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NFL Draft

Fantasy Football Week 5 Start/Sit Advice

  • The Draft Network
  • October 7, 2020
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Welcome to Week 5’s start/sit column. Each week throughout the regular season, I will go over a few players at each major position and tell you whether you should make room in your lineup for them or pull them out of a starting spot. Players labeled “starts” are non-obvious options that either have a good matchup or are trending in the right direction, ranking higher for me than consensus this week. Players labeled “sits” are ones I have concerns about leading into the week but are in a significant amount starting lineups. This article is most helpful for those in full- or half-point PPR leagues. 

As always, you should make the final call on all of your lineup decisions. This column is intended to be a piece of your research puzzle and/or a resource to highlight some specific names that may have been overlooked in my weekly rankings. Remember, the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are on bye this week. 

Without further ado, here is Start/Sit for Week 5:

QUARTERBACK

START: Gardner Minshew (QB - JAX)

While Houston’s defense hasn’t been incredibly friendly to fantasy quarterbacks so far this season—running backs are the ones having field days—it’s definitely not a matchup to run away from, especially with a quarterback with only one sub-20-point game on his resume so far in 2020. Minshew is averaging 284.5 passing yards per game and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in every non-TNF game this season. Given Minshew’s return to form against Cincinnati in Week 4, I’m willing to write off the short-week performance against Miami the week prior. Minshew sneaks his way into QB1 territory this week, coming in as my No. 11 player at the position. He’s got healthy weapons all over the field and can play off what should be a very effective rushing attack spearheaded by James Robinson. Another multi-score game appears to be on the horizon. 

START: Kirk Cousins (QB - MIN)

Start anyone and everyone involved in the passing game against the Seahawks. That’s the mantra moving forward. It has been a bumpy season for Cousins as he gets used to life without Stefon Diggs, but he’s developing chemistry with rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who’s excelled over the last two weeks. Between Jefferson and Adam Thielen, Minnesota’s passing game has turned things around since the disaster in Indianapolis. The Seahawks are allowing more than 400 passing yards per game and fantasy quarterbacks are averaging more than 28 fantasy points per game against them. If you take out the Colts game, Cousins is averaging 18.7 fantasy points per start. Now in the best matchup possible, he’s my QB13 for Week 5.

SIT: Carson Wentz (QB - PHI)

Many will be tempted to start Wentz after his solid Sunday Night Football performance against the 49ers, but I’m not there yet. His rushing is keeping him afloat, but I’m not sure how much longer that’s sustainable. Last season, roughly 11% of Wentz’s total fantasy points came from rushing. This season, that’s ballooned to nearly 39%. Dak Prescott had almost as many fantasy points strictly as a passer in Week 4 as Wentz has all season combined. Now he’s going on the road to face a rested Steelers defense. He won’t be in any of my starting lineups this week.

RUNNING BACK

START: Antonio Gibson (RB - WSH)

Gibson set a new career high in touches and fantasy points last week, as he led Washington in total yards in its loss to the Ravens. After playing mostly receiver in college at Memphis, Gibson continues to progress each and every week as Washington’s top running back. He’ll have an easier matchup to take advantage of this week, as the Rams are right around league average against fantasy running backs this season. Expect him to get 15-plus touches in this matchup. Given the state of the running back position right now, he’s a top-20 option.

START: Joshua Kelley (RB - LAC)

The player that benefits the most from the unfortunate injury to Austin Ekeler is Kelley, who assumes the lead back role for the Chargers for the near future. Kelley was already getting plenty of work with Ekeler on the field, averaging 15.7 touches per game prior to Week 4. Kelley was a “sit” in this column last week because of a terrible matchup against the Buccaneers, but has a better matchup this week against a Saints defense that, like the Rams above, is league average against fantasy running backs. He should get a ton of carries and might even find his way into some more passing game work beyond the 2-3 catches per game we’ve seen over the past two weeks. 

SIT: David Montgomery (RB - CHI)

Despite all of the injuries, two teams on bye, and uncertainty around the Titans playing this weekend, Montgomery still couldn’t find his way into my top 25 running backs this week. You may be forced to start him at RB2 depending on how bad your injury situation is, but he absolutely should be benched in favor of a wide receiver if you were planning to use him in a flex spot. The Buccaneers have the best run defense in football for my money and I want to re-share this stat from last week: Tampa Bay held Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, and Melvin Gordon to a combined 2.66 yards per carry this season. In Week 4, Chargers running backs were held to 1.78 yards per carry. Now ask yourself, do you trust in this Bears offense enough to break this trend? I didn’t think so. 

WIDE RECEIVER

START: Robby Anderson (WR - CAR)

If you haven’t been paying attention, Anderson is a top-10 fantasy wide receiver through the first quarter of the season. He looks like a completely different player than he was in New York—I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, because, you know, Adam Gase—and is wreaking havoc on intermediate routes over the middle of the field. Anderson hasn’t scored fewer than 10.5 points in any game this season and gets to play against a terrible Falcons secondary. He’s a must-start, top-20 wide receiver this week. Readjust your thinking if you haven’t already.

START: D.J. Chark (WR - JAX)

I wanted to put Chark in this article to supplement my comments on him in my 20 Thoughts column from this past Sunday. As of this writing, Chark is starting in fewer than 50% of lineups in ESPN leagues and that needs to change immediately. On a per-game basis, Chark ranks as the WR13 this season with more average points than Odell Beckham Jr., Allen Robinson, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, and more. He’s got a solid matchup against the Texans on tap and will continue to be Garner Minshew’s top pass-catching option all over the field but especially in the red zone. He’s ranked among my top 15 wide receivers for Week 5.

SIT: Brandin Cooks (WR - HOU)

Cooks was blanked in Week 4 against Minnesota, catching none of his three targets. But even before that he wasn’t really anything special. He did have the nice 5/95/0 day against Baltimore in Week 2, but has six total catches for 43 yards in the other three games combined. With the success of Will Fuller and, at times, Randall Cobb, there’s no guarantee of consistent production from Cooks. So despite having a good matchup against Jacksonville this week, he’s not a top-40 option. 

TIGHT END

START: Dalton Schultz (TE - DAL)

Don’t be scared off by the Giants’ numbers versus fantasy tight ends so far this season. They played the Steelers, Bears (pre-Foles, who loves tight ends), 49ers (Jordan Reed did fine with George Kittle out), and Rams (fair, good job New York). In other words, I don’t buy that this bad defense isn’t still a good matchup for every single Cowboys pass-catcher. Schultz has 24 targets and 17 catches over the last three weeks with two touchdowns to boot. There’s no reason to believe Dak Prescott and Co. won’t sling it all over the yard this week, with a good amount of looks going the tight end’s way. He’s ranked in my top 10 at the position this week. 

SIT: Jimmy Graham (TE - CHI)

The Bears’ offense was absolutely dreadful last week, and I’ll need to see a whole lot more before I start any player not named Allen Robinson on that offense—especially on a short week. Graham falls out of my top 15 with a below-average matchup with the Buccaneers on Thursday night. He certainly hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt yet and he can be dropped for a better option if needed.

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