Our Week 5 sleepers features under-the-radar players that are currently being started in less than 50% of fantasy football leagues. These players could produce good fantasy numbers this week due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. For your final lineup decisions, check out our Week 5 player rankings and if you have any fantasy football questions, feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
I’m shocked to be writing this, because I thought he was more or less done after 2013 and the start of 2014. But, Eli has had 2 useful starts in a row, and the road is easy this week against a terrible Atlanta defense, at home. Their secondary is particularly poor, so I’m expecting a strong dose of Cruz, Donnell, and Randle here.
Carson Palmer/Drew Stanton
After seeing Stanton manage his way to two wins in Palmers absence, I’m taking whoever plays in this matchup against Denver. The Broncos rank 28th out of 32 teams in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs, mostly I would guess because opposing QBs are throwing a ton to try and catch up. Whatever the reason, Denver is not an intimidating matchup through the air. Note that if Palmer can start, this is an all-leagues-call, whereas there’s a clear downgrade if Stanton gets the call again.
Editor’s note: Carson Palmer is likely out for Week 5 after having a setback in the axillary nerve of his throwing shoulder.
Here’s another below-average QB with a dream matchup that I’d take a look at. The Eagles have yet to allow below 20 points in any game to an opposing fantasy QB. They allowed 400+ yards to Kirk Cousins in Week 3, and we all know how great he looked the next week (4 INT vs. NYG). I don’t think the Rams win this game, but I think there’s enough throwing volume here to Quick, Cook, Austin, and others to support a viable fantasy QB2 in Davis. For what it’s worth: After seeing the debacle on MNF, I’d probably look to start any of these 3 QBs over Tom Brady right now.
The Browns are at home, they’ve publicly committed to Tate as their lead back when he’s healthy, and he’s projected to be healthy this week. I think Crowell and West get some carries here as well, but Tate is going to be the lead dog against a TEN defense that ranks as a top-10 best matchup for opposing RBs. Notably, they gave up 220 yards to Dallas in Week 2 – there’s plenty to go around here, and Tate has been dropped in a ton of leagues. If you need a RB, he’s definitely in the conversation for a Wednesday morning waiver claim.
In a league where I was RB desperate last week, I grabbed Williams on Thursday and started him. He rewarded me with 66 yards and a garbage time TD, and I think the same type of stat line could be coming in Week 5. Williams can’t catch a pass to save his life, but he runs with power and agility, and looks every bit the 2000+ yard rusher he was in college. I don’t envision a huge role for him with Rashad Jennings dominating snaps, but if the game gets out of hand either way or Jennings goes down with an injury, Williams could turn in a huge fantasy day. I also see him getting more and more goal line snaps as the season moves along.
After watching Kansas City pick on the Patriots, I think it’s high time to kick them while they’re down. The vaunted NE rush defense is ranked 28th so far this season, and you’d better believe the Bengals know it. I expect a heavy dose of Gio and Jeremy Hill here, and I think they both score as Cincy pulverizes a disorganized Patriots team in their house.
I liked Jennings last week, and I’m going to stay within the Vikings pass catchers this week. Wright has excellent chemistry working with Teddy Bridgewater from their time together on the Minnesota B squad, and it showed on Sunday as he exploded for 8 catches and 132 total yards. The Packers have given up 18.8 points (on average) to WR this year and I think that total rises this Thursday night.
Love this matchup against the Eagles, even if it’s on the road. Enemy WRs have shredded the Philly defense this year, and I think Quick continues that trend this week. I also like that he seems to be the undisputed #1 target in STL and the Rams have actually been useful at moving the ball through the air. Maybe Austin Davis isn’t the massive downgrade from Sam Bradford after all?
After Antonio Brown has basically lit the world on fire so far, I think that the Jaguars will try and make it a point to stop him at home. I’m not sure they can do it, but I definitely think that it will mean plenty of sparse coverage for Wheaton, and Ben will be aware of it. I think Wheaton goes for about 75-ish yards and a possible score here, putting him squarely on the WR3 radar if you’re thin at the position in Week 5.
Miller Time finally happened on Sunday. Heath showed up against Tampa and their loose coverage D, striking for 14 fantasy points. He looks to finally be back to his old ways, which mostly include being Ben Roethlisberger’s safety valve in the middle of the field. I’d rate him as a #2 TE, but this week against the horrendous JAX defense (30th vs. TEs so far) I’d fire him up as a legit top 10 TE candidate.
This is getting cheap, but I feel like I have to make note of the defense that is matched up against the Jaguars each week. I do believe Blake Bortles is an upgrade at QB for Jacksonville and should make them more dangerous in the coming weeks, but this is an offense that is bereft of talent on the offensive line, at RB, and at WR. They’re even missing their starting TE. As banged up as Pittsburgh is, they should easily be able to handle the atrocious JAX offense.
The battle for Texas is on like Donkey Kong next Sunday, and after watching the Cowboys immolate the Saints, I have hope for their D/ST against Houston. With Arian Foster still not 100% and Andre Johnson off to a slow start, I think the pass rush gets home on multiple occasions, leading to a strong D/ST scoring day. Dallas will probably give up some points here to emerging stud DeAndre Hopkins, but if you’re streaming defenses and lack better options, I like their D at home this week.