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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Best fantasy football plays for Week 5

/ by Matt Weyrich
Presented By TAP Sports Bar
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The NFL has hit a few snags trying to hold a full season amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the show will go on in Week 5 with most games expected to be played on time.

That means fantasy matchups are back to full strength (sans the bye-week Packers and Lions). Whether you’re 4-0 or 0-4, there’s still a chance to make a run and compete for a playoff spot.

Here are the players you should have on your radar this week.

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Quarterbacks

Start ’em

  • Justin Herbert, LAC (at NO)
  • Teddy Bridgewater, CAR (at ATL)
  • Jared Goff, LAR (at WSH)

Justin Herbert was officially named the Chargers’ starting quarterback on Thursday by head coach Anthony Lynn. He’s set up for a Monday night contest against a Saints team missing both its top cornerbacks…Teddy Bridgewater lit up the Cardinals with three total touchdowns in Week 4. He’ll look to keep the momentum going against the Falcons, who are the only team allowing opposing quarterbacks to average over 30 fantasy points a game…The Washington defense is a scary group on paper, and they’ve held up against the pass with the fourth-fewest passing yards allowed per game this season. Only thing is, they’re still allowing plenty of points and the Rams certainly won’t want to run the ball too much against that front seven.

 

Sit ’em

  • Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. CAR)
  • Nick Foles, CHI (vs. TB)
  • Derek Carr, LV (at KC)

Coming off back-to-back mediocre fantasy performances, Matt Ryan is a candidate to head to the bench in advance of the Falcons’ matchup with Carolina. Only the Bears and Colts have allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Panthers…Nick Foles looked the part of a franchise quarterback after replacing the struggling Mitchell Trubisky against the Falcons in Week 3. The story was much different last week, when the Colts had time to prepare for him. Better to leave him on the bench for now…Any game against Kansas City screams “shootout,” but the Chiefs’ secondary has quietly been getting it done. There are better options than Carr, who will be without one or two of his receivers due to injury.

Running backs

Start ’em

  • Antonio Gibson, WSH (vs. LAR)
  • Devin Singletary, BUF (at TEN)
  • Raheem Mostert, SF (vs. MIA)

Antonio Gibson was the big story in Washington until Dwayne Haskins got benched. Look for offensive coordinator Scott Turner to lean heavily on the run game while Kyle Allen gets acclimated…Devin Singletary played two games without Zack Moss in the backfield and excelled, combining for nearly 200 total yards between Weeks 3 and 4. Even if Moss is back, Singletary should still lead the way for Buffalo’s run game…Raheem Mostert hasn’t been cleared to return yet but should immediately be inserted back into lineups if healthy. The 49ers have seen Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. each deliver a commendable performance in Mostert’s absence, but he should resume the lead role once he returns.

Sit ’em

  • Miles Sanders, PHI (at PIT)
  • Melvin Gordon III, DEN (at NE)
  • Mark Ingram II, BAL (vs. CIN)

The 49ers held Miles Sanders to just 46 rushing yards last week and it won’t get any easier on Sunday, when the Eagles take on the well-rested Steelers. If the Eagles fall behind like they have so often already this season, they’ll once again have to abandon the run game and put the ball in Carson Wentz’s hands…The return of Phillip Lindsay will take away a few touches from Melvin Gordon, but the real reason he’s on the Sit ’em list is because of the Patriots’ defense. They’ve allowed just one rushing touchdown so far this year and Gordon’s value is mostly predicated on him reaching the end zone since he doesn’t rack up yards…Speaking of touchdown-dependent players, Ingram has officially fallen into that category after four straight games with 10 or fewer carries. He’s rushed for more than 35 yards once and has been mostly ignored in the passing game.

Wide receivers

Start ’em

  • Justin Jefferson, MIN (at SEA)
  • Tyler Boyd, CIN (at BAL)
  • Golden Tate, NYG (at DAL)

It’s time to get excited about Justin Jefferson. The rookie receiver broke out with 175 yards on seven catches in Week 3 then followed it up with four grabs for 103 yards on Sunday. He couldn’t have asked for a better matchup against the Seahawks’ secondary, either…Tyler Boyd is an oft-overlooked name in an offense that includes Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon and A.J. Green, but he’s averaged eight catches a game over the last three weeks and Zac Taylor has shown no reservations over letting Burrow rack up the pass attempts…The Giants’ offense is typically one to avoid, but the Cowboys defense showed last week that it’s not putting up much of a fight. Golden Tate has been out-targeted by Darius Slayton and Evan Engram this year, but he’s been much more reliable at pulling the ball in when targeted.

 

Sit ’em

  • D.J. Chark Jr., JAX (at HOU)
  • Michael Gallup, DAL (vs. NYG)
  • Henry Ruggs III, LV (at KC)

It might be tough to sit D.J. Chark after he went off for 95 yards and two touchdowns, but he’s facing a Texans secondary that has Bradley Roby shadowing No. 1 receivers. Houston has been awful against the run, which probably sets up a bigger day for James Robinson than it does Chark…The decline in production came hard and fast for Michael Gallup, who has seen a majority of his targets transfer over to rookie CeeDee Lamb. Even with an enticing matchup against the Giants, Gallup is better off left on the bench for now…Henry Ruggs is back, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to be a fantasy starter. The first receiver taken off the board in this year’s draft, Ruggs has just one game this season in which he’s recorded over 50 receiving yards. Just wait and see what he does against Kansas City first.

Tight ends

Start ’em

  • Tyler Higbee, LAR (at WSH)
  • Mo Alie-Cox, IND (at CLE)

Tyler Higbee flopped in Week 4, disappointing many fantasy owners who picked him up after his three-touchdown performance the week prior. He will have a good chance to find the end zone against Washington though, as the team has allowed the fourth-most points to opposing tight ends this season…Mo Alie-Cox was only targeted twice in the Colts’ Week 4 game against Chicago, but expect him to get more involved against a Browns team susceptible to tight ends — and the passing game in general.

Sit ’em

  • Mike Gesicki, MIA (at SF)
  • Austin Hooper, CLE (vs. IND)

For two straight weeks, Mike Gesicki has been held to a single catch. It’s a disturbing trend for the young tight end, who was thought to be a fixture in the Miami offense going into the season…Austin Hooper was a beneficiary of facing the Cowboys’ defense last week, reeling in a season-high five catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Expect less-than-desirable results this week, when the Browns face the No. 1 passing defense in the Colts.

Defense/special teams

Start ’em

  • Dolphins D/ST (at SF)
  • Eagles D/ST (at PIT)

The Dolphins’ defense doesn’t have many big names, but the group has sat around the middle of the pack in most defensive categories this season. San Francisco has shown its capable of running the offense regardless of who’s under center, but Nick Mullens can still be counted on for a turnover or two…Philadelphia’s offense has played poorly enough to the point where the Eagles always seem to be on defense, but the unit has still held its own this season. They face the Steelers in a game that figures to be pretty low scoring.

Sit ’em

  • Seahawks D/ST (vs. MIN)
  • Saints D/ST (vs. LAC)

The Vikings haven’t exactly lit up the scoreboard this season despite employing a slew of playmakers, but they’ll have an opportunity against a leaky Seahawks secondary. This game could turn into a shootout quickly and both defenses are better left in free agency…As mentioned earlier, the Saints are down their top two corners. They’re traditionally a great defense against the run, but the Chargers will likely focus more on the passing game with Austin Ekeler out.