Fantasy Football: Who to start and who to sit in Week 5

Here’s your ultimate guide to Fantasy Football lineup decisions for the fifth week of the season. We’re not going to point out obvious choices, such as starting Antonio Brown, or reserving Case Keenum. We’re here to help with the tough decisions, and help you pinpoint impact players that you may not be considering yet.

Quarterbacks

Start

Carson Wentz

If you have Russell Wilson or Drew Brees on a bye, Wentz appears to be a prime fill-in for Week 5. He is coming off a 300-yard outing before the bye and has already thrown for two TD passes in a game twice. The Lions have allowed 12 TD passes, the second-highest total in the league, so this is a good week to use the impressive rookie as your fill-in.

Brian Hoyer

He’s a journeyman and we’ve seen Hoyer run hot and cold in the past. But right now we are seeing the good Hoyer, as he is coming off a pair of 300-yard games with two TD passes in each contest. Hoyer draws the Colts’ 24th-ranked pass defense and will have to throw to keep the Bears in the game, so he is another usable bye week alternative.

Sit

Jameis Winston

You may be very tempted to use him after the Panthers were scarred for 500 yards by Matt Ryan. Carolina is trying to find a less vulnerable mix in the secondary and may change up some personnel there as well. But after getting embarrassed, a Monday night game against a divisional opponent will motivate the Panthers defense to bounce back against an erratic second-year QB that has already thrown eight interceptions.

Ryan Tannehill

Some are considering using him because Miami is at home and the perceived opponent is not formidable. The Titans have been pretty tough against the pass, though, and have allowed just four TD passes so far. The Titans-Dolphins matchup could be a lower scoring game and a source of some frustration from the Miami side.

Running Backs

Start

Terrance West

He broke out with 113 rushing yards and a TD last week and has the lead RB role for the Ravens right now, as returning rookie Kenneth Dixon will be eased into the situation. The Redskins allow 133 rushing yards per game and have yielded a league-high eight rushing TDs. The Ravens may also look to push the ball downfield more via the pass this week, which could set up West for scoring opportunities on shorter scoring runs.

Jerick McKinnon

He showed off his considerable and exciting potential last Monday against the Giants, rushing for 85 yards and a TD. McKinnon is versatile and has the speed to turn any run or pass into a bigger play once he gets to the second level of defenders. The only concern regarding his production is Matt Asiata stealing goal-line chances. Still, you have to like McKinnon this week against a Texans run defense that has let up 125.2 rushing yards per game, and there is more promise for additional production as a receiver out of the backfield.

Sit

Matt Jones

He rushed for 117 yards and a TD on 22 carries last week, but you won’t be able to depend on him consistently. Even if you have bye week issues, you may be better off using a guy like West. The Ravens have allowed only 80 rushing yards per game and two TDs. Washington may have to lean on Kirk Cousins to throw a lot again, and that could mean more of pass-catching specialist Chris Thompson at RB.

Giovani Bernard

With his skill set, it’s always possible that Bernard could break out for a good game at any time, but he is just unreliable. He has not rushed for more than 25 yards in a game and has just 60 receiving yards in his past two games. Sure, the Bengals could get him involved in the offensive flow against Dallas, but he should be on your bench until you actually start seeing improved production. Monitor Bernard’s progress this week and keep him reserved.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb

(Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

Wide Receivers

Start

Sterling Shepard

He was held down by the Vikings last week, but so were all of the Giants. The rebound opportunity comes this week against a Packers pass defense that has allowed 307.3 passing yards per game. Shepard has made a quick impact in the Giants’ passing game as expected and he is a must-start as a Fantasy WR3 in what could indeed be a shootout with the Pack.

Randall Cobb

He has not reached 60 receiving yards in a game yet and had a one-catch outing before the bye. But expect the Packers to get him back involved in the offense against the Giants, as they need Cobb to display his better past form more consistently. If it’s going to be a high-scoring affair with the Giants, Cobb will certainly get his numbers.

Chris Hogan

Instead of giving you another player to bench this week, we had to squeeze Hogan in here as an extra start because he is a terrific bye week replacement. Tom Brady returns this week, and he was developing a good on-field relationship with the ex-Buffalo wideout during the preseason. Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman are both dealing with injuries, and Hogan can be a prime target for Brady this week. He’ll even be relevant moving forward as he settles in as a newer, valuable piece of the New England passing game.

Sit

Robert Woods

He has started to step forward as Buffalo’s top pass-catcher with Sammy Watkins out, but defenses will start to recognize that and may now start to give him more attention. This week’s opponent, Los Angeles, has allowed just four TD passes and may stifle the Buffalo offense this week. The Bills lack offensive diversity and the Rams should play very good defense at home.

More Lineup Tips

TE Zach Miller has worked well with Hoyer so far and is a good bye week replacement for Jimmy Graham or Travis Kelce… If Winston does throw a TD pass, the odds are high it could go to Cameron Brate… Jesse James is also a viable plug-in against a Jets defense that has trouble containing tight ends… The Rams and Bills may engage in a low-scoring affair, and both defenses are quality options for Week 5… As we mentioned above, the Panthers will want to regain some defensive respect and should not be ruled out as a starting choice… The Ravens are also a respectable defensive pick against the Redskins.

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