It’s time for our Week 5 Starts and Sits! Remember we’ll do our best to predict outcomes based on what’s given to us. That’s diving into the numbers, digging through the juicy matchups, examining trends, watching the film, and collecting data that should lean towards certain players being better starts than others. While it won’t always play out that way, fantasy is a game of what’s most “likely” to happen and we need to attack it that way.
Every week we plan to try to make some of your decision-making easier with what we’ve collected, but ultimately it’s your call on what you want to do with your team. We’re going to discuss Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends on each week’s slate, and I hope that we can win you the week!
Now, let’s get it started.
Quarterbacks to Start:
Sam Darnold | Carolina Panthers: How many of the readers out there had Sam Darnold as QB5 through four weeks this season? No one? That’s what I figured. At 24.4 PPG, Darnold has been a diamond in the rough at made fantasy managers very happy for those starting him. Darnold has been so good that if you take away two of his FIVE rushing scores this season, he’s still QB12 on the season in terms of total points.
While the five rushing scores will get all the headlines, Darnold has also been very consistent through the air. Darnold has thrown for at least 279 yards in every game while throwing for over 300 yards in three straight. We get another great matchup in Week 5, Darnold gets an Eagles defense that has given up 83 points over its last two games in Dallas and Kansas City. Overall on the season, the Eagles have given up 9 passing touchdowns (t-3rd most in the NFL) and should be a great matchup for Darnold to exploit this week.
Kirk Cousins | Minnesota Vikings: While Kirk Cousins was popular last week as a start, he wasn’t listed in this column. Granted, I had Baker Mayfield on the other side of the ball, so that entire matchup in terms of quarterback play in that game was not good for either. I feel VERY confident in bouncing to Cousins this week.
In seven career games against the Lions, Cousins has recorded a 124.6 passer rating with 1,923 yards (247.7 per game) 16 touchdowns, and 1 interception. While the Lions may rank 18th against quarterbacks in 2021, that is mostly because running backs are averaging nearly 30 PPG against them this season. I think you’ll want as much of the Vikings offense as you can in this divisional game, and Cousins will be part of that.
Daniel Jones | New York Giants: One of the things we always preach in fantasy football is to find a quarterback with rushing upside. Well, Daniel Jones has done that, recording 27 or more rushing yards in every game he’s played this season. Against a very difficult Saints defense last week, Jones was also able to record over 400 passing yards and two touchdowns with an over 70% completion percentage. I was definitely wrong about Daniel Jones as a fantasy asset this season, as he’s looked great as the QB6 on the season.
What’s even better this week is that Daniel Jones gets to play a Cowboys defense that has given up 300 or more passing yards to every team they’ve played this season. The Cowboys’ defense is 4th in fantasy PPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks and are tied with the Eagles for 3rd-most touchdowns allowed through the air. Daniel Jones has 678 yards and three touchdowns in four career games against Dallas in his career, but I expect this year’s Daniel Jones to boost these numbers exponentially.
Quarterback to Sit:
Matt Ryan| Atlanta Falcons: I was happy Matty Ice was able to get back on track against the Washington defense in Week 4. 283 yards and four touchdowns had him looking like the quarterback I watch play when I was still in high school. However, don’t expect the QB3 performance this week against the Jets that you saw last week.
The Jets have been one of the worst teams in the NFL for nearly a decade, and people will just associate players going off against them. While this may be true for running backs (more on that in the next section), that is not true for quarterbacks against them this season. The Jets have allowed the 4th fewest fantasy PPG to opposing quarterbacks this season while allowing a league-low two passing touchdowns. This is a surprisingly good defensive team through the air that just made Ryan Tannehill look like Ryan Overthehill. Ryan is far from matchup proof and there are many better plays this week.
Running Backs to Start:
Damien Williams | Chicago Bears: The newest, shiny waiver wire addition and the talk of the fantasy football world heading into Week 5. David Montgomery is expected to be sidelined for the next 4-5 weeks with a knee injury and opens a door to the next guy on the roster, being Mr. Williams.
