Who to Start? – Week 5

For fantasy players, weeks are won and lost as the result of one decision. Week five of the NFL regular season features a number of matchups fantasy players will want to exploit, as well as some that should be avoided, when setting your starting lineups. The player comparisons below have been sent to me for analysis. It’s worth noting that I last did this in week two, and correctly predicted 4/5 outcomes.

Calvin Ridley vs. Alshon Jeffery

Calvin Ridley has absolutely been on fire for the last three weeks, but is it enough to start him over a proven veteran like Alshon Jeffery of the Philadelphia Eagles? Regression is certainly coming for Ridley, but I doubt it comes this week. Ridley is up against a porous Pittsburgh defense, and he’s proven to have a nose for the end zone. It certainly feels like the Falcons’ rookie wide out will continue to produce at least solid flex numbers this week. On the other side of this matchup, we have Alshon Jeffery who came back from injury in a big way last week, posting 8 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. Jeffery and the Eagles will try to exploit a surprisingly struggling Viking’s defense this week. As much as I like Ridley right now, I have to give the edge to Alshon Jeffery at home with a healthy Carson Wentz.

Quincy Enunwa vs. Dede Westbrook

Most rankings will have Enunwa listed well above Westbrook this week, which is fair. Quincy Enunwa’s target share makes him a viable role player on a weekly basis, but he’ll have his work cut out for him this week against the Denver Broncos. Dede Westbrook on the other hand, will be in Kansas City facing a particularly weak secondary. Dede Westbrook has proven to be effective when he gets enough work, including in week four (9 receptions, 130 yards), and I think he’ll see enough targets to outproduce Quincy Enunwa this week. Even though Enunwa is projected to score higher by ESPN, I’m rolling with Westbrook.

Aaron Jones vs. Will Fuller V

Comparing two players that play different positions presents a unique challenge. In this case we have Aaron Jones, second year running back for the Green Bay Packers, and Will Fuller, Houston’s coveted big play threat opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Jones is the safe play, as the best running back on the roster, he’s all but guaranteed to get a decent number of touches. Will Fuller’s level of involvement will always be more ambiguous, he’ll see his normal share of targets, but a lot more has to happen for a target to become real production. If Aaron Rodgers has a bad game, Aaron Jones may still have a good game. If Deshaun Watson has a bad game, Will Fuller is likely doomed. It’s impossible to ignore Will Fuller’s potential to reel in a 70 yard touchdown at any time, but as I mentioned earlier, Aaron Jones’ production is more certain, and a safer bet. If this is my decision to make, I’m taking Aaron Jones unless I need Fuller in as a desperation play. It’s also worth noting that Aaron Jones is up against the worst rushing defense in the league this week (Detroit).

Tyreek Hill vs. Amari Cooper

This one is tough. Both players have the potential to pop off, so it’s important to consider everything. Hill has the tougher matchup, Tyreek Hill faces the Jacksonville Jaguars while Amari Cooper is up against Derwin James and the Los Angeles Chargers. Cooper’s production has been sporadic from week to week, and if that trend continues, week five will be a low week for Coop. To be honest, I was leaning in favor of Amari Cooper until I heard Jalen Ramsey speak on the upcoming matchup with Hill. I have mad respect for Ramsey, he’s one of the best defensive backs in the league. But labeling Tyreek Hill a return specialist, and downplaying his ability as a receiver doesn’t change the fact that Hill’s going to win every foot race he gets in, he has a quarterback with a huge arm, and Andy Reid will find ways to get Hill involved. As great as Ramsey is, containing Tyreek Hill is not a one man job, and the comments will probably have Tyreek Hill chomping at the bit to get his on Sunday. Give me a hungry Tyreek Hill, even against the league’s second best pass defense.

Austin Hooper vs. David Njoku

Tight end is one of the hardest positions to predict. Unless their last name is Gronkowski, Ertz, or Kelce, you probably need a touchdown to get a lot of value out of the position. That being said, I’m going to bet on David Njoku as having a better chance to score than Austin Hooper. Hooper is surrounded by capable red zone targets in Julio Jones, Mo Sanu, and now Calvin Ridley. Njoku is an athletic phenom surrounded by small receivers, Baker Mayfield will need David Njoku’s 6’5″ frame if the Cleveland Browns find themselves in scoring position. The Browns face Baltimore this week, the Ravens have been good against the run this year, so expect the Browns to have to air it out, further increasing Njoku’s value. Edge: David Njoku

Author: Shawn LaFever