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Week 5 Fantasy Sleepers: Trey Lance, Kenneth Gainwell go from top waiver pickups to starters

We’re through with one month of the regular season, but there are still under-the-radar guys every week with high upside. Whether these guys are on your roster or sitting in the pool of free agents, they have sneaky upside to help you take home a “W” in your matchups. Players like Trey Lance, Damien Williams, and Kenneth Gainwell are the types of players of the start ’em, sit ’em bubble, and we like their chances enough to put them on our Week 5 fantasy sleeper list.

It’s also worth noting that any of our selections could bust this week. We’re taking some chances here, as we don’t want to say anyone too obvious. (What fun is that?) You aren’t going to start these guys over consistent, proven producers, but you’re probably not searching for fantasy sleepers if your lineup is set. However, even if that’s the case, our sleepers list can help you find value in DFS, as the prices of these players should be affordable.

WEEK 5 FANTASY: Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em

Last week, our biggest wins were Chase Edmonds, Matt Ryan, Taylor Heinicke, Tyler Boyd, and Dawson Knox. Those were all borderline home runs. We also identified Jakobi Meyers and the Packers’ defense, who outperformed their projections. Even Trey Sermon was decent, with 19 carries for 89 yards. Our only significant whiff was Baker Mayfield. Needless to say, it was our best week, and hopefully, we can carry over the success into this week.

As always, we won’t bore anyone with obvious starters, but we’ll help you identify players with enhanced outlooks in Week 5.

WEEK 5 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Week 5 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs

Damien Williams, Bears @ Raiders (Jackson Sparks). The Raiders’ defense looked good until Austin Ekeler torched them, and Williams could play a similar role in this matchup. With David Montgomery (knee) likely sidelined, the Bears should open up their offense a bit and attack the weakness of the Raiders’ defense — their short-yardage passing game. Williams should benefit here in a possible workhorse role.

Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles @ Panthers (Vinnie Iyer). They might be experiencing a shift in their backfield with Gainwell’s efficient production, and Carolina couldn’t slow down Dallas’ duo last week.

Tony Pollard, Cowboys vs. Giants  (Matt Lutovsky). The Giants are middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs, but that’s largely because they’ve given up just two RB touchdowns. Individual backs have had success against them on the ground (two 100-yard rushing games) and through the air (two 80-yard receiving games). Ezekiel Elliott has reasserted himself as leader of this backfield after Pollard outshined him the first two weeks, but Pollard has still received double-digit carries in each of the past three games. He’ll do enough in this favorable matchup to be worth a flex spot.

WEEK 5 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks

Trey Lance, 49ers @ Cardinals (Sparks). We’ll see if Jimmy G (calf) is officially ruled out, but Lance has a nice chance at a solid fantasy week. Last week, he scored over 20 fantasy points in just one half, and he’ll likely be called on a lot as the Cardinals put points on the board early. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle will obviously help his chances to enjoy a successful first start and his rushing prowess present a nice fantasy floor and high ceiling. Even if he’s not ultra-efficient through the air, 50-plus yards and a touchdown on the ground wouldn’t be too surprising. After all, he’s the best goal-line option the 49ers have.

Zach Wilson, Jets vs. Falcons (Iyer). Wilson gets another favorable passing defense with the break of a neutral site.

Jameis Winston, Saints @ Washington (Lutovsky). Winston hasn’t done much since five-TD Week 1, but Washington has allowed two 300-yard passing games this season and 11 QB touchdowns over the past three weeks. It’s almost impossible for a QB not to produce against Washington. 

WEEK 5 DFS LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKings | Yahoo

Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers

Emmanuel Sanders, Bills @ Chiefs (Sparks). The Chiefs have allowed Marquise Brown, Mike Williams, and DeVonta Smith to go over 100 yards receiving, so why can’t Sanders do the same in one of the best offenses in football? After two modest weeks, Josh Allen is officially back, rivaling Patrick Mahomes as the best deep-ball thrower in the game. Allen is third in the NFL in air yards, and Sanders has already been the recipient of some of those deep targets. Against a weak Chiefs secondary, Sanders will have plenty of opportunities. It is worth nothing Sanders is more attractive in standard, while Cole Beasley is a great option in PPR.

Jakobi Meyers, Patriots at Texans (Iyer). He’s overall Mac Jones’ most trusted short-to-intermediate target now, and the matchup doesn’t get any better for the slot.

DeVante Parker, Dolphins @ Buccaneers (Lutovsky). No team is allowing more passing yards per game than the Bucs, and Parker is averaging eight targets and over four catches per contest. He gets the volume needed to produce a solid floor, and with what should be ample garbage-time opportunities, he also has a high ceiling this week. (Update: With Parker officially out, given Jaylen Waddle a big bump here.)

MORE WEEK 5 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder

Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends

Tyler Conklin, Vikings vs. Lions (Sparks). After a breakout performance in Week 3, Conklin wasn’t as prolific in Week 4 against the Browns. However, pretty much everyone except Justin Jefferson was shut down by Cleveland in that game. Conklin still drew six targets and heads into a matchup with a Lions’ defense that has been a bottom-10 unit against tight ends.

Dawson Knox, Bills @ Chiefs (Iyer). He’s red-hot scoring for Josh Allen, and Kansas City still has fundamental problems covering his position

Zach Ertz, Eagles @ Panthers (Lutovsky). The Panthers shut down the tight ends of teams that rarely throw to the position in Weeks 1-3 (Jets, Saints, Texans), but in Week 4, the Cowboys TEs torched them for 76 combined yards and two TDs. Philly’s passing attack, while less dynamic, is even more reliant on its TEs, especially in the red zone. Both Dallas Goedert and Ertz have value, but Ertz is the sneakier play. He’s tied for fifth among all TEs in red-zone targets (6), and he has 15 total targets the past two games.

WEEK 5 NFL PICKS ADVICE: Pick ’em pools | Survivor pools

Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Defense

Tennessee Titans @ Jaguars (Sparks). The Titans we a letdown against the Jets, but we’re giving them another shot this week. Even if the Jags’ have offensive success, Trevor Lawrence is liable to throw an interception or two. Two of the top three players in QB pressures this season are Myles Garrett and Joey Bosa. They are dominant presences and superstars in their own right. What if we told you No. 1 on the list was Titans’ LB Harold Landry with 23 pressures? This team is much better in pass-rush than people think, and it can generate sacks and turnovers to turn in a nice fantasy point total.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Bears (Iyer). The Raiders can get some sacks and turnovers even if they continue to give up some chunk plays and points.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Giants (Lutovsky). The Giants have been much better about taking care of the ball this year (three turnovers), but Dallas is second in the league with 10 takeaways. This big-play defense should force Daniel Jones into one or two classic mistakes.

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