Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet Week 6: Praise for the Patriots, uncertainty with the Saints, starts and sits

So much changes from week to week around the NFL, and we're here to make sure you're on top of it all heading into Week 6 of the 2022 NFL season.

The weekly fantasy football cheat sheet provides a rundown of the best tips from all the fantasy football content that ESPN has posted over the past seven days. You'll find answers to the biggest start/sit questions of the week and other pertinent matchup advice from our team, including Field Yates, Mike Clay, Eric Karabell, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Matt Bowen, Seth Walder, Al Zeidenfeld, Eric Moody, Liz Loza, Daniel Dopp, DJ Gallo and ESPN Insiders Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, plus all of NFL Nation. It's all the best advice in one handy article.

Here's what our experts are saying about Week 6 in the NFL:

Which wideouts can we rely on?

The bye weeks have begun and that means fantasy managers are going to have to go deeper into their benches in order to field full lineups on a weekly basis. Several members of our NFL Nation team took a look at wide receivers this week, giving their forecast -- for both the short and long term -- as to which options might be worth keeping around for the next few games and which ones you shouldn't be locking into lineups quite yet.

  • Can we lock in both Seahawks receivers weekly like we did during the Russell Wilson days? "Yes. A week ago, there was still reason to proceed with some caution with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. They had just one touchdown between them over the first four games. That seemed like a function of a passing game that was largely getting by with short and intermediate throws and not the deep shots that were a staple of Seattle's offense under Wilson. But Geno Smith has been finding more success down the field of late, especially Sunday against New Orleans with two deep touchdown passes to Lockett. Both are on pace to top 1,200 receiving yards." -- Brady Henderson

  • Brandin Cooks has been underwhelming and now is losing volume ... any hope for a bounce back from him?
    "Quarterback Davis Mills and Cooks' connection hasn't been great throughout the year as he's catching only 57% of his targets in 2021, tied for a career low. But always keep faith in Cooks bouncing back. He has totaled 8,152 career receiving yards in nine seasons for a reason. He's still the Texans' best receiver and still leads the team in targets (42) which is 15 more than the next receiver, Nico Collins. Once Cooks and Mills get back on the same page, Cooks' production should increase substantially." -- DJ Bien-Aime

  • Is Darius Slayton worth a fantasy roster spot? "Slayton had one catch before Sunday's matchup with the Packers. So there isn't much of a track record that this new regime wants to feature him long term. But there is a path for Slayton still being a factor in the near future with Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (hamstring) not near full health. And even if Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) returns this week, he will likely chip into Richie James' snaps in the slot. That makes Slayton a potential fill-in option for another week or two. Otherwise, it's hard to trust he's going to contribute consistently. -- Jordan Raanan

  • Who do you think will be the most valuable Steeler the rest of the way? "George Pickens. He was largely ignored in the first two weeks of the season, but in Kenny Pickett's first start, he led Steelers receivers with 83 yards and six receptions on eight targets. But because of Pittsburgh's red zone woes, it's risky to start any Steelers offensive skill player." -- Brooke Pryor

Looking for the latest injury news leading up to kickoff? Check out all of the Week 6 inactives here.

Are we having fun yet?

To borrow from Nickelback: "Never made it as a wise man. I couldn't cut it as a poor man stealing. Tired of livin' like a blind man. I'm sick of sight without a sense of feeling." Our fantasy experts all seem to want to talk about one thing in Week 6. With that in mind and with that tune stuck in your head, folks, this is how you Rhamondre.

  • Field Yates starts us off with his take on what might happen if Damien Harris (hamstring) has to sit out again: "Rhamondre Stevenson -- who was already providing value as a strong flex -- moves into must-start territory against a Browns defense that has allowed 440 rushing yards over the past two weeks. ... While it would stand to reason that the Patriots will have Pierre Strong Jr. active and possibly bring up another back from the practice squad if Harris is out, Stevenson could be used similarly to how he was last year against the Browns: he had 24 total touches and amassed 114 yards. He's just outside my top 10 running backs for Week 6."

