Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 5


Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 5

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for everyone in Week 4.

Joe Philbin lost his job after the London Laugher, Pittsburgh tried in every single way to lose their game against the Ravens and also cut short Antonio Brown's five catches for 50 yards streak and, maybe most painfully, Rashad Jennings went crashing back down to Earth in a very painful manner thanks to Mario Williams.


Week 5 brings some unfortunate bye weeks (no Brandon Marshall, Chris Ivory or Adrian Peterson) so people are scrambling to get their lineups together for the upcoming slate of games. 

Luckily for you, we have some answers on start/sit dilemmas you may be facing.

[MORE: Get all your Fantasy Sports coverage for the week here]

If you've got specific questions, drop us a question on Twitter @CSNFantasy or use #CSNFantasy and we'll give you our take.

Without further adieu, let's get into it:


Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT (@ SD) - Initially, I wasn't a fan of Bryant this week since Big Ben is out. But the more I think about the strengths of Michael Vick, the more I think it should mesh perfectly with Bryant. Vick still has a heck of an arm and can toss it up to Bryant all game long against a weak and banged up Chargers secondary. Bryant is fresh coming off his suspension as are the Steelers who last played in last Thursday night's game. The patience with Bryant will pay off for fantasy owners on Monday night. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Antonio Gates, TE, SD (vs. PIT) - Sticking with the Monday Night Football theme, Gates returns from a four-game suspension and gets a matchup against an average Steelers defense. While that means big things for Keenan Allen, Gates' fresh legs and bromance with Philip Rivers should mean good things. Ladarius Green is no slouch, and I've been really impressed with him this season, but Gates is still top dog and is a solid play this week if you flopped on your tight end on draft day or are dealing with bye weeks. (Mark Strotman)

Todd Gurley, RB, STL (@ GB) - Gurley has arrived. After owners were anxiously looking at the Rams injury report every week (don't deny it, I did too), he finally got the clearance to play in Week 3 and didn't do a whole lot. The start of Week 4 against a stingy Cardinals defense started out the same way until he was UNLEASHED in the second half. You don't have to worry about guys like Tre Mason stealing carries from him. Gurley will be fed a lot against the Packers and should continue to roll. (Paschall)

Leonard Hankerson, WR, ATL (vs. WSH) - I love revenge games and this may be an underrated one. Hankerson never amounted to much with the Redskins but is starting to emerge with the Falcons. He's turning into Julio Jones' Robin (sorry, Roddy) and isn't looking back. At home against his former team, which has a very shaky pass defense is a recipe for success for Hankerson. (Paschall)

Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN (@ OAK) - If I were a C.J. Anderson owner I'd be getting very worried right about now. Anderson rushed for a lowly season-high of 43 yards in a Week 4 win, meanwhile Hillman earned 11 carries for 103 yards, helped by a 72-yard touchdown scamper. As each week goes by, it's starting to appear as if Denver's backfield will eventually run through Hillman. Head coach Gary Kubiak continues to rave about Hillman, which is why I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the starting nod against the Raiders. Oakland has been better against the run as of late, but they're still susceptible to giving up a big-gainer, and with the Broncos' offensive line getting stronger each game, I feel confident with Hillman as a Week 5 flex play. (Scott Krinch)

Richard Rodgers, TE, GB (vs. STL) - File this one under a gut feeling, but after watching Aaron Rodgers run for his life last week in San Francisco I feel Richard Rodgers is going to get a lot of quick-pass looks this week. The Rams' vaunted defensive line has helped St. Louis rack up 17 sacks, second most in the NFL, and when things broke down last week it was Rodgers who benefitted. He saw a season-high five targets, catching four of them for 45 yards and a touchdown. In a season that has been expectedly difficult to predict for tight ends, I like having Rodgers, especially with Davante Adams still battling an ankle injury. This is a good plug-and-play with TE1 upside. (Strotman)

Terrance Williams, DAL, WR (vs. NE) - I don't necessarily like Williams' matchup this week against a terrific Patriots defense, but this is a classic volume play. Williams racked up 10 targets in last week's crushing overtime loss to the Saints, and while he only caught three passes (thanks a lot, Weeden) he still managed a 24-yard score - his second TD in four games. Expect the Cowboys to be trailing from the get-go in this one, meaning Air Weeden is going to need to throw to someone. This is a matchup where Williams could put up plenty of garbage-time numbers, but as we know in fantasy those all count the same. I like Williams as a flex this week. (Strotman)

Kendall Wright, WR, TEN (vs. BUF) - The former first-round pick has been a forgotten man in fantasy circles throughout the last two years. Not anymore, now that Wright has some actual talent throwing him the football at the quarterback position. It's clear that Marcus Mariota and Wright have some chemistry, the duo have connected 13 times for 213 yards and two scores in three games this season. With an extra week to prepare for the Bills, I expect Wright to come out blazing against an overrated Buffalo defense that's ranked 30th to opposing fantasy wideouts this year. (Krinch)

T.J. Yeldon, RB, JAX (@ TB) - Yeldon finally had a 100-yard game, the first of his career, in last Sunday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Yeldon's pure usage, 20-plus touches in two out of his last three games, makes him a valuable fantasy commodity going forward. There isn't much running room behind Jacksonville's porous offensive line, but we saw Denard Robinson go on a mid-season tear last year, which gives me plenty of reason to believe that Yeldon will replicate that, considering he's the far superior talent. Yeldon's has a eye-popping Week 5 matchup against a Buccaneers defense that's given up at least one rushing touchdown in every game this season. Get him in your lineup. (Krinch)


Anquan Boldin, WR, SF (@ NYG) - Someone HAS to catch passes from Colin Kaepernick...right? But what if Kaepernick's passes are nowhere NEAR any of his receivers? Like, he can't even complete any passes. Boldin is a tough, gritty player that I'd want on my real life NFL team but in fantasy his value is stumped because of his struggling quarterback. (Paschall)

Derek Carr, QB, OAK (vs. DEN) - I get it. Four teams on a bye week and injured quarterbacks throughout the league. It's only natural you'd want to start a guy like Carr. Whatever you do, resist the temptation. Most weeks, Carr is a valuable player to have on your roster and even a guy who you would consider starting over any QB1 not named Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson in certain weeks. Week 5 is not one of them. So far the Broncos defense, under coordinator Wade Phillips, looks unstoppable. They've given up just two stinking passing touchdowns through four games and opposing fantasy signal-callers are averaging 7.4 total points against them. Sunday's outlook is not pretty for David's baby bro. (Krinch)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE (@ BAL) - It's not that I dislike Crowell, it's that there isn't really anything exciting about him from a fantasy perspective. He hasn't cracked more than 72 rushing yards and has totaled just 19 career receptions. The only time Crowell holds fantasy value is when he scores/vultures a touchdown, something he has only done once this year. The arrow is pointing down for the second-year back with the emergence of rookie Duke Johnson. If you're still holding out hope for Crowell take a glance at his upcoming schedule: BAL, DEN, STL and ARI. I'd find a taker or cut the cord immediately. (Krinch)

Andy Dalton, QB, CIN (vs. SEA) - I'll preface this by saying if Dalton is your far-and-away best option, keep him in your lineup. Let's not get crazy. But assuming Dalton wasn't the first signal caller you drafted, I'd consider tossing in that guy as he faces a Seahawks defense that's beginning to roll with Kam Chancellor back in the fold. Dalton is still a QB1 because of how damn good he's been in 2015, but some of that could be tempered (he's due for a clunker, right?) this week, and I'd look to your other QB if you can. (Strotman)

Boobie Dixon, RB, BUF (@ TEN) - LeSean McCoy and (probably) Karlos Williams are out this week, paving the way for Dixon to be the lead back for Rex Ryan this week. That doesn't make him a stellar play if you plucked him off the waiver wire, though. He's dealing with a sore calf and faces a Titans defense ranked 5th in the NFL against the rush. Don't try to outsmart yourself by starting a guy just because he's going to get touches. The Bills offense as a whole seems light a nightmare (see below). Move on from Dixon. (Strotman)

Percy Harvin, WR, BUF (@ TEN) - The Tyrod Taylor honeymoon seems to be over and he's bringing down others in the offense with him. Will Sammy Watkins play? It's unclear as of now but even if he does, he won't be near 100 percent. Harvin can't carry the load for the Bills passing game especially when the rushing attack will roll out Boobie Dixon as the starter. Harvin hasn't done a whole lot since his breakout Week 1 performance and he's not on my FLEX radar this week. (Paschall)

Mark Ingram, RB, NO (@ PHI) - It's not pretty in Philly, but I'm still a believer in that run defense that has yet to give up a rushing touchdown this year to a running back. With Spiller back as well, he may cut into some of Ingram's touches. My guess is the Eagles will force an injured Drew Brees to beat them by throwing downfield and that's not where Ingram does well. I get starting him if you are strapped with bye week issues but outside of that you may want to find another option. (Paschall)

Joseph Randle, RB, DAL (vs. NE) - If you take away Randle's three-touchdown outburst against the Falcons, his season hasn't been pretty. It's easy for teams to stack the box and let grandpa Weeden throw the ball 40 times a game with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant sidelined. With the Patriots coming to Dallas this weekend, expect the hosts to be trailing most of the game, taking Randle out of the equation considering he doesn't provide much in the passing game. (Krinch)

Golden Tate, WR, DET (vs. ARZ) - So much for building on last season's career year and a "fading" Calvin Johnson, huh? Tate has been invisible in 2015, and he's got as many touchdowns as Jordy Nelson through four weeks. Part of the problem is Matthew Stafford has been downright awful, but Tate is no longer a player to simply trot out as a WR2 and worry about the rest of your lineup. Now he gets a Cardinals secondary with seven interceptions already. No thanks. (Strotman)

Why coming to the Bears was the right opportunity for Harry Hiestand to leave Notre Dame


Why coming to the Bears was the right opportunity for Harry Hiestand to leave Notre Dame

There wasn’t a single game Harry Hiestand coached while at Notre Dame — 77 in total — in which he didn’t have a future top-20 pick starting at left tackle. 

Zack Martin (16th overall, 2014) was followed by Ronnie Stanley (6th overall, 2016), who gave way to Mike McGlinchey (9th overall, 2018). Hiestand also developed Quenton Nelson, who went on to be the highest interior offensive lineman drafted (6th overall, 2018) since 1986. Nelson and McGlinchey became the first pair of college offensive line teammates to be drafted in the first 10 picks since 1991, when Tennessee had tackles Charles McRae and Antone Davis go seventh and eighth. 

“It wasn’t surprising because the kind of guys they are, they absolutely did everything the right way, the way they took care of themselves, the way they trained, the teammates that they are and were,” Hiestand said. “They just did it all the way you wanted them to do it. So it was. It was a good moment.”

Hiestand said he had a sense of pride after seeing his two former players be drafted so high, even if he wasn't able to re-unite with either of them. The Bears, of course, didn’t have a chance to draft Nelson, and had conviction on using the eighth overall pick on linebacker Roquan Smith (as well as having tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie in place for the 2018 season). 

Anecdotally, one former Notre Dame player said (maybe half-jokingly) that Nelson and McGlinchey were fighting each other to see who could get drafted by the Bears to play with Hiestand again.

“There’s nobody that I’ve been around in this game that’s more passionate about what he does,” McGlinchey, now with the San Francisco 49ers, said of Hiestand at Notre Dame’s pro day in March. “There’s really only two things that are important to him, and that’s his family and then his offensive linemen. There’s a lot to be said for that. 

“In this game, everybody’s always trying to work an angle to up their own career — he doesn’t want to do anything but coach O-line, and that’s what really sticks out to us as players. He cares for us like we’re his own. Obviously he coaches extremely hard and is very demanding of his players, which I loved — he pushed me to be the player that I am.

“I’m standing in front of all you guys because of Harry Hiestand. But the amount of passion and care that he has not only for his job but his teaching abilities and his players is what sets him apart.”

Hiestand could’ve stayed as long as he wanted at Notre Dame, presumably, given how much success he had recruiting and developing players there. But six years at one spot is a long time for a position coach, especially at the college level, where the grind of recruiting is so vital to the success of a program. It’s also not like every one of the blue-chip prospects Hiestand recruited to South Bend panned out, either. 

So Hiestand knew he wanted to get back to the NFL after coaching with the Bears under Lovie Smith from 2005-2009. It’s a new challenge for him now, not only to develop second-round pick James Daniels but to continue the growth of Cody Whitehair and Leno while getting the most out of Kyle Long, Massie and the rest of the group (back during his first stint with the Bears, Hiestand had the luxury of coaching experienced, more ready-made offensive lines). 

As one of the more highly-regarded offensive line coaches in the country, though, Hiestand could’ve jumped back into the NFL whenever, and nearly wherever, he wanted. And for him, coming back to the Bears was the perfect fit. 

“That’s an awesome, awesome place, a great franchise,” Hiestand said. “It was something, I always wanted to go back, I didn’t know where I would get the opportunity. So I’m just very fortunate it just happened to be back at the same place that I was before. There are a lot of things that are different but there’s also a lot that’s the same. 

“But it’s one of the — it is the greatest organization. Historically, this is where it all began, and being part of it — and the other thing, and I told those guys when I got here, when we get it done here, you guys are going to see this city like you’ve never seen it. And I remember that. That’s what we’re after.” 

On a scale of 1-10, Tarik Cohen says his dangerous level is 12

On a scale of 1-10, Tarik Cohen says his dangerous level is 12

Don't be fooled by Tarik Cohen's height. He has towering confidence and he's setting up to have a big role in coach Matt Nagy's offense in 2018.

“On a scale of 1-10, the dangerous level is probably 12,” Cohen said Wednesday at Halas Hall about the impact he can have in the Bears' new system. “Because in backyard football, it’s really anything goes, and it’s really whoever gets tired first, that’s who’s going to lose. I’m running around pretty good out here, so I feel like I’m doing a good job.”

Cohen proved last season he can thrive in space. He made an impact as a runner, receiver and return man and will have a chance at an even bigger workload this fall, assuming he can handle it.

With Jordan Howard established as the starting running back, Cohen knows his touches will come in a variety of ways.

“It might not necessarily be rushes,” he said. “But it’s going to be all over the field, and that’s what I like to do. Any way I can get the ball or make a play for my team, that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

Cohen averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry as a rookie and led all NFL running backs in the percentage of carries that went for at least 15 yards. He's a big play waiting to happen.