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Week 5 Matchups - Fantasy Football Game Breakdowns (Part 2)

Welcome to the second part of our Week 5 matchups analysis and starts/sits column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every matchup from every Sunday game to help you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. We'll also be updating this as injury reports come in so check back often.

This article will cover the late slate of games, beginning at 4 PM ET on Sunday as well as the Sunday night game. Click here to see our early game matchups analysis and our MNF matchups analysis as well.

Check back here each week to get advice for your toughest start/sit decisions and take a look at our consensus rankings each week. Find me on Twitter @Pfunk00 for more insight and help to your start/sit questions.

Editor's Note: All you early birds can get a full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our Draft Kit, In-Season tools and over 150 days of Premium DFS. Sign Up Now!


4:00 PM ET Games

The late afternoon slate has four games once again. Aside from the usual West Coast matchups, the headline here is a rematch of last year's NFC Championship game between Minnesota and Philadelphia, both of whom are off to slow starts this season. The evening game is a battle of Texas teams as the Texans look for their second straight win while the Cowboys try to climb into first place in the NFC East, believe it or not.


Vikings at Eagles

Matchups We Love:

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)
It's hard to imagine the Vikings defense as a favorable matchup but welcome to 2018. Last year, the Vikes were third-best against QBs, forcing a 12/14 TD/INT rate on the season. This year, they are allowing the sixth-most passing yards, more than the Falcons. The absence of Everson Griffen has made an impact but there's more going on here. The Vikings have been unable to get a running game going with Dalvin Cook hurt and the offense has been more pass-happy with new QB Kirk Cousins and new OC John DeFilippo. All told, the Vikings are more susceptible to the opponent through the air, especially with All-Pro CB Xavier Rhodes struggling mightily. Alshon Jeffery's return puts the icing on the cake for Wentz to have a successful outing this week.

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)
He leads the NFL in targets (57) and is second in receptions. Matchups don't matter for Thielen as a borderline WR1 in PPR leagues each week, but the Eagles' Sidney Jones won't do much to slow him down in case you were wondering.

Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN)
This should be a tougher matchup but Jalen Mills has been bad this season, grading out at 45.7 according to PFF. The Vikings should once again rely on the passing game to keep up, especially if Cook sits again, so both Viking receivers look like solid starts. To drive the point home further, this telling stat as told by Graham Barfield:

Alshon Jeffery (WR, PHI)
Being shadowed by Xavier Rhodes should spell trouble for an opposing receiver, but it hasn't. Rhodes has uncharacteristically given up chunk yardage, especially last week versus the Rams. One has to wonder if he is playing through an injury, as he was one the top corners in all of football last year and voted first-team All-Pro. Jeffery looked to be 100% in his season debut so roll him out with confidence.

Nelson Agholor (WR, PHI)
If you were worried that Jeffery would cut into Agholor's numbers, don't be. Agholor tied a season-high with 12 targets last week, although only five were hauled in. Wentz is working back into game shape and should find Agholor more frequently. He appears to be a great buy-low candidate at the moment and should be a strong WR3 this week.

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)
Ertz had his best game of the year in Week 4 and is coming off a 10-catch, 112-yard performance. He is not just tops at TE, but fourth among all players with 50 total targets. There's no reason to sit him here or even consider it.

Matchups We Hate:

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)
This point could be rendered moot before kickoff, as Cook is questionable with a lingering hamstring injury. This type of injury can be hard to come back from at full strength, so even if Cook plays he may be on a "pitch count" as he was last week. Add in the fact that the Eagles own the best rush defense in the league this season, limiting opponents to 3.4 yards per carry, and there's little hope for value. You may be better off benching Cook outright and looking elsewhere.

Latavius Murray (RB, MIN)
You're looking in the wrong place. The Eagles haven't faced an elite running back yet, but they completely shut down the RB duos in Atlanta and Tennessee. Murray has scuffled this year trying to replace Cook, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry with no touchdowns. Keep searching.

