Fantasy Football Week 5: Breaking down every game on the NFL schedule

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Looking for some lineup advice? You've come to the right place. First, go through every game on the schedule right here to find out who Dave is starting and sitting for all 30 teams, and then use his Cheat Sheets — for PPR leagues here, and for non-PPR leagues here — to lock in the right players.  

Colts at Patriots

Risky Starter

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Andrew Luck IND • QB • 12
Dave's rankQB15

There is absolutely no concern about Luck's arm strength, his offensive line is something he's learned to work around and we already knew his accuracy wasn't an issue. But playing without his best, fastest receiver should throw off the entire offense and allow the Patriots to turn up their defensive aggression. What's likely to happen is that the Colts trail and dink-and-dunk their way down the field but not come up with many touchdowns. While over 300 yards is a near-certainty for Luck, finding three or more touchdowns isn't promised.

Sneaky Sleepers in PPR

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Nyheim Hines IND • RB • 21
Dave's rankRB25
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Chester Rogers IND • WR •
Dave's rankWR36

Without Hilton, the Colts' fastest skill-position players are Hines and Rogers, both of whom stepped up last week and should be in position again to rake in the targets. Hines is a problem out of the backfield so long as the Colts utilize him; he has at least five grabs in three of four games. Rogers got a huge uptick in targets playing in the slot last week and volumed his way to an 8-86-0 stat line. Neither of these guys should be confused with Fantasy superstars, but both should be better than your typical replacement-level players. The Patriots are allowing 9.2 yards per catch to running backs, and slot cornerback Jonathan Jones has allowed the most yards (174) of any New England pass defender this season, according to Sports Info Solutions. 

Start Him 

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Julian Edelman NE • WR • 11
Dave's rankWR24 in PPR

Welcome back to the field, Julian! Your return gift is a matchup against a depleted Colts secondary! Poor Indianapolis lost slot cornerback Kenny Moore to a concussion last week and got carved up by rookie Keke Coutee in his first NFL game. What do you think a seasoned vet like Edelman will do when he lines up across from safety Mathias Farley or backup corner Chris Milton or, if the Colts are daring, hurt cornerback Nate Hairston? Don't be shocked if Tom Brady tries to get his good buddy in the end zone in his first game back. He's a must in PPR and a good option in non-PPR. 

Titans at Bills

Risky Starter

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Corey Davis TEN • WR • 84
Dave's rankWR30

The Titans force-fed Davis 15 targets last week, leading to an exciting 9-161-1 stat line — but it could have been more. Davis had a red-zone drop and Mariota was off-target on a couple of passes. Point is, this connection has room to get stronger but also carries some liabilities, especially if Davis' targets get dialed back. That case is in play this week because the Titans could try to get their run game going against Buffalo's 22nd-ranked run defense. Top cornerback Tre'Davious White has done a nice job against opposing top perimeter receivers, limiting Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs in recent weeks (the Chargers didn't even target White in Week 2). He figures to shadow Davis this week, so unless Davis uncharacteristically stays in the slot (he lines up there about 25 percent of the time), he'll get that sticky coverage from White. There are safer options.

Sneaky Sleepers

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Dion Lewis TEN • RB • 33
Dave's rankRB19 in PPR
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Derrick Henry TEN • RB • 22
Dave's rankRB27

Through four weeks, Lewis has played more snaps and has more touches than Derrick Henry, proving to be the far more versatile option. Henry has been a touchdown-dependent running back who hasn't scored any touchdowns this year. Titans coaches have to want to get both going to make their offense more dangerous, and this is a good opponent to try and get things going with. The Bills have allowed five rushing touchdowns on the season, four from inside the 10, and they've also given up nearly 8.0 yards per catch and a generous 83 percent catch rate to running backs. Every running back with at least 12 touches against the Bills has found a minimum of nine non-PPR Fantasy points this season — Henry averages 14.3 touches per week, Lewis averages 15.3. Lewis is the better option in all formats and is a top-24 rusher in PPR.

