The NFL season is moving along at a quick pace and we are already done with a quarter of the season. Heading into week 5, we have seen some interesting developments that are translating into the fantasy world. Tom Brady and the New England offense is looking sub-par through the first four weeks (minus last week), Jared Goff has violently shaken off the bust label and is currently second in the league in passing yards, and the kicker position has become more valuable as we are seeing a lot of missed field goals and extra points compared to previous seasons.
So diving into week 5, here are some players that are projected to have a good day at the office and some that are better off sitting on the bench. No need to dilly dally, on to the starts and sits for this week!
Fantasy Football Week 5 Start Em Sit Em
Carson Wentz vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings were a preseason pick to have one of the top defenses in the league. Safe assumption to make when they allowed the least amount of points and yards during the 2017 regular season. This year, we see a completely different defense out on the field. This spells a good opportunity for Wentz and the Eagles to do some damage against a reeling defense. Alshon Jeffery is back in the fold for Wentz as a passing option and Wentz should have a solid day in his third start of the year.
C.J. Beathard vs. Arizona Cardinals
You would think that losing Jimmy Garoppolo would make the 49ers passing offense regress. Not necessarily. Beathard may not have the same ability to throw the football like Garoppolo, but he can still spin it. Against the Chargers, Beathard took what the defense gave him and looked comfortable in his second-year playing for Kyle Shanahan. He did throw two interceptions, but you can easily argue that they were not his fault. Facing Arizona in week 5 can be just the right set of circumstances for Beathard to really let 49ers fans know that he can move this offense down the field as easily as Garoppolo could. The Cardinals are the perfect guests for some home-cooking served up by Beathard and this could be a sneaky play for your fantasy match-up this week.
Russell Wilson vs. Los Angeles Rams
Wilson is facing one of the best defenses in 2018. Through four weeks, the Rams have allowed only 67 total points and the Seahawks have scored only 85. Wilson is a great quarterback in this league, but the offensive line woes may be too much to overcome this year. Also, with no running game to build off of, Wilson is forced to manufacture more plays for his offense than he needs to. Consider this match-up great for the Rams, but terrible for the Seahawks. Log meets buzz-saw, with Seattle playing the part of the log. Avoid Wilson this week if you can.
Joe Flacco vs. Cleveland Browns
Against the Steelers on Sunday night, Flacco looked pretty good. The problem though is that he played a defense that has allowed 1,355 yards through a quarter of the season. Coming into week 5, Flacco has some momentum to ride but this Cleveland defense is not so easy to carve up as in year’s past. Currently leading the league with 13 takeaways, this young Browns defense will give Flacco trouble. Expect him to look good early, but then have trouble as the game goes on. There are other better plays this week, so avoid Flacco as your starting quarterback in week 5.
Christian McCaffrey vs. New York Giants
McCaffrey is currently leading the Carolina Panthers in receptions and targets in the passing game. He is also second on the team in receiving yards, not to mention he is averaging 90.3 yards per game on the ground. McCaffrey is coming off a bye week and will be rested up against a middle of the road Giants defense. New offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, knows that McCaffrey is the clear cut focal point of this offense. As imperative as Cam Newton is to the offense, production from McCaffrey is going to make this offense tough to stop. This game against the Giants will establish the fact that McCaffrey is going to be a star in this league. He will be putting on a clinic for another promising running back in this league on the other sideline, Saquon Barkley.
Frank Gore vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Surprising? Yes, but stick with the logic behind this one. Miami is a pass-first team so the touches may be limited in the offense, but Gore is looking effective when he does get the ball. Kenyan Drake is for some reason not getting involved as much as fantasy owners hoped he would. Currently, the attempts are about even with Gore and Drake, with Gore having 35 attempts and Drake having 33 attempts. The separation is that Gore has translated those touches in 139 yards, while Drake only has 107 yards on the similar amount of touches. So Gore may not be a great start in the running back positions, but he could be a sneaky flex play. He has a good chance of finding the endzone against the Bengals which makes him a low-key start if you’re missing Jordan Howard or Tarik Cohen this week.
