Nick Mensio

Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week 5 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Friday, October 6, 2017


Happy Week 5, everyone. This is one of the worst Sunday-Monday slates we’ve seen in a long time. Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes, as these are players I’ll likely have some exposure to over the weekend.

QUARTERBACK

Start of the Week: Dak Prescott vs. Packers: Prescott is coming off yet another solid week, where he threw for 252 yards and three scores, finishing as the QB9 against the Rams. That was his best single-week finish through four games, but Prescott has been real steady with QB11, QB11, and QB10 weeks in Weeks 1-3 in tough spots against the Giants at home and Broncos and Cardinals on the road. On paper, the Packers defended the pass extremely well in the first month, surrendering the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and sixth-fewest passing yards. However, they haven’t exactly faced stiff competition, getting Russell Wilson in Green Bay in the opener and Matt Ryan on the road in Week 2, followed up by cupcake spots against Andy Dalton and Mike Glennon. Ryan didn’t have to do much in Week 2 after the Falcons got a big lead, and Dalton had a strong first half in Week 3 before doing nothing after the break. Prescott faced the Packers twice as a rookie last year, throwing for three touchdowns in each outing and topping 300 yards in the one at Dallas. The Packers-Cowboys over-under of 52 total points is easily the highest of the Sunday-Monday games. Seahawks-Rams at 46.5 points is the next closest. Prescott combines high floor with a high ceiling. He’s a top-four QB1 play in a legitimately dreadful set of Week 5 games.

Starts

Josh McCown at Browns: As mentioned previously, this is a truly disgusting set of games on paper this week. It has put McCown squarely on the streaming radar. The 38-year-old gunslinger has yet to throw for 250 yards in a game this season, with two outings under 200 yards. McCown’s best weekly finish thus far has been QB13 in Week 2 at the Raiders in a blowout loss. Every other week, he has been the QB21 or lower. This is absolutely a run-first offense for the Jets, but they’re running into one of the biggest pass-funnel defenses in the league after four weeks. Cleveland is 30th in pass-defense DVOA compared to sixth against the run. The Browns have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks while yielding just 3.08 YPC to running backs. McCown is in a great spot and is going to have to make something happen through the air, even if it’s just dumping it down to his running backs and tight end while taking a couple deep shots to Robby Anderson. The 39.5-point total in Jets-Browns is tied for the second-lowest of Week 5, but it’s currently a pick’em and could easily turn into some sort of bad teams shootout. There are worse plays than McCown.

Carson Palmer at Eagles: Palmer seems to find his way on this list every week. There isn’t a whole lot not to like. Palmer entered Week 5 leading the league in pass attempts with 17 more than second-place Eli Manning. Palmer is second in yards to Tom Brady. The touchdown numbers are certainly lacking, but watching the games, Palmer could (should?) easily have maybe double the five touchdowns he has thrown. He had one taken away by the refs last week and multiple touchdowns have simply bounced off the hands of Palmer’s receivers’ hands. Palmer enters Week 5 as the QB16 but gets another beautiful draw, even though it’ll be Arizona’s third 1 PM ET start on the road in five weeks. The Eagles have faced the second-most pass attempts in the league and allowed the most completions for the second-most yards and sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. With David Johnson (wrist) out, the Cardinals lead the league in pass:run ratio, throwing the ball a league-high 69.93% of the time. Chris Johnson doesn’t have anything left at running back, so it’s all on Palmer’s shoulders to put up points. He’s been sacked a ton behind a horrid offensive line, but that’s also a product of dropping back to pass every 7-of-10 plays. It’ll be a miracle if Palmer stays healthy all season at this rate; he’s on pace to take 68 sacks. While he’s out there, keep streaming him in these plus matchups. The 45-point total in Cardinals-Eagles is tied for the third-highest of Week 5.

