Week 5’s Toughest Start/Sit Decisions: Teddy Bridgewater, Joshua Kelley, Robby Anderson
Every week fantasy football owners are confronted with difficult lineup questions. Who should you start, and who should you sit? That’s what many are left asking, often with little help. It’s good you landed here, as we can help each week using our Who Should I Start tool. Simply type in several players that you are deciding between per position or for your flex and we will let you know who the experts would start and who they would sit.
Here’s a look at the toughest start and sit decisions of the week along with our expert’s advice.
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Start Teddy Bridgewater (QB – CAR) or Gardner Minshew (QB – JAC)?
56% of Experts Would Start Minshew
Though four weeks, Bridgewater has done a good job avoiding disaster, as he’s unwilling to throw the ball into tight coverage. He’s thrown the ball into one-yard windows just 8.5 percent of the time, which is the lowest mark in the league. We figured he’d be a solid QB2 in 2QB/Superflex considering there was no competition for the starting job, but he’s done exceptional considering the lack of offseason while learning a new offense with new receivers. His matchups to this point haven’t been easy, either. He played the Raiders (13th-fewest points to quarterbacks), Bucs (4th-fewest), Chargers (shockingly 5th-most), and Cardinals (19th-fewest). Now he gets the gift that keeps on giving: The Falcons defense. Through four weeks, they’ve allowed 32.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, while no other team in the league has allowed more than 26.8 points, and keep in mind the Seahawks have seen 200 pass attempts through four games. Quarterbacks are averaging 41.8 pass attempts per game against the Falcons, so the volume is solid, but the 72.5 percent completion-rate, 8.47 yards per attempt, and 7.8 percent touchdown-rate are all bottom of the barrel. They’ve allowed 0.64 fantasy points per actual pass attempt (no rushing), which is the highest in the league. Their pass-rush has also rapidly declined, as they haven’t pressured a quarterback more than 24.5 percent since Week 1. Bridgewater should be a top choice for streamers, as he should post top-12 numbers this week.
He bounced back in Week 4 while compiling 351 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals. The Bengals hadn’t allowed a quarterback more than 225 passing yards coming into that game, which is significant because his Week 5 opponent – the Texans – haven’t allowed more than 260 passing yards. What’s even more impressive is that they’ve done that while playing against Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Kirk Cousins. Those quarterbacks have combined to average 8.0 yards per attempt, so it’s not due to them being an amazing secondary that shuts everyone down, but rather one that’s seen just 28.5 pass attempts per game. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have averaged 36.8 pass attempts per game, which is one of the higher marks in the league. How is it that the Texans opponents have averaged 68.2 plays per game, but they’ve only faced 28.5 pass attempts per game? Well, because teams are throwing just 45 percent of the time against them, which is a league-low. This contradicts with what the Jaguars do, as they throw the ball 64 percent of the time, which is the sixth-most in the NFL. Another fun fact is that the Texans are the only team in the league without at least one interception. The matchup with the Texans isn’t as daunting as it seems on paper, making Minshew a semi-decent streamer in Week 5.
Start Jerick McKinnon (RB – SF) or Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS)?
72% of Experts Would Start McKinnon
It seems like we may be waiting another week for Mostert, though we have to pay attention to the injury report later in the week (I’ll update the bottom of the notes). For now, we must assume it’s McKinnon’s backfield after he tallied 67 snaps compared to just six for Wilson. It’s not like McKinnon did anything to lose the job, either, as he racked up 97 total yards and a touchdown against a tough Eagles defense. The Dolphins have only faced 103 running back touches through four weeks (25.8 per game) which ranks as the ninth-fewest, but they’ve allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to them. They’ve allowed a massive 1.16 PPR points per opportunity, which ranks third, only behind the Raiders and the Packers. The only running backs to total more than 12 touches against them were James Robinson and Chris Carson, who both scored 25-plus PPR points. I won’t pretend that McKinnon may share the workload in a projected blowout, but he’s a solid RB2 start this week as long as Mostert is held out. Wilson should get more work than he got last week, though that’s not saying much. If you start him as anything more than a last-minute RB4, you’re asking for disappointment.
The touch totals (Gibson 17, McKissic 9) look very good, but the snaps don’t look as good, as Gibson played 31 snaps, while McKissic was on the field for 39 of them. This is still unfortunately a timeshare, though we’re getting closer to Washington realizing that Gibson should be the full-time running back with McKissic there to give him a breather. The Rams haven’t been a bad matchup for running backs to this point, as they’ve allowed a top-16 running back in three of their four games, with the only team failing to produce one being the Giants. Even then, Devonta Freeman was able to post a double-digit PPR game with 10.8 points. The efficiency numbers are slightly above average, as they allow 4.84 yards per carry and 7.10 yards per target, though the three total touchdowns to running backs have brought down the overall total points allowed. Still, the 0.89 PPR points per opportunity ranks as the 13th-highest in the league under new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. It’s to the point where Gibson is about to enter the low-end RB2 conversation weekly, but his snap counts keep him just outside that range due to safer plays ahead of him.