Dalvin Cook vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Cook is coming off an injury but even when he was healthy, Cook was not playing at the level we saw at the beginning of the 2017 campaign. He has yet to cross the century mark in yardage FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON! Now he has missed one game as mentioned due to injury, but he has not been effective when on the field. Throw in the fact that the Vikings paid through the nose for Kirk Cousins to play quarterback and this offense is becoming more pass-first. So the combination of Cook playing poorly to begin the season and playing the Eagles in week 5, Cook is a sit for sure. The Eagles have only surrendered 63.8 yards per game on the ground and allowed only two rushing touchdowns in four games. Keep Cook on the bench until he has a better match-up to re-emerge as a fantasy starter.
LeSean McCoy vs. Tennessee Titans
The days of depending on Shady McCoy are over. The offense in Buffalo is non-existent and teams can now focus on McCoy until we see something from the passing offense. With the Bills trying to break in rookie Josh Allen, McCoy’s fantasy prospects are looking pretty grim. He also has sustained a rib injury that looks to linger through the season. Hang on to him if you must, but his projections this year for fantasy purposes are dismal at best. This match-up against the Titans just throws fuel on the fire to keep him on your bench this week.
Julian Edelman vs. Indianapolis Colts
Edelman’s four-game suspension has come to an end and he faces a great match-up in the Colts. Some may be wary that he may not be effective in his first game in 2018, but he won’t disappoint. Edelman has a great bond with Brady and this passing offense has not looked as dynamic as we have seen in the past. Brady will be glad to have Edelman on the field as they take on the Colts on Thursday night. Indianapolis just surrendered 71.7 points to wide receivers last week against Houston, so this is a defense to take advantage of. The Brady to Edelman connection will be heard multiple times during the telecast on Thursday night.
Dede Westbrook vs. Kansas City Chiefs
It’s no secret that the Chiefs defense is not stopping anybody from moving the ball down the field. A goldfish has a better chance at preventing a burglary than Kansas City preventing an offense from moving the chains on them. Blake Bortles is looking a lot more confident in the Jaguars offense and this can mean a big day from Westbrook. While the other receivers in the offense may get more priority, Westbrook has a good chance of beating the defense deep and taking some short catches for long gains. He had his most productive game of the season last week against the Jets and the Chiefs defense is less opposing than them. Good waiver wire pick up and he can really boost your roster’s point potential in week 5.
More Starters to Consider: Devin Funchess vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Alshon Jeffery vs. Minnesota Vikings, Rams WRs vs. Seattle Seahawks
Tyreek Hill vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Broncos contained Hill and the Chiefs offense for the majority of the game on Monday night. This is a great blueprint for the rest of the league to figure out how to slow down this high-powered Kansas City offense. The Jaguars are rolling into 2018 with the same stout defense that put the league on notice in 2017. Hill is a great deep threat, but Jacksonville is only allowing 5.8 yards per attempt right now through the air. We may once again see some last minute heroics by Patrick Mahomes, but that won’t translate into a big fantasy day for Hill. If you can swap someone else in for him, try and make that happen.
Chris Hogan vs. Indianapolis Colts
Where Edelman will see a very good day in week 5, Hogan will probably not. While everyone was hoping that Hogan was going to seamlessly fill in for Edelman during his suspension, if you take out his game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Hogan has been one of the disappoints of the fantasy world. With the return of Edelman, Hogan has now been relegated to wide receiver three or four duties. This could mean that he can have these few outlier type games, but the likeliness of Hogan being a huge fantasy producer are over before they even began. It may warrant hanging on to him for a week or two, but it’s more likely than not that he is a good candidate to drop from your team.
Jimmy Graham vs. Detroit Lions
Going into week 5, all starting receivers for the Green Bay Packers are questionable. Davante Adams is dealing with a calf injury, Randall Cobb is still hung up by a hamstring injury, and Geronimo Allison is in the concussion protocol. Of these players, Adams is likely to suit up but that could mean that there will be some unproven rookie receivers flanking Adams in the passing offense. The stock has seriously risen for Graham as the wide receivers are dealing with lots of issues. Graham was finally able to perform a Lambeau Leap after scoring his first touchdown in a Packer uniform. There is a high probability that Graham may be doing some more leaping in this divisional battle with the Lions. Start Graham with confidence as he will rack up the yards, catches, and fantasy points with ease.
