Week 5 Wide Receiver Start or Sit | Edelman Gets His Brady Back
The first quarter of the season is in the books. By now you know whether or not that post fantasy draft optimism was accurate or if you desperately need to make some changes before your playoff chances go down the drain. If you are one of the 1-3 or 0-4 teams, there may be some help on the way. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returns from his four game suspension this week. That’s great news, not just for Brady owners, but also for Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski owners. If you are like the 0-4 Browns, you can at least gain some optimism with the return of Josh Gordon from his suspension…..oh, wait.
Every week I provide you with my recommend start or sit wide receivers. I do not discuss obvious must-starts like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones (300yds, really?!), etc. Instead I will assist with the tough lineup decisions such as Michael Floyd or Julian Edelman? Or Jordan Matthews or Randall Cobb? You get the idea. It is important to note that these are just recommendations and I always believe following your gut is the way to go when making a final start or sit call.
My suggestions are based on numerous factors such as matchups, opportunities within the offense, and past performances, to name a few. All statistics provided are based on standard scoring (non PPR).
For more start or sit advice and any other fantasy football questions you may have, visit our forums where myself and all of our wonderful writers will be more than happy to help you out. You can also follow FTA on Twitter @FanTeamAdvice or myself @ajohnsonFTA. Finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s matchups so be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Start of the Week: Julian Edelman (at CLE)
Julian Edelman has struggled to produce for fantasy owners without Tom Brady. In four games he has 19 receptions for 196 yards and no touchdowns. In the last two weeks with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback for the Patriots, Edelman has just five catches for 54 yards. Thanks to Brady’s return, Edelman, who was featured as a sit for weeks three and four, is now my start of the week. In 11 games (including playoffs) with Brady in 2015, Edelman averaged seven catches, 76.8 yards per game and had seven touchdowns. Before missing the final seven games of the regular season he was on pace for 108 receptions, 1,230 yards and 12 scores. Even if Brady is a bit rusty he will still be looking for his buddy often. Brady plus a Browns defense that is giving up an average of 25.5 fantasy points a game to wide receivers, should equal a very productive day for Edelman and his fantasy owners.
Bottom Line: Move Edelman back into your starting lineup in all leagues for week five as a WR2, with WR1 upside in PPR formats.
John Brown (*TNF* at SF)
John Brown is back. After totaling just two catches for 22 yards in the first two games of 2016, John Brown finally looks like his old self again. In weeks three and four Brown combined for 214 yards on 16 receptions and was targeted a team high 27 times. On Thursday Night Football Brown and the Cardinals will take on a 49ers team that has allowed 22.7 fantasy points per game and six touchdowns to wide receivers. Look for Brown to continue his resurgence even if Carson Palmer sits out with a concussion.
Bottom Line: Brown is a high-end WR3 with upside vs 49ers. Note: The Cardinals play on Thursday night so be sure to make lineup adjustments accordingly.
Travis Benjamin/Tyrell Williams (at OAK)
Chargers wide receivers Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams have stepped up nicely in the absence of Keenan Allen (torn ACL). In four games (two starts) Williams has 16 receptions for 241 yards and one touchdown. Benjamin leads San Diego with 21 receptions for 277 yards and two scores. The two are tied to lead the team with 28 targets while Williams is first among all Chargers with five catches and eight targets inside the redzone. This week’s opponent is the Oakland Raiders who have given up the most passing yards per game so far this season. Opposing wide receivers have caught six touchdowns and have scored an average of 31.3 points per game for fantasy teams. That is an insane amount of fantasy points being earned by Raiders opponents.
Bottom Line: Start these Chargers teammates as upside WR3s this week vs the Raiders.
