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Week 5 Starts/Sits

Somehow, after a 70% hit rate in week 4, I have produced back-to-back weeks of a 70% or greater hit rate. My next move is to start my own 1-800 hotline. Consider me the next Miss Cleo.

But really, I am just using data to make the best guesstimate about game scripts. Ultimately, this is not about me. It is about me helping you. I can only hope that my advice over the last couple of weeks has been able to help you set your lineups and win you weeks.

Now, on to your tarot reading for week 5.

You got the nine of cups. This means you will have happiness, probably from following the advice in this article.

Your next card is the ten of pentacles. This means you will inherit wealth in your future. Likely due to listening to my start/sit advice over the season, ultimately winning your league.

Uh-oh! Your final card is the nine of swords. This card represents depression and despair. This is a warning that if you do not listen to my advice, you will fall into a depression from losing your fantasy leagues.



Blake Bortles @ Kansas City Chiefs

Put Bortles on start/sit lists seems to be a risky venture. In week 3, I had him as a start and he proceeded to throw for 155 yards and zero touchdowns. Last week, I had Bortles as a sit and he threw for 388 yards and two touchdowns. According to FFStatistics, Bortles has nearly as many top-12 weekly finishes as he has 13 or lower. This speaks to his inconsistency throughout his career. Last week I used RotoViz’s game splits app to demonstrate that the Jaguars throw less with running back Leonard Fournette in the lineup. Fournette aggravated a hamstring injury in week 4 against the New York Jets. This likely means he will sit out at least week 5, if not longer, which also likely means that the Jaguars will throw more.

The other reason I feel fairly comfortable starting Bortles is his matchup against the Chiefs. Despite holding Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum to 245 yards and zero touchdowns in week 4, the Chiefs are still giving up the seventh most fantasy points to quarterbacks. One can currently argue that Keenum held himself back and not the Chiefs. Regardless, the Chiefs defense is not good. After four weeks, they rank 30th in DVOA against the pass. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will also arguably be the most prolific quarterback the Jaguars defense has faced this season. Bortles may have to pass to keep up. All of that being said, Bortles is a good start in week 5.

Alex Smith @ New Orleans Saints

Alex Smith’s last season with the Chiefs seems to be an anomaly. He seems to have returned to his “game manager” form with Washington. Smith has yet to break the 30o-yard mark this season. He also only has four touchdowns, but only one interception as well. This may be the week Smith airs the ball out.

The Saints did a decent job of shutting down Eli Manning and the Giants in week 4. It can be argued that Eli Manning was better at making himself look bad rather than the Saints pass defense. Even with week 4, the Saints have allowed quarterbacks to throw the fourth-most yards and touchdowns against them. The Saints also ranks dead-last in DVOA against the pass.

The Saints are also the third-highest scoring offense in the league. Despite Washington allowing the fewest yards and the second-fewest points per game, the Saints will probably be able to score against them. Smith will likely need to throw to either keep up or catch up. The over/under for this game is 52.5. It will likely be high scoring. Start Smith in week 5.

Derek Carr @ San Diego Chargers

Carr has surpassed 300 yards three times this season. Carr is ranked fourth in the league in passing yards, though he only has six touchdowns. He is, however, coming off of a game where he threw for 437 yards and four touchdowns.

The Chargers defense has struggled thus far this season. They currently have allowed the fifth-most points and the 10th-most yards. The Chargers have also let quarterbacks average the eight most fantasy points against them, including 24.8 in week 4 to the San Francisco 49ers backup. After four games, the Chargers are really missing defensive end Joey Bosa, and rank 18th in DVOA against the pass.

With two relatively poor defenses, the Raiders have allowed the second-most points thus far, this is likely going to be a high scoring game. Carr is a good bet to be a top-12 quarterback this week.


Baker Mayfield vs. Baltimore Ravens

Mayfield has had an exciting start to his career. First, throwing for over 200 yards in the second half against the New York Jets, leading the Browns to their first win in 635 days. Mayfield followed that up with 295 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in a thrilling overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Mayfield faces much stiffer competition in week 5. The Ravens have allowed the third-fewest points per game. They have also allowed the fourth-fewest pass yards per game. Quarterbacks have only been able to score the second-fewest points against the Ravens defense. This includes Ben Roethlisberger, who was only able to score put up 17.6 points on Sunday night. Overall, the Ravens are 4th in DVOA against the pass.