Jordan Matthews (WR, PHI)
A 56-yard touchdown last week put Matthews back on the fantasy map. He has only seen five targets over the last two games, however, and Jeffery is back in the mix. He is nothing more than a desperation flex play in bye-heavy weeks and this isn't one.

Other Matchups:

Jay Ajayi (RB, PHI)
Run defense is an area that Minnesota has been somewhat successful, not allowing a rushing TD to an opposing RB yet. Ajayi is forever questionable with some sort of ailment and never a lock for a heavy workload but he seems OK for Week 5. He can be flexed without worry even if a huge game isn't on tap.

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)
You can still use Cousins in a 12-team league but it's possible there are better options widely available to stream. The Eagles defense hasn't been performing at last year's level, allowing the 11th-most fantasy points to QBs so far. Still, this is a team that needs to find balance by running more often. The Vikings have the fewest rush attempts in the league so far at 76 after finishing second-highest last season. If Cousins continues to air it out, that's good for his owners but the team will have to realize at some point it won't help their struggling defense. If Dalvin Cook is out, the Cousins could be bumped closer to top-10 QB status.

Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN)
As the TE1 on a pass-heavy offense this season, Rudolph brings with him a high-enough floor to be worth a start each week. It's not as if there are many better options out there. He'll have tougher sledding this week but a touchdown could always be in the works. He only has two red zone targets this year but both were converted for touchdowns.


Rams at Seahawks

Matchups We Love:

Jared Goff (QB, LAR)
You don't want to bench your Rams right now and that includes Goff. Nobody expected the Vikings to roll over on defense like they did last Thursday but a lot of credit has to be given to Sean McVay and this offensive unit. Goff is showing why he was the top overall pick by completing 72.4% of his passes and leading the league with a 127.3 QBR and 9.88 Net Yards per Attempt. The Seahawks just lost their best defender, Earl Thomas, for the season. This isn't the easiest matchup on paper but it shouldn't matter. Start Goff with confidence.

Todd Gurley (QB, LAR)
So much for regression. Gurley is still a TD machine, scoring six in four games along with a pair of two-point conversions. In last year's matchup at Seattle, all he did was run for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Yeah, you're starting him and smiling all the way.

Brandin CooksRobert WoodsCooper Kupp (WR, LAR)
Let's simplify the process and save some space - all three receivers are every-week starts until further notice. There is a barely a distinction as far as fantasy value goes; they are all within three targets (32-34) and receptions (24-26) of each other. While Cooks has the most yardage, he has one TD to Woods' three and Kupp's four. Start, start, and start.

Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)
Granted, this is more of a boom-bust play than a "love" but Lockett could benefit most from game flow. The Seahawks will surely need to pass the ball a ton in this game and look for big plays to make up a deficit. Lockett had his TD streak broken last week but he's posting a solid 12.2 ADoT and is always a threat for a big play. If there is one Seahawk worth chancing this week, it might be Lockett considering he faces the talented but toastable Marcus Peters.

Matchups We Hate:

Chris CarsonMike Davis (RB, SEA)
It appears Carson will suit up for Week 5 but Davis' strong game in his absence has created a dreaded RBBC situation, at least temporarily. Carson would seem to be the lead back but may not be 100% while Davis is averaging a stronger 4.3 Y/A to Carson's 3.9 Y/A. Don't forget that Rashaad Penny will be forced into the backfield and thrown the occasional bone in order to justify their first-round selection of him. The Hawks should be playing from behind all day, making it unlikely any of these backs will have a big impact.

Nick Vannett (TE, SEA)
Just when Will Dissly's injury seemed to open a door for Vannett to have sleeper potential, veteran Ed Dickson is set to return from IR in a couple of weeks. This particular week, Vannett doesn't have a great chance to make an impact against the Rams vaunted defense unless you believe in the funnel defense theory. Jared Cook is the only TE to make an impact against the Rams this year and he's been valuable every single week regardless of opponent. Pass on Vannett even if you're desperate.

Gerald EverettTyler Higbee (TE, LAR)
Both Rams tight ends have exactly three receptions over four games. When your teams consistently scores in the 30s and you can't even make a dent in the stat line, you're not part of the offense. Higbee is questionable to even play but that doesn't make Everett a consideration.

