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: Tight Ends
Byes: Lions, Packers
Start of the Week
Evan Engram at Cowboys
Engram put up a respectable 9.5 points on 10 targets in Week 4, and he now ranks second at the position in both targets and routes run. Engram has a positive matchup this week too, as the Cowboys defense is a train wreck that’s given up the seventh-most points to tight ends. Daniel Jones also is tied for fourth among quarterbacks in targeting tight ends (9.8 TPG), which benefits Engram. He’s also put up 19-plus fantasy points in three of his last four meetings against the Cowboys.
Hunter Henry at Saints
Henry didn’t have a great stat line last week in Tampa Bay, but he’s still in the top 10 in targets and routes run among tight ends. He’s in a nice spot to put up a rebound performance this week too, as the Bolts travel to the bayou to face the Saints. The position has absolutely dominated New Orleans this season, averaging eight catches and more than 24 fantasy points per game. Justin Herbert has thrown to his tight ends nearly seven times per game, so look for Henry to produce this week.
Jonnu Smith vs. Bills
Smith has been one of the top tight ends in fantasy this season, scoring 11-plus points in all three games while averaging 16.4 points overall. He’ll be a nice option once again in Week 5, as the Titans host a Bills defense that’s had a tough time against tight ends. In fact, no team in the league has allowed more yards (89.8 YPG), and just four teams have surrendered more fantasy points (19.2 PPG). Even if the Titans get A.J. Brown back this week, Smith will remain an attractive starter. Please note that this game has been moved to Tuesday due COVID-19, so keep tabs on what happens.
Tyler Higbee at Football Team
Higbee hasn't been all that great in fantasy land this season, scoring eight or fewer points in three of his first four games. Still, I would ride with him this week when the Rams travel east to face the Football Team. They're a bit banged up on the defensive side, and tight ends have averaged the sixth-most fantasy points against them. There are no guarantees here since 57 percent of his snaps have been on running plays, but Higbee does have a positive matchup.
- Eric Ebron vs. Eagles
- Logan Thomas vs. Rams
- Ian Thomas at Falcons
- Eric Ebron vs. Eagles (DraftKings: $4,000)
- Ian Thomas at Falcons (DraftKings: $3,400)
- Jordan Akins vs. Jaguars (DraftKings: $3,300)
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Week 5 Sit 'Em: Tight Ends
Sit of the Week
Austin Hooper vs. Colts
Hooper had his best game of the season a week ago with five catches, one touchdown, and 14.4 fantasy points. That came against the Cowboys, though, who have the worst pass defense in the NFL. Next up is a much tougher foe, the Colts, who have allowed the fewest points (14 PPG) this season. Indianapolis has also been tough on tight ends, allowing 17.8 yards and the fewest fantasy points (4.5 PPG) to the position. So, even after a nice performance, Hooper remains a sit ‘em.
Mike Gesicki at 49ers
Gesicki looked to be in a great spot to produce a week ago, but instead, he had one catch and his worst stat line of the season. He's been unreliable in all, scoring 8.5 or fewer points in three of his first four games. Next up is a date with the 49ers, who have smothered tight ends (including Zach Ertz last week). Tight ends have averaged just 2.8 catches, 17.8 yards, and 5.6 fantasy points per game to this point. Unless you're desperate for a tight end, I will keep Gesicki on the sidelines.
Hayden Hurst vs. Panthers
Hurst has been unreliable for fantasy fans this year, scoring fewer than 9.2 points in three of his first four games. That trend might continue this week, as the Falcons host a Panthers defense that’s been tough against the pass. After four weeks, their defense has allowed an average of just 37.5 yards per game to tight ends. What’s more, Matt Ryan is tied for 23rd in targeting tight ends (6.0 TPG). That explains Hurst being tied for 13th among tight ends in targets per game in 2020.
Greg Olsen vs. Vikings
Despite recording double-digit fantasy points in two of his first four games of the season, Olsen has averaged a modest 6.5 fantasy points per game since Week 2. That’s due to a goose egg in Week 2. He’s outside of the top 15 players at his position in snaps and routes run, and 17 tight ends have more targets. While the position is thin right now, I’d still fade Olsen with a matchup against the Vikings next on the slate. Their defense has allowed just 4.5 catches per game to the position.
- Chris Herndon vs. Cardinals
- Tyler Eifert at Texans
- Kyle Rudolph at Seahawks
- Mike Gesicki at 49ers (DraftKings: $5,000)
- Hayden Hurst vs. Panthers (DraftKings: $4,700)
- Austin Hooper vs. Colts (DraftKings: $4,100)
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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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