Falcons at Steelers

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Vance McDonald PIT • TE • 89
Dave's rankTE9

McDonald has taken a steady diet of five targets per game and turned them into at least six non-PPR Fantasy points (11 in full PPR) over each of his past two. You obviously know him for his sick stiff-arm and long touchdown gallop from Week 3, but he also paid dividends with his physical play in Week 4. His matchup versus Atlanta in Week 5 is perfect — the Falcons have major mismatch issues with their backup safeties and linebackers, and will have trouble bringing McDonald down on his routes.

Sneaky Sleeper

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Austin Hooper ATL • TE • 81
Dave's rankTE14

Hooper is strictly a touchdown-or-bust tight end who had a chance to score last week. His end-zone target was too high, and he watched as another Falcons tight end caught a touchdown against the Bengals. If you can't get your hands on another tight end with more yardage potential, Hooper at least faces a Steelers defense that's yielded three touchdowns and a 76 percent catch rate to tight ends over its past three games. 

Broncos at Jets

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Demaryius Thomas DEN • WR • 88
Dave's rankWR43 in PPR

You can't blame Thomas for not scoring last week when quarterback Case Keenum missed him on a wide-open touchdown target. You can blame him for being a little slower and stiff on the field (as evidenced by his 8.4 receiving average, second-worst among Broncos with at least 12 targets). Sadly, both are issues that will plague Thomas until further notice, including in this Sunday's game. The Jets' run defense might be shoddy and their slot corners give up some serious yardage, but they've got a decent pair of perimeter cornerbacks along with an underrated front four to make things tough on Keenum. Thomas is due for a touchdown, but it might have to wait a week — you might wait longer to confidently start him.

Risky Starters

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Royce Freeman DEN • RB • 28
Dave's rankRB29
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Phillip Lindsay DEN • RB • 30
Dave's rankRB30

The Jets run defense is a mixed bag — they've allowed three 1-yard touchdown plunges over their past two, but just 3.6 yards per carry over their past three matchups with only a handful of 10-plus-yard rushes against. The Broncos continue to split these guys' reps almost evenly (with Devontae Booker handling third downs). That's annoying. It's especially shameful that the Broncos aren't relying on one or both of these backs in the passing game, because that's where the Jets could really be exploited. The combination of the Jets' so-so run defense, the Broncos' insistence of utilizing three backs and being forced to travel east after playing on Monday night make these guys touchdown-dependent risks. If I had to pick one to start, it would be Freeman, who has a touchdown in three straight games.

Sneaky Sleepers

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Isaiah Crowell NYJ • RB • 20
Dave's rankRB28
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Bilal Powell NYJ • RB • 29
Dave's rankRB32 in PPR

It is hard to resist these Jets when the Broncos have allowed opposing rushers to score five total touchdowns in their last three games. The defense let up just 3.5 yards per rush until Kareem Hunt exploded on them on Monday for 6.4 yards per tote. Now they're on the road on a shorter week against the Jets. Additionally, running backs own a 76 percent catch rate against Denver, which gives a nod to Powell in PPR. But Crowell has been their red-zone and short-yardage/goal-line back of choice and is a candidate to score with some decent yardage on top this week. Of all the rushers in this game, Crowell is actually my favorite.

Jaguars at Chiefs

Don't Worry

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Patrick Mahomes KC • QB • 15
Dave's rankQB9

The Jacksonville defense is obviously legit. It swallows up inferior offensive lines and has the stud corners to play man against almost anyone. But Mahomes has a couple of built-in advantages that keep him very Fantasy relevant. One, his mobility will buy him time, and that has proven to be deadly for defenses. Two, Andy Reid is going to get creative — expect plenty of wrinkles. Reid does have some previous (modest) success against Jacksonville's current defensive scheme. Three, the Chiefs have plenty of speed to stretch the Jaguars defense and create openings underneath for others (or to bomb them with the deep ball when Mahomes has time to throw). I'll admit Mahomes' 30-plus-point upside doesn't seem likely in Week 5, but he should still come up with some good stats to keep you happy.

Start Him

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Blake Bortles JAC • QB • 5
Dave's rankQB13

The words "start Blake Bortles" always bring a cringe, but the matchup is real good. Before Monday night, the Chiefs allowed nine total touchdowns and 375.7 pass yards per game to quarterbacks, then they got their numbers propped up by Case Keenum's weak outing. Bortles has stepped up in big games over the years, including earlier this season against the Patriots, and should deliver a good game against Kansas City, particularly with the Jaguars run game a quasi-question mark with Fournette out. Look for him to specifically go after over-the-middle targets with some deep shots (and rushes) mixed in. He's the No. 1 streamable quarterback this week.

