Week 5 Starts and Sits
By: Andrew Jacques @mclovinffaffair
As with every week, who to start and who to sit is a big decision for fantasy managers. I’ll always try to get straight to the point with some very basic ground rules – If players were drafted in the top 36 or are top 6 at their position, I’m not going to talk about them in the “start” column. With that high draft capital and/or performance thus far, I’m assuming they’re in your starting lineup. I may mention them in the sit column if it’s a particularly bad matchup, they have some sort of injury, or their status as a startable asset is otherwise questionable. That said, let’s get to it!
Trey Lance – IF Jimmy Garoppolo is out this week, fire up Trey Lance. Yes, he’s a rookie going into his first-ever NFL start. But let’s look at the stats. In a game where the 49’ers were down, on the field for only 51% of the game, he had 2 passing TD’s, 157 yards, and 41 rushing yards. He came out of last week’s game, scoring 25.88 points. No, I don’t expect him to score 50 points this week, but guess who they play? Only the league’s last undefeated team and a high-powered offense, the Arizona Cardinals. Fire up Lance, who has both the legs and cannon to keep up.
Kirk Cousins – Yes, he was a huge letdown last week, but the Brown’s defense is stellar! I expect Kirk to bounce back in a big way. The Detroit Lions have given up 994 passing yards and 119 points in 4 weeks. Kirk is an upper-tier passing quarterback, totaling 1,121 passing yards and 9 TD’s in 4 weeks. Take advantage of this exploitable matchup!
Trevor Lawrence – He finally showed us some of his athleticism last week against the Bengals kind of decent defense. He showed us the elite arm talent and decision-making, too, and I think the game is beginning to slow down for him a little bit. I expect the 1.01 2021 NFL Draft pick to make the most out of a decent matchup against a hobbled Tennessee Titans squad that just surrendered 297 passing yards and 2 TDs to the Jet’s. Play if you don’t have a bonafide stud in your starting lineup.
Ceedee Lamb – Don’t lose faith. Ceedee is an exceptionally talented WR who Dak loves; they’ve just been able to avoid throwing the ball due to the competition they’ve been playing. The Giants are a bottom-tier defense against both the run and pass, and they really only have 1 lockdown corner in James Bradberry. I expect him to guard Amari Cooper leaving Ceedee against weaker competition. Fire him up as a WR2/Flex play in all formats.
Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, or Tyler Boyd – The Bengals are feeling themselves a little bit after squeaking by the Jaguars last week. Joe Mixon has a low-grade ankle sprain, and the Packers are going to put up points. That’s the first reason to play one of the Bengals starting WR’s. The second is that Jaire Alexander, arguably the best DB in the league, left last week’s game with a potentially season ending shoulder injury (still no details at this time). That leaves the Packers with … nobody. Their secondary is a desolate wasteland. Look for Burrow to take advantage.
James Robinson – Rewarding fantasy managers with 78 yards and 2 TD’s last week (if you listened to me), Jamestown Robinson is a Mack Truck that can take your team to the next level. Tennessee has done a decent job against the run thus far (Top 10), but I think that’s largely because their passing defense is so atrocious. Plug him in again in week 5.
Zack Moss – He’s been solid for 3 weeks in a row. He’s a TD-dependent play, but the Chiefs have given up the 3rd most rushing yards through 4 weeks, and the Bills should look to slow Mahomes down by controlling the clock with the run game. He’s getting about 15 touches a game, and with recent injuries to our starters, we could do a lot worse. Fire him up!
Damien Williams – Montgomery is damaged, and Damien Williams is probably the bears last hope for any sort of running game; plus, he looked good last week, racking up 55 yards and a rushing TD on 8 touches. The Bears have looked to run the ball, particularly with rookie signal-caller Justin Fields leading the team. The Raiders are bottom tier, and he should see plenty of opportunities. Let’s go!
Dan Arnold – Showing up to the Jaguars only 4 days prior, Arnold earned himself an immediate target share and did well by Trevor Lawrence, turning both of his targets into two receptions and 29 yards. DJ Chark is out (likely for the season? Still waiting on those details as well), leaving more than enough for Arnold to get his foot in the door. I’d expect somewhere around 6 targets, 5 catches, 50+ yards with TD upside.