Sterling Shepard (at GB)
Last week Giants rookie receiver Sterling Shepard was listed as a sit with the stingy Vikings defense on tap. Unsurprisingly he finished with just 30 yards on four catches in the 24-10 loss on Monday Night Football. On Sunday, Shepard and the Giants will take on the Packers in Green Bay. The Packers head into week five giving up the third most fantasy points per game to wide receivers (30.5) and an average of over 300 yards passing. Wideouts have scored four touchdowns in three games versus the Packers. In week two, Stefon Diggs shredded the Green Bay secondary for nine catches, 182 yards and a touchdown. The very next week Marvin Jones tore them up for six receptions, 205 yards and two scores. Shepard will look to continue the assault on the Packers D. The rookie is second on the Giants only to Odell Beckham Jr. in receptions (20) and targets (27). He leads the team in touchdown catches (2).
Bottom Line: Start Shepard as a low-end WR2 vs this porous Packers D.
Others with favorable matchups: Kelvin Benjamin (vs TB), Alshon Jeffery (at IND), Jordan Matthews (at DET)
Sit of the Week: Terrelle Pryor (vs NE)
Terrelle Pryor was one of the top waiver wire adds following his week three performance when he collected 8 receptions, 144 receiving yards, 21 rushing yards and even 35 yards as a passer. He followed that up with another double-digit fantasy point offering with five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. Week five presents a difficult challenge with the New England Patriots coming to town. The Patriots rank tenth in fewest fantasy points allowed to wide receivers through the first month of the season and have only allowed three touchdowns to wideouts. Pryor is clearly the best player on the Browns offense. Bill Belichick tends to take away the opponent’s best player and I would expect this week to be no different.
Bottom Line: Start Pryor with caution as a WR3.
Torrey Smith (*TNF* vs ARI)
At this point Torrey Smith really shouldn’t be much of a starting consideration for your fantasy team unless you’re in a league with more than 14 teams. Smith has just nine receptions for 106 yards after four games. He added his only touchdown in week two in Carolina. He is coming off his worst performance of the season (1 catch for 3 yards) and will be playing on Thursday night football against Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals. Arizona is allowing just 204 passing yards per game while the Niners are averaging a league low 179 pass yards. That’s a combination that does not play in favor of Torrey Smith.
Bottom Line: Smith should not be considered unless completely desperate. Note: This game will be played on Thursday night so set your lineups accordingly.
Stefon Diggs (vs HOU)
After combining for 16 catches for 285 yards and a touchdown weeks one and two, Stefon Diggs has just a 9-87-0 line the last two games. It won’t get any easier this Sunday with the Texans’ number one pass defense coming to U.S. Bank Stadium. Houston has only allowed one passing touchdown and opponents are averaging just 163 passing yards a game. Wide receivers have scored an average of just 15.2 fantasy points per game against them, the third fewest in the NFL. Diggs led the Vikings in targets with 21 in the first two games but Kyle Rudolph has taken over as Sam Bradford’s top target since. Diggs has not seen a redzone target since the second game of the season. With the numbers down and the tough matchup, Diggs is a risky option in fantasy this week.
Bottom Line: Diggs is not much better than a WR3 vs Houston.
Will Fuller (at MIN)
Texans rookie Will Fuller has gotten off to a great start to his NFL career. In four starts, Fuller has 19 receptions for 323 yards and two touchdowns. He has at least one catch of over 25 yards in three out of four games. Fuller leads the Texans in targets, receptions and receptions inside the 20. He is tied with DeAndre Hopkins for most touchdowns and redzone targets on the team. That would all make him a great option in your lineup if it weren’t for this very difficult matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are giving up the second fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers (13.6). Opposing wideouts have only found the end zone once. No Giants receiver had more than 50 receiving yards against the Vikings on Monday Night Football. That includes Odell Beckham Jr. who was held to three catches for 23 yards. It will be tough sledding for Fuller in Minnesota.
Bottom Line: Fuller should be started with caution as a WR3 vs this elite Vikings squad.
Others with difficult matchups: DeVante Parker (vs TEN), Robert Woods (at LA), DeAndre Hopkins (at MIN)