Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 5: Jaleel McLaughlin, Sam Howell, and Zach Ertz Are Quality Starting Options

There are still plenty of fantasy football sleepers you can confidently put in your starting lineup for Week 5 -- don't let their points sit on your bench!

Fantasy football sleeper options stole the show in Week 4 of NFL action. Baker Mayfield, Jaleel McLaughlin, and Romeo Doubs all finished as top-12 plays at their respective positions last week.

Let’s take a closer look at some of my sleepers who are quality starting options for your fantasy team in Week 5.

Are you looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Are you having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Check out PFN’s free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Start/Sit Optimizer to help you make the right decision.

Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers | Quarterbacks

Sam Howell | Washington Commanders vs. CHI

If you can overlook some of Sam Howell’s tendencies to hold onto the ball a bit too long —  which has contributed to him being sacked 24 times this season — you can certainly appreciate his bounce-back performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4.

Howell really struggled against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, throwing four interceptions in his first truly rough outing as the team’s starting quarterback.

However, he gave his team a chance to win last week by throwing a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime against the defending NFC Champs.

This week, he’ll face off against a winless Chicago Bears team that gave up 24 points in the second half to steal defeat from the jaws of victory against the Denver Broncos.

Joshua Dobbs | Arizona Cardinals vs. CIN

Many of you might be rolling your eyes when you see Joshua Dobbs as a potential option to start as your fantasy football QB. Hear me out.

After a rough Week 1 outing against the Commanders, Dobbs has rattled off three straight fantasy performances of 19+ points.

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In those three contests, Dobbs has rushed for over 40 yards in each game while topping 200 passing yards in two of them. Most recently, he threw for 265 yards and two scores against a pretty talented San Francisco 49ers defense.

It also should be noted that Zach Ertz dropped a walk-in touchdown in the closing seconds of the contest, which would’ve made his fantasy day even more impressive.

Sure, it is reasonable not to be a believer in the Arizona Cardinals, but we shouldn’t be ignorant of the fact that Dobbs has played decent football over the past three weeks and could be serviceable as a streaming option moving forward.

Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers | Running Backs

Jaleel McLaughlin | Denver Broncos vs. NYJ

McLaughlin certainly turned some heads after registering over 100 total yards and a score against the Bears.

After starting running back Javonte Williams exited the game with a hip injury, McLaughlin made the most of his expanded role. Some might say he made a compelling case for more work in the immediate future, whether Williams misses time or not.

If Williams is out for Week 5, then you can comfortably start McLaughlin in your flex spot. If Williams is available this week, then McLaughlin could still be worth a spot start in deeper PPR leagues to see if Sean Payton expands the role of McLaughlin after his breakout performance in Week 4.

Tyjae Spears | Tennessee Titans @ IND

Tyjae Spears continues to make the most of his limited opportunities behind Derrick Henry. He currently ranks fifth in the league in yards per attempt (6.1) for players with a minimum of 20 carries on the season.

While Spears isn’t seeing a ton of volume working behind Henry, another encouraging fact is how involved he has been in the passing game.

Tyjae Spears (32) celebrates after a first down run during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium.
Oct 1, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Tyjae Spears (32) celebrates after a first down run during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium.

Spears has 10 receptions on the season and has seen a snap share of over 50% in three of four games. Thus, when the Titans find themselves with a pass-heavy game script, Spears can see the field more than Henry, just like he did back in Week 3.

He is a highly efficient player who could continue to see more work as the season progresses.

Latavius Murray | Buffalo Bills vs. JAC

Admittedly, Latavius Murray is mostly a touchdown-dependent option in a high-powered offense.

However, Murray did get some work on third downs against the Miami Dolphins and saw a season-high six touches in Week 4.

If the Bills offense continues to produce like it has over the last three weeks, then Murray could be a decent bet to find the end zone against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers | Wide Receivers

Michael Wilson | Arizona Cardinals vs. CIN

Remember those two scores I mentioned from Dobbs earlier in this article? Well, both of those touchdown passes went to Michael Wilson.

Good things seem to happen when Dobbs throws the ball to Wilson. The rookie wide receiver has caught 14 of his 16 targets this year and is averaging a healthy 16.9 yards per reception.

If the rookie can continue to be a reliable target for whoever is under center for Arizona this season, then we shouldn’t be surprised to see his role expand as the season progresses.

Tyler Boyd | Cincinnati Bengals @ ARI

It has been a rough start to the season for the Cincinnati Bengals offense. Quarterback Joe Burrow is battling a calf ailment, and matters just got worse on Sunday when wide receiver Tee Higgins left the team’s Week 4 game against the Titans early with a rib injury.

If Higgins misses this week’s game, we should expect Tyler Boyd to see an expanded role in this passing game. Over the past three seasons, Boyd has become the third wheel in the Bengals’ passing attack, working behind Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t capable of producing when given an expanded role.

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When Higgins missed a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars back in Week 4 of the 2021 season, Boyd exploded with nine receptions for 118 yards.

In a game that feels like a must-win situation for the Bengals, look for Burrow to get the ball out of his hands quickly to a reliable veteran target.

Curtis Samuel | Washington Commanders vs. CHI

Currently, Curtis Samuel has more receptions and receiving yards than Jahan Dotson.

Most would agree that Dotson is the better wide receiver prospect, but it is getting hard to ignore just how involved Samuel has been in this new Commanders offensive scheme.

Commanders WR targets and receptions through four games:

  • Terry McLaurin: 26 targets and 21 receptions
  • Jahan Dotson: 25 targets and 14 receptions
  • Curtis Samuel: 20 targets and 17 receptions

Not to mention, Samuel has three carries for 20 yards this season.

The point is that Samuel is very involved in this offense and is worth a spot start in deeper leagues against a Bears defense that is still a work in progress.

Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers | Tight Ends

Zach Ertz | Arizona Cardinals vs. CIN

Someone is really going to have to explain to me why Zach Ertz keeps qualifying for this sleepers article every week.

Ertz is currently the TE10 in PPR formats and has caught six passes in three games so far this season.

In fact, Ertz ranks second amongst tight ends with 30 targets and fourth in receptions (20) at the position.

If he can start finding the end zone at all in 2023, Ertz could easily start producing top-seven finishes at the position with this type of volume.

Hunter Henry | New England Patriots vs. NO

Mac Jones started the game under center against the Dallas Cowboys, and Bailey Zappe finished it.

In true Bill Belichick fashion, he didn’t exactly provide any clarification about who the starting quarterback will be for the New England Patriots in Week 5, but the good news is that it really shouldn’t affect Hunter Henry that much.

MORE: Week 5 Fantasy Buy Low, Sell High

Henry actually posted his best fantasy performance of the 2022 season — where he caught six balls for 61 yards and a score back in Week 6 — when Zappe was under center.

Henry should continue to stay heavily involved in the Patriots’ passing attack moving forward.

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