Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: NFL Week 5 fantasy tips on start, sit, stream and more

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The ESPN+ cheat sheet provides a rundown of the best tips from all of our fantasy football content. You’ll find answers to the biggest start/sit questions of Week 5, along with injury updates, matchup advantages and wild-card plays from Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell, Mike Clay, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Matt Bowen, Field Yates, Seth Walder, Al Zeidenfeld and myself. It’s all the best advice in one handy article.

Here’s what our experts are saying about Week 5 in the NFL:

Top Tips for Week 5

Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Did you know that Patrick Mahomes (2,591) and Cam Newton (2.603) are the only quarterbacks since 1969 in their first eight career starts to have amassed more total yards of offense than Hurts (2,584)? Berry is not shy about his fondness of Hurts. “Hurts is QB3 on the season. And it’s a legit QB3. He has scored more than 20 fantasy points in every start this season,” Berry writes in this week’s entertaining Love/Hate. “Even when he has looked terrible, he has scored more than 20 points. He’ll do it again this week against a Carolina defense allowing touchdown passes at the sixth-highest rate this season. Yes, I love me some Jalen Hurts. In fact, if you offered me Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray or Josh Allen in a trade for Hurts, I’d do it. But any other quarterback? No, thank you.”

Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Cousins has averaged 280.2 passing yards per game this season. This ranks 10th among quarterbacks and is surprising considering how heavily the Vikings have historically leaned on its running game. “Week 4 saw Cousins throw his first interception of the season, fail to throw multiple touchdowns in a game for the first time this season and fail to put up at least 22 fantasy points for the first time this season. A lot of that had to do with facing that Cleveland Browns defense,” Berry wrote. “Cousins faces a Detroit Lions defense that just gave up 209 passing yards to the Bears, which is like giving up 7,000 passing yards to any other team. Detroit is allowing a league-high 10.6 yards per pass attempt this season, and Cousins has thrown at least three touchdown passes in four of his past five games against the Lions. Despite last week, I’m back in on Cousins as a QB1 this week.”

Baltimore Raven’s running game

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens running have averaged a robust 32.2 rushing attempts and 162.8 rushing yards per game. Baltimore’s offensive line has an advantageous run-blocking matchup against the Colts. “Baltimore only ranks 8th in RBWR this season, so their projected rank of 4th going forward is still partially based on their high preseason prior,” Walder writes in his rundown of the offensive and defensive line matchups to exploit or avoid. “On one hand, that prior assumed a healthy Ronnie Stanley, and that was a big plus. On the other, Stanley’s one poor game is a non-trivial reason why the Ravens are only 8th in the category.” Jackson and the running backs have averaged 18.7 expected points (EP) per game rushing. EP is based on the average fantasy point value of plays in similar down, distance, and field position instances. This unit has averaged 8.1 points per game more than expected. Fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) takes a player’s actual fantasy points and subtracts out the expected points. EP measures volume while FPOE measures efficiency. These metrics paint a picture of how productive that Ravens running game has been this season.

Playing the matchups

Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots

In my Week 5 streamers column I wrote “Jones stood toe-to-toe against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. According to ESPN Stats & Info, his 19 straight completions Sunday night tied Brady for the most in a single game by a Patriots player since 1978 (first season of the 16-game schedule). Jones has at least 18 fantasy points in half of his four games with a suboptimal group of receivers that includes Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor.” The rookie quarterback faces a Texans (264.8) defense that has allowed the 11th-most passing yards per game.

Damien Williams, RB, Chicago Bears

“The Bears were dealt a major blow when starter David Montgomery left Week 4 due to a left knee injury, opening the door to Williams stepping into a larger role,” writes Field Yates. Williams was one of the top waiver wire pickups in this week’s column. “Williams handled eight carries, scored a touchdown and caught two passes, one area that he especially excels in.” Since Week 1 of last season Montgomery has averaged 20.7 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) per game. This is the type of workload you can expect Williams to be provided against the Raiders. Las Vegas’ defense (26.95) has allowed the 7th most points per game to running backs.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

“Fournette got 23 total touches Sunday night in New England, the most he’s had in a regular-season game since he was in Jacksonville in 2019, writes Berry. “With Giovani Bernard hurt and Ronald Jones II still in the proverbial doghouse, Fournette is clearly the lead back in Tampa’s offense right now, playing on a season-high 81% of snaps last week.” Berry also mentions that the Buccaneers’ opponent this week, the Dolphins, “have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season and have coughed up the second-most rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs.”

Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Buffalo Bills

“Kansas City is struggling against wide receivers this season, having allowed the fourth-most fantasy points over expected to the position,” Clay writes in his Week 4 Shadow Report of the best and worst WR/CB matchups. “The Chiefs have faced only 66 WR targets (sixth fewest) but have allowed the fifth-highest catch rate (70%) and sixth-highest YPA (9.9) to the position.” This paints a beautiful picture for Diggs and Sanders’ Week 5 outlook, but Beasley’s isn’t as appealing. “The Chiefs have slowed the slot well (third-fewest points allowed) but haven’t shown well against the perimeter (fourth-most allowed).”

Marvin Jones III, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Laviska Shenault, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

“The Titans have allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers (fifth most over expected), including the ninth most against the perimeter and third most to the slot. They’ve surrendered the most receiving yards (944) and touchdowns (eight) to the position and sit fifth in yards per target allowed (9.9),” writes Clay. “Tennessee hasn’t struggled against right perimeter receivers (ninth-fewest points allowed), which is (Janoris) Jenkins’ primary side of the field, but has against the left side (most allowed), which is (Kristian) Fulton’s side.” This is notable according to Clay, “Jones aligns at right perimeter receiver 44% of the time.” Shenault is positioned to thrive from the slot against cornerback Chris Jackson.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

“With Tee Higgins out of the lineup in Week 4, Boyd racked-up 20.8 PPR points, catching 9 of 11 targets for 118 yards versus the Jags defense,” writes Bowen in his Week 5 film room. “However, even with Higgins expected back this week when the Bengals play the Packers, I still see Boyd as a WR3 given his route structure and Cincinnati’s ability to use formation/alignment to create matchups in the pass game.”

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys

“The Giants have had their issues containing opposing tight ends in recent years — they were second-worst in the league in each of 2015 and 2017, for instance — and following the season-ending loss of linebacker Blake Martinez (torn ACL), they’re in danger of slipping back into that ‘soft matchup’ classification,” writes Cockcroft. This does not bode well for a Giants team going “against a Cowboys team that targeted its tight ends at least 10 times in three of these teams’ past five meetings, including Week 17 of last season when Schultz converted 10 targets to 14.0 PPR fantasy points.”

Injuries of Note


Teddy Bridgewater, Denver Broncos: Bridgewater practiced on Thursday in a limited capacity. He is dealing with a concussion and listed as questionable.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers: Garoppolo is questionable with a calf injury. He did not practice on Thursday.

Running Backs

Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals: Edmonds was a non participant at Thursday’s practice. He is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers: McCaffrey is questionable with a hamstring injury. He practiced in a limited fashion Thursday and said afterwards that he feels great and “definitely” has a chance to play Sunday against the Eagles.

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals: Mixon didn’t practice Thursday. He is questionable with an ankle injury.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys: Elliott practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday. He is questionable with a knee injury.

Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos: Gordon is questionable with a lower leg contusion. He did practice on Thursday in a limited capacity.

D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions: Swift was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice due to a groin injury. He’s officially listed as questionable.

Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions: Williams was a limited participant at Thursday’s practice. He is listed as questionable due to his hip injury.

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers: Jones was limited at Thursday’s practice with an ankle injury. He’s listed as questionable.

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts: Hines didn’t practice on Thursday. He’s questionable with a shoulder injury.

Justin Jackson, Detroit Lions: Jackson didn’t practice Thursday. He’s questionable and dealing with a groin injury.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings: Cook was a non participant for the second consecutive practice Thursday. He’s questionable with an ankle injury.

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers: Mitchell is questionable with a shoulder injury. He was limited at Thursday’s practice.

Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bernard was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice. He is questionable with a knee injury.

Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team: Gibson was a limited practice participant on Thursday. He is questionable with a shin injury.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons: Ridley won’t travel with the Falcons to London for Sunday’s game against the Jets due to a personal matter. He’s been ruled out.

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons: Gage is dealing with an ankle injury and has been ruled out. He did not travel to London for Sunday’s game against the Jets.

