Fantasy QB Rankings Week 5: Who to start, sit at quarterback in fantasy football



We’re beginning to get a clear picture of who are going to be steady producers and which defenses are susceptible to give up a lot of fantasy points to quarterbacks. We now have a month’s worth of data and stats, so hopefully, our Week 5 fantasy QB rankings will be our best yet, and a certain preseason sleeper joining the mix gets us off to good start. 

Trey Lance (@ Cardinals) will certainly be one of the most-watched QBs this week. We got a taste of his upside after he replaced Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) in the second half last week when Lance had 157 passing yards, 41 rushing yards, two TDs, and a two-point conversion. His overall performance was merely average, as most of his production came on a blown coverage and in garbage time, but Lance can still pile up points in a hurry. The Cardinals are a statistically below-average matchup and did a good job holding down Matthew Stafford until he tacked on a late garbage-time TD last week, so we don’t have Lance in our top 12, but he certainly has that kind of upside if things break right. He’s certainly a must-start in two-QB/superflex leagues.

Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Jalen Hurts (@ Panthers) has continued to feast in garbage time, but he’ll play one of the league’s toughest defenses on the road in Week 5. Russell Wilson (vs. Rams) on a short week could be due for a down game as well, but he’s near-impossible to bench. The same isn’t true for Hurts, but he has similar upside, so bench him at your own risk despite being slotted at 16th on our list.

Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Some historically middle-of-the-pack quarterbacks have juicy matchups this week. Kirk Cousins (vs. Lions) has a chance to drop another 30-burger if this game stays close; Daniel Jones (@ Cowboys) can drop a nice fantasy stat line whether the game is close or not, and perhaps Sam Darnold (vs. Eagles) can continue his hot start to the season. Joe Burrow (vs. Green Bay) will get his first chance to duel Aaron Rodgers, and this could be a shootout in Cincinnati, so we think Burrow is a QB1 this week.

Rookies Mac Jones (@ Texas), Trevor Lawrence (@ Titans), and Zach Wilson (vs. Falcons) have good matchups, so consider them in play in two-QB/superflex leagues. Wilson gets to play at 9:30 a.m. ET in London, so maybe he’ll shine while nobody is watching. How sweet would it be to sleep in on Sunday, roll out of bed, and see that he has three touchdowns? He’s been awful thus far, but anything can happen against the Falcons.

Matt Ryan (vs. Jets) looks juicy on paper; however, the Jets have actually been solid against quarterbacks. Heading into Week 4, they were allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to the position and held Ryan Tannehill to one TD. You might think this is only because teams have let up on them, but when you dive deeper, their defense hasn’t actually been that bad. Baker Mayfield (@ Chargers) and Teddy Bridgewater (@ Steelers) have exceeded expectations in some weeks, but they’re both on the road with very difficult matchups. There’s a chance Bridgewater doesn’t play, as he’s dealing with a concussion, but Drew Lock certainly wouldn’t be in play either. Justin Herbert (vs. Browns) and Derek Carr (vs. Bears) have been starters most weeks, but their matchups make them tough to trust.

This week seems to have a lot of value in the middle to late parts of the rankings. Some under-the-radar guys have solid matchups, while some of the studs are in tough spots. Most times, you still want to go with the studs, but there’s no harm in considering all options at the quarterback position. This will be the last week for a while without bye weeks, so moving forward, your options will be more limited. Enjoy this while you can.

Note: We’ll be updating these QB rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes and analysis.

Fantasy QB Rankings Week 5: Who to start at quarterback

Rankings are based on standard, four-point passing TD formats.

