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 (coming soon) 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: Wide Receivers
Byes: Lions, Packers
Start of the Week
D.K. Metcalf vs. Vikings
Metcalf didn’t score a touchdown last week for the first time this season, but he still put up 14.6 points in a win over the Dolphins. He should be in starting lineups again this week, as a great matchup against the Vikings awaits. Their defense has been brutal against receivers lined out wide, allowing nearly 140 yards and the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. Metcalf, who runs an average of 30 routes out wide per game, is in an absolute smash spot in a potential barnburner.
Diontae Johnson vs. Eagles
Johnson has received an extra week to pass concussion protocols, so he should be back for a favorable matchup against the Eagles. Their defense has been vulnerable against receivers who line out wide, allowing an average of nine catches and the fifth-most fantasy points to the position. Johnson, who has run 23.7 routes out wide per game, is also among the leader leaders in targets per contest (8.3) among wideouts as well. If Johnson can return, get him into your lineups.
Robby Anderson at Falcons
Anderson seems to be another in a long line of players who have thrived after being held back in an Adam Gase offense. He’s tied for eighth in targets, sixth in receiving yards, and 11th in fantasy points per game among wideouts through four weeks. He’s a solid option against the Falcons, who have allowed an average of 115 yards and 21.3 fantasy points per game to receivers lined out wide. That’s where Anderson has run an average of 21.3 routes per game this season.
Justin Jefferson at Seahawks
I was dead wrong about Jefferson last week, as he put up his second straight 100-yard performance in a win over the Texans. He’s now seen 101 offensive snaps and ran 47 routes over the last two weeks, and he’s averaged 18.5 routes run out wide in that time. That’s good news, as the rookie faces a Seattle defense that’s allowed 184.3 yards and the most fantasy points (37.7 PPG) to those receivers lined out wide in 2020. Jefferson will border on WR2 value in this contest.
Darius Slayton at Cowboys
If you’ve watched a Cowboys game this season, you know their defense is an absolute dumpster fire. Their defensive backfield has been crushed by wide receivers too, most notably those lined out wide. After four weeks, receivers in that spot on the line of scrimmage have averaged 120 yards, scored eight touchdowns, and put up 36.7 fantasy points per game. Only Seattle has allowed more. So, starting Slayton, who runs most of his routes out wide, is a smart move this week.
- D.J. Chark at Texans
- Marquise Brown vs. Bengals
- CeeDee Lamb vs. Giants
- Diontae Johnson vs. Eagles (DraftKings: $5,800)
- Brandon Aiyuk vs. Dolphins (DraftKings: $5,200)
- Darius Slayton at Cowboys (DraftKings: $4,800)
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Week 5 Sit ‘Em: Wide Receivers
Sit of the Week
A.J. Green at Ravens
Green ranks tied for 14th in targets per game among wideouts, but that volume hasn’t equated to fantasy points. In fact, 91 receivers are averaging more points after four weeks. 91! Green has also taken a backseat in the Bengals passing attack to both Tyler Boyd and now rookie Tee Higgins, who has 16 targets and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. Couple all of this with a tough matchup against the Ravens and Green is a big-time fade who might even be droppable soon.
T.Y. Hilton at Browns
Speaking of struggling veteran receivers, Hilton has been on a milk carton for most of the season. He’s tied for 85th among wideouts in fantasy points, and 35 players at the position have more targets. The Colts are also running the ball on more than 50 percent of their offensive snaps, and Philip Rivers ranks 27th among NFL quarterbacks in targeting wide receivers. Hilton also has a tough matchup against the Browns and CB Denzel Ward coming up, which makes him even less attractive.
Jerry Jeudy at Patriots
Jeudy is coming off a solid one-touchdown, 14.1 fantasy line in a win over the Jets. He’s also scored double-digit points in three straight games, and the rookie is now the top wideout in the Broncos passing attack. Still, Jeudy has to be seen as a risk with a roadie in New England next on the schedule. The Patriots still have one of the toughest pass defenses in the league, and Denver’s quarterback situation between Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel, and Brett Rypien is muddled at best. I’d fade Jeudy this week.
Emmanuel Sanders vs. Chargers
Sanders is coming off a nice stat line versus Detroit, scoring 15.3 points on nine targets and six catches. He’s also put up 15-plus points in two straight games, so Sanders seems to be trending upward. The issue here is that the Saints could be getting Michael Thomas back this week, which would ultimately limit Sanders’ target share. What’s more, the Chargers have allowed 84.8 yards and one touchdown to receivers lined out wide. Sanders looks like a risk-reward choice.
Hunter Renfrow vs. Raiders
Renfrow, listed as a start ’em last week, saw eight targets and had five catches in a loss to the Bills. However, he’s a fade for me in Week 5, even if Henry Ruggs III and/or Bryan Edwards can’t return to action. That’s due to a bad matchup against the Chiefs, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Their defense has been particularly tough on slot men too, as the position has averaged fewer than seven points per game versus K.C.
- Jarvis Landry vs. Colts
- Corey Davis vs. Bills
- Deebo Samuel vs. Dolphins
- Julio Jones vs. Panthers (DraftKings: $6,800)
- Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Colts (DraftKings: $6,400)
- DeVante Parker at 49ers (DraftKings: $5,900)
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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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