Other Matchups:

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)
We're now to the point where Wilson is not a must-start anymore. The Rams did give up a huge game to Kirk Cousins last week but have been solid otherwise against opposing QBs. Aqib Talib's presence will be missed but this Seahawk offense isn't the most dynamic anyway. The main issue with Wilson is his lack of rushing production. He has a total of 42 rushing yards and no TD on the ground this season, mainly because his attempts are down to 2.8 per game. The high floor that used to exist is gone now so he can be benched in less than favorable matchups if you have a better option.

Doug Baldwin (WR, SEA)
He's back but is he worth starting? He got plenty of action last week with seven targets but didn't do much with them at five catches for 41 yards. Game script could work in his favor but Baldwin didn't do much last year against the Rams with five catches for 43 yards over two games and will be blanketed by Nickell Robey-Coleman. He is a fringe WR3 at best.


Raiders at Chargers

Matchups We Love:

Derek Carr (QB, OAK)
437 yards probably won't happen again but Carr was averaging 312 yards per game even before Week 4. As questionable as Jon Gruden's personnel decisions have been, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant have made a positive impact on the receiving corps and the passing game isn't the source of their problems. In fact, a lackluster defense has worked to Carr's benefit, as the team has found itself trailing early in all but one game so far which has necessitated a high passing volume. A matchup with the Chargers, who rank ninth in total offense but 23rd in total defense, could provide the recipe for a high-scoring game as the Raiders are second in offensive yardage and 29th defensively.

Philip Rivers (QB, LAC)
If you like Carr this week, you should love Rivers for the reasons mentioned above. He's not the most consistent from week-to-week which makes it tough to gauge where he ranks among all QBs. He's tossed 11 TD passes in four games already and figures to live in the top 10 once again so play the steady hand against a lesser defense.

Melvin Gordon (RB, LAC)
Gordon was considered one of the few workhorse backs left in the NFL, yet he's seen his rushing attempts drop to 13.5 per game. He is still seventh in total rushing yards and fifth in yards from scrimmage. The Raiders have yielded the third-most rushing yards this season to RBs so will likely be another typical day of 150 combined yards and a touchdown for Gordon.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)
Allen hasn't been bad by any means but fantasy owners who drafted him in the second round were expecting a bit more. The emergence of Mike Williams shouldn't worry anyone - Allen has the edge in red zone targets (5-3) and has more than doubled Williams' total targets. Allen shouldn't be challenged by anyone in Oakland's secondary and remains a high-end WR2.

Jordy Nelson (WR, OAK)
After extolling Carr's virtues this week, it stands to reason one of his receivers should pop off too. Nelson saw four targets in Weeks 1 & 2 but that figure has been at eight each of the last two weeks with a touchdown in each as well. Cooper is the perpetual boom-bust play while Nelson is the safe, unexciting WR3 you can count on.

Jared Cook (TE, OAK)
You've got to keep starting Cook if you own him. He is second among tight ends in receptions (26), higher than Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski. He even leads his team in target share at 19.16% with one more than Amari Cooper and shows no signs of slowing down.

Matchups We Hate:


Other Matchups:

Marshawn Lynch (RB, OAK)
Beast Mode has seen his rush attempts increase each week and is locked in as a solid RB2 in this matchup. Owners should be encouraged to see that he is third among RBs in red zone carries at 13, behind just Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara. Last week was the first game he didn't cross the end zone and he put up 130 rush yards instead. He ran for 101 yards in this road matchup last year.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)
Usage will remain inconsistent for Ekeler as a backup/change-of-pace back. He can be flexed if necessary because of his speed and big-play ability but he's averaging just 10 touches per game and can't be relied upon for big yardage without a splash play.

Mike Williams (WR, LAC)
It's nice to see that Rivers is showing trust in the second-year player, especially in the end zone, but he hasn't carved out a big enough role to be a surefire starter in most full PPR fantasy leagues. He caught just one pass last week and has seen his target totals fluctuate from week to week. This is a promising enough showdown that you can take a chance if needed though.

