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9 Fantasy Football Smash Starts for Week 5 (2023)

9 Fantasy Football Smash Starts for Week 5 (2023)

Last week wasn’t my best showing, but having Anthony Richardson as the highlight player worked out well. Not all of these players will hit, but we want to give readers a better idea of which borderline flex players to ride each week. That’s one of the toughest tasks in fantasy football, especially since we’re hitting bye weeks! That’ll make things difficult, but we’re ready to keep rolling here!

The premise behind this article is simple. Identifying fantasy football smash plays that are on the fringe of your starting lineup. We will rarely recommend a top-10 player at any position, but we want to help you fill those critical flex spots!

Smash Starts for Week 5


Matthew Stafford (LAR)  vs. PHI

Matthew Stafford has quietly had an amazing season in LA, but the lack of touchdowns has kept him from being fantasy-relevant. We’re willing to overlook that because of his usage. This slinger is averaging 41.5 pass attempts and 307 passing yards per game! Those attempts lead the NFL, while the yardage is second to Tua Tagovailoa. That’s a good indication of how pass-happy this offense can be, and the positive touchdown regression should be right around the corner. A matchup with Philadelphia is fantastic, too, as the Eagles are allowing the sixth-most passing yards in the NFL.

Running Backs

Travis Etienne (JAX) at BUF

Some managers are worried about Travis Etienne, but we’ll never complain about a bellcow back in any offense. That’s what Etienne is, playing in 85 percent of the snaps in Week 4. He’s also had at least 18 carries in three of four games this year while getting at least three targets weekly. That’s the sort of role you love to see, and it’d be silly to sit Etienne behind that sort of role. Buffalo has quietly been an amazing matchup, allowing 6.3 yards per carry, the worst mark in the NFL. If they do that this week with his role, Etienne should stumble into 120-plus yards!

Brian Robinson (WAS) vs. CHI

While this is a bit of a committee in Washington, Brian Robinson is clearly the head of the horse. He’s up to 61 carries this season, with Antonio Gibson recording just 13 carries. He’s also established himself as the goal-line back, averaging 15.3 carries a game while scoring three touchdowns in four games. That sort of role makes him impossible to fade against a bad Bears defense. Chicago is surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing rushers this season.

Breece Hall (NYJ) at DEN

This is risky, but it’s about time New York gives Breece Hall more work. This sophomore was a stud in his rookie season before tearing his ACL, and they’ve mentioned that they need to give him more opportunities going forward. He’s yet to receive more than 12 carries in any game, but he’s averaging a sublime 6.6 yards per carry. He’s also flashed some burst, and a full workload is the only thing holding him back from being a stud. We can’t overlook that ability against a team like Denver, who’s allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. He also tore his ACL against Denver last year but had four rushes for 72 yards and a touchdown before that devastating injury.

Wide Receivers

Garrett Wilson (NYJ) at DEN

It’s been scary watching Zach Wilson destroy this offense, but he looked like a different player last week. One of the main reason for his resurgence was the fact that he fed Garrett Wilson. This stud wide receiver was a top-25 pick for a reason in redrafts, picking up nine catches for 60 yards in Week 4. He’s also scored at least 11 fantasy points in three of four outings, and this might be the start of a special run for the talented wide receiver. We don’t expect Denver’s disastrous defense to slow him down, allowing a historically bad 461 yards per game!

Adam Thielen (CAR) at DET

I never thought Adam Thielen would be in this article, but he’s looked awesome in his debut season with Carolina. The former Pro Bowler is the clear-cut top option for the Panthers, providing at least 12 fantasy points in three straight outings. He’s had at least seven receptions in all of those while being one of the league leaders with 31 targets! That sort of workload should bode well against Detroit, with the Lions sitting 18th in passing yards allowed. In their two matchups last season, Thielen scored at least 15 fantasy points in both of them!

Romeo Doubs (GB) at LVR

This could be risky with Christian Watson back, but Romeo Doubs looks like the top receiver in Green Bay. The talented wideout has played at least 86 percent of the team’s snaps in back-to-back games, scoring at least 14 fantasy points in three of four outings this year. That’s all you can ask for from one of your flexes, and it’s strange to see a No. 1 receiver be so overlooked by the fantasy community. It’s even more baffling against a team like Vegas, ranked 25th in total defense!

Tight Ends

Darren Waller (NYG) at MIA

It’s been a rough start for Darren Waller in New York, but it’s just a matter of time before he gets rolling. The Georgia Tech product is top five in fantasy points per game over the last four years, ranking top two twice! That’s why NY decided to trade for him and make him the focal point of their passing attack. That hasn’t panned out yet, but he’s still one of the league leaders with a 25 percent team air yardage share. We love that in this matchup because the Giants will likely be trailing and have to throw a ton to keep up with the Dolphins. In addition, Miami allows the seventh-most passing yards in the NFL.


Miami Dolphins D/ST vs. NYG

If you watched the Week 4 Monday night game, you know why Miami is in here. The Giants had an embarrassing showing, getting sacked 10 times while surrendering over 30 fantasy points to a subpar Seattle D/ST. Miami has a better defense than Seattle, and they should get plenty of points against one of the worst offenses in the NFL. The oddsmakers agree, making Miami a 10.5-point favorite, with New York projected to score fewer than 20 points.

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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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