Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 5: Quarterbacks - Fades, Sleepers, Matchups, DFS Bargains

Kirk Cousins leads the Vikings at home in what will be a productive Week 5 matchup.

UPDATED: October 8, 2021

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams or Travis Kelce. Instead, I'll look at the players you have the most questions about to help you set the most effective starting lineup possible. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the 2021 NFL season.

Week 5 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Start of the Week

Kirk Cousins vs. Lions (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Cousins put up his first stinker of the year last week, scoring 10.1 fantasy points in a loss to the Browns. He had scored 20-plus points in eight of his previous 10 games dating back to last season. I like him to rebound against the Lions. In two games against them in 2020, Cousins scored seven total touchdowns and a combined 55.1 fantasy points. Fantasy fans “like that!”

Week 5 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em


Start ‘Em

Daniel Jones at Cowboys (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): Jones has been one of the better quarterbacks in fantasy football through four weeks, averaging more than 23 points per game. He'll be in line to produce another nice total this week, as the Giants face a Cowboys defense that's allowed 11 total touchdowns and an average of more than 20 fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers. Consider Jones a low-end QB1.

Sep 23, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) calls a play at the line of scrimmage during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.

Sam Darnold vs. Eagles (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Darnold isn’t an elite fantasy option, but he’s fifth in points among quarterbacks after four weeks. See what getting away from Adam Gase can do? I’d keep running him out there when the Panthers host the Eagles, who have struggled against opposing quarterbacks. Their defense has surrendered more than 50 combined fantasy points to the position over the last two weeks.

Trey Lance at Cardinals (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): It’s the moment a lot of fantasy fans have been waiting for this season, as Lance might get a chance to start for the Niners. He scored more than 20 fantasy points in the second half last week against Seattle, as the rookie showed off his massive fantasy potential. With Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) hurt, start Lance in a contest that opened with an over/under of 52.5 on SI Sportsbook.

Jameis Winston at Football Team (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Winston is tough to trust, but I like him in multi-quarterback leagues when the Saints face the Football Team. Washington’s defense has been terrible against quarterbacks, allowing Daniel Jones, Josh Allen and Matt Ryan to score at least 29 fantasy points. Washington has allowed  12 touchdowns and an average of 27.8 points to opposing signal-callers this season.

More Starts

  • Tom Brady vs. Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Jalen Hurts at Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • Ryan Tannehill at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Bargains

  • Daniel Jones at Cowboys ($6,000)
  • Trey Lance at Cardinals ($5,700)
  • Jameis Winston at Football Team ($5,600)

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Week 5 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Sit of the Week

Baker Mayfield at Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS): Mayfield had a solid matchup on paper last week, but he looked terrible while completing 45.5 percent of his passes in a win over the Vikings. He has now failed to score 18-plus points in six straight games. I’d keep him on the sidelines this week, as he’ll face a Chargers team that has allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Sit ‘Em

Ben Roethlisberger vs. Broncos (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Roethlisberger has been a sit ‘em each week of the season, and that trend will continue when the Steelers host the Broncos. He’s failed to score more than 13.8 fantasy points in each of his first four games, and Denver’s defense has allowed just three touchdown passes and the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Keep Big Ben on the sidelines again.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) attempts a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium.

Carson Wentz at Ravens (Mon., 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Wentz hasn’t been awful this season, but his fantasy numbers aren’t up to snuff as he’s failed to top 18.3 points in a game. That trend is likely to continue Monday night in Baltimore against a Ravens' defense allowing less than 18 points per game to quarterbacks this season. Even if you're in a multi-quarterback league, starting Wentz is a very risky proposition.

Matt Ryan vs. Jets (London 9:30 a.m. ET, NFL): Ryan is coming off a monster performance against the Football Team, throwing four touchdown passes. However, it was his first good stat line of the season, and I think he'll fall back to earth when the Falcons face the Jets. New York isn't a good team, but quarterbacks have thrown just three touchdown passes against them and averaged 14.3 fantasy points.

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Jared Goff at Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Goff scored a mere 16.8 fantasy points last week, and he’s now failed to produce 19-plus points in six of his last seven games dating back to last season. I’d keep him on the sidelines in traditional one-quarterback leagues this weekend, as the Lions face a Vikings defense that held Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield to a combined 25.6 fantasy points spanning their last two games.

More Sits

  • Derek Carr vs. Bears (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Taylor Heinicke vs. Saints (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Justin Fields at Raiders (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Fades

  • Derek Carr vs. Bears ($6,100)
  • Taylor Heinicke vs. Saints ($5,900)
  • Baker Mayfield at Chargers ($5,500)

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. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!

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