Check out our fantasy football Start’em or Sit’em picks for Week 5 of the NFL season before setting all of your lineups.
The dreaded bye weeks are upon us. With Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans and Washington all of this week many owners are faced with tough decisions without some key players in their lineups. With that mind, here are my Start’em and Sit’em candidate for Week 5.
QB Start of the Week: Jameis Winston (TB) vs. NE
After a short delay to his 2017 campaign, Jameis Winston had a shaky start to his season. In his first two games Winston combined for 532 yards, three TDs and three INTs. He bounced back in a major way this past week 332 yards and three TDs against the Giants, ranking him as the QB4 in most formats. Many fantasy owners are hoping this is the beginning of an ascent to efficiency for the third year quarterback. Winston has shown at times in his short career that his one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL, but his major problem is alarming turnover rate. Since his first game in 2015 Winston has committed 40 turnovers (fumbles and INTs), second most in that time only behind the turnstile that is Blake Bortles. If Winston can work on keeping the ball out of the other teams’ hands and continues to perform like he did in Week 4, he is well on his way to a great fantasy season.
This week the Bucs face off against the Patriots in what should be an absolute boat race. Both offenses are playing well right now and, conversely, the defenses of both teams are struggling. In fact, the Patriots are the 32nd best defense against quarterbacks after four weeks, setting Winston up with a fantastic matchup. With both a great matchup and the potential for a positive game script, along with his recent success, I would confidently start Winston this week.
QB Start’em: Dak Prescott (DAL) vs. GB
Dak Prescott has avoided the sophomore slump so far in 2017 and has been a very productive fantasy quarterback this season. He so far has 941 passing yards, eight TDs, three INTs along with 89 rushing yards and one rushing TD; ranking him as QB1 through four weeks. The Cowboys offense as whole has been an impressive unit for the most part this season thanks to Prescott and his effective playmaking. In Week 5 Dallas takes on Green Bay, a defense that has allowed at least 200 yards in the air and at least one TD in the last three weeks, a matchup that Prescott and company should be able to take advantage of. Look for Prescott to have a big game in what should be another high scoring affair in Week 5.
QB Start’em: Carson Wentz (PHI) vs. ARI
A pleasant surprise at the quarterback position this season has been the progression of Carson Wentz. After a mediocre fantasy outing in his rookie season, Wentz has burst onto the scene with 1058 yards 10 TDs and two INTs, ranking him as a top 10 fantasy QB so far in 2017. Look for this hot production to continue in Week 5 as the Eagles face off against the Cardinals, the 19th best defense against quarterbacks this season. Wentz will take advantage of this matchup and will be a great start this week.
RB Start of the Week: Bilal Powell (NYJ) vs. CLE
After being cast aside by a vast majority of the fantasy football community, Bilal Powell erupted last week with an impressive 31.1 performance (0.5 PPR scoring). To put that into prospective, that Week 4 performance was 1.5X more production than he had put together in the previous three weeks combined. While this has the potential to be an outlier game for Powell, this does show us what kind of a role he will have in the Jet’s offense while Forte is out and possibly beyond. His target share is the offense is also a plus for Powell. He is tied for second on the team with 13 targets, behind Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson. He is a player that will have lots of short term appeal with his easy upcoming schedule and a newfound role as the sole starting RB.
The first game of this stretch of good matchups for Powell is in Week 5 versus Cleveland, the 17th best defense against the RB position. The Browns are also especially susceptible to a player with Powell’s skillset, allowing 17.7 points to the pass catching RB in Cincinnati Giovani Bernard last week. Look for Powell to be a versatile weapon in the Jets offense and a good start for Week 5.
RB Start’em: Frank Gore (IND) vs. SF
Frank Gore has staved off father time so far in 2017 with 191 yards on 61 rushes and two TDs along with five receptions for 44 yards. He is proving to be a bright spot in what has elsewise been a forgettable fantasy offense. Gore seems to have a solid role as the lead back in the Colts and will be even better when Andrew Luck comes back under center in the next few weeks. As for next week, Gore has a delightful matchup against the 49ers, the 29th best defense against running backs. His great matchup along with his large role in the offense makes Gore a start this week.
RB Start’em: Doug Martin (TB) vs. NE
It is finally time. Doug Martin is back on the active roster for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After serving a three game suspension for breaking the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Martin will be back on the field on Thursday versus the Patriots. Tampa has had a fairly good rushing attack so far in 2017 and will look to keep that trend going forward in Week 5. While there is a chance that Martin could have a smaller than normal role in this week’s game due to the short practice time, Martin will still have the upside to be fantasy relevant this week. Look for Martin to get rolling in this game in a favorable matchup (insert stats here) and start what should be a successful 2017 season for him.
