Michael F. Florio's Week 5 fantasy football sleepers

With the bye weeks hitting us and 2020 still rearing its ugly head, sleepers are becoming more important than ever right now. It’s also not the best week to pull your first-round pick from your starting lineup. That’s right, I am advising to give Kenyan Drake one more week in your starting lineup. Drake had a fantastic matchup in Week 4 and flopped, leading many to want to bench or even drop Drake. But last week everything went wrong for Drake as the Cardinals were playing from behind throughout the entire game, with most of it being down multiple scores. That led to Chase Edmonds being used more than normal. The lack of pass game usage for Drake is concerning. But both Cardinals goal-line opportunities ended up being short, quick passes for a TD. The second one coming just seconds after Drake was forced off the field due to an injury. Things should go better for Drake this week.

The Cardinals were playing from behind last week, which typically leads to teams having to pass more. But this week, I am expecting a lot of running against the Jets. Sam Darnold had a long rushing TD in Week 4 to put the Jets up 7-0 against the Broncos. That was the only time this season that the Jets have played with a lead. This week they will be without Darnold, instead having to turn to Joe Flacco. If the Cardinals can play with a lead, I expect them to grind out the clock, especially in the second half, with Drake. A season high in touches is in play this week. I am expecting Drake to top 15 fantasy points for the first time this year and would use him as my RB2 or flex in a favorable matchup against the Jets, who have allowed the eight-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (30.28). Those of you who took him in the first round, me included, did not expect to see Drake in a sleepers article in Week 5, but here we are. Start him this week!

Here are more Week 5 Sleepers!

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers

Teddy Bridgewater gets the gift that is a matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week. On the year, the Falcons have allowed the most fantasy PPG to QBs (32.48). That included allowed 353.8 passing yards per game and a league-high 13 pass TDs allowed this season. In fact, the Falcons have allowed a starting QB to score 29 points in all but one game this season. That one game was against the Bears, when Nick Foles replaced Mitchell Trubisky. But, even those two combined for over 28 fantasy points in that one. All of that is just a way of saying, start Bridgewater this week!

Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert will officially start for the Chargers the rest of the way, which is the best-case scenario for fantasy. I am a big Tyrod Taylor fan, but the offense has simply looked better, both in real life and fantasy, with Herbert starting. Herbert has scored over 22 fantasy points in two of his three starts and the Saints have allowed over 20 fantasy points to every QB they have faced this season. On the year, they are allowing an average of 22.25 fantasy PPG to QBs, the seventh-most in the NFL. I like Herbert as a start this week and have added him in a bunch of leagues where I have Josh Allen, just in case. It also helps that he plays on Monday night as it gives you some leeway in case that game is pushed back and up in the air as of Sunday.

Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

Joshua Kelley was the big add after the Austin Ekeler injury, but do not sleep on Justin Jackson. Last week, Jackson played 38 percent of the snaps, while Kelley was at 58 percent. Jackson also saw six carries and two targets, to Kelley’s nine carries and three targets. Jackson will likely play second fiddle on the ground, but him getting eight or more carries per week seems very possible. The passing game usage is where he can really make his mark. The Saints have been strong against the run this year, but if the Chargers are trailing in this one and going more with a hurry up offense, I would suspect we see Jackson and not Kelley in that role. The drive was cut short due to an interception, but last week when the Chargers were down a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, it was Jackson on the field. Jackson is a flex option this week with some upside.

Duke Johnson, RB, Houston Texans

The Texans will have a new coach and play caller this week, which means a lot is kind of up in the air with this team right now. But one of the bigger knocks from the fantasy community towards Bill O’Brien the past year was that he did not use Duke Johnson nearly enough. Johnson returned from injury last week and had five carries and four targets while playing nearly 40 percent of the snaps. That usage could lead to a nice fantasy day this week as the Jaguars have allowed the fifth-most fantasy PPG to RBs (31.45). That includes allowing seven receptions per game to RBs, the seventh-most in the NFL. Johnson is a sneaky flex option this week.

Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Cleveland Browns

Nick Chubb was placed on IR this week and D'Ernest Johnson was a top waiver wire pickup. But if you are left needing to replace someone in your lineup with someone off the waiver wire, whether it be due to injuries or Covid, Dontrell Hilliard is an option for you. He played 21 percent of the snaps last week and was the only Browns RB to receive a target. Johnson is a better pure runner than Hilliard, which explains why they used him so much last week in a game they were playing with a multi-score lead for most. But if the Browns are in a close one or even trailing, Hilliard presents more in the passing game. I believe he makes their offense less predictable and is the more explosive of the two. Johnson was the top waiver claim, but Hilliard is very sneaky, especially in deeper leagues.

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Welcome back, Deebo Samuel! I hope no one started him last week as he was eased back in only playing 34 percent of the snaps and just three targets. Yet, despite that he was still the most productive 49ers WR in the passing game, finishing with three catches for 35 yards. When Samuel got injured the fear was that he would miss the first six games, maybe longer. So, seeing him back in action in Week 4 was great. But I am expecting the Niners to continue to get Samuel more work both in the air and on the ground – remember he led all WRs with three rushing TDs last year. Samuel can have a nice day even on limited touches this week against a Dolphins defense that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy PPG to WRs this year (40.92). Miami also allows 210.5 receiving yards per game to WRs, the fourth most in the league. It also is a huge boost if Jimmy Garoppolo can play this week.

Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants

It’s been difficult to trust any Giants player in fantasy, but this is a week to get Darius Slayton into your lineups. He is facing a Cowboys defense that is allowing the third-most fantasy PPG to WRs (49.7). Slayton flashed his upside in Week 1 when he went for 102 yards and two touchdowns, good for 28 fantasy points. Since then we have seen his floor, but this is by far his best matchup of the season. Slayton sees consistent volume every week and if the Giants are chasing points, they are sure to take a deep shot or two with Slayton. He is a boom-or-bust option, but given the matchup, I like his chances of going boom.

Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos

Tim Patrick went off for 113 yards and a touchdown en route to scoring over 23 fantasy points in Week 4. It was his second straight game scoring over 14 fantasy points. But it is really the volume he saw that catches the eye. He saw 25 percent of the Broncos targets and 36 percent of the air yards. Brett Rypien showed last week that he was not afraid to air the ball out and throw downfield and Patrick was the biggest benefactor. Jerry Jeudy is the player here that people will be most excited about but do not overlook Patrick. Especially since no team has allowed more fantasy PPG to number one WRs than the Patriots this season and they are expected to be without Stephon Gilmore this week.

Ian Thomas, TE, Carolina Panthers

Ian Thomas will face a Falcons defense that is currently allowing the most receptions per game (8.3), touchdowns (7) and fantasy PPG (26.65) to tight ends this season. They are also allowing the second-most receiving yards per game (84) to the position. This is the best possible matchup for a tight end. Thomas is also coming off his best game of the year so far where he saw a season-high five targets and found the endzone. He has a good chance of building off that game and is a nice fall back option if you have Robert Tonyan or T.J. Hockenson on bye.

Cleveland Browns DEF

The Colts are 3-1 this season but that is largely on the backs of their defense. Offensively they are averaging just 21.3 PPG, which puts them in a tie for the ninth fewest. They’ve scored just seven offensive touchdowns, the third fewest in the NFL. Plus, the Browns are tied for the eight-most sacks in the NFL (11). If you miss out on any of the top streaming defenses going up against a backup QB, the Browns are a nice fallback option.

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