Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate weekly look at the NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as Patrick Mahomes and Alvin Kamara will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system.
Be sure to check out my Week 5 PPR rankings before finalizing any lineup decisions or if your league has special scoring rules, sign up for SI Fantasy+ for customized rankings. Members also get access to myself and our team of high-stakes winners all week long to answer your specific fantasy questions.
Week 5 Start 'Em: Quarterbacks
Byes: Lions, Packers
Start of the Week
Teddy Bridgewater at Falcons
Bridgewater is coming off his best fantasy stat line of the season, scoring 26.4 points in a win over the Cardinals. He’s on the streaming radar this week, as the Panthers head to Atlanta to face a vulnerable Falcons defense. Their defense has allowed 319 passing yards and over 30 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in two home games. Also, Atlanta has allowed 22 touchdown passes and the third-most fantasy points (23.0 PPG) to the position on their home field since 2019.
Kirk Cousins at Seahawks
Cousins is very tough to trust in fantasy leagues. I get it. But, if you are in need at the position, this week's matchup versus the Seahawks is a favorable one. Their defense has allowed an average of over 400 passing yards, nine total touchdowns, and the second-most fantasy points (26.8 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks. DK Sportsbook has the over/under at 57.5 in this contest, so this could turn into a serious statistical barnburner in the Great Northwest.
Justin Herbert at Saints (MNF)
Herbert has looked mighty good as a rookie, scoring 20-plus fantasy points in two of his first three games. That includes a nice performance on the road against a tough Buccaneers defense a week ago. Next up is a Monday night date with the Saints and their banged-up defense. This unit has been vulnerable to quarterbacks, allowing 11 touchdown passes, a 104.6 passer rating, and an average of more than 22 fantasy points per game. If you’re in need, start Herbert this week.
Gardner Minshew at Texans
Minshew has been mostly reliable for fantasy fans this season, scoring 20-plus fantasy points in all but one of his first four games. He’s in a good spot to produce another nice stat line this week, as the Jaguars face the Texans in Houston. Their defense has allowed a 115.1 passer rating and an average of more than 18 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. With a lot of questions about COVID-19 games, Minshew is a safe choice in that respect.
Drew Brees vs. Chargers (MNF)
Brees has not had a great start to the season, as he’s put up an average of just 17.1 points per game. That’s 23rd among quarterbacks. Still, I like the matchup on Monday night against a Chargers defense that recently allowed five touchdown passes and more than 30 fantasy points to Tom Brady. Their defense is banged up too, missing DL Melvin Ingram and CB Chris Harris Jr., so Brees should be able to produce a nice stat line, with or without superstar wideout Michael Thomas.
- Deshaun Watson vs. Jaguars
- Ben Roethlisberger vs. Eagles
- Daniel Jones at Cowboys
- Gardner Minshew at Texans (DraftKings: $6,200)
- Teddy Bridgewater at Falcons (DraftKings: $5,900)
- Daniel Jones at Cowboys (DraftKings: $5,400)
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Week 5 Sit 'Em: Quarterbacks
Sit of the Week
Baker Mayfield vs. Colts
The Browns (3-1) are winning games, but it’s not due to Mayfield putting up big numbers. In fact, he’s failed to score even 16 fantasy points in a single contest thus far. He’s also not even in the top 25 in pass attempts per game (28.8), as the Browns continue to run the ball a league-high 53.3 percent of the time. Mayfield also has a tough matchup against the Colts, who have allowed 175.8 passing yards and the fewest fantasy points per game (9.5 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks.
Carson Wentz at Steelers
Wentz hasn’t looked great this season, though he has now scored 20-plus points in each of his past two games (it took him five quarters to do it against the Bengals). Regardless, he’s a tough player to trust in a road game against the Steelers. Dating back to last season, quarterbacks have averaged just 13.2 fantasy points when facing this Steel Curtain at Heinz Field. That’s the third-fewest allowed to the position among home defenses during that time. I’d keep Wentz on the sidelines.
Joe Burrow at Ravens
Burrow was somewhat of a disappointment last week, scoring a mediocre 15.1 fantasy points despite a great matchup against the Jaguars. Next up is a much more difficult opponent, as the rookie field general travels to Baltimore to face the Ravens. Dating back to last season, quarterbacks have thrown just 10 scoring strikes and averaged fewer than 14 fantasy points per game when facing that defense at M&T Bank Stadium. As much as I like Burrow overall, he’s a fade for me this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at 49ers
Fitzpatrick has been playing at a high level (in fantasy terms) lately, averaging a solid 23.6 points over the last three weeks. Still, an upcoming road game against the 49ers makes me fear the beard. While the Niners defense is a bit banged up, it’s still allowed an average of 17.4 points to quarterbacks in 2020 and just 15.5 points on their home field dating back to last season. What’s more, Fitzpatrick has scored a modest 14.3 or fewer fantasy points in nine of his last 15 road games.
Philip Rivers vs. Browns
Rivers used to be a solid fantasy quarterback, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. After four weeks, only Daniel Jones (10.8 PPG) has averaged fewer points per game at the position than Rivers (12.4 PPG). That’s due in part to the fact that he’s averaging just 30.1 pass attempts a game, which ranks 27th in the NFL, and the Colts are running the football 50.4 percent of the time. Rivers is also 27th in air yards per completion, which is just another reason to keep the veteran on the bench.
- Ryan Tannehill vs. Bills (COVID-19)
- Jared Goff at Football Team
- Derek Carr at Chiefs
- Jared Goff at Football Team (DraftKings: $6,500)
- Joe Burrow at Ravens (DraftKings: $6,000)
- Baker Mayfield vs. Colts (DraftKings: $5,700)
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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for the latest news and analysis!
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