WR Start of the Week: DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) vs. KC
One of the most asked questions of the 2016 offseason was what happened to Deandre Hopkins? He went from an elite fantasy WR in 2015 with 111 receptions for 1521 yards and 11 TDs to being absolutely irrelevant the following year with 78 receptions for 954 yards and four TDs. A big factor in this shift was his QB play, going from the capable Brian Hoyer and company to the laughable 2016 performance of Brock Osweiler. So far in 2017 Hopkins has had success with newcomer Deshaun Watson taking over under center. He is the WR4 and looks to keep this pace up moving forward thanks to great rapport with his new QB.
This week the Texans take in the Chiefs. While this is a less than favorable matchup, Hopkins will remain a top fantasy WR this week. His target share is very high (38%) which means Watson is looking to him early and often. His high target count and his overall talent make Hopkins a great start in Week 5.
WR Start’em: Devin Funchess (CAR) vs. DET
With many of the Panther’s pass catching options either missing in action or injured in recent weeks, one player that stood out last week was Devin Funchess. The big bodied WR came down with seven receptions for 70 yards and two TDs against New England in Week 4, leading the team in targets and production. Going forward, Funchess will continue to be a big factor in the Carolina offense and he should have a big week in this upcoming matchup. The Panthers face off against Detroit, the 15th best defense against the WR position. Look for Funchess to be a high volume player this week and get lots of fantasy production in Week 5.
WR Start’em: Alshon Jeffery (PHI) vs. ARI
Alshon Jeffery took a risk this past offseason. Rather than taking a long term contract, he took a one year “prove it” deal with Philadelphia to team up with Carson Wentz. Thus far the bet has paid off nicely with 215 yards on 17 receptions and two TDs. Jeffery has proved to be the most talented WR in what has proven to be a good offense in 2017 and he will continue that trend this week. Philadelphia will play Arizona, the 26th best defense against wide receivers, which will be a positive for the Eagles WR. Expect a big week from Jeffery as your WR2 with WR1 upside.
TE Start of the Week: Charles Clay (BUF) vs. CIN
Charles Clay has undoubtedly been the bright light in what has been a dark tunnel for the Buffalo passing offense. Clay is Tyrod Taylor’s number one weapom by a lot with 25 targets, out producing all the wide receivers and running backs. Now with Jordan Matthews out for at least the foreseeable future, Clay is almost literally the only legitimate pass catching option for the Bills. His production will only increase from his already impressive season if he can stay on the field.
In Week 5 the Bills face off against the Bengals, the 3rd best defense against the TE position. While this appears to be a somewhat tough matchup, I would not fear it. Clay’s target share is just so high in the offense that he will be able to be relevant. Plus, he has faced much tougher matchups so far this year, such as Denver in Week 3, and was still able to produce (insert stats here). Start Clay confidently this week.
TE Start’em: Evan Engram (NYG) vs. LAC
The far and away best rookie tight end in 2017 is none other than Evan Engram. Even for someone that is not a rookie, Engram’s production is elite. He has 19 receptions for 200 yards and one TD through four games, ranking him as a TE1. If he can continue this high level of chemistry he has with Eli Manning, Engram will be in for lots of fantasy production. This week the Giants take on the Chargers, a defense that just allowed 10.6 points (0.5 PPR scoring) to Zach Ertz last week. With Engram having a firm role in the offense and a fairly decent matchup, look for him to be a great start this week.
TE Start’em: Benjamin Watson (BAL) vs. OAK
Benjamin Watson has bloomed in the last three weeks. After putting up a zero point performance in Week 1, Watson has gotten 16 receptions for 146 yards and one TD, ranking him as the TE13. Though the Ravens passing offense has been very up and down, Watson has been a stable option that will continue to do so this week. Baltimore takes on Oakland, the 22nd best defense against the TE position, which is a matchup that Watson should be able to take advantage of. Start Watson this week.
D/ST Start of the Week: Minnesota Vikings vs. CHI
One of the elite defenses in the NFL that is a good start no matter the matchup is the Minnesota Vikings. They have many playmakers on that side of the ball that can make a fantasy impact. While they have had some tough matchups so far this season, this one is just too good to pass up. The Bears offense has been very bad this year but is making a move at the quarterback position, going from miserable Mike Glennon to rookie Mitchell Trubisky. While Trubisky did show some promise in the preseason, he is being thrown into a bad situation against a great defense. Look for the Vikings D/ST to be one of the best scoring units in Week 5.
