Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, Sleepers: Week 5

Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, Sleepers: Week 5

by October 9, 2021 3 comments

The best part about fantasy football is winning. The second best part is the draft. However, the draft has come and gone. Now fantasy owners struggle with the weekly decision about which players to start, which to sit, and which to use as a sleeper. To help with that, I will provide two starts, two sits, and two sleepers at each position every week. Be sure to reach out with any fantasy football questions you may have. Without further ado, let’s get started.

As a reminder for all fantasy football fans, we have an early London game tomorrow between the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons this week. Kickoff is at 9:30 am EST.

All stats are base on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.

Quarterbacks

START: Sam Darnold vs Philadelphia Eagles

Over the past two weeks, Darnold has turned into Lamar Jackson, scoring two rushing touchdowns in each of his past two games. His five rushing touchdowns this season leads the NFL. Furthermore, Darnold’s five rushing touchdowns match his career total entering the season. More importantly, Darnold has back-to-back games with over 300 passing yards and 25.3 or more fantasy points. Meanwhile, the Eagles have given up an average of 23.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the past three weeks. During that span, quarterbacks have thrown for nine touchdowns. Meanwhile, Darnold is averaging 297.3 passing yards and 23.7 fantasy points per game this season. He should finish with over 300 passing yards and 24 fantasy points this week against the Eagles.

START: Daniel Jones at Dallas Cowboys

While the New York Giants have a 1-3 record this season, Jones hasn’t been the reason why. This season Jones has six total touchdowns compared to only two turnovers. More importantly, has averaged 23.5 fantasy points per game this season, scoring 21.4 or more in three of four games. Furthermore, Jones is coming off a season-high 402 passing yards and 26.8 fantasy point performance last week against a talented New Orleans Saints defense. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, giving up 23.5 fantasy points per game. They have given up an average of 2.3 passing touchdowns and 336 passing yards per game to quarterbacks this season. This game should be a high-scoring matchup, resulting in a top-10 finish for Jones.

SIT: Derek Carr vs Chicago Bears

Carr started the season on fire, averaging 23.1 fantasy points per game over the first three weeks. However, this article recommended fantasy owners bench Carr last week, and he finished with only 14.4 fantasy points. This week, Carr needs to remain on the bench as the Bears have held quarterbacks to the 10th fewest fantasy points this season. They have given up only 17.1 fantasy points per game to the position, holding quarterbacks to under 17 fantasy points in 75 percent of their matchups. Furthermore, the Bears have held quarterbacks to an average of 250.7 passing yards and 14.7 fantasy points per game since Week 1. The Bears will struggle to score, which will keep Carr out of a shootout, resulting in a disappointing fantasy performance.

SIT: Baker Mayfield at Los Angeles Chargers

As much as the general public loves Mayfield, he isn’t a good fantasy quarterback. He is averaging only 14.1 fantasy points per game, good for the QB25 on the season. Mayfield has only two passing touchdowns this season and has finished with over 17 fantasy points in a game only once. More importantly, Mayfield finished with a season-low 9.3 fantasy points despite an appealing matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. This week Mayfield faces a stout defense as the Chargers have held quarterbacks to the fourth-fewest fantasy points this season, giving up only 14 per game. Furthermore, they have held quarterbacks not named Patrick Mahomes to only 11.1 fantasy points per game and three passing touchdowns. Unless you play in a super flex league, Mayfield belongs on the waiver wire.

SLEEPER: Jameis Winston at Washington Football Team

After his five touchdowns and 29.6 fantasy point performance in Week 1, many had high hopes for Winston this season. However, Winston has a total of three passing touchdowns and 34.9 fantasy points since Week 1. He has thrown for under 150 yards in all but one game this season, averaging 153.3 passing yards per game. Meanwhile, Washington has given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, allowing an average of 27.8 fantasy points per game, including at least 29.3 in three of four games. Furthermore, Washington has given up eight passing touchdowns and 68.5 fantasy points to quarterbacks over the past two weeks. For fantasy players who need a last-minute replacement at quarterback, Winston is an excellent option.

