Week 5 Preview

All Betting Lines are from Bovada as of Friday (Wednesday for Thursday Night Football)

Colts @ Patriots (-10.5) (Thu 5:20 PM PDT):

O/U: 51.5

Blurb: This matchup sets up well for all of the notable Patriots fantasy players. I expect them to continue where they left off in their decimation of the Dolphins. I like Sony Michel and James White this week as solid RB2s, while Tom Brady is a locked in as a top-12 QB. I wouldn’t start any Patriots receivers unless I’m desperate, Josh Gordon seems to be a solid dart throw if Julian Edelman or Rob Gronkowski don’t play. If Edelman is active he would be the Patriots WR to roll the dice on. Rob Gronkowski is currently questionable with an ankle injury, but he’s a must start top 3 TE in fantasy if he’s active. For the Colts, receiver T.Y. Hilton will be out, so if you are desperate at receiver you can start Ryan Grant. I expect Nyheim Hines to be a usable FLEX (especially in PPR) with Marlon Mack out. I think you can do better at QB than Andrew Luck (I currently have him ranked as my #15 QB for this week). Since Jack Doyle is out again, Eric Ebron should command a lot of targets and he’s firmly a top-10 TE play any week Doyle is out. I have the Patriots D/ST as a top 10 option this week as well.

Broncos (-1) @ Jets (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):

O/U: 42.5

Blurb: There’s no real way to sugarcoat this: Case Keenum has been a bad quarterback this year. It speaks to how bad Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch were that Denver’s quarterback play has improved from last year. On the Broncos side, Emmanuel Sanders is a locked in WR2, but he’s the only locked in fantasy starter on this offense. I’m a little down on Royce Freeman this week against a good run defense, and I think it will be more of a Philip Lindsay type game. Both can be used as FLEX options. Demaryius Thomas has been getting targets but hasn’t made the most of them, I think he’s lost a step and is merely a WR3 / FLEX this week. For the Jets, the only player I would start is Bilal Powell as a solid flex. You can throw out Quincy Enunwa as a desperation receiver if you need to. I like the Broncos defense this week as a startable option going against Sam Darnold.

Giants @ Panthers (-6.5) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):

O/U: 43.5

Blurb: You could easily make the case that Christian McCaffrey should have been drafted over Saquon Barkley AND Odell Beckham Jr. in any kind of PPR league through the first four games of the year. The Panthers offense has overcome offensive line attrition this offseason, while the Giants have been stagnant even through offensive line addition in the offseason. Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham are locked in as must starts. I think Beckham has a chance to really break out going against a Carolina defense that is strong against the run but shown some weaknesses against the pass. Sterling Shepard is a recommended WR2 / FLEX play as well with the Giants missing Evan Engram for the second straight game. I love Carolina’s defense coming off a BYE at home against Eli Manning and that offensive line. On the Panthers side, Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey are must starts. I would also throw out Devin Funchess as a solid WR3 / FLEX. Carolina has a lot of upside this week being well rested going against a Giants defense that is probably gassed from the offense hardly moving the ball the first 3 weeks.

Dolphins @ Bengals (-6) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):

O/U: 48.5

Blurb: Two of the biggest surprises of the season are the 3-1 Dolphins and the 3-1 Bengals. The Dolphins got exposed last week at the Patriots, while the Bengals legitimized themselves with a last minute score to beat the Falcons. The Bengals are the better team and I expect it to show. I like the Bengals offense against a banged up Dolphins defense this week. I’m more than comfortable trotting out Andy Dalton as a fringe top 12 QB again this week, while A.J. Green is a locked in WR1 and Tyler Boyd is a solid WR2. While the Dolphins defense has played well against the pass, I think the Bengals passing scheme will find holes using the quick passing game. Joe Mixon should make his return from injury, and should make his way back into fantasy lineups as well. Giovani Bernard is OUT, so Mixon should receive a big workload. The Dolphins offense has been unfriendly to fantasy owners, to say the least. You can’t trust Kenyan Drake or Kenny Stills, who were really the only two fantasy relevant players in this offense in the first place. I think Stills is a low end FLEX with upside this week, while I would bench Drake until further notice if you have that luxury. I like the Bengals defense at home as a good option against a Dolphins offense that hasn’t put many drives together this year.

Ravens (-3) @ Browns (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):

O/U: 45.5

Blurb: The Ravens defense gets Jimmy Smith back this week to add to an already formidable defense (unless you’re the Bengals). After shutting down the Steelers last week they are a top 5 defense going against Baker Mayfield and the Browns. While Joe Flacco has been a good fantasy option looking like a new man this year, you’re not starting him. That being said, I love his new weapon John Brown who is finally shrugging off his injuries and showing off the talent that made him one of the most explosive receivers in the league a few years ago. He’s a solid WR2 this game. Michael Crabtree is just like Demaryius Thomas, he has gotten a ton of targets but has done next to nothing with them. He’s better left on your bench unless you’re desperate for a WR3 / FLEX. Alex Collins and Buck Allen go against a decent run defense, and coming off his fumble at the goal line last week, I’m weary of Collins as anything more than a low-end RB2 / FLEX play. I like Buck Allen as a mid level FLEX play because of that. On the Browns side, Carlos Hyde is locked in as the starter until further notice (Nick Chubb was outstanding last week though), and is a solid RB2 even in a tough matchup. Jarvis Landry is the only WR you can start with confidence for the Browns. David Njoku is a top-12 option at TE, which is a wasteland of a position.