Amari Cooper (WR, OAK)
Before we acknowledge that we never know which Cooper will show up on any given Sunday, let's look at the WR/CB matchup. Cooper will be shadowed by Casey Hayward, who isn't playing at the same level he was two years ago in his prime. Cooper has been limited with a foot injury in practice so temper expectations for another huge game which has come in alternating weeks thus far.


Cardinals at 49ers

Matchups We Love:

David Johnson (RB, ARI)
It's been a tough go for Johnson owners who invested a top-five pick in him, but the light at the end of the tunnel is slowly coming into view. Arizona's offensive line is still pitiful but at least there's some new life in the offense with a new, more mobile QB. Johnson has seen more positive game scripts work in his favor, as his rushing attempts climbed to 22 last week after sitting at 9, 13, and 12 the first three weeks. He'll get by on receiving production alone this week, as the Cardinals are starting to run Johnson more in traditional wideout routes rather than simple screens and dumpoffs. The 49ers are an average run defense but they've allowed 67 receiving yards per game to running backs, fourth-most in the league. Johnson could finally reward his owners' patience in a plus matchup.

Matt Breida (RB, SF)
If. Always the caveat with Breida this season, but if he plays then he should be started. It's a great matchup against the team that has been worst against the run in terms of fantasy points. The Lions are easily the worst as far as total rushing yards and average against. Breida still leads the league in yards per attempt at 7.6 and should be in all lineups as an RB2 unless his shoulder injury flares up in pre-game warmups.

George Kittle (TE, SF)
The matchup is neither here nor there for tight ends against Arizona but Goodwin possibly missing this game means more looks for Kittle, who should serve as his quarterback's security blanket all day. Kittle responded greatly to the QB switch with 125 yards and a TD last week. With the bleak outlook of the current TE landscape, Kittle should be a top-10 play each week at the position.

Ricky Seals-Jones (TE, ARI)
As mentioned above, there are slim pickings among fringe TE1/streamer types these days. There is a chance you are a Trey Burton owner needing a bye week fill-in or a Tyler Eifert owner looking for a replacement. RSJ will never put up huge receiving numbers but he has enough speed and size to be a scoring threat and that's all you can hope for at the TE2 level. If Fitzgerald doesn't suit up at all, he could be worth streaming.

Matchups We Hate:

C.J. Beathard (QB, SF)
It would take a monster game before fantasy owners gain any level of trust in Beathard and it probably won't happen this week. The Arizona defense has only allowed three passing TD this season, mainly because other teams have barely needed to pass against them. The offense has been non-existent and their run defense seems to have an open-door policy. Nobody expects this to be a shootout so feel free to ignore both QBs.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)
As hard as it is to hate on Larry Legend, he's still not recovered from a hamstring injury. While he'll probably gut it out again, it helps the Cardinals more than fantasy owners. He hasn't scored a touchdown yet and hasn't gained more than 28 yards since Week 1. There are better upside plays with less risk.

Pierre Garcon (WR, SF)
He's given fantasy owners no reason to start him anyway, averaging just under three receptions and 35.3 yards per game with no touchdowns. He saw no gain in targets when Goodwin was out the first two weeks (10 total targets in Weeks 1-2) so his teammate's status has no bearing here. This week he will go against Patrick Peterson for much of the day and C.J. Beathard is still the quarterback in San Fran. Avoid.

Marquise Goodwin (WR, SF)
All the same concerns exist for Goodwin, except throw in a leg injury that makes him questionable to even play in Week 5. It won't be often that either of the 49ers main wideouts are a recommended play, but this week they are emphatic must-sits.

Other Matchups:

Josh Rosen (QB, ARI)
San Francisco is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to QBs and third-most passing TD (11). But Rosen is making his second NFL start and his main receiver is still not 100%. If we thought Arizona would be in comeback mode most of the game and in desperate need to pass, Rosen could make for a playable streamer in two-QB leagues but that shouldn't be the case.

