Early Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 5: James Robinson, Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and More

Who are our early Week 5 start/sit options for fantasy football managers as we preview the upcoming week in context of what we have seen so far?

The previous week might not yet be over, but fantasy football Week 5 start/sit decisions are already at the forefront of the mind for managers. Let’s take a look through the data from the first four weeks as we try to identify which players we can look to start and sit in our Week 5 fantasy lineups.

As a general rule of thumb, we will only try to select players who were started in less than 40% of leagues last week as recommended starts. Equally, we will generally look to only recommend players that were in lineups in more than 50% of ESPN leagues last week as sits.

Week 5 Fantasy Football Start ’em, Sit ’em

Start ’em | Derek Carr, QB | LV @ KC

Derek Carr is coming off his most disappointing performance of the season against the Denver Broncos. However, that was very much to be expected against a team that had played opposing QBs tough in the first three weeks of the season.

However, the matchup in Week 5 is much juicier for Carr. The Chiefs have allowed more than 20 fantasy points to QBs in three of their last four games. They currently allow the fifth-most points on average to the position at 21.8. This game should be a high-scoring shootout, so Carr is a player I’m backing to bounce back nicely. He has a good chance to register his first 20-point performance of the 2022 season.

Start ’em | Jameis Winston/Andy Dalton, QB | NO vs. SEA

Regardless of which QB is under center for the New Orleans Saints this week, they offer an opportunity for fantasy managers. This is really more of a 16-team or Superflex recommendation than a 12-team, 1QB league. Trusting either Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton in a 12-team, 1QB format would be very brave, indeed.

MORE: Week 5 Waiver Wire Pickups

However, the matchup against the Seahawks is enticing. They just gave up 33.22 points to Jared Goff in Week 4. The other three performances have been better, as this was the first time allowing 20+ points in a single game. That is why I would caution against starting Winston or Dalton in those shallower leagues. But if you’re looking for a Superflex or 16-team league starter this week, whichever of this pair is taking snaps is intriguing.

Sit ’em | Kyler Murray, QB | ARI vs. PHI

Benching a player who has scored over 20 points this season on three occasions is extremely tough to do. However, we saw in Kyler Murray’s toughest matchup of the year, the Los Angeles Rams, how much he can struggle. In that matchup, he managed just 13.36 fantasy points as he was kept contained in the run game and failed to find the end zone.

In Week 5, his matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles is equally tough. The Eagles rank first in the league in sacks and seventh in interceptions, demonstrating how dangerous they can be to opposing QBs. Philadelphia is coming off a string of three games where they have allowed an average of 7.71 fantasy points to the QB position. No quarterback in the last three weeks has managed more than nine fantasy points, with Trevor Lawrence managing just 5.66, including fumbling a massive four times.

Start ’em | James Robinson, RB | JAX vs. HOU

Much as we feared entering Week 4, the matchup with the Eagles proved to be a tough one for James Robinson. In a game the Jaguars chased throughout the second half, Robinson had just eight rushing attempts for 29 yards, with zero passing opportunities.

That could lead to an overreaction this week as managers worry about Travis Etienne Jr. seeing nine opportunities to Robinson’s eight. But while we are stretching above our usual starting band here for this recommendation, this is a warning to try and ignore that temptation to overreact.

That is because there is good news on the horizon in the form of the Houston Texans. The Texans allow the most points to opposing running backs in half-PPR scoring (29.9 fantasy points per game). They’ve allowed over 30 points to the position in three of the four weeks so far, including to Khalil Herbert in Week 3.

Robinson has every opportunity to have a big game against this Texans’ defense, especially given that the Jaguars have a great chance to get up early and look to run out the clock.

Start ’em | Damien Harris & Rhamondre Stevenson, RB | NE vs. DET 

The bad news for Week 5 is that we cannot really exploit the Detroit Lions’ defensive woes against the QB. However, we can look to exploit their troubles against RBs with both Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. Harris and Stevenson have both now put in back-to-back double-digit performances, despite splitting opportunities in the Patriots’ backfield.

However, there should be an opportunity for both to have value as they face the Lions, who are allowing an average of 27.8 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs in half-PPR scoring. In each of the first four weeks, Detroit has allowed more than 20 points to the position. In Week 4, it was Rashaad Penny who took 17 rushing attempts for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

With uncertainty at QB for New England, we could easily see this pair combine for more than 30 rushing attempts again this week. Stevenson’s back-to-back five-target games make him especially intriguing in PPR formats.

