Start ’em, sit ’em decisions aren’t getting easier even as we learn more about favorable/unfavorable matchups. Injuries are mounting and the byes have officially kicked in after unofficially starting last week, so many fantasy football owners are in need of lineup advice, particularly for slow-starting or inconsistent players like T.Y. Hilton, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Melvin Gordon, Evan Engram, and Zach Ertz. Fortunately, we’re here to help with season-long tips and NFL DFS picks.
The Lions and Packers will be on bye this week, so get their players out of your lineups. Key injuries to watch include Michael Thomas (ankle), Julio Jones (hamstring), Raheem Mostert (knee), Zack Moss (toe), Cam Akers (ribs), Phillip Lindsay (toe), Jared Cook (groin), Tyrod Taylor (chest), Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), Cam Newton (COVID-19), Drew Lock (shoulder), Alshon Jeffery (foot), DeSean Jackson (foot), Mike Williams (hamstring), Leonard Fournette (ankle), Chris Godwin (hamstring), Mike Evans (ankle), and more that inevitably pop up later in the week.
As for everyone else we know is going to be active, here’s how to make your best possible calls for Week 5:
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Start: Quarterbacks
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs. LV), Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. CIN), Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. NYG), Russell Wilson, Seahawks (vs. MIN), Josh Allen, Bills (at TEN), Kyler Murray, Cardinals (at NYJ)
Deshaun Watson, Texans (vs. JAX). No Bill O’Brien will make the Texans lean toward unleashing Watson with better support against a bad defense at home.
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars (at HOU). Minshew should be busy throwing on the other side of Watson.
Drew Brees, Saints (vs. LAC). The Chargers’ pass defense can be tough, but Brees will follow where wily vet Tom Brady left off on Monday night at home, one of his favorite spots.
Justin Herbert, Chargers (at NO). The rookie is absolutely dealing with his big arm and will keep chucking on the other side of Brees.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at SEA). He should be throwing a ton on a depleted defense opposite Russell Wilson lighting it up.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. PHI). The matchup is tricky given Philadelphia’s pass rush, but Roethlisberger has enough weapons to get it done and he could be forced to throw more than usual.
Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers (at ATL, $5,900 on DraftKings, $7,100 on FanDuel). He’s suddenly hot in Joe Brady’s offense, and it’s the Falcons’ defense.
Daniel Jones, Giants (at DAL, $5,400 on DraftKings, $6,800 on FanDuel). Danny Dimes does damage, denting Dallas’ dysfunctional defense.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard, 49ers (vs. MIA)
WEEK 5 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Sit: Quarterbacks
Matt Ryan, Falcons (vs. CAR). He should be a good play, but who knows with the injury issues around him and the clunker he threw up in Green Bay. At home, his ceiling isn’t as high as you think, so go elsewhere should Julio Jones (hamstring) miss the game.
Joe Burrow, Bengals (at BAL). He will probably fare OK with some garbage potential, but he’s not in the most comfortable spot despite his solid rookie start.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers (at CHI). We got burned with Brady vs. the Chargers last week, but we also didn’t expect the Chargers to score that much for resistance. The Bears won’t be scoring a lot, and the Bucs can run on them well.
Jared Goff, Rams (at WAS). Goff won’t have to do much with the Rams’ running well and the defense dominating Dwayne Haskins.
Carson Wentz, Eagles (at PIT). You can’t go here on the road against this nasty, loaded, rested defense.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins (at SF). The 49ers’ defense is hurting, but they can still get in his face and force him into bad throws after a bad game.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans (vs. BUF). The numbers might say yes, but the Bills’ defense can take away the run and hurt his play-action passing.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (vs. IND), Philip Rivers, Colts (at CLE)
WEEK 5 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Start: Running backs
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. NYG), Dalvin Cook, Vikings (at SEA), Derrick Henry, Titans (vs, BUF), Alvin Kamara, Saints (vs. LAC), Kareem Hunt, Browns (vs. IND), Joe Mixon, Bengals (at BAL), Josh Jacobs, Raiders (at KC), Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs (vs. LV), Todd Gurley, Falcons (vs. CAR), Miles Sanders, Eagles (at PIT), Jonathan Taylor, Colts (at CLE), James Conner, Steelers (vs. PHI), James Robinson, Jaguars (at HOU), Chris Carson, Seahawks (vs. MIN), Jerick McKinnon, 49ers (vs. MIA)
Mike Davis, Panthers (at ATL). Davis is still leading the backfield without Christian McCaffrey (knee), and even some Reggie Bonnafon work won’t stop him from another productive day.
