FANTASY PLAYS: Players to start and sit for NFL Week 5
Week 5 of the fantasy football season is a world where Gardner Minshew has outscored Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson is on pace for 4,140 passing yards and 952 yards rushing and Deshaun Watson is projected to be sacked 72 times.
Patrick Mahomes didn’t have a touchdown last week, but still is the highest-scoring player in fantasy, so perhaps the NFL world isn’t that off-balance.
START: Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: Over the past two weeks, Winston has completed 51 passes for 765 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s tied with Matthew Stafford (Lions) for the best average depth of target at 10.8 yards. A Saints defense that is 29th in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing passers had better be on notice.
SIT: Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: He has yet to throw multiple touchdown passes in a game this season. Expecting Mayfield to do so on Monday night might a fool’s errand considering the 49ers are fourth in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing passers and are third overall in lowest passer rating (72.7).
START: Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons: Freeman’s rushing totals have been underwhelming. However, he does have 17 receptions in his past four games and will face a Texans defense that’s allowed a league-high 8.5 completions per game to opposing running backs. Houston also gives up nearly 64 receiving yards to backs, making Freeman a solid RB2/Flex in PPR formats.
SIT: Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles: The Jets allow a mere 72 rushing yards per game, but have allowed an average of nine targets per game to opposing running backs. That translates into Darren Sproles cutting into Sanders’ touches, leaving the rookie only a handful of opportunities behind Sproles and Jordan Howard.
START: Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots: Only the Dolphins have allowed more touchdown passes than the 10 given up by the Redskins, who have the second-worst fantasy defense when it comes to points allowed per game. Tom Brady is coming off a so-so effort at the Bills and will look to get Gordon _ who has 18 targets the past two games _ more involved in what Gordon does best: hurting defenses with the deep ball.
SIT: Paul Richardson, WR, Redskins: Injuries to the receiving group will give Richardson an increase in targets. However, he will be challenged by a Patriots defense that has yet to allow a passing touchdown along with holding opposing receivers to a 44.4 percent completion rate. Only the Packers have allowed fewer fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts than New England’s 19.39 per game.
START: Eric Ebron, TE, Colts: If Indianapolis is without WR T.Y. Hilton, then Ebron will be in for a huge Sunday night against the Chiefs, who allow league highs in both targets (11.3) and completions (eight) per game to opposing tight ends. Only three other teams have given up more yards per game to opposing TEs than the 71 per game that Kansas City allows.
SIT: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings: Rudolph has been targeted once three different times this season. That trend could extend against the Giants, who have allowed 3.8 receptions and 44.5 yards per game to opposing tight ends.
START: Robby Anderson, WR, Jets: Regardless of who is throwing the ball for the Jets, Anderson could have double-digit targets against an Eagles defense that is the worst against receivers in fantasy football. The Eagles give up 221.5 yards and 1.8 touchdowns per game to opposing receivers while remaining vulnerable to the big play.
SIT: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: Without both A.J. Green and John Ross, Dalton will have a hard time moving the ball downfield against a suspect Cardinals defense that has given up 295.5 yards per game. Tempting it may be, it’s best to avoid running with Dalton, even against the league’s third-worst defense in fantasy points per game allowed to the opposition’s quarterbacks.
START: Melvin Gordon III, RB, Chargers: A full week of practice should have Gordon ready to carve up a Broncos defense that he racked up 222 yards from scrimmage against last season. Denver is 29th among fantasy defenses in stopping the run, and while they have not been challenged by opposing backs in the passing game, that will change with Gordon and Austin Ekeler capable of having big games against the Broncos as receivers.
SIT: Corey Davis, WR, Titans: Davis will be shadowed by Bills CB Tre’Davious White, so don’t expect a repeat of 91 yards and a touchdown that Davis had against the Falcons last week. Buffalo has the fifth-best fantasy defense against opposing receivers, so owners of Davis should spare themselves the frustration and simply bench him this week.
START: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles: Despite his early struggles, Wentz does have nine touchdown passes and an additional score on the ground. DeSean Jackson is expected back in the lineup, so all systems will be go for Wentz to attack a Jets defense that is 30th in fantasy against opposing receivers. Expect Wentz’s completion rate to climb well above his current 61.7 percent rate.
SIT: David Montgomery, RB, Bears: The touches (16.5 per game) are there, but the production (3.95 yards per touch) isn’t there for the rookie back, who may be asked to handle an expanded role if QB Mitchell Trubisky is sidelined. The Raiders allow a modest 4.2 yards per carry and will seek to clamp down on Montgomery while daring Chase Daniel to defeat them via the pass.
START: Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons: The Texans have the third-best fantasy defense against tight ends, but Hooper _ who has 15 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games _ will benefit greatly as Houston focuses its attention on WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
SIT: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers: Should WR Devante Adams not answer the call, Valdes-Scantling will be the focus of an aggressive Cowboys pass defense that is the fourth best in fantasy when it comes to shutting down opposing receivers.