Williams or “Playoff Damien” as many remember him, has been a very productive professional since 2018. This year in spelling Montgomery, Williams has recorded 16 carries for 73 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and 1 touchdown, while recording 8 receptions for 41 yards through the air. He now gets a Raiders defense that as Jamey Eisenberg of CBS notes, “Have allowed a touchdown to every running back they’ve faced this season and six total in four games.” You used a ton of FAAB or a high waiver claim to get Williams, now feel comfortable with him in your lineup this week.
Cordarrelle Patterson | Atlanta Falcons: Cordarrelle Patterson is the RB3 in PPR leagues through four weeks. Let that sink in. The borderline Hall of Fame kick returner who never seemed to utilize his full potential, has finally seemed to figure it out nearly a decade later. How good has Patterson been? Well, he’s totaled 74.7 PPR points over the last three weeks (t-2nd most among RB’s) and averaged 24.9 PPR points per game over that time. He’s touched the ball between 9-14 times every week with at least six carries in every game he’s played in.
People will argue that at a 35% snap share as he’s had, his success is not sustainable. That is 100% true. However, if he’s been this effective, why would the Falcons not have him on the field more? If you look past his first week, he’s also recorded five receptions and 58 or more receiving yards in every game. He gets a juicy matchup in the Jets in London for Week 5. The Jets as mentioned above are fantastic against the pass but are horrid against the run. The Jets are first in points allowed to running backs this season and line up as a great matchup for Patterson.
Chuba Hubbard | Carolina Panthers: Chuba Hubbard looked to become a two-to-three-week fill-in that was going to win people multiple fantasy matchups. Instead, he’s looked like a backup running back. Over the last two weeks without Christian McCaffrey, Hubbard has recorded 24 carries for 109 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and 5 receptions. Zero touchdowns over this time. While it’s not horrible, this isn’t what we thought we were getting.
Hubbard should be able to correct this against the Eagles, who rank 27th against the run at and the Panthers are facing the Eagles on Sunday, who are ranked 27th against the run at 28.6 PPR PPG against opposing running backs. The Eagles have allowed 166 YPG to running backs and I would expect Hubbard to do well in this spot.
Running Back to Sit:
Myles Gaskin | Miami Dolphins: Myles Gaskin has been an absolute dumpster fire this season and fantasy managers have to be extremely frustrated. The pinnacle of frustration had to be last week when Gaskin played just 12 snaps against the Colts, and Malcolm Brown became the main ball carrier. On the season, Gaskin is RB39 at 8 PPR PPG and has less than a 50% snap percentage this season.
If you weren’t already fading him, then let’s look at the other factor. They play those same Tampa Bay Bucs who are a staple fade in this column for running backs. Tampa Bay has allowed 20 fantasy PPG to opposing running backs and still only allowed one rushing touchdown on the season. Don’t start Gaskin in this spot or maybe even the rest of the season.
Wide Receivers to Start:
Emmanuel Sanders | Buffalo Bills: After years of seemingly feeling like he was on his way out of the NFL, Emmanuel Sanders has had a clear resurgence as the #2 pass catcher for the Bills. That’s great news in a game against the Chiefs that is expected to be an old-fashioned shoot-out on Sunday Night Football. The Chiefs allowed nearly 38 PPG to opposing wide receivers and have allowed Hollywood Brown (6 for 113 and a TD), Mike Williams (7 for 122 and 2 TD’s), and DeVonta Smith (7 for 122) to dominate the last three weeks.
Along with the great matchup, Sanders has had at least six targets in each of the four games he’s played this season. At WR25 averaging 13.9 PPR PPG, he’s been an incredibly reliable WR3 for you in your lineups. He’s posting reliable weekly WR3 numbers. While I expect Diggs to be the main play in this game, Sanders and his 16.8 yards-per-reception should be in play here against a Chiefs defense that has given up many big plays this season.
