It’s that time again. Here are your fantasy start and sits for Week 5.
NOTE: This is a list of players who are on the bubble when it comes to deserving a starting spot for the week. Obvious choices won’t be mentioned, and likewise - some under-the-radar guys, will. Advising you to start Aaron Rodgers offers no value to you as a fantasy owner.
Must Start Players
Phantom: Carson Wentz, PHI - The rookie’s impressive 300+ yard, two touchdown performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers put him on the fantasy radar. Now, he looks to continue to roll as he faces a Lion’s defense that has given up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 24.5 points a game. The Lions have two of their top defenders, Ezekiel Ansah and DeAndre Levy, dealing with injuries and are vulnerable. If Brian Hoyer can throw for 300+ yards on them, just think what the red-hot Wentz can do.
Sisemore: Derek Carr, OAK - Carr is PFF’s top-rated quarterback through four weeks and is going to have a favorable matchup against the Chargers this week who just lost their best cover guy in Jason Verrett. The Chargers are allowing the fifth-most passing yards and the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Carr is really picking it up for the Raiders and running this offense to new heights.
Phantom: Jordan Howard, CHI - The Bears have made the switch to the rookie running back and he performed well last week against the Lions. Howard had 111 yards on 23 carries so he is demonstrating the he can be productive if he gets the touches. The Bears will rely on him more going forward and that makes him a nice fantasy play, but what’s even nicer is that he gets to go against a suspect Colts run defense this week. Indianapolis is giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs and could experience some jet lag from their trip to London. All things point to a nice week for Howard.
Sisemore: Jerick McKinnon, MIN - The Vikings got the running game moving in the right direction against the New York Giants. Though, when folks first look at the Texans, the term defense comes to mind. They haven’t been great against the run ranking 30th in rush defense DVOA. Texans lost their best run-defender in J.J. Watt and their speed rushers don’t have the power to stop strong legs.
Phantom: Steve Smith Jr., BAL - For two straight weeks, the veteran receiver has hauled in eight catches on 11 targets. It’s early, but Joe Flacco appears to have found his favorite WR. This week, the Ravens face a Redskins team that has surrendered the fifth-most points to opposing wide receivers. In just four games, six WRs have scored double-digit fantasy points against the Redskins. If Smith keeps playing well, he could be in for a big day on Sunday.
Sisemore: Sammie Coates, PIT - He’s only second to Julio Jones in YPR at 21.69. This week he has a favorable matchup with a banged up secondary in the Jets. The Jets are allowing the most catches of 20-yards or more at 17 and the most catches of 40-yards or more at 7. Darrelle Revis has been getting roasted as of late and he’s not healthy. The Jets are the 31st-rated pass defense DVOA according to Football Outsiders. Though guys like Antonio Brown are obvious, Coates is becoming a great target.
Phantom: Zach Ertz, PHI - If you are struggling at the tight end position, a good strategy would be to follow the Detroit Lions schedule a week ahead of time and keep churning players off the waiver wire for spot starts. The Lions have given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing TEs. In fact, they’ve allowed a score to a tight end in every game so far this season, with a grand total of six touchdowns. Ertz is back from a rib injury and looks to gobble up a good amount of targets from his rookie quarterback.
Sisemore: Cameron Brate, TB - In the two games that Brate has taken over for Austin Serferian-Jenkins, he’s been targeted 16 times. Brate has also been a huge red-zone threat for Jameis Winston and has hauled in two touchdown grabs. The Panthers are struggling to cover tight ends and have allowed the third-most touchdowns and fourth-most points to the position.
Phantom: Buffalo Bills - Anytime you can goose egg the Patriots offense, you must be doing something right. And it’s no fluke as the Bills defense was taking it to the Arizona Cardinals the previous week. In fact, Buffalo has eight sacks and six forced turnovers over the last two weeks. Now, they face the Los Angeles Rams team who has given up the eighth most fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Bills D should be in for another strong fantasy performance.
Sisemore: Pittsburgh Steelers - If you cut the Steelers defense because of their awful performance against the Eagles then you were upset when they returned to form against the Chiefs. The Jets are giving up Top-5 performances for defenses in the past two weeks. Seeing as they are already 7.5 point favorites against the Jets, they could feast on Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’s loved to turn the ball over this season.
Take A Seat, Sucka
Phantom: Matt Ryan, ATL - If you started the Falcons quarterback last week, congratulations. You more than likely won your fantasy matchup as Ryan threw for over 500 yards and four touchdowns. Quite the spectacle. But don’t expect an encore performance as he brings his stuff into the “No Fly Zone” of the Broncos defense. And it’s not just a catchy expression. These guys are legit. The Broncos defense is allowing an average of 194 passing yards per game. In fact, three opposing QBs have been held under 200 yards passing so far this season (Andrew Luck was one of them) and they haven’t allowed a passing touchdown in each of the last two games.
