Start 'EM Sit 'EM Week 5
Start 'EM Sit 'EM Week 5
Last week was the calling card for offensive production in the fantasy football landscape. The AFC West had the top two running backs, Austin Ekeler and Josh Jacobs, deliver 34 PPR points in vastly different ways en route to huge wins for the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders. Justin Jefferson returned to the dominant version of himself that we saw in Week 1 and impressed overseas in a tough matchup against New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Mike Evans also made a splash in his return from a one-game suspension, hauling in eight receptions for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jared Goff and Geno Smith battled back and forth to top out as the best fantasy quarterbacks in a 48-45 win for Seattle, while Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson had a historic day for the tight end position, scoring 39.9 PPR points on a banged-up Lions offense.
It was a great week for my start/sit recommendations, so I hope you paid attention and maximized the points in your fantasy lineups. If you're new here, welcome! Hockenson was a massive hit against the Seahawks defense in Week 4, but I didn't foresee an outing that would produce over 180 yards and two touchdowns. That's a fantasy goldmine! DK Metcalf hauled in seven receptions for 149 yards, which was good enough to be the WR7 in PPR formats. CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown both delivered strong WR1 performances, making wide receiver my top-performing position. Aaron Rodgers threw for 250 yards and a couple of touchdowns in a closely contested win against the undermanned New England Patriots, but the running backs were my weakest area. Cordarrelle Patterson did score a touchdown but he injured his knee and has been placed on I.R., so it was a quieter outing than predicted. Ezekiel Elliot disappointed against Washington, while James Robinson was shut down by Philadelphia's defense, in-climate weather, and game script.
My recommended sits were solid, as Derek Carr did not throw a single touchdown despite getting his first win of the season against the Denver Broncos. D.J. Moore continues to struggle with Baker Mayfield, catching six receptions for 50 yards and adding an 11-yard rush to fall to WR29 with 12.1 PPR points. George Kittle nearly had a touchdown but it was overturned, so he wound up with a quiet two receptions for 24 yards on Monday Night Football. The only miss was Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who continues to receive volume in one of the league's best offenses. CEH finished with 92 rushing yards and two total touchdowns, good enough for RB9 in Week 4.
We're getting into the meat of the 2022 NFL season. Teams are settling into their playcalling and finding a rhythm, providing more data than we've had up to this point. It's my job to continue helping you with those tough start/sit decisions and the Week 5 slate offers up a ton of good and bad matchups to analyze. Let's get to my favorite Start 'Ems and Sit 'Ems to prepare for another successful week playing fantasy football.
Khalil Herbert (RB) Chicago Bears
Khalil Herbert is a plug-and-play running back regardless of David Montgomery's injury status in Week 5. The second-year running back out of Virginia Tech is quickly ascending to the RB1 in Chicago's backfield, handling 19-plus carries in each of the previous two weeks. Herbert ran rampant against Houston's run defense in Week 3, but he still averaged 4.05 YPC against a much better New York Giants defensive unit during a game where the Bears' offense scored zero points. He doesn't get much passing work, but that's the way Chicago's offense has been all season under first-year head coach Matt Eberflus. Herbert draws a juicy matchup against Minnesota's run defense in Week 5. The Vikings are allowing 26 PPR points to fantasy running backs this season, which is the sixth-worst in the league, meaning Herbert has a good chance to reach 20 PPR points on the road in an NFC North divisional tilt this weekend. Lock Herbert into your lineups as a fringe RB1.
James Robinson (RB) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville jumped out to an early 14-0 lead against the Philadelphia Eagles, largely due to its defense. Still, they ended up falling behind in windy, wet conditions that resulted in Trevor Lawrence losing four fumbles. The Jaguars could not sustain a drive, which severely capped third-year running back James Robinson's usage. It was a forgettable outing for Robinson and essentially the entire Jacksonville offense. Week 5 offers a much better opportunity for Robinson to produce against the weak run defense of the Houston Texans. It's the top running back matchup in fantasy PPR formats. Houston allowed Austin Ekeler to score three total touchdowns in Week 4, finishing as the RB1. Khalil Herbert also destroyed the Texans' run defense in Week 4, while Jonathan Taylor's only great performance this season came in Week 1 against, guess who, the Texans! Lock Robinson into your lineups with confidence as a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside in a Week 5 AFC South showdown.