SLEEPER: Zach Wilson at Atlanta Falcons (London)

The rookie had a rocky two-week stretch against two of the best defenses in the league. However, Wilson has averaged 18 fantasy points per game in his other two games this season, scoring at least 17.7 in both contests. In those two games, Wilson has 277.5 passing yards, four touchdowns, and only two interceptions. Meanwhile, the Falcons have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, giving up 25.6 per game. Furthermore, the Falcons have allowed quarterbacks to throw three or more touchdowns and score 27.9 or more fantasy points in three of their four games this season. Wilson should have his way against this Atlanta defense and put on a show in front of the London fan base.

Running Backs

START: Zack Moss at Kansas City Chiefs

In his three games this season, Moss has averaged 4.7 yards per touch and scored four total touchdowns. More importantly, Moss has averaged 15.2 fantasy points per game this season, good for the RB10 over the past three weeks. Moss has scored at least 12 fantasy points in every game this season and has taken over as the lead back in Buffalo. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ defense has been awful this season, giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. They have given up an average of 29.5 fantasy points per game to the position, giving up at least 24 fantasy points in every game. More importantly, they have given up four rushing touchdowns this season to running backs. Fantasy owners can start Moss as their RB2 this week with confidence.

START: Leonard Fournette vs Miami Dolphins

Entering the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ backfield was a fantasy landmine that many wanted to avoid. However, Fournette has taken over as the featured back in Tampa Bay, averaging 11.5 fantasy points per game this season, scoring 10.9 or more in all but one contest. Furthermore, Fournette is the RB26 on the season despite not finding the end zone. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have been destroyed by running backs this season, giving up the third-most fantasy points to the position. They have given up an average of 30.2 fantasy points per game to running backs this season, giving up over 110 rushing yards per and five rushing touchdowns to the position. The Buccaneers should have their way with the Dolphins tomorrow, leading to plenty of work for Fournette.

SIT: Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs Buffalo Bills

For the past two weeks, Edwards-Helaire has made the start list, averaging 18.2 fantasy points per game. In those two games, CEH averaged 15.5 rushing attempts for 101 yards per contest. However, the matchup this week is far from ideal for Edwards-Helaire. The Bills have held running backs to only 12.9 fantasy points per game this season, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. They haven’t given up more than 63 rushing yards to the position in any game this season. Furthermore, the Bills have held running backs to under 12.5 fantasy points in three of four games this season, surrendering only one total touchdown to the position. When facing a tough defense, the Chiefs tend to lean on Mahomes and the passing game, which will limit Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy value this week.

SIT: Miles Sanders at Carolina Panthers

After an impressive Week 1 performance with 19 touches and 17.3 fantasy points, Sanders’ production has fallen off a cliff. Since Week 1, Sanders has averaged 9.7 touches and 7.7 fantasy points per game, scoring under nine fantasy points in every game. More importantly, Kenneth Gainwell has averaged seven touches and 11.5 fantasy points per game during that span, including a season-high six catches and 20.9 fantasy points last week. Meanwhile, the Panthers have held running backs to the third-fewest fantasy points this season, giving up only 12.5 per game. Furthermore, aside from their matchup with the Cowboys, the Panthers have held running backs to only 2.2 yards per carry and 7.6 fantasy points per game this season. Between the split backfield and the matchup this week, Sanders belongs on your bench.

SLEEPER: Michael Carter at Atlanta Falcons (London)

Over the past couple of weeks, the rookie has earned more snaps, averaging 46.3 percent of the snaps played over the past three weeks. Furthermore, Carter has led the backfield in snaps played in two of their past three games. Carter has averaged 11 rushing attempts and 8.7 fantasy points per game during that span, finishing with double-digit rushing attempts and fantasy points in two of those contests. Meanwhile, the Falcons have been chewed up by running backs this season, giving up over 26.5 fantasy points per game to the position. They have given up the sixth-most catches to running backs and four total touchdowns this season. Furthermore, running backs have averaged 82.5 rushing yards per game this season against the Falcons. Carter’s breakout party is tomorrow in London.

SLEEPER: James Conner vs San Francisco 49ers

Many questioned Conner’s role entering the season after dealing with multiple injuries in his career. However, Conner has averaged 13.3 carries per game this season, finishing with 11 or more in three of his four games. The Arizona Cardinals have given Conner 16 or more rushing attempts in two games this season, including a season-high 18 last week. More importantly, Conner has scored four touchdowns over the past two weeks, averaging 19.5 fantasy points per game. Tomorrow, he has an excellent matchup against the 49ers. They have allowed an average of 26.5 fantasy points per game to running backs, giving up 69 or more rushing yards in every game to go along with three rushing touchdowns this season. Conner has flex appeal this week against a struggled 49ers’ defense.