Sneaky Sleeper

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Dede Westbrook JAC • WR • 12
Dave's rankWR31

If you're going to chase points, might as well do it with a former Biletnikoff award winner playing in a big-time game against the league's second-worst pass defense. Not only has Chiefs slot corner Kendall Fuller been burned for a bunch of yards this year, but Kansas City's linebackers and safeties have struggled in coverage as well. Westbrook has been improving on his over-the-middle routes and figures to get a lot of attention from Bortles there. There isn't a tough matchup on the board for any Jaguars wideout, but Westbrook is my favorite of the group.

Packers at Lions

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Aaron Jones GB • RB • 33
Dave's rankRB17

You couldn't ask for a better situation for Jones. A week after narrowly leading the Packers running backs in snaps (by one), touches (by one), yards (by 8) and touchdowns (by one!), the second-year rusher should see a little more work versus a Lions worst-ranked run defense that's given up at least 10 Fantasy points to a running back in every game — and 21-plus to a back in three of four games! You could see why Aaron Rodgers endorsed Jones before his Week 4 performance, scooting easily against the Bills. But it was his absence midway through the fourth quarter that stood out the most — when he didn't play in garbage time, you knew he was the Packers' most trusted back. He's not going to get every carry, but he should begin outpacing Jamaal Williams this week. Healthy, explosive and ready for more work, Jones should be in every lineup.

Start Him

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Matthew Stafford DET • QB • 9
Dave's rankQB11

Lions-Packers showdowns have a way of being high scoring, with Stafford usually a central character. Stafford has multiple passing touchdowns in seven straight meetings and over 300 yards passing and 23-plus Fantasy points in four straight. Green Bay's pass defense looked great against poor Josh Allen last week — more than doubling its season sack total! — but it still has a number of suspect pieces, though it will get stronger if cornerback Kevin King plays. Nonetheless, Stafford's history and consistent production over the past three weeks with his deep receiving corps make him a safe Fantasy starter.

Ravens at Browns

Sit Him

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Alex Collins BAL • RB • 34
Dave's rankRB40

Before and after Collins' Week 4 fumble, his second on the season, he was basically splitting reps with Buck Allen close to 50-50. But after the goal-line gaffe at Pittsburgh, expect Allen to own the goal-line job for the Ravens for at least this week, if not the foreseeable future. Going as far back as late 2015, Allen hasn't fumbled over his past 220 carries and 75 receptions. That matters to coaches and should matter to you when considering Collins for your lineup. If he's not scoring, and if he's not racking up big yardage (his last game with over 100 total yards was Week 14 last year), then he's not exactly helpful.

Risky Starter

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Carlos Hyde JAC • RB • 34
Dave's rankRB22 in non-PPR

The Browns are talking like they're going to start giving Nick Chubb a few more carries, but that's the least of Hyde's concerns. The touchdown-dependent rusher will face off against a Ravens run defense that has allowed one touchdown on the year and will have run-stuffing linebacker C.J. Mosley back in full swing. Even though Hyde's received a ton of carries, his rushing average has been above 4.0 once this season and he has yet to notch 100 total yards from scrimmage (he's been above 90 yards once). This is his riskiest matchup to-date. 

Sit Him

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David Njoku CLE • TE • 85
Dave's rankTE13

I like that Njoku had his best game of the year last week with Baker Mayfield, but I don't like how he's not scoring touchdowns. Baltimore's defense has been outstanding against opposing tight ends both this season and for a while. Until we see the Browns game plan more throws Njoku's way, he's tough to buy into as a starter, and it goes double this week given the matchup. In PPR, he is at best a low-end starter only because he's gotten more volume than most tight ends.

Giants at Panthers

Start Him in PPR

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Devin Funchess CAR • WR • 17
Dave's rankWR28 in PPR

In the past, lining up across from Janoris Jenkins used to be a bad thing. Now? Jenkins has allowed a team-worst 236 yards through the air and a near-70 percent catch rate through four weeks. So even if Jenkins follows Funchess around, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Target volume should continue to be in Funchess' favor and Cam Newton's outlook for the week is outstanding considering the Giants have all of five sacks this season.

