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Fantasy football expert Nate Hamilton shares his top starts and sits for Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season. Take a look at the players you should be high or low on this week.

Fantasy Football Week 5: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

Start and sit decisions each week in fantasy football are challenging to balance. Which players you start versus who you leave on the bench will often come back to bite you.

In this weekly Start/Sit article, I’ll aim to guide you in making those difficult decisions. Each week of football presents a whole new list of opportunities for players you may not think about starting. The same goes for higher-profile players. It may not always be sunshine and rainbows for your “every week” starters. There will be weeks that force you to make the tough choice to bench a great player.

My goal is to provide you with enough information to help you make roster decisions that you will feel confident about and have it work out for you each week.

If you have any questions for Nate, follow him on Twitter at @DomiNateFF!

Fantasy Football Week 5 Starts

Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots (at Houston Texans)

Damien Harris rushed for -4 yards in Week 4. Yes, negative four yards. Many may overreact to such a terrible performance, but there were reasons for it. Much like the Cowboys’ plan against the Buccaneers in Week 1, the Patriots abandoned the run game against Tampa Bay’s front seven.

The Houston Texans have yet to allow a running back to rush for over 100 yards this season. They did, however, allow the combination of Zack Moss and Devin Singletary to rush for a total of 28 times for 140 yards and a score in Week 4.

The Patriots are going to want and reestablish their run game this week and Damien Harris is the guy in that backfield to accomplish it.

J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team (vs. New Orleans Saints)

The Washington Football Team’s backfield has a challenging matchup in Week 5. The New Orleans Saints have given up the 10th-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year.

So why play J.D. Mckissic? As good as the Texans have been against the rush, they have allowed some decent production from running backs on the receiving side. This is McKissic’s specialty and I expect the Saints to put points on the board against an underwhelming Washington defense.

The game script should call for McKissic to get more involved in this game. If you are in need of filling a running back spot or even a flex, give J.D. McKissic some consideration.

Antonio Brown, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Miami Dolphins)

Tom Brady was excited to have Antonio Brown back from the reserve/COVID-19 injured list last week and it showed. Brady targeted Brown 11 times against their former team, the New England Patriots. Antonio Brown caught 7 balls for 63 yards. He had a couple of deep opportunities in the game that could have resulted in touchdowns, but the weather was awful for pass catchers.

Antonio Brown joins Mike Evans and Chris Godwin with over 200 receiving yards on the season. Brown is keeping pace with one fewer game than his teammates. Expect him to be heavily targeted again in Week 5, hopefully, with much better weather conditions.

Additional Week 5 Starts

  • Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills (at Kansas City Chiefs)
  • Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (at Carolina Panthers)

Fantasy Football Week 5 Sits

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys (vs. New York Giants)

This one pains me as both a Cowboys fan and someone who considered CeeDee Lamb to be a top-10 wideout heading into this season. Not to say this still can’t happen, but things are looking rough.

In his last two games, Lamb has caught just 5 passes for 79 total yards. Only 13 receiving yards in Week 4. Surprisingly, tight end, Dalton Schultz has been Dak Prescott’s top target the last couple of games and is tied with CeeDee Lamb with 20 receptions on the season.

Until we see Lamb more involved in this offense, it may be best to bench him for a more consistent and safer option.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Myles Gaskin was believed to have won the offseason and it appeared he would be the workhorse back for the Miami Dolphins in 2021. He has just four more carries than Malcolm Brown and has failed to score through four games.

We’ve seen this story before with more talented running backs, teams quickly give up on the run game against the Buccaneers. The Bucs have allowed just one rushing touchdown from running backs on the season. Only one running back has rushed for more than 38 yards against the Tampa Bay offense in 2021.

Gaskin’s lack of production paired with the Buccaneers’ front seven screams for you to sit Myles Gaskin in Week 5 at all costs.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Denver Broncos)

JuJu Smith-Schuster has been disappointing, to say the least. His target numbers have been there, but he hasn’t been able to convert the volume into fantasy production. He’s not all to blame here. Ben Roethlisberger has gotten off to a terrible start to the season as well, and when your quarterback is struggling, it makes for a challenging day at the office.

Smith-Schuster’s best performance came in Week 1. He caught 4 of 8 targets for just 52 yards. His receiving numbers have steadily declined each week since.

I refuse to believe Juju Smith-Schuster will continue to struggle this much for the rest of the season. I do believe his turnaround will not come in Week 5 against the Broncos’ defense who haven’t allowed a 100-yard performance to a wide receiver since Week 1.

Additional Week 5 Sits

  • Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (at Los Angeles Chargers)
  • Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (at Carolina Panthers)

Article Author


Nate Hamilton has produced high-quality content for some of the top fantasy football sites including FantasyPros, The Fantasy Footballers, The Game Day, and now OddsChecker! He is a co-author of Amazon's #1 Best Selling "The Fantasy Football Black Book" with Joe Pisapia. He lives on Twitter: @DomiNateFF


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