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2023 Fantasy Football: Targets, Fades for NFL Week 5

Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills

And just like that … it is Week 5 of the NFL season. 

With any luck, your squads are 4-0 and on the fast track to a fantasy football playoff spot. Even if you are 0-4, however, there is still some time to turn things around via waiver wire adds, trades and savvy start-sit decisions. 

As a reminder, Week 5 brings another London game with a 9:30 a.m. ET start between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills. Week 5 also marks the start of bye weeks, meaning managers will need to find replacements for any Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks or Tampa Bay Buccaneers players as soon as possible. 

Below, we will break down one player at each position to target (love) and one player at each position to avoid (hate) for your Week 5 fantasy football lineups based on matchups, injuries, strategies and more.

Love/Hate for NFL Week 5

Players We Love This Week

Jared Goff Detroit Lions

Jared Goff, QB (vs. CAR)

Home is where the fantasy production is – at least for Jared Goff.

Since the start of the 2022 NFL season, Goff has thrown for 3,083 yards, 27 touchdowns and five interceptions in 11 games at Ford Field. In the 10 games on the road, however, the Detroit Lions signal-caller has thrown for 2,429 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.

On the road against the Green Bay Packers last week, Goff completed 19 of 28 passes for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception although his team scored 34 points.

Perhaps the outdoor conditions – which would be a non-factor inside the dome at home – are enough to hamper Goff and stymie his fantasy production. At any rate, Goff plays at home this week against the Carolina Panthers, who had an uncharacteristically good game defensively last week against the Minnesota Vikings. He should be considered a top-10 play this week, especially with four teams on bye. 

 Gabe Davis, WR (vs. JAC)

After a sluggish start to the season (and shocking Week 1 loss to the New York Jets), Gabe Davis and the Buffalo Bills appear to have found their stride. Their defense held the Miami Dolphins, who just dropped a 70-burger in the week prior, to just 20 points. Their offense racked up a whopping 48 points thanks to a near-perfect performance from quarterback Josh Allen.

WR Stefon Diggs was the star of the show with six catches for 120 yards and a touchdown hat trick. Davis caught all three of his targets for 61 yards and a touchdown.

While Davis lacks the “wow factor” that Diggs boasts, he has been quietly producing in the past three weeks having scored in each game. He is the overall WR22 in half-PPR scoring and is significantly overperforming his draft position of WR40.

Davis should be treated as a WR3 with WR2 potential week-to-week, depending on the matchup. He has a higher upside than many in that tier given the volume and explosiveness of the Bills’ offense. 

 Isiah Pacheco, RB (at MIN)

Isiah Pacheco was the Kansas City Chiefs’ most productive offensive player in the team’s 23-20 nail-biting win against the Jets, which is not an insignificant feat on a roster that includes the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.

Pacheco logged 20 rushing attempts for a career-high 115 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 43 yards. His performance on Monday was good enough to finish as the RB7 in half-PPR – his second top-12 finish in two weeks. He kept the team afloat when the Chiefs’ passing attack began to falter. 

For now, Pacheco, who led the team in rushing last year with 830 yards and five touchdowns, appears to be the Chiefs’ RB1 – a vacancy the team has struggled to fill for years since the departure of Kareem Hunt, the team’s last 1,000-yard rusher (2017). Pacheco should be regarded as a solid RB2 with RB1 upside in more favorable matchups, which could come as soon as this week against the Vikings’ porous defense. 

 Jake Ferguson, TE (at SF)

Through four games, the Dallas Cowboys have been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL. They are extremely well-rounded, boasting arguably the league’s top defensive unit, and have not had to rely on any single player to win games.

Jake Ferguson has been part of Mike McCarthy’s winning equation and could be a nice waiver wire pickup/potential starter for desperate fantasy managers. Ferguson caught all seven of his targets for 77 yards in Week 4 against the New England Patriots and was the TE6 for the week. 

The Year 2 tight end has exactly seven targets in three of four games this year, and his 25 targets this season rank seventh among tight ends. At a position known for volatility and touchdown dependence, targets are king. Ferguson’s stock is on the rise, and he should be a week-to-week streaming option. Even on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, he could be a better option for anyone rostering Kyle Pitts. 

Players We Hate This Week

Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals

 Joe Burrow, QB (at ARI)

Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow has been a fantasy star in each of the past two seasons, finishing as the fantasy QB5 and QB4. Through four weeks this season, Burrow is the QB31 with just two touchdowns. His 57.6 completion percentage is a far cry from his stellar 68.3 percent last season when he finished second-highest in this category.