  • Tristan Cockcroft echoes the positive expectations of New England's running back: "Stevenson broke out in a big way in Week 5 while setting career highs by playing 89% of the offensive snaps and totaling 27 touches. ... Expect him to handle the lion's share of the Patriots' rushing chores, an unusual thing in the Bill Belichick era. Even if Ty Montgomery steps in for some passing downs, there should be more than enough for Stevenson to be a top-15 positional option for so long as Harris is sidelined."

  • After his weekly film study, Matt Bowen is also in Stevenson's camp: "Stevenson is up to RB13 this week in my PPR rankings. Stevenson dropped 19.5 PPR points on the Lions in Week 5, and we saw his ability to slip tacklers in that game. He's an easy mover at 230 pounds. Stevenson has also logged 10 receptions in his past three games. There's RB1 upside here."

  • And, as far as the DFS market is concerned, the $6,000 price tag on DraftKings has Al Zeidenfeld convinced, too: "The Patriots are expected to be without Harris this week and Montgomery isn't yet ready to return from IR, opening up a massive workload for Stevenson in Week 6. Cleveland is allowing just under 6.0 RB yards per carry and a touchdown on every 17.5 RB carries."

Catching on with the Saints?

Chris Olave suffered a nasty concussion last week and his status for Week 6 might depend on how quickly he can leave the league's protocol for such injuries. Still, the rookie has already intrigued fantasy experts with his 25 catches over the first five games of his career. Here's what they're saying about him and the rest of the New Orleans Saints' offense for Week 6.

  • "If Olave sits, Michael Thomas would see an uptick in targets. Thanks in large part to the play of cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie (minus-14.4 Targeted EPA, third-best per Next Gen Stats among those with at least 125 coverage snaps) and Eli Apple (minus-5.2 Targeted EPA), the Cincinnati Bengals have limited opposing wide receivers to just 1.33 PPR fantasy points per target, second-fewest in the league. Tyreek Hill (25.9 PPR fantasy points in Week 4), Noah Brown (20.1 in Week 2) and Lamb (15.1 in Week 2) are the only individual wide receivers to have exceeded 13 PPR fantasy points against the Bengals thus far." -- Cockcroft

  • "The Bengals have been elite against perimeter receivers this season, allowing the third-fewest fantasy points. They've also allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points overall to receivers (fewest over expected). Despite facing 103 WR targets (11th most), the Bengals have allowed 709 yards (10th fewest) and only one TD to the position. Thomas (80% perimeter) is expected back from injury this week and both he and Olave (79%), assuming he's cleared, will have their hands full against Awuzie and Apple. Top corner Awuzie would likely shadow Thomas if Olave is ruled out." -- Clay

  • "Taysom Hill's 34.09 PPR points in Week 5 -- and his offensive deployment in the game plan -- should pique your interest. Hill logged 121 yards rushing out of Wildcat sets on Sunday with four total touchdowns (three rushing, one passing). Now, the call sheet could shift if both Thomas and QB Jameis Winston return for Week 6, which might limit Hill's overall usage. However, if you play in a deeper 12-to-14-team league, I would still take a chance on Hill versus the Bengals this Sunday. He's now seen 14 carries over his past two games (with four total rushing scores), and the Wildcat schemes are a critical piece to what the Saints do in the low red zone." -- Bowen

Quick hits, starts and sits

  • Start Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. Manning the slot in the Bills' offense has proved fruitful. McKenzie produced three touchdowns and 153 yards before entering the concussion protocol in Week 4, and rookie Khalil Shakir held it down with 75 yards and a touchdown in Week 5. Assuming McKenzie is cleared for the Chiefs game, he should return to open patches of grass and yards. -- Fowler

  • Downgrade Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars rank third in EPA per dropback allowed this season, sandwiched between the Bills and Eagles. This is a really good unit! ... It will make for a tough day for Pierce to try and repeat his breakout Week 5 performance. -- Walder

