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7 Risky & Safe Fantasy Football Starts: Week 5 (2023)

7 Risky & Safe Fantasy Football Starts: Week 5 (2023)

The season is ticking by quicker and quicker, with over 25% of the fantasy season in the rearview and now is not the time to make bad decisions. This article will try and guide you away from the riskiest starts towards the safest ones.

Safest & Riskiest Starts


David Montgomery (RB – DET) vs Panthers

The Jahmyr Gibbs hype train might have been a fun one to jump aboard, but from the moment the Lions decided to move on from Jamaal Williams and bring in David Montgomery, it was clear that they felt they needed to upgrade on the tough-yardage runner Williams and they did so in the form of Montgomery, a player who has never been overly efficient but has taken what was there. In this Lions offense, Montgomery had a chance to not only replace Williams’ goalline role but to also bring more bursts than Williams ever did. Montgomery has been excellent so far for the Lions, averaging 24 touches per game for 96 scrimmage yards and 1.6 touchdowns. In Week 5 Montgomery faces a Panthers team who have allowed 4.9 yards per carry (third-highest), six running back rushing touchdowns (second-most) as well as struggling on offense. The game script will favor Montgomery and he’s an automatic start until we see otherwise.

Zay Flowers (WR – BAL) vs Steelers

The Ravens are in late-season injury form a matter of weeks into the season with severe injuries on the offensive line, running back, safety, cornerback and edge rusher, not to mention wide receiver. Both Odell Beckham and Rashod Bateman missed Week 4 after Beckham missed Week 3. Fortunately for the Ravens, Zay Flowers is healthy and continuing to thrive in this scheme during his rookie season.

The Steelers defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers so far, as well as the most fantasy points to receivers playing out of the slot, a position that the Ravens have moved Flowers to at times in order to find him positive matchups. Sooner or later, the Zay Flowers breakout game is going to happen, and against a Kenny Pickett-less Steelers, it could be sooner rather than later.

Brian Robinson (RB – WAS) vs Bears

Against the Eagles, Brian Robinson fumbled the fall into the end zone, on what could have been a costly play, but fellow Commander, Terry McLaurin, pounced onto the ball and secured the touchdown. If things had broken differently perhaps Robinson wouldn’t have made it into this column, but while Robinson retains the faith of his coaching staff, he retains the faith of fantasy football managers.

Robinson’s 16.5 touches per game rank 23rd among running backs, but his weighted opportunity share of 70.1% ranks 10th among all backs. Simply put, the Commanders’ backfield belongs to Robinson and while he’s not the most electric back, he does own volume ahead of a Week 5 matchup with the Chicago Bears, who have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs.


Joe Burrow (QB – CIN) vs Cardinals

The Bengals might be facing one of the worst teams in the NFL this weekend, but it’s impossible to ignore that the Bengals are also one of the worst teams in the NFL right now. Through four games only the New York Giants gain fewer yards in Net Yards Per Attempt than the Bengals (4.2) and superstar quarterback Joe Burrow is ranked 38th in completion percentage among 42 quarterbacks. Burrow has attempted 151 passes this season and he’s completed one over 20 yards. With Tee Higgins potentially missing time, now is not a good time to start Joe Burrow.

Zack Moss (RB – IND) vs Titans

Through four games the Tennessee Titans have allowed a total of one running back touchdown, and given up only 3.1 yards per carry, the fourth fewest among all defenses. Zack Moss has been riding a volume-based train through the early portions of the season, but against the Rams who have been above average against the run, Zack Moss saw his production crater with 18 touches turning into 9.0 PPR points after back-to-back weeks with 20+. Over the previous few weeks, Joshua Kelley and Joe Mixon have both failed against the Titans, while Jerome Ford scraped by on touchdowns, after managing 18 yards on 10 rushing attempts. There will be weeks to start Moss, but against the Titans, it might be time to bench him.

Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL) vs Texans

We’re through four weeks of the season and Kyle Pitts has scored a whopping 22.7 PPR points in four games, a number that all of Cole Kmet, TJ Hockenson, Mark Andrews and Sam LaPorta have surpassed within individual weeks. Pitts is currently being outscored by Jonnu Smith, a player who has familiarity with Arthur Smith from their time together in Tennessee. Rumors are swirling that Pitts still hasn’t recovered from his knee injury that caused a slow start to training camp, and now the Falcons face a Texans defense that has given up 44 PPR points total to the tight end position through four weeks. 11 points would be a massive haul for Pitts, but it’s more than likely at the minute that Jonnu Smith claims the majority of those points on offer.

George Pickens (WR – PIT) vs Ravens

The Ravens’ defense is banged up and it doesn’t look threatening in any way, but Marlon Humphrey (CB) and Marcus Williams (FS) could return for the Week 5 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers who might be missing quarterback Kenny Pickett. In Pickett’s place, Mitch Trubisky will likely start, a year after ranking 30th among quarterbacks in completions per game (minimum five games started). Pickens is the clear WR1 in a beaten-up Steelers offense, missing Diontae Johnson and possibly Pat Freiermuth too, but penciling in Pickens for a big day may be a bad idea against a plucky Ravens secondary who have allowed a league-low 9.2 yards per reception to opposing wide receivers, and only two touchdowns through four games.

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