He is visibly hampered by a calf injury he sustained during the summer, which has limited his mobility and overall production. In Week 4, Burrow threw for 165 yards and zero touchdowns, and the Bengals were held to just three points by the Tennessee Titans

Burrow was selected as the QB5 in fantasy drafts according to ADP – one spot ahead of Justin Herbert, six spots ahead of Tua Tagovailoa and nine spots ahead of Kirk Cousins. If you drafted him, there is a decent chance you do not have a better option rostered at this time.

There is still hope Burrow can get healthy, and the Bengals can get things back on track. For now, he is a sit candidate – even this week against the Arizona Cardinals. Other potential options include C.J. Stroud at Atlanta or Jordan Love at Las Vegas – both of whom have more favorable matchups and significantly more fantasy production than Burrow. 

 Jerry Jeudy, WR (vs. NYJ)

Jerry Jeudy was mediocre – yet again – in the Denver Broncos’ improbable comeback victory against the Chicago Bears in Week 4. He caught three of five targets for 52 yards and finished as the WR69 in half-PPR. He has yet to find the end zone this season and appears to be the team’s WR2 behind Courtland Sutton, who has scored three times in four games.

Jeudy could be in danger of losing his WR2 status with rookie Marvin Mims Jr. looking solid and producing more than Sutton and Jeudy this year. Mims has just two fewer catches than Jeudy with 84 more yards and a touchdown. The team also just added former New Orleans Saints WR Tre’Quan Smith, who played under coach Sean Payton previously, to their practice squad. That could hint at the team’s displeasure with the production from the receiving corps thus far.

The Broncos face off against the Jets in Week 5, which should be a difficult defensive matchup. The Jets’ pass rush should keep QB Russell Wilson on his toes, while their stingy secondary could be a problem for Jeudy, Sutton and Mims. Sutton is the most likely candidate of the trio to get the Sauce Gardner treatment, though all three could be in for a tough day facing the talented Jets defense. Jeudy is a low-upside WR3/flex option this week and beyond. 

 Jahmyr Gibbs, RB (vs. CAR)

Fantasy managers awoke furious – metaphorical pitchforks in tow – on Friday morning after the Lions’ 34-20 win against the Packers. In fairness, one would think that in a game in which the Lions dominated time of possession and recorded 211 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, Jahmyr Gibbs would have found a way to muster more than 7.1 fantasy points in half-PPR.

Unfortunately for Gibbs managers, it was the David Montgomery show, as it has been every game this year when Montgomery has been healthy. The veteran rushed 32 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns and caught two passes for 20 yards for a whopping 33.1 fantasy points. Montgomery also dwarfed Gibbs’ snap share 53 to 28, a troubling trend that has been the norm this year. 

Montgomery’s pedestrian 3.8 yards per attempt is hardly awe-inspiring but seems to be a major part of the winning strategy for the first-place Lions – much to the dismay of fantasy managers hoping for a monster season from Gibbs.

Ultimately, this should serve as a reminder that coaches, offensive coordinators and players do not care about fantasy teams. Gibbs should be considered an RB3/flex until something changes drastically in this timeshare with Montgomery. 

 Kyle Pitts, TE (vs. HOU)

Let’s play a game. 

Player A has caught 11 of 21 targets for 121 yards through four weeks and is 93 percent rostered in fantasy leagues. 

Player B has caught 15 of 20 for 179 yards and is 0.7 percent rostered.

Player B is second-string TE Jonnu Smith, for whom the Atlanta Falcons traded this offseason in exchange for a ham sandwich (seventh-round pick). Player A is Kyle Pitts.

It is officially time to hit the panic button on Pitts (and anyone on the Falcons’ offense not named Bijan Robinson). The Year 3 tight end couldn't replicate his previous success across the pond in the team’s 23-7 loss to the Jaguars. He caught just two passes (both in the second half) for a dismal 21 yards. 

At this point, Pitts is simply unstartable. His struggles this season appear to be tied to a few factors: The Falcons’ coaching staff, quarterback Desmond Ridder’s struggles and Pitts’ own health. Coach Arthur Smith revealed on Monday his star tight end has not been 100 percent healthy after suffering a torn MCL last season.

Ridder’s low volume and inaccuracy have done Pitts no favors. Even if the Falcons bench Ridder soon, the quarterback outlook is bleak. Next up would be Taylor Heinicke, followed by Logan Woodside barring an in-season addition. Pitts belongs on your bench and potentially on waivers in leagues of 10 or fewer teams. 

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