Devin Singletary, Bills (at TEN), Zack Moss may come back from the toe/foot injury, but there’s nothing scary about the Titans’ run defense. Singletary will turn in his third straight good game.
Kenyan Drake, Cardinals (at NYJ). He’s had a rough start, and Chase Edmonds is a thorn in the passing game. Drake also is battling a chest injury, but he should get well destroying the Jets on the ground.
Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (at CHI). The Bears’ run defense is weak, and Leonard Fournette (ankle) should miss another game, leading to another solid Jones outing.
Mark Ingram, Ravens (vs. CIN). Because of the touchdowns, he’s the only Ravens back to trust with the ugly three-man committee of random snaps.
Antonio Gibson, Washington (vs. LAR). He’s getting the solid volume and good scoring opportunities every week, and that won’t change against the Rams.
Joshua Kelley, Chargers (at NO). He takes over the lead role from Austin Ekeler (hamstring) ahead of Justin Jackson and will have most of the receiving work to help him piece together a good scrimmage night against the Saints.
Devonta Freeman, Giants (at DAL). He’s looking good again while taking the lead without Saquon Barkley (knee), and he had great success as a Falcon against the Cowboys.
David Johnson, Texans (vs. JAX, $5,200 on DraftKings, $6,400 on FanDuel). Johnson should be re-established without Bill O’Brien to help Deshaun Watson, and the Jaguars can’t slow him down running or receiving.
Damien Harris, Patriots (vs. DEN, $4,300 on DraftKings, $4,500 on FanDuel). He looked good as the early-down back replacing injured Sony Michel, and expect the Patriots to be run heavy at home regardless of who’s the quarterback.
WEEK 5 DFS CASH LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKings | Yahoo
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Sit: Running backs
Melvin Gordon, Broncos (at NE). Quick, what is the one thing Denver’s offense does really well that New England will focus on taking away? Boom.
David Montgomery, Bears (vs. TB). The Bucs’ run defense is brutal, and he’s not doing much without Tarik Cohen.
Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown, Rams (at WAS). Good luck trying to figure out this week-to-week situation in a so-so matchup.
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins (at SF). He has a limited ceiling, and the 49ers will keep him below it.
Latavius Murray, Saints (vs. LAC). Don’t go chasing his big rushing and scoring effort from Detroit because the Chargers are a little trickier.
Rex Burkhead and James White, Patriots (vs. DEN). You can’t trust the usage for either in a game where New England will play from ahead.
JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, Ravens (vs. CIN). You’re simply rolling the dice that one will reel off a long run or a touchdown, so play either only if you’re stuck with a deep flex issue.
D’Ernest Johnson, Browns (vs. IND). Hunt will dominate touches, and this matchup isn’t god enough to support two backs.
WEEK 5 DFS TOURNAMENT LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKings | Yahoo
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Start: Wide receivers
Michael Thomas, Saints (if he returns, vs. LAC), Julio Jones (if he returns) and Calvin Ridley, Falcons (vs. CAR), Tyreek Hill Chiefs (vs. LV), Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at CHI), DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (at NYJ), Allen Robinson, Bears (vs. TB), JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (vs. PHI), A.J. Brown, Titans (if he returns, vs. BUF), D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, Panthers (at ATL), Adam Thielen, Vikings (at SEA), Amari Cooper, Cowboys (vs. NYG), Odell Beckham Jr, (vs. IND), Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, Rams (at WAS), Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Seahawks (vs. MIN), D.J. Chark, Jaguars (at HOU), Terry McLaurin, Washington (vs. LAR), Keenan Allen, Chargers (at NO), Stefon Diggs, Bills (at TEN), DeVante Parker, Dolphins (at SF), Tyler Boyd, Bengals (at BAL)
Will Fuller, Texans (vs. JAX). Stay full speed ahead with him as Deshaun Watson’s only truly reliable wide receiver.
Marquise Brown, Ravens (vs. CIN). Hollywood is overdue for a starring role on a big scoring play downfield.
Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (vs. NYG). There is the presence of James Bradberry outside, and Lamb has been way more productive than Gallup, but this seems like a good spot for both with Bradberry probably focusing more on Cooper.
Justin Jefferson, Vikings (at SEA). The rookie is red hot, and the Seahawks have no answers to cover him away from Thielen.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts (at CLE). He’s done nothing of note in fantasy, but here’s a chance against this secondary to connect on one or three plays from Philip Rivers.
John Brown, Bills (vs. TEN). He’ll get back in the TD and big-play column working opposite Stefon Diggs vs. a shakier cornerback group.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers (vs. PHI). He can do some good technical damage on the outside away from Darius Slay.
