The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 5 (Fantasy Football)

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“It’s crazy how one event can change your outlook on life and where you’re headed… Let it be a reminder that life is too short, so make the most of it every single day.” – Mike Tagliere

Bonjour, Footclan! Welcome to Week 5 of the Start/Sit series where we’ll identify and discuss your most commonly asked “Who should I start?” questions for the week.

The projections between any two players on your roster may appear similar, but this “simple” choice could be the difference between your team’s victory or defeat. Luckily, the Fantasy Footballers have created the Start/Sit tool to easily compare any two (or more) players with insight from the Ballers themselves, and trust me — it’s an extremely valuable asset that will help you make these crucial lineup decisions that could ultimately lead you to your #FootClanTitle. Please note that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated, so make sure you check out the tool yourself to catch any last-second changes.

So without further adieu, let’s kick things off with the most popular Start/Sit questions for Week 5:

Trey Lance (SF) or Sam Darnold (CAR)?

Trey Lance

  • SF
  • QB
  • @ ARI
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 4:25pm EST

Sam Darnold

  • CAR
  • QB
  • vs PHI
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 17.2 19.4
Andy Rank QB #17 QB #13
Mike Rank QB #15 QB #13
Jason Rank QB #15 QB #13
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 9 18
Home/Away Away Home
Over/Under 49 45
Line +4 -3.5

It’s TIME! Trey Lance is expected to make his highly anticipated starting debut in a divisional matchup against an underrated Cardinals defense with Jimmy Garoppolo likely sidelined with a right calf contusion. But why the excitement? It’s a combination of Lance’s rushing upside and Garoppolo’s passing limitations.

  • Fun fact: Lance has already rushed for more yards (44) in extremely limited snaps than Garoppolo has in the last nine games COMBINED (42).
  • Not-so-fun fact: Garoppolo has NEVER supported more than one top-24 WR in any single game played with the 49ers. This sad stat still remains true thanks to Brandon Aiyuk‘s disappearance in the offensive game plan.
  • Another fun fact: Lance scored 24.4 fantasy points in just one half of football last week, a number Garoppolo hasn’t beaten since Week 6 last year.

Despite the struggles of every other rookie pass-caller this season, Lance is still a strongly recommended DraftKings and FanDuel cash play this week due to his boundless potential.

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Sam Darnold has been on fire as the current QB5, further validating the “post-Adam Gase success” theory. He’s already scored five rushing TDs this year, which is the same amount he’s totaled in his three prior seasons with the Jets and something no other QB has done in his first four games. It’s still way too early, but he’s on a 17-game pace for over 5,000 passing yards and 21.3 passing AND rushing TDs each. This is the same guy who’s only had one season where he surpassed 3,000 passing yards, and he barely did so (3,024 in 2019). He was THE QB1 last week after racking up 35.5 fantasy points against the Cowboys, a ranking and point total he’s NEVER topped in his entire NFL career. Safe to say that Darnold is someone you can confidently play each week.

The Verdict
All three Ballers favor Darnold this week as he’s the safer and proven play this week. However, Lance’s tremendous upside cannot be ignored, which is why Mike made Lance his QB streamer of the week.

Damien Williams (CHI) or Damien Harris (NE)?

Damien Williams

  • CHI
  • RB
  • @ LV
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 4:05pm EST

Damien Harris

  • NE
  • RB
  • @ HOU
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 13.1 12.9
Andy Rank RB #19 RB #21
Mike Rank RB #19 RB #16
Jason Rank RB #18 RB #21
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 26 24
Home/Away Away Away
Over/Under 44.5 39.5
Line +5.5 -8.5

Damien Williams, step right up! With David Montgomery out for multiple weeks (knee), Williams made the most of his own “Mopportunity” and accumulated 70 all-purpose (AP) yards and a TD on just 10 touches. Montgomery was seeing 85% of the team’s rushing attempts and averaged 19.5 opportunities (carries+targets), so Williams should have plenty to work with as the new leader of the backfield. Remember, this is the same guy who went berserk with the Chiefs during Super Bowl LIV, rushing for 104 yards, 29 rec yards, and finding the endzone twice to seal the championship.

Sure, Justin Fields is no Patrick Mahomes, and Matt Nagy is certainly no Andy Reid, but Williams is an underrated, dynamic player who should be a serviceable RB2 while Montgomery is out. He also gets a wonderful matchup against a vulnerable Raiders front, making him a strong option and Jason’s Start of the Week.

Damien Harris, on the other hand, has surely seen better days, scraping by with a laughable 12.5 and 11 all purpose yards in his last two games. Even worse, he did this with scatback, James White, mostly inactive and subsequently ruled out for the season (hip). So why is Harris, the RB37 on the season, currently ranked as the Ballers’ consensus RB19 this week? Because matchups matter.

Harris will get a shot at redemption against a Texans team that allows the most yards above expectation on runs going left and should see tons of carries from a positive game script in what projects to be one of the most lopsided games on the slate. But you’re banking on a score since Harris is not involved in the passing game, averaging only two targets per game. Plus, he’s expected to be without multiple O-linemen, making things even more difficult for him.

Verdict
While Mike chooses Harris, Andy and Jason lean toward Williams. I’m going with Williams as he should have a safer floor from heavy utilization in both the running and passing game.

Mike Williams (LAC) or Keenan Allen (LAC)?