Marvin Jones | Jacksonville Jaguars: After an ugly injury to D.J. Chark, this Jacksonville offense is going to settle into having two main pass-catchers, with Tavon Austin now stepping into some snaps in three-wide receiver sets. I will preface by saying that both Laviska Shenault AND Marvin Jones should be great plays in this matchup, but I’m going to focus on Jones more here.
The Jacksonville offense gets to go against a Titans defense that just allowed 10 or more PPR points to three Jets Wide Receivers in Week 4. If that’s not enough, the Titans rank 3rd-worst against the pass at over 51 PPR PPG. While Shenault saw a spike in his target share last week, it’s routinely been the #1 WR’s in offenses burning the Titans. See DeAndre Hopkins (6 for 82 and 2 touchdowns), Michael Pittman (6 for 68), and Corey Davis (4 for 111 and a touchdown). The Jaguars will need to pass to stay in this game with the expected negative game script and Marvin Jones is a great play this week.
Corey Davis | New York Jets: Speaking of Corey Davis who is coming off of his best game as a Jet, he’s another player that should have a great matchup this week. After finding his footing with rookie QB Zach Wilson in Week 4, Wilson gets to face an Atlanta defense ranked 8th-worst against wide receivers allowing 43 PPR PPG. They also just allowed Terry McLaurin to burn them for two touchdowns the previous week.
A player that leads the team with a 22% target share in what should be a game that features plenty of passes, I like Davis to be the main beneficiary on the Jets side of the ball to score and make it worth your while putting him in your lineup.
Wide Receiver to Sit:
Allen Robinson | Chicago Bears: It’s finally time. There’s an old saying in which people say, “hit the bricks.” Well, in this case, it’s hit the bench. Allen Robinson should not be dropped, but he’s proven in any 12-team leagues or shallower in terms of format, that he can’t be started until further notice.
Darnell Mooney is coming and fast. Did you know that Mooney ranks only one target behind Robinson this season (25-24)? What about the fact that Mooney has run seven more routes and eight more pass plays? If that doesn’t scare you, what about that Darnell Mooney received more targets than Allen Robinson in the first game that Justin Fields had an actual game plan around him.
Let’s also look at the cold hard facts. Allen Robinson is currently WR60 averaging 8.5 PPR points per game. That is behind names like Kendrick Bourne, Freddie Swain, and Mecole Hardman. The Raiders are coming off holding one of the best WR combos in the league in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to 8 catches for 47 yards in Week 4 and look to be doing a good job of limiting outside wide receivers.
While it may hurt, do yourself a favor a take Robinson out of your lineups this week.
Tight End to Start:
Dalton Schultz | Dallas Cowboys: One of the things I like to do in these articles is look at trends. Here’s one: The Giants have allowed a touchdown every game this season to a Tight End. Through four weeks, that type of data is something we like to build off of. We now add in the fact that Schultz has had two straight games with at least a 28% target share, ranks first on the team in red zone touchdowns, t-1st in overall touchdowns, and has run 13 more routes than Blake Jarwin.
Schultz has six receptions in three of four games this season and scored three touchdowns scored over his last two games. The Giants rank 5th worst in terms of fantasy points given up to the TE at 17.4 PPG and Schultz should be able to once against feast in this one.
Tight End to Sit:
Tyler Conklin | Minnesota Vikings: Call this one more of a gut call than anything. In a game that I expect that Vikings to put up 26-30 points, I feel Conklin is the forgotten piece of this pie, and for good reason. Conklin ranks third in red zone targets and fourth in overall targets on this team. If you take out Conklin’s monster week 3, he’s averaging five targets a game, ten receptions, and 17.4 PPR points in three games (5.8 PPG).
Conklin should have his flashes, but consistently week-to-week, this is not a guy you can trust having in your lineups. The Lions actually rank decently against tight ends, having allowed barely over 11 PPG to the position this season. I will have plenty of Cousins, Cook, Jefferson, and Thielen in this game, but I believe you should have K.J. Osborn as the potential low-owned touchdown scorer.