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Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. faces a tough Dallas Cowboys defense, which limits his prospects as a fantasy starter in Week 5. Henderson has carried the ball less than ten times in each of the past two games. He has had two games with four or more targets, but he also has two games with one or fewer targets, and the Cowboys boast one of the best pass defenses in the league. The Cowboys rush defense is weaker than their pass defense. Overall, it is a tough matchup against a Dallas defense that allows the third-fewest points. Henderson does not warrant starting in the flex except in the deepest of leagues.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp has a tough matchup against the elite Dallas Cowboys pass defense in Week 5, but he still should be started and expected to finish as a WR1 in all leagues. The Cowboys rank second in fewest passing yards allowed per attempt, sixth in passing yards per game, and eleventh in completion percentage. Rams QB Matthew Stafford can expect to be under relentless pressure from Cowboys edge rushers Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence. But Stafford typically looks to Kupp early and often when he is under duress. Kupp has shown he can get open against anyone and produce WR1 finishes in any matchup. As usual, start Cooper Kupp.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson II has been having a poor season and doesn't rate as a starter with his tough matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5. The Cowboys defense ranks second in fewest passing yards allowed per attempt and sixth in passing yards per game, while racking up the second-most sacks in the league. Robinson has been held under three catches in three of his four games this season and under 15 yards in two games. The Cowboys shut down Washington WR Terry McLaurin and limited Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel last week, all receivers who have been playing much better than Robinson. Robinson should not be started in Week 5 and probably should not be rostered in most leagues.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee has been targeted more than any other player on the Rams except Cooper Kupp. He might be targeted a lot in Week 5 against the Cowboys. The Cowboys have a tough pass defense, which ranks in the top ten in limiting opponent's yards per game and yards per pass, but they rank in the middle of the pack in receptions and yards allowed to tight ends. With Matthew Stafford likely to face pressure from Micah Parsons and the stifling Cowboys defense, he'll look to Higbee underneath. Higbee is a capable start this week.
Los Angeles Rams kicker Matt is seven-for-seven on field goals this season. In Week 5, he faces a Cowboys team is allowing the third-fewest points per game in 2022. That means he probably won't get many chances to kick extra points this week, and his prospects for kicking field goals are unpredictable. He did kick three field goals last week in a game against the equally tough 49ers defense in which the Rams scored no touchdowns, but it's just as likely that the Rams struggle to even move the ball into field goal range. Gay is a risky streaming option in Week 5.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk faces an average Carolina Panthers defense in Week 5. The Panthers are ranked No. 16 in total defense grade by PFF, and they are giving up the 12th fewest passing yards per game. The 49ers offense has been leaning on the run and throwing the ball less often than 27 other teams, and Aiyuk is the clear No. 2 WR. He is averaging 6.7 targets and 4.0 receptions per game for 46.3 yards per game and just one touchdown. He is being targeted slightly more often than he was last season, but his catch rate is down by six points, and his drop percentage has doubled to 8.7%. If he can haul in more of his targets and get lucky with a touchdown, he could be able to finish as a low-end second flex.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle has not been the dynamic TE1 many expected him to be in his first two games back from injury. He has caught six passes for 52 yards. The problem has not been that he is not running routes. He is running routes on 86.7% of the Niners' passing snaps, his highest rate of his career. He just isn't being targeted. Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo is throwing Kittle the ball on 15.3% of his routes, far lower than the 25% target rate Kittle has been subject to in his career. He could have some good weeks ahead of him if his target share regresses upward. The Panthers allow the 18th-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.
San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould faces the Carolina Panthers, the team allowing the sixth-most points to kickers, in Week 5. Despite the favorable statistics, there is so much random variability with kickers that it is hard to glean much about this matchup. Gould has made five field goals in four games this season and ranks as the K21 thus far. Overall, the Panthers defense is pretty average, ranking in the middle of the NFL in most categories, and the 49ers have scored the sixth-fewest points per game. The game doesn't rate as an upgrade or a downgrade for Gould, and he hasn't been a productive fantasy kicker in average games, so he is best left on the free agent board this week.
The San Francisco 49ers defense, which leads the league in sacks, is facing the Carolina Panthers offense, which has allowed the tenth-most sacks. Defensive end Nick Bosa (Ohio State), who has had a sack or more in each game, faces his old college rival Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma). The last time the two of them squared off was in Bosa's rookie season, two years removed from Mayfield's infamous flag-planting incident, and Bosa came up with two sacks. Bosa refrained from trash talking this time but was quoted by Kyle Terada of KNBR as saying, "I do have a lot of pretty valuable experiences so far, and there are some young guys in the D-line room that I like to share that with." The 49ers are an elite defense that can limit any offense, and the Panthers are a subpar offense, so the 49ers are a clear start Week 5.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford faces a stingy Dallas Cowboys defense in Week 5 and should not be trusted as a starting QB in fantasy football. Stafford has been having a disappointing season, averaging 253.8 yards per game to go with just four touchdowns in four games and a league-leading six interceptions. The Rams rank No. 20 in passing yards per game and have allowed the fourth-most sacks. The Cowboys rank No. 6 in pass defense and have the second-most sacks per game. The Rams offense is mismatched against Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence, both of whom has three or more sacks. Stafford should not be started this week.
Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers lacks both the volume and efficiency to be trusted as an RB1 or RB2 as he faces a quality Dallas Cowboys defense in Week 5. Akers has averaged 9.5 carries for 29.5 yards per game rushing and has only added two receptions all season. The Cowboys defense has allowed the third-fewest points per game. Dallas does excel defending the pass but has actually allowed the sixth-most rushing yards per game and ninth-most rushing yards per attempt. But Akers struggled, too, against Atlanta, which allows similar results on the ground as Dallas. Even if Akers produces with his carries, the Rams offense, which relies heavily on the pass, likely won't move the ball much, and Akers will have a low chance of scoring a touchdown. Something like 30-60 yards and no touchdown is a likely result.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is averaging 225 yards per game in his two starts, faces a middle-of-the-pack Carolina Panthers defense in Week 5. The Panthers rank No. 12 in limiting opposing teams' passing yards and No. 13 in completion percentage, but they are only No. 30 in sacks. Garoppolo has completed just 61% of his passes this season, his lowest completion percentage in four years. While his play against the Rams last week left much to be desired, he did look better than he did in his first start against the Broncos. In Week 5, Garoppolo projects as a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr., who is having the best season of his career, goes to Carolina to take on the Panthers in Week 5. Wilson is averaging 77.7 yards per game in his three starts. The 49ers as a team rank ninth in the league in rushing yards per game and No. 17 in yards per attempt. The 49ers offensive line is banged up, with tackles Trent Williams and Colton McKivitz both going down in the past two weeks, but that didn't hurt Wilson against the Rams. Wilson projects as a top 24 RB in Week 5.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris will head on the road to take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. Harris is off to a slow start in 2022, averaging just 3.48 yards per carry through the first four games. The Bills have been tough on opposing running backs this season, allowing the 10th-fewest fantasy points per game to the position thus far. The installation of Kenny Pickett at quarterback should help open up the offense in Pittsburgh, which helps Harris, but this is a tough matchup for him. Treat Harris as a low-end RB2 in fantasy for Week 5.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett took over for the benched Mitch Trubisky at halftime of a Week 4 loss to the New York Jets and wound up completing 10 of his 13 passes for 120 yards and three interceptions while rushing for two touchdowns. Now installed as the Pittsburgh starting quarterback moving forward, the rookie faces a tough Week 5 road matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo's defense has been tough on quarterbacks, allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position through four games. Pickett showed that he has some rushing upside but the matchup makes this a tough week to trust him outside of deeper, two-quarterback formats. Treat him as a high-end QB3 for Week 5.
The Cleveland Browns defense has underperformed at times through the first four games of the 2022 season. Things won't get much easier for them in Week 5 as they welcome the Los Angeles Chargers to First Energy Stadium. The Chargers have an explosive offense, which has led to them allowing just the 23rd-most fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs thus far. Cleveland could be getting Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney back from injury this week but this is still a tough spot to use their defense in fantasy. Treat them as a bottom-10 fantasy option for Week 5.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones has been up-and-down in 2022, posting two big games and two games where he essentially disappeared. He will look to make a difference in the box score in Week 5's home matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers have struggled against opposing receivers, allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game to the position thus far in 2022. Peoples-Jones' two productive games this season have come when Amari Cooper struggled with a difficult cornerback matchup. Cooper draws a tough matchup against J.C. Jackson in Week 5, so Peoples-Jones could be in line for an increased role if Jackson can shut down his man in coverage. Treat Peoples-Jones as a boom/bust flex option in Week 5.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku has been on a hot streak of late, having caught 14 passes for 162 yards over his past two games. Njoku has emerged as the No. 2 option in the Cleveland passing game, behind only Amari Cooper. He will look to keep the hot streak going in a Week 5 home matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers have been tough on enemy tight ends in 2022, allowing just the 20th-most fantasy points per game to the position thus far. Despite the tough matchup, treat Njoku as a low-end TE1 for Week 5 in what could be a high-scoring game.
Cleveland Browns kicker Cade York will face off against the Los Angeles Chargers at home in Week 5. York has been solid for Cleveland thus far, having hit all eight of his field goals and nine of his 11 extra points through four games. The rookie kicker should be busy in Week 5 in what could be a high-scoring game against an explosive Los Angeles offense. The Chargers haven't done much to limit fantasy kickers in 2022, allowing the 11th-most fantasy points per game to the position. Treat York as a top-10 option in fantasy for Week 5.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper is coming off a slow game that saw him catch just one ball for nine yards in a Week 4 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Despite changing teams in the offseason, Cooper has been as inconsistent as ever, catching just four balls in two of his games while combining for 202 yards and two touchdowns in the other two contests. He will take on the Los Angeles Chargers at home in Week 5. The Chargers are allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing receivers in 2022, although Cooper is expected to run the majority of his routes against J.C. Jackson in what will be a tough matchup for him. Treat Cooper as a boom/bust WR3 in fantasy for Week 5.
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