QB Sit of the Week: Russell Wilson (SEA) vs. LAR
Russell Wilson has recovered nicely in the past two weeks after a poor start to the season. In the past two weeks Wilson has had 668 yards, six TDs and two INTs, making him a QB1 over that time. He has been able to hold up even though the Seattle offensive line has barely been able to do so this season. While the Seahawk passing offense as a whole has looked good recently, I think they are due for a regression this week.
Seattle takes on the Rams, a team that Wilson has struggled against throughout his career. He averages only 229 passing yards, 1.2 TDs and 0.7 INTs in ten career games versus the Rams, which is not a particularly good track record. Plus, this year’s Rams defense is the 13th best against the QB position, a bad matchup without the history. Bench Wilson this week and look for better options.
QB Sit’em: Eli Manning (NYG) vs. LAC
Eli Manning, much like Russell Wilson, is also a QB who started the season off slowly but has made great strides in the past two weeks. Manning has had 654 yards, five TDs and two INTs in the past two weeks, intriguing many owners and causing his ownership percentage to go up. Manning does have the potential to be a fantasy relevant QB, I would just hold off this week. The Giants face off against the Chargers, the 15th best defense against quarterbacks this season, an unfavorable matchup for Manning. Look to bench Manning this week.
QB Sit’em: Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. CAR
The Lions signal caller has disappointed in recent weeks, seeing a decline in his TD numbers since Week 1 and also only having over 250 yards twice this season. While Stafford is still the focal point of the offense, he is in a bit of a slump in his fantasy production and will more than likely continue so in this week’s matchup. Detroit faces off against the Panthers, the 11th best defense against the QB position. While Stafford still has a chance to be productive in this game, I would not expect a high upside game from him and would bench him in favor of a better matchup.
RB Sit of the Week: LeGarrette Blount (PHI) vs. ARI
After many fantasy owners questioned what role he would have in the Eagles offense with Darren Sproles out for the year, LeGarrette Blount showed what he could do with 136 yards on 16 rushes in Week 4. Despite having the doubters, Blount proved to be valuable for anyone that started him last week. The main question is still left however, what will the Eagles backfield look like going forward? Blount will still more than likely have the short yardage work but will he continue to be fantasy relevant? His unfortunate circumstance of being taken out of the gameplan, like in Week 2 for example, makes him a very sketchy start at best with the ability to make you question what to do with him every week.
In this matchup the Eagles take on the Cardinals, the 5th best defense against running backs. This tough matchup along with an extremely questionable role in the offense has me sitting Blount this week and waiting for more clarity.
RB Sit’em: Andre Ellington (ARI) vs. PHI
The former RB, turned WR, then back to RB again Andre Ellington has proven to be an offensive weapon no matter where he is on the field in 2017. Ellington was reported to spend a lot of this season split out as a wide receiver to get him more snaps and usage, but when David Johnson went down for the season in Week 1, the Cardinals changed up their schemes and moved him back to his former position. After both Kerwynn Williams and Chris Johnson showing they cannot be effective rushers, Ellington took a lot of the workload this past week and had a good game with five rushes for 18 yards while also getting nine receptions for 86 yards. Some owners are going to want to pick him up off of waivers and look to start him after a big game, but that is something I would advise against. The Cardinals face off against the Eagles, the 4th best defense against the RB position. Look for Ellington to still be versatile, but not relevant in Week 5.
RB Sit’em: Tarik Cohen (CHI) vs. MIN
Tarik Cohen has come up short in recent weeks for the fantasy owners that ponied up and grabbed him off of waivers earlier in the season. In his last two games Cohen has only managed 112 rushing yards on 18 attempts with right receptions for 48 yards, which is far less production than he had in his first two games. There are some factors that have contributed to this decline. One is the resurgence of Jordan Howard, who has put up at least an RB2 performance in both Week 3 and 4. Now that Howard is back to his 2016 form in a way, Cohen is not quite as nessecary in the offense. Another factor is his decrease in passing game usage. He has only seen eight targets in the past two games, much less than the 21 he saw in the previous two games before that. If Cohen cannot get back into the passing game, his role in the offense is minimalized, making him irrelevant for fantasy. These factors along with a very tough matchup against Minnesota have me keeping Cohen on the bench and looking for better options.