The Ravens defense is one of the best in the league currently. Jimmy Smith, the Ravens best cornerback, is also back in week 5 coming off of suspension. Mayfield will likely have a hard time moving the ball and is not a good start in week 5.

CJ Beathard vs. Arizona Cardinals

Beathard had a great game against the Chargers in week 4 filling in for Jimmy Garappolo. I already talked about the porous Chargers defense above. Beathard will be a bit hindered against the Cardinals with wide receiver Dante Pettis out for week 5 and Marquise Goodwin battling thigh and hamstring injuries.

Beathard faces a much more stout Cardinals defense in week 5, despite their 0-4 record. Particularly, the Cardinals defense has been good in 2018. The Cardinals have allowed the 11th-fewest pass yards to opposing quarterbacks. They also have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. They rank 11th against the pass in DVOA. Meanwhile, the Cardinals run defense has been awful. The Cardinals have allowed the second-most rushing yards and most fantasy points to running backs. This is why running back Matt Breida makes the starts list this week.

This game will probably be low scoring. The over/under is 41, likely due to both offenses being relatively bad. Coupled with the Cardinals stout pass defense and poor run defense make Beathard sit in week 5.

Case Keenum @ New York Jets

Case Keenum may not be the answer at quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Keenum only has 933 yards and three touchdowns to go with six interceptions in four games. On Monday night, Keenum was unable to throw for over 300 and could not throw a touchdown against one of the leagues worst defenses in the Chiefs. 2017 may have been an anomaly for Keenum. The Broncos are also built around the run, so Keenum may not have many chances to be a top-12 quarterback this season.

The Broncos face a much better defense in week 5 in the Jets. The Jets rank second in DVOA against the pass. They are much poorer against the run, ranking 16th. The Jets allow the 11th-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.

This is going to be a low scoring game with two relatively poor offenses. The over/under is 43.5. Keenum may not be a good start the rest of the season, but especially in week 5.

Running Back


Matt Breida vs. Arizona Cardinals

I mentioned Breida above. Breida saw his highest snap count this season in week 4 against the Chargers. He out-carried fellow running back Alfred Morris and was targeted three times. Quarterback CJ Beathard likes to target his running backs, targeting them nearly 35% of his throws in 2017. Breida is considered the pass-catcher between him and Morris, out targeting Morris 12 to 5. Breida has also been much more effective on the ground with 313 yards to Morris’ 167.

The Cardinals defense, as was discussed above, is much more effective against the pass then they are the run. Through the first four games of the season, the Cardinals have surrendered the most fantasy points to running backs in the league. They have given up the second-most yards on the ground as well as the most rushing touchdowns. Currently, the Cardinals rank 18th in DVOA against the run versus 11th against the pass.

With Breida now out-touching Morris, he is a good start versus a bad run defense in week 5.

Aaron Jones @ Detroit Lions

Jones has shown that he is far and away the best running back in Green Bay since coming back from suspension in week 3. Jones has outgained fellow running back Jamaal Williams on the ground 107 to 56 despite only receiving one more carry. He has also equaled Ty Montgomery’s yards from scrimmage. Last week, quarterback Aaron Rodger gave Jones a vote of confidence, saying he wants Jones more involved in the offense.

Jones faces a poor run defense in the Lions in week 5. The Lions defense has allowed over 100 more yards on the ground than the next closest team. They are also giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Finally, the Lions rank 27th in DVOA against the run. Meanwhile, the pass defense is allowing the second-fewest pass yards per game.

Aaron Jones has been the most effective running back for the Packers since his return. He has his best matchup to date against the Lions. Start Jones with confidence this week.

TJ Yeldon @ Kansas City Chiefs

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has already been ruled out for week 5 due to a hamstring injury. Fournette has been battling injuries all season, which has allowed Yeldon to step into the spotlight. So far this season, Yeldon has 330 yards from scrimmage, 14 receptions, and three total touchdowns.

