Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Week 5 lineup advice, best matchups, DFS picks

Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season is the first with bye weeks, making fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em decisions even more challenging than usual. Thanks to early-season busts, mounting injury issues, and even some positive factors, such as surprise breakouts and returning stars, it’s getting tougher to figure out the best starts and sits in a given week.

Before getting into the regular dose of fantasy start ’em sit ’em lineup advice, just keep in mind the Browns, Buccaneers, Chargers and Seahawks are off in Week 5. That means you won’t have Deshaun Watson, Jerome Ford, Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, DK Metcalf, Kenneth Walker, Tyler Lockett, among others.

Here’s a look at “The Decider’s” Week 5 rankings and recommendations for season-long leagues, along with some DFS values to target on DraftKings and FanDuel. If you have specific lineup questions, check out RotoBaller’s industry-leading “Who To Start?” tool below and compare up to four players across all positions.


MORE: Click here to become a RotoBaller VIP subscriber and receive exclusive access to their Premium VIP lineup tools, DFS cheat sheets, Lineup Optimizer, and Team Sync platform to give you custom tools and advice! Use discount code SPORTING.

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Fantasy Football Week 5 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Must starts

  1. Josh Allen, Bills (vs. JAX in London)
  2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (at MIN)
  3. Jalen Hurts, Eagles (at LAR)
  4. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (vs. NYG)
  5. Anthony Richardson, Colts (vs. TEN)
  6. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (at PIT)
  7. Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. KC)
  8. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (vs. BUF in London)

Stronger starts

9. Jordan Love, Packers (at LV). You can’t spell Love without LV, and you can feel good about him delivering again in what should be a home-like road game against a bad Raiders defense.

10. C.J. Stroud, Texans (at ATL). Stroud is sturdy with his pocket passing, and it’s hard to run on the Falcons. He should be on point spreading the ball around on the road.

11. Sam Howell, Commanders (vs. CHI). He’s an excellent streamer against a terrible defense at home on Thursday night, getting in another fine start with his arm and legs.

12. Justin Fields, Bears (at WAS). Fields still was a little sloppy in his stellar outing vs. the Broncos — and the Commanders’ defense isn’t so easy to burn on the road — but there’s more confidence he’s re-established his floor.

13. Jared Goff, Lions (vs. CAR). Goff is playing well in reality, but those numbers tend to come more at home in the afternoon than on the road at night. Fire him up in an early home game on Sunday.

14. Matthew Stafford, Rams (vs. PHI). Stafford is throwing a ton, and you can’t do much vs. the Eagles on the ground. This should be a pleasing negative game script at home.

15. Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders (if he returns, vs. GB). He has extra time to return from his concussion, and attached to Davante Adams in a revenge game, he can put up nice digits opposite Jordan Love.

DFS picks

Anthony Richardson, Colts (vs. TEN, $7,000 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel). He keeps finding a path to big numbers, either rallying his team late or doing enough damage early even when he can’t finish a game. He’s been right there with Lamar Jackson in dual-threat fun, and it will keep flowing in this favorable passing matchup.

Zach Wilson, Jets (at DEN, $4,900 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel). He’s not a recommended season-long play, but he’s cheap coming off his best game (ever?). This is the best matchup possible, even if he gets behind.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Fantasy Football Week 5 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Weaker starts

16. Joe Burrow, Bengals (at ARI). It’s hard to believe this is where we are in Week 5, but you might need him to “get well” first to trust him again.

17. Brock Purdy, 49ers (vs. DAL). This should be another Run CMC game to attack the Cowboys’ defensive weakness, and Purdy will be more contained with his yards and TDs through the air.

18. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (at SF). Dak has been disappointing in both favorable and unfavorable matchups, and nothing changes here with the latter on the road.