Ricky Seals-Jones vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Arizona Cardinals have three receiving touchdowns total and Larry Fitzgerald has not been on the receiving end of any of them. Seals Jones has gotten more involved in the offense and a young quarterback’s best friend is his tight end. The rookie out of UCLA, Josh Rosen, is the new signal caller in Arizona and this means a good chance for Seals-Jones to become a serious threat in the offense. We all know that Fitzgerald and David Johnson are the main playmakers in this offense, but Seals-Jones brings athleticism and great receiving skills to the tight end position. Something that the Cardinals have been missing in their offense for a long time. Seals-Jones gets to play against a poor tackling defense in the 49ers and this can mean he can be a sneaky play this week. He has a good chance to see another trip to the endzone and may possible see some serious yardage as well.
Bengals Tight Ends vs. Miami Dolphins
Starting tight end Tyler Eifert suffered a serious ankle injury last week against the Atlanta Falcons. Tyler Kroft stepped in last season when Eifert went down with another injury and played pretty admirably. So far, Kroft has been absent in the passing offense and the other backup tight end, C.J. Uzomah has been more involved. Now one of these tight ends will emerge as a solid receiving option, but until that happens it’s best to avoid this situation. Similar to the Green Bay Packers running back situation, let’s see who gets more of the targets and touches before making any claims on who to start on the Bengals at tight end.
Mike Gesicki vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Let’s keep this one short and sweet. With a pass-first offense in Miami, the rookie tight end has seen only single-digit targets through the first four weeks of the season. Best to avoid him until he shows us why he was a highly-touted tight end prospect out of Penn State. The passing offense is seeing a good balance in targets around the rest of the receivers. So Gesicki not seeing many targets spells an avoidable player in the Dolphins offense.
Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills
One of the fantasy surprises of the 2018 campaign, the Titans defense has been a very good defense to play every week so far. Currently ranked eighth for fantasy defenses, first-year head coach Mike Vrabel has this unit playing well early. A favorable match-up against the Bills will be able to further cement their status as one of the best defenses not just in fantasy, but also in the league. Great streaming option in case you have the Bears defense on your roster.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
The overall sense of playing in Cleveland is no longer a joke in the NFL. The offense is finally making the right strides towards being competitive on a regular basis. This, in turn, is letting the defense, stocked with high-level potential and talent from the draft, finally showcase their abilities. The Browns have surprisingly had a good defense for a while, but the ineptitude of the offense always made this defense look worse than it was. This match-up against the Ravens will be a key turning point for the franchise if they can pull off the win. While Flacco and the offense was able to score easily against the Steelers, the Browns will offer more resistance and force Flacco into making some mistakes. Crazy to think this, but we may be looking at a top-10 finish in fantasy for the Browns defense when the 2018 season comes to a close.
More Starters to Consider: New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants, Denver Broncos vs. New York Jets
Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have Wentz back as their starter and they also welcomed back Jeffery last week. This offense is going to start heating up and against a surprisingly flat Vikings defense, that may happen sooner than later. Minnesota is not showing the same level of tenacity and fierceness on defense that we were used to seeing just one season ago. Having just scored negative nine points against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night, the Vikings will be a tough start this week. Best to keep them on the bench and try a streamable option like the Titans or Browns in week 5.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans
Currently, the Dallas defense is ranked 10th among fantasy defenses. You would think that this defense would be one to start in week 5 against the Houston Texans then. That is not the case at all. If you look at their last two games, the Cowboys defense has scored six points total across them. They have surrendered 24 points in both contests and against the Texans, it would not be surprising to see Deshaun Watson and company light them up for a third straight week. Even with the benefit of playing against a weaker offensive line which opens the door for some more sacks, this defense is still not a good start this week. Watson will be able to move around in the pocket and find his receivers open more often than not, which will lead to another dismal performance by this Cowboys defensive unit.
Additional Sits to be Wary of: New York Jets vs. Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers