FANTASY PICKS

Fantasy football Week 5 sit/start advice

FANTASY PICKS

A quarter of the way through the NFL season, your fantasy team either needs help to get back in the playoff hunt or needs an edge to stay in the lead.

Either way, here's a look at some guys I like, and some guys I don't like, in this week's matchups:

Start 'em

QB Kyler Murray at Jets

I know what you're saying: Murray is coming off one of the weirdest, ugliest QB performances of the year in a loss at Carolina. Maybe wait a week? Not this week. The Jets are awful on both sides of the ball, and they allow copious rushing yards and touchdowns. As a dream dual threat, Murray should torch the Jets' defense through the air and on the ground. The mobile Josh Allen in Week 1 is a solid comparison for what to expect: 312 passing yards and two passing touchdowns, plus 50 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

RB Chris Carson vs. Vikings

The Seahawks are rolling at 4-0 through four weeks, and Carson is benefitting from a smooth-like-butter offense. He's averaging 4.5 yards per carry, is averaging four targets per game through the air - where he has three touchdowns - and is going up against a Minnesota defense allowing 31.2 points (and one rushing touchdown) per game. The Seahawks will once again thrive through the air, but Carson has rushed at least 14 times in each of the last three weeks, and he's coming off a two-touchdown game. I like his chances.

WR Justin Jefferson at Seahawks

 

The rook is for real. Jefferson, who the Eagles passed on in this past spring's draft, is Pro Football Focus's second-highest-graded wide receiver in the league through four weeks, has 14 targets in the last two weeks, and is averaging more than 21 yards per catch. The Seahawks, meanwhile, have allowed at least 300 passing yards in all four games so far this year. Barring one of Kirk Cousins' brainfart games, Jefferson should have a big day in Seattle as the Seahawks' defense struggles to defend him and Adam Thielen.

TE Eric Ebron vs. Eagles

The Ebron momentum is building! The 27-year-old vet had a big Week 3 against Houston, catching five passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, and his touches in a new offense are trending the right direction. He saw seven targets in Week 3, as many as he had in Weeks 1 and 2 combined. And the Eagles' defense is awful against tight ends; Tyler Higbee torched the Birds for three touchdowns in Week 2, while George Kittle caught 15 passes for 183 yards against the Eagles in Week 4. Ebron could be a real beast this week.

Sit 'em

QB Matt Ryan vs. Panthers

Don't look now, but the Panthers might be one of the more intriguing teams in the NFC. Former Temple head coach Matt Rhule has two straight wins, and his defense has held Derek Carr, Tom Brady, and Kyler Murray all under 250 passing yards, so if that 300-yard bonus means anything to your league, don't bet on Ryan getting there. The Falcons are often playing from behind, which is good for a quarterback, but Ryan has just one passing touchdown in his last two weeks and this feels like another bad matchup for a miserable Atlanta team.

RB Miles Sanders at Steelers

Sanders has been solid but unspectacular since returning in Week 2, averaging 4.6 yards per attempt on the ground and averaging 20 total touches per week. But the Steelers are an awful matchup for Sanders and the Eagles. Pittsburgh has held opponents to a league-low 2.7 rushing yards per attempt, given up just one rushing touchdown, and kept Melvin Gordon and David Johnson to just four combined catches in back-to-back weeks. The Eagles are also starting an extremely-injured offensive line against the Steelers' insane defensive line. This is not the one for Sanders. 

WR Tee Higgins vs. Ravens

Higgins has had a very nice four-game start to his NFL career, and I really like the potential Burrow-Higgins pairing for years to come. But this week should prove tough for the rookie, who's going up against a Ravens defense hungry to return to form after an on-and-off first four games. Higgins has seen 22 targets over his last three games, but his snaps were down noticeably last week against the Jaguars, and as Cincy's third option in what could be a low-scoring game, I don't love what Higgins' day could look like if he doesn't get a touchdown.

TE Zach Ertz at Steelers

Last week felt like an obvious time for Ertz to have a breakout game, with Dallas Goedert out of the Eagles' lineup and the Birds' wide receivers decimated by injuries. Instead, a banged-up 49ers defense held Ertz to four catches for nine yards. Now Ertz goes against a superb Steelers defense, one which - outside of a Noah Fant touchdown in Week 2 - has been great at keeping tight ends under wraps. Whether it's the contract dispute, a down year, or the beginning of the end for Ertz, I'm not yet sold on him turning things around and returning to form, and this definitely isn't the matchup to bank on it.

 

Sleeper

RB Devonta Freeman vs. Cowboys

This is a risky one, considering Freeman has played in just two games as a Giant and notched just 33 yards last week against the Rams. But Dallas's defense is truly abysmal, allowing more than 110 rushing yards in all four weeks to this point, and the veteran back should have a chance to cook as the Giants' emergency option after Saquon Barkley's injury. Freeman caught four passes in Week 4, another enocuraging sign that he'll be increasingly involved in New York's offense. There's some serious boom potential here.