Dolphins at Bengals

Sit Him

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Kenyan Drake MIA • RB • 32
Dave's rankRB42

How in the world can you feel good about starting Kenyan Drake?! The Dolphins rank 23rd in the league with 23.0 rush attempts per game. Of those 23.0 rush attempts, Drake is averaging ... hold your nose ... 8.3 per game. Frank Gore is averaging slightly more. It's possible Dolphins coach Adam Gase began losing confidence in his run game following the season-ending injury to Josh Sitton — he could continue to ignore the run with center Daniel Kilgore out of action. The interior of the Miami O-line will be tested by Geno Atkins and the Bengals defensive front (with run-stopper Vontaze Burfict back). You might think this means more outside runs for Drake, but Sports Info Solutions has Drake with just 45 yards on 20 carries to the edges and off tackle. Gore has done better, and he actually played more snaps than Drake last week. Pass the barf bag. Frankly, Drake will be a difficult starting option moving forward until his line improves and his opportunities rise. We might target him for a Week 7 start versus the Lions, but not this week.

Sneaky Sleeper

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Kenny Stills MIA • WR • 10
Dave's rankWR32 in non-PPR

It's feast-or-famine with Stills, who has either delivered 12 or more Fantasy points (15 in PPR) or four or fewer (seven in PPR). No in-between. Fact is, he leads the spread-it-around Dolphins pass attack in targets, yards and touchdowns, so if there's a safe bet, it's him. Meanwhile, the Bengals outside cornerbacks have been absolutely torched this season for nearly 300 yards and five touchdowns. Miami figures to either trail or play competitively, helping the pass opportunities for their receivers. Stills is fine as a flex.

Risky Starter

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Andy Dalton CIN • QB • 14
Dave's rankQB15

I don't have much compelling evidence to call Dalton an outright sit, but this just feels like a let-down game for him. The Dolphins have only let one quarterback find 20-plus points against them so far this season and they have multiple interceptions in every game. Dalton isn't the king of consistency and will play his first game without Tyler Eifert, which might not be a disastrous thing since Tyler Boyd is catching on, but it's still a reliable target who's unavailable. I'd take him over Joe Flacco or Carson Wentz, but I'd hesitate to go with him over Blake Bortles or Matthew Stafford.

Raiders at Chargers

Sneaky Sleeper

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Jordy Nelson OAK • WR • 82
Dave's rankWR28

Over the past two weeks, Nelson's been narrowly third on the team in targets (16), second in receptions (11), first in yards (221) and a score in each game. More importantly, his speed appears to be a non-issue as he's been beating his coverage frequently. As his role has grown, the entire Raiders offense has come alive as has made an impressive 12 red-zone visits over those games. The cornerback matchups are good as the Chargers outside corners have allowed four touchdowns this season while their slot corner has given up a 71 percent catch rate. The unit ranks 21st overall against the pass with 10 scores allowed. We should see a high-scoring matchup which Nelson should get in on.

Start Him

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Austin Ekeler LAC • RB • 30
Dave's rankRB22

Ekeler has delivered at least nine non-PPR (12 PPR) Fantasy points in three of four games. That's not so bad. He'll take on a Raiders run defense that has allowed at least 5.4 yards per carry to opposing runners in three games this season. Oakland has also given up at least eight non-PPR Fantasy points to six running backs this season, including three last week! He's fine as a No. 2 running back in any format. 

Cardinals at 49ers

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Ricky Seals-Jones ARI • TE • 86
Dave's rankTE12

Not only is the matchup great for RSJ — the 49ers have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in four straight games along with a 12.1 receiving average — but he's got a legit upgrade at quarterback with Josh Rosen. This does mean taking a leap of faith — based on what we've seen for much of this season, the Cardinals coaching staff isn't exactly up to speed on taking advantage of matchups and has just gotten used to the idea of leaning on their top players. Nonetheless, tight end is a precariously thin position, so anyone who has a chance at scoring belongs in the starting conversation. Fortunately, Seals-Jones also has a chance to add some yardage, too, thanks to his improved passer. Pick him up and use him!