Rank Player
1 Josh Allen, BUF @ KC
2 Kyler Murray, ARI vs. SF
3 Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. IND
4 Patrick Mahomes, KC vs. BUF
5 Matthew Stafford, LAR @ SEA
6 Dak Prescott, DAL vs. NYG
7 Tom Brady, TB vs. MIA
8 Kirk Cousins, MIN vs. DET. Cousins scored at least 22 fantasy points in each game leading up to Week 4. Against Cleveland, he scored a mere 10.12 points. Look for him to get back on track against the Lions, who are among the top-ten friendliest defenses against QBs in fantasy.
9 Aaron Rodgers, GB @ CIN
10 Russell Wilson, SEA vs. LAR. This could shape up to be an ugly Thursday nighter, but we know the skillset Wilson brings to the table. Tom Brady and Kyler Murray have eclipsed 25 fantasy points against the Rams in the past two weeks, so Wilson could certainly do the same.
11 Joe Burrow, CIN vs. GB. Burrow has scored 19 or more fantasy points in three of his four games, and Green Bay will be the second-worst defense against QBs he will face so far this year. He scored 25.8 fantasy points against Jacksonville, and the Green Bay secondary isn’t much better (bottom five against QBs). Expect a high-scoring affair here as Burrow battles Rodgers for the first time. If Joe Mixon is out, Cincinnati will likely lean pass more than we’ve seen in 2021.
12 Sam Darnold, CAR vs. PHI. Even in a game where the Panthers got crushed, Darnold scored 30-plus fantasy points against Dallas. His stellar rushing ability has been surprising, and the Eagles’ defense has been exposed in back-to-back weeks, giving up 41.5 points per game over those two contests.
13 Ryan Tannehill, TEN vs. JAX. Tannehill hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype, but it’s hard to blame him with A.J. Brown (hamstring) and Julio Jones (leg) being ineffective even when they’re on the field. Still, his season-low point total was in Week 1 against Arizona (18.3 points), so he’s been serviceable. If Brown and/or Jones play, he certainly can produce a QB1 game against Jacksonville. Tyrod Taylor, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyler Murray, and Joe Burrow all feasted on the Jags, so Tannehill should, too — even if Jones or Brown can’t go.
14 Jameis Winston, NO @ WAS. Since his five-touchdown performance in Week 1, Winston has hovered between 10 and 15 fantasy points. However, Washington has allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks and Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns to zero interceptions against them in Week 4. Winston has yet to attempt more than 23 passing attempts, but he can get it done with efficiency here against an awful defense.
15 Daniel Jones, NYG @ DAL. Jones is currently a QB1 in fantasy, and losing Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton didn’t stop him in Week 4. He threw for 402 yards and two touchdowns in route to a 30 point fantasy performance against a strong Saints’ defense. Dallas’ defense has looked improved but we still think the Saints’ D is far better. However, the Cowboys’ offense can score close to 40 points with ease, so Jones will be called on to attempt a ton of passes, and the rushing threat is always there. Kenny Golladay, Saquon Barkley, and Kadarius Toney stepped up in Week 4, so we’ll see if they can continue to do so in this divisional matchup.
16 Jalen Hurts, PHI @ CAR. Hurts has absolutely feasted in garbage time, so there’s a chance he does it once again this week. The Panthers’ defense looked mortal against Dallas, but we know the Cowboys’ have one of the elite offenses in football. We know Hurts could definitely outperform his No. 16 ranking, but the matchup is concerning. If he can feast this week, we’ll begin to view him as a matchup-proof, must-start QB1.
17 Justin Herbert, LAC vs. CLE. Cleveland’s defense looks awfully scary, as they’ve allowed just 151 yards per game and 6.5 points per game over the last two weeks (vs. Bears, @ Vikings). It wasn’t surprising to see them shut down the Bears, but what they did against a red-hot Vikings offense was incredible. Moving forward, we have to view them as one of the toughest matchups in fantasy. That said, Herbert can always exceed expectations, but this game might be a defensive struggle.
18 Derek Carr, LV vs. CHI. Chicago’s defense has been a mixed bag this season, but they’ve been a top-12 defense against quarterbacks in fantasy. Of course, Carr may have a big day based on volume, but this will be among the most talented secondaries he will face.
19 Trey Lance, SF @ ARI. Lance scored 20.8 fantasy points in just the second half against the Seahawks, but we’ll temper expectations for at least this week. His rushing ability sets his floor and ceiling high, so the upside here is exciting. However, it’s his first NFL start, so anything can happen. For those of you that have waited for this moment, stashing Lance on your bench, we don’t blame you if you start him right away.
20 Jared Goff, DET @ MIN. Goff hasn’t looked great in “real life” but he’s delivered three solid fantasy games with over 21 points. Still, his ceiling isn’t as high as the guys ranked above him. It is worth noting Minnesota has been a bottom-ten defense against QBs, so again, we won’t blame you if you decide to start him based on pure matchups.
21 Trevor Lawrence, JAX @ TEN. Zach Wilson has a breakout performance against Tennessee, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Lawrence did just that this week. Wilson scored 23.65 fantasy points and carved up the Titans’ defense — that we thought was better than last year. We should once again view the Titans as a QB-friendly defense, and Lawrence has better weapons around him than Wilson. Still, he has bust potential due to the overall ineffectiveness of the offense his questionable decision-making so far.
22 Mac Jones, NE @ HOU. Jones impresses against the Buccaneers, but this team would like to get back to playing the defense and running the ball to win games. Jones could have the best game of his career, but we tend to think New England will try to establish their ground attack against a struggling Texans defense. For example, Buffalo beat Houston by 40 but threw for less than 250 yards and only two touchdowns. This won’t be a 40-point blowout like that game was, but the formula could be the same. All that said, Jones certainly has QB2 appeal in Superflex/2-QB leagues.
23 Matt Ryan, ATL vs. NYJ. Ryan has his best game of 2021, with four passing touchdowns to zero INTs. It’s hard to believe, but the Jets’ defense is far superior to the Washington defense. His floor is low and ceiling figures to be low, too.
24 Zach Wilson, NYJ vs. ATL. Wilson broke out against Tennessee, and he’ll face another awful secondary in Week 5 against Atlanta. This game is in London at 9:30 a.m. (EST) so perhaps he’ll shine once again out of the view of the regular NFL audience.
25 Taylor Heinicke, WAS vs. NO
26 Carson Wentz, IND @ BAL
27 Jacoby Brissett, MIA @ TB
28 Baker Mayfield, CLE @ LAC
29 Teddy Bridgewater, DEN @ PIT
30 Justin Fields, CHI @ LV
31 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT vs. DEN
32 Davis Mills, HOU vs. NE


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