Week 5 Start'em/Sit'em

Wednesday, Oct 6, 2021 at 8:30 pm ET

This is the Fantasy Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season. Analysis is aggregated from multiple sources including FN. Rankings are based upon PPR (point per reception) scoring. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid. Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Alvin Kamara, Travis Kelce, or Davante Adams. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Start 'em Kirk Cousins (MIN, QB)
Cousins disappointed last week as the Browns defense largely kept him (and Dalvin Cook) bottled up. That won't be the case this week against NFC North rival Detroit. With exceptional weapons at his disposal, Cousins could flirt with 300 yards passing.
15th Fewest Pts to QB
Start 'em Jalen Hurts (PHI, QB)
This matchup looks awful on paper, but Hurts has been pretty close to matchup-proof putting up at least 20 points every week. While the Panthers give up the 9th-fewest fantasy points, Hurts should still be able to deliver low-end QB1 numbers.
9th Fewest Pts to QB
Start 'em Ryan Tannehill (TEN, QB)
Without AJ Brown and Julio Jones, Ryan Tannehill still managed to put up 298 passing yards. Depending upon how the game script unfolds, this could more of a Derrick Henry game rather than through the air; however, facing a Jacksonville defense that's giving up 312 passing yards and 20 fantasy points over the previous three weeks makes Tannehill a high-end QB2.
14th Most Pts to QB
Start 'em Damien Williams (CHI, RB)
With David Montgomery likely sidelined for the next 4-5 weeks, Damien Williams became the hot ticket on the waiver wire this week. He'll assume lead duties against a Las Vegas defense that just gave up 26.5 points to Austin Ekeler. The only concern we have is that he's dealing with a thigh injury and will have to play through the pain.
7th Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Leonard Fournette (TB, RB)
Ranked 13th this week on Fantasy Nerds is Leonard Fournette who has been given the start and majority of the work for the Bucs. He'll face a Miami defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this year including 17.4 points to Jonathan Taylor last week.
4th Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL, RB)
We had Patterson as a Sit last week and we were wrong. He turned in a monster day and is currently the 3rd-best fantasy RB (PPR), but folks - he's going to regress. The kind of production and efficiency that we're seeing out of him is simply not sustainable. Will that happen this week or next week? Good question. We'd still start him this week against a terrible Jets defense that has given up more fantasy point to RBs this year than anyone else. After this week, Patterson may be one of the best sell-high candidates that we've seen in a long time.
Most pts to RB
Start 'em Deebo Samuel (SF, WR)
The top option in the San Francisco receiving corp has clearly been Deebo Samuel. The third-year receiver is having a breakout season and we expect that trend to continue this week against an Arizona secondary that has given up the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers. He's ranked 14th this week on Fantasy Nerds.
7th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Ja'Marr Chase (CIN, WR)
After hauling in four touchdowns in his first three games, Ja'Marr Chase failed to find the endzone last week. That's OK as he still saw 9 targets and tallied 77 receiving yards. He remains a legitimate threat facing the Packers who will be without Jaire Alexander. Chase is ranked 21st this week on Fantasy Nerds and should make for a nice WR2 on your team.
8th Fewest Pts to WR
Start 'em Marvin Jones (JAC, WR)
The loss of D.J. Chark for the season will likely mean additional targets for both Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault. Between the two, we'll take the veteran - especially against a Titans secondary that has given up the 2nd-most fantasy points to receivers on the year including 29 points between Jamison Crowder and Corey Davis last week.
Most pts to WR
Start 'em Dalton Schultz (DAL, TE)
Dalton Schultz has quietly been one of the more productive fantasy tight ends this season. His rapport with Dak Prescott has been solid. He's averaged 21.9 points over the past two weeks, and while he won't put up that many points this week, he's still a solid starting option against a Giants team that has given up the 3rd-most fantasy points.
3rd Most Pts to TE
Start 'em Mike Gesicki (MIA, TE)
We wrestled with whether to put Mike Gesicki or Dawson Knox on this list given that they come into our rankings this week at #10 and #11 respectively. Both should be started this week, but we like Gesicki just a bit better. Coming off back-to-back weeks of double-digit production, Gesicki has another great matchup against the Bucs who are surrendering the third most fantasy points.
6th Most Pts to TE
Start 'em New England Patriots (NE, DEF)
It's New England's turn to beat up on the Texans. The Pats are ranked #1 this week on Fantasy Nerds facing an inexperienced Davis Mills. This is a great matchup!
5th Most Pts to DEF
Start 'em Randy Bullock (TEN, K)
Don't let last week's game-tying field goal miss stop you from plugging Randy Bullock into your lineup. The matchup with Jacksonville is too good to pass up as they give up the 3rd-most fantasy points including double-digit days to both Brandon McManus and Joey Slye.
4th Most Pts to K
Sit 'em Derek Carr (LV, QB)
