especially impactful. Green Bay and Pittsburgh are off — and if you were counting on Pittsburgh running back Najee Harris or Green Bay wideout Christian Watson, things were already coming off the rails.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. Denver)

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia (at New York Jets)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. New York Giants)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Tennessee)

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Dallas)

Tua Tagovailoa (vs. Carolina)

ROLL THEM OUT

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (at Chicago): It may seem odd to recommend Cousins with Justin Jefferson out at least a month, but Minnesota still has passing-game weapons and Chicago has given up the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville (at Indianapolis): Lawrence has disappointed to this point in the season, barely ranking among the Top 15 fantasy quarterbacks. But Indianapolis has surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this season.

Dak Prescott, Dallas (at Los Angeles Chargers): Prescott looked awful last week against San Francisco, but if he can’t get it done against a Chargers defense surrendering the most fantasy points to quarterbacks in the league, it’s not happening.

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Arizona): Stafford got his go-to wideout back in Cooper Kupp. Kupp and Puka Nacua co-existed for one week at least, and in Week 6 the Rams draw an Arizona defense that just allowed Joe Burrow’s first big game of the season.

SIT THEM DOWN

Sam Howell, Washington (at Atlanta): Howell has had the occasional moment this season when the matchup is right, but it isn’t in Week 6 — Atlanta has been surprising stout against the pass, ranking seventh in the NFL in that regard after five weeks.

Brock Purdy, San Francisco (at Cleveland): Purdy looked fantastic in Week 5 and has been a Top 5 fantasy option to this point in the season. But it’s worth pointing out that Cleveland has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2023.

C.J. Stroud, Houston (vs. New Orleans): Stroud holds the NFL record for the most pass attempts without an interception to begin an NFL career. But this week he faces a New Orleans defense giving up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year.

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland (vs. San Francisco): Watson has essentially had one good fantasy outing this season — in Week 3 against Tennessee. After watching what San Francisco did to Dallas Sunday night, the odds of a second one coming Sunday in Cleveland aren’t good — especially with Watson banged up.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award four times. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.