Packers (-1) @ Lions (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):

O/U: 51

Blurb: These head coaches have both been terrible managing personnel this year. I have believed for a long time that Mike McCarthy is the most overrated coach in the NFL, and this year it’s proven to be true. He insists on throwing out Jamaal Williams even though Aaron Jones blows him out of the water as a running back. (Disclaimer: I’ve met Jamaal Williams and he’s a really nice guy, so I’m sorry I had to trash him this way.) Against a horrible Lions run defense, I like Aaron Jones as a FLEX play with a lot of upside in case McCarthy decides to pull his head out of his ass. Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery should be benched unless you have no one else. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are must starts, Jimmy Graham is a top-10 play at TE, and I really like Randall Cobb as a FLEX if Geronimo Allison misses this game (which he currently is projected to). Matt Patricia is a moron for putting LeGarrette Blount on the field as much as he has, as Kerryon Johnson has been far and away the best running back for this offense. I like Johnson as a mid-level FLEX against a below average run defense. Matthew Stafford is a borderline top-12 QB, and I rank his pass catchers as follows: Golden Tate: solid WR2, Kenny Golladay: low end WR2 / FLEX, Marvin Jones: mid-level FLEX. Tate is the best option, while Golladay is solid with a lot of upside. Jones is riskier but can have a day if he breaks big plays. The Lions passing volume can support all 3 players.

Jaguars @ Chiefs (-3) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):

O/U: 49

Blurb: This game matches the best offense in the league against the best defense in the league. It might be tough to start the Jaguars defense on the road this week, I have them in my top-12 as a boom or bust play. Leonard Fournette is going to miss this game, so T.J. Yeldon slots in as a high end RB2 against a bad KC run defense, while Corey Grant could be a desperation FLEX. The Chiefs have a bad defense so Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole are both solid WR3/FLEX options. If you want to roll out Austin Seferian-Jenkins at TE, it could be your lucky week, although I only have him 16th. On the Chiefs side, Mahomes is a risk but I still have him ranked 7th. I think Tyreek Hill is a starter at WR, while Sammy Watkins still has FLEX appeal if he’s healthy. Kareem Hunt is a guy that I’m the most worried about unless he gets involved in the passing game. The Chiefs offensive line has shown some weaknesses in run blocking and against the Jaguars, that downgrades Hunt to a low end RB1. You’re going to start Hunt, I just expect it to be disappointing compared to the Broncos game. Travis Kelce is a must start at TE.

Titans (-5.5) @ Bills (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):

O/U: 39.5

Blurb: The 3-1 Titans travel to play the NFL’s worst team. I love the Titans defense, as they are my #1 option for this week (I hope you grabbed them a week ahead of time). Although the Bills defense is the strength of their team, I think the Titans will give you great fantasy value. You can do better at QB than Marcus Mariota, but WR Corey Davis is a must start as a solid WR2 this week and the go-to guy for this offense. Many people have talked up Derrick Henry this week, but I don’t like him. He’s looked horrible this year and the Titans are better off benching him and giving Lewis all the work. He’s buried in my rankings as a low FLEX although he has some touchdown upside since the Titans should score plenty. I like Dion Lewis a bunch as rock solid RB2 this week, he’s going to be a key cog along with Corey Davis if the Titans move the ball as expected. You’re starting LeSean McCoy as a mid-level FLEX every week and hoping he gets more than the 8 touches he did last week. Stay away from Kelvin Benjamin.

Falcons @ Steelers (-3) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):

O/U: 58

Blurb: Start every fantasy player involved in this game. Both defenses won’t be able to stop either offense. Matt Ryan and Big Ben are both top 3 options for me. Julio Jones is a must start, while I like Calvin Ridley as a high end WR3 / FLEX option. Mohamed Sanu is a decent WR3/FLEX option as well. Devonta Freeman will return from injury, but I’d slot both him and Tevin Coleman in as RB2 options, with Coleman being the preferred play out of the two. Austin Hooper is a desperation TE play in a game that should be a shootout. On the Steelers side, Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster are must starts. James Conner is a tough player to gauge because of his lack of rushing success the past few games, but his workload and matchup make him a high end RB2 / low end RB1 option. Vance McDonald is a fringe top-10 tight end with a lot of upside this week. I would definitely start him given the TE landscape. My deep sleeper in this one is Steelers WR James Washington.