Yeldon will face a Chiefs defense that struggles against running backs. More specifically, they struggle against pass-catching running backs. The Chiefs are giving up the second-most fantasy points to running backs. This is largely due to surrendering the most receiving yards to running backs in the league. This is further evidenced by their 32nd ranked DVOA against running backs in coverage.

Yeldon will get his chances in week 5 and will likely be able to take advantage of the Chiefs in the passing game.


Carlos Hyde vs. Baltimore Ravens

Hyde has gotten a tremendous volume on the ground this season for the Browns. The fewest carries Hyde has received in a game was 16 in week 2. He has not been the most efficient back this season, averaging a mere 3.4 yards per carry. However, Hyde makes up for his inefficiency with touchdowns, totaling five on the season and one or more in every game thus far. Carries may start to be siphoned away with a more adept quarterback in Baker Mayfield and the emergence of fellow running back, rookie Nick Chubb, who ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns on only three carries against the Oakland Raiders in week 4.

Hyde faces a very well rounded defense in week 5 in the Ravens. The Ravens rank fourth in DVOA against the run and fifth against the pass, which is also why Mayfield is on my sits list. The Ravens allow the third-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. They also have allowed the fifth fewest yards on the ground and have only allowed one touchdown to running backs.

Hyde may get volume, but he will not get the yards nor touchdowns in week 5.

Seattle Seahawks Running Backs vs. Los Angeles Rams

The running back situation in Seattle is one of the craziest stories in the league. Why draft a running back, Rashaad Penny, in the first round if you are not going to use him? Why tell Chris Carson is too tired to give him carries in one game, then proceed to give him 30 in the next. Why is the third-string running back, Mike Davis, receiving the majority of the touches when the Carson was out with a hip injury, but Penny was healthy? Now that Carson is healthy, Davis seemingly has a role still?

The Rams defense is one that you want to avoid with your running backs. The Rams have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. This is largely due to the Rams offense, which has scored the second most points in the league. The Rams tend to put teams behind early, forcing opponents to abandon the run. This will likely be the case again.

The entire Seahawks backfield situation is confusing and something to avoid in the first place. Facing the Rams, none of the running backs should be started in week 5.

Dalvin Cook/Latavius Murray @Philadelphia Eagles

Cook has been battling soft-tissue injuries this season, likely due to his recovery from a torn ACL suffered in 2017. In his stead, Murray had not been productive, with only 64 yards on 19 carries. The Vikings are last in the NFL in rushing with only 63 yards per game.

The road does not get easier for the Vikings in week 5. The Eagles defense ranks third in DVOA against the run. They have surrendered second-fewest fantasy points to running backs and the fewest rushing yards. The Eagles are a bit susceptible to pass-catching running backs, but even then they have only allowed 169 yards, which is middle of the pack.

To beat the Eagles, the Vikings will likely have to throw the ball. Cook and Murray have a terrible matchup in week 5 and should not be started.

Wide Receiver


Calvin Ridley @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Six touchdowns in three weeks. That is what Ridley has accomplished in his young career. He seems to have gained the trust of quarterback Matt Ryan. Obviously, this touchdown rate is unsustainable. This is especially true when Ridley is not receiving that many targets. Over the past three games, he has five, eight, and six targets. At some point, probably soon, he will throw up a dud game.

That dud game will likely not occur against the Steelers. The Steelers secondary has been… less than stellar, giving up the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. They have already given up six double-digit fantasy point games to wide receivers. The Steelers are particularly prone to giving up points to the WR2s of their opponents. They rank 20th in coverage against WR2s.

The over/under for this game is 57.5. This will be a high scoring game, and you probably should start all of your Falcons and Steelers.

Mike Williams vs. Oakland Raiders

Speaking of dud games, Williams threw one up against the San Francisco 49ers. The entire Chargers passing game threw up a dud game, really. Williams was only targeted three times, catching one for 15 yards against a 49ers defense that allows the 11th most passing yards per game. These things happen. Williams is still an integral part of the Chargers passing offense, especially in the red zone.

Williams and the Chargers have another plus matchup against the Raiders. The Raiders are coming off of a game where they gave up 42 points to rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns. Mayfield threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns in week 4. The Raiders are giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers. They are also ranked 24th in DVOA against the pass.