We were bound to see some regression from Carr after three games of 435, 382, and 386 passing yards. The Chargers kept him in check. Khalil Mack and the Bears should be able to do so as well. Other than Matthew Stafford in Week 1, Chicago has not allowed a QB to surpass 17 points since (Goff, Mayfield, Burrow).
12th Fewest Pts to QB
Sit 'em Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
While Matty Ice was fantastic last week, we have to remind ourselves that one week does not make a trend. The Jets may not be a great team overall, but they've given up the third-fewest fantasy points to QBs on the season. Sam Darnold put up the most against them in Week 1 (19 points). Ryan is ranked 19th this week and should only be played in 2-QB or Superflex leagues.
3rd Fewest Pts to QB
Sit 'em Trey Lance (SF, QB)
This could be interesting. Assuming that Trey Lance gets the starting nod to replace Jimmy Garoppolo (calf), he will give fantasy owners something to think about. He looked phenomenal against Seattle racking up 20 fantasy points in the second half, but a matchup with the Cardinals is a whole different ballgame. Whereas the Seahawks are currently giving up the 7th-most fantasy points to QBs on the year, the Cardinals are surrendering the 8th-fewest. Lance is a dual-threat and could certainly put up a QB1-worthy day for those fantasy owners who want to take the gamble.
8th Fewest Pts to QB
Sit 'em Latavius Murray (BAL, RB)
It's tough to guess which RB will be the most productive out of the Baltimore backfield, and while Murray has seen the endzone in three of his four games, he'll face an Indy defense that is giving up the 6th-fewest fantasy points. Derrick Henry has done the best mustering up 16 points against them in Week 3, but Murray isn't in the same discussion as Henry. Probably best to leave Latavius on the bench this week.
7th Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Joe Mixon (CIN, RB)
Joe Mixon injured his ankle towards the end of the Bengals/Jaguars game, and while HC Zac Taylor has been suggesting that Mixon is "day to day", we would not count on much production, or potentially even seeing him suit up, against the Packers this week. He missed practice on Wednesday and could struggle against a middle-of-the-road Green Bay defense if he's able to play.
15th Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Sony Michel (LAR, RB)
The return of Darrell Henderson last week effectively shelved Sony Michel's fantasy value. Henderson handled the vast majority of the workload leaving just three carries for 11 yards for Michel. His fumble actually produced negative points for fantasy owners last week. Michel only has value now if Henderson were to miss time.
3rd Most Pts to RB
Sit 'em Josh Gordon (KC, WR)
It's official. Josh Gordon is back and is likely to see the field in Week 5. Early speculation has him as a potential WR2 on this team behind Tyreek Hill, but as much as fantasy owners want to start him, now's not the time. It's not even the fact that he doesn't have the playbook down or even the fact that his usage is a big question mark, but rather those facts combined with the the matchup (nobody gives up fewer fantasy points to receivers than the Bills) make Josh Gordon a must-sit.
Feweset Pts to WR
Sit 'em JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT, WR)
JuJu Smith-Schuster managed to haul in just two of his eight targets last week. On the season, he's managed to eclipse 10 fantasy points just once. With an ailing Ben Roethlisberger and no receiving touchdowns to his name, JuJu has become a very risky fantasy play.
16th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em DeVonta Smith (PHI, WR)
We like DeVonta Smith and are confident that there will be more games where he puts up 100+ receiving yards like he did last week, but that's not likely to happen against Carolina who is giving up the 4th-fewest fantasy points to receivers this season.
5th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em C.J. Uzomah (CIN, TE)
We've fielded a number of questions this week from FN users who claimed C.J. Uzomah off waivers after his 5-for-95 yards and 2 touchdown performance last week. Should you start him? The short answer is simply no. Prior to last week's monster game, he's averaged just 2.6 points through the first three games. He's a boom or bust player, and even in a plus matchup against the Packers, we're betting on him coming back down to Earth.
8th Most Pts to TE
Sit 'em Robert Tonyan (GB, TE)
Baby Kittle has become very touchdown-dependent. His only double-digit fantasy day was in Week 2 against Detroit where he found himself in the endzone. Other than that game, he's managed to deliver a whopping 2.4 fantasy points on average despite seeing 12 targets in those same games. Tonyan is ranked 21st this week and will need to become more consistent in the Packers' passing game before we can safely start him.
6th Fewest Pts to TE
Sit 'em Buffalo Bills (BUF, DEF)
After a monster 40-0 day last week, the Bills Mafia will struggle to put up anything close to their record-setting day. The Chiefs and their high-powered offense are tough for any defense - even the Buffalo Bills.
6th Fewest Pts to DEF
Sit 'em Chris Boswell (PIT, K)
The Pittsburgh offense appears to be sputtering, and it's not likely to gain steam this week against the Broncos. Other than Justin Tucker (the 2nd best kicker in fantasy) who managed to put up 11 points, Denver kept both Josh Lambo and Graham Gano to just 1 point each.
2nd Fewest Pts to K

Join the Discussion

If asking a sit/start question, be sure to provide your scoring format and contribute to answering questions from other FN members as well.