Deebo Samuel, 49ers (vs. MIA, $5,300 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel). Deebo got his feet wet in his return. He’ll go for the splash on the Dolphins, who can’t cover his speed, quickness, and toughness.
Jamison Crowder, Jets (vs. ARI, $5,800 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel). Crowder is the only Jets’ wideout to trust regardless of who’s quarterbacking, and the Cardinals aren’t built to cover him.
Darius Slayton, Giants (at DAL, $4,800 on DraftKings, $5,800 on FanDuel). This should be a week for Jones’ go-to guy to get back on track all over the field in our cheap stack of the week.
Mecole Hardman, Chiefs (vs. LV), Golden Tate, Giants (at DAL), Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars (at HOU)
MORE WEEK 5: Top waiver pickups | FAAB planner | Buy-low, sell-high
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Sit: Wide receivers
Jarvis Landry, Browns (vs. IND). He’s not throwing a TD pass to save his value in a tough matchup with his role dwindling.
Julian Edelman, Patriots (vs. DEN). He needs to make some amends at home, but he’s had only one very productive game against the Seahawks and isn’t recommended should Cam Newton miss the Broncos, too.
Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick, Broncos (at NE). This secondary is too good with Stephon Gilmore lurking and New England’s effective slot work.
Brandin Cooks, Texans (vs. JAX). Anyone seen him lately? Another bad trade by Bill O’Brien.
A.J. Green and Tee Higgins, Bengals (at BAL). They’re in a tricky spot away from Tyler Boyd, even with one breaaking bad and one trending well.
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (vs. MIA). The rookie may draw a hard matchup against the Dolphins’ talented corners, at least tougher than Deebo Samuel and George Kittle.
Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith, Saints (vs. LAC). The Chargers don’t have Chris Harris Jr., but Casey Hayward and Desmond King are tough.
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Start: Tight ends
Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. LV), George Kittle, 49ers (vs. MIAI), Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. CIN) Darren Waller, Raiders (at KC), Hunter Henry, Chargers (at NO), Tyler Higbee, Rams (at WAS)
Jonnu Smith, Titans (vs. BUF). He comes back from a bye with a great spot, as the Bills’ linebackers and safeties can’t stay with him.
Mo Alie-Cox, Colts (at CLE). He keeps getting great looks from Philip Rivers, and the Browns are giving up tons to the position.
Even Engram, Giants (at DAL). If he can’t get it done for Daniel Jones and Jason Garrett in Dallas, he should be done to us.
Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers (at CHI). With O.J. Howard (Achilles’) down, expect Gronk to be more involved as a receiver. The Bears have struggled with physical tight ends, especially in the red zone.
Drew Sample, Bengals (at BAL). The Ravens simply have a hard time against the position, as that’s their coverage weakness, so Sample can put together another solid game in deeper PPR.
Eric Ebron, Steelers (vs. PHI, $4,000 on DraftKings, $5,100 on FanDuel). Let’s try again with Ebron, coming off his best game as a Steeler. He’ll keep up the vibes against an Eagles’ linebacker and safety corps unable to stop good, big athletes at the position.
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Sit: Tight ends
Zach Ertz, Eagles (at PIT). It hurts to say Ertz is broken down, but the Steelers have the personnel to erase him.
Hayden Hurst, Falcons (vs. CAR). The Panthers have been very good covering tight ends early and have a lot more trouble with versatile wideouts.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (at SF). He was very quiet against the Seahawks, and the 49ers’ Jaquiski Tartt can help keep him that way.
Austin Hooper, Browns (vs. IND). He had five catches and scored for his new team last week, but you can’t go here, as the Colts allow the fewest fantasy points to the position.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (vs. NYG). The passing volume will be considerably lower for Dak Prescott.
Jimmy Graham, Bears (vs. TB). The Bucs have been on point in tight end coverage after containing Hunter Henry last week thanks to the presence of Antoine Winfield Jr.
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Start: Defenses
Buccaneers (at CHI), Patriots (vs. DEN), Rams (at WAS), Ravens (vs. CIN), Cardinals (at NYJ), 49ers (vs. MIA), Bills (at TEN), Steelers (vs. PHI), Chiefs (vs. LV)
Browns (vs. IND, $2,700 on DraftKings, $3,800 on FanDuel). Cleveland should rock Rivers into a few mistakes, as its run defense has improved to slow down Jonathan Taylor a bit.
Fantasy Football Week 5 Who To Sit: Defenses
Bears (vs. TB), Saints (vs. LAR), Colts (at CLE), Seahawks (vs. MIN), Eagles (at PIT), Titans (vs. BUF), Washington (vs. LAR), Cowboys (vs. NYG), Broncos (at NE)
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