19. Josh Dobbs, Cardinals (vs. CIN). The Bengals’ pass rush and secondary will need to win this game for them.

20. Russell Wilson, Broncos (vs. NYJ). He won’t be DangeRuss vs. an elite pass defense in a neutral game script.

21. Zach Wilson, Jets (at DEN). He’s tempting, but it could easily blow up in your face on the road.

22. Derek Carr, Saints (at NE). Baby, you can park this Carr with his bad shoulder and worse matchup.

23. Daniel Jones, Giants (vs. SEA). Daniel is traveling tonight right to your bench…and maybe off your roster.

WEEK 5 FANTASY ADVICE: Sleepers | Busts | Projections

Fantasy Football Week 5 Start ‘Em: Running backs

Must starts

  1. Bijan Robinson, Falcons (vs. HOU)
  2. Christian McCaffrey, 49ers (vs. DAL)
  3. David Montgomery, Lions (vs. CAR)
  4. Brian Robinson Jr., Commanders (vs. CHI)
  5. Josh Jacobs, Raiders (vs. GB)
  6. Aaron Jones, Packers (at LV)
  7. Tony Pollard, Cowboys (at SF)
  8. Derrick Henry, Titans (at IND)
  9. De’Von Achane, Dolphins (vs. NYG)
  10. D’Andre Swift, Eagles (at LAR)
  11. Joe Mixon, Bengals (at CIN)
  12. Saquon Barkley, Giants (at MIA)
  13. Raheem Mostert, Dolphins (vs. NYG)
  14. Alvin Kamara, Saints (at NE)
  15. Travis Etienne, Jaguars (vs. BUF in London)
  16. James Conner, Cardinals (vs. CIN)

Stronger starts

17. Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs (at MIN). He should keep delivering “angry runs” on the road to support a passing game working out some kinks.

18. Breece Hall, Jets (at DEN). Hall might get just 10-12 touches, but the Broncos are giving up a ton of big runs. He can deliver just that with his speed and explosiveness.

19. Jaleel McLaughlin, Broncos (vs. NYJ). The little dude is bound to be deployed heavily for Sean Payton with not much of anyone else minus Javonte Williams (hip). He can pull a Hall on the flip side.

20. Alexander Mattison, Vikings (vs. KC). They keep trusting him even though Cam Akers looked good in a limited role early. Let’s hope they keep giving him nice touches.

21. James Cook, Bills (vs. JAX in London). Cook scored last week, but let’s hope the game script stays somewhat competitive so he stays on the field to produce.

22. Kyren Williams, Rams (at PHI). You are probably rolling him out based on volume, but you should keep in mind he might be even more TD-dependent this week while banged up and facing a brutal run D, so Stafford will need to set him up for paydirt.

23. Jonathan Taylor, Colts (vs. TEN). Look, if he’s in for Indy, he’s in for you. He just will need to get it done more as a receiver vs. another brutal run D.

24. Khalil Herbert, Bears (at WAS). He’s still holding off Roschon Johnson for the feature work and should be active from scrimmage again.

25. Gus Edwards, Ravens (at PIT). There’s a good chance the Bus drives into the end zone in honor of former Steeler Jerome Bettis.

DFS Picks

Breece Hall, Jets (at DEN, $5,400 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel). Hall is a weird stack you can make with Wilson because of his passing game usage being bumped and a chance to explode for multiple scores.

David Montgomery, Lions (vs. CAR, $6,600 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel). Monty can keep up his ridiculous scoring work as the no-longer sneaky feature guy. It helps that the Panthers are very giving on the road.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Fantasy Football Week 5 Sit ‘Em: Running backs

Weaker starts

26. Dameon Pierce, Texans (at ATL). The Falcons are actually tough against the run, and he may not be used as much in receiving and scoring situations on the road.

27. Tyler Allgeier, Falcons (vs. HOU). Yes, the Texans’ run defense stinks, but there’s no guarantee he will see the needed touches behind Bijan.

28. Miles Sanders, Panthers (at DET). It’s getting a little dicey with his groin injury and bad offensive line, and the Lions have been stout vs. the run of late.

29. Najee Harris, Steelers (vs. BAL). He still wasn’t all that impressive in Houston, and this matchup is also uninspiring.

30. Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots (vs. NO). You want to play the idea of him, but so far, the whole New England offense has been a letdown. This isn’t a “get well” game.

31. Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions (vs. CAR). Gibbs just isn’t seeing the ball enough in high-leverage rushing and receiving situations to work as a viable flex.

32. Jaylen Warren, Steelers (vs. BAL). Warren might get a little more work here, but it won’t add up to much.

33. Zack Moss, Colts (vs. TEN). He won’t be totally phased out behind Jonathan Taylor, but it will be “no mas” for his workhorse role.

Fantasy Football Week 5 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers

Must starts

  1. Davante Adams, Raiders (vs. GB)
  2. Tyreek Hill, Dolphins (vs. NYG)
  3. Justin Jefferson, Vikings (vs. KC)
  4. Stefon Diggs, Bills (vs. JAX in London)
  5. A.J. Brown, Eagles (at LAR)
  6. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions (vs. CAR)
  7. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (at ARI)
  8. Puka Nacua, Rams (vs. PHI)
  9. Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (vs. DAL)
  10. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (at SF)
  11. DeVonta Smith, Eagles (at LAR)
  12. Chris Olave, Saints (vs.TB)
  13. Calvin Ridley, Jaguars (vs. BUF in London)
  14. Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (vs. NYG)
  15. Gabe Davis, Bills (vs. JAX in London)
  16. Deebo Samuel, 49ers (vs. DAL)
  17. Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (vs. TEN)
  18. Terry McLaurin, Commanders (vs. CHI)
  19. Garrett Wilson, Jets (at DEN)
  20. Tank Dell, Texans (at ATL)
  21. DJ Moore, Bears (at WAS)
  22. Zay Flowers, Ravens (at PIT)
  23. Christian Kirk, Jaguars (vs. BUF in London)
  24. Nico Collins, Texans (at ATL)

Stronger starts

25. Romeo Doubs, Packers (at LV). He keeps bringing it, and this is a pretty sweet coverage spot for him with a dealing Jordan Love.

26. Marquise Brown, Cardinals (vs. CIN). He’s clicking now well with Joshua Dobbs, and the Bengals can struggle with his perimeter speed.

27. Christian Watson, Packers (at LV). He is a good bet to score opposite Davante Adams.

28. Jakobi Meyers, Raiders (vs. GB). He’ll be busy away from Jaire Alexander, assuming that top corner is even healthy.

29. Adam Thielen, Panthers (at DET). He’s the best and only option now to trust in this passing game for WR3 numbers.

30. Tutu Atwell, Rams (vs. PHI). Atwell cooled off in Indy, but he should get busy here against a leaky secondary vs. his speed.

31. Rashee Rice, Chiefs (at MIN). If there’s ever a week for his rookie breakout, it would be here with bumped-up snaps against a bad secondary.

32. Michael Wilson, Cardinals (vs. CIN). Speaking of rookie breakout, he’s playable again playing off Hollywood.

DFS picks

Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (vs. TEN, $6,400 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel). He can’t put up another clunker like last week, and this spot seems smash-able against a legit bad pass defense.

Zay Flowers, Ravens (at PIT, $5,500 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel). You can buy yourself some Flowers … and write his name in the sand … he will have a big game like Nico Collins did last week.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Titans (at IND, $3,500 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel). He’s still looking like their underrated top receiver despite the changes in the offense. He also needs to do very little of significance in a great matchup to give you 3X-4X return.

Fantasy Football Week 5 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers

Weaker starts

33. DeAndre Hopkins, Titans (at IND). He’s not being used well by their passing game, and Westbrook-Ikhine has a better chance on the road now.

34. Courtland Sutton, Broncos (vs. NYJ). He’s about to get Sauced.

35. George Pickens, Steelers (vs. BAL). Mitchell Trubisky isn’t good news for him.

36. Drake London, Falcons (vs. HOU). Ugh. He scores when you don’t expect it and does nothing when you do.

37. Michael Thomas, Saints (at NE). Let’s hope Chris Olave does something with Derek Carr, but don’t bother Thomas.

38. Jerry Jeudy, Broncos (vs. NYJ). He gets a tough spot vs. either D.J. Reed or Michael Carter.

37. Jordan Addison, Vikings (vs. KC). He’s become boom-or-bust as a rookie, and you should expect the latter here.

38. Jahan Dotson, Commanders (vs. CHI). You want to believe it might happen in this matchup, but really you need to see it.

