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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 5: Wide receivers

We examine which receivers belong in your fantasy lineup this week, and which ones belong on the bench.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The fantasy football season is getting into the meat of the bye weeks, which means owners will be forced to sit their studs. This week's top receivers on bye include the likes of Doug Baldwin, Allen Robinson, Jeremy Maclin, Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, and many others. That's a lot of big names owners have to replace on short notice.

With injuries and byes stretching rosters thin, owners may need to consider starting lower-level receivers they might otherwise not consider. With that in mind, let's take a look at a few receivers worth gambling on in Week 5, along with a few you should probably stay away from.


Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans (at Miami Dolphins)

Sharpe has undoubtedly struggled this season, and it's understandable if fantasy owners in 10-team leagues have already moved on. That said, he's still the clear-cut No. 1 receiver, leading the team with 32 targets. In addition, the Dolphins' secondary is a mess right now, and got chewed up by A.J. Green last Thursday night. Sharpe is no Green, of course, but he's not a bad bet to have his best game of the season to date here.

Will Fuller, Houston Texans (at Minnesota Vikings)

Normally we'd recommend all receivers to be hands-off when they play Minnesota. The Vikings' defense is just too good. However, Fuller is a unique talent who can break big plays from any point in the field, so far as Brock Osweiler gets him the ball in good spots (admittedly that's not a given). As good as Minnesota's defense is, it's prone to giving up big gains out of the slot position, as evidenced by Paul Perkins' 67-yard catch-and-run last week. That big-play potential is just enough to keep Fuller on the WR3 map this week.

Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

Eric Decker is out for the foreseeable future, elevating Enunwa to the default No. 2 receiver next to Brandon Marshall. In addition, the Jets might have to air out the ball all day if they want to keep pace with the Steelers' electric offensive attack. Target volume alone should make Enunwa a passable flex play this week against Pittsburgh's suspect secondary.


Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Washington)

Wallace isn't lacking for looks, averaging 6.75 targets per game. However, he's been a predictable boom-or-bust fantasy player this year, scoring three touchdowns but failing to reach 50 yards since Week 1. The resurgence of a healthy Steve Smith hasn't helped matters, either. Wallace will have his moments, but good luck predicting when he'll go off. He's a long shot gamble even against Washington's 25th-ranked pass defense.

Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)

Tate not only shouldn't be started, he probably shouldn't even be owned in 12-team leagues right now. The Lions have vowed to get Tate more involved in the offense, but we'll believe it when we see it. Sixteen touches for 90 total yards is just not going to cut it for fantasy owners. Tate is quickly becoming an afterthought in Detroit.

Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons (at Denver Broncos)

Despite the Falcons raining down yards and points, Sanu hasn't really done much of note this year. After a promising Week 1, Sanu has disappeared in subsequent weeks and has just 13 catches for 152 yards through four games. He's also dealing with a shoulder injury and is a distant third in targets behind Julio Jones and Jacob Tamme. Sanu can be ignored against the Broncos' elite secondary.