Start Joshua Kelley (RB – LAC) or Mark Ingram (RB – BAL)?
58% of Experts Would Start Kelley
With Austin Ekeler out for a while, it’ll be Kelley and Jackson fighting for opportunity. Based on NFL’s NextGenStats, Kelley has underperformed based on how many defenders have been in the box and where he’s been contacted at/near the line of scrimmage. He’s been the third-worst running back in terms of rushing over expectation. Jackson is someone who has played a third-down role on this team before, as he had 10 targets back in Week 16 of 2018. Even going back to his Northwestern days, Jackson was a three-down back, so there’s a possibility that they have him take on most of Ekeler’s role, though it will be split. Kelley will certainly get the first opportunity, though he’s probably going to struggle against this Saints run defense that has allowed just 1,378 yards on 381 carries (3.62 yards per carry) over their last 20 games with just 10 touchdowns. That amounts to just 68.9 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game on the ground with more than a season’s-worth of sample size. There have been just five running backs who’ve totaled more than 16 PPR points against them in those 20 games. Four of them hauled six or more receptions, something we can’t assume out of this backfield, and the one who didn’t record those six receptions scored twice, which again seems very unlikely. Kelley should be considered a high-end RB3 this week in a brutal matchup. Jackson is not a recommended start this week, but rather someone you stash on your bench, hoping he’s thrust into a bigger role in the passing game.
What is the difference between Ingram and someone like Latavius Murray at this point? Ingram hasn’t topped 10 carries in any game this year and has averaged 0.76 fewer yards per carry than he should’ve, according to NFL’s NextGenStats. That number is worse than everyone but Kerryon Johnson and Peyton Barber. This backfield is a mess right now. To give you an idea of how bad this is, there were 30 different running backs who totaled at least a 16.5 weighted opportunities in Week 4 alone, which is Ingram’s highest mark on the season. Keep in mind that these three are also competing with Lamar Jackson for carries, too. The Bengals are a team you run the ball against, as they’ve allowed 2,322 yards and 16 touchdowns on 495 carries in 20 games since Lou Anarumo took over as the defensive coordinator. That’s 24.8 carries, 116.1 yards, and 0.8 touchdowns on the ground alone to running backs, and that’s not even including the 583 yards and five touchdowns they’ve allowed to quarterbacks during that time. Ingram scored in both matchups against the Bengals last year, totaling 13/52/1 in the first game and then 9/34/1 in the second game. Those are reasonable expectations, which leave you hurting without a touchdown. Ingram has received three of the six carries the running backs have had inside the 10-yard-line, so he’s the favorite but he’s far from a guarantee. Treat him as a mediocre RB3 who needs to score twice to outperform that range with his lack of work. Dobbins should be worth more in games they fall behind, though oddsmakers don’t expect this to be one of them, making him a touchdown-dependent RB4.
Start Will Fuller (WR – HOU) or Robby Anderson (WR – CAR)?
53% of Experts Would Start Anderson
Outside of his zero-target game in Week 2, Fuller has performed like a borderline WR1 in 2020. He’s finished with 15.2, 13.4, and 19.8 half-PPR points in those other three games while seeing at least 22 targets in them. As mentioned before, if Fuller is active, you must deal with the ups and downs of his performances, as you don’t want to miss it when he has one of those big games. The Jaguars haven’t allowed a 100-yard receiver through four weeks, and oddly enough, haven’t allowed one with more than 16.0 PPR points. They’re allowing a rather-high 71-percent completion rate to receivers, but they’re keeping the play in front of them while allowing just 11.63 yards per reception. They did, however, lose two starting cornerbacks during the game against the Bengals last week. First-round pick C.J. Henderson suffered a shoulder injury while slot cornerback D.J. Hayden had to leave with a hamstring injury. That’s a lot of question marks for a defense that’s struggling to generate a lot of pressure. If Henderson is out, that would leave seventh-round rookie Chris Claybrooks as a starter. He’s only seen six targets in his coverage to this point, and they’ve netted five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Fuller is a starter no matter what, but his matchup would certainly be upgraded. Slot him in as a WR2 this week.
