Fantasy football managers will be faced with tough decisions in their lineups with the Week 5 games getting underway.
With a quarter of the fantasy football season behind us, this is when teams can begin making a run for the playoffs. Even those teams that are 1-3 — or even 0-4 — can get back into the mix with the correct start/sit decisions.
Doing start/sit articles can be a little challenging. The players featured on the list below should not be taken as “must starts” or “must sits.” Instead, these are more suggestions on what we believe managers should do with fringe players heading into the weekend. The choice is ultimately up to the manager.
Just because a player is listed as a “start” doesn’t mean he should be put in the lineup over the secure, bona fide studs. Vice versa for the “sits.” If there’s no better option on the waiver wire or the bench, a manager shouldn’t automatically sit the player. That’s why these can be tricky waters to navigate.
You also can check out our start and sit bench list for Week 5.
Here is a look at some of the tough start and sit decisions in fantasy football for Week 5:
Sit: TE Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
Anything can happen overseas in London, and while the Packers seem to be figuring some things out offensively, managers may want to steer clear of using Tonyan as a streaming option. He salvaged his game in Week 4 with a touchdown reception, but he had only two targets on the week. Now, Tonyan will be overseas facing a New York Giants defense that has allowed the seventh-fewest PPR points per game (7.8) to the position this season. They also are one of the dozen teams that have yet to allow a receiving touchdown to tight ends. As a seemingly touchdown-dependent option, it doesn’t look like a high-upside matchup for Tonyan.
Sit: WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
It will be incredibly difficult to put a talent like Johnson on the bench, but it might be for the better. With rookie Kenny Pickett taking over, he draws a tough matchup against the Buffalo Bills in his first career start. The Bills have yet to allow a weekly finish higher than QB20 to open the season. That, along with a new hip injury, could limit Johnson. Though he was inches away from a touchdown catch in Week 4, Johnson’s four targets were the fewest he’s seen since Week 5 of the 2020 season. He has yet to find the end zone this season, and the process tells us that’s unlikely to happen against the Bills this week.
Start: WR Garrett Wilson, New York Jets
Wilson is primed for an explosive game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 5. Though he’s been largely a disappointment since his Week 2 breakout game, the usage is there for us to have confidence in his upside. Despite running fewer routes than both Elijah Moore and Corey Davis over the last two weeks, Wilson’s 13 targets lead the wide receiver room. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are allowing the sixth-most PPR points per game (43.0) to wide receivers over the last three weeks. Wilson has the talent, usage, and matchup to target for a high-upside game in Week 5.
Sit: WR D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers offense has been a complete disaster with Baker Mayfield at the helm, and Moore’s lack of production has been a major result of that. Even though it was nice to see Moore set season-highs in targets (11) and target share (31%) during the Week 4 game, this is not the matchup to start the talented wide receiver. The San Francisco 49ers defense is elite and has allowed the sixth-fewest PPR points per game (28.8) to the wide receiver position this season. This is not the kind of bet to make in Week 5.
Start: WR Robert Woods, Tennessee Titans
Woods seems to be primed for a true breakout in Week 5. Rookie Treylon Burks won’t play due to turf toe, and the running game is finally putting it together. He caught his first touchdown of the season (a red-zone target) in Week 4, and the matchup this week against the Washington Commanders is juicy. The Titans offense may not be all that inspiring, but Woods is clearly still the leader with target shares of 23%, 35%, and 19% over the last three weeks, respectively. The Commanders are allowing the second-most PPR points per game (48.9) to the wide receiver position. Woods is a sneaky flex play with high WR2 upside this week if he finds the end zone.
Sit: Dallas Cowboys RBs
This may not be a difficult decision for fantasy managers. Even though the offense doesn’t look all that terrible with Cooper Rush behind center, the run game has been atrocious. Though Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 16.5 opportunities (carries plus targets) per game this season, he’s averaging just 4.3 yards per touch. He has yet to finish as a weekly RB1, and in three of his four games, Zeke has finished as an RB3 or worse. Tony Pollard has had his moments, and his explosive play style does offer a glimmer of upside. However, the Rams have allowed the second-fewest PPR points per game (13.8) to running backs over the last three weeks. These two haven’t been consistent enough to trust in the starting lineup.
Start: RB Rhomandre Stevenson, New England Patriots
After a slow start during the first two weeks, Stevenson has finished as an RB2 or better in the last two games. He has seen more work on the ground with at least 12 carries during the last two games, and he’s making a major impact as a receiver with target shares of 16% and 25% during that span, respectively. Now, he gets to take on a Detroit Lions defense that has been gashed by the run. They’ve allowed the second-most PPR points per game (31.2) to the position along with the most rushing touchdowns (eight) and 5.3 yards per carry. As the Patriots rely more on the run game, Stevenson has RB1 upside this week.
Sit: RB James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
Another major disappointment from draft season, Conner has been a detriment to the lineups of every manager. The usage and goal-line work that made him elite in 2021 has evaporated. He has yet to finish a week as an RB1 and hasn’t scored since the first game of the season. On top of that, the Philadelphia Eagles have allowed the third-fewest PPR points per game (14.6) to the position over the last three weeks. Conner’s usage in the passing game keeps him around the low-end RB2 level, but he should probably be avoided if possible in Week 5.
Start: RB Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
Hunt hasn’t done much since his two-score game in Week 1, but there’s a good chance he turns it around in Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers. As we alluded to in the sleepers piece, this matchup is set up for Hunt to have a bounce-back game. The Chargers have allowed the third-most PPR points per game (30.0) to the position while also having allowed the fourth-most receptions (28) and the most receiving touchdowns (three) to the position. Even though Nick Chubb is the primary between-the-tackles runner, Hunt is no slouch there, either. He has seen at least 10 carries in every game this season while the Chargers are allowing an enticing 6.1 yards per carry to running backs this season. That’s perfectly in play for an explosive Hunt game.
Sit: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Goff is coming off of the strong end of a shootout in Week 4, and that may lead fantasy managers to start him as a streamer against the New England Patriots this week. While it’s understandable considering the Lions surprisingly lead the league in scoring entering Week 5, the matchup against the Patriots may be one to avoid. Outside of Lamar Jackson’s ridiculous QB1 finish in Week 3, the Patriots haven’t allowed weekly finish above QB15. Maybe Goff proves this take wrong, but there are likely less volatile options on the waiver to stream over him in Week 5.
Start: QB Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Carr has brought plenty of volatility this season, but he may find himself in a solid streaming matchup for Week 5. On the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s likely that Carr and the Raiders will have to play catch up for the majority of the afternoon. Carr already has two QB1 finishes on the season in Weeks 2 and 3, and the Chiefs are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game (25.7) to the position and have allowed three finishes inside the top 10 this season.