Staff Picks: Start/Sit Week 5
Welcome to Week 5 in the NFL. A quarter of the season is in the books. For some squads, everything is going right. That's the case for the NFL's two lone undefeated teams, the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, the poor Arizona Cardinals can't catch a break, and sit as the league's only winless franchise. It's okay, though. It's 2018. Even the losers get participation trophies.
Last week, NFL teams also started having their bye weeks, the Panthers and Redskins being the first to sit out. This week, we won't be seeing the Bears or the Buccaneers. Bye weeks are a strategic time for a team where they take the opportunity to take a step back and take a look at what needs to be fixed. The goal is to work out some kinks, and make necessary changes for improved performance.
We had a sort of 'bye week' ourselves, here at Dynasty ER. We have gone back to the drawing board to create a new, improved Start/Sit article experience for you, dear readers. We have scrapped the regional breakdown entirely, and we will now be covering position groups as a whole. Let's get into it, 26 verdicts for Week 5.
QUARTERBACKS - Michael Klos
START: Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger – ATL vs. PIT - I love Ryan and Roethlisberger in a potential shootout on Sunday. Ryan nearly has 800 yards passing and 8 touchdowns over the past two weeks, and he faces a Pittsburgh defense giving up an average of 304 passing yards per game. The Steelers have given up 12 total TDs to opposing QBs in only 4 weeks and Ryan should continue to make them pay. Big Ben is also a must start in this shootout, but you probably already knew that. Both are my #1 and #2 ranked QB's this week.
START: Matthew Stafford, DET - Stafford has scored at least 18 points in standard QB leagues in the last 3 weeks, and he should stay on a hot streak at home against Green Bay. In the past 2 years, Stafford has thrown 10 TDs against the Packers for over 1400 yards. While recent history doesn't necessarily translate to fantasy points on Sunday, I can see another track meet at Ford field, and I think Stafford can lead the Lions to victory. Give me 320 yards passing and 3 scores.
START: Blake Bortles, JAX - We already know Leonard Fournette is out, and I believe the gameplan should revolve around the passing game and Bortles. Kansas City’s defense isn’t spectacular, and they’re giving up around 450 total yards per game. Bortles torched the Jets; what do you think he’ll do against Kansas City? I’d start Bortles over the likes of Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton and Carson Wentz.
SIT: Russell Wilson, SEA - Wilson has been a major disappointment this year, especially considering the high draft capital you invested in him. He has faced some decent passing defenses, but he’s not even putting up the volume we’re used to seeing, as he’s only put up 26 passing attempts each the last 2 games. There’s a chance we see an uptick in passing attempts against the Rams in a negative game script, but I can think of at least 15 other QB’s I’d start over Wilson.
SIT: Case Keenum, DEN - If you decided to play the matchup and start Keenum against the Chiefs, I can’t fault your reasoning. He just didn’t give you what you needed. Since week 1, he’s been a non-factor in fantasy and hasn’t even thrown a TD pass in his last 3 outings. He stays on your bench (or your waiver wire) until further notice.
SIT: Baker Mayfield, CLE - Even in deep dynasty formats, I’m sure you have a better option on your team than Baker Mayfield. The overall top pick impressed against the Jets in relief duty, and followed that performance up with a mediocre outing against the Raiders, thanks to 4 turnovers. Baltimore has only given up 5 passing TDs to date, and their best cover corner, Jimmy Smith, returns from suspension. Baker sits this week.
RUNNING BACKS - Russ Crossen
START: Derrick Henry, TEN - This is definitely a do-or-die week for most Henry owners in season long fantasy. If he can’t get it done here, it’s going to be time to give up on Henry in both seasonal leagues and any future DFS weeks. Bills have been run over this year, and we should expect the Titans to get up early and give Henry a ton of carries to kill the clock. This game Henry should be getting his season high of 18 carries at a minimum and hopefully it ends up closer to 25.
