The Bengals and Cowboys kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET today, but, you may need to make your fantasy decisions before then to make sure your team is loaded and ready to go for every matchup of the day. Here’s our advice on who to start, and who to sit on your fantasy team in Week 5.
While we can recommend that you start this guy or sit that guy, it doesn’t make a lot of sense without knowing your entire roster. For example, if you waited until the 10th round of your draft to select your first wide receiver, then somebody like Tyler Boyd is a must start for your team. But if you have Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, and Amari Cooper on your roster, then Boyd is an unlikely candidate to break into that lineup. So we have placed each significant fantasy player from the Cowboys and Bengals into various categories.
ABSOLUTELY START THESE PLAYERS
A.J. Green (Bengals WR) is currently fourth among all wide receivers in fantasy football scoring. He has 468 yards and a pair of touchdowns in four games this season. He has been a must start all season, and this will continue, going forward.
Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys RB) is one of a limited number of workhorse running backs in the NFL, and will be a must-start in fantasy football. He is averaging over 110 total yards per game, and has three touchdowns this year. He faces a Bengals’ defense that looks to be regaining last year’s form, but you always need to start your top players in fantasy.
C.J. Uzomah (Bengals TE) has a favorable matchup against the Cowboys, who are allowing over 70 yards per game to opposing tight ends, and have given up three touchdowns to tight ends so far. Uzomah s a great low cost streamer for Week 5.
Andy Dalton (Bengals QB) has failed to impresses this year in terms of fantasy production, currently 19th among fantasy quarterbacks. Even with Tyler Eifert sitting again, Dalton faces a team who gives up 264 passing yards per game, and has given up seven touchdown passes to only three interceptions.
Dak Prescott (Cowboys QB) is currently the 10th ranked fantasy quarterback, but that’s more for his two rushing touchdowns than anything he’s done through the air (only 3 TD’s in 4 games). The Bengals have a history of struggling against rookie quarterbacks (Trevor Siemian, anybody?), and even though they are holding opposing quarterbacks to only 225 yards per game, they have given up 10 touchdowns, and seeming have as many dropped interceptions as actual interceptions.
MEH, IF YOU MUST
Jeremy Hill/Giovani Bernard (Bengals RB’s) are averaging about 60 total yards per game, with Hill holding a 3:1 touchdown advantage. The Cowboys are giving up just under 100 yards per game on the ground, and are giving up 4.5 yards per carry, which means they can be susceptible to giving up production to an opposing running back. Unfortunately, the Bengals haven’t shown they can move the ball effectively on the ground, and the committee of Bernard and Hill cuts into each other’s production, making neither an exciting option.
Jason Witten (Cowboys TE) is averaging about 45 yards per game with no touchdowns. Even with Dez Bryant out, he’s not generating a lot of production. Tight end is a difficult spot to find constant production, so if you have no other options, you can take consolation in that the Bengals have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends so far, but are holding opposing tight ends to about 20 yards per game.
Brandon LaFell (Bengals WR) is currently the 64th best scoring receiver in fantasy football. That would make him a starter on only your most desperate teams. He faces a subpar Cowboys pass defense, but hopefully you have better options.
Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Brice Butler (Cowboys WR) while Beasley offers a little PPR value on his own merits, the rest of the trio is picking up the slack with Dez Bryant injured. None of these receivers is really “the guy” to replace Bryant’s production, and against a Bengals defense that only gives up 225 yards through the air, they could all get about 50 yards on Sunday, making none of them all that attractive starters.
Alfred Morris (Cowboys RB) is the clear backup to Elliott. He had stole a pair of touchdowns earlier in the season when the Cowboys were trying to motivate Elliott. ‘Zeke has responded well, and Morris doesn’t offer much value other than a fluke score, or in relief due to an in-game injury to Elliott.
Dez Bryant (Cowboys WR) isn’t officially out as of yet, but it would be a surprise to see him play. Even if he plays, he may not be in for many offensive snaps. With his health being an issue, he’s not an ideal candidate to start, assuming you have better options.
Tyler Eifert (Bengals TE) experienced a new back injury this week and we’ll need to wait at least one more week for him to make his 2016 season debut. Continue to keep him on your bench for now.