Dameon Pierce (RB) Houston Texans
Rookie running back Dameon Pierce only continues to improve on an underrated Houston offense. He's handled double-digit carries in every game thus far, creating a high floor, while his targets increased threefold in Week 4 against the Chargers, resulting in six receptions for eight yards and a touchdown. Pierce just averaged a ridiculous 9.36 YPC and also has four touchdowns across the previous two weeks, including consecutive two-touchdown performances. Jacksonville has a much better defense than it did a year ago, but the Jaguars are still allowing 25.6 PPR points to fantasy running backs, bad enough to be a top-seven fantasy matchup for Pierce in Week 5. Miles Sanders just tore the Jaguars up for over 150 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns, making Pierce a strong RB1 candidate to continue starting in Week 5.
Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (WR) Arizona Cardinals
Arizona's offense is a bit frustrating but Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is the steady constant. Brown has 11 targets or more ranging across the last three weeks, turning in two performances of 20-plus PPR points. Zach Ertz is the only other Cardinals skilled player garnering consistent targets in the passing attack, while DeAndre Hopkins still has two more weeks to complete his six-game suspension. I like Brown even with Hopkins back in the fold, but in Week 5 against a tough Philadelphia secondary, I expect Brown to be hyper-targeted yet again by Kyler Murray. Brown has a difficult matchup against Darius Slay but he still returned value with a touchdown in his worst season performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1. Brown is the primary piece of Arizona's offense and has to be started despite the tough matchup. He is a high-end WR2 at home against the Eagles in Week 5.
DK Metcalf (WR) Seattle Seahawks
Geno Smith is turning Seattle's offense into a pass-centric fireworks show and I'm here for it. So is DK Metcalf. I recommended the big-bodied wideout in my last Start 'Em Sit 'Em piece for Week 4 and he turned in a solid seven receptions for 149 yards on ten targets. Smith used Metcalf as more of a deep target threat against a vulnerable Detroit defense, averaging 14.9 yards per target compared to the 5.5 yards per target he averaged across the first three weeks. The New Orleans Saints defense is coming off of a pretty poor performance against Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, with cornerback Marshon Lattimore getting cooked by the second-year wideout for most of the game. Metcalf's only previous matchup against the Saints came during his rookie year back in 2018, where he caught two receptions for 67 yards on six targets. Rashaad Penny's resurgence in the backfield in Week 4 should help the Seahawks continue to play as a dual-threat offense, but if they fall behind, the targets will stack even higher for Metcalf. Plug him into lineups confidently as a solid WR2 with WR1 upside on the road in the Superdome in Week 5.
Curtis Samuel (WR) Washington Commanders
I didn't initially buy into the Curtis Samuel hype after one or two games. After seeing the wideout continue as Carson Wentz's top target in Washington's offense after four weeks, I've reconsidered my stance. Samuel was an H-back who had great hands at Ohio State, so his transition to wide receiver in the NFL has been fairly smooth. He's been hampered by injuries throughout his career, so it's exciting to see Samuel perform well when he's fully healthy. Dallas was a difficult matchup for Samuel, who finished with four receptions for 38 yards on seven targets. He did not handle any carries during the first week of the season. Week 5 presents a bounce-back opportunity for Samuel and the Commanders' offense. Tennessee's pass defense is the fourth-best matchup for fantasy wide receivers, surrendering 42.72 fantasy points to the position, ranking as a top-five matchup for Samuel. Rookie Jahan Dotson will also miss next week's home matchup against the Titans, making Samuel even more of a slam-dunk. Lock Samuel into fantasy lineups as a high-floor option with the potential to deliver another ceiling game as he did against Jacksonville and Detroit at the start of this season.
Tyler Conklin (TE) New York Jets
The New York Jets found a way to scrap out a win in Pittsburgh during Zach Wilson's first game of the 2022 season. The offense looked different without Joe Flacco under center. Wilson spread the ball around more than his veteran predecessor, including a season-low five targets for Tyler Conklin. The good news is that C.J. Uzomah continues to be used as a blocking tight end, creating zero competition for targets in the Jets' tight end room. Elijah Moore also saw fewer targets than Conklin in Week 4, so there's enough opportunity here to view Conklin as a starter against the Miami Dolphins in Week 5. Surprisingly, the Dolphins are the sixth-best matchup for fantasy tight ends this year. Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst both had quality outings against Miami, so Conklin should continue to be a security valve for Wilson and a quality red-zone target in an AFC East matchup that could be very competitive with Tua Tagovailoa already ruled out. Start Conklin due to his consistency at a volatile position.
