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Fantasy football, Week 5: Quarterbacks to start and sit

We break down the top starting options at quarterback this week, along with some players who should be avoided. 

New York Giants v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Week 5 of the fantasy football season is here, and we're back with another crop of start/sit options. We have a nice set of data about each team through four weeks, and can make informed decisions on good plays and traps. With that in mind, we'll pick quarterbacks who should exceed expectations in Week 5, along with three you should probably sit.


Eli Manning, New York Giants vs. Los Angeles Chargers

I was a Manning truther before the season. I saw the improvement in receiving options with Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram and knowing the Giants were still running-challenged, I figured Eli would be throwing constantly and racking up fantasy goodness. After the first two weeks, my faith was severely tested. But now that Odell Beckham Jr. is back playing and Marshall isn’t dropping the ball and Engram is growing more comfortable in the offense each week, it’s all come together as planned. This week should be no different against the reeling Chargers playing their fifth consecutive road game.

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs

I don’t know if everyone is on the Watson train yet, even after his past two weeks of awesome. You should be, even if a matchup against the undefeated Chiefs seems like a daunting task for the rookie. It should be noted that the Chiefs have allowed the second-most rushing yards to quarterbacks this season, and they are playing on the road on a short week. In general, the Chiefs’ home/road splits in terms of offensive production allowed are pretty significant. All aboard!

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles

You want to beat the Eagles? You attack them through the air. No problem for Palmer, who has been chucking the ball all over the field since David Johnson went down. Andre Ellington has become a huge pass-catching weapon out of the backfield and John Brown is back in the mix at receiver along with Jaron Brown and the ageless Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals might not win, but they will put up stats, and Palmer is the engine that drives that bus.


Philip Rivers, Chargers at Giants

You have to feel bad for Rivers. He loved playing in San Diego, and he still lives there. This new set-up in Los Angeles is crushing his soul. Now he has to play a 1 p.m. ET road game, a spot where he has historically struggled. Making matters worse, the Giants’ secondary is among the best in the league. This man needs a hug. And a spot on your bench this week.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions

Needless to say, this has not been a good week for Mr. Newton. And it’s probably not going to be any better on the field against the Lions defense, which has not allowed much production to quarterbacks all season. Newton had a huge game against the Patriots last week, but before Thursday night, everyone was having huge games against the Patriots. Before last week, Newton looked terrible. I suspect terrible Newton is much more likely to be on display this week — if it hasn’t already.

Alex Smith, Chiefs at Texans

Smith has been nothing short of sensational this season, as a passer and a runner. After a slow start on Monday night, he carved up Washington over the final 35 minutes for his second-best performance out of four gems. But this game, on the road on a short week, has letdown written all over it. The Texans’ pass rush is better than anything Smith has faced all season. I think Smith will have a good game, but nothing like what he’s done thus far. Maybe “sit him” is too strong, but definitely lower your expectations.