We’re about one-third through the fantasy football regular season. Crazy, right? Hopefully, by now you have at least one win. If not, it’s time to get serious. If you do, we need to keep stringing them together. I’m coming off of my best week of “Love/Hate” yet. My first three weeks were good, but last week I feel like I really nailed it. Two of the four players that I loved finished inside the top seven at their position while three of the four that I hated finished outside the top-30.
The players I continue to discuss will be those you’re likely questioning plugging in your lineups for the week ahead. You know who your studs are by now. Start them! No questions asked. For everyone else though, I hope I can continue to steer you in the right direction, one way or another. I’m looking at everything so you don’t have to! Just set and forget.
Fantasy football managers should be on notice when it comes to deciding to plug these players into their lineup each week. Sometimes you don’t have a choice as options on your roster become scarce. If you do have options, though, I believe what I have to say about these players that I love and hate will help put you in a position to win your week.
Players I Love and Hate in Week 5 of the 2022 Season
Love: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This isn’t Brady’s first time on the Love/Hate list for the 2022 fantasy football season. He’s been a feature on both sides so far. I’m putting him back on the Love side of things, which is ironic if you’re paying attention to this week’s off-the-field rumor mill. I’m not here to talk about that, though. Instead, I’m here to say that I think Tom Brady is going to finish as the overall QB1 in Week 5.
So far this season, Brady is averaging just 15.23 points per game. That number sounds even worse when you realize he’s coming off of his best game of 25.4 points against the Kansas City Chiefs. Looking at Week 5, though, Brady is going to keep things rolling against a familiar opponent, the Atlanta Falcons.
We all know about Brady’s historic 28-3 comeback against this team as a New England Patriot. As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback, though, Brady goes absolutely nuclear against the Falcons. In four regular-season matchups over the last two seasons, he’s thrown 15 touchdown passes against them. Brady’s thrown four or more in three of those contests. Averaging that out, it’s a 15.0-point floor just from passing touchdowns alone, yards not included!
More importantly, Brady’s wide receiver group continues to return to full strength. Mike Evans remains an elite option, especially in the red zone, but Chris Godwin saw a fantasy-friendly 10 targets in Week 4 after a multi-game absence to injury. Running back, Leonard Fournette is averaging just 2.48 yards per carry since Week 2. The run game isn’t quite right as the team continues to figure out his workload. All things considered, this game is going to be business as usual for Brady. I love the matchup, at home, and the opportunity he has to pour it on against the Falcons yet again.
Some Extra Love:
Trevor Lawrence deserves to be in Week 5 starting lineups. Yes, Week 4 is his ugliest performance to date, but the weather was horrendous. Lawrence is averaging 16.19 points per game, but prior to Week 4, it was 19.36, earning him top-10 quarterback status after three weeks. The Jaguars are looking to bounce back at home against divisional rival, the Houston Texans. So far, the Texans have faced the bottom three teams in scoring, the Colts, Broncos, and Bears, as well as the Chargers with Justin Herbert playing through a rib injury. The Jaguars are tied for sixth in scoring and that’s factoring in a season-low 21 points from last week’s washout. The run game is likely to remain effective against the Texans. It should present ample opportunities for Jacksonville to score. Lawrence is going to make up for Week 4’s dud with a statement Week 5 performance.
Hate: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s easy to drool over rookie Kenny Pickett’s first regular season showing. In one half of football, Pickett scored 15.30 fantasy points. That’s a QB18 finish in just 30 minutes of play! Two rushing touchdowns attribute to nearly all of those points. The rushing upside of any quarterback is worth taking notice of. As for his passing, Pickett threw 13 passes and completed all of them. Sounds great, right? Of course it does, until you learn that three of those completions were to the other team.
Once you look deeper into Pickett’s performance, it’s clear he deserves more playing time. He’s willing to take shots downfield and brought energy to the offense as a whole. As a result, Pickett is the starter moving forward. However, for fantasy football purposes, I hate investing in such a small sample size at quarterback regardless of how many points he scored.
Pickett is most likely a consideration for Superflex and 2QB leagues only. The biggest reason to fade the rookie this week is his opponent. The Buffalo Bills are allowing just 8.3 points to opposing quarterbacks. That’s the lowest points per game average to the position. Quarterbacks are rushing an average of 4.5 times per game against Buffalo, but managing just over 23 yards per game and have yet to find the end zone as a runner. As far as passing goes, Buffalo boasts a strong seven interceptions with just three passing touchdowns allowed. I find it very hard to believe Pickett changes the narrative here, especially in Buffalo.
After Buffalo, Pickett and the Steelers host the Buccaneers, then travel to Miami for Sunday Night Football against the Dolphins, then head to Philadelphia versus the Eagles before a Week 9 Bye.
Yikes. Welcome to the league, rookie.