This will be another high scoring game. Mike Willilams is a good start in week 5.

Jamison Crowder @ New Orleans Saints

Crowder has been far from good this season. Through three games, he only has 79 yards on 12 targets. Quarterback Alex Smith has relied on tight end Jordan Reed and running back Chris Thompson.

This may be the game that Crowder breaks out. The Saints are extremely poor against the pass. They rank last in DVOA against the pass. They are, however, good against the run, ranking first in DVOA. This may have to do with their prolific offense and team shaving to throw to catch up. Regardless, the Saints have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers, including both the most yards and most touchdowns. The Saints secondary ranks 31st in DVOA against opponents WR1s and 32nd against WR2s.

Despite Washington’s defense, this will likely be a high scoring game, like most of the Saints’ games. The over/under for this game is 52.5. Crowder has a good chance of getting off the snide in week 5.


Marquise Goodwin vs. Arizona Cardinals

Goodwin is not healthy. Missing week 2 with a thigh bruise, Goodwin left the 49ers week 4 game against the Chargers with a hamstring injury. If that was not enough, Goodwin is limited by former backup, now starting quarterback CJ Beathard. According to RotoViz’s game splits app, Goodwin produced two fewer PPR points and receivers over one fewer target per game with Beathard than without.

The Cardinals have a good pass defense and bad run defense, as was discussed above. They have allowed third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. The 49ers will likely rely heavily on the run to beat the Cardinals. With a limited ceiling due to game script, quarterback, and injuries, you need to sit Goodwin this week.

Devin Funchess vs. New York Giants

Funchess has been the Panthers best wide receiver. However, he only has 185 yards and one touchdown. The Panthers just do not throw a lot, ranking 25th in pass yards per game. On the flipside, they rank first in rushing yards per game. Funchess is a fine WR3/flex for fantasy most weeks.

Funchess just has a bad matchup in week 5. The Giants have allowed the eighth-fewest yards to wide receivers and ultimately the fourth-fewest fantasy points. In week 4, the Giants defense shut down the Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, only allowing him to catch four balls for 47 yards. The Giants defense ranks fifth in DVOA against the pass and 31st against the run. This sets up as a juicy matchup for Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, not for the Panthers passing game.

Antonio Callaway vs. Baltimore Ravens

The last three games, Callaway has received 24 targets, only catching 10. Callaway demonstrated his big-play ability in the Browns loss to the Saints when he caught a 47-yard, game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. Since then, Callaway has only caught 7 of his 19 targets. After week 4, Browns head coach Hue Jackson told reporters that they may cut down Callaway’s snaps to try to mitigate mistakes.

The Browns face a tough task in the Ravens defense. As was discussed above, the Ravens are good against the pass, ranking fifth in DVOA. Against opponents’ WR2s, the Ravens are fourth in DVOA.

With a possible reduction in snaps and facing a good Ravens defense, Callaway is likely in for a bad game.

Tight End


Geoff Swaim @ Houston Texans

It seems that someone has risen above the mess that was the Cowboys tight end situation to start the season. Swaim has played in no less than 91% of the Cowboys offensive snaps in a game. It also seems that Swaim has turned into a go-to target for quarterback Dak Prescott. over the last two games, Swaim has been targeted 12 times, catching eight for 86 yards and one touchdown.

The Texans defense, like the Saints, have been poor against the pass and good against the run. They rank 29th in DVOA against the pass, second against the run. The Texans have been particularly bad against tight ends, ranking 32nd in DVOA in coverage. Fantasy-wise, the Texans have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends.

Dak is looking for a reliable target, Swaim might be it. Start him in week 5.

Ricky Seals-Jones @ San Francisco 49ers

The Cardinals offense has been abysmal this season. This is largely due to inept play calling as well as terrible quarterback play from Sam Bradford. There is a glimmer of hope, however. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen threw for 180 yards and one touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks. Seals-Jones had the most receiving yards with 52. Over the past two games, Seals-Jones has 87 yards and one touchdown on 7 targets.

The 49ers also have a bad pass defense. They rank 23rd against the pass in DVOA. They rank 25th in DVOA against tight ends. The 49ers have given up the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends.

