Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 5 Matchups to Consider
After four weeks of crazy surprises, rookie breakouts, and devastating injuries, the fantasy football season has reached its first bye week! A lot of fantasy managers will be playing Week 5 without important starters, such as Justin Herbert, Amari Cooper, DK Metcalf, Mike Evans, Kenneth Walker, Austin Ekeler…the list goes on.
Choosing the right bench player to fill those starting lineup spots can be hard sometimes. That’s why paying attention to each player’s matchups can be the key to unlocking your roster’s maximum potential and surviving the bye weeks. Let’s take a look at some relevant matchups that might help you make tough decisions and lead your team to a Week 5 win.
Trevor Lawrence (JAX) at Buffalo
After a couple of rough weeks in which some fantasy managers were starting to panic, Trevor Lawrence had a solid game last week in London. He had a 76.6% completion rate, passed for 207 yards without turnovers, led his team to a win against the Atlanta Falcons, and most interestingly, had eight rushing attempts for 42 yards. His fantasy finish wasn’t spectacular because he didn’t need to do much more to win this game, but he looked good.
The Jaguars are staying overseas for a second game in London, but this matchup won’t be a cup of tea for Trevor Lawrence. They’re playing the Buffalo Bills, who lead the NFL in sacks and interceptions. T-Law has been building a terrific chemistry with his receivers as the season progresses and I’m sure he will eventually become what his drafters expected him to be. But this matchup is a nightmare for any quarterback. Only Tua Tagovailoa has been able to score more than 8.5 points against the Bills. I would seriously consider benching Trevor Lawrence for one of this week’s suggested streamers.
C.J. Stroud (HOU) at Atlanta
The Texans’ rookie QB has been more than impressive during these first four weeks. He has eclipsed the 300-yard mark twice and is on pace to break Andrew Luck’s rookie passing yards record by a wide margin. He’s already scored six passing touchdowns without throwing a single interception. So far it seems Stroud will become an NFL superstar and the best part is that he’s also been great for fantasy, scoring more than 20 points in his last three games, including a complicated matchup against the Steelers’ defense.
Andy, Mike, and Jason have C.J. Stroud ranked differently this week, so let’s take a look at his matchup. The Falcons have allowed the third-fewest passing yards this season but they haven’t played against a top-12 quarterback. So far, C.J. Stroud has not looked like a rookie and right now he is inside the top 12. He has shown a great connection with his young receivers and DeMeco Ryans seems committed to letting Stroud keep airing the ball out. With this kind of passing volume, he might be the first QB to throw for over 250 yards against the Falcons. Maybe he won’t score 20+ points this week, but he should be started in 12-team leagues.
Matthew Stafford (LAR) vs. Philadelphia
The Rams have been crushing it this season with a cast of unexpected rising stars such as Puka Nacua, Tutu Atwell, and Kyren Williams. However, Matthew Stafford’s fantasy ceiling has been capped by his own mistakes. He has thrown for over 300 yards in three of four games, but he still hasn’t scored more than 18 fantasy points. Will he finally do it in Week 5?
The Philadelphia Eagles have been a very favorable matchup for QBs this season. They have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the position. Even Mac Jones and Sam Howell looked like superstars against them. Matthew Stafford is still questionable with a minor hip injury, but he has been practicing in full so he should be good to go. Cooper Kupp has been designated to return from injury reserve and there’s a chance he could play this week. Either way, if Matthew Stafford is active, this is the right matchup to start him.
Miles Sanders (CAR) at Detroit
Miles Sanders was one of the most intriguing free-agency moves this past offseason. He arrived in Carolina in what appeared to be a workhorse role. He had 22 touches in Week 1 and the fantasy world got excited. The problem is that the Panthers’ offense has not been very good with Bryce Young as their quarterback. Miles Sanders has finished inside the top 12 only once this year when he scored his first and only touchdown with Andy Dalton as QB.