He now ranks No. 3 in yards per route run coming into Week 5, behind only Justin Jefferson and Davante Adams. He leads the Panthers in targets (34), receptions (28), yards (377), and touchdowns (1). I talked about it last week, that we should no longer see a massive gap between him and Moore, though this matchup may favor Moore’s role more than Anderson’s. Anderson’s average depth of target is just 9.6 yards down the field, while Moore’s is 12.4 yards down the field. The Falcons have been prone to allowing the big play and it’s Moore who’s being targeted further down the field. With that being said, they are taking shots down the field with Anderson, as he has six targets of 20-plus yards, which ranks 14th among receivers. His primary matchup will be against Kendall Sheffield, who’s playing for A.J. Terrell, who’s currently on the COVID list. The Falcons secondary as a whole is a mess and it shows in the numbers, as they’re allowing a collective 9.79 yards per target to wide receivers. Anderson should be in lineups as a borderline WR2 at this point.
Start Darius Slayton (WR – NYG) or Michael Gallup (WR – DAL)?
56% of Experts Would Start Slayton
Has run the fifth-most routes among wide receivers through four weeks. The other players in the top-10 include Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper, Tyler Boyd, CeeDee Lamb, DeAndre Hopkins, Terry McLaurin, Tyler Lockett, Calvin Ridley, and Tyreek Hill. That is a wonderful group to be attached to, and production should catch up. He also ranks 16th in targets, which is all you can ask for. The Cowboys have allowed a league-high 2.32 PPR points per target to wide receivers through four weeks. Knowing Slayton has seen at least six targets in each of the four games, he should come with a solid floor in this matchup. The Cowboys were struggling enough at cornerback, so losing Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown to injured reserve has been tough. Slayton’s primary matchup will be against Daryl Worley, though he’s also see plenty of rookie Trevon Diggs as well. Since Awuzie was announced on IR in Week 3, they’ve combined to allow 18-of-25 passing for 193 yards and three touchdowns. Slayton can be considered a WR3 this week who has a higher ceiling than most in that range.
It hasn’t been the start to the year that Gallup drafters wanted, though he has seen at least five targets in each game, and his targets are worth more than most as he’s being targeted 17.4 yards down the field on average, which ranks second to only Marquise Brown. He’s 10th in the league in air yards, which typically leads to production, especially when you have a good quarterback. He’s also run more routes than any other receiver in the league, so the vital signs are good with him. While Amari Cooper is likely to draw James Bradberry in coverage this week, that would leave Gallup with former undrafted free agent Ryan Lewis in coverage. He’s been on three teams over the last three years and has never had a season where he’s seen more than 34 targets in coverage. The Giants still haven’t allowed a receiver more than 70 yards this year, but this is a matchup that Gallup can/should win. His lack of results must be accounted for but that doesn’t mean you can’t play him as a WR3 who has a better matchup than Cooper.
Start Eric Ebron (TE – PIT) or Austin Hooper (TE – CLE)?
59% of Experts Would Start Ebron
We’ve now seen Ebron’s role grow each week in a Steelers uniform, as he’s running more routes than expected in this offense. His 28.7 routes per game amount to the 14th-most among tight ends. His targets started out as a measly two in Week 1, to five in Week 2, and then maxing out at seven in Week 3, though the injury to Diontae Johnson certainly played a role in him getting there. The Eagles have now allowed a massive 2.79 PPR points per target to tight ends through four games, which makes the 2.39 PPR points per target the Cardinals allowed last year look small. They’ve allowed 26-of-30 targets to be completed for a massive 9.20 yards per target. Granted, George Kittle contributed to this more than most, but it’s clearly an area of weakness after the departure of Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles are now responsible for the two biggest performances by tight ends this year, as Kittle racked up 32.6 half-PPR points, while Tyler Higbee hit 25.9 half-PPR points in Week 2. The Eagles clearly have an issue slowing down tight ends right now, and considering they moved Jalen Mills back to cornerback, it means they’re relying on last year’s sixth-round pick Marcus Epps and rookie K’Von Wallace to fill in. With the ceiling they’re presenting, Ebron can be considered a high-end TE2 this week with a higher ceiling than most in that range.
We talked about Hooper being a solid play last week against the Cowboys and it worked out, as he was targeted a season-high seven times and turned them into 5/34/1. Don’t go thinking last week’s performance will carry over to this week, though. The Colts have been absolutely ridiculous against tight ends a quarter through the season, as they’ve allowed just 0.82 PPR points per target to them. That’s the lowest in the league. Remember, we’re now one-quarter the way through the football season, and the Colts have allowed 11 receptions for 71 yards to tight ends. Hooper has still seen just 10 targets in the other three games combined and it seems like David Njoku will be reactivated this week. Hooper is someone you may be able to stream in good matchups or when the Browns are supposed to be in a shootout, but this game is the opposite of that.
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