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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 5: Brate Could Be Great and other QB/TE/DST Fantasy Advice

Cameron Brate

Cameron Brate should be the beneficiary of Gronk's broken ribs

The Start 'Em, Sit 'Em fantasy advice for Week 5 is the last week of the 2021 NFL season before we have to start concerning ourselves with byes.

Given that considerations might shift next week, here's a quick review of the criteria for this article. This column focuses on the options in the "QB2/TE2/DST2" range, i.e. those ranked that week from around 13 to 24. That's the tier I will be evaluating. And more often than not, I'll try to give you a lower-ranked option for whom to start and a higher-ranked option for whom to sit when possible.

Related: Fantasy Football 5 Up, 5 Down for Week 5

I feel like I had another B- week last week. Anyone who failed to "sit" Teddy Bridgewater as I recommended took a beating. Likewise, those who started Dawson Knox as I suggested were sitting pretty. However, my recommendation to start the Rams DST was way off base as they likely earned you negative points.

Let's see if we can do a little better this week.

Week 5 Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints at Washington Football Team

I understand most of the 'perts ranking Winston outside of the top 25 QBs this week, but I think he sneaks inside that level to be a useful QB2. What I don't understand, however, is the amount of shade being thrown on the Saints lately. I saw one expert recommend the WFT DST because the Saints have "trouble pushing the ball down the field." Yes, they are last in the league in "big-play passes," i.e. 25 yards or more. But unless you're in a league that rewards QBs for total yards on single throws, I wouldn't worry about it.

Because the Saints are actually second in the league in percentage of TDs per pass attempt, only behind Kansas City. There is no shame in that! And yes, I have trouble believing that the WFT DST is as bad as it has been. However, the fact remains that the Burgundy and Gold have given up more fantasy points to quarterbacks this season than any other team.

Winston has at least one TD every game this season. Is he going to be a top quarterback this week? Probably not. But as I said, I think he will definitely be a useful QB2 this week.


Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets (London) 

When I saw that the Jets had allowed the fourth-fewest QB fantasy points this year, I was a little surprised. And when I dug deeper, I saw that they in fact have allowed the 11th-fewest passing yards, I began to rationalize it. OK, I thought, that's because teams are scoring tons of points against them and then just running out the clock. My thought process was that there is no need for the Jets' opponents to pass the ball. But when I started looking at points, I found that this New York Jets defense is actually better than average. 

And then I was definitely starting to cool on Matty Ice when I saw this.

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Matt Ryan won't be a top-15 quarterback in the NFL this week and he might not even be a top-15 QB in the NFC this week. That might be a little severe, but I think he'll definitely be the worst NFC South QB this week!


Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins

This was tweeted out in Week 4:

Well, he apparently is not a "different breed" and missed Week 4. He missed a second consecutive practice on Thursday. Remember, he not only has four cracked ribs along with one broken rib, but a punctured lung as well. Ouch. I think we can count on Gronk not playing, but Brate will.

Miami meanwhile is giving up the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends. I would easily start Brate over a number of the tight ends I currently see him being ranked behind such as Jared Cook, Zach Ertz, and my "sit" TE this week...


Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals 

Tonyan finally had more than four targets last week. His fantasy owners are acting like all those targets were big gains. Want to know what he did with those seven targets? He turned them into two catches for eight yards. Better make space in Canton now for Tonyan, right?

Seriously, the increase in targets is nice. But do we have a reason besides one single-week jump in the targets that Tonyan will suddenly be a viable TE? It's not like it's a great matchup. The Bengals are allowing the 13th-fewest passing yards and the eighth-fewest points per game. When we confine it to the TE position, things look even bleaker as they've allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position. Tonyan needs to have a big week before I even consider starting him and it's not happening anytime soon.

START This Defense/Special Teams (DST)

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns

Did I watch the same game on "Monday Night Football" that everyone else watched? That Chargers defense looked pretty good to me, especially in the first half. Despite looking a little less stout, they still only gave up 14 points to the Raiders. And this time, they don't have to worry about their hometown crowd being made up of 75 percent of the opposing team's fans!

The Chargers have given up the seventh-fewest points this year plus have four INTs and nine sacks so far. Yes, the Browns have a better running game than the Raiders. But I wouldn't be surprised to see the Chargers jump out early on the Browns and force Baker Mayfield to throw. And given that Mayfield barely cracks the top 20 in air yards per pass attempt (and is dealing with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder), I don't see him having a lot of success against the Chargers' secondary.

I'm not sure the Bolts will crash the DST1 party this week, but I'm expecting them to be a lot more valuable than the DST on the opposing sideline that is surprisingly often ranked ahead of them.

SIT This Defense/Special Teams (DST)

Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers

I've seen the Browns fall down the DST rankings a little bit since my rankings detailing why I don't like them in Week 5 were published on Wednesday. But I'm still seeing them ranked around 15th for this week. Still too high. Want to know why? Read my article from earlier in the week; the reasons haven't changed.

— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.