I’ve rebranded the classic fantasy football start sit column into “Roasts & Ghosts”. A roast is a player who is not only a clear start, but is in for a monster game. A ghost meanwhile is a player who could just be a typical sit, but also might be a star player who gives you less than you were expecting. I have a roast and a ghost for each position to help you set your best lineups for Week 5.
Before we get into this week, tip of the cap to Jonathan Taylor, Jakobi Meyers, and Jalen Hurts for making me look good picking them to be roasts last week. James Robinson on the other hand, further cemented the notion that I should never pick a roast or a ghost from a Thursday night game because they are wild and crazy. That’s not just be saying that, that has been proven through science.
Let’s get into Week 5.
Roast: Kirk Cousins vs Detroit Lions
Kirk Cousins was the QB6 in all of fantasy up until last week. He faced a tough Browns defense (more on them later) and got bumped down to QB13 on the year. Get ready for Cousins to step out of the plastic box that confined him last week and back into elite QB1 territory.
The Lions have been average when it comes to fantasy points surrendered to opposing QBs. However, they’re anything but average when it comes to actually defending the pass. Detroit’s pass defense ranks 29th in the league per NEFF rating, and are giving up a staggering 10.59 yards per attempt (most in the NFL by far). An inter-divisional battle, at home, coming off a tough offensive outing, this game has all the pieces for a massive bounce-back game for both Cousins and the Vikings’ pass catchers. Start confidently.
Ghost: Justin Herbert vs Cleveland Browns
The Browns pass defense has been one of the best in the NFL to start the year. They rank top-10 in pass defense NEFF rating and have allowed just 835 total passing yards through 4 games (5th best in the league). Like I said above, they held a red-hot Kirk Cousins to easily his lowest output on the year last week. Herbert has yet to really be tested by a defense this year, playing the third-easiest slate of pass defenses thus far. His first real test of the year could lend itself to a ghost performance.
Roast: Leonard Fournette vs Miami Dolphins
It may feel wrong to put your trust and faith in both Leonard Fournette and this Buccaneers’ backfield, but the fifth-year back has proven he deserves a starting place in your lineup. He’s coming off his best game of the season against the Patriots in which he dominated the backfield touches. He carried the ball 20 times for 91 yards and added 47 yards through the air on 3 catches. For as much as we made fun of Fournette last year for being the Bucs’ primary pass catching back, he’s looked a lot better in that role this year. Fournette’s catch percentage is a whole 10 percent better than last year (86% vs 76%).
The confidence in Fournette this week isn’t just because he’s the No. 1 back in Tampa. It’s also because the Dolphins have struggled this year to defend the run. They’re currently giving up the third-most fantasy points to the position and tied for the second-most rushing touchdowns. Struggling Jonathan Taylor finally was able to get right against Miami’s poor defense last week. Fournette comes with an RB2 floor and RB1 upside this week.
Ghost: Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs Buffalo Bills
Those Clyde Edwards-Helaire managers who were patient to start the year have been enjoying a great two weeks. CEH has rushed for over 100 yards and scored a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. Enjoy the ride while it lasts because this week is nowhere near as favorable for CEH as his past two games.
The Chargers and Eagles, the last two teams the Chiefs have faced, both rank in the bottom five in rushing yards allowed to running backs. The Chargers’ run defense is ranked 21st while the Eagles is 27th per NEFF rating. The Bills operate on the entirely other end of the spectrum.
Buffalo has the second-best run defense per NEFF and has allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards to backs to start the year. CEH will still see the majority of the Chiefs’ backfield touches, but I don’t expect him to be efficient with them. The Chiefs might straight up abandon the run game entirely if this game turns into a shootout.
Roast: Marvin Jones & Laviska Shenault vs Tennessee Titans
I can’t say I love putting my hopes and dreams in the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But I have a really hard time looking past any team facing the Titans’ secondary. This secondary has given up the most yards and touchdowns, and second-most fantasy points to receivers so far. Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, and Keelan Cole all went over 60 yards against Tennessee in Week 4.
I went with both Jones and Shenault because I think both the Jags receivers can eat this week and are worth starting. Jones I have ranked as a WR2 given his touchdown upside. Shenault seemingly took over DJ Chark’s downfield role after he was injured last week, going for 99 yards on 6 catches against the Bengals. I feel pretty confident in both receivers going over 70 yards and Jones adding a touchdown to that.
Ghost: Odell Beckham Jr vs Los Angeles Chargers
Man I wish things between Odell and Baker Mayfield would finally click. It seems like there’s always something getting in the way of these two guys getting on the same page and taking the league by storm. Last year, obviously it was OBJ tearing his ACL. This year, it seems Baker now is the one injured. (This might explain the plethora of missed throws Baker had last week targeting Odell against the Vikings.)
I’m not putting my money on this being the week the duo finally gets right. The Chargers are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to receivers and only the Bills are allowing fewer receiving yards. LA held Tyreek Hill to under 60 yards receiving back in Week 3 and completely erased Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in Week 2.
Roast: Dawson Knox vs Kansas City Chiefs
I’m picking Knox as my roast because I believe it and also because I just added him off waivers in my home league and want to put good juju out into the world. The Bills tight end has been on an utter tear to start the year, posting three games in a row with at least a touchdown. For as violative as the tight end position can be, Knox is actually the top tight end in our NECC rating, which measures consistency and efficiency.
Chalk up another roast week as the Chiefs have been terrible against tight ends this year. They’re allowing the fifth-most fantasy points and the most-receiving yards to the position. This feels like a smash spot for the Bills emerging tight end.
Ghost: George Kittle vs Arizona Cardinals
It’s been a slow start to the year for Kittle. The 49ers tight end has only had one game with over four catches despite averaging over seven targets per game. He’s just coming off an 11 target game against the Seahawks in which he only caught 4 for 40 yards. The Cardinals aren’t a team he’s likely to get right against. Arizona has allowed only 93 total receiving yards to tight ends this year (third in NFL). It’ll be interesting to see how this offense looks different with Trey Lance under center but that might just mean more inefficient targets for Kittle.