Fantasy Football Week 5 Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em

Fantasy football sit-and-start advice should always be relative and league-dependent. Note that some players are targeted for DFS. Good luck with your Week 5 lineups!

Sit: Trevor Lawrence

Start: Dalton Kincaid

The Bills have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and that includes facing the league’s leader in YPA (Tua Tagovailoa). No QB has surpassed 15 fantasy points or been top-15 at the position in a week facing Buffalo. The Bills are the least favorable QB matchup when schedule-adjusted as well. Lawrence’s incredible potential remains (and he’s suffered from many drops), but he’s getting just 6.6 YPA with only four touchdowns this season.

Since facing the inviting Colts secondary in Week 1, Lawrence has been fantasy’s No. 22 QB; he’s well behind Anthony Richardson over that span, who’s missed seven quarters. Lawrence isn’t a top-15 QB on my board this week.

Kincaid separated from Dawson Knox last week in playing time, and the Jaguars have ceded the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Knox has been limited by a quad injury, so this could be the week the rookie breaks out.

Start: Tank Dell

Start in DFS: Bijan Robinson ($32)

Dell is coming off a quiet week but remains on pace to finish his rookie season with 1,135 yards and nine touchdowns. He plays indoors this week against a funnel Falcons defense that’s 27th in DVOA versus the pass yet allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs. C.J. Stroud is getting the third-highest YPA (8.0) in the league and already looks like a star. Keep Dell in fantasy lineups.

Robinson’s rush share has steadily increased each week, while Tyler Allgeier’s snap share has decreased. Robinson is third in the NFL in yards per touch and leads all running backs in receptions. Atlanta’s last two matchups came on the road against a Lions run defense ceding an NFL-low 45.3 rushing YPG to running backs and a Jacksonville D allowing the fifth-lowest EPA/rush. This week Robinson is at home versus a Texans defense that’s the second-most favorable to fantasy running backs when schedule adjusted. Desmond Ridder’s struggles don’t help, but the Falcons have by far the lowest pass rate over expectation (-10.1%) in the NFL. And Robinson also happens to be HIM. He’s my top fantasy back in Week 5.

Sit: Miles Sanders

Start in DFS: David Montgomery ($27)

Sanders has remained limited in practice thanks to a groin injury that led to more snaps and routes from Chuba Hubbard last week. Sanders has the lowest avoided tackle rate among all RBs this season and has been outplayed by his backfield teammate. A not 100% healthy Sanders gets a Lions D that’s allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs and ranks fourth in rush defense DVOA.

Montgomery saw a whopping 32 carries last week despite recently coming off a serious-looking injury. He gets 10 days to rest up and a home matchup against a Panthers defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Carolina has suffered numerous defensive injuries and is also ceding the most EPA/rush in the league by a wide margin.

Detroit has been extremely run-heavy this year, and Montgomery is the team’s lead back, whether us Jahmyr Gibbs backers want to accept it or not. Montgomery had more red-zone carries last week than Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry and Joe Mixon have all season. He had more (or as many) carries inside the five-yard line last week than every player in the league other than Kenneth Walker III this season. The Lions are 10-point home favorites Sunday, so game script should once again be favorable. And Montgomery should remain busy with Amon-Ra St. Brown a big question mark due to an abdomen injury.

Start: DeAndre Hopkins, Anthony Richardson

Hopkins wasn’t in a full-time role last week (72% routes), but he still led the Titans in targets. Hopefully, his ankle is healthier this week, when Treylon Burks appears likely to sit again. Hopkins was close to a 45-yard touchdown last week and gets a game indoors Sunday versus a vulnerable Colts secondary. Indy has yielded the ninth-most fantasy points to wideouts this season, and DHop is due for a touchdown (fourth-most targets without scoring).

Jonathan Taylor’s return helps the Colts’ offense, but Indy will be forced to go pass-heavy Sunday. The Titans are allowing just 56.8 rushing yards per game to running backs this season, when opponents have the third-highest neutral pass rate. Richardson has been an immediate fantasy star, leading the league in fantasy points per dropback by a mile. He’ll soon graduate to being too obvious for this column (if we aren’t there already).