Wide Receivers

START: Marvin Jones Jr. vs Tennessee Titans

Last week, Jones was a fantasy disappointment against the Cincinnati Bengals, scoring only 5.4 fantasy points on three targets. However, in the three weeks before, Jones averaged 9.3 targets and 16.1 fantasy points per game, good for the WR20 during that span. Tomorrow he should return to that top-20 form against the Titans. They have allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers, giving up over 51 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Titans have given up an average of 236 receiving yards and two touchdowns per game to wide receivers. More importantly, wide receivers have scored 54.9 or more fantasy points against the Titans in 75 percent of their games this season. With DJ Chark on injured reserve, expect Trevor Lawrence to target Jones early and often tomorrow.

START: Corey Davis at Atlanta Falcons (London)

With back-to-back disappointing performances, many were hesitant to start Davis last week against the Titans. However, this article recommended fantasy owners start Davis, and he finished the week with 21.1 fantasy points, good for the WR7. While Davis scored a total of 11.9 fantasy points in Weeks 2 and 3, he did average 7.5 targets per game. By comparison, in Weeks 1 and 4, Davis averaged 23.9 fantasy points and seven targets per game. Meanwhile, the Falcons have given up 43 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season, seventh-most in the NFL. They have allowed wide receivers to average almost two touchdowns and 174.8 receiving yards per game. Davis has a 20.9 percent target share this season. He should get double-digit targets tomorrow against the Falcons in London.

SIT: Michael Pittman Jr. at Baltimore Ravens

Pittman has played well for the Indianapolis Colts this season, averaging 12.9 fantasy points per game. More importantly, Pittman has averaged 6.7 catches on 10.7 targets and 15.2 fantasy points per game over the past three weeks, scoring 11.9 or more in every contest. However, Pittman has put up those numbers against some of the weakest pass defenses in the NFL. This week he faces a tough Ravens defense that has held wide receivers to the seventh-fewest fantasy points, giving up only 30.8 per game. Furthermore, the Ravens have held wide receivers to 16 catches for 186 receiving yards, no touchdowns, and only 34.6 fantasy points over the past two weeks. While Pittman has played well this season, this week, he belongs on your bench.

SIT: Odell Beckham Jr. at Los Angeles Chargers

After missing the first two games of the season, Beckham caught five of his nine targets and scored 13.7 fantasy points against the Bears in Week 3. However, OBJ struggled last week against the Vikings, catching only two of his seven targets despite a fantasy-friendly matchup, finishing with only 5.1 fantasy points. This week, OBJ has a tough matchup as the Chargers have held wide receivers to the second-fewest fantasy points this season, giving up only 26 per game. They have also held wide receivers to under 130 receiving yards in every game this season while surrendering only two touchdowns. Mayfield struggled to connect with Beckham last week while the running game was near unstoppable. Fantasy owners should expect a similar outcome this week for OBJ.

SLEEPER: DeVante Parker at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Despite all the additions the Dolphins made to their receiving core in the offseason, Parker still leads the team in targets this season, averaging eight per game. He has seen at least seven targets in every game, averaging 4.3 catches per contest. More importantly, Parker has finished with 12 or more fantasy points in half of the games, including a season-high 17.7 last week. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, giving up almost 54 per game to the position. They have given up seven receiving touchdowns to wide receivers and over 66.5 fantasy points in two of their contest. With Will Fuller on injured reserve, expect Jacoby Brissett to target Parker plenty tomorrow as the Dolphins chase points in the second half.

SLEEPER: Marquez Callaway at Washington Football Team

During the preseason, Callaway was the most hyped-up player in all of football. However, he has struggled as the Saints’ No. 1 wide receiver, averaging only 7.2 fantasy points per game. Part of the struggles has been his matchup, as Callaway has faced off with some of the best cornerbacks in the league this season. However, he should have the best game of his season tomorrow against Washington, as they have given up an average of 45.4 fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Washington has also given up four receiving touchdowns and an average of 212.8 receiving yards per game to wide receivers this season. However, after Callaway’s big performance tomorrow, trade him away as Michael Thomas should return from injury in time for the Saints’ next game.

