October 07, 2021
It's Week 5, the last week before bye weeks start up. Which means it's about to get a bit tougher to make the right decisions.
But we'll worry about that a week from now. First, let's line up who you should be starting this weekend to take advantage of the larger pool of players who'll be in action. We've singled out a player at each position — a non-obvious guy who is likely to be rostered in most leagues — we recommend firing up this week, or keeping on the bench.
Here's a look:
Start: Kirk Cousins, Vikings
It looks like there's a good recipe for a bounce back in Week 5 for Cousins, who was having a stellar season before a mundane performance in Week 4 saw him throw one TD, one INT and barely eclipse 200 yards. In Week 5, he will face a pretty bad Lions team that could be just what the doctor ordered. This is a great matchup for the Vikings offense, and you should fire up whatever starters you have on that unit.
Sit: Mac Jones, Patriots
The eyeball test says Jones played well against the Patriots and Tom Brady last week, but he still was only the 20th best QB of the week as the New England offense hands the ball off quite a bit. The fact that the Pats are playing the Texans makes it seem like a good choice to start him, but he's not mobile, doesn't go down the field, and there is not a ton of upside. You'd be better playing a QB who has a higher ceiling.
Start: Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons
The Falcons couldn't have a better matchup for Patterson than in Week 5 against the Jets. He should be a no-brainer start, as he's showed not only the volume (18 targets, 27 rushes) in four games, he's also scored four touchdowns, tying a career high. The Jets are pretty bad, and Atlanta should be able to move the ball quite a bit. If you're ever going to ride Patterson, it's this week.
Sit: Miles Sanders, Eagles
We're finished telling ourselves that Sanders is too talented to be averaging 11.5 touches combined between runs and catches. He's gotten less volume each week and is on the verge of being labeled as a bonafide co-lead back alongside rookie Kenny Gainwell, who could find himself as a "start" pick on this list before long. If you have another option, keep Sanders on the bench, with the hope that Nick Sirianni's offense will start to feature him soon to make him a fantasy starter again.
Start: Marquise Brown, Ravens
We aren't anointing Brown as a no-brainer, start-every-week wide receiver. There is some variance to his performance to be sure. But over the last four weeks, Baltimore's speedster has 19 receptions and three touchdowns on 28 targets. He is getting plenty of opportunity from Lamar Jackson and the Colts' underachieving defense offers yet another great chance for him to post some numbers.
Sit: Tee Higgins, Bengals
The entire Bengals offense is probably a stay-away this week. Higgins is returning from injury, and will be catching passes from a less than 100% Joe Burrow, who will be handing it off to a less than 100% Joe Mixon. Higgins has been on the bench for many anxious fantasy owners but resist the urge to start him this week. Give him at least one game to find his footing back on the field.
Start: Dalton Schultz, Cowboys
If you needed a tight end this week you might have emptied a portion of your FAAB clip on Schultz, who had a monster 20+ point performance two weeks ago against the Eagles and followed it up with a touchdown on eight targets last week too. We'll see if he keeps it up for a third straight game, but he's certainly a hot hand trending in the right direction, and a smart start this week against the Giants.
Sit: Jared Cook, Chargers
Cook had a breakout game on Monday Night Football but don't fall for the trap. Mike Williams, who is usually the top target for Justin Herbert was a total non-factor, and that is unlikely in back-to-back weeks. Which means that Cook replicating his 70 yards and a touchdown is probably not likely. Cook has been inconsistent this season and is a risk-reward play right now.
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