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NFL Week 5 fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em

  • Start Kirk Cousins: His season has been off to a slow start, but playing the Bears should help turn things around.
  • Sit Ezekiel Elliott: The former must-start running back has not lived up to his reputation to start the season, and the Rams will make his life even more difficult.
  • Start Chris Olave: He should be in starting lineups this week and every week.

Deciding who to start or sit can be as easy as looking at the PFF rankings and starting the player ranked higher. This start ’em, sit ’em column digs a step deeper, looking into why someone you might typically start might not have a good week, or why someone overlooked might have a good week. In many cases, it’s the usual starters who should star, but we want to explore the borderline players, too.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes



Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Carr has scored the 13th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks so far this season.
  • His 1,039 passing yards are ninth-most in the league. His 61 first-down passes are the fourth-most.
  • The Raiders are playing the Chiefs, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterback this season.
  • Carr threw for over 260 passing yards in both games against Kansas City last season.
  • The Chiefs’ team coverage grade has dropped from 81.4 to 67.7 in that time.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
  • The Vikings have the ninth-best matchup this week for quarterbacks against Chicago according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • Cousins' big-time throw rate more than doubles when facing a man defense compared to zone over the past three seasons, increasing from 3.4% to 6.9%.
  • The Bears have run man defense on coverage plays the fifth-most this year.
  • Chicago also has the lowest pass rush grade this season at 54.9.
  • The Vikings average 8.1 yards per play when Cousins isn’t under pressure compared to 3.7 when he is.


Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
  • Stafford has one week as a QB10 and three weeks as QB29 or worse this season.
  • The Rams have the third-worst matchup this week for quarterbacks according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • They are facing the Cowboys who have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  • Rodgers currently sits at QB21 on the season, with no single week as a top-12 fantasy quarterback.
  • He faces a Giants team that has averaged only 200 passing yards allowed to quarterbacks so far this season, the seventh-lowest mark.
  • Rodgers’ yards per attempt has dropped from 8.2 when facing zone defenses to 7.4 when facing zone man over the last two seasons.
  • The Giants have run man defense on the fourth-higher percentage of pass plays compared to every other team.



Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers
  • Wilson finished as a top-24 fantasy RB in each of the last three games.
  • He has played 105 offensive snaps over the last three weeks. The other healthy halfbacks on the roster have played six in that time.
  • The 49ers are one of the biggest favorites of the week in their matchup against the Panthers.
  • San Francisco has run the ball 54.9% of the time with a lead over the last two seasons, the third-highest rate in the league.
  • Carolina’s run defense has been average this season, but Wilson should be a fantasy starter this week from volume alone.


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