Tight Ends

START: Dalton Schultz vs New York Giants

Schultz has six or more targets in three of four games this season, averaging six catches per game during those contests. Furthermore, Schultz has averaged 14.5 fantasy points per game this season. Meanwhile, the Giants have struggled to slow down tight ends this year, giving up almost 17 fantasy points per game to the position. They have also given up 15 or more fantasy points to tight ends in three of four games. More importantly, tight ends have scored a touchdown in every game against the Giants this season. Over the past two weeks, Schultz has turned into Dak Prescott’s go-to weapon, with 12 catches on 15 targets for 138 receiving yards, three touchdowns, and 43.8 fantasy points. Fantasy owners should expect Schultz to finish the week as a mid TE1.

START: Mike Gesicki at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In Brissett’s two starts this season, Gesicki has 15 catches on 18 targets for 143 receiving yards, one touchdown, and 35.3 fantasy points. Gesicki has scored at least 16.7 fantasy points in both of his past two games after scoring a combined 7.1 fantasy points over the first two weeks of the season. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have given up the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season, giving up 17.5 fantasy points per game to the position. They have given up at least 15 fantasy points in every game, including a season-high two touchdowns and 23.6 fantasy points to the New England Patriots tight ends last week. With Fuller on injured reserve, Brissett should lean on Gesicki plenty tomorrow against the Buccaneers.

SIT: Jared Cook vs Cleveland Browns

Last week, Cook had a season-high six catches for 70 receiving yards, a touchdown, and 19 fantasy points against the Las Vegas Raiders. However, Cook had scored under six fantasy points in each of the previous two games. Furthermore, Cook scored 21.1 fantasy points over the first three weeks of the season. Unfortunately for Cook, he has a tough matchup this week against the Browns. They have held tight ends to the ninth-fewest fantasy points this season, giving up only 9.4 fantasy points per game. More importantly, the Browns have held tight ends not named Travis Kelce to only 12.1 total fantasy points this season, giving up under six in every contest. Cook hasn’t been a consistent weekly part of the offense this season. Expect a quiet performance tomorrow.

SIT: Ricky Seals-Jones vs New Orleans Saints

With Logan Thomas placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, Seals-Jones takes over as the starting tight end. However, fantasy players would be wise to avoid adding Seals-Jones this week. He has only three catches on five targets this season, going scoreless in half of his games. Meanwhile, the Saints have held tight ends to the ninth-fewest fantasy points this season, giving up only 9.4 fantasy points per game. They haven’t given up a touchdown to the tight end position this season. Between the limited success this season and the matchup this week, there isn’t a reason why Seals-Jones should be in your fantasy lineup.

SLEEPER: Dawson Knox at Kansas City Chiefs

If you read last week’s streamers article, you would have played Knox against the Houston Texans. He has scored at least 8.1 fantasy points in every game, averaging 13.4 per game this season. However, over the past three weeks, Knox has turned into a consistent weapon for Josh Allen. During that span, Knox has four touchdowns while averaging 15.1 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have been destroyed by tight ends this season. Tight ends have averaged 17 fantasy points per game against the Chiefs, scoring 12.6 or more in three of four contests. Furthermore, the Chiefs gave up a season-high 28.6 fantasy points to Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz last week. If Knox is still on the waiver wire in your league, stop reading this and go pick him up.

SLEEPER: Hunter Henry at Houston Texans

Entering the season, many thought Jonnu Smith would be the lead tight end in New England. However, Henry has outplayed Smith this season, scoring 1.4 more fantasy points per game. Over the past two weeks, Henry has caught nine of his 11 targets for 68 receiving yards, a touchdown, and 21.8 fantasy points, including a season-high 13.2 fantasy points last week against the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the Texans have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season, giving up almost 20 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, tight ends have scored 15 or more fantasy points against the Texans in every game this season. After his performance last week, expect Mac Jones to have more of the offense put on his shoulders, resulting in more targets for Henry this week.


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Mike Fanelli is the Editor in Chief and fantasy football expert for Prime Time Sports Talk since 2018. He is a featured writer for FantasyPros. Follow him on Twitter @Mike_NFL2 and reach out anytime with any fantasy football questions.

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