  • I'm expecting a George Kittle breakout game for the 49ers. Kittle has been a huge disappointment so far this year, even since coming back from injury. He has being asked to do a lot of things in the Niners' offense that aren't helpful to his fantasy numbers. But I'm betting he's a bigger part of the pass-catching game plan this week against an Atlanta team that's allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. -- Graziano

  • Russell Wilson has struggled out of the gates in Denver. He has one boom week with more than 27 fantasy points, but three games with 11.06 or fewer. Wasn't going to Denver supposed to mean Wilson would take his game to new heights? Not so fast. The offensive operation is disorganized in Denver, the offensive line is struggling (16 sacks in five games) and the receiving group isn't as dynamic as it looked on paper. Wilson has a rapport with Courtland Sutton, but that's about it. ... Visions of Wilson reestablishing himself among the fantasy elite this season are a distant thought. -- Yates

  • In the absence of DeAndre Hopkins, Zach Ertz has done absolutely nothing but produce all season long. The Seahawks are allowing a league-high 3.0 points per drive over the past two weeks, resulting in a whopping 84 points on the NFL scoreboard. Ertz has had four games with six-plus catches -- the only tight end in 2022 who can claim such a feat. If you're not willing to pay up for Kelce, Ertz provides the best value option under $5,000 on DraftKings. -- Zeidenfeld

  • Najee Harris is on the proverbial hot seat for fantasy managers, despite his lofty draft-day investment and the bye weeks starting (no Lions, Titans, Raiders, Texans this week). Undrafted Oklahoma State alum Jaylen Warren handled much of the second half in the blowout loss at Buffalo, though it probably meant little, and some call for him to handle a larger role. Will it matter against the Buccaneers, one of the toughest teams for running backs to accrue fantasy points against? Perhaps not. Perhaps this will be a lost season for Harris, too. Nobody should drop him, of course, but it's getting tougher to trust him as an RB2, and certainly to trade for him. -- Karabell

  • James Conner is expected to miss Sunday's game (and possibly even longer) against the Seahawks with a rib injury. Darrel Williams, the Cardinals' backup running back, is also expected to miss the game due to a knee injury. Jonathan Ward, who injured his hamstring, has also been placed on IR by the Arizona Cardinals. Eno Benjamin is expected to fill the void left by Conner. He accumulated 53 total yards and a touchdown on 11 touches against the Eagles last week. The Seahawks' defense has allowed 170.2 rushing yards per game. -- Moody

  • Fantasy (and fandom) is truly a week-to-week proposition. And we can be both right and wrong about a player in the same season. I try, for my own sanity, to focus on what's directly in front of me ... but it's definitely hard not to spiral. For example, I've gotten a ton of questions about Jaylen Waddle and whether it's time to freak out. Ultimately, though, what does freaking out do? Are you really going to drop (or even bench) a guy who averaged 114 yards and scored three TDs over the first three weeks of the season before his QB was sidelined in historical fashion? I guess it depends on the options available that particular week. -- Loza

  • Against a Pittsburgh defense that is reeling right now, let's go with Rachaad White of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24.3% rostered) as a PPR option in deeper leagues. The rookie has now caught all eight of his targets over his past two games, and QB Tom Brady will see Cover 2 from the Steelers' defense on Sunday. That means more underneath flat and check-down options for White, who should get some work in the run game, too. -- Bowen

  • Outside of Kenny Pickett taking on Brady and supplanting him as the greatest quarterback of all time -- or at least throwing his first NFL touchdown pass -- it will be hard for anything to match the Chiefs-Bills this week. You know Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen will try to put on a show. In fact, if you are facing anyone in fantasy this week who has Mahomes or Allen as their QB, just take the loss now, rest your starters and give it another shot again in Week 7. -- Gallo

  • AJ Dillon is a tackle busting monster who dominates on carries up the middle. That's why he's recorded 28 such opportunities to Aaron Jones' 11. As it turns out, the Jets allow the fifth-most yards before contact to opposing RBs on runs up the middle. So, Dillon figures to bully his way past the first line of defenders and rumble through the second level before eventually (if ever) getting caught. I like him for OVER 50.5 rushing yards (-117). -- Loza