Fantasy Football Week 5: Players to start or sit
Sitting and starting is relative and depends on the league. Think of some of these suggestions as "fliers" and "dissolves" (note that some are for the DFS).
Good luck with your 5th week lineups.
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
Start: Teddy Bridgewater, Russell Gage
Bridgewater scores 8.1 YPA so its low TD production was a fluke, and the Falcons have the 31st DVOA pass defense and have allowed the most fantasy points for quarterbacks this season. I ranked Bridgewater as a top 10 QB this week.
With Julio Jones unlikely to play, and Calvin Ridley so battered that he was caught without a catch last week (even though Jones left), Gage should see a surge in targets and recover from a few quiet performances. The Falcons are at home in a high-score game against the Panthers No. 28 DVOA.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sitting: Henry Ruggs
Start at DFS: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (32 US dollars)
Ruggs is expected to return this week, but hamstring injuries are particularly worrying. He's up against a KC defense that allows only one touchdown and the fewest fantasy points for wide receivers this season. Expect another heavy dose of Darren Waller.
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Edwards-Helaire disappointed not hitting since Week 1 but the volume was there and the Raiders have been injured by setbacks this year for most of the Fantasy points. CEH quietly has the fifth most yards after contact and is ready to break out. So make sure it is in your DFS lineup.
Los Angeles Rams @ Washington Football Team
Sitting: Aries run back
Start: Antonio Gibson
The game script (and scheme) will likely lead the Rams to have a nice rushing game, but it's impossible to predict which backs will lead each week. Cam Akers is now expected to join a three-man rotation in the LA backfield.
Gibson's goals keep climbing and he saw three goal-line broadcasts last week, so it's time to get excited. The rookie is getting a rams run funnel defense this week, and Kyle Allen should provide an upgrade while taking over at quarterback. I ranked Gibson as one of the top 12 PPR fantasies in week 5.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
Start: Gardner Minshew
Starting in DFS: Will Fuller ($ 19)
Minshew receives 7.7 YPA and is well on his way to scoring 32 touchdowns this season. He should be in a high-score game on Sunday. He looked a lot better with DJ Chark and should start week 5 with confidence.
Fuller is clearly an injury risk, but he's also a borderline top 5 fantasy receiver when playing (and without DeAndre Hopkins). The Texans have one of the highest implicit scores this week (29.5 points) and are struggling with the running of the ball. So Fuller should have a big game with his hamstrings working together.
Gardner Minshew is back on track with DJ Chark's return. (AP Photo / Aaron Doster)
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets
Sit down: Kenyan Drake
Start: Jamison Crowder
Arizona's script could be pretty cheap for a Jets team led by Adam Gase and Joe Flacco, and it would certainly be like having a monster game on fantasy benches for Drake, but he was miserable that season, ranking 101st at the Fantasy Points per Opportunity and # 48 in Juke Rate while not a single target was seen last week. The Jets rank 7th in DVOA run defense, and I'd rather have Chase Edmonds on my fantasy team in PPR leagues that are evolving. I hate the Drake!
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The Cardinals have been stingy on outside fantasy receivers, but prone to those in the slot like Jamison Crowder, who, despite the gas stink, ranks 8th on the yards per route this season, and he should see a ton of destinations with so few alternatives New York's offense.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sitting: Carson Wentz
Start: Eric Ebron
Wentz took a win for the Eagles last week and scored one goal in three games in a row, but he's hit a terrible 5.8 YPA in one season with one hit off the charts and faces a tough Pittsburgh defense who produced more than 12 QB pressure than any other team this season. Only Jeff Driskel (-8.9) and Dwayne Haskins (-6.6) have a worse CPAE than Wentz (-5.6) this season.
Ebron's role has expanded with Pittsburgh each week and he faces an Eagles defense that has ceded the third most fantasy points to tight ends. Ebron over Zach Ertz (RIP) in this game.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Start: Tee Higgins
Start in DFS: Marquise Brown ($ 15)
Higgins saw the ninth most air yards last week and should remain strong with A.J. Green looks more and more washed up. With the Bengals unlikely to succeed and likely to score a number of points in defense, Joe Burrow should throw a lot again in week 5.
Brown quietly ranks 5th in the WOPR this season and will not be so cheap in a trade for a long time. Assuming Lamar Jackson is doing well, I'll rank Brown as a top 12 WR and a DFS target in week 5.
Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers
Sit down: Myles Gaskin
Start: Jerick McKinnon
Gaskin has turned out to be Miami's leading man, but loses the goal line to Jordan Howard and faces an SF defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points this season to run back, so he belongs on fantasy benches.
