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Fantasy Football: Week 5 Start 'em & Sit 'em

Photo Courtesy of The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

Get some insider tips on who to start or sit this week from our fantasy experts George Haraktsis, Jason Feiner!


Marcus Mariota

George: Mariota looked good in last week’s matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, completing nearly 70% of his passes for 344 yards 2 TD and 1 INT, while running for 46 yards and 1 touchdown. I saw no ill-effects from the elbow injury that has been plaguing him this season, and looks healthy at this point. He plays a Bills defense that is 19th in fantasy points against the quarterback, and no match for his the Titans weapons that finally seem to be taking the next step. He is a great streaming option for this week, and maybe the best on the wire.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Jason: Currently ranking as my QB22 this week, I haven’t seen enough from Marcus Mariota to warrant a start. The Bills have been surprising on defense holding both Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers to 1 touchdown in back to back weeks. Mariota’s nerve damage in his arm is reportedly supposed to take a full year to heal, and as a result, he will be playing with less than his normal strength for the remainder of the season. Sit Mariota, as there are safer options heading into week 5.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Russell Wilson

George: Everything points to sitting Wilson in this one. He’s playing the 8th ranked fantasy defense against quarterbacks in the LA Rams, and has a swiss-cheese O-line that is going against the likes of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. The Rams defense is allowing only 260 passing yards per game, and 1.25 touchdowns in this 4-game span. So clearly the matchup looks horrendous for Wilson. So why should you start him? Well, in LA’s last two games, they’ve allowed 324 yards to the quarterback and 2.5 touchdowns on average. They no longer have starting cornerback Aqib Talib, who is currently on the IR, and opposite him is Marcus Peters, who is still dealing with a calf strain that made him look bad in his Vikings matchup. The Rams also boast the league’s best offense, and will have no trouble hanging points on an Earl Thomas-less Seahawks defense. The Seahawks and Wilson will have to play catch-up for most of the game and his fantasy numbers will flourish because of it.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Jason: He may start every season slow, but this is a new low for Wilson. After averaging nearly 40 yards per game on the ground in 2017 he has only gained 42 rushing yards total through four contests. He will be playing against one of the best defenses in the league with a poor supporting cast surrounding him. Doug Baldwin will be playing against Marcus Peters while Aaron Donald and Suh will have their way with Seattle's offensive line. It's not a good matchup for Wilson and he should be avoided if possible. He has season long upside following the match against LAR and should become a stud QB1 following their week 7 bye.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Running Backs

Dalvin Cook

George: Dalvin Cook has not been the RB1 that you drafted him to be. His hamstring injury has clearly hampered him the entire year, and he said as recently as Monday that he is still not 100%. He’s facing the third best fantasy defense against RBs in the league, and could easily be on another pitch count like last week where he received only 10 carries. Hamstring injuries are liable to pop up at any moment so Cook is likely to re-aggravate this injury at any point next week. I would steer clear of him this week due to matchup and injury uncertainty.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Jason: Dalvin Cook has been battling a hamstring injury suffered on the same side as his ACL he had repaired last season. The Eagle shave allowed the third fewest fantasy points to RBs through the first four weeks of the season. If you have other options it would be best to leave Cook on your bench in week 5. Hamstring injuries are tricky to overcome and one tweak could take him out of the game against the Eagles stout defensive front.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Carlos Hyde

George: Hyde has been nothing short of spectacular this year, having a resurgence under Hue Jackson as the No. 8 ½ PPR running back in fantasy. He’s scored a touchdown in every game he’s played in and has scored no less than 10.5 fantasy points in ½ PPR leagues. But this could easily be the worst game of his year. Hyde is extremely touchdown dependent, averaging only 3.4 yards per carry, and only catching 4 balls for 15 yards on the year. The Ravens allow the third fewest points to fantasy running backs this season and have allowed only 1 rushing touchdown on the year. Hue Jackson has also made a point to get Nick Chubb carries after his monstrous game last week. While Hyde should still dominate the carries, the potential smaller workload and matchup is definitely something to be concerned about. Proceed with caution.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Jason: The entire team gained a boost when Baker Mayfield was named starter and Carlos Hyde has been soaring high all season. He has scored a touchdown in 6 consecutive outings dating back to 2017, and I expect him to be heavily involved against division rival the Baltimore Ravens. Hyde is averaging 21.8 touches per game and should find plenty of running room against a Baltimore defense allowing 2.09 yards before contact. Although his rushing streak will end, Hyde has secured his role as the goal-line rusher in Cleveland's backfield.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Wide Receivers

Larry Fitzgerald

George: Fitzgerald can easily be considered a bust at this point in the fantasy season. He has failed to score a touchdown or even eclipse 11 fantasy points all year. While the numbers weren’t there last week for Fitzgerald with new rookie QB Josh Rosen under center either, his air yards and target share profile was still encouraging in Rosen's first start. He plays a shaky secondary that is the 49ers and is due for a touchdown. He’s a solid flex play.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Jason: Although Larry Fitz was the most targeted receiver in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks, he only recorded three receptions for 28 yards while fighting a hamstring injury that has ailed him since week 3. Still yet to be 100% healthy, Fitz is risky even against a shaky secondary in San Francisco. Avoid all Cardinals playmakers unless their name is David Johnson.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Tyreek Hill

