The first quarter of the 2017 season is in the books. There have been some surprising performances so far, both good and bad. Now we have to decide which first quarter stars can be trusted to continue their NFL fantasy ride and which ones we should sit before reality hits. Here are my thoughts on Week 5 start ‘em and sit ‘em choices.
Start this guy: Jameis Winston, TB vs New England Patriots
Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put together a run of good games in front of the Tampa faithful dating back to the midpoint of last season. In Week 4, Winston put up over 300 yards and three touchdowns against an above-average New York Giants pass defense. This week, he gets to face the league’s worst pass defense. Tom Brady will put up a battle to prevent the upset, but Winston will light up the NFL fantasy scoreboard again in a high-scoring matchup.
Sit this guy: Andy Dalton, CIN vs Buffalo Bills
New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has the Bengals believing in themselves after two good offensive showings. Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes in a game for the first time in years, but it is easy to feel good about your offense when you face the Green Bay and Cleveland defenses. This week, the Buffalo Bills will put that confidence and offense to the test. Buffalo is one of only two teams with a top-ten DS/T score in each of the first four weeks. Getting Tyler Eifert or John Ross back would help, but not enough for Dalton to maintain his upward trajectory this week.
Start this guy: Carson Palmer, ARI vs Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Palmer threw for over 300 yards for the third straight week, but only had one touchdown to show for it. Philadelphia is averaging 300 yards and two touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Arizona is coming together little by little after the loss of David Johnson; players are settling into roles and gaining confidence. Palmer will continue to fight through the limitations of his offensive line with a multi-touchdown game in the City of Brotherly Love, good for a top-ten NFL fantasy finish.
Sit this guy: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Let’s go against the trend and flush the notion that Ben always plays great in Pittsburgh. Two reasons his fantasy stat line won’t cut it in Week 5: first off, Jacksonville gives up the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other team by a good distance – their 6.14 points per game is a full three points better than second-best Buffalo. Second, Jacksonville gave up a 69-yard and a 75-yard touchdown run in the same game last week. This game will be the Le’Veon Bell show in Pittsburgh while Ben manages the game to the tune of a QB20-24 ranking.
Start this guy: Jared Goff, LAR vs Seattle Seahawks
You read that right. Start the upstart second-year wonder kid against the big bad Legion of Boom. This game is not being played in front of Seattle’s 12th man. Goff has looked poised in the face of a pass rush and shown intelligence with the ball all season. This will be his biggest test to date, but he will have to keep throwing to match the points Russell Wilson puts up against the Rams’ defense. There will be enough dump-offs to Todd Gurley to maintain a good floor, but I believe this game might produce two top-five passers in Week 5.
Sit this guy: Deshaun Watson, HOU vs Kansas City Chiefs
Deshaun Watson will play against a real pass defense for the first time in a few weeks. After having his way with the Patriots and Titans, Kansas City will bring a top-ten defense and the ninth-best D/ST versus quarterbacks to contend with. In Week 2 versus the 11th-ranked D/ST against quarterbacks, Watson went 15-24 for only 125 yards and no scores. He has progressed enough to top that, but he will be held largely in check by the Chiefs.
Week 5 flash-in-the-pan prediction:
Eli Manning hasn’t been as awful as the Giants have looked this season. His 17.1 points per game is number 9 on the leaderboard – but no one saw this week coming. The Giants’ fourth offensive line combination and a new rookie running back will help Eli rack up 5 touchdown passes and 350 yards to beat the Chargers for the first time in his career.
Full disclosure: Another 50-50 quarterback day
Last week, three of my six recommendations were technically correct (top 12 or over QB12), but a few were close. My biggest mistake was sitting Jameis Winston who wound up with a QB7 ranking and 26.48 points. I should have switched him with Trevor Siemian who threw a touchdown on his first possession and then disappeared. This week will be better!
If you have a question about NFL fantasy football, send it to [email protected]. We’ll answer it as part of our Mailbag post every Wednesday.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?