Editor’s note: Each week of the NFL season, Pipe Dream Sports writer Mary Martellotta will give advice on who to start, who to sit and who to add in your fantasy football league.
Week six is here, bringing with it the inevitable bye week of many solid fantasy options. On top of losing some productive fantasy players to the bye, the NFL is chock-full of injuries this year. Along with the multitude of players crowding the injury report, this week’s bye will be taking some reliable players out of the equation as well. Not to worry — this week’s highlighted players shouldn’t be too hard to pick up, as a majority of them are owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. They’ll not only help cover your bye week and injury slots in a pinch, but also make quality additions to your team going forward.
Shane Vereen RB (NYG): Not many running backs are readily available for pick-up this week, most likely due to all the injuries among number-one running backs. Don’t worry, Vereen is only owned in 60 percent of leagues and would be a safe bet this week against the Eagles. The Eagles’ defense, which is 10th in the league against the rush, shouldn’t be problematic for Vereen, given most of his total yards are from receptions. It makes him a riskier pick for fantasy owners not playing in points-per-reception leagues, but Vereen is a growing part of the Giants offense.
Allen Hurns WR (JAX) At a surprisingly low 48.6 percent owned, Hurns would be a great addition this week at home against Houston. In the past two games, he has had over 100 yards and he’s had touchdowns in each of the last three weeks. His current placement on the injury report, although concerning, shouldn’t automatically put him off your radar. In last week’s matchup against Tampa Bay, Hurns was dealing with the same injury that has him listed as questionable this week. This injury didn’t stop him from gaining 116 yards and scoring a touchdown. While I would watch the reports closely before locking him in, he would be a good risk in a pinch.
Willie Snead WR (NO): At only 29.9 percent owned, Snead is definitely a more risky pick this week at home against Atlanta. But with the uncertainty surrounding Marques Colston’s injury, Snead would be worth the pick up, even if Colston does end up starting. Against the Falcons defense, which is 29th against the pass, there will be plenty of yards to go around for the Saints offense.
Gary Barnidge TE (CLE): After three solid weeks of double-digit fantasy success, it is hard to believe that Barnidge is only owned in 37.7 percent of ESPN leagues. This week’s home game against Denver shouldn’t be an issue for Barnidge, who dominated the Ravens’ defense last week. His performance against the Ravens came as a surprise to many since prior to week five, the Ravens defense had allowed the least amount of fantasy points to tight ends all season, including completely shutting out Bengals’ tight end Tyler Eifert, a strong pass catcher. With three strong weeks of increasing success, Barnidge is a definite start this week.
Last week’s picks:
Start: Antonio Gates TE (SD) — 21 points, Charles Clay TE (BUF) — 0 points, Owen Daniels TE (DEN) — 0 points
Sit: Jason Witten TE (DAL) — 1 point, Tyler Eifert TE (CIN) — 21 points