Week 5 is here, and with it come the byes.
Four teams have this weekend off — the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins — meaning fantasy owners must plan accordingly by filling those empty lineup spots. Which players are worth rolling out there, and which players should you avoid?
Here are NESN.com’s top five starts and top five sits for Week 5.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
A rookie QB facing the NFL’s only unbeaten team doesn’t sound enticing — until you consider Watson has thrown for nearly 600 yards in his last two games, and the Kansas City Chiefs have the league’s 25th-ranked pass defense through four contests.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Hyde didn’t blow doors in Week 4, but stick with him this Sunday: The Indianapolis Colts have allowed six rushing touchdowns through four games, second-most in the NFL, and also surrendered 51 receiving yards and a touchdown to Seattle Seahawks running backs last week.
Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns
Johnson essentially is a wide receiver at this point, and that’s great news for fantasy owners, especially those in PPR leagues. The New York Jets just allowed 59 receiving yards and a touchdown to Leonard Fournette, so expect Johnson to get plenty of touches in the passing game.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Thielen caught nine passes for 157 yards in Sam Bradford’s only start this year, and the veteran QB could return to action in Week 5. Even if Case Keenum starts, though, Thielen is a solid play against a shaky Chicago Bears secondary.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
Cobb isn’t flashy, but he’s put up solid numbers in every game he’s played this season. The slot man finally could break out this Sunday versus a Dallas Cowboys defense that’s allowed a league-high 101 receptions this season — especially if Davante Adams is sidelined or limited with a concussion.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Don’t buy the hype, folks. Everyone is shredding the New England Patriots’ secondary these days, and Newton will have a much harder time duplicating his monster Week 4 in Detroit against the Lions, who lead the NFC with seven interceptions and are allowing just 236 passing yards per game.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
Again, look behind the optics here. Powell ran for 163 yards last Sunday, but 75 of those came on a fluke play where the defense thought he was down. He’s in a timeshare with rookie Elijah McGuire, and the Cleveland Browns — who get Myles Garrett back Sunday — have been surprisingly stout against the run.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
The arrow is pointing up on Mixon, as new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has made the rookie the featured back in Cincinnati’s offense. The production just hasn’t been there, though, and we’re avoiding him once again against a stout Buffalo Bills run defense.
Michael Crabtree/Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
For starters, Crabtree is questionable with a chest injury that kept him out of Week 4. But even if he plays, all Raiders receivers should be avoided this week, as backup QB EJ Manuel takes over for an Oakland offense that’s in all sorts of trouble right now.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
This looks like a good matchup on paper, as the Arizona Cardinals have been shaky against the pass. That’s no fault of Patrick Peterson’s, though, who likely will blanket the Eagles’ No. 1 wideout after limiting T.Y. Hilton, Dez Bryant and Pierre Garcon to under 100 yards — combined.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images