Sit in DFS: Saquon Barkley ($31)

Start in DFS: Jaylen Waddle ($23)

There’s a realistic chance Barkley returns this week, and Miami’s run defense looks inviting. But Barkley would be just three weeks removed from suffering a high-ankle sprain and almost certainly not himself. The Giants are also the biggest underdogs (+11.5) this week, with the third-lowest implied team total. Game script and scoring opportunities may not be on Barkley’s side. Play Bijan Robinson ($32) in DFS instead.

Waddle hasn’t seen the target share as expected this season, but give him a pass for last week while returning from a concussion, when he also had a TD catch nullified by a penalty. Waddle got 3.14 (!) yards per route run and scored all his touchdowns when Tua Tagovailoa was on the field last season, and Tua is getting an NFL-high 9.6 YPA this season; big games are coming. The Dolphins have the highest implied team point total (30.0) in Week 5, and Miami’s running backs can’t keep stealing all the touchdowns.

Sit: Derek Carr, all Patriots but Rhamondre Stevenson

Carr may be healthier after clearly playing compromised last week, but he goes outdoors in a tough matchup. The Patriots are dealing with serious injuries on defense but have held quarterbacks to the fourth-fewest fantasy points. Meanwhile, Alvin Kamara is easily the leader in expected fantasy points per game after getting peppered with 14 targets during his return last week.

The Saints have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs, and Stevenson is splitting work more than last season. He’s also been limited (thigh) in practice throughout the week, so he’s more of a flex option (at best). This matchup has a lowly 39.5-point total with possible 20-25 mph wind gusts, so it’s tough to trust many (any?) Patriots in fantasy lineups this week.

Start: Zay Flowers

Sit: Najee Harris

Rashod Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. may return, but Flowers has a favorable matchup. The Steelers have yielded the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, allowing an average of 31+ FPG to WR1s. Flowers ranks top-10 in target share this season and is a strong fantasy start this week.

Harris hasn’t played quite as poorly as perception, especially in comparison to Jaylen Warren. But Harris’ targets are down, and he’s struggling to score any touchdowns on a Steelers offense getting just 4.6 yards per play that would’ve ranked last in 2022. Kenny Pickett plans to play through his knee injury this week against a tough Baltimore defense in a matchup with the lowest over/under (38.0 points) on the slate. It’s not a great setup for Harris.

Start in DFS: Ja’Marr Chase ($30), Joshua Dobbs ($22)

Chase has suffered along with the rest of a Cincinnati offense that’s scored the fewest touchdowns in the league this season. He has the most catches and targets without a touchdown this year and should benefit from facing an Arizona defense with one of the lowest pressure rates. Joe Burrow has especially struggled against the blitz this season while playing through his calf injury, and the Cardinals have by far the lowest blitz rate. Chase has seen a significant jump in targets with Tee Higgins off the field, and Higgins looks likely to sit after fracturing his rib last week.

Dobbs has shockingly been fantasy’s No. 6 QB since Week 1 despite facing the San Francisco and Dallas defenses. Dobbs is third in the league in Next Gen’s CPAE, just behind Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. Dobbs is also fifth among quarterbacks in designed runs, so his fantasy output is no fluke (albeit due for some regression). The Bengals have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to QBs this season. Dobbs’ salary is the near minimum if you want to pay down at quarterback this week.

Start: D’Andre Swift, Matthew Stafford

Swift still loses carries to Kenneth Gainwell, but he’s also seen 27.3% of the Eagles’ designed targets since Week 2. No one in the league has been tackled at the one without scoring more than Swift this season. He should be a big part of Sunday’s gameplan against a Rams defense that opponents have been running heavily against.