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Mike Williams

  • LAC
  • WR
  • vs CLE
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 4:05pm EST

Keenan Allen

  • LAC
  • WR
  • vs CLE
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 4:05pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 16.4 17.2
Andy Rank WR #17 WR #11
Mike Rank WR #16 WR #11
Jason Rank WR #16 WR #13
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 6 6
Home/Away Home Home
Over/Under 47 47
Line -2 -2

Mike Williams, what a beast! After toiling in fantasy purgatory from being misused in his first four years, Williams is finally producing as the first-round phenom he was drafted to be. So far this season, he’s averaging 8.8 targets, 5.8 catches, 76.5 yards, and one TD per game. And this is including his Week 4 blunder where he only caught one ball for 11 measly yards, yet he’s still the overall WR6. That’s elite, must-start territory. Ignore what happened last week and continue to deploy Williams in your starting lineups.

Meanwhile, star wideout Keenan Allen is still a top option whose luster has dimmed from Williams’ breakout. The stud receiver remains a consistent target for Justin Herbert, averaging 11 targets, 7 catches, and 73.5 yards per game, yet he’s the WR20 on the season despite notching more targets and receptions than Williams. But the reason for the discrepancy is because Allen is simply not scoring enough TDs, having just one thus far. His targets are also less valuable, averaging an aDOT of 8.4 compared to Williams’ 10.2. Surprisingly though, Allen has more red zone targets at 9 compared to Williams’ 8. Either way, both guys have WR1 upside and should be mainstays in your lineup.

The Verdict
Allen is the Ballers’ unanimous vote over Williams. Go with Allen for floor and Williams for upside.

Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL) or Antonio Brown (TB)?

Cordarrelle Patterson

  • ATL
  • RB
  • vs NYJ
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 9:30am EST

Antonio Brown

  • TB
  • WR
  • vs MIA
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 12.9 13.9
Andy Rank RB #18 WR #22
Mike Rank RB #21 WR #22
Jason Rank RB #20 WR #23
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 31 12
Home/Away Home Home
Over/Under 45 48
Line -3 -10

Cordarrelle Patterson is currently 2021’s overall RB3 or WR5. His 74.4 total fantasy points thus far is more than Aaron Jones, Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Williams, or Terry McLaurin. We are definitely in the darkest timeline. The versatile journeyman looks to continue his shocking ninth-year breakout with a cupcake matchup against the Jets, who have given up the second MOST points to opposing RBs. He’ll likely see an even bigger workload with WRs Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage out. Is it a fluke? Will he come crashing down? The real question is, who cares? If you were smart/lucky enough to snatch him off the waiver wire, then just be thankful and stay in the flames with Patterson as he continues to boost your weekly score and frustrate your opponents.

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Antonio Brown has stumbled after an incredible showing in the season opener. The veteran has bounced in usage, seeing 7, 3, then 11 targets in his three games played this year. As most of us know, the Tampa Bay offense is stacked, and not all these superstar mouths can be fed each week despite Tom Brady‘s best efforts.

But with Dolphins CBs Byron Jones and Xavien Howard hobbled with injuries, there’s a decent chance for Brown to resurge as a fringe WR2. And with red zone target hog Rob Gronkowski sidelined, Brown could even find the end zone this Sunday. However, there’s also a strong likelihood that the Buccaneers plan to smother the Dolphins with the run game, leaving less opportunities for the already crowded receiving room.

The Verdict
The gang projects Brown to outscore Patterson this week. It’s gross to say it, but unless Byron Jones AND Xavien Howard are ruled out, then I’d play Patterson instead.

Dalton Schultz (DAL) or Dawson Knox (BUF)?

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Dalton Schultz

  • DAL
  • TE
  • vs NYG
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 4:25pm EST

Dawson Knox

  • BUF
  • TE
  • @ KC
  • Sun, 10/10
  • 8:20pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 9.1 9.8
Andy Rank TE #8 TE #9
Mike Rank TE #10 TE #7
Jason Rank TE #11 TE #9
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 29 24
Home/Away Home Away
Over/Under 52 56.5
Line -7 +2.5

Dalton Schultz? Him? Yeah, that’s how desolate the TE landscape is (and has been for quite some time). But Schultz is now the TE4 on the season, mostly thanks to a combined 138 yards and three TDs in his last two games. Most impressively, he’s accomplished this amidst a crowded offense with the likes of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, and even fellow TE Blake Jarwin. Dak Prescott has locked onto Schultz, who is averaging nearly six targets, five receptions, over 50 yards, and almost a TD per game. He’ll get a chance to catch fire against a Giants defense that is bleeding points to opposing TEs, making him Mike’s TE Start of the Week.

Don’t look now, but Bills TE Dawson Knox has steadily improved each week and is slowly becoming a premiere TE option. After a subpar performance in Week 1, he’s seen an improvement each week in nearly every stat:

  • Targets: 3, 5, 8
  • Receptions: 2, 4, 5
  • Yards: 17, 49, 37
  • Touchdowns: 1, 1, 2
  • Fantasy Points: 8.7, 12.9, 18.2
  • Fantasy Finish: TE11, TE8, TE2

Like Schultz, Knox will also get a favorable matchup against a charitable Chiefs defense in what is projected to be a shootout. All signs are pointing up for the Mississippi product, and although it’s always a risk playing someone with such a low team target share (13.2%), he’s probably the best option available unless you have one of the top-tier TEs.

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The Verdict
Andy prefers Schultz this week, while Jason and Mike both vote for Knox. It’s a coin-flip decision, but I would prefer to play Knox who should see more opportunities in a likely higher-scoring affair.

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