START: Phillip Lindsay, DEN - It would be great if the Broncos would figure out that their offense does much better when they give Freeman and Lindsay the ball more. And NOT WITH BOOKER! Keenum is competent but just not a great QB that can carry a team. I’m rolling with Lindsay this week hoping that the Broncos really want to win this game and give both of their good RBs plenty of work.
START: Devonta Freeman, ATL - A lot of people are planning to sit Freeman this week coming off an injury, having another more than serviceable RB on the team, and in a game that’s likely to be a shootout. Being a shootout means EVERYONE should be getting a ton of targets and that includes their lead RB. While the Atlanta defense is not good, their offense should get up a little faster than the Steelers giving Freeman more carries even if the leads are only temporary. I expect Freeman to get at least 80 yards, 4 receptions for another 50, and possibly 2 total TDs.
START: Joe Mixon, CIN - This is another RB coming off of an injury that I see people talking about sitting. While I do see them not giving Mixon a ton of work if they get up early, and they likely will, he was running hard in the game he was injured while in pain. He’s going to come out swinging and be a big reason why the Bengals get up early. Without Gio, there’s a very good chance that a “bad” game with Mixon getting pulled early ends with 70-100 total yards and at least 1 TD.
SIT: James Conner, PIT - I just do not feel good about Conner when I believe ATL will lead most of the game. Conner is by no means a bad pass catcher but he’s not Bell and if the Steelers end up playing catch up most of the game, the passing game is not going to involve Conner, and he’s not going to have many opportunities to run the ball. Unless Conner finds the end zone, he will probably be capped at 50-70 total yards.
SIT: Matt Breida, SF - It may be a “hot take” but I really believe this might be an upset game and the Cardinals end up winning. Rosen is certainly an improvement at QB, and they seem to have finally caught on to the crazy idea of getting DJ more involved with the offensive game plan. If Arizona gets up early, Breida may not see a lot of work and while Beathard has been better than expected, I’m not confident he can handle pressure enough to keep them in it and give the RBs opportunities.
WIDE RECEIVERS - Ryan Bickerstaff
START: Tyler Boyd, CIN - He’s coming off a Week 4 performance where he saw 15 targets, making 11 catches for 100 yards. With the unfortunate injury to Tyler Eifert, more targets are likely in Boyd’s future. He’s gone over 90 yards three weeks in a row now and has a nice matchup against Miami this week when AJ Green will draw their top corner and Boyd will continue to put up numbers.
START: John Brown, BAL - The fifth-year receiver has reemerged as a force in the NFL after a couple statistically disappointing seasons where he dealt with health issues. Brown has scored touchdowns in three games so far in a Ravens uniform, and has three weeks in a row of 85+ receiving yards. Next up is Cleveland. Brown should be in for a big performance this week.
START: Alshon Jeffery, PHI - After missing the first three games of the year, Jeffery returned last week and immediately made his presence known with 8 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. The Wentz-Jeffery connection could be a good one for the rest of the year. And I like the matchup this week against the weaker-than-advertised Vikings defense that was lit up like a cheap cigar in Week 4 against the Rams. They allowed three receivers to gain 100+ yards and at least one touchdown each last week.
START: Calvin Ridley, ATL - The rookie is getting it done for fantasy owners everywhere, leading the NFL with six touchdowns over the last three weeks. He’s outscoring Julio Jones as a fantasy receiver and draws a nice matchup against Pittsburgh this week. Their defense has been easy mode for opposing wide receivers this year, and has been a particularly nice matchup for #2 receivers.
START: Dede Westbrook, JAX - And finally, my sleeper of the week. Westbrook is starting to look like the emerging go-to for Blake Bortles, receiving 13 targets last week, hauling in nine of them for 130 yards. This week, the Jags take on the Chiefs, whose defense has actually been quite successful in keeping opposing receivers grounded. Given that, chalk this one up as a feeling I have. I think Westbrook breaks a big play for a touchdown in this game.