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Matt Breida SF • RB • 22
Dave's rankRB16

So much for Steve Wilks' incredible defense. Through four weeks, the Cardinals rank 31st against the run, allowing running backs 4.2 yards per carry, 11.0 yards per catch and a preposterous eight total touchdowns. Five running backs have put up at least 14 Fantasy points against the Redbirds this season, including one per game. Morris could swipe a short-yardage touchdown, but it's Breida who has been the better playmaker. Expect more carries from him this week after getting only nine last week. 

Vikings at Eagles

Risky Starter

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Jay Ajayi PHI • RB • 26
Dave's rankRB24

For all of the Vikings' defensive troubles, the one aspect they've hung in there on is slowing down the run. The team hasn't allowed a rushing score to a back yet this season, and the only two who amassed 10-plus Fantasy points did so because of their receiving numbers (and one was Todd Gurley, who beats up everybody). Ajayi still isn't locked into a dominant role; he shared carries last week with Wendell Smallwood. Ajayi typically doesn't make a big impact in the passing game and should continue to cede touches to Carson Wentz and the passing game (which has a better matchup). Most importantly of all, the Eagles offensive line has not looked like itself this season, and it hurts Ajayi's chances of sustaining on his limited carries. He probably won't play too poorly, but will need a touchdown to really make his week great. 

Sit Him

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Dalvin Cook MIN • RB • 33
Dave's rankRB31

After barely practicing this week, Cook might take on an Eagles run defense that's given up one rushing touchdown to a back this year, and not in the last three weeks. On the season, Philly's giving up 2.7 yards per carry to rushers including 2.0 yards per rush against the Titans last week and 3.7 yards per carry versus the Falcons in Week 1. Cook barely played last Thursday and even with the extra time this week only got in one practice. Since Week 1 (27 running back carries), Minnesota has ordered 15 carries or fewer from their backs -- this is a passing team now. I'd be shocked if the Vikings decided this was the week to try and get their hobbled back more work given the challenging matchup on the ground (and the delightful matchup facing Kirk Cousins).

Rams at Seahawks

Sneaky Sleeper

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Tyler Lockett SEA • WR • 16
Dave's rankWR32 in PPR

You're ready to quit on Lockett after one touchdownless game?! This is the week to buy back in — the Seahawks are at home and they're underdogs against a defense that just gave up 422 passing yards, three passing scores and five pass plays of 24-plus yards. L.A.'s secondary is a mess right now — Aqib Talib is on the shelf, Marcus Peters didn't look like himself last week and backup-turned-starter Sam Shields can be exploited (he's already given up a team-high 194 yards and two touchdowns). Don't expect the Seahawks to be so run-centric — they might not have a choice. Lockett is one of my favorite boom-or-bust receivers this week. 

Cowboys at Texans

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Lamar Miller HOU • RB • 26
Dave's rankRB34

Already known for having low upside based on his past 20 games, Miller will face off against a Cowboys run defense that, even without Sean Lee, played moderately well in Week 4. After giving up a big run on Kerryon Johnson's first run last week, it settled in and yielded just 3.4 yards per carry with a touchdown from 8 yards out. Miller, assuming his chest injury lets him, will need a touchdown to return even moderate value in Fantasy. The chances of a big game are slim, particularly since the Texans coaches insist on giving Alfred Blue a slice of the rushing workload, limiting Miller to 15.0 touches per game over his past three. Miller has yet to play a single snap at the goal line — Blue has played two — and has just two carries from 5 yards or closer this year. 

Redskins at Saints

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Chris Thompson WAS • RB • 25
Dave's rankRB14

New Orleans has been outstanding against the run, holding rival rushers to 2.96 yards per carry, third best in the NFL. The Saints are also known for putting lots of points on the scoreboard when they're at home, especially in prime-time games. Call me crazy, but the Redskins are probably going to have to throw a bunch to try to keep up with the Saints. That's where Thompson comes in — he should have a game similar to one he had against the Colts in Week 2 when the Redskins were chasing points and he had a ton of catches. It also helps that the Saints are letting running backs catch 82 percent of their targets for 8.0 yards per catch on the season. Thompson has more Fantasy upside than Adrian Peterson in Week 5. 

So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 5? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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