Moe Alie Cox – The Baltimore Ravens are currently the worst team in the league against TE’s, giving up 30 receptions for 347 yards and 3 TDs. Moe caught 2 TDs last week and had a 15% target share – He’ll never give you Waller points, but he is an upside TE2.
Russell Wilson – This is to be taken with a grain of salt – He’s probably better than most of the QB’s on the waiver wire. But if you are rostering another solid upside QB, it’s worth considering benching Russ this week. Through 4 games this year, compared to last year, he is throwing the ball 7 times fewer per game. That might not sound like a ton, but that’s a 20% reduction in pass attempts (so far). The Seahawks matchup against the LA Rams, who, last year, dominated him. In his 2 games, he had 1 in which he scored just over 10 points, and in the 2nd game, he scored 20. That was with 20% more pass attempts (on average) than he’s throwing this year! I’m not saying “bench at all costs,” but if I had Kirk Cousins, Trevor Lawrence, or another upside player this week… I’d consider using them.
Both the Broncos and the Steeler’s QB’s – I really don’t know who starts in either game. And frankly, it doesn’t matter. Teddy Bridgewater is coming back from a concussion, but the Steelers defense will hold any non-elite passing options to minimal points, so it doesn’t matter if it’s Teddy or Drew leading the Broncos offense; just bench ‘em. And Big Ben is dust. Not only is he dust, but he’s injured dust. His injured dust is trying to get over a hip injury, and we here in Pittsburgh are just praying that Tomlin decides to bench him because … well … he’s dust. Also, the Bronco’s defense is good. Sit!
Curtis Samuel – I know he’s finally back from IR, but I think he’s still dealing with lingering impacts of his groin injury. Pair that with playing a pretty solid Saints defense and I’m sitting him for another week.
Brandin Cooks – He was so good in the first 3 weeks but they play the Patriots this week. Pair the very poor roster talent with them playing Bill Belichek’s famous Rookie-QB-Crushing defense and you have somebody who’s best kept on the shelf. Keep in mind, the Patriots just limited Chris Godwin to 3 catches for 55 yards, Mike Evans to 7 catches for 75 yards, and Antonio Brown to 7 catches for 63 yards. NO TOUCHDOWNS. And that’s with Brady tossing the pill. Leave Cooks on the bench this week unless you’re absolutely desperate.
Miles Gaskin – It’s tough to know what exactly is going on in Miami, but Gaskin hasn’t been a huge part of it lately. 3 touches in week 4 and then they play the TB Buccaneers that just limited Damien Harris to 4 carries for -4 yards? I’ll have to see it again before I’m willing to bank on “The Gas-Man”.
Miles Sanders – We drafted him to be an RB2/Flex play but he’s been horrible so far. Somehow this wildly athletic talent isn’t in the game plan for the Eagles whatsoever, totalling 9 carries and 7 receptions in the past 2 weeks. Things don’t get much easier this week against a stalwart defense and the strong play of Sam Darnold. This appears to be a situation where Gainwell has become relevant enough that it makes both of them completely TD dependent… and give me the pass catcher in those types of backfields (Gainwell).
Ricky Seals-Jones – I’m guessing most of you aren’t starting the backup TE on the WFT anyway, but if you were thinking about plugging in Logan Thomas’s replacement while he’s on IR, this probably isn’t the week to do it. New Orleans is 5th best against the TE position allowing only 20 receptions for 180 yards and 0 TD’s through 4 weeks. If we divide each of those numbers by 4, you get … well. You get it. It’s not pretty. I’m a WFT guy and even I’m not optimistic.
Robert Tonyan – I know Green Bay is a high powered weapon, but Tonyan has been really hit or miss so far this season. The Bengals defense has improved a lot since last year but they’re still very beatable through the air; by wide receivers , that is. Tonyan has always been built around supreme efficiency and TD’s, never volume, and I project him to have 3 targets, 3 catches for 35 yards and no TD’s. Not somebody I’m starting with confidence. The upside is always there! But I can’t endorse him when you have budding stars like Dawson Knox, Conklin, and Engram on many WW’s. All of them have similar upside with higher floors this week.