WR Sit of the Week: Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree (OAK) vs. BAL
While both wide receivers have had very different 2017 seasons, one thing that while have a very large effect on them for the rest of this season is the health of their QB Derek Carr. Michael Crabtree is the WR21 so far this season and had two very impressive games to start the season before succumbing to a chest injury in Week 3. When healthy Crabtree was a fantasy relevant WR who was a staple of many fantasy teams and will more than likely return to that status when he comes back from injury. On the other hand, Amari Cooper has been one of fantasy football’s biggest busts so far in 2017, ranking as only the WR71 due to several single digit performances. While they both have had their own impact to fantasy football this season, the back injury to Carr has limited their upside this week and will do so for the foreseeable future. While E.J. Manuel is a semi-capable back QB in the NFL, he is not somebody I would rely on.
Aside from the new QB that will start for Oakland, Crabtree and Cooper are facing a tough matchup against Baltimore this week, the 4th best defense against wide receivers. This matchup along with many other factors have me benching Crabtree if he is healthy and Cooper for this week and possibly behind if he cannot find a way to improve.
WR Sit’em: Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) vs. DET
Kelvin Benjamin put in his best performance of 2017 last week with four receptions for 104 yards, delighting those that have stuck with the Panthers WR who has struggled this season. The Panthers passing offense looks to be on the upswing with what looks like an almost fully healthy Cam Newton, which is good news for Benjamin owners. However, I would wait to see this week. The Panthers take on the Lions, a defense that held Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to 157 yards last week. While Benjamin still has some potential to be a fantasy relevant WR in Week 5, I would look elsewhere due to is lack of scoring opportunities (zero TDs through four games) and Newton’s new found foundation with Funchess.
WR Sit’em: Will Fuller V (HOU) vs. KC
Many fantasy owners were shocked to see that Will Fuller would be available this early into the season. After breaking his collarbone in August, Fuller made a quick recovery and made his season debut in Week 4 with 35 yards on four receptions and two TDs, ranking him as the WR6 that week. Many fantasy owners are going to want to chance the points this week and add him off of waivers and look to start him this week. While I do see his potential to be a big factor for the Texans offense, I don’t see it this week. Houston faces off against Kansas City this week, a tough matchup for quarterbacks so far in 2017, which will limit Fuller’s upside. Plus, he does not have the high amount of targets to give him a safe floor if he doesn’t get any TDs, which also limits his fantasy upside. Bench Fuller this week and look for him to flourish in a better matchup.
TE Sit of the Week: Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs. CHI
The Red Zone Reindeer, which Kyle Rudolph has been joyously nicknamed in recent years, has been anything but joyful so far in 2017. After having a 10 point game in Week 1 (0.5 PPR scoring), Rudolph has barely put together as many fantasy points in the past three weeks. He has seen the most of an impact since Sam Bradford has been out with an injury. Case Keenum has looked at other receiving options thus far in his time as the starter in Minnesota and I would predict that Rudolph’s production will stay at this level until Bradford comes back.
Along with this new diminished role in the offense, Rudolph has a tough matchup this week against Chicago, a defense that just held Martellus Bennett to 6.9 points (0.5 PPR scoring) last week. Bench Rudolph this week and look for better streaming options.
TE Sit’em: Jared Cook (OAK) vs. BAL
After a 12 point (0.5 PPR scoring) game in Week 3, many fantasy owners were looking to Jared Cook as a possible season-long option at the TE position. While Cook ended up doing okay in Week 4 with 46 yards on three receptions, he largely disappointed his owners who looked to rely on him. Cook is second on the team in targets in Oakland, only behind Amari Cooper, which is a positive sign for his possible production going forward. However, I would not look to him as a relevant option this week. With new QB E.J. Manuel starting this week against the Ravens, the 6th best defense against quarterbacks, I am expecting a very rough day for all of the Raiders offense, which will effect Cook’s fantasy production. Bench Cook this week.
TE Sit’em: Delanie Walker (TEN) vs. MIA
Delanie Walker has been a top ten TE so far in 2017 with 219 yards on 18 receptions, which has been a delightful surprise for those that took a chance on him this year. He and Mariota have reconnected this season and Walker is taking full advantage of it. The only problem with this, however, is Mariota is possibly out with a hamstring injury that could cause him to miss this week and some more down the road. Along with Mariota’s injury, Walker faces a tough matchup this week in Miami, a defense that just held Coby Fleener to less than five points (0.5 PPR scoring) last week. Keep Walker on the bench this week and look for better options.
D/ST Sit of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals vs. BUF
The Cincinnati Bengals D/ST has been very good so far in 2017, ranking in the top ten so far this season. They had a great game last week against the Browns where they got one INT and held the team to only seven points. While many owners are looking for this unit to continue its ways against the Bills offense this week, I would be skeptical about that. The Bills have been a fairly good offense the past three weeks, averaging over 17 points scored and zero turnovers. While the Bengals can still have a productive day, I would sit them or keep them on the waiver wire and look for better options.