Alfred Morris (RB, SF)
If we love Breida and the Cards are terrible against RBs then why isn't Alf on the Love list too? Have you watched him play this year? Morris has one touchdown this season but has been stuffed inside the five-yard line countless times. Breida's snap share climbed to 63% last week while Morris fell to 23%. That is a definite trend, as Week 1 saw Morris with 52% of the snaps and Breida 45% but has been slowly shifting each week. The only way Morris has value is if Breida is ruled out before game time and even then he is touchdown-dependent.

Chad WilliamsChristian Kirk (WR, ARI)
Williams nearly made a highlight-reel touchdown catch near the pylon but was ruled out of bounds and overturned. Later, he came back and made a 22-yard touchdown reception that would be his lone contribution for the day. Kirk was targeted seven times, more than any other Cards WR, but only caught four for 28 yards. With Fitz hurting, Kirk looks to be Rosen's favorite target early on. Neither of these is a desirable start but Kirk could give you a few points in full PPR formats and possibly spring a big play against a leaky defense. Williams is a bigger red zone threat but will need a score to provide value. Both are "what the hell" flex possibilities if you're in need.


Sunday Night Football - Cowboys at Texans

Matchups We Love:

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)
We'd love him more if there weren't 20 other QBs putting up superior numbers in any given week. Prescott got off to a molasses-slow start this year but is warming up, throwing for 255 yards and two scores last week.

Cole Beasley (WR, DAL)
At this point, you may not want to start any Cowboy receiver but Beasley leads the team in receptions (16) and receiving yards (185); he also has the most promise this week based on the matchup. Beasley faces backup slot corner Shareece Wright who fills in for injured Aaron Colvin on a weak secondary. There isn't a high ceiling here but Beasley seems like a safe-enough PPR play.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, HOU)
There is little reason to doubt that Hopkins will put up a WR1 week. He's gotten at least 10 targets in every game this year and is coming off a 169-yard performance. Minor dings and dents are piling up but it's nothing to be concerned about.

Will Fuller (WR, HOU)
Fuller has said he plans to play in Week 5 so we'll take his word for it and hope to reap benefits from the plus matchup against CB Chidobie Awuzie. There's definite risk here but not taking potential injury into account, Fuller is a plus play.

Geoff Swaim (TE, DAL)
A tight end finally scored for the Cowboys! You may not have noticed but Swaim caught five passes back in Week 3 and has claimed the TE1 spot in Big D. That alone doesn't mean much, except that the Texans are generous against the tight end just as they were last year when they were fourth-worst defending the position. This isn't a love so strong that he should be starting in 12-team leagues but he might serve as an injury or bye filler in deeper leagues.

Matchups We Hate:

Michael GallupAllen Hurns (WR, DAL)
The passing game showed some signs of life last week, but no individual receiver stepped up and became a frontrunner to receive more targets. The Texans' questionable pass defense may tempt some to sneak in one of these players as a flex in deep leagues but there's too little upside unless Elliott doesn't suit up at all. In that case, the entire offense may just stumble.

Other Matchups:

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)
An automatic start in any matchup, there's reason for pause this week. Elliott has been banged up and limited in practice. We'll have to monitor his status closer to game time but it doesn't seem likely that he'll miss Week 5 due to bursitis in his knee and elbow. It could mean he's less than full strength and the Texans are better against the run than the pass. There is nobody you should be inserting in the lineup over him if he plays, but you may want to steer clear in DFS.

Lamar Miller (RB, HOU)
On the one hand, Miller has underwhelmed with fewer than 70 yards per game and no touchdowns on the young season. On the other hand, he still has command of this backfield until D'Onta Foreman returns and with 12 red zone rushes already, you figure he's got to cash in eventually. Pre-2018, Miller would have been a bench-and-wait RB, but there aren't a lot of players with more guarantees for touches.

Keke Coutee (WR, HOU)
The most-discussed waiver wire add of the week, his prospects would have been tremendous if Will Fuller weren't playing. But he is, at least it appears that way. Coutee should see plenty of action as the WR3 in this offense but we need to temper expectations as this game should see a far lower point total than last week vs Indy.

More Week 5 Lineup Prep