OldGeezer CommentedOct 7, 2021 7:54 pm

I have C Patterson and am looking to sell high if possible. Have a team inquiring and not sure if I should trade and if so for whom. I already have Chubb, Hunt, Fournette, Montgomery as RB's and Metcalf, Godwin, AJ Brown, E Sanders, and Shepard as WR's. I'd really like to improve my TE's Higbee and Goedert. Wondering your thoughts trade partners team consists of RB's Ekeler, Gaskin, J Williams, J Wilson WR's Higgins, J Meyers, Cooper, Antonio Brown, Renfrow TE's Schultz and Ertz. Or should I stay put due to the injury to Montgomery. Sorry for the long message.

Nerd CommentedOct 8, 2021 10:02 am

I'd stay put. Take a look at our ROS (rest of season) rankings - particularly the TE position. Not sure that you'll improve your situation very much.

jamisdiablo CommentedOct 8, 2021 5:06 pm

Goedert and Ertz are useless. Run with Higbee. I have my doubts about Patterson keeping it up, but so far, as a WR (which is WHAT HE IS), he's doing well, which is a bit suprising. This week he may ballout with Ridley on the wrong side of the ocean...

Timothy Gabriel CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:48 pm

I'd keep Patterson. I have have him on my team so am perhaps biased. Even if his production drops 20% he's still a stud. And I love his versatility as I can start him as either a WR or RB in my Yahoo league, which is nice particularly with by weeks coming up. Patterson is on his 5th team and I'm hoping that someone finally realized how to utilize his talents.. I don't expect him to revert to his performance on prior teams; he is an integral part of the Falcons offense and they are not going to stop using him; especially with Mile Davis getting so few yards per carry

jamisdiablo CommentedOct 8, 2021 5:04 pm

SO..... with no Garropolo or Kittle this week, are you moving the Cardinals up in the rankings? I have Atlanta currently but am thinking about switching to the Cards against the rookie... thoughts? thanks!

Nerd CommentedOct 8, 2021 5:15 pm

I'd take the Cardinals in this one

drcharlie CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:26 pm

I like the Cardinals too

TE(i)AM CommentedOct 9, 2021 12:52 pm

Tough call this week. Start Tannehill or Cousins? Also, is AJ Brown worth a start? I have Henry at RB.

drcharlie CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:26 pm

Start Cousins

Nerd CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:52 pm

Cousins for me too

jamisdiablo CommentedOct 10, 2021 7:28 am

Cousins, and yes… start AJ.

OldGeezer CommentedOct 9, 2021 1:16 pm

Need to start 2, WR and Flex. Godwin, AJ Brown, Patterson, Hunt.


drcharlie CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:28 pm

Hunt and Godwin

Nerd CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:53 pm

Agreed on Hunt and Godwin if Standard scoring.
If PPR, then I'd go Godwin and Brown

Drew Shoemaker CommentedOct 9, 2021 1:54 pm

I have DJ Moore, Ekeler, Najee, James Robinson, Keenan Allen. Need to start 4 of them. Thoughts?

drcharlie CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:29 pm


Nerd CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:56 pm

If PPR, then I like Moore, Allen, Ekeler, and Najee (Big Ben seems to like to dump off to him)

Timothy Gabriel CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:36 pm

"Terrible Jets defense"??? That's lazy reporting... you're just assuming the Jets D must be bad. In reality it is middle of the pack and just had 7 sacks last week. I like Fantasy Nerds but you misfired here.

Nerd CommentedOct 9, 2021 4:56 pm

Sorry to disappoint you

mrock CommentedOct 9, 2021 5:26 pm

Depending upon the scoring, the Jets give up either the most points to running backs or the second most. They also give up the 10th most yards on the ground.

"middle of the pack"? Against the pass - sure, but not against the run. Might want to check your aim.

jamisdiablo CommentedOct 10, 2021 7:32 am

What’s the jets record again? They’re terrible.

jamisdiablo CommentedOct 10, 2021 7:36 am

Guy in my PPR league dropped Higbee, drop Gronk for him right? (I also have cook and have room for both if u like higbee more ROS… thoughts? Thanks!

Nerd CommentedOct 10, 2021 10:03 am

Yep - I would pick up Higbee.

OldGeezer CommentedOct 10, 2021 7:45 am

What are your thoughts in regards to Tyrell Williams. Already have Dk Metcalf, AJ Brown, Godwin, E Sanders, and Shepard. Should I cut him. Moved him from IR spot and placed D Montgomery on IR

Nerd CommentedOct 10, 2021 10:07 am

He hasn't shown much so far, has he? You already have a solid roster there. He's safely droppable at this point in my opinion.

jamisdiablo CommentedOct 10, 2021 10:21 am

Agree with Nerd here... good luck!

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