McKinnon actually led all of the NFL running backs in team snap percentage in Week 4, and he's given a hugely affordable matchup at home against a Dolphins Run defense who ranks 31st in DVOA. While Raheem Mostert is becoming more of a flexible option (rather than a top 10 option) after his knee injury, as a near double-digit home favorite and with Jimmy Garoppolo dealing with an ankle sprain, he should expect a tough game plan from San Francisco which makes McKinnon a must do in a week with a ton of RB questions.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Start: Daniel Jones, Michael Gallup
The Cowboys encounter has resulted in a ton of games this year (Dak Prescott is well on its way to breaking the record with 804 passes), and the Giants' ridiculously tough schedule has to be taken into account when looking at the ugly early numbers from Jones looks at. Danny Dimes can run (while the Giants' backs likely won't be able to) and has played better away (he had 20 touchdowns in seven street games last year) so I ranked him as a top 10 QB this week.
Gallup was a disappointment but he checks in 11th in the air this season and suggests bigger things to come. It should help in week 5 with James Bradbury tailing Amari Cooper and the Giants defense, who are harder to overtake than to pass. Gallup finished 10th in yards per run last season, so he's an excellent buy-low-trade candidate right now.
Indianapolis Colts @ Cleveland Browns
Start: Zach Pascal
Sitting: Jarvis Landry
With Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell and T.Y. Hilton may have washed up (# 65 in yards per run). Pascal has emerged as the number 1 Colts right now as his target stake of 28.6% was in the top 10 last week. This year he played 58% of the time in the slot where the Browns were injured for the most fantasy points this season. Trey Burton is a deep sleeper to Indy too, but if you're looking for cheap DFS help ($ 14) on wideout, I'll rank Pascal as a top 25 fantasy WR in week 5.
While the Colts' injuries can help linebackers, Landry has been slow to recover from off-season hip replacement surgery and is given a Colts defense that has sunk the fewest yards per game in the NFL by a significant margin. I don't rank Landry as a top 40 WR in what is also considered to be one of the slowest games this week.
Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks
Start: Justin Jefferson, Greg Olsen
Jefferson is PFF's top receiver (Adam Thielen is number 2) and is ranked number 1 (by a mile) in yards per run, which is pretty impressive for a newbie. He faces a secondary Seahawks, who is a whopping 500 yards more than any other team for wide receivers this season. Jefferson is the real deal, and I ranked him a top 10 recipient in week 5.
Olsen finished sixth on target participation bottlenecks last week as he continues to be more involved in the Seattle pass-first offense (albeit with a low aDot). He saw three goals in the red zone last week (two within the 10) and receives a cheap matchup against an exhausted defense in Minnesota in a game that has the highest over / under that week (56.5 points).
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots
Start: Jerry Jeudy, Damiere Byrd
With Noah Fant and KJ Hamler injured and Stephon Gilmore also sidelined, the volume should be available for Jeudy against a pass defense from New England, who is 27th in DVOA. Despite the QB situation in Denver, the rookie Wideout ranks impressively in the top 30 in yards per run this season.
Byrd was second in aviation last week, so despite the uncertainty with the New England quarterback, he's a sneaky DFS option ($ 12). The Broncos have allowed the second most fantasy points this season for receivers on the left (where he primarily pitches himself).
Los Angeles Chargers @ New Orleans Saints
Sitting: Joshua Kelley
Start: Drew Brees
Kelley's imagination has been boosted by Austin Ekeler's decline, but he needs to improve ball safety after losing a fumble in two back-to-back games, and Justin Jackson will form something of a committee. Kelley will be off to a strong start in a few weeks 'time, but it's worth playing as a big underdog against New Orleans' fourth-placed Run Defense DVOA Monday night.
Brees looked decidedly unwashed not to face the great Tampa Bay defense this season (six touchdowns and 8.5 YPA in three games), and he should be treated as a top 5 QB on the border Monday night at home compared to a Chargers defense that scored fifth defense. Most of the fantasy points relate to quarterbacks. Brees could get Michael Thomas back too, and Justin Herbert could easily make this one of the top rated games of the week.
Buffalo Bills @ Tennessee Titans
Sitting: John Brown
Start: Jonnu Smith
Brown appears injured, and with the Bills not playing until Tuesday (if at all) this week, he belongs on fantasy benches (treating Stefon Diggs as a top 5 WR).
Smith made career highs last week with eight goals, ranks 3rd in bottlenecks in yards per run this season, and is watching another heavy workload on Sunday with Corey Davis on IR (and AJ Brown likely won't be 100%) when he returns from his serious injury). Assuming the Titans are playing, Smith is an easy top-10 finish in week 5 against a Bills defense who scored the sixth most fantasy points for the position this year.
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