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Start or Sit? NFL fantasy football tips for Week 5

Which players make this weeks start/sit list?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The fantasy season keeps rolling along as we embark on this year’s first official bye week (last week the Steelers and Titans were on bye due to COVID). As fantasy owners look to assemble the most optimal lineup, it’s time to check out which players are strong plays for the week. Here is a sit/start option for each fantasy position for Week 5.

QUARTERBACK

Start’Em

Teddy Bridgewater (Panthers) vs. Atlanta Falcons (Week 5 position rank: 10th)

The Falcons give up the most points to opposing quarterbacks this year, and it really isn’t even close. At an average of 32.6 points per game, fantasy owners have to be licking their chops with this matchup. Granted, there have been some fantasy elite quarterbacks show up on their schedule so far, but whether it’s Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott or the mish mash combo of Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, quarterbacks consistently light them up.

One might ask if Bridgewater is capable of taking advantage? Well, he’s coming off a game where he threw for 276 yards and three touchdowns, and tacked on another 32 yards of rushing. It was good enough for a fourth place QB finish last week. He’s not sexy, but he’s more than capable of putting up a nice fantasy week with such a favorable matchup.

Sit’Em

Matt Ryan (Falcons) vs. Carolina Panthers (Week 5 position rank: 8th)

Start Bridgewater and sit Ryan? Are you nuts? It might be tempting to look at this game against the Panthers and think cupcake matchup, but there’s a little more to it than that. Carolina has given up the fourth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Now, it’s not because they have a stellar pass defense, but rather because opponents take advantage of their struggling run defense.

Ryan started off the season with two straight top seven finishes, but now has put up two straight games where he’s finished QB25 or worse, and only has one touchdown pass in that span. And considering the talent around him is ailing (Julio Jones likely out with a re-aggravated hamstring), don’t hold your breath for Ryan to deliver a big game for you on Sunday.

RUNNING BACK

Start’Em

Chase Edmonds (Cardinals) vs. New York Jets (Week 5 position rank: 33rd)

Normally, it’s not ideal to start a team’s backup running back, but there could be a changing of the guard in Arizona. With Kenyan Drake disappointing fantasy owners this year, we could start to see a more equal distribution of carries between Drake and backup Edmonds. And if that happens, Edmonds becomes the running back to own as he’s more involved in the passing game as well as getting more goal line attention.

You may want to wait it out to see how this ordeal shapes up, but Edmonds is facing a very good matchup against the Jets. If you’re needing a good flex play this week, Edmonds is worth a look.

Sit’Em

Myles Gaskins (Dolphins) vs. San Francisco (Week 5 position rank: 26th)

If you own Gaskins, you’re probably pretty satisfied with the solid contribution he’s provided your fantasy team. Over the first four weeks of the season, he’s averaged 10 points per game in half-PPR scoring. And he’s pretty consistent, ranging from 7.7 to 12.0 points. He doesn’t give you a top 20 RB finish, but he’s never outside the top 40 either. Thanks to a good dose of volume that features action in the receiving game, fantasy owners know what they’re getting with him.

Of course, that might change on Sunday as the Dolphins face the 49ers who happen to be stingiest defense in terms of fantasy points to running backs. Even Miles Sanders, who is an elite fantasy version of Gaskins, was held to just 8.6 fantasy points last week. Gaskin is a solid flex filler on most weeks, but you should rely on someone else this Sunday.

WIDE RECEIVER

Start’Em

Darius Slayton (Giants) vs. Dallas Cowboys (Week 5 position rank: 27th)

After starting the season off with 102 yards and two touchdowns, Slayton has since been non-existent as he hasn’t even scored seven fantasy points in each of the past three weeks. His schedule has been a rough one as the Bears, 49ers, and Rams’ defenses are no picnic, but there will be plenty of snacks to munch on this week.

Slayton faces the Cowboys who have the worst defense in the league, and they’ve given up the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. The Cowboys have found themselves in shootouts recently, and even if the game script puts the Giants in a tough spot, there should still be plenty of chances with their passing game.

Sit’Em

Terry McLaurin (Washington) vs. Los Angeles Rams (Week 5 position rank: 15)

Now, obviously if you own McLaurin, you’re not going to sit him. His production makes him an auto-start week in and week out. And coming off a 10-catch, 118-yard performance against a stellar Baltimore Ravens defense, you should feel confident about rolling with him regardless of the matchup.

However, if you play in daily fantasy leagues, he might not be the guy you want to target. The Rams allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Through four games, no wide receiver has had a game over 100 yards receiving, and they’ve only surrendered one touchdown to a wide receiver all season. To make matters worse, McLaurin will draw Jalen Ramsey this week, and that will be a tough battle.

TIGHT END

Start’Em

Eric Ebron (Steelers) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Week 5 position rank: 15th)

Ebron’s role in the Steelers offense keeps growing with each week, and he actually finished as the TE3 during his last game. The increase in usage combined with a desirable matchup makes Ebron a solid play this week as the Eagles have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year. If you’re looking for a good tight end to stream, Ebron could be your guy.

Sit’Em

Austin Hooper (Browns) vs. Indianapolis Colts (Week 5 position rank: 16th)

There’s a good chance fantasy owners gave up on Hooper after three-straight weeks where he finished outside the top 30 for tight ends. Then maybe, just maybe, he suckered people in last week as he pulled off a TE6 finish after grabbing five passes for 34 yards and a touchdown. If you’re thinking of letting it ride and giving Hooper a chance this week, you might want to reconsider. The Colts have allowed the fewest points to fantasy tight ends at a paltry 3.78 points per game.

DEFENSE

Start’Em

Arizona Cardinals vs. New York Jets (Week 5 position rank: 7th)

For those who started the Cardinals defense last week against the Carolina Panthers, things didn’t work out so well. The Arizona defense gave up 31 points and finished as the DEF26. Fortunately, this weeks matchup offers up a chance for redemption as the New York Jets have given up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses this season. If you’re just following the Jets schedule and playing matchups, it’s the Cardinals turn to capitalize.

Sit’Em

Indianapolis Colts vs. Cleveland Browns (Week 5 position rank: 8th)

The Colts currently have the league’s top fantasy defense thanks to seven picks and two defensive scores. It also helps that they’ve have a very soft schedule to start the season. Initially, one might have put the Browns into that “easy” group as well, but they are the no. 1 scoring offense in the league so far. Cleveland has put up 34+ points in each of the last three games, and while Indianapolis is still a strong defensive team, it might be a little risky to start them this week.