Looking back on the Week 4 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em fantasy advice for running backs and wide receivers, I would say I was right on seven of eight (with an injury thrown in). Not too shabby! Hopefully I can do the same thing with my Week 5 picks for the positions.
Recall that I follow the guidelines of not suggesting a start for any WR or RB who is a "consensus" RB1 or WR1 (i.e. typically a player in the top 12 for his position that week). Likewise, I will be not suggesting that you sit an RB or WR who is not typically in the top 30 at either position.
Remember, this is the last week before we get into the dreaded bye season. In some ways, the byes can make things easier, and in some ways harder. But we'll deal with that next week. For now, let's see who is worthy of inserting into your starting lineup and who should ride the pine.
START These RBs
Latavius Murray, Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts (MNF)
I'm not confident in Murray putting up RB1 numbers this week. However, I am confident that he will put up top-25 RB numbers, making him worthy of a start in most leagues. He saw a season-high 18 carries last week, including one he punched in for a score.
The argument for sitting Murray is that Indianapolis has allowed just one rushing TD all season. Sure, that's bolstered by playing teams like the Dolphins, but the Colts also played the Titans. But I'll take the stance that their run defense has overperformed. Outside of DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard, can you name any other member of the Colts' front seven? My guess is that most of you can't. They may be underrated, but regression is coming. I promise you. Murray should see double-digit fantasy points on Monday night.
Damien Williams, Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders
The opposite of the Indianapolis defense might be the Raiders. I bet many of you can name at least two or three members of the Raiders' front seven, but their run defense has not been good. They have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this year.
You never hope for a player to get hurt, but I've been waiting for the David Montgomery injury as I have multiple shares of Williams across my leagues. There is a lot to like about Williams. He's only had 16 carries but is averaging 4.6 yards per attempt. I would expect him to maintain that average given he averaged 4.5 and 5.1 yards per carry each of his two previous seasons (2018 and '19 in Kansas City). Montgomery has been averaging almost 17 carries a game. Expect Williams to rush for at least 75 yards and catch at least three passes. Given that the Raiders have allowed six rushing TDs so far, we could see Williams score as well. Add those up, that's a solid fantasy day.
SIT These RBs
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers
I'd feel a lot better about Sanders this week if the Eagles' offensive line was healthy. It's not.
That was five days ago. And Johnson is still out for a personal matter. Philadephia will be lucky if it has even three of their starting offensive linemen this week.
Furthermore, rookie Kenneth Gainwell continues to pick up steam. He and Sanders are both averaging 14 carries per game. And while Sanders is still out-snapping Gainwell, Gainwell is seeing about twice the amount of targets compared to Sanders. If I have Sanders on my fantasy team, I'm seeing what I can get for him now before he becomes the secondary option.
And if those two reasons weren't enough, Carolina is once again tough on opposing RBs. The Panthers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Sanders is an easy fade for me this week.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills (SNF)
I've got three reasons I don't like CEH this week as well. First off, game flow. This game screams shootout and the books agree, setting the over/under at a whopping 56 points. Second, the matchup. Buffalo has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. So none of this sets up well for CEH.
Certain players can bring the thunder despite the matchup and likely game flow. But that's not the case here, as Edwards-Helaire has done close to squat this year, which is the third reason. He started slow, and he finally had back-to-back 100-yard rushing weeks recently. However, has yet to find the end zone on the ground (has two TD catches). Plus remember in 13 games last year, he only had four rushing touchdowns. And I'm not sure he gets the yards against this Buffalo defense. The odds of that happening are further capped by the number of carries that Darrel Williams has been seeing.
I will agree that the Chiefs' schedule is not doing the running game any favors. But that's just another reason to stay away from CEH for now.
START These WRs
Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans
You don't need a crystal ball to see Jacksonville being down a couple of scores in this game and being forced to pass. And with DJ Chark Jr. now on IR, we get the following Tweet brought to you by captain obvious:
When Chark went down, we should not have been surprised that Shenault posted 99 receiving yards. In addition to a better situation for Shenault to see increased targets, this is also a great matchup. The Titans have allowed the second-most fantasy points to WRs this year. I'm seeing Shenault ranked as a low-end WR3, and I think that's far more based on what he has done than on what he will do this weekend.
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts (MNF)
We know Brown is not known for hands, so playing the "If..." game is sometimes a fool's folly. But there are few other fantasy experts I respect more than Sigmund Bloom, and I thought this tweet was pretty eye-opening.
I'd start Hollywood Brown this week.
SIT These WRs
DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
I think Hopkins is more of a low-end WR2 this week. Therefore, this is not so much a "sit," as it is a "lower your expectations." After seeing an average of 10 targets a game last year, Nuk is now seeing about half a dozen targets a game. And if the Cardinals were losing, we might see a shift back to Hopkins. But when you're the last undefeated team in the NFL, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Hopkins is still the most talented WR in the league in my humble opinion. But I seriously question if he'll even be a fantasy WR1 this year. And the 49ers are still in the top half of preventing WR fantasy points. A big Hopkins game is coming because he's just too good for it not to, but I don't think it's this week.
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins
I've seen Brown listed as a top-25 option, and if he hits his ceiling that will happen. But that's way too high for both his floor and his probable range. I already mentioned in my start/sit for TEs that I like Cameron Brate this week. But even if Brate doesn't steal targets away from Brown this week, I still like the Bucs' top two WRs (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin) to do most of the receiving damage.
And that's assuming that the Buccaneers opt to pass a lot. I think we actually see a HUGE Leonard Fournette game this week as the Bucs are just content to let their defense and the running game grind it out. With the Bucs' secondary banged up, no reason to get into a shootout with Miami. I'm not saying Brown will get shut out this week, but it easily could happen. I'd rather start both the Jets' top two WRs (Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder) than Brown this week. That says a lot.
— 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.