Jacoby Brissett vs. 49ers: In his three starts, Brissett has fantasy finishes of QB29 (vs. ARZ), QB4 (vs. CLE), and QB24 (@ SEA). Brissett’s first two tilts with NFC West opponents clearly didn’t go so well, but the 49ers present a much easier challenge, especially in Indianapolis with a 1 PM start. To this point, the Niners have faced Cam Newton (QB16), Russell Wilson (QB14), Jared Goff (QB9), and Carson Palmer (QB15). All have put up respectable performances, and the 49ers have surrendered the 11th-most fantasy points to the position while checking in at 26th in pass-defense DVOA. Brissett throwing for two touchdowns and running for another is well within the realm of possibilities here. The 45-point total in Niners-Colts is tied for the third-highest of the week, and there’s some sneaky shootout appeal on the fast track at Lucas Oil Stadium. Of the 22 teams with current lines, the Colts’ implied team total of 23.25 points is the sixth-highest on the board. In a 12-team league where I have Marcus Mariota (hamstring) hanging in the balance, I picked up Brissett to be my streamer in the likely event Mariota is unable to play against the Dolphins.

Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting the Rotoworld Beat the Writers Series, where you can play against five Rotoworld football writers for your chance at cash prizes and free entry into their Sunday Million. Put your knowledge to the test!

 

Sits

Philip Rivers at Giants: Rivers’ first month was a true mixed bag of results. He threw for 347 yards and a pair of scores last week at “home” against the Eagles a week after tossing three picks in the same building against the Chiefs. Rivers managed the QB12 finish in Week 4, his third top-12 week of the young year. After three-straight games in L.A., the Bolts now head out on the road for a cross-country trip to MetLife Stadium. The Giants haven’t been nearly as dominant on defense as they were last season. It’s hard to say they’ve even been good at all, checking in at 25th in pass-defense DVOA and 31st against the run. They’re one of just four teams yet to record an interception. But quarterbacks really aren’t picking the G-Men apart, as they’ve allowed the 12th-fewest passing yards and sit at a middling 14th in fantasy points allowed to the position. Pro Bowl CB Janoris Jenkins is back healthy after battling an ankle injury the first couple weeks. This could be a get-right spot for New York’s defense at home after opening with 3-of-4 games on the road. Rivers actually isn’t that bad in 1 PM road games on the East Coast, but this still isn’t a spot I’d be excited to stream him. The Chargers’ implied total of 20.75 points is 14th-highest of 22 available Week 5 totals.

Andy Dalton vs. Bills: Dalton is coming off a Week 4 blowup spot against the Browns, finishing as the overall QB3 after throwing for 286 yards and four scores. It was his first four-touchdown game since 2013, and Dalton’s 83.3% completion rate last Sunday was the best single-game mark of his career. He has completed 80.7% of his throws in two games with new OC Bill Lazor calling the shots. Dalton was surely a hot pickup in casual fantasy leagues this week, but he gets a really tough draw against a surprisingly stingy Bills defense, even in Cincinnati. Buffalo has allowed just one touchdown pass all year. The second-place Steelers and Jaguars have each allowed three. The Bills are No. 3 in pass-defense DVOA and fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. They just shut down Matt Ryan in Atlanta last week. First-round CB Tre’Davious White is Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 cover corner out of 110 qualifiers, and summer trade acquisition E.J. Gaines sits at No. 20. Buffalo is yielding just 229 passing yards per game and has picked off the third-most passes. This could be a letdown spot for the Bills after a big road win over the defending NFC champions last week, but the 39.5-point over-under is the second-lowest of Week 5. Dalton is a hard pass this Sunday.

Alex Smith at Texans: Smith still sits as the overall fantasy QB2 after four weeks. He has managed weekly finishes of QB1, QB10, QB21, and QB6. Freshly off dissecting the Redskins for 349 total yards and a pair of scores last Monday night, Smith and the Chiefs head out on the road on a short week for Sunday Night Football. The Texans are sixth in pass-defense DVOA and are allowing just 211 yards passing per game. Smith faced this same defense Week 2 of last season in Houston and managed just 186 scoreless passing yards, finishing as fantasy’s QB32 that week. The Texans’ secondary is weaker this time around, but J.J. Watt is fully healthy. I’m not completely sold on this defense being as good as it has been through four weeks, especially since they’ve faced Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, and a half of Matt Cassel sandwiched around Tom Brady in Week 3, but that’s all we have to go off right now. The Chiefs are still mostly a run-first offense that operates at the slowest pace in the league through four weeks. Smith has been relying on big plays.


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Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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