This week he has a very complicated matchup against the Detroit Lions, who have been very good on offense, forcing opposing teams to throw the ball to try to keep up with the score. That’s why they have only allowed 181 rushing yards in the season, the second-fewest in the NFL. Better days will come for Miles Sanders. His volume is still very decent, but the game script won’t be on his side this week and besides, he is still dealing with the groin injury that almost made him miss last week’s game.
Breece Hall (NYJ) at Denver
Having Breece Hall in your fantasy roster this season has been an emotional downward spiral: the addition of Dalvin Cook to the backfield, Aaron Rodgers’ devastating injury in Week 1, and of course, Hall’s workload being limited as he keeps recovering from his ACL surgery. But the truth is that Breece Hall has been making the most of his opportunities and Robert Saleh just said that the pitch count is over, implying that the RB is ready for a full workload.
This news comes at a perfect time because the New York Jets are playing the Denver Broncos, who have been atrocious against the run. In four weeks, they have allowed 838 total yards and 11 touchdowns to running backs. If you are Breece Hall’s fantasy manager, this is the matchup you’ve been waiting for. Throw him in your starting lineup.
Christian Kirk (JAX) at Buffalo
During these past four weeks, Christian Kirk has been earning enough targets to become Trevor Lawrence’s favorite receiver, going from a 6% target share in Week 1, to an impressive 38% in Week 4. Meanwhile, Calvin Ridley’s targets have been trending in the opposite direction despite running the same amount of routes as Kirk. Targets are earned, and the Jaguars have been playing better in general as Christian Kirk’s target share has been increasing.
We’ve already talked about how bad of a matchup the Bills are for quarterbacks. As you might expect, the matchup isn’t great for wide receivers either. The Bills have allowed only 28.6 fantasy points per game to the WR position. But considering how the targets have been distributed lately in Jacksonville (or in this case in London), most of those points should be expected to go Kirk’s way. I would probably consider benching Calvin Ridley this week, but Christian Kirk should be on your lineup.
Romeo Doubs (GB) at Las Vegas
Last week Christian Watson finally came back from injury and there was panic among Romeo Doubs’ fantasy managers. But instead of sharing his piece of the pie with Watson, Doubs ran a route in 88% of the dropbacks and saw a career-high 13 targets. It’s safe to say that he is Jordan Love’s go-to wide receiver at least for now.
This week’s matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders has some interesting touchdown upside for a player as targeted as Doubs. He is currently the WR7 in red zone targets and the Raiders are tied in first place in TDs allowed to the WR position. Of course, touchdowns can’t be guaranteed in fantasy, but even if he doesn’t score in this game, Romeo Doubs should be a fine starter in this matchup.
Cole Kmet (CHI) at Washington
Cole Kmet finished as the TE1 in Week 4. He had a season-high nine targets, from which he caught seven for 85 yards and two touchdowns. A lot of fantasy managers might have picked him up from waivers to follow his success. But let’s keep in mind that it was the first time any player from Chicago had some fantasy relevance this season and it was against the Broncos. I’d suggest waiting to see if the Bears are capable of putting up this kind of production against any other team before starting any of their players with confidence.
Besides, this week’s matchup against the Commanders is as bad as it gets for tight ends. Washington has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to the position. I know the tight end landscape can be tricky to navigate and Cole Kmet might be worth a roster spot in case he keeps getting 7+ targets. But this is definitely not a good week to start him.
Zach Ertz (ARI) vs CIN
The Arizona Cardinals have been much better this season than most people expected, and Zach Ertz’s utilization has been a very interesting phenomenon. After a bad week against the Cowboys, he once again was heavily involved in Week 4. Joshua Dobbs targeted him 10 times, which Ertz turned into six receptions for 53 yards. His 25% target share is the highest among all tight ends and somehow he is still available in the majority of leagues.
This week he will play the Cincinnati Bengals who have allowed the sixth-most points per game to the TE position. He’s got the volume, the experience, and the right matchup, so don’t be surprised if this 32-year-old tight end finishes among the top five this week.