Stafford has played far better than his three touchdown passes indicate, and he returns home Sunday for just the second time this season. It looks like the Rams will get Cooper Kupp back to go with Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell, giving Stafford his best weapons in years. Kyren Williams is banged up, and LA gets a pass-funnel Eagles defense that ranks first against the run in DVOA but 17th versus the pass. Philadelphia has allowed the third-most passing touchdowns this year. I rank Stafford as a top-10 fantasy QB this week.

Start: Breece Hall

Sit: Russell Wilson

Hall’s quietly seen increased usage each week as he recovers from knee surgery, and coach Robert Saleh said the RB is no longer on a snap count. Hall leads the league in YPC after contact and gets a Denver defense that has the worst-ever DVOA through four games. The Broncos have also been gashed for the most fantasy points to running backs by a mile, somehow allowing 26% more than the defense ceding the second most. Zach Wilson is coming off the best game of his career, so fire up Hall in fantasy lineups this week.

Wilson has bounced back this season, posting the third-best Passer Rating in the league (a completed Hail Mary has helped). But he’s benefitted from an extremely favorable schedule that takes a big turn this week against a much stronger Jets defense. New York has yielded the 10th-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and hasn’t allowed 20 points in a week to the position despite facing Josh Allen, Dak Prescott (in Dallas) and Patrick Mahomes. Wilson is a bench candidate this week.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Minnesota Vikings

Start: Rashee Rice

Start in DFS: Justin Jefferson ($37)

Kansas City continues to rotate its receivers, but Rice is emerging as the team’s clear best option. He leads KC in red-zone targets and has accounted for nearly 50% of the Chiefs’ receiving yards when he’s been on the field this season. Rice is top-five in expected fantasy points per route! With increased playing time each week, the future looks bright for the rookie. Rice gets an indoor matchup with this week’s highest total against a Vikings defense allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Kansas City has the youngest defense in football playing well, and L’Jarius Sneed will likely shadow Jefferson roughly 70% of the time Sunday, so pivot to Tyreek Hill ($40) if you prefer. But unlike last week’s game script that saw Minnesota run just 44 plays, the Vikings should be passing a ton on Sunday. The Chiefs have the highest pass rate over expectation (+8%) and the Vikings sport the third highest (+3.8%). The matchup indoors will also be high-paced and has the highest total (52.5 points) of the week. Jefferson nearly scored three touchdowns last week despite running just 24 routes, and he’s recorded 71% of his TDs at home during his career.

Jordan Addison is a solid start this week too.

Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers

Start: Jake Ferguson, Brandon Aiyuk

Ferguson is tied with Davante Adams for the NFL lead among pass catchers in red-zone targets. He’s also among the leaders in targets per route run, and Ferguson has seen more playing time the last two weeks. San Francisco opponents have the highest neutral pass rate this season, so Ferguson belongs in fantasy lineups.

There’s concern Dallas’ pass rush won’t let plays develop downfield enough for Aiyuk, but he’s emerged as one of the league’s best wideouts this season. Aiyuk is PFF’s highest-graded WR over the season’s first month, and he could see extra targets Sunday night with Deebo Samuel still not 100% while dealing with a knee injury. Aiyuk has historically destroyed man coverage, and the Cowboys run it at the highest rate in the NFL. Sunday night’s game could turn into a defensive battle, but Aiyuk should be locked in fantasy lineups.

Green Bay Packers @ Las Vegas Raiders

Start: Jordan Love, Jakobi Meyers

Love hasn’t gotten 7.0 YPA in a game since Week 1 but is the No. 3 fantasy QB on the year anyway. He’s coming off a rough performance but gets 11 days to prepare for a game in Las Vegas that will be heavy on Packers fans. Love gets a favorable matchup indoors against a Raiders defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and with the third-lowest pressure rate. With a healthier Aaron Jones and Christian Watson, start Love with confidence Monday night.

Meyers has averaged 11 targets, eight catches, 83 receiving yards and a touchdown with Jimmy Garoppolo this season. A favorable schedule has helped, but the targets appear for real in a highly condensed offense. Meyers could see even more looks this week with Davante Adams nursing a painful shoulder injury. Assuming Jimmy G returns, fire up Meyers on Monday night.

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