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Fantasy football advice, Week 5: who to start/sit for New England Patriots vs. Cleveland Browns

Dan Ciarrocchi reviews who should be on fantasy lineups and benches for Sunday’s matchup between two teams trending in opposite directions.

NFL: Preaseason-New England Patriots at New York Giants Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy owners have much to factor into their decisions for Week 5, whether it is four teams on bye weeks, or Hurricane Matthew’s winds potentially whipping around in football stadiums along the East Coast. In the meantime, fantasy owners can have some clarity in setting lineups by looking at Week 5’s matchups, one at a time.

New England Patriots

Start ‘em

Tom Brady. Can we say “start Tom Brady” again? Yeah, it’s time. The Browns have surrendered 10 passing touchdowns through the air including three to Kirk Cousins in Week 4. Brady and his No. 1 receiver Julian Edelman have to be in lineups of all formats. LeGarrette Blount, who led the NFL in rushing entering Week 4 should also be penned into lineups facing a defense that is surrendering 118.3 rushing yards per game. Though Blount’s workload will likely shrink throughout the season with Brady being the focal point of the offense once again, Week 5 provides a good enough matchup for the bruising back to be started.

Start ‘em?

Rob Gronkowski hasn’t been right this season, which his fantasy owners don’t really need to be reminded of. But after having his snap percentage reach a season-high of 67 percent in Week 4 and with Brady’s return, Gronkowski’s stock is trending upward. He is a boom or bust TE1, but with few reliable options at tight end across the board, fantasy owners should be glad to have Gronk’s upside at their disposal.

Martellus Bennett is coming off of a 100-yard output, but with concerns of having a lack of chemistry with Brady surfacing, Bennett can also be considered a volatile TE1 option.

James White could garner flex consideration with Brady’s reinsertion into the lineup as well. It is also worth noting if Blount is unexpectedly scratched after having limited practice sessions, White would be a must-start.

Sit ‘em

Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan have upside, but not enough to garner starting consideration.

Cleveland Browns

Start ‘em

Terrelle Pryor saved his fantasy output with a touchdown catch in Week 4, but otherwise was slowed by Josh Norman. The Patriots have always been good at taking away their opponent’s top weapon, and it’s difficult to imagine Pryor running wild. That said, game script and his overall talent still put him in WR2 territory.

Isaiah Crowell leads a backfield that is tops in the NFL, averaging 5.7 yards per carry on the season. The Patriots run defense has been middle-of-the-road so far, but scoring does not come easily against them, having only surrendered two rushing touchdowns on the season. Usage puts Crowell squarely in RB2 territory, but his upside may be capped in Week 5 as opposed to other weeks with better matchups. Duke Johnson should be in all PPR lineups after logging 15 touches in back-to-back weeks.

Sit ‘em

Gary Barnidge and Cody Kessler simply do not present much upside. Barnidge should only be started in desperate lineups that need a replacement for Travis Kelce, Julius Thomas, Jimmy Graham, or Coby Fleener, who are all on bye weeks.