Love: Damien Harris, New England Patriots
All Damien Harris does is score touchdowns. In his last 20 games, Harris has at least one touchdown in 17 of them. Harris (18) trails only Jonathan Taylor (19) in rushing touchdowns scored since the beginning of last season. He’s also on a three-game streak of scoring a rushing touchdown. So, when looking at the Week 5 schedule, it’s easy to love Harris and Patriots’ opponent: The Detroit Lions.
First of all, the Lions are allowing the most points per game (35.3) to opponents this season. They’re also allowing a league-high eight rushing touchdowns to running backs on just the 11th-most rushing attempts to the position. It’s clear the key to sticking it to the Lions is by running the football. Enter Damien Harris.
Stevenson’s role as a pass catcher, and his abilities as a pass blocker, are reasons why he’s played 29 more snaps than Harris. The Patriots have lost two games by three points and the other two by 11 and 13. The need for Stevenson on the field has been greater than it will be in Week 5 against the Lions.
As far as touches go, Harris leads Stevenson 60 to 54 on less snaps. He has double the amount of carries than Stevenson inside the red zone. That includes Harris’ three carries to Stevenson’s one inside the five yard line. With fourth-round rookie, Bailey Zappe, at quarterback, I expect him to hand the ball off a ton in this one. I’m not saying Stevenson isn’t worth starting in Week 5, I just love Harris’ role as the lead ball carrier with the juicy matchup. He should finish as a top-10 back in Week 5.
Some Extra Love:
Kareem Hunt should put up numbers managers will love in Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Other than Week 3, Hunt has either played more snaps than Nick Chubb or five or less in the other three games. Chubb has the better stats, but Hunt is getting his fair share of usage,. specifically in the red zone. Hunt is also more likely to see work as a pass catcher. The good news here is that the Chargers allow the most receiving touchdowns (3) to running backs this year and the fourth-most receptions. While Chubb should run wild against their porous run defense, I think Hunt will add value both on the ground and through the air. Hunt is a very enticing flex option with upside you can’t help but love in Week 5.
Hate: James Conner
I’m going back to the well on this one. For the second week in a row, and third time this season, I hate the running back playing against the Eagles defense.
In the last three weeks, Dalvin Cook, Antonio Gibson, and James Robinson have combined for 29 rushing attempts, 95 rushing yards, and one (meaningless) touchdown. It’s bleak. That’s just 3.27 yards per carry which is slightly more than what Conner is averaging on his 45 carries this season.
The Arizona Cardinals are 5.0-point underdogs at home to the Eagles on Sunday. Their defense is below average allowing the fifth-most points per game. That said, I expect a heavy passing attack from Kyler Murray in an attempt to get ahead or, more likely, to keep up against Philly.
James Conner is fourth on the team in targets behind Marquise Brown, Zach Ertz and Greg Dortch. Kyler Murray is also sixth-in rushing attempts amongst quarterbacks. There’s too many ways this can function for the Cardinals offense on Sunday. It’s an unrealistic outcome Conner comes out on top given his skillset, matchup, and variety of options on this offense.
Love: Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are taking on the New York Giants in London this Sunday. It’s the first time two teams with a winning record will face off across the pond. A lot of things are going well for the Giants this season. Specifically on the defensive side of things, they’ve allowed just two touchdowns to wide receivers and the fourth-lowest yardage to the position. That’s good enough to limit wide receivers to just 14.2 points per game against them, the second-lowest average in the league.
Digging a little deeper, though, the Giants’ have faced Ryan Tannehill and the Titans, Baker Mayfield and the Panthers, Cooper Rush and the Cowboys, then, most recently, Justin Fields and the Bears. The Titans are a run-heavy offense, the Panthers have the least total yards this season, and the Bears have 471 receiving yards this season, the least in the league. So, other than Ceedee Lamb, the Giants haven’t had much to worry about through the air.
Their biggest test yet is here. Aaron Rodgers, the reigning back-to-back MVP of the league, looks to extend the Packers’ win streak to four. To do so, he is likely to continue looking for rookie receiver, Romeo Doubs. In the last two weeks, Doubs leads all Packers in targets with 16. He continues to see looks in the end zone having hauled in a touchdown in each of the last two weeks. Doubs is likely a waiver wire add of yours. It’s hard to imagine anyone sitting him given the recent success. However, let him landing on my Love List be the possible nudge you need to start him if you are hesitant about it ahead of Week 5.
Some Extra Love:
Robert Woods looks healthy through four weeks with the Tennessee Titans after a season-ending ACL tear last year as a Ram. He’s seen a team-high 13 targets the last two weeks and found the end zone for the first time in 2022 last Sunday. Additionally, rookie, Treylon Burks, is out for some time due to a turf toe injury. The Titans’ Week 5 opponent, the Washington Commanders are a matchup I love for Woods. They’ve allowed three WR1 performances so far through four weeks and the most points to the position, as well. That includes a league-high seven touchdowns. Derrick Henry will continue to be a focal point of the Titans’ offense, but I love Woods to get into the end zone on Sunday. He is Tannehill’s best option in the passing game.
