Saturday, October 9, 2021

Fantasy Football Week 5 QB Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Jalen Hurts is listed below as a "start" for Week 5. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 5 with him as my starting quarterback.

Then again, Hurts may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own both Patrick Mahomes and Hurts, you should start Mahomes and, in turn, bench Hurts.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 5 Fantasy Football QB Start'em

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (vs. DET)

Beginning the season with three consecutive games of 22-plus fantasy points, it was a disappointment for managers that streamed Cousins in Week 4. While Cousins had a dud (203 yards, one TD) against the Cleveland Browns, a matchup against the Detroit Lions should propel him back to the low-end QB1 range for those looking for a streamer.

The Lions have been middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks (14th-most), but much of that can be attributed to how successful opposing running backs have been against them (most fantasy points allowed). After all, the Lions allow a league-worst 10.6 passing yards per attempt and have the third-worst QB rating allowed (116.4).

Minnesota's ground game should roll even if Dalvin Cook is inactive, but I'd expect an efficient performance from Cousins as well. The Vikings have one of the week's top-three highest implied totals.

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (at CAR)

Two quarterbacks this season have finisheid as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in each of the first four weeks -- Patrick Mahomes and Hurts. The second-year quarterback's worst fantasy performance came in Week 2 when he threw for 190 yards and no touchdowns and scored a season-low 21.8 (QB10) fantasy points. On the season, Hurts has scored the third-most fantasy points behind Mahomes and Kyler Murray.

Because of his elite rushing ability for a quarterback, however, he has an incredibly high floor even when he doesn't have a big passing day. Hurts has a minimum of seven rush attempts and 35 rushing yards in all four games this season. Only Lamar Jackson (42/279) has more rush attempts and rushing yards than Hurts (34/226) among quarterbacks.

Despite having one of the week's lowest implied totals and facing a tough defense (ninth-lowest fantasy points allowed), Hurts remains a weekly start.

Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (at ARI)

It was far from a perfect performance, but Lance was forced into action with Jimmy Garoppolo sustaining a calf injury and he still managed to score more than 20 fantasy points in a half of action. This year's No. 3 overall pick completed nine-of-18 for 157 yards and two scores while adding seven rush attempts for 41 yards and a two-point conversion.

With Jimmy G. sidelined this week at practice, it has allowed Lance to take all of the first-team reps heading into Week 5 and he's been officially declared the starter. The 49ers will need to keep up with Arizona's elite offense as the 49ers are 5.5-point underdogs.

While the play could be inconsistent in his first start, his dual-threat abilities raise his floor and there is enormous upside as well. I currently have Lance ranked as my QB12 for the week, but there's a good chance that he moves up a couple of spots as I finalize my Week 5 rankings.

Week 5 Fantasy Football QB Sit'em

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (at JAX)

In his first season and a half, Tannehill was extremely efficient as a starter in Tennessee's low-volume passing offense. With Arthur Smith in Atlanta, Tannehill has thrown it more often but has been much less efficient. His 63.6% completion rate, 3.3 TD% and 7.0 Y/A are all multi-year lows. Even though he ranks top 10 in pass attempts (151), he entered Week 5 as the QB19 in fantasy points scored.

On a positive note, Tannehill will get A.J. Brown back this week although Julio Jones (hamstring) won't play. In addition, he has been virtually flawless against the Jaguars in his three starts as a Titan with passer ratings of 155.8, 145.7 and 131.2, respectively, and a cumulative eight-to-zero TD-to-INT ratio, 77.3% completion ratio and 10.76 Y/A over that span.

Even so, I consider Tannehill to be more of an upside QB2 in a plus matchup this week. At the same time, this could easily turn into a 200/2 game for Derrick Henry. In fact, Henry had 215 rushing yards and two touchdowns against them in Week 14 last season.

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (vs. CHI)

While Matthew Stafford has more passing yards than Carr, it's only because Stafford and the Rams played on Thursday night. On a per-game basis, Carr leads the NFL in passing yards (349.8/G). And although he has multiple passing touchdowns in all four games this season, Carr is coming off his worst performance of the season (196 passing yards against the Chargers). Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NYJ)

With four passing touchdowns to running backs -- Cordarrelle Patterson (three) and Mike Davis -- last week, Ryan is coming off his best performance of the season. Perhaps he will duplicate a four-TD performance to his running backs (of course, he won't), but Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage will both be out this week.

For a quarterback that has generally struggled this season even with a stud receiver like Ridley in the lineup, there is limited upside as the team takes on the Jets on the other side of the Atlantic. One of the few bright spots for the Jets has been their pass defense, as they have surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and a league-low two pass touchdowns this season.

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