George: The Jaguars defensive backfield is just flat out good. The combination of Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Tashaun Gipson, and Barry Church has been lethal against wide receivers, allowing the second least fantasy points per game to the position. On the other hand, Hill has been nothing short of spectacular on one of the league’s best offenses, averaging 17.6 fantasy points per game in ½ PPR leagues. While sitting your studs is tough, it is extremely necessary in this matchup. With Sammy Watkins potentially out this week, almost all of Jacksonville’s attention will be directed towards Hill. He will probably be used as a decoy at best and his fantasy numbers will suffer.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Jason: The Jaguars secondary has not been friendly to opposing receivers. They have only allowed 733 yards and 3 tds through the air through four games, and have the talent to eliminate the number 1 targets in each offense. Tyreek Hill has been held to a total of 105 yards on 11 receptions through the past two weeks, but with Hills’ speed and the opportunities he is getting each week, it is tough to leave one of your most talented receivers on the bench. It only takes 1 play for Hill to break open fantasy games, but against the top ranked pass defense, that 1 play doesn't seem likely to come against Jalen Ramsey. If you have other options, leave Hill on your bench

Verdict: Sit ‘EM

Tight Ends

Austin Hooper

George: Austin Hooper will not be a year-long starter by any means. He has 12 catches on the year for 125 yards and 1 TD on only 15 targets, a stat line that doesn’t exactly jump out on paper. The tight end position has been absolutely anemic this year, and Hooper is certainly one of the reasons. But lucky for us this sport is a week by week game, and this is Hoopers week. Pittsburgh is the WORST fantasy defense against TE’s this year, and Hooper is talented enough to take advantage of that. Pittsburgh will be focused on stopping both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in the Falcons explosive offense, which I fully expect Matt Ryan to take advantage of by targeting Hooper early and often.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Jason: The tight end position group is underwhelming to say the least, and Hooper has been nothing short of disappointing. He has accrued 1 touchdown over the past four weeks, while recording 3 games with 3 receptions or less. Matt Ryan has been lighting up the field, but has repeatedly failed to find Hooper and with limited opportunity, playing him in search of a touchdown is foolish.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Jared Cook

George: Jared Cook has been great this year, securing the most targets and receptions from Oakland quarterback Derek Carr. He is tied for the team lead in touchdowns, and is leading the team in fantasy points at the skill positions. He has been reliable as they come this year at the tight end position, but this could be the week that stops. Minus last week’s huge catch by George Kittle, the Chargers have been fantastic against opposing tight ends thanks in part to their rookie sensation, safety Derwin James. The Chargers are 13th in fantasy points against tight ends and 29th against WRs. Expect Carr to target his WR’s due to matchup in lieu of Cook.

Verdict: SIT ‘EM

Jason: Jared Cook heads into week 5 as my number 9 tight end at the position as the Raiders take on the Chargers. Cook has been Derek Carr’s favorite target, recording 36 to rank second among tight ends. Although the Chargers boast talented coverage safeties, Cook’s usage and 21.2% target share warrants trust in all fantasy lineups.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Defense/Special Teams

Titans D/ST

George: It’s no secret that the Bills’ offense is horrendous. They’ve allowed most sacks in the league at 21, a solid four ahead of second place, and boast some of the worst skill players in the league. They’re facing the Titans who have had no trouble getting after the quarterback this year, and a rookie QB in Josh Allen who already has 5 turnovers in 3 starts. The Bills are going to have a tough time moving the ball, and will have an even harder time scoring points. The Titans are a great stream this week.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Jason: The Bills offense is abysmal and the Titans have been playing extraordinarily well over the first month of the season. The Bills have scored a combined 50 points through four games with 47 coming in two of them. The Titans currently rank 6th for points allowed with 18.3. Expect this game to be an easy victory in Tennessee's favor.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Jaguars D/ST

George: The Jaguars are facing their toughest opponent all year in the Kansas City Chiefs. Defenses have put up no better than 3 fantasy points against KC this year and are collectively averaging 1 fantasy point per game against them. They are a threat to score on any possession and have done so all year. The Jaguars are fantasy’s 8th ranked defense, and are allowing a league best 14.0 points per game. It seems to be an unstoppable force will meet an immovable object in this matchup. With all that being said, you can’t sit the Jaguars…..unless you can. If you have a defense with a much better, and I mean MUCH better matchup, then go for it and start the other D/ST and sit JAX. But if the waiver-wire is thin and there are some so-so matchups out there, roll with the Jags.

Verdict: START ‘EM (with a caveat)

Jason: This is simple. The Jaguars have the best defense in football, currently allowing 14.0 points and only 259.3 yards per game. Their secondary is lethal and the defense possesses playmakers at every level. The Chiefs have played mostly weak defenses thus far, so expect Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to come back to earth against this one.

Verdict: START ‘EM

Written by Jason Feiner and George Haraktsis



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