Raiders @ Chargers (-5) (Sun 1:05 PM PDT):

O/U: 53

Blurb: This game has lowkey shootout potential. The Chargers have a potent offense, but their defense has struggled, including last week at home against C.J. Beathard. The Raiders have had their offensive difficulties, but maybe last week was a breakthrough for them. I do have the Chargers ranked as a top-10 defense, but it’s more because of hard matchups for the strong defenses this week. I believe you could snag a better option on the waiver wire, but they aren’t a bad start by any means. Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson both project as FLEX plays with upside this week against a Chargers defense that has allowed the 4th most fantasy points to wide receivers. Fire up Marshawn Lynch as a reliable RB2 in a plus matchup as well. Jared Cook is the TE1 on the season (scream it from the rooftops!!!!), and is a locked in must start. On the Chargers side, I have Philip Rivers ranked as my 10th quarterback for this week. Keenan Allen is a low-end WR1 despite some struggles, and Melvin Gordon is a must start. Mike Williams is a FLEX play with upside, I’d rank him above both Raiders receivers. Austin Ekeler has shown he has weekly appeal as a safe FLEX with the way the Chargers use him.

Vikings @ Eagles (-3) (Sun 1:25 PM PDT):

O/U: 46.5

Blurb: Both these defenses have had their struggles containing the passing game, and both offenses have had trouble running the football consistently. On the Vikings side, Kirk Cousins is outside my top-12 QBs, but should have some appeal as he has thrown the most passes of any QB through the first four games. Dalvin Cook is a really risky start here, as the Vikings run game has not got it going and he’s had a limited workload because of injuries. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen should both be solid starts with the passing volume, and Kyle Rudolph is a good start at TE. For the Eagles, I don’t think Carson Wentz will have a big game this week and I think Blake Bortles and Derek Carr are two names that have a chance to outscore him (they’re riskier plays though). Alshon Jeffery will probably see a lot of Xavier Rhodes, and Nelson Agholor has been ineffective the past two games although he has seen a lot of targets. Jay Ajayi has a tough matchup but I think he’ll perform as a mid to low RB2.

Cardinals @ 49ers (-3.5) (Sun 1:25 PM PDT):

O/U: 40

Blurb: I really think the Cardinals have a chance to get on track as on offense in this game. I’m high on both Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson this week for two reasons: 1) Josh Rosen helps the offense, and 2) You help a young quarterback exploit a bad defense by running it down their throat and then throwing passes to the middle / short area of the field of that. This could not set up more perfectly for Fitzgerald and Johnson to justify the high picks you spent on them. I like the 49ers pieces too: I think Alfred Morris is a desperation play, but Matt Breida is a RB2 and George Kittle is a solid TE. I think both offenses played much better than expected last week, and now both have significantly easier matchups. If you are really stuck at defense, you can roll the dice with either team but don’t expect much from them.

Rams (-7.5) @ Seahawks (Sun 1:25 PM PDT):

O/U: 50

Blurb: Spoiler Alert: The Rams offense is going to roll again. I don’t expect a washed up Seahawks defense to hold them down. Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods are all recommended starts. On the Seahawks side, I wouldn’t recommend starting anyone except Doug Baldwin as a WR3/FLEX against a tough Rams defense. I have the Rams as my #2 defense for the week, I think this game is going to show how far the Seahawks have fallen and how high the Rams have climbed.

Cowboys @ Texans (-3) (Sun 5:20 PM PDT):

O/U: 45.5

Blurb: Ezekiel Elliott is the Cowboys only source of offense, and I expect them to ride him again this game. I wouldn’t start anyone else on the Cowboys. The Texans are below average against fantasy running backs, so I expect another big game for Elliott as usual. That being said, I still like the Texans defense as a borderline startable option. For the Texans offense, it sets up as a nice game for DeShaun Watson and the passing game. I would start DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, and maybe Keke Coutee as a low end FLEX with upside. I don’t like Lamar Miller much behind a putrid offensive line.

Redskins @ Saints (-6.5) (Mon 5:15 PM PDT):

O/U: 53

Blurb: The Saints well-oiled machine welcomes back Mark Ingram from suspension. Last season, Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined to both finish as top-10 RBs for the whole season. I don’t expect the Saints to continue that flash and dash running approach as their offense has been dynamic this season and there’s no need to change it. However one area they have struggled has been runs up the middle, and runs in short yardage situations. I expect Ingram to get about 12 or so touches a game, and Kamara to sacrifice some rushing work for even more of a receiving workload. In this game specifically, I don’t think the Saints will have any trouble with the Redskins defense, so I recommend starting all the Saints pieces: Brees, Kamara, and Thomas. Mark Ingram is a high end FLEX / low-end RB2 for me. I don’t like Adrian Peterson much in this game, as the game flow could work against him and the Saints have been significantly better against the run than the pass this season. I think Alex Smith is a solid streamer, but it’s hard to tell which receiver to trust out of Crowder, Richardson, and Doctson. Jordan Reed is a legit top 5 tight end this week, and Chris Thompson will be a good option.