In a bad fantasy tight end landscape, Seals-Jones has a good chance to be a startable tight end in week 5.

Jimmy Graham @ Detroit Lions

Graham has been relatively mediocre in 2018. Graham is currently the TE10 in PPR fantasy, but only has 169 yards and one touchdown. That speaks more to how terrible the tight end position has been than anything. Graham finally caught a touchdown last week against the Bills. Hopefully, that is the first of many to come. All three of the Packers starting wide receivers are dealing with injuries. Randall Cobb is nursing a hamstring, Geronimo Allison is in the concussion protocol, and Davante Adams has an injured calf. If one or more of the WRs miss week 5, Graham may be in line for more targets.

The Lions pass defense has actually been good compared to their run defense. The Lions have allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game in the league. While they have been good against wide receivers, allowing the fewest receiving yard and fantasy points, they have not been nearly as good against tight ends. The Lions rank 27th in DVOA in coverage against tight ends this season.

With the likelihood of one of the Packers wide receivers sitting out week 5, Graham is a good start at tight end. They have been very good against tight ends, ranking 10th.


Charles Clay vs. Tennessee Titans

Much like the Cardinals, the Titans offense has been inept in 2018, sans their one win against the Minnesota Vikings. This has obviously affected Clay. Through four games, Clay has 87 on 14 targets.

The Bills face a tough test on the road versus the Titans. The Titans pass defense has been middle of the road, ranking 14th in DVOA. The Titans have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy point tight ends.

Really, you should not be starting any Bills until they show any signs of life. In particular, you should not be starting Clay against the Titans.

Ian Thomas vs. New York Giants

Much like Funchess above, Thomas is a victim of how the Panthers are built. The Panthers just do not throw a lot. Thomas is also a rookie trying to fill in for quarterback Cam Newton’s favorite target, Greg Olsen. He likely has not gained Cam’s trust and therefore has not gotten many targets on the season.

As was discussed above, the Giants pass defense is strong. This includes the safeties, which are excellent in coverage, specifically on tight ends. The Giants secondary has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.

The Giants strong pass defense and poor run defense will likely mean a negative game script for the Panthers’ pass-catchers. Plus the Panthers do not throw a lot in the first place. Sit Ian Thomas in week 5.

Tyler Kroft/CJ Uzomah vs. Miami Dolphins

I liked Kroft entering the season and I like him the rest of the season in the wake of Tyler Eifert’s broken ankle. Quarterback Andy Dalton likes to use his tight ends, particularly in the end zone. Over the past four seasons, Kroft and Eifert have caught 27 touchdowns from Dalton. There is also a question fo who actually takes over for Eifert. CJ Uzomah actually played in 70% of the snaps in week 4 to Kroft’s 27%. Uzomah has out snapped Kroft in every game this season.

Regardless of who actually takes the most snaps, it is not a good idea to start them against the Dolphins. The Dolphins rank eighth in DVOA against the pass. They also rank eighth in coverage against tight ends. The Dolphins have surrendered the 14th-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, never giving up a touchdown.

The Dolphins do have holes in their pass defense against wide receivers. This game could be high scoring, with an over/under of 50. If it does become a high scoring game, the wide receivers and running backs with see most of the action, not the Bengals tight ends.


Thank you for coming along with me on this journey we call fantasy football. I hope this article will help you win in week 5.

So goodnight, fantasy footballers. And may the road ahead be lit with wins and championships. Which are won with wins… also. Stand tall, fantasy footballers. Trades. Waiver wire. Wear a condom.


Football Outsiders DVOA

FFToday Fantasy Points Allowed

Bleacher Report Over/Under

ESPN Team/Player Stats

RotoViz Game Splits

Thank you for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @FFStompy. Enjoy more redraft articles from The Fantasy Authority here., dynasty articles here, and DFS here. Enjoy and subscribe to the four podcasts hosted by The Fantasy Authority found here. Also, follow The Fantasy Authority (@FF_Authority), the Dynasty Life Podcast (@DynastyLifePod), the Redshirts Fantasy Football Podcast (@RedshirtFFPod), and the DFS DegeNation Podcast (@DegeNationPod) on Twitter.

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