Hate: D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
I’m perfectly fine with anyone’s decision to sit D.J. Moore in Week 5. I hate what I’ve seen so far with Baker Mayfield under center and I hate that it’s going to continue. Though Moore leads all Panthers with 29 targets this season, he’s caught just 13 of them. Even with a touchdown in one game this season, Moore has yet to score more than 13.3 points any given week. He’s not even averaging 9.0 points per game. If you have Moore on your roster, this is likely all sensitive information you already know. I’m speaking from my own experiences, unfortunately. My bold prediction for Moore this season was that he would score 14 touchdowns, which is as many as he had in his career coming into the season. He’s barely on pace for four.
If Moore’s production isn’t enough by itself, you will hate his matchup. The Panthers are hosting the San Francisco 49ers, one of the best defensive units in the league. They’re averaging a second-best 3.8 sacks per game. Additionally, the 49ers are allowing a league-low 11.5 points per game to opposing teams. It’s going to be an ugly day for Baker Mayfield. As a result, Moore’s woes are likely to continue. I hope things take a turn for the better. It just looks very unlikely for Week 5. By now, you may have other options you feel better about than D.J. Moore. It’s perfectly reasonable to start them instead.
Love: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts is the single-handed most disappointing fantasy football player this season. He is still a starting tight end, though it’s very hard to love the idea of it. Kyle Pitts’ usage in the Falcons’ offense thus far is downright confusing. He went from averaging the fourth-most yards per route run (2.02) last year amongst tight ends to playing a combined 19 fewer snaps than Parker Hesse over the last two weeks.
Parker Hesse? Who is Parker Hesse!?
Anyway, Kyle Pitts’ lone NFL touchdown was caught on October 10th, 2021 in London against the New York Jets. That was Week 5 of the 2021 season. Maybe I’m feeding too much into the coincidence here, but I think Pitts’ second NFL touchdown, and first in the United States of America, will happen in Week 5 of the 2022 season this Sunday. I mean, seriously, are we really going to go a full calendar year without a touchdown from a healthy Kyle Pitts?
At the end of the day, Pitts is still second in targets on the Falcons behind only Drake London. Most importantly, running back/wide receiver, Cordarelle Patterson, is on Injured Reserve for the next four games minimum. That will open up the target share that much more for Pitts. The Falcons have a brutal matchup against a stout Tampa Bay Buccaneers run defense. I don’t expect any of the Falcons backs to be effective in this one. I do expect Pitts to have a big day against the same defense allowing the most receptions to tight ends through four games. Even if he doesn’t find the end zone, and I think he will, Kyle Pitts is still a must-start based on a probable, and necessary, heavy dose of targets on Sunday.
Disclaimer: Pitts is on “hamstring watch” after not practicing Wednesday. You may be streaming like the rest of us. A limited or full practice Thursday and/or Friday would likely mean he plays.
Some Extra Love:
T.J. Hockenson is already starting in redraft league lineups everywhere. I’m showing him some extra love this week for the Daily Fantasy Sports managers. Hockenson isn’t often in the discussion with the other elite options at tight end. It usually takes a performance like his from Week 4 for people to remember what he’s capable of. Admittedly, it’s easier for him to produce when key contributors on the Lions offense are absent. Ahead of Week 5, it looks like that could be the case again. De’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown did not practice to open the week. Furthermore, the Lions are heading to New England to face a Patriots team allowing 37.0 points per game at home. Yes, the season is young, so the sample size is small, but the Lions are the top-scoring team in the league, as well. The Patriots are also allowing a league-high five touchdowns to tight ends. Get Hockenson into whatever Week 5 lineup you possibly can.
Hate: Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks
Dissly is one of the biggest surprises of the season. Geno Smith’s familiarity with Dissly given their time on the Seahawks together is evident. He currently sits at TE10 averaging 10.4 points per game. It’s nothing to write home about, but he is a weekly streaming option. For Week 5, though, I hate plugging Dissly into lineups.
The Seahawks are starting to run a faster-paced, efficient offense after a sluggish first two weeks and 2021 season as a whole. The more they have the ball in their hands, the more opportunities at fantasy points for their players. As far as passing game usage goes, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are dominating the target share. Dissly has just a 9.3% target share with only 12 total receptions. Three of those receptions have been for a touchdown. While we love touchdowns, 25% of your catches resulting in a touchdown on such a low target share just screams “touchdown dependent” for fantasy football. The Seahawks will take on the New Orleans Saints who are allowing a league-low 2.2 points to tight ends. They’ve allowed just 12 receptions and 86 scoreless yards to the position.