Sit ’em | Ezekiel Elliott

It feels like we’re seeing fantasy managers get more concerned by Ezekiel Elliott every single week. Back-to-back double-digit returns in PPR scoring should stem the tide, but it has been reasonably tough for the veteran RB.

At the time of writing, we haven’t yet seen the Rams play in Week 4, but through the first three weeks, they’ve been extremely impressive. LA has allowed an average of 9.9 fantasy points per game to RBs. That is a major red flag for Elliott, given he is splitting opportunities with Tony Pollard, reducing his upside on top of a tough matchup.

Start ’em | Robert Woods

Robert Woods has now had back-to-back weeks with double-digit fantasy points in either half-PPR or PPR leagues. This week’s output was reliant on him finding the end zone, so fantasy managers may be hesitant to trust a player with just 12 total receptions over the last three weeks.

However, his matchup against the Washington Commanders this week is a nice one. The Commanders have allowed an average of 40.2 fantasy points to the WR position through the first four weeks. That places them second amongst defenses this year, but it’s the consistency of those points being allowed that has really stood out.

The Commanders’ have not allowed fewer than 30 points to the WR position this year and have been above 35 points in each of the last three weeks. In Week 5, Woods will be the Titans’ main pass-catching option at wide receiver. It would be a surprise if he sees fewer than five targets and could easily be in line for another double-digit point return this week.

Start ’em | Corey Davis

We may have seen a switch at QB in Week 4 for the Jets, but Corey Davis remained heavily involved. He saw seven more targets to take his total for the year to 26. That average of 6.5 targets per game has translated into 3.75 receptions and 65.3 receiving yards per game. He has also found the end zone twice.

MORE: Buy Low, Sell High Week 5

In Week 5, Davis has an intriguing matchup up against a Miami Dolphins secondary that has been struggling in recent weeks. After shutting down the Patriots’ receivers in Week 1, Miami’s given up three straight 37.5+ point games in half-PPR scoring. The Jets’ offense is not the most explosive the Dolphins have faced in recent weeks, but Davis’ usage should translate into a solid game this week.

Sit ’em | DJ Moore

It was exciting to see the increase in targets for DJ Moore this week, as well as them getting the ball in his hands on a third carry in two weeks. The 11 targets were a clear sign the Carolina Panthers want to continue to get him involved. There will hopefully be a time this season that Moore returns on the faith fantasy managers showed in, but that might not be in Week 5.

Through the first three weeks, the San Francisco 49ers were one of the toughest defenses on opposing WRs. They allowed just 21.8 fantasy points per game to the position, with no performances over 24 fantasy points. You can certainly make the case that they have not been extensively tested in that time, but even Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy could only combine for 10 receptions and 114 yards in Week 3.

Moore should see plenty of targets, but while he’s still struggling to catch more than 60% of those targets, we have to remain concerned. There is another three-week run here that could be tough in which Moore will continue to look like a buy low. After that, we could see the picture change significantly.

Sit ’em | Diontae Johnson

Diontae Johnson’s Week 4 usage has raised some concerns after we saw Kenny Pickett for the first time. Johnson was targeted just four times after seeing 33 targets in the first three weeks. In the short term, that drop in looks is concerning.

As Pickett grows into the starting role, their rapport should develop. However, Johnson could have some bumpy weeks early on.

In some ways, this change could come at a good time for Johnson’s fantasy managers. This rocky period coincides with the Steelers facing the Bills, who have been one of the toughest defenses against opposing WRs.

Buffalo’s defense has allowed an average of 21.25 fantasy points to opposing receivers in half-PPR scoring. In two of those four weeks, they held opposing receivers to fewer than 15 combined fantasy points, including in Week 4 against the Ravens.

Start ’em | Tyler Conklin, TE | NYJ vs. MIA

Tyler Conklin continues to be a solid deep-league TE option for fantasy managers. After three double-digit returns in PPR formats, Conklin managed an 8.2-point performance against the Steelers. This week, he gets a matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in PPR scoring.

When we look at the individual performances, the Dolphins have yet to hold opposing tight ends below 10 fantasy points. As Conklin is the only Jets TE with more than one target this season, there’s a good opportunity for him to get back into the double-digit region this week.

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