Darnell Mooney Jr., Chicago Bears: Mooney is dealing with a groin injury and practiced in a limited fashion Thursday.

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals: Higgins remained limited at practice on Thursday. He is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys: Cooper was limited at practice on Thursday. He is questionable with a hamstring injury.

DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins: Parker remained limited at practice Thursday. He’s questionable with a shoulder injury.

Darius Slayton, New York Giants: Slayton is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. He was a non participant in Thursday’s practice.

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants: Shepard is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. He was non participant in Thursday’s practice.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers: Claypool was limited at practice on Thursday. He is questionable with a hamstring injury.

Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans: Jones did not practice on Thursday. He is questionable with a hamstring injury.

Curtis Samuel, Washington Football Team: Samuel didn’t practice Thursday. He is questionable with a groin injury.

Tight Ends

Maxx Williams, Arizona Cardinals: Williams was limited at Thursday’s practice. He is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos: Okwuegbunam didn’t participate in Thursday’s practice. He is questionable with a hamstring injury.

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions: Hockenson was listed as a limited participant in Thursday’s practice. He is questionable with a knee injury.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers: Kittle is questionable with a calf injury. He did not practice on Thursday.

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gronkowski did not practice on Thursday. He is doubtful with a rib injury and not expected to play.

Lottery Tickets

Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers

“The exciting rookie has a chance to start until Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) returns, though a strong audition would seem likely to lead into an extended stay under center. In relief duty in Week 4, Lance accounted for over 20 fantasy points, more than four of which came with his legs,” writes Yates. “And while there’s no doubt that Lance will need to develop as a thrower, the upside he presents with his legs is exceptional.” Lance’s performance last week in one half of play is a tantalizing preview of his potential against the Cardinals this week.

Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders

Carr is the NFL equivalent of the comedian Rodney Dangerfield and continues to get “no respect” from many fantasy managers. “With multiple touchdowns in all four games this season and Las Vegas accruing 80.2% of their yards through the air (the third-highest total in the league),” Zeidenfeld writes in his DFS Best Buys column. Carr has a nice price point on DraftKings and FanDuel in Week 5.

Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets

“As a London game, this one has a Sunday-morning kickoff, so keep it in mind, but Carter is one of the most appealing add-and-starts at the position this week,” writes Cockcroft. “He emerged as the Jets’ preferred primary back in Week 4, playing a season-high 50% of the offensive snaps with a 52% rushing share, and in the past three weeks combined has four of the team’s six goal-line carries.” Carter and the Jets face a Falcons (26.6) defense that has allowed the eighth most points per game to running backs.

Marquez Callaway, WR, New Orleans Saints

Callaway was also another recommendation from my streamers column. He has been targeted only 13 times this season, but this week it would be wise for New Orleans to use him to attack Washington’s secondary on Sunday. The Football Team has allowed 45.4 points per game to receivers. The only other teams to allow more are the Titans (51.3) and Buccaneers (53.8).

Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears

“The Bears’ offense found life in Week 4 with Justin Fields making his second start, as he connected with Mooney for five catches and a season-high 125 yards,” writes Yates. “The flat-out flier now has five catches or more in three of four games this season, and while he has yet to find the end zone, he’s absorbing a notable target share and has obvious talent.” Mooney is firmly on the WR3 radar with upside for Week 5 against the Raiders.

Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants

Engram has been a polarizing player in fantasy so far this season. However, he’s accumulated 12 targets in his two games and is another week removed from his calf injury. Engram will have a chance to have his best game of the season against the Cowboys this week. Dallas has allowed the seventh-most points per game to tight ends, including big games from Rob Gronkowski (29.0) and Zach Ertz (15.3). With Daniel Jones playing some of the best football of his young career, it’s worth rolling the dice with Engram this week.

Big question of the week

Will the Saints offense return to prominence once Michael Thomas returns?

The Saints rank 28th in total yards per game, while Jameis Winston is averaging 21.2 pass attempts per game. New Orleans is calling out for a wide receiver hero, and Thomas will heed the call soon. He’s eligible to return for the Saints’ Week 8 matchup against the Buccaneers. Since 2017, Thomas has averaged 9.8 targets, 87.5 receiving yards and 18.9 points per game in 55 active games. He’s someone I recommended managers acquire in my fantasy football trade value column.

Source: ESPN

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