The fantasy matchup stats you need to know for Week 5
Play the matchups in fantasy football, and you’ll win more often than you lose. With four teams on bye this week, knowing the matchups to avoid and exploit becomes even more important. Bellow you’ll find the key matchup stats to know from each of the 13 remaining games this week. Don’t forget to also take a look at the best and worst wide receiver matchups for the week.
Just a quick note about the recommendations. Downgrading a player is not the same as sitting a player. If an RB1 is downgraded, that means he moves to an RB2 for the week, and vice versa for upgrades. These matchup recommendations and others are reflected in our weekly rankings, which are an invaluable tool in lineup decision making each week.
New England @ Cleveland
Tom Brady is back, but expect a lot of LeGarrette Blount.
Narrative Street would have you believe that an angry Brady is going to come back and throw 12 touchdown passes this week. But a closer look suggests this is actually a game where the Patriots will look to pound the ball on the ground. The Browns have yielded an average of 113.3 yards and 0.8 touchdowns on the ground per game to opposing running backs this season. Brady will still get his, but look for New England to lean on their run game and feed Blount this week. He’s on the RB1 radar.
Philadelphia @ Detroit
Zach Ertz returns with a bang.
Sidelined since suffering a rib injury in Week 1, Ertz is practicing in full and set to return this week. He picked a great week to return. Opposing tight ends have torched the Lions so far this season. Detroit has allowed a score to the position in all four of their games, and currently sit behind only the Falcons in fantasy points per game to tight ends. Ertz is a premium play this week.
Chicago @ Indianapolis
Continue to ride Jordan Howard.
The rookie got the start last week in place of the injured Jeremy Langford and proceed to rack up 132 total yards on 25 touches. He also forced an impressive seven missed tackles, which is just three fewest than Langford forced in all of 2015. Howard remains locked in fantasy lineups this week against a Colts defense that yields 92.8 rushing yards and 1.5 total touchdowns per game to opposing running backs.
Tennessee @ Miami
Fantasy owners want no piece of the Dolphins’ backfield.
Regardless of Arian Foster’s status, fantasy players are going to want to avoid Miami running backs this week. Not only are we likely to continue to see a committee approach, but the Dolphins also face a tough matchup against a somewhat underrated Titans defense. Through the first four games of the season, the Titans yield the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Washington @ Baltimore
Exercise caution with Terrance West.
Here’s the thing: This is an awesome matchup. The Redskins are currently giving up the most fantasy points per opportunity to opposing running backs and only the Saints have surrendered more rushing touchdowns to the position through the first month of the season. On the surface, that sounds like a delicious matchup for West, who is coming off a 100-yard performance. However, Kenneth Dixon returns this week and John Harbaugh has been reluctant to declare West the lead back. The matchup is fantastic, but it’s difficult to trust West as anything more than an RB2 this week.
Houston @ Minnesota
Avoid both quarterbacks in this game.
Sam Bradford has been getting some buzz as a pickup this week, but it’s tough to get behind him as a streamer play. He faces a Houston defense that gives up the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Sure, the Texans are without J.J. Watt, but they still have plenty of firepower on the defensive side of the ball. Likewise, fantasy owners will want to steer clear of Brock Osweiler. The Vikings have emerged as one of the best defensive units in the league, and have allowed just three passing scores so far this season.
NY Jets @ Pittsburgh
Big Ben is an elite play this week.
He’s coming off a five-touchdown performance in Week 4, and Roethlisberger will continue to roll this week. The Jets currently rank as the fifth-best fantasy matchup for opposing quarterbacks, giving up 304.5 passing yards per game and a league-high 71.4 completion percentage. Roethlisberger offers a massive fantasy ceiling, especially with Darrelle Revis banged up.
Atlanta @ Denver
Fire up C.J. Anderson as an RB1 this weekend.
While he hasn’t quite been prolific in the yardage department, Anderson has found the end zone in three of the Broncos’ first four games. He remains in play as a strong RB1 this week at home against the Falcons. Denver could lean more heavily on Anderson if Paxton Lynch ends up starting, and this would be the week to do so. Atlanta is banged up at the linebacker position and will likely be without Deion Jones along with DeVondre Campbell, Paul Worrilow and Sean Weatherspoon this week.
Cincinnati @ Dallas
Tough sledding for Ezekiel Elliott?
The rookie running back leads the league in rushing entering Week 5, but he gets a difficult matchup in this one. Through the first four games, Cincinnati hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown to opposing running backs and yields just 3.8 yards per carry. Dallas will still give Elliott a big workload, so he remains an RB1 option. It just isn’t likely to be the most efficient day.
Buffalo @ Los Angeles
Keep rolling with Todd Gurley.
It hasn’t been the electric start fantasy owners hoped for when drafting Gurley in the first round back in August, but things are actually looking up for the second-year man. Despite struggling as a runner, he actually saw five targets last week. That tied for his carrier high, and the five receptions he notched was the most he’s had as a pro. This week he faces a Bills defense that gives up the third most fantasy points per opportunity to opposing running backs. Gurley remains an RB1 play.
San Diego @ Oakland
DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are in play this week.
With Latavius Murray dealing with a toe injury and on the wrong side of questionable, the Raiders will turn to the tandem of Washington and Richard in the backfield. We expect Washington to lead the team in touches, but this will still be a committee situation. That means both backs are worth a look this week in a strong matchup against a Chargers team that has given up an average of two total touchdowns per game to opposing running backs. Consider Washington an RB2, whereas Richard is more of a flex play.
NY Giants @ Green Bay
Fade the Giants running game this week.
While Odell Beckham Jr. gets a primo matchup this week, the Giants running backs face the worst fantasy matchup for the position. In three games, the Packers have given up an average of 42.3 yards on the ground and just one rushing touchdown to opposing running backs. Rashad Jennings has been limited in practice this week and could be back on the field for Week 6. However, fantasy owners would be wise to avoid the Giants altogether this week.
Tampa Bay @ Carolina
Keep on streaming Cameron Brate.
Brate enters the week as the No. 8 fantasy tight end and is coming off another solid statistical performance despite a tough matchup against the Broncos last week. Things are much better for the former Ivy Leaguer this week against a Panther team that currently yields the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Carolina has surrendered four receiving touchdowns to the position over the last three games. Brate is a sneaky bet for TE1 production.