SIT: Corey Davis, TEN - Yes, a week after Davis said “hey, doubters, here I am,” I’m writing about sitting him. The second-year receiver went off on Philadelphia’s defense last week for 9 receptions, 161 yards, and a TD. I don’t see a repeat this week. Tennessee plays Buffalo, which has been a tough matchup for #1 receivers all year. They found themselves a very good cornerback in Tre’Davious White.
SIT: Jarvis Landry, CLE - Landry has been a solid start all year so far, his worst game being worth 11.9 points in PPR (Week 2 against New Orleans), so this is a hard call to make. Baltimore gets Jimmy Smith, one of their top defensive players, back from suspension this week. I also think their defense keys in on Landry, forcing Baker Mayfield to try beating them with Rashard Higgins and Antonio Calloway leading the way.
SIT: Tyreek Hill, KC - It’s time for my “What the hell was he smoking?” sit of the week. I’m not expecting any of you to sit these players, given their reputations and recent performances. In speaking of recent performances though, Hill hasn’t been all that good the last couple weeks. Maybe last week wasn’t a total disappointment in PPR, but he’s definitely cooled off from that hot start. In the last two weeks, he hasn’t reached the 55 yard mark or scored a touchdown. If that wasn’t disconcerting enough, he gets to go one-on-one with Jalen Ramsey this Sunday.
TIGHT ENDS - JJ Wenner
START: Rhett Ellison, NYG - Rhett will get the start with Evan Engram sitting out the game with an injury. Carolina is currently allowing 16.5 ppg to opposing tight ends. Against Cincinnati, Eifert caught 6/8 for 74 yards, Uzomah caught 2/2 for 19 yards and a TD, and Kroft caught 1/1 for 16 yards. Over three games, they have forced a total of 4 incompletions on TE targets. Ellison has caught 3 balls in back-to-back weeks with 1 TD. Do not expect Ellison to be an invisible man on Sunday.
START: Austin Hooper, ATL - If there is one team that you want your TE to face, it is Pittsburgh. The ‘Burgh has allowed opposing tight ends an average of 7.5 receptions for 85 yards and .75 TD per game. Last week the Bucs posted 9 receptions for 106 and 1 TD. Hooper is coming off a season-low 2 targets against the Bengals last week. Look for Austin to step up this weekend as Matt Ryan continues his hot streak.
START: CJ Uzomah, CIN - At 6’6”, 265 lbs, CJ Uzomah is a massive target for Andy Dalton as he steps in for the injured Tyler Eifert. Eifert has been targeted 19 times in 4 games, which will work nicely for CJ as he faces Miami. Miami has allowed an average of 5 receptions per game to TEs which will work fine for owners looking for a bye week streamer at the position.
START: Jimmy Graham, GB - I’m not sure what is in the water in Green Bay, but it is certainly better than the water in Michigan. Jimmy Graham is playing like he is 29 again as Rodgers has targeted him 25 times in the first four games. Detroit has allowed two touchdowns to opposing TEs this season and I think we should expect at least one for Jimmy Graham. Don’t forget to take a drink every time the announcer mentions basketball, rebounding, or boxing out. You’ll be drunk by halftime.
SIT: Travis Kelce, KC - This is a dangerous choice, but I couldn’t ignore the matchup. Kelce has been targeted 38 times this season as the Chiefs have destroyed all that lay before them. He has clearly been a top 5 tight end and one of the only consistent performers in the league. How can I pick against him? Jacksonville has allowed only 14 receptions for 135 yards and 1 TD to TEs this season. As they say in boxing, “Somebodies 0 has got to go!”. I think Jacksonville will get the better of this match up, as KC finds other matchups to exploit.
SIT: Kyle Rudolph, MIN - Kyle has been remarkably consistent receiving over 5 targets in the past three weeks and scoring between 10-16 ppg. He is the king of TE streaming for a reason. Philadelphia is coming off of a brutal OT loss to Tennessee and will be looking to get back on track. The Eagles have allowed 8.5 ppg to TEs which ranks 5th best in the league. Rudolph won’t be guiding any sleighs this weekend as the Eagles blitzen Cousins into submission. (Was that a little too corny?)