Tom Brady (QB) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When Tom Brady gets his weapons back on offense, he doesn't look like a 45-year-old quarterback. Despite Tampa Bay losing its first game of the season to a red-hot Kansas City Chiefs offense, the Bucs held their own on offense, led by Brady's 52 pass attempts. It was the first game where he threw for over 300 yards this season, finishing with 39 completions for 385 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Mike Evans. Chris Godwin's return also benefited the veteran quarterback and should continue to do so against the secondary of the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5. The Falcons have a good run defense but its pass defense is atrocious, allowing the fifth-most PPR points to wide receivers and the tenth-most points to quarterbacks. Brady shredded the Falcons twice in 2021, throwing a combined nine touchdowns and one interception. Start him as a top-five fantasy quarterback at home against the Falcons' pass defense in Week 5.
Ezekiel Elliot (RB) Dallas Cowboys
While the changing of the guard has not happened yet, Ezekiel Elliot is not performing like an RB1. He's still averaging over 20 percent of snaps compared to Tony Pollard on the year, but he's less involved in the passing attack, earning a meager 5.5 percent of the Cowboys' target share. Elliot handled 19 carries in Week 4 against Washington, compared to Pollard's eight carries, so he still holds the edge. Does this edge matter in a pass-centric offense led by Cooper Rush and CeeDee Lamb? I don't think so. Elliot will have his pop games, but he's averaging 3.8 YPC this season and has only scored one touchdown through four weeks. Pollard looks like the more explosive option in the backfield and against the Los Angeles Rams' front-seven, led by Bobby Wagner, I don't want any part of Elliot against the worst fantasy matchup for running backs in Week 5. Bench Elliot but don't cut him, as he will have better matchups down the road against Detroit, Chicago, and Minnesota.
Diontae Johnson (WR) Pittsburgh Steelers
Speaking of changing the guard, Mike Tomlin opted to start rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett over Mitchell Trubisky in Week 4. Although it didn't produce a win, Pickett played tough with two rushing touchdowns but also threw three interceptions while hyper-targeting Pat Freiermuth and George Pickens. Granted, the New York Jets have a tough secondary to pass against, so perhaps Diontae Johnson will bounce back after a dreadful 4.2 PPR points in Week 4. Still, it's hard to feel confident in Johnson's outlook against a Buffalo defense that is ranked as the fifth-toughest matchup for fantasy wide receivers. It's certainly going to be a long day for Pickett, who will look to Freiermuth, Pickens, and Najee Harris as his safety valves under duress behind a bad offensive line. Bench Johnson and wait for a better matchup against the Miami Dolphins in Week 7.
Dalton Schultz (TE) Dallas Cowboys
Dalton Schultz laid the dreaded "goose egg" against the Washington Commanders in Week 4. Yes, zero points on three targets against a vulnerable pass defense is a big cause for concern. Schultz did return from a knee injury that kept him out in Week 3, so maybe he'll ease back into the role over time. A Week 5 road matchup against a Los Angeles Rams defense that just got embarrassed by Deebo Samuel is not an ideal spot. Schultz was the top receiver with Dak Prescott under center in a 19-3 rout against Tampa Bay in Week 1, but his injury and goose egg have seen him regress substantially. I'm pivoting to other streaming options at tight end in Week 5 such as David Njoku, Irv Smith Jr., or Tyler Conklin.
Matthew Stafford (QB) Los Angeles Rams
It's been a rough start for Matthew Stafford and the reigning Super Bowl champions. Through four games, Stafford is the QB28 in fantasy football, which can be largely attributed to a downgraded offensive line. There are several new starters and injuries have also forced players to shift their position, which is not an easy task to undertake for inexperienced linemen. Stafford has been sacked seven times in two games this season, does not offer rushing upside, and only has one game with more than one passing touchdown. Dallas has one of the league's most stingy defensive units this year, so expect Micah Parsons and company to collect at least four or five sacks, creating another frustrating outing for Stafford. He's a bench stash until further notice. Pivot to other quarterback streamers such as Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, or Trevor Lawrence in Week 5.
Matt is an avid writer and enjoys analyzing the game within the game that is fantasy sports. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his fiancé and three pets, which typically involves some type of outdoor exercise or adventure. He likes to read, listen to Podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the fantasy sports industry. Pat McAfee is a massive inspiration to Matt, along with his parents and friends. He is guilty of ordering the same menu item at restaurants.