Fantasy Football Week 5 Preview: Players that will disappoint

New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) carries the ball against the New York Jets during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo by Seth Wenig/AP Photo.

Sometimes in the battleground that is fantasy football, one must zig while others zag. Perhaps that looks like not drafting a running back until round seven. Perhaps it even looks like benching your WR2 before he can play on Monday night because the fantasy app says you have a 3% chance of winning and it could be the difference between the first and second waiver spot. Regardless of whether or not I tried the second example and it blew up in my face, taking new approaches to some of your decisions can be helpful. 

Keeping this in mind, as opposed to looking at promising players that have good matchups or  are earning more opportunities, let’s utilize the process of elimination when making start/sit decisions. Here are a few players that should be cheering on the team from your bench this week. 

Rhamondre Stevenson vs. New Orleans

Stevenson has struggled this year, and although there may be light at the end of the tunnel, it may take at least one more week to reach it. His usage is solid, but the Patriots’ offense has struggled to consistently get into the red zone. This should happen again this week as they face a strong New Orleans defense that has been particularly tough against running backs. They have given up the eighth fewest points per game to the position and that trend should continue in what projects to be a low scoring matchup. 

Calvin Ridley @ Buffalo

Ever since turning in a monster performance in the first half of week one, Ridley has been nothing short of disappointing. He has struggled with drops and, for the time being, has surrendered the WR1 role to Christian Kirk. This week, the Jaguars take on the defense that just held the explosive Miami offense to only two touchdowns. More importantly, they held the star duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to a combined seven catches for a hair over 100 yards. Ridley may be able to bounce back at some point, but it likely won’t be this week. 

Kyle Pitts vs. Houston

This is not a matchup-dependent pick. Pitts should not sniff starting lineups for the rest of the season until he shows significant signs of life. He has been entirely fantasy irrelevant thus far, and it’s time to start considering the fact that it’s not entirely Desmond Ridder’s fault. Over the past two weeks, fellow tight end Jonnu Smith has more targets, catches and yards. Drake London, although disappointing, has still found a way to work in a few solid performances so far. With other Atlanta receiving options finding some form of success, Pitts’ stark lack of output begs the question as to whether he is the issue. Regardless of who is at fault, stay away from Pitts until further notice. 

Miles Sanders @ Detroit

The Lions have given up the fifth fewest fantasy points in the league to opposing running backs. Sanders is battling a groin injury and, even when healthy, has been touchdown dependent. Jared Goff and the Detroit offense play markedly better at home, which generally leads to negative game scripts for running backs when the opposing offense isn’t good enough to keep up; Carolina’s offense is one of these. All of this is a recipe for a game where the Lions go up early and the Panthers are forced to abandon the run game and, more specifically, keep a hobbled Sanders on the bench. Fantasy managers should follow suit as the current sample size, health situation and matchup are all less than ideal. 

Alexander Mattison vs. Kansas City

Kansas City hasn’t allowed a single good fantasy performance for an opposing running back all season. They’ve blanked the likes of Jahmyr Gibbs, Travis Etienne Jr., Khalil Herbert, Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook. The closest was David Montgomery, who turned a pedestrian stat line into an okay day by punching in a touchdown. The Lions have since proved that their rushing attack is very, very good, meaning the Chiefs defense is also very, very good. Mattison is yet to score his first touchdown this year, and the Chiefs are unlikely to give it up to him. In a matchup with a huge implied scoring total, the Vikings passing offense will have to be in full force to keep up. This means good things for Jefferson and Addison owners; however, Mattison owners should be avoiding him this week at all costs. 

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