Sisemore: Matt Stafford, DET - I’m not starting any quarterback against the Eagles, coming off their bye week, with Jim Schwartz as the defensive coordinator. It has nothing to do with Schwartz being the former head coach and more to do with the consistency of Stafford. He lights it up against the Colts and Packers but struggles against the Titans and Bears? The Eagles are red-hot and coming off a week’s rest, their defense is ferocious.
Phantom: Isaiah Crowell, CLE - The Browns running back is off to a hot start as he is in the top five in scoring for fantasy RBs, and is second to only to the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott in rushing yards. But this week he faces a scorned New England team that is coming off a shutout loss. Bill Belichick knows how to take away a team’s best weapon so stopping Crowell will be high on their agenda. Plus, Tom Brady makes his return and the Patriots could light up the scoreboard to remind the world how great they are with their veteran QB. If the Browns have to play catch up, this could result in abandoning the running game.
Note: Crowell’s stock is soaring right now, but it could take a big dip after this game. If you’re entertaining ideas of trading him, it would be wise to do so before this game.
Sisemore: Jeremy Hill, CIN - Hill has been a bust this season for the most part and it won’t get easier this week against the Cowboys. Dallas is the 16th run defense and 12th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Dallas plays ball-control and doesn’t allow many teams to run the football. In fact, the Cowboys have faced the least amount of rushing attempts than any team in the NFL.
Phantom: Stefon Diggs, MIN - After a big game against the Packers, Diggs has been quiet over the last two weeks, scoring only four points in each of the last two games. Part of this decline is due to the rapport of Sam Bradford with Kyle Rudolph, who has seen a jump in targets and now has a touchdown in each of the last three games. But the biggest reason for concern is the Texans defense who has allowed the third fewest points to opposing WRs. And the Texans aren’t playing against scrub receivers as they’ve faced Alshon Jeffrey, Jeremy Maclin, and Julian Edelman so far this season. This could be a rough day for the Vikings young star receiver.
Sisemore: Golden Tate, DET - A lot of folks have dropped Golden Tate and he’s got a tougher matchup this week against the Eagles. Everything that Tate touches turn to poo and he’s been awful this season. He ranks among the worst wide receivers in every statistical category. He’s also up against a secondary that has yet to give up a passing touchdown and has allowed the fifth-fewest points to opposing receivers.
Phantom: Dwayne Allen, IND - The Colts young tight end got off to a good start in Week 1 with a 13.3 effort against the Lions, but that appears to be more indicative of the team he faced (see above, Zach Ertz) than his skill set. Since that game, Allen has done next to nothing - never catching more than three passes, never having more than 35 yards, and never finding the end zone again. Andrew Luck likes to spread the ball around and will utilize both of his tight ends, which doesn’t bode well for their fantasy production. Sharing is caring, but not in the world of fantasy, so Allen’s stock has taken a major hit.
Sisemore: Kyle Rudolph, MIN - Though he’s been more than a solid performer for Sam Bradford and the Vikings’ offense, he’s got a tough matchup this week. The Texans are the league’s best defense against tight ends as they have only allowed 12 receptions for 92 yards and no touchdowns. The list of tight ends they faced have been Martellus Bennett, Rob Gronkowski, Delanie Walker, and Zach Miller. The Texans also give up the third-lowest points per game to tight ends.
Phantom: Houston Texans - The loss of J.J. Watt was felt immediately as the Texans defense allowed the Tennessee Titans to put up 27 points on them. Now, they face the Minnesota Vikings, who give up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Vikings defense can stymie opposing offenses, that can effectively put other teams in bad shape offensively.
Sisemore: New York Jets - They have been absolutely awful over the past three week against the Bills, Chiefs and Seahawks, averaging four points per contest. Now, they are supposed to suddenly wake up against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Drop these fools, don’t just sit them. They have two interceptions and four sacks.
Cowboys Start Of The Week
Jason Witten - With Dez Bryant out it’s anyone’s guess who will be Dak Prescott’s go-to receiver. Last week, the 49ers paid special attention to Cole Beasley and that opened the door for Witten to have nine targets, his most since Week 1 when he had 14. Reliable tight ends are still a rookie QB’s best friend and with the Bengals defense giving up the third-most fantasy points to TEs, Witten looks like a solid play.
Cowboys Sit Of The Week
Dan Bailey - Still no word on the condition of the Cowboys kicker who is dealing with a back injury. Bailey has missed field goals in two straight games with is very out of character for the NFL’s most accurate kicker. Even if he plays, he’s a risky start until he can demonstrate that he is back to his old self.
Fantasy Football Name of the Week:
The Knights Who Say Giovanni
We’re are going a little old school with this one.