39. Jayden Reed, Packers (at LV). He’s not a bad idea, but he needs a big play and/or TD to be viable.

Fantasy Football Week 5 Start ‘Em: Tight ends

Must starts

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (at MIN)
  2. T.J. Hockenson, Vikings (vs. KC)
  3. Mark Andrews, Ravens (at PIT)
  4. Sam LaPorta, Lions (vs. CAR)
  5. George Kittle, 49ers (vs. DAL)
  6. Darren Waller, Giants (at MIA)
  7. Evan Engram, Jaguars (vs. BUF in London)

Stronger starts

8. Dallas Goedert, Eagles (at LAR). He hasn’t done much, but this matchup screams for a short TD.

9. Tyler Higbee, Rams (vs. PHI). He has a sweet matchup, and his increased usage last week was encouraging.

10. Jake Ferguson, Cowboys (at SF). You can do a lot worse than Ferguson, who’s basically the new Dalton Schultz.

11. Dalton Kincaid, Bills (vs. JAX in London). Is he the new Dawson Knox? Maybe very soon.

12. Tyler Conklin, Jets (at DEN). Whoa? Really? Really. See Kmet, Cole in Week 4.

13. Zach Ertz, Cardinals (vs. CIN). He should be a lot more involved in the passing game this week playing off Marquise Brown and Michael Wilson.

DFS pick

Travis Kelce, Chiefs (at MIN, $7,800 DraftKings, $8,789 FanDuel). Don’t be turned off by the high price or the weird price. He didn’t score for the Swifties last week, so he makes up for it with two scores along with a hundy in yardage in what can be a high-scoring game.

Fantasy Football Week 5 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends

Weaker starts

14. Luke Musgrave, Packers (if he plays, at LV). The idea of Musgrave in this matchup sounds good, but he’s really hard to trust for enough targets.

15. Cole Kmet, Bears (at WAS). Nyet. Washington will cool him down quickly after his big game.

16. Kyle Pitts, Falcons (vs. HOU). But you already Jon-nu this.

17. Hunter Henry, Patriots (vs. NO). His usage seems suddenly fickle with a cold Mac Jones, and the Saints tend to erase the position.

18. Hayden Hurst, Panthers (at DET). The Lions can be giving to the position, but the Panthers haven’t been using him much since Week 1.

19. Chigoziem Okonkwo, Titans (at IND). Another theoretical good talent, another misused player.

Fantasy Football Week 5 Start ‘Em: Defenses

Stronger starts

  1. Ravens (at PIT)
  2. Commanders (vs. CHI)
  3. Dolphins (vs. NYG)
  4. 49ers (vs. DAL)
  5. Lions (vs. CAR)
  6. Bills (vs. JAX in London)

7. Patriots (vs. NO). They get to face a dented-up Carr.

8. Saints (at NE). They get to face a Mac in need of repair.

9. Eagles (at LAR). There can be some sacks and turnover opportunities vs. Stafford to give them good value on the road.

10. Chiefs (at MIN). There can be some sacks and turnover opportunities vs. Cousins to give them good value on the road.

11. Texans (at ATL). Ridder is a mistake-riddled machine at the moment.

12. Jets (at DEN). Look for them to fly a Mile High against Russ and his o-line.

DFS pick

Dolphins (vs. NYG, $3,600 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel). The Giants are an absolute mess. They will be set up to be rocked by falling behind big early and then allowing a swarm to go after Daniel Jones. Xavien Howard … to the house? We can totally see it now.

Fantasy Football Week 5 Sit ‘Em: Defenses

Weaker starts

13. Cowboys (at SF). No good numbers are to be had vs. the Niners.

14. Broncos (vs. NYJ). It’s a trap because they are that bad.

15. Packers (at LV). They have key injuries and are not playing well.

16. Bengals (at ARI). They will be better for reality than fantasy this week.

